Rugged Individualist. Certified USA Triathlon Coach & NASM Personal Trainer, Men's Self Improvement Coach. President of Go Farther Sports. National Ranked Triathlete & 100 Mile Grand Slam Ultrarunner, only the fourth New Yorker to finish four of the oldest and most prestigious 100 mile ultramarathons in the U.S. in only 10 weeks.

Friday, December 28, 2018

2018 - The Events and the People Who Influenced Me in a Positive Way.

Each month was eventful. The descriptions are below:

January - Sassquad Trail Running! Kim Levinsky has set up some very unique and fun events on the trails. I participated in the Frosty Fat Sass that month.

February - Rocky Raccoon 100 Miler - came in 22 hours 26 minutes, got on the podium in this USATF National Ultra event.

March - NYC Half Marathon - Anne Siglam and Lisa Kaire Lubarsky finishing their respective races in what was a very cold and windy race.

April - Rutgers Unite Half Marathon - Mitchell Mond and the RVRR crew shining in this race. NJ Marathon, Jennifer Adams Krumins getting that BQ she needed. Good luck at Boston in 2019!

May - A HUGE contingent of RVRR folks finishing the North Face 50K race. A great day all around! If I remember correctly, it was Rick Siemon and Valentina Dal Pozzo's first ultra! If there is anyone else, let me know.

June - Anne Siglam's determination has got her to the finish line of the RVRR Train Run, her first Ultra!

July - NJ State Triathlon - Jennifer Montemurro in the Olympic Distance and Toni Ann Alfieri in the sprint distance. Both have finished their first triathlon!

August - I'm finishing the Ironman Boulder 70.3 in 5:18, then finishing the USA Triathlon Nationals in Cleveland in the top third of my age group the following weekend.

September - Kenny Danielsen finishing his first triathlon of the season. Oh yeah!

October - The Raritan Valley Road Runners in general, of course.

November - Philadelphia Marathon! Bridget Hudrick getting a BQ on her first marathon! Mitchell Mond getting a 13 minute PR in front of his family who is cheering him on!

December - Naked Nick 50K - Paul Levine and Kevin Nedza finishing their first ultra.

I know there's a lot more I'm leaving out. Great job in 2018; let's make 2019 even better!!!

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Trail Miles to Road Miles - Conversion to "Time on Feet"

I encourage every one of my athletes to get some trails in from time to time. Even for road runners, trails provide a great way to exercise your balance by developing the stabilizer muscles that come with running on uneven ground. It also promotes landing more on your center of gravity (directly under you instead of landing ahead of your knee or hip). Both developed stabilizers and center of gravity will lend towards increased economy of your running, even on the road.

 All miles are not created equal. You'll do a lot more work on the trails than on the road. "Time on feet" is more accurate on trails than miles.

Ah, but trail is more challenging than road. You say, "you assigned me 8 miles; wouldn't it be more difficult to run the 8 miles on tougher trails?" "What if I do mostly trails in one week? Would that lead to overtraining?"

Well, yes. But there is a way to make sure you don't overtrain in case you wind up mostly on trails, especially the toughest trails.

I convert everything to "time on feet." Most coaches do assign "road miles" to their athletes, so a conversion to "time on feet" is needed.

The conversion that I find that works the best is "8 miles to one hour time on feet"...or basically 15 minutes every 2 miles.

It does amount to a 7:30 minute mile pace, which is very fast for a lot of people, but it does work out nicely to everyone who normally goes slower on the roads too, because trails present a very tough challenge to not just your legs, but your core muscles as well.

So, if I assign you 8 miles of running, these are road miles. If you decide to go on tough, rugged trails instead, you run for about an hour instead. Even if you do just 4 miles on the gnarliest hilliest trails for 60 minutes, you've done the equivalent of an 8 mile run on the road. And you prevent any kind of overtraining that might occur if you try running 8 miles on those trails.

So it's a pretty simple conversion, but in the end, it prevents a lot of overtraining. Please be mindful of it in case you decide to run on the trails instead of on the road for some of your runs!

Monday, December 17, 2018

Core Training - The New Approach to Running and Triathlon

Plank with medicine ball. One of the many challenging core workouts that runners should embrace.

