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.

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