The joy is in the journey

When I began the process of becoming a long distance runner, I was struck by the lack of information of what the journey entailed, and I was shocked by the pervasive urban myths and old wives tales that surround marathon running. This site not only chronicles my journey, but will attempt to bring you what I have found to actually work for the beginning distance runner. If you are an elite runner, you are very welcome here, and I thank you for visiting, but this site really isn't targeted at you. It exists to help those, who were like me - an out over shape, over weight, older would-be distance runner. Remember that this site is set up in blog format, with the newest posts at the top. If you are just starting out, please drill down and read from the beginning. The journey can't begin until you decide to take the very first step, so let's go!

MJTB049 – Beware of a Change in the Weather!

Show #049 | Beware of a Change in the Weather! |

  • Training update,
  • Wilson Kipsang finds another gear at the London Marathon,
  • Stupid photographer at Boston,
  • A tragic previous weekend for runners,
  • Beware of a change in the weather!,
  • Your submissions,
  • Our schedule for the rest of this season,
  • Don’t forget to send in your reports, comments, and questions!

A Long and Very Warm Run v3.32

A Nice Easy Distance v3.31

MJTB048 – Why It Should Always Be a PB

Show #048 | Why it should always be a PB |

  • Our community now spans 71 countries and counting!,
  • Training update,
  • Running in the news,
  • Is a record set inside of another event really a record?,
  • Why it should always be a PB,
  • Your submissions,
  • Don’t forget to send in your reports, comments, and questions!

Its Just a Training Run v3.30

MJTB047 – Surgical Artistry Modesto Marathon

Show #047 | Surgical Artistry Modesto Marathon |

  • The Surgical Artistry Modesto Marathon,
  • Expo,
  • Running in the news,
  • The start,
  • On the course,
  • Your submissions,
  • Don’t forget to send in your reports, comments, and questions!,
  • The finish.

Surgical Artistry Modesto Marathon v3.29

MJTB046 – Spring Cleaning

Show #046 | Spring Cleaning |

  • Our community now spans 69 countries and counting!,
  • Training update,
  • Running in the news,
  • Some problems with runDisney,
  • Spring cleaning,
  • Your submissions,
  • Don’t forget to send in your reports, comments, and questions!,
  • The show is off to marathon #12 at the Surgical Artistry Modesto Marathon. Hope to see you there!

Time For Another Marathon Taper v3.28

MJTB045 – That gray area between races

Show #045 | That gray area between races |

  • Training update,
  • In the news,
  • The after buzz about the Little Rock Marathon,
  • That gray area between races,
  • Your submissions,
  • Don’t forget to send in your reports, comments, and questions!

This video is public. Marathon Recovery v3.27


MJTB044 – It was EPIC at the 2014 Little Rock Marathon!

Show #044 | It was EPIC at the 2014 Little Rock Marathon! |

  • Live from the 2014 Little Rock Marathon,
  • Studio updates,
  • Your submissions,
  • Don’t forget to send in your reports, comments, and questions!,
  • Recovery and then on to Modesto!

2014 Little Rock Marathon – MarathonJourney v3.26

MJTB043 – Why do we keep doing this to ourselves?

Show #043 | Why do we keep doing this to ourselves? |

  • Training update,
  • In the news: Kara Goucher, The Right Footstrike, Heel Landing Beats Midfoot In Half-Marathon Study,
  • A brief review of the movie “Spirit of the Marathon II”,
  • I am excited about another new product from Garmin – the Vivofit!,
  • Why do we keep doing this to ourselves?,
  • Your submissions,
  • Don’t forget to send in your reports, comments, and questions!,
  • We will be taking the show to the Little Rock Marathon, so see you there!

Running the Hills v3.24

MJTB042 – Running Away From Fat

Show #042 | Running Away From Fat |

  • Our community now spans 66 countries and counting!,
  • Training update,
  • Hoka One One Conquest’s are now on the schedule for the next marathon,
  • Another training run crash,
  • Jeff Galloway inducted into the Hall of Champions by Running USA,
  • From Runner’s World – Nine Surprising Ways Running Helps Your body,
  • Running away from fat,
  • Your submissions,
  • Don’t forget to send in your reports, comments, and questions!,
  • It’s 7 miles of hill work for me.

Running in the Rain v3.23

This run powered by Island Boost Valor!

MJTB041 – Doc, I think my shoes are dying!

Show #041 | Doc, I think my shoes are dying! |

  • Our community now spans 65 countries and counting!,
  • Training update,
  • Quick overview of my new Hoka One One Conquest shoes,
  • Jeff Galloway named the most recognized runner in the USA,
  • Doc, I think my shoes are dying!,
  • Your submissions,
  • Don’t forget to send in your reports, comments, and questions!,
  • It’s official, Island Boost Chocolate is now on the market.

Jeff Galloway announces a new Half Marathon in Atlanta

In a Google Hangout announcement today, Jeff Galloway announced a new half marathon in Atlanta, featuring the famed Run-Walk-Run method. The race will be held on December 14, 2014. There will be Run-Walk-Run pace groups and a new rail trail section in the Atlanta area. As usual, Jeff is providing training programs, free of charge.

