Today mental preparation was needed before my run. After all, I was going out to surpass my comfort zone of years past weekly runs. I had made it past the every other day runs of 3-3.5 miles and was planned to run 4.5 miles today, Wednesday and Friday this week. With the way training has progressed so far, I was prepared to complete the 4.5 and had the route mapped out already. Slipped on my running attire, shoes and new dual layer running socks from that trip to the running store and out the door I went.
Yesterday, I had remembered a training tool that I used to use and wondered if it was still out there. I used to listed to Steve Runner's Podcasts on iTunes and sure enough he is still created them. I eagerly downloaded the last five or so episodes of the podcasts and looked forward to listening to them on my next set of runs. I remembered that they are usually around an hour in length and were made of of Steve telling stories about training, his running of races and marathons, everyday life and basically a mixture of things including some music intertwined. The majority of the podcasts are completed while he is actually running. You can hear his pace and his breathing as well as his voice change during the parts where he is running.
The episode that I listened to today was randomly picked and what was it? It was on him preparing himself for the Boston Marathon in only 5 weeks. He talked about the standard safety training plans of a gradual increase in mileage of around 10% per week, but something was drawing him to run this marathon that was only 5 weeks away. He was quick to point out that he had been running through the Winter doing maintenance runs of approximately 20 miles per week. So he cautioned that even though this 5 week training was an accelerated program, he did have a base to work off of. This would not be recommended for someone who just decided 5 weeks out to run a marathon with no prior running experience or base to fall back on. Even the trainer, who he invited to talk on the podcast warned to "do not try this at home" and that because Steve Runner had run 19 other marathons and this would be his 20th, plus he had a solid base of mileage that they would be basically ramping up his mileage over the next three weeks and today was a 16 mile run for him while he was creating this podcast.
I find his podcasts motivating since not only does he run while talking and thinking intellectually, he is very entertaining and he holds your interest. He keeps your brain on its own journey as the miles go by. On todays run, I found that I was able to be completely absorbed into the podcast between miles 3-4 and really felt my stride smooth out. I was almost on cruise control and letting my body control its own pace while my brain was involved deeply in this training program that steve was working on. This could once again be my answer to completing my training. I felt really good during my run today. Yes I still took a couple short walk breaks, but I can see how I can shorten my walk breaks and slowly turn my whole run into a run and not a run/walk.
If you have an ipod or use iTunes, I highly suggest downloading the podcasts by Steve Runner and giving them a shot. Not only can you learn while you run, but be entertained at the same time. Great to listen to and a change from the constant beats of music. I recommend the podcasts and will be listening to them for my next several runs. Thank you Steve for your inspiration, your thoughts, training tips and the ability to grasp my mind and just let me run! Good luck at Boston by the way!!!
Spring Break. Did you or do you have kids on Spring Break over the past couple or next couple of weeks? We did. Ours were off last week and my wife, who teaches in a neighboring school district is off this week. That means our kids are going back to school tomorrow and my wife is off for the week.
All of us at one time or another experienced a Spring Break, be it time off from high school, college, or a spring vacation from work. We may have worked during our Spring Break in college to pay the rent or pay for the party, but at least we looked forward and probably counted down the seconds till Spring Break occurred. Maybe we had a trip to a warm beach with tons of other young adults our age or maybe it was a vacation to a family destination. Or, maybe it was just some much anticipated time off. Any way around it, we looked forward to it and couldn't wait for the day to arrive.
I was thinking today that I am very excited for my marathon and talking about it so much this far out from the event. I sort of paused and reflected on it for awhile and wondered why that might be the case. Then it hit me. The reason that I am so excited and determined to train and go through the long process is because I actually set the goal. I have a plan. I have set the plan in place and taken action on it. I have a daily list of what I need to do and it is not a just go out and run, "it is good for you" attitude that drives me anymore. It is a 26.2 mile course through the most magical place on earth. (ok, well it sounds good right). As mentioned before I am very much a person that likes to have a plan and be able to accomplish what is on that list. A "Bucket List" so to speak. (One of my favorite movies of all time, check it out) Although I never thought that running a marathon would be on my list of things to do in my life, I can't think of a better thing to accomplish at this point in my life.
