Middletown Athletic Club

(serving the Middletown-Odessa-Townsend, Delaware Running Community since 2002)

"That's the thing about running: your greatest runs are rarely measured by racing success. They are moments in time when running allows you to see how wonderful your life is."  - Kara Goucher


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  • June 03, 2020 1:52 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Middletown Athletic Club

    Group Run COVID Guidelines

    Adapted from RRCA/CARA Operational Preparedness Guide

    Updated 6/3/2020

    We are excited to resume our group runs, with some clear cautions in place. Please take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with our recommendations below for safe group running. We look forward to seeing you out there!

    • Do not participate if you are sick or have any concerning symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, body aches, etc) or if you have had recent contact with someone with COVID.
    • If you are in a high risk population for complications of COVID infection, please contact your physician before participating in group runs.
    • Practice social distancing - 6 feet minimum at all times, and 6-8 feet minimum while running (unless you are from the same household).
    • No group photos for now, but please share your individual photos on our facebook page!
    • Faster runners head out first, followed by slower runners to minimize passing.
    • Run single-file.
    • Carry your own hydration/snacks, if needed.
    • No spitting or ‘snot rockets’ - bring a tissue or handkerchief.
    • Bring a face covering! DNREC currently requires all visitors (state parks, wildlife areas and reserves, including the Mike Castle canal trail) to carry a face covering and wear it when social distancing cannot be maintained.
    • Please be courteous to other trail users, and avoid gathering in areas that limit the ability for others to pass at a safe social distance.
    • If you become sick with or test positive for COVID within 14 days of participating in a group run, please notify our club president, Phil Smith, at helenandphil@gmail.com or 302 690 5569 .

    Let’s get out and enjoy exercise, nature, and each other’s company  in a socially responsible manner! See you on the trails!

  • March 16, 2020 11:23 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Here is an informative note from Runners Connect concerning the necessary cancellation of races and how they can be handled by runners that hvave been training for them.


    "If you’re reading this article, I know you’re not in a great mood.

    All the preparation, hard work, and miles on the road seem like they are about to be a waste thanks to something out of your control.

    While there’s nothing I can do to truly make you feel better, my hope is that with this article I can give you a good guide for…

    • How you can make the most the training you have put in.
    • Potentially adjust your schedule for another race down the road
    • Shift your mindset so something good can come out of this.

    Read on if your race as cancelled or might be 

    Your race is 1-3 weeks away

    1. Run your own race

    This is the easiest solution, albeit not the most satisfying.

    1. Try to find an area around your home (it’s okay to drive a little) that is flat and free from traffic.
    2. Create a route (loop is best) that is the same distance as your goal race. You can even set out some water bottles and fuel like you might find at a normal race.
    3. Warm-up and prepare like you normally would and then race your loop to the best of your ability.
    4. Maybe you can convince a fast friend to pace you or get someone in your family to bike along side to help you keep pace.
    5. Some races are even going virtual (I don’t have a list) so do a quick google search and maybe a virtual race could be some extra motivation.

    Of course, this atmosphere isn’t likely to result in your best performance (without the electricity of crowds and other competitors), but it will allow you to take advantage of the taper and hard work you put in this training cycle.

    This is my recommended solution since it allows you to at least take advantage of your current fitness, gives you the chance to run fast, and eliminates logistical challenges down the road.

    2. Find another race you can run

    The “solution” that would leave you feeling most satisfied is to find another race you can run.

    However, this is another gamble since you don’t know for sure if your second choice option will also get cancelled.

    Thus, I recommend finding a race that is close to home or close to the destination you already have travel plans for. You don’t want to book another flight and/or hotel that you may not need.

    If you are able to find a race, you may need to adjust your training if it’s not on the same week.

    It’s a little difficult for me to give specific training advice in a blog article without knowing anything about your training. However, generally speaking, you can extend the last week or two of a taper if needed. Simply repeat the second to last week (maybe add a little extra intensity.