A lot of coaches have similar philosophy of training. It is evident that we all strive to achieve the same ends for our athletes. And, for most of us, we support each other in achieving these goals.

It is the approaches that are different.

The approaches are as different as the athletes themselves, so a good coach keeps his mind open when it comes to approaches that differ from his.

My approach has definitely evolved over the years. And I'm not alone on this either. Many other good coaches, when given new data, have modified their approaches when new data has come out.

Take strength training, for example. It used to be that traditional weightlifting was the way to go. Get in the gym, throw some weight around, isolate the key muscle groups, and that should be good to get runners better.

Well, I religiously did that for two years in my personal triathlon training and it did nothing for me. And in recent years, science has proven my point.

Now it's functional fitness and core training. And this differs from traditional weightlifting in that you're NOT isolating muscles. Instead, you're recruiting a multitude of muscles to achieve an overall efficient movement.

You know, like running, swimming, and cycling!

Exercise is VERY specific. You isolate muscles in certain movements, and they'll do just that...and not recruit other muscles in the process. This doesn't achieve any goals when it comes to running and triathlon. Not at all.

But if you teach these muscles to help one another out, the result is greater than any individual muscle can achieve on its own.

I started doing functional fitness last year and I've seen gains like I haven't seen with traditional weightlifting. Now, for my 2019 training, I've upped the ante. My core does need a bit more work, so I've started training it three times per week.

A Google search for core training for running yields a plethora of information. Functional core training has seen many good returns!

And I got many of my athletes to embrace it. I'm already seeing gains from them.

And I think through these strength sessions, we're all going to do awfully well in our respective races in 2019!

Friday, December 14, 2018

My Week 1 of Core Training - Getting It Done!!!

Sometimes we all forget how critical core training is to an endurance training regimen. I'm no exception!

 The side planks are hurting just after 30 seconds. I want to bump this up to 2 minutes by spring.

If you're looking to do well in any races, especially races over 2 hours, the core HAS to be strong if you are to have any shot at a decent result in that race.

Back extension machine. If I don't do this my back gives out. No bueno.

First week of training for my 2019 season, I just finished the third session at the South Shore Y. I'm surprised how weak my core is after starting this back up!

 You can turn just about any exercise into a real hard exercise when the Swiss Ball is included. You add the challenge of balance and your stabilizer muscles into the mix!

I'll update you periodically on how it does throughout the winter and spring leading up to my competitive 2019 season!

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Registered for the Secret Mystery Trail Run!

UTMB - Serious race. Check.
Ironman Ireland - Serious race. Check.
USA Triathlon Nationals - Serious race. Check.

Secret Mystery Trail Run - Serious race - wait, what?

I found out the hard way that training should have some fun elements to it. And this run does just that.

This is the PERFECT way to start the year! Registered for the Secret Mystery Trail Run on January 5, a hash run that is anything but fashionable...and that goes for the alcohol they bring too. If what you drink can double as something you can degrease engines with, then it's perfect for this run.

 Nothing fashionable about us in the 2018 Secret Mystery Trail Run earlier this year.

Link is here if you want to join in on the fun. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

McDowell Mountain Frenzy Race Report

I did it for the points! 😂

But I also found out the source of my recent ultra problems, and it's quite the doozy.

With my DNF at Grindstone I found myself lacking the UTMB points, and the desire, to run other ultras, particularly 100 milers. I publicly swore off ultras while while I was concentrating on making the podium at triathlons.
But somehow in the back of my mind I was going to want to attempt UTMB again, at least one more time, get to that finish line, and put this race in my rear view mirror for the rest of my life.

The problem is getting in. Some ultras are "UTMB Points races", meaning they register with the International Trail Running Association (ITRA). The longest and most mountainous races are 6 points, flatter 100 milers are 5 points, some 50 milers and 100k races are 4 points, etc. And UTMB requires 15 of these points over 3 races in order to get into the lottery.

These points expire after 2 years. So postponing this race to a later date means I would have to race 3 ultras to gain all 15 points needed to get into the lottery.

A daunting task.

