Archive for the ‘ Healthy Living ’ Category

On the Mend?

runstrongToday my hip flexor felt a lot better. I’m hoping that it’s not temporary, but that it’s truly on the mend. Every day I think of ways to expedite the healing process and get back on the road running. Yesterday I focused on my legs and, because it wasn’t causing me any pain, worked them to fatigue – i.e. I did exercises until my legs felt like jelly.

I researched leg exercises that might help me strength the weak areas of my legs – namely, my glutes and hip abductors and aductors. These included side squats, split squats, and hip ab/ad machine. The side squats were especially challenging, but I stuck them out because they focus on all the areas of my legs that are the weakest.

I don’t know if it’s strange or not but I feel like I’ve gotten a good leg workout if it hurts to sit down or walk down stairs the next couple of days. 🙂

I’ve also been laying off any cardio – SO, SO, SO hard to do! – until my legs get to a point where I can run without pain. I really think it’s been helping, so as hard as it is, I just keep reminding myself that it’s all for the long term benefits.

Happy running! 🙂

 

Beating the Running Blues

sadrunnerEvery so often an injury will derail me from my running goals. Because running has become so much of my identity I rely heavily on being able to run to find peace of mind emotionally, physically and mentally. When I can’t run it really affects me on my many levels. Lately I’ve been faced with this challenge and have been forced, or, thinking positively, given the opportunity, to find ways to cope with not being able to run.

So instead of getting depressed and mopey, here, after much self-reflection, are:

Runner Sami’s Tips for Beating the Running Blues

1. Use the time off to become a stronger runner – Find cross-training activities that won’t exacerbate your injury. Biking, swimming, pilates, yoga, and strength training are all great ways to build up muscles that will help keep you injury-free in the future.

2. Invest in other areas of your life – Because running is my positive outlet, it’s important to reroute those energies into other outlets while running is on the back burner. Find ways to invest your time that make you happy. Writing, catching up with friends, spending time with my family, or planning a trip are some things I have found help rejuvenate me when I’m not able to run.

3. Read about running – For some people this might be too painful, but I’ve found that reading about running helps me feel like I’m still involved in becoming a better runner. Books or articles about running help me focus on positive ways to help my recovery. There are always ways I can better myself as a runner and it’s fun to read about interesting races I can sign up for once I’m at full running capacity again!

4. Be an active participant in your recovery – You’re not alone. There are a lot of resources online through blogs, social media sites like dailymile.com, or websites like runnersworld.com for runners looking for support or providing helpful tips and strategies for those coming back from injuries. Finding answers and lending support to others are great ways to aid in recovery.

5. Eat healthy, be happy – When I can’t run my mind automatically starts to dwell on all those extra pounds that are going to fly onto my body. Even if this is not realistic, eating healthy helps me keep a happy frame of mind until I can go back to burning the calories I’m used to burning. And eating healthy is always a great habit for helping me become a stronger runner.

Happy running! 😀

Top Ten Strength Training Exercises for Runners

KettleBellSquatWinter is a great time to focus on the weight room, building strong muscles that will keep you from injury and help you to become a more dynamic runner.

While I’m a big proponent of pilates for strengthening muscles, especially core muscles, I also like to incorporate weights into my strength training workouts. There are many exercises that are effective in building a stronger you, but below are my:

TOP TEN STRENGTH TRAINING EXERCISES FOR RUNNERS

Goblet Squat

1001-goblet-squat-483x300

 

 

 

Push-ups

Push-ups

 

 

 

 

Walking Lunge

walking-lunge

 

 

 

 

 

Single-Leg Squats

single-leg-squat

 

 

 

 

Single-Leg Deadlifts

single-leg-deadlift

 

 

 

 

Bulgarian Split-Squat

split-squat

 

 

 

 

 

Russian Twist

russian twist with medicine ball

 

 

 

Pull-ups

pull-ups

 

 

 

 

 

Back Extensions

backextension

 

 

 

 

Step-Ups

Dumbbell-StepUp

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I said, there are many more exercises that are wonderful and also effective for runners, but these are a great place to start. These focus on the entire body, but specifically legs and core. There are many different camps in regards to how often, how many reps, and how much weight one should lift, but I would recommend to start with 3 sets x 10 reps of enough weight that you can keep good form for each exercise while still taxing your muscles. If you can do all the reps with ease, you need to increase the weight. (Sidenote: Just last week I was doing the same exercise as a man twice my size but with a heavier weight!)

Happy running! 🙂

Easy Homemade Granola

homemade-granola-recipe
I love making homemade anything instead of buying store brand if I can. Most recently I tried a new granola recipe that is delicious! It’s adapted from the cookbook Baked and is very easy to make. A perfect topping to yogurt – the perfect healthy snack!

