Runners Three Tip Tuesday: Work on getting faster in tri-fecta form

Good things can come in threes, but then again plenty of awesome things come in twos and fours. Runners have two legs, four laps make that perfect mile…though do those four laps REALLY feel all that perfect when doing mile repeats?? ;) Brain: “FOUR laps, let’s call a mile one lap!” Juuust kidding.

running track

The cool place all runners get to hang out.


Well good things can come in any number but today you runners are getting a three-pack. Here are some Training Tips in Triple for your Tuesday:

1) Runners Who Skip: Runners can become a little too linear for their own good. Example is looking only at their running workouts to improve and taking that little metaphor to the literal: running is a repetitive, linear, single-plane action. If you don’t work your body in a variety of ways it gets tight. Tight will equal restrictive, bring you injuries and impede your speed.

Offset that by doing things OTHER than running: core work, flexibility, and agility drills. Move in the horizontal, even do some skipping to ‘dilly around’ with your neuromuscular thought patterns. Your brain actually has to be ‘played with’…it gets stuck in a pace/pattern run with just running. So as crazy as it sounds doing things like skipping, backwards skips, crazy feet drills give it a little ‘reset’ and make it more ‘sharp’ when you come back to running steps. Oh, and those fast feet, like chili pepper jump rope things, those will help your neuromuscular training too…get those feet conditioned to FIRE off the ground faster = faster speed and sprinting.

2) Be Quiet I’m Sleeping: Sleeping should really be an Olympic sports…or at least one of everyone’s favorite past times. Want to have a sleep-off? Just kidding. But seriously, for the runner in training you should guard your zzzz’s with just as much ferocity as you do lane one during repeats.
runner on track
Sleep is where you body does the vast majority of its repair, sleep is a restorative process. But it’s really the deep, REM sleep that you need. That’s why people who are light sleepers or wake up multiple times in the night can still feel so flipping tired later even if they’ve been in bed 8-12 hours…they’re not sleeping continuously or getting a deep enough sleep. Sleep issues are really tricky, I’ve got them, so if you do have trouble sleeping already do the basics: make it as dark as possible, don’t even have the light from your phone on, try a fan for white noise, relax and power-down before bedtime to put your brain in sleep-mode, and from there you may need to seek out some other options and work with a doctor.

For those of you are are lucky enough to NOT have a problem sleeping but just skimp on the hours because you’re busy, I’ll say this: 1) you’re only hurting yourself and your training 2) you’re taking sleeping for granted…trust me, lots of us insomniacs would die to get some extra hours!! haha…take advantage of them and aim for 8-9 hours a night for optimal performance.

3) Laugh: Wow…you think I’m a nutzo for just saying that. I’ll go on record and rattle off just why laughing is a training necessity:

* Running is hard: yea, it’s painful. But misery loves company and laughter. Those slow jogs between intervals is when you and your training buddies should be making fart jokes.
* De-serious: It’s easy to be too serious in life and apply that to training. Ironically getting ‘too’ focused on your workouts and training has a funny way of making you eventually start slowing down. It’s because of pressure and it’ll also rob you of the passion…both recipe for disasters. Make sure you’re excited and focused on your goals…but still ENJOY it. So laugh.
* Running gets awkward: Need I say more? Runners will have to fart, burp, poo, chafe, adjust a wedgie etc. mid-run. It’s just funny, get over embarrassment and do it. Make a joke about it.

There ya go. Take this Tuesday and make it a point to improve your running in three ways. Heck, please apply the laughter part to your overall life too!

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Related Read: My latest article on RunBlogRun: Running the ‘Extras’: Think outside the miles and improve your performance

Another of my new articles on RunBlogRun: Young Runners and the Issues of Volume and Intensity

Need a laugh? My CARTOONS are here for you! :)
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The Low Mileage Runner: How to maximize your performance off of low volume

A headline caught my eye recently: “Be a better runner without running.” *About face* Now I respect the news outlet that ran the article but the snark in me can’t resist thinking, “This kind of thing belongs in Runner’s World next to the column ‘How to get faster in your sleep!’”

track dreams

Track dreams…but you still need to actually run on the track too. ;)


In seriousness though, yes there are ways to improve your running and get faster that aren’t running. HOWEVER, these are thought of like ‘extras’…you still have to run.

