Thursday, December 31, 2015


2016 is upon us.

And, your best running days lie ahead.


Yes, we will become another year older. There may be times of setbacks. Our races may not always turn out the way we had hoped. There will be days when the weather will slap us in the face and it will be difficult to get out the door.

But...You WILL get out there. Because you can.

For nearly four months I was sidelined with a torn meniscus, which resulted in arthroscopic surgery.

It was hell!

Getting back out there proved to me how much I love to run.

Your best running days lie ahead whenever you can run on your favorite route, whether it be street, trail, mountain or beach.

Your best running days lie ahead when you stare Mother Nature in the eye and you win.

Your best running days lie ahead when you can run with friends, laughing, joking, and exchanging training tips.

Your best running days lie ahead when you are out there doing what 90% of the population can't do.

Your best running days lie ahead, and they begin anew tomorrow, in the new year of 2016.

Have a great 2016.

I'll be here to offer my advice, rants, guidance, and, sometimes humor.

Finally, here's an Irish blessing for the New Year.

"May those who love us, love us; and for those who don't love us, may God turn their hearts; and if

he doesn't turn their hearts, may he turn their ankles, so that we may know them by their limping."

Tuesday, December 29, 2015


Runners appreciate comfort and convenience, in our workouts, but especially in our race preparations.

Most runners, and I'm one of them, absolutely detest the process of pinning on our race bibs. It's tedious, and often difficult, in the hours before an event when we are jittery and nervous.

And once you purchase that coveted singlet, the one that you absolutely love to wear for races, you toss it in your car after you cross the finish line, sweat-covered and salty, only to remove the pins later, revealing permanent rust spots on your bright-colored garment.

Well, rust no more!

I've discovered a great new product that will allow you to go pinless...forever!

Pinrace Limited,, a British company, has introduced a product that is making traditional and inconvenient safety pins obsolete.

The innovative fastening system features a pair of strong magnets which clasp onto each other through the fabric of the garment and race number holding it firmly in place, regardless of the sports the garments might be used for. Developed by runners, for runners, the Pinrace system quickly solves the host of problems that traditional safety pins cause for both veteran and novice runners alike. While they have been the go-to fastening system for many years, safety pins simply aren’t reliable, and they can damage expensive sportswear over time.

The idea behind the magnetic fastening clasps occurred to Manuel de Luque and Montserrat De Juan having experienced problems with the traditional safety pins first hand. De Luque first came up with the idea while running a race in Spain where he realized the extent of the damage the safety pins were causing to his sportswear and how uncomfortable they actually were.

 Montserrat, a veteran in the fitness industry, also experienced the same discomfort with the safety pins and thus the couple set about devising a solution to the discomfort and ineffectiveness of traditional safety pins and shortly thereafter the innovative Pinrace fastening system was born.

For additional information or to purchase the product please visit: to learn more.

I appreciate practical, simple products, and Pinrace fits the bill.






Monday, December 28, 2015


Right about now, at the end of another calendar year, many of you are planning your racing schedule for 2016.

With more races to choose from than ever before, you can be very selective about the races you would like to run, so now is the time to do your homework.

At this time, I must repeat my mantra that, today, many people have the tendency to overrace. By racing too frequently, you 'water down' your performances, thus earning you a place in the chapter of my first book, Running Shorts,,, entitled, 'Excuses, Excuses.'

You know who I mean. The runner, who after you beat him or her reminds you that he would have finished ahead of you if not for the fact that he or she had run 15 races in the past three weeks!

Be selective.

First, my recommendation is to not schedule more than two marathons in a calendar year. The marathon does some deep tissue damage, so you can expect to remain less than racing fresh for a month or so after running a marathon.

Vary your race distances. Run 5Ks up to half marathons. Sometimes, local communities offer one and two mile races during the summer.

Few things in running frost me more than rip-off races. Over-the-top entry fees, for races that offer very little, and big cities that boost hotel prices when they know a race is in town. If I find a race where my entry fee is going toward a worthy charity or cause, I'm more likely to run that race than a race that is paying a race director a six-figure salary.

Review the race course before you enter. If you want to climb hills, find a race that suits your needs. However, if your training is going better than ever and you want to run a personal best time, look for a relatively flat course.

Check out weather trends. You may find an exotic island location that also features a marathon, but tropical heat and marathon running is usually not a good combination.

Support your local races. More often than not, those races support worthy local causes. At local races, you meet other runners like you, and often you can forge relationships and gain new training partners. Mega-races are fine, but local races are the backbone of road racing.

Finally, look at the race organization. Is the course well-marked? Is it accurate? Are the amenities what you are looking for in a race?

It;s definitely a 'buyer's market' out there. Thousands upon thousands of races exist, and they are looking for you to come and run.

Be smart. Be selective. But, most of all, do your homework.

Thursday, December 24, 2015


From my family to yours, we wish you a Merry Christmas.

I hope for you and yours it is a joyous time with family and friends. And to those loved ones who are no longer with us, honor them with stories and tales of their lives. Over this Christmas season, they are truly with us in spirit.

It's spring-like, heck, it's almost summer-like here in Pennsylvania, with record temperatures. After my run this morning, I worked in my garden and raked leaves.

Remain healthy and enjoy the joys Christmas brings to all of us!


Tuesday, December 22, 2015


Today is the first full day of winter in the Northern Hemisphere, and, as runners, it's time for us to say, "Bring it on."

Of course, that's a little easier to do this year, with record high temperatures expected to greet us here on the east coast for the next week or so.

Remain focused. Build up your base miles. If icebox conditions exist, or snow or ice hits, adjust, adapt, and relax. Dress properly, begin your workout into the wind, then keep it to your back on the way home. Race infrequently, then emerge in March, refreshed, with a solid mileage base, ready to crush personal best times at every distance.

