All posts by runningdownadream23

My name is Brian. I started a journey of fitness and weight loss back in December 2009 and found a lot of other people doing the same thing including all the usual challenges. When I started I was 75 pounds over weight. Today I have dropped 45 pounds and feel much better. I know people struggle with what to do, how to do it and how to stay motivated when it comes to exercise, diet, fitness, etc, so I started this blog. I do not profess to be an expert on all things fitness and health related, but hopefully as you read you will get to know my sense of humor which is a bit corny at times and learn a little something or see something that will help you in some way. I didn't have any help except me. Now you have me too! Read on!

Still on Course

It’s amazing how work can get in the way of a good blog post…or even a bad blog post. It’s also amazing how a month and four days can go by in a flash. That being said, I’m still on track and being consistent in my training.

I’ve settled into a rhythm of MWF with a 2 mile run followed by a 45 minute spin class for two of those days. On Wednesdays I lift for 30 minutes before spin. This schedule seems to be working for me as far as consistency.

In the past month I’ve had to tweak the schedule a bit for a work trip, another trip to New Orleans for a fun weekend, holiday gatherings, and some dissertation work, but otherwise the MWF schedule is on point for my needs and keeps me well rested to be effective at work and to hit it hard for the workouts.

This morning I did try a new circuit workout with dumbbells, albeit off schedule. I found the circuit on men’s health…I’m always trying new workouts. I have to say that I like it and I am confident that 1) I will be sore tomorrow. 2) Spin class will be less fun tomorrow as a result. and 3) I’m going to figure out a way to do this circuit twice per week possibly replacing my usual Wednesday lifting time and then perhaps adding a day. It took me 50 minutes to complete the entire session, which is a full body workout, plus 20 minutes of walking. I walked before and after the circuit of which I did three sets today. My muscles are shaking and my core is done so I know it’s a good workout…plus I was sucking air a couple times too which is always a good indicator.

I’ll get into the specifics of the circuit on the next post…maybe even before Xmas!

Happy Training,

Brian

 

The Consistency Experiment – Midweek Check-in

Monday I was still feeling wiped out from the previous week’s vacation, travel back home (13-hour drive), and the weekend plus I had 120 emails waiting for me in my work inbox (I deleted the “junk” while on PTO) so I decided to sleep in Monday morning and focused Day 1 of the week on my diet. I have two personal mantras that I live by in regards to diet and exercise.

  1. “Numbers don’t lie.”
  2. “You can’t outrun your fork.”

With the help of myFitnessPal I track calories through the day (it’s a good habit to track caloric intake). On Monday I successfully had a calorie deficit when I went to sleep that night with little exercise for the day save for walking my dogs. That being said, I still took in ~1,640 kcals and had zero hunger through Day 1. Add that to being well rested and I’ll call that a success for Monday!

Tuesday I kicked in the new training schedule with a full-body lifting session plus 30 minutes on the elliptical. I again focused on my diet and came in around 1,535 for the day. This is actually a little low for caloric intake considering I burned 343 kcals on the elliptical alone, but my protein needs were met, I hydrated well, and again I had almost no hunger cravings until I was about ready for bed at 9:00pm. I resisted the craving, had a glass of water, brushed my teeth, and went to sleep a short time later.

Today, Wednesday, I hit the gym again and walked a bit before running a little over a mile on the treadmill. After the treadmill I did some core training and focused on glutes as well. I finished with a 45-minute spin class which ended up being closer to 37-minutes due to a broken clip on the spin bike pedal.

I will admit that it was a bit of a challenge getting out of bed this morning, but I prevailed against that voice in my head that was adamant that I needed to go back to sleep…he can be a jerk sometimes. My diet is going well for the day so far. Two small meals are finished already and I have lunch planned as well. I’m having leftovers from last night…baked chicken with red and Klondike potatoes from our garden, and a bit of broccoli. I’ll probably add some applesauce as well to up the calories a little.

I’ll check-in again before the weekend and probably weigh-in as well. When I am honest with myself and look at the numbers, cause numbers don’t lie, then I see gains and losses as I should much more often than when I fudge the numbers or ignore them.

