2018 concept2 mud season madness challenge

Mud Season Madness starts today on March 1—get in those 10km days!

2018 Concept2 Mud Season Madness

I haven’t erged yet today but I am going to aim at rowing at least 10,000 meters every day on my Concept2 Model C indoor rowing ergometer for at least 25-days during March.  Why am I being so specific with 10,000 meters and 25 days in March?

10k-A-Day Keeps the Doctor Away

Why don’t you join me in completing the Mud Season Madness by dusting off your nearest Concept2 Indoor Rower that you store at home, in your garage, in your building’s fitness area, in your local gym, in a nearby YMCA, or at your local boathouse and putting in either 5,000m or 10,000m every day for the rest of March.

Concept2 Mud Season Madness 2018from today, March 1, 2018, through March 31, 2018, and row 10,000 meters, by hook or crook, every day for 25 days or more in March? Actually, there are two levels: The Basic Challenge and The Advanced Challenge5,000 meters each day or 10,000 meters each day, respectively, for 25 days.

Mud Season Madness is an individual challenge so you don’t need to be part of a team to participate, you only need to log your meters over on the Concept2 online logbook

If you are able to row more than 5km/day for 25-days in March, you’ll complete the basic challenge and if you can muster 5km/day for 25 days, you’ll complete the advanced challenge

Good luck!  I’ll be rowing right there with you!

2018 World Erg Challenge

2018 Concept2 2018 Concept2 2018 Concept2 World Erg ChallengeThink of it this way: rowing 10 kilometers every day will prepare your body for the World Erg Challenge from March 15 through mid-April.

If you just start with some slow-rowing, then you can develop your strength, stamina, and endurance enough in the two weeks leading up to WRC, pulling 10k/day, to really benefit your virtual team.  The World Erg Challenge is a team challenge so you must belong to a team to participate (see the team member page).


My One Burrito a Day (OBAD) One Meal a Day (OMAD) Diet

My One Burrito A Day (OBAD) for my One Meal A Day (OMAD) dietFor a couple weeks now, I have been following the one meal a day—OMAD—diet. I am trying it out because after reading about and trying the keto diet, which is very prescriptive, I wanted something easy that amalgamates intermittent fasting, one very satisfying meal that fulfills all the calories I need for a day that actually satiates me, and no food to cheat with in my fridge, cupboard, or larder.  

If I do a good job of tracking my macros—50% carbs, 30% fat, and 20% protein—the chicken burrito with everything on it that I can get from Burrito Bros on Columbia Pike, South Arlington, is perfect: flour tortilla, grilled chicken, yellow rice, black beans, pinto refried beans (the mixture of the two is called “black and tan“) , cheese, guacamole, sour cream, cucumber, lettuce, pico de gallo, and sweet corn with a squirt of chipotle and cilantro hot sauce. 

My macros on one daily chicken everything burrito

My macros on one daily chicken everything burrito

It’s almost perfect.

Burrito Bros is closed on Sunday which is why it’s my cheat day when I can eat brunch and dinner like a normal yuppie. 

I’ll report on how it is working for me. Today, on Presidents’ Day, I did another OBAD but in this case, it was a double gruyère and onion burger with fries—one burger a day, in this case—but two patties are too much.

On that note, Burrito Bros, which also owns L.A. Bar and Grill, where I got my 1/2 priced lunch burger, also offers double meat burritos but that’s too much food as well. I don’t want leftovers because they’re too tempting for me, so I just ate them—the double burger and the double steak burrito, both—but I regretted it and won’t do that again.

L.A. Bar & Grill burgers are deliciousA single-patty burger and a regular everything burrito are good for me. 

And burgers and fries are only for special occasions. I would really like to make sure my single meals aren’t a series of junk foods with a multivitamin chaser. I would like to cycle in big salads with chicken and those sorts of things, but I don’t want to become a slave of cooking for myself.

With food in the house I tend to be seduced into breaking the essential daily 23-hours-a-day fast, drinking only coffee, water, tea, and sometimes broth or bone broth and sometimes some dill picked juice.

omad is one meal a day diet

Trying one meal a day—OMAD

If you go down the Keto diet rabbit hole, you’ll end up reading about IF—intermittant fasting; and, if you spend enough time on reddit, you’ll eventually discover the OMAD subreddit: One Meal A Day.  It’s simple: eat like a king once-a-day, somewhere between 4pm and 8pm, but only for an hour. Then, stop eating for the next 23-hours.