Lastly, heed the advice of the Flying Finn.

Monday, December 21, 2015


The tree is decorated, the stockings are hung, the gifts are wrapped, but for many runners, whether they know it or not, today is the most wonderful day of the year.

Today, in the Northern Hemisphere, we celebrate the Winter Solstice, the date on which we experience the least amount of daylight. The days get longer and brighter from here.

The Winter Solstice arrives here in Pennsylvania at 11:48 p.m. so, technically, today and tomorrow will stand as the shortest days of the year. Only 8 hours and 16 minutes of daylight will bathe us today and tomorrow, but on Wednesday we will gain another minute of precious light.

Statistically, January will be our coldest month; while February will be the snowiest. El Nino has spared us frigid weather thus far, but we will not permanently dodge the bullet.

Most of us enjoy training outdoors, and light is our ally. For the past few weeks, darkness has crept in shortly after 4:30 p.m., making it difficult for most folks to complete their training run in the light. Today's solstice brings us a ray of hope, as well as light.

And, isn't that what Christmas spirit, the Holiday season is all about. Whatever our faith, or even if you celebrate Festivus, beginning today, we anticipate renewal, hope, and promise. We will make note of resolutions, and we will hope that, as the calendar ushers in a new year, our lives, and the lives of our loved ones will experience a new light.

The Winter Solstice brings with it a season of cold, nasty conditions that we inevitably brave our way through, thanks to the promise of spring. The season mirrors life itself, with its brutal seasons, and the light at the end of each. It mimics our running life, with periods of darkness imposed by injury or illness, our rehabilitation, and the promise of brighter, spring-like days ahead.

So, on today's winter solstice, kiss goodbye to darkness, and welcome the light. The Holidays are ahead, better days are ahead.

Happy Solstice Day to all.

Sunday, December 20, 2015


  If you like reading this blog, you'll love my books. But don't take my word for it, check out the reviews on Amazon.

Great offer on my books at: Order today and you'll receive the signed books for Christmas.

At Amazon, , you can purchase the books, including the Kindle version of 'Personal Best,' at a low price of $1.99.

Have a great, healthy Holiday season!  

very inspirational March 8, 2015
Coming back from an injury that sidelined me over the fall and winter, Joe reminds me what started my running career. Thanks, Joe!
Highly recommend December 3, 2014
As a longtime runner who is trying to get back into the swing of almost-daily running, this book was just what the doctor ordered. You'll instantly be hooked as the author recounts his unforgettable experience on that tragic day at the Boston marathon in 2013. It's obvious that this veteran runner knows his stuff, and he's kind enough to share his knowledge (from watches to shoes to rest days to training programs, etc) with...Read More
Mark Will-Weber, author of "The Quotable Runner" and "Run for the Diamonds" December 3, 2014
I really enjoy Muldowney's writing on running, because he really speaks to the "Old School" runner and somehow manages to convey to new runners this important aspect of our sport: Why Running Matters.
2 of 2 people found the following helpful
Makes me want to lace up my shoes and run!! November 20, 2014
Personal Best is an excellent read for runners of all levels. Muldowney opens with an emotional look back at the tragic events at the Boston Marathon in 2013. From there he details ways in which a runner at any level can achieve his/her "personal best" in a foot race. Very inspiring and just the advice I needed going into my Fall marathon. Muldowney will make you want to get out on the road and/or sign up for another...Read More
Dr. J reviewed Personal Best
it's a great book. Even if you have never run before ... November 20, 2014
Inspiring book, if you're a runner looking to be re energized, motivated, it's a great book. Even if you have never run before you will be touched by some person accounts. Easy read. True stories.
1 of 1 people found the following helpful
Read Personal Best to get your personal best! November 18, 2014
Joe's easy-to-read style makes this a fast read; then you'll want to read it again to catch all the "gems" found in its pages. If you are a runner, you will relate to so many of the joys, troubles and even tragedies found in Personal Best. If you know a runner, reading this will certainly help you figure out what makes your runner tick. Everyone will benefit from learning about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing from the...Read More
2 of 2 people found the following helpful
Great relatable book for runners! November 14, 2014
Being a fellow runner, I absolutely love this book. I kept trying to push the like button! I enjoyed Joe's first one and as an experienced runner, once again I can relate to all that is written in this book. If you're a novice or an expert you will enjoy this book. -ken shapiro
Relatable and inspiring! November 14, 2014
Whether you were a runner in high school, or a newer runner currently training for a few local races, or perhaps you're a weekend warrior logging a few miles with your best running partners, or maybe even your best running days are behind you, you will absolutely relate to this illustrative book. Joe Muldowney paints a picture in your mind of his finest (and funniest) stories of the road that will have you quite literally laughing...Read More
Drew reviewed Personal Best
2 of 2 people found the following helpful
Fantastic read for all runners November 13, 2014
Fantastic read for all runners!! Great personal stories that people can relate, and training advice that is straight forward and easy to understand. I really enjoyed Joe discussing his mindset and approach while in training, running races or being injured. Great read for all types and level of runners.
2 of 2 people found the following helpful
Must read! November 12, 2014
As a new runner, I am always looking for tips and enjoy reading stories about runners I can relate to. I would highly recomend this book to any type of runner. A newbie or someone just looking to improve their game. It was an easy, enjoyable read, with quick tips you can put into action right away. Working on my personal best right now and it only keeps improving!
An amazing book. November 12, 2014
Joe has dedicated his running life to the pages of this book to help other runners. A must read.
Great Book for Runner's of all Abilities. November 11, 2014
A Great Book for Runners of all Abilities . The First Chapter alone is worth the price of the book

Saturday, December 19, 2015


Thursday was a miserable day.

