7 Things I did to Get Down to Racing Weight

Are you trying to get down to your racing weight?

And maybe take a little time off of your PR or finally break that time goal in an up coming race? Well here are a few tips that worked for me. I thought that I had nothing to lose at 5’5″ and 124 lbs, but I got down to 115 lbs in just a couple of months by using these tips.

Racing Weight

As a result of achieving my racing weight I set new PRs in several distances and you can too!

7 Tips to Achieve your Racing Weight Goals

If the following tips aren’t enough, try the 1000 calorie challenge

  1. Ask yourself if you are hungry.  Sometimes your stomach starts growling and naturally you head to the pantry to grab a snack, but often this is actually an indication that you are thirsty.  Next time, simply grab a large glass of water and drink it first. If you are still feeling hungry in 10 minutes, then go ahead and grab a snack.
  2. Eat apples.  Apples leave you feeling full.  They are juicy and delicious and have good fiber content. Plus, they are only about 60 calories each. Next time you are hungry, try snacking on an apple.
  3. Just do half.  When you server yourself dinner at home, just put half of what you normally eat on the plate. Eat that, then wait a few minutes and ask yourself if you are still hungry. If you are, you can get another portion, but chances are that you won’t be.
  4. Be a picky snacker. I often find myself snacking needlesly at night. If you want to have a snack after dinner, choose something satisfying but low in calories. My favorite snack is Pop Chips, one serving is a little more than 100 calories. Another good option is popcorn. Of course, you must choose the healthier non-buttered style. Popcorn doesn’t need tons of butter to taste good, just try sprinkling some flavoring on top of it.
  5. Just say no!  When you see that bowl of chocolates at your co-workers desk, don’t mindlessly grab a few from the bowl, just walk by and ignore the bowl. Eating a few chocolates here, a few pieces of candy there really add up and can add on hundreds of calories per day.
  6. Log it!  Yes, I know that sounds like a pain, but you will truly not understand the impact of what you are consuming until you take the time to log everything you eat for at least one week. This can be as simple as writing it on a piece of paper.  Grab a small notebook and at the top of the page write the column headers ‘Food’, ‘Calories’. Pretty simple right? Ok, now keep that notebook with you and after everything you eat, jot down the name of the food and if the calories are available, write those down too.  If the calories are not available, you will have to look them up online.  I can generally find what I want just by searching for the food name plus the word calories. You will also need to know how many calories you should consume per day, to figure that out, use a calorie counter. Compare how many calories you consume to how many calories you need. If you want to lose 1 lb per week, you will need to create a 3500 calorie deficit, so about 500 calories per day.  This log will really highlight some food you probably eat that are very calorie dense and don’t offer much nutritional value, like for example pop tarts. Yes, it is hard to believe that two little toaster pastries can have so many calories. A much for nutritious, filling and healthy breakfast alternative is Greek Yogurt, with one fifth the calories and lots of protein to keep you feeling satisfied.
  7. Eat more protein. Foods like greek yogurt, cheese, eggs, chicken and steak leave you feeling full for a longer time that foods with little or no protein, plus, the calorie count is usually pretty reasonable, just make sure you choose lower fat cuts of meat and be selective when choosing things like yogurt and cheese, get the reduced fat versions.

Well that’s it!  Following those 7 tips, I dropped got down to my racing weight and as a reward set new PR’s in the 5k, 10k and 10 mile race distances.  So, don’t think twice, start trying some of these tips today!

Additional Resources

In this video, Matt Fitzgerald offers advice on using high intensity training to help achieve racing weight

4 Ways to Reach your Ideal Racing Weight

Win more races by getting down to your ideal racing weight

Half Marathon Training for Beginners

8 Etiquette Rules for Runners

Who Knew There were Running Etiquette Rules!

Running etiquette you need to know

Running Etiquette Rule #1 > Don’t do all the talking!

You’re running along happily with your two best buddies on your regular Saturday morning long run and at 4 miles in you are still dissecting last weeks date and analyzing why he hasn’t called you back.  Does this sound like you?  Or maybe you’ve had a rough week at work and you’ve just spent the last 3 miles complaining about your boss.

