What’s Next?

One of my favorite parts of being a writer is trying to come up with what’s next.

Something happens. You have to decide what comes next. It sound simple, but it’s extremely important. If “what happens next” isn’t believable, a reader won’t buy into your story. They’ll lose interest.

This idea of “What’s Next” can play out in small scales or large. You have a girl kiss a boy. What happens next? How does the boy react? The girl? What about the boy who has a crush on the girl and finds out the next morning? A single event causes ripples. How your characters react gives us insight into who they are.

“What’s next” also plays out in large scales. This is particularly true in speculative fiction. For me, that is when things get really interesting. Like . . . stay-awake-at-night-can’t-shut-off-my-brain interesting.

Let’s take an example. You’ve probably all heard that driverless cars are coming, perhaps as early as 2020. If I’m writing a book that takes place five or ten years in the future (I am), how would society be altered by this change? I could just have things be exactly like they are today, only instead of getting behind the wheel, you get in the back seat. But to me, that doesn’t feel real. Let’s explore what might happen as driverless cars become a reality.

We begin with a simple assumption. Driverless cars work. They’re much safer than letting people drive (Google has logged 700,000 miles without an accident). So . . . what’s next?

Well, first of all, we have to ask the question, do we outlaw human driving? In 2013 there were almost 33,000 deaths due to motor vehicles. About a third of those were related to drunk driving. We’ve outlawed drunk driving in an attempt to lower the fatality rate, so doesn’t it seem logical that there would be some, perhaps even many, who would say we should outlaw humans driving?

This changes my character getting in the back seat. Does he do it with a bit of bitterness? Does hi miss the days when he could drive himself?

What’s next?

Even if the government hasn’t forced people to stop driving, there is another big impact we’d see. Think of a long-haul truck driver. Go onto any interstate, and you won’t have to wait long before you see a semi. There are over three million truck drivers in the US, and they are the most expensive “cost” to transporting goods. A tractor-trailer will run about a hundred thousand dollars, but you’ll get years of service out of it. A truck driver makes about $40k a year. So if you pay to move goods from one point to another, and suddenly you didn’t have to pay for a driver, you’ve just reduced expenses tremendously.

When the driverless cars come, there will be millions of people suddenly without a job. Truck drivers, taxi drivers, limo drivers, UPS drivers, Fed-Ex drivers, postal carriers, couriers, and more. An entire sector of business suddenly upended because there are driverless cars.

Maybe our character is getting into the back of his driverless car because he’s headed to the unemployment office.

What’s next?

Uber has been getting a ton of press recently. Uber connects people who need rides, with people who want to give rides, and they’re doing it much cheaper than traditional methods such as taxis. What if Uber, or Google for that matter, had a fleet of driverless cars? What if they ran their network of cars such that when you wanted a car, there was a car nearby? Imagine, you want to go to the store. You click a button on your phone and within a minute there is a car waiting for you. The car takes you to the store, you do your shopping, and when you’re done, you press the button again and another car is waiting to take you home. Kind of nice, right? What if it did it for the low, low price of gas, plus an extra dollar or two for wear and tear on the car?

Our personal cars spend most of their time sitting. They are a very poor investment. It’s very convenient to have them, but they cost us a lot. $350 for a car payment. $100 for insurance. $150 in gas. Repairs. Washing and vacuuming them. Buying fuzzy dice and vinyl stickers. An average family spends $8,000 a year on their cars.

What if, using Uber or Google Rideshare, you suddenly found yourself having a car whenever you wanted, but only having to pay about $100 a month? Or take it one step further . . . you’re on your way to the store. Google can sell ads that run on video monters so suddenly the ride is free. Would you ditch your car

What’s next?

We’ve just introduced another bombshell into the economy. Very few people own cars anymore. Instead, fleets are purchased and maintained by large companies such as Uber and Google Rideshare.

Think of all the businesses and companies that have been built because computers went from being something only a large business owned, to something that every family owned. It’s had a HUGE positive impact on the economy. Well, now we’re going backward, only with cars. We’re taking away almost all aspects of the economy related with consumer automobile ownership.

