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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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!)

Goof Review: The Altra Impulse

Goof Review: The Altra Impulse

Altra Impulse

Are you seeing a pattern yet? Yes, I am becoming a huge fan of the 6 year-old running shoe company known as Altra.  As I have been instructing clients in form techniques, and have found that most of the models Altra manufactures, lend themselves to my favorite principles.

The Altra Impulse is no different.

What I like about the Altra Impulse

As with all of Altra’s models, my favorite advantage is their FootShape™ Toe Box.  This is the incomparable wide toe box that Altra is known for.  The toe box is makes any of Altra’s models recognizable from a good distance away.  That is how wide it is.  I enjoy the ability splay my toes and have my feet firmly hit the ground without them being cramped up.  Wider toe boxes also allow the feet to develop more strength because the shoe is not tightening around the ball of the foot or the toes.  The toes can move around, and tackle all kinds of terrain.

As you can see from the x-ray below, the amount of splay the toes are allowed in the Altra vs a traditional toe box.  Imagine having access to the full splay of your foot while you run.  What is amazing is that most runners do not even realize the limits that a traditional toe box causes.  (Hmm, maybe there is an idea for a full post.)

FootShaped™ Design

The Altra Impulse is no different in this department.  The FootShape™ toe box has been incorporated and has all the comforts of the other models I have run in.

I love the Zero Drop™ technology that Altra incorporates.  When I run I have the ability Altra Impulseto utilize the full power and flexibility of my calf not to mention I can run as if I was barefoot, as our bodies were intended.  Most traditional running shoes have a 12mm heel drop.  This means that the heel is 12mm above the ball of the foot.

When we are barefoot, the heel and the ball of the foot are equal which is a Zero Drop™.  This also helps with heel striking.  Have you ever tried to heel strike while running barefoot?  Even if you are a regular heel striker in shoes, it is almost impossible to heel strike while bare foot running.  A huge effort has to be made to do that.

So, why runners continue to heel strike?  If your heel is more cushioned in the shoe, then of course you will want to hit that area first. (Another post may be needed to explain a little more on this too…stay tuned.)Altra Impulse

 

I love the Innerflex™ which are grooves at the bottom that create a more flexible sole.

One of the huge differences with the Altra Impulse is that they also incorporated their patented StabiliPod™ technology along side the Innerflex™.  Now you have a stability shoe that is also somewhat flexible.

I have decided to put this feature as a liked feature more for others than myself.  As a pure neutral runner I prefer to work allowing my body to support me, not my shoe, but Altra is marketing this shoe not only for running and triathlon,  but for cross training as well.

The StabiliPod™ technology does really help in moving laterally, which is not something that is usual for runners, and especially those of us whom usually stick to the pavement.  This is why I do like this feature.

Altra ImpulseMy absolute favorite feature of this shoe are the drainage holes in the sole.  My very last test run with the impulse was an 8 mile run, immediately following a huge rain storm here in Tampa, Florida.

 

My route took me through numerous ankle deep puddles and while my socks remained damp, the shoe was clear of water within a few yards of the puddle.  There was no squish from the sole of the shoe or my sock because as my foot pushed down on the shoe, the holes squeezed water out the holes.  No more blisters from soaked uppers and water log socks release water as well.

The Altra Impulse also continues with Altra’s A-Bound™/EVA blend compound which sits directly under the foot and adds a return of energy and reduces ground impact.

The upper is a light material and does have a noticeable difference from the other models.  The tongue and laces are curved with the shape of the shoe which differs from the straight tongue of traditional running shoes.

Altra Impulse

I actually enjoyed this new feature.  The fit of the shoe felt more comfortable with the tongue falling in the same curve as my foot.

I rarely run without socks, but I did end up having to do go out for a couple of miles one day without socks, and they were extremely comfortable.  While the upper is not seamless it is very close.  There are only a couple of seems that surround the tongue, but they are covered with a light fabric that helps reduce any friction.

What I wasn’t so crazy about

This is probably a very individual issue, but even though I sized up to a 10 from a 9 and a-half, after a few miles my toes still ended up moving forward till I they hit the front of the shoe.  This probably has to do with the fact that I only lace my shoes tight enough to lock in my heel.

