ActiveWrap – Your Cold and Heat Therapy Solution

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If you do not own some type of cold and heat therapy system, as an endurance athlete, you are missing the boat. Let’s face it, a bag of ice or frozen peas are fine but once you have a product that is complete and reusable life becomes that much easier. I found an awesome product, local company ActiveWrap makes an exceptional product that many of my runners are already using. Visit ActiveWrap’s web site CLICK HERE I personally love these wraps for my knees and currently for my back as well.

I stumbled on to this product a year and a half ago. Being an endurance athlete coach, I see all sorts of injuries. In fact, many of us will deal with some type of injury this year that may or may not be running or sports related. My philosophy is deal with it right away. Don’t wait and try to figure it out. Of course you should always seek the advice of a quality health care professional but paying immediate attention to an injury until you can get in to see your doctor can play a major role in healing. If it is a major injury get to the hospital but if it is one of those little minor, nagging injuries I usually start with icing the area. This helps reduce inflammation and usually helps alleviate some of the symptoms. ActiveWrap does the job better. Check them out ActiveWrap and the article below on Achilles Tendonitis written by SoCalRunning member Shawn Hicklin P.T.A.

Wanna Be A Better Runner – Cross Train

On the Way Down to Solana Beach, We Took a Quick Break on the Balboa Ferry

This weekend was a fantastic training weekend. You read about “Burn the Bird” and the Run for the Hungry 5k, now the LSD (Long Slow Distance) workout was needed.

Saturday’s are usually reserved for long runs but Andy has an annual bike ride from Anaheim to Solana Beach, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, an Andyland event. It covers 80 miles, mostly along the coast and includes a ferry ride. I had to join the group and got a great 5 hour workout in Saturday.

I am in big time BASE TRAINING mode right now and this ride would be the perfect conclusion to the weekend before letting Sunday be my rest day. I could go easy and long. It would also be another good test for my back. The day could not have been nicer. The air was clean and cool. A perfect fall day in So. Cal, or for any place in the world. The day ended with celebratory tiny bubbles at Pizza Port before we boarded the Amtrack north back to Anaheim. Thanks Allen.

Andy Appreciates Allen’s Toughfulness, A Bottle of DP

Don’t forget your cross training. Cycling is a perfect compliment for runners. It is a low impact exercise that you can work similar cadences to your running. You can have long, sustained efforts at sub-maximal heart rates and it is fun. So, next time you are looking for that cross training exercise that is great in a group or alone, jump on a bike. You may even find a new running route if you ride around your neighborhood.

Train Focused, Steve Mackel, USA Triathlon Coach

Learning ChiRunning Part I (Beginners Mind)

iStock_000002247676Small.jpgAfter teaching over 300 people, in the past few months, the basics of ChiRunning, I’ve seen many succeed and many struggle to learn the technique. So you can benefit from these basic learning processes in mastering the technique.

1. Run with a Beginner’s mind. It will take time to learn ChiRunning. And you will need to practice. A lot. Not only when you’re running but when you’re not running also.

A guru was visited by a learned man who came to gain deeper insight into the mysteries of life.

The guru prepared tea. While serving the tea he began to explain, but the learned professor kept on interrupting with his own opinions. So the guru poured his visitors cup full then kept pouring.

The learned man watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain himself, “It is overfull. No more will go in.!”

“Like this cup,” the master said, “you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you anything unless you first empty your cup?”

So what this means is listen to your teachers, watch other runners to see what they are doing well, and read the ChiRunning book cover to cover trying to learn what you can. To really learn a book, you must read it AT LEAST THREE TIMES. So have patience and start tonight with some simple body looseners before retiring.

And if you are an experienced runner or have taken ChiRunning instruction previously, then it is really important for you to have a beginners mind. The old axiom “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing” because a little knowledge does not mean mastery or understanding. By coming back to the very basics in this training cycle you will discover a deeper and deeper awareness of your body and how to use the techniques to improve your running.

2. Learn proper posture. Read Chapter Four of the ChiRunning Book by Danny Dreyer. This is probably the most important chapter as this chapter will teach you the technique and form of ChiRunning. It is very important that you do all the exercises as you read the book. I cannot stress this enough. To learn this technique you must feel the postures. You can do it. Just read and study the book 10 minutes a night and you will be through chapter four in one week.