For information, go to

Hoka One One Conquest First Run Impression v3.23

MJTB040 – Caring for the slower runner – A lesson learned from Bowling

Show #040 | Caring for the slower runner – A lesson learned from Bowling |

  • Our community now spans 63 countries and counting!,
  • Training update,
  • New Hoka One One Conquests coming,
  • Dumbo Double Dare sells out in 42 minutes!,
  • Caring for the slower runner – A lesson learned from Bowling,
  • Your submissions,
  • Don’t forget to send in your reports, comments, and questions.

An Easy 10K As We Continue to Stay in Marathon Form v3.21

Our first post WDW Marathon Recovery Run v3.20

2014 Walt Disney World Marathon

MJTB039 – Are runDisney events getting too big?

Show #039 | Are runDisney events getting too big? |

  • Our community now spans 62 countries and counting!,
  • Training update,
  • Meb scores a huge victory in the US men’s half marathon,
  • The Little Rock Marathon has sold out,
  • A special thank you to everyone for their support and good wishes,
  • A recap of the Walt Disney World Marathon,
  • Are runDisney events getting too big?,
  • Your submissions,
  • Don’t forget to send in your reports, comments, and questions!,
  • p.s. Today I’ll be on Running Conversations with Adam.

MJTB038 – Tom & Hobbit Singleton and the Little Rock Marathon

Show #038 | Tom & Hobbit Singleton and the Little Rock Marathon |

  • Our community now spans 60 countries!,
  • Training update,
  • There’s heat advisory in effect for the WDW Marathon,
  • Kevin from The Extra Mile Podcast has a question,
  • Tom & Hobbit Singleton talk about the Little Rock Marathon,
  • Your submissions,
  • We will try to get you a show next week about the WDW Marathon.

MJTB037 – What’s Ahead in 2014?

Show #037 | What’s Ahead in 2014? |

  • Our community now spans 59 countries and counting!,
  • Training update,
  • In the news,
  • Fuel up with Island Boost,
  • Tune into Running Conversations with Adam,
  • What’s ahead in 2014?,
  • Your submissions,
  • Listen to The Extra Mile Podcast,
  • Don’t miss our special guests on next weeks show!

MJTB036 – Running Resolutions

Show #036 | Running Resolutions |

  • Our community now extends to 56 countries!,
  • Training update,
  • Running resolutions,
  • Your submissions,
  • Have a happy and productive new running year!

MJTB035 – Don’t Let the Holidays Run Away From You

Show #035 | Don’t Let the Holidays Run Away From You |

  • A community of 54 countries!,
  • Training update,
  • Jeff Galloway to run the Dopey, as announced on The Extra Mile Podcast,
  • Corral assignments are out for the Walt Disney World Marathon,
  • In the news,
  • Don’t let the holidays run away from you,
  • Your submissions,
  • Merry Christmas!

MJTB034 – The Weather Outside is Frightful!

Show #034 | The Weather Outside is Frightful! |

  • Our community now stretches to 53 countries!,
  • Training update,
  • Solving 3 problems with the Garmn Forerunner 620,
  • An update on my weight loss,
  • In the news,
  • New 2014 Hoka One One’s available for pre-order at The Tri Shop,
  • The weather outside is frightful!,
  • Your submissions,
  • Using personal coaching from Jeff Galloway.

MJTB033 – Am I Too Slow?

Show #033 | Am I Too Slow? |

  • Our community now stretches to 50 countries!,
  • Training update,
  • Congratulations to Jeff Galloway,
  • Thank you to The Extra Mile Podcast for a fantastic shout out,
  • Winter is here,
  • Holiday season weight gain,
  • In the news,
  • Am I too slow?,
  • Your submissions.

23 miles with the Garmin Forerunner 620 and run test #5 v3.13

Garmin Forerunner 620 run test #5 and Thanksgiving Day Run v3.13

MJTB032 – A Thankful Runner

Show #032 | A Thankful Runner |

  • Training update,
  • Melvin Owens in The Dallas Morning News,
  • Testing of the Garmin Forerunner 620 continues,
  • A thankful runner,
  • Your submissions,
  • The 3rd annual Thanksgiving Day run.

Garmin Forerunner 620 Run Test #4 v3.13

Garmin Forerunner 620 run test #3 v3.12

MJTB031 – Run Testing the new Garmin Forerunner 620


Show #031 | Run Testing the new Garmin Forerunner 620 |

  • In the news,
  • Training update and a new Magic Mile PR,
  • Our tests of the new Garmin Forerunner 620,
  • Your submissions.

Garmin Forerunner 620 Run Test #2

First Run Test of the Garmin Forerunner 620 v3.11

MJTB030 – Stepping from the half to the full

Show #030 | Stepping from the half to the full |

  • Training update,
  • Our audience now spans 46 countries,
  • Things to think about when considering stepping from the half to the full marathon,
  • From the audience,
  • We need your submissions!

