BelieveIAm Training Journal Giveaway!

BelieveIAm Training Journal Giveaway!
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Want to know the secret to success? Nothing new here, folks. You just have to believe in yourself.

Believe in your strength and perseverance. Believe that you can do it!

Belief and its first cousin, confidence, are two key ingredients to achieving your goals in running or any other endurance sport, whether that’s your first 10K or an Ironman.

But don’t take it from me, take it from the pros.

In Going Long (a great book on training – and living! – for endurance events like Ironman), Joe Friel and Gordon Byrn have this to say about confidence:

There are two types of confidence: respect for yourself as a person and respect for your athletic abilities. The successful athlete scores high in both areas. But confidence in either area can be easily lost, usually through our own initiative, because inside each of us is a small voice that likes to criticize. It often points out our shortcomings and limiters.

…sound familiar? Read on:

Success comes in large part from merely learning to control that voice while providing constant positive feedback. You would be hard-pressed to find an athlete who would not benefit from increased self-confidence. Always act as if you are confident. It’s amazing what it does for self perception.

I bring this up today because I have just the thing to help you build that confidence: the B.I.A (Believe I Am) training journal, where you can reflect on your workouts, write down your achievements and race reviews, or just doodle and write anything that comes to mind as you undertake your journey of fitness and running:This is a super-cute and stylish journal, and yes: its front and back covers are made of thin wood! Inside, you’ll find pages to log your goals, training and race reviews, and inspirational messages on every page!And the best part: the journal is actually double-sided, so you can flip the back — and turn over to a set of blank pages to write just about anything you want :) I have not one, but two of these babies to give away to two lucky winners!

What do you have to do to get one? It’s simple, just complete the two steps below:

1. Head over to my Facebook page and hit Like. (That’ll go a long way to make me feel loved and build my own self-confidence! :))

2. Leave a comment here telling me what inspires you to stay on track with your training and goals.

Bonus:

3. For a bonus entry, head over to Twitter and tweet the following: “I’d like to win a FREE @BelieveIAm training journal from @Aleks_Todorova at http://bit.ly/101dCbU”

4. Leave another comment here, letting me know that you tweeted.

The contest runs through midnight on Saturday, May 11. The winners will be picked with a random drawing an announced on Sunday, May 12. Just a little Mother’s Day present from me!

Disclosure: The ladies at BelieveIAm are not officially involved with this giveaway (I purchased the journals myself), but if they’re reading this, I’d just like to say: I love your stuff!!

Today’s workout:Took a day off from running yesterday and another one today. My quads are hurting unusually much for 16-some Big Sur miles — but hey, those were some hilly miles! So today, we hit the swimming pool for some crazy drills. The kicks hurt, but everything else was just perfect!

Monday Motivation a.k.a. My Perspiration

Monday Motivation a.k.a. My Perspiration
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Much as I wish I invented the “Motivation Through Perspiration” tagline, it belongs to athletic apparel company ViewSport.

ViewSport makes workout clothes that reveal hidden messages when they get all sweaty. Sweat-activated technology for workout clothes, how cool is that? (I hope their next big project is sweat-activated clothes that release pleasant smells to cover up your stank. Wouldn’t that come in handy at the gym?)

Now, I’ve been known to share one too many details on my sweat: quantity (vast), quality (salty)… Sometimes I even weigh my sweaty clothes after a workout, so I can give you the most precise information available.

But hey, it’s my sweat. I worked hard to make every single drop of it. (And after you read all about it, you should go make your own!)

So when ViewSport sent me one of their shirts to sweat in and review on this blog, I was quite excited to try it show everyone my muscles while pretend-punching the air:Just kidding. The shirt is super comfy. It’s made of cotton – not dri-fit material, but very, very soft and shape-hugging:I took it out on a quick three-mile run.

I had no idea what the writing on the back said, so when I came back, I made HusbandRuns take a gazillion pictures of my back, pronto. And sure enough, inspiration through perspiration revealed itself:Here’s one more, because I know you want a closer look at my muscles the words:It says Go Hard, which was a little bit ironic in this case, because that was my very last run before the LA Marathon and I was supposed to take it easy. Good to know that even on easy runs, I perspire enough to inspire!