When you’re following the one-meal-a-day diet you don’t eat anything for 23-hours-a-a-day; but, when you do eat, for that one hour-a-day, you eat like a healthy king: 1,500-1,700 calories consumed in a short hour somewhere between 4pm-8pm.

During those daily 23-hour intermittent fasts I am only allowed to drink black hot tea, black iced tea, iced water, and black coffee. That’s it. Some folks are good with lemon water, but that’s a controversial group on reddit.

Tomorrow’s my first day and here’s how I plan to do it:

  • When I feel hungry, I know I am probably thirsty: water, coffee, tea
  • Keep my kitchen completely empty of any food besides tea, coffee, and water
  • Make sure I go out to eat my one meal outside of home office
  • My one meal needs to be inclusive of all my calories and micronutrients
  • If I want some of my calories to be a beer or a wine, it’s good
  • If I want my calories for the day to be a burrito or a burger, that’s OK, too
  • Try my best to eat healthily but don’t beat myself up if I don’t
  • Having a beer or some wine kills every diet except this one, thank God!
  • I have chosen Sunday for my cheat day because I don’t want to say no to brunch

Here’s my schedule for next week. It’s pretty much weak tea but tea’s okay:

My One Meal a Day Plan OMAD Chris Abraham RNNR.us

My Proposed Weekly One Meal a Day Plan

I think that if I try to keep my food in the lean protein and raw vegetables as much as I can then burritos and beans and rice with guac and vegetables are close to perfect diets. And, just for reference, once nice meal plus a couple beers generally end up being around 1,500-1,700 calories.

This eccentric diet makes sense to me: satisfy myself once-a-day and then just focus on all the work I need to get done for the rest of the day without even being able to daydream about snacks or preparing breakfast or lunch or any of that stuff. 

Right now I have Eating One Meal A Day: The Intermittent Fasting Revolution For Beginners: Lose weight, beat disease and fight aging! by Eric Blackburn and One Meal a Day: A Breakthrough Diet with Health, Energy, and Focus: Seven Simple Steps to a Fast Bulletproof Diet by Ben Frank Ph.D. on my Amazon Kindle and my Goodreads bookshelf so I will follow-up with this, my rash dieting decision, when I get more information and medical advice from a couple experts.

The Keto diet just didn’t work for me. My biggest issue is portion control. When I am not eating, I don’t think about eating; but, when it comes to mealtime, I eat until I’m full. The Keto diet takes up a lot of time and money to follow correctly—and I still over-ate.

I’m one of the over-eaters who’s out of the closet, not anonymous, and it’s much easier for me not to eat than it is to just have not even half-a-chicken or not even an entire avocado! I don’t know about you but I can’t ever stop at 4oz of breast or just one-half future quac. It’s my truth.


The secret to slow jogging and slow rowing is the power-10 and power pieces

Summary: let your slow-flag fly, for sure, when you slow jog and slow row;  however, please feel free to add power-10s and other high-intensity pieces to your slow, long, steady-state everyday slow jogs and slow rows. 

What is a Power 10?

Power-10 is an on-water rowing and racing term that is often said by the coxswain to motivate a competitive coxed crew to perform ten hard power strokes. Starting with “up one, up two” the coxswain counts out each stroke for the crew. I like to sprinkle power-10s into my workouts once I have warmed up. You should, too. Even moderate daily rowing proponent, D. P. Ordway, and slow jogging guru, Hiroaki Tanaka, agree. Once you’ve mastered your slow, adding intensity can really drive the body’s adaptation to your new athletic life. And since both you and I are our very own coxswains and we don’t need to win any races, do everything in moderation, even your power-tens.

The Fitter You Are the Faster Your Slow

Chris Abraham participating in the 2015 Concept2 Holiday ChallengeThe fitter and stronger you get, the faster your slow is. When you just start rowing, your slow rowing steady state pace might be over 3 minutes per 500 meters and your  first slow jogging pace might be 13-minutes or more per-mile; however, as you become more fit and your heart, lungs, and muscles adapt, your slow rowing steady state will be around 2 minutes per 500 meters or even quicker and for a longer time and your easy running pace that you can keep with a smile while you’re slow jogging can be as quick as a 9-, 8-, 7-, and even 6-minutes-per-mile pace.

The End of Slow-Shaming

2016 Four Courts Four Miler produced by Pacers Running. Photo by Brian W. Knight/Swim Bike Run Photo.Whether you’re back of the pack or DFL, at least you’re neither DNF or sleeping in. Both Slow Jogging and Row Daily are about not slow-shaming yourself or allowing yourself to be slow-shamed.

