Running The Jardin Du Luxembourg in Paris

Most of my followers know I love running. In July 2014 I got an incredible opportunity to move to Paris, France for work. It’s been an phenomenal two years with several formative experiences. One privilege of being in Paris is the opportunity to run along the Seine or in some of the very beautiful and well maintained public gardens.

Here is a video I made of a run back in early June with a GoPro Hero. Many people ask me what it is like to run in Paris so I made this video to show them. It is a 2 kilometre loop around the Jardin Du Luxembourg in Paris. The run with the narration takes about 11 minutes.

 

Here is the typical running route as profiled on Strava.

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Enjoy the video!

Running and Recuperation in Provence

It is July and we are finally in the Luberon, a serene and stunning area of rolling hills, lavender, wheat, and sunflower fields in Provence just east of Avignon. Nestled in between the Luberon Mountains, we are in a small villa about 5 kilometres outside of Reillanne, a medieval perched village.

C RunningMy family has had a tough 2016 and we desperately needed to get away from Paris for everyone to rest and recuperate. We have extended family with us to help watch the kids but this place more or less watches them for us. Our villa is safely tucked inside a valley where my mobile phone doesn’t get a signal much to my wife’s delight! The kids can run freely and explore the property while enjoying the view of the five horses that roam the field just fifty metres from our front door.

Our kids, my wife and I all need time to rest and recover from what has been a tough yet formative year. I’m off work for a while to focus on the family. It has been very rewarding as my bonds have grown deeper with my wife and my kids. Several mornings a week the girls crawl into our bed for a proper snuggle and we often find ourselves falling asleep again for another thirty to sixty minutes. The extra rest is welcomed to help us feel refreshed. Continue reading

Simple and Healthy Family Meals

Over the past six months I’ve become the primary cook and meal planner at home and I’ve really enjoyed taking on this new role. I get immense pleasure in meal planning, selecting ingredients, and making delicious and nutritious meals. I’ve also started optimizing the meal choices for speed and nutritional balance. I’m a big fan of healthy fats and lots of vegetables and have found a few great kid friendly meals that are simple and hit the spot every time. Moreover, they are simple to make and take no time at all.

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Healthy and enjoyable meals in a beautiful setting!

Here is a dinner I made last night consisting of basmati rice, roasted vegetables (sweet potato, garlic, and carrots), barbecue salmon, and green salad. We don’t buy prepared dressings as we make them daily out of olive oil, balsamic vinegar and Dijon mustard. I sliced the vegetables, placed them into an oven dish, drizzled olive oil over them and broiled them for 50 minutes while I made the rice, set the table, and cooked the fish on the barbecue.

 

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Run for Life!

Four Principles to Running Longevity

I love running! It’s a passion. I love talking about it, reading about it, and sharing stories about running. I love it so much I hope to inspire others to run as well. But I’m not an “in-your-face-about-it” runner.

I hope this article inspires you to run or to re-think your approach to running to enable you to run for life.31795476.jpg

Recently a friend asked me to coach him to become a runner. A few months ago I had lunch with him after I did a 22km run. He couldn’t tell I ran that morning. Later that day he saw someone who had done a half-marathon race and could barely walk and needed help getting off the metro. He thought to himself Gene must be pretty fit as he ran a half marathon and wasn’t tired, walked normally, and looked completely refreshed.

For the person on the metro that ran the half-marathon “bravo!” It’s fantastic to see anyone set a goal and achieve that goal. I also think it is important to set goals and fail in trying to achieve them so that we can learn along the way.

I hope this article can help you learn from my mistakes and avoid them.

Years ago when I first discovered my passion for running I was constantly injured. I reached too hard, too fast, suffered from stress fractures and actual bone breaks. It took me a lot of research, learning, and experimenting to discover an approach to sustainable running. I’ve been injury free for three years, yet I’m running more now than I ever have. I’ve also achieved personal records on my 5km and half-marathon distances. I just finished my biggest four-week running block in years and am not tired, have no soreness, and have a really low resting heart rate in the mornings, which is a sign of good recovery. In addition to the running I’m also averaging nearly 15,000 steps of walking per day. According to Garmin I’ve walked and ran an average of about 120KM (around 74 miles) per week over the past four weeks.

