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Wise Running

Train smart, eat well, and enjoy the run.

Tag Archives: inspiration

Renewing Your Love for the Run

“Keep your love for running as your highest priority,
regardless of your running goals.”
— P. Mark Taylor

I am tired.  Since the end of 2009, I have been training.  I trained for marathons.  I trained for Ironmans.  For just over 8 years, I have raced 800 meter races, mile races, 5Ks, 10Ks, 15Ks, 10-milers, half marathons, marathons, half-Ironmans, Ironmans…

…and now…  .. I am tired.

Yes, I have taken breaks.  Sometimes I have gone a week without running.  Sometimes I have gone a month without any serious training.  The breaks were scheduled for my health and for my long-term success.  I have planned so carefully, done the calculations countless times, and my breaks were very much designed to lower my cortisol levels and give my body a chance to recover so I could go hard again safely.

…even so… ..I am tired.

I am the only one putting pressure on myself.  I want so badly to succeed.  I am fifty and I hear the clock ticking.  It haunts me like the crocodile chasing Captain Hook.  Time is ticking loudly.  It taunts me:

  • “You will never reach your goals!”
  • “You are too old to make it to the next level.”

The constant ticking of the clock is not the only taunting I hear.  I hear the same old negative thoughts that everyone hears:

  • “You just don’t have it.”
  • “You must not want it bad enough.”
  • “You are doing it wrong; no wonder you always fall short of your goals.”

The worst part of the taunting is that it has my own voice.  I hear these things and I hear myself saying them.

…and I am so tired, so weak, so disheartened…

secret-city-2012__SQUARE.jpgRelighting the Fire

I am not physically tired.  I am healthy and strong.  I am just washed out emotionally as it relates to my athletic pursuits.

I have heard it said that the best way to handle your kids in sports is to say, “I just love to watch you play/run/throw because I see how much you enjoy it.  It makes you happy.”  The same experts say that the worst thing you can do is make your kids practice and/or compete as if it were a chore.  A lifelong love for a sport is fueled by the love of doing it.

The same is true for running, triathlon, and any other sport you do as an adult.  Whether you are training to finish a 5K or training to qualify for Boston or Kona, it still remains true.  You can keep a strict running schedule, but always keep your love for the sport primed.

Happy Place Number 1

In my first book, I had a little section about rekindling the love by going back to your happy place.  For me, that means cross country.  Run in the grass.  I love going to parks where there the local high schools have cross country courses set up.  These runs are nearly never compatible with my current training for various reasons.  When I run cross country, I run for the love of it.  I am happy.  I have only run one trail race in the entire span since starting to train in 2009.  That was last week.  I let my goals take me away from my happy place… until now.

Happy Place Number 2

My other happy place is the long run.  I have always enjoyed the longer distances, especially the marathon.  I get into a zone where I am relaxed and the world is a great place to be regardless of any present circumstances.  The thought of it brings a smile to my face.  I let my knowledge of the sport of running and triathlon take me away from more frequent long runs, rides, and swims.   I carefully balanced my training for minimal wear and tear along with maximal performance.

In my planning for minimal wear and tear, I took myself away from my happy places.  I stole the me-time that fuels my passion for running and triathlon.

…and that has worn me out…     … and I am oh so tired..

Renewing Your Love for Your Sport

Some people reach this point and just give up.  This is not a solution.  Giving up running is a way to stay permanently away from the things that bring you joy.  Not good.  The solution for being tired of your sport comes from rearranging priorities, not from giving up.

Remember the things about your sport that made you love it.  Go there early and often.  Prioritize it above performance, above the logical things that lead to being great.  Plan your training, but always keep in mind what keeps you in love with the sport.

Put “love of the sport” days on your weekly calendar.
Allow yourself flexibility on distance, pace, and time.
The goal of those training days is to smile.

Enjoy the run.
just P Mark__my signature

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The Gift of Running – a reflection on my first book about running

It has been just over 4 years since I published my first book on running.  It was written to gather all of the basic info about running into one easy to read source.  I just wanted to share what I had learned.

