Monday, April 21, 2014

RunnerDude's Weekly Exercise: Side-Lying Double Leg Lift

Runners get plenty of movement in the sagittal plane of movement (forward movement). Quads and hammies tend to be worked pretty well. However, if a runner finds himself stepping out of that forward plane of motion (maybe while trail running or maybe to make a sudden lateral movement to avoid a pothole or to dodge an automobile) then he may find that his muscles don't react as quickly or maybe not even at all causing him to fall and possibly become injured.

Adding lateral movement exercises into your weekly fitness routine is a great way to bolster those stabilizer muscles and muscles responsible for side-to-side movement. This week's exercise is great for increasing strength in your hip abductors and hip adductors. Improving strength in these muscles can often help prevent runner's knee and groin injuries.

To complete the exercise, lie on your right side with your head resting on your extended right arm. Lift your left leg up, keeping the knee extended (Fig. 1). This movement will activate the left glute medius (hip abductor). While keeping the left leg in the air, raise the right leg up toward the left leg (Fig. 2). This movement will activate the adductor muscles along the inner thigh of your right leg. Then lower both legs to the floor. That's one rep. Do 10-12 reps on one side. Then flip over and repeat the exercise lying on your left side.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

RunnerDude's Weekly Exercise: Standing Dumbbell T-Raise

Muscular endurance in the upper back and deltoids is key to maintaining good upper-body running posture especially during a distance run like a half or full marathon.

To complete the exercise, stand tall while holding light dumbbells in front of your thighs, palms facing your thighs. Keeping your elbows locked, raise your arms in front of you until they're parallel with the floor. Keeping the dumbbells at this same level and your elbows locked, move your arms laterally until you've formed a T with your body. Next, bring the dumbbells back to the front of your torso, and slowly lower them back to the starting position. That's one rep.

Do 10-12 reps. Increase the intensity by doing 12-15 reps. Standing on a balance element such as a BOSU or balance disc also increases the intensity as well as recruits core and lower-body stabilizer muscles.

Conquering the Beast

It's been a few days since my race trainers completed the Raleigh Rock-n-Roll Full and Half Marathon. This group is an amazing group of individuals. 

Their training was one of the hardest that any of my groups has had to endure. Here in NC we have cold winters and the occasional snow, but nothing like we had this past winter. They ran through 3 winter ice/snow storms, but it didn't deter them. They persevered. Having trained in ice, snow, monsoon rains, and frigid temperatures, what did race day bring? A hot 80+ degree day. Mother Nature can be very cruel. 

Not only was it hot, but the course was extremely hilly. We train on hilly routes, but this race course was unforgiving. So much so that the elevation map doesn't even truly represent the actual elevation gain.  But, my runners persevered. 

In the best of circumstances, a marathon is extremely taxing and emotional. I balled after crossing the finish line on my first marathon. I couldn't control it, just all came out. But in a race as unforgiving as the Raleigh Rock-n-Roll it can really make you question yourself as a runner. Part of that is exhaustion letting the doubt-monster creep in. The other part is just the nature of being a runner. Always wanting to do better.

With any marathon, the projected goal finish time is just that...a projected goal finish time. It's kind of a target in which to structure your training around. Sometimes, it's too aggressive for an individual and sometimes it's not aggressive enough. Projected goal times don't factor in things like elevation, weather, temperature, or the sheer stress of a first time endurance race. 

Marathons are a beast. Each of my runners conquered that beast. It may have taken longer to conquer the beast than anticipated, but they conquered it. This was a stepping stone. An experience. A right of passage into the world of endurance running for some and a test of fortitude for my seasoned runners.

The challenge with the sport of running that you'll not find in hardly any other sport is that the terms change with each race. Course, weather, temperature, sickness, etc. all can effect a race. Some of which you can't predict or know until race day. 

Running marathons is so much more than race day. Of course we all want that PR, but truly (for me anyway) running marathons is about the journey that leads up to race day. Think about all that you've learned about yourself over that past 4 months. It's been amazing watching each of my runners become stronger runners and even more important more confident and stronger individuals.

My training group consisted of around 25 runners. Each runner in the group is an amazing individual. Some tackling the half or full marathon for the first time. Some I've known and worked with for years and others brand new to me. Learning the stories behind each runner's motivation for training for the full or half is such an awesome bonus of being a coach. Five of this group--Michele, Melani, Kim, Tommiann, and Rob--trained for the full marathon. These are incredible people. I think I've learned more from them over the past 4 months, than I taught them.  

Michele and Melani
Michele, my goodness, you are amazing. Look that all you've accomplished in the past couple of years. Dramatic weight loss, several half marathons and 2 full marathons. All that on top of working and raising an awesome family. You truly are amazing.

Melani, you began your running journey with my beginning running group only about 2 years ago. You've gone from working up to 30 minutes of running (with no walking) to joining the RUNegades, to running a half marathon, to doing a relay marathon, to now having your first full marathon under your belt. All that on top of a demanding job that has you traveling here and yonder constantly. You tackle everything with focus and determination. You are one of the most dedicated runners I know. It's been amazing to watch you go from that timid unsure beginning runner to that determined pull-it-from-the-gut amazing runner that I crossed the finish line with on Sunday.

