Wise Running

Train smart, eat well, and enjoy the run.

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The Gift of Running: A Book for Runners and Future Runners

My first book, The Gift of Running, is available in both paperback & ebook

- Paperback Version – Amazon.com   $9.00

- Ebook Version – Kindle Store $2.99

I wrote this book for several reasons.  Many of the books on running are tough to read, a lot like technical manuals.  I wanted to offer something more personal, runner to runner.  Moreover, I wanted it to be easy to read for the inexperienced runner.  I think I have accomplished this with The Gift of Running .

Below is the official description.  A small excerpt is included at the bottom of this page.

Book Reviews by Runners:

Book Reviews on Amazon.com:

If you would like an autographed copy of the book, please email me at pmark67@gmail.com

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The Gift of Running: a book for runners and future runners

by P Mark Taylor

Running is a gift, but not only for the gifted.  Whether you run just for fun or want to become a more competitive runner, The Gift of Running is for you. In The Gift of Running, P. Mark Taylor shows runners how to get started and stay motivated.

The book includes:  advice on how to get started as a runner, tried & true methods of running faster and longer, how to prepare for a marathon, tips on staying healthy & happy, motivation to keep you running, an insider view of the running community, & training programs for a 5K, 10K, half marathon, & marathon.

P. Mark Taylor is a runner & author of the blog at http://www.WiseRunning.com.

Publication Date:    Jul 20 2012
ISBN/EAN13:    0615668607 / 9780615668604
Page Count:    196
Binding Type:    US Trade Paper
Trim Size:    5.5″ x 8.5″
Language:    English
Color:    Black and White
Related Categories:    Sports & Recreation / Running & Jogging
 
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How to read this book:   (an excerpt from the book)

“This book is not a technical manual.  I have intentionally tried to keep my explanations brief and simple.  I have avoided technical terms and explained what I mean whenever needed.  It does offer important research-based information, but it offers more than that.

The book is about:

  • the human side of running,
  • becoming a runner,
  • working to become a better runner,
  • & staying safe, sane, and happy as a runner. 

It moves back and forth between personal stories, quotes from runners, and advice on running.

Most of the subsections of the book could be read independently, but I encourage you to read it from front to back.  This is especially true for the inexperienced runners.  Read the whole thing first, then go enjoy the run!

This book is the culmination of years of running, studying, and life experiences.  Most of all it is about the love of running and my respect for runners.

This book is dedicated to all of those who share my passion for running & to all those who are trying running for the first time.”

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 Click here to see my second book on running:
Wise Running: Thoughts on Running and Life
Wise Running Book COVER mockup

50 Pounds Lighter: Why, When, and How?

Almost a decade ago, I weighed 50 pounds more than I do today.  I knew I did not feel comfortable at that weight, but everyone told me I looked healthy.  Hence, I was not too concerned.  The day that changed that was the day a nutrition expert came to our church to give a talk.  After the talk, she used her fancy gadget to measure my body fat percent.  I was 5 pounds of fatabout 20% fat.  Then I did the math.  20 % of 210 pounds is 42 pounds.  I had 42 pounds of fat.  Have you ever seen what 5 pounds of fat looks like?  Here is a picture.  Each of the hosts are holding 5 pounds of fat.  I was carrying more than 8 of those blobs on my body!

This info was too much for me.  Something had to be done.  I did a little exercise now and then.  I would run 3 miles every week or two.  I would jump on the trampoline with my kids.  I knew however that you exercising is not the most effective way to lose weight.  It can be done, but you have to be willing to make the increase in exercise be a permanent one.  Besides, research shows that changing your diet is more effective than changing your exercise for successful, permanent weight loss.

Remember This:
If you want to lose weight, exercise is not the right place to start.
Your diet has a much larger impact on your weight than your exercise.

Lifestyle Change 1:  Changing How Much I Ate

I knew that I had to change my diet.  I had watched many people failing at dieting in the past.  The thing that most of them had in common was that they made changes that were too drastic to be able to maintain.  I decided that I would start out by only changing one variable:  how much I ate.  I decided NOT to change what I ate, figuring that I could change that after this part had worked.  Hence, I did not stop eating fast foods and the other things that dieticians disdain.  No, I just cut back on my calories for the day.

