Arm-ed with an iPhone

Armed with an IPhone

With the announcements of 2 new iPhones coming out in just days, the Fleck household has been abuzz in cell phone talk this weekend.

We then notice our blood start to boil as our current phones get slower and drain battery more and more. Someone’s got to be doing this on purpose, right? It all sort of feels like a marketing plan to get you to buy a new phone…



America is currently underway with a cell phone plan revolution of sorts. Major carriers are dropping prices dramatically and that means if you’re stuck in a contract, you could be paying double (or more) what you would by shopping around. Take a look at the major carriers and you’ll see that Verizon (our provider) is just about the only company who’s not budging on prices.

So we went to T-Mobile to shop around. In short order, we discovered we’d end up getting more data and no contracts, all for $100 less per month! (And we are on a 20% discount with Verizon, mind you.) I like Verizon, but are they really +$100/mo. great?

I think this trend will continue. I think we’ll see phone prices go down and down. Shop around if you haven’t in a while, you could be saving a ton.

The Decision?

Not that its set in stone, but Kristin and I will probably upgrade, and the next step is to figure out which size phone we want. 4.7″ seems big but still manageable. Is 5.5″ too big?

Apple put a lot of work into creating some great new fitness and health tracking into the new phones, and that is really cool. It would be awesome to have those things work seamlessly in a bundled app.

That’s also what is starting to concern me. The new phones are much bigger and more on par with Android sizes now.

As a runner, I feel like the current iPhone is a somewhat large thing to be working out with, anyway.

If the whole point is to use the phone while working out, am I really going to be strapping a 5.5″ behemoth on my arm like that for every run? Are there case alternatives that now make more sense?

When the super-sized Androids started coming out, I was shocked how big they were, and the people who wore them with an armband running just looked silly to me.

Is Apple going to make wearing phablets on your arm cool? Will we all get used to this?

Let me know what you think in the comments!



Are you an Educated Runner?

I know with this week’s earlier post, you’ve been wondering what this Change could be. Well, it’s more of an improvement, and it will definitely be a learning experience.

I’ve been training for my fastest PR leading up to the Cincinnati Too Half Marathon on October 19th, and up to this point, I’ve been working on my own training schedule.

In my never-ending quest for securing a PR of 1:30 for this race, I came across a group of coaches from Educated Running, and they’ve got a great deal that really excited me.

They are currently running a coaching promotion called the USA Project 50/50, check it out:

USAProject5050

Though I have complete confidence in my ability to make a plan I can follow, I know that I do not have years and years of vast ninja knowledge that these coaches do.

I do not have the USA Track and Field Level 1 certifications that all of these coaches do, nor have I ever helped two high school cross country teams finish top in their Regional Meets like Coach Hammond.

I am looking forward to sharing my future training with you all leading up to the big race day October 19th!

I’ve been a runner for about 6 years now, and I still consider myself a student of running. There are so many things that I learn everyday about what running really is and what it can do for you.

I signed up for training because over the years, I’ve bootstrapped this whole operation with $30 shoes, $7 training watches and Jillian Michaels DVD’s. I have never had the chance to get expert knowledge into how to train for a specific running goal. This is going to help me in my preparation, and it will give me a chance to try new things with my training, many of which I’ve never dug deep into before.

I met with my coach, Coach Miranda via Google Hangouts, and it was a great introduction & kickoff to the training schedule. He said something that has already really resonated with me.

He said I need to trust him by taking a leap of faith.

I don’t think there’s a better statement than that. To pivot from my own training plan into something completely different is scary. I’m afraid that I’ll be abandoning my own plan and feel like a failure. I’m afraid that this plan will be too different from my own.

After much soul-searching, I realized that this is exactly the kind of leap of faith I need in order to grow in anything. Not just running, but in life.

The key to change is letting go of the fear – Pittacus Lore

Letting go of fear applies to so many good things. I’ve taken leaps of faith before where I had no idea what I was doing, and they’ve turned out to be some of the best moments of my life.

Follow me along this new and exciting path. I will also be blogging with them on their page, which you can check out here

This new coaching plan will lead me right into the Cincy Half Marathon Too, and I’m excited to see how this coaching can re-shape my whole training plan!

Educated Running is an online coaching service with a personal touch dedicated to making you a smarter runner. They believe that there is more to training than just following a plan. Their customized training plans enable you to trust in your training come race day.
You can find more Educated Running on their Facebook page, helpful facts about food on Instagram, and join the conversation on Twitter.

 

Half Marathon Training Week 2 – If I collapse, will the dogs come get me?

Half Marathon Training Week 2

This week, I ran into a big hairy problem on Thursday. It almost got me questioning: Did I really put out to the world that I’m going to finish a half marathon with my best PR ever? Scary to say the least.

