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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 now just under 1 week until the Spartan Super in Asheville, N.C. so you know what that means . . . (or maybe you don't)  . . . it's Carb Load and Hydration Week!


(you:) What is Carb Load and Hydration Week?


Good question!  It's the BEST part of any training schedule!  It's the 6 days leading up to an event where you TAKE A BREAK from any training you have been doing, take it easy, and allow your body to RECOVER so you are well rested for your event!


(you:) But why is it called Carb Load and Hydration Week instead of Be Lazy and Rest Week?


Another great question!  Up until this point your emphasis has been on TRAINING. . .but for these 6 glorious days you shift that emphasis to EATING and DRINKING ONLY!  Of course, you need to be smart about what kind of foods you are eating and what liquids you are drinking. . .think of this as the period of time where you ALREADY have your body as physically prepared as it's going to be (if you haven't got it trained up yet, nothing in these 6 days is going to really tip the scales in your favor) and now you need to make sure it's properly fueled and well oiled.  (Food is the fuel and Liquids are the oil).


(you:) Why do you call it a Week when it's only 6 days?


Really?  Come on. . .I think you're getting caught up in the minutia and missing the bigger point here. . .but it stems from most of my events being on a Saturday and it being easier for me to mentally assign Sunday as the start of my training week. . .so the Carb Load and Hydration Week starts on Sunday and ends at the Event. . .I've gotten so used to the 6 days that even when I have a Sunday event I will slide the start of my Carb Load and Hydration Week to Monday so as to stay with 6 days.


(you:) Just how many times are you going to say Carb Load and Hydration Week in this post?


. . .moving on!

During this 6 days I try to make sure that the majority of my food is high in Carbs. . .Pasta, Bread, Nuts. . .balance in a few fruits also (of course). . .but around day 5 I will cut back on anything high in fiber, and on day 6 I will cut it out completely.  The Carb aspect is easy enough to understand. . .if you've been training regularly and pushing yourself up to this point, then your body has become used to the fact that it's going to need to store carbs in your muscle tissue in order to have them readily available for 'quick-burn-energy'. . .so when you eat a lot of carbs during these 6 days your body will continue doing what it's learned to do and store them up. . .do this correctly by taking it easy for these 6 days and your body will not be burning off the carbs like it normally would during your training, essentially creating a large stockpile of fuel ready for easy access come race day!  I cut back on the fiber when I do simply because I've learned that my body reacts better on race day the less my digestive tract has to think about. . .and fiber gives it TOO MUCH to think about, if you know what I mean. . .if you don't. . .just realize that the only MOVEMENT I want on race day is my body moving around the course!


Hydration is also a pretty easy concept to understand. . .you want to make sure that your muscles and joints are properly lubricated so that they slide and move easily without grinding and tearing. . .like oil in a car engine!  It wouldn't matter how much gas you put in your car, if you didn't keep the engine properly lubricated it's going to break down!  Likewise, you can Carb Load properly and have all the energy stores you need. . .but if you don't properly Hydrate then you are going to run a very high risk of injuring your joints or muscles!  Now, simply drinking a lot of water might seem like a good idea. . .and it's honestly NOT BAD. . .but you might actually find that you have MORE muscle cramps if you do.


(you:) Wait a minute. . .you said I should hydrate. . .but now you are saying I'll get muscle cramps?


Simply drinking MORE WATER can cause a greater chance of muscle cramps on your race day BECAUSE it causes you to pee more AND you will be peeing away some very valuable electrolytes that you'll NEED on race day!  You need to be putting electrolytes BACK INTO your body AS you hydrate in order to balance this out!  SO. . .what I have learned works is a basic 2 - 1 mixture of an electrolyte drink to water.  For me, it looks like this:  2 20oz bottles of Gatorade and 1 20oz bottle of water a day.  I'll simply refill one of the 20oz bottles of Gatorade with water after I'm done with it.  That's 60oz of liquid a day with a 2 -1 mixture ration of electrolyte drink and water!  You might drink more or less than that, but the important part is that you replenish your body with electrolytes as you up the liquid amount so that come race day you are well lubricated AND less prone to cramps!


