Monday, December 31, 2012

Building Off-Season Speed

This is a good time to look at how you prepare for next season.

What are your goals for next season?  Are you looking to do certain events?  Do you want to improve your times? 
This piece by Patrick McCrann posted in Endurance Nation will get you thinking about ways to prepare for next year.  It's nice to have some time between now and next spring where you can about some of the best ways to prepare to meet next year's goals.

Some of the key issues to consider as you look toward next year are covered in this article - time improvement, choosing events, etc.  Hopefully, as the weather sours outside, this will move you in the right frame of mind to get focused for next year.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Secrets Of Success

Read about the secrets of success from an Ironman champ. Mirinda Carfrae opens up about training, goal setting and motivation. Learn what makes this athlete successful in an article from Michelle Valenti in

I'm going to take time off for the holidays.  Enjoy your family and friends this season!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

This CEO Does Not Live On Bread Alone

Resisting baked good is tough.  Especially if you're the CEO of one of the nation's better-known bakeries - Panera Bread Company.

Panera Bread CEO Ron Shaich indulges in some of the products of his company, but he works with a private trainer to minimize the effect. 

Learn more about how this busy executive keeps himself in shape with the help of a personal trainer in this article from Melanie Grayce West in the Wall Street Journal.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

64 Year Old Gets Faster

I love to read  these stories.

Who would think a 64-year-old woman's times in triathlon events would get faster as she ages?
Nancy Avitabile is training for more triathlons and is getting faster.  Read her story from Janice Lloyd in USA Today.

Avitabile has a disciplined routine and she regularly works with a trainer.  She says making herself stronger to avoid injury keeps her at the top of her game.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

How Busy Parents Can Exercise

Parents are busy, busy people.

Work, child care and numerous other obligations throughout the day can make a commitment to fitness difficult.  Furthermore, as our children get older, it seems responsibilties increase as they become more involved in activities.

So how do busy mothers and fathers find the time to make exercise work?  This post on by Nicole Nichols will tell you how.

Believe it or not, there are exercises you can do in your car at rush hour and this article will tell you how.  Additionally, what about incorporating some exercise into waiting for your child at a practice or play date for your child?  Practices are usually at a facility where you can do some walking or jogging.  You can also incorporate a walk into a play date activity.

Take a look at this post for more ideas.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Delicious, Healthy Snack

Here's a delicious and healthy treat -- banana coconut custard.

Check out this recipe courtesy of the Everymom To Ironmom blog.

This sweet treat is a healthy balance of protein and carbs designed to be tasty, but full of the things you need to keep yourself healthy.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Better Running Form

How is your running form these days?
Take a look at this article from Men's Health to learn more about proper running form. The article offers some tips on how to be more efficient in your form. 

It's important to keep in mind that good running form will help keep you free of injury.  This article features links to additional articles about additional ways to avoid running injuries.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Chill Before A Marathon

What do you do just prior to a marathon?

Probably most important is to "just chill".  Get some rest and make sure you have the energy to go on race day.
I think we get caught up in the desire to force a last training run . . . resist that temptation. 

In the Runner Dude's Blog, he offers some other tips about how to be ready for race day.  This is a great read, particularly if you are preparing for your first marathon.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Drills To Make You Faster

The "need for speed".

Here's a piece from triathlete coach and nutritionist Jay Zacharias for on various drills and exercises he recommends to make yourself faster.  The article also contains links to other resoures to learn more about each of the various recommendations.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Fending Off Food Cravings

Fending off food cravings has been a topic in nutritional circles for decades.

A recent article by Melinda Beck in the Wall Street Journal explores this issue in detail.  Bottom line:  Are we craving certain foods because we're hungry or because of the associations that come with eating certain foods?

Learn more about what makes our heads tick when it comes to craving food.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Doggy Treadmills

Are you ready for this?  Pets are joining the fitness craze.
I was a little surprised to learn about the care and expense some folks are taking to keep their pets healthy.

