Sigvaris at The Disney Princess Half Marathon

We spent Saturday at The Disney Princess Half Marathon – Fit For A Princess Expo with Melissa Gwozdz, The Marketing Communications Coordinator for Sigvaris North America and Courtney Hyer, Professional Sales Representative for Sigvaris in Florida. It was a great day sharing and educating participants about the value of wearing the graduated compression socks from Sigvaris

At the Sigvaris booth, we had the opportunity to meet a large number of people. From participants to their supporters, it was fun to meet, greet, and hear their stories. Many were so excited about the event that they dressed up in their costumes before coming out to the expo:

We hope everyone who ran the half marathon race on Sunday enjoyed the beautiful weather in Florida and the great hospitality at Disney. Please visit to learn more about Sigvaris at the event.

Next week we will be shooting video of our track workout. We have completed the first month of training, so we thought it was time to bring you to one of our Saturday morning speed workouts.

Establishing A Base Of Fitness

This past week marked my third week of training for our event “5 Wonders Under 25 Minutes.” It was the first week that I ran 6 out of 7 days, even with 40 hours of coaching on the tennis court. It was a very solid week of establishing a base with my fitness level and working on my speed form. The weather was perfect this week in Sarasota –  70s during the day with low humidity and 50s at night. It does not get any better than that…

Monday: 5 miles easy followed by strength work.

Tuesday: 6 miles medium with the 10 seconds all out sprints up the steepest portion of the Ringling Bridge. Hurdles, medicine ball, and bands with Wayne.

Wednesday: 4 miles easy, stationary bike, core work, followed by a full body massage.

Thursday: Ran a  recovery 5 miles with the Sarasota High track team.

Friday: no running, but 8 hours of hitting tennis balls.

Saturday: 6 miles total with Wayne – my first all out 12 x 100 yard sprints working on my form and feel. Hurdles, medicine ball, and bands with various strength work.

Sunday: 5 miles recovery with 8 hours of tennis.

This coming week will be set up a little differently as we will be traveling to Orlando on Saturday the 26th for Disney’s Fit for a Princess Expo on behalf of my compression sock sponsor, Sigavris. I will be speaking about the value of graduated compression socks from Sigvaris (I heard that Sigvaris made a special purple Performance Sock for this women’s event). Please stop by the Sigvaris booth between 10-4 on Saturday at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. The half marathon takes place on Sunday.

Mid-week recovery helps

My second week of training had a small bump in the road, but overall it went well.

Monday began with a 6 mile run followed by strength and power training. On Tuesday, Wayne Johnson and I ran a 6 mile run with fartleks thrown in for two miles on the grassy grounds of GT Bray fields in Bradenton. After the final speed work, I felt my right knee was tender and I stretched it out after our medicine ball, band, and hurdle work.

However, I still felt a bit of pain on my easy run on Wednesday after my 8 hours on the tennis court. Fortunately, I had a massage with Stacie Nevelus on Wednesday evening. She was able to alleviate the referring pain to my right knee (as it was coming from my lateral quad), but on Thursday it was still not 100% yet. After my tennis and easy run on Thursday, I saw Dr. K (Kotlarczyk) at Wellness Concepts in Bradenton. He does various manual therapies (massage, PNF, laser, chiro etc.) and fully addressed the knee. I walked away from the therapy pain-free.

After a long day of tennis on Friday, I ran 6 miles on Saturday with 10 x 100 meters in 15 seconds each repetition. The pain was totally gone and my stride felt long and powerful.

The importance of recovery sessions during the week is vital to building a base of fitness in training over a 4-month period. The sooner you seek attention to any training ailment, the better chance you have to fix the problem.

Training Begins

I thought I would try something new this year before our 2011 event begins in May. I am going to share with you my weekly workout regime and then you can give me some feedback on the program.

My first week of training began with a 9 mile run on Siesta Key beach with Wayne Lee Johnson (he and I meet every Tuesday and Saturday for workouts). Sunday I did not run because I had 9 hours of tennis to teach on court.

Then, I ran 5 miles on Monday with my beautiful wife, Sekyen, followed by a full body strength endurance workout. Another 6 miles with Wayne on Tuesday followed by our 10-second sprints (all out) up the Ringling Bridge. We walk down the steepest portion of the bridge and then race up for 10 repetitions. We will be doing the bridge workout every other week.

Wednesday was another long 8 hour tennis day (this is the season) and I topped the day off with a massage by Stacie Nevelus in the evening. Thursday I met Sarasota High track coach, Kim Sheffield, and the distance track runners from Sarasota High at Payne Park (a city park with a 1/2 mile undulating, dirt track). I had a 2 mile tempo run with the 3 best male runners, Nick, David, and Courtland. The boys led the first mile in 5:55 and I led the second mile in 5:45. It was great to run with these students again.

Friday was a full body fitness day – strength training every part of my body with my new Body Protection program. So my 2011 training began with about 25 miles of running at various speeds and distances and a 40 hour work week on the tennis court. It feels good that my intense training has begun…

Different training for new event

As we embark on our 4th event, many people have been asking me about how my training will be different than other years.

