How to Overcome the Top 5 Exercise Excuses

You haven’t started your fitness program yet. You know you should. You’ve heard the benefits. So, what’s your excuse? Oh, and try to be original. As a personal trainer and coach, I have probably heard every excuse in the book. If you spend more time making excuses than actually working out, read on. I have put together a few of the most common exercise excuses along with some ways to overcome them.

Overcoming the top 5 Exercise Excuses

Excuse #1: I Don’t Have Time

Seriously? How much television do you watch each week? While that sounds a little harsh, it is true that most of us spend at least a few hours a day week watching the tube. Try turning off the television for an hour a day. Take a walk, go to the gym, do a home based workout (I’ve posted many workouts that need little or no equipment). If nothing else, try doing some pushups, planks or squats during the commercials.

If it is work that is taking all your time, try working in short bouts of exercise during your work day. Go for a 10 minute walk during a break, spend some of your lunch hour moving: jumping rope, walking, squatting. Set your alarm a half hour earlier to give yourself some time at the beginning of the day. While I don’t adhere to the weekend warrior concept, you can still take an hour of your weekend to spend time dedicating yourself to working out.

Don’t feel that because you don’t have a whole hour to spare that “it’s not worth it.” Even 10 minutes of exercise is better than no exercise at all.

In addition to formal exercise, make the lifestyle changes that will add more movement to your life. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park your car at the end of the parking lot.

Remember, aerobic exercise can be done in small bouts to reach the recommended 150 minutes per week (which is only 20 minutes per day). Three 10 minute walks can be much easier to fit into your schedule.

Speaking of schedules, one way to fit in exercise is to treat it like any other appointment. Write it in on your calendar and work other appointments around it. Treat exercise like a priority appointment and you will be much more successful at finding the time.

Children and child care can also make a huge dent in your free time. Try taking the kids with you. They can play on the playground while you walk around it. You can walk the kids to school, walk or run around the soccer field while they’re practicing, do “active fun” with your family like fun runs. There are many ways to adapt a workout to an outdoor area. Parents can switch off workout time, so each partner has their own time to work out, while the other looks after the kids. Remember that when your kids see you make the time for exercise they will learn that health and fitness is a priority. Plus, kids need exercise too, and active play is a great way for young children to stay fit.

Overcome Exercise Excuses

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Excuse #2: I’m Too Tired

I get it. Your work all day, you chase your kids around, you come home and you just want to relax. You feel like you are too tired to get back up to work out.

First of all, one of the amazing things about exercise is that it gives you more energy. Once you get moving, you won’t feel tired anymore.

Resist the temptation of the post-work couch by exercising before you get home. Stop at the gym on the way home from work. Step out of your work place and go for a walk before getting in the car.

Another option is to get your workout done earlier in the day, either before work or on a lunch break.

If you're tire of starting over, stop quitting.

Excuse #3: Exercise is Boring

It is hard to keep doing something that you don’t like or that bores you. So, choose something that you like to do. Then try to get better at doing at it (a goal).

Maybe you love to dance. Or is skating your thing? Even gardening has some benefits. If you like team sports you can join a sports league. Exercise doesn’t have to be hours spent on a treadmill or stationary bicycle. If you find something that you enjoy doing, you are more likely to stick with it.

Working out with a group is another way to reduce exercise boredom. You can join a group exercise class, find your local running club, or meet a couple of friends (working out with a friends is also an excellent way to improve exercise adherence – see below).

And if you are using that elliptical or stationary bike, it is okay to read a book or watch television while you’re doing it. Just do it safely.

Excuse #4: I’d Rather Sit and Read a Book

Yes it is true that many people would rather not move. They would prefer to read, knit, or watch television. If this describes you, try finding a gentle type of workout, in comfortable conditions. Water exercise, either swimming or aqua aerobics, keeps you cool while you workout. Stay indoors in the air conditioning if you don’t like the heat. Try a gentle yoga class. Starting at home with a workout video is another way to get started in a friendly environment. You can start right now with a free month of Grokker Premium and enter to win a one year membership! Find a few friends and go for a walk. These are all relatively stress free ways to start a fitness program.

Excuse #5: I End Up Quitting, What’s the Point?

It is true that many people don’t stick with their exercise program. But this doesn’t have to be you. Many fitness seekers start out with a bang, running five miles, lifting heavy weights, and end quickly with a whimper, either injuring themselves or feeling too sore or exhausted to continue.

