Monday, March 28, 2011

And the Winner of the Saucony Peregrine Trail Shoes Is...

A big congratulations goes to Brian Weitz the winner of the Saucony Peregrine trail shoes! The contest had a huge response and I thank each and every participant for their support of the blog and their support of Saucony. Speaking of Saucony....a big shout out to them for their support and their providing such an awesome prize. If you haven't done so yet, be sure to check out and like their Facebook page.

Stay tuned for more exciting prize giveaways on RunnerDude's Blog in the near future!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Anytime Anywhere Speed Workout

This completed the second week working with my intermediate running group. Most of the participants are running 3-5 miles and they're ready for the next level. The 12-week program introduces the runners to a variety of "quality workouts" such as warm-up drills, fartleks, hills, and tempo runs. We meet twice a week and begin each workout with a 10-exercise core workout followed by a warm-up and some running drills, followed by the featured "quality workout" for the week. This week we did landmark and timed fartleks.

After Friday night's workout, I went home to feast on a crock pot of beanie weenies (turkey franks) that I fixed earlier in the day. I must have been really hungry, cause I ate two large bowls with two hunks of cornbread. The dining experience gave a whole new meaning to the term "fartlek." It had its benefits though, because for some reason I found myself enjoying the solitude of the family room later that evening. Sitting in front of the wide screen with the food network blaring, I soon drifted off to lala land where I dreamed that Rachael Ray had discovered my Rice-n-Bean Burrito recipe and was coming to the studio for a visit. This was one of those dreams so realistic that when you wake up you're not sure if it really happened or not. Of course the fact that Rachael Ray was coming to visit me should have been the immediate clue that it was just a dream, but one can be delusional if he wants, just for a little while, right?

Back to quality workouts and fartleks. Fartlek is a Swedish word for speed-play. Basically a fartlek is an informal interval thrown into a regular run. Sounds complicated, but all you do is speed up for a certain amount of time or distance during a regular run. They can be short (200-400m). They can be long (800m or 1/2mile). You can throw them in at the beginning, middle, or throughout. You can use landmarks to determine when you start and end the fartlek (i.e. run to the next block, or the next mailbox) or you can time them (run easy for 5 minutes and run fast for 1 minute). You're in control.

The other great thing about fartleks is that you don't need a track or a hill. No special location needed. The street right in front of your house will do. It's the perfect anytime, anywhere speed workout.

So why fartlek? Adding bursts of speed during a run is a great way to help increase your overall pace and endurance. It helps to increase your VO2Max (your body's ability to utilize oxygen at the muscle layer to make energy) and push out your lactate threshold (the point when you feel that burn in your legs). Also, if you've stagnated in your running and just can't seem to go faster or further, adding a weekly fartlek will soon have you out of that rut. Another cool outcome to a run with fartleks is looking at your time after you finish. You'll be amazed at how fast you just ran your usual 5-miler.

So, give it a try. Add some fartleks to one of your weekly runs. Who knows, you may even dream about Rachael Ray afterwards, or maybe that has to be in combination with a pot of beanie weenies.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

And the Winner Is....

Congratulations to Elizabeth Fuller, the winner of the free pair of CEP Running Progressive Compression Socks! I'd like to thank CEP Socks and for providing such an awesome prize! Also, be sure to check out the new website as well as looking them up on Twitter and Facebook. Stay tuned tomorrow win the winner of the Saucony Peregrine trail shoes will be announced.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

New Runners and the Dennis the Menace Syndrome

One of the best parts of the church service each Sunday, is the children's sermon. Every Sunday, one of a handful of brave souls attempts to give a meaningful and entertaining talk to about 20 youngsters gathered on the steps of the alter at the front of the sanctuary. In my previous life, I was a 5th grade teacher, so I'm very familiar with how difficult it can be to keep 10- and 11-year-olds captivated. The weekly children's sermon, however, can have toddlers up to 5th grade. Many of these inquisitive little ones love to monopolize the conversation talking about the latest toy they just got, telling on their siblings, or sharing some embarrassing moment about mom or dad, all to the delight of the congregation.

This past Sunday was especially entertaining. There was one blond headed little boy sitting at the bottom of the steps just behind the prayer rail. This Dennis the Menace reincarnate, had spied something of interest, so I watched to see what his keen eye had uncovered. Just behind the rail was a small glass communion cup that must have fallen off the rail from a previous communion Sunday. He picked up the delicate little cup and held it up to his eye like a monocle. As if at the opera, he peered though his makeshift spyglass at the congregation. I could tell something was wrong. As he turned toward my direction, I saw the problem. The bottom of the glass was smeared with some remaining sticky grape juice. Well, you could immediately see the wheels turning beneath that little blond mop. I looked over at his parents sitting at the other end of the pew. Their look of horror on their faces, was priceless and I knew they too were aware of what was coming next. Down came the monocle and in went a curious little index finger to the bottom of that glass, then out of the glass and yep, right into the kid's mouth. At this point, I heard a low groan from his mother. My wife and I could hardly keep the pew from shaking due to our internal giggling. As "Dennis" removed his finger from his mouth, he spotted the piercing eyes of his mother and he quickly returned the little glass and directed his gaze upon the face of the children's sermon leader.