Car dealerships . . . gone (good riddance). Auto mechanic shops, gone, replaced by corporate motor pools. Auto-parts stores, gone. Auto-insurance agents, gone. Gas stations, mostly gone. Convenience stores, mostly gone. Some sectors are totally obliterated, while others are either indirectly affected. Think of the auto-makers themselves. What happens when the demand for cars drops by eighty or ninety percent?

Go to the automobile section of your local super-store, and imagine all of that gone. All those that create those goods, ship those goods, sell those goods . . . all gone. Once again, we see a HUGE impact to the local economy.

What’s next?

There is another issue that we mentioned only in passing, but again, has a profound effect. Parking. The car that dropped us off at the store is not the same one that picked us up. Why would a car sit in the parking lot of the grocery store while you spent twenty minutes buying your food? It could pick up and drop off three other people in that time. Algorithms have the timing down to seconds, and there is no need to have a parking lot in the middle of town for all of these sitting cars. Cars drop off, cars pick up. Cars do not park.

Think of the nearest city. Think of the prime Real Estate. Land can be worth millions of dollars in the middle of a city. Now think of how much is used for parking lots. Suddenly all of that is unnecessary. You’ve just doubled the amount of land you have in cities because you don’t have to worry about parking. The price of land plummets. Again, the economy is affected.

What’s next?

Google and Uber want to lower costs. They also want to be good corporate and global citizens. When they buy their fleet of cars, they do not buy internal combustion engines. Instead, they have large solar farms that power electric cars. Within a few short years (because we outlawed human driving), we’ve almost eliminated pollution from coming from driving cars.

What’s next?

Who knows? There are so many different areas that are impacted. What percentage of ER visits is automobile-accident related? Is the health industry (ER, doctors, physical therapy) negatively affected? What about litigation? Will we see less litigation over auto accidents? Or will we see more because when there is an accident, the liable party is a huge company with deep pockets? What about police? Some estimates say that driverless cars will put over 50% of our cops out of work.Driverless cars always follow the law. No more citations. No more revenue from tickets.

And on and on and on.

If you can’t tell, for me, the question of “What’s Next” is a fun one. It’s impossible to predict everything with certainty. I have no ideas what impact driverless cars will really have on our lives, but I’m pretty sure there will some doozies. Driverless cars may create more jobs than we lose. Or it may not. Driverless cars will almost certainly save more lives.

The fun part of telling a story is making your reader think. Showing them something they’ve never seen before. A world with driverless cars that functions like our current one is boring. Your readers deserve more. A well-thought-out world will engage your reader more because it is believable. They will be more interested and engaged in the story you’re crafting.

So . . . what’s next?

 

 

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A Bit About Sugar

Okay, I know what you’re thinking. “Marion, you promised us posts on running, and now you’re talking diet and sugar? You’re a filthy liar.”

Remember what we started out to accomplish. We don’t want to learn how to run, we want to learn how to love to run. If you’re eating a poor diet, your body will have poor fuel to burn. The runs will be miserable, and you won’t love running.

So last time we talked diet, this time we need to talk about sugar. Sugar give us energy. Energy is good. But processed sugars (corn syrup, cane sugar, sugar, and a bunch of other names) is just not good. Even when you’re running (most of the time).

The American Heart Association says we’re supposed to have about 35 grams of sugar a day for men, about 25 for women. This is incredibly easy to do. Let’s say you start out your day with some pancakes. You put a little bit of syrup on your pancakes. Bam. 40 grams of sugar. You’re done for the day.

Drink a large soda? You’re done. Candy bar? You’re done. Eat a healthy granola bar? Half way there. Put a little bit of BBQ sauce on your ribs? Half way there.

Sugar is EVERYWHERE. And it’s highly addictive. If you want to completely eliminate sugar, you’ll have to stop eating bread, ketchup, cereals . . . really, a lot of stuff.

But wait, we’re running, right? So sugar is good for us? To give us energy? Well . . . no. In fact, if you eat sugar before a race, you’ll likely do worse. Sugar won’t give you the sustained energy that you need to run. You need your body to be burning fat, not sugar.

