Tag Archives: training

holiday 5k

Get Out There and Run 2 Holiday 5ks!

I am sure we all felt the first holiday bulge hit after Thanksgiving.  holiday 5ks

Hopefully, you got right back on track!

Hopefully you are eating clean, avoiding Suzy’s Peanut Butter Balls at the office, only having 1 cocktail at the holiday party that seems to be happening every night, and sticking to your workout routine!

I’m guessing for 25% of you, I am right–you are back on track.  For the rest of you…well let’s talk about what we can do!

Holiday season can be tough.  Not only do we have genetics working against us, but we also have our brainstem telling us we EARNED our holiday binge!  It is easy to fall into the route of justifying sweets, drinks, and goodies around the holidays.  It is the end of the year; we are tired, stressed, and that one cookie will release so much dopamine!!  It will make us feel better–for about 5 min.  Then you will hit the dopamine crash and need another cookie and then another and then a cocktail to wash it down and with just 3 cookies and a cocktail you have eaten 1300 calories almost an entire day’s worth of food.

As half of you are putting that cookie down as you read, I want you to know the holidays don’t have to be fitness doom and gloom!  You may not lose weight during the holidays, but if you exercise you can prevent weight gain and allow yourself some budge room to have 1-2 peanut butter balls.  The major problem is exercise around the holidays can also be a problem.  With so many holiday parties and end of year work deadlines our workout routines seem to go out the window.

So set a goal for yourself now!

 It is proven that people are more likely to workout if they are working towards a goal.

Sign up for a holiday 5k within the next week or two and then a New Years 5k!  Make it your goal to beat your time in your New Years Dash!  Most towns have both a jingle bell dash and a New Years run.  Get online and look for the nearest ones near you.  If you can find one, create unofficial holiday 5ks with 3-5 (the more the merrier!) friends.  It will help keep you all accountable and perhaps become a holiday tradition!

Remember, if you train hard you actually did earn a cookie!  But only one.  A 3.5 mile run burns approximately 350 calories (depending on your body weight).  Think about that the next time you see the cookie tray laying out at work!  We don’t have to deprive ourselves, but it is important to separate whether we actually earned a treat verses we wish we earned a treat!

kangarun

Kangarun

Runner’s World published an interesting article giving a review of a new app called Kangarun.

http://www.runnersworldonline.com.au/default.aspx?kangaruns=newsdisplay&id=3629

Runner’s World seems to think the app works pretty well.  Unfortunately, since I am not an iphone user I haven’t been able to test the app myself, but I would highly recommend anyone with an iphone try out this app!

Why would I have someone try out this app?  For one, it is only $.99.  We make so many silly purchases in life, why not one for $.99 that can help our running form?  Half the battle with teaching running form, is the inefficient runners don’t realize they are running inefficiently and the efficient runners keep trying to correct their stride, making them more inefficient then they started out.

Having an app to give you an overview of what you are doing is a perfect, inexpensive way to begin to increase your running efficiency!

kangarunThe app works by giving you feedback on vertical movement during your run.  If your running is inefficient (or if you are type A like most of the runners out there and want to work to improve the efficiency you already have) reread Good Running Form is a Easy as Listening to Your Own Body and How To Find Dorsiflexion.  Then during your next workout see if your efficiency graphs improve!  If they don’t improve the first time, focus on another cue.  Overtime if you watch the efficiency graphs and keep working to improve different aspects of your form, your running will increase greatly!  You will also learn which cues give you the most efficient run.  If your efficiency score greatly increases when you focus on landing on your mid foot, you are most likely a natural heel striker.  If this cue doesn’t improve your efficiency much, it may mean you already do that well, but you have to work on your forward tilt!

