Wise Running

Train smart, eat well, and enjoy the run.

Tag Archives: inspiration

Because Today is Tomorrow

wise running logo 7_25_12

I was going to start eating healthier tomorrow.  I waited so many days and it never was tomorrow until I got sick.  When I became very sick for very long, I went gluten-free and became healthy.  Unfortunately, I wasted 6 months of training as the doctors and I guessed at what might be wrong.  When I went gluten-free, I began eating simple whole foods for a long time.  I went from very sick to very healthy in a matter of weeks.

I knew that eating healthier was good for me, so why did I wait so long?  I was always planning on starting it on the same day, tomorrow.

The problem with tomorrow, is that it never arrives.  Each new day redefines tomorrow as the day after today.  Hence, all of my plans for tomorrow never seem to happen.

I planned to eat healthier and it did not happen until I was forced.

What other plans did I have for tomorrow?

  • I will lift weights for strength-training and health.  It will make me a better runner and a healthier person in general. I will definitely start tomorrow.
  • I will be more organized and get some writing done every day so I never fall behind again.  That is important for both my career and my hobby.  I will definitely start that tomorrow.
  • I will start to practice playing my bass guitar daily so that I can fill in on the worship team at church. I have a guitar.  I have the music.  I can play along with the songs on You-Tube.  All I have to do is get into the habit.  It is just that easy.  Tomorrow is a perfect day for that.

Waiting to start eating better cost me 6 months of training.  A lot of opportunity for progress was lost.  A lot of disappointment was gained.

REMEMBER THIS:

If you wait for the day when you have enough time, energy, and resources,
then you may never start.  The right time to start is now.

That being the case, I hit the gym and did some lifting that I have not done in a long time.  I also added some new lifts that will specifically make me a better runner.  It may not seem like much, but I lifted weights at the gym for an hour today.  I did it not just because it is good for me, but I did it because I said I would.

I also wrote this blog post and worked on my research project.  When I get home, I will practice on my bass guitar as I said I would

 I have decided that today is the tomorrow I was talking about.

Today IS tomorrow.  What are you supposed to be doing?

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“Train smart, eat well, & enjoy the run!” — P. Mark Taylor

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Check out these books by P. Mark Taylor for more advice on running:

The Gift of Running: A Book for Runners & Future Runners Wise Running Book COVER mockup

&

Wise Running: Thoughts on Running and Life

My Unreasonable Running Goals for the Next 5 Years (don’t judge me)

These are running goals I would like to accomplish within 5 years.

No, they are not reasonable for my current level of fitness.

This is my dream.

Encourage me or keep it to yourself.

Thanks,

P. Mark Taylor

Distance  

Goal Time

   Why

400 meters

0:54

   Training for the 800

800 meters

1:58

   US record for 50-54 age group

Mile

4:29

   Because it is faster than 4:30  ;)

5K

15:12

   Training for 1/2

10K

31:35

   Training for 1/2

½ Marathon   

1:10:25

   This is my main goal.

Marathon

Sub 3

   At Boston.  Pride mostly.  :)

Wise Running: Thoughts on Running and Life (2nd book)

Wise Running Book 2 is now available via in paperback and e-book. 

Wise Running Book COVER mockup

Wise Running is the follow-up to P. Mark Taylor’s first book on running: The Gift of Running.  While the first book focused more on getting started as a runner, this second book is more about how to move to the next level. P. Mark Taylor tells us how to think about running in ways that will help you be more consistent and improve.

Running is a great metaphor for life. It takes effort. It takes motivation. You have to stay healthy. If you stick with it long
enough and smart enough, you live a more rewarding life. So it is with running.

In Wise Running, P. Mark Taylor shows runners how to train smart, eat well, and enjoy the run.

The ebook includes:

  • goals, fitness, & health
  • how to think about training
  • designing a race and training schedule
  • aligning your efforts with reality
  • eating for health and fitness
  • a runner’s view on special diets
  • running-specific nutrition, including marathon nutrition
  • the effects of heat and humidity
  • the social aspect of running
  • motivation and encouragement

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The Gift of Running, the first book in the Wise Running series by P. Mark Taylor, is available in both paperback & e-book

 

Less is More: Focusing My Running Goals

“I want it all. I want it all. I want it all, and I want it now.”
— Queen

Desire.  Goal-setting.  Dream big.  It all sounds good until you want too much.  When you go after too many things at once, most of the time you end up with little or nothing.  If you do this with your running goals you will end up disappointed and/or injured.

