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Coach Spotlight – June – Michelle Howell

Coach Spotlight – June – Michelle Howell

We take your training and recovery at FRC seriously. That’s why we have the best team to help support you. From Olympians, professional runners, Ironman athletes and other highly experienced running and training coaches, our coaches have the experience to empower all levels of runners to train to be their best! Our coaches all share a PASSION for running and are here to get to know you and make sure that you find your formula and achieve your goals.

PMichelle Elizabeth Howell, Elle (nickname)

  • Background- 25 years old, female, West Palm Beach, USTFCCCA certified coach with over thirteen years of experience in the sport
  • PR’s, podium visits (any endurance sport)- 800-2:03.05, mile-4:39, 5k-18:15, 2x All-American, 2019 USATF Semifinalist 800m, 2020 ranked 18th in the world women’s indoor 600m
  • Preferred distances or even local routes- 800-mile. My favorite running route in the DMV is the C&O Canal
  • What made you want to be a runner/endurance athlete? I got into track because my dad was a runner
  • What is your pre-race ritual (meal, sleep, general preparation, etc.)? Post-race? Pre-race involves a dinner of salmon and veggies followed by 9-10 hours of sleep. Day of I visit a local coffee shop to listen to a podcast or read a book to kill time. Post-race I like to go on longer cool-downs and hang out with friends (if it went well)
  • What is your favorite race? Running the anchor leg of a fast 4x400m. relay
  • What do you like most about coaching at FRC? Helping people improve their running technique, which will help running to seem more enjoyable and efficient for them. 
  • What is your favorite class to coach? Formula 101
  • How has your experience been developing relationships with FRC members? It’s fun to work with people who come from all walks of life, learn about their goals, and help create a plan to reach them
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To learn a little more about Alex READ MORE HERE.
Member Spotlight – June – Rob McAnnally

Member Spotlight – June – Rob McAnnally

Our members come from all walks of life and are of all strides. Our Member Spotlight is one way to get to know your fellow runners.
This month’s Member Spotlight is on Rob McAnnally:

Background (Age, Gender, Birthplace, and Running Experience): Robbie M. McAnnally (Rob); Age 50, M, Born in Groton, CT, and I’ve been racing since 2016–I was a reluctant runner training for the US Air Force and a cyclist prior to meeting Elizabeth and being lured into running for real.

What is your formula? What are the common classes or recovery elements this member does/uses? What are the common classes or recovery elements this member does/uses?  I am early morning gym guy — I love formula run, tread and train, and train classes for full body fitness combined with running longer distances outside.  I’ve been trying to increase my weekly mileage for the last few months and during the quarantine, I’ve been mostly successful, but I miss the tread and train work a lot.  For recovery, I love, love, LOVE the compression sleeves and cryo treatments.  I’d like to work the IR sauna and some PT massage into my recovery elements too.

Why did you start running? Initially, I started running to conquer the 1.5 mile run for the US Air Force.  I actually started by getting up before high school and running for 20 mins, gradually increasing my endurance time and speed to pass the test.  Later, in college, I ran with AFROTC and ran my first 5K and, during my first assignment, on a lark, I ran the Malmstrom AFB “Warrior Run” where we repelled off the command building in full combat boots and web gear, picked up an M-16, ran 6.5 miles our to the obstacle, completed the 1.5 mile obstacle course, and ran 6.5 miles back to the finish.  I was 25 and could basically just pick up and go at that point–not the way to run essentially a half marathon in combat gear LOL!  I ran off and on for years, but got really serious when Elizabeth O’Reilly encouraged me to train for a race–she said, “C’mon, it’ll be fun!”  My first race was Pacer’s St Patrick’s Day 5K/10K/Double–we ran the double–and it went well, so I ran the GW Classic later that year and thought maybe I could do a half marathon.  Two weeks later, I was sent to Geneva, Switzerland for work and upon arriving at the US Embassy, I was talking to people at the post about where to run in Geneva and my recent 10-mile race.  I mentioned that probably my next goal should be a half marathon and they said, “Oh really?  Well, the Geneva Marathon is next weekend, registration is still open and easy on the web, and they have a half marathon race.”  At that point, I was stuck–no backing down now for the new guy, so I signed up and ran it without knowing if I could–I pulled a 1:54 time and thought that REALLY WAS FUN and that was it–I was hooked!

