Posts tagged coaching
Q and A with Boulder Running Athlete and Coach Neely Spence Gracey

1.When did you know that you wanted to pursue running professionally?

-I'm not sure there was ever a definitive moment that I set running pro as a goal. Growing up with my dad as an Olympic Marathoner, I remember in 1st grade we had career day, and my dad took my class on a jog around the school. Most kids, and even adults for that matter, don't realize that being an athlete can be a full time job. But to me, it was as normal as any other job. I personally committed to my own running goals in 8th grade, and with a little bit of training, I had a lot of success. That was fun, and from that point on I kept setting higher and higher goals for myself.

2. How has your career as a runner help guide your coaching?

-It is mutually beneficial for both. I am a better athlete because of coaching, and I am a better coach because of my personal experiences in the sport. I started Get Running coaching in 2013 when I was dealing with an injury and couldn't run. I studied communication and coaching in college, and knew that I wanted to be a coach at some point. The timing was right, and my business has grown every year since. 

3. What is your favorite method of cross training?

-I have three methods of cross training I implement on a regular basis. My favorite is the ElliptiGO because it is the most similar to actually running. I first got an ElliptiGO in 2012 when I had my first stress fracture, and now I utilize it as a healthy athlete in replace of a second run. Each Sunday, I meet a group of my running friends at the pool for aqua jogging. I hate to swim alone, but I always look forward to this social hour and my body feels so much better afterwards. And lastly, I like to spin. Again, I will replace a second run with a spin throughout the week. When injured, spinning classes are the best way for me to get my heart rate elevated and get in a solid workout. Six days a week I do core exercises, strength training, stretching, and mobility work to support my run training.

4. What advice would you give to a new runner?

-The most important thing about running is making it routine. Instead of waiting until the last hour of the day to squeeze in a run, wake up and get it done first thing. Your day will be much more productive as a result!

5. What are your goals for 2018?

-Continue to work towards my goal of qualifying and competing for a spot at the 2020 Olympics. I have a lot of experience to gain in the marathon distance, and I look forward to training, racing, and refining the process along the way.

Jeff Rygrunning, coachingComment
Q and A with Zach Long, PT, DPT, SCS

In my opinion, Physical Therapy patients are often under exercised and do not return to prior levels of activity due to a lack of rehabilitation intensity.  What are some of your recommendations for implementing higher level exercises and strength and conditioning principles for practicing Physical Therapists?

We have a problem in the physical therapy profession where we are fearful of overloading patients in the clinic. Unfortunately many injuries to tissues happen when the demands placed on that tissue exceed what they we prepared to handle. So if we underload we won't build tissue capacity up to a high enough level to reduce future re injuries. 

My biggest reccommendation for orthopedic clinicians wanting help implementing higher level rehab exercises is to work as a coach! I've learned as much in the past year from working with one gymnastics coach as I did from anyone in the actual rehab professions. For those that can't coach, start reading and following some of the more prominent names in strength and conditioning. See what they are doing and the gaps between that and your rehab programs. Then game plan how to close that gap as much as possible. 

2.  In many athletes, a lack of joint mobility presents as a stability or motor control problem.  What are some common clinical patterns/presentations you observe in these athletes and how are you teasing the mobility vs. stability impairment out during your exam?

Before ever assuming mobility or motor control problems, I always perform both active and passive available motion in all joints making up the larger movement pattern we are working on. Skipping this step often leads athletes and clinicians to working on the wrong thing. 

3.   What role does blood flow restriction training play in your clinical practice.  Which patient populations benefit most from this intervention?

Blood flow restriction is a huge part of my practice for anyone needing improved strength and/or hypertrophy that cannot tolerate heavy loading. This may be after a surgery, acute injury, or someone just fearful of heavier movements. BFR allows us to get similar strength and hypertrophy changes at loads as low as 20-3% of their one rep max that we see lifting loads heavier than 70%. 

BFR also has some very cool hormonal benefits such as improved growth hormone release vs heavy training which can potentially help with bone healing, tendon and ligament rehab, and greater reductions in patient reported pain levels. 

