Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Keeping My Options Open

I've been researching a career as a Personal Trainer and received an article on the 10 Steps to Become A Personal Trainer from my sister.  My brief research found that I should become ACE and AFAA certified which could take 3 to 6 months and requires me to pass several tests.  Man, after I became PMP certified, I thought I was done with taking tests.  Well, my plan is to get the ACE/AFAA certifications and train part-time or full-time depending on the path my career takes.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Avoid Knee Pain: Buy New Shoes!

We are still on our Christmas vacation in Missouri. Today I managed to survive some steep hills here in St. Peters, MO. The good news is I ran for 6 miles; the bad news is after I start a run these days I experience some pain in my knees. I am pretty sure I need new jogging shoes because it's been 6 months since I purchased my Adidas Supernovas. I'm trying to avoid spending the money on new shoes as long as I can. However, I know that if I am to continue running long distances, I will need to make sure I have good equipment for my feet and legs. If you're having discomfort when you run, check out this article on Knee Pain from CoolRunning.com.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Just Say "No"...To Food

The temptation to eat everything in sight reveals itself every year at Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. Last year I was able to lose almost 7 pounds over the Holidays because I was committed to not overeating. I'll be fortunate to break even this year and I'm OK with that since I know that I can back on my exercise routine in a week or two. To avoid gaining weight, I try to follow the rules similar to the ones I found at HealthCastle.com. To help me avoid being stuffed, I fast for 24 hours once a week. Of course, it is easy to say "no" to food when it is not the Holiday Season!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Of Ice And Pain

There was a pretty significant ice storm in the Chicago area yesterday and everything is still covered with ice.  Power lines are down in some areas and the local schools were closed.  I wanted to run outside this morning in the 25°F weather.  But, that clearly would have been too dangerous with all of the ice on the side roads.  Instead of hitting the outdoors, I convinced myself to do an 8 mile run on the treadmill.  After the first four miles, I had a strong urge to relieve my bladder.  Although I stopped the treadmill for just a minute to make a quick run to the bathroom, my legs felt like lead.  In any event, I finished my run watching two of my favorite shows: Survivorman and Man vs. Wild.  When I reached the 7 mile mark, my left knee began to ache intensely.  I did not think I was going to finish, so I began to pray for strength to complete the run.  As soon as my treadmill registered 8 miles, I immediately went into cool-down mode.  My knee is fine now.  I just needs lots of water and rest!
Note: I watched the final episode of Survivorman last night.  Survival TV will not be the same without Les Stroud!

Friday, December 19, 2008

No Time To Exercise?

I found this cartoon on the internet and wanted to share with others to motivate exercise in everyone's life.  I did not want to exercise this morning.  However, I know how great I feel when I'm done, so I focused on the end result and plunged into my routine of 90 sit ups and 30 pull ups every other day. On the other days, I perform 200 push ups in sets of 4 over a 15 minute period.  It's rough, especially for a 40-year-old.  But I make the time to exercise.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Can You Believe It?

Well, I've only been able to run 5 miles or more on a treadmill a few times. And, today was one of those days. I got on the treadmill early in the day and set the program for a minimum of 5 miles. Following the marathon training program, I ran about a mile at a pace of 10:30 minutes/mile to warm up. Then I ran 3 miles at a pace of 9:05 minutes/mile. Finally, I cooled down for a mile at 10:30 minutes/mile. The run felt great. Since it's snowing and cold outside, I have the ultimate challenge: Running for 8 miles on a treadmill on Saturday!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Marathon Man

Today was an easy 5K, the slowest one I have ever run - my pace was over 10 minutes per mile. That's because today I started my marathon/half-marathon training program I created from RunnersWorld.com. The plan calls for no more than 3 running days per week which will work well with my schedule. My shortest runs will come this week; while my longest runs will occur the last month of training - March 2009. After I finish this 16 week program, I will restart the program in preparation for a half-marathon or, perhaps, the Chicago Marathon.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A New Running Goal

I've been away for awhile, running somewhat intermittently.  I recently came across a training plan that I wanted to share.  The plan comes from RunnersWorld.com and is a 16 week program that will prepare me for a half-marathon by the end of March 2009.  I am going out of town this Friday and will start the program on Monday.  In the meantime, a little practice will not hurt.