That kind of broadcasting is exactly what is called for in my training, though. I need to have an audience holding me accountable on this one. I’ve told several running buddies about this new PR, as well as on social media and this blog.

Accountability partners are so key when reaching new goals.

Here’s what week 2 consisted of in terms of my training plan:

Half Marathon Training Week 2

Monday

Cross-Training (CT) has always been difficult for me.

I think this is a tough thing for many runners. There’s something about strength training that just seems easy to avoid altogether. I’ve trained for entire marathons without strength, which I actually don’t recommend.

The secret that I’ve found, though, is that the strength work is what keeps you going faster and farther. It’s going to be my secret sauce, and I’m taking it seriously this time.

My CT of choice so far has been Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30, for its ease of availability and use. I can come home and know I can have a choice between 3 different levels of workouts that I don’t have to think about.

It’s a tough 30 min workout and it’s relatively cheap, cost-wise. The only complaint with this I would say is that the menu previews on the DVD can not be skipped, so I end up wasting almost 5-10 minutes when I want to just get into the action.

Tuesday

This week, Kristin was on board for yoga with me!

We pulled out both mats and searched Youtube for Beginner Yoga and found Yoga with Adrienne series (check her out here). She has some good videos that are well-produced, but it is a little moderate for a beginner course. I couldn’t keep form for long, and Kristin was pretty sore the next day.

Kristin & Yoga

The time it took me to find an adequate video led me to believe there had to be something better out there. Some Yoga for runners, perhaps…

Enter Christine Felstead’s Yoga for Runners: The Essentials. Looking around for a good DVD on Yoga, this seemed to be well recommended on Amazon. I haven’t tried it yet, but I will be sure to let you know how it goes next week.

Wednesday

20 min pace run went much better than last week’s 15 min. The strength from the previous week’s CT was present. I had about a 7:05 pace, and I keep telling myself that the pace runs get faster, and that I’m not yet fast enough. I’ll have to shave off at least :15 per on this, and I want to cut even more to be safe.

Pace runs are where success is born. I can’t get faster unless I train faster, so these runs will be vital to overcome!

Thursday

Yasso 800s are a true test of preparedness.

I’ve been using them in my training for a long time, and they’ve always been really good indicators of performance capability.

After Thursday’s run, it was obvious I have some tough work cut out for me if I want to achieve this PR.

FYI: The idea behind the Yasso 800 is to run 800m relative to a goal pace finish. I’ve always used them for marathon times, but they can also be calculated for half-marathons.

With Yasso 800s, if you want to finish a marathon in 3hrs 45 min, you run 800m (or about 0.5 miles) in 3 min 45 sec, and then jog for 3min 45 sec, repeating up to 10 times.

 

This week, I started with 2x Y800s, and I had planned to run 0.5mi in 3min 10sec. I was running at a speed of 10.6mph, the fastest I’ve probably ever run. I only ran for 2min instead of 3, and I even slowed down on the second one.

Total running time was less than 10 min. and I was ready to collapse.

Something in me just could not run that fast that long. I thought I was going to fly off the treadmill. It worries me that I’ve set too audacious a goal, but I’m going to hit it again next week and see how it goes.

Saturday

While I had planned some strength training, I switched it up this week to run a 6mi. I waited until very late in the day to do this, and running 6 miles was easier than doing strength and cardio. Sometimes you just gotta switch it up.

Sunday

Did a strength session of Jillian Michaels, and then a brief 20 min run to loosen everything up. A solid end to a solid week of training.

 

I’m really glad I’m making my own schedule. I feel in tune to what I’m doing and I don’t feel bad about adjusting as I go. There is something about taking action and controlling your own success that is so empowering.

Has anyone else ever tried their own running schedule? How has it been going for you? I’d love to get your insights!



 

Half Marathon Training Week 1

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The first week of using my own training plan has been going surprisingly well, but not without its hiccups.

I’m planning for a 1h 30min PR, which will put me at a pace of at least 6:50/per mile, and I should be shooting for a little faster than that in order to ensure that I’m meeting my pace.

On the treadmill, which is where I do most of my training, that means no slower than 8.8 mph. I don’t know about you, but for me, this is fast!

After the first day of speed, I was worried that this goal was too audacious for me. I wasn’t huffing and puffing, but it was still hard to keep up & pain was present. By the end of the week, things have been progressing much better, and I’m already feeling stronger.

Here is what I’ve planned so far:

Training Schedule Week 1

I’m still tweaking the schedule by making sure that there is enough slow and fast-paced days. While I don’t have a heart rate monitor just yet, I’m trying to really key into my heart rate and know when I’m at a low, medium or high heart rate.

I’ve also added Yoga in for the first time, because as I run these very fast speeds, I tend to tighten up much faster, so I’m trying to counteract any issues down the road.

