Monday, December 15, 2008

How to motivate yourself to run in the cold of winter

Winter motivation is a great topic and one that I think gets overlooked quite a bit because we aren’t all up there with our fellow runners in the northern states where winter can bring inches if not feet of ice and snow from one day to the next!

The key to braving the elements is to give your self a reason for suffering. By this, I mean setting a goal. However, this goal can’t be just ANY goal. No, you have to set one that matters enough to you that you will risk frostbite, hypothermia, or the other gruesome dangers that arise when exposing yourself to extreme temperatures.

Running in inclement weather is painful, and I don’t always enjoy it. I am motivated to do so because I know it is a necessary byproduct of being a runner who has a personal goal that is worth suffering for. My personal goals are irrelevant to this post because it is likely they are different than anyone else’s who is reading this. The simplicity of the goal setting concept is that the goals matter a great deal to me and me alone. Because of this, others might not find them worth the suffering I am willing to put into my training.

So, one of the most important aspects to staying motivated during seasonal extremes is that each runner set a personal goal or goals to base his or her motivational foundation upon.

The beauty of all of this goal setting is that one day our goals will change and when that happens we will simply need to retool our mindset to accommodate those new goals. In doing this, we will continue to train on a personal, motivational foundation that does not matter to anyone else other than ourselves.

Until then, when its 20 degrees outside with a 30 mile per hour headwind, win or lose, we know we did everything we could to prepare ourselves for the race by basing our training on goals that drive us; and in achieving those goals, we have won (even if you’re not on the podium)!

Side bar:
For the past 1.5 years I’ve lived in Atlanta where we get all four seasons to varying degrees. Prior to Atlanta, I was in Houston, TX where heat and rain were our only concerns but now training in the bitter cold and sometimes snow is a regular occurrence throughout the winter. Once the freeze is over, the rains come, and then it is on to the brutal heat of summer. My motivational foundation to train outdoors during these times is based on my current goal, and that is the extra incentive I need to get out there and swim, bike, and/or run.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

1500 yard swim the easy way

Ever wonder how that swimmer in the lane next to you makes it look so easy? Me too. Today I felt that way for the first time since I've been back in the pool. The guy next to me was hammering out one lap after the other, switching his strokes up from freestyle to the butterfly, and flip turning like a mad man. It was a thing of beauty.

So, what did I do? I stuck with the plan. I hopped in the water, put on my goggles and used my easy swim stroke to glide through the water while "The Hammer" next to me was doing his own rendition of Hammer Time.

Here is how you can pull it off without much stress, and still look like you know what you're doing:

600yds with 30 seconds rest
300yds with 20 seconds rest
4x100yds with 10 seconds rest
4x5yds with 5 seconds rest

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Running like a fish out of water

Running after swimming has become one of my favorite workouts. I've been coming up with new running routes to do, but I keep coming back to my 3.5 mile route after my swim at the gym. I always see something new along the run which keeps it interesting.

Today after my swim I felt a slight twinge in the arch of my foot so I was happy I was putting on my Sof Sole support socks even though they hadn't been washed in a couple of runs. It turned out to be another great workout. My pace was just around 7:45 or so and I still had a lot in the tank.

I'm looking forward to my next brick workout. That is after I wash these socks.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Swimming with sharks

I've never swam with sharks, and I don't plan on doing it any time soon. Today, however, was a unique situation at the pool and it is how I imagine swimming with sharks would be.

I was in the center lane of a three lane pool. The center lane is a single swimmer lane, and the two outer lanes are reserved for 2 swimmers when needed. Today was one of those days. Each lane was taken and other swimmers were beginning to queue up along the side of the pool just waiting for the next swimmer to show signs of fatigue so they could hop in for the kill before one of the other circling swimmers decided to take the bite.

The activity in the water was similar, each swimmer keeping an eye on my coveted lane. I was safe, inside the shark cage, while the rest of my fellow school of fish were left out in the outer lanes where they could be picked off... and the weakest swimmers were the first to go. I stayed strong, finished my swim, then let my fellow swimmers battle it out for the caged lane where it was safe.

Today's distance:

Monday, November 17, 2008

When 1250yds is really 1100yds

There is nothing like putting in a good hard swim and realizing you actually went 150yds shorter than planned. That is what happened today but I didn't figure it out until I was sitting on the side of the pool counting my laps. It didn't feel too good to have short changed myself, but I took it for what it was and decided I wouldn't obsess about it too much.

I'll just do what any self-respecting swimmer would do... I'll make it up the next time I am in the pool!

Today's Workout:
1100 yds

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Brick Workout - Swim and Run

Repeating the same workout from one day to the next can get a little boring, that is unless the workout is a brick. I love brick workouts. They keep things interesting when you are looking for an additional challenge to add to your otherwise overloaded training plan!

Today I hopped in the pool for another quick 900yds. These 900yd efforts have been a great way to get loose before heading out to pound the pavement. The swim felt good and the first 200yds were easier than they had been the last two times I was in the water.

After the swim I hit the road for a 3.5 mile loop. The weather was in the upper 40s with a windchill somewhere in the 30s so it was a bit colder than yesterday's run. Luckily I had planned ahead and was warm enough to complete the route without frost bite.

I plan on doing more of these swim/run bricks on the weekends. They are less taxing on the body than Bike/Run bricks (although I will work those into my training as well). I am just finding new enjoyment in the pool and hope to keep it up!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Going from the swim to run: "Splash and Dash"

As with most triathlons, the swim is usually followed by the bike and then a run. However, I have been in a few Biathlons and Duathlons where the swim is immediately followed by a fast painful run. If you have never tried giving a good hard run effort after a swim... you should.

These brick workouts are a great way to mix up the training when things get a little stale. Plus, unlike Bike/Run bricks, the Swim/Run brick has less negative impact on your legs. Instead, this little gem gives your lungs the nice taxing workout they are craving!!!

Today's Splash and Dash Brick felt good. I was able to get in the pool without waiting for a lane. I banged out 900yds which is not far, but I am still ramping up the distance in the pool and trying to keep my shoulders intact. After the pool came the run. I was happy to find that the run was actually quite warm. The hills were a little brutal but my legs were ready for them.

Here is how the Splash and Dash looked on paper:

Swim/Run Brick
Pool: 900yds
Run: 3.5 miles

If you are a member of LA Fitness at Perimeter Point in Atlanta, GA you can do the exact workout I did today by hitting the pool and then running the route below.
View Interactive Map on

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Write a training plan... Be a Multisport Coach...

I have taken to the pool about 4 times over the past week. Its a nice change of pace from the road and its rekindled my interest in multisport training and racing. So, as this post continues on, feel free to offer insight or advice... any and all responses are welcome.

I guess the interest to be a multisport athlete has always been there, but since our move to Atlanta, I have been slowly moving further and further away from swim sprints, long bike rides, and brick workouts. That interest has now heightened to the point that writing training programs and taking unique approaches to the sport are all I can think about, which leads me to my next thought. Coaching multisport athletes.

This is a topic I have been toying with for some time but only recently have I given it serious consideration. Over the past few years I have given guidance to many new runners and triathletes, not as a coach, but as someone interested in all facets of the sport and training. I was no expert then, nor am I now, but I've trained with so many diverse athletes and have, by some stroke of luck, had some small successes of my own in training and racing that now, the "coaching" equation is starting to come together.

This past year has been good because I've directly and indirectly helped to motivate new runners from the couch to the 5k and beyond. It is here that I have received the most positive responses from runners to drop my day job and start coaching. Well, I don't know about all that... but it has given me some good ideas that I think I can share with those of us in the working community with little time to train.

So, over the next couple of months I am going to be working closely with coaches across the country in various forums to see if this is really something I could wholeheartedly pursue, while remaining diligent in my current occupation.

Any advice or thoughts on this subject are more than welcome!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Swimming laps and sharing lanes

Today I shared a swim lane with another swimmer at the gym. I don't mind doing this at all because I feel like I can usually keep to my side without bothering anyone else who might be in the same lane. In fact, I have swam with up to 4 or 5 people in the same lane. That gets a little tricky but as long as everyone is at the same pace it doesn't really matter.

However, today the guy I shared a lane with said he didn't want to do it but that he would anyway. I wasn't sure how to take his comment, but I smile back, put on my goggles and waited patiently as he got to the other end before I started.

I had a good swim, but I found myself thinking of the guy next to me, hoping he wasn't going to torpedo directly into my head. I kept to the side of the pool and actually hit the ladder a few times I was so concerned with not impacting my fellow swimmer.

I ended up finishing my workout before he did and I left him there in the pool to no doubt shock another innocent swimmer looking to get in a few laps. As negative as he was, I think I learned something from him. The next time someone asks to share a lane, I will give them their preference of which side they would like to swim and won't let myself worry about the human torpedo.

