Day One or One Day?

I saw this quote today on my Instagram feed from a very motivational person that I follow, Audrey Puente from, Fox 5 here in New York. She posted this quote and it’s a question that I think many people should ask. 

I actually asked myself this question repeatedly when it came to the New York City Marathon. I always said “one day I want to run the marathon”. I said that for years! This past March I set up a plan for me to run it in 2018. Well actually New York Road Runners did. As of now, I’m qualified and slated to run the 2018 running of the marathon. I got tired of saying one day!! 

So which one will you choose- Day One or One Day?

Enjoy the weekend my friends!! 

Life’s decisions!

 

 Hurdling Over The Obstacles

Never give in to the obstacles life throws at you!

If you are just getting started in whatever type of training, there are going to be times when obstacles or roadblocks will challenge you. It might be in the form of a cramp, a nagging sore muscle, fatigue, a busy schedule or some unforeseen outside force. It is quite normal. Heck it even happens to the most veteran of people who have been working out. 

What is important to recognize however is how you are going to get past that hurdle and most importantly, ensure that it doesn’t beat you. Physical ailments may derail you temporarily but does that mean you shut down your workouts all together? For example, if you are a runner and you experience a sore muscle or a severe cramp in your leg, rest that muscle but perhaps cross train and keep the other parts of your body active. The key here is to try and remain as consistent as possible. 

Then there is the occasional thing that pops up on your schedule at last minute that keeps you from getting that workout completed that you had your heart set on. This happened to me on Tuesday night. Had my sights set on more strength training and a short run, however I had a friend stop by thay was doing me a favor and when he left, it was past 9pm. I thought about still going to the gym but that would have meant having dinner at 11pm which is not always wise. 

Walking into the gym in the early AM fog!


Instead I altered my schedule, went to bed early last night and woke up at 5am today and got that workout completed. Now people will say 5am is too early. Yes it is lol – but the hardest part was waking up. Once that happened, everything flowed. Achieving your goals will take some sacrifice, there is no doubt about it. When my alarm went off at 5am, i thought about how I still had an hour and a half before I usually wake up. But to make up for my missed workout on Tuesday, that 90 minutes of sleep had to be sacrificed and in hindsight it was worth it! 

Early pic from my IG @cosmossoccerfan – Follow me!

About the only thing I regret about this morning is because of the heavy fog out at 5am this morning, I was forced to run in the treadmill (grrr). My strength training was done with hardly anyone around me! Now off to work we go!

Remember, don’t let those obstacles that life throws at you get in the way. It might take some sacrifice but find a way to jump right over them. Keep positive thoughts in mind like I did. I kept thinking about the breakfast I was going to crush! With that said – I’m done here and about to go and crush that omelette! Have a great day my friends! 

Protein after an AM workout – skip the potatoes& toast!

FOCUSED – Monday Workout!

Definitely not – it will require consistent work!

On Monday I was determined to get a workout in no matter what. In my home, both my wife and I like to get out workouts into our schedules so long as someone is handling the kids. Being mindful of my wife’s workout frequency is yet another thing I have to factor into when I will be getting my own workouts completed. In the month of October my youngest daughter has been practicing with her cross country team around 6:30pm two afternoons per week. I particularly like this coach because he encourages parents to join the workouts and while they don’t necessarily have to run with their kids, the parents at least get some exercise in. Monday my wife decided to go to my daughter’s practice and run at the practice which gave me free reign to get a great workout in.

Me crossing the line during my 2016 cross country race

My next race is a 2.5 mile cross country in the Bronx at one of the best cross country courses we have in New York, Van Cortlandt park. The course is home to many prestigious races in the northeast at all levels of cross country running. For this distance and for this race, my distance running has completely stopped. I have been focusing on my speed more and actually trying to implement weight training. On Monday I wanted to do both so I did something I had never done before. I belong to Life Time Athletic gym in Garden City, NY and I love their facility. The one thing I despise at that gym, and actually at any gym for that matter. is the treadmill. I cannot tell you how much I hate these machines. The notion of running in place just annoys me in every which way. Yes, sometimes it is the only alternative in inclement weather and I will give in and run on the treadmill in inclement weather but we aren’t quite there yet. It was 70 degrees last night!! I did want to get that weight training in so I decided to drop my bag off in the gym and head back out the front door for a quick run in the neighborhood.

Why had I never done this before? The area was very well lit, in fact I would say more so than my neighborhood at night. Little to no foot traffic to interfere with my run and I was able to get thru a swift run to start my workout. On Monday, I aimed to run the distance of my next race, 2.5 miles. My thought process is that this would be the slowest I run this distance while training for this race. I plan on running the distance a couple of more times before race day with the expectation that each time I get faster.