If you like your shoes laced up tight this probably will not be an issue.

The price point for the Altra Impulse is $120 dollars, which while competitive in the market place it still is a little expensive.  In this day and age where people are scrounging for liquidity, I really would like to see at least one company come out with a quality shoe that retails for under $80.  Of course that is my opinion and my opinion only.

How did the Altra Impulse Rate?

Quality – 4/5

Upper  – 5/5

Outsole – 5/5

Flexibility – 4/5

Comfort –5/5

Appearance – 4/5

Cost – 3/5

Overall – 4.2/5

Have you ever run in an Altra Running Shoe?
What were your experiences?
Which model do you like best?

Carpe Vitam!
(Seize Life!)

Coach Brad’s Goals for the New Year!

Coach Brad’s Goals for the New Year!

Happy New Year!!  Welcome to 2014 and the year of YOU!

It’s that time again.  The beginning of the new year and time to set some new goals.  Notice I am stating resolutions, these are goals.  In my experience, the best way to set new goals is to make sure that each one of them is SMART.

The Iron Goof, with the Iron Goofy

Coach Brad with the Iron Goofy

S- Simple
M- Measurable
A – Achievable
R – Realistic
T – Timely

Let’s take a look at the last year 2013-

Personal:

1. Get over my fear of leaving my day job and get my business off the ground. – Business is good, I have had up to 13 clients with 9 still with me after the tri season was over.  I have 3 that have contacted me wanting to start in March.  With a full-time job, it keeps me busy.  Luckily a few of these are virtual so most of the work is email, phone and Training Peaks.
2. Reduce debt by minimally 50% – Complete – Actually more like 75%
3. Re-commit to a financial plan and budget – Complete – see #2
3. Complete my Certified Personal Trainer, USAT Level 1 coach, and USATF Level 1 and minimally begin my Certified Nutrition Professional. – Complete except for CNP (*also added RRCA, Newton & Lydiard Certs)
4. Blog at least 5 times a week – Unfortunately, this did not happen more like once, but will re-commit for this year to at least 3.

 Sports & Fitness:

 
1. 2 Ironman Triathlons: IM Louisville, IM Florida – IM Florida, but IM Louisville turned out to be more financial 0477_67915then not trained.
2. IM FL in less than 12 hours – This one was discouraging. Read about it.  – I am thinking about doing another one for vindication.
3. Running average pace at 7:30 min/mile at RPE 2 – I got to about 7:45 for a 10k
4. Biking average pace at 22 mph at RPE 2 – Complete – hit this at IM Augusta
5. Swim at 1:45 per 100m at RPE 3 – Incomplete – will have to focus more on the swim this year
6. Start CrossFit as strength training – Started it, but stuck to more of a Lydiard method.  Will be incorporating at least once a week during strength phases.
7. 1 half-marathon at 1:35 or less – 1:43 was still my best.  Have to dedicate to this one again

The score is 8 out of 13 completed with each at least attempted. I would consider it a successful year, but I would like to do better.

What’s in store for Coach Brad in 2014?
Personal Goals:

1. Completely eradicate debt
2. Start another passive income stream with the possibility for full-time income. (already started actually)
3. Have a plan by the end of the year for leaving my full-time job
4. Communicate more with family
5. Start a financial plan for the future
6. Understand more about SEO and Internet Marketing
7. Blog 3x per week minimally
8. Complete CNP, USAT Youth & Juniors, USAT Official and start CSCP certifications
9.  Less take-out and dining out, more cooking. (25 out of 30 days a month)

Sports & Fitness Goals:

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1. New York Marathon – 3:40 or better
2. Half Marathon – 1:35 or better
3. Conversational pace at 7:30
4. Complete 2014 miles ran
5. Possible Vineman Ironman Distance?? (Vindication Race)
6. Complete two 70.3 triathlons
7. Swim at 1:45 per 100 for 2 miles
8. Inaugural ITU Chicago Triathlon – 2:25 or better
9. All members of the TNT I am coaching crossing finish line at both Nike Women’s and RnR San Diego
10. First – Complete Dopey Challenge with a smile.

How about you?  What are your goals for 2014?  Are they SMART?

Carpe Vitam!!! (Seize Life)