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Weekly Tips on Preparing for a Triathlon: Vary Your Workouts

People get bored very easily. That is a fact that is about as certain as death and taxes. Think about the high school kid who falls asleep during a forty-minute lecture on the Italian Renaissance or the security guard who drifts off during the graveyard shift. When a person experiences something that spans a long period of time and offers no alterations or adjustments , there exists no possible way for a legitimate focus to occur. As a result, body and mind change course, looking to either rest from exhaustion or re-stimulate itself with something else.

Training for triathlon is no different. While following a detailed, structured workout schedule will give you the format to stay consistent, doing the same routine day after day will result in two situations: a serious loss of mental motivation and a seemingly unbreakable physical plateau.

Mentally, when you continually change your patterns, the brain stays sharp, as it constantly has a new goal to reach. You provide the stimulus your brain requires to keep your body moving in a manner that permits progress. For example, using a swim workout based on stroke count one day, always working to lengthen the body’s reach to reduce the number of strokes it takes to cover a given distance, and the next day swimming against the clock, a place where strokes are less important and time rules, provides you with a different set of challenges. Your brain avoids the patternization that generates boredom and fatigue.

Likewise, physically, if you can repeatedly alter your goals, you can keep your body from reaching those plateaus that stunt growth. Confusing the muscles, making them work similar groups in a variety of ways, dodges the monotony of identical workouts. For example, running an endless string of treadmill workouts will never produce the long-range results you need. Instead, get outside and hit the trails or do a track workout. Try plyometrics or Kenpo. Mix in multiple variations that will strengthen the muscles while keeping them fresh and stimulated.

Overall, you will be a happier triathlete if you mix it up. Failing to do so will not only hurt your performance, but also it will take away the pure joy associated with the sport. Keep yourself mentally and physically excited and vary those workouts as much as possible.

Run Brett Run: New Threads!

Hello there, runners!

We are well into October, and the Dec. 6 Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon is sprinting towards us at a fast and crazy pace! I have decided, at the advisement of the Zappos Running Team, that I just do the half. The thought that I should run this powerfully and next year do the full. I agreed, and now I have my mind set on completing the Half at a good time and still have enough energy to have a beer and listen to some rock and roll afterward!

This week I am at the goal of 7 miles. I’m not moving along at the pace that I really wanted; I’ve been flat-lined at 5 miles, and I am going to break it!

Brooks, Asics, New Balance and Saucony have all helped me along with some gear, and it is much appreciated. The only thing I had to run in before this was a plaid moo-moo and wooden clogs I fashioned out of a tree in the forest near my house. (Picture that…..yes…yes….frightening, I know.)

But this week, I came across the finest piece of running gear known to man. (at least this man)

Behold:

Playlists for Brett’s Running This Week:
-Robert Palmer-Sneaking Sally Through the Alley (obsessed with this album)
-JEM-Finally Woken
-Old Crow Medicine Show-Tennessee Pusher

Sign up here for the Half or the Full Marathon!

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Running Events All Over the Globe: The New York City Underwear Run

Runners are generally serious people with Type-A personalities, the kind that find motivation in the chase of perfection. They normally enjoy structure and relish the chance to evaluate themselves by their wristwatches. Rigid training schedules format their day so as not to allow anything to disrupt their much needed run. Yet, on some rare occasions when the pressures of competition and training become too much, runners can let their guard down, and, in the case of the New York City Underwear Run, their pants too!

Held annually the Friday evening prior to the New York City Triathlon, the Underwear Run contains approximately 500 highly motivated fun seekers who clad themselves only in their skivvies. Bodies of all shapes and sizes adorn little more than a smile and a positive attitude as they bounce, shimmy, and glide through the world’s most famous park. Sports bras and bikini briefs. Boxers and boy shorts. Pink ones and black ones. Lace and elastic. Traditional and downright bizarre. If you wear it under your day clothes or just in the darkest hours late at night, you’ll see it trekking through Central Park in all its glory.

Leave your modesty at the door if you elect to dive into this ocean of flesh and cotton. The 1.7 mile run, which in 2009 broke the world record for total people gathered in one place in their underwear, winds through the tree-lined streets of Central Park, drawing plenty on onlookers and an impressive number of cell phone cameras. With no timing chips, no transitions, no race numbers, no fancy gadgets or gizmos, the run represents the heart of the Big Apple’s approach to life: personal expression to the greatest conceivable degree. Absurdity and fun don’t get any better than this.

So, if you are interested in a run as memorable as any, or if you simply want to figure out exactly what Victoria’s secret actually is, go to http://www.nyctri.com/Central_Park_Underwear_Run.htm for additional information and pictures of last year’s race. You may want to train for this one and eat a few less cookies though. Failing to do so may bring about a whole new definition of indecent exposure. Not to worry, however, as next year’s race is a ways away…on July 14th at 7:30 pm.

