Saturday, January 18, 2014

Top 5 Books for Runners

I like a good book as much as the next guy.  If you are a runner, and do any reading at all, you have to read the books below.  These are easily the best books I have ever read on running.  All of them inspire in different ways and all are easy reads.  Three of them I have actually read twice.  As I look at the list, I think I am going to read another one of them for a second time as well.  

I find this gross time of year (I am a hot weather runner) miserable so I need inspiration right now as much as anyone.  I have linked them all to the amazon page for each simply so you have an easy avenue for information on the book, not to tell you where to buy it.  In fact, if I were you, I would go the library route.  It's free!  The books are listed in no particular order.

The Long Run, by Charlie Butler and Matt Long

My Life on the Run, by Bart Yasso

Running with the Buffaloes, by Chris Lear

Ultramarathon Man, by Dean Karnazes

Once a Runner, by John L. Parker Jr.

I'm not perfect

It happened last night.  At about 10pm, I fell off the wagon.....  I have been clean for a couple weeks now, very regimented.  However, last night I was sitting in bed and got the urge and could not stop it.  I caved.  It was unstoppable.

I ate about a thousand dark chocolate peanut M&M's.  I couldn't stop.  I have been at about 14-1800 calories a day and no serious amounts of sugar at all for a couple weeks.  Last night I went off the rails.
In the past, this would have sent me on a downward spiral.  I would be at it for good, eating whatever, whenever.  I now wake up, shrug my shoulders, and say, "I'm not perfect."  I will be back at the good diet today and move forward.  I think I have gained some perspective of the years and understand my limitations now.

This is not to say I give up now.  I am as focused on a strong 2014 as ever.  I just am more understanding of me.  I try to limit the caloric damage to not so often.  Also, I make sure it's worth it.  I do not simply binge on anything within the striking distance of my arms.  I mae sure I think it's something I enjoy.

Last night, I enjoyed those M&M's!!!  I will say, the thought of them right now is a little sickening.  When I said I ate a thousand, I meant it :)

Friday, January 17, 2014

Tips for Runners

From time to time, I will offer some simple tips for runners.  Things I have learned or am now learning along the way.  The first tip (most important one ever) I share was given to  me a few years ago at the Ridgewood Running Company.  I was talking about getting a new pair of running sneakers and the guy measured me up and said ok, 10.5 and we picked out a couple based upon the way I had just run on the treadmill.  He went to the back and came out with a couple pair.  As I sat down to try them on, I noticed he brought out 11.5 accidentally.  I casually mentioned this to him and he looked at me like I was a complete idiot and said, "You're a 10.5 so you have to run in at least an 11.5."

After an immediate conversation, he let me in on a little important piece of knowledge.  When you run, your feet swell because of the force of gravity sending liquid in the body downward.  The longer the run, the more swelling.  It was like an epiphany.  It all made sense.  So, I walked out of their with a pair of size 11.5 Saucony sneakers.  Since then I have not run in anything smaller.

Besides the blisters from a long run or marathon, or crazy race like Running with the Devil, I do not get blisters anymore.

So to summarize, if you aren't running in a pair of sneakers at least a size up from normal, change now!

My Tentative 2014 Running Calendar

As I look toward 2014, I am trying to have a bit of a running and racing calendar in mind and now on paper (sort of). I think Maura thinks I'm a loon for how often I am looking at the same race calendars online! Based on training times and race proximity, and interest, I have outlined a tentative schedule below. If anyone has any thoughts or ideas, let me know!

January to mid March--Build up my base of mileage

Mid March to Mid May--Add speed and tempo work

May 26th, 2014--First 10K ever at Ridgewood Run and 5K with Emma (her first), I'm doing both on the same day.

June--Find a local 5K to lower my PR which is currently 18:55 (possibly Woodcliff Lake 5K

June/July--More tempo, speed, and now hill work

July 19th, 2014--Running with the Devil

August-November--tempo, distance and speed work

As far as races after August, I'm looking for a half marathon, marathon & an ultra. 

