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Archive for the ‘Treadmills’ Category

5 Reasons to not slow down at any Finish Line

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

There are many examples in sports where a competitor prematurely celebrates or “lets up” at the last second turning what appears to be great success to embarrassing failure.  In the NFL season opener on September 5th between the Denver Broncos and Baltimore Ravens, Danny Trevathan purposefully dropped a Joe Flacco intercepted pass at what turned out to be inches before he crossed the goal line to celebrate.  What appeared to be a Denver touchdown quickly turned into a Baltimore first down.  In the August Ironman 70.3 Brazil race, Jérémy Jurkiewicz of France stopped short of the finish to celebrate his victory and literally had to push back Brazil’s Igor Amorelli only inches from the tape to grab the win.  This calls for a look at 5 Great Reasons for NOT slowing down at the finish line!

Finish the Drill

Several sports teams including the University of Georgia football team have adopted “Finish the Drill” as their slogan.  There is great satisfaction both mentally and physically when we complete a race knowing that we left absolutely nothing on the trail.  I feel great knowing I gave it my best shot and I feel lousy knowing I held back ….regardless of my excuse.

Cameras Keep Rolling as Time Keeps Ticking

There is always at least one camera rolling and the footage is hard to refute especially when there are multiple angles.  Those computer chips don’t lie so slowing up at the finish is hard to refute even when the argument is between you and yourself.  After the race, look in the mirror and feel confident telling yourself that you ran through the finish and not to the finish.

It Makes No Sense to Come Up Short

Whether the race is 100 meters or a marathon, giving it your best shot for 99% of the race only to let up at the finish makes no sense.  We have all seen it happen to others but we don’t think it can happen to us.  It can.  It takes both mental and physical toughness to avoid coming up short.  Winners never quit and quitters never win.

You May Get a Big Surprise

I was fortunate enough to be the anchor on my college mile relay team my sophomore year in a dual meet with our arch rival.  We were 1 point ahead going into the final event meaning the winner of the mile relay event would win the dual meet.  Unfortunately their mile relay team was far superior as evidenced by their sweep of the open 400.  Surprisingly their leadoff man lost control of his baton coming out of the blocks!  Baton retrieval was costly however the gap had disappeared by the time the anchor legs made their exchanges.  We went stride for stride through the backstretch. Their anchor patiently waited to make his move.  I just knew I had him beat until I hit the tape and caught a glimpse of him hitting the tape at the same time.  I had no idea he was that close!  First place judge picked me.  Second place judge picked me too.  The points were split and we miraculously won the meet.  I swear I did not “let up” but if I had “let up” no way I would have admitted it.

Your Pain Will be Even Greater After the Race If You Let Up

That inner voice may tell us that we have run a long and hard race and no one will ever know if we let up just before the finish or celebrate those last few steps.  That is no one will know but us.  Truth is the “pain” saved by the “let up” in no way compares to the pain of coming up short especially when a competitor passes us up at the finish line.  Don’t take the risk.  Run through the finish in every race both on and off the trail.

Is Treadmill Running a good Work Out?

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

treadmill-runningI’ve never been a fan of running on the treadmill.  Maybe if they had a “trail” setting on it; that would be pretty sweet. I miss the outdoors when running on the treadmill; even if the weather is less than perfect, I miss it.  I also don’t get the feeling of accomplishment at the end of a treadmill workout, probably because I never go anywhere.  More importantly, I don’t think I get as good of a work out running on a treadmill and don’t think the distance tracking is accurate.

One reason that treadmill running seems easier than trail running outside is that there is no air resistance.  You may think that air resistance isn’t that big of a deal, but some runners can experience a 10%  harder run when running outside vs. inside.  Try running behind your buddy next time; the larger the buddy, the more you’ll be able to feel the difference.  Drafting is an important part of competitive trail running for a reason.  Wind resistance matters.

The problem with treadmills is that there is no variation in running surfaces.  The ability to maneuver branches, rocks, roots, and sharp turns is key to being a successful trail runner.  Not only does treadmill running not improve those skills, it can diminish them as runners become more complacent.  Treadmill runners tend to develop a more relaxed manner of running, trail runners need to be aggressive.