This is an interesting read from the Macon Telegraph.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Short, Quality Sleep

Is it possible shorter, quality bursts of sleep could be just as good for us as the long nights experts say we need to stay healthy?

This post from Run DMZ does a good job of exploring this topic, using a recent article published in the New York Times.
According to an expert highlighted in the article., one theory suggests that short bursts of quality sleep can be good for us as well.  Keep in mind, I'm not sure there is anything that helps the body recover more than a good night of natural sleep though.

Provocative thoughts, nonethelss.  And everyone is different.  What works for some may not work for all.  

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Various Forms Of Yoga

We learn something new everyday.
I had no idea there were more than 12 forms of yoga. 

This post from Stephanie Romine on outlines quite a bit about yoga.  In fact, more than you probably want to know.  I found it interesting and wanted to share.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Active Recovery

Active people are active because they don't much enjoy sitting still.
That being said, rest is sometimes what active athlete bodies require.  Again, folks actively engaged in fitness activities find it hard to rest.  It often is not their psyche.

Triathlete Coach Sean Leenaerts recently wrote about ways we can recover, yet be active in the process, for  It's a worthwhile read to learn about how we can get some rest while actively working.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Biking Efficiency

As the days for outdoor biking come to a close, some hints on how to do some efficient bike work might come in handy.

First - there's no reason why you can't get a good workout indoors. Trainers and spin classes make for great indoor alternatives. You also don't need the "long" bike workout during the winter. You can maintain your form with other activities and shorter time periods on the two-wheeler. We also need to get used to "flying solo". Group rides are usually our staple, but that doesn't mean you always need a group to ride.

Check out Triathlete and Coach Ben Greenfield's take on this topic from

Friday, November 16, 2012

Balance Your Training With Yoga

I know I have written about this in the past, but yoga is such a great activity for helping to balance your fitness.
It's soft on muscles and joints.  Plus, it helps you relax. 

Read this post from Melissa Eisler about you can better balance your training with yoga on

Monday, November 12, 2012

Do You Need New Shoes?

How do you know you need new running shoes?

Generally speaking, if you've logged over 500 miles on your shoes or you have run in them for four to six months (and they are looking a little worn), then it's time to hit the running shoe store.
However, there are other signs new shoes are in order.  Do they twist easily? Have you noticed soreness you haven't experienced in the past?

Check out Christine Luff's post on signs to seek out on the question of new running shoes at

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Hill Training Drills

I regularly run with a group on a particular day of the week and when one of us says, "Let's do the hills" - we all know what they are talking about.

It's good to incorporate some hill workouts into your runs.  If nothing else, it offers a little variation in your routine.

Check out these hill workouts from Lee Gardner at USA Triathlon.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Is Half Marathon Requirement For Marathon?

The simple answer is "no".
However, I will tell you from experience that completing one or more half marathons is good preparation before doing a full marathon for two big reasons.  First, it mentally prepares you.  Mental preparation for a full marathon is just as important as physical preparation.  Additionally, you will find that a full marathon is much beyond a half, so getting that foundation under your belt is a good idea.

Christine Luff recently shared some thoughts worth considering on this issue in her blog found on

Taking a little break following this post for a convention.  Check back soon!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Raw Food Recipes

As a follow up to my last post about raw food, how about some recipes?

These look to be some fabulously tasty items from the Iowa Girl Eats blog.

Try them!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Benefits Of Raw Food

I am not an overt practitioner of "raw food" consumption, but this blog operates as an open forum.

In Des Moines, some "raw foodies" recently organized a raw food week event to highlight the benefits of eating this way.  The Des Moines Register recently profiled the event in an article.

Raw food may not be for everyone, but it's cerainly worth exploring the benefits.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Steady On The Bike

Steady can usually help you win the race on your bike.