Today's distance: 700yds

Monday, November 3, 2008

Monday before Super Tuesday. A super workout.

I woke up early this morning. It felt great having the extra hour thanks to Daylight Savings. I had been planning on starting my morning workouts today simply because it would be easier to jump out of bed at 5am since I'd been waking up at 6am (or earlier) the previous few weeks.

I was surprised at how hard it was to actually force myself out of bed even though I was wide awake. I starting thinking of all the reasons why I should use the extra hour for more sleep. I almost let those thoughts keep me in bed until I snapped out of it, jumped up, and through on my clothes to head to the gym. It was time to swim some laps.

This was my first venture to the LA Fitness pool since it had been refinished. It looks much better and I ended up sharing a lane with another early riser since each lane was taken. It was a quick morning in the pool though with only 700 yds. I have a plan to build up to 1 mile constant and do that most morning before work. Until then, I'm starting of VERY slow so I don't blow my shoulder.

This afternoon I decided that my morning swim was good, but what I really needed was a run. So, after work (and walking the dog) I went down to the treadmill in our building and put in about 3 miles. I thought about a 5 miler, but 3 seemed like a good addition to my 700yd swim. It was a nice easy pace at about 7:45/mile.

I'm looking forward to more of these workouts. I might hit the spin class tomorrow morning but the pool might be calling my name.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Getting back in the pool... again...

I have decided to get back into the pool after a long hiadeous. Battling the foot pain has lead me to the conclusion that I am not doing enough well rounded training so the overuse injuries are starting to mount up.

I have a couple of goals with getting back into swimming, one of which is to sign up for a few triathlons next year! Getting back into multisport racing has been lingering in the back of my mind for quite some time and this off season will be a great time to build the foundation I have been lacking for the past 6 to 12 months!

Today's swim felt good. It went like this:

4 x 100 yds
4 x 50 yds
4 x 25 yds
Total: 700 yds.

Yes this is a pretty weak swim workout but the ultimate goal is to stay healthy, don't blow out a shoulder, and work up to at least one mile of constant swimming. Speed workouts will come later... much later.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Plantar Fasciitis: Running to Recovery

I have been taking the recovery to my issue with Plantar Fasciitis recovery seriously these past few weeks. Not only have I tapered my run efforts in both intensity and distance I have also been wearing some specialty products which have been provided to me by the good people at Sof Sole. These products include athletic socks (cushioned and anti-friction) as well as performance insoles (Adapt and Athlete)

I have been using them for the past 2 weeks and I plan on using them over the next few weeks hoping to report back on anything usefull that you might be able to use in your battle with this pain in the arch issue.

Here are some of the scenarios where the've come into play so far...

Activity 1
Product: Anti-Friction Sock
Activity: 4 Miles @ Marathon Pace (7:15/mi)
Location: Treadmill
Topography: Treadmill O degrees incline
Foot pain during: 2 out of 10 (minimal)
Foot pain after: 1 out of 10 (minimal)

Activity 2
Product: Cushion Sock
Activity: 45 Minute Run
Location: City street running
Topography: Rolling hills
Foot pain during run: 3 out of 10 (minimal)
Foot pain after run: 2 out of 10 (minimal)

Activity 3
Product: Cushion Sock
Activity: Walking the PGA Tour Championship
Location: East Lake Golf Course
Topography: Rolling hills
Foot pain during: 1 out of 10 (minimal)
Foot pain after: 1 out of 10 (minimal)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Training Log

Training Log

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Fighting off Planter Fasciitis

I have taken off the past 1.5 weeks from running due to a mild to average case of Planter Fasciitis. As you can see from the picture, the pain is near the center of the arch in my left foot. This freaked me out at first, but after reading a few dozen different medical facts (and opinions) on the subject I settled down and decided to take action. I ended up taking a few steps as suggested and came up with a few of my own that have really helped.

What was the Ailment?
"Dull and mild" to severe pain in the arch of my foot.

Why do I think this happened?
Too much running on the balls of my feet up all the freaking hills where I live.

What was my treatment?
1.5 weeks of the following:

  • Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation
  • Anti-Inflammatory Meds (3x200mg/day)
  • Daily Massage with hand-held massager
  • Put the sandals away for now
  • Tried not to walk barefoot so I wore an old pair of high arch running shoes around the house
  • Wore a foot brace to bed to keep my arch neutral
  • Wore at least 2 pairs of socks with my dress shoes to give additional support to my arch
These are just a few of the things I've done over the past week. I am back in the gym tonight and should be in full form in about 1-3 weeks based on how the next few weeks go. I'll check back with updates as they come.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Saturday "Long Run" = 9.5 Miles

My long runs are not very long these days, but I am trying to ramp up the mileage to begin my marathon training next week! I am still having some pain in my left arch, but taking off 3 days before running on Saturday was a great idea. Since the pain goes away with rest I am hopeful it is not a bad as it could be. I was still able to put in a few good miles of hills at an EZ pace without any pain.

After finishing up the run I could tell the foot pain was going to set in again. I am thinking it might actually be the sandals I wear after running. I'm not even sure if that is a possibility but it seems like a good alternative to simply having pain from running. I am going to change up the post-run footwear to see if that will help. I am also heading to buy some new shoes to see if that will do the trick.

Route: Perimeter Area
Distance: 9.5 miles
Pace: 7:53/mile

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

More Treamill, Please

Treadmill... one more time. No matter what you do on a treadmill it never really seems to lose its ability to bore you to death. I suppose I am lucky to enjoy running so much otherwise it would be brutal.

So, as an update to my foot arch pain... it is still there. More treadmill is the prescription at this point. I am going to skip my Wed. and Thurs. runs to give my foot a chance to rest before putting in 9 miles on Saturday.

Route: Treadmill
Distance: 7 Miles
Pace: 7:53/mile

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Off the path. On the Treadmill

Back on the treadmill today for a 45 minute EZ run. I am still feeling some lingering foot pain from my long run and I'm not too happy about it. My training has been heading in the right direction and last thing I need now is to be sidelined because of some random foot injury. I think it is more pain than injury but I am going to take action with RICE (rest, ice, elevation, compression) along with some ibuprofen.

Route: Treadmill
Distance: 6 Miles
Pace: 7:30/mile

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Fighting Foot Pain

I made it out for my 8 mile run today, not giving much thought to the previous issues I had with the pain in the arch of my foot. There was no pain for the past 48 hours so I figured I could get in a nice easy 8 without doing any damage.

The run felt good but I did not expect to see so many hills. There were many hills and they were steep and rolling. This might be one of the issues of my arches feeling pain. The incline of each hill has me running a little further up on the ball of my foot. I watch for this during my next long run.

Overall, I had a good run. I was able to get through the route without feeling any pain. I stopped for water at Publix. I will plan to bring fluids next time because that was a slight nightmare waiting in line, dripping with sweat, while other were waiting to buy eggs, paper towels, and bags of chips.

Route: Perimeter Center Run
Distance: 8 Miles
Pace: 7:53/mile

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Treadmill Training

I have been using the treadmill more over the past few weeks because of our recent move to the Perimeter area of Atlanta. The increase in traffic and the late nature of my runs has me thinking more about safety then about finding new running routes. Because of this, I've put a few miles on the treadmills in our gym. Today was no different.

I'm also finding the treadmill to be a beneficial change from running the streets of Atlanta. The hills of the concrete jungle are beginning to take their toll on my joints and I think the arch of my left foot is getting the worst of it. I plan on using the treadmill throughout the week to supplement the long runs outdoors on the weekends.

Route: Treadmill
Distance: 6 Miles
Pace: 7:50/mile

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Running in Traffic

Sometimes I run in traffic and Atlanta has some serious traffic. After moving from Alpharetta, GA to the Perimeter area just N. East of the King and Queen buildings I realized just how crazy the bumper to bumper action actually was.

As runners it is important to get outside and run as much as possible. Real world training prepares you for real world racing. Train in the heat. Train in the cold. Train in the rain. Train on hills. Train on downhills. Train on grass. Train on... well, you get it. However, out of all the circumstances you should train in, traffic is probably not one of them.

Last night I got home from work about 7pm and went out for a 5 mile run. My pace was good and I negative split my out-and-back route, but the traffic added a new obstacle, literally, to my run.

I normally try to get out in the morning, but fatigue, soreness, and the need for sleep forced my run to the afternoon. Well, it was mid 80's so I decided to take it to the streets. This turned out to be a good and bad idea. Good because it was hilly, challenging and satisfying. Bad because I was constantly watching cars blow past me thinking I was going to get flattened. Flattened is not good.

I will be taking it to the streets again on Saturday but this time it will be at 6am. No traffic at 6am.