Looking at my present situation, however, I already have 11 points. I received 6 points from Zion 100 last year and 5 points from Rocky Raccoon 100 this year. And... I'm a second year entrant! I was rejected last year, which means I get *two* ballots.That should give me a decent 75% chance to get in!

So all I needed was 4 points for the UTMB lottery.

Looking at the remaining qualifiers, the McDowell Mountain Frenzy 50 miler was the only race left to get those points.

But it's in Arizona. Can I take a quick trip out there, do the race, then come back? Do it on the cheap?

I found out it was quite feasible! So I decided to do it. One last attempt to qualify for UTMB.

I flew out the day before the race, and toed the starting line at 7AM. The race promptly started, and off I went!

The first few miles were awesome! I found running in the desert to be such an experience! I did take note of the sunrise over the cacti as we made our way North and west to the Sonoran preserve at mile 12. At some point it became a steady gentle climb, so I backed off a little to accommodate the ascent. I didn't care what time I came in; I just needed those 4 points.

The 6 mile loop around the Sonoran Preserve was quite strong. I got back to the 18 mile aid station in good shape. I knew the next two stretches were the most difficult parts of the race, so I decided to take the couple of extra minutes to hydrate and prepare for those stretches.

The first difficult section was a long 10.5 mile section with some tough hills, according to my elevation charts. The second difficult section was the 2.5 mile assault on Thompson Peak, a 2500 foot climb.

Going out into the 10.5 section, I was quite methodical, but I knew the hills we're lurking in this section. I just didn't know where. I got 6 miles into the stretch before we finally got to the hills.

The hill turned out to be a heck of a climb, around 1000 feet.
I found myself in a lot of difficulty. The legs were getting heavy, the breathing was getting labored, and all of a sudden I was having negative thoughts.
"Here I go again", I thought.

With 2 miles to go in this section (26 miles in) I even thought of quitting. What was going on?

Then I discovered it.

Looking at my Garmin, I was discovering that I was going 10 min mile pace up a steep hill. What the...?

I realized that I was unconsciously sabotaging my race by justifying the suffering by running too hard! I couldn't believe it! By pushing the pace to an unreasonable level, my mind can then give the excuse to bow out of the race and quit the suffering altogether.

This was a stunning revelation. But I finally realized it. I immediately slowed down the pace and forced myself to think in the present. I was no longer looking at the 24 miles remaining in the race. I was only thinking about the 2 miles I needed to get to the aid station. Then I can make sound decisions there for the next section.

The running was immediately bearable again. I promptly emerged from the trails to that aid station. I was in need of nutrition and electrolytes.
And I found that with the 2500 foot climb up to the top of Thompson Peak ahead of me, now was a good time to take in a lot of food and drink. I was going to be walking most of the way up; it was the perfect place to digest a lot of food!

 Thompson Peak - 2500 ft climb of pure suffering

Finally satisfied with my refueling, I gazed at the mountain ahead of me and started my climb. I started pretty slowly, making sure I was digesting my food. The climbs got a lot steeper, but I started feeling a bit stronger. The climb was relentless; it was Mt. Beacon on steroids! But I only stopped once, just to take a picture of the fantastic scenery that was unfolding below me. I rounded the final bend and got to the top.

A couple of guys were jotting down the bib numbers at the top there. As they were writing my number down I joked to them about every ultrarunner having this mountain in his backyard. I turned around and headed back down the mountain again to the aid station.

And I had new life!

At this point my mind and my body were clicking as one, only focusing on the present, on the ups and downs of the trails, on the task at hand. I got back to the start/finish area at mile 42. We 50 milers just had an 8 mile section on the "competitive loop" to go before we actually finish. I only took about 2 minutes at the aid station before starting off in the last section.

The only question was not "if" but "when" I was going to finish. I was ticking off 11-12 minute miles and was wondering if I can finish before the sun went down. I didn't want to reach into my pack to get my headlamp. I got to mile 48.5 before I had to take it out.

In the shadows of dusk, I strongly finished the race at 10 hours 51 minutes. That was good for 37th place out of 105 people (99 finishers) and 4th in my age group.
 37th place overall, and my finisher's item for the race

And I got my 4 UTMB points

And the best part is that I think I realized why I was having these recent problems in ultras. In various ways, I was physically making it hard so that my mind can justify withdrawing from the race. It almost happened at Zion last year. It happened at Vermont 100 last year (by running hard). It happened at Grindstone this year (purposely shuffling and tripping over every rock to make the trails more difficult than they seemed), and now this.

