Thursday, April 29, 2010

3 Tips for Better Running

3 Tips for Better Running

By: Frank Pucher
"I've never finished a run and thought, THAT was a waste of time."

My education into running began in the fall of 1983 as a freshman in high school. With no background in the sport and no knowledge of how to prepare, I suffered many last place finishes including a few DNF's.

Through the guidance of some great coaches and my commitment to becoming a student of the sport, I began to enjoy better results and eventual praise. By the end of my senior year I was a MVP and a Champion.

At 17 years of age I discovered something valuable:
"Running is a metaphor for life. Sometimes things go well-Sometimes they don't. Your accomplishments are usually the result of your efforts and talent is a poor substitute for hard work."

I used these lessons throughout my Collegiate Athletic career. Again, I learned through failure which led to a higher level of education and accolades.

With (arguably) my best performances behind me I have taken to educating runners of all levels and abilities. My clients include: 1st time runners, Boston Marathon qualifiers, High School State Champions & Division 1 Athletes.

While the lessons learned over the last 25+ years are too numerous to list, there are 3 that I feel are the most significant to mention.

1. Be Consistent. An athlete that engages in a less than optimal program consistently will usually derive better results than one who trains with great precision infrequently.
Simply put: I would rather have an athlete run 3-4 miles each day than have them occasionally "interval train" or "do hill repeats" or "a long run."

2. Drink More Water. Of all the nutritional gimmicks people subscribe to, this one is often neglected by athletes. Hydration is essential for optimal performance and recovery. Most athletes and people are dehydrated. This leads to slower recovery between training and a less than optimal athletic performance.
Simply put: You don't drink enough water.

3. Avoid Injury. You can't be consistent in training or perform at an optimal level if you physically can't perform. Most distance runners will suffer an "injury" at some point. The reason is seldom due to an accident or is it impact related. Too often the cause is classified as an "overuse" injury. Really? Why don't babies get "overuse" crawling injuries? I have long believed that our injuries are the result of us not being structurally strong, stable and flexible.
Unfortunately, running is a sport that is slow to evolve regarding it's view on strength training. Too much emphasis still remains on movements such as the Leg Extension, Biceps Curl and the Abdominal Crunch. All safe movements but ineffective in developing a stronger more stable athlete. My clients don't train to be stronger runners, they train to be stronger athletes - who run!
Single-leg and stability exercises should be a part of any serious running program. Even the stretching that most runners perform isn't as effective as they believe. Too much emphasis on flexing the lower back and stretching the hamstrings, too little emphasis on foam rolling the Facia and stretching the Psoas. I advise my clients to use a Foam Roller as a part of their everyday routine.
Simply put: Lifting Weights is OUT. Strength Training is IN. Stability is Sexy and Facia is the Future.

The above tips will help runners of all abilities. If you should have specific questions on my suggestions, feel free to contact me @

Frank Pucher is an Elite Level Fitness Professional and Run Coach. His facility Fitness 121 Personal Training was named "Best Exercise Studio" in New Jersey by NJ Monthly Magazine.
He is certified by The American Council on Exercise & The Cooper Institute of Aerobic Research.

Friday, April 23, 2010

A Friday Workout

I had a 2hr workout with Chris Adams today. We started with a leisurely 8 mile run in 1hr.
We both felt good during the run but began to wease and cough from all of the pollen shortly after stopping. Definitely not a look for people to take up running!
Chris: "My eyes, they're so RED and I can't breath." Me: "I feel like I'm coughing up a lung!"
After we stopped our dramatics we got inside and down to the rest of our workout.

Alternating Lunges x 24 - Face Pulls x 10 - Pushups x 12
Deadlifts x 8 - TRX Rows x 15 - Overhead Press x 15
Single Arm DB Carry - Core Ball - Pike (core series)

Afterwards, I said to Chris "if we were professional athletes this would be our day everyday." To which he replied "True, but then I couldn't go eat the Veal Chop and drink a bottle of wine for lunch!" I replied "Suckers!"

Moral of the story: Love what you do and why you do it. Everything else is just good fortune.

-Frank Pucher
I've never finished a run and thought "that was a waste of time."

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Another Health Care Rant

Despite new insurance regulation, three ongoing problems continue to hold up our health care system.

