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Customizing P90X and Running.

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Sunday, August 28, 2011

100 Best songs to run by

Merry Christmas (to everyone who celebrates Christmas)! If you found an iTunes gift card in your stocking this morning, you will love this blog post. Here is a list compiled of songs the staff at Salt Lake Running Co. love to listen to while cranking out the miles. If you don’t see some of your favorites on this list, please add them to the comments section below. Sometimes the only thing that can get you through your run is a good song. Enjoy! (In no particular order)

MIA- Paper Planes, Born Free, Boyz (Jay-Z version), Bamboo Banga

Cee Lo Green- Forget You

Jason Derulo- Ridin’ Solo

Ke$ha- Your Love is my Drug, We R Who We R, Tik Tok

Katy Perry- Firework, Waking up in Vegas

Lady Gaga- Just Dance, Poker Face, Paparazzi, Bad Romance

Phoenix- Lisztomania, 1901

Owl City- Hot Air Balloon, Umbrella Beach

Will.I.Am- I Got it From My Mama

The Downtown Fiction- I Just Wanna Run

Chris Brown- Dreamer

Flo Rida- Club Can’t Handle Me

Jack’s Mannequin- Dark Blue

The Killers- Mr. Brightside, Human

Matt & Kim- Daylight, Don’t Slow Down,

Vampire Weekend- A-punk, Run

Miley Cyrus- Party in the USA, Can’t be Tamed

Neon Trees- Animal, 1983

Taio Cruz- Break Your Heart, Dymanite

Modest Mouse- Paper Thin Walls

Rhianna- Only Girl in the World

Shakira- Waka Waka

Beyonce- Sweet Dreams, Crazy in Love,

Daft Punk- Technologic

Sean Kingston- Letting go, Fire Burning, Eenie Meenie

Pink- Raise Your Glass

Glee Cast- Halo/Walking on Sunshine, Don’t Stop Believin

LCD Soundsystem – Get Innocuous!, Beat Connection, Yeah, All My Friends

Rampage – Ambush

Arcade Fire – Intervention

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Weapon of Choice

Bloc Party – Helicopter

Built to Spill – Going Against Your Mind

Led Zepplin – When The Levee Breaks

The Hives – Two Timing Touch and Broken Bones, Tick, Tick, Tick Boom, Hate To Say I Told You So, Abra Cadaver

Interpol – Not Even Jail (Daniel Kessler Remix), Fog Vs. Mold For The Length of Love, The Heinrich Maneuver

Neil Young – I’m The Ocean, Big Green Country, Change Your Mind

Passangers – Always Forever Now

Run DMC- It’s Tricky

MC Hammer- U Can’t Touch This

AC DC- You Shook Me All Night Long & Thunder Struck

Alien Ant Farm- Smooth Criminal

Bon Jovi- Living On A Prayer

AFI- Silver and Cold

Lynard Skynard- Sweet Home Alabama

Bonnie Tyler- I Need a Hero

Black Eyed Peas- Let’s Get It Started

Box Car Racer- I Feel So

Busta Rhymes- Fire It Up & Break Your Neck

Cypress Hill- Rap Superstar

Eminem- Lose Yourself & Till I Collapse

Eve 6- Anytime & Insideout

Fall Out Boy- Sugar, Were Going Down

Flogging Molly- Drunken Lullabies; Seven Deadly Sins; Irish Pub Song ( Anything by these guys would be good)

Garth Brooks- Rodeo

Good Charlotte- Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous

Hoobastank- Crawling In The Dark

Jay Z- Dirt Off Your Shoulders & 99 Problems

Composer: John Williams- Superman Theme (Superman Soundtrack)

Kanye West- Stronger

Lil John- Remix of Crazy Train & Get Low

Linkin Park- Bleed It Out

MGMT- Time To Pretend & Kids

MXPX- Responsibility & Punk Rock Show

Nappy Roots- Aw Naw \

Nelly- Hot In Here & Here Comes The Boom

New Found Glory- My Friends Over You

The Offspring- You’re Gonna Go Far Kid

Outkast- Hey Ya!