Now, you CAN do SOME exercise during this 6 week period. . .but I highly advise against anything that pushes you at all!  I'll emphasize stretching just to keep loose. . .and maybe around day 4 I'll do a VERY short VERY light jog with full equipment just as a mental shake down so that I know everything feels good in my joints and muscles. . .and to squelch any final nagging issues with gear choices.  But really, the hardest part of this 6 day period should be that you KNOW you are only a few days away from that event you've been training for. . .and there's nothing else left to do from a training standpoint. . .you're either physically ready or you aren't. . .so all you can do at this point is rest, eat, drink, and wish that you could just start already!


For me, I've been checking the weather reports for the Asheville area (black mountains just east of Asheville actually) and so far it shows a high of 83 degrees and scattered thunderstorms!  It can all change quickly in the next few days. . .but I'm mentally prepping myself for constant rain!  I'm running it with my 16 year old son and it will be his 1st Spartan Super (8-10 miles, 24-29 obstacles). . .he's done Spartan Sprints before (3-5 miles, 20-23 obstacles) but this will be his second stop on his first ever Spartan TriFecta (doing all 3 distances in 1 calendar year. . .Sprint, Super, and Beast)!  I'm really looking forward to seeing him accomplish his goal and it's shaping up to be a great event with the possibility of some 'interesting' weather!


My next post will be a little delayed due to traveling. . .but it will be a recap of the event!  Until then, I'm going to get back to my rigorous schedule of eating, drinking and resting!

Average_Jbob Original
Ok, now that the Spartan Beast at Big Bear has come and gone, and I've had a little bit of time to recover (mentally. . .my body seemed to bounce back right away which tells me I'm onto a good training routine). . .It's time to sit down and develop my training schedule leading up to my NEXT adventure!  Up next for me is the Asheville Spartan Super in North Carolina on August 4th.  That gives me just around 2 months to train up.  Now, I know what you might be thinking. . .

"Didn't you just do a Beast?  Why are you concerned about how long you have to train for a Super?"  The thing is, even though I completed one of the most challenging Beasts that Spartan has to offer (Big Bear has gotten a reputation among Spartan runners to be one of the most challenging Beast locations, if not THE most challenging), that doesn't mean that I can take a Spartan Super lightly.  Nothing that Spartan does is easy (except for maybe Stadiums, but even they have their challenges if you really push yourself).  PLUS, I've never been to the Asheville location before and it has gotten a reputation as one of those 'bucket list' locations to run if you love Spartan courses.  It's been featured on the United States National Championship Series before (I believe as recently as 2017) so I know it's no slouch when it comes to challenge!  I want to be able to not only maintain what I have built going into my last event, but to build on it.  So, with that in mind. . .I want to take what has been working for me so far and see if I can further enhance it!


I had been doing a lot of ZONE 2 training leading up to Big Bear. . .what that means is that most of my runs I had been doing at a very slow jog in order to keep my heart rate between 60%-70% of my MHR (Max Heart Rate) in order to strengthen my slow twitch muscle fibers and lessen the possibilities of muscle cramps due to waste build up while running at pace (ZONE 4, 80%-90% MHR). . .if none of that last sentence made any sense, feel free to send me a message and I'll explain!

NOW I feel it's time to start switching it up a bit and introducing a short run at pace (ZONE 4), a medium distance interval run where I switch back and forth between ZONE 2 and ZONE 4, and a long run where I stay in ZONE 2.  The reason for this is that I need to start training my Fast Twitch muscle fibers (ZONE 4) so I can increase my speed and the duration I can stay at speed, but I also need to continue strengthening my Slow Twitch muscle fibers (ZONE 2) as I continue to increase my distance so I can safely build my endurance level.  Maybe I'll put up a post soon that just goes over ZONE training and what I've learned from my reading up on it and more importantly, what I've found to be true while using it.  For now I'll just say that ZONE 2 running can be VERY BORING and feel like you are wasting your time. . .HOWEVER I can attest to first hand knowledge that I used to suffer from TERRIBLE calf cramps and experienced MANY different running injuries ranging from calf strains to knee problems, IT band issues and Hip Flexor problems. . .but since I started doing these VERY BORING ZONE 2 runs, all those issues have gone away!  So I'm a firm believer in ZONE 2 training and would strongly encourage anyone to give it a try if they are also having similar issues!


