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CHUCK: Hey everybody and welcome to Episode 142 of the Freelancers’ Show. This week on our panel we have Curtis McHale.
CHUCK: Eric Davis
CHUCK: I’m Charles Max Wood from DevChat.tv and this week, we’re going to be talking about fitness. So set your New Year’s resolutions and if you’re like me, they’ll last a whole week or two into January. But yeah, I know that both Eric and Curtis have some pretty, oh, I don’t know if rigid is the right word, but you guys get out and run or bike or whatever, regularly. And so I thought that that might be a good topic to talk about especially since I’m in the habit, then I’m not in the habit then I am in the habit then I’m not in the habit. [Chuckles]
ERIC: Yeah, you have a habit of not being in the habit?
CHUCK: Yeah. And I’m trying to find ways of changing my mindset to be better about it. But, I think one of the things that hang people up is just that they don’t know what to do. And so, I would really like to just dig in to what you guys generally do for your workouts or whatever you call them? Whether it’s a workout or getaway or escape or how you think about it and how you plan out what you’re going to do. What gear you’re using?
CURTIS: Why don’t you start it there Eric? What’s your regular weekly routine, Eric?
ERIC: When we’re recording it’s basically mid-December and so it’s basically holiday season, craziness and people running around doing things. I’m in the Pacific Northwest where it’s cold. It’s even rainy-er. It’s not that bad but it’s enough to make it really hard to get outside.
Right now, I’m actually in just a holding pattern. I’ve done it for about a week right now but I’m basically just doing three runs and it’s about five hours of running. So it’s like, I have a one-hour run in the middle of the week and then on the weekend, I have a three-hour long run and then a one-hour run the next day. But before that, I was doing 30 or 40 miles a week, I think 6 to 7½ hours a week. I can’t remember exactly, I can pull it up in a minute. But I’m actually following a training plan so I’m going from where I was to being able to run a 50k race in, what is it, this one’s 24 weeks. I’m hoping to get back to that in about a month or so and then be able to do a race in May, I think is what it is.
CHUCK: 50k – that’s about what, 31 miles?
CHUCK: Yay, Math!
ERIC: Yeah. So it’s basically like, a marathon and another 5k on the end.
CHUCK: Gotcha. What fitness program are you following?
ERIC: It’s from a book. It’s Relentless Forward Progress. It’s an Ultrarunning book. There are several of them in there. This one is the 50k race – you peak around 15 miles per week. And there are different race lengths. There’s a 50k, 50-mile, 100k, 100-mile. And then, in each of those there’s “how much training do you want?” Do you want to run 50 miles a week, 70 miles a week or 100 miles a week? The longer races take longer amounts of training, and then the more miles you do per week, the better you’re going to perform. It’s like the two main variables in dat least the Ultrarunning training plans.
CHUCK: Gotcha. Curtis, what about your program?
CURTIS: We only have one car so my day for my office starts with a 6 – 7 kilometer bike ride in and ends with a 6 – 7 kilometer bike ride home every day. And sometimes I just take the long way because it’s fun and do a few extra kilometers.
I usually run or ride but I’m mainly running right now – 3 days a week? And then I have a fourth day that’s kind of an optional this time of year, which is my Friday afternoons. I do what feels relaxing, so sometimes it’s a hike, sometimes it’s a bike ride, sometimes it’s reading at the coffee shop.
I’m not really following any specific plan. I’m new-ish to running. I’ve done tons and tons of cycling but kind of new-ish to running. And I’d also like to do an Ultramarathon. So I’m, Eric said in the chat, I’m building base because I have a great cardio system for it but my legs are starting to get used to the pounding.
My biggest week so far was 36 kilometers and it was all trails and all mountains, and some of the trails are steep enough that it was not so much running as determined hiking because they are just so steep. So that’s what I was doing, I’m just continuing to increase. Last week was tough with home renovations and sick kids and stuff so I didn’t get out last week much at all. But it’s expected this time of year. I’m not that concerned about it and I’ll be getting out some other days and later in the week again, back on track.
CHUCK: Right. And I know from the conversations we’ve had in the chat room – we have a chat room on Skype that we just all hang out in – that an Ultramarathon is anything longer than 26.2 miles, right?
CURTIS: Yeah. So that’s 42 kilometers. Anything 50 kilometers and above is an Ultramarathon. Because I do best that really steep stuff and determined hiking – my wife is a faster runner than me but as soon as it gets steep, I am significantly faster than her both up and down, so I’m looking for one that is particularly hard. The worse the weather is, the less likely it just doesn’t matter to me.
One of my big events that I did a couple of weeks ago when I was taking a day off, it was pouring rain the whole time into snow – through knee-deep snow up to the other mountain and back, it was like a four-hour, 14-kilometer run, determined hike with knee-deep snow involved and whipping wind and I came down soaking wet and it was excellent and a lot of fun.
ERIC: Yeah, I’m the opposite of that. I started running and I’ve done, I think for the first few years, I was mostly on the street and now I’m trying to get off on the trails. I’m used to very flat and very consistent pacing and so hills and going on trails, where it’s up and down, up and down, turning and all that stuff – I’m a lot slower. So for me, between that and like I said, the winter weather, I’m the opposite kind of runner as Curtis. I’m trying to build up my hill running, my hill strength and all that, and I’m trying to do as many trails as I can now because that’s a weakness I have.
CURTIS: Yeah. I have a big background in Suisse des guide [inaudible 06:58] stuff – so in hiking, in hauling huge loads in canoes and stuff over rocky terrain, weird stuff and also rock climbing as well. I particularly enjoy the really hard trails that seem really steep and really hard, really difficult.
CHUCK: One thing that I want to get into with this really quickly and I know we’ve talked about it on the show before some is, what benefits do you guys see in this?”
CURTIS: Just your fitness overall, right? My cardio is very, very low. So to do anything, my heart doesn’t have to work very hard and it gives me lots of energy to play with the kids too. Even the mornings that I work at home, or the days I work at home, I always feel like I have less energy when I’ve ridden in and it’s just a 20-minute bike ride. I don’t even ride very hard. It’s just about 20-minutes out in the fresh air, sometimes out of the pouring rain – it just makes me feel better. And I look forward to it so I’ll come home and run sometimes or I run at 5 AM sometimes and I just enjoy it.