Favorite quote? “Success is not final, failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts.”  -Winston Churchill

What are your hobbies?  Running, biking, fitness, and travel.

What is your PR in your favorite distance? 1:47:49 in the United Half Marathon. 1:20 flat on the GW Classic. Half Marathon is easily my favorite distance, although the challenge of running my first marathon is calling.

What is your pre-race ritual (meal, sleep, general preparation, etc.)? Post-race? Spaghetti dinner the night before with an order to go, lay out my clothes, gels, affix my bib, get to bed a little early–wake up and eat the to-go order of spaghetti (cold, of course), gear up and go.  Post race–I like to give thanks for being fit enough to complete the race, shower up and get a little champagne with Elizabeth (or maybe a beer at the finish if it’s just me running that day).  I joined FRC because I wanted to be part of a running community and to learn more about running.  I particularly loved the focus of all the strength training to what a runner needs to grow and improve–and I loved the recovery services, which are often left out of most gym experiences.  The focus on training AND recovery is so important, if you are going to maximize your performance and propel yourself forward as a runner.  I’ve learned so much from all of the coaches and athletes–different approaches, mindsets, and techniques.  It’s incredible how much it’s improved my enjoyment of running!

Do you have a favorite class/service?  Back to back Formula Run right into a Train class with Jim is for sure my favorite combo–it really pushes me and feels like a real accomplishment if I survive!  Love the compression sleeves too.  

Favorite workout music? I love current music–pop, rap, hip-hop–to work with.  I lived through the 80s and am not all that motivated by a throwback soundtrack (Sorry, Carol!) even though Liz loves it! LOL. My race playlist has some killer Coldplay, TobyMac, and a mix of high-paced pop music.

Do you have any races lined up in 2020? Goals for 2020?  I had big goals for 2020 (the year I turned 50) for races and training with FRC.  Unfortunately, COVID had other ideas, so my spring races were all cancelled—Unite.d NYC Half, Cherry Blossom 10-miler, GW Classic, and the Popular Brooklyn Half.  I also wanted to run the 50th NYC Marathon, as my first marathon at age 50–I can’t imagine that will happen now, but I will continue training and deepening my running and fitness.  People are dying, so the races can wait.  It’s a small sacrifice to make to help defeat this virus.

What has been your favorite part of being a member at FRC?  The encouragement, love, and support of a down-to-earth community of runners.  There are incredible athletes at FRC, but I have never felt out of place.  I’m not an incredible athlete–I just love running–but the FRC community has embraced my goals and encouraged me to challenge myself in ways that help me grow without ever making me feel like I was less.  It’s an amazing group of people and I cannot wait until it’s safe to reopen.  I am excited to see where this journey takes all of us.

If you or someone you know would like to be featured in our Member Spotlight, please email i[email protected]

How To Start Training For A Marathon And Longer Races

How To Start Training For A Marathon And Longer Races

Author: Dave Ringwood, FRC Coach & Training Program Coach

So you want to sign up for a race, that’s great! After all, the absolute best way to keep yourself running and hold yourself accountable is to initially find a race, sign up for it, pay for it and mark your calendar. A race date will help you stay focused and plan your training accordingly. In this blog you will get all of your most pressing questions answered from FRC coach and training program coach, Dave Ringwood. At FRC, we recognize that each race is different and every runner has his/her own unique needs and challenges. Our training program coach can work with you to customize a training program based on your needs and training goals. These programs will set you up for success by being personalized, holding you accountable and of course being fun. 

HOW TO PREPARE

Like runners, every race is unique. And the training to prepare for them should be too! The very first step should be to choose a race that allows enough time to appropriately prepare. The time between deciding you want to run your race and actually toeing the start line will be filled with new experiences, lessons, and moments that deserve your attention. I recommend taking approximately 12 and 16 weeks for the half and full marathons, respectively.

Next, it is important to identify what days throughout the week work best for training. For longer distance races, I recommend dedicating at least four days per week, so identifying where those best fit around the standard week.

