Could Basketball Be Good Cross-training for Marathon Training? Experts Weigh In

As far as fitness and working out goes, basketball has always been my first love.

photo credit: Airman 1st Class Kerelin Molina - Wikimedia Commons

photo credit: Airman 1st Class Kerelin Molina – Wikimedia Commons

From playing until after dark as a kid, to playing pickup games nearly every day in college, I loved playing the game. When I decided to run my first half marathon in 2009, I was still playing basketball with c0-workers two to three times a week. At the time, I felt like basketball would be a good compliment to my running.

As I looked into half marathon training programs, I ended up settling on Hal Higdon’s novice program. As I dug deeper into Hal’s site and forums, I discovered that he wasn’t a big fan of mixing basketball and half marathon training. “It’s not a matter of if you get injured, it’s a matter of when” was Hal’s was clear warning on the subject.
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3 Lessons I Learned By Running 1,000 Miles This Year and How You Can Accomplish a Similar Goal

Just before the Thanksgiving holiday season, I accomplished one of my running goals for 2013.

photo by flamurai, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

I ran 1,000 miles for the year.

As I mentioned in the post linked above, I was well aware that others have set much  loftier goals with some people running the year (2013 miles in 2013) or running a tenth of that in a 100 mile race all in one day.

Since I’ve started tracking my runs with my Garmin watch, I’ve averaged a little under 900 miles a year, so I also realized that while 1,000 miles would be the most I’ve ever run in a 365 day span, it wouldn’t be a huge jump. It was something that I wanted to have under my belt more than anything, but I also wanted to make sure I was in good shape for the Marine Corps Marathon this past October. It was a baseline for me to maintain my running endurance throughout the year.

Running over 1,000 this year also taught me a lot about myself, about running and about my relationship with running.
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Run Yoga Thrive Interview with No Meat Athlete Founder Matt Frazier

Despite all the science and reports to the contrary, there are a lot of people who share the common misconception that a plant-based diet won’t provide an athlete the proper nutrition or protein needednma bookphoto to meet the rigors of training for a marathon or ultra marathon.

And even if you convince someone to entertain the thought that you can fuel your running and training with a plant-based diet, pointing to the more well-known vegan runners like Scott Jurek, Brendan Brazier or Rich Roll only exacerbates the issue. For most people, successful vegan distance runners like those guys are outliers or anomalies.

Those guys have accomplished seemingly super human feats like winning Ironman triathlons or setting 24 hour US running records or running around the Hawaiian islands. To the average runner, pointing to those guys’ diets as examples to follow is akin to saying that Puma shoes will make you as fast as Usain Bolt.

This is where Matt Frazier comes in.

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Run Yoga Thrive Interview with Jeff Sanders, Host of the 5AM Miracle Podcast

There is a lot of crap on the internet – especially in the area of self-improvement.

Do a Google search for “self-improvement”, “self-help” or even “life coach” and you’ll find plenty of websites offering a quick fix or simple solution to everything that ails you.

There are a ton of web sites out there that will claim to help you find a better job, create better daily habits, or help you lose weight, but often times they’re just trying to make a quick buck by offering half-thought out advice. You might be even more discouraged and confused about where to turn after finding so many half-baked sites.

So where do you go when you’re really looking for sound advice and help?
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Setting Your Running Thermostat

Back in grad school, my friend Kevin’s thermostat setting hovered somewhere in the 50s from late October to early spring.

No matter how cold it got in the dead of an Ohio winter, his thermostat didn’t budge. No amount of his girlfriend’s protests over having to wear socks and sweats to bed or the ribbing he got about being cheap would change his mind. Kevin’s determination to keep his heating bill low would always win out  – no matter what anyone said or did. I’m pretty sure there were times when even he was bothered or uncomfortable by the cold temperature in his apartment, but he never wavered. The heat simply was not going to get turned up.

At first blush, you wouldn’t think that  Kevin keeping his thermostat ridiculously low during winter months would have anything to do with becoming a better runner, but stick with me here.
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Is Skipping a Run Really That Bad?

The short answer to that question is yes.