Location: Perimeter Center Run
Distance: 5.1 Miles
Pace: 7:45/mile

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Town of Six Mile

I woke up at 5am this morning for my run. It was another one of those mornings that I felt like staying put, but after about 5 minutes of sitting at the edge of the bed I forced myself up, laced up my shoes and hopped back on the treadmill.

Running six miles on the treadmill is becoming a habit. I came across the graphic at the top of this post and found it fitting. The run is always welcoming and I have enjoyed the mornings I get to make it happen.

This morning was no different. Alone in the gym with only the sound of the treadmill it is easy to let the mind drift off to something other than the monontony of the conveour belt beneath you. The six miles came and went quick. 5 miles tomorrow, but Thursday I will be making the journey back to the town of Six Mile.

Location: Treadmill
Distance: 6 Miles
Pace: 7:50/Mile

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Sunday Night Run with the Olympics

I skipped my run on Saturday due to time constraints and overall fatigue from the previous nights escapades. Guitar hero has been keeping us up WAY to late. So, after blowing off another Saturday run I figured I had to fit in my Sunday run no matter what.

I found myself on the treadmill at 10:15pm Sunday night fighting the urge to go to bed. The run was great. I got to watch a lot of the Olympics include Phelps and our other US swimmers. Running on a treadmill for 6 miles is boring, but the Olympic Games made for a nice distraction.

I have a rest day tomorrow and then my goal for the week will be to hammer through all my workouts... including Saturday.

Location: Treadmill
Distance: 6 Miles
Pace: 7:50/mile

Thursday, August 7, 2008

An Easy Five Miles

Today I forced myself back on the treadmill for another 5 miles.
Tuesday's 5 miles on the same treadmill left me wanting a run outdoors
but the storm outside made the decision to turn on the treadmill a
necessary one.

It was a good run at around 7:45 per mile pace. I have off tomorrow
but will try to get in another workout before the Sat and Sun run.

Route: Treadmill
Distance: 5 miles
Pace: 7:45 / mile

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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Finally. A Saturday Run.

I pulled myself out of bed today. It was even more difficult to get out of bed today because the final time trial stage the Tour de France was on TV. By the time I got out the door it was almost 10am and the outside temperature was starting in get HOT.

The run was tougher than I thought it would be. Lack of sleep and cold Coors Light seem to be a bad combination for putting in a solid run. Today's pace was meant to be EZ but I didn't have any control over going slow. It just happened.

I put in a 5 minute warm up and warm down with 5 - 7 Minute repeats at about 7:30 pace. The heat was getting to me and I could feel a bonk on the way so I took a few 20-30 second rest periods between efforts.

Good run overall. My knee did not bother me at all. Got some sretching in before I showered up and ate 4 eggs and a bagel. Long run tomorrow?

Route: Perimeter Center Run
Distance: 5+ Miles
Time: who's counting?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

No time to workout? Yeah right.

Thursday was hectic but I got a quick 4 mile run in. The schedule had me at 5 miles, but between driving home from work, picking up dinner, marinading dinner, icing the wine, icing the beer, and showering, 4 miles is all I could fit into my 1.5 hour window.

The run felt good. I was worried about my right knee. I have been feeling some soreness there that is not a normal soreness to feel. Not sure what it is, but I have been keeping my miles at a very slow pace on the treadmill. Just around 8 min/ mile.

Got some stretching in after the run and was able to put down a couple of cold Coors Lights afterwards. Friday is a rest day.

Route: Treadmill
Distance: 4 Miles
Time: 32:00 minutes

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Another 4 Miles in a Row

Today's run was another good one. I woke up at 5:10am, as I am still trying out this morning routine thing. It has been working out well (for the past day) so I thought I would give it another shot. I slowly rolled out of bed, exchanged my sleep pants for running shorts, threw the rest of my clothes on, and hopped on the elevator down to the gym for a treadmill run. 4 miles while watching Sports Center. Very entertaining.

I have been feeling good after my runs. I am actually writing this around 7pm so I have had a few hours to feel the impact of getting up and running. My mid-day fatigue is all but gone and my legs are not at sore at all. Tomorrow I have 5 miles to put in so we will see how that goes... treadmill miles, that is.

Route: Treadmill
Distance: 4 EZ miles
Pace: 8:00 per mile

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

4 Miles Indoors

I put together a new running plan this weekend. Once again, my training faultered and I had to come up with a new goal to get me going. So... I sat down and figured out a solid distance running schedule for the next few months. This one actually gets me to mid-December for the Dallas White Rock Marathon. That's right... Marathon.

So its ramp up mileage time. I have not been running AT ALL so putting in some good quality miles is the first stage. I have about 5 weeks of this (I think) and then it is on to the bigger runs. Long runs. Put aside 2-3 hours out of your day runs. That is going to feel good. I'm looking forward to it and hope to remain healthy as the weeks continue.

Today's run was a short run. Most of the runs I will be doing are going to be short. I will ramp up a long run on the weekends and try to put some mileage on during the week, but it will be at a modest increase with little to zero speed work.

Should be fun.

Route: Treadmill
Distance: 4 EZ Miles
Pace: 8:00/mile

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Another Start

This past week has been uncharacteristically stressful. The main source of that stress has been work. My goal throughout the week was to put together a series of 5 mile runs each day, however, as the stress levels aside from training increased so I decided to back off the mileage to compensate.

That brings me to where I am today, 4 days since my last run. It is another start. I seem to have these "new starts" pretty often as I assume most runners do. When your training is random (or non-existent) it becomes easy to back off and tell yourself you will start over again when things calm down or you are less busy. Lifestyle changes can add to the feeling that you need to take a step back, recalibrate, and get a fresh start. I don't think it has to be this way.

I am working on new running goals. These goals will be similar to those of the past, but I think they will allow me the flexibility to train hard and focus on family and work without jeopardising any of them. One of the main challenges that runners of all abilities face is that of time management. This is something I have had some success with outside of my training so I am hopeful it will translate into my daily plan.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Another 5 Miler

I have been running on the treadmill in our new apartment gym for the past three days. Today's run was another good one. The pace has been slow, but my goal is to keep the miles coming each day. I am feeling a bit more stress at work which is starting to impact the training.

Route: Treadmill
Distance: 5 Miles
Pace: 8:00/mile

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Treadmill: 5 Miles

The run yesterday was not bad. I have been adding some incline to these runs at 4% with my speed anywhere from 7:30-8:00 minutes per mile. These uphill efforts have been feeling good. I am going to keep adding them to the runs to mix it up a little bit.

Route: Treadmill
Distance: 5 Miles
Pace: 8:00/mile

Monday, June 30, 2008

35 Miles, 7 Days, 1 Treadmill

Okay, so the title to this post sounds a lot cooler than the actual goal. The goal for this week is to keep up the 5 mile runs every day after work until Sunday for a total of 35 miles. This should not be hard to complete. I am running strong these days and should be able to pound out a few miles on the treadmill with little effort.

No, the hardest part about this weekly goal is going to be actually running. I have been very busy these past few weeks and running has been the last thing on my mind. Today's run came easy, but I am worried that I won't make it past Thursday or Friday. We shall see.

Route: Treadmill
Distance: 5 Miles
Pace: 8:00/mile

Sunday, May 4, 2008

How to Cross Train as a Runner: Ride a Bike

As runners, it is easy to get in a groove of lacing up the shoes day in and day out, giving little thought to any other sort of training. Triathletes on the other hand cross train on a daily basis. One day we hit the pool and the next we are on the bike. Brick workouts take it to another level, combining multiple sports into one intense training session.

The great thing about mixing up your training with another sport is that it helps limit injury and gives your body a chance to keep the heart rate up while working new muscle groups. If you don't do it now, you should think about adding a cycling workout or even a swim to your daily routine. You will come back refreshed and ready to conquer that next training run.

Today's Workout
Today I took out the bike and spun my legs for about one hour. My running consistency has been erratic so instead of adding another run in the middle of my schedule, the bike workout is a perfect supplement to my routine. The ride was easy with some rolling hills. Tomorrow I will be back in the running shoes.

My Cross Training Summary
Location: Greenway
Distance: 16 Miles

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Running in the rain? Keep these three tips in mind

Today it rained. On days like these I will usually take my run to the treadmill. However, today was different. It has started to get warmer in Atlanta so the showers felt cool and they helped keep the pollen count to a minimum.

When running in the rain, there are many variables to think about. Here are three important items that could mean the difference between a good run, and a sprained ankle (or worse).

1) Never run with lightening
This one is obvious. Hopefully. If not, lightening kills. Stay clear.

2) Avoid puddles when possible.
Stomping through standing water is fun but that puddle could be deeper than you think and a spraining an ankle is not much fun at all.

3) Slow down your pace.
When running in the rain you don't feel as hot which might tempt you to run hard. Don't. You drive more cautiously during a down pour. It good to use the same judgement when running in the rain.