I followed the 2-week program suggested by Phil Maffetone. I basically ate an Atkins diet. No sugar (including fruit and milk), no bread, grains, etc. Just eggs and meat. I lost ten pounds, and went through withdrawal because I had no sugar. I learned two things:

1: Yes, you can get tired of bacon and steak.

2: I was severely addicted to sugar.

At the end of the two weeks, I did feel better. And I’d eaten as much as I wanted, and had dropped about ten pounds. However, for me, eating that way was not sustainable. I needed a balance.

So, this is what I now do. I have cut out all sweet things from my diet. No cake, no cookies, no sweet granola bars. Nothing sweet. Every once in a while I’ll have a treat, but usually it’s about once a week.

This way I hit the 30 grams of processed sugar without having to drastically change my diet. I might have a bowl of Corn Chex for breakfast. 3 grams of sugar. I’ll put ketchup on my hamburger. 4 grams. A slice of bread with dinner. 3 grams. By the end of the day, I’ve probably nickled and dimed my way to 30 grams. The benefit, is I don’t have to stick to some strange diet with a lot of restrictions. I eat regularly, just without any dessert.

One thing to remember, and this is a bit of good news . . . the 30 grams of sugar is processed sugar. This doesn’t count the sugars in fruit or milk. A yogurt in the morning is over 35 grams of sugar, but some of that comes from the sugars in the milk, and the sugars in the fruit. Unfortunately, in the US, companies aren’t forced to say how much of the sugars from from non-processed sources. Because of this, I don’t eat things like jams or sweetened yogurt, just because I don’t know how much is processed.

Okay, last bit before we end. I’ve said your body doesn’t need the sugar when you go running. It’s very efficient and can pull energy from your muscle and fat. However, there is a point when it runs out of energy there, and you’ll “bonk,” also called hitting the wall. To prevent this, you can and should take sugar. This is what the energy gels are for. However, usually your body can go for 60-90 minutes without needing sugar. So, if you’re planning on running longer, take some sugar. Otherwise, skip it.

I’ll admit, I miss eating sweets. But once you get past the withdrawal stage, it’s not very hard. I feel like I have more energy when I go for a run, and I certainly do not miss the sugar-high crash.

Up Next: Variance and Frustration

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A Bit About Diet

Nobody likes to talk diet. But if we’re going to start running, we have to face this simple fact: food is fuel.

I’m no dietician, but I’m going to quote from good sources. Also, I firmly believe that everybody reacts to different foods in different ways, so in one sense, you have to find what works for you.

Generally speaking, it’s probably safe to say we’re not eating very well.

There are a lot of extreme diet plans out there: juice diets, carb diets, caveman diets, and more. For me, I can do those for a while, but I want to find something that is sustainable. I want to not feel trapped. I can’t drink juices, or eat just fruit and nuts forever.

So, what is the answer? Well, like I mentioned above, it’s different for everybody, but there are some simple guidelines to follow. All of these can be found in the Dietary Guidelines report put out by the US Department of Health and Services.

Don’t want to read it? I’ll summarize:

  • Balance your caloric intake with how much exercise you’re getting. The good news is if you’re running, and once you attain your ideal weight, you’ll be able to eat more. Run more? Eat more! Men you get about 2400 calories per day. Women–2000. Handy table here.
  • Reduce the following:
    • salt
    • Trans and saturated fat (found in meats and vegetable oils)
    • Refined grains
    • Refined sugars.
  • Increase the following:
    • Vegetables and fruits (especially dark green, red, and orange vegetables)
    • Beans and peas
    • Whole grains (at least half your grains should be whole grains)
    • Protein including seafood, lean meat, beans, legumes, etc.

Simple as that. We already know this stuff, sometimes it’s just hard to do it. The good news is that it’s easier and easier to eat healthy because people are demanding more options. Most supermarkets have a health aisle, and there are entire stores dedicated to the good stuff.

