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Archive for August, 2013

SeriousRunning Partners

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

We’re seeking partnerships with race directors of trail running, dualthalons, and adventure race events. SeriousRunning, established in 2008, is expanding beyond trail running to include adventure racing. SeriousRunning has the largest database of running trails across the US and has been listing  endurance events for over 6 years.

Any adventure or trail race event would be an ideal partner. We’ve done promotional blog posts in the past for XTERRA races and Spartan Race. If you’d like to learn more or have your race featured, please email me, Chris Barber at chris@seriousrunning.com.

We’re also offering internships for military Veterans in digital marketing and Internet businesses. SeriousRunning is run by battle buddies, Chris Barber and Brian Ansley. We worked together in Iraq and are both passionate about helping other Veterans make a smooth transition to civilian life.

When to Stretch for a Run

Sunday, August 25th, 2013

Many runners are confused about when they should stretch for a run. In the past, it seemed like it was standard practice for runners to stretch both before and after a run. Stretching before and after a run was said to loosen your muscles, ease soreness, and help prevent running injuries. I did this for years until I read an article a few years ago in an ultra runner’s magazine. The article made me question my own stretching routine, so I decided to switch it up. Instead of stretching before my runs, I began to stretch only after my runs were completed. There was a noticeable difference after the first week once I stopped stretching before my runs. My legs actually felt sturdier during the runs, and I was convinced that stretching prior to a run was not the right thing for my body. However, I still continue to stretch after my runs to work out any tightness that I may feel, and also to help maintain my body’s flexibility.

I don’t think there is an absolute right or wrong when it comes stretching. I think that it depends primarily on the individual runner.  You should figure out what works best for you, and try not focus too much on what is said to be the “right way”. In some cases, you may prefer to not stretch at all for a run. Runner’s World has a very comprehensive article that touches on the topic of stretching.  There is also a video that can show you various types of dynamic stretches if you still feel the need to stretch your body.

The important thing to remember is that there really isn’t a right or wrong way to stretch for a run. If what you’re doing works, then keep doing it. On the other hand, if you are questioning your stretching routine, then don’t be afraid to try out a new technique. Like I said in a previous post; listen to your own body. Nobody knows when, or if, you need to stretch better than you.

Take life one mile at a time.

 

If You Don’t Like To Run…Then You’re Doing It Wrong

Friday, August 16th, 2013

I’ve heard many people over the years say why running is just “not for me.”  I think I’ve heard just about every excuse in the book as to why they don’t like running, don’t run at all anymore, or never even tried to run because of some sort of physical barrier.  I will be the first to admit that I haven’t always been a runner.  In high school, my running consisted entirely of what I did in football practice or games.  My attitude was, “If it was anything longer than 100 yards, then just go on with out me.”  However, once I became a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division, running became part of my culture.  My division is known for long distance runs in Area J (a sandy, wooded, and hilly area on Fort Bragg).  Our runs together in Area J were often times pretty tough, but it was something that brought us all closer together.  Today, Chris Barber and I still reminisce about those runs we had.  There is still an ongoing debate as to who was the fastest runner in our platoon, but it was an experience that he and I will never forget.

The power of long distance running is unmeasurable.  I think it’s crazy when I hear people tell me that they weren’t built for running.  There is enough science out there now that proves ALL human beings were built to be distance runners.  Running is what we do.  It’s in our DNA, and there is not other animal on the planet that can do it quite like us.  Our natural ability to run long distance has been a primary contributor to our evolutionary development and success.

Here are four little tips that may help get rid of a few of those excuses as to why you aren’t a distance runner:

1.) If your body hurts when you run, then you probably need to evaluate your running form.  We could get into the whole debate about running shoes, and minimalist versus support shoes, but form is often times the main culprit for running pain.

2.) Tailor your runs to your own personal wants and needs.  This means that you must listen to your own body.  If your running partner is much faster than you, then don’t risk injury just to be able to keep up with his or her pace.  There’s nothing wrong with pushing your physical fitness levels.  Actually, I highly encourage it in order to make you a stronger runner both mentally and physically.  However, do it judiciously.  Distance running is a game of patience, so just relax and take your time.

3.) Enjoy your runs by running in a comfortable environment.  This means if you don’t like to run in the heat, then schedule your runs for the early morning or in the evenings when the sun is not so intense.  Is your trail not too safe after dark?  Then run with a friend or during daylight hours.  The important thing is that you plan your runs in a safe and comfortable environment so that you can focus on running, and not be distracted by a whole lot of external factors.

