SELF magazine

As a coach, I take pride in guiding my clients to better form and energy efficiency. I also encourage trying new things. So if you come to me as a road runner, I am going to advise you to hit the trails. Highlighted in the November 2014 issue of SELF magazine are a few of the reasons why I say getting outside and getting dirty are good for you.

The Truth Be Told

” Coach Erica – Thank you for helping me realize my goal of running 50 miles. I’m so glad that I chose to have you be my coach in what has been one of the best experiences I have ever had. You told me to trust the plan and I did and come race day I’ve never felt so ready for a race.  Your knowledge, energy and the solid advice was priceless Thank you for pushing me to the level that I needed, to be able to cover the distance and to be able to cover the distance feeling really great.  The Sean O’ Brien 50 didn’t stand a chance!!   Thank you. ” Pete C ~ Camarillo, Ca

” With the guidance of my running coach Erica Gratton, not only was I able to achieve my goals, but I did so with flying colors. Erica’s plan, specifically designed for me and my needs, guided me across the finish line of my first ultramarathon. Her professionalism and dedication to my success gave me the confidence I needed to succeed. I look forward to working with Erica on many more races to come.” Terry Britten ~ Thousand Oaks, Ca

” Even though we live across the country from one another, Erica’s customized training plan for me, notes of constant encouragement and checking in on me-have without a doubt made me a better runner. And of course her review of my running logs have made me realize the opportunity I have to continue improving! My interest in trail running is now spiked as well. I look forward to many years of working with Erica and to hitting personal goals that seemed beyond my reach prior to her encoragement and coaching!”  Tracy Manning ~ Cumming, Georgia

” I just started running and training with Erica and I saw improvement right away with my form, my speed and distance. I have never been able to run anymore than 3 miles and now I’m running up to 7 miles a couple times a week. She is so encouraging and up beat and gives motivation to run more and keep getting faster. Can’t thank her enough for what she has done for me. Love you girl!!”  Deanna Harkess ~ Oak Park, California

” Erica coached me for my first Tough Mudder mud-run. On our excellent and brutal trail runs she taught me breathing techniques, diet and gear prep, as well as how to prepare mentally for the race, among many other things. As a newcomer to long distance running and experiences like mud-runs, it was Erica’s coaching that made my experience with the race a total blast. Now I’m totally addicted and signed up for more. Thanks, Erica. Thanks a lot!” Matt Eason ~ Thousand Oaks, California

“The best thing about working with Erica is that even though she is a hard core athlete, she makes me feel like I am just like her! I am a working mom and wife who is simply trying to be my best. With Erica guiding my steps, she encourages and cheers me on to a greatness I never knew I had in me.” Kelly Pacillas ~ Malibu, California

Coaching services


Custom online coaching available – Have a race date in mind and need assistance preparing? If not, I will pick a race and we’ll work backwards in designing a program specifically for you. Training log provided and reviewed on a weekly basis.

Personalized training programs – Individualized running programs specific to your goals. Training log provided and reviewed on a weekly basis. Redesigned, if necessary, to adjust to lifestyle or fitness changes at no additional charge.

One on One running sessions – One on one running sessions. Video analysis and form critique. Individual assessments and/or weekly accompanied training runs available.

Guided trail runs – New to the trails? Guided one on one or group trail runs. Fun for groups that want to spend an afternoon on the trails, but don’t know where to begin. No expiration date. Transferable. No equipment required. Water provided.

Kid specific trail runs – Have an adventurous kid? Let’s hit the trails. I will guide your child and friends, because it’s always more fun with friends…on a fun, educational trail run/walk. Designed specifically for your child.

Need help finding a race in your area? Looking for a local running store? Want to go faster, further, or run injury free? Ask me how I can help.

Network of health and fitness professionals. Recommendations available upon request.

Email me directly at or call (805) 807-8022 

to discuss your future in running.

Prices vary depending on services rendered.

Video analysis – $60/session

One on one personalized training sessions – $60/session

Personalized training programs start at $350/8 weeks

Head Strong


How to keep your head in the game when an injury has you sidelined.


Whether you are a runner, cyclist, or tri-athlete you share a passion for your sport with fellow athletes. So when an injury prevents you from your passion, it’s hard to stay headstrong.

As an athlete, you may not understand the chemistry of your endorphin high but you sure know how it feels. So when that high is taken away for a week, two weeks, a month or more…it can be challenging to keep your head in the game.

Let’s start by hearing why we feel the way we do:

Endorphins are chemically related to morphine. Morphine is extremely addicting as we all know. When you exercise for extended periods of time, during endurance sports, your pituitary gland releases substantial amounts of endorphins. They are released when you put your body under stress. These endorphins create a state of athletic
A state in which an athlete “feels no pain” and surges through
discomforts and possible injury.  Recent studies have shown that the more physically fit an athlete is, the more receptive he is to endorphins. As intensity and duration of an athlete’s sport increases, so does the release of endorphins. The downside is that increased exposure to endorphins makes an athlete more addicted to their sport and it
allows an athlete to train harder because of their higher pain threshold and increased energy enabled by the endorphins. Unfortunately, this athletic euphoria can sometimes push athletes beyond their physical limits causing them injury. Suddenly sidelined athletes are susceptible to depression, anxiety, moodiness, irritability, weight-gain, insomnia and low self-esteem.

How to cope with an injury:

Athletes react to injuries with a multitude of emotion – anger, denial, frustration, sadness and sometimes depression. Here are a few psychological strategies to help any athlete keep their head strong and in the game.

First, learn about your injury. The more you know, the better you will feel. You will have less anxiety and feel a greater sense of control over your injury. Remember, your injury is not you. It is merely a part of your whole. Ask questions about the cause, treatment and prevention of your injury to your doctor, coach, or trainer.

Next, set appropriate goals for yourself based on your doctor’s diagnosis.
Keeping a positive attitude is going to be your biggest asset in your recovery. Remember back to a race when you had to dig deep…find that courage and remember how it feels. Once you’ve set your goals, stay focused on getting better. Your goals are no longer about performance. Your goals should be about your recovery. Athletes tend to try to speed up recovery by doing too much too soon. Know your limits.

Depending upon the type of injury you have, you may be able to modify your training. Many athletes have secondary sports they use on typical cross training day. Work with your doctor or trainer to create an exercise plan that will help maintain your cardiovascular conditioning and strength. Perhaps you can cycle or swim.

Most importantly, maintain a positive attitude by staying connected.
It is sometimes more natural or comfortable to retreat when an injury has occurred. An athlete may no longer feel a part of his sport community, because he cannot train or compete. DO NOT isolate yourself. Go hang out at the track. Go volunteer at an aid station or call your buddies to vent your frustrations. You may find comfort in knowing you don’t have to face your injury alone. Sign up at Runner’ and receive daily inspirational quotes. Pickup a copy of an inspirational read like It’s Not About the Bike by Lance Armstrong or Running On Empty by Marshall Ulrich. Whatever you do, stay connected while remaining focused on your rehabilitation.

Armed with the right knowledge and attitude, an athlete’s world does not need to be upside down. The injury is not the athlete’s identity.

Stay headstrong and keep your heart in the game…

even when your body can’t be.