My time on Monday, 19:31 for 2.42 miles. I’ll take that considering that when I ran this same race last year, I ran 19:30 on the course. Now keep in mind that this course has some nasty, steep, rolling hills. These hills keep coming for a whole mile and they can really test even the most seasoned runner. One of the things that is different when you are facing a race with these type of hills is that you have to make sure to have some weight training, especially in your upper body. You will need that to pump your arms some to get up the hills that await.

That brought me to the second part of my workout. Today I wanted to start focusing on my arms with the daunting thought of those hills in my mind as the music blared through my headphones. Here’s what I tackled on Monday:

3 sets of Arm Curls (25, 30, 35 lbs)

3 sets of Deltoid raises (12, 15, 15 lbs)

3 sets of Lat Pulls dowsn (60, 70, 80lbs)

3 sets of Rope tricep pulldowns (45, 50, 55lbs)

I have to say doing my run outdoors got me warmed up like a treadmill never had before! I maintained my sweat the entire time I was lifting weights. I left the gym on a Monday night feeling great! I’m hoping to complete two more quality workouts like that this week. My goal for race day as of now is to go under 19 minutes. It’s going to require some hill work and some more speed work. Ah yes all good things to look forward to! lol

Remember, it is always about setting GOALS, working hard to try and achieve them and hopefully CRUSHING those goals!! It won’t come over night but BELIEVE that you will get there!


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Will Run For Swag! 

Sporting a t-shirt from from the 2017 NYC Half Marathon!

Many of my friends will likely telll you that when they see me running on the streets or working out in the gym there is a very high possibility that they will see me sporting a t-shirt or some article of clothing from an event I have participated in. I can’t help it that I’m a walking billboard but I love it! Hey if you have taken the time to train for a race and complete it, why not be proud of it. You SHOULD be proud of it! 
On Monday night though I realized that I have taken my swag madness to another level. When I run on the road, I always use Under Armour’s Mapy My Run Application. It works for me. Gives me detailed mile splits and tells me in my ears what my overall pace is each mile and what pace my last mile was. 

A sample screen shot of the “Map My Fitness” app


Last week I noticed an email from Under Armour that said “$40 off any order of $100 or more on the Under Armour website”. Apprently the coupon was sent to me because I accumulated a lot of miles on the app. So I figured I would give it a try and order some items that I had been looking to buy anyways. Low and behold, I received my items Monday in the mail! All brand new, all fit fine! I was able to get a pair of tapered sweats ($40 list price) , cold weather compression running pants ($50 list price)  and 6 pairs of socks ($30 list price) for $70 with free shipping! If this isn’t another reason to run then I don’t know what is! Needless to say, I think I will keep using their app to track my runs! 

Under Armour swag in the mail thanks to App discount!

Monday Motivation 

Ok folks, I have a confession to make. I didn’t run this weekend, nor did I exercise either. I haven’t had a weekend like that in some time. Do I feel bad? Not really. A little guilty perhaps. But the calendar says it’s Monday and for me, that’s the time to get back on the fitness grind.

For many folks, Monday’s are a drag. But they don’t have to be. They can also be the start of a new beginning, especially for someone who has been away from the fitness game for a while. If you don’t know where to start, it’s ok. Start by making simple decisions in your daily routine that are different from what you’re doing now. Here are some simple examples:

  • If you commute to work, get off a stop earlier than you usually do and walk the rest of the way. Tomorrow do the same and perhaps add the return trip also.
  • Drink coffee? Soda? Start to cut back the sugar. Sugar can pack on the pounds and if your trying to lose them, sugar will help.
  • Look at your daily habits. Do you really need to binge watch all of those shows on Netflix on Hulu? Ask yourself how much time you spend daily on shows and start replacing that time with exercise. Walks, runs, trips to the gym. Anything is better than self-imposed Netflix marathons.
  • Guilty of ordering take out? Don’t do it this week. Look over your diet and make healthier decisions.
  • Add veggies to everything – breakfast, lunch, dinner and slowly cut out the carbs. It goes a long way – trust me!
  • A lot of us have iphones – use the apple health app! Count your steps, track what you eat. It’s such a useful tool that is already on your phone but people don’t use it! Try it!
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Is Netflix your marathon? Consider scaling that back!

 

Of course, I highly recommend running to anyone looking for a longer term plan to feel better. My favorite recommendation for beginners, schedule yourself to take part in a 5k race in the next 3 months. That’s 3.1 miles. That gives you 3 months to get your body used to running 3.1 miles. Start out light. Jog a mile a few days a week for the first couple of weeks. Then increase it to 1.5 miles and then gradually increase it each week. In your practices leading up to race day work up to running 4 miles max. If you can get two or three 4 mile runs in then a 5k on race day will be easy! But listen to your body and progress accordingly. If running is new to you make sure you stretch properly before and after and if you feel pain, not soreness, take a couple of days off before resuming.
Monday’s should not be looked at as doom and gloom! It’s time to start a new routine! I gave you a couple of examples of how to start a new routine but ultimately its up to you to figure out what it is that you need to change!

