Rules of the Road

Welcome to Week #2!

Last Saturday, many of you did your Magic Mile (one-mile time trial) and received your individual training recommendations.  Accordingly, we will have pace groups on Saturdays.  During the week, you will practice your predicted race pace and intervals after the hill repeats and drills.  Don’t worry.  It all magically comes together on race day to make you stronger and faster.  Trust your training!

Long runs are run 2 minutes per mile SLOWER than your predicted race pace to reduce wear and tear on your body.  We may further back down the pace if it’s hot or if people are huffing and puffing.  Reducing the impact on the body means you can recover quicker from training runs and can continue progressing with your training.  There are many physiological adaptations the body makes in order to meet the physical demands of distance running, and this is why slowing down is recommended.  These physical adaptations do not simply happen overnight.  The adaptation process is stimulated when the demands of training are greater than what the body is prepared to meet.  The physical overload triggers the adaptation process.  Each time we go above and beyond, which is known as progressive overload, we stimulate this adaptation process.  When we overload the body in gradual, incremental increases, it responds positively by becoming stronger.  If we overload the body too rapidly or too heavily too soon, it doesn’t have time to adapt and we risk poor performances, injury, illness, and/or mental burnout.

It takes discipline to run fast, to slow down, and to rest.  All three are important! 



Group Leaders will always do their best to look out for the safety of the group, but contrary to popular belief, they are not infallible.  SAFETY IS ULTIMATELY YOUR INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBILITY.  Please don’t take up the whole road or trail – run no more than two abreast.  Please look both ways to ensure the road or trail is clear before crossing.  On the trail, if you alter your direction, look over your shoulder before crossing the trail to avoid a potential collision with an oncoming cyclist or passing runner.  On the road, be sure the driver of a car acknowledges your right-of-way before crossing in front of a vehicle.  Obey traffic signals.


Group Leaders will always carry a cell phone in case of emergency.  Additionally, we maintain a list of all members and their emergency contact’s name and telephone number.  Hopefully we never need to use this list.


If it’s just raining, we’ll run.  It might be raining on your race day, so training in the rain may come in handy.  If there is LIGHTNING in the area, we don’t run.  I will text everyone if training is cancelled for any reason.


Water bottles are REQUIRED on all runs over 10 miles.  We encourage everyone to find a water bottle and carry it with you, even on shorter runs.  Group Leaders may refuse to allow you to run with the group if you don’t carry water.  Dehydration is one of a marathoner’s worst enemies and can occur even before 10 miles, especially on particularly hot and humid days.  Like going out too fast, when one becomes seriously dehydrated, you cannot recover from it during a run.  Only rest and hydration will help.


Any time we’re running on a road with no sidewalks, we should run on the left side of the road, facing traffic.  By facing oncoming traffic, you may be able to react quicker than if it’s behind you.  When sidewalks are present, we may choose to run on the right side of the road based upon the quality of the sidewalks and depending on our next turn, but otherwise, LEFT SIDE PLEASE.


Group Leaders and everyone should call out “CAR UP” or “CAR BACK” (or BIKE, RUNNER, etc.).  If you see some other hazard, such as a “PUDDLE” or “ROCK” or “BRANCH” or “SPEED BUMP” in the path (you get the idea), please call it out.  We don’t need any injuries from someone tripping over something, especially when we’re bunched up a bit, as more than one runner could fall.


It’s important to let your Group Leader know if you start to experience any nagging aches or pains resulting from our runs.  By catching issues EARLY, we can usually avoid more severe injuries later.  Sometimes, it may be necessary to reduce your mileage or consider moving you to a slower running group to avoid injury – DO NOT TAKE IT PERSONALLY.  One of the major goals of this program is to RUN INJURY FREE.  The program incorporates the walk breaks and sets mileage in order to minimize the chance of injury during the training process.  Finally, as Jeff Galloway states in his “Galloway Training Programs” book, it is okay to be tired, particularly after a long run.  But, if you’re so exhausted that all you do for the rest of the day is lie on the couch, or are very sore, you probably have run too quickly.  So, PLEASE LET US KNOW AT THE FIRST SIGN OF INJURY – this is important for you and important for the group.


It’s never a good idea to leave someone behind or alone, even a veteran runner.  The Group Leader (or another responsible person) should drop back with the person having problems, and let the group run on, or the whole group can slow down together depending on the circumstances.  WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER, and supporting each other is part of the process.


As you will discover, there are a lot of aspects to that statement.  Successfully running long distance is not about speed, it is about building ENDURANCE.  You can have all the speed in the world, but if you have not built up the endurance to sustain it, it will not do you any good.