Running Hacks or How to make the best out of a practice

Hi guys,
I’m currently adding a bunch of miles to my running and not everytime is easy to overcome a practice. It may come from tiredness, both physical o mental, soreness in some specific muscle or just a mind hurdle.

What I’m using and hopefully you can get benefit of, it’s a battery of hacks to cheat my body and mind on those days that I’m not feeling like to run:

  • Before going off:
    • Watching a video that motivates you
    • Reading an uplifting article
    • Listening a song that boost your ass out
  • During the practice:
    • Use 2 differenciate parts in your listening:
      • 1st part, I use to play a podcast of a topic that I’m interesting
      • 2nd part, I play a music playlist with old songs, trying to stimulate my brain to think in where I was at that time. Prepare to be surprise about how many great times come over!
    • Play with Fear: For me, I set a goal that people is not overtaking me.
      To start, you can define a number a try to stick to it
    • Guilt: A great negative incentive linked with something unhealthy you’ve eating in the last day/hours
    • Rewards: Here I love two approaches
      • If I achieve the goal, the reward will be the breakfast, lunch or dinner
      • If I excel the goal or I’m struggling and I force myself to keep on moving, I add something else on top. Normally, a McFlurry is such a yummy motivation to push further
  • Post running:
    • Stick to the rewards you have achieved, or next time your brain may reject to collaborate that much
    • Write down the ideas you have generated during the running
    • Relax and switch gears, you’ve reset your body and mind

I hope this post is helping you to run farther, faster or just to run!

Cheers,
Dani Juan

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Back to the roots

Hi guys,
Some days ago, I was at home doing a kind of training camps, in order to build the base for IronMan 70.3 Vietnam but also to prepare different (an amazing) milestones that are coming pretty soon.

During this short period, I stick to train without music. Why?
The reason was taken, basically, because I was missing, somehow, the connection with the environment when running or cycling, yet the ability to listen to my body.
Last but not least, I was searching for finding inner motivation, rather than the energy boost that music produces on us.

With this setup and in a period of 4 days, I rode a decent 350k on the bike; running was the most cutted but still 50k and eventually a solid swimming of 10k. And as mentioned before, no music in any single session.

The sensations were good! I felt more awake on the bike, being able to appreciate much more the environment and definitely being aware of the traffic.
In terms of running, the feeling was alike, but running close the a noise highway made annoying parts of the practices.
Nothing to comment in swimming, thus I never use any music device in that environment.

To sum up, a great breakout to train both body and mind, to be more aware to everything that is surrounding us and to embrace inner motivation.

And for the future, I would love to maintain some sessions like above, but I’m still a big fan of training with music though =)

Cheers,
Dani Juan

Running at its best

Hi guys,
All of us, me included, are nowadays slaves of running with a GPS tracker.
Platforms like Strava, gear like Garmin or apps as Runtastic are driving us nuts to check how long, how fast and how good are we performing in any single session.

Don’t misunderstanding me, I love all of them and I use in my daily basis.
I do think is great to track your activities whether you want to perform but also to analyse your improvements and ultimately to record your weekly mileage.

However, what I’m missing some days is the “freedom” to run without looking constantly to the watch. A running session to merge with the environment, listen to your body and keep your mind gathering everything is popping up in your way. Running at its best.

As I’m not happy and I feel a bit slave of my Garmin, I’ve introduced a session called, once again, Running at its best. It’s an easy game to play, let me explain how is working:

  1. On your marks: Put your runners on, try to wear a long sleeve top to cover your watch and head up for a running session.
  2. Set: Press your GPS device and search for the signal. It’s green? Perfect, you are set.
    Press the button “start” and cover your watch.
  3. Go: Off for a run. Don’t do your typical route, that’s cheating. Pick a new way and don’t set a pace or time, just let your body steers you.
  4. Guess it: Before arriving to the finish line, try to guess how long and the average pace you were running.
  5. Stop the clock: This is the 1st time you should see your watch since you pressed start.
  6. Take a breath: And now, one of the key things of the game: Give to yourself some minutes and think how do you feel, the sensations of the running and how deep do you know your body, pace, you name it.

I played this game last Sunday in my long run. I guessed 19k in 1h25′.
Close enough, I reached 19k in 1h26′.
But, to be honest with you guys, after checking the watch, I decided to end up the half marathon. The power of the number 21!

Try it out and let me know how you feel!

Cheers,
Dani Juan

How to win the day – Boost

Hi guys,
Let me start as my previous post: winning the morning is winning the day

Today I would like to give you a Morning routine that I love and, foremost, it will boost you to walk into the office with your brain and batteries ready to rock.

This routine needs 40′, so no excuses!

  • Open your eyes: Wake up, drink a glass of water and prepare an espresso (optional)
  • Meditation: Focus in 5′ meditation, breathing in and out and letting your head go
    I’m using now Simple Habit and formerly Headspace.
  • On your shoes: Choose a 20′ to 30′ aerobic activity. I like running, but brisk walking is perfect as well.
  • Food for Thought: Don’t go out with your phone or ipod. Select the night before a podcast with something you want to learn or keep yourself updated.
    Personally, I like shows as How I built this, the Tim Ferriss show or Extremely Productivity, but there is a bunch of great options in itunes.
  • Shower and Breakfast: Put yourself fresh and refuel your deposits.
    I like to do my own Porridge, made with Oats, protein powder, coconut milk, banana and walnuts. Cinnamon and chia seeds on top
    Note: Don’t spend money in already prepared Porridge, rather cook it at home, is extremely easy and you know exactly what you want to add
  • Off to the office: You’re ready to rock the day.
    You have completed your brain training, your physical activity, grabbing some ideas and giving to your body a good (and yummy) breakfast.