Anyone call you a slow ass? Well, you’re slow jogging! Someone on your virtual team making fun of your 2:50/500m pace?

Chris Abraham's Million Meter Club Concept2

Show them the Million Meter Club certificate that Concept2 gave you! Be proud of your 3:00/500m pace since you do row every day at around that rate for at least 45-minutes!  Be proud of your slow 2 or 3 mile-per-hour slow running because, at that rate, you will probably never need recovery from either over-work or injury.

Slowness is Subjective so Speed Up

2016 Crystal City 5K Fridays, race #1 produced by Pacers Running. Friday, 1 April, 2016. Photo by Brian W. Knight/Swim Bike Run Photo.

While I am not suggesting that you’re slow jogging or slow rowing too slowly. Slow jog as slowly as you like. Row as slowly as you like. But do it every day. At some point, if you do slow jog and slow row every single day, your initial slow will be a lot slower than the slow you attain as you get stronger, fitter, and your cardiovascular system adapt fully to your slow and going a little faster will seem as rigorous as your previous slow. You’re going faster!

Chris Abraham's time for the #cc5kfridays race 4But as long as you’re still smiling and keeping yourself from huffing and puffing and wanting to cut your 45-minute steady state daily morning slow jog or slow row short, you’re good. While both though D. P. Ordway and Hiroaki Tanaka both beg us to jog and row slowly every day longevity, health, fitness, and happiness, they both allow their definition of slowly to be absolutely subjective: Slow jogging can be 2 or 3 miles-per-hour but once you become an old hat at slow jogging and slow rowing, you might slow jog at closer to 4, 5, 6, 7-miles-per-hour! 

Once You Adapt Be a Little Less Slow

2016 Crystal City 5K Fridays, race #1 produced by Pacers Running. Friday, 1 April, 2016. Photo by Brian W. Knight/Swim Bike Run Photo.

But you really don’t have to. Really, all the authors of  Slow Jogging: Lose Weight, Stay Healthy, and Have Fun with Science-Based, Natural Running and Row Daily, Breathe Deeper, Live Better: A Guide to Moderate Exercise say is that slowness is slow-to-you and as you adapt your body, your slow will be less slow than before and that you should really break up your slow jogging and slow rowing with some up-tempo pieces. 

Row hard-for-you for a count of ten after spooling up and then slow back down to your steady state pace after you do your power-10. Or 20 or thirty.

There is a load of other suggestions when it comes up amping up the intensity every once in a while, but I have really been relying on some really strong and intentional power-10s.

The Authors of the Slow Books Agree

Even my two favorite “slow” books, targeted to the elderly, are proponents of the power-10. So, jog slow and row slow but, every once in a while, in order to fight boredom and to keep things interesting, goose the gas a little bit.

Back in the days of the carburetor, I would say that the short bursts of speed I put into my rides in my 1974 Triumph TR-6 were to blow out the carbon

After reading Slow Jogging and Row Daily all the way through, even these books about exercising moderately every day at your niko niko pace (an easy pace, that you can keep with a smile).

If You Gotts Start Somewhere, Start Slowly

When you start reading either book, you’ll feel so relaxed that all you need to do in order to get better breath, fitness, slimness, strength, stamina, and longevity deep through our dotage is to jog or row every single day for the rest of your life—and I think that is right.  

However, if you read through the entire book, there’s more: the power 10.

The first half of both books say just do it: get onto the track or get your butt onto the sliding seat of an indoor rowing machine and spend at least 30-minutes to an hour (45-minutes to an hour is better) every single day of the year short of an injury or profound sickness.

The argument is: if you keep it slow and easy, your muscles, tendons, skeleton, and the nervous system won’t need all that recovery time.

Slow Wins the Race But Sprints are Fun

Their follow-up argument is: once you feel all warmed up and your body again feels powerful enough that you want to frolic a little bit, do so! Some power-tens, some sprinting, running some stairs, doing cross-training, taking the stairs, going to the gym, riding a bike, taking a swim, going to 9Round to get some boxing in, and then going to XSport to get in some heavy iron in the form of free weights. Or, get yourself a nice heavy kettlebell and do some swinging and deadlifts and cleans and presses, and squats and pulls!

Don’t worry, no rush. Do it slowly–but do it every day. That’s my plan.


