Sunday, December 27, 2009
Over the course of the past year, the BTWG workouts have continued to evolve and develop with the inclusion of the principles of CrossFit and CrossFit Endurance. I began training with CF workouts last January, and went full-on with CF in late March, early April, I then attended a Level I certification in September. Realizing the value of this style of training, I revised the workouts to include some elements of CF.
In my upcoming "Indy Mini Marathon/CrossFit Training Program", all the training is based on the principles of BTWG, CrossFit and CrossFit Endurance. While the response has been great thus far and several people have already applied, I find that many die-hard endurance athletes want to cling to their old method of training with LSD workouts (Long Steady/Slow Workouts) and sport specificity (running to be a better running, riding to be a better cyclist, etc.). Fair enough! I too had a hard time breaking out of my old thought process. I understand the fear associated to change. Why listen to someone like me who isn't a top tier athlete? Why follow a training plan from someone who doesn't even run a sub-90 minute half marathon and isn't even close to qualifying for the Boston Marathon? Again, fair enough. I get it. How about listening to a "real" coach, such as Lance Armstrong's coach, Chris Charmichael? Check out his new book, "The Time Crunched Cyclist" or the following interviews:
While Charmichael isn't exactly CF/CFE, he's on the right track and helping to bring this format of training into the endurance community. When Charmichael talks, people listen.
So, what about all this CF training? Why bother with power lifting movements such as the hang clean, the snatch, overhead squats? Why do burpees and pull ups? Why do high intensity circuits or maximal efforts? Why do workouts that are short and leave you in a heap on the ground? Why swing a kettlebell, isn't that for Neanderthals? Check out this picture of a typical muscle head swinging a kettlebell, I mean, really, who does this stuff?!?!?!
Oh, wait... hold on a sec. What's that? That's Lance Armstrong swinging a kettlebell? That's an Olympic weight set and a GHD machine in the background? That's his garage? Oh... I see. I thought it was a CF gym. My bad...
Well then, check out this workout session of some jack ass doing a high intensity workout with weights. You would never catch a world class endurance athlete doing anything like this:
NOTE: if the video does not appear, just click on the words "Lance Armstrong" and it should take you to the video. Also, Lance's form on his hang power cleans SUCKS. Who's coaching this guy : ) Seriously, it's really, really bad. Most of my CF crew would put him to shame.
What's that? That's Lance... again? Crap!
Sarcasm aside, as much as I hate to use Chris Carmichael and Lance as leverage to make my point... well, it helps to make my point. Carmichael's program and Lance's strength workouts are not exactly CF/CFE, but they do come from a similar base of short, intense workouts that deliver maximum results and this is exactly the approach I take in coaching my clients and CrossFitters.
The next round of CF classes begin January 4th and the Mini Marathon training begins January 23rd. If you are interested in either, or both, be sure to contact me right away or shoot me your questions: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday, December 21, 2009
This time of the year is the peak season for people giving me excuses. Here are the most recent:
- "With the 'bad' weather I haven't been as active"... Oh really? Humm, that's funny. I live in the same town as you but I haven't missed a single workout due to "bad" weather. I have a list of clients who have yet to bail on their workouts, even their outdoor running on account of the weather.
- "There have been so many office carry ins, family parties, and (fill in the blank) that I have really strayed from my nutrition program"... Is that right? I, too, have been at several parties, and for the last week Jody have been baking all sorts of cookies and treats and I've been able to stick to my program. Have I enjoyed a few treats along the way? You bet 'cha, but I've actually continued to maintain and lose weight over the past 4 weeks. I guess you atttend different parties than I do, the ones where they actually hold a gun to your head and force you to eat things you don't want and eat more calories than you should.
- "Its the holidays..." Yeah, and? Using the holidays as an excuse is just that, an excuse. These days we have a holiday about every month, or other special occasion. Use this as your excuse and you will NEVER achieve your wellness goals.
- "The shorter daylight hours has really made it hard to get my workouts in". See my response to the first example.
