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Running: The Universal Language

For the past month I have been living in Florence, Italy, and will continue to live here for another 4 months. Now, I obviously speak English. I can also speak a little Russian and my Spanish isn't half bad. Upon arriving to Italy I was told I could probably get by knowing and speaking Spanish. "Great!" I thought. "This will be a breeze!" Well, unless all I have to say are my numbers 1-10 and the word 'bicycle', I am out of luck. So the past month I have a lot to learn. But there is one language that everyone understands.

Slipping on that shoe that has molded to your foot, grabbing those Asics running shorts, tightening your watch to the fifth notch, and deciding if 45 degrees is tshirt or long sleeve weather!

No one misunderstands that, it's time to run. Florence is such a great city! Every Wednesday night there is a group run that anyone can do. This is NOT a small group. Last week on a rainy, cold and windy night, 213 runners showed up! The city closes roads down throughout a 4-6 mile course around Florence. Once that gun goes off, it doesn't matter if you are English, Spanish, Russian or any other nationality you can think of, just find your pace group and put on a smile! (But you will need to convert the paces to mile pace, they sort them in Kilometers [or 'European Sissy Miles' as my college track team so eloquently put it]). When you are out there running and bump into someone, all it takes is a "look" at the person you ran into and they know "sorry", no words necessary. That is running!

As we pass shops and bystanders, everyone comes out and gives us a big cheer. Everyone is happy to see us. I don't need to hear "good job", or "bueno", or "хорошая работа" to know they are happy to see us! You hear it in their voice and see it in their eyes.

Recently, I traveled to Paris for the day-- Valentines Day (so romantic), and got a chance to speak the universal language from the 'other side of the fence'. It was great to pass runners and just smile and give them a nod. They would grin and give me the two finger half salute. No words spoken, but a thousand words understood. That is why I am happy to be a runner.


*Jake's a freelance blogger for the More Miles More Smiles team*


by Mark Spewak

My Valentine: Smile More!

Why running is my valentine!

It’s no secret my heart is in love. In fact, I have been in love since I was 12 years old. I’m in love with running…that is! In honor of Valentine’s Day, I have decided to put together a list of reasons why running can be the love your life too!

-Running is not an expensive sport! All you need is a good pair of sneakers, proper apparel, and a sidewalk/trail to run on!

-Running keeps you accountable for a consistent sleep schedule.

-6 am on Sunday mornings are where the real party is at!

-It takes you to places you may never have dreamed of.

-You can plan different vacations around cool trails and pretty parks.

-Your friends will think you are crazy!

-You can eat more food and more often!

-Running is low maintenance. What you put into the sport is what you will get out of it.

-You can meet lifelong friends through different group runs and races!

-You may even meet another love of your life ;)

-Runners high can put anyone in a great mood.

-Running helps keep your body fit for a lifetime.

-Even when you feel out of shape, you still are fit!

-Running structures realistic goals for the other parts of your life.

-Happy hour and post run food splurges are a common theme!

-The sport can guide you to your future endeavors.

-And finally the majority of runners are EASY GOING PEOPLE!


As my mom always said, “Nothing good happens after 10 o’clock. Just go to bed!” Go to sleep early, fit running in your schedule, and smile more! Thanks for reading!


by Mark Spewak

Train insane or remain the same: Kyle's Blog


Are you getting tired of not getting any better? Running consistently but not seeing any significant results? Are you questioning why you even get out of bed and lace up the ol’ trainers anymore? If you answered yes to any of those three questions, you are not alone. I have been there, too, and I understand how difficult it is to break out. But I have found the key and it lies in a fun little phrase that rhymes…kinda… “Train insane or remain the same.”

There are two stages when one initially takes up running. The first phase is the one in which you find yourself succeeding at an incredible level. You may have started at only a few miles, but with a few weeks, those few miles turned into a few x 2 and now you have started running races. Those races started out slow, but you get faster with each new race and the confidence is pouring out of you like sweat on a nice long run. But, if you have been in the business long enough, you realize that there comes a point when you hit a plateau, a rut, and there’s no more dropping time like you were before. Now it gets harder to drop even a second or two off of your 5k and now instead of confidence that you’re wiping from your brow - it’s frustration. This second phase is the one that stops many a runner in their tracks. You may start to get lax with your stretching and maybe even start skipping runs for less strenuous activities like web surfing and couch potato-ing. But here’s the secret – just for you, John Q. Reader – there’s a THIRD PHASE!