First, I will be expanding the exercise program that I have been using over the past few years. Not only will I be incorporating the mobilization, strength, and flexibility movements in my training, but also I will need to add even more advanced plyometric training in order to deal with the challenging terrains, elevations, and conditions unique to this tour. I will be sharing my entire training program (from beginner to advanced) in a full-length DVD fitness program at the beginning of 2012. This movement based program will be the key element to keep me injury-free as I train for 3 months and race over a 5-month period.

Second, I will be adapting my speed training to only one time a week on the track and conduct most of my speed workouts on the road or off-road conditions to match the surface I will be racing on each month. There is not much I can do about the 6000 feet elevation at the Grand Canyon in May here in Florida, but I can find places that are close to the other conditions that I will be presented with in each race.

Third, my running regimen will be slightly different as well. I will perform a weekly mix of a long run (6-9 miles), a tempo run (2-3 miles), an interval workout (varied each week), 2 recovery runs (in between the faster days), and a sprint workout (my favorite). This mix of workouts each week should provide me the speed for the mile and the strength to race the mile over and over from May to September.

Lastly, I will add another recovery session after my training with my chiropractor/massage therapist. With my heavy training and turning 48 in April, a little more time “on the table” will be beneficial to create a successful training program.

2011 Event

At our year-end meetings in Phoenix, made some changes to our upcoming event beginning in May, 2011. “5 Wonders Under 25 Minutes” will now begin at The Grand Canyon instead of The Great Wall of China in Beijing. After numerous phone calls to race officials, we realized that we would not be able to sprint on the Great Wall. We discovered that parts of the Wall are so severe that you need to hold onto a rope to descend and climb up small steps to reach elevations. With 8000km of Wall to run, very little of the Great Wall can actually be sprinted on – maybe there is a spot where you can open up for 2/10ths of a mile. The race director recommended that we run the first mile of the 10K course which ran through a parking lot up to the foot of the Great Wall. As our marketing director said, “It is a long way to go to run through a parking lot…”

So with this new found awareness, our quest of running a fast mile ON the Wall was put to rest. We replaced the Great Wall with The Golden Gate Bridge. And here is our updated schedule for 2011:

  1. Grand Canyon (USA) – Natural Wonder of The World – May 29th
  2. Stonehenge (England) – Medieval Wonder of The World – June 25th
  3. Golden Gate Bridge (USA) – Modern Wonder of The World – July 16th
  4. Taj Mahal (India) – New Wonder of The World – August 20th
  5. Petra (Jordan) – New Wonder of The World – September 10th

We begin training for our May start on February 1st.

Year End Meetings

Hope you are all enjoying your year-end festivities. We here at will be gathering next week in Phoenix to plan our 2011 schedule. We look forward to updating you on the changes to our 2011 event, “5 Wonders Under 25 Minutes,” in early January.

Have a great holiday season and thanks for your continued support!

Cool Down Program After Exercise

This is our final video clip from our photo and video shoot this past May in Monument Valley, UT. This final video clip in the snow shows a couple of our 3-D exercises that we do after our races. At, we believe to elongate the muscles (also called “stretching”) only after exercise – not before. If you want to bend a piece of metal, you better heat the metal beforehand, otherwise it will crack and break. Our muscles are the same way. 

You should empty you lungs of all the air when doing these stretches. This will allow you to get as deep as possible into the stretches. Many people stretch on the ground. When sitting down, it does shut off certain muscles.  So this is why we do all of our elongation above ground against gravity. This will also transfer better to any of your sporting activities.

I hope you enjoyed our series training videos this year. We will be shooting our new fitness DVD in 2011. We are excited to share our entire new program with you next year. We will continue to post new blog posts each week for the rest of the year and then throughout the beginning of 2011 as we will start to focus on the training and preparations for our next event, “5 Wonders Under 25 Minutes.”


A series of emails from one of our readers (Nigel) from England prompted me to ask him if we could share his story – I thought it was a wonderful example of perseverance in our athletic careers. This is Nigel from England …I am 44 years old and have a sit down job. I started running about 15 years ago mainly as a way to stop the sedentary lifestyle and as we wanted children I thought getting fit would be a good idea. Things went well 2 mile runs became 3 then 4 then I went to a gym to build up general fitness 5 miles went to 6 miles then I would run 6 miles to the gym then exercise for 2 hours then run home. I have always suffered from flat feet but was told there was nothing that could be done so I would put up with the foot pain. 6 miles very soon became 12 miles and now I was running 4 times a week 2 short runs of 5 -6 miles. 1 run would be a hilly run, the other a speed run fartlek at weekend. I would do another short recovery run (slowly) for 6 miles then on Sunday morning was my main run now 15 miles (depending on how I felt, if my feet were bad it would be 6 miles). My mind was in this 100% and as distance went up so did speed a slow 6 mile plod went to 7 then 7.5 then 8 miles per hour and then the back pain started. I was told to keep exercising and maybe run on grass. I went to 6 or 7 running shops for advice on shoes (I still don’t have a pair I like). Then it all went wrong – pain down my legs and in my feet and up my back 15 mile runs were painful.