Sure, the sh**ty Indiana winter weather makes it more challenging to get outside to train, yet with a plan and minimal gear, it's no big deal. See my previous post on "Dressing for Success". And, yeah, it is tough to follow your nutritional plan when there are land mines all around you and temptations around every corner. Again, with planning and awareness you can navigate through the holidays with no damage to your well-being.
I get it, it is difficult at times. And I also get it that the holidays only come once a year and we want to enjoy the season, our friends/family and treats. It's all good IF you have a plan, stick to your food intake budget, stay active and take a stand for your health. Have ONE cookie and move on. Enjoy it for what it is; savor it and let it go. You don't need 10 of them just because you only get them once per year! Have your treats on a free day and make sure you earn it by being active and disciplined the rest of the week. The point is to avoid the victim mentality and the excuses that can come this time a year.
Happy Holidays. Merry Christmas. And stay tuned, there are loads more great things coming our way!
Friday, December 18, 2009
Read Here: http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/20091217/sc_livescience/happieststatesrevealedbynewresearch
In a study of "Happiest States", of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, Indiana ranked 47th! As in, almost dead last! Heck we even finished behind Illinois and Ohio! I had a hard time believing that people living in hell-holes like Hawaii or Florida could finish ahead of us - all that yucky sunshine and heinous ocean views, who could be happy living there?!?!. But, to finish behind the arm pit of America, Ohio? Come on! Now I'm depressed...
Enjoy : )
Thursday, December 17, 2009
"I wanted to let you know the results from the race. There 75 women between the ages of 45 and 49 who were running the race on Saturday and yours truly came in 12th!! I ran a 9:07 pace which is slower than in years past but not a bad place to start out for the mini marathon training. The fastest woman in our age range was 7:44 pace. I never ran at that fast of a pace ever, but it is something to shoot for. Overall, I am quite pleased with myself.
The interesting thing about road races, older woman are awesome participants. The top two WINNING Female of the race on Saturday were 39 and 38!!! (The top three winning men were all in their 20s). The first OLDER woman (post 20s) to finish was 51 and she came in 159 out of a 1800 plus field with a 7:01 pace. I am telling you, watch out for the middle age woman. She is the one to BEAT!!!!"
Watch out, dudes, the ladies are hot on our heels!
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
INDY MINI/CROSSFIT TRAINING PROGRAM
JANUARY 16th – May 8th, 2010
WARNING: This is not your conventional approach to training for the Indy Mini Marathon; if you are looking for the traditional approach, please look elsewhere.
In addition to a weekly written training program, participants will also have access to weekly group workouts, email correspondence with their coach, nutrition advice, pre/post race support tent at the finish line, tech shirt, and more.
· Must be in good physical health, meaning you are not under a physicians care for serious health issues, if you are, your doctors permission will be required before acceptance into the program.
· Depending on your current activity level and health/medical risk factors, your doctors permission to participate may be required
· Access to strength training equipment, including: dumbbells, barbells (Olympic weight set is ideal), jump rope, exercise mat.
· Must currently be capable of walking or running 3 miles
· “No Excuses!” attitude – a willingness to work hard and accept coaching and feedback, then apply what is suggested
What you get in this program:
· Weekly training guide which will include your weekly running schedule as well as CrossFit-based workouts and yoga/stretching sessions
· 45 minute CD with a weekly “Yoga for Runners” session
· Weekly training sessions each Saturday at 10:30a.m. These sessions will vary from week-to-week and may include running, interval training, hill work, CrossFit workouts, weights, kettlebells, calisthenics, yoga/stretching, and more. Location may vary each week; most workouts will take place at Eagle Creek Park or at a designated location in Brownsburg or other Indy location.
· Tech shirt to wear at training sessions and on race day
· Pre/Post race support tent with refreshments and more. Leave your items here prior to the race or stow gear you want at the finish
· Optional: 2-3 workshops offered during the 16 weeks. Attendance of these workshops is optional and there is a separate fee to participate. Dates, locations, and fees to be announced. These workshops will focus on running technique, shoe selection, hydration/nutrition, and other topics pertinent to your race.
