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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Sarasota Half Marathon – Race Recap

Sarasota Half Marathon – Race Recap

I am a little behind on posts, and now need to add three more due to being sent and then utilizing three new products during the race; the Hoka One One Biondi S2 running shoes, the Jaybird Sport Strap bluetooth headset, and Wrightsock Stride running socks.  I will do my best to get those reviews completed as soon as possible, but for now let me tell you about my experience with the US Road Races Sarasota Half Marathon.

I learned a lesson first thing because I ended up running a tad bit late in the morning. The drive time to Sarasota usually is 45 minutes and I thought I was going to be fine until two miles from the race start.  The traffic came to a dead stop.  I drive a Mini Cooper Clubman, so while maneuverability is not an issue going over things like medians become either not possible, or the consequences may turn out to be expensive.  I was stuck behind a tractor-trailer semi trick with my right lane blocked and a huge median to my left.  No way out.  After a while, of being a little stressed of missing the start, I noticed the median curb height had changed to regular curb height so I took the chance and allowed my little car to climb over it. Luckily I found an alternate route, and parking pretty fast, but a ways from the start, so involuntarily I sprinted a quick warm-up mile prior to the gun.

I could hear the National Anthem being sung as I was running to the start, which told me it was going to be tight making it, and of course there were close to 5000 runners, so I ended up starting in the 13 minute/mile corral.  At first I was a little disappointed, but it gave me a little time to stretch and calm myself down.  I usually start up near the front of the pack, and end up getting passed throughout the race, however this time it was me who was doing the passing.

Miles one and two ran along Tamiami Trail and over a bridge which wasn’t very steep, although it felt long, but it did allow for some recovery on the other side.  Some coaches worry about their runners as they run downhill, but the form I teach really allows the ease of just letting the legs do what they will allowing for a nice recovery. Of course I also coach a way on the uphill that makes the effort feel a lot less as well, but that is for another time.

The 5k split ended up in a circle downtown and according to my split time, it wasn’t bad.  23:24, less than an 8 minute mile for the first three miles, I’ll take that.  Miles four and five were back over the bridge and past the start/finish line.  Unfortunately, my sock started slipping in the circle, so after mile 5 I actually had to stop, and take off my shoes so I could re-position my sock.  I couldn’t believe it.  Because I was product testing my shoes I did not put lock laces on, so I even had to untie and re-tie the laces.  I think it was 3 minutes wasted.  It wasn’t a huge amount of time, but it still irked me.  I will talk more in my review of the socks.

After that it was just a lot of fun.  I caught up with some friends along the way, Holly Tripp, Teresa Gadient, a couple of others and chatted and then continued on my way.  It was a beautiful course that ran inside a nice residential area and then back to the finish.  The view was not anything spectacular, but a decently scenic throughout the course.  The weather held to mid 60’s throughout the morning, which is perfect for me.

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Nick Z, Ben Mena and the Goof

The last couple of miles were back down Tamiami Trail and then turned back into the community center and into the finish shoot.  I picked up the pace on the last couple of miles and actually had enough for a little sprint kick at the end, which I haven’t had in a while.  I wish I could figure out what I did, that made that difference.  It could have been the steel-cut oats I had that morning, or even a new natural supplement I started a month ago, but I definitely had a little more than I thought.  This would have been a nice PR race, but my strategy was negative splits, and very conservative.   Next half I’ll do it.

There is one thing to be said about starting in the back and passing people up versus getting passed.  Positive/Negative reinforcement.  It shouldn’t feel that way, but I believe I also had some energy build from passing everyone except for three whom passed me.  Positive conditioning.  Starting in the front and getting passed no matter what I tell myself, still has a negative effect on my semi-fragile ego.  Do not get me wrong, I know my place.  I have always preached strength before speed.  I have stated over and over again I am not fast…yet, but I am a strong runner and at a comfortable pace I can run forever.  Unfortunately, that pace is pretty slow right now.

sarasota half medal

I met up with Ben Mena, Nick Zivolich and some other athletes and, Beth(B.o.B) joined us a bit later after finishing herself.  I will say the medal is huge and beautiful and athletes running in the other US Road Race Half Marathon series, receive an extra medal with the number of races they ran in the series.  If the athlete competed in 2 of the series they received a 2 inch number 2, for 3 races a 3 inch and so on.  I like the concept and those medals were gorgeous too.  It may be something to ponder trying to complete next  year.

That was the glorious morning of my St. Patrick’s Day.  I cannot think of a better way I would’ve spent it.

How was your St. Patrick’s Day?

Carpe Viam!!

 

Effortless Swimming Goof-Out #1

Effortless Swimming Goof-Out #1

In my post Goof Views and News #1 I again mentioned that swimming is my weakest event in the sport of Triathlon.  I remember completing a bike workout with the A-Train and one of our athletes David Nardoski was complaining of how slow a swimmer he was.  When we compared times, he was still 20% faster than I was or, am.  (Just for your information, David did not one, not two, but FOUR Ironman triathlons last year, plus a couple 70.3s as well.)