Specifically, out on the mountains, I feel a lot of peace out there. I get out and look around and not much out there but me and the dog and it just feels nice to be out, up in the mountains with no one around.
ERIC: Yeah. And more on a day-to-day benefit because I’m running, say five hours/week, I’ve figured it out and got it dialed in so I can listen to podcasts or audio books during that time.
The things is, I have it 25% faster so I get maybe seven hours of audio listening in. That’s a lot of focus time I can spend on that stuff that I normally wouldn’t because if I’m sitting at home, I’m either wanting to work or wanting to do something. I can’t just sit there and listen to an audio book and take notes.
But when I’m out running, my body is pretty occupied by the running activity and like Curtis said earlier, most training happens at such a low speed, like you’re not really pushing yourself hard, and so I can have my mind occupied by the audios and learn that way. I go through podcasts and books so much faster now.
CURTIS: I find that so funny. I feel the same thing when it comes to biking, Eric – exactly the same thing, because I’ve been biking, I’ve been racing since I was 14, so I have over 20 years of riding experience. Running – I find it much harder to focus because I don’t have 20 years of adaptation towards that. I can go hard and set personal records on cycling and I don’t really have to think about it – where I can focus on the audio just fine.
CHUCK: Yeah. I have to say that when I’ve been on the habit, it’s been really nice to take the time. I do the same thing – I listen to podcasts or I listen to an audiobook or something. I think this is what you guys are saying – it’s not just the content coming in; it’s the fact that because I’m out just running and doing whatever, it turns off all of the other noise in my head as well and so I can really just absorb whatever it is that I’m listening to.
ERIC: Right, and I don’t know the exact studies or results but I think if you exercise and 20 or 30 minutes afterwards you have – I think it’s hormones or something. Something is elevated and so you can actually learn and focus and concentrate even better.
I think there are some studies where they make people exercise on a bike and then learn stuff, and their learning was actually improved over just learning and just sitting down on a quiet place and doing it. I can think back to a couple of big decisions or strategies or tactics I remember and I can tell you exactly where I was running and exactly what I was doing on that day because it gets burned into my brain in a certain way.
CHUCK: I think I’ve heard that it’s like blood flow and oxygen saturation in your brain so it works better. I don’t know what it is but I’ve felt the same phenomenon myself. You know just have more clarity.
CURTIS: On slow mornings, I’ll even take a walk and it’s probably about a 1 kilometer walk just out of my door here and a bit of a field and I’ll walk around that and feel more energized for the afternoon.
CHUCK: I don’t know if we’ve dug into what kind of gear you guys use. I’m an amateur runner myself. I have a bike but I don’t ever use it. I’m really curious as to what recommendations you have for people to – let’s say they want to get into biking or running. How do they get started and what kind of equipment do they need?
CURTIS: I think you need to be realistic with what you’re going to do first. I have two bikes. One is a fairly nice road bike and one is a relatively inexpensive single speed and that’s the one I lock up and commute with most of the time. [Inaudible 11:19] a nice road bike that comes out on the days when I’m going for longer rides – not just around town.
I think when you’re looking at bikes, if you’re looking for say, a road bike with some gearing on it, a good price when I started out was probably $700 – $700 or $800, I’d say a thousand Canadian. It’s probably where you want to spend and that’s where you stop trading really poor quality just for price, which is a reasonably big expense, but at our house we spend significantly less. We do not have a second car.
And for running, it depends on the type of runner you are. Eric runs on sandals and I run in more traditional running shoes and because of all the trails I do, I have GORE-TEX – GORE-TEX sealed running shoes with little [inaudible 11:58] over them.
The brand of shoe that I like running in is the Solomon SPEEDCROSS 3 GTX. That’s the GORE-TEX ones I wear for real heavy trails. And I have a set of Nike Air Pegasus Trail Shoes for lighter trails that I use for the road.
Bike brands that I really like would be Trek or Giant or BNC. In fact, almost all of those are made by Giant anyways so they’re the biggest Bicycle manufacturer in the world [crosstalk 12:25] as well.
ERIC: So they’re a giant bicycle manufacturer?
CURTIS: They are. They actually do almost all the manufacturing overseas for every other bike brand, almost all, not quite. And then my single speed is from State.
CURTIS: Really, if you go to a competent bike shop that is – that’s what they do, they sell bikes – not just some department store that sells bikes and everything else, then you’re probably going to be in good hands. Just go in with a proper expectation of cost for bikes.
And then same for running, at least in my experience, you go to a competent running store – not just a department store, or not just like Sport Chek that happens to sell shoes as well. I buy some work out shoes there for lifting weights or I buy some clothing there but I do not buy my running shoes there. I go to a place that can actually look at my feet and look at my knees and look at my shoes and how they work, how they’ve worn in and analyze, help me find a proper type of shoe for me.
CHUCK: Yeah. I went into a running store – that where I got my running shoes. They have all of the right stuff and they measure and they had me running the shoes and walking the shoes and do all kinds of other things in the shoes and it turned out that one of my feet is a little bit shorter than the other so they helped me compensate for that. It was a truly different buying experience than going to Walmart and picking out what they pass off as running shoes. And granted it was more expensive, but.
CURTIS: Yeah, but having busted up knees is not worth it. Right?
CURTIS: That’s even more expensive that spending an extra $30 on shoes.
CURTIS: What were you going to say Eric?
ERIC: I think that’s something you have to keep in mind too especially if you’re starting new with anything. You could pay a lot of money on stuff and you don’t even know if you’re going to stick with it.
I would try to limit what you need to buy, try to make do with what you have, with the exception of safety things like safety gear for a bicycle or get a good pair of running shoes. I follow the strategy off and on; don’t go buy running clothes until you’re running solidly. Get running shoes, but don’t go out and buy special water bottles or Fuel or any of that stuff until you actually feel you need that. I mean you could dump thousands of dollars on that and especially if you haven’t got started, that’s going to be really hard. It’s going to make your exercise, your running, very complex.
CURTIS: Yeah. I’ll buy “running gear” – it’s actually doubled-up cycling gear using my leg warmers from cycling. I bought two pairs of boxers that are better for running and they’d just end up like a couple pairs of loose shorts. I think that was a $70 investment.
And then the shoes, I’ve always had a pair of GORE-TEX hiking style shoes. I just got ones that are built more for running than hiking, so they can do double duty in my hiking as well, which we do with the family all the time anyways.
