Do speed workouts work? Do they?

While cruising through my Insta feed I see people adding speed workouts to their training. I’ve always wondered if it actually helps. I’m more of a slow and steady runner, focused more on distance than actual speed… or so I tell myself. While covering longer distances is the end goal, I still obsess over my time. In the peak of my running 8:40 min/miles were about my average pace but at a cost. I could maintain that speed but I would end up tweaking my back and resorting to slower running for months afterward, nursing pulled back muscles.

Back in December in decided to push my luck. Not being content with 9:30 min/miles I decided to push myself and really try to break back into the high 8’s. I ended up pulling my lower back muscles and ruining my holiday by not being able to move without intense stabbing pain. So I took a break.

After a brief recovery hiatus, I returned to running a little disheartening to find my average pace was in the high 9:00 min/mile range. Knowing I needed to make a change I decided strength training would be necessary, focusing on the muscle groups I would so often damage. But, that left me to question, which comes first – Cardio or Weights?
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Breaking the Silence; the Podcast is LIVE

So it’s been 6-months since our last podcast, I know, slackers – but we are hoping to breath new life into our show. We want guest speakers, we have some fitness friends in mind that we are going to harass to sit in for a few minutes. We’d also like to host some type of giveaway to reach out listening audience. If the metrics are correct, we have about 60+ followers and we hit around 40-50 listens per Podcast. Guys, we’re a small fish in a large sea, so these numbers are pretty huge for us.

Please give us a listen, let me know what you like, what you don’t like – maybe what you’d like to hear more about. Right now we just talk about food, weight loss, and running. I also try to interject some of my thoughts about mindfulness and being present… and interrupt my wife while she’s talking, you know standard marriage schtick.

It’s all about the FOOD!

If you’ve been following me along on Instagram, you’ll notice I post food every-so-often – and so far it’s been absent-mindedly posted without any regard to recipes, etc. That all changes after today, because food and nutrition are so important to me, I figured it’s time we start to share everything.  Well, maybe not everything.

One thing to note, while we are not Vegan, we do make and eat a lot of Vegan meals. This is largely in part of my lactose intolerance – I can’t have any dairy products, so we’ve found it easiest to just go with vegan recipes since most vegetarian dishes include some milk-based products. Also note: We only consume meat twice a week, so we are plant-based around 80% of the time.

First up on the Instagram are these Curried Salmon Cakes. We love our roasted veggies, so it’s only fitting that we pair this up with some roasted cauliflower, and some NearEast brand rice. The salmon was canned, so it tasted more like tuna fish – with a bite! So the list of ingredients and brief write-up, check out: Curried Salmon Cakes

Second on the gram, Korean BBQ Lentils! We love lentils, and we love the taste of this dish, so flavorful, so rich – honestly, I couldn’t get enough. Being primarily plant-based, I can fill up on these meals and not have any sort of weighted or bloated feeling in my belly.  I eat until I’m full, and I find meals with Lentils offer a healthy balance. Naturally, we paired this up with some brown rice, and roasted asparagus (my favorite). Find this recipe here: Korean BBQ Lentils

Last, but not least is this decedent Breakfast Stuffed Sweet Potato. Let’s pause and just take it all in. Just look at that roasted sweet potato, those fresh berries, the homemade granola and oats with that amazing peanut butter drizzle. This would have made for a super filling breakfast, so we chose to eat it for dinner instead. Now don’t get me wrong, I love my breakfast foods, but this one is so hearty, I can’t imagine eating this for breakfast – it’s a brunch/dinner meal if you ask me. Find the rundown here: Breakfast Stuffed Sweet Potato

A note about Instagram…

Mild rant, first world problems, spam, and a little bit of insecurity.

Chances are if you follow me on Instagram, you follow the blog (maybe) or you’re a twitter follower and you follow the blog (also a maybe), or maybe you’re just following the blog… I digress either way thank you for the support, please be sure to leave your social media handles so I can return the favor.

Just a note about the “following game” on the Gram:
1. If you follow me, chances are, I follow you – pretty simple.
2. If you unfollow me, chances are, I’ll unfollow you – because I’m a child like that.
3. *If you have thousands of followers and don’t follow many in return; chances are I won’t follow you back.
4. If you block me, honestly, why tho? I’m curious if my running content is that offensive? If so, sorry? I guess?
5. If you are Dreaming Elegance, Bfirst, or Proudfitfam – please stop. Also, be prepared for me to engage with you and question your grammar right spot peep my bio instantly.

*Disclaimer – I have a dear friend whose band is destroying the Instagram scene, I’m okay being in the elite “following” group on their profile. Also, I few of the companies I follow, have returned the favor and follow me back as well (*cough, cough* Mojo Socks).

Ragnar Relay! Somebody Help Me!

