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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Chicago Marathon 2016: Goof Race Recap

Chicago Marathon 2016: Goof Race Recap

Leading up to the Chicago Marathon 2016

The Chicago Marathon provides an excellent course, plenty of support and, for me, a chance to visit home for a few days.  It was no different for me this time, with one small factor.  I was not nearly as trained for it as I should have been.

In my previous recap for Ironman Augusta 70.3, I detailed a very painful half-marathon run.  It left me deeply concerned running the Chicago Marathon.  The focus for the following two weeks was on recovery.  My runs were limited to the Zero-to-5k course I coach at Tampa General Hospital which came to a total of eight miles.

Meanwhile, I completed a thirty-minute session with the foam roller and dynamic stretching, coupled with at least one twenty-minute session with an Electronic Muscle Stimulation machine from Therapeutix.  I followed this routine almost every day.

Even with the focus on recovery, I still had issues with my calves and Achilles tendons in both legs. My concern for finishing the Chicago Marathon did not change as I stepped off the plane on Friday, October 7th.

Pre-Race

I visited with my parents in Bartlett, a suburb located about 20 miles west of downtown Chicago, on Friday.  Saturday, I utilized the local train system, Metra, for transportation into the loop where I checked into the Kimpton Allegro Hotel and made my way to meet up with friends before heading to the expo.

Pete, Kari, Maria, Danny and I had a bountiful breakfast at a local diner and proceeded to grab a couple of cabs to the McCormick Place Convention Center for the expo.

I am always amazed at the smooth flow that is set up for the Chicago Marathon.  I stepped up to a table where they scanned the QR code that was emailed to me.  All of my information promptly displayed on a monitor.  After verifying the info was correct, a booth number appeared and a volunteer directed me to that specific location.

Even though the area was mobbed by runners, loved ones, volunteers and staff, I was able to quickly make my way to the booth where the volunteer already had my packet waiting for me.  She verified my identity with my driver’s license and directed me to the main hall where I fought the crowd to the back. Within a couple of minutes, my gear bag and t-shirt were in my hands.

The Expo

Chicago Marathon

Bart Yasso with Coach Brad

With the requirement for check-in complete, I was free to wander around the expo.  The Chicago Marathon expo is always a highlight for me.  It is by far one of the biggest expos I attend with a plethora of vendors and products.

The nagging calf and Achilles tendon still had me worried. I risked breaking one of the number one rules for big races.  Never anything new on race day.

Hoka One One claims performance and high cushion without sacrificing proprioception.  As one of the first on the east coast to review Hoka One One a few years ago, I felt their technology may aid my finish the following day.

Other reviews led me to the Clayton.  The middle line of their cushioning but extremely light.  Slipping my foot into the shoe, and immediately the feeling the wider toe box and soft EVA foam positively indicated this approach was the right decision.

I palled around with my friends for a while, before I noticed the time. It was 1:00 PM, which meant the Ironman World Championships had already started.  I excused myself and headed to the hotel. I spent the rest of the afternoon, with my EMS machine and tablet watching the race in Kona.

Chicago Marathon

Later, I met up with Pete and the gang at Ryo Sushi.  Dinner was a great combination of carbs, good fats, protein and extra sodium hidden in a spicy tuna roll and beef udon.  After the hugs for luck and “good nights” it was a quick walk back to the hotel, a gear check followed by some light reading before entering dreamland.

Race Morning

The next morning, I awoke refreshed and ready to face the day.  Anxiety plagued my core as it usually does prior to a big race. However, this time it was heightened slightly with worry due to my lack of volume, and the tightness in my lower legs.

My consumption of oatmeal and a power bar settled the hunger pains, as I dressed in my T2PKD singlet, shorts, socks, new Hoka One One Claytons and my Moxie Multisport hat.  The temperature, estimated at 54 degrees, encouraged my purchase of a very inexpensive hoody and sweatpants which would keep me warm prior to the race.

All of the major marathons collect discarded clothes after the race and donate them to the homeless.  After I shedded mine, these clothes would have a good home.

With that, I headed to the lobby, where after grabbing a cup of coffee and a banana, I took the 20-minute walk to Grant Park and the “E” Corral.

Right around 7 am I entered my official Chicago Marathon corral.  After 30 minutes of chatting up some runners from the Ronald McDonald House Team, and an operatic version of our national anthem, the gun went off.  It took 14 minutes to reach the start line, and we all began our 26.2 mile journey.

The Strategy

With all my concerns, I did not start the race without a strategy.  Even though I kept hearing Coach Jon in my head telling me, that there was nothing to worry about, and that I had enough experience in my legs to finish the marathon, I still didn’t want to go in strictly by feel.

Using past data, temperature, results and a bit of feel, I put together a simple strategy of allowing my legs to do what they wanted in combination with brisk walking through the aid stations.  I told myself that no matter what I would walk every water stop from the first flag to the last flag and then run again.  Therefore, looking at the pace on my watch would not be positive.  I would check very infrequently the total time, but otherwise, I would use the clocks on the mile markers to figure out my timing.

This Chicago Marathon strategy also included a return to my “Happy Place”.  The past few months had been a draining journey of mixed paces, disappointments and workout failures that deprived me of everything I loved about running.  I needed a win, but more so I needed that peaceful euphoria that kept luring me back to this sport I loved.  That feeling of freedom that I continually coach in my students and clients.

In The Beginning

The first mile was a little faster than I intended, so I slowed down a bit for fear of hitting the wall way too early.  Passing my mile 3 I realized that even with walking twice I was running slightly faster than a 9-minute mile.  This revelation amazed me.  I truly anticipated more of a ten to an eleven-minute mile, being as I did not have the training volume. To be running so easily at this speed, was a confidence booster, to say the least.

Everything seemed to be rolling along just fine.  For the majority of the race, I was listening to a custom station on Slacker radio, calculating times, chatting with runners and just enjoying the familiar sights.

My times consistently were 9-minute miles, so I decided to modify my strategy to include just that.  The test would be what would my half marathon time be.  The voice inside me kept insisting I had at least a half marathon in me.  However, the test would be afterward.  In the meantime, I needed validation that I could sustain this strategy for at least half the race.

Halfway

At the 13-mile mark, my the clock read 2:08. Of course, I started 14 minutes behind the first wave, which

Chicago Marathon

meant that my time was actually 1:56.  I did it.  Sub two-hour half marathon and I still felt strong.

Assessing my body after that, I only noticed some slight tightening of my hip-flexors.  Everything else felt great.

As I passed mile 16, I was still amazed at how I felt.  I still stuck to the strategy and had not walked except for where planned.

My quads and calves started to tighten up a little more at the 18th-mile aid station.  I felt it more passing the last flag of the aid stations when I re-started running.  To be honest, I expected it earlier than that.

Sufferfest

The real pain hit at mile 21.  My quads screamed, my hamstrings ached and my calves were on fire.  I kept fueling with what was on the course, which luckily included some bananas.  The potassium seemed to relieve a little of the pain but not the tightness.

With 4 miles left to go, my inner dialogue argued with me from aid station to aid station. It expressed I needed to walk for a bit, however, the idea that I could run a sub-4, intrigued me, so I continued on.

At the 35k marker, I noticed my slow down to over a 9-minute mile.  I would have to go sub 8:30 to finish under four hours.  The uncomfortable tightness and pain in my lower extremities expressed that it was not realistic.  However, that argument did not include seeing how close I could come.

The 24-mile marker did include an extra 100 yards of walking before the need to complete this challenge took over.  My inner thoughts reminded me of the final miles of my completed Ironmans.  Everything hurt, but the desire to cross the finish line, triumphant, began overwriting the pain signals to my brain.

The Finish

Chicago MarathonI picked up the pace a bit at mile 25.  The pain was intensifying.  Luckily, so was the perseverance, and the reminders of all the times encouraging clients, to run through the pain.  That it isn’t about knocking down the obstacles of life.  It was about how many obstacles life could throw but to still keep moving forward.  The pain was just another obstacle.

I turned the corner and my legs turned over a little faster identifying the sign practically yelling at runners, “400M(meters)” to go.  All I could think is one, more time around the track and it’s over.

The 300m sign also brought the finish line into my view.  At that point, all the pain just went away.  It was over.  I crossed the finish line with my arms up in the air.  I did it and just slightly over four hours.  Final time: 4:04:17

Limping through the chaos of the Chicago Marathon finish, I realized that even including the worry and pain, this experience was amazing.  While the people, runners, and logistics were all wonderful, it was my internal struggle that made it great.

[one_half_first][/one_half_first]

Chicago Marathon

What breakthrough story do you have either in training or racing?
(Please feel free to share in comments)

Carpe Vitam! (Seize Life)

NYC Marathon: Goof Recap

NYC Marathon: Goof Recap

If you didn’t have an opportunity to read the epic writing in the previous post, I discussed the reason “why” I ran the NYC Marathon, then I highly recommend that you do.  Not just because the writing was fantastic, but it is my hope that the recap will be more emotionally moving.

