Thursday, March 31, 2011

40 Runner's Commandments

1. Don’t be a whiner. Nobody likes a whiner, not even other whiners.
2. Walking out the door is often the toughest part of a run.
3. Don’t make running your life. Make it part of your life.
4. Keep promises, especially ones made to yourself.
5. The faster you are the less you should talk about your times.
6. Keep a quarter in your pocket. One day you’ll need to call for a ride.
7. Don’t compare yourself to other runners.
8. All runners are equal, some are just faster than others.
9. Keep in mind that the later in the day it gets, the more likely it is that you won’t run.
10. For a change of pace, get driven out and then run back.
11. If it was easy, everybody would be a runner.
12. When standing in starting lines, remind yourself how fortunate you are to be there.
13. Getting out of shape is much easier than getting into shape.
14. A bad day of running still beats a good day at work.
15. Don’t talk about your running injuries. People don’t want to hear about your sore knee or black toe.
16. Don’t always run alone.
17. Don’t always run with people.
18. Approach running as if the quality of your life depended on it.
19. No matter how slow, your run is still faster than someone sitting on a couch.
20. Keep in mind that the harder you run during training, the luckier you’ll get during racing.
21. Races aren’t just for those who can run fast.
22. There are no shortcuts to running excellence.
23. The best runs sometimes come on days when you didn’t feel like running.
24. There is nothing boring about running. There are, however, boring people who run.
25. Distance running is like cod liver oil. At first it makes you feel awful, then it makes you feel better.
26. Never throw away the instructions to your running watch.
27. Don’t try to outrun dogs.
28. Don’t wait for perfect weather. If you do, you won’t run very often.
29. When tempted to stop being a runner, make a list of the reasons you started.
30. Without goals, training has no purpose.
31. Go for broke, but be prepared to be broken.
32. Spend more time running on the roads than sitting on the couch.
33. Make progress in your training, but progress at your own rate.
34. “Winning” means different things to different people.
35. Unless you make your living as a runner, don’t take running too seriously.
36. Never tell a runner that he or she doesn’t look good in tights.
37. Never confuse the Ben-Gay tube with the toothpaste tube.
38. Preventing running injuries is easier than curing them.
39. Running is simple. Don’t make it complicated.
40. Running is always enjoyable. Sometimes, though, the joy doesn’t come until the end of the run.

Keep these in mind as you train this year....

Coach Ming

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Everyone wants a marathon training regimen that will leave their legs feeling “fresh." They want to know, 'How can I get that spring in my legs?' That’s the wrong question. The question should be: 'How can I train my body so that when the fatigue hits me, I'm still able to respond?'

The program that I follow has guided more than 25 men to qualifying times for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, including Brian Sell, who finished third at the 2008 Trials. In October, Desiree Davila was the first American woman at the Chicago Marathon in 2:26:20, finishing fourth overall. The philosophy is simple - Running a marathon is all about pace. (If you would like more information, or would like me to send you a detailed copy of the program, email me at )

This program teaches your body and mind how to run your goal pace, no matter how tired you are. The training is designed around a concept called "cumulative fatigue"—high weekly mileage volume and a steady diet of hard workouts. Those workouts, dubbed "Something of Substance," or SOS, include a speed or strength day run slightly faster than goal marathon pace, a marathon-pace tempo run that gets progressively longer, and a long run done 45 to 60 seconds slower than goal pace.

All successful training programs have speed, tempo, and long run components. This program differs because it puts equal weight on each part. In conventional programs runners often do little training at their marathon goal pace. But in this plan, the workouts are all calibrated around your marathon goal pace so that, come race day, you'll be able to hit your splits in your sleep.

Perhaps the most notable feature of the plan is the absence of a sacred cow—the 20-plus-mile long run. For non-elite runners, the long effort tops out at 16 miles. People say, 'How can a long run be only 16 miles?’ Then they'll finish that run and say, 'Gosh, I don't think I could run another 10 miles.' And they'll be right. With the plan's emphasis on high mileage and hard workouts, you're not running the first 16 miles of a marathon, you're running the last 16. This program is duplicating that final-miles feeling.