    If you’re a RunnersConnect member, see this section of the article for how to get your schedule adjusted by your coaches.

    Race is 4-11 weeks away

    If your race is 4-11 weeks away, the best solution is to go into “maintenance mode” so to speak.

    By maintenance mode, I mean backing off the intensity slightly, but keeping your mileage up. So, you would eliminate really tough, race specific workouts and instead swap them for moderate, more general workouts (more on this below).

    The reason for this is…

    • It’s possible your race isn’t cancelled yet, but is very likely to be. Maintenance mode allows you to keep your fitness high, so you can ramp right back up quickly without losing anything while also not burning out.
    • If the race is already cancelled up ends up being cancelled, maintenance mode gives you time to think about your options, wait to see how the pandemic shakes out, and plan for another race all without losing fitness or burning out.

    Once you are sure of the date of your next race, if it’s 4-11 weeks away you can jump right back into race specific training where you left off (or backing up 2-3 weeks if it’s postponed) without needing a ramp up period.

    If, after a few weeks of maintenance mode you don’t have another race scheduled or aren’t confident that you’ll be able to race soon, move to the next section.

    Again, RunnersConnect members can see the last section of this article for how to have our coaches write this maintenance block for you.

    Race is 12 or more weeks away

    While this is certainly still a bummer of a situation, I think we can actually make good use of this difficult time and actually help you become a better, stronger runner.

    You see, one of the mistakes I see most with runners is jumping from one race specific cycle to the next, without either giving themselves enough time between races or not “focusing” on training during the time between race and “taking a break”.

    Well, now you have exactly this opportunity. And, I think you can capitalize on it and make yourself a much better runner.

    So, why is this so helpful and how can you take advantage?

    One of the most common reasons runners hit a plateau is that they don’t work on their weaknesses between races (again, either they don’t give themselves the time by racing too frequently or they take a break from training between races).

    Here’s why this works.

    When you’re strong in a particular area (maybe you have natural speed or natural endurance) or focus almost entirely on one distance, the primary energy systems used for that event are maximized in training.

    The energy systems you don’t use during that race specific training plan get little work and lag behind.

    Unfortunately, at some point you will hit a point of diminishing returns where your stronger system can’t progress until you improve the lagging system.

    A good way to visualize this concept is to think of a how window blinds work.

    To raise a blind, you usually have two strings you need to pull. Each string controls one side of the blind.

    If we imagine the blinds themselves to be your race performance and the strings to represent separate energy systems, you’ll find that you can only raise one side (pull one string) so far before you need to also begin raising the other string.

    Therefore, by focusing on your weaknesses now, you’re able to make progress long-term, even without training as hard.

    And, that’s how you’re able to turn this negative situation into a positive. You can now work on your weaknesses and become a more well-rounded, healthier, and much stronger runner.

    How to work on your weaknesses.

    If you lack endurance, but have speed.

    If you’re a speed demon or have noticed that your shorter distance races are better, in comparison, than your longer races then you should concentrate on endurance based workouts, long runs, and aerobic development.

    An example would be reducing your intensity and slowly increasing your mileage. With reduced intensity, your body should be able to handle more mileage easier and thus adapt so you can carry it over to your next race.

    With no race on the horizon, you’re not stressed to include intensity like you normally would be.

    If you lack speed, but have lots of endurance

    If you’re an aerobic monster, if you’ve run a few marathons in a row, or maybe you’re an older runner, then you should focus on improving your speed and mechanics.

    An example would be slightly reducing your mileage and backing off some tempo run sessions and instead including more speed development work, strides, and explosive hill sprints.

    You can also start to include lots of drill work, plyometrics, and other exercises designed to improve your power and efficiency. Things you might not normally have time for with a full mileage load.

    If you’re constantly injured

    If you’re someone who always has something nagging them or can’t seem to get through a training cycle without a hiccup or two, this situation might actually be the best thing that can happen to you long-term.