Find a few blogs that really specialize in this stuff, and follow them. Make little changes over time. Don’t throw out everything and just start eating kale. Baby steps is good.

Personally I’ve made the following changes:

  • I eat mostly whole grain bread, and stay away from stuff made with white flour.
  • I drink a TON of smoothies. It’s the easiest way to get fruits and vegetables, and I’m to the point where I don’t add any sugar to them. The fruit itself gives me all the sweetness I need.
  • I’ve try to only eat red meat once a week, if even that. I stick to seafood, and chicken every once in a while.
  • Lots of beans and peas and legumes
  • I limit my sugar to the recommend 30 grams (more on this later)

For me, this is sustainable. And I’m not so strict about it that I don’t allow myself to have the occasional milkshake or pizza. That’s part of the good stuff in life. But by eating really good 95 percent of the time, I get the benefits of living healthy, without feeling trapped by never getting to have a occasional treat.

I didn’t get there over night. And I still have lots of ways I can improve (today I ate an oreo cake.) But just like the running, I’m slowly getting there. And it feels good.

Up next: A Bit About Sugar.

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Heel Toe

Okay, I want to talk for a bit about your feet. There is a lot of discussion about trying to find the “right” way to run. Do you land on your heel first? Do you do a mid-strike? The balls of your feet?

What about barefoot running? Or minimalist running? What about your arms, do you carry them high, let them swing?

The simple answer is, I have no idea. Some people will tell you if you really want to run fast, you have to be as economical in your movement as possible. But for me, while I want to do well in races, I’m not at a level where I need to look to squeeze every last drop of running economy out of my stride. Remember the main point here? It’s to love running.

That being said, one of the books that helped me fall in love with running also had to do with how we run. This book is Born to Run. It’s a great book, highly motivating, and it talks about stride.

Why is stride important if you’re not worried about winning every race? Well, because sometime running the wrong way can keep you from running all together. If you run wrong, then you can injure your hips, ankles, or back. The author of Born to Run had come to a point where he could no longer run at all. He went to doctors, and they told him to take up biking.

Born to Run is his journey of discovering that stride, and how you land your feet, may allow you to run for much longer than you can currently–without all the pain.

Again, I highly recommend the book, and it’s likely in most libraries. However, if you’d like to find out more about stride, then I recommend this video. This guy is running barefoot, and you absolutely don’t have to run barefoot. You can run this way with whatever shoes you have now. But the video shows you how you should be running, barefoot or shod.

Up Next: A Bit About Diet

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How Far Should I Run

Okay, today we’re going to talk about how far you should be running. Let me warn you now, the answer is squishy.

I’ve never liked the phrase, “listen to your body.” My body gurgles every once in a while, but that’s it. When I hear somebody say you should be listening to your body, it’s not quantitative enough for me. I want numbers. Tell me how many miles, or how many minutes. Don’t tell me to listen to my body.

But it’s true. Everybody is going to be different. So let me tell you a few things that may help you decide how far to run.

In all the time I have been running slow, I’ve never woken up with sore legs. Nor have I ever finished a run out of breath. Why? Because this is Zone 1 we’re running in. It’s SLOW.

What this means is that you can probably run a lot farther than you’d think. If you’ve tried running before, and maybe you did 10 miles in a week, you’re probably going to be able to do 15-20. It’s going to take you longer, but it’s not as hard on your body.

Here is what I recommend. Go out and run for 30 minutes. Now let’s see how you feel right after the run, and the next day.

If:

After the run your legs feel a bit wobbly, you feel like it was a good exercise, you’re a bit sweaty, you’re a little tired, and the next day your legs are a bit sore…

Then:

This is probably a good distance for you. Cut back a little, or keep the same amount of time. Go out again either the next day, or the same day.

If:

After your run you feel like you could go longer, you don’t feel tired, you didn’t break a sweat, and the next day you can’t even tell you went running…

Then:

Increase the amount of time. Go another 10-15 minutes the next day. Or if you really feel good, double the time and go an hour.

