31 August 2009

Blogging On The Go

This is more of a test post than anything else.

I just downloaded a blogging app for my iPhone and want to see how well it works. I do just about everything from this great little phone and if this app is worth it then I will be doing yet another thing from here.

Blogging on the go.

29 August 2009

Counting Calories and Keeping A Food Journal

Keeping a food journal is something that has eluded me for some time. One of the number of things I want to get out of running is to lose weight, but my eating habits have proven to be a weakness. I have read in many places that keeping a food journal is the first step to adjusting your eating habits and begin changing your lifestyle so that it improves your health.

The next step to the process is to count calories. Some people do it meticulously, weighing and measuring everything that they eat. Others estimate their calories based on the nutritional panels on the packaging. Either way, the idea is to burn more calories per day than you take in. Creating such a deficit will cause you to lose weight, obviously. There are a lot of details that can be written about counting calories, since it is very different for every person and based on a number of factors.

I had a couple of problems with doing these two things. First, I don't always carry a notebook, and could not fathom writing down everything that I ate. Second, looking up the calories and calculating everything I ate seemed to be very time consuming and tedious. Sure there are websites that keep track of all of this for you, but I don't always surf the net everyday... believe it or not. It just seemed like so much to do.

Until now.

Anyone that is following me on Twitter, or is friends with me on Facebook know that I purchased an iPhone last week. They know because I will not shut up about how great it is. It is great because it makes the things I want to do during the day, easier. This includes things that are productive as well as things that are a complete waste of time.

One of the many apps that I have downloaded include the free app, Lose It! This is a tremendous tool for counting calories and recording your eating habits. Since I carry my iPhone everywhere I go I can easily record what I eat (as soon as I eat it) as well as exercise that I do and how many calories I burn.

I did not know I was looking for this, but Lose It! is the exact app I was looking for.

You start off by entering your weight and sex, and then setting a goal. Do you want to lose weight, gain it, or maintain it? I chose to lose weight since I am currently 210 and want to get to around 180 right now.

It then gives you a few options. Do I want to lose a pound a week? two pounds a week? or even a half pound per week? Depending on your choice, the app then sets a calorie budget for you. According to my settings, my daily calorie budget is 2,067 and will lose 1.5 pounds per week.

Entering food that you eat will add to the calories for the day, while entering exercise will subtract calories for the day. The nice thing about this app is the large database of food that it has, as well as the ability to enter info for foods that are not there. You can easily flip between you daily log, weekly log, nutrients log as well as check the progress of your goals.

This app is everything that I need to help me with my eating habits. I can count calories, keep a food journal, and monitor my progress all from a couple screens on my iPhone. In turn that will motivate me to adjust my eating habits and lose weight, which will do two things.

Make me a healthier person, and hopefully a better runner.

28 August 2009

800's And So Much More

It has been so long since I have blogged, and I have so much to talk about... I guess I will load up on posts this weekend rather than talk about everything in one long post.

This past Wednesday was my first official week of speed work for my marathon training. I decided to start my speed work with Yasso 800's for a couple of reasons. I am using the 800's more as a measure of improvement throughout the training and then, about three weeks out from the marathon, as a predictor of my finish time.

I did 5x800 with 400 recovery. I am lucky enough to have a high school track within cycling distance that is open to the public during off hours. I used the bike ride there as part of my warm up and felt good.

Here are the times for those five intervals:


Before you say anything, I know... I am slow. But I am satisfied with those times for my first time out. I did the first one a bit too fast, and died out later on, but I now have a point of reference to work from.

Along with other speed work, I have three more 800's planned during my marathon training. I will build up to 10x800 and that final workout will tell me how much I have improved and how prepared I am for the marathon. According to the great Bart Yasso, the average time for that 10x800 will be close to my finish time in the marathon.

So if you take those five intervals I did it looks like I should be able to finish the marathon in about 4:34. Hopefully with my training I make some progress to better that time a bit.

So my training is still going good. My mileage is steadily increasing and I feel good. I am getting good results from my quality runs and look forward to all that is ahead. I'll be back this weekend to talk more about everything running, and some that is not.

23 August 2009

Still Going Good

I am actually surprised that I am still sticking to my marathon training program. I am only three weeks into it right now, but that is longer than I have stuck with anything before.

So that means there is only thirteen weeks until the Philadelphia Marathon. It is still scary and exciting, and the closer it gets, the more scared and excited I am.

I printed my marathon program in a calender format and hung it on my fridge. I cross off each day as I move along and make notes on each workout. I can easily count how many weeks are left just by glancing at the paper. I think this may be why I have stuck to it so well.

We are also four weeks from the Philadelphia Distance Run. This is going to be really exciting. I am using it as a training run, so there will not be a taper for it. It will be my first half marathon, and with no taper I should have the bar pretty low for a PR when I run my second half marathon... I know, it is cheap, but I need to look at all the good points.

The best thing about the PDR is that Ryan Hall is running it. I am hoping to see him at the expo and get an autograph, but I have not heard if he will be signing autographs that day.

After I heard that Ryan Hall would be running, I had to tell people. I updated my Facebook and Twitter immediately and then, with the excitement of a little kid, I told my wife that I would be running behind Hall next month. Her response was, "Yeah, waay behind."

Oh well. I am still happy.

My running is going well, and I keep praying that it continues to go well. God willing I will run my best at these upcoming races, and be a new person for it.

16 August 2009

14 Weeks To Philly - Training Going Well

Today I finished my second week of training and it is now fourteen weeks to the Philadelphia Marathon. While on my run this morning I was thinking about my training plan, and decided I need to write about how it is going.... because it is going great!

Including this current plan, I have started three official training plans. The C25K program, The Broad Street Run training program and of course this Philadelphia Marathon training plan. Besides the one I am doing now for the marathon I have finished none.

Why could that be?

Well the C25K program was obviously my first, and was intended to get me started with running. It is a good program and I recommend it to everyone wanting to start. I did not stop the program for any reason related to the actual program, but reasons completely my fault.

I had bad running shoes which did not help my feet and legs, and I ran too fast which also did not help my feet and legs and breathing. I developed very bad shin splints and was discouraged pretty quickly. I stopped running altogether after almost three weeks of C25K.

Luckily I started running again a few months after that, because late last year I decided to run the Philadelphia Broad Street Run. I snagged a plan off of Runners World and started training for that. Life got in the way of that one and I abandoned the plan because my schedule was interfering with it. Luckily I was still able to run some and did finish the Broad Street Run, and ran it pretty well.

So I decided to develop my own training plan for the Philadelphia Marathon. I like the 16 week plans. Although I would like to run five or six days a week, my body can really only handle three days a week right now. I have also found that running by time rather than distance works better for me right now.

So I spent a couple nights tweaking a plan that looks good for me. All my runs, except for a few Yasso 800's, are scheduled by time. Even speed workouts. This is the first time creating a plan as well as the first time running a marathon, so I am nervous that I may not know what I am doing... but so far everything is going well. We will know for sure in fourteen more weeks.

I had a bad run the other day, because of a long day at work and the heat, but every other run has been great. I am feeling good. My legs feel great. I am learning what my body can do and how to avoid injury. I am looking forward to speed work, and the excitement of the marathon keeps building and building.

I am praying that it is God's will for me to run this marathon. I want to stay healthy and injury free and run a good run.

I am feeling good!

08 August 2009

Early Morning Dedication

The first week of marathon training is coming to a close and I am pleased with what I have done so far.

The two mid week runs were both done in the morning due to my work schedule. In order to get the runs done with enough time to shower and get ready for work I needed to wake at 5 am to run. Both runs felt great and gave a great start to the day.

When I woke Thursday morning and stepped outside I noticed it was raining. Not hard, but my first thought was go back to sleep and run after work. I stood on the porch and watched the rain for a few minutes trying to talk myself into running and at the same time trying to talk myself into going back to sleep.

I finally convinced myself to run. The rain was refreshing, and while I was running in the rain I thought about the upcoming training. Will I be able to stick to the plan and run my best?

If this first week is any indicator, than I think I will be doing fine. Lets see how my long steady distance goes tomorrow.

03 August 2009

Adjusting My Goal

In the beginning of the year, I stated that my goal for the marathon was to run sub 4:00. I knew at the time it was an ambitious goal, but I could work hard toward it.

Well, my fitness level is not where I thought it would be at this time, so running sub 4:00 is not very realistic for me at this stage. I am not disappointed though, because the fact that I am even planning a marathon is light years ahead of where I was two years ago.

So I am changing my goal for the Philadelphia Marathon. First of all, just finishing it will be an amazing thing for someone that just got off the couch a little over a year ago. My time goal for the marathon will be to finish 4:30 or better.

That too is a little ambitious compared to the few previous race times that I have, but it is realistic and I think that it can be done.

16 Weeks To Philly

Yesterday marked exactly sixteen weeks to the Philadelphia Marathon, so that means today marks the first day of my training schedule. Mondays are rest days so my first day of running will actually be tomorrow.

I am excited and nervous all at the same time. This is the first time I have really committed to a training plan. I had one for the Broad Street Run, but it was really a just a guideline and I ended up abandoning the plan for a number of reasons.

My plan consists of running for a length of time rather than distance. I will be recording the distances in my log, but the plan for each run is to have a good run for the set period of time. My first speed work is not until the fourth week of the plan, and then those build each week after that.

My long run peaks at 4 hours which comes four weeks before the marathon. I also have a couple of runs over 3 hours. The goal with these runs is just to get the time on my feet and make sure my mind and body are ready for what will be coming. After the 4 hour long run I will begin my taper.

It is definitely a beginners plan, but I am confident that it will do me good, and as long as I stick to the plan I will have a good run on November 22. I created the plan myself, so it is customized specifically for me. And I consulted different training plans on the Internet and in a couple of books, so I am confident that it is a quality plan for its purpose.

It is going to be a long and hard four months, but it is going to be very worth it come November.