Personalized Coaching with Me

Last week I started offering personalized coaching, and I’ve had two people take me up on the offer so far. You can read about my first client, Bryan here.

I am excited to have a second client, Bob. After filling out my intake form and corresponding via email, I was able to get a picture of Bob’s goals, his current fitness, and what it will take to reach his goals.

Bob’s Running History

Bob is 56 years old, a former sprinter (49 second 440), enjoys faster paced workouts, and would like to run a sub 4 hour marathon. He ran a 4:09 marathon when he was 48.

Bob’s personality is perfect for a “run less, run faster” approach. As a sprinter, he enjoys efficient workouts that are run at a fast pace. My approach to training focuses on making improvements on key workouts, so it should suit him well.

Bob’s Current Fitness

His most recent time trial was 5 miles in 50 minutes, his longest run in the past 4 weeks was 8 miles, and he is currently running about 10 miles per week. He has also had some injuries in the past, both IT band and Achilles issues.


Bob would like to run sub 4 hours for the marathon. He has a Half-Marathon coming up in March, and a Marathon in November.

I told Bob, that considering his current state of fitness, running sub 4 hours for the marathon would take a considerable effort on his part. Based on this calculator, his current state of fitness puts him at around the 4:47 mark for the marathon and 2:18 for the half-marathon.

Plan of Attack

For the next 2 weeks I want to see how much improvement Bob can make by focusing on just 1-2 quality workouts per week. Each quality workout should be followed with a minimum of 72 hours of rest. Quality workouts should only be completed when motivation is high and when the workout can be done at a high level. If you start a quality workout and it’s not going well, cancel the run and schedule it for another day.

“Rest” days should consists of complete rest, 15-20 min easy runs or walks, 15-20 minutes of easy cross-training, or weight-lifting (so long as you aren’t sore prior to quality runs). If Bob feels exceptionally recovered, he can include 3-4, 100 meter strides during his walk/runs.

For the next two weeks, Bob will be doing similar key workouts to monitor his progress and see how he is progressing.

Two workouts I want Bob to focus on (Warm-up with ½ mile jog before each workout):

  • 3 x 1 mile @ ~ 9:10 – 9:40 per mile with 3 min recovery
  • 5 mile steady tempo run
    • Start @ 10:30/mile and work down to 9:45/mile or faster
    • Finish last ¼ mile fast

Staying injury free

It is essential that Bob listen to his body as he embarks on a new training program that includes high quality workouts. At first, even just one quality session per week may be more than enough to elicit a favorable response. I urged Bob to only attempt a second workout during a 7 day period if he is feeling highly motivated and completely recovered.


Bob weighs about 20 pounds more than his ideal weight. According to running legend Amby Burfoot, a healthy runner will race about 2 seconds faster per mile for every pound they lose. Losing 20 pounds could potentially give Bob 40 seconds per mile, without actually having to work any harder while running.

I suggest that Bob do a few things that will give him the most bang for his buck when it comes to living healthily and losing weight.

Compressed Eating Window

Eat within a compressed eating window. Extend the overnight fast to around noon and only eat within an 8 hour window (noon – 8pm). Only drink black coffee or tea in the morning.

If Bob has a quality workout in the morning, he can have a light snack like a banana; otherwise fast until around noon.

I eat lunch around 11am and finish dinner around 7pm. After dinner, I often have a carb rich dessert such as ice cream, or a glass of warm milk with honey and cinnamon. A carb rich desert in the evening can help with sleep and circadian rhythm entrainment.

Circadian Rhythm Entrainment

Disrupted circadian rhythms can have major impact on our weight. See Paul Jaminet’s talk about circadian rhythm and obesity here. Eating within a compressed window will help regulate circadian rhythm. Lighting also has a major impact on circadian rhythm.

At night, try to do relaxing activities; stay away from screens, install f.lux on your computer if you must use, change your lights to amber bulbs or wear orange tinted glasses to reduce blue light exposure (which reduces melatonin), and turn down your thermostat a few degrees.

When you wake up, turn up your thermostat a few degrees, and expose yourself to bright lights or go outside if the sun is out.


Bob should eliminate all processed vegetable oils, and any junk food or sugary processed foods (aside from and occasional treat).

Instead of cooking with vegetable oils, cook and flavor foods with healthy fats such as butter, ghee, lard, tallow, coconut oil, sour cream, or coconut milk. Food should be flavorful, but not oily.

Include fruits and vegetables to taste. Fruits and veggies are fine to be eaten on their own as a snack.

Bob should also consider eliminating wheat and other processed flours, aside from the occasional treat. Eat whole food starches  such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, and white rice. Starches should be consumed as part of meal.

Your plate should be about ⅓ starch, ⅓ veggies, ⅓ meat, fish or eggs. Snacks can be things like fruit, dark chocolate, nuts, cheese, gluten-free crackers.

Here are a couple meal ideas:

First meal of the day examples:

  • Pan fried potatoes in butter or ghee, with 2-3 egg omelet with veggies
  • 2 eggs, 1-2 pieces of bacon, smoothie with spinach, banana, yogurt, berries, top off with water

Dinner examples:

  • Steak or fish, baked potato with butter or sour cream, salad with olive oil vinaigrette dressing
  • Stir fry meat and veggies in butter, or coconut oil, serve with white rice, and tamari soy sauce


  • Small serving of ice cream, or other treat

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Paleo lifestyle enthusiast, Minimalist runner