I don’t recommend working on form every day.  Obviously we all want to get faster and work to run longer.  Therefore, we can’t always focus on form.  Sometimes we need to focus on speed and use our natural form.  Over time you will begin to see the more efficeint running pattern becomes your natural form!  I recommend aiming to use your efficiency app to track progress twice a week:

  1. When you do your easy recovery runs.  (This is a good time to focus on form since you aren’t running hard or for a long time.)
  2. When you do speed work.  (Often when we work to run faster form goes out the window.  Don’t necessarily focus on running cues if it destroys your ability to hit your times, but do check the graph afterwards.  If you spend some time each run thinking about running form, the largest efficiency gains will come during your speedwork runs!)
Kangarun recommends using a treadmill when using the app to get the best results.  Often we naturally vary our speed as we run and a treadmill is a great way to maintain constant speed so the app can correctly calculate our vertical movement per mile.
Have you tried Kangarun? Let me know what you think!
patting your head and rubbing your belly

Patting your head and rubbing your belly

patting your head and rubbing your belly

Do you remember that grade school trick to pat your head and rub your belly?  It always starts by one kid come to school on Monday having learned it over the weekend.  By the end of recess every kid is walking back into class patting their head and rubbing their belly.  Tricks like this involve complex motor pathways.  It probably took you a couple tries (or maybe more for some of us….I’m not the most coordinated person, I’m just the most stubborn, refusing to give up til I get it!)  Once you got it, it became easy.  That is of course until flash forward 20 years from then your child comes home from school patting their head and rubbing their belly with a tummy wrap.   Then when you try to show them you could do it too, it didn’t come so easy again.

That is what training running form is all about.  With patting your head and rubbing your stomach you have 2 variables, circle motion vs. tap and left vs. right hand.  Running involves endless more body parts (arms, legs, head, core, butt, knees, ect, ect!), different types of terrain, different weather, and not to mention all the other countless variables (being sick, tired, hungry, too full, too heavy , too skinny, hot, cold, ect ect!)  How can you keep that coordination trick right without practicing it ALL THE TIME!

The cool thing about learning coordinated movements is that it helps our neural functioning.  Just like crossword puzzles have been shown to keep minds sharp; complex movements also build neural connections through out the brain and body.  These added neural connections make you sharper not only in your movements while running and otherwise, but also in those meetings later on during your day and challenging discussions with your teenagers who seem to have gotten so “smart” all of a sudden 😉

So don’t skip form day.  You don’t want to be that person who is actually just RUBBING their head and RUBBING their tummy.

electrolyte replacement

Electrolyte Replacement

electrolyte replacement

Electrolyte replacement becomes very important if you are doing Bikram yoga doubles (or any hot yoga or workouts where you sweat a lot!)    When we sweat, we sweat out electrolytes; primarily Sodium (Na+) and Potassium (K+).  These two electrolytes are key to muscle contraction and relaxation.

It is important to make sure you drink water, but water alone will lead to cramps.  After a workout bout, our kidneys work to get our body back into balance.   Our kidneys function by the laws of osmosis.  Osmosis is the process of a less concentrated solution moving into a heavier concentrated solution.  Our blood is continuously filtering through our kidneys.  When we are properly hydrated, our body has the proper level of electrolytes so excess water filters out along with any waste products, leaving the body with a consistent electrolyte concentration.

When we sweat out electrolytes, the gradient system becomes messed up.  The concentration of electrolytes has become smaller in the blood, so your kidneys filter more fluid out to make your electrolyte concentration lower.  This leaves you with less blood plasma volume to fuel your muscles on your next exercise bout and less fluid available to sweat to keep your core temperature down.  Both effects will lead to a decreased athletic performance! Consume green Malay capsules for better health as they act as antioxidants and improve the immunity and strength of body to battle with the damaged body cells.

