How to Maintain Fitness and Wellness Habits: Tips and Techniques

How to Maintain Fitness and Wellness Habits: Tips and Techniques

Maintaining your fitness and wellness habits can be challenging, especially when life gets
busy. However, developing simple and effective strategies will help you stay on track and
keep your health a priority. This article will provide you with a comprehensive guide to
staying fit and healthy, complete with tips and techniques that you can implement in your
daily routine.

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6 Tips For Quality Run Training

6 Tips For Quality Run Training

Tips for Quality Run Training Train no faster than one pace quicker than the race you are training for. For example, 5k pace is good for an Olympic-distance race, while half-marathon pace suffices...

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Workout Wednesday: Run Strength

Workout Wednesday: Run Strength

Happy Hump Day!  Workout Wednesday’s will consist of favorite workout of mine that I either have prescribed to my clients or have been assigned by MY Coach.  It might also be a favorite of yours.  Feel free to send me any workouts you like.   There will be an objective for every workout for specificity.

Run Strength – Hill Repeats

I am not a huge fan of weights or being in the gym.  As the summer wore on and Florida continued to increase in heat I found myself spending more and more time in the gym and on the treadmill, but I still prefer to be outside.  This workout will work leg strength as a replacement for a gym resistance workout or a supplement to.  It can be done either on the Treadmill or outside with a hill that takes 2-3 minutes to run up, or here in Florida we use parking garages.

WU (Warm-up): Run Drills & Dynamic Stretchinghills
1-2 miles @ conversational pace

MS (Main Set):
Hill Bounders on uphill
Recover for 30 sec – 2 minutes
Speed over strides on Downhill
Repeat for up to 30 minutes

CD (Cool Down): 1-2 miles @ conversational pace
Lunges & Static Stretches

Objective: Leg strength, Aerobic capacity, Form Development & Confidence on Hills

Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE): 5-7 on the uphills (Talking should be very difficult)

Description: Run a hilly course.  Do not try to run fast on the uphills but rather concentrate on a good knee lift, strong arm swing, uplifted chest and full push-off extension in your back leg. Practice running efficiently on the downhills with high turnover and enough of a forward lean that your front leg lands directly under you.

Hill Bounders:  go up the hill with a bouncy action and a good posture, concentrating on a good knee lift and arm swing with a “snap” with your ankle. You should be thinking Spring up the hill.  Jog until recovered at the top.

Speed Over striders: Run down the hill with out breaking but increasing your cadence with the steepness of the hill.  Instead of completely striding out elongating your stride, focus on increasing your cadence with a normal stride.

Biggest Mistakes: Running too fast up the hill rather than concentrating on form.  Running too hard up the hill and getting into too much oxygen debt. This is not desirable in this phase  .Putting more stress on the legs than they are ready for with too much bounding or downhill running and getting injured.  Precipitating your peak with repeated speed bursts. Some people tend to develop speed very quickly once they start doing the hill circuit. If this is the case, go very easy with downhill striding and on the stride-outs. You’ll still have plenty of time to develop speed to maximum. Premature speed development would only lead to premature peaking and this should be avoided.

Warning: The first week of hill training is one of the times where injury is most likely to occur. This is a very demanding exercise, so be overly cautious and feel your way gradually.  After about 2 weeks in this phase your legs could feel very tired and you may feel you’re actually slower. This is normal and will pass within a couple of weeks of consistently completing the workout.

I hope you enjoy this one. I know I do.

 

What kind of workout do you do for run strength?

Carpe Vitam!

Tribute Tuesday #5 – Benjamin Mena

There are people out there that take everything in stride and just let the world unfold around them, and there are people who have decided there is so much negativity in the world it is much easier to be oblivious to everything.  Either way, in my opinion, if it makes you happy, then do it.  There are a few people out there, that have a passion for making the world a better place.  There are those who find one cause and passionately support it, which is phenomenal, but a rare few people out there are able to spread their power of influence, courage, and passion to every cause, organization and individual in need they can.  My friend Ben is one of those people.