Set small goals for yourself and start out slowly. If you’re going to try running, start with a run/walk program like a couch to 5k. If you want to strength train, again start slowly. If you aren’t familiar with proper form, work with a trainer for a few sessions.

Keep yourself accountable by keeping a log of your workouts. It will also help you track your improvements. Many people have started a blog or a Facebook page to chart their accomplishments, or you can just share your goals with friends and family. You will find them to be very encouraging and they will help keep you accountable.

Training buddies are one of the best ways to stick with your program. Having to be accountable to another person will get you to the gym, even when you don’t feel like it, plus you will encourage each other to stick with it, cheer each other on, and be proud of each others accomplishments.

These are the top five excuses that I hear frequently at my gym. Hopefully, this will help you beat down those excuses and start or stick with an exercise program. Experts say that it takes about 66 days to make a habit, so if this advice will help you work out for about two months, you’ll have a better chance to stick with it forever. Good Luck!

What helps you stay with your exercise program?


 

My weekly linkups! Please stop by and check out all of the great recipes, workouts, and information that all these awesome bloggers share every week!

Meatless Monday with Tina and Deborah
Meatless Monday with Annmarie 
Bonnie, the Pin Junkie
Tip Tuesday with Debbie in Shape
Wild Workout Wednesday with Annmarie, Michelle, Sarah, and Angelena Marie
Wednesday Wisdom with Nanna’s Wisdom
The Blog Booster Party with Kathleen
Friday Fitness with Jill

Is It TMI? No! It’s the Top 5 Embarrassing Running Questions Answered

As a coach, both to teenage cross country runners and adults training for all distances, I get a lot of questions about how to train, dress, what kind of shoes to wear, etc. Sometimes, though, a runner will approach me hesitantly, almost secretively, and whisper something like, “um, coach? I, um, have a question.” Voice fading off. I can almost predict that the question is about one of the following five topics.

It's not TMI! It's the 5 most Embarrassing Running Questions Answered

The Top 5 Embarrassing Running Questions

1. Runners Trots –

Being a “glass half full” type of personality, I will point out that one theory as to why runners have a lower incidence of colon cancer is because running promotes regular bowel movements. One might say, though, that can be too much of a good thing.

Many of us have been there, because it is quite a common condition. Runner’s trots happen Porta pottywhen you are running along, and suddenly, you just have to go. It may cause cramping, nausea, flatulence, or diarrhea. It may even happen when you are finished running. Many a race time has been slowed by dashes to the porta-potties.

While the cause isn’t known, it is theorized that the up and down motion of running stirs the bowels. Dehydration may play a part as well. But the real question is how to prevent it. Here are a few suggestions that can help keep you out of that porta-potty:

  • Try to avoid eating for at least two hours before running.
  • Caffeine and warm fluids may speed up the process of moving wastes through your intestines, so either avoid or aim to drink these things with time to spare for a bowel movement before your run.
  • Limit high fiber foods, and avoid foods that you know cause you flatulence or loose stools in the days before a long race.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Design your running routes to include a restroom. (note: I know where all the best, secret bathrooms are along my route. I’ve have even sneaked into a few country clubs…they have awesome bathrooms!)
  • Know your body and be aware of your bowel habits. Try to time your workouts accordingly.
  • Sometimes runner’s trots occur because of irritable bowel syndrome. If they continue to be a problem, schedule an appointment with your doctor to rule out a medical issue.

2. Bloody Nipples –

Bloody NipplesThis is a problem that usually plagues only men. You’ve probably seen them at the finish line of longer races. Standing proudly with their finisher’s medals, with two strips of blood trailing down the front of their shirt. It happens, usually in longer runs, when your shirt repeatedly rubs against your nipples as you run. The result is chafed, sore, and bloody nipples. Because women generally wear sports bras, bloody nipples aren’t usually a problem (but, believe me, men, we get our share of chafing in other places).

Prevention is relatively simple. Some men wear band-aids or products like NipGuards to protect that sensitive area. You can also apply Vaseline or Body Glide to lubricate and protect. And for longer runs, be sure to wear a synthetic material like drifit, not cotton, closest to your body. Cotton can chafe.

3. Menstruation Issues – 

Many women are concerned that they can’t or shouldn’t run when they are experiencing the symptoms of menstruation, cramping, bloating, and bleeding, particularly when they are planning for a big race. They may be concerned that their performance will suffer if they compete during their period.

