It becomes so easy for us to take basic things for granted every day - shelter, a warm bed, healthy food, a stable job. When we stop and think about it, we are so lucky and blessed. We have so much to be thankful for. Some days aren’t the best. Nothing seems to go right at work. The car battery is dead. The milk is spoiled, you had a fight with your spouse, the kids won’t behave, or half of your staff calls in sick. But guess what – in the midst of all the issues we find that make us shake our head, we are so blessed. Look at it this way. You have a car. You have enough money to put food on the table. You have healthy children, a loving spouse, and a stable job.
You know what else is a blessing? Being able to run. Whether you run fast, slow, or somewhere in between – you are blessed with the ability to be free from all the troubles and worries swirling around in your mind each day. Running presents us each with a chance to clear our mind and enhance our body. Plus, if you think about it, running also allows us to strengthen our ability to adapt to change.
It can be easy for us to take running for granted. We figure the next run will always be there waiting for us, and that it will be there when we need it. Sometimes we treat running like an acquaintance. You know, all your REAL friends are too busy to go out for a drink or dinner, so you call up running. We assume we can take advantage of our fitness level any day we want, and that even when we have several poor months of training that we are still in “tip top” shape. We figure no matter how much we blow off running it will still come back to us anytime we call. But guess what – that’s not always the case.
So when do we realize what a blessing running can be? It seems as though we realize what a blessing running can be when we can no longer run. Maybe an illness or injury has us sidelined or perhaps a demanding schedule is leaving little time for enjoyment. The next time you’re not looking forward to that speed workout, remember the last time you were injured and how you focused on the big running goals you wanted to achieve when you returned. The next time you decide to crash on the couch because running a few miles after work seems like a chore, remember the runner who just had surgery and is stuck in bed. The next time you mope around after missing a PR by a minute after a couple months of training, remember the runner who has been working toward a PR goal for 5 years and is still trying. The next time you want to skip your cross training session or yoga class, think of the individual walking on the treadmill in the gym in an attempt to better their life while others point and laugh at their weight.
Why do we take something so special for granted? Perhaps it is because we do it so often, that we actually truly think of it less and less. Think of Wirthlin’s quote, “The more often we see the things around us – even the beautiful and wonderful things – the more they become invisible to us. That is why we often take for granted the beauty of this world: the flowers, the trees, the birds, the clouds – even those we love. Because we see things so often, we see them less and less.” Nailed it.
Running provides friendships and bonds that extend beyond the miles on the road, trail, or track. The bonds forged through running are bonds that cannot easily be broken. A common interest, sharing hard work, and an understanding of what it takes to reach a goal is just a piece of the foundation of a running friendship. So, be thankful for those who listen to you complain about your sore muscles, blisters, or missed PRs. Rejoice with those who nail a hard workout or want to show off their new shoes! Help those who are beginning, and empathize with those who are struggling. The camaraderie built through running is definitely something to be grateful for. Cherish these relationships.
During this season of reflection, giving, love, and thanks, take a moment to think about what running has given you. Perhaps it’s stability, mental clarity, of self-confidence. Maybe it’s something else. Whatever it is, promise yourself you will do a better job of remembering the importance of being grateful for both the large and small things in life. When you wake up in the morning, remember how fortunate you are to have the ability to lace up those shoes and hit the pavement. Don't focus on the fact you wish you had nicer shoes, a new Garmin, or name brand running tights. Stop thinking about crawling back under the blankets. Get out there and enjoy the beauty of the world. Take a look at the stars and feel the cool air in your lungs. Listen to the birds and watch the sun rise. Enjoy the scenery, push yourself a little harder, and be thankful for the body you have been given. Cultivate the habit of being grateful.
Happy Thanksgiving, team! Happy turkey trotting!
#thefitclub417 #earnednotgiven #fitholidays
Do you ever feel guilty when you take a day off from running or working out? Almost like you’ve done something wrong? Or maybe it just throws off your routine. Maybe you get grumpy and hangry. In the back of your mind you know that the body repairs and strengthens itself in the time between workouts, but you just really don’t want a rest day. Guess what – for the most part you really do need to take that rest day. The world’s best runners know the importance of rest days and down time, so follow their lead.
Rest days are critical to sports performance in more ways than one. You need rest both mentally and physically. Not to mention, if something is truly hurting, rest is the best way to heal. Pushing through injuries because you just feel like you HAVE TO run is how you end up with serious injuries that knock you out of the game for lengthy periods of time. Plus, did you know that your gains in fitness actually happen during your rest days? So why wouldn’t you take these days?
Too few rest days can lead to overtraining which can cause burnout and injury, not to mention the mental trap of believing you’re a failure if you skip a workout. You don’t want to be in this boat. because someone forgot to put the plug in and you're going to sink. Training causes micro-tears/damage to your body tissue. Without adequate rest and recovery between sessions, the body begins to break down. So, if you’re set in the mindset that a rest day or two will damage your training, it’s time to reevaluate and start focusing on what your body really needs.
You’ve probably figured out by now that you can train more consistently when you’re not injured. Plus, there’s a well -known saying that you can only train as hard as you recover. When you give your body adequate rest and recovery, you’ll be able to adapt and absorb more hard training over time without running the risk of overtraining. By doing this, you’ll be more likely to nail that PR. Sounds like a plan to us!