A steady rain poured down, accompanied by a chilly wind. Conditions were dark and damp and temperatures struggled to reach 40 degrees. Simply a terrible day to go for a run.

Hell no!

I couldn't wait to gear up with my waterproof vest, painter's hat and gloves.

Since tearing my meniscus in August, my training log has resembled a freshly cleaned blackboard (going back to my teaching days), a clean slate, so to speak.

Walking was a struggle throughout September, and I am ashamed to report that I ran two miles for the month. That's right: 2 miles!

I dragged my leg for a whopping 31 miles in October, then, prior to my November 10 arthroscopic surgery, I managed to struggle through 12 miles for that entire month.

Exactly four weeks after my surgery, on December 10, as instructed, I ran my first mile on the track.

So, after three months of running exile, I am elated to emerge from my personal Elba island, whenever I am able, whatever the conditions.

On Thursday, my two miles, all my sore knee will bear at this time, were delightful. The cold, dank, rainy atmosphere didn't phase me a bit.

It's all relative folks.

Take this wonderful gift of running away from us, yank it, like a throw rug, from beneath our feet, and we begin to realize how much it really means to us.

My personal best times are fading in the rear view mirror, but my, and your, best running days lie ahead.

In about an hour, I'll run on a beautiful trail, along a lazy river, with snow flurries swirling, along with a running friend of over thirty years, who suffered a stroke a mere six weeks ago.

And, in the coming weeks and months, I'll run in the mountains and I'll run on the beach. I'll run with my wife, with friends old and new, I'll run with my kids, I'll run with my dogs.

Cherish each day and every opportunity we are afforded to lace up our shoes and go for a  run.

Because, indeed, our best running days lie ahead.

Friday, December 18, 2015


If you're like me, you are constantly searching for websites with like-minded people, who live and breathe running like we do.

We all wish that we could find a site that would keep us up to date on workout ideas, nutrition, shoes and gear, as well offering training plans and providing access to local running coaches.

Look no further, because that site is just a click away.

The site is:

The site bills itself as "The World's Leading Community for Runners and Coaches," and after spending some time on the site, I agree with that claim. offers unlimited resources to both runners and coaches. Runners have the opportunity to share their knowledge and experience on the site. offers easy-to-practice coaching information, as well as participation in their online discussion forum. You can create a member profile and connect with others.

And, the good news is, you can join their site and take advantage of these resources for FREE!

But there's more.

As a member of, you will gain access to qualified and experienced coaches, as well as expert coaching articles and videos. You can check out information on running shoes and running gear. There are even downloadable materials available for your use.

And, if you're a coach, affords you the opportunity to advertise to their online community, post a coaching service, reach clients who are looking for experienced coaches like you, and to attract clients with your coaching tips. is truly a one-stop running site. Visit today and join for free. You'll be glad you did.



Thursday, December 17, 2015


Whether it's a Redneck in a pick up truck, a snotty, wiseguy teenager, or an elderly person who simply can't fathom why you're taking up their valuable road space, we've all heard some variation of the phrase, "Get off the road." In fact, I explore this phenomenon in the chapter entitled, "Why Do They Hate Us So Much?" in my first book, Running Shorts.

It's the Holiday season, so let's channel the negative energy emitted from the haters and polish it with a positive spin.

They're right!

We SHOULD get off the least sometimes.

Scientific studies have proven that, no, running does not "ruin your knees." That said, the pounding and compression produced from a steady diet of running on blacktop or concrete surfaces can lead to an increased number of aches and pains, which could lead to further complications.

So, heed Bubba's advice, and "Get off the road" when you can.

I have always been an advocate of a weekly track workout, so by going there, you are able to turn in a speed workout, and get off the hard road surface.

Trails are simply magnificent. Here in rural Pennsylvania, I am blessed with an abundance of trails. I can cross the street from my driveway and enter Sharp Mountain, a labyrinth of mountain paths.

Many areas of the country have transformed old railroad beds into fitness trails, and most big cities have paths coursing along the river, or through urban parks.

Of course, if you're fortunate to have a beach nearby, the hard-packed sand, near the water's edge is ideal for running.

You're probably not going to set many personal records when you run on trails, but that's ok. Your legs and lower back will appreciate the rest, and your senses will enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of a secluded running venue. And few experiences are more gratifying that observing the change of seasons on your favorite trail.

So what is the recipe?

My advice is to get off the road at least twice a week. Hit the track and trail and you'll be fine. And if you can get there more frequently, that's a bonus.

The next time a tattooed, cigarette-smoking, pot-bellied slob revs his engine and yells, "Get off the road," give him a little wave (with all five fingers) and tell him that's the workout you have scheduled for tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015


By now, I'm sure your Christmas shopping is in full swing. My wife is completely finished; while I have barely begun.

If you're looking to purchase something for the runner on your Christmas list, I have an offer for you. You can pick up a gift for your runner for as little as $1.99!

 From now until Christmas day, if you visit my website, you can take advantage of the Christmas Two for One sale.

For the retail price of one book, $14.99 plus shipping, you can purchase BOTH of my books, Personal Best, AND Running Shorts. That's $7.50 for running books written by a runner for runners.

Heck, you can even purchase two of the same book, if you like.

During my 39 years of competitive running, I have experienced the highs and lows of our sport. From a personal best marathon time of 2:22:54, to a devastating hamstring tear after the 2013 Boston Marathon, I have seen it all. I can personally guarantee you that my books will inspire you and help you to become a better runner.

I will personally sign each book and send it out to you promptly.


