There are still a few race bibs left for the 2017 Marine Corp Marathon (MCM) through the Do Away With SMA charity. Additionally, anyone registering with the DAWS charity for the marathon will get a custom training plan developed by Mr. Running Down a Dream himself…The Bad Man…me.
DAWS is both proud and honored to have been named an official charity partner of the 2017 Marine Corps Marathon!!!
There are only 35 of 40 bibs remaining for this incredible marathon journey…and we are sure that runners will snatch these remaining entries up FAST!!!!
If you would like to support DAWS to find a cure for SMA please consider running the 2017 Marine Corps Marathon under the DAWS running team!
We appreciate your support!
How’s everyone doing on their 2017 activity challenge? My challenge is going well so I wanted to do a check in of where I am in staying active in 2017.
I lift weights 3-4 days per week and have been consistent with this since January 1 except for one week when I was sick. For the illness I took a full five days rest from the gym, slept 8+ hours each night, and came back feeling great!
I break down my lifting into 1-2 major muscle groups each session. I’ve had to rearrange my schedule a bit, but as of the last two weeks, here is my training schedule:
- Monday: Rest – I get 8-9 hours of sleep 10:00pm to 6:30-7:00am
- Tuesday morning: Back & Chest + light cardio (20-30 minutes)
- Wednesday morning: Leg Day + light cardio (20-30 minutes)
- Thursday morning: Moderate cardio for longer duration (70-90 min)
- Friday morning: Shoulders + stretching + 45 min Spin Class (intense)
- Saturday morning: 45 min Spin Class (intense)
- Sunday morning: Stretching + 60 min Spin Class (intense) or monthly massage
My lifting sessions right now are focused on muscular strength versus muscular endurance so I’m completing 4 sets of 5 repetitions for each lift and my strength has increased quite a bit. My lifting sessions take 30-40 minutes.
I was happy to hoist 250 lbs. on the leg press, 170 for leg extension, 110 for lying leg curls, and I’m about to max out the stack on the seated dips machine lifting 190 lbs. All of these are for reps versus a one rep maximum which would be higher. It’s nice to see my off season work paying off in much needed strength gains.
I keep track of everything on MyFitnessPal.com to keep myself accountable. Tracking diet and exercise is key to making positive changes and helps you stay motivated. Plus, it helps you form the training and dietary habits you need to stay on track after you reach a goal.
You’ll notice that this runner isn’t running right now and that is by design. I won’t do any running until after the July 4th holiday. With the temperatures breaking for the warmer these last couple weeks I do get out for walks in the evening and across my lunch hour I many times will walk for 45-60 minutes depending on how easy it is to eat lunch at my desk.
That’s it for me! How’s your activity challenge going for 2017? If you haven’t been able to get started then start today!
We as Americans have a pandemic on our hands. It’s been happening for about three decades now as we as a nation have gotten out of shape or otherwise less fit than a human should be. As a nation we are less active and as a consequence weigh more than we did 30 years ago and it’s not just the natural progression of aging. Here are some stats:
The overall age-adjusted prevalence of obesity in U.S adults from 2013-2014 was 37.7% (Flegal, Kruszon-Moran, Carrol, Fryar, & Ogden, 2016). Put another way, regardless of age if we look at all adults from age 18 and up then ~4 out of 10 would be obese. Obesity is defined by the Center for Disease Controls (CDC) as those individuals having a BMI of 30.0 or higher. Also, keep in mind that this statistic does not include those adults who are just overweight which is defined as having a BMI of 25.0 to <30.
To kill the elephant in the room, yes, BMI is arguably not a good indicator of health for individuals with a lot of extra muscle mass, however, I don’t go to the mall, the grocery, or my kids’ school and see a bunch of bodybuilders walking around feeling bad that their BMI says their “obese.”
So let’s get to it. The 2017 activity challenge!
I have a bad habit of wanting to do something for everyone and you, my followers, reap the benefits! What can I say except, you’re welcome.
