Tag Archives: marathon

You have to Fight for it.

30 Jan

In life you set goals, you have dreams and things you want to achieve. These goals and dreams and success you want never comes easy and if it does come easy then we want to set a new challenge one that is much harder and makes us work that much more for it. Because the harder the challenge the happier we are when we reach it! the more pride we have the more confidence.


Now it is easy to set goals and it’s easy to talk and dream and say we want things. But when it really comes down to it we have to want it! And we have to be willing to fight for it. I had a run last week when this thought process starting building in my head. It was windy out and I was a touch tired but my workout called for me to hit some paces and have some periods of harder efforts. As I ran my miles solo down the winter roads and fighting the elements I kept telling myself you want it so you have to fight for it. The mind was trying to tell my body to quit and slow down and give in, then the other side of my mind would fight back and say no you must fight for it and earn it. Now I might not have hit all the paces I wanted to that day but I had a mental break through in that my effort was there. My effort was such that it felt like I was working harder than if I had actually hit my goal paces and that never give up quit I had that day was positive for me and gave me the confidence I need and want during a training cycle.

Every day we get up we have to fight for things, maybe it’s a promotion at work; it’s a fitness goal whatever it is we won’t have that success unless we fight and push our limits and earn it.

I meet people all the time that can talk a big game but when they get into the workout and the pain sets in things get hard they can easily back off the pedal and give up not push that wall back and make progress toward the success they dream and speak of. These are those big moments when as an athlete you have to fight for it. When you dig deep inside yourself and you push as hard as you can go that day and you stay mentally engaged and strong and chase that success you dream of.

In a race I’ve seen it so many times, one athlete gets out front and then sort of goes on cruise control, but then another athlete from the pack surges forward takes the lead and goes on to win the race. Now maybe that athlete who had the lead really try and had nothing left to match the other athlete, but I would bet more times than not the intensity of that race got so high that the one athlete was willing to fight for it more than the other and endure that pain and therefore win the race.  It’s all such a mental battle and telling yourself things like “fight for I” “how bad do you want it” etc… questions that you can ask yourself and use as motivation are key in truly reaching your success.  So stay positive and keep fighting! Don’t give up or back down when things get hard, embrace the pain and feel that sense of pride when you complete it!

The same type of mantra fight for it applies to those who can easily skip a workout, make an excuse of why they can’t wake up, why they can’t squeeze in their workout even if they have to cut it short because of time or something. When something matters to you then you will always find away to make it happen and fight for it. So on those days during those times when you can make lame excuses and not follow through and fight for it and you skip your workout ask yourself does it matter to you. Do you want it? And is it worth fighting for!?


Be inspired, stay inspired, stay motivated and remember you are motivating and others are watching so fight for it!



Coach MB

Gotta Have Heart Training





You just never know? Stay in the moment! Believe!

16 Jan

My inspiration today for my blog post comes from two different people with two different outcomes that happened over the weekend with their races.


I’ll start with my friend Julie an athlete that I coach. Julie is an inspiring mom of three a very focused and dedicated athlete who for the last several months has been training for the Houston marathon. She had been working so hard putting in the time, the miles she even changed her diet to get healthier and shed a few pounds. Julie was fit and was ready and focused! But what happened this weekend in Texas was not her fault and it was something she could not control mother nature choose to be rude to marathon runners and brought in warm temps in the 70’s and 96% humidity and if you run you know that is absolute death to overcome! The race had sent participants and email on Friday before the Sunday race warning people of the warm weather and to slow down. What I loved about Julie was she said screw that I’m fit and I’m bad ass!! Let’s run! She was going to plan hydration and nutrition a little different to deal with the elements but pace strategy was staying the same she was going to attack that course and push her limits as planned and hold on as long as she could. Julie ran a strong race through 13 miles but by that point the temps, the humidity all of it just took its toll and she had to slow down. The next 13 miles of that marathon became what I call a death march. But Julie finished, she earned that finisher medal and she did herself proud! And Coach and her teammates on Gotta Have Heart Training are so proud and inspired by her. Now the point of this is people that we can train for months we can do things right be in amazing shape have our mental game all dialed in and then something like weather something that is out of our control can mess it all up. So what I say is we just need to focus on the things we can control, and let go of the things we can’t control. Weather is a huge factor in racing that can make or break our success. Now Julie did no PR or even come close to her PR marathon time. But what she did do is not quit! She stayed strong, she stayed tough and she kept a POSITIVE attitude and a relentless forward motion and she crossed that finish line! Sure as competitive athletes we might have some disappointment the next day trust me I have been here many times. But the success lies within us for pushing through the pain the torture of bad elements and chasing that finish line! I never regret finishing a race even when my time stinks and I miss my goal. I had one DNF once in a marathon because of a bad hamstring and that day haunts me all the time that now I push and push until I cross that line. And even on the worst of days when my mind tells me to quit a 100 times out there I don’t and I keep pushing until I finish. That is exactly what Julie did Sunday and you know what it will make her stronger and better and she will learn from this! So to all of you when adversity kicks you, when things out of your control slow you down and get you off your game adjust and stay positive and focused and never quit. Then reflect back learn and move onto the next day, the next race!