So let’s talk recovery. When it comes to recovery, there are two categories – short term and long term recovery.
Short term recovery is also called active recovery. This occurs in the hours right after intense exercise. Basically, active recovery refers to engaging in low-intensity exercise after workouts (during both the cool down phase as well as the hours/days following the workout). During this time, you need to replenish the energy stores and fluids lost during exercise as well as work to help your body efficiently optimize protein synthesis. You need to feed your body the fuel it needs to recover and repair. During this time you also need to ensure you’re getting quality sleep and taking care of any little nagging injuries that might be bothering you.
So what is long-term recovery? Long term recovery refers to techniques built into a seasonal-type training program. A well designed training program will include recovery days (or weeks after a big goal race). This is also the reason coaches add safe and effective cross-training days and change schedules throughout the season. Doing the same workouts and runs day after day leads to both physical and mental burnout. Take some time off after a major goal race. Throw in some extra crosstraining. Try some new workouts. Keep it fresh, and keep your body healthy.
Here’s the thing – your body is capable of so much. But you have to treat it right. When injuries begin to pop up and you run through them thinking they’ll go away and they continue to get worse, what are you telling your body? It’s like you’re saying “Hey body – I expect this from you, but I’m not willing to give you the time you need to make it happen.”
When you don’t take rest days and you see your times in workouts dropping, you can’t stay with your running buddies, you’re consistently exhausted, etc – what are you saying to your body? You’re expecting your body to do these amazing things that you ask, but you’re not allowing it the time to recover and heal so it can perform to your high expectations. Take care of yourself if you want to grow as an athlete. Respect the recovery day, and use it as a chance to mentally unwind.
Rest days are a big deal. Recovery is important. You need your body and mind to be strong and able to perform the tasks you’re asking. So, if that means putting your feet up a day a week and relaxing – do it, and don’t feel bad about it. It’s part of the process.
If it means taking several days off to help heal a small injury before it becomes major - do it. Seriously. You're not going to lose much, but look at what you can gain.
Speaking of mental relaxation, tonight is going to be a wonderful time to visit together as we try new recipes from Run Fast. Eat Slow. See you soon, team.
Undoubtedly, an injury is a setback for a runner (or any athlete for that matter). Or is it? I think the hardest thing about an injury is the timing. It never fails – the injury shows up when you have a solid goal in mind. Am I right? Rest days had been turning into run days, a night out with friends turns into an 8pm bedtime to be ready for the next long run. Your calendar is meticulous with workout paces and notes. Snap. It happens. Whatever it is. For me, it was an avulsion fracture. For you it may have been severe shin splits, a stress fracture, hip issues, a dislocated knee, major knots, an accident, severe illness, or something else. Whatever it is, it is miserable both mentally and physically. If you’re like me, you may even deny the fact something is wrong for a day or two. You’ll try again to run on it even if you know you shouldn’t. Why - because maybe, just maybe it will feel better. You may even feel mentally weak for not being able to push through the pain. Deep down, you have a feeling something is wrong, but you’re not ready to admit it. You’re not ready to admit the fact you know your training has been derailed and that you’re scared about what comes next.
Then it clicks – this injury isn’t going away with a couple days off and some ice. In fact, it’s not even going away with a couple weeks. Nope. Even though the doctor said “give it a couple weeks” you know deep down two means about eight. Of course your spouse and training partners have been telling you this, but you’re in denial. I know I’m not the only one who operates this way.
So how am I supposed to go about making the best of this time off? Not only am I in pain, but I cannot do what I enjoy. I cannot run – heck I can barely walk. It hurts when I walk, sit, lay, stand – it hurts to do anything. How frustrating. I guess I can catch up on all the recorded stuff on my DVR? But that’s not really what I want to do. I want to run.
If you’re like me and you feel as though you take good care of yourself (minus the occasional donut or four), it becomes even more frustrating. For me, I felt like I was in line to take on a physically demanding and challenging goal and then Coach Life said “Joy, you’re out” and pulled me out of the game for a while. Mentally, that’s challenging. Why now? What the heck am I supposed to be learning from this? Patience? Humility? Both? Maybe it’s a way of saying slow down. You’re not ready yet. Maybe something better is coming. Maybe there’s a lesson to learn or my body needs a break. Maybe I won’t know what the lesson is until a year from now. Perhaps it’s a reality check. Maybe it’s the fact I’m no longer 20 years old. Maybe it’s life telling me that my focus was in the wrong place and that I need to re-focus and re-prioritize. I could go on and on (and I bet you could too).