Everybody and every BODY handles a different amount of volume and quality. Not everyone can log 110 miles per week, with a hard speed session, endurance session, and long run in a 7 day cycle. Some people can run 170 miles per week just fine, others get hurt going over 50…waaah-waahh it’s not fair but that’s how it is.

Know your body. Know your limits and maximize them. Just because you can’t RUN more than 50 miles per week does not necessarily mean you can’t beat the runner doing twice your volume. Enter QUALITY.

Here are a few quick tips on maximizing your training if you’re a runner who is a little more ‘fragile’: (ie: improving your running with running less and doing other stuff)

* Extend Your ‘Week’: By this I’m talking about viewing your training cycle as 9-10 days rather than the standard 7. Meb Keflezighi has talked about doing this as he’s aged, and many masters runners work off of a longer training week. This allows for more recovery between hard workouts.

* Rule of 10 and Baby Steps: If you’re injury-prone already you know you need to BABY your body a bit. Only increase your miles by 10% each week. Then be honest with what your mileage ‘max’ is. If you start getting extra creaking when you kiss 50, stick there and supplement with extra cross training instead of miles.
stress fractures suck
* Swap Your Easy Runs: Plan your miles for the week and ‘save’ them for your hard workouts and long runs. Those are the days that will give you the most bang for your mileage buck. Cross train on the easy days; to be honest the benefit of easy days are mostly just getting the steady cardio in…you can do that running or cross training. The former is just a lot easier on your body.

* Seek Soft Surfaces: The pavement is harder on your body than the trails, track, and treadmill. Seek these softer surfaces. Also know that lots of downhill running exponentially increases the impact on your joints, so steer clear of huge, sharp downhills.

* Get More Efficient: Most injuries are a result of a weakness and muscle imbalance. Fix those and you’ll be running more efficient and most likely be able to handle running more. All the more reason to fix your form, get a stronger core, and solve why you might be stuck in a vicious cycle of injuries.

* Fitter With Cross Training: Ideally you want to be doing your hard workouts as running because this will translate the best for racing but you’d be amazed by how fit you can stay with cross training workouts. So if you have to do some of your ‘running’ workouts on the cross trainer don’t freak out and remember it all comes back to effort. Go hard, get your heart rate up, feel the burn in your legs and lungs, and you’re getting work done.

Not EVERYTHING that will get you faster comes from running more miles. Think outside the box, learn your body, and maximize your potential.

Though the snark in me still has to end with this: “but, duh, you still have to do some running.” ;)

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More articles on cross training and workout ideas!

More articles on injuries, recovering, and how to prevent them!

Lessons From the Track: Running your best takes more than left turns

Now my younger brother’s first love is rugby, second is football, but for the three weeks between seasons he decided to do track! Wahoo…I was stoked!! I’m also in awe of the fact that he doesn’t do any speed-work and then just blitzes those 400′s and 200′s like they’re nothing.
wesley track sprinting
The mystery is solved as to where all of the fast twitch muscle fiber genes in the family went. Clearly all were saved and concentrated into the youngest Chock sibling. Oh and I guess he stole my coordination genes too. ;)

Granted he’s got the competitiveness of a Chock, so he’ll gut out a race and pay the price after to hit those marks. But the truth is that last 100 of a 400 isn’t fun for anybody, no matter if you’ve trained or not…BLECH…talk about booty lock.

Checking out those high school meets has been fun, observing just as much so, and here are a few tips I’d pass on if teenagers actually cared to listen to us old folks:

* Warm-up and Recovery: set yourself up to run your best, not warming up before a race is setting yourself up for both injury and running below your maximum potential. Cold muscles no likey sprinting. The same for after your race, do all you can to recover so you can come back stronger. That includes a cool-down and refueling within 30 minutes of finishing.