Let's see, can I do a 5k (3 miles) with a 1 mile warm up and 1 mile cool down?  I think so!

Friday, November 7, 2008

A Perfect 17

I ran on a Friday for the first time in recent memory. This is usually a day of rest for me. However, since I will be in Champaign this weekend I decided to run earlier today. I completed the week with a 5 mile treadmill run, so I ran a total of 17 miles this week which is just above my average!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Coming Down-Hill with A Plan

I did hill training for 4 miles in 37 minutes last night. I am now tweaking my routing a little to incorporate some of Jack Daniels' methods from his book Daniels' Running Formula. Specifically, I want to clearly define the percentage of time I spend running fartleks, intervals, hills, sprinting, etc. I have used training plans in the past. Now I want to tailor my plan specifically to my goals. I am comfortable running 5k and 10k races. I may seek to run half marathons by the end of 2009. If I do take this approach, a new training plan will be imperative.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Interval Run Revisited

Last night I did a 5-mile interval run and had a 8:56 minute/mile pace on the treadmill. Interval runs are important for building stamina for long runs. I have gotten out of the habit of doing intervals for the past month and have decided to re-incorporate this type of run in my schedule.

I found a really good article on running tips that will help runners at all levels.. Check out Your Best Training Plan on RunnersWorld.com.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Fartlek Workout

I ran a 27 minute fartlek (speed) workout last night and it was a blast. I was exhausted when I finished the run although I can see how fartlek training can help improve one's speed. The pace was pretty good too (I had an 8:18 minute/mile pace). Tonight I will do an easy, flat run.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Goal: Getting Faster

Last night I ran for 3.77 miles (6K) using a hill training program I created on my treadmill. I finished in about 34 minutes which is pretty good considering the terrain was hilly. The goal tonight is a 30 minute interval run. To improve my speed, I will do a fartlek workout (fartlek is Swedish for "speed play" simply means to run fast and jog slower in intervals). Here's another sample fartlek workout from Runners-Resource.com.
Here's the fartlek workout I dreamed up:
Speed (mph)
Time (min)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Speed Is Important

Last night's run: 3.16 miles with an 8:12 minute/mile pace. After Saturday's race, I was able to run over 3 miles quite easily. I felt a lot better after I completed the run. It made me think that I should have also run on Sunday. Well, tonight I will do a hill climb to help me get a little faster. My goal is to get in the 7-7.5 minute per mile pace by Spring 2009.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Hundred Push Up Challenge

I DID IT! In the presence of my daughter and son I completed the Hundred Push Up Challenge last night. On further review, my daughter revealed I actually did 102 push ups which provided more inspiration (my son miscounted along the way because he said I was going too fast.)

After I completed my last push up, I feel flat on the floor and asked, "Did I do it?" Both of them said, "Yes, daddy." Man, that was the best news of the day. Then I told them, "Now I can not get up!" (My arms were too tired!) As I crawled off the ground, I looked at my daughter and said, "Next goal: 200 consecutive push ups." My daughter replied, "No way!" When I asked her why, she said, "You struggled too hard to do 100 push ups!"

Okay, maybe 200 consecutive push ups is a little too optimistic. I think I'll go back to my regular routine of 200 push ups in 20 minutes.

My First Race

On Saturday, October 25, 2008 I completed my first run, Run Forest Run, which was held at Izaak Walton Nature Preserve in Homewood, IL. I finished the 4 mile race with a 7:57 minute/mile pace - something I did expect at all. This was probably the toughest run I ever experienced because it was a trail run, i.e., we ran on rocks, grass, dirt, mud, etc. I kind of expected a difficult run because of the terrain. However I did not want to back out of the race, so I just ignored the conditions and kept my legs moving. About half-way through, I had to pray for strength - I was about to run out of gas. I had mad the terrible mistake of starting the run way too face - hence a brief struggle to finish.

