November 20, 2017

Is Obstacle Course Racing for you? By Jennifer Austin

Should you consider an Obstacle Course Race?

Pick up just about any race calendar or fitness magazine and you’re sure to read about the latest craze of obstacle course racing. And for good reason, they are challenging, inspiring, and so much fun!

Here’s why you should consider adding an obstacle course race to your fitness schedule:

Total body workout. The multi-dimensional format for races consists of running from obstacle to obstacle. Shorter course races of three to five miles usually include 10+ obstacles which challenge upper body strength, lower body strength, muscle endurance, balance, flexibility and agility. Your approach heading into a race should be, be prepared for anything!

Prep requires cross-training. Instead of focusing on only one activity like training for a marathon, obstacle courses force training in many disciples and athletics. Crossing ladders, swinging across rings, climbing walls, pulling ropes, carrying sandbags all require unique training. Limited only by your imagination.

Super charged motivation. You’ll be racing with 500+ of your new best friends…or new rivals! Many mid-pack racers find they are encouraged by fellow competitors and push harder than they would (or thought they could) otherwise. For many races, the tone is supportive and motivating. Many racers are competing for the first time and accomplishing tasks they never dreamed possible.

Builds life confidence. Whether racing for the podium or for the finish line. During a race you will undoubtedly be faced with a task you never thought you could accomplish. You’ll have to control your mental focus, negotiate your approach, practice positive self-talk, push through physical discomfort, battle fatigue…and you WILL! Through mastering this discipline, you’ll build confidence in your ability to conquer fears, master anxiety and uncertainty. The feeling you’re left with, empowerment! This empowerment will transfer into all areas of your life because you’ll know you’re able to accomplish whatever you set your mind to accomplish.

The element of PLAY! Running, jumping, hopping, crawling, swinging, balancing, throwing are all included in the obstacles you’ll encounter. You’ll feel like a kid again on the playground at school! Not all exercise has to be structured to count toward fitness. Not all reps have to be counted and quantified. You’ll have one approach, GO!

Take your Fitness to the Next Level!

Take your fitness to the next level…

Join #HealthyWayMag Fitness Chat every Monday at 5pm(Pacific)/8pm(Eastern) on Twitter. Pick up exercise tips, workout ideas and your weekly fitness motivation.

How does a Twitter Chat work?

 

1. Log onto Twitter.

2. Enter hashtag #HealthyWