Q&A: Running with Coach G.

With over a decade of coaching experience, elite ultra-marathon runner and POSE master training coach Gil Cramer knows a thing or two about running. Known as Coach G, he is the go-to source of all things running. In this insightful and inspiring interview, he shares with us his experiences and knowledge about this sport.  

SP: How did you get into running? 

When I was younger, I never ran and didn’t see the point of it, until my brother convinced me to join a training session with our school’s track team. The track team then led to the cross country team and that is where I really started to enjoy running. I always struggled to concentrate in the classroom, and being outdoors, off the beaten tracks, running through mud, jumping over logs, that was the fun part about school that I loved.  However, I was always injured; from knee problems, to ankle pains and a sore back. When you’re young you can just brush it off however at some point, the pain became more prominent than the enjoyment and I decided to put running aside for a while. 

SP: How did you get back into running again? 

After going through a whole range of other sports including mountain biking at a competitive level, boxing, body building and mixed martial arts, I always felt like something was missing. One of my friends persuaded me to sign-up for a race called the ‘Tough Guy’; and obstacle course with an 8-mile run. As I started to train for the run, all my injuries came back. I started doing a lot of research and eventually heard about the ‘Pose method’. I read their books and started to incorporate their drills into my training and soon I ran better and more comfortably. It worked and I wanted to learn more, so I booked myself on one of their courses. I finally started to enjoy running again and I was able to run further than before with no pain. 
SP: Is that what inspired you to become a running coach?

Yes. I want to share the enjoyment of running, and help people suffering injuries or frustrations with running. I want to share the knowledge that I have gained and help my athletes achieve the best results. That has led me down the path of being the Pose master coach for the UK, where I teach other coaches how to help their athletes. 

SP: With so many years of running experience, what is the best advice you have received? 

One of the best pieces of advice I have ever received is to always be present. We often try to run away from our problems, we put our headphones on and blast music to try to forget what’s making us sad or angry. I believe running is pure, it’s all about being in the moment and appreciating where you are at that particular time.  

SP: There was a time where you stopped running for a while, what keeps you motivated now?

I try to pick events or goals that interest me, that excites me and that makes me want to train and prepare. As races become more and more popular, I hear a lot more of people talking about losing their motivation. It might not be that you are struggling with your training but you are struggling with your goal. If you are not motivated, find out why. Is doing that race or event really what you want to do? And why?

SP: As an ultra marathon runner, nutrition must be so important! What is your advice on nutrition for runners?

This is a tricky one as everyone wants a quick fix and unfortunately there is no such thing. My advice in general is to keep a healthy lifestyle, eat natural foods and stay away from processed foods. That is my number one advice for anybody who starts training with me – get rid of processed foods as they are the worst possible thing to put into your body! I use a principle called the MATH method which is attached to your heart rate and general health. It is all about being the healthiest you can be because when you are healthy, you train better and move better. 

SP: There are so many fads and information about running out there. What is your take on that? 

The first thing I will say to beginner runners, get your technique right. De-clutter and go down to the basics (no gadgets, nothing fancy). In any other sport, you are first taught how to move correctly – whether it is how to bat or field in cricket, how to throw a punch in boxing, how to stroke and breathe in swimming. Running is the only sport where we are just expected to know how to move regardless of whether we move efficiently or inefficiently. There is no right or wrong way to run, but there is a way that is going to be less painful and more effortless. Technique is key, so don’t be afraid to ask questions!  

SP: How would you recommend beginner runners to include running into their workout routine and build up their running?

People who don’t run often can get nervous about running. Especially when they see other people running and think ‘I can never do that’. My advice is to include running as a little part of a bigger workout, whether it is just a warm-up exercise or a few sprints in the park. Running is about finding what works best for you and not what looks best on Instagram or the distance you achieve on your running app. Remember, there are no rules about running! 

Coach G will be leading our next running workshop on the 24th of July. It is FREE so sign-up here before spaces fill up! 

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Matthias Tietze