You can take advantage of the two for one sale, AND receive a ten-week training program ABSOLUTELY FREE!! That's a value of $25. So far this Christmas season, I have written training programs for runners from Australia to Brazil, and I would be happy to write a program tailored to your racing needs.

Here's how it works. You must purchase the two for one offer on my website, from now until Christmas Eve. You will then receive one 10-week free personalized training program, and I will make that offer valid for an entire year. So, if you want to train for a marathon next November, you won't have to take advantage of your free training program until next August or September.

When you checkout, I will record your email, then you can email me at:, and we can begin your training program at your convenience.

This is a Cyber sale you can use to become inspired by reading my books, and reach your very own personal best by receiving a training program written by me just for you.

Check out reviews of my training plans, submitted by runners from all over the world at:

And, if you want to buy the best stocking-stuffer ever, go to my Amazon page,, where you can buy the Kindle version of Personal Best for only $1.99.

The digital time clock is ticking. You have only until Christmas Eve to take advantage of this one-time offer.

I look forward to helping YOU achieve your personal best.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015


Today is my dad's birthday.

He was born on this day 97 years ago.

I lost him in 2007, at age 88.

Born the tiny coal-mining town of Girardville, Pennsylvania, he was the son of Irish parents, and the eldest of nine children.

The Great Depression was a difficult time for most Americans. Picking up a few dollars here and there wasn't easy, so my dad and his friend, Ed Tonitis, aka 'Kid Lightning,' would travel to local towns to do a little boxing. Ironically, Ed Tonitis' son, Brian and I began running together in 1978, and we train together to this day.

A steady job came my dad's way in 1941, when he joined the U.S. Army Air Corps, where he served in London during the German Blitzkrieg of  World War II.

Discharged from the Army at the end of the war, he married my mother. They were together for 61 years.

A rabid sports fan, he loved to watch boxing, college football (especially his beloved Notre Dame), and baseball. He wasn't a big NFL fan, as he was convinced the game was, in his words, "fixed."

For 38 years he managed the office of a company that repaired equipment for coal companies. A people person, he was lost in retirement, so, for another 13 years, he managed an athletic shoe business I started.

When I began to run road races competitively in 1976, my dad was my biggest supporter and frequent travel mate. It was impossible for my father to be in the orbit of another human being without drawing them into a conversation. He was fiercely proud of my brother and I, and this quiet hero would NEVER talk about himself. He would, however, employ a great deal of Irish exaggeration when it came to bragging about his family.

At the Prevention Marathon, near Allentown, Pennsylvania, in the late 70s, he stunned his audience near the finish line by telling them about his brave son who was running a marathon, despite suffering from a heart murmur. The crowd probably expected the ambulance and the EMT's to circle the finish line as I finished. My dad omitted the fact that my heart murmur had disappeared by the time I was three years old.

My friends were his friends, and when we would get together to discuss our training for the week, my dad, then in his early 80s, would always join the conversation by telling us that, "My wife and I walked three miles, to the end of town and back, three times this week."

Whether we attended races in small Pennsylvania towns, or at the New York City Marathon, my dad was comfortable and gregarious with whomever he met. On several occasions, in a political setting, he met former Pennsylvania Governor and the first Director of Homeland Security, Tom Ridge. During his first campaign for governor, Mr. Ridge and I ran together through the streets of Pottsville prior to a fundraising event. My father never forgot that, and he and the former governor engaged in several intimate chats over the years.

At age 38, my dad suffered a heart attack. Although he had several  close-calls with death, diet, exercise, and a passionate love for his family kept him alive to age 88. His last couple of years were rough, as dementia gripped him, but he had about 85 years of a very good life. He had outlived most of his contemporaries, so at his funeral service, many runners came by to pay their respects.

My dad was my best friend, my confidante, my hero.

He was a prototype member of the Greatest Generation, a quiet hero who provided for, and was proud and fiercely loyal to his family.

I think about him often. I want to tell him stories, and I want to hear his stories.

Slainte dad!

Monday, December 14, 2015


My friend reported his race results to me yesterday. He had run a 10K in the morning, and he had a problem...It was too warm!!

Here in eastern Pennsylvania, temperatures reached the 70s yesterday, topping records that have stood since the early 1900s.

After two consecutive winters of Polar Vortexes, and snowy starts (this time last year, we already had thirteen inches of snow on the ground, and two years ago I attended the game between the Detroit Lions and the Philadelphia Eagles in Philadelphia, which was dubbed the Snow Bowl due to the whiteout conditions) most of us will take this mild weather for as long as Mother Nature allows.

They're calling it El Nino this year, a leveling of the jet stream that is keeping those cold conditions in Canada where they belong, and as I glance at the long range forecast, we may experience a wet Christmas, but we're not going to have a White Christmas, as temperatures are expected to be in the high 50s on Christmas Day.

What a bonus this is for runners. It extends the time we can get to our local track for a few extra speed workouts, and those trails we love, that are often snow covered or rutted with ice as we enter this time of year remain available for our use. We don't have to layer up, and thus far, we haven't had to battle icy winds, leaving our balaclavas in storage.

And, in eight days, we here in the Northern Hemisphere will begin to come out of the dark, when the Winter Solstice comes and goes on December 22. Slowly, daylight hours will increase, which is a plus for all of us.

So, "put the money in the bank." We would be foolish to think that winter will avoid us completely, but we can revel in this temporary reprieve. Keep wearing those shorts until your legs attain that rosy glow. Take advantage of snowless conditions before the storms arrive. Get those long runs in before the wind cuts through you like a razor.

Enjoy El Nino....While it lasts.

What to read more amusing winter stories, check out the chapter entitled 'Seasons,' in my book, Running Shorts, available at the link below and on Amazon and

Friday, December 11, 2015


I'm about to make a confession.

