Enjoy these downloadable resources.

Welcome aboard! Thank you for trusting me to be your running coach -- a role I take very seriously. As a former physiotherapist, my number one priority for you is injury prevention, followed closely by helping you run faster and enjoy the entire experience of training and racing. These resources will lay the groundwork for everything we'll do together, so take your time to soak them all in. Hit me up anytime with questions at carolyn.c.coffin@gmail.com.

Overview of My Training Philosophy

The Non-Negotiables

There are two things I insist all my athletes get in the habit of doing in order to prevent injuries.

  1. Lunge Matrix (LM) and Leg Swings (LS) before every. single. run. Start with 3 on each leg and work your way up to 5 on each leg over a few weeks.
  2. Strength and Mobility (SAM) after every. single. run. Do SAM easy after your easy, tired legs/recovery, cross training, and brisk walk days. Do SAM hard after your tough workouts and long runs.

If you're short on time, it's the run that gets cut short, not these important injury-prevention exercises. Got it? Good. 🙂

Lunge Matrix

Leg Swings

SAM Phase 1 Easy

SAM Phase 1 Hard

SAM Phase 2 Easy

SAM Phase 2 Hard

SAM Phase 3 Easy

SAM Phase 3 Hard

SAM Phase 4 Easy

SAM Phase 4 Hard

There is no Phase 5 Easy!

SAM Phase 5 Hard

Some of Coach Carolyn's attempts at video production

Recommended Reading - Primal Endurance

November Group Coaching Call Content

The first 20 minutes were spent introducing ourselves. From 20:20 to 1:05:20, I covered,
  • Aerobic base building
  • How/why to do a maximum aerobic function (MAF) test
  • Injury prevention, and
  • Nutrition.
There were also some excellent questions asked, including:
  •  38:55 - How do I determine my easy running pace if I don't know my 5k pace?
  • 1:05:26 - What if I can't do SAM right away? Is it okay to wait 20 minutes until I get home?
  • 1:08:29 - How will I know when to move to the next level of SAM?
  • 1:10:16 - Can SAM be modified if it's unsafe to complete in slippery weather conditions?
  • 1:13:49 - I don't always trust myself to eat intuitively. How can I structure my eating to make sure I get enough of what I need (e.g. protein from plant-based sources) without overeating?
  • 1:31:36 - Can you eat carbohydrates and still be a fat burner?

Questions for December Q&A Call

  • 4:38 - What does it mean if my 5k + 1:30 pace is way different than my 180-age pace?
  • 18:37 - What are your thoughts on using a run/walk approach during a race?
  • 21:24 - I know you want us to run by feel but I'm compelled to check my data (pace, HR). Is that bad?
  • 25:43 - What are your thoughts on treadmill running?
  • 31:14 - I feel great. Can I add more mileage and/or make my long run longer?
  • 34:28 - Are strides like sprints?
  • 39:07 - Considering we are in cold/flu season, how do you decide when to skip the workout and when to push through?
  • 46:23 - Do I need to strength train in addition to SAM? If so, what exercises do you recommend and when should I strength train (e.g. easy days vs. hard days)?
  • 56:18 - I just watched the movie Game Changers. Should I be eating a plant-based diet? (If you're curious to learn more about another perspective not offered in the film, check out Chris Kresser's Revolution Health Radio podcast from Nov 7th titled "Why the Optimal Human Diet Includes Animal Protein.")

Questions for January Q&A Call

  • 7:00 - I like to run with my local run group. What if their workout is different from the one you prescribed?
  • 10:10 - What if I feel like I'm putting in the right effort but due to weather conditions the pace is much slower?
  • 13:50 - I have a race coming up. Can you talk about warm up and race strategy? (There is a video of me performing the warm-up & technique drills on our resources page that you might want to check out)
  • 24:05 - I have a race coming up and I'm worried that I haven't done enough challenging workouts yet.
  • 25:30 - I am foam rolling my IT band but it doesn't seem to be working. Do you have any recommendations?
  • 29:17 - Is there anything special I need to eat/drink around hard workouts, long runs, or races?