I did not starve myself.  I know that that cues the body to store fat, which is the opposite of my goal.  I set up a little spreadsheet with and schedule of how many calories to eat during each part of the day.  I did not cut out nay meals or snacks, just consumed fewer calories at each stage throughout the day than before.  I was also determined to not deprive myself of my ice cream.  I saved an allotted number of calories for the ice cream that I always had in the evening.  I did not have as much as before, but I had some.

No depriving.  No skipping meals.  I merely cut back about 300 calories a day for several months.  I lost 20 pounds through this method and it never came back.  It was a lifestyle change.

Lifestyle Change 2:  Regular Running

I had leveled off at around 190 pounds and maintained that weight +/- 5 pounds for several years.  The second stage of weight loss occurred when I started running again.  I had taken about 24 years off of regular running, so any increase in mileage would make a difference.  I went from maybe 3 miles a week to around 25 miles per week.  Over the next several months, I gradually lost weight until I leveled off at around 180 pounds.  I was thirty pounds lighter after these two lifestyle changes.

Lifestyle Change 3:  Changing What I ate

The third lifestyle change was not my choice.  I was sick for 6 months and eventually we guessed the problem: gluten intolerance.  The transition to gluten-free living was quite difficult.  I had to give up real bread (gluten-free bread is NOT the same).  Especially at the beginning stages, my GI system was quite frail.  I had to eat simple whole foods as much as possible.  I had to avoid red meat for a few months.  I still do not each it very often.  I gave up all dairy products for the first few months too.  My diet revolved mostly around plant-based foods:  legumes, fruits, & veggies.  During this time, I ended up losing about 20 more pounds and leveled out at about 160 pounds.  Although I have added some foods back in, I maintained most of the changes in what I eat.  as a result, I remain leveled off at 160 pounds +/5 pounds.

So there you have it.

  • Exercise accounts for only about 20% of my permanent weight loss.
  • Changes in how much I eat account for 40% of my weight loss.
  • Changes in which foods I choose to eat account for 40% of my weight loss.

None of these changes were exercises in starvation.  None of these changes were radical shifts in how much I worked out.  They were relatively mild.  My weight loss journey took several years.

Train smart, eat well, and enjoy the run!

wise running logo 7_25_12

 

 

What to Eat Before Running a Race

wise running logo 7_25_12

I recently wrote about the question of whether to eat or not before a run, but a friend recently asked me a more specific and detailed question:

What should I eat during the days before a race and on the day of the race?

The very clear answer: it depends on the race you are running.

If you are racing a distance of 8 miles or less, what you eat on the days before is not quite as critical.

  • Feeling Good:  It is always better to stick with healthy foods, especially as you approach race day.  This will help you feel your best.
  • Avoiding GI Issues:  There is no avoiding this topic.  It is hard to run your best when you feel bloated or suddenly feel the need to poop. You know your body best.  Eat foods that agree with your body and encourage regularity.  Eat early enough on race day to allow any extra pressure in that area to work itself out well before you head to the starting line.  Specifically, eat at least 2 hours before start time.  Three hours would be better, but do not lose sleep over it.
  • Energy:  Assuming you are eating enough calories to maintain your current weight, you are naturally storing enough calories to run a race of this length.
  • On Race Day:  You really do not need to eat much on race morning.  Stick with easy to digest carbohydrates.  Avoid fat, which can slow digestion and slow you just a bit.

If you are racing 10 or more miles, what you eat in the days before a race makes a much bigger difference.

