Monday, September 1, 2014

Find Your Marathon Moxie

If you're training for a fall marathon then many of you are now about halfway or a little over half-way into

your training. Many of you are feeling some doubts about your training. Yep, you are not alone.

Runners are a warm, caring, sharing group, but often when we begin to feel doubt about our abilities, we hold this info within. So, know you are not alone. Others are feeling the same doubts and lack of confidence.

Also know, this is common. We are often our own worst enemies. Training is tough. It's a huge time commitment. It's a lot of wear and tear on your body and mind. About half-way through your training, is the toughest part of your training. You're into the longer runs. The speed work is longer/harder. You're body is still acclimating to the demands. You're feeling tired, worn out, fatigued. When this happens, your brain goes into preservation made letting doubt creep in. Are you good enough? Why are you making your paces? You suck!

It's hard to fathom when in this pit of self-loathing, but things are about to get better. You will pull out of this pit. Does this mean charge on and run yourself into the ground? NO!! Listen to your body. If you need a rest day. TAKE IT! Rest is a good thing. If you're fatigued mentally and/or physically a rest day will do you much more good than that speed workout. But don't confuse taking a rest day for buying into thinking you're not good enough.

Evaluate why you are fatigued. Are you doing other things that are draining you? Can you get rid of those? Should you really have done that 2hr crossfit session the day before your progression run? Are you properly fueled? Hydrated? Have you been getting enough sleep? Was it a bad day at work? Was the temperature 90 and the dew point 75? All these are things that we may or may not have control over but have effects on your training. Also remember that a plan is just a prediction, a guide, a schedule to guide you and help you reach your ultimate goal. It's not law cut into stone.

If you're having doubts, I want you to do some reflection. Sometimes writing down and documenting all that you've done during your training can visually confirm all your hard work and the commitment you've exuded over the past several months. This doesn't have to be a long and tedious task, just use a brainstorming web like I've done here. Once you see all that you've accomplished there's no way you can doubt yourself! (See my attached pic. This is a web I did a while back when I was training for a marathon.)

According to Dictionary.com, moxie is the ability to face difficulty with spirit and courage. It goes on further to say that the term was used as far back as 1876 as the name of a patent medicine advertised to "build up your nerve."

Too bad there's not bottled "marathon moxie" that you can gulp down just before a workout or race. Man, whoever invents that will become a millionaire! Until that day, marathon moxie does not come from a bottle, it comes from within you.

Having a marathon mantra is also a great way to remind you of your marathon moxie during the race. When the going gets tough later in the race, having a mantra to repeat to yourself can really make a difference. I've done this during many a race and it really works! I'm not sure if it distracts you from the pain or if it actually causes a physical reaction that overrides the fatiguing of your muscles. Really doesn't matter as long as it works.

So, be thinking of what kind of mantra may work for you. Here's a few ideas.
• Trust. Believe. Conquer!
• Can't Stop! Won't Stop!—Janel
• No regrets!
• If you don't, you rust!
• I'm a running machine, not going down without a fight!
• The pain of discipline or the pain of regret.
• Relentless forward motion
• Make Mom proud!
• Run like you're being chased!
• This too shall pass.
• Perpetual forward motion
• Not today, I will not be broken.
• Not if. When.
• I will keep on.
• Define yourself!
• Not everybody can do this!
• When the going gets tough, the tough get going. So get going!
• With God all things are possible, so you CAN do this!
• I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.
• Do this today and you can eat your weight in chocolate tonight!
• Of course it's hard, if it was easy everyone would do it.
• I hate you Thad. I hate you Thad.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Celebrate the Small Gains


Sometimes we get so caught up in the Big Picture that we forget to celebrate the small gains. It's the small weekly gains in your training that are the building blocks to that big picture. Celebrate the day you get up that big hill and you realize you're not winded. Celebrate the day you inch down a little more in your tempo run training pace range. Celebrate the day you make it to your tempo pace range. Celebrate the day you go past the longest distance you've run in your training plan. Celebrate the day you wake up and you're not sore. Celebrate the day you add a weekly core workout to your weekly running routine. Learning to celebrate the small gains along the way helps you realize the true progress you're making.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Revel Rockies Giveaway

Want to run the Rockies? You're in luck here's your chance to win a free entry to the Revel Rockies
Marathon taking place August 17, 2014.

The Revel Rockies Marathon is incredibly fast and remarkably beautiful road race takes runners from the forests and canyons of the Rocky Mountains to the foothills of Denver. Featuring a perfectly smooth downhill slope and spectacular scenery, this race will be sure to help you set your PR and finally hit that Boston Qualifying time. REVEL in speed. REVEL in beauty. REVEL in the Rockies.

