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Running, Racing and Fitness in the USA

When in Doubt, Head Out ! December 28, 2014

Filed under: beginner,fitness,Training,Walking — bigfootmarty @ 5:09 pm
Tags: , ,

As the Christmas season fades away, we are on the 4th day of Christmas as I type.

-most of the cookie inventory is depleted

-green,red and silver Hershey kisses are almost gone

BUT the largely ignored Apples and oranges and nuts from stockings are left over it is time to contemplate activity, fitness and health for the next year.


have you already planned for and signed up for a race or ride?

An active vacation this summer?      OR

are you planning to start something new?

***          ***         ***

If you have already signed up for or set in motion plans for the year, what are you doing this week between Christmas and 2015.

Not sure- well if you are unsure, lace up your shoes, boots or buckle the bike helmet and get outside and move.

Are you a runner? Did you finish the year with a Turkey trot and have since eaten yourself into a new pair of pants???? Put down the fork and pick up your jogbra, technical fabrics or garmin and get started again. Start easy BUT start.

#####    ####

Have you been desk or couch bound for longer the the 12 days of Christmas?  You may need to start differently. Possibly with a trip to the doctors office..but it is usually OKAY to walk around the block, take the dog for a stroll or borrow the neighbors dog for walking buddy.

Once you have done this a few times and enjoyed it ( and are OK per the doctors) it is time to have a plan.  Since I am a fan of time for training use the clock and your watch as your coach.

Walk out the front door and continue for 5-10-20 minutes[ depending on your Initial Fitness Level] and when you reach 5-10-20 minutes …TURN AROUND and go back home.  You have now completed a 10-20-40 minute workout.

Using this starting point you can map out a 3 or 4 day a week strategy to build up to 60 -90 minutes of walking .   This can be the basis of a lifetime practice- that can expand to trail walks and hiking, backpacking, camping.

OR it can lead to running a few days a week, signing up for races or just a general abandonment of home and civilization.



Race Organizing and Race Directing – Part 2 December 7, 2014

After you have had the idea / inspiration for a new race one of the earliest and most important steps will be creating and approving a course.
What is involved in creating a race course?

1.Create the course
2.Work with appropriate officials to make the course “acceptable”
3.register the course and if necessary Certify the distance

The race course may present itself naturally as the result of who is creating or sponsoring the race. [i.e. race for a school, park, club that has a space], or the course location may be the reason for the race[i.e. New trails in a park,new city initiative for activity]

Thoughts for creating a race course can be:
1. I love running on/at …..I wonder what a race would be like?
2. There used to be a race around downtown / at the school ……maybe we can re-do that event?
3. Since I live on the south side of town, let’s create a race here…
4. ……??

Once the idea for,the race course has, been “hatched” , the next step is to create the actual course and measure the distance of the course. In the old days this was done in a few simple ways-

A. Hop in car and set trip odometer and drive along the proposed course and measure
B. Do the same with a bicycle
C. Buy, borrow a “wheel” and measure the course. Wheel the course on foot and record the accumulated feet, yards, metes or miles and adjust as necessary to meet the desired race distance.

These tools can be still be used but a plethora of new tools are available. Some are newer versions  of old manual efforts. These new tools include :

A. GPS tools in hand or on a bicycle ( many of these provide automatic mapping)
B. Mapping program available online or as plugins to your computer

All of theses tools give the information necessary to decide if the proposed course will work for,the type of event planned

Once the proposed course has been created the process of bureaucratic approval begins.
The approval process may be as elaborate as reviews , debates and finally approval from 4-6 groups (city,county officials, police, Dept. Of Transportation, Parks Service, ad infinitum)    Or it may be as simple as a 10 minute application at local parks and rec department.


The safety of the course and along the course. This means the course is clean and free of potential hazards and that it is made safe from vehicular traffic. When roads are used for a road race the local police must be involved.
In some areas of the country this is a regular occurrence – because so many running events take place. When this is the case the local officials usually have a standard process to approve a race. It may involve a few hoops and hurdles but it is simplified by the “process”.

After government official have been addressed the course specifics must  be reviewed with police and possibly rescue squad. This will increase safety on race day and in the event of an injury or other problem during the event.

Ideas to address with officials:
A. Specific course
B. Course markings
C. Safety on the course- official and race provided ( volunteers on the course)
D. Specific timing for use of the roads, paths , park and parking…possibly restroom facilities
E.  A surprise or 2


There are several groups that will allow you to register the race event and offer liability insurance for the race.  Do searches for the groups.


Race Organizing and Race Directing- Compared – The Basics Part 1 November 18, 2014

Race Organizer or Race Director

Now First Things First , as Stephen Covey would say, the race oragnizer can be the Race Director but they are 2 different but important roles.

RACE ORGANIZER – Organizer created the race, had the idea for the race as well as the meaning behind the race. [ Holiday, season, Fundraising.series…..] This person may be a runner and thought it would be fun to put on a race and may or may not have any idea how to do that.

RACE DIRECTOR – This person runs all activities related to setting up, organizing and maintaining the race course, race registration, race operations (timing, hydration, safety, course marking, etc)

These roles can be filled by the same person or a committee (s). it is usually beneficial if there is a team/group involved in the Director portion of the event.

Now that that simple difference has been discussed..lets look at the tasks necessary to set up and put on a race, a foot race.
The tasks are the same for local 5k to an internationally followed and supported marathon.

The tasks can be divided into several buckets.
These buckets are as follows:


There several smaller tasks in each bucket and they will be listed / noted in the description for each bucket.


1.Create the course
2.Work with appropriate officials to make the course “acceptable”
3.register the course and if necessary Certify the distance


1.Name the Race
2.Create Online Presence- Website, Facebook, Twitter,….
3.look for Sponsors / Supporters
4.Prepare for runner registration ( see below)
5.Post race information in and on appropriate online communities
6.Plan and schedule traditional ads- TV, radio,newspaper, posters etc….

1.Contact local “officials” and police, Fire and rescue
2.Study race route for safety concerns and best places for police support.
3.Schedule and create Police and volunteer safety posts on the race course
4.Contact Fire and Rescue / ambulance service for emergency needs on race day


1.Prerace and race Planning
2.Course setup and Marking
3.Safety and Water Supplies for the race- on the course and finish line
4.Arrange for appropriate vehicles to transport all the logistical supplies


1.t-shirts or other “schwag” for the runners
2.bib numbers and timing chips if RFID timing used
3.hard goods and equipment for supplies/logistic above
4.food and drink for the race and post-race


1.Online registration- have own system or work with subcontractors available\
2.Paper registration pre-race ? And race weekend?
3.Use this system to manage Supplies and logistics above


1.How will the race be timed ? Manual or Electronic?
2.Is appropriate equipment available and present?
3.Has it been tested
4.Posting results , LIVE , at the race site
5.Posting results to website or other online space
6.Sending Press release and results to the media

Future posts will cover more in the areas of original concept and arranging with meddling officials at the citu, county or other governemtal body.

We will also discuss safety efforts and working with Police,Fire and rescue and Volunteers.



Time has Changed, Weather is Cooler, It might be Lighter/darker at Your R egular Run Time November 9, 2014

Now that in parts of the USA we have “Fallen” back  in time as Daylight saving time has impacted us again.

Has this changed your workouts?

1) have you changed time of day?

2) Location of runs?  (hopefully not the dreaded TM..

3) what are you wearing

4) are you safe?Reflective, flashing lights, tell friends/family where and when

5) do you run more or less as it gets cooler/colder?



Massage, Yoga and other Activities to Help Runners October 29, 2014

Filed under: Cross Training,diet,Health,massage,yoga — bigfootmarty @ 10:35 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

I( was having a recent discussion, actually discussions , with different friends about what is the makeup of the best fitness/health program.

Can one live on running alone? do we need to include cross-training, bodywork or other recovery tools?

Running 30-45 minute 4-5 days a week may be the perfect and complete fitness program, but as soon as a few muscles get tight or sore or you start dragging because you have no energy…you need to take a look and an expanded program with some broad based parts .

I included yoga, massage and food ideas in this post But there are so many more ideas.

-Cross Training- bike, swim, row, weight lift…

-sports like tennis, raquetball, golf etc get you moving and stress some other bodyparts

– meditation, hiking, pilates and other popular activites.

Massage has numerous benefits for basic health and some specific uses for athletes.

A.    http://www.worldrunning.com/articles/sports-massage-benefits-for-runners/

B.  http://www.runnersworld.com/injury-prevention-recovery/benefits-of-massage-for-runners?cm_mmc=NL-Beginners-_-1617442-_-03052014-_-Benefits-of-Massage-for-Runners

C.   http://running.competitor.com/2013/12/injury-prevention/the-four-best-types-of-massage-for-runners_60280

Yoga is great and can be done at home after a little study or a couple of classes. You can always go to the studio as well, but be careful which studio-and the focus of the instructor.