It’s fine to do a lot of talking during a run, it makes the run go by faster for the talker and the listeners, and some training partners may appreciate that they don’t have to talk as much especially if they are working harder than you at the same pace.  On the other hand, be aware that your running buddies may have some news to share, or problems to dissect  as well, so try to keep you stories short and give them a chance to jump in as well.  They key is to be aware and give opportunity.

Running Etiquette Rule #2 > Don’t turn it into a race

Are you the type that likes to keep one step ahead of your running partner?  Maybe you’re in a bit better shape than they and you keep speeding up on what is supposed to be an easy day?  Keep in mind that easy days are to be run easy, and running an ‘easy’ day that turns into a race with your buddy is going to take away from your next planned track or tempo workout.  If you are the one constantly pushing the pace, you may find that your running buddies aren’t going to always be so keen to get out and run with you, so save the challenges for race day, keep the easy runs easy and your running buddies happy.

Running Etiquette Rule #3 > Don’t hog the post race goodies

You just finished a race and lucky for you that the other 80% of the field has not!  So you head over to the post race food area and load up with 3 Power Bar’s, 4 bananas, a few FRS cans, several handfuls of Luna bars and a bunch of free GU packets, woot!  What a score!  …well for you anyway, don’t forget about the rest of the field that may not be so speedy, they would like some recovery drinks and product samples too, so please, take your share which is typically one of each item and save some for the rest of us. Now that is good running etiquette!

Running Etiquette Rule #4 >  Share the road

We all know what its like, you go out with your after-work running group, you start gabbing about the days events and become oblivious to the fact that you are running 3 abreast causing other pedestrians to step off the side walk to get around you and those behind you from passing.  Please be aware, share the road and share the sidewalk.

This rule is also important in races.  Those of us that walk rather than run races should stay to the right and walk no more than two abreast so that runners can get by and pass on the left.

Running Etiquette Rule #5 > Watch where you spit

Nobody likes to be hit by flying spit courtesy of the well intentioned runner in front of them.  If this type of ‘clearing’ is necessary, step to the far right or left, and take a look behind you before any projectiles leave your body…please and thank you.

Running Etiquette Rule #6 > Everyone enjoys the smell of nature…and not your dirty shirt!

After days and weeks and months of sweating in your favorite tech shirt, you may not notice as much as your running partners, but your technical clothes may not be as odor free as they once were.    Depending on how close you are with these running partners, they may be too kind to let you in on the news.  So, don’t be that runner, head over to your local running shop and pick up some laundry detergent for running clothes such as this one from Penguin and get the funk out of those stinky clothes.  If that doesn’t work, it may be time to retire some of  your older, smellier pieces.

Running Etiquette Rule #7 > Don’t be shy, say hello

A few years ago I moved from a small mid-west city to a large west-coast city and the first thing I noticed and missed was that other runners didn’t wave, smile or say hello!  For the first few runs, I couldn’t help but think there was something wrong with me.  Did I have a milk mustache?  Did I still have bed-head?  Maybe my shorts and running shirt clashed and other runners couldn’t bear to look at me???  What was it??  It turns out it wasn’t me, this keep to yourself behavior is part of living in a big city, but it doesn’t have to be!  It feels good to say hi to other runners, it makes everyone feel more like they are part of a community, so don’t be shy, look up, smile and say hi to that passing runner, you may just make their day!

Running Etiquette Rule #8 > Do offer to car pool

One less car on the road is a good thing for the environment and your pocket book, so take turn driving to races training runs.

For some fun running etiquette rules take a look at The Runner’s Rule Book: Everything a Runner Needs to Know–And Then Some

Are you practicing good running etiquette?

Do you make these mistakes when running at night?

running at night

Running at Night

As the days slowly start to get shorter and shorter, and your forced to start running at night when it is dark, it is a good time to get prepared so that you don’t make these mistakes.

Running at Night Mistake #1 – Running with traffic

Never run with traffic because you can’t see what’s coming behind you. If you run against the traffic, you can assess any oncoming danger and react faster. This one isn’t just for running at night either, don’t make this mistake anytime you hit the roads

Running at Night Mistake #2 – Not wearing reflective clothing

Wearing reflective clothing will help a driver see you better at night, why take chances? These days most outdoor running clothing contains some elements on it which are reflective, so if you haven’t updated your outdoor gear in a while, it might be time to start.

