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I’m gearing up for the race and knew I needed a coach to help me reach my full potential. Enter Jay, who I found through the VDot app. He uses the proven Jack Daniels running philosophy, which focuses on targeted workouts rather than just mindless miles.

Jack Daniels’ approach is all about stressing different energy systems in your body. This means incorporating runs that build your aerobic base (running economy), maximize your VO2 max (your body’s ability to use oxygen), and improve your lactate threshold (comfortably running faster for longer). It’s a data-driven method, using your past race times or best performances to set paces for each workout, ensuring you’re challenged in the right ways to see improvement.

Since I’m a runner in my 50s with a busy life juggling young kids’ sports and a job that keeps me on my feet all day, Jay and I crafted a personalized plan. We settled on 3-4 runs per week, with 3 of those being quality workouts designed to target those specific energy systems: speed sessions on the track, tempo runs on the road, and long runs on the weekend.

Being an older runner with a history of low back pain adds another layer to my training. Jay and I are mindful of overstressing my body and keeping me fresh to avoid injuries. To complement my running and promote recovery, I’ll be incorporating low-impact activities on my off days, like riding the Peloton and swimming.

A couple of weeks into the plan, I’m feeling strong and motivated! Another key part of my routine is diligently using a foam roller and other deep tissue myofascial tools to maintain loose muscles. Chronically tight muscles can limit mobility and increase your risk of injury, so I’m prioritizing self-care to stay on track.

Off on my next long run of 14 miles! I’m experimenting with different nutrition and hydration aides to find what works best for me. I’ll keep you posted on my progress in future entries.

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