Check out these tips from Rich Strauss from Endurance Nation on how to measure your effort to sustain a solid performance throughout your next ride.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

CrossFit Workouts

CrossFit is a great workout for those looking to mix it up.
Our hometown Des Moines Register recently featured an article about the unique benefits of CrossFit that I thought I would share.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Tri Speed Workouts

Many of us feel the need for speed.

If you're involved in any sort of fitness endeavor, most folks want to get faster.  So here you go.
These are speed workouts designed for triathletes from Gale Bernhardt at  They feature a series of "brick" workouts.  This means a combination of biking and running workouts.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Pet Peeves Of The Week

If you read my blog, you know I enjoy making people laugh once in a while.  After all, fitness should be FUN!
I love the humor of the Shut Up and Run blog.  In this post, she lists several pet peeves that many of us who lead active lifestyles can relate to.  Have fun reading this!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Post-Workout Food Ideas

New ideas for post-workout nutrition are always welcome in my world.
Check out these ideas from Fit Moms' blog.  She has a couple of new recipe ideas.  This post features a link to a recipe for what appears to be delicious "sweet potato chews".

If nothing else, these sound like a great appetizer or dessert. Yum!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Curb Late Night Snacking

I don't know about you, but I am often hungry at the worst time of the day - late night prior to going to bed.

"Late", of course, is a subjective term.  For me, that often means 9 p.m.  For others, it likely means much later.

The Carrots and Cake blog recently posted some yummy alternatives to getting your day off to a hearty start -- one of the primary ways to eliminating snacking later in the day. The post carries a link to an article from Health magazine featuring seven tips to curb late night snacking.

One of the tips made sense to me and was so obvious, yet I had not thought about it in this perspective.  Prepare for snacking.  If you prepare for snacks, you will be more likely to eat healthier alternatives at strategic times .

Friday, October 5, 2012

Race Day Prep

I have written about this in the past, but with so many races this month, it's worth noting again.
Warming up your body . . . and your mind is important to running a strong a event.  Eric Kenney of EK Endurance Coaching writes about the "perfect race-day warm-up" on

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Yoga Helps Rehab For Stroke Victims

Yoga is a hit again!
Yoga is one of my favorite exercises.  It's often cited as a great reliever of stress and now it's gaining noteriety in assisting stroke rehab patients according to a recent study.

HealthDay News recently highlighted the results of this study discussed in a recent issue of the medical journal Stroke.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Better Breathing

It's interesting to learn how important breathing can be in a fitness activity.

John Howard and Gina Poertner recently wrote for PezCycling News about how cyclist Ian Jackson used special breathing techniques to gain success in his careers. The techniques were formalized by Daniel Wojta's study of breathing among 25 top cyclists at the University of Toledo.
Take a look at these theories and see how they may apply to you.  As you read through this, you'll discover applications for other fitness activities.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

New Fitness Gadgets

So summer is pretty much behind us, but that doesn't mean it's not fun to find some new fitness gadgets.

Check out these from an article posted in USA Today

Even though summer has officially left us behind (pause here to shed a tear), there should be plenty of warm days left ahead.  Plus, many of these items are pretty cool . . . all year round!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Murphy's Law For Runners

Here's a bit of fun for the runners out there - "Murphy's Law For Runners".
The Shut Up and Run blog highlighted this list that's been making the rounds, but it was supplemented by a few of the writer's own additions.

For example, the porta potty you select runs out of toilet paper. Or you think you're off to a great start in a race when you realize you haven't turned off the auto pause on your Garmin.

This is a fun read for any level of runner.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Use Treadmill When Hot

Even though we are headed toward fall, it's still warm outside.

And if you've had the weather we've had in Iowa this summer, you've had little to no relief from the heat.  When the heat is particularly oppressive, the treadmill is a good option.
I've written in the past about how a treadmill is a great tool to help your discipline toward increasing your speed.  However, making use of the treadmill to get some heat relief isn't such a bad idea either.

This post from Christine Luff on tells how the treadmill will help you seek relief from heat.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Perfect Event Warmup

So, how much do you warm up prior to a significant distance event?