The response was surprisingly awesome.  I have heard from a lot of folks over the last four years that have gotten stronger and faster.  One of the things they often share is not about the technical info, but about my stories of trials and tribulations.  I never claimed to be perfect or know it all.  I just wanted to share what I learned.

Well, 4 years later I am still working on my third book.  I have been waiting for the time when I felt like I had a strong enough new message to make it worth the reader’s time and effort.  Well, I finally have the ideas.  Instead of writing a brand new book, however, I am going to update and expand the original book with new info and new stories.  The original book still stands the test of time.  I just have a few ideas to update and some new research based ideas to offer.

  • updated training plans
  • research insight: How long should the long run be?
  • low mileage and high performance
  • no more wasted miles:  placing effort where it will make the biggest gains
  • balancing the social and achievement aspects of running
  • strength training updated
  • cross-training and triathlon

The 2017 updated version of “The Gift of kindle book cover prototypeRunning” is under construction.  I expect it to be available for purchase early next year.

 

Here is the first book:

____________

The Gift of Running, the first book in the Wise Running series by P. Mark Taylor, is available in both paperback & e-book.

Running is a gift, but not only for the gifted.  Whether you run just for fun or want to become a more competitive runner, The Gift of Running is for you. In The Gift of Running, P. Mark Taylor shows runners how to get started and stay motivated.

The book includes:  advice on how to get started as a runner, tried & true methods of running faster and longer, how to prepare for a marathon, tips on staying healthy & happy, motivation to keep you running, an insider view of the running community, & training programs for a 5K, 10K, half marathon, & marathon.

________________
I wrote this book for several reasons.  Many of the books on running are tough to read, a lot like technical manuals.  I wanted to offer something more personal, runner to runner.  Moreover, I wanted it to be easy to read for the inexperienced runner.  I think I have accomplished this with The Gift of Running .
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2014 Progress Report on My Own Training & Performance

In the midst of watching my run coaching clients make progress and set personal records, I have forgotten to reflect on my own progress as a runner.

A lot has happened in the last year or so.

  • I injured my knees in late November of 2013 and did not run for 4 weeks in December.
  • I was clipped by a car while riding my bike in February 2014, suffering a concussion.
  • I ran my first Boston Marathon in April, which turned out to be my second slowest marathon time.
  • I focused my summer training on the 800 meters and 1 mile distances.
  • I competed in my first “USA Track and Field” sanctioned track meet.
  • I became a RRCA certified running coach.
  • I ran two mile races on the road and 5 track meets in the summer.
  • In between track and mile events I also completed my very first triathlon, the “Storm the Fort” Half-Iron Distance.
  • I did a total of three triathlons in 2014, two half-iron distance triathlons and one sprint triathlon.

Townsend 15KSetbacks

Due to the time off from the knee injury and concussion, my fitness level suffered.  I lost a lot of progress.  I have been pushing hard all year just to get back to level of fitness that I had a year ago.  I have loved the training.  I enjoy pushing myself.  On the other hand, it has been extremely frustrating to work that hard and not achieve any personal records.  Very discouraging.

Progress

Yesterday was a big victory.  No, I did not win a race.  I was even a full minute behind the winner in my age group.  Still, it was a big victory.  I set a personal record (PR) in the 15K distance (about 9.3 miles).  That feels pretty good.

I still have a ways to go.  I am still a bit behind where I was in February of last year.  That is when my fitness last fully peaked.  I ran a 1:27:42 on a hilly half marathon course.  This is 9 seconds per mile faster than the 15K I ran yesterday.  Hence, I am close, but not quite all the way there.

When will I get there?  Well, I have 2.5 weeks left before I taper (ease up and heal) for the Savannah Marathon, which is on November 8.  I will have 5 key workouts in that 2.5 weeks.  I may not reach a PR at Savannah, but I should be very close at that point.

Conclusion

Whether I peak at Savannah or not, I know the time is very soon when I will be able to earn a few more personal records.

  • My training is balanced, pushing just the right amount.
  • I am eating healthier than ever.
  • And, most importantly, I am enjoying my training.

When I am not enjoying it, I change it up.

Remember This:

Enjoying the run comes first!
It is more important than progress and personal records.

 ______________________________

“Train smart, eat well, & enjoy the run!”

    — P. Mark Taylor

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Check out these books by P. Mark Taylor for more advice on running:

The Gift of Running: A Book for Runners & Future Runners  Wise Running Book COVER mockup

&

Wise Running: Thoughts on Running and Life

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Wise Running Shirts & More

Find yours HERE:

I love running shirt

Because Today is Tomorrow

wise running logo 7_25_12

I was going to start eating healthier tomorrow.  I waited so many days and it never was tomorrow until I got sick.  When I became very sick for very long, I went gluten-free and became healthy.  Unfortunately, I wasted 6 months of training as the doctors and I guessed at what might be wrong.  When I went gluten-free, I began eating simple whole foods for a long time.  I went from very sick to very healthy in a matter of weeks.

I knew that eating healthier was good for me, so why did I wait so long?  I was always planning on starting it on the same day, tomorrow.

The problem with tomorrow, is that it never arrives.  Each new day redefines tomorrow as the day after today.  Hence, all of my plans for tomorrow never seem to happen.

I planned to eat healthier and it did not happen until I was forced.

What other plans did I have for tomorrow?

  • I will lift weights for strength-training and health.  It will make me a better runner and a healthier person in general. I will definitely start tomorrow.
  • I will be more organized and get some writing done every day so I never fall behind again.  That is important for both my career and my hobby.  I will definitely start that tomorrow.
  • I will start to practice playing my bass guitar daily so that I can fill in on the worship team at church. I have a guitar.  I have the music.  I can play along with the songs on You-Tube.  All I have to do is get into the habit.  It is just that easy.  Tomorrow is a perfect day for that.

Waiting to start eating better cost me 6 months of training.  A lot of opportunity for progress was lost.  A lot of disappointment was gained.

REMEMBER THIS:

If you wait for the day when you have enough time, energy, and resources,
then you may never start.  The right time to start is now.

That being the case, I hit the gym and did some lifting that I have not done in a long time.  I also added some new lifts that will specifically make me a better runner.  It may not seem like much, but I lifted weights at the gym for an hour today.  I did it not just because it is good for me, but I did it because I said I would.

I also wrote this blog post and worked on my research project.  When I get home, I will practice on my bass guitar as I said I would

 I have decided that today is the tomorrow I was talking about.

Today IS tomorrow.  What are you supposed to be doing?

 _____________________

“Train smart, eat well, & enjoy the run!” — P. Mark Taylor

____________________

Check out these books by P. Mark Taylor for more advice on running:

The Gift of Running: A Book for Runners & Future Runners Wise Running Book COVER mockup

&

Wise Running: Thoughts on Running and Life

My Unreasonable Running Goals for the Next 5 Years (don’t judge me)

These are running goals I would like to accomplish within 5 years.

No, they are not reasonable for my current level of fitness.

This is my dream.

Encourage me or keep it to yourself.

Thanks,

P. Mark Taylor

Distance  

Goal Time

   Why

400 meters

0:54

   Training for the 800

800 meters

1:58

   US record for 50-54 age group

Mile

4:29

   Because it is faster than 4:30  😉

5K

15:12

   Training for 1/2

10K

31:35

   Training for 1/2

½ Marathon   

1:10:25

   This is my main goal.

Marathon

Sub 3

   At Boston.  Pride mostly.  🙂

Wise Running: Thoughts on Running and Life (2nd book)

Wise Running Book 2 is now available via in paperback and e-book. 

Wise Running Book COVER mockup

Wise Running is the follow-up to P. Mark Taylor’s first book on running: The Gift of Running.  While the first book focused more on getting started as a runner, this second book is more about how to move to the next level. P. Mark Taylor tells us how to think about running in ways that will help you be more consistent and improve.

Running is a great metaphor for life. It takes effort. It takes motivation. You have to stay healthy. If you stick with it long
enough and smart enough, you live a more rewarding life. So it is with running.

In Wise Running, P. Mark Taylor shows runners how to train smart, eat well, and enjoy the run.

The ebook includes:

  • goals, fitness, & health
  • how to think about training
  • designing a race and training schedule
  • aligning your efforts with reality
  • eating for health and fitness
  • a runner’s view on special diets
  • running-specific nutrition, including marathon nutrition
  • the effects of heat and humidity
  • the social aspect of running
  • motivation and encouragement

________________

The Gift of Running, the first book in the Wise Running series by P. Mark Taylor, is available in both paperback & e-book

 

Less is More: Focusing My Running Goals

“I want it all. I want it all. I want it all, and I want it now.”
— Queen

Desire.  Goal-setting.  Dream big.  It all sounds good until you want too much.  When you go after too many things at once, most of the time you end up with little or nothing.  If you do this with your running goals you will end up disappointed and/or injured.

I have been wanting too much.  My biggest goals have been in the 1 mile and the marathon.  It may not surprise my friends when I divulge my dirty little secret.  I have set huge goals in both distances and failed miserably.  Yes, I have made big gains in my marathon, just not as big as I had planned.  Yes, my mile is faster, but nowhere near the pace I set out to conquer.  I am tired of being disappointed.

secret city 2012You see, there is an inherent conflict in training for both goals.  There is a certain point in marathon training when the experts warn that you must stop doing true speedwork.  Marathon training requires fast miles, but not for the purpose of running a mile faster.  The primary focus of marathon training is to cause your body to be able to run fairly fast and maintain that pace.  The fast marathon training miles are much slower than the fast mile training pace.

The beginning of my last training schedule had me doing repeats at a 5:30 pace per mile.  I did quarter miles, half miles, and mile repeats.  In the middle, the focus changed to intervals at a 6:30 pace.  Did these help me run a faster mile?  Yes, but only by a little bit.  My goal is to get my mile time down to about 4:45.  How can I ever expect to reach that when my fastest training is done at 5:30?  I can’t.  Expecting that would be just plain crazy.  No, to train for a 4:45 mile, I need to be doing quarter-mile & half-mile repeats at a 4:30 pace or better.

I had been thinking that I can use the time in the marathon off-season (April/May/June) to do my mile training.  This does make some sense, but it simply not enough time to meet my goal.  I have to choose between my two biggest goals.  I proven to myself that I can’t accomplish both at the same time.

I firmly believe that a narrower focus will lead to greater success.

I also believe that while focusing on one goal, I will still make gains in the other.  With this as my new philosophy, I will now focus my efforts for the next year on running the fastest mile that I can run.  I can’t tell you how fast that will be a year from now, but I believe it will be under 5 minutes.  The question will be “How far below 5?”

Does this mean that I will not run a marathon?  No.  It does not.  I will still maintain my schedule of one marathon each spring and one each fall.  It means that my training will not be focused on those marathons.  I will maintain a year-round focus on increasing my speed in the mile, but I will not neglect distance running.  I will still schedule long runs of 13 to 18 miles periodically.  I will still gradually increase mileage as the marathons get close.  What I will not do, however, is give up my mile training.  I will maintain that all the way through the marathon schedule, stopping only for the taper and recovery periods.

This change in focus is a big one.  I have heeded the traditional marathon training advice and my goal in the mile has suffered.  I have made the mile wait for marathon training to end.  I have denied it the attention it deserves.  The mile shall wait no longer.

I love running long, but I love running fast too.  It is time to focus.
It is time to specialize.
It is time to run like the wind, with no more speed limits imposed by marathon training.
It is time to rock the mile.

Train hard, eat well, & enjoy the run!

_____________


The Gift of Running,by P. Mark Taylor, is available in both paperback & e-book.

