Posts Tagged ‘primal blueprint’

Detailed training log for the week is here.  I knocked out a 4+ mile run today and feel that I am slowly, but finally getting back into training instead of injury rehab.

The Olympic Games are coming to a close, I’m sad to say.  The luxury I have of working from home extended me the opportunity to leave the television tuned into the action practically from start to finish.  This morning I woke at 4am local time in order to watch the men’s marathon live and in its entirety.

Congratulations go out to the winner Stephen Kiprotich of Uganda, who held off two powerful Kenyans, Abel Kirui and Wilson Kiprotich, crossing the finish in 2:08:01 and averaging a blistering 4:53 per mile.

I had high hopes for the U.S. marathon squad, and Meb Keflezighi did not fail to deliver, finishing fourth with a time of 2:11:06, only three minutes and five seconds off the winning pace.  Unfortunately both Ryan Hall and Abdi Abdirahman succumbed to injury and were unable to finish the race.

Cesar Lizano, the local representative from my adopted nation of Costa Rica made the country proud by finishing strong in 2:24:16.  Lizano was trained by Mario Fraioli, the senior producer at  Fraioli wrote a series of articles chronicling the coaching process with Lizano as they prepared for the Olympic games, the latest of which you can read here.

Kenyan runners in action

photo credit: john burnett/npr

John Burnett with NPR has an interesting article about the dietary habits of the elite Kenyan runners.

“It is a paleolithic diet,” says Dr. Vincent Onywera, senior lecturer at Kenyatta University’s Department of Exercise Science. “It borrows heavily from our forefathers who lived on fruits, vegetables, roots and lean meat.”

That should be good news to those who follow the Paleo diet, Primal Blueprint, as well as vegetarians and vegans.

I would be remiss if I didn’t give props to two people who are proving invaluable in my injury recovery and half marathon training.  Jeff Galloway was a member of the 1972 U.S. Olympic team and is also a monthly columnist for Runner’s World Magazine.  He is the founder of the Galloway Marathon Training Program, and emphasizes a run/walk interval method for both training and race day.  I highly recommend that you take a look through his website and give the run/walk intervals a try, especially on your long, slow run day where you will most likely be able to run farther and recover faster with this technique.

Jeff Galloway at Disney Tinkerbell Half Marathon

Jason Fitzgerald is a competitive runner, published author and personal coach.  His website, Strength Running, is full of no nonsense, detailed information designed to make you the best runner you can be.  The links, articles and resources on the website will give you an entirely different understanding into the mind of a professional running coach and how to design programs that are appropriate for your goals and adaptive enough to change as you do, both mentally and physically.  A+ plus information organized and delivered in a clear and concise manner!

Here’s a quick excerpt from a recent article:

Elite distance races prove that you can’t be “just a distance runner” anymore. The ability to kick is mandatory in today’s racing world.

But just because it’s necessary for elite runners doesn’t mean that you can avoid sprinting during your training. Besides being able to negative split your race, sprinting also helps your running in many ways: it recruits more muscle fibers, makes you stronger, improves your running economy, and lessens the chance of injury.

Training suggestions:

  • Run 4-8 strides after your easy distance runs. Strides are about 100m long and have you start at a jog, build to about 95% of max effort, and slow to a stop. Run them barefoot on a grass field for increased foot and lower leg strength.
  • If you can run hill sprints, you can do them 1-2 times weekly on a moderate effort day (these are a bit more advanced!)

I hope everyone enjoyed the Olympic games and that at least a few of your favorite athletes were able to bring home the gold.

Make the coming week your best week of training ever!

Detailed training log for the week is here.

Below is a collection of bits and pieces from around the web that may help your running efforts.

I follow a primal/paleo nutrition structure, so I’m a meat lover.  But I never let that get in the way of taking good information from a great resource.  50 Lessons Learned from 50 Days of Running by Matt Frazier over at is full of humorous and instructive insights.  One of my favorites:

16. You can get by with three pairs of running shorts if you do laundry once a week, by washing them in shower with you after your run. After one shower wash, though, the funk becomes impervious to anything but the heavy artillery.

