Coach's Corner

By Coach Dave Walters

Think about the last marathon that you ran.  You passed several photo stations where photographers were snapping away, sometimes yelling at you to ‘smile’!  As you approached the station you got yourself ready for the photo of a lifetime — shoulders back, arms pumping, head held high, natural (?) smile.  You ‘checked in’ with yourself and altered or corrected your form.  Did you notice that by doing so your pace picked up imperceptibly?  That your effort may have been a little less for the real estate gained per stride?  Wonder why?

Disengaging your mind from your body - checking out - occurs to everybody on every training run.  We think about all sorts of things to make the miles pass quicker.  Wearing headphones during training adds to that.  Checking out is fine to a point……as long as we check back in on a regular basis. 

Checking in means that you are paying particular attention to your body and form.  I encourage EVERYONE to develop the habit of minding their form at certain intervals in training and racing.  Self awareness and self correction can mean the difference between a 3:10 marathon and a 2:55 finish…’s that critical.  Totally disengaging your mind from your body for the entire race can lead to a poor and unnecessarily slow result.  

Checking in correctly is a simple process.  At each corner, hill, or other rhythm disruptor — check in.  Ask yourself…..are my shoulders back (and opening up my lung capacity) or hunched forward (diminishing it)? Are my hips forward and abs engaged?  Am I actually USING my arms to propel me forward for extra inches per step, or am I carrying them along for zero help?  Am I engaging my glutes for extra real estate per stride or are the glutes coasting?  Am I pushing off with my toes for even more inches per stride? How’s my breathing — big deep (and relaxed) belly breaths?  And don’t forget the brain!  Positive thoughts or negative ones? Smiling or frowning?  Smiling athletes run faster!

As for headphones, I personally only use them in the gym while on the elliptical.  There are a dozen (or more) reasons to NOT wear them while running outside.....but the number reason is they distract you from the task at hand: checking in.  

One final thought.  I’ve had the pleasure of running large segments of my last two Chicago Marathons with the super fit DWRunner Sasha Edge.  We are relaxed running together and feed off of each other’s energy.  When you are relaxed and confident in your pace and teammate it is SO much easier to stay checked in.  One of the massive advantages of training with a large group of motivated runners is that you can feed off that energy and learn to trust your teammates which allows for more self awareness ie checked in state.  

Checking in is a practiced art.  Rededicate yourself to excellence and make this a part of your daily routine!

Team News

  • Last Chance! Vote for Jamie and Ryan J or Dan K for Chicago Magazine Athlete of the Year!

  • If you’re interested in the Big 10 10k, let Allie know! She’s negotiating a team discount.

  • We’re a Hüma sponsored team again in 2019! The code for 25% off is Humabeing19

  • New Team Portal password - 2019DWRpw

  • Check out our 2018 Year-End Review

  • We’ve got a new logo for this year! Check it out throughout this newsletter

  • Racing the Boston Marathon? Fill out your plans here. We’ll also be hosting Wednesday workouts at the Morton Arboretum on specific Wednesdays between now and Boston - check the cal!

An Illustration by Coach Dan Kittaka

Sheer willpower alone is a cold companion for winter training. A strong belief in our process is like an ember that will warm you in the nastiest conditions. Lean into your coaches and teammates to keep your coal of belief glowing.
— Coach Dan Kittaka

January Race Highlights

Updates to the DWR Top 10 Lists (Men / Women):

  • Paul Graessle - Frozen Gnome 50k - 6:03:26

Personal bests:

  • Matt Thor - Houston HM - 1:12:15

  • Anthony Molinaro - Houston Marathon - 3:06:13 (& BQ!) & our 500th team PR!

  • Malla Seljeseth - F^3 HM - 1:58:02

  • Melissa Urban - F^3 HM - 2:26:56 (46 min PR!)


Top Placings & Age Group Wins

  • Chris Robertson - DBO 4k - 15:28 (Champ!)

  • Katelyn Draths - DBO 4k - 23:52 (2nd!)

  • Julie Bruns - DBO 4k - 24:43 (3rd!)

  • Jamie Hershfang - F^3 HM - 1:24:40 (2nd!)

  • Pettit Indoor Marathon Relay:

    • Men’s 1 - 2:15:54 (Champs!)

    • Mixed 1 - 2:30:58 (Champs!)

    • Women’s 1 - 2:36:26 (Champs!)

    • Mixed 2 - 2:40:57 (2nd place!)

DWRunning - Pettit

Upcoming Events & Major Races

  • 2/2 - LR @ Barrington

  • 2/6 - WoW @ Morton Arboretum

  • 2/7 - Fireside Chat @ Alex G’s - 225 W Huron

  • 2/9 - LR @ Algonquin

  • 2/16 - LR & bRUNch @ Morton Arboretum

  • 2/20 - WoW @ Morton Arboretum

  • 2/21 - Easy Run & Pint Night @ Goose Island

  • 2/23 - LR @ Barrington

Check out the calendar (and add it to your own calendar!) here.

January Birthdays

  • 2/3 - Katy Cranfill

  • 2/8 - Kristi Huisinga

  • 2/10 - Sascha Edge & Varun Praveen

  • 2/11 - Katelyn Draths

  • 2/14 - Mischa Rihm

  • 2/16 - Christian Madridejos

  • 2/24 - Erin Chenoweth

  • 2/25 - Jamie Hershfang & Yelena Koldobskaya

Meet the Newest DWRunners!

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