Category Archives: Uncategorized

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 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.

Screenshot 2014-06-08 10.56.03

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

Back to Work

It’s been some time since I’ve written a blog post. Up until a few weeks ago I was sidelined with a foot injury. Thanks to my physical therapist and eight weeks of PT homework I am now back to racing. I ran the Run for World Water 5K on 8/26 and ran the St. Vincent Cancer Challenge 6-miler on 9/16.

It’s been fun to be back to running and I am getting excited as I will be healthier than I was last year at this time for my legacy race, The Purdue Boilermaker Half Marathon, coming up on October 14.

Of course, after running my legacy race what is one to do? I know! I’m GOING TO DISNEY…LAND!!!

Bibs – 2017 Marine Corps Marathon

Since 2013 I have been involved with a charity, Do Away with SMA (DAWS), whose mission is to end Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). Click the link to learn more about DAWS and SMA.

Recently, DAWS Do Away with SMA became an official charity partner of the 2017 Marine Corps Marathon!

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!

Activity Challenge Check-In

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.

screenshot-2017-02-25-07-32-02

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!

Always Training,
Brian

The Perpetual Training Cycle

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.

Exactly!

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.
    • WHAT?
    • 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.

Happy Training!

Brian