Cutting Those Corners

When you run, do you follow the road and its turns and corners and sharp lefts? Or do you try to always run straight, point to point and get to the end in the shortest way possible?  What do you do?

Measuring Race Courses

When race directors hire a professional to measure their courses, they want the course to be exactly 5K, 10K, or whatever the distance is supposed to be.  I have watched a few courses get measured, and the person usually uses a bicycle and a GPS.  She or he then rides the projected course and cuts all the angles on the turns, taking the shortest way along the route (unless otherwise directed for some reason).  However, we were the only ones on the course, perhaps 3 bicycles on an open roadway.  Throw in 100+ people and suddenly the roadway is not so easy to smoothly run through.  Then people at the end of the race look at their GPS and say “why was the race 10.2 miles instead of 10?”.  Did they cut the corners and run the vectors correctly?

Running on the Track

This week there were 2 instances of people not running efficiently around the track.  On Monday a junior runner on our local track team was running the mile at a home meet.  She stayed right on the girl in 1st place for almost 3 laps….but on the outside of lane 1, at times in lane 2.  When the other girl started kicking it in, our girl had nothing left.  She also ran a 1680, not a 1600 as lane 2 is longer than lane 1.  Just this morning at the track workout I host, the same thing happened.  We were doing sets of 200m-200m-400m and on every 400m, 1 runner would line up in lane 4 and run almost the whole lap in lane 2.  I told her at least twice to cut in.  Needless to say, she ran way more than a 400m!

Be Smart, Cut Corners….

Next time you are on the track, stay as close to the inside lane as possible to save time and space.  In your races or any run, look ahead of you and run straight to that spot, assuming you are being safe while doing so.  Look at this week’s picture – it sums it all up in 1 place.

Happy Running

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aaa Cutting Corners


Nutrition Fuels Running….

When my running took a slower turn in my early 40’s I thought it was the final slowdown – we all get older and we all slow down….  In 2013 my wife said: “Nick, you’re just getting old”.  And you know what, it made sense…. my times had steadily gotten slower and I was trying to run more miles and more races….and nothing was working !!!

Flip forward to November 2013.  My friend posted her before and after weight loss post on Facebook.  I posted back – wow, how did you do it?  She said a word I had never heard before – Isagenix.   She then said that it could help me as an athlete.  Honestly, here I am at 145 lbs, saying…there’s no way I’m using a weight loss product to lose weight.  She explained that it was not a weight loss product – it is a nutritional system for everyone.  I then proceeded to talk to many people, most of whom had never heard of the system either.  My chiropractor and my personal trainer convinced me to try it and I jumped in.

Fast forward to April 2014 and I ran 18:58 in a 5K, 45 sec faster than I had run it in 18 mo.  Then I ran my 3rd fastest marathon 2 weeks later in Providence, RI.  A year later I ran my fastest Boston.  Then I ran my PR in the 20K (1:23:39) and 1/2 marathon (1:30:05) in my life in September 2015 and March 2016, respectively. Today March 26, 2017, I ran my PR in the 10 mile run at the GS10 at 1:06:36.  (Note added Dec 2016 – I ran 18:24 on December 4 and my 3rd fastest marathon in October [3:21])   I can tell everyone with conviction that this system made me a better runner and athlete.   I have also started strength training and this has allowed me to run fewer miles – with confidence I ran my fewest miles since 1998 in 2015-2016 – with better results.  I can’t tell you how excited I am – it has been years since I have felt such energy and running is fun again….well, even more fun than in years…almost like college….haha

My questions to all runners is then – what are you willing to do to get better?  And, how can I help you as a coach and with your nutrition?

Are you ready?   Running & Nutrition Tips…..

#nutrition #running #athlete #noexcuses

Running Girlfriend


Is Going to the Gym for Everyone?

Obviously the answer is no.  But what are the alternatives that are cost effective and can have a huge effect that do not take too much time that you can do from your home?  Think about it?  Suddenly, the answers become shorter.  Maybe the gym has everything – a pool, showers, towels, weights, a turf area, etc.  However, you might want to do things on your own and on your own schedule and not worry about when things are open or who to go with.