Now that I realize what is happening, I should be able to remedy this in future races when it pops up!

The mind is a fickle thing. It has to be on your side for it to be your strongest Ally. For if it isn't, it can turn into your greatest enemy.

 Overall course on my Garmin. It was a good race.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Winter Cycling Part 2 - The Extremities

Yesterday, I went through what tops and bottoms you should get for cycling. Now for the gloves, feet, and head.


For winter riding, heavy gloves are a must, but sometimes even gloves might not work against the cold. If you get glove liners, they do work to some extent, but I find that the fingers might still get cold.

The best thing you can get are the cycling mittens. These are different than normal mittens in that they are split between the middle finger and the ring finger (first image). This is so you can handle the brakes while gripping with the handlebar with the other two fingers. Mittens work a lot better because the fingers are more grouped together instead of individually wrapped as in a glove. So it's more likely to retain the heat a lot better.


There's two types of protection for the feet. There is the external protection and then there's the internal protection. Booties are the best external protection for the feet. Most of the cycling shoes are breathable since that is what they do in warmer days. But in colder days, the cold air penetrates the shoes and freezes your feet. Neoprene booties cover the entire shoe (except for the cleat) so that you get a good measure of protection from the elements.

Winter cycling socks are quite thick and can help your feet internally. I have the Pearl Izumi thermal wool socks that help tremendously while cycling. I did try them for running, but my feet got overly hot and sweaty; they are designed for protection at higher speeds, like cycling! So these socks are used for cycling only.

Head and Neck

Lastly, but most importantly, the head and the neck! It is SO important to buy a balaclava that encompasses both the head and the neck. You really don't want anything exposed here, so you need a balaclava long enough to stick into the collar of your jacket so that nothing is exposed! Again, the Pearl Izumi balaclava that I own does the job.

If it's particularly freezing, I do stick a running cap over the balaclava for more protection, although you'll need to adjust your helmet to make everything fit.
And if it's really REALLY cold, then you need to cover your eyes. I find that a cheap pair of ski goggles will do fine here.

Bottom line is that as long as you are totally sealed against the elements, leaving no inch of skin exposed, you can definitely get outside and ride. Of course, if there is ice or snow present, then if you only have a road bike, then you're pretty much out of luck. If you do have a mountain bike, however, with knobby tires, you can venture out. You still have to be careful with ice, but those bikes can handle the snow fantastically!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

YES, you CAN bike outside in the winter. It's all in the clothes (Part 1).

Yes, you can ride outside. There isn't such thing as "too cold". But there is such things as wearing the wrong clothes!

I'll touch up on the jackets and the pants first, and then focus on the extremities tomorrow.

Jackets and Base Layers

So, let's start with the most complicated part of the winter cycling wardrobe, the top. Cycling jackets come in all shapes and sizes; the best jackets are the ones that keep the cold and the wind out, since cold and wind are really givens while cycling (you're actually creating a wind chill when riding 15-20MPH or more in the cold!).

Cycling jackets are different than running jackets in that they will make a seal around your neck to keep the wind from coming in. So if you think you can use your running jacket to ride, you're definitely wrong! So make sure you get one that provides a nice seal around the neck. A lot of them have velcro tabs that will easily help with that seal.

There are two main types of jackets, the "hard shell" and the "soft shell" jackets. The big difference between the two is that the hard shell jackets are waterproof, which is nice if there is rain or snow involved. The problem with waterproof is that there is no way for the sweat generated to leave. Waterproof jackets completely keep the weather out, but it might make you feel a bit swampy inside.
Soft shells are a bit more breathable. They might not completely prevent rain and weather from staying out, but you'll definitely stay dry inside while keeping the heat in.

It's all a matter of preference. My preference is that I go with the soft shell jackets on dry days between 40-60 degrees. I use the hard shell jackets on colder days or if there is rain at temperatures between 40-60 degrees.
You'll need to wear the jackets with a base layer for it to completely work. The base layer is basically the same with both hard and soft shells and should have the ability of wicking away sweat from the skin surface. I use the thinner base layers for days between 40-60 degrees and a thicker one for colder days.