The good news is that there should be little or no decrease in performance during your period. In fact, women have even set records during all phases of the menstrual cycle. Plus, running has been shown to elevate mood, and alleviate other menstrual symptoms. If you are concerned that your period will fall on a planned race day, plan a longer training run during your period to help you feel more confident. Tampons are recommended, pads may cause chafing, and be sure to bring a spare or two.

Because the bloating may cause chafing in areas where you don’t usually have issues, a little Vaseline or Body Guide can help to eliminate that problem. (note: my own secret, when I used to have those problems, was to wear a spandex-type short for those runs. Didn’t help the underarm chafing, but kept me from running like a cowboy.)

There are other serious menstruation issues that are not covered here, including the complete loss of your period, which can be caused by very low body fat, extreme exercise and poor nutrition and can lead to medical conditions such as osteoporosis and infertility. These are serious health issues and should be discussed with your physician.

4. Black Toenails –

While I don’t think of black toenails as embarrassing, you might not agree if you just black toenailsbought a pair of snazzy sandals for a summer wedding. Maybe not embarrassing, but they certainly can be ugly. And almost every runner will have them at some time . They are almost a rite of passage when someone becomes a “serious” runner or ups their mileage.

While shoes that are too small can certainly be a cause, pressure from below, as you take step after step while you are running, produces friction between the toenail and the tissue surrounding it. When the tissue is damaged, fluid accumulates. The black color is caused by a few blood capillaries that are broken in the process. Most of the pressure, though, comes from the repeated action of the foot coming forward, pushing a little extra blood into the toenail region every time you take a step. You are more likely to get a black toenail in warm weather because your feet swell more when it’s hot.

The best way to treat a black toenail is to leave it alone, unless it is very painful. The toenail will grow out, sometimes causing the damaged nail to fall off completely. It takes time, but it will grow out.

There are several things you can do to make it less likely that you will get a black toenail (though almost everyone training for a marathon will get one at some time). Make sure that your shoes fit and there is some space between your big toe and the end of the shoe. Most shoe manufacturers recommend that you purchase running shoes about 1/2 size larger that your regular shoe size.

Increase your mileage slowly, which will give your toes time to adapt to each increase. Trim your toenails regularly and wear good, wicking socks to help keep your foot dry as long as possible. If you’re doing a lot of downhill running, you might try lacing your shoes a little tighter in the front to keep the foot from pushing forward as much.

5. Leaky Bladder – 

It can happen when you’re running happily along, when you suddenly realize that your shorts are soaked with urine. Or you may not notice until you change and smell that distinctive odor. This happens because, while strong pelvic and sphincter muscles can handle the extra pressure from a sudden sneeze or cough, or the pounding of running, these muscles can become stretched or weakened. This often happens due to pregnancy, childbirth, or even aging. Then sudden pressure can push urine out of the bladder.

The best way to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles is to do Kegel exercises. They are very effective and can be done anywhere at any time. To make sure that you are using the correct muscles, try stopping your urine flow without using stomach, leg, or butt muscles. When you’re able to slow or stop the flow or urine, you’ve located the correct muscles. Contract the muscles for 10 seconds, relax for 10 seconds, repeat 10 times. Try to perform the Kegels about four times a day. Perfect thing to do on a long drive or while standing in a grocery line. Remember, nobody can tell that you’re doing them.

Extra weight can also put pressure on the bladder, so losing weight can reduce that pressure and help you regain bladder control. (note: I had a hysterectomy four years ago because of fibroid tumors. I don’t know if it was the tumors or what, but after my surgery, I no longer have any bladder control issues. You may not want to go that far, though.)

That is my list of the top five embarrassing issues that my runners have question about. Although, I have to say, the longer you are a runner, the less embarrassing these things are to talk about. I have had the most amazing personal conversation while on the run with people, who, under normal (non-running) conditions, I never would have confided in. It’s a running thing.

So, give. What is your embarrassing running story? Oh, I guess I should tell you (one of) mine. During my first few marathons, I used to get extremely nauseous starting from about the halfway point of the race. In my first LA marathon, everything was going wonderfully until mile 14, when I really felt like I needed to throw up. I thought that if I did vomit, I would feel better. So I started stopping at every first aid station, running behind the tent they had set up, sticking my finger down my throat to make myself vomit. I was not very successful at this, possibly because of dehydration, but the gagging itself seemed to make me feel better for a little while. Then I’d last until the next station, and so on, through the rest of the race. My finish line photo shows me with my hand over my mouth, trying to at least make it across before I gave in to my nausea.