Running at Night Mistake #3 – Not using a headlamp or flashlight

Potholes, curbs, tree branches, uneven sidewalks. These are just some of the things that can cause you to trip and fall during a run, wearing a headlamp or using a small flashlight will help you avoid some scrapes, bruises and maybe even a trip to the emergency room.

Keep reading and find out what other mistakes are made when running at night…

Running at Night Mistake #4 – Not picking up your feet

As previously mentioned, you want to avoid tripping, falling and generally looking foolish, so, pick your feet up! A shuffling stride will lend itself more to the inevitable.

Running at Night Mistake #5 – Not telling someone where you are going

When heading out the door, leave a note or tell your wife/husband/roommate/etc where you are going running and your expected return time just incase anything should happen, they will be prepared.

Running at Night Mistake #6 – Not carrying ID

In the unfortunate event of an accident, you should have some ID on you, head over to Road ID and order one for you and anyone else in your family that runs, cycles, or any other activity where they may find themselves out in a remote place alone.

Running at Night Mistake #7 – Not carrying a cell phone

Not everyone wants to run with a cell phone, but with the availability of armbands for your phone, it makes it really easy, so don’t even think about it, just get yourself an armband and take the phone with you. If that one time that you need it comes up, you won’t regret it.

Running at Night Mistake #8 – Not using a well lit road

Choosing a dimely lit road to run on has a few risks, first, drivers may not see you, second, you may not see uneven cement, branches or other objects lying in the road, and finally, I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to run into a stranger on a dimly lit road in the middle of nowhere….

Running at Night Mistake #9 – Not wearing a flashing light on your back

You’ve seen cyclists sporting these on the back of their bikes, it helps drivers identify you. Usually they can be adjusted for different flashing rates or no flashing at all. The Nathan Clip-On Deluxe L.E.D. Safety Strobe can be seen from up to 2500 feet away, and it clips on easily to any piece of clothing.

Running at Night Mistake #10 – Not wearing a reflective belt

Reflective clothing is good, but a reflective belt is BEST, so do as they do in the army and get yourself one of these reflect-a-life reflective belts and you won’t have any trouble being seen. Road ID also has a high visibility reflective belt for only 12.99

Running at Night Mistake #11 – Wearing headphones

Don’t wear headphones at night, you need to be aware of your surroundings, not only oncoming traffic, but other people in the area.

Running at Night Mistake #12 – Not running with a friend

As the old saying goes, there is safety in numbers, so grab a friend if you can, not only is it safer, but it makes the run go by so much faster! If you can’t find a friend to run with try finding a local running group. Most running stores will have group runs or be able to help you find some.

Running at Night Mistake #13 – Not being alert

Be aware of your surroundings, its easy to get lost in your thoughts or in conversation when enjoying a nice comfortable run, so try to be aware, listen for approaching people or cars, watch for stray dogs or skunks who may surprise you and try to stick to routes that are well let and frequented by other runners.

So the next time you are getting ready to go running at night don’t make these mistakes and be safe!

That’s 13 mistakes made when running at night, can you think of any more?

I used to dread running on the treadmill, until I discovered this…

Lifespan TreadmillIt seems like everyone is always bashing the poor treadmill!  Some call it the ‘dreadmill’, oh, that makes it sound so painful!  While most of us do find that running outside is more pleasurable then running on a treadmill, there are those times that simply call for it.  If you live in an area of the country that gets a lot of snow, there may be some days when ProForm Pro 4500 Treadmillrunning outside is just not practical or safe.  What about runners with small children?  Sometimes the only way to get in a run is to sneak one in during a nap or while the child is distracted with another activity.  Then there are those of us who for example may be on call for work and it would be impractical to carry a laptop during the run in case we got a call. Whatever your reason is, fear not, because you are about to find out how to turn the dreadmill from something you loathe into something you anticipate. I discovered that the key to looking forward to the treadmill was distraction. Here are some ways that I distract myself from reality while running on a treadmill.