Setting a goal, making a plan to reach it, and then taking action on that goal is a big achievement in itself. Even before all the excitement of the ending, the actual planning and steps you take to reach your goal are really the learning experience aren't they? Just like when you anticipated your Spring Break or vacation and took all that time to plan it out, where you were going to stay, how you would get there, who and what you would see, and what you would do was all just a plan at that point until you took action on that plan. To me the excitement is just as much in the planning and training portion of the goal as the final completion. After all once you have gone through all the planning and are completing the event, soon it will be over. Yes you will have a sense of accomplishment. However, the real accomplishment is getting there and taking on the challenge of putting together just the right plan.
This being my first marathon, I can only make my best attempt at "the best plan" for my personal race. I can read books, share thoughts and ideas with fellow runners, communicate on blogs and bulletin boards, but really only time will tell if I can stick with the training schedule, run the miles without injury and finally run the marathon to the best of my ability.
Right now, I am happy...happy I set the goal....know the time of the event....know where it is....how I am going to get there....understand and started my training program...and most of all TAKEN ACTION. I think that is the biggest step to maintaining your strength, reducing your stress in life, and providing you a sense of happiness and well being. I am excited because I have a plan with a goal. A plan I am executing and a goal that I will achieve.
Have a plan? Tell me about it...leave it right here as a reply to my blog.
Getting off to a start this morning took 2 cups of coffee, a little News on the local network, time to sit and talk with the family and a few postings on facebook. After hearing from Krissie, Matt's wife that he had just left on his run for the day, I had enough energy to get ready to run. After quickly downloading a couple new tracks for my iPod I took off for my long run today that was scheduled for 3 miles on my training program. (updated this, more later)
I felt really good, starting off slow and knowing that I hadn't eaten made me feel light and not worrying about getting a side stitch. I had my first mile and checked on the nike + and I was just under a 10 minute pace. After about 1.75 miles I took my first of three short walk breaks lasting about 30 seconds and took off again. Overall, it felt good to be running in the morning hours and also before this afternoons rain and bad weather rolled in. I came home after completing 3.5 miles to a busy house with everyone working on cleaning and various tasks. I walked in the garage stretched for a moment and then walked up to the step to enter the house when just at the same moment my wife was opening the door taking out a bag of trash. Her eyes were on the trash bag and when she opened the door I was right there with a black stocking hat, black addidas jogging pants, black running gloves, Grey sweatshirt and most likely a sweaty red face from running. All I know is that even with my headphones from my iPod still playing a track, I heard a very, very loud startling scream. I guess she wasn't expecting me to be there nor was I expecting her to open the door at that moment. Fortunately, my heart rate was still up slightly so it wasn't that big of a shock on my system as it was for hers. Funny how things happen at just the same time or when you are least expecting it.
Anyway, I was happy to complete my run, and another day of training. Oh, regarding the training. I have adjusted my training schedule to a 9 week 10K plan instead of the marathon training plan at this point. On the marathon plan that I was on, I would have been prepared for the marathon in the month of September and my race isn't until January. Since I have a 5K in May and possibly at the end of April, I took some advice and am focusing on a little lower mileage and then will start a marathon training program in June to be completed in December just a week or so before the race. If your reading this, I would like to hear your thoughts about this plan.
Ok, now for the title of this blog, Running Store Visit. This afternoon, I took a trip to a new running store in our area in nearby Naperville, IL. Road Runner Sports has opened a store there and I wanted to take a look. The plan was to take a tour of the store and just see what they had. Well, they had some really good clearance running clothes and very knowledgeable staff that I ended up talking to for some time. I will definitely be back to this store as my training progresses. I was so impressed and excited about the store that I applied for a position there. Work should be something you love, I love running and a few other things so I figured hey, why not. I would be able to share customers stories about running, gear, training, and also utilize my retail management background. Hey, this could be a perfect fit. Besides, just being there gave me a good feeling and I found myself talking to a couple customers while waiting for the cashier to look something up about the Nike plus system. Great store, at least from my experience so far.
