Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Resolutions: Avoid the BOMTICC Syndrome

You can tell it’s the New Year. Just drive by any fitness club or fitness center and the parking lots are packed. The big box gyms are full of well-meaning resolutions of starting the year with a better, healthier, and fitter you.

Drive by the same gyms in 2 months and you’ll see tumbleweeds blowing through the parking lots. The scientific name for the soon-to-be epidemic of bare parking lots is BOMTICC Syndrome (Bite-Off-More-Than-I-Can-Chew- New-Year’s-Resolution Syndrome.) What’s the cause of this peculiar, yet predictable phenomenon? Individuals with unrealistic expectations.

Opting for a healthier you isn’t rocket science but nor should it be an impulse buy standing in line at the super market. The following 10 simple tips will help you avoid becoming the next victim of BOMTICC.
  1.  Be a savvy shopper. Be wary of the memorizing infomercials promising a rock-hard beach body in 6 weeks. Some of the latest Make-You-Fit-Quick products do provide results, but before shelling out a ton of dough, ask yourself if it’s right for you. The product may do as promised and make you leaner and stronger, but are you the type to stick to using an at-home product. Do you have enough drive and internal motivation to pick-it up and use it every day? If not, put the phone down and back away from the TV. Maybe you need to find a gym, fitness center or personal training studio.
  2. Shop around for gyms. Not all gyms are made alike. Some are full of bells and whistles. There’s one huge chain of fitness centers in my area that has a name that puts me off from the get-go. The name itself makes me anxious. Makes me think I have to hurry and get done quickly. It’s also full of bells and whistles that are a little overwhelming. One friend described it to me as a “Chucky-Cheese for Adults.” I chuckled when I heard that, but he was right (for me anyway).  The point is that some gyms provide tons of bells and whistle and that may be just what you need. Other gyms may not have all the fanfare, but may provide more personal service. So, visit more than one gym before purchasing a membership, you may discover that the big box gym isn’t for you at all.
  3. Go small. If you feel lost in a big gym, check out some of the small personal training studios in your area that provide one-on-one or small group training. You may pay a little more because of the one-on-one instruction, but you might be surprised that in some cases, you’re paying no more than what you would for a gym membership and personal training at a big box gym.
  4. Get Educated. If you join a gym, take them up on the free personal training that often comes with a new membership. It may only be a couple of sessions, but take that opportunity to have a personal trainer show you how to use the equipment properly and with proper technique.Also, it's worth paying for a few personal training sessions (if not more) in order to be assured that you're getting well balanced workouts and weekly fitness plans.
  5. Set realistic goals for yourself. Rome wasn’t built in a day and you didn’t get out of shape in a day either. It will take some time to begin seeing some results. Be patient. Make a long term goal as well as several interim short term goals. For example, maybe your long term goal is to lose 40 lbs and run a 10K by this time next year.  Now back up and set short term goals to help you get there. Check with your local running clubs and running stores to see if there are any beginningrunning groups starting in January in your area.  Then set up an appointment with a nutritionist or join a weight-loss support group (free or ones like Weight Watchers). Maybe you want to tackle the beginning running first and then meet with the nutritionist. It’s your decision, but set your plan up in incremental steps. Baby steps.
  6. Brace yourself. Realize that the saying “No pain. No gain.” is pretty much true. That doesn’t mean you should suffer an injury, but if you’ve been a sedentary person, you’re going to feel some discomfort when beginning a new fitness program. The good news is that you will acclimate and that discomfort will subside. Most people suffering from BOMTICC Syndrome never stick with it long enough to experience the pleasure that comes from a good workout. When anyone (athlete or couch potato) increases the intensity of their activity, they’ll feel it. This is called the gain threshold. When you begin a new fitness program, you start it with your current level of fitness. When you add the new stresses on your body, you’ll feel sore and your fitness level will actually dip a little, but if you hang in there and keep up the workouts, in about 4-6 weeks you’ll pull out of that threshold and be stronger than you were when you started the new exercise.
  7. Get your head in the game. Exercise is often as much mental as it is physical. If your head isn’t in the game, you’re not going to be successful. Yes, you’ll have down days. You’ll have days that you “fall off the wagon.” But, if you go into the new life of fitness with a true commitment and positive mental attitude, you’ll be able to pull yourself out of the lows and get back on track.
  8. Tell your family and friends. Saying out loud that you’re going to start a fitness program makes it “more real” to you. Verbalizing it to friends and family makes you more committed to your goal. It ups the accountability level.
  9. Find a workout buddy. Put the word out with your family, friends and colleagues that you’re starting a fitness routine and you’d like some company. It may that little nudge your cubical neighbor at work has been waiting for. Scope out your city for weekly fitness groups or running groups. Groups can help hold you accountable. Plus, you’ll meet new people going through the same struggles. (Be careful to find groups suitable to your fitness level. Hard corps boot camps may not be appropriate for one of your first short term goals.) No such groups in your area? Check with your HR department at work and see if they can provide some fitness classes. Remind them that healthier employees means less sick days taken.
  10. Celebrate the small steps. When you reach those interim goals treat yourself. Not with food, but buy yourself that new pair of jeans or shoes you wanted, treat yourself to a movie (smuggle in your own air-popped popcorn), or take that weekend getaway. Pat yourself on the back and acknowledge your hard work when you reach your goals (big and small).
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    Friday, December 23, 2011

    The Best Christmas Present Ever!