CHUCK: Yeah, that’s one thing that I’ve been wondering about. So, when I go around, I’m usually wearing gym shorts and a shirt – a running shirt that breathes pretty easily and things like that. But I’m really curious. It gets pretty cold here and I like running outside, but once it gets really cold, I just don’t because I hate being cold. So do you have a recommendation for that?
CURTIS: Run harder.
CHUCK: Run harder. [Chuckles]
ERIC: Well, here, I’m going to put it in the show notes. I’ve found a site. I guess, beginning this winter, I was doing a lot of really heavy trail runs where – I mean it’s through forest parks. You’re literally going through a forest and it was, if I got hurt or had to pull out, I would have to find a trail head to get picked up.
There’s a site called Dress My Run that you can put in your gender, you can set it if you are neutral, if you want to be slightly warmer, whatever. It will use your browser, geolocation – the same API that Dark Sky uses which is like a weather forecasting app. It will tell you, if you’re going to go out running right now, wear this gear, and you can also see what’s it going to be like tomorrow morning so if you want to lay your ground ahead of time.
I’ve used this like crazy just to see, “Okay, here’s a three-hour run.” At the beginning I’m going to need to be warm but I’m going to be back in shorts by the end of it so I figure out what I want to wear. And it’s pretty close on. I just have my setting to slightly warmer. I run slower so I don’t want to be underdressed.
CURTIS: Yeah. And I’d rely a lot on my outdoor experience, as well. When I’m up on the mountains, I’m also carrying an emergency Bivy Sack. I carry an extra 500 Calories that I’m not even planning to eat. They’re just there, in case. And I carry a bunch of other stuff like that as emergency gear, like an extra warm layer in a Ziploc bag so that it’s totally dry and I could put it on if I needed to.
One of the best pieces of gear that I got recently was a buff. Usually I see them as a neck gaiter but they make one that’s like a full, over-the-head balaclava tuque thing and that has been excellent. It’s stretchy enough you can pull it back, so it’s just an ear warmer or a neck warmer or just like a tuque. It’s quite thin so it’s good for running.
I found it great even, say, I was up on the mountains and it’s -14°C and it was perfectly warm as I was going and it’s actually the buff. They make a winter one too with a big fleece liner that I don’t need for where I am around here and I’ve got lots of other tuques for really, really cold weather when I’m out hiking up in the snow in the mountains.
ERIC: Yeah and just for, case in point, I actually have, it’s like a fleece – I don’t know what you call it. It goes over your head and all that and it comes down your neck. I have that from when I was snowboarding in high school so it’s I don’t know how old.
I’ve ran, using from the same era, snowboarding gloves. They have an inner fleece lining and then an outer waterproof. I’ve ran in that. I’ve ran in old ratty T-shirts and stuff like that. Especially in wintertime, you want to layer up clothes you don’t want to be caught dead in if you go out socially. You can layer that stuff to keep you warm and if it gets messed up or it gets torn up, it’s not a big deal.
CURTIS: Yeah and that’s what most of my stuff is. Even the gloves I run in most of the time are my cycling gloves that happen to be a WINDSTOPPER. And then my warmer ones, I have ski patrol vents when you’re snowboarding and doing that stuff. So the only real things I bought were the running shoes and the boxers, the pair of shorts who’s not – I’ve not spent a lot on extra other gear out there.
CHUCK: So what do you do if you’re out running and you’ve overdressed? Do you usually run with a backpack or something to throw the stuff in?
CURTIS: My rule of thumb is, when you get out the door, you’re like “Whew! It’s a little chilly maybe?” Right? Because you’re going to warm up.
CURTIS: That’s what I always did when cycling, my first couple of minutes – my first, probably 20 minutes at cycling, I’ll be, “Whew, it’s just a little chilly!” And then I’d warm up.
Now cycling is easy because usually I’ve lots of pockets on the back so I’d bundle up one of my vests and put it in the back but I run – when I’m out in the mountains I run with a Nathan VapourCloud as well, which is 15 Liters of storage and a Hydration Bladder and lots of little side pockets so I also carry a head lamp in that even when I’m up in the mountains. I carry that almost any time running on the trail just because it’s in my bag, actually.
ERIC: Yeah, and I think they say you want to be 10 or 20 degrees colder when you start, or dress for 10 or 20 degrees warmer because you’ll warm up that much. Sometimes in races, you’ll see some really professional runners, they’ll have a whole bunch of stuff on and as they run, they strip it off and just throw it away because it doesn’t matter to them. For when you’re training, I would take of my jacket and wrap it up tight up as I’m running and just carry it. I also have a backpack but there’s really not much room in mine. Mine is a smaller one.
It also depends on practice. I like to test out food and different layers of clothing on my shorter runs so if I do screw something up I only deal with it for maybe an hour. And then on my longer run that’s where it’s like, “Okay, I know what I need to have; I’m dialed in.” And especially when you’re getting started, if you’re going for a 20-minute run, a 30-minute run, you can suffer through being overdressed or underdressed a little bit. It’s not too bad. And, very worst case, you just stop, turn around and come home.
CURTIS: Yeah. Like I’ve said a few times, I’ve been relying on, not only 20 years of cycling with guiding and all the other stuff being many, many, hours away from anyone that can help me and needing to make sure that I have all the stuff I need for myself and for other people. I possibly pack lighter than I would recommend other people do because I make sure – because I’ve been out there enough and even pumped myself or got myself out of dislocated shoulders and other things mostly by myself before.
CHUCK: That makes sense.
ERIC: One thing I want to touch on real quick, for [inaudible 20:20] gear is, like I said, use what you have. I have a log of my stuff. I started running in 2011 but I actually got serious in 2012 and I was doing – what’s it called? Couch to 5k, where it’s a pretty good training plan to get you from, “I don’t run” to doing a 5k.
For the entire training which I don’t remember how many weeks it was, it’s probably eight, maybe a dozen weeks? I was just using my normal stuff – just old t-shirts. I had some kind of standard exercise pants – they don’t wick away moisture or anything. And when I finished the program, my reward was to go out and buy specific Nike running clothes that I was going to run in the race with.
I used what I had and used the motivation of, “I can get these really fancy runner-esque stuff, but only after I finished it.” And I found out, it actually worked really good. That’s still the same thing I wear in any race that I can because it feels like I earned it and it’s kind of like an accomplishment to me.