· Weekly eNewsletter from Coach Chris with training tips and more
Who is this training for?
· Those with a limited amount of time to train yet want to get the most bang for their training buck (time and energy)
· Those who embrace coaching and excel with team support
· First time half marathoners who want to do more than “just finish” the race; they want to do their personal best!
· Runners interested in a fresh, cutting edge approach to training for a mini marathon and perhaps set a PR at the Indy Mini
What is the cost?
The base level fee for the 16 Week program is $125, which includes everything listed above. Workshops or private coaching fees are separate and will be announced at a later date. Please contact me if the fee is a concern or limiting factor for you.
To apply, simply email Chris and receive further instructions.
Friday, December 11, 2009
Hard work =Results
Interested in joining us for some CF "fun"? Email me: email@example.com
For more pictures from last nights WOD visit our CF blog: www.crossfitbtwg.blogspot.com
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Cold weather and shorter daylight hours are no excuse to bail on your walking/running outside. In this article, I share strategies to help you stick to your training plan through the winter. Why sacrifice your fun and fitness when you don't have to?
- How long are you working out? Most people can deal with the cold for a 30-60 minute run if you plan ahead. There are a few of us crazy enough that we will run for several hours in the cold. This requires more practice and more planning, yet it can be done!
- How cold is it?
- Is it windy? Wind strips heat from the body very quickly, so it's important to plan ahead.
- Is the sun shining?
- What kind of terrain are you on? Running on hilly terrain generates more heat. Running on flat, open roads makes it tougher to stay warm.
- We all have different metabolic systems and lean body mass, both of which contribute to how much heat you generate during exercise.
- How much "natural insulation" a.k.a. body fat, are you carrying around with you?
This month marks my one-year anniversary (UPDATE: NOV 2009 MARKS MY TWO YEAR ANNIVERSARY) of getting back to running as my primary vehicle for aerobic conditioning. Over the past year, 100% of my runs have taken place outside. I've gone running in the rain, in 90+ degree weather, and I've gone running when it's dark and drizzling ice. The only weather related condition that has caused me to postpone an outdoor run was on two occasions when there was ice on the ground. And this year, I've come up with a plan to work around that. I've purchased a set of the "YakTrax® Pro".
A couple things to watch when seeking out your shell include getting a jacket that is well ventilated. Ventilation is crucial. Look for back panels that vent and, ideally, either "pit zips" which are zippers under each arm which you can open and close to allow heat to escape, or at a minimum ensure there are vents in the arm pit area of the jacket.
"What about 'my other half'"?
The important thing is to be smart and avoid wearing shorts on really cold days. Below temperatures in the mid-30's, exposed legs will cause you to lose heat too quickly, making it difficult to remain warm. Plus, it is crucial to keep you joints warm otherwise you become more prone to injury to your knees and hips. Research actually supports that running in shorts in cold weather diminishes overall performance. So, don't try to be a tough guy/gal. Cover up for Pete's sakes!
Give cold weather the finger.
Practice, Practice, Practice...
Monday, December 7, 2009
I've coached Joe over the past year as he completed Project: Bridging the Wellness Gap, as well as a three month custom program leading up to Tecumseh. Joe was a dream athlete to coach for this race and I couldn't be more proud of him.
I look to have a race report from Joe and post it here in the next few days.
Way to go, Brother!
