3 Steps To A Faster Mile

1) Build Speed From A Shorter Distance To A Longer Distance

I train a bit differently than most runners who are searching for their race form. For each Annual Event since 2008, I do the customary build up that most runners do in the months of preparation = a strong long distance base, intense tempo runs, and smart recovery within the week’s plan of action. However, when I begin my speed work, I start at 100 yards and then build to 1/8 mile, then 1/4 mile, then 1/2 mile.  Many runners tell me that they dive right into the 1/4 mile repeats, but I do not want to attempt a 1/4 mile unless my form and speed is definitely there. For example, here is my build up this season: 100 repeats (13-15 seconds), 1/8 mile repeats (30-32 seconds), 1/4 mile which I ran (1:05-1:10) today (Thursday) and Tuesday with only one day off in between workouts this week (similar to my race schedule in Greece), then next week begin the 1/2 mile (2:18-2:24). I feel there is no reason to lengthen my distance if I do not feel the proper speed in the shorter distance. I take my form in the 100 yard workout and stretch it out to the 1/2 mile. Speed first, then lengthen the distance.

2) Mentally Approach Your Workouts Like A Race

Over the years, many people have asked how did I do so well in my first race when I have not raced in 6 months. The answer is that I have been mentally racing over the last few months of my training. Especially in my speed workouts, I put my toe on the line as in a race, prepare the same way as a race, and feel the intensity as in a race. Sprint against others or against the clock – feels like I have been racing every week.

3) Do Not Underestimate the Dress Rehearsals

Leave nothing to chance that you can control. Dress rehearsals are important part to prepare your mind for the pain, test drive your equipment, and build real experiences for your confidence. Today in my 1/4 mile repeats I test drove my: New Balance 1400s, Maui Jim sunglasses, Sigvaris graduated compression sock, Faklis made orthotic, 2xU arm sleeves, race day watch, race day clothing, sunscreen, Vega All-In-One pre-race drink, shaved my head and body with my HeadBlade razor, and prepared my muscles with The Stick. Your confidence will not be fragile if built upon a great foundation of meaningful experiences. Repeat, rehearse, repeat, and rehearse. The mile race is an extension of your hours of preparation. Enjoy the process of being an athlete.

How To Optimize Your Off-Season Workouts

I have really been enjoying my off-season workouts after spending the summer training in the mountains to prepare for the Grand Canyon this past September. Off-season training is a very important part of success on my various tours. Here are a few ideas to make the most of your off-season and get you ready for a fabulous 2015:

1) Have a very detailed and measured plan of attack. Off-season is the time to address areas of your training that need improvement. Whether it is a nagging, repetitive injury that will not go away or a perception that is holding you back, the time to work on your weaknesses is now. Your planning will create a purposeful off-season.

2) Establish a great foundation. Your off-season is the first building block to success in 2015. Be certain that your workouts reflect your needs for your upcoming competitions.

3) Hit the weights. The goal of your resistance training program is not hypertrophy. Your desire is to balance your body and to strengthen your ligaments and tendons in preparation for the tough workouts ahead.

4) Work on making your form the most efficient as possible. My 3 speed workouts per week begin in March, but I work on my sprint form every week in the off-season to compose my entire body for quickness and pop. I am not running with the high school track teams until the spring, but I concentrate on my sprint form during my “give and go” workouts on the beach.

5) Write down your 2015 aspirations. Once you put them in writing, you will begin to wrap your mind around your quest. Every year I begin by saying that I think my aspirations are too big to accomplish, but as the off-season progresses I begin to digest my goals and begin to visualize the process for a successful tour. I believe in the process. My state of mind will be totally locked and focused by the conclusion of the off-season.

Just got news that I’m a featured plant-based athlete in the brand new book Vegan Vitality by Karina Inkster. Check it out at http://www.amazon.com/Vegan-Vitality-Complete-Plant-Based-Lifestyle/dp/1629143642.

Wishing you the best with your off-season workouts and have a wonderful holiday season!

2014 Event: Running Grand Canyon Rim to Rim

In 2014, www.OneMileRunner.com will be taking part in a very different event. Instead of racing one mile at a time for speed, explosion, and recovery, we are going to attempt 23+ miles in a row across the Grand Canyon from the south rim to the north rim in mid-September testing our stamina. In the summer of 2015, we will be racing the mile again throughout the Greek Islands as we attempt to race on 10 islands in 5 weeks, all under 5 minutes entitled – The Greek Islands Adventure.

I remember running at the Grand Canyon in 2011 as part of our “5 Wonders of the World Under 25 Minutes” event on the south rim. It was at 6700 feet windy and cool. Running rim to rim will have vast altitude changes along with temperature changes as the heat can rise in the bottom of the canyon in September. This year’s event came from my good friend Kim Sheffield, a former masters national champion miler. Kim has helped and supported me in every one of my events over the years. On one of our training runs on her birthday, she revealed that running rim to rim was one of the items on her bucket list. And I agreed to run it with her and bring her dream to reality. So the training this spring and summer will be a bit different. In early August, we will be doing a 20 mile dress rehearsal run through the Vermont mountains testing equipment and strategies. That will leave us a month to make any last necessary alterations to our plans.

