Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Setting Goals For The New Year

I recently set my goals for 2015, but after talking with a few of my running friends I wanted to provide some information that might help you set your goals.  

I read about setting race goals a while back that said that you should not just have one goal.  If you are doing your first half marathon, you should have a goal that you would be happy with and an ambitious goal that might be a little outside of your current abilities, but will push you.  An example might be to finish the half marathon as your initial goal.  Your ambitious goal could be a specific time, pace, or running the whole race without stopping.  By doing this, you can still feel accomplished even if you don’t reach your ambitious goal.

A great resource for people who are going to run their first race, or at least the first race at a new distance, is to follow a training plan.  It is vital to not progress too quickly in mileage or increasing your pace because that will usually end up in being injured.  Hal Higdon offers free training plans for almost all race distances.  Each distance is broken down into several different intensities (novice, intermediate, and advanced).  I have used the Hal Higdon plan on two of my three half marathon last year and got a PR each time.  All of Hal’s training plans are free.  

Another good training source if you are just starting out is to do the Couch 2 5K.  You can get an app on your phone for free (at least for android phones).  It will lead you through intervals of running and walking until you are able to run a 5k without stopping.  Once you complete that, they also have ha Couch 2 10K.  

Don’t just say you want to do a race.  It is too easy to never fully commit.  Pick a race or races (that will allow the proper amount of training time) and purchase your registration.  That way you are committed and can start to plan your training.  It is easier to follow though when you have a solid goal in mind.  If your goal is to run your first half marathon, you might want to pick a 5k in the spring, 10k in the summer and the half marathon in the fall.  That way you can progress and finishing races will energize you for the next race.  I love the feeling of crossing the finish line.

Better yet, set a goal with a friend.  If you know another person who would like to run a race with you, pick the race together.  You can do your training runs together, which will keep you motivated.  Training partners can help keep you accountable and help give you that much needed push when you want to give up.

It doesn’t matter if you want to lose weight, get a new PR, or finish a new race distance; having a solid plan and sticking to it will be the key to reaching those goals.  Stay positive and I hope you all have a great start to 2015.  It is going to be a great year!!!

Monday, December 29, 2014

A New Year Means New Goals

It’s that time of year again.  We take a look back on the previous year and set goals for the year to come.  We might want to tackle a new race distance, break a specific PR time, or lose weight.  In the next year I plan on tackling all three of these.  I am putting my goals in writing so you all can keep me accountable.

I ran 3 half marathons and a marathon relay in 2014.  My best half marathon time was 1:55:00. My goal for 2015 is to cut my half marathon time to 1:47:00 which would be an 8:10 average.   This is an attainable goal as long as I can remain injury free.  I plan on tackling 5 half marathons in 2015.

In addition to the 5 half marathons, I will run in my first full marathon on December 6, 2015 (the California International Marathon.  I am really excited to tackle this distance and have a group of coworkers who will keep me on track.  My main goal is to complete the race.  I would be completely happy with that accomplishment alone.  My ambitious goal is to finish in 4:00:00, which is a 9:10 pace.

Thanks to having no will power and my love for holiday sweets, I will also be trying to get back down to a good race weight.  I plan on losing about 10 pounds in the next 2 months.  I plan on trying to clean eat and continue to exercise 6 days a week. 
If you are looking for motivation, you can always join a diet bet.  “What is that?” you ask.  A diet bet is where you pay a certain amount of money.  You have to lose 4% of your weight in one month and you will at least win your money back.  If other people do not get to their goal weight, the winners split that money.  If you would like to join my wife’s diet bet that starts January 1st, follow this link Nichole’s Diet Bet.  It costs $25 and there is no better motivator than money (at least for me).  

I am going to break some PR’s and lose some weight for 2015, who’s with me?  What are some of your goals for 2015?

