RUN & WRITE
~Stay True To The Good
IN THE BEGINNING, VOL.2
So you're at the point where you run consistently, but you still don't consider yourself an expert. You're looking at your times and distances and you feel like you can push a bit harder. Mannn, I know exactly how you feel. That's exactly where I'm at in my personal journey as a runner. So, picking up where the predecessor of this post left off, I have listed some things to help assist you in making a smoother transition from a rookie runner to a seasoned vet.
Click here to read up on why a proper warmup is crucial to ones performance as a runner. Listen, running is all about preparation. You prepare your body for races etc by training. You prepare your body for training by...stretching and dieting. The better you treat your body pre and post run, the more inclined you are to perform at a high level. Lunges, High Knee Pulls, Push-ups, Toe Raises. Do them, and do them often. Yes, some runners may be good without stretching, but imagine how much better they could be if they took better care of their bodies.
As stated earlier, how you treat your body when you're not running has a direct impact on how you perform while running. Eat Complex Carbs, drink plenty of water. A big glass of lemon water before bed helps fight that sluggish feeling you get when you're first waking up. Get rid of the condiments, chill on the smoking, and stay away from fried foods. I've been eating mostly Blue Apron meals for the past two months. I credit part of my improved performance with my change in diet. Eat good run good, muggle!
Hey look, it's impossible to do something over a period of time, consistently and not get better at it. If you want to become a better runner, you have to run more often. You can diet well, and stretch for hours, but if you don't make a point to increase the frequency of your runs, you won't get better. Challenge yourself, to be consistent. Run, even when you don't want to. The results of your consistency will reflect in your improved performance and physique.
Too many runners ONLY run. One would suggest that in order to get the most of of your body, you have to challenge yourself in different ways. In fitness, diversity in ones training in getting optimum results. So to optimize your performance as a runner it's imperative that you implement some cross training into your running schedule. Strength/resistance training, basketball, swimming, yoga, calisthenics, are all helpful tools that will help you become a better overall athlete and runner. If you want to be a great runner, don't just run!
In short, link up with a running coach. There are several running groups, and organizations that will help you improve, and grow into a better runner FOR FREE! I wold suggest one of the Nike Coaches or Pacers at the NIKE+NYC Sessions. They're all great, supportive and extremely helpful. Check them out
Being a runner is very difficult, so the fact that you would commit to getting better in such a difficult sport is commendable. Take the time to challenge yourself, and ensure that you are doing all that you can to be the best runner possible. Follow these suggestions as best you can. Good luck, and may the odds be ever in your favor, muggle :-).
~Stay True To The Good
IN THE BEGINNING
So you want in on this running thing, aye? Don't make me blush. I'm excited for you. Now, you may be a little nervous and somewhat lost as to how to get started. No worries, my fellow muggle. Here is all you need to know to get started. Just promise you'll never finish ;-)
You don't want bloody toes, unless of course you're into that kinda thing lol. Get some running sneakers, and make sure they're half (0.5) a size larger than your normal size. You'll need the extra room as your feet pound the hard pavement.
No runner runs the same. Find out what your stride is, and pick the shoes that best suit your stride. Stop in at New York Running Co or Jack Rabbit to learn all there is to know about strides and striking angles. The staff will put you on a treadmill and let you test out shoes that support your stride. Pick a pair or two, and VOILA! 4 for you, Glen Coco! YOU GO, GLEN COCO!
So let's play it smart. You're new to this, and want the most out of your experience. So watch what you eat, and give yourself about 2 hours to let your food digest, before you get to qualifying for the Olympics, Boston Marathon, or The Marcy Houses 5k lol.
Track Your Runs:
I use the Nike+ Running app to track and record all of my runs. There are a number of apps out there. Use whichever one you like, just make sure it's properly setup. If you're using the Nike App, make sure the Auto-Pause feature is on. That way you don't have to worry about stopping your runs when you're waiting at a traffic light, or stopped for a breather (don't worry, I'm not judging you).
Don't Worry About Your Pace:
You're new at this, so you just being out there is an accomplishment in itself. More important than the pace you're running at is how frequently you run. Starting off you want to build strength, and give your body a chance to get used to running. After about 2 weeks of consistent running you'll begin to feel stronger. After you build strength, you can work on running faster.
