SLR 086: Walk To Run!

Simple Life Reboot

Sheryl crossing the finish line at the 2002 Ironman Canada

It happens every year about this time, mid-way through January, after the holiday meals and desserts have fully accreted and solidified in the form of “love” handles.

Now comes the not-so-glamorous work of unpacking the storage shed, of taking off the extra pounds that have accumulated over the past couple of months, and getting back on track to be in better shape than ever this year – 2015.

If you are wanting to get in better shape, or are starting back after taking a break, we recommend a walk/run program, to strengthen tendons, ligaments, and muscle, in preparation for a run program.

Why Running Is The Goal

It is said that walking can be nearly as good for you as running, but since running is more rigorous, it maximizes aerobic conditioning in minimum time.  With a smart, gradual routine, executed over a period of time, you can prepare your body to perform at higher levels.

I cannot claim to be a fitness expert, but I am a fitness “enthusiast”.  I enjoy getting in shape, and when you get to be my age (56), that becomes a never-ending challenge.

Three Basic Rules of Good Fitness

Rest, Diet, Exercise


1)  Go to bed early.

2)  Do not spend an hour staring at a bright screen on your phone or tablet before turning out the lights.

3)  Get a solid 7-8 hours sleep every night.

4)  Choose at least one day per week to NOT exercise.


A well-balanced diet is needed to support our body’s fitness.

Regarding Weight-Loss

For smart, maximum weight loss, we like a high protein diet, with a calorie to protein ratio of 10/1.  Example:  a 200 calorie meal has approx. 20 grams of protein.  And if this ratio exists, the product must, by necessity, be low in sugar and fat.

When we are attempting to lose weight, we eat small meals of around 200 calories, 6-8 times per day.  Eating smaller meals, more frequently, speeds our metabolism.


The following routine sets forth the basics of a walk-to-run program which is both enjoyable and sustainable long term.


Walk every morning, whether you feel like it or not.  It takes about three weeks to establish a new habit.  Get up early and START, go slow, and go short.


If it is always the first thing we do, we find it is easier to remain focused and committed.  We do the workout automatically when we get up, and so it gets done before daily distractions can interfere.


Start by walking a short distance.  The distance and/or difficulty is not your goal at this point.  You are simply establishing the habit of getting up and getting out.  You are telling the body it is time to get strong.  You are laying a foundation, strengthening ligaments, tendons, joints, and muscles, and preparing the body for the next level of training.


We have found the “walk-to-run” fitness principle to be the most effective way to return to fitness after a long, or short, hiatus.

You should plan to walk a set distance every morning.  One morning per week, plan to increase the regular distance by 25 percent, then take one rest day.

In the following week, return to the shorter walk, but with an increase in distance of 10-15 percent.  Your long-walk day is still a 25 percent increase, but as you can see, your distance gradually increases week by week, increasing your endurance.

As you progress, begin to add run sections.  For instance, a section could be from one lamppost to another.  Starting out, the ratio could be 5:1, five sections walked for each one ran.  As your fitness improves, the ratio shifts from walking to running, for example 1:5.  Your training has become a RUN-TO-WALK routine, where walking simply becomes a brief scheduled rest interval during your run.


It is always better to work out with a partner, for the support, and to help each other stay accountable.


One way to stay motivated is to register for an upcoming athletic event.

Sheryl and I have our sights set on Disney’s Dumbo Double Dare this year (2015), and would be delighted to enter our family running team into next year’s Hood to Coast race – 2016.


We encourage you to get fit. Share the steps you are taking in our COMMENTS section.  We can all learn from each other.

Happy Training Everyone – 2015!


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SLR 059: The Incredible Transformative Power of Becoming a Human Guinea Pig

Simple Life RebootWhat is the best way to tackle a daunting task or behavioral change?   Many authorities emphasize the traditional approach of goal, structure, and feedback.  While helpful,  such approach lacks  the transformational jet fuel of adventure and experimentation.

Rediscover Adventure

Ask a young person why she tried chocolate on her broccoli. She may well answer  “to see how it would taste”.   While the objective of improving the taste of broccoli may  be important to her,  discovering something new is what excites her.  For her, there is no “failure” if the chocolate on broccoli is not to her taste. She simply moves on to the next combination.  This is the mindset of our greatest explorers.

