Sunday, January 31, 2010

RunnerDude's Runner of the Week: Otto Voss

Welcome to the new weekly feature on RunnerDude's Blog—RunnerDude's Runner of the Week. From all over the US and the world, everyday runners just like you and me will be featured on the blog. Here's a big welcome to our first featured runner, Otto!

Featured Runner: Otto Voss

RD:Where are you from?
Otto: I live in Monterrey, the capital of the State of Nuevo Leon, in México. I was born in Guadalajara, but I have been living in Monterrey for the last 13 years.3.

RD: Share a little about yourself.
Otto: I'm a software engineer working for a big Indian company (yes, engineers do exercise ☺). I'm single and I live with my parents and siblings.

RD: How long have you been running?
Otto: It's been two years now since I really started running.

RD: What got you into running?
Otto: After a break-up with a former girlfriend, I found myself without real hobbies and past-times. Nothing that I did really defined me, so I suffered a little depression. A couple of years before this, I tried to train for a 10K here in Monterrey, and I injured myself, mainly because I did not train correctly and because I had 2 hernias in my back, and I didn't take precautions. So, this time, I thought that I should give running and fitness a try again, so I started loosing weight and running without any specific training. Some months after, my ex-girlfriend and I came back together one more time, and because her father was a marathon runner, we picked running as a common activity to share. That's how I got into my first 5K, and later, the 10K I was training for when I injured my back. I got hooked into running after finishing these 2 races.

RD: What do you enjoy most about running?
Otto: It can sound corny, but running really clears my mind. After all the endorphins generated by a run, problems don't seam too impossible to solve. From being a guy without real hobbies, now, I really enjoy calling myself a runner. Running defines a part of whom I am, and people identify me thanks to this.

RD: What’s the funniest or oddest thing that’s happened to you while on a run?
Otto: It's really weird that I usually find the same people in the street (I'm running and they in their cars) in the same spot but at different hours of the day. Morning runs or afternoon runs, it doesn't matter, they seem to fing me running in the same spot. It's like they are waiting for me to go out for a run to pass. Another funny thing is that I have formed a really great group of runner dudes thanks to Twitter and Nike+. We trained together for the Monterrey Marathon. Social Networking really helps!

RD: What’s your biggest running accomplishment? Why?
Otto: Running the Monterrey Marathon 2009 this past December. 42.195 kms is an experience that I won't ever forget. It makes me aware that 42 Kms is not THAT far after all. I can do it!

RD: Do you have a favorite brand of running shoe? Which model? Why?
Otto: I usually go for Nike's. Currently I'm running with LunarGlide+ and I really like them. Maybe, they are a little soft for my taste. The main reason is thanks to the Nike+ system. This little gadget makes me aware of how much I've run. It's addictive.

RD: What’s your favorite race distance?
Otto: I really enjoy 10Ks, and I run these more than any other race. But I would like to specialize for the Half-Marathon. It's the perfect distance for me. Speed and endurance. Monterrey is full of races, almost every weekend, really!

RD: If you were speaking to a group of non-runners or runner wannabes and trying to encourage them to run, what would you say?
Otto: Running is perhaps the cheapest psychiatrist that you would ever find. If you want to feel good with yourself, physically and emotionally, running is one of the best ways to go. Try one organized 5K or 10K, and the energy that all the participants emanate, will make it impossible for you to leave this amazing sport.

RD: Share anything you‘d like about your running experiences, past accomplishments, goals, dreams….anything you haven’t previously shared.
Otto: I really like running for lots of reasons. One is that it keeps you motivated because there are always new challenges waiting when you conquer one. First, you run a 5K, then a 10K, later half-marathon, and before you notice, you are training for a Marathon. 2009 was the year of my first half and complete marathon, so 2010 has to be even better. On April I'm planning to do my first Olympic Triathlon (1.5k swim/40k bike/15k run) and improve my PR in the Marathon. Running really is a spiritual thing to me and thanks to running, I feel like a defined man.

Thanks Otto!

If you'd like to be featured as a weekly runner or you know of someone that would make a good candidate, email me at

Happy Running!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Pure Fit Radio...Check It Out!

A month or so ago I posted about a new site for endurance athletes called PURE FIT RADIO. PURE FIT RADIO is based on 51 Reporters from each state and the District of Columbia that report weekly on events. These reporters are called ESR's (Endurance State Reporters). ESR's are athletes, so they are able to give you suggestions and ideas on your next big event because they might have competed in it themselves. RunnerDude was given the privilege to be the ESR for North Carolina. To listen to your state's weekly ESR report [click here].
A weekly update about the endurance events for your state is pretty cool, but PURE FIT RADIO has even more to offer! The site is growing fast and will continue to add new features over the next few months. Currently you can search events or add your events to PURE FITS's events listing. Free! You can also listen to weekly podcasts with participants such as Bart Yasso (creator of Yasso 800s) and sports nutritionist Pip Taylor. The podcasts are also being broadcast on about 300 radio stations and that's just in 10 states.

So, if you haven't had a chance to check out PURE FIT RADIO, click on one of the links and give it a try!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Run A Day Keeps the Doctor Away!

If you're a runner, especially one who's been running a while, you've undoubtedly heard, "Why do you do that to your body? Doesn't it hurt your joints or knees?" This often comes from someone eating a double-bacon cheese burger, fries, and a Coke. It's hard not to reply back with a similar set of questions, but replacing "knees" with "heart."

I guess it's not too bizarre of an assumption that running could be bad for your joints, after all your knees do absorb about 8 times your body weight with each stride when running. For me that's 1,104lbs, and I'm a little dude. That sounds like a lot of force/weight, and it is, but you know what, the body is an amazing machine. The human body was actually designed to run and Mother Nature crafted some pretty amazing shock-absorbing mechanisms to handle that force.

It's been fairly common thought that regular running during adolescence as well as involvement in other sports that impact the joints at an early age may lead to osteoarthritis in adulthood. One research study back in the 90s seemed to support this thought. Basically is showed that of the 5000 women involved in the study, the ones who were involved in heavy physical sports as teens or were involved in weight-bearing exercise in middle age had a higher risk of developing osteoarthritis of the hip. Well, that was one study.

Today's research is showing the opposite, especially in respects to running. A long-term study out of Standford shows that there's no connection between running and arthritis. Actually the study shoes that running and other "regular vigorous exercise" may even protect the joints in later life. The study followed a group comprised of 1,000 people (runners and non-runners). None of the participants had arthritis at the beginning of the study. Many of them had arthritis by the end of the study. Interesting finding was that the runners' joints were no more or less healthy than the non-runners in the group. This was true for even the really high-mileage runners in the group (averaging over 2,000 miles a year). Another great finding from the research was that the runners tended to be in better health and they had a 39% lower rate of mortality than the non-runners.

