Archive for the ‘running’ Category

Put the sweat to the test. Run time! Dropped the work clothes and weighed in at 185.0. This is my “before” weight.

Ran a little over 4 miles. Important points:

  1. I did not stop and drink at the drinking fountain.
  2. I did not use the bathroom during the workout until after I did the “after” weigh in.
  3. After the run I stripped back to the same amount of clothes as the “before” weigh in.

“After” weigh in 183.0. Before – After = 2 pounds of sweat lost.

2 pounds lost divided by 8 pounds per gallon = 0.25 or a quarter of a gallon. 0.25 x 128 oz per gallon = 32 oz of water lost! That is an entire quart (or liter if you live in a metric world). Four cups of water in a little over 4 miles.

Try it yourself! Be careful and use what you learn to stay hydrated!

Why do you think many diets or exercise plans fail? Yes, beyond the fact that quick fixes are not sustainable. Think about what happened that last time you started a diet or made a New Year’s Resolution. You start with an end in mind – perhaps a goal to “lose a few pounds” or to “become a distance runner” someday. Let’s start with diet:

The first day, you have a modest breakfast, a healthy lunch (or so you think) and what seems like a good dinner. And do so for a week. Yet, when you step on the scale the following week, you have actually gained a pound! What could have gone wrong? It IS hard to say. Perhaps your meals weren’t as modest as you thought. Since you weren’t previously a salad eater, that “healthy” salad may have been loaded with hard-boiled egg, bacon bits, cheese, meats, rich salad dressings that were calorie dense additions to those already delicious croutons on top.

What about the running / exercising approach as a resolution. Things always go well at first, don’t they? The gyms are notoriously packed the first half of January every year. Then there seems to be a slow dwindling of the people who arrive on a regular basis. Even getting a personal trainer is not a guarantee. Some people with less limited financial resources that me can retain a trainer for a long time as someone to hold them accountable for their efforts and progress. Let me try to save you some money and point you in the right direction.

Your first visit to a personal trainer – when they are interviewing to be your trainer (aka selling you a package of training sessions) will involve a tour of all of the types of equipment in the gym. Some of those with improper form might be pointed out, noting that you have to be careful not to do a certain thing so you do not hurt your back, etc. They sit down with you in a small office and ask about your goals. This is where they do something very valuable for you: They help identify what EXACTLY you hope to accomplish. You may want to lose or gain weight, become stronger, run faster, look good in your new gym clothes, who knows, but they will ask the right questions so that you COMMIT to a future version of yourself. The really good salespeople will help you visualize this new-and-improved version of you so that you don’t know how you’d possibly leave without signing up for their ongoing assistance. I’m not saying not to do this, because I learned a lot from Kevin when he helped me about ten years ago after I lost my first 50 pounds or so. He helped me understand how to do things beyond the equipment.

If your budget doesn’t allow for such a thing, there are endless other options, but they all involve one common thing: TRACKING. Tracking just means keeping score consistently so that you can make course corrections and keep your efforts moving you towards your goal or goals. In order to know where you’re heading, you goal should be SMART. S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym that stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-sensitive goals.

Here’s how it works: You goal should be specific, i.e. “I want to lose twenty pounds in five months.” You have said how much weight you want to lose, good. Not just identifying that you want to thin down a little. This goal is also measurable because you could do weekly weigh-ins and see if you are moving forward. For the goal to be achievable, that is subjective, but you will know (in your heart of hearts) if you are setting the bar too high. Remember that extreme behavior shifts are typically very difficult to sustain in the long run. Most diets that exclude certain types of food or severely restrict calories ultimately result in the weight coming back. Take small positive steps by tracking your food intake and just looking to see what things that you normally eat may be causing you to maintain a higher than healthy weight. I remember Coca-Cola being the first thing to go when I tried WW on-line. It became OBVIOUS that this was something with no nutritional value that simply added calories to my day.

Make sure your goal is relevant. If your goal is something you don’t really care about, you won’t try hard to reach it. You have to feel the need for the goal, to have a strong reason WHY you are seeking the goal in the first place. And, finally, time-sensitivity is critical to goal-setting. I’ve been down this road many times in the past. I want to lose some weight. Ugh. Let’s go back to 20 pounds in five months or 20 pounds in a year. Once you set a reasonable, attainable, period of time it becomes math and common sense to make an actionable plan.

Let’s say my goal IS to lose 20 pounds in 20 weeks for the sake of keeping it simple. That would be losing one pound each week. Whoa, that sounds too scary, so I am going to say 10 pounds in 20 weeks. That means you would lose one pound in two weeks. And, like I touch on earlier, tracking what you eat with a food journal or an app or website like My Fitness Pal, can help you identify trouble spots and evaluate progress. My Fitness Pal (MFP) helps you calculate how many calories to eat to reach this goal. Here’s how it works: One pound is created when you eat an extra 3,500 calories – calories in addition to what your body requires to function based upon your size, gender and activity level. The same works in reverse. Once you have eaten 3,500 calories less than your body requires, you will lose one pound. If your goal is to lose a pound in two weeks (14 days), simply divide 3,500 calories by 14 days to reach a daily deficit of 250 calories. Even without tracking you might quickly decide that the Coke and handful of candy that you have during your workday might be adding up to 250 calories. And, if you could simply replace that soda with water and pass on the candy…it can be that simple. Habits are tricky things.

