Ask a Coach #1 – Beth Baker, Founder and Chief Running Officer at Running Evolution

Today, we are kicking off a new blog feature here, in what we like to call “Ask a Coach”. You’ve seen us interview a couple of well-known coaches around the Seattle area in the past, including Beth Baker, Founder and Chief Running Officer at Running Evolution, and Mary Meyer, Founder and Certified Coach at Mary Meyer Life Fitness. Now, you have a chance to throw out any running-related question to one of them.

Read answers below to questions members of the Gametiime community have submitted to Beth Baker throughout the past week and feel free to comment with other running questions you have!

Kari Selvidge Ferguson asks… “I want to start trail running. Best tips for someone new to trail runs?”

Beth Baker: The best thing you can do is a simple math equation. Take the speed of your normal run and divide that in half. Check your ego at the trail head, as you may need to walk a little more then your speed demon concrete runs. Some trails are slippery, steep and are laced with roots, rocks and mud. So, you really have to watch where you are going. And depending where you are going, you may need to bring a buddy or bear spray or a buddy who will be willing to be used as bear bait. You use different muscles when you are trail running, so you may be a little more sore too. But on the upside, it really is magical and lovely. Have fun.

Lynne Dial asks… “Cold air is an asthma trigger for me. Are there any indoor tracks around the Seattle area so I can keep running this winter?”

Beth Baker: I know UW has a indoor track that is popular. You can also use the good ‘ol treadmill and watch some trashy TV. It works for me!

Rebecca Rosenberger asks… “Do you have any tips for slippery running shoes in the rain? I am sliding all over the place!”

Beth Baker: YES! But it involves another running related “investment”. Trail shoes are better equipped for gripping the concrete. You can also try to find more gravely trails. The loop around Green Lake, parts of the Burke Gllman are good spots. Be careful out there.

Rachel Heller Ostrander asks… “How often/how/do you need to wash your running shoes?”

Beth Baker: I don’t wash my shoes. I do go running in the rain though, and that keeps them clean. You can throw your shoes into the wash, just don’t put them in the dryer. It breaks down all the technical filling in there that you paid so much money for. You can dry them by putting newspaper in them and keep swapping out the wet for dry until they are dry.

Heather Koski asks… “What sort of breathing techniques are recommended when running in a humid environment?”

Beth Baker: Through the big hole! When it’s humid your sinus start to drain and your become more stiffly, and you may not get enough O2 from breathing in just your nose. You can experiment to see what works, but you may need to breath through your mouth more then when it’s more dry out.

Jon Tam asks… “I’ve always been curious about opinions regarding pronation. There is the school of thought saying, “pronation should be accounted for by wearing stability, motion-control, or neutral-cushioned shoes”, while others (e.g. minimalist runners) say your body is naturally constructed to absorb the impact of running and, thus, barefoot or minimalist footwear is the way to go. You’ve run a lot and seen a lot of runners.

What are your thoughts on pronation? Should people wear footwear in attempt to correct it?”

Beth Baker: Well there is only one answer, are you ready? It’s all comes down to this one answer: It depends.

Sorry. Everyone is made different. And everyone is stronger in different places. And some people wear high heel shoes that are 2 sizes two small for them cause they were on sale and they make their calves look AMAZING and may have screwed up my feet, I mean their feet.

SO, the best thing to do is go to a place that fits you for shoes and see what they say. The minimalist shoes are great, but not great for everyone. Some runners only pronate on 1 foot. If you DO want to go minimal, start walking around your house barefoot. And step down your foot wear to a less structure, but do it in stages.

Holly Pilcher Bir asks… “I want to be able to run from work to a bus stop on my route home. Can you recommend a good commuting backpack that will hold my work clothes and bus pass?”

Beth Baker: Such a great idea to vanquish the wheels and head out on your feet to commute. It makes the end of the day cruds fly away. So, A) Good on you, Holly. I would head over to any sports places with a copy of the clothes you bring to work and start testing them out. I used one for years that looked like this backpack and it worked like a champion. The key things to remember is that it will fit around your waist and your chest and that the buckles in that area are snug. That way it wont bounce as you fly home to your abode.

What other running-related questions do you have for Beth?

BethBaker_profileBeth Baker is the Founder and Chief Running Officer of Running Evolution, a Seattle-based running program in the Greater Seattle area. The program was started eight years ago and has since trained 1,500 new runners. Beth started Running Evolution out of trying to run and failing for almost a year. She says she made every mistake — from bad sports bras to having the wrong shoes and just, well, doing it wrong. But after falling in love with it, and helping her friends start running, she knew there was something to it. She is starting a new runner podcast and will be launching a “coach the coaches” program” soon as well. You can find information about her and the Running Evolution program at her website, Twitter, or on Facebook — or just running around Green Lake and enjoying a post run beer. 

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the featured coach and may or may not reflect those of Gametiime. This information should not be regarded as medical advice.

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Know of a great running or triathlon coach that should be part of the Gametiime Coaches Corner? Leave a comment or send an email to and we’ll get back to you shortly.


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One thought on “Ask a Coach #1 – Beth Baker, Founder and Chief Running Officer at Running Evolution

  1. Pingback: Ask a Coach #2 – Beth Baker, Founder and Chief Running Officer at Running Evolution | Gametiime

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