Happy Training,

Brian

 

TCE – The Past Week / Weekend Ahead

The past week has been filled with work, recovery, and more than a bit of vacationing. The end of last week moving into the weekend proved to be a successful taper for Saturday’s race at my alma mater, Purdue University. The 7th Annual Purdue Boilermaker Half Marathon was a success. I ended up traversing the 13.1 miles in 02:38:57.8 which was by far not my fastest time for the course or in general, but the time spent at my home away from home was fun as always.

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As soon as I finished the race I walked to my truck and drove back to Indianapolis to pick up a U-Haul trailer, load it, and head for Gulf Shores, AL. I’ve been down here with the family relaxing on the beach for several days which has been great for half marathon recovery purposes!

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The sun rises are spectacular!

With my butt in the sand and a beverage in my hand I’ve noticed my recovery has been splendid! It doesn’t hurt to have my pup with me! Aussies help with recovery….it’s a well known fact.

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Just a bit more time in paradise before returning home to a new training plan to start preparing for the 50th Annual Sam Costa Half Marathon in March.

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The sunsets here aren’t too bad either.

Happy Training!

Brian

 

 

 

 

 

TCE Day 3

Today is brought to you by the letter P and the number 4.

P = protein and I had 4 smaller meals today including a protein shake (EAS chocolate Shred). Smoked salmon on a bit of sourdough was breakfast…and it was glorious!

As I taper toward my half marathon this Saturday I took a day of rest today except for a short walk with my pups and a mild stretch. Tomorrow I will most likely have an easy run to keep my legs loosened up.

I just learned that the low for this Saturday is 35 degrees. Considering my disdain for all weather that isn’t distinctly of a summer-esque nature, all I have to say is…yay.

Happy Training,

Brian

THE CONSISTENCY EXPERIMENT: DAY 2

Day 2. So far so good. Also, I realized that typing

THE CONSISTENCY EXPERIMENT: DAY #

is kinda long so I may start typing TCE: Day #  instead. As an added bonus I’m going to tick off a lot of people searching for content on Trichloroethylene which has an abbreviation of (drum roll)…TCE. Why is that a bonus?  I can be snarky at times or so I’ve heard. Oh well…

In keeping with healthy habits I got my flu shot today. I also lifted weights for full body including chest, back, legs, calves, biceps, triceps, and core. I ended the session running a mile at an 8:34 pace.

I am 3.5 days away from my next half marathon so I’ll be tapering a bit on Thursday and Friday with light workouts, more stretching, and extra sleep!

Happy Training,

Brian

The Consistency Experiment: Day 1

Yesterday I turned 42. Yay me. What better time to start a new health experiment than on Day 1 of my 43rd year.

The longer I train myself and train others the more I am convinced that our habits have the greatest impact on our health and fitness including our ability to manage our weight, our level of flexibility, our endurance, our sports performance, and really our overall wellbeing.

I look at habits as what we consistently do either each day or just on a regular basis. We have exercise habits, eating habits, sleep habits, relationship habits, thought habits, and so on.

So today I embark on a more intentional long-term plan focused on healthy habits. Consistency will be key on this journey. I rededicated myself starting this morning with an easy 5K run followed by a 45-minute spin class. Once I was at my desk this morning I sat by my sun lamp for a bit which has been helping me sleep better at night (sleep health).

I hope to share parts of my journey here as a part of my healthy habit of regular journaling.

Here’s a to a good 43rd trip around the sun.

Happy Training,

Brian

Barely enough time, but just enough.

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This past week on Thursday my alarm went off at 4:30am as usual and I felt like a freight train had hit me. You know when you are in that really deep sleep and when you awaken it feels like gravity is at a x3?  Yeah, it felt like that. This wasn’t surprising as I had hit Spin Class on Monday and Wednesday, lifted weights the past 7 days straight and had been back to the elliptical machine earlier in the week as well. So I made a game time call and decided it was best to get the extra 2 hours of sleep for recovery.

Of course that meant I still needed to do my workout at lunch and Thursday was a busy day at work. My lifting schedule called for chest and quads. I only had about 30 minutes including travel time. So I changed, hit the decline chest press machine for 4 sets of 10 then switched to the leg extension machine for 4 sets of 10. I still had a few minutes left so I hit one more set on the decline machine then switched back to the leg extension for a 5th set. I took minimal rest between sets (30-60 seconds) to up the intensity of the workout.