Once we’ve found a good amount of time, we want to do that just about every day. If you’d like, you can do twice a day, but cut back a little on the time each day. Or go shorter for the second run. What we’re trying to do is complete one week where you feel like you did a good amount of exercise, but it wasn’t strenuous on your body. Once we have that distance down, then if you want to increase from there, do it at 10 percent each week.

So, if you’re running 10 miles a week, then up it to 11 the next week. Then 12.1, 13.3, 14.6 . . . actually, I don’t like doing math in front of people, so you can continue it from there.

I’m willing to bet what you bump up against is not being to tired to run, but not being able to find enough time in the day. My pace at 140 beats-per-minute was 13-minute miles. I could easily run six miles, but it took me an hour and a half to do it. Add in the time to change clothes, drive to a location, drive back, and it was eating up a lot of time. However, it is important to note that the more miles you put in, the quicker you’ll start to improve. I’m not talking weeks, but if you can put in 25-30 miles a week, you’ll see results sooner than if you’re only doing 10.

There you have it. Run almost every day. Run good, long distances, and keep at it.

If you have any questions, please post them in the comments section. I’ll try to answer them in future posts.

Up Next: Heel Toe.

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A Few More Things

Okay, by now hopefully you’ve had a chance to get out and do some runs. Let’s talk about them.

There is a good chance you can’t run as fast as you thought you could without going over your magic number. You go out, you run very slowly, and your heart rate jumps too high. If this happens, you might tell yourself that you have a naturally high heart rate. Or that maybe it’s okay if you go five or ten beats above the number.

Don’t do it! The cold hard truth is that you’re just out of shape. Hear me out.

This summer I ran a 25:00 5k. I came in second place for my age group. 25:00 is not an amazing time, but it certainly isn’t bad. However, I was very much out of shape. When I started this program, I could not run and keep my heart rate under 140. If I walked fast I was at about 125. If I ran, it went up to 150.

I was running 20 miles a week, and I was out of shape. Also, I hated running.

Here is the thing, athletes have a wide range when it comes to their zones. They can run pretty fast and keep their heart rate in zone 1. Non-athletes have narrow zones. It’s like you and me really have two zones. Zone 1 when we’re walking, and then zone 5 when we start to jog. We need to expand the range of our zones, and we’ll do it by spending time in Zone 1. The good news (as we’ve already said), is that it’s easy to run in Zone 1. I’ll wager while you’re out on your runs, you come home and say, “Sheesh, I’m not even tired.”

If so, you’re doing it right. It’s frustrating, but you’re doing it right.

One more piece of bad news . . . progress will be slow. I had to run/walk for six weeks before I got to the point where I could run (incredibly slowly) without it shooting my heart up over 140. I’m still very slow, but nowhere near where I was. And now I can run for 12 miles straight, and still finish my run and feel good. The speed is coming, but it takes patience.

So, all of this to say that you SHOULDN’T go above the magic number heart rate. If you’re having a hard time staying under, it only means you’ll see that much more improvement over the next 3-6 months. But ONLY if you stick with it. Run/walk, or walk fast, whatever you have to do to keep from going over the number. It will take time, but in the end, it’s going to be worth it.

Next Up: How Far Should I Run?

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The Magic Number

Bad news. Today we have to do a bit of math.

Good news. It’s easy math.

This is taken from Phil Maffetone’s book, The Big Book of Endurance Running. Okay, take the number 180. Now subtract your age. That’s it. That’s your magic number.

So let’s say you’re 40. Thats 180, subtract  40, and your magic number is 140.

What does that number mean? Let me explain.

I told you last time about zones, but the definitions were pretty vague. I used words like, “intense, difficult, comfortable, easy”. That’s good when you’re describing how you feel, but we need to be much more specific than that.

I’ll just break it to you. You need a heart rate monitor.

I know. They’re expensive. But we’re talking about falling in love with running. The benefits of running go on and on and on. Physical benefits. Mental benefits. Muscle, heart, mind, lungs. Here is one study that came out just a few weeks ago. More and more we’re finding out that running helps. A lot.

