Monday, August 22, 2016

Running 101: How Often Should You Run?

Figuring out how much you should run is a complex matter.

How often should you run is one of the most important questions to consider before you start any training.
Frequency—or how often you run—is one of three fundamental variables of training. The other two are duration (how far you run) and intensity (how fast you run). Research shows a person needs to run at least a couple of times a week to get any progressive benefit from it. Many elite runners run as often as 14 times per week. How often should you run?
There is no single right answer to this question. While considerations such as your goals, life schedule, and running experience can and should be used to establish boundaries of too much and too little running frequency for you, within these boundaries you can choose any of a number of different running frequencies based on personal preferences and needs and get the results you seek.

The Minimum

Let’s first consider the boundary on the bottom end. The most important piece of advice I can give you in this regard is that it is necessary to do some form of exercise almost every day to optimize your general health. Every man, woman, and child on earth, whether a competitive or recreational runner, whether a runner at all or a non-runner, should aim to exercise every day. The research is very clear on this score. If you exercise daily you will have lower risk of chronic disease, be leaner, and live longer than if you exercise just a few times a week.
This doesn’t mean you have to run every day, however. If you care about running enough to seek some form of progress, you need to run at least three times per week. On the other days you can swim, do yoga, lift weights, whatever. However, if you choose to run only three times per week—and if, again, you care enough about your running to want to improve—you need to make those runs really count. Most weeks those runs should be a tempo run to develop intensive endurance, a speed workout to build speed, and a long run to increase raw endurance. The popular FIRST marathon training program developed at Furman University prescribes a weekly training schedule comprising the three types of runs just mentioned plus two cross-training workouts. In my opinion this system defines the minimum effective training protocol for runners.

RELATED: How To Start A Running Program
The primary reason to run only three times per week is to minimize injury risk. As we all know, running has a high injury rate, and the rate of injury increases with running volume. Many runners cannot run every day without getting injured. If you are such a runner, or if you simply fear getting injured if you run daily, then stick to a schedule of three to four purposeful runs plus a few cross-training workouts per week and feel confident that you are not sacrificing any of the performance you would get from running daily (presuming you actually could run daily without injury).
The most common running frequency for non-elite competitive runners is six to seven times per week (that is, daily with one scheduled day off or daily with rest days taken only as needed). I don’t know of any research addressing the matter, but my experience-based belief is that some runners are better off running daily and not cross-training, others are better off running three or four times a week and cross-training on non-running days, and many runners are able to fare equally well on either schedule. Use factors such as your durability (can you handle daily running?) and your personal preferences (would you rather chew glass than do any form of exercise besides running?) to set your personal routine.

Running Twice Per Day

Only the most serious runners habitually run more than seven times per week, which necessarily entails a certain amount of doubling, or running twice a day. Personally, I think more runners should consider it, as some magical things can happen when you push your running volume beyond the amount you can practically squeeze into one run a day.
There’s a simple rule that runners can use to decide whether or not they should double: If you plan to consistently run more than 70 miles per week, double at least once or twice a week. The rationale behind this rule is that every runner’s training schedule must include some easy runs, and if you try to pack more than 70 miles into just six or seven runs each week, none of those runs can be very easy. You can double if you want to on a schedule of fewer than 70 miles per week, but it only really becomes necessary when you run more.
As you continue to add mileage to your weekly schedule, continue to add doubles as necessary to keep your average run distance from creeping above 10 miles. So, for example, if you run 100 miles a week you should run at least 10 times.

RELATED: Hydration During Running
Ease into doubling by inserting one or two very short, easy runs into your schedule. Gradually increase the distance of these runs and add more doubles until you reach your weekly mileage target, but keep the pace easy in all of these extra runs. Never try to perform two hard runs in a single day.
Some runners do an easy run in the morning and a longer and/or faster run in the evening. Others do the opposite. It’s a matter of personal preference.


Just as a casually competitive runner can exercise more than three or four times a week without running more than three or four times a week, a serious competitive runner can exercise twice a day without always running twice a day. The question is, should he or she? While there are many examples of very successful runners who run 14 times a week and never cross-train, I believe that in most cases, runners who train nine or more times a week are better off running seven times and lifting weights and doing plyometrics two or three times than they are making every workout a run.

RELATED: The 8 Basic Types Of Runs
In fact, there’s research proving this. In a famous Norwegian study, elite runners improved their 3K race times by replacing 30 percent of their running with plyometrics—not adding plyometrics to the running they were already doing, but replacing a chunk of their running with plyos. Based on such evidence, I advise runners who train nine to 10 times per week to perform two or three strength/plyo workouts and run the rest of the time. There’s no need to do strength and plyometrics training more than two or three times per week, so if you add any workouts beyond 10 per week, the rest can and should be runs or non-impact cardio alternatives to running such as cycling.
What’s the absolute maximum amount of training any runner should consider doing? Many elite runners thrive on a schedule of two runs per day every day plus three strength/plyo workouts per week. If you can handle all that, more power to you!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Fix Bike Tires and Fenders on the Go

Even the most prepared and experienced commuters aren’t immune to unexpected weather or mid-ride mechanical problems. The next time you’re stranded in the rain or fighting to fix bike malfunctions, employ one of these MacGyver-like moves to save the day. 