Questions for February Q&A Call

  • 0:10 - Review of 25-30% rule for long run
    • 40k/week…10-12k long run
    • 45k/week…11.25-13.5k long run
    • 50k/week…12.5-15k long run
    • 65k/week…16.25-19.5k long run
    • 90k/week…22.5-27k long run
    • 100k/week…25-30k long run
  • 3:30 - Why I don't often recommend recreational runners run a marathon.
  • 7:12 - Creative ways to add more weekly mileage (if desired).
  • 16:30 - Is there a difference between the chest strap heart rate monitor and a wrist-worn device? Is one better than the other?
  • 21:43 - What should I aim to keep my heart rate at during races?
  • 23:43 - What incline should I set my treadmill to?
  • 24:35 - Can you explain the purpose of the harder workouts like hills, sprints and tempos? What happens in the body with that kind of training stimulus?
  • 38:45 - Review of race strategy (1/3-1/3-1/3).
  • 40:30 - How do you build mental toughness?

Turning Disappointment Into Opportunity

  • The global COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to all of our March/April races being cancelled or postponed. May and June races are not officially cancelled, but stay tuned.
  • 3:35-34:40 - One of your fellow runners, Melanie, discusses a recent marathon experience that didn't go according to plan, how she moved through a range of uncomfortable feelings that followed, what she learned from her "failure," and how'll she'll modify her training/racing going forward.
  • 34:58-53:00 - We discussed alternative race options if your race has been cancelled (e.g. virtual races, time trials, race your friends, delay until a late spring or fall race), as well as how to adjust your training if your race has been pushed to the fall.
  • 53:04-57:52 - How to deal with the disappointment of injury.

Discussion for April's Call

We had a fun discussion on what to do now that your spring race is likely cancelled or postponed due to COVID-19.
You have several options.
  1. Stage a time trial.
  2. Participate in a virtual race. (The Rambling Runner has a whole series)
  3. Take a break. (essential if you're feeling burned out/injured)
  4. Do an 8-10-week speed segment.
  5. Go into a holding pattern with bread-and-butter workouts. (lots of easy mileage, tempo running, long runs, hills/drills/strides)

Interview with Carolyn's Husband, Johnny

  • 0:10 - Intro and bio.
  • 4:00 - Tell us about your sports background and when you started running.
  • 9:54 - It took you 2-3 seasons of running (mostly hard workouts, low volume, little structure) to shave 1-min off your 5k, but then you started to plateau. What did your coach say that caused you to take running more seriously?
  • 16:23 - What made you finally buy into slowing down?
  • 23:25 - What made you question your "no pain, no gain" mentality?
  • 31:27 - Do you think spending several years mastering the 5k contributed to your success at longer distances?
  • 35:12 - Let's talk about nutrition. What foods do you eat (or not eat) for athletic performance?
  • 39:24 - You seem to be very mentally tough. What do you tell yourself when things get challenging in a workout or race? How do you work with yourself in order to detach from doubt, fear, and tiredness?
  • 47:33 - What is it that you like most about short/hard workouts?
  • 55:00 -- Do you go into a race knowing it's going to be hard?
  • 56:35 - 5 key takeaways (1. Listen to your coach 2. Keep your easy days easy; make your hard days hard 3. Slow the bleep down 4. Be intuitive 5. Prioritize the 'non-running' work).
  • 58:34 - What do you do for cross training?



Interview with Carolyn's Client, Shawn

In this interview, Shawn shared the fascinating story of dropping >135 pounds over the past 2.5 years (big shout-out to his dog, Friday!) and taking over two minutes off his 5k personal best over the past ten months! Find out how he went from almost 300 pounds to running sub-21 minute 5k's.