LA Rock n Roll 2014 – Being a Pace Leader

What an amazing day / weekend. It started on Friday night playing with The Red 11s at a private studio, for a bunch of old and new friends. The vibe was fantastic and gets me pumped up for our next show, and the Born to Run Ultras in May of 2015.
steve bassSaturday was the first day of the Sole Runners Full and Half Marathon training programs in San Pedro and Newbury Park. I gave a ChiRunning lesson to the San Pedro group and taught yoga. Hanging out on the San Pedro / Palos Verdes coastline is always beautiful and worth the drive. It was another great start of a day. On the way home I stopped at the LA Rock n Roll Half Marathon expo to pick up my gear from Coach David Levine from USA Marathon Training. I also ran into Julie Weiss, the marathon goddess. I drove home and went to a pumpkin craving party.
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I usually lay all my gear out the night before but I was too tired. I set my alarm clock for 5 AM and fell right to sleep.

I woke up a little nervous. I had to get my gear together and I have never been an “Official Pace Leader” for a race before but I do pace runners practically everyday, so this was right up my alley. The pace leaders were in teams of two. My co-leader was Aletta. She has done this a few times so I knew it was going to be smooth. We got into out corral and held up the 2:00 signs. We started talking to some of the people around us. I told them I wanted to get in a 1:59:30, because there is a big difference between Sub 2 hours and over 2 hours when you talk to other half marathoners.
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The LA Rock n Roll Half Marathon course starts out slightly downhill and the first half is easier than the second half. I didn’t want to start out slower than race pace on a downhill section. An easy 8:57 mile felt right. The second mile was a touch faster then we slowed it down to a 9:10. Miles 3 – 6 are just reversing the course and slightly up hill and we kept it at a 9:00 min/mile pace. A touch above race pace but saving a little time for the bridge.
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At the mile 7 sign, which was past my Garmin’s 7 mile mark, we hit 1:03:14 or a 9:02 min/mile average. We were 42 seconds faster than 2 hour pace. You reach the top of the hill there and head into the tunnel. At that point we lost our Garmins and it was downhill so I told the group to relax but use the downhill for a little extra speed. It felt easy but without seeing our pace we were probably going a bit too fast. The next highlight / challenge was the bridge. This bridge is pretty steep but we had banked a little time. We slowed our pace, took short steps and focused on the ground 10 feet in front of us, instead of worrying about reaching the top. Soon enough we crested the bridge and ran easy across the bridge to the turn around point to run back down it. Now mile 10 was out of the way and we had one uphill section to a downhill finish left. We took it slow from 11- 12. At the top of the hill we set our runners free. They were all going to finish under 2 hours. Aletta, Gabriel and I kept it steady all the way to the finish.

Our official finishing time was 1:58:05. It was a minute 25 seconds faster than I planned but close enough. It got some people great new Personal Records (PRs). Since it was my first time officially pacing I learned a lot and had an awesome time. Next time, and I hope there is a next time, I’ll slow it down on mile 6 up to 7 but the rest of the splits are what we need to run to get that Sub 2 hour time.

It was such a blast and I love all the interaction between the runners. Check out all my Garmin data and let me know if I can help you in your race training. See you next year.
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Train Focused, Coach Steve Mackel

Redcord Suspension Training with Lisa Mulrennan

Recently, I got to spend a little time with Lisa Mulrennan and learn about Redcord, an intense, effective, suspension training system. In fact it’s used in USA Olympic training centers, many PT practices as well as private training studios like Mulrennan’s Mindfull Movement in Los Angeles next to Beverly Hills.

Suspension training has hit the exercise market in a big way. runners and all sorts of athletes are using suspension training to improve their performances. What makes Redcord different is that there are three points of suspension, with each one having multiple adjustments, from where they are located in relationship to your body/joints, to height. Record can also offer a bungie cord system to help you off-load body weight that may compromise an execise’s purpose.

My personal experience after going through a series of evaluation movements using the Redcord system, then doing some basic and a couple of advanced exercises is that it was intense. I engaged areas in my abdominal muscles that were sore for days, meaning they weren’t being sufficiently tested in my normal abdominal exercise routines. Each exercise took my attention to really line my body up properly but Lisa’s guidance and expertise was excellent.