No tire lever? No problem

The Problem: You find yourself without a tire lever and you have a flat.
Quick Fix: If you have a quick release, use that to pry the tire from the bead. Carefully unscrew the nut from the opposite side of the quick release and slide the skewer out of the hub. Keep the springs and nut nearby or in a pocket. Use the flat, rounded end of the quick release as an impromptu tire lever. 

Fix bike tire puncture with a dollar bill

The Problem: When you remove the tube to change a flat bike tire, you discover a puncture that leaves a hole in the tire.
Quick Fix: To fix bike flats, keep the tube from squeezing out the hole and puncturing, use a dollar bill to boot or patch the tire until you can get home or to a bike shop. Word on the street is that some have ridden over a hundred miles after employing this trick (though we recommend replacing the bike tire as soon as possible). First locate the puncture and replace the bike tube. With the bill in hand, fold it in half once and then again. In a pinch, you can also use a plastic food wrapper or a sturdy envelope. Insert the boot between the bike tire and tube at the puncture and inflate.

Improvise bike fenders

The Problem: You’re away from home and it begins to pour. You’ve got a new bike, but opted to save some dough by skimping on bike fenders.
Quick Fix: Bike fenders don’t have to be fancy. All you need to stop the road splatter is a soda or milk container, box cutters and several zip ties. Cut the bottle in half and cut off the spout, too. If using a milk jug, be sure the piece of plastic is at least four inches wide. On the end of the bike fender, remove a half-moon shape, just large enough to fit snugly against your seat post. Punch holes in the sides and secure the fender with zip ties.
If you want to add a front fender, use the same materials, cardboard will also work in a pinch, but be sure the material doesn’t rub against your front tire or interfere with braking. Mount the fender to the bottom of the head-tube and on the inside of the fork and then secure with zip ties.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Cycling Four Seasons and Commuting

Nothing tests a commuting cyclist’s commitment more than the changing of the seasons. One month’s warm, dry weather transitions into the next’s stiff breeze
and rainy days. Mother Nature is testing your cycling faith. Follow these tips to come out swinging when commuting and cycling four seasons.

Challenge: Cycling four seasons bring hot and cold weather challenges

Fight back: Dress correctly and you can ride in practically any condition. If you don’t have a lot of cash to spend, invest in just a couple of items.
Buy a fleece-lined pair of wind- and water-proof or resistant full-finger gloves. If you choose gloves that aren’t cycling specific, just be sure you can work your shift and brake levers with them on.
Cover your core. Once your core is warm enough, your body will send blood to other regions of your body, such as the legs. A cold core means cold hands, feet and dead legs. Invest in a warm, wicking layer to wear close to the skin.
Layer up. A fleece vest and arm and leg warmers are also great investments, as they can easily be stripped off as it warms up. Buy some waterproof booties if you often ride in wet or slushy conditions. Top it off with a windbreaker or a heavier jacket and you’ll be set to riding in the rain, wind and cold weather.

Challenge: It was once light outside for the evening commute; now the sun is down. 

Fight back:  A few bike lights and the right color bike clothing will keep commuting by bike safe, even when the sun’s on hiatus.
When you’re piecing together your commuting outfit, consider buying outer layers that are bright or have reflective piping. You can also attach reflective tape and Velcro straps to you and your bike.
Arm yourself with a high quality bike headlight and a battery charging system that fits your lifestyle. Some bike lights recharge via solar power or a computer’s USB port, while others plug into a standard outlet. Stick with what works best for you and always have a backup. Install a red tail light to your bicycle or the back of your jacket, preferably one that flashes. This clues motorists into which direction you’re traveling and that you’re on the road. If you’re new to commuting by bike, play it safe by finding a road or bike path with street lights. Or find a buddy to commute with. 

Challenge: You were once eager to be outside, but now your motivation is falling faster than the temperature.

