7 must-have running tools for my journey from couch to 10K

August 24th, 2012 by Gallagher John 2 Comments

Over the past 14 or 15 months, running has become a regular habit for me.  I have completed five 5K races and just recently completed my first 10K.  Now, every carpenter needs tools in their tool-belt to do their work.  Runners need tools, also to help them measure, improve, and stay motivated.  Here are 7 tools that go with me on each run that I do:

1) iPod – I am still using the iPod classic that was given to me more than 6 years ago by a friend.  It holds my playlists for different lengths runs, different podcasts that I subscribe to, and I have even listened to 2 books while running.  This helps to keep my mind growing during the time I spend running.  (Does anyone still buy an iPod classic?)

2) Sony earbuds – I tried a few types of earbuds when I started running.  These Sony earbuds are the most comfortable, sound pretty good, and were reasonably priced ($15) (AND, they stay in my ears!)

3) iPod armband (with velcro strap) – When i started doing a little bit longer runs in my training, it was not convenient to hold the iPod, so I needed the armband.  ($15)

4) Garmin nuvi 210 watch – This watch has been GREAT.  It has GPS so I can track and upload my runs to the computer and see where I have run.  I have even used it when playing basketball with the boys, or recently when we walked in Colonial Williamsburg.  ($249)

5) Heart rate monitor – An absolute MUST for me to ensure I am not overdoing it.  This was included with the watch, but I listed it separately as an important tool.

6) Garmin foot pod – This little gadget helps in a couple ways.  It monitors and records my cadence when I run (I am coached to run around 180, but 160 average has been normal for me).  Also, when I run inside, the foot pod keeps track of distance I have done on the treadmill so I can still record my training distances. ($45)

7) Running visor – This seems like a simple tool, but those who know me personally know that I have trouble finding hats that fit me.  This fit AND it provides some side benefits.  It helps to shade my eyes when sun is out, and the built in headband keeps the sweat from running into my eyes. ($19)

So, if you see me out running, I am all wired up.  Not everyone needs this equipment, but because I am process driven and looking to improve, they are necessary for me.  Do you have any suggestions on what’s missing from my toolbox?  What other ‘power tools’ should I consider? 



August 19th, 2012 by Gallagher John 1 Comment

I am now a 10K runner.  That sounds pretty good and it really felt good to complete that race last weekend.

Prior to this race I had done four 5K races in the past year.  But, I hit a bit of a rut in my routine for many reasons.  I began to run less and was finding it a bit too easy to slip into, “I will just do my exercise…tomorrow.”

As a leader, you may find yourself getting into a rut as well with your disciplines.  You have to fight this sluggishness.  Here are four  ways I was able to overcome the ‘sluggishness’ and run my first ever 10K race!

1) Set a new goal – Last year, the goal was to run my first 5K and then  to run a faster 5K.  I decided to raise the bar and try a 10K.

2) Set a target date – ‘Some’ is not a number and ‘soon’ is not a time.  If I would have told myself that I wanted to run a 10K ‘soon’, I may not have gotten to it!  I went out and registered for the event and put it on my calendar

3) Have a plan – If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.  I know you have heard that before, but you must have a plan to get you from where you are to where you want to be.  I used a Runner’s World plan that was 10 weeks in duration.

4) Share your goal  – Tell someone about your goal and share your progress.  Ask them to hold you accountable.  For this prep, I shared my progress by sending a daily email to a friend.

If you are stretching to get better as a leader, you will inevitably hit times of sluggishness.  With these tips, you can minimize the impact.

So, what other ways have you overcome sluggishness in your leadership growth?



August 14th, 2012 by Gallagher John No Comments

Recently, I completed The Noticer  by Andy Andrews.  It was a gift from a friend and I really enjoyed this book.  Actually, this is the third Andy Andrews book I have completed this year.  I also read The Traveler’s Gift and The Final Summit.  I have really enjoyed the author’s style of writing with his mix of interesting history, vivid imagery and timely humor.

In the Noticer, Andrews tells the story of how a wise old man known as Jones has an impact on many in his community.  His favorite quip: “It’s all about perspective”  results in many a positive outcome in difficult circumstances.

I found the book  difficult to put down once I got started as the stories were both well written and  very relevant to my story.  While the statement “It’s about perspective” sounds like a simple statement, it can also be a very challenging call to action if you allow it.

Often, your perspectives can be  clouded by your own experiences and internal stories you make up about what might happen.

Jones’ wisdom is bestowed upon several folks during and  at the end of the story with these compelling words and a call to action:

“The reason an answer is not often found in the midst of crisis is that many times, at that very moment, a specific answer does not exist.  In desperate times, more than anything else, folks need perspective…Perspective can just as easily be lost as it can be found.”

I loved this read.   Does a situation or challenge you are currently facing need a change in perspective to help you get to an answer? Be the first to comment and share this review via Twitter and I will send you a copy of the  book for your enjoyment.

5K LEADERSHIP LESSON – 4 WAYS to AVOID THE “Law of Diminishing Intent”

July 9th, 2012 by Gallagher John No Comments

 I recently completed another 5K and had my PB (Personal Best) if only by a few seconds, it felt good.  Each time I complete one of these runs, I learn something a little bit more about myself.  This time, I was a victim of the “Law of Diminishing Intent”.   I really was having some trouble getting going on my training plan for this 5K.  I had the best intentions of getting up and doing my runs, but too often, I would go through the day and get involved in all of the other important ‘stuff’ and not get to my exercise.  The graph of my intent looks like this:

I had to change something.   Here are 4 ways you can avoid the diminishing intent:

1) Set a goal – If you have a specific goal out in front of you, it can be a good motivator.  My goal was to reduce my 5K time to under 28:00.