4.  The Tar Heels had a great run in the tournament can we expect a repeat in 2018?

Despite being a die hard TarHeel, I'm actually not much of a basketball fan. I was fortunate enough to work with the football team for two years and tend to follow them more. Hopefully having the Number two draft pick in this year's NFL draft will help.

Q and A with Boulder Track Club Coach and Endurance Athlete Kathy Butler

1.  What initially brought you into the sport of running?

At the age of 10 when I was living in England I ran a school 800m race on a grass track and won. That included beating all of the boys. I was hooked after that!

2.  What were some of your career highlights in endurance sports?

12th place in the Olympic 10000m final in Athens, 2004 after winning the British Trials to make the team. 

I have competed in 21 IAAF World Championships in Track and Field, Cross Country and Road Running including a 4th, 11th, and 12th place individual finishes and a team bronze at the World Cross Country Championships.

European Cup Champion in the 3000m in 2001.

5 time NCAA Champion in Cross Country, 3 x Outdoor track 3000m and Indoor DMR


3.  What influenced your decision to begin coaching running athletes?

When I was at the University of Wisconsin the coaching staff used to call me Mamma But as I tried to take care of and help the other athletes on the team. My coach Peter Tegen encouraged me to pursue coaching and it was a good balance to my degree in Exercise Physiology. I was a volunteer coach at Wisconsin and Stanford while I was still competing as a professional athlete. That experience plus my experience as an athlete gave me the knowledge and desire to help more athletes. After Stanford I coached at Nederland High School where we won 12 State Championships both individual and team. I continued to work on my coaching education getting the highest credentials, IAAF Academy Level and USATF Level 3 as I like having as much knowledge as possible to complement my experience. 

4.  Do you have a favorite type of athlete to coach?

My favorite athlete is a committed athlete. Everyone comes to me with different goals and motivation but as long as they are committed and want to work together to reach their goals then I enjoy working with them. I find that the ‘high maintenance’ athlete is not a negative but a positive as they are detail oriented, give me lots of feedback and really want to perform to the best of their ability. 

5.  There are multiple coaching services here in Boulder.  What separates your coaching services from others in the market?

My attention to the individual’s needs, athletic background, current fitness, current life stressors is something I take great pride in with my coaching. Of course, everyone knows you have to train hard to run well but this can look very different from one person to another. I have no cookie cutter plans, in fact everything is done on a weekly basis with a long range plans as the background. I’m often shifting things slightly to accommodate the individual. With my in person athletes that may even be based on something I see in the warmup or part way through the workout. 


6.  How important is strength training within your athletes' training programs each week?

All of my athletes receive some form of strength program with their training. I think it is very important both from an injury prevention point of view and from a performance perspective. I have videos online and long lists of dynamic drills, strength exercises and mobility/balance exercises that are included at various times in training. With my Boulder Track Club Development Team we’ve taken this one step further and they meet with Kevin Purvis twice a week for strength and mobility work on top of the other things they are doing. 

7.  Do you have a favorite running workout? 

As an athlete my favorite workouts were the peaking ones. They’re always really hard but when you’re ready for them they give you an huge amount of confidence. For example, 3 x 800m at 1500m race pace for a 1500m OR 2000m, 1000m, 1000m all out for 5000m or 10000m races. As a coach I still like these workouts but they don’t get used very often. Another favorite for marathon training is the long fartlek where you run at close to marathon pace but with pickups during the run to spice things up. I could talk training and favorite workouts for particular distances or events for hours!

8.  If you could make one change to the sport of running what would it be?

I’m going to put 2 changes… 1. As a 100% clean athlete in an ideal world I would like to see a day of reckoning for all previous performances and then moving forward for the sport to be completely clean. 2. I would like to see more emphasis on education about RED-s (Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport) which incorporates the female athlete triad but involves a more complex picture of overtraining, compromised immune systems, endocrine and many other factors that can be used to be aware of athletes both men and women who are at risk for health problems and performance reductions. 


Editor Note: Follow Kathy Butler on instagram and twitter @chutler