Saturday, December 1, 2012

December Run Challenge - Run 100 Miles in a Month

I have been out of running, real running, for months.  So, to jump start some Winter training, I decided to join up with and run in one of the Challenges.  Fast forward to today, and I'm 6.2 miles into my 100 mile goal for the month.

Here is the link to the Run 100 Miles in December Challenge on
December Run Challenge

This month of running will be Heart Rate based running instead of pace.  I've been out of it for a while so my goal (besides running 100 miles this month) is to build endurance.  I have a lot of slow miles ahead of me.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Running with a Double Stoller

Just wrapped up a nice hill run while pushing my double stroller full of kids and gear. Pushing a stroller up hill takes the incline to a whole different level!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Running with an iPod

Are you getting everything you want out of your run when you have music pumping through your head? I guess it is a personal preference of mine, but I don't run with my iPod. I love to run, not only because it is challenging, hard work, and generally good for my health, but also because of the mental perks it offers like: organizing my thoughts, working through tough situations in my mind, listening to my breathing to know I am working hard, etc...

There is too much clutter and overall noise when I throw on the headphones and try to get the same benefits from running. I don't hear my labored breath and my mind gets so overwhelmed by the music that the mental perks I get from running in silence just aren't there.

I understand that running, for some, is just a means to an end. A way to stay in shape, and just plain hard work. To me though, it is a release, a way to check your head, clear your thoughts, and work through anything you have on your mind one mile after the other.

So go run, with or without your iPod, and search for the mental perks that are waiting for you to cash in on. They are out there... You just might need to log a handful more miles before they show up... Especially if you have Justin Bieber playing in your ear.

If that is you, then that's a different mental issue altogether!

Friday, January 6, 2012

My Favorite Steve Prefontaine Quotes

Steve Prefontaine was not only a great runner, he was also a bit profound with his words when talking about his passion, running. I've listed a few of those little gems below:

Steve Prefontaine Quotes

"The only good race pace is suicide pace, and today looks like a good day to die"

"Some people create with words or with music or with a brush and paints. I like to make something beautiful when I run. I like to make people stop and say, 'I've never seen anyone run like that before.' It's more than just a race, it's a style. It's doing something better than anyone else. It's being creative."

"To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift."

"A lot of people run a race to see who is fastest. I run to see who has the most guts, who can punish himself into exhausting pace, and then at the end, punish himself even more."

"I don't just go out there and run. I like to give people watching something exciting."

"Something inside of me just said, 'Hey, wait a minute, I want to beat him,' and I just took off."

"Success isn't how far you got, but the distance you traveled from where you started."

"Don't be afraid to give up the good to go for the great."

"How does a kid from Coos Bay, with one leg longer than the other win races? All my life people have been telling me, 'You're too small Pre', 'You're not fast enough Pre', 'Give up your foolish dream Steve'. But they forgot something, I HAVE TO WIN."

"What I want is to be number one."

"Somebody may beat me, but they are going to have to bleed to do it."

"Nobody is going to win a 5,000 meter race after running an easy two miles. Not with me. If I lose forcing the pace all the way, well, at least I can live with myself."

"I'm going to work so that it's a pure guts race at the end, and if it is, I am the only one who can win it."

"A race is a work of art that people can look at and be affected in as many ways they’re capable of understanding."

"Don't let fatigue make a coward of you."

"You have to wonder at times what you're doing out there. Over the years, I've given myself a thousand reasons to keep running, but it always comes back to where it started. It comes down to self-satisfaction and a sense of achievement."

"Running gives me confidence."

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Staying Hydrated During Winter Training

Winter training and racing feels great. The cool dry weather makes you feel like you could run for days, especially if you live in hot/humid locations where the Summer months can reach highs of 100+ degrees for months at a time!

However, there is a slight change between your Summer and Winter runs ... your clothes.  The addition of clothing can increase sweat rate for the same run route you did 3 months earlier when the weather was 30 degrees warmer.  Because of this, you need to pay attention to your hydration needs and one of the easiest ways to do this is to measure your sweat rate.

To measure your sweat rate, pick a route that you can do in 30 minutes to 1 hour.  Weigh yourself without any clothes on just prior to your run.  Then weigh yourself without clothes on after your run and take the difference between the 2 weights.