The thing that I like least about treadmill running is that it’s inside.  I don’t like to watch tv when I run.  I don’t like to listen to a Pandora “running” station.  I definitely don’t read a magazine when running.  I like to go on an adventure.  I like not knowing what is coming around the corner.  I like not knowing exactly how far or how difficult my run will be, but I am a risk lover.  There is something to be said for the consistency of treadmill running; and it will probably be said by someone who is risk adverse.

I’ve always lived somewhere I can run outside all year long, but treadmill running can be a good substitute if you absolutely can not run outside.  In addition, treadmill running can help runners that need a little more assistance in training keep a consistent pace and run accurate tempo runs.  In addition, some runners like to do another activity when running; such multitaskers.  Overall though, if you’re a treadmill runner, jump off sometime and concentrate on the trails!

Dave Taylor Attempting World Record on Treadmill

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009


Dave Taylor, 57, is currently attempting to break the world record of 811 km run on a treadmill set by Brendan Brustad this past April.  Dave is running to raise money for the Gone But Not Forgotten fund that supports police officers that have been injuryed or killed in the line of duty.  Dave has already raised $27,000!  Dave has suffered blisters and a swollen ankle thus far but it hasn’t stopped him yet.  He estimates he will reach his goal at 6 pm this Saturday.  So how does he do it?  Probably a lot of mental toughness.  It also helps that he is able to take up to half an hour breaks to use the restroom and possibly get a little bit of sleep.  This is probably all that Dave needs though, he’s an ultra runner who knows how to deal with the pain.  We wish Dave all the best in reaching his goal.  You think you can run farther than Dave on a treadmill?  Well here are a couple of rules you need to keep in mind when you make your attempt:

1.  You can chose whatever speed or mode you would like as long it is not a downhill mode.

2.  You can not lean on the machine’s handlebars.

3.  The belt must be strictly stopped before you leave the treadmill.  You have to run every rotation that you are counting.

4.  The venue must be open to the general public so they can see you being a lab rat.

Now all you need is a treadmill.  Here are some great deals on some fantastic treadmills.

Running Outside of Your Comfort Zone

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009

comfort_zone1I like “being in the zone” just as much as anyone else, but we all need to challenge ourselves in order to learn and grow.  When I am “in the zone” you will usually find me on the basketball court, on the golf course, or maybe even conversing with someone of the opposite sex.   If you want to find me “zoning out” just look to my comfortable leather couch and no further.  I’m probably watching some pointless reality show; but enjoying it nonetheless.  So obviously there are many types of zones to be in but today I am challenging you to get out of a zone; your comfort zone?. Where is your comfort zone?  Check somewhere “inside the box.”

Every time I go for a run over 10 miles I try to run somewhere new.  Whether I am starting from my house or traveling by car to a trail-head, I try to experience a new environment on my run.  This weekend it only took 4 miles from my house to get out of my comfort zone.  I ran to a lower socioeconomic area of town early on a Sunday morning where I did not see one person that was the same race as I.  Being around people that don’t look like you is one way to get out of your comfort zone.  Here are some of the things that I noticed in this zone that I was not used to:  a quick handshake on a corner with the two parties retreating quickly in opposite directions, presumably an illegal transaction.  A makeshift soup-kitchen which consisted of a van, a couple of tables, and huge metal container of soup in an empty parking lot with a lot of people happily being served.  A man yelling at a woman walking behind him in a crosswalk saying, “I’m yelling at you because you won’t hurry up.  I’m late to go see my girl!”  She responded with, “I wouldn’t be walking this slow if you hadn’t gotten me pregnant, (explicit name)!”  She looked to be about 8 months pregnant so was understandably walking slowly.  So what does this mean?  It means that in order for us to grow and understand ourselves we must go out of our comfort zones and experience things we may not ever experience.

Running can take you out of your comfort zone.  Not necessarily by traveling to a different place than you are used to but the fact that you are constantly pushing yourself and challenging yourself to achieve new things you have never attempted.  Every time you think about slowing down but instead keep running is moving outside of your comfort zone.  People generally put a lot of effort into keeping their lives constant, but I challenge you to push closer to the edges of “your box.”  I’m always trying to stay edgy, that’s why I watch MTV sometimes to see what the kids are up to.  You have to make a conscious effort to break down your comfort walls.  Although I am a strict proponent of running, try starting with changing up your exercise routine with other activities other than running.  Better yet, try other exercises while still visiting and reading this blog daily!  Talk about edgy!

