Train SMART {DC}: Nutrition, Running & PT Tips

While we’ve marveled at the {incredibly crazy-awesome} finesse that some eventually perfect with fitness and strength, today we get back to the roots. The first ‘sport’ that many of us took on for a solo adventure, not totally expecting it to inch itself in and become a lifestyle. Today, we run, eat and train.

To switch things up a bit, I’m bringing in some experts! Three top trainers and coaches in the D.C. area recently launched TrainSmart DC, and I’m picking their brains a little bit. This is a comprehensive program for beginners to advanced athletes who want to run their best while preventing injury – I assume we all have something to learn, experts & newbies alike.

TrainSmart DC

TrainSmart DC offers programs from couch to 5K up to marathon distance (I think we all fit in there somewhere, yes?). Should you decide to join, you’ll work with Jeff Horowitz (author, marathoner 100+ times over, USAF coach, etc), Rebecca Scritchfield (RD, ACSM certified Health & Fitness Specialist) & Dr. Kevin Maggs (D.C., ART).

Without further ado, I play ‘journalist’….

First up, what is “smart” marathon training?

JEFF: Smart marathon training focuses on replacing endless miles with very targeted, purposeful workouts. When combined with carefully scheduled cross training of core-building strength workouts, the result is better performance with a lower risk of injury.

But the training is only part of the puzzle. Runners at all levels need to evaluate their technique and make improvements to reduce their risk of injury – that’s where Kevin comes in. Of course, our bodies need the fuel to perform and recover from the training and that’s where Rebecca comes in. Together, we form a 360 approach to help people of all levels perform at their best.

Salmon and Edamame saladMCM Before 2011Run DC 2011

Right, everything goes together! But to break it down, how does training, nutrition, and technique prevent injury?

JEFF: Injuries usually are caused by two factors: a neglect of certain key supporting muscles, and a exercise load that overwhelms our body’s capacity to repair itself. Smart Marathon Training aims to combat this by strengthening supportive muscle groups and by reducing the routine to key workouts. Runners get an individual training plan and the group runs to last the entire 8-week program.

REBECCA: Athletes need more vitamins and minerals and a different composition of nutrients than your average couch potato. Especially with endurance training, the miles tear muscles and tendons and create cell-damaging oxidation in the body. If you don’t fuel right, you will get injured. It’s only a matter of time. I tell people nutrition can make a good athlete great or a great athlete good. I meet with the runners of Train Smart DC one-on-one to discuss their eating habits and come up with a plan to meet their nutrition needs for race day and every day.

KEVIN: Learning the proper technique can help prevent injury from improper use of muscles and form. Golfers take swing lessons, tennis players take tennis lessons, swimmers take swim technique lessons, but many people seem to think that since running is a natural movement, they don’t need any instruction in running technique. My office specializes almost exclusively in running injuries and we’re busy all day long in treating them. I meet with the runners of Train Smart DC one-on-one to evaluate current technique, injury risk, and instruct them on drills and form changes to help them run without pain or injury.

Is this type of comprehensive program more important for longer distances like the marathon?

REBECCA: Not at all. Running any distance – even your first 5K – should have a proper training program. You can get injured at any distance as well so your technique is crucial. Nutritionally, cars don’t drive one foot without gas so why should a body run a 5K without good nutrition. Our first coaching program targets spring races. We are targeting 10 milers to full marathon distance at Rock-n-Roll USA (formerly Suntrust marathon and half) on March 17. I’m running the half and can’t wait! We’ll have many more programs this spring and summer for other distances. People should check out our website to see what we have going on.

Aside from half/full marathon distances, what can a beginner get out of this?

KEVIN: One of the biggest battles in doing a marathon or half marathon as a beginner is getting to the start line. The injury rates are staggering and while many of them can be chalked up to training errors, there are a significant number of them that can be attributable to faulty running mechanics. Instruction on running technique from the get-go will help a person learn the proper form and prevent an injury. With Jeff’s well-balanced training program athletes won’t overuse muscles. With Rebecca’s fueling program, beginners will learn how to work with their bodies to run strong and happy for years to come.

Which is usually the goal – get started, and keep going!

CC 5K 2009people's marathon MCM 2011

Some of us fall into the “experienced” category – this will be race number 5, 10 or even 20+. What can an experienced athlete get out of this?

JEFF: Experienced marathoners know their bodies — and, unfortunately, usually know their injuries as well. They know first-hand the frustration of being sidelined with an injury. By adopting a more targeted, comprehensive training program, they can set their sights on running strong and pain-free.

For people who sign up at they will get the individual sessions with each of us, the 8-week program, a weekly e-mail with training tips and recipes, and tons of freebies from local stores and product companies.


Huge thanks to Jeff, Kevin & Rebecca for their time & words of wisdom!

If you sat down with the experts, what would you ask them?

Would you join a program like this? {If you’re in DC and want to learn more about it and/or sign-up, feel free to contact the coaches!}



Filed under advice, DC, Dietitians, learning, Nutrition, running, training

6 responses to “Train SMART {DC}: Nutrition, Running & PT Tips

  1. I got injured both times I started training for a half, so something like this might be perfect for me!

  2. holy crap, dr. maggs did my gait analysis and I loooovvvve him (um, hi dr. maggs, hope you aren’t reading this). he’s actually done the same for several of my CAR buddies. he’s good stuff. and this sounds like an awesome program!

  3. joslynnn

    To be a healthy and uninjured runner, you need to think more than just your training plan! My cross-training is just yoga for now. My body feels great post-long run with a yin class. Thanks for sharing tips and advice from experts! Great job with your journalist skills 🙂

  4. Pingback: TrainSmartDC In The News! |

  5. If I were in the area, I would definitely be interested in a program like this to look at the big picture of training. It extends far beyond putting time in and they seem to hit on many of the important parts like proper nutrition, purposeful training, etc.

  6. These are some excellent tips! Several of which I follow myself.

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