MJTB029 – Pre-Race Routines

Show #029 | Pre-Race Routines |

  • A stellar month because of our listeners!,
  • Training update,
  • Listen to The Extra Mile Podcast,
  • The Social Runner Show will return,
  • ING NYC Marathon recap,
  • The Garmn Forerunner 620 in limited release,
  • In the news,
  • Really dumb statement by a runner,
  • Pre-race routines,
  • Your submissions.

A 20 mile training run on less rest than usual

MJTB028 – Is your training in a rut?

Show #028 | Is your training in a rut? |

  • Training update,
  • 10 pounds of weight loss,
  • An unexpected PR on the ElliptiGO,
  • Is your training in a rut?,
  • Listen to The Extra Mile Podcast,
  • Your submissions.

MJTB027 – Is it the lure of the finish line, or just the finish?

Show #027 | Is it the lure of the finish line, or just the finish? |

  • Training update,
  • The Social Runner Show will be back,
  • This show is now heard in 42 countries,
  • In the news,
  • The story of an amazing young lady,
  • Is it the lure of the finish line, or just the finish?,
  • Your submissions.

MJTB026 – What if the race is cancelled?

Show #026 | What if the race is cancelled? |

  • Training update,
  • A pending recall from ElliptiGO,
  • I talked to Dick Beardsley,
  • What if the race is cancelled?,
  • Your submissions,
  • My marathon schedule,
  • You owe me a couple of race reports!

MJTB025 – Have you ever had a bad run?

Show #025 | Have you ever had a bad run? |

  • Training update,
  • No, The Social Runner Show hasn’t gone away,
  • 10 Reasons Why Runners Are Nicer People,
  • Crowd funding for Island Boost Chocolate made the Yahoo Finance page,
  • Have you ever had a “bad” run?,
  • Your submissions.

MJTB024 – The mind numbing long run!

Show #024 | The mind numbing long run! |

  • Training update,
  • Weight loss update,
  • Crowd funding for Island Boost Chocolate,
  • Boston Marathon minimum times,
  • Jeff Galloway almost BQ’s with 30/15′s,
  • Wilson Kipsang’s 2:03:23 WR marathon,
  • Marine Corps Marathon and NYC ban hydration packs and more,
  • Garmin 220 and 620 update,
  • Health news,
  • The mind numbing long run!,
  • Your submissions.

MJTB023 – Is it OK to leave your running friend behind?

Show #023 | Is it OK to leave your running friend behind? |

  • Training update,
  • I’ve got to lose some weight,
  • Recent articles,
  • Garmin announces the Forerunner 220 and 620,
  • Is it OK to leave your running friend behind?,
  • Your submissions.

MJTB022 – How can running be fun?

Show #022 | How can running be fun? |

The complete POV video of the Disneyland Dumbo Double Dare Weekend

It took a while to produce this video because it covers everything about the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend. From packet pickup, to the expo, to the start line of the 10k and the finish line, and finally to the start of the half marathon, and then on to the finish.

MJTB021 – Disneyand Dumbo Double Dare Recap

Show #021 | Disneyand Dumbo Double Dare Recap |

  • Training recap,
  • A review of the soon to be released Island Boost Chocolate flavor,
  • The coupon code for Island Boost continues,
  • Disneyand Dumbo Double Dare weekend recap,
  • A big thank you to all of the listeners who contacted us,
  • Your comments,
  • We will get the show back on schedule, I promise!

MJTB020 – Packing for a Race

Show #020 | Packing for a Race |

  • Training recap,
  • Is it just me, or is Windows 8 horrid?,
  • The coupon code for Island Boost continues,
  • Using an invisible runner to help you pack,
  • Your comments,
  • Our Twitter hashtag for the DDD is #SRSDDD,
  • See you in Disneyland!

MJTB019 – The Terror of the Taper!

Show #019 | The Terror of the Taper |

MarathonJourney does a race simulation for the Dumbo Double Dare

MJTB018 – Cramming for the course

Show #018 | Cramming for the course |

MJTB017 – Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend

Today we take an in depth look at everything surrounding the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend. From the expo to the finish line of the 10K and the half marathon, we lend you our personal insights into how to have the best time at this fantastic event. With a complete course overview of both courses, you will never feel like you are lost while you are running. In fact, if you listen well, even if this is your first runDisney event at Disneyland, you will feel like a seasoned veteran!

So snug up those ear buds and grab your course maps, because we are going to take a comprehensive look at the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend!

Disneyland Half Marathon 9-2-2012, Elevation

Marathon Journey v2.48 runs rail, horse, and deer trails

MJTB016 – Getting your training back on track

Show #016 | Getting your training back on track |

MJTB015 – Talking with Laura Mildon from Island Boost about fueling runners

Show #015 | Talking with Laura Mildon from Island Boost about fueling runners |

MarathonJourney Goes Long for Dunbo Double Dare Training v2.46

MJTB014 – Finding your place in the corral

Show #014 | Finding your place in the corral |

  • Next weeks special guest,
  • Our new podcast – The Social Runner Show,
  • Dick’s grand opening,
  • State Fair,
  • Big Sur Marathon,
  • Recent articles,
  • Finding your place in the corral,
  • Listener comments.

