5 ways to mix up your next 5K
If you hang out with runners very long this phrase will come out of your mouth at some point in time. You may start with run walk intervals, build up your distance over time, complete a 5K then another and another. Many runners give a 10K or half marathon a go but decide that’s not the distance they love. Or as the case with many mamas, we want to keep moving but 2-3 hour training runs aren’t going to fit the schedule/mom guilt game plan.
So a 5K it is. Awesome! How do you rock another 5K but continue to challenging yourself? Here are a few ideas to keep you moving:
Mixing up your speed during training or even during an event will give you a good challenge and even get you to the finish line quicker. The control freak part of me says to get out your watch and decide on an exact interval. You can even download a “simple interval timer” to your phone so it will beep when it is time to switch.
30 sec of moving faster every 5 min will get most of our hearts beating fast, if you’re in excellent shape do the 30 sec every 3 min.
Keep moving tip:
Watch idea to much preplanning? Wing it by increasing your speed at every light pole, tree or us competitive gals might pick it up to pass someone in front of us at an event.
Picking an event that has different terrain than you’re used to adds a new dimension of fun. Pick a trail run, an event with a super hilly course, something in an area you’ve never run before.
Keep moving tip: Start a race towards the back of the pack. That way you are bobbing and weaving through the crowd…another change.
Run at a friend’s pace
Bringing a friend along to chat with mixes up the race day experience too. Especially if her pace is different than yours. A walking or slower friend will allow you to talk more and enjoy not pushing your limits for once. A faster friend will challenge you to keep up…while you let her do all the talking so you can focus on breathing and occasionally pretending your shoe is untied.
Completing a destination event is a whole new spin on running. New scenery, surfaces and swag.
Build an event into a trip. Look up an event that’s near your inlaws while visiting or one that’s near that business conference you’re at all week.
OR plan a destination event as a weekend away or a day away with friends. Hang out before and after and chat it up. www.active.com is a great source for events, a quick google search will do it too.
Make a goal
I PR’d today! What the heck is PR and why do I want that? PR is abbreviated for Personal Record….so you’re best time. Making a goal of finishing your next 5K faster than your previous can keep you motivated to push a bit more on race day and during your training.
Aiming for a pace 30 sec to 1 min per mile faster is a challenging but doable goal in a 5K. Ran a 32:51 last time? That’s a 10 minute 34 second per mile pace. Shoot for a 31:16 next time shaving 30 sec off each mile. Check out this pace calculator to crunch some numbers.
Whatever you do, keeping it interesting, fun and engaging will keep you running. That’s the goal after all right? To keep moving.
My mother in law said this to me about having kids. She was so right! Turns out this works for so many other things. Starting a fitness program, deciding to start eating apples for snacks instead of cheese, signing up for a triathlon, making any change for the better. Embrace the moment!
Keep Moving Mama
Post originally written March 2016
For the past 3 years, I have decided that I would complete a half marathon…as a runner. In what seems at times like another life, the one before kids, I walked 2 marathons and one half. Those experiences certainly shaped my approach to challenge and had a huge part in what I do now as a trainer and coach.
However, no matter what anyone else says, pretty much everything, yes everything changes when you have children. That change has never been a negative for me, I relish every part good and bad of parenthood. What a wild ride!
As it relates to fitness, becoming a mom has changed how I approach fitness and my own health. It has driven me to get more effective workouts done in little time, it has made the “pain” of workouts seem minimal, it has driven me to focus fitness for health above how I look and it has taught me to cherish my workout time as my own time.
During and after my long distance walking, what I thought was a knee problem became a factor and in my mind determined that I would not be a runner or do long distances.
In what seems at times like another life, the one before kids, I walked 2 marathons and one half. After taking a break from my own fitness goals and focusing on my kids, I eventually came back around to exercise. I became a group fitness instructor, running coach and personal trainer, operating a fitness business from my home.
