Archive for the ‘ Fitness ’ Category

New Year’s Resolutions: Part 2

What motivates you? Finding the answer to that question will help you in the second part of setting goals for the new year.

Incentives are huge when working toward your goals. If there’s no reward at the end of all the time and effort you are investing into something, then there is no purpose. If you don’t have purpose then you won’t find the passion you need to dedicate yourself to reaching your goals.

In the first part of my New Year’s Resolution blog, I asked you to think of some goals you would like to reach and how you can make the time to reach them. Now that you have done this, you can ask yourself – what is the purpose behind the goals I’m setting?

Maybe you’d like to lose some weight. Or perhaps you liked to run your first marathon. Or finish your first novel. Whatever your goals are in this new year may be, you have to ask yourself why you want to accomplish these goals. Is it so you feel better about yourself? Is it so you can quit a job you don’t like? Is it to meet new people and make new friends? Goals can be small or large and thus rewards and incentives will be small or large. Maybe you want to make an effort to be more romantic with your partner or spend more time with your children. Some pay outs will be long term and the effects will hopefully grow and last a long time. If you want to get off the couch and run your first race, then you have a very specific, time-sensitive incentive of a race date.

I’m not saying all goals are the same, nor do I profess to be an expert in all goals people want to set for themselves, but I do know that if you want to meet your goals the effort has to start with YOU. Don’t look to others to help you fulfill your goals. Sure there will hopefully be friends, family and loved ones who stand by your side as you invest your time and energy to meeting your goals, but these are YOUR goals and thus you are the only one who can truly meet them. Intrinsic motivation outweighs extrinsic prizes.

What motivates you to meet your goals? What incentives or rewards are there while you work toward your goal and once you reach it?

Coming up: New Year’s Resolution: Part 3

Fitness Friday!

It’s getting close to that time! Turkey Trot time!

I recently posted on why I love Turkey Trots, so if you want to read that blog click HERE.

The reason I’m posting again so soon on my favorite race of the year is that I thought some of you might like a list of great Turkey Trots to check out. These races are held around the country and chances are there’s one near you, so check out my last blog to do a general search.

A List of Great Turkey Trots

Parade Company Turkey TrotThis race has been a Detroit staple for the past 28 years and boasts both a costume and a race float contest (think big running Chinese dragon). It offers a 10K, 5K, and 1 mile “Mashed Potato” run.

Dallas YMCA Turkey Trot – Lauded as one of the largest Turkey Trots in the country, this Dallas race now draws thousands Thanksgiving morning. With a 5K run/walk and an 8 mile option as well as costumes, prizes, and big after race entertainment it’s the perfect choice! Also, sign up cost goes to support Dallas area YMCAs and with Dallas being one of the most obese cities in the world, it needs the help!

YMCA Buffalo Niagara Turkey Trot – This 8K first began in 1896 making it the oldest continually running race in the country. More than 12,000 runners come out to race and enjoy the post-run awards ceremony and live entertainment.

Dana Point Turkey Trot – Race along the beaches of southern California with the 5K or 10K run. Not only is the locale a perfect reason to sign up for this huge event, but proceeds go to the Second Harvest Food Bank.

Fitness Friday!

I love Turkey Trots.

I especially love the Turkey Trot where my parents live in which I have been running for the past five or so years. The course goes on a cart path around a local golf course past fields and trees. It never feels like the 3.1 miles (5k) that it is because the energy is always buzzing with excitement. When I first started running this race there were maybe fifty people who ran. It was fun but definitely more subdued. Last year there were probably two hundred plus people there. Some were in costumes, some were serious runners, some were with their young children or families, but everyone was looking to have a good time. It was great! πŸ™‚

For you first-timers out there, a Turkey Trot is a race that’s held early Thanksgiving morning. It’s a perfect way to start the day as you are most likely destined to spend the rest of it with family eating until you’re as stuffed as that turkey was. Running this race always puts me in a great mood and I feel like I’m burning off all those calories I’m noshing on the rest of the day!

To find a trot near you check out Runner’s World or Active’s Turkey Trot finder.

Run on my friends!

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Fitness Friday!

To spin or not to spin…

For those of you who have never been to a spin class or think that spinning means turning in circles until you fall down in a discombobulated stupor, here’s what you need to know about this fabulous workout.

Spinning is a class that incorporates the workouts of cycling using indoor exercise equipment. The bikes used are meant to mimic those that cyclists use from the handlebars to the pedals that you can clip biking shoes into (if you want to). As with any workout, spinning is as intense as you make it. Just as with an outdoor road bike, you are able to increase or decrease the resistance as you pedal typically using a knob on the middle bar of the bike instead of separate gears.