I have been wanting too much.  My biggest goals have been in the 1 mile and the marathon.  It may not surprise my friends when I divulge my dirty little secret.  I have set huge goals in both distances and failed miserably.  Yes, I have made big gains in my marathon, just not as big as I had planned.  Yes, my mile is faster, but nowhere near the pace I set out to conquer.  I am tired of being disappointed.

secret city 2012You see, there is an inherent conflict in training for both goals.  There is a certain point in marathon training when the experts warn that you must stop doing true speedwork.  Marathon training requires fast miles, but not for the purpose of running a mile faster.  The primary focus of marathon training is to cause your body to be able to run fairly fast and maintain that pace.  The fast marathon training miles are much slower than the fast mile training pace.

The beginning of my last training schedule had me doing repeats at a 5:30 pace per mile.  I did quarter miles, half miles, and mile repeats.  In the middle, the focus changed to intervals at a 6:30 pace.  Did these help me run a faster mile?  Yes, but only by a little bit.  My goal is to get my mile time down to about 4:45.  How can I ever expect to reach that when my fastest training is done at 5:30?  I can’t.  Expecting that would be just plain crazy.  No, to train for a 4:45 mile, I need to be doing quarter-mile & half-mile repeats at a 4:30 pace or better.

I had been thinking that I can use the time in the marathon off-season (April/May/June) to do my mile training.  This does make some sense, but it simply not enough time to meet my goal.  I have to choose between my two biggest goals.  I proven to myself that I can’t accomplish both at the same time.

I firmly believe that a narrower focus will lead to greater success.

I also believe that while focusing on one goal, I will still make gains in the other.  With this as my new philosophy, I will now focus my efforts for the next year on running the fastest mile that I can run.  I can’t tell you how fast that will be a year from now, but I believe it will be under 5 minutes.  The question will be “How far below 5?”

Does this mean that I will not run a marathon?  No.  It does not.  I will still maintain my schedule of one marathon each spring and one each fall.  It means that my training will not be focused on those marathons.  I will maintain a year-round focus on increasing my speed in the mile, but I will not neglect distance running.  I will still schedule long runs of 13 to 18 miles periodically.  I will still gradually increase mileage as the marathons get close.  What I will not do, however, is give up my mile training.  I will maintain that all the way through the marathon schedule, stopping only for the taper and recovery periods.

This change in focus is a big one.  I have heeded the traditional marathon training advice and my goal in the mile has suffered.  I have made the mile wait for marathon training to end.  I have denied it the attention it deserves.  The mile shall wait no longer.

I love running long, but I love running fast too.  It is time to focus.
It is time to specialize.
It is time to run like the wind, with no more speed limits imposed by marathon training.
It is time to rock the mile.

Train hard, eat well, & enjoy the run!

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

- Paperback Version – Amazon.com $9.00

- Ebook Version – Kindle Store $2.99

- Ebook Version for Nook $2.99

Running in the Family: Leading by Example

“My earliest running memories start when I was 5 years old.
My dad was a runner as well, so I would wait for him
to come home from work so that he could time me!”
–Katie MacKey

Once in a while, I get the honor of running with one of my kids.  Three of my six kids have run cross-country and one of the other three has recently become a personal trainer.  Did I cause this?  Probably not.  Perhaps cause is too strong of a word.  Influenced might be more appropriate.  When they were younger, they saw me work out periodically and go for a run once in a while.  That was before I started my second running career.  What was I doing to influence them towards fitness activity?

  • I was working out and jogging for general fitness and I talked about the benefits.
  • I did not require them to join me, but I would invite them to join me periodically.

I must have talked about it and/or invited them to join me hundreds of times before it started to happen.  We had weights in the basement and periodically, the boys would give it a go for a while.  Gradually, one or two kids would periodically ask me to go run a mile with them because they wanted to “get in better shape.”  Each had their own reason, usually for sports or just to look more fit.

Other adults and some of their peers added to the invitations.  Their school added cross-country to their sports and peer pressure pushed one daughter over the edge.  The next year, one son joined the cross-country team.  His stated reason was specifically to add an activity for his college applications.  One more daughter joined the team the third year.  She just wanted something to do.  I don’t care why they decided to start running.  I’m just happy to see them out there doing it!