Once you’ve decided your goal race and found time for training, I recommend finding a community (large or small) that can act as a source of motivation throughout your training. This could be in the form of family/friends, a running group, or a coach-led program. The motivation derived from a group is invaluable to maintaining a positive attitude over the course of a training program. And speaking of training programs, a coach can provide appropriate training for meeting your race goals in a healthy and fast way! Guess where you can find this type of community and training program… that’s right, FRC!

To that note, I cannot emphasize enough how beneficial a training group or coach is for seasoned runners training for their first half/full marathon. The more experienced one becomes at running, the more detailed the goals become. The workload feels lessened with a positive group surrounding you and the mental stresses are minimized with a coach guiding you along the way!

If a coach or training groups aren’t realistic options for you (not the case if you live near FRC!), the most important first step is identifying a training plan that works for your schedule. Structure is the key to success when preparing for long distance training.

I typically recommend 12 and 16 weeks for the half and full marathon distances, respectively. Of course, there is always room for flexibility based on the individual. Typically, a more seasoned runner will need less dedicated time to the training program, simply because they have more “base” miles under their belt, and are likely coming from a place where they are already running. These runners might not need to build up into the mileage, so might be just fine running fewer than 12 or 16 weeks. On the other hand, beginner runners might be coming from a place where they are just beginning/returning to running, and will need additional time to build up their mileage, and could benefit more from the full 12 to 16 weeks.

And beyond that, every runner is unique. For example, it’s worth noting a runner’s injury history and noting how that might affect time needed during the buildup. If injuries have been an issue in the past, it’s worth spreading the training out a bit more, allowing a more gradual progressing towards peaking on race day. Understanding that each runner is unique is essential to bringing your best self to the start line on race day.

IMPORTANT TRAINING FACTORS TO CONSIDER

Speed work, intervals, and hill training are all important pieces to incorporate in your training. The key is making sure they are appropriately executed based on the time until your race. Early in the program, intervals are typically longer and less intense. While more speed work is included towards the later stages of training, with intervals moving shorter but more intense.

I typically recommend hills based on the race course. For example, if hills are prominent in the later stages of a race, racers need to prepare for attacking hills on tired legs. A great way to simulate that experience is to finish a long run with a few hilly miles.

HOW TO PREVENT INJURY

Dynamic stretching (functional movements, bringing much of your body through full range of motion) before working out and static stretching (stretches held in place for an extended period of time) after working out are the bare minimum for preventing injury. For some runners, this is enough to remain injury-free, and they don’t need to consider anything more. Lucky them!

For many others (myself included), more is needed to remain confident in our ability to remain injury-free. A simple preventative measure is to make sure you are adequately hydrated throughout the day. Hydration plays a key role not just during performance, but also for prior to performance. Hydration promotes loosened joints ready to run.

Additionally, recovery services (found at FRC) provide a great opportunity to keep injuries at bay. Foam rolling, massage, compression sleeves, cryotherapy, cold water soaking, and infrared saunas are all valuable recovery resources that help keep injuries from occurring!

WHAT SHOULD A TRAINING PROGRAM LOOK LIKE?

When building training plans, I work the week around what I like to call “quality runs.” Quality runs can include speed work, intervals, hills, and/or long runs. I structure most weeks to include two quality runs, with easier/recovery days surrounding them.

The longer of these quality runs will be completed during the weekend, to prepare runners for the weekend race. The shorter will be mid-week, to allow appropriate recovery between the two.

For longer races, I recommend at least four total runs per week, but how those runs are structured and how cross training is incorporated depends largely on the runner’s experience, goals, and injury history. Beginners will likely need to work up to the four days per week of running, using cross training as recovery, with complete days off on a weekly basis. While extremely seasoned runners might be running every day with doubles included. It’s all about finding each runner’s “formula!”

SUPPLEMENTARY WORKOUTS FOR RUNNERS

I’m a strong proponent of yoga and body weight exercises, regardless of your experience with either. Yoga is a fantastic way to open up your body and allow it to work as one coordinated structure, rather than isolated parts moving near each other. Yoga is a way to develop your body’s ability to communicate with itself, providing smoother and more natural movements during your run.