While I’m sure every spin class is set up differently dependent on what gym you go to, here are a few things you should know/keep in mind when finding a spin class that fits your needs:

1. Instructor – The instructor can really make or break how enjoyable a class is. His/her energy, enthusiasm and preparedness can make you want to push yourself and come back for more pain workouts. When you’re in class notice: Does your instructor arrive early to set up? Does she give understandable verbal instructions during class? Is the music upbeat? Is there adequate warm-up and cool-down time built into your class time?

2. Bikes – Spin bikes get a lot of miles put on them and have to maintained regularly to keep up with the wear and tear. Make sure the bike has pedals that are fit for both sneakers and bike shoe clips so you have different options. Make sure all the handlebars are worn out with holes so you don’t get blisters and that there’s a place for a water bottle and an easily adjustable seat.

3. Atmosphere – Taking a new class can be intimidating and gyms should be aware of your needs. A spin class should be lively and upbeat. They typically run an hour long. Also, spin classes I’ve taken have several rows of bikes so those first timers are able to sit in the back and watch others until they become comfortable with the different instructions as it’s not just about “riding” but standing up and shifting your body weight to work out your different muscle groups.

Note: If you take a class, make sure you ask someone (preferably the instructor) how to adjust your bike before you start the class. A badly adjusted bike can lead to back and knee problems.

While I haven’t been to a lot of spin classes, I love biking and spin was an fun extension of that love. I loved being challenged in new ways and it was a perfect complement to running as it was still a good cardio workout, but I wasn’t pounding the pavement as I do with running.

For those of you who love biking, but can’t go to gym during the cold months when you don’t want to bike outside, a good alternate is to invest in a trainer. A bike trainer is a stand that you can hook your bike into and ride as if you were outside. It’s like having your own private spin class! My girlfriend just purchased one (she’s the avid biker) on ebay for only $60! Much, much cheaper than joining a gym and now she can train indoors all winter.

So check out spinning, you may just find it’s a perfect fit! πŸ™‚

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Fitness Friday!

Have you ever been to a yoga class? Did it involve:

a. Chanting

b. Complicated poses that involve you looking and feeling like a pretzel

c. An instructor that seemed to think she/he was a great guru

d. Leaving with a feeling of failure and not a sense of calm and well-being

If so, I have the perfect book for you! The No Om Zone came into my library the other day with its glossy pics and it’s bright green and grey cover. I had never heard of the author – Kimberly Fowler – or of her brand of yoga. But the more I read about her approach to creating a fun, relaxing, enjoyable kind of yoga that appeals to a broader range of people, the more I wanted to try it!

I have taken yoga classes before but it was at a local gym and they were more of a hybrid of tai chi, pilates, and yoga and I loved them! For those who haven’t tried it, if you take away the chanting, the hope for enlightenment and the religious aspect of the exercise, you are left with a great way to find relaxation while becoming more flexible and balanced in the process. As a runner it’s a perfect way to stay injury-free (and since I’m currently battling an injury – I miss it even more!).

Fowler says: “No OM Yoga is Yoga everyone can relate to. It’s practical, straightforward Yoga that’s fun and energizing and not intimidating. No OM Yoga was designed to get rid of the reasons many people have for not doing Yoga.”

Sounds good to me!

If I was able to take a yoga class like that along with a pilates class every week I would be one happy lady! πŸ™‚ If you’ve never taken a yoga class before I highly recommend it. Make sure that you do your research and take a yoga class that fits your needs and personality as there is a spectrum of classes ranging from highly spiritual to not at all.

For more on Fowler and The No Om Zone – check out her sleek, new website HERE.

Fitness Friday!

I grew up playing tennis. My dad’s an avid tennis player and he encouraged me when I showed an interest in the sport. I first picked it up when I broke my arm and the doctor encouraged me to play to rehab my weakened muscles. I really enjoyed it and continued to play through middle school and eventually joined the high school tennis team. But I never had a passion for it like my dad did and was never very competitive. I think part of him was disappointed I didn’t show more of an interest, but he didn’t care…as long as I wasn’t playing golf.

To him, golf is a sport pastime that requires no athletic prowess. Unlike tennis where players have to have quick reflexes, good cardio, strength, and endurance, golf is swinging a club at a ball. And if you compare golfers to tennis players, golfers aren’t exactly the epitome of fit whereas tennis players are lean with muscles on top of muscles. As a result, my opinion of golf wasn’t exactly a high one. So when my girlfriend asked me to play with her, I was hesitant. I’m using to running, rock climbing, and biking, what would I think of an activity where most the time is spent waiting and riding around in a golf cart?