There's other research coming in with similar findings. Together all the research seems to be saying that osteoarthritis is mainly determined by genes and other things like obesity. Research shows that obese individuals are four times more likely to to get arthritis than leaner individuals.

Going back that what I said about Mother Nature.... James Fries (the leader of the Standford research) says, "Normally functioning joints can withstand and actually flourish under a lot of wear," In a recent Time article, he explains that healthy joints depend on movement because cartilage depends on the "pumping action generated by movement to get its regular dose of oxygen and nutrients. When you bear weight, [the joint] squishes out fluid, and when you release weight, it sucks in fluid." This is why daily exercise (including running) is good for keeping that cartilage healthy. Obese individuals may have an increased risk of arthritis because the added weight they're carrying is putting constant stress on their joints while at the same time, they're probably not very active so their joint cartilage isn't benefiting from that"squish factor."

The key is to avoid overuse injuries. Even though your joints like the exercise, you still need to incorporate rest into your running/exercise program. Your body needs time to regenerate and repair which in return builds up your body making it stronger. Another way to avoid overuse injuries such as stress fractures is to increase muscular strength. "Increasing muscular strength" is a phrase that often scares runners because they think it means adding bulk. However, you can increase muscular strength as well as muscular endurance without bulking up. If you focus on lighter weights and more reps, you're not going to end up with the "Arnold look."

Think about it. If you strengthen the muscles not only is this going to protect/support your bones, it's also going to help protect those joints. Your calve muscles are natural shock absorbers for your lower body. You don't need "boulder calves", but if you increase your calf strength, you'll increase their shock-absorbing capabilities at the same time. (Side Note: once during a marathon, my calves blew out. As a result, I ended up with a stress fracture in my heel. I now add calf-strengthening exercises to my weekly routine.) A simple way to to this is by doing body-weight calf-raises or standing calf-raises holding light dumbbells.

Your glutes and hamstrings are also great running muscles not only for power and speed, but for shock absorption as well. The ball-bridge-burnout and dead lifts (using moderate weights) are great ways to strengthen those muscles.

Hamstring Exercises with a Stability Ball -- powered by

So the next time, someone says, "You know, running's bad for your joints." Be sure to reply, "Nope, actually it's exactly what the doctor ordered!"

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

And the Winner Is...

Congratulations to Gene Soboleski, the winner of RunnerDudes's AudioFuel/London Marathon Song Nomination Drawing! For the past several day dozens, the blog's readers have been sending in nominations for their favorite running songs. The song nominations were then forwarded on to, the joint venture between AudioFuel and the London Marathon. The emails RunnerDude received were numbered (in the ordered received) and yesterday those numbers were entered in The Random Number Generator which picked Gene Soboleski's email as the lucky winner. Gene will receive £20 worth of products from AudioFuel. Go Gene!

Once AudioFuel collects all the submitted songs from around the world, they will take the top 10 songs and publish an iMix as the official playlist for The London Marathon. So, check their website next month to see if your nominated song made the Mix! [Click here] to get a free sample from AudioFuel!

Listed below are the songs nominated by the RunnerDude's Blog readers.
Wake Up (Arcade Fire)
Valerie (Amy Wienhouse)
Innocent (Cook)
Good Life (OneRepublic)
High and Dry (RadioHead)
Flower (Moby)
If Tomorrow Was Your Last Day (Nickelback)
Ride Like the Wind (Michael Mind)
Hit the Ground Running (The Doves)
Fire on the Mountain (Greateful Dead)
Long May You Run (Neil Young)
Don't Go (Yaz)
Foo Fighters (Learn to Fly)
KernKraft (Zombie Nation)
Beautiful Life (Gui Boratto)
Let's Get It Started ( Black Eyed Peas)
The Adventure (Angles and Airways)
The War (Angle and Airways)
Battle Flag (Lo Fidelity Allstars)
Kinghts of Cydonia (Muse)
The Suffering (Coheed and Cambria)
Till I Collapse (Eminem)
Do Fries Come With That Shake
Roadrunner (The Modern Lovers)
Ring the Alarm (Beyonce)
For the Love of the Game (Pillar)
Viva la Vida (Coldplay)
Time to Pretend (MGMT)
I Gotta Feeling (Black Eyed Peas)
Keep Up (Hyper Crush)
Ray of Light (Madonna)
Candy Everybody Wants (10,000 Maniacs)
Night Watchman (Tom Petty)
The Distance (Cake)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

10 Ways to Pay It Forward

If you're like me, then sometimes your running becomes a very inward experience. You focus on your training, your eating, your runs, and your cross training or you just use the time to think about work, your family, and money issues, or you just think about absolutely nothing. And there's nothing wrong with that. Nothing at all. Running is probably one of the most therapeutic things (and cheapest forms of therapy) a person can do to help them find balance and stay sane in this hectic world of ours.

However, as a runner, I think it's also good to pay-it-forward. You know, give a little back to your fellow running buddies, to that nice lady you pass on the greenway every Saturday (but don't know her name), to the local running shop that helped you pick out just the right pair of shoes, to various mentors who've inspired you along the way, and to the running community (local or virtual) who have contributed to your running in one way or another.

Listed below are 10 ways during 2010 that you can give back to the running community by paying-it-forward. These are only 10, I'd love to here your ideas too!
1. Invite that colleague at work, at church, in your civic club that 's asked you about your running, to join you for a run. Go easy and show him/her the ropes.

2. Volunteer to help with a local race. Most will love the help!

3. Take that fellow running buddy who is down in the dumps over his/her training to breakfast or lunch and give him/her a pep talk. Encourage. Inspire. Motivate.

4. Find out the name of that unknown runner you pass each week. Let him/her know how inspiring it is to see him/her on your runs.

5. Listen to your running buddies. Find out more about their running experiences. Did they run in college? Did they just start running last year? A listening ear and a genuine interest can be extremely motivating.

6. Share your favorite running routes and in the process you'll probably learn a few new ones yourself!

7. Volunteer your time with a local youth running and/or track team. See if your local Parks and Recreation Department has a youth running program. If not, maybe you can organize one. Or see if there are any non-profit organizations in your community related to helping get our youth fit, such as GOFAR.

8. Be the debater in your running group. There's nothing like runners talking about "runner stuff." Start up a lively (but intelligent) discussion about the latest new running theory, injury-prevention technique, or the best running form. You'll be surprised how much you and your buddies will learn. Even if you don't all agree, if you all go back and investigate a little further the topics you've discussed while on the run, then you'll all be the better for it.

9. Give back to the community. Hold a shoe drive! You can donate the shoes to your local Goodwill Industries or send them to Soles4Souls who will distribute them to the shoeless around the world.