CURTIS: Yeah. The only real caveat I’d say, Eric, especially if you’re going on trails and you’re away from some help is that wearing cotton is not good because it would absorb 100% of its weight in water. Once it’s wet, water also pulls your body heat away 25% faster than air. “Cotton Kills” is what I’ve always been told.
I used to have a shirt that my uncle got when he was a teenager at some basketball camp that was 50-50 and that’s what I’d wear in the summer because it didn’t feel, at that time – 10 years ago – it didn’t feel as odd as the polyester stuff but it wasn’t 100% cotton.
CHUCK: Yeah, that makes sense. I want to talk a little bit just getting in the habit. And I know we’ve talked about this on the show before but I know people that are going to ask about it too. So, how do you get into the habit of doing it? How do you make it work? Or maybe more appropriately, how do you find time? Because for me, finding time usually [crosstalk 22:08] means –.
CURTIS: You don’t find time. Time is not hidden in the cushions of your couch, Chuck.
CURTIS: You plan time. What I do is I say, “I’m running on these three days. My wife is running on these other three days. These are the times we’re running at and the other person is available to take care of the kids then.” Right? When I’m running first thing in the morning, then at 9 o’clock at night, I am getting ready for bed. I’m unpacking all my running clothes, putting them downstairs and getting them out. And then I set my alarm to get up.
You don’t find time in your couch cushions; you actually have to make it. Michael Hyatt has a “Design your Ideal Week” blog post a while ago and you’d put it on your calendar, “I am working out at these times.” If you have a spouse and kids, you’d talk to the spouse and say “You’ll be around for the kids then?” “Yes.” Okay, now we’ve worked it out. And your spouse says, “Why aren’t you going out right now?” “I’m not leaving until – oh, it’s 5 AM! Okay now, I need to find my stuff and not wake people up.” No, you’re not going to go then.
CHUCK: Yeah. That makes sense.
ERIC: For me, I was eating healthy, taking care of my health in all other ways except for exercise and I found that I didn’t have as much energy as I wanted. I’ve read a lot of stuff and came to the conclusion that even if I’m spending 5 hours of exercise in a week and trying to make that a priority and trying to figure out where that’s going to go, I’m going to get more than 5 hours of my life. I’m going to live longer; I’m not going to be as tired and have to just lounge on the couch and not be able to function. I have a net benefit, so there’s a cost of time of doing this and effort and all that but the benefit of doing it is much, much, more.
And as I’ve been running, I’ve actually found I can be uncomfortable more than I used to be. If I’m on a call for a client and the client has been difficult, usually I would start freaking out. I wouldn’t get emotional but I would feel my pulse starting to speed up. And then once I get off the call with the client, I would panic for a few hours trying to figure out what they wanted or jump through hoops or whatever it was.
Now, I feel like I can talk to a client, go through a difficult conversation; I’m much more calm, much more focused on and afterward, I’m not having this train wreck of emotions. And I think a lot of that comes back to my running.
I’m out there sometimes for an hour, really, really, pushing hard – struggling because of some reason, and I’m understanding that I can push this hard and I’m still alive. Being on the phone and have a client yell at me, that’s nothing compared to doing a 3-hour run. And so I think that having that kind of benefit and seeing that come in play makes it so exercise – and in my case, specifically, running – is an important part of my life. It’s not so much as I would like to add running to my life. It’s, “I want to incorporate running into my life.”
CURTIS: Running is a part of your self-care too, right? When my kids are 20 and I’ll be 50, do I want to be barely able to keep up with them and not be able to go out and not do stuff with them, or do I want to be able to go out there with them and still be in decent shape and be able to play with my grandkids when I’m 55 and 60? That’s the things I want to do, right? And part of that self-care is getting out and being in decent shape – by no means some epic athlete or anything, I’m just in decent shape.
ERIC: Right. When I’m 50 or 60, I want to be able to run a marathon with my granddaughter or something. It’s interesting why people think it hurts your body or it’s pretty abusive. It is at some points, but try to remember the statistics.
There’s something like, once you hit a level – I think it’s in your 20s – this is going to be the fastest you’re going to get but you don’t actually slow down and can’t run until you’re 60, 70 or 80. You can keep running until well into your old age and I know there are some people that are running that are even older than that. And so it’s actually a sport and exercise that you can do for a long, long, time. You’re not going to be super fast but you can keep doing it. You can have that endurance.
CURTIS: Something I’ve always found intriguing is that when you look at the longer a race gets, the older the top finishers usually are because they have all that adaptation for it, which is again why I’m taking things slow because my legs are not used to the pounding so I’m taking it slow. So if you’re getting off the couch, expecting to be able to go out and, I think I jumped into 5Ks almost week one and honestly my legs are epic-ly sore the first day. How you use your muscles is so different than cycling and then running that I was sore – epic-ly sore the first day, the stairs hurt. But then I ramped up within a few weeks up to running 10ks and running up mountains because I already had muscular strength from other things, it’s still the pounding that I’m still letting my body work on or the road impact.
CHUCK: Right. So you make time. I’m just going to go back a little bit. So you make time.
CURTIS: No, you don’t make time. You plan that out.
CHUCK: You plan that time.
CURTIS: You’re not manufacturing more time out of thin air.
CHUCK: [Laughs] Yes, Coach Curtis. [Chuckles] No, it’s true – it’s definitely true. The language I’m using definitely reflects my mindset. So you plan ahead so that you can go and you plan to go.
CURTIS: Well, I think you need to remember to bite off, like I said, I was just singing to bite off what is suitable for you, Chuck. My mother-in-law started running and she has improved her fitness conditioning a lot over the last number of years. But she’s never really run. It’s just a brisk walk and she’s starting like, “We will run one light post and then we will walk two light posts.” And then we will run one light post then walk two light posts. And we’ll do this, we’re going to get out for 20 minutes or something and that’s the goal. And once the 20 minutes are up, they just walk home – her and my father-in-law.
The running room, I forgot the guy’s name, but they actually do a 10-in-1 and you work to be able to run 10 minutes and walk one. And your first marathon they walk you through in their program is that’s how you do it. You do not run the whole thing. You run 10 and walk one. Or run 9 and walk one – whatever it is. But you start off, “I’m going to run one minute and then I will walk nine and run two minutes then walk eight.” And so, building yourself up.
