Thursday, December 4, 2014

Be Thankful for the Off Weeks

Well I'm a week late but I figure it's still worth posting what I'm thankful for.  And that is OFF WEEKS!!!  I have been putting in a lot of work over the past couple of months and taking a week to allow my body to reset is necessary from time to time.

Last week (Thanksgiving) was one of those weeks.  Leading up to that week of training, I could feel that my body and legs were a little tired.  But a lot of times I am able to shake it off and get over the hump.  Monday's workout didn't go very well, which always bothers me.  I knew it was time to rest up instead of trudging along for the rest of the week.  So after discussing it with Coach Gags, we decided to take it easy the rest of the week.  Instead of doing the customary three workouts we switched it to two workouts and cut back my weekly mileage by about 10 miles.

Man oh man, that did wonders for me!  By the end of the week I was feeling like myself again.  It wasn't a huge adjustment, but just enough to help out.  This week has been going incredibly well so far and my progression is back on track.

My piece of advice for athletes of any skill level, take a down week every once in a while.  Communicate with your coach and work it into your schedule appropriately.  Sometimes we push our bodies extremely hard for an extended period of time and don't give it the proper rest that it needs.  Believe me, every professional athletes has been there.  Don't let your competitiveness overshadow smart training.  You can come back stronger than ever with just a little rest!

Here is my training from the past two weeks!  Feel free to reach out to me directly at mikeruttrunning@gmail.com!  Thank you everyone!

Week of November 17-23
Monday
10x1000m
Weightlifting session
Mileage: 12
Tuesday
6 mile recovery run
Wednesday
AM 6 mile cutdown pace run
PM Weightlifting session
6x150m hills
Mileage: 15.5
Thursday
8 mile recovery run
Friday
2x(800, 3x400) @mile pace
Weightlifting session
Mileage: 9
Saturday
15 mile long run
Sunday
5.5 mile run
 Total Mileage - 70

Week of November 24-30
Monday
6x1600
Tuesday
6 mile run
Wednesday
8 mile run
Thursday
4 mile tempo run
Friday
14 mile long run
Saturday
6 mile recovery run
Sunday
6 mile recovery run
Total Mileage - 60

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Fall Update

There's not too much for me to blog about this week.  I have gotten a number of emails the past two weeks with questions from followers and I really appreciate it!  If you haven't read my two previous posts (10 ways to become a better runner) please do!

Training is going about as good as it could be right now.  I'm feeling good and I'm in better shape then I have ever been for this time of year.  But it's the right type of shape.  I'm by no means anywhere near 1:45 fitness but for the workouts that we have been doing, I am very pleased with where my fitness is.

This time of year for a lot of people can get tough because the weather is getting harder to train in.  But if you push through the cold, rain and snow, it will pay huge dividends down the road.  Bundle up and train smart!  Don't increase the risk of injury because you didn't warm up properly or you wore improper equipment (i.e. don't where shorts because you're a "tough guy!").

Here is my training from last week.  With Thanksgiving coming up next week, I have a scheduled down week coming up, which I am really looking forward to.

Week of November 10-16
Monday
10x1000m w/2 minutes rest
Weightlifting session
Mileage: 12
Tuesday
9 mile recovery run
Drills/Strides
Wednesday
8 mile recovery run
Thursday
AM: 2x3mile tempo w/5 min rest
PM: Weightlifting session
6x150m
Mileage: 15.5 
Friday
8 mile recovery run
Saturday
14 mile long run
Sunday
6.5 mile recovery run
Total Mileage: 73

For questions, comments, or suggestions, feel free to post below or email me directly at mikeruttrunning@gmail.com!

Monday, November 10, 2014

10 Ways to Become a Better Runner (Part 2)

Hey everyone!  I hope that you all had a great week of training/racing.  For myself, as well as the rest of the New Jersey-New York Track Club, we are grinding away at our Fall training.  It's definitely one of the tougher parts of the year as we whip ourselves into shape.  Racing season can't come soon enough!

Last week I started my list of 10 ways to become a better runner.  I got some great feedback, so thank you!  I'm glad that what I'm blogging about is interesting and helpful to some of you.  If you have any questions feel free to reach out to me at mikeruttrunning@gmail.com.  Here is the remainder of my list!

