Tag Archives: marathon

Almost Taper Time!

I just completed several days of rest over the weekend and I’m looking forward to my final looong long run for my marathon training program coming up this Saturday.  It’s a 20+ miler.  My actual program is for a 26 mile run, but I’ll be happy with anything equal to or over 20 miles.  I’m just going to see how I feel when I get into the upper teens. That morning is also a 5K Jingle Bell Run in Downtown Indianaplois so my long run will be broken up a bit as I first complete my final race of the year and then head over to the gym to finish up later in the day.

I have been struggling these past few weeks to get my training in as I’ve suffered from the common cold, a sore right knee, a sore left glute, finishing up two graduate classes, studied for the GRE to complete my graduate school application, took the GRE exam last Monday, also trying to write two final papers of double digit length (12 pages & 30 pages) all the while attending multiple Thanksgivings (3) and still fitting in “Date Night” so as not to end up sleeping on the couch!  😉

Priorities priorities!  Or balance as my gf would say! Regardless, I am very much ready for the tapering in training that will begin after this weekend! I leave for Florida and the marathon venue (aka DISNEY!) four weeks from today and I couldn’t be happier about it!

After Disney I will have earned some time off from the daily running.  I’ll still keep a bit of running mileage after I recover from my 26.2 mile magical adventure, but cross-training & weight loss will definitely be my prime focus for a while.

My trainer has already told me I have to go to Spin Class with her!  Spinning will be a welcome change I’m sure!  If I don’t fall off the bike…..

Happy Training!

I Feel the Need…The Need for Speed!

I am a fan of The Biggest Loser.  I watch that show every week that it’s on and find it inspiring.  Those people put in a lot of effort and get amazing results.  Now I realize that if I had two professional trainers, a full medical staff including physical therapists and athletic trainers at my disposal while doing nothing but training 5-6 hours a day 7 days a week I could get some amazing results too.  But I’m not writing to minimize what those contestants go thru. They are all amazing and inspirational to a lot of people around the country including me.

What amazes me about The Biggest Loser is the contestants that make it into the finals and run the full marathon before the finale.  They’ve been training for several months by that point, but have not really been training for a marathon.  Add in that many of them are still obese and I am once again amazed and inspired.

So what does The Biggest Loser have to do with “A Need for Speed”?  I remembered one contestant last season, Daris, who not only finished the full marathon, but crushed the time record for the show by running the 26.2 miles in 4 hours & 2 minutes. Seriously!?!? I ran my 20.75 miles in 3 hours & 52 minutes.  So Daris is obviously faster than me. This got me thinking a lot about speed.  I’ve read in articles that running for more than 4 hours is something you don’t want to do on a regular basis.  I know I know….people DO do this all the time, but rest & recovery between sessions is a huge priority for them I’m sure.

My trainer has also been on me about speed work and I’m beginning to see why.  Yes Tatum, sometimes I need you to draw me a picture!  🙂 Suddenly I flash back to high school and all those skinny people wearing their clever track shirts that say, “The faster you run, The quicker you’re done.”  It’s a completely true albeit obvious statement that leads me to the point that I need to cover more ground in less time or speed my butt up! I currently run a 10 minute mile comfortably and my half marathon race pace has been closer to averaging 09:45/mile. The Drumstick Dash taught me that I am capable of a faster pace so now I just need to increase my longevity at that speed.

So if you read my post on “Refocusing” then you’ll recall my running schedule of Monday, Wednesday, Saturday. As a part of this plan Jeff Galloway recommends running during the week at a pace 30 seconds faster than race pace to get out of your comfort zone so for me a pace of 09:20 to 9:30 would be about right for the two 45 minute runs on Monday & Wednesday.  Obviously as this pace becomes more comfortable then I will push the speed up a little. The fastest I’ve ever ran one mile back in college was 8 minutes and I weighed 175 pounds at the time or 15-20 pounds lighter than I do now.

So besides getting into the gym all 7 days a week (or just working out all 7 days) I am also adding in some mile repeats on Saturdays when I’m not doing a super long run & possibly some sprints during the week. Jeff Galloway suggests 1 mile repeats with a 5 minute walk rest between to recover before going again. Remember this plan is for 1st time marathoners not seasoned veterans so there is more recovery.