I absolutely loved it!

The weather was gorgeous – blue skies and fluffy clouds and temps in the low 80s. The course was beautiful with rolling hills, woods, and scenic views where you could see for miles. There was an old red barn on the course with a low stone wall lined with apple trees that were bursting with ripened fruit. Deer and rabbits peeked out from behind trees as I lined up my shots across huge expanses of verdant lawns. We brought water and snacks with us to munch on as we sat in our golf cart and waited for golfers ahead of us to move along. I learned that it is challenging and frustrating to learn a proper swing whether it was driving off a tee or hitting across the fairway, but I also learned to enjoy a good hit when I occasionally got one as well as the art of relaxing.

Now I’m hooked. I don’t think I could ever just golf as I love the physical exertion of my other fitness loves, but it does make the perfect complement and is perfect for my rest days between training. I can’t wait to get back out on the course and improve my game! πŸ™‚

Fitness Friday!

Welcome to Fitness Friday!

I’m dedicating every Friday to something fitness related whether it be training, event related, nutrition or just a topic I find interesting. I’m also going to answer any questions you ask. You can ask through this blog or just email me at runnersami[at]hotmail[dot]com.

I’ve been interesting in fitness all my life. About ten years ago, I got really serious about being healthy and since then have done research on the best ways to accomplish that. It’s always a work in progress as I am constantly learning new ways to be fit, but I’m happier and healthier than I have ever been. Fitness isn’t just about working out and staying in good physical shape, it’s about making sure all aspects of your life are healthy. That means keeping mentally, emotionally and spiritually fit too.

I will also be posting any pertinent links to articles, websites or events in my blog on Fridays as I find them.

This week, as we are entering into a very popular time of year to run races, especially marathons and half-marathons, I wanted to post a few food runs that I found in Fitness magazine that I thought were funny.

1. Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon – October 2, disneyenduranceseries.com, Run the half and stay for the after-party during Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival.

2. Hershey Half Marathon – October 3, hersheyhalfmarathon.com, For all those chocoholics who need a little incentive to run there’s a Chocolate Aid station that helps you reach the finish line.

3. Portland Marathon – October 10, portlandmarathon.org, Grab a cold pint at mile 21, then run at your own risk. This city boasts 32 breweries which makes for a perfect race location for beer lovers.

4. Krispy Kreme Challenge – February 2011, krispykremechallenge.com, The most vomit-inspired race I’ve ever heard of – runners head from the NC State University Memorial Bell Tower to the nearest Krispy Kreme (2 miles), devour a DOZEN, then head back in under an hour – YIKES!

Have you ever heard of any weird races or run in one?

Until next Fitness Friday – Runner Sami

Rails to Trails

New Jersey just keeps surprising me!

Before I moved here, I was like a lot of people (ok, everyone not from NJ) who thought the state was the blight on the face of America. But ever since I moved here, New Jersey has proved me wrong. It’s a quirky little state filled with an overabundance of pride. Where I live in central Jersey, I’m surrounded by green. Parks, farms, fields, playgrounds, and trails are abundant. There’s not a day when I don’t see a mass of brightly colored cyclists or runners or dog-walkers taking advantage of these scenic offerings.

When Alissa stopped by for dinner the other night she mentioned her discovery of an amazing trail close to where she lives. It’s called the Columbia Trail and with it only being a twenty minutes drive from my house, I had to check it out.

The Taylor Steel Workers Historical Greenway is one of many trails that run through scenic areas of NJ. Once a railway, its last freight train ran in 1976 and the trail was built in 1990. It had been in operation since 1876 running iron ore along its lines. There’s a national conservation movement called Rails-to-Trails Conservancy whose goal is to convert old railways into greenways for bikers, runners, walkers, and cross-country skiers to be able to use.

The trail is packed gravel, perfect for running and biking, and is 14 miles out and back. Tall trees shade the trail and a river runs almost the entire length of the trail. It’s an ideal place for my long Sunday runs.

And there must be something magical about the trail too. Everyone is friendly and waves or says hi or good morning. It’s great! Also, there are little treasures along the way too with tiny wooden houses, homemade benches, and even a hidden gnome standing in front of a small door that’s been hinged to the bottom of a tree. I don’t even feel like I’m running half the time because there’s so much to look at and marvel over. πŸ™‚

For more information about Rails-To-Trails Conservancy and trails near you: