Category Archives: Weight Loss

2017 Activity Challenge

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:

Weekly:

  • 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.

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Always Training,

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.

Screenshot 2014-06-08 10.56.03

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

An Apology to My Knees….from a Runner

I realized the other day that I have yet to sufficiently apologize to my knees. No, that’s not autocorrect from “niece”…she’s good. I’m talking about the two joints that every runner loves there in the middle of our legs.

If you follow my story then you know that in late 2009 I took up the activity of running. It’ll be my 5-year running anniversary this December. I’ve put thousands of miles on my knees while running. I’ve ran 44 races to date and I’m adding two more this month alone! It is time. It is time I apologized. My knees deserve an apology at this point. They’ve been waiting a long time. So here it is. The moment my knees have been waiting for since longer than I care to admit.

Dear Knees,

I am sorry I waited until I was 33 years old to start running. It wasn’t fair to you, both of you, to keep you weak for that long while also forcing you to carry my fat ass around all day. I know I could have made you stronger a lot sooner by taking up running sooner, but I was scared. I know, that’s no excuse. What the hell did I have to be scared of anyway? I was also ignorant. I’ll admit it you don’t have to agree so quickly…jerks. Ok, sorry, this IS an apology after all. I was ignorant and wanted to blame anything for my aches and pains, your aches and pains rather than my inability to get off the couch. I just “didn’t have the time,” remember?

I understand now that running has been the best gift I could have given you to make you stronger, ache less, and feel better all day especially on those days when we are on our feet all day. Oh, by the way, send my best to our feet…you live closer after all.

To wrap this up tell your ligaments, tendons and surrounding muscular structure not to worry. I will continue running well into my 70s and 80s.  I may slow down, but I will not allow sitting around to weaken you to the point where I blame daily activities for a weakened state and the aches and pains of being lazy like I did for too long.

One last thing, shorts weather is coming so look alive down there!

Your friend,
Brian

Diet Bet

Have you heard of Diet Bet or Diet Better rather? It is a part of the newest (or new to me) online phenomena called, Social Dieting. My sister-in-law turned me onto it about 10 weeks ago. I played a “round” that lasted 4-weeks and the bet was $25. Anyone making their goal won some cash by splitting the pot.  I took home a whopping $43 and change which I could either receive in a Paypal payout or put back down for another round.

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There are two games you can play and games start all of the time almost daily in some cases. Diet4 is about losing 4% of your body weight in 4 weeks. That’s the one I played and won a chunk of the pot with maybe 20+ players. Then there is Diet10 nicknamed “The Transformer.” As you probably guessed it is about losing 10% of your body weight and the time period is 6 months.  5 months to lose it plus an additional maintenance month to show you can keep it off. There are milestones along the way that you must hit in order to stay in the game. Each round the pot grows as people stay in it to win it. The nice thing is that everyone I have come into contact with is very motivating and you get a sense that everyone wants everyone else to succeed. That is surprising considering that less who succeed through Round 6  get a larger percentage of about $70,000+ and that’s no chump change! As the site explains, “There’s no extra credit for finishing first or for losing the most weight. Everyone who wins splits the pot equally.”

However, I must say that I don’t think that the possibility of just one person winning it all is very likely with 528 total players. In fact, even if 25% of the players don’t hit their goal then the take home pot for the remaining players will be around $175. Not bad, but really even if I don’t make it all the way through if I include the single round from earlier I will have lost  approximately 7% of my body weight since Super Bowl Sunday. Not bad and much cheaper than a personal trainer! When you get down to it the site is about goals, motivation and accountability.  For me, it’s working as I know I have that weekly weigh-in.  In this regard it is a lot like weight watchers, except I can win cash and I don’t eat a lot of processed weight watcher products that I will eventually stop buying.

Currently, I’m closing in on the end of Round 1 of “The Transformer” and I am doing well. In Round 1 a player needs to lose 3% and I’m 93% to my goal for this round meaning I have a little less than half a pound to lose in the next 10 days.

Each round’s loss goal are as follows:

  • Round 1 – 3% (I’m at 93% of this 3%)
  • Round 2 – 6% cumulative
  • Round 3 – 8% cumulative
  • Round 4 – 9% cumulative
  • Round 5 – 10% cumulative
  • Round 6– Maintain 10% cumulative

A Few More Details:

On the Diet Better site you have a profile which you can make as private or open as you wish including if someone can see your weight. For official weigh-ins you submit 2 photos each week (suggested) or you can not weigh-in and just do one official weigh-in for each round approximately every 4 weeks.