So, in the wake of having an excuse to skip a workout I instead shortened it greatly and upped the intensity to make up for the lower volume. By the way, I could feel a twinge of lactic acid soreness in my quads the next day so the work completed was enough to get the job done.

Note that I had been going non-stop on training for over a week. These sleep-ins don’t happen often, but it’s fine when they do as long as you have a back-up plan. In this case I suggest listening to your body. Just make sure your body isn’t telling you to sleep in and skip the workout three days a week.

I had just enough time to get something in which turned out to be just enough. In this I stayed consistent with my training.

Happy Training!

Brian

The Consistency Principle of Training

We all want results and we want them as soon as possible. Assuming you are putting in the proper work consistently you will get results.
 
Tomorrow you will be a little bit stronger. The next day you will be a little bit faster. The day after that you will be a little bit more flexible. Next week you will be able to run a little bit farther. All of this will continue a little bit at a time.
 
Then one day you will surprise yourself when all those little bits from all those training sessions add up to something great.
 
You will all be successful to some degree. How successful will depend on one thing. Above all else, being consistent in your training will be the predictor of how successful you are on that day.
 
I call this the Consistency Principle of Training.
 
The principle is simple and has two points so here it is:
 
Consistency Principle of Training:
  • Have a plan and write it down in pencil
  • Follow the plan daily
The first point seem easy enough, but I am continually surprised at how many people don’t have a plan. How can you get to where you want to go or achieve the results you want if you have no road map to get there? Writing it down in pencil simply means that life happens and when you come to a fork in the road you may need to take the shorter route. Life is adventure, but life is also realistic so don’t think you have to reinvent the wheel for your own success every time you set your sights on a new goal.
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I recognize that stuff happens. If you can’t run 10 miles today because something unforeseen derailed your plan and now you don’t have the time, I understand. But can you run 5 miles instead?
If you can’t do five 1-mile repeats today because your work needs you to come in early and you could really use the overtime…can you do three 1-mile repeats or six 800m intervals instead?
 
If you can’t make it to the gym today because the school called and you need to pick up your kid because they are sick, can you do a 20-minute body weight workout from YouTube at home instead? Can you do something…anything…rather than nothing at all? This adds to being consistent.
 
When are you doing your long run this weekend? I’m doing mine Sunday at 8:00am. Since I know I am starting my run at 8:00am then I know I need to get up before 8:00am. I do the same prep for every long run the same as I would for race day. On race day, I am awake 1.5 to 2 hours before the start of the race. I need time to eat, allow my stomach to settle from breakfast and also hit the restroom a couple times before I start my run at 8:00am. Then, at 7:30am I take a gel
 
That being said, if you find yourself cutting your workouts in half or missing your workouts altogether more consistently than you are making it to the gym or completing a training session 100% then I would suggest reassessing your goals and your priorities because it sounds like the work that needs to be done isn’t aligned with your life at the moment. Maybe now isn’t the time for a marathon? Maybe a half would suit your schedule better? I’ve had years where a full marathon just was not in the schedule. I had to focus on a new job, my dissertation, or new additions to my family so I kept my race schedule to a couple races in spring and winter and did maintenance training throughout the summer…and that’s okay!
 
I knew I could not be consistent in my training so I adjusted my goals to fit my schedule.
 
So Brian, how do you stay consistent?
The second dot point of the consistent principle of training answers this question. I follow my plan daily. I know what training is coming up days or weeks ahead of time and everything else is planned around that training session. Most days it is simple as I train at 5:00am and have the training completed before work. Weekends can be a challenge unless I plan well. I have major long runs on the family calendar blocked off.
If I have to mow the yard, plant the garden, and have friends coming over that night then I have to get up and do my long run early. Also, if you’re wondering, yes, I have scheduled friends and family on different weekends when a major training session like a 20-miler is on the plan for the weekend. Remember, you made a commitment to a goal. Believe me, your friend or family member will be proud that you have not only committed yourself to a goal, but have also planned ahead. It’s okay, really.
Another method or tool I use to stay consistent is an MS Excel spreadsheet. I keep it on the desktop of my laptop…staring at me. As I complete my workouts I use a red, yellow, green system.  If I completed what I have written down then I fill in that cell as green, if I only do part of the workout then I fill in the cell as yellow, if I missed a workout all together then I fill in the cell as red. This gives me a quick look visually of how I’m doing with consistency. Sometimes we are doing a crappy job just because we don’t know that we’re doing a crappy job that’s why keeping track is so important. You don’t need MS Excel. You can use a regular wall calendar and a few colored sharpies.
 
