Saturday, August 31, 2013

One More From the Mahatma

It's a short day today. When asked how he kept physically fit Gandhi gave the expected responses which dealt with eating,drinking,sleeping and the avoidance of pharmaceuticals. Then he added one more thing that ties into the whole mind/body connection:

"it (physical and mental health),is due to the practice of detachment of mind. By detachment I mean that you must not worry whether the desired result follows from your action or not,so long as your motive is pure,your means correct. Really,it means that things will come right in the end if you take care of the means and leave the rest to Him."

For those who don't believe in a personal God, you can substitute higher power,fate,whatever,for the above Him that Gandhi uses.

Gandhi--a deep thinker--closes with this--"I attach greater importance to the mental. What you think you become. Thought is never complete unless it finds expression in action and action limits your thought. It is only when there is a perfect accord between the two that there is full,natural life.
I don't know about you but I find it all incredibly profound.

A heavy work day to day--stretching before after and during.

What have you got planned?

Friday, August 30, 2013

Gandhi on Health and Longevity

Most of us think of Mahatma Gandhi as the man who led the campaign to free India from British rule and this indeed is his most notable accomplishment. Gandhi however wrote extensively on issues pertaining to health and was quite insightful on this subject. As he says---"The fundamental laws of health and hygiene are simple and easily learnt." That comment is all the more interesting when you realize that billions of dollars are spent on the pursuit of health each year. Gandhi adds this in regards to the ' fundamental laws' he mentioned earlier--'The difficulty is in the observance of those laws.'
Consider the following:
"1.Think the purest thoughts and banish all idle and impure thoughts.
2.Breathe the freshest air day and night.
3.Establish a balance between bodily and mental work.
4.Stand erect, sit  erect, and be neat and clean in everyone of your acts, and let these be an expression of your inner condition.
5.Eat to live for the service to your fellow men. Do not live for indulging yourselves. Hence, your food must be just enough to keep your mind and body in good order. Man becomes what he eats."

There is a simplicity and innocence to what Gandhi has to say.
Give some real thought to what you just read.. #4 really hits home with me. I've noticed that as I've gotten older, like many 'seniors,' my posture is becoming poor. I really have to make an effort to walk straight and not to hunch or lean forward.#1. is another good one,your thoughts and emotions can have an impact on your health.

Health laws or rules that should govern our lives are really very basic.
As I have said so often in the past, people become addicted to publications, etc. relating to achieving health and well being. They purchase the books and DVD's which are cleverly written and marketed, try them for awhile and then move on to the next new and exciting system.
I'm always amused when I see the once popular health, nutrition or lifestyle book of a few years back now available used on Amazon for a penny. (try Skinny Bitch for starters but there are so many others you could add).

It was a lazy day---I guess you could call it a day off but much yard work was done and I went for a 35 minute walk--sweated like a pig--stretched after--drank a lot of fluids.

How was your day?

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Look At Yourself

I've noticed that over the decades there has been a growing tendency to give a medical diagnosis to conditions that were once thought to be the result of a person's poor life choices or habits. Obesity, alcoholism and drug addiction readily come to mind.
Dr. Ernst Van Aaken wrote the following a little over 50 years ago.
I believe that it's a foolish and potentially dangerous thing to ignore personal accountability when it comes to our health.
Dr. Van Aaken writes:

"Nowadays, so-called experts talk about "diseases of civilization" as something obvious and acceptable, and it's hard not to notice the undertone of rationalization for our own sins against healthy living.We've discovered a whipping boy to take the blame for damage caused by filthy air, water pollution, lack of sunlight, noise damage, the flood of sense stimulation, speed craze in traffic and in occupational life, movement laziness, cigarette addiction, dietary damage and greed, chronic over-fatigue, nervousness, alcoholism, dope addiction and today's most visible catastrophe, coronary problems and cancer. We need to look at ourselves in regards to these conditions.
 All the above-named damages can be boiled down to three basic causes:
1. Oxygen deficiency(from lack of exercise)
2. Overeating
3.Weakness of will"

Dr. Van Aaken's words makes me think of the following quote--I can't recall who said it.
“Every excuse I ever heard made perfect sense to the person who made it. ”

Pace run for 20 minutes at 2/3's speed---stretching and calisthenics after.

How was your day?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Forgotten Aspect to Staying Motivated

"Your level of motivation is directly proportional to the pleasure you receive from participation in your sport. Motivation and enthusiasm evaporate rapidly if the sport brings no pleasure."

