From Coach Brenda RSS feed for this section

Running in the Heat

I just got back from a midday run and it was HOT! (especially for a person who loves summer). The heat of summer has arrived, and we must take precautions as we acclimate to running in hot, humid weather. Our bodies are far better designed to handle cold than hot and we have a difficult time in an environment that is even a few degrees above normal body temperature. Excessive temperatures can impair performance and lead to dehydration, fatigue and heat illness. Here are a few facts and guidelines that will help us better enjoy our summer training.

  • It takes 2-3 weeks of training in hot conditions to acclimate.
  • On hot, humid days, slow your pace from the onset rather than waiting until you body forces you to slow.
  • Many athletes experience fatigue and dehydration as they adjust to the hotter weather. Don’t worry, this is normal.
  • Runners perspiration rate differ, hydrate accordingly. In addition to fluids needed by daily maintenance, athletes need to replace fluids lost with exercise (weigh yourself before and after runs over a period of time). Drink 2 cups of fluid for each pound lost during exercise. If exercises exceed one hour, a sports drink will replace sugar and salt lost, less than an hour, water is adequate. However, don’t overdo it either. Some athletes adhere to the “more is better” theory, but drinking excessively, can lead to hyponatremia (low salt) which can be potentially dangerous.
  • Recent research has suggested that drinking ice cold fluids helps to combat the core body temperature rise.
  • An acclimatized person can sweat up to 4 liters per hour, while a person not acclimatized can only sweat about 1.5 per hour.
  • Vary time of day you run—morning is the most humid, but temps are cooler and evening is generally hotter.
  • Expect slower times for long distances.
  • Wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing that allows moisture and heat to be lost from the body.Wear sun screen and a visor for protection from the sun

Using strategies like these can make a difference in hot weather training.

Happy Summer Running!

A New Perspective

I love spring time. It’s a beautiful time to recognize the growth and blossoms in our lives, especially after a long, cold winter. Life is out there; changing, growing, renewing. Transitions are unavoidable.  Maybe it’s a new racing goal, maybe it’s handling an injury or illness, or maybe adjusting to an aging body.  Maybe it’s a job change, a child, or a new relationship; but change will happen. Spring time reminds me of how everything is evolving, unfolding. It’s like we get another chance—a fresh start. A do over.

Have you ever noticed how we pass the same sights and sounds so many times each day that we grow immune to them?  We know exactly how many minutes it takes to get from here to there.  If we run at the same place each day we know exactly how long it takes to complete the distance. We probably see the same people along the way. We struggle with the phenomenon of complacency and numbness.

I have been trying to look at my usual surrounding with fresh eyes…a new perspective. While life goes on, let’s remember to take the blinders off—expose our complacency, let in the refreshed air and light and really see.  Next time you go out for a run, alone or with a group, notice the beauty of the moment, your friends, the rhythm of your feet and how blessed we are to be out there, running with eyes wide open.

“Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful, for beauty is God’s handwriting—a wayside sacrament.  Welcome it in every fair face, in every fair sky, in every flower, and thank God for it as a cup of blessing.”Ralph Waldo Emerson

What’s blooming in your life?

Here’s wishing you happy miles this spring!

Coach Brenda

First 3-miler!

Tanner with Coach Brenda and Coach Jamie

Tanner and Coach Brenda

Tanner Brooks

Congratulations Tanner on running your first 3 mile race!  So proud of you!

Future runner…

Look at that happy face!

Fun Times

Coach Brenda training with Sandy Henderson at Huguenot Park!

Look out Boston Marathon!

Peak Runner traveling the world…

Reid Taylor representing Peak Running and Fitness in Florence, Italy!

Way to go, Jason!

Congratulations to Jason for winning 1st in his age group!

Jason won gold for his age group today at city point 5k in Hopewell, VA in pouring rain

and 41 degrees with time of 22:56.  He was 29th overall in the race of at least 250 runners .

His Mom, Susan, also finished with a personal best 5k at 29:18.

Congratulations Jason and Susan!

Summer Football Conditioning Camp

We had a blast with this group of young football players to condition them for the upcoming season!   We worked on running endurance, strength, agility and explosive power exercises to get them ready for fall football.  Way to go, team!

Youth Football Participants

Hill Training: Athletes wanting that extra edge

I’m a fan of hill training, believing that this training method can make a difference in your running and keeping you injury-free. Here are a few benefits for endurance athletes.

Did you know hill training:
1) helps develop power and muscle elasticity
2)improves stride frequency
3)develops coordination, encouraging the proper use of arms during the driving phase and feet in support phase
4)develops control and stabilization as well as improved speed (downhill running)
5)promotes strength endurance
6)develops maximum speed and strength (short uphill runs)

Lastly,  running hilly courses is a good way to increase mental toughness and train your body to endure sustained effort.  As with any endurance sports,  it will take time to see the benefits.  And doing more can lead to burn out or injury.  Consistent and progressive training is the best method; along with a little patience, which will help take your running to the next level.

This is the ups and downs of running hills.

Coach Brenda


There are certain moments in life that leave a mark.

I ran my first off-road marathon on Sunday, May 1. There is always a lesson to be learned in running a marathon; a lesson that can only be learned in the 26.2 miles. Many athletes, myself included, find it hard to get past the fear and doubt that creeps into your mind before and during a race— especially a marathon. However, I am learning; I am learning to trust my body, trust my training, trust my heart, and mostly trust God. I am learning that, instead of pushing so hard, I should focus on finding my rhythm, relaxing, listening, smiling and enjoying. I am learning not to be afraid to put myself out there without expectation. I am learning to be grateful to finish a race–any race–and know that it may not go the way I expect. I’m learning to embrace the challenges and use them to propel me forward. I’m learning that you don’t have to be afraid of pain. Because it hurts! I am learning that it’s okay if you’re not running the pace you planned. I’m learning that you never, never, never give up! Because, if you stay steady, stay alert and focus, you just may come home with that sweet victory!

Some friends and I ran the Potomac River Run Marathon on the first of May. It was a cool, clear day for running; we were excited with a few pre-race jitters. But we ran, we raced, and we persevered to the finish! All of us came home winners! I placed first overall in the women’s division. Alison, who’s been working with Coach Brenda at Peak Running, placed third overall, running a 4 minute PR.  Maribeth, another Peak Runner, placed third in her age group.

Race day is always a mystery unfolding; that’s what’s so humbling and exciting about it. The mystery is what keeps athletes coming back…because you never know what might happen.


~Coach BA