Papa Roach- Last Resort

Paramore- Ignorance

Rolling Stones- Paint It Black

Savage- Swing

Seether- Fake It

Sick Puppies- Your Going Down

Slip Knot- Sick & Wait and Bleed

Snoop Dogg- Drop It Like It’s Hott

Soulja Boy- Crank Dat Soulja Boy

Angels & Airwaves- Call to Arms

Sugarcult- Riot; Memory & Stuck In America

Sum 41- In Too Deep; Fat Lip; Kick Me When I’m High

Three 6 Mafia- It’s A Fight

Three Days Grace- Riot & I Hate Everything About You

Venga Boys- I Want You In My Room (Techno)

Warren G- Regulaters

Yellowcard- Ocean Avenue

30 Seconds to Mars- The Kill & Kings and Queens

311- Down & All Mixed Up

504 Boys- Wobble Wobble

Story of The Year- Until The Day I Die

Ricky Martin- Livin’ La Vida Loca

Selena Gomez, Livin’ a Year Without Rain, Naturally

C+C Music Factory- Gonna Make You Sweat

Leanne Rimes- Can’t Fight the Moonlight

Matchbox 20- How Far We’ve Come

Creed- Higher

Kelly Clarkson- Breakaway, My Life Would Suck Without You

3 Doors Down- When I’m Gone

Linkin Park- Leave Out All The Rest

We The Kings- Skyway Avenue

If you didn’t get an iTunes card for Christmas, don’t worry. I am going to share with you one of the Internet’s best kept secrets. It’s called Gomusicnow.com. To access the site, you have to go to Gomusic.ru and it will direct you to the site. You can buy almost ever song iTunes has, but songs are only $.09-.15 each. I have been using it for over a year and it is totally legal so you don’t have to worry about that. I read all the terms and conditions for you. There is one hurdle, its all in Russian… ok, just kidding. It’s not. But, you do have to pre-pay for songs. I put $25 on my account over a year ago, and I still have a few dollars left. They do that to make the songs cheaper. That way, they don’t have to pay a transaction fee everytime you buy a song (like iTunes). The set-up of the site is similar to iTunes. You can listen to all the songs before you purchase them. All the songs are GREAT quality and no file sharing business. Anyone else get music legally from somewhere else other than iTunes?

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Woods

"The woods are lovely, dark, and deep; but I have promises to keep. And miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep." -- Robert Frost

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A body in motion tends to stay in motion unless acted on by an outside force

A body in motion tends to stay in motion unless acted on by an outside force

Sir Issac Newton

Isaac Newton

We often learn Newton's first law of motion in the context of billiard balls on pool tables. But the same law is readily observed in "man as machine". I tend to react to men in the same, limited manner in which I tended to react to my own father. I will continue to do so until something awakens me to what I am doing, enables me to see alternatives, and assists me in establishing those alternatives as part of a new, less restrictive pattern.

But human beings are rather more complex than billiard balls; much is required to overcome the force of habit or the trend of history. Consider dieting as one example of attempting to overcome an addiction (or any other deep pattern) via self-improvement. The mind idealistically embraces the idea of losing weight, usually rallying itself around some new technique for doing that; but the body remains a distinct voice and force all the while. The mind may rule for a period; but, come that moment in front of the chocolate shop, when the delicious smell comes wafting out — the body instantly initiates a coup d'etat, seizing the throne and commencing a food binge that may last days, weeks, or months. When the mind "comes to", it generally is perplexed about the failure of its program. It vastly underestimated (and never was actually in a position to overcome) the force and depth of the pattern it was attempting to address.

A more apt metaphor for "man as machine" than the passive billiard ball is "man as homeostatic system": a pattern of activity which, even when acted on by an outside force, will exert a counter-force, in order to perpetuate the present pattern. It's as though the billiard ball had developed little "legs" that dug into the pool table surface when it sees another pool ball coming, in order to resist the oncoming "hit"; or as though the ball could dodge the oncoming ball. Not so easy to knock that ball in a desired direction any longer, even with an outside force!

Thermostats are examples of systems consciously designed to be homeostatic. They are built to keep the house at a certain temperature homeostatically; a fall below that temperature turns the heater on, while a restoration to the status quo temperature turns the heater off. Just so, upon persisting at a certain weight for a sufficient length of time, the human body establishes that weight as a "set point" which it vigorously works to restore should body weight go lower (or higher).

On the basis of similar observations, thinkers as diverse as Montaigne, Pavlov, Gurdjieff, and Hubert Benoit, concluded that what is possible through self-improvement, or even improvement with the help of other human beings more or less like ourselves, is severely limited.

