The Dopey Challenge Packing Checklist

Not much rhetoric on this blog post, but we all need to pack for Dopey (or Goofy). I’ll take it that you know to bring your deodorant and toothbrush so I’ll stick to the essential running supplies.

The list isn’t in any particular order:

  • Waiver document(s) for any and all races
  • Running Shoes (3-4 broken in pair)
    • Don’t wear the new New Balance shoes you bought at the Expo
  • Running shirt/top/singlet for each race (1 per race)
    • Check the weather for Orlando before you leave to see if you need long, short, or no sleeve running shirts
    • DO NOT wear the race shirt of the race you are running until you have earned it!  It’s bad juju!
  • Running shorts or tights
    • Again, check the weather for Orlando before you leave to see if you warmer running gear
  • Calf compression sleeves
  • Cold Gear tights (depending on the weather)
  • Cold Gear shirts (depending on the weather)
  • Cheap long sleeve shirts (Good Will) to throw away before the races start (1 per race)
    • It usually is a little chilly at least 1-2 mornings and you will stand around for a while before the race
    • There is also a 20 minute walk to the start line form the EPCOT parking lot for the half & full
  • Body Glide
    • If there is ONE caveat to the “nothing new on race day” mantra, Body Glide would be it.  Use it!
    • Nipples and thighs people…nipples and thighs.
  • Knee brace, ankle brace, full body cast or KT Tape…anything you are using to keep yourself together across 48.6 miles
  • Gels, chews, honey stingers, UCAN or any other fuel you use in the amounts you will need for all the races
    • Don’t assume that they sell your brand at the Expo. I have to bring my own.
  • Hydration/fuel belt or Camel Bak
    • It’s nice to have a water bottle on your person regardless of how many water / Powerade stops Disney has setup.
    • Sometimes I’m thirsty NOW, not when there is a planned hydration stop
  • iPod, iPhone, foot pod, Fitbit, Garmin, Nike+ watch and the nuclear launch codes…don’t forget your tech.
  • Bandaids, mole skin, medical tape, gauze…why not just bring the whole First Aid kit.
    • Add triple antibiotic ointment as well.
  • Tylenol, Advil, Aleve or whatever painkiller you like.
    • Use these at bed time, but not right after the race.
    • Don’t use these too much until Sunday as these products may block muscle repair (especially NSAIDs).
    • Instead take longer to warm-up for the half and full.
  • If you ignored the Body Glide suggestion then go back and mark it down on your list, trust me.
  • EAS protein (for immediately after each race)
  • Sun Screen (yeah, it’s winter, but it’s still the Florida sun)
  • Oh, and don’t forget your deodorant…

Optional gear for potential weather during a runDisney race:

  • Flippers
  • Snow Shoes
  • Snorkel & Mask
  • Parka
  • Snake Bite Kit
  • Scarf
  • Yaktrax
  • Boogie Board
  • Skis (water & snow)
  • Poncho
  • Water Wings
  • Ice Melt
  • Umbrella Hat
  • Ice Axe
  • Life Preserver

Happy Packing!

Brian

Brace Yourself. Dopey is Coming

December is always an interesting time for me. As I peruse Facebook, blogs, twitter and other nooks and crannies of the internet I see many folks in a panic as their January Disney races are quickly approaching. Of course unlike many single races the Goofy and Dopey Challenges as well as the full and half marathon are the focus of even more anxiety. I see people falling into a few different groups.

Group 1: The Procrastinators

It’s December and now would be a good time to start training….yes START TRAINING for the race / challenge. I mean you had so much time back in October, but just couldn’t get going!  You said, “I’ll start tomorrow.” …but tomorrow never came. There are various excuses as to why training for a 48.6, 39.3, 26.2 or 13.1 mile race has taken back burner. BUT, as my 10th grade history teacher used to say, “Nice excuse, but do you have any reasons?” I seldom did. I’m sure some do, but that does not take away from the fact that in about 2 weeks most runners will start their taper for Disney’s Marathon Weekend as opposed to ramping up mileage because they haven’t been training. So what to do considering deferral is no longer an option? Here’s my take.

