Safety First

Here are some health and safety tips for runners exercising during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  1. Safety is paramount. All runners must lead by example and closely follow local health advisories/guidelines. If you can’t keep your distance, depending on your location, or when in doubt, we strongly advise staying at home until you’re able to do so. Here are guidelines from the CDC on staying safe.
  2. Managing stress. For many, running is a light in a dark period. It helps maintain sanity, reduce stress and offers a bit of an escape. As long as you can maintain distance stick to your routine but adjust and consider how stress might make typical training paces feel harder. Go by effort. Now is not a time to add in more stress or maintain a rigorous training program. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental/emotional stress you should compensate and adjust your training to prevent overload on your system (e.g. reduce your workout and weekly volume).
  3. Keep training fun, light. If you’re feeling good, routine is helpful during a time of social distancing. Race will be cancelled for the foreseeable future so enjoy the process and appreciate that you can run. Keep workouts easy and fun. Fartlek running or short Reps are fine as long as you’re adding in lots of recovery so the intensity never stays too high. Also, focus on time-based running, not distance. Dr. Megan Roche is a running coach, medical doctor and epidemiology researcher, she says, “Exercise can help manage stress, boost the immune system, and improve energy levels.” “However, it’s important to stay in tune with how your body is feeling and keep an eye on exercise load and intensity. Overtraining and/or rapid increases in training volume can burden the immune system. ”
  4. Focus on mobility and strength. These are two areas most runners ignore or never do enough of when training. Now is a great opportunity to work with your coach or a PT on developing an at home routine that focused more on these aspects of your training. When you come back this summer/ fall you’ll be an even stronger runner for it.
  5. Stay connected. Find community through your local running store, clubs, training platforms, workout classes online. VDOT O2 now has virtual racing (VDOT Challenges) to help with motivation and social isolation. Participate by walking or jogging using it as your workout on one of the designated race weekends.

Base/Fitness Plans

To help you adapt to our current situation we’ve created 8-week Base/Fitness training plans with Dr. Jack Daniels. These plans are perfect for runners who have been training and want to maintain motivation, structure while road and track races are cancelled for the foreseeable future.

It’s important not to overtrain or introduce new stress at the moment. Plans include Easy pace, short Rep and Interval time-based workouts. We’re also encouraging runners to reduce their overall weekly volume and long training runs at this time. Plans are customized after a coach-review of your current running profile.

Customize your 8-week plan.

New Virtual Racing Series

The team at VDOT O2 has launched a new virtual racing series, the VDOT Challenge, to help athletes stay motivated during this time of social distancing. Races are free and occur every two weeks in 3-day blocks starting April 3rd, 4th and 5th

Challenges are open to all distances 1mi or more. To participate you must save your race result on your VDOT calendar before the race weekend is over. All race results must have GPS synced and <1% net elevation drop to be included in the public results page.

“You’ve Gone And Done It Again!”

Charles Whobrey finished 121st out of over one thousand in the M50 age group…

I just wanted to write and say “you’ve gone and done it again!” I spent most of the LA Marathon cursing you guys thinking: “no way can I keep this up for 26.2” but I sucked it up and toughed it out and just thought about all the targets I’d hit in the personalized training program you put together for me, and… and… I did it! 3 hours 46mins & 37 seconds later I had a new PB crushing my previous time by over 12 mins.

“Trust” is the key word for me here. After the two highly successful training programs you’ve devised for me (I broke 4-hours for the first time in 2019) I completely TRUST that you guys know what you’re doing and that in turn gives me an ever increasing confidence in my performance abilities. Looking forward to the next one. I’ll be in touch!

Stacey Kincaid Hits PR On Negative Split In Chicago

Stacey Kincaid set a new PR at the Chicago Marathon. Her time placed her 14th in the F40 age group. [Results] Even more impressive was her pace management with a first half split of 1:27:11. Stacey works with Run SMART Project coach Ann Alyanak.

I couldn’t be happier with Ann and the coaching. She’s a perfect match for me :)I’m already antsy to get started on training for the next race.

Shelby Harris Sets PR and BQ On Even Splits In Chicago

Shelby Harris of Briarcliff Manor, NY set a new PR and BQ at the Chicago Marathon with very even pacing. Her coach, Ann Alyanak, was proud of how well she paced, out in 1:49:18 and back in 1:49:29. [Full Results]

The experience working with Ann was awesome and I’m so grateful for it. Thanks!

“This Was My Lifetime Half Marathon PR And I Didn’t Even Try That Hard”

Michel Werthenschlag trains with our NYC Marathon Training Program via the NY Flyers. All his consistency and hard work is starting to pay off.

“Felt great! This was my lifetime half marathon PR and I didn’t even try that hard. I tried to keep a 7:12 pace for the first half and then realized I could push and beat my best time on the 2nd half, which I did by 1:30!”

“I Had More In The Tank When I Finished!”

Stephanie Tang set her second straight marathon PR, conquering the late climb at Twin Cities with a negative split (first half 1:45:54 vs second half 1:44:36).

A huge congrats to my teammates and thanks to New York Flyers for your support, and The Run SMART Project for the great coaching, as always!

I honestly felt great the entire time, no pains, sprinted to the finish, envisioning our threshold miles, and I had more in the tank when I finished!

What a great race, city and day!

Jorge Ospina Hits 2:52 In Berlin

Longtime Run SMART Project client Jorge Ospina of Detroit, MI ran 2:52:03 at the Berlin Marathon. [Full Results] This marks Jorge’s third fastest marathon ever and within 2 minutes of his personal best set six years ago.

Thanks again for a great training cycle. Even though I did not break 2:50 I am very happy with the result. – Jorge

Stefano Battaglia Sets New Half Marathon PR

Stefano Battaglia set a new PR and exceeded his goal/VDOT projected time in Rome:

I just completed your 12 week half-marathon program. I’m very happy to tell you that I (we) achieved the goal to complete Rome half-marathon via Pacis in 1:42:50, better than planned. The course is a bit longer than 13.1 miles so the real timing for the correct half-marathon distance would have been 1:40:53 which makes a VDOT of 44.7 (good improvement).