People, especially adults, when we go out hiking with my four-year-old and we’re hiking some very hard stuff, they’re like, “This is so hard. How can she do this?” And I think when she is hiking with us twice a month, she always carries her backpack. You were working in your stupid office all week and then decided the top of the mountain would be pretty today. Of course you’d hurt and it’s hard for you. It’s not hard for her because she’s been doing it for all this time. Even though she’s four and has to take ten times the steps – and [inaudible 28:18] fast as you, we would slow.
ERIC: Like I’ve said, I’ve been running for, I guess, going on three years now? Maybe 3½. I actually still do run-walk. Right now, I found what works good for me is I run for 90 seconds and I walk for 30. That’s why I said I ran a bit slower. I actually run significantly fast, but then I walk and that lets me actually recover. I do that for a 3 – 3½-hour long run, constantly running and walking, running and walking.
A lot of times, it’s like a bit of power hiking, but I’m still a runner. I still get it done and I think, unless you are an actual elite athlete, like you know you’re going to win a race, this strategy is good for almost everyone else. It’s really easy to do and you can vary your ratios.
I started out where, like Curtis said, I think I ran for a minute and then walked for 3 or 4 minutes, and slowly started to adjust it as I was getting more fit and as I’m getting better at it. I mean, it’s easy; it’s great. If I’m feeling tired one day, I just walk a bit more. If I did a long run or maybe I’m feeling a bit sick or under the weather, I walk a bit more. It’s a bit of mindfulness about your body and how you’re feeling and how you’re actually working. Sometimes, especially when you’re going downhill, I just keep running. I love going downhill really fast, so I don’t need to slow down and take a walk break.
CURTIS: And it’s about enjoyment too, right? You should always be enjoying it. There’s weeks, even when I’ve been cycling and I’m on some training program – because I had a coach for a full year. I get out there and I get part way in to the ride, and I’ll be like, basically I don’t want to ride on the flat stuff because it sucks. So I’m going to totally throw out the training plan today and I’d turn off the monitoring telling me where I should be and my heart rates and stuff. I’m just going to go for a bike ride and enjoy myself.
If that means I stop at the coffee shop and sit around for half an hour, that is totally fine. Because it should be fun. It is good for you but it should be fun at the same time; you should get enjoyment out of it. It may not even been running. Just hiking or walking or whatever. Getting out there at all will be beneficial for you.
ERIC: Yeah, and that’s the exact reason why I’m on a maintenance plan right now is because there was two weeks where every run I was doing – I think that’s 5/week? Every run felt like I was struggling. I hated it. I hated getting out there. I never got the, “Oh, this is great!” feeling.
I waited two weeks [inaudible 30:34] and then I’m like, “This isn’t changing. I need to make a change or I’m going to come out of this and just quit out.” And I made the change so I’m running a little bit easier, taking the whole training thing a bit easier and I’m enjoying it again. I’m wanting to get out there.
In fact, I ordered some more clothes because I want to try out some new stuff and some new ideas. I think you have to look at the long term. Is it more important for you to keep your resolution and run for the first three months and then never run again, or is it more important for you to run, take it easy and continue running for 30 years?
CURTIS: Yeah. Build a lifestyle of it, right? If you talk about easy accessibility –I’ve built riding into my lifestyle. I will grab my backpack and throw my backpack on to go get a jug of milk, rather than take the car that is sitting right there and it’s pouring rain. I just grab the bike because it is there and it’s an easy bike ride. That is what I would honestly rather do even with the pouring rain and the car is sitting there, I’d rather ride.
CHUCK: I’d like to throw out another scenario out there and it’s the core of the on-again, off-again thing. I usually do well for three to five weeks running and what happens is I get sick. And so, after about a week, I’m better, I feel better, I feel like I can get out and do it again, and then it’s hard again and so I’m not as motivated.
CURTIS: Well no, you’d feel guilty. There’s no guilt in taking a bit of a break. When I’m sick, I’ll just take the time off. I don’t even worry about it. Sick is going to happen. Sometimes, the best thing you can do for your fitness is to do nothing. It’s to relax – to get better.
ERIC: Well, if it’s a little long term like, if you’re trying to do some kind of a fitness thing because you’re trying to be healthier overall, it doesn’t make sense to push yourself for the 3 or 4 days that you’re really sick and get those extra runs in. That’s going to hurt you and you could go to the hospital. If you have Pneumonia or something like that, then it could make it worse versus just staying home taking care of yourself and getting back into it.
CURTIS: Yeah. It depends on your fitness level too and what you’re going to do, right? Me saying, “I’m not going to run up this mountain today but I’m going to go take my kid on a hike.” They’re two totally different scenarios. One where I’m working hard because I’m trying to go up a mountain fast and the other one where I’m like mosing along, picking flowers and pointing out teapots on this little hike because they put teapots on it. So it’s still some exercise or getting out and coming down and being able to dress warmer even and double layer up and still getting out and getting some activity in.
ERIC: And I think the kind of rule is – and I think this goes for strength training too – if you stop any exercise, you can pick it back up in two weeks and you’re basically very close to where you left off. Anything longer than that, you start regressing and all that.
Even if you regress a little bit, it’s the overall – you’re going up. You might have ups and downs and a lot of times it’s seasonal stuff. During winter, a lot of people stop running or the people that do, it’s a lot harder so you’re not advancing, you’re not progressing as much. That’s just got to be a part of the thing. You got to realize this is something temporary. This is something you can get over and you just stick with and you keep at it.
CURTIS: And maybe you need a goal too, right? My wife is a faster runner than me by far but she really needs a goal. She doesn’t have some race coming up. Even say a 5k, she does not get out as much. So we pick one per quarter basically; even if it’s a local 5k for her.
Whereas myself, I’m like, I want to run these three mountains at some point at summer. So I need to be in shape to do that as fast as possible and that’s the only goal that I need. I do not need to do it with anyone else and that would be fine with me. And I quite regularly do that, plan two months ahead. I’m going to go do some ridiculous thing and I’m going to train for it over the next couple of months just to tighten the fitness up to where it needs to be for that event.
ERIC: I think if you feel sick and it’s above your shoulders, like a runny nose, your throat is slightly sore, almost every sores I’ve seen says, you’re fine to run in that as long as it doesn’t get worse. Actually sometimes, when running, the extra oxygen, the more forceful breathing – sometimes that will actually clear up a lot of the symptoms that you have. I’ve gone out with a sniff-ly, almost a cold thing. By the time I came back, all my symptoms were gone. It was minor enough that I was able to work through it. And so that’s something else to think about.