10. Run for a cause. Whether it's for organized groups like Team in Training and Joints in Motion or just your neighbor down the street that's hit some obstacle in their life, sometimes running for something other than the sake of running can bring a whole new element to your sport while at the same time helping others in need.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Whoever Said All You Need to Run is a Pair of Shoes Was Lying

"Garmin - ✔. Water - ✔. Gatorade - ✔. Dry clothes - ✔. Coffee mug - ✔. Headband-✔. Gloves - ✔. Cell phone - ✔. Gu - ✔. (Whoever said all you need to run is a pair of shoes was lying...)" This was posted on Facebook this morning by a running/blogging buddy of mine, Dena just before heading out on her 20-mile run. I couldn't help but chuckle when I read it.

You do often hear (especially by non-runners), "Well, you picked a good sport because all you need are your shoes." I guess maybe that's true if you live in a nudist camp in South Florida. (The closest I've come to that was the Take Pride in Your Hide 5K, but that's a different story.) Anywho...if you're a runner, especially a distance runner, you're well aware that you'll need more than those shoes. (Funny, my barefoot running buddy, Josh, will tell you, you need everything, but those shoes.)

Even if you're a shorter distance runner, you're going to need some basic attire and equipment. In the summer you're going to need moisture-wicking, technical-fabric shorts and tops. In the winter you'll also need moisture-wicking clothing, but in the running tights, and long-sleeve variety. Plus you'll probably need some additional layers for warmth. Ca-ching, Ca-ching....

And summer or winter, don't forget that hat. You'll need a visor to keep the sun off your face and out of your eyes in the summer, and during the winter you'll need a hat with more head coverage to keep all your heat from escaping out your noggin. 100% UV protection shades are a must for the eyes as well as sunscreen for the ole bod (year round). Ca-ching, Ca-ching....

And don't forget those socks! They're not cheap either! Ca-ching....

If you're running less than an hour you probably won't need a lot in the way of hydration or energy supplements (depending on the temp). But if you're going those longer distances, you'll need to add the expense of a sports drink and probably some sports gels. And for those longer runs you'll probably want one of those hydration belts to carry all those goodies. Ca-ching, Ca-ching....

If you're a gadget hound or someone who likes to keep track of all your training statistics, you've probably doled out a few hundred dollars for a GPS such as a Garmin or Nike's version. Oh and then there are heart-rate monitors that are just as popular. Ca-ching, Ca-ching.... And what about those rainy days? Are you one of the thousands who spent thousands on a treadmill last year? Ca-ching, Ca-ching...

Do you race? I remember the days of $10 and $15 registration fees for 10Ks! (Okay, so I'm old.) Today expect to pay $25, $30, $40+ and for a half or whole marathon expect to pay $60-$100+ then add in the travel and lodging expenses, if the races are any distance from where you live. Ca-ching, Ca-ching....

Now back to those darn shoes....even if you rebel and insist on wearing your short gym shorts from the 70s with the white piping, your cotton tube socks with the color bands at the top that go all the way to your knees (thinking that will count as a sunscreen), and a stretchy terry-cloth headband to keep the sweat out of your eyes, you're still going to end up shelling out quite a chunk of change for those shoes (well, unless you're my friend Barefoot Josh).

Okay, so running isn't the cheapest sport. That's okay. We love it anyway. Heck, most of us are addicted to checking out the latest shoes or testing out the latest nutrition, energy, and hydration products on the market. Chances are that you make a monthly if not weekly visit to the local sporting goods or running shop to check out all the new gear (don't worry, I won't tell). And we look forward to the next race for which we're training even though we might have to take out a home equity loan to pay for the registration, air fare, hotel, and food for the trip.

So, they next time someone says, "Well at least with running all you need is a good pair of shoes." just pat them on the shoulder and say, "Bless your heart."

Friday, January 22, 2010

New Balance Signs Olympian and American Record Holder Jenny Barringer

Global athletic leader New Balance announced today the signing of Olympian and American record holder Jenny Barringer to a multi-year endorsement contract. Barringer, who just graduated from the University of Colorado in December, owns the American record in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at 9:12.50. She has proven that she is one of the best athletes in the world, earning a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team, two world teams, and is a seven-time All-American and 12-time All-Big 12 honoree. Jenny also won four NCAA titles and two national steeplechase titles.

“I’m thrilled to join the New Balance family and am eager to represent a brand that I find both inspiring and authentic,” said Barringer. “Given their quality products, support of charitable programs, and commitment to domestic manufacturing, I feel that New Balance and I are a great fit. I’m particularly excited to work with the Girls on the Run® organization, encouraging young girls to respect themselves and develop a healthy lifestyle through running.”

“Jenny’s accomplishments as an athlete make her a great brand ambassador for New Balance,” says Tom Carleo, GM of running at New Balance. “But it is her sincere passion and energy to give back to the community through organizations like Girls on the Run® that inspires the entire company and make her such a natural member of the New Balance family.”

Barringer competed for the U.S. in the in the 2008 Beijing Olmypic Games. She has proven her incredible versatility and that she isn’t just a steeplechaser, essentially rewriting the collegiate record book, setting records in almost every event in which she competes. Jenny owns the collegiate record in the indoor mile (4:25.91), indoor 3000m (8:42.03), and the 5000m (15:01.70) as well as the outdoor 1500m (3:59.90), steeplechase (9:12.50), and 5000m (15:05.25). She has the rare ability to compete on an international level at a number of different events.

For the past four years Barringer has been coached by Mark Wetmore who is currently in his 12th coaching season at the University of Colorado. Barringer will continue to train with Wetmore and live in Boulder, CO with her fiancé, Jason Simpson.

Track and Field Videos on Flotrack
New Balance, headquartered in Boston, MA has the following mission: Demonstrating responsible leadership, we build global brands that athletes are proud to wear, associates are proud to create and communities are proud to host. New Balance employs more than 4,000 people around the globe, and in 2008 reported worldwide sales of $1.64 billion. For more information please visit

Re-posted with permission from Emily Titelman—Dan Klores Communications

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Nominate Your Favorite Running Tune!

RunnerDude was recently contacted by the Virgin London Marathon and a running music company called AudioFuel to see if the readers of RunnerDude's Blog would like to help them out with a little project. My response? "You Bet!"

In the lead up to this year’s marathon, they’re asking runners to nominate their favorite running tracks of which the most popular will end up being the “soundtrack” of the London Marathon!

Organizers know that filling your iPod with good running music is what a lot of runners like to do and they’d love if you could nominate your favourites, too. Ideally they'd like to generate some debate and get nominations from a wide cross section of the running community as possible.

Audiofuel has also included a free fuel sampler - that you can check out!

