Wednesday, November 25, 2015

If You Want to Go Fast, Go Alone. If You Want to Go Far, Go Together.

Snoa just after completing her
first Half Marathon-the OBX 
One of the best parts of being a running coach is seeing your runners grow not only as runners but as individuals. One such runner, Snoa (pronounced Snow-ā), has been on an amazing journey the past year. Weight loss was her original goal, but along the way she discovered her journey wasn't so much about losing something as it was finding something....herself.

Below is a recent Facebook post of Snoa's that really sums up her accomplishments. Snoa is one of the most driven and dedicated people I know. It's been amazing watching her grow as a runner and as a person.

If you could add titles to posts on Facebook I would call this one “How I Spent My Summer Vacation”.

Thad made this awesome video about all the fall race trainers but I don’t feel like I spent 3 months just training for a race because it really goes much deeper than that.

I spent 3 months forming friendships that I have no doubt will last a lifetime. I read a quote recently that said “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” When you spend 3-4 days a week with people running in extreme heat and humidity and all kinds of weather, you see them at their best and at their worst. You learn that runners are a dedicated, faithful group of people - you have to be to show up in some of the conditions we run in week after week. That dedication is not just to running - it spills over to real life too. You know you can count on these people when you need them.

Snoa and some of her fellow Dudes and Dudettes
sporting their OBX bling at Rooster's Southern Kitchen.
I spent 3 months figuring out life. When you’re out there all by yourself for hours, you have a lot of time to think. Runners often joke that running is cheaper than therapy but it’s true. I worked through so much in my head on those runs this summer and not everything I discovered was “pretty” but that’s life - it’s messy and complicated but there’s also a lot of beauty in it you just have to know where to look. I feel like this summer I rediscovered that beauty, found some truth and at the risk of sounding cheesy - somewhere out there on the greenway, I found myself again.
—Snoa Garrigan

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Man on a Mission: Jacob Sternfeld

Congrats to RunnerDude's Fitness race trainer Jacob Sternfeld who completed the Amsterdam Marathon this weekend. Amsterdam isn't his ultimate goal, however, it was just a part of his training for his primaryracing goal of Athens on November 1st. Jacob wanted to run Amsterdam, because that's where he's originally from. Jacob's goal for Athens was 4:47:00 and he's already blown that out of the water with a 4:29:56 at Amsterdam this weekend. 

To put Jacob's accomplishment into even more perspective, at 50 in 2009, Jacob had a heart attack and quadruple bypass surgery. Before the heart attack, he was smoking 30 cigarettes daily. After the heart attack he dedicated himself to fitness, quiting smoking and dropping 40lbs. And quite the commitment it has been, since 2009, Jacob has accomplished quite and amazing feat...becoming an Abbot World Marathon Majors Six Star Finisher. To obtain this honor he's completed the Tokyo, Boston, London, Berlin, NYC, and Chicago marathons. 

Jacob lives in Chapel Hill, so he's been to the studio, but mainly we communicate via email for his training. He is very dedicated and committed to his goals. Oddly enough through our training discussions, we've discovered that his wife and mine with to high school together at Durham Academy in Durham, NC. Small world indeed.

In a few weeks he'll be running the Athens Marathon (a marathon I dream of completing one day). I know that Jacob will have an awesome run. If you ever think it's too late to make changes in your life, think of Jacob. To read more about Jacob's amazing story click here.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The 3-Rep Exercise?

8-10, 10-12, 12-15...these are the common number of reps you'd do for any give exercise. Ever heard of a 3-rep exercise? I have one plank exercise where 3 reps is plenty. Actually it may take a while to master 1 or 2 reps. This exercise-the Med Ball Roll-Out Plank-takes the front plank to an entirely different level. It works all of your core, glutes, lower-back, legs, and upper-body! Note: Don't attempt this exercise until you've mastered holding a regular front plank for at least 60 seconds.

To complete the Med Ball Roll-Out Plank, position yourself in a dolphin plank (arms extended) position with both hands a top a hard medicine ball. Your hands and the ball should be directly under your chest (see fig. 1). Keeping the core engaged, use your hands to slowly roll the med ball forward away from your body (see fig. 2). Continue rolling out the ball as far as you can (see fig. 3), keeping in mind that you're going to have to roll the ball back to the start position. Once you've rolled the ball back to the start position, that's one rep. See how many reps you can do.
Note: It's important to keep your core engaged and your back flat during the entire movement. Do not let your back sag. A modified version of this exercise can be done by placing your knees on the floor.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Send a Coach to Sweden!

Many of you know that I do corporate training as a part of my RunnerDude's Fitness running coaching and fitness business. Since 2011 I've had the privilege of working with Volvo Trucks/Mack Trucks and Volvo Financial. Their North American Headquarters is located here in Greensboro, NC. I travel to the Volvo campus 5 days a week for about 2 hours midday. I usually have 3-4 different running and/or walking groups in progress year-round. Currently I have a Beginning Running Group, Running for Weight Loss Group, and a Pacers Running Group. I've also done fitness walking groups and race training groups. Volvo is a very health forward thinking company. Not only do they provide classes such as my running classes, they also offer, fitness training classes and yoga. I've worked with over 200 employees in the past 4 years and it's been awesome seeing some of them go from doing no running to running their first half marathon or from being overweight to losing 60 pounds!

