Posts Tagged ‘running’
Week 6 of our Running Challenge is here! Are you still with me?
Before we get chatting, let’s pause for a little motivation/inspiration.
Love that! Especially on days I don’t want to go anywhere.
And my other favorite. Bam! Why do you run? I run mostly for me time & mental clarity. (sometimes I run to enjoy more margarita’s)
Are we motivated yet?
Do you need more?
Today’s Topic: Outside or Treadmill?
Most of us, I am guessing, are going to say outside. Outside, especially on a nice day, doesn’t even feel like work. It’s just enjoying the scenery, fresh air, and pace of whatever you’ve got to give.
I’m pretty lucky in the fact that Northern California weather, for the most part, is almost always sunny. Except for a few days here and there, I can count on dry, sunny skies to accompany me. I do have to deal with 100+ days in the summer, but I also run at 6AM so it doesn’t impact me too much.
I’ll be honest. I dread the days I have to go indoors. Especially if I’ve been on a kick with good outdoor runs, then being indoors feels like beating my head against the wall as I eye every minute on the treadmill.
You too? Sometimes though, you just gotta do it. If it’s raining or miserably cold for a few weeks, we can’t stop. Upcoming races wait for no one. I’ve learned that multiple times with shin splits, stress fractures, and other injuries.
There are benefits to running indoors: It’s safer (I don’t run alone at night. I’ve watched enough law&order SVU to know that), You can pace yourself better (nothing like having a moving belt underneath you for motivation to keep your speed up), you can vary the terrain (practicing for the SF marathon but live in the flat-as-dirt valley? Make some hills on the treadmill!)
So, while I prefer the outdoor space as much as possible, here are top-tips to making your indoor workout just as fun.
1. Put on your favorite show: If you’re fortunate enough to have a treadmill near a TV, find a favorite show or channel and run to it! Most gyms use closed captioning so you can read the dialogue as you go along. You’d be amazed how mindless reality TV can be, to me it’s the perfect thing to run to. I am so much more concerned with their failing lives than how many miles I’ve completed.
2. Switch up the Tempo: Maintaining a constant speed can be a real buzz kill. Switch it up! Add time intervals, tempo changes, ect. to make it more fun. Plus! Intense interval training will burn more calories and get you done faster. If you’re new to training- try a few different time intervals. Push yourself for 60 seconds, recover and repeat. Not only will you get a more efficient workout, you’re also training your body to run faster.
3. Don’t change anything: I don’t get the people who are running so fast they have to lean on the railings/console just to stay on. How is this good for you? Seriously. I am so fascinated that they are a moment away from biting it and falling off. Keep your normal stride, and maintain that good form that we’ve been working on!
4. Stimulate the outdoor experience: Why does running on a treadmill seem easier? Oh, that’s right- it is! The track propels you forward, so you have more momentum than being outside. Increase the incline to counteract this- 1-2% incline should do it!
5. ZONE out! Yes, you can zone out while you are outside, but you are more likely to be hit by a car, bike, or texter. When you’re on the treadmill, you’re safe. Zone out, think. Plan. Daydream about the weekend. No one will bother you or touch you. Enjoy the peace and just run.
What are your favorite tips for running either outside or on the treadmill?
Today’s post is all about music! To me, the essential component of a workout. I enjoy nothing more than zoning out and listening to my favorite songs, thinking about my day, day-dreaming as I get lost in the city.
To me, a playlist can make or break a workout. Have many times have I stopped a run early because my playlist wasn’t cutting it or I was tired of listening to the same songs? Many, many times.
I rarely run without music. I know some people enjoy the peace and quiet of running without music, but I just can’t do it. I need a quick beat to keep me on pace, and to keep motivation up. A good song keeps me going, even when I feel “out of gas”. I keep “Farewell” by Rihanna on pretty much ever playlist to turn on when I need a push.
I’ve also recently become obsessed with Map My Run, a free app that I highly recommend if you have a newer ipod or an iphone. It’s a great way to keep track of your distance, time, and mile pace. I don’t share my workouts publicly, but I keep them for myself to see if I’ve improved.
