On Track Workouts….

My old high school coach used to tell me: “You have to run faster to be able to run faster“. In the simplest terms, you have to train your legs to go faster so that you can break through your time barriers.  There are many types of workouts to help you get there, but today’s post is about track workouts.

Intervals…..

You may have heard about interval workouts.  Basically you run a set distance a certain amount of times with a set rest period.  You can do intervals practically anywhere you want.  However, a track is measured exactly right so that most intervals can be exactly measured.  Most tracks are 400 meters, so it is relatively easy to measure off most common distances.  One mile is approximately 1600m, so 4 laps is 1 mile and so forth.   Yes, it can get monotonous, but if you want to control certain parameters of your workout, a track can be your best tool to use for this purpose.

I’m Not That Fast….

As I always say, “There is NO slow – it is you vs. you”.   Therefore, do not get intimidated by the track.  People hear track workouts and they imagine everyone running a 4 minute mile at the Olympics.  You can imagine it, but in the end it is you that has to execute the workout and 99.99% of us are not running in the Olympics.  I have met probably 1,000 runners in my life and only 2 have run in the Olympic trials and a 3rd just qualified for 2020 in the marathon.  So the track is where you run your speed to get things done.  Now that we have that part settled, your workout may be slower than other people, but if you are running faster than usual, you are getting the benefit of a track workout.

Get Used to Running Faster….

The beauty of the track is that you are running faster than you are used to, but for much shorter distances.   You develop your fast twitch muscles and those muscles help you run faster when you need them to.   Depending on your goals, you can do practically any interval to help you get a faster time.  If you only run 1 speed continually every day, you are not going to improve your speed by much.

So again – you need to run faster to run faster…..  so incorporate workouts to do this.  Don’t be scared off by the track….you can use it to get to where you want to be.

Happy Running!

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Why Do You Run?

People ask me all the time why I like running.  While everyone has their own reasons, my main one is that I really like to do it….and with people!  I love to run with people – it is a social thing I like to do and I look forward to my runs, once I get started (I do admit that sometimes half the battle is getting out of bed!)  The relationships I have made are worth every mile.

Why do I run?  I love the feeling I get at the end of the run, especially if I finish strongly after a short or long run and the satisfaction of finishing.

Why do I run?  I like how I feel when I’m in good shape, especially after a few good weeks of running.

Why do I run?  It is cool to be able to help other people with running as a coach or a volunteer coach for the town XC team and as a volunteer coach for my church.

Why do I run?  I do feel good when people ask me how many marathons I run and I tell them 23…. and the response I usually get.  I do like how I then tell them how I met a 74 year old runner who had run well over 150 marathons.

Why do I run?  I love the hot shower after a cold frigid weather run.

Why do I run?  I enjoy the priceless moments when my teen daughter asks me to run with her.

Why do I run?  I like the feeling of getting new sneakers…   and donating the old ones…

WHY DO YOU RUN?

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On Achilles Tendinitis

Here is our 3rd in our series of nagging running injuries.  Again, I turn to my PT friend Jessica Garcia to help us with Achilles tendinitis…..

“Three blogs, three lower leg injuries, what’s up with that? While it may seem like overkill, those of us in the field of physical therapy have frequently heard the saying, “when the feet hit the ground”. The importance of this lies in the fact that as the first contact point to the ground, the feet and ankles help dictate lower extremity biomechanics. When searching for factors that may have contributed to any running injury a good starting point is the foot. Injuries march along what is referred to as the “kinetic chain”. Each runner is unique and thus the specific location for an overuse injury is determined by a multitude of factors (e.g., genetics, previous injuries, training factors, etc.) meaning that there is not an etched-in-stone-overuse-injury-sequence through which all runners’ progress. As such it is a good idea for runners to become aware of regions of the body that may become affected and learn a little about the specifics in each region. Knowledge and early warning are a runner’s best friends. So let’s look at one lower leg culprit……Achilles Tendonitis.

The Achilles is the large tendon connecting the two major calf muscles to the back of the heel bone. Under too much stress, the tendon tightens and is forced to work too hard. This causes it to become inflamed (tendonitis), and, over time, can produce a covering of scar tissue, which is less flexible than the tendon. If the inflamed Achilles continues to be stressed, it can tear or rupture.

Achilles tendinitis is typically not related to a specific injury. The problem results from repetitive stress to the tendon. This often happens when we push our bodies to do too much, too soon, but other factors can make it more likely to develop tendinitis. These factors include tight or weak calf muscle, unsupportive footwear, too quick of an increase in volume /intensity/hills or a bone spur that has developed where the tendon attaches to the heel bone. Correction and prevention of this condition require addressing these factors.

The classic symptom is pain along the back of the tendon especially close to the heel but there may also be limited ankle flexibility, swelling that is present all the time and gets worse throughout the day with activity, redness over the painful area, a nodule (scar tissue) that can be felt on the tendon, or a cracking sound (scar tissue rubbing against the tendon) when the ankle moves. It is also typical to notice pain and stiffness when you first get up & when you first begin your run and severe pain the day after exercise. If you have experienced a sudden “pop” in the back of your calf or heel, you may have ruptured (torn) your Achilles tendon.

As always it comes back to the million dollar question: To Run or Not To Run and unfortunately there is no easy answer. So again we will use a spectrum to help our decision making.

Red (stop): Severe pain/swelling above heel, pain standing up on your toes

Yellow (caution): Dull pain around heel at end of run, lingers after but goes away with ice

Green (go): No pain when you pinch the tendon

If symptoms persist you can begin self-treatment using RICE the well-known and frequently disliked mnemonic for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. If injury doesn’t respond in two weeks it might be a good idea to see a physical therapist or orthopedic surgeon. In most cases, conservative treatment options will provide pain relief, although it may take a few months for symptoms to completely subside. Even with early treatment, the pain may last longer than 3 months so as difficult as it may be patience is a must.”

Thanks again!  Jessica works at Ultimate Motion, located in the Gold’s Gym in Paramus, NJ.   I am proud to have surrounded myself with professionals who have helped me with my running coaching and personal running.    For more information, please go to my Facebook page:   Click Here

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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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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

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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…..

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

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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

Positives…..

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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