Thursday, December 19, 2013

Do Your Runs Have Purpose?

All runs are not created equal. Giving each run a specific purpose can help keep you on track, reach your goals as well as be liberating.

Sometimes the sole purpose of a run is to workout the frustrations of the day. Depending on the runner, a good long run might help clear the mind, while another runner might choose to attack a 10 x 200m hill workout. Both can achieve the same outcome...peace and contentment.

I have an acquaintance who is a pretty good runner, actually he's pretty dang fast. Well, fast that is when he's not injured. You see, every run he runs is a hard run. He's very competitive and that sometimes gets in the way of practicality. He's never trained with me, but sometimes runs with the group. I laughingly tell him he needs to stay away from my runners. I'm kidding...well sort of. Really, I don't won't my runners thinking you have to run yourself into the ground to be a "real runner." I'd rather have smart runners not injured runners.

This is no more true than with many of my marathon training runners. For some it's a challenge getting them to come to the understanding that every run doesn't have to be a hard run. Each run in my training
plans have a purpose. Some are hard and quick to help increase VO2Max (the body's ability to utilize oxygen at max effort). Others are hard but not quite as fast. Their purpose is to build pace and endurance needed to sustain that pace. Others are long and slow. These have the purpose of building mileage and endurance. While still others are even slower and easier but shorter with the purpose of recovery.

We're all guilty at times of not wanting "other runners" seeing us running "slow." In the back of your mind your wondering if they may think you're not as fast as they are, or worse, maybe they're smirking at your pace. I've always liked the saying, "You can't judge a book by it's cover." I think that same philosophy applies to running....."You can't judge a runner by his pace."

Any runner worth his or her salt knows that a short slow recovery run is just as important as that gut wrenching 10 x 800m interval workout.

Giving each run a purpose from the get go, helps release you from the worries of what others will think. You're on a mission, knowing that each purposeful run will ultimately help you reach your goal. Even if you're not in training for a race, giving each run a purpose will help motivate you and keep you from getting injured so when you do want to train for a future race you'll be in shape to do so.

Below are some "Purposes" you can apply to your weekly runs.

The Social Run: It's vitally important to get with your running buddies solely for the purpose of running and catching up with each other as well as then heading for the post-run bagels.

The Long Run: The purpose of the long run is build endurance and increse your cardio fitness for the long haul. This run is usually about 1-minute slower than race pace. If you feel the need for speed, save it for the end or near the end of the run. It's very beneficial for your body to know that you can pull up the pace later in a long run. So increase the pace up to or just past race pace within the last 2 miles of the run. But...make the majority of the run at a conversational pace. You're building mileage.

Easy Run: These runs help you build that weekly mileage and build a strong base. They're not fast nor very long runs. They are run at a conversational pace that's a little faster than your long run pace.

Speed Workouts (Intervals): The purpose of intervals (be it 800s, fartleks, hill repeats, or another workouts) is to increase VO2max and push out your lactate threshold. These runs help build pace. This type of run is run at a non conversational pace.

Speed Workouts (Tempo and Progression Runs): These runs help build pace, but they also help to build endurance to help sustain the increased pace. You'll run hard but not quite as hard as in a shorter interval workout.

Steady-State Runs: The purpose of this run is to help bridge the gap between the tempo run and your easy runs by giving you experience running a little faster than your easy run pace but not as fast as your tempo run pace.

Recovery Runs: This run usually follows the day after a hard speed workout or long run. A recovery run is usually very slow (slower than easy run pace) and usually a fairly short run in distance. The purpose of this run is to help loosen up the body after that hard workout from the prior day.

REST: Yes, you should consider a Rest Day as a running day. It's equally important. You need a couple rest days each week for your body to rebuild.

Running Nowhere Fast? Try These Tips for Increasing your Pace

Seems like if you want to get faster, you'd just pick up your pace. Sounds like a simple solution, but like many things in life, what seems simple often is not. Many runners have come to the studio saying, "I just can't seem to get past a certain pace. I try to pick it up, but nothing happens or worse, I begin to slow down."

To increase pace two things need to happen. 1. Increase VO2Max  2. Build endurance. VO2Max is your body's ability to utilize oxygen at the muscle layer at maximum exertion. Your muscles have a network of tiny blood vessels (capillaries) that carry oxygenated blood to the muscle. If your runs are pretty even and you don't vary your pace too much, your network will be more like sprawling country roads--few and far between. To increase your pace, you need a metropolitan network of highways. Good news is that you can build those new highways of capillaries. How? By doing various types of speed work on a regular basis.

Adding one speed workout to your regular weekly running routine will start the construction process. When you consistently add those workouts, your brain will realize that you're not going to stop this. It wants your body to work as efficiently as possible, so your body will actually begin to increase the network of capillaries in your leg muscles to help meet the new energy production demands. The more capillaries you have in your muscles, the more oxygenated blood will reach the muscle. The more oxygenated blood in the muscle, the more potential for energy production.

As the network of capillaries grows your body will also increase mitochondria (the energy-making power houses of the muscles.) Mitochondria use the oxygen to create energy. So, now with the increased network of capillaries and increased number of energy-making power-houses, your body will be able to meet the energy demands to get you going faster.

It takes commitment, consistency, and hard work to create that metropolitan highway network. It may be tough at first. Expect soreness and fatigue. Anytime you increase the intensity level of your workouts, your body will react. This is called the gain threshold. Your fitness level may even dip for a few weeks. That's when most people give up. They're not seeing results fast enough and they get discouraged. "I feel worse that before I started. Why am I doing this?" But, like I tell my runners, "Trust. Believe. Conquer!" It varies from person to person, but anywhere from 4-6 weeks you'll notice that you're stronger and faster than when you started.

The gain threshold is the reason why it's not a good idea to add new intensity just before a big race. You're body will not have time to acclimate and it may hurt your performance.

The Workouts:
I like having my runners do two types of speed workouts. One type is shorter, but more intense. Intervals are a great example of this. Don't worry, for many interval-based workouts, you don't need a track. The second type is a fast run but incorporated into a longer distance. Progression runs and Tempo runs are great examples.

Below is plan to help you ease into adding speed work into your running routine to help you run faster and longer. This is just a suggested plan. You'll need to increase or decrease running days based on your experience as well as your schedule. If you're having to rearrange the runs to better suit your schedule, remember to never pair two hard runs back-to-back. Always follow the Easy/Hard/Easy rule. The workouts listed on the schedules are described at the bottom of this post.

Easy Run with 3 Fartleks:  "Fartlek" is a Swedish term for "speed play." Take one of your regular weekly 3-6 mile runs and add in 3 bursts of speed. The first week keep the burst of speed at 2-minutes for each fartlek. Remember to space the fartleks out. Do one fartlek in the first third of your run, the one in the second third and then one in the last third. Between fartleks, be sure to slow the pace back down to your original easy pace. During your second week, try increasing the fartlek duration to 3-4 minutes.