Is Running for You?

This could be your sport.  You will walk to run, starting with only walking, and eventually running a little and then running more than you walk.  Same thing with working out.  Maybe you could do a 20 minute circuit at first and then eventually graduate to a 45 minute boot camp class after a few weeks – all in your house with videos and exercises that use your own weight to get in shape.

Transformation Tuesday…

This is transformation Tuesday…..time to get in shape for the summer, just 16 weeks away.   We are getting close and summer bodies are made in the winter.   What do you want for 2017?

Happy Running…..

For my free couch to 5K program:  Click here    #transformationtuesday


Running…the Cheapest Sport!

If you are thrifty like me as a former accountant or just looking for one of the most optimal workouts that gets you in shape the fastest relative to the amount of time you are putting into the exercise, then running can be for you.  There is no age limit, there is no place to limit you, there is no skill you need to know or learn to start and, other than a great pair of running shoes, there is no large up front investment


There is a relatively quick ramp up from walking to running, a quick increase in cardiovascular endurance and fitness; there is a large group of people who are all doing the same sport which generally welcomes newcomers with open arms;  there is a running partner for almost everyone…. People look at runners who have finished races with admiration.  You feel good when you are done and after you have been running for a while.

A Pair of Shoes….

That is all that is stopping you from starting.  Go to a great local running store….ask me for advice if local to Northern NJ.   What is holding you back?   Bring the shoes with you on vacation and business trips…. a pair of shoes and off you go.

Not too many sports are this easy to enter.  If you want to get better running gear, you can.  If you want to get all the gadgets, you can.  If you want to run races, you can.  If you want to run races away from home you can.  But nothing is necessary to just begin….  just a pair of shoes.

With only a handful of weeks before May and summer, this is the time to start.

Happy Running….

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Shin Splints -Why the Pain?

I turn again to my running physical therapist friend Jessica Garcia here in Paramus, NJ for answers to those nagging shin splints!   Here you go:

“Anytime we get lower leg pain we are quick to say that we have shin splints but is that actually true or have we just grown accustomed to saying that because it’s what we have heard.  Shin splints has become the go to term for any lower leg pain that we get below the knee, either on the outside front part of the leg or the inside of the leg. Shin splints are the bane of many athletes, runners, tennis players, dancers and military recruits. They are much more common among beginning runners who build their mileage too quickly but can also affect seasoned runners who abruptly change their workout regimen. Shin splints can be summed up in 4 words….. Too Much, Too Soon.

Shin splints, (most commonly known as medial tibial stress syndrome), were always considered a soft tissue injury but with new information it is now thought that the cause of shin splints may actually be repeated stress to the bone. With running the tibia (bigger shin bone) bends backward slightly on impact with the ground, putting compressive forces on the inner side of the bone. The body responds to this but this process can take several weeks to months during which time the bone is even more vulnerable. Shin problems are more common in less experienced runners because the bone has not yet adapted. Did a light just go on?

Be careful, shin pain doesn’t always mean you have shin splints. It can be a sign of another problem, 2 conditions in particular, with potentially greater ramifications. The first of these is Compartment Syndrome– a swelling of muscles within a closed compartment which creates pressure. This pressure can decrease blood flow, which prevents nourishment and oxygen from reaching nerve and muscle cells.  Symptoms include leg pain, unusual nerve sensations and eventually muscle weakness. Compartment syndrome can be either acute or chronic. Acute compartment syndrome is a medical emergency.

The second, one that evokes fear just at the mere mention, is a Stress Fracture-an incomplete crack in the bone. The pain of shin splints is a generalized ache that may be worse in the morning because the soft tissue has tightened up overnight. They are at their most painful when forcibly lifting the foot at the ankle or flexing the foot. By contrast the pain from a stress fracture becomes focused on a smaller area of the bone and is sharp or burning in nature. The pain may be noticed more during the run eventually hurting while walking or even when you’re not putting any weight on it at all. They may feel better in the morning because the bone has rested overnight. If you suspect you have a stress fracture you should get it checked.