Tips to keep it fresh:
Create a “running only” playlist: Make a list of favorite songs that you ONLY listen to when you exercise. This will help keep things fresh and prevent song burnout.
Shuffle Your Songs: If you listen to the same playlist day in and day out, you’ve probably memorized the order of the songs. Switch it up! Try shuffling your songs instead. Even if it’s the same songs, mixing up the order
Don’t put your best song first in your playlist: Rotate the first song every week to keep things fresh. You also don’t want to start off with your favorite song, keep that until you need a boost. This song is a warm-up song anyways. My favorite: “Maps” by the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s. I’ve probably listened to it 1,000 times but the first few beats always let my body know that I am starting my run.
Don’t put your best songs right in a row: Mix in your favorite songs for some so-so songs.
Make a long run vs. short run playlist: Long running songs are ones that you can zone out with, I prefer one’s that last as long as possible. Re-mix’s are great for this! Search youtube for a remix of your favorite songs. They are usually longer and have a faster tempo.
For short runs try faster songs with a higher BPM (beats per minute).to keep you on pace.
While I am a fan of running to a beat, many aren’t. Obviously, music makes you more susceptible to tuning the world, and possible danger, out. If you run alone, always pay attention to what’s going on around you. When I head out on a trail, I only keep one ear bud in.
Some people don’t think that running helps you train, but I would argue the opposite. I think having a good playlist pushes you and gives you an emotional surge.
I prefer pop/hip-hop songs when I run, I can always count on them for a good beat & catchy phrases.
My Playlist from this morning
(Girl power, no?)
The Edge of Glory, Lady GaGa
Wide Awake remix
Catch my breath, Kelly Clarkson
Starships, Nicki Minaj
Some Nights, FUN
Too Close, Alex Clare
Sweet Nothing, Calvin Harris & Florence Welch
Untouched, The Veronica’s
Until it Beats No More, J.Lo
Miss California, Jack’s Mannequin
Sweat, David Guetta
What are your favorite workout songs? Share with us here!
Welcome 2013! As another year comes to a close, I’ve been thinking a lot about this site and what I can do in the new year to to make it a bit better. While I love sharing my recipe and nutrition thoughts, I feel as I am in a bit of a rut. I want to keep this site moving and I thought it would be fun to incorporate more challenges and projects.
That being said, I am so excited to announce my first project for this blog: DK’s Virtual Run Club. Whether you are a novice or marathoner, this running club is for you. For the next 12 weeks we will be discussing how to develop a running program, proper form, what to eat before and after a run, clothes, music, exercises and so much more!
Are you in?
This series will run every Thursday, starting today! I’ll also be posting workouts on facebook & twitter so make sure you are following! While this series will focus on running, you can adapt most of these strategies to whatever exercise is preferable to you: walking, swimming, biking, it ALL works.
Let’s start at the beginning, the very beginning. When I train new clients, many of them complain that they hate running. It’s too hard, too intense, whatever. I get it, running is not for everyone (see above) but the hatred could also stem from poor form. Improper form makes running more strenuous on your body, and therefore a lot less enjoyable. Proper form can help you run faster and reduce risk of injury.
✓ Look in front of you, not at your feet. Your gaze should be 15-20 feet ahead of you, anticipating where you are going and avoiding tripping on anything in front of you.
✓ Your toes, knees, and hips should all be in alignment, and that starts with feet pointed straight ahead, not turned out to either side.
✓ Imagine your foot divided in three: your heel, the middle, and your toes. Practice landing in the middle of your foot, not on your heels and toes. Most beginners tend to put too much emphasis on landing on their toes, which can overwork your calves and create shin-splits.
✓ Relax your arms and hands. Clenching your fists leads to tension in your arms, neck and shoulders. Keep arms where the naturally fall, about waist level. Any higher and you might feel tension in your shoulders.
✓ Maintain a neutral spine & pelvis. Keep your head up and shoulders level. As we tire, we tend to slouch over and curl our shoulders into our chest. This can lead to unnecessary neck & lower-back pain.