Eric Kenney of writes in a post for about some of the most important elements of a solid pre-race warmup.

One of Kenney's most important tips is "warming up the mind".  So often, we forget to picture the race in our mind as preparation for a strong performance.  Be sure to go through the race in your mind prior to start.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Don't Forget Sunscreen

If you're participating in an endurace event this month, chances are you will encounter some strong sun rays.
Many of us forget about the sunscreen, particularly when it begins to cool a bit.  However, if you're out in the sun for an hour or more for an event, consider the exposure that may find you. You definitely risk getting burned.

Make sure to get the sunscreen applied Ryan Falkenrath writes for the site.

Your skin will appreciate your efforts to preserve it.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A Quick Workout

Needing a quick and effective workout?

Try this 20-minute, full-body workout provided in a post in the The Happy Runner blog.
The workout is inspired by CrossFit and if you move from exercise to exercise, you can keep your heartrate elevated for cardio benefits.

Give this a shot, particularly when you are short on time.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Bodyweight Exercises

When we get away from home for business or pleasure, it's challenging keeping up with fitness.
If you're like me, you're always wondering if a weight room, treadmill or pool will be available to keep up with training.

For weight training, you don't always need the services of a weight room.  As Rachel points out in her Fit Mom's Blog post, you can use the benefit of your own bodyweight to do a variety of valuable exercises.

She offers a series of exercises you can do without weights along with combinations of ways to do them.  Another form of exercise you can do without weights is yoga.  Yoga primarily takes advantage of using your own bodyweight to support your exercises.

There are ways to continue your fitness activity even though you may not access to the tools you normally need.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Importance Of Strengthening The Core

Our core is vital to so many of the activities in which we engage.

As Michael Clarke writes for, our bodies don't maintain much skeletal support at the core, so abdominal muscles become critical.  It all starts at the core - and it's not just your abdominal muscles, as your back is part of the equation as well.
Clarke's article lays out why keeping core muscles tuned is important and offers three key exercises toward maintaining core strength.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Six Running Sins . . . And How To Repent

If you're a long-time runner, you will enjoy the humor of this post.
Susan Lacke posts on Competitor about some of the most common mistakes people make as they navigate the sometimes complicated world of distance running.  "I'd be faster if I had better gear" or "I just signed up for my first marathon. I can be ready in six weeks, right?" are examples of the errors eager rookies will make.

What's most important about this post is she lists ways to "repent" from the commitment of sins.  So, if you're guilty of these mistakes, here's your opportunity to visit to the confessional.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

100 Best Running Songs

I'm sure you have your own "favorite's list" of workout music.  Everybody does.
Here's a new list of the "Top 100 Running Songs" as compiled by the DailySparkBlog.

Even though I have my own favorites, I enjoy reviewing list compiled by others so I can add songs I've either forgotten about or didn't consider for whatever reason.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Summer Bucket List

Did you make up a summer "bucket list" this year?
I always try to put together a list of fitness activities I'd like to do for summer.  Ride certain trails, swim in local open watering holes, do a fitness activity, then attend a local farmer's market . . . you get the idea.
This post from the Iowa Girl Eats blog reminded me of how it's good to plan out some activities for your summer.  Officially, there's about a month left of summer.  So get your list out and finish it up!

With that being said, I'm going to take a break from posting as I try to finish some of my summer "bucket list" activities.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Tip: Events Don't Do Refunds

If you are relatively new to running events, there's a dirty little secret about registration fees.
Most events will NOT refund your money.  For any reason!  Just accept this fact and move on.

Many of us are used to being able to get some or all of our money back when we decide not participate in something for a good reason.  However, this is not true of the fitness event world. There are just too many people who get injured, have conflicts arise or for whatever reason cannot fill the void of the entry they committed to when they hit the "submit" button to register for an event on its website.