When you enjoy doing something you stay with it, that's a given
One thing that can ruin a person's love for a sport is taking it too seriously. Too many people lose  a balanced perspective when they begin competing.  Suddenly,what was once casual and fun, now is dictated by specific training schedules and performance expectations.
I have seen far too many athletes lose their  love for a sport sometime after they began competing.
Obviously, a happy median must be arrived at. As I said on my previous blog, To Run is to Live, most of us will not be toeing the line at a national championship, much less an Olympic trial, so what are we getting so serious and bent out of shape about?
Also, one more thing and on a related note, you've got a job--don't turn your sport into a job!
You can have it both ways!

Long,tough work day, no run but stretching after.

How was your day?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Words of Wisdom

Bear with me, I've been in a reflective, appreciate life state of mind recently.

Seriously---what you are about to read is something you just don't read casually and move on---think and consider deeply what is being said.

"How to enjoy life: Eat less, exercise  more.   Talk less, think more. Ride less, walk more. Worry less, work more. Waste less, give more. Preach less, practice more. Frown less, laugh more. Grumble less, thank more. Scold less, praise more. Regret less, aspire more. Hate less, love more."

Author Unknown.

My favorites are---Talk less, think more and Preach less, practice more.
Too many people talk too much (myself?). It's ok for there to be moments of silence when people are gathered together.
As far as the second one? How 'bout practice what you preach?

40 minutes easy running--lots of walking and stretching after.

What did you do?

Monday, August 26, 2013

A Few Comments From a Health and Fitness Pioneer

I first became aware of Paul Bragg in the early 70's. His health and nutrition books influenced me greatly. Exercise, natural foods and a healthy lifestyle was what he lived, preached and wrote about.
The great Jack Lalanne credits Bragg as being the one person who influenced most in his life. What follows are some insightful comments by Bragg on all things pertaining to athletics, health and nutrition.
To those who believe 6 pack abs and a muscular body are signs of health, Bragg as this to say:
"Big powerful,bulging muscles do not necessarily mean internal health. The thousands who exercise daily but neglect healthful nutrition have no desirable record of longevity."

So true--as I have said in the past--too many people believe that just because they work out that gives them the right to eat and drink whatever they want as well as,as much as they want.
And as far as a good,healthy types of exercise, weight lifting alone is not one of them. When used in conjunction with aerobic exercising and stretching it is ideal. Pick an exercise that is complete,one that gives you muscular, respiratory, and circulatory stimulation.

Again from Bragg:
"The first exercise is a mental one. We must learn to discipline ourselves. We must learn not to overeat, even on good natural foods. We must learn to push away from the dinner table feeling that we could eat just a little more. We must eat a balanced natural diet."

The key word above is discipline--if people would discipline themselves--- millions of dollars would not be spent on diet books that say they have 'the secret' to weight loss and the perfect body.

A hard work day today---7 1/2 hours on my feet with endless walking and lifting--running would have been easier.
How was your day?

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Slow Down--Simplify!

The weekend is about to end--how many of you who didn't work feel rested and refreshed as you head into this coming work week? Or was your weekend a whirlwind of activity and busyness?
Do you already know what you'll be doing each and everyday of the week  coming up? Is your schedule full and spoken for?
Simplify and slow down! You will enjoy life more. Consider the following--

"Beware the barrenness of a busy life."  ~Socrates

Hurrying here--hurrying there to do this, to do that,---finishing your days in exhaustion, and for what?  Socrates was truly prophetic as it applies to life in 21th century America.

Want to get off the 'merry-go-round'? Give thought to these words from Bruce Lee:

“It is not a daily increase, but a daily decrease. Hack away at the inessentials.” 

It is the want of things and the desire for stimulation that is so often the root of our being part of a life that is overcrowded with activity.
The words of Lao Tzu below are wise and true, I came to realize this after I finally stopped what had become a runaway train, a train that I no longer had any control over.

“Manifest plainness,
Embrace simplicity,
Reduce selfishness,
Have few desires.”  

35 minutes at 2/3's pace---exhausting! stretching after--had to skip the weights.

How was your day?

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Take Time

I'm in a reflective mood, here is something to contemplate:
1. Take time to Work--
it is the price of success.
2.Take time to Think--
it is the source of power.
3.Take time to Play--
it is the secret of youth.
4.Take time to Read--
it is the foundation of knowledge.
5.Take time to Help and Enjoy Friends--
it is the source of happiness.
6.Take time to Love--
it is the one sacrament of life.
7.Take time to Dream--
it is the sustainer of hope.
8.Take time to Laugh--
it is the nourisher of the soul.
9.Take time for Beauty--
it is everywhere in nature.
10.Take time for Health--
it is the wealth and treasure of this life.
Author Unknown.