Last but not least, I like to start visualising the day at this point.
Essentially, I dissect my daily tasks by relevance, giving the first 1 hour to the most important one.

This is how my Boost day looks like. It can change slightly, depending if I’m extending my training up to 1h. I like to hit this day at least once per week, usually when I’m quite tired and I know I will be not able to perform in a training practice as I should.

I encourage you to try it out, set a couple of days of your week and note how do you feel.
Enjoy!

Cheers,
Dani Juan

How to win the day – Work

Hi guys,
Winning the morning is winning the day.

I’ve never being a night guy. Actually, I use to go to bed pretty early, keening on waking up the next day and making things. A lot of things.
Also, I don’t setup my alarm. I naturally jump out of the bed at the same time everyday (10′ buffer!).

Why I do that? 
Once again, winning the morning is winning the day.
If I can accomplish some of my priority tasks before the day officially starts, I know the day is going to be good.

What I do?
I wake up daily before 5.45 am.
Depending on my day schedule, I choose between doing sports or working.
In the past, practicing some sports was my “must do” every morning before the dawn, but in the last years I found extremely efficient (at least for me) to focus in my 1 single most important job priority.
The reason is quite simple: There are barely emails at 5.45 am nor sounds, you are fresh and fully focus in one single task. Add a cup of coffee to the equation and here you go.

My results?
I experienced that this 30′ to 60′ focus are such a powerful tool to smash the day.
With my daily key task done or already structured, I can start thinking in how to plan the rest of the day. Meetings, secondary tasks, sports, you name it.

I’ll come back to you with my morning energy boost routine pretty soon.
Stay tuned!

Cheers,
Dani Juan

IronMan 70.3 Vietnam – First block

Hi guys,
On Sunday, I finished the first block in my preparation for IronM1an 70.3 Vietnam.
I planned this kick off period in 4 weeks, taking in consideration what is working the best for my body. There are different approaches to setup your plan, but I personally like to give 4-5 incremental weeks of work and then assimilate on week 5-6.

During this time, I was training everyday, following my #nodaysoff challenge, adding to the mileage:

  • Swimming: 25k
  • Cycling: 641k
  • Running: 173k
  • Strength: 4h
  • Yoga: 2h
  • X-training: 3h

In total, 46 sessions, 50 hours, 868k  in 28 days
2As I was mentioning, the training that I’m following is based in a minimal approach, focusing in intensity and working out inside the threshold zone.
So far, so good, I can’t complain. My body is reacting positive to the sessions and I’m feeling faster and better that I was expecting beforehand.
In this snapshot, you can see a brick session composed by 5k warm up + 2x(20k bike + 5k running) + 5k calm down

The weeks are sort in 10-14 sessions, with a 10 to 13 hours of training.
The intensity is, in average, close to 85%, what makes every practice a challenge and a test either for my body and my head. Love it though =)3
All the cycling has been done indoor, apart of a 25k outside, and most of the intensive running in the treadmill. In swimming, I’m back on track, finding a fast recovery between sets rather than speed (it will come!)

On the other hand and for skeptical, the training log will be dramatically increased as soon as Germany is allowing me to ride outside. With a day of 3 hours on the road, plus the weekly basis, I will easily end up with something between 15-16 hours/week.
Summing this up with a 7 days camp that I’m planning for the last week of March in Alicante, I do believe I can have a good base for Vietnam.

I personally don’t think that doing a pure aerobic approach, with long sessions and training in the oxygen zone, is beneficial at any level. Rather, it can brings you injuries and overtraining, plus stress.

Ready for the next block!

Cheers,
Dani Juan

Meatless Monday

Hi guys,

As I was pointing out in previous posts, I’m willing to try new ways of nutrition.
I’ve never tried a diet in my whole life and is something that I do believe is not the way to achieve a healthy goal (perhaps a aesthetic wish though). Rather, I always answer to this question the same:
Sort your meals, reduce the sugar intake (or delete it), set up a 5 doses/day, drink enough water and add some physical activity. That’s it.

Unfortunately, I’m currently enrolled in the preparation of the IronMan Vietnam, so I need to pay attention in my choices, picking the smartest alternative to combine performance and health. With the intensity of the training and the mileage log, fasting, ketosis or any other new stuff, may affect me wrongly.

Nevertheless, I’m going to try a #meatlessmonday where I commit myself to avoid eating meat. I was doing a rehearsal on Tuesday and I felt good. So, why not to extend as an habit?
The reason behind is that I’m used to eat meat almost daily, but I can may give a rest to the body and pick a wider range of foods and contribute to eat cleaner and more conscious. If that makes sense.
Therefore, I add this habit to others that I’ve adopted in 2017 (part of my resolution list), as produce less garbage, recycle more and better and don’t waste food. Small actions to contribute in maintaining a more sustainable world.

The menu for Monday, will be feed by green leaves, avocado, tomatoes and tuna as a core food. Starting the day out with some porridge and adding nuts to the snacks hours. Eventually, having a dinner based in some quinoa, eggs, eggplant and fetta cheese.
I’ll probably change some of the ingredients, but this is the top line idea.

Let’s try it out!

Cheers,
Dani