    My Christmas present came a little early this year. Actually it arrived this past Monday in the form of a voice mail message on my cell. The message began, "This is Robin from Dr. Levine's office and he asked me to call and let you know that your melanoma has been completely removed." I was so elated. What an awesome gift! I had an appointment to see Dr. Levine today (Friday) to have him check the incision and share the results from the wide excision done of a melanoma I had on my back, so getting the news 5 days early was such a relief.

    Back on the 14th I posted about my experience with having the wide excision done during what I thought was going to be a consultation. Quite the shock. To read about that experience and how I discovered the mole in the first place, click here.

    I posted about that experience and I'm sharing the good news now for three reasons. First, runners have a higher incident of skin cancer than the average non-runner because of our exposure to the sun. I knew this before discovering I had melanoma, but never really took it seriously. "It won't happen to me. I don't have any family history of skin cancer. I'll put on sun screen next time." I even blogged about the higher chance of skin cancer in runners. But when it came to practicing what I was preaching, I fell short. It took a brick falling on my head (actually a mole on my back) to wake me up to the seriousness of sun exposure.

    Second, skin cancer, when detected early, has a very high cure rate. Runners, be vigilant about regularly checking your body for moles. Know the ABCDEs of Skin Cancer.
    • Asymmetry-Normal moles or freckles are completely symmetrical. If you drew an imaginary line down the center of a normal mole or spot, the two halves would be symmetrical or look the same. With skin cancer, mole or skin spots will look different on each side.
    • Border-A normal mole or spot has even edges. With skin cancer, a mole or spot will have blurry and/or jagged edges.
    • Color-A mole or skin spot with more than one hue is suspicious and needs to be checked by a doctor. Normal moles and/or skin spots are usually one color. This can include lightening or darkening of the mole.
    • Diameter-If a mole or skin spot is larger than a pencil eraser (about 1/4 inch or 6mm), you need to have it checked out by a doctor. This even includes moles and skin spots that do not have any other abnormalities (color, border, asymmetry).
    • Elevation- Elevation refers to a mole that is raised above the surface and has an uneven surface. 

    Use the ABCDEs of Skin Cancer as a guide in initially evaluating moles and skin spots on your body. But if you have any doubts, GO TO THE DOCTOR! Moles may never change, they make take a long time to change, or they can change fairly quickly. My mole began to change rather quickly. Problem was I couldn't see it. It was in the center of my back. Luckily my wife noticed the sudden change.

    Third, you can drastically decrease your chances of skin cancer by wearing sunblock and/or sunscreen with an spf of 15 or higher.  Cover as much exposed skin as possible and wear a hat and sunglasses. My dermatologist it trying to get me to set a new trend among runners by wearing a big floppy hat. I'm not quite to the floppy hat stage yet, but I'm definitely now a daily wearer of sunblock.

    Below is a sketch showing what was involved in the wide excision done to remove the skin around the melanoma on my back, followed by two photos of the incision on my back after the procedure. The first picture shows the size of the elliptical patch of skin about 2.25" wide and 4.25" long that was removed.

    An excision is different than shaving off a mole or freezing the mole off. A wide excision is done after the mole has been removed and biopsied. If the biopsy reveals skin cancer, especially melanoma, then a wide excision is often done to remove the skin from around the area of the original mole. The entire layer of skin (down to the muscle is removed. Then the site is sutured. My wide excision had at least two layers of internal sutures and then the outer skin was closed using  steri-strips (see the middle picture below).

    If you have a suspicious mole, don't let the pictures above keep you from getting it checked. I can think of a 1000 things I'd rather do than have a wide excision done, but I did it. The initial shots to deaden the area were the worst of the procedure. Honestly, I didn't feel much after that. The following week, my back was a little sore and I couldn't do much twisting or turning. My clients in the studio this week were awesome and helped out with toting weights around and re-racking them for me. I only needed the pain meds the doc prescribed me once and that was just the first night and it was more to help me sleep than for intense pain.

    So check those moles frequently and slather on the sunblock!! I'm a practice-what-I-preacher now!

    Saturday, December 17, 2011

    Sports Bras Vs. Speedos

    Ever wonder how running differs between the sexes? Check this out! The information is brought to you by

    Running Music for a better running experience!

    Twitter Road Race

    Doug Cassaro

    The following is being reposted from fellow blogger Doug Cassaro's blog-I don't wear headphones when I run.It's such a great idea I thought I'd share his idea by reposting it on RunnerDude's Blog. Read on to learn about the Twitter Road Race..... 

    If you're like me, you're always trying to find a way to keep running fresh. You run a different route. You hit the trails instead of the road. You run in the morning instead of the evening. You join a running group. The list goes on and on. 