Count your blessings!

A hard day at work--stretching after.

What did you do?

Friday, August 23, 2013

When You're Injured

We've all been through it, our training is going well, then we get injured. The initial denial of that injury soon gives way to a kind of depressed recognition of the reality, your injured.
In the 'old days,' ways to stay fit and alternative exercises were not as numerous or as available as they are today. A stationary cycle was about all I had because I didn't belong to a health club and couldn't swim very well. Since I was, and am a runner, I didn't want to lose any of my aerobic fitness.
Today, there are so many great devices and things you can use to maintain your fitness when you are injured.
What should your priorities be when you are injured? I don't know who wrote the 4 priorities you are about to read but I've put them in quotes to differentiate them from the comments I make after.
1. 'Maintain your cardio-pulmonary condition.'
 Naturally, #1 is so much more essential when you are involved in sports that require running, swimming or biking. As I indicated, thank God for the advancement of alternative exercises.
2.'Maintain strength, endurance and flexibility in your muscles.'
Resist the urge to say you'll 'get back into it' when you're better. What you do or don't do when you're injured is a great indicator of your level of commitment.
3.'Avoid weight gain.'
Eat less if you are less active. It sounds so severe and austere to recommend not eating as much as usual. People need to view eating and food with a different mindset but that's the subject for another post.
4.'Minimize attendant depression.'
Perhaps the hardest of the four. You love doing something and now you can't do it for an undetermined length of time. Who wouldn't be depressed?
I read once that when the great Japanese marathoner Seko was injured and couldn't run, he walked 20 miles a day. I found this story to be a big encouragement to me over the years when I've been injured. It is also good when you can read accounts of other athletes who have overcome physical trials and injuries.

Injuries are all part of the journey. You can let them beat you down and discourage you or you can make the most of the situation and come out a better person.

30 minutes easy---stretching after with calisthenics.
How was your day?

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Yes You Can!

While reading over some things John Wooden had said and written I came across a quote that really impressed me:
"Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do."

Also, add to the above, don't let past missteps and failures make you think you can't succeed at those very same things in the future.

 Most of us have a tendency to look at what is lacking in our training or athletics instead of considering our strengths. We all underestimate what we can accomplish and need to provide ourselves with daily reminders that our perceived limitations are too often self-imposed.

It all makes me think of the following story. My friend Ralph Zimmerman qualified for the Olympic Marathon Trials in 1980 at the age of 38. The trials were being held right in his backyard on a course that ran from Buffalo to Niagara Falls, Ontario. A fabulous course by the way, worthy of being the site of two Olympic Marathon Trials.
Well, one thing Ralph said that really made an impression on me was, that while attending a prerace party with the best marathoners in the country, he came to the realization that they were no different than "me" or anyone else. He added: "They put their pants on one leg at a time, they were runners just like I am ."
If you have the feeling that success is only for the 'gifted' or certain 'other' people you need to realize that this isn't the way it really is.

Lazy day---rested and stretched.
What did you do today?

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Few Thoughts

Sort of follow up on yesterday's theme, Henry David Thoreau reminds us of the benefit of keeping our lives simple. Take some time and consider the following:

“Most of the luxuries, and many of the so-called comforts of life, are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind.”

You could add to the above that the work needed to acquire many of these luxuries can lock you into a lifestyle that is anything but enjoyable.
Do we really need all we have. Do these 'things' enrich our lives?

 “Why should we live with such hurry and waste of life?”

Make every day count because it could all be over in an instant, sorry if this upsetting to some but someone needs to remind you.

40 minutes easy with 5---30 second pickups mixed in--stretching after.

How was your day?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

An Insight and a Warning that is Still Relevant Today

It's hard to believe that what you are about to read by Aldous Huxley was written 50 years ago. It describes the state and condition of far too many people in society today.

"It's curious that although man has protected himself against plagues, we see that in their place he has called up a  formidable array of degenerative diseases hardly known among the lower animals.Most of these degenerative diseases are due to the fact that civilized human beings do not, on any level of their being, live in harmony with a natural life. They love to intensify their selfhood through gluttony, therefore eat the wrong food and too much of it; they inflict upon themselves chronic anxiety over money and, because they crave excitement, chronic over-stimulation; they suffer, during their working hours, from the chronic boredom and frustration imposed by the sort of jobs that have to be done in order to satisfy the artificially stimulated demand for the fruits of fully mechanized mass production. Among the consequences of these wrong uses of the psycho-social organism are degenerative changes in particular organs, such as the heart, kidneys, pancreas, intestines and arteries."

