Tag Archives: flexibility

Run like the wind!!!!

26 Jul

I have been talking with people recently about running; more specifically about running races.  It seems that everywhere I go I find someone who is training for a race of some sort, from 5k all the way up to a full marathon.   This week I joined those in training and signed myself up for the  Smuttynose Half Marathonon October 2nd.  (This will be my last race in my 20’s, yikes!!!)  People have been asking me the same questions and I thought I’d respond via blog for everyone to view… I also would love other people’s input, and hear other training strategies/regimens.

The #1 question I have heard is “How can I make my pace faster and my mile time better?”  My answer to this is INTERVALS.  I have found interval training to be beneficial in many ways and has helped me shave time off my mile, improve my endurance, and made me a better runner in general.  Often times when training for races, people fail to incorporate speed and/or hill workouts.  This is, to use a buzzword, an epic fail.  Sure, standard training programs that gradually increase mileage are effective, but they do not best prepare you for race day.  Incorporating speed and hill intervals into your training will boost your overall performance and ability to perform at your BEST on race day.

Speed intervals can be done on a track or a treadmill.  There are several different ways to approach speed intervals, but start off basic.  Start out by doing a 5 minute warmup… Then jog at a steady state pace (5 out of 10) for a minute, and then crank it out to a full out sprint for 30 seconds.  After 30 seconds, bring it back down to the steady state pace for another minute, and then- yep you guessed it- sprint again for 30 seconds.   Do this 2:1 ratio for a total of 20 minutes. 

Once you’ve mastered the basic interval, you can change it up by doing 1:1 intervals, or speed workouts of varying lengths.  I found a GREAT article that gives several examples of speed workouts for runners of all levels.

Hill intervals can be done on a treadmill or on your neighborhood hill of choice (pick a tough one!)  Start out by doing a 5 minute warmup, and then attack the hill.  My favorite hill workout is the following “pyramid” which has 8 sprints of varying length.  Remember- always sprint 100% up the hill, and slowly jog back down for recovery:

1) sprint up 1/4 hill (3.0 incline on treadmill)

2) sprint up 1/2 hill (6.0 incline on treadmill)

3) sprint up 3/4 hill (9.0 incline on treadmill)

4) sprint to the top of the hill (12.o incline on treadmill)

5) sprint to the top of the hill (12.0 incline on treadmill)

6) sprint 3/4 hill (9.0 incline on treadmill)

7) sprint 1/2 hill (6.0 incline on treadmill)

8) sprint 1/4 hill (3.0 incline on treadmill)

Do a 5 min jog cooldown and call it a day!

Other questions I’ve been asked have to do with shoe type and pre/post run eating.  To answer the first question, I suggest that the first step in race training should be a trip to Marathon Sports, City Sports, or a similar store.  Find a sales associate who KNOWS footwear and who can help you analyze your foot pronation type (if you don’t know it already) and fit you with the appropriate shoe.  It is also helpful to inform the sales associate that you are training for a race so that they may take into account how many miles you’ll be logging/week. 

In regards to pre/post run eating, check out my blog that outlines just that!!

Training for an event of any type is a GREAT way to keep on track with exercising regularly, and sticking to a program in order to achieve a goal.  Get a friend to commit with you and sign up for a race/event and then use each other as motivation to train regularly.  Races of all types and distances can be found at Runners World

Lace up those sneakers and hit the pavement!!!

components of fitness: do you treat them equally?

14 Jul

There are several key components to fitness- cardiovascular exercise, strength/resistance training, flexibility- and everyone naturally gravitates to their favorite.  Some people love to do cardio; they want to run, bike, or swim for every workout and have little or no desire to do much else.  Others would gladly spend every day in the weight room, and consider a workout filled with lifting heavy to be a success.  Still others can be found in the group fitness rooms and private studios practicing Yoga and taking Pilates (and other similar) classes.  Personally, my poison is running.  For me, nothing compares to logging mile after mile and ending it soaked with sweat, enveloped by a Runner’s High.

 No matter which component we like best, most of the time we pay so much attention to one area that we end up neglecting other components of fitness.   You know what I’m talking about.  You could do your exercise of choice all day long, but it might take a friend and a large sum of money for you to consider doing the other things you don’t find to be “fun”.  We are all guilty of it. And we dont always realize how detrimental this is to our overall fitness level, and ability to perform at our best.

One of my favorite quotes that I write/say/think about often is “That which we resist persists.”  I apply it to so many situations in life, and this one is no exception.  The components of fitness which we ignore, put off, and neglect are those which will persistently find their way back into our lives.  Don’t like resistance training?  You won’t get that nice firm, toned look you’re going for….toning muscle means you need to HAVE some in the first place.   And that means lifting weights.  Loathe cardio workouts?  No matter how heavy you lift, nothing can replace the myriad benefits of raising your heart rate.  Don’t be surprised when you can’t make it up a few flights of stairs without huffing and puffing.   Can’t be bothered with stretching/flexibility?  Your range of motion, ability to move, and lift properly is going to be severely compromised.   When we ignore ANY component of fitness we are allowing ourselves to work in an inefficient manner, and ultimately are putting ourselves at risk for injury.   As if that’s not reason enough to start diversifying, giving attention to the less “fun” parts of fitness will make you better at what you love to do.   When I started incorporating more flexibility work into my routine, I was amazed to find that my running stride improved and I was even able to take some time off my mile. 

Bottom line: the core components of fitness are each important in their own right.  Each serve a unique purpose and all complement one another.  We may prefer one over the others but we owe it to our body to be creative and find a way to incorporate them ALL.  Sign up for a class, get a gym buddy, buy a pass to a Yoga studio, etc.    Give yourself a new challenge!

What component of fitness is your least favorite?  How do/will you incorporate it into your routine?