CURTIS: As long it’s just the first day or two of a bit of a cold, then I just deal with it. I might go slower but if it’s icky other stuff and if I’m aching, I just hang out and watch movies which means Frozen with the kids.
CURTIS: Again and again and again.
CHUCK: They must know my kids! [Laughs] Well, this has all been extremely helpful for me.
CURTIS: I’d just say one good thing to look at, it’s not even just running or doing something like that, but looking at the boot camps that a lot of fitness places offer. I’m not necessarily talking about Crossfit.
My wife is a personal trainer and I don’t love Crossfit either. It pushes you into some dangerous areas sometimes, especially if some people are just starting out and not knowing themselves very well. But getting into some boot camps where you’re going three times a week and you’re doing a whole bunch of body workouts and intervals and stuff like that, it can be fun and in a group atmosphere so you more likely to show up if you have other people waiting for you there. That’s a really good overall fitness thing; it will help get your cardio up and help get you overall core strength and your upper body as well. Because even in running, core is a big thing. [Inaudible 35:43] because I’m blasphemous because I do Crossfit or because I think it’s dangerous.
I think it can be dangerous but any workout can be dangerous if you don’t have someone doing it – Crossfit pushes towards dangerous more often than other things do.
CHUCK: Yup. So on the days you’re not motivated to go, what do you do?
ERIC: Go. [Chuckling] [Crosstalk 36:03]
CURTIS: Unless I’m sick or unless it’s been a real – say last week, I could’ve fitted in after painting at late at night and left my wife to hang out with the kids but I just didn’t. The time that I usually would go, which works 99% of the time, didn’t work and didn’t worry about it. I’m still riding my bike and throwing a 40-pound four-year-old. I did a bunch of shoulder presses with my four-year-old and she loves that and curls with the baby and she giggles with that. So, did some work out still and that was fine.
ERIC: If it’s not a health concern or safety concern like we’re having Snowmageddon 2014 or something, I try to go whenever I can, whenever the plan calls for it. And I always have that, “I can go and come back.” Like, I had a 5-mile training run I was supposed to do, couple of weeks before and I only got out a mile and a half and most of that was just walking up a hill. I wasn’t feeling good; I wasn’t there. My motivation hit pretty much a low that I haven’t had for probably all year, if not several months. And I just turned around and came home.
Basically I did that, chalked it up as just not a good day and adjusted what I’m doing based on it, but I still got out. I knew, going out the door, this doesn’t feel like it’s going to be a good day, but let’s see what happens. In the past, I’ve re-arranged my schedules so, if I’m supposed to run Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Monday I’m not feeling motivated, I might switch it to Tuesday but I don’t do that twice in a week. If I do twice in a week, something’s wrong that I need to address. Maybe I need to take a rest week, scale back. Maybe I need to take a week off and fully recover but [inaudible 37:33] it’s the idea that you never want to miss out two workouts in a row.
CURTIS: Uh-oh. I missed Friday and the weekend. And Monday actually – those three.
CHUCK: Alright. Anything else that we should talk about before we get to the picks?
ERIC: One thing – because this happens a lot or it comes up a lot – is getting injured. Especially with running, the statistics are like 50% or 60% of all runners get injured each year, something like that. I don’t know how it is with cycling; I’m assuming it can be bad or whatever.
You have to look at it the same as with getting sick. If you get mildly injured, you want to see if you can work around it. Maybe instead of taking a hard day, you take it easy. But if you actually get really, really, hurt, you need to stop what you’re doing, go see a doctor, go see someone who is qualified and see if it’s actually something that should be taking you out of your training plan or what.
CURTIS: Yeah, right now I’ve been battling a little bit of a back thing on my right side. Luckily, my friend happens to be a physiotherapist and doesn’t mind getting paid in beer. So I will go see him this week just to get some help on that because I think it’s been affecting my running.
Another thing that a lot of people don’t do, Eric, is they go out and run but they don’t have a good stretching plan. I know you have like a foam roller or a roller for massaging your legs and I have Trigger Point Foam Roller, which is some of the most painful work you’ll ever do, but I always feel better after [inaudible 38:52] T-bands or something common in running and I have them from cycling and kayaking, from some other stuff as well. And so working on my T-bands specifically and I do it 4 or 5 times a week. I roll my legs as I’m talking to my wife after the kids are in bed, and that’s good self-care to help keep your injuries away and keep yourself flexible and keep your muscles supple and you need to do that as part of a whole workout plan.
ERIC: Yeah. I don’t do pre-run or post-run stretching but I think [inaudible 39:20]. I try to do a body weigh exercise every night, a daily thing. On the days when I run, I get my, I think it’s called the stick or whatever. It’s for that foam-rolling type of idea. And I use that at least on my legs – if not on my back or arms or whatever.
I mean, it hurts. Two nights ago, I was doing my calves; my kid was asleep so I was trying not to scream out in pain. But the next day, I don’t have any pain; I don’t feel sore there. So that’s something important to do.
The actual stretching before a run, there’s research saying it’s good, there’s research saying it’s bad. I think you just need to figure out what works for your body. I found actually that for me the time requirements of doing a three to five-minute stretch before each run was just annoying and so I stopped doing it for that reason. I didn’t see any benefit in it.
CURTIS: Yeah. I don’t do them before but afterwards. Lululemon has this 11-minute Yoga thing for opening up your hips and so I’ll do a little bit of stretching before I come in the house. But then I’ll get on a mat and my four-year-old loves to do Yoga with me so we’ll do some stretching together in the morning or after my run. She loves it and it helps me stay nice and loose as well.
CHUCK: One question that I have is, do you need to eat a certain way in order to maximize what you’re doing with your fitness or vice-versa?
CURTIS: Eric says Vegan but he’s lying.
ERIC: Yeah. You need to eat plants only.
CURTIS: You need to eat well-rounded. I’m not vegan but we eat very little processed food; we even make a lot of our bread. We’re not doing as much now, but when we have pizza, we make all the dough and all of everything in it. So while it is still pizza, it’s not as bad as what you buy over the counter.
We eat a lot of fruit. We actually listen to Eat Move Sleep recently and we actually just put a fruit bowl out and ten minutes before dinner we cut up the vegetables and just put on the table and let the kids snack on the vegetables first if they want as well. So just eating healthy and eating smart; it’s not like eating out all the time. Not going for the fourth cookie. In fact, how about you just don’t even buy cookies or make them and then you can’t eat ten of them.