If you ran for 30 minutes, just double the number you got for your sweat rate and that will be a rough estimate for your hourly sweat rate while working out. If you ran for an hour, then you have the hourly sweat rate calculated and know how much water weight you will lose during that activity.

A good rule a pint of water weighs about one pound. If you use that logic and apply it to the total number of pounds you lost during exercise then you could drink at least one pint of water (or other sports drink) for every pound of weight you lost.

This is by no means an exact science and some people will need far more or far less fluid depending on their metabolic and electrolyte needs. Just use your best judgement, stay hydrated, drink sports drinks instead of water for exercise longer than an hour and kick butt out there!!!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

101 Things To Do In 2012

We are a few days into the New Year and I've already read a myriad of recent blogs related to 101 things to do in 2012. They all have the traditional: lose weight, stop smoking, quit eating McDonald's for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but none of them are 100% based on things that are simply fit and healthy. Sure, writing the next great American ebook has it's place among 2012 goals, but will that get you through your next marathon or century bike ride?

So, hoping to fill an obvious void, I decided to throw together a quick list of cool things to do in 2012 if you are a swimmer, cyclist, or runner. Most items on this list are those that can be done more than once throughout the year so feel free to try it out and repeat as needed.

Your body will thank you!!! Enjoy

101 Fit and Healthy Things to do in 2012
01) Run a 5k
02) Run a 10k
03) Run a 1/2 Marathon
04) Run a Marathon
05) Run a Sprint Triathlon
06) Run an Olympic Distance Triathlon
07) Run a 1/2 Ironman
08) Participate in a group training run
09) Swim at least 1 mile non-stop
10) Join a local running club
11) Join a local triathlon club
12) Ride your bike 100 miles in one day
13) Take a yoga class
14) Take a spin class
15) See a nutritionist
16) Consult a training coach
17) Get your body fat tested
18) Get a stress test done
19) Get a physical
20) Subscribe to a running or health magazine
21) Swim an open water swim
22) Ride your bike to work
23) Workout at lunch, eat lunch at your desk
24) Run a trail race in the woods
25) Encourage a "non runner" to run a 5k
26) Tell your coworkers that you're a runner
27) Tell a stranger that you're a runner
28) Buy a race photo from your next event
29) Get fit by a professional on your bike
30) Buy and/or use a heart rate monitor
31) Map your favorite run to share with others
32) Invite a neighbor to go for a walk or run
33) Keep a training diary
34) Run a race for time
35) Run a race for fun
36) Keep current training goal by your bed
37) Stretch after every workout
38) Read an inspirational workout quote once a week
39) Come up with your own inspirational workout quote
40) Go to the Dr. at the first sign of a chest cold
41) Drink more water
42) Detox for at least a week
43) Stop drinking coffee for a week and switch with tea
44) Eat breakfast every day for at least a week
45) Achieve a healthy level of body fat percentage
46) Find a running partner in another state to email regularly
47) Run with a dog
48) Run with your significant other
49) Read a book on running
50) Clear your sinus with a Netti Pot
51) Run in the morning before work
52) Go for a night run (with lights and reflective gear!)
53) Ride a bike to a lunch destination with friends
54) Ride your bike for charity
55) Participate in a charity race/fun run
56) Run a race or ride in a state other than where you live
57) Make your own home made smoothies for a week
58) Buy your next pair of running shoes from a specialty store
59) Learn to patch a flat on your bike the right way
60) Help a fellow rider fix a flat tire on his/her bike
61) Wear sunscreen year round
62) Set a personal record on your favorite training run
63) Set a personal record at your favorite race
64) Pay for a friends race registration to get them started
65) Bake your own energy bars
66) Eat 2-3 servings of fish for at least one week per month
67) Learn what portion control means for you
68) Get 30 minutes a day of activity when not working out
69) Control your sodium intake. Know what you need.
70) Increase your antioxidant rich foods
1) Floss your teeth to fight off bacteria
72) Strength train at least 10 minutes per day
73) Wipe down your exercise equipment at the gym after use
74) Set realistic weight loss (or gain) goals
75) Donate your old running shoes to charity
76) Know when to change your old running shoes out for new ones
77) Take an ice bath after your long runs
78) Shave your legs before any distance triathlon
79) Share a swim lane with a weaker swimmer than you
80) Share a swim lane with a stronger swimmer than you
81) Swim, Bike, and Run in morning at the gym
82) Swim 1 mile before a 1 hour spin class
83) Run 3 miles after a 1 hour spin class
84) Cut your toe nails before long runs
85) Run at conversational pace with friends and talk
86) Run without a stop watch at least once a week
87) Run without an HR monitor at least once a week
88) Run with your favorite music
89) Run without music and listen to yourself breath
90) Practice breathing from both sides during the swim
91) Tape up your workout schedule in your office
92) Volunteer at a local fun run/race
93) Look both ways before crossing the street
94) Cross train
95) Count your calories not your carbs
96) Get more sleep
97) Regulate your alcohol intake
98) Quit smoking if you are a smoker!
99) Motivate yourself to stay healthy!
100) Believe in yourself to stay healty!
101) Blog about your healthy lifestyle!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Battling The 2012 Resolution Revolution