Necessarily, the help we need for radical change or spiritual maturity, on the one hand must overwhelm our homeostatic system in the manner of a great "Outside Force"; and yet, on the other hand, it must also pull the rug out from beneath deep patterns in the manner of Something at an even greater depth (in accord with the principles of depth psychology). The "Grace of God" is a good name for help which both overwhelms from without and undermines from within.

Get out and RUN!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Encouraging words

by Ann Brennan

A friend recently asked, “How do you nicely tell a person that the race they signed up for might not be possible for them?”

Still running twenty years later.

This is a friend I respect immensely and I know she had her friend’s best interest in mind with this question, but I want to expand on it a bit. I want to share why I would never tell one of my friends an event was not possible for them.

When I started running twenty years ago, I was overweight, almost forty pounds overweight. On a five foot frame, forty pounds is a lot. On a five foot frame, that weight pushed me into the obese category for BMI.

I had denied my weight gain for over a year. Instead of facing the issue, I shopped, buying bigger sizes and literally pretending it didn’t matter. After my husband and I got married I went to the doctor for a routine visit and was forced to face the issue.

That day, my husband and I both decided to do something about it. We started making healthier food choices and started exercising. As an incentive to stick with a program we signed up for a 10k just over the state line, in South Carolina.

I trained for the race, losing weight along the way, but on race day, I was not prepared the way I now know I should have been. I was still overweight. I was still not as healthy as I would have liked to be but I was determined.

South Carolina in July is hot. So hot that my feet burned through my shoes. The kind of hot I won’t even think about running in today. The kind of hot and humid that makes breathing more difficult. But again, I was determined.

I didn’t have any fit friends. Thankfully, I had no one to tell me that maybe this race was not a good idea. So, I toed the line. I started running. Doing exactly what every new runner does, I started fast. Within a mile I was sucking wind. Within two miles I was walking more than running. By four miles, I was acutely aware of the ambulance rolling slowly behind me. Throughout that mile, the well meaning driver asked over and over again, if I wanted to get in.

“Are you okay?” he would ask. “It’s a lot cooler in here,” he would say.

But I didn’t want to quit. I could no longer see a single runner in front of me. I was dead last, embarrassed and saddened but I knew it would be worse to quit.

In the end I was so embarrassed that I worked out a strategy, as we approached the finish line I told the ambulance driver I quit but didn’t want a ride. He sped off. I moved to the sidewalk and continued my shuffle. When I finally came to the finish line I walked around it instead of through it, too embarrassed to let people know how far back I was.

I was gutted. I had come in dead last. Why work as hard I had been if the best I could do was last? Then, as I was rinsing my face in the ladies room another runner asked me how I did and I confessed.

“I was last, dead last,” I said almost in tears.

Her reply made all the difference, “No you weren’t. You were here. How many people in those houses we passed today were even awake, much less out here running six point two miles? How many people in the city, state or country were sitting down to eat breakfast and have coffee while you were running that race? Anytime you run a race, even if you are the last one across the finish line, you aren’t dead last. There is always someone sitting at home doing nothing.”

I will never forget her kindness. I walked out of that bathroom with a totally different attitude. I had run six point two miles. I was a runner.

These days I am in a unique position to speak with runners from all over the world. I am in the position to encourage people to enter this sport no matter where they are starting. I am in a position to help people meet their goals and to get back out there when it doesn’t happen the first time.

They might be the last runner to cross the finish line. They might not even make it to the finish line before it is dismantled but their accomplishment is no less than the person who crossed first. They are a runner. And with one race, one hard race that took guts to push through, the next one will be easier. With one hurdle clear, they are armed with the confidence to clear the next one.

On a more practical note, if I am faced with a friend who is clearly going into a race that is going to be difficult. If it is clear, she has the chance of coming in dead last, I share my story with her. I remind her that walking is okay and suggest that maybe she should make a set of rules as to when she will walk so she doesn’t get discouraged because she has to walk. I talk to her through the training, encouraging her to keep working, and if at all possible I am there for her on race day. Cheering from the sidelines and letting her know how proud I am that she is taking her health and fitness into her own hands.

Customizing P90X, Part VII: Triathlon

Customizing P90X, Part VII: Triathlon

By Steve Edwards

Mixing P90X and triathlon training is not something that's an obvious fit. After all, triathletes have three sports to train for already. And beyond that, they're some of the most notorious overtrainers on the planet. But as you well know if you've read this series of articles, training hard doesn't necessarily mean you're training smart. So this week let's up your triathlon training IQ and get some X into the mix.