Delta carried us to New York City and back with no issues.  I was upgraded to the business class on my departing flight, and returned to Tampa in economy class.  Even with my average size, I felt extremely cramped in economy.  Scott and his six-foot-one-inch frame looked extremely uncomfortable.  It is obvious, that Delta increased their upgraded business class at the expense of the comfort of the economy class passengers.  My suggestion to anyone flying Delta to the NYC Marathon, just include the cost of the upgrade if the flight it over 3 hours.

The plans were made well in advance for room and board.  After each of us declared our opinions for a hotel of choice, one of our teammates found a condo in Chelsea that would accommodate all of us comfortably and provide a full kitchen to save a little money on meals.

Per an email from VRBO (Vacation Rentals By Owner) we were to pick up the keys at a local pizza restaurant located next door to the building housing the condo.

Team Tampa PKD arrived around 4 pm and the employees working that afternoon had absolutely no idea what we were talking about.  Of course, we called the management company and were basically told they did not receive the contract.  When we had the contract in hand we called the agency back but no one would answer our calls.

Here we were, in New York City, on marathon weekend, not to mention the third and fourth game of the World Series, homeless.

Teammate Kevin O’Brien to the rescue.  Kevin works for a landscape development company and happens to travel quite a bit, which was lucky for us.  With his Hilton Honors status we were able to procure two rooms at the Hilton Garden Inn located in Tribeca.  Thank you Kevin.

The rooms were updated, immaculate and comfortable.  Another, nice little value add of the Hilton Honors was the choice of extra points or free breakfast.  Kevin being the generous person he is, opted for the free breakfast for us which again helped save a little bit of money.  Again, Thank you Kevin.

With all of us now settled, we headed to the Javits Center to pick up our NYC Marathon packets.  The bibs numbered up to 72,999.  It still amazes me how easy it is to retrieve a bib, swag and t-shirt at the expo.  It runs like a well oiled machine.

NYC Marathon The Javits Center

The Javits Center

There is a booth for every few thousand bib numbers.  The athlete walks up to the booth that includes their bib number, shows ID and their registration card.  Then they receive their NYC Marathon bib and other instructions, verify their info and then walk towards the t-shirt area where on the way, they pick up a plastic swag bag that also serves as the gear bag for the race.  The official NYC Marathon t-shirt area is well-marked with a line for the different sizes and within a few minutes of walking into the expo, the athlete has bib, swag and t-shirt.

NYC Marathon The Expo

That isn’t the most exciting part of the  NYC Marathon expo.  There are vendors from all over the country whom give runners have the opportunity to try and buy the latest gear and gadgets.

One aspect of the expo I really enjoy, is the aura and feeling of the environment.  There is an excitement in the air of the larger expos that increases my heart rate a little and excites me to race.  It is probably one of my most favorite parts of any race weekend.

NYC Marathon Team Tampa PKD minus Karen

The following day we made another visit to the expo simply to walk around and make some purchases.  I found a couple of vendors that I had met at other races  and made some new contacts for product reviews.  Stay tuned.

I have loved New York City since the first moment I stepped into Manhattan years ago.  I have a lot of friends here, and I just really enjoy the pace and excitement of the city.

NYC Marathon NYC Times Square

There is always one place, that is mandatory to visit, at least once, every time I am in town.  John’s Pizza.  I couldn’t believe my ears, when Rich and Kevin decided not to partake.  It was their loss, so Scott and I headed over to John’s for lunch.  Carb loading, baby, I just love it.

I could write a full post on John’s, so I wont go into the heavenly scrumptiousness of their pizza here, but trust this self-proclaimed, pizza connoisseur, when I say the explosion of flavors that emanate from each bite, redefines the word delicious.

NYC Marathon Brad & Scott at John'sNYC Marathon Brad digging inNYC Marathon The Pie

Saturday night, we were scheduled to have dinner with the PKD Foundation and the other runners from different areas at Carmine’s.  Scott, Kevin, Karen and I were all pretty familiar with the city and had even known of Carmine’s as it is pretty well-known.

That night we entered the subway and got off at 42nd street in order to head over to 44th where Carmine’s was located, as we started up the stairs from the station, Scott mentions the address which made Kevin and I do a double take.  2400 W Broadway, which was Broadway and 90th street.  At the moment we were on 44th st which means we were 46 blocks away.  That was a few miles from where we were at that point.

