August 18, 2018

Motivation…Guaranteed.

Get Fit Quick Tip:

Participate in a Race!

Competition doesn’t always have to be intense, anxiety-inducing and stressful. Racing can, in fact, be motivating, inspiring and fun! Not only does racing yield physical benefits, but many non-physical benefits as well. Here are 3 non-physical benefits of racing and why you shouldn’t automatically rule it out in your athletic journey:

Racing allows time alone with your thoughts. That’s right, if you’re always running here and there, racing allows a set period of time to RELAX, take in the view and gather your thoughts. Or simply blank your mind and don’t think about anything at all!

Racing can be FUN. Remember your care-free days of dashing around the playground at school, or racing through the park with friends? Unless you’re competing for sponsors or qualifications, racing can be pure, easy, adult-allowed FUN.

Racing feeds your spirit. Yes, competition is a great workout. However, racing will also feed your spirit as you witness the friendship among athletes who have just met, the encouragement one athlete offers to another, the support and genuine care volunteers give to competitors. Allow these actions to move you and feed your motivation.

Racing? Here are your race prep basics.

Get Fit Quick Tip:

4 Racing Basics

There are a few racing basics important to keep in mind heading into your race day. Here are 4 to commit to memory:

 

Embrace your nerves. Many athletes experience pre-race nerves. Nerves mean the event is important to you and you want to do your best. Nerves happen with uncertainty or with the unknown. Accept your anxiety simply as part of the process. Instead of allowing nerves to paralyze you, enable them to empower you.

Master the art of letting-it-go. You’re distracted by someone along the race course? Let it go. Your pre-race ritual was interrupted? Let it go. Another athlete cut you off at the hydration station? Let it go. Focus on your race, your miles.

Stick to your race plan. Never try anything new on race day. Only do what you’ve practiced in training. Stick to your pre-race meal plan. Your clothing. Your hydration schedule. Your pace.

Visualize your finish daily. Every night before going to sleep, visualize in full detail finishing your race strong. During your race when miles become tough, play back the well rehearsed mental picture of your strong finish. You’ll be able to change your emotional/mental state mid-race and reset your resolve to keep moving forward.

 

Does Workout Recovery Matter? By Nicole Bryan

Does workout recovery matter?
    
Do you include a workout recovery plan as part of your racing or workout program? You should! Here’s why: long term sustainable exercise happens through the delicate and very individual balance between exercise (workload) and rest (recovery.) Depending the distance you’re racing or your workout goal, your training program should not end with race day or goal day, it should actually extend anywhere from one day to three weeks after. Ask any athlete who’s been involved in long term racing or sustainable athletics and has remained injury-free, you’ll find the common thread to be that of allowing sufficient recovery from hard racing and tough workouts.

Accept your need for recovery as part of your exercise program. Better yet, program it in. Keep your schedule on the calendar just as you do when in your heavy or building training period, just write “off” or “30 minute jog.”

Here are a few ways how to decrease the stress of accepting and respecting your recovery period as an essential part of your training program:

Cross Train. Choose an entirely different mode of exercise all together. Change the angle at which you’re working your muscles. If you routinely do high-impact, try non-impact exercise. If you regularly partake in exercise over 90 minutes, set a recovery limit of fifty-percent of your average weekly workouts. If you’ve been wanting to try a different workout, now is the time to do it when the new workout won’t interfere with your race program.

Rest. That’s right, rest! Do less, do nothing, do whatever whenever the mood strikes you. Resting not only applies to your body, but to your mind as well. This includes psychological and emotional rest. When we are racing or focused on completing a major fitness goal, our mind works just as hard. Get caught up on movies, sort through paperwork, play puzzles with your kids. Sit. Rest. Relax. Many are afraid of rest for fear that they’ll lose all their fitness efforts over night. Rest assured, you won’t. In reality, the contrary is true, you’ll come back to your sport and fitness with more enthusiasm than before. Let yourself miss your activity!

