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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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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Scalable Income

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My biggest investing mistake was not learning about creating scalable income sooner in life. In my twenties and most of my thirties I believed the right thing to do was maniacally save and invest in mutual and bond funds. By my late thirties I began doing the calculations and realized that other than my real estate investments, my savings had not really grown. Any real gains came form stock options with my employers and from joining a start-up that was acquired. I was embarrassed and frustrated with myself and with the financial investment industry.

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The School of Podcast!

Getting an iPhone transformed my life. Up until mid 2014 I was a loyal Blackberry user very wed to the keyboard. Via work and other circumstances I had to switch to an iPhone. While my work productivity declined my insatiable curiosity was being fed daily with podcasts. And podcasts are changing my life!

Over the last eighteen months I’ve listened to at least five to seven hours a week of podcasts. It is like going to school part-time on my own schedule. I listen to them while walking, running, on trains, on planes, on the metro, during a solo lunch, or while lying in bed before I fall asleep. Being a voracious reader and with a huge appetite for knowledge, great stories, and inspiration I’ve discovered a number of podcasts that are not only quenching that thirst for knowledge but have influenced my outlook on life from career management, to being a father and husband, to health and exercise, and to my philosophy on management. Continue reading

When Customer Meetings Literally Explode…

Weeks went into planning this morning’s customer meeting in Madrid. We had people fly in from North America. I flew in from Paris along with several other colleagues from various locations across Europe. Timing of the meeting was built around the availability of this customer’s CIO. We had 11 people from our business and the customer showed up with 12. It was a big meeting meant to solidify the foundation to sign a large deal in Q1. Being in Spain, many customers don’t speak English so a decision was made to unfold the meeting in Spanish with small interludes of translation for the non-Spanish speakers. Continue reading

Morning Angst

As a professional who must leave home every morning while the kids are still waking, wiping the crust out of their eyes, getting breakfast, my heart breaks as I say goodbye and close the door behind me.

I’m grateful that I have a very patient and supportive wife who guides the kids daily to get dressed, eat, brush their teeth, collect their homework, do their hair, put on shoes and jackets while managing the complaints, the concerns, and the daily protests. “I don’t want to go to school! I can’t find my homework! I don’t like this shirt. Where are my shoes? I want to take this toy to school! I can’t find my mittens.” Continue reading

How do you manage results with incentives?

In the 1990s I worked for a one organization where bonuses were paid annually tied to annual financial indicators and whether or not I was a strong performer. The latter part of the evaluation was subjective based on how well I did as an individual contributor, manager, or team player. Being an annual bonus the evaluation was averaged out over the year and didn’t provide a sense of urgency for immediate change going into the next evaluation period.

In the early 2000s I found myself with a new employer. The bonus system was based on quarterly management by objectives (MBOs). The bonuses were measured and paid quarterly. They comprised individual task completion, company revenue and profit objectives, adoption of new business directions, and team objectives. They were black and white, recorded, exposed for everyone to see, and much less subjective. Continue reading

Enduring

If there is one word that describes my personal journey I hope that word is enduring. I’ve always believed in building relationships, businesses, and institutions that take on purpose and value to withstand the ebbs and flows of time, the ups and downs up markets, and the trials and tribulations of families. In other words, building enduring relationships, families, and businesses.

One wouldn’t describe my roots as privileged or financially and emotionally secure. I come from a family that was embroiled in turmoil. From a very young age I knew I had to define my own destiny. As a child I understood my parents had to make trade offs. I heard them constantly stressed about finances. I recall one day shopping for a toy I really wanted but when the moment came to buy the toy I cowered and told them I no longer wanted it. I feared for the family finances and any resulting stress. I was already wearing the responsibility to take care of myself as a primary school boy and wiring my brain to help me thrive in what I observed as a very chaotic world. Continue reading

Opportunities – How do you make them?

My career in enterprise software got started thanks to an ex-girlfriend.

In my early twenties I wasn’t quite sure what path I would take, however, I knew I wanted to be in high tech. It was the early 90s and I was studying business at university. I had put myself through school thanks to years of working in a bike (pedal bikes) shop. It is at the bike shop that I learned the importance of customer service, differentiation in value, and commitment to delivery and quality. My bike shop years were formative. I did sales, accounting, inventory management, service, and any task needed to keep the business going. It was a passion, a career, and a family. I applied myself as if it were my own business. Despite the passion for bikes, I didn’t see a prosperous future. In 2nd year of university I bought a computer and started learning as much as possible about software, business applications, and about how to install, configure, and exploit the software. I clicked on every button, experimented with everything I could get my hands on… but the programming and coding side of software never interested me. At least it never stuck. Continue reading

What stories do you tell yourself?

What is your story? What is the reality you tell yourself every day? How do you define yourself?

We choose our own story and build our own path. Yet we tell ourselves these stories everyday.

  • I come from a poor family.
  • I can’t do this.
  • My parents were abusive so I am a victim.
  • This is too hard.
  • I can’t handle this.
  • I’ll never lose weight.
  • I hope I don’t let them down.
  • This situation will not go well.
  • I’m going to screw up.

We are the stories we tell ourselves. Continue reading

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