  1. Don’t panic.
  2. Stop worrying. There is nothing you can do about NOT training over the past three months.
  3. Starting TODAY, do what you can. Start with 20 minutes of activity every day.
    1. Bike, walk, jog, run, elliptical, weight lift, swim, row, ANYTHING!  JUST DO IT!
  4. After the first few days keep adding 5 minutes to each session until you reach an hour regardless of the activity, but keep at it DAILY!
    1. Walk at lunch.
    2. At work, park as far from the door as possible to add steps to your day.
    3. Take the dog for a longer walk.
    4. Play with the kids until you get winded.
  5. Work up to 1-hour EVERY DAY!
    1. Yes, I mean Christmas and New Year’s Day as well.
    2. It’s okay to do three 20 minute sessions or two 30 minute sessions.
  6. Enjoy the race experience. Worst case scenario is you are still at Disney World!

Just remember that there is NO TOMORROW so start now!

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Group 2: The Less Prepared

Maybe you got a late start, but you DID get started.  Maybe you are only going to have a single 20 miler or a single 17 miler before Dopey starts. Regardless, you are feeling ill prepared for the challenge ahead. So what to do considering deferral is no longer an option? Here’s my take.

  1. Don’t panic.
  2. Stop worrying. There is nothing you can do about getting a late start.
  3. Don’t over do it as this will invite injury. Adding a bunch of mileage last minute will do nothing but increase the potential for you to get injured.
  4. Stick to your plan.
    1. Just going to have a single 15 miler before Dopey? Then that’s it! Live with it, but make it the best 15 miler you can by fueling for it like you would for the real deal, dressing as if it’s the real deal and recovering from it like it was the real deal.
  5. Want to do more? Focus on core work.
    1. As you run you get tired. <– Quite the epiphany I know!  ;-)
    2. Fatigue means your running form will begin to break down which makes it even more difficult to run.
    3. To stave off your running form breaking down focus on the core (abdominal work).
    4. I have a beginning core work plan you can follow here. Do it 3-4 days a week.
  6. Enjoy the race experience. Worst case scenario is you are still at Disney World!

Just remember, stick to your plan.

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Group 3: The Injured

It happens, it sucks, I’ve been there, now get over it. You’ve become injured AFTER the cutoff for deferral. So what to do now considering deferral is no longer an option? Here’s my take.

  1. Don’t panic.
  2. Stop worrying. There is nothing you can do now that an injury has occurred.
  3. How bad is it?
    1. There is only a few people who can answer this and NONE of them can be found in your Facebook group…unless your Sports Med Doctor happens to be a part of your Facebook group.
      1. Go to your general practitioner and get their opinion as well as some tests like an x-ray, MRI or something besides an opinion after they check your weight, heart rate and blood pressure.
      2. Next, get a referral to a Sports Med Doctor who specializes in this type of injury
      3. Your GP may not be qualified enough to give you an accurate diagnosis or prognosis on an injury they seldom see.
      4. Personally, I don’t trust a doctor about an injury unless they are a runner, cyclist or triathlete…my opinion only.
    2. Okay, it’s not that bad. If it’s something that you can recover from in a couple weeks then stop running and ask about cross training such as walking, swimming, rowing, biking or weight lifting for non-injured areas. If you can do this then DO IT!
      1. Cardiovascular fitness does not begin to deteriorate until after approximately 14 days of inactivity…you get more time if you maintain in some way even if it’s a different type of exercise.
    3. Okay…it’s bad. Ask yourself, “Am I okay with ending my running career forever if I continue to run with this injury?” I hope the answer is “No.”
      1. I can’t give you advice here, but that is the question you are asking yourself even if you won’t verbalize it.
      2. But…Dopey cost like $500!!!  In my opinion it’s still not worth potentially never running again.
      3. Make the decision with your medical professional.
  4. Consider volunteering for one of the races.
  5. Worst case scenario is you are still at Disney World! And please do go!  Soak up the experience and cheer on the other athletes.  Believe me, we need you!

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Group 4: The Newbies

It’s coming up so fast! AND, they keep posting countdowns on my Facebook group!  27 days…26 days…25 days….AHHHH! Will I make it?  What if my alarm doesn’t go off? What if I have issues on the course? What if it rains? What if it sleets? They keep saying that it was freezing back in 2010!!! Why do I keep hearing screeching violins like in the movie Psycho? Here’s my take.