5. Develop a strong coach/athlete relationship
This goes hand-in-hand with putting yourself in a good environment.  Working with your coach is crucial to success.  There needs to be a positive relationship where you and your coach are able to communicate back and forth about training and racing.  Many times, coaches work with multiple athletes and are unable to micromanage each athlete.  You, as the athlete, are responsible for letting your coach know how you are feeling.  Coach Gags and I talk multiple times a week about every little detail that goes into my training.  We go over workouts for the week and remind each other of our "big picture" goals.  It make me feel secure as an athlete that I have a say in my training and I know that my coach is on the same page.


4. Get out of your comfort zone
In order to reach that "next level," athletes need to simply get out of their comfort zone.  Pushing yourself to a new limit is what this sport is all about.  If you're used to running comfortable mileage a few days a week as you train for your first half marathon, think about doing some one minute intervals where you pick up the pace for a minute and rest for a minute.  You'll be amazed at what the human body is capable of and how much a few simple workouts can improve your fitness drastically.  As an athlete, I know that there are some times where running until I puke is the best thing for me.  That my sound a little crazy, but I know it's what I need to do from time to time, to get to the next level.


3. Learn to use all recovery modalities
Recovery tools are an athlete's best friend.  They help decrease the risk of injury as well as allow us to train and compete at a high level.  Every day, you should do something to help your body recover.  It can be as simple as taking 10 minutes to stretch or as complex as getting work done by a licensed physiotherapist.  There are many ways to help your body recover.  Don't be afraid to try something different to find out what works best for you.  My go-to recovery tools are foam rollers and ice baths.  They have worked best for me to stay healthy and ready to go every day.

2. Set Goals
This can be one of the easiest things for athletes to do.  Write down your goals, both short-term and long-term.  Whether it is to complete your first 5k, set a personal best in your next race, or qualify for the Olympics, it is beneficial to write these goals down to remind yourself why you are training.  It can be boring and tiresome during certain times of the year when training is tough and racing is months down the road, but your goals can light that fire within you again.  Post these goals on sticky notes and post them in places that you frequently look at.  For example, your bathroom mirror, on your fridge, or on the dashboard of your car.

1. Use Performance Enhancers
Yes.  You read it right.  I encourage and condone the use of performance enhancers.  I take them every day.  However, I have not, do not, and will not ever take illegal performance enhancers.  Every day I take a multivitamin which might not sound like much, but tapping out my blood levels with essential vitamins and minerals allows me to train at a high level and stay healthy.  A performance enhancer that we are all familiar with is water.  According to a study conducted in 1985, running performance can be negatively affected by dehydration with as little as a 1.6% loss of body weight*.  If you're not a math major, that can be a huge difference between bringing home the victory and settling for something less.  Another proven performance enhancer that is often seen at track meets is caffeine.  Athletes like the boost that it gives them before competitions and many feel that it truly helps them perform at their best.  Recently RunGum hit the market and it provides caffeine, taurine, and B-vitamins to provide the boost that athletes prefer before training and competitions**.  I plan on trying some for myself in the near future!

One thing that I do want to make clear is my disgust and lack of respect for athletes that do try to use illegal performance enhancers to gain an advantage on their competition.  I understand that at a certain level, this is a business and I don't think that we will ever eliminate drug cheats from the sport.  But I will make sure that I do my part and never take illegal performance enhancers.  I respect myself and my sport, and will continue to stay free of illegal drugs for my entire career.

I hope that these 10 tips have helped you all!  These are all things that I have learned about and implemented into my training over the course of my career.  I feel that each of them helped me in one way or another.  Check out last week's training below and stop by next week for a new post!


Week of November 3-9
Monday
8 mile recovery run
Weightlifting session

Tuesday
9 mile run w/ Drills and Strides

Wednesday
AM: 5 mile tempo@5:15/mile
PM: Upper body lift
6x150m hills
Mileage: 14.5

Thursday
9 mile recovery run

Friday
2x(300, 300, 300, 600)
Weightlifting Session
Mileage: 8

Saturday
15 mile long run

Sunday
6.5 mile recovery run
Drills and Strides

Total Mileage: 70

For questions, comments, or suggestions, feel free to post below or email me directly at mikeruttrunning@gmail.com!

*Article referenced above can be found here
**RunGum website can be found here

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

10 Ways to Become a Better Runner (Part 1)

Runners are constantly looking to get fitter and faster.  From the high school athlete that just joined the cross country team to the "weekend warrior" that is training to complete his or her first marathon, we are all looking for tips and tricks to get just a little bit quicker than we have been before.  Here are 10 things that I feel can help out runners of all skill levels.  Now, these are by no means the only ten tips that can drop your times, and they aren't ranked in any particular order either.  There are a lot of variables that affect training and racing.  Finding out what works for you is part of the joy of the sport!