* Drafting and Tangents: it was windy at the track meet and those are days where you really want to draft. Leading expends more mental energy and on windy days it expends a heck of a lot more physical energy to lead. If you can, tuck in behind somebody until you’re really to surge past them. When you DO make your move, try to make it on a straight away…running the tangents on a race course is the same idea, don’t run more than your race distance or your competitors are.
run to beat you
* When You Pass, You PASS: racing is mental like that, when you make a move and pass someone you want to be passing them for good. Conserve energy and then blow by that sucker! Don’t ‘weakly’ pass them because then they can just tuck in behind you and let you do the work. You want to BLOW by them and try to mentally break them. Make them think, “Dang, they’re feeling much stronger than me, I can’t keep up.” Even if you feel like crap, it’s a race, you should feel tired, but your competitors don’t have to know you’re tired as heck and clinging on until the finish line. Break them and leave them in your dust.

* Cling-on: sorry, no sci-fi reference, but this speaks to those getting passed. Read above. You can’t get in the mind of your competitors and chances are they’re working, tired, and hurting too. If they pass you, rally the troops and try to stay with them. Don’t let THEM mentally break you. See, it works two ways like that. ;)

The last thing I’ll add, while I like to joke that I have not a single fast twitch muscle in my body (I’ve never been biopsied, but I’ll say I probably only do have one!) DON’T use that as an excuse to avoid speed-work. It’s incredible how much you can manipulate and overcome your natural predisposition in terms of speedster versus endurance maven. You’d be surprised that, yes, even ye of one speed can get some wheels on themselves and wind up with really strong kicks.

The thing is you just have to train those muscles! For speed you need to build power (hills, sprints, plyo’s) and all that good stuff is plenty of fodder for another post!

Get out there and kick some butt…embrace the booty lock too! ;)
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Have you checked out my Ezzere Running Tees yet?? Mosey over, folks!!

Send MAJOR cheers to one awesome Kim @ Day with KT this rockstar runnerchick and mom is out to kill it at her 50 mile race this Saturday!! WAHOOOO!!!

Run With the Heart of a Lion

Today I will look a fear in the eye. I will not blink.

Today I will take a doubt and refute it. I will not hesitate.

I will look only forward, learning from what’s been behind. I will not criticize, belittle, disparage.
run with the heart of a lion motivation art
I will see only dreams and possibilities on the horizons. A future bright, no limits, goals big enough to scare.

But fear be d*mned.

I will run with the heart of a lion.

I will LIVE with the heart of a lion.

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Speaking of lions, here is my latest Competitor article on THE lion himself: Meb Keflezighi

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The Comparison Game: What will help you improve and what will drive you insane

A friend of mine was asking his runner friends what their favorite training tracker or log was. Apps, watches, etc. were all thrown out there. Personally I don’t use any of the online training upload apps or sites, not that I have anything against them, I just have a love/hate relationship and here’s why.

1) What are you comparing?

Now I’m OCD and I know that about myself. I abstained from buying a Garmin for so long because I can easily turn it into an ugly thing with knowing too many numbers. I know that about myself. But I also know the watch can be a great tool to use. So I bought it and learned how I can ‘safely and sanely’ use it. And yea, I flipping love it.
garmin
But I don’t upload stats and pour over the elevation charts, I don’t wear a heart rate monitor I go off of effort, I don’t want to feel like a scientist about my runs. But that’s just ME. Of course hard workout splits I do care much more about, but I don’t look at the splits on my easy days.

But some people LOVE all the stats…that’s cool beans, that’s why they make all those things! I just caution you to compare what matters and what can actually be destructive.

* Fast Hard Workout Splits Matter.
* Fast Easy Run Splits Work Against you.