I will definitely run this race again and I am already entered in next year's race. Now that I have race experience, I know what to expect the next time I run. I will try not to start too fast!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A 20 Minute Sprint

I gave myself about 20 minutes to run on the treadmill last night.  I basically sprinted the for 2.5 miles without getting too tired.  I will do a longer hill climb tonight.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Run Forest Run

I plan to participate in the Run Forest Run event which is a 4 mile race that will be held this Saturday not far from my house. I think I have trained well enough to run 4 miles without collapsing. This will be my first official race.

Last night I did 3.1 miles on the treadmill. Since we had softball practice that evening, it looked like a run was out of the question until I told my body "you gotta do this". I was able to check my son's Algebra homework, eat a small meal and do some chin-ups too.

Monday, October 20, 2008

4 Miles and 97 Push Ups

Yesterday evening I did a little over 6K (about 4 miles) running through the neighborhood while I listened to ESPN 1000 radio. The run was quicker than I expected though I am not sure why. Maybe the cool weather was a big distraction. Next up: a 30 minute Hill Climb this evening.

To add more pressure, I asked my daughter to witness my attempt to do 100 push ups as part of the Hundred Push Up Challenge. Man, I got up to 97 and just collapsed again! I thought I had it this time. Well, now I have to work a little harder this week and test again on Sunday night. I'm almost there!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Almost There

Last night I did 3.14 miles on the treadmill which is about what I wanted to run. I am also looking at two end-of-the-year races, the first of which is next Saturday. The last race I would even consider is the day after Thanksgiving. I'm waiting to get details on both races.

I made my third attempt to do 100 push ups and got very close. When I reached 80 or so push ups, I just knew I would make it to 100. I should have asked the Lord for strength because after I hit 85 push ups, I began to feel extreme fatigue in my triceps. I made it to 91 push ups before my arms completely collapsed. I will get up to 100 soon!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Top of The Hill

I did 35+ minutes (3.83 miles) of hill training last night. It was a tough run considering I had not trained like this for almost two weeks. I could feel that I was not lifting my legs as well as I should. About half way through the run, my HRM watch stop tracking my heart rate. I need to remind myself to replace the battery in the heart rate strap soon or else the HRM may stop working completely.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Fall Is Here

And with the season change, I am finding it a little difficult to stick to a schedule. The good news is I ran a combined 14 miles on Saturday, Sunday and Monday; two of the three days were outdoors. I will need to do more hill training as I can feel my legs getting tired sooner than they should. My lungs are holding out extremely well. Sometimes I think I can run forever.

Friday, September 26, 2008

New Plans

I've been running on the treadmill part time and running outdoors part time for the past two weeks or so.  I've also moved my workouts back to the evenings to give my mind a break from rising at 4:50am to get my sweat on.  The new plans are working well thus far.   I anticipate I will be able to run outdoors for another month before the weather will get too intolerable.

I am still working to complete the Hundred Push Up Challenge.  I've finished week 6 twice now and will restart it a third time before I attempt 100 push ups the following week.

Well, I had every intention of running in the South Holland Heritage Awesome Blossom 10k this year.  Unfortunately, our softball team scheduled our first practice the morning of the race.  And, since I'm a coach, I felt I had to support the softball team first.

Despite missing the Awesome Blossom, I am continuing my training program.  This Saturday I will run a 12K and plan to run at least 4 times per week until next Spring when I'll start training again.  The goal for next year will be to run at least one race every 2 months from Spring until Fall.

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Best Time to Run

Yesterday evening was interval training on the treadmill. In case you were wondering, I am trying to get back in the habit of running in the evenings at least a few times per week because I want to get a little more sleep these days. I am not sure if running in the morning is better than the evening and vice-versa. Either timeframe has its pros and cons:
Morning Run
Evening Run
  • Much cooler temperature means I can run faster without concern of overheating.
  • When I'm done, I feel a huge sense of accomplishment. No more runs for the rest of the day.
  • No need for caffeine to wake me up!
  • More energy in the evening means my body is not stressed as much as the morning run.
  • After taking a shower, I feel refreshed and relieved that I can sleep an extra hour.
  • My body has more time to heal before I go to work.
  • It takes 20-30 minutes for me to wake up at 4:50am and get myself ready to run.
  • In the Fall and Spring it is dark when I run which is dangerous. Running in the winter is out of the question.
  • My body needs to heal while I am on my way to work and/or at work.
  • Since the evening runs are on a treadmill, my heart rate is higher and pace is slower.
  • I have to manage my time extremely well to allow an hour in the evenings for a run. And, I can not run on Tuesday and Friday evenings due to personal commitments.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Running in The Dark

This morning's jog was a little over 8K with very little sun most of the time. I guess I must get used to running in the dark for the next month or so while the weather allows me to run outdoors. It was just a little weird because it felt like I was running at night until the last mile or so.

My Rules for Pre-Dawn / Night Running
Since many of my runs start at the pre-dawn hours, I try to follow a few safety rules I learned over the years:
  • Assume Drivers Can Not See You
    I call this maintaining "a good run defense." Knowing I can not take on a vehicle forces me to stay as close to the curb as possible. On busy streets, I usually run on the sidewalk unless I see kids in my path which is not likely in dark conditions. On less busy streets, I run against the flow of traffic to ensure oncoming vehicles can see me and that I give plenty of room to vehicles approaching from the rear.
  • Wear Light or Reflective Clothing
    I usually wear a bright yellow shirt and headband. I also have reflective shoes to help give off my location on the road.
  • Never Run A Route You Have Not Run Before
    A familiar route is easier to navigate in the dark and helps you maintain a sense of composure during times of uncertainty. When I ran this morning, for example, I thought I saw an animal approaching me out the corner of my eye. When I thought about my location, it dawned on me I was looking at a stump. Bottom line is I could have made a sudden move had I not known the path and kept calm.
  • Find The Sidewalk or Grass When A Vehicle Approaches Head On
    This is especially important when the vehicle slows down because that's a good sign that the driver either can not see you or is having difficulty navigating around you.
  • Obey Traffic Signs/Laws
    J-walking is quite common for me during my commute to/from work during sunlit hours. On the other hand, when I run in the dark I do not want a driver guessing where I am headed. You can never be too safe if you use crosswalks, stop at stop lights, etc.
Hundred Push Up Update
Last night was day two in week 5 of the Hundred Push Up Challenge. I took an extra day off, so my arms/chest were ready for the stress. I did a total of 174 push ups and maxed out at 40. One more day and then I'm at week 6!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Running 101: The Proper Form for Runners

When I run, go through a number of checks to make sure I am running as efficiently as possible. That's because I am always concerned that I will run out of gas before I reach my distance goal. Just to be sure my form was correct, I found the article Tips for Proper Running Form on About.com which written by marathon runner Christine Luff. In her article, Christine discusses nine tips for proper running form.
Here's a summary of Christine's tips with some editorial comments:
Look Ahead
Most of my runs are early in the morning when there's very little light. Since I sometimes cross busy streets, I make sure my eyes are forward. I occasionally look side-to-side to gauge the traffic.
Land Mid-foot
If you land predominantly on your heals, you will slow your run which is inefficient. Landing on your toes will strain your calves and/or lead to shin injuries. I have made the mistake of running on my heals and my toes. In both cases, my legs were sore for a few days until I learned to land on the ball of my foot.
Keep Your Hands at Your Waist
When I first started running long distances, I thought that I should move my arms swiftly up and down just link a sprinter or a walk-runner. Waving my arms wildly, I found that got tired quickly. Then I saw a woman running with her arms at her waist, so I tried her approach and discovered this change was just what I needed.
Relax Your Hands
Keep your hands in a fist and/or clinched will lead to fatigue. And even the slightest fatigue can cause you to shorten your run. I generally keep my hands relaxed (open) or lightly touch my thumb and index finger.
Check Your Posture
I read somewhere that most runners make the mistake of leaning forward which can put more stress on your spine, neck and shoulders. If you keep a straight posture, you reduce the chances of fatigue and pain.
Relax Your Shoulders
The shoulders should also be relaxed and square. Do not hunch over.
Rotate Your Arms from The Shoulder
The natural tendency of some runners is to bend at the elbows which is a waste of energy.
Don't Bounce
Bouncing is a waste of energy too. Try to maintain a smooth stride that is low to the ground.
Keep Your Arms at Your Side
Swinging the arms side-to-side is a waste of energy. It can also cause you to lean slouch and breathe inefficiently.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Hundred Push Up Update 5

