Planning a Race season and Training!

18 Jun

As a coach and as an athlete who loves to compete planning a race season is something that is hard to do and takes a lot of thought. We all like to race a lot, but we also need to train for these events and too much racing leaves us with less training time and not being prepared for the goal event.


Here is how I handle my season and how I like to guide athletes I coach during their season.

I pick 2-3 main goal events during a year, typically like a spring marathon and a fall marathon or big Triathlon like Ironman this year. I then typically have 1 maybe 2 shorter distance races during the summer that are big events like a World Duathlon championships or National’s.

Then I have other races I do throughout the season that I call my “B” and “C” races that really are fun events I want to do but that most importantly help me prepare for my goal race later in the season. So I look at them as more of training events.


How I handle my training for this type of season basically is I train hard and do my workouts that are preparing me for my main goal race but then when one of the “B” type races comes out that week I will continue my hard training and tire my legs out then do a mini 3 day taper for that race and then go race hard and see what happens. This way I don’t taper too long and cut out too many key workouts that I need for my goal race and the short 3 day mini taper still has workouts just little bit less intensity and less mileage to allow more rest into the legs and hopefully have some pep come race morning of the “B” race.


However as I approach race day of my main goal race then I start a good 10-12 day taper phase and back down mileage, keep some intensity and take more rest days. This taper phase I take very serious and really work on getting fully rested and strong and ready to go. I get lots of massage, soak in lots of Epson baths and eat well and get hydrated. I take this type of taper very serious where as when I do my mini tapers for the non goal races they are done a lot more relaxed.

So plan out your season try not to overload it with too many events and think about the type of events you are doing and do they work well and help train and prepare you for your goal event that season.  Respect the big taper for the goal event, and don’t sweat the mini tapers for the non goal events too much.  Key is to keep moving and keep your body in a rhythm.


Best of luck!! Race and train with heart!


Get after it!

Coach MB

10 tips for training and racing.

9 Jun

Coach Buenting’s tips:


  1. Training for a 10k, 5k whatever the distance is takes discipline and dedication. You can’t make excuses and skip workouts. So rise and shine and stay after it! Suggestion would be to run at least every other day and make sure you run the distance of the actual event at least once (unless it’s a marathon) as part of your training it will give you the mental confidence to complete the race.
  2. Training tip #2    “ Training for a race takes more than just a few runs and the same pace. Do speed intervals to work on getting faster, do hill repeats to build strength, do easy slower than race pace runs to recover and build cardio endurance. Having a coach can help guide you with this but as long as you stay true to yourself and mix up your runs you can have success.”
  3. Cross-training like cycling or swimming is a great way to fill in off days from running and build cardio endurance while taking it easy on your body. And to build strength and work other muscles groups that don’t get as much use when running.
  4. Nutrition is a huge piece of racing and the healthy lifestyle that comes with running. During training experiment with various foods and see how your body reacts and what works for you. Everyone is a little different remember that. have some good proteins, some carbs, and try and avoid too much sugar to help keep inflammation down.
  5. Hydration is a huge part of running and endurance sports. Drink plenty of water on the days leading into your race, and then the morning of the race have a good 16 ounces of water at least 2 hours prior to the start of the race. Try and stop taking in too many fluids about 45 minutes prior to the start of the race to make sure it has time to digest and you are ready to run.
  6. Respect your body; massage, proper stretching, Epson salt baths, ice baths, compression socks. Are all good things to do regularly. You need to take care of those aching sore muscles from the daily stress and workload of training.
  7. Warm the muscles before you use them. Before a workout, before a race make sure you take time to warm-up the muscles by doing some active stretching, some easy running, maybe ride a bike, something to get a little sweat going, get the blood pumping and the muscles to warm-up before you take off and race hard. (this will help avoid injury)
  8. Proper shoes are a huge part of running, everyone has different feet and not every shoe is right for you. suggestion go to a local running store (like TC Running in Minnesota) and have a professional check your gait and stride and look at your feet and then get you in the proper shoes that fit your body type.
  9. Always bring a good race attitude! Always come to a workout, a race whatever with a smile, with energy and with a positive outlook. If your having a bad day it happens don’t worry about it. Shrug it off learn from it and move on to the next day the next race. Always feel proud that you are out there doing it and giving it your best on that given day.
  10. Strength training is a key to staying healthy. Core strength is huge in running to help pull everything together. So do planks do push-ups daily and build a strong core, and some good upper body strength for running up hills. (not heavy weight lifting) just some easy strength things to help form and correct little weaknesses in your stride/gait.

4 life lessons a coach can teach you.

15 May

Coaches and endurance sports teach people a lot about themselves not only making them stronger and better athletes but help them with other aspects of their life. Here are 4key lessons you can learn from a coach.


  1    A coach will teach you that success both in endurance sports and in life requires hard work.

To achieve anything worthwhile, you have to put in hard work. You have to be dedicated and disciplined. To complete whatever endurance sport you choose to pursue if going to require a lot of hard work and the same goes for anything you want to achieve in life.  As they say you will get out what you put in.


 2     Your coach will teach you that your passion still counts for something.

In a culture where we expect to get rich, get paid, and do it right now, it is good to see that some people still do what they do because they have a love for it.  Most coaches are not in it for the money, but rather, the satisfaction and pleasure that comes from seeing athletes develop and accomplish things greater than they ever thought imaginable.

  3     You will learn how to cope with disappointments.

For each and every one of us, there will be times where things go completely awry. There will always be trying moments where we don’t perform to expectations and it’s how we cope with these moments and how your coach helps you cope with these moments that will allow you to grow and move on and become better.

 4      You will learn to push yourself past yourself imagined limits.

As a coach I always help people dream big, dream often and chase crazy goals that they never would have thought they could reach. And they always reach and surpass those goals and limits that they had set for themselves. Most people are scared to push beyond a certain point, people are scared of failure. But as a coach I teach people to push beyond those limits and break down those walls and help them realize they can go farther and faster than they ever dreamed!


I love being a coach and these are 4 great reasons why!


Coach MB  

The Joys of coaching!

6 May

So I have been coaching adults for awhile now and I love it and will continue to do so for many years I hope. I get such pleasure out of helping people chase goals and dreams and then accomplish them! I love being at the races they compete in see the pain in their face and then the smile after when they see the clock and their results. I get just as much pleasure and have just as much fun watching them compete and succeed as I do when I race for myself.


This past year I have found another real joy and passion in coaching. When my daughter became a 6th grader and was able to join the Minnetonka middle school cross country team in the fall I offered up my time as a volunteer coach and started working with the kids. I just love it! The kids have such excitement and really bring a light hearted fun to running.

This spring I’m working with the distance runners on the track team and having that same kind of joy.

A huge part of what made me want to do this as a volunteer was that my daughter Bella runs on the team and it was a good way for me to spend more time with her and help coach her.

Bella is a very talented runner and it’s very fun to watch her compete. She has such heart and guts and loves to win! As a dad I have so much excitement cheering her on and helping her with her splits and race strategy as she learns to race at a high level!

Bella has a teammate Kylie who is even faster than she is and those two girls push each other day in and day out and pretty much dominate any race they are in taking first and second.

That as a coach is so fun to watch and see to know that I have a hand in helping these girls rock and kick butt!


Running with these kids has taught me life is more than work and chasing money, life is about this time with kids and seeing life through some fresh youthful eyes. Having fun and not being jaded or burnt out but experiencing new things and being super excited about it. The way these kids run with no fear and just lose and carefree is awesome! I need to figure out how to bottle some of this and pass it along to the adults I coach. If I could teach these adults to run more lose and carefree, stay relaxed and not so stressed it could be good! But it also would be nice to see some of that competitive drive and spirit in the adults that the kids have.  They just line up and show guts as they compete! With the kids it’s more about winning, and with the adults it’s more about time and improving on that. So it becomes two styles of coaching and two styles of racing. And that makes things fun and exciting!

So the last two days have really lit my competitive fire and juices. Watching so many athletes I coach run a half marathon on Sunday and do so well with PR times! And then tonight watching my Minnetonka girls compete at the Track and just dominate and own the distance events.

I’m so proud of all of them, kids and the adults! They show heart and they inspire me!



Coach MB

Why I love running!

5 May

Why I love running;


Running to me is the last true freedom. It’s something so pure and so free that how can you not love it?

Not everyone is a runner, and non-runners don’t seem to understand runners. But those I have converted from non-to runner have now seen the light and the love and passion that comes with running.


As I stated running is true freedom, it’s that feeling like you’re a kid again just going out running no cares simply one foot in front of the other and enjoy the great outdoors!

Of course living in Minnesota means sometimes we run indoors on treadmills which is not the same joy and freedom as running outdoors, but it’s still running and it’s still enjoyable.

Running is a great metaphor for life as well, you will always get out of it what you put in. Running teaches us things about ourselves and how much we are willing to work hard for something, how much pain we are willing to endure. Running teaches us to set goals and pursue them. Running allows us to be social with our friends and family, running allows us to be fit and healthy, running gives us some strong good looking bodies, (sometimes, some people) running makes us stronger in so many ways!

So when running is taken away from a runner (such as injury) we go through hell to fix it and get back running again. We see every DR know to man, try all kinds of crazy treatments whatever it takes to get us running again.

I love running with my daughter, my dog, my friends, my wife whoever will join me. The connection my daughter and I share over both having a love for running is amazing and the lessons I can teach her via running I find so valuable.


Endorphins are real!! So wake up and go for a run and start experiencing this for yourself!


Cheers to all runners!! You are one inspiring group of people!

Coach MB

The Taper…. love it or hate it, part of racing!

29 Apr

The Taper… as in taper and rest your body before a big race. I pretty much dislike the taper a lot and my theory on the taper and what works for me is more of a mini taper. Our bodies get accustomed to training the mileage, the workouts etc… and when we do to long of a taper we get rusty and out of rhythm. I think it is good to back down some in your weekly mileage but keep some intensity and pace in the workouts.


I am writing about the “Taper” today because some athletes I coach are in the taper right now as they prepare to race this weekend, myself and other athletes I coach just finished with the taper and our races. So I have experienced the taper recently and now am experiencing putting people through it.


The goal with the taper is to not go crazy! To not let all that down time and easy workouts drive you nuts and start second guessing your training, your fitness. The taper should be a time to get mentally strong and really focus on your event and how you will race it. Do visualization techniques and see you out on the course performing. How you will attack the hills, how you will pace yourself etc…  Whatever you do during taper time stay mentally strong and stay focused!


Don’t force workouts during the taper… if life gets in the way and you miss a workout big deal don’t let that derail you and freak you out. Just skip it and move on to the next day. The hard work has been done and during the last week of the taper you can’t do any kind of workout to change the outcome of your race except hurt it by maybe forcing something and getting injured. So stay calm and enjoy that extra day of rest.


During the taper, really focus on diet, hydration, stretching, and keeping the body loose.

I love a good massage during the taper as well. About 5 days out from the race so I have time to let any soreness from that massage subside. I do a lot of Epson salt baths to flush toxins out of my legs and I drink a lot of water!


So as you taper and prepare for your races just breathe stay calm and enjoy it don’t let the “Taper crazies” get to you.

Best of luck!



Coach MB

Make time for the little things…. they matter!

28 Apr

The little things matter;


The 2014 season has taught me more than ever that the little things matter. You ask what do I mean by the little things. I’m talking about the strength work, core work, stretching, proper warm-ups, getting regular massage, Epson salt baths, chiropractic adjustments, eat healthy stay hydrated etc…

  1. Core;   You need a tight core because this is where it all starts. The core and low back muscles pull everything together and help you run with proper form, help you sit in aero position on a bike longer. So focus on core strength, planks, sit-ups, take a pilates class and all of the above.  The six pack does not only make you look hot, but it keeps you strong and healthy.
  2. Glutes;  Yep that big thing you sit on is one of the strongest muscles in your body and one that does not get properly worked and strengthened. If you are a runner you need to train the glutes to fire properly and work or you can have big problems and lead to a lot of painful injuries. Lumbar bridging is a great exercise to do, do them with both legs down do them as single leg bridges to fire each side separately. Squats also help or step downs. Make sure you have proper form and get the pirformis and glutes to fire.
  3. Upper body;  Runners you will be amazed at how much a strong upper body means in running.  Test run uphill with the arms behind your back and see how hard that is. Then run uphill using your arms. So get down and do some push-ups and keep the upper body strong.  (not bulk up and be body builder heavy weight lifting just toned and strong but lean muscle)

A few tips for keeping your body tuned up and doing the little things that go a long way.

  1. Regular massage   (once a month at least)
  2. Epson salt baths    (Twice a week at least)
  3. Ice baths
  4. See a Chiropractor or sports med DR for some adjustments, ART, cross friction massage etc… to stay tuned up.
  5. Good hydration…. Water drink it!
  6. Healthy nutrition! Cut out as much sugar as you can. Chia seeds are your friend.
  7. Stretch daily… take 10 minutes a day to stretch out
  8. Foam roller is wonderful tool, get one and use it.
  9. Compression socks, shorts, and kinesio tape….  All good for bringing blood flow to the area and helping recovery.
  10. Proper warm-up before you start your workout. I love active type warm-ups. Do some plyometrics, and things that get the blood pumping a little but work the various muscle groups and stretch you out some also.


And if all else fails and you do need to see some people for treatment here are my recommendations.

Premier sports and spine in Eden Prairie. Dr. Nolan is like the team DR for my training group.

952-479-0043 is the phone number for them (DR. Nolan, DR. Chris, or DR. Holly)

OSR physical therapy.  They have many locations but the best one is in Eden Prairie and seeing DR. Josh Rolfes   952-873-7400  is their phone number.   They also have an Alter G treadmill which is awesome for running on.

FIT Studios  (massage)   Gregg Sivesind

This dude is awesome!! he is on staff as the massage therapist for the University of MN cross country and track teams. So he understands runners!  612-578-6335


Those are my go to people for staying healthy. Give them a call and give them a try.


So in conclusion the key is focus on the little things take that extra 10 minutes a day to stretch, do some planks and push-ups etc… and watch how that goes a long way and helps you stay healthy.



Coach MB



26 Apr

Guts… get some!


A lot of people run a race to see who is fastest. I run to see who has the most guts, who can punish himself into exhausting pace, and then at the end, punish himself even more.

Steve Prefontaine

That is one of my favorite “Pre” quotes. As an athlete I race hard and most days race hard even when it’s not my goal race and I’m just using it for training. I guess that is how I’m wired.

Often times like many of my Boston marathon races and I’ll go to just 5 days ago when I ran the 2014 Boston Marathon I had to use a lot of “guts” not trying to crush a new personal best time but just to suck it up and finish and try to finish with a respectable time.


I preach to my athlete’s that they have to have heart which translates also into they have to have guts.

When things get hard, when the body hurts and wants to quit that is when the mind has to take over and it is when you have to have some guts. A lot of people don’t like pain, they don’t like going into that place it takes to have a breakout race or just to finish or finish respectable. Having guts is a special quality to have so next time you toe the line in a race or even in a workout. Show some guts and go out and work hard, don’t quit and rock that race or workout!


I love watching a person with guts compete. That look of determination on their face, the agony the pain all of it. And the best part is once they finish, once they recover for 2 minutes after crossing the finish line they are all smiles! They are so charged up and excited because they did not quit on themselves, they had the power the “guts” to keep fighting and pushing on. I respect the hell out of that!!


Show some guts! Show some heart! And never give up!



Coach MB



Boston marathon 2014… simply amazing!

24 Apr

Boston Strong that was the theme of 2014! After the awful bombing attacks of 2013 (which I ran that year also) The running world and city of Boston came back stronger than ever and put on one amazing event!! I have run Boston 6 times and nothing was like this year. The excitement the massive crowds, the over the top security etc….


So when I got injured during a 20 mile run on Feb.15th I said to myself I need to be Boston Strong! I need to figure out how to heal and how to run this marathon. So for the next few weeks after that day I could not run, could so some biking and swimming but not running. I spent days going for massage, chiropractic care, you name it I was trying it. Then I had a MRI and they found that my faucet joints were pinching nerves that shoot into my left glute and that my discs had some pretty bad degeneration. I was also dealing with some pirformis issues.

So really I was running in pain and having lousy training right up until the race. My final runs the week of the marathon were the first time I started saying hey I might make it through this thing? And that was thanks to Josh at OSR and his understudy Matt who worked some PT magic on me and found some things out of whack in my hips that were pulling on things.

So my training sucked and not to mention the Polar Vortex, but Boston Strong I was determined to be and so come race day I had no expectations just to finish! (my goal was to break 3 hours also) The weekend kicked off flying out Saturday morning with a bunch of my good friends who I coach. One thing that always makes Boston so special every year is that as a coach runners want to make it here, and so I work with them and help them qualify and then once they make it I share in the journey of coaching them for the race and then racing it with them.

The Boston marathon expo.. was out of this world crazy busy this year! I have never seen it like this and the “official” Boston gear was so picked over and sold out by the time I got there it was a huge bummer. So we all bought the jackets, enjoyed what we could before the crowds wore us down. That night we ventured into the North end and had a fabulous Team dinner at a great little Italian joint.

Sunday morning (Easter) a few of us woke up and went out on the streets for an easy 3.5 mile shake out run that I even lead them on the final mile of the course. That really got the juices flowing and everyone was getting excited now!

After that Andrew and I took a cab and drove part of the course mostly checking out the Newton Hills. That was quite fun and helped give Andrew perspective on the course.


Race day: Like the past 5 Boston marathons I have run the morning kicked off meeting up with the Life Time Run group and boarding a bunch of busses to the start line. But this year things were much different because of security and where the busses had to park and how it was not easy to leave and come back to this area etc… Then when it was time to leave the bus and go to the start corral you were forced to go through “Athlete village” and then were held up by security again and you were released to your start corral based on your wave and corral number. This to me was a royal pain in the rear and took me out of my rhythm. But once I got down to the corral area I was able to find space and get into my normal warm-up routine.