    Now you can take your foot off the gas and really focus on what you need to get healthy. This might mean…

    1. If you currently have an injury, back off your training and focus on therapy.
    2. Begin adding that strength work, stretching, foam rolling and all the little things you let take a back seat when your training for a race. Now you have the time. 

    3. Start working to find the underlying causes for your injury because most times, simple strength training isn’t enough. It’s only the first step. 

    Don’t let yourself get down about the cancelled race. Instead, start making some lemonade from this lemon!

  • February 06, 2020 10:16 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    We have 2 vacant positions and another opening in March. We meet once a quarter for a few hours to review financials, club status, and upcoming events that support our mission while having fun. We welcome new ideas and new people to support them. We try to divide and conquer tasks outside of the officer roles. Respecting that we all have jobs and personal lives, we encourage Board members to participate in MAC sponsored events within reason. Please email macrunning@verizon.net if you are interested in learning more, or talk to one of the current board members, Phil, Charlie, Lauren, Martina, or Beth.

  • February 06, 2020 10:09 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    While living in San Diego, I tried joining a few running clubs (three to be exact), but decided a running club wasn’t for me.  While it was nice to join a group of runners at different locations in the most beautiful city in California, it wasn’t a fit for me.  My first try started great upon arrival with everyone appearing friendly and welcoming, to ending with the group leaving before I even made it back to my car. The second group I tried was the famous “SDTC”, with 800 members. I was sure to find a friend.. I arrived at Mission Bay Park on Saturday morning that happened to be their “time trial day”.  They had a course marked and clock set up to time everyone. I though “fun”, kinda like a free 5k! The next run was Tuesday night where I was “grouped” with the walkers because my time was too slow for the runners! I never returned. SD had a fun adult social activity league which I was a captain of a kickball team. Adults would play and different watering holes would sponsor the social hour afterwards. They offered a running group so I gave this one a try. While much less competitive than last experience- it was definitely like moving to a new high school in the middle of the year when all the “cliqs” have already been formed.


    So when I moved back to Delaware in 2010 a coworker told me about MAC and I was less than excited to check out the club. She forwarded me a couple of Andy Shearers club update emails. They were full of riddles and fun comments about people. I was intrigued. I emailed Andy and asked if there were any “turtles” in the group or are there mostly elite athletes and fast runners? He welcomed me and said there were runners of all levels. Sure enough- there were all ages and speeds that Saturday morning. I was introduced, waited for and talked to afterwards- even invited to Dunkin Donuts where Barb Ward slipped me acoupon for a free coffee! Everyone said see you next Saturday as I left. Over the weeks to come Barb and Joe Ward took me under their wings, coached and inspired me, the and while my “pace” didn’t match the Soucy’s, Heaths and Shearer families they all took an interest in my runs and made me feel part of this special community. Almost 10 years later, There are so many people that have been part of my MAC experience and friends made have become family. When I introduced my friend visiting from San Diego to MAC on club run, he felt welcomed and could feel what a special group of people I belonged to. That friend (now my husband) moved to Delaware a few years ago and we are proud to say we plan on being active in the club for a long, long time.

  • February 01, 2020 10:07 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Strength Training to be a Better Runner

    I was reading a book earlier this week and came across an intriguing analogy explaining the necessity of strength training for runners. It went something like this:

    Consider your runner’s body is like a race car. Your heart & lungs are the engine. We can upgrade our “horsepower” by running & cross training. This aerobic exercise help our hearts pump more blood more strongly, develops a better vascular system to deliver that blood, and stronger lungs to move more air.

    Sometimes as runners the only training we do is to “upgrade our horsepower.”

    Now consider the car. Let’s say it has a powerful engine. Even so, you can “run easy” with that car by taking it slow on the gas pedal and slowing down in turns. The tires, brakes, transmission, and suspension can handle that.

    But let’s say you drop a Corvette engine into a Honda Fit. Too much power can overwhelm the system, for example:

    ·        Go too hard on the gas pedal and you can spin your tires

    ·        You could go too fast and overwhelm the suspension in a corner

    ·        Too fast to stop soon enough, overwhelming the brakes

    ·        Sometimes the car can overheat if you run it too fast for too long

    But in the actual Corvette, a high-performance car through ad through, all of the parts of the car have been upgraded for better performance.