    I got to thinking about how it would be fun to combine the camaraderie of road racing with the powers of Twitter...a twitter road race! 

    Thanks to everyone's amazing feedback on Twitter, the race is on! Those that are interested in participating can register here. The 1st Twitter Road Race is going to be held on Saturday, January 21st. Race distance is a 5K. 

    So, what do you do on race day? Simple, head out the door and run the race distance! Choose which ever route you want. You get to decide how easy or hard the course is. 

    When you finish, there will be a form similar to the one you used to register where you can record you finishing time. I will post that form as race day nears. To be classified as an "official" finisher, you MUST submit your time on the date of the race. Also, don't forget to tweet about your run using the hashtag #TwitterRoadRace so everyone can read how you did! 

    I will post the results for the race within 24 hours. 

    The goal of this race is to create a new and fun way to connect with all the awesome runners on Twitter. It's a way for us all to run together even though we might live on separate sides of the country. 

    I welcome any and all comments/suggestions for this race. Please spread the word to all your followers on Twitter! I'm leaning on you guys to help get this race trending! Don't forget to use #TwitterRoadRace when you tweet! 

    You guys rock! Can't wait for January 21st! Happy running! 


    Wednesday, December 14, 2011

    Not Just a Statistic

    “Statistic.” On the surface it’s a fairly cold word. Bland data. Heartless. Void of feeling. Just a number. About a month ago, during a doctor appointment, I became a statistic. Like a light bulb that shatters from a surge of electricity when you flip the switch, I realized that all those statistics actually represent people and suddenly, way out of left field, I was one of them.

    What had begun as a routine follow-up visit at the dermatologist ended up something way beyond routine. The doc was checking to see how the medicine she prescribed for some dry skin on my face was working. She was really pleased to see it had cleared up. Upbeat and chipper, she asked if there was anything else, I needed.  I asked if she would mind taking a look at a mole on my back that my wife had encouraged me to get checked. The previous upbeat tempo of the earlier conversation came to an abrupt halt as if a thief had just walked into the room.  

    After lifting my shirt, I heard nothing. Silence.  That nothingness was the thief that had crept into the examining room just a second or two earlier, stealing all the air out of the room. I couldn’t breathe. When my lungs finally expanded, I realized the doc was asking if anyone in my family had skin cancer.  I said, “Not that I know of,” but soon realized that no sound was coming out of my mouth. I eventually managed to eek out an audible, response.  She asked how long I'd had the mole.  I told her that I had noticed it about six months ago and at the time had my family doc look at it. He thought it was okay, but said to keep an eye on it. 

    The mole was in the center I my back; I actually couldn’t see it. So, like so many things….out of sight, out of mind. I had forgotten about it. But earlier in the week, my wife saw me changing shirts and said, “You really need to get that checked again.”  I told this to the doc and she said, “Your wife probably just saved your life.” She had me roll over, injected the area in question with something to numb the skin and proceeded to scooped out a pretty good chunk of me to send off to the lab. She wouldn’t, couldn’t, confirm anything, but said that I’d get the results back next week from the lab.

    Luckily, I didn't have to wait that long. The doc called me personally the next day. The news hit me like a brick. Melanoma. The rarest and most aggressive type of skin cancer. Numb, I asked her what the next steps were. She explained that she’d make an appointment for me with a surgeon at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Hospital in Winston Salem. They would more than likely do a more invasive removal of the skin from around the area the mole was located and possibly inject radioactive dye into the area to see if it drained to a lymph node. If it did, a biopsy would be done of the lymph node. If cancer was found in that lymph node, then the surrounding lymph nodes would be removed and probably other types of more rigorous treatments would be implemented. The phone call ended with, “Your wife really did just save your life.”

    Stunned….a statistic….a number, but determined I waited for the consultation with the doc at the Cancer Center at Wake Forest Baptist Hospital. 

    After a long 4 weeks, the consultation finally took place today. Well, I thought it was going to be a consultation. Turned out the doctor at the cancer center wanted to do the procedure today. A little shocked and overwhelmed, I headed to the operating room with my wife. I was a trooper and with my wife's support I did well during the surgery.

    With a rather large hunk of me missing, I’m now the proud owner of a 5” incision down the center of my back. I’ll know in about a week if the tests come back negative.  As I tell my runners when in training… "Trust. Believe. CONQUER!” That’s exactly how I plan to tackle this unexpected life-bump in the road.

    About a year ago, I posted on the blog an article I’d written title “Runners!Block That Sun!" never knowing I’d be writing about me. Please read that article and re-read it if you’ve already read it. Runners do tend to have a higher incidence of skin cancer. I’m proof of that. Also, check your body thoroughly (everywhere) for moles. Have your doc check them out. If you don’t have a spouse or significant other, get a running buddy to check your back. Like I said, I can’t see the spot where mine was located. Don’t let modesty keep you from finding a questionable mole. If you’re a runner, it’s probably a good idea to have your doc check your moles at least once a year.  And heed the words of wisdom my doc gave me as I left the hospital today, “You now love sun block. You will wear sun block every day. Sun Block is your best friend.”

