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Looking back at 2013 & towards 2014

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Above is the last 26 full weeks of 2013 and the weekly mileage of each. The low ones were planned breaks. The year concluded with 2520 miles, or 7 miles per day and 48 miles per week average.

Below are a set of questions from that my friend Adam used to review his year.

What was the highlight of your season?
There was not one particular moment. Overall, the entire season was a huge success. I took no time off due to injury, ran consistently, ran fast, and am now quicker than I’ve ever been, over every distance.

What was your greatest disappointment?
Nothing really comes to mind. If I had to pick something, it would be my 1:29 at the Sioux Falls Half.  I had hoped to beat my PR of 1:23, but the weather simply did not allow it.

Review your top three goals for this season. Do you feel these were achieved?
Goals for 2013 were simple. Run consistently while reaching and surpassing my pre-ultra marathon speeds. Which I did.

What did you do in training this season that you feel made you faster?
Trained smarter than ever before, which resulted in no time off due to injury.
Goal pace specific work.

What did you do in training this season that you feel was not productive?
Tried to lose weight. Did not try very hard though 😉

If you could change your training, mental preparation, or race tactics/strategy this past season, what would you do differently?
I did recognize the need for a change, and made it. I continually made the error of going out too conservatively during races. I fixed this during my last few 5k’s and managed two PR’s.

Was there anything missing in your training this season?

Do you feel that you trained enough and worked hard enough in training this season?
Indeed. While my average weekly volume was lower than it has been in the past, my overall qualitative volume was much higher than ever before.

Do you feel that you had adequate rest during training and before races?
Yes, I never felt any built up fatigue from training or prior to races.

Do you have any extra comments and insights on this season?
Only that the single season did not matter, and it was only a transition from my ultrarunning training to faster runner in 2014.


As for 2014, the goals are fairly simple.

1. Volume
I hope to at least average about 65 miles or roughly 9 hours per week over the entire year. That of course means half of the weeks will be at a lower volume and half will be at a higher volume. I don’t expect to go higher than 85 more than a few times, probably only within the few weeks before a couple A races. I also don’t expect to run fewer than 60 miles per week too often either.
2. Speed
To simply increase my running paces. For the spring, my goal is to focus on the 5k distance. I will also target a couple half marathons in the fall. I’d love to go under 17 for the 5k and under 18 for the half, in 2014.
3. Consistency
As I did in 2013, I’d love to not have to take any time off due to injury. There were a few weeks I had to lower my volume and modify my training, but never did I need to take time off for recovery.

Training Dec 16 – 29

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This was a bit of a messed up two week period, as Desi and I went out to The Black Hills to visit family.

I still managed to get all my volume in, and it was an extremely successful two week period.

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Those few runs over 9 minutes per mile were ones up into the Black Hills National Forest. It’s a 3 mile climb going up almost 1000 feet.

Sessions worth mentioning are the last couple tempos that I executed, one was 20 minutes three weeks ago the the other was 25 minutes two weeks ago, both at the same pace of about 6:13 average. The goal over the next few months is to reach 40 minutes at the pace of about 6:00 per mile. After that we’ll take the time down again but increase the pace a bit more.

As for nutrition during the two weeks. The last was all over the place. I basically survived off of Dave’s Killer Bread and Nutella. Not that I’m complaining 😉

2013-12-27 10.11.35

The AM Run

I awake with stiff legs from yesterday’s miles and from last night’s immobility.

My first thought every single day is something along the lines of “This morning’s run is going to be difficult.”

Already I feel apprehension, yet I arise, knowing that movement is the cure. Through the morning routine I flow.

The sun is not up, but through the trees it teases us with waves of orange, blue, and red. As I step out through the threshold, there is a chill in the air. No wind touches my face, yet the cold air soaks through my clothing.

Autumn in South Dakota has taught me many things about being cold. Chiefly, and ironically, that it’s never as cold outside as I think it is looking out through the windows.

I also know that movement is the best way to keep the cold at bay. As I run, the negative thoughts recede and I am taken over by the flow of the run.

All mortal thoughts and feelings have disappeared. My feet barely touch the ground. The air disappears as I no longer feel its resistance and my lungs no longer require its use. I’ve transcended, if only for a few miles, to something not of this Earth. I no longer experience suffering, resistance, or even happiness.

I simply experience the flow.

How Does One “Go Pro”?


