Tapering for a Relay? Really?

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To the uninformed, relay runs are events where a bunch of folks get together in teams to cover 150 to 200 miles by rotating runners who each run between 3 and 12 miles at any one time. On a full team of twelve runners, each runner runs three times over a day and a half.  The most popular relay series is called Ragnar and the more popular events include Hood to Coast, Reach the Beach, and The Bourbon Chase. Here’s a list of even more relay races to choose from.

This week, I will be running in my sixth relay event as a member of the Coconut Bunch on Ragnar SoCal 2015 covering 180 miles from Huntington Beach to San Diego.

I have run on teams of 1, 4, 9, 10 and 12 runners and each presents its own set of excitement and challenges. What they all have in common is that they are all fun, a great way to experience running and friends in a different way and, yes, they are all exhausting and damaging to our bodies.

I have probably written about tapering more than any other endurance-related topic. Once we wrap our heads around an event, we all seem to be pretty good at digging in and training, but we have a difficult time with turning off the faucet the week or two before the event. In fact, the taper can down right drive us crazy. But this is a relay, right? This isn’t a marathon or ironman-distance race. We’re running three or four times over the course of two days and the longest we’ll probably run is 10 miles. In fact, for many, we’ll be taking less than the distance of the marathon and breaking it up into three separate runs – e.g., 9 miles, 7 miles and 7 miles. How hard can that be? I certainly don’t have to taper for this, right?

Here’s the deal, because relay runs seem so doable, they also attract a lot of folks who are new to running and new to racing. Even elite runners cannot expect to put forth multiple efforts without adequate rest in between. This is true whether we are running 100 meters or 50 miles. Our bodies need time to rest, recover and repair and underestimating the impact of this can make your second or third leg of your relay really difficult and not much fun at all.

Here then are my tips for tapering during the week before your relay:

Stay away from impact activities - In short, you don’t want to do any damage to your leg muscles this week. I cannot stress this enough. If you beat your legs up during the week, you will have a miserable experience this weekend. If you don’t want to run this week, that’s perfectly fine. To avoid bouncing off of the walls, feel free to cycle, swim or left weights, (upper body only) and don’t make this the week you decide to start any of these for the first time. This is also not the week to reignite your passion for basketball or any other high impact, high injury-prone sport.

Stretch, do Pilates and as much Yoga as you like - Once again, if you’ve never done any of these activities, now is not the week to jump into P90-X or Insanity, but if your local YMCA has a stretching or Pilates class, feel free to enjoy it in moderation. You can definitely benefit from mobilizing your joints and activating your core muscles the week before your event.

Get lean – The second most popular email or text I get is, “But I feel bloated and fat and I’m going to be huge by race day.” Here’s the truth, when you have a dip in caloric expenditure due to taper or injury, take advantage of this to get ruthless with your diet. Eat nutrient-dense, lower calorie foods that give you energy and make you feel great. Increase your fiber intake at the beginning of the week and then taper off of that as well. Stay away from sugar! Not only will you have a ton of energy on race day, but focusing on this will allow to avoid the sugar cravings that are stress induced and you will probably be a few pounds lighter on event day, and that will make your running that much easier and give you a tremendous amount of confidence.

When you do run, reduce the mileage and the volume but not the intensity - you can run twice this week but only one can be 45 mins, a second of no more than 30 mins, and if your second run is on Thursday, then make that run no more than 15 mins. For example: Monday – 45 mins easy; then Wednesday – 30 mins of treadmill intervals OR Thursday – 1.5-mile shakeout run, but not both. Remember, if you do run on Thursday, make sure your last run is just to break a sweat, fifteen minutes or less. You don’t need to run at all this week. Running at all is primarily to maintain your sanity and keep your legs loose, responsive and springy. It will also help keep your digestive tract moving regularly, and who doesn’t like that? Remember, it is better to be under-trained than over-trained and this is not the week to make up for lost training or to prove to yourself how resilient and capable of a runner you are. Save that for relay weekend.

