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Average_Jbob Original
It's been a few weeks since I last posted here and it's NOT because I've gotten lazy!  :)  If anything I might have gotten a little TOO ambitious. . .turns out that I circled the rabbit hole of blogging a bit longer than I should have. . .and then I straight up FELL IN!  :0


What does that mean?  Well, simply put. . .I found I liked blogging so much that I wanted to create my own official 'home-on-the-internet'!  It's taken a lot more time and energy to create a site than I thought it would, but I'm loving the process.  I'm NOT leaving the GoRunaMuck community by ANY means!  You'll still find me in the Forums. . .I'm simply moving my blog to it's own domain.


PLEASE check me out at AverageOCRunner.com and let me know what you think!


Average_Jbob

Average_Jbob Original
It's been a while since my last post. . .I suppose that can speak toward the fact that I'm not only an AVERAGE JBOB runner, but also an AVERAGE JBOB blog poster as well!


I never meant to have this blog be a guide for how one should train. . .which is GOOD because I don't think it has become that!  I only say that to underline the fact that this blog should be read with the idea that it's simply a window into the life of someone who started running for their health and then continued running because they got a sense of accomplishment out of it!  Sometimes it feels like I haven't been doing this for very long, but I looked at my race event shirts over the weekend and my earliest one was a 5K from November 2013.  I wouldn't say I was serious about running back then but it is a clear marker of when I started.  Back then I saw 3.1 miles as a long distance that should be achievable and was very unhappy with the knowledge that I could barely cover it without feeling like I was going to DIE!  Lagging behind the rest of my family (wife and 3 boys) who were ALL faster than me was not what I wanted out of life and it spurred me on.  Not that I wanted to beat them (sure I did) but because I wanted to LEAD them by EXAMPLE.  To show them that working at something and pushing yourself to move forward when it isn't easy is not only worthwhile, but EXPECTED.  That the only way you can ever truly be a 'loser' is if you quit.  Not winning a race does not make you a 'loser'. . .as long as you continue to finish what you start and continue to work toward improvement, then in my book you are just as good as the guy getting first place!  In fact, I believe it's easier to continue running races when you win than when you finish in the middle or back of the pack.  You won't be celebrated by anyone other than yourself and maybe a few friends and family, and yet you continue to work just as hard (as what you are able) as the guy getting all the glory on the finisher podium.


At least that's my mindset as one of those guys who finishes in the middle of the pack!  :)


Anyway. . .I'm currently working toward being ready for my next event AND my next milestone in running!  My next event is only 12 days away on August 4th.  It's a Spartan Super in Asheville, North Carolina. . .and I'm running it with my 16 year old son who I'm proud to say decided to go for his 1st ever Spartan TriFecta this year AFTER he had an absolutely horrible experience at the Spartan Sprint at Dodger Stadium.  It wasn't his first Spartan Sprint, in fact it was his 4th, but he was determined that Spartan wasn't his thing and it would be his final event. . .not sure if he didn't train for it enough or just had a bad day, but it kicked his butt so hard that he was seriously demoralized by mid course and didn't want me to run with him anymore since he was sure he was holding me back. . .I went ahead of him on his request and I think being left to his own thoughts he came to the conclusion that he wouldn't be happy if he quit doing Spartans and had his final event crush him.  So after the event he surprised me by announcing that he wanted to finish out his TriFecta!  If you don't know what that is. . .Spartan has 3 basic length categories for their events: Sprint = 3-5 miles, Super = 8-10 miles, and Beast = 12-14 miles. . .the longer the distance the more the obstacles with the Beast having up to 35!  You earn your TriFecta by completing all 3 event lengths in one calendar year.  So this next event I'm running is with him and it's his first ever Super!  I'm looking forward to it and it's been good to see how hard he's pushing himself to be ready!  If he allows me to pace with him I hope to be a good encouragement to him, but if he wants to run by himself I hope to be ok with that too!  :)


The next milestone I'm training for is my first full marathon.  I'm planning on running the L.A. Marathon on March 24th in 2019.  I'm not using any 'training plan' on an app for it since I have other events between that I need to be ready for, but rather I'm simply trying to increase my distance by extending my long run.  Every couple of weeks I do a longer road run than normal and this past Saturday was the first time I have ever run 15 miles in one go.  Now, the term 'running' might be a bit misleading since it would probably look more like slow jogging since I'm trying to train my slow-twitch muscles at the same time. . .it took me just over 3 hours to do and by the end my joints were very sore and I was walking for short distances for the last couple of miles.  I think I'll keep my long run at 15 miles for a while and extend it again once I feel more comfortable with this length.