I was recently asked by a more accomplished athlete than myself, how does one exactly go pro with running?

Triathlon and many other sports have Pro Cards athletes earn. But, I don’t think that is what makes a person a professional.

In my eyes, it’s adopting a Pro State of Mind.

Simple as that.

Check out this video from professional runner Ryan Vail. Many other professional athletes are in the same boat. They train full time and work part time in the fitness industry (or elsewhere) to support their training.

That’s a big part of being pro.

Amateurs run to escape their regular daily life. Professionals do daily life things (like a “job”) to support/escape their running.

While my 17:41 5k PR is far from the speed of elite professional runners, I still consider myself a professional (but clearly not elite). I train full time and work to support this, not the other way around. I’m a writer and coach with a fully flexible schedule, completely conducive to getting in the rest and running I need to train full time.

What do you think? What does it take to go pro?

Training Dec 9-15 2013

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I’ve been spending a lot of time on that track lately. My hamstring does not let me run too long on the treadmill. What I’ve been working towards is one run outside (the longer and / or slower one of the day) and the faster or shorter run of the day on the 100m track.

The 166 laps and 665 turns I did on Wednesday did burn up the bottoms of my feet a bit towards the end, luckily there were no blisters and they were okay the next day! I do try to switch directions ever 5-10 minutes as well.

For being my highest volume week of running since before August 2012, I feel really good. The 10.4 miles at a 7:12 pace fatigued me for a few days, but I do not have any developed fatigue from the general week of running, which is great 🙂


9.5 sleep
6am – Vit D
9:30 – aa pulls
10 – EZ/MOD60
10:30 – smoothie
Noon – decaf
4pm – apple
5 EZ40
7 – ramen coconut
10 – bagel with hummus

7.5 hours
7:30 – EZ30
8:30 – two apple and two bananas
Noon – oats and a banana
2 – EZ50
3:30 – a.a.
4 – two burritos
5pm – EZ25
7pm – popcorn
10pm – cup cake

7.5 hours sleep
Am – decaf
10am – 3 cranberry bliss bar samples from Starbucks
1pm – bagel
3pm – 1:15 run
6pm – ravioli and garlic bread
10pm – apple and pb

10 hours
11 – oats
3pm – rice and veggies
6pm – Mac and cheese
7pm – regen 30

9 hours sleep
7am – bagel
7:30 – mod50 minutes
9:30 – sample bite of a bar at Starbucks, decaf with some creamer in it.
Noon – rice and veggies
1pm – two burritos
4:30 – 15 chocolate covered almonds
7pm – burritos

8 hours sleep
9:30 – caffeinated coffee
10:30 a- .a. tablets, energy gummies
11am – 1:20 run
1pm – amino acid pills
2pm – veggie wrap & fruit smoothie.
7pm – burritos

10am – EZ90
Noon – packet of instant potatoes & 3 apples
Afternoon – decaf

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Run when the inspiration strikes


The #1 benefit of working on my own hours is that I can do as I please, when I wish.

This affords me the incredible luxury of running whenever I feel like it.

Whenever the motivation strikes.

Luckily it strikes at least once a day, sometimes two or three times.

I’ll often do a quality session right away in the morning, which could give me 1.5 days recovery until my next run at noon the following day. Or I could have a session at 7am and another 8 hours later at 3pm.

Another option when I have a hard session scheduled (and what I generally do) is go into my morning run with no expectations. It could turn into an EZ30 or if motivation strikes, I may do the workout. If motivation is not found, I’ll do the workout in afternoon after I’m loosened up from the day.

Many say that weekends or not having a schedule is tough, to get your work done (whatever it may be). I however disagree. I’ve found that not having a schedule, or making my own, lets me work best as I can do whatever I feel like whenever I most feel like it!

Training Dec 2-8 2014

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Super solid week of running. Last Friday through Tuesday was all recovery, with 60 to 120 minutes of elliptical every day. I’m quite pleased with the mileage I was still able to get in with only four days of actual training.

The snow has officially came in full force, and I’m not sure what the plan is going to be this winter. I have no problem getting EZ volume in, but anything much faster becomes dangerous due to ice or packed snow. I can also run at higher efforts, but I can’t do any specific pace work outside.

Move inside you say?

Not so fast. My right hamstring does not allow me to spend too much time on a treadmill, in which case it’s probably best to not spend any time on it. I do have access to a 16 lap per mile track, which can work for short speed sessions. I may have to forego the half marathon goal for next spring in favor of 5k specific work.