"You're all triathletes," said the keynote speaker, a famous cycling coach, to a large group of multisport athletes at a conference I was attending. "That means that 90 percent of you are overtrained right now." Triathletes, historically, are the consummate "if some is good, then an excessive amount is what I'm going to do" group of athletes. Steeped in obsessive lore, the most famous triathlon stories are usually about training instead of racing. And for those in the inner circle, it's even worse. Once asked by a reporter from a triathlon publication what he did for training, triathlon icon Scott Molina replied, "I'm not going to tell you, because you'll think I'm an idiot."

Triathletes: you gotta love 'em. At least I love 'em. But then again, I've been called stupid/obsessed/crazy (among other things) over my training endeavors for most of my life. And yet it's triathletes who, more than any other group, try my patience on the message boards. "Why," they'll ask, "can't I train for an Ironman and do P90X doubles in my spare time? All I was going to do was sleep anyway."

I mean, c'mon, we're talkin' about the sporting obsessed. Remember, the first triathlon wasn't the sprint or even the Olympic version of the race. It started with the Ironman and worked backward to more conventional distances. And along that line of devolution, let's take a look at how we can improve our triathlons by moving more of our training into our living room. P90X may seem like a big undertaking for that average person. I think you triathletes, however, are going to have to buy in to the "less is more" philosophy.

Why P90X?

Let's face it: though the X is primarily a performance-based program, most of us do it because we want to look better. As one college baseball player said to me, "To be honest, I'm happy with my sports training. I'm only doing X to look good on the beach." Yeah, well, Charles Atlas may be the guy you want around when the bully's kicking sand in your face, but you sure wouldn't want to haul all his bulk around Kona. Triathletes may want to look better, but the kind of muscles the Chest & Back workout develops is going to offset any strength gains by adding wind resistance to your aero position. For this reason, a serious triathlete needs to make some concessions in the P90X regimen.

The upside is that as I said before, most of you are overtrained. This means you'd get faster by running, riding, and swimming less than you currently are. And that's where the X comes in. By structuring your year periodizationally in a way that includes both strengthening your weak areas and recovering from your overused ones, you'll get faster by spending less time working out.

The perfect schedule

In part V of this series we discussed the off-season approach. It would benefit you to read the entire series, but if you're pressed for time make sure you at least read parts IV and V, which are about endurance and weight loss. If you've got a race approaching, there's no point in beginning P90X. It'll break you down and slow you down. In a perfect world, you should begin your training program soon after your final race of the previous season. In an imperfect one, at least schedule X as far out from your main objective as possible. As a gauge, there's no reason to start X if you've got a race approaching in less than three months' time. Hopefully you've got six months; nine is even better.


P90X is the foundation phase for your sport-specific training. This is why you don't want to do it close to any important race. You may train right through early-season races, but you'll get no benefit from X training close to an event where speed is important to you.


All triathletes are familiar with periodization. You don't all do it, of course, but you know that you should do speed work, aerobic work, and threshold work separately, then bring them together closer to your big race. Consider P90X to be the foundation plan for your foundation plan. It's where you'll strengthen your body and improve its capacity for improvement in all the areas detailed above.


Oh, the "R" word! This is where we don't train, or at least don't train hard. No pain, no hallucinations, no glycogen-depleted hobbles home after an 8-hour training day. The horror. But you know you've got to do it sometime, or you'll become like one of those triathletes you know who've been on a plateau for the last 2 decades because they're more addicted to their morning 3-hour swims than they ever could be to coffee.

Here's where you'll want to place P90X in your schedule: at the season's end when you shouldn't be running, riding, or swimming anyway. Not only will it give you something new to focus on, but no matter how fit you are, it will blast your endurance-oriented cells into oblivion and leave you sore and tired enough to feel as though you've spent 20 hours each week on your bike.

Putting it all together
A full round of X, done during the off-season when you're resting from your sport-specific training, would be preferable. Then you'd begin doing maintenance X work, along with your specific training increased in volume and intensity.

You may want to alter the classic schedule or even do the lean schedule if you're a high-level competitor who's worried about muscular mass in a strength-to-weight-ratio sport. P90X won't get you huge, but the classic schedule will almost certainly add size to your upper-body muscles. Whether or not you'll find this a benefit is a call you'll have to make for yourself.

If you feel you need the overall body conditioning that P90X offers and are willing to sacrifice your race results for a while, you may want to put together a hybrid schedule that combines P90X with your current training. It's hard to write a schedule for everyone because there are hundreds of personal variables to consider. This is why so many athletes hire personal coaches.