But, I realized the longer I beat myself up about it, the longer I was going to be out both physically and mentally. I tried to shift my focus into healing mode. What cross training could I do? How could I maintain some level of fitness? How could I incorporate more basic activity into my daily routine until I was able to run again? How could I be ready to begin easing back into training when those 6-8 weeks were up? Easing into training wasn’t quite as easy as I thought. Despite my time on the bike (I should add that I really dislike biking), I was riding the struggle bus pretty hard. But hey, a mile (or a half mile) at a time is something, right? Maybe it was the fact I was not in as good of shape as I hoped. Maybe it was because I was scared to re-injure myself. Maybe both. I was quickly frustrated by the fact my miles were no longer at 7:15-7:30 pace, but were closer to 8:30 pace. Then I told myself I needed to chill out. Stop it. Seriously. Just let it be, and let your body do what it needs to do to get back on track. As the injury heals, I could begin to work on speed, but it would be ludicrous to attempt to do too much at once. The point is to get better, not to re-injure myself again and end up back in that stupid boot. I think the key here is not to be in a hurry. It’s so easy to be driven by the “I want it now” mindset, but with an injury, it will take time. I’m still learning this. By “time” I don’t mean a week or even a month. Sometimes it can be a very long process. That’s something hard for me to grasp.
Do you ever take for granted the fact you are able to run? I know I do. A few weeks ago I met a little boy who was able to walk for the first time. Yes. He had been in a wheelchair his whole life and was finally able to walk. The smile on his face almost made me cry (and I don’t do that very often). He explained to me what it felt like to finally be able to walk. So here I am moping about the fact I have a fracture in my foot (that is almost healed now), and I’m not in the best shape, and I want to be faster and blah blah blah. This kid was beaming from ear to ear because he could walk. Did you catch that?
How easy is it for us to get so wrapped up in our own issues that we forget how fortunate we are? My fracture is almost healed and I’m back to 8 miles or so. So maybe it’s not at the speed I want yet, but at least I can run. I have decided to make the choice to celebrate the fact I am able to run. I want to celebrate nature, the outdoors, the freedom that running brings – I’m choosing to celebrate every step. Why not look at it this way? A healthy body is a gift and I am grateful for that! You know how sometimes we let one little bad thing ruin the whole day? Essentially, it’s the same thing. I’m not going to allow a little injury to ruin my running journey. Yes, that fracture is a flat tire on the way to work, or hot coffee spilled all over a new shirt, but guess what – it’s just a tiny thing that will later be a blip on the radar if I chose to make the best of it. If I choose to allow it to “ruin my day” and let it force me to give up on my goals, it will become the focus of my energy. It will not be a blip on the radar, but rather an all-consuming force that drives my mindset. I’m not going to allow that and I hope you don’t either.
I know it can be frustrating to deal with an injury especially when you have dreams and goals ahead. But remember that injuries of all kinds (physical, mental, emotional) are part of playing the game. They’re part of the sport, and they’re part of life. Quite frankly, being knocked down is part of life. That doesn’t make it easier though. Even if you eat well and take care of yourself, things will not always go smoothly. It’s so easy to feel down about your situation. I know. It recently happened to me. But let’s think long term. Focus on recovery, not on your current state of frustration. Remember that you still have goals, and that in order to reach them, your body must be healthy. So, work to keep your mind positive. I’m a firm believer that a positive mind is imperative to healing in a timely manner. So get your mind in the right place, and do what you can to heal your body. Cross train, clean up your diet, get adequate sleep, and stay positive. In the meantime, use your downtime from running to do something else you enjoy. Maybe it means more family time. Maybe it gives you time to read that book you wanted. Perhaps you’re able to try some new recipes in the kitchen, or have the garden you didn’t have time for. I have found that sometimes the time we gain during an injury allows us to take a step back and re-organize our time and priorities. That’s not always a bad thing.
Here’s the last thing I have to say. For me, an injury is a test. It’s a pause in training – an obstacle or hurdle to overcome if you will. It doesn’t mean failure and it doesn’t mean defeat. It’s a chance to heal your body and mind. It’s a chance to come out stronger, faster, and smarter on the other side. So here’s my advice. Work hard and be patient both in your training and in life. You’re going to be hurt whether it be in your career, personal, or athletic life – that’s a given. Learn from your injuries and realize that you cannot control everything. Don’t forget your injury as it taught you a lesson of some kind – a lesson you probably needed. If you are able to find a path with no obstacles, it likely doesn’t lead to anywhere worth going. Keep your head in the game and remember what Buddy Buie said, “A dead end street is just a place to turn around.”
Better. Faster. Stronger. Smarter.
Albert Einstein once said "the measure of intelligence is the ability to change."
George Eliot once said "It is a narrow mind which cannot look at a subject from various points of view."
Think about the way you approach your training. Are you open to trying new things, or do you believe one way is the best way? Think about why you think the way you do.
As as our bodies age and change, our training may need to change as well. Perhaps a severe injury occurred that doesn't allow us to train in the same way. Maybe it means a new brand of shoes. Maybe it means compression sleeves. Maybe it means backing off mileage or hitting the trails instead of pavement. Keeping an open mind and allowing your training to evolve can keep you on the roads and trails for years to come. It can also keep you from becoming stagnant in your fitness journey.
At some point, we begin to realize our bodies are not 18 years old anymore. Our metabolism begins to slow, and things begin to hurt a little more. But that doesn't mean we cannot get faster and stronger. It just means we can't eat 3 large pizzas and drink a 6 pack every night before we train.