Run Summary
Route: Big Rock to 4 Mile Marker
Distance: 5.3 Miles
Time: 42:40
Pace: 8:02/Mile (Slow in the rain)

Friday, May 2, 2008

What do runners do on vacation?

I recently took some time off from work and spent that free time doing what any dedicated runner would do. I ran. I also kept the vacation theme alive and brought my new camera along with me. So, instead of carrying it along the trail run, I opted to head indoors for a treadmill run.

The video footage is riveting. Really. See for yourself.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Runner Revives Sore Tired Legs

After pushing yourself past the threshold of labored breathing into the realm of gasping for air, your body tends to be starved for oxygen. As luck would have it, that oxygen is exactly what your body needs to be able to compete at any level of continued exertion and when its gone... the muscles get sore, tired, and in the end, non-responsive. Not good.

In my experience a simple remedy to rejuvenating legs that have just come off a hard training run or race is to take at least one day off (no more than 3) then run a comfortable distance (3-5 miles is good for a 5k runner) at an easy pace with a high turn over rate.

First, warm up for about 1 mile before you increase your turn over rate. Once sufficiently warmed up, pick up your turn over rate to where you are running about 160 to 190 steps per minute. An easy way to do this is to count out 80 to 90 steps per right foot strike to the ground. Once you feel the pace, maintain that for about another 1 to 3 miles then conclude the run with a 1 mile warm down.

The slower pace with faster strides will help you recover from the microscopic tears and trauma to the muscles and inflammation that are causing the soreness.

Ahhh, fresh legs.

Monday, April 28, 2008

5.3 Miler

Quick run out to the 4 mile marker from Big Rock. This run has been a good one to get me back into the swing of things. I am trying to put a few more miles together per week, but I have been having a hard time doing that for one reason or another. Today, however, was a good run. I hope to put a few more of these together as the weeks progress.

Route: Big Rock to Mile Marker 4
Distance: 5.3 Miles
Time: 40:41
Pace: 7:40/mi

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Race: Sprint for Cancer 5k

Race: Sprint for Cancer 5k
Location: Atlanta, GA
Time: 19:21
Pace: 6:14/Mile
Age Group Place: 2nd (Age 30-34)
Overall Place: 4th

This race was a good indicator where I am with my training. I took off 10 seconds per mile since my last race in February. I have a feeling I can drop that another 7 seconds per mile by keeping up with my training plan. The 5k races I have in the coming months should be at this time or faster. My goal will be to remain focused on speed work as well as consistent base miles.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Interval Training - Don't do these 3 Things

Intervals are a great way to build speed and they are even fun if you like "good pain" but they can offer a good dose of "bad pain" if not ran the correct way. Today I took to my normal route and included a few repeats of .5 miles at 6:00/mile pace. The recovery took up about 1/2 the distance in almost the same amount of time. That is pretty typical of an interval and a good way to keep your HR up, and the "bad pain" down.

1) Avoid speed on tight hamstrings
One of the most important things to watch out for would be any tightness or inflexibility in the hamstrings that you are not able to loosen up with your warm up run of at least .5 to 2 miles. In my experience, adding speed on top of a sore hamstring is a recipe for at least 1 week of recovery. Avoid this scenario.

2) Run from a good base
Another topic to keep in mind are your base miles. You should have at least 4 weeks of consistent training of 3 days/week before doing any speed work. Some sources say more while others will say less however 4 weeks with three workouts per week should be fine as long as you don't put on too much speed... that is the third thing to watch out for.

3) No need for too much speed
Too much speed too soon will lead to those tight hamstrings I was talking about. Once those set in, you will need to back off the speed training and sometimes training all together. That sucks.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Cross Training - More Pain

This is the second Sunday in a row that I made it through this intense workout. I have been playing with the idea of starting back my multi-sport training and I think this is a good way to get that jump started. The next step will be to join Globo-Gym down the street so I can use the pool. Until then, this little gem of a workout will do.

Set 1
10 Minute Treadmill Run
1x10 Dumbbell Curls
1x20 Wide Width Push-ups
1x10 Dips
1x10 Dumbbell Curls
1x20 Shoulder Width Push-ups
1x10 Dips
1x10 Dumbbell Curls
1x20 Narrow Width Push-ups
1x10 Dips

Set 2
10 Minute Treadmill Run
1x10 (each leg) Lunge Stance Squats
1x10x10x10 Front Raise, Side Raise, Bent-over Raise
1x10 (each arm) Tricep Kick Backs
1x10 (each leg) Lunge Stance Squats
1x10x10x10 Front Raise, Side Raise, Bent-over Raise
1x10 (each arm) Tricep Kick Backs
1x10 (each leg) Lunge Stance Squats
1x10x10x10 Front Raise, Side Raise, Bent-over Raise
1x10 (each arm) Tricep Kick Backs

Set 3
10 Minute Treadmill Run
1x20 Bent Knee Crunch Raises on Dip Bar
1x1 Minute - Core: Plank
1x20 Crunches
1x20 Bent Knee Crunch Raises on Dip Bar
1x1 Minute - Core: Plank
1x20 Crunches
1x20 Bent Knee Crunch Raises on Dip Bar
1x1 Minute - Core: Plank
1x20 Crunches

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Sticking to the plan.

Today the storms from last night were still lingering and there was lightning which was the only reason why I decided to take my long run indoors. Running 9 miles on a treadmill is not my idea of a good time, but sticking to the run plan today was very important.

The run went well and it has been a long time since I have spent so many miles on the treadmill. I think this is a good sign that I am committed to this new training plan. I will do some cross training tomorrow. Maybe the same insane workout as last week. Well, maybe not.

Run Summary
Date: Sat Apr 12
Distance: 9.00 Miles
Pace: 8:00 / Mi
Route: Treadmill

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Day Three of 16 Week Training Plan - SPEED

Today was one of the first days that I have done speed work in a long time. The workout called for a good warm up and then 3 miles at 6:40/mile pace. I have been racing below this pace so I felt like it was something I could handle however speed work has a way of messing with your head.

It is hard to imagine running at such a fast pace for so long without there being a finish line with bananas, gatorade, and a cheering section waiting for you cross the line. Instead, if you are like me, you are alone on the trail pushing yourself and checking your watch at the 1/2 mile marker to make sure you are on track. There is no water or support crew to hold traffic. There are no competitors except for the imaginary Kenyan you put in front of you as the Rabbit.

The good thing is, you can pass that Kenyan even when you've left everything on the trail and started walking. That Kenyan won't beat you. You can't let him/her do it. It's your imagination. Win.

Run Summary
Warm Up: .5 Miles at 7:55/mile
Tempo Run: 3 Miles at 6:34/mile
Cool Down: 1.3 Miles at 7:55/mile

This run felt good. I was strong throughout the run and did not have a hard time with keeping up the pace. I felt like I had a lot more in the tank, but kept to the plan and did not push harder than I needed to. I am looking forward to my slow run tomorrow and then the long run on Saturday.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

New Training Plan: Day 2

Today is the second day of a new training plan I am working through. It is a 10k training plan that will include ramping up my mileage as well as some tempo runs that should help me pick up the pace along the way.

Today I was supposed to run at 8:00/mile pace but my first mile was about 7:45 and my next few were... well... faster. I know that if I want this training plan to do what it is capable of doing I must try to stay at the paces that have been advised. However, it just does not feel like I am pushing that hard right now, even at sub 7:45 pace, so I will just need to keep a close watch on how I feel.

Run Summary
Distance: 4.14 Miles
Pace: 7:32 / Mi
Route: Big Rock to Bench

16 Week 10k Training Plan

Monday, April 7, 2008

Get Loose. Stretch.

Today I picked up another 45 minute run on the treadmill. The weather in Atlanta is nothing but unpredictable. It is still a bit cool and last night after work I could not tell if I was going to get caught in a down pour so I decided not to take the chance and put in a few miles indoors.

My cross training the other day has left me sore. No real surprise that my upper body and lower body have begun to tighten up from the madness on Sunday. I have not had that kind of workout in a long time. However, I do feel like it did some good, so I am destined to go through it again. Maybe next Sunday. Not any time sooner.

There is something about feeling sore like this. It is a reminder that working out and working hard are two different things. I have been working out for a long time, but I have not really been working hard. Putting together 1 or 2 weight training days or even cross training days will be a good way to take me to the next level of working hard.

I plan on adding sprint and hill training in the coming weeks. That will be smart hard work. Or at least it should be. I will let the sore legs and upper body get a bit loose before I start putting together sub 6 minute miles or hill repeats. That too would be smart.