Story two of my weekend inspiration comes from my 14 year old daughter Bella. This weekend was a huge and very competitive swim meet at the University of Minnesota. The weekend started out rough as Friday night she swam the 500 freestyle and well she might have kept her time the same as she was seeded with it was way short of her goal and she had a bad swim and was very upset. The frustration was in her and we still had two more days of swimming. Saturday was a new day and she swam 3 more events and posted best times in 2 of the 3 events so things were showing some progress. But then came Sunday morning and a very cranky wake up from a 14 year old girl who was not feeling well and was thinking about scratching and not even swimming that day. After an intense morning at home her mom and I convinced her go swim give it a go and hey if you aren’t feeling well we can scratch your last event the 200 butterfly that you don’t like swimming anyway. So we were kind of thinking she might not even swim the 200 fly that day but just crank out her 200IM and 50 free see what happens and go home. The first two events went OK but she did not really improve time and just sort of stayed the same. She decided hey I’m going to swim this 200 fly as coach would not like me to skip it. Well she got on those blocks dove in and cranked out a best time in the 200 fly and made finals that night!! Her mom sent me a message because I had to leave early and miss that event for work. We were both in shock that she made finals but what we had now was a little girl smiling, happy and full of confidence! Now that evening we needed to go back to the pool late so she could swim in the finals of the 200 butterfly and what did she do but drop another 3 seconds on her time and move up the overall rankings from where she started finals. Another smile and happy 14 year old girl! It was a great way to end a long weekend a weekend full of ups and downs. The point to this story is sometimes we might not want to do something we might not feel so well and we might be scared but if we just go out give it a go and try our best with no expectations just let go and swim, bike, run whatever it is who knows what can happen! I know some days we just don’t feel well some days it seems like our head is not in the game but we have this race we signed up for on the calendar and we don’t want to let ourselves down, our coaches down whoever so we try and rally ourselves to get up for the challenge! And I know even on days when I’m sick and lacking energy the moment I get into the race or workout something clicks and you pull some performance out of your butt that leaves you scratching your head. So don’t ever quit or give up on yourself and when you have those bad races like Bella did on Friday night that left her frustrated you need to quickly turn things around find your positive energy and your groove and just get back out there and go for it!


We all fail more times than we win, there are always things out of our control that want to mess with us and get us off our game.  What you need to do in these moments is let go and focus on what you can control and a major thing you can always control is your attitude! You can control believing in yourself and having confidence and when you bring the right positive attitude a level of confidence to any race and any workout well you have now set yourself up for success!!


So stay in the game! And you just never know what might happen? So never quit, never give up!

Keep a relentless forward motion going and be proud of just finishing sometimes!



Coach MB


FYI: all the athletes I coach and train with inspire and motivate me so much! And I thank them for that. I just happen to write about Julie and Bella today as my inspiration because they raced this weekend.

Fear… Don’t be afraid!

25 Oct

Each day I encounter people that let fear limit them, they let fear control them and hold them back from being something they could be or accomplishing something they dream of.

Fear is no way to live you must not be afraid of things but yet get excited by the challenge be motivated to attempt the unknown the crazy the hard.

As an endurance athlete, as a coach of endurance athletes we encounter many different fears. I hear athletes say to me I can’t do that, or no way will I try that or really why do I have to run hills today or maybe I’ll be sick on that morning of that track workout because they are scared of what is hard they have the fear of failure and the fear to endure pain. We also as athletes have those people on the outside looking in at us that are scared and live in fear. The people that say wow you wake up and run at 5:30am you run marathon or compete in Triathlon how do you do that? So we have a couple ways I will talk about this today in regards to fear.

1.      Those who don’t do and are scared to try.

2.      And those who do train, race do some hard stuff but get scared of elements within that world, scared to train harder, take on more challenging courses and paces etc…

Let’s start with those scared to even try. Why would you live in fear and live sitting on the couch saying I would love to do a marathon or a Triathlon but man I can’t do that; the people that let the idea of something hard intimidate them and put the fear into them so that they never even try. I can remember when I started down my path of marathon running and Triathlon sure I had some fears but it was the fear and the thought of doing something really hard and crazy that also fueled me and fired me up. If you want to make yourself better and stronger you have to overcome fears you have to be willing to jump off that ledge and go for it.

Sure you will stumble and have all sorts of heart aches and scary moments along the way but you will also have all kinds of success and happy moments along the way. And if you can convince yourself to finally take that leap and try what you are scared of you will find that rush and you will find a major sense of confidence in yourself that will spill over into the rest of your life making you more successful in all you do. Life is short it comes and goes so quickly so don’t let fear hold you back don’t let fear stop you from trying something that from the outside sounds exciting but you are so scared to try that you call it crazy.

Part two; Athletes who all ready do hard stuff but have many fears along their journey.

As athletes who train, set goals and compete a lot we have many fears along the way. I find a lot of fear in athletes to come to me as their coach as say I want to qualify for Boston or run some aggressive marathon time but when I talk to them about what that training looks like or I give them the paces they need to run in order to get themselves fit for chasing that goal they get scared they get scared to even try and run those paces and they look at me like I’m crazy.

Sometimes I as a coach design really hilly routes or say we are going out to do a day of hard hill repeats to work on strength and again the athlete will be scared they will come into the workout even if they try it with a little bit of a negative attitude a more fearful attitude that often can lead to them not really giving their all and finding out what they are capable of. Fear is a limiting factor it controls us and makes us under perform. So when we let fear control us as athletes we most times always underperform and never truly find out what we are capable of what the body could actually accomplish.