I have trained several half marathon groups through Volvo. We've run the Charlotte Race Fest Half, the City of Oaks Half, the Race 13.1 Winston-Salem and Race 13.1 Greensboro Half, the Lookout Capital Half Marathon, and the Greensboro Half Marathon. Because of the success with the various running and race training programs, Volvo invited me to run with their corporate team at the 2015 Gothenburg Half Marathon in Gothenburg, Sweden, the international headquarters for Volvo. It's a great honor to be invited to participate in an international running event of this caliber and even more of an honor to be able to run it with runners that I have previously coached.

Being a small business owner and father of three, my funds are limited. Mustering the travel and lodging funds for the trip to Sweden to be with my runners will be a challenge. Many of my runners suggested setting up a GoFundMe page. So, I did. And as a result so many wonderfully supportive runners have contributed. Any donations to help me reach my goal would be greatly appreciated. I plan to document my experience here on RunnerDude's Blog so that everyone can have a virtual experience with me and the runners while in Gothenburg.

Be sure to check out the Gold, Silver, and Bronze donation levels. Each level will enter you in a drawing for a chance to win either a $100, $75, or $50 REI gift card. I'll announce the three lucky winners on the blog on May 21, 2016, the day of the Gothenburg Half Marathon. Individuals donating at the Gold level will also receive a copy of my book, Full-Body Fitness for Runners, which contains over 90 exercises for runners, nutrition info, and more! To donate, click here or on the box below.

A little info about the Gothenburg Half's the world's largest half marathon with over 64,000 runners and over 200,000 spectators. Check out this video clip on the event! In 2021, the city will host its first full marathon in celebration of the city's 400th anniversary.

A huge heart-felt thanks to those who have already made a donation! Thanks!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Three Simple Breakfast Meals Perfect For Runners

Properly fueling your long run is key to a successful run. Most long runs take place in the early morning,
so a good breakfast is key in providing the needed macronutrients for the long haul. There is no one perfect pre-run food for runners, because runners are all so different. Between allergies, GI issues, and various likes and dislikes, it's almost impossible to say eat exactly this or that. Instead a runner needs to make sure he/she is getting the proper caloric intake as well as the proper balance of carbohydrates and protein. 200-400 calories is a good number of calories to take in about 1 to 1.5 hours before your long run.You want more easily digestible carbs than protein. a 3;1 OR 4:1 carbs to protein ratio is good. The carbs will provide the glycogen which is the fuel for your muscles. The protein will work to help begin the rebuilding process. This same carb/protein ratio is also great for your post run-recovery snack.

I've prepared the following video to show you three simple-to-make breakfast meals that I eat before my long runs.

Here are a few more pre-run fueling ideas from my book Full-Body Fitness for Runners.


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Chickpeas: A Great Source of Fiber, Potassium, and Protein!

Whether you call them Garbanzo Beans or Chickpeas, this funny sounding food is packed with great nutrition particularly for a runner. Chickpeas are a fiber-rich food. Fiber-rich foods not only help keep you regular, but they help you feel full longer.  Fiber (especially soluble fiber as found in chickpeas) helps to lower blood cholesterol and slow the absorption of sugar. So, if you're diabetic, this is a great food for you.  As for runners, chickpeas contain calcium and magnesium. Calcium is needed for muscle contraction and magnesium is needed for bone maintenance as well as proper function of nerves and muscles.  Chickpeas are also packed with potassium. This heart-healthy macronutrient and electrolyte is needed for a contracted muscle to relax. So, as a runner, keeping your potassium stores topped off helps stave off possible muscle cramps from depleted potassium stores lost through perspiration.  And to top it off , they're a good source of vegetable protein.  Chances are you've eaten Hummus , a popular middle eastern spread. Hummus is actually Arabic for chickpea. Hummus is readily available at your local grocery store and is also easy to make at home. Click here for a simple recipe. Chickpeas also make a great addition to any salad or pasta dish.  Added to a salad, chickpeas add a hearty meaty texture  and because of the high fiber, makes a salad more filling and satisfying. My family makes a great Chicken Primavera that incorporates chickpeas and it's awesome! Check out the recipe here.  

Five Important Lower-Body Exercises for Runners

When you think of lower-body exercises, quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves are the top-of-mind muscle groups to work, right? Well, yes and no. Each of these muscle groups are important and depending on the runner one group may need to be worked more than another. But, there's an entirely different group of muscles that often get overlooked by most runners. These muscles (abductors and adductors) are found laterally on the outside and inside of the legs. There is not one abductor and one adductor muscle, rather they are a collection of different muscles that work to pull the legs away from or toward the body or to create internal or external rotation of the leg. They also work to provide stability and balance in the lower body. The glute medius muscle is a hip-abductor muscle that provides stability in the whole pelvic region when walking and running. It's when this muscle is tight or weak that often results in runners knee. Adductors running down the inside of the leg help provide stability as well as help with acceleration when running. Adductors are the only muslces in the lower-body that are continuously firing throughout the entire running stride cycle. Keeping these muscle groups well conditioned will not only help make you a more efficient runner, it will help decrease the chance of  injury and falling. The video below shows five simple exercises that are very effective in working your abductor and adductor muscles. Check it out!