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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 Original
August 4th, 2018. . .the Spartan Super in Asheville, North Carolina was an EPIC event!  Spoiler alert, we finished!

The venue was actually just to the east of Asheville in the city of Black Mountain and it had been POURING down rain the entire week leading up to the event. . .it had been raining so hard that there had been reports of flooding 2 days prior. . .on Friday Spartan sent out an email saying that due to the rain they were having to make a few last minute changes to the course since parts of it were no longer passable!  They promised to do what they could to re-route the course and keep as many of the obstacles as they possibly could. . .but we would want to arrive in 4wd vehicles if at all possible to avoid getting stuck in the parking lots!  Well, when my 16 year old son came to me earlier this year and said he wanted to go for his first TriFecta this year and I committed to help him achieve it. . .we had made the Asheville Super our 'stop number 2'. . .so we borrowed my Brother-In-Law's brand new 4wd truck (Thanks Jessie!) and set off for the muddy unknown!

When we got there we found the entire festival ground was covered in ankle deep mud and clay!  We wisely decided to change into our running shoes while still in the truck so we could keep our normal shoes nice and mud-free!  By the time we finished getting registered, bought our Venue Shirts, dropped off our bag and made our way to the starting line we could no longer even SEE what shoes we were wearing. . .it just looked like we had strapped blocks of muddy-clay to our feet!

The map showed a course of just over 8 miles. . .but as we were told by the official race starter. . ."All the veteran runners know that Spartan's suck at math!  So just round up!"  I clocked the course with my Garmin Forerunner 920XT at just over 9 miles. . .probably due in part to any last minute rerouting they had to do. . .but what an epic 9 miles it was!  

It was over a mile before the first obstacle. . .but a large part of that first mile was a long trudge up thru an engorged river!  When you weren't in the river you were sludging your way thru mud. . .and just when you were sure to have absolutely zero dry patches on your body Spartan was happy to start introducing you to obstacles!  :)  The Vertical Cargo and Hurdle 1 were fairly standard 'up-and-over' obstacles. . .but the conditions of the course started to come into play fairly quickly. . .since everywhere you went you were in mud and clay there was absolutely nowhere to dry your hands.  Since CLAY was mixed in with the mud there was no way to get any real grip on anything.  This actually helped in some degree when we got to the Plate Drag.  For the Plate Drag you have to pull a metal sled that is weighed down with sand bags toward you using a rope that is attached to it. . .once you've pulled it all the way across it's path toward you (about 10 yards) you then grab the short chain on the other side of it to drag it back out for the next guy.  The rope was very slick, of course, so I used a technique where I create a loop in the rope and pull with my hands inside the loop for extra friction. . .once I go the plate moving I found that the clay mixed in with the mud actually seemed to let the plate slide a little easier. . .LITTLE easier!

Next up were the 6 foot and 8 foot walls which we both scaled without much problem. . .it's always nice to get the 8 foot wall earlier in the course before your calves are threatening to cramp up on you!

The Z-Walls were where we encountered our first (yes, first) set of penalty burpees!  They were set in the middle of a bog. . .it actually looked pretty cool since you came out of a forested trail into a clearing that had about a foot of water covering it. . .and standing in the middle were the Z-Walls!  Well, obviously the foot pegs were soaked and the hand grips were not only soaked but coated with mud so getting any kind of grip was VERY tough!  Both my son and I came off the wall during the 'blind-turn' and ended up doing 30 burpees in the muddy bog!  But not to worry because the Multi-Rig was up next. . .as was our NEXT set of 30 burpees for failing it as well!  :)  I'd like to just point out that the burpee zones were fairly packed on this course!

We bounced back to conquer the Inverted Wall, Rope Climb, Tire Flip, Rolling Mud/Dunk Wall, Slip Wall and Olympus along with several miles of steep muddy climps followed by steeper muddier descents. . .and several more river crossings of course!  Having several obstacle victories under our belts we came up to our next impassable obstacle. . .the Monkey Bars.  Now, normally I don't have any problem with the Monkey Bars, but normally my hands aren't slicked down with clay and mud while trying to hold onto slick-wet metal bars. . .so yes, we both joined in on the fun everyone else seemed to be having and did 30 more burpees here!  :)

Next up was the first heavy carry of the day. . .the Sandbag carry.  It actually wasn't all that bad. . .I've had a lot worse carries on other courses. . .and since I HAD BEEN envisioning slipping and falling the entire time I was trying to carry it. . .I was actually pleasantly surprised to find that for the MOST part the carry was on fairly even ground!  There was one part where you had to pretty much slide on your butt down a descent. . .but that was actually kind of fun!  I think the bag only weighed around 70 lbs total, so a little on the lighter side also.  I am NOT complaining here!  :)