You heard (read) me right! There’s a third phase in the running process and it happens when you finally climb over the brick wall you have encountered. Let me explain with a personal anecdote:

After I quit soccer for running full time in 2009, my 1600m instantly dropped from 4:58 to 4:48. My 3200m immediately dropped from a 10:58 to a 10:19. My 5k instantly dropped from a 17:31 to a 16:45. But 15 months later, heading into the senior year of track, I was only at 4:36, 10:05, and 16:42. This plateau phenomenon has an explanation and it’s actually quite simple…

See, when I first started training full time, my body got shocked and I was basically training insane just by running 45-50 miles a week (6 days). But, I didn’t go anywhere from there. I got up to about 65-70 miles in 7 days and my hard days hadn’t gotten much harder. I basically assumed that I would get better just by continuing to run. That is not the case. And after an intense winter of training insane (Nov 2010- March 2011), I dropped to a 9:31 3200m, a difference of 34 seconds or ~4 seconds a lap. And then in college I plateaued again. Two years of only slight improvements until I upped the mileage and started to hammer every workout harder than I’d ever gone. I moved up to 90-110 miles every week over the summer, cranking out 15-22 mile runs like it was nothing. I was dropping the pace on all my easy runs and killing the workouts and I went into cross country season with a 26:14 8k that, by the end of the year, became a 25:33 and a 10k (in xc) of 33:30 that became a 32:36 (both 10k times from the same course). The numbers don’t lie. The insane training had changed my game and I had not remained the same, know what I’m sayin’? And now in indoor track season, even though I haven’t been able to get in many good speed workouts on the track with all of the snow, I’m still dropping time and feeling fast.

So, I guess what I’m trying to say is – The only way to improve your situation, whether you’re stuck in a running funk or a life funk, is to take a risk! Do something crazy and see what happens! Go for a 3 hour run and see what happens (I did it – IT FELT GREAT!). Go base jumping, skydiving, ride a giant roller coaster, whitewater raft, ask that beautiful girl at work out on a date, eat like 40 oreos, raise some hell, live the life!! It’s not enough to just want to change; you have to need to change. You have to crave it, to covet it, to require it out of yourself to change. So go for it! Go insane or remain the same! I believe in you!

How sweet it is!


*Kyle is a freelance blogger for the More Miles More Smiles team!*

by Mark Spewak

Ryan Fisher Story

This month we feature, Ryan Fisher. Ryan is a sophomore at The Ohio State University and native of Loveland, Ohio. On his first attempt in the marathon he qualified for Boston! Not only does Ryan have a great amount of talent but is the perfect candidate for inspiring your every day runner. While he juggles Greek life, school, clubs, and much more, he still finds time to put the miles in! This month we had the pleasure of interviewing Ryan and hearing about the nuts and bolts to his training! 


MS: Why did you choose running as a sport?

RF: After getting a heel injury from soccer in fourth grade I started running to get back into shape. From then on I enjoyed the sport of running and did Runner’s Club after school throughout fifth and sixth grade. I fell in love with the sport and decided to run cross-country during middle school.

MS: Did you run on your High School Cross Country or Track team?

RF: All four years in high school I ran on both the varsity cross-country and track teams, excluding sophomore year when I played volleyball in the spring. I went to Loveland High School in Loveland, OH and competed in the FAVC against other Cincinnati high schools. In track, I ran the mile and two mile.

MS: You just ran a marathon this fall. Where was it and how did it go?

RF: This past fall I ran the Columbus Marathon, which was my first marathon, and I was glad I could run it with my friend, Zach, who is in Running Club at Ohio State with me. Zach and I followed the same marathon training plan throughout the summer and early fall. Going into the marathon we just wanted to enjoy ourselves and be happy with the fact that all of our hard work would finally pay off. Little did we know we would qualify for the Boston Marathon, finishing the marathon together at the exact same time of 3:03:14. We were ecstatic with our performance and we are looking forward to 2015 when we’ll run in the Boston Marathon together.


MS: How much has your sister Sarah influenced your running career?

RF: My older sister, Sarah has the biggest influence in my running career. She inspires me every day to be a better runner and person in general. I enjoyed being on the same team with her in high school for two years and then watching her run competitively at Washington University in St. Louis. She now coaches women’s distance track at a high school in St. Louis and I couldn’t be any more proud of her. Sarah has overcome many challenges throughout her running career and she has inspired me to be happy and enjoy the sport of running. We plan on running a marathon together in the near future, preferably the Big Sur in California!