Keep it simple--don't get sucked into the 'you must have things'  and be constantly doing things to be happy.

A lazy day--45 minute walk with stretching after--lifted weights for 20 minutes.
How was your day?

Monday, August 19, 2013

Open Letter to Marc---On the Recovery of a Burned -Out Athlete

Marc is a friend who got heavily involved in training, particularly running with some biking and swimming, as a means of recovering from years of heavy drinking and poor eating habits.
His story is not unusual--he once weighed something like 240 pounds and got down to about 160 by training hard day after day. Marc's probably 5'10" at the most, so his transformation from being a self-described drunk and glutton is all the more remarkable.
I came to know Marc when he was still training hard but hampered by overuse injuries like a heel spur and plantar faciitis. One thing I noticed about Marc was that when I tried to give him some advice on what to do about his injuries (rest, alternative exercises),he didn't really want to hear it. He told me that he ate a lot and needed to run to burn off the calories. When I told him he should eat less or load up on things like salad he just sort of dismissed it. By the way,I just saw that you burn 300 calories if you do a half hour of easy jogging. It'll take a lot of miles to burn a lot of calories that way.
Anyway, another thing I learned about Marc was that he was clueless about the principles of training. Previously, I had given him a book edited by Joe Henderson and another by Bob Glover that dealt with all things relating to training, racing and injury prevention. My sense is that he didn't pay them much mind.
I saw Marc for the first time in around a month the other day and was a little alarmed by his appearance. He had obviously put on about 20 pounds. He didn't look fit or healthy. When I asked him how it was going he said that he had taken 3 weeks off because he was totally burned out and his foot had been bothering him. He added that he was having trouble getting back into it. I told him to ease into it, do the walking and running combination, be more concerned with time out on your feet instead of mileage. Marc's far away look let me know that I was sending and he wasn't receiving. A week later he told me had done 40 miles that week. All I could think was, you went from basically zero to 40 in one week? Where do you think that is going to take you?
Well--the following is dedicated to Marc and all the other Marc's of the athletic world---
Dear Marc,
Glad to hear you are healthy again. You are a smart guy and recognize the saying, now cliché, that says if we don't learn from our mistakes we are doomed to repeat them. I'm sure you don't want to go down the same path you just got off of.
I would strongly recommend that you set yourself some goals--the first one I'll do for you--#1.Get back in shape. That mostly involves shedding the extra pounds. The next goal or goals you set for yourself. Since you like to race, pick one 3 months or so down the road that you can enter, preferably a 5k or less. That will give you an added purpose to your training. You do triathlons and biathlons, if you want, consider an event you can enter within a year.
Next--start out easy--jog easy and walk--focus on time out on your feet, not mileage.You like the gym, somedays use the stairmaster as an alternative to running, this is also a wonderful way to simulate running the hills or the stairs. Swim--bike--they are all part of your conditioning process.
Read the books on training and the inspiring literature, your lack of proper training and rest, is what got you to where you are now. The Henderson and Glover books offer great advice on how to set up a training program that suits you and your needs.You have to have a map to get to your destination.
Finally--recognize and acknowledge why you compulsively over trained when you knew you needed to gear back.Being the ideal athlete requires reading,thinking and contemplation,and that sometimes means looking inward.
All the Best!

30 minutes running at 2/3's pace--agonizing in spots---exhilarating after.
What did you do?

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Advice For Today

They don't have coaches in any of the big time colleges like the late John Wooden anymore. He believed in building character as well as basketball skills and wins at UCLA.
In an era of cheating, deception and boorish behavior by players and college coaches alike, Wooden's words may sound archaic and corny in this advanced and "enlightened" 21th century but they should be taught to everyone.

“Be true to yourself.
Make each day your masterpiece.
Help others.
Drink deeply from good books.
Make friendship a fine art.
Build a shelter against a rainy day.
Pray for guidance and give thanks for your blessings every day.”

A lazy day--40 minutes easy--stretching after.
What did you do?

Saturday, August 17, 2013

With Age Comes New Challenges and Opportunities

I recently talked with a friend and he lamented that due to the passing of years he couldn't hit the racing times he once did. I told him new challenges and adventures awaited him, if, he changed his way of thinking and made some adjustments in his training.
I then gave this guy a few articles on Jack Lalanne that I had and reread from time to time. Jack was the real deal. He was a leader in the nutritional/physical fitness field who actually lived a long healthy life(that's not all that common by the way).  He had a passion for living that was infectious and nurtured by his total immersion in training and athletics. If you don't know much about Jack, do a Google search and be prepared to be inspired. With this blog I hadn't intended to post any pictures but I make this exception. Below, as you'll read, is Jack doing extended finger tip push-ups at age 80.
And we say we can't do what?

“Forget about what you used to do. This is the moment you’ve been waiting for.” Jack Lalanne
Read that again.  ”This is the moment you’ve been waiting for.”
An 80 Year Young Jack Lalanne ripping out finger tip push-ups.
25 minute tempo run--with stretching and weight work--after looking at Jack's picture two things came to mind--I should have done more and this is the time I've been waiting for.
How 'bout you?

Friday, August 16, 2013

Reassess and Persevere

Today's post is sort of a companion piece to yesterdays'. Perhaps it's better to say that it's my hope that they complement each other. I think at one time or another we've all been discouraged with our training, maybe we weren't making the gains we think we should be, or if you compete,perhaps you've had a bad race or two. Running great Bill Rodgers offers up some things to keep in mind during these difficult times. No matter what sport you are involved in his insights are applicable. He says the following: "You have to hang on and look at the future. This is a very significant point. Running(or training) is never a waste. Everything you are doing now is all part of the grand plan. What's going to happen nine years down the road? The more you train, the more consistent you become." We tend to forget about the cumulative benefits of training year after year. It's uncommon to hear your average local athlete talk about where they think their training(and racing) will be in five years. That's unfortunate because if you continue to train smartly and consistently, you will become a better and stronger athlete. On a related note, I knew one athlete who raced frequently at the 5k and 10k distances and became discouraged one season with his times. He reassessed his training and decided to make some changes. Within a year he was back racing better than ever. A thinking, determined and consistent athlete can accomplish much.
Big work day today--7 1/2 hours on my feet with much lifting and moving---stretched after.
What did you do?

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Often Forgotten Benefit of Sports and Exercise

I don't recall when I first realized that sport and exercise provided more than just a way to experiencing enjoyment and getting fit. I wish I had become 'enlightened' to all that sport and exercise had to offer sooner than I did.  Consider the following from Chungliang Al Huang---
"Sports and exercise can become a testing ground enabling you to improve and expand your definition of self. The physical path provides a direct inner conduit  for the creation of a positive self-image. With sports and exercise, you are constantly being challenged to face your fears, fatigue, ego, self-doubt, and courage. When you dig down deep and rise to the occasion, you discover the real you. You collect the data that begins to redefine the image of who you really are at this moment, not what others may think or say about you."

The great philosophical coaches always taught that the ideal athlete is a deep thinker, one who reads and studies, someone who looks beyond the superficial.  Sport and exercise can offer so much more than solely the physical.

A rest day today---read quite a bit---went for a half hour walk--ate less.

What did you do?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Self Limitations

A variation on yesterday's theme--consider this from Chungliang Al Huang--

"Many people have bought into stories of self-limitations. People who argue FOR their limitations are limited. You need to know that, whatever you imagine your limitations in life to be, if your willing to trust the enormous capacity for growth that you've been given and take the necessary steps to develop yourself, you will redefine and explore the boundaries of your full potential."

The above quote applies to athletic, as well as non-athletic endeavors.

The reality is--we set limits on ourselves because we don't have the confidence or we don't recognize our potential to accomplish infinitely more than we think we can. Then again,the harsh reality for many is---they don't really want what they say they want, they don't want to do the 'work". I've always thought that if you are doing something athletic like say running, isn't all the "work" a labor of love?

Remember what Yiannis said.
30 minutes easy running today with stretching and much walking after.
What did you do?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Strive Everyday

Bruce Lee is thought by far too many people as a martial artist who made karate films and died young. Bruce was a deep thinker who typified someone who was at the top of their game mentally and physically. Consider this first quote---

“...if you always put limits on what you can do, physical or anything else, it’ll spread over into the rest of your life. It’ll spread into your work, into your morality, into your entire being. There are no limits. There are plateaus, but you must not stay there, you must go beyond them. If it kills you, it kills you. A man must constantly exceed his level.” Bruce Lee

We must remind ourselves daily that we can do infinitely more than we think we can. Setting limits on ourselves and negative thoughts have to be rooted out, daily. Doing so will bring happiness and success. Remember though,success is often subjective, one person's view of success may not be another persons'. 