AudioFuel has provided a great incentive to the readers of RunnerDude's Blog—£20 worth of AudioFuel products! Here's how it works. Nominate your favorite running song(s) by emailing the name of the song(s) to RunnerDude at by Monday, January 25th. Be sure to put "Song Nomination" in the subject line and the song name and your name in the body of the email.
RunnerDude will forward your nomination(s) on to AudioFuel and your email will be entered in a RunnerDude Drawing. The lucky winner of the drawing (announced on Tuesday, February 26th) will be able to select £20 worth of AudioFuel products! Yep, remember this is the London Marathon, so were talking pounds not dollars. How cool is that! (There are lots of compilations and playlists to choose from ranging between £5 and £12.) A special thanks to AudioFuel for providing such an awesome prize!
AudioFuel will publish the top ten nominations they receive from around the world as an iMix on February 1st.
Some of the nominated songs so far include...Don't Stop me Now: Queen, Sweet Disposition: The Temper Trap, Granite: Pendulum, Sugar Low: Aynsley Lister, Born to Run: Springsteen, Turn the Beat around: Gloria Estefan, Pump It: Black-eyed Peas, Insomnia: Faithless, Jessica: Allman Brothers Band, Run To The Hills: Iron Maiden, Heroes: David Bowie, Girl: BeckOn Time: The Disco Biscuits, Engineering Masterpiece: Lady Southpaw, Emily Kane: Art Brut, Call on Me: Eric Pridz, and No Easy Way Out: Survivor.
Don't wait! Send your favorite song to RunnerDude today! Good Luck in the Drawing!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Soles4Souls Launches Haiti Relief Effort!

How many pairs of unused training shoes do you have just lying around, or stuffed in the back of the closet? Not using them, but they are too good to "just throw away"!

Soles4Souls Inc. has announced PROJECT HAITI, a campaign to engage the general public in collecting new and gently worn shoes and monetary donations for the victims of the Haiti earthquake. Soles4Souls has committed over 1 MILLION pairs of shoes to aid in the recovery and rebuilding process.

The charity has already pledged 100,000 pairs of new shoes to be distributed to Haitians during a sustained giving plan in coordination with other agencies. In conjunction with its partners in the footwear industry and trusted distribution agencies, Soles4Souls is sending a complete relief package that includes food, medical supplies, water, blankets and baby products.

You can help: clean out your closet or host a shoe drive with your club or team. Don't want to collect shoes? See Soles4Souls website for other ways you can donate and help the relief effort.

Please share this with others! For more information on Soles4Souls, or to contribute to their Haiti relief effort, please visit Soles4Souls.
A special thanks to my fellow blogger friend Brian at VIF-Victory Is for Finishing for passing this information along to me!

Monday, January 18, 2010

First Aid Kit for Runners

I've posted on safety for runners in previous posts. I've mentioned safety tips such as posting your routes on the fridge or on a calendar so your friends and loved ones will know where you're going and on what days. I've suggested sharing (with those who need to know) your expected duration time or your estimated return time. I've mentioned keeping a cell phone with you, especially if you're running trails by yourself. I've mentioned not running trails by yourself if you can help it. All of these are good tips to heed and will definitely help others keep track of you, if you don't eventually show back up.

But, what if you or someone you're running with gets hurt while on the run? Will you be prepared? If you haven't already, I highly recommend you take the Red Cross CPR and First Aid training. The training doesn't cost that much and in an afternoon of training, you'll have most of the basics in case someone in your running group gets hurt. To keep current, the CPR training has to be renewed each year, but the first aid only has to be renewed every three years. If you work for a large company, check with HR, often they will provide training for "first responders" on each floor or for each department.

When you're running the greenway or the trails with your buddy or your running group and you're miles away from your neighborhood, it's a good idea for someone (if not more than one of you) to have a Runner's First Aid Kit. No, you won't be running with it, but having it in one of your cars is better than not having one at all.

So, what should go in your kit? I recommend you purchase the basic Red Cross First Aid Kit. You can order one online at the Red Cross Store or you can purchase one at your local Red Cross chapter. The Red Cross suggests that whether you buy a first aid kit or put one together yourself, make sure it has all the items you may need. Include any personal items for you or other runners in your group such as medications and emergency phone numbers or other items your health-care provider may suggest. Check the kit regularly. Make sure the flashlight batteries work. Check expiration dates and replace any used or out-of-date contents.

The Red Cross recommends that all first aid kits for a family of four include the items below. So, modify your running kit accordingly depending on the number of runners in your group.

Basic First Aid Kit for 4 People

  • 2 absorbent compress dressings (5 x 9 inches)
  • 25 adhesive bandages (assorted sizes)
  • 1 adhesive cloth tape (10 yards x 1 inch)
  • 5 antibiotic ointment packets (approximately 1 gram)
  • 5 antiseptic wipe packets
  • 2 packets of aspirin (81 mg each)
  • 1 blanket (space blanket)
  • 1 breathing barrier (with one-way valve)
  • 1 instant cold compress
  • 2 pair of nonlatex gloves (size: large)
  • 2 hydrocortisone ointment packets (approximately 1 gram each)
  • Scissors
  • 1 roller bandage (3 inches wide)
  • 1 roller bandage (4 inches wide)
  • 5 sterile gauze pads (3 x 3 inches)
  • 5 sterile gauze pads (4 x 4 inches)
  • Oral thermometer (non-mercury/nonglass)
  • 2 triangular bandages
  • Tweezers
  • First aid instruction booklet
Now that you have your first aid kit, you need a plan of action. Talk with your running buddies about what to do if there is an injury while on the run. Who is going to be the runner back to the car? Who might be the one to carry the cell phone on those really long runs? Talk it out. You can never be too prepared for an emergency.

Your running route is another thing to consider when being safety conscious. If you're running route is fairly short then an out-and-back is probably fine, but if it's a long run (10 to 20 miles) a looping-back route (one that has you looping back by your car a few times) is a better choice. This is of great help if someone gets injured, because you won't have as far to go to get back to your car for your phone and first aid kit. Also, planning your route so that it goes through or near residential areas is a good idea, in case you need access to help or a phone to call for help.

So, do a little safety planning, and hopefully you'll never need to use it. But, if you do, you'll be prepared!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

If You Don't Use It, You May Just Lose It!

I'm a firm believer in the old saying, "If you don't use it, you'll lose it." It can be applied to so many things—cognitive skills, social skills, and physical fitness. Of course genetics, predispositions to various illnesses, and environmental factors also play a part in determining our health and wellbeing, but if you're healthy and choose to live a sedentary lifestyle, I really do believe it will catch up with you and eventually lower your quality of life.