Paperback Version – Amazon.com $9.00

Ebook Version – Kindle Store $2.99

Ebook Version for Nook $2.99

Running in the Family: Leading by Example

“My earliest running memories start when I was 5 years old.
My dad was a runner as well, so I would wait for him
to come home from work so that he could time me!”
–Katie MacKey

Once in a while, I get the honor of running with one of my kids.  Three of my six kids have run cross-country and one of the other three has recently become a personal trainer.  Did I cause this?  Probably not.  Perhaps cause is too strong of a word.  Influenced might be more appropriate.  When they were younger, they saw me work out periodically and go for a run once in a while.  That was before I started my second running career.  What was I doing to influence them towards fitness activity?

  • I was working out and jogging for general fitness and I talked about the benefits.
  • I did not require them to join me, but I would invite them to join me periodically.

I must have talked about it and/or invited them to join me hundreds of times before it started to happen.  We had weights in the basement and periodically, the boys would give it a go for a while.  Gradually, one or two kids would periodically ask me to go run a mile with them because they wanted to “get in better shape.”  Each had their own reason, usually for sports or just to look more fit.

Other adults and some of their peers added to the invitations.  Their school added cross-country to their sports and peer pressure pushed one daughter over the edge.  The next year, one son joined the cross-country team.  His stated reason was specifically to add an activity for his college applications.  One more daughter joined the team the third year.  She just wanted something to do.  I don’t care why they decided to start running.  I’m just happy to see them out there doing it!

In the last few years, I increased the intensity and frequency of my runs.  I call it my second running career.  I was fairly competitive in high school cross-country and track, but my first career was stopped short by injuries.  Once I began to give all I had to running, my trips to the gym to lift weights have became few and far between.  At that point I offered my gym membership to my oldest son.  He loves to work out, so he jumped at the chance.  He eventually worked his way into a job at the gym and just recently became a certified personal trainer.  He runs nearly every day as a part of his overall program.

I did not cause my kids to become runners, but I was a part of what influenced them to make that choice.

How do you lead your family and friends into fitness & running?

  1. Be excited.  Display your excitement about your fitness and running activities!   Excitement is infectious.  Talk about the positives for yourself and others.
  2. Invite them to join you.  Be persistent and positive.  Never require.  Never argue.

REMEMBER:    You cannot argue someone into fitness.  Fitness takes commitment.  Even if arguing does somehow manage to get them to do something, they are unlikely to be motivated enough to stick it out long enough to begin feeling the benefits.  They need to want it.  So, stick to the positive influence approach: Just invite.

Enjoy the run!

_____________

The Gift of Running is now available in both paperback & e-book

Paperback Version – Amazon.com $9.00

Ebook Version – Kindle Store $2.99

Ebook Version for Nook $2.99

The Perfect Review of My Book!

 

 

When I wrote the Gift of Running, the primary audience is one that has been primarily overlooked: the downtrodden potential runner.  So many folks out there have tried running on and off but never really crossed the line and felt like a runner.  They need encouragement and a little bit of coaching.  That is the primary purpose of my book.

That is why I was SO happy to see the new book review posted on Amazon.com:

___________________

“I received this book and read it front to back in one sitting. I learned a lot,
but it was more like chatting with a friend than reading a textbook. Gave me
tons of motivation and an awesome program schedule to fit my current needs, AND  schedules for when I get better/faster.

Thanks for writing a book that didn’t make me feel like a slow, fat, lazy, looser. And thanks for writing it so that even a slow, fat, lazy, looser can feel motivated and inspired!

(I literally ran from the living room to the kitchen about 10 times after reading
it…I was so anxious to get started!) Haha!

____________________

That is what I’m talking about!  Let’s light the unquenchable fire under some of these people and make them runners for life.  I love it!

_____________

The Gift of Running is now available in both paperback & e-book

Paperback Version – Amazon.com

Ebook Version – Kindle Store

Ebook Version for Nook $2.99

 

The Gift of Running is on Amazon’s Hot New Release List

It may just be 15 minutes of fame, but my friend Sean posted on Facebook that he saw my book on the Bestseller List for Running on Amazon.com.  When I went to look, I saw what you see in the picture below.  Having a good day!  🙂

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