After a short distance with the Sandbag we moved on to Hurdle 2 followed by Bender.  This was my sons first time seeing Bender so I coached him thru it.  It can be a bit of a mental challenge at first but he handled it well and completed it!  If you don't know what it is, it's a series of horizontal metal pipes that start at about 6 feet off the ground and curve back and over your head. . .there is about a foot gap between each pipe and at the top it's probably around 12 feet tall?  I'm guessing here. . .anyway. . .the hard part is that you are climbing up a 'wall' of pipes that curves back and over you so you end up somewhat upside-down near the top where you have to pull yourself over and then back down the other side.  I may not be describing it that well. . .just know that it was challenging and I'm proud of my son for completing it!  :)

After another short trail section we came to a small clearing along a cliff side that treated us to both a beautiful view AND the chance to be among the first ever Spartan Racers to attack the Great Wall. . .a brand new obstacle being introduced for the first time ever on a Spartan Course!  I really liked this obstacle. . .not because I was GREAT at it or anything. . .I DID successfully complete the obstacle, but it wasn't exactly easy for me!  The challenge was to be able to pull yourself up the wall using the rock-climbing hand grips far enough that you could get a foot on the lower hand grips. . .once you did that then the rest was easy!  But with the hand grips being slick with (you guessed it) mud and clay it made it extra challenging to feel like you could pull your weight up the wall without your hands slipping off the grips. . .however after a few efforts of pulling myself up and narrowly avoiding slipping back down I managed to get up high enough that I was standing on the lowest hand holds and let out a pent-up 'Aroo'!  I got to say, it felt really good to have finished this obstacle!  It's always fun to come across a new challenge on the course and be able to complete it!  I hope to see this one on more courses in the near future.

Another trail section led us to The Armer (think Atlas Ball with a short chain) and then our next set of 30 burpees. . .the dreaded Twister.  This obstacle is the bane of my existence!  Not only have a never successfully completed the Twister. . .I've never even come close!  I keep trying to work on my grip strength but it seems that this obstacle continually has my number. . .when the day comes that I finally crack the code on this one I'm going to feel absolutely invincible!

More trail in and out of forest. . .up and down muddy hills. . .across and thru rivers we went stopping along the way to conquer the A-Frame Cargo, Atlas Carry, 7 foot Wall, Bucket Brigade, and Barbwire Crawl (which I got my hair stuck in while rolling. . .guess I need a haircut?)  This led us to the Spear Throw and our final set of 

penalty burpees!  I don't think it matters how much I read about different techniques on this one. . .I hear some people say that it's pretty much a 50/50 chance if you're going to make it or not, but in my experience I've only made it 2x out of the 11 races I've completed, so there's a greater chance of me missing than making it right now!  I HOPE to change that soon!  :)  But at this point in the race we were in the final gauntlet of obstacles and could literally see the finish line so we finished out our burpees in good spirits knowing that there wasn't much else between us and our well earned finisher's medals!

We made quick work of the Connex Bridge and the Hercules Hoist before leaping across the Fire Jump and earning our right to leave the course having successfully earned our finishers medal and shirts. . .but most importantly. . .having earned the shiny blue triangle piece to my sons first ever Spartan TriFecta!  Two pieces earned. . .one left to go!  It took us 5 hours and 8 minutes to complete this one, but complete it we did!  I think I'd have to say that this venue has become my favorite so far and if you ever get the chance and are up for a good challenge. . .this is definitely a course that I would highly recommend!  Just make sure to bring a good attitude and a GREAT pair of OCR shoes!  Traction is a MUST for your feet on this course!  Be ready to encounter a lot of mud and water. . .but also great people, awesome scenery, and the chance to create some really spectacular memories!  Aroo!

*all photos courtesy of Spartan.com. . .I forgot my camera!  Thanks Spartan.com for taking and sharing such wonderful shots!

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
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:


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


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!


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!


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!  :)


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!


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!


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 Original
This week was definitely a challenging week to stick to a workout schedule.  No, I wasn't busier than usual (although that would be a great excuse). . .I simply had a hard time getting motivated to DO anything!  Here I had PLENTY of time and VERY LITTLE ELSE to fight for my attention. . .but my feet ached, my legs hurt, my whole body was sore, and the mere thought of lacing up my shoes and going for a run was down right appalling!  Especially when I had just gotten a really good deal on the video game Fallout 4!  Surely I could benefit from sitting on the couch and exploring a vast digital wasteland!  I mean, those Raiders aren't going to destroy THEMSELVES. . .right?