That’s it! Have a plan and follow the plan. To review…
Consistency Principle of Training:
  • Have a plan and write it down in pencil
  • Follow the plan daily

I ask the athletes I train to look at their calendars for the next year when they decide to train for a marathon. I ask them to look at holidays, family obligations, school schedules, vacations, work schedules, conferences, church schedules, graduations, annual events, family visits, and to try as much as possible to see the unforeseeable.

I ask them to do this so we can write a more realistic training plan from the beginning (still in pencil) so they can follow that plan daily with greater ease.

P.S.S. – Post Script Seriousness

A word on inconsistency… If things have not gone well during training, there comes a time in a training plan when you have to make the decision if your training thus far can support the goal you made for yourself. It’s a tough decision too. If you have not been consistent… If you have skipped training sessions… If you have missed whole weeks of training on the plan… If you have had to “start over” multiple times… If you have more red cells on the MS Excel sheet than green cellsthen you have to decide if what you HAVE done is enough. The answer may be, “No.” This is when I give the advice to defer or DNS (Do Not Start). 

Why DNS? Ask yourself, “Is attempting a goal that you are not prepared for worth an injury at best and your life at worst?” Some think that’s an easy answer, but I’ve seen countless people toe the line completely unprepared for a race due to lack of consistency in their training and come up injured. I see this and am very happy that it was just an injury.

I loathe having to give this advice because no one wants to hear that they have failed. However, I would rather see you fail now, in the short term, than get injured or worse…think that your inconsistency is in some way “good enough” because you succeeded at this round of Russian Roulette.

I used to be proud to say I had NEVER DNF’d or DNS’d. Now, my personal motto is that if I’m not prepared then I don’t toe the line regardless of how expensive the registration. My life and my physical health is worth much more than a shiny piece of metal on a ribbon. My life and my physical health is worth much more than my pride.

Sorry to get so serious at the end, but some folks need to hear it. They need to hear that it’s okay to fail, learn, and try again next year.

Happy Consistent Training!

Brian

Back on My Feet Marathon Relay

I had the opportunity to join a relay team for the Back on My Feet organization last year and returned again for the relay this year, once again joining team “Run. Restore. Repeat.”

Team “Run. Restore. Repeat.” completed its second Marathon Relay on September 24 with three return members and three new runners. We are excited about the great strides Back on My Feet is making in combating homelessness, and invite you to join us in supporting this terrific organization. If you would, please help out our team by supporting the Back on My Feet organization at this link. Together we can make a difference!!

Always Training,
Brian

Hope on the Trail 5K/10K Review

This past Saturday I participated in a local 10K race in Thorntown, IN put on by a charity organization, Hope for his Children Inc, that benefits orphaned, abandoned, and impoverished children of the world. Being a foster parent I was drawn to this race for the good work this organization does on behalf of our most vulnerable population, kids.

The event gives participants the option to run or walk a 5K or 10K distance for an out and back on a flat and fast section of a reclaimed rails to trails system starting at the Thorntown trail head. The start of the trail is paved and eventual turns to packed gravel. The trail is beautiful as it explores the Indiana countryside and cornfields. I really enjoyed the course and the event overall.

The volunteers and event staff were well organized, friendly, and informative exemplifying Hoosier hospitality. The race coincides with Thorntown’s Turning of the Leaves festival weekend so there’s plenty to do, plenty to see, and plenty to eat after finishing the race!

If you want to run a great local race for a good cause then add the Hope on the Trail Run/Walk to your race schedule for 2018. I know I’ll be back next year!