Marathon Journey – The Broadcast – Show #13 – Hydration

Show #013 | Hydration |

  • A special offer from Island Boost,
  • Our new podcast – The Social Runner Show,
  • Social Runner 10 Mile Challenge,
  • The benefits of running when you are old,
  • Answers to the question of the week,
  • How do I know how much to drink?,
  • Listener comments

Come watch, then listen, and then go run!

We’re branching out!

SRS LogoIn an exciting collaboration with the Zen Runner, Adam Tinkoff, we are proud to announce our new production – The Social Runner Show! On the show, we explore the crossroads of running and social media, and what the all means to you, the runner.

Join us as we discuss running, technology, and how it all blends together to create a unique social landscape.

The Social Runner Show

Marathon Journey – The Broadcast – MJTB012 – Getting Over the Humps

Show #012 | Geting Over the Humps

  • A special offer from Island Boost,
  • Running goes to the dogs,
  • Adidas Springblade and Boost,
  • Answers to the question of the week,
  • The real science of cramps,
  • Signs that you are a runner,
  • Keeping your training on track,
  • Listener questions,
  • Next week’s listener question,

Marathon Journey – The Broadcast – MJTB011 – Running Goals

Show #010 | Get some ID

  • Training starts for the Dumbo Double Dare,
  • A special offer from Island Boost,
  • The state of the marathon in the USA,
  • Running goals,
  • Goals from our audience,
  • Next week’s listener question.

Marathon Journey – The Broadcast – MJTB010 – Get some ID

Show #010 | Get some ID

  • Great articles
  • Road ID
  • Running safe
  • Listener questions
  • Island Boost
  • What are your Fall goals?

Marathon Journey – The Broadcast – MJTB009 – Mental Notes

Helping out a great cause

Kevin Gwin, over the The Extra Mile Podcast GALLOWAY EDITION is at it again! He has teamed up with legendary runner and coach – Jeff Galloway, and Jeff’s national program director, Chris Twiggs, to coach 3 lucky runners to the finish line of a fall half marathon. In order to participate, you have to agree to support a fantastic charity – The 26.2 with Donna Foundation, along with competing all of the training that will be custom designed, just for you!

Click here to listen to Kevin and Jeff explain the details. There is 39 seconds of bumper music at the beginning, so keep listening.

Marathon Journey – The Broadcast – MJTB008 – Summer

Show #008 | Summer heat, Changing up my training, DDD, Who needs minimal?, The Slow Runners Club, The Extra Mile Podcast, Carrying water, iFitness belts, The Running Podcast List

Running on board ship

When you are on a cruise, there is no excuse for not continuing your training. Aboard the Disney Wonder, the running track is Deck 4, where you travel .33 miles as you circle the ship. As you travel through the bow, you get a look at the anchor chains and docking lines. When you traverse the stern, stay alert for the wonderful smells that you may encounter there, because the bakery is right below you!

Here’s a time lapse tour of the running track of the Disney Wonder.

Marathon Journey – The Broadcast – MJTB007 – Training Plans

Marathon Journey – The Broadcast – MJTB006 – Back on dry land

Marathon Journey – The Broadcast – MJTB005 – Shoes

Marathon Journey – The Broadcast – MJTB004 – Coffee with Melvin

Subscribe on iTunes

We will be away from the blog for a couple of weeks, but our audio show will be released every Wednesday, as usual. Even though we won’t be able to post the shows as they are released, you won’t miss a single show if you subscribe on iTunes.

See you back here in a couple of weeks, but listen for us this coming Wednesday on Marathon Journey – The Broadcast!

Marathon Journey – The Broadcast – MJTB003 – Coffee with Kevin

Marathon Journey – The Broadcast – Show #2 – Live call-in Wed April 24

Marathon Journey – The Broadcast – 001

Marathon Journey – The Broadcast – Episode #1

Marathon Journey – The Broadcast will be recording its first episode on Wednesday, April 17th. The tragic events at the finish line of the Boston Marathon have caused me to change a number of elements of the show. There may be people who believe it in poor taste to start a new show so soon after this event, but I firmly believe the best way to deal with evil acts is to pull together and soldier on! You can call in with your comments before the show 24/7 to our hotline at (530)532-2439, send us an email, or leave a comment of this page.

Join us as we discuss the events of Boston. How will YOU be carrying on?

We will be taking your calls on the air, starting at 3:00pm Pacific Time. The live call-in line is 862-902-0100. The conference number is 324797.

It's coming to iTunes sooner than you think!