. . .sigh. . .

It's times like this when I remember the saying made popular by the German cyclist Jens Voigt. . ."Shut up legs!"  That's what he would tell himself when he was competing in races like the Tour de France. . .he would ride until his legs would scream at him that they had gone as far as they possibly could, and when every fiber of his lower anatomy would be telling him that he HAD to stop he would reply "Shut up legs!" and keep going.  I love this phrase and have adopted it for my own use!  I find it to be a very useful mindset where I substitute the meaning of 'legs' to be that voice in my head that tries to talk me out of doing what I know I need to do.

Like this past week when I didn't want to go for a 4 mile run on Monday. . .Shut up legs!

. . .or there was the time on Thursday when sitting on the couch in front of the TV after a long day seemed better than going for an 8 mile run. . .Shut up legs!

. . .and then there was Saturday when it was hot outside, my feet and ankles were feeling the miles adding up and wouldn't it be so much BETTER for me to eat ice cream and play Fallout 4 than go for that silly old 10 mile trail run I had planned?  SHUT UP LEGS!

Let me tell you, I didn't miss a single run this last week. . .and it WASN'T because I have an iron will or that I'm any better a runner than anyone else. . .it's simply because I found enough strength in someone else's resolve that I could cut thru the negativity of my inner voice to tell it to pipe down long enough that I got my shoes on, got out the door, and wouldn't you know it, enjoyed myself.  There's just something about being able to push thru the haze of comfort. . .embrace the discomfort of discipline. . .and complete what you set out to do DESPITE trying to talk yourself into failing.

So the next time you find YOUR inner voice trying to derail you from your fitness goals. . .I hope you'll channel the spirit of Jens Voigt and simply say "Shut up legs!"

Average_Jbob Jun 24 '18 · Rate: 5 · Tags: shut up legs!, motivation to run
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 Original
It's been a good week for training. . .and by that I mean that I actually got out there and trained this last week!  I didn't have to stay late for work, so that excuse was right out the window. . .I had my plan already set for me, so I didn't have the "not sure what to do" excuse. . .and the weather was, well, it's California so the weather was nice.  A bit hot during the day, yes, but I do most of my outdoor running during early evening or night when it's cooler AND I had a few indoor activities planned out so even the heat wasn't an excuse!  The point is. . .I was able to stick to my plan and ACTUALLY TRAIN!  It felt great!

I'm not going to say that mentally I wanted to train each and every time, but I have found that sometimes the BEST SESSIONS I've had came from when I REALLY DIDN'T WANT TO START!  Sometimes after sitting in traffic for a LONG TIME just trying to get home after work, the LAST thing I want to do is lace up my running shoes and go BACK OUTSIDE, especially when I COULD be sitting down with a nice cup of coffee and eating dinner while watching American Ninja Warrior (oh. . .the IRONY. . .watching someone else do physical exercise instead of doing it myself)!  BUT IN THOSE TIMES when I can fight through the cloud of complacency and actually get outside and begin running. . .that's when I find I have some of my best runs.  It's that victory over that little voice in my head that tries to tell me what my limitations are, wether they be physical or simply a lack of willpower. . .that little victory of being able to get out the door of comfort and stumble into those forced first few steps that turn into a journey. . .when you get a mile down the road and realize that your mind has shed it's fog from the day and your body falls into the routine you've been building it to accept. . .

Ok. . .I'm realizing now that this post is getting a bit too far up its own backside. . .I don't have a ton of massive physical endurance accomplishments to brag about or anything like that. . .I simply went outside this week and ran when I didn't feel like doing so. . .I went to a few new classes at my local Gym (new to me) to try and broaden my training routine. . .and it turns out that I enjoyed all of it!  I wasn't sure about doing the trail run I had scheduled for Saturday because my wife had asked me to join her at a new class at our local Gym. . .I went and it was way more intense that I had planned for, so spent a good deal of the rest of the day mentally telling myself it would be fine to skip the trail run. . .and maybe it would have been, except for the fact that I had made it part of my training plan and didn't want to cross it off my list simply because it seemed like it would be difficult to do when I felt 'worn out'.  Finally, in the late afternoon I silenced the inner voice, grabbed my trail shoes and headed out.  I'm glad I did.  I saw so many wild rabbits hoping around it was like the opening to a Disney movie!  I caught up on a few podcasts I hadn't been able to listen to, broke a good sweat, got some good hill climbs in, and at the end of my run, was treated to one of the better sunsets I've seen in my area.  I would have missed all that if I'd simply stayed home because I'd already worked out that day. . .I would probably have been justified for doing so, but there was an extra reward for me in knowing that not only had I stuck to my original plan when I didn't have to, but I proved to myself that I could do the extra workout as well, and that's honestly something that will pay off for me in my next Spartan Race (there's always some extra effort required you didn't know you needed!)