Well, last night I started week 5 of the Hundred Push Up Challenge and I must say that this week is much tougher than last week. When I completed the routine, my chest and triceps were extremely tight. Not to mention, I was exhausted.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Running Is Way Too Cool

Just to get caught up, I ran an 8K on Friday, a 12K on Saturday and an 8K this morning. It should be no surprise that the Friday & Monday runs were much better than the Saturday run. That's because I waited until 8am to hit the road on Saturday - right after the sun had been out in full blast.

When I first started running Saturday, I thought, "Man it's a little hot (72 °F). But I can handle it." Well about half way through the run I had to pull over for 5 minutes because my body temperature and heart rate had gone too high (over 170 BPM) for too long. After a quick 5 minute break, I finished the second half of the run, came home exhausted and slept for 2 hours after a quick run to the local Costco.

I've got a lot of work to do to understand how to run more efficiently in warmer weather. Normally the temperature is between 55 °F and 65 °F when I jog in the mornings. Oh, well, more learning is better than no learning.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

More Hill Training

Today's run was a 10K hill workout that worked pretty well for me. I finished with a 8.17 minute/mile pace even though the route I chose had quite a few hills and inclines. Hill training is important for runners for a number of reasons: it helps build stamina, strengthens the legs/tendons/ligaments, helps reduce injury and improves form. I found the article Everything You Need To Know About Hill Training on the RunnersWorld.com website and wanted to share what I learned.

Uphill Running
When you are doing your hill training, it's important to remember that you must run differently depending on whether you are going up or down a hill. The article specifically says that when going up a hill, you should do the following:
  • Shorten your stride and take smaller steps if necessary
  • Slow your pace, specifically if you are out of breath
  • Maintain an upright posture
  • Use an ankle-flicking push-off rather than a full, explosive motion
  • Run through the top of the hill without stopping
  • Gradually accelerate down the hill

Downhill Running
A big problem with running down hill is that runners tend to sprint or fight gravity both of which can cause injuries. To avoid injury and maintain control, the article says that when going down a hill, you should:
  • Do not sprint down the hill!
  • Picture gravity moving you down the hill
  • Maintain an upright posture
  • Keep your feet close to the ground and land as light as possible
  • Emphasize quicker turnover rather than longer strides as your pace increases
  • Lengthen your stride only when you feel you are in control
  • If you find you are out of control, shorten your stride

The article also discusses six hill training techniques that I plan to use going forward. I will leave it to you to read the article on this topic.


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Hundred Push Up Update 4

I'm at week 4 of the Hundred Push Up Challenge. I completed 130 push ups and max'd out at 36 at the end of the routine. It would have been nice to do more than 36. Considering that I did all 130 push ups in less than 10 minutes, I am satisfied with the workout.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

An Energy Boosting 12K

After thoroughly enjoying my 5-day vacation, I jumped out of bed this morning with a plan to run a 12K. Even though I had to fight through a period of low motivation, I finished the 12K with a 8.30 minute/mile pace. Interestingly enough, the Fitness Tip of The Day was: "At times, you will not feel like exercising. If you're just feeling a little tired or low on energy, go ahead and try to complete your routine. The workout will likely boost your energy level and your mood."

I can say definitively that my energy level and mood get full-day boost after a run - today's run was no exception. Here are articles that discuss other ways to boost your metabolism:

Sunday, August 17, 2008

On Vacation...Taking It Easy

Yesterday morning I drove around the resort her in Nisswa, MN to see if I could find a good course to run. The best route would be to follow Route 77 since I could run for miles in either direction. I decided to just follow Lost Lake Road because Route 77 had a few inclines that would have destroyed this newbie. Even though route I took had very good inclines, I ran an 8.02 minute/mile 5K, yet another fastest time.

I am enjoying my runs here in the Land of 10K Lakes. I ran two of my fastest times here. And, my Hybrid Camry is getting nearly 40 mpg (ok, that was my shameless Toyota plug.)

I probably will not run again until I get home on Tuesday and get back on a regular schedule.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Ride Like The Wind

The family and I are vacationing in Minnesota for the next few days. This morning I ran my best 8K ever - 8.33 minutes/mile. It was very encouraging to know that I could have gone a little farther. This means that I might be closer to the goal of running between an 8 and 8.5 minute/mile 10K.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Importance of Rest

After completing a 10K this morning, I added up the numbers and noticed that I have run almost 24 miles in 4 days. That's an average of almost one 10K per day since Saturday! You can imagine that my body wants a break and I plan to rest tomorrow. Why is rest so important?

Hall Hidgon, a well known marathon expert recommends the following for runners training for a 10K: "Rest is an important part of your training. Friday is always a day of rest in the Intermediate program. Be realistic about your fatigue level and don't feel guilty if you decide to take an additional day off. (Best bet is Monday.) Specifically consider scheduling at least one extra rest day during the stepback weeks." Hal has a lot of good information on running 5Ks, 10Ks, Half and Full Marathons. He's even posted FREE training programs!

The web site RunningInjuryFree.org suggests: "Since a day only has 24 hours, we need to follow a heavy run with a "rest period" to give us the 48 hours needed for recovery. Some people do this by walking or running 3 or 4 times a week, with rest days in between. Others do this by following a heavy walk or run with a light walk or run." The latter type of training is called Cross Training which a combination of heavy and light workouts.

While I generally prefer to take full day to recover, my training program is a combination of Cross Training and resting in between long workouts/runs. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you clear your workout with your doctor!

Hundred Push Up Update 3
Yesterday I started at week for in my quest to meet the Hundred Push Up challenge. I was a little sore and was still able to finish all 5 sets of push ups.

Monday, August 11, 2008

A Cool 12K

After running more than 35 miles in six days last week, I started the week with a 12K in the cool summer Chicago weather. The temperature must have been in the mid to upper 50's when I left my driveway this morning. And when I got home, I could not believe how cold my hands were. As with Saturday's 16K, my pace was very slow in the beginning. After the first mile, I picked up the pace a bit and considered running as fast as I could...nope, that would have been a bad idea because I never would have finished the run. The natural inclines of my path provided a pretty good workout too.

Hundred Push Up Update 2
I rested a few days before making another attempt to max out. When I got past 70 consecutive push ups, I thought I had the one hundred push ups easily. Then about 10 push ups later, I started to feel the burn in my arms and chest. I tried to go farther and was able to get up to 85 consecutive push ups. My goal now is to start with Week 4 and then finish the plan in the next three weeks or so.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Eight + Eight = Ten

No this is not new math. Today I ran two 8Ks which the equivalent of 10 miles or 16K. This is the farthest I have ever run and I did it with a 9.91 minute/mile pace while maintaining a 146 average BPM. I thought I would be a lot more tired and sore after the run. It seems that the new shoes and inserts are working well so far because I felt pretty good after I finished the 10 miles. The cooler weather we are experiencing helped tremendously. I did not perspire very much at all and like I said, my average heart rate was pretty low.

Why did I run so slow?
The experts say that when training for a race you should run about 90 to 120 seconds slower than your best pace when you run longer distances. Since I had never run a 16K, I really wanted to say I finished the run so my goal was to run slow. There were times when I wanted to run even slower than a 10 minute/mile pace. However, I found that I could pick up the pace a little and still keep my heart rate at a good level.

Ok, I need to drink my protein drinks and get some rest so I can be ready for a 12K on Monday!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Hill Training

I got up at 4:50am this morning to run from my house to the neighboring subdivision, Graymoor. It didn't seem like much of a challenge to me initially. However, Graymoor has some inclines that will test a newbie's endurance. I finished my 5K in less than 27 minutes (that's about 8.6 minutes per mile). And as I sit here at work, I feel like I could use a nap...a real long one! Thank God I have an opportunity to get some rest on my train ride home this evening.

