First Run Back!

Today was my first run back from injury. I only ran 2.5 miles, but it was great to be hitting the pavement again. The past 4 weeks I’ve been out with an achilles tendon injury. I’ve have been doing exercises to strengthen the tendon, and I have been doing some yoga to work on flexibility over the past 4 weeks, but other than that, I have not done much else.

This morning, before I hit the road I did exercises for my tendon, and then warmed up with yoga and a strength circuit. The run felt great. Even though it was only in a neighborhood, there is a sense of freedom I experience when I run out the door. I’m looking to moving right next to a county park in a few weeks, so my runs will be out on the trails daily! There are bald eagles that live in the park, and I look forward to seeing them.

Eagle sign.jpg

This injury has derailed my spring running goals, but I do have a few goal races coming in the summer and fall. I’ll write more about those races in an upcoming blog post. I also purchased a new watch during my injury, and hope to do a review on the watch in the near future.

Thanks for reading!

Josh

Injured?

Injuries for a runner suck. Period. Anyone who has been running for a length of time knows the dread of an ache or pain that puts you on the sidelines. In this blog post I will discuss three essentials for runners to occupy their time while they are on the sideline.

Strength. Often, injuries happen because a runner has a weaker muscle group. During this time, it is important for the runner to focus on strengthening muscles that may have been neglected. I would recommend once you are back on the trails, to continue to add a strength routine a couple times of week.

Flexibility. Runners have a tendency to not be very limber. Again, it is recommended during the time on the sidelines, and even once you are back up and running again, to work on flexibility, as this will help prevent future injuries. You can even incorporate a short yoga workout to your daily routine.

Plan. Look a few months down the road and plan a goal race! This will help keep you motivated and excited to get back to training once again!

Right now, I’m working through a small injury, but I am looking forward to getting back to running and working to do a few ultras on the back half of 2018. Happy running!

10 Things to Know About Distance Running.

Before you start your journey in running I better tell you something; us runners can sometimes be a little bit crazy. To keep you from being too surprised on your first group run, I’ve complied a list of 10 things you should know about us crazy runners.

10. As a runner, expect an unhealthy obsession with shoes (or lack thereof). Males of the group will often be even more obsessed with shoes than the females.

9. Remember; bright neon colors NEVER go out of style.

8. It’s perfectly normal for men to wear yoga pants out in public. In fact, it’s encouraged.

7. It’ll make perfect sense how dieting, pizza and beer go together.

6. It may appear that runners like inflicting pain upon ourselves. We do.

5. It normally takes 2 years to make as good of friends with someone as you can in 10 miles of running. Share a marathon together, and you’ll be friends for life.

4. People who wear technical running gear and expensive running shoes are serious runners. People who run with costumes, funny hats, cotton sweats, sandals, or no shoes at all are even more serious runners.

3. We will always have a body part in pain. And we’ll casually make sure that everyone knows about it. And everyone will have an opinion on how to ‘fix’ it.

2. We don’t really want to know about your race time. What we really want to know is how awful the experience was.

1. You might start running to get fit. You’ll stay running for the friends.

 

 

 

 

WHY?

Why+Discovery+Course

In 2017, I read a book “Start with Why”. The premise of the book is that we need to have our values and beliefs drive our actions. Our values/beliefs is the “Why”, and our actions are the “How” and “What”? The author of the book argues many companies and products fail, because they have a good grasp of their “what” and “how”, but they do not understand their why. If the people in the company understood their “Why”, they would be able to reach more people and less of their launches or businesses would fail.

Interestingly, after I read this book, I found myself in a new job. I found myself increasingly frustrated in my role, and shortly began looking for other things. Shortly after my job search, I did happen to find something new, and one of the emphasis in this new opportunity is- know the “why” behind what we do and our processes. We were required to watch a TED talk and our “why” is what drives us. I can honestly say my job satisfaction is greater, and I love what I do! I believe my job satisfaction is directly correlated with the organizations emphasis on focusing on “Why”!