  1. Don’t panic.
  2. Hakuna Matata. There is nothing you can do now except finish the training plan you are on and prepare.
  3. Make lists to lower anxiety.
    1. What will you pack?
    2. What will you eat on course?
    3. Where will you eat each day for dinner? <– This is fun to plan!
  4. Study the course(s).
    1. Have an idea where the water / Powerade stops are.
    2. Know where you can see family or friends if they are coming too
    3. Know where you’ll meet that crazy person from your Facebook group.
    4. Know where the best beer in EPCOT is for Sunday’s victory lap at the end of the marathon.
  5. Enjoy the race experience!
  6. Take lots if pictures!
  7. Worst case scenario is you are still at Walt Disney World! Have fun!

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Happy Training!

Brian

PR-ing the Purdue University Boilermaker Half Marathon

Today was the 3rd annual Purdue University Boilermaker Half Marathon. I signed up for this race last year right after running the soggy 2nd annual Purdue University Boilermaker Half Marathon. Today’s weather was a cool 47 degrees and overcast. If you are unfamiliar with the West Lafayette and Lafayette, IN area that surrounds Purdue University’s campus then let me tell you the course is a bit hilly.

The course starts out on the edge of campus near Ross-Aide stadium and heads out toward the Purdue golf courses. The first 5-6 miles are very pleasant with a few rolling hills and even includes a great deal of downhill grade running as you cross down into the Wabash river valley to the Lafayette side. Once into Lafayette you run around the downtown Lafayette area and then begin your trek back to the shores of the Wabash around miles 7-8.  It is very picturesque and filled with memories for those returning alumni, like myself, who spent our formative years at our ol’ Purdue.

Do you remember me saying a few sentences ago that you were running DOWN into the river valley? Holy hell, you have to get back to campus! Mile 8 to 9-ish is all uphill. You think a bridge would be flat. NOPE!  It looked flat from the other side! …optical illusion apparently.

Up until then I had been maintaining a nice sub 9-minute pace and feeling great! I was fueling on a strict schedule and running through the water stops without slowing down. I used the crush top cup method to pour water and gatorade down my gullet and kept running never breaking stride and surprisingly getting most of the life giving liquids into me without too much spillage.

That “last” hill felt like it went on forever and it took a lot out of me. We climbed and climbed and climbed. I passed many a runner who was brought to a walk, but I had trained for this hill as I run most all my treadmill runs at a 1% incline so I am used to maintaining pace on an incline.  By the time I was at the top of the hill I felt like I was moving so slow, but my Garmin was still telling me that I was well below a 10-minute mile pace even though I was over my 9:05 needed to come in under 2-hours. At the top of the climb we made a turn to take us over to the Purdue University hotel and through the heart of campus to head back toward the stadium.

Passing the 10-mile marker I remembered where the course goes next and I remembered I was mistaken on that “last” hill comment earlier. The course doubles back on itself to go back by the Purdue golf courses toward the finish line in order to avoid running up that enormously steep hill that is right next to Ross-Aide stadium.  In order to accomplish this the course goes up Stadium Avenue to McCormick Road, passed the fraternities near Slater Hill…yes, it’s called Slater hill because well, it’s a big hill…like the kind you can sled down in the winter time…with a couch if done correctly.

The good news! It’s not that long of a climb. The bad news! It’s steeper than the bridge I mentioned earlier. This time my Garmin told me that I WAS over the 10-minute pace for a short period. I caught more and more runners as many walked up that hill. At the top of the hill was the 11-mile marker. I had 2.1 miles to go on relatively flat terrain and I was about 95+ minutes into the race. I realized I could do 10 minute miles the rest of the way and still beat 2-hours!  However, I didn’t come here to run 10-minute miles so I pushed it to keep a pace closer to 9:20. After passing the 12-mile marker I enjoyed the last 1.1 miles. At about a quarter mile out three Fleet Feet guys passed me and I decided to stick with them. They were running an 8:22 pace which felt surprisingly good to me! I cleared passed the three as I sprinted to the finish looking at the clock right as I crossed the line.

The clock read 01:57:08.  I know a few more seconds will be shaved off since I wasn’t toeing the start line at the gun.