Tonight we ended the day with a movie, just the wife and I. A date night you could call it I suppose. We went to see the movie, Knowing and well, the popcorn was good. The movie, well,,,,if you remove the last 20 minutes, it might receive 3 out of 5 for me. Just a strange ending that didn't take you there with it so to speak. Personally, I was thinking about running toward the end of the movie and what was going to be on my plate for tomorrow, my day off from training.
Any running stores that you like or enjoy? I know that there are online stores a plenty, but what about at your local strip mall or in your local town or city? What makes a good running store? Customer Service? Good selection? Knowledgeable staff? Bare bones pricing? Why do you keep going back? Lets here it.......
Friday!!!! I remember the days while working full-time that you couldn't wait for Friday. I'm sure many of you reading this may be filling the same way. Since I do work p/t on Friday's I am happy about that and I look forward to going to my p/t job each and every day. I will eventually tell you more about that and how that position is also helping people and of all things their pets. (whole other story).
Anyway, right now I still look forward to Friday's. Why? I look forward to this day for several reasons.
1. It means that I will be able to spend the time with my whole family over the weekend.
2. It means that I will be able to run today and also that tomorrow is my long run! I can't wait.
3. It means that I will complete another step in the training towards my goal.
4. It means that I didn't quit and I am still on the track to success.
5. It means that I feel better about myself, my health, my life, and my progress to this point.
6. It means that I have most likely made connections with others who have the same interests..I have.
7. It means that I have taken steps towards obtaining another full time job.
I could probably go on and on, but you probably see the point. I have accomplished things this week that normally some people wouldn't recognize as accomplishments. Each step of my process is another step towards reaching the long term goal. Little steps get you to where you are going and that is my plan. My plan is to reduce the chance of failure. Actually to eliminate it. Also to reduce the chance of injury and of any delays to my program by following my training and if necessary repeating a week to make sure that I am at the level to complete the next step in the process.
So, I have been really looking forward to today. After work I plan to run my 2.5 miles and then rest up spending time with family this evening and preparing for my long run tomorrow.
I wish all of you luck in your training programs and hope that you will take a look at my donation page. I recently updated the information and am now donating 75% of all donations to the Lance Armstrong foundation. Who will be the first to donate and help us stomp out cancer? Who will join me on this quest to improve our health? Maybe its your first run, your first mile, your first 5K, 10K, Half, or Marathon.
Up to my quest my longest run was 7.5 miles. I WILL pass that in about 2 to 3 weeks during my long run and that to me is going to be a milestone worth celebrating. Find something each day to celebrate. Each run should be a celebration of health, improvement and SUCCESS!
I love the sense of being finished. Finished with a task, finished with a project, or finished with a workout. It provides me with a sense of well-being and accomplishment. Today I finished or completed my assigned task of a 2.5 mile run in my marathon training. And it feels good....what will it feel like to cross that line after 26.2?
Running the workout today was reminding me of the days I used to run regularly a few years ago. Afterall, I am still living in the same home, running on the same roads and pulled out the almost brand new running shoes that I had bought right before calling it quits for the Winter. It brings back memories of the senses and what you see, hear and feel during your workout.
Until mile 2, I had forgotten about one of the feelings I used to get when I worked out. The "Stitch". I do remember now that I always had to run when my stomach was empty or after eating light or I would get that unforgivable cramp in my side. Now of course I remember and will make that change to my routine. Until now, I have run my workouts with a little less in my stomach and it really has made a difference. Noted.....
Either way, I completed my workout for the day and am looking forward already to Fridays run. Tomorrow is an off day for me from running, but not from work. After all I have to be consistent and wake up, feed the dogs and cat, make sure the kids are on the bus and get the little one to Grandma's and head to my p/t job. During this time, I think about the next time out running, planning my route, and how to fit it into the family dynamic and without jolting the family's routine schedule.