Of course like men we decided that maybe the address was wrong and went up anyway.  As it turns out, it was correct.  There was a newer Carmine’s uptown and we were in the wrong place and already fashionably late.

It ended up working out for us again.  We caught the subway up to 86th and when we arrived, food was just being served.  How long could this luck hold, right?

The dinner was fantastic and we met a bunch of really amazing people who were just as passionate about running for PKD as we were.

NYC Marathon PKD Runners NYC Marathon Carmines Table

Like good little runners we went back to the hotel and retired for the night in anticipation for the NYC Marathon the next morning.

NYC Marathon The Night Before clothes layout

As I mentioned both in the last post and in my NYC Marathon recap from last year; the logistics for this race are not the most convenient.  It involves a ferry to Staten Island then a bus to security, a decent walk to the assigned village and finally another walk to the specific corral.

An announcement came out from the NYC Marathon staff, about two months prior to sign up for transportation to the start and of course we all missed and ended up getting assigned the 5:45am ferry to Staten Island.  Since three of us had already experienced the ferry and knew that there was no accountability, we decided to just take the 7am ferry instead, not only giving us a little more time in the morning, but also keeping us out of the chilly temps for a couple of hours.

The lesson I learned here was there are two choices, either go by the scheduled time and arrive with a lot of time to spare, sit around have some coffee and bagels while waiting for the start, or go a little later and hope to make it to the corral at the time of your scheduled start.

We took the latter ferry and ended up having to wait for two ferries to get over to the island and then when finally getting on the bus, the traffic was so heavy we ended up having to rush to the corrals in order to make the 9:40 start.  It was probably perfect for the rest of the team that had later starts, but for Rich and I it was a little tight.  Personally, I do prefer the latter.

NYC Marathon Statue of Liberty from Ferry

I found my green village, dropped off my gear bag with my long sleeve shirt and pants, and headed to the corral just prior to the 9am cut-off to enter the corral.  Now I had about half-an-hour to stretch and use the portlet one last time.

I was talking to a woman from Basel, England when I heard my name being called.  Ryan Wallace, was a Facebook friend and runner I met at last year’s race.  A really fun guy to hang with, so after chatting for a bit we found we were looking at accomplishing the goal of 3:50 or better.  Score!  Someone to run with.

NYC Marathon Start Corral

In the Start Corral

They opened up the corral to head closer to the start line around 9:30am, and just after the final note to one of the most beautiful renditions of our national anthem I have ever heard, sung by opera singer (and runner) Susanna Phillips Huntington, and announcements by the executive director, the gun went off and we were running.

The NYC Marathon is the largest marathon in the world.  Largest meaning the most athletes run the course of any marathon in the world..  This year there were over 50,000 finishers.  It boasts spectacular views, fantastic support from the spectators, and a challenging course.  The route takes the runners through all five major boroughs of the city, starting in Staten Island, crossing the Verrazano Bridge to Brooklyn, heading north into Queens crossing the 59th St bridge, then into Manhattan crossing the Queensboro Bridge, north into the Bronx over the Willis Ave Bridge, turning south back into Manhattan over the Madison Avenue bridge and then finally the incline to the finish line in the heart of Central Park.

The experience this year was better than last, as the temperatures were much better as we started around 55 degrees Fahrenheit  and just a little breeze versus the 30 degree temps and 33 mph winds from 2014.

Ryan, his friend, and I started the NYC Marathon conservative for the first couple of miles, but as we rounded the first 5k I noticed we started to increase our pace.  I only was witness to it due to calculating my 5k under 27 minutes, which being under a 9 minute mile that soon, concerned me a little, but I was feeling really strong.

The spectators in the NYC Marathon are everywhere and they clap, yell and scream not only for their family and friends, but for any one they seem to be inspired by.  Statistics pretty much show, that even know there were over 50,000 athletes running this race, and hundreds of thousands of finishers in marathons all over the world, less than 1% of the population has finished a marathon.  In other words there were a lot of people to be inspired by during this race and the spectators expressed that.

NYC Marathon brad behind ryan

The Goof peeking out behind Ryan

Ryan and I ran together up to about mile nine, constantly telling each other to slow down, yet neither of us could hold a slower pace for very long.  About that point, a pressure emanating from my bladder was increasing to a point where I was just not comfortable any longer, so I speeded up to the mile 10 aid station to relieve myself.  My thinking was speed up, use the facilitates and then speed back up just enough to catch Ryan again.