    RunnerDude's Blog is Clean!

    If you visited the blog yesterday, you probably got a message that warned you not to go to the blog that it was known to distribute malware. I was just as shocked as you to get such a message.

    I pride myself on being very careful with the blog and very selective on the content I put on the blog. Unfortunately there are lots of "bad guys" out there up to their malicious tricks. So, I quickly got to work tracking down the problem.

    I discovered that in the section of the blog where I list other running blogs that I follow, one of those blogs had been severely hacked. Having a link to that blog caused the warning to appear if you tried to visit RunnerDude's Blog yesterday.

    I removed the link and resubmitted my blog to Google for review and it was cleared and put back online. So please feel free to visit the blog. I apologize for any worries this may have caused.

    Because I now have a heightened sense of security, I've made the comments portion on each post on an approval basis. So, please still leave your awesome and helpful comments. I'll read each one and weed out the obvious risks.

    Don't forget to enter the current two giveaways on the blog! First, if you need a new pair of running shoes, be sure to enter the drawing for a free pair of running shoes sponsored by Sears!!! (Click here to Enter!) Then if you're looking for a challenging marathon to run, be sure to enter for a chance to win a free entry to the Blue Ridge Marathon! (Click Here to Enter!)

    Thanks again for your loyal support and readership!

    Friday, December 9, 2011

    8 Tips to Squeeze Your Runs in When You Travel

    Find it hard to get your runs in when you travel? With a little advance planning, getting in those runs might be easier than you think. Below are eight tips to help you squeeze in the runs while on the road.

    1. Check at the Front Desk
    Staying at a hotel? Check with the front desk or concierge to see if they know of any running routes in the area. Many times they’ll even have a map of a walking and/or running route in or near the hotel. They may also have information on local running groups and weekly group runs. I’ve done this several times and more times than not, they have information to share.

    2. Use the Fitness Center
    Most major hotels provide a fitness room. Some are better than others, but most include a treadmill. It may not be glamorous or very stimulating, but if it’s raining out, snowing, or you’re in an area not conducive to running, then treadmill is a great option. If treadmill running is boring to you, try doing increasing the incline of the treadmill to simulate hill intervals. Do 45 seconds at a 5 to 7 degree incline then 45 seconds at 0. Repeat five to 10 times. Or try doing an interval workout. Run fast/slow intervals such as 5-minutes fast and 1-minute slow for five cycles. That makes a great 30-minute treadmill workout. (Click here for a hill workout on the treadmill.) Your hotel not have a fitness room? Check with the front desk and see if there is a gym nearby. Many gyms will let you purchase a daily pass. Some hotels even have relationships with local gyms where you’re able to attend free or for a nominal fee.

    3. Google Local Running Stores
    Most major cities have running stores. Take a few moments to Google "running store" and the city you’re visiting. Look for listings of the independent running stores in the area. Then check out their websites. Many local running stores will post information about weekly group runs. If in doubt about suitability for your pace or fitness level, just give the store a call.

    4. Check out the Social Scene
    There are several social sites such as Athlinks, DailyMile, SeriousRunning and the community boards that cater to runners. These sites are free and are kind of like a Facebook for runners. After creating a profile, you can search runners by location and then contact individuals and ask if they know of any good running routes in the area. Most of these sites also contain an online log where you can keep track of your daily/weekly workouts as well as keep your with your race results.

    For RunnerDude's remaining 4 tips on how to squeeze in a run while traveling, go to

    Tuesday, December 6, 2011

    The Blue Ridge Marathon: Are You Ready?

    Runners, are you looking for a BIGGER challenge?  Here’s an offer just for you!
    Picture this -- a cool breeze at your back, the scent of blossoming flowers, “purple mountain’s majesty” in front of you…and the SEARING pain in your quads with each and every stride down this effing mountain! 
    Don’t come to Roanoke, Virginia to enjoy a relaxing weekend; come to see just how much the National College Blue Ridge Marathon can kick your butt.  

    If you’re one of the growing population of marathoners seeking challenging marathons to test your mental and physical endurance, you may have noticed a rivalry quickly building between the National College Blue Ridge Marathon in Roanoke, Virginia and the TMC Mount Lemmon Marathon in Tucson, Arizona.  Both races claim to be America’s toughest road marathon. 

    When organizers of the Blue Ridge Marathon learned about Mount Lemmon’s claim they issued a challenge to “let the runners decide which is tougher”, and they backed their challenge by offering free entries into their race to anyone who had just completed the Mount Lemmon Marathon.