New runners often have a little "Dennis" in them when it comes to their new activity. They see where they want to be in their running and sometimes are tempted to take a few injury-promoting risks to get there.

One of the most satisfying things about being a running coach is helping new runners. It's kind of like when I taught 5th grade and I'd see the light finally come on for a kid struggling with a concept. When a struggling new runner sticks with it and gets past that initial hump and really begins to enjoy the run, it warms my heart. A very cool moment to share with a client.

It often takes a couple of months of running before a newcomer feels good with his/her first couple of miles. Once they finally get to a point where they're feeling good on their runs, they're kind of like that little boy in the children's sermon. But, instead of wondering what that dried grape juice tastes like, they're wondering what running further feels like. So, one day instead of they're regular 4-miler, they'll run 5. That's good. Nothing wrong with adding a mile. But, Wow! that felt really good, so on to mile 6. That's not too much of a problem, right? Well probably not if they stop there. But sometimes that awesome euphoric feeling of going further can get the better of a new runner and that 4-miler all of the sudden becomes an 8-miler or a 10-miler.

Most seasoned runners can probably relate to this. We've all pushed it too far at times. The problem is that the further you push past your acclimation point, the higher your chance for injury. It will also take you longer to recover from the run.

Remember those couple of months it took to get to that "feeling good point?" That same building process needs to continue as you increase your mileage. While you may be able to run 4 or 5 miles past your regular 4-miler, that's not the best thing to do to your body. And, if you continue to push the limits (coupled by not taking enough rest), then overtraining and injury can be lurking in the shadows just waiting for the opportunity to pounce on you.

So, to avoid the Dennis the Menace Syndrome, gradually up your mileage. A good rule of thumb is to increase your total weekly mileage by only 5-10%. Usually this increase is added to longest run for the week. For example, if you typically run 5 miles four days a week, your weekly mileage will be 20 miles. So the next week you could increase your weekly mileage by 1-2 miles. So, you may do 3 five-mile runs and then for the long run do 6 or 7. This gradual progression will allow your body time to acclimate and recover as you build.

It takes about 4-6 weeks for your body to acclimate to a particular distance. That doesn't mean you have to keep running the same 6-miler for 4-6 weeks before you move on, but it does mean that the first time you run that 8-miler, your body is probably acclimated to 5 or 6 miles, so you may feel the extra mileage. But, if you stick to the gradual adding of miles, then by the time you get to 10, you'll be acclimated to the 8 and so on. If you jump from 5 miles to 12, you're asking your body to handle and recover from 7 additional miles that it's not accustomed to.That's asking a lot.

So, even though it may be temping to"taste that grape juice" resist that urge and build your mileage slowly and safely. You seasoned runners coming back from an injury or from being away from running for several months, you need to heed that same advice. Come back slowly. Your body will thank you.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Saucony Shoe Reveiw and Contest!

One of my all time favorite brands of running shoe is Saucony. My shoe of choice is the ProGrid Triumph. Recently Saucony contacted me to see if I'd be interested in testing out some of the new shoes in the ProGrid line. I eagerly accepted the opportunity and soon after, three boxes arrived at my doorstep. One box contained the new ProGrid Guide 4, the next box contained the ProGrid Mirage, and the final box contained the new minimalist trail shoe, the ProGrid Peregrine. It was like Christmas in March!

Below is a video review of my experience testing each shoe. Check it out. I enjoyed each shoe so much that they each receive 5 Dudes out of 5 Dudes on the RunnerDude Rating Scale. All three gave great rides. I particularly like the new Peregrine. It added a whole new experience to my trail running. For the first time, I felt like I was in control.

Win a Free Pair of the ProGrid Peregrine!
Entering this contest is a little different from entering previous RunnerDude's Blog contest drawings, so be sure to follow the directions carefully. To enter, visit  by the end of day (EST) on 3/26/2011 and post an answer to “What do you love about trail running?” on the Saucony wall. The winner will be posted on RunnerDudes' Blog on 3/27/2011.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Enter to Win a Free Pair of CEP Progressive Compression Socks!

Monday's post was about the benefits of wearing CEP compression socks during or after running. If you haven't had a chance to read it, check it out. They're great! So is the company ( who makes CEP Socks. They're sponsoring a contest drawing for RunnerDude's Blog to give away a free pair of the Running Progressive Compression Socks and to help get get the word out about their newest website!