When discovery,  rather than modality, is our focus,  the entire process becomes an adventure. We not only have permission to “fail”,   we expect hits and misses along the way and look forward to the next challenge.

The Power of the Experiment

Ordinary folks accomplish extraordinary things when they  experiment.  Pat Flynn, the highly successful entrepreneur and founder of  Smart Passive Income describes himself as the “crash test dummy of online business”.  A. J. Jacobs, author of Drop Dead Healthy, spent two years chronicling his efforts to become what he described as “the healthiest person in the world”.  Tim Ferriss started a movement with his Experiments in Lifestyle Design and his 4 Hour series.

Leaving our comfort zone for a predetermined period of time to test a method for solving a problem or accomplishing a goal can be a life changing experience.  If we are willing to make ourselves human guinea pigs, we will not only learn what works best for us,  but what makes us tick as well.

Opportunities to Experiment

Imagine what you could accomplish if you were willing to undertake a worthy experiment?  The opportunities are endless. Would your life be different if you did not complain for 30 days?   What would happen if you went on a digital fast for 14 days?   Would anything change if you gave away one item every day for 30 days?  How many precious people could you call in  7 hours to tell them that you love them?

Experiment and Share With Others

Paradoxically, many of us benefit more from a regular Joe sharing his struggles than we do from the world’s most accomplished individual addressing the same topic.  Joe gives us hope.   If Joe can do it, we can too.


We would love to hear about your personal experiments in the comments below.  Please share!


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Restore Margin to Care for Others (and Yourself)

Simple Life Reboot MarginTo what extent are we willing to go into debt, make unfair demands on family and co-workers,  or compromise healthy habits,  in order to achieve objectives?

Is our standard of living too reliant upon our willingness to push ourselves to the limit?

Long Term Impact

We may view our pedal-to-the-metal approach as proof of a strong work ethic and ambition, but are we deceiving ourselves as to either the sustainability or desirability of this approach?   We may also be dodging some hard questions  –  such as:

“After meeting our daily quota, do we have anything left to share with others?”

Wise Warnings

Throughout history, faith traditions have urged restraint in the use of resources, cautioning against the utilization of all that is available.

From a risk management perspective, keeping a buffer between resources used and available resources makes perfect sense,  but margin has infinitely greater value as a necessary resource for the care of others.

This value is made clear in the Vayikra, aka Leviticus 19:9-10, which instructs landowners to leave an unharvested margin around their fields. Further,  the harvested areas are not to be stripped bare.  This timeless practice preserves a resource to be shared with those in need.

Margin Needed Today

Restoration of margin is needed more than ever today.  In our overloaded and hectic world, it is only in the margin that we can feel safe to consider the needs of others.  It is in this space that we may be generous with our time, talents and treasures.  For instance, it is only when we have some degree of white space and flex in our schedule that we can welcome a spontaneous and unhurried conversation with a child.  It is when we have a reserve of physical strength that we can help a friend move furniture at the end of a long work day.  And, it is when we have limited our expenditures that we can consider giving generously without reservation.

By reminding ourselves of the reason for margin, we are better able to commit to its maintenance.  The beautiful thing is that by restoring margin,  we are restored and are better able to help restore and love others.


If you would like to read more on margin, please see ‘The Secret to Growing Margin“,  “5 Step Plan for Protecting New Margin“; and “Margin in Not Just for You“.


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Reclaim Your Inner Athlete

DSC_0005Sheryl and I have decided it’s time to dig out our running shoes and begin rebuilding what is left of the legs that carried us across the finish line at the Hood to Coast relay race with friends and family in August of 2012.

We are inspired by the fact that regardless of age, a high degree of fitness can be reclaimed with steady and determined effort.  The only thing holding us back is the willingness to commit. We know, however, that here in Eugene, Oregon, running capital of the world, birthplace of Nike, gravity is defied every day.

Here at Simple Life Reboot, we believe that our ability to care for others is related to our health.  Even if we make great strides in other areas of our life, our progress and impact on others is compromised if we neglect our health and fitness.

Now, I am not a professional athlete nor a credentialed expert, but rather a 50+ year old who has “been there – done that“.  What I offer are some suggestions to help those who want to kick off the dust and reclaim the athlete within. Maybe I can help get you to the “start line” sooner without the missteps I have made.

