Introducing New RVN Contributor: Coach Justin Horneker

Justin Horneker was my coach for the 2016 NYC marathon. He will be a regular contributor to Running Vegan NYC as our very own running correspondent. Below is a little intro on him, as well as answers to his most frequently asked questions. Feel free to ask him anything else in the comments for future posts!

My name is Justin Horneker – some of you may remember me as Anna’s running coach for her NYC marathon buildup last year!
I’m the Head Running Coach at and I’m going to be stopping by the site pretty frequently to give you some running advice. I’ve coached runners of all levels across the globe, from high school track at my Alma Mater to a mother and daughter doing their first 5k in Dubai. I’ve seen a lot! With that said, here are my 5 most-asked questions.
1) How Fast Should I Run On My Easy Days?
As with everything in running, this can be taken multiple ways depending on how long you’ve been training and your current fitness. My philosophy has always been to keep your easy days easy so you can run hard when you need to in both workouts and on race day. This means running at a conversational pace on your “easy” days; a pace where you can have a genuine conversation with a friend. That’s why it always helps to run with a friend!
2) What Happens If I Miss A Run?
Don’t Panic!
So you sleep in a few days and start to feel bad that you missed a run or two. You then think that you have to catch up on the runs you have missed which leads to more pressure, more catch up, which leads to more missed runs and so on and so on…
The cycle continues.
However, you can break this cycle! You just have to stop trying to play catch up. You just have go out there and do one run. And then repeat, and repeat again – now you have some real momentum. Leave the past behind you– you can’t change missed runs. The only thing you can do is rebuild that momentum and learn from the mistakes you made.
3) What Happens When You Have A Bad Run?
“That run felt soooo bad, I feel like I’m losing fitness.”
One bad run doesn’t define you or your training plan!
As the saying goes, “one run does not a champion make” – Be confident in the work you’ve done.
Talk to any long time runner and we’ve all been there. It’s tough when you’re inexperienced with training, and it’s still tough when you’ve been running all of your life!
Here’s what you need to take home from this:
However you learn to deal with it, the strength of any runner is being able to bounce back the next day and mentally be ready to go knowing that the bad run is behind you!
4) How Many Miles Should I Run?
Miles are relative and you need to be careful. Too many miles too soon and you’re looking for trouble, yet too little mileage won’t allow you to reach your full potential. Everyone responds to mileage differently as well; some people can handle high mileage no problem, while other people can become injured as soon as they jump over that threshold.
Generally, the longer you’ve been a runner, the more miles you should be running while keeping in mind that you don’t need to run as much for a 5k as you will for a marathon. It’s trial and error– if you feel the itch to run then by all means do it! Just listen to your body and take a down mileage week once a month.
5) Is A 5 Minute Warm Up Enough?
Yes, but I’m not talking 5 minutes of jogging before you get into your run! I recommend a dynamic warm up before every run. Why?
The more you warm up your hips, glutes, and hamstrings, the less stress you are putting on a cold muscle during the run.
You are essentially activating that muscle to fire properly so that your stride will benefit and any tightness can be worked on.
Here’s a typical dynamic warm up:
  • Lunge Matrix (Front, Side, Diagonal, Back)
  • Leg Swings
  • Walking Quad Stretch
  • Single Leg RDLw/ kick up
  • Basketball Slide
  • Hip Flexor Stretch (3 planes)
  • Donkey Kicks
  • Fire Hydrants (3 Planes)

Here is a video demo of the warm-up:

It’s a simple routine and does not take a long time at all. If it’s choosing between this and adding 5 minutes onto your run… I’d have you do this warm up every time.

There are my 5 most frequently asked questions, I’ll be back later in the month!

In the mean time,

Happy Running,


Read more about my coaching here.
Snapchat – Justinhorneker
Instagram – @hornekerjustin
Twiter – @hornekerjustin
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Justin, based in St. Louis, Missouri, is the Head Running Coach at and has experience coaching runners of all ages, experience levels and distance. Justin’s main goal is to make your running personal; not just writing training plans will be custom tailored to YOUR schedule, YOUR body, and YOUR goals. His goal is to teach you #TheLifestyle which means teaching you how to hold yourself accountable to your: training, lifestyle, and goals!

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