Are YOU on MY Trails?

One of my friends was complaining to me this week that she has barely enough room to run some days because of all these “summer warriors” who only run outside in the summer.  They take up all her trails and bring their dogs and walk, etc.  and get in her way…..  She asked me – “what should I do about these people”?  This is what I told her:
The summer can be a busy time on the trails and paths in parks, forests and protected areas.   People are suddenly wanting to get into shape and they flock to these places to walk, hike, road bike, etc.  What should people do so that they are not stuck in slow snaking lines in hot weather?
1)  Go to the trails at off hours.  Try to get there early when the park opens to beat the crowd and heat.  Try to get there after dinner before the park closes, although this would be the second option over morning.  If you get there at 10:00 AM on a Saturday, the whole world will be coming over the next few hours.
2)  Find trails less traveled in your ‘home’ park.  In most parks there are labeled trails with markers in color.  If you know from past experience that the yellow trail at a particular park is nice and wide but heavily traveled, go to the blue trail which may be narrower and less traveled.
3)  Find parks/trails that are further away.  Here in northern NJ, the parks closest to NYC are always busy in the summer.  As you go out further west and north, they get less crowded.  It may require some research and driving time, but you should be happier.
4)  Look at park calendars for events.  If there is some event going on such as a 5K or a food truck festival, odds are that there will be too many people and you can avoid those days (more people on the trails and less parking are not a good combo).  Every park usually has a calendar of events and you should consult it before you go.
5)  Think out of the box.  Some of the best trails are on old mansions or places that are not so obvious but are open to the public.  Again, do some research on this.
6)  If trails are too busy, find ‘roads less traveled’ – some small neighborhood streets may do the trick in a pinch…..
As you do go on trails, please be careful to bring enough fluids and be careful not to get lost.  Also, please obey the signs if the trail you are on is crossing private property.   Watch for roots and things that can get you hurt – a twisted ankle 5 miles away from the parking lot is not fun.   Above all, try not to go by yourself – for all the reasons mentioned it would be safer with a buddy or a small group.
Have fun out there and happy running.
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On Having Fun…

I was watching one of my runners today and she seemed a bit tense.  Her shoulders were tight and she seemed a bit off when we started our track workout.  I told her to relax and tried to remind her to try to forget what was going on in life for a while and to try to run in peace.  She did relax a bit and had a killer workout.  Maybe it isn’t so easy to forget everything….but you can do your best.

Why peace?

Running is therapeutic.  It is relaxing.  It can be a place to retreat from life for a few minutes at a time when you need it.   There are days when life takes over and you get overwhelmed.  I get it – I have 3 kids, a business, I’m going to school for teaching – there are so many reasons not to run.  I try to get up every day and do it anyway.  The first step is the hardest – once you are out the door you are on your way….

Find some friends

Look around you – find a friend – find a local club – look on social media.  There are clubs that are looking for new members all the time.  For $25 or so per year you get running  companionship and maybe a few get togethers, etc.  It is totally worth it and helps you become accountable for your running and you end up running more because you are not alone.   Some like to run alone and that is their thing, but if you are tired of not having anything to go to while running, find people to run with.

Your troubles won’t magically go away – but for a few minutes you are allowed to forget about them.  I give you permission…  Sometimes when you get back you will be clear-headed and have a solution….

Running is a trial of many miles…. use it for yourself to try to relax and have fun….

Until your next good FUN run,

Coach Nick

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Where Have You Been?

You are questioning yourself…..  Those doubts…. I was injured and how can I come back?  I gained weight – how can I come back?  I was faster when I was 23 yrs old – how can I come back?  I am getting old – can I continue this?

Running is for FUN

We have to take stock sometimes that running is for FUN – the pressure we put on ourselves for PRs and records and statistics is meaningless if running has become a job to you.  Has it?

Everyone Has a Story

Your story may have been weight loss or disease or whatever inspired you in the 1st place.  Reach back to that place and get your inspiration back.  You did it before and you can do it again.  What is stopping you?

Just do it – this is your chance to get back what you had before.  You may not be what you were, but who cares….you are better than the original and that’s where you need to aspire to be.

Happy Running

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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…..

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On Lessons Learned…..

Sometimes you don’t know if you have gone too far until someone tells you that you did.  The lines are blurred until you are told not to do what you thought was right.  When the time comes that you need to straighten out, it is how you react that determines the future.

What did you learn?

You can become reserved and sulk and not learn from the experience.  You can also take it all in and move forward, enriched from what just happened.  If you didn’t take the chance, you would not have known what the boundaries were in the first place.

One coach I admire tells his athletes to go out a little faster in a race than they would have normally if they know that they are running with people that can help them improve. Even if they end up slowing down, the experience of having run faster will help them in the next race.

How will you ever know if you can run faster if you don’t practice running faster?  That is why we have track workouts, tempo/progression runs and races.  Racing is good practice for racing again and racing faster, no matter what your pace is currently.  So have you tried to hit your limit today?  Did you try to learn something new to improve for next time?

Happy Running!

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On Fun Running…

I sit here at school watching 4th graders run around during gym class and I see the joy i their faces. It is such a nice sight to see and it sparks a smile on my face. This is what I am doing as I write this opening paragraph.

Fun Fun Fun…..

Don’t make it a job to exercise.  Try to make it fun…:  A great workout partner or group, a dedicated coach or personal trainer, an energetic class, a goal to do something you previously thought was impossible – all these things and more can make exercise fun.  Exercise early or late, inside or outside, with people or without – but try to smile every now and then.  Things should not always be so serious.

Are you getting paid to exercise?

No – I am almost sure most of you are not getting paid to exercise.  So why all the pressure and glum faces?  The more fun you have, the easier it becomes – trust me.

Think about Phoebe Buffay on the TV show Friends.  She ran with one of the other characters on the show and had a very distinctive style – see below.  However her style, she had a smile on her face and had fun while running.   Think about the kids, smiling and running for fun.

Being able to run with friends, with good music, on a beautiful day, etc. is a blessing, so please enjoy it – it may not last forever.

Happy Running

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Try and Try Again….

It was 1976….I was in 2nd grade and we had a big “Field Day” at the local high school to celebrate the Bicentennial of the USA.  It was cool to take a school bus and go to the high school football field for a competition against the other grammar school children.  I don’t remember a lot, but I know there were sack races and other fun events.

Ready for the race…..

I was picked or volunteered for the 100 yard dash.  This was my FIRST race ever.  I was so excited – I had followed the Olympics in Montreal that summer and couldn’t believe that I was running a race myself.  I got on the line with the other boys and got into the ‘professional’ start position where my fingers were on the line and I was in the squat position, just like I had seen on TV.

The gun went OFF!  I took off like a rocket (or so I thought)….  I had the best start out of everyone.  Then 1 kid passed me…..and another….and yet another.  It was all blurry after that as I started crying and ran into my mother’s waiting arms at the finish.  I had LOST.   I was no good to run again.   I never wanted to race AGAIN.   That’s it.

Minds change….

In 7th grade Saddle Brook put on a local 5K that began and finished at the local Howard Johnson’s hotel and snaked along some back streets.  I entered the 1-mile fun run – did I remember my bad experience at my previous race?  The next year, I entered the race again – this time I ‘trained’ around my block with a couple of runs the week before the race.  The following year I joined winter track…then cross country and now, about 40 years after that first race?  I’m still running.

I could have given up way back when I was 7….but i didn’t.  Anyone can run and I can make anyone a runner.  What is your story?  Perhaps you are just ready for that next chance.

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