Before I tell you about his cool “Run for Cause” fun runs, or the races he has organized and the races coming up, let me tell you about Ben Mena the runner.  Ben and I met through friends from my tri-club the A-Train and some friends from the Run Progressive track workouts.  I knew of him and knew he was fast, but that didn’t justify what I saw when I first ran with him.  I am amazed at people who can run a marathon with 7:30 average per mile pace.  This guy hammers through half-marathons in under 6-minute miles and then will turn around and bike for 20 without skipping a beat.

My favorite memory of watching Ben was actually a cycling workout.  Ben was coerced into joining us and Pete (Tribute #2) let him borrow his road bike.  This bike had pedal cages on it because Ben didn’t have cycling shoes or cleats and this was going to be his first ride.  Well, Ben goes out in front with the “A” group and is really strong.  We all thought, “OK, we will just hang back here and watch him die out and pick him up at the turnaround.”  He reached the turnaround and just kept going and beat us all.  First time out!  A few weeks later he decides to do a duathlon in Orlando for the first time and he finishes first, overall.   Ben’s VO2 max is off the charts.  Maybe that is why he continues to help those in need, with a VO2 max that high, his heart is huge.

Ben organizes a monthly fun run in Brandon, Florida that gives to a different charity each month.  I have been running in every one since July and I have seen no less than 50 people at any of them.  He also is part of a duo with Beth Shaw (Dis-com-BOB-ulated Running), of which they have successfully completed their first race called the Shape Up for Summer 5k and now they have another one coming up called the Corporate 5k in downtown Tampa.  The Shape Up for Summer 5k had well over 750 runners which is well over what they expected and as I used the race as a culmination runs for my clientele, let me just say it was one of the best organized 5k runs I had participated in.  Beth and Ben did a really amazing job, so if you find a race organized by MenaShaw Races, you can be sure to have a great experience.

With that being said, Ben has another race he has organized and this one has an interesting spin on it while helping out some people that can really use it.  I will let him tell you in his own words.  Let me introduce, Benjamin Mena.

Benjamin (Ben) Mena
Birthdate: 8/25/83 – Virgo
Place of Birth: Virginia Beach, VA
Place growing up: Charleston SC and Bremerton, WA
High School: Cocoa Beach High
High School sports: Soccer, Cross Country, Track
College: University of Central Florida
College Sports: Cross Country, Track
Other Sports: Ummmm…..  nope

I usually describe you as one of the fastest runners in the Tampa Bay area. What started you running?
I used to be the guy that would make fun of the runners and throw stuff at them.  (in HS).  I thought running was dumb and pointless.   So after a win-less soccer season, the soccer girls tried to convince me to run cross country to prep for soccer… I said yeah right, that’s dumb… their response was just run behind us.  What teenage guy can say no.   after my first year running (JR year) I developed a passion for it and it quasi-took over my life.
JR year was just an introduction to the sport. Our workouts were easy as hell, but the one thing I loved my coach for (she was hot also) she taught us all how to make running fun and enjoyable.   My Sr year of high school we had a new coach.  She had a background as a professional runner, so she knew her stuff.  She helped give me the dream of being a college athlete.   At that point, I wasn’t good enough for any college team but I worked my ass off as hard as I could.  I had the one gift that every coach wants in their athlete.  Burning desire to make it.
The summer before college was pretty crazy.  I was working 5 jobs to try to get ready for college (until my car died) then I had to drop my job at Publix [Supermarket]because it was a 20-mile bike ride each way).  I would bike to my different jobs, then get home and run and then would be able to start hanging out with friends after 11 pm.   During that time I would never miss a run no matter how bad I wanted to have fun.
I still to this day don’t know why coach chose me out of all the other walk-ons..  but I am thankful she did.  I ran with my heart and I knew I had more to prove that everyone that came in on scholarships.  (I also didn’t have a car… so I got a lot more miles in than most people.   Outside all the running I was walking 5-14 miles a day to and from, and around school)  By the end of the first season, I was granted an athletic scholarship and the following year I was team captain…

Ben doing what he does best

What and When was your first 5k time? What and when was your fastest 5k time?

