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

Top 12 Gifts for the runner in your life

Christmas is coming, and we all know a runner who would like a pair of the Nike Zoom Vaporfly. In an ideal world that would be the perfect gift. But in reality we know it isn’t going to happen. So we at Running Brother’s Company have put together a realistic Christmas list that any runner on Santa’s nice list would appreciate. And all these gifts are around $50 or less, so they won’t break the bank.

SmartWool Running socks

Maybe I’m too practical or maybe I’m just boring, but I will always appreciate a pair of good running socks. There are many different running socks on the market, but I have really enjoyed the SmartWool PhD Run socks for several years now. First off, they’re made well and last a long time. I have collected about a half dozen pairs over the past 5 years, and have yet to develop holes in any of them. I also have had very little issues with chafing and blisters when worn with proper fitting running shoes. I’ve done several marathons and ultras in these socks, and I can say I’ve experienced less than average chafing and blistering with them.

During these cold and wet winter training months you’re runner will be delighted to get these PhD Run Cold Weather Mid Crew Socks in their Christmas stocking!
Smartwool Men’s PhD Run Cold Weather Mid Crew Socks (Black) Large

Buff headwear

One of the runner’s biggest dilemmas is dressing properly for the weather, and being able to adjust mid run. What feels comfortable at the beginning of the run might not at the end. I love Buff headwear because it can adjust to help warm you up or cool you down. In the winter you wear it like a hat, covering your ears. Wear it around your neck, or around your face in extremely cold weather.In the summer wear it like a headband to wick away the sweat or soak it in icewater to cool you down.
Plus, check out all the awesome designs they come in!
BUFF Original Multifunctional Headwear, Graphite, One Size

Gloves

Baby, it’s COLD outside! Nothing ruins a nice mid-winter run more than cold claws. Those digits need a little love too during the cold winter months, so a good pair of gloves or mittens that are warm, yet can allow ventilation as things heat up are paramount to having a fun, comfortable run.  A convertible style mitten is perfect for warming up when cold, cooling off when hot, and accessing electronics when needed.
Brooks Threshold Gloves

GU nutrition

Give the gift of GU this season. What is GU? It’s easy to digest food for runners during a long run. Most runners have their favorite brands or flavors so ask. However, one of the hot selling flavors this year is the GU Campfire S’mores.
GU Energy Labs Original Sports Nutrition Energy Gel, Campfire S’mores, 24 Count

A Massage

No, not a back rub. A good 30-60 min sports massage by a professional. If your runner doesn’t have a favorite place, then check with the local running organization or store. They will often have a recommendation for the best local spot for runners to get a rub down. This will especially come in handy if there is an upcoming race.

Tracer360 reflective vest/light

One of the top things on a runner’s mind when training during the winter is going to be safety. As in-car distractions are on the rise, so must our efforts to be seen while running on the roads, especially at night. The Tracer360 reflective vest by Noxgear is a shining beacon in the night, with 360 degree LED fiber optic illumination and multiple light colors and modes.
Tracer360 Visibility Vest (XL)

Body glide

Friction is our friend when trying to stop, starting a fire, or keeping your hands warm. Friction is not our friend when bombing down a narly incline in the middle of a 50 miler. Putting jokes aside, this more personal running item is a necessity for many whose running goes into the double digits. Your shy friend might be a little embarrassed and taken aback by a gift of Body Glide, but any runner with a sense of humor will laugh, as well as thank you, for this thoughtful personal gift.
Body Glide Original Anti-Chafe Balm, (USA Sale Only)

Foam Roller

Your running friend really needs that professional massage after every hard or long run. But unless they start in the elite corral at Boston it’s unlikely they’ll get it. Us mere mortals use foam rollers instead to loosen up tight muscles after a run.  They come in all sorts of sizes, shapes, and colors. But an inexpensive basic foam roller will do the majority of the massaging. Not only is it budget friendly, it shows to your friend that you care.
AmazonBasics High-Density Round Foam Roller – 36-Inches

RoadID

It’s just smart. Help keep your runner safe with this inexpensive, yet potentially lifesaving bracelet. You can even put a custom message on it so they’ll remember you every time they go for a run!
Road ID Bracelet – the Wrist ID Sport – Identification Bracelet, ID Wristband, Child ID, and Sport ID

Headlamp

With winter comes short days. And many runners will spend countless hours in the dark training for their spring race. Be a light for their dark nights, and get your runner friend a new headlamp. Not only will they be able to see better, but be safer. Look for something with rechargeable batteries, at least 200 lumens, and several light modes. The Petzl Actik Core affordably has all these options, and was Ultrarunner Magazine’s Top Pick in it’s November 2017 issue.
Petzl – ACTIK CORE Headlamp, 350 Lumens, Rechargeable, with CORE Battery, Black

Shorts

T-shirts. Long sleeve, short sleeve, sleeveless. Cotton and technical fabrics. Fun and ugly. Runners usually have too many shirts. What they don’t have enough of are SHORTS.

The North Face Better Than Naked shorts consistently receives high ratings. I would agree, they are my favorite shorts. The fit is light and comfortable. They also come with a lot of pockets, hence the “better than” title. Price wise at $59 you get a lot for your money. Give your runner a pair of these shorts and he’ll hug you and give you a few t-shirts in return.
The North Face Better Than Naked Short – Men’s TNF Black X-Large x 5″

A Cheer Section at their next race!

