Posts Tagged ‘ Fitness ’

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 😀

Fun New Gadget: Garmin Forerunner 10

watch-pink-glow My new favorite running gadget is a gift I received for Christmas, a Garmin Forerunner 10. Any race I enter I see people of all shapes, sizes and speeds checking their shiny sports watches as they toe the line. Able to calibrate a whole multitude of stats, many runners have turned to wrist ornamentation to track their speeds, paces, mileage, and calories. These stats can then be uploaded to your computer so runners are able to compare their various runs and track goals they have set. Many of the sites linked to gadgets such as the Garmin watch also double as social media sites so runners are able to share their successes and challenges.

There are a whole range of tools designed with a similar purpose in mind. These also range in price from the Nike+ iPod Sports Kit which is set at $28.95 to ones equipped with things like GPS, barometer, and thermometer that run around $500. My new Garmin lands nicely in the middle in both price and features providing me with exactly enough information that I’m not inundated, but am given enough that I can track key stats to monitor my goals and progress. Also, it’s lightweight, easy to use, and a fun pink color (it also comes in bright green and black). It’s a great way to get excited about runs even when the winter weather is floating around freezing. 🙂

Happy running!

 

Winter Cross-Training

pilates benefits women  I’ll admit it, sometimes it’s just too dark and chilly out to go for a run. And although I still get my butt into gear to run regularly, I also work in more cross-training in the winter. I hardly ever feel like going to the gym during warmer days, so the winter months make an ideal time to build up other areas that will complement and improve my running.

Pilates – I love pilates. It is one of the best ways I’ve found to strengthen my body, keep me healthy, and make me a better runner. I take a weekly class at my gym that’s an hour long and kicks my butt every time. The key is to find a teacher that you are compatible with and that can push you in areas you can’t push yourself. I found a teacher who totally rocks and mixes up each class with challenging moves and isn’t afraid to add pilates props like exercise balls, rings, or bands to increase the difficulty of the moves. Also, pilates really focuses on your core which is essential for healthy running and staying injury free.

Strength Training – This is another great way for runners to build up muscles that assist in becoming stronger and staying injury free. Also, it’s really fun for me to see the looks of the guy dominated free weight area as I bench press next to them. 🙂 While there are a million things I could write about when it comes to strength training, there are two primary points to keep in mind: 1. Women who lift weights will not get huge, man-like muscles (unless they are purposefully working toward a competition or using *ahem* supplements) and 2. Please consult someone, like a trainer, who knows proper form before beginning any sort of strength training routine as bad form can lead to injury and won’t be as effective.

Yoga – Great for flexibility, yoga pairs nicely with pilates in improving your health as a runner. Once again the integral aspect is to find an instructor that can challenge you while providing good modifications to poses so you don’t over-extend your body into injury. There are several types of yoga too, so find the one that fits you best.

Spinning & Swimming – I combined these last two as cross-training areas in which I’d like to improve. I love to bike in warmer weather, but tend to set it aside during the colder months. Same with swimming. Both, however, are great ways a runner can keep fit cardiovascularly and easy to do if you belong to a gym. And if you want to make an investment, buy a bike trainer that you can hook your road bike up to and use inside your house – great cross-training without ever leaving the comfort of your home!

Happy Running! 😀

It’s a DG kinda day

(Now that the weather is getting warmer, at least in the Northeast, I thought it was the perfect time to do a disc golf post reprise. A great FREE outdoor activity for people of all ages and athletic abilities! See below for a course near you!)

The sun is shining. The air is warm. Birds are chirping. And the sound of lawnmowers buzzes around me every time I walk outside. Perfect disc golf weather. 🙂

As the title of my blog indicates, I love to run. LOVE IT. (Such dramatics, but you know you have your thing too – don’t judge.) But being outside for any activity is a close second. Even in the winter I’m outside running, walking the dog, whatever. But in the spring, summer and fall, my favorite pastime is DISC GOLF.

Most people I talk to about disc golf – okay, I corner them like an evangelist during sweeps week – have never heard of the sport (yes, it’s a bona-fide sport) let alone have any interest in joining me in a game. There are three great courses by my house that my girlfriend and I play often. Sunday I brought the camera to document our game and share the love on my blog.

First, here are the BASICS OF THE GAME:

1. You have specialized discs (NOT FRISBEES). These discs are sleeker and heavier than frisbees, thus performing according to how you throw the disc and going A LOT farther than a frisbee would. Some people (yes, me) carry bags to haul all their discs around because, just as in golf, there are putters and drivers and mid-range discs.

2. Each hole is set up like golf with: a tee off area, a “catcher” (ie. hole), and often a sign designating the hole number, distance and par.

3. Object of the game: Get your disc into the catcher (it’s like a wire basket you have to get your disc to land in) in as few shots as possible.

Each course is unique. Some are 9 holes, some are 18, some longer. Some courses are really rough with trees, streams and brush. Others are open with very short distances between the tee and the hole.