ERIC: I don’t know. I have a book I went through last night. It’s energy bars and they actually how to make homemade energy cookies that looked pretty good. I mean, I do a fitness boot camp with my wife before I went running. And that was I think 6 days a week so it’s pretty intense. If you ate really bad, whatever you want to classify bad as, you’ve felt it during the workout. There are some people that did that – they admitted that and they were puking during the workout. They did not give their body what it needed to recover from the day before and when you’re doing 6 days of an hour of very high intensity stuff – you could feel it.
And the same with running and probably with cycling too. Going out and doing the exercise, the activity – that’s important, but it’s actually more important to recover. You can go out and push really, really hard but if you don’t give the body the food, the rest it needs afterwards, all that pushing, all that stress you put into your body just goes out the window. Your body has to rebuild itself in order to get better.
For me, I found – I don’t like the term vegan but I basically eat a vegan diet. I eat a lot of whole foods and a lot of, like Curtis said, not processed stuff. I remember a couple of runs, I’m running back and I’m craving like a huge smoothie and I’ll make a 32 oz fruit and vegetable smoothie and I feel amazing after that. And then there’s days when I’m running, I don’t come right back. I don’t make a smoothie, I get caught in work and by the afternoon, I just feel like crap.
I think you need to understand what your body is and work with that and figure out what helps you recover the best. And I think that’s really an important key. It’s not what you’re doing or are you eating this superfood or this other superfood. It’s what works with your body.
CURTIS: Yeah. And something I note too, when I’m really in the thick of training hard, say, riding four or five hours multiple times a week, my smoothies will contain protein powder but for the most or the rest of the year they don’t. There’s some fruit and some spinach in it usually, because spinach is really good for you and a green smoothie is really good.
Past that, I’d save the protein stuff for when I’m really working hard and need to recover and need to rebuild those muscles and get that protein back into myself. This time of year, I’ll just come home and eat an egg or something and that’s fine. That’s plenty of protein. And really, your body stores enough energy on board for up to two hours of pretty hard workout without needing much and you can still come home and eat regularly and recover well, still depending on your fitness level to start with maybe on some of that.
ERIC: Yeah. And that’s actually something to remember. Especially if you’re getting into running or anything for – I hate using weight loss, but in weight loss, you’re trying to change your body composition. I think it’s every mile you run, you burn about 100 Calories, +/-. So don’t go out for a two-mile run and then come home and eat two protein bars that have 500 Calories. If your goal is get rid of weight, you basically just added a whole bunch of extra stuff you didn’t need. Like Curtis said, two hours is basically the mark. If you can actually not have food for a run that’s up to two hours long, then you should be fine. You might feel lethargic by the time you get home but your body should have enough glucose in it to manage that.
CURTIS: Yeah. When I’m running, say on Saturdays when I go around 15k on the trails or something, I have my standard breakfast and I grab and extra piece of fruit. So usually I have two eggs and a piece of fruit and I’ve got an extra piece of fruit to eat in the car and a spare one to eat when I get back in the car and I’ll have another half a sandwich when I get home just to have some more food, because I just did burn 1300 Calories or something. I’m not going to make it until lunch but I don’t bulk up, trying to get a whole bunch of extra stuff in me. The energy bars I’m carrying are simply there for an emergency, like twisting my ankles.
Yes, and Eric says an exception. When I’m going anything over two hours in cycling or running, then I actually carry food to eat the whole time and I start eating it at half an hour every half hour because that’s what has worked for me. So between energy gels – I split up between energy gels and then something with sustenance like an actual bar that you can chew, like a Clif bar. That’s what it works best for me. Bananas are also pretty good too, I find, for myself. Or a wrap with peanut butter and bananas and then honey, that’s a good one too for me.
ERIC: Yeah. Same for me, except for if it’s any run that’s an hour. Most of my runs stop at an hour so it’s a bit longer than that. And that’s more along the lines of not that I need the food, it’s that I’m trying to get used to the habit of eating, get used to my body consuming and absorbing the stuff on a run. An Ultra is where you’re running 6 to 30, 40-something hours – you have to constantly eat or you can’t finish. But for most people, you don’t need to worry about that.
CURTIS: When it’s hot, I also use salt replacement stuff called Elete, and then I’ll use Gatorade. I mix Gatorade half, 50-50 is what they actually say because it’s crazy what they tell you to put in.
ERIC: Yeah. So on a run, I use what they call Salt Sticks, which are like pill capsules that have salt and all the other different electrolytes. I take one of those an hour but only if it’s a longer run. If it’s more than an hour, I actually use dates. I can’t pronounce them – Medjool I think is the brand or the variety of the date. I have one of those every 30 minutes, maybe 25 minutes. Basically, it’s all-natural; it’s pretty much like sugars – fructose, glucose, all that – and it sits really well with my stomach. I’ll have one of those every half hour and I usually bring enough extra, like Curtis said, in case I get stranded or whatever. And then I might have some extra – I don’t care for gels but I found these chewables, kind of like gummies, like gummy bears or cubes.
CURTIS: Like Shot Bloks.
ERIC: Yeah, from Clif.
CURTIS: Those are really good too. I like those, yeah.
ERIC: Yeah. I’ll have that because the dates are kind of sticky and they do have a lot of fiber. If I want something that’s just pure energy, I’ll use those and alternate on the really long runs. But I do that and then I just drink water. I did research on electrolytes and sports drinks and all that and I just decided that I’m going to stick with water. It’s cheaper. I can manage it with the salt capsules and then just normal food.
CURTIS: Yeah. When I go for a long bike ride, the Elete stuff has little tiny, tiny, bottles that I just throw on the back of my jersey and will fill up at local watering stops and then just drop that in. It really depends on your body and knowing yourself. On an epic-ly hot day, even on a two-hour ride, I’ll put that in my water but on a standard 20°C-day, nah. I don’t worry about it.
ERIC: Yeah. In my first half-marathon, I’ve made – I’m not even going to try to pronounce it; it’s a Japanese word. It’s basically a big rice ball. So it’s about a cup of white rice with some salt in it and stuff like that. That’s what I took for my fuel and my half-marathon. I’ve completely underestimated the difficulty and so it should have been like a two and a half hour trail run, but it was over three hours and I’ve struggled because I didn’t practice what I was eating. I just had that rice thing; couldn’t eat even a quarter of it, and so I basically did the entire half marathon with almost no food and maybe 12 ounces of water. I screwed up really, really, bad on that one and so that’s what started me to practice with stuff.