Wishing you all the best in your training and your upcoming 2014 events!

Turning 50

I am turning the BIG 50 on Wednesday. I received my first AARP card in the mail this past weekend – so it is now official. I remember when I was a kid and I asked how old some of my parents’ friends were and they told me “50.” I thought, Gosh that is old! However, now that I am on the doorstep of 50, my perspective has changed and it does not feel that “old” after all.

My Dad died of colon cancer at 56. He was an energetic guy who I thought was in decent shape as he could still perform his signature drive to the basket in defensive traffic, get fouled, and collect his three point play at 50, but life took him very quickly after that. How will things change for me at 50? I am not sure, but I can promise you to live my life to the fullest concentrating on the quality of my existence. It has been 20 years since my Dad’s passing and I still thank him for his influence on my life. Turning 50 this week does make me think of him a bit more…

We here at www.OneMileRunner.com have decided to choose a few of my favorite races to compete in this year. It will all begin next month in Austin, TX. To prepare for the event, I topped off another 30 mile week of running with 5 half-mile quick repeats on the road. Next Saturday, feel free to join us in Sarasota for a one-mile time trial, point-to-point, for a “dress rehearsal” to see what we need to sharpen upin our last month of training.

Competition – Nothing Like It

I attended our high school regional cross country championships and a pro tennis tournament yesterday. I wanted to observe two of my athletes compete. One at the cross country meet before I begin his speed preparations for track season and a tennis player before I prepare his 2013 schedule. I learned a great deal by seeing the race and the match in person. With all the statistics and other various numbers that computer programs spit out, for me there is no comparison to actually being at the event. I know it might sound like “old school” to some, but I need to use my senses to watch live action, hear the sounds, and feel the intensity of competition. It is what has kept me in love with live sports since I was a youth and developed my instincts as a coach.

It was indeed a day of contrasts. The runner ran a personal best falling over after crossing the finish line in pure exhaustion. The tennis player competed well for a set and then drifted away losing the last 12 of 13 games. I find it interesting why some athletes rise to the occasion and others collapse. Certainly some have not worked or prepared properly, some do not care as much, and some fear competitive situations. Why can’t we try our best in the competition, win or lose with grace and humility, and take responsibility for our actions? It seems so simple, so wonderful, so free. We have been cluttered with so many other thoughts that the joy of competing against others has been tarnished. I am not naive to the fact that there are many things associated to sports success: money, scholarships, and fame. But when I put my toe on the starting line of a race, the only thing that matters to me is the desire to give my best. I just wish the young athletes of today do not miss out on how much enjoyment and satisfaction can come from true competition. My athletes had contrasting realizations yesterday that only competition could bring out. The journey continues…

How To Achieve Peak Performance

We wanted to share what we learned in this 2012 Isles Mile Challenge experiment  that could help you perform at your peak. Remember this is a “buffet” of ideas, please pick or choose what you want that could help you reach your highest level of performance.

1) TRAINING – Our focus in the spring on running up and down the Ringling Bridge to prepare my body for the up and down conditions of the islands worked out great. My training buddy, Wayne, and I set up sprint work, tempo work, and interval work on uneven terrains. We live in Sarasota and train most of the time on surfaces that are very flat, we call the conditions “Florida Flat” (as I have raced in California on so-called flat courses, but they are very up and down compared to Florida).

2) RECOVERY – After 30,000 miles of travel through various time zones, my body held up surprising well. With races every week, one pulled hamstring and the tour was over. No Advil or ice was used  to recover – just massage therapy and my Body Protection program. During an interview the other day, the reporter did not believe me at first when I said that I used no medicine at all on the trip, but after he heard of my training – he understood. Not only on this tour did I not get injured, but I also did not get sick. My immune system stayed strong throughout the travel. I took my Vega One shake every morning, followed a strict vegan diet, and had no alcohol.

3) RACING – Prayer, visualization, and a present focus mentality prepared me for the various race conditions. Each race was different, but my mind was the same. There were times I spent hours on the road race course going through the turns and 1/4 mile splits over and over. I wanted to feel like I had raced on this new course before. Getting familiar with the conditions really assisted me in my racing confidence. Also,my focus on my racing form and technique really helped me to stay fast and strong. Charlie Olbrias (our official timekeeper) said that I looked as fast as I did 3 years ago when he followed me to 27 races in 2009. My mile race times this year backed up his observations and assertions.

Now that the summer is over, it is time to set up your fall training, recovery, and race schedule. Please feel free to ask me any questions on how to optimize your efforts as you try to peak in the last quarter of 2012.

Are Your Choices Freeing Or Limiting?