And finally---

“A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.” Bruce Lee

The learning, the character building and the happiness are often found in the journey, not in the finish or the prize.

20 minutes easy--weight work- stretching after-- a great day.
What did you do?

Monday, August 12, 2013


There was a time when going to the hospital meant you were getting the kind of care needed to get better. Those days for far too many people are a thing of the past. If you don't believe this or what I'm about to say, talk to someone who's been in a hospital recently or visited a family member. What you will inevitably hear are stories of poor care and miscommunication. It pains me to say this because for 40 years I worked in and around hospitals.
Part of being at the top of your game means taking control of your health, engaging in a lifestyle that is health building not health destroying.
Granted, sometimes ending up in a hospital is unavoidable, but, do all you can to lessen your chances of becoming a patient in one. Consider these facts--if they seem too incredible to be true, then do a Google search and you'll see for yourself.
The CDC (Center for Disease Control) states that 1.7 million people contract infections in the hospital each year. It is suspected that this number is much higher. 100,000 people a year die from hospital acquired infections. Also,many of the infections acquired in the hospital are very resistant to conventional antibiotics.
And last but not least, 180,000 patients die in hospitals each year as a result of preventable medical errors.
It's grim folks.
Today was a strideout kind of day---easy jogging for 10 minutes then 2 sets of 5 reps in each set of smooth and relaxed 100 yard strideouts--after each strideout I jogged back to the start again. 15 minute warm down. Stretching and calisthenics after.
So what have you got planned?

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Heart of a Champion

Read the following and ask yourself, do I have a champion's heart? Do I have the zeal, attitude. commitment, and yes, the heart of a champion? Explore what you can do and accomplish athletically if you haven't already,commit to commit. Your life will take on a whole new dimension and purpose when you do.

I am the champion's heart,
Sometimes I'm called your spirit.
I'm a part of every true athlete's life.
I am what causes you to train when you don't feel like it.
I make you go outside when the weather tells you not to.
I'm the one who makes you crazy when you're injured.
I'm the one who tells you,you can do more,even after you've found victory or satisfaction.
I am the one who doesn't let you give up,even when everyone tells you that you should.
I'm the one who makes you feel guilty when you've told yourself you've quit for good.
I'm the one who keeps you coming back.
I am the champion's heart.

To me, a champion is one who keeps at it day after day, week after week, year after year. They do it because they love it, it's an integral part of who they are. The same enthusiasm, determination and perseverance you give to athletics will lead you to be at the top of your game mentally as well as physically.
A heavy work day today, calisthenics and stretching before and after.
What did you do?

Saturday, August 10, 2013


It's another short day today--consider the following quote---I mean really think about it. Reading is rapidly on its way to becoming a thing of the past kind of activity for the majority of people.
As I used to write on my 'Live For the Run' blog---you can never fully develop as an athlete unless you read and study.

“Everyone who knows how to read has it in their power to magnify themselves, to multiply the ways in which they exist, to make their life full, significant, and interesting.”   Quote by Aldous Huxley.

It's a work day today but I did a 20 minute easy run with much stretching and sweating after.
My recommended fluid replacement beverage is Knudson's Recharge Sports drink--available in health food stores-co-ops and Whole Foods--it's natural and provides quality fluid replacement  without the garbage you find in PowerAde and Gatorade. Oh yeah, it tastes great.

So--what are you doing today?

Friday, August 9, 2013

Two's Company

I don't know how much this topic is brought up in training circles these days but it is one I think about from time to time; it has to do with whether it is better to train alone or train with others. I am referring here to non-team sports like distance running, cycling, weight lifting, etc.
I know for years I have taken the 'lone wolf' approach to my distance training but recent events have caused me to change my way of thinking on this.
This past week I have been running with someone every day. Prior to this time I hadn't run with another person in 8 months. Here's one thing I have noticed, and it's a big thing to me; usually when I go out alone I am very conscious of every physical ache and complaint that often pops up in the first few or more minutes of a run. That hasn't happened this week.
Also, it seemed easier running the same distances that I always run, consequently,I ran further. They say a lot about your mind having an effect on your physical abilities and I can see why after this relatively simple experience I've had.
When running, my mind this week hasn't been focused on myself, it's been on interacting with someone else.
I wonder if I preferred the 'lone wolf' approach in recent years because it was pretty difficult finding someone to run with around where I lived?
Either way, there are times when you should go it alone when you are training. For me, if I want to do some serious thinking I'll take a nice easy long run away from cars and people. Then on the occasion that I want to test my mental and physical toughness, I'll do a time trial or pace run solo.
Overall, I'm  liking the training with a partner approach.
40 minutes easy today ---calisthenics and stretching after.
What have you got planned?