Tend to the details. During your recovery period is a great time to tend to those tiny details that during your heavy training were tolerable, but just barely. For example, that nagging foot discomfort you’ve been tolerating (go see your doctor), or your slightly-off hydration plan (research other alternatives), or those biking shoes that just getting worn out (try out new equipment.) This is like your rainy-day activity list. Tiny details that you just never have time for during your training. Get them sorted out now, so when your recovery period is complete, you’re ready to go.

Catch up. Catch up with other areas of your life that may have been neglected during your heavy training period. Re-introduce yourself to your spouse, to your children, to your boss, to your friends. Go ahead and make that time active if you’d like, but activity is not the priority. Get caught up on your desk work, yard work, and the kid’s homework, anything other than variables that have to do with your race or goal.

Bask in your accomplishment. You’ve worked hard to reach your goal, why not allow time to enjoy it before darting off to begin your next training period. Read articles on your sport, send fellow athletes your race pictures, share your race report in a blog post, chat with other participants, and plot out your next race or fitness goal undertaking; have some fun with your accomplishment! There are ways to stay connected with your sport, your training buddies and current events, without the physical demands required by logging the miles in race prep. So go ahead, hone your verbal, written and artistic skills for a change. Brag a little. You’ll inspire fellow athletes, and yourself.

Beat the Post-Race Blues by Jason Saltmarsh

A 3-week Plan to Beat the Post-Race Blues

You did great! You just completed a bucket list goal by finishing your first marathon. So, why do you feel so depressed and anxious? That unsettling feeling of emptiness and aimlessness after competing in a big race is common among athletes. But, don’t worry! It’s completely normal.

Sports psychologist Dr. Kate F. Hays says “Completing a major feat, into which you’ve poured a lot of time, energy, intention, and identity —maybe money, inconvenience, and sacrifice, as well —means that among other things, you’ll probably feel some degree of let-down when it’s ended.” And, the one thing that many runners do to deal with stress and anxiety is run, something you’re not supposed to do in the days following a marathon.

How to Beat the Marathon Blues
Week 1
1.    Eat. Refuel and reload with plenty of proteins and healthy vegetables.
2.    Sleep. Sleeping is the most effective way to relieve stress and take care of your body.
3.    Find a new hobby. Take a cooking class, plan a trip, or build a model airplane.
4.    Walk. You can’t run, but you can enjoy a nice leisurely walk in the park.
5.    Share. Talking about the race experience with others is cathartic.

Week 2
1.    Dream big. Research and register for your next big event. Triathlon? Marathon? Relay?
2.    Develop a plan. Consult with your coach, or begin drafting a new training plan.
3.    Return slowly. Run or walk (as you feel) with no more than an hour on your feet. Easy does it.

Week 3
1.    Reverse-Taper. Slowly build your mileage and intensity.
2.    Listen to Your Body. Any signs of injury or discomfort should sound alarms.
3.    Let your spirit guide you. Return to normal training at the end of the month if you’re physically, mentally, and emotionally ready.

Jason Saltmarsh is an RRCA Adult Distance Running Coach and competitive masters runner. He enjoys racing at distances ranging from 5K to the marathon. Jason’s goal is to share with others the benefits and joys of running, fitness and healthy living. For more information, please visit saltmarshrunning.com.

Find your Athlete by Nicole Bryan

Find the Athlete in YOU

When watching athletic events on television, ever wonder how the competitors deal with the stress, pressure and energy of it all? Athletes work day in and day out, not only on physical strengths, but just as important to their performance is their mental strengths. There is a certain mindset and perspective that leads athletes to greatness. Some people adopt a fearful or anxious reactive perspective. For example, what if something bad happens? What if it rains on the day of my marathon? Successful athletes adopt a perspective that focuses forward. For example, what do I need to keep moving forward; water, calories, etc.

Successful athletes are very efficient about getting their needs met. Instead of focusing on how bad muscles are feeling or tired they are at for example, mile 20 of a marathon, successful athletes focus on what they need to get through the next time, match or game. Focusing forward also empowers the successful athlete to keep at it. What’s your perspective?