With my renewed focus of “Why” in my workplace, it has helped me contemplate the “Why” in my other aspects of life. I began to think, “Why do I run?” The “Why” we run is the motivator. If we do not have a clearly established “Why”, running may become chore, and eventually, you may lose passion, and stop running all together. I have spoken with many people who find out I’m a runner- and they will tell me their story “one time I ran a marathon, but I don’t run much anymore” or “I use to be a runner, but then I had a hamstring injury and I haven’t ran since, it’s been years…maybe I should start again.” or “I ran in high school, but haven’t ran since”. This life is filled with people who once were runners, or ran a race that one time. It seems the people who stick with running have one thing in common. They understand “why” they run. “Why” they get up early in the morning in freezing temps to log in the miles. They have the intrinsic motivation to run, compete a goal distance or PR, and then to keep going! They are the ones who hit a certain age, and may not be able to run as they were able to in their 20s or 30s, but they keep logging the miles. These are the running warriors.

Different people run for different reasons (different “Why’s”) I run because I love running. I love the fact that I can push my body to the limit, and see what it can do. I love the feeling of euphoria after a great workout. Others run to lose weight, to chase a PR, or to get out in nature. Whatever your “Why” is, define it, and use it to motivate you.

Different seasons in life could bring a different “Why” you run. I knew a guy in middle school who joined the school cross country team because of a girl on the team. He is now in his 30s and still running, even though the crush from middle school is a distant memory. His “Why” evolved from crushing on a girl to an intrinsic “I love running!” Younger runners may run for the competition- to beat the guy lining up beside them. As the runner age, he may shift his why from enjoying the competition to just enjoying the moment. Some runners start running in order to lose weight- this is a “Why” that usually doesn’t keep a person stomping on the pavement. However, a few of these that started to lose weight, find something deeper, and continue long after they hit their weight goals- or they forget about them all together, since they found that just being in nature was motivation enough. The “Why” can shift, but never lose sight of your “Why”.

Running Goals

It happens every year. January 1st rolls around, and millions of people make goals that they know they will not keep. They like to call them “resolutions.” Gyms see a huge uptick in membership. New diet fads are emerging and flying off the shelf. People discover the produce aisle. Desks get cleaned and organized in a promise for a “new you!”

It seems like resolutions were meant to be broken however. That yearly gym membership? It’ll last 2 months. That diet and self help book only has one chapter looked at. That frozen dinner aisle is sooo much easier to cook from, and you’re so tired you’ll just throw it in the microwave. Maybe you wake up early “tomorrow” to hit the gym. But tomorrow never comes. What do we need to do to keep these resolutions?

Runners are not immune to this problem. January rolls around and we start thinking about spring races. Race directors start opening up registration and we start getting “race fever.” We then sign up for races and resolve to “run more”. We make goals to get faster, go longer, and strengthen our core. But we never make it past January then we start slacking off and loose our resolve.

Here are a few tips to help make you keep your resolutions

  1. Be Specific. Generalized goals won’t get realized. A lot of people will say, “Oh, I’m going to get healthy in 2018.” That resolution is so vague, you can’t help but break it! Let’s make it specific: for me, I am going to incorporate more core workout into my routine.
  2. It must be measurable. How do you know you are keeping your resolutions unless you have a way to measure your progress? I can say ” I want to increase my running mileage.” That’s specific, but not measurable. Instead I will say, “I am going to run 1200 miles,” and, “I will do 1 minute planks.”
  3. Set your time frame. Once you have a specific, measurable goal, set a time in which you want to accomplish it. I might even break it down into smaller segments. For me, I want to run 1200 miles this year, which breaks down to 100 miles a month. I will also do one, 1 minute plank every day for the rest of the year.
  4. Put it in writing. Remember, it won’t happen unless it’s in writing. Keeping it in your head will make it prone to forgetting or easy revision. Keep it where you’ll see it. A sticky note on your mirror or screen, an alert on your phone, anywhere where you’ll be reminded regularly of it. And maybe share it with some friends to help keep you accountable.
  5. Finally, it must be YOUR goals. Not your mother’s goals for you, not your wife’s or boyfriends. Your wife wants you to loose weight. It’s not your goal, it will never happen. It has to be goals that YOU make for YOURSELF.

