Running Track Playlist

Something New

Andrew Ripp – Rider


Something Old(er)

Zac Brown Band – Oh My Sweet Caroline (Live)


Something Old

Sister Hazel – Happy


Tips on Surviving Your Long Run…

The long run is often noted as one of the vital training runs to not only build a base but to increase your mileage. It can be intimidating as you’re looking at your training plan wondering how you’re ever going to get the stamina to get to 14-16 mile runs.

But you can do it. With some of the points I’ve picked up along the way – you’ll be on the road to topping your weekly mileage. You might be running 6 miles todays and

1. Don’t look ahead
It seems counter-intuitive but if you’re looking ahead in your training plan to a distance run you haven’t hit yet – it can become a mental barrier. You may be mid-run of a 6 mile run today. If you’re struggling, your mind starts to question your manhood (gender neutral) on how you’re expected to run 12 miles in 2 weeks.

Focus on today’s goals. Think about how far you’ve come in running and not how far you have to go.

2. Check your pace
80-90 percent of your training runs should be in Zone 2 of your maximum heart rate. Zone 2 is typically 60-70 percent of your maximum heart rate. If you’re not using a heart rate monitor when you run, focus on a pace that you are sure you will be able to maintain for an extended duration. This can be anywhere from 2-3 minutes slower than your 5k race pace.

Humans have this intrinsic nature to focus on numbers. The error in beginning runners is focusing on speed and their time. We want to see results and see them now. Focus on new distance goals and the speed/pace will come. Another bad tendency is that we think others are watching us and judging. It’s why your pace will likely pick up when you come across a stranger on a bike trail. Stop it. Run so slow they think you’re a running mime and be comfortable with it.

3. Give me Fuel, Give me Fire
As you start to increase your distances, you’ll need to remember your high school or college biology classes. Takes notes as there will be a quiz. Food contains macro nutrients. They’re called macro because the body requires these to function. Carbohydrates. Lipid/Fats. Proteins. In the interest of brevity, these are fuels, provide cell health, and build muscle.

Use your long distance runs to experiment and tweak your fueling strategy. See how your body handles running on certain foods. Marathoners or other endurance runners will “carb-load” prior to a race to increase availability during the actual race. If you’re eating a double cheeseburger, it’ll likely carry over to your run the next day and not in a good way. Make sure your fueling before a run with good carb heavy foods (bagel and peanut butter, OJ, oatmeal etc). If you starting to run beyond an hour start to incorporate fuel into your actual run. This requires some planning to carry Gu gel packs or chews. Fuel in anticipation of needing it, not as a reaction to your current state.

Of equal importance is hydration. Water. Make sure your drinking at least 80 ounces of water everyday and particularly 2-3 days before your run. Hydrate during your run as well. Run laps so you can stop at your car or a water fountain. Join a running club who setup water stations on training runs. Or invest in a belt which carries water bottles. Again, drink even though you’re not thirsty. Be proactive and not reactive.

4. Break it down into Smaller Segments
Is it easier to know you have to put together an entire car or are only responsible for getting the tires on? Think of your run as specialized or broken down into smaller parts like an assembly line producing a car. It’s easier to focus on completing this 3-mile segment I’m running than focusing on the whole 12-miles you’re doing today. The benefits of running on a trail or outside vs. the treadmill are that you can create landmarks. Focus on the treadmill or tree up the road as your next goal. When you reach it, scope an object ahead to use in the same manner. I guess if you’re on a treadmill you can focus on the lady on the treadmill ahead of you. But this may get you kicked out and you will never actually reach that target which can be deflating.

There are other things you can do like repeating mantras or taking breaks. The key is to find what works for you. That is why running logs and food diaries become useful so you can document what you ate that led to that personal best distance run and repeat, repeat, repeat.

Is there something you’ve found that helped on your distance runs?

My Productivity Tools…

When you’re spending an hour a day running, you need to be smart with the time you have. That’s why I wanted to pass along some of the tools I use and How I Work.

The foray into productivity started with reading Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. Since reading that I picked up many “self-help”/leadership books that typically share common themes. First Thing First. Create Margin. Plan before Action. Just Do Something. You get the point. But in today’s mobile and web network, there are some great resources that might be effective in your life.