First this is for my peeps who want to work on their overall health. If you’re just getting started in the fitness game or want to add to your overall fitness then your goals are as follows:
- 3 hours of:
- moderate intensity aerobic activity (brisk walking) per week
- Be sure to do a warm-up and cool down for each session, but remember the warm-up and cool down does not count toward the 3 hours of moderate activity
- Also, 2 or more days per week of strength training that works all major muscle groups including legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms.
- A full body strength training session should take at least 1 hour. Try for 3 sets of 10 repetitions per major muscle group as listed above.
- The totals:
- 3 hours of moderate aerobic activity per week plus two 1-hour strength training sessions equals out to 260 hours of activity for the year.
Alternatively, my first time fitness freaks can do:
- 2 hours of vigorous intensity aerobic activity (running or jogging) per week
- Be sure to do a warm-up and cool down for each session, but remember the warm-up and cool down does not count toward the 2 hours of vigorous activity
- Also, 2 or more days per week of strength training that that works all major muscle groups including legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms.
- A full body strength training session should take at least 1 hour. Try for 3 sets of 10 repetitions per major muscle group as listed above.
- The totals:
- 2 hours of vigorous aerobic activity per week plus two 1-hour strength training sessions equals out to 156 hours of activity for the year.
For the raw runners who want to be pushed for 365 days. Welcome to 2017 grind!
Runners, get seeeeet!
Your mileage goal is 2017 +1 mile to grow on for the next year. Here’s the break down.
- That’s ~5.6 miles per day on average
- Or, that’s ~39 miles per week on average
- Also, you need strength training to maintain that weekly mileage so, 2 or more days per week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms)
- One other suggestion: Add a cross training you love to do. For me it’s spin class. If you like swimming then go for it. If it’s hitting the heavy bag, fine, but choose something to support your running besides just more running from the cardiovascular standpoint.
I want to remind everyone to be safe when it comes to challenges and do not get involved with too many challenges at once. It’s really easy to get to a state of over training so make sure that after you hit it hard on the road, trail, or in the gym or pool that you take a rest day and get some sleep. Also, as I always say, “You can’t outrun your fork.” so make sure that your diet and nutrition supports the activity and the challenges you undertake this year.
We are moving into the Autumnal season soon (9/22) and are approaching marathon weekend for Disney the first week of January. I know many of you have already registered for additional winter races in January / February and have started registering for spring races from March thru May.
I need you to do something for me before you register for anymore races. I need you to STOP, collaborate with me, and above all take a moment and truly listen to me.
We all get excited when registering for races, heck I know I do, but it’s the perpetual training cycle that can get us into trouble if we do not plan our training well.
But wait Brian, how can training get us into trouble? Ah, excellent question! Let’s get into the specifics. Training is good. The perpetual training cycle (a.k.a., the never ending training cycle) can be bad.
I run into folks all the time (and train many) who can’t wait to tell me about the race they just registered for coming up in X number of weeks,months, or lord forbid…days. They then want me to figure out how to prepare them for that race given the other races they are already training for at this point in time. But the kicker is that sometimes that race isn’t the best thing for your training in the middle of your training for the other event. Even IF, all you want to do is start and finish a race then it’s still not a good idea to have a never ending training cycle where you are continually training for a race event. Let’s discuss why.
Now, before we get started I am in no way suggesting that you stop training or stop exercising regularly and sit on your butt. No No No No…stop it…I said Stop IT. No.
What I am saying is, you need an off season every year to break the perpetual training cycle. What’s an off season you might ask?
An off season is a period of time where you have a lower training volume in regards to your primary sport, in this case, running. You might ask, “Do you mean that two weeks before a race?” NO, that’s called tapering and is a part of a training plan.
An off season is at a minimum 4-6 weeks and perhaps as long as 3 months when you lower your volume of training. Volume of training for a runner would be your weekly mileage. Instead you work on other restful and rehabilitating types of training and exercise that focuses on other aspects of fitness.
Such as Mr. Brian?
Glad you asked.
