Tag Archives: running coach

Meet My Personal Trainer: Muna Rodriguez

Why do I have a personal trainer if I am already an expert in my sport of choice?  Good question!

I have made so much progress in the last 4 years.

  • I have gone from an occasional runner, to a racer, to often winning my age group.
  • I have gone from barely finishing a marathon to qualifying for Boston by more than 11 minutes.
  • I have gone from unhealthy eating habits to a very healthy lifestyle.
  • I have published two books on running.  (well, the 2nd one will be out soon!)

Why would I seek help?  Because I am smart.

Michael Jordan had team coaches AND a personal coach even when he was clearly the best player in the game.  He wanted to work on his weaknesses.  He wanted to turn his weaknesses into strengths and elevate the level of his existing strengths.  The same is true with many people at the top of their sports.  Peyton and Eli Manning hired a special coach this summer to sharpen their skills as quarterbacks even though they are proven winners. Top golfers have coaches to improve their swings and caddies to help them to the next level.

Me too.  I want help getting to the next level.

I pay attention to the advice of two particular dieticians because I want my body and mind to be the best they can be.  I read the books of other running experts to gain additional insights, add to my own understanding, and improve myself as a runner and a running expert.

I am now listening to the advice of a personal trainer, Muna Rodriguez.

Muna understands a lot of important things that help people at all levels of fitness.

me and muna 8_18_2013

  • Muna understands what is like to be very out of shape.  She struggled with her weight as well as having a few bad habits that hurt her health.
  • Muna understands what it is like to improve.  Over time, she lost the extra weight and gradually became a competitive athlete as well as a well-respected personal trainer and fitness instructor.
  • Muna understand how to coach others into fitness.  As a personal trainer, she holds many different types of certifications and continues to educate herself.  She has helped many people to improve the next level of fitness.

There is more to say, but the most important thing to know is that I trust her expertise.  She is an excellent personal trainer.  She knows how to find an individuals weaknesses and how to overcome those weaknesses.

I know.  Since I started working with her, Muna has pointed out several weak spots in my overall fitness.  I am just at the beginning of this phase of my journey, but I am looking forward to making it to the next level as a runner because Muna is challenging me in ways that will help me become even stronger and faster.

I have my sights set on several state age-group records.  By identifying my weaknesses, and helping me to turn them into strengths, Muna is going to help me get to that next level.

As always, I will share with you what I have learned and the stories behind my progress.

Muna Rodriguez will also begin to share her stories and advice on this web site. 

Feel free to ask a question of Muna and/or me any time.  We are coaches and fellow runners.  We love this stuff, but we also know what it means to struggle.   We want to help you meet your goals.  :)

Train smart, eat well, and enjoy the run!

P. Mark Taylor

wise running logo 7_25_12

What Is a Custom Training Program and Why Do I Need One?

What is a Custom Training Program?

A custom training program is a schedule of training runs in preparation for a specific race with a specific time goal.  My next major goal, for instance, is to finish the Indianapolis Marathon in under 3 hours.  In order to accomplish this, I know that I will need to average a pace of 6:49 per mile.  That is a tall order,since my last marathon was completed at a 7:24 pace.  How in the world do I expect to accomplish this goal?

1)  I have a plan.

I have an 18-week plan laid out.  I know what to run each day and how fast to run it.  Every day has a specific purpose.  There are days designed for speed & days designed for rest.  Some days, all I have to do is relax and run a few miles.  Weekends runs are more ambitious than weekdays because I have more time and energy to spend on the weekend.  On most Saturdays, I run mile repeats.  On every Sunday, I have the long run of the week.

The weekly mileage gradually increases from 30 to 50 miles per week.  Every third week, miles are reduced so as to not overwhelm my body with the new work load.  In the last few weeks of the schedule, there is a decrease in miles on the schedule.  This is designed to rest, heal, and store up energy for the actual race.

The intensity and speed of the daily runs also increases over time.  Just before the taper period, near the end of my training schedule, I intend to do 16 mile repeats at 5:45 minutes each.  This is a full minute faster than my intended race average.  If I can accomplish this, then racing at a 5:50 pace will seem somewhat relaxed. :)

2)  I will follow the plan.

Will I follow the plan exactly on every day of the schedule?  No, but it does guide my daily decisions and keeps me on track.  The only variations I make will be because of soreness & life issues.  Some soreness is a good sign of hard work.  I have planned for that kind of soreness.  I alternate fast/intense days with relaxed or rest days.  The other kind of pain, however, is a warning that something is not right.  It means that either you trained a little too hard or that your body may soon be injured.  In either case, I may choose to ease up on the speed and/or distance.  In a worst-case scenario I may take an extra day or two off.  In my last marathon training program, I had to take it easy for two weeks.  Once I felt better, I resumed the training program.  No extra miles to make up, just resumed the program the way it was written.  I still managed to PR by 28 minutes, so resting worked!

3)  I realize that I may not make it this time

Sometimes we just set our goals too high.  Sometimes we meet our goal, but sometimes we don’t.  In that fall of 2011, I wanted to qualify for the Boston Marathon.  In order to BQ at my age, I needed to run it in 3:25 or less.  Even though I PRed by a full 28 minutes, I fell short of the ideal goal by finishing in 3:27:27, just two and a half minutes from glory.  Was this a failure?  No!  I PRed by 28 minutes.  That is a huge win.  I had set my “Lofty Goal” at 3:25, but I had a “Happy Goal” of 3:35.  I knew that it was more reasonable.  The fact that I exceeded my happy goal and just missed my lofty goal means that my training program was a big success!

Why do you need a training program?

You need both a goal and a plan to meet that goal in order to achieve.  It is that simple.  Runners training without a plan are likely to take more days off.   Runners without a training program are likely to increase mileage either too quickly, which leads to injury, or to slowly, which leads to disappointing results.

A Running Coach can help you set goals and develop a custom training plan to meet those goals.  What do you want to accomplish?

Train smart, eat well, & enjoy the run!

P. Mark Taylor
pmark67@gmail.com