Sunday, November 27, 2011

Is Cycling The New Running?

Let's face it - running takes a pretty big toll on our bodies.

The never-ending list of muscles and joints that are impacted by running is immense. As much as many of us enjoy the practice of running, it certainly takes it out of us.

Many are turning to cycling as the "new running". Read this blog entry from English triathlete Andy Holgate about his thoughts on how this transition has occurred for him. I know in my experience, knee injuries have forced me in this direction.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Making Phys Ed More Productive

Children face plenty of pressures during the daily lives.

We tend to take for granted the stress kids face during the course of their lives these days. They're not much different than adults - they live in this 24/7 world too! This makes their physical activity even more important as the activities in which they engage at school may represent the only significant fitness activities in which they partake.

One physical education teacher is taking strides to make phys ed more productive for students. The Wall Street Journal's Sue Shellenbarger recently chronicled the efforts of Indiana physical education teacher Tammy Brant.

Instead of pushing everyone to hit specific performance targets, she works with the students to formulate their own goals or "fitness zones".

There are some valuable lessons here as we encourage our children toward more physical activity as well as ourselves.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The People You Meet

One of the great benefits of engaging in fitness endeavors is meeting many great people.

Furthermore, the bonds you establish with the people you meet on the road to fitness are very strong. Even when I run into a "fitness friend" I haven't seen for weeks or months, we always seem to easily pick up right where we left off.

I experienced this recently following a triathlon event that I did without much group training. This summer got a little crazy and many of the folks I regularly train with or do events with -- well, we just didn't get together as often as we normally do. However, five of them poured out of a spin class at my gym a few days after the event, all with questions about how my race went. Every last one of them knew I had done the race and was genuinely interested in my performance. It was the perfect opportunity for long-needed catch up.

Andrea reports about similar experiences in her Go The Distance blog. Part of the joy of fitness truly is . . . the people you meet!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

It Can Be Done

Going from overweight to endurance athlete is no picnic, but it's possible.

At age 32 and 325 pounds, Richard Kalasky was told by a doctor he needed to move from the altitude of his Colorado home or he'd need to wear oxygen. This was just the "slap in the face" he needed.

Kalasky turned to bariatric surgery to get a jump start on weight loss, but started a disciplined diet and fitness lifestyle to ultimately lose more than 140 pounds.

Cooking his own meals, starting to run, then moving to biking and swimming; Kalasky competed in marathons and triathlons.

Read about Kalasky's inspirational story from a post by Michelle Valenti on

Thursday, November 10, 2011

More About Injury Prevention

Let's face it, this running business is not easy and not without pain.

Those of us who say we run for the "joy of it" mean what we say, but not without consequences. While I made it to my mid-30s without any significant running injuries, I should probably consider myself fortunate. Two key factors make running a difficult feat in avoiding injuries: Age - the older you get, the more susceptible you become to athletic injuries; and Impact - running places a tremendous amount of impact on our bodies.

I wrote earlier this month about avoiding running-related injuries, but Christine Luff had more suggestions in her blog that regularly appears in

Finding the right shoes is important. Remember, if it takes buying a few different pairs of shoes to find "the right fit", you'll find that is a worthwhile investment.

Additionally, DO NOT beat yourself up when you miss workouts, fall behind on a plan or anything along these lines. If you're training for a major distance event and you're using a plan you found in Runner's World or wherever, keep in mind these plans are the masses and they generally "overtrain" you by design. In fact, take care to replace some workouts in a plan with other cardiovascular exercise like swimming or biking if you're feeling a little sore. Trust me, your body won't miss a beat and will likely thank you later!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Lowering Transition Times

When I looked at my recent Hy-Vee Triathlon transition times and compared them to my times from 2009 and YIKES!

There can be a lot of time gained from faster transitions in your events. It's worth taking a look at those times to see if you can shave a few minutes off.

This article from Gail Bernhardt at offers some good ideas on how to cut time from your transitions. Review your most recent times and where you think you can decrease time. Then read his article and see if it all makes sense.

I particularly like the idea of clipping your shoes to the bike in advance.

There is real potential to lower race times in this area.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Here We Go Again

Here's another reason why you need to start somewhere.

A recent study discussed on the blog says that half of all Americans will be obese by 2030. This is just unacceptable.

Most people find themselves in an obese state based on the poor choices they make. They overeat and/or they make no effort to stay fit. Furthermore, it makes our health care system unaffordable and unsustainable. Too many people are draining on the system because they don't make an effort to take care of themselves.

There's an effort in our state people to people to start on the road to a healthy lifestyle. You have to "start somewhere" and this website will help provide the spark you need to get started. The hope is that Iowa will become the healthiest state in the nation based on the Gallup-Healthways Well Being Index.

Take a look and "start somewhere" today.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Sometimes You Need A Week Off

Maybe you need some rest.

I don't usually encourage people to rest very often, but sometimes you need it - like when you're hurt.

This post on the Shut Up and Run blog takes a very fun look at the value of taking a rest when your body is feeling hurt. She makes a good point - if you keep running when you feel like you have an injury, it generally "doesn't end well".

Take time to let your body heal from an injury. If you want to have a long running life, you have to take care of your body. There are also some other things you can do to keep your mind off missing your runs.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

What Does Your Body Burn?

Fat is good.

Your body does need fat because that's what it burns first when you exercise. When you work out, your body will burn fat, then carbohydrates and proteins.

Jeff Gordon writes for the blog and discusses how your body burns through these things.

After you read through this, it's important to ensure you have these items in your system available to burn, particularly before a prolonged workout. You don't want your body turning to burning muscle as a last resort.