Michele, Kim, Tommiann
Kim, I can't tell you enough how proud I am of all that you've accomplished. You started with the beginning running group in the spring of 2011. Moved right into the Intermediate Running Group. Then life handed you some obstacles that took you from running for a while and then to my delight, you returned to start back your running. I saw a much stronger and determined woman on the return. This new Kim joined the RUNegades and became even stronger. Then she conquered a half marathon and a relay marathon and another half marathon and just a few days ago a full marathon. You are an amazing woman and runner.

Tommiann, even though the first words out of your mouth usually are "I hate running" I know you truly love it. Even with the discovery of some degenerative bone issues with your ankle you still are out there ticking away the miles. Your sense of humor and amazing life stories keep everyone motivated and wanting more. To see you around mile 26 at the Rock-n-Roll Marathon twirl and curtsy for the crowd was amazing. You have a demanding job and have about an hour drive to get to our group runs, but you are always there. I am glad you are always there.

Rob, brave man. One of a handful of guys in our training group this go round. You first began with the RunnerDude's Race Training Group last year when training for the Columbus Marathon. Plagued by an injury, you were not able to complete that run, but that didn't keep you down. You returned to train for Raleigh. Your speedy pace often had you running solo on training runs, but you were always there putting in the work and the miles. It was great seeing you rebound so strongly from the previous injury. Raleigh packed a punch, but you tackled what it had to offer and prevailed. So proud of you man.

If doubts are creeping into your mind after Raleigh (or any race), just kick them to the curb. TRUST in your training. BELIEVE in yourself and even though sometimes it might not be a PR, you will CONQUER your goals. I cannot be any prouder of my runners. They truly inspire me and motivate me to keep doing what I'm doing.

Monday, April 7, 2014

RunnerDude's Weekly Exercise: Three-Position Calf Raises

Runners are notorious for having issues with their calves. Weak or tight calves can cause a host of other problems related to the Achilles tendon, plantar fascia, and even the shins. Strengthening the calves will help alleviate many of these problems. Pre- and post-run stretching and rolling of the calves will also help.

To to the exercise, hold dumbbells by your sides, stand on a step so that just the ball of each foot is on the step. (You can also do this standing on the floor.)  Both feet should be in a neutral position (facing forward). Slowly lift up on your toes as high as you can, and then slowly lower your feet back to the level starting position.
That's one rep. Do 10-12 reps. Repeat with the feet facing inward for 10-12 reps. This works the outer calf.  Next, repeat with feet facing outward for 10-12 reps. This works the inner calf.
Note: To get a good stretch before each lift, let your heels dip slightly below the horizon of the step before lifting up on your toes.

For more exercises for runners check out RunnerDude's new book Full-Body Fitness for Runners.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Brook Kreder Talks About Full-Body Fitness for Runners

Every now and again, I run across a blogger that has a true talent for providing great information with awesome tongue in cheek prose that makes for very entertaining reading. That describes Brook Kreder to a T. I first came across, Brook's blog, when hearing some of my dudettes talking about her book, ONWARD! The Absolute (no BS), raw, ridiculous, soul-stirring TRUTH about traning for your FIRST MARATHON. As her book describes, "Armed with little more than an iron-willed dtermination, a pair of old running shoes, and a blog, Brook began training for her first marathon. Onward! is her story of false starts, redemption and triumph as she pushed herself to ultimately cross the finish line." Geared for women runners, men will also enjoy the rawness and humor this book provides that any runner can relate to. I literally found myself laughing out loud. 

Recently one of my race trainers, Melani Pratt, had the awesome opportunity to meet and dine with Brook in Denver,Colorado where Brook Lives. While dining, Brook took some time to support my new book Full-Body Fitness for Runners! Thanks Brook! To find out more about my new book that Brook is talking about, be sure to check it out at

Thanks Brook and Melani!


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

RunnerDude's Weekly Exercise: Planks

I've posted many times on the importance a strong core plays in efficient running and prolonging endurance particularly in long runs. Planks are a great core exercise. They can be done practiclaly anywhere, require no equipment and actually they work more than just the core. There are several variations of the plank, but the best one to start with is the basic front plank.

To do this exercise, lie face down on a mat. Engage your core and lift up on your elbows, forearms, and toes. Make sure your elbows are positioned directly underneath your shoulders. Your body should be a straight line from shoulders to heels. If you're new to planks, try holding this position for 30 seconds. Over time work your way to 45 seconds, and then 60 seconds. Make sure you're breathing evenly while holding the plank position. Do not hold your breath.

For an advanced version of the front plank, try extending your arms so that your elbows are fully locked. 

For more exercises for runners check out RunnerDude's new book Full-Body Fitness for Runners.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

RunnerDude's Full-Body Fitness for Runners

It's a Bouncing Baby Book!
Writing a book, I've discovered, in many ways is not too unlike giving birth. There are months of anxiety, weight gain, moodiness, second-guessing. Your brain is rolling with questions like, "How am I going to afford this child?", "How will I know how to take care of this living being?", "Will I be a good parent?" Biggest difference was my gestation period was about 24 months instead of eight.