One more thing that has been lingering on my mind is triathlon. I am feeling the itch to convert my road bike to triathlon or to just get on the thing and start banging out a few hundred miles. There is a big temptation to do that right now. What does that say about my goal to qualify for Boston this year? Well, I think I can supplement some of my run training with cycling and swimming. That might help keep the injuries down as I increase my mileage. Oh well, it is just an itch at this point.

Run Summary
Route: Treadmill
Distance: 5.8 Miles
Time: 45 Minutes
Pace: 7:45/mile.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Weights + Treadmill = Cross Training

Today I took a different approach to my workout. I have been trying to incorporate weight training into my Sunday workouts and today was no different. However, I did add a twist with the Treadmill. Here is how it came together. There is no rest between each exercise.

Set 1
10 Minute Treadmill Run
1x10 Dumbbell Curls
1x20 Wide Width Push-ups
1x10 Dips
1x10 Dumbbell Curls
1x20 Shoulder Width Push-ups
1x10 Dips
1x10 Dumbbell Curls
1x20 Narrow Width Push-ups
1x10 Dips

Set 2
10 Minute Treadmill Run
1x10 (each leg) Lunge Stance Squats
1x10x10x10 Front Raise, Side Raise, Bent-over Raise
1x10 (each arm) Tricep Kick Backs
1x10 (each leg) Lunge Stance Squats
1x10x10x10 Front Raise, Side Raise, Bent-over Raise
1x10 (each arm) Tricep Kick Backs
1x10 (each leg) Lunge Stance Squats
1x10x10x10 Front Raise, Side Raise, Bent-over Raise
1x10 (each arm) Tricep Kick Backs

Set 3
10 Minute Treadmill Run
1x20 Bent Knee Crunch Raises on Dip Bar
1x1 Minute - Core: Plank
1x20 Crunches
1x20 Bent Knee Crunch Raises on Dip Bar
1x1 Minute - Core: Plank
1x20 Crunches
1x20 Bent Knee Crunch Raises on Dip Bar
1x1 Minute - Core: Plank
1x20 Crunches

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Treadmilling a Long Run

Today I took to the Treadmill to see if I could break the monotony of my Out and Back runs that have been outdoors. It is strange to think the Treadmill would help break me out of a monotonous running rut, but at this point I would be willing to try just about anything.

The run went very well. I was not only happy to be indoors because of the pouring rain, but a cold front came through that made it more than uncomfortable to do pretty much anything outside that involved running shorts and a moisture wicking shirt.

Run Summary
Route: Treadmill
Distance: 8.29 Miles
Time: 1:05:00
Pace: 7:50/Mile

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Another Training Run - 5.80 in 00:45:00

This will be the last Out and Back run from Big Rock that I do for a while. I have said in the recent past that I like the consistency but I need a change of scenery. At this point I would take a Treadmill run over the Out and Back that I have been doing for the past few weeks.

New plan. Treadmill at least twice before returning to the Out and Back.

Run Summary
Route: Out and Back from Big Rock
Distance: 5.80
Time: 00:45:00
Pace: 7:45/Mile

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

On The Run Search Results

Starting the week Out and Back

This is becoming a regular thing for me. It is good to have consistancy in any trainging plan and I must admit it is not something I am used to. I like knowing that I can put in a good run within 45 minutes. I hope to keep up this consistancy as summer roles into view. Warmer weather will dictate how late or early I am able to run. Thankfully, I should be able to work this 45 minute run into my schedule no matter what the weather brings me.

Run Summary
Route: Out and Back from Big Rock
Distance: 5.8 Miles
Time: 00:45:00
Pace: 7:45/Mile

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Out and Back... One More Time...

Another good run from the Big Rock. As the weather begins to change (warmer) I will enjoy these outings much more because there is a pretty major tree canopy right now that drops the temperature about 5 to 10 degrees and when it is 65 outside, the shadows bring in the mid-to-upper 50s. Until then...

Run Summary
Route: Out and Back from Big Rock
Distance: 5.8 Miles
Time: 45 Minutes
Pace: 7:45/Mile

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Out and Back... Again

The run yesterday helped a great deal with the level of stress that had been building up for a few weeks. Today, I wanted to take it back down a level and get in a good run for about 45 minutes. The goal on these runs is to have a faster second half than the first. I made it.

Run Summary
Route: 45 minutes out and back from Big Rock
Distance: 5.8 Miles
Time: 45 Minutes
Pace: 7:45/Mile

Monday, March 24, 2008

Monday's Stress Relief in 4.14

Today was another quick run after work and it was a much needed retreat from the stresses the day had brought forth. I had a great run but tried to keep my pace slower than I wanted to run. I really felt like opening my stride and putting together some sub six or seven miles.

Route: Big Rock to Bench
Distance: 4.14
Time: 31:06

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Road Kill - Long Run

It is not every day you run by a Bike Cop staring down the barrel of his gun at a Raccoon. Today's long run was anything but normal. I came up on the masked varmint along with 2 cyclists. The bike cop pedaled up behind us and asked that we block off the trail from any other exercise enthusiasts. I kept running, not interested in sticking around for what was to come. 30 seconds later the cop put 3 bullets into the raccoon, ending the stand off, and returning the trail to it's rightful owners. Alpharetta cops seldom use their guns, so this was probably the highlight of that bike cops career.

The run, on the other hand, was great. I kept a very easy pace and thought that I was around 8 minutes per mile. I was gauging that pace on my effort level. I really was not working to hard to make this run happen. After I finished up and calculated the pace, it was closer to 7:37 per mile. I don't know how I couldn't tell the 23 second difference in the pace. I am just happy it felt so good!

Run Summary
Route: Big Rock to YMCA
Distance: 8 Miles
Time: 1:01:03
Pace: 7:37/Mile

Supplements Taken Today
Endurox Accelerade (Pre-Run)
Endurox R4 Recovery Drink (Post-Run)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Training Day

Headed back out to my old faithful route from the big rock to the
bench. It is really a lot cooler than it sounds. Lots of hills, water,
trees, wild animals, and runners. Very cool.

Run Summary
Route: Big Rock to bench
Distance: 4.14 Miles
Pace: 7:38/Mile

Sent via iPod Touch

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

A Run in the Woods

Today's run was great. After work I laced up the shoes and made a run for the Greenway. The weather had cleared up from the tornadoes last weekend so it was a nice change of pace to run without the head wind on Saturday.

This was a quick training run. My pace has slowed just a bit, maybe by 5 to 10 seconds per mile. It has been a conscious effort on my part to make that happen. I love to run hard and fast but the goal to raise my aerobic threshold means that I need to back off the pace and start putting more base miles in but enough about all that VO2 Max stuff.

While I was running, I got to thinking about pace and strides and distance and everything that running slower than normal will make you think about. I tried to put into perspective the fact that running 45 minutes and covering about 6 miles does not mean I am in great shape. There are a ton of people out there who run 45 minutes and cover less distance who are in far better shape than I am.

Thinking this way makes it difficult to keep your pace slow. You want to pick it up thinking that will get you into better "shape". Yes there is a place for high pace running, interval training, and sprint work. I love to do those things, but right now I am confident that the things I need are long slow miles to put more fuel in my tank.

I have a couple of running goals that include me running fast this summer and these base miles are what will build that foundation with which to construct the speed work on top of. I'm looking forward to the rest of the year and the challenges work, training, and life will bring.

Run Summary
Route: Big Rock 2.8 miles out and back
Duration: 45 Minutes
Pace: 7:50/mile

Supplements Taken Today
Post Workout Recovery

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Random Training = Random Results

The picture to the right is a line graph representing the training peaks and valleys that I have gone through so far this year. I am not a high mileage per week runner. I never have been. I want to be, but I just have not been able to keep things consistent enough to record high mileage months, month after month, for any given time.

I equate this random training to my interest in running hard. My training has been aggressive but not necessarily smart. Each year I probably average around 500 miles, which is low in comparison to what my goals are as a runner. I seem to be able to put together some good times at the races but my recovery time is probably twice as long as someone who would be properly conditioned.

Once again, I see the importance of putting together consistent runs each week. The training runs I have been logging have little to do with speed, and more with conditioning my body to deal with longer efforts out on the road. I am learning to take a more educated approach to my running now. I hope this will mean more miles, better racing, and more enjoyment out on the road.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

A Medium Long Run

I woke up this morning after have a little wine and cheese with dinner. My mind was cloudy and my body felt nothing short of sluggish. I have been on a red wine kick lately so having a couple of glasses is not an abnormal thing. Plus, I have been putting most of my efforts towards work this week so the wine was well received. The feeling the next morning... was not.

Knowing I was only going to put an hour on the run I decided to wait until the sun came up and I had a nice glass of Accelerade. I was able to put together a relatively enjoyable run of about 7.6 miles within that hour. I am happy to be getting back into some sort of routine and this Medium Long Run was just what I needed.