Marathon #8 of the season – Surgical Artistry Modesto Marathon

Little Rock Marathon 2013

Surf City USA Marathon

How to saddle up in the corral

It’s getting close to gun time. You’re feeling just a bit nervous. Questions begin to form in your mind. Did you train hard enough? Are you ready to go the entire distance? Doubt gives way to anxiety. What can you do to hedge your bets on this race? You look towards to start and it seems like you are so far back in the pack. How will you ever be able to keep up with everyone when the gun goes off? You start to edge your way towards the front, hoping to get an advantage. STOP!!!! Let’s look at why there are corrals, and corral wave starts.

A wave start is where runners are released from each respective corral at (usually) predetermined intervals. How much time elapses between the start of each corral depends upon the number of runners, the width of the course, the number of course volunteers, and the expected pace. The purpose of the wave start is like a freeway on ramp with a traffic control signal. It allows the course to be loaded with runners at a measured rate, without clogging it up, all at once.

So isn’t a wave start unfair to the runners who are placed towards the rear? Not at all! Unless the race is small, or you are a really fast runner, it doesn’t matter where you are when the gun goes off, because you time isn’t started by the gun. Unlike other types of races, the marathon has two different timing standards. The first is gun time. That’s the clock that starts as soon as the gun goes off. If you are running for prize money, that’s the timing that you need to keep in mind. For the rest of us mere mortals, we go by chip time. Chip time starts the clock when you step over the start line. The reason that it’s called “chip” time, is that it’s controlled by a small computer chip that resides on a tag that you wear on your shoe, ankle, or race bib. The chip is the great equalizer on the marathon start line.

Now that we’ve taken the worry out of getting across the start line as soon as the gun goes off, let’s talk about the corral system and why you were assigned to a particular corral.

The corral system places the fastest runners in the front and the slower runners towards the rear. It allows the cheetahs to run with the cheetahs and the turtles to run with the turtles. I can hear some of you, once again saying, “That’s not fair!”. Remember the timing mat at the start line? It doesn’t care if you are the 1st runner to cross, or the 25,000th. The clock doesn’t start for you until you cross that mat. The only thing that cares is your ego! Now is the time to let your previous finish times dictate where you start, and here’s why. If the fastest runners start in front of you, they will run away from you, leaving you more running room. More running room means that you can run faster. If there were faster runners behind you, they would be passing you, clogging up your running lanes. That would slow you down. So be faster by staying to the rear of your corral. If you try to cheat and get into a corral that is faster than the pace that you will actually run, it will only slow you down. Be fast. Stay back!

Next time: ElliptiWHAT?

2013 Walt Disney World 20th Anniversary Marathon

It was a warm start to a hot race at the 2013 Walt Disney World Marathon. Temperatures were far less than ideal, but the course support was much better than you would fin in all but a few world class races. That isn’t to say that there weren’t a few snags, but with 25,000 runners, it’s hard to do everything right. They did run out of sponges at the ESPN venue, and the mile 20 spectacular didn’t even begin to live up to the pre-race hype that Disney had been pumping out, well in advance of the race. I would also question the sanity of a course design team that would send runners past a sewage treatment plant and dump, when there is a possibility of high temperatures and humidity. But those minor details didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the runners, and I managed to finish, in spite of the brain numbing heat. In true Disney style, there isn’t another race like it, and if you run it too fast, you are missing out on most of the fun.

And now we return to our regularly scheduled programming.

Special Report – I’m a Maniac!

Running has amazing powers that are impossible for a non-runner to understand. Before I started running, I would have never dreamed that I could have run 13.1 miles. Even while I was training for my first half marathon, the thought of running 26.2 miles seemed impossible. But that first marathon finish changed something. It changed that way that I view impossible situations, the way that I view running, and the way that I view life.

Another big change happened on December 17, 2012. After running 26.2 miles in the cold, the rain, and the wind, I became something different, yet again. I became a Marathon Maniac!

Hoka One One's – A review

While there is yet another cycle of “minimalist” shoes hitting the market, Hona One One makes shoes that are designed to give maximum cushioning and comfort for marathon and ultra-distance runners. I didn’t believe that such funny looking shoes could make running more enjoyable, at least until I tried them! Look in as we take a look at our current stable of shoes.

Next time: How to saddle up in the corral

Learn to Love the Taper

The dreaded taper! The period of time in your training that comes between your longest run and the race that you have been preparing so hard to run. It’s a time to relax, cut back, and fuel up for the big day. So what’s not to like?

For many runners, the taper is a time of doubt. It is filled with thoughts that if you had only done a little more, worked a little harder, ran a little longer, you would be more prepared, come race day. When it comes to race day potential, the hay is in the barn, as of your last long run. You can’t build any more endurance than you developed on that last run. You can’t build any more speed than you had on your last speed workout, prior to that long run. It now officially, “is what it is”, as they say.

Taper can also be a time of anxiety for runners who have the urge to always be running. It’s an urge that I never experience, but I am told that many people suffer from this malady. For those people, all I can recommend is to chill out! You may think that you are doing yourself a favor by staying on the move, but in reality, your constant running is keeps draining the tank!