Run With A Crew or Buddy:
Strength in numbers, my friend. Whether you live in Brooklyn, Manhattan, or the Bronx, there is a running group for everyone! And if you don't like any of the groups out there, start your own :-). As a new runner, I would suggest running with NIKE+NYC or The Breakfast Club.
Running groups are great spaces for learning. They provide emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual support that is difficult to gain running alone.
I hope this info helps you get started. You will do great! Keep an open mind, and a positive attitude. If you ever need some inspiration, feel free to contact me, or anyone who compels you to pursue progress. Best of luck to you, my fellow muggle. This is your journey. Make it fun, make it short, make it long. Just make sure it never ends :-)
~Stay True To The Good
You know that feeling you get when you no longer despise your life? It's very similar to that feeling you get when you see your food coming at a restaurant. This sheer sense of joy and satisfaction because you're getting what's yours. That's how I feel every single time I go for a run.
It was the fall of 2012, and I was completely lost. I just moved back home from School (SUNY Buffalo) and I had no sense of who I was, where I was going, and how I would get there. I remember, back when I couldn't afford a cellphone to download a nike running app, I would head out the house in some Jordan 5's and just run. No distance, no idea of my pace, no concept of proper technique. I was just running. In my head, running meant getting out of the house and finding something...myself. Eventually I found a good job, then I lost it. Fell in love, then I wasn't anymore. Reconnected with friends, just to learn we weren't close at all. Went to church to find God, just to spend months away because I was afraid to face my own realities.
At every opportunity I had to grow and make progress, I would stumble over a hurdle. Any help I would receive from family members or friends, I would eventually take for granted, and end up hurting them. You see, I was lost. No idea of who I was anymore. No understanding of where I belonged or what I needed to do to get there. Should I go back to school and become a lawyer? Sounds good, I helped my ex do it. I have a cousin and several friends and mentors who are attorneys. Yeah I'll do that...NO! O, maybe I'll work in digital sales! You know, my banking background and natural sales attitude could land me a lucrative career working at a cool startup. But no! Oh, I'll go to the NFL! Yeah, I'll train, diet, and impress scouts at the combine. I have the size, i'm fast. Yeah, lets get it Dugg!
All of these "options" ran through my head. At one point I concentrated all of my forces into accomplishing them. None of them would be ever be successful tho. Mainly bc I kept looking in everything except myself for answers.
I heard once that in dire times, when you need a sign, that's when they appear. Well there came a night when it all just hit me. You see, up until my "AH HAA" moment, I spent most of my nights moving around. Partying, drinking, dating, studying, hustling and other habits that don't make me happy. You see, I've always enjoyed a rather simplistic life. I love to read, write, listen to early Jay Z, watch Charlie Rose, listen to the rain fall, and watch NFL network. Above all, the thing I enjoy most is my solitude.
I had just registered for the BKLYN Half Marathon, and wanted to make sure I didn't make a fool of myself. I began training, and with my dedication to that race, my life slowly began to improve. Now, by no means am I some new person, or am no longer incapable of shortcomings. But I will say that, since I was blessed with finding the culture and lifestyle of running, my life has improved significantly. Running, the mental toughness that it takes to be a distance runner, the consistency, the perseverance. The ability to willingly submit to a cause that inevitably will result in pain, is rare. Those qualities, and others, have helped me be a better person. Above all things, running allowed me the space to get to know myself. If you grew up in a house with 5 siblings (I love them all) you would appreciate some solitude too.
Clarity, patience, peace of mind, are just a few of the traits that I have rediscovered and applied to my everyday life. Running helped me grow, and find myself. Running allowed me the space and peace of mind to see situations objectively for what they are, and not what I want them to be. My journey is just getting started, but boy, I'm looking forward to it. I'm a better person because of running. Just imagine the person I'll be once I become a better runner. The transition will be recognized :-)
~Stay True To The Good
HAPPY NEW YEAR :-)
So the other day I found myself running along the east river. Now this wasn't my typical run, take a pic, keep going, kinda run. For starters, there was a nice thick layer of snow and ice on the ground. It was about 7pm, and it had to be about 10 degrees outside(not including the windchill). To make things even more interesting, I wasn't alone. No, I was joined by about 60-70 other lunatics, I mean runners.