Keep moving forward. Don’t over think, over analyze, dwell on what was or could have been. Simply keep it moving forward. One step, mile, lap at a time.

Talk nice. Positive self talk goes a long way when things get tough. Have a mantra in place which you repeat over and over again during training or workouts to use as your go to during an event. For example “I am strong and steady.”

Find your zen. Relaxing into your sport or event will allow your mind, and in turn your body to ease tension to simply take the next step forward. Take in the scenery or try to empty your mind and focus only on the athlete in front of you.

Don’t fight the uncomfortable-ness. The purpose of having a goal is to force us to stretch. There will be uncomfortable times, there will be doubt, and there will be challenging times. Accept it and move on.

Train hard, and visualize harder. No doubt that if we don’t put in the time to log miles or hours on our hobby or sport that we physically will be unable to achieve our goal. However, setting aside specific time to sit in silence and visualize completing our goal will provide direction for our mind. Picture every detail of your goal and do it daily.

Be prepared for the good, the bad, and the ugly. Most times a single event will have many emotions tied to it. And most likely we’ll experience a wide array of all of them. Have a plan how to break the mental pattern of negativity and doubt. For example, singing your favorite song in your head, remembering a special someone or simply blanking your mind and focusing on an object around you. Choose anything that will break the mental self-sabotaging pattern.

Performing or reaching a goal like an athlete means thinking and acting like an athlete. Don’t settle for less.

Fun in the Mud by Nicole Bryan

Racing your first Mud Run event? You won’t regret it! Regardless of your fitness or sport background, you will be challenged by this unique event style. Mud Runs have gained popularity in the past few years, because they are a fitness-filled total body workout of fun.

Here are a few tips to get you to the finish line happy and healthy:

Pace Yourself. The energy at the starting line of any event is super-charged! Mud Run race organizers usually plan to have a sustained run of a quarter or half-mile at the beginning for the purpose of spreading out participants upon arriving at the first obstacle. Remember to warm up, instead of sprinting to the first obstacle. Take your time, save your sprint for the end of the course. Your muscles will thank you.

Look for a Clear Path. There will be fellow athletes at each obstacle. In fact, some obstacles are really impacted and you may even have to wait. When approaching the obstacle survey others around you, see what approach they’re taking and then choose a different approach position. Usually the outside, corners or edges are least crowded as others simply follow the athlete in front of them to the middle of the obstacle. Look for other paths that volunteers are creating for athletes.

Focus on Efficiency. The more efficiently you can use your body, the better in obstacle course racing. For example, you see a wall as your next obstacle. If there aren’t other athletes in front of you, run and jump over in a single motion. This approach is more efficient than stopping completely and pulling your body over the obstacle and then having to regain running momentum again.

Think Outside of the Box. Sometimes rolling saves muscle energy over crawling. Explore how you can use your legs, instead of only your arms. Try how you can use your arms, instead of only your legs. Try using your total body to decrease cardio intensity.

Use Momentum. Keep moving forward. Running, walking, jogging, crawling, rolling, skipping, whatever it takes. Momentum from your run should carry you half way up the cargo net. Momentum from your downhill sprint should propel you over the wall. Momentum from your jogging can move you easier through the mud pit.

Have a sense of humor, have some common sense, have a smart approach to each obstacle, and most of all have fun in the mud!

Is Running a Half-Marathon for you? By Lisa McClellan

The half marathon has become one of the most popular distances in the country for many reasons. First off, it’s not as daunting as the full and takes much less time to train for. Second, many people long for the sense of accomplishment and achieving something really big, but doing something like climbing Everest or white water rafting down the Congo river are too out of reach. So what do they do? Something a little more achievable: run a half or full marathon.

 

TIPS to make running your first half-marathon a success:

1. Find a special race to enter: Ask yourself what is important in a race to you. Maybe it’s a really nice medal, a beautiful destination city, an amusement park, a trail race. Do you need a lot of support from crowds or do you prefer something more quiet? Find the race that appeals to you and plan ahead. Sign up for a race up to a year in advance, generally the entry fee is less and this gives you time to make travel arrangements and plan out your training schedule.