✓ Keep your stride low to the ground to avoid bouncing. The higher you lift your legs off the ground, the more shock delivered to your joints. Take short, light steps, like a shuffle.
I know it seems like a lot of steps, but making sure you have proper form is crucial to enjoying any type of workout program. Practice good form and eventually it will come naturally.
Now that we’ve got proper form down, let’s work on goals. What do YOU want out of this? If you’ve been running for a while, is there an upcoming race you’d like to enter? Setting a specific mileage goal can be a great way to motivate you and increase your endurance. Maybe you’d like to increase your speed?
My goal? I admit, I am selfishly doing this to get back into running myself. Since I teach a lot of group exercise, I don’t get as much me-workouts as I’d like. Running is as much of a mental workout for me as a physical one. It’s where I can be alone with my thoughts and plan out my goals. In fact- it’s where I got the idea for this project. I don’t have a specific mileage in mind, but I would like to start training for more 1/2 marathons. I’ll be honest. I’ve never been particularly jazzed about the idea of running 26.2 miles, I’ll leave that to the BLs of the world. I do love the thrill of a 1/2 marathon though and will be focusing on more long distance runs, more often.
If your new or somewhat new to a running program, what would you like to accomplish? Running a mile without stopping to walk? Training for your first 5K? Maybe it’s just increasing the frequency that you exercise, like me.
Whatever it may be, take a moment and think about your intention. That will help guide you as we tackle each week.
To help you get started, I’ve put together some basic training programs for running a mile, 5K, ½ marathon, and a marathon. These are only meant to serve as a guide, feel free to adapt them for what you need. You can add or take away as you see fit.
Let’s help motivate each other! What are your goals? Comment below! What would you like to see featured during the next 12 weeks? Let me know!
Ready, Set, Let’s Go
Running to lose weight? Depending on your diet intake and exercise regimen, you may find that you have actually gained weight instead of losing it. I see this all the time, especially in my female clients. Ironically, I see it more in women who are training for an endurance event like a triathlon or marathon. There are lots of theories behind this weight gain: increased appetite, muscle imbalance, and improved muscle efficiency. When you exercise you can also increase blood volume and muscle mass contributing to weight gain.
Weight gain around the belly is affectionately referred to as ‘runners pooch’ and can be corrected. This is more than likely related to muscle imbalance: strong hip flexors, hamstrings and weak abdominal muscles. Essentially this leads to bad posture where runners tend to stick their stomachs out. Interestingly enough, this imbalance of muscles also causes low back pain. When your pelvis is tilted forward, you place extra stress on your lumbar spine resulting in low-back pain. The corrective answer? Posture work! Strengthening your abdominal muscles and stretching your hip flexors and hamstrings. A lot of “ab” exercises use the hip flexors- double leg lifts, scissor kicks, bicycles. Keep your hips out of it!
Diet tips for runners looking to maintain and/or lose weight:
1. Eat your recovery meal as a regular meal. Instead of having a recovery meal and a regular meal, combine them as one. Cutting out the recovery meal, especially if it’s in the form of gels, bars, or shakes, can save hundreds of calories.
2. Eat less. I know it sounds redundant, but sometimes we feel that we can ‘eat whatever we want’ because we worked out. At least I know I do this! Sure, running scorches calories but a few extra granola bars throughout the day negates that. Listen to your body! If you’re truly hungry, reach for filling foods. Lean protein, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and beans/legumes are good choices because they are nutritious and will keep you full till the next meal or snack.
3. You don’t need to fuel your bedtime. Consume calories when you most need them- during the day! This is a great tip for anyone who is trying to lose weight. When we cut out calories during the day, we can feel hungry, cranky, and fatigued… not exactly feelings we want to have before heading to the gym! By reducing calories and snacking at night we reduce overall intake. Since you don’t need to have extra energy to head to bed, you won’t notice the calorie exchange as much as you might during the day.
Don’t get me wrong, exercise is bar none one of the best things you can do for your body. The benefits of exercise go way beyond weight maintenance but I am also aware that it’s a motivator for a lot of people. If your goal is to lose weight and you haven’t- check your diet first.