Saturday, December 17, 2011

Getting My Stride Back

A view from last weekend's trail run
Saturday morning workouts. The workouts I live for. It is not atypical for me to crank off a twenty mile (or further) run on a Saturday, and most likely with a smile on my face. Getting back to the swing of things (and increasing my mileage) is always a goal during the winter as I recover from a marathon. But this winter has been different so far.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Heads up - Super Sale at Expires Tomorrow (12/15)!!!

Puma Faas 250
Just kicking around tonight, looking at some running shoes, and stumbled upon a 30% off orders of $75 special at The Puma Faas 250 racing flats were on sale for $53. I had been kicking around running in a pair of these since the Faas line came out a year or so ago, but had been holding off, waiting for a good deal. Coupon code later in the post

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Trail Running - A (Rude) Introduction

 The decision was made before I completed my last marathon this fall. I had decided I was going to become a trail runner in the off-season. Not full-time. Not even really part-time. But it was to be done. The hiking trails in eastern Iowa had better look out, I thought. I am coming at them with a vengeance.

An example of the terrain on my first "real" trail run. The scary part is that I was already at the top of a steep incline. This is what was waiting for me at the top.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

New Balance MT20 Review

After several runs in my current favorite running shoe, the New Balance MT20, I've decided it is time to write a review. As some may or may not know, New Balance has taken an early lead in developing minimal footwear among the major running shoe brands. This is only my opinion (and I've yet to run in any Brooks Pure Project shoes yet, if anyone over there is listening).

My current harem of running shoes. Note two pairs of Nike Structure Triax (models 12 and 14 respectively) and a new pair of Brooks Green Silence (review in process)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A NEW Top Ten is Finally Here!!!

The Top Ten is finally here! With the holidays upon us, we look at how to avoid overeating, improve nutrition, enjoying craft beers, barefoot running (I know...AGAIN!?) and how to get in a cycling workout at the gym if you can't make a class. Also, I bag on triathletes. Kind of.

So get excited (but not like this guy)!

Singing the high notes isn't for everyone
This Week's Top Ten

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Runner Vs. Jogger


After five and a half years back running, one of the most intriguing conversations (arguments?) I read on message boards and running websites is the boundary between runner and jogger. Where does it start, and who gets to set it? Is jogger a negative term? Do you have to compete for top 3 finishes or age groups awards to be a runner? Can joggers and runners just get along? Let's explore.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Running in The Rain

Jim loved his job as a fire ladder inspector
"Running in the rain, I'm runnnnning in the rain!" Yes, this past Saturday morning went running in the rain. Which would not normally be noteworthy. Let me explain. I will run in about any sort of running conditions. Ice storm, blizzard, high humidity, I will do it all. Except rain. I HATE rain. The way your shoes get bogged down, your socks seep, your fingers get pruney. Hate it.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Heel Striking and You - Is a Heel Strike Really That Bad?

Heel-striking in action
Are you a heel striker? Most of us are. Our feet are built that way, just look at the overbuilt heel pads on our bare feet for proof. But is it bad to be a heel striker? Let the debate continue.

As a heel-striker myself, I've found this general rule. The slower you run, the more efficient a heel strike is. And "slower" is subjective and should be relative to your own speed. I don't usually cite information from message boards, but here is where I started my search (Heel-Striking Running is More Energy Efficient Than Midfoot-Striking Running).

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Winter Base Training - Avoid the Holiday Binge With These Tips

Avoiding the dreaded "Holiday Binge" seems daunting. Especially if your spouse is a great baker as mine is. My wife could make an old running shoe a delectable treat. I digress. Whether it is food, alcohol, or peppermint hot chocolate, it is pretty easy to overeat around the holidays. Take control and avoid the Holiday Binge.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Winter Base Training - What To Wear

Deciding what to wear for your winter running may be the most important part of your training. After the jump, you will find some general rules that will help you decide how much protection you need for your daily run. Make sure you take not of what works for you and what doesn't. Depending on the day, what you wear running this winter may be just as important as what workout you do.

Shoe Pre-Review - New Balance MT00

New Balance MT00

Looking for a shoe review? Let me do you one better and give you a PRE-review!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Weekly Top Ten

This weeks Top Ten has great links to help you with your winter base training. From treadmill training, to minimalist shoes, to some apps for your smartphone, this week covers a lot of ground.

This Week's Top Ten

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Winter Base Training 101

Hopefully you made it through your racing or training season (mostly) injury free. Or, you had a busy year in life or at work and are ready to get back to running and tackle 2012 head on. Winter base training is where we start.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Winter Base Training - The Intro

Winter base training is one of the most crucial times to build fitness for your next racing or training season. It is here where you accumulate your efforts from the past season of racing or training. Or, it is here where you start running again and build you aerobic base fitness for the next year so you can tackle your training head on when the weather improves.

With that in mind, I thought a series of posts regarding this important period in your training is in order. Every few days over the next couple of weeks, my training posts are going to focus on winter base training.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Does the ice bath really help?

Want a chilly thought as winter approaches: Imagine this scene. You get back from your weekend long run. you've been gone for an hour or two, and a windy morning left you freezing. Time for an ice bath! Most of us don't want to take an ice bath after a long run, but a study coming out suggests we should reconsider.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

New Feature - Weekly Top Ten Links

As promised in the Blogs title, I've compiled the ten best online articles I've read this week. This first week is all over the place, from heart health, training tips, fueling advice, and how to run like a kid. Sort of.