It is something for which I am not proud.

Despite being old enough to know better, I continually go down this path, which often leads to ruin.

When a relationship is over, it is time to let go. But not for me. I hang on, clinging to hope. I refuse to let go, because, you see, I know I have finally found it. I am in a wonderful place and I need to hang on, to cherish what I have.

But a cruel fate often awaits.

I am jilted. Sometimes bitterly hurt, and often scarred.

Do I need professional help?

Not really.

I just need to use common sense.

You see, I become too attached to my running shoes.

I find a pair that fits just right, that offers me a lightweight ride, with just the right amount of support, and I simply can't let go.

Now, I'm not going to endorse or criticize any shoe company or model, because I have run the gamut of many throughout my career, but too often I have ignored my own mantra, "It starts with the shoes."

More often than not, when you feel unusual aches or pains, look at your shoes. Check the wear pattern. Outside of your knee aching? You may be cutting into the midsole of your shoe on the outside of the heel. Shin splints? Perhaps your shoes aren't flexible enough.

Don't be cheap. At the first sign of excessive wear, divorce yourself from your shoes and get a new pair.

Research is essential. Base your shoe selection on your weight, your foot strike, and the type of surface on which you usually run.

My problem is that I wed myself to a certain shoe. You know the shoe companies. They love to take one's favorite shoe and "improve" upon it. Often, the "new and improved" model is a much different shoe from the one you love. Therefore, if you like and are happy with a certain shoe model, buy several pair. Stock up, and you'll be satisfied for a long time.

Finally, I'm a huge proponent of the local running store. Usually staffed by runners like you, these stores offer advice, "test drives," and liberal return policies. You may pay a little more than if you buy online, but it is well worth it. Also, look around at your local races. Chances are your local running store sponsors many of them.

So, never remain in a bad relationship, but if you've found "The one," that's where you should stay.
The relationship between your shoes and you is essential to your running longevity.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015


If you've read some of my previous blogs, you may know where I'm going with this one.

We are fortunate that there are more opportunities for us to race at more race distances than ever before. On any given weekend, most of us have a choice of several races that are probably located pretty close to home.

But, with all due respect to the Santa, Jingle Bell, and Frosty events out there, now is the time to relax and give it a rest.

We all want to race our best each time we toe the starting line. In order to do so, every once in a while, we need to give our weary running bodies a rest and allow ourselves to heal.

There's no better time than right now!

It's the Holiday season. A time to decorate, go to parties, visit with friends, and even overindulge on occasion.

So, here you are at an enjoyable Christmas Party, but you're worried about standing on your feet, wolfing down that slice of pumpkin pie, having a beer, or staying out too late because you're registered for the Santa's Reindeer Jingle Bell Rock Snowflake 5K tomorrow.

Stay at the party, sleep in, decorate the house, then go for a training run at your leisure.

My formula has always been to rest from races for about four to six weeks around the Holidays.

Relax, take in a lot of football, read a good, inspirational book or two (of course I have perfect suggestion. Just visit, and appreciate the Holiday season for what it is: a time for family and friends, and a time of renewal.

After your self-imposed rest period, you can list those goals for the new year, and set out to achieve them, rested and refreshed.

Relax and pause the race button for a time. You'll race better when you do.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015


I ran a mile today.


Big deal.

I vow to never complain about not wanting to train, ever, ever again.

Four weeks to this day I underwent arthroscopic knee surgery. I estimate it's been about six weeks since I've run, and probably about twelve weeks since I've run anything worth thinking about and anything pain-free.

I followed my rehab regimen, remained patient, and stayed relatively sane. (although my wife may disagree with the latter)

It was with a great deal of apprehension, though, that I drove over to my high school track, walked a warmup lap, as per my doctor's instruction, and took my first running baby steps.

Seriously, it felt weird!

I was slow, dreadfully slow, and there was a moderate amount of stiffness around the affected knee, but no sharp pain, and my gait seemed to be relatively normal. I ran three laps, then walked another three before I ran another lap, to give me a mile for the day.

A real big deal!

For the past four weeks I seriously doubted if I would ever run again. Climbing steps was painful, and I still walked with a limp. Still, a steady diet of daily walking paid off. I, naturally, took a watch with me every day, and each day my walking pace increased.

So, today was, literally, the first step. I will not become overconfident, and I will not overdo it. But it is great to be back.

It was a magnificent December day, and running, with the sounds of Christmas music in my ears was inspiring. Everything looked, felt, and even smelled better. Getting in my car after he workout and having the windows fog up made me happy.

Running is more than a physical activity. Running helps to define us. It inspires us, it soothes us. It is an endeavor that we can suspend or postpone when WE decide to do so. Don't take it away from us. Don't, as in the case of injury, tell us we can't do it.

So, appreciate every second you are allowed to perform this activity that is so vital to your well-being.

Believe me, I do.

Monday, December 7, 2015


A few years ago, a discussion among a group of friends turned to the great local athletes of the past. Naturally, others in the group listed basketball players who scored massive numbers of points before the advent of the 3-point shot, and high school football heroes who, like Al Bundy, scored four touchdowns in a high school football game.

I shook up the conversation by stating that my vote for the greatest local athlete of all time was Randy Haas, who, back in the 1980-1981 cross country and track seasons, earned three state championships, in cross country and in the 1600 and 800 meter events. His records in the 800 and 1600 meters still stand locally, after 34 years. Randy went on to the Olympic Trials and owns a marathon time of 2:17. His story is chronicled in the chapter entitled 'Cast of Characters,' in my first book, Running Shorts.

In 2016, I will enter my 40th year of competitive running. Throughout that time I have engaged in fierce rivalries with other competitors. When the gun sounds, friendship pauses for the duration of the race. But when the race has ended, for the most part, runners of all ages and abilities display extraordinary character. Former running adversaries have gone on to become some of my closest friends.