Interval Workouts:
Mona Fartleks: Mona Fartleks are a great interval workout that you can do anywhere. You don't need a track. You'll need a stopwatch or sports watch with a timer. For the workout do a 1-mile warm-up run, then run...
15 seconds fast/15 seconds slow/15 seconds fast/15 seconds slow
30 seconds fast/30 seconds slow/30 seconds fast/30 seconds slow
60 seconds fast/60 seconds slow/60 seconds fast/60 seconds slow
90 seconds fast/90 seconds slow/90 seconds fast/90 seconds slow
That's 13 minutes of fast/slow intervals. Take a 2-3 minute walk or easy jog break, then repeat for a second 13-minutes of fast/slow intervals. Follow-up the workout with an easy 1-mile cooldown.
Timed Based Pyramids: This workout is similar to the Mona Fartlek, but for this workout you'll increase the time increments and then come back down. Before the workout, do an easy 1-mile warm-up run. Then for the Timed Pyramid workout run...
30 seconds at high intensity/1-min at low intensity
45 seconds at high intensity/1-min at low intensity
60 seconds at high intensity/1-min at low intensity
90 seconds at high intensity/1-min at low intensity
60 seconds at high intensity/1-min at low intensity
45 seconds at high intensity/1-min at low intensity
30 seconds at high intensity/1-min at low intensity
Walk or easy jog  for 2-3 mins and then repeat.
Follow-up the workout with an easy 1-mile cooldown run.
90s/60s: Do a 1-mile warm-up run. Then run hard 90 seconds /Run Easy 60 seconds. Repeat 5 times. Then walk or do and easy jog 2 mins then repeat the 90/60 workout again. Follow-up the workout with an easy 1-mile cooldown run.
Progression and Tempo Workouts:
Progression Run: "Thirds," involves doing the first third of the run very slow and working into an easy pace, the next third  at your regular "in-your-groove" pace, and the final third increases until you're  finish the last 3rd around your 10K race pace—roughly 80 to 90 percent of maximum heart rate. Increases in pace are not "step-wise" but gradual. Basically start really slow. Slower than you normally run and gradually increase pace until the end of the last 3rd, you're coming in pretty fast.
Tempo Run: Begin with a 1-mile warm-up run and end with a 1-mile cool-down. The miles in between are run at a pace about 30 secs slower than your 10K race pace.
Tempo Interval Run: Begin with a 1-mile warm-up run and end with a 1-mile cool-down. For the miles in between, alternate running 5 mins at a pace that's about 30-sec slower than your 5K race pace and 5-mins at an easy pace. Cycle through as many of these fast/slow intervals until you reach your cool-down mile.

Keep in mind that during the fast portion of the runs, you should be reaching a pace that's non-converstional. In other words, it should be hard to talk in more than one- or two-word sentences. Be careful not to go so fast that you can't catch your breath or that you can't maintain the interval pace. Initially start conservative with your increased paces and then as you begin to acclimate, start to up the pace. 

Following this plan for 5 weeks will help you see results in achieving a faster pace and pretty much get you through that gain threshold. Keep at it and you'll continue to see even more progress. This is a great primer for a 5K or 10K race. Start about 12 weeks in advance of the race. If you're not planning on racing any time soon, after the first 5 or six weeks, you can keep just one speed workout or tempo/progression run in your weekly routine until you're ready to kick it up a notch for a race.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Holiday Gifts and New Year Resolutions

There's no better gift than the gift of health. Whether you're treating yourself or treating at friend, family
member or loved one, providing a gift that promotes fitness can have so many wonderful benefits. Not only will you or your gift recipient embark on a new fitness journey, you'll also make new friends, discover things about yourself you never new you could do, and become that healthy person you've dreamed of being.

RunnerDude's Fitness offers personal and small-group fitness training services and a variety of running coaching services from beginning running to marathon training. We would love nothing better than to be a part of your fitness quest.

If you're in the Triad area of North Carolina and you're looking for a fitness program or running group that's focused on you and your fitness needs, then check out the various programs below.

Beginning Running 
The Beginning Running Group uses a run/walk format that will have you running 30 minutes (about the distance of a 5K) with no walking by the end of the 12-week program. The program's design helps you gradually build muscular and aerobic endurance as you ease into running.

The RunnerDude's Fitness Beginning Running Program is perfect for beginning runners of all ages! So far the oldest graduate is 73 and the youngest is 12. All you need is a desire to want to run.

While this is a group program, participants are not expected to run as a pack. Everyone follows the same incremental run/walk program each week, but each person is encouraged to run his/her own level. Building Endurance and Proper Running Form is the focus of the Beginning Running Group, not pace or distance. Participants will not feel left behind nor held back.

The next program begins Sunday January 5th and meets Sundays/Tuesdays/Thursdays at 5:30pm for 12 weeks.
Cost: $120
      -GYMBOSS Interval Timer (a $20 value!)
      -Online access to the 12-week training plan and tips on nutrition, good running form & a lot more!
      - Instruction on Proper Running Form, Breathing, Stretching, Hydration, & Fueling
      - Up to 3-weekly group runs (see days/times below) along the new stretch of the A&Y Greenway
      - RunnerDude's Fitness Technical T-shirt (1 free T-shirt w/initial service or package)

Intermediate Running 
Running at least 3-5 miles and feel like you're ready for the next level, but not sure what the next level is?
Feel like your running's stagnated? Looking for ways to spice up your running?

Then the Intermediate Running Group is just for you! During this 12-week program, you'll explore different types of running workouts (fartleks, tempo runs, intervals, hill workouts, etc.), pre- and post-running stretching, and core and upper-body exercises (key for strong efficient running).

Most runners have the lower-body muscular endurance but aren't aware of the importance
of core and upper-body muscular endurance. Running is about 50% lower-body and 50%
upper-body. Each workout begins with a 10-12 exercise med-ball workout designed to
increase the muscular endurance of your core and upper body.

Each participant will need to bring a medicine ball (6-8lbs) and an exercise mat to each
workout. The exercises will vary over the 12 weeks, so in addition to the 12+-running
workouts you'll learn, you'll leave the program with a nice variety of core exercises to
continue doing on your own.

Price: $120
      - 2 weekly group runs (Monday/Thursday @6:00PM)
      - Over 12 different running workouts
     - 10-exercise core workout before each run
      - A pre- and post-program 1.5-mile run test
      - Access to online running information and videos just for
     -  participants of the group with information on everything from
      - hydration, to proper fueling, to stretching, to injury prevention.
      - RunnerDude's Fitness Technical T-shirt

Year-Round Running with the RUNegades!