Just like we strive to diversify our investment portfolios (I’m risk-loving so I don’t adhere to this mantra) and our diets we need to diversify our exercise.  I know what you are thinking, ‘I run 5ks and marathons.  I diversify my work-outs.’  Sorry, that doesn’t count running man.  While running is great for the overall health of your body, it does puts stress on the same joints and builds particular muscles more than others.  That is why I recommend adding some other activities to your training.  Some suggestions are mountain biking, hiking, or kayaking to work out different muscles which will actually help to improve your running.  If you are an avid runner, I understand, try changing your running patterns by running on more trails or running steps.  Obviously, I think just by running a different route you are getting outside of you comfort zone so try that at the very least.  Exercising outside of your comfort zone prevent injuries (unless you fall off your mountain bike or something) and will leave your body more balanced.  Now you don’t have to drink as much V8!  Sweet!

Please stop being a square (box) and become a well rounded individual like our ancestors, the original “Renaissance People.”  No, I don’t mean showing your wealth by being rounded (fat) or eating so much that you throw up because you can afford to.  Don’t waste food, there’s soup kitchens in parking lots!

Lets not Run Out on Mother Nature

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

river_nature-lg51I’ve never been an environmentalist.   I am somewhere in between feeling very passionate about not littering and having never fathomed donating money to “save the whales” or some other cause.  However, I do have very strong feelings about nature and keeping her beautiful.  My brother seems to feel the same way; just last week we were walking on the sidewalk near his home and he picked up a plastic bag with dog poop in it.  From my amazement I said, “Man, that’s pretty hardcore picking that up!  You must love Mother Nature.”  He said, “Yeah, someone just left a bag of old chocolate.”  After realizing what he was actually carrying, he found out he wasn’t as big of an environmentalist as he had thought.  He didn’t even make it to a proper trash receptacle before dropping the litter back on the ground where he found it.  I guess we all have our limits.  I surely didn’t pick it up behind him.

So staying within those limits, I am not going to analyze the different impact on the environment from eating a plant-based diet vs. a meat-based diet or discuss how much of an environmental impact manufacturing the gear you buy has (although biodegradable shoes are pretty sweet).  You need your gear and you want your protein.  So what can we do to help the environment but still eat Vienna sausages and wear as many fanny packs as we want?

You can start by being environmentally friendly on every run.  “Pack it in, Pack it out,” was a mantra we used to say in Boy Scouts and I still use today.  It reminds us that while running trails, we want to have as little impact on the environment as possible.  Although it may not be as extreme as you wanna be, but while running on a designated trail you should always stay on the correct path.  Don’t run in the woods around other runners and please run over obstacles instead of around them…you shouldn’t be running around anything on the trail anyways.  Running off the trail leads to erosion and other environmental problems.  Also while sprinting through the forest make sure you respect the other animals.  You are traveling through the animal’s homes and we were not really invited.  When you encounter wildlife treat them like you are guest in their home and respect their right to privacy.  One thing you can do to improve the environment is try run with a plastic bag to pick up trash.  Be an Eco-Runner.  Whoever you want to be, remember that trail running is all about mutual respect between you and your environment.

Of course those few tips are just the bare minimum for being environmentally friendly; you don’t want to just do the bare minimum do you?  Of course not, you’re better than that.  The best thing to do is to go out and volunteer to clean your favorite trail.  There are plenty of local organizations that do weekly trail clean-ups which not only pick up trash but repair trails and conduct general maintenance on them.  There is no better feeling (except maybe a runner’s high) than volunteering to clean up the environment.  So stop getting high for a minute and give back to Ms Nature.

Finally, put the environment above your ego, grab a trash bag and forget about your next PR.  Future generations will break it anyways, so congratulate them with the gift of a healthy environment!

Inaugural Bandit 14K/30K Trail Run

Friday, January 16th, 2009


This year on March14th will be the inaugural race of the Bandit14K/30K Trail Run in Simi Valley, CA.  The race promoters estimate 100 to 200 runners to participate in this first time event.  The race starts in Corriganville Park, running over mountains in single-track switchback, at one point you can see the ocean from 2600 ft. above sea level!

Winter Running Tips

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008

Cold weather running can be a motivation killer.  Don’t let it be.  Look at it as a more extreme run.  There’s no better feeling than when people see you out running and say, “Look at that guy/girl running in this!”  Weather can turn a normal run into an extreme run, but there are still things you should do to mitigate the elements.