If you do weigh-in each week then you are entered into drawings for prizes like gift cards, cookware and fitness equipment. I’ve weighed-in each week to keep myself moving toward the target goal of a total of 10% overall. Your photos and weight are reviewed by a third party of the site and you get a confirmation email that your photos and weight have been approved.  Photos are in “airport security attire” meaning that you are wearing shorts and a t-shirt sans shoes. One photo is full body and the other is of the digital scale (digital required) with a password the site gives you for each weigh-in. At each submittal you check a box stating that you understand that you may be audited at any time for submittals. I would surmise that someone who magically loses a large percentage of their weight in a short amount of time would be audited. The game is set up to be fair and reward steady progress toward your goal.

Overall I like it! Plus, assuming I hit my goal I will be at or near my performance weight for my ultra marathon come June! My Fitbit feeds into the site so I can share activities  and even weigh-ins from Fitbit if I so choose. Other fitness social media as well as standard social media can be attached to feed into or out of the Diet Better site as well so it’s obvious that some thought and planning was put into this site. The combination of Diet Bet and Fitbit are really helping me stay on track day by day and hour by hour.  All the data I need is available and I can check where I am at any moment of any day and make healthy choices accordingly.

Give it a try if you want a new and different way to get motivated about dropping a few pounds! Just be realistic and help yourself by helping others stay motivated! I’m sure I will keep you all updated as I progress through the  6 month challenge.

Happy Training!

Brian

A Week in Review

What a great week for training! I am making a concentrated effort to drop another 15-20 pounds by April 20th for my next full marathon. So far so good as I am down ~6 pounds since my initial weigh-in 2 weeks ago. Here is an update on my training from this week culminating in my long run today!

A Week in Review:
  • Monday: Cycled at the gym for 10.25 miles for high RPMs to work on foot turnover
  • Tuesday: Interval training.  6 x 800m at an 8:44 pace
  • Wednesday: 2 miles walking
  • Thursday: Tempo run for 6 miles + 2 miles warm-up & cool down.
  • Friday: Insanity Workout – Insane Abs
  • Saturday: 13.1 miles at MP+15sec
  • Sunday: Rest

Hard to believe I completed the Goofy Challenge (Unofficial) just five weeks ago and now I’m back into full marathon training for April. I love running!

Happy Training!

Brian

Mugged at Dew Point

If you’ve continued your usual run schedule the past couple weeks then you know that the heat and humidity have been brutal just about everywhere in the the good ol’ US of A. To try and beat the heat I’ve woken at 3:20am the past three weeks for all of my mid-week runs to try and get my miles at the coolest time of day. Still, at 4am when I start my run the heat and humidity has been just slightly better and it seems that all I’m doing is removing the sun from the equation. While this is a huge help my experience this morning was that of 84 degrees and 85% humidity which is brutal and performance stopping to say the least.

To battle the heat, hydration and recovery are key points to remember. Perhaps a good place to start is to figure out your sweat rate and to figure out how much water you should drink per day so you know the numbers. I am big on knowing your numbers and as I’ve said before, numbers don’t lie. The numbers cut through the emotion, the mental, the physical and the crap! Being armed with your numbers is a great first step toward maximizing your potential.

First up is you daily water intake. Check out the Human Water Requirement Calculator to see how much H2O you should take in per day. My number surprised me. Just be honest with yourself when using the calculator so you’re as accurate as possible. Also, I don’t count sugary drinks or even diet soda toward my intake number. That’s a personal choice and a good way to make myself decide/opt for water instead of a soda or juice. Knowing how much you should drink daily will ensure that you are hydrated throughout the day and ready for your next training session!

Next up is your sweat rate. This will tell you how much you should drink during exercise to stay hydrated. According to Active.com, “An average person sweats between 0.8 to 1.4 liters (roughly 27.4 to 47.3 oz.) per hour during exercise.” The best way to calculate your sweat rate is to weigh yourself sans clothing right before you workout then go workout for an hour without taking in any fluids and ideally without using the restroom during this time. After an hour of exercise weigh yourself again without clothes. The change in weight is the amount of fluids you lost due to exercise. If you are down two pounds then you lost 32oz

Be specific for the type of exercise you do when calculating sweat rate. If you a want a sweat rate for running then you should run for an hour. You SHOULD NOT lift weights for an hour and then expect that sweat rate to be the same for when you go for a run. You’ll sweat more on a run than you will lifting weights in the air conditioned gym.

