Showing posts with label Training. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Training. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

How to run farther and faster

How do you run farther and faster?  Aerobic running to build endurance! That's long and slow...conversational paced running at longer than normal distances added into your weekly running routines.  For more, here's a good video to explain the science:
See you on the road!

Until next time...

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Ultimate Stair Workout

I've been running stairs for the past few months. 7 - 10 repeats sprinting up and walking down. At first my muscles felt like jelly but after a few sessions, started to feel good.

I actually felt pretty good about my progress it until I saw this Ultimate Stair Workout. There are no words to describe the sheer pain that resulted the first time I tried a full set.  Three sets?  OMG...NO!   But it's set to a great tune,AC/DC's Thunderstruck. That helps...for a minute!

Anyway, time to get back at it.   Who's up for a challenge?
Until next time...

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Burn fat with this sprint workout

This is gonna hurt!  At first.  But if you want to burn fat, this sprint workout will do the trick:

Until next time...

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Running to death

Running is not normally an extreme sport. But running does put stress and strain on the human body. Experience teaches us to monitor how and what's going on with our bodies as we train and race. Ignoring the warning signs leads to trouble.  I experienced severe system trauma on one training run a few years ago when I was training.

On a long run on a cool day I made the mistake of only taking electrolyte replacement fluid with me. I was OK for the first two hours but during the third and final hour of the run my system became totally overloaded with potassium and other minerals.  I had to slow dow and walk to finish.  Once home though, I experienced massive cramping in my legs along with shivering and shaking.  It's the only time I've ever been scared! Fortunately I recovered completely but it was a wake up call.

The chart below has a pretty scary title.  What's informative and useful though is the information on the right side of the chart that details what goes on during a marathon:

Until next time...

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Lose weight with high-intensity workouts

So I've plateaued in my running.  I haven't been able to lose weight but I am running comfortably...and injury free.  Still though, I know I need to ramp it up.  I've incurred a lot of injuries over the past few years so this time I'm taking it easy with the high-intensity workouts.  

Benefits iof a high-intensity workout: Increased VO2 Max, stronger and faster running and continuing to burn calories at a higher rate well after the workout.  Now that's the way to loose weight! Although because I'm a salty snack fanatic, I often fall to the temptation. Oh well, that just means another high-intensity workout.

Until next time...

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

How to improve your running form

The downside of improving your running form and becomming a more efficient runner is that you'll stop losing weight.  That's what's happened to me.  Unless I add more miles, I've become so efficient in my running style that I don't burn as many calories as I used to.  OK, I may also eat too much at supper and I do love my salty snacks so those may also be contributing factors.  But the fact is that I don't consume as many calories as I used to from running.

There is an upside and it's this:  I'm running comfortably and injury-free.  And there is a lot to be said for that.  Improving my running form has not been easy and it's taken some time but it has been worth it.  I've incorporated many of the tips below into my running.  Try them and let me know your results.

Until next time...

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Breathe, Baby, Breathe!

Oxygen.  The single most important thing you need to become a better runner.  And there are 4 things you can do to improve your breathing:

Until next time...

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Planks: My Abs Silver Bullet

Planks!  Where have you been hiding!

Last week one of my co-workers showed me how to do Planks. There we were in the middle of the office dressed in business attire with the rest of the office looking on doing...Planks!  For something so deceptively easy, it was brutal!  After barely 20 seconds my arms were quivering; After 40 seconds I failed!

A few months ago I challenged my friend, Larry Savitch to an Abs competition:  At Reggae Marathon this December Larry and I will doff our tops on the beach in Negril and compare Abs.  Larry is a few years younger than me but that's not what makes this crazy.  Larry works as a Trainer at a Corporate Gym.  He already has Abs.  I on the other hand sit at a desk working on a computer all day.  I have never had Abs.  How do I get myself into these things?

But with Planks, I now have a secret weapon and I plan to use it fully.  Starting today Planks will be a part of my daily routine. I've already started pre-run stretching to loosen and open up my hips so a few minutes Planking will be no problem. I'll be following the 5 minute Plank Workout in the illustration above.  After my 40 second first Plank experience I have a long way to go but I'm not scared.

Shhh....don't tell Larry!

Until next time...

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Open your hips

'Tight hips' the bane of runners everywhere.  I know...I suffer from tight hips and it affects my running.  Not in a good way.

