Get Outside

_MG_8975_final_A When asked about running by friends, acquaintances, family, strangers, and clients, often one tool comes up in conversation: the treadmill. Some people swear by the treadmill, and I have known athletes how have trained entirely on a treadmill for a marathon. if it’s for you, who am I to argue?

However, know this: your gate, form, mind, and muscles are used in a very different way on a treadmill versus running outside. Think about it: on a treadmill, you are running on a belt, so you are never really engaging those muscles that make you move forward. You are predetermining your pace, which will often times limit the runner. Outside, you will most-likely go faster. Mentally, staring at a wall, in a controlled climate is nothing like running outside or running a race. On the belt, your gate never really changes and your stabelizers that would activate while going around a turn, downhill, uphill – you would first have to mentally change it by pressing buttons on a treadmill.

My advice: GET OFF THE TREADMILL!!!!! It’s boring. It can cause knee problems. It won’t prepare you for a race. The ONLY reason I would suggest my clients run inside would be if it is unsafe to run outside. Rain, heat, wind, cold – those are not good reasons. And guess what, you cannot predict what the weather will be like on race day, so you need to learn to adapt.

Bonus: Running outside is freeing. It allows you to explore locations you probably wouldn’t otherwise see. And it’s easy to find a running buddy.

Track Your Training

img_6405-editI have all of my athletes track their training. The distance, pace and how they felt. Why? Well, this can be valuable information for the future. Plus, you can look back and see how far you have come, which is always a confidence booster.

I ask my athletes to share with me their training, as certain patterns can be important for a coach to recognize.

Personally, I track my workouts two ways. I write them all down on a calendar, and include any strength training or other forms of exercise. I take my Garmin with me on every run, so my running data is all collected on my Garmin page.

Find a way that works for you. Cause you know I’m going to ask you!

When sitting on the sofa counts as training

img_6502-editLet’s face it, in order to achieve your race or fitness goals, you will have to put in the work. There is no magic way to cheat the system.

The good news is that when you have rest days, take them as rest days! Often, runners get into the routine of their training, and at some point it feels very strange to have days that are for rest. Force yourself to take them when scheduled. Remember, rest and recovery are part of training. That time off helps your body heal so that you are ready for the next workout.

When you have a rest day, sit on the couch guilt-free! Enjoy your day. If you find you must get some activity into your day, take a short and leisure walk.

Remember, the last thing you want to do is wind up mentally or physically burned out and overtrained. Take those schedules days off.

Post-Run Refueling

DSC_0112It has become common knowledge in the fitness world that refueling properly after a workout is very important. Getting nutrients in the body quickly post-workout helps the muscles recover fast, which means you will heal and be ready for your next workout!

While I often take a protein shake after a hard run (a track workout or a long run), on other days I prefer either a glass of chocolate milk or a serving of Greek yogurt.

Greek yogurt packs an impressive amount of protein in few calories. Most range from 12-16 grams of protein for 120-160 calories! Also, yogurt is great for your stomach, and most Greek yogurt is low in sugar. NOTE: “regular” yogurt is NOT the same thing. The protein is way less, the sugar way more.

Chocolate milk is the perfect combination of protein, carbs, sugar, vitamin D and calcium for replenishing. Mix it yourself, and you’ll save money. A serving of 16 oz. 1% milk and a serving of chocolate syrup run you about 265 calories. Winter tip: heat it over the stove at a low temperature and it will taste like hot chocolate!

Yak Trax

yaktrax_pro-300x300While many runners choose to take off the winter months, or trade them in for cross training in a gym, some runners power through the cold elements. If you train in a climate that gets snow and ice, I highly recommend getting yourself a pair of Yak Trax.

Yak Trax cost around $30.00, and easily attach to your shoe. The metal springs make it possible to maintain good traction on snow and ice-covered surfaces. The last thing a runner wants to do is slip and fall or compromise their stride to prevent falling. They even work on steep hills!