I am an RRCA Certified Running Coach with a serious passion for running. Some of my most treasured experiences occurred while running alone through the woods and others while racing on city streets with thousands of runners. When I think of what all running has given me, I can only say that I am incredibly grateful.
Over the years, I have run about 200 races, including 5k's, 10k's, 15k's, halves, urban adventure races, triathlons, marathons, mud/obstacle races and 50k's. I even rode in a 72 mile bike race once. Well, actually, it was a 60 mile race, but a friend and I missed a turn and went 6 miles out of our way; so we did 72.
My favorite distance will always be the half marathon. I still think we need a better name for that. Half just sounds less than whole, hardly an appropriate name. True, it's half of a whole marathon, but it's also over four times the distance of a 5k. I'd like to see all half marathons replaced by 20k's if only because that sounds better. Half just doesn't sound appropriate for the effort expended to run 13.1 miles.
I often hear runners say, "I'm only doing 5 miles today," or "I'm only doing the half." That just kills me. My rule is that the word 'only' should never be used in the same sentence with any number of miles. And, by the way, the rule applies to the word 'just,' too, as in "I'm just doing five miles this morning." I always tell the speaker, think about it, while you were doing only five miles, most people didn't even get off the couch.
Several years ago, I created RunTampa.com because no one had created a website with a comprehensive, interactive running calendar. Since I love to write and used to teach photography to high school students, it has been a labor of love. I also become a certified running coach and started an international running site, MojoforRunning.com. The Mojo Running Community now includes members from the UK, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Japan, and Canada. I also Twitter @mojoforrunning, which has made it possible for me to interact with many other runners around the world - great fun!
I started running in the late 70's, and served on the original board of Team Tampa Triathletes in the early 80's. I did many triathlons for a year or so back then, then took a 25 year hiatus from triathlons while I raised my family. I continued to run and race the whole time, though. Ben inherited my love of swimming, and Wendy inherited my passion for running. In fact, she did her first ultra before I did my first ultra. I should add that my husband actually became a runner even before I did, but he has since developed a greater passion for cycling.
As much as I Iove to run, I enjoy helping others achieve their running goals even more. My coaching, now, is all done online. My Mojo for Running podcast on iTunes has listeners around the world, and it's incredibly satisfying when they email me to report their accomplishments. My coaching philosophy is to educate my runners about why we do what we do. Every runner should have at least a basic understanding of the running principles that should be the core of any program. When they do, they are more likely to make wise training and racing decisions. As a result, they run better and experience fewer injuries.
In August of 2013, I launched a second podcast, the Beginner Runner Village podcast, also on iTunes and aimed specifically at the beginner runner.
As much as we enjoy running faster or farther, setting PR's, and exploring new adventures, remaining healthy is even more important. Of all long term goals, we should all share one universal goal, that of staying healthy and able to run for the rest of our lives.
I look at running as much more than exercise. I think it's fascinating to carefully plan a training regimen, then modify as needed based on performance and response, apply periodization, and incorporate cross training.
I am a HUGE proponent of cross training, but I think many people don't reap the potential benefits because they lump all cross training together, treat it the same, and do it at the wrong time.
All cross training should be seen as in one of three groups. Essentially, what I mean is that activities such as biking, spinning, elliptical, skating, swimming belong in one group. They are all similar to running in that they are rhythmical repetitive exercises that can be either aerobic or anaerobic.
The other main group would include strength training, yoga, pilates, etc., and walking is essential cross training for beginners.
Anyway, most people, I think, do not get the possible benefits from cross training, and that's something I encourage my runners to do. When cross training is incorporated appropriately, it goes a long way towards preventing injury, providing all around fitness, and making every runner faster.
Running is not my only passion, as you can see, writing is right up there as well. I have published over 200 blog posts/articles, some of which have been published on 20 other websites, and a book titled After Your First 5k. I also have a passion for education, English, journalism, parenting, healthy living, games of all kinds, and Mother Nature. I taught high school English and journalism, advised yearbooks at three schools and coached swimming at two high schools.
Running coaching is the marriage of my love of people, teaching background, and passion for running.
If you have any questions or if you are interested in any of my programs, please email me at deb@RunTampa.com.