Now i've never been one to run at the sight of challenge, but I kid you not, I was seriously concerned about my safety. It was dark, dangerously cold, with enough snow on the ground to discourage any rational human being from walking (let alone running) in such a hazardous conditions.
Nonetheless, we began to run. Now as i'm attempting to trudge along, pulling my nikes from the unconscious and rather unsavory inches of snow, I began to question why the heck I was out here in the first place. I mean seriously! It's a frigid winter night in NYC. I could very well be cuddled up with a spot of red zynga tea, reading Walden (great book by the way) by Thoreau. But no, i'm running in the snow, freezing my giraffe like neck off.
WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? Why subject myself to such grueling conditions? I mean, they do have treadmills. I could have just taken the night off. I could have simply opted to say "screw this, i'm staying home", but I didn't.
As I stated earlier, I was not alone. You see, I was joined by several other people, mostly strangers on this journey. So as I arrived home that night, I couldn't help but wonder, why did all these people from all different walks of life, come together to run in such poor conditions?
The answer is #GOODWRK. You see, some people have this unyielding conviction in progress. They refuse to let circumstances and obstacles limit their potential and growth. They see opportunity when others see limitations. They seek to grow beyond their own capabilities and understanding, because they believe in the pursuit of progress. That my dear muggles is #GOODWRK. #GOODWRK is about progress. Unrelenting, devotion to growth and development through fitness.
To the people who joined me on this frigid night in January, thank you. Your energy, and zealous spirits helped remind me why I love being a trainer and runner so much. I was cold, nervous and intimidated. Your energy and resolve helped me overcome my internal doubts. Your infectious spirit propelled me to compete. And your pursuit of progress inspired me to write this post, and continue creating my narrative. That night we ran, we had no destination, but we had a vision. A vision of progress and enlightenment. I saw in you what I seek to find in myself. That is a more refined, developed version of myself. Through the snow, cold, and gusting winds we ran, in search of progress. #GOODWRK my friends, #GOODWRK.
~ Stay True To The Good
OWN YOUR MILES
No two runners are the same. Some people run fast (Sub 4min per/mile) , and some people run a more sexy pace (14min per/mile). If you're like me, you are somewhere in the middle. Either way, you're running and attempting to better your health, and overall life in the process. You deserve a medal, and a lifetime supply of dri-fit (okay maybe not a lifetime, but you get the point).
What most non-runners (God bless their hearts) don't realize is, running is a rather violent sport. The pounding your body takes is unlike anything I've ever seen. People crossing finish lines with bleeding nipples, tearing ligaments, and even defficating themselves during a race. I mean seriously, a grown man died at the finish line of the Brooklyn Half. So being a runner makes you special. The mere fact that one runs is a testament to their mental toughness and character. Just think, in many major sports (football, basketball, baseball, soccer) running is a form of punishment and discipline. So what does it say about the athletes that run for sport?
So if you're a runner (especially a new one) DO NOT WORRY ABOUT YOUR PACE. You see, the beauty of being a runner is, your only competition is. . . you. Not me, not the people you follow on Instagram, and definitely not Bob from marketing (no disrespect, Robert). The only person who matters, whether you're on mile 1 or 26.2, is you. Never lose sight of that.
Dieting, proper gear, proper recovery and breathing are all key components of being a good runner. But guess what, if you do well in all those areas, but never get out there and run, you'll still look like a fool whenever you decide to go for a run. Runners run. They run fast, they run slow, but the key is they just run! Your miles are yours, own them. And like every other thing in your life, let your naysayers have your miles when you're finished :)
~ Stay True To The Good
STRENGTH IN NUMBERS
Long distance running, for all its glory, can be very isolating. I mean imagine running 15miles alone. Great accomplishment, but some runners (like myself) may get bored running that far alone. And there is nothing worse than finishing your favorite playlist, and STILL having 5 more miles to run. I mean how many times do I have to listen to Drake's 0-100 before I just want to slap a Canadian lol. So for all of you who like a dash of variety with your miles, I recommend running in a group.
Running with a group, or a buddy is a great way to overcome the already difficult challenges presented to runners. For one, you'll have someone to hold you accountable. Imagine the feeling, looking to your side and knowing someone is beside you, step by step by step, mile by mile, enduring just like you.