3. Practice. Begin practicing the basic posture pages 63-70 numerous times during the day. You can even do a standing meditation by getting in the posture, setting your timer for 5-10 minutes and just relaxing in this posture by tuning into your breathing.

Practice your posture and tune into your breath during everything you do from now on. Working. Cleaning. Exercising. Watching TV. Just become aware of your posture. Is your spine straight or is it all crooked? Are you taking deep breaths or are you mindlessly breathing with shallow prana depleted breaths?

Because by becoming aware of your posture and breath you will be practicing one of the principles of ChiRunning and many spiritual traditions: FOCUSING YOUR MIND (MINDFULNESS) . Take awareness of how you use your body. Tune in rather than tune out of that wonderful miracle that all your ancestors and God blessed you with. No matter what state it is in. This is one of the primary benefits of your new yoga practice also. In yoga you turn your mind to your breath and Asana (posture). And we thus we learn how our bodies move, how we breath. And when we connect breath and posture we manifest the very basics of yoga practice: UNION.

So when our mind drifts away from your new found good posture just return back to it. Don’t be a victim of a drifting attention but rather gracefully and lovingly return it back to your focus over and over and over again.

4. Be compassionate. An essential part of beginner’s mind is being kind and loving to yourself.

“When we have no thought of achievement, no thought of self, we are true beginners. Then we can really learn something. The beginners mind is a mind of COMPASSION. When a mind is compassionate it is boundless.”
Shunryu Suzuki

Remember when you first learned to do anything? Driving a car. Riding a bike. Cooking a cake. It was fun because you had no idea what you were doing. You could concentrate on the task at hand. And if you screwed it up, it was okay because you were learning. So allow yourself to make mistakes in your running. Its okay. Remember you got into this for fun.
Run with joy,
Gary

First Annual – “Burn the Bird” Workout

Most of our Burn the Bird crew at Vicious Cycle Fitness studio

You gotta love it if your schedule allows you to dedicate certain long weekends to some longer training sessions, then throw a race, add good company, great food and sign me up.

The Thanksgiving Day holiday has turned into that type of training weekend. You probably read about yesterday, today was another phenomenal training day. It started out with a Sunrider herbal Ilg Supreme shake, (you’ll have to email me for the ingredients of my secret weapon), 40-minute ride to the studio, then the first annual “Burn the Bird” workout. 11 of us met at Vicious Cycle Fitness for meditation, indoor cycling and yoga.

The idea for this workout was directly borrowed from Coach Steve Ilg. After the meditation we warmed up on the bikes for 20 minutes then when into the classic Ilg “Minutes are Forever” workout. We cooled down and focused on the union between breath and posture while performing some beautiful yoga. 2 hours later it was time to ride home and eat some leftovers. It is a good thing I am riding 80 miles tomorrow because now I have to burn off leftovers.

Namaste, Steve Mackel, CHt

Of Miracle Tickets and Turkey Trots

Steve, Conner, Emily, Colin and Micki put in a team effort

The last 24 hours have been incredible. It really goes back about 36 hours with the Beach Runners’ Tuesday night run. We had a beautiful evening for a 50-minute run along the beach followed by a nice yoga session led by Gary. Buono’s restaurant supplied us with all the food we could eat. 20 people showed up.

While I was running with Maria and Anna I told them what a big Rolling Stones fan I was and that I was looking for a ticket to their concert, Wednesday night. Maria just happened to know of a potential ticket for me. I was looking for that “miracle ticket” and it happened.

The next afternoon Maria called me with a two free tickets. I invited Paul, met her friend Bez and we were off to a fantastic Stones concert. Paul and I finished off the evening with a stop at a local Echo Park taco truck. It was the best al pastor burrito I have had in a long time. The perfect pre-race meal, not!

This morning I woke up and drove up to La Canada for their annual Run for the Hungry 5k. This was the third year I have participated in it. It was also a chance to test how my back’s recovery is coming. When I got there I ran into many Pasadena Tri Club members and ended up running with Micki, Emily and Colin pushing Conner. Our goal was running a conservative sub 30-minute 5K. We smoked that time with a 27:30. It was a new feeling for me, running slower than usual yet I was just happy to be running. The last two years I have finished in the top 4 in my age group. This year I was Thankful not walking at all. It shows how your perspective can quickly change.