Year of high school.  I don’t remember the time but I was low 20s, but my fastest was 15:20 in college.

What kind of workouts did you do to get that fast? 
You don’t want to know the schedule.  But my favorite workout was mile repeats!



What was your average weekly mileage?
60-80 was the average.  During the summer we would crank it up for base building.  My highest week was 112 and 90% of those miles were done along the Appalachian Trail.

I mentioned above that you hold a monthly fun run named “Run for a Cause” at the Cork & Olive in Brandon.  How did that come about?
Just had the idea while at the bar.  I love hosting fun events for people…  and it came about from there.  our first event I was hoping for 10 people… and over 50 ended up showing up.

How many different charities have you hosted?  
7 or 8 now

If someone had a cause they would like to have hosted at one of your events what is the best way to contact you? Best is through FaceBook.


The shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School has devastated the country. You chose to act quickly and do something about it by hosting this Virtual Run. Can you give the details?
This is a virtual half-marathon and virtual 5K. Since it is virtual, you can complete it anywhere in the world. You can run, walk, swim, bike, anything you like, and you can complete the 13.1 miles or 5K all at once, over the course of a week, or whenever you can. Just complete all miles between now and Jan 31st. This is on the honor system – you do not have to report your miles.
The registration fee for the Half Marathon is $30.
Register Here: http://www.active.com/half-marathon/tampa-fl/sandy-hook-elementary-memorial-half-marathon-and-5k-2013
Event Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/events/186264894845690/ 

What gave you the Idea?
I am on the board for a few charities, and I was already researching a way to do a virtual 5k. When the devastation occurred, I couldn’t sleep, so I mulled it over for a while and by Sunday I had it up on Active.com and Facebook and 200 people already had agreed to participate. Today on Facebook there are over 1800 that have committed and a little over 250 that have actually signed up on Active.com
It grew a lot faster than I thought. It went viral. I originally thought about a few people here in Tampa to raise around 1000 dollars, but now it is well over that.

Beth and Ben

 

Do you have any other races coming up?
Beth and I have been organizing a Tampa Bay Corporate 5K.
This is an event where the runners choose one of the 4 charities that this race will give back too. Every person that registers for the race will get a vote (fill in the blank) for the charity of their choice. The charity with the most votes will receive a portion of the proceeds along with Little Things for Cancer, Cystic Fibrosis (Tampa Chapter), and Operation Helping Hand.
You can get more details on the Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/131275133693630
or on the event website: http://www.tampacorporate5k.com/

Ben and his fiance Jennifer
Ben and the Goof

Milestone Monday & Magic Number 6

Happy Monday Everyone.  I know it isn’t much but this will be a small milestone as it’s the 20th blog I have written.  I have not achieved the frequency of my friend Kat at Sneakers and Fingerpaints who writes 30-40 entertaining and quality posts a month, but I am working up to it.  I would really like to allow you to follow me through this last week as I get ready for the Revolution 3 Florida 70.3 this weekend, so I am going to attempt to write a blog a day on my thoughts, workouts and other tasks I am doing in order be as fresh and strong as possible for this 70.3 Triathlon.  The Magic Number is 6.  Six days until the race.

This weekend was filled with slightly less intensity of training as I started the tapering process for the Rev3.  On Saturday the A-Train completed a pretty intense 6 mile run followed by a swim in the extremely choppy surf of Clearwater beach.  It was perfect weather for a run which took us along the beach and over the Sand Key Bridge. This was a good last quad burner for some explosiveness during the run portion next week.  I always like running with Nick Z.  He is an extremely fast runner so even though he is not running at his pace, he pushes me to keep my pace a little faster than usual.  Not quite a tempo run, but fast enough for this shake out run.  