Get your gear in order early – If laying out clothes for a marathon or Ironman is stressful, then managing all of your gear for a relay can be downright debilitating. You have three sets of clothing, you have to run at night and need reflectors and headlamps, and even more gear for when you are sitting around in the van. You need something to sleep in, and what if it rains, etc, etc, etc. Get all of your gear in order at the beginning of the week and then leave it alone. Don’t add this stress to you in the final days leading up to your event.

That’s it. If you want to read more about tapering, feel free to check out these prior articles. In short, you want to show up on event day well rested and a little anxious, but full of promise and energy just waiting to be released.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The day before the Los Angeles Marathon – a different kind of visualization

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Like the old ketchup commercial or Tom Petty, the anticipation or the waiting is the hardest part. Sitting in a Los Angeles hotel room 22 hours before the start of The 2015 Los Angeles Marathon, I find myself oddly at peace, oddly introspective. This will be my 25th marathon and my tenth here in Los Angeles. I’ve had good races and lousy races. In 2013, I stepped off of an airplane on Friday night, after a 30-hour flight from India, and ran a 4:09 on Sunday morning – a good day.

 

2013 LA Marathon

Last year, I ran to mile 16 and was done, walking in the next 10 miles in 80F temperatures. I crossed the finish line in more than five and a half hours, wondering why I ever started the race knowing in advance how hot it was going to be.

2014 marathon finish facebook post

Tomorrow, it’s supposed to be worse with record temperatures expected and highs into the low 90F’s. But my mindset is slightly different. I’ve never gone into a race not to run as fast as I can on that day, but in this case, I am going to try NOT to run faster than a 4:30 marathon, because I have no interest in repeating last year’s death march and I don’t want to end up looking like this guy here.

2014  la marathon peson needing emt

So here’s my plan and my thoughts on this day before the 30th running of the Los Angeles Marathon:

1. Stay on East Coast time – this helps me to stay loose and do what I need to do, but keep my bodily functions and sleep patterns aligned to what I need to do to wake up and be out of the house by 2am PT to get to my parking spot in Santa Monica, get on the shuttle and head to the start.

2. Organize what I need and get it done – I picked up my bib yesterday; I avoid going to a marathon expo the day before the race because it is a taxing experience both physically and mentally. My bib is already attached to my race belt and as soon as I finish doing my laundry, I will have my clothes ready to go. Twenty five marathons later, I still get the yips the day before the race but knowing this is going to be more of a survival in the heat experience, I’m at peace with whatever happens tomorrow.

3. Stay relaxed – So what today is really about is just  staying off my feet, maybe doing a light 20-min shakeout run, maybe seeing a matinee movie at the local theater. Today would have been a perfect day to see McFarland, USA but I’ve already seen it, so I’ll find an alternative. My plan is to go to sleep right after it gets dark, probably around 7:30pm local time (10:30pm ET) so that I can get at least 5.5 hours of sleep before I have to wake up at 1am (4am ET). Then it’s simple, I shower, drive to the parking lot, walk to the shuttles and head to Dodger Stadium where I put on some music, lay down and wait for the marathon to begin.

 4. Accept that tomorrow is what it is – It’s going to be hot, I am not going to PR, and this is just one step in a much longer journey of what I want to accomplish this year and I ma blessed to be healthy enough to be able to be out there covering these 26.2 miles.