Unfortunately, we didn’t cross paths again during the race.  I was out there on my own, all by myself.  It was just me and 50,000 of my closest friends.

There was plenty to see as I continued on my NYC Marathon journey.  Achilles International volunteers were out in droves this year with guides helping blind and other challenged runners through the race.  Guides would run in a formation with one tethered to the blind runner and then three-to-four others running on each side of them constantly helping to clear a path through the crowd.   It was so motivating, that I knew somewhere down the line in my own journey I would have to help like that in some way in the future.

As I crossed the 13.1 mile marker of this NYC Marathon, and saw the clock I realized that I had been running for an hour and fifty minutes.  That for me was fast, but I was still feeling really strong.  The sights of the area’s architecture, parks, people and the smells of the local restaurants were consistently keeping my mind occupied as I just let my legs decide what they were going to do.

I was concerned though.  I know enough about myself, that keeping this pace would have it’s consequences toward the final miles.

My favorite bridge on NYC Marathon course is the Queensboro bridge.  It feels like it never ends, but the view of Manhattan and the Hudson is spectacular.  Not to mention, the completion of the bridge is a u-turn with a horde of spectators that it feels like a roar of excitement is exuded from them.  I felt a boost of energy when I crossed mile 16.

I was actually a little impressed with myself as I hadn’t really slowed as of yet.  It is usually around this mile marker that begins the stiffness of the previous miles.

The next checkpoint for me is usually mile 18, but that too came and went without any real pain.  My inner dialogue started having delusions of grandeur of possibly finishing the race around the 3:40 mark which be a huge PR for me.

As I crossed the Willis avenue bridge, I felt the start of a twinge in my left leg and a smile crept across my face and out loud I said to myself,”There it is.”

The NYC Marathon mile 20 clock showed I was two hours and fifty-two minutes into the race, which was already better than last year.  My thinking at that point was that I could pretty much slow to a ten minute mile at this point and still cross under four hours, but that didn’t happen.

Mile 21 came at just three hours which was a first in a while for me.  I am usually only at 20 by three hours and here I was a full mile closer to the finish.  My period of optimism was cut short by a stiffness in my right leg that quickly became painful.

NYC Marathon Starting to hurt

I walked though the next NYC Marathon aid station and grabbed a banana from the hand of a volunteer thinking just get some more glycogen to my legs so I finish this last five miles.

What little stride I had became periods of walking between miles 22 and 23 as the pain started to sear and engulf the rest of my leg.  It was getting harder and harder to bend my right knee as the stiffness was setting in.

Central Park came and the crowds were getting louder and more dense.  I did not want to walk through the park with all these people.  I wanted to run in strong, but the pain was getting more and more intense.  I actually yelled at myself, “C’mon legs.  WTF are you doing!!!”

NYC Marathon Almost There

My mind drifted to Erika at that moment.  As I was trying to run stiff-legged and just suffer through this intense pain, I thought that this frustration and uncomfortable feeling must be what Erika feels all the time.  The disappointment at feeling run down, the pain that comes with these huge cysts on her Kidneys and the eternal uncomfortable feeling that keeps her from sleep and just enjoying life, must be one hundred times worse that what I was feeling.

If Erika had to continually go through this pain, then I could at least endure it until I reach the finish line.

I didn’t stop running, no matter how much it hurt.  I thought about Erika and the last couple of years of misery she must have been going through, and how Jennifer would also have to also have a painful times ahead through her recovery from donating a kidney.  It kept me going as I really felt like I was going through it for them.

I am not a totally idiot, I know that running the NYC Marathon of which I enjoy doing, really would do nothing for either of them.  It was the fundraising and support where we as a team were doing the most good.  Maybe it was for me.  Maybe because I was not able to donate my kidney, that I the pain I was feeling now was so that I could empathize with both of them.

NYC Marathon The Finish

The NYC Marathon finish line was just as glorious as the other marathons I have completed.  I was extremely happy to cross in 3:56 and at least beat my time from last year by about 10 minutes.

My official NYC Marathon finisher was medal handed to me, I was congratulated by a volunteer and ushered through to take continue the long mile walk to retrieve my gear bag.  I was engulfed on all four sides with athletes as we all did the marathon shuffle through the park.  There was a sense of peace and a little giddiness that filled the air.