For 1-3 months do the following weekly then transition to a race training plan:
- Swim 4 days per week, bike 1 day, do a single easy run of medium distance on a 6th day and sleep in the 7th day; or
- Lift weights 3-5 days per week, do a spin class or yoga session a couple days per week, and sleep in the other days; or
- Bike outside exploring the countryside or neighborhoods 3 days per week, swim 2 days, do an easy 5K when you feel like it, and sleep in the other days; or
- Do a short 2 mile run followed by a spin class at the gym a couple days a week, lift 3 days per week, stretch a lot, and sleep in the other days; or
- Focus on ab work 3 days per week, do a couple specific swim workouts or biking to maintain cardio, and throw in the occasional 5K for fun. Sleep in 1-2 days per week; or
- Go to the gym 5 days per week for an hour WITH NO PLAN and do whatever you feel like when you get there. Sleep in the other two days.
Again, the above will not prepare you for a marathon nor is it intended to prepare you for a marathon…or half marathon for that matter.
At the end of your off season is when you START a new training plan for a future race. In other words, if you have a race scheduled AFTER your off season ends then you need to have 8-16 weeks from the END of your off season to the next race so you have time to train for that race. I’m not saying you can’t run a 5K fun run on July 4th or the Drumstick Dash on Thanksgiving if that time period is in your off season…just don’t be training for a half, full, or ultra marathon because if you are then you are NOT on your OFF SEASON.
What do you think?
….I get it Brian, I get it…an off season is a time to recoup mentally, allow any nagging acute injuries to heal, to work on other fitness that will actually help my running and make it more enjoyable in the long run (pun intended), and allows me to focus on other aspects of my life like my son’s soccer season or my daughter’s band competition season or just spend time with the family or focus on my schooling.
I get it Brian…and I’m on board with an off season. I’ll start immediately. All I have is an easy half marathon in a month followed by a 3 person marathon relay two weeks after that and a couple 10Ks scheduled the following two weeks after the relay so right now is the perfect time for an off season.
STOP, NO, DON’T. If that is your schedule for the next 8 weeks then now is NOT a good time for an off season. An off season has zero long runs, relays or events that last longer than 45-60 minutes on course depending on your pace. An easy 5K for fun is okay but beyond that you need to train for an event or maintain a certain mileage…or should. With this in mind let’s discuss what is NOT an offseason.
What is NOT an off season?
- Your 5-7 day vacation in the middle of your training program where you walked a lot at Disney, but didn’t get your training in as scheduled. NOT an off season!
- That cold you had that sidelined you for a week. NOT an off season!
- That time you had your wisdom teeth out and couldn’t run. NOT an off season!
- The next two months when you only have a couple half marathons which are no big deal because you usually run full marathons. NOT an off season!
- Those 2-3 weeks you had to limit running due to an injury, but still went hardcore on everything else so you could do your half marathon. NOT an off season!
- Those three weeks where work was hades and you had to put in 80 hours per week for all three weeks and was just so tired that you only got in a couple short runs a week and now feel behind for your upcoming marathon next month. NOT an off season!
What IS an offseason?
- See my above suggestions for activity/exercise/training then consider this schedule for example:
- You have your final marathon of the spring on the third Saturday in April. You had a good race, finished strong, and felt good after the 26.2 miles with no injuries or nagging aches and pains.
- Starting Monday you are on your off season for the next 6 weeks.
- You follow the above suggestions I previously mentioned each week even switching it up weekly as long as you stay active and focus on rest, recovery, and other fitness besides running.
- Your next scheduled long distance race is in the late summer/early fall with some smaller events like the Firecracker 5K.
- You finish up your off season the last week of May, enjoy Memorial Day weekend with a cookout and start a race training program the Tuesday after Memorial Day.
- Your next race is scheduled for a minimum of 8 weeks away (half marathon) or 12 to 16 weeks away (marathon) depending on the distance of the race and your goal for that race. The more substantial the goal, like a PR, the longer prep you should allow yourself.
- Half marathon no sooner than the end of July
- Marathon no sooner than mid August to mid September.
- That’s it!
Ok, when is a good time for an off season?
