Why Should All Runners Do Speed Work? (in two minutes) #running #run #runner

Why should you run speed work? Find out on RUN Time Why should you run speed work? Today I tell you runners the importance of speed workouts in just two quick minutes. Watch to find out why speed workouts are so important to your development as a runner.

This week on RUN Time from Running-Advice.com.

Run Time is the talk show for runners, featuring interviews, discussions, quick tips and more. Run Time is hosted by Coach Joe English. You can follow Joe on Twitter as @coachjoeenglish

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Five Things I’ve Learned About Running That Change Everything #running

running-advice-bugMy stomach was bothering me today. I wanted to go out for my run, but I’ve been doing this running thing for a long time. I know it’s a mistake to head out the door with a stomach ache. You’re just asking for trouble. While I reflected on that, I came up with a few other things that I’ve learned in my time running that . . . change everything . . . if you take the time to learn them.

"You can't run with diarrhea." Photo: Joe English

“You can’t run with diarrhea.” Photo: Joe English

First, you can’t run when you have diarrhea. I know this seems like an odd thing to begin with, but it is true. You can’t run when you have diarrhea. Or another way to say this is that you can’t simultaneously keep diarrhea inside your body while running. With some real effort, you can train yourself to keep the diarrhea from explosively erupting if you really concentrate. But, honestly, it’s just easier to walk until you’ve found a more appropriate place to let it out. Perhaps more importantly, diarrhea is a stand-in for many things that keep us runners down. Like the proverbial thorn in the lion’s foot, there are just some things that keep us from doing what we intend to do. Sometimes you just have to stop and walk, let the shit out, and then continue on with your run. Shit may get in the way of our dreams in the short-term, but you will one day conquer it if you keep after it. It ain’t pretty, but that’s life.

Second, people that don’t run will never understand why we get so excited about running. I’m personally not sure why people get excited about reeling in a big fish. I don’t enjoy tracking down a tough software engineering problem. I may never get excited about birthday parties, large trucks or bowling alleys. We’re all different. We like different things and we get excited about different things. Running is our thing and they will never get it. It doesn’t matter if we’ve shaved 31 minutes off of our life-time PR or just found the perfect pair of shoes for running in mud. It also doesn’t matter if we’ve run 50 marathons in 50 states or done “a real bitch that nearly killed us.” They still won’t get it. And that’s fine. The important thing is that we are happy, fulfilled and joyful. All of us. It’s about acceptance and allowance. Let me run in peace and I will let you fish in peace. But please don’t try to force me to come fishing with you and I won’t make you run with me.

Third, it isn’t the distance that matters, it’s the effort that we put into it. People ask me all of the time why I would “bother” running 5K road races. People have also marveled at the fact that at times I have logged forty or fifty miles of running and walking in a day on marathon courses. You can pack a lot of effort into a short distance. It’s not the quantity of miles, it’s the quality of the effort. We decide where we focus and it’s our attention that makes the experience meaningful. There are times when we really need to focus. There are times when we have to muster all of our energy and put everything into it. At those times do it and don’t get distracted by anything else. There are times to slow down and relax too. It’s not about the things we do, it’s about how we do them.
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Run Time — The John Bingham Interview (Part II) — Episode 6

running-advice-bugThis week on RUNTime we have part 2 of our discussion with the ever insightful John “The Penguin” Bingham. On this episode we talk about the different generations of runners over the past few decades, how they’ve changed, and we talk about the future of running events. — with Joe English and John Bingham.

This is part 2 of 4 parts.

Run Time is the talk show for runners, featuring interviews, discussions, quick tips and more. Run Time is hosted by Coach Joe English. You can follow Joe on Twitter as @coachjoeenglish

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www.running-advice.com

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21-days Without Sugar: Five Things I Learned (series part II)

running-advice-bugThey say that once something is raised to your awareness it is hard to let it slip back into the unconscious. Once you know something you can’t un-know it. After my 21-day experiment to eliminate added sugars from my diet, I was left feeling overwhelmed by the experience. Not only do I now look for sugar on the ingredients of everything I eat, I’m starting to fully internalize how difficult it would be to purge hidden sugar from your life on a more permanent basis. It would certainly mean a different approach to eating at home, but the prospect of eating when traveling or eating out at restaurants is daunting.