1. Disease Care

First, most people don’t really use health care. Instead, they rely on disease care. The current system waits for disease to appear, then uses expensive drugs and therapies to treat the disease. The fact is, most diseases are preventable – from cancer and heart disease to Alzheimer’s and all those mechanical injuries of the back, knee, hip and other areas surgically treated with artificial joints and other surgeries. Treating end-result symptoms and ignoring the causes of disease is the real epidemic.

2. Who Dictates Care?

More than ever, the new program will encourage millions more people to rely on others to dictate their health needs. This includes the government who has numerous programs (Medicare, Medicaid and others), insurance companies (who dictate which doctors and what therapies you can and can't have) and others, including employers who dangle insurance policies (that you pay for directly or indirectly).

In addition, lobbyists for the insurance industry, pharmaceutical companies and other product and service sectors in “health” care keep making it easy to be covered by insurance, get prescriptions and buy the latest over-the-counter drugs.

I’m not opposed to drugs or surgery, or even insurance. I’m opposed to how they are used and abused. This includes using expensive, high-risk remedies as a first approach to treating common disorders that typically respond to more conservative, much less expensive but high quality care that usually comes with little or no side effects.

Am I Covered for That?
Too often, patients are willing to take a drug, have a surgical procedure or even participate in a radical experimental therapy before other more conservative and even effective options are available – because their insurance will cover it.

Here’s a common scenario. Bob goes to his doctor because of knee pain. The doctor recommends surgery; after all, Bob chose his own therapy by picking a surgeon from the list of health care professionals covered by his insurance. The doctor comforts Bob with the fact that he’s covered for the procedure. I recommend more exercise therapy for his minor problem. But his insurance won’t cover it. Bob chooses surgery at 10 to 20 times the cost, but has no out-of-pocket expense. I’ve experienced this type of scenario many times in my years as a fitness professional.

3. Who’s Responsible for My Health?

Are most people willing to take care of themselves? That’s a difficult question to ask, and unfortunately, most people are not even willing to ponder the answer. Certainly, some people are not only willing but are succeeding in taking care of themselves, by eating well, exercising, controlling stress and toxins, and other features associated with being responsible for their own health. This is the real meaning of prevention (screening for disease is not).

Only when we’re taking responsibility for our own health can we truly prevent illness and disease, and develop and maintain a higher quality of life until we die.

In being responsible, we most easily avoid being trapped by insurance companies and government programs willing to cut us open when it’s not really necessary, by food giants selling us foods that slowly kill us, and force us to visit doctors we don’t necessarily want to see (while avoiding those we prefer).

Our health is in our hands, but too many have let go while grasping for the illusion of health care. The new insurance overhaul just ties their hands even more. There’s no free lunch, although the insurance environment offers one that promotes heart disease, cancer and other debilitating illness.

What to do? Buy your own lunch – choose your food wisely & exercise more days than not.
That’s what I do.

-Frank Pucher

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Opinion on Boyle/NSCA

Recently one of the most sought after presenters in the Strength & Fitness field (Mike Boyle) was banned by the NSCA (National Strength and Conditioning Association) from speaking at their events. Boyle has spoken at their events for years and the ban came as a surprise to many.
While I do not have 1st hand info on the reasoning by the NSCA; I was asked recently of my opinion as to "What happened?" Here was my reply:

I don't have a horse in this race so I'm pretty un-biased. I have looked at "both sides" of this STORY.
Here is my take on this:
Mike Boyle has openely and honestly spoken to his likes/dislikes on TRAINING for years. I won't say he's been unfair to collegues who'm he disagrees, rather he's voiced his difference of OPINION. The NSCA has their TEXT and MANUAL and view that as the BIBLE. Mike has begun to question the BIBLE. He's not encouraging AETHIESM, but rather that his BELIEFS are perhaps evolving faster than the written word. I think what has happend is that the NSCA has begun to ask "How can we explain that we have a guy (Boyle) speaking at our conferences that disagrees with our text?" Additionally, "He (Boyle) offers an opinion on training that differs from other speakers/presenters at the same (our) conference. How do we explain all of this?"
Their answer: Remove the controversy!

Does the NSCA reserve the right to remove speakers that don't agree with their research and findings? YES
Does the NSCA reserve the right to ensure that their speakers are not contradicted at their conference? Perhaps
Does the NSCA have the right to be critical of a person (Boyle) when he goes 'off the reservation' and no longer aligns with their principles & ideas? Absolutely.

So who is at fault? Is anyone at fault?