Redcord isn’t your mother’s suspension training system. First of all, the equipment is expensive, more difficult to hang and requires a trained professional. This means that you probably won’t be seeing it in too may gyms. But, if you are looking for something effective and different, and it is also used to help injury rehabilitation, Redcord may be what you are looking for.

Train Focused,

Steve Mackel – Master ChiRunning Instructor

Mt Baldy Run to the Top and Conquer the Bridge – This Monday Labor Day 2014

Mt. Baldy Run to the Top

Conquer the Bridge 5. 3 Miler

What are you doing this Monday? There are two great races: Mt Baldy Run to the Top and Conquer the Bridge 5.3 Miler

Mt Baldy Run to the Top is a 7 mile climb starting at 6,000 and goes up to 10,064 feet elevation. Once at the top you still have to walk down 4 miles to the chairlift to get a ride to the parking lot. Here’s my Garmin data from last year. Click “View Details” on the bottom right of the frame below for all the details. This race is very challenging.

Conquer the Bridge is a 5.3 mile run from San Pedro over the Vincent Thomas bridge, out a short way, and back over the bridge to San Pedro. Another challenging race

Both these are super fun and a good test of your conditioning. They usually don’t sell out but check their web sites so you can register race day. I’ll be back up at Mt Baldy this year.

Have Fun and Race Focused, Steve Mackel, Master ChiRunning Instructor

Tour de France Fitness Challenge Week One Done – Quick Recap

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The picture above is from today’s ride data posted at, to give you a sample. This week has been 230+ miles and over 15 hours in the saddle. My challenge is a little more difficult than I thought but I feel a bit better each day.

On to week two.

Since I have to fit in clients and classes these are becoming decent volume training weeks. It is averaging around 2 hours, pushing pretty hard (with stop lights and signs) to complete each 50k. In order to complete each day’s 50k ride, I sometimes have to break up rides into twice or more a day. I am going to see if I can wake up early enough to do that tomorrow and slip the Sole Runners’ Saturday run in between.

Next week I get to ride in the Sierras which probably means I’ll be climbing, just like the pros.

Ride Focused, Steve Mackel – Cycling Coach


Coach Steve’s Fitness Tour de France Challenge – July 5 – July 27, 2014 – Train Everyday the Tour Rides a Stage

Coach Steve’s Tour de France Fitness Challenge 2014

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It that time of of year again, the three weeks of the Tour de France, the world’s greatest cycling/endurance event.

In honor of what the riders attempt to accomplish, we have created a Challenge for cycling enthusiast

Here’s the Fitness Challenge

  1. Ride your bike everyday the Tour de France rides a stage (there are 21 stages in 23 days).
  2. Take an Indoor Cycling class everyday the Tour de France rides a stage
  3. Do either of the above everyday the Tour de France rides a stage
    or the 50k option
  4. Ride your bike at least 50k everyday the Tour de France rides a stage

If you choose option #4 you will ride 1050k (652 miles) over the 23 days.

Here’s some facts from the Tour de France:

  • Running from Saturday July 5th to Sunday July 27th 2014, the 101th Tour de France will be made up of 21 stages and will cover a total distance of 3,664 kilometres (2277 miles).
  • The course has 9 flat stages, 5 hill stages, 6 mountain stages with 5 altitude finishes, 1 individual time trial stage, 2 rest days
  • The Tour will go through 4 countries this year

My good friend Andy posted a daily stage description:

July 5     Stage 1                  Sprinter               mostly Flat, 3 tough little hills
July 6     Stage 2                 Sprinter                Flat
July 7     Stage 3                 Sprinter                Flat
July 8     Stage 4                 Sprinter                Flat
July 9     Stage 5                 Sprinter                Flat, “pave” oh yes, cobblestones
July 10   Stage 6                All-Arounder      Flat, 2nd half lump rollers
July 11   Stage 7                 All-Arounder       Flat, hills just before finish
July 12   Stage 8                 Climber                Rolling uphill with finishing climb.  Cat’s 2, 2 & 3 hills.
July 13   Stage 9                 Climber                Hills ! Cat’s 2, 3, 3, 2, 1 & 3.
July 14   Stage 10               Climber                Hills with a finishing climb. Cat’s 2, 1, 1, 2, 3, 1, 1.
July 15                   REST DAY !!!
July 16   Stage 11               All-Arounder       Hills in the 2nd half. Cat’s 3, 3, 4, & 3.
July 17   Stage 12               All-Arounder       Hilly.  Cat’s 4, 3, 3, & 4.
July 18   Stage 13               Climber                Hill will a finishing climb. Cat’s 3, 1, with HC Finish.
July 19   Stage 14               Climber                Hill will a finishing climb. Cat’s 1, HC & 1 Finish.
July 20   Stage 15               Sprinter               Flat
July 21                   REST DAY !!!
July 22   Stage 16               Climber                Pyrenees. Hills. Cat’s 4, 4, 2, 3, with HC Finish.
July 23   Stage 17               Climber                Hills ! Cat’s 1, 1, 1, with HC Finish.
July 24   Stage 18               Climber                BIG DAY! The Tourmalet. Hautacom Finish. Cat’s 3, 3, HC with HC Finish.
July 25   Stage 19               Sprinters              Flat
July 26   Stage 20              Time Trail           Some fun rollers.  1 good little climb.
July 27   Stage 21               Sprinters              Flat run into Paris !

I will be posting my rides everyday here on or on my Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages. My friend Ken created a Strava group to post your rides Click Here to Join Our Strava Group.

I will also offer opportunities for people to ride with with others going for this challenge. Look for those here and Facebook.

I hope you choose to take this Tour de France 2014 Challenge. Any questions feel free to contact me:

Watch the Tour de France

Ride Focused, Steve Mackel – Cycling Coach

Tour de France Challenge – 50k a Day / 21 Rides in 23 Days

Coach Steve’s Tour de France Challenge / 21 Rides in 21 Days / 50k a Day / Take an Indoor Cycling Class Everyday the Boys Ride


I love races. Races to keep me focused. If I don’t have a race or a goal I don’t train with the same intensity and I can find excuses for not training.

Some people love fitness challenges. I like a challenge but I don’t like “30 days or challenges” or those types of events because I like to be able to take breaks or maybe its a fear of commitment. Somedays I just don’t feel like doing some type of specific training. So, I rarely commit to these types challenges.

But I love the Tour de France and I want to feel what it is like to wake up every morning and ride like they do. I decided to create my own challenge “Tour de France 50k a Day.”

Here’s some facts from the Tour de France:

  • Running from Saturday July 5th to Sunday July 27th 2014, the 101th Tour de France will be made up of 21 stages and will cover a total distance of 3,664 kilometres.
  • The course has 9 flat stages, 5 hill stages, 6 mountain stages with 5 altitude finishes, 1 individual time trial stage, 2 rest days
  • The Tour will go through 4 countries this year

I am going to ride 50k or 31 miles everyday the boys are riding in the Tour De France. It means 21 rides in 23 days and 1050k over the 3 week period. On a strong day it should take my about 1.5 hours. When I slow down a little or ride a hilly route it should take around 2+ hours. During the Tour de France this year I will be in Tahoe teaching at the Wanderlust Festival and spending some time in Yosemite. That means my road bike is coming with me and some beautiful scenery.

Ok, that’s great for me but how can some of my non-riding friends play with this challenge? How about taking an indoor cycling class everyday the guys riding the Tour de France? You would get 21 hours of good cardio in this 3 week period of time and if you do it right it can help your running. I’ll write a post how to cycle to help your running.

It kicks-off Saturday, July 5. Pick an option that works for you. If you have a bike ride outside, maybe work in some indoor cycling classes or create your own option. Just get motivated by one of the toughest endurance feats in all of sports, the Tour de France.

I will be posting results and opportunities to ride with me. You can also follow me on Facebook and Twitter. Let me know it you are up to the challenge.

Ride Focused, Steve Mackel – Cycling Coach and Tour de France Enthusiast

Pub Run from Runners High in Belmont Shore in Long Beach Tuesday, July 1, 6:30 PM

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Did someone say Pub Run?

This sounds like summer fun. I missed the first Runners High Pub Run in June (I was at the World Champion Los Angeles Kings playoff game) but this time I plan on showing. The Sole Runners team took first in the first one, whatever that means. I am going to try and help there team out this time. Plus, Runner High is one of my favorite running stores in So Cal.