Run Summary
Distance: 7.6 Miles
Route: 30 Minutes out and back from Big Rock
Duration: 60 minutes
Pace: 7:50/mile

Friday, March 14, 2008

Rest Day: The voices in your muscles (and head)

I have wrapped up my first week of training another Technical Recruiter at work which means the past 5 days have been at least 12 hours long and my run training has suffered. Not a big deal. I am looking forward to a nice easy run tomorrow to get me back into form and will avoid the long run originally planned because I am a bit exhausted even though I have not laced up my run shoes for 4 days.

About 1 year ago I would have freaked out in this situation. However, I have learned to listen and respond to what my body is telling me. Sounds strange, I know, but if you pay attention to the way you feel (mentally and physically) the trends that are created can be a guide to let you know when to back off training or pick up the pace.

I have been through so many hardcore training weeks at work that I have been able to spot trends in when my run training begins to suffer. I can now take proactive measures to avoid total burn-out both at work and play and my run form and mental sanity are both better for it.

You don't need a coach or doctor to tell you when to take it easy. Instead, listen to what your body and mind are telling you and self medicate with what will make you feel best without being completely sedentary. That could mean an ice bath after a tough workout, or an easy treadmill workout in place of your hill training day. It is up to you to listen and learn how to respond to the voices in your muscles (and head).

However, if you've fallen and can't get up... dial 911 for assistance.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Monday: First Run Outdoors Since Time Change

Tonight was the first night in a long time that I have been able to run in the day light after work. I am very happy about that. I was tempted to run long, but knew that I didn't have that much daylight to contend with before the sun went all the way down and there was a total blackout on my run trail.

The run outside felt good. It was my first run outdoors since my 1/2 Marathon a week ago. I did feel a bit sluggish, but I think that was due to our weekend. I hope to run on the treadmill early tomorrow morning. Plans tomorrow night are going to prevent me from running (at least at a decent hour).

Run Summary
Route: Big Rock to Mile Marker 4 (and back)
Distance: 5.5 Miles
Time: 41.51 Minutes
AVG Pace: 7:45/Mile
Stretching: 10 Minutes

Supplements Taken Today:
Endurox-5 (10 Minutes After Run)

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Good run today on the treadmill. I have been running more an more indoors waiting for the weather to finally change from freezing to hot. The treadmill has been a good alternative and I am in the process of incorporating it into my regular training plan. After the time change (and weather change) I will be outdoors for 90% of my runs. The treadmill will take up the remainder.

Run Summary
Route: Treadmill
Distance: 7.74 Miles
Time: 60 minutes
Stretching: 10 Minutes

Supplements Taken Today:
Source of Life Protein Multi-vitamin Drink

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Tuesday: More Treadmilling

Run Summary
Route: Treadmill
Distance: 5.8 Miles
Time: 45 minutes
Stretching: 10 Minutes

Supplements Taken Today:
Source of Life Protien Multi-vitamin Drink

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Race Day: Alpharetta 1/2 Marathon

Today's race was not a true race for me. I have not been putting in the miles I need to in order to be where I need to be during some of my Summer races so I figured adding a couple of 1/2 Marathons to my schedule would be a good idea to "jump start" my training.

It is very hard for me (and most runners) not to run hard when you have a pack of runners rubbing up against you and all you hear is their erratic, labored breathing. So, I tried to watch my HR monitor to keep the pace at a "base mile" speed, rather than redlining.

I had a good run but was forced to make a Pit Stop for about 2 minutes because of some stomach issues about midway into the run. Because this was a training run, I am trying not to let my race time define me as a runner. My pace, HR, and overall perceived exertion were in line with my goal to use this race as a training run, but it is difficult to convince myself it was the right thing to do.

In summary, not only was it a mind game to keep my pace slow, but I am now dealing with another mind game to keep a positive outlook on running slow (when I know I could go faster) when the fastest time in my age group was 4 minutes slower than my personal best. However, I am excited to be running so well right now. I only hope I can keep the consistancy I had this week throughout the coming months.

I think I might run this thing next year with a little different goal in mind! Here is how it all went down:

Friday, February 29, 2008

Leap Day - Rest Day with Guinness

Another Friday Night, another rest day. Tonight I had a couple of Guinness pints to close another good week of work. I am finished traveling for the next few weeks and will be able to finally give some consistent focus to my running.

Sunday is the Alpharetta 1/2 Marathon. My goal for that race is still undetermined. I would like to run it hard, but I don't think I am quite at 6:45/mile for 13.1 miles pace yet. Running with a pace group would be fun, but so would being a pacer for a pace group. I will have the plan put together by Sunday morning (hopefully).

Thursday, February 28, 2008

4 Treadmill Runs 2h 50m

Today was the forth day in a row that my run route took place on a
treadmill. I have been happy with the way my runs have turned out and I think I am going to try and put together a regular workout on the treadmill from now on. More to come on that later.

Run Summary
Route: Treadmill
Distance: 5.8 Miles
Time: 45 minutes
Stretching: 10 Minutes

Supplements Taken Today:
Source of Life Protien Multi-vitamin Drink

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Just Another Treadmill

It was another strange day in Atlanta. It was cold and windy and I could not muster up the energy to fight the weather so I hit the treadmill... again.

Here is how it went down:

Run Summary
Location: Treadmill
Duration: 45 Minutes
Distance: 5.8 Miles
Pace: 7:45/Mile

Sent Via Apple iPod Touch

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Shocker: 5:30am Run in Chicago

This morning my wake-up call buzzed me at 5:00am. I sat in bed and contemplated going back to sleep, but that would mean either setting another wake-up call with the front desk, or figuring out how to use the alarm clock on the side of the hotel bed. After some deep thought I decided to pull myself together, head down to the fitness center, and get in a run.

I put in another 35 minutes which got me thinking about the many excuses why I haven't been able to do the same thing at home. My conclusion, it is easier to put off doing something when it is in your backyard. When you are in a strange place with not much to do besides hang out in doors... it make the decision process a little easier.

Waking up early and getting a run in feels freakin' great and always seems to open my mind for the rest of the day. I am less irritable, think more clearly, and can conceptualize more scenarios to be successful at work instead of being close minded or limited to my traditional SOPs.

So, the next time I tell myself it is too early to get up and run, I can use this trip as a reminder that its never too early or difficult to pull yourself out of bed (or off the couch) and head out for a run.

Run Summary
Route: Hotel Treadmill
Time: 35 Minutes
Distance: 4.5 Miles
Pace: 7:45/mile

Monday, February 25, 2008

Snow in Chicago - A Run Indoors

It is cold in Chicago. Much colder than I thought it would be and the six inches of snow helps solidify the fact that it is freakin' fridgid in this town. Luckily, I planned on running indoors at the hotel so it was easy to lace up the shoes and hop on the treadmill for 45 minutes.

I had a pretty good run. My legs have been stiff and a little sore since the race on Saturday. My work out yesterday also left my upper body a little more sore than I wanted to be. However, after a 5 minute warm up, I was able to put together a little workout with only minor hamstring issues.

Next Event
I also signed up for the Alpharetta 1/2 Marathon next weekend. Should be a good slow run. The key word is slow. I plan on putting together some solid base miles over the next few weeks and that includes the two 1/2 Marathons this month.

Training Advice
I have been listening to a couple of pod casts that relate to all things regarding running. I am addicted to listening to these pod casts and have gotten some good information from them. I recommend going to iTunes and checking these out. I will post some of my favorites at a later date.

Run Summary
Route: Hotel Treadmill
Time: 45 Minutes
Distance: 5.8 Miles
Pace: 7:45/mile

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Race Week: Alpharetta 1/2 Marathon

Today I thought I would try something a little different. Weight training and core exercises. The race yesterday has me feeling a little stiff so I figure a trip to the gym will loosen me up. Right?

Workout Summary - NO REST BETWEEN SETS
1) Dumbell Press x Dumbell Fly 1x10 of Each
2) Core Position: Plank - 1 Minute
3) Dumbell Press x Dumbell Fly 1x10 of Each
4) Core Position: Plank - 1 Minute
5) Dumbell Curl Alternating 1x10 on each arm
6) Core Position: Side Plank with twist
7) Dumbell Curl Alternating 1x10 on each arm
8) Core Position: Side Plank with twist
9) Dumbell Front Raise, Side Raise, Bent Over Raise 1x7 Each
10) 10 Push-Ups
11) Dumbell Front Raise, Side Raise, Bent Over Raise 1x7 Each
12) 10 Push-Ups
13) 15 yard heel toe walk x 2 front and back
14) 15 yard heel toe skip x 2 front and back
15) 15 yard double leg hop front, back, left, and right x2
16) 15 yard carioca
17) Single Leg 4 point hop x 4
18) 5 minute stretch

19) Pass-Out

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Race Day: Fellowship 5k 2008

Location: Roswell, GA
Time: 19:54
Pace: 6:24/Mile
Place: 1st (Age 30-34)
Place: 3rd Overall

Today's race was a GREAT idea. At first I was playing with the notion of not running, or actually running it at a pace that would adhere to the Sushi, Sake, and Ichiban pre-race meal I had last night. You see, the weather was cold (30s) with fog (AKA-Light Rain) and I was feeling more like a nice jog rather than leaving everything I had on the race course. Plus, the recent lack of training has plauged my mind with visions of cruising on my couch rather than my racing flats.