One thing you can do is vary the time of your run.  When it is cold out I suggest running during midday.  It’s a great way to push away from your desk, get outside, de-stress about the day, and think about what you still need to accomplish.  I do suggest showering before returning to work.  Don’t be that extreme.  Try to eat a small snack about an hour or two to get the most out of your run.  It’s a great way to break up the day.

When it is really cold outside I try to get the best work-out I can while being outside for the least amount of time possible.  Try running 400-800m intervals but make sure you stretch to prevent pulling a muscle in the cold weather.  Or you can try running up hills.  It’s a great way to keep your body warm while building your legs and lung capacity.

Lastly, make sure you are wearing the proper clothing for the weather.  You should be a slight bit cold when you first step outside because you will get warmer as you start your run.  Make sure you wear plenty of layers of thin clothing.  Try to wear a technical shirt as a base layer that “wicks” away or carries your sweat away from your body.  For your outer layers, try to wear a jacket with zippers so you can adjust accordingly during your run.

My sister-in-law suggests running on a treadmill.  My 65 year old mother suggests running inside your house.  I suggest you stop being lame, get serious, and get outside!

When is it time to jump back on the treadmill?

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

My wife and I play a little game each fall to see how long we can hold out before turning on the heat in our house. We’re lucky to live in the south where it’s not uncommon to make it to November without flipping the thermostat but this year we caved around October 30. But that got me thinking – how long can I go before jumping onto the treadmill for my daily jog instead of running outside?

I know what many of you may be thinking: Why would you EVER need to run on a treadmill in Atlanta? Does it ever even freeze down there? In answer to your second question, yes it does freeze here and we even get a couple light dustings of snow every winter. Answering your first question is a bit more complicated but suffice it to say that cold temperatures are relative. When I lived in Colorado a nice day for running in a t-shirt was upper-40s. Here in Atlanta I break out the tights, gloves, and wool cap.

But deciding to hit the treadmill instead of the asphalt can also be determined by the angle of the sun just as much as it is by the temperature on the thermometer. With the time change many of us see our workout schedules flipped from morning to evening or vice versa. Here on the western edge of the eastern time zone sunrise wasn’t happening until after 7am by late October and at least one runner I know used her treadmill to avoid the dark streets.

All of this is to say there’s really no shame in turning on the treadmill this early in the year. If the temperatures aren’t too cold for you yet, you may still be forced inside by early darkness in your time zone. Whatever the reason, don’t despair – at least you can catch up on your television shows while you run!

Virtual running with Wii

Tuesday, November 4th, 2008


One way that thousands of youngsters are getting their exercise is through a game for the Nintendo Wii called Wii Fit. The Wii Fit website advertises that you can “place the Wii Remote controller in your pocket and go for a jog around a virtual island.” Who needs a treadmill when you can jog in place and watch a TV version of yourself run laps around fantasy land?

Seriously though, although it may seem laughable that a video game could be marketed as a fitness device there are plenty of stories of kids and adults who have lost weight and improved their health by using Wii Fit. Personally I’ve always wished for a more immersive running experience on the treadmill and perhaps the Wii fits the bill. With a fan blowing in my face and a Wii-mote in my pocket I could sail around the virtual island and lap all the Miis while cranking the treadmill up to 9mph.

For those of you who were gamers back in the 1990s you may remember Nintendo’s first foray into virtual running games. World Class Track Meet for the Nintendo made use of a “Power Pad” where players jumped up and down to control the game. Unfortunately World Class Track Meet wasn’t a big hit at the time, mainly due to the wonky Power Pad performance. In contrast, Wii Fit seems to be well received by most players (er, virtual runners) so perhaps it’s worth a try…

Another World Record Attempt

Tuesday, September 16th, 2008


Earlier this week Charlie Engle began his attempt to break the world record for running across America.  Today ultramarathon man Dean Karnazes is attempting to run on a treadmill for 48 hours to set a new world record.  He started running this morning on the Live with Regis and Kelly show in New York.  You can watch the live webcast of Dean running  and be sure to catch the show Thursday morning to see him break the record.

I hate running on the treadmill for any time beyond an hour, there is definitely a huge mental hurdle to overcome to withstand the monotony.  For Dean, this kind of mental toughness likely comes with disciplined endurance training.  Find endurance training tips from Dean himself in his book “50/50: Secrets I Learned Running 50 Marathons in 50 Days — and How You Too Can Achieve Super Endurance!