Any time is a good time for an off season and you can even break them up and do multiple off seasons per year assuming it fits your schedule. Here are some considerations for when to schedule your off season each year.
- Your “A-race”
- This is your #1 race that you want to focus on performing your best and maybe even go for a PR. If that race is a marathon in February then the preceding 16-20 weeks can’t be a part of your off season. In other words you have dedicated yourself to training during the holidays for that race.
- Local weather to avoid extreme heat or extreme cold.
- Live in Florida? An off season in the summer might be a good idea.
- Live in Canada? Avoid the long runs outside when the weather is 30 below with an off season and go to the gym instead.
- Your Race/Family/Work/Church/Social Life/Friend Schedule:
- Look at the calendar for the next year. Is that time period of two months when you have that week long conference followed by the destination wedding, and a family vacation cross country to visit the relatives in Arizona REALLY the best time to be training for PR marathon run? No, it’s not. So pick a different “A-race” or tell Aunt Mildred that you’ll catch her in the spring for a long weekend.
- Final Consideration: Cancel your race.
- You read that right. If you are down for an extended period of time, can’t train, need healing time for the major running muscles, ligaments, tendons or bones, and need rest then the best thing may be to “live to run another day.” I’ve skipped races and DNS so I could focus my energies elsewhere. It’s okay, really. You’ll live. Sometimes overall health or another priority, like your doctoral dissertation, will take precedent even after you hit the submit button on your registration. Instead I continue going to the gym for shorter durations and to just stay active. After 6 weeks my work was done, the race had passed, and I was back to training for another race with better focus and energy.
That’s it for now. If you need help planning your off season or how to train during your off season then feel free to hit me up on my Facebook Account for Running Down a Dream 23. I’m happy to help with ideas and training plans.
I love my off season. It usually starts the week after the Disney Marathon weekend and depending on my first race of the year may extend through April. My off season started a little later this year as I did another race the week after WDW Marathon Weekend out at Disneyland…oh yes, it was awesome!
The off season is a time to work on other aspects of fitness so I can improve for the coming year. An off season is crucial to overall fitness, helps alleviate burnout, allows for recovery from any nagging injuries from the previous season, but more importantly, allows for your running muscles to be worked in a different way and helps you enjoy your run even more.
The last six weeks I’ve been focusing on strength work and I’ve made some gains in the gym. I lift four days a week with a rest day on Wednesday. The focus is muscular strength. Muscular strength is the ability of a muscle group to develop maximal contractile force against a resistance in a single contraction. Put more simply, it’s the heaviest weight you can lift in good form, one time. Traditionally, you hear some folks talk about their bench press max or their squat max or maybe even their dead lift max…there are other lifts, but you get the picture. I do a four day split to focus on Chest & Triceps, Back & Biceps, Legs, and Shoulders, Traps & Core.
During my race season I still lift, but I lift for muscular endurance. Muscular endurance is the ability of a muscle group to exert submaximal force for extended periods. Again, put more simply, it’s the number of times you can lift a weight that is less than your 1-rep max. It’s all relative to the person, but having some level of muscular strength and muscular endurance is important to overall fitness and important to helping you perform better as a runner.
Runners who work both muscular endurance and muscular strength are less injury prone, faster, can tackle a more diverse terrain, and recover faster than a runner who focuses solely on “just running more.”
So, with the that being said, I am ready to move on to the next phase of training which includes increasing my weekly mileage and working on muscular endurance. Game on!
Yesterday’s half marathon at my alma mater was a lot of fun! This is the fourth year for the race and I’ve ran it all four years. I plan to continue to run it as I want this to be my legacy race.
The morning temperature was a brisk 34 degrees and only warmed to the upper 30s by the finish a couple hours later. There was a slight breeze which made the trek across the bridge to Lafayette and back to West Lafayette a little more chilly, but luckily the sun was fully on you for both those sections to offset the windchill. Other than the lower temperature it was a beautiful day to run a race.