Afterwards I was prepared for the smile, but I was unprepared for the emotion as I’ve chased this sub 2-hour goal for a couple years through unbearable heat and more than one very chilly race. Today’s race was perfectly set with a cool temperature, a sun under cloud cover and otherwise dry conditions. I cannot be happier right now and I’ve already put my new PR medal in it’s place of honor on my PR medal holder!

In two weeks I have the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon. This is a training run for The Dopey Challenge and I am excited to run it! Next weekend I will still do a long run of close to or right at 20 miles. Looking forward to it!

Happy Training!

Brian

Epic Run Today!

I had a fairly epic run today!  I was less than impressed with the weather when I woke up so I headed to the gym.  What can I say? I hate being even remotely cold on a run unless someone is putting a medal around my sweaty neck at the end of it.

My goal for this run was two fold. Run a sub 2-hour half marathon and go 15 miles.  I accomplished BOTH!

Screenshot 2014-10-04 18.24.31

I started out with an easy warm-up at a 9:40 pace then moved it into a little faster than my half marathon pace at 8:57. The first 65 minutes of the run I kept it flat, but upped the speed to an 8:34 pace by the end of it. Then I reset quickly and went again. My overall pace for the first half was a 9:05 and I covered 7.16 miles.

I’m sure the other gym rats were wondering why I had three water bottles lined up next to the treadmill, but I didn’t want to stop for down time between 65 minute sessions on the treadmill.  On the second half I put it straight to 8:57 and added a 0.5% incline to make it more challenging. At the 10 mile marker I upped the incline to 1% and kept it there. I wanted to make sure I simulate a little incline so it makes the TM run more realistic to the outdoors so I add incline regularly on indoor runs.

As I approached the half marathon distance I kept increasing my pace. In the last 1.1 miles I was at a 8:00 minute mile pace and feeling good. Still realizing that this is not official I covered the 13.1 mile distance in 01:57:48 then finished out the rest of my 15 mile run between an 8:57 – 9:05 pace.  My overall time for 15 miles was 02:15:09 (9:00 pace).

I also had on my new calf compression sleeves by Yorkberg! I’ve ran three times with them and I like them! Comfortable, easy on/off, good amount of compression and they stay in place across long distances.

Screenshot 2014-10-04 18.00.42
Not my legs

This is great motivation as my previous best time for that distance is 02:05:49. I can’t wait to do it for real on a race course! I’m hoping that my Purdue University half marathon goes well on the 18th, but I also realize that course is very hilly so we shall see!

Happy Training!

Brian

Count Chocula Cereal is the Everest of Carb Loading

Today’s morning run was sponsored in part by Count Chocula Cereal!  Count Chocula…blah, blah…BlahBlahBlah…

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Pics of me with the cut-out mask will come soon.

Today was day 114 of my RunStreak! I have two runs planned for the day and the first I did 3.56 miles in just under 30 minutes for an overall estimated pace of 8:21/mile. This isn’t a bad pace considering I stopped for a selfie a half mile into the run.

2014-09-20 07.16.35 HDR
It’s definitely time to shave my head again!

Hope you have a great run today!  If you haven’t started training for Disney Marathon weekend and are signed up then you better get to hopping!   Ok, don’t actually hop that could be bad.

Happy Training!

Brian

It’s all for charity…

Last week someone (Matthew Thomas) over at Team DAWS, the charity dedicated to ridding the planet of the horrible genetic disease known as Spinal Muscular Atrophy or SMA for short, came up with the crazy idea of challenging myself and a friend of mine (Mitch Brannen) to a little fundraiser for DAWS to raise some cash for a good cause.

The Challenge:

This is a very simple event.

Assuming a certain threshold of fundraising is met Mitch and I will dress up and run as Anna and Elsa (From Frozen…but you knew that) during the Walt Disney World Marathon weekend if people donated money.

After the fundraising goals are met, we will be dressed in full costumes that are being designed including a matching tutu or skirt. But who could forget complimenting makeup and a full wig to ensure authenticity…jeesh.

Donate money today and see us run around Walt Disney World in full regalia.  You never know what surprises may be in store.

What are the minimum donations for the two of us to run?

  • At the $500 total donation level, we will run the 5K in full costume.
  • At the $700 total donation level, we will run the 10K in full costume.
  • At the $1000 total donation level, we will run the Half Marathon in full costume.