Recently, an athlete shared something with us that was very interesting. This particular person is a triathlete, runner, and all around very fit. She's in her mid 50s. She said "If I want my body to operate like I'm in my 20s, I have to make changes to keep it running well. I have to eat incredibly clean and take care of myself." The reason she is so successful is because as she has aged she has changed her training and life habits to match her goals. Her mind has stayed open and she has done what is necessary even if she may have been skeptical at first.
So here's the deal. Why do we close our minds to learning new things? Do we think we have already discovered the best way? Is it an idea we have in our head? A stereotype? Let's see.
Here's an example. Nick has been struggling with severe knots in his calves for a while now. He has upped his water and magnesium intake and has been seeing a masseuse to help work out the knots. At one point it was suggested he wear calf sleeves to help with the knots. Nick says at one point in his life he would have laughed at this and said "no way" - but he's chosen to keep an open mind and try it. Guess what? It's helping.
10 (or even 5) years ago Nick may have scoffed at this idea. But he chose to do what he needed to reach his goals. It may seem trivial, but making that small change has allowed him to run daily with much less discomfort.
The same goes for training plans and workouts. How many of you were skeptical at first that speed work could work for you? Now what do you think?
Sometimes we see a workout and think, "that won't work for me" so we modify or change it. Why? It's one thing if there's a legitimate reason such as an injury, but if we change that workout because we are scared of it or think we cannot complete it, what's the point? Where is the growth?
Sometimes we begin to feel entitled. The feeling of "well I should be able to do that workout" or "who is going to run this with me today" or "I need you to rewrite the paces because I can't do that" or "I'm not going to do that race if I can't place or win" or even "I'm too fast for that workout. Why bother" - here's the deal. Get over yourself. Seriously. You are not entitled to anything when it comes to fitness. When you start to believe you deserve it and you're that great, you'll begin to fail. Trust us.
Think about sports that believe their way is the only way. Are those athletes truly as fit as they believe? Nope. We don't believe you want to be that way. So forget the arrogance and preconceived notions. Take care of yourself, work toward your goals, train accordingly, and don't believe you're better than anyone else. Continue to learn and work hard. Stay humble and keep your mind open. The more you're able to learn, the more efficient you become. The more efficient you become, the more streamlined and effective your training will be.
So if you tend to have a closed mind when it comes to your training, think about why. Is it entitlement? Is your way the best way? Is it because that's how you've always done it? Maybe it's because you're scared to try anything new. Maybe someone is telling you you cannot do it so don't bother. Whatever it is, start opening your mind. Come on out of that shell and explore what the training world has to offer to you.
"It does take great maturity to understand that the opinion we are arguing for is merely the hypothesis we favor, necessarily imperfect, probably transitory, which only very limited minds can declare to be a certainty or a truth." - Kundera
See you on Tueaday. #thefitclub417
Those of you who have been running for a while have likely experienced runger. Yes, runger. You're running 50+ miles a week with speed work, long runs, and cross training and you just want to eat all the food. You want to eat the queso, the pizza, the whole bowl of salad, all the brownies, three smoothies, a couple smoked salmon, 6 clamshells of strawberries, 4 sushi rolls, and the entire aisle of bread. You can out eat your friends who watch in amazement as you demolish that burger. But runger can make weight loss and plain old weight maintenance difficult. So the key is to focus on what you eat and maintain a balance. Make sure you're feeding your body wholesome, clean food and that you're not overeating.
It seems like everyone has their overnight online nutritional coaching certificate anymore. So, be smart about who you trust and what "diet" fads you buy into. Learn the effects it will have on your body long term instead of focusing on short term results. Remember that "lose 5 lbs in a week" can translate into "lose 5lbs in a week (results not typical) and put 15lbs on the next." Be smart and savvy, and remember your overall health is what is important. Know that fad dieting and poor nutrition in the hopes of a short term fix can lead to many health problems down the road. Kill the short-sightedness and focus on what your body needs. Not everyone is going to be a size 00. That doesn't need to be your goal. Focus on staying healthy and fit. If you are searching for a nutritional coach to help you reach your personal goals, look for someone who has a true education, background, and experience in nutrition. Make sure they have your best interests at heart versus the best interests of their company.
There's no doubt that runners are some of the most outstanding athletes around. The dedication that goes into true running success is certainly not minimal. So, do what you can to make sure you have the most successful career possible.
That being said, we aren't claiming to be the worlds greatest nutritionists. We're just here to talk about the basics of what runners really need. So in general, what do runners need? You should begin to focus on the nutritional value of your food. Yes, Doritos, Twinkies, or Lucky Charms may fill you up and satisfy your hunger for a bit, but what's in them? Lots of dye, sugar, and other ingredients that are damaging to your health. So start here. Take note of what you're putting into your body and see where your weaknesses are. Write it down if you need to. Look at an entire week of what you're eating. See any trends or similarities? While you're doing this, look at your portion size. How much are you eating? How often? Are you eating because you're hungry or because you're bored? Are you eating because it's 6:30pm and time for dinner? What causes you to overeat? To skip meals? Learn about yourself. Then see where you need to make changes.
Now, begin focusing on nutrient dense foods. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meat - you get the picture. For example, a quinoa and avacado dish will fill you up more than a cheesy burrito and will leave you feeling better as well. Think about it. If you start your day with egg whites, fruit, and turkey bacon, you'll feel better later in the day versus starting your day with Pop Tarts and a soda. It just makes sense. Yes, the cheesy burrito is quick and easy to access, we get that. But, with some planning you can have healthy options ready for you anytime as well.
Here are a couple tips:
1. See if you can shop online for your groceries. This may help you eliminate the "Ooh. That looks good. I'll grab that package of cookies" element you're struggling with. You can just input your list, and skip the extra items. Plus, your groceries are ready for you when you arrive or can be delivered. It saves time and money.
2. Try meal prepping. If you have healthy meals ready to go, you're less likely to hit the drive-thru. Plus, you've already spent the money on the food and prep for the healthy meals, so don't waste them.
3. Have fruits and veggies on the counter (assuming they don't need to be refrigerated) - hopefully you'll see them and grab those instead of heading for the chips in the pantry
4. Try an online delivery service if you struggle with clean eating and cooking. There are companies that deliver fresh ingredients/meals to your doorstep. Just whip up the meal provided and enjoy a healthy dinner. This is a great option to help you get started. Once you learn the basics and try a few recipes, you may no longer need the service.
5. Maybe you like smoothies but struggle with the combos or time to make them. Try Daily Harvest and choose from different flexible delivery plans and options that provide you with fresh (many are organic) ingredients. Just add your liquid base, blend, and pour back into the cup. Out the door in no time! https://daily-harvest.com/?ref=10608
6. If you like to cook (or if you love Shalane Flanagan) check out Run Fast Eat Slow for some great recipes for runners. http://www.runfasteatslow.com/#home
7. Gather your friends and teammates and cook together. Try new healthy recipes to take home to your families and bond as a team at the same time. Plus if you don't like it, you're not stuck with all the leftovers.
8. When someone says "where are we going to eat tonight" don't say "wherever you want." Step up and pick a healthy restaurant. Even if they complain now, your friends will thank you later.
9. Pack healthy snacks and drinks for work. Fruit, nuts, water, etc. This will help keep you away from the vending machine at 3pm. Take walk breaks during the day as well. This will help keep your mind active which can help curb the craving for those "bad" snacks.
10. Like to be outdoors? Grow a few things! Even if it's simply some herbs in the window, cooking with fresh ingredients that YOU grow is a fun treat. Maybe you don't have a green thumb? Hit up the local farmer's market and support your local friends and neighbors. Plus, some locations offer samples and cooking classes.
Moving on. Watch what you drink. Your body needs calories from pure and clean food. Sports drinks and many coffee drinks contain a lot of sugar. Plus, many specialty coffee drinks contain more than 400 calories. Why waste these calories clogging your body with excess sugar when you could use this chance to eat well? Remember, coffee does have health benefits - just be mindful about how you fix it. Sugar consumption has been linked to obesity, heart issues, poor oral health, and a myriad of other issues. We doubt that's what you're after.
Watch your alcohol consumption as well. The sugar and calories in these drinks can also be sky high. Now - we believe in moderation so we aren't telling you to ditch the booze all together. Just remember how many calories you could be consuming when you're reaching for margarita or piña coloda number 3.
How about juicing? Juicing is a wonderful thing - but don't use it as a meal replacement and please skip the "cleanses". Use juicing as a supplement and way to get additional clean nutrients. Juicing can also be a great way to cover up a veggie taste you don't like.
Don't forget to drink your water. You already know how important this is.
Protein. Eat it. With every meal. Try lean meats, fish, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Protein helps keep you full and also helps with iron levels. Protein assists in the regulation and maintenance of the body and plays a role in fluid balance, blood clotting, hormone and enzyme production, and cell repair. So, the previous sentence alone should be enough to let you see why protein is crucial to your diet, especially during heavy training periods. Remember, you're an endurance athlete not just an average joe hitting a class at the gym once a week so you will need more protein. Protein likely isn't the magic pill for success as increased supplementation has not been found to automatically improve performance—however if your protein intake is low, you will probably start to lose muscle mass, become rundown, notice a drop in performance (speed work and long runs will become more difficult) and increase your risk of injury. Runner's World suggests you can prevent much of the above by shooting for an intake of at least 0.55-0.77 grams/lb. (aim for the upper end of the spectrum during times of full on training and racing). So if you weigh 130 pounds, you’ll want to aim for approximately 72-100 grams of protein a day. If you weigh 195 pounds, you would need to aim for approximately 107-123 grams/day.
Do NOT avoid carbohydrates especially when training hard. Your body stores cabs as glycogen and your body taps into this storage for fuel during workouts, especially races and long runs. Carbs are the best form of energy for working muscles. Of course your body can use fat and protein for energy when necessary, but the energy in these nutrients is not as easily accessible as the carbohydrate fuel. Non-carb fuel does not give you the muscle strength or endurance that glycogen will. If you have ever hit the wall during a race or workout, you know what it is like to feel carb depleted. We think you'll agree it's not a good feeling.