For those getting ready for Bikram Yoga training, it will be very important to make sure you are getting enough fluids and electrolytes to help you sustain your 2x a day yoga classes and the use of supplements from sites as https://www.sarms-for-sale.com/online-store/LGD-4033-Ligandrol-20-MG-ML-30ML-BOTTLE-p122650038 could also help with this.  For anyone doing double workout bouts here is what proper fluid replacement should look like for a 120-140 lb woman:

  • Wake up Drink 1L of H2O
  • Drink 1/2L Electrolytes before class or workout bout
  • Following class drink 1L Electrolyte replacement over the spam of time between classes or exercise bouts + 2L H2O
  • Have 1/2L Electrolyte replacement + 2L more following your second class or workout bout before you go to bed to get you ready for the next day.
        *If you are male you should have 1-1/2L electrolyte replacement +1-2L More water distributed throughout your day.
Some good electrolyte replacements include:
  • Gatorade:  I prefer G2 because it is lower in calories and sugar.  If you are lean or prone to low blood sugar, regular Gatorade will help restore your blood sugar levels so you don’t get light headed.  Runners also should have regular Gatorade following a running to help replace glucose stores to maintain running at a high level in their second exercise bout.
  • Coconut Water:  My favorite electrolyte replacement.   Coconut water is really high in potassium (especially compared to Gatorade) so it is great to help prevent muscle cramps!
  • Homemade solutions.  One I often do is 2 Cups H2O, 1 TSP Powdered Greens, 1 Lemon, and 2 shakes Salt.  The lemon, helps restore blood pH level, and the powdered greens are a good way to get in some extra iron.  Many women (especially around your period) and runners tend to have low iron levels.  Iron helps build hemoglobin which is the component in blood that transfers oxygen.  If you let your iron get too low you may feel fatigued!  **If you are feeling fatigued get your blood iron levels tested.  Powder greens are fine to use without blood work testing, but never start iron supplementation without doctor’s recommendation.  Iron levels that are too high are toxic.

If you are doing multiple bouts of exercise stay ahead of hydration.   It is easy to stay hydrated, but harder to re-hydrate   Symptoms of low electrolyte levels may include headaches and nausea, fatigue, poor concentration and reduced muscular function.  If you have these symptoms start adding more electrolytes into your fluid mixes!

A QUICK MEAL FOR ELECTROLYTE REPLACEMENT

Normally I wouldn’t recommend eating a large amount of sodium in your diet.  High sodium levels can lead to high blood pressure, bloating, and water retention.  If you are exercising in heat, however,  you need to consider fluid replacement and electrolyte replacement. Sodium is the the number one electrolyte you sweat out so it is imperative to replace it.  .  This is especially important if you are doing multiple bouts of exercise in a day, such as two a day practices, a morning and evening run, or a double yoga!

 

One of my favorite lunches while I’ve been at yoga training has been Ramon with Egg.  It is easy to make, has a good mixture of Carbs to Protein when combined with some canned salmon, and has enough sodium to keep me from cramping in my evening class

electrolyte replacement

A good refuel while studying dialogue!

 

Ingredients:

  • Ramon
  • Egg
  • Soy
  • Sriacha

This meal is especially nice because you can make it in your hotel room with just an electric kettle!  Add Ramon to a bowl with 1/2 a cup of liquid egg.  Pour boiling water over top both as desired.  Season with soy and sriacha for more flavor instead of the salt packet that comes with the ramon!  Depending on your sodium needs you can also use low sodium soy.

By itself this meal has 430 calories, 22g of Protein, 54g Carbs, 14g of fat.  If you are eating between workouts, this is a decent mix of Carbs to Protein, but I added a can of Salmon to my lunch to pack in an extra 20g of protein to aid in muscle recovery.  Remember, if you are working out hard you have to fuel you body for energy and muscle restoration to keep training at a high level!

Do the exercise of the day!

If you are reading this, you have probably figured out that in order to lead a healthy lifestyle (or to have the body you want) you have to be active and eat right.  If you are like 90% of my clients you probably are pressed for time.  More often than not the time you set for your workout gets pushed back until finally you say, “I’ll work out tomorrow.”