  • Feeling Good:  It is still true at any distance; It is always better to stick with healthy foods, especially as you approach race day.  This will help you feel your best.
  • Avoiding GI Issues:  This is especially relevant for racing longer distances; it is hard to run your best when you feel bloated or suddenly feel the need to poop. You know your body best.  Eat foods that agree with your body and encourage regularity.  Eat early enough on race day to allow any extra pressure in that area to work itself out well before you head to the starting line.  The difference on the longer distance races is that you should limit your intake of fiber starting the day before the race.
  • Energy:  You must consider carb-loading.  At 10-13 miles, you might naturally store enough calories to run a race of this length., but you should keep your tank topped off to make sure.  For marathons (or anything beyond 13) it is absolutely critical!  Gradually increase the percent of your calories that you get from carbohydrates.  By the day before the race, as much as 80% of your calories should come from carbs.
  • Hydration:  An important part of carb-loading is hydration.  In order to store those carbs as glycogen in your legs, your body must store some water with it.  Most experts suggest sipping on sports drinks for a day or two before a marathon.  It delivers the carbs and water together.
  • On Race Day:  For a marathon, you need to have a substantial number of calories in the morning.  One expert suggests consuming enough easy-to-digest carbs to provide 200 calories for each hour you are awake before the race.  Keep it simple.  Avoid fat of any kind on race morning.  Whatever you eat that morning, get it in your body about 3 hours before the start.  As the start approaches, shift to your race fuel.  (gels, sports drink, …)
  • Calories DURING the race:  This one is complicated.  For a half marathon, most just need one or two gel packets to make it through.  There are mathematical formulas involved in the calculations for marathons and other races longer than the half marathon.  At 160 pounds, I know I personally have to consume around 1,100 calories through gels and sports drinks along the marathon route in order to avoid running out of energy.  I will save that technical info for another post.

What you eat in the days before the race can make or break your attempt at running a personal best.   Think about the consequences before you reach for something to eat.  Get enough of the right things at the right times and you will be happier with the results.

Eat well & enjoy the run!

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The Gift of Running,by P. Mark Taylor, is now available in both paperback & e-book

- Paperback Version – Amazon.com $9.00

- Ebook Version – Kindle Store $2.99

- Ebook Version for Nook $2.99

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BANA Berry Flavored Hydration Drink

Serious hydration is the promise of BANA.  Serious hydration is what has been needed all summer.  I tried out BANA last week on a serious 14 mile run.  I was running with a new friend and he likes to run fast.  I normally run my long runs at about a 10 minute mile or maybe a little slower.  He wanted to “keep it slow” at an 8 or 9 minute pace.  :)

I drank one bottle (500 ml; 16.9 fl oz) of BANA before we met for the run.  Before you drink it, you need to know what it is:  a drink based on the concept of an IV.  A doctor decided that if dehydrated people needed IV fluids, then serious athletes probably should be receiving the contents of an IV.  He altered the formula a bit and added cherry flavoring.  As you might imagine, it has a high sodium and potassium content as well as many other electrolytes.  This means that the berry taste has a very salty character.

I was wearing my fuel belt with its four bottles full of BANA to drink while we were running.  And run we did!  We covered about 14 miles at a 8:23 pace.  As you might anticipate on an August morning, I was sweating like a pig.  Hence I was very happy to gulp down the salty mix.

Important detail:  I normally use Hammer Endurolyte capsules on a long run to replace my electrolytes.  Without Endurolytes, I get leg twitches at least and my legs just shut down at worst.  On this run, I was testing out BANA as the electrolyte replacement – so I did not use any Endurolytes.

At the end of this very challenging run, I chugged another bottle of BANA as fast as I could.  No twitching muscles, no cramps, and my muscles felt fine.  2 points for BANA!

I had one remaining bottle of BANA that I saved for after today’s run, a 20 mile jaunt.  I did use Eundurolytes, but apparently not enough of them.  About 20 minutes after completing the run, my leg twitches started up.  I had forgotten to drink that last bottle of BANA.  Once I realized what was going on, I wobbled as quickly as I could to get the bottle and downed it in about 20 seconds.  In about 15 minutes, my leg twitches had stopped and my leg muscles were also generally more relaxed.  Thank you BANA.

They call it “Serious Hydration.”  I call it hydration with a serious supply of vital electrolytes.  None of the other sports drinks that I have ever tried have packed such a powerful punch.

Based on these experiences, I would recommend BANA to anyone that has had issues with electrolytes and hydration.  It works on the road and is an effective recovery drink.

Happy Running

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The Gift of Running is now available in both paperback & ebook

- Paperback Version – Amazon.com

- Ebook Version – Kindle Store

The Truth about Sweat

We all know that sweat is your bodies natural cooling system.  To maintain a healthy body temperature, your body releases sweat which cools the body as it evaporates.  But for many of us, the summer has been dreadfully hot.  For runners, that means sweating buckets of sweat every mile.  There are some important things to be concerned about:  how hot is too hot, if I sweat that much how much do I hydrate, are sports drinks effective?

When it comes to sweat, some interesting things are going on in your body.  Here are some true/false questions regarding sweat from a recent article in Shape magazine.