The pace I’ll run for the single mile will push an 08:50 min/mile pace.  This of course will help my 45 minute runs feel easier and I’ll push faster which will help me push the Saturday repeats faster as well as improve my overall long run time.  Each workout supports the next one and the recovery time between workouts supports them all.

I write all the time about having a “complete & balanced” program.  Everything supports everything else! Nutrition supports recovery and the workouts.  One workout supports another and everything prepares you for the big day when you pin on a race bib. For me, that’s January 9th!

Happy Training!

They tried to make me go to Rehab…I mean recovery

Holy cow what a run this past weekend!  I hit a distance PR of over 20 miles and was so happy!  I did the run on a treadmill at the gym so I’m sure I was getting weird looks from the people around me since I didn’t leave for nearly four hours.

Hopefully, my trainer won’t tell on me since there is a 20 minute limit when people are waiting…to my knowledge no one was tapping their foot behind me!  🙂

I had come prepared with two 32oz bottles of Gatorade, several GU packs and kept running forever it seemed like.  It was well worth the mental training as well as the physical training. Thank goodness for Sports Center on the TV and NCAA football!

Sunday I found that my right knee was a bit stiff and if you know what you’re looking for you can see a little inflammation on the outside edge of my right knee as compared to my left.

Sunday was all about ice, heat, ice, heat, ice, heat all day long as well as about 9-10 hours of good sleep Saturday night!  Monday is a continuation of recovery from the long run.

When starting to recover from a long distance run I try to start immediately after I’m finished running and by immediately I mean the very instant I stop running.

My Loooong Run Rehab/Recovery

  1. Recovery Nutrition: Within 30 minutes I have a whey protein shake.  I use EAS, but any brand will do. 20-25g of whey protein.  Whey protein absorbs the fastest so it’s a good choice for getting protein to muscles quickly. I usually have this waiting for me in my car or have it in my gym bag for immediate consumption. Time is a factor for getting nutrients to your muscles immediately after exercise.
  2. Hydration: I continue to hydrate even hours after my runs.  I try to take in a good 32oz of water in the hour following a run.  I keep hydrating even after that, but that’s a good start for me.
  3. Ice Bath (optional): Some say yes to an ice bath, some say no, but I draw a tub of cold water and dump my entire ice bin in it from the freezer.  I soak my ankles, knees, legs and hips for 20 minutes as soon as I get home to limit inflammation. It works for me.  I DO NOT submerge and I watch the clock. Usually follow this up with a nice hot shower too!
  4. Ice: If you don’t like #3 then at least put some ice on your knees & ankles to limit a little of the inflammation. If I have any pain I ice it.
  5. Heat: I have a heat pack I can throw in the microwave I like to use on any pained areas. I will alternate the heat and the ice pack after I’m finished in the ice bath.
  6. Hydrate: I’m still sipping my H2O!
  7. Elevation: I prop my feet up and relax while I’m icing and heating for an hour or as long as I’m on the couch!  …so quite a while.
  8. Rest: I take a nap for 1-2 hours if I have the time or just sit and relax.
  9. Movement: By now I’ve been finished with my run for several hours.  I like to get up off the couch and just walk a bit to get the blood flow going to my legs. Nothing brisk, just movement so the lactic acid can be on its way.
  10. The next few Days: I ride the bike and continue to ice/heat any achy joints.  I also make sure to get a little more protein than usual to help rebuild muscle and of course I continue to hydrate!

Your recovery is more important than even your workouts because the recovery period is when your body becomes stronger, faster, more agile and conditioned.

Refocusing

For the last 3 months I’ve been at a weight loss plateau.  I’ve been training regularly with 4 days in the gym each week.  Three days on my own and one day with my trainer for a 30 minute intense session.  I usually rest on Friday and Sunday with my weekend “Long Run” on Saturday.  My distance has improved greatly and over the past 11 months my speed has increased too so I am happy with the results to date, heck I’ve lost 45 pounds!  My weight has edged down a couple pounds since the end of July, but nothing significant.  I know that I’ll have to make some adjustments if a future shot at The Goofy Challenge or Boston is to be realistic.  Those two future goals are a ways off since I still need to run my first full marathon though.

Also, this is a “dangerous” time as we approach the holidays and some would think to rest on their past successes while I am thinking it’s time to refocus and step up my training. These past two weeks I’ve opted to hit the gym all five days for a little extra calorie burn.  The same goes for Sunday. While normally I would rest on Sunday I am going to go in and put in a little extra time on something different.  The key for me on these extra workouts is not to go all out intense, but to burn a few more calories, get a good stretch, loosen up and rededicate myself to the goal at hand, the Disney World Marathon on January 9th.

Even now as I write this I’m fueling up to go out for a 22 mile run this morning. Sunday will be an “active” recovery day where I just pedal on a stationary bike to warm-up, maybe walk for 10-15 minutes and then go stretch for 15-20 minutes.  I’ll follow this up with a whey protein shake to help speed recovery.

But back to the topic at hand, I’ve learned it’s good to keep a core schedule, but to also mix things up from time to time so I can shock my body into new growth (or shrink it). When I started out I was hitting the gym 7 days a week and burning a lot of calories in the process.  So I am going to return to that schedule of “active rest days” with the following schedule.

Part of this is a Jeff Galloway program & part is a “Brian Original”  🙂

  • Monday: Run 45 Minutes
  • Tuesday: Lifting Weights opposite of what my trainer does Thursday
  • Wednesday: Run 45 Minutes
  • Thursday: Personal Trainer Session (30 minutes)
  • Friday: 30-45 cardio/stretch depending on my long run distance
  • Saturday: Long Run, Speed Work or a “shorter” run
  • Sunday: 30-45 cardio/stretch depending on my long run distance

This will be my training plan through the holidays as I approach January 9th save for the required tapering period two weeks from race time. My diet won’t really change all that much except that I will be taking a protein supplement after my workout 7 days a week instead of the normal 5 days a week.  I will also be on H2O patrol to be sure I’m drinking enough and I’ll limit alcohol to the 2-3 special days left this year like Thanksgiving (Football & a couple beverages!), Christmas Eve (Egg Nog!) and of course New Years Eve! I’m hoping to drop just 6-10 pounds more by January 9th.  With the right focus this is totally doable for me in the 6 weeks of training I have left.  This would have me weighing very close to or just below 180 pounds and just 15-20 pounds from my ultimate goal weight.

Stay (re)focused and keep training!

Follow me on Twitter  ”@TheRunningMan23″

Food = Fuel.

I have a friend who refuses to view food as fuel, but that is what it really is, just fuel for the body.  He continually struggles with his weight and only finds temporary fixes with increased exercise over short time spans.  He’ll workout for a a few weeks or so, lose 10 pounds and then gain it all back because he still eats like he is in college.  He’s only addressing the symptom, not the problem…putting a bandaid on a broken arm.

Now I’m not saying that you can’t enjoy your fuel, but once you start looking at food as a source of what your body needs to function and less about eating just to satisfy a craving then the sooner you will gain control of the ultimate habit we all have, eating.

BTW, I read a lot of research articles on diet & exercise mainly because I’m a big nerd for that kind of thing… I try to learn as much as I can about how everything works.  Knowledge is Power.

Let’s get started…back to Food = Fuel.

My Metabolism.  When I started back in December 2009 my metabolism was messed up! It was slow and definitely working against me.  My metabolism was programmed to do exactly what I had told it to do…store as much fat as it could for the up coming winter.  I might as well have been a bear ready for hibernation.

I worked with a couple different trainers at my gym to get a plan together.

My Plan Components:

  1. Food (Fuel)
  2. Cardio (Walking, Running, Biking, Elliptical, Stairs, etc)
  3. Strength Training (Lifting Weights)

Of the three things above, trainer after trainer has told me FOOD accounts for at least 60% of the equation in weight loss.  No matter how hard you work the other 40% can’t make up for the 60%.  How much we eat, how often we eat and what we eat are all a part of the mix.  Unfortunately, just like in high school though 60% isn’t enough to be successful.  You DO need the other two parts. Today however, we are discussing food.

My Pre-December 2009 Diet:

  • Breakfast: Coffee
  • Lunch: Eat out at a restaurant with a co-worker
  • Dinner: Whatever I wanted
  • Snack Later: Potato Chips, ice cream, cake, pop corn, or a 2nd meal (no joke)

This diet was killing me slowly and I had the 75 extra pounds to prove it.