So where do you find healthy carbs? In general, try getting your carb fuel from whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and whole grain pasta. You need to be looking for whole food sources, not carb-filled junk foods. Think about it - the reason that carbs have gotten such a bad reputation is that when people think of carbs they're thinking of donuts, cake, pastries, etc all of which generally come with a substantial amount of fat, sugar, and calories. Whole foods will contain quality complex carbs and, if prepared properly, are usually lower in calories. Whole carb foods also contain vitamins, minerals, and other food compounds that help avoid injury and chronic disease. Remember - think long term.
Don't forget that your carbs should be spread out over the day. The best time to refuel from a workout is within the first 30 minutes after a workout with a ratio of 4g carb:1g protein. Interestingly, one of the best refueling foods out there is low-fat chocolate milk which also contains a good dose of calcium to help those bones!
Just a reminder - when you refuel, make sure you're not eating junk just to fill up (no sugary cereal, pop-tarts, candy etc). The food you use to refuel is the food your body is using to replenish. Make it good.
So - let's run through this again. Watch what you eat and learn your habits. Make sure you're focused on long term success and not a fad diet. If you have a nutritional coach, make sure they're solid, experienced, and well educated. Don't drink your calories. Watch your sugar intake. Eat protein. Eat good fat. Don't ditch the carbs. Don't eat junk. Hydrate properly. Take care of your body and it will thank you on race day and for many years to come.
We won't meet Tuesday, but don't forget your pace run. Enjoy the long weekend.
September is almost here. You know what that means. Fall racing season is upon us. Hopefully you have kicked off your fall training. If you need training plans, please let us know soon so we can write them and you can get going!
Up next is the Panther Run benefiting Care to Learn. This is our next team race and we couldn't be more excited. There are 15k/10k/5k options so it's perfect for everyone. The 15k would be a great chance to see how your fall half training is coming while the 5k will be a great chance to work on speed. The 10k is a good chance for both! Plus, the prizes and giveaways are great. Care to Learn is a great organization and if you're not familiar with it, we encourage you to check it out. The event is held at the O'Reilly Family Event Center at Drury University. If you're up for it, we'll grab breakfast and coffee downtown after the race.
If you haven't heard, Boat Town Brewing is hosting the Barrel Aged Barley Run 15k and 5k on September 17 to benefit Nathan Cole. We have graciously been provided with a free entry. So, tomorrow morning is your chance to win it. We'll be doing a mile time trial. We have a list of the fastest mile you have run with us (in a time trial setting). Whoever improves the most upon their fastest time trial mile will win the entry. So, get ready and bring it tomorrow morning! We can't wait to see who wins!
Another fun tidbit - follow Coach Jamie on her training journey. Check out her blog here. You can also find her on Facebook here. Don't miss out!
We have been fortunate enough to have several new runners join us recently. We are so grateful to have them on board, and want to thank our current members for the warm welcome they have provided. Joining a new team can be scary, especially at 5am. So kudos to everyone :)
We'll leave you with this quote for the day to ponder and apply to your next workout. See you in the morning and happy running/training!
"The amazing thing about running is that many runners may run the same road, but no one runs the same journey."
As you’re probably aware, today is the first day of summer! We couldn’t ask for a better week to kick off some fun training opportunities!
First of all, thank you to those who came to the Poker Run benefiting Girls on the Run of Southwest Missouri. We get requests often from our group members for events like this, and we appreciate those who took the time out of their busy schedules to attend. Thank you for supporting a great organization. Another thanks to Dallas Praznik (RYT 200) for teaching yoga!
What’s coming up this week – we can’t wait for our run/cook-out/pool party night on Thursday! If you plan to attend, make sure you RSVP by Tuesday. This will be a fun get together.
If you were with us last year, you may remember the long run/brunch mornings. Guess what? They’re back! Saturday will be our long run kick-off followed by brunch at Jamie’s house. Run whatever distance you need, then come and eat.
Also, if you plan to have a shirt printed in our next order, make sure you get it to us by Saturday morning. The logo will be bright and fun, so dark colored shirts will work best. Think black or grey. This will be a front print, and we can do tanks, t-shirts, long-sleeve shirts, racing singlets, etc.
A handful of you did a mile time trial with us at the beginning of the month to start the process of determining who will receive a free entry into the Bentley Run 5k at Jordan Valley Community Health Center in July. Well, on June 28 you’re up! We’ll complete the mile time trial again to see who wins. So, Lendall, Malinda, Boston, Angela, Debra, Keshian, Casey, and Ashley – we hope you’re ready to see who wins! Of course we want to get times on the rest of you as well, so come out and see where you’re at and what you need to do to meet your goals.
July 23 is the Bentley Run 5k in Springfield. This is our next group race. If you haven’t registered yet, get signed up today! Visit www.actnowracing.com to register online or find the paper form. Use BENTLEY417 when you register online for $3 off. This course is certified and will have a good amount of competition. Plus, the cash prizes can’t hurt anything…
We are excited about what is coming up this summer and fall. You all are running awesome, and we are excited to see what you can do. Just a few reminders: make sure you stay hydrated and take care of yourself. Watch your form when running and cross training. We don’t want to see you get hurt. If you do have an injury, take care of it. There’s no reason to push through a true injury – your body needs to heal and it will be a good lesson in patience for you. One race, competition, etc isn’t worth it. Focus on your long term goals and do what you need to stay healthy.