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• True or False: You burn more calories during hot-weather workouts.

True. Your heart needs to work harder both to keep your muscles well oxygenated during cardio and to send extra blood to the surface of your skin to keep your body temperature safe. Unfortunately, the calorie numbers are pretty low, so don’t think you’ve earned an ice cream undae. Think more like one bite of chocolate.

• True or False: You sweat all the time.

True. You are always releasing moisture from your skin to help regulate body temperature, although usually not enough to be noticed. This is taking place over almost the entire surface area of your body.

• True or false: A human can sweat a maximum of 3 liters per day.

False.
This is one of the most common sweat myths. A person in a colder climate can sweat up to a liter per hour. A person in a warmer clime can lose between two to three liters per hour.

• True or false: Sunblock makes it harder to sweat.

False. Don’t let sweat myths like
these keep you from being sun safe. “Sunscreen does not affect the sweating
mechanism, which is your body’s way of cooling itself,” says dermatologist
Brooke Jackson, of the Skin Wellness Center of Chicago. Also note that no
sunblock is truly “waterproof or sweatproof” so make sure you reapply every two
hours.

• True or false: Sports drinks really do make a difference.

True. Remember in moderation. When you’re sweating heavily, you lose electrolytes, which need to be replaced through food or drink. Sports drinks can be a quick way of doing that, but keep in mind that sports drinks are often fairly high in calories. Make sure you don’t drink down empty calories that you just got rid of with a hard workout.

• True or false: Your body works harder when it’s humid?

True. Your skin relies on the air being somewhat dry so that the moisture from our body can easily evaporate. In humid conditions, the air is saturated with moisture and that makes it harder for the sweat to evaporate. This keeps your body temperature elevated and is why it can feel like such a struggle to do even easy workouts in humid conditions.

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Click here to read my blog on running in hot weather.

Happy Running!

Cheribundi Tart Cherry Juice for Runners

I took the Cheribundi Challenge!  Cheribundi Tart Cherry Juice is supposed to pack a powerful punch of antioxidants.  Cherry juice is more potent than pomegranate, grape, blueberry, and other juices commonly offered for their antioxidants.  With this knowledge, combined with the fact that I have been plagued by minor injuries lately, I was more than ready to accept the Cheribundi Challenge

The official Cheribundi Challenge is to drink their tart cherry juice for four days.  Before the four days, you score yourself for sleep, athletic recovery, and aches& pains.  You revisit the scoring after four days of Cheribundi to see if it makes a difference.

I have gone over that by two days.  So far I have consumed an 8 ounce serving each day for six days.

On day 1, I drank Cheribundi Whey Cheri – with the juice of 45 cherries, 8 grams of whey protein, & a powerful ratio of nutrients, carbs and protein.

On day 2, I drank Cheribundi Skinny Cheri – with the juice of 40 cherries, but sweetened with natural Stevia so it has only 90 calories!

On days 3 through 6, I drank Cheribundi Tru Cherry – with the juice of 50 cherries and sweetened with natural apple juice concentrate, but still only 130 calories.

BEFORE taking the Cheribundi Challenge, I rated my sleep as somewhat restless.  I rated my athletic recovery as being far too slow (I am so impatient).  Most importantly, I rated my aches and pains as frequent because I was in the middle of issues with plantar fasciitis and related pains in the foot and ankle.

AFTER 6 days of drinking Cheribundi Tart Cherry Juice products, I have to say that I am sleeping a little better and my recovery is a little quicker.  As for the aches and pains, I really do feel that the tart cherry juice has made my healing much quicker.  I have a lot fewer aches and pains.  The ones that remain are certainly less severe than before.

Conclusion:

I would not claim that Cheribundi Tart Cherry Juice is a cure-all, but I do believe that it gave my body a lot more high-powered antioxidants than I usually give it.  This, I believe, is speeding my healing process.  I have more Cheribundi, and I am going to be drinking it regularly.

There are other sources from which I could get tart cherry juice to add to my diet.  Most of these are in concentrate form.  Cheribundi is not from concentrate and it comes in handy 8-ounce bottles which make it easier to deal with.

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The Gift of Running is now available in both paperback & ebook

- Paperback Version – Amazon.com

- Ebook Version – Kindle Store

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