Speaking of AC, please pay attention to your environment when calculating sweat rate! If you decide to calculate your sweat rate on the treadmill in your air conditioned gym with the two TM fans blowing on you then know that you will sweat more outside on a hot day. Basically, just pay attention to the temperature, humidity and dew point in relationship to human comfort.

Finally, if you are becoming more active and losing weight like me then be sure to recalculate your sweat rate on a regular basis as your body will become more efficient at regulating heat and your performance will increase too so you’ll want to make sure you are drinking enough, but also not over-hydrating…not a big issue in the recent 100+ temps, but still something to consider so you aren’t trying to run with a lot of extra fluid sloshing around in your stomach. Stay hydrated and stay safe on those hot runs!

Happy Training!

Brian

Ultra Marathon Training Day 1, 2, and 3

The Program

When I first looked at the training plan for the ultra marathon I’m going to run in November I knew it was different compared to training for a 5K, half or full marathon. Some would surmise that the plan would  be exactly like a marathon training program only the long runs would be longer.

The two biggest differences in this training program are the lack of speed work and the focus on specificity in trail running. While the book does say you can put in interval training or other types of speed work it also says don’t worry if you don’t or would rather not.  Total volume of miles is the key along with “time on feet”. I like the specificity training. I’ve done some trail running the last couple weeks and have not only enjoyed the scenery, but also have loved the softness of the ground compared to running on pavement or concrete.

Day 1

Seeing how this program is a little different it is only fitting that my first workout for the ultra training program was a weights workout at noon on Monday. I hit full body alternating between upper and lower and taking it easy on the legs since I have three runs on consecutive days and two days with double runs.

Day 2

Tuesday morning I ran a 10K at the gym and I ran just under 4 miles at lunch.  The 10K felt great and I kept the speed down to around a 10min/mile pace. I could definitely feel the walking lunges from Monday’s workout.  On occasion I forget how much walking lunges help me run. If you are a runner and want to run faster or with better form then just add walking lunges to your workout once or twice a week. The 4 miler was an easy jaunt down the Monon Trail and back. On the way back I ran in the soft gravel on the side of the trail to mimic a trail as much as possible.

Day 3

Wednesday morning (today) I did an easy 4 miler at the gym with a little incline. The schedule called for 3 miles, but I wanted to make up a little mileage where ever I can since I’ll not be going long on Saturday morning as I normally would.

Friday is Fun Day

Even though it’s my first week of ultra training I am hitting the local festivities for Carb Day this coming Friday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway which means I won’t feel like running 10+ miles on Saturday morning.  This is also why I’m putting in a few extra miles on Tuesday and Thursday at lunch! I’ve said it countless times before. Plan those celebrations into your training so you don’t feel like your training is making you miss out on life.

Nutrition

I’m almost 100% on my training diet again making healthier choices and opting for smaller more frequent portions.  I’ve been adamant about the whey protein post workout so far and I’ve upped my water intake considerably.  I’ve also went to cutting out artificial sweetener in my morning coffee so I’m less apt to crave the sweeter foods. Every little “trick” helps.  Things are paying off as I’m down to 176lbs.  My goal is to weigh 160lbs by November as carrying an extra 16-20 pounds for 50 miles will make the task a bit more difficult.  🙂

Happy Training!

Brian

This Week in The Gym with Your Host…

What a fantastic week of training! I hit the gym all five days this week and hope to keep that trend going in the weeks to come.

Here’s the breakdown in case you don’t follow me on the Dailymile.

Monday

My Monday workouts have been a combination of weights, running, and biking. I hit the weights for a hard and fast leg workout across thirty minutes doing super sets and trios of exercises with minimal rest between. Once I’m done with the weights I jump on the treadmill for a run. The first week I did just a mile and this past week I did two miles at a sub-9:30 pace. After the run I jumped on the stationary bike for the remaining time and covered 5 miles. This was 1-mile more than the previous week on the same day. I worked out for over an hour and left the gym feeling great!

Tuesday

On Tuesdays I hit the weights again, but go for the upper body regimen similar to my Monday workout of supersets, combo sets and trios. I take about 30 minutes for this routine and then hit the bike to give my running muscles a chance to rest. Tuesday I rode for 9.5 miles in about 46 minutes. Not bad for one of the longest rides I’ve had to date.