5. Run in the moment and remember – For me, tomorrow is much more about the course than about the race. This course is a journey through my upbringing and the majority of my life. I know every mile. I know ever yard of every mile. While others may run this as a marathon course, I run this as a validation of who I am and where I came from. The race starts at Dodger Stadium where my parents used to take me as a child; it was probably my first public social experience, with my father yelling in Spanish to then rookie pitcher Fernando Valenzuela. I will remember how I worked downtown for years, just another ambitious suit trying to prove to some unknown entity of power and acknowledgment that I was worthy of being more than a glorified fitness trainer. At mile thirteen, my race and my journey really begins. I run through Sunset Plaza, past where Los Angeles monuments like Tower Records and Licorice Pizza used to stand, turn left down San Vicente and past the now shut down West Hollywood Post Office, my address since the early 1980′s. We run past Rage and everything that made West Hollywood the most energetic and crazy community in Los Angeles, long before anyone ever called it WeHo. With a quick glance to the right up the hill to where I grew up, we turn left down Doheny and run past Ralphs which used to be Hughes Market where I got shot at chasing a thug, and spent probably a thousand nights working night crew and stocking shelves during my four years in college. I remember that across the street was Chasen’s, my mother’s favorite restaurant, where you could get strawberries the size of your fist, and where I celebrated my college graduation with she and my sister. We run through Beverly Hills and past where Jacopo’s Pizza used to be, the place I first saw someone flip and spin pizza dough. We run past Versace, Polo and the other elite fashion stores on Rodeo Drive before turning down little Santa Monica that used to have a railroad track separating it from the larger street and iconic locations like Trader Vics, also now gone. We run past the ghost of Jimmy’s before passing Beverly Hills High School, where I learned to type and head into Century City, where I cut my teeth in the Entertainment practice of PwC. We run past the condo where John and I lived, Cindy and I first met, and where my mother took her last breath. We run the stretch of Santa Monica from Beverly Glen to Sepulveda, the same stretch I used to walk for eighteen months to walk to work at Sports Club/LA because I couldn’t afford a car after mine was stolen. We turn up through the VA Hospital, and exit the west gates that lead to the almost fictional and privileged world of Brentwood, where Teslas, Audi’s and Porsches outnumber Fords and Chevy’s 10:1. It’s at this point that I know I am really home. This is where my life as a runner and a coach really began. Passing Montana, I can reflect back on those first days coaching for APLA, when we had 500 runners coming out every Saturday for our group training runs while preparing for Honolulu. I can begin to smell the ocean breeze as I steadily make my way up the San Vicente grade to 26th Street, the the place I used to park my car and run what I thought back then was a really serious 4-mile run to Ocean and back. I will run those last 3 miles all downhill, knowing that one street over between 7th and 4th are the Santa Monica Stairs where I will likely be on Monday morning. Then we turn left down Ocean, passing the landmark wall where fellow S.M.U.T’s met every week to better our running and our lives. Trying to keep it together as best we can, we’ll head down Ocean, knowing that this last mile will feel like it lasts forever, watching the palm trees swaying and the blue ocean below and off to our right until we cross under the finish line just shy of the Santa Monica Pier and a few blocks over from the 3rd Street Promenade. I have taken this journey all of my life. I have run this course a million times before, and ten times on marathon day. It is both the most exhilarating and the saddest run I will ever do. And that’s why the time doesn’t matter, the heat doesn’t matter, and the medal doesn’t matter. Because even with so many of these Los Angeles landmarks gone, the course still remains, the memories remain; and for the moment, so do I. Good luck out there.

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McFarland, USA – A Runner’s Review