NYC Marathon Medal FInish

We all did something extraordinary today.  Whatever the reason “why”, we were bound at that moment by the accomplishment and conclusion of a journey that started with the decision to embark, the hours of training and the final step across the NYC Marathon Finish LIne.

NYC Marathon Stepping Across the finish

Once dressed in dry clothes, I found Rich and we headed out to The Keg Room which was where Team Tampa PKD would gather back together.  As Rich and I were in the first wave, where he PR’d at an incredible time of 3:27, we arrived first.  Kevin, whom was actually in the last wave to take off, showed up next followed closely by Karen and finally Scott.  Everyone finished and accomplished what they set out to do, but I was most proud of Scott.

NYC Marathon Keg Room

Scott had micro tears in his gastrocnemius muscle (Calf) and had been trying to rehab it for the last couple of weeks.  I really didn’t think he would finish the NYC Marathon and we all told him it would have been ok if he didn’t .  He did though and under 5 hours with walking.  He also said that he felt like he didn’t feel like he did anymore damage.

NYC Marathon

Scott Bragan

I am proud of the whole team.  Team Tampa PKD was able to raise over 20,000 for PKD, finish the NYC Marathon and, most importantly, find a kidney donor for Erika.

NYC Marathon

Team Tampa PKD – (L to R) Scott Bragan, Rich O’Dea, Karen Dempsey, Brad Minus, & Kevin O’Brien

 

What kind of challenge are you partaking in or plan to journey towards?

Carpe Vitam!

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!

Tri Tip Tuesday: My MOST Important Running Tip

Tri Tip Tuesday: My MOST Important Running Tip

On Tuesdays and/or Thursdays, I will do my best to give one simple fitness, triathlon or running tip, trick or piece of information that will provide some value to in either helping you to become more efficient, prevent injury, increase performance, have more fun or at the minimum give a review of knowledge that might not have crossed your path in a some time.

I find myself observing other runners while running and sometimes just hanging out here in Tampa.  Due to the weather here lending itself to year-round training, I have no shortage of material to choose from.

My #1 Most Important Run Tip

My coaching practice’s number one priority is form, technique and injury prevention, so I routinely use other runners, with my clients to reinforce the form training I have provided.  (Sorry, Tampa runners.  If you happen to pass by me with a client, most likely you have been observed and surveyed for comparative analysis.)

With all of my observations, the number one issue that I see are runners that sit in the bucket.  Of course, the question most people ask is what does sitting in the bucket mean?

Basically, it’s when the glutes(or bum) are not in line with the torso.  The body looks like an “L” from the torso to the hamstrings.  Natural running which when learned is much easier, more efficient and greatly reduces impact on the joints.  The torso hips, glutes and ankles form a straight line.

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The interesting thing is, that running should be instinctual right?  Unfortunately, not anymore.  Sociological factors have played into our bodies to a point where most Americans, cannot just decide to take up running without going through periods of injury.

For example, sitting at a desk all day will tighten the hip flexors so that it becomes extremely difficult to push the hips under the torso.  The same thing is evident for playing video games on the couch for long periods of time.

The figure on the left is actually still a lot better than I have noticed out and about.  The torso is still tall and the chest is still has a little bit of lean to it causing forward motion.  A lot of runners I notice, sit in the bucket and lean back.  What is this doing?  Basically, gravity is working against the runner.  The objective is forward motion but the glutes and the torso are sitting back, so in essence, the body and gravity are working against itself.

Another perception you will see is the heel strike of the runner.  When that heel strikes the ground the impact reverberates all the way from the ankle through the legs, spine, neck shoulders and head.  This is where most of the injuries take place.

By simply starting to incorporate, tilting the hips under the torso and leaning from the ankles instead of the waste, the body will start allowing gravity to be used instead of the legs as the sole source of momentum.  Suddenly, the feet are striking the ground underneath the center of gravity and only the calf down to the metatarsals absorb the majority of the impact from the ground.

I continue to instill in my clients, running is powered by the core, not the legs.   Use gravity as momentum and allow the legs to just go for the ride.  To remain consistent, the core must be strengthened and hip flexors stretched to keep the glutes from returning to the bucket.

There are many techniques to help modify the behavior to allow for an efficient, safe and effective change of form.  All it takes it the will to want to change and get better and you will.

The #1 tip – get out of the bucket.

 

Are you running in the bucket? 

Did this information shed some light on any area of your running that might be in need of improvement? 

Carpe Vitam!

(Seize Life!)