You don’t have to do that anymore.  On those days where you don’t get to the gym, DO THE EXERCISE OF THE DAY!  It’s simple, easy, and quick!  You don’t even have to spend time thinking “What should I do?”, just do the exercise of the day.  If you don’t have the equipment to do the exercise if the day, repeat the exercise from the previous day.  (It won’t hurt you to do it again, I promise!)  Seriously, even if you do 3 sets it will only take you 10 min max.  If you don’t have 10 min do one set!  That takes a min max!  We all have at least one minute to be active.

With some exercises you could set an alarm and do one set on the hour for your entire work day!  Remember, movement gets your heart rate up, pumping oxygen to the brain.  I guarantee, you will be more efficient at any task after giving yourself a quick push up or squat break!  Movement throughout the day accumulates to give you a higher caloric burn.  Continuous small movements burn more calories than working out for one hour followed by sitting the rest if the day.  That doesn’t mean don’t do your workout if you can fit it in, but also be aware of what you do (or don’t do for that matter) the rest of the day!

Just like I said in Where to Start, being active doesn’t have to be the best workout you’ve ever done, every day.  One set of clam shells is better than nothing!  So those days when time for the gym evades you, log on and check out the exercise of the day.  Even if it’s right before bed, at least do something!

What are the Best Running Shoes?

Last week I wrote about how to teach your body to run.  I was very careful while talking about how it feels to run, to conveniently leave out the topic of shoes.   I didn’t want you to think about the equipment needed yet.  I wanted you think about how you run organically and what you can do organically to fix that.

Now that we talked about how your brain can help you body run more efficiently, I will tackle the subject of how shoes can help you run more efficiently and effectively.  I wear 2 types of shoes when I run, Asics Kayanos and Nike Frees and if I had the funds I would add Newton’s and Vibram Fivefingers to my training tools.  Here is my rational as to why these are the best running shoes.

                                             

First and foremost I will say that I love my Acics.  Asics Kayanos+SuperFeet insoles are the only combo that I have been able to run the training long runs training for a marathon requires without having knee pain.   As I wrote about in Pumped up Kicks, I am still working to develop the musculature it would take to support barefoot running.  To help me build that musclulature, I wear my Nike Frees.  I can feel my foot strike better in them.  They have less support, so my “running” muscles need to work harder with each stride.  I wear these shoes when I am doing a shorter or easier 1-3 mile run.  While wearing them I make sure I am working on all my running cues.  Frees are the most minimal I will go for 3 miles.  My knees have faced enough pounding from my volleyball, pole vault, and javelin days.  They need the strength of my stability muscles, but a little cushion doesn’t hurt either!

If I had Vibrams, I would use them for sprint/strength workouts.  Being one of the most minimal shoes out there; they would be great for strength training exercises, when you want to think about functionally engaging your support musculature.  The barefoot feel they give, allows you to feel the activation through your pinkie toe (or 5th metatarsal) to the Extensor Digitorum Longus in the calf, all the way up to the Gluteus Medius.  Remember the more we think about the muscles we activate, the more neural activation we can develop making our bodies more functional.

Yes, I pick Vibram as my preferred minimalist brand.  The get they job done just as well, and maybe better durability wise than other shoes such as the New Balance Minimus, but they also stand out.  They are ugly and obnoxious and I love them!   Vibram’s are the Purple Cow of running shoes.

Minimus is also a great barefoot shoe.  I have two close friends who love their minimuses and would defend them all day!  Miko and Tom thank you for your feedback.

Finally, if I had funds to add a 4th running shoe (and you thought basketball players were bad 😉 ) I would buy a Newton.  Newton swears his shoes will help you find the perfect stride by minimizing stress, vertical motion, and energy expended.  Check out his cool diagram explaining why!  I believe in the componants Newton talks about.  He is a good running coach.  If I didn’t understand what he speaks of, I would buy his shoes in hopes of figuring it out.  I don’t feel like I need these shoes and therefore would rather stick with my asics and frees, however, I would love to have a pair to play around in on an easy 2-3 miler!