If Thomas Jefferson were alive today, I bet I'd be passing him out on the greenway. When our 3rd president died at the age of 83, he lived well past the life expectancy of his time (40). In fact he lived past the life-expectancy of men today! No one will ever really know why he lived such a long life, but I do think the fact that he walked 4 miles a day, had to have helped. He was quoted as saying, " The purpose of walking is to relax the mind." Unbeknownst to him, while he was relaxing his mind, he was keeping his old ticker in shape too! Way to go Tom!

One study comprised of 2,300 healthy men (with an average age of 70), found that men who exercise reduced their death risk before 90 by 20 to 30% (depending on how much and how often they exercise). Regular exercise is not a miracle cure, but what it does do is help keep blood pressure down, obesity at bay, help prevent type two diabetes from occurring, increase mental acuity, help keep cholesterol levels down, and help fight depression, just to name a few of the benefits.

If you're reading this and thinking, "This sounds all well and good, but I'm too old to start exercising", then think again. As I was reading The Greensboro News & Record (my local newspaper) Saturday, the following headline caught my eye—"Celebrating 77, One Lap at a Time." The article (by Jennifer Fernandez) was about 77-year-old, Cal Weimer who celebrated his 77th birthday by riding laps for eight hours around a local park for a total of 77 miles!

Now, I bet some of you are saying, "Yeah, I bet he's been an athlete all his life." Wrong! He didn't start riding until he was 72 when he found a mountain bike left at his house by a former foster child. He said it was tough going at first, but stuck with it and eventually bought a "serious" bike, a Sequoia. The article explained how Cal began logging his miles in a notebook and reading articles on cycling and exercise.

In 2006 he competed in the local Senior Games and even got a 3rd-place finish in the more competitive state games in 2009. The article quotes Cal as saying, " So many people my age, they're sitting all day long and watching TV and not using their minds...and not taking care of their aging bodies. I want to do the best I can. I'm pretty lucky to have lived all these many years."

So, when it's hard getting up in the wee hours of the morning for that long run or you're deciding whether or not to skip that afternoon run, think of Cal riding 77 miles on his 77th B-Day! You go Cal!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Runners! Block That Sun!

Like any sport, running comes with its risks. Typically things like shin splints, ITBS, and plantar fasciitis come to mind. But there's another risk that may not be as top of mind—skin cancer. In 2006, the Department of Dermatology at the Medical University of Graz, Graz, Austria did a study regarding marathon runners and sun exposure.

The doctors in the Graz University dermatology department realized that over about a 10-year span, they had treated 8 ultramarathon runners with malignant melanoma. The medical team discussed potential triggers of the cancer in these patients and UV exposure, immunosuppression due to long-term intensive exercise, or both surfaced as possibilities. This piqued the curiosity of the doctors and they decided to look closer at the risk factors for malignant melanoma in marathon runners. To do so, they examined medical history, genetic and environmental influences, sun-related and clinical variables in 210 athletes and compared them with those of an age- and sex-matched control group.

What they discovered was that although the control subjects exhibited higher sun sensitivity and more common skins spots and moles, the marathon runners exhibited more atypical spots, moles, and lesions suggestive of nonmelanoma skin cancer.

And interestingly enough, of the marathon runners, the ones who had trained more had more of these atypical moles. Findings also revealed that about 96.7% wore shorts (not too surprising) and 98.6% wore shirts that only partially covered their backs and extremities (not too surprising either). Only 56.2% of the runners used sunscreen on a regular basis.

End result? Basically the marathon group presented with an increased risk for malignant melanoma and nonmelanoma skin cancer. It's kind of like one of those "duhh" moments. But sometimes it takes seeing the numbers to have it hit home.
Most likely that act of running has nothing to do with the increased risk, but the time in the sun does. If a similar study was done with construction workers or landscape workers, you'd probably find similar results. However, that fact that runners typically have on less clothing and have more exposed skin probably would still make them more inclined to a higher risks of skin cancer.

So what's a distance runner to do? Easy! Cover up! Actually the study recommends doing your runs during times of low-sun exposure, wearing adequate clothing, and regularly using water-resistant sunscreen.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Feel the Burn!

Want to increase the amount of fat you're burning? Try interval training. A 30-minute high-intensity interval session can burn just as much fast as a 60-minute easy aerobic run!

Distance running is great, but if you're not careful you can risk losing some of your lean muscle mass. This is called muscle catabolism. It happens when you deplete your carb stores. If you haven't trained your body to kick-in using fat as a fuel source, it will move on to the next best thing—your muscle tissue. Low-volume sprint training (intervals) when added to your regular weekly running routine can actually cause the opposite effect—building muscle (anabolism). That's because interval training helps the body produce human growth hormone naturally which helps in the muscle-tissue-building process. Adding some light resistance training can also help override that catabolic effect.

Some of you might be saying, "Well, I'd rather run longer and easier than shorter and harder if they both burn the same amount of calories. But keep in mind that after that 60-minute long-run, those calories cease to burn. After the 30-minute interval session, however, you continue to burn calories for about 24hrs! So, that weekly interval workout can do wonders to boost your metabolism.

Don't have a track nearby? No problem. Intervals don't have to be limited to the track. The simplest form of an interval can be a fartlek. A fartlek is just a burst of speed thrown into a regular run. Fartleks can be for a period of time or for a certain distance. For example, you could decide to run fast for 1 minute or you could decide to run fast to the next intersection several times during a given run. Throw 4 or 5 fartleks into a regular 5-miler and you've got a good interval workout. Hill workouts are another great way to add some intensity to your workouts. You can also do intervals on a treadmill, elliptical machine, row machine, or stationary bike!

So, add some variety to your weekly workouts, up your caloric burn, and preserve your lean muscle mass by adding some speed work into the mix.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Is a Slower Start the Best Start?

Recently at the USA-Track & Field Level 1 Coaching training weekend I attended in Charlotte, NC, the instructor mentioned a research study that kind of goes against the grain of what most runners think about when racing a 5K. Usually a runner starts off a little more reserved, builds up his/her momentum, and then blows it out at the end of the race. Of course a 5K start is usually faster than a 10K and a 10K's start is faster than a Half, and so on, but within a given race, you're usually encouraged to start off at a slower pace in order to save some for the finish.

The study mentioned by the instructor showed that a faster start can reap a better race time. So what gives? Well, of course I had to dig up the study and see what the scoop was all about. The study was done in 2006 by researchers at the University of New Hampshire. Their goal was to examine how different pacing strategies would effect performance in a 5K race. Researchers worked with 11 runners from New Hampshire's women's cross-country team. The runners in the selected group were similar in that they all logged about 35 miles per week and their 5K PRs were in similar ranges (18-21 minutes).