Cheers, and happy running.
You've probably heard a few of these before:
1. Your only limit is yourself
2. You limit yourself when you speak negatively about yourself, your body, and what you are capable of.
3. It's all in your head
4. Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're right
5. Fear is what truly limits us
6. Your brain is a powerful tool and can make or break your training and race
7. Your state of mind can make or break a workout
8. How you think about yourself determines your success
9. Limits exist because you create them for yourself
10. You're scared it will hurt and you will fail
Is there any truth here? Absolutley. When you think about it, your mind is one of the most important parts of your body, especially when it comes to bettering yourself with regards to running. Why is it so important? Your mind makes the decision to get up instead of sleeping in. Your mind decides how hard you're going to push. Your mind decides if you're going to give up midway through the workout (or even try to begin with), and your mind decides if you're going to go that extra mile. Basically, without your mind, your quads and calves are useless.
Your brain controls your muscles and it becomes more efficient with repetition. So, the more you do something, the better you become. So, harness this power. Do drills, speed up the last part of your run, etc. Basically your brain can help you build strong neuromuscular connections that will start to become automatic when you run. Remember there's a flip side to this as well. If you teach your brain that "easy" is the pace your body should go, you'll have a hard time pushing on race day.
Your brain can also tell the difference between pain and discomfort. It can also help you recover from a bad run and celebrate the success of a race done well. It can also help you learn from your mistakes and adapt to new training routines and regimens. It can help you figure out how to go about changing your training plan if needed. Your brain is your most important tool, and if used wisely, it can make your performance.
The way you talk to yourself as a runner is very important. If you tell yourself you can't do it, you're the slowest in the group, you'll never make it, you can't handle the pace, etc - guess what? You won't be able to do it, you'll continue to be the slowest in the group, you won't make it, and the pace will be too fast. Remember that the next time you start to doubt what you can do.
So as you prepare for your summer and fall races, how will you utilize your mind? Will you harness the power of the brain for your benefit, or will you let it get the best of you?
Remember, you create and set your limits and whether you think you can or you think you can't - you're right.
See you Tuesday!
A note before we start: As you ponder what races to run this summer, don't forget to sign up for the Bentley Fund 5k hosted by Jordan Valley Community Health Center. This will be our next team race and will be a great chance to nail a 5k PR on a certified course. Use code BENTLEY417 for a discount for online registration, or give your forms (with payment) to Joy and she will turn them in to the race director. This is a wonderful cause as well, and it's a good chance to have some competition as the race has a large turnout.
If you want a training plan, please let us know soon. We are 11 weeks out from race day and we'd love to see you PR! Some of you have set some awesome 5k goals and here's a great chance to reach them.
Moving on. We've heard the words full, marathon, and 26.2 floating around a lot lately. So, we know many of you are contemplating one in the near future (by near future we mean in the next year or so). So, we wanted to take a moment to explore what it really means to train for 26.2. If you've ever run the full marathon distance, you can attest that the training and race itself take a lot of work, both physically and mentally. Not to mention an incredible amount of focus toward your end goal.
The first thing to do is to examine your motive. Is 26.2 a bucket list item? Something you simply want to complete? Are you trying to qualify for Boston? Do you have a specific goal time? Are you running for a charity? Think about why you want to complete/compete in this distance. What is driving you to make this decision? Whatever your reason may be, keep it in the back of your mind as you begin your training. This will be a good motivator for you when times get tough.
So how do you choose a good first marathon? Think about your preference. Do you like smaller races, or do you like the feel of the big crowds? Do you like scenic routes or something with a more urban feel? Take these things into consideration when you choose your race. Would it make you feel more comfortable to race close to home? Or maybe you want to use the race as a vacation getaway. Whatever you choose, get signed up and focus yourself so you can meet your goal!
Remember that marathon training takes time. Not just time as far as a long training plan (training plans tend to range from 12-25 weeks), but time each day. There's nothing wrong with this, but you need to be aware it isn't a simple task. Most runners will complete long runs of at least 20-22 miles prior to race day. When you think about it, that's a decent chunk of your Saturday. Plus, when you're done you might want to eat all the food. I mean all of it. That being said, beware of weight gain. You need to learn to fuel your body correctly.
It's smart to know your limits as well. If you tend to get hurt training for 10ks or half marathons, you may want to reconsider 26.2 or at least try to determine what it is that's causing you to get hurt so you can make adequate changes. It's also smart to start early. You want to ensure you're prepared, right? Make sure you have a plan that can adequately build you up to where you need to be and peak you out on race day.
If you haven't raced much, it would be helpful to start small and get some races under your belt. 5ks, 10ks, half marathons. This will help you learn what it's like to race and be in a race environment.
So what are the key components to training? First - base mileage. Build your base mileage before you truly start your training plan. This will help keep injuries at bay. It will also allow you to complete the workouts and feel mentally good about it. Second - the long run. On average, you'll be doing a long run weekly so your body can build up to longer distances. Long runs can go up to about 22 miles. Third - speed work. You'll want to start doing tempos as well as intervals to increase your cardio capacity and help build speed (especially if you're seeking a goal time). Even if you're only looking to complete the race, speed work still matters as helps your body become stronger both physically and mentally. Finally, rest and recovery. You need to make sure to give your body a chance to rest and recover to prevent burnout and injury. Also remember not to increase you mileage by more than 10% per week.
As you go through the training process, you want to make sure you are keeping your body hydrated and fueled properly. If you don't, your training will suffer and that's not something you want to happen. When training suffers, burnout occurs and injuries pop up. This isn't something you'll want to deal with when you have a goal race around the corner. Make sure you're taking in enough calories (and good calories, not junk food) to fuel your body for the long runs and hard workouts. Make sure you're hydrating all day as well.
Another tip is to make sure you have good shoes. Truthfully, you should have more than one pair of good shoes. You'll be logging a lot of miles. So make sure your shoes are properly fitted and comfortable. Along with this, make sure the gear you're running in is comfortable and fits well. Chafing sucks, and no one wants to deal with it. Good socks are also key. If you don't have a running watch (or a running watch you're happy with), it's time to invest in one. Whether it's a basic stopwatch, fancy Garmin, or something in between, make sure it can do what you need and that you like it.
So what can you expect your weekly training to look like? With a half, your weekly mileage would likely run somewhere between 25-35 (maybe more for some people). With a full, you're looking at 50+ mile weeks to get all of the mileage in. With the half, your long runs will be around 12-14 miles. With a full, you'll be running up to 20-22 with many runs of 12-18 in there along the way. Your speed work will probably also look a little different. Your tempo runs will be longer for sure! Basically, you're looking at a large time commitment. If you're going to do it, be ready to commit and go all in.
Many people don't need to fuel for a half, especially if you're running around 90 minutes (a 1:30 half). But, for a full this may be a different story. If you plan to drink or fuel along the way, you'll need to make sure you're trying out products during your training runs to see what works best for you. Does GU bother your stomach? Try something else. There are a lot of products on the market if this is the route you want to take. Oh, if you plan to use these items and have been training with them - don't forget them on race day.
What if you get injured along the way? Well, know you're not alone. Marathon training is no easy task, and your mileage is obviously going to increase. So, if you do get hurt, evaluate the injury. Are you just sore from training more? If so, this really isn't something to be super concerned about. Hop in an ice bath, do some stretching/yoga and take an extra rest day if needed. But chances are you just need to keep pushing that lactic acid out of your body, so lace up those shoes and head out even if it's just for a short easy run.
But, if you're looking at something more serious - shooting pain, persistant pain - more than just soreness you need to be cautious. What is hurting? Have you changed your routine recently? New shoes? Did you up your mileage too quickly? Did you wear shoes the day before that could effect how you're feeling today? Perhaps you ran on new terrain? Did you try a new crosstraining activity? You need to figure out what is going on so you can take care of your body. If you continue to run with an injury, not only will it take longer to heal, other injuries may pop up due to your gait/stride being off. For example, if your right foot hurts, you may develop an injury in your left knee. If your hips are tight and painful, you could develop knots in your calves and hamstrings. If you have an upper body injury that causes you to tense up, your lower body may become sore as well.
If you have to take time off, remember to build back up slowly and don't just jump into your training. It's okay if you have to deviate from your schedule a bit - no one follows a schedule perfectly (if you have questions about altering your schedule, just ask us). While you're off, take care to eat well, stretch, and take care of your body. If you're able to cross train (swimming, biking, yoga, rowing machine) do it. This will help keep your mind and body in training mode while allowing you to rehab your injury. Just know that you must get healthy if you want to be able to nail your race on race day. So, there's no shame in taking time off to allow your body to recover. Don't push yourself to the point where you don't even have a chance to race because you wouldn't let your body rest and get better.
Marathon training is a mental sport as well. It's a tough task physically, but when you look at the toll it takes on your "free time" it can sometimes see overwhelming and frustrating. When this happens, think back and remember why you are doing this. Remember that if you want to do well, you have to put in the work. Running/life balance can be hard when you're training for 26.2 but take a moment to focus and figure out how to make it work for you.
So, to wrap it up in a nutshell, make sure you have a solid training program and truly know why you want to run this distance. Make sure you have adequate time to dedicate to your training, and really focus on it. Make sure you have the proper shoes and gear and make sure you fuel and hydrate your body properly. Take care of yourself and you'll be ready to cross that line at your goal race.
Marathon training can be daunting, so it helps to find a training buddy. Maybe your buddy has the same goal as you. That's perfect. Even if they don't, simply meeting up to run can be helpful. It never hurts to have a strong support system as you embark on your marathon journey. Just remember to thank them when you cross the finish line. Your spouse and family likely gave up a lot of time to help you out as you trained for your big race, so give them a big sweaty 26.2 hug when you're done and then schedule yourself a massage :)
Happy Running! We will see you Tuesday for a mile time trial followed by some repeats to work on foot speed and turnover.
Who Picks the Topics?
Each week, we notice different things. We try to incorporate the questions we are receiving or the training issues we are noticing into our post(s) for the week. If there is something you'd like us to cover, let us know!