Clearly I am not a movie reviewer. I’m just a guy who loves running, is a sucker for the underdog, and love to be inspired. As for McFarland, USA, in short, I loved it. Yes, it was predictable, and yes it was about Kevin Costner, but setting that aside, I really enjoyed the film. I wanted to see this film for the obvious reasons I’ve already mentioned, but I also wanted to see it because I have been bothered by the fake story about Hollister, CA. Unless you have been living under a rock, I like you, for the past ten years or more have seen hipsters and kids all over the country proudly wearing their Hollister hoodies and t-shirts, espousing the surf culture of that California beachside community. But like the restaurant chain, Noah’s NY Bagels, there is no such thing. Hollister is inland and landlocked. It is an agricultural community not that unlike McFarland, CA about three hours south, or its own neighbor Salinas, CA, the lettuce capital of the United States. There isn’t even a Hollister clothing store in Hollister, CA, but why let facts get in the way of a great story? So you can see why I was curious to see how Disney would portray McFarland, an agricultural town with a population somewhere around 13,000.
McFarland to Hollister
In reality, they did a great job. What I was most impressed with is that three of the seven runners in the film were actually from McFarland, giving them a chance to participate in the story of their own town and helping them to launch their own acting careers in a town that I would guess doesn’t have that many casting opportunities.
The running scenes were good but not amazing, the storyline was solid and the acting by novice and veterans alike was terrific and not overacted. It held my attention, entertained and inspired me for the entire length of the film.
All that said, there was one little thing that I couldn’t get past and the problem was that I kept seeing it in almost every scene. Carlos Pratts, who plays the character and fastest of the McFarland runners, Thomas Valles, is a thick, and I mean thick muscle bound athlete that looks nothing like a long distance runner.
McFarland to beach
Pratts’ character Valles is seen above, running at the front of the group amongst other thinner and more realistic running characters, except for character Danny Diez, who is purposefully overweight.
But here’s the real issue, Pratts’ character is timed by Coach White (Costner) early in the film, running through a farm while he commutes with a backpack on at a blistering 5:30 min/mile pace. Now anyone who runs, knows how hard it is to run with a backpack on, let alone run that fast. I mean, check out this guys arms and thighs in the photos above or below. There is no way that this guy is running that fast and winning the overall state championship against the legs and lungs of other more svelte runners – unless he’s running the 100 meter dash. If McFarland, USA was about wrestling or power lifting, Pratts would have been a great casting choice, but as an elite distance runner, he just didn’t physically fit the character’s needs and this oversight annoyed me greatly.
Pratts Valles
Here is what the real Thomas Valles looked like in 1987 when they won their first trophy:
McFarland Real Valles
McFarland Real Valles Trophy
Look at the size of Valles’ hips alone? Pratts’ thighs are larger. At a minimum, Pratts should have dieted down to portray Valles’ character more accurately. Yes Valles was ripped but he was lean and ripped, not yoked. Pratts is just thick, too thick for any of his running scenes to have been accurate or believable.  I will have to turn to my good friend Sandi to let me know how that type of a casting decision might have been made. Sylvester Stallone at 5’8″ and 159 lbs was more believable as heavyweight boxing champion Rocky Balboa. It would have been the equivalent to having Steve Prefontaine portrayed by actor Sean Astin (Rudy and Samwise Gamgee) in Without Limits. It just wouldn’t have worked, no matter how great the actor is.
But that’s it. And interesting for me, I read a number of reviews and comments in running blogs and online magazines and nobody else seemed to have picked up on this.
Now, what also intrigued me was the real story about the McFarland, CA cross country team and how that story was portrayed in the movie. And like so many stories, the truth is more impressive than even the film. In December of 1997, The Los Angeles Times published this article on McFarland after they won their 6th straight state title. I invite you to read it. It only made me feel more connected to the characters I had been introduced to in the film.
In short, I highly recommend the film, in the theaters or by watching it during your taper week before your next race. You’ll be better for having seen it.
Below are some other links worth checking out, after you see the film. Enjoy!

 

As if getting people to workout wasn’t hard enough, when people do, they are criticized for doing so.

Outdoor workout 1

The following article For The Hard Core: The Gonzo Grown-Up Playground Workout In 10 Moves was shared with me on facebook by a friend, knowing my enthusiasm for using the outdoor world to inspire me to engage in physical activity. I started reading the article to see how many of the exercises I already do, and would have let it end their with mild interest until I started reading the comments.

The dissenting opinions for doing this type of outdoor activities using the already available public areas included:

Public spaces do be long to the public, but the picnic tables are put there so people can picnic, the benches are put there so people can sit. Exercising on them puts wear on them and doesn’t let them last as long. There are plenty other ways to exercise outside without using these items in ways that could damage them.

1) benches are made for sitting. 2) picnic tables are made for eating. It’s one thing to exercise it’s another thing to be disrespectful of items that don’t belong to you. You jumping on either of these could break them.

I personally live in Japan. My city has a dedicated area at our parks to do basic workouts, our benches are also cement, and can’t remember if picnic tables are provided or not. I do know that here in Japan if you were doing things this person is suggesting you would get stared and frowned at, so this would never happen here. Here my opinion about not using these items for exercise is the majority opinion. You will find no Japanese doing this.

If they don’t belong to me then they don’t belong to the person who is using them improperly and they shouldn’t be abusing them if they don’t own them. When you’re jumping on the tables destroys them to the point of no use and they aren’t replace you know who’s to blame. They are put there with a purpose, that purpose is not being an ignorant selfish fool who can’t afford a $20 gym membership at planet fitness.