4.) Be a grateful runner.  Not everyone in the world has an opportunity to enjoy running because of physical or mental disabilities.  It is something that we all take advantage of, but it is an important thought to keep in mind when you’re running.  I’m grateful every time I lace up my running shoes and get out there on the trails.  Having an appreciative outlook on your ability to run can be an enormous contributor to your motivation.

In the end, just get out there and run.  There are going to be things that work for you that don’t work for other people.  However, in order to find out what works you have to get out there and learn your body.  Find out what your physical and mental limits are, and don’t be afraid to set new ones.  And lastly, remember that we are all runners.  It’s not unique to only certain human beings.   Instead, running is in us all, but it is up to you to bring it out.

Take life one mile at a time.

Military-Style Pull Up Workout

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

Pull ups are one of the best upper body workouts that you can do.  They force you to use all of the muscles above your waist in order to reach the top of the bar.  When done correctly (which means not kipping like a CrossFitter) you can seriously transform your upper body strength.  Your pull up workout should be done once a week in order to both maintain and achieve the best possible results.  You can also incorporate your pull up workout with your gym routine.  For example, I do my own personal pull up workout and workout my back muscles on the same day at the gym.  However, it is not imperative that you do both.  It is all about personal preference, as well as one’s own physical condition.  With that being said, you can also tailor the repetitions to fit your own physical abilities.  The repetitions provided in this workout are only a model for you follow.  I hope you enjoy the workout, and feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns while executing this exercise (brianansley.ba@gmail.com).

Equipment Needed:

- Dip Belt (optional)

- Weighted Plates (optional)

- Pull Up Bar

 

Pyramid Pull Ups (30-60 seconds of rest between sets):

 

Set 1: 10 reps

Set 2: 9 reps

Set 3: 8 reps

Set 4: 7 reps

Set 5: 6 reps

Set 6: 5 reps

Set 7: 4 reps

Set 8: 3 reps

Set 9: 2 reps

Set 10: 1 rep (hold your chin above the bar until muscle failure)

*Repeat pyramid sets, but this time work from 1 rep to 10 reps.  Once you’ve completed both pyramids, do the entire workout again as a chin up  workout (palms facing towards you this time).

Military-Style Pushup Workout

Monday, August 12th, 2013

Okay, SeriousRunners.  Here is a simple pushup workout that can be done just about anywhere, and requires very little equipment.  If you don’t have some of the equipment, then simply substitute it with something that you might have laying around the garage or basement.  Also, I would suggest wearing a watch so that you can keep precise time in between sets.  Remember to stay consistent with your 60 second rest times, and focus on correct form to achieve maximum results and avoid injuries. *If you have any questions regarding this workout, then just hit me up at brianansley.ba@gmail.com.

Equipment Needed:

1 – Swiss Ball (any size)

1 – Medicine Ball (any weight)

1 – Weighted Plate

Rest 60 seconds between each set

Standard Pushups (no weight):

Sets: 3

Regular Style (hands shoulder width apart): Max reps

Wide Style (hands further than shoulder width apart): Max reps

Diamond Style (hands close together to form a diamond): Max reps

Two Arm Medicine ball Pushups:

Sets: 4 (Close Grip on top of the medicine ball)

Reps: Max

Elevated Swiss Ball Pushup:

 Sets: 4

Reps: Max

One Arm Medicine Ball Pushup:

Sets: 4

Reps: Max

Weighted Pushup:

(Adjust weight accordingly)

Sets: 4

Reps: Max

*Repeat entire workout until muscle failure is achieved.

Reebok Spartan Race Partners with NBC Sports Group to bring Adventure Racing to Television!

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

Barb Wire Crawl

I knew they would eventually do it, Spartan Race is now going to be televised! I recently got interested in Spartan Race because of the close ties to the military type obstacles and military style exercises it takes to complete these gnarly obstacle courses.

Why so gnarly you ask? Because it was started by a Royal Marine who’s first race direction didn’t have a waiver and he named it Death Race. That’s gnarlesbarkley and why I can’t wait to watch the World Championships on NBC. Think World’s Strongest Man in an Octagon with a lot of mud and barbed wire. Plus a lot of grunting, yelling, and relentless opposition. You have to want to finish this race. This is death, not your Mom’s tough, muddy adventure race. (disclaimer: I love my Mother and all Moms, tough or mudlike)

NBC will be airing the 2013 Reebok Spartan Race World Championship featuring athletes competing for $250k cash & prizes! That’s crazy! I wonder how much Usain Bolt gets paid to run? I bet it’s not as much as Jay-Z gets paid by Reebok to land in Europe.