The best gift is the one that doesn’t cost any money. Make up some posters and cheer them on at their next race! Here’s a few tips: Get a group to cheer, the louder the better. Plan to spend some time there, especially if it’s a marathon. Cheer everyone on, not just your runner. Find a good spot midway through the race to cheer at where the race director permits it. Extra credit: Host a aid station! Check with the race director to see how you can volunteer.
Funny race signs

Injury Prevention

The old cliché is “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This cliché holds true in running. If a runner can stay injury free, they are able to run more consistently. As a result, they are able to run better and faster in races. Most runners will have experienced an injury. I personally have experience multiple hamstring injuries, calf strains, shin splints, and achilles tendonisis. I have implemented a few exercises, and have made changes in form and footwear in order to minimize my injuries in the future.

I currently work on strength and flexibility through Yoga routines from Tara Stiles. She has beginner, intermediate, and advanced routines. I’m stuck in the beginner routines, since I’m not very flexible. She has a great beginner routine for strength and flexibility. When I am able, I try to rotate these two routines daily into my workout. Strength and flexibility or directly correlated to running injury free, and I believe these routines have helped me combat chronic achilles pain.

It is important to mind your form when running. Strengthening core and limbs can help a runner keep correct form. According to this Runner’s World article– it all starts in the hips. If the hips are up, you can have a foot strike that is underneath of you. This will ensure that the force caused by a footfall is spread out evenly. This is a key in order to prevent future injuries.

Altra footwear. Every day footwear. Correct Toes. Smash the links. The shoes/correct toes have helped me to stay injury-free. I’m not saying the shoes or the Correct Toes alone will keep you free from injury, but I submit that they have helped. The Correct Toes have allowed my toes the chance to have a natural toe splay on my run. This in turn has minimized the force on my achilles tendon and has reduced this risk of injury. Runners may never be able to fully prevent injuries. However, with strength/flexibility training and the right footwear, they may be able to minimize injuries.

Gallery Gallop 8.5k

This is a late race review. The race took place on May 13, 2017 on Miller Beach in Gary, Indiana. Runners ran by the shores of Lake Michigan in the evening and were able to catch the sunset over the water. Beautiful run! But it was tough…

The race started out on the beach, and we ran by the water for the first 2.5 miles. Running in the sand is tough. It felt like I was taking a step back for every two steps forward. Each step runners had to deal with the issue of sinking into the sand before the next stride. I attempted to stay as close to the water as possible, as the wet sand helped alleviate the issue of sinking into the sand on each step.

After the first 2.5 miles, we ran off the beach an onto the road. The section between the beach and getting onto the road was exceptionally tough, since there was no wet sand anywhere, meaning each step was sucked into the sand, and runners had to pull their feet out for the next step. Once on the road, the going was easier. We ran on the road for nearly a mile, and then through the sand and back onto the beach to finish off the race.

The last portion of the race was the toughest, as we were eventually directed to the sand dunes. Runners had to climb a couple of dunes. The dunes seemed rather large, and it was made worse by the fact that the paths were made entirely of sand! 2 steps forward, 1 step back it seemed, all the way to the top of the hill. Running into the finish line was a special treat, as runners were treated with a fantastic sunset while they finished.

The Gallery Gallop 8.5K raised funds for this the Lake Street Gallery in their efforts to support the community of Gary, Indiana.

GG8.5

Adventure on Pike’s Peak

We had a trip to Colorado planned for quite some time to visit with some family. While in the mountains, we might as well get some running in to, right? My brother and I decided to hit the nearest peak, which happened to be Pikes Peak. Being close and as well as popular destination, Pikes Peak was the logical mountain to climb for us visiting flat-landers.

At first we were going to hike up the Barr Trail, but ran into some logistical issues since we would have to find someone to drop us off at the trail head and pick us up at the top. With a little more research we found a closer route that could be done as an out and back; Pikes Peak from the Crags Trail (through Devil’s Playground). It’s a 12.8 mile trail which we were able to do in just over 10 miles (see below). At the last minute we recruited a couple of cousins to join us and started our adventure!

There was definitely a big learning curve for me (as a Midwesterner) running up my first mountain. Here are a few lessons that I learned:

  • In most cases, you can’t “run” up to a 14,000 foot peak (unless you’re Kilian Jornet). Definitely not if you are an out of shape middle-of-the pack Midwesterner. At most it could be considered a power hike. Trust me, it’s going to take a lot longer than you think.

    2017-08-05 10.16.21

    A more *ahem* “runnable” section.

  • Bring layers. Lots of them. Just because it is 70 degrees at the start doesn’t mean it won’t be below freezing and snowing at the top. I had two jackets and a hat, and was still huddling against boulders at the top shivering.

    2017-08-05 09.00.13-2

    It’s cold!

  • Expect to do some rock climbing. Most would consider it easy bouldering. A Midwesterner like me would consider it advanced technical rock climbing. Don’t we need rock climbing gear for this?

    2017-08-05 08.59.52

    Don’t we need climbing gear for this?

  • Not every peak is going to have a warming hut and fresh donuts at the top. But Pike’s Peak does, and we certainly enjoyed it!

    2017-08-05 07.58.09

    Josh, Josh, and Daniel at the top

  • Don’t be afraid to cheat and hitch hike past the difficult bouldering section. Thankfully Pike’s peak has a road to the top, and a wonderful couple from Chicago let four grown men cram into the back of their car for 2-3 miles down the mountain.2017-08-05 08.18.25

Overall it was a wonderful experience. It took us about four hours to do the whole thing. You can check it out on my Strava, https://www.strava.com/activities/1119335819/embed/4a8e387ef7135193fc9e07fe109704ffc8f529a3” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Our hike up,  and Our hike down. 

Proper preparation and realistic expectations are paramount. Make sure you properly research and prepare for your route. Whenever you are running in high elevation wear layers, bring plenty of water, and let someone know where you are at!