Wednesday

Wednesday is a specific run workout for speed. I do interval training with all types of distances, but this time it was 6×400. I start with a 1-mile warm-up at a 10min pace and then go into the intervals with a 400m rest interval (R.I.) as well. At the end I decided to cut the last R.I. and instead just increased the speed. I finished up by slowing to the 10min pace again and going for another half-mile for the cool-down.

Thursday

Thursday is another run rest day so I started out on the elliptical for less impact but a good cardiovascular burn. I kept at it for 3 miles and ten switched to the stationary bike. I rode for 4.25 miles to finish up the hour long workout and hit the showers after a good stretch.

Friday

Friday was another specific run workout. I hadn’t ran for any significant distance since the Goofy Challenge so I decided since I have a half-marathon coming up in two months that I needed to start rebuilding my endurance. Friday was a 7-miler and I wanted it to be a tempo run of sorts so I started out at a 10min pace and sped up a bit when I had 1.25miles to go. Overall it was a great run and I finished feeling good with gas still left in the tank.

Nutrition

Another victory this week is my nutritional plan. I hit my EAS whey protein shakes after every workout for recovery and I can tell a big difference from when I don’t take in the extra protein for recovery.  Per my usual routine I eat several small meals and snacks throughout the day, take in the required amount of fiber and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. I had one splurge meal on Saturday and by the end of the week I was down 4 lbs. This is perfect as it means I’m sending my body all the right messages in regards to weight loss and performance.

The Week Ahead

This coming week I am repeating last week’s workouts with some minor tweaks. I plan to cut one super set on legs to allow for an extra mile on the run. I’ll continue to rotate exercises to keep my leg muscles guessing and adapting. The same goes for my weights workout on Tuesday for upper body. Wednesday and Friday will be specific run workouts for intervals and tempo runs and Thursday will be dedicated to just getting a good calorie burn on the elliptical and the bike.

One addition for this coming week is a long slow distance run (LSD) on Sunday with a friend of mine. He’s training for a full marathon in April, the same half marathon I’m training for in May, a duathlon in September and I’m sure several other races this year. My goal this week is to continue my weight loss toward my 170 lbs goal.

Have a great week and happy training!

Brian

Planning

What did most of the people do on the plane ride from Orlando to Indianapolis the Monday after the Disney World Marathon Weekend & Goofy Challenge?

Answer: They slept.

What did I do?

Answer: I planned out my training program to get me a PR finishing time at the Indianapolis Mini Marathon on Saturday May 6th.

The Goofy Challenge proved to me that I have a bit of endurance in me. I felt better after three days of running a total of 42.4 miles than I did the previous year after my first full marathon. While I know an extra year of training and the post race recovery methods I employed were much of the difference from year to year I can’t help but want to change focus from distance to speed.  They say speed comes with time. Great! I’ve been training for over two years now so I’m going to focus more on the speed and less on going a “further than last weekend’s” long run of 26.2 miles.

My most ambitious goal would be to try for a sub 2-hour time. My previous year’s mini marathon time was just under 02:06:00. Shaving off nearly 6 minutes from my run would take a lot of dedication but more accurately some very smart and specific traini especially considering I just got over fighting off a rhino virus which quite foolishly wandered too near my immune system…silly rhino virus.

My first order of business is to fully recover from my 42.4-mile journey (and the stupid cold), which I have done over the last 2 weeks. In the interim, I focused on biking, some elliptical work and lifting weights while also getting plenty of sleep. That time period not only refueled the body but also the mind and spirit after a long distance fight in which I’ve come a long way.

While I have mapped out a 14-week training program the intensity does not ramp up until next week. Monday I’ll refocus on my previous FIRST training regimen of three runs a week with two cross training days.  I’m going to focus on regular stationary bike and spin classes for my cross training along with resistance training thrown in to build more strength. I’ll write more on my bike focus in a later post as it involves a future goal.

Also, this is a good example of how as soon as you finish rewarding yourself for a job well done on hitting a goal you should immediately plan the next “BIG Thing.”  For me it’s relative speed in a particular race.

Churros & Dos Equis! - My Victory Dance

So look at 2011, smile at what you’ve accomplished, and look ahead to what comes next.

I’ll post my entire training program in a few weeks.  Until then…

Happy Training!

Brian

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