Of late I’ve been solely focused on my course work for my dissertation as I’m 19 months away from graduation which isn’t very long when considering a PhD. As a result my workouts have not included any runs over a 5K. However, I do hit the elliptical machine several days a week on a higher resistance for 60 minutes. I also do core work and lift weights. Additionally, I regularly get in longer walks of over an hour. While I would not suggest this for a new runner or anyone really I know I can handle 13.1 miles with this level of training. All that being said, I was amazed that my cardio was much stronger than a few of the other athletes running a similar pace. While you can never tell if someone else is dealing with an asthmatic condition or didn’t train well I could see that when I was running my pace up a hill (I didn’t train for hills) that the others were sucking air while I was barely breathing heavy. I really think this is a testament to interval training. Being able to do higher intensity work for short periods really does help the cardiovascular system in comparison to focusing on endurance only, but I digress.
If you are in the area then run the Purdue Boilermaker Half Marathon some October! It’s a great race with a fun yet challenging course that includes some hills as well as a great tour of Purdue University and the surrounding community!
To all my Haters,
I know that I am “slow.” I know that I am boring to run with, but please believe me that I am doing the best I can. I know there are those of you who regardless of my dedication will never like me and never accept me for what I am. You don’t care that I get up early every single day regardless of the weather and relentlessly pursue whatever goal is set before me. You don’t care that there are some things that are out of my control. You still blame me. You still call me names. You still curse at me sometimes even to my face. You use words like “hate.” You say that you dread being around me. You sulk and complain when you know you have to see me the next day. I think worst of all is that you post horrible things about me on social media. You make me the punchline of so many jokes it has almost become second nature for you to refer to me as anything but helpful.
While I recognize that you may never like me I hope maybe that you will at least try to think of me in a slightly more positive light. After all, I’ve been there for you on countless occasions so maybe…just maybe…you can choose to have a positive attitude when we see each other so our time together isn’t so bad in your mind. Maybe…just maybe…you choose to not follow the crowd and instead of hating me you choose to accept me as a part of your journey.
This past week the DAWS charity debuted their 2nd annual May the 4th be with You virtual race. The medal this year is the Yavin medal showcased at the end of Star Wars episode IV and it looks pretty cool! Here is a picture of the mock-up.
We worked to get my blog readers a discount for the virtual race. All you need to do is register for the race on Active.com and when you get to the final “Review Cart & Check Out“ screen you can enter the coupon code in all capital letters. The coupon code is NERFHERDER. Feel free to copy and paste it so you get the spelling correct!
The virtual race needs to be completed in the month of May and you can run, walk, roll, or swim a distance of your choosing whether it’s a single mile or 26.2 miles! The DAWS group would love for you to post a picture of yourself at the end of your virtual race on the DAWS Facebook page!
The funds raised will help find a cure for and raise awareness of Spinal Muscular Atrophy. If you are unfamiliar with this genetic disease then all you need to know is that it is the #1 genetic killer of children under 2 years of age and that there is currently no cure or even a treatment. It is a terminal and degenerative disease that causes weakness and wasting of the voluntary muscles in infants and children. 1 in 6000 children are born with SMA.
Here’s what you get!
- A little motivation to run, walk, roll, or swim a distance of your choosing between May 1 – 30th, 2015.
- A cool medal!
- The satisfaction of knowing that you helped find a cure or treatment for Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA).
Now get out there and register you scruffy looking NERFHERDER!! Okay…maybe not “scruffy looking.”
runDisney released their 2015-2016 race Calendar. The list also includes dates for when races will go on sale. As expected, Tower of Terror has been eliminated from the schedule and this is said to be the last year for the Everest Challenge. Which races are you running?
- May 1-2, 2015: Expedition Everest Challenge Weekend [SOLD OUT]
- May 7-10, 2015: Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend presented by PANDORA Jewelry
- September 3-6, 2015: Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna
- November 6-7, 2015: Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend
- November 13-15, 2015: Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend
- January 6-10, 2016: Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna
- January 14-17, 2016: Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend presented by Sierra Nevada Corporation
- February 18-21, 2016: Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend presented by Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals
- May 5-8, 2016: Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend presented by PANDORA Jewelry