Here’s what I’ve learned from past speed races:

I find structure to be especially important when hitting a new goal. At last year’s half-marathon, I felt like I was guessing all the time with training. Though it did get me a good finishing time last year, I probably could have done much better. This year, I’m vowing to do better.

Here are some things I’m starting to do differently, because it seems they actually work. It also seems to be where I falter in setting awesome times.

1. Knowing the course.

I noticed in my last 5K run that I was doing pretty great, but my downfall was not knowing the course. I faltered in the last few minutes by losing steam with an added turn.

My mind and body were not prepared to do another loop. I was so close to getting in the top 10, but because of my shortcomings, I was not able to get into that top 10 timeframe. That won’t happen this time around.

I’m going to be making a trip or two around the course before race day, to get a feel for what I’m up against. I’ve honestly never done this before, but it seems like a great and important plan.

2. Planning for hills and other tough spots.

Good old-fashioned hill training should do the trick. Have you ever heard the mantra “I eat hills for breakfast”? That will be me. My treadmill goes to a 15% incline, and that is way more than anyone needs!

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3. Analyzing previous race times and training runs

Here’s a breakdown of last year by the numbers. At last year’s half marathon, I was 86th overall out of 1155 registered finishers. I was 13th in my age group. After how much I trained last year (not excellent), I should easily be getting in the top 10 in my age group this year.

Based on last years numbers, when I get my goal of 1:30 finish time, I’ll be in the overall top 20 finishers, in the top 7 runners of my age group, and in the top 2% of total course participants.

4. Visualizing my plan daily.

This means seeing the run I will have, even when its 90+ days away. It means pushing though a tough 20 minute run, even though I feel like calling it done after 15.

This means feeling like I’m running the marathon at every training run. It means not giving up, not waiting until “later”. Just getting it in & getting it done.

In Summary

It’s been a tough but rewarding week. I’ve had some great success, and I’m already starting to see changes. In the next post we’ll go into the diet and meal planning Kristin and I are on, and how it is helping both of us achieve even greater things.



 

My Next Running Goal!

Running in Japan

Accomplishments breed Progress.

Thus far, I’ve achieved two huge running milestones for myself: a sub 4 hour marathon, and an ultra. It’s hard to determine what’s next when you’ve already achieved what you thought might be impossible.

The vision must get bigger and bolder. What can one do in running when they’ve already hit their goals?

Do it Faster!

Coming off the slower but longer pace of the 50K run, I was pondering another street race. There’s something about flat-out speed that just gets really exciting. The speed bug always comes back!

What Race to do?

After some thought, I’m going to run the Cincinnati Half-Marathon Too!, on October 19th, 2014.

I ran in last year’s Cincy Half Marathon exactly one year ago from this race. Aside from the cold and rainy weather, it was a really good half-marathon starting at Sawyer Point & taking me around downtown Cincinnati.

Cincy Half 2013

Frank Dejulius and I after my 1st Half Marathon!

Believe it or not, last year was my first half-marathon, after 6+ years of running. I’d never gotten around to one of the most popular running distances out there!

It was a well-routed and well-marked course, and I had a great time, even despite the rain. It’s also sponsored by our good friends at Fleet Feet Sports!

All successes aside, there were a couple of issues from my first Half Marathon:

1. Unknown finish time

One of my toughest things to plan for last year was determining a finishing time. I didn’t really know what kind of time I’d be able to achieve. This is always a problem with initial PR’s (“Personal records” – Best time in a specific race length).

Last year I made a good PR of 1:42:20, because it was my first, and therefore best, time. It was pretty good, but for me, I felt like I was unsure of my true limits the whole time.

The main problem with last years race was that I didn’t have a good PLAN for how to run a half-marathon. I’m going to fix that this year.

2. Training schedule woes

I’ve always relied on others’ training schedules to carry me through a race. To me, it was great seeing everything laid out and not really having to think about a plan & just follow what someone else had made.

The problem with relying on someone else was I never did find a half-marathon training program that I liked or even used well.

I’m going to look at this year’s Half Marathon in a whole new way by owning my training.

This year, I’m making my Own training schedule!

 

Up until now, I’ve always been a follower with running. The 50K I did in June instilled in me that I NEED to start becoming a leader.

I’ve learned a lot over the past years of running, and it will all culminate into this upcoming training plan. I now know my body and personal schedule enough to craft a good plan.

Not only will this give me a tailor-made plan, but it will shift my race preparation into a new realm where I become the owner of my destiny.

I’ll be continuing this story in the next several months leading up to the big day. I’m excited to share this with the Hello Flecks community. I’m going to show how I fit training into an already busy schedule, as well as some success and failure points along the way.

Follow along with me, and I will share information that you can use to fuel your goals, whether they are running-related or otherwise.

I’m really looking forward to this, and I know you’ll find this info to be a great resource for you!



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