Both in competition and coaching, I have observed that most runners are smart, socially conscious, and successful. Most runners do not suffer from addiction or dependency issues, and most are successful in their professional endeavors.

Let's say you're an employer and the job applicant lists that he or she is a runner. By reading the application, you know that the person is driven, goal-goal oriented, and is probably going to show up on time. Sick days will be minimal as you know the person is health conscious. Just like a race situation, your prospective employee will be competitive but cooperative. If he or she is driven enough to run and race, chances are that drive will apply to their job. In many high schools and colleges, the cross country team achieves the highest academic average among the varsity sports teams.

Whether a runner is an Olympic prospect or a back-of-the packer, their goals remain the same. It may be to climb the ladder from a 5K to a marathon, or to improve their time at a particular distance.

Every runner displays an extraordinary amount of courage each time they pin on a bib. In team sports, it can be convenient to blame other team members for a failure. If a runner produces a race time outside his or her goal, they beat up themselves. In the large scheme of life, nobody really cares if you run 30 seconds slower, but you do!

And when a runner returns to work after a tremendous marathon effort, coworkers may ask about the time or place. When they tell you that, "You'll do better next time," the courage and discipline it takes to restrain yourself is also a testimony of your runner character.

Continue, through your example, to spread the good news about running. Anyone can do it. It is inexpensive and convenient. You don't need anyone else to participate. You simply lace up the shoes and go.

By bringing more people into our sport, either through your example, coaching, or mentoring, you are displaying your true running character, as well as building a running character in others.

Friday, December 4, 2015


Here in the woods of Pennsylvania, many of us go deer hunting on the Monday after Thanksgiving. After I put up the Christmas lights on Black Friday, I pack up the vehicle and head to the mountains in the southern part of the state to look for the big whitetail. As I hunt for deer, my wife hunts for bargains on Cyber Monday. She informs me of the great deals she gets, and it was her suggestion that I jump on the 'Cyber bandwagon' as well.

So, I figured it was time to get busy and offer my customers something free with the purchase of my books, Personal Best and Running Shorts, on my website,

 From now until Christmas day, if you visit my website, you can take advantage of the Christmas two for one sale.

For the retail price of one book, $14.99 plus shipping, you can purchase BOTH books, Personal Best, AND Running Shorts. That's $7.50 for running books written by a runner for runners.

Heck, you can even purchase two of the same book, if you like.

I will personally sign each book and send it out to you promptly.


You can take advantage of the two for one sale, AND receive a ten-week training program ABSOLUTELY FREE!! That's a value of $25.

Here's how it works. You must purchase the two for one offer on my website, from now until Christmas Eve. You will then receive one 10-week free personalized training program, and I will make that offer valid for an entire year. So, if you want to train for a marathon next November, you won't have to take advantage of your free training program until next August or September.

When you checkout, I will record your email, then you can email me at:, and we can begin your training program at your convenience.

This is a Cyber sale you can use to become inspired by reading my books, and reach your very own personal best by receiving a training program written by me just for you.

Check out reviews of my training plans, submitted by runners from all over the world at:

And, if you want to buy the best stocking-stuffer ever, go to my Amazon page,, where you can buy the Kindle version of Personal Best for only $1.99.

The digital time clock is ticking. You have only until Christmas Eve to take advantage of this one-time offer.

I look forward to helping YOU achieve your personal best.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015


Purgatory, the time since my arthroscopic surgery, which was performed on my knee in order to remove a torn meniscus on November 10, will end in less than a week.

During my stay in Purgatory, we experienced the warmest November on record, and my running logbook (I've kept a written running logbook since 1976) has been filled with goose-eggs.

I've gained eight pounds. I'm allowed to tell you but not my wife, who has threatened me with bodily harm if I bring up the issue of my weight again. Periods of running depression have overcome me at times, but through it all I have heeded the recommendations of my orthopedic surgeon. I have walked, and walked, spent way too much time on the elliptical, lifted to strengthen the leg, and have otherwise tried to maintain my fitness level as well as my sanity.

Next Tuesday will be exactly four weeks since the surgery, and will be the day I am officially cleared to run.

Believe me, a few years ago, indeed, two years ago, when I suffered a hamstring tear, I would have cheated and begun running a week or so earlier.

Not this time.

I'm playing by the book and following the rules.

The reason is simply.

My goal is to run pain-free and to run well again.

Therefore, my return to running will be gradual and, hopefully, smart.

When I design training programs for runners on my website,, or on Fiverr,, I emphasize quality miles.

One simply cannot turn in quality miles when injured.

So, it's time I practice what I preach.

Next Tuesday I will go to my local track and run a modest half mile. I'll keep running a half mile until I reach the quality level I desire. Only then will I bump up my distance.

The process will be slow, but I vow to be patient.

It's the only way I'll escape from my running Purgatory.

Saturday, November 28, 2015


The weather was magnificent for Berwick, Pennsylvania's 106th annual Run for the Diamonds race on Thanksgiving Day. Temperatures edged toward the 60-degree mark.

In fact, here in Pennsylvania, November of 2015 will be the warmest November on record. Yesterday I put up my outdoor Christmas decorations wearing short sleeves.

Now, we're all concerned about global warming and climate change, but as I gaze at the long-range forecast and El Nino predictions, I'll take it!

Running in temperatures that hover in the 40s and 50s is ideal. Snow and ice are not.

But, let's face it, climate change or not, enjoy the mild temperatures while they last. They are certain to be temporary.

