Day 1 Week 1 – Here I Go (Again)

Back in training.  Kicked off my marathon training today with a 4 mile tempo run, 2 mile warm up (w/u) and 2 mile cool down (c/d).

Targeted pace for the tempo run is 8:00 – 8:10, and actual :  8:18, 7:50, 7:43, 9:03 (a bit erratic).  The variation is probably due to my “pace-by-feel” gauge being out of calibration.  It should improve with practice.

Left the house early (a little after 6 AM) to avoid the summer heat. Temperature were cool in the high 50’s.  Around Washington, temperature and ultraviolet index rise quickly this time of the year.  By 9 AM it would be pretty difficult for me to train outdoor.

This year instead of an arbitrary target, I set my pace based on my fitness level with a 5 K run.  My training plan is structured around this pace with a target on developing my aerobic threshold during the base runs.  This is a different from my previous years.

I will re-calibrate my pace in August before the marathon specific training.  The goal is to improve my aerobic threshold so I can fine tune my body to run the marathon more efficiently.  That is my plan.

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Week In Review – 25 Jun 2017

Summer arrived this week.  Along with it, temperature across the US had been scorching hot with the Southwest being the worst. The timing could not have been more perfect [not] as my 20 week marathon training starts tomorrow.

In addition to the weather,  another favorite topic of mine is human behavior. It is a constant source of inspiration for me.  Specifically this week, how to be more encouraging, be more aligned to our feelings, and  be more mindful of our choices.

Speaking of choice, continuing education has been the domain of the business professionals.  But with the internet as the great equalizer, individual with access to the internet has more choices on self learning.  What a deal.

Stay healthy & Have a good week.

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Setting My Pace

My marathon training starts next week.  It will last 20 weeks, leading up to the Harrisburg Marathon on 12 Nov 2017.

A crucial part of the training is to figure out what is the right pace for me to avoid over and under training.  Over training leads to burnout, and under training fails to achieve my goal of re-qualifying for the Boston Marathon.

So what is the right pace for me?  That depends on my fitness level.  One method of figuring it out is to run a 5K which is what I did this morning.  I ran the Fletcher’s Cove Parkrun 5 K and got a time of 23:17.

With that time, I entered it into the McMillan calculator, and got a projected marathon finish time of 3.46:52 (3 hours 46 minutes and 52 seconds) with a projected marathon pace of 8:40.  In other words, if I run a marathon today based on my current fitness level, my race pace should be 8 minutes and 40 seconds for the optimal result.

That 8:40 race pace will be my starting point for the training.  I will gradually increase my running distance to improve my strength (muscular endurance).  As my fitness level improves, my aerobic threshold (fuel efficiency) and speed should follow.

Later in August, I will run another race to see if my fitness/aerobic threshold/ race pace has improved, then adjust the balance of my training accordingly.  Ideally  I like to reach a target pace of 8:01 (a 3.29:59 marathon).  For sure, either way I have my work cut out.

How do you set your training pace?

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Following Your Feelings?

How we feel influences what we do.  When we feel good, we do more.  What makes us feel bad, we do less or stop it altogether.  Pretty natural and straight forward, right?

Except there are two caveats with following our feelings: One, our feeling is fluid and influenced by a host of factors. In other word, our feeling is temperamental.  Perception, health, and weather are examples of the factors that can quickly swing our mood.

And Two, what feels good is not always good  for us.  Many feel-good examples like driving fast, eating sweets, or spending money, may be pleasurable at the time, have dubious long term benefit.

Without calibration, our feelings can lead us to serious negative consequences. So the question is how do we calibrate our feelings?

To be continued.


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Too Hot To Flight?


Summer began yesterday for folks in the Northern Hemisphere.  That includes me, yours truly.  And right on queue was the record heat. The temperature was so hot, flights were canceled in the Southwest region of the US.

Rationales for the flight cancellations vary from technical (high temp effect on rubber tire & jet engine) to economical (not enough lift for the payload due to hot air thinning). Whatever they might be, the question becomes what is going to happen for the rest of the summer?

Apparently, it is going to get worse.  You guessed it –  Global warming.  As the article reports, “study also finds that the number of people globally affected by 20 days or more of intense heatwaves (dangerous temperature and humidity) will jump from 1 in 4 currently to 3 out of 4 by 2100.”