So, my point? Spending $50 on a heart rate monitor–if it really helps you fall in love–is such a small price to pay. That’s less than you’ll spend on a single visit to the doctor. Just do it. DO IT.

Two quick products I recommend.

Garmin Forerunner 110. This is a great GPS watch that is affordable, and comes with a heart rate monitor. You don’t need GPS, but running becomes SO much more enjoyable when you have one. You can hook up with Strava, race other people virtually, and monitor your progress. Trust me, it’s tons of fun.

If you don’t want a GPS, then I recommend the Polar heart rate monitor. It’s a solid product for just over $50.

Okay, back to the magic number. Let’s say you’re 40, and your magic number is 140. When you run, you need to keep your heart rate at or below 140. It’s as easy as that*.

Let me tell you, this is going to feel slow REALLY slow. I’m going to have many more posts on this, but later. For now, just know, you have to stay at or below this number. 130-140 is where you want to be (if you’re 40). You may start thinking, “I feel good. And this is really slow. I’m in good shape, so I’m going to bump up to 150.” DON’T DO IT. Like I said, more on why this isn’t good later. For now, just trust me. Keep it at that number.

Okay, that’s all for this time. Order that monitor and get started. Go out for a run and find out how hard/easy it is. Don’t overdo it, but at this pace, you may find you can run 2-3 miles in a day. Then do the same thing tomorrow. And the next day. Keep doing it until my next post.

Next up: A Few More Things.

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It’s All About The Zones

Today I’m going to tell you about five zones. These zones are based on a book called 80/20 Running, by Matt Fitzgerald. It’s a good book that I highly recommend. I’m going to describe each zone going backward from five to one–five being the hardest zone, and one being the easiest. Once we cover the zones, I’ve got some good news for you.

Zone Five (High Intensity) – This zone is an all out sprint. You hold nothing back. This is how fast you would run with a bear chasing you. You’ll be able to run at this pace for maybe one minute, but that’s it.

Zone Four (High Intensity) – This is an intense pace. You’re way out of your comfort zone. You might be able to keep this pace up for six or seven minutes, but it’s very difficult, but physically and mentally.

Zone Three (Moderate Intensity) – This is the first zone where you can run for a few miles. It’s still a good pace. It’s likely the pace you spend most of your time in when you go out for a run. You find it difficult to talk while running this pace because you’re breathing hard. You feel like you could keep this pace for about thirty minutes.

Zone Two (Low intensity) – Finally a comfortable pace! You’re not holding back, but neither are you pushing. You can talk fairly easily, though you still breath hard. You could probably keep this pace for an hour because it’s not too bad.

Zone One (Low intensity) – This is a very slow pace. You can talk effortlessly. You feel like you’re holding yourself back. It’s hard to run this slow because you have to remind yourself to slow down. You feel like you could run at this pace almost indefinitely.

Those are the zones. And now, the good news I told you about? For the first three-six months, we’re not going to leave zone one. Don’t get too excited. After a few runs, you’re going to be cursing my name, but we’ll get to that later.

Zone one is a very slow pace. You’re going to feel silly running at this pace. But I don’t want you to leave it for several months. I’ll explain why later. The important thing to remember is that we’re not just talking about an easy way to get into running. You shouldn’t run in zone one because you want to ease into running. You should run in zone one because it’s the best way to train.

Elite athletes spend 80 percent of their time running in Zones one and two, not because they’re lazy, but because it will make them the most proficient at their sport. It’s not often that the easiest way to do something also happens to be the best way to do it, but in running, it’s true.

The descriptions for each zone are a bit fuzzy. Your body is a machine, so we need to put some numbers to all of this information. In fact, in the next post, I’m going to tell you the most important number you’ll need to know for the next three to six months. It’s a number you’ll come to loathe.

Up Next: The Magic Number

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You’re Doing It All Wrong

Okay, last time I left with not the most positive of statements. I said if you’ve tried to get into running before, you’re probably doing it wrong.

Let me guess how you’ve tried to get into the habit of running. I’m guessing I’m probably right because this is how I tried to get in the habit. Many, many times.