I’ve learned a lot in the past decade about training, avoiding injury, patience, and becoming lean and fit without breaking down the body. The learning journey is not complete and like in any other discipline the learning never stops. My approach is simple, holistic and sustainable. I look at the holistic system that spans across diet, sleep, life stresses, periodization, race objectives, age, and family and work situations. I want to share this with every one to inspire people to run sustainably, and to help runners achieve better results and more longevity, but to also help people attain better overall fitness and vitality.

Here are my four principles to running for life:

  • Run Slow – It’s a Secret to Getting Fast
  • Stop Counting Calories and Eat Clean
  • Sleep for Speed
  • Embrace Stress

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Osteopenia Diagnosis, Recovery, and Running

A few years ago I wrote about my journey with osteopenia. For several years I kept breaking bones (metatarsal and fibula) or getting stress fractures despite taking vitamin D and thinking my diet was good. And as a man in his early 40s this was distressing.

Several years later, I’m injury free, run between 30-50km per week and feel more robust than ever before.

Someone came across my older blog site and contacted me asking for advice on how I was able to return to running. This is what I sent plus I’m adding additional information. Others with osteopenia may also appreciate this advice.

Thanks for reaching out. I’ve come a long way and feel a lot more robust than when I discovered I had bone density problems. I’ve yet to get another bone density scan but I feel a lot stronger now than I did several years ago. Continue reading

Are You Humble Enough for MAF?

As a runner I have a big ego. I love comparing myself to others on Strava and I love getting kudos and giving kudos. I enjoy seeing the paces my peers produce on their runs and comparing their paces and heart rates to mine. It’s a lot of fun and I’m so pleased I can do this with like-minded people who care about fitness and tracking data and performance. Strava is awesome for this. Also, being a data geek from the analytics software world I love tracking numbers and watching the metrics evolve over time.

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Notice I got 8 kudos on this run

Over the last year I transformed my body from sugar burning to fat burning as a source of fuel for endurance running. I lost nearly twenty pounds or close to 10kg in the process and have body fat somewhere between 7-9%. This was mostly achieved by reducing sugars from my diet. You can read more about my transition to reducing sugars in this post.

In the last few months I’ve gone through another transition based on Dr. Phil Maffetone’s MAF technique. His program is based on his 180-formula where you subtract your age from 180 and use that as your target heart rate zone for training. You can add or subtract 5 beats per minute depending on years of athletic experience, injury, or medical condition. Being in my mid forties and a long time runner/athlete my MAF rate is 140. I also used the MAF beta iPhone application to answer MAF’s surveys that recommended a target heart rate of 140bpm.

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Thank You Teenager

A sharp tug on my right arm pulled me back on to the sidewalk. A moment later a bus rolled up behind me to a sudden stop on the road where I was walking only a few seconds ago.

My mind was on other thoughts and getting to my next meeting. A group of teenagers gathered at a bus stop crowding the sidewalk from the buildings to the road. I was running late and without a thought I stepped out on to the road to get around them. A few steps on the road were followed by sharp tug on my arm by a young teenage boy. His split second reaction saved me. Had he not pulled me back into the crowd I may not be alive today. Continue reading

The Calorie Myth

I’m not a doctor or a nutritionist but I know what works for me. I’ve never really been overweight except for when I was a young teenager. For some reason when all my friends at school started getting taller I got wider. In grades 7 and 8 (ages 12-13) I gained a lot of fat. My cheeks got big and my waist wider and it came with a lot of teasing, name-calling and bullying from school and from my family. I didn’t know much about nutrition at that age and was pretty sedentary other than my short walks to school and back. I ate a lot of McDonalds, potato chips, cookies, pasta and very little good meats and vegetables.

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