2. Run a 5K and 10K before your Half Marathon: Be sure to work your way up to the 13.1 distance. Have you ever driven 13 miles? It’s a long way. Don’t show up on race day unprepared, you might have a horrible race, or worse, get injured.

3. Have a plan: If you’ve never run before, start with a run/walk plan. Plans are designed to keep you injury free and help introduce you to running in a positive way. Everyone I have spoken with who has tried these plans has not only had a successful race, but has gone on to run in several more events as well.

4. Start with a friend or running group: Sometimes running by yourself gets lonely. Having a friend keeps you accountable, it’s fun to have someone to talk to on your training runs, and accomplishing something big like this together is very bonding and intimate.

5. Don’t have a predicted finish time: Try not to have an expectation of a finish time on your first half marathon, make your goal simply to finish. Most races have a large time limit on the course. Don’t worry if you walk or need to stop at the water stations, in fact it might make it more pleasurable if you do. Don’t beat yourself up for stopping, you’re out there doing it while most people are sitting on the couch or watching from the sidelines. Be proud of what you’re doing and don’t worry about time.

6. Plan a post race celebration: 13.1 is a long way, if you can afford it, plan on pampering yourself post race. Make an appointment for a massage or pedicure. Make reservations for a nice dinner the night after your race. Or it might be as simple as allowing yourself to take a nap that afternoon. It’s a big deal… be proud of your accomplishment.

7. ENJOY: Go across that start line in a place of joy. If you get tired, hot, or something hurts, just slow down or stop. It’s called a race, but times have changed as these events are designed for everyone to enjoy, and we are all out there for different reasons. Your first race should be a good experience, there will be plenty of races in your future to “Race” but cross the finish of this first one with a smile on your face.

By Lisa McClellan. Follow Lisa via her blog www.RunWiki.org

Triathon Tip: Running fast off the bike by Mark Kleanthous

Competing in triathlon takes specific training.

See listed 4 of my best tips for running fast off the bike:

1.  A back-to-back session is your best way to stimulate running fast and effortlessly straight after a cycle ride.
A threshold bike which should be very hard @ 95%+ and take 30-55 minutes on the same course each time to compare changes in fitness. Choose flat courses where you will not need to stop and keep your heart rate high all the time, on hilly courses your heart rate goes high then drops too low on the downhill’s for this type of session. Many people run faster after these sessions. By running very fast for 400 after the bike it should make the actual race pace seem a lot easier.

Ironmate suggests 2×400 2×600 1×800 2×600 2×500 2×400 = 5,800 m

Short recovery between each interval should only be 20-30 seconds so you only partially recover to simulate race conditions.

2. Pushing a slightly bigger in training also helps. The idea is when you run off the bike in a triathlon it is much easier. However, this should not be done at the end of a bike to run session during a race.

3. Cadence running also helps. What stops you running fast after the bike is length of stride so to overcome this increase your stride with a shorter cadence. Part of your drills should include shuffle cadence high leg turnover but short strides, it takes a while to get good at them, but not many people do them, just like one legged riding on the turbo to improve economy.

4. Refrain from drinking fluid the last 5 minutes of the bike. Another problem with not being able to run fast straight after the bike is drinking in the last 5 minutes of the bike or in the first few minutes of that run, this only puts more stress on your body resulting in you slowing down or taking a lot longer to get going. Another quick note: don’t drink unless you are thirsty in the final 10 minutes of the run because this fluid will not be absorbed until you have crossed the finish line and can slow you down.

Mark Kleanthous has competed in more than 450 triathlons and has competed as an elite and recorded some of the fastest T1 & T2 transition times overall. Mark Kleanthous has competed in triathlons for 30 consecutive seasons and crossed the finish line in more than 450 triathlons including 35 ironman events. He is the author of The Complete Book of Triathlon Training and is a full time sports and nutrition coach. Mark can be contacted via his web site www.ironmate.co.uk