Row Daily, Breathe Deeper, Live Better: A Guide to Moderate Exercise Revised Edition by Dustin Ordway

Row Daily, Breathe Deeper, Live Better is a book about slow rowing for a better life for life

Row Daily, Breathe Deeper, Live Better Book Cover Row Daily, Breathe Deeper, Live Better
D.P. Ordway
November 26, 2008
168 pages

According to D.P. Ordway, our not doing anything physical is as much of a shock to our physiological and neurological systems as is running, cycling, and doing CrossFit; however, it's the wrong sort of shock. D.P. believe that we all should have a baseline of activity every single day and that should be at least 45-minutes every single day on a Concept2 Indoor Rower.

I recommend it to everyone.  In summary, the entire book says:

"Row moderately for 45-minutes to an hour every day of your life, without fail."

Now you don't need to read the book, but I highly recommend that you do. You can also check out D.P. Orday on his site, ROWDAILY.COM. There's an elegant and humiliating scoring system that's very similar to those signs on construction sites that report the number of days since an accident?

Row Daily, Breathe Deeper, Live Better by D. P. Ordway book coverAccording to D.P. Ordway, our not doing anything physical is as much of a shock to our physiological and neurological systems as is running, cycling, and doing CrossFit; however, it’s the wrong sort of shock. D.P. believe that we all should have a baseline of activity every single day and that should be at least 45-minutes every single day on a Concept2 Indoor Rower.  I thought that was my idea but it’s not!

You all know how obsessed I am with slow jogging, right? I even fell in love with the book, Slow Jogging: Lose Weight, Stay Healthy, and Have Fun with Science-Based, Natural Running, by Hiroaki Tanaka and Magdalena Jackowska.

Mr. Ordway has written two entire books on what I was calling Slow RowingRow Daily, Breathe Deeper, Live Better, which I am reading, and A Row a Day for a Year: Set a Goal—Track Your Progress which I just bought and placed into my Kindle queue.

A Row a Day for a Year: Set a Goal—Track Your Progress by Dustin Ordway book coverBefore I start I’ll address the elephant in the room: RDBDLB is a book for the elderly and I’m only 47. Slow Jogging is also for the elderly. Don’t let any of that get stuck in your craw because no matter your age, your weight, your health, your fitness, or your youth, the bottom line is that we all should slow row or slow jog for 45-minutes to an hour every single day for the rest of our lives even if we do other sports at other intensities a couple few times a week or really turn into a real racing warrior on the weekends. 

After reading Slow Jogging, I thought I would invent slow erging, slow indoor rowing, slow rowing. Nope, D.P. Ordway beat me to it with his elegant and generous book, Row Daily, Breathe Deeper, Live Better—it is the slow rowing book par excellence. I recommend it to everyone.  In summary, the entire book says:

“Row moderately for 45-minutes to an hour every day of your life, without fail.”

Now you don’t need to read the book, but I highly recommend that you do. You can also check out D.P. Orday on his site, ROWDAILY.COM. There’s an elegant and humiliating scoring system that’s very similar to those signs on construction sites that report the number of days since an accident?

Well, D.P. suggests we log the number of accrued days that we have rowed in a row. If you miss one, it resets back to zero: shame! And, in the next column? How many days you’ve missed. But that doesn’t ever reset. It’s a persistent, permanent, reminder of our flaws as humans in a human world.

My Row Daily, Breathe Deeper, Live Better rowing log headers

This is how I set up the headers of my log. I will share as I go.

I grew up Irish Catholic so I am all over the shame method. 

The system doesn’t really care too much about stroke speed, meters, splits, or time, it really just cares about starting and never stopping.  So, I am off to do my time on the rower for today before I head out to have dinner with a friend.

LifeSpan Treadmill Desk Chris Abraham

Slow jogging, slow rowing, and the slow walking of the treadmill desk owner

working on the lifespan treadmill deskI think I have a mantra: slowness. I’ve always been strong and slow. Even my stroke when I am slow rowing is always slow.

Back when I ran for four miles every morning and eight on Saturdays, I ran slowly.

When I stared again back in 2016, I really slow shuffled. And, whenever you’re a guy’s who’s only office desk is a treadmill, you do a lot of slow walking as well.

I am walking at 2mph right now.

fitbit report for chris abraham on 9 January 2018 which is around 12,641 steps or 4.8 miles and 3,385 calories

As I write, this very moment, but not below, just now, I have walked for 4 hours at 2 miles-per-hour. That’s 8 miles of walking. That’s good for me.

But it’s 20:54 at night so I’ve literally had not just the workday but the entire day to put into it. I wonder what my block is.