Fight back: Like any exercise program, we all fall off the wagon occasionally. Tap back into what originally motivated you to start commuting by bike. Did you make a promise to yourself or someone else? Why did you decide to go car-free?
Is there a cause for your dip in motivation? Maybe you’re afraid your bike will break down or you’ll slip on the ice. Many common concerns are easily remedied at your local bike shop.
Give yourself a week or two to try to adjust to the new commuting conditions. Chances are that the regular exercise and sunlight will help improve your mood and make the habit stick.
Commit to cycling four seasons with a friend. Not only will you be held accountable for your commitment, but you’ll also have someone to talk to and distract you from the weather.
Have a backup plan. Some days may be too cold or too wet, so don’t be afraid to give yourself a free pass every once in a while.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Guide to Bike Baskets

If you think baskets are just for kids bikes and cruisers, think again. For a lightweight, versatile solution for toting your stuff, consider bike baskets.  They come in a variety of sizes and materials and will instantly add style points to your
Add them anywhere. Baskets will mount to the front or rear of a bicycle. Rear bike baskets tend to be deeper to accommodate larger items like groceries and, unlike most panniers, they have no lid, allowing you to tote taller items. Bike baskets mount to rear racks and typically hang on either side of the wheel. Front baskets, on the other hand, tend to be smaller, wider and shallower and mount to either the handlebar or front fork. When shopping for a bike basket, look for ones that you can quickly detach and take with you, preferably with handles or shoulder straps.
Wire versus wicker. The main difference between these two basket materials is how much weight they can support. While a wicker basket adds more style, it also holds less and isn’t the best choice if you live in a wet climate.

Rear Bike Baskets

Topeak’s TrolleyTote Folding MTX Rear Bike Basket ($79.95) is one heavy hauler. With 1,526 cubic inches of gear capacity, this basket features a telescopic handle and trolley wheels and also folds flat for easy off-the-bike transport and storage.
For a touch of nostalgia, check out Basil Memories-Bottle Bike Basket ($36), a steel rack with a vintage milk bottle outline. Available in a variety of classic colors, this rack easily hooks onto the side of any rear rack and has a soft nylon handle for toting.
Wald has been making functional and durable bike baskets and accessories since 1925 and their 520 Rear Twin Bicycle Carrier Basket ($30.50) is no exception. This double wire basket also serves as a rack, increasing the load stability of large objects like stacks of newspapers and large boxes.

Front Baskets
The Peterboro Basket Company has produced traditional hand-woven baskets for more than 150 years. Their Original Bike Basket ($37.80) is made from Appalachian White Ash and easily attaches to a handlebar with two leather straps.
Want to give your pooch a ride? Nantucket Bike Basket Co.’s Somerset Collection  (prices vary) is designed to safely haul small dogs under eight pounds. A wire frame keeps Fluffy safe and the basket’s faux rattan is durable enough to withstand the elements.
For an easy-to-use metal basket, check out Sunlite Cycling’s Quick Release Bike Basket ($22.08). Removal is a snap with a quick release and fully adjustable mount. This powder-coated basket also features a handle that makes quick shopping trips a snap.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Take the time to store your Polaris properly

Before you pull out the boat and put away the Polaris® this spring, follow these simple preventative measures to prolong your sled’s life span.
“Sure, you’re itching get out on open water and stretch a string this spring, but
take the time to store your snow machine properly and you’ll be glad you did, down the line,” says ICE FORCE® Pro-Staffer James Holst. “A few hours of care can prolong the life of your Polaris for years.”
Step 1 is to remove any corrosive salt or acids from all surfaces. Step 2 is a good wash and wax for your hood, side panels, chassis, and all other plastic. Next, wipe remaining surfaces with a damp cloth. Only after a thorough cleaning should you apply touch-up paint, if needed.
Store your Polaris in a dry garage or shed, out of direct sunlight, and covered with a fabric cover. Condensation can form under a plastic tarp and could damage some components.

Engine Protection
Any snowmobile stored for more than 60 consecutive days should have its engine “fogged.” The process spreads a thin layer of oil that protects rod pins, cylinder walls and crankshaft bearings from the corroding effects of humidity.
“Preventing rust and corrosion on precision parts will ensure the longevity of your engine and fuel system,” Holst says. “And fogging is not as complicated as you might think – there’s instructions right on the oil container.”
Always add Premium Carbon Clean, Sea Foarm or a fuel conditioner/stabilizer to the fuel tank. Follow the instructions on the container, running the engine for five minutes to get additives through the entire fuel system. Top off with fresh fuel. Do not allow the snowmobile to run out of fuel.

Track and Suspension
Moderate track tension should be maintained during summer storage. The snowmobile should be supported off the ground to allow the track to hang freely.

Clutch and Drive System
Remove your Polaris’ drive belt and store it in a cool, dry place. Do not lubricate your clutch components, except the drive clutch shaft bushing, as outlined in the Master Repair Manual.

Replace any worn or frayed electrical wire or connector. Your wiring harness should be secured away from sharp edges, steering linkage, moving parts, and hot exhaust parts.
Prior to storage, charge your battery to full power. Check its voltage every three months and charge as required. If possible, place the battery on a voltage-regulated charger to maintain proper voltage.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Food for Day Hikes

You could probably hike more than 100 miles without food, if you had to. But hiking is supposed to be a fun adventure, not a have to experience. Keeping your engine fueled up with tasty, nutritious snacks while out on the trail for the day makes it much more enjoyable and easy.
The key thing to remember is to take something you like to eat. If it's chocolate, it might melt. If it's soft, it might squish. But, it will still taste good.
Here are a few choices for simple, convenient trail food.