 The RUNegades program is for anyone who...
-wants to learn different running workouts to take his/her running to the next level
-wants a weekly full-body workout designed for runners
-wants a weekly routine of running with others of all levels to keep motivated
 -wants to become a more efficient runner
-wants have fun getting & staying fit!

What Does it Cost?
6-Month Commitment = $360 (Less than $15 a week for 3 sessions!)
Save 10% When You Commit to 12 Months! = $648!

When does The RUNegades group begin?
You can join The RUNegades program at any time during the year. Your 6-month or
12-month commitment begins the day you register.

Where does The RUNegades group meet?
       Monday's Full-Body Circuit Workout—RunnerDude's Fitness Studio @ 6:45pm
       Tuesday's Group Run—the Greenway by RunnerDude's Fitness @ 6:45pm
       Thursday's Group Speed Workout Run—Location varies week to week depending on the type of workout.

Race Training
Which Races Can I Train For?
It's easy, just pick your race (any race), back up 14 weeks (half marathon), or 18 weeks (full marathon) from the race date, and that's when your training begins. You'll get to train with runners doing lots of different races including your own.

What Does It Include? 
        -Custom Training Plan
        -Individual Support:
        -30-minute consultation: A time to discuss your           running/racing experience and racing goals
        -Training Support Info: Online access (for race training clients only) to a wealth of training materials
        -Group Runs: 2 Weekly Group Runs (Wednesdays 6:45PM and Saturdays 7:30AM)
        -Ongoing Group and Individual Communication:
        -RunnerDude's Fitness Technical T-shirt (with first RunnerDude's Fitness service or program)

What's Does Group Training Cost?
     (Half-Marathon) $120 plus two 24-bottle flats of water
     (Full Marathon) $145 plus two 24-bottle flats of water

Running Stride Video Analysis
Curious about your running stride?  RunnerDude's running stride video analysis will give you not only feedback on your running stride but actual video, still shots, and slow-motion footage of your running. Foot landing, foot-strike, cadence, upper-body posture, gait, and arm swing will be evaluated. The Analysis includes a session to collect the video footage, a video presentation with the feedback included on the video for you to view at home and an follow-up session where you'll be able to sit down with RunnerDude and discuss your analysis and any possible next steps or corrective measures, if needed.
Cost: $75

Fitness Assessment
Perfect for evaluating your current level of fitness before starting that New Year's resolution for a fitter you! During this 1.5 hour-long assessment, a complete a health questionnaire will be completed and then various fitness areas will be assessed such as vitals (blood pressure and resting heart rate), body composition (body fat %, circumference measurements, waist/hip ratio), flexibility and balance, muscular strength, and muscular endurance. The assessment also includes an aerobic fitness test to evaluate your VO2max (how well your body utilizes oxygen at maximum effort). If you're a runner the VO2max test will consist of a 1.5-mile run test. If you're not a runner and/or you're new to fitness, a 3-minute step test or 1-mile walk test well be used.
Cost: $75

Running Form Session with RunnerDude
A 1-hour one-on-one session focused on good running form to help prevent injury as well as to help make you a faster more efficient runner.
Cost: $55

Click Here for Gift Certificates (not accessible on mobile devices, please use laptop or desktop to access this link.)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

New RunnerDude's Fitness Website!

When you have a chance, check out the newly revamped RunnerDude's Fitness website! While there check out the various programs and services available from Beginning Running Groups to Intermediate Running, to Race Training! Next Beginning Running and Intermediate Running Groups start the week of December 8th!
Training for the new Raleigh Rock-n-Roll Marathon starts the same week! Training for the Raleigh Rock-n-Roll Half starts in January!! RunnerDude's Fitness is Growing and we'd love for you to join us!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Looking for a Personal Trainer or Running Coach in Greensboro, NC?

Are you ready to take the step? That step to a fitter you? Are you already pretty fit, but looking for something different that what you're doing now? How about running? Looking for a beginning running group? Or maybe you're ready for that first marathon or maybe you want to PR in your next race? Then RunnerDude's Fitness is just for you!

Our clients are the primary focus at RunnerDude's Fitness. We're not distracted with selling supplements or shakes. Your running and/or fitness goals are our goals. We are here to support you and guide you along your running and fitness journey. We want to know your goals and aspirations. We also want to know you as a person not just as a client. Fitness is a wonderful part of a full and healthy life, but it's not always easy, especially when you first start. RunnerDude's Fitness understands that and we're here for you and with you every step of the way.

Whether you choose one-on-one personal fitness training or small group personal training in the studio or one of group running programs, you'll receive personal attention and a customized training plan unique to your fitness needs and goals.

For fitness training in the studio, you won't find a lot of muscle-isolating weight machines at RunnerDude's Fitness. Instead, RunnerDude's Fitness focuses on functional, multi-joint exercises that support real movement. Strengthening the core and increasing balance are a primary focus in every workout at RunnerDude's Fitness. You'll be using free weights, exercise bands and resistance tubes, balance disks, BOSU ball, medicine balls, stability balls, TRX suspension training, battling ropes, agility ladders and a whole lot more!

We don't yell and we don't scream at our clients. Instead we educate and motivate you along the way. Our
trainers are highly qualified with personal training certifications from The American College of Sports Medicine, the National Personal Training Institute, the Road Runners Club of America, and the USA Track & Field Association.

Workouts in the studio are tough but fun. In addition to getting a good workout, you'll be learning about the exercises you're doing and why you're doing them as well as their benefit toward your fitness goals.

The RunnerDude's Fitness mantra is "Trust in your training. Believe in yourself. Conquer your goals!" and that's exactly what we'll help you do here at RunnerDude's Fitness.

Fitness Programs Offered:
  • One-on-One Personal Training
  • Small-Group Personal Training

Running Programs Offered:

  • Beginning Running
  • Intermediate Running
  • Group Race Training (5K to Marathon)
  • The RUNegades
  • Running Stride Video Analysis

Other Services:
  • Fitness Assessment
  • Nutrition Analysis
  • Free Consultation
Coporate Training:
RunnerDude's Fitness also provides group corporate training at prominent Triad companies such as Volvo Trucks and Volvo Financial Services. For over two years, RunnerDude's Fitness has worked with employees in fitness walking, beginning running, intermediate running, and race training groups.

"I love this program and am so excited by the employee success stories. Many of the nominees for the HFL award (most improved health) and  for the Culture of Health award (those that encourage others through their health success and just general encouragement and support of programming) have participated in your groups."
Mary Vintinner -- Program Coordinator (Volvo) StayWell Health Management

Be sure to check out our website at for more detailed information on all fitness and running programs and services we provide.

For client testimonials, click here.