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Taking Things For Granted

It's a short night tonight, more in the morning---consider this:

"Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted."
Quote by Aldous Huxley.

Don't be one of those human beings.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Test Yourself

For those of who want to be at the top of their game physically, I believe it is important to  periodically test yourself to see where you're at, meaning, what kind of condition are you in right now? With each sport there are specific ways of gauging your fitness. With running, I sometimes run 2 miles or a 5k, not all out but definitely at what I feel is 3/4's effort. I believe running all out is something you do when you are physically ready to do so. Presently, I'm not in that kind of condition but I want to see how I feel 'working it' as they say. Another important side benefit to this practice is that doing these workouts strengthen you mentally. I remember when I used to run a 3.3 mile time trial with Ralph Zimmerman over a very hilly challenging course at Chestnut  Ridge, I felt the kind of anxiety and adrenaline rush that I would get before a race. This workout prepared me mentally and physically for racing like no other.
At the end of September I may actually try racing a 5k that is heavy on trail and hill work.
All the above makes me think---who was it that said that 'an ideal life is one that has many challenges.' Maybe Yiannis--I can't recall at the moment although I do love his quote---'hear many,say little.'
I think I'll run down yesterday's workout since I got in so late---a 25 minute run over the sand at 2/3's speed followed by swimming after. Today will be much the same except the run will be easier and 10 minutes longer.
What have you got planned?

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

On Adversity

"Adversity introduces a man to himself."  ~Author Unknown.
Challenges that we face along the way in our quest to be at the top of our game mentally and physically ultimately test one's character and resolve.

Bear with me till Saturday when things should be back to normal. More on this tomorrow.

Monday, August 5, 2013

The Often Forgotten Organ in the Aging Process

There's nothing sadder than someone who can't accept that the reality of the aging process
We should maintain peak physical condition as we age but that some adjustments have to be made along the way. I intend to do a post on that sometime next week.
For years I have seen people well into their 'senior' years do impressive physical things in an attempt to deal (delay?) with the aging process.
Readers to my Live For The Run blog recall that I stressed the absolute necessity of working the mind(brain)---consider the following from 'Nature', a British science journal:
"The degree of mental activity has a great effect on the aging of nerve cells. Time and again we have noted how the destruction of nerve cells which normally stimulate other nerve cells leads to the premature aging of the latter. On the other hand, the aging of nerve tissue is delayed by the normal activity of the nerve particularly active individuals the aging of certain ganglion cells is delayed. Great mental activity can bring about the growth of new nerve tissue in brains which long seemed to be mature. From this we learn that the brain,unlike other organs of the body, does not wear out with use. On the contrary, the more we use our brains the less tendency they have to grow old prematurely."
The above is one big reason why television is such a danger to your brain,it does very,very little in stimulating your brain the way it should be stimulated.
Read books,play chess and other board games with your friends and family; take courses, learn another language, do anything that not only stimulates your brain but makes you more interesting as a person.
Worked hard today,  lots of lifting, on my feet for 7 hours, did stretching after.
More time with family tomorrow at Carolina Beach, plan to run and swim ala Cerutty style, all I need are some decent sand dunes.
What did you do today?

Sunday, August 4, 2013

It's All About Perception and Values

Family is down from Buffalo so posting has been difficult to fit in but I wanted to leave something to think about each day. Consider this from Thoreau--written over 150 years ago, it is still relevant in the 21th century.
"If a man walk in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer; but if he spends his whole day as a speculator, shearing off these woods and making earth bald before her time, he is esteemed an industrious and enterprising citizen."
To that I add:
"You pave paradise, put up a parking lot."
Enough with the needless destruction of our land, forests and natural habitat.
25 minute tempo run on the beach, really had a feeling I had worked it when I was done--swimming and stretching after. Just a great feeling after.
So, what did you do today?

Saturday, August 3, 2013

If Needed--Change Your Way of Thinking

As the new week is about to begin, this may be advice some of us need to follow ----Free your mind of remembrances of old disappointment as well as thoughts of spite, revenge, criticism, and the condemnation of yourself and others. Stop brooding over failure, leave behind the self-pity,the rehashing of old troubles and the morbid lingering of thoughts concerning injury or death.
These are the negative thoughts that blight the personality and lessen the potential of any life.
So true!
A great day today---an hour walk at the ocean with swimming.
What did you do?