Easy Homemade Granola

2 cups rolled oats

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp salt

3 Tablespoon, plus 1 tsp vegetable oil

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/3 cup whole almonds (I used sliced almonds)

1/3 whole hazelnuts

1/3 cup golden raisins (I used regular raisins)

1/3 dried cherries (the cherries add a nice tartness, but any dried fruit would work)

 

1. Preheat the oven to 325°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (I sprayed the pan with cooking spray instead).

2. In a large bowl, toss the oats with the cinnamon and salt.

3. In a medium bowl, stir together the oil, honey, brown sugar, and vanilla. Whisk until completely combined.

4. Pour the honey mixture over the oats mixture and use your hands to combine them (I used a wooden spoon): Gather up some of the mixture in each hand, and make a fist. Repeat until all of the oats are coated with the honey mixture.

5. Pour the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Spread it out evenly, but leave a few clumps here and there for texture.

6. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and use a metal spatula to lift and flip the granola. Sprinkle the almonds over the granola and return the baking sheet to the oven.

7. Bake for 5 minutes, then remove from the oven and use a metal spatula to lift and flip the granola. Sprinkle the hazelnuts over the granola and return the baking sheet to the oven.

8. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven. Let cool completely. Sprinkle the raisins and cherries over the granola and use your hands to transfer it to an airtight container. The granola will keep for 1 week.

 

Enjoy! 😀

My Running Story

beginningrunner

“I feel like going for a run…” These words sealed my fate as a runner seven years ago. I knew nothing about running when I had this thought. I figured I would throw on any old pair of sneakers and run around the town I lived in at the time until I’d put a few miles under my belt and decided to return home sweaty and happy. Haha! Instead, I put on an old t-shirt, a pair of shorts, and a tread-worn pair of sneakers, headed out my door at a jog – and made it halfway down the block. Not even a city block, a short suburban block. Pretty demoralized, I didn’t run again until a few months later when a friend of mine who was an avid runner said she would run with me and help me along the way.

Still wearing the same worn out clothes and sneakers, we drove to a nearby park that had a great dirt trail that was both flat and easy on the knees. The conditions couldn’t have been more ideal – blue skies, no humidity, warm but not too hot. Birds were chirping, the trees spreading their leafy canopies over the trail providing blissful patches of shade. I managed to jog with intermittent walking for about twenty minutes before being completely wiped out. Even with walking breaks, my lungs felt like they were on fire, my limbs ached, and I felt like I was running in slow motion – definitely not like those glossy pictures of fit runners in magazines like Runner’s World with their toned, sinewy muscles and lean midriffs. But even with all that, I loved it. Maybe it was the masochistic side of me, but I wanted more.

I had only run a couple of weeks when a friend of mine told me about a race called Bay to Breakers that was happening in May. It is a 12k run through the streets of San Francisco, up the notoriously difficult Hayes Street Hill, with most of its participants donning costumes for the event. I would have only been running for a little more than a month, but feeling that having a goal would help motivate me to continue running I agreed to join her. While this goes against the rule of only increasing mileage 10 percent each week, running this race actually worked in my favor. I think that if I hadn’t had the goal of that upcoming race I might not have stuck with my weekly runs and wouldn’t have gotten the love of running rooted deep in my life.

My first race through the hilly streets of San Francisco officially sealed the deal for my love of running. I had two goals during the race – to finish and to not stop running. Bay to Breakers was a perfect race because there was so much to distract me as I ran. People everywhere were in costumes (I wore a pink tutu), most everyone was there to just have fun so there were a ton of people cheering runners along the course and the mood was happy. It got to the purity of the run because I wasn’t worrying about negative splits or checking my pace on my Garmin or aiming for a new PR.

After that first less than stellar run, I’ve grown a lot as a runner. But I haven’t forgotten where I started and always try to keep those initial days in mind whenever I’m encouraging others to put on their sneakers and go for jog.

Happy Running! 😀

Just Do It

startingblock

The Nike slogan is all too appropriate when it comes to setting and meeting goals. I’ve recently started writing a new book after several stutter starts with a separate book that I finally decided to set aside for the time being. While it’s sometimes difficult to start over or make changes in your life, sometimes the only way to begin is by just doing it. Instead of waiting until tomorrow or a special occasion or when the mood strikes. So instead of waiting until tomorrow to eat better, exercise more, write that book, mend those fences, begin today! 🙂

 

Running Wisdom

winterrunning

Saw this picture from 32north.com and had to repost it here. So true! Let’s go for a run!

Happy Running 😀