One of the best ways to overcome fear is to quit thinking and just do! You need to let your mind go you need to let the body take over and you have to have trust and believe in yourself in the goal and just do it. Fear is just a state of mind and the mind is so powerful it can make us accomplish great things or hold us back from doing great things.  

So as you go through life try and let go a little try and work on overcoming your fears jumping off that ledge and chasing success and your goals. Life is so much more exciting when you do this!


Happy Training, and Happy chasing goals and overcoming fear!


Coach MB

Start with “Why”

19 Oct

As a coach I work with many types of athletes I see all kinds of people with all kinds of goals from competitive age group athletes to elite athletes to high level varsity high school athletes.

Some have great passion and motivation and some lack that. Some have the drive to keep moving and progressing and some don’t. Some are truly runners, swimmers, or cyclists and just live to do that each and every day and some are seasonal more bucket list recreational types.

As a coach this can be frustrating because I’m looking for athletes that have a vision, a goal and a passion for what they do and want to achieve. I’m a very dedicated and committed coach who will work very hard to keep the athlete focused and hold them accountable! I believe my success lies within their success and so I want them to succeed because I want to succeed as “coach” and not fail.


So this leads me to this question for each person to answer.  “Why” you need to identify why you are doing something you need to have a clear goal in mind a vision and the motivation to want to see that goal to the end. And when you can answer why you are doing something it will help keep you focused and taking the steps needed to achieve that success. The “Why” can be anything from weight loss, to podium finish, to a Boston qualifying time in the marathon?

The “Why” goes hand in hand with my other question I always ask and that is “How bad do you want it”  Because when you want something bad enough you will work hard for it, you won’t make excuses and you will make the sacrifices needed which are they really sacrifices if it’s something you love and want? Think about that question because no they aren’t if it truly matters to you and you can answer the “Why” question and the How bad do you want it question then taking the steps to reach that goal are not really sacrifices.

So now once you answer the question why? Once you say I want it bad! And you can look in the mirror and say I’m very passionate about this, and then you can begin to set the plan in motion the steps you must take to achieve that goal and ultimately feel satisfied and have that success.

Next phase of this now that we have established the above questions is the plan, the steps to success.  You have to break things down into small steps, small little victories along the way to the end goal. I have found having small little goals set for yourself along the way little goals that you can keep achieving along the way can really help keep you motivated, feeling positive and chasing that goal. So think small to reach big. Hiring a coach that builds you a training plan and communicates with you and keeps you accountable it a great step you can take in chasing that goal. But when you hire that coach and he has a plan for you and a system to follow even if that system takes some work if you can go back to the question “why” and the other question “how bad do you want it” you will find it much easier to follow that system and plan that coach as set for you. And we all know coach is smart and will lead you to the promise land! (ha ha) but some truth here for sure.

I wish you all the best of luck as you look deep inside yourself and answer these questions. And I’m sure you will find that when you can answer the why you will see you have passion for that particular thing and you will find it quite easy to stay the course and pursue what you love.

When you lack passion you will lack performance and you will find every excuse not to do something not to follow through and therefore never achieve success or those goals.

Find your passion, find your WHY and make it happen!



Coach MB


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Under Pressure, because you care… but learn how to Relax!

16 Oct

When you keep your eyes and ears open you learn. When you have an open mind and progressive thinking you can take things that seem like they would not apply to you but yet when you really think about it they do.

Today’s world is not really that much different than the past but it seems more and more there is such a heightened pressure put on us and we put on ourselves. I read an article yesterday about the 2016 Chicago Cubs (which by the way I’m a huge Cubs fan!) and Joe Madden talked about pressure and expectations and how the 2016 Cubs have had so much pressure and expectations put on them to break the curses of old and make the World Series. Joe talked about how that is positive and a good thing in his mind but you have to know how you embrace that pressure and use it. Like manager Madden said do you want to enter the season being picked to be 5th and no expectations no real goals for the team? Or do you want to enter the season with goals, with some expectations that you are good enough to perform and succeed.

I see this type of pressure a lot with athletes I coach and with high school athletes. (the high school part comes from my daughter running high school cross country and the massive amounts of pressure put on these young girls to perform I also coach some younger athletes and see this same type of pressure) As a coach working with adults mostly I have many people want to train and qualify for Boston marathon. They work hard, they train hard, they do all they can to prepare for that goal. The pressure of chasing that goal and the obsession and focus that comes with it can be good that it makes them stay dedicated and focused. However come race day that pressure can be a bit of a negative if they don’t know how to handle it properly.

That pressure can bring on a sense of nerves, and a lot of extra mental energy that does not need to be wasted. The athlete can focus so much on not screwing up that they forget to relax and just go run, just go believe in them and perform as they are capable of. This is where the “pressure” the “Expectations” becomes a negative because that energy is not channeled properly by the athlete.  Now not everyone is wired this way. I can say from my own experience that I put pressure on myself to perform, I put expectations on my season and expect to perform at a certain level and I can handle this just fine because I can still roll into a race and be relaxed, be focused and go do my job and perform with the guts I need to chase that goal and succeed.

Setting expectations for yourself is much easier when you have confidence and believe in yourself you believe you belong and can compete with those around you. And when you have that level of confidence and belief in yourself then the pressure that comes with those expectations is much easier to handle and the athlete often times can focus, stay calm and go out and perform at a high level as expected of them.  But if the athlete lacks that confidence that believe in themselves (even if they are very much capable of performing at a high level and coaches and parents around them pump them up and tell them they are strong and capable and prepared to reach those goals and success) if the athlete does not buy into that then a massive negative affect can happen and the pressure put on that athlete to perform at a certain level can end up in disaster and having that athlete perform way below expectations.

The main theme here is that as an athlete as a person you have to be confident and you must believe in yourself! If you don’t believe in yourself if you are not willing to let go relax and go out and push your limits then no matter how fit you are, not matter how much coach or someone else tells you that you are strong and ready and tries to fire you up you must likely will underperform and thus fail.  Every person is different and some people look at others around them being positive and telling them they can perform a certain way and telling them go out and kick butt today you can do it! That athlete might look at that kind of encouragement as pressure! And then in the heat of competition clam up and in essence quit when things get tough because they don’t run relaxed and loose with a free spirit so to speak.

When I have athletes like this I try and calm them, tell them to stop thinking and just look at the race like it’s a workout. I mean the athlete can go out in practice and crush it run, bike, swim the paces they need to in order to perform at that high level but come race day they just flat out clam up and because of the pressure and expectations they can’t perform.  Another thing that happens when an athlete can’t handle pressure is they can’t eat, they can’t fuel their body properly and this becomes a huge issues also because even if they try to relax and just get into the heat of competition that day and give a effort they can’t because the body is not fueled properly and thus the body revolts on them and just runs out of energy leaving the athlete performing below expectations again.

There will always be pressure and expectations put on you, athletes will always have that demand to perform and chase and reach goals. The question to you is “How will you handle that pressure” how will you respond to the expectations put on and that you put on yourself. Because it is a positive and a good thing to have those expectations put on you, it is a good thing to have coaches, friends, family believe in you and set those expectations because the expectations mean that you are good you can very capable of obtaining those goals and having that success. You as the athlete just have to learn how to deal with the pressure that comes with that and how to stay calm, relaxed and go perform with no nerves just pure excitement and love of sport.

So which type of person are you going to be? One with confidence and believe in themselves and can except the pressures and expectations that come with being an athlete and yet rise above the nerves and fears and still perform at goal level.

Or will you be the athlete that lacks confidence, does not believe they belong, lets the pressure mount so much that they clam up that they don’t fuel their body properly and thus leaves them always performing way below potential never reaching those goals and always feeling sad and unfulfilled.

Confidence is everything! And all an athlete needs is one good moment, one good race to break that lack of confidence that fear to make them believe in themselves again and then propel to many great performances and success!

So find your confidence, just breathe, relax and chill out. Act like no expectations you are just going for a workout and get lose on race day. and try to shrug off the extra weight that comes when you have expectations. You do that most likely you will find that you have the race of your life!

I tell runners you just have to glide, to float run free enjoy the moment. Sure when you are racing and pushing limits for these goals you will hurt, you will have pain and you will suffer so just welcome those feelings push through them and always BELIEVE!! That pain you feel during the race will only last for a short time, but the glory and feeling you will have if you push through it and succeed will last forever! So think long term! J

Happy Racing! Happy training and build that confidence!


Coach MB


Hard work and consistency and some patience will pay off!

15 Oct

That title is what I tell all the athletes I coach; they are words I have lived by throughout my endurance sport and even professional career.

I’ll talk a bit about my story to hopefully give you all some hope if you’re struggling to show you that those words in the title are true.

I fell in love with running back in high school my at the time basketball coach was the cross country coach and since I was a skinny little dude who did not play football he made me run cross country to get in shape for basketball. So I did and I quickly found out I had some talent and so did coach. But my high school career was actually quite a mess and I have many regrets from that time in my life. I did have talent but I never truly used that talent. I would come to practice and typically goof off and not always run the workouts as hard as I should etc… I mean sometimes I did but more times than not I was just a goof off. Then the meets would come around and I was very competitive so I would want to race hard and could. I found myself as a young runner always floating between JV and Varsity. If I ran the JV meet I would either win the race or finish in the top 5 overall always. If I ran the Varsity race I would do well and could score for my time but never be that front runner like in a JV race. This would frustrate my coach because he knew I had so much talent but I was not applying myself in practice. I never raced scared or nervous I always had confidence and was quite lose during and before meets but my lack of performance in the Varsity races was from my lack of focused training. During high school I also ran track and to this day I’m part of my high school 4 x800 meter relay team that owns the school record. As you can see I had some talent and passion for running at a young age I just did not use it properly.


Years went by and my commitment to running floated away as I played music in a rock band, and then started working in the music industry and promoting concerts touring with bands etc…

I would still run but just the 5k-10k distance and race the fun races of that distance occasionally. But during this time I had gained a lot of weight and was not so healthy.

Now let’s speed things up to about 2005/2006. I’m working as a Realtor and I meet this amazing couple moving here from Colorado. Dave was into cycling and his fiancé Shannon was into running. Dave got me going on cycling and then began my quest to do a Triathlon and start make changes in my diet to get healthier and start competing in sport again. Shannon was training for a marathon and one day said she was going for a 12 mile training run around the lakes. I said hey can I join you? Sounds fun! That was the turning point of my life.  (Dave and Shannon to this day are still my very dear close friends and I love them to pieces) So off Shannon and I went for this 12 mile run we were cruising along chatting clicking off miles and not at a fast pace by any means but as we could maybe 9-10 miles in I struggled to keep up and she took off ahead we got back to their house and I realized I just got my ass kicked on this 12 mile run! That was the day I said I need to get serious and make some changes. (Thank you Shannon for being my inspiration to start running marathon)

Next sign up for the Twin cities marathon (2007) I have this race posted, medal, my bib and the card with my finish time on it framed and in my home office staring me in the face everyday as a reminder of where I came from. As motivation to always believe in myself and stay consistent and focused.

I started training for this marathon all by myself and just self coaching myself study books and websites etc… I would meet some running groups along the way to do some runs with but mostly I was solo. Now Twin cities marathon 2007 was a wicked hot and humid year a year they almost cancelled the race because of heat index so that was a struggle but none the less I was not so fast and I learned that day you have to respect 26.2 miles!  I ran that day in 3:53 that’s an 8:55 per mile pace. I was hooked on the marathon and after that race my goal was qualify for the Boston marathon!

2008 became a year of more consistency in my training, more focus and dedication and a lot more learning. I continued to slim down and now have gone from my heaviest before 2007 TCM of around 185-190 to now 145 pounds. From waist 34 to a 28inch waist; Becoming leaner certainly helped me run faster paces. I also became a more efficient runner and started to get my stride and form back from when I was in high school. My second marathon ever 2008 TCM I ran a 3:03 and qualified for Boston! In one year I had just taken 50 minutes off my marathon time! Because of dedication, passion, commitment, and consistency!

Boston marathon 2009 my first Boston! I was so excited! This was also the first time I broke 3 hours in the marathon! I believe I ran 2:58 that day in Boston and ever since that day have never looked back stringing together lots of marathons and all sub 3 hour times. (except for two marathons… one where I paced a runner and dear friend I coach NYC 2014, and then Boston 2016 when I blew up with heart issues and other stuff but still finished) other than those two races every marathon I have run since 2009 has been a sub 3 hour. I have now run 8 Boston marathons in a row and 2017 will be Boston 2017. I have done two Ironman distance Triathlon’s with my debut 140.6 in AZ 2012 in time of 10:05, 2016 I won a National title at USA Triathlon Duathlon National championships, I finished the 2016 Duathlon race series ranked #1 in points for male 40-44, in 2013 I raced Duathlon World championships in Canada and won the bronze medal.  My marathon PR was 2012 Chicago marathon in a time of 2:39 and my half marathon PR is a 1:16.  I have many other accolades along the way but this highlights some of my most proud moments.

So the point to all of this gets back to the title of this blog. And how if you are consistent, if you are passionate and focused, dedicated and goal driven with a little bit of competitive fire in you. Anything is possible you just have to believe and you have to be willing to work hard! You have to be willing to put yourself out there make sacrifices and push limits. And most of all you just have to be consistent in what you do! Follow you’re training plan, listen to your coach etc…

Because I have been that way for years, because I respect “sport” respect these distances and races and I stay training and fit 365 days a year I continue to grow as an athlete and now as a very successful coach! Since that 2007 Twin cities marathon I have studied and become certified with USA Track and Field and other organizations as a coach and have built a great and positive coaching business Gotta Have Heart Training that coaches athletes all over the world.

So if you are struggling and running 4 hour marathon time and have a goal of running a 3:30 or the Boston marathon whatever it might be. Stop and think about your training, think about how consistent are you? What is your commitment, passion, and how bad do you want it.

Then go make it happen! You can do it and make all the changes within yourself you want, you can go from that 3:53 marathon time to a 2:39 marathon time just like I have done. You just have to remember a few key words.

Consistency! Believe! Passion! Commitment! Heart! Hard work pays off!


Best of Luck

Coach MB



Post Marathon Recovery plan.

12 Oct

The marathon 26.2 miles of running, 26.2 miles of pounding on your legs challenging your mind and leaving you exhausted. Now that you have finished a marathon how do you recover? How do you get that awful soreness out of your legs and be able to walk down stairs normal again? How do you mentally unwind from many months of focused hard training and just relax.

I’ll share with you my typical post marathon recovery, and things that I preach to the athletes I coach as I don’t always follow what I prescribe.

I just ran 2016 Twin Cities marathon on Sunday and so far my recovery plan for this marathon is going all right. It got a little off Monday because of a 75 degree sunny day but that amazing weather actually helped me in my recovery and was a blessing.

What I prescribe to the athletes I coach; take one full week off and do nothing post marathon. No running, no swimming, no Yoga just nothing except sleep, eat a few things you miss but cut out of your training diet and let your body unwind and recover. Then in week two of recovery I prescribe some easy “back to life” workouts I call them. Some short runs that are easy and social, some bikes rides or spin classes, maybe a day in the pool to swim easy and then some Yoga and Pilates to get stretched out.

What have I done so far post marathon for my recovery? Well Monday morning I did sleep in but then because of the beautiful weather I took my dog for a long walk which is good I do suggest people to get up and move the legs doing something like a nice easy walk. But after a day of sitting in the office and staring at 75 degrees and sunshine on a nice fall day in Minnesota I decided I need to saddle up my bike and go spin my legs. And right there my rest day was over and out the window! However over the years I have begun to call “active recovery” days rest days because they are easy workouts, they are something like an easy low impact bike ride and they are something that really just gets the blood flowing to your muscles to speed up recovery. So that’s what I did Monday late afternoon easy 21 mile spin around the lake. Sure by the end of that ride my legs were sore and tired but the next morning they started to come around and stairs got a little better. Day two of recovery (Tuesday morning) again my plan was rest but then an athlete I coach texted me and said hey want to go for a bike ride? I looked at the beautiful fall weather and said how could I resist and off we went another relaxed nice social bike ride of 21 miles spinning out those legs.  I can’t say my legs feel amazing but I can say the more I spin with a high cadence but just easy like an easy gear and more flat roads (don’t go climbing bunch of hills and crank up the watts) just spin relaxed and easy and focus on that quick cadence.  So after my two unplanned bike rides the legs are still little sore and tired but they are showing some life.

I have always been one to want to get active again post marathon, but I also try and respect my rest. However I can say after these last two days of cycling and how I’m starting to feel that I will begin to prescribe easier cycling the week after a marathon for my athletes just to get that blood flow going and speed up the muscle recovery process. So my suggestion to all of you is do exactly that, the first couple days post marathon jump on a bike either outdoors or an indoor spin bike and ride for 45-60 minutes with an easy effort but a fast 90rpm or faster cadence and get the blood flow moving in those legs again. I would also suggest you get out and go for some walks NO RUNNING! Just a nice easy walk with a friend or your dog the key is don’t be idle get moving.

Now the mental break piece of all of this;

I suggest especially if it’s a fall marathon and maybe the end of your season like this past weekend was for me. Take at least two weeks from any structure in your training and workouts. Basically you should just run, bike, swim, whatever if you wake up and feel like it, if you feel good. But the efforts should be easy the efforts should be social and relaxed. During this time you should also try and not think about the next season, maybe you reflect a little on the season that just ended or the marathon you just finished but not too much your mind needs a quick break. During this two week period I really like to just take it day by day call up friends and ride bike, go run be active but with no plan no workout. In the fall I keep this plan going about a month before I begin my off season training program but in the spring I’m very much one to two weeks max of easy recovery relaxation and then it’s back to training and focus on the rest of my season.


So as you finish those falls races, those end of season races take some time to decompress, relax and enjoy some social cycling and running and get energized for next season.



Coach MB




Twin Cities marathon 2016!

10 Oct

Twin Cities marathon 2016 happened yesterday Oct. 9th 2016. This is my hometown race and a beautiful course but a race I have not done in 5-6 years so it was very exciting for me to be back out on this course with all the local support. We woke up race morning to cool air temps in the upper 30’s mild wind and sunny skies! It was going to be a great day for running 26.2 miles!


Twin cities marathon day is always special for me as I coach so many athletes that run either the TC-10 mile race or the marathon. It’s the celebration day of months of hard work training, hours of dedication to preparing our minds and bodies to complete the distance we have picked to race! Sometimes celebration day is glorious and sometimes celebration day leaves us a little bitter, sad, and feeling unsatisfied. But in the end we always have to smile, feel proud, feel grateful and be happy when we cross that finish line. As runners we are competitive and we set time goals to chase but the marathon is such a beast so much can and most likely will go wrong and because of that we need to embrace the power in having the guts the heart to even get on the start line and then to cross that finish line and earn that medal! As so many people are scared to take on challenges like this in life, so many look at us like we are crazy and we look at them like they are the crazy ones.

Running a marathon is more about mental toughness than physical strength. I found my mental toughness again on TCM 2016 race day as this has been sort of lost for a couple years but now as I sit the day after the marathon with confidence and a new attitude of how I will take on my next marathon and my next marathon training cycle I have a lot of excitement.

Racing, training all of that is a learning process and you have to be open and willing to learn and grow and I can say that I do a good job of that and implicate that into the training of the athletes I coach. If you get stuck in your ways and not recognize the errors the things that maybe caused you to fail and not reach that time goal you never grow and become better because if you reach your goal and have that success you kind of just keep doing the same thing and not mixing it up. But as I see it failure breeds change, and failure breeds success. Sometimes change is not needed, or at least major change but more of minor change.

One minor change I learned from TCM 2016 is the shoes I race in. For years I have been running in little racing flats, shoes with not a lot of cushion but very light weight. As I look over a few years of training logs and how I feel during the race likes yesterday at TCM the one thing that might be the difference maker for me is my choice of shoes. TCM 2016 was going pretty darn smooth for me (other than my Garmin being way off and completely inaccurate) my body felt great, my breathing, my heart rate all of it was in such control I kept my paces in check and my cadence was dialed in. At times I would think maybe I should slow a touch but it just kept feeling so natural to run how I was so I stuck with it. Until about mile 21! That’s when the legs really began to hurt! That is when my legs felt like concrete like little needles just poking into them the pain was becoming massive and really messing with my head. My lungs and everything else felt great and amazing my legs just hurt!! And would not move.

This is when the race became a major mental toughness battle and this is the part of my 26.2 mile run that made me smile with massive pride and has me confident. In my last few marathons when my body starts to fail me like my legs were I have lost the mental battle by walking, giving into the pain and letting the demons take me out of my game. but TCM 2016 I won the battle! I fought back with positive thoughts, I fought back with strength and I said not today! Today I don’t fail, today I win! I kept saying to myself “gotta have heart” run with a relentless forward motion these kind of positive affirmations over and over to push me.

My pace might have slowed some but I never quit, I never walked, I never stopped I just kept running and fighting and going for that finish line!