We had a great time, earned our bird today and celebrated with breakfast together. If you aren’t out there volunteering to help feed the hungry, at least start your day off with a Turkey Trot that benefits some charity. Join the SoCalRunning.com crew next year as we will feature a few local Turkey Trots and keep running.

Train Focused, Steve Mackel Certified ChiRunning®/ChiWalking® instructor

Bruce, “Reese” and Steve warm-up at the Run For THe Hungry 5k before Saturday’s 80-mile ride to Solana Beach

Steve’s First Ever “Burn The Bird” Workout – This Friday

Indoor Cycling Classes are Great Cross-Training for Runners

This Friday, November 24, 2006 at Vicious Cycle Fitness Training Center in South Pasadena. Burn The Bird starts at 9:50. Click Here for Directions and Phone Number

This workout was inspired by Coach Ilg’s “Earn your Bird” Thanksgiving Day triathlon. His day consisted of meditation, High Performance Yoga® and trail running. My post-Thanksgiving Day workout will consist of meditation, indoor cycling and yoga.

The workout starts at 9:50 for a short meditation, followed by a 50 min indoor cycling class then a 30 minutes yoga session. This is a great way to kick-off the holiday season. Please bring a yoga mat if you have one and be prepared to sweat. $15 per participant. You can call the studio to reserve a bike.

Train Focused, Steve Mackel USA Cycling Coach

SPECIAL WEEKNIGHT TRAINING RUN

Join the Beach Runners this Tuesday for a special weeknight traning run: L-R Steve, Donald and Gary

SoCalRunning.com Friends,

SPECIAL WEEKNIGHT TRAINING RUN THIS TUESDAY, November 21, 2006, starting at 6:30 PM, join the Beach Runners at Buono’s Restaurant in Downtown Long Beach, 250-A W. Ocean Blvd. 562-432-2211. We will go for a 45-50 minute training run followed by some yoga. Dinner is included, or at least a lot of yummy food. All you have to do is help with the tip. We ask that you donate $3-5 per person and pay for you own beer or soda. You’ll have to find parking, there is some on the street and lots around the area. The restaurant is west of Pine on the South side of the street. Walk through the restaurant to the back to find us. Dinner is at 7:30 PM. Feel free to join us late even if you can’t make the run. This is a fun social night too.

Everyone is welcome!

Jim get the foot landing right for 26.2 miles

Jim shows off his ChiRunning form in the final stretch of The Long Beach International City Bank Marathon

Below is another great testimonial for the Beach Runner Marathon and Half Marathon Training Program. The best part is the picture because you can tell he is going to land mid-foot compared to the foot next to him that is a big heel strike and check out the nice lean. Jim really focused his runnning practice with us this year. ChiRunning® in practice.

Steve & Gary

Thanks for the fantastic training program. The marathon was perfect in every way. Good weather, good friends and a great party afterwards. I want to share my “before Chi and after Chi” experience with you.

“Before Chi” – I ran the Los Angeles marathon with a time of 6 hr and 15 minutes. I cramped up during the race and had to walk part of it. After the race I could hardly walk and suffered from Planters Fasciitis. It took me about two months to recover. I trained harder and ran the Las Vegas Marathon and finished in 5 hr and 15 minutes. I cramped up in the race again and could hardly walk after the race. I hyper-extended my left leg and sprained my medial collateral ligament in my right leg. I was in therapy for three months. After all of these problems I decided not to run anymore full marathons.

“After Chi” – I signed up for Chi Running lessons and the Long Beach half marathon because I wanted someone to run with. I thought the “run injury free” was just a sales gimmick to get people to sign up for the program. After running 24 miles in practice I felt very good and signed up for the full marathon. I completed the marathon in 4 hours and 48 minutes. The best part was that my legs did not hurt after the race. Chi running does work.

Check out the attached picture. After 26 miles, Uncle Sam still had the lean.

Jim

Scroll down and find out how to join.