Possibles include: Franklin Lakes halfSteamtown Marathon, NYC Marathon, Mountain Madness 50K, Knickerbocker 60K

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Great Snack for anytime

Peanut Butter Balls

2 cups crunchy PB
2tbsp flax
2 scoops whey
2 ripe bananas

Mash it all up and roll into 18-20 mini balls. Freeze on wax paper, then put in a ziplock or Tupperware  in freezer. 

01/16/2014 AM Workout

Well, I just finished a 4 mile run in  33:38, using my Nike+Sportswatch.  Maura (Santa) got it for me for Christmas and I love it.  The GPS in it is accurate and gives me pace, time, and distance easily.  It also has a stopwatch I can use at work all the time and an alarm.  If you are thinking about it, Santa got mine at Road Runner Sports online and searched for a coupon code to use.  It was down to about $125 final cost.

As far as the run, I was tired.  I am not used to training 5-7 days a week again yet.  Although the recovery day yesterday was good and I have no real aches or pains today, I am tired overall.  I may scrap the second workout I had planned for this afternoon.  I have to wait and see.  I do have the benefit of a good block of time tomorrow to get in a great workout so I may rest and get some good calories the rest of today.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

01/15/2014 PM Workout

Today's workout will probably be one of the most important of the week.  It was a 45 minute, high speed stationary bike ride.  I use zero tension on the ride and pedal between 22-24 MPH consistently.  I started using this as a recovery workout a couple times a week during the height of my training in 2013.  After reading about the recovery benefits in an article (I think on Runner's World), I decided to add it to my routine last year.

The main benefit listed in the article I read was that is helped in the breaking up and release of lactic acid built up from previous hard workouts.  I noticed almost immediately that I had virtually no soreness when I utilized the bike sessions.  Also, when I did find soreness after particularly hard speed sessions or long runs, jumping on the bike helped a lot.  I felt very confident upping my running mileage once I added the bike rides because I felt more fresh.  I highly recommend to all runners to add this to their training.

01/14/2014 PM Workout

I don't always workout twice a day, but as my first workout was only 15 minutes and I am more of a runner than a weight training kind of guy, I wanted to do a run in the evening.

My first run on my treadmill in a few weeks went well.  I am not too fond of the treadmill, but it is an absolutely necessary part of my routine as I just don't have time to run usually until night time.

The run was a 7 MPH setting at 3% incline for 45 minutes.  I went about 5.6 miles.

1/14/2014 AM Workout

My AM workout today was cramped for time and I wanted to make it worthwhile.  I devised the following 5 exercise routine that I did three times through.  After a 3-5 minute jog warmup, I did each exercise for roughly 30 seconds and started the second and third sets right away.  I included the video I saw for scorpions as I had never heard it before the other day.  Basically I went from exercise to exercise for three rotations without stopping.  At the end I was dripping.

1.  Box Jumps
2.  Medicine Ball Slams
3.  Scorpions

4.  Farmer's walk around my gym, not for time
5.  Kettle Bell Swing

It took me about 15 minutes to do this workout and it was exactly what I wanted.  Tough on the whole body, but short on time.  Enjoy

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

It has Begun

Every new year brings new opportunities.  Good and bad.  Most people start out the year with high expectations and that is awesome.  Set the bar high, why not?  The problem usually comes when the first obstacle appears and starts to derail those high expectations.  Could be an awesome crumb cake your boss brought in, or a snow storm that keeps you from the gym, or a 3 year old with raging ear infections that kept you up all night.  When these obstacles appear, guess what shows up?  Excuses.  Everyone has them and everyone uses them.  The key is to minimize them.  

I am not new to blogging.  I have had some long runs at blogging on various topics.  On a whim, I decided to start a blog that will serve as a personal journal of my exercise, diet, and life.  I am using it to hold myself accountable.  I am not an expert.  I am simply someone with some knowledge on various forms of exercise, running, and nutrition.  I learn everyday.  That being said, feel free to email me or comment.  Send me questions, tips, advice, ideas, tell me I am doing something wrong.  I do not mind.  I want to learn as much as educate.  

Over the coming weeks/months, whatever, I will post on workouts, runs, nutrition tips, meals, anything.  Maybe even funny stuff that happens in my life to keep it light.  I have an awesome wife and three kids so we have stories.  Plus, I constantly hit my head on things so thats always fun to share.  

More to come!!!