MS: What have been some of your biggest obstacles you had to overcome to be successful in this sport?

RF: Running is a mental sport. Therefore, I’ve struggled with putting myself down and getting easily discouraged. Additionally, I’ve had to put running on hold for a while due to an injury my senior year of high school and that drove me crazy not being able to run. However, I’ve learned to be patient with myself and persevere through the mental and physical obstacles that come along with the sport of running. Instead of beating myself up over how fast my times are or if I’m better than someone else, I’ve started to appreciate the fact that God gave me two working legs and because of that I’m going to do my best to glorify Him.

MS: How many miles a week do you tend to run in training?

RF: I’ve never been good at logging my miles, but I would say I tend to run around 50 miles a week during cross-country season and a little less than 40 miles during track season.

MS: Do you have any foods you like to indulge on post run?

RF: I’m a huge fan of eating cereal after my runs. It’s simple and I usually help myself to a second (or even a third) bowl. I like to drink chocolate milk or Lemon-Lime Gatorade after my runs as well.

MS: Where do you see your running in 20 years?

RF: In 20 years I see myself still enjoying the sport of running. I want to travel and run marathons across the country and also participate in local, fun road races wherever I live. Running has given me so much happiness and gratitude; therefore I plan on continuing to run for the rest of my life.

MS: What's the best piece of advice you can give to anyone just starting the sport?

RF: I always tell people that the hardest part of running is tying your shoes. Like I mentioned before, running is a mental sport. Once you tell yourself that “yes, I’m going to run today and I’m going to enjoy it”, then the rest of the run is easy. Be patient with yourself and be focused. Take one day at a time. Run with a friend. Make goals for yourself. And most importantly…have fun!



by Mark Spewak

Why Do You Run?

To me, “More Miles More Smiles” doesn’t necessarily mean enjoying running every time I’m out there.  At times, running is the last thing I want to do.  It can be difficult, painful, and sometimes downright boring.  I understand that there are people out there who actually enjoy the act of running.  They enjoy the pain of pushing themselves and never find a single step of their run boring.  However, I am not one of them; and honestly, I think that’s ok.  It’s possible that it’s not the act of running that draws us to this hobby or sport.

With that being said, I still stand by the term “More Miles More Smiles”.  For me, and I’m sure many others, the smiles come after. People run for a million different reasons.  That reason could be to relieve stress.  It could be to work on your health.  Or it could be to get that beach body for that upcoming vacation.  Honestly, I’m no different.  I run for the results as well.  I run to be a better version of me than I was the day before.  After a run, no matter how painful or boring, I know that I am bettering myself both mentally and physically.  It really is an excellent feeling.  Personally, I haven’t found too many other hobbies that have that type of instant gratification.  

“More Miles More Smiles” means something different to everyone.  Every mile run is so drastically different from person to person.  Miles are done at different paces, on different surfaces, with different people, in different weather, and for different reasons.  But the smiles that come from it are very similar.  It’s extremely apparent that the running community bleeds positivity.  It’s a feeling that I have recently been consumed by since hearing of the MMMS philosophy.

This philosophy has really helped me as a runner.  For a long time, I struggled to run as a hobby.  It’s hard to get out the door when there is nobody making me.  And I absolutely respect each person out there that can do this.  No matter what pace or distance, I am amazed by people who run even when nobody is making them.  It took me a long time to understand that it’s ok to not always enjoy running.  But to make sure to get out the door each day to get the feeling that comes after running.

So whether your smiles come during the run or slightly after, keep getting those miles in, because the smiles are contagious.

To me, “More Miles More Smiles” means running even when nobody is watching.

What does it mean to you?



*Jonathon Roberts is a freelance blogger and member of the More Mile More Smiles marketing crew!*

by Mark Spewak , under   Run  Running  Walk  Walking

Tip of the Week: Slow Down!

Monday Tip!

This winter will mark my 9th year of distance running. Over my short tenure I have learned a lot about the sport from many different coaches, mentors, teammates, and fellow runners. The hardest part about running is sometimes finding your consistency and identity. Every week I will be putting together a different tip for any runner or walker. These tips are aimed for your casual to competitive runner/walker! Enjoy!


This week's tip is about the importance of slowing down on your easy days!