Now I must prepare myself mentally for the 16K I have on the schedule tomorrow. I drink a whey protein drink that I purchased from Lifetime Fitness last week. I might drink a little before I do the 16K in the morning to give me the energy I need to finish. If you are planning to do a 5K or 10K like me, here's training plan you can follow courtesy of CoolRunning.com.

Hundred Push Up Update 1
I decided to take two days off last night. I'll be back at it Saturday.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Today's Run: 5K on The Treadmill

I took my run indoors today after running outdoors Sunday through Tuesday. I prefer the outdoors because:
  1. The weather and environment helps keep my body cooler which allows me to run faster and farther without overheating, i.e., reaching high a high heart rate.
  2. The outdoors is extremely relaxing and breaks the monotony of seeing the same view for the entire run.
  3. The outdoors allows me to train in an environments similar to my planned races. I am not against running on treadmill.
Hey, I started running on a treadmill. And here in Chicago, you have to run indoors at least part of the year, so treadmill runs are inevitable for me (I am not the kind of person who goes to the health club before work!)

Needless to say, I overdid the run a little (my average heart rate was way too high - about 160 Beats Per Minute). Even though I felt the weight of my legs for the last half of the run, I just had to keep running. Finished with an 8.85 minute/mile pace, just a .1 of a minute less than yesterday's 8K. Outdoors is just so much easier for me.

Gonna do that 16K from my house on Saturday after tomorrow's 5K.

Impossible is Nothing!

Can You Do One Hundred Pushups?

I found this site HundredPushUps.com and thought I would pass it along. The site was created by Steve Speirs to challenge people to do 100 consecutive push ups. Steve provides a very good plan for meeting the goal of 100 consecutive push ups over a 6 week period. And, you only have to workout 3 days a wee (sounds good to me).

I am gonna try this soon and let you know how it goes. Just so you know, for the past 9 months I have been working out 3-4 times a week using The Perfect Push Up. I am able to do about 200+ push ups at each workout. When I got home from work yesterday evening, I maxed out just to see how many push-ups I could do. I only did 70 which was a little disappointing but good considering I did 200 push ups (in sets of 4) the day before.

Push ups are a very good way to tone the upper body, arms, and abs. And I have found this exercise compliments my running schedule well. Read more about the benefits of doing push ups and TAKE THE CHALLENGE!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Treating Exercise as A Project

Whether I am working in my garden, adjusting our wireless network, or painting a room, I treat work as a project: there's always a beginning and an end, tools or equipment I need to use, and milestones that help me see progress along the way. I find that this method helps time pass and keeps me focussed on the end result. If you can treat work as a project, why not view exercise as a project?

How I Run My Exercise Project
Every day I workout, I plan the start and finish of my routine. The night before I run, I review my equipment list: I layout my clothes, ensure my shoes are ok, check my Heart Rate Monitor (HRM) to make sure it works properly, drink plenty of fluids and try to rest my body as much as possible. Just before I run, I do a final equipment check. Finally, when I run I check my mileage, heart rate and pace periodically to ensure I hit the milestones I've set.

You do not have to be as anal as I am with my exercise project. However, developing an exercise project of your own could help you surpass some of those obstacles that have held you from incorporating running or other exercises into your lifestyle.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Training Program

I utilize a 10-week training program developed by Olympic Triathlon Coach Brendon Downey in cooperation with Polar, the sports watch company. I started the program on 7/1/08 and will complete the training on 9/19/08 - the day before I run in the South Holland Heritage Haul Awesome Blossom 10k. I may also run a few races before the Awesome Blossom...we'll see how the training goes.

The program generally looks like this:

12k / 14k / 16k / 18k (one of these, not all!)

Some days I do interval training or hill training, so the program varies a bit. On Saturday, I have my longest runs. This Saturday, I will do a 16k - that's 10 miles. I've never run more than a 12k, so pray for me!