*JC Santana is no longer presenting at IDEA or Perform Better, etc. His reason: "Conferences have become less about educating and more about selling." Long Story short: I AGREE!
JC also said "Don't believe anything that anyone tells you. Not even me." Meaning: Think for yourself!
Boyle says often "This is just my opinion. In fact anything written, studied or spoken is simply someone's opinion." Meaning: Think for yourself!

I feel that by only allowing voices/opinions that follow their BIBLE; The NSCA has sent a message "Think only what we tell you!"

I'll not call it censorship, I call it the end of progress. "All great truths were once considered blasphamous." I find myself leaning on the side of Boyle, a man I respect as much as I may disagree wth him.
That's the beauty of our "ART" Jeff, it's not science. Science is the tool of our EVOLVING "Art."

-Frank Pucher

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

How Much Exercise Do You Need?

When talking AEROBIC exercise there is a correct answer. This comes from Dr. John Ratay who conducted his study on the HEALTH Benefits of AEROBIC exercise. These benefits include:
  • Lower Blood Pressure
  • Improved Cholesterol
  • Cancer Risk Reduction
  • Reduction in Alzheimer Disease
  • Improved Memory
  • Elimination of Anti-Depression Medications
  • Many Others
The prescription for years was a generic 3 times a week for 30 minutes. "More if you want to lose weight."

The Revolutionary Prescription is based on Body Weight (BW). Actually, BW x 8 equals the number of CALORIES (energy) you need to expend AEROBICALLY on a weekly basis to attain the benefits of the exercise.

For example: A 150lbs. person is required to burn 1200 calories weekly. That's 200 calories a day for 6 days. Or 400 calories 3 times a week. It doesn't matter! Hit that number.
Those calories counters on the cardio machines do mean something. They tell you how close you are to getting the HEALTHY body you seek.
It stands to reason that a person weighing 300lbs requires more exercise than someone weighing 150lbs, right?

This is NOT a plan for weight loss. It's for HEALTH benefits. You can hit your CALORIE burn number and still not lose an ounce if you are consuming too many calories. You can't starve yourself to the number either, you need to do the work. Calories burned is another measure of work done.

So do good work. Body Weight x 8. Get strong, Get Healthy, Get Moving. NOW!

-Frank Pucher

Thursday, April 8, 2010

A Recent Visit

Love it! Thanks Frank. It was so cool getting the chance to see your first-class facility. Let me know if you ever need anything. You're a star!
Troy Fontana
2009 Finalist (PFP) Personal Trainer of the Year
Author of "Climb to The Top"
Owner Fontana Fitness

Thank you Troy! You represent the BEST of Humanity and your visit was awesome.

-Frank Pucher

Monday, April 5, 2010

MM Challenge Week# 1

My MasterMind TEAM decided to have a little 6 week challenge. (Get in World Class shape over the next 6 weeks, by training hard and eating right.) It sounds simple enough. We are to email each other our 'workouts' each Sunday for the upcoming week.
As a guy who tends to 'go with the flow' such structure isn't easy for me. However, a loyal teammate I am and a competitor most definitely!

Here is my "Schedule" for this week.

Monday: 40 minute run w/ TRX Circuit
Tuesday: 60 minute run
Wednesday: 5 mile Marathon Pace Run (MP)
Thursday: 40 minute run w/ Heavy Lifts
Friday: 60 minute run
Saturday: 1hr Bike w/ Cable Core Workout
Sunday: 60-90 minute run

I will be sure to get some extra sleep this week also, as I've been pushing the mental motor as of late. My nutrition is actually pretty solid (except for yesterday!) I could probably/maybe sip a little less VINO w/ dinner, maybe? I think? Perhaps? I'll think about it!

-Frank Pucher

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Always an Itch to Scratch.


You are confirmed as a registrant for the 2011 ING Miami Marathon!

As a registrant of this event, you will also receive newsletters each month from US Road Sports & Entertainment of Florida, previously PR Racing with news and information on the ING Miami Marathon and Half Marathon and other events produced by US Road Sports and Entertainment. This will not be sold or given to any sponsors or partners and will only be distributed by our staff.

Have a safe and happy training and we will see you on January 30, 2011!

* I haven't raced a Marathon since 2006 and I've never placed in my age category, but I still believe "I'm damn good at any age." Especially in a 40 year old body!

-Frank Pucher
I've never finished a run and thought, "That was a waste of time."