I just checked my Fitbit and here’s the 411 for today’s slow walking. I don’t know why my machine is saying 8.09 miles but my Fitbit Zip that I have tagged onto the leg of my rowing trou is saying I’ve only logged 4.8 miles.

walkers view of the lifespan treadmill desk from my perspective

I think I’ll have to track the Fitbit because that’s the only data I have that syncs with the cloud and with my greater Fitbit community.

When I am working, I never push it above that, though I can read at up to maybe 2.3-2.5mph. I am a slow walker. If you’ve ever walked with me, it’s true.

I may be tall and you may very well expect me to have a long stride but it’s not true. While I am a solid six-foot-three inches tall, my inseam is only 32-inches.

My crotch is only 2.66667 feet off the floor. That’s an important number for both trousers and motorcycle standover height.

the backside of my lifespan treadmill deskI bought my LifeSpan TR1200-DT5 Treadmill Desk off Amazon on June 1, 2013. Amazon reminds me whenever I go back just in case I am forgetful enough to forget that I already own one.

It’s maybe the best $1,366.19 I’ve ever spent–even better than my K1100LT or my XR650L motorcycles. 

Even though I have access to it every day, all day long, I struggle to walk a very slow 12,000 steps. 

I should walk at least 10-16 miles-a-day but it generally ends up being more like six-miles. 

what working on a lifespan treadmill desk looks like from the walker's point of viewI promised myself to get more steps in on this brilliant thing. Some of my excuses not to have been: I am writing, putting together a proposal, blogging, or researching so I need to sit very still in order to concentrate.

That’s bollocks–they’re all lame excuses.

After I got afib and even after my cardioversion took, I was tired a lot–but that’s no longer the case. 

So, I am writing this post while walking very slowly. I have a new new year’s resolution I think I’ll go back and add: if I am going to write on this blog, I am going to need to be be doing all of my blogging and writing while I am walking very slowly on my own treadmill desk.

The Exorcist steps, located in Georgetown, Washington, D.C., are famous for being featured in the film The Exorcist.

Added “take the stairs” to my resolutions

exorcist steps in georgetownThe worst workout when I was a college rower at GWU was running the Exorcist Steps in Georgetown off of Water Street. We flowed up and down, first thing in the morning, as a team, with folks powering up and streaming back down. It was a terrestrial vomit comet, worse than suicides, burpees, and wind sprints combined. 

exorcist steps in georgetown

I wrote out my 2018 New Year’s resolutions here just yesterday but I believe I forgot a very important one that I missed (and I will be adding to my resolutions right after this): taking the stairs!

I am never going to bolt up or down the stairwell here at my apartment building. Let’s call what I plan to do this year Slow Stair Climbing akin to my Slow Jogging and Slow Rowing/Slow Erging resolutions: just get up them stairs without passing out or killing myself.

And, I am giving myself permission to transition from stairs to elevator if and when I either swamp-out or puss-out. I am going to start it slow.

Slow Stair Climbing

Most of the time, I will be climbing the stairs just as part of my day–most likely in street clothes as part of my day. At first, it’s going to be very hard for me and I am sure I will hate it. And I am also sure I will feel a little shaky going down the stairs as well since I am pretty big and rotund and actually climb and descend stairs very similarly to how our president, Donald J. Trump, handles stairs. I don’t have any Secret Service agents to help me so I need to make sure I always keep a hand free so that I can steady myself using one or more of the handrails. And I allow myself time to rest and to stop and to even sit down on the stairs if need be. Whatever it takes.

I’m Carrying Around Two 45-Pound Olympic Plates All the Time

I know for a fact that we humans are extremely adaptive and adaptable so I always need to remember that it’s not always going to be this hard for me and I won’t always be so sweaty or so out of breath. The soreness in my quads and calves and glutes and even in my core will soon pass as I become stronger. And I must always remember that I have 100 extra pounds on my body so all of my stair climbs and descents are effectively weight-assisted: basically two 45 lb Olympic plates attached to my body everywhere I go. Be sure to give yourself some permission to be impressed by how well you’re doing considering all the extra weight that you’re currently carrying around like a farmer carry.

Milo and the Calf

Both you and I are our very own Milo and the Calf fable: in order to become the strongest Greek hero, Milo would borrow a new born calf and carry it around the Greek city of Croton day after day, week after week, and month after month.  As the calf grew, so did Milo’s strength, until he was the strongest wrestler in Greece and could carry the now full grown bull upon his back. With all of our extra weight, we’re like The Curious Case of Benjamin Button version of Milo of Croton! As you get stronger, your bull of body fat slowly becomes a calf over time, becoming lighter and lighter!

