Posts Tagged ‘ healthy living ’

Pilates Power

PilatesEvery time I read up on great exercises I can do to improve my running and come back from my injury I come across moves that I typically do in my pilates class. The only problem is I hadn’t gone to pilates in weeks. Knowing that every week that passed that I skipped my pilates class was a missed opportunity to improve on these areas, yesterday I decided I had to go to class that evening. I threw on my workout clothes, laced up my sneakers, grabbed my mat, and headed out.

I’d forgotten how refreshing going to class was. I felt rejuvenated head-to-toe. And sore! But a good sore, letting me know the exercises were working all the right muscles. It also reminded me how much I appreciate all the camaraderie and support I find there. My instructor is wonderful. Super sweet and encouraging with such a positive energy it’s impossible not to smile even when she’s pushing us through difficult movements. My fellow pilates goers were also quick to give me words of encouragement. I’m already excited to go back. I’ll be back to running before I know it! 🙂

 

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! 😀

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 😀

Eat & Run and the Allure of Vegan Living

  I recently finished Scott Jurek’s new memoir, Eat & Run. I love reading memoirs, especially ones that center around sports or athleticism of some kind. Jurek is a renown ultrarunner (ie. running longer than a marathon distance, 26.2 miles). He’s won many events he’s entered such as the Western States 100, Badwater (135 miles through Death Valley), and the Hardrock 100. In his book, Jurek chronicles his adventures and passion with ultrarunning and the people that most influenced him on his journey to ultra-greatness.

What’s even more impressive than not only finishing, but winning all these races is that Jurek does it all on a plant-based, vegan, diet. No meat. No dairy. Nada. Wowee! Before Eat & Run, I read Finding Ultra about another ultrarunner named Rich Roll. He also competes at an elite level while basing his diet completely on plants. Both these men make compelling arguments for living a vegan lifestyle. They also both impressed upon their readers how simple and, more importantly, profoundly healthy it can be, Jurek even includes recipes at the end of each of his chapters. But when I see a pancake recipe that calls for seven (SEVEN!) different types of flour, I’m a little hesitant that this is the lifestyle for me.

I’m a vegetarian, so perhaps I’m a little unjustly judgmental here, but I’m not sure I could ever convert 100% to a vegan diet. While I don’t eat a ton of dairy I definitely eat enough of it that it would be a big change for me. As I read these books I contemplated making the switch, but at the end of the day between the time it would take to find and learn how to make non-diary meals, the hassle of not having as broad a menu selection when eating outside my home, and knowing that I buy 99% of my dairy at local or family owned farms, I don’t think it’s worth it to me. But that’s really the crux of it, while it’s not right for me I can see why people would chose to switch to vegan living and I give them props for taking the time and energy to live what many deem a healthier lifestyle.

Happy Running! 🙂

When the Going Gets Tough

  It’s not always easy focusing on all the tasks that need to get done on any given day. Work, kids, writing, blogging, exercising, errands among a litany of other items that will quickly fill up any agenda. And when all those things pile up it can easily get overwhelming. Often I find myself wanting to spend my free time plopped in front of my TV instead of accomplishing what I should be doing instead. And while I don’t think TV is bad, sometimes it’s nice for my brain to turn off for an hour or two, it’s when I know my brain doesn’t need a break and yet I gravitate toward that pastime first.

Everyone is different and will most likely need and use different motivations to get his or her butt in gear and do something productive. Over the years I’ve found a few things work well in respect to getting me motivated. Maybe some of these will work for you too!

1. Get out of the house (and away from the distractions of home)

2. Make a list – it’s always very satisfying to cross things off that list as I finish them.

3. Exercise first – for me if I don’t get my adrenaline pumping before I start my tasks at hand I end up feeling lazy, unmotivated, and unfocused. Working out (especially running) clears my mind for the day ahead and gets me excited to tackle those tasks!

4. Create deadlines or goals – If I’m unmotivated, especially with my writing, I’ll tell myself something like – “Write until lunch, then take a break to read while eating, then go back to work.” This works very well for me as it breaks my tasks into easy to manage chunks rather than seeing the task as broad and overwhelming.

5. Remind myself how awesome I always feel after completing or working toward a goal

Next time you feel stuck in completing a task, I hope you find that extra push to get you toward your goals! 🙂

Welcome to the Gun Show

I love complementing my workouts with weight/strength training. I’ve read many articles and books that encourage women to integrate strength training into their weekly routines. Building muscle burns fat and with time you will look and feel healthier and stronger.

Articles if you want to read more about lifting weights:

Women’s Health: Lose Your Fear of Weight Lifting

Runner’s World: Balance Running and Strength Training

One myth dispelled and one word of encouragement:

One time while I was lifting an older gentleman approached me and told me how he was really impressed with my weight lifting – it was sweet and non-creepy don’t worry. I said thanks and he continued by saying that he wishes he could get rid of his (rather substantial) belly. I told him that the first step was just showing up. He didn’t seem very encouraged by my wall-quote answer. Here’s the encouragement – You will see results. Promise. But like most things in life it takes an investment before you see a pay out. So don’t go once, mope around with sore muscles the next day and never go back. Find a workout buddy, a personal trainer or a class that will keep you accountable so you will stick with your training long enough to see those results. And they will come!

Myth: Women who lift weights will get muscles like a dude

If you are taking any kind of performance enhancing drug then yes, you will look have muscles like the guys on the Jersey Shore. Chances are you aren’t planning on drugs so you have nothing to worry about. (And if you are – shame on you!)

Here’s an experiment if you are nervous about getting ginormous muscles Step One: Go to the gym

Step Two: Do 3 sets of 15 reps of bicep curls with 45lb dumbbells. What?! You couldn’t even lift the 45lb weights let alone do a bicep curl?! Exaaaactly.

Now stop worrying and start strength training!