Again this has to do with temperatures. There are thermal shorts for those 40-50 degree days. These are good because they do have the chamois for much needed padding. Below that, you might want to invest in cycling trousers that can go over the cycling shorts. Be careful with the trousers though; you will want to have trousers that hug the lower leg. If you get the baggy trousers, the loose bottoms can snag in with the chain, which is a no-no. If it really gets cold (20 degrees or colder, you can also wear a thinner pair of tights under the thicker one for effective layering. I do have running tights with me so I actually use them under the cycling trousers on those frigid days to keep the bottom warm.

Tomorrow, I'll focus on the hat, mask, gloves, and socks and booties for the feet.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

2019 Season - UTMB Possibility...Again?

I've posted on the right of this blog my three races that I'll be aiming for in 2019 (NJ Marathon, Ironman Ireland, and USA Triathlon Nationals). Now for the stranger things...
Yes, I did swear off 100 mile ultras. I do want to take a good break from them while I concentrate on honing my talents for triathlon. But there's a catch...

Yeah, my nemesis race is rearing its ugly head again, and the desire to finish this race is high. I would love to try it again in a few years, but the process of getting into this race is very difficult.

Let me lay out the entire process for everyone to understand.

The very first thing that one must do to get into UTMB is to gain 15 points over three prerequisite races. These points are determined by an international body called the International Trail Running Association (ITRA). They determine how many points a race gets by looking at a combination of distance and how mountainous it is.

So a long, difficult course like Vermont 100 would get 6 points, which is the max for any race. A flatter 100 mile course like Rocky Raccoon would get 5 points. Some 100k and 50 mile races would get 4 points, etc.

These points last for two years. Once they expire, one needs to accumulate the points again in order to maintain the 15 points needed.

After the runner gets the 15 points, he or she can now enter the UTMB lottery and hope for the best. Unlike Western States or Hardrock, a first-year entrant has a pretty good shot at getting in. If he/she doesn't, the organizers give out a second ballot for the next year's lottery. This is provided that he maintains the 15 points. Most second year entrants get in. If the runner is really unlucky and not get in, the third year is automatically entered into the race...again provided they maintain the 15 points!

To start accumulating points from scratch is a daunting task. I would have to run in three really tough races just to get the 15 points needed to try my luck in the lottery. Knowing how I am with this, I don't think I would even try. I hate committing entire years in getting into a race; I scoff at running the races in the NYRR 9+1 program just to get into the NYC Marathon.

My status now is an interesting one. I ALREADY have 11 points. I have 6 points from the Zion 100 last year and 5 points from the Rocky Raccoon early this year. All I need is 4 points to get into the lottery.

And I've already been rejected once this year by UTMB, so I would be a second year entrant and more likely to get in!

So why not just get the 4 points now, throw my name in the lottery, and get that race done and over with next year?

Enter in the McDowell Mountain Frenzy this weekend. It's only 50 miles in the desert near Phoenix, with just one mountain to climb. And it provides the 4 points I need to get in.


I just need one more shot at UTMB. After that I can put it into my rear view mirror and not worry about it anymore. And if I am unlucky in the lottery next year, I can always register for the Vermont 100 in July to get the 15 points I need to automatically get in in 2020.

Anyway, that's the situation behind my trip to Phoenix. I just need one more shot at redemption, and then I'm done!

Friday, November 23, 2018

Winter Running - Yes, you CAN run outside!

I know the winter season jumped the gun a bit here and we're experiencing frigid temps, but with the right clothes, you can definitely train outside exclusively the entire winter and be stronger for it by the spring. As with most people I am more susceptible to the cold than the heat, so it is hard to venture out in this cold to run. But the technological advancement of run clothing makes it A LOT easier to get outside. You'll need at least two layers up top, one or two layers for the legs, socks (can be layered also), gloves (also layered with glove liners beneath, or, even better, mittens), a wool cap, and maybe a balaclava for the face. If it's really cold (single digits), you can also wear ski goggles to protect the eyes.