    Back to the runner’s body:

    ·        Our feet are like a car’s tires

    ·        Our legs and hips are like a car’s transmission

    ·        The tendons and ligaments in our legs are like the car’s suspension

    ·        And so on

    If we make a habit of only training our “engine” then that part gets stronger more quickly than the rest of our “running machine.” When we have a strong engine (heart & lungs) it’s easier to run too hard and overwhelm the other parts of our machine.

     We need to train the entire body. Running-oriented strength training allows us to “upgrade” the other parts of our running machine so that our tires, transmission, and suspension all become the high-performance parts we are looking for.

  • January 03, 2020 10:13 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Happy New Year!

    In 2020, promise yourself that you’ll be your own best friend.

    I see many people posting online or saying in person things about themselves that would be considered rude if another person were saying such things about them. For example: “I’m too fat (or too old or too slow);” “I’m not a real runner because...;” I could never do THAT because;" and the list goes on.

    At one time or another, you've probably been guilty of this yourself. I know I have. Stop and reflect for a moment on some of the things you've told yourself that have negatively impacted your running: "Such a long day at work;" "I just can't run in this wind;" "I can't breathe in this cold weather;" "I just wilt in the heat." THIS list is nearly endless. These obstacles are not real, they are in your mind! Plenty of people run after work, run headlong into the wind, run in the wintertime, run during August afternoons. You can, too!

    This year, promise yourself that you’ll be your own best friend. Don't be rude to yourself. Don't tell yourself things that will get in your way, that will bring you down. STOP thinking these dream-taking, hope-crushing, performance-stealing thoughts. Instead, START being your own best friend. Start speaking words of positivity, support, and encouragement to yourself. I mean this literally. Say them out loud! (Go ahead, try it now. You know you want to.)

    Negative thoughts can drain your inner strength, but positive words can make you stronger. Do yourself a favor and try this: when you have a negative thought ("Ugh, this hill is so steep"), immediately overcome it by speaking positive words aloud to yourself ("You are going to crush this hill!") It's ok if you only whisper, just make sure your lips are moving and air is crossing your vocal cords.

    Studies have shown that a second-person point of view works best. Choose a phrase that starts with "You are" or "You will." Then say it aloud to yourself. Repeat it like a mantra until the negative thought has been purged from your brain. (Studies also show that swearing makes people stronger and increases their pain tolerance so if you're so inclined throw a naughty word into your mantra, but keep your voice down!)

    This is real, folks. It's also January 2020, so make this year's resolution one that will improve your running almost immediately! YOU are going to crush this year!




  • March 24, 2017 12:02 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    As promised, here are the Core Sling exercises that Lauren Grieder presented at our recent club meeting.  These are some great exercises to get muscles activated in preparation for your runs.  Check them out and give them a try!  You can see descriptions and photos of the exercise at this link:  Core sling activation[1].pdf

  • March 01, 2017 2:13 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Here is a listing of new classes (free) being offered at the REI store near the Christiana Mall.  Check them out at the following link:  New REI Course Offerings - REI Christiana

  • January 26, 2017 6:59 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Please take a few minutes to check out the most recent copy of the RRCA "Keeping Pace" newsletter.  This is one of the benefits of our club (being a RRCA sanctioned club).  These news letters offer interesting information on running, injury prevention and diet.  Check it out at the following link: RRCA - Keeping Pace Newsletter

  • December 07, 2016 6:57 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Please take a few minutes to check out the most recent copy of the RRCA "Keeping Pace" newsletter.  This is one of the benefits of our club (being a RRCA sanctioned club).  These news letters offer interesting information on running, injury prevention and diet.  Check it out at the following link: RRCA - Keeping Pace Newsletter

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Middletown Athletic Club is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. 99 Willow Grove Mill Drive, Middletown, DE 19709

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