About the Owner/Trainer:
Thad McLaurin (aka: RunnerDude), his wife Mitzi, and their three kids have lived in Greensboro, NC since 1998. He's come a long way since being "that overweight kid" as a youngster. After Weight Watchers® and a 40-pound weight loss in high school, he discovered running during college and has been passionate about running and fitness ever since. (Over 25 years!) It all started with the '84 Great Raleigh Road Race 10K. He wasn't fast, but he had a blast and was hooked.

13 years later, Thad caught the marathon bug. His marathon quest began with the '97 NYC Marathon. Twelve years later, he's run 11 marathons all over the country from NYC to Baltimore to Nashville to Honolulu, and then some.

A UNC Chapel Hill grad, Thad began his career as a 5th grade teacher before moving into the world of Educational publishing where he worked as a writer, editor, and book development manager for 13 years. Thad combines his love of writing with his love of running and fitness by hosting RunnerDude's Blog, one of the top-ranked running blogs in the country. He's a contributing writing for and he's also written articles for and Fitter U Fitness as well as being featured in the "Ask the Experts" section of the July 2010 Issue of Runner's World.

Thad's also active in the community and has been a member of the executive board for GOFAR, a nonprofit organization that prepares youngsters to run their first 5K! He also contributed to the GOFAR instructor curriculum manual.

Thad's biggest reward is helping others get hooked on running, fitness, and healthy living. He is well credentialed with his Personal Trainer and Nutrition Consultant diploma certifications from NPTI (National Personal Trainer Institute), his ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) personal trainer certification, his RRCA Running Coach certification, and his USA-Track & Field Level 1 Coaching certification. He's also current with his Red Cross adult CPR/AED and First Aid  training.

To learn more about Thad and his journey into the world of running and fitness, be sure to check out the article on RunnerDude in the February 2011 issue of Guideposts Magazine.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Getting Your Head In The Game

Not sure who said it first, but I've often heard that running is 90% mental and 10% physical. Whether the percentages are exactly correct or not, the overall message speaks a world of truth. No matter how physically prepared you are for a race, if your head isn't "in the game" then the outlook for the race is not going to be good.

There will be race days when everything possible that can go wrong will go wrong. But, if your head is in the game, you can still be unstoppable.

Case in point..... back in 2007,  I trained for the Chicago Marathon. My goal to qualify for Boston. This was when they had relaxed the qualifying times and before they toughened em back up again. Seems like I needed a 3:30:00

 If you recall, that was the first year the Chicago Marathon race date was moved to early October. It was also the year of the freakish heatwave. It was also the year that they ran out of water. And it was the year they shut down the race at 4 hours and bused-in all the remaining runners.

This was also the year that a Chicago taxi driver took me "for a ride." An expensive ride from the race back to the hotel that was twice the cost because of the scenic route I experienced. It was also the race where I experienced my first-ever post-race calf cramp where the muscle tied itself into a knot the size of a softball. It was also the race in which a goodhearted Chicago Samaritan heard my screams of pain and came to my rescue helping me hobble over to the massage tent where "Greta" and "Helga" worked some severe pain on me, but somehow managed to reduce the softball to a golf ball before leaving on my scenic taxi ride.

There was another goal associated with this Chicago race other than BQing. I had trained for Chicago back in 2000. Even went to the race. But I got sick while there and wasn't able to run. Two months later, I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, the cause of my sickness in Chicago. I wasn't going to let UC conquer me and Chicago was unresolved business. So 7 years later I found myself yet again in Chicago ready to resolve this unfinished business.

Back to 90% mental and 10% physical. A week before the race, all the Chicago participants received emails encouraging them not to come due to the predicted heat wave. 10,000 runners actually did heed the warning and didn't come. So, I already had in my mind that it was going to be a difficult race. But, living and training all summer in hot/humid North Carolina, I thought I'd be good to go.

I had my BQ goal. I knew my race pace. I knew my race strategy of starting conservative and building as the race progressed. But standing there in the start corral and noticing that I was already wiping beads of sweat from my brow and not from nerves but from the heat and  humidity I knew my original strategy was about to change.  I was a bit perplexed. This was the "Windy City", right? No wind. This is Chicago in October, right? Supposed to be chilly, right? Nope. I knew I needed to revisit my strategy. I stuck with my plan of starting conservative, but I put on hold whether or not I'd pick it up as the race went on.

The dew point was in the mid 70s and the temp was in the upper 80s. A recipe for disaster. Disaster it was. Even with 10,000 runners not showing up, they still ran out of water and sports drink. I was lucky enough to be fast enough to have had water the entire way, but I couldn't seem to get enough. Even with a conservative approach I still felt the wall at mile 20. I knew the BQ was not going to  happen that day, but I persevered and actually still managed a new PR. Not what I wanted, but I still felt good about the run.

You can train for 3-4 months, but it still comes down to race day. Anything can be thrown at you. The trick is to be able to evaluate the situation and get your head in the game. Sometimes that means altering your original plan of attack. And....that's okay.

More ways to get your head in the game when racing.
1. Visualize It: While racing, think about your training runs. I find this particularly helpful at mile 20. You have basically a 10K left. So, I visualize one of my 6-mile training routes. Instead of thinking "I've got to get from mile 20 to 26" I think, "Wow, I've just got my Lake Jeanette Rd Loop Route. I can do that!" Then, I actually mentally take myself through that route while running the last 6 miles of the marathon. It's a great distraction.
2. Chunk It: Instead of thinking of the race as 26.2 miles, break it into more manageable chunks. I like breaking mine into 6.5 mile chunks. That's a little more than 4 chunks. It's really helpful to tick off the chunks as I go. 
3. Absorb It: Distraction is a great tool when running an endurance race. You have to be careful though. You don't want the distraction to be so much of a distraction that you lose touch with your body and what it's telling you. Some research shows that runners that listen to music in marathon races, hit the wall earlier and more frequently than runners that do not listen to music. Researchers think these runners can become so into the music that they're not in touch with the signs the body might be trying to send them regarding fatigue or dehydration. Try using other external stimuli such as the cheering crowds, the landscape, the runners around you.
4. Keep It Up: Sometimes you can get too in tune with your body and that's not good either. If you're feeling every single ache and pain, that can be a downer. I've found that when I look straight down, I can become too inwardly focused. That's when the head games can start. Looking down also throws your posture out of balance. Your head is about the weight of a bowling ball (8lbs). Imagine running with an 8lbs dumbbell out in front of you. You'd probably tire pretty quickly. That's what happens when you look straight down. Holding that bowling ball head of yours down also rounds the shoulders, pulling on all the posterior muscles causing you to fatigue much quicker than if you had more upright posture. To avoid this, look up and out. You still need to survey the road ahead of you to avoid falling into a pothole, but try looking out/down about 20-30ft ahead of you. This keeps you safer, more in tune with your surroundings, and helps you keep better running posture.
5. Knock Em Off: One last strategy is to count "road kill." No, not dead opossums on the side of the road, but the fellow runners that you pass. Instead of using each mile marker as a bench mark, pick a runner ahead of you to catch up to and pass...."road kill." Mile markers can be deadly. When you begin to fatigue that mile between each mile marker can see like an eternity. Kind of like when you're driving and you have to pee. The sign you just passed says "Gas station 1-mile head." Seems like 10 miles before you ever reach it. When you have a moving target to catch, there is not expected distance. Your only goal is to catch up to that runner. You'll be amazed at how much time passes in getting to that runner. Then when you pass that runner, you'll be exhilarated and pumped with accomplishment. Be careful though. Be sure to select a runner that looks "catchable." You don't want to increase your pace beyond your planned race pace just to catch this runner. So, pick someone that looks attainable.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Your "Bun-Print" to Success

