T RAINING T IPS
Mindset: Keep the focus on the process rather than the results
“I try to make practices fun,” says McCarron, who insists on a providing a relaxed environment for his athletes. “You put a plan in place and provide that structure and relaxed environment, and people are willing to do the work,” says McCarron, which in turn leads to consistency. “Running is just about being consistent. If you want to set a personal best there are no shortcuts, you build a plan and you work within the confines of it.”
Setting goals: Keep it real.
“Make sure you set realistic goals and expectations,” says McCarron, who adds it’s important a coach has an understanding of an athlete’s background in order to ensure realistic goals can be set early on. “The longer you’re with athletes the better
attuned you are with their training.”
Daily nutrition: It’s all about balance
“Just have a balanced diet,” says McCarron. “Have some beers, have some sweets –
everything in moderation.”
Race nutrition: Find out what works for you
“There are so many different options out there. Some gels and some sports drinks may not work for your stomach – you may have GI issues,” cautions McCarron. “Really take the time, specifically for marathoning, to figure out what works for you.”
Cross training: Pool running or the elliptical are McCarron’s top picks
“You can do really good work and get your heart rate up without the impact,” says McCarron, adding that with both these options athletes get some semblance of running form within the workout. As for number of days a week to cross train, McCarron says ideally, if you’re healthy and training six days a week, one of those days should be a cross-training day.
Strength work: Keep it simple
“We do core, the very basics like bridges, push ups and a plyometric routine. We do that two or three times a week,” says McCarron.
Returning from injury: Day-to-day approach
“You have to be straight up and honest about how you’re feeling. Realize that you need to be patient,” says McCarron. “People love to just jump back into where they were before the injury, but typically that’s not the best approach.”
Winter training: Be flexible
McCarron says the key in winter is to to be flexible with your expectations and training schedule. “Whether it be in letting up on hitting paces in your workouts, or reducing overall mileage in rough road conditions.” This approach, says McCarron, helps keep athletes healthy and injury free, which leads to consistent training and solid results.
Preferred surfaces: Variety, variety, variety
“We try to do our workouts (twice per week) on gravel, for reduced impact,” says McCarron. The rest of the week his athletes are typically on cement or pavement while training on their own. McCarron still suggests trying to find varying surfaces even if surrounded by pavement. “Get off up onto some grass and into a park for 10 minutes if you can.” For those who prefer, or are forced, to escape the winter conditions on occasion, McCarron approves of hitting the treadmill.