Traditional programs overemphasize the long run. Twenty-plus mile efforts sap most runners and compromise the quality of subsequent workouts. There's nothing magical about a long run of a certain distance. The most important factor is quality total mileage, week in and week out. It's a formula that holds true for beginners, elites, and everyone in between. This program is very appealing to people like me who coach, have three young children, and are very busy in general.

Building mileage volume is key. Sometimes running when you're tired isn't a bad thing. Once your body adapts, there's a callusing benefit. You just have to get through a period of feeling pretty crappy in all your runs.

Here’s three key concepts to keep in mind -

#1: Let the body recover without the mind losing confidence.
Severe tapers can leave you flat. Cut mileage by 20 percent two weeks out; 40 percent one week out.

#2: You can't bank time.
Going out too fast in the beginning means you have zero seconds to draw on later in the race. In fact, you're investing in a crash.

#3: Forget about your splits in the last 10-K.
You should have a good idea of what you have left. Time to tap the reserves for all they're worth.

Bottom line is this - Speed, strength, and tempo sessions—combined with shorter long runs—will help marathoners of all abilities run a better race.

Run Happy!

Coach Nolan Ming

Friday, February 18, 2011

Simple Steps

Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify, simplify.

Say this Sunday afternoon you're going for a run. You don't need a machine - no gears, blades, sails, or poles. No pucks, caddies, reels, or rules. You don't require instructions. You don't need a ride to a designated place - wherever you are is the place. If you live near grass you can do it without shoes; if your neighbors are tolerant and the bugs aren't bad, you can do it without clothes.

Being good products of a consumer society, we've complicated matters. I remember standing at the Start of the 2009 Chicago Marathon - the inescapable sound of thousands of beeping watches. You can run against an invisible buddy who lives inside your watch; even coordinate heart rate with the tunes playing on your iPod. I, myself, am guilty of wearing a Garmin 405 on ALL of my runs, and recently trying out some new apps for my phone as well. You can download every stitch of information about your run the second it's done, to make sure it lives on forever in the memory of your computer.

The trick is to make it live in your own memory; that's better done by just heading out. By pretending to be the thing you really are - an animal. That means leaving behind the GPS, and the assumptions that complicate your run. The idea, for instance, that you're doing it to get stronger or faster, as opposed to just doing it.It's not a duty, it's a blessing - the chance not to count your heartbeats, but just to feel the blood surge up in you veins.

And it's worth adding that simpler is better in other ways as well. Less stuff means less impact on the environment. It means less time stuck in your car and more time with your family. It means spending less on gear, which means less time spent earning it in the first place. A friend of Thoreau's told him he should earn money so he could take the train somewhere and see something new. Thoreau explained that in the time his friend spent earning train fare, he could walk the 30 miles from here to there.

Of course, if you need some paraphernalia to get you out the door, go for it. Einstein, who was nearly as smart as Thoreau, once remarked, " Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." The most important thing to leave behind is the noise in your head, the endless CNN forever broadcasting your desires, your hopes, your plans. See if you can make it go away for a while - and really step outside.

This thing we do is one of the great and primal joys. If you don't wear your ear buds in church, consider leaving them off when you head out the door today.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Ten Things to Avoid When Tapering For a Marathon

Every marathoner wants to tell you all the things to do during your marathon taper. Are you ready to hear what you shouldn't do?

Number 10: Running a long run of more than 15 miles during your marathon taper. A major cause of poor marathon performance, is not giving the body time to adapt from the final longest run during marathon training.

Number 9: Lowering your mileage while neglecting to run some V02 and lactate threshold workouts. As you taper if you do not run quality workouts at proper intensity your body will lose a lot of your fitness gains. Remember to make these workouts shorter in duration or repetitions.