Rest, Exercise, and Diet:  each play a crucial role in our health.  In this post, I will focus on starting an exercise program. The following is a highly adaptable approach, setting forth the basics of a walk-to-run program which is both enjoyable and sustainable long term.



Walk every morning. We start early, start slow, and go short.

We have learned that walking early every morning sustains routine,  prevents schedule interference and starts our day off right.


Start by walking a short distance, a loop is preferable.

At this early stage you simply walk, not run.  Keep it short.  Distance and difficulty isn’t the goal at this point.  The goal is to establish the habit of doing it every morning without fail.  You are waking up the body by getting it used to more activity.  You are laying a foundation, strengthening ligaments, tendons, joints, and muscles, and preparing the body for the next level of training.


As you progress, begin to add run sections.  For instance,  a section could be from one lamppost to another.  Starting out,  the ratio could be 5:1,  five sections walked for each section run.  As your fitness improves,  the ratio shifts from walking to running, for example 1:5.   As progress is made,  walking can be a brief scheduled rest interval .


With a Partner – If you have the luxury, train with a partner.  This increases enjoyment and helps with motivation and accountability.

Talk / Listen While You Walk – You may want to use your training time to talk with your partner.  It can also be a great time to listen to your favorite podcasts, TED talks, audio books, music, etc.

With Your Dog – Our furry friends need exercise too.  If “Fido” is a possible candidate,  he may be one of the most appreciative training partners out there.

Try Running Apps – There are many useful mobile apps that can make your walk/runs fun and interesting.  Consider trying out one or more of the following:

Nike+  This app tracks duration, distance, and speed and has many other bells and whistles.  It is capable of creating challenge times, goals, and interactions with remote friends.

Zombies, Run!  This app invites you to participate in your own adventure by escaping a pack of hungry zombies!  This app can be unsettling early in the morning before sunrise, but is also quite fun.

MapMyRun  This app is all about tracking your route, as well as distance, calories, elevation, and even your nutrition for the day.


Commit to maintaining the program for a set period of time.  A great way to stay motivated is to register for a 5k or other athletic event scheduled to occur at the end of that period of time.  After the event,  consider committing to another training period and event.


As we train, we will update you on our progress. We encourage you to share the steps you are taking to become more fit  in our COMMENTS section.

Happy Training!


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How Do We “Flip the Switch” to Make the Change?

IMG_1003Have you experienced this?  One day you are relatively satisfied with a situation. Then,  something happens and you cannot make needed changes fast enough.

How can something be “okay” one moment, and then abruptly “not okay” the next?

For most of us, there is usually a triggering event which causes us to become acutely aware of a shortcoming.  After making the decision to change, our motivation shifts into high gear as we reach for what we now consider to be a necessity.

But what “flips our switch”?  What creates this internal discord and urgency? And perhaps more importantly, how do we keep that switch flipped on?

Recently that switch flipped for me with respect to my weight and fitness. In years past I had completed Ironman triathlons, but more recently,  I had drifted into a sedentary lifestyle.  At some imperceptible point,  I finally recognized my fitness level was unacceptable.

The decision to make a change was nothing less than thrilling.

Then, almost immediately, the high of making the decision to change gave way to the realization of the sustained commitment, time and effort, that would be required.  If only I could have bottled that initial excitement and clarity of purpose for repeated application over the months and years to come!

So, in an effort to stay the course, I devised an experiment of sorts. As part of Simple Life Reboot, I decided to videotape what I hope will be a transformational process. At points of discouragement, I will review the tape to remind myself of the progress I have made.  I may, if I become brave enough, post video of this journey.

Please join me on this journey.  Also, please share what measures you have found helpful over the years in keeping your motivational switch flipped on.


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Mend the Broken Rest Cycle

1025081504aI remember when I was a child, pleading with mom or dad to let me stay up “late”.  On that rare occasion when I was allowed extra time to play or watch the tube, it was like I’d hit the jack pot!

What I discovered after leaving home was that a routine bed time was optional.  Who knew?  This attitude of “who needs sleep when there is fun to be had,” continued into my 30’s and 40’s.

Many of us have, in fact, perfected ways of distracting ourselves from getting enough rest at night.  Our in-home entertainment options have increased exponentially over the past decade with cable programs, computer games, text and email, and games on our handheld devices.  We go to bed only when our options become less interesting.  Establishing a routine for when to climb into bed does not even show up on our radar.

