March 7th, 2010

OSIM mini run finishing

No excuses

Nike makes excellent ads. Sometimes, controversial. Have you seen the "Bare Running" ad where everyone runs naked in it? :P Anyway, whenever I get lazy, refusing to do my training, my running etc, I think about this commercial which was launched some time back. My most often used excuse to myself? It's too hot.


Remember this.

No excuses!

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One Bowerman

World's most admired companies

Earlier this week, we had a top Filipino basketball coach speak to us. It was a motivational session and damn he was good. One thing that he said left a lingering note in my mind. You are working for one of the best companies in the world. If that doesn't motivate you. I don't know what else will.

As I crossed my 3 year mark at the big Swoosh earlier this year, I had a strange calm sense of achievement that overwhelmed me. I went to work that day with an extra bounce in my step. I mean, other than the fact that I now had extra days of leave :P, nothing else had really changed. But I felt good. It has been a great 3 years and more in counting.

Fortune recently posted the list of the top 50 companies that are admired overall. Coincidentally, the 2 best companies that I have worked for - Microsoft and Nike (current), are in the list. And I can totally understand why. There will never be a perfect company that you work for. Most of the time, people just spend their time complaining about every little thing about the company instead of looking at the overall picture. The pros over the cons. I have my gripes but for the bulk of it, I am thankful and grateful for where I am.

I am happy to note that Nike is voted 24th for most admired, rank 3 for best in innovation (number 1 in industry!), rank 3 for best in people management, rank 6 in financial soundness, 5th in long term investment, rank 1 in global competitiveness and more. Also, all the companies that I admire are also in the list!

::::: The views expressed on this website/weblog are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer. :::::

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Nike girl run

The start of a new season

I no longer have a reason not to run.

We signed up for our second marathon - Chicago marathon earlier this week. There are some complications but we are trying to work around it. But at least, we have a race in place.

I have been running regularly, although to a much lesser extent, since the marathon. I don't think I will stop running even if there wasn't a race to do because when I don't, I get grumpy and restless. But having a race does keep me motivated. There is a goal to work towards, something to train for. I just need one good race a year and I'm contented. Even if I can't hit my targeted time, I'll be disappointed but I won't regret trying for it. As they say, it is the journey that truly matters and not the end goal in mind.

When I trained for last year's marathon, I was on a professional training program. It wasn't specifically tailored for me, but it worked well and I was pleased with the results for a first marathon attempt. We have been discussing training methods when we decided to do the second. We have a number of friends who train on various programmes and methods and I am just curious, how many methods are there out there?

For the runners that read my blog, please do share your training methods or which program you are on and how it has worked for you.

A friend introduced to me this book by Runners' World. It is called the FIRST program and the training methods are the complete opposite of what I have been doing. However, it has been tested and proven since 2002 and many have tried it out. It promises a time improvement of an average of 18 minutes off your personal PR if you follow it closely and understand the terms and conditions. It follows a 3+2 methodology where you run thrice a week and do two other sessions of cross-training. There is a lot more details but that is the main gist of it.

The training although doable, is rough. If we try it out, we will need to find a track to train. We will also need to find a way to track our paces. After I signed up for the marathon, I decided to invest in a training watch. My current Polar only provides calories burned and the heart rate zone. During the marathon, I realized that if TS and I didn't depend on her Nike+ to track our pace, we probably would not be able to make it to our time target. It was the fact that we meticulously tracked our pace at every single mile, that helped us to keep an even split time and achieved the results. I wasn't exactly tracking my heart rate during the race and went on a personal gut feel of how I felt. I also ensured that I stopped at every single water stop to hydrate and took my gels and salt pills religiously according to schedule. So I decided that if I did another marathon with the goal of achieving a PR, I would require some sort of tracking device. I ordered a refurbished Garmin GPS enabled watch and looking forward to trying it out next week!

My biggest struggle with the FIRST program is the definition of cross-training. Cross training here is defined as an activity that builds your cardio endurance. Swimming, rowing and cycling are given as examples. I've stopped swimming because it pumped up my arms and I looked bulky. Yes, I know people are going to roll their eyes after reading this. But I firmly believe the notion that every sport works differently for everyone. For example, I bulked up a lot when I did kick-boxing many years back. It was pointed out to me by my dance teacher. Likewise for swimming. When I stopped doing triathlons, I got leaner by just focusing on yoga and running. For others, yoga bulks them up. I've been lucky. I have been doing it for a year and it has been beneficial to my overall flexibility and body tone. Cycling for me works otherwise. I don't cycle at the intensity that keeps the muscles lean, my quads got bigger and bulkier. Yoga is not considered a cross-training sport. I've checked and confirmed it with the people behind the FIRST program.

So which program am I going to train on? I seriously don't know. I'll update when I figure it out.


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