Friday Five: Meb’s Words of Wisdom

Each week my girls and I visit the library conveniently located less than a few minutes drive from our house.  I always feel as if we were returning from a shopping spree, our huge bag heavy and filled with books.  Two weeks ago before the start of our road trip, I lucked out when Meb’s book, Meb for Mortals I requested was available for pick-up. It was the perfect book to read during a long drive as it delivered candid details of a champion’s training program.  I finished reading it, my mind brimmed with knowledge and ideas on how to apply Meb’s words of wisdom to my current training.

The best part of the book was at the end of every chapter featured a section of “Do’s and Dont’s” – concise and insightful advise to ponder.  While there are many to consider, I chose five of the best to help improve my running potential.

1.  DO regularly work to improve your running form.   One of my fitness goals I previously mentioned is to incorporate form drills at least 1-2x/week in my training.  Meb actually does them almost everyday as he stresses the significance of getting them done. He advises for those who are time-crunched to “Run 1 mile less and use the extra time to do drills.  One or two miles less per week for significant improvement in your running form and a lowered injury risk is a great trade-off.”  Runner’s World online featured an article in April 2015 regarding 5 Drills to Make You a Better Runner with video tutorials of Meb performing the drills adapted from this book.

2.  DON’T run your hard workouts so hard that you’re exhausted afterward.  Raise your hand if you’re guilty (Hand high up in the air!)  I’ve had days when I felt like I could fly during interval sessions, yet had to take a few days to recover.  Understand every workout requires a specific pace to meet its purpose.  Running faster will not further improve performance but only induce more stress which usually leads to injury.  “Save the racing for race day.  You should always feel you could have done another interval or a longer tempo run or another mile or two on your long run” is Meb’s advice.

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3.  DON’T think that running a lot means you can eat whatever you want.  This one hit a nail on my head.  It’s definitely an excuse I’ve used many times before. Knowing my lipid panel stats nudged me in the right direction towards better nutrition.  What surprised me however was that someone like Meb who runs more than 100 miles a week has to take measures to control his weight.  I guess we all experience struggle with our ideal weight.

4.  DO consider strength training to be that much more important as you age.  I am a year younger than Meb and can relate to his approach towards strength training.  Now that he’s older, he focuses more on functionality and deter the effects of aging.  I completed my strength streak challenge over the holidays which helped me get into the habit of including strength workouts a couple of times each week.  Physically, I feel stronger and more balanced.  It was definitely worthwhile to add a strength training regimen to my program.

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TRX, one of my favorite equipment

 

5.  DO take measures throughout the day to speed recovery.  Meb discussed several ways to help quicken recovery, from post-workout nutrition to ice baths, massages and sleep. After a long run, I usually wait until I get home before I eat/drink anything besides water missing the 30 – 90 minutes “recovery window” when glycogen synthesis is maximized where your muscles’s ability to store glycogen is at its peak.  A combination of carbohydrates and protein is ideal as protein is the key to repairing damaged muscle fibers during rigorous session.  After a hard workout, Meb has an electrolyte drink, a protein-enhanced Generation UCAN (one of his sponsors and a drink I would like to try in the future) before stretching then a banana or PowerBar afterwards.

If you haven’t read the book yet, see if you can borrow it from your local library or better even, get a copy for yourself – a great addition to your running library.

Friday Five is a link-up hosted by the DC Trifecta ladies, Courtney at Eat Pray Run DC, Mar at Mar on the Run, and Cynthia at You Signed Up for What?!.  I’m thrilled to join their link-up today under the topic “Favorites”.

Back into the Groove with Indoor Cycling

What makes a group indoor cycling class so ideal?  This past Saturday, because I sorely miss my Saturday morning long runs and wanted to fill the void, I decided to go to my neighborhood YMCA cycling class.  Before I had kids, besides work and hanging out with my husband, I had plenty of time to explore other modes of exercise besides running – Swimming, Cycling, Yoga, Pilates, and different classes offered at the gym that I found interesting.  I love to run but my body currently requires a low-impact form of exercise yet still challenging, so I returned to one of my favorite ways to cross-train – Indoor Cycling.

And here is my Top 5 Reasons why I love it: Continue reading “Back into the Groove with Indoor Cycling”

Fitness Inspiration from Oprah

“Tell me, what do you know for sure?”  This was a question asked to Oprah in 1998 during an interview with Gene Siskel.  Quite a loaded question and one that Oprah couldn’t answer the moment it was asked.  It’s a question she pondered for years with the outcome of a book she wrote last year, What I know For Sure.

200+ pages, a quick and easy read full of life lessons – insightful, engaging, powerful and simply inspirational.  I can see how she was able to transform herself to become a very successful woman despite the hardships she experienced in her childhood.  In the section under Clarity, she discusses a 10-day business trip where she completely abandoned her exercise regimen due to her busy schedule.  Along with her inactivity, she also made bad food choices.  By the end of her trip, after the inevitable weight gain and feeling drained of energy, she realized:

When you nurture and support your body, it reciprocates.  The basis of that support is exercise, like it or not.  The more essential benefit is more energy; weight control is a bonus.  I know for sure that taking care of your body, no matter what, is an investment, and the return is priceless.

Our bodies are designed for movement.  Observe a toddler such as mine who is in a constant state of motion.  Her bones and muscles are still developing hence requires physical activities in order for them to grow stronger.  Young children seem to be naturally inclined to strengthen their bodies by being always on the go, until alas, we expose them to sedentary habit.

Recently, we’ve been made aware of the risks associated with ‘sitting’ even if you exercise and how ‘sedentary behavior is the 4th leading risk factor of death’.  Therefore incorporating movement throughout the day is key to maintaining a healthy body.  Find an activity you enjoy – walk, run, jump, dance!  Whatever it is that will keep your body moving.  I feel fortunate I no longer have to sit in front of a computer screen all day.  My children makes sure my day is filled with activity (less sitting around).

Going back to the question, “What do you know for sure?” In the context of running, I know for sure To Run is Me Time.  It’s my time to connect with myself, my body, my heart and my mind.  And as an added benefit, it’s also a time for me to connect with friends.  A gift my body gave to me, the ability to run; A gift I give back to my body for strength and preservation.