There. Hopefully by following these five simple steps you will be able to realize your goals for 2018. What are your goals for this year? Make a comment below, we’d love to hear about them. Let’s check in at the end of the year to see how we did!

Thanks for reading!

Sam

 

 

 

Cold Weather Running

Cold Weather running

In many parts of the country, we are hitting record cold temps for the month of January. This includes Northern Indiana and Southern Michigan. In an attempt to spend more time with family in the evenings, this New Year I am planning to get my runs in the morning. Unfortunately, on January 2nd, the temperature in the morning hit -14 degrees, and the wind chill was well below -30! I decided to wait out the cold and run after work that day, since the temp was going to increase to a warmer 8 degrees (wind chill at -15). During my run that evening, I was inspired to write on cold weather safety.

Here are 5 tips to stay safe during the cold winter months in the Midwest:

1.     Add screws to your shoes! Adding 3/8 metal sheet screws to your shoes will give you the extra traction needed to run in treacherous conditions.

2.     Wear layers! Be sure to bundle up when it is extra cold. If you are running in sub-0 temperatures, you may want to invest in a mask to protect the skin on your face and an extra pair of gloves to protect your hands. Also, be sure to have proper socks to keep your feet warm. My preference in running in sub-0 temps is to wear at least 3 layers for my upper body, and running pants over tights for my legs.

3.     Be seen. Many of us who work the 9-5 grind will have to run in the dark. I suggest if you are running on the roads, be sure to wear reflective gear and sport a headlamp. You want to be sure cars on the road can see you. As a side note, if you are driving a car, do not text and drive- please pay attention for cyclists/runners on the road!

4.     Save speed for later. On the coldest winter days/nights, it is best not to attempt strenuous speed workouts, as this could increase the risk of injury. It is best to use the winter months for maintenance miles and to work on strength and flexibility indoors. If you feel like you still need speed, check the weather for the week, and hope you can get a warmer day to complete a speed workout. You can also do very short striders to help with speed- but again, I would not recommend attempting 400 repeats on icy roads in sub-0 temps.

5.     Change quickly postrun. After your run, take a warm shower and change clothes as quick as you can. This will help elevate your core temp and make you more comfortable.

Remember, be careful and use discretion. Running in extremely cold temperatures can be done, but be safe!!!

Screw your Shoes!

Winter time means snow, ice, and slippery conditions. How do you prevent yourself from pulling a hamstring or bruising your bottom from slipping on your run? What do you do to increase grip on the ice when even your trail shoes slip? There are many systems out there to increase traction on your shoes while running, but I have found that the most comfortable and effective method for me is also the cheapest and is easy to do at home: Place some screws in your shoes! Here’s how:

For less than a couple of dollars, pick up some #6 x 3/8 inch hex washer screws at your local hardware store.
Hex screwNow you can purchase some more expensive, longer lasting screws, but for $2 I really won’t mind replacing any worn or missing screws.

You can use your normal running shoes. Don’t worry, the screws won’t hurt them. Some people use their trail shoes. Other people (like me), just use the previous season’s pair of running shoes.

Now to pick where to place them. You want to place 7-12 screws in each shoe. Locate them around the shoe in the forefoot and heel in the thickest treads. I don’t place them mid-foot, since that tends to be the softest part of the shoe, and where you don’t really need traction anyway.

tread

Hindsight I would have placed a few more screws in these shoes, but for now they work well and haven’t had time to make another trip to the hardware store.

Don’t worry, you’re not going to poke yourself while running as long as you place them in the treads and avoid the mid-foot. And if by chance you place one in a wrong spot, just remove it and place it elsewhere. The easiest way to place them is by using a power drill and hex bit like this:

drill bit

After you get them placed, go out for a run and enjoy your new winter kicks! Let us know how they work for you, and if you have any questions about it!

Thank for reading!

Sam