2) Go to bed earlier – Do you want to get up early and get something done?  Then, you must go to bed earlier! I had to go to bed an hour earlier to get my 7 hours and still be able to get up to exercise first.

3) Put some skin (aka money) in the game – You may need to make an investment of your own money to help keep you focused and put a little extra pressure on performing.  I invested in a training plan to help me.

4) Recruit an accountability partner – No better way to get something done than to have to be held accountable.   I had to send a daily email to a friend with my exercise for the morning.

For you it might be something different than exercise.  It could be reading, or a house project, or starting that book you have always wanted to write.

What other ways have you been successful in avoiding the Law of Diminishing Intent?


July 1st, 2012 by Gallagher John 2 Comments

A big thanks to Mark Roach at Carolina Forest Community Church for his message today about Jonah.  He challenged me and made me think about some of the potential pitfalls of leadership.  Most of you know the story of Jonah and the whale from childhood Bible studies; however, as a leader, you need to be aware of this story and how could affect your career.

Here are 4 behaviors that Jonah exhibited that you must not as a leader or risk ending up in the belly of a whale, thus, losing your ability to lead:

1) Believe you are smarter than everyone else – Are you a leader that feels you have to be smarter than everyone else?  You must learn to utilize your team members in the areas of their expertise, equip them, and allow them the opportunity to thrive.  An insecure leader will not last long.

2) Hide from problems – I know the saying…”If I ignore this problem, it will go away.”.  It really should say “I am afraid to address this head on so I will jsut put my head in the sand and hope that it goes away.”

3) Play favorites – A sure way to alienate your team is to play favorites with some members.  This is a guaranteed de-motivator.  This is not to say that you don’t recognize top-performers in a different way, but be consistent.

4) Put your reputation above that of your team – Do you find yourself looking to place blame when problems occur, rather than take responsibility for your team’s actions?  Protecting yourself will eventually lead to a quick slide into the belly of the whale.  Just ask those at Penn State.

Which one of these behaviors do you struggle with the most?


April 24th, 2012 by Gallagher John 1 Comment

I just finished reading The Best Practice – How the New Quality Movement is Transforming Medicine. Not all of my readers are keenly aware, but for the past two years I have been a consultant in health care working with organizations to improve the effectiveness of their delivery of health care.  For me, a lot of my work is about reducing wait times and improving efficiencies.  This book was a gift from one of my clients and I am so appreciative of this gift.  Let me share a few of the jaw-dropping facts:

  • From a Harvard Medical Practice Study, it is estimated that there are 1 million preventable medical errors in the United States each year, resulting in more than 100,000 deaths (That is like one 737 crashing EVERY DAY in a year!)
  • The cost of these injuries is estimated at $33 billion annually
  • 70 percent of the nation’s cost of care goes to less than 10 percent of the population
  • There are over 10,00 billing codes in health care for procedures (want to guess how many there are for cures?)
  • 74 percent of doctors believe patients could receive better care if doctors were able to share information via electronic medical records.  63 percent believe the benefits of electronic medical records would decrease the risk of medical error- 2007 Wall Street Journal survey  (Think of how many information cards you carry on your key-chain with your information on them.  How many of you carry one around with your medical information on it?

After completing this book, I am more committed than ever to continue the work that I do.  Not just to improve efficiency and reduce the time we wait in the doctor’s office, but to….SAVE LIVES!

This book is very relevant to those seeking to understand just a little bit better the problems with our current health care delivery system.

I really enjoyed reading this book.  Thank you, Gene Lindsey, for sharing it with me.  There were gut-wrenching stories of folks who were affected by errors in our medical system.  From infections to having the wrong limb amputated, to death for poor systems…NOT bad people…bad SYSTEMS. 



March 8th, 2012 by Gallagher John No Comments

My story of becoming a bit of a runner this year has been challenging, fun, and is really still in development.  I have learned to appreciate and enjoy running more than I thought I would.  On my iPod, I create playlists with music that last about the time I need to complete my runs.  However, sometimes, the music gets ‘old’ for me.  I needed something different. 

Enter the Podcast!

The Podcast is a great way to have ‘entertainment’ while exercising AND get professional development at the same time.  Here is the list of Podcasts that I currently have on my iPod:

  • The Herd with Colin Cowherd – This gets me my daily injection of sports and Colin Cowherd delivers it in a funny, pull no punches kinda way!
  • In the Loop with Andy Andrews – NYT Best Selling Author shares some really good insights about his writings and other topics
  • North Point Community Church with Andy Stanley – This podcast gives me some spiritual challenges in my daily life.  Andy Stanley delivers it in a way that I can relate to, which means he simplifies the Word.  I refer to it as putting it on the lower shelf so it is easy to reach.
  • This is Your Life  with Michael Hyatt – Leadership development, personal productivity, living on purpose.  This new podcast will be full of nuggets.  I look forward to this one each week.
  • Podcast Answer Man with Cliff Ravenscraft – I started listening to this one at a suggestion of Michael Hyatt.  I am considering starting my own podcast.  Need to let that idea simmer a while.

These podcasts give me a good mix of personal and leadership development, spiritual growth, and sports. 

Do you have any other podcasts you listen to that you would suggest?

What do you listen to on your iPod when you are working out?