    • Plan workouts around a favorite TV show, movie or sporting event.  Think about it, lets say you have a 1 hour run planned, but have to do it on the treadmill, and you also planned on catching an hour of ‘La Tour de France’, or maybe its Sunday and you want to watch football, plan to do your run and watch it at the same time.  Now you’ve not only distracted yourself from focusing on the ‘dreadmill’  but you’ve just gained an hour  in your day where you won’t be sitting in front of the TV!
    • Catch up on podcasts.  If your an avid podcast listener, then no doubt you’ve got several shows in the queue, and if your not, then get over to iTunes and start searching for podcasts on topics that interest you, its a great way to learn something new, get inspired or get up to date on all the celebrity gossip.  What ever your interest, there’s a podcast for that!.  Here’s a tip, while listening to a podcast on a treadmill, turn off the TV monitor.  Yes, that’s right, turn it off!  Why?  It will distract you from immersing yourself in the podcast and will defeat the purpose.  You want to be immersed in the sound you are hearing as it will transport you and you will forget that you are actually indoors running on a treadmill! And if your not a podcast listener, never heard of a podcast and don’t own an MP3 player or iPod, then learn more here and then start shopping :)
    • Play the hill game. Lets say I need to run 6 miles on the treadmill, but that number sounds so dreadful and I can’t imagine completing it, that’s when I play the hill game.  The objective is to alternate between running on an incline and running flat, I have to keep increasing the hill grade or the speed every half mile.  If I miss an increase at any point because I forgot or I felt it was too hard, then I don’t get the reward at the end.  The reward here is important, I usually choose something tasty like treating myself to some Gelato after dinner.  Now, you may be thinking that this sounds incredibly hard, but its not!  Let me tell you why.  You will start out at an easy speed and a 1% incline, after the first half mile, you increase the incline to 1.5%, then the next half mile, increase again to 2%.  When that half mile is complete, reduce the incline back DOWN to 1% and increase the speed from where you started, let’s say 6 mph to 6.2 mph.  Now you will notice that the pace feels easier than it did when you started.  Ok, so this is how a 6 mile run might play out.
    • Speed Incline Distance
      6.0 1% 0.5
      6.0 1.5% 1.0
      6.2 1% 1.5
      6.2 2% 2.0
      6.4 1% 2.5
      6.4 2.5% 3.0
      6.6 1% 3.5
      6.6 3% 4.0
      6.8 1% 4.5
      6.8 3.5% 5.0
      7.0 1% 5.5
      7.0 4% 6.0

      The hill portions will feel hard and get harder, but you only have to tough it out for a half mile, then you get a reprieve for a half mile. You’ll see how easy the flat portions of this workout feel, you may even notice yourself wanting to increase the speed, your legs are going to want to fly! If that’s the way you are feeling, an alternative to the workout above is to save the last mile for some fun. After you’re finished with the hills, put the treadmill back down to 1%, then start increasing the speed for the last mile. Your legs are going to feel great now, so just keep increasing the speed as long as it feels comfortable to hold it. Remember, you don’t want to reduce the speed otherwise you lose the game and no reward! So don’t go too crazy right away and have fun!

21 Running Hacks to Get Motivated and Run Happier

Looking for ways to Get Motivated?

21 Running Hacks to get motivatedWhat’s a running hack you say?  Little tidbits of information that can help you get motivated make your run that much better in one way or another. 

