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For those of you who do not know Nate Helming allow me to introduce you! Nate is one of the nation’s premier running coaches and an elite amateur triathlete. He is the endurance coach at the famous San Francisco CrossFit where he works alongside such strength and conditioning personalities as Dr. Kelly Starrett, Carl Paoli, and Diane Fu. Nate’s extraordinary knowledge of running and endurance athletics is apparent in his unique strength and conditioning program. His personal training, classes at San Francisco CrossFit, and the seminars he hosts nationwide develop and increase the abilities of endurance athletes from beginners to Olympic athletes. His company Helming Athletics, and the program The Run Experience he operates with fellow endurance athlete Craig Dos Santos provide online platforms to offer his skills and expertise to everyone.
Nate was kind enough to grant me an interview where I was able to ask him questions that all runners will find interesting and informative! Read and enjoy!
What is your background in running/competitions?
“I started mountain biking, playing soccer, and running x-country in high school. After a few years of competitive sailing in college I signed up and completed my first marathon (the Boston). From then on I really considered myself a runner and an athlete and I didn’t look back.
Over the years I competed in more marathons and even an ultra marathon in South Africa by mistake. This gave me the confidence that I could do longer endurance tests leading me to sign up for my first Ironman. Once I got into Triathlon I really hit my stride starting to finish higher and higher in the race standings. Pretty soon I was a sponsored elite amateur triathlete with Kona qualification, several top 5 overall finishes in major national races, and aspirations to race professionally.”
What is your most memorable run?
“While hiking with friends over the Indian Ocean in South Africa (traveling as a student), we all–without speaking–started to run along the trail. We were barefoot. And we just kept running because of the soft trail, the ocean, and the mood. It’s to this day one of the “purest” running experiences I feel I’ve had.”
What is the most common aspect of training that runners seem to neglect?
“Most runners wake up jump out the door and start trotting away. Most runners are missing that crucial 5 minutes of dynamic warm-up and mobility, mostly because they’ve never been taught how to do it. As strength coaches who run, this is where we come in!”
What is the most common error you see in an athlete’s running?
“I’d say the biggest “errors” if you could call them that are posture related and cadence related. Getting an athlete a little stronger and understanding how to run a little taller with greater core engagement AND working on a slightly higher cadence cleans up so much of their mechanics.The other error is a running plan that lacks variety in types of runs and in cross training.”
What is the most important piece of gear for running? Why is it so important?
“Other than a pair of good shoes, a metronome is probably the best self-coaching tool a runner can have. It helps cue higher cadence not only on flat terrain, but on down-hills and up-hills. So it helps teach better uphill and downhill running mechanics and it shows us exactly when and how we start to fatigue. Usually later into runs we lose posture and core stability, our breathing is off, our shoulders tense up, and our cadence drops. This tool simultaneously cues all these things just by letting us focus on that higher cadence!”
Where can people find out more about you and what you offer as a coach?
“Check out The Run Experience for more videos on strength training, core exercises, and running drills to improve your run experience! Stay tuned as we will soon be announcing a video-based all encompassing run plan in the form of a 30 Day Runner Challenge!”