Make sure you’re able to recover on your easy days so you can NAIL those hard days. Those are what count.

2) Competition for the sake of competition?

Lots of runners are Type-A, a bit OCD, and of course competitive. Now there are things to be competitive about: races, PR’s, etc…but then there are other things that are just dumb and destructive.

If you’re trying to do XXX amount of miles because you want to beat Joe Moe’s total miles at MilesTrackerMadness.com (just pulled that outta my head, not a real site??) then you could wind up injured or overtrained.

They don’t give PR’s or medals to people in training, what matters should be race day. If you’re feeling sucked into wanting to do more for the sake of just doing more stop and ask yourself this:

“What’s in the best interest of my long term running goals?”

Btw…who knows if Joe Moe is even being truthful?
running to win text
3) Motivation versus Pessimistic attitude

Most runners are motivated when they see incredible feats like Meb winning the Boston Marathon!! Hurrah!! But thinking on a more logical scale, seeing what people are doing who are closer to your fitness level, running pace, or age can be just as motivating. If you’ve run with someone and trained frequently with them, if you know you can keep pace with them in a workout and you see they raced XXX you should be feeling quite confident that you, yourself have the ability to race XXX.

The problem is when runners come down with the wrong perspective…namely a pessimistic one. “What the heck, Meb can run a whole marathon faster than I can run a half! Why am I even bothering?!” That’s really just an excuse your brain has for wanting to be lazy and not try at all. ;)

You will probably never beat Meb…yo, honesty policy. But you shouldn’t be comparing yourself to Meb unless you’re on ‘that level’. The motivation of elite runners should come in the way of:
* Running hurts for everyone. The test is pushing YOUR limits.
* Running is fun. If you’re not keeping it that way then that’s sad and find something you are passionate about.
* Compete agains yourself. PR’s are called PERSONAL Records. You set a new one and THAT is something to be proud as heck about.

Keep things in perspective and realize what you SHOULD be comparing your running to and what you shouldn’t. Use any App or community training forum as the positive it can be: a motivating space for people to stay on track and dedicated to their goals.

Emphasis on THEIR…ahem…YOUR GOALS. ;)

1) What do you compare?
2) How do you, and how much do you, use a training log?

Sunday Morning Running Motivation: #Mebstrong

Really, need I say more?
boston marathon Meb Keflezighi

#run #mebstrong

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More Running Motivation HERE
peacock running shirt ezzere
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Runners Rocking Old School: Training tools guide you but they’re not Gods

Sometimes a runner just needs to rock it old school style and get back to basics. Look beyond the Garmins, the heart-rate monitors, the target zones, the iPod/iPhone widgets, connect this, upload that, FitBit, BodyBug, BodPodWod, run-a-shoe-whiz…you get the picture.

The tech world is awesome, it’s always providing us runners new ways to trick our run. But even the most pimped out of sports watches won’t do a thing if the legs aren’t there. Same goes for running shoes that seem straight out of NASA.
old school watch
All the new running gadgets are training tools. Tools, nothing more. A tool is there to provide feedback, help guide you along. Certainly tools can be powerful ways to improve your training but a tool is not a God. Your Garmin is not, wait for it, a God.

Your running watch or shoes can’t distinguish perceived effort. It can’t make the adjustment for effort vs. time. Black and white numbers don’t tell you the full story, sometimes they lie. Running into the eye of a hurricane during 400 meter repeats, your watch can’t portray how HARD that XX:XX was.

In the end: EFFORT trumps TIME.

Work ethic will trump the newest, lightest shoe. A spike alone won’t race to a PR, I’m sorry.

