Written by Allen Meringolo
In Fall 2014, Eat Your Coffee founders, Johnny and Ali, were launching the Coffee Bar on Kickstarter while students at Northeastern University. The same year in school as them, I was in the midst of my third cross country season for the school. It was not going well. In my first race of the year, the 5k time I posted was slower than I ran as a junior in high school and by far the slowest on the team. Despite running a higher weekly volume than I ever had in my life (over 70 miles a week), my training was not translating into successful performances. The more I pushed, the worse it got. Although it was one of the hardest decisions I ever made in my life, I decided to quit running competitively.
At that point, I was not sure if I would ever compete again at a high level again. In my mind, I associated competitive running with endless time & stress with little external validation. Then towards the end of 2017 and early 2018, I began to catch the running bug again. I decided that I wanted to give the Boston Marathon a try after being in the city for 6 years and seeing how the event brought everyone together (particularly after the events of 2013).
But remembering where I was at in Fall 2014, I knew that I could not repeat past mistakes. For a lot of serious runners, running very high mileage is key to a successful marathon but I had learned that I could not handle it and that under very high-volume weekly mileage, I get burned out. So these past few months, I have altered my approach to training:
- Quality over quantity - instead of running 70 miles a week, I am running 30-35 and taking two days off from running every week but focusing on my long run and one other more intense workout
- Intense running breaks down your body so recovery is as important as the actual training. This means:
- Sleeping at least 7.5 hours every night (sorry for occasionally rolling into work at 10am, EYC team)
- Stretching and using a foam roller before and after every run
- Eating a more balanced diet with more fresh foods, less meat, and yes, lots of tasty caffeinated Eat Your Coffee Bars (in my unbiased opinion, the best energy bar for runners)
Being a part of Eat Your Coffee team the past two years has also helped in my training mindset. Working for a fast-growing startup means understanding that things rarely go according to plan and staying focused on the here and now then being confident that if you do that, everything will work itself out. With this altered approach and more ~adult~ mindset, I am definitely in the best shape of my life.
The cherry on top is the fact that I am able to tie in running the Boston Marathon with the launch of our new caffeinated snack bite line and partnership with Fresh Truck to help fund their food prescription program made it so much sweeter. I thank the Eat Your Coffee team for their support (and endless supply of healthy caffeine bars) and everyone who has participated and spread the word about our campaign.