I should first explain that I don't like stretching.  I generally get out of bed and still bleary eyed head out for my early morning run.  Most mornings I stumble along for the first kilometre without being fully awake...thankfully I have reflective gear on so the cars can see me.  I'm know I don't see them. Once warmed up I speed up of course and my breathing becomes more relaxed.  I can feel my muscles loosen up as my stride lengthens and leg turnover increases.  Over the past few years though I've noticed a significant increase in the time it takes to get comfortable.  Stretching before running would help...specifically stretching my very tight hips should pay off.

I found this illustration showing essential stretches for tight hips and have been doing them regularly recently. I'll know in a couple of weeks how my running improves.

Until next time...

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Stairs...this time no injuries

So...after multiple previous attempts of running stairs, I've finally found a way to do it without injuring myself.  And it was right in front of me all the time:  Walking up and down the stairs in our apartment building!

We live in a 10 story building and for the past couple of weeks I've been doing some early morning stair repeats.  Walking mind you...running up stairs caused my previous injuries. I'm up to 4 sets now and have been humbled by the experience.  Climbing stairs is hard! The first time I went out I was completely out of breath after the first set and my legs were rubber.  That was hard to take especially since I'm a long time runner.

I've been combining these stair climbing sessions with my ab workout and while I can barely see a two-pack developing (if I squint in low light), I'm going to stick with it. I have a wager on with Larry Savitch for Reggae Marathon this December and if this is the only time in my life I actually sport defined abs it will be worth it!

Until next time...

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Just a little faster...

Navin on Track at his Ecstasy 8
It's Navin's fault! He's totally responsible for helping me to run faster this year.

If you've followed along over the past few years you know I've been hobbled with some nagging foot injuries.  From Plantar Faacitis to broken bones.  All related to the challenge of trying to run faster.  With a few more years on the chassis along with more than a few pounds on my frame, it was an unreasonable expectation.  But that didn't stop me from trying...and injuring myself multiple times in the process.  And although I've enjoyed the friendly ribbing for my last place finishes at the last two Reggae Runners Challenges, I'm determined to change that this year! Once again I'm working on running faster and this time it's Navin's fault!

Back in Negril at Reggae Marathon last December Navin burned up the Full Marathon course.  He told us his target time which was aggressive. Then with a really simple mental technique, he beat his time by nearly 20 minutes!  And that got me thinking...rather than going out and purposefully trying to injure myself with specific workouts that I attack with foolish abandon, let's try the 'Navin Way'.  And it's working!  What's his Jedi mental technique?  Talking to himself:  "Just a little faster, just a little faster, just a little faster...".

My immediate race goal this spring is to run the Sporting Life 10K with a negative split.  Challenging on the best day; extra difficult for this race as the first 6km is downhill.  I've been training hard through the cold and snow, following a great leg strengthening exercise routine from Olympian Carrie Tollefson and using Navin's Way to run 'just a little faster'.  So far so good.  Race day will tell.

When you see me running along the Kingsway in Etobicoke this Spring listen out for 'Just a little faster, just a little faster, just a little faster..."

Until next time...

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Proper Running Form

Courtesy of
Gibson's Daily Run Quotes
I spent many years running not worrying at all about form.  When disaster struck about 3 years ago...first Plantar Fasciitis then broken foot bones...I had to finally think about proper running form if I wanted to continue to run.  And I love to run!

The very first thing I did was change from 'Heel Strike' to 'Forefoot' or 'Mid-foot' running.  It took some time to get used to but now it's completely natural.  It led to a change in shoes:  not fully minimal but I have moved completely away from the traditional 'wedge' running shoe.

I've also scoured the web to find training tips to improve my form and speed.  I found this one recently and like the easy suggestions and training tips.

Enjoy and keep running.  That's my plan.

Until next time...

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Anatomy of a Run

4:30 am comes early in my house.