Act quick! Contest closes Friday and the winner will be announced this Saturday! To enter, simply complete form below.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congrats to Winner Michele Oats!

Avoiding the Woe-Is-Me Vortex

Interesting observation....last night when I was around mile 8 in a 13-mile run, I really began to fatigue. I was
feeling every foot landing as if my feet were cement blocks. So, I began to coach myself telling myself what I tell my runners... to look up and out, not down. Engage your core. Shoulders back. Work the lean.

While looking up, I noticed some thick fancy concrete posts with wrought iron fence in between the posts that line the front of a swanky neighborhood on the route I was running.  I was curious. How many posts were there? Funny what you think of when delirium kicks in. I started counting the posts as I passed. (There are a lot of them.) Before this point, my body was giving into the fatigue slowing me to a 9:20 pace. Funny thing happened however, after counting the last concrete post, I glanced at my GPS. My pace had dropped to 8:17 and didn't even really realize it. I had shifted my focus from my concrete feet to the concrete posts.

Take away from this for me is that sometimes when we fatigue during  a run, the "woe is me" factor may be slowing us down more than the actual fatigue. My head had bought into the fatigue hook, line, and sinker. Yes, I was fatigued. I was needing hydration. But I wasn't as bad as my head was telling me. Mile 9 averaged out 14 seconds faster per mile than miles 7 and 8.

So, use those external distractions to avoid being sucked into the "woe is me" vortex. Look around, take in your surroundings. Better yet, run with a buddy. Conversation is one of he best distractions. Or if you're hard up for a distraction...count concrete posts. Worked for me!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Pick the Best Bar for the Length of Your Run


In a rush before a run? Need to eat, but don't have time to make something? Creating your own snacks is always best because you know exactly what's going into your body, but sometimes convenience trumps best practice. Best to get in some prepackaged nutrition to support your run than no nutrition at all. But which prepackaged foods are best for your different types of runs?

Below are some suggestions for prepackaged foods such as energy and protein bars wafers, waffles, and crackers. The foods are sorted by caloric needs based on the length of your run. These are not the only options for each category, but it's a good start. Always read the nutrition label to see if the calorie count of the chosen food supports the caloric needs of the run.

30-TO 60-MINUTE RUN--You need 150-200 calories

  • Balance Bar (Original): Chocolate Raspberry-180 cals
  • Balance Bar Dark: Chocolate Caramel Macchiato or Chocolate Crunch-180 cals
  • Kind Energy Bar: 180 cals
  • Fiber One Protein Bars: Trail Mix-130 cals; Oats & Chocolate or Oats & Peanut Butter-140 cals 
  • Honey Stinger Waffle: Ginger Snaps, Vanilla, Chocolate-160 cals
  • Honey Stinger Protein Bar: Peanut Butter-190 cals
  • Honey Stinger Energy Bar: Berry Banana Buzz-180 cals; Peanut Butter’n Honey-190 cals
  • Kashi Chewy Granola Bar: Chocolate Almond & Sea Salt-140 cals
  • Lance: Toasty Peanut Butter Crackers-180 cals; Toast Chee Reduced Fat Peanut Butter Crackers- 190 cals
  • Lara Bar: Blueberry, Carrot Cake, Apple Pie-190 cals
  • Luna  Bar: Carrot Cake, Blueberry Bliss, or Nuts Over Chocolate-180 cals
  • Luna Protein Bar: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough-170 cals
  • Nature Valley Peanut Butter Energy Bar-190 cals
  • Nutri Grain Bars: Blueberry, Raspberry, Apple Cinnamon-120 cals
  • Odwalla Bars for Kids: Strawberry Score or Banana Dunk-130 cals; Chocolate Chip Kick-140 cals
  • PowerBar: Energy Wafer Berry Yogurt-170 cals; Chocolate Peanut Butter-180 cals
  • PROBAR Fruition: Cran-Raspberry-160 cals
  • Special K Protein Meal Bars: Strawberry and Cranberry Walnut-170 cals; Chocolate Peanut Butter, Honey Almond-180 cals
  • Special K Nourish Bar: Lemon Twist-160 cals