The marathon: well like I said earlier this year I had no time goal and no real expectation of how I would do? I was not even sure if I would run pain free or not. I did know that no matter what I was going to finish and finish Boston Strong! So the gun went off and away we went, I did all I could to hold myself back and try to keep my pace slow so I stayed in the 6:03 mile pace range and held that pretty steady for 10k but then I was like I need to slow even more so I did and so on I went the longer the race went the more I slowed and by the time the Newton hills came I was shot! Between the heat of the day and strong sun (52 degrees to start and 70 by finish) bright sun and a new sunburn! And being out of shape things were not feeling good. I think some dehydration was setting in but mostly what was setting in was lack of training, and especially the lack of tempo and speed work. Anyway I just kept pushing on with quads screaming at me some slight pain coming from that faucet joint area into my low back and a lot of just being whipped by the heat of the sun. But during the entire race no matter how I was feeling no matter what my paces were doing I stayed positive and strong. I was focused on getting my finisher medal that day no matter how long it took! The people of Boston were amazing!! The crowds were insane!! So loud it was like an ACDC concert or something I was loving the energy in the air and that truly powered me on this run. If this course was dead and quiet I think I would have died out on those hills and never finished. So thank you people of Boston! I just kept breaking down the race into small segments, chucking along the best I could. The frustrating thing was my heart rate was low my breathing was relaxed and easy but my legs were just screaming at me! (That is a clear sign of not enough hard tempo miles and training the legs to flush lactic acid build up)  once I saw the 1k to go sign and was going up commonwealth so close to making that turn onto Hereford I was getting excited! Sure my legs were dead and I was not running so fast but my heart was pumping full of excitement because there is nothing like that run down Boylston street to the finish line so I gave it all I had!  Again the crowds were louder than I have ever heard in my 5 previous runs here. Once I crossed the finish line I was done fell over a volunteer caught me got me in a wheelchair and away to medical I went.

Medical is a typical place for me to end up because no matter the day I only no one way to compete and that is to run myself into the ground. Lying in medical I said my feet feel like they are on fire and have for the last 10-12 miles. So they took my shoes off and then quickly said don’t look and we need a podiatrist. So here comes the foot DR, I had one huge massive blood blister on my little toe on the right foot. They drained it and cleared the fluid from it and got me bandaged up. it was painful and nasty!

So Boston 2014 was over my finish time 2:56 one of my slowest times in a marathon but still sub 3 hour, I have run Boston 6 times now and all 6times have been sub 3 hour marathon. That is something I’m pretty proud of!

The post race party was great dinner and drinks with these amazing and inspiring athletes I coach was the perfect ending to a magical day on that 26.2 mile course!


The city of Boston is a special place and every Patriots day I plan to be there running in the greatest marathon in the World! I thank all the volunteers and people who help put on this event and make it so special for us runners. April 21st 2014 will truly be a special day and weekend I never forget, it was the day the runners took back their race and the city of Boston took back their city! No living in fear!


Congrats to all of those who left blood, sweat, and tears along the course! Congrats to you for having the courage to come and run and to fight through whatever adversity you may have faced. Congrats to you for crossing that finish line!

I love the Boston marathon! And I can’t wait for 2015!


Nice work Meb!! The greatest American distance runner!! He is a great role model for sure they way he runs to win! His heart and guts is exactly what I preach to those I coach.



Coach MB

Gotta Have Heart

21 Jun

Gotta Have Heart!


As a running coach last season I came up with the motto “Gotta Have Heart” this had double meaning in my message to the group. 1. You have to have heart to pump the blood and supply oxygen to your muscles so that you can run and train etc… 2. The most important part of how I use it is that you have to have heart to train and push yourself to your limits. As in you need to have guts and you have to be strong and mentally focused to endure the demands of training for a marathon or a 10 mile race. So the group of athletes I coach we often say to each other

“Gotta Have Heart” when it is time to race and chase those goals. Because if you don’t have heart and are not willing to put yourself out there dip into the unknown and try something new how can you succeed and reach your goals?


So this season as you train and prepare yourself to run the Twin Cities marathon, TC 10 mile maybe the Red, White and Boom half marathon whatever event it is. Think to yourself.. Gotta Have Heart! Go out there with a clear mind and focus and believe in yourself that anything you want to accomplish you can and will! As long as you have heart!


Best of luck and happy training… not only your heart the muscle but your heart (guts) the inner strength that truly is what will get you 26.2 miles and across that finish line.



Coach MB

Mike Buenting

USA Track and Field Certified coach

Life Time Run certified coach

Member of TEAM USA and competing in the World Duathlon Championships August 2013.  


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