I must be straight up out of my mind because I agreed to participate in a 200-mile race from our home city to the Poconos! Needless to say, training has already begun. This photo is a little out-dated as the race is less than 140 days away, but you get the gist.  I downloaded the Ragnar training plan from their website but felt like it was geared more for beginners… and c’mon, I’m at least a partial noob.


My training plan involves running, lots of running, and a mixture of weight-training and other cardio to help build my endurance and overall strength.  Our local YMCA has a cycle class that’s once-a-week that I’ve got my eyes on.  If I can get over my social anxiety I’ll give it a try and see if I live to tell about it.

Running – seems very obvious, but my goal is to run: faster, stronger (if that is a thing) and longer.

I’ve tried 80/20 running (80% of your runs are at a reduced pace somewhere in the aerobic heart zone, 20% at your threshold heart rate) but I think I made it into more like 90/10 running. I felt like I wasn’t able to gain much from that experience other than decreasing my performance. Perhaps it’s something worth trying again, but I found myself stressing out over my pace and felt like I was tethered to my Garmin at all times.  I don’t know about you, but I kind of like to run, and just let my body set a rhythm. Rather than stress over training times, I’m going to include speed workouts twice a week to start.

Running Schedule (January and February):
Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 3 miles aerobic pace/moderate pace 7 mph
Tuesday and Thursday: 3 miles, alternating speed from 6 mph to 8 mph
Saturday: Rest Day, light Jogging
Sunday: Long Run day, gradually building to running 8 miles the last few weeks of February

One thing I need to improve is my strength. When I run, I tend to engage my lower back muscles and I know when I push myself too hard when I end up walking around with a sore back after running.

Strength Training Schedule:
Mon, Wed: Lower Back and Body Workouts + Plank 1:00
Friday: Cycle Class?
Tues, Thurs: Upper Body + Plank 1:00
Sat and Sun: Plank 1:00

Anyway, that’s the plan for now for the next 5-6 weeks.  I’ll be back to post some data and to see how things are progressing.  If you have any Ragnar race tips, please feel free to leave them below!

New Years Day 5K

We braved the single digit temperatures and as a family ran the US Road Running New Years Day 5K in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. It was a beautiful day for a run, and we weren’t the only crazies that decided to ring in the new year with a run along the Susquehanna River.

The course begins at the Harrisburg Senators stadium on City Island, crosses over the river and traverses along a flat pathway along the Susquehanna. The start/ finish line was on City Island and was free of snow, however once you crossed the river and hit the footpath, you were greeted with snow covered trails.

The crowd wasn’t as heavy as last year’s, I’m assuming the cold temps drove people away- but there was a good crowd none-the-less.

The cold weather was a benefit in regard to the snow covered trails- the temps kept the snow powdery and prevented it from turning to slush. The air was brisk, but once the race began, the cold air was refreshing and invigorating.

The kids complained the entire time- it was glorious.

Family Finish Time: 41:12

These are a few of my favorite things… Part I

Ambassador or not, I have my favorites when it comes to running gear, sport and exercise supplements, and running tech. I’m not sponsored or endorsed (aside from the Brooks $1 endorsement) so these are my opinions and mine alone. I’m an average runner with all the same novice runner issues to boot- I am honest about what works and what flat out doesn’t work.

Rather than this be a huge blog post, I’m going to focus on just shoes for the time being. Keep on the lookout for a future blog post about running tech, supplements, and other running essentials that have helped me along the way.

Running Gear – Shoes
I have five pairs of running shoes. All in their own right are decent shoes, all have their pros and cons. I’m a neutral shoe runner, so if you require arch support these probably aren’t for you. When I Run I land in the ball of my foot- heel striker when I walk normally.

Street Running Shoes
New Balance 880V2, my first shoe dedicated to street running. Pro: Solid performance and spring, best suited for 10k races and under. Con: Long distances make the ball of my foot tender.

Saucony Cohesion 8, used for 5K and under training runs, no serious mileage. Pro: cushion and support during light jogs and walking. Con: Cause shin splints when running.

Mizuno Wave Rider 14, preferred Long Distance shoe, anything over 8 miles. Pro: Excellent spring/return and offers cushion on foot strike. The shoe fits snuggly on my foot providing a sense of stability. Con: None

Brooks Launch 4, another preferred Long Distance shoe, anything over 8 miles. Pro: Excellent spring/return and offers superb cushioning on foot strike. Comfortable running, jogging, and casual walking. Con: Seems to wear out faster than all my other shoes, figment is still snug, but showing signs of aging.

Trail Running Shoe
Merrell Agility Charge, decent crappy weather shoe with moderate grip, haven’t had a chance to trail run yet.

Keep in mind, I’m at about 99% road running and only every-so-often run off-road and trails.