Staying consistently motivated...until next time.....
"Early to bed, early to rise, makes one healthy, wealthy and wise"....or so it went years ago. Now I think we must add a few other requirements to this short little quote that my parents used to say as I protested going to bed at 8 pm as a child. Don't take this wrong, if you can get to bed early, good for you. Rest is an extremely important component to our overall health and well being. However, if you are anything like me or my family getting the proper "rest" is sometimes the most difficult thing to accomplish.
As I have learned since having our first child in 1996, you really don't sleep like you did before you had kids. I mean from day one your new baby is training you as a mom and dad to wake up every so often to feed, change, and put back to sleep the new addition to the family. Now with a family filled with 3 children who seem to have endless energy at the ages of 6, 7, and 12, 2 dogs and a cat, I have learned that consistency is the key to keeping everyone sane and under less stress. Consistent scheduling is as important for the life of your kids as it is for your dogs, your job, your meals, your running, your life.
Back in July of 2008 I was let go from a full time job that wasn't so consistent. We had a new owner the year before (July 2007) that had everyone on edge. An outside management "Integration" team was in the offices and seemed to be watching over everyones backs, and all the talk was about what changes were going to be made as this new corporate owner started to run things there way. Jobs started to be lost, friends let go and after a year went by, I was also let go. CHANGE....Change to your life, your income, your family, and the way things have been done.
How we deal with and manage this change is of course very important for our personal stress level and our families. After all, change is something we all deal with everyday and dealing with change or change management is in many Business Management course books. How should we deal with changes that can affect our life in such a dramatic way? Well, I don't have the perfect answer but I do have a plan to deal with it. Although I have learned to live with this change in my life I will always be pursuing a new full time career until I find another full time job. How should I use this new time to better my life, the life of my family and obtain my new goal of finding a job when jobless claims are at all time highs and applications go unanswered? I have found that by being positive or as Lance Armstrong states it to "Livestrong" in your search, no matter what your goal is...is the best approach. For me being positive, living strong has a deeper meaning than just being optimistic. It means seek what you really want in life and go for it with a passion. Show others all that you can be and manage through the time of change just as you did before. Minimizing the change that my family would have was now my goal. Showing my family and others that I can be strong and handle change without change managing me. I know that the less changes and the more consistency I can provide to them, the better off we all will be and the less stress it will be on the family to get through the change. This is why I have decided to run a marathon. I am setting a goal for myself and going for it with a passion. Showing life as well as myself and my family that I am in control and will not fail and will have the consistent training to get me through my period of change.
I am going out there with this same strategy for my marathon training. Consistency will be a key. Going out to run when the weather is good is just as important as running when the weather is horrible. Finding a way to get the training done when obstacle after obstacle pop up. Just like in the work force or in school you find others that are in your similar situation for support and guidance, I am doing the same in my training. Finding others who are also training for a marathon and finding a way through change is important. They can be a huge support helping your reach your goal. They are a very important part of my training and support. Without your "team" on your side it takes double the motivation and triple the determination to reach our goals. Could a CEO lead a successful company without a good team on his side to support his actions? Most likely he wouldn't last a week. Nor would the company. Unfortunately that has been happening a lot lately on the news with large corporate CEO's making thier personal gain more important than the success of the company. That strategy does not work.
In order for you to be successful, your team must also be successful and you must be a leader and learner at the same time. Be consistent, and show consistency to your team. Be open to learn new things from others at your level as well as those below and above your level. Be determined to reach your goal and make it happen no matter what the weather is outside or no matter what obstacle gets in your way. Do not step on others to get to your goal, instead bring others with you and help them reach their goals. Set a plan and stick to it, get up everyday with those dogs and feed them, give them their food and water. Wake up each day with your kids even if you want to sleep in. Show them what it means to be consistent and be a good leader for your family. Help them be successful and reach their goals to be all that they can be. Show them and your family that you can and will reach each goal you set and that it is important to not quit, not let the little things get in the way, but that you can manage around them. Be a success. Be positive. Be yourself. Be thankful, for all the support along the way, and be an example. Livestrong!
