Tag Archives: goals

Back on Track to being Motivated

It’s been tough getting motivated to train over the last few weeks. My heart has just not been in it and with the holidays there is plenty to keep me doing other things than hitting the gym on a regular basis. One thing that motivated me two weekends ago was a fellow Daily Mile member who had asked for anyone who could run to go out for a mile or two since he was injured and “on the bench.” That day I managed to go outside and run an easy 5K.  Last weekend I managed a nice 10+ mile run at the gym. The miles were easy as I watched ESPN on the treadmill. This was a confidence booster as I hadn’t ran over 5 miles in several weeks. The next day I felt great with zero soreness giving testament to my enduring fitness level even though I had been taking it easy with only 1-2 workouts a week. Goes to show you that fitness does go away, but it doesn’t go away overnight.

This also reinforces that it’s okay to take some time off and cut back as long as it doesn’t turn into six months of doing nothing. I was hitting the gym 1-2 times per week getting a lot of extra sleep and recouping physically, mentally, and motivationally. Now it’s go time as I have a full marathon at Walt Disney World in 45 days!

Last Sunday I did my 10 miler. Monday I hit the elliptical and some light weight lifting. Tuesday I did some speed work on the treadmill with twelve 400m repeats. Today I duplicated Monday’s workout.

So I feel like I’m back on track, but with that being said I’d like to lend some advice on getting back on track to finding your motivation again when it gets lost in the woods.

Ways to Find your Motivation

  1. Start Small
    1. Just like when you first started being more active if you’ve been away for two weeks or two months don’t try to pick back up exactly where you left off. Go for a walk, a short run, ride a bike in front of the TV, play a sport you love, or walk your dog, but just get active again!
  2. Follow others to find motivation
    1. Someone you know likes to run, bike, swim, lift weights or play badminton. If you don’t have someone personally close to you then go out to Facebook, the daily mile, or the plethora of other websites and just watch those people go!  Many are willing to send you an “atta-boy OR atta-girl” for being active.
  3. Don’t think
    1. You can be your own worst enemy so quit thinking and start doing. Don’t sit there and talk to yourself about how busy you are for next 10 minutes. Instead use that 10 minutes to be active! A 10 minute walk is activity!
  4. Tell everyone about it
    1. Find some motivation by posting what you did on a website or start your own blog. If not then just tell the first person you see who asks, “How are you today?”  The response, “I’m good! I hit the gym this morning.” If you have a specific goal tell them about that too. Nothing motivates you more than knowing that everyone knows, you know?
  5. Find a goal
    1. Find something far enough in the future that you can train for it, but close enough that you need to start now.  Looking forward to a half marathon a year from now means you could slack for six months and still do it.  Registering for a 10K six weeks from now means you need to get going now!
  6. Daily reminders
    1. Put it on your calendar at work to remind you daily about your goal. Add an update to your mobile phone. Write a note and put it on the fridge!
  7. Find a buddy
    1. You don’t have to do the same workout, but just being accountable to someone else that you’ll show up at the gym does wonders.  You can’t let ’em down!
  8. Do your homework
    1. Subscribe to Men’s Health, Runner’s World, or some other fitness oriented magazine. Reading about exercise will keep it on your mind and perhaps motivate you to try new things.  You can also go to Amazon.com and find some great books on running or just about any other sport or form of exercise. Go for those inspiring stories that make you want to run out the door at 3am for a 10K run! No extra cash to buy these things?  No problem. Follow a few more fitness bloggers for free or “Like” a magazine on Facebook. Those sites put up free content all of the time!
  9. Get on a plan
    1. If you are returning and have a goal then write down a training plan even if it’s a simple one. Even if it’s a one week plan that you are going to repeat for the next four weeks that’s okay. Just get it down on paper.  And remember, write it in pencil.  Who knows, you may run an extra couple miles and need to edit!
  10. Talk yourself up
    1. I’ve written before about negative self talk or what I call the Voices of Doubt and I’m sure you’ve heard that voice in your head saying, “It’s too early just go back to bed.” or “Who cares about your run tomorrow when you can watch the American Idol finale now?” or worst of all “You’re not good enough. You can’t do this. You should give up.”
    2. When you hear those voices you should instantly say something positive. “I’m awake so I’m getting up.” or “I’m going to DVR American Idol, problem solved.” or “I am amazing!”  Positive self talk is a method used by both amateur and professional athletes so why not use it yourself.  Telling yourself, “I can do this!” is a great way to prove yourself right!

That’s it! 10 ways to stay motivated or get re-motivated. If you are state side I hope you had a great Thanksgiving. If you see me at Disney in January be sure to say, Hi!

Happy Training!

Brian

Follow me on Twitter @TheRunningMan23

3 Runs

This past week was a good one for recovery after a brutally humid Indianapolis Mini Marathon on Cinco de Mayo. After the mini marathon my left foot was hurting a little on the bottom so I’ve taken it easy and am letting it recover well so I can start training for my first ultra marathon a week from now.  This past week I had three runs that were fantastic for different reasons. The first run was neither long nor taxing. The next run wasn’t that long either, but introduced me to a new type of running. The final run was by far one of the most enjoyable runs of my recreational running career to date!

Run #1

This run was over lunch and was a whopping 1.32 miles in length on a comfortably warm day. I don’t point out this run because it is significant, but to get back to the roots of my blog which is about being fit.  I see other bloggers and Facebookers say how they didn’t get to do their 10-miler today…blah blah.  Okay, why not an 8-miler, 5-miler, or a 1.32 miler? Get it in where you can!  I had a similar run on Saturday when i was waiting on my running partner to arrive.  I had an extra 10-15 minutes so instead of sitting in my car and waiting I ran 5 minutes in one direction and then turned around to come back to the car. A couple minutes later my friend arrived and we did Run #2! The point is I didn’t waste that 15 minutes sitting in the car. I took that small amount of time to add an extra mile to my day.

Run #2

For run #2 my friend and I went fully off road for the first time. Up until now I’ve been a user of the “Rails to Trails” areas of Indiana. These areas used to be literally where a train track once was and now they have been redone to have pavement or other type of foot path for runners, walkers, bikers, etc. Connected to a favorite Rails to Trails area are several shorter dirt trails that run along or near Eagle Creek in Zionsville. We started on these and did a couple of dirt trail miles. I even started breaking in my trail shoes  on this run which I’d been waiting to do for a few weeks until after the mini marathon. We finished up on back on the main trail and I stopped before reaching 7-miles total as my left foot started to feel a little sore and I didn’t want to push it. 6.5 miles was plenty for me for the day!

Run #3

Run #3 happened a few hours after Run #2. I had the great honor of running the Rookie Run with my 4-year old niece. Two exhilarating blocks of competition! It was so much fun to run with my niece in this awesome event.  The organizers of the run do a great job on this event. The bibs for the kids have a tear away number on it which the parent (or other family member) get so when the child finishes you can’t have the kid unless you have a matching number.  Even though I went the entire distance with her I was asked by no less than five different security people to show them my number to make sure I had the right kid.  Security was awesome!  Also, the rest of the event was top notch too. There was entertainment the entire afternoon. I can’t say enough about the event!

All in all it was a great week. I have one more recovery week before my official ultra marathon training schedule begins and I’m looking forward to it!

Happy Training!

Brian

Goals…have more than one.

A wise person once said that it is important to write down your goals. This same person said that it is also important that you write them in pencil.  I have a goal of breaking the 2-hr half marathon mark this year and I still plan to do it yet. One thing though is that I am uncertain whether that will happen on May 5th. This realization does not deter me from trying, however, all evidence points to me having slowed down a bit since last year or rather I’m just peaking at a different time.  Today I completed the Indianapolis Mini-Marathon Training Series 15K in 1:33:34 (unofficial). I am happy with this time, but it is over 5 minutes slower than last year’s time of 1:28:06 (official time). So, there are 12 months in a year and this one isn’t a third of the way done yet. In another words, I have plenty of time!

Including the warm-up and cool-down I ran an extra 3.4 miles beyond the 15K today and I feel great!  So it’s interesting to see that while I have slowed a bit in 12 months my endurance is high. Today I am 4-weeks away from the mini-marathon. I know what I have to do for training.  It’s all written down…in pencil. 🙂

Over the course of the next 4-weeks I am concentrating on cutting weight and maintaining my speed and endurance.  One easy way to get faster (to a point) is to run lighter. I am very much enjoying learning more and more about how my body responds to training and seeing the effects on a weekly basis.

I’ll keep you all updated on the mini marathon training over the next 4-weeks and then I switch to my ultra training plan for the remainder of the year. I am so looking forward to this next training cycle!

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

Follow me on twitter @TheRunningMan23

Back to Basics!

Runaway training…..never coming baaack!  Sorry, I was channeling Soul Asylum for a moment.

If you’ve been following me then you know I keep a calorie spreadsheet of everything I eat calorie-wise. Why?

  1. It keeps me honest.
  2. It let’s me know when indulgence has crossed the line into gluttony. (fine line sometimes!)
  3. I’m a nerd like that.
  4. It’s one more way to keep my goals in front of me.
  5. Body Bugs are expensive. (Google it if you don’t know what it is!)
  6. Numbers don’t lie. (See previous post with this title)

Previous Goals:

Being able to say I lost 50 pounds is great! Being able to say I lost 50 pounds last year is still pretty good, but the longer ago I hit that short-term goal the less shiny and brilliant it is….imagine saying, “Yeah, I lost 50 pounds back in 1995.” If you’ve maintained it, great!!!  If you’re like me and you have a longer term goal then it’s time to go Back to Basics!  See how I worked the title of the post in there just now? I’m crafty like that sometimes!