*My Diet Today: Serving sizes are all 1 single serving.

  • Breakfast (Pre-Workout): Coffee and a serving of Original Fiber One Cereal.  Sometimes a half glass of OJ too!
  • After Workout Protein: EAS Advantage Protein Shake (Chocolate!)
  • Mid-Morning Snack: Chewy Quaker Granola Bar (PB & Choc. Chip) or a banana/apple & water
  • Lunch: I bring my lunch a lot (Soup, lean hamburger, chili, grilled chicken, salad, lean steak) & water
  • Mid-Afternoon Snack: Chewy Granola Bar again or a piece of fruit again & water
  • After Work Snack: Dannon Light & Fit Yogurt, a piece of fruit or a cheese stick!
  • Dinner: Baked fish, lean hamburger, chili, pork, turkey, spaghetti, etc.  I take the time to cook ahead so if I’m busy I always have something in the freezer/fridge that I can reheat in a pinch.  Planning ahead is a key to eating healthy!
  • Late snack: Yogurt again or a glass of skim milk

If you hate being hungry then my plan or something similar may be for you!  I eat 8 times a day.  I eat every 2-3 hours.  Some “meals/snacks” are only 100-200 calories.  No meal is over 500 calories.  By the end of the day I usually have consumed 1700-2000 calories.  Take away the calories I burned with exercise and I’m losing weight.  By the way, if you DON’T eat your body will store fat.  So not eating is counterproductive to your goal.

Why does eating every couple hours work?

Answer: Think of a fire.  You start a fire and it blazes to life.  After a while the fire dies down.  Throw on another small stick and it blazes up again.  Now this is SIMILAR to metabolism.  If you only throw on three large logs the whole day then there are a lot of times when the fire is really low and it takes some work to get it blazing again.  If you add some twigs and leaves every once in a while (small meals/snacks) then the blaze stays more even and it’s easier to get the large stuff to catch.

I have a small office at work and I find it interesting to watch the thermostat on the wall after I eat.  The room temperature goes up about 2 degrees 15-20 minutes after my snack.  Why?  My body’s metabolism is increasing and a by product is heat.

Some Things to Consider:

  1. A lot of hunger/cravings is mistaken thirst.  You need water, not food.
  2. Fiber makes you feel full.
  3. Eating smaller portions several times a day keeps the fire burning.
  4. Portion size is key.  Retrain yourself to know what a real portion size looks like….not what a restaurant tells you it is.
  5. Mom was right!  Chew your food slowly!  Once you are full, it takes your body 20 minutes to send the signal to tell you to stop eating.  If you scarf down a huge burger & fries in 10-15 minutes then the signal to stop eating won’t get to you in time.  Enjoy it, don’t inhale it!  🙂
  6. This one kills me, but I know it’s true…Diet Soda make you fat.  Regular Soda is even worse than diet soda.**

By the way, while I was writing this blog I had two snacks and a meal.

*Disclaimer: I plan for celebrations so I can take part in BBQs, holidays, birthdays and weddings.  On Thanksgiving, Christmas, Memorial Day, The 4th of July, Elvis’ Birthday and other national holidays I eat what I want and indulge a little.  I don’t eat everything in site for an entire week though.  I have some of my Aunt’s applesauce cake at Christmas, enjoy my mom’s pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, eat a burger AND a brat on the 4th and drink a Bud Light or two at my Super Bowl Party.  I don’t indulge daily, I don’t indulge weekly, but when the time comes to celebrate I make sure I’ve worked hard enough to deserve that extra piece of mom’s fried chicken.  That’s why I don’t skip workouts and that’s why when I weigh myself October 8th my birthday cake from the day before is already a memory!

**See the video on my Links & Resources Page to learn how/why Diet Soda makes you fat.

17 miles

Ever want some time to think about practically everything?  Run 17 miles on a Saturday…or any day of the week for that matter.   You’ll have about three hours to ponder things assuming we run about the same speed.  For the last couple weeks I’ve left the iPod at home and enjoyed the confines of my own thoughts while running.  Money, job, school, girlfriend, family, Disney, my next run, vacation, the upcoming week, last week, past relationships, my next promotion, my next degree, my next job, my last job, my best friend, my worst enemy, those whom I inspire, those who refuse to be inspired, Disney, buying a house, that girl who just ran by (hey, I’m a dude!), renewing my apartment lease, my knee hurting, my knee not hurting anymore, and a host of other things.