Trail Mix

I have sitting in front of me a large bag of Kirkland Trail Mix from Costco. One Trail Mix recipe if you'd like to make some. It's fine to consume more calories when you're in the outdoors burning off more calories than normal but you might as well make a bit of an effort to eat healthy food. One day of hiking and eating high-fat food probably won't hurt, but it also won't make the hike any more productive. Calories from simple sugars, complex carbohydrates, and fats are useful in different ways to your body. For ongoing energy boosts while hiking, the quickly metabolized carbohydrates should be preferred.
ounce (28g) contains 150 calories. Of those 150 calories, 84 (or 56%) are Fat. Ouch! So much for the healthy trail mix fairy tale. It sure tastes good though, and some of it is just fine, but not handful after handful. You can see a
Here's a table of some foods, their approximate calories in 28g, and amount of carbohydrates, protein, and fat:
dried apple68.1g.3g18.5g
dried apricot67.2g.9g17.5g
granola bar1376.7g2.8g17.7g
peanut butter16514.3g7.2g5.3g

Dried Fruit

On day hikes, carrying a couple apples or other fresh fruit probably won't tip the scale on your pack and they include important water that you'd need to carry anyway. On longer treks, drying your own fruit is a great way to reduce weight and still get healthy food.
Dried fruits are a great choice as long as you dry them yourself and drink plenty of water when you eat them. Drying yourself means they do not have extra chemicals and sugars added. Water is needed to digest them - if you don't drink it, you'll get dehydrated digesting the fruit.
Fruit contains good vitamins and calories with very little fat.

Tuna and Crackers

Grain is also a good source of carbohydrates. Breads and crackers are a good choice for day hikes.
Tuna fish contains high protein and is a good meal with cheese on crackers if you like the taste of tuna. Oh, don't get the tuna in a can - it comes in foil pouches now that mean much less weight and easy to pack. Don't forget a sturdy zip-loc bag for your trash, especially the smelly tuna pouch.
Have tuna fish recipes ready for your next hiking adventure.

Energy Bars

 You can find these fancy treats in grocery stores or pay more for them at outdoors stores. They pack a lot of calories in a small, heavy bar but you may have to eat a few before finding one that you enjoy. I've gone through quite a few and most just don't taste that great to me. I do like the Lara Bars pretty well and some Clif Bar flavors are good.


Dried meat isn't a source of carbohydrates, but it is a nice treat on the trail. I really prefer home-made jerky since I can spice it just how I want and make sure its as dry and chewy as I want.
I can make a bit of jerky last a long time when trodding over not-so-exciting stretches of trail. Just like dried fruit, make sure you're taking in plenty of water along with it to keep things moving along on the inside. Be sure to take enough hiking food with you on your outings and try to keep it healthy. After all, you're out there to enjoy nature and do good things for your body, so you might as well give it good food for fuel. Treats like trail mix are fine in moderation and drink lots of water!

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Hiking Overnight

Day hikes are usually simple affairs that start and end at the door of your vehicle at a trailhead, or maybe at your own front door.
When you get the urge to travel further than your legs can carry you in a day, the
affair becomes a bit more complicated. More skills, gear, food, and planning are required for a successful multi-day hike.

No two people hike the same. We each have our own pace, endurance, nutrition and comfort needs, as well as sources of enjoyment. Some are willing to sacrifice comfort to cover many miles while others prefer slower, more comfortable, and possibly heavier hiking.

Nomads have carried their homes along with them for eons. You will be a nomad on your long hike, taking your home along mile after mile. Choose a lightweight, comfortable shelter that protects from the environment.

Sleep Systems
Cowboys used to throw down their saddle for a pillow and wrap up in an old blanket. That can still work for you, but there are other options to stay warm and comfortable through many cold, wet, windy nights. Flexibility to work with varying temperatures is a good goal for your sleeping system.

There's nothing wrong with planning a completely non-cook menu for a multi-day hike. You can live for days and weeks eating crackers and cheese and jerky, but at some point, you'll be ready to kill for a hot, steaming meal. On long-distance hikes, there are quite a few options for cooking your food so you can choose which works best for your trek.

Long Distance
Hiking in 5 miles and back out the next day is a great weekend trip. A 40-mile loop through the mountains over a week is a real challenge. But, what happens when you get the bug to really hike far? There are special concerns when hiking for weeks or months on end, but the rewards are immeasurable.

Depending on the trail you hike, there may be permanent shelters, established campsites, open camping, or no legal camping allowed. Decide what kind of camping you are willing to do and then plan your day hikes to end where you are able to camp.