As a personal trainer, I run with all my clients. Every last one of them appreciates my presence and my willingness to encourage them, during their run. What they may not know is that, I'm also feeding off their energy. Running in a group provides an incomparable feeling of companionship and support that reminds me of when I played organized team sports. Whether you're running with your boys, catching up on the latest tea, or just trying to get faster, the fact is, you're probably running better with the group than you would have run alone.
When you're out there with a group, the run seems to fly by. You don't have those "what am I doing out here" moments. The presence of others takes your mind off of how fast you're going, how far you're running, and sometimes even where you are.
So whether you're new to running, or simply looking to do something different, try running with a group. It's fun, the time flies, and you'll be better off because of it. It's okay to want to improve as a runner. Surround yourself with people who share your passion, and immerse yourself in the culture of running. You'll have finished your miles before you know it :-).
~ Stay True To The Good
GOLLY ITS GETTING COLD! Whether you're an outdoor runner like myself, or someone new to fitness , the last thing you want to do is get hurt while you're working out. The best way to prevent injuries is to ditch your usual pre-workout stretch, and take things to the next level with a dynamic warmup.
Stretching while the body is cold (has not been moving) is a terrible idea. Warming the body up with some light cardio or dynamic movements, prior to exercise is much more effective. In fact, unless you're nursing a injury or have been told otherwise by your doctor, static stretching (bend over and grab your toes) is simply bad idea.
Stretching cold muscles and connective tissues can lead to injury. Keep in mind that your body is a lot like a car (or a minivan) when it comes to movement. The more you warm it up, the better it operates.
Lastly, your body contains a lubricant called Synovial Fluid. Synovial Fluid sit in your joints (just like a car has oil that sits at the ready, to ensure that all of its components operate effectively) and when gently heated up prior to rigorous movement, will help prevent injury and ensure optimal performance.
So lets put an end to primitive, injury conducive, stretching. Know better, live better and perform better with more dynamic, injury preventive warmups :)
WHY DO YOU WORKOUT SO MUCH?
Everyone doesn't care about everything, you know? There are a number of people in this world who genuinely don't identify, or for that matter care, about the notion of fitness. And to be honest with you, I get it. As a runner, personal trainer, former college athlete, and high school football coach, I see how someone who doesn't partake in such activities frequently, would ask someone like me "Why do you workout so much"? It's a valid question. You see, fitness for some is only a job, a responsibility--maybe even a burden. For some, fitness is painful, or even a space that highlights insecurities. For others fitness is fun, and space for positivity and glory. Different strokes for different folks I guess.
The one thing I can often rely on is fitness, and how it helps me develop mental toughness--resolve. You see, I don't always make the right calls. My choices and decisions throughout my life have been questioned, doubted, judged, and even gotten me kicked out of the house. It's tough trying to live your life free of consequences--in fact it's impossible. For the most part, we hope that the choices we make lend themselves to positive outcomes instead of traumatic, negative ones. No one is perfect, so what happens when ones character comes into question? How will you deal with the pressure and scrutiny of being "the bad person" or the one with the "unpopular opinion"? Coming from a young man who knows what it's like to disappoint his family and loved ones and having dealt with the pressures of trying to live a morally clean life, fitness helped me build character. For everyday I spent in practice, or for every lap/sprint I ran as kid, I was developing the mental toughness that would help me deal with the inevitable shortcomings that waited for me in my uncertain future.
Now don't get me wrong, I am fully aware of the health benefits that come along with maintaining a healthy/fit lifestyle. But for me, for Percell Alfonzso Sean Brandon Dugger, the reason why I workout so much is because I LOVE THE MENTAL TOUGHNESS that is developed during the process of exercising. Yes, I like how I look shirtless. Yes, I appreciate a nice compliment about my physical appearance. But none of that helps me sleep at night. None of those experiences come in handy when I find myself in a questionable situation, or when i'm mourning the loss of a friend, family member. None of those moments help me reflect on situations and examine where I may have had a misstep. For me, exerting myself physically, then mentally pushing myself to go harder in whatever exercise I'm doing is not JUST 11miles, its therapy and it's peace of mind..
~Stay True To The Good