ANYWAYS BACK TO THE SUBJECT. . .I have come up with a training schedule for these next few months that consists of Running, Swimming, Circuit Training (Boot Camp class at a local Gym I go to), Weight Lifting, and Yoga (another class at the Gym I go to).  Now, I've got 6 out of 7 days a week scheduled with SOMETHING to do. . .keep in mind that I've been at this for a while now and built up to this. . .I also work a full time job and am a Husband and Father of 3 boys, so time is at a Premium.  If you are in a similar situation but just starting out, I would highly suggest you design your schedule to only being 3-4 days a week and build from there.  Getting in 2 or 3 runs a week is a GREAT base, but try to at least get 1 day a week as 'active recovery'. . .something that gets the blood flowing to your muscles and joints but puts very little 'impact' strain on them, like swimming or Yoga.


For me it's about a 2 week cycle and looks like this:

Week 1:

Monday: Swim Laps @ Gym (on the way home from work)

Tuesday: Boot Camp @ Gym (on the way home from work)

Wednesday: Yoga @ Gym (on the way home from work)

Thursday: Running, Street, Medium Distance, ZONE 2 and 4 INTERVALS (after work)

Friday:  REST (typically Date Night with my Wife!  A healthy marriage is a great key to a good training schedule!)

Saturday: Running, Street, Long Distance, ZONE 2

Sunday: Weight Training @ Gym / Bucket Carry (the Bucket Carry is Spartan Specific. . .it's a 5 gallon Bucket filled with rocks I carry for approx 1/2 a mile)

Week 2:

Monday: Running, Street, Short Distance, ZONE 4 (after work)

Tuesday: Boot Camp @ Gym (on the way home from work)

Wednesday: Yoga @ Gym (on the way home from work)

Thursday: Running, Street, Medium Distance, ZONE 2 and 4 INTERVALS (after work)

Friday:  REST (typically Date Night with my Wife!  A healthy marriage is a great key to a good training schedule!)

Saturday: Running, Trail, Long Distance, ZONE 3-4

Sunday: Weight Training @ Gym


. . .this cycle will repeat itself with the distances of the Medium and Long runs increasing over time. . .and yes, it looks very busy!  Most weeks I find I can keep up with this kind of a schedule, but there are times where it is TOO much, and I shuffle things around a bit, or delete an event or two, and that's ok because it gives me a goal and a way to make sure that if I hit MOST of them, I'll be where I want to be.  If I skip an event, I make sure to delete it off of my calendar so I can look back and see just what I did and DIDN'T do.  :)  This schedule is not that much different than what I had been doing before, but I added in the Yoga class since I've always heard it's good to keep you limber and I've meant to try it. . .I just happened to find a class that will fit my schedule so I am going to give it a go. . .we'll see how it works out!


Well, I feel like I've rambled on for a bit. . .I'm still new to this Blogging thing. . .but please let me know if any of this sparks any interest or need for clarification. . .and keep in mind that if you are just starting out your schedule should look a LOT simpler. . .more like:

GOAL Run a 5K:

Monday: Running, Short Distance ZONE 4 (this should be around 1 mile and at the pace you hope to run during your actual race)

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: Running, Medium Distance ZONE 2 / 4 (this should be around 2 miles. . .start with the first mile being ZONE 2 and the second being ZONE 4)

Thursday: Swim laps if you have access to a pool, or attend a Yoga class if you can. . .some kind of active recovery would be good

Friday: Rest

Saturday: Running, Long Distance ZONE 2 (this should be around 3 miles and at a very slow jog)

Sunday: Rest


That's it!  Don't over do it at first. . .when you're a bit more comfortable with that kind of a schedule, start to increase the length of your runs with your Long Distance tapping out around 5 miles.  Maybe add in some Weight Training on a typical Rest day. . .the idea is that you are building up your endurance (or Battery as I like to call it) and you're strengthening your ligaments and joints in the process.  I'll update this Blog with my progress as I go along and share what is working and what isn't, but I like where I'm going so far and I feel great about how I've gotten there.  If you want to get into shape just remember that it's never too late, it just takes the will power to show up and start!