Take advantage of these amazing, mind-blowing training tools. Having a virtual training log or place to report your mileage and workouts to is great, it can act as motivation and incentive for people to go OUT and run. In that regard it’s wonderful to have a community of runners cheering you on and kindly kicking your butt out the door.

ezzere peacock shirt

Workout hard, recover hard. ;)


[Napping in my Ezzere Peacock Runner Tee, you can BUY YOURS HERE! ]

Garmins and watches can also turn into mental nightmares if you get TOO hung up on the numbers and overly competitive. Quick rules:

* Easy Days: Keep them easy. Don’t race your d**n Garmin.
* Hard Days: Effort is ultimately the God, not the time. You know what hard feels like, you know what quasi-hard feels like, and if you know the goal for the day’s workout then the equation is simple. Go hard.
* Community Danger: The bad things with everyone knowing your workouts and weekly milage is getting competitive for the sake of just being competitive. So ask yourself these questions: 1) Do they award medals to people in training or is it on race day? 2) Are you doing XX miles and such-and-such workout because it’s in YOUR RUNNING’S best interest, or because you want to just brag you did XX miles.

So use all these tools, Runners, they’re out there, they can certainly provide some excellent feedback in planning your training. But ultimately you still need to listen to your body.

At the end of the day, sometimes you just gotta rock it old school.

Boston Marathon 2014 in a Word: Epic

If you’re a runner and you’re not still reeling after the Boston Marathon maybe check your pulse. Epic.

Sorry my International friends, but as an American, seeing Meb Keflezighi take the title and bring Boston back is spine-tingly. Scroll through some of the pictures that have been shared of him crossing the line, the poignant olive wreath placed upon his head, medal around his neck, eyes moist. Raw emotion. An image captures so much more than thousands and thousands of word could ever portray. I’ll only waste an effort with two: #meb #epic

Meb Keflezighi

Photo Credit: tdurden6 Click image for Source


Along with all other runners I’ve devoured the race coverage with the insatiable appetite of, well, a runner. There’s no OD’ing on Boston Marathon coverage thankfully. HERE and HERE are two really great articles, though there are myriads. Having not been there, I can only get my fix vicariously but will share some of my thoughts:

A Tale of Two Leaders

Both Meb and Shalane Flanagan in the women’s race took the lead from the gun. People can argue until they’re blue in the face over whether this is the kiss of death move or not. Meb held on until the end, unfortunately for all her American supporters Shalane did not.

However, regardless, both runners prove this: they were HUNGRY. Tenacious. Willing to put it ALL out there. Shalane quoted HERE, “I literally ran as hard as I could…I feel pretty ill right now…I’m proud of how I ran.” Rightfully she’s probably pissed she didn’t win but she’s NOT left with lingering questions over whether or not she put it all out there on the course. She crossed the line, 3-minute PR, physically ill later her body proving as such, no questions in her mind. She’s also sure as hell going to be back. Quoted from Competitor, “I will be back here until I win it,” Flanagan affirms.

Meb was just as hell-bound to win, but surprised he was left to lead most of the race. Marathons can be tactical just as much a test of fitness. He knew he didn’t boast of the fastest PR going into the race but he proved today he was the smartest racer.

Loved this quote found HERE from him;”I knew it was a loaded field. I didn’t have a 2:04, 2:05 PR, but guess what? I have the Boston Marathon title.”

To Hell With Age and Doubters

Meb is just about to turn 40. People were shocked and amazed when he won the 2012 Olympic Trials Marathon and he’s now older. He runs in Sketchers. Sorta enough said. There’s a lot changing in the world of running sponsorships and contracts which is a whole different matter…but the point is Meb had doubters.

Everyone has doubters, but he also had supporters and trust in himself. So he ran in Sketchers, put in the work, and just stepped away the Boston Marathon Champ. “I was delighted to have 99.9 percent of my career fulfilled, but today – 110 percent,” he’s quoted HERE.

Shalane has still got plenty of years. She makes it quite clear she’s still just as hungry for the Boston Marathon title. Her fans are only going to be cheering louder and louder.

Everyone, us mortal runners of the world, should take a cue from both harriers. Both of them are confident as hell…they are humans so do have moments of doubt like the rest of us…but they tell those doubts and their doubters to suck it.

Then they step to the line as fierce competitors, and go.