    About 20 runners accepted the offer and hit the pavement this past April. After the race, organizers showed some southern hospitality by treating the Mount Lemmon runners to breakfast at Thelma’s Chicken and Waffles.  Those who know Thelma’s would argue this was a bribe…and that may be the case. Regardless after experiencing 26.2 miles of elevation change, pounding rain and hail, and a course that trekked through the downtown area, followed a river, climbed the mountain, and took runners back down the mountain, runners were asked to share their experience.  Here’s what they had to say:

    Congrats to Brad Rennick, the Winner of A Free Entry to 
    the Blue Ridge Marathon! 
    And a big thanks to the Blue Ridge Marathon race director for providing such an awesome giveway for the blog!
    For more information on the two races 
    National College Blue Ridge Marathon
    Roanoke, Virginia
    TMC Mount Lemmon Marathon
    Tucson, Ariz.
    Three mountains to ascend and descend, totaling 7,200 feet of elevation change.
    Gradual climb of 6,000 feet.

    Friday, December 2, 2011

    Pick the Shoe That's Right for You

    RunnerDude's Blog is really pleased to say that this post has been sponsored by Sears. Sears has asked RunnerDude's Blog to help spread the word about it's new initiative "Sears Fitness First" and the fact that you can find all the shoes you need to help get fit and maintain a healthy lifestyle right at Sears.  Runners, you'll find brands like New Balance, Reebok, Asics and more. In addition to offering a great array of running shoes to chose from, Sears has also produced a series of videos hosted by celebrity trainer Brett Hoebel. You may remember him as one of the celebrity trainers from last season's The Biggest Loser.

    Also, be sure to check out the Sears Fitness First button/link in the top right-hand sidebar of the blog for a quick link to the Sears Fitness First website.

     Sears Sponsored Shoe Giveaway!
    Congrats to Jay De Boer, Winner of the Free Running Shoes Giveaway Drawing Sponsored by Sears Fitness First! 

    Still Not Sure What Shoe is Best for You?

    As a running coach who works with a great deal of new runners, I've discovered there are three camps when it comes to new runners and running shoes. Some newbies come to the sport with no clue they need a good quality running shoe. They show up in their 5-year-old knock-about-sneakers. Other new runners figure they need new shoes, so they buy what looks cool or what matches their outfit. And still others know a little about the different types of running shoes, but have no idea what they need and are overwhelmed by all the terms and lingo associated with running shoes.

    Who'd a thunk that something that goes on your feet could be so technical and have become such a huge industry—about $4 billion a year in America. Buying new running shoes can be fun, exciting, frustrating, and expensive—especially for newcomers. Once you start looking for a pair, you quickly get bombarded with terms like, overpronator, supinator, motion-control, neutral, semi-curved last, curved last, midsole, yada, yada, yada. So how do you know which shoe is right for you?

    To be competitive, shoe companies have added all sorts of bells and whistles to their running shoe lines. As a runner, especially a new runner, be careful not to let the cool features keep you from purchasing the shoe that best fits your foot type.

    In order to do that, you need to know a little about your foot type. There's a really simple test you can do to determine this. All you need is a brown paper grocery bag, a cotton ball, and some cooking oil. Lay the bag flat on the floor. Using a cotton ball, spread a thin layer of cooking oil on the bottom of both feet (bare). Next, carefully step onto the bag to make a set of footprints.

    Now examine your prints and compare them to the illustration.
    • Solid print—you're what is known as an overpronatorThis usually means you have a very low arch or "flat feet." When you run your foot tends to roll too far inward. Pronation in itself is not a problem, but runners with flat feet, tend to pronate too much and need a more rigid shoe that provides stability or good motion control.  
    • Slight curve—you're referred to as neutral. This means you have a regular arch and you're a normal pronator. You're the lucky runner in that you can run in most any type of running shoe. A bigger or heavier neutral runner may want a shoe with some stability, while a smaller/lighter runner may benefit from a neutral shoe with some cushion.
    • Large curve—you're an underpronator (or a supinator). Basically, underpronators have high arches. Underpronators can experience too much shock in the leg because the excessively high arch prevents normal shock absorption. A regular arch will collapse a little during the foot strike absorbing some of the shock. To help aid in the shock absorption, underpronators need a neutral shoe with extra cushion.
    Another test you can do is to have a running buddy check your stance. Stand upright in bare feet. Be sure to stand in your usual standing posture. Don't try to correct anything. Have your buddy stand behind you and observe the position of your lower legs and ankles. If your ankles roll inward like the first picture, chances are you're an overpronator. If your stance is pretty straight with no inward or outward lean at the ankle, chances are you're neutral. And, if your ankles tend to roll outward like the third picture, chances are you're an underpronator.

    None of these self-checks are 100% foolproof, they're just merely simple checks to help lead you to the right shoe. The best option is to visit your local running store and have them check your footstrike and running gate. And the best test of all is to buy a shoe that feels great from the get-go.  

    Another thing to keep in mind is the height of the shoe's heel. A shoe with a bigger heel-to-toe drop tends to promote heel-striking which can lead to injury, if it's severe. Traditional running shoes on average have a 12-13mm drop from the heel to the toe. A shoe that has a heel-drop lower than that will help to promote more of a midfoot landing, helping you work more with the road as you run instead of against it.