Sometimes you find evidence of your success in the most unlikely places. Sue who is in her fifties, joined one of my beginning running groups over a year ago. New to running, it was a challenge for Sue, at first. But man was she committed. She came to every group run ready to run. Sue lives near me and I'd see her out in the neighborhood getting in her solo homework runs too. She was bound and determined to get to the end of the program and be able to run 30-minutes straight with no walking. Boy did she accomplish that... and more. Not only did Sue finish that 30-minute run, she went on to do the group celebration 5K a few weeks after the group's last run. Sue was bitten. Bitten by the running bug. Sue is now a member of my RUNegades program which includes each week a group full-body circuit workout, one group easy run, and one group speed workout. She's running over 5-miles now.

But, I knew she was bound for success early on in the program. Each of our group runs finishes up a slight hill that leads out of an underpass tunnel near the RunnerDude's Fitness Studio. I have the group stop there to do stretches. The wall along the side of the the hill makes a perfect ledge for propping up feet for hamstring and hip flexor stretches. It's also a great place for the group members to sit after the run to chat about their run.

After one such chat, Sue stood up and looking down said, "Ew...a bun print!" She was mortified that she was sweaty enough to have left a bun print on the concrete wall. Without skipping a beat, however, she repeated the same comment, but this time with an heir of pride..."Ahh...a bun print!" She was suddenly filled with pride and accomplishment that she indeed had worked hard enough to produce a bun print.

So, what is a "Bun Print to Success"?  Steve, another previous beginning running client sums it up best, "Learn to celebrate the small gains." During stretching after a beginning running group, Steve ran up to me all excited. He was amazed that he just balanced on one foot while doing a quad stretch. Steve had not been able to balance on that ankle for several years due to a previous injury. Running had helped strengthen his ankle and he didn't realize it until that one-legged stretch. That made his day. Celebrate the small gains.

Whether it's a bun print, balancing on one foot, or finishing that 5-miler 10 seconds faster than the last time, learn to celebrate the small gains.  Small steady gains lead to huge success in time.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

And the Winner of the TIMEX Run Trainer 2.0 Is....

Congratulations to Lisa Ngai of Ferndale, Washington who is the lucky winner of the TIMEX Run Trainer
2.0 GPS watch! 

Thanks to all that entered for the drawing. Be on the lookout for another RunnerDude's Blog giveaway soon!!!

Happy Running!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


As a coach and personal trainer, there's nothing more rewarding than to see someone progress and realize their potential and that the only boundaries there are, are the ones we set for ourselves. The RunnerDude's Fitness motto is Trust. Believe. Conquer.  TRUST is often the hardest part. Trusting yourself that you'll commit and stick with it. Trusting your trainer that he/she has your best interest at heart. BELIEVE is equally difficult. Believing that you can do things and achieve goals that before seemed so unattainable and out of reach is hard. CONQUER sometimes seems the most unattainable. How can you conquer a goal when just getting to a workout is overwhelming? 

The good news is that it can be done. You can Trust in your training. You can Believe in yourself. You can Conquer that goal, no matter how unrealistic it may seem now.

The biggest key to success is having realistic goals. Frequently I have people come to me who want to run a marathon. My first question is, "When is the marathon?" My next question is, "Are you currently running and if so how far?" Often the response is "The race is in 3-4 months." and  "I'm not running now." or "I'm running about 10 miles a week." While I don't want to burst the individual's bubble, I also, know this is an unrealistic goal. Yes, there probably is someone in the world who has gone from the couch to a marathon in 3 months, but my goal isn't to just get you across the finish line barely alive. My goal is to get you across that finish line healthy, alive, and motivated to continue for more. So, my response to these individuals is, "It's too soon for a marathon, but how about we work on a base-building plan for a few months. Once you're able to maintain a total weekly mileage of about 20-25 miles per week for at least a month, then we can look at marathon training." 

Sometimes we're our own worst enemy. Running a marathon is not an unrealistic goal. Even if you're extremely obese and have never run in your life. Often the culprit is the time frame. We are a society of "now!" We want everything right now. So, often we'll pick a challenging goal and then put an unrealistic time frame in which to complete it. This is a recipe for failure. I see if over and over. However, if you take that same challenging goal and break it down into a realistic time frame with multiple short-term goals or bench marks along the way, then all the sudden your realize, "hey maybe I can do this."  

My son, Duncan, is the perfect example. Overweight, on his own, he decided
to focus on a healthier lifestyle. He decided to stop eating fried foods. Pretty quickly he noticed some weight loss. So, then he started making more diet modifications. More weight came off. At the same time, he started working out at home. He noticed how working out increased his weight loss. So, he joined my beginning running group. He lost more weight. He started adding more workouts to the week. Before long, working out, eating right, and living healthy was a lifestyle not a burden. He's lost about 110lbs in a little over a year. His mind set has changed from, "I can't do that." to "What can't I do?" He's run 5Ks and a half-marathon and is in training for his second half-marathon with his eye on training for a spring full marathon. Incremental goals. Achievable goals. Goals he has and will continue to obtain. 

Another client, Kim, has been such a joy to watch blossom as a budding athlete. Kim was in one of my beginning running groups a year or so ago. She did well, but then I didn't see much of her afterward. Then when I started my RUNegades running group (a year-round group the meets weekly for a full-body workout, a group run, and a group speed workout), Kim and some fellow runners from her previous running group joined. I think she was running about 3 miles at the time. Within the first six months, Kim extended that run distance to 5+ miles. She became fitter with the weekly workouts, not only physically, but also mentally. The Trust and Believe were taking root. Earlier this summer, my full and half marathon training groups kicked in. Hesitantly, Kim approached me about whether or not she was ready to do a half. That was a huge self-confidence step. Making that goal and acting on it. Kim signed up and just this past Saturday, she did her first 9-mile long run and did an awesome job.