It is always good to consult with your doctor before changing your diet or exercise patterns. Please do not try to match numbers with the weight loss shows on television like Biggest Loser. These are unhealthy endeavors and the contestants are very closely monitored in a closed environment in most cases.

Track your food if you want to lose weight. You will see patterns. Track your runs if you want to run a distance race. Just make sure that your define your goals as S.M.A.R.T. goals so that you can make a plan that measures (tracks) your progress towards your goal.

A couple of resource links that I used to help for weight loss and/or training for a race:

My Fitness Pal There are great community forums here. I am phipps3113 on MFP.

ONTRI This website guided me through training for my first half marathon in 2004, my first marathon and my first few triathlons. They have free or paid plans. I always used the free ones. There are great forums with lots of people willing to help, just like on MFP. This gives you a place to log what you accomplish so you can see how you are doing.

Please tell me what your goals are. Goals in your head are just fantasies. Get it in writing, make yourself accountable by telling the world. If you aren’t ready to tell everyone, send a message just to me. I’d be happy to help.

My great fear relating to my new-found positive eating habits has been what happens when I am taken outside my comfort zone. What happens when I am removed from my safe zone – my Blendtec for morning green smoothies, produce in my garage fridge and my healthy bread and black bean or veggie burgers in the freezer at work. Not to mention the cooler I carry with carrots, bananas, apples, oranges, grapefruit … you get the idea. I was so concerned with this that I had considered making green smoothies to take with me. TSA doesn’t allow liquids of my proportions through security and there wasn’t time to check bags due to my half day at work.

What I did was to pack my little cooler with things I thought would travel well. I brought snap peas and cashews. I put a bunch of bananas in my roller bag. I brought my water cup empty to fill up after going through security. It was a good thing I brought the cup because we waited for several hours due to weather in L.A. and had to switch from LAX to Burbank as a destination. There was SO much turbulence that there was no drink service on our flight. My daughter, Lizzy, and I had our water. At the PHX airport they had this really cool water dispenser at the drinking fountain in the low C gates with a counter where it said it had saved 45,131 plastic water bottles. I am a huge fan of NOT using plastic water bottles. Bring your own container and fill it up, people! Carrot sticks and blueberries rounded out my supplies with some Kid Z Bars from the pantry. I eat the iced oatmeal ones if the kids don’t – they are great to keep in the car if I grab a run after work.

Once we hit town and walked outside with no rental car reserved since it was $62 / day for a purse-sized car here compared to $18 at LAX we went to Super Shuttle. I had called the hotel and found out that they enforce $18/day for parking at our hotel near old Pasadena, so we took the $32 shuttle AND ate our Subway that we brought with us from home. The rain and Friday rush hour traffic are best left to the locals anyways. We got a great driving tour from a local passenger while we drove. The fact that we are on the road with no car in a strange place energizes me. Once we settled in, I immediately searched for a market on my phone and found a Trader Joe’s and a Whole Foods along with an old town area that had crazy amounts of restaurants. My gymnast, happy to be settled in and full from her Subway, bid me farewell for an hour. I emptied my backpack to carry treasures found and head out INTO THE DRIVING RAIN!

Being from Phoenix, I quickly reached ecstasy since it hasn’t rained on me in many months. Though it was raining so hard that I couldn’t look at my phone for directions, I ran. I crossed a freeway bridge and I don’t remember that from looking at directs before, but that’s fine – I have an hour. I explore the streets of Pasadena and eventually find myself in front of a place called City Thai. Cool. I walk in, dripping, and explain that I will order their best dish and then return to pick up (I think this was good for them due to my appearance). I had them make Pad Thai with tofu for me, vegan-style, and add some chicken on the side for Lizzy. My order in place, I continued my quest for Whole Foods.

I quickly found Central Park. Very cool, but the size of a small town park center square, but still cool. I felt some stress over the food timing sneak in, but the rain and the run soon made those concerns evaporate. The two-story market appeared on my right. It was so big city compared to places in Phoenix because you had to climb steps up from the sidewalk to get to the entry and exit doors where there was an elevator that brought you up from underground parking. I stepped in to a more familiar environment even though this was my first time into the store (Sprouts was my go to in Phoenix). I was greeted by Engine 2 Diet on a stand inside the door. I knew I wasn’t going to make it back in ten minutes to pick up my food (if I even found the place again). I found a couple of green smoothies in a bottle that fit my morning style and felt as if the store was too small – I couldn’t find any beer… I asked directions and found there was a second floor. Wow, are you kidding me!?! There was a center food prep area that had pizzas being made and all sorts of awesome things that would have cost me two hours if I wasn’t tight on time. J I found a six-pack of Bison Chocolate Stout made with Peruvian cocoa (not from bison), a box of Kashi Crunch (Lizzy and I love cinnamon crumble) and this awesome organic chocolate bar for Lizzy (her only request). Later we discovered that the bar wrapper, when unfolded, had a map of how they made the bars and rivaled a Willy Wonka-style cool way to do things.