One Sunday I battled the pain and ran 24 miles (this was a killer and a big mistake). The time was OK (well for me I averaged 7 miles per hour) but something had gone badly wrong and I was now in pain it seemed to be all over. Arms,  legs, chest, back, and legs. Stupid – I should have stopped. I went to  physios and eventually 2 surgeons. It was a bulging disc causing all my problems as it was bulging out to the right. The main pain was on my left side though and they said the operation would remove the pain as I was now on morphine and off work and not sleeping – so I agreed. It didn’t work and the pain got worse! Any help would be appreciated…I had bad pain for 10 years in my back sciatica and also flat feet, I did some of your stretches and this has helped me so much the pain has eased and I an now off morphine and codeine. Now I want to run again, however, I don’t know if I should change foot strike (I am a heel runner) if I continue will this hurt my back (the operation pain is still there after 1 year) should I change to midfoot? I went to a podiatrist who created some insoles for flat feet and to align my legs. I tried some short runs landing on the midfoot but this gave me plantar fascitis, but only in my left foot (the worse flat foot). I tried various exercises to strengthen the arch. What would you suggest? My answer…Heel striking has a direct correlation to lower back pain. You can imagine how striking the heel with an extended leg can create pain that travels up to your back. So heel striking will exacerbate your back pain. Midfoot striking would alleviate your back pain, but it will inflame your Achilles tendon, gastrocnemius, and feet. I know people that have changed their foot strike to a midfoot strike – but it took a year to develop the muscles, ligaments, and tendons in their lower extremities. I do recommend you changing your foot strike to a midfoot landing, but please take your time with it. Short and infrequent runs at first, then gradually increase the dosage. It will take you time – you do not have the structure in your lower extremities to support a midfoot strike now – but it will come and your back pain will go away as you land properly with a bent knee.

Nigel’s response…

OK I know its going to be a long recovery and will have good and bad days, but  I still haven’t felt this painless for some time. Just a mini update…

I have been doing some of the training exercises and went to a new physio. He asked where did you get these stretches from, so I said ONE MILE RUNNER he suggested keep doing them. I have been doing the stretching training every day and my plantar fascitis has now cleared also some pain from my back and legs has gone in fact so much I have gone from needing morphine to taking over the counter codomol. This has had the effect of helping me sleep better and so feeling fresher, unfortunately I now have the flu… I believe keeping a positive attitude has saved me from someone who takes pills to cure pain to someone who is removing the symptoms of why the pain started.

Next email from Nigel…

My physio suggested trying to run again. We decided that a 1 minute run 1 times per week would be a good start any pain and I back off and stretch of course I do a full warm up and cool down even for this 1 minute. I will do this for 1 month then add another minute, although it seems small I don’t want to start aggravating anything and the main concern is trying to get proper form, I keep stiff and upright and land on my forefoot running slowly to enforce form. I have been searching and keeping positive for 10 years finally my prayers are being answered, I knew there would be light at the end of the tunnel and it goes to show that you need to keep on pressing. My doctor said I would be on painkillers all my life and there is no other option! This was last month now I can virtually live without them all I needed was good advice. I downloaded the videos from YouTube and put them on a DVD I watch this at least once a week! Because although it sounds corny I want to run like you do. You should create a commercial DVD with these exercises. Thanks for the videos and the ONE MILE RUNNER. It’s keeping me positive and I have already set goals of running 5 minutes/ 10 then 20 heck I even have my goal back of a 3:30 marathon, I can feel it , running through the finish with the crowd cheering sweating and looking up at the clock 3:30 FINISH Nigel.

Here’s wishing Nigel a steady recovery. Thanks for the lesson on how perseverance can pay off…

Strength Exercises

We wanted to share with you this week a couple of our strength exercises in this video: the medicine ball squat and the punching matrix.

The medicine ball squat is one of the intermediate/advanced exercises as we add resistance to the basic squat. The punching matrix is one of my favorite strength exercises as we take the matrix on the ground (seen in the lunge matrix) and move it above our heads for the punching matrix. The punching matrix strengthens your shoulders and upper body in multiple directions.

As we age, the amount of training and the amount of body work to protect our bodies from injury needs to increase. This is why many athletes stop competing as they age. They get frustrated with constant injuries and setbacks making it difficult to perform at their desired levels.

I have had athletes in various sports say to me, “forget it – it is too much work to get massages and chiropractic adjustments, perform resistance training, flexibility exercises, and other protective activities – all for the sake of competing. It is taking too much time and is costing too much.” Unfortunately, this is the deal. As we get older, we need to spend the extra time to recover and to rejuvenate our bodies every week. Through body work on the table to resistance training in the gym, this time spent protecting your body will have huge benefits for your long-term performance capabilities.