After all, getting out there, meeting new people with common goals and networking with others can lead to new directions in life, new opportunities, and potentially,,,,,new careers.
Now after writing this today a 2.5 mile run seems like a walk in the park. I will run today. I will complete the 2.5 miles...and I will have fun doing it. It is my goal for the day, anyone coming along?
Today is going to be brief. I have an off day scheduled on my running program. That is actually working out well since it is supposed to rain and I have to young kids with fevers this morning. I have thought about adding in some cross training and for some reason the kids Wii Fit comes into mind. Has anyone ever tried the workout programs on the Wii? There is Yoga, Strength Workouts, and more. It actually is pretty amazing all the variety of workouts you can do with a small balance board. Even aerobic exercises such as boxing and stepping. I just might have to give it a try later after work today. Besides, I think it makes the kids laugh a little watching dad try to beat there fitness tests... I think the Wii system really is the first of its kind to get you up off the couch and involved in the game/workout with all the additional accessories and software that you can add on to it....besides who can resist a game of bowling with the family.
Tomorrow is a planned 3 mile run and I already can't wait to get out there again. Yesterday was very smooth and I feel good today. Of course with a virus running through my family I will be stocking up on Vitamin C and sanitizing gel for the hands.
In my workout today I was fortunate enough to be able to run with a friend of mine. Matt Brown is a cancer survivor and a person who is very driven and motivated to reach the goals he sets for himself. Matt is running the Chicago Marathon this Fall and is currently training with a group of runners that are all involved with cancer in some way. Many of them are survivors of the horrible disease. We ran today on one of the paths here around my home and down around the Fox River. It felt really good to run with someone else for a change and be able to talk about our accomplishments. I did realize that I tend to want to talk too much I think and running forces you to talk in strides or in short sentences. Of course, if you do try to talk while out of breath, as I did a few times today, probably every other word comes out and Matt probably was wondering what the heck I was saying....LOL. Anyway, we shared methods of tracking our runs, and talked about where we are in our training and basic jibber jabber about running. We ended with a handshake and a commitment to run again in another two weeks on a Monday. Matt is heading down to Georgia with his wife for a short break and then back the following week.
On a side note, I also have a neighbor that I plan to train with but he recently strained his calf muscle and is off of running for awhile while it heals. He thinks he may be able to get back in line to run a 5K with me in May. We will see......
As of today I have been in training for two weeks. I used to run a few years ago and then every year when winter comes, I tend to stop running at some point. Yes, I have the winter equipment and a treadmill in the basement, but I think I use it as a crutch and just stop. Last year I didn't really start up again in the Spring and probably got in about 10 runs total for the year 2008. From 2003 to 2007 I started with the couch to 5K program and built myself up to running my long run of 7.5 miles in 2007. I always ran with a plan, but never ran in races in less you include a 3 mile heart walk in which I ran the complete 3 miles.
This year I have been motivated. Not only because I was released in July 2008 from my full-time employer and am looking for a full time job, but also because of a friend. My friend Matt, a cancer survivor, has entered to run the 2009 Chicago marathon this Fall. In fact he is running with me today for the first time. He unknowingly has been a major factor of getting me back on my feet and now I want to do this for myself. A sort of proof to myself that no matter how tough things get human determination and motivation can get you very far. I really am excited about the marathon and to prep myself during my training I have registered for a 5K in May and I am thinking about another 5K in April, next month. I ran 5K yesterday as a run/walk and this should fit perfectly into my training. I was also thinking about a 10K or a Half Marathon late in the Fall.
Todays weather, 37 degrees, with a high of 58. Perfect for running. Of course it is supposed to rain a little, but that should be fine. More to come later....
This blog is to track my daily thoughts about running. I will list my personal private feelings for the day, maybe talk about the weather and local events and simply the motivational factors on my way to training for the Marathon at Walt Disney.