Monday, August 4, 2008

It's The Shoes

Instead of running on Saturday, I decided to visit a local shoe store, The Human Race, to look for new running shoes. My legs were starting to hurt and I was beginning to develop blisters on my feet. I did not realize how much detail a runner must devote to his/her shoes. In the past I wore Nike running shoes exclusively. Well as soon as I walked in the store, the salesman pointed out that Nike running shoes are not as comfortable as others. And, I'd have to agree knowing how my legs hurt after running 10k or more, especially outdoors.

At this store, they take you through a series of tests to determine you are an under/over pronator (that's how much hour feet lean outward or inward). They also check to see if your stance is balanced to determine if you need shoe support. When I finished my tests, I ended up with a size 11 Adidas Supernova Sequence Control. I had no idea I needed to go up almost a full size for running purposes. However, after running a 12k indoors at LifeTime Fitness yesterday, I am convinced I made a good purchase. The run felt very comfortable and I ran my fasted 12k ever.

If you have any pain after you run and you have a similar store in your, I would highly recommend a similar set of tests to ensure you get fitted properly for your next pair of running shoes.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Getting Over The Hump Using Goals

Today's training run was a 5k (3.1 miles) that started and ended at my driveway. The goal this month is to run almost 128 miles - the most I will have ever run in a month! Mind you, I have run 80 and 90 miles respectively for the months of June and July, so the 128 mile for this month will be a challenge.

When I run, I find that the first .5 - 1 mile is the most difficult for me. After I have run for a mile, I am usually able to run for as long as I can. I only stop when I have reached my distance goal or when my heart rate gets within a few percentage points of my HRMax (178 BPM). Today was a bit of a challenge for me. My mind (the bad guy) and body teamed up this time and told me to quit after the first 1/4 mile. Well, the good guy in me said to keep running...so I kept running until I hit the 5k mark. I got over the hump.

One key trait a runner needs is the ability to push himself/herself when the body says "No more!" Pushing yourself can be dangerous, but I see a lot of people who will quit running after a mile or less when they could do so much more for themselves if they fought it off and kept running. Hey, I know it ain't easy. A big part of my motivation is reaching my goals. Every time I run I have either a distance goal or a pace goal or both.

Setting goals is almost like having my own personal training, at least that's the way I view it. I would encourage everyone to set small goals first and then, as you progress , gradually increase the expectations for your goals. I would have not believed I could run at a 8.65 minute/mile pace after only 4 months. However, that's what I did today. And, I got over that hump too!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

In The Beginning...Sort of!

After 4 months of running, I am still going strong. I plan to run in a 5k on September 13 and a 10k on September 20. I've been training for over a month and can now run as far as 8 miles without stopping. Man, you could not have told me I would be able to run like this. See, I grew up sprinting and was known for being one of the fastest, if not the fastest, kids in the neighborhood. I never ran track although I wish I had done so now.

So, how did I come to running? Well, like many people I set goal to exercise 3 times a week. I got budget approval from my wife to purchase exercise equipment in 2007 and in March I decided to buy a $1500 treadmill. My original goal was to walk on the treadmill 3-4 times per week. When I started walking, I quickly discovered I had to move my arms vigorously to reach my heart rate in the target range appropriate for my age (135-145 bpm). Soon after I began pumping my arms up and down, I discover I need to add wrist weights to stay in my target heart rate range. After the wrist weights, I added multiple inclines from 1% to 7%. I even increased the speed as far as I could without actually running and I continued to struggle to reach my target heart rate range. As you can see, my body was gradually getting more acclimated to walking and I had to make a decision. I could either continue to modify what I was doing or I could start running.

After more than a year of walking and making adjustments to reach my target heart rate range, I finally decided to just RUN! I started running 1 mile and gradually increased the distance until I was running 3 miles several times per week. Because I am over 40, I consulted with an exercise expert (my sister) who gave me some tips and pointed me to some very cool websites that I will share with you too. To see how I have progressed and what my limits are, I track my daily running statistics including time, distance, average pace, speed, average BPM, BMI, calories burned. Along the way I set a goal to get my average pace down below 10 minutes per mile (I started running at over 15 minutes per mile!) I can now say that I am able to run 9.5 minute miles comfortably. I have been known to run 8.5 minute miles on occasion.

My next goal is to run in a 5k and, possibly, a 10k in September. Wish me well...

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