Last week in my first installment of Ask Coach Deb, I suggested that I would make this a monthly feature; however, my new friend Lynn had many follow-up questions so as long as those questions keep coming, I will post either weekly or bi-weekly. Feel free to add your own questions in the comments below and I’ll attempt to answer them in my next Ask Coach Deb post.


Question: Now that I’ve purchased fuel, I need to find something to carry it in. Nowhere nearby sells the belt thingies. Where should I look?

Coach Deb: I love my SPIbelt (affiliate link) and you can order it from Amazon. I haven’t tried the FlipBelt (affiliate link), but some of my running friends have them and they them.


Question: Do you recommend an arm band for my mobile phone so I can listen to music? My music usually plays out after an hour but I need to know my mileage. I just wondered if this was an irritation that I don’t need?

Coach Deb: My husband liked his arm band, but once we upgraded to larger iPhone 6S’s he thought the phone was too big and bulky and it annoyed him. I use my SPIbelt for my phone, and my Nathan hand held water bottle (affiliate link) pocket to carry my fuel. 


Question: Should I eat before or after my stretches and workouts or wait until end of run to eat? Should the supplements (fuel) be used as my breakfast? If I eat, do I drink coffee, tea, or water, and how long before training after eating?

Coach Deb: My general rule of thumb is that if I’m running right after I get up, I don’t eat unless I’m running more than seven or eight miles. It’s best to let food digest for an hour or two before a strenuous workout and I don’t want to get up even earlier unless I’m going on a longer run. I usually run at 5:30 AM on weekdays and 6 or 7 AM on Saturdays (depending on the length of my run). Back when I ran marathons and went on 20-mile training runs, I’d get up a bit earlier to eat so I’d have at least an hour for it to start digesting before I started my run. Pre-run breakfast for me is usually half a bagel with a little almond butter on it and a banana. Edited to add: Of course, you have to experiment with what works best for you, and it’s during your training runs that you need to figure all this out.

As for what to drink, drink coffee, tea, or whatever you prefer; but I do like to see my runners start their day with a hearty glass of water to start the rehydrating process. We’re dehydrated when we wake after going for 6-7 hours overnight without drinking any water.

Save the Honey Stingers (affiliate link), GU (affiliate link), etc. for while on your run. It’s generally a good idea to take in about 100 calories for every 45-minutes your’e running, assuming your tank was topped off prior to your run (good breakfast). Always hydrate with your fuel intake.


Question: Can you talk about the appropriate way to breathe when running? I want to make sure that my music isn’t distracting me from taking air in and out like I need to!

Coach Deb: The most important thing to remember is to breath with a purpose. Breath with both your mouth and your nose if that’s what it takes to get sufficient air into your lungs to properly oxygenate your blood. Your blood then transports that oxygen to your muscles giving your running muscles enough energy to respond to your demanding run.

Don’t let your music change up your breathing pattern. Go on a short easy run without your music, and focus on your breathing. Count how many seconds you take on each inhalation and each exhalation – the two numbers may be different. Let’s assume it takes you 3-4 seconds to inhale and 2-3 seconds to exhale – make those your goal numbers when you’re running harder. The main goal is to breath smoothly and deeply allowing as much oxygen as you need to get into your lungs.


Question: Oh wow, I’m doing something right because I can hardly move my body! I ran my 4 easy miles this morning and ended with 4 x 20-second strides. My abs are obviously getting a workout (maybe from yoga) and my legs are on fire after the static and dynamic stretches! Tomorrow is either an “off day” or “run three easy miles.” Should I suck it up and run in the morning, or should I rest my body?

Coach Deb: I’d suggest giving yourself a rest since you’re so early in the game. Perhaps do yoga and a little more stretching to help work the soreness out. 



  • Questions:
  • What questions would you like to see answered next time?
  • What other pieces of advice would you add to the above answers?


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