Thanks for making picnic food taste and smell like sweaty ass.

Outdoor workout 2

 

These comments were met, as you might expect, with a significant amount of resistance, confusion, and disdain. I would have written it off as the tirades of a troll but then I read this post from a self proclaimed authority:

As a former playground safety inspector I agree with James. The equipment is designed for children and structured for the average weights and heights of children. Additionally, wood picnic tables are subject to the influence of weather, so jumping on to wood tables designed primarily for eating is never a good idea. Wood weakens via the influence of moisture (e.g., rain, snow, dew). There are some benefits for working out in a park, but a 200 lb. man hanging off of children’s monkey bars over the long term doesn’t strike me as a good idea. Sheesh, just join a gym!

That said, I see their point….to a point. And my response is as follows:

Wow! My response is pretty simple, when we get to the point that Americans are filling the parks “misusing” the benches and tables by exercising with them, we will have saved $millions in publicly subsidized healthcare costs and rather than reprimanding or penalizing those from doing so, we should celebrate the reversal of a national crisis. I’m sure a few of those dollars saved can be used for the upkeep of those facilities. And I agree that people should use judgment, avoid jumping on things where people might eat, and don’t jump on anything with dog feces on your shoes, but everything else is fair game. I LOVE those doing Parkour and those who use outdoor facilities for their own health and also as a way to encourage others to embrace a healthy and active lifestyle. I lived in Japan as a child and I understand how people ,might look down on these folks, but that’s the great thing about America. People look down on most anything new, until someone does it the first time, and then someone joins in, and then another and then another, etc. Eventually even Japanese join in. It just takes awhile longer. If nobody took the first step to break a rule, then there would be no innovation.

What’s yours?

 

 

We should be angry

 

Listen, if you didn’t know you’re bein’ scammed, you’re too fuckin’ dumb to keep this job. If you did know, you were in on it. Either way, you’re out. ~ Sam “Ace” Rothstein

 

We should be angry because either our President lied or he didn’t understand his healthcare plan well enough to let us know that many people would lose their current healthcare policies. We should be angry because Republicans offer no solution to the problem, instead they simply say we don’t like what is there or offer half baked proposals so they can say they’ve offered an alternative. We should be angry because the President’s comment that people will now be able to keep their healthcare is also a lie because the only groups that will decide that are the insurance companies themselves and the state insurance regulators. So why are so many breathing a sigh of relief? We should be angry because many people have already either been cancelled or they have bought plans on the exchange for a higher cost because they believe they had no alternative to protect themselves and their families, and the President’s latest comments provide no explanation on what those people are entitled to do at this point. We should be angry because there is still yet another gap in coverage for those in states that decided to not expand Medicaid and for them, there is no viable solution. We should be angry because of all of the facebook posts over the past 3 months that opined one way or the other, and yet NEVER once did I read the facts as they have transpired. And all of this information was available, to all of us. There are no surprises here. All of this is easily known and understood just by reading the act. But I bet none of those who have posted how much they either love or hate the ACA actually read it or asked the simple questions such as, “what happens to current policy holders that hold policies that do not comply with the current ACA?”. That one question was all anyone needed to ask and answer that would have told you that these people would not be able to keep their insurance. But instead we turn now to the President and indignantly exclaim: “You lied to us!” Isn’t it our responsibility to be critical thinkers? Isn’t it our responsibility to find out things for ourselves? I am not defending the President’s actions, I am disgusted by it. To quote the Casino character, Sam “Ace” Rothstein: “Listen, if you didn’t know you’re bein’ scammed, you’re too fuckin’ dumb to keep this job. If you did know, you were in on it. Either way, you’re out.” But it doesn’t change the fact that De Niro’s character took it upon himself to be observant and to find out what was going on for himself. We didn’t do even that. And now we are here pointing fingers. We should be angry. But most of all we should be angry at ourselves. There is still much more to learn before this is all over. It’s up to us to learn it. Nobody else will do this for us.

SoulBashing – C’Mon Man Isn’t it time we stop hating over activities that get people healthy and active?