Now before I go on I want to say that I am very proud of my accomplishments. It’s difficult to lose 50 pounds, believe me. Losing 50 pounds wasn’t about starving myself (which doesn’t work) or just cutting out “bad foods”. It was about behavior change and deciding I wasn’t going to live on the Standard American Diet (SAD) anymore. 34% of Americans are obese. I don’t like being a part of that statistic, but last year I was.  Only 1% of Americans will run a full-marathon in their lifetime. Now THAT is a statistic I like to be a part of friends! It took me 13 months to leave one statistic behind me and join the latter. All I’m saying is don’t rest on you laurels for too long. Find a new goal and GO FOR IT!

As usual I have digressed from the subject of my posting.  Now back to the topic at hand!

Back to Basics:

Getting back to basics for me is all about focusing on healthy behaviors like eating well, getting some activity every day like shoveling snow (hopefully no more of that activity for a while!), staying hydrated and finding new ways to train so I don’t burn out.

Some things I’ve been doing on the workout side of my “Back to Basics” program include Spin Class, more body weight exercises (Thanks Tatum…my trainer.), and a variety of different types of runs each week. So for my next few posts I want to discuss some good ol’ training, how I felt about it and how it made me feel the day of and the days that followed.

First, let’s talk about burpees (aka: 4-Counts). You may remember them from high school gym class. I apologize about any flashbacks I may have just caused. Recovered yet? Good, let’s move on.

4-Counts or Burpees...call 'em what you will!

This picture details how to do them (Remember now?). This picture also shows the practitioner (not me) doing a version with a jump at the end. This is optional as it is a fairly difficult exercise without the jump. That being said, if you want to make an overall awesome exercise 10 times better then add the jump after you can do 10 regular ones with good form.

Now for some of the finer points of the exercise such as the do’s & the don’ts so you can stay injury free.

  1. Notice that you start in a standing position & squat straight down with your butt BELOW your chest.
  2. DO NOT bend over at the waist for this exercise as you run the risk of back injury.
  3. From the squat position you thrust your legs straight back again NOT raising your butt up so you’re bent over.
  4. Bring your legs back again so you are once again in the squat position.
  5. Using your legs, stand up OR thrust yourself straight up into the air for the jump version.
  6. Repeat.
  7. Remember, as you get tired you are going to want to just bend over at the waist instead of squatting down. Also, as you fatigue, when getting back up you will be tempted to raise your butt up first and use your back to straighten up. DO NOT DO THIS!  If you physically can’t do the exercise correctly for another rep then you’ve reached your limit for that set of repetitions. It’s okay to push yourself, but be smart about it.
  8. Starting out with 3-6 reps is okay. This IS a difficult exercise! It is also one of the best full-body body weight exercises!

My Experience:

Now let’s talk about my experience with “Burpees”.  Before last week’s training session I hadn’t done a 4-Count since the 90s when I was taking martial arts lessons and working toward earning my Black Belt. At that time my sensei told us that the number of 4-Counts a person could in 30 seconds was a good indicator of their overall fitness. I believed him. He could do almost 30 reps (sans jump) in 30 seconds. This exercise works everything! Try it!

After one set of these things (she made me do the version with the jump) I was sucking wind. In past sessions my trainer has told me that I am one of her best when it comes to keeping up and being able to breathe during the workout…and I was dying!  The thing is that THIS EXERCISE WORKS EVERYTHING so my body was wondering what was going on! Set #2 came and went (more wind sucking). On set #3 I may have started cursing (internally). 🙂

The day after I did 3 sets of 12 reps I felt like I had worked out for the first time in a long time. I had used muscles in ways that I hadn’t in a long time! In other words, I knew I had worked out hard and it felt good! I was a bit sore and there is nothing wrong with that…it was a good soreness from knowing I had accomplished something in my workout! I wasn’t so sore that I couldn’t function mind you.  I still got up at 4am the next day and ran 7 miles.

Variation on Burpees/4-Counts

  1. The first variation you already know. Add a jump at the end. This works the core, quads, hips, glutes, hams, calves, back, chest & arms even more!
  2. The second variation is to turn the 4-Count into a 6-Count. You know how you’re technically in a push-up position after you thrust your legs back? Do 1 push-up since you’re down there anyway!
  3. These two variations are more difficult so add them as you go. Regardless the “good ol’ fashioned version” is pretty awesome!

Next Time:

Next week I plan on discussing different types of runs you can do. Not sure whether I want to write about tempo runs, intervals, something else or multiple types. I’m sure I’ll find inspiration at some point to direct my musings!

Happy Training!

-Brian