Last night after the RUNegades group workout, she told me that when she signed up for the race she was literally sick on her stomach from fear over what she had done. But, then she thought about how far she's come and all that she's accomplished. Yesterday it hit her that she now thinks of herself as being able to do anything. She sees herself as a runner not just someone who runs. It's like all the sudden Trust. Believe. Conquer has become a reality. Kim gets the Gibson Daily Running Quote and the one she received yesterday so eloquently said what she was feeling.

"It takes guts just to step out the door for a run. Let alone take on a half-marathon. This is what makes the running community so remarkable. For in that shared belief in pushing limits and venturing into murky waters of a previously undoable race distance, there comes to exist a community of people buoyed constantly by hope and a sort of learned fearlessness. The weak grow strong. The strong carry on.

I don't know if there's a proper way to define toughness in a runner, but I do know that there comes a sudden moment when the mindset shifts. The impossible become doable, or at least attemptable. The long run goes from two miles to four to ten to fifteen, until it becomes routine at some point deep in an intense training cycle to knock off a couple hours without giving it a thought."
--Martin Dugard, Running Coach  & NY Best-Selling Author.

Kim has had that moment. Her mindset has shifted. The impossible is now the doable. She's now looking past her approaching half-marathon to a full marathon. Can she do it? Hell yeah!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

And the Winner is......

Congratulations to 
Daniel Inman of Greensboro, NC who is the lucky winner of the  GoPro HERO3 Silver Edition Camera!! 

What are the chances that out of 1,400 entries Rafflecopter would randomly select Daniel, who just happens to be a good friend and client of mine? 

Daniel is currently in my group marathon training program and training for the Richmond Marathon in November. Daniel is an elementary school PE teacher and also works part time at our local running store Off'n Running Sports.

Congrats Daniel and great job with your 16-mile long run in the rain this morning!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

RunnerDude's Gear Review: TevaSphere Trail Event Shoe

Hybrid is in these days. It's "green." It usually denotes something good, environmentally sound. So, I was excited when Teva contacted me about testing and reviewing their new TevaSphere Trail Event shoe.

I wasn't really sure what the shoe was about. I knew Teva more for their sandals and hiking shoes. From what I could tell It looked like a hybrid, an attempt to bridge the gap between the whole natural running movement and those that heel-strike. The slogan associated with the shoe was "Change Your Shoe, Not Your Stride." Well, that from the get-go, didn't really set too well with me.

Shoes tend to be the culprit in what causes heel-striking. The more traditional running shoe with the higher
heel-to-toe profile often promotes a heel-strike. Teva evidently did a lot of research (4+ years), but it seems they did the research more from the prospective of proving their point than actually comparing their shoe to other types (square heel traditional shoes and minimalist).

One point that sort of proves this is the data they report on weight of shoe verses stability. Their research shows the traditional square-heel running shoes as being heavy and borderline with stability. The minimalist shoe is shown as very light weight and providing the least stability. The TevaSphere is shown as a mid-weight shoe with the most stability. The rounded heel design, lower heel, and the exterior 3.5"-wide shock-absorbing pods located at the arch, are what Teva promotes as achieving this higher level of stability.

The problem I have with these findings is was the testing done with the same foot landing for each shoe? My point is, if you're wearing a minimalist shoe and running with a heel-strike like you would most likely be doing with a traditional running shoe, then yeah, there would be very little stability because you'd be landing on your heel with no cushion and then your foot probably would roll inward, since there'd be no arch support. BUT....if you're wearing a minimalist shoe and have adapted the more natural running form of a midfoot or forefoot landing, then there is no (or very little) inward roll because you're not landing on your heel. You're landing flat on your feet or possibly on the balls of your feet.
So, without knowing if each shoe type was tested in the modality in which it should be used, the Teva data on stability didn't really say much to me.

I have the same qualm with their data on Braking v. Accelerating. One of the biggest reasons to adapt a midfoot or forefoot  foot strike is that it eliminates the "Braking Effect." When you heel-strike your foot lands well ahead of your center of mass causing you to land heel-first. This means instead of working with the oncoming pavement, you work against it...hence the "braking effect." You actually stop for a millisecond then your body has to pull you forward before pushing off. Running should be more of a push than a pull. To achieve more pushing than pulling-then-pushing, you need to draw that foot landing in so it's taking place more under your center of mass. A midfoot or forefoot landing will do this. The braking effect  not only is less efficient because it requires more muscle activation to pull you forward causing fatigue to set in quicker, it also increases your chances of injury. Hitting the oncoming pavement jars the ankles, knees, hips, and lower back. Over time this can cause injury.

The TevaSphere Trail Event shoe is designed to lessen this braking effect with the use of a lower rounded heel. The rounded heel moves the point of impact closer to the center of the heel verses the back of the heel as in a traditional running shoe.

My problem with this again comes with testing. The TevaSphere is shown with the best ratio of braking forces to accelerating forces in stride (.91:1.0). The traditional running shoe with the square heel is worse at (.94:1.0) and bare foot running is the worst at (1.0:1.0). They don't provide information in a minimalist shoe. Sure if you're running barefoot and the testing has the runner heel-striking as you'd be doing in the two shoe versions, then yeah, it's going to be worse. BUT.... if you're landing midfoot or forefoot when barefoot running (or wearing minimalist shoes) then there is no braking effect because you're working with the pavement. Teva lauds the TevaSphere as decreasing the amount of braking effect that occurs. Why not eliminate it altogether with a midfoot landing? You can do that in any type of shoe (even a traditional running shoe) if you focus on it.

To me, it looks like a case of how can we stand out from the competition more than how can we best reduce injuries for runners.

I really like the idea of having a shoe that appeals to the runner that enjoys experiencing different types of running--road, trail, obstacle races, mud runs, etc. I like that the shoe sits lower to the ground. But let's skip the bells and whistles of the rounded heel and exterior arch supports. "Change Your Shoe, Not Your Stride" to me means..."Buy Our Shoe and You'll Have to Keep Buying Our Shoe." Not sure that's in my best interest.

Creating a multipurpose, water-resistant shoe, with a lower profile would have been great and could have been pitched as "One Shoe For All Your Runs." 