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2018 concept2 challenges

My 2018 New Year’s resolutions

Potomac Boat Club Washington, DC, USA on the potomac river PBC boat house rowing rowers singles sculls sweepsHappy new year everyone! It’s 2018 and I am actually putting together a list of my own personal new year’s resolutions: slow jog, slow row, kick box, bell-swing, push-ups, sit-ups, squats, and, finally, some weight-training. When it comes to eating, my Achilles heel has never really been what I eat, it’s always been how much. I ate too much plant-based, too much fat-based keto, and I ate too much when all I ate were tuna fish sandwiches on wheat bread.

Chris Abraham participating in the 2015 Concept2 Holiday ChallengeSo instead of being an extremist food-wise, I will just make sure I eat 1/4 protein, 1/4 grains, and 1/2 fruits and vegetables–but keeping my intake at around ~1,400 calories-per-day until that becomes a problem performance-wise.  I won’t rush it because most of my performance, anyway, is niko niko and won’t really ever result in too much bonking–if any at all.

Resolution #0: Take the Stairs

I made a mistake yesterday. I live in an 8th floor apartment and I never take the stairs. Not even once. Neither up nor down. Even when only one of the three are working. I always can rationalize standing there with my nose in my Samsung S6 Active, right? And I know there are stairwell people, too! I know that there are people who use the stairs all the time–they just don’t make a big deal about it. That’s the thing: the stairs are always there! And my building has four separate stairwells so the chance of being crowded out is virtually impossible!  Hell, after I was sick last year this time, I even got into the habit of avoiding the single set of stairs that leads from Penrose Square Park up to the entrance of my local Penrose Square Giant supermarket! It’s very sad. I do intend to do the stairs in my street clothing, I intend to do it slowly and surely, making sure I have a hand free for the handrail. And, I am giving myself permission to transition from stairs to elevator if and when I either swamp-out or puss-out. I am going to start it slow. Even very slow.

I wrote all of this down into a new blog post: Added “Take the Stairs” to My 2018 New Year’s Resolution if you want to know why taking the stairs–even slowly–is good for us.

Resolution #1: Actually take up the Slow Jogging

Slow Jogging: Lose Weight, Stay Healthy, and Have Fun with Science-Based, Natural Running Kindle Edition by Hiroaki Tanaka (Author),‎ Magdalena JackowskaI have become obsessed with Slow Jogging but not enough to actually start slow jogging yet. I bought the right shoes and I am, of course, obsessed with it. But I am not doing it. Starting today, I’m doing it. No matter how short the run, no matter what–even if it’s on my building’s gym’s treadmill instead of outside in the Arctic. 

black mizuno wave sonic running shoes racing flatsHiroaki Tanaka and Magdalena Jackowska are both adorbs and dead serious and I want to be just like them, though I might not have the stones to take it up outside during this so-called Arctic cold outbreak. It’s all in pursuit of the niko niko pace. According to the Natural Running Center, “Niko niko means ‘smile’ in Japanese and here defines an easy pace, that you can keep with a smile.” 

polar heart rate strap h7According to the official Slow Jogging book, high-intensity training is 70%-80% of what you got–running running–while slow jogging is closer to just 50% of what you got.

Sort of athletic shuffling but with good form and making sure you don’t drag your shuffling feet. 

Resolution #2: Row every single day

Chris Abraham Rowing Concept2 Holiday Challenge Rowing Erging Indoor Rowing LogbookI’ll be starting today with a combination of the brand new-for-2018 January Revolutions Challenge in addition to the concurrently-run Virtual Team Challenge: row every day in January.

Now let me tell you what I mean when I say row every single day: slow-rowing.

concept2 pm4 and ipad

I guess slow-rowing is the same as slow-jogging: perfect form, a focus on stroke/pace, and a deep attention to keeping niko niko

When I trained for the GWU college crew team we exerted 70%-80% of our VO2 max. Niko niko is closer to 50% of one’s VO2 max, according to slow jogger gurus Hiroaki Tanaka and Magdalena Jackowska. 

This is really easy when there are challenges on. In January alone, there’s both the Virtual Team Challenge, which gives way more value to niko niko numbers of meters and kilometers over how hard you row. 