However, soon after I started to run an old knee problem reappeared keeping me from running and barely allowing me to walk more than a few miles without pain. Or what I “assumed” was a knee problem.
Once I took the time (aren’t moms notorious for putting themselves last?) to make appointments, research and talk to physical therapists, I discovered an overuse injury called IT band syndrome was causing my pain, not a knee problem.
In order to continue to be active and to continue my fitness career as a personal training and coach, I had to learn some pro-active recovery tools and make a plan. And so my mantra became Keep Moving Mama.
These action items gave my mind and my body something to focus on and helped both recover. It’s my hope that these will help you to pro-actively recover too.
This torture, I mean treatment device helps enormously in recovery of many injuries. Especially overuse injuries. It’s a type of self massage that lengthens muscles by releasing adhesions along the muscle length. Muscles are wrapped in a sort of saran wrap called fascia. Often this sticks to the muscle itself due to a constant rubbing (overuse) or an injury like a fall or simply running into the corner of a coffee table. Foam rolling releases these sticky spots, called adhesions, allowing the muscle to lengthen and move freely. After that release, the whole muscle can move freely again. It can be done before exercise or after or even both.
I wasn’t joking earlier about the torture, this is really not fun. You’ll most likely find adhesions that you didn’t know you had. When you roll over one, you’ll need to stop with pressure on the tender area and practice your breathing till it releases. Then roll over it, come back and do it again. Then continue to another spot. Over time you’ll notice you have less adhesions. Foam rolling also releases delayed onset muscle soreness from tough workouts when done after the exercise. http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/sore-muscles-dont-stop-exercising?page=1
Balance out the weakness
Often injuries are due to an area of weakness. For example, a knee injury called runners knee often improves when the larger leg muscles that support the knee are strengthened. Doing low impact exercises like bridges and leg extensions won’t bother the knee but will build muscle in the legs. Stronger leg muscles in turn support the knee, eliminating runners knee pain.
As a personal trainer, I’ve had many opportunities to help clients recover from injury with this strategy. Sessions can be arranged in Elk Grove, Ca or online workouts are available. Your own personal trainer, physical therapist or doctor may be able to help you determine muscles you can strengthen to support the injured are you have.
Find the exercise you can do. If you can’t run due to an injury, walk, if that’s not happening, ride a bike, do pilates, learn yoga, try a bootcamp, swim.
You hurt your shoulder? Focus on strengthening your lower body while it heals.
You twisted your ankle? When your yoga instructor is doing a balance pose, keep both feet on the ground and just do the arm movement….whatever you do just keep moving.
This not only creates balance in body strength and burns calories, there is no doubt it keeps the mind focused and strong. Keep your mind on the positive, not on what you cannot do.
It may never go away
Some injuries heal and go away, others we learn to live with and we adjust to accommodate. I know I’ll have aching in my hip and leg when I run long distances or run three days a week. So I stick to shorter runs and only run 2 days a week…to avoid this overuse injury flaring up again. If yours is one that’s not going away, determine what activities will not cause further damage. Then decide what you are willing to live with, or if you need to change your activity. And be ok with that.
Taping the area for enough support to allow you to keep moving is mood and activity altering. There are a few different kinesiology therapeutic tape brands out there, I’ve have the best luck with the KT tape brand. It is used with tension and placement to support a variety of injuries. It’s use with plantar fasciitis is covered is shown in my post Home remedies for plantar fasciitis. Visit their website, kttape.com/instructions to watch videos on how to use it for other injuries.
Stopping all exercise due to one injury is simply not an option. Health, weight management and basic self-confidence are so much higher with active recovery than stopping. You will never again be as young as you are today, so embrace what you CAN do.
Last week I completed a 12 mile training run….my longest run ever in preparation for my first half marathon as a runner. The path here has included 7 years of leaning and practicing the tools I’ve described. 3 half marathon tries, training up to 9 miles then finding the pain too difficult.