    Once you've determined your specific needs and you're ready to try on some shoes, be sure you do it in the afternoon, after you've been on your feet all day. You'd be surprised how much difference there is in your feet from the beginning of the day to the end. If you buy shoes in the morning you may be surprised that they feel too tight when you go for your afternoon run the next day. Also, make sure your shoes fit snugly in the heel and give you enough room in the toe box. Buying a shoe is often a lot of trial and error, but hopefully this information will help you find the shoe just right for you.

    When should you replace your shoes? Rule of thumb is your shoes should be replaced about every 300-500 miles. This varies from runner to runner. A larger runner may breakdown his/her shoes more quickly and may need new shoes closer to the 300-mile mark while a lighter runner may make it closer to the 500-mile mark.

    Wednesday, November 30, 2011

    More Great Holiday Gift Ideas for Runners!

    Is your spouse, significant other, sibling, best friend, boss, colleague, or neighbor-down-the-street a runner? Are you at a loss for what gift to give them for the holidays? If so, then check out the gift suggestions below. From the practical, to the indulgent, to the whimsical, there's something for every runner in your life. Check it out!

    This new line of technical running tops shorts, and other running apparel is perfect for the art lover, tattoo lover, or someone who just likes to add a little flare to their running attire. I've tested the shirts, shorts, and sleeves and they wear great. INKnBURN uses fabrics that are moisture wicking, light and they breathe -- helping you stay comfortable as you achieve your peak performance. Their proprietary technique for getting art on their apparel creates vivid and powerful designs that you can’t feel, and that do not compromise the performance of the fabric. Their designs are all about personal strength and performance. Don’t disappear into the crowd... Distance yourself with INKnBURN and the Art of Running.  

    Knuckle Lamps
    With the innovative Knuckle Lamps, you get two lights that provide 45 lumens per light, a wide beam, included batteries, free shipping, a 5-year warranty, and a money back guarantee. What more could you ask for? I've tested these lights and they work great. I was worried that them beams may move too much and bother me, but what I got instead was a wide steady beam. They fit securely over your knuckles in a way that you don't have to "hold" them. They just stay in place. They are also very light weight and you forget they are there once you begin your run. So, if day is running in the dark, keep him safe and get him a pair of Knuckle Lights.

    Loop Nano
    The Loop Nano is a one piece silicone watchband that seamlessly integrates the 6th generation iPod Nano into a high-end time piece. Together they become a single entity, their form and function wrapped into a truly unique comfortable, and stylish wrist watch.

    Hood to Coast
    On January 11th, 2011, runners and athletes nationwide made their way to see the world’s largest relay race in movie theaters for a Special, One-Night Only screening. The special showing was such a hit that an encore showing took place in February, 2011. Now this awesome documentary can be purchased on DVD and Blu-ray. HOOD TO COAST is an inspiring new documentary that follows four teams with various levels of athletic ability on their epic journey to conquer the world’s largest relay race. Some run to test their personal limits, some to overcome personal obstacles, and others leap in blindly looking for a way to shake up a complacent life. As we follow these four teams, we realize that winning isn’t everything in a film that takes a celebratory look at personal motivation and attempting the extraordinary. Hood to Coast is among my favorite documentary and running-related movies.
    You can order a 2-Disc Special Edition DVD ($21.95) or Blue-ray ($27.95). Includes over 95 minutes of extras. Free shipping! Click here for more info.

    Hood To Coast Movie Trailer #2 for Race Website from Film For Thought on Vimeo.

    This cool "low-tech" tool is a must-have for any runner. Touted as the "Portable, Personal Massage Tool" it's exactly what it promises to be. The FlexMassager is the brain child of Steve and Lee, a father and son team who both enjoy outdoor activities and endurance sports. They needed something that was lightweight and compact enough to take on a backpacking trip, but could also provide an amazing massage. After about a year of tinkering in their garage, the FlexMassager was born. It provides deep tissue massage as well as a softer skin massage, and it can fit in your running bag easily! Or, just toss it in your car to have handy after your long run. I personally have a FlexMassager and use it frequently after runs. I also keep it by be desk in the studio. It's great for relaxing tense muscles from sitting at the computer too long. I also use it on my feet to prevent from getting plantar fasciitis. Click here to find out more about the FlexMassager. 

    Amphipod Hydration Belt
    If your runner is a distance runner he/she definitely needs a source of hydration on those long runs. I've never been a big fan of hydration belts until I discovered the Full-Tilt-Velocity belt by Amphipod. The belt allows the bottle to lay flat and stay secure. No jiggles. I promise. The Amphipod bottles are great too. They do not leak. I've had one bottle from a handheld model for over 8 years and it's still as water tight as the day I bought it. Check it out!
    Personalized BibFOLIO

    Almost every runner that races keeps their race bibs as a memento of their hard work. Usually they get stuffed in a drawer, in a shoe box, or in a file folder. Surprise your runner with a truly unique gift, a BibFolio. This one-of-a-kind display holder will house their bibs so they they can be displayed proudly and viewed often. There are several styles to choose from, many of which can be personalized with your runner's name and/or photograph. I have a BibFolio of my own, and it truly is a cool way to keep track of your races. Check them out here!
    Feetures! Elite Socks
    I've worn many different brands of socks, but by far, my favorite is Feetures! Every runner needs socks and can never have enough. I've worn several styles from Feetures and love them all, but my favorite is the Elite. It's their most technically advanced sock. The Sock-Lock support system works to make your foot and sock one. The light cushion of the sock features high density cushioning in just the right spots. The Power Arch is anatomically constructed to provide targeted support where it's needed most. Anatomical right and left foot design enhances fit, delivering maximum protection by helping to eliminate blisters. iWick fibers wick moisture to keep feet dry and odor free. Stinkless socks? That's enough reason to buy them right there! Check them out!