Just promise me one thing – that you will make today a better day than yesterday!

Running doesn’t have to be fast – just consistent!

 

Workout – Thursday 10/19/17

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Say no to the couch and yes to sweat!


Ever since I ran the Staten Island Half-Marathon two Sundays ago, I have scaled back on my running. The training for that race put a lot of miles on my legs and with my next two races being a lot shorter, I decided to scale back a bit. In fact scaling back after a half marathon is highly recommended by the so called experts – see this article!

This past Monday, I did some striders on grass to stretch out the legs a bit. On Tuesday, I ran some shorter distances on the track and focused on speed.

Today the weather was too nice to not go for a run. The layoff from running long distances seemed to have helped as my pace overall was pretty swift.

Here is the funny part though and the part that I think pertains to many folks reading this. I commute from Manhattan each day on the dreaded Long Island Railroad. Today I knocked out on the train ride home. I mean I was dreaming and the whole bit! Got home and felt like sleeping some more, but with the weather as beautiful as it was, I knew I wasn’t going to get too many more days like this to run during the week. So I pushed myself. I downed a Gatorade Endurance Carb Energy Drink and off I went. I highly recommend these if you are feeling sluggish before a workout!

Got back at 7:30pm in time to enjoy some quality time with the family before everyone is off to bed. Once they knocked out, I logged on here about a half hour ago to write this. Why am I telling you my day? Because I want you all to see that even though our days can be busy and you may feel bogged down by it all – you can still get that work out in! You don’t need that much time – I gave it an hour today but a half hour would have been more than enough. I always say – “a little workout is still better than no workout“!

I’ll be posting my workouts from time to time. If you start to workout too, share yours with me! Would love to see your progress!

That 4th mile was under 8:00 because I waited at a traffc light for like 30 seconds during that mile – argghhh!!

Why I Got Back Into Running

First Step

Maybe its time for your first step?

As I mentioned in a previous post, I got back into running about 4 years ago. It has led me on quite a journey learning about myself and as long as my legs will allow me to keep running pain free, I don’t think this journey will end. But where is it going? Well to know that, I’ll have to tell you where I’ve been first!

I ran cross country and track & field in HS and had some pretty good success with it. Managed to get down to a 2:02 half mile and a 5:05 mile. I would say that is ok.

Picture From HS

Slim and ready for a race (circa 1990)

After high school, I continued to run in college and even shortly after college but primarily to stay in shape. Even though I did run after high school, my intensity level was a lot less than it was in high school!

Years went by and as family life settled in and daily routines as a homeowner and father of two arose, the pounds started to pile on and the waistline started to expand. If I ran 3 times a year I was probably exaggerating. Then in 2012  I got a phone call from a friend who I ran cross country with in high school. He had become the alumni director in my high school and was reaching out to some of his running buddies to get a group of alumni runners to run an alumni race at the school’s varsity cross country city championships. I couldn’t pass up seeing old friends and running the course I used to run at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, so you know I said yes and showed up.

Vanny! (Photo Credit: Van Cortlandt TC)

In high school, I ran the 2.5 mile (4k) course in high school usually under 15 minutes. On that day I ran the alumni race and out of 120 alumni, I finished 118th in the race and it might as well have been 119th because me and a buddy ran together and we finished together. My time was 23 minutes and change! Now let me stop for a second and say time should never be an issue to a new runner. But when you used to do this week in and week out and see where you are now, it’s an eye opener!  I felt helpless on some of those hills while I was running and woke up the next day in insane amounts of pain.

In the following months, I let that day scar me for a while for really no reason. Weight piled on after that and I developed some nagging pains in my ankle that a foot doctor said were weight related. I peaked out at close to 200 pounds.

Peaking at 200 pounds in 2013 – boy was that bad!

 

I love my family but when your daily routine consists of work, home, eating, drinking, lounging around the house and sleeping, it’s time for a change.

Cue up running.

My doctor prescribed me orthopedic inserts. At a very slow pace, I started to run again regularly. I changed my diet and in the course of a year my weight started to drop. In that year, I would come home and spend time with my family but I would yearn for a run. Sometimes when I would have a bad day at work, and even to this day, I tell my family, “Look, I’m not in a good place right now, can you give me an hour?”. Off I would go for a run and I would come back a changed person emotionally and mentally. For the past four years my need for a run has been like a drug but of course this is a good drug! I blame the euphoria that I mentioned in my last post and the endorphins that running brings.

How many of you out there feel tired all of the time. How often do you settle for nights on the couch which follow another night of takeout food? Weekends come and go and no exercise was done. Do you miss how you looked in high school or college? Are the clothes getting tight? Or do you wake up hungover way too many mornings?

Running worked for me – it can work for you! Start that change – all it takes is for you to get up and take the first step!

Get out and run, one step at a time!