If I’d quit, not done the foam rolling or walking, not cross trained and stayed positive the outcome would have been quite different. I would still be walking shorter distances and cross training, which is good. But looking forward to tomorrows half marathon, knowing I stuck with it, learned so much about my own body and can help others do the same is just plain AWESOME.
Please share your stories of injury and proactive recovery. I’d love to hear and help if I can.
Keep moving mama
Let it make you feel like a kid….or a badass. Embrace the chance to run in the rain and you won’t be disappointed. There are a few things you can do to prepare and ensure a good experience.
You will get wet
If you run in the rain you will get wet. Plan accordingly with a few dry things back at your car or by the door when you come into the house. Dry socks and a sweatshirt are my two essentials.
Check the temp
Here in California, often it warms up a few degrees when it rains. Not sure the science there but it’s a pattern. You may be plenty warm without the heavy jacket during your workout.
“Honestly, I wear as little as possible when I run in the rain,” admits Sarah Louie, one of my running clients. She recalls running in the rain in just a sports bra for high school cross country training on the secluded trails in the woods. “It was so fun!”
Not too many of us moms are running around in their sports bras, but a light weight shirt is better than a cotton tee that will soak up the water. Cotton yoga pants are a guaranteed problem too. Picking out light weight, wicking materials won’t weigh you down.
That sweat proof hat or visor is of course also waterproof. Wear that to keep the rain off your face. Head sweats is one brand among many, this one’s great.
Your favorite running shoes will be ready for the next run if you dry them after your run in the rain. Stuff them with newspaper, changing the paper every few hours till it’s dry. Newspaper is tougher to find these days, so I have found that lightweight packing paper works great for this too.
Last but not least, just remember that you won’t melt. Have fun running in the rain!
Keep moving mama.
Finger food is perfect for game day.
Typically football weekends are my time at home to try new recipes and meal plan for the week ahead. My family loves football, I love cooking, it's a win-win situation. But I do like watching the Super Bowl...maybe for the commercials, maybe not.
Finger food is not your typical health food that's for sure. This year, I’m making a "healthified" version of the processed cheese food, canned beans and salsa dip recipe of the past with cheesy bean dip.
Today, I’m making a big batch of not-fried re-fried beans. This recipe came from Homemaker in Training, Amy spoke at one of our local moms groups several years ago and share this recipe. I have adapted it with less salt, more cumin and have long since stopped measuring ingredients it's so easy. These beans are multi-taskers; we’ll have bean burritos tonight, a bean dip Sunday, and beans stocked up in the freezer for burritos, taco salad or quesadillas another day.
True to my promise this recipe is super simple too. It’s made in the crockpot, who doesn’t love an appliance that cooks while you go about your day? This recipe doesn’t even require presoaking the beans, yahoo.
Crockpot recipes should be throw it all in, let it cook and take it out at dinner time. I’m good with chopping, but would rather not have to cook something first. Maybe that’s just me.
Cheesy Bean Dip
2 Tablespoons chopped garlic
1 whole Onion – chop the ends off and peel off the skin
½ to 1 whole Jalapeno (adjust depending on your love of spicy)
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons ground pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3 cups dry pinto beans
Just for the dip:
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Hot sauce – to taste
Throw it all into the crockpot, add water until everything is covered. Turn on high for 8 hours. Test the beans for tenderness, when they are soft and super yummy you're set to go.
If you have discovered the Instant Pot countertop pressure cooker, you can whip these up in a flash. Pour everything into the pot. Set to manual for 30 minutes. Quick release after 5 minutes.
Tonight, I’ll scoop out whole beans to add to our burritos.
For the Super bowl bean dip, we’re mashing into a traditional re-fried bean consistency. Scoop out about 2 cups of beans, add half cup of bean water (it’s magic stuff, all the seasoning is in there) and mash with your potato masher or a fork. Add more water if you like. Stir in shredded cheese and a hot sauce to taste, mix again.
Pepper Plant: My husband and I both went to Cal Poly in SLO so we are partial to this local product.