The details are on the banner above but quickly again:

  • The Run is FREE the food and beverage is not
  • Meet at Runners High in Belmont Shore by 6:30 PM ready to run –  5338 E. 2nd St. LB, CA 90803
  • 3 Miles – 3 Beers or whatever you want to drink
  • Wear your Red, White and Blue
  • Have fun or stay home
  • Please RSVP to:

Easy, fun training, with fun, cool people. That’s what I’m talking about. I hope to see you there.

Train Focused, Steve Mackel – RRCA Marathon Coach

Xterra Snow Valley Trail Race and Triathlon July 26 – 27, 2014 – Special SCR Discount

Looking for a fun, beautiful and challenging trail race? The Xterra Snow Valley Trail Races and Triathlon are worth putting on your calendar. The Trail Races are on Sunday, July 27, 2014. Below is my video from the 2013 21k (half marathon).

You can read the full race report at:

They are also offering a special for readers. Use the code “SoCalRunning”  for 15% off your your registration.

To Visit the Xterra Site and Sign-Up Click Here

My Garmin race data is below. Click “View Data” on the bottom right of the Garmin frame

Race Focused, Steve Mackel – Master ChiRunning® Instructor

FREE ChiRunning Clinic at the Dog Haus in Old Town Pasadena Tuesday, June 17, 6 PM

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  • Do you want to improve your running technique?
  • Would you like to run faster, easier?
  • Do you have questions about training for races?
  • How about ending it with some “Yoga for Runners” that Coach Steve has been teaching for the past 10 years?

Tuesday, June 17, 2014, 6 PM at the Dog Haus in Old Town Pasadena, Coach Steve if offering a FREE ChiRunning® clinic for the Dog Haus Running Club followed by Yoga for Runners

All you have to do is show up with your running shoes and if you have a yoga mat that would be great too.

The Dog Haus has great hot dogs and beer. I’ll be hangin’ around to eat and answer questions afterwards.

Train Focused, Steve Mackel – Master ChiRunning® Instructor

Wanderlust Festival – Yoga in the City – LA 2014

Santa Monica, CA – Hundreds of Yogis and Yoginis gathered on the Santa Monica Pier for the Wanderlust Festivals special one day LA event “Yoga in the City – LA.”

The short video above doesn’t show much of the yoga because I didn’t want to stop and shoot video while I was deep into the class. Just know, the yoga rocked and then we rocked.

Yoga in the City featured some of LA’s top yoga teachers. They lead 3 one hour classes with AcroYoga and Copoeira demonstration in between the classes.

I am leading ChiRunning® workshops at the Squaw Valley Wanderlust Festival, July, 17 – 20, so I wanted to check out the Wanderlust vibe. All I can say in WOW! I had a fantastic time. Now I can’t wait for July. Register Here

I signed up for the 4:30 PM class lead by Tommy Rosen, Kia Miller and Shiva Rea. I got there at 3:30, walked around the Kula Market and had a glass of grapefruit and sage kombucha. That was really tasty. The 3 PM class was packed. It was fun just watching such a large group of people doing yoga. Great music spun by DJ Drez added to the high energy.

It was a warm a windy afternoon. My class started out with Tommy Rosen. We started out with a session of Breath of Fire Pranayama. We did it longer than I normally do, and I found it challenging to go that long. Tommy then took us through basic forward folds, extensions and chair poses that really opened up my tight lower back. It had a strong Power Yoga feel to it.
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Kia Miller followed Tommy. Kia took us through sun salutation variations. I love sun salutations. Being out on the pier, looking at the ocean and being immersed in all that energy was awesome.

Next was Shiva Rea. Shiva’s classes always seem to be atypical yoga to me. But, the way she gets you to flow with you breath and movement is magical. The events I have been to with Shiva usually end up in dancing. The music DJ Drez was playing during Shiva’s class were these cool tribal drums tracks. It worked perfectly with the flowing yoga. Everyone ended up dancing, smiling and feeling great.

I hope I can find one of Tommy’s classes here in LA. I loved his portion of the class and attitude. I will be taking Shiva Rea’s class in Squaw Valley this July. Don’t miss a Wanderlust opportunity near you!

Yoga Focused,
Steve Mackel – Master ChiRunning® Instructor

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