This post I recently read on the Jess Runs blog made me think this might be a helpful fact to share with others.

Generally speaking, your only options are to "grin, bear it and move on" or find a replacement athlete through which you can provide your entry.  Many events allow this practice, but it's probably good to double check with race organizers.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Breakfast Anyone?

Breakfast anyone? 
There is no doubt it is the most important meal of the day.  Then why do I always take it for granted?  And if I'm taking it for granted, chances are others do too.

Check out this post from the Runner Dude's blog.  It spells out five reasons why breakfast is not only important to nutrition in your healthy fitness endeavors, but a help toward keeping the weight off you don't want.

I am reminded all to often by one of my faithful training buddies how I don't take time to feed my body.  It's true . . . we put our bodies through tremendous stress thinking that "burning it all off" is a good thing.  Well, our bodies need replenishment of the vital things that make us tick.  Otherwise, we start burning off muscle we don't want to lose.

Friday, August 17, 2012

10 Points To Better Fitness Nutrition

It's always tough to know the best diet practices to co-mingle with your fitness activities.
The bottom line is we're all a little different and what works for you may not work for others and vice versa.  However, the best way to truly assess what the best practices are for you is to experiment.  Try different dietary strategies well in advance of your event to determine the best plan.

This post from Jesse Kropelnicki on will help give you some ideas on where to start.  Ultimately, practice and experimentation will determine the best practices for you.  Don't be afraid to give different things a try.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Hand Entry On Swim Stroke

Where should your hand enter the water on your swim stroke?
Read this post from the Everymom to Trimom blog to learn how hand entry is an important part of your stroke.  We tend to forget that it's important where your hand starts the stroke . . . that's where hand entry becomes critical to this equation.

The post features a video of Janet Evans, her sweet stroke and why it helps make her such a great swimmer.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Fast Running Workouts

Folks are always looking for new workouts in an effort to make themselves faster runners.This post from Gale Bernhardt at features some running workouts from some of the world's fastest triathletes.

There is no doubt these workouts will help make you a faster runner.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Pay Attention When Running To Music

I almost caused a bad accident recently.

Running on a beautiful morning, I was listening to my music as I ran.  Tuning everything else out as I ofent do, I forgot how busy the intersection was that I was navigating.  As I ran across the entrance to an interstate, a group of cars approached me from my right.  And they weren't slowing down!

I was able to reverse course just in time, but it illustrates the point of taking care to pay attention to your surroundings when we lose ourselves on a run.  This article posted by Christine Luff on reminded me of this valuable lesson, particularly when we're listening to music with earbuds.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

New Opinions On Minimalist Running

Personally, I have no interest in the "minimalist" or barefoot running movement.

While I don't plan to "black bottom" my feet any time soon, I know it has a lot of people talking in the running community.  My take is that it's too dangerous to run without that support given the impact running has on your lower extremities.  Shoe companies have invested a LOT of money in engineering shoes that help you prevent injuries.

Additionally, it's a personal safety issue for me.  Why do I want to risk cutting and/or infecting my feet? 

Whether you are for or against the idea of barefoot running, this story from FOX 6 News in Milwaukee offered some interesting opinions I thought I would share.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Create Your Own Training Adventure

Looking to up your training game?

It's true.  The more we do the same things, the less impact it has on our bodies.  Being the amazing machines that they are, your body adapts to the routine YOU adopt and it becomes more efficient.  It's at this point where training starts to minimize in positive impact. 

However, if you consistently challenge yourself toward accomplishing different things, you can ALWAYS stay in shape.  Check out this post from Justin Moser of  It lists some great ideas how you can get outdoors and enjoy good weather, but still train doing different activities.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Favorite Running Song

Eye of the Tiger.  Born To Run.  Thunderstruck.

Nicole Nichols recently posted a request asking people to share their favorite running songs.  The post captured a lot of attention. 
You might want to take a look as there are a lot of great songs here that you may want to make sure you have loaded in your iTunes account.