60-TO 90-MINUTE RUN--You need 200-250 calories

  • Balance Bar Gold: Lemon Meringue Crunch, Chocolate Peanut Butter, or Chocolate Mint Cookie Crunch-200 cals
  • Balance Bar (Original): Double Chocolate Brownie, Honey Peanut, and Yogurt Honey Peanut-200 cals
  • Cliff Energy Bar: Chocolate Brownie, Apricot, Oatmeal Raisin, Chocolate Chip-240 cals
  • Lance: Whole Grain Peanut Butter Crackers or Toast Chee Reduced Fat Peanut Butter Crackers-210 cals
  • Lara Bar: Cherry Pie, Cherry Fruit & Nut, or Cappuccino-200 cals; Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough-210 cals; Banana Bread or Peanut Butter-230 cals; Chocolate Coconut Chew-240 cals
  • Odwalla: Chocolate Almond, Blueberry Swirl, or Orange Cranberry-200 cals; Chocolate Chip Peanut-230 cals
  • Power Bar Performance Energy Bar: Fruit & Nut-220 cals, Chocolate or Vanilla Crips-240 cals
  • Snickers Marathon Energy Bar: Chewy Chocolate Peanut-210 cals


90-MINUTE TO 2-HOUR RUN--You need 250-300 calories

  • Bear Naked Energy Bar: Chocolate Chip Peanut or Almond Cranberry-250 cals
  • Cliff Bar: Black Cherry Almond-250 cals; Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Crunch or White Chocolate Macadamia Nut-260 cals
  • Cliff Bar Builders: Chocolate-270 cals
  • Power Bar Harvest Energy: Double Chocolate Crisp-250 cals
  • Snickers Marathon Protein Bar: Caramel Nut Rush-290 cals

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Three Keys to Health and Fitness: Moderation Accountability Consistency

This morning I posted on Facebook that I've lost 11lbs and getting closer to my racing weight goal. This sparked an awesome conversation amongst my FB friends about weight loss and racing. I have a goal to lose about 15lbs in prep for my Philly Marathon in November.

With owning my own business and having just written my first book, I began devoting less and less time to my own fitness needs. As a results I added a few pounds. More than that, my fitness level just began to wane. I could tell it in my runs. So, about a month ago, I started being more accountable with my diet. No drastic changes. No weird diets. Just being more cognisant of what I was eating, how much, and when. And I started making sure I was getting in daily "me fitness" be it running or resistance training.

One month later, I've lost 11lbs and my body composition is changing. I can already feel it in my runs. I gave my son Duncan a good run on the latter half of last Saturday's long run hitting a 6:10 pace up a rather hilly portion of the greenway. Not too shabby when about a month ago an 8:30 pace felt labored.

My point in sharing is that, you don't have to make drastic changes to make changes. Moderation. Accountability. Consistency. These are the three keys to good health and fitness. Dropping 5-10lbs can make a big difference in how you feel on your runs as well as make a difference in your overall pace. I'm not saying you have to lose weight to run well. Far from it. But, if you've gained a little and you've let your fitness level slide then getting back on the fitness and good nutrition wagon will make the differences you want to see happen and happen more quickly.



For more reading on racing weight, author and athlete, Matt Fitzgerald, has an awesome book titled, Racing Weight that delves more in depth into finding your racing weight. He also has a companion book just out titled, Racing Weight Cookbook with lots of great recipes.

Are you working on your fitness and weight loss? I'd love to share your before and after pictures and the story of your journey. Send your pictures and stories to runnerdude@runnerdudesfitness.com and I'll feature them on the blog.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Where did the .2 Come from?

Did you know that the distance of the first modern Olympic Marathon in 1896 was 24.8 miles. So why is it 26.2 today?

King Edward VII and Queen Alexandria
You've probably heard the legend of Pheidippides, the Greek who ran from the city of Marathon to Athens to deliver a message that they had defeated the Persian Army. You also probably know that upon reaching Athens, he staggered and exclaimed, "Rejoice! We Conquer!" and then collapsed and died. Nice story, huh? Really motivates you to run a marathon. LOL!

But I digress....why is the distance for a full marathon today 26.2 instead of 24.8 miles (the real distance from Marathon to Athens)? Well, in 1908 when the Olympic games were being held in England, King Edward VII and Queen Alexandria requested that the race begin at Windsor Castle. Why? They wanted to Royal family to be able to see the start. I guess when you're King, you can pretty much get what you want.

1908 London Olympic Marathon Route
The distance from the castle to the Olympic Stadium in London was 26 miles. So what about the .2? The distance was extended 385 yards (.2 miles) around the track at the stadium so the runners would cross the finish line directly in front of  Edward and Alexandria. Pretty swanky huh?

The marathon distance in other competitions kept varying in length until 1921 when it was decided that the official distance would be 26 miles and 385 yards, or 26.2 miles.

So, you can thank Edward and Alexandria for the extra 1.4 miles.