    Saucony's ViZiPRO High Performance Reflective Clothing and Gear
    Where competing high-visibility apparel falls short, ViZiPRO shines. Made with soft, moisture-wicking Drylete, crisp reflective accents and high-quality stitching makes this night-time line extremely comfortable to wear. I personally wear the Epic Run Vest and love it. It's breathable, yet at the same time keeps the penetrating wind and cold out. It's perfect for all the night time winter running I have to do. From shoes, to gloves, to vests, to jackets, to hats, check out the entire line.
    Sprinter Headlamp by Black Diamond
    Along with reflective gear (so motorists can see your favorite runner), your runner also needs to see where he/she is going! The Sprinter Headlamp by Black Diamond is a great option weighing only 3.5oz. It has a very bright light (around 70 lumens) which well let you see about 150 feet ahead and best of all the light is focused on the ground right around your feet and a few strides ahead, perfect for runners. The headlamp also comes with a blinking red light positioned on the back strap making it a great safety feature. Probably the best feature of all is that the lamp is rechargeable. There's no batteries!! Check it out here!

    Lululemon Athletica Apparel
    My favorite: Run Response Short
    About a year ago, a running buddy of mine had on a really cool pair of running shorts. They had pockets and the legs were a little longer and slimmer than most running shorts. The fabric looked awesome too. I didn't recognize the brand symbol so I asked him about them. He told me they were his Lulus. I said, "What?!" He said the brand was Lululemon. He was on a trip with some running buddies and the ladies in the group took him and the other guys into the Lululemon Athletica shop. They told him the company was known for their great yoga apparel, but that they had really great running clothes too. He tried on a the pair of shorts and was sold. Shortly after, I ordered a pair too. They are awesome. Recently Lululemon sent me more styles to test out and they too are amazing. (Stay tuned for my upcoming review.) Their clothes are a little pricey, but the quality and comfort is amazing. Check them out!
    TASC Running Apparel
    Another one of my favorite lines of running apparel (Thriv) now has a new name, TASC Performance. TASC stands for "Technical All Season Comfort" and I couldn't agree more. The company originated with one mission - the reinvention of performance apparel. After 2.5 years of research, development, and engineering, they brought the performance market something completely new and revolutionary with their first generation Bamboo Performance Technology line - Thriv. TASC Performance has taken that original technology and incorporated new fabric structures, fiber blends and technical details and is now staging a coup d' etat on the performance apparel industry. The other great thing is they now have Men's size small!!! (I'm a little dude and originally the Thriv brand only offered mediums as the smallest size for men, but that's all changed.) There are many different styles for men and women to choose from. I've recently tested and really like the Hybrid Fitted SS Crew. This shirt (see photo) has a snug fit making it perfect for a base layer. It's moisture wicking abilities are awesome. That's saying a lot coming from a guy who starts to sweat as soon as his foot hits the ground. The fabric is very soft and non abrasive. I like the snugger fit of the SS Crew as a base layer because it really helps prevent chafing. Don't worry, there are looser fitting options too. Go ahead...check them out!

    Great Stocking Stuffer Ideas!

    Ultra Pocket Hat
    The Ultra Pocket Hat from Gone For A Run has two zippered pockets perfect for keys, gels, ID, money, etc. The pockets feature a velcro closure and holds contents securely and comfortably. Its aerodynamic construction, ventilated mesh side panels, reflective safety piping, moisture wicking material along with these patented outer pockets make this hat a top choice for athletes. 
    The   WristSTASH Sweatband Wrist Wallet, also from Gone for a Run is also a great option. You can easily slide your money, music, key and credit card inside and then zip it up to keep it secure. It's woven from soft recycled cotton terry. The Terry cloth is also great for wiping the sweat off your face and forehead during a run. 
    Shoe Pouch
    The Shoe Pouch from RoadID is another a great option. The pouch is versatile, durable, and will keep its contents dry in its water resistant ripstop nylon pouch. It easily attaches to your shoe laces with a velcro strap. Also, if you already own a Sport ID from RoadID, you can easily attach it to the Shoe Pouch having it double as a form of ID as well as a storage place for keys and money. 

    Micropack Land Sport Pack
    The Micropack Land Sport Pack from Amphipod is a great option for key storage while on the run. The patented lock-on design of this handy pocket/pouch clamps directly to waistband, securely attaching without confining or chafing. You can stash keys, cash, ID, credit cards, energy food or sunglasses while on the run without bouncing and jingling.