When does the race take place?

  • Walt Disney World Marathon weekend is January 8-11, 2015

How do you know we ran in costume?”

  • Pictures will be taken along the way and posts on all of our social media including a Go-Pro video of the race!

Do you get a tax receipt?

  • Yes, 100% of your donation will be tax deductible and a receipt will come from DAWS.  

Upping the Ante: …but wait, there’s more…

If we raise $2000 in total donations, I have reluctantly agreed to shave my legs for the event…how do I get myself into these things? I keep remembering it’s all for a good cause.

Wait, it gets better!  Again at the same $2000 total donation level, Mitch will shave his head! No joke, we have video of him saying he would and you can see it here on my Facebook page!

Something for YOU the donor!

For every $25 you donate, you will be entered into a drawing for a free pair of new running shoes.  Donations must be made by November 30, 2014.  The drawing will be held on December 1, 2014.  Emails will be sent out to receive information on Brand, Style, Size, and Shipping Address.  Brooks, Asics, Nike, Saucony, and New Balance are all available.

I didn’t realize training for Dopey would make me so…well, you know.  Uh, happy to help out a good cause!

Happy Training!

Brian

Don’t Stay Thirsty My friends!

Remember to stay hydrated out there when the humidity and temperature are high! I wore two hydration belts today on my long run so I could bring an extra 12 ounces with me. Drink at regular intervals (mile markers are easy) so you keep your hydration in check. It’s a good idea to weigh yourself before and after runs so you know how much water weight you’ve lost. You will weigh less after a run. Don’t let this fool you into thinking this is all an actual loss of body fat / weight…you need to replenish those fluids lost on the run.

Hot Day
The dog days of summer have arrived and they are barking mad!!

During my long run today my weight dropped 3.4 pounds on the run. That was with drinking at regular intervals and downing 28 ounces of water total across 10.23 miles. I felt good afterwards and when I got home I had my protein recovery shake and continued to sip water as I recovered.

I also slowed my pace on this run as I knew I shouldn’t try to maintain my usual pace and wouldn’t be able to regardless with today’s conditions of high heat and humidity.  So today I went out, got the mileage and enjoyed the run.

Happy Training!

Brian

I’m a Streaker!

Recently, I decided to start a run streak. If you’ve not heard of this phenomena then let me fill you in on the challenge.  A run streak is when you run every day rain or shine…or snow or ice…or hurricane for that matter as long as you do at a minimum a continuous 1 mile run. I was contemplating as to when I should publish a blog about my run streak because let’s face it, proclaiming from the mountain tops that you have a run streak of 3, 5, or even 14 days long is not really all that impressive. Therefore, from the mountain top of my recliner where I presently perch I am happy to proclaim that I have so far accomplished a run streak of 78 days! I have ran every day since May 29th for at least 1 mile, but usually more. Today was my 78th

My most active run week so far has been the week of June 16th covering 61 miles. June as a whole was fairly productive as I ran 170 miles and then followed up with a 130 miles in July. August is promising to be a heavy mileage month as it is just August 15th and I have already covered 90 miles!

I have no delusions of grandeur as I am fully aware that many runners put in a LOT more miles than this on a weekly basis, but I must say I have enjoyed running more and I have also gained a considerable amount of speed from all the extra miles. To put it the way the old cereal commercial did, “Mikey likes it!” My body is responding well and adapting to the increased mileage. Considering I am also following the Insanity DVD series while I do this run streak I can say that my body has never felt stronger or more fit!

Why do a run streak on top of Insanity training?  Well, as you know I am training for the Dopey Challenge this coming January. What better way to prepare myself for the challenge of running 48.6 miles across four days than to run every day up until, throughout and after the runDisney’s Marathon Weekend!

I’ve ran Goofy twice (once unofficial) and both times I felt okay afterwards with minimal recovery, but this year I want to run through the parks with ease and be able to have a good time after the marathon without a noticeable limp!

Why else?  I’ve been playing with low mileage training plans for a few years and they have served me well to build a base, however, I have noticed that I’ve stopped improving on speed and endurance. I am interested in running a single day ultra and have tried to make the jump to a longer distance race, but have found that it’s difficult to run a low mileage program and continue training by piling all my miles into my weekly long run. Plus, thru continued reading of research I have found that the usual weekly long run that many plans prescribe may not be the best way to go about training for any distance. So, thru this run streak I’ve decided to run more often and up my midweek mileage runs. The run streak just fits…and it’s a lot of fun too!