Photo: Joe English

Photo: Joe English

Hidden sugar is systemic: it’s a way to make foods more cheaply and therefore those making food have an incentive to use a lot it. Until we reach a tipping point that the general public considers sugar something that makes food “toxic” it won’t be purged out of the food. People, for one thing, like the taste of foods with sugars in them and collectively we don’t make good choices when it comes to choosing things that are good for us. But if we take something like gluten or MSG as an example, there have been at their respective times a point when people started to be on the lookout for these items and over time we’ve seen more and more gluten-free products — and MSG is generally no longer used in fast-food cooking. We’ve seen something akin to this recently with high-fructose corn syrup; people are on the lookout for it. But sadly, I think food manufacturers are simply replacing high-fructose corn-syrup with other added sugars that haven’t been branded as “bad.”

Let’s not forget why this is important. There are three reasons: 1) sugar is likely addictive or at least seems to shape our behavior in that we want to eat more of it; 2) sugar packs more calories into smaller amounts of food, which leads us to eat more mass to fill our stomachs; and 3) sugar is quickly absorbed into our system, but doesn’t have a long-lasting effect, meaning we want to eat again sooner than we should. Just think of those tiny pastries at the Starbucks counter. Their sweet and sticky and pack 500 calories in a little square. They taste good going down, but you’ll be hungry again in an hour after eating them. This is what I would call the “snack trap.” You’ve “snacked” rather than eaten a meal. You likely didn’t get what you needed and you’ll be hungry again in an hour. Boo!

This feels like one of those things that could make you throw up your hands and say, ‘there’s just no way.’ But there are some things that we can do to keep this in our conscious awareness and hopefully make a dent into the sugars that are hiding in our food. I can at least offer five things I learned that we could all practice in our shopping and food choices.

1) Read the ingredients and ignore the marketing — There’s so much distraction happening on food packaging that is can be hard to spot the healthy foods from the pretenders. I was browsing the bread aisle and I picked up one of the healthiest looking breads last week. It said “100% Whole Wheat” on the front and then in big read letters said, “No High-Fructose Corn Syrup!” The second ingredient in the bread was sugar and it had the most sugar of any that I looked at that day. While the marketing claim was true, the statement was misleading in that it implies that the product has less sugar in it. In fact, it had more sugar than most of the breads, they just didn’t use high-fructose corn syrup. Turn the package around and make your choice from the ingredients list.
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21 Days Without Sugar Experiment: that was hard! (part 1)

running-advice-bugThere seems to be tremendous interest right now in the health effects of sugar in our diets. Many people say that it is sugar, rather than fat, that is leading people to be overweight. Documentaries like “Fed Up” talk about both the addictive nature of sugar and how the idea of “eating better and exercising more” makes little sense when the environment makes it practically impossible to eliminate sugar additives from your diet in the first place. No matter how hard you try, the deck is simply stacked against you, so the thinking goes.

SugarSo 21 days ago I set out to see if it was possible: could I eliminate sugars from my diet and what would be the impact on my behavior and general sense of well-being? I didn’t go into this trying to fix some specific problem or to lose weight. Rather in the end I learned a lot about how it felt and really how hard it was to do it.

The ground rules of my test
First things first, what did this experiment mean to me? I planned to eliminate foods containing sugar or sugar additives as ingredients in food. That would include anything appearing on a label such as sugar, cane sugar, corn syrup, brown rice syrup, malto-dextrine and many other items. This was not intended to be a test of one type of sugar against another or their respective nutritional values. As an athlete I wanted to keep some carbohydrate in my diet so I kept WHOLE fruit (not fruit juice) and some carbohydrate (such as rice or pasta) so long as those foods didn’t include sugar additives. Most bread, for example, includes various types of sugars (depending on the recipe) so most bread was out. I also kept some cheese in my diet, which includes lactose (sugar from milk) but I would not have eaten something like sweetened yogurt or even sweetened almond or soy milk because of the added sugar in those products. Why keep cheese, you ask? Because I have been trained to have desert after a meal and a little cheese and fresh fruit was about my only choice.

