Fueling the second half of 2017

nuunIt’s hard to believe we are halfway through 2017 already. So many of us have had a great first half of the year, and we are poised to continue the momentum through December. In terms of running, this year has brought many great things for me.

January began with getting my first ambassadorship with a company and product that has been a staple in my life – Nuun. Training in Miami, I need to focus on hydration just as much as any other aspect of running. With Nuun, I can do that through a clean product that tastes great.

Every morning I have the Nuun vitamins with energy (blackberry citrus) to start my day. In fact, because of Nuun vitamins, I was able to kick my three cup a day coffee habit. Before a run take down a glass of Nuun energy to give me the extra kick I need for training. And now through their new product, Nuun performance, I have an extra boost on long runs.

My first big test of the year was the Miami Marathon in January. I went in feeling great and looking for a PR. Right before my corral hit the start line, it began to pour. It was already cold – about 55 degrees – to make matters worse there was a 15 mph wind. The rain didn’t stop the entire race. I just told myself to push through and hit my marks.

Crossing the halfway point I was 8 minutes under my goal pace. I didn’t know whether to slow down to conserve or keep going. I felt great, but knew a wall was coming. At mile 20, I was shivering bad, but still felt good. I was also 10 minutes under my pace at this time. At mile 23, I looked at my watch and knew I was going to hit my goal, so I backed off and enjoyed the last wet and cold miles.

As I saw my family and one of my running partners, who pushed me during the training, 300 meters from finish line, the celebration began. Not only did I set a PR, it was by 33 minutes. It was a great confidence booster after an extremely tough 2016. Running

After taking one week off, I went right back into training there was a half marathon and two 10Ks on the schedule. I hit March strong, setting PRs in all three races.

May brought a completely new challenge, racing the Wings For Life World Run. It’s hard to describe this race, since it is unlike any other. Racing against 150,000+ people who are running at the same exact time around the world, is an amazing feeling. Adding to it, not knowing where the finish line is because you’re trying to out run a car.

The feeling a car chasing your adds a completely new element to the race. My goal was to get in a 15K before the car caught me. Around mile 10 I began to pull off my pace knowing I hit my goal. Then I heard a faint honking. It was time to sprint as the cars were coming. I ended up finishing 11 miles crushing another goal.

As the weather began to get hotter and knowing my next races are not until September and October, I took June off from hard training. It was a maintenance month, keeping my base but resting my legs. However, another accomplishment happened on World Run Day – Brooks endorsed me.

So far, 2017 has been a strong year for running, but there are still many goals to achieve. As the second training season begins, it’s my most hated time of the year – hot and humid in Miami. But enough of the complaining – training makes a stronger for a reason.

How was your first half of the year?

What do you have in store for the rest of 2017?

 

You’ll Still Question Tapering After Reading This… But Don’t

taperThere is a constant tug-of-war going on in a runner’s mind during the final two weeks of a training period. That’s the only easy explanation for tapering. You’re told to scale back your miles, but your mind asks how that helps.

Today is my first day of tapering for my fifth full marathon. It’s always a tough day struggling with my head. The good thing is I know I’m not alone. I think back to my first training session when I didn’t trust the taper, and really didn’t trust my training either.

My mileage stayed high, my effort was around 85 percent, and I laughed at people who told me to scale back and taper correctly. They were right. When I hit the wall around mile 17, it nearly leveled me. But hitting the wall that hard began with what happened weeks before.

At the start of the race, I could feel I had heavy legs. My right knee begans letting me know it was there around the fourth mile. Slowly my right quadriceps made its presence known as well. The signs were there six days before the race. I had a tough training run, so, I went back out the next day and tried to make it better. Wrong move – I didn’t trust the taper or my training.

As the race kept on, by mile 15, I could feel just about every muscle fiber in my right leg. To make matters worse, my left leg started to cramp as well. Then at mile 17, total lock up. The next two miles were horrendous. Finally, I was able to get over the wall and to the finish line.

It was the next training sequence, where I said I’ll trust the taper. The tug-of-war began in my head, but this time I was able to keep control. It paid off. On race day, not only were my legs fresh, my whole body was – not to mention my mind. I was able to run through the wall, not get knocked down by it.

After the race, I analyzed many things from my training: mileage, speed, nutrition, and the taper. Each one played a vital role, but what changed the most was the taper.

Here are a few tips to help you taper correctly, and allow your mind to trust the process:

  1. Reduce your weekly runs by 20 to 25 percent, both in length and effort. Yes, your mind will second-guess you. As it does, look at your training logs from the entire period. This will show you that you’re ready for the race and give you the confidence you need to get to the finish line
  2. You just finished a training period that induced fatigue through increased mileage. It is time to reward your legs – and entire body – with a nice recovery period. Focus on nutrition and hydration. By scaling back on miles and effort, and ramping up nutrition you’ll be rested and at optimal condition for your race.
  3. Use the time from scaling back your mileage to make sure you are getting eight hours of sleep nightly. Stay off your feet as much as possible. When laying down, elevate your ankles with a pillow. Use a foam roller to get knots out of your muscles. Don’t change eating habits.

The most important thing to keep in mind is to trust your training. And the taper is a big part of that.

What taper tips do you have?

Does Your Community Do This?

On Wednesday afternoon, I was feeling sluggish. I knew I was already signed up for speed training at the track, but my head wasn’t into it. Not after a marathon of morning meetings and three deadlines I had to hit. So I did what many people do: I went to social media.

No, not to check the latest gossip or to see who posted what political rant, but say I was unmotivated to go to the speed training session. A lot of you reading this already know about the great running community on social media – especially twitter. However, many people don’t know about it.

Thanks to the many people I’ve met over the years on #runchat #bqchat and #bibchat I received the motivation I needed to get out to the track on Wednesday night. Granted, the weather was horrendous for an early December evening – 83 degrees and 95% humidity – but I had gotten my mind back in the game thanks to the running community.

So I got home from work, prepped my bottle of Nuun, threw on my gear, and was off to the track. It was a tough workout given the conditions, but well worth being out there. And to think if not for the great running community, I wouldn’t have gone.

But that’s what the community is here for, to motivate and push each other to be better – not just in running but life. So the next time you find a runner on Twitter, be sure to give them a follow. You won’t be disappointed.

 

Monday Musings – December 5

Battling a severe case of writers block today, so figured a running commentary on a couple issues will help get the juices flowing.

#Recount2016

Not sure about everyone else, but I’m over this Jill Stein led recount. It is careless and inappropriate use of tax dollars and the time of federal judges to be going on this witch-hunt. If The Donald would have won be less than 1,000 votes in the states, I see a reason to do so, but the president-elect won by over 10,000 in each of the three states. What’s worse is he was questioned countless time if he would accept the results if he lost – now that this woman won’t accept that he won she is getting praised.

Ben Carson HUD

I still don’t understand how Dr. Ben Carson can say he did not have the experience for the head of Health and Human Services post, but will accept the nomination for Housing and Urban Development.

OBJ Stands for Over-rated

Anyone else see the lack of performance from OBJ yesterday against the Steelers. Also consider he was being covered by a rookie – Artie Burns – the majority of the game. Dude made a single one-handed catch a couple years back and people think he is the best ever. Sorry folks, but Randy Moss, Marvin Harrison, Hines Ward, Brandon Marshall, Tory Holt and many others were making multiple one handed grabs long before OBJ even wore a jock strap.

#RWRunStreak

We’ve begun the second full week of the annual holiday Runner’s World Run Streak. How is everyone holding up? Its going to be a hot and humid week in Miami. Anyone want to trade? I wouldn’t mind some cooler running.

#BQChat

If you are on twitter, don’t miss #BQChat this week on Wednesday at 9 p.m. (EST) Rich and Rosie always have a great chat set up for us runners, and the company couldn’t be better. Hope to meet some new folks this week.

Parent your children and we’ll have less 20-year old tantrum throwers

We have reached a pivotal moment for this generation and many don’t know what to do with themselves. From the presidential election to the death of Fidel Castro, and from international terrorism to domestic terrorism, these moments will define the world in which our children grow up in.