Thankfully, I opted for the racing flats and gave myself a goal. Run at 19:05, or if my pace was off due to the extra wasabi my body was trying to digest, come in under 20:00. My first mile came in at a blazing 5:52. That kind of pace was too much to hold on two for the remaining mileage so I backed it off to about 6:30/mile thinking that I would be able to maintain that pace and come in just under the 20:00 goal.

The course was hilly and I was happy to see the downhills. I have been taking advantage of running strong up hill efforts during my training runs and that is how I managed to keep up with the front two runners. I don't normally pick up the pace during the downhills but today I openend up my stride and kept the pace fast throughout. All in all, I felt strong during the race and was able to come in just under 20:00 at 19:54.

Race Results
1st Place in my age group (30-34) and 3rd Place Overall.
Racing today was a GREAT idea.

Added Bonus
The Race Director held a raffle to give away two round trip tickets to go anywhere Airtran will fly. By some stroke of Divine Intervention, I won! Again, racing today was a GREAT idea.

Running is a good thing!!!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Fellowship 5k Pre-Race Meal

Dinner with Jordan

Sushi: Tuna, Salmon, Salmon Eggs, Flying Fish Eggs, Scallops
Rolls: Spicy Dragon Roll
Sake: 2 Large Sake, 1 Small Sake
Beer: 1 Large Kirin Ichiban, 1 Small Kirin Ichiban

Kids, don't try this at home.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Back in town. Straight to bed

After flying to Dallas on the 17th then back to ATL on the 18th and a tour of Florida starting with Jacksonville then to Tampa and Ft. Lauderdale and back to ATL the only thing I could think of was eating food and passing out.

Thankfully, Jordan was on the job. She cooked angel hair pasta with shrimp in a nice red sauce. I washed it down with a HUGE glass of milk and went straight to bed. That was a great night sleep. Back to work on Friday.

No rest for the seriously weary.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Weak Wednesday

Another day, another skipped run. This is beginning to become a regular thing for me. I'm still planning on running the Freedom 5k on Saturday, but the thought of actually putting any serious effort into the run is starting to become less and less of a reality.

So, I'm trying to regroup and figure out what the plan is going to be. I am thinking that the only thing to do will be to put in a few miles before the race and then finish up with a 3.1 mile cool down run with anyone who is on the run and wants to have a pace runner with them. That sounds like a good idea. Now, if it actually happens... we shall see.

Motivation to run has not been an issue in recent months. When I miss a run it has been due to work, friends, or family, not because I am not interested in getting out on the road. I need to keep reminding myself that I am still very interested in being successful out on the road, and having a good time. I think it will be easy to fall into a rut if I don't keep the reminders coming.

Running Reminder: I love Running

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Tuesday in Jacksonville

Well, the plan was there... but it just lacked execution. I had every intention to carry out the run plan, but there were a few variables I did not add into the equation. First was the fact that I was in a city I had never been to before. Not typically a big deal, but I didn't have a guide and the directions I had to get to where I was going to run were written on a piece of yellow tablet paper. Not good.

Second, the road I was taking out to the beach where the run was to take place was bumper to bumper traffic and it was already 6:30pm. Coming from a place like Atlanta via Houston and Dallas... bumper to bumper traffic at 6:30pm is not a good sign.

Third, I had a back-up plan which was to get a run in at the Hotel Fitness Center however after a quick look at the facility I was weary about the treadmills' ability to run for 30 minutes much less at a pace I was looking for.

So, my run did not happen and the goal of running in four cities in four days has been crushed. I do think it was a good goal with good intentions. Because of this, I plan on putting together a much more strategic plan to do the same thing. Maybe 7 cities in 7 days. I'm sure I will come up with something.

Until then, the next goal is to get a run in Tampa, but if it doesn't happen. I'll pick up where I left off in Atlanta and run that Fellowship 5k with fresh legs.

Monday, February 18, 2008

High pace for a change of pace...

I am still in search of the perfect run. So, today I took to the same Crazy 8 or Figure 8 route I have been running, but this time I kept the pace quick. The weather was cool (40's) and I ended up outside after dark but the traffic flow was low and I didn't have any problem running through the streets of my neighborhood.

I took the hills in stride and made sure I kept my pace through the crest of the hill and out about 1.5 minutes past that. My HR remained steady throughout the efforts as well. I felt strong and was happy with the change picking up the pace created.

Tomorrow I am off to Jacksonville, FL. Then to Tampa, FL. After that, I will be in Ft. Lauderdale. My plan is to have at least 30 minutes to spare a run in each city. I will be blogging those runs and routes each day.

Run Summary
Route: Figure 8
Distance: 4 Miles
Pace: 7:15/mile
AVG HR: 135 bpm
MAX HR: 148 bpm

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Race Week - Fellowship 5k

This past week the weather dipped into the 30's so I decided to take my runs outside. Not my normal M.O., but the treadmill has finally started to wear on me. It is at times like these that I think running is less about the physical and more about the mental. Maybe 70/30 in favor of mental.

At times I feel like I can run twice as far as my scheduled workout, and that is normally when my mind is clear and my mental confidence is through the roof. Even if I am having a mentally cloudy moment, the first 1 to 3 miles can usually shake the cobwebs and bring back those feelings of mental euphoria.

This week I will be traveling to Florida for work. I was planning on getting in a good solid week of running, but I'm not sure if I will be able to keep to the schedule. There is also a race I was thinking of running. Something short and easy that will get me out of the house. I might run it as a pace runner for anyone I know who wants to run a PB. All I know is that clarity is going to be the theme of the week and I hope to keep to the plan.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

No long run - Jet Set Party

No long run today. I had to get the shots updated for our dog before boarding him with the kennel. I ran around town all morning trying to get him situated before our trip. Thankfully I started early enough to get it done.

I do not endorse Banfield Vets that are in conjunction with PetSmart, but they were able to get the vaccination shots done fast enough for us to hop on a plane for Dallas that afternoon. Good stuff.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Fried Day - Rest Day

By brain is cooked. It has been a long week with limited running and a ton of extra curricular activities. We are heading out for a beer or two and then it will be an early morning as we get ready for the quick 24 hour flight to Dallas for my dad's b-day. It's not really his b-day, but what better time to have a surprise party when there is no event to tie it to!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine's Day - No Run

No run today. I have learned that there are more important things than heading out for a few trivial miles when there is another person involved. This person just so happens to be my girlfriend, and the more important thing happens to be Valentine's Day. Rest day!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Third Day in the 30s

One more run in the cold. This makes it three in a row in the 30 degree night air. Still feeling good on the uphill efforts. I have not been pushing too much on these hills, but I think with time I will get stronger and faster because of them.

Right now the plan is to keep the hills in each run and make sure I push through each hill and keep my pace high (or steady) about 200 meters after the hill. This helped me in last year's Old Soldiers Day Race and it should pay off again if I can keep the intensity light with consistancy.

Run Summary
Route: Figure 8
Distance: 5 Miles
Pace: 7:45/mile
AVG HR: 131 bpm
MAX HR: 143 bpm

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

33 Degrees on Tuesday

Tuesday night was another cold one. I laced up the shoes and put on some long sleeves and running pants to brave the painfully cold weather. It was a good run, and I felt very strong on the hills. I am looking at new training plans to see if I can get some hill training added to my schedule on a more formal basis.

Run Summary
Route: Figure 8
Distance: 4 Miles
Pace: 7:45/mile
AVG HR: 138 bpm
MAX HR: 164 bpm

Monday, February 11, 2008

Mondays. 4 miles in the cold

Today's run was after work, in the dark, and in the cold. The weather has been changing from week to week and I am hopefull the sun will stay up later and later so I can get back into the running habit after work. So, what better way to get ready for those after work runs by throwing together a few miles in the cold dark night.

Run Summary
Route: Figure 8
Distance: 4 Miles
Pace: 7:45/mile
AVG HR: 132 bpm
MAX HR: 144 bpm

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Running for Clarity

Once again I took my run to the Treadmill. The past few weeks it has been hard to see through the fog that has been thickening due to an increase in activity on the work front. Seeking clarity through a bottle, or pill, or any other means has never been of interest to me. Instead, I like self medicate with a nice hard run.

