Matt Berlin

Matt Berlin

Kenzai Marathon | Day 62 (Member)
Kenzai Marathon
Day 62
Program progress:

At the airport, heading down to Kentucky today for this weekend’s Bourbon Chase. 12-runner team, covering 200 miles. Each runner takes 3 legs over the 24 hrs +/-. So I’ve got 19-20 miles on deck for me from Friday evening thru Saturday afternoon, in-between distillery tours and sleeping in a van. Kenzai running fitness in action. I’ll see you next week teammates. Have a successful 26km this weekend for our distance run!


The mail today arrived with an awesome gift from biking and fund raiser extraordinarie, Scott H. A wicked cool hat for PMC this year AND a hand written thank you note (yes kids, people take time to write actual cards of thanks that aren’t 20 second emails). I’m gonna be wearing this as my fall hat, and who knows maybe this will get me to finally sign up for next year’s and event. Have wanted to do it for years but not working in a big office anymore limits my fundraising network to hit the few thousand dollar minimum fund raising. Time to improvise some new techniques. Thanks Scott!


When it’s been raining all day and it feels like 45F (~7C) out, time for some comfort potatoes for dinner to warm the body.


Now when I say humid, it's all relative. It is October 2nd after all, and at least not hot. It's just that the weather has been cool the last few weeks which is great to run in. This morning though was sticky and humid from the rain the last day plus. Made the Hill work 10km morning run that much more of a workout.

I used a local hill that I run now and then. It's about a 600m stretch, with a good steady climb throughout, averaging ~5% overall gradient (per Strava), with some pitches a bit higher here and there. A nice hill for repeats for a hill workout without being so crushing that it kills your legs for 3 days afterwards. I did 3 repeats of it today, each around 3mins. Had a few smaller/shorter typical little hills to and from the house to complete the total for the day. Felt good afterwards, but was happy to end at 10km, and not have a mile or two more to go.

I don't carry my phone with me on my runs (unless traveling away from home), so no photos of it today. I might swing by the spot in the car later today to snag a photo. Otherwise, have a few other spots for future hill workouts in the coming weeks that are more photo friendly. Just need to bring the phone is all.

Week 6 Marathon

Stuck to the script (almost entirely) for week 6:

-Monday: added alittle more to the run (5mi vs. 6km)
-Tuesday: Active Recovery workout...check
-Wednesday: Fartlek 55min (5x2min) went fine. The longer duration of fartlek surges felt more like interval segments vs. traditional fartlek randomness but maybe I was looking at the time more is all
-Thursday: easy, patient 4mi (tiny more than the planned 5km); knees did well with the back to back...patient pace with short strides I'm sure helped the cause
-Friday: nice sunset AR workout on the back patio
-Saturday: 21km complete before our son's morning baseball game. Luckily his away game was close to a running trail along a river near us. Beautiful cool, breezy, fall morning. Lots of runners, bikers and walkers out. Leaves falling on the path. It's the same path that our local marathon is on that I ran a few years back so it was fun memories running it again for the first time since. Flashbacks to the spot I stopped to get encouragement from the wife and kids before the halfway point. Overall felt good the first 10-11miles. Could have used more water, but unfortunately this out and back route didn't have water fountains and the one small bottle I carried at least was something. First time I've run with a bottle in my hand for a long time...was weird to adjust to again.
-Sunday: knees and feet feel good this morning, so that's a big help after the first 21km I've run in a while. Active Recovery time; baseball afternoon game; family time.

Really liking the energy this small and dedicated team has. Please keep it going helps everyone! And we get a small group of new marathoners starting Monday on their journey, so we'll have to all hit the Follow button on them to add to the group support!


Week 5 complete! Once again, was able to get all the assigned miles/kms for the week completed, just in a modified format to accommodate my weekend away golfing with the guys. Did 8 miles Monday, 10 miles Wednesday, and then a hilly 6 miles Saturday morning before golf. Scenic run in New Hampshire, but almost all up and down the entire loop around the lake. Got it done though, despite the late nights of cards, drinks and laughs and little sleep. This week the plan is to get back to a more consistent routine in preparing for the 21km Saturday run.

That's it for now. Hope the team is feeling good as we enter this Endurance stage of the program!

Photos: NH golf (leaves just starting to turn); Saturday run around the lake; Thursday afternoon lunch stop at Harpoon brewery.

Marathon 1/4 Pole

4 weeks done, 12 to go. Less than a Body 1 program at this point left on our journey...except of course for all those miles/kms ahead of us instead of metronomes and DaVincis.