I also mentioned that I enlisted the help of Brenton Ford from Effortless Swimming and his Swimprove program.  If you are ready for a laugh here is the video I sent him for analysis.

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Interesting right?  Can you see those ankles?  How the heck am I supposed to move through the water with ankles that barely straighten past 90 degrees?  Unfortunately, the video didn’t exactly have the best angles so Brenton wasn’t able to analyze it, so I am hopefully going to enlist the help of a friend to do some more recording.  More videos are on the way. (Oh goodie, just what you wanted to see.  More horrible swimming.  Right?)

Yesterday, I completed the introductory lesson in the Swimprove Mastering Freestyle Program, which was 2000 meters of drills.  While at first glance the drills seemed rudimentary, even for me, they helped tremendously.

The workout when like this:

  1. WU(Warm-up): 250 any stroke
  2. MS(Main Set): 12×25 Kick on Back
  3. 12×25 Kick on Back with 20 degree rotation
  4. 12×25 Kick on Back with arm straight
  5. 12×25 Kick on Side
  6. 12×25 Kick on Side with arm straight
  7. CD(Cool Down): 250 Free

At first glance it doesn’t look so bad does it?  I didn’t think so either until I dug into it.  It was the amount of kicking.  As proof from the video, I do not have what any swimmer would call a strong kick, so it felt like forever for me to move from one wall to the other, but luckily that wasn’t the point of the drills.  It was to learn balance. and that, ladies and gentlemen, is a lesson I learned.  I finally felt what it was like to be able to have a steady plane toward the surface of the water without a lot of effort.

From the second set on, I put on a pair of Zoomers(short fins) so I could at least get through the workout in time for work, and with each set I felt myself feel the water a little more.  Of course all the “feel” in the world didn’t keep me from zigzagging down the lane, at least while I was on my back, but my whole body was at least on the surface without dragging my legs, which is a huge issue for me.

By the time I turned over and was kicking on my side, and allowed my arm to dip below the surface about thirty degrees, I felt like I was really moving.  I even had an epiphany about breathing because while on my side I was forced to exhale out and almost roll completely over to get a breath.  I even started to relax a bit.  The cool down, while still not effortless, was far more streamlined than when I first entered the water that workout.

I think Brenton might have something with his Swimprove program.

Stay tuned, boys and girls, for more highlights from my journey to a faster more efficient swim.

Gasparilla Distance Classic

Runners – Have a great race weekend!

Carpe Viam!

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

Tribute Tuesday #3 – Lisa Jamison

There are people that come into our lives that defy all expectation.  Have you ever met someone whom you previously had heard about, or may even have spoken to, only to find out they not only lived up to their values and skill but by far exceeded them?  It doesn’t happen often right?  I can truthfully state this about my massage therapist, confidant, and friend; Lisa Jamison.

I was given a brief introduction to Lisa by my good friend Scott Bragan.  He mentioned that he made massage a big part of his training, and in his opinion how much of an expert Lisa was, and how she worked with him on some injuries and ailments.  I finally decided to talk to her and see if she could help me.  (I will give you my story about my injury in another posting, but I currently have a L5/S1 herniated disc in my back)  I had been going to a chiropractor for my injury and they were keeping me running, but I felt like I had to make frequent visits, but that all changed when I met Lisa.  The first thing she did was look at my posture and how I hold myself, and immediately gave me analogies to think about, and exercises to do during the day to help.  She assessed my injuries and then……and then, she went to work on me.

All I can say is O-M-G!  That first massage was an experience.  She loosened up muscles I didn’t even know I had, all the while telling me what she was doing and why she was doing it.  Lisa and I are both talkers so we also were getting to know each other.  It turns out, she is not only an LMT, but a USAT Level 1 coach, a Yogi, a Certified Personal Trainer and an IRONMAN.  At this time I was still seeing my orthopedist and my neuro-surgeon.  Lisa educated me more on bio-mechanics than either of my doctors, and when I questioned them about the aspects of my anatomy Lisa educated me on, they both looked like a deer in headlights.  Lisa’s knowledge and experience was far superior.   First impression; this woman knows her stuff.

Lisa at Fight for Air Climb 2012

As we continued our professional relationship we started to become friends, and I learned that she was not only passionate about helping athletes, but also para-athletes.  She was close personal friends with Scott Rigsby, the first double amputee to finish the Kona Ironman!  She was also contracted by tri-clubs all over the nation, to meet them at races and work on their athletes and their para-athletes.  Whenever I had a question about about form, posture, or training Lisa always either knew or found a way to help me out.  Second Impression; she cares about her clients and will go to great extents for them. Amazing!

