Tag Archives: training

The iTunes Running/Walking Workout

I went for a run tonight with no set direction or distance. I wanted to get in a run since I missed my workout due to an extended phone call with a client. Normally I would set my Nike+ iPhone app for a specific distance (e.g. 3 miles, 5k or longer) or I would run for a specified amount of time, say, 30 minutes on a lunch break or over an hour on a training run.

Tonight was different.  So, I used a different strategy for my workout… an iTunes workout.

The workout came to me a year or so ago when I was running on the beach at Isle of Palms, South Carolina.  My usual routes include either a right hand turn out of the beach house toward Breech Inlet or a left hand turn toward Wild Dunes.  These are very good early morning runs, however I needed extra motivation because I had seen the terrain multiple times.

Ergo, the iTunes workout… it’s easy and anyone with an MP3 player full of songs can do it… run to the fast songs and walk to the slow songs.  Simple.  I know.  But very useful and fun!


  1. Walkers:  Play the music… when Metallica’s Fuel comes on the player, walk fast.  When Jack Johnson starts playing, slow down and catch your breath.
  2. Joggers:  Again, play the music… fast songs mean a run and slow songs mean a walk
  3. Runners:  Yep, play the music… hard charge for the fast songs and slow jog for the slower ones.

Ok… this is not going to win you the Ironman Triathlon but it is a fun way to mix up your workout.  Just wait until you run hard for the 4:27 of Buckcherry’s Highway Star only to slow down for 3:12 while Jack Johnson makes Banana Pancakes only to run your tail off for 6:16 of Guns n Roses’ You Could be Mine.

You may wind up with three slow songs back to back to back only to be slapped in the face with multiple fast songs… the key is to play directly from the music library and not by artist or manually-constructed playlist.

Make your running or walking fun… that is the only way you will truly enjoy it!

PS – you get to decide which songs are fast or slow (no in-betweens).  Don’t cheat yourself!


Posted by on January 5, 2013 in Running, Writing


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The Spartan Beast – part 1

You’ve asked about it, so I am writing a two-part blog series on the Spartan Race. This post is a little background on the Beast event I ran a few weeks back.

The Finisher's Medal

Spartan Beast Finisher Medal

A little background on the event… the Spartan Race series has three levels: Sprint, Super Spartan and Beast. I’m not even getting into the Death Race format – I’m NOT doing it, so there is no need to cover it. If you want information on it just click the link I added. The Sprint level is 3+ miles, the Super level is 8+ miles and the Beast is 12+ miles (although these are just for conversation purposes…). I ran the Sprint in Charlotte, NC in March 2012 and it wound up near the four mile mark, however the Beast I ran ended up closer to 13.5 miles. Again, the numbers are just to “class” the races.

The Beast was held at Carolina Adventure World, a place I have no idea even existed. Pretty cool area, though, with ATV trails, hiking areas, mud bog areas and a lot of beautiful South Carolina wilderness. I believe I saw the majority of it either ON the trail or at areas where I could look out across the expanse. Winnsboro, SC is the address for the spot and it is approximately 20-30 minutes from Columbia.

I was clean at this point

For the full 411, visit the Spartan Race website for upcoming dates, photos, etcetera.

More background on the Spartan Series… think the movie 300, Gladiator TV series on Starz or even the Russell Crowe movie Gladiator. The series is centered around that period in history – all the way down to the Spartan creed, the Spartan mascot and the screams of AROO! AROO! AROO! that replace the starting gun you hear at most races. Many of the racers choose Spartan attire with men in shorts and shoes only and women, many times, in sports bra, shorts and shoes. I chose to cover up a little more with a sleeveless shirt, shorts, soccer socks and trail shoes… I learned a little from my Sprint experience in March! It really doesn’t matter what you wear and you want to trash it when you are done anyhow. SIDE NOTE: the Spartan organizers allow you to dump your shoes at the end and they will clean and donate them to third-world countries. I did not do this at the Sprint but did at the Beast.

So on to the starting line we go for the 9:00 am heat… Myself and about 200 other racers ready to tackle the – at the time – 12-mile course. We hear the Spartan creed, vow to help our fellow Spartans return and shout AROO! as we run through the smoke field. I’ll do my best to remember all of the obstacles, but I can guarantee you they will not be in order. Here is a sampling:

1. Over, under, through – a staple of Spartan races where you go, you guessed it, over, under and through a wall. The wall is approximately 4 feet tall and you either jump over it, crawl under it (a 12-18″ area) or pull yourself through the opening in the center.

2. Under the net – I’m sure there is another name, but this one is a low crawl under a bar with a netting material on one side… we did two of these in succession.

3. Walls – 4, 5, 6 and 8 foot walls. These are spaced throughout the course – many are easy to bound over but some require the use of a partner or two people – which IS allowed to complete the obstacle.

4. Over-the-log – again, this is my name for this obstacle. Logs are placed five feet off the ground and you have to bound – or climb – over five of them in succession.

5. Tractor pull – a concrete stone is attached to a chain and you must drag it down, around and back up a course approximately 100′ in length. I am not sure of the weight of the stone but I would estimate it at 45-50 pounds.