Okay, now it’s your turn.

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I’m Burning Bridges: They took a piece of my identity…

Warning: There may be some use of “language” that you may not associate with my writing. Sorry but I’m a little pissed off.

I really couldn’t decide on a title for this post, which is reflected I guess, in the weirdness of what I chose. Well, once you read on, you’ll understand why I’m burning bridges.

Just short of a year since I lost my job, I heard those words again. You’re fired. Well, he didn’t actually say that (because he doesn’t have the cajones to do that). No, it was much more cowardly than that.

First of all, don’t worry. I still have my personal training job (even though my clients have all left for the summer). No, I lost a job that paid a whole lot less, but was an important part of who I am.

On Monday I was at home, working on a blog post. When my phone rang I saw that it was the Athletic Director at the high school where I’ve coached cross country for the last 13 years. So, of course, I answered.

Burning Bridges: They took a piece of my identity

I thought he was going to ask for the schedule for our upcoming season, which I’d been working on pending the agreement of the boys’ coach. Within a couple sentences, it became clear that was not what this call was about.

He told me they’d (meaning the principal, who didn’t have the balls to call me himself, and instead made the mealy-mouthed AD take over the job) decided that they wanted to weed out “walk-on” coaches like me, and give the coaching jobs to full-time teaching staff.

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Which, I’ve decided, is a load of bullshit. Last year they “weeded out” Alan, brought in another coach for the boys, let her learn for a season what was going on, then fired me. I’m about 99% sure this was planned since last year.

For 13 years I’ve been coaching cross country. We’ve been to CIF (California Interscholastic Federation) semi-finals a half dozen times, including the last three years in a row.

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I have poured my heart and soul into cross country. It is a huge commitment: five days a week, from July through October. All my Saturdays in September and October have been spent on a school bus traveling to various invitationals in Southern California for the last 13 years. I have spent my own money to travel to some of the meets, given up vacations, my own running plans, and even skipped a lot of weekend getaways (that are such a relief during the desert summer). Speaking of summer, I have been at those practices at 5:30 every morning, been at the school to catch a bus as early as 4:00 am, traveled in those hot, uncomfortable buses from San Diego to Valencia. And I loved every minute of it.

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I’ve kept in touch with many of my former athletes. They tell me how important we (Alan and I) were to them. How the lessons they learned from cross country, and from their coaches, have helped them become successful adults.

I was a cross country coach. And that was really important to me. It was a part of my identity. Until a principal on a power trip and a wimpy athletic director took it all away. I was going to say they took a part of my soul, but that gives them too much importance. I won’t let those losers touch my soul.

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I’m sad, I’m hurt, I’m pissed off, I’m aching for some kind of revenge. Actually, revenge is too strong a word. (Quick thesaurus check: I want (pick one) vengeance, payback, retribution, reprisal.) As the saying goes, don’t get mad, get even. I’m simply working on how to do it. Don’t worry, I’m not going to knock anybody off. I’m thinking more along the lines of a summer coaching camp for high school athletes who will not get proper coaching from the hired staff.

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That’s another thing. It’s not like they’re getting rid of me and putting in someone more qualified, or even somewhat qualified. They will hire a teacher, who probably runs, and therefore thinks they know how to coach. That works really well. Just ask the boys cross country team from last year. Or the entire track team from this year, where not a single athlete went on to post-season play. They would complain that their coaches didn’t have a plan, didn’t push them enough, didn’t really know what they were doing.

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I, on the other hand, am certified by USA Track & Field and the Road Runners Club of America as a running coach. I’m also a personal trainer with more than 15 years experience. Not one of their potential replacement coaches have that kind of background. I’m sure they’re good at what they teach. They don’t teach running. The proof is in the pudding.

image_1I’m a crazily optimistic glass half full type of person, so I prefer to look for the positives in situations like this. Actually, there are many. My time is my own. I’m free to travel without regard to the practice schedule. I don’t have to be up at an ungodly hour for practice (unless I choose to for my own run). Nor more dealing with weak school administrators. Or parents. Or other incompetent coaches.

In fact, the only real downside is the loss that that lovely stipend right before Christmas. And that piece of my identity.