Average_Jbob

Average_Jbob Original


Like a lot of Americans. . .I found myself in my late 30's, sitting around most of the day at a desk job, getting winded every time I tried to do something crazy like walk up a flight of stairs.  After a medical scare that involved a nurse taking my vitals and looking at me like she was seeing a ghost (she actually told me I needed to see a Doctor right away because my Cholesterol was 'really bad'), getting an upper and lower GI (camera's in uncomfortable places), and going to the ER in the middle of the night because I thought I was having a heart attack (turns out I was NOT). . .I figured it MIGHT be time to do something about my health if I wanted to stick around for a while. . .which I did!

I'm a typical American Male. . .Married, Kids (3 boys), and a full time job. . .I used to be fairly athletic in my teens and twenties, but once I got into my 30's and the 3rd child came along, I fell into the trap of working long hours at a job that involves sitting all the time in front of a monitor. . .only to go home and SIT IN FRONT OF A MONITOR (TV).


Obviously, changes had to be made. . .but it took me getting disgusted with myself in order to get motivated enough to do anything about it!


My wife had been running in the Santa Clarita 5K each year and I'd been cheering her on. . .so in 2013, I decided. . .why not join her?  How hard could it be?  Right?  I decided to do a little training by running a loop around my house that was about 3.8 miles. . .well, RUN might be a generous term for what I was doing. . .it was more like TRY to run for a few steps, then slow to a walk for a bit, then try again to pick up the pace for a few steps only to start walking again soon afterward.  I found out really quickly that I was the slowest person in my family when the entire group decided to run in the 5K that year.  Well, I decided that I was going to do that 5K each year as something to motivate me to run.  And honestly, those first few years my training was VERY sporadic. . .I'd get discouraged by my lack of progress that I'd stop running for a while. . .then I'd try again only to be upset with how out of shape I was and stop again. . .it was a vicious 'shame spiral'. . .it took me finally getting fed up enough with myself to do something drastic. . .commit to something that I really didn't know if I could do. . .in 2016 I signed up for my first Spartan Sprint at Castaic Lake, CA!


I had watched American Ninja Warrior on TV religiously and had always thought I'd love to be able to try something like that. . .then, when I became aware of Spartan Races I was in awe of what these people were doing. . .but of course I never thought I'd be able to do that and more importantly, I'd probably embarrass myself right before I got pulled from the course in shame!  But something magical happened when I signed up for the Sprint. . .I got scared enough to DO SOMETHING!  I signed up around February for a race that was in December. . .and I learned that NOTHING motivates like FEAR!  :)  Although signing up for something might not TECHNICALLY be the most difficult part of the event, it sure seems to be the LARGEST hurdle to overcome. . .because once you sign up, your countdown timer begins in your head to get to work, because that start line is coming!


I got a quick lesson on climbing a rope, imagined myself climbing over walls, ran lots of miles, and did the most important step in Spartan Training. . .I showed up for the event.  Not only did I survive that first experience, but I loved it so much I signed up for a Super the following January.  I went on to complete 5 Spartan Events in 2017 including the infamous Beast in Big Bear to complete my 1st TriFecta (a Spartan TriFecta is when you complete all 3 main course lengths in 1 calendar year. . .Sprint (3-5 miles), Super (8-10 miles), and Beast (12-14 miles)).

I just completed my 2nd Trifecta by re-visiting the Beast in Big Bear for Round 2!  It kicked my butt. . .however I felt better afterward than last year and completed it a little faster even though it was a more difficult course!


I know this has been a long post, but my point is that if you feel you are trapped in a rut where you WISH you could do something more active but you just don't think it's possible. . .try something drastic. . .sign up for an event and SHOW UP for it.  You'll be amazed at how much you really can do, if you just allow yourself the opportunity to do it.


This Blog will be my attempt to encourage other 'Average Runners' out there to keep at it by sharing my success and failures in training and running different events.  I primarily do Spartan Races, but I also do the occasional Half Marathon.  I'm hoping to do my 1st ever Full Marathon in 2019, so we'll see how THAT goes!


Until next time, if nothing else. . .make it your goal to sign up for an event, and do the hard part. . .SHOW UP!


Average_Jbob