This is revolutionary for the Sport of Adventure Racing and I’m excited to be a part of it happening. Spartan Race is also doing a 90 minute special on the athletes competing that will feature those whom have overcome other types of obstacles through running. My battle buddy, Brian Ansley, and I have both experienced difficult transitions to civilian life and we both agree exercise is key, that’s why we’re doing SeriousRunning together and why we dig what Spartan Race is doing. It’s good for all Veterans to have battle buddies.

You should sign up if you want to put your body through physical pain and intestinal fortitude training. Your body will recover, but your mind will never be the same. Show Spartan Race who’s mentally tougher, you or some former Royal Marine dude.

And watch the special on the athletes on NBC. Maybe you’ll see Ansley…

Welcome to the Heist. #Macklemore

A Strong Upper Body Can Drastically Improve Your Run

Monday, August 5th, 2013

Runners have the tendency to focus primarily on the strength and condition of their lower body.  Obviously strong and well conditioned legs are vital aspect of a well-built runner.   However, upper body strength plays a key role in a runner’s form, efficiency, and overall success.  I realize how time consuming both running and putting in work at the gym can be.  The good news is that some of the best upper body workouts can be done in your garage, outside on your porch, or even at the park where you do some of your running.  The location of your workouts is not so much of a contributing factor to your success, but consistency is the thing that will be the game changer.  Just like training for a trail or road race, you must be just as consistent with training your upper body as well.

If there’s one thing I learned from my PT sessions as a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division, besides running my ass off, it’s that you can never get enough pushups and pull-ups in for a workout.  With that being said, I’ve taken this vast knowledge of military-style workouts and tweaked them in a way to SERIOUSLY step up anyone’s upper body strength.  Pull-ups are considered one of the best upper body workouts because it works every muscle above the waist.  I know there are some “modifications” out there now to the pull-up, such as the kipping pull-up that crossfitters use, but I like to stick to the old fashioned method.  The traditional pull-up forces you to use only your upper body muscles to reach the top of the bar.  Pushups are also an excellent upper body workout that can be done just about anywhere.  It is best to mix up your pushup routine with various styles of pushups, but again, the key is consistency as it is with anything else.

Having a strong upper body, as well as a solid core, allows you to keep your proper running form even as your legs begin to tire.  Not only does this help during your run, but it will also help fend off those nagging injuries that can occur.  As your body becomes tired during a run, your running form will begin to weaken.  Many runners don’t realize that this isn’t happening because of weak legs, or a poor conditioning level.  This is happening because your upper body is wearing out faster during your run than both your lower body and cardiovascular system.  According to a Runner’s World article online, Olympians, and elite runners alike, are taking part in strength training to help improve their running game.  According to the article, “Based on the various training programs used by the elites, it’s clear that we don’t yet know the ideal strength training routine. What we do know is that strength training in many different forms results in better running economy and an improvement in running time to exhaustion. Put simply, you’ll be able to run faster, longer and stronger.”

I will be posting my own personal pushup and pull-up workouts, with pictures, very soon.  It will be a very useful tool for runners at any level, and your upper body will love you for it (except for the initial soreness).   Bottom line; don’t neglect your upper body.  Think of running as a full body workout.  For that reason alone, it is just as important to have a strong upper body as it is to have a strong lower body when you’re out there burning up the street or trails.

Remember to keep an eye out for my military-style workouts that are coming very soon on Seriousrunning!

Brian Ansley – Adventure Racer Joins SeriousRunning

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

Barb Wire Crawl

My name is Brian Ansley, and I’m a former United States Army paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division.  I did two tours of duty conducting combat missions in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom for a total of 27 months.  Once I became a veteran, I realized that I needed to fill the lack of excitement that the civilian world recurrently brings to the table. I started doing road races, triathlons, and duathlons in 2010. In 2011, I became very serious about racing and eventually began running at the Ultra Marathon level.   In addition to traditional-style endurance races, I also began to run obstacle races. I qualified for the Spartan Race World Championship! Get $10 off, Use Code: SPEAR10 – Sign Up Now!, and placed in 14 additional races in the state of Texas throughout the year. 

In my free time I enjoy lifting weights, running, kayaking, hiking, and pretty much anything outdoors.  I also still remain true to my military roots, and continue to do military-style workouts on a weekly basis.  Much of my military-style workouts include a very intense pushup and pull-up workout, as well as ruck marches to strengthen both my lower and upper body.  In the past few years, I have really focused on my diet and what I put into my body.  I eat all organic foods, and stay away from genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) and preservatives.  I don’t follow any one specific diet plan, but I do try to minimize the amount of processed foods and grains that eat.

SeriousRunning has provided me with an exceptional opportunity to share the things that I love to do. My interaction with like-minded endurance athletes, veterans, and highly motivated individuals is an invaluable instrument to help others, as well as myself, to reach new levels of physical and mental toughness.