Number 8: Forgetting to take more rest days. A good rule of thumb is to reduce the number of running days by two the second week of your taper and three the week of the marathon.

Number 7: Neglecting nutrition, as your body begins to repair itself more nutrients are needed to aid in this process. Make sure to take a quality nutritional supplement such as USANA. Increase fruits, vegetables, and protein during your taper.

Number 6: Buying a new pair of running shoes. Hopefully you have replaced your initial training shoes midway through your training. That newest pair of shoes should have about a month's worth of wear, and should feel perfect right now. Now is not the time to buy new shoes and try get them broken in for race day.

Number 5: Cross Training, now is not the time to begin cross training. If you have cross trained during your marathon training, reduce the volume or eliminate completely.

Number 4: Neglecting Sleep, as you begin to feel more and more rested there is a tendency to reduce the number of hours you sleep. Try to stick to a schedule that includes 8 hours of quality sleep each night.

Number 3: Fluids, keeping the body hydrated not only helps your running it also eliminates waste products. As the body repairs itself waste products need to be eliminated as well. Proper hydration aids in this process. Remember to drink an extra 64 oz of water each day.

Number 2: Stress during the week before a marathon can literally wear you out. Let your friends, family and colleagues know that you are going to be unavailable for those extra social and stress causing activities this week.

Number 1: Listening to everyone's advice about how to run your race. After training for up to 20 weeks you get to know what your limits are. Listen to experienced marathoners concerning race tactics such as fluids, gels, etc. Ignore everyone else trying to get you to run their race. If you're a first time marathoner, finish the race in the easiest way possible. More experienced marathoners, race within your capabilities.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Way to Rock n Roll today team!

Congratulations to all who came out and ran, volunteered, and cheered today at the Rock n Roll Chicago 1/2 Marathon. You are all an inspiration.

We wanted to take the opportunity to thank our team for a great run. You could have chosen to run for many good charities, and we feel sincerely honored that you joined the Angel Team. Your efforts, on and off the street, will affect so many lives of children and adults with Down syndrome. Some of those recipients you've helped, none of us will ever meet personally. Rest assured that you will help many children and adults with special needs to have a better life. God does not judge us by what we take, but what we choose to give.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Rock N Roll Chicago 1/2 Marathon this weekend!

That's right. This weekend is the big race! All of the time that you've spent preparing for your training, executing your training, finding the right shoes and gear, and fretting over all of that is about to pay off.
Be confident in the fact that you've done all you can up until this point to be prepared for this race.
Take this time between now and Sunday to relax and know that there's nothing that you can do between now and race day that will change your level of fitness. The hay is in the barn.
Make sure that you are getting plenty of rest over these next few days. For me, the most important night to get a good night's sleep is two nights before the race, because the night before I'm always so restless and itching to get going.
We sincerely appreciate everything that you've done to prepare yourselves for this race, and to raise money for such a wonderful organization. I look forward to meeting you all on Friday night, or Sunday morning...
If you have any last minute questions about the race as far as training goes, give me a call at 630.461.1325.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The next Team Run is scheduled for this Saturday morning, July 17 in Schaumburg. Details and map link below. We really want you to join us, meet fellow team members, young people with Down syndrome, friends and family. Following the run, we will have a light breakfast and refreshments.

With any luck, we will have the team shirts ready for the Rock 'n' Roll Chicago Half Marathon and you can pick up your shirt at the team run (saving us postage costs).

RSVPs appreciated. We'd like to know:

1. name
2. current average pace
3. current running distance

DATE: Saturday, July 17, 2010
TIME: 8:30 a.m. followed by breakfast/refreshments with UPS for DownS families
LOCATION: Busse Woods in Schaumburg (enter from Higgins Road)
MEET: Busse Lake Boating Center SEE ATTACHED MAP
DISTANCE: 7.7 mile loop