There can be a number of factors that cause shin splints, those related to the body and those related to training errors.  When shin splints strike it is best to stop running completely or decrease your training, depending on the extent and duration of pain. The initial focus is on decreasing the inflammation and once that is achieved it turns to reducing the relative amount of stress on the tibia. This can be accomplished by increasing flexibility and strength, reducing impact, wearing the correct footwear, cross training and,  once returning to running, avoiding hills and hard surfaces, avoiding running the same direction on a track, gradually increasing mileage, gradually increasing intensity and increasing stride frequency.

Most runners don’t want to interrupt their training unless absolutely necessary but the decision is not a clear cut one. In an attempt to help patients make this complicated decision I use this simple spectrum:  Red zone(stop): localized tenderness, sharp burning pain, pain with hopping, pain with walking, Yellow zone (caution): Tight aching pain when running; goes away when you stop, hopping isn’t painful, Green zone (go): Completely pain free while running. In most cases shin splints are often not serious however, call your health care provider if: you have pain even with rest, icing, and pain relievers after several weeks, you are not sure whether your pain is caused by shin splints, the swelling in your lower leg is getting worse or your shin is red and feels hot to the touch. So while in many instances you could run, the question becomes…. should you run?  If there is any hesitation when answering this question err on the side of caution. If you think having to rest because of a mild injury is difficult, you don’t even want to think about what it would be like with a full blown one.”

Thanks, Jessica!   Happy Running……

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Winter IS Half OVER!

Do you realize that winter is half over?  That means 2 things.  Yes, we have a few more weeks of cold weather, snow and black ice to deal with.  But it also means that you are suddenly that much closer to your 5K or whatever race you have been planning for this year!  Do you have a plan?  Are you executing your plan? Are you ready to commit?

February, 2017

This is the key month to your winter training.  This is when you get your schedule together, run your base miles and also make sure you have all your gear ready to go for the year.  Do you need to order new supplements?  Do you need new shoes?  Did you plan out your running schedule?

March, 2017

Your spring races should be on your calendar.   Everything should be ready to go.  If you don’t have a schedule yet, this is the time to get one immediately.  If you can’t plan on your own, are you ready to hire a coach to help you or join a local team or club?  For the beginner, did you find your couch to 5K program yet?

April, 2017

Your races are already here!  Did you plan and execute your plan properly?  Only you will know at this point.  The rest of the year lies ahead and all I can ask at this point is, “Are you ready?”

Happy Running

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On Treadmills….

Treadmill running……or “dreadmill” running as people often call it.  You have the choice to run outside, but unfortunately, there is ice or subzero temperatures or you are in an unfamiliar location…..and back again you are on that treadmill again.

Ideas Can Help….

It doesn’t have to be so bad, everyone!   You can be outside and potentially can get injured with black ice.  Instead, you are in the comfort of your own home or gym with controlled weather conditions.   I agree with you – if you are merely staring at a wall or at yourself in a mirror, treadmill running can be extremely tedious and boring.   If that is all I did, I would have hung myself a long time ago in my basement….. not really, but you get the point.

Mix it Up….

Get a TV and put it in front of your treadmill and watch your favorite show – or a live sporting event – or an action movie – or anything on DVR.   This will definitely make a difference.  Something like Rocky or Die Hard keeps me going.  Music!  Anything that gets you excited – put it on. Or watch a concert on the TV of your favorite band and kill 2 birds with 1 stone.  Lastly, change the incline, change the speed and change the temperature (open windows in the winter, for example) for different experiences in the same exact place. Have you ever tried to talk to a friend who is also on a treadmill?

Some Basic Rules….

Don’t forget to keep the treadmill at least at 1% incline to mimic the lack of wind resistance.  Buy a treadmill for you – if you won’t use bells and whistles, don’t get them.  If you run only 50 miles a year inside, don’t get the best model.   I will go over my treadmill buying tips another day.

Treadmill running does not have to be painful – you can change your perceptions.  If you think glass half empty, you will not like it.  Maybe you can like it more now?? A little?treadmill

Happy Running!

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