The plethora of training programs you can find in books and online are filled with tempo runs, speed workouts, long runs and cross training days for a specific reason – to get you ready to run your best race.

If you start selectively picking and choosing which workouts you want to do, you could be tempting fate on race day.

Having said that, most people probably aren’t professional runners. Life can throw you a curve from time to time and that 5:00 AM run you planned to get in before work may not happen if you’re nursing a sick kid back to health, you have to unexpectedly travel for work or any other countless variable that you might encounter. The fact is, even the best laid training schedules will have to work around other events in your life from time to time.

So what happens when life gets in the way and you miss a workout?
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How A Marathon Training Run Picked A Fight With Cancer

To be honest, when I first mapped out the route to what essentially would become the Happy Half Marathon course a little over two years ago, I was simply looking for a way to end a long run at a pub in Yellow Springs, Ohio.

At the time the pub I had in mind had one of my favorite beers on tap and since I’m a big believer in beer being a good recovery drink, I was all for having a beer or two after the run.

If there was anything extraordinary about that training run, the fact that we were going to end it by drinking a few good beers was it.
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The Secret of A Three Mile Run

There is a secret about training to finish a marathon that no one really tells you.

Even though it’s hiding in plain sight behind a simple Google search, for the most part no one comes right out and says it.

I’m going to do you a solid and spell it out for you:

If you can run three miles, you can train to finish a marathon. 

If you Google ‘marathon training for beginners’ or ‘first time marathoner’, you’ll find a ton of really good training programs to sift through. As you click-through all the first-time marathon plans, you’ll probably notice two things. The first thing is that all of them offer up a disclaimer of sorts telling you to spend at least a few weeks working up to the first week’s training distances. The second thing you’ll likely notice is that most of the first couple of weeks in these plans include several three mile runs.

Essentially what they’re telling you is that before you graduate to training to finish a marathon, you should be able to run three miles with ease.
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Big News For Busy Runner!

Until now, this site has been dedicated to the plight of runners who need motivation or help in finding time to run. We all lead busy lives with work, family and friend obligations, and from time to time it’s easy to let running take a back seat. One of the themes of this site has been to decide to make your running goals happen and to make running a habit. For the most part that won’t change.

But, at least for my household, that’s only part of the story.

How do you fit in runs when you have another person in the house who is also trying to fit something in that they’re passionate about? In our case, we balance all our life obligations with my running and my wife Jen’s yoga. I’ve enjoyed the blog so far and have enjoyed sharing some of what  does and doesn’t works for me, but to this point it has felt like a key part of the story I’ve been telling has been missing. I want to bring that part of the story into focus now.

Moving forward, you’ll still get posts from me about running, running motivation and habits, but you’ll also notice more posts from Jen and how she fits in her yoga practice.

You’ll also notice that the site is now called runyogathrive.com . You can still type in busyrunner.com to get here, but we felt the domain name change better suited our new wider theme.

Over time Jen and I hope to share how my running and her yoga lead to a better and more fulfilled life together and how we’ve shared those passions of ours with our kids. Our hope is that in telling our stories, you’ll be able to find similar stories in your daily lives as well.

Thank you for reading Busy Runner. Welcome to Run Yoga Thrive!

All You Need to Start Becoming the Greatest Runner You Can Be

photo courtesty of flikr – by Keith Fujimoto

If you grew up in the late 80s and early 90s and had even a passing interest in basketball, you know the name Mars Blackmon.

Mars was created and portrayed by Spike Lee for one of his movies, but he became more famous as a Nike pitchman pushing Air Jordans on basketball fans all over the world. In addition to having a knack for repeating certain questions or phrases three times (“Do you know? Do you know?) he was also known to attribute Michael Jordan’s greatness on the basketball floor to the shoes Nike paid Jordan millions of dollars to wear.

While his fixation with Air Jordans ultimately proved to be a wildly successful marketing campaign, Mars seemingly missed the boat on what made Jordan great. Claiming that it’s gotta be the shoes” sold a lot of shoes, but this tongue-in-cheek caricature ignored the heart, skill, talent, determination and hard work that made Jordan the basketball player he was.
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