For those who prefer the indoors, I do have to warn against treadmill training the entire winter. It is often a poor substitute for outdoor running and I see if often in the spring when the runner tries to transition from the treadmill to the outdoors. There's a HUGE difference between the two. Outdoors, your body moves and the ground stays still. On the treadmill, your body stays in place and the ground moves. You need to understand that there is a huge effort moving your body forward that you don't see on the treadmill. And a lot of injuries happen when the runner moves outside in the spring.

If you do intend to use the treadmill, I would advise that you only use it 50% of the time, with the other 50% being outside. This way you're much more ready to move outside when the spring comes.

If you really can't go outside, then the treadmill is better than nothing. When it comes time to move outside, please reduce the weekly mileage by at least 50% for the first couple of weeks outside. This way you don't wind up injured. You should be able to ramp up your weekly mileage gradually after those two weeks.
Tomorrow: Yes, you CAN ride the bike outside! 😁

Monday, November 19, 2018

Go Farther Sports Athletes Bridget and Mitch Conquer the Philadelphia Marathon!

What a weekend we had here at the Philadelphia Marathon. So athletes from the club I represent had a great day out there on the course! Two of the athletes that I personally coached had great days! One qualified for Boston in her first marathon and the other finished his marathon with a 13 minute PR!

Bridget all smiles after her BQ time of 3:29:41! Thanks Yoi (on left) for letting me *steal* this picture.

Bridget is an ultracompetitve and very talented runner. She has shown some excellent runs leading up to the Philadelphia Marathon with a time of 1:34. I knew she had a good shot at 3:30 but with this being her first marathon, I tended to be conservative with her. There were a couple of other issues that I saw that made me tend towards a conservative strategy.

But knowing how she is, and knowing how I was when I was in my 20s, I can't help to think that she can take the bigger gamble and try for the 3:30. So I left the choice to her and hoped for the best.

She did take the gamble and ran away with a 3:29:41, which is a BQ for her! What a great way to run her first ever marathon! This one has a lot of talent here that I think her times can go lower. MUCH LOWER. Now that she has one under her belt, she will definitely do even better the next time!

Mitch embracing his wife at mile 6. Later, he would be pleasantly surprised to see that his son was watching too!

Mitch was very consistent in his training. His old PR was around 4:30, but his training has gone so well that I knew he can beat a lot! Keeping with his plan of running with the 4:20 group in the beginning and choosing when to decide when to pull ahead of them, he picked it up before the half marathon point and kept ahead of them for good, running his way to a 4:17:11 marathon and a new PR by 13 minutes! The best part was that his family was there to watch him and cheer him on. It was a great day for him all around!

There were other friends of the club, and outside the club, who had great days all around. It turned out to be an epic day in the streets of Philadelphia and would love to congratulate them all!

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

The Decision is in, Folks!

Politics? Nope, triathlon and running!

I have several athletes doing Ironman for the first time, a couple doing their first ever triathlon, two looking for their first marathon race, and one running her first half marathon.

There are toss-ups as well; one might be looking for an Ironman race after several years off and one thinking of doing a marathon after 10 years.
And the incumbents are doing well too. These are the ones that are improving on their respective marathons, an ultrarunner veteran looking to do well in his race, and some triathletes looking to improve on their seasons.
Some races aren't done yet. I have several who are ready to run the Philadelphia Marathon in 11 days! Good luck to them, hopefully they will seek out a "second term" in 2019. ;-)

And of course yours truly returns to Ironman after 11 years out, seeking out a 10 hour finish. 😁

Ironman Cork, on my 50th Birthday, June 23, 2019!
Looks like the makings of a landslide victory in 2019. There will be a lot of planning in the next couple of weeks to make sure that happens. This will be an exciting time for everyone!

Monday, November 5, 2018

Post NYC Marathon Musings - The Big Race is the Culmination of Hard Work!

The culmination of all the hard work and training is the actual race. Witnessing so many people racing the NYC Marathon yesterday is one of the best days of the year. Many people ran their first marathon ever, some lost a lot of weight and changed their lifestyle to get to that finish line.