The next part of this race that made the day very successful for me was no trip to the medical tent, sure when I finished I asked if I could sit in a wheelchair for a bit and get a push to the bathroom so I could change into dry clothes but no see the DR’s and getting probed and IV’s jammed into my arm. I seemed to have managed my nutrition quite well all thought the last two miles of the race I was pretty sick to my stomach and felt like puking. I think it was maybe too many gels, chews, PowerAde drinks etc… But I was not completely dehydrated and I was able to still function; so success!

My pacing strategy; goal was start slow then pick it up then hang on! I was not chasing a PR time I knew my limitations, I knew my fitness and if I chased a sub 2:39 time it would leave me in a bad place so the goal was Run smart! Run with heart! If I had a time goal which I guess I did it was around 2:42-2:44 I felt like that was my zone. So my first 5k was quite slow much slower than I typically run at a race like this and then after the 5k I eased into a pace that felt smooth and in control and that pace turned out to be faster than I imagined but still a pace I had run a lot of during training 6:03-6:06 zone I stayed here for a long time just clicking off miles focusing on even effort. And I feel like I did a good job of this until mile 20-21 when I felt things getting harder, the legs saying dude we are done! This is where everything got off track. When I hit the half marathon mark at 1:19:58 I said perfect I can positive split the second half by up to 4 minutes and be within goal. Well that positive split became 6 minutes and left me a couple minutes outside my goal. But any of you that know the TCM course the second half of this race is way harder than the first half! So most likely a runner will positive split this course.  But 6 minutes was too much, so like I said the legs just failed me and the only thing I can think of based on how the rest of me felt was the shoes, the light racing flats finally just gave out and the pounding my legs had been taking for so long just accumulated and caused them to hurt like hell.  So the finish fast and strong part of the plan did not happen.

But TCM 2016 was one of my better marathon times in a couple years so I was pleased!! 2:46:20 is not a bad marathon time and finishing 67th overall in a field of almost 9000 runners!

As for all the athletes I coach.. well like I said earlier the marathon is a beast it humbles the fittest of athletes and it can leave us empty sometimes. So some had a lot of success and some were left with some disappointed of falling short of goals. But to me everyone was a major winner and inspiring! Because they all had the guts to get on the start line and finish even when the body quit on them. And for that they all need to be proud!! Because coach is very proud!

I think it’s this great challenge of the marathon, how hard it is, how humbling it can be that keeps us runners coming back for more and more. Chasing time goals, taking on new courses and always trying to win beat the distance. The marathon needs to be respected! And then the marathon will reward you with success! To complete a marathon and especially in time goal fashion you must not ever cheat your training, you must always stay dialed in, passionate and committed to it! There is no short cuts with the marathon you have to take it head on and hope you can be stronger than it on that day! Step one to beating the marathon begins in your head so train the mind, build that mental toughness and once you have that then and only then do you have a chance to beat the marathon.

Twin cities marathon 2016 will be a day remembered a great day with friends and a day that I won the mental battle! A day that I never quit, never gave in and for that I’m very proud today!

I left it all on the roads….


Happy Running

Coach MB





How I like to handle marathon taper

19 Sep

Fall marathons are here! This weekend is Berlin if you’re looking for a World Major, or travel to Northern Minnesota and run the Ely marathon and lots of others in-between.

So as you have been training hard all summer/fall logging miles and your legs feel tired that’s good. And just because it’s what we call “taper” time it does not mean we stop training and get rusty.

As a coach and as an athlete I approach the taper this way. First as an athlete I don’t like the taper, I’m a guy who likes to stay active and move my body. I’m also a Triathlete which lends me to lots of cross training in my training plans and helps during taper to stay active and recover my legs better I think. As a pure runner it might be a full rest day, but as a Triathlete I can take that rest day and make it an easy “swim” day something that is not hard, but light aerobic activity to help my recovery and sore legs. So for you “pure” runners people who just train and race running events think about some cross training you like to do, or could to and use as active recovery on those “rest” days when you struggle with the taper.

But back to the taper because we do have to respect it some, I handle the taper where the week before I want to begin it I dial up my peak mileage week a really hard long tiring week that pushes me. Then I start my taper with a drop in mileage but I try and keep my intensity focused around race tempo to keep my fast twitch fibers firing, keep my body in sync and not make too many drastic changes to what I do during a training cycle. My body will all ready freak out from dropping from 73 miles to like 45-50 miles in a week. For a marathon runner I call week one of the taper that week right after your last 20 mile training run of the training cycle.

This is the week I take my runs and dial them back 1-2 miles and then on my long run dial it back to maybe 15-16 miles. But during this week I keep my speed workout, and I keep my tempo pace miles mixed into my runs to stay sharp. Week two of the taper I back down the miles even more but again I keep that same mind set of still run some tempo/pace miles still stay sharp. The runs keep getting shorter the rest days are growing (or cross train active recovery) since I dislike taper days but when I run I run with focus on race pace.

Week three of the taper I really dial it down now, this is the main week of taper for me, this is race week so maybe the weeks prior during taper I still trained every day just with less mileage this final week of taper “Race week” we call it I do respect the rest days, I do slow down and run more recovery paces, and I really dial in my mind for race day! Now even though the runs are short and only a few of them and the goal is less tempo/pace miles so legs recover and get itchy to race I still mix in some short bursts of race pace in each run. Instead of holding my race pace mile intervals for longer durations in weeks prior I’m now only holding those paces for like 60-90 seconds backing off then repeat. I do just enough to keep the legs firing how I want on race day without doing too much and making them tired.