The study began with establishing a baseline pace by having each runner run two 5Ks. Next, the runners ran three more 5Ks each one with a different pace strategy. Each runner ran the first mile of the first 5K at their established baseline 5K pace and then miles 2 and 3 were run at a pace of the runner's choosing in order to finish as fast as possible. The second 5K was run in a similar fashion, but the first mile was run at a pace 3% faster than the baseline base. The first mile of the 3rd race was run as a pace 6% faster than the baseline pace.

The results? Eight of the 11 women achieved their fastest time running at the 6%-faster-than-baseline pace during the first mile. The remaining three women ran their fastest time at the 3%-faster start pace. None of the runners ran their fastest race using the baseline pace. Most of the runners who tried to continue with an increased pace did slow their pace some at the end of the race, but they still ended with PR times. When running the slower start, most of the runners kept an increased or even pace going through the end of the race, but it wasn't enough to overcome the slower start and failed to produce any PRs.

So what does it mean? Well, the researchers were surprised by the results. They discovered that the slower start had runners running at only 78% of their VO2Max. The faster starts had runners running at 82-83% of their VO2Max. The higher VO2Max is in the range typically achieved by experienced runners running a 5k. The researchers netted out that less-experienced (beginner and recreational) runners probably should not increase their start speed, because they have not yet conditioned their bodies to the faster speed and may not have the ability to keep or increase the pace throughout the remainder of the race and their times may suffer. On the flip side, elite runners shouldn't change what they're doing, because they're already running that first mile in the higher VO2Max ranges.

So, who's to benefit? The more moderately-trained runner may benefit from a faster start. They're probably underestimating what they're capable of doing. Researchers also, reinforced that their study was based on a 5K. So, starting out with a 3% or 6% faster pace in a longer race such as a half or full marathon, may not have comparative results since you have so much further to run after that first mile. has put together a great chart showing how various types of runners may approach that first mile in a 5K. [Click here] to get more information on the pacing strategies listed in the chart.

So, if you're a moderate runner and you can't seem to break your current 5K time, try uping the ante in that first mile by increasing your start pace by 3% or 6% and see if it improves your results.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

No Time for Exercise? Check out TrekDesk!

You've probably heard of people walking to work. But have you heard of people walking while working? And, no, I'm not talking about the mail carrier! A good writer-runner-blogger-buddy of mine, Dena, sent me a link to an article about the TrekDesk. Yep, it's a desk and a treadmill combined into one!

I checked out the TrekDesk website to get a better idea about the thinking behind this unique desk and discovered it was invented by Steve Bordley who was the victim of a disabling accident. Upon returning to work and his traditional desk, he suffered severe back pain and gained a lot of weight. He decided to create an alternative to help alleviate both. Tah Dah! The TrekDesk.

The benefits of standing desks have been known for years. One main benefit of standing at a desk is that your hip flexors don't get tight. Ever been sitting at your desk for many hours and when you finally need to get up, you can hardly stand up straight? Tight hip flexors are the culprit. Years of tight hip flexors can lead to a forward curve to your posture. Not good. Also, because you're seated all day, you're burning very few calories, so weight gain can be a problem related to sedentary jobs.

Well, the TrekDesk helps to alleviate both. According to the TrekDeck website, 84% of all medical claims in the US are directly related to lack of exercise, poor nutrition and lifestyle. They go on further to say that using the TrekDesk treadmill desk (along with adherence to dietary guidelines) could have the following results:
  • 33%-70% risk reduction in rate of major cancers
  • 90% reduction in number of initial heart attacks
  • 50% reduction in risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes
  • 70% reduction in risk of stroke

Why such radical risk reduction? A few of the reasons sited include, increasing the metabolic rate therefore burning more calories (helping with weight reduction), stimulating the lymphatic system helping to ward off disease, increasing blood flow and improving circulation, improving lung capacity and strength, improving blood lipid profiles, etc. The increased blood flow also helps stimulate brain function, improving memory as much as 15% in 6 months!

These are not new findings. We've known for years that walking and regular exercise provides all the aforementioned benefits. The problem is that people, no matter how often told, either don't have the time to get in the needed exercise or they're not motivated to get in the needed exercise. Enter the TrekDeck. It helps remove the excuses. It provides you with ample time to get in the exercise you need because you don't have to make extra time to fit it in. It's the ultimate in multitasking. Of course, not every work situation will lend itself to using the TrekDeck, but it yours does, it might be worth checking out. If you work from the home, it may be the perfect solution to getting in that needed exercise.

So, while I've not personally tested the TrekDeck and can't attest to it's construction or effectiveness, it may be worth further investigation. If TrekDesk is listening....I'll be more than happy to give it a thorough testing for an official RunnerDude's Blog review! I was surprised that the price of the TrekDesk is under $500. For a walking treadmill and a desk, that's not too bad.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Twinkie Factor

Ever heard the urban legend about the Twinkie discovered from the 1950's and when they opened it, it was still as fresh as the day it was made? A legend is probably all it is, but it does make you think. Now I'm not dissin' Twinkies, because I've had my share over the years (although it's probably been about 5 years since I last had one). Getting your "Twinkie Fix" once in a while isn't going to do much harm, but have you ever looked at the ingredients? Monoglycerides, diglycerides, polysorbate 60, sorbic acid, cellulose gum...and the list goes on. Sounds like a science experiment. Most of these hard-to-pronounce-ingredients are used to ensure freshness and therefore a longer shelf-life. The "natural" ingredients it does contain have been highly refined and processed.

So, where am I going with all of this? It's no big epiphany that Twinkies aren't healthy. And, it's no big revelation that Twinkies are a highly processed food and is loaded with preservatives, but what else goes into it? Take a look at a Twinkie the next time you're in the Quick Mart buying your 48oz Diet Coke tanker, umm...I mean your bottled water. Can you tell what other ingredients are in a twinkie? Maybe some flour? Milk-type products? Sugar? Fat? ? Stumped? I was. You can't tell. There is no food in nature that looks like a Twinkie.

This brings me to my point (yep, finally got there). Something I like to call the "Twinkie Factor"—if you can't recognize it, don't eat it. Think about that legendary 50-year-old Twinkie. After 50 years, it's still that same. Now think about that plate of leftover broccoli you put in the fridge a few days ago? What's going to happen to it in just a few days? Does big fuzzy, moldy, stinky blob come to mind? I think there's a lesson to be learned here. If the bacteria are smart enough to leave the Twinkie alone, then maybe we should too. Just remember to beat the bacteria to the broccoli before the "fuzz factor" kicks in.