 

The first thing you notice when you stand outside of the SoulCycle studio in West Hollywood is all of the sweaty and visibly fatigued folks that emerge from the frosted glass doors. It sends a clear image, step inside and be prepared to work. The other message it sends to onlookers is that this is a place where I’m going to get a good workout in. Why wouldn’t I? Just look at them? Their Lululemon yoga pants and bedazzled electric blue waist coats barely cover how toned and fit they are!

So inside we stepped, me, my better half and our friend who regularly attends class there. Aside from setting my own bike up, I tried to hide my experience as a veteran cycling instructor as I wanted to get the full experience that a newbie would get. Under my saddle I found a pair of 1-lb weights cradled there. Our friend warned me that new riders trying to “show off” by using heavier weights would be unceremoniously ridiculed for their poor decision when they could no longer keep up with the workout. I asked the rider next to me what he used and he suggested I use at least two pounds. I chose the three pound weights to match his. Yeah, I know, I couldn’t turn off my ego entirely.

The other thing I noticed about the class was how close together the bikes were placed, and I mean close together, as in your face is in the butt of the rider in front of you and you are essentially rubbing elbows with the riders to either side.  I later found out that this is to share the energy between riders and it also serves to accentuate the choreography of the entire line of riders as they pop up and down in unison, making for a very energizing and sweat-flinging demonstration of solidarity. The class ought to come with a warning to avoid gas creating foods before riding. In short there is no personal space, and oddly it isn’t such a bad thing once you start going, probably because the heat and vapor haze in the room tends to numb your senses after a few minutes.

And then it began. No warm-up to speak of , we head right on into it. Jumps, more jumps and more jumps. Spin your ass off as quickly as you can – oops did I say that? No not ass, but the word Spin. That’s trademarked. The vast majority of the class is held out of the saddle save for a few moments where we spin (lower case word) free. Surprisingly the emphasis on the use of hand weights was grossly over advertised. We did Pilates-like arm movements for the duration of only one song, Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke, which lasts for roughly four and a half minutes. Sound easy? Click on the link and the hold your arms out and pulse them up and down while watching the YouTube video and let me know how you feel at the end.Are you burning a huge amount of calories? Nope, but you are creating resistance to your delts and traps, etc and it’s better than sitting there with your arms at your sides as you read this.

So why all of the media attention? And why all of the criticism, like this article entitled How to Waste An Hour of Your Time in a Cycling Studio, by Jennifer Sage of the Indoor Cycling Association.

Is SoulCycle the indoor cycling alternative we’ve all been looking for? Does it create finely toned physiques and improve the health of its participants? Or is SoulCycle the devil incarnate or as one critique asserts is a complete waste of time and suggests that its mere presence and public popularity is contributing to ruining the industry?

So do I have a dog in this fight? No more than when providing an educated opinion on any exercise class or fad. Yes I’m a purest and I when I teach cycling I teach based on solid principles, but hey guess what, Spinning isn’t true cycling either, nor is Reebok Cycling nor are many others. Oh and by the way, Zumba isn’t dance but it doesn’t mean that taking the class is a bad thing to do. If you want real cycling indoors then climb on your rollers or Computerainer – it’s as close as you’re going to get. Indoor cycling attracts people from all walks of life and with varying goals, not all of which may agree with yours.

As I’ve gotten older I recognize that like most everything else in life, this argument can be solved by managing expectations, communicating those clearly, and then following through.

Here is my revised priority of what I like to see offered in the fitness industry and how I score SoulCycle:

  • Get people off the couch – Offer opportunities that inspire people with different objectives to embrace a healthy and active lifestyle – Check, SoulCycle is one such option, and hey guess what it isn’t the only one. SoulCycle appeals to folks who want to dance, do things as a group, and sweat. If the alternative is sitting at home on the couch watching Real Housewives of Atlanta, what is the problem?
  • Be safe, but don’t insist on policy without purpose – The goal is to keep people healthy and active once they embrace the lifestyle. Significant injuries prevent this. Base jumping without a parachute is probably not a good idea. Too many jumps or pedaling too fast – staples of SoulCycle – are not the end of the world. Be able to help participants avoid those harmful without casting a blanket to protect everyone against every possible scenario. Newsflash, always being safe isn’t fun. Some people don’t mind a few cuts and scrapes, others do. Again, manage expectations.
  • Use intelligent instructors – Notice I didn’t say “certified” instructors. Beyond basic safety and repeating what is in a training manual, instructors of any fitness discipline should be able to actually apply those learnings to a wide variety of situations and know when they can leave well enough alone, when they should offer alternatives and when they should strongly suggest that the participants don’t do something altogether. Jury’s out on this one, not just for SoulCycle but for every fitness discipline out there. In the 25 years I’ve been doing this, I’ve definitely seen my share of cowboys and crappy instructors that are successfully certified by multiple agencies, and that never seems to change.
  • Make it fun or make it extreme – Either is fine and both is great also, but you actually have to know you are doing it. You can’t go into a Zumba class and teach like Bob Fosse. You’ll make them cry and usually crying isn’t fun. Fun or extreme hardness are both equally effective at attracting participants and helping them to get off their assess. SoulCycle is flat out fun unless you are sitting or standing or jumping there being pissed off that the class doesn’t adhere to specific safety principles. That’s like being Ferris Bueller’s sister, and the only guy who liked her in that movie was Charlie Sheen. SoulCycle is also hard. Seriously, you try bouncing up and down on a saddle without hurting yourself. That’s hard.
  • Know your audience and tailor your class to them – As  group cycling instructor, you aren’t going to teach octogenarians in the same way you’re going to teach to members of Team Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda, a pro cycling team. So why argue that what one instructor does for one group is wrong?

My summary? If SoulCycle is inspiring folks to embrace healthy and active lifestyles AND isn’t sending anyone to the hospital, more power to you. Is it for me? Not sure. Like I said, I’m still a cycling purest and for me, 8 by 3-minute sprint intervals with 90 second recoveries still get me more excited than isometrics to Robin Thicke and bouncing up and down on a saddle while wondering if I chose the right food the night before. To each her own.

 

Hero, Villain or Man? Weighing the Deeds of Lance Armstrong

In August I blogged about Lance Armstrong after he “stopped his fight” against his accusers. Do you want to be right or do you want to do good? The Lance Armstrong saga finally comes to an end. But who really loses? Mistakenly and naively, I implied that the saga had come to an end. Obviously it hasn’t.

Friends have been debating the merits and demerits of Lance Armstrong with me on facebook and one person put it very succinctly by asking the question: “Is Lance a good person who did bad things, or a bad person who did good things?”

So I’ll leave it to you to weigh the scales of justice or as another intelligent friend of mine says, weigh a complicated situation. How many good things outweigh the bad? And if you are one of many who still admires Lance, what kind of deeds would have to have been in the bad column to tip the scales the other way?

 

The 10 in 10 Biggest Loser Commercial Challenge – (Routine #1)

Please consult with your doctor or health professional before beginning any exercise regiment. Adam Krajchir or Race with Purpose assume no liability for any injuries that you may incur due to trying these exercises or participating in this challenge.

While this is originally intended for those participating in the 2013 10 in 10 Weight Loss Challenge, we invite anyone to use this.

It blows me away when I ask folks what they typically do while watching The Biggest Loser and a good number of them answer by saying that they watch it while eating ice cream. WHAT? I totally get it but we all know that this may be the most self destructive thing we could possibly do, watching how we could improve our health and well being by actively sabotaging it. The irony is that it’s like golf, many people love to play it, love watching great golfers, but deep down they all know that they’ll never get any better.

So be the change you want to see in the world, right? Welcome to The Biggest Loser Commercial Challenge (apologies in advance as I’m sure I just broke a number of intellectual property rights and throw myself on the mercy of NBC and anyone else in the hopes that they will see this whole effort is supporting the values of the show and maybe even encouraging viewership.)

So how does it work? There are approximately six commercial breaks during the one hour show. During each commercial break, make best efforts to complete the prescribed workout. You won’t need any special equipment, just your body, a little bit of space and a determination to get your butt off of the couch to do this. I’ve provided links to each of the exercises from various online sources. Okay, here we go:

Commercial break #1 – Jump right in and lets start by completing as many rotations of the following circuit as possible:

Commercial break #2 -Max pushups

Do as many pushups as you can during this commercial break. If you get tired, drop down to your knees and continue. If you are too tired to do them on your knees then stand up and do them against a wall. Just keep moving and when you are tired, imagine Jillian standing over you yelling from an inch away from your face.