When I first received the shoe and wasn't quite sure if it was a walking shoe, hiking shoe, trail shoe or running shoe, I emailed my contact to see if I could get a better explanation. I never received one. I don't think I'm the only one who is a bit confused. In the recent issue of Outside magazine (Sept 2013), they included the TevaSphere in a review of Minimalist Shoes.  According to Teva they're not minimalist. Outside magazine also says the shoe is best for "Changing Your Stride." Teva promotes the shoe as a way to run better without changing your stride. Outside goes further so say that the shoe "encourages hikers (or runners) to land midfoot, forcing a forward-leaning position." They go further to say that their testers either loved the "three-and-a-half-inch-wide, shock-absorbing pods on either side of the arch while on flat trails or they couldn't get used to how conspicuous they felt, especially on rocky, technical terrain. I think Outside got this right. They're better pitched as hiking shoes. "If you're serious about hiking more efficiently, the 'Spheres are like training wheels that remind you of your form.

I am just one runner with one opinion. One runner's clunker shoe can very well be a godsend to another runner. But, at $140 a pop, I'd definitely find a store to test these in before ordering them or check the refund policy.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Enter to For Chance to Win a Free TIMEX Run Trainer 2.0 GPS Watch!

Yesterday I posed a review of the new TIMEX Run Trainer 2.0 GPS watch. Now you have a chance to own one too! A $225 Value! For free! To learn more about this easy-to-use GPS be sure to check out my review.

Simply complete the entry options below and cross your fingers! Maybe you'll be the lucky winner! A few weeks, Larry McMaster from Oregon was the lucky winner of the Camelbak Cloud Walker Hydration backpack. Go Larry! You have until August 28th to enter. The winner will be announce on the blog on Thursday, August 29th.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

RunnerDude's Gear Review: The TIMEX Run Trainer 2.0

Many moons ago, while at the beach, I found a TIMEX Ironman sports watch that washed ashore. The band was ratty, but the watch looked good. It was still working, so I bought a new band and wore that foundling for several years. I was hooked on TIMEX. Ever since, I've had many different Ironman watches. I usually wear them until I lose them not because of technical difficulties. So, a few years back I was very excited when I saw a print ad for a new TIMEX GPS watch. I wondered when TIMEX was going to get into the GPS watch business. Seemed like such a natural fit.

TIMEX's first venture into the world of GPS produced a rather large and hard to use watch--the TIMEX Global Trainer. The next model that came out was the TIMEX Ironman Run Trainer  1.0. This version was much smaller and sleeker than the Global Trainer, but very difficult to use (at least for this runner). I found myself often very frustrated with it. I had a hard time getting the satellite signal quickly and really difficult time scrolling from screen to screen.

Because I'm such a loyal TIMEX user, I was excited to see that TIMEX updated the TIMEX Ironman Run Trainer to a 2.0 version. The old saying, "Three times the charm" held true. This version is not much bigger than a regular watch and is very much "out-of-the-box" ready to use.

My test for a GPS quickly can I figure out how to get the GPS signal, pace, and distance, and can I do it without having to dig into a manual. I figure for all the other bells and whistles, I'll need to do a little reading, but for the basics (to me anyway) I feel like it should be "in-your-face" simple. This time TIMEX got it dead on!

I love the large display (I'm 48, so if you're getting close to this age you'll know why this is nice). As compared to the 1.0 version, the 2.0 has a smaller case size and will fit both men and women. The TIMEX Run Trainer 2.0 GPS has a new menu-based system, which makes is much easier to navigate the various features. The 2.0 also has vibrating alerts, which is cool because you can still get your alerts while listening to music. The 2.0 is a little lighter than the 1.0 version too. It also has interval timers based on time or distance. Like the 1.0 version it's still water resistant to 50M and is approved for swim.

The 2.0 also includes:
* real-time distance, pace, speed, heart rate, etc.
* quick signal with SiRFstarIV technology
* 15-workout memory with dated summary
* free access to online training log
* desktop device agent allowing for easy changes to watch and performance settings
* 100-lap chrono with customizable 2- or 3-line display
* hands-free chrono operation based on distance and time
* pace, speed, and distance vibrating/audible alerts
* hydration and nutrition alerts
* interval timer with segments based on time or distance
* customizable alarm with backup
* rechargeable LI-Ion batter with 8-hour life if full GPS mode
* compatible with ANT+ sensors for heart rate and foot pod data
* INDIGLO night-light with NIGHT-MODE feature and Constant-On options.

Retails for $225 ($275 w/heart rate monitor)

So, if you're looking for a great easy-to-use GPS from a dependable company, check out the TIMEX GPS Run Trainer 2.0 GPS. Ultra Marathoner Meredith Dolhare also trains and races with the TIMEX Run Trainer 2.0. Check out her bio here. To see all the TIMEX GPS models click here.

PS: Be on the lookout for a giveway soon!!!!

Notice: While TIMEX provided the featured product for review, they in no way requested a positive review nor did I receive compensation for my reveiw. My review is based on my personal experience with the product. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Got Ouchy Shins?

Whether you're new to running or training for a marathon, ouchy shins are
often a complaint. This pain down the inner or medial portion of the lower leg along the shin is commonly referred to as shin splints. Often a runner experiencing shin splints will first notice the pain after the run. Overtime, the pain will surface during the run.

The correct term for what you're experiencing is medial tibial stress syndrome

The cause of medial tibial stress syndrome is often debated, but most agree that it's caused by overuse. 

Experienced runners think of shin splints as a new runner's problem. So, they're often baffled when they experience the symptoms themselves. A seasoned runner can experience shin splints with a sudden increase in training frequency or intensity. Ahhh....sound familiar? That's why seasoned runners often experience shin pain during the early stages of race training or even later in marathon training if the runner starts to up the intensity or push too hard. 

Other causes can be lack of calcium, running on hard surfaces, running hills, ill fitted running shoes, or severe overpronation.

Sometimes the pain, soreness, or swelling is felt on the outside or lateral side of the shin. This is called lateral tibial stress syndrome

New runners that heel strike often experience lateral tibial stress syndrome. The tibialis anterior muscle is the muscle that runs down the outside or lateral side of the shin. This muscle is used to lift the toes. A heel-striker lifts his/her toes each time they strike the ground. So, if a person suddenly goes from not running to running for several minutes, all the sudden they've overtaxed the tibialis anterior causing inflammation resulting in soreness. 

So what do you do if you have shin splints? Recognize the symptoms and act promptly. If you notice soreness on either side of the shin after a run, ice and elevate the leg. Ice is great for reducing inflammation. I always tell my runners to keep a bag of frozen peas in the freezer. It makes a great ice pack. Just place the ice on for 5-minutes on 5-minutes off for about 20-30 minutes. Icing throughout the day may help as well. Anti-inflammatory painkillers may add additional relief. If it's still sore the next day, take a break from running. Swim, cycle, or do other low-impact exercise for a few days.