Evernote (Web, Desktop, iOS)
How I Use It: 
Great for long term, centralized storage. Still trying to use Evernote to it’s potential including using Tags to easily reference items. Right now I have frequently used documents (past tax returns, financial statements, logins, insurance forms) in Evernote. Evernote integrates into many applications. I also setup Outlook contact ‘Evernote’ to directly email into Evernote. The Web Clipper tool is a handy tool to build internet wish lists or collect recipes.

Asana (Web, iOS)
How I Use It: 
My to do list. I’m a huge David Allen and Getting Things Done (often just GTD). Asana is my web app to easily maintain a feature rich to do list. If I get a task through email – I simply forward into Asana and it is stored in my Workspace. Asana is intended for team collaboration – but have adapted it just for personal use. You can setup many projects to include smaller tasks. However, my projects are contexts. For example, I have Home, Work, Calls, Read/Research/Review, Shopping, Agendas/Conversations, Waiting On. So I can simply move tasks into those contexts to easily knock out the calls in one batch.

Feedly (Web, iOS)
How I Use It: If you browse the internet, you may develop FOMO. FOMO is a fear of missing out. So to save time spent browsing each website for updates, Feedly is a productive RSS-reader to capture blog updates or new posts on your favorite news site. The feeds can be organized into groups and easily reviewed to see if you want to read further or if the article doesn’t interest you enough to click further. Feedly is my blog/content collection tool which I then save to Pocket.

Pocket (Web/iOS)
How I Use It: Pocket is another collection tool – but of a different breed. Pocket is my online “Read/Research/Review Folder”. If there is a linked article in Twitter, I save to pocket. When I stumble across a random web page and want to check it out later, I’ll save it to pocket. Then when I have time set outside to read online stuff – I can simply access Pocket to go through the saved articles. The iPhone app allows me to read on the go and the Chrome extension lets me one-click save web pages.

iTrackMyTime (iOS)
How I Use It: “It’s not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is, what are we busy about?”— HENRY DAVID THOREAU. Many of my work projects are billable to the client, so I need to take note of the time spent working with them. However, I use this app beyond that time card. Do you ever wonder exactly what you did during the day or want to see if there are time holes in your day? Keeping track using this richly designed iPhone app present reports for exactly what consumes your calendar.

These are what I use. The key is to find your own system and continually tweak and refine to what works best for you. Sometimes I use a Moleskin notebook and a pen to get the “crossing off the to-do item” feeling.

What do you use for your to-do list? 

Why I Run: See the Unseen

One of the benefits of running is seeing the unseen. We took an impromptu day trip to Minneapolis over the weekend to catch a baseball game.

I woke up early to get in a decent run I would be missing with the Des Moines Running Group.

Minneapolis Run

This was as close to a “zen run” as I’ve had of late. Too often running or training starts to become work to many. Repetition and repeat. But a morning  run in a new place is typically enough to provide some excitement to those training runs. While it’s kind of touristy – the novelty of seeing old mill plant remnants along the Mississippi makes the decision to run in new areas unique.

The brief route hugged a trail that crossed the Mississippi River and crossed back over with a brief stop on Nicollet Island.

We also rented bikes (again..touristy) to ride the same route later in the day, which was a pleasant ride.

Overall, it was the great summer stay-cation to clear the mind and refuel heading into the beginning of the Des Moines marathon training program starting.

What’s the Coolest thing you came across that made the run unique?

Running Track Playlist

Something New

Rogue Wave – Lake Michigan

When to Use: I put this in around 10-20 minute mark to give a little bit of a coasting pace.


Something Classic

The Animals – House of the Rising Sun

When to Use: I shuffle this in towards the end of race playlist to bring down the pace just a little bit.


Something Wild

Rittz – Switch Lanes

Where to Use: Up to You



A Little Inspiration

If you’re struggling through a training week or simply need the boost to get your initial motivation – this piece will help you.

Early this week I just happened to hear of a documentary surrounding marathon running to be shown in a limited one-night release. It sounded like the perfect kick off to the 16 week training plan leading into October’s IMT Des Moines Marathon.

After onvincing the wife to go (she hates movies) and moving the schedule around – we attended the special screening last night.

The movie follows 5-6 runners as they participate in the Athens Marathon as well as their reasons for attempting the monumental task. From elite 2:15 pacers to 5 hour first timers the documentary exposed those reasons we run.

Overall, it was a solid film. I don’t find it any coincidence at the timing and my emergence into the running world. Life is funny that way.