I think that’s important if you’re going to go for the longer distances as to practice stuff in training. See what works. See what doesn’t. But if you’re going for anything, I would say anything shorter than a 10k, maybe even a 15k, you really don’t have to worry about that. You can take a water bottle with you. I found, I actually get headaches if I don’t have a little bit of water even on my short runs. Once again, that’s just because I listen to my body.
CHUCK: Very nice. Do you guys use any apps or anything like that to track your runs or track your food or something like that?
CURTIS: I track my runs with Wahoo Fitness and then you can upload them to Garmin Connect there and that transfer out to almost anything else you want like Strava or TrainingPeaks. TrainingPeaks is the terrible web app that every web developer would hate, but that all the fitness industry uses if you ever get a coach.
ERIC: And then I use one, I actually picked it in the past. It’s amazing. I’ve used it since I found it, I guess – couple of years at least. It’s called iSmoothRun. It works on cycling too but it’s a running one. You can make workouts, make programs. It does the run-walk stuff really easily. I have it set now to have an alarm every 30 minutes for food and then I have an alarm every 60 minutes for hydration, which is for me is the salt stuff – the electrolytes.
The nice thing about it now is it actually works with my Pebble watch. I could look at my watch and actually see what’s going on, see where I’m at. I can pause it, I can control that stuff. It’s really nice because you can program like you want to do intervals, if you want to just, “I want to go out for 10 miles” and you can have it tell you when you’re halfway so you know to turn back. The developers were really great; I’d recommend it. If you have an iPhone and you are going to run, you have to get this app.
And I guess the big thing with that is you can export to stuff. I export to RunKeeper, I export to Strava, export the raw files to Dropbox for me. And you can put a template where you have notes of how the run went and so it’ll take all that. It will take the current weather conditions, average pace, cadence – all that data – and send it everywhere. Basically, it records them and you can analyze it later on. I actually take that and I have a Spreadsheet in Google Drive that I use to basically log every run I’ve ever done just so I can see the data in one place.
CHUCK: That’s really cool. I’ve been using – there’s a 10k app for the iPhone. It’s kind of like the Couch to 5k kind of thing. And I’ve also been using the Nike+ Running App. I don’t have the Nike whatever it is that you stick in your shoe or whatever but it tracks with GPS and stuff and so it does pretty good and I’m liking that. Anyway, is there anything else we should cover before we get to the picks?
ERIC: One thing you’ve mentioned – if you’re going to get started running, Couch to 5k works really good. There’s apps for it, there’s training plans for it. I use the training plan I found online and I think there’s also some audio – it’s in the podcast section of iTunes but it’s just, it doesn’t actually change. It’s the same training programs.
I found that was really good to help me understand the different training stuff because I didn’t know what intervals were right in a hard day, easy day, recovery day. That got me into a little bit now. I know this stuff pretty good. If you’re looking to get started, even if you don’t want to run a 5k, that’s a good one to give a progression and get you started in running. Stick with it for three or four weeks and then you’re billed to know if you like it or not.
CHUCK: Awesome! Alright! Now let’s do us some picks. Eric, do you want to start us off with picks?
ERIC: Sure. So, some of the stuff we talked about: iSmoothRun – the app. That’s one of the favorite apps on my phone. There’s that site DressMyRun which will use the geolocation stuff in your browser and actually tell you, based on weather conditions, what you should wear to run. You can kind of adjust it or get that understanding on what to wear.
And then there’s actually a business pick that I found. It’s someone’s newsletter so it’s not actually like a website that I can explain but the title is, What Causes Feast Or Famine Cycles In Web Development Agencies And What Are The Solutions? It’s a nice article talking about if you don’t have enough work or if you have this cycle of feast and famine, here’s a couple of ideas to go through. An interesting thing is this one talked a little bit about using advertising and stuff like that, which I’d see frowned upon in a lot of the other marketing circles even though advertising is a good strategy for some people.
CHUCK: Nice! Curtis, what are your picks?
CURTIS: I’m going to pick all running stuff for you. Actually, I’ve already picked many episodes ago, my headphones – the Jaybird Bluebuds. They’re wireless Bluetooth headphones that are waterproof, sweatproof. You can’t swim with them but I finally killed a pair after a year and I’ve called up Jaybird and said, “Hey! Send them back!” “We’ll send you a new pair!” They’re not cheap but they have worked great in excellent connection.
And then the running backpack that I use is called VapourCloud by Nathan. Now, the only caveat with that is if you come up with in-between sizes, go for the smaller size. I did not, and I’m going to have to buy the smaller size and then try to sell my other one.
And then my final one is actually is a waterproof iPhone case which is excellent because I don’t have to put it in a bag and other stuff but it’s also excellent because when your children are beside you and they want to eat bad and they pour a bottle of their soup on your phone because it was on the table, you just say, “Eh, whatever.” And they get in trouble for the soup – not for wrecking an electronic device, which may have happened more than once.
Not wrecking it but only getting trouble for the soup – not for wrecking an electronic device. I’ve had a couple of LifeProof cases as well on previous phones and the OtterBox one, I think is significantly better than the OtterBox Preserver.
CHUCK: Very nice. I just have one pick this week. I’ve been having some funky issues with the connection – my internet connection – while recording the shows and so I wound up getting a new wireless router. I wound up getting the NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900 – the model number is R7000. It’s got three antennas on it. It’s freaking huge. It has definitely solved some of these issues.
I had an Airport Extreme before and I had it for 5 years or something. The other issue that I had with it is that it didn’t do QOS, which is Quality of Service. In other words, it actually prioritizes certain types of traffic. So, the Nighthawk – it prioritizes Skype over, say, Netflix. If my wife is playing around with the internet or doing some whatever then Skype gets prioritized over the top of that and that way, these calls come through clearer and I don’t get any of the funny hangs and drops and stuff.
Anyway, that’s my pick! That was a really interesting conversation!
CURTIS: That’s what we hoped to have, right?
CHUCK: Yup. Hopefully, we can get some folks out there being more fit and having a better quality of life. Anyway, we’ll wrap up the show. We’ll catch you all next week.
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