Joking aside, this is a pretty cool gift for runners – especially if you keep the little magic-sweat-words trick from them a secret, then snap a few pics of their behinds and: Surprise!

Bonus: some of their shirts and tanks are now on sale for 40% off, with code EASTER40.

Disclaimer: ViewSport sent me a free shirt to review and keep. All opinions and sweat are mine, and you can keep my opinion — but not the sweat.

Today’s workout:Killer swim drills this morning, I’m just happy I don’t have to run today. My legs are so not used to working hard in the water!
Total: 2000 yards
-300 warm-up (alternate 50 freestyle/50 backstroke/50 kick; repeat)
-10×50 (odd: freestyle, even: drills-> side kick with board, catch-up, skulling)
-400 yds free swim
-10×50 kick with a board (odd:easy, even: hard)
-300 freestyle

One “Smooth” Running App

One “Smooth” Running App
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A few weeks ago, I came across a life-changing deal. OK, maybe not life changing, but certainly run-changing:
iSmoothRun, an iPhone app that normally costs $4.99, was available for free! Never one to pass up a the equivalent of a free latte great deal, I downloaded it — and have been using it ever since.

It has so many features and collects so much data, I suspect I’ve only discovered maybe a quarter of all it does. But let’s talk about it anyway!

First, you should know that even if you currently use a different tracking app or GPS, you don’t have to give it up. iSmoothRun can connect to and automatically sync your data with RunKeeper, Strava, Nike+, Garmin Connect, DailyMile and a slew of others (10 in all, in addition to automatic uploads to Dropbox or your email).

It really works like a secret stimulant for all your running data. iSmoothRun doesn’t make any of it available on its website, so you can’t go online to study your pace, distance, maps and all that other vitally important information. But once you’ve connected it to the app of your choice — I synced mine with RunKeeper — you can have all you had before, and much, much more.

So what am I talking about? Like all other apps, iSmoothRun tracks distance, pace, speed, and splits. Similar to RunKeeper, it also allows you to pre-program workouts. I haven’t used that feature yet yet, but it looks like you can set up a calorie, distance or time goal; or a run-walk sequence, which can be used for intervals as well.

And then, there is everything else:

  • It tracks your shoe mileage;
  • It gives you weather information (temperature, wind, humidity);
  • It measures your stride length;
  • It can work like a pedometer, estimating distance based on the number of steps you take, so you can use it on a treadmill or indoor track;
  • It tracks your cadence (my personal favorite), and
  • It has a metronome that you can turn on, so you can actually work on your cadence as you run.

Brilliant!
Here are a few screenshots from my run today; an easy recovery-pace five-miler. My average cadence was 80. It’s around 88-90 on tempo runs and 86-88 on race-pace runs. I have some work to do if I want to bring it up to 90 like the fast kids, but the important part is that I can do it without constantly timing and counting my steps!

 
But wait — there’s more! Tilt your phone to the side, and you can get a bunch of sexy charts based on all those numbers. Oh well. Maybe not so sexy?

By the way, iSmoothRun, here’s one thing you can improve on: pick a different color for pace or for the elevation change, yeah?

As I said, this is just a tiny portion of the features available through this app. The Settings alone have at least 10 terms I don’t even understand, all under training gear that can be synced with the app (what is a Wahoo Fisica Sensor? A Masqott? Withings? Scosche?) – see?

I’ll be studying that stuff for weeks – if not months – to come!

Meanwhile, heading over to RunKeeper, I can get my usual updates, in the format I’m used to:Though it does seem kind of barebones this way, doesn’t it?

In hindsight, I should’ve spent the $4.99 on this app a long time ago. To someone who wants to know exactly how long, fast and well they’re running [–>this gal!<--], skipping a latte one morning in favor of this magic eye-opener is a choice well made.

Your turn: How do you track your runs? If you use an app, which one?