All of the positive vibes definitely get the friends of these first-time marathoners off the fence and spur them to register for one of these races. It's great to see people actively looking to change their lifestye...and keep my business brisk.
Still, this is the reward for coaching athletes to the finish line and seeing the happiness on their faces as they finish the grueling distance. What they felt as impossible just two years ago is now reality.

Marathon season isn't over yet! I'll be going to the Philadelphia Marathon in two weeks to watch the same spectacle again. After all these years, I find it never gets boring at all.

See you at Philly in 2 weeks!

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Marathon Eve, what to do, what not to do?

This is usually the calm before the storm. You've picked up your bib number, bought some merchandise at the expo, and some nutrition for the race. You've also taken dozens of pictures with friends and soaked in the electric atmosphere at the expo.

Now you're home. And waiting. The pre-race celebration is done. And now, the actual race is looming large. It's almost here. Just one night separating you from the big race.

So what to do? First thing, you'll need to relax. then you'll need to get prepared. So here are some pointers for getting yourself ready for race day tomorrow.

1) Relax. I know life gets in the way. You still might have chores to do at home, or you might still have some work to do. Just do the essentials though, and leave the other stuff for Monday once the race is over.The goal here is to try to keep this day as light as you can so that you don't feel so physically and emotionally drained when you retire for the night. Remember that you need to be as fresh as possible for your race.

2) Know your schedule for tomorrow! What transportation is needed to get to the start line? Will there be a lot of traffic to get to my destination? Please allow at least an hour, just in case of heavy traffic. If you need to be there by 7:30AM, then you better schedule your arrival by 6:30AM. It's better to get in with a lot of time on your hands than try to rush it to your destination minutes before they close it off. The marathon is stressful already; don't put more unneeded stress on top of it.

3) If you have someone supporting you in any way, make sure he or she completely knows your schedule for race day tomorrow. Where to meet up before the race, after the race, what stuff will he/she carry of yours during the race, etc.

4) Get your clothes ready for before, during, and after the race BEFORE you go to sleep tonight. You really don't want to choose which clothes when you wake up early morning while you're under pressure. You'll need to check the weather also to make sure you're taking the appropriate clothes for your race. If the weather calls for 35 degrees and is windy, you'll need to make sure you got extra clothes for before, during, and after the race.

5) Once all of this is done, get to bed early. More often than not you probably won't go to sleep. That's fine, as long as you're lying there relaxing, that is sometimes the best you can do for a big race. Don't take any sleeping aids; if you can't sleep, just keep your eyes closed and relax.

The goal here is to have everything ready today so that you can just roll out of bed, get into your clothes, and get out the door without hesitation. If you can do that, you've mentally and physically set yourself up for a great race!

To all those running NYC Marathon tomorrow, good luck! You'll know where to find me on the course! 💪🤠

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Final Marathon Preparation - A Cerebral Approach!

It is the cerebral person that will do well in endurance races.

Well here we are, about 4 days away from the NYC Marathon, and a lot of people are starting to get a bit nervous. I definitely understand. "What will happen to me in this race?" is a good question that comes to mind. Also, "what should be a good starting pace?", and "am I going to die?" are other questions.

The best strategy is pretty simple. Start off with a fast but safe pace for the first couple of miles, and then decide on whether to keep that pace, go faster, or go slower from there.

Wait, that's it? Nothing elaborate about "going at a certain pace for the first half, then going 10 seconds per mile for the next 5 miles, and then at mile 20, I'll pop in a few gels and go another 10 seconds per mile faster, and then at mile 25, I'll sprint to the finish?"

Nope. Let me tell you this one thing. Any plan with that much detail will fail 99% of the time. Trust me. It's never worked for me in my early days and I was forced to make some decisions on the fly just to save my races from utter destruction.
Keep it simple. Decide on a fast pace for the first 2 miles, but keep it on the safe side. Those first two miles will tell you how much energy you initially have in your race. By mile 2, you can definitely make an "on the fly" decision whether to keep your pace or change it faster or slower. At that point you will have received critical information from your body that you wouldn't have gotten right at the start.