This post might have rambled a bit. . .but if there is anything I'd want you to take away from having read it, it would be to realize that most of the time when you are dreading doing a workout, HONESTLY, the hardest part of that workout will be simply STARTING.  Once you do that part, the rest will take care of itself.


Average_Jbob Jun 10 '18 · Tags: runner, motivation
Average_Jbob Original
Ok, so if you are like me, you sat down, looked at your upcoming race schedule, charted out a training plan that would make you BULLETPROOF for your next event, and then promptly got saddled with a project at work that required lots of overtime and missed almost all of your first week of training!  That's right. . .I just went from completely mapped out for the next 2 months to completely off-track in 1 week!    Luckily it's not the first time this has happened to me. 

"Luckily?  What do you mean?  Sounds UN-lucky to me!"

I'm glad you asked. . .you see, I say "Luckily" because I've learned that it's not the end of a training plan when you get de-railed, it simply means it's time to pick and choose what you CAN still do and continue to move forward.  Remember, you've already signed up for your up-coming event and that Starting Line isn't getting any further away. . .you simply now have the opportunity to get as ready for it as life allows you to be.  Regardless, you are going to show up, toe the starting line and find your way to the finish. . .how well you perform between those two lines is up to you (and life).

SO. . .this last week was SUPPOSED to look like this:

Monday:          Swim Laps at Gym

Tuesday:         BootCamp at Gym

Wednesday:     Yoga Class at Gym

Thursday:        Running, Medium Distance, 6 miles, ZONE 4

Friday:             REST

Saturday:         Running, Long Distance, 10 miles, ZONE 2

Sunday:           Weight Lifting at Gym / Bucket Carry

But due to my work schedule it turned into this:

Monday:          Swim Laps at Gym (this was on a Company Holiday)

Tuesday:         WORK LATE

Wednesday:     WORK LATE

Thursday:        Attend son's 8th Grade Graduation

Friday:             WORK LATE

Saturday:         Running, Long Distance, 9.83 miles, ZONE 2 & 4

Sunday:           Weight Lifting at Gym

As you can see, I missed 3 out of the 6 planned workouts in my first week of my new schedule, I didn't quite hit my full 10 miles of my planned Long Distance day, and I cut the Bucket Carry completely.  I only did about 40-50% of my plan, which statistically speaking, would be an 'F'!

HOWEVER. . .I've learned over the years that this will happen and it DOES NOT mean that my training is wrecked!  Training is simply preparing yourself for something. . .and when you get 'de-railed' in your schedule, try to take it as an additional challenge.  Sometimes life doesn't go as you planned it would, but that shouldn't mean that you no longer can succeed. . .it just might change what success looks like.  What I should see from this past week is that when it got difficult to continue training I was still able to manage 40-50% and count that as a win.  Too many weeks of that and I know that I will not be at my best for my next event, but it also means that being successful has just been re-defined to finishing the event instead of getting a PR (Personal Record).  Also, it gives me the chance to practice the ability to ADAPT.  

I didn't get my medium distance run in, but I still had the opportunity to get my long distance run in so I took it. . .it was supposed to be 10 miles but i mis-calculated and only got 9.83, but I got the bulk of it done. . .it was also supposed to be a ZONE 2 run (slow jog) but by the time I was able to start it was already 8pm and I didn't want to take the full 2.5 hours so I changed it up to a ZONE 2 & ZONE 4 Interval Run (slow jog & race pace). . .I didn't do the Bucket Carry but I was able to get the Weight Training in and decided to make it a Leg Day since I missed my medium distance run.

I adapted because LIFE called for me too. . .and it looks like I might have to do that again this coming week if work stays as busy as it looks like it might be. . .but I'm not going to quit my training. . .I'm simply going to keep as close to the plan as I can and ADAPT what I have to. . .it will all work out in the end because regardless of what happens between now and then. . .come August 4th I'm going to be jumping over the Starting Wall for a Spartan Super in Asheville, NC. . .and sometime after that I'll find my way to the finish line.  Then it will be time to re-group, plan for the next event, and see what life brings!



Average_Jbob Jun 3 '18 · Tags: average, spartan, runner
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!


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