If you look at the taper in the proper light, you can not only appreciate it, but look forward to it. During training runs, we break down muscle and stress tendons and vessels. Even with rest days, we never completely get out of the rebuilding mode. We aren’t getting weaker. On the contrary, we are getting incrementally stronger, but at the cost of a lot of effort on the part of your body. In order to reap the full benefit of that increased strength and endurance, you have to let your body finish rebuilding, so you will have everything that is available, come race day. That means cutting way back on both the distance and the intensity of your training, at least for a couple of weeks, leading up to race day.

So what do you do with all of the extra time that the taper will give to you? How about taking care of all of those little chores that you neglected during your training? All caught up? Try getting ready for the race by sitting quietly and running the race in your mind, using the strategy that you worked on during training. Study the course elevations and look back at your training, to recall those runs when you successfully went through similar sections. Go back and study your long training runs and rehearse the sections that you did well, and learn from the places where things didn’t quite go according to plan. Develop a positive attitude toward the race, knowing that you have trained to complete the distance. If you do that, you will learn to look forward to, and love the taper!

Next time: Hoka One One’s – A review

Special Report

Who is the masked man on the left? Even though he isn’t wearing a mask in this picture, Tony Nguyen is a real life super hero. When he runs under his given name, he represents what a person can do to improve their health and physical appearance through running. When the runs with a cape as “Endorphin Dude“, he spreads fun, good cheer and encouragement to runners of all ages and abilities with his enthusiasm and his antics.

Tony went from a stressed out, over weight, out of shape person, to a half, full, and ultra marathoner, in a fairly short span of time. When you see him now, it is difficult to imagine a time when he was in such poor shape that he feared an untimely death. Now the only time that seems to be shortened are his finish times.

If you need something to boost your spirits and get you moving, think about Tony. He has come a long way, but he’s a long way from being finished! What’s up next for Endorphin Dude? The sky’s the limit for this super hero!

The Anxiety That Comes with Pain

Any time that humans move through space, they are in danger if injury. Being that we are a somewhat fragile species, injuries of some sort are bound to occur. The trick is dealing with them in the most intelligent manner without doing yourself any further harm. Many people call this common sense, but for the runner, it isn’t that cut and dried.

For the runner, the first sign of pain often brings denial. Maybe it is just a cramp. Maybe it’s just my brain playing tricks on me to get me to slow down. Maybe I can run a little farther and it will go away. Maybe, maybe, maybe… Yes, there are times when that little bit of discomfort is just a “niggle” that means nothing, but what do you do when that niggle becomes a pain?

First off, I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV. I haven’t even stayed at a Holiday Inn Express lately, so I am not qualified to give anyone any sort of medical advice. I’m not here to talk about what you need to do FOR an injury, rather I’m interested in what goes on between the ears of a runner, once they realize that something is physically amiss.

For starters, if any body part swells, loses feeling, causes pain, moves in an odd fashion, or fails to move – See a doctor! It’s your body, so you are the one most qualified to know when things aren’t right. So use some smarts and do what you need to do to keep your body in top shape. With a proper diagnosis out of the way, let’s get to the heart of the matter.

Injuries are something the athletes hate! Why? Because an injury does more than just break your anatomy. An injury breaks your routine, your training schedule, and forces you to change a whole bunch of your plans. It will also cause you to re-think your short term goals, and maybe even a few of your long-term ones. And if you don’t make those changes up front, your injury will make the decision for you.

While small annoyances may allow you to keep running, even they will require that you cut back on both the distance and the intensity of your training. A more serious injury will mean that complete rest from running will be needed to at least get the healing process well underway. Either way, there are changes that need to be made, but these changes need not freak you out!

Since most injuries won’t lay you up for months at a time, the training base that you will lose will be slight. The endurance that a marathoner has built up will barely be diminished in four weeks of very easy exercise. It isn’t like missing a few runs will turn you into a couch potato. Quite the opposite is true. The fact that you are an athlete is a big plus in your recovery. Unlike the common person, your body is in better shape and has better blood flow, which helps the healing process.

So in the event of an injury, don’t become too anxious. You will get better, if you take your healing as seriously as your training.

Next time: Learn to Love the Taper!

Mile High Marathoning

If you are anything like me, the though of a 27 mile training run doesn’t elicit fanfare and cheers. When that dreaded “27 miler” came up on the schedule, I looked for a different way to get in the miles. What better way is there to train for the marathon distance than to run a marathon? To add some variety, and a bit more challenge, I found a trail marathon that was close to home. Since I had never run at over a mile high, or run a marathon in the dirt, this was going to be an adventure!

Next time: The Anxiety That Comes with Pain

The Disney Difference and the Differences with Disney

There is no doubt that the name “Disney” means quality entertainment, and the same is true of the “runDisney” brand. No race that I have ever seen comes close to the quality and quantity of entertainment and eye candy on the course as Disney. If you are a true Disney junkie, there is no excuse for not running at least one race on each coast. But for the purist, one destination stands out as being vastly superior.

