Friday, July 31, 2009

Running and Riding Shorts

Some random thoughts and comments from the past week:

RAGBRAI Celebration
A huge congratulations to Team Awesomeness (Andy,Joel, Adam,Andy,Rag,Ryan, and others) for completing the RAGBRAI ride across Iowa that finished up last weekend! Wow! What an accomplishment. Was able to get up to see them for the night before the finish and also the finish. I am amazed at the distances they rode and the conditions they faced a few of the days. And the food they were able to consume while riding sounded pretty good too. Sounds like the towns they rode through were unbelievable in terms of hospitality! What an adventure! It will be on my calendar for 2010 for sure. Hope Team Awesomeness will let me ride along with them!

Austin Half-Marathon
Join me in Austin, TX on October 11, 2009 for a great half-marathon. I have a team forming in conjunction with FCA Team Endurance. We'll have agreat time. More on this in a few weeks. Registration instructions and website information will be coming soon. We'll run together or you can do your own thing. Austin is a great place to run!

Next Race
My next race will be on September 11th in Olathe,KS. It is called the Patriots Run. The race starts at 12:00 noon and runs for the next 9 hours and 11 minutes. Runners can run as far as they can/want to in that time. My plans are to do 50 miles or more that day. It's a race run on a loop course. I am really excited to get a 50 accomplished.

On the Road...With Wheels Now Too!
Yes, it's happened. I am now cycling and loving every minute of it. Three days a week doing between 25-50 miles have become a weekly routine. Good cross training and so far feeling my running is benefitting from the additon of the riding. I have several great routes and the scenary is fantastic.

Training Schedule Changing
Next week it will be time to start back with my teaching responsibilities. It's been great to be able to run/ride, eat, and nap each day and then just get up and do more of the same the next day. However, all good things must now it will be back to late afternoon/evening training and weekend morning long runs. I could do this for a long time!

In my opinion Hammer Nutrition products are without a doubt the best supplements on the market right now. I have had fantastic results with them. But I will tell you that I have supplemented my Hammer Nutrition plan with a product called GU Chomps. They are fantastic for either your runs or your rides. Chomps have amino acids for great energy and rapid recovery, vitamins C & E for the antioxidents, a good electrolyte balance of sodium and potassium, and a blend of simple and complex carbohydrates. Great flavors and I think they are much easier on the stomach than gels. Just sayin...

Well, hope this week has been good to you and that the upcoming week will be a great one! Make sure you take time this week to let somebody know you care.

Forward we go! May your roads and trails be happy and safe.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Training Change

Spending a few days in Boston going to professional meetings and doing some early morning runs along the St.Charles River, allowed me to have some time to rethink some of my future training plans and race plans. I'm about 7 weeks away from my next ultra-marathon of 50 miles (Still need to find an August marathon.), and several weeks before my first cycling race in October of 40 to 80 miles. Have not decided yet on the distance. Therefore the training plan needs to be in place that will carry me across the finish line in a strong way. There are several components of a good training plan.

First of all, Nutrition and Hydration. I can't emphasize this enough. A good Hydration and Nutrition plan is a must. These are not things that you wait a few days before a race to start. It is a continuous process that involves organization and careful calculations of your own body needs. What you are training for does make a difference. The Hammer Nutrition Products that I use are a fantastic benefit to get me on the road or trail for running and cycling at my top performance levels. You have heard me talk about Hammer often. Hammer has very knowledgeable people to help you set up a program that will work best for your needs. I am also available to assist you with any questions in this area. Hydration is something that needs to have attention each day. Consumption of the right combination of liquids is a real art. There is so much junk out on the market right now it is unbelievable. Be careful what you buy and do not over hydrate or under hydrate. Again, Hammer leads the way in this area.

Second. Gear. Brooks Running is my gear of choice. I am a Brooks ID runner and really strongly advocate that they have the best products on the market right now. Some very advanced technology that is not wasted on bells and whistles like some of the other companies. Fancy does not make you a better runner. Research into product development does. That's the Brooks focus.

Third. The Training Plan. There are so many plans out there right now. Please be careful and choose one that fits you and not someone else. Training plans are very personal and quite frankly are not always found in the stacks of running and cycling magazines we all pour over each month. Find someone you can trust to help you with a plan that will focus on your goal and get you there in a way the insures success. Again, I would be more than happy to help you with a training plan for any distance. Simply leave a comment on this blog and your email address and I will be more than glad to help you!

My training plan for the next 7 weeks involves combinations of running and cycling that will provide a good balance of miles involving different sets of muscle groups. My training plan calls for me to do my longest runs on Saturday and Sunday of distances from 15-25 miles each day. These back to back runs strengthen me in a way that prepares me for the ultra. During the week I will be dong 8 mile runs on Tuesday and Thursday. Then on Monday and Friday I will be doing 25-40 mile rides. Wednesday will include a 6 mile run and a 20 mile ride. It puts me at between 90 and 150+ total miles a week. It's an agressive training plan. I am finding that including cycling as a major part of my training the past 2 weeks has really given me new strength. Therefore, the change to include more cycling.

I will keep you posted on how things are going. You can follow me each day on Twitter or Dailymile. I hope you will find the updates meaningful and helpful. Let me know if I can be of help to you. Best of luck to all of you that are running or riding in races the next few weeks!

Forward we go! May your roads and trails be happy and safe!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Conclusions from Man vs. Fast Food

It was great to be able to have a few days to take a look at the fast food industry. The Man vs. Fast Food event last week was one of information gathering and food tasting. The opportunity to present an option to what you can eat at fast food establishments was a challenging one for me. The goal was easy. What can active people that want food that is not high in fat, calories, carbs, and sodium do when the are "stuck" with fast food options? I found out that there are menu choices that can work and also some items that need to be avoided completely. Was there a fast food establishment that outdid another? Yes. Am I going to recommend a place for you to go for your meals? No. The visits to McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, Taco Bell, and Sonic were very informative. You need to make your own choices.

Conclusions that I could make from my 5 day trip into the fast food world would be:

Look carefully at the menu options before you order. Many fast food places have their menus online so do your homework on several so that you know what to order when you are presented with the problem of ordering fast food. Look at the key things that are very important in our active diet. Check out the sodium content, fat amounts, calories, carbs , and portions. It was amazing that the more the protein increased the size of the menu item did too. Want high protein? Order the super size of anything and of course there will be more protein. Come on, that's not rocket science. there will also be more sodium, calories, and fat. There were menu combinations that were ok. A small hamburger and a salad with low fat dressing was a good option. some salads alone had more negatives than other items on the menu. Dressing? Not good.

There were several things that impressed me though. There is an effort out there in fast food land to make us aware of just what we are eating. They don't order the meals, we do. It's a two way street. Yes, they could improve their menus. In some cases they are. But it is our responsibility too. A couple of places had the Allergens listed for each menu item. That is way cool! There are also different portion sizes for things. Take advantage of that.

Think before you order. What we take in as food needs to be fuel that we can burn in a positive way for our active needs. High fats, carbs, calories, and sodium only add to a savings account of trouble.

Forward we go! May your roads and trails be happy and safe!