I’m linking up with Amanda for Thinking Out Loud and Kathleen for the Blog Booster Party! Hop on over to their sites to read all the awesomeness!

10 Ways to Cause a Running Injury

Most running injuries don’t just happen. Yes, runners will occasional get an acute injury like a pulled muscle or torn ligament, but as a general rule, most running injuries are chronic, achieved, if you’d like to call it that, by doing certain avoidable things. And since most of us would rather not have a running injury, the following are examples of things you probably don’t want to do.

If you want to stay healthy as a runner, here are 10 things NOT to do. Injury prevention tips that will keep you running.

Don’t Take Time to Rest and Recover

Face it. We are not machines. Our bodies need to have appropriate rest in order to accomplish everything that we have planned for them. Remember, that it is not your actual training bouts in which you become stronger. It is during your period of rest and recovery that the small muscle tears you cause through your hard training repair themselves and adapt to a higher load. That is why more isn’t always better.

Solution: Avoid doing two hard workouts in a row. Give yourself an easier day in between. After a race, let your body recover before training hard again. Depending on the race distance, this can be from several days to several weeks.

Run in the wrong (or too old) shoe

We are all biomechanically different. What works for one runner may not work for the next. If you’re wearing a shoe that doesn’t feel good or leaves you with aches and pains, chances are it’s not the right one for you.

Solution: Get an assessment from a running shoe professional. They should take a look at your old shoes, ask you questions about your running, and give you a chance to run a little in a few shoes. Remember, though, they are not foolproof. It may take a little experimenting, but finding a shoe that fits right and feels comfortable can help reduce your chance of injury. And remember, shoes don’t last forever. After about 300-500 miles, or if you start to feel a little achy in the knees or feet, it’s time to replace them. Another good shoe idea is to have at least two pairs and alternate, using different shoes for different types of runs. A sturdier, cushioned shoe for longer runs, a lighter shoe for speedwork or racing, are examples of what to think about when purchasing new shoes.

Assume that small injuries will just get better

This may be the number one cause of an injury that will force you to stop running altogether for a while. Don’t ignore small pains, especially in your hips, back, or knees. If you choose to run through that little twinge, you may just develop a full-blown chronic injury that will takes weeks if not months from which to recover.

Solution: Take an extra day or two off if you are feeling pain or even discomfort when you run. If a week goes by and you don’t see improvement, it may be time to see a sports medicine doctor.

Don’t strength train

Strength training corrects the muscle imbalances caused by running and strengthens your core to improve your posture. Think of it as pre-hab.

Solution: At least twice a week complete a strength training program that will work the muscles in your entire body. You can use weights, do yoga, Pilates, or some other type of program, but it should strengthen all your major muscle groups and include core and flexibility training.

Don’t get enough sleep

It cannot be emphasized enough how important getting enough sleep is. Sleep is when our muscles regenerate and repair all the damage that is done, coming back stronger than before. Not to mention the other benefits of sleep, including curbing inflammation, keeping your brain clear and creative, sharpening your attention and memory, lowering stress, and improving mood. And yes, naps count as sleep, though most of us need 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep to allow us to get into our phases of deep and REM sleep that are so important.

Solution: It’s easy to say just go to bed earlier, but that isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Start the relaxation process earlier in the evening, eat early enough to digest most your food before bedtime, and head to bed ready to sleep.

Skip the stretching

Running tightens up your muscles and joints, particularly through your hips, hamstrings, and calves. Not addressing these issues can potentially lead to injury.

Solution: Static stretching is best done after your workout. Focus on your hips, hamstrings, calves, and back. Stretching should never hurt. Investigate other solutions that can increase mobility, including massage, foam rolling, and fascial stretch therapy.

Run with bad form

While correcting running form can be a controversial subject, there are certain things that most experts agree will help streamline your run and put less stress on your back, knees, and hips. If you hunch up or lean forward while your run, scuff your feet, or overstride, you may be more likely to suffer a running injury.

Solution:  While too complex to go into properly in this space, there are a few things that can help your running form. Run with good posture, with no arch in your back and your head directly over your shoulders. Use your arms efficiently. They should swing forward and back and preferably not cross in front. This causes rotation in the shoulders and torso and can compromise core stability. Consciously try to land more lightly, with your feet parallel, and push off from the balls of your feet. Avoid overstriding. There are drills that can help you accomplish these things. Check with a running coach for other ways to improve your form.