Since the beginning of Disneyland, Walt knew that he had created something special, but always wished that he had been able to do more. Disneyland was a remarkable place, but even stretching his financial abilities to the limit, he was only able to secure a very small patch of land in Anaheim to build his theme park. Soon the expanses of open fields that once surrounded this magic place became choked with motels, houses, and stores that detracted from the fairy tale feel of Disneyland itself. The suspension of disbelief that the interior of Disneyland invoked was all too often shattered by cheap motel signs, blaring sirens, and traffic jams. So began the search for the place that became Disney World, and such is the difference between races at Disneyland vs. Disney World.

The longest Disneyland race is a half marathon. While many whine and cry that they should put on a marathon, the reason is obvious when you think about the scale of the property in Anaheim. There is scarcely enough room to run a 5k without crossing Anaheim controlled streets in Disneyland. While the Disneyland events are fun, you spend precious little time on property, and a whole lot of time on city streets. While running backstage and through the parks is a lot of fun, once you hit the road, it feels a lot like a generic urban half for most of the race.

In Disney World, every bit of land that the course covers is controlled by Disney, one way or another. This allows Disney a great deal of freedom to place branded entertainment over the entire length of the course. There is almost nowhere to run that you aren’t in sight or sound of some form of Disney character, float, cast member, icon, banner, or music. You just can’t run far enough in Disney World to get away from the mouse!

With this in mind, if you are thinking of taking the “Coast to Coast Challenge” and running Disney in Florida and California, I would strongly suggest that you run Disneyland first. If you enjoy the west coast race, then you will be completely thrilled when you make it to Florida. If you run Disney World first, then Disneyland may be a bit of a let down. It’s still fun, but the long mileage on Anaheim streets just can’t compare to a 100% on property experience. You can run them in the reverse order (which is actually easier, logistically), but know the differences, and be prepared for a completely unique experience on each coast.

Next time: Mile High Marathoning

Special Edition

I had the opportunity to be a guest on “The Marathon Show”, during “Runner’s Chat 15″.

The Marathon Show

Next time: The Disney Difference and the Differences within Disney

Review of the GymBoss MAX

The Happiest Race on Earth!

There is something about an actual race that is completely different than even the best training run.

How long is this journey?

So you have taken your first steps toward becoming a marathoner. One of the first questions that may pop into your mind is, “How long will the process will take to complete?”. The answer to that question is really simple and very complex, all at the same time. You see, the journey to the finish line of a marathon isn’t really a quest to finish. While there are some people who have a marathon on their bucket list, and will run one, and only one marathon in their entire lives, I would submit to you that those people miss the whole concept of the marathon.

The big question

If you run marathons, are training to run a marathon, or are even thinking about starting to train for a marathon, the question that you will hear from almost everyone that you come in contact with will be, “Why?”. It isn’t really a question that they are asking, but rather, it is a statement about your sanity. What they really meant to say, but are far too polite to actually put into words, is that you are completely out of your mind! While your friends aren’t actually expecting an answer that makes any sense, it is a question that you, as a runner, need to ponder. Why are you thinking of taking upon your self the task of running so far? While the answer to this particular question will vary by the individual, if at least a considerable portion of the reason isn’t that you are doing it just for yourself, then I would suggest that you save yourself the frustration and discomfort that will follow by quitting at once! Maybe it’s because you like running, or you need to get into better physical shape, or you want to see how far you can push yourself, or because you want to do something different with your life – no matter the reason, if you don’t do it for YOU, then you won’t be doing it for very long.And don’t think that just because you can answer the question of “why” means that you are through answering that question. It is a question that you will ask yourself, and have to answer, a hundred times. You see, since the answer is within yourself, and you are always changing, the answer will also be ever changing.

 No easy answer

So how long will your journey to the marathon take? That all depends upon how you define your own journey. If you think of your journey as ending when you cross the finish line, then your journey will only take as long as your training program. If you are in pretty good physical shape, and have already been running a few miles, it may only take you 32 weeks to get all the way to the finish line. On the other hand, if you haven’t been running, are carrying around some extra pounds, it may take you up to a year to complete the distance comfortably.

Now you may think that this is  a long time, but if you think about the journey in different terms, the time frame begins to make sense. If your focus is the finish line, then the marathon becomes nothing more than a check box on a bucket list. But if you look at the finish line of the marathon as the beginning your new life as a runner, then this journey has just begun. Enjoy the journey!

Next time: The Happiest Race on Earth

Special Report – The new Magellan Switch Up

Welcome to the bleeding edge!

When Magellan announced their new Switch line of fitness GPS devices, I was thrilled at the features that were promised in these new units. But something happened between the announcement, production, and release that has dampened my enthusiasm. Initial training runs showed GPS tracks that looked like they were following a drunken sailor. The Switch Up was reporting pace times that had me thrilled with my progress, but were in conflict with the speed reported with my trusty Garmin Forerunner 210. Then came a half marathon, where the pace that the Switch Up gave me didn’t match my actual finish time. Without empirical testing, there wasn’t any way to tell which device was accurate, and which one way lying to me. This video documents the first series of measured distance tests that pit the Magellan Switch Up against the Garmin Forerunner 210. If you are in the market for a new fitness GPS, don’t buy one until you watch this video!