Then she told me the story about her brother-in-law that passed a day before she was to compete in Ironman Florida.  This immediately brought tears to my eyes, and continues to whenever I recall her words about him.  She did end up competing in the race, but returned home immediately afterward.  She said that her brother-in-law, Mike Dalton, wouldn’t have it any other way.  Currently, she has dedicated herself to American Lung Association and the Fight for Air stair climbs across the country dedicating herself for another friend taken from her, John Foley.  Lisa started Team Foley and she recruits athletes every year to do the Tampa Stair Climb at the Bank of America building.  Last year I participated, wouldn’t you know it, WE WON!  Yep, I stepped up the 42 flight climb with Team Foley and I would do it again in a heartbeat. As a matter of fact I am already signed up for 2013.  Lisa also completes stair climbs all over to include the Sears (not Willis) Tower in Chicago.  Can you imagine 103 flights?  She does it and often.
Third impression I am in love with this woman.  I defy anyone to meet her and not feel the same way.


Lisa Jamison
DOB:  March 27,  Aries 
POB:  Massachusetts 
Grew Up:  Vernon, CT 
High School: Rockville HS 
High School Sports:  Drill team/Dance squad, figure skated(outside of school) 
College: University of Connecticut
Sports:  Inline Speed Skate (as an adult), Triathlon, Running

I describe you as the best LMT in the Tampa Bay area. How and why did you start with massage and sports training? 
I studied Sports Med/Athletic Training in college.  Through college I worked in the fitness industry (I was one of the early ones…”aerobic instructor”).  After college I spent time working as an athletic trainer and teacher while still doing some fitness work on the side.  At some point I could see that I wanted to spend more time working in the fitness industry, but liked the sports training model.  It seemed to me that if people could take their workouts and view them as something as they “got to do” vs what they “had to do”, our health and fitness might be more enjoyable.  I started personal training in the late 1980’s.  I moved here in 1991 and have just kept plugging along.  I read a lot, take a lot of classes, and just keep trying to throw something new into my “bag of tricks”.  I went to massage school about 8 years ago.


If you could give me one adjective to describe the feeling  you get when you are working what would it be?

I like the aspect of the day that keeps me looking for a different way to get the job done.  Maybe that’s because I need to shake things up for my own sanity, and maybe that’s because healthy clients are in their for the long haul and may get bored doing the same thing over and over again.  I can’t think of an adjective…but I do get lost in my own head while I’m working in a the quiet of massage.  While training and watching people in their setting, it’s almost like I can get in their body and feel it.  

Lisa at IMFL

When and why did you start competing in triathlon?
It was the late 90’s.  I was working with a lot of triathletes, finishing up with a stint in speed skating and looking for the next sport.  I knew I’d get involved in triathlon, but was afraid of the swim.  I didn’t rush into it.  I participated without training for a couple of years, then changed my workouts to focus on triathlon a little bit.  After a few years I started legitimately training for it.  Now it’s been a couple of years since I’ve raced.  Not sure what will happen next. 

What is one thing you love most about triathlon?
The people, the training partners, the group of people.  I really like the balance of the group training for an individual sport.  I like having to get lost in your own head in the midst of a crowd.   

After being in the business as long as you have, what possesses you to still take the classes for continuing Ed that you do?
I have to for many reasons.  I am self employed and live alone; if I don’t work, there isn’t money coming in.  I learned very early on that people’s incomes can change, and you will be the first person they give up in difficult economic times.  If I weren’t “multi-talented”, I wouldn’t work.  I always have to be looking ahead to see what else I can do.  Personally, I like a day that’s filled with different things.  I enjoy being able to train a few fitness clients, work on re-patterning a skill with an athlete, do a relaxation massage, help with injury rehab, do some yoga, and meditate.  I like group work as well as private work.  I’m a teacher at heart, so as long as somebody is learning something, I go home feeling like I made a difference

Lisa & the Goof at the Fight for Air Climb


What was the turning point for you to decide make this a career?
All through high school I volunteered in hospitals and physical therapy clinics.  I always said I wanted to work with a “well” community, or one that was injured but was motivated to come back strong.  I started working in fitness in 1981 and it’s just all evolved from there.  I’ve just had to set the path for what I’ve wanted to do.

What would you say is your greatest obstacle  you ever overcame?
There wasn’t a career in “personal training” or “corrective exercise” or even massage during my early days.  I’ve always referred to myself as a bit of a hybrid.  Now the hybrid careers are becoming more popular.  I wish I knew that…I would have saved a lot of time looking for the career that was right for me spent more time “just doing it”.

What is your greatest victory?
When I can help someone get that “a-ha” moment and their day/life/sport makes more sense

Final Impression: I want to be just like Lisa when I grow up.

Carpe Viam!!
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