Regular advice on running and RunCoach
- Wednesday, January 28
- Long-distance running (1026)
- Tuesday, January 27
- The Art of Movement (338)
- How I qualified for the Boston Marathon (539)
- Friday, December 19
- Running a marathon: Advice from a veteran (292)
- Thursday, December 18
- Do you need a running coach? (985)
- Monday, December 15
- Five common mistakes marathon runners make (204)
- Monday, December 08
- Here’s what to get the runner in your life (888)
- Thursday, December 04
- Things Your Personal Trainer Won’t Tell You (599)
- Wednesday, December 03
- Dealing with injuries (132)
- Saturday, November 15
- Off Season Intervention (Part I): Fitness is in Your Muscles, not the Cardiovasc (201)
RunCoach FAQs (frequently-asked questions)
How do I decode the RunCoach Interval workout symbols?
The comments section of a RunCoach training session for an interval will contain details of the workout. A typical workout will look like this.Back to top
Tue interval 5m 7m11s 36m 10minWU, 3x1600@7min9s, r9m30s, 10m CD
This is short hand for the following:
A 10 min warmup followed by a 3 lots of 1 mile run in 7 mins and 9 seconds. You start the next run 9 minutes and 30 seconds after you started the previous run. ie every 9 mins and 30 secs you run a mile trying to finish the mile in about 7 mins and 9 secs. After these intervals you finish with a 10 minute cool-down.
The 'r' standards for 'repeat on' rather than 'rest'.
How do I transfer my training plan to a Palm PDA?
This procedure was designed by Eric.
- Create the RunCoach file (.csv)
- Be sure that "Current" button is visible on screen;
- Select correct fields;
- Select beginning and Ending dates;
- Select folder icon (change file name);
- Transfer .csv to .prc
- MakeDocW.exe (must download from the Internet);
- Name destination file (.prc);
- Move to Pilot (addon) from (pilot/Your Name/Install - May download
slightly different on your computer);
- Run Pilot installation program (load .prc file);
- Run HotSync
- View the schedule by using TealDoc (Palm Pilot)- Must download program
from the Internet.
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One of the items on the development list is better integration between RunCoach and PDA's that will allow transfers of data in both directions.
SonicLink transfer into RunCoach has problems what can I do?
RunCoach works from the text file (.HRM) created by the Polar watch. It is also able to use the Sonic conversion utility (PCC2HRM) created by Joern Gehring and Ronald de Lange. Back to top
The current PCC2HRM version does not work with Polar S410 watches however Ronald is developing a version for this watch. You can download a beta of this version from here
and Ronald is contactable at
If you are still having problems you should send a copy of the troublesome HRM file to email@example.com with a description of the problem.
How do I design a personal training program in RunCoach?
Planning a training program is very easy in RunCoach. The more information you provide RunCoach the better the program will be. This guide will outline the basic steps to get a good training program.Back to top
1. Enter your sex and date of birth. In the Basic entry mode this is found in the User information near the top of the left hand screen. In the Full entry mode this is found in the General tab.
2. Enter some recent PB's. This can be done in the Pb entry under the Pb menu. If you don't have any Pb's then enter some recent fast runs. RunCoach needs some idea of your current ability.
3. Select Coach -> Plan a Program -> Create a New Program from the Main Menu. This will bring up the Design a Program screen.
4. Enter the date, time and distance of your goal race near the bottom right of the screen. If you want a goal then enter a distance and click 'Suggest a Goal'.
5. Have a look at the other fields on the screen and see if you wish to adjust your training days, or current training.
6. When all is in order click 'Plan'
A new personalized training plan will appear in a few seconds. Browse through it or print it out and view at your leisure.
Decoding a hill workout in RunCoach
Research has shown that muscle fibre recruitment and development during hill sessions is almost identical to speed sessions at the same effort. Back to top
The hill you select for hill training is not that important and is more dependent on what you have available nearby. If you could ideally choose then about a 15% incline which takes you 2 minutes or more to go up would be the best. Do not worry if you have only smaller hills just modify the session to cope.
Once you have found your hill then the number of repeats is determined by subtracting the the warm-up and cool-down from the total time then dividing the remaining time by how long it takes you to do go up the hill and down. For example if the time is 17 minutes for 3 repeats. A hill that took 5 minutes for the loop would be repeated 3 or 4 times rather than the suggested 3.
Go up the hill quite hard. The exact effort is not important rather you should try and do the last repeat in about the same time as the first. Often this means going easy on the first few and gradually building effort. The 85% figure is an indication of the type of effort required rather then a fixed percent that should be strictly adherred to. It will vary during the climb and represents an averageish figure rather than the final value.
The downhills should be quite easy. It is often possible to injure yourself going downhill because of the eccentric muscle action (expands whilst trying to contract).
For variations some people like to bound up the hills with exagerated high leg movement. Also trying swapping some of the hill repeat session for an undulating run through some hilly country. In these runs practise flowing down the hills rather than trying to stop yourself on each downhill footfall.
What weight training should I do to enhance my running?
Strength training is important for runners because studies confirm that increased strength lowers the risk of injury and also enhances your running efficiency, making it easier for you to train with higher quality and allows you to perform better. The trick however is to do exercises that more closely mimic your running action.Back to top
Typical 'gym' exercises like squats, bench presses, push presses, biceps and triceps curls, sit-ups, hamstring curls, calf lifts and knee extensions - are not specific to the muscle patterns used during running and therefore won't help your running too much. These can be used initially to improve your overall fitness and strength but if you want to improve your running performance you need to focus on exercises that relate to running.
The first set of exercises mimic the body posture required for running. These include one-leg squats, high-bench step-ups, and one-leg hops in place, however they move you vertically whilst in running you want to move horizontally forward. You should also include exercises to gain this horizontal power and these should be done as well as the first group. Here are six
Speed bounding, here you bound with long strides at high speeds (don't emphasise the vertical lift, in normal bounding - try and move forward)
Running while wearing a weighted vest
Beach or sand running.
Hill training while wearing a weighted vest
You should progress slowly from the one-leg squats to the speed bounds to the vest, hills, and hills with vest, progressively enhancing your muscle power and ability to run fast. If you do so, you'll be far ahead of the people just doing their exercises in the gym.
Will RunCoach work with Vista?
This has not been tested so please try at your own risk. It does work with Windows 95/98/2000/NT/XP so if you use RunCoach please check before upgrading to Vista.Back to top
"I meant to let you know, since using your amazing program religiously. I have now run 88min for a half (2 min PB), 3:13 for a marathon (17 min PB) 40:40 for 10k (2 min
PB)" DT - South Africa
"My girlfriend and I are both really benefiting from using RunCoach
-- I'm running consistently for the first time in many years, and the program's
been great." EO - Boston, MA
"you are doing a great service for coaches and athletes, I admire
your foresight and knowledge. My top marathoner is going to Manchester, I will
be with him thanks to ASA. Medal I hope. Best 10km this week 28.12"
DS - South Africa
"I love your software! I have tried other programs and none matches
up to RunCoach." JF - Oak Park, IL
"Thanks for the great program." MC - Needham, MA
"I am using RunCoach now for a couple of years although I am not
racing but at least it helped improve fitness and lose those kilos overweight I
had. I'll stick to your RunCoach forever." AT - Luxembourg
"I just wanted to say how much I am enjoying RunCoach this running season. .... Thanks again. The latest update is suburb and running smoothly... like me!" JM - Canada
"just a short thank you for your very good programme, with its help I just finished my third marathon. This time I have really improved and reached 3h40m. I can assure you that your plan is a fantastic tool and it gets you
rolling. " DB - Czech Republic