What to look for when picking your first marathon

So you made the decision to get off your rear end and start running. Good for you! You picked a training plan and you are sticking to it. Fantastic! You haven’t your first marathon yet? Say WHAT???

A training plan is great, but there is no greater motivation for sticking to that plan than to plunk down your hard earned money and write a date on your calendar in ink! But how do you decide which marathon to use to celebrate your first official run?

Check the map

How far are you willing to travel? Are you looking for a destination run, or are you content to find a race that is close to home? A distant event carries with it the added expense of hotel rooms, meals, and possibly air transport and rental cars. But along with the added expense comes new adventures in new places that can add to the enjoyment of your run.

Check the chart

An important component of marathon running doesn’t relate to the physical distance of 26.2 miles. Hills, or the lack thereof, make a huge difference in how far that 26.2 miles feels to you body! A flat course can seem fast and easy, while a hilly course can feel like a grind that goes on and on. Make sure that you check the race website for an elevation chart. If the host site doesn’t offer a chart (or they post a teeny tiny one that you can’t actually see, look for GPS sites like, which offer tracks that were uploaded by previous runners. If you do decide to enter a race that is loaded with hills, make sure that you included weekly hill routines in your weekly running schedule.

Check the crowds

Do you need a large number of cheering fans to keep you motivated, or do you like to be left alone when you run? Races with small entry number tend to have fewer onlookers, while large races offer the lure of larger, cheering crowds. If you want the “ultimate” in motivational experiences, I would suggest checking out a Walt Disney World event, or the “26.2 with Donna” in Jacksonville. Either one will provide a great deal of on-course stimulation to take your mind off the miles. On the other end of the spectrum would be a race like the Newport Marathon in Newport, Oregon.

Check the clock

Just because you paid your registration fee, it doesn’t mean that they will keep the course open all night, waiting for you to reach the finish line. All races have a hard finish line closing time. After all, everyone has to go home at some point. Make sure that you know how long that finish line is going to be open, and that you will be able to finish by that time. Additionally, many courses have a minimum pace requirement for the course. Simply put, if you can’t keep running at the minimum pace, you are either subject to removal from the course, or you will be required to use sidewalks and be subject to normal pedestrian traffic laws. Make sure that you can run at least a bit faster than the required pace of the race that you want to enter.

Check the reviews

While you have to take runner reviews with a grain of salt, a marathon that has consistently good reviews is probably a pretty good race. If a race hasn’t been reviewed, there’s a good chance that it is a new race. While new races offer a chance to try something different, they are normally a few problems that come up in any new race. If you are prepared to just go with whatever happens, a new race can be an adventure. A tried-and-true race can always be an adventure, if it’s in a place where you have never run before.

Check the bling

Are flashy medals something that gets you excited? If the race website doesn’t show you what the finisher medal looks like, then Google Images is your friend! It is amazing how the reward at the finish can pull you through a race, but don’t let the anticipation of the bling blind you to the beauty of the race. Even if you pick a race just for the medal, never forget to take the time to think about where you are, how you got there, and how lucky you are just to be able to run! If you keep those things in mind, the medal, no matter how big or small, serves to solidify a fantastic memory.

Next time: How long is this journey?

I feel like I'm running in circles!

Show of hands – How many of you think that running is boring? OK, OK, put them down! While many runners proclaim that running, in and of itself is bliss, I am not from that camp. To me, running is pretty boring. I know that this is a statement that could put me in danger of being burned at the stake down at the local running store, but it’s true. The act of running, unless you are running after or away from something, is like cruising the strip in your car. Most of the time, it isn’t the act of doing it that is fun. It’s what you see and hear while you are doing it that makes it an interesting experience. So what can you do to make the required miles a bit more interesting?

First, vary your route. If you normally turn left – turn right. It’s amazing how the same route can feel different, just by running in the other direction.

Second, drive to a new spot. I know that it’s convenient to run out your front door, but sometimes you just need to take a little road trip to find new scenery. You don’t have to drive to the next state. Just cruise across town or to the next city. The different view will put a new spark in your step.

Next, slow down and look around. Even on your most traveled route, I’ll bet that there are plenty of things that are there in plain sight that you have never seen. Try counting the number of different types of birds, dogs, or flowers that are along the way. Taking the time to look for things that you wouldn’t normally think about will take your mind off of running, while the act of looking will make you appreciate what is around you.

Finally, for a change of pace, don’t run in circles – run in ovals. From time to time, taking it to the track is good for your legs, and it helps to give you a reality check on your training. Running a Magic Mile every now and then give you a training benchmark, and keeps your long run pace in check. It may not be as scenic as a run in the park, but can be a great change of pace.

Next time: What to look for when picking your first marathon