Below is just one example of such a schedule. Yours should probably vary, but by using this template, you should be able to get an idea about how to make your own schedule. You could also consult my blog, where I create hybrid training schedules for myself all the time.

I would write a schedule like this for individuals who are fairly triathlon fit but have been doing too much sport-specific training and are pretty weak outside their sport-specific movements, causing their triathlon times to have hit a plateau.

This schedule contains no racing, but you could work races into it. Your personal races should all be labeled A, B, or C. A races are priority races. None should be scheduled near this period. B races are where you'd like to do well but not necessarily peak. These are to be taken seriously and none should be here either. Around B races you should be doing more sport-specific training. The difference between B and A races is that you may schedule a B race during intense training while you would always taper and peak for an A race. This schedule will address your weaknesses and get your ready for a C race. This is a race you enter so you can work on things like transitions, race tactics, and scheduling, and so you can dust off your racing form. Slow times are to be expected.

Your actual multisport training should be planned by you or your coach. For P90X, I'm going to use a hybrid of the classic, lean, and doubles schedule.

Block 1 (Weeks 1 through 3)

Day 1: Chest & Back and Ab Ripper X

Day 2: Easy swim and Plyometrics

Day 3: Shoulders & Arms and Ab Ripper X

Day 4: Easy ride or run and Yoga X

Day 5: Legs & Back and Ab Ripper X

Day 6: LSD (long, slow distance: ride, run, swim, or "brick" [combo] workout like bike/run, etc.)

Day 7: Rest or easy aerobic ride, run, or swim and/or X Stretch

Note: Your sports training should be easy technique training done in zones 1 and 2.

Recovery/Transition Week

Day 1: Core Synergistics

Day 2: Plyometrics

Day 3: Easy ride, run, or swim and Yoga X

Day 4: Legs & Back

Day 5: Core Synergistics

Day 6: LSD (long, slow distance: ride, run, swim, or brick/combo workout)

Day 7: Rest or easy aerobic ride, run, or swim and/or X Stretch

Note: Easy, again, is the key with your specific training. Your goal here is engram training: building neuromuscular coordination patterns.

Block 2 (Weeks 5 through 7)

Day 1: Chest, Shoulders & Triceps, Ab Ripper X, and easy run

Day 2: Swim drills and Plyometrics

Day 3: Back & Biceps, Ab Ripper X, and easy run

Day 4: Easy ride or run and Yoga X

Day 5: Legs & Back and Ab Ripper X

Day 6: LSD (long, slow distance: ride, run, swim or brick/combo workout)

Day 7: Rest or easy aerobic ride, run, or swim and/or X Stretch

Note: Here you can begin coached workouts. These should still not be full-on as your priority is still on your X training.

Recovery/Transition Week

Day 1: Core Synergistics

Day 2: Easy run and X Stretch

Day 3: Easy swim and Yoga X

Day 4: Easy ride and X Stretch

Day 5: Core Synergistics

Day 6: LSD (long, slow distance: ride, run, swim or brick/combo workout)

Day 7: Off

Note: This should feel like a true recovery week.

Block 3 (Weeks 9 and 11)

Day 1: Chest & Back, Ab Ripper X, and easy run or ride

Day 2: Plyometrics & easy swim

Day 3: Shoulders & Arms, Ab Ripper X, and easy run or ride

Day 4: Yoga X

Day 5: Legs & Back, Ab Ripper X, and transition practice

Day 6: Hard brick/combo workout

Day 7: Rest and/or X Stretch

Block 4 (Weeks 10 and 12)

Day 1: Core Synergistics and coached workout

Day 2: Cardio X and coached workout

Day 3: Ab Ripper X and coached workout

Day 4: Yoga X and coached workout

Day 5: Legs & Back and Ab Ripper X

Day 6: Coached workout

Day 7: Recovery ride, run, or swim and/or X Stretch

Note: There are too many variables to discuss your sport-specific training, so I'm leaving that to you and your coach. If you do race at any point in the schedule, alter it so you take at least a couple of easy days prior to the race. Racing always takes a lot out of you and you'll want to avoid overtraining at all cost. I think it was Paula Newby-Fraser who said that it's better to be 25% undertrained than 1% overtrained. If you want to run a schedule by us, check out the Message Boards.