6. Atlas Stones – pick up the stone for your sex (men and women have different weights), carry to one side. Drop the stone, lift again and return to the starting point. I would estimate the men’s stone was 75 pounds. We had this obstacle twice on the course.

7. Tire flip – grab the tire and flip it five times forward and five times back.

8. Cargo net – climb the cargo net and return down the other side.

9. Large cargo net on A frame – climb the cargo net and return down the other side,

10. Rope climb – a knotted rope climb. Two of these on the course.

11. Barbed wire mud low-crawl – the first one was on a semi rise… with a fire hose spraying water on everyone. The second one was on a hill approximately 60-degrees going UP. Yep, with another fire hose spraying the course.

12. Tyrolean traverse – ropes pulled across the lake… you warp your ankles over the rope and pull yourself to the other side. Ropes are about 6′ off the water at the highest point.

13. Sandbag carry – grab a Spartan pancake and carry it up the hill and back down. Length of course is approximately 150-yards total.

14. Concrete pull – a 50-75 pound concrete block is pulled up a rope to a height of approximately 15′ and then slowly lowered back to the ground.

15. Rolling mud – three-part mud pit/hill climb. Cross the mud pit and then scamper up the muddy hill to the next pit. The entire obstacle is around 50′ long. There are two of these obstacles on the course.

16. Band hop – place ankles through a small rubber band – approximately 12″ in diameter. Hop across a set of tires four rows deep, then hop over two logs and return to starting position.

17. Pit jump – either jump the 6′ pit or wade through it… three in a row.

18. Javelin throw – toss a javelin into the straw bale and make it stick

19. Horizontal wall – cross the wall with only your fingertips and edges of shoes on the small pieces of 2×4 boards… the boards are canted at all angles.

20. Mid pit and slippery wall – cross the mud pit – under barb wire – and then grab the rope to pull yourself up the slippery wall. At the top, climb down the ladder wall on opposite side.

21. Tall ladder over the road – climb up and down the other side of the containers.

22. Fire pit – get a good running start so you don’t burn the hair off your legs!

… and always the last obstacle in the Spartan Race…

23. Gladiator pit – get a good running start and be prepared for a gut punch from the pugile sticks!

I left out the obstacle runs… these are runs through the woods, up trails, on switchbacks, through the river beds, over beaver dams and all kinds of other places the organizers decide to make you run!

After the Spartan Beast

After the Beast

So ends part one of the race updates… In the next post I will talk about the actual running of the race and preparations I did prior to running.

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Posted by on October 24, 2012 in Just Me, Running


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From the gym, road and garage

Ah yes… Still on the road to youth-dom! If that is not a word, it is now! Youthdom is my new goal in life – most of you know I am the youngest 39 year-old most of you know and I will continue to improve as I inch closer to 40 in April.

I am a full fledged member of Performance QSA in Greenville, SC. The folks there have a different mentality when it comes to fitness. Over the years I have been a member at various gyms, clubs and involved with “programs” to get me in shape. None of which actually did anything to motivate me to do better… QSA sends me emails, postcards and gives motivating words during classes. I can’t go wrong.

Well… Maybe I can. Food is still an issue (for another blog post) but Nadine at QSA is retraining my brain. With the help of the LoseIt! app she turned me on to, I am making progress. SCARY to see the caloric content of foods I once loved!

Anyway, back to the training… you schedule your workout and take part in an hourlong kick butt routine that changes daily – nothing is ever the same so to keep your body guessing… and improving! The largest attendance at a session I have attended was six – with two trainers. This is as close to one-on-one as you can get. However, this beats being the only person as you are constantly competing against those in the session with you – males and females. Everyone works to their own level and everyone is put to the test.

Add to this the running I am doing – sporadically – and you get a whale of a workout routine! I say sporadically as I am constantly on the road traveling. Excuses, excuses, excuses. I know.

Well, I am off to conduct an appraisal today… then I will perform the ‘hotel room’ workout QSA provides their members when they travel. Not as kick butt as being in the workout room, but it is still intense enough to keep me at a good sweat level.

And… we’re off! Until our next stop…

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Posted by on November 15, 2011 in Running


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Training updates… Yep, I’m still here!

Whew… What a whirlwind of travel, training and getting lost in the world! Yes, I am still here and on the same countdown to 40 – I just have not had a chance to sit down and type a new post. Actually, I am 50 minutes from starting a tool and equipment auction (Meares Auctions) so, like my running, I am picking up the pace!

Since the last update I have received some awesome news… Steadman Hawkins has released me from shoulder therapy! I still have to be careful with exercises on the outside of my body – meaning, for the next four to six weeks I have to workout with my hands in front of me. Sort of goofy, I know, but it is the final process in eliminating the biceps tendinitis I was experiencing.

So, why is that integral to marathon training? Well, here it is… think about walking and moving your arms in a normal manner – now, do that faster… and for 26.2 miles. Upper body strength is key when you get upward with longer runs. Sure, some of this comes with adding mileage. However, I want to be fully prepared.

In addition, I have joined Team QSA and have been training with the groups for the past two weeks. The classes have a small student to trainer ratio, which gives more one-on-one time to perfect the exercises. I highly recommend this concept if you are like me and need a little more motivation!

Until next time I am still,
The Pirate looking at 40

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Posted by on October 7, 2011 in Running


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