In the beginning I thought, “this will be easy” (seriously I did!) because I cook at home a lot. I figured that so long as I was cooking, I simply wouldn’t add sugar to what I was cooking and I would live on meats, nuts, vegetables and whole fruit. But it only took about one meal to figure out just how hard this was going to be. Even cooking at home, nearly every condiment and sauce in my pantry for preparing foods had sugar in it. To my astonishment, this included most of your basic condiments such as mayonaise, ketchup, bar-b-que sauces and the like. The first cook-at-home meal, was pretty plain until I got out to the store to buy new versions of pretty much everything in the fridge. It didn’t stop with condiments either. I was floored to see sugar in places that I thought I could most definitely eat — like bacon (MEAT!), beef jerky (ALSO MEAT!), potato chips, and bread.

I replaced many things with alternatives, most of which tended to be locally made or small-batch products. I found mayo, fresh garlic sauce, hot dogs, and peanut butter, all without sugar, but it certainly took some doing. The first lesson of this is that if you look at the labels, you may be surprised at where you find sugar as an ingredient.
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Run Time: The John Bingham Interview (Part I) — Episode 5

running-advice-bugThis week on Run Time we kick-off a four-part series of interviews with John “The Penguin” Bingham. John was a Runner’s World and Competitor columnist and humorist who became the voice of the “Back of the Pack” during what’s called the Second Running Boom. On part one of the interview, John tells me how he got started as the Penguin and how his voice resonated with a whole generation of runners.

This is part 1 of 4 parts.

Run Time is the talk show for runners, featuring interviews, discussions, quick tips and more. Run Time is hosted by Coach Joe English. You can follow Joe on Twitter as @coachjoeenglish

Running Advice and News
www.running-advice.com

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Why do we run anyway? #running #marathon

running-advice-bugI used to always ask runners why they run. I don’t ask that question anymore, because most people can’t really articulate the answer. Now I ask almost every runner I meet this question: “do you run because you love it or because you have a talent for it?” I find the answers quite profound.

Photo: Joe English, Futurist Media

Photo: Joe English, Futurist Media

What I’ve heard from runners is both as surprising and varied as the runners themselves. I’ve heard people say that they run because they it helps them sleep. I’ve heard people say that they run because it allows them to eat whatever they like or drink more beer. I’ve heard people say that they do it to be with their friends. Some have told me that running gives them purpose in their life or they are doing it as a remembrance for someone. I’ve heard people say that it gives them direction and goals in their lives. I’ve heard people say they do it for the guys (or the girls). I’ve even heard at least one person say that she runs because she actually likes portable toilets, but she may have been pulling my leg.

But rarely do I hear people say straight-out: “I do it because I’m good at it.” And this seems to be true even among very fast runners.

I was thinking about this the other morning before a race. I wasn’t feeling very well. I was kind of tired and cranky. My legs were bothering me and my bike wasn’t working correctly. It all felt kind of like a big hassle that day. I asked myself the question that I ask so many other people: “Joe, do you do this because you love it or because you’re good at it?” Of course, on the one hand, I’m good at it. I’ve been doing it all of my life and have enjoyed great success as a runner. But as I thought through my answer I found myself thinking that there must be more than that. I know that If all we have is talent, then it makes it very hard to overcome the hassles, the struggles, the pain that we’re going to inevitably feel as we run. If we don’t have something more driving us, it seems to me, that it becomes very hard to overcome these barriers.

It’s the joy part of the equation that keeps us coming back for more.