After the run my feet were pretty sore, but not too sore that I couldn't get my boys and walk down to the local 7-11 for a round of slurpee's!  The walk was around 1.5 miles round trip and I must say that it felt good to walk. . .by the end my feet were not as sore as they had been, so it was probably a good cool down.  Besides, I really needed the complex sugars!  It was 100 degrees out by that time!  When I started my 15 mile run it was upper 70's, and by the time I finished it was 100!


The other thing I did over the weekend was go to the local Gym with my 16 year old so we could toss around some weight in preparation for the upcoming Spartan. . .he's really thin and conscious about the amount he can lift since he feels like he's not as strong as other kids. . .I can understand since that was ME at his age. . .honestly it took me until I was in my 20's before I started being able to gain any kind of muscle. . .we're more built for speed than contact. . .but he's come a long ways!  I really hope he sees a good payoff for his training with this event.  I'll report back how it went afterward.  I'm just really proud that he didn't let his bad experience define his abilities, but rather he looked the Spartan Race series straight in the eye, got back up and signed up for the TriFecta!  Not being willing to go out on his back, he's swinging for the fences!  I know it's inspiring to me and pushes me forward in my training. . .I don't want to be the one who cannot keep up with him!  :)

Average_Jbob Original
I know it's a re-occurring theme here on my blog, and I apologize if it sounds repetitive (what else could it be if it's re-occurring though, really?). . .but I'm finding that the most difficult part of my training plan ISN'T what I have planned to do. . .but rather, it's to START DOING what I have planned to do!  Once I get out the door, press PLAY on my audio selection, press START on my Garmin watch, and actually begin putting one foot in front of the other everything works itself out.  The HARD part is actually getting up the MOTIVATION to BEGIN the process in the first place!


Feel like you've read this one before?

(probably because you have)

Well, I feel like I've written this one before.

(probably because I have)

Fact of the matter is that I consider myself to be a very average runner / athlete with dreams of one day being considered un-ordinary in what I've been able to accomplish. . .and if YOU are also an average runner / athlete, then you have probably also come to the same conclusion as I have:


THE HARDEST PART OF ANY WORKOUT IS GETTING STARTED!


So here we go (again) with a few things to help MOTIVATE you to GET STARTED!:


1:  SIGN UP FOR AN EVENT!

Nothing helps motivate training like being signed up for an actual Event!  Just knowing that at a date in the not-so-distant-future you will be expected to run a 5k, 10k, Half Marathon, Spartan Sprint, etc. should give your motivation a good-ole kick in the back side!  Especially if you are the one who signed up AND paid good money!  Signing up with friends will also help since you know there will be witnesses!  If you are new to running and just trying to get in shape (maybe a less-rounded shape than you are currently in), then a 5k will be sufficient!  However, if you are a seasoned runner who's been doing 5 and 10k's already, then sign up for that Half Marathon you think people are insane for doing.  The point is to sign up for something that SCARES you and yet at the same time you kind of wish you were able to do.  Nothing motivates nearly as well as the FEAR OF FAILURE!  Just make sure the event isn't for that weekend. . .schedule it at least a couple of months out so you have time to properly prepare.  FEAR FAILURE but PLAN FOR SUCCESS!


2:  MAKE A PLAN!

OK, now that you have signed up for an event, I guess it's time to lay back on your couch with a bag of chips and start to bing watch documentaries on endurance athletes!

WRONG!

While it CAN BE MOTIVATING to watch other people accomplish great things, what you want here is to prepare YOURSELF to be able to accomplish what you signed up for in step 1!  Don't just assume that you're going to 'get prepared', or 'go for a run'.  Be purposeful in your planning.  It can be difficult when you are just starting out to know how to effectively train for an event.  Where do you start?  What do you do?  For the sake of this example, let's assume at you haven't been running and you are signed up for a 5k Race.  Sit down with a calendar (I use google calendar) and write your event down on the date it's happening (duh).  Now for the trick. . .PLAN BACKWARDS!  Since this is a 5k, let's plan the final training run to be 4 miles, and schedule it for 1 week before your race.  Leave the last week for rest, carb loading, and hydration.  Now work backwards from there. . .scheduling easier and easier workouts until you get to the present day.  THERE!  Now you have a road map of what you should be doing FROM your existing fitness level TO the fitness level you will need for your event!  NOW DO IT!  :)


3:  TELL A FRIEND OF YOUR PLAN!