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
- CrossFit-inspired training in Brownsburg. These classes have been running over the last 3 months and have been a huge hit. So, I'm looking to expand the schedule at the first of the year. If you have an interest in attending, please contact me right away. The classes run in a four week series and the fee is $10 per class, paid in full at the first session. These classes are appropriate for ALL FITNESS LEVELS as they are scaled to your ability. CrossFit is a form of high intensity training utilizing functional strength movements, body weight exercises, kettlebells, running, power lifting, Olympic lifting, and more. These classes will take your fitness to the next level whether you are looking to lose a few pounds, improve your health, or participate in sport. I hope that doesn't sound too much like an info-mercial, but it's the truth. If you express an interest, I will give you the rest of the details. You can also check out my (now-not-so) underground blog at www.crossfitbtwg.blogspot.com
- Indy Mini Training Program - "by popular request", I am willing to offer a training program for the Indy Mini, which is in May. Whether you are doing your first Indy Mini or looking to set a PR, this program will be for you. In addition to the weekly training guide, there will be instructional sessions you can attend as well as group runs and a team jersey. Again, if you are interested, let me know right away. Training will be based on CrossFit, CrossFit Endurance and Bridging the Wellness Gap, not your conventional training programs - it will involve strength training, yoga, nutrition, and running. If you are looking for the traditional mini training program, look elsewhere - they are a dime a dozen. Fee to be announced.
- Project: Bridging the Wellness Gap - the next round of the Project will launch at the end of January. If you, or anyone you know is interested, contact me. Application dates will be announced soon. For more information you can visit the BTWG web site: www.BridgingTheWellnessGap.com
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
Since I started CrossFitting last winter this phrase has been a reoccurring mantra for me. It' a common theme in CrossFit and the title of the documentary from the 2008 CrossFit games. I practice "every second counts" in my daily training/life in a couple ways 1) make each second of my workout count by giving it my full attention, care, focus and effort and 2) in timed WOD's (Workout of the Day) I make an effort to be as efficient as possible in each movement, to waste no time, and to complete the assigned tasks as quickly as possible. While I have learned how this phrase applies to daily life in various ways, it wasn't until Saturday that I realized it could also relate to running an ultramarathon.
With a couple days between me and my failed attempt at running my first 50 mile ultra, I've had some time to process the experience and I plan to share what I have learned as I feel the lessons apply to far more than just running a race.
This being my first 50 mile race, I laid out a race strategy based on my goal which was to finish the race in approximately 11.5 hours; the JFK 50 has a cutoff time of 12 hours and I wanted a little wiggle room. Based on my previous races, I felt anything under 11 hours was a little unreasonable for my first 50. A 12 hour finish equates to a 14:24 per mile pace, not lightening fast compared to the winners who finish in 6 hours or less (a 7:12 pace or less for over 50 miles!). My plan was to average around 15:00/mile through the Appalachian Trail (AT) section (15.5 miles), then 13:00/mile for the tow path portion (26 miles) and then 14:00-14:30 for the last 8.5 miles of rolling pavement to the finish.
Mistake of the Day #1: Failure to bring my watch. Of all my gear that I packed the only thing I left in Dover was my watch. As a result I did a piss-poor job of tracking my pace and really knowing where I was and how long it was taking me to get there. I did have my phone in my CamelBak but didn't want to carry it in my hand while running. This lead to...
Mistake of the Day #2: Trusting others for splits, time checks and pace - refer to "Mistake of the Day #1". I would occasionally ask other runners or aid station attendants for the time, but, again, I did a piss-poor job of calculating my minute per mile pace or knowing where I was in relation to my time goals.
At the mile 4 and 9.5 aid stations I actually thought I was ahead of pace. Yet, when I arrived at the 15.5 mile station I was able to discern that I was actually behind pace with an average of a very sucky 16:00/mile average. This meant that I would have to make up time on the tow path yet I was confident I could make it happen. Plus, I knew that I had factored in 1/2 hour of wiggle room; not where I wanted to be, yet I was still in the game.
By pushing the pace a little on the tow path, I was finding it a little difficult to fuel and hydrate as much as I would have liked, yet I was getting down enough to keep pushing forward. At the 25 mile aid station I determined that I was almost back on par for a sub 12 hour finish. This awareness inspired me to settle into a sustainable pace and I planned to recalculate at the mile 30 and and 34.4 aid stations.