10. Love the sport!

Why do something you don't enjoy?  That sounds like a miserable life, if you ask me.  A happy athlete usually makes for a successful athlete, regardless of who you are.  There are so many reasons to love running.  For example, I love the sport because I'm a highly competitive person and I enjoy racing to see what I can achieve.  And, going out for a run is always a great stress reliever for me.  Find what you love about the sport and use that as a daily reminder as to why you get up and hit the roads, track, or trails.

9. Keep a workout log

Writing down your daily training schedule each week is one of the most underestimated aspects of training.  Keeping a log allows you to not only see your progress over time, but you can also use it to compare past training and fitness levels.  It wasn't until after college that I even thought about keeping a log, but it is something that I now do on a daily basis.  I am able to gain confidence from seeing what types of workouts I did in years past and how I was competing at that time.  I also use my log as a tool to analyze myself as an athlete.  Each block of training affects me in different ways and I can observe the effects in my logged workouts from past years.

8. Do more than just run

Running is great and all.  But sometimes it's good to mix things up!  Swimming, biking, and hopping on the elliptical (or in my case, ElliptiGO!) are great ways to work the cardiovascular system while also resting your joints from the pounding of running.  Lifting weights is another great activity that you can add to your training routine.  Many of us have imbalances that we may not be able to see or feel but working with a trainer in the gym can keep us strong and healthy.  Keeping your body balanced and fit can help to decrease the risk of injuries that will disrupt training.

7. Ask questions

There are thousands of training programs, coaches, and athletes at your disposal at the click of a button.  Ask us questions!!  Personally, I enjoy giving advice to runners and helping out in any way that I can.  As I was introduced to running, I tried my best to become a student of the sport by reaching out to athletes and coaches to gain some tips and tricks.  It allowed me to learn not only what I am doing, but also why I am doing it and how it makes me a better athlete!  That's why I try to make myself available to anyone who has questions (email me directly at mikeruttrunning@gmail.com)!

6. Put yourself in an environment that will work best for you.

If you want to be the best that you can be, you need to make sure that you're surround yourself with people and training that will fit your needs and style.  There are countless people out there that have high goals and expectations but are not willing to do what is best for them.  Do you enjoy running with people? Join a running club.  There are thousands of them out there.  Personally, I love running with other people because they help push me to new levels and make the training easier to bear.  Clubs and teams also make it easier for you to be accountable for your training.  You don't want to let your teammates down by missing runs and workouts so putting yourself in the team environment can help push you out the door on those tough training days.  However, if you work better alone, then do it!

Different coaching styles also benefit some athletes over others.  Most of the time, you can choose what type of coach you train with, whether you are a selecting a collegiate program or a new training group.  You don't need to be a part of the "it" team if there is another coach that will get more out of you as an athlete.  

(To be continued next week...)

That's all for this week!  I'll post the remainder of the list next week.  Before I go, I want to give a shout out to the College of New Jersey Cross Country teams.  Both the men and women captured the New Jersey Athletic Conference title this past weekend!  We are heading to Rochester next week for regionals and we hope to have both teams qualify for the NCAA Championships!  Thanks for following and check in next week!

Here is my training last week...

Week of October 27 - November 2

Monday
10x800 (4@2:30, 4@2:26, 2@2:22)
Afternoon weightlifting session
Mileage: 10
Tuesday
8 mile recovery run
Wednesday
AM: 2x2.5mile pace run w/5 min rest
PM: 6x150m hill
Afternoon weightlifting session
Mileage: 14
Thursday
8 mile recovery run
Friday
5x600 w/ 5 min rest
3x200
Afternoon weightlifting session
Mileage: 8
Saturday
7 mile recovery run

Sunday
15 mile long run

Total weekly mileage: 70

For questions, comments, or suggestions, feel free to post below or email me directly at mikeruttrunning@gmail.com!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Turning the Page

I'm back!  After a little time away from the blog, I decided that I needed to get back on my posts and continue to stay on top of things.  So, I apologize to anyone that has been asking why I haven't been posting lately.  It's my fault!