Joe Friel has a great post regarding mental toughness.  He cites an article from the Harvard Business Review that summarizes the results of interviews with Olympic medalists. Common characteristics of the mentally tough:

  • have the ability to psychologically manage pressure
  • pay meticulous attention to goals
  • have a strong inner drive to stay ahead of the competition
  • be internally rather than externally focused
  • be self-directed
  • concentrate on excellence
  • not be distracted by others
  • shrug off their own failures
  • be masters of compartmentalization in their lives
  • rebound from defeat easily
  • never self-flagellate
  • have a relentless focus on the long term attainment of goals
  • carefully plan short-term goals
  • never stop striving for success
  • reinvent themselves following a success
  • celebrate their wins
  • analyze the reasons for their success
  • be very confident of their abilities

Many beginning runners receive the advice to focus on gradually increasing the distance of their long, slow run each week, with little to no focus on improving speed or tempo.  Brian Martin, running coach, competitor and author challenges this conventional wisdom in a recent post over at

The key for beginners is to not max out on lots of long, very slow running training. Remember working on your strength, coordination and technique is just as important as building fitness. If you’re worried you can’t do enough volume to stay fit and not get injured, then cross training in the pool, on a bike or rowing machine is a great supplement.


I hope all of you had a great training week and look forward to hearing about your links, websites and resources for improving your running, fitness and life!




Practically Paleo

Posted: July 3, 2012 in food, lifestyle
Tags: ,

Roughly 3 months ago I decided to make a change.  I was pushing 190lbs on a 5 foot 10 inch frame, and while no one had mistaken me for obese my body composition was definitely softer than ideal.  In addition, although I was reasonably strong due to an inconsistent, yet sincere application of Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 program, I was under no illusions about the lack of aerobic conditioning I possessed and the potential risks associated, especially for someone over 40 years of age.

To Wendler’s credit, his training regimen does recommend hills sprints, sled pushing, and other metabolic and aerobic conditioning drills.  For whatever reason I mentally wasn’t ready to make the commitment.

During the years that I focused on strength based training my diet was a mess.  In a blind effort to consume calories for the repair and growth of muscle tissue, I crammed down potatoes, rice, pasta, milk and meat at every opportunity.  Paranoid that I wasn’t meeting a recommended daily intake of protein of roughly 1.5 to 2.0 grams per pound of lean body weight, per day, I also consumed at least 1 protein shake per day.  On any given day this might be mixed with water and ice, milk, ice cream or fruit juice.

In other words, my diet resembled a train wreck at a nuclear facility on Black Friday.  And I felt like it too.  But I continued, regardless of the bloating, aching joints, skin blemishes, or gastrointestinal distress.

Paleo diet inspired meal

Minus the flour tortilla, today’s lunch was Paleo perfection.

The straw that broke the camel’s back was a family vacation photo.  Spring break at Hacienda Piñilla in Tamarindo, a city located in the Guanacaste province of Costa Rica’s pacific coast.  I will spare you the gruesome experience of viewing the actual image, but rest assured that middle aged, male breasts compressed beneath a skin tight, rashguard style surf shirt is not flattering.

I make a partial income from local photography assignments and I’m still surprised at how oblivious we can become regarding our own appearance until we view ourselves in a photo.  There is something different, detached almost, in the photographic experience, than say looking at your reflection in a mirror.  I lied to myself for years while looking into the mirror.  One family snapshot rocked my self image and confidence to their foundation.

Many of you are already familiar with the Paleo diet or primal lifestyle as it’s known in some circles.   So I will not bore you with a tedious repetition of all of the facets or components.  Let me provide you with a quick and dirty summary: eliminate all processed foods, flour, bread, grains, legumes, beans, dairy and sugar (except for example those naturally occurring in fruits) from your diet.  Eat to your heart’s content all of the vegetables you like, along with several servings of protein rich foods and fruit per day.  Throw in some nuts and seeds along the way, as well as being mindful of your Omega 3 vs Omega 6 fat consumption, and you’re all set.

There are many flavors of the Paleo diet circulating the bookstores and internet, and you can find slight variations among what is recommended or prohibited, as well as variations in the level of intensity or commitment demanded by their respective authors.  Let me address this issue by simply sharing the two resources that proved most helpful to me: Robb Wolf’s The Paleo Solution, and Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson.

If you’re interested in making a lifestyle change, and not simply starting a crash diet, these two publications should be more than sufficient to peak your interest and get you headed in the right direction.

I have followed the paleo/primal guidelines for just over three months.  Starting weight was 190 lbs and I am currently 175 lbs, plus or minus 2 lbs of water weight on any given day.  Some may not feel that 15 pounds is a significant enough change in three months time.  Some readers may be struggling to lose their first 10 pounds.  Let me emphasize something I think is critical to keep in mind: each person’s goals and execution will produce different results.