In the last few years, I increased the intensity and frequency of my runs.  I call it my second running career.  I was fairly competitive in high school cross-country and track, but my first career was stopped short by injuries.  Once I began to give all I had to running, my trips to the gym to lift weights have became few and far between.  At that point I offered my gym membership to my oldest son.  He loves to work out, so he jumped at the chance.  He eventually worked his way into a job at the gym and just recently became a certified personal trainer.  He runs nearly every day as a part of his overall program.

I did not cause my kids to become runners, but I was a part of what influenced them to make that choice.

How do you lead your family and friends into fitness & running?

  1. Be excited.  Display your excitement about your fitness and running activities!   Excitement is infectious.  Talk about the positives for yourself and others.
  2. Invite them to join you.  Be persistent and positive.  Never require.  Never argue.

REMEMBER:    You cannot argue someone into fitness.  Fitness takes commitment.  Even if arguing does somehow manage to get them to do something, they are unlikely to be motivated enough to stick it out long enough to begin feeling the benefits.  They need to want it.  So, stick to the positive influence approach: Just invite.

Enjoy the run!

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The Gift of Running 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

The Perfect Review of My Book!

 

 

When I wrote the Gift of Running, the primary audience is one that has been primarily overlooked: the downtrodden potential runner.  So many folks out there have tried running on and off but never really crossed the line and felt like a runner.  They need encouragement and a little bit of coaching.  That is the primary purpose of my book.

That is why I was SO happy to see the new book review posted on Amazon.com:

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“I received this book and read it front to back in one sitting. I learned a lot,
but it was more like chatting with a friend than reading a textbook. Gave me
tons of motivation and an awesome program schedule to fit my current needs, AND  schedules for when I get better/faster.

Thanks for writing a book that didn’t make me feel like a slow, fat, lazy, looser. And thanks for writing it so that even a slow, fat, lazy, looser can feel motivated and inspired!

(I literally ran from the living room to the kitchen about 10 times after reading
it…I was so anxious to get started!) Haha!

____________________

That is what I’m talking about!  Let’s light the unquenchable fire under some of these people and make them runners for life.  I love it!

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The Gift of Running is now available in both paperback & e-book

- Paperback Version – Amazon.com

- Ebook Version – Kindle Store

- Ebook Version for Nook $2.99

 

The Gift of Running is on Amazon’s Hot New Release List

It may just be 15 minutes of fame, but my friend Sean posted on Facebook that he saw my book on the Bestseller List for Running on Amazon.com.  When I went to look, I saw what you see in the picture below.  Having a good day!  :)

Runner’s High: How, When, and Why

It is a feeling like no other.  I recall floating along a 6 mile run one time just about 30 years ago.  I don’t have a very good memory, but I remember that run vividly.  I had slipped into a zone where running was more like floating.  I ran fairly fast, but felt no effort.  I felt happy and my body felt happy.  I was as high as a kite!  I never wanted that run to end.

Although I hadn’t been smoking marijuana, the same receptor in the brain that is triggered by marijuana was, in fact, triggered during that run.  I really was high.  I was high on running! Until recently, many scientists actually believed that runner’s high was a myth, a self-fulling prophecy based on a misconception about endorphins.  Endorphins, after all, cannot actually produce the kind of high described by runners.  The scientists were right about one thing: endorphins do not cause runner’s high.  Even so, runner’s high is real.

What causes runner’s high?  A fatty acid called Anandamide.  It triggers the same receptor in the brain that marijuana/THC triggers.  Not only does anandamide make you feel high, but it also dilates your bronchial tubes and the blood vessels in your lungs.  End result: you feel great, run better, and run longer.

How do you get anandamide?  Run!  As you run more regularly and intensely, your body tends to produce more anandamide.  If you want to increase your likelihood of getting runner’s high, you run at tempo pace, just a little faster than your 10K race pace.  This pace adds just enough stress to cause the body to produce anandamide but not so much stress as to overwhelm your body.  It is the “just right” pace for a great workout and a trip to La-La-Land.  :)

You can read more at Runner’s World:

http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-243-297–1102-0,00.html

Enjoy the run!!!

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The Gift of Running is now available in both paperback & e-book

- Paperback Version – Amazon.com

- Ebook Version – Kindle Store

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Funny and Inspiring Running Quotes

“Most people run a race to see who is fastest. I run a race to see who has the most guts.”  — Steve Prefontaine

“Runners are the ultimate celebration people. Running is just so intense, you’re really experiencing life to the fullest.” — Bill Rodgers

“Jogging is very beneficial. It’s good for your legs and your feet. It’s also very good for the ground. It makes it feel needed.”   — Charles Schulz

“You have to forget your last marathon before you try another. Your mind can’t know what’s coming.”   – Frank Shorter

2 women laughingThe only reason I would take up jogging is so that I could hear heavy breathing again.   – Erma Bombeck

“I used to jog but the ice cubes kept falling out of my glass.” –David Lee Roth

“So much in life seems inflexible and unchangeable, and part of the joy of  running and especially racing is the realization that improvement and progress can be achieved.”  — Nancy Anderson

“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.”  — Jim Ryun

“We all have those days, weeks, months – just keep running through it & you’ll come out the other side!”  — Jenn Bacile

“Most people never run far enough on their first wind to find out they’ve got a second.”  –William James

“Build step by step. Push yourself, but not too hard. Learn. Keep it fun.”  –Matt Fitzgerald

“Running is real and relatively simple…but it ain’t easy.”  – Mark Will-Weber

“We can’t all be heroes because someone has to sit on the curb and clap as they go by.”  –  Will Rogers

“It’s very hard in the beginning to understand that the whole idea is not to beat the other runners.  Eventually you learn that the competition is against the little voice inside you that wants you to quit.”   –   George Sheehan

“There are clubs you can’t belong to, neighborhoods you can’t live in, schools you can’t get into, but the roads are always open.”   – Nike

“I’ve always felt that long, slow distance produces long, slow runners.”   – Sebastian Coe

“Why aren’t you signed up for the 401K?”
“I’d never be able to run that far.”        – Dilbert

“Every morning in Africa a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must move faster than the lion or it will not survive. Every morning a lion wakes up and it knows it must move faster than the slowest gazelle or it will starve. It doesn’t matter if you are the lion or the gazelle, when the sun comes up, you better be moving.”   – Maurice Greene (attributed to Roger Bannister  shortly after running the first sub-4 mile)

Finland has produced so many brilliant distance runners because back home it costs $2.50 a gallon for gas.   – Esa Tikkannen, 1979

There are as many reasons for running as there are days in the year, years in my life.  But mostly I run because I am an animal and a child, an artist and a saint.  So, too, are you.   Find your own play, your own self-renewing compulsion, and you will become the person you are meant to be.   – George Sheehan

If God invented marathons to keep people from doing anything more stupid, the triathlon must have taken Him completely by surprise.   – P.Z. Pearce

The difference between a jogger and a runner is an entry blank.   – George Sheehan

“There ain’t no shame looking at a good runner’s back. Now, if the runner sucks, that’s something else entirely… “The Rage, Training Tips “Comeback”

“No doubt a brain and some shoes are essential for marathon success, although if it comes down to a choice, pick the shoes. More people finish marathons with no brains than with no shoes.” – Don Kardong

“There will come a point in the race, when you alone will need to decide. You will need to make a choice. Do you really want it? You will need to decide.” – Rolf Arands

“Most mistakes in a race are made in the first two minutes, perhaps in the very first minute.” – Jack Daniels, Exercise Physiologist and Coach

“Why aren’t you signed up for the 401K? I’d never be able to run that far.” – Scott Adams, Dilbert (4/2/01)

“If you can’t win, make the fellow ahead of you break the record.” – Unknown

“Hills are speedwork in disguise.” – Frank Shorter

“Run like hell and get the agony over with.”  –  Clarence DeMar

“If you run 100 miles a week, you can eat anything you want – Why?    Because…
(a) you’ll burn all the calories you consume, (b) you deserve it, and (c) you’ll be injured soon and back on a restricted diet anyway.”  –  Don Kardong

“Your body will argue that there is no justifiable reason to continue.  Your only recourse is to call on your spirit, which fortunately functions independently of logic.”   –   Tim Noakes

“Now if you are going to win any battle you have to do one thing.  You have to make the mind run the body.  Never let the body tell the mind what to do.  The body will always give up.  It is always tired morning, noon, and night.  But the body is never tired if the mind is not tired.  When you were younger the mind could make you dance all night, and the body was never tired..You’ve got to make the mind take over and keep going.”   –   George S. Patton, U.S. Army General and 1912 Olympian

“My favorite moments are when I pass someone who’s huffing and puffing and all I got are some slightly tired legs” – Troy Streacker

