Wednesday, October 1, 2014

HAPPY TRAILS

On Monday, my wife and I covered 8 delightful miles on the Bartram Trail, near Hamburg, Pennsylvania.

The trail is a flat, hard-packed gravel path, which follows the Schuylkill River. For history buffs, "Schuylkill" is actually a Dutch word, not Native American, meaning 'hidden.' Dutch traders, who explored Pennsylvania long before the arrival of the English under William Penn, named the river, which was hidden under a thick canopy of trees.

That canopy is beneficial to the many runners, walkers, cyclists, even horseback riders who utilize this segment of the Bartram Trail. The Schuylkill River flows for about 100 miles, from near Pottsville to Philadelphia, and several trails line its banks. It's tree-lined paths offer cooler temperatures during the summer, and protection from the wind during the colder months.

This particular portion of the trail stretches for six miles, from Hamburg to Auburn. It is loaded with animals of all kinds. Deer and wild turkeys are in abundance, and an occasional black bear will wander about. The railroad, once the lifeline of the region, carrying anthracite coal to Philadelphia, runs parallel to the trail as well as the river. Mile markers, carved into wooden posts, mark the trail, and even half-mile splits can be recorded, thanks to wooden mallards impaled onto posts.

Trails are, in my opinion, essential to running longevity. Years of pounding sidewalks and roads eventually take their toll on an aging runner's joints. Logging miles on trails, at least once a week, if possible, eases stress on the body, as well as the mind.

It's a jungle out there, but not in the woods. It's becoming more and more hazardous on the roads. The number one cause of accidents today is distracted driving. Most of us have encountered the driver, looking down, as he or she drives, That means they're texting or looking at their mobile device, and not at you. I don't know about you, but I'd rather swat mosquitoes, hurdle a snake, or dodge a skunk than deal with some of the drivers out there.

Trail running is as good for the mind as it is for the body.

In my part of the world, the next few weeks feature an explosion of colors along our mountain trails. Enjoy what nature has to offer. Snap that selfie, and appreciate what we as runners have the privilege to experience.

In my latest book, "Personal Best," available now at: www.muldowneyrunning.com,  published just last week, I write that for all of us, regardless of age or ability, "Our best running days lie ahead."

Trail running is an integral part of that philosophy. On the trails, we are free, a part of nature. We become primal, running as our ancient ancestors did.

Hit the trails whenever you can

Trail running WILL help you to achieve your personal best.


Sunday, September 28, 2014

RUNNING FOR THE HEALTH OF IT

There is a tremendous Facebook page for runners out there, called Running For The Health of It.

The page was started by a young man, Troy Leatherbury, a personal trainer from the Philadelphia area, who wanted to spread the word about physical fitness.

Folks from around the country have joined the group, which now boasts over 1,100 members.

A very colorful member of the group, Felix Shipp, from Grenada, Mississippi, is a blue collar worker, who, in 2009, became disabled. Rather than continue to eat and smoke excessively, Felix chose to take control of his fitness and become a runner. He is now an accomplished marathon runner.

In my new book, Personal Best, available now at: www,muldowneyrunning.com, Felix Shipp's story is told in his own words, in the chapter entitled, 'Extraordinary.' He shares the chapter with Father Chris Zelonis and Jen Burgess, who also have extraordinary stories to tell.

I wrote Personal Best with a single purpose: to offer readers a self-help book that will enable them to achieve their personal best.

Check Personal Best at: www.muldowneyrunning.com I will be happy to send you a signed copy.

Here is my video for Running For the Health of It.


Thursday, September 25, 2014

FOR THE TRULY (K)NEEDY

There is a fact of life all runners must accept. If we run long enough, we are going to experience knee pain.

Now don't listen to the naysayers who say, "Running will ruin your knees." Statistically, that statement just isn't true.

The key is to manage knee pain before it becomes debilitating.

Torn hamstring tendons are, for me, in the process of mending, but my gait has been altered, causing me discomfort in my left knee.

Of course, in desperation, I went to the Internet, specifically Amazon.com, and found a product that is terrific for anyone, in any sport, who is having knee pain.

On Tuesday, I received my Alpha Athletica Compression Knee Sleeve, and I immediately wore it on my 5-mile run. Over the years, I have tried several sleeves and braces for my knee, but this knee sleeve is, by far, the best. It is lightweight and non-restrictive. It holds its elasticity, extends into the hamstring area, and is cool and quick-drying. I was so impressed I even wrote my first Amazon review of the product. I would recommend the Alpha Athletica Compression Knee Sleeve to athletes participating in any sport.

Find the Alpha Athletica Compression Knee Sleeve on Amazon, and for reading this blog use CODE4JOE and receive 50% off this fine product.

Check out my video below for more.






Wednesday, September 24, 2014

JUMP ON THE LADDER

If you've read my blog, you know the value I place on a runner's weekly speed workout. In my latest book, "Personal Best," www.muldowneyrunning.com, in my college cross country coaching, and my eCoaching I preach the gospel of speed work and I suggest ways to keep it fresh.

Let's face it, speed work, especially if done alone, is not fun. It is intense, thankless, and painful. One often asks, "Why am I doing this? It's not a race, yet it hurts like a race. And...if I quit, who will know?"

Well, the answer is simple: speed work pays dividends. Turning in workouts that are sometimes FASTER than race pace, increases lung capacity and leg turnover, and conditions the body both physiologically as well as psychologically.

So, we know that 400, 800, and 1600 meter repeats are terrific workouts, but if you want to work on both stamina and speed, you really need to get on the ladder.

Ladder workouts break up the monotony of the speed workout regimen. They can be completed quickly and efficiently.

After a warmup session, set a goal for your ladder workout. The key to ladder workouts is to come down the ladder as fast, or faster, than you go up. For example, is your first 400 meters is run in 2 minutes,  your second 400 should be run in 1:59 or better.

Today, we ran what I consider a very basic, yet beneficial ladder workout: 400, 800, 1600, 800, 400.

I have always "halved" the rest interval, so after the fast 400, I jogged 200 meters. After the 800, I jogged 400 meters. 800 meters after the 1600, and 400 after the 800 meters.

Sometimes I add a 200 meters at the beginning and end to increase leg speed. If you are training for a marathon, try an 800, 1600, 3200, 1600, 800 meter ladder. I promise you'll sleep well after that workout.

Don't be afraid to jump on the ladder. When you're feet hit the ground again, your race times will plummet.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

eCOACHING-GET FASTER!

My eCoaching service is now up and running on my site: www.muldowneyrunning.com.

The eCoaching package will improve your race times, at distances from the 5K to the marathon. My written plan, unlimited coaching access, and advice will assist you in reaching your personal best.

When you sign up for my eCoaching, you will receive:

-A 20-Week written training plan

-Weekly check-ins and adjustments

-Unlimited email access to me throughout the training period

All for the low price of $25.00.

Hey, I enjoy running my personal best, and I enjoy writing books about it, but I REALLY enjoy coaching others to their personal bests.

So, check it out on www.muldowneyrunning.com, and we can get on the road to your personal best.

Oh, and let me add that I have created programs for folks around the world. My program is very metric-friendly.





Monday, September 22, 2014

SUPER SEVENS

'Super Sevens' is a training method I've developed that, if followed, will improve your racing performance.

 In my latest book, "Personal Best," you can learn how to make Muldowney Super Sevens work for you. Pre-orders of the book, signed by the author, are available at: www.muldowneyrunning.com, The book will be released on Thursday, and pre-orders will be fulfilled at that time.

Personal Best will be available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble in a few weeks.


Sunday, September 21, 2014

SUNDAY=LONG DAY

There's just something about it.

A light breakfast, a relaxing cup of coffee or two, the Sunday newspaper, and a long training run.

Often the rigors of the work week render us a bit sluggish by the end of the day, but on Sunday mornings we generally feel fresh and ready to conquer the longer distances.

Today, on the last full day of summer, temperatures soared here in Pennsylvania. Participants in the Rock and Roll Half Marathon in Philadelphia suffered through mid-summer conditions, complete with high humidity.

Two hours north of Philadelphia, pockets of mountain air and an abundance of shade made my 9-mile run quite pleasant today. Now, "Back in the day," a 9-miler would hardly fit my description of a long run, Today's workout, however, was my longest run since I tore two hamstring tendons in May 2013.

I have always attempted to run my long runs at a brisk pace, adhering to the philosophy that, "Long slow distance makes long slow runners."

My wife also completed 7.5 miles today in preparation for her half marathon debut at Philadelphia in November.

Long run completed, I showered, drank copious amounts of water all afternoon, watching my beloved Philadelphia Eagles win their third consecutive game of the young season.

Some yard work and a delicious dinner followed, and blog now written, it's time to celebrate the day with a Yuengling beer or two.

Combined with a mid-week speed workout, a weekly quality long run can go a long way toward racing success.