Related Articles

"Part I: Customizing P90X for Specific Goals"

"Part II: Customizing P90X® for Skiing—How to Structure a Short Training Cycle"

"Part III: Gaining Mass with P90X"

"Part IV: Losing Weight with P90X"

"Part V: Endurance Athletes—Get Ripped in the Off-Season"

"Part VI: Customizing P90X—Running"

Questions about your workout program, diet, the latest newsletter, or anything wellness related? Chat with the overseer of Beachbody's fitness and diet development, who also serves as your Fitness Advisor on the Message Boards, Steve Edwards, on Monday, May 10th, at 7:00 PM ET, 4:00 PM PT. Go to the Beachbody Chat Room!

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

Check out our Fitness Advisor's responses to your comments in Steve Edwards' Mailbag on the Message Boards. If you'd like to receive Steve Edwards' Mailbag by email, click here to subscribe to Steve's Health and Fitness Newsletter. And if you'd like to know more about Steve's views on fitness, nutrition, and outdoor sports, read his blog, The Straight Dope.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


Focus Posted on July 18, 2011 by Ann Brennan

A few months back I read a post by an elite athlete. He had been asked what he thinks about when he runs. His answer surprised me.

“I think about my form. I scan my body for things that are out of whack. And I try to correct those as I go.”

Thinking about it now, it makes sense but at the time, I was speechless. If I had had to answer that question, it would have been easy. I think about everything. I write articles as I go. I create new characters for stories I would like to write. I think about what’s for dinner, what’s on the to-do list and who I will be running where after school. I think about anything except for my running.

But have you ever noticed that when you buy a new red car, every other car on the street seems to be red? If you are reading a book that mentions molecular science, the subject of molecular science will come up over and over again in the days after. This is the exact phenomena that began to happen to me.

Suddenly everything I did physically called on my focusing on my running/cycling/swimming. First, Coach Jeff at PRSFit started giving me interval workouts through iTunes in which he and Coach Diane would remind me to relax my shoulders, not give up when I started to tire, run through the very end of an interval, or my favorite, “light, fast feet.”

As I began Project API/PRSFit, Dan Riser at The Club at API started talking to me about rotation, opening up, focusing on sports specific exercises as well as specific muscles throughout a workout.

Finally, out of the clear blue, swimming coach, David Wendkos approached me while I was swimming one day and told me he was going to coach me for the day. During our hour together he pointed out a few areas of my swim I could improve but the thing that really stuck with me was to corkscrew my way through the water.

Suddenly, in every aspect of my training, I went from being absent mentally from each workout to being fully present. I began paying attention to the details and without realizing what I was doing, I developed a habit of repeating certain phrases over and over again throughout a workout.

When I run I chant to myself, “light, fast feet” interspersed with “relax your shoulders, relax your hips, relax your feet.” When I am swimming, whether in the open water like we did in Maine or in the pool which I do more often than I would like, I chant “corkscrew, corkscrew, corkscrew.” And when I am working on the wonderful new exercises that Coach Dan has been torturing me with, I literally talk my way through each exercise, telling myself where to put my focus, what to think about and what to avoid.

Each time I fail to do these things I quickly realize what I was missing when I was mentally absent from my workouts. In the lake two weeks ago I noticed myself slowing down as I thought about the fish that were swimming under me, but as soon as I began chanting, “corkscrew,” my body responded by rotating the way it should and I cut through the water with far less effort.

The core exercises Coach Dan has given me are working better than anything I have ever done before because I am not mindlessly doing crunches hoping they will work. Instead I am focusing on my form and seeing the results.

The most evident result I have found that being present in my workouts is working happened just yesterday as I was completing the Rosaryville 25k. The race was my first trail race since falling five times in one ten months ago. I was very nervous about falling and getting injured again but Coach Jeff assured me that if I focused on light, fast feet, I wouldn’t fall.

I would love to tell you I didn’t fall but the fact is I did. The entire race I chanted, “light, fast feet” and I stayed on my feet, until once, for just a second, I broke my train of thought, lost my focus and did a big, beautiful belly flop in front of God and everybody. The good news is, though I came up covered in mud, I wasn’t injured and I left the incident with the knowledge that focus is much more important than I have ever given it credit for.

I am sure there will still be runs in which I enjoy the scenery or write a chapter of my novel. I am sure there will be runs where I completely lose myself in thought. But I hope now that I have found the gift of focus, I will continue to stay present and accounted for in my workouts.