 Keep an eye on that weather forecast. Continue running your speed workouts on your local track before (if you live in the north) it's covered with a blanket of snow. Plan those long runs, if you can, on the days when temperatures are mild.

So, take advantage of our temporary climate reprieve.

Winter's icy grip will arrive soon enough.

Friday, November 27, 2015


In this world of overpaid, egotistical athletes, playing their professional sports, shamelessly hawking any product to make a buck, then bragging about their accomplishments, yesterday, in Berwick, Pennsylvania, at the 106th running of the Run for the Diamonds, I had the honor for being in the presence of greatness.

It was my privilege to meet, and speak with 83-year old Ed Whitlock,

In my estimation, Ed Whitlock is the greatest living athlete on the planet.

So, in an effort to be completely accurate, I'll list Ed's accomplishments, as listed on his Wikipedia page.

" In his 60s after retiring he started to concentrate on road racing and latterly the objective of becoming the first man over 70 to run a marathon in less than three hours. After an initial attempt at age 70, injury prevented another attempt until age 72 when in 2003 he completed the marathon 2:59:10. In the following year, he lowered the record to 2:54:49 and in 2005 ran 2:58:40 at age 74, to date (2013) the oldest man to run under three hours for a marathon.
In 2006 he set the world record for the 75 to 79 age group with a time of 3:08:35 at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon,[2] and in the Rotterdam Marathon on April 15, 2007, Whitlock lowered that mark to 3:04:54 on a day when the marathon was stopped after three and a half hours because of high temperature.
On September 26, 2010, Whitlock ran the Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon in 1:34:23.4.[3]
After turning 80, Whitlock improved the marathon world record for his age category by almost 15 minutes to 3:25:43 at the 2011 Rotterdam Marathon on April 10, 2011.[4] He then further improved on his age category world record at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon on October 16, 2011, lowering the record to 3:15:54.[5]
At age 81, on Sunday, September 16, 2012, wearing bib number 1, Whitlock broke the Canadian and unofficial world half-marathon record at his hometown inaugural race, the Milton Half-Marathon, running 1:38:59.[6] In 2013, he lowered the record to 1:38:11 on the same course.
Whitlock also competes on the track, where as of 2012 he holds 15 world age group records ranging in distance from 1500 metres to 10,000 m and age groups 65+, 70+, 75+ and 80+, as well as the three age group marathon records 70+, 75+ and 80+.[7]"

That's right folks, a 3:15 marathon--at age 80!

I have never met a more gracious, humble man. Ed Whitlock is a great athlete and competitor, but he is an even greater individual, He told me he can't wait to turn 85 so he can assault more age-group records.  Even more than the delicious turkey, my meeting Ed Whitlock was the highlight of my Thanksgiving Day.

I just hope some of his talent, dedication, and determination rubs off!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015


Many runners have a bucket list of races they would like to run at some point in their running lives.

Often, such a list may include an iconic, classis race, steeped in tradition. The race may be challenging, and the crowds, competitors as well as spectators, are usually large.

Some runners must plan, well in advance, in order to pay for and travel to a bucket list event.

There’s a race that fits all the requirements on any runner’s list. It’s right around the corner and it’s right up the road.

Save the turkey feast for later in the day and join more than a thousand runners in one of the running world’s most storied foot races.

 At 10:30 a.m., on Thanksgiving Day, as has been the tradition since 1908, Berwick's Run for the Diamonds will be contested.

Back in 1908, 13 runners lined up on Berwick's Market Street early Thanksgiving morning, and except for a two-year hiatus during World War I, they've been doing so ever since. In 2009, the race celebrated it's centennial anniversary. A record 1,985 runners competed in the centennial race.

More than thirty Olympians, including Boston Marathon winner, the late Johnny Kelley, have competed at Berwick, and the course record for the grueling 9-Mile race is an astounding 43 minutes, 21 seconds, set in 1980 by two-time Olympian Pete Pfitzinger.

Weather conditions in central Pennsylvania on Thanksgiving morning are unpredictable, to say the least. Sometimes, spring-like temperatures prevail; while often the air is frigid, and occasionally, like in 2010, a sleet storm reduces visibility and turns the course into a slalom run.

The course is unique, and has remained virtually the same since it was designed in 1908.

For the first two miles, runners are treated to a pleasant, relatively flat terrain, and at the 2-mile mark are running at 600 feet above sea level. From 2 to 3 miles runners ascend more than 300 feet to 900 feet above sea level at the 1/3 point in the race. By 3 1/2 miles, runners have climbed to 1000 feet, and after a brief downhill, climb to the apex, a breathtaking 1100 feet, at 4 1/4 miles into the race. From there, a fast, nearly 5 miles remains until the finish, and, after having completed a loop, runners cross the finish line in downtown Berwick.

The top seven men receive diamond rings; while the top seven women earn diamond necklaces.

Richer than diamonds, however, is the tradition and the hospitality of this race. Race Director. Margaret Livsey conducts a first-class event. Runner and former Berwick cross country coach,, Bill Bull, has been a fixture of this race for many years, and makes sure the race runs smoothly.

In my first book, Running Shorts, I feature Run for the Diamonds in the chapter entitled, "Great Races.

Berwick’s Thanksgiving Day Run for the Diamonds is one of the finest running events in the country.

If you’ve never run it, you owe it to yourself to place it on your list of races you must run.
Check out their website:




We runners love large places like major marathons and classic races. Over the Thanksgiving weekend, many of us will participate in Turkey Trots, and other races, but on Black Friday, most of us will be happy to avoid the crowds, who will think little of our bruised toenails as they trample us on their way to a cheap flat screen TV.

Well, there is a place where you can take advantage of terrific Black Friday deals that will cover all of your running needs, you never have to leave the comfort of your home, but you actually have to wait until Black Friday to do it.