Back out into the rain with my bag of food partially stuffed into my backpack. The trick to running with a six-pack of bottled beer is to be in better shape than I am. I didn’t want shaken up beer, so I had to carry the beer in front by the backpack handle. I don’t typically carry stuff like that when I run. I guess it falls into the begin-with-the-end-in-mind mentality, but really doesn’t let you RUN. I did find my Thai food and then cut through Central Park, just so I said I could, past the Del Mar train station and found my way back without spilling my food. Walking and jogging in the rain is so much better than NOT doing anything. It took me 4.4 miles to travel about a mile (if I knew where I was going). Now THAT is how I like to do things. Take what would be ordinary and turn it into the extraordinary.

Spending my 46 ½ birthday with my daughter was nice. Traveling and just hanging out and watching Mall Cop while she eats grilled cheese from the hotel restaurant. Life is good, just focus on making each moment into a memory and you will live a full life.

As I was getting ready to post – A quick shout out to Sid Garza-Hillman – great Spreecast today. I have some insights for you based on others that I watched.

from Pasadena, CA

What do you think the most unnatural position is for the human body? Think back to how we must have been for thousands of years: gathering food, moving from place to place for new food sources, following a herd of animals…

Sitting. Sitting drives me crazy!! Mornings are nice because I get to shower, make my smoothie and bounce around a bit before the sitting begins. Time to head to work, about 21 miles each way in traffic. In traffic that is 40-60 minutes on your butt just to park and walk inside to assume the position again. (Later I will talk about the positives of that commute, but I am sticking to the complaining for now.) Into your chair. 8-10 hours later with some standing for food and bathroom breaks and it is time to get back in the car and head the other way for a total daily commute and work aggregate of 10-12 hours! HALF of the calendar day firmly parked.

What to do?

For those who can bike commute, that is a great alternative when you don’t have to leave the office that day (need your car). When I ride to work it takes me 80-90 minutes and I am exhilarated, PLUS I get to ride home, too. Can’t do it often but I love it when I can.

If you have to drive, enroll in ‘Drivetime U’. I heard this phrase from Darren Hardy in The Compound Effect. Instead of listening to music or the news, I started by listening to Darren’s book on disc. I probably listened to the thing four times through before I decided to take that advice and began to explore other audio books. I would download Kindle versions and then use audible for the book being read TO me, many times by the author. Podcasts are another great medium to enjoy while driving. I am ready to launch my first podcast in the near future with what I have learned this way.

Your time at work should be focused with scheduled breaks. Ensure you plan on getting up periodically throughout the day. If your office permits, sneak in a few pushups or stretches when you are up to keep the productive juices flowing. It seems that 90 minutes is about the longest you can truly sustain focus, so stay hydrated and that will help force you to take breaks as well!

Find time for a walk or jog either during lunch or walk if you have a long telephone call and the weather cooperates. You might find yourself a lot more cheerful with an outdoor environment.

If none of these things help, you will want to schedule your time for moving your body. I am not saying work out because I want to be clear that moving your body means just that. Move more than is comfortable. If you don’t even walk, try parking a little further from your destination. If you walk, try adding in thirty seconds of jogging. Add in something that stretches your typical effort.

Whatever you decide to do, make it sustainable. Do something that you can easily do every day. If you find it is too challenging, do less. If it is super easy then do more. Remember that the goal is to find balance in your life. Like Sid Garza-Hillman says in his Approaching the Natural Podcast, take small steps. Don’t expect instant results. Small steps, good habits repeated over time will yield surprising results.

What can you add into your routines that will start you on a path towards a happier life?


Sunday morning (in just under 8 hours) I get to run my first half marathon as a plant based athlete. Though I haven’t specifically been training for this, I expect to run it faster than I have ever covered the distance before. If not, that is okay, but I feel SO good running on plants that I feel like the sky is the limit, even at age 46.

My first half marathon was the year after my mom died at age 54 from complications related to morbid obesity. That first race at 1:54 or so is my fastest out on a road (treadmill is easier). I cried during that race wishing she could have enjoyed what I was doing. I felt like she was watching from that point around mile eight and finished growing progressively faster each mile. I am going to put on a show for Mom tomorrow.

My wife Lynn, will be running the half tomorrow. She has been training for it and I expect her to be pleased with her results. It is a cool event called the Lost Dutchman. They have a variety of distances. I have done the marathon twice, I think 2006 & 2008, but never the half. It should be low to mid fifties at 7:11 sunrise and the race will be fast and cool.

Think happy thoughts and I will see you all at the finish!