In all that time suddenly I’m turning around and heading back to my car. I’m halfway finished.  Where did the last 8.5 miles go?  I’ve been lost in the run, not thinking about breathing, not thinking about running, not thinking about how far I have left, not thinking about any imaginary pain or real pain.  Is it time for  GU yet?  Yep, it is!

In all that thinking I realize that having balance in life is key.  Work, school, social life, family, alone time, exercise and everything else needs its little piece of my time.  Many things take priority and those priorities will shift throughout the year.  Right now I’m training for my first marathon so going out with my buddies is not at the top of the list on the weekend….a 17 mile run is.  During the week my lunch time diet tends to be geared toward fuel more than “the business lunch”.  Everything is preparing me for January and the long run.  After that I will start to see if a social life on Friday night can be explored again.  I’m sure it will!

So my advice is to have balance, but also have priorities for the time being knowing that those priorities can shift once you cross the finish line.

Goals and Getting Started!

Welcome and thanks for reading my blog!  In time I will discuss all sorts of things related to my fitness journey such as exercise, strength training, walking, running, diet and hopefully the motivation to keep at it!  Happy reading!

Where to start?  Perhaps a little about me.  I started my fitness journey back in December 2009.  Last December I wanted a change so I made a plan.  I decided the only way to keep training was to have a reason to do it.  At the time I was +/- 75 pounds over weight weighing in at close to 245 pounds.

That’s me on the right weighing in at 245 pounds.

So I signed up for a 5K in March and a half-marathon in May.  I put the cash down and actually registered.  I wanted to give myself a reason to really go for it and not slack off so I added a second half-marathon in May just two weeks after the 1st one.  Looking back maybe I was a little too ambitious.  But darn it, I wanted results!

I was afraid that I would train a bit, eat healthy for a few weeks, finish the second half-marathon and stop training like I had in the past so I started to look at running events later in the year.

This is the time I should let you know that I am a Disney fan.  I had heard of the “runDisney” series and started looking into the race Disney puts on in January that goes through all four Disney parks.  Considering I had a year to train I decided to register for the full-marathon and put down the cash.  I figured if I was going to run that far I might as well run the 26.2 most magical miles on Earth!

Still, I was worried.  There is a lot of time and great BBQ weather between May and January. What if I slacked off after the May events?  What if I lost focus later in the year?  Or worse, what if I saw all that time to spare and decided I could afford to be lazy again and started to regress?

So I decided to add one more event later in the year to get me through.  I looked for another half-marathon and found a small local event in early September.  This would keep me training through the summer and I’d be set to push through to January and my first ever full-marathon.  My running schedule was set or so I thought.

As luck would have it I received an email from runDisney.com advertising a half-marathon in October called the Disney Wine & Dine Half-Marathon.  It was the inaugural race!  I couldn’t resist!  It was Disney after all and it was to be the kickoff event to Disney’s Food & Wine Festival!  So I registered and wondered if I could handle four half-marathons in one year!  At this point I had barely ran a single mile for my first half of the year!  My friends may have started to doubt my sanity.  🙂

Fast forward to present day.  I am happy to say that I completed all four half-marathons and even did three 5K runs in total including that first one in March.  I have lost 45 pounds and I am approaching my goal weight slowly but surely.  I’m in no hurry.  Progress comes slow at times or stops all together when I hit a plateau.

So what’s the point?  A blog post should have a point right?

Goals.  What’s yours?

My goal is to enjoy life as long as I can.  My goal is to earn a PR (Personal Record) during an event every once in a while.  My goal is to be fit so I can do more.  My goal is to combine my love of travel with my new running habit!

Your goal could be to look good for a friend’s wedding, it could be to lose 10 pounds for your 20 year high school reunion, it could be that your doctor told to get active “or else” or your goal could be to be around to see your children grow up.  These are all goals, but I encourage you to find a goal that is all yours and no one else’s.  Remember though that this is when it’s okay to be a little selfish and do it for you.

I run for me.