Quickly looking back at 2014...it was a solid year for me.  But the competitor in me is not pleased.  I set PB's (personal bests) in the indoor 800 (1:46.71), indoor mile (4:00.6) and outdoor 1500 (3:40.46), but didn't feel like my training really showed itself on race day.  Things started off with a bang and then seemed to go stale.  It left me wanting more out of myself.

After taking some time off, I'm back training harder than ever.  One thing about this sport - or any professional sport for that matter - is that you never really know when your career is going to end.  We all hope and believe that we will have long, prosperous careers, but the fact of the matter is nobody really knows.  With that approach, I have hit the fall training hard, in hopes to reap the rewards later.

We are changing my running workouts and lifting workouts in hopes to strengthen some weaknesses that I have.  If I want to be a 800-1500 athlete, I need to strengthen my aerobic fitness, so we are focusing on that a lot more this fall.  There are some other tweaks that we are making to the training program...but I can't give you all the secrets, especially if they work!

The big focus for the upcoming year is obviously the Outdoor World Championships in Beijing, China.  Each year I have progressed towards the podium and with the top 3 athletes in the US Championships making the trip to Beijing, I plan on cracking that top 3.  My indoor season is still up in the air, but with US Indoor Championships coming back to Boston in 2015, I can't see myself NOT heading to Beantown to throw down.  But we will see how my fall season progresses.

In other news, I started coaching!  I joined the coaching staff at The College of New Jersey this fall as a part-time assistant coach.  It has been a great experience so far working with the cross country athletes.  I will also be coaching during the indoor and outdoor seasons, primarily with the middle distance athletes.  The kids have been great so far and we are hoping to bring the New Jersey Athletic Conference titles home next weekend for both men and women!  Stay tuned for results!

I'm going to continue posting workouts each week and to kick things off this year I'll post my last two weeks of training.  Thanks for following everyone, and don't forget to check out my other social media pages! Twitter Facebook Instagram


Week of 10/13-10/19
Monday
5xmile@5:00 pace w/ 2:30 rest
Afternoon weightlifting session

Tuesday
8 mile recovery run

Wednesday
2x2mile tempo w/5min rest
6x100m hills

Thursday
8 mile group run at Boulder Running Company

Friday
11.5 mile run

Saturday
OFF / Travel day

Sunday
10 mile run
Total Mileage: 58 in 6 days

Week of 10/20-10/26
Monday
10x1000m w/ 2:00 rest
Afternoon weightlifting session

Tuesday
8 mile recovery run

Wednesday
AM: 5 mile tempo (5:22, 5:18, 5:20, 5:19, 5:11 - 26:32)
PM: Weightlifting and 6x120m hills

Thursday
8 mile recovery run

Friday
2x(200, 300, 300, 400) @ mile pace
Afternoon weightlifting session

Saturday
15 mile long run

Sunday
6 mile recovery run
Total Mileage: 70.5

 For questions, comments, or suggestions, feel free to post below or email me directly at mikeruttrunning@gmail.com!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Travel and Stay Fit at the Same Time!

Do you find yourself having trouble maintaining a regular workout routine while you travel?  Is it difficult to stay motivated when you're not in your normal environment?  Recently, I have taken inspiration from the Vegas.com blog to solve these problems for you.  My answer is to you is, all is not lost!  It is indeed possible to get a great workout in while on the road whether you're looking for a heart-pumping routine or something much simpler.

My job as a professional track and field athlete allows me to travel frequently to competitions in the United States and around the World, but at the same time it is crucial that I maintain my fitness away from home.  Even during the off-season, I must find ways to workout during vacations and holidays.

For me, the simplest and most convenient way to maintain cardiovascular fitness is to lace my shoes and head out for a run from wherever I may be staying.  Before I travel, I look online to see where my hotel is located and try to find possible running locations nearby.  Many times you can find a local park within a 5-10 minute jog from your hotel.  You can ask the front desk of your hotel as well, if you are unfamiliar with the area.  Running can be a great way to shake out the "junk" in your legs from traveling and it can be an opportunity to explore the city in which you are visiting!

There are options for strength routines as well.  In addition to maintaining cardiovascular fitness on the road, I have had to find ways to keep my leg, arm, and core muscles strong.  Many hotels have small fitness facilities that will allow guests to get the necessary weight workouts done.  But you can stay in your room and still get in a good workout.  Lunges and squats allow me to do some work on my legs.  I will do lunges down hallways if possible, but they can even be done in the confines of a small hotel room!  The same goes for arm exercises like pushups.  My core exercises include simple things like sit ups, but can range into other exercises, such as planks, flutter kicks, and/or pikes.  If you can spare just 10-15 minutes a day and complete some of these simple strengthening exercises, your body will love you for it, and you will burn a few hundred calories in the process!

