* Scroll down for map of Al Lopez Park indicating our meetup location.
Beginner/Experienced: Tuesday night is for experienced runners, and Thursday night is for beginners. If you’re not sure which category you fit into, check with Deb. Sometimes even a very experienced runner should start in the beginner program due to being away from running for several months or years. The beginner class is for people who are unable to run a mile, non-stop. Anyone else should be in the Tuesday group, irregardless of speed.
Susan Allen manages attendance for me. She’s a whiz with spreadsheets. If you have questions about how many workouts you have left, she will always know. If you arrive late, please be sure to check in with her.
Meetup area: We meet at the yellow posts (see map) at 6:30 p.m. If you get there early, I recommend starting your warm up. You’ll always have a better workout with a longer warm-up. Please only go a distance that will get you back to the start before the group warm-up.
Park employees: My program is completely independent of the parks department; so, the park employees don’t know anything about Run Tampa. They are not aware and cannot answer any questions about my group or our workouts.
Events at the park: Occasionally, we have to accommodate events at the park. This is the main reason – and weather issues – that I started the Facebook group. Even if you don’t normally use FB, it will be helpful to be in that group just to keep up with last minute changes.
Warm-up: Warming up is essential. I will always have you do a half mile warm-up.
If you are running late: Never give up on coming just because you’re late. I understand you have a busy life. However, if you do come late, you must still warmup before jumping into the meat of the warmup.
Facilities: The Cordelia Hunt Rec Center is very close to where we meet. It has a nice restroom, shower, and lockers, all for public use.
Hydration: Please bring a water bottle to each workout.
Nutrition: Please eat well. Seriously, this DOES make a difference. Your diet impacts your running. There are many ways to eat a healthy diet. Figure out what is best for you, personally, but we can all agree that it’s best to eat real food and avoid processed foods. Make sure you’re getting enough electrolytes and that you are well hydrated. I recommend listening to podcasts about nutrition. You can learn about the latest research from people with great credentials, for free.
Engines run much better on clean fuel. Consider the 80/20 rule, eating clean 80% of the time and enjoy yourself, within reason, the other 20%. With every year, more research confirms that you really are what you eat.
Here is a link to an excellent comprehensive overview of nutrition by Ben Greenfield: What should I eat, the ultimate Guide to Choosing the Perfect Diet for You, and here is Part 2. He doesn’t tell you what’s best for you; he just provides a great overview of what we know today and your options of several healthy ways to eat.
Running watch: Bring a running watch. It doesn’t need to be fancy. A $20 watch from Walmart will do. It just needs to have a stopwatch feature.
Metronome: A cornerstone of my coaching is training cadence, i.e., leg turnover. I’ll have you using a metronome at workouts. I have several that we share, but many people like to purchase their own. Here is a link to one that is available from Amazon. The Seiko ones work well. You can also download a metronome app for your phone, and some watches provide a cadence feature.
If you miss a workout: Most people will miss a workout from time to time. I do not post the workouts anywhere. If you miss a workout, you can do a workout on your own by just replicating the kind of thing we’ve done at past workouts.
Inclement weather: We always run in the rain if it’s a drizzle, but if it’s raining hard or lightening, I will cancel. Over the years we’ve very seldom had to cancel due to lightning. I will let you know in the Facebook group an hour ahead of time if I cancel a workout.
If I cancel a workout, for whatever reason, the missed workout will be made up on Wednesday of that week.
If something hurts, do not wait until halfway through the workout to tell me, and don’t run through the pain. That would be a very bad idea. I do not believe in the saying “No pain, no gain.” Running through pain usually leads to injury. Please understand that I can’t know how or what you’re feeling. It’s okay to train hard, but pushing through pain is a whole different thing, and it is foolish. No matter how much you don’t want to stop and admit that you might be on the edge of an injury, that is FAR better than pushing through and then having to take off a month to heal. Trust me. I’ve made all the mistakes in my 41 years of running. You don’t need to make them. That’s one reason you have a coach.
About our workouts: Much of what we do is based on PRE (perceived rate of exertion). I may say your effort level should be 8 out of 10. It’s critical that you don’t push beyond that. Avoid the mindset “Oh, I can go harder than that; I’ll do 9/10.” Every workout has a purpose. Even if your goal is to get faster, that doesn’t mean running faster is always the means to that end. For example, less rest between repeats and slower repeats is sometimes what we’ll do. Other times, you’ll have more rest and go for faster pace. Other times, it’s about training for negative splits, and still other times, the emphasis is entirely on running economy and injury prevention.
Running fast/hard too much or too frequently will cause a detraining effect; you’ll get slower at the very least, and injury will be likely.
If you want to do more speed work, besides what you do at our workout, do not do it on the day before or the day after. Always alternate hard/easy days, and never do a speed workout within three days of a race.
Time trials: Be prepared to do a time trial on your first night in the fall and your third night in winter. Beginners will not do one. The time trial helps me help you with paces and expectations. It’s provides a baseline and is a measure of improvement, but don’t stress about it.
Competition: I will never pit you against each other, and I do not want you to race each other.
Group Runs: Please make the group runs a priority. Nothing we do at our workouts will be anywhere near as effective as it could be if you’re not getting in 25 miles per week, and it has been my experience that 30 miles is a turning point for most everyone. Of course, beginners will work up, gradually. If, due to your schedule, you need to get half of those miles in on the weekend, that’s fine. You will absolutely discover that if you run with the group, it will motivate you, and you’ll find yourself running many more miles before you know it.
Private coaching: Often people ask about private coaching, but I just don’t have time to do that. If you want to have more time to chat with me, I encourage you to come to the next group run. I’m more than happy to run and chat with you.
Podcasts: These specific episodes of my Mojo for Running Podcast are most critical to your success, but I hope you’ll listen to all of them. They are available on any podcast app, and all phones come preloaded with a podcast app these days. They’re also available on Spotify.
52: Winners, Losers, and Quitters; 68: Shin Splints, 80: Overtraining; 83: Stop the Pounding; 85: Balance and Proprioception; 92: Perspective on a Few Days Off; 98: Cadence, the Magic Bullet; 117: Accountability Hacks; 127: Training Fundamentals; 128: Electrolytes, Part 1; 129: Electrolytes, Part 2