Try this for a week. If you can't tell what a food is made of, then don't eat it. Make this your first step toward better eating in 2010. If it goes well the first week, then up the ante a little. Now, in addition to only eating what you can recognize, make sure those recognizable foods are prepared in a healthy manner. Yep, even though you know those tasty McDonald fries are potatoes, they're not so friendly to your waistline. Think fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, lean meats, and good fats. In the spring, take a trip to your local farmer's market. Until then, hit the fresh foods section of your local grocery store.

Friday, January 8, 2010

New Contest Sponsored by!

RunnerDude's Blog is excited to announce that the wonderful people at RunningCompany are providing the prize for the next RunnerDude contest! And what a prize it is—two $50 gift certificates! Yep, there will be two winners for this contest! is a company of runners who know the importance of a great running shoe. Knowing the frustration of finding your shoe at a great price, they set out to create a customer friendly, efficient, and low priced online running shoe outlet. is quite a unique company. The purpose of their website is to provide you the shoes you want at the least expensive prices possible in a very simple manner. There are no special passwords or account names to remember, no frequent shopper cards, no telephone sales. They carry the major brands—Asics, Brooks, Mizuno, Saucony, New Balance, and Under Armour. They want to make sure they have all their shoes in stock, so they don't carry many models and you don't have a choice in the model color of your shoe. They just ship what they have in stock. But, with those limitations, comes some great deals!!

I just ordered two pairs of my favorite Saucony running shoe and I saved a ton! It was kind of fun waiting to see what color I got!

How to Enter:
To enter, simply email RunnerDude at by 11:59PM (EST) Sunday, January 31st. Be sure to put "Running Shoe" in the email's subject line and put your name in the body of the email. That's it! Each email will be assigned a different number based on the order that the emails are received. The winning numbers will be selected by The True Random Number Generator at . The winners will be announced on Monday, February 1st. Just in time for Valentine's Day! "Whatcha" waiting for? Email RunnerDude today!

While you're waiting to see if you've won, be sure to checkout!

Stay Tuned!

The nice folks at CSN Stores recently contacted me about reviewing a product. I was curious so I checked out their link. What I found was bar stools. My first thought was, "Bar stools for runners?" Some runners may need a stiff drink after a marathon, but I'm thinking, maybe this isn't for RunnerDude's Blog. But then I discovered that CSN Stores is actually a family of over 200 online stores including some for health & fitness. Tah dah!
So, I'm happy to announce that in an upcoming post I'll be reviewing the Hudson Fitness HR-2500 Pulse Monitor. Heart-rate monitors are great tools for training. I've used other brands of monitors but none by Hudson. So, I'm eager to give it a good testing and let you know my results. If you've ever used a Hudson, I'd be interested in hearing your experiences. Happy Running!—RunnerDude

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Champion Listens to Real Everyday Runners!

One of my favorite athletic clothing brands, Champion, is located right down the road from me in Winston-Salem, N.C. Actually as I sit here writing this post, I'm wearing a Champion hoodie. Their casual athletic clothes are great. I also enjoy their line of running tops and bottoms.

One of the great things about Champion is they appreciate feedback from you, their customers. One way they get this feedback is through a cool program in conjunction with the Walt Disney World Marathon. Champion is the official performance apparel of Disney’s Wide World of Sports® and tooday they announced the continuation of the Champion Innovation Lab at the Walt Disney World® Marathon Weekend presented by CIGNA.

The Champion Innovation Lab brings to life its "How You Play" mantra through the experiences of real, everyday athletes. This year, the 2010 Innovation Lab works with runners, race-walkers, and wheelchair athletes from all skill levels to test Champion Athleticwear. Part of the group consists of the "Perfect 17/" The Perfect 17 are a unique group of runners that havee participated in the Disney Marathon Weekend since its inception 17 years ago.

Champion believes that in order to develop a great line of performance apparel, they need to get real feedback from everyday athletes who participate in the Innovation Lab. Claire Powell, Director Champion Brand Marketing said, “We are excited to bring the program back to the Disney Marathon Weekend for a third year to see how the athletes have responded to our products.”

Participants were given a variety of Champion performance apparel and, starting in September 2009, asked to catalogue their experiences in a Training Log and share real-time insights with the Champion New York Design Team and Champion Athleticwear Consumer Research. The runners received apparel from the brand’s Double Dry® line featuring wicking technology, compression tanks and briefs and athleticwear from the Seamless product line. Questions in the log covered topics such as pace, weather, route (e.g., trail, street, treadmill), comfort, fit and washing machine care. Runners were also outfitted in Champion apparel for the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend events and will be announced as Champion Innovation Lab participants when crossing the finish line this weekend!

“Perfect 17” runner and Champion Innovation Lab participant Seth Elsheimer said, “It's refreshing to see a brand that has stayed focused on regular, everyday athletes who are competitive as well as those who just want to have a good time and be active.”

Be sure to see the Champion Innovation Lab athletes take on the Walt Disney World Half Marathon this Saturday (January 9th) and the full marathon on Sunday (January 10th) which will take runners through all four Walt Disney World® Theme Parks starting at Epcot®, continuing on to the Magic Kingdom® Park, Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park and Disney’s Hollywood Studios™ and then back to Epcot® for an exhilarating finish.

If you haven't tried Champion's athleticwear, be sure to check out their website or check out some of their lines at Target. While you're at the website, be sure to sign up for their catalog. My kids love it when the new Champion catalog arrives!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Recognizing the Signs of Overtraining And How to Prevent It!

Do you feel that burn after a hard workout or a hard run? That's from pushing your body past what it's used to. Challenging yourself to harder more intense workouts (resistance training or aerobic training) over a period of time is called progressive overload. Progressive overload is how you train your body to adapt to the new conditions being put upon it. The key, however, is making sure that along with the progressive overload you are also giving your body time to recover. Ever notice how most marathon plans have you run a 20-miler followed by a day of rest and then the following week's "long run" usually isn't as long. That's progressive overload or stress adaptation. Build up. Back off a little. Build up. Back off a little. Overloading the body and then giving it a chance to recover, adapt, and heal before placing more stress upon it, is a great way to train.

The S.A.I.D principle (Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demand) refers to the idea that your body adapts to the specific type of stress put upon it. So, when an endurance runner pushes to finish that 20-miler in a specific time frame, his/her body is adapting to that specific type of stress being put upon it.

The problem is many athletes (aerobic or anaerobic) don't give their bodies time to adapt before imposing more stress on their bodies. So they never make it to the gain threshold. They're constantly stuck in the recovery period or worse, they become injured. This is called overtraining.
Overtraining can also be due to repetitive exercise. If you don't vary your workouts and you're constantly subjecting your body to the same stress over and over, those muscles can become overtrained. A good rule of thumb is to wait at least 48 hours before working the same muscle groups again. So for example, if your do a chest/triceps workout one day, you should wait at least 2 days before working those muscles again. Professional bodybuilders will often workout a muscle group so hard in one workout, that they'll wait an entire week before working that muscle group again.