Even if we don’t love running every single day, we must at least like it a little. Without the “like”, without the joy, without those many other things that it brings to us then we probably would just find excuses not to do it.

My psychologist friend likes to use the analogy of a tree, imagining that you are the tree. She says that the roots of the tree are what hold it up and keep it sturdy when the wind blows against it. Those roots need to include certain things: friendship, pleasure, exercise, spirituality, and love. The strong the roots, the stronger the tree when it gets stormy. The first time we talked about this, I said “well, my running is my exercise.” She didn’t like that answer much. ‘Are you sure?’ she asked. ‘Is it your exercise, or your spirituality, or your source of friendships?” I think I ultimately concluded that it was a mixture of many of the roots of my tree. Running brings a lot to my life, including the ability to help others, a time to meditate, and a time to ponder things more deeply than I can when I’m bombarded by everything going on in my life. Run strengthens me physically, but it also strengthens me in many other ways.

So even on a bad day, when running may feel like a hassle, there’s more to it than that. It’s more than just talent and more than just exercise. It’s also more than just joy. Running may be one of the very roots that holds our tree up when the wind starts blowing hard. And I suppose for that, I can say that I love it.

Coach Joe English @coachjoeenglish, Portland, Oregon, USA
Running Advice and News @runningadvice
(c) Running-advice.com 2015

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Five Key Stretches for Runners (in just 4 minutes) [Run Time Episode 4] #running

running-advice-bugOn this special “Quick Tips” episode of Run Time, Coach Joe English shows you runners five key stretches that every runner should be doing every day. These stretches are easy, relaxing and we’ll teach you about them in just a few short minutes.

Run Time is the talk show for runners. We feature interviews and advice for runners of all skill levels. Find more episodes on our web-site at running-advice.com. Follow Coach Joe English @coachjoeenglish

Future episodes will dive into running topics, including mental strategies, picking the best races, dealing with injuries, eating, book reviews and much more. Stay tuned. running-advice.com.

Running Advice and News
www.running-advice.com

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Why is the Boston Marathon a Big Deal? (in Two Minutes) #bostonmarathon #bostonstrong #marathon

running-advice-bugOn this special “Quick Tips” episode of Run Time, Coach Joe English answers the question: Why is the Boston Marathon such a big deal to runners? And he answers it in just two quick minutes. If you’ve been asked what’s so special about the Boston Marathon, then we’ve got the answer for you.

Run Time is the talk show for runners. We feature interviews and advice for runners of all skill levels. Find more episodes on our web-site at running-advice.com. Follow Coach Joe English @coachjoeenglish

Future episodes will dive into running topics, including mental strategies, picking the best races, dealing with injuries, eating, book reviews and much more. Stay tuned. running-advice.com.

Running Advice and News
www.running-advice.com

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Starting Over or Starting Up– Don’t Be a Hater #running #marathon #fitness

running-advice-bugIt’s springtime and that means that us runners are starting to train a little harder. The winter may have left you a little out of shape. It could be that you had such terrible weather that you couldn’t get outside much (that’s you on the East Coast) or it could be that you needed a break between racing seasons. Either way, it just could be that you’re hitting the pavement again and you might be feeling pretty pokey. My advice: don’t be a hater, be a lover.

Tired LegsOf course, I’m talking about self-love and hatred in this sense. On the one hand, it’s very easy to “hate” ourselves for “getting so out of shape” or “not being as fast as I was last season.” But you have every reason to love yourself right now.

First, you’re back out there doing it. That in itself is progress. Compared to those that are still watching March Madness in the sports bar, you’re doing something positive. Sometimes starting is the hardest part, they say. Take a moment to congratulate yourself on taking those first steps.

Second, it’s normal for it to feel hard when you start again. You will have lost some fitness, maybe put on a few pounds, or just generally forgotten what it feels like to run. Whatever the case, it won’t feel all magical and happy when you start back at the beginning of the season. The good news here is that you will spring back quickly. In a matter of weeks, you’ll be feeling much more positive that you started again and feeling much better to boot.
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