Run Brett Run: Zappos Full Marathon Preparation

With Zappos.com sponsoring this year’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon, many of our employees are preparing to participate in the event. Last week we spoke to some of the people doing the half marathon, so this week we decided to go around and talk to some of the people planning to run the full marathon.

No matter if your a seasoned runner, or just someone wanting to challenge yourself, the Las Vegas full or half marathon is a great way to get out and work on those fitness goals. Here are some of our Zappos employees talking about their training so far.

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Running Events All Over the Globe: The Leatherman's Loop

Countless road races dot the American landscape each weekend, with runners following painted arrows from school parking lots through city streets or flagged meadows in local parks. Most offer a distinct challenge: make the individual push harder than before while offering enjoyment and lifelong fitness. Regardless of the distance, whether a spirited 5k or a marathon, the race gives the runner a blank canvas upon which to become something greater.

However, not all races are created equal, nor provide the same challenges. Yes, the goal remains the same in regards to a person proving something to himself, but the experience varies, and no one place gives a more creative, unpredictable run than the Leatherman’s Loop.

The race, a 10k trail run held annually in April at the Ward Pound Ridge Reservation in Cross River, New York, is a massively popular event, with the 900 spots filling up in a mere 16 hours. Combining all that Mother Nature can dish out, the terrain houses mud bogs, deep streams with moss-slicked rocks, steep sand hills, and paths barely wide enough for both feet side by side. Although the budding tree canopy can provide some protection, the pounding sun, which recently reached a record high of 90 degrees on race day, can sap your energy, and the punishing wind can make the race double in its perceived distance. Needless to say, the race is physically abusive. It is one of those workouts that will have you hating it while you’re doing it, but loving it when it is all over.

The atmosphere, one that is as supportive as it is fun, more than washes out the agony the race can bring. Runners can be found all across the course pulling others along, un-sticking them from the mud or pushing them up the hills. The sense of camaraderie bubbles over the second you arrive, as runners share advice, trade stories of duct-taped shoes and pricker-torn legs, and promise to meet for a drink at the finish line. No one feels alone on this day, with each person’s success seemingly everyone’s concern.

Regardless of your ability, take the chance and go. Train hard and enjoy the race that has the potential to keep you coming back for more. Not only will you have accomplished something physically impressive, but also you will have proved to yourself that almost anything is possible.

Run Brett Run: Magic Shoes

OK, OK, I know that I promised to limit the Forrest Gump references. I’ll keep that mind…but I do know what love is. Oops….sorry, sorry, it’s a habit, it’s a habit.

I’ve received some cool running shoes from our Vendors and Merchandising Department since my training for the marathon began, and this week was no exception. Rockport, a fine brand that Zappos is proud to work with, sent me a pair of Dressports Abraim dress shoes, and they challenged me to put them on for a little run. Rockport says that this shoe is as comfortable as an athletic shoe, and I wanted to see for myself.

Run Brett Run: Zappos Half Marathoners

Many Zapponians that are planning to run the 13 mile Half for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon are training hard and have their eyes on Dec. 6. We all have different reasons for wanting to run the Half Marathon, and today we profile some of the brave souls who have decided to boogie on to the finish line. I introduce some of our Half-ers in the fine video below, produced by our own Jason C..

For Those About to Run, We Salute You!

Run Brett Run: Travel Tips

Ani DiFranco reference in the title of this blog? Anyone? Anyone?

Hey there, Brett here. I’ve learned a lot during this training for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon, and I sure would like to share a bit of it with you.

1. Know your limits. If your knees are swollen, ice them and take the night off. If you’re feeling dehydrated, don’t run until you’re feeling like you’re up to it. If you feel like your ankles or knees are getting weak, or you have any real pain going on, get it checked out, or, at the least, take a break for a day or two till you’re not feeling like your legs are going to go out. I know you get that feeling of guilt if you don’t get out there and run everyday, but getting injured and being forced to sit out for a month would really be the icing on that Guilt-Cake.

2. Diet does matter. I have always thought that I could eat whatever I wanted, as long as I was exercising. I would, more or less, have a big bowl of grease for at least one meal a day. I’m not saying that you can’t have a nice fast-food treat every now and again, it’s just that onion rings for breakfast probably isn’t the best way to train for a marathon. So, if you’re trying to train for a marathon and the only vegetables that you have are deep fried and come in a little cardboard container, things might be a little easier for you if you limit that to about once a week.

3. Keep trying to improve a little every run, but don’t kill yourself. It doesn’t have to be a mile increase every run, but try to go just a little farther, or run your distance in a little quicker time. In my experience, just getting in a minute or so quicker than the night before makes me really anticipate beating that time the next day. It’s motivating, and this is coming from someone who two months ago was unmotivatable.

So, keep getting out there and training; Dec. 6 is just around the corner…let’s keep rocking and rolling, ya’ll!

Sign up for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon and Half Marathon here!

Playlist for the Week:
Gov’t Mule: Banks of the Deep End Volume 1
Jay-Z: The Black Album
Scene Unseen Movie Podcasts