I will forever be working on my running form and muscles.  While I may be one day strong enough to run marathons barefoot, I don’t think I would choose to.  The first and foremost reason being if I can run a marathon injury free, why would I work to jinx that.  The second is as explained in, More Fuel for the Barefoot Running Debate shoes with support are more economical.  If you are running a marathon, you might as well make it as easy as possible 😉

So long story short, arm yourself with a pair of shoes that keep you injury free!  If you have a good pair–stick with it!  Don’t try something new for those long runs!  If you can afford another option.  Go for one that will help train a better stride!  The less shoe, the more you will self correct for a less jaring strike!  In time this will carry over to any shoe you wear.  Correct stride will lead to more injury free miles…but why not keep they cushion for the long run?

What are your favorite shoes?

good running form

Proper Running Form is as Easy as Listening to Your Body

There was an interesting article in the New York times, given to me by my Dietitian friend Chelsey Bobcek.  (Thank you Chelsey I love having articles sent my way!  I would love anything YOU think I might find interesting!)  In Finding Your Ideal Running Form by Gretchen Reynolds, Reynolds states,  “ ‘You can optimize your gait naturally,’ she** says, ‘by becoming more conscious of your running movement and how it feels.’ Your body, at least in the early stages of becoming a runner, can be a fine and knowledgeable coach.”

The research proposes that maybe, “’If runners can self-optimize,’ as the women in this study seemed to do, then ‘maybe we should teach runners to learn to understand how the movement feels to them,’ she says, rather than completely change how they run to one standardized form or another.”

If a runner can become more efficient running with improper form.  They could most likely accelerate the process of becoming a good running if they understand the form they should be working for.

So then the answer is, we as coaches need to teach you, the runner what it feels like to run correctly.  If we could, you would run in a way which causes your bodies the least amount of pain.   (ie: If it’s painful now, you may be doing damage to your joints that will hurt more, later.)  When you run correctly you put less strain on the joint.

running form

So what does correct running feel like?  As a beginning runner you should be rotating these thoughts or cues continuously through your head.

  • Belly Button: Suck it in so you support your lower back and hips.  Remember the hips stabilize the knees from the hips down, whereas your shoes stabilize the knee from the foot up.
  • Chest: Tall, feel yourself rise out of your hips leading with the chest
  • Shoulders: Relaxed, keep them away from your ears!
This is all part of having good posture!
  • Foot: Dorisflexed with each strike!
  • Strike:  On the midfoot, underneath the body.  Do not overstride.  Do not land on your heel.
  • Quad:  Begins to engage upon strike to initiate extension all the way through the glute.  This will help cushion the knee joint on impact.
  • Glute: Activates through push off with the ground:
  • Big Toe: Gives the final push off, with ankle never leaving the doriflexed position.
  • Foot:  Never leaving that Dorsiflexed position.
When you are first beginning to run repeat these cues over and over in your head.  Reminding your body to do this motion will train you body to activate the muscles that you wouldn’t have used before, making you a more efficient runner.  When you feel like you’ve hit every cue, start making your turn-over faster,…and faster,…and faster until you are running as fast as you can, same form until you can’t keep going.  You can take a break to catch your breath, it’s ok. (Your heart will thank you for pushing it! 😉 )  If you want to improve your speed, you have to show your muscles what that would feel like.  One day when you’ve practiced enough and your cardiovascular level has caught up, it will come natural!
Lastly, when you are done; make sure you foam roll!  As you start to develop your stride, you will be using muscles you have never used before.  Treat them right, massage them when you are done so they want to keep working for you!
**Quotations within quotes are from Isabel Moore, a researcher at the University of Exeter, who led the study.