So much fun! There are some great sites for disc golf if you want to learn more. They also provide search engines to locate courses, if you want to check it out!

PGDA

DG Course Review

Email me if you have any questions! 🙂

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Personal Training

One of my goals for 2011 is to run a marathon. A race that is 26.2 miles long. This was also my goal of 2010 but due to poor training I suffered from an IT band injury early on that waylaid these plans. (The IT band is a tendon-like band that stretches from your glute muscle/hip area and attaches to your tibia. When it gets inflamed it causes pain around the knee.) Of course it took me way too long to actually stop and rest and rehab my IT band which meant I just made it worse before I actually got any better.

This year I’m almost back to a hundred percent and have done a couple short runs without pain. I’m hoping that by going slower than I normally would and not pushing as hard as the rest of my body would like to, I can rebuild and come back stronger than before. I realized that if I wanted to accomplish this I needed a little extra help. That was why I enlisted the help of Angie, my new personal trainer/running coach.

As a reader, I read a lot about injuries and running and how to best approach both. I also talked to a lot of different people about my injury and asked for recommendations. Every single person I talked to, all training professionals in running, had different advice. Every so often an article would coincide with another article or a another book, but for the most part I tried a million different things because “I know someone who had an IT band problem and he said that – FILL IN THE BLANK – worked and he was running again in a month!”

Yeah. Right.

Let me save you some time and grief if you ever get an IT band injury – the only surefire solution is REST. If you don’t rest it will get worse. Other than that every body is different so what “most definitely” works for Joe doesn’t mean it will work for Josephine. You have to take the advice that’s given and do what you can to stay in shape while letting your body rest and heal. Other than rest, two factors made a huge difference for me: 1. Finding the right pair of shoes for my feet (every foot/running style is different) and 2. Using a foam roller. A high school track coach told me that one of his athletes had IT band issues and what typically happens is that scar tissue begins to form causing persistent problems. Once I began rolling my leg out on the foam roller every day (I thought I would pass out it hurt so much – it feels kind of like a ongoing charlie horse), I started feeling a major difference. My pain and tightness both subsided! Yay!

This may be way too much info, but just in case you too suffer from running injuries I wanted to be thorough. 🙂

Bottom line – to continue working my way to running a marathon, I knew I needed help. I heard about Angie and her running program NuFit through the magazine Runner’s World. She is a certified running instruction, yoga instructor, and nutrition consultant. She is based out of Seattle but has a great website that I thoroughly perused. She offered remote personal training packages that would include an 8-week training schedule, weekly check-ins, and nutrition tips. While she would be my guide, I needed to be self-motivated as well as hold myself accountable to sticking to the schedule. Sounded like the perfect fit for my personality! I figured this was the kick I needed and after several emails back and forth decided to go ahead with the personal training.

I’m in week one and am loving it! I feel better already (although exercise will do that regardless) and feel like I’m on the right path for this new year. I’ll continue to give you updates on my progress as well as any setbacks (like I missed a day already because I was sick) so stay tuned.

But I want to know – have you ever used a personal trainer?

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! 🙂 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! 🙂

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

Body Language

Every body is different. Learning your body’s language is integral to becoming a strong, healthy, and balanced runner. The trick is taking notice of how your body reacts to various environments, foods, stresses, etc.

Today I ran my prescribed miles/time indoors on a treadmill that is part of a small community gym within my housing complex. One thing I know about my body is that I sweat a lot when I workout. Most people sweat during strenuous activities, I just sweat more than most. Lovely. I have come to accept this about myself and it’s usually not a big deal. Until, that is, I step off the treadmill after running for an hour and completed 7 miles, and an elderly couple chatting at the back of room stare at me and then politely ask how long I’ve been running. When I tell them, the woman (bless her little heart as my gram would have said) says, “Well, it sure looks like you’ve been running a lot longer than that!” Ah, the blissful bluntness of those past caring what others think. How delightful.

So, yes, I’m a woman and I sweat like I’m going to pass out at any moment. And when it’s really hot and I’ve been really exerting myself, something especially strange happens. I sweat salt. Yes, you read that right. I said salt.  I’ve read a little on the subject and it actually happens to quite a few people when they workout as well. We all have amounts of water and sodium in our bodies that is shed during workouts. Because some people sweat more salt it’s important to replenish your supply of sodium through sports drinks that have electrolytes and serve to bring your body back into balance.

Think of your body as a machine. You should figure out what foods will be the best fuel to keep your body operating at its best. And since no two people are alike, one person’s eating rituals are most likely not going to mirror yours. For me my favorite are mid-morning runs. I eat a bagel and have a cup of coffee, wait two hours, and I feel amazing during my run! And, on the reverse side, any kinds of rich foods even if eaten the day before, are certain to mess with my body in not nice ways and make my run a miserable experience.

Learn your body’s language. Are you hurt? Tired? Dehydrated? Figuring out what your body is trying to tell you is one way you can become stronger and live a healthy and balanced life.