You wake up Monday, determined to run. You know you want to start slow and easy, so you’re only going to do 2-3 miles. That’s not too far, right?

After the first block, you realize that 2-3 miles is way too far. But you’re not a quitter. You’re going to do this. And so you do.

After 2 miles (you said 2-3, so 2 is totally fine), you collapse on your front porch. Your legs feel like jelly. Your lungs are on fire. You’re crying, but you tell yourself those are tears of glory, not tears of pain and suffering. You’ve done it. You’re a runner!

Of course, you have to do it all over again tomorrow. But don’t think about that right now. Today, you’re a runner!

And then you wake up the next morning. You can hardly move your legs. You walk like a 90-year-old. You can’t imagine running on legs this sore, but you’re going to do it. Because you’re a runner.

You run a second time. And a third. But you don’t see improvement. In fact, maybe you even get slower because your legs are sore. By the end of the week, you realize this is the stupidest thing you’ve ever done. And you want to throw a brick at all those runners you see on the side of the road, with their bright smiles, and shining faces. YOU HATE THOSE RUNNERS!

Okay, guess what? You’ve completed a week of running, and you’ve just spent a week training harder than most elite runners.

That’s right, you heard me. You’ve spent a week training harder than people who regularly run 20-30 miles in a single effort.

“But that’s not true,” I hear you say. “Elite athletes run a hundred miles a week. I only went twelve. You’re a dirty liar.”

Ah, but I’m not a liar. Think of it like this. Arnold Schwarzenegger bench presses 100 pounds ten times. You bench press 100 pounds ten times. Think of what happens to his muscles and his heart. Think of what happens to your muscles and heart. Who worked out harder?

In a very real sense, you’ve been training harder, both physically and mentally, than the top runners in the sport. How can I make so bold a statement? Because, it’s all about the zones. And that’s what we’ll talk about next time. Once you master the zones, you’ll be on the road to loving running.

Up Next: It’s All About The Zones

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A Few Posts On Running

For eight years I’ve tried to become one of those runners. You know the kind. The kind of runner who truly loves running. Right down to their core. They don’t run because they have to. They don’t run so they can brag to their friends. They run because deep down they love it.

Love running? Is that even possible? If you had asked me even a few years ago I would have told you no, at least not for me. I ran, but I ran because I wanted to be healthy. I wanted to have strong lungs and legs. But I didn’t love it. I didn’t even like it. It was a chore. Sometimes I hated it. A lot.

There are times I quit running for a few months. When I started up again, running was even worse than before because I felt like I was starting from scratch.

But I like to read, and I’ve read a lot about running. For eight years I’ve studied, and have tried different things. And finally, I can now honestly say what I never thought was possible . . . I love running.

I didn’t have a mental breakthrough (or breakdown). I didn’t reach some zen-like state. No. To put it bluntly, I was running wrong. I was training wrong. I hated running because I was doing it wrong.

The best part? The solution is pretty easy. Not easy enough that I can explain it in a single blog post, but easy enough that I can do it in four or five. If you learn a few key facts, and follow a few easy steps, then there is a very good chance you can love running too.

I’m a writer. I’m an instructional designer. So I can’t help but want to sit down and write out the solution I’ve discovered. So that’s what I’m going to do. To be completely honest, I’m doing this for two reasons.

Reason one: I get excited about this. And when I get excited, I tend to talk. And right now, my wife is sick and tired of hearing me talk about running. So instead, I’m going to put all my thoughts on my blog, thus giving her a little break from my ramblings.

Reason two: My parents want to get into running. My dad was a high school track star. As luck would have it, the things I’ve learned work well for all ages. And so as a Christmas present to them, I’m going to lay out everything I’ve learned over the past eight years in an easy-to-follow series of blog posts. To help them get started.

Okay, I’ve gone on long enough. Over the next few weeks I’ll explain the simple concepts, week-by-week. Learning to love running doesn’t happen overnight, but there is good news-it’s a whole lot easier than you could imagine.

Next blog post: You’re Doing It All Wrong.

 

 

 

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