If that friend is a runner it will help since they are less likely to look at you like you're a raving lunatic. . .LESS likely.  Nevertheless, verbalizing a plan can help solidify it in your mind.  Once it's been spoken to someone you know, it's more likely that you will follow thru with it on the off-chance that they ask you about how it's going.  If they are a runner they will be coming from a place of encouragement:

     You can do it!  Keep at it!  You're going to do great!

If they are NOT a runner. . .well. . .it's going to be from a place of entrapment:

     Too hard, wasn't it?  I knew you'd bitten off a bit much.  Watched a documentary, did you?

Either way. . .once you've told someone what you are planning on doing. . .you'll either get busy doing it and embrace the looks of disbelief that you have succeeded where others refuse to try. . .or you'll get busy trying to think of ways out of what you said you'd do that are believable so you save as much face as possible. . .I'd advise just following thru with your plan. . .it's easier, and you've already figured it out!


4:  GET SOME NEW GEAR!

If your already a seasoned runner then you already have a method of training and a plan you like to stick to.  You either already have a running group that you talk to and share plans with or you 'lone-wolf' it and talk to no one. . .you have your routine already and don't need any help with it. . .and maybe that's the problem.  You might just be stuck in a rut of doing the same thing over and over again and it's just gotten a bit stale.  Well. . .as a runner you will also know that gear wears out.  You need new shoes every 300-500 miles (depending on what type of shoe you have). . .sometimes you just need to get excited about a new pair of running shoes in order to get excited about going for another run!  Case in point, I had a pair of Nike Free RN Distance shoes a few years back that I LOVED. . .by the time I needed new shoes they didn't make those anymore and I bought the Nike Free RN Distance 2 shoe that WAS being made.  It was fine, but I just didn't love it as much as the original shoe.  Still, I used the 2's until I needed another pair and moved on to a pair of Saucony Ride 9's.  I love them!  They are great shoes!  However I recently have been in a bit of a rut in my training and having a hard time motivating MYSELF (hence this blog post). . .and I also am about to need new shoes again. . .so I decided to visit my local Nike Clearance Store where LOE AND BEHOLD I found a pair of ORIGINAL Nike Free RN Distance in my size for a fraction of the cost they used to be!  SCORE!  You KNOW I snatched those up and I COULDN'T WAIT to go for a run that night!  New gear CAN equal new motivation!


5:  REMEMBER WHERE YOU STARTED!

This one is for seasoned runners.  Remember what fitness level you were at when you first started running.  Sometimes a lack of motivation comes from a lack of understanding the progress you've already made.  If you are consistently running 3 times a week with a long run of 5+ miles, then remember back when you started and 1 mile was a HUGE deal!  Recognizing that you've made progress can sometimes be all you need to break a slump and keep moving forward.  Helping out a friend who is just starting out can also help you continue to train.  Knowing that others look to you as an example of what they might be able to do is a HUGE motivator to keep on going.  Show them what's possible just as you may have been motivated by others when you first started.


These are just a few suggestions on how to stay motivated. . .there are many more. . .feel free to share what motivates you in the comments below!  I'd love to hear it. . .maybe I can use it too?  :)  After all, I'm supposed to run 9 miles tonight and I'd be lying if I said I was 'looking forward' to it. . .BUT I know that I'm going to get home from work this afternoon and it will be SUPER HOT outside. . .I'll be tired. . .I'll want to just relax. . .I'll be sore. . .I'll be hungry. . .I'll be most anything but in the mood to run. . .until I get my running shoes laced up and step outside. . .press play on my audio selection. . .press start on my Garmin device. . .and place one foot in front of the other.  After that. . .the rest will take care of itself.


Keep running,

Average_Jbob

Average_Jbob Original
For some, running can be a tedious affair. . .trying to put a few miles on your running shoes, for some, can turn into a mind numbing loop of internal dialogue that goes a little something like:


"What am I doing?  I don't feel like I'm very good at this. . .so why am I doing it?  Isn't that new show out now?  I could be watching that!  My legs hurt.  My feet hurt.  I should probably turn back now, I bet I've gone a long. . .IT'S ONLY BEEN 5 MINUTES?"


Unless you're extremely good at self motivation (and if you are I really don't want to hear from you), then you will probably need a way of distracting yourself FROM yourself while you run!  A good trick is a nice set of headphones and an upbeat playlist!  Select all your favorite songs. . .ones that make you want to move, probably not love ballads unless you are trying for some slow-paced ZONE 2 runs (slow jog / fast walk).  For added variety, make sure you put that playlist on SHUFFLE so you don't know what song is next.  Doing this will help motivate you to keep moving AND occupy your brain with something other than what things you COULD be doing or how badly you might think you hurt!  Make sure to overload your playlist with more songs than you could possibly hear during the time you plan on running. . .having songs left un-played can help motivate you to run again just to hear them!