I went up to the ballroom level of the  Hyatt right near Pier 60 after the run and had a chance to get to know one of our new members Jessica M.   The hotel is very plain from the outside but inside it is really beautiful.  We bought a couple of beverages at the coffee kiosk and then went outside to chat and found comfy couches and chairs with views for the water and the beach.  A perfect wind down to a tough workout.  Jessica is a recent transplant from Brooklyn, New York, with a love for working out and running.  We found out during the Miles for Hope ride how tough this woman really is.  I mentioned in that post that we averaged about 18.5 mph during that ride.  Ms. Jessica kept up with us the whole way on a recently purchased bike, with no cages or clips on her feet.  She did the whole thing with running shoes and flat pedals.  That had to be really difficult.  I probably couldn’t have been able to keep up.


Sunday we rode a semi-fast 42 miles on the Sun Coast Trail.  We started with seven riders and it was very comfortable.  of course I lost the valve to my Speedfill early in the ride, but with two backup bottles I was still able to hydrate effectively.  The ride started a little chilly for Florida.  I don’t know the exact temperature, but it felt low 60s.  I was concerned at first because I really wasn’t prepared with long sleeves or with arm warmers, but after a brief warm-up spin, Pete broke away for a bit and I followed.  At 23 mph and spinning at at a cadence of 95 rpm, I ended up getting my heart rate up and I warmed up very fast.  As we closed in on the baseball fields, marking the halfway point, Pete took it up another notch and we were both hitting 25-27 mph  for the mile prior.  Oh did I mention the first half was with a decent head wind?  I didn’t realize it till I looked down at my Garmin and noticed I was working pretty hard to keep 19-20 mph.  The group and I took quick break and then headed back which turned out to be faster and easier due to the tail wind.  Pete and I kept a pretty good pace the rest of the ride with Jaime, Stephanie and one other gentlemen on our wheels.  About 6 miles prior to being back to the cars, Pete decided to hang back a bit and Steph got rolling with a really nice pace so we played cat and mouse sticking to about a 21-23 mph pace.  It was a fun ride, but luckily not too intense to keep our legs for next weeks race.

I went home, showered, rolled, stretched and then headed for a really good brunch at Grillsmith.  If you have not had their brunch I highly recommend it.

This morning I woke up extremely lazy, but I knew if I didn’t jump into the pool, I would come up with every excuse in the book not to do it later.  Amy, my coach, had me doing a short workout but was form focused which is what I need right now.

WARM UP:
200 WARM UP
50 CATCH UP STROKE
50 ON YOUR SIDE (1,2,3 X 5 KICKS ON SIDE)
50 ARM STOP AND LOOK
50 KICK BOARD CATCH UP
50 KICK FREE STYLE
100 PULL BUOY, FEELING THE GLIDE
MAIN SET:
All repeats are with a steady Rest Interval (RI):
10 X 100 ALL OUT!
10 SEC REST BETWEEN INTERVALS
COOL DOWN:
2 X 25 UNDERWATER NO BREATH
200 FORM FOCUS SWIM
LUNGES

As you can see it wasn’t a long swim by any stretch, but it was enough for me.  I actually love these workouts, because of the intervals.  It doesn’t seem like it takes as long.  This workout took me about 45 minutes, where I am usually in the pool close to 75-90.  See since I really do not like long workouts, I probably need to do more of them, you think?
My diet today will consist of a good amount of protein  with vegetables and a good amount of water.  Breakfast was 4 eggs, sweet potato and turkey sausage with salsa,  Lunch will be a spinach and romaine salad with a lot of chicken, vegetables and a splashed with a light balsamic vinaigrette  and dinner with be a lean steak with another sweet potato and green beans with almonds.  In between, I have a protien shake for morning and an apple and almonds for this afternoon snacks.  Pretty lame for a day of eating but I’ll enjoy it nonetheless.
That should take care of Manic Monday.  Tomorrow I hope to start a regular post called Tribute Tuesday where I choose one person whom has greatly affected me positively and give you my story of the why and how, and then I interview them in order to let you into their personalities.
CARPE VIAM!!