Now as a coach I have my athletes follow the same type of protocol the difference is, most of them will take more rest days, most of them actually like to taper and will dial things back some and most of them do need it they are not quite at my level of crazy. But some of them are exactly like me and so I manage them similar to myself. For my athletes hitting the marathon taper if they have been training all cycle with one rest day a week. Then week one of taper might have two rest days, week 2 might have 3, and week three “race week” might have even 4 days of rest. Again the mileage cuts and progressions are similar to how I taper myself, and I still try and keep them firing off some miles and intervals at goal race pace tempo. I really challenge them to stay sharp and focused and not lose what they have been building, not get too far out of their rhythm and cycle they have been in for months and the body is accustom to.

This can be a challenge for me as a coach because some people really like rest days, some people really like the taper and think that you need to take all this rest, and slow down. Every athlete is different so I handle each of them different but in the end they need to work on the mental game and not getting out of the daily rhythm they have been in because I think they end up flat when that happens.

So as you head into your taper, it can either be the blues, or it can be a celebration depending on your style. Think about keeping some intensity, think about staying sharp and focused on race tempo but enjoy the slow decrease in mileage to bring those legs some much needed rest and recovery to amp you up for race day!


Happy Training and good luck!


Coach MB


City of Lakes Half marathon

12 Sep

Sunday well yesterday was the MDRA City of Lakes Half marathon. This is a race that has been around for years first as a 25k now just a half marathon. It’s a beautiful course making loops around Lake Calhoun and Lake Harriet in Minneapolis. It’s also a very fast race that draws a very competitive crowd! Minnesota USATF has a team race circuit and this is a race on the circuit that draws out the best of the Twin cities runners also little bit of cash prizes for them to chase.

As a coach I have integrated this race into my athletes training plan each fall and my own training plan to prepare or tune up for their fall marathons next month. I think racing a half marathon a month or so out from your goal marathon is a great idea, a great tool to give us a gauge of current fitness and to maybe make last minute adjustments to the training plan and race day goals.

Also racing events like this is a fun way to bring out many of the athletes I coach and that train together and unify as a team and enjoy a special moment of racing together and cheering for each other. The support of the athletes on Team Gotta Have Heart is really quite impressive every stays and cheers in all the runners after they finish, they high five, maybe help pace someone etc… it’s really a great show of sportsmanship. As a coach I could not be more proud of these amazing athletes and the efforts they all give, even on days when conditions might not be right or they might be flat.

2016 City Of Lakes was not a day that a lot of PR times were had and people really ran at potential or hit goals. But yet they all ran with a lot of heart and guts and performed quite well!

The weather was not perfect with humidity high, and the winds strong and bright sunshine! The temps were mild which helped but that humidity is tough!

Becky Youngberg was first in her age group and placed in the top 15 overall for women, Krisana Hoff was second in her age group and also placed in the top 15 overall for women. Coach MB he was 2nd in his age group and was 26th place overall in the race. (My time this year was 2 minutes slower than my 2015 time) I’ll talk about my race later….

Shannon or SW came within 10 seconds of her half marathon PR and Alex well he did run a half marathon PR so those are great success stories! Ingrid, Cindy and Charlie all ran strong half marathon times, not PR times but solid training in prep for Twin cities marathon in a month.

Pete and Mark the speedy little duo had strong races, not perfect races hitting their goals, but they ran strong and faster than they did in 2015 so that’s success! And they nailed a lot of marathon pace miles which was really the goal.

Back to my race the goal was (Run smart) this is a struggle for me especially in a event like this full of fast dudes itching to get after it. my competitive nature typically takes me out flying and then hanging on for dear life late. But my plan for this year was start little more like marathon pace not half marathon pace and run smooth and steady and try to find a kick late. Well the plan was executed perfectly for 7 miles holding right where I wanted to be in the 5:52 zone and on pace for a 1:16 something like year prior. Then came mile 8 and this set of rolling hills on the back side of Lake Harriet and then came a 6:09 mile split and I knew ugh my legs were losing energy and this race might turn into a grind. But as I turned and headed North along the east side of Lake Harriet I found some tempo again and got a 6min mile out of me. But then came Lake Calhoun and back to 6:10 mile pace I landed. I did not want to be that slow, but also for me to run 6:10 pace and feel in a comfort zone of sorts at 6:10 pace was a booster for my upcoming marathon makes me feel I can hold that tempo for 26.2. The race kept clicking away the winds got stronger and soon the winds were smacking us in the face making the energy level we had to kick out to run the same pace or faster was getting harder. In the end I finished with a 1:18:44 exactly 6min per mile pace. Nothing special not a PR or close to it. but a solid effort and great training run.  I was little disappointed but not too much overall it was the perfect tempo run to prime me for marathon day. My shoe choice was not the smartest, typically I’m a New Balance 1500 guy but yesterday I choose to wear my tiny little Japanese racing flats made by Addidias the Tuchmasen.  They are about 3.5 ounces and thin no cushioning hardly at all and my legs certainly felt that in the late miles of the race I think those shoes will be saved for 5k races now.

So as the race is behind me and the others we can all look at the data and think do we adjust marathon goals? Or do we stay on track and chalk up some of the off performances to conditions.

For myself I might adjust things slightly and hope for cooler less humid weather and maybe have a kick in the late miles.

Thanks to all my athletes for racing with me and making it such a fun day on the course! Thanks for all the hard work you put into your training.

Best of luck to everyone out there and keep that relentless forward motion!


Coach MB