Running the Highline Canal in Phoenix

I felt a little tired at the start of this run on the Highline Canal in Phoenix. However, by the end, I was extremely energized.

Running is magical.

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An Indoor Marathon … on a Track?!

Since backing out of yesterday’s Turkey Trot run due to the first rainfall in Phoenix in about three months, I have been determined to schedule a new race.

During my search this morning, I came across a unique race. In fact, it’s a running event I think would have trouble attracting participants – the InStep Icebreaker Indoor Marathon.

Apparently, the course looks something like this: 0.

Yes, runners must complete about 94 laps around an indoor track in Milwaukee. Not only does that sound boring, my guess is the repetition and lack of terrain would increase your chances for injury.

I’m not a big treadmill fan, but I would run a marathon on one before even considering an indoor track marathon. At least you could then park yourself in front of a television to help break the monotony. 

If you’ve completed an indoor marathon, please let me know about your experience. Are my assumptions off?

My Sights Are Set on 100 Push-Ups

imagesI love low-cost fitness solutions you can do anywhere, at any time and without the need for much equipment. Maybe this is why I enjoying running so much.

Recently, I came across a challenge that meets these criteria — the One Hundred Push Ups Program. After seeing several people reference it on various blogs, I finally decided to jump on board.

Today I took the initial test (which was definitely an ego-killer), so I guess I’m officially off and running.

I’ve always been a little envious of people who seem to pound out push-ups with relative ease. Right now 100 consecutive push-ups seems like a very lofty goal. I’m looking forward to seeing my progress after six weeks of training. 

Have you attempted or — better yet — completed this challenge? Please feel free to share your experience in the comments section.

Great Gifts for Runners

Looking for a few ideas for the runner on your Christmas list (or — even better — for yourself)? Check out this list of Great Gifts Real Runners Really, Really Want.

Between now and the middle of December, my wife will ask me at least 20 times the most common question heard this time of year — “What do you want for Christmas?” Besides the usual running socks, shirts and an occasional gift card, I have a terrible time coming up with ideas.

One of my favorites from the list is the running T-shirt quilt. Those race shirts sure have a way of filling up a dresser fast.

Sunday Recovery Run/Hike at South Mountain

I did a quick run/hike today on the trails at South Mountain and brought along my Flip

Can Certain Scents Boost Your Energy?

Check out this post on the Between the Miles blog that I came across today. According to an article in Women’s Health, certain scents can actually boost your energy when you smell them.

The scents in the study referenced included mint, menthol and eucalyptus.

I have to admit, this is one idea I never considered. But I can see how it would work well.

One benefit of running in the morning is smelling the variety of breakfast scents that seep out of people’s houses — especially during weekends.

On Saturday mornings, my running partner and I often pass a grocery store that always saturates the air with the aroma of donuts. No matter how many times we pass, we can’t help but mention how much we would love to stop in for a taste.

Without a doubt, the smell of donuts is a proven energy-booster for me.

A Risky Way to Train Your Brain for Success When Running

If you’ve attempted to add miles during your training routine, you’re well aware of the role your mind plays when running.

 

The situation often goes something like this: You feel you must increase mileage if you want to reach a goal, race distance, etc. But just when you’re about to attempt the longer distance, your inner voice gets in the way — often telling you the task is too challenging.

 

What’s worse is when your mind attempts to notify you that you don’t have the energy to even begin your running workout. When this occurs, it’s even difficult to lace up your shoes and get out the door.

 

This is one reason why I believe distance running requires an 80/20 skill ratio — with 80% being mental ability.

 

It’s been about 10 years since I began running on a regular basis, and I still battle mind games. However, I’ve learned to significantly calm the voices. (Sounds like I’m battling a mental problem, doesn’t it?)

 

In addition to visualization techniques, one method that continues to help me on long runs is rewards. Now, I’m the first to admit that what I do goes against the recommendations of many in the running community, so this probably isn’t for everyone.

 

A reward that works well for me is new foods during long runs. For example, I discovered Jelly Belly Sport Beans at about mile 18 during the Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati in 2006.

 

I saw the jelly beans the day before while buying pre-race supplies and decided they would be the perfect pick-me-up for when I needed a mental (and physical) boost during the race … and they worked.

 

Truth be told, I like to eat, which is probably typical for many runners. Food gives me a naturally high and makes me happy.

 

My unscientific reasoning behind why my new food reward technique works well is that the body naturally moves faster when you’re in an enjoyable state of mind. When you’re down or feel depressed – as sometimes happens during the final miles of a long run – you naturally move slower.

 

By getting gratification from nibbling on something new, I delay mental and physical depression.

 

If you’re going to try a new food during a run, just go light on the quantity. This seems obvious, but sometimes your mind causes you to do some crazy things in moments of running desperation.