Sometimes, even the thought of "working out" while on vacation seems like a chore.  I understand that!  Plan activities that will allow your body to get a good workout in while also allowing you to enjoy your trip and have fun!  For example, in a city like Las Vegas, The Aria Las Vegas resort provides a Hotel Hike which is an indoor hike through the hotel and surrounding area, guided by an instructor.  Escalators are a no-no for this activity, giving you a leg burning workout while enjoying the scenery of the hotel, casino, and shops/restaurants! 

The bottom line is, vacations should not be an excuse for you to come home 5lbs heavier and out of shape!  You can enjoy the luxuries of vacation while taking just a few minutes out of your day to keep your body toned and fit.  So next time you leave the comforts of home to see the world, take your fitness routines and goals with you!

Thanks for reading! Follow me here on Twitter to keep updated with my training. 

Click here to visit The Aria Las Vegas Resort and Casino website!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

What really happened at US Champs

Before I dive into US Champs, I want to give a quick shout out to Jack Hostettler and Starting Line Designs for continuing to help me write my blog and continue to provide good content that readers would want to see.  They were able to put together the header for my blog that you see above....how cool is that?!?

Sacramento was quite an experience.  I was excited to get out to a new facility and test out my fitness in this "off" year of track and field.  I was very pleased with where my fitness was at and I knew that I was ready to have a great performance.  The first two rounds felt good.  My legs didn't have quite the pop that I was expecting but I got the job done and made it into the final.  It was my second consecutive US final and I was looking to place on the podium this time.

Now...I want to give you the story of what actually happened in the final, and not what you might have heard on websites, message boards, seen on video replay, or in photos that were taken from 100 yards away on top of the press box of the stadium.  I got out hard because I knew the guys wanted to fly.  I tucked into 4th place at 200 meters on the outside of lane 1.  I sat off of Charles Jock's shoulder seeing that we had gone through at a fast pace.  On the turn, his right leg was in his back kick and made contact with my left hand.  This caused him to stumble and fall.  As he fell, his body started to come across my body.  When you're running that fast, your first instinct is to do anything you can to keep yourself out of trouble.  I was unaware of it at the time but I placed my hand on his shoulder as a natural reaction.  I did not push on him as he went to the ground.  The next few moments were a blur and the next thing I knew, I was 400 meters into the race.  I tried to regroup mentally but for some reason, I couldn't get back into focus and things started to go down hill from there.  I felt like I was running in quick sand during the last 150 meters and was just excited to see the finish line.

I would never purposely do anything to cause a competitor to fall.  It was unfortunate what happened, and I was glad to hear that Charles was not seriously injured afterwards.  Incidents like that occur in our sport.  I wish it had not and I could have raced all seven guys without a hiccup in the race, to prove our fitness.  Afterwards, I was told that I was disqualified.  USATF was very fair to me during my protesting process.  I filed my protest and was luckily reinstated in the results after the officials deliberated.  It wasn't a fun experience what happened...but it's all part of racing at this level.

Now it's time for me to move on and forget about US Champs.  The European season is upon us!  I fly out tomorrow night and I will be competing in four meets over the next two and a half weeks.  I even get to dabble in a little 1500 action!  It will be the first time I race the distance since college and I'm excited to see where I'm at.  Here is my schedule...

July 6 - Padova, Italy (800 meters)
July 8 - Lignano, Italy (1500 meters)
July 12 - Kortrijk, Belgium (800 meters)
July 19 - Heusden, Belgium (800 meters)

I will be posting photos on Instagram (@RuttRun) and Twitter (@Mike_Rutt) in order to keep everyone updated on my results and travel adventures!

Lastly, I would like to point out the success that the New Jersey/New York Track Club had at US Champs.  We sent 19 athletes to the meet which is more than any other team sent.  And we had athletes in the final of every event that we entered!  We have come a long way since I first joined the club in 2011.  We don't have all of the facilities and resources that other clubs have, but we suck it up and get the job done!

For questions, comments, or suggestions, feel free to post below or email me directly at mikeruttrunning@gmail.com!