Visit, look them up on Facebook on their Black Friday Run Deals page, of follow them on Twitter: @BFrundeals.

You will be able to take advantage of race discounts from everywhere, and you will also have the opportunity to get great deals on running products.

You won't get trampled at the door, and you won't wait in long lines.

Black Friday Run Deals are happening right now.

Check them out.

You won't be disappointed!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015


Two weeks ago I underwent arthroscopic surgery to remove a torn meniscus from my left knee.

The surgery was successful. Aside from the tear, which was a direct result of a double hamstring tear in same leg two years ago, my knee, according to my orthopedic surgeon, is healthy, with no signs of arthritis or other damage. On a visit with him last Monday, he stated that I could resume running one month from the date of the surgery, so today marks the half way point in my rehabilitation and eventual return to running.

Needless to say, it has been difficult to remain patient. We have been experiencing great November weather, and races like the Harrisburg and Philadelphia Marathons have come and gone, without my participation.

So, the extent of my workouts have been daily walks (steps and hills remain a bit painful), and long hours in the gym.

But it's ok.

My knee, while a bit sore and stiff, continues to improve, and the ultimate goal is to slowly return to running, pain-free.

Oh, and not running means watching the calories. Toting some extra weight around when I do finally run again is something I don't need. Mounting a comeback is going to be tough enough. And Thanksgiving is two days away...Ugh!

There is certainly a great deal of apprehension when one attempts to return to running after a long layoff. Patience thus far has been important, but it will become even more critical as I begin the process of running again, as we runners have the natural tendency to do too much too soon.

So, I have set very modest goals. The old adage is, "It takes two days to come back from every one day missed."

That's true when you're young, but I'm not. I'm going to double that figure, and since I really haven't run in two months, well, the math is a bit staggering.

The sage-like lesson I can pass on to you is this: first, never ignore what your body is telling you. An ache in my left knee turned into a tear.


Because I ignored it, ran a 5-mile race the next day, and, well, the rest is history.

Next, go to a competent doctor, but always seek a second opinion.

Then, the rest is up to you.

It can be very frustrating.

I'm extremely frustrated.

But I'm half way there.

Monday, November 23, 2015


Black Friday bargains are unbelievable this year. Last week I received an email from an online running retailer offering a $25 gift card with the purchase of a $100 gift card.

Yesterday, my wife topped me by taking advantage of a $50 gift card with her $100 purchase.

So, I figured it was time to get busy and offer my customers something free with the purchase of my books, Personal Best and Running Shorts, on my website,

 From now until Christmas day, if you visit my website, you can take advantage of the Christmas two for one sale.

For the retail price of one book, $14.99 plus shipping, you can purchase BOTH books, Personal Best, AND Running Shorts. That's $7.50 for running books written by a runner for runners.

Heck, you can even purchase two of the same book, if you like.

I will personally sign each book and send it out to you promptly.


You can take advantage of the two for one sale, AND receive a ten-week training program ABSOLUTELY FREE!! That's a value of $25.

Here's how it works. You must purchase the two for one offer on my website, from now until Cyber Monday. (November 30) You will then receive one 10-week free personalized training program, and I will make that offer valid for an entire year. So, if you want to train for a marathon next November, you won't have to take advantage of your free training program until next August or September.

When you checkout, I will record your email, then you can email me at:, and we can begin your training program at your convenience.

This is a Black Friday sale you can use to become inspired by reading my books, and reach your very own personal best by receiving a training program written by me just for you.

Check out reviews of my training plans, submitted by runners from all over the world at:

The digital time clock is ticking. You have only one week to take advantage of this one-time offer.

I look forward to helping YOU achieve your personal best.

Sunday, November 22, 2015


Yesterday was a beautiful November day here in northeastern Pennsylvania. The sky was blue, temperature hovered around fifty degrees, and the wind was calm.

I was happy to take my dogs for a long walk in the mountain behind my house. When I returned, I did some yard work, as leaves have formed numerous mountains around trees, bushes, and fences.

Not satisfied, and unwilling to go back inside on such a glorious day, I decided to get a jump on my Black Friday tradition by beginning to decorate the outside of my home with Christmas lights.

Meanwhile, my daughter, Kelly, and her husband Mike, along with several other good running friends were in Philadelphia, picking up their numbers for today's Philadelphia Marathon and Half Marathon.

A year ago, instead of walking the dogs and erecting Christmas lights, I was with them, preparing for the half marathon.

At that time, I had come full-circle from a hamstring tendon tear I suffered three weeks after the 2013 Boston Marathon.

In 2010, I crossed the finish line at Philly in a time of 2:58:52.

This time around, I'm recuperating from arthroscopic surgery, performed on my left knee (same leg as the hamstring tear) on November 10.

But in our world of competitive running, it's all relative.

When injury or illness cuts us down, we are faced with two distinct choices: we can give up, call it quits, and forfeit what makes us whole, or we can adjust and adapt.

For me right now, I have to temporarily forget about this time last year and adapt for the future, because, believe me, I'm not nearly ready to give up.

I have a friend who is running after he underwent open heart surgery two years ago, and another, who, one month ago, suffered a stroke at age 59. He and I will go for a walk today.

Goals need to be adapted, standards need to be reset, and the business of running can begin again.

Don't allow setbacks to get you down, either physically or mentally. No one is happy when injury, illness, or even age, impedes your times and training, but, inevitable, one of those things will strike all of us at sometime in our running careers.

When it does, use whatever techniques you possess in your arsenal to adjust and adapt. Walk, swim, cycle, or go to the gym. Slowly come back, realizing that all comebacks take time.

You may be hanging Christmas lights when you'd rather be running, but remember, it's all relative.