Do too much too soon

New runners frequently get injured because they start running too many miles too quickly. It’s natural to want quick results, so if a little is good, more must be better, right?

Solution:  Build mileage slowly. If you’re just starting to run, begin with a run/walk program, and gradually increase the run portion.

Don’t eat properly

Food is fuel. If you’re not getting enough, or if you are fueling your body with junk, you will not be able to perform at your optimal level.

Solution: Eat a well balanced diet with plenty of fresh, whole food, including healthy fats, lean protein, whole grains, and fresh fruits and vegetables. Stay away from fast and processed food as much as possible.

Ignore your body’s signals

Your body will tell you if it needs extra rest. You just need to pay attention.  If you find that you are consistently tired, have come to a plateau in your training, or exhibit other signs of overtraining, you may need to take a little extra rest time.

Solution: An extra day off here or there is not going to hurt your training. In fact, it just may bring it to the next level.

What do you do (or avoid doing) to stay injury free?

I’m linking up with Jill for Fitness Friday!

FitnessFridayRev3

I’m also joining the Blog Booster Party!!!

Friday Blog Booster Party

8 Tips for Running Downhill.

Whenever a runner has a hilly race to run, the focus is on the uphill. After all, that’s the hard part, right? Running uphill makes your heart pound, your lungs burn, and your legs scream. So you prepare for such a challenging event by uphill training, getting stronger and more adept at running up those hills. And the result is a more successful race.

8 Tips

Quite often though, after finishing that hilly race, after killing those hills, you’ll find that your body aches, and may even have some slight injury, not due to the uphills, but because of all the downhill running.

Running downhill is a lot more difficult that it might seem at first glance. It’s easy right, after the physical and cardiovascular challenge of running uphill? It should be a breeze! But running downhill causes muscles to lengthen or make eccentric contractions, which can cause microscopic tears and generate more force than when running uphill or on flat surfaces. And running at top speed, which is easier on the downhills, causes your feet to hit the ground harder, which in turn causes the muscles, bones, and joints to endure more pounding.

What can a runner do to prevent or minimize these negative effects? Simple. Just add some downhill running to your training plan.

4 Benefits of Running Downhill

  1. Running downhill will train your body to…run downhill.
  2. Running downhill can improve leg turnover.
  3. Running downhill can improve speed.
  4. Running downhill will cause the microtears mentioned above in training, which will repair themselves stronger than before and prepare your body to handle the downhills during race situations.

While running downhill can be incorporated into your training at all times, it is especially important if you are planning a hilly race, or one which has extended downhill sections.

Tips for Running Downhill

  1. When you first get started, run on softer surfaces such as grass or trails. You can move to the road after a few training sessions.
  2. Don’t practice on too steep of a hill. Look for a hill that has no more than an 8% drop (and start out even less than that, about 3-4%). Anything steeper can cause excessive impact and increase the risk of injury.
  3. Focus on your form. Don’t overstride. Instead, shorten your stride and increase your cadence, focusing on your turnover.
  4. Land mid-foot. Resist the urge to either lean back or slow down. You will have a slight forward lean from the ankles, but keep your core engaged and your posture aligned.
  5. Once or twice a week is fine, but make sure to recover fully between each downhill session.
  6. You can incorporate your downhill training with your uphill running or do it as a separate workout. Make sure that you can maintain proper form for both types of training.
  7. Downhill running can be formatted as a hilly tempo run or broken into repeats. Here are three hill workouts that you can use if you choose to combine the two types of workouts (the first two would be perfect to incorporate downhill running).
  8. Reduce or eliminate your downhill training the last two to three weeks before your goal race. As with any type of intense training your body needs time to rest and recover.

I’m linking up with Annmarie for Wild Workout Wednesday!

Wild Workout WednesdayToday is National Running Day!

Makes me happy

I’m also linking up with Kristen at Jonesin’ for a Run for this National Running Day interview!

Interview

1. Why do you run?

Oddly enough, I wrote a whole post answering just this question. In a nutshell though, I run because it makes me a happier and therefore, better person.

For joy

2. How do you plan to celebrate National Running Day?

By running, of course! And by writing about running. I’ll be heading out about 5:30 in the morning and running six to eight miles.

3. How many miles have you run so far this year?

As of Tuesday I’ve run 428.7 miles in 2015.