I’m also hoping to give people a better idea of my general training. It’s important to realize that training is not only running, but nutrition, sleep, and rest. Thus I’m hoping to log my other daily activities as well:

am – decaf coffee
1pm – pear & oats before 1.5 hours elliptical
4:30 – 2 pizza bagels
7pm – 2 apples sliced & scooped into peanut butter
9pm – 2 bean burritos

9am – oats & peanut butter
9:30 – hour elliptical
2pm – apple
3pm – EZ30
4pm – apple
5pm – veggies on rice with some spring rolls
7pm – 2 bean burritos
10 – munched on an apple & some carrots

9 hours sleep
10am – oats
10:30 – EZ60
1pm – flavorless decaf latte
4pm – oats
6pm – 15 bean soup
7pm -EZ30
8:30 – pizza bagel

9am – oats
9:30 – EZ60
2pm – 2 burritos & 2 apples
2:30 – EZ30
6pm – EZ30
8pm – 2 bagel pizzas (kind on a kick)
10pm – 2 burritos

9 hours sleep
9:30 – oats
10am – EZrun
2pm – oats
2:30 – EZ60
4pm – 4 amino acid tablets
5pm – curry chickpeas & veggies on rice
8pm – 2 burritos

9 hours sleep
9am – bagel & caffeinated coffee
9:30 – EZ100 (1.4% body weight loss)
11:30 – aa pills
Noon – oats
4pm – 2 burritos
6pm – pasta
6:30pm – lifting session
7:30pm – cookies!

Using Caffeine as a Training Tool

It’s very common for athletes to supplement with caffeine prior to a race, either in the form of pills or just their regular coffee.

However, with habitual caffeine consumption, the affectedness of caffeine is greatly reduced. This is why many people will reduce and cut out the stimulant for a couple weeks prior to the event.

But I got to thinking, why not just cut out caffeine altogether, and use it to give your key workouts a boost as well?

I do drink coffee and tea very regularly, probably daily. But it has nothing to do with caffeine, I simply like the taste of coffee or strong tea.

The plan is to be able to use a pre-workout coffee as a stimulant once or possibly twice a week as a stimulant for hard workouts.

I’m hoping this has two outcomes:
1) Better sleep
2) Better workouts

We’ll see! I’ve been cutting back for a few days and today I’m just having a decalf coffee. This is completely anecdotal but may be worth a try.



I noticed absolutely nothing different. Blah! How boring?! Of course, this was no double-blind study, but I didn’t feel any different. So, back to sipping on my AM pre-prandial coffee 🙂

More Reading:

Your Science-Based Guide for Using Caffeine to Lose Weight | David Brown at Lean High | “”The scientists discovered, that 50 mg of caffeine wasn’t enough to trigger ANY extra fat loss in the human body.

2014 Turkey Day 5k


This was my second running of the Turkey Day 5k in Watertown and its 14th running.

No other race in town brings in a quarter of the amount of participants as this one, with 396 participants.

Inside the high school at the sign up area I could see multiple current or ex cross country runners. All of them from out of town and skinnier than me. Always reminds me I still have a few pounds to lose.

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The first 2k were uphill and the 3rd and 5th k were into the wind, so it was not going to be a fast race. I went out hard and was in 3nd for the first couple kilometers, just ahead of a group of 3 that caught and ran with me for a bit before edging away on an uphill.


I ended up finishing in 6th place with a watch time of 18 flat. 19 seconds slower than the last 2 5k’s, but still a good time considering the conditions.

What I learned:
Always dress light. It was bloody cold, but I stripped down a bit. Just cover the skin. Speaking of blood, I got a bloody nose during this run.
Going out hard for these shorter events really works great for me. Of the 4 or so I’ve done this during, I’ve been pleased with the results.
I need to lose weight. Duh. Knew that.
The Phase-X without insole is a bit low. Feels better with those extra few mm.

Training Nov 18-24 2013

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Solid week of running. Mainly focusing on volume right now. I had some GI issues on Wed and Thur for three runs in a row. Luckily for the Moderate 80 minutes it was OK. I believe having a bit too much food before those runs caused my stomach to hurt, but we’ll never know!

I’ve also adapted to the temperatures well. The MOD run was quite cold, 15F if I remember correctly, yet I had all my skin covered and was quite comfortable.