To enter, all you need to do is email me at Be sure to put "CEP Socks" in the subject line of the email and put your full name in the body of the email. You have until end of day (EST) on Friday, March 25th to enter. Each email will receive a number (in the order that it's received). The True Random Number Generator will be used to select the winning email. The winner will be announced on the blog on Saturday, March 26th. Good Luck!!

Aleva Stores' also invites you to follow SocksAddict on Twitter and Facebook. If you Like them on Facebook and write about why you're a sock addict, you'll receive a $10 coupon code!! How cool is that!! You can use the code to get a free pair of socks or use it as a discount on a pricier purchase. After liking the Facebook page and leaving your "why I'm a sock addict" comment, email Kevin MacDonald (Public Relations Director) at  and he'll send you the $10 code.

Don't delay enter today! Thanks Aleva Stores!

Monday, March 7, 2011

CEP Running Progressive Compression Socks: Maximize Performance and Recover Quicker Too!

I've been a big believer in compression socks for several years now. My brand of choice is CEP Socks. I've mainly used them for recovery from regular long runs as well as to help rebound quicker from injury. Next to an ice bath, there's nothing I've tried after a long hard run that helps me recover and rebound quicker than compression socks.

After that long hard run, I'll slip on my compression socks for a couple of hours and it really does the trick. About a year ago, I experienced a severe calf cramp during a run. Had to hobble a mile back to my car. The rest of that week, each night before going to bed, I slipped on my compression socks and slept in them. Helped me recover much quicker than not wearing them. I was back to running in a few days.

So how do they work? Basically, it's your grandmother's support hose gone techno! Seniors have been experiencing the benefits of compression hosiery for decades. It helps with circulation in the extremities. Compression socks for runners and other athletes work on the same premise.

The CEP Compression Sportsocks support the arteries and the supply of oxygen to the musculature. The special and patented compression of the CEP Compression Sportsocks increases the ambient pressure. As a result the musculature in the arterial wall relaxes and a relaxed musculature increases the arterial diameter and consequently the blood flow through the arteries.

So what does all of this mean? An increase in performance. CEP reports that when wearing the socks, it's possible to reduce the running time by about 5% (i.e., about 12 minutes from a 4hr marathon). They also report that the socks help to provide an easier run because exertion is reduced by about 6% for the same running time since the muscles have to work less. And best of all (in my opinion), they provide for a quicker recovery.

They're also a great way to keep your kids in line. I threaten mine all the time that if they don't behave I'll wear my compression socks with dress shoes and a pair of Bermuda shorts the next time I pick them up from school. (He He!)

Back in 2009, I tested and reviewed the new CEP Compression Running Sock. Loved it. So, when they recently came out with the new Running Progressive Compression Sock, I had to test it out too. Basically it does all that the original sock does, but it has a slick new design. I tested the Progressive sock on runs as well as for recovery after some long runs. As with the original sock, the Progressive gave me an extra supportive feel on the runs and aided in a quick recovery.

The new CEP Running Progressive Compression Socks definitely get 5 Dudes out of 5 Dudes on the RunnerDude Rating Scale.Be sure to check out all the CEP Sock styles for running as well as other sports at CEP Socks is a part of a bigger family of foot related websites with Aleva Stores. Check it out. Cool Stuff! Also, be sure to check them out on Twitter.

Note: While CEP Socks did provide a pair of the Progressive socks for me to test and evaluate, I was not in any way encouraged to write a positive review, nor was I paid for writing this review. This review is based on my own personal experience using the product.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

And the Winner of the Free Tickets Is...

Congrats to Lesley Jones, the winner of the free pair of tickets to the running documentary MY RUN. Thanks to the movie's producer and director Tim VandeSteeg for providing such an great prize and for creating such an awesome movie sharing with the world the story of Terry Hitchcock.

The Terry Hitchcock Story

MY RUN will be shown in theaters across the country on Thursday, March 31 for a one-night premiere event. Presented in association with the online community, Lance Armstrong’s Foundation LIVESTRONG and Life Time Fitness, audiences will be able to embrace the global mission and message of the film, “Be Somebody’s Hero.” A portion of proceeds from the MY RUN Premiere event will benefit the Livestrong Foundation. A list of participating theaters and ticketing information can be found at .

Hitchcock’s uplifting underdog story has been garnering steam and is being embraced by all walks of life - families, baby boomers, single parents, cancer organizations as well as runners and marathoners. MY RUN is more than a documentary about a guy running multiple marathons; it’s a documentary about the daily marathons we all run in life.

NCM Fathom is the home of cinematic experiences that offer exclusive, affordable entertainment events broadcast to the big screen. Audiences get the best seat in the house – in the comfort and convenience of the local movie theater – for live and pre-recorded concerts, world-class opera, original programming featuring the biggest names in radio and television, sporting events and music concerts.

For more information about the documentary MY RUN, please visit To search to see if the movie is being shown in your area and to purchase tickets [click here].