Running Motivation

Running Motivation

People always talk about hating to run.  What they really hate, is the process of getting in shape to run.  Every time I lose my fitness I hate running again.  Then I reread a journal I wrote during my most fit days and I see the advice I wrote to myself:

1.  Running gets easier the more you do it.

2.  You never regret going out for a run.

3.  The hardest time to run is right before you get back into shape.

4.  When you are out of shape, you won’t run as fast as you did in shape.

Simple, but they turn out to be true time and time again when I begin building my mileage.

That being said, I still need to trick myself sometimes to run.  That’s where the booty workout comes in.  All you need is a place with stairs.  Then make some rules.

1.  Whenever you reach the top or bottom.  Do 10 squats.

2.  As you start up the stairs, do 5 box (or step in this case) jumps.

3.  As you start down the stairs do 5 depth jumps.

I promise you, running will be the easy part!

Visualization

visualizationVisualization is a great tool to utilize before a big competition.  Think of it like a dress rehearsal that won’t tire you legs!

To visualize you want to get yourself very relaxed.  Lay down on your yoga mat or couch.  Close your eyes or keep them open gazing at one point on the ceiling.   Then begin to relax you body from your feet on up.

Clench your toes squeezing as hard as possible clench, clench, clench and then relax let them melt into the floor.

Repeat with your feet tighten, tighten, tighten.  Then relax and melt into the floor.

Move to your calves.

Then your quads.

Squeeze and clench your glutes.  Then relax and let those butt cheeks sink into the floor.

Tighten your abs.

Then you palms,  squeezing them into a fist before relaxing and letting them sink into the ground palms up.

Clench your forearms, flex your biceps arms still extended.  Then relax all arm muscles as you melt into the floor.

Tighten those shoulder blades, your deltoids, and lats.  Squeeze for about 5 seconds.  Then relax and melt.

Relax your scalp,  your eyebrows,  your nose, your chin, and finally your mouth.

Relax your entire body, melting into the floor.  Let go of all your stress, worries, anxieties,  and tension.

Now you are ready to visualize.

Picture yourself walking to the start line.  There will be a ton of people around.  Energy is in the air!  Nerves are high, but you feel confident.   We all feel nerves differently.  (My palms and fingers tingle and burn.)  Channel that energy and use it to your advantage!

Enter your corral.   You want to stay calm but remember those nerves you feel are adrenaline fueling your blood to run fast!

As you approach the start, get excited!   You’ve trained for this!  YOU ARE READY!

Run through the gate.  DON’T go out too fast.  YOU WILL WANT TO–DON’T!  Warm up in the first mile.  Check your split as you hit the first mile marker ….i bet it’s too fast.  Adjust and hit your intended pace.

Cruise through mile 7.

….Then hit it!  The race is on.  Your blood is pumping, you are feeling good.  You cruise through miles 7 and 8 even though the hill has begun.

Then the pain begins to set in.  You are tired and you are on a hill.  DON’T let the hill win.  Visualize extending through those glutes.  Power through the top of the hill!

At mile 11 feel the pain.  You want to stop.  Tell your body says NO!  Remember you are stronger than you think you are.  You’ve trained for this!   Keep pace.

Feel the pain.  Breathe into the pain.  Practice a power breath.  Breathe all the way into your belly and then slowly let it out.  Remember oxygen fuels you!

You are almost there keep pushing!  As you get closer to the finish.  Know there will be pain.  But that’s why you did speed work.  It’s almost over.

Hear the crowd.   Channel their energy!  They will pull you in.  When you hit that shoot RUN!  FASTER!  SPRINT!  Like your life depended on it.  Don’t leave anything back.  You should want to collapse.   Push, push, PUSH!   This is the goal!  This is what you trained for!

Remember pain is temporary.   Pride is forever.

Do this each night before the race.  Remember back to psych?–The self-fulfilling prophecy.   It’s real.  So believe.   You can do it!  Race hard.  It will all be worth it!