    NipGuards have revolutionized the market for protectdion against painful nipple chafing and abrasion. Ask any runner, they'll know what you're talking about. Over 1 million NipGaurds have been successfully used since 1999. Each disposable pair of NipGuards is good for one workout-typically a long distance run or compteition.

    Grabber Hand Warmers
     Does your runner suffer from cold hands on winter runs? It can really make a long run miserable. Air-activated, Grabber Hand Warmers keep hands and fingers toasty for over 10 hours. New and Improved! Now 20% larger and lasts 40% longer! These handy portable heat generating packets fit in the palm of your hand.  Perfect for those long cold runs! Check them out! You'll also find Foot Warmers too!

    Every runner needs pre- and post-run nutrition to support support their activity. I've recently tested and reviewed PR* Bar and highly recommend them to runners. If you're looking for a nutrition bar that tastes good and really does provide a great source of energy and will help improve performance, then give PR*Bar a try. They're even the offical bar of the U.S. Olympic Team! Check them out!

    Warrior Training Bracelet
    These cool leather training bracelets are made to wear while running, cycling, working out, sweating, racing, or all day long. Each features a positive and powerful keyword or phrase to help you train, perform, and live with greater strength of body and mind. Mine says "Persevere." Check them out at

    Yurbud Earphones 
    For as long as I can remember, I've had a hard time finding earbuds that would fit my little ears. Finally I discovered Yurbuds! Yurbuds twist lock into place for a secure fit that never falls out even under the most intense workout conditions. I know. I've tried it! They're ergonomically designed to avoid nerve rich areas of the ear and they're made with medical grade silicone. And best of all, they keep the sweat out! Check them out!     
    Note: The runner gift recomendations above are purely based on my personal opinion. I was not paid by any of the featured companies to list their products nor was I encouraged in any way to write a positive review or to list positive comments about the featured products.

    Sunday, November 27, 2011

    No-Cost and Low-Cost Key-Storing Tips for Runners!

    One of the most annoying and pesky parts of running, has nothing to do with running. It has to do with your keys. Where do you put your car or house key while you're running? Believe me I've had my fare share of locking myself out of the car at the park and having to call home to be picked up. And unfortunately, unless your car is a 20-year-old junker and you're trying to get it stolen, leaving the key on a tire or in the bumper isn't really a wise idea. It's the first place most thieves look.

    Below are several ways (frugal freebies and ready-to-purchase products) to help you safely keep track of your keys while on the run.

    1. String it! Secure your key to your running shorts by sliding one end of the draw cord (in waistband of your running shorts) through the hole in the key. Pull the key all they way down to your waist band, then tie a half-knot with the same string just above the key. Next, use both strings to tie a bow as if you were tying a kid's shoe. Double-knot the bow for extra security. The double-knotted bow and the half-knot on the one lace gives you three layers of security! 

    2. Lace it! If you don't like the feel of the key at your waist, then try using basically the same method but on a shoelace. Remove one lace from the last hole, slide the key onto the lace, then thread the lace back through the last hole. Next, tie your shoe and double knot the bow.  If the key bobs up and down while running, try sliding the end of the key beneath one of the criss-crossed laces.

    3. Pocket it! Most running shorts today have a little key pocket inside the waistband. This is great, however many times it's either too big or too small. Unless the pocket is zippered, don't rely on the pocket alone for securing the key. Reinforce the opening with a safety pin. 
    4. Hair it! Ladies (or men), if you have long hair, you have the perfect place to store a key! Secure your key to a stretchy hair band by pulling one end of a head band through the key hole to make a small loop on the other end of the key hole. Then insert the other end of the stretchy band through the small loop and pull. Viola! The key is secured. Now use the band as you normally would to put your hair into a ponytail. Don't have long hair? No problem! After securing the key to the band, slip it onto your wrist and wear it like a bracelet, or just safety pin the band to your shirt or shorts. 

    5. Buy it! Today there are several different products on the market aimed at helping you keep track of your keys! Check out some of my favorites below! These inexpensive options also make great holiday and/or birthday gifts for the runner in the family.

    The Ultra Pocket Hat from Gone For A Run has two zippered pockets perfect for keys, gels, ID, money, etc. The pockets feature a velcro closure and holds contents securely and comfortably. Its aerodynamic construction, ventilated mesh side panels, reflective safety piping, moisture wicking material along with these patented outer pockets make this hat a top choice for athletes. 
    The Shoe Pouch from RoadID is another a great option. The pouch is versatile, durable, and will keep its contents dry in its water resistant ripstop nylon pouch. It easily attaches to your shoe laces with a velcro strap. Also, if you already own a Sport ID from RoadID, you can easily attach it to the Shoe Pouch having it double as a form of ID as well as a storage place for keys and money. 

    The Micropack Land Sport Pack from Amphipod is a great option for key storage while on the run. The patented lock-on design of this handy pocket/pouch clamps directly to waistband, securely attaching without confining or chafing. You can stash keys, cash, ID, credit cards, energy food or sunglasses while on the run without bouncing and jingling.