Tostitos: They have just 3 ingredients: whole white corn, vegetable oil and salt.
With a large batch, I would put this out in a fondue pot to keep it warm. Honestly it doesn’t last long enough to get cold with the four of us. True.
For the multi-tasking part, you take the rest and freeze in zip locks for the next bean occasion with some magic bean water. A whole batch is typically 3-4 meals worth as an add-in or side dish.
Enjoy your Super Bowl Sunday, “healthified” food and all. What’s on your finger food menu?
Keep Moving Mama, and please share!
Was it a sneak attack workout that seemed easy at the time, but wouldn't let you think about anything else the next day...or two? Or did you see it coming while you were eeking out one more pushup?
Either way, let that feeling of sore remind you of your accomplishment. You did it, you rocked it, your pushed your limits and your body is responding. That soreness means your muscle fibers are literally repairing themselves to get stronger for the next workout.
Enjoy your feeling of being ALIVE!!!
Keep moving mama
Have you noticed fitness trackers on the wrists of all sorts of people recently? fitbit is the one that is most popular with my clients and that I use.
You see, fitbit and I see eye to eye on the need to track, analyze and challenge with facts and figures. It holds me accountable and tells it to me straight.
“0 active minutes? Get up and MOVE IT!” - fitbit said on Sunday
“Over 10,000 steps, keep it up!” -fitbit said yesterday
My fitbit of choice is the Flex. Simple, small and not too expensive. I’m seriously eyeing the Fitbit Charge HR but haven’t made the jump yet. Partially due to my investment in bands, more on that later.
Here are 5 ways make the most of your fitbit:
1. Wear it constantly.
The only reason to take off your fitbit is to shower or swim…or charge it. By keeping your fitbit on you can use all of it’s features. Period.
Keep it moving tip: Charge it when you shower and you’re a multitask-er.
Invest in a few colors or styles of band to mix it up.
Dress it up by pairing your fitbit with a few bracelets, it’s in style now to wear multiple bracelets.
2. Use the built in peer pressure
Find friends on fitbit.
Click on “friends” on your app or webpage, then on “find friends”. fitbit will search your contacts or facebook account to find others with fitbit. You can also email people directly to invite them to be your fitbit Friend. Fitbit "find friends" tutorial link.
Where do you rank?
Once you have friends, look at your feed and see where you rank with steps per day compared to your friends. Then see if you can over take someone today, maybe 2 tomorrow. A little competitiveness is good for ya!
This is a super fun feature. Challenge your friends to a Workweek Hustle or a Weekend Warrior challenge. Within the challenge you’ll see a list of each friend that accepts, how many steps they have AND be able to cheer or message them throughout the challenge.
When you win a challenge, I highly recommend you taunt your friends by posting a screen shot of your "You Won" message on facebook.
3. Track It
There are a number of stats that fitbit automatically tracks for you. You can not enter or edit them, you just have to do them.
Track your water. Click the water glass each time you finish a glass or bottle of water to enter the ounces. Being hydrated is one of the most over looked ways to improve your health. You’ll feel more energized, flush out toxins, feel less as hungry and your wrinkles will show less…if you don’t have any yet, you will.
Track your weight. Weigh yourself once a week and add it to the tracker. Facts keep us honest.
4. Connect your Fitbit to other apps
Keep moving tip: Only log things in one app. Log runs on fitbit, log food in Lose It!, not both. Use the primary tool so you don’t end up with double credit it.
5. Set alarms
Your fitbit will vibrate and lights will blink when an alarm goes off. This is sooo awesome, because no one else realizes your alarm went off. I love this when I get up before my husband for a workout, it doesn’t wake him to like a regular alarm would
Set an alarm for reminders
Fortunately or otherwise, I have called into customer service several times. They always teach me something I didn’t know before, and have even sent me a replacement, actually 3 times. If you don't know how to use a feature look it up on the help page or just call fitbit.