A.   http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/workout/yoga/poses/yoga-for-runners/?page=6

B.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXTK5sit6c8&feature=related

C.  http://www.yogajournal.com/uncategorized/more-reasons-athtletes-need-yoga/

And of course the idea of food and fuel and diet can be addressed and some thoughts tossed around. Nothing here is a proposal or endorsement- just some recently found writings.

1. http://makehealthiest.wordpress.com/2013/10/29/vegetarian-diet-plan-for-runners/

2. http://www.fitnessrepublic.com/running/top-10-best-foods-for-runners.html

3. http://www.livestrong.com/article/459158-a-diet-for-runners-over-40-years/


Keep OLD LEGS Healthy and Strong August 6, 2014

What is the most important exercise for life and longevity?

Now this OPENS UP THE POSSIBILITY of a GREAT DEBATE— like Lincoln vs Douglas.

But I am going to narrow the query and focus on 1 specific situation I witnessed recently (as well as a personal challenge a few years ago)

PUSHUPS ? – Now I love Pushups and think they are a SUPERB Total Body Movement that is simple and easy.


 WALKING / RUNNING …How about walking / running ? Used properly these exercises can improve health and fitness and add to longevity. A daily 30 minute bout with either will burn between 250-500 calories, pump blood throughout the body, process sugars and fats and clear your “head”.

Again No Not Walking / Running.

 Theses are both great and I recommend them highly but recent situations I witnessed ( and then started seeing a lot) made me think about the value of maintaining and increasing leg strength throughout life, especially as we age (51 here).

 I witnessed 2 people – in the span of 3 hours-

A} Struggle to squat down to pick a grocery item from the bottom shelf and stand up

B} Step with 1 leg up on a small stool- reach a book on top shelf in the library. Their leg wasn’t strong enough to lift them.

Two years ago I broke a leg and after weeks of recovery my legs (the right especially) were too weak for me to do the above moves with the same ease as before.

There are 2 simple exercises [that will become easy with practice], and a third that is necessary to balance the new muscle growth.

Squats. Lunges and Good Mornings ( also known- Straight Leg Deadlifts):

SQUATS – Stand with feet armpit width and with eyes forward or upward squat down until thigh is parallel with floor   [can do ½ or ¼ squats to begin with]

-can use a stool or chair as a target to help you stop smoothly without stressing your knees

-can also perform in a doorwayto use for balance/support

LUNGES-with feet at armpit width, Step forward with RIGHT foot- Approximately 2 feet(varies with height) – Slowly drop the Knee of the LEFT (rear) leg to the ground and return back up.

After completely the repetitions (Reps) with the RIGHT foot forward, Reverse feet and do for that leg.

STRAIGHT LEG DEADLIFTS- Stand with feet Shoulder width apart- with eyes facing forward and hands on the fron of your hips- bend forward at the waist and roll hands down your thighs to the ground-

Return up, without bending knees or back. Do this movement slowly.

This exercise stretches the glutes (butt) and lower back and Strengthens the hamstrings (back of the thighs) This is a necessary balance for safe stability.

The squats and lunges building lifting/ stepping/ climbing strength and the deadlifts add stability and balance.

Workouts can vary and be built up over time but a basic recommendation- Add to any current workouts- But 3 sets of each movement with varying numbers of reps but some possibilities


3 sets of 5-7 reps

Squat- Deadlift- Lunge…..Squat-Deadlift-Lunge……


3 SETS OF 9-12



3 SETS OF 15-20


Enjoy and happy legs…



Cardio Cross training- THE ROWER July 31, 2014

Several years ago I discovered the Concept 2 Rowing trainer. I WAS INSTANTLY HOOKED.

MAYBE i SHOULD HAVE BEEN A ROWER Instead of banging my head on the football field….Less concussions and reduced threat of knee injury (some surgeries while playing).

The Concept 2 website http://www.concept2.com/ Shows equipment and information that amazes and entices me. I love the logbook and the workouts available.  


It also tempts me to “compete” with other 50-51 year old men that have posted in the logbook.  This is also a great TOOL TO GET THE HEART GOING AND burn some calories without the pounding that running/hiking gives- plus it allows me to strengthen the heart for more challenging runs and hikes in the future.


**The logbook provides some interest and fun .


^^^^ The logbook also allows for world rankings- dream zone for me but a few years ago I was able to get into the top 25 for a brief stint…..


Naybe iI will see if I can post my logbook and updates….





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