Cranking up the AC, hydration, and dressing for comfort are some strategies that we can take. But if you were planning to fly to your vacation destination this summer, better check twice to  make sure that your flights are not cancelled.

How do you stay comfortable where you are?

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5 Chairs 5 Choices of Managing Your Behaviors

Powerful talk and useful tips by Louise Evans on managing our behaviors.

Which chair (choice) do you pick?

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Continuing Education?


Often time when we step out of school and get a job, we stop learning & start producing.  Sure we learn about the job as far as where is the coffee mess,  the conference room, and the dress code.  But the learning of to be a well-rounded person (a purpose of education) ceases.

Naturally, employers are interested in profits.  And employees in their paychecks.  Who has time to learn on the job?  Those pesky CEUs (continual education units) are treated as necessary evils.  Sooner getting them out the way, the quicker people can get back to work.

A bit cynical?  Absolutely.

The point is that learning is about employ development and organizational investment for the future.  Professional organization needs to protect its most valuable asset, its people, and lead the way in encouraging, promoting, and incentivizing employees’ continuing education.

A smart workforce is in business’ best interest.

Do you have a vibrant employee development program?

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To encourage is to be supportive and providing positive energy to the recipient.  For it to be well received,  a key step in the process is to understand the recipient’s situation – where they are? how they feel? and  what they need?

Without that understanding, attempt on encouragement risks over or undershooting the target, and elicit “easy for you to say” or “not helpful” reaction.

One common cheer I hear from bystanders at marathon is “you can do it!” Depends on where I am on the course and how bad I feel, these well intended words could feel more like the dubious words that I try to convince myself with.

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate crowd support.  Especially on a lonely stretch of the marathon course, volunteers and spectators add so much lift to the runners’ strides.  They are an important part of the race.

Just the same, I would be hard pressed to come up with something different as a spectator, but I do think about how I can better encourage others.   The challenge for me is getting to the level of understanding with the recipient.

To figure out where they are? how they feel? and  what they need? is no easy task. Not to mention the situation is often complicated (hence the need for encouragement). Ideally, empathy and good listening are useful skills to have.   Hasty words or trying too hard often comes across contrived.

But the solution is NOT withholding encouragement.   To get there, I must be willing to be vulnerable and take the risk of barking to the wrong tree.

Are you an “Encourager”? What suggestions would you give?

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Week In Review – 18 Jun 2017

Happy Father’s Day!

Relationship is an ever challenging homework in this journey of life. Whenever our role shifts, so do our perspective and responsibility.  In transitioning, useful to look our relationship between the individual self and the external environment.

The US has been a divided country since the 2016 election (perhaps longer and the election only surfaced a latent feeling).   This week’s shooting of a GOP Congressman and his associates in Washington is a poignant reminder that we still have lots of homework remaining.

The shooting brought a brief comity on the Capital Hill (and the White House).  But, beyond gesturing, shouldn’t we be asking what is our collective social responsibility? Could the reason why people hurt others is because their emotional pain is too much?  And they have to let it out?

Not condoning hurting others as the solution for emotional pain, many socially responsible ways exist for living now.  How do we strengthen our mind-body connection, discover our heart songs and find what works are homework assignments for not just the elected leaders but all of us.

Have  a great week.



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Dancing With Mind & Body


To be effective, our mind and body need to work as a pair.  The more smooth and cooperative they are, the more likelihood of higher level of accomplishments will result.

Imaging, when the mind and body move swiftly like a pair of ballroom dance champions. Pitch perfect and not missing a beat.  A state of flow happens.  Everything regardless difficulty levels clicks.  You are on cloud nine.

Then, again the opposite moment happens when the mind and body act like estranged couple – can’t chew gum without tripping!  Panic or blank stare. The just-shot-me moment is not only embarrassing but also frustrating.

How then do we make our mind and body more like the ballroom dance champions and not the estranged couple?  Work on that connection.  Yes, the mind-body connection.  Remember the two work as a pair.

Starve the body, the mind will become weak.  Ignore the mind, the body will quickly dull. Not only the mind and body need proper feeding, seek opportunity whenever possible to strengthen the connection by engaging both.

What would be a win-win activity for your mind and body?

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