Friday, August 2, 2013

Success is Not Always Determined by Where You Finish

I recall an era a long time ago when track and field was a high profile sport in the U.S. I became involved in running and racing because of what I saw and read about the sport when I was young.  Unfortunately, running is no longer a high profile sport. Track and Field gets minimal coverage these days. The  public's interest has now shifted to pro sports like basketball, baseball and football.
What follows is an attempt to describe an often forgotten aspect of sports and athletic competition plus reaffirm the fact that winning, unlike what everyone seems to believe, is not the be all, end all of competition.
I've observed, and come to the conclusion, that U.S. fans no longer possess any kind of aptitude into what middle and long distance racing are all about. I believe they once understood that it is not the nature of competitive running for someone to win everytime out, and more importantly, that even the greatest of runners will lose on occasion. Now, in sports like football, hockey, baseball and basketball there is always a clear winner, someone comes in first, someone loses. I remember when Alberto Salazar was the world's best marathoner and won most of the races he entered. Then one time he came in 5th at a marathon overseas against the world's best distance runners. The overall response to this finish by the general public, press, and even some U.S. running magazines, was that he had failed. I believe I picked up a similar reaction when Frank Shorter came in second at the 1976 Olympic marathon. Again,the, 'if you don't come in first you're a loser' mentality doesn't apply to distance running or many other athletic contests either.
Consequently,it is not surprising that in recent years people have now become so outcome oriented in their view of  personal competition that they lose sight of something very important about competition. It is not all about winning or the personal records that you may set, but as Kenny Moore wrote, it's"in knowing that you learned how to be brave and to do something better than you first thought you could."
I would add to that--knowing that you committed,disciplined and focused yourself in a way you probably never thought you could--and---- irregardless  of how you finished --- you derived great pleasure and satisfaction from the whole process.
Don't lose sight of that truth.
Tough work day---stretched before and after.
What did you do?

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Beware of Pharmaceuticals

Another title I was considering for today's post was beware of drugs but I didn't want to give the impression that I was talking about the illicit ones like marijuana, cocaine, crack, etc.
No, I'm referring to prescribed and over the counter drugs. There was a time, I don't know how long ago, that people totally trusted their doctors and pharmacists and would take what they prescribed pretty much without question. With the passing years and the periodic news reports of the problems with many drugs this has thankfully changed. Too often yesterday's miracle drug has become the focus of 1-800 ads by lawyers for people who've experienced serious problems and even death.
I was a medication nurse in the psychiatric and medical fields for 20+ years and can honestly say that every drug you take has a side effect. The decision every person has to make in regards to taking a medication is this, does the benefit of taking it justify the side effects? Also, using a drug long term increases your risk of health problems.
A typical example--you have acid reflux--docs and commercials and Larry the Cable guy tell you to take Prilosec(or Nexium) and your problems will be over. The reality is that long term use of this drug effects the body's ability to absorb nutrients,vitamins and minerals into your system. Anemia is common in long time users of Prilosec.
I could go on and on--certain prescribed drugs for anxiety and sleep cause dependence and addiction. The psychiatric drugs that I regularly gave out for years carry serious side effects, every one of them!  Granted, there were times when the gravity of the disorder dictated that something must be done but little thought was ever given to tapering or considering the long-term consequences. Consider the ADHD drugs given to our kids, they  delay their growth and suppress appetite. The U.S. by the way dispenses 85% of the world's ADHD medications, what's up with that?
Doctors through the years have over prescribed antibiotics to their patients and they are now discovering that some medical conditions are resistant to antibiotics.
Again, every drug, every drug, has a side effect, even the seemingly benign over the counter pain relievers--take a moment and read this most interesting article on these pain relievers---

If we want to be at the top of our game--we must take control of our health--every aspect of it! Be very wary of pharmaceuticals!
What we are seeing in many of these posts are a common theme that should run through our lives--individuals, more than ever, have to do the study and the investigation before they allow things to happen---don't leave it up to others to do things and make decisions that will not only impact your health but your whole life.
A good reference book I would recommend for anyone seeking to take charge of their health would be----'Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine' (3rd) edition by Murray and Pizzorno. Extremely well researched and updated, it's solid, not faddist. This book can be bought real cheap on Amazon. In my opinion it's a must have.
Today--a beautiful day--there's something about running in the rain during the summer---45 minutes easy with stretching and calisthenics after.
How was your day?