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.

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! 💪🤠