Commercial break #3 – Plank + chair dips

Hold your plank for as long as possible (at least 30 seconds) and then when you can’t hold it any longer, find a chair, couch or other similar item and do as many chair dips for your triceps as possible. Wash, rinse and repeat until the commercial is over. See if you can hold the plank for the entire break. (hands or elbows is optional)

Commercial break #4 – Max burpees

You knew they were going to be here somewhere, so suck it up and just get them done. Complete as many as you can during the commercial break. As an alternative, perform burpees without the hop if you get too tired or if you are watching in a room with a really low ceiling.

Commercial break #5 – Complete Abdominals

Commercial break #6 -Pushup/Sit-up Flipovers

Do as many and as quickly as possible of:

Do them rapidly and flip over quickly to do the next exercise. Wash, rinse and repeat.

Advanced: For those of you who are crazy advanced and want to do even more during the show, think about doing some or all of these exercises WHILE watching the show:

  • Wall sits
  • Crunches
  • Plank
  • High knees
  • Running in place
  • Jumping jacks
  • Jump rope

Okay, that’s it for the first week of us doing this. Post how you are doing on our facebook page at 2013 10 in 10 Challenge. This will also help you record how many circuits you complete and allow you to see improvement next week.

That’s it. Have a great workout and enjoy the show!

Sometimes a mea culpa is not enough – Lane Kiffen’s statement to the USC Football Community

We’ve all made mistakes. Who hasn’t? When you do, it’s almost become expected that you will open the kimono and bare your soul to the stakeholders that matter in the “expectation” that they will forgive you and then all will be rosy again. Below is a statement by USC Football Head Coach, Lane Kiffen. The comments below show that sometimes just saying I’m sorry is not enough, especially when you’ve fallen short, not just on outcome performance but moral issues and integrity. My recommendation: if you are going to say “I’m sorry”, make sure you cover two critical imperatives:

1) know what you’re apologizing about, and

2) demonstrate that you are committed to addressing those issues.

If not, don’t even waste your breath saying those two words. Oh by the way, I apologize in advance for some of the language used in the comments included below. See, I covered the first imperative, but blew it already on the second.

 

“Believe me, I understand the pain, and what a loss means to the USC family. It looks like I don’t care, and I get that. But inside I’m suffering just like everyone else.”Lane Kiffin reflects on a season gone wrong: http://lat.ms/VD0Hvk“I also know I owe the USC family something better. And we can do that.”
"Believe me, I understand the pain, and what a loss means to the USC family. It looks like I don't care, and I get that. But inside I'm suffering just like everyone else."</p><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>Lane Kiffin reflects on a season gone wrong: http://lat.ms/VD0Hvk</p><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>"I also know I owe the USC family something better. And we can do that."
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Your 2013 10 in 10 Challenge Starts Today, January 7, 2013!

Hello January 7, 2013! That date means we’ve officially started the 2013 10-in-10 Weight Loss Challenge. It’s weigh-in day. For best results, weigh yourself the same way each week, at the same time, on the same scale under the same circumstances. For example, make it the first thing that you do each Monday morning AFTER using the bathroom and BEFORE drinking any water, eating or working out. Note: please see below for instructions on how to ensure that your BuckeyeOutdoor Profile weight matches what you log into today’s (Jan 7th) cell.

Your decisions that got you here will not get you where you want to be on March 18th. Health and fitness is a choice. Today you start clean and have the opportunity to start making the right choices for you!

Quick reminder – remember to make sure in BuckeyeOutdoors that your PROFILE weight is the same as the weight you enter into your Training Log on January 7th. To check your profile weight, hover over MY ACCOUNT, click on PROFILE, then click on TRAINING LOG. Underneath that you’ll see MY WEIGHT. Make sure both weights match. That way everyone will start losing on the same day.

As always, if you have any questions, please check out the NOTES page on our 10 in 10 Challenge facebook page here.

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