Checked off all the miles/kms again in week 4, once again over 3 days of running vs the assigned 4. Did 5mi Monday, 6.5mi Wednesday and 7mi Saturday morning. The 3 days a week worked well again to skip the back to back. It also let me mix a Kettlebell 2 workout in on Thursday in place of the run. Those Bells have been sitting too idle in the corner of the workout room...they were just begging to get in the game for at least a day.

Capped off the week with a little zombie blood hot sauce for Sunday's brunch at home. Tasty!

This week will be a little tricky for the distance run as I'm heading out of town for a few days of golf with some buddies. Might have to try and squeeze the 19km in earlier in the week before I leave, or try to get it in late Sunday. Goal is to get all 38.5km for the week completed one way or another.

Have a strong week teammates!!

Just Lace Up

The simple, yet valuable lesson from the original running programs...just lace up and start your run. It's something I'll comment on trainee's blogs about when training a team. And Wednesday morning it was the theme for me too.

This is the advantage of having a program to just follow, and not have to think about what to do for a week's worth of training. I had minimal motivation to run Wednesday morning (slept poorly...excuse #1). I easily could see this be a day when I'm off program, or not training for anything in particular, that I could have let the excuse list grow in my head as the morning minutes clicked by. But it's only week 4, and the distances this week are still short, and the weather was reasonable, and the schedule wasn't too hard to navigate a run into the day. So no excuses. I kept saying just get out there and lace them up. It worked. Clicked off the striders run. It was an average run effort at best...but it was a run completed! And that's the name of the game.

Marathon Week 3

Another successful week wrapped up on Marathon. Was able to get all the Miles/Kms completed for the week, with alittle adjustment. I combined Wednesday's and Thursday's runs into a single 8 mile run on Thursday afternoon while the kids were at their first day of school. Wednesday was too busy with the kids and dog recovering from neutering surgery that I couldn't get out to run in daylight. Combining the distances and striders into the one run worked well, and also gave my knees the break from the back to back.

Had an enjoyable Saturday morning 10 miler. Weather was nice and cool, breathing was easy, and knees felt comfortable. Was tempted to extended it to 12-13 miles, but stayed patient and reminded myself to 'stick to the plan'. Laid down in Legs Up The Wall position for a good 15 minutes post run, which felt great. Gotta make sure I do this more often on all the longer runs.

Off to our son's morning baseball game now. Might try to squeeze a bike ride in this afternoon before my Giants vs Cowboys game late afternoon. Plan to get the roller out during the football game and make use of some recovery time for the legs during tv time.

On to week 4 Marathon-Mate!!!

Marathon Week 2

Two weeks complete! 4 runs completed as assigned, and knees still ok with the back to backs so far. Striders run went well. A good reminder on the effect of taking a longer stride, especially since lately I’ve been focusing on shorter slower strides to gauge the knees readiness in any given run.

Saturday’s 13km/8mi run went well. Excellent early autumn weather. Held a nice patient pace and felt good at the end. Followed it up with a short bike ride with our 10 year twins around town hitting lemonade stand stops and lunch out. Great way to spend an afternoon. And Sunday I found time to get out for a morning bike ride in perfect cool weather with little to no wind. Tonight off to a local minor league baseball game with the kids and their friends.

On to week 3 fellow marathoners!

Marathon Week 1 Wrap-Up

One week done..15 to go.

Successful week 1. Checked off all the runs and workouts in the program's order. I know the kids' schedules once back in school in two weeks will throw curveballs into some scheduled run days in the months ahead. So as many weeks as I can follow the runs as planned now, the better. Week 1 with 4 runs, and ending with a 10km was a good orientation for the upcoming few months.

Good lessons this week 1 too, laying the foundation for the 4 months. Day 4's lesson about setting smart goals and giving thought as to your 'why' was an excellent lesson for week 1. When I was thinking about doing this program a few weeks ago, and during the runs this week, I seem to have a variety list of goals/whys:

- Complete the program to understand it fully: in order to assist the runners around the Kenzai community here better, I want to have a full understanding of this program day 1 to day 112. I can't just read it to fully understand it...gotta walk (run) it to be able to do the talk.
- Complete 16 weeks of run training uninterrupted by knee issues...or any body issues for that matter: I've had some knee tendinitis flare up here and there the last few years when I've attempted marathon training on my own, and then shut it down to keep it from getting worse.
- Focus on Completing the 16 weeks of running development, NOT a marathon PB/BQ: I think...err I know...some of my training fixation on trying to qualify for Boston again likely contributed to some of the knee issues, pushing a little harder at times. This time, focusing on completion of training as the primary goal. I know once you complete 16 weeks of proper training, the completing of the marathon distance is inevitable. Time for the 26.2 miles is not going to be the focus (this time at least).
- First 9 weeks, training for a Ragnar team race: I'm joining a college buddy for a running event in October. I'll have 3 runs that 24 hrs of the event for about ~20 miles. The distance run for this program is scheduled to be 16 miles that week, so the training aligns nicely. I'll have to add some two-a-day runs, some late night then early morning back to backs, and some night runs into the schedule come late September and early October, but will strategize that with the miles we are scheduled here to keep it safe and aligned.
- Follow the Plan (aka...make use of Malia's hard work already done): one of the easiest parts of training, is not having to think about it. Preview the upcoming week's workouts that you don't have to figure out on your own. Schedule your week accordingly. Wake up, follow the plan. Love not having to overthink training.
- Make use of the best time of year to run in the northeast of the US....September-November!

That's enough rambling for week 1's recap. Off to enjoy a Sunday bike ride and then some foam rolling for the legs to prep for week 2.

Marathon Day 1

And we’re off. Nice easy 4 mile morning run to start the week and start the newest program. Looking forward to seeing what Malia has in store for us these next 16 weeks.

T-Shirt Ready Complete 

Another 4-week program completed!! Really liking the addition of these shorter programs to the Kenzai offerings. As I said previously, the dumbbells had been collecting dust the last several months, so it felt great to get a full use of them these past 28 days! Iron-Boot is just what the body needed. I liked this one far better than Beach Ready.

I put together a personal ranking of programs I've done to see where I'd put this one. First draft has it at #6. Be curious how this list evolves:

Completed (as of Aug 2019)
1 Iron
2 Run Half
3 Chisel
4 Body 3
5 Kettlebell 2
6 Blast: T-Shirt Ready
7 Kettlebell 1
8 Run-10K
9 Body 1
10 Run
11 Ski-boot
12 Mind
13 Blast: Beach Ready
14 Body 2

Not Completed Yet

That's 14 programs completed, and now with Marathon being added this month, that leaves 4 programs still on the To Do list. Not sure which one I'm going for next, maybe marathon as I have a running event in October so I'll be running the rest of this summer and into the fall anyways. This completes back-to-back-to-back 16 weeks (Run; Beach Ready; T-shirt Ready), so what's another 16 weeks?

It's Thursday...

...that means it's time for Super Heavy Upper Body Workout day. The last in these 4 weeks. Ok, let's go do it...

**Post Workout Update**
After an hour of rope, full-body blasts, 20 sets of Chest, 6 sets of Back, 14 sets of Biceps, and 14 sets of Triceps, ending with 6 sets of Dumbbell Davinci’s is just brutal.


1 week to go. Really liking this program...Iron-Boot (still tbd where it falls on my top 10 list). 3 weeks of consistent dumbbell work is really being felt now. Muscles that had been laying dormant for a bit are awakening again. Granted, the cardio is suffering as I haven't had time to run or ride that much, but hey I'll get back to that after this final week of T-shirt.

Heading out for a week's vacation next Saturday so I have to figure out if I'm going to shift the workouts ahead a day or two so I don't have to pack the dumbbells with me to hit Saturday and Sunday's final workouts. Or then again I might just bring them anyways as I'm sure I'll be itching to use them to break up the routine of running on vacation.

Finish strong teammates! It's only 1 week and you want to have the feeling of personal success come that last rep next Sunday!

End of Week 8



Kenzai Marathon
Kenzai Marathon


Kenzai Body
Kenzai Body

Kenzai Run 10k
Kenzai Run 10k

Kenzai Run Half
Kenzai Run Half

Kenzai Body 2
Kenzai Body 2

Kenzai Body 3
Kenzai Body 3

Kenzai Iron
Kenzai Iron

Kenzai Chisel
Kenzai Chisel

Kenzai Kettlebell
Kenzai Kettlebell

Kenzai Kettlebell 2
Kenzai Kettlebell 2

Kenzai Mind
Kenzai Mind


Kenzai Run
Kenzai Run

Kenzai Blast: Beach Ready
Kenzai Blast: Beach Ready

Kenzai Blast: T-shirt Ready
Kenzai Blast: T-shirt Ready