Research all the features your "toy" has, try them and let them motivate you to move more and eat less.
Bottom line is, to get your money’s worth and motivation from your fitbit use it.
What features do you like on fitbit? What do you use your alarm for?
It is scientifically proven that eating every 2-3 hours keeps your blood sugars level, metabolism pumping and keeps you from over eating at meals. Doing so has made a huge difference in my own ability to make better food choices and maintain a healthy weight.
Having a snack in my car when I get in after a workout, or an apple on the counter when I get up from my computer in the afternoon I’ll eat that and be good to go till my next meal.
When there’s not I am likely to eat the whole jar of peanuts, or stop to buy a candy bar at the drug store on the way home...not healthy choices. Having a properly portioned snack in a little baggie keeps me in line. Go figure. And my family is learning portion control too.
Variety is the spice of life, eating the same snack everyday just won’t do. So watch for more snack posts in the near future, I managed to rein myself in and just give one recipe with a bunch of options in this blog post.
Today I’m sharing the simplest “homemade” snack I know, it’s a favorite of mine and my kids gobble it up too. Trail mix with just 4 ingredients that is ready in 3.2 minutes. I typically use dark chocolate (I stock up the day after any holiday, hence the Christmas packaging), unsalted or light salted nuts and sunflower seeds only if the kids haven’t seen them in the pantry and eaten them already. Look for dried fruit without added sugars or your calories go through the roof.
Super Simple Trail Mix
1 ½ cups salted peanuts
2 cups raisins
1 cup chocolate hard shell candy
1 cup unsalted sunflower seeds
Amount Per Serving 1/3 cup
Keep Moving Tip: Use what you like. unsalted almonds, a different dried fruit, more or less of any item, you can't go wrong.
More combo ideas:
Please share your favorite trail mix combination in the comments.
As an athlete (yes that's you...see definition)
one of the most critical ways you can support your body is by providing fuel during long workouts.
Often new athletes will do a long run or ride, drink plenty of water and then be baffled at why they are tired, out of energy or even dizzy at the end. Simply fueling the body during the effort can provide the energy it needs to power you forward. Teaching clients to do this with whole foods often leads to "ah ha" moments, which are the most rewarding part of training moms.
You don’t need to fuel during an hour of gentle yoga or a 30 min run, eating well before and after are perfect here. Fueling during exercise comes into play with a workout over an hour or a shorter but very intense workout.
Finding a fueling system that works for you takes trial, error and time. That’s why it should be part of your workouts and certainly part of your event training process. When looking for fuel, we want easily digested carbohydrates that will absorb quickly and give you a nearly immediate boost.
The fuel market is full of gels, gu's, bars, chews, you name it. Flip it over, read the ingredients and see if you know what you’re putting into your body. I do this with everything I eat already so there’s no sense in throwing that practice out the window with training. Athletes trained with whole foods long before the gu market exploded and there’s a great way to find balance here.
Whole food fuel options:
Stingers – on one particular run, I discovered I’d dropped my fuel zip lock and changed my route to pass the local running store. They had these honey stingers which met my need to have something on the go, while still being mostly whole food ingredients. My nod to living in the real world and not being psycho with my whole food quest.
Zip lock bags are perfect with fuel. An open honey stick is not your friend at mile 8 when you discover it is oozing out of your pocket. The snack size small enough to fit in a pocket, or easy to store in a race belt (fanny pack who are we kidding here). Repac makes a great quality reuse-able bag worth checking out.
Buy a few options or raid your pantry for some foods you have already. Start by eating a small something every 30 min. then play with that. Is every 20 min better or 45? If you are training for an event, find out how often there are water stations available and try matching that interval during your training. A sip of water with any fuel is ideal. Again, training for an event has to include practicing fuel options. Over time you’ll discover you really can fuel with whole foods for your strongest finish.
Do what you would tell your kids to do. Wear clean underwear and eat good food.
Keep Moving Mama
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