  • Get Motivated to Run Hack #1 > Sign up for a race, it will be an exciting experience and it will help you get motivated to run
  • Get Motivated to Run Hack #2 > Join a running group, you will meet new people and discover new trails and routes to run.  Also, when running with a group, usually you will spend most of the time talking or listening to others conversation, this will help the miles pass quickly
  • Get Motivated to Run Hack #3 > Run first thing in the morning, that way life doesn’t get in the way.  Get up, put your running clothes on and step out the door, unless you are doing a really long run, you will be fine without having breakfast first.
  • Get Motivated to Run Hack #4 > Don’t think, just do it.  Don’t let the little voices start making excuses as to why you can’t or shouldn’t run today.
  • Get Motivated to Run Hack #5 > You will get sore muscles and tight muscles from running so invest in a massage stick it does an amazing job on all your sore muscles, and it excels at working out tight calf muscles
  • Get Motivated to Run Hack #6 > You will always feel better after a run, no matter how much your brain is telling you to forget about your run for the day, fight back and remind yourself of how great you will feel afterwards
  • Get Motivated to Run Hack #7 > Never experience chaffing again. If you’ve ever gone on a run and come back with burning inner thighs or hot spots where your shirt was rubbing against your skin, then you also know how painful it feels when you step in the shower and that blast of water hits those spots! Just rub some Bodyglide on your problem areas and guaranteed you will never come back from a run dreading the shower again.
  • Get Motivated to Run Hack #8 > Go on ‘exploring runs’,  if you are running in a city, keep going straight until you get to a red light, then turn right, repeat the process but turn left, keep repeating. This will bring you on a new and random route and you may discover parts of the city you never knew.
  • Get Motivated to Run Hack #9 > Don’t wear cotton, invest in a technical shirt that can wick sweat away.  As a bonus, lots of races these days are giving out running shirts, another reason to sign up for a race.
  • Get Motivated to Run Hack #10 >Listen and Learn.  Run with an iPod, but instead of music, download some interesting podcasts and learn something new while you run or catch up on current events.
  • Still trying to get motivated? Read more!

  • Get Motivated to Run Hack #11 > Get proper running socks.  Nothing kills a good run more than having your socks slip down your heel and bunch up or getting blisters from your socks rubbing against your feet, that’s why I recommend you get running socks that have a double layer of Coolmesh fabric, I have been running with these WrightSock running socks for years and have never had a blister. They keep my feet cool and comfortable
  • Get Motivated to Run Hack #12 > When running in the heat, fill up a water bottle half way and place it in the freezer the night before. When you are ready to run, take it out, top it off with water and you will have nice cool water to drink for the duration of your run.
  • Get Motivated to Run Hack #13 > Read a running book. A great running book will immerse you and motivate you, the top 3 running books I’ve read are Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen, Once a Runner: A Novel, and The Perfect Mile: Three Athletes, One Goal, and Less Than Four Minutes to Achieve It
  • Get Motivated to Run Hack #14 > Record your runs in a training log. When your feeling nervous about your preparation readiness for an upcoming race, look back at your previous runs to remind yourself about all the hard work you put in and how it will pay off in the race
  • Get Motivated to Run Hack #15 > When heading out for a run on a cold day, place your running clothes in the dryer for 5 minutes to get them nice an toasty warm, then you won’t feel that stinging chill when you step out the door.
  • Get Motivated to Run Hack #16 > Adopt a running mantra. Sometimes when the going gets tough you need to mentally fight through it and lots of people find that repeating a mantra in their head will help push through the rough spots. Here’s some running mantras to try.
  • Get Motivated to Run Hack #17 > Mix it up. Don’t just run the same route every day, try to alternate your runs, run some trails one day, try some hills the next. Try varying your distances as well, run one longer run per week.
  • Get Motivated to Run Hack #18 > The treadmill is your friend. Don’t think of the treadmill as the ‘dreadmill’, it can be a useful tool. The surface is softer than running outside, so it can be used to give your legs a break if you can’t get out to trails to run. It can be used on days when it is too hot outside or too icy on the roads. The treadmill doesn’t have to be boring, schedule your run when you know a good movie will be on or a sporting event. I love to watch the Tour de France while running on the treadmill.
  • Get Motivated to Run Hack #19 > Don’t eat too much before a run. Speaking from experience, eating something heavy or greasy…like pizza or a hamburger for example to close to your run can leave your stomach in distress. Instead, have a light snack like a granola bar or banana 1.5 to 2 hours before your run.
  • Get Motivated to Run Hack #20 > Volunteer at a race. If you’ve never run one before, it will be great to see other runners and will get you motivated yourself. On the other hand, if you are a regular racer, then the next time you don’t want to race, volunteer, it will be greatly appreciated, you will feel good and probably meet some new people.
  • Get Motivated to Run Hack #21 > Get enough sleep. This is one tip that I always fail on, but it is important and I should try harder to get it done. Your body recovers during sleep, so as you start adding miles and increasing running intensity, your body will appreciate any extra sleep you can give it.

What’s your best way to get motivated?