If music is not your thing OR your playlist is getting stale. . .then give PodCasts a try!  Sometimes I find that I might get behind on my favorite PodCasts because I'm too occupied during the day to be able to listen. . .so I catch up by listening while I run!  Sure, it might make me look like a crazy person if I burst out laughing while running at night, but at least I'm getting the miles in I need AND having fun while doing it!  Just try not to laugh so hard you actually pull a muscle!


Audio Books can be a great choice as well!  It's along the same lines as the PodCast suggestion, but it comes with the added benefit that you can pretend like you actually still make time to READ!  Sure, someone else is doing the actual reading, but your buddies in Book Club don't need to know that!  Book Clubs are still a thing, right?  BOOKS are still a thing, right?


Make it a way of connecting to friends!  You can simply use a running app like Garmin Connect (if you have a Garmin running device), Nike Run Club+, MapMyRun, or one of many others to keep track of your miles and routes.  Most of them have ways to connect to friends who are using the same app to compare runs with.  Getting plugged into a social group, even if it's only to compare stats, can help motivate you to keep going.  You're in this together!


Make running a game!  Yes, a game!  I know of one good example because I use it. . .it's an app called Zombies, Run!  It's basically an episodic Radio Drama in which you play the part of Runner 5. . .Think of it as a Walking Dead type thing where you are part of group of survivors who need 'Runners' to go out into the wasteland to look for supplies.  Each Episode is one of YOUR actual runs. . .as you run you will get updates from your survivors camp about where you are going (character wise) and what they need you to find. . .just run your normal route and enjoy listening to the show. . .and occasionally you will get warned that you need to pick up your pace because a group of zombies are closing in on you!  I suggest running at night since it heightens the fun!    No, I don't get paid by Zombies, Run! to tell you about it (unless they would like to. . .I AM open to it!). . .it's just a fun app I've been using once a week or two in order to change things up!


Explore your neighborhood / city. . .I have found that by running around my city I've actually discovered places that I NEVER would have known about by simply driving around. . .little shops, parks, statues, strangely painted bear statues, perfectly good bear statues that have been covered in a bizarre way that seems to scream 'this is why we can't have nice things!'. . .and actual wildlife.  In my case, I've seen lots of squirrels, rabbits, dogs, raccoons, possums, coyotes, and the occasional fox.  Most of these have been at night.


Whatever you do to help distract your mind from the discomfort and monotony running can be known for, DO keep mindful of your surroundings. . .especially if you are running in a city.  Remember this simple equation: Car + Runner = Car.  I cannot tell you how often I've seen drivers exiting parking lots and not even touching the brakes until they've crossed the sidewalk and started to nudge into the street.  DO NOT assume that they will see you running along the sidewalk or road. . .chances are good that they WILL NOT even be looking!  So make sure you are looking for them!  Just this past weekend I was running at night on a sidewalk that passes a huge parking lot outside of several stores.  This particular parking lot has the GREAT luxury of a HIGH retaining wall with brush at the top that keeps the parking lot somewhat secluded from the busy street it boarders.  Since it was at night I had the good fortune of seeing the sidewalk in front of me suddenly light up as I approached a break in the retaining wall where cars could enter and exit the parking lot SECONDS before I was going to be stepping onto that same patch of sidewalk and was able to abruptly pull up to a stop RIGHT as a car that was exiting cruised over the sidewalk and onto the street before it stopped, completely blocking the sidewalk. . .the driver was looking to her left the entire time trying to see if traffic was clear so she could turn right and never once bothered to look in my direction, where she would have seen a pasty-white middle aged man wondering what it would be like to become a hood ornament!  She never once thought that it might be a good idea to come to a stop BEFORE crossing over the sidewalk. . .or to look and make sure she wasn't about to commit vehicular manslaughter!  The first time she noticed me was when I said, "Excuse me ma'am, but you almost hit me" in what I like to think was a calm voice, but was probably squeaky and shrill from shear terror!  Please remember that even though you DO have the right away as a pedestrian. . .yield that right away to cars that you do NOT make eye contact with, and slow down when you're about to enter areas with little to no sight lines for traffic. . .it's really in your best interest!


So, distract your mind. . .but not so greatly that you lose track of your surroundings!  Be safe out there, have fun, and stay alive to run some more! 


Average_Jbob