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Running Out of Time

14 Mar

Last week I was away in a place where night is day and day is night. A city that is bountiful in history, where spirits seem to always be amongst you. A place where anything goes and everyone is welcome. A home to endless drinks and an abundance of Cajun food. A Southern location that is truly unique and special.

Last night I lay in bed, my internal clock completely turned around and a million thoughts  racing out of control in my mind. It’s already mid-march and I feel as though I haven’t accomplished anything when it comes to my training goals. My friend Loa says I’m an expert at balancing life but I definitely don’t feel that is true thus far this year. The thought of getting back to reality after the return of such a great getaway was uninspiring and then it dawned on me…

“F*&# I’m running out of time!”  with just a month left before the The Vancouver SunRun. This is one of the biggest 10k race in North America where more than 55,000 runners gather.  I can run a 10k in my sleep, hung-over or sick but I’m determined to break my 2009 record of 54:34 (5:27 per km). Consistency and speed work is scheduled for the next four weeks and my goal is to run a sub 50 minutes race. Two weeks later I run the BMO half marathon; I’m praying the rain stays away this year.  

The clocks sprung forward this weekend and I’m excited to finally be able to hit the pavement after work. Time to log some serious miles over the next six weeks.

PT Girl xo

Staying Injury Free

27 Feb

Surfaces

Where do you typically run; concrete, treadmill, trails, the running track? All these surfaces have pros and cons. Your best bet is to try and mix it up whenever you can.

Walk breaks

I personally dislike breaks and try to avoid them. But when I first started to run I took walk breaks a lot.  Professionals say walk breaks are key and should be taken before feeling gassed. This type of training is designed to increases your endurance and help avoid injuries. (Especially for newer runners)

Chat

Keep a comfortable pace while training. You should be able to maintain a light conversation or recite a poem (slightly winded). If you are signing along to Lady Gaga or Britney on your iPod you are not pushing hard enough but if you can barely get a word out, you’re definitely pushing too hard – slow down!!

Mileage

Running 101: only increase your mileage 10% every week.  Add an extra run day to your schedule or add extra minutes to your existing runs. Always listen to your body and if necessary only increase your mileage every second week.

Rest

Take a day off every week, recovery is very important. Get eight hours of sleep and make sure your diet includes plenty of carbs and protein to help recovery.

Mix it up

Trade in one of your runs for a spin class, do some laps in the pool or modify one of your runs to include some sprints, hills and speed work.

Shoes

Your running shoes should be worn outside and on the treadmill.   A good pair of sneakers should last you 300-500 miles.  Check the bottoms every 5-6 months and invest in a new pair when the bottoms are worn to avoid injuries.

Soft Landing

Your heels or mid foot should hit the ground first then transferring your weight into your toes; always landing softly without expending extra energy. If you tend to run on your toes for long periods of time, don’t be surprised if you encounter shin splints.

Aches & pains

When slight aches and pains start affecting your stride take a break until you heal. Running through it or ignoring the issues can cause serious problem which will inhibit you from running for an extended period of time. Trust me… when your knee locks up 15 km away from home you’ll wish you’d taken the time off to heal. I know I did! Read standard RICE.

We all have an injury story and we all have our bad habits. Recognizing our bad behaviors is the first step to correcting them. I never carry water or electrolytes and I rarely stretch. What’s your bad habit?

PT Girl xo

Anyone Can Run

24 Feb

New fitness enthusiasts fill the gyms every January but their excitement tends to fizzle out by this time of year.  I know many of you vowed to start running…but have your new shinny sneakers seen the pavement yet?  What are you waiting for?

Running has many benefits; it minimizes stress, enhances your mood as well as improves your cardiovascular and bone health. Running is one of the most effective calorie burning workouts which is it great for weight loss.  It doesn’t require a partner, a gym membership or any fancy equipment.  All you need is a pair of sneakers and a little patience.  Newcomers should try to follow these tips.

Set a realistic goal: as a new runner signing up for a local 5 km or 10 km race is a great way to stay focused. Most races are during the spring so this is the perfect time to start training.

Google it: search for a suitable training program that works with your lifestyle and stick with it! Depending on your level you may want to start with a run/walk program.

Schedule it:  at the beginning of every week enter your workouts/runs in your blackberry or jot them on your calendar. This will help keep you accountable.

Support system: find a partner. Join a local running group or online chat forum.  There will be bad days, I promise you. The support and reassurance that everyone has hard times will make it that much easier to stick with it and push forward.

Invest in a proper shoe:  a good running shoe should last you at least 400 miles.

Pace yourself: Run slower than you think you should. But run more often than you think you should.

Posture: relax your shoulders, unclench your fists and stand tall.

Hydrate: Hydrate! Hydrate!

“Everyone is an athlete. But some of us are training, and some of us are not.” –Dr. George Sheehan

PT Girl xo

Crossing the Finish Line

3 Feb

As mentioned in my previous blog, once upon a time I had a serious gym phobia and as a result the first year and a half I worked out outside with my Personal Trainer Steve. Under no circumstance did we set foot indoors. For 18 months, come rain, snow, sleet or shine we were out there twice a week. Steve’s fitness knowledge was apparent from the start but his subtle approach at breaking down the physical and mental limitations I’d place on myself was crucial to my development.

My only reference point to “sports “or “fitness” was equestrian jumping and a few seasons on the basketball team as a teenager. So when Steve asked me what my fitness goal was I offhandedly said “I wanna run a 10 km race under an hour.” Where that thought came from I had no idea but I believed this to be unattainable and had no intention of following through.

Each session Steve would make me do a variety of resistance exercises but always incorporated some running; and every couple of weeks I would notice I was capable of going a bit further before I had to stop to gasp for air. Before I knew it I was jogging for over 30 minutes without stopping. It took me a long time to admit it, but I was enjoying the workouts and even though Steve was a tad self-lovin’ he really grew on me.

Then one day, out of nowhere Steve reminded me of my goal and told me it was time to sign up for a race.  I tried to back pedal and make excuses but he would have no part of it.

I ran the Sun Run as my first 10 km race in 58min 24sec. When I crossed the finishing line I felt completely exhilarated and at that very moment I knew there was no turning back…I was absolutely hooked!!

PT Girl xo

The Personal Training Phenomenon

In 2008 approximately 261,100 people were employed in the fitness industry.  A growth of 29% is predicted between now and 2018.*  This is an above average growth for any sector and is due to the increasing number of people who are choosing to spend their time and money on fitness as well as the  recognition from corporations’ of the long term benefits health & fitness programs have on their employees.

A Personal Trainer should provide you with the proper guidance for reaching your fitness or weight loss goal. They should hold you accountable for your successes as well as your failures.  Finding the right Personal Trainer can have many benefits such as: quicker results, speeding up your learning curve and providing a great source of knowledge and motivation.

What to look for in a Personal Trainer:

  1. Proper Certifications &  Insurance
  2. Listens to your wants and needs
  3. Records your progress by taking regular measurements or conducting fitness test
  4. Able to provide a solid network (chiropractors, physiotherapist, massage therapist and contacts to sport specific training)
  5. Enjoys his job and gets excited about your session – a good attitude
  6. Professional  and accountable
  7. Ends the session with a stretch

My Personal Trainer’s Warning Flags:

  1. Doesn’t look more physically fit than you
  2. Plays doctor and diagnoses your injuries
  3. Takes calls or text messages during your session
  4. Ignores your questions or needs
  5. Arrives late for your session or doesn’t return your calls
  6. Recommends trend diets and questionable supplements/herbs

*Statistics taken from United States Department of Labor http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos296.htm