In the beginning stages of creating this book, I had similar thoughts. "What makes me think I can write a book?" "Will anyone want to read it.", "How am I going to publish it?" But like having a child, if you wait until you're ready, you'll never have it. So, I took the plunge and began the process a little over two years ago.

I spent several months creating the workouts and brainstorming the other sections of the book. If your luck is anything like mine, you're probably familiar with the the "Suck-it-Away-Syndrome. You know whenever you have extra money, something breaks down sucking up every bit of that money. Bonus Money! Woohoo! Air conditioner breaks down. Refund check! Woohoo! Transmission goes out. Never fails. So, a couple of years ago, when I ended up with some extra money, I decided to go ahead and do a photo shoot for all the exercises in the book, even though the book was yet to be written. I hooked up with an awesome photographer, Daniel Rice of Allez Photography. We spent an entire day shooting the exercise photos with two of my clients (Matthew Halip and Kristen Bowles) who graciously agreed to be my exercise models. Now, when looking through the book, it's hard to believe that those 100+ exercise photos were all taken in my (at the time) little 400sq.ft. studioa testament to Daniel's talent. (The cover photography was done by another talented photographer Deno Kontoulas of 48 Layers Photography.)

After the photo shoot, business at RunnerDude's Fitness began to grow and so did my need for space. I remodeled a larger space in the complex where the original RunnerDude's Fitness Studio was located. Great for the business, but not great for having time to work on the book. So, it was shelved for a while. During this time, I was working with a pretty big publisher who was very interested in the book. An insider told me it was at the final executive-level of approval. Then I was informed that the publishing company had cleared house and the new head editor wasn't interested in publishing my book. I was disheartened to say the least. I submitted my proposal to several other big publishing houses who all liked the concept, but all declined. I talked with some of my author friends who all encouraged me to self-publish. The upside is I have more control of the book. The downside, I have to do all the hoofing to publicize the book.

I took the plunge and investigated all the self-publishing options and found CreateSpace to be the best option for my needs. Ironically around this same time, I got a press release from the publisher that was originally interested in my book announcing their new fitness book for runners. Looked very familiar. For a short time, I was livid. How dare they!  But after looking through their version, I realized that my book still had so much more to offer. So, I forged ahead.

One of the many things that Full-Body Fitness for Runners offers that "the other" book does not is contributions from some of running's greatest. Olympian Jeff Galloway provides great before-, during-, and after-running nutrition tips. Endurance runner Dean Karnazes, ChiRunning Founder Danny Dreyer, and international yoga expert Sage Rountree (among others) provide recipes for some of their favorite fueling and/or refueling snacks. Author, illustrator, and creator of the nationally syndicated comic Frazz and author of Trizophrenia: Inside the Minds of a Triathlete, Jef Mallett also wrote the foreword for the book. Their insight is an awesome addition to the book.

Another thing this book has is the behind-the-scene input of an  awesome editor, Iris Sutcliffe. Not only did she do a great job in the editing of the book, she was a wealth of valuable advice on many other aspects of the book. She provided a sounding board, another eye, a fresh focus. We worked our way through some formatting and document issues, but we prevailed. When it was time to approve the final proof for CreateSpace, I was a nervous wreck. The finality of it was a bit overwhelming. Not only because of the worry of missing a mistake, but also just the shear fact that all the work had come to an end. That feeling however was short-lived and soon replaced with the panic that now I have to sell the book. LOL! That's where you come in. I hope you'll take some time to check out the book at And, if you like it, tell your running buddies about it.

Providing over 90 exercises for runners, nutrition tips from Olympian Jeff Galloway, fueling recipes from experts such as endurance runner Dean Karnazes and ChiRunning founder Danny Dreyer, good running form tips, and more, Full-Body Fitness for Runners is a must-have resource for every runner. Three levels of workouts (Novice, Intermediate, Advanced) are divided into lower-body/core and upper-body/core circuits. Each circuit consists of 12 exercises designed to build muscular endurance to support your running helping you run longer, strong, faster, and with less injury.

Inside Full-Body Fitness for Runners you’ll find:
  • Jeff Galloway’s before-, during-, and after-running nutrition tips
  • Anatomy of a runner
  • Five steps for getting started
  • Acclimation and what to expect
  • 10 tips for new runners
  • Stretching
  • How to complete the workouts
  • Lower-Body/Core Workouts (Novice, Intermediate, Advanced)
  • Upper-Body/Core Workouts (Novice, Intermediate, Advanced)
  • Full-body exercises
  • Additional core exercises
  • Partner exercises
  • How to fit the workouts into your week
  • Good running form
  • “Wise Choice” foods for runners
  • Pre-, during-, and post-run snack ideas
  • Recipes from the experts
I'm pretty sure that as in the case of our family when "maternity amnesia" kicked in paving the way for a second and third child, I too will have "book-creating amnesia" paving the way for another RunnerDude book for runners. Stay tuned.