My guest today is a fellow running coach and is the founder of a program, community, and app that is focused on helping new runners get started in our sport.
I am looking forward to learning more about what he has put together as we dive into what has kept him busy the last few years.
Let’s get this party started as I go a few easy miles with Mark Kennedy today!
First Marathon Full Of Mistakes
Mark Kennedy has been running for 10 to 15 years and for most of that time, he mainly stuck to half marathons and under.
When he finally decided to attempt a marathon, he was living in London at the time with his wife.
Looking back, Mark realized that his first mistake was finding a training plan online.
He was feeling confident during training and chose to run farther than the plan prescribed during his long runs.
Increasing his distance too quickly resulted in various injuries ranging from IT Band syndrome to plantar fasciitis.
Mark was forced to take a few weeks off of running leading up to his race.
The race went okay until around the 30k point when he had to slow down and grind it out to the finish.
Immediately following the race, Mark had no urge to run another marathon again.
A Second Shot
A mere couple of months later and Mark was already thinking about running another marathon.
He knew that he could improve in various areas and wanted to see what he was capable of.
One year after completing his first marathon, Mark hired a running coach to help guide him in the process.
Along with having a customized training plan, he also learned to fuel properly for the distance.
On race day he felt much better and was able to enjoy the experience.
Mark also took 30 to 40 minutes off of his previous marathon time.
Following his successful race, Mark has taken a step back since then because he and his wife started a family.
Interest In Athletics
Mark played various sports while growing up, but he never focused solely on running.
His interest in athletics continued when he chose to study exercise science at University.
During his time there, he began to run for enjoyment as time allowed.
After graduating, Mark found that he had more time and structure in his daily life to devote to the sport.
He began signing up for more races and consistently ran 3 to 4 times per week.
This was his journey in running prior to completing his first marathon.
Don’t Forget To Train Your Gut
As Mark’s interest in running grew, so did his interest in nutrition.
He realized very early on the integral role that nutrition plays in the sport.
His first entry into the fitness world was through a blog/podcast that he started.
That venture led to Mark creating a fueling app for runners.
The app no longer exists, but Mark is still passionate about the topic.
One rule that Mark tries to follow during endurance efforts is the “rule of 15.”
Simplified, the rule refers to taking in roughly 15 grams of carbs for every 15 minutes of running.
Learning to train your gut during running is a part that cannot be overlooked in order to achieve your potential.
Mark has always been passionate about helping new runners.
With a background in kinesiology and exercise physiology, he was well-versed in the science part of running.
He paired that with coaching certification and is currently coaching full-time.
Mark specializes in beginners and focuses on creating new habits and getting small wins.
His focus led him to develop an app with a running plan to go along with it.
The app is called None To Run, a gradual running plan for beginners.
None to Run is a gentler version of Couch to 5k (C25k), which also incorporates strength and mobility.
The app was initially in just a PDF form, but with enough interest he found a developer to build the app and launched it in March of 2020.
None To Run
The process to turn a PDF into an app was not an easy or simple one.
Mark was fortunate to find a great developer that made his life and the process easier.
Currently, the app is only available on Apple, but he hopes to eventually make it available for Androids.
Users have a variety of ways to access the workouts that include the app, the PDF, and even the podcast.
None To Run prioritizes community and Mark has even organized a few meet-ups over the years in various cities.
Another feature Mark offers is weekly phone calls that users can sign up for to get questions answered.
The app includes a beginner plan, 5k, 10k, and strength/mobility.
For those interested in various metrics, those are included as well.
None To Run also has programs that extend slightly beyond beginners.
The program initially focuses on running for time.
The more advanced 5k plan adds a little more emphasis on speed.
Mark is a firm believer that the reason his program works is that it doesn’t focus on too many things at once.
The main foundational piece of any runner just starting out should be consistency.
It is Mark’s hope that the program will leave people feeling like they could have done more and therefore will come back.
The app is continuing to grow and Mark is always getting input on how to make the experience better.
The Whole Picture
Consistency may be the foundation of running, but health as a whole will affect performance and progress.
Nutrition, strength, and mobility are key components of any training program.
Mark doesn’t give much nutrition advice other than reminders to not get too caught up in the details.
Overall he tries to eat a fairly healthy diet with minimally processed foods.
He does have a few more opinions when it comes to strength and mobility.
Mark doesn’t necessarily recommend stretching unless the person enjoys it.
Basic mobility exercises which focus on the hips are a good start to any strength program.
As in much of his other advice, Mark advises not to overcomplicate things.
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