What is most baffling is the lack of information people have, yet the overabundance of resources to get this knowledge from. We are in a time where lazy and following prevails over taking initiative and leading.

There are people walking the streets, destroying property, spitting on fellow humans, saying a person is “not their president.” Ironically enough, the majority did not even go to their precinct to cast a ballot. When questioned about their beliefs and why they are “protesting” they don’t even know how to answer. They are just there to be part of a trend on social media. That is how kids are defining themselves these days.

And who can blame them, we have become a society of labels. Case and point: Tinder released 37 different ways to classify your gender. Really folks. This is what we have come down to – A world that has to give every millennial exactly what they want because they were brought up on participant ribbons and still throw tantrums well into their 20s.

Where does this problem begin – parenting. Or should we say the lack there of. Throughout this past weekend, Lexus ran commercials in which parents forced their kids write to Santa Clause that they wanted a new car. This is the root of the problem – parents are putting themselves before their kids.

They are not paying attention to their children, because it is not convenient for them. Yes, there are some great parents out there. An overwhelming amount fit the description above. Sure kids can be obnoxious and it is simple to just give them an iPad to “shut them up.” But what are you teaching them? To be bad? Break rules? Throw a tantrum, and they get what they want? Well, doesn’t that sound familiar? And we wonder why 20 year olds are throwing tantrums in the streets of America.

Is it too much to ask to raise your children as if they will be carrying out your legacy? Is it too much to teach them proper decorum, how to make their voice heard correctly, and just pay attention to them?

After all, it’s not their fault they don’t come pre-programed to know all of life’s lessons. That is what your job is as a parent – to teach, to mold, to guide. As a parent you need to ask yourself – do you want your child to grow up as a leader, a follower, or a tantrum thrower? The choice is more yours than it is theirs.

Time to get that unicorn

All the training. All the early mornings and late nights. All the blisters and chaffing. All the determination. It’s now time to go out and be great.

To everyone running the Boston Marathon on Monday, you are an inspiration to all us runners. In two days many of you will take hold of that unicorn medal for the first time. You deserve it.

Have a great run and go get that finish line.

If you don’t have time…MAKE IT

One of the most common questions I get from friends and colleagues is: How do you have the time to do {blank}? These folks know I’m running on all cylinders from about 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. – sometimes earlier, sometimes later. Between two kids (age 4 and 1), being the lead copywriter for a Fortune 500 company, wife, honey-do list and anything else that gets added on, I also put in an average of 35 miles of running per week and core workouts.

Yet, at no time do I sacrifice time away from my kids and family, or from work to get my miles in. The trick is making time for yourself. You need to do that to have balance in your life, and give you time to decompress. Those who say they don’t have time don’t realize what they are wasting their time on.

Sure it’s great to watch television at night. However, when you’re watching 4 straight hours that is exactly where your extra time is going. In my case, I watch everything through my DVR (unless it’s a big important game) so I spend 2.5 hours watching 4 hours of shows.

As for my schedule: my runs are either at 5 a.m. or 9 p.m. The benefit is two-fold – the kids are asleep so I don’t lose time with them; and I live in Miami so the weather is cooperative at those times. If I run in the morning, I get to watch my teams play at night. Sometimes, I’ll pull a double or do core work at night while watching TV – after chores, playtime with the kids and dinner of course.

In other words, I get my miles in – my me time – while also spending time with the family and other priorities done; and still have time to wind down and watch TV. So I don’t understand the question: How do I have time? I’ve turned the question around on folks who have asked me the question. Most times they can’t say what they are doing with their time other than “stuff.” A couple others say they value their social life more. But there are two people who actually took what I said and looked at their days.

Both these folks have kids, full time jobs, and other priorities. Funny enough, they are both my running partners now. It’s funny how we pass bars at 5 a.m. Saturday morning that we would normally be at 10 years ago, however now we are going for a 10 mile run instead home to battle hangovers.

For those who say you don’t have time, evaluate your schedule. Even one hour of “me time” can go a long way. Best of all you don’t have to sacrifice your obligations to do it.