“Aspire to be great instead of good, aspire to be remembered instead of forgotten, aspire to accompish what others have and have not done, aspire to be yourself and nothing else for when you strive to be yourself everything is limitless because you are not holding yourself to the limits of others.” – Troy Streacker

“Running is the greatest metaphor for life, because you get out of it what you put into it.” – Oprah Winfrey

“Racing teaches us to challenge ourselves. It teaches us to push beyond where we thought we could go. It helps us to find out what we are made of. This is what we do. This is what it’s all  about.” – PattiSue Plummer, U.S. Olympian

“You also need to look back, not just at the people who are running behind you but especially at those who don’t run and never will…those who run but don’t race…those who started training for a race but didn’t carry through…those who got to the starting line but didn’t get to the finish line…those who once raced better than you but no longer run at all. You’re still here. Take pride in wherever you finish. Look at all the people you’ve outlasted.” – Joe Henderson

“The task ahead of you is never greater than the strength within you.” – Unknown

“Today I will do what others won’t, So tomorrow I can do what others can’t”. – Unknown

“Train smart, eat well, & enjoy the run!”  — P. Mark Taylor

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Check out these books by P. Mark Taylor for more advice on running:

The Gift of Running: A Book for Runners & future runners  Wise Running Book COVER mockup

&

Wise Running: Thoughts on Running and Life

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Authority, Pressure, and the Joy of Running

Other people can cheer, encourage, teach, and admonish.  They can provide accountability – someone to report to so that you feel obligated to follow through on a plan to run something specific.   Life is a team sport, and having people like this on your team is a wonderful thing.

Ultimately, however, there is only one person that can keep you engaged, motivated and challenged in your running: you.

Only you have the power to stand up and run.  Nobody, no matter how important or how persuasive they may be, can make you get up and go run.  Only you have that power.

Many people are aware of this power and choose to exercise this authority by continuing to sit on a couch.  Some are even proud of these movements when they override the encouragement of a concerned loved one or friend.

You are different.  You have chosen to be a runner.  It defines you.  Simultaneously, you define it.  You define what it means to be a runner.  You define the standard to which you hold yourself accountable.

Sharing Your Authority

If you are smart, you share your authority with others.  You invite them to a place a accountability over you and your running by telling them what and when you will run.  You give them a lot more authority when you make an appointment to meet and run with them.  You may even place someone in authority over you, in the position of coach.  You never really give up your power completely.  You always have the choice of saying no.  Still, you create a world of positive social pressure and it helps you stay consistent.  You are smart.

Support Versus Pressure

You must be careful about this authority sharing.  There is a point where positive support steps over the line and becomes negative pressure.  If you are afraid of disappointing someone with your performance, you have crossed a dangerous line.  This can suck the joy out of your running.  If running is not a joyous thing, then you are doing it wrong.

Key Idea:  Support becomes pressure at the moment that it focuses on performance rather than effort.

If you are feeling pressure to perform at a particular level, ask yourself why.

If it is coming from yourself, then you need to decide to give yourself a break.  Refocus your attention on the level of effort that you are giving.  Set realistic goals and make allowances for weather and other things that are beyond your control.  Make your goals about giving a high level of effort rather than about specific paces, times, or places.

If the pressure to perform is coming from others, tell them about it.  Thank them for caring and ask them to refocus their energy on encouraging you in your quest to give a high level of effort rather than specific paces, times, or places.

Practicing What I Preach

Personally, this transition has been a challenge for me.  I have done a lot of hard and fast pace-oriented goals and seen a lot of disappointment, even though I was making great progress.  I was creating stress and negative feelings and it was entirely unnecessary.  Great effort should be rewarded.  Progress of any kind needs to be celebrated.  I have missed opportunities for joy.  That is a crime perpetrated against myself.

I have finally figured out how to strike a balance.  I still like to set pie-in-the-sky goals, but I realize that they will sometimes go unmet.  I have started to learn how to become satisfied with a great effort towards those goals.  I have enough stress in my life without creating more.  Running is about joy.  It also involves struggle and achievement.  The greatest achievement, however, is being proud of what you have done and who you are becoming.

In Conclusion

Running always gives more than it takes.  If you have any negative emotions towards your running, take a close look at your goals & expectations.  If you feel pressure from others, let them know.  If they love you, they will support your effort.  If you love yourself, you will reward your effort.  Together with your friends, you can return to stoking the fires of desire for running.  There is joy in running.  Let it flow!!!

“Train hard, race easy, & enjoy the run!”  — P. Mark Taylor

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