Learning the Right Running Habits - Co-Founder Jason's Insight to training with Eastnine Coach, Vince.

I'm about 5 weeks into a 12 week training program where I'm learning to run again. I decided to take the plunge and get a coach, who is one of my team mates, Vince Ciolino.

Vince is an amazing running coach who I'm lucky to work with at Eastnine I'm training for a number of reasons: improve general fitness and health, curiosity, because I've got this newly returned love of running.

I know I’m on the heavier side of where I would like to be, So I’m trying to lose some weight, to stay sane, to learn some good habits, and find a bit of happiness.

I'm also looking to better my 10k (55 minutes) half marathon (1.55) and marathon (3.39) times but can’t get out of the ruts with the same haphazard approach to training. When looking at my times and thinking about how I had trained last year, the only consistent theme was that I'd get better and then worse on a week by week basis.

I'm a great believer in the power of coaching so it was a no brainer to work with Vince who was the second coach to join Eastnine. He's become a good friend and trusted team mate and it’s always inspiring to spend time with him.

What I'm planning to do in this post is tell you what we agreed to do, how it's been going and what we are planning to do next. Vince is happy to share the plan we used and if you are thinking of doing something similar feel free to reach out to either of us with questions.


Vince broke down the 12 week program into three phases.

Phase 1, which I have now completed, is the foundation phase building the volume every week and getting used to running five times a week.

In my plan Vince structures the week with long, short, fast, slow, stretch / drills, with space for non running sessions too. He gives me YouTube videos to do post run. Here is the 7 minute stretching session and Eastnine sessions for my 4–8km mid-week faster training and low intensity Eastnine sessions for my long weekend slow runs. (I'm using the low intensity Fasted Running session today which is themed around nutrition and running).

'Rest' days are forced because they are post long run days and it is important for me to feel fresh leading into the next week of running, it’s easy to fall into the trap of wanting to run again the next day but your body needs to recover.

Column B is for me to add my own notes so I can use the programme by planning it around my work/family life schedule. I've got a busy, 4 kids family so each week on a Sunday or Monday, I look at it quickly and re-work what makes sense. Some days I have empty training boxes, these are for me to do nothing run related (boxing, pilates, swimming)

In terms of abbreviations RP = Race Pace. Vince approximated mine to be 5:30min/km. He expected to revise it quicker the more half marathons I complete (three down and three to go in 2019). Vince knows I can achieve this speed so he says now all I have to do is recreate it for the distance and this is done by hitting the training run weekly distance totals.

Vince gets that life is hard to control and he tells me to relax and feel free to shift it all around but maintain the order, so that I rest on rest days (always after a long run). Vince also says never skip a session, always pick up where you left from. Fast runs are at less than RP and slow long runs are more than 20% slower than RP.

I uploads all my runs to Strava and we message regularly in the week on WhatsApp. Once a week we meet in person and then every Sunday we chat on the phone to plan the week ahead. I also go to our Eastnine RunClub which meets every Wednesday come rain or shine to train with the team and other members / mates.



Here are are a few observations on what I've learnt so far:

Get into the habit of 4-5 runs a week. Its not easy and some days are really hard to get out but by the time I have my trainers on it really has become the best part of the day. The daily habit comes by following the plan and reporting what you do. That alone has been a bit of a revelation and the shortest runs can be as little as 3km or 15–20 min session but that is still really useful. Just get into the habit of 5 planned runs a week.

By mixing up the types of runs you do you keep learning, improve endurance, build strength and pace and it adds some variety to your running so you don’t get bored of the same old thing.

Running with others (a coach, other runners, your dog, kids, close friends or in my case my wife Sian) makes running easier and more enjoyable. Just watching others and replicating their styles helps me.

Be prepared for injury. I pulled something recently at my youngest son's Sports Day in the dad's race (never sprint without warming up). You might not do something quite so silly as that but you will potentially injured. To avoid this make sure you are doing your pre-run mobility and stretching/strengthening regularly. If you do get injured there is always a way to get back into training, but seek advice and do it slowly and the right way.



I'm told by being lighter in weight by 5 or 10 percent resulted in average improvements of 3.1 and 5.2 percent So how do I do that?

Running much faster and longer. Vince has helped me learn about the wonders of threshold training. Running just beyond my comfort level. Im an ex asthmatic and at times it feels uncomfortable. What is comfortably uncomfortable? How hard should I push, how do I avoid injury, exhaustion and getting grumpy?

4 weeks before my next half marathon we go into phase 3 which is all about resting. Whats that all about? And I going to forget stuff, lose fitness and strength?

So as I’ve written this I’m off to go get my kit on and head out for my 95min /16km slow long run. I'm not dreading it and I've got Vince to thank for getting me to this point.

To avoid running fear Vince has always advised to have the right kit to hand and be organised before a run. Get some good running shoes that fit (I'm an Asics fan), shorts with an internal lycra pants (I like the lululemon kit) to avoid any chaffing, and always something to listen to. I'm going to take with an easy 60 min Eastnine session and will do the final bit in the silence, listening to my breathing.

I’m going to really enjoy seeing how far I can push my body in the coming weeks and reflect on how far I’m evolving as a runner.

Marcus Sladden