Category Archives: Weight Loss

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy training and sweet dreams!

Brian

Numbers STILL Don’t Lie

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

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

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

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

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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