Anyway, I hope you have the opportunity to see me streaking thru your neighborhood or on a nearby race course!

Happy Streaking!

Brian

Running in your Dreams

Do you ever dream that you’re running? Not like, “AAAHHHH!!!! THE BEAR IS GOING TO EAT ME!!” …running, but dreaming that you are on a great run. Not just a great run, but the best run of your life! On this run your lungs are feeling great with nary a burn. Your legs feel like you could run until dawn. Your energy level is so high that your only thought is to see what’s over that next rise. It is without a doubt THE best run that you’ve ever ran. It. Is. Perfect.

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Goodbye dream, goodbye sleep, goodbye nice warm bed as it is time to hit the floor! EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, STUPID ALARM CLOCK!! (snooze)….. 7 minutes of wonderful snooze…who decided that a snooze is 7 minutes long anyway…I mean 7 minutes? seriously?…..doesn’t matter….ahhhh, it cannot get better…this bed is the best bed since beds were invented as it is mine and it is warm and it is comfy and this would be a horrible run on sentence if i were not  sleeping right this very…EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH, EH…STUPID ALARM CLOCK! Who the hades has me running at 5am!?!?!?!?…stupid bad man! Ok ok ok ok…i’m awake…why did I stay up for the Project Runway Marathon on Lifetime…??

Sleep is important. Sleep to the average non-athlete is important. Sleep to someone who lives an active lifestyle or who is training for an event like a marathon, Ironman or other feat of endurance is even more important.  Here’s why:

1. Sleep curbs inflammation. Research indicates that people who get six or fewer hours of sleep each night have higher blood levels of inflammatory proteins than those who get more.  Your body needs time to reduce inflammation from your daily activities as well as from the bouts of exercise you put it through.

2. Sleep improves performance. A Stanford University study found that college football players who tried to sleep at least 10 hours a night for seven to eight weeks improved their average sprint time and had less daytime fatigue and more endurance.  The results of this study further support previous research seen in tennis players and swimmers.

3. Sleep assists in weight loss / maintenance. Researchers at the University of Chicago found that dieters who were well rested lost more fat (56% of their weight loss—than those who were sleep deprived, who lost more muscle mass.)  Dieters in the study also felt more hungry when they got less sleep. Sleep and metabolism are controlled by the same sectors of the brain. When you are sleepy, certain hormones go up in your blood, and those same hormones drive appetite the study reports.

4. Sleep helps with water reabsorption. During sleep, the kidney balances water, sodium and other electrolytes. Without enough water the kidneys can’t balance electrolytes properly. So make sure you’re well hydrated so this very important can happen during sleep!

5. Sleep is when you build / rebuild the brick house. Please excuse our mess while we make improvements for your future enjoyment. You go out for a long run, you take an hour and destroy it in the weight room, you tear it up on hill repeats, you run a PR. All of these tear you down and you need time to make repairs. Sleep is when you do this.

6. Sleep keeps you sane. In fact it is crucial to sanity. It seems that while you are busy doing your day job, your brain actually works nights and has quite a bit to get done while you are unconscious. Yes, running keeps us sane too, but sleep, it turns out is more important still!

So, it’s obvious that sleep is important, but how much do you need?

According to the National Sleep Foundation, most people need about seven to nine hours of sleep a night. Okay, 7-9 hours of sleep. Are you getting enough? This is if you are NOT an athlete.

If you ARE an athlete in training, that may not be enough. Now, just because you don’t consider yourself an athlete doesn’t mean you are not. If you are training to do a marathon, 5K, half marathon, Ironman, 10K, triathlon, duathlon or just go to the gym several days a week to stay fit, maintain or lose weight or play racquet ball with your best friend then guess what?  …you’re an athlete.

“Just as athletes need more calories than most people when they’re in training, they need more sleep, too,” says Dr. David Geier, MD, director of Sports Medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina. All the stress and grueling practices require more time to recover. Jim Thornton, president of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, recommends that an athlete in training should sleep about an hour extra per night.

That’s eight to ten hours of sleep each night especially for those big training sessions like weekly long runs.

I know it’s difficult. Kids, work, homework, PTA, volunteering, family time, church, date night, chores, house work, social life, gardening, band practice, t-ball, alone time, vacation, bake sale AND you are also training to run the Dopey Challenge.

So, maybe don’t go for the 100% win of 10 hours of sleep each night. Maybe instead, track your sleep for the next 14 days and see where you are in regards to the amount of sleep you get. Next, if you’re under the minimum then try to get an extra 30 minutes each night of the week and maybe an extra hour the nights before and after your long run. It may not be what the doctor ordered, but it’s a step in the right direction!

Now excuse me please, I need to get to sleep!

Happy training and sweet dreams!

Brian

Numbers STILL Don’t Lie

Back in December 2010 I wrote a blog titled “Numbers Don’t Lie.” At the time I tracked my nutritional intake and training output on an excel spreadsheet. I was a year into training for my first marathon that would take place just three weeks later at Walt Disney World. Now days there are a plethora of different websites and technology to help people keep track of their caloric intake as well as their physical activities.

Today, I’ve left Microsoft Excel spreadsheets behind in lieu of my Fitbit. I own a Fitbit One and enjoy logging all of my calories and physical activities throughout the day. I can keep an eye on my calories in versus calories out throughout the day and at any given time have a snapshot of where I am in my daily fitness journey. It’s a very helpful tool and it keeps me honest. Why? Because numbers don’t lie. If I choose to not log a snack I am just cheating myself and skewing my numbers. If I want to know why I’m gaining, maintaining or losing weight then it’s easy just to look at the numbers and know whether or not I need to make an adjustment or stay the course.

Looking at the numbers takes a lot of the variance out of the thought process. I have had people swear to me that they barely eat anything and cannot lose weight. It’s becoming more common knowledge that if you use more calories than you eat then you will lose weight.  What many people fail to consider is the damage of one or two meals each week. In the past I have enjoyed a “cheat meal” as a reward. What I didn’t realize is that I could offset all of my efforts with that one meal if I weren’t careful. Having a cheat meal is okay, but I still needed to pay attention to serving size. If my cheat meal accounts for 2-3 thousand calories or more then I very well could have worked out the entire week just to have that one meal and NOT lose any weight. Of course this is assuming weight loss is the goal.  This includes even running a marathon.

Imagine going to a cookout and indulging after a hard fought 26.2 mile run (marathon distance).  You have some major hunger so you have a burger with chips, potato salad, a coke and maybe even throw back a couple beers. Later on you decide a hotdog looks good…after all you EARNED it across those 26.2 miles, right? You also have dessert and maybe another beer if you are so inclined.  A couple cookies make their way to your plate as you hash the day’s running event with your friends and family reciting paces per mile and the number of gels you took in along the way. Before you know it the afternoon is gone and you stick around for Round 2 of eats and treats! After all is said and done you begin to add up the caloric intake and come to realize that while you may have burned ~4,000 calories during the marathon that you ingested in excess of 4,000 calories for the day.

Screenshot 2014-06-01 10.46.02
Even after a marathon effort you can still take in more calories than you burned for the day!

Now, you know me and if you’ve read my other blog posts I adamantly defend the right to enjoy a good cookout!  Plan it into your training schedule, please! However, we still need to take into consideration portion size. Have a beer…heck have two or three! Have a burger! Have a slice of pie! But, keep track along the way as you don’t want to negate all of your efforts. I want you to understand that while running is a great calorie burning exercise running is NOT an open ticket to eat anything you want as much as you want.

Also, don’t go in the entire opposite direction. After a marathon (or any a long run) you need to take in calories for recovery and taking in extra protein afterwards is a good practice in my experience. Again, focus on proper portion size…not too much and not too little.

One more thing, I know I used the marathon distance as an example and I know that many would say that the marathon isn’t about weight loss.  I agree, I was just using the ultimate distance many runners aspire to as the extreme example to prove my point.  Even running 26.2 miles you still can’t outrun your fork. Even going the marathon distance doesn’t mean you can or should eat everything in sight afterwards. As they say, “Everything in moderation…including moderation.”

Happy Training

Brian

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