Bodyweight exercises are fantastic because they do a great job developing a runner’s core through functional movement. At the later stages of a distance race, a strong core that is used to functional movement will do a better job maintaining form, allowing the runner to focus all remaining energy on moving forward.

WORDS OF MOTIVATION

Running is such a special activity because it provides us these condensed lifetimes over the course of months (training programs), weeks (training blocks), days (workouts), and even minutes (hard intervals). And like a normal lifetime, these condensed versions are filled with ups and downs, triumphs and failures, joys and heartbreaks. But the beauty of the lows is that they make the highs worth it. The contrast between the two is amazing, and we are gifted with the opportunity to experience that contrast on a regular basis. The end result is all the more rewarding thanks to the tougher parts of training!

Trust your training, trust your plan, and trust yourself. The work has been done, you know your plan, and all that’s left to do it go out and do it. Luckily, that’s the most fun part of all! No half or full marathon experience will ever be the same, so have a great time with your first, and embrace the fact you get to do it again!

Best At-Home Workouts

Best At-Home Workouts

Author: Carol Housaman, FRC Coach and Certified Personal Trainer

Even though gyms, parks, and tracks are closed due to COVID-19, there are still ways to be active, even at your own home! The healthiest/best thing you can do during this time and always is take care of your body. What comes to mind here? MOVE! Exercise is extremely beneficial to our mental health, immune systems and physical health. All you need is your own body and the positivity to tackle a great workout. 

FRC Coach Carol Housaman provides some great tips and sample exercises to do at home. “Bodyweight HIIT interval training can be a great & challenging way to get in a quality high intensity cardio workout. Great results can happen at home in the living room with limited space & equipment. Timed Interval sets are a great way to increase the heart rate and burn calories. When done correctly the body will continue to burn calories even after the workout. This is known as the after-burn. The only equipment needed for this workout is a timer.”

Coach Housaman provides a great HIIT workout which incorporates:

  1. Plyometrics
  2. Upper body
  3. Lower body
  4. Compound movements, including core

After a good warm-up, go through each block for 30 seconds per exercise, with rest for 30 seconds immediately after each exercise. Repeat the block for 1-2 more times before moving to the next block. 

Block One – Plyometrics

  1. Air Squats – bend knees 90 degrees, drive glutes back towards a chair if available
  2. Add vertical jump to air squat or vertical reach
  3. Wide to narrow squat jumps
  4. ½ Burpee – keep hands on floor

Block Two – Upper Body

  1. Push-ups / option knees
  2. Plank shoulder taps
  3. Triceps dips on floor or chair
  4. Cross-body mountain climbers

Block Three – Lower Body

  1. Split squat or elevated split squat (one foot behind on chair) – drive knee towards floor
  2. Switch sides
  3. Reverse lunge to a high kick hop or high knee drive ( right )
  4. Switch sides

Block Four- Compound Movements (Core)

  1. Side plank hip drops / switch halfway
  2. One leg glute bridge press / switch halfway
  3. Superman lift to high plank
  4. Seated Russian twist

Common household items to substitute as weights:

  • Canned goods, 16oz water bottles, books, pillows, plastic plates can be used for gliders on carpet
  • Towels or socks on hardwood floors, chairs, coffee table and sofas can be used for incline, decline and leverage
  • Backpacks or rucksacks filled with books
  • Suitcases, steps or staircase
  • Wall space for body weight wall sits, shoulder slide and glides, etc.

Most importantly, don’t put pressure on yourself to become a high-level runner/fitness enthusiast, just because you may have extra time on your hands. Maybe during a pandemic isn’t appropriate. Set realistic goals and be gentle with yourself. One step at a time!