A marathon is a pretty long distance for a lot of people. For you, you'll need to make A LOT of decisions from mile 2 all the way till mile 26. That means you'll have to stay alert and stay in tune with your body so that you are alerted when something changes along the way. A quick adjustment to your pace or your nutrition will be critical in deciding whether you have a great race or a mediocre one.

But by keeping your initial plan simple, you allow a lot of flexibility into your strategy, and you're basing the strategy on what energy you have at each moment of your race. Keeping your mind alert and in tune with your body is the winning formula for PRs and BQs in a marathon.

You'll need to think about your nutrition as well as your pacing during the race too. And again, you'll go about it the same way as you do with pace; you'll come prepared with foods that worked well in your training; this is the food you'll initially go with in the beginning stages of the race.

Although you mean well with nutrition, be prepared for the eventuality that a) it might not work right at the start, or b) it will work for a good portion of the race, but will not work in the later portion of the pace. This happens a lot! In either case, don't keep to the plan. You'll need to partake in what the aid stations give you the rest of the way. Again, you'll need to think about what you might need at the aid station to get you through to the end, or just that specific stretch of the race.

Again, you'll need to keep your mind engaged and in tune with your body! In other words, DON'T ZONE OUT! Don't "go on autopilot", "daydream, "sleepwalk", or whatever people call it. Stay alert, stay focused, and more often than not you'll think your way to a very good race.

It's the cerebral way of doing your race, and most often, it is a winning strategy.
Note: I'll be in Brooklyn cheering people on in the NYC Marathon (around miles 11-14), and will try to make it to Central Park to see some friends finish. If you're in this race, let me know and I'll place you in my tracker. If it's not raining I'll be in a black "cowboy" hat (more accurately an Aussie hat) along the course.

Good luck!!!

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Calculating Ironman Goal Times for Ironman Ireland

As a lot of people know I plan to run Ironman Ireland right on my 50th Birthday, June 23, 2019. Keep in mind that I set a PR in the Ironman distance way back in 1996 Ironman Canada with a time of 10:36:37. As a 50 year old, I wish to break this PR that I got during my prime years. So I'll need to get in some pretty smart training and diet decisions before that day.

Anyway, I've ran some calculations for time here. Below are two such calculations. One, the aggressive time, is for qualifying for Ironman Hawaii qualification. The second, less aggressive goal is just to break my PR time. I'll try to keep this short. 

I always swim for 1 hour in Ironman races. Sometimes less, but never more than an hour. T1 and T2 are combined for 10 minutes for both. It can be a long transition so I made it the worst case scenario for transitions.

The bike and the run are the big factors here. I've already proven I can hold 22MPH in a half Ironman race. I know I can go more at that speed. The aggressive goal will reflect a 22MPH time for my bike over 112 miles. The less aggressive goal will be at 21MPH. As for the marathon run, both need to be under 4 hours to get my goals. I say it's quite make-able if the training goes right.

So, I will have my work cut out for me to try to get that aggressive time. This is going to take a lot of core training and a stellar diet to get down to race weight. If all goes well, I know I can hit those marks!

It's going to be fun trying to hit those goals in training! I'm ready for the task. I start my training in earnest on December 10, but my diet and the core training are already starting. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

2019 Iron and Tri Training - Switching over to Unprocessed Foods (Paleo)

"Diet Means Everything!"

One of the things I have done this week is switch over to Paleo foods for my Ironman training. I've been looking at my logs from 2013 when I trained for the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning and found that this was an amazing transformation of my body. I did lose about 25 pounds, got very muscular on it, and felt that I even underwent an "age reversal" on my body! I know.

Paleo basically means "the less processed food, the better." I wouldn't call it a "diet" per se, but more like tweaking my current eating habits to maximize on unprocessed foods. I think this is the key to getting in best triathlon shape as possible and getting my speed back into form. 

Anyway, I'll be popping in from time to time about how things are going with my eating habits. I'm hoping it will be as pleasantly surprising as in 2013. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Athletes Anne S and Mitch M celebrating after a nice run at the NYRR Long Training Run in Central Park, 18 miles total in the hot and humid day! They are with the rest of our friends in the Raritan Valley Road Runners who are taking steps to train for their respective marathons!

Good luck to everyone at the marathons, and remember to make the journey as fun as the destination!