Coming into the mile 30 aid station, though feeling some of the effects of running/hiking 30 miles, overall I felt pretty good. The mental stress of getting back on pace, trying to do the math, and feeling like I was running on borrowed time really sucked, but otherwise I was okay and even a little motivated since I had passed some folks on the tow path. As a side note, I never spent more than 60 seconds at any one aid station, so after the mile 30 station I quickly hit the path with my sites set on the next aid station at mile 34.4.
Mistake of the Day #3: Not knowing the cutoff times at all aid stations.
A couple miles out of the aid station a bike patrol volunteer road up behind me and said something to the effect of "you have about 15 minutes to cover the next 2 miles".
"WTF are you talking about?!?!" is what came to my tired mind, but I think I said something along the lines of "Come again?"
He told me it was nearing 2:45pm and there was a 3:00pm cutoff for reaching the 34.4 mark. Talk about a kick in the nuts! At the JFK if you blow off the course officials you are banned from future JFK's so I knew there was no negotiating the issue and my day was done. I was mentally and physically crushed after that, the weight of the last 30+ miles hit me. All the months of anticipation and preparation had come to an abrupt halt. Within minutes I was hit with a wave of emotion and physical pain. I walked the last couple of miles to the aid station and this gave me time to process my feelings. In that last mile I pretty much went through the whole grieving process - denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
While I have several lessons that I learned on Saturday, "Every Second Counts" is first on the list. With a clear mind, earlier today, I reviewed a couple of splits that I could recall along with the time that my race came to an end. At the point I was pulled from the race I had an average pace of 14:24/mile, exactly where I needed to be to finish in 12 hours and I was cutting off more time as the race wore on. However, and this is where "Mistake of the Day #3" comes in, to avoid the cutoff at mile 34.4, you needed to have averaged 14:00/mile. I had been 24 seconds per mile slower than needed to avoid the cutoff. With just over 15 miles left in the race, a scant 24 seconds per mile kept me from seeing what was further up the trail. To have finished in under 12 hours I would have needed to average the same 14:24/mile for the last 15.6 miles. Could I have sustained the effort and finished all 50 miles? I'll never know. Could I have gone 24 seconds per mile faster in the previous 34.4 miles? F#*K YES!
So what I feel I can take from this experience is that every second truly does count! You never know the difference a few seconds might make in your life, whether it's the difference between finishing a race or not, or the difference between winning a race or not. It can mean the difference of taking a second to gaze deeper into your child's eyes, or not. It can be the difference of being in the moment with a loved one to connect, or not. It can also mean the difference between digging and pushing so deep that you touch your soul or not. On Saturday I just don't think I went that deep and I believe those 24 seconds/mile is what separated me from that experience. And that, my friend, is why I will be at the start line of another 50 miler in the near future.
Thanks for reading, I know it was long winded.
Thanks also for those who supported me in one way or another and to those who contributed to the Wounded Warrior Project, we are nearing the $1200 mark!
- Why I hate tech-y crap like GPS watches and why I'm ordering one as soon as I get home
- How I feel my training and preparation worked or didn't work for this race
- My "pros" and "cons" of the JFK 50 Miler and would I consider doing it again
- Project: BTWG updates - our recruits are in the final stretch of their 12 week program!
- And much more...
Friday, November 20, 2009
Koerner has won Western States the last 2 years and is certainly making a name for himself in the ultrarunning community.
Think these guys race for the cash? Nope. The first place finisher gets a whopping $600 which doesn't even cover their cost for travel, lodging, food, and entry fees. Do they have lucrative sponsorship contracts? Uh, when compared to mainstream sports it's not even close, not even in the same ball park. Most people would crap if they heard some of the stories of these guys "roughing it" just to save a few bucks for their sponsors budget; certainly not pampered prima donna athlete's you find in the NBA and NFL. A handful of ultrarunners scrap together a living but it comes from racing, speaking engagements, personal appearances, some sponsor money, and some offer coaching and training camps.