What many of us fail to realize is that getting less sleep over time can result in a number of surprising outcomes, none of which are positive.

A few of these possible outcomes include:

1)  Accidents – in the home, at work or while driving, drowsiness slows reaction times and mental capacity.  Operating our bodies under these conditions can lead to a simple mistake being made that can result in a life-altering accident.

2)  Health Problems – Sleep deprivation can put us at risk for things like heart disease, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, stroke and diabetes.  When our solution for lack of energy during the day is additional consumption of sugar and caffeine, our health problems are compounded.

3)  Weight gain – In a study conducted  by the University of Colorado Boulder, in March 2013, getting less sleep leads to weight gain.  Having less energy during the day tricks our little brains into thinking food will solve the problem.

For years I would stay up too late, convincing myself I would simply deal with the fallout of being too tired during the course of the next day.  Maybe I would get up a few minutes later, or take an extra nap.  If I was really dragging, I was not above purchasing an energy drink to make it through.

But over the years I have learned the truth about bed time.  Living in a healthy manner compels us to impose upon ourselves the discipline our parents once did.  Drat!  It’s true.  We must on a regular basis deny ourselves that latest t.v. episode, tweeting out or gaming on our handheld device, so that during the course of the next day we can function at full capacity.

If you’ve been suffering from a lack of energy, mend your broken rest cycle.  Establish a regular bed time, and get the rest you need.

Those around you need and deserve the best you have to offer.


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Rethinking When the Workday Begins

Hawaii Nick 2009 018When does your day begin?  Until recent years I thought my day began after getting up in the morning.  But deeper analysis suggests we should begin to prepare for our day at night, by getting the proper rest.

According to Genesis, when God created time, He first created night and then day.

Night Before Day – Rest Before Work

It requires a mind shift, but if we think of the rest we get at night being the beginning of our day, we become more aware of the need to go to bed at an established time.

The Western concept of the work day has us working hard, then getting rest at night, or working hard all week toward a restful weekend, or working hard through the years until we eventually stop working (retirement).  Maybe it should be the other way around.  Maybe the emphasis should be on resting in order to work.

We like to think the reward is rest, but actually the reward is work.  After all, work feeds us, it clothes us, shelters us.  It keeps us motivated.  It supplies purpose and contentment.  Without it we are rudderless.

So, begin your day with rest, so you can enjoy the reward.


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A Simple Step You Must Take Now to Reduce Information Overload

screenshot“You can do anything, but not everything. ”  David Allen


The Problem

We live in an exciting time.  With easy access to the internet and quality podcasts, blogs, books, webcasts,  forums, and MOOCs, the sky is the limit for growth and service. The problem is our inability to deal with abundance. If we attempt to gather, sift and apply the available quality resources,  the end result may be numbness or withdrawal due to exhaustion.

The Solution

In order to stay in the fray, we need to implement safeguards.  The identification of mentors and information curators is the simple solution. Once curators are identified, available time can be used digesting and applying information provided by them.

Our Curators

Dave and I have great respect for curation. It is expertise in selecting, preserving and maintaining assets. The integrity and skill of the curator determines the value of the collection. Dave and I are beholden to quality content on intentional, simple, minimal, faith-based/value-driven living.  The following list, referenced in part in our earlier post,  Thought Leaders Who Have Inspired Us,  though not comprehensive of all the high quality content providers,  lists the experts who have been most influential in our journey thus far.

Principles of Margin:

Timothy Keller @timkellernyc

Dr. Henry Cloud @DrHenryCloud

Simple / Organized Living:

Simple Life Together – Dan and Vanessa Hayes

Zen Habits – Leo Babauta

The Simple White Rabbit – Christy King

Be More With Less – Courtney Carver

The Other Side of Complexity – Mike Burns

Value of Simple – Joel Zaslofsky

Slow Your Home – Brooke McAlary


The Minimalists – Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus

Becoming Minimalist – Joshua Becker

Getting Out the Message:

Michael Hyatt

Linked In Lady – Carol McManus

Become A Blogger – Leslie Samuel


We welcome your suggested additions.  Please make recommendations in the comments section.  Thank you.


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