That's the time I get up most week-day mornings to go running.  For some crazy reason, I love running in the dark (Sally says I'm 'in the dark' most days but I digress).  I like the quite and almost total lack of traffic early morning. I should clarify though:  I get up at 4:30 am...I don't go running until nearly 6 am.  That's one of the things about growing older:  it takes me nearly an hour to 'go running':
  • I don't like to run on a full stomach.  Unless I'm going for a long run, I don't eat anything before heading out.  I drink water though...I sweat a lot even in the winter so having to stop for a 'bio break' isn't a problem for me.
  • The first thing after I get up is to check the weather.  Unless there's been an ice storm overnight, I'm going running.  I am sensitive to temperature though so I check that via my handy Smartphone App (The Weather Network).
  • Once geared up:  In the summer, short tights and a technical T shirt;  in colder conditions long tights and layered tops, I walk down the four flights of stairs from our apartment.  That's it for pre-run limbering up.  I have never liked stretching before a run:  something about straining cold muscles.  
  • With a nod to my age, I walk the first 100 metres before breaking into a jog.  Most mornings it's only a few minutes before my breathing normalizes and I pick up the pace.  That's a good running day...some days it's 20 minutes in before things settle down.  On those mornings I ask myself, "This is fun?"
  • I run about 40 minutes 5 days a week now with a couple of days off.  My 'long run' is usually a Saturday or Sunday up around 75 minutes.  After running and racing and training for events most of the past 30 years, I really only have one 'race' that matters:  the annual pilgramage to Negril each December for Reggae Marathon
  • I don't run with music.  I like my 'alone time' while running and when all goes well just enjoy an easy pace.  I do solve all the problems of the world while running though...unfortunately I never seem to remember the solutions after.  I know my head is clear though...that's all that matters.
  • I sprint for the final 500 metres.  OK, an exaggeration but I do pick up the pace as I near the finish.  Old habit...I like to finish in a flat-out sprint. I'll never be Usain Bolt but it feels good trying.
  • Post-race I walk for about 10 minutes to cool down.  I don't stretch after running either...the walk seems to be enough.
  • Since I run early in the morning and don't eat before I run I come back famished. Lots of water plus hot cereal does the trick.  That's the plan anyway...I usually end up with a cereal bar.
That's the anatomy of my typical daily running routine.  Well, it's exciting to me!

Until next time...

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Speedwork and Hills!

I used to just go for a run.  Then one day I decided to race.  It's been a battle against time ever since.

That wasn't necessarily a bad thing when I was young and foolish.  But now that I'm on my second half century it's become a bit more of a challenge.  On two fronts actually.  First, the work it takes to run faster and second the challenge to stay healthy and un-injured.  So speedwork and hills.

On the speedwork front, I use the local high school dirt track.  Prior to the recent hurricane level rain it was a lovely oval of hard-packed red clay.  It's suffered some damage recently that I hope will be addressed before the new school season starts in September because it's really messed up my weekly speedwork sessions.  Normally I head out from home at a faster-than-usual pace for the 1 mile distance to the track.  Then I do a series of 'Repeats to Failure':  sprinting the straights then walking/slowly jogging the curves to catch my breath.  So far I'm up to about 6 laps of this torture (about 1 1/2 miles) before I'm spent.  The really hard part is the slow 1 mile jog back home.


Then there are the hill workouts! 

Where we live there aren't too many real hills.  We do have the descent/ascent down to the Humber River however and it's become my nemesis! It's a steep, narrow, uneven dirt path up the side of the ravine.  It starts steep then gets really stupid for the last 5 metres.  I know 5 metres doesn't sound like a lot but after my 3rd repeat my thighs are burning and my lungs are trying to do an 'Alien'!  Again, I try to do these hill repeats only once every other week.  These photos are of the trail but they really don't do justice to the steepness of the incline.  You'll just have to trust me when I tell you that after my 5th repeat I've invented some new swear words to go along with the burning in my quads and searing in my lungs.  The beauty here though is that it's a quick walk back home and the relief of a cold compress on my knee.  Yeah, there's some pain but I've been looking after it carefully.

The big benefit of all this pain is that my regular runs have become fun again.  While it may only be in my mind, I feel as if I'm running faster.  For sure I'm running more comfortably with the mid-foot running style. We'll see how fast I really am this fall in the Toronto Waterfront Marathon where I'm running the 1/2 Marathon and again in Negril in Decemeber at Reggae Marathon where I'm running the 10K.

Until next time...


I'm raising funds for the Heart & Stroke Foundation in 2013.  My goal is to raise $2,000 by December 31.  My planned races in 2013 include:
Please join me on Facebook at Run for Heart.