Packing up and heading towards Hagerstown in just a couple hours. Race packet pickup this afternoon, check into hotel, eat and rest - that's the plan of the day.
More when I can...
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Here is most of the gear I will be using/taking with me at Saturday's race:
Shoes: Mizuno Wave Ronin 2. I've had these shoes a couple months and love 'em. While they are a road racing flat, they do offer enough traction for what I'll be facing at the JFK; only about 13-14 miles of the race is actual trail, the rest is crushed limestone on the tow path (26 miles) and the rest is road. If this race offered a drop bag opportunity, I would have worn my New Balance 870's for the trail and switched to the Mizuno's for the tow path and road. With no drop bag and no crew I had to chose the best all around shoe for me and this is it. These shoes are very light, around 8 oz. and offer only minimal cushioning/support which is just want I'm wanting.
Over my shoes I will be wearing a pair of "Dirty Girl Gaiters" (www.dirtygirlgaiters.com). I have a tendency to get all sorts of crap in my shoes (rocks, sand, wood chips, rodents, you name it) and I've found these gaiters to be the best thing on the planet for keeping stuff out. Dirty Girl Gaiters are super light weight and super simple. I don't have an image of the one's I'm wearing; Dylan, my oldest son surprised me and bought me a new pair of "Urban Camo", which is way cool because I've been wanting them for a while and he didn't even know it. Thanks, Dylan, I'll be thinking of you every time I look at my feet.
For socks, I'm double layering to help reduce the risk of blisters and just going with two pair of thin Under Armour socks on each foot. I will also coat my feet, heavily, with "Body Glide" which helps cut down on blisters.
This will be my first race using "compression apparel", in this case I'm using "Skins" brand compression "Half Tights" and "Sox". The training runs I have done in the Skins garments have already made me a believer! I find that they reduce the onset of fatigue and seem to help in overall performance. I don't know that I would recommend them for "everyday" or regular training runs, but I highly recommend them for high intensity sessions and long runs. I'll let you know what I think of them in terms of ultras after Saturday's race. Here is the link to the "Skins" web site: www.skins.net.
I'm wearing my trusting $15 running shorts that I bought at Target about 2 years ago. These things have served me well and I'm sticking with them for this race. I liked them so much I bought 3 pair and just rotate through them for running, CrossFitting, racing or whatever.
Unless there is a change in the weather, from the current forecast, I'll be wearing a long sleeved wicking top with a short sleeved top over it. I'm thinking this will provide the moisture control I need, provide some warmth, yet won't be too hot. We start before sunrise and there is a strong chance that I will still be out there after sunset so it's a little tricky knowing how to dress for the changes in temps. Again, if they offered drop bag service or if I had a crew I would change at different points in the day.
I'll start the day with a pair of light gloves and, if it's cold enough, I will wear a skull cap hat, otherwise I will wear a my baseball style running hat.
Since I'm at the mercy of the foods and fuel provided at the aid station, I've decided to bring my Camelbak. I'm bringing it mainly to carry extra foods and supplies I might want or need throughout the day and will only put minimal fluids in the Camelbak's bladder. The idea is to keep the weight to a minimum and I can refill at various aid stations rather than lugging around 100 oz. of water all day. Anyone who has done an ultra or endurance event can tell you that at certain points having a little treat that you have packed along can really lift your spirits and put a little more pep in your step... at least for a little while. In my pack I plan to bring a couple turkey sandwiches, a couple bars that work for me, blister pads and small amount of tape, and any other small items or gear I think I might need. I prefer to keep things as light as possible and not carry anything unnecessary, however you also need to plan for what you might face without much support.
Well, that about does it for my gear list and what I'll be packing along with me. Of course there are many things I won't be physically carrying with me, yet they will be in my mind and in my heart - I'm sure you know what those things will be and these are the things that will really carry me to the finish line.
I'll post more when I have a chance and post on Twitter when I can.