Tonight, I got home and went up to the gym. It was empty and some basketball game was on. I turned up the volume on the TV so I couldn't hear the inconsistent hum of the treadmill. My run started out slow and picked up to a nice easy pace. Nothing too hard or fast, just a good rhythm that kept my heart rate at about 145 per minute.

Overall, my pace per mile was 7:45 and the HR monitor kept me from running a sub 6:00 mile. These are some of the most important times to make sure you don't let the outside stimuli set your pace. I could have easily turned it up a few notches but the risk of injury does not outweigh the short term enjoyment you get from running fast. Real fast.

I'll save it for the Freedom 5k.

Run Summary
Route: Treadmill
Distance: 4 Miles
Pace: 7:45/mile
AVG HR: 140bpm

Monday, January 28, 2008

Back in form on the Treadmill

Run Summary
Route: Treadmill
Distance: 4 Miles
Pace: 7:45/mile
AVG HR: 145bpm

I took my run to the treadmill today. I have been feeling a little tight in my left hamstring so I thought the treadmill would be a good place to get it warmed up without too much lateral movement that might pull it even more.

The run went well. I was able to keep my HR around 140 for about 30 minutes. The leg felt a little tight before and during the first 10 minutes of the run but felt much better after about 20 minutes at pace. After the run I took some time to lightly stretch for about 5 minutes.

Will keep stretching for the next couple of weeks to make sure nothing gets worse.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Run Plan: Reset

Run Summary
Route: Big Rock to Old Milton Parkway
Distance: 4.14 Miles
Pace: 7:45/mile
AVG HR: 145bpm

The past two weeks have been tough. Most of my efforts have been put into work with little left over to add to my running. So, the run plan has suffered just a bit but today I finally pulled myself off the couch and laced up the shoes for a quick run. I kept my HR at 145 to see how my pace would be. 7:45 per mile. Might not have missed a step. Just going to take it easy for the first week back.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

7 Miles. A long run.

Run Summary
Route: Big Rock to Old Milton Parkway
Distance: 7 Miles
Pace: 7:42/mile
AVG HR: 145bpm

Had a few more of those Guinness last night which kept me away from my run until about 11:30 in the morning. It was a good thing because the weather started out around 32 degrees and I was not ready for a cold run day.

By the time I got out on the route it was closer to 40 degrees and the sun had come up. The run felt good and with no water on the trail I kept my pace to a comfortable 7:40 - 7:50 per mile.

This run will wrap up my runs for the week. 24 miles total. It only goes up from here.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

4 Miles before the Rain

Run SummaryRoute: Treadmill
Distance: 4 Miles
Pace: 7:45/mile
AVG HR: 145bpm

Another 4 miles indoors. A storm was rolling through Alabama and I knew that I needed to get my running in before it hit so I could make my way back home from the gym. The run felt good. I started out slow again and picked up the pace throughout. 4 runs in a row! Getting started on the right path. My plan is to pick a few races in Feb and March. Maybe two per month to get back in race form.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

5 Easy Mid-Week Miles

Run Summary
Route: Treadmill
Distance: 5 Miles
Pace: 7:44/Mile
AVG HR: 140 bpm

These miles came easy. I started out slow and ended up leveling out at about 7:44 per mile. Stretched for about 5-10 minutes after the run. Need to remember to do this more often.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

4 More on Tuesday

Run Summary
Route: Treadmill
Distance: 4 Miles
Pace: 7:44/Mile
AVG HR: 140 bpm

Recovering from last nights game. Head was swimming, but I kept my legs going through the 4 mile. HR was a little higher than yesterday. Will wear monitor again tomorrow.

Monday, January 7, 2008

4 Miles on a Monday

Run Summary
Route: Treadmill
Distance: 4 Miles
Pace: 7:44/Mile
AVG HR: 135 bpm

No comments today. Ran in the morning so I could watch the LSU game vs. OSU. LSU Won.

GEAUX Tigers.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Rest Days are for Refueling

Today I made an effort to update my training calendar for the month. I also tried my best to finish off the lasagna Jordan made last week. Week old lasagna is not something I would recommend.

I had a HUGE serving and ended up on the couch for about 1 hour thinking I might see it again. After the thought of purging myself passed, I made a couple of turkey sandwiches to back up the lasagna. For dinner, another two cheese burger night along with a BLT Chicken Salad and a baked potato.

I am putting down the calories. No weight gain. Nice.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Long Run: Pace Running with an HRM

Today I did something a little different during my long run. Instead of putting on the footpod to track my pace, I decided to just use the Heart Rate Monitor to keep my rate at 145bpm to see if I could stay at 7:45/mile.

My average ended up being 144bpm and my pace was at 7:44/mile. The goal was met and it gave me a bit more insight to how to change up the way we train. I will take this formula 145bpm = 7:45/mile and see if I can sustain the same HR while lowering the minutes per mile. This would be a direct representation of becoming a more efficient, better fit athlete.

Run Summary
Route: Big Rock to Old Milton Parkway
Distance: 7 Miles
Pace: 7:44/Mile
AVG HR: 144 bpm
MAX HR: 155 bpm

Friday, January 4, 2008

Rest Day: Guinness Pints

Guinness and other libations have been welcome companions on many of my rest days. Today after work I decided to have a couple of the Guinness that I have come to enjoy with my Irish friends back in Houston. It was a great way to finish up 3 solid runs this week and to prepare for tomorrow's 7.

I held back from throwing too many of them down because I had an early 7 miles I wanted to get in. So, after a couple I grabbed some food to go (2 Cheese Burgers, Baked Potato, Side Cesar). I am looking forward to that run.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Heart Rate Training Indoors

Some runs give more insight than others to everyday things like work, training, and relationships. Today it was of the Training variety. I have used a Heart Rate Monitor during most if not all of my runs for about the past 2 years. I don't always look at the results, but I do occasionally check the bpm during some of the harder efforts as well as the easy efforts of my every day runs.

I have a 4 mile run that I enjoy at about 145 beats per minute. This is well under my threshold but gives me a good foundation workout. Today, I had no idea how fast or hard I was running because the display on my treadmill was junk. So, I turned to the only thing I knew... my heart rate.

I picked up the speed by pushing the + button on the treadmill until I was able to sustain 145 bpm. If I went over, I pressed the - button. Under, and I pressed the + button. You get it. It's not complicated.

So, instead of ditching my run workout because my treadmill sucked, I turned it into an overall great workout that used my historical experience on the road.

This is one reason why consistency in your running is important. Perceived exertion, and the more technical HRM devices can give evidence to trends that you can use "down the road." Set your plan and remain diligent to your plan, and a health trend will follow.

Run Summary
Distance: 4 Miles
Time: 31:00
Route: Treadmill

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Treadmill Etiquette

It is that time of year again when the weather reaches 20 or below and the wind seems to cut through the three layers of moister wicking fabric you've forced on your body. It is at times like these that I lace up the shoes and head for the treadmill at the gym. However, I do so with trepidation because it seems like people leave their common sense at the door and end up making some pretty poor choices when the treadmill is involved.

Here are 5 things I've recently been exposed to. This is certainly not a comprehensive list of the madness that has graced the walls of the many gyms I've been through. If you are reading this and you have been known to do one or more of these things, please take a moment to use your brain.

Things to avoid while using a Treadmill

1) Spending 1 hour on the treadmill and then heading to the weight bench to start your workout.
No one wants to be exposed to your back, chest, or butt sweat. Change clothes, then come back out and lift with the rest of us.

2) Using a cell phone while on the treadmill.
There are few things to concentrate on when running in place. We do not need to be drawn into your conversation about how your best friend stole your boyfriend.

3) Singing out loud with your iPod.
Again, fellow runners on the treadmills around you are trying to get through their workouts. We do not need to hear you singing your favorite Britney Spears ballad. Oh, and don't wave your hands in the air... very bad.

4) Running on the treadmill that makes the spine tingling screech noise.
Yes, not every treadmill is created alike and at times you will pick the machine that knocks, squeaks, or rattles. However, if you get the treadmill that makes the constant high pitch screech... turn the machine off, apologize to your fellow runners, and wait patiently for another machine. Oh, and tell the next guy that the machine sucks so he doesn't fall into the same trap.

5) Keep your eyes to yourself.
This is probably one of the toughest things to keep yourself from doing but trust me, it will help everyone out. Don't start keeping track of what your neighbor is doing, this will only lead to ill conceived competition, or even worse, injury. Once you start silently competing with the runner next to you, the pace and or incline begin to increase and the next thing you know... one of you is on the floor and the other is straddling the treadmill belt at 12 mph.

Happy Miles,

Today's Run Summary
Distance: 5 Miles
Pace: 7:45 per mile
Route: Treadmill

  Sunday run in the rain.