Resolution #3: Put Some Power Tens in

Keep Calm and Power 10 rowingThat said, I promise to do some high-intensity sets of ten. In on-water rowing, these are called power tens.  Here’s a really awesome article on the Power Ten on Concept2’s website:

“a Power Ten is, traditionally, ten hard strokes of power. The coxswain often will count out each stroke for the crew” . . .  “a Power Ten helps crews to mentally commit to rowing simultaneously and keep focus. And in reality, it’s hard to maintain 100% effort for the entire race. The coxswain may call a Power Ten to motivate the crew to return to pulling hard when they’ve become tired or to make a move to gain (or pass) on a competitor” . . . “a Power Ten can be a useful tool for rowing indoors as well. Sprinkle Power Tens into your workouts: try breaking up longer workouts like a 5k with a Power Ten every 500m or 1000m. On shorter workouts, Power Tens can help you focus on intervals and sprints. If you’re feeling like you can’t keep up at your same pace any longer, take a Power Ten to dedicate to your best effort”–that’s all amazing advice and I couldn’t say it better myself.

Thank you, Meredith Breiland! To me, a Power Ten is always going to be 80% of my exertion; or, around a ~140-147 heart rate.  I always wear my Polar chest strap when I am rowing on the erg.  I will do the same thing once I can actually do that, physically, during my slow jogs. Once in a while I will just try to do ten-mississippis worth of sprinting in addition to my 50% slow jogging.  

Resolution #4: Get Back To My Local 9Round Gym

Cleto Reyes professional training gloves for 9Round

I really loved getting unlimited quasi-personal training whenever I wanted it. It’s so easy to just go there with a set of boxing hand wraps and a pair of Cleto Reyes professional training gloves and in around 30-minutes I’m in a swampy pool of my own juices.

And, as Rob Graveline, owner of all the 9Round studios and gyms in Arlington, said to me a while ago as I struggled just pulling myself up from the mat: “the only thing we’re going to focus on together is working on getting up off the floor.

turkish get up pavel kettlebellThe only thing you need to be able to do easily is get up. That’s the focus of our working together.” While that’s sort of a paraphrase, that’s how I remember it. He’s a good man.

And how sad is it that I can’t easily get off the floor without grimacing and grunting? Oy vey! I would love to be able to get to the point where I am acing kettlebell Turkish Get-Ups.

Resolution #4: Add Calisthenics to My Day

Get Fit, Get Fierce with Kettlebell Swings: Just 12 Minutes a Day to Lose Weight, Prevent Sitting Disease, Hone Your Body and Tone Your Booty!I have a treadmill desk that I have been underutilizing over the last quarter–I need to spend a lot more time making 12,000 steps a day, be it via 2mph walking-while-working or via slow-jogging and real springing (I owe a lot to my Fitbit community). I have six very nice kettlebells that I have not been using nearly enough and that I would prefer to swing my kettlebells for 90-seconds every 60-minutes. In addition to that, my business partner Dan Krueger wants me to drop and do 20 every hour all day long as well: 20 push-ups, 20 squats, and maybe at some point some pull-ups and loads of sit-ups and scissor lifts.

So, I think I’ll do it as often and as religiously as I can. But not nearly as religiously as I am committing to my slow-rowing and my slow-jogging. Amen!

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Mizuno Wave Sonic racing flats for slow jogging

My first impressions of the new Mizuno Wave Sonic slow jogging shoes

Mizuno Wave Musha 4

OK, the new Mizuno Wave Sonic running shoes are made as racing flats and not as slow jogging shoes. But as slow jogging shoes I intend to use them. And also as erging shoes and as kettlebell swinging shoes and even as gym shoes and for 9Round kick boxing.  Before now, the closest things I have owned were a very flashy pair of Mizuno Wave Musha 4 racing flats in shiny gold. These are much more demure.

black mizuno wave sonic running shoes racing flatsMy new pair of Mizuno Wave Sonic racing flats that I plan to use for my new Slow Jogging passion. Slow, forefoot and midfoot-running. I’ve always done this. It’s natural for me.

The Mizuno Wave Sonic was not made for any of these things. The new Mizuno Wave Sonic was made as a replacement for their popular Ekiden and Hitogami racing flats.

Mizuno Wave Sonic racing flats for slow joggingThe upper is really beautiful made with socklike Nike-like knitting. The shoe is pretty low drop and low cushion but it’s not no drop but it only has a 4mm drop so it should work pretty well with what Hiroaki Tanaka, Ph.D., recommends.

One of the things I like the most is the all-rubber outer sole that looks and feels very durable since I feel like part of my slow jogging will be very shuffly. Lots of shuffling shuffles. Until I get better height.

