Sunday, December 21, 2014

COMING OUT OF THE DARK



At 6:03 pm., we here in the Northern Hemisphere began to come out of the dark.

Well, astrologically, that is.

The sun's path has reached its southernmost position, and now will advance northward.

The Winter Solstice is the shortest day of the year, and the first day of winter. Yes, the next couple of months will be brutal, but psychologically, the fact that the days are getting longer is certainly a positive thought for most of us.

These days it is getting dark before 5:00 p.m., but after tomorrow, that will change. By the end of January, we will have gained a half hour or so of extra light at the end of the day. Statistically, February can be the snowiest month for us here in the northern climes, but, as days get longer and the sun is higher in the sky, snow melts more quickly.

Enjoy the promise of the Winter Solstice. Embrace the fact that we will slowly begin to come out of the darkness. Ancient societies celebrated the day, and so do we. Our runners' roots, which can be traced to the cavemen, who had to sometimes run to stay alive, take us back to our basic survival instincts. We are faster, safer, and filled with healthy Vitamin D, as light increases.

Prepare for the winter days ahead. Always wear the proper gear. Make sure you are visible during the increased hours of darkness, and run safely on streets that may be icy and slippery.

Much more about running weather and climate in the chapter entitled, 'Seasons,' in my book, "Running Shorts," and in the chapter "Your Seasons,"in my latest book, "Personal Best," available at: www.muldowneyrunning.com

Happy Solstice Day to All!




Saturday, December 20, 2014

THAT'S A STRETCH!

I guess I'm pretty "Old School."

Is that because I'm pretty old?

Nah!

Pre-training stretching for me usually includes about one minute of disjointed gyrations that may look to some as though I've just been tasered, or attempted to perform a "crazy old uncle" dance at a wedding.

My philosophy has generally been, "I'll stretch out and warm up during the first mile."

This philosophy has long been shared by my oldest continuous training partner, Brian Tonitis. Brian and I have been training together since 1978. And he's no slouch. Back in the 80s he ran a personal best marathon time of 2:39 at the Philadelphia Marathon. Then, he transitioned into cycling and also became an accomplished triathlete.

Last Sunday, during a 7-mile run, on which we lamented about our numerous aches and pains, common after you've logged over 100,000 miles in your life, Brian uttered a shocking confession: for the past several weeks he's been enrolled in a yoga class!!

"Say it ain't so," was my initial reaction.

My oldest running mate Brian?

This guy is one of the most cynical running traditionalists I've ever known.

"It's really helped me bud," he stated.

"And it's really hard," he added.

Brian may be a running cynic, but no one does more research on running, cycling and fitness than he.

If he's tried yoga, there's got to be something to it.

Thirty-eight years of running have rendered me totally inflexible. What's more, my recovery from two torn hamstring tendon tears (perhaps a result of not stretching enough?) have produced increased soreness in my hips and lower back, while the hamstring itself seems to have completely healed.

So, I decided to give yoga a try.

I went to You Tube and found "Yoga Practice For Runners."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=of2spyCtUkw

It's great, and I'm hooked.

Now, I only lasted 10 minutes, but I feel better, and I'm determined to continue.

I certainly don't expect to dunk a basketball anytime soon, and I'm not going to be able to do "The Pretzel," but this old-timer has discovered yoga, and it's really cool.

Who says you can't teach an old running dog new tricks?


Friday, December 19, 2014

SOUTHERN CHARM



As we approach the Winter Solstice here in Pennsylvania, I'm already tired of looking at our official winter colors: brown and gray. The lyrics of a Jimmy Buffett song fill my head, "I wanna go where it's warm."

My running getaway running plans include a trip to one of my favorite cities: Charleston, South Carolina.

Charleston, South Carolina is one of the most beautiful, historic places in the country. The gorgeous southern city features terrific restaurants, friendly people, and fabulous weather...even in January.it is rich with history, and many historic buildings date back to the 1600s.

Charleston is a runner-friendly city. It hosts one of the largest races in the country, the Cooper River Bridge.

I plan to run the half marathon; while my wife will participate in the Shrimp and Grits 5K. (How great is that name!!)

We plan to reward ourselves after the race with some she crab soup as well as other low country menu items

Check out the Charleston Marathon weekend, January 16-17. http://www.charlestonmarathon.com

The weather will be perfect and the course is flat.


 Stop by the race Expo on Friday, January 16, where I plan to deliver two seminars.

 Hope to see you at the Charleston Marathon.

And remember to visit: www.muldowneyrunning.com for much more running stuff.



Thursday, December 18, 2014

FOR THE RUNNER...


"Personal Best," my latest book, is written to help every runner, of all ages, sexes, and ability levels achieve his or her personal best.

With the New Year rapidly approaching, we are setting our running goals for 2015. This book will help you achieve those goals.

At my website: www.muldowneyrunning.com, you can 'one stop shop' for books, blogs, personal training, and advice. On my website you will find the lowest prices for my books, and I'll personally sign copies for you.

Also, check out my Amazon Author link below for book information.

Here's wishing you and yours a joyous Holiday season.

http://www.amazon.com/Joe-Muldowney/e/B00PHI7ZG2







Wednesday, December 17, 2014

ESCAPE

Here in northeastern Pennsylvania, the sun hasn't appeared in the last nine days. Prior to that a surprise snowstorm dumped eight inches of snow in our backyard.

And it's not winter yet.

Although roads are currently dry, forecasters are talking about a winter storm on Christmas Day.