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Suunto Ambit3 GPS Watch Review

I have been using a Garmin Forerunner 610 for the past year.  I was curious how some of the other GPS watches compared.  I was excited when I got the Suunto Ambit3 Sport to try out.
The first thing that I will have to say is that I love the blue color.  Usually I like to have black gear and don’t go for the more flashy colors, but it looks good without being too crazy.  The watch is a little bulky (thicker) compared to some of the newer watches out there, including my Forerunner 610.  That is probably because it needs the extra space for its GPS components. 
The first thing that you do is go through the setup page.  It asks you some basic questions and then you are on your way.  The data that you see on the watch is customizable, but you will have to connect the watch to your computer to do that, which is not the case for the Garmin watches.  The Ambit3 is made to not only work for running, but bicycle riding and swimming too.  I did test out the watch on my bike, but not in the pool.  I will only review the running portion of the watch in this review though.

It comes with a Bluetooth heart rate strap, which pairs with the Ambit3, but you can also pair it with most of the newer smart phones as well.  This is a feature that I really like.  The heart rate strap is more comfortable in my opinion than the Garmin HR strap.

Another area where the Ambit3 excels is their charging cable.  I have always had problems with my Garmin charging cable that came with my Forerunner 610 (maybe they made changes with the newer Forerunner 620).  The Ambit3 cable is kind of like an alligator clip, but it keeps a good connection and charges quickly. 

I ran with the watch for quite a while (most of the time with my Garmin on the other wrist) and there are some definite advantages in comparison to the Forerunner 610.  The biggest advantage is that the Ambit3 is probably one of the most accurate GPS watches out there.  For more serious runners, this is going to vital.  It will give you better readings on your pace, distance, and other measurables.   I also found that the battery life on the Ambit3 was superior to the Forerunner 610.  I really like that the Ambit3 can suggest the amount of recovery time you will need after a workout as well.

The areas where I found the Garmin to be superior was the ease of use compared to the Ambit3.  Garmin had a touch screen and customizable data pages that you could change mid run, or right before a race.  The Ambit3 is all controlled by the buttons on the side of the watch.  I personally like the touch screen.

There really isn’t a perfect watch for everyone.  Both the Forerunner 610 and the Ambit3 are great watches, but are not for the runner who only runs once in a while, mainly because of the price.  The Ambit3 costs about $400.  The Forerunner is significantly less, but is an older model and does not offer swimming or a decent bicycle mode.

In my opinion, the Ambit3 is a great watch for someone who will be using it for multiple sports or are preparing for a triathlon.  It will also be beneficial for the more serious runner who is looking for extremely accurate data from their workouts.  I would recommend the Ambit3 as long as it would be a good fit for you. 

Note:  I received this product in exchange for a review.  The review is my personal opinion of the product and I was not required to give a particular opinion of it.  I am not a doctor, so please use all of the products that I review at your own risk.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Who needs music when you can run with a toddler?! 5 Stories from the Running Stroller

Although I run with music most of the time, I occasionally turn it off and run with my 3 ½-year-old in a jogging stroller. Substituting my motivational tunes for my son’s companionship has its ups and downs. He is one funny dude and keeps me on my toes. He makes most of my runs very enjoyable, and they tend to go by quickly.

Here are some of the funniest things that have happened while running with my son:

· Before we leave, I always ask him to go to the bathroom. It really doesn’t matter if he goes or not. Like clockwork, five minutes out the door, I hear, “I have to go pee!” Most of the time he is just doing it to bug me. 

· For some reason, he thinks it is so funny to kick his legs as much as possible. The higher he can get them, the better. The stroller starts to bounce and goes off course. The more times I ask him to stop, the more he does it. What is this kid thinking? He is probably just cracking up knowing that he is making life difficult for me.

· Lately, he has been in a phase of wanting to be like a dinosaur. Picture this…  You are running down the road with your son in the stroller. You are coming up on an older couple that is walking in the same direction. When you are about 5 feet behind them, your son suddenly screams, “RRROOOAAARRR!!!” You should have seen the look on that couple’s faces. I apologized profusely, but in my head, I was cracking up. Where did this kid come from?

· He likes to bark at dogs as we pass them. 

· He asks me funny questions, trying to figure out how the world works.

Let me know the funniest things your toddler has done in the jogging stroller. I am sure there are some great stories out there.

Copyright 2014
*Used by permission of MOKO.Mobi, Inc.