They’re Light

Mizuno Wave ProphesyThey’re 9.5 ounces in my men’s size 13 (the official weight is 7.7 ounces in men’s size 9). While I don’t need such a very light shoe as I am a big man, this is something that people like to know. Lots of Mizuno shoes are highly structured with plastic pieces and superstructures and infrastructures.  Their Mizuno Wave Prophesy actually has a literally wave-shaped plastic sort of spring in the sole–very different from the Sonic.


black mizuno wave sonic running shoes racing flatsThis Mizuno Wave Sonic has only 23.3 millimeters of  heel cushion and 16.8 millimeters of forefoot cushion.

I don’t know what midfoot U4icX Wave construction is but I generally think stuff like that is bullshit. Mizuno describes U4icX foam to deliver a cushioned ride with higher rebound for a comfortable energized ride.

black mizuno wave sonic running shoes racing flats

All I know is that this shoe is a lot less structured than all the other Mizuno shoes I’ve worn except for my beloved Mizuno Wave Musha 4s–I wore them at the gym and during personal training.

The outsole of the shoe contains the Mizuno X10 carbon rubber and is the star of this shoe. The Mizuno Wave Sonic is much more durable then most racing flats and that durability promotes using the shoe for more workouts then a typical racing shoe.

My Slow Jogging, Erging, & Kettlebell Shoe

KettlebellsIt seems to me that this is the sort of shoe I can wear all day long, from my treadmill desk, allowing me to make my feet strong, to my Concept2 rowing ergometer where I can just strap these low 4mm drop shoes into the footplates and strap in, and then I can just get up and swing, deadlift, clean, press, and squat my kettlebells! And when I got to the gym, this the Mizuno Wave Sonics will give a lot of support for deadlifts and when I get to 9Round I will feel pretty good doing foot work.

And then, of course, outside so that I can get a very long, super-slow, slow jog.

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My rainbow collection of Saucony Jazz Original retro running shoes

My favorite running shoe is still Saucony Jazz

The Original Nike Pegasus 1983No matter what I try I always fall back in love with my Saucony Jazz Original running shoes. That’s not true, actually. I started off only running in Nike Pegasus running shoes–The Original Nike Pegasus to be exact–back in middle school. The original Nike Pegasus bears a striking likeness to Saucony Jazz Originals.

I had been running in maximalist running shoes from Hoka One One but I don’t think they’re for me, especially since I discovered the International Slow Jogging Association and read Slow Jogging: Lose Weight, Stay Healthy, and Have Fun with Science-Based, Natural Running by Hiroaki Tanaka and Magdalena Jackowska cover-to-cover. So, since slow jogging advocates very slim-soled running shoes, I returned to my trusty rainbow threesome of Saucony Jazz original running shoes.

My collection of Saucony Jazz Originals Running Shoes in red, orange, and green

After reading the book I looked around for the perfect pair of shoes to replace my Hokas. I first thought that maybe Onitsuka Tigers were the way to go. Then, I thought that Saucony Bullets where the way. Finally, I came all the way around to when I ran 4 miles every morning before work and then 8-10 miles on Saturday and Sunday.

I used to love them because they’re the dual purpose motorcycles of the running world. They’re neither off-read enduro dirt bikes nor are they road-only racers.

Triangle outsole tread of the saucony jazz originals running shoe orange

They wear like wrestling shoes, they have a little bit of cushion (and the included inserts really improve their comfort), and the Saucony Jazz running shoes benefit from enough of a tread that I always feel sure-footed whenever I ran in the rain or in the show.

I know for a fact that both the original Nike Pegasus–or even the first Nike, the waffle iron racing flat–and the original Saucony Jazz running shoes were designed for the road and the track but these days, this level of lug is more common on trail-running shoes–thus be comparison between the Saucony Jazz Originals and a dual purpose motorbike. For me, it’s the best of both worlds and virtually no compromise–at least for me. In addition to all of its other shining qualities, Saucony Jazz shoes are some of the best erg shoe for indoor rowers.

I tend to wear them without socks because they’re a little snug when I add socks to them. I wear men’s size 13 US / 12 UK. They fit perfectly and there’s still a little room for when my feet swell during a run.

At around $50-$60-a-pair, they’re easily replaceable when they start to fall apart, though that doesn’t happen. I hadn’t been running in these three colorful pair of Jazz shoes I had only been using them when I am on my Concept2 Indoor Rower. While there’s a little bit of a heal wedge and they’re not perfectly flat like Converse All Stars or Feiyue Tiger Claw martial arts shoes, the midsole and outsole of these Jazz runners is negligible. 

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