Everyone has heard the expression, "Rome wasn't built in one day." Reaching your goals will not happen over night. If you run hard every day of the week your legs will never recover. Sure you can get away with it for a short amount of time but after awhile the majority of people who push the limits in this sport either get hurt, burnt out, or sick. The toughest part about our sport is how long sometimes it really takes to reach our goals. Patience is stressed over and over again. It's not easy to back off your training when you have no idea how your competition trains. If you run too hard on days where you aren't assigned a workout you risk the chance of getting hurt. Don't worry about how everyone else trains. Worry about yourself and focus on the task at hand. 


What do we suggest?  I ran with a kid in high school who is by far the most talented runner I have ever been around! To slow down his easy runs and make running fun to him, he leaves his watch at home and runs off of pure feel. He does this several days a week. On the other hand myself and many others use a similar method. Try dedicating a day or two a week to running with friends and keeping the run conversational pace. Conversational pace is when you are still running at a decent speed but can hold a full length conversation while doing so. Also, try running the first mile of your runs completely off of feel. Don't even worry about timing it. That way you won't start too fast and blow your legs out early. 


Mark's example: I am fortunate enough to have an incredible training group who keeps me accountable for running easy when I need to. Every Monday my buddies and I declare it, "Maintenance Monday." This is the day we work out all of the kinks in our legs. We go nice and easy and have a great conversation doing so. If you can keep your easy days easy, you'll be able to put in more miles and race better! Happy running!


by Mark Spewak

PMA: Positive Mental Attitude

You’re Alive, Isn’t That Reason Enough?

We all have our New Year’s Resolutions, right? Eat better, work harder in school, read more, spend time with family, those are all great, but would you care to hear mine? Too bad, I’m just going to tell you. I resolved this year to be happier. And so far, it has worked wonders.

I have a bit of a short temper. If you weren’t very good friends with me and only really knew me on the surface, you wouldn’t know that I get angry pretty easily, but in fact, I do. I’m not sure exactly what it stems from, but I think it has something to do with my early childhood and, as I’ve been studying developmental psychology, probably just something to do with my amygdala’s hormonal response to negative stimuli. Whatever it is, I didn’t think I could control it, but I’m beginning to think that that assumption was wrong.

Examples of things at which I used to get angry: weather, my car, my computer, my phone, crappy drivers, rude people, Republican nonsense, video games, annoying people, getting questions wrong on assignments, my forgetfulness, getting ignored…there’s probably many more things that would anger me on a daily basis, but now, I am controlling my attitude and since the beginning of this year, none of that tends to bother me anymore.

It’s all about your perception. Getting angry over the trivial things in life does nothing more than to elevate your stress levels, blood pressure, and cholesterol, and really just puts you in a bad mood. Now why would you want to put yourself in a bad mood? It’s not worth it. So I challenge you: next time you feel your blood starting to boil, inhale the bad and exhale. Get it out of your system. It’s just bad energy, that’s all it is. Next time someone cuts you off on the highway, make a joke out of it. Smile! Laugh! You’re still alive, aren’t you? Isn’t that good enough?

“You’re alive, isn’t that good enough?” Isn’t life great? Think about it for a second: you are alive and able to do whatever you want with your life (within the boundaries of the law, of course). You can take a road trip and meet new people. You can go on a hike and explore the beauty and majesty of the outside world. The possibilities for what you can do with this great gift of life you have been given are endless. So smile, enjoy it, because life really is sweet!

Now, we all struggle with our demons. No matter what you do and no matter how hard you try, it’s very possible that the depression with which you are afflicted will never go away. That is understandable. Even the happiest guy I know has said made it public that he struggles with his own bouts of depression. But he was also my inspiration – the guy who told me to have a Positive Mental Attitude in everything I do. Of course I still get sad. And I have experienced a couple spurts of anger, but it’s a learning process. I can feel myself smiling more, hear myself laughing more, and see my life improving with each passing day. It all starts with making a change and it’s something of which you are very much capable.

If you ever need someone to talk to, I am always willing to talk. Do not even hesitate to contact me even if we are complete strangers. And I’m sure that the More Miles More Smiles owner Mark Spewak feels the same way.

I hope this post inspires you to make a change. How sweet it is!