Training outdoors in northeast winter weather is a challenge, to say the least. And when winter weather rears its ugly head before Thanksgiving, as it did this year, we are looking at a full four months until pleasant conditions reappear.

I use the winter months to grind out the miles. Throughout my 38-year running career I have often logged more miles in January than in June.

I can accept my fate when it comes to miserable conditions in December and January, but by the time February rolls around, it's time to escape.

After the publication of my first book, "Running Shorts: A Collection of Stories and Advice for Anyone Who Has Ever Laced Up a Pair of Running Shoes," I traveled to race expos around the country to interact with runners and to sell my books.

In February 2012, I went to the Myrtle Beach Marathon Expo, and I ran the half marathon the next day.

There's nothing not to like about Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. I have vacationed there for more than 20 years because of the southern hospitality, the beautiful climate, the terrific, affordable restaurants, and reasonable lodging.

The Myrtle Beach Marathon course is flat, fast, and scenic. Mid-February weather is usually marathon-perfect, with an average high temperature of 61 degrees, and hotel deals are phenomenal. What's more, the Myrtle Beach Marathon is not a mega-race. The start is not congested, and the field manageable.

Putting a race like the Myrtle Beach Marathon on your schedule gives you something to aim for on those bleak winter days when you'd rather not train.

My wife and I are going back to run the half marathon in February. And talk about a romantic runner's weekend? This year's race will be held on Valentine's Day.

Visit http://www.myrtlebeach.com/marathon/ for more information on the 18th Annual Myrtle Beach Marathon.

For more blogs, my latest book, "Personal Best," and other running stuff, visit my website: www.muldowneyrunning.com.


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

THERE'S STILL TIME!

Christmas is nine days away, and I'm sure you're still looking for an inexpensive gift for the runner on your Christmas list.

If you visit my website: www.muldowneyrunning.com, I will guarantee you a signed copy of my book, "Running Shorts: A Collection of Stories and Advice for Anyone Who Has Ever Laced Up a Pair of Running Shoes," and/or my latest book, "Personal Best," for the special Holiday price of $9.99+Shipping and Handling.

"Running Shorts" is a book of my experiences as a competitive, national class runner since 1976. I offer advice, lighthearted stories, and plenty of running history in "Running Shorts."

If you plan to become a better runner in 2015, "Personal Best" is the book for you. I have written it as a recipe book for running success. Personal best can be defined in many ways. When you read "Personal Best," you WILL reach your personal best.

My books are also available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Lulu.com., and in the iTunes Store. "Personal Best" is
also available in eBook form.

Here's wishing you and your family a joyous and healthy Holiday season, and a successful running year of 2015.




WARDROBE DECISION

Forget about what to wear for the office Christmas party, or for the big wedding you've been invited to. Your most important wardrobe decision occurs whenever you decide to go outside for a run.

Let's face it, running is hard work. There are no time outs, no breaks in the action. Comfort is the key.

One of the biggest mistakes beginning runners make is overdressing.

When we run, the body produces an incredible amount of heat.

What happens when we overheat?

We sweat.

We sweat because water has a cooling, temperature regulating effect, something we don't want on a frigid winter day.

The quick-wicking fabrics of today are fantastic, and are a must for every runner. From socks to hats to base layers, spend the extra money and invest in staying dry in order to maximize comfort while on the run.

What's more, create a vast wardrobe of running clothing to fit your needs for 365 days a year of potential running.

You can start with your feet, which are fairly important components of your running frame. Rarely are your feet going to get cold when you run. Constant movement keeps them warm, but they must be kept dry. For that reason, a dry-wicking material is essential.

Let's move up to the legs. Again, constant movement keeps our legs relatively warm. We all know a few runners who NEVER wear anything other than shorts, and that's fine if it works for them. For me, the 40s is the benchmark. If it gets below about 45 degrees, I'm wearing tights.

As we move up the body, guys, be careful in the area of the shorts. When temperatures drop to the single digits, I always wear undergarment shorts under my running shorts. You know how much it hurts when fingers get numb, then thaw out...well, private parts feel the same, and it's not pretty!

Today's temperatures are in the 40s. For my run today, on top I plan to wear an Under Armour turtleneck, covered by a t-shirt. I'll  wear tights as well. When temperatures drop to the 30s, I'll add a vest, and in the 20s I'll go with a full jacket.

Back to the "vast wardrobe" concept. I know which of my shirts, jackets, and tights are warmer and which are lighter in weight. I select the proper one based on the conditions of the day.

On the coldest of days, I will only wear the aforementioned three top layers.

I wear a hat when the temperatures are below freezing.

In Polar Vortex conditions, I'll wear a face mask of some sort. (avoiding banks and convenience stores)

My hands are always cold, so I'll war painter's gloves when it's under 50 degrees, heavier gloves as it gets colder, and mittens in bitter cold conditions. Gloves separate your fingers, whereas mittens keep them together, sharing heat from finger to finger. Therefore, mittens are the best in frigid conditions.

Long sleeve compression shirts get me through days in the 60s. Short sleeve compression shirts take me to about 75 degrees, and above that I'm shirtless.

In rainy conditions, again, invest in good, waterproof apparel, and you'll remain comfortable throughout your workout.

Keep a close eye on the weather conditions prior to your workout, dress accordingly, making the proper wardrobe decisions and you can comfortably run outdoors every day of the year.

For more advice, blogs, books, and coaching, visit: www.muldowneyrunning.com