I've given each of the links a short write up of what to expect, so if one isn't your cup of tea you can move on.

As always, feel free to let me know what you think, and have a great week!

This Weeks Top Ten - November 7, 2011 Edition

Friday, November 11, 2011

Setting running and training goals - can my past predict my future?

2011 is almost done, time to set my running, and training, goals for 2012. Can my past goals help shape my future? Setting training goals has been a mixed bag. Too big, and you end up hurt, Too small, and you under reach for your goals.

Three weeks and five days after running my last race of the year, the IMT Des Moines Marathon (a great race that I recommend), my mind is constantly working. Not thinking about work, or chores to do, or how I keep forgetting to turn the TV off after turning off the cable box for the night (again!), but about 2012.

What does next year hold? Will I run more races? Will set a new marathon PR? Can I actually give up a few days of running and train for a multi-sport event? Or run an ultra?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Spinning Class for Runners

Here's a hint: Involves another word that begins with "S".

After a few years of kicking around, telling myself that it is too intense, that it "isn't exactly what I like", and putting together about four thousand other lame excuses to not do it, I finally signed up for a spinning class. Spinning class. I've been a runner for five years now (excluding having been a runner most of my life previously), but never thought spinning class was for runnersThis was a one-time, one-class sign up, mind you, but for me, it was a big step.

Smile! You'll look younger, study suggests

I've often been told that I look the same as I did when I graduated from high school. Sadly, everyone told me I looked like I was 32 at the time. All of the smiling I do must keep me looking "young"!

Tune in tonight or tomorrow to catch an update on how a spinning class brought me to my knees on Tuesday night. It was, in a word, "humbling".

Smile! You'll look younger, study suggests

Have a great Wednesday!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Chris McDougall on “the one true way” to run

Some selected links from my nightly surfing

Chris McDougall on “the one true way” to run

I've read McDougall's "Born to Run" and loved it as a story and useful inspiration. It was not a book that gave the reader useful science or motivation to run barefoot. After all, even if our feet did evolve to run barefoot, I doubt they evolved to run unshod on pavement. If you go to this blog, the author is a bit jaded and contrarian, but he is pretty sound in almost all of his arguments. You won't catch me arguing with this guy!

"Cross Training Options for Runners -

I love cross training. It's a great way to spice up your fitness lifestyle and improve your overall aerobic capacity. That being said, the principle of "specificity of training" states that if you want to be a better runner/cyclist/swimmer/lover (what!?) you need to do just that. Run/ride/swim/you-know-what.

Get excited - time for the first post

After about five and a half years as a runner, I've come to a crossroads. Running just didn't seem to be enough. Beating a PR or training for a new distance just doesn't cut it. I've run with running clubs and found that people who love running as much as I do are WAY faster, and the people as slow as I am are in it for the social aspect. Which is great, after all, we are social animals and people need to connect to those of similar interests. But NOT being social is precisely why I started running in the first place.

I've run in tons of races. 8 marathons to date, tons of other shorter, or as I like to say, "faster" distances (only two 5ks though), and all of the training in between. After four straight years of always setting a PR, literally always, progress plateaued. I stopped building my weekly mileage and topped out somewhere in the 50s. And I dialed back as I became not hurt, but less motivated to run. Thursday nights became more about where I was going to meet the guys for wings than planning my cross training for the night.

Since I first laced up my $60 New Balance <insert model # here>, I've continuously been in training mode. Winter 2010-2011 was the first time I didn't do some serious base work. No weekly long runs or midweek semi-long runs or moderate tempo workout every other week. And I absolutely hated it. I hated running a ton, but I hated NOT running a ton even more. Dabbling in weight training, I packed on about 10 lbs, of which about fifty percent was muscle. Maybe 50%. But the constant grind of running for the sake of logging the days miles just was not enough.

Clubs, racing, training, racing, training, training, get the drift, it all became the white noise in the background of my life. Sure, I still logged 40 and 50 mile weeks and was as fit as I have ever been, but it wasn't rewarding. It simply did not fill the void that running had always done for me in the past.

The first four years of my running journey were the best - everything was new, I always set PRs, I ate healthy religiously (seriously, I had a miniature temple to broccoli in my basement, don't tell my wife), and the people in my life were proud of me for making a positive turn.

But somewhere over the past 18 months that wasn't enough. And then a business contact of mine stopped into my office and proudly declared his intent to break 22 minutes in a 5K. I smiled, loving another runner's enthusiasm. We emailed back and forth. I emailed him a few workouts and even raced with him once, and he emailed me his progress. I am proud to say that he made it under 21 minutes, not 22 minutes, this year, and next year he is determine to break 20. Well done my friend.

I've found that as I spoke with my friend and mentored other runners who had plateaued, my enthusiasm has come back. My zest for training, nutrition, and racing is back, with a vengeance. I've spent the better part of 2011 trying to beef up my knowledge and experience, all so I can share it with others. The first few years were spent taking, and now it is time for me to give back. Happy birthday running, here it comes. Time will tell if this gift is one to take back for in store credit.

I hope you enjoy the blog and keep reading. Over the next weeks, months, or however long I keep this up, I'll share my story, keep readers in the loop with the latest training, nutrition, and sport science research (that is written down to my level, anyways), and who knows, maybe this blog can serve as a platform for others to inspire themselves and the people around them.