This 20/20/20<5@45 event really pushed me. Mentally and physically I felt challenged during my 5 months of continued racing. I realized that my life’s interests lie only in attributes that I cannot touch like courage, strength, kindness, etc. I am in the process of working on my third book called Inner Success (update: renamed Creating Amazement). I will be sharing the 20 attributes I learned in my travels. 

The third reason that allowed me to complete the 20/20/20 quest is having a limitless mental outlook. I am not going to allow my mind to limit me. When I run the mile well, there is pain – physical pain in my legs and lungs and mental pain wondering how much will I take before slowing down. When I am racing the mile, I am never comfortable. I am on that edge of speed that hurts. However, in that uncomfortable place is the internal learning that I desire to experience. It is tinkering on that “fence” of high performance and pain that I learn about myself. These are experiences that I cannot purchase. It is why I race.

There are people that tell me not to race so much. They tell me that people at my age should not stress out their hearts by running under 5 minutes in the mile. But I do have a desire to push the boundaries of my own life – physically, mentally, and spiritually. This  is where self discovery exists, but I guess I SEE things differently.

In my seminars and presentations, I often discuss the power of perception. Perception is how we see events, others, and ourselves. This generates all our thoughts, feelings, and actions. Perception does not describe reality, but it does add meaning to an observation. I use an example of a deer standing on the edge of the forest in my book, Play Better, Live Better. I discuss how I have a farmer, a hunter, and a young girl standing next to me looking out at that deer. The farmer claims that he is scared of the deer venturing in to his garden and eating his vegetable garden. The hunter wants the deer as a reward for his wall after he shoots it. And the young girl says that the deer is very cute and looks like Bambi. The same deer creates three different perceptions. And those perceptions shape how the farmer, hunter, and girl think, feel, and act. 

Did you ever wonder why one basketball player sees a last second shot as terrifying or threatening and another as exciting or challenging? It all lies in their perceptions. When I hear people talk about changing the way they think (“I am going to have positive thoughts”), feel (“I am going to have a positive attitude!”), or act (“I am going to have good behavior”), I often wonder how long will it last. They have not uncovered the source of their challenges, but have put their energies in temporary fixes. Getting to the source of the problem is the key and perception is the basis of lasting change.

The great part about perception is that it is your choice. How you see life is your choice. Really. Do your perceptions limit your life or free you to reach your potential? Do your perceptions bring you closer to your aspirations or further away? It is time to take control of one of the few things in life that you do have control over – your perceptions. Then you will see so clearly…

Active In Our Golden Years


On November 8th, 2008 I will be the keynote speaker for the PFA (Pedorthic Footwear Association) Conference in Nashville, TN. It is PFA’s 50th anniversary as it was established in 1958. My presentation, “Active In Our Golden Years,”is focused on what needs to be done to be active as we get older. Also, my talk will discuss the 7 themes that allowed me to accomplish the 20/20/20<5@45 feat. Interestingly, the same 7 themes that enabled me to accomplish my goal of running not just one mile under 5 minutes, but 20 of them in 20 weeks in 20 different cities – are the same themes that allow older adults to be active as we age. Not only am I excited to share my views on what happened over my 5 months of travel, but also I am honored to be an example of an older athlete trying to inspire other older adults to be active. As I say, life is better on the move. By appreciating the freedom and joy in that morning run, Saturday bike ride, or late night swim, we should cherish and treat with great respect the ability to move.

The first of my 7 themes is Personal Inspiration. At the beginning, I discuss the difference between motivation and inspiration. Motivation comes from the outside and externally in the form of awards, praise, or fear. Motivation gets people to look outside themselves for a reason to act. Most people work hard to get a reward or to avoid punishment. Both of these motivational aspirations try to go inside the individual and become a part of them. Unfortunately, motivation is very temporary. Awards might motivate you for a while and fear can work to get one to do something for a while, but eventually these motivational mechanisms fade.

As a Classics major from Bowdoin College, inspiration is one of my favorite words as it comes from Latin origin meaning “to breathe into.” I am listed as a “motivational speaker,” but I am really an “inspirational speaker.” I believe everyone has a unique spark inside of them. A spark is the essence of someone, the energy of their soul. I attempt to take everyone’s unique spark and blow inspiration over that spark and try to turn it into a roaring flame. How can you tell what your spark is? Take a look at what you feel passionate and love for – that is your source of enthusiasm. Another one of my favorite words, enthusiasm, comes from Greek origin meaning “God within.” I believe deeply that if everyone on the planet was aware of their own spark , their own passion, that the world would indeed be a different place. 

Personal Inspiration is the cornerstone and foundation to whatever you would like to accomplish. Your inspiration begins on the inside of you and then is manifested and seen outside of you in your actions. Motivation goes from the outside and tries to go inside, but inspiration is the opposite as it starts inside and then is seen outside. I hope you all find your inspiration in 2009 and that you can find a way to act on what you are enthusiastic about in your life. In the remaining two months of 2008, I will share the other 6 themes and I look forward to writing my next blog entry after my keynote address on 11/10/08.