Coach Spotlight – May – Alex Amankwah

Coach Spotlight – May – Alex Amankwah

We take your training and recovery at FRC seriously. That’s why we have the best team to help support you. From Olympians, professional runners, Ironman athletes and other highly experienced running and training coaches, our coaches have the experience to empower all levels of runners to train to be their best! Our coaches all share a PASSION for running and are here to get to know you and make sure that you find your formula and achieve your goals.
Alex Amankwah is not just an FRC Coach, but is also a member of the District Track Club. He is 28 years old and was born in Ghana Accra and raised in Los Angeles, California. Would you believe that Alex originially had no interest to run, however, his high school basketball coach insisted that he try out for the track & field team… and the rest is history! His personal best is 1:44.80 (800 meters), he is an 8 x All-American, 2015 World Championships qualifier, 2016 Olympian, 2017 World Championships qualifier and 2018 Commowealth qualifier.
To learn a little more about Alex READ MORE HERE.
Member Spotlight – May – Liz O’Reilly

Member Spotlight – May – Liz O’Reilly

Our members come from all walks of life and are of all strides. Our Member Spotlight is one way to get to know your fellow runners.

This month’s Member Spotlight is on Liz O’Reilly:

Background (Age, Gender, Birthplace, and Running Experience): Elizabeth O’Reilly but I go by Liz.  I am 48 and was born and raised on Long Island, NY.  I started running in college, inspired by a roommate who was an avid runner, and became a more dedicated, avid runner during graduate school.  With most of my classes being in the evening, I had more time on my hands during the day and filled that time with running.  At first I would be amped about going 3 miles but the more I ran, the more I wanted to run and the further I wanted to challenge myself to go! I have been running fairly consistently for many, many years, but only got really  hooked on racing within the last 10 years or so.  On a whim I signed up for the Army Ten Miler years ago–never thinking I could run 10 miles, but again, the more I ran the more I wanted to run and with that one race under my belt, I was HOOKED!! Years later a work colleague encouraged me to sign up for races of longer distances, and on my 40th birthday, to mark the occasion, I signed up for my first half. Runners get it, but my non-running family and friends think I am crazy to actually pay to run 10 or 13.1 miles- which are my favorite distances! 

What is your formula? What are the common classes or recovery elements this member does/uses? I generally try to do 3-4 classes a week, I’m hoping to incorporate more recovery into my routine- which is something that I was never very good at before and something that really attracted me to FRC.  I like formula run, tread and train, and formula train.  I think doing those classes with some good outdoor runs has really helped me sharpen my technique and has helped me work on my speed (thank you Jim and Carol!).

Why did you start running? For me, there’s nothing better than those post-running endorphins! I love getting lost in a run, to the point where I forget how far I have gone–those are the best kind of runs, and what keeps me coming back for more.  Also, as a cancer survivor, running makes me feel strong, empowered, and healthy, and you can’t put a price on that feeling!!

Favorite quote? I have several favorite quotes but the one I think I like the best and one I often repeat to myself when I start feeling fatigued, is “mind over matter, if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter”–it’s a great reminder of how far you can go and how much you can do if you put your mind to it.

What is your PR in your favorite distance? As noted above, my favorite distances are 10 milers and half marathons. My best time for a 10 miler is 1:31 and for a half is 2:02. I am a bit haunted by those 2 minutes on my PR half time, I admit!! and am working hard to get in a 2 or under time.  I was hoping to do that this year–I was scheduled to run the NYC half and the Brooklyn half this year, as well as the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler and the GW Parkway Classic, but given the current situation, I will keep working at it so that I can crush it in 2021. 

Favorite workout music? I am stuck in the 80s as far as my running playlist goes–thank you, Carol, for your 80s tunes at FRC.  Those tunes get me going and keep me going–and sometimes even get me singing during my runs!

Why did you join FRC? I joined FRC to help me get back into a more consistent running regimen after taking a bit of time off due to family commitments and crazy jobs.  FRC has really helped me refocus on my goals and get back into a routine.  For months I waited for the studio to open, so intrigued about the idea behind FRC, and being a member has been better than I could have imagined.  It really is like a family.  In class I feel like we are training as a team and everyone is very supportive of each others’ goals,  the recovery options are awesome, and it’s just a top notch place to be–a training facility with coaches like no other. I’m so glad to be a part of FRC-I feel spoiled and fortunate to be a part of such an awesome place.  Run strong everyone and here’s to seeing everyone again soon on the treads! 

 
If you or someone you know would like to be featured in our Member Spotlight, please email i[email protected]