Eight Before Eight (Plus Six)

27 02 2010

My favorite time of the day to workout is in the morning, which is rather surprising since four of my six workouts each week occur after 5:00pm.  I think my favorite thing about working out in the morning is being able to get my workout done and over with, which means having the rest of the day free.  Working out in the evening means that by the time I am finished and showered it is already 7:00 or so which means half of the evening is already gone.

Every Saturday morning I have been running six miles with a running group at a local Fleet Feet, but today’s plan called for fourteen miles so a few of us started at 6:25 to get in eight before eight.  It was a little chilly getting out of the car (the bank I passed on the way said the temperature was 24 degrees) but after we started running it was fine.  With the snow yesterday and then a refreeze last night there were a couple of patches that were black ice, so we had to be careful around the corners.

It was a very comfortable pace and we ended up running 8.6 miles before making it back to the store to meet up with the larger group of people.  The extra six miles weren’t as bad as I expected.  Normally after I stop for a few minutes, the remaining run is brutal, but the 2nd half was even better than the first.  We ran at a 7:49 pace and my body felt great!  I was even able to hold a conversation, which is surprising for me running at that pace.  My fitness must be improving!

I love being able to get 14.6 miles in before 9:00 while the majority of my friends are still in bed.  It makes me feel great and I still have the rest of the day to do what I want!

I would love to do more workouts in the morning, but I am not a huge fan of running at 5:00am in pitch blackness by myself.  On the weekends I don’t have to worry about work so I don’t have any set time to be home by to shower and get dressed.

Do you ever workout in the morning?  If so, do you notice a difference from running at another time during the day?


Newtons – Sir Isaac Guidance Trainer Shoes

26 02 2010

My Christmas present to myself in 2009 was a new pair of running shoes.  And not just any kind of running shoes.  Newtons!

“Newton” is actually the name of the brand (Newton Running to be official) and “Sir Isaac Guidance Trainer” is the specific name of the model, but because they are so unique and new, people commonly refer to them as “Newtons”.  I guess you can think of it in the same way how people used to say they wanted a pair of Nikes when they first were available on the market instead of referring to a specific model.

The latest craze in America has been barefoot running and after everything I have heard and read for the past few years, I decided that I needed to give it a try.  I am a pretty adventurous guy and enjoy experimenting, so after reading Tim Ferriss’ article about Vibram Five Fingers and barefoot running I knew I wanted to try either Vibrams or Newtons.  Newton Running‘s website says:

“The Isaac is a neutral guidance trainer designed for runners committed to improving their running form to the more efficient midfoot/forefoot running style.”

That’s exactly what I was looking for!  The biggest difference in my opinion is that Vibrams force you into natural running and offer no cushioning, whereas Newtons promote natural running and do offer cushioning.  With a spring season consisting of a 5K, 10K, 10 Miler, and Marathon, I thought that Newtons would allow me to up the mileage faster then the Vibrams would, so I ended up purchasing them.

Here is a great video about Newton’s:

After being a heel striker for 23.5 years, being warned on every blog I read, and hearing it from friends, I knew that it would take my body some time to get used to the new running form.  My first run was a whopping .7 miles and my calves were extremely sore.  I took two days off and then went for 1.5 miles.  Again I was extremely sore and took two more days off.  I shouldn’t have run that far on my 3rd run with them, but I was back in my hometown For Christmas and Eric was there as well and wanted to run 5 miles.  I think I was feeling it for a week after that one!  To make a long story short, it took 25 miles (in small intervals besides that 5 miler) for my body to fully adjust to the new running form.

I am now over 200 miles into them and only have one complaint.  The shoelaces are too long and touch the ground!  I’m need to make them shorter, but if that is my only problem on a pair of shoes, that is pretty good!  I still have 11 weeks until my marathon, but I am currently on schedule and haven’t had a bit of pain yet, which is quite unusual for me because I always seem to get injured.  Hopefully I will be able to make it through the entire season with the shoes and stay injury free, but only time will tell!

I give the Newtons – Sir Isaac Guidance Trainer Shoes a 9.5 out of 10.  I would have given them a 10 because I am absolutely in love with them but I would love to get at least 350 miles into them to see if anything changes.

At some point I am going to get Vibram Five Finger shoes, but not until the summer when I can run outside and not have to worry about snow!

What do you think about all the talk of natural running?  Have you tried running in natural running shoes or running barefoot?  What are your experiences?

ummm not sure about goals but I’m pretty sure that is a manual step that can only be done in GA
events can be done in the code though

Never Forget Your Beginner’s Spirit

25 02 2010

Photo Credit: Lance Armstrong

In July, 2009 during the Tour de France, Lance Armstrong posted the above picture on his Twitter and Facebook accounts.  In case you have a hard time making out the picture, it is of his bike and says, “Never forget your beginner’s spirit!”

Anyone out there who competes in athletic activities (against your own goals or against other people) can relate to the quote.  As we grow as competitors it seems that the fun we used to have when we started can change into more of a chore.

Personally, I know that I sometimes get caught up with getting my runs over and done with instead of trying to enjoy them.  Once I look at it more as a pleasure again, instead of a chore, my entire body relaxes and the run isn’t only easier, but much more fun!