To gym or not to gym, that is the question... and that question is particularly appropriate during the first couple of weeks of the year when the world decides to make a lifestyle change, join a health club, and crowd the walls that were so spacious just weeks before the New Year.

I have a couple of tactics that have helped me get to the gym during the Resolution Revolution and actually get a workout in, including treadmill AND pool sessions.

Here 5 quick tips that might help you out too:
  • Go at 4:00am or 5:00am (or after 9:00pm if it suits you)
  • Prepare an alternate workout that uses less popular gym gear
  • Do a circuit workout using the next available open weight machine
  • When in doubt, go to body weight basics (crunches, push-ups, dips, etc...)
  • Do pool workouts late night just before the pool closes

Monday, January 2, 2012

How To Test Your Endurance Level

There are many ways to test your endurance, many mathematical equations that will give you a finite number that you then apply to your age, height, sex, and/or other parameters to estimate your current endurance level, threshold, or even V02 Max.

But if you cheated off the kid beside you in math class and if you aren't lucky enough to have a Sports Performance Lab at your disposal, then another less accurate, but informative way to get a gauge on your endurance is to do what you do best... Workout.

We all have our favorite workout. Maybe it is the 3 mile loop around your neighborhood, the 25 mile bike route that you and your friends do every Saturday, or the pool workout you throw throw together when your are pressed for time and need a quick workout to get the endorphins going.

The trick is to pick a workout that you know so well you could do it with your eyes closed. The next trick, and this is one that is a bit harder, is to make sure the workout you pick is one that you also have records of the total time it takes you to complete it and the average heart rate you performed those times at. If you don't have your heart rate info, the perceived effort information will also work (more info here)

Then, and this is probably the easiest part, go workout. Whether it is a 1000 yard swim, 24 mile bike, or 5k run, give it your best try and make a comparison to how you have performed in the past during the same exercise. Finally, take the difference in time, heart rate, or perceived effort and see how much you have improved, or declined, from your average attempts, understanding that changes in weather, diet, stress, and other factors can all negatively impact your results.

In summary, the least technical and maybe most important part to understanding your endurance levels is to pay attention to how you feel throughout your training so you can revisit various workouts to see if you have gotten faster and stronger then tweak your training if you need improvement or keep on going if you've seen an increase in your endurance!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2011: My Best Year Yet

The 2011 season of training and racing was less about training and racing and more about not training and not racing. It was an interesting year with exciting life challenges and changes. My weekly training for marathons, triathlons, or shorter distance road races evolved into a day by day, touch and go, period of my wife and I bringing our twin girls into this world. It was the longest, hardest, and most fulfilling endurance event that I will ever be a part of.

That brings me to my 2011 summary of training and racing. I did not compete in one single race in 2011. It was not because I did not want to race, but with every day, week, and month that passed, my interest in putting time into something that did not directly impact my wife and kids in a positive way began to slowly fade away. I did not just sit on the couch and wait for muscle atroffy to set in. Instead, I plotted, planned, set goals, and made a conscious effort to put as much into the support of my family as I would any other training plan.

In 2011, I didn't toe a starting line, cross a finish line, receive any Age Group medals, or even put a training or race plan together... and yet, it was the most fulfilling year of my life.

Goal accomplished.

  Sunday run in the rain.