So I can think

4. What big events do you have on the race calendar so far this year?

My goal race for the second half of the year is the Honolulu Marathon in December. This will be the seventh time I’ve run it, though it’s been 13 years since the last time. It was my first marathon back in 1996.

Honolulu-Marathon

We were babies!

I’m also thinking about America’s Finest City Half Marathon, the Malibu Half Marathon, and Ragnar Trail Vail Lake.

5. Before I leave for a run I must have…

A banana. Plus sunglasses, my phone, headphones, water if it’s a long and/or hot run, extra fuel for a long run. But mostly a banana.

Faster than walking

6. Do you have one favorite running app to track your runs?

I don’t use an app while I’m running (I use my Garmin instead). I do track my mileage though, with Log My Run Pro (for Android).

7. Who is your favorite running partner?

My husband Alan. We’ve been training together for almost 20 years! In second place is my Dalmatian Penny, though at 14 she’s not doing much running anymore.

Because I Can

8. What races have you run so far this year?

Sadly, my race plans have kind of gone up in smoke so far this year. My goal race last April was the SLO Marathon, but I injured my back the week before and I chose to skip it.

9. If you had to give someone one piece of advice about running what would it be?

Ha! I give a whole lot of advice around here! You can pick your favorite! But, if it was a new runner I was advising, I’d say start slow. Don’t expect to run three miles straight your first time out. You’ll end up getting hurt, stop running, then when someone asks you’ll say, “I hate running!”

Instead, start by running a little combined with walking a little. Gradually increase the running, decrease the walking. Before you know it, you’ll be able to skip the walking altogether!

Because I am a runner

10. Describe your relationship with running in one word.

Complicated.

Jeez, I can’t describe anything with just one word! It’s complicated because, as I get older, deal with my old knee injury, running is not always the pure joy that it was when I was younger. I used to be fast, now I’m slow. I used to be light on my feet, now I feel like I plod along. I still love it. I still define myself as a runner. But, it’s complicated.

Are you celebrating National Running Day? How would you fill in the blank?

National Running Day

Click below and join in the fun (plus you can check out some other fab runners and their answers)!

Running Wednesday: My Favorite Tempo Workout

A couple weeks ago I shared my favorite pure speed workout. Intervals are great for increasing VO2 Max, improving form, and working on specific speed related issues, like your finishing kick and leg turnover. Today, we’re talking about lactate threshold runs. They are also called tempo runs.

Tempo Workout

Your lactate threshold is the point at which your body cannot keep up with processing the lactic acid it produces during hard exercise and responds by needing to slow down. This type of workout usually involves slightly longer intervals than the VO2 Max workouts, run at a slightly slower pace, your lactate threshold pace. This is a little slower than your 10k pace, or about 85-90% of your effort level. You’ll find a more detailed description in this post.

Steady Pace Tempo Workout

My favorite workout of this type is a Steady Pace Tempo run. After warming up by running moderately for about a mile, pick it up to your Lactate Threshold pace. Sustain it for two-six miles. Finish with a moderate to slow mile.

Tempo Workout 2

Why I love it: I sounds kind of boring, doesn’t it? No fancy pick ups, run this at one pace that at another. Which is exactly why this is my favorite tempo run. To me it simulates race conditions. You don’t stop (hopefully) in a race, you try to keep a fairly steady pace throughout the distance of the run.

Tempo Run Variations

Depending on the distance for which you are training, you may want to change up the tempo run a little bit. For example, if you are training for a marathon, complete this workout at about your half marathon pace and effort, and sustain it for five to eight miles. Likewise, if you’re training for a half marathon, run at your 15k pace, for three to six miles.

Another variation for marathon or half marathon training is a race pace run. In this type of run, you will run the middle portion of a longer run at your goal race pace. For a marathon, this could be the middle 12-15 miles of a 20 miler. For the half, run six to eight miles at race pace in your 10-12 mile run. This will really help with pacing during your race.

Tempo runs can help you run faster, and help you sustain that speed for a longer period of time. Which is what we want when we’re racing, right?

I’m linking up with Annmarie for Wild Workout Wednesday!

Wild Workout Wednesday

Disclaimer: Although I am a certified Coach and Personal Trainer, I am not YOUR Coach or Personal Trainer. Always adapt workouts to suit your body and fitness level. Always consult your doctor before beginning a new exercise program.

Do you do tempo runs? Do you have a favorite workout?