Evaluating your running shoes is a good idea too. Is it time for a new pair? Do you have 300-500 miles on your shoes? If so, it might be time for a new pair. Were you properly fitted and have the correct type of shoe for your feet? If you're not sure, go to your local running store and ask them to evaluate your feet and help you get the best shoe for your foot type. If you're a severe overpronator, custom orthodics may help with shin splint symptoms. Analysing your stride can also be useful. Are you overstriding and heel-striking? If so, work on pulling-in that foot landing. Strive more for a mid-foot or fore-foot landing under your center of mass. This helps the body work with the oncoming pavement. It also helps the body work more like a shock absorber.

Some "pre-hab" exercises can help strengthen the ankles and lower leg which may help keep runners from experiencing shin splints. Click here for some simple but effective ankle and lower leg exercises. If you're currently experiencing shin splints, wait until the soreness/pain has subsided for a couple of days before doing any exercises.

As with any pain/soreness that persists after a couple of days, check in with your medical professional immediately. If you're not able to put pressure on your lower leg, definitely head to the urgent care. Persisting pain along the inner shin could be a sign of an actual stress fracture in the bone. 

If lateral pain persists, it could possibly be compartment syndrome which can be pretty serious. This is more related to poor circulation in the affected area because of increased pressure in the area. 

If you're having to alter your stride to compensate for pain, then you need to check in with your sports doc immediately. Compensating for one pain can often cause other problems in other areas of your body.

Monday, August 5, 2013

RunnerDude Chats with MTV's Kenny Santucci

Several times on the blog, I've posted about the benefits of Mother Nature's sports drink--100% coconut water. I use it for long runs and it's really helped keep me well hydrated and my calves cramp-free on long runs since I've been using it. My favorite brand of 100% coconut water is ZICO [Zee-Koh]. So, when ZICO contacted me about interviewing one of their Team ZICO members, I said, "Sure thing."  Through Team ZICO, ZICO supports/sponsors a wide range of athletes from ultra runners to skiers, to decathletes, to gymnasts to surfers, just to name a few of the sports involved.

ZICO hooked me up with team member, Kenny Santucci. You may now Kenny better as MTV's reality star from it's Challenge shows for many seasons. Since 2006-7 he's been a staple in many of the show's versions, most recently Challenge Mania: The Road to Rivals II. 

Kenny, 30 years old, was born in Newark, NJ and currently resides in NYC.  To learn a bit more about this reality star, I asked a few questions about fitness and his preparation for the Aquaphor NYC Triathlon as a member of Team ZICO.

RD: Did you grow up in an athletic family?
Kenny: No, not at all. 

RD: Were you athletic in school? Play any sports?
Kenny: Played baseball as a little kid. I was a fat kid till I started wrestling in high school. I started running too. Love it still today!

RD: Tell me a little about your endurance sport background? 
Kenny: My brother and my trainer friend got me into it after the Challenge. Started with the NYRRC (New York Road Runners Club) then did some adventure races. Tough Mudder was first. 

RD: Is the NYC Triathlon your first Olympic distance Tri?

Kenny: Yes it is.

RD: How have you prepared for the race? What did your training look like?
Kenny: I tore my pec in CrossFit three months ago, so it stopped me from training for a while, but now I'm back. I just do what I want, but everything gets done at least two times a week. Swim. Bike. Run.

RD: Many of RunnerDude's Blog's readers may not be aware that you're a certified personal trainer having worked several years at the Equinox gym in NYC. How has being a trainer helped prepare you for the NYC Tri? Do you find yourself using some of the same techniques on yourself that you'd use with your clients?
Kenny: Definitely. I understand the human body (particularly my own body) a lot more. I know where I can push myself and my clients and I know when to pull back.

RD: Often triathletes have one of the three triathlon events (Swim, Bike, Run) that don't like or that they feel is their weak spot. Is that true with you?
Kenny: Well, I feel like swimming will be the hardest for me because I don't do it as much as I feel like I should, but also because of my injury. My left side is still pretty tight from surgery.

RD: Transitioning between each sport is challenging and a lot of time can be lost during transitions. Share any tips/tricks you use for moving between the stages of the Tri.
Kenny: Have everything set up. Be ready to go and don't over think the transition. I find a lot of times I focus on that next stage and kind of stumble during transitions.

RD: How do you feel about the open water swim in the Hudson River? Were you able to do any open water training in prep for the race?
Kenny: Nah, I haven't. But, I have trained in the past. Not crazy about jumping in. Definitely the last place I'd want to swim in. Just don't want to come out growing an extra eyeball like the fish in the Simpson's [laugh].

RD: The bike and run course look fairly hilly. The run portion doesn't appear to have too many steep hills but there's lots of steady gain. What strategies (mental and physical) do you have in place for tackling the course? 
Kenny: With anything I do, I lower my head and I keep going. I tackle everything with the same intensity.

RD: Gadgets and Gear can play an important part in the Tri. Do you have a preferred bike? GPS? Running Shoe?
Kenny: I use a Garmin watch. I'll be riding a Scott bike. I'll be running in my new Reeboks.

RD: What's the one must-have gadget or gear that's crucial to you?
Kenny: Padded shorts 1000%!! My ass has been taking a beating without them.

RD: Proper fueling and hydration is key in an endurance event. What's your
pre-run fueling consist of?
Kenny: Bagels and ZICO latte.

RD: What do you eat/drink during the race? 
Kenny: Since it's my first one, I'm gonna try the gummy by Stinger and ZICO.

RD: I've been a big fan of ZICO coconut water for several years now. What benefits have you seen from using the product?
Kenny: It's great for hydrating and tastes really good. Never feel that lag.

RD: For post-race refueling, what do you use?
Kenny: French toast for sure from my buddy's restaurant on 13th and 3rd called Linen Hall.

RD: Describe your experience being a part of Team ZICO. Was it intimidating begin with professional athletes or did you feel right at home?
Kenny: Love ZICO. Everyone there including the athletes have been great.

RD: An impressive group of athletes make up Team ZICO. Who on the team do you admire the most?
Kenny: The twins [Laurel and Rebeccah Wassner]. They are amazing athletes.

RD: What's the biggest "ah ha" moment you had in prep for the NYC Tri?
Kenny: The amount of work that goes into training. How important transitions are.

RD: What advice do you have for someone thinking about their first triathlon?
Kenny: Just do it. Find one. Start training. Have fun!

RD: Do you have another race lined up on your own or as a part of Team ZICO?
Kenny: I have the Louisville Ironman in August.

RD: Most people know you as a reality-TV and MTV personality. What's something about Kenny Santucci that might surprise the readers?
Kenny: I'm a huge comic book nerd and I love Elvis.

Update: Kenny did indeed complete the Aquaphor NYC Triathlon and did well, especially for his first ever Olympic distance Triathlon.

Swim:               25:42
Transition 1:     5:35
Bike:            1:30:30
Transition 2:     3:33
Run:               52:02

Total Race Time:  2:56:49