Take a few minutes today and think about this quote in your own life.  Maybe it will give you some inspiration to relive your beginner’s spirit too!

Do you remember your beginner’s spirit?  If so, how does it make you feel?  If not, I’d love to hear you try it sometime soon and report back!

Cold, Dark, & Rainy

23 02 2010

Tonight was the perfect night for a duck!  It has been raining all day and of course it did not let up when it was time for my group run tonight.  I had to pump myself up for it because I wasn’t too thrilled about running 5.4 miles in the dark with pouring rain and a 36 degree temperature.

I knew I was going to get wet tonight, but my goal was to try to avoid as many puddles as possible.  That didn’t last long though because I stepped out of the car and about 10 yards later I stepped in a really deep puddle which completely submerged both of my shoes.  There goes that goal!  Oh well, I wasn’t going to let that stop me.

Not as many people showed up for the run tonight, just like I expected, but it gave me lots of motivation knowing that there were a good handful of other people who were going to take on the elements with me.  We took off and I knew we were moving at a fast pace because I was having a difficult time trying to keep a conversation.  At that pace, I didn’t think I could last more than 2 miles, but decided to see how long I could hang on.  The miles slowly ticked by and it wasn’t until we were at mile 3 that I slowly started fading back.  My goal quickly turned to not getting lost because I don’t know the course yet so I didn’t want to lose sight of the guys in front of me.  I managed to keep them in sight all the way to the finish!

Somehow I managed to rock out a 38:45 time, which is 3 minutes faster than I have ever ran that course before!  I don’t know what it was, but I somehow was able to push myself hard enough to cut off 3 minutes.  Talk about some great motivation heading into the week!  They say running builds confidence both while you are running and in life, and I can definitely attest to that.

Pledge of Success

22 02 2010

Today is a new day, a new beginning.

It has been given to me as a new gift.

I can either us it or throw it away.

What I do today will affect me tomorrow.

I cannot blame anyone but myself if I do not succeed.

I promise to use this day to the fullest by giving my best, realizing it can never come back again.

This is my life and I choose to make it a success.


I am not sure who wrote this pledge, but ever since I found it at the end of 2008 I have tried to read it every morning.  I truly believe the words in this pledge and want to share it with all of you!

Week of February 15 Recap

21 02 2010

I am very pleased with all of my runs this week.  I ended up putting in 27.5 miles on my “step back” week and they were all very high quality miles.  Here is what the week looked like:

  • Monday – 30 minutes on the stationary bike and lifting
  • Tuesday – 5.4 miles
  • Wednesday – 3.6 miles
  • Thursday – 3 miles and lifting
  • Friday – Rest
  • Saturday – 6 miles and lifting
  • Sunday – 9.5 miles

Today’s run with my friend Jeff was the PERFECT capstone to the week.  The weather was beautiful and I ran at a very comfortable pace on a rolling hill course with three big hills on it.

Tomorrow starts my 7th week of my training schedule for the Delaware Marathon and a memory from last summer.  My 7th week of  training for Chicago last year ended in the start of 6 days off of running and then many more weeks of reduced mileage and intensity.  I’m thrilled that I am approaching that point and have yet to feel any major discomforts in my body.  I think it is a combination of my new running form (I started wearing Newton shoes), reducing the intensity of my runs, and being strict to my mileage (last year I’d gladly run an extra 4-6 miles on top of the 10 I already ran if someone asked me).  We’ll see if I can meet one of my goals for this year by running injury free!

Volunteering at the Frostbite 5 Miler

20 02 2010

Photo Credit: Jeff Lofton

Today I had an opportunity to volunteer at a race put on by my running club.  It was my first time volunteering at a race rather than running in it and one heck of an experience!

I have seen my share of good volunteers (those who offer support and are actively cheering you on) and bad volunteers (those who stand there with their hands in their pockets staring at everyone) so I knew what I wanted as a runner and I tried my best to exhibit those actions.

My position on the course was around .3 miles into the race at a turn and I clapped and told everybody good job.  Nothing too special but at least I was trying.  After the 1,200 plus runners and walkers went past I made my way over to my next position, about 4/5 of the way up a huge hill, .4 miles from the finish.  Not only was I at a point where everybody was going to struggle (the end) but their efforts were magnified by the hill.

Clapping, cheering, and encouraging words are what I brought to the table and I think that I did a pretty good job.  I received quite a few “thank you’s” and many people (mainly at the back of the pack) went from walking to running again after seeing/hearing me.

There were quite a few people racing as part of Back On My Feet and it was so inspiring to see people who most people count out (the homeless) engaging in running as a means to build confidence, strength, and self-esteem.  I’ve actually been thinking about running as a part of the organization in one of my races this fall and this encounter may have pushed me even closer to joining them.

To all the runners out there, I highly recommend volunteering as a course marshal sometime.  You know exactly what encourages you when you are racing so why not take a little time to give back to the running community and volunteer?

Be sure to check out two great race reports from two women who ran the race and whose blogs I follow.  Here is a link to Denise’s Race Report and to Leslie’s Race Report.