In running you should think more in terms of hard/easy. Hard workouts can include speed workouts such as intervals, repeats, tempo runs, hill-work, or long runs. Easy workouts can include short or mid-distance runs that are run at an easy to moderate intensity (60-75% of your VO2Max). So, if you do a hard run one day you should wait at least two days before running your next hard run.

Some common signs of over training include:

  • persistent achiness, stiffness, or pain in the muscles and/or joints (beyond the typical delayed onset muscle soreness felt after a workout)
  • waking up with an elevated pulse (good idea to take your waking resting pulse frequently to give you a base from which to compare)
  • lack of energy
  • fatigued and/or achy muscles
  • frequent headaches
  • feeling lethargic or sluggish
  • drop in athletic performance
  • not able to complete your normal workout
  • depressed, moody, unmotivated
  • nervousness
  • lack of sleep and/or appetite
  • weight loss
  • lowered immune system

An elevated pulse is a good indicator of possible overtraining or even sickness such as a respiratory infection. If your waking resting pulse is elevated more than a few beats, you could have an infection or be suffering from overtraining. In either case, taking a day off may be the best thing. Rest is the best thing for overcoming overtraining. If rest doesn't do the trick, schedule an appointment with your doctor.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Lowdown on the 300 Workout

Don't have time to hit the gym 4 or 5 days a week to squeeze in two upper body a lower body and a core workout? Then maybe the 300 Workout (or a variation of it) is for you. This workout is supposedly what Gerard Butler and the rest of the warriors in the movie 300 were put through to get in shape for the movie. Basically, the workout consists of a total of 300 reps of 6 different exercises (50 reps per exercise) done in 30 minutes, two days a week.

Actually according to WebMD, however, Gerard and his Spartan warrior buddies were subjected to 90 minutes to two hours a day, five days a week, plus the same amount of time fight training. The stuntmen trained 90 minutes to two hours, five days a week, and another four to six hours fight training, plus there was a rigid eating plan. The regimen consisted of The regimen was varied based on the person’s starting point. Some days guys did high-intensity circuit training. Some days guys lifted very heavy loads for a few reps. Some days guys did a series of mini workouts that added up to an 'interesting' total load and volume. Some days guys did hard interval training on the Concept II rowing machine. And some days, the exercisers were asked to train for balance by doing their tasks blindfolded. WebMD also points out that the 300 Workout was actually a test that was optional for the actors and stuntmen to take after completing the 8-12 weeks of training. Only half of of the group took the test and only one of the group who took the test was an actor (Andrew Pleavin, who plays Daxos, leader of the Arcadians. He finished in 18 minutes and 11 seconds.)

So don't be fooled by all the hype surrounding the 300 workout. However, don't dismiss it either. There are elements of the 300 Test that can be used to create a great fullbody workout.

The Original 300 Test consisted of 50 reps each of pullups, deadlifts (135lbs), pushups, boxjumps (24" box), floor wipers (135lbs), clean and press (35lbs). I don't think it's good practice to set a standard amount of weight or box height for everyone. Nor do I think it's a good idea (especially initially) to set a time limit for completing the routine. I recommend using a good amount of weight that you can handle for 5o reps. Keep in mind, this is going to be a lighter amount of weight than you'd normally do for a deadlift of 6-12 reps.

Don't be worried about completing the exercises in a certain amount of time. Using good form, try to complete as many reps as you can handle and then move on to the next exercise. Time yourself to see how long it took you and then use that as your reference point. See if next time you can either beat your time or see if you can up your reps. Maybe your "300 Workout" is actually a 150 (25 reps of 6 different exercises).

This type of workout is more focused on power. The reps will be done faster with no break in between the exercises. Because of this it also gives a good cardiovascular workout. It really gets your heart pumping.

I'll never look like Gerard Butler and his warrior buddies in the movie, but I can attest to the fact that the "300 workout" concept definitely gives a good fullbody workout. Because of the fullbody, cardio, and power elements of the workout, it makes a good workout for runners.

My workout buddies and I have tweaked the workout by throwing in different exercises. We're not concerned with completing it in 30 minutes. Another good tip is to break up some of the more difficult exercises. For example, pullups are not my forte', so I start my 300 workout with 25 pullups and then do the remaining 25 at the end. Even the 25 I do in 2 sets of 10 and then one set of 5. Do what works for you. Know your limits. As long as you keep "fullbody" in mind, the sky's the limit to the variety of 6 exercises you can come up with. Here's a few examples:

300 Workot Variation #1
bent over rows
jump squats with a medicine ball
Incline dumbbell Chest Press
Bench Straddle Jumps
Standing Military Press
crunches on stability ball (holding weight plate on chest)

300 Workout Variation #2
back squats
bench press
hanging knee to elbow crunch
jump squats
kettlebell snatches (25 each arm)

How Running Changed My Life: Kirbey's Story

A marriage proposal and a forthcoming wedding motivated this week's Runner of the Week, Kirbey, to dabble in some running. It's been a couple of years since the wedding and she's still running. Read on to find out more about Kirbey and her story. 

My husband proposed to me in December of 2006. Immediately after he proposed, like any normal girl, I began scrambling to plan my wedding. The scariest part of all the stress of planning a wedding was finding the dress. During my first few years of college, I had gained weight and felt down in the dumps about myself. I wasn't happy with my weight, how my clothes fit, and the idea of putting on a wedding dress wasn't appealing. Your wedding day is supposed to be the one day in your life where you feel beautiful. So I made a plan. I knew of one girl that I admired because of how fit she was and I asked one of her friends what she did to stay so fit. She said "she runs... a lot." So I made that my goal.. to run a lot.

I started of running with my best friend. It was winter time when we began and we would bundle up in 30 degree weather and run from our house to the town square. Our longest run was never more than three miles, but I felt like I was really doing something good for myself. In addition to running I began reading about foods that would help me to run better.In general, I was learning how to be a healthier person which in turn made me feel good about myself.

I have not stopped running since. From January 07 until now I run every week. I find that the best way to stay motivated is to set a goal, like a racing distance, and stick with it. I ran my first half- marathon in October 09. I trained by myself the whole time running on country roads where I live. I can't express the feeling of finishing 13.1 miles. It was one of the first times in my life where I voluntarily set my mind to a task bigger than I could imagine and followed through. I love the feeling of accomplishment that running brings. I love upping my mileage and wondering if I can "really run that far" and seeing myself actually do it.

Running really is a confidence booster. I would recommend it to anyone. My next goal is a marathon. I really can't wait to see if I can do it, but I am sure I will surprise myself.