*Kyle is a freelance blogger for the More Miles More Smiles team*

by Mark Spewak

Lucky Day: Valentines Day Deal

It's your lucky day! Thank you for supporting More Miles More Smiles! In honor of Valentines day, we are giving 20% off all orders today if you use the discount code BEMYVALENTINE at checkout! Shop away!


by Mark Spewak

Caitlin's Product Review: Stunt Puppy

About two months ago I was very fortunate to have a great friend attend The Running Event in Austin, Texas. Just to give you all a quick run down as to the details for The Running Event, it is the equivalent of NYC Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in the running world. It is where all of the top Running Specialty stores attend a giant venue where vendors from around the country get together and show off new product designs, apparel line launches, and anything running related. While he was there he came across a new brand of leashes geared towards running with your dog. Immediately I was ecstatic to give it a try.

 Let me give you a little insight into my previous runs with Milly Mae, my two year old black lab who has days worth of energy.I should add that my fiance and I have only had her for a few months, and we got her when she was 1 year and 7 months old. So training, especially with a leash, has been a little tricky. Prior to even walking out of the door I would have to wrap my hand in her leash almost seven times so she couldn't bolt as soon as we stepped outside. During the run my arms would get so tired, and I could barely run ten minutes without having to take a break from holding the leash so tight. Getting this leash was such a great gift, and I couldn't be more thankful!

As usual, the first steps out of the door were a bit tricky because Milly clearly could not wait to get outside and give this new thing a try. Once we got to the edge of the drive Milly sat like she always does waiting for my Garmin Forerunner 10 to connect, I noticed that she had not tried to jump up and bite the leash as she has done before. Since the leash is shorter, and Mills is only 2.5-3 feet away she won't jump since it is too close. That was a blessing in itself.

 Once we started our run I immediately noticed a huge difference. Literally, it was like going from day to night. Also, I no longer have to do my leash wrap routine because this new one clasps around my waist allowing for a hands free run. I will admit that I was skeptical of wearing a leash like a belt, but it actually helped me control Mills better because I was using my weight to hold her still. Plus, the best part is she helps pull me up the hills ;) (don’t judge.) I would still recommend being careful running downhill because if your pup is anywhere as crazy as mine they will want to sprint, and one wrong move you’re being dragged down a sidewalk.

 When running with Milly I still make sure to put her harness on instead of attaching the leash directly to her collar. This way I have better control, as well as it is more comfortable for her, and reduces any chance of her irritating her neck. So far we haven't been able to run as many miles together as we would like due to weather impairments; however, once this nasty snow goes away it'll be me and her logging in the miles.


For more information on the Stunt Puppy, visit their website


-Caitlin and Milly <3


by Mark Spewak

Tip of the Week: Sleep!

Monday Tip!

This winter will mark my 9th year of distance running. Over my short tenure I have learned a lot about the sport from many different coaches, mentors, teammates, and fellow runners. The hardest part about running is sometimes finding your consistency and identity. Every week I will be putting together a different tip for any runner or walker. These tips are aimed for your casual to competitive runner/walker! Enjoy!


This week's tip is about the importance of the right amount of sleep during training!


Sleep: I by no means was the perfect example for a runner with the correct amount of sleep a night. For a very long time people always said to me, "sleep more!" Now that my training is getting more intense and I am trying to achieve bigger goals I understand what sleep really means for my training. It's suggested by most coaches and doctors that you get around 7-10 hours a night! A lot of injuries and sicknesses runners/walkers deal with can be linked back to the amount of sleep they get a night. Sleeping recovers your body after a hard workout and what will allow you to train healthy and stronger down the road!


What do we suggest? As my mother always said, "Nothing good happens after 10 o'clock!" If you are serious about properly recovering your body, try and make sleep a more important part of your life. Obviously it's sometimes hard to fit a 10 o'clock bed time into your lives.  You sometimes cannot control the amount of studying you have or other variables.  However if you can make it work, try to get to sleep before 11 most nights because it will help you out tremendously! Set a consistent sleep pattern for yourself. Waking up in the morning shouldn't feel foreign to you. When you are dissecting the things holding you back from achieving all your goals, understand sleep is a VERY monumental part of your training! It also will help out the quality of your life!


Mark's example: It's very hard to fit sleep into your schedule when you are juggling, class, practice, work, and other important things in your lives! I am fortunate enough to have a little more flexibility at night and in the morning! I try and get to bed before 10:30 each night and wake up anywhere from 6:00-7:30! I am human so I mess things up from time to time! If you goof your schedule a little bit once a week no big deal! Correct sleep patterns is like eating a healthy diet for me. The better I eat the stronger I feel. Same goes for sleeping! 



Please contact or comment below with any questions you may have. Happy running!

by Mark Spewak