My personal goal is to level off at 170 lbs and assess my appearance, level of fitness, and the effort required to maintain that weight through a combination of exercise and diet.  I am searching for an ideal balance among several variables and I am flexible enough to realize that may happen at any number on the scale, not necessarily a random number I chose because it sounds nice.

If you decide to make a change in your life the best advice I can give you is this: know your own personality.  Are you someone who can make drastic lifestyle changes over night, cold-turkey?  Or do you need to ease into things, gradually eliminating evil and adding good along the way?  More than what exercise protocol or diet you follow, knowing the answer to that question is the key to success.

Let me know how things go for you!


Reviewing my previous posts caused me to realize that I’ve been boring you to tears with the sob story of my Achilles tendon injury.  Let me apologize and lead us down a new path by adding the last word regarding that issue.  As of today I am taking an anti-inflammatory for recent swelling and pain, despite roughly 10 days of variations on the RICE theme.  Until I am running again or diagnosed with a condition requiring surgery, I’ll refrain from discussing the topic again. Woo-hoo!

It’s been a busy week and I can happily proclaim that it was productive, hectic, joyful and relaxing all at the same time.

Pacuare River, Class IV rapids

My wife and I made a white water rafting trip down the Rio Pacuare to celebrate our sixth wedding anniversary two weeks ago.  It was by far the best organized and most enjoyed trip we’ve made since living in Costa Rica.  The journey to the river took us by the Volcan Turrialba, one of the many volcanoes in Costa Rica, and one of several that are active.  On our way to the rapids it was spewing a solid column of grey-white ash and smoke.  Apparently what we saw was just a prelude, as the volcano finally blew its top last week.  Woo-hoo!

Turrialba Volcano erupting

On Tuesday I made a flight back to the United States to spend a few days in Miami.  A few times per year I return to knock out early Christmas shopping, grab a few birthday gifts, as well as more mundane tasks such as paying my respects to the banking industry, accountants, lawyers and the such.

The commute from my home in San Jose to the Juan Santamaria International Airport traverses the General Cañas Highway, which is the primary transportation route for all traffic connecting the city to the airport and beyond.  According to the Public Works and Tranportation Administration (MOPT) the highway will need 3 weeks of repairs and advised daily commuters to either “work from home or take a vacation.”  Welcome to life in Costa Rica!

Highway sinkhole in Costa Rica

According to government officials a tree clogged the sewer system that lies beneath the highway.  Coupled with massive run-off from the recent down pours of the country’s rainy season, the duo proved too much for the road to withstand causing the collapse.

I arrived at the airport at 5am for my 7:15am flight and missed the sinkhole disaster by roughly 12 hours.  Woo-hoo!

My 4 days in Miami had a few bumps in the road that mostly revolved around lost or dishonest taxi drivers and their upscale, car service counterparts.  The positives however far outweighed the minor annoyances.

I’ve been a follower of the Primal Blueprint for roughly 5 or 6 months and love the results.  But I don’t shy away from enjoying any food options when they are opportunities that present themselves few and far between.  Miami is well known for its large Cuban population, and they bring a lot to the table.  Pun fully intended.

Sergios Cuban Food

I didn’t eat both of those delicious sandwiches but I easily could have!  If you are ever in the mood for a great sampling of Cuban cuisine, Sergio’s is the place to go in Miami.

The highlight of the week however had to be my trip to the new, Miami Marlins baseball stadium.  Marlins Park opened to usher in the 2012 MLB season.  The park seats 37,000 fans, has a retractable roof, swimming pool, and a diverse choice of food vendors that include everything from traditional hot dogs and hamburgers, to kosher food, bbq, seafood, latin fare, pizza, and even a gluten-free vendor.

I purchased the tickets for the game a few days in advance after viewing one of Groupon’s local deal emails.  Offering 58% off regular prices for a variety of seating options the discount was a great way to sit in seats I otherwise would not have purchased.

Spending an evening with great friends, while reminiscing about days gone by, drinking a few beers and watching the home team hit consecutive home runs to win the game is an experience that  beats most.

Miami Marlins Park

When we are down in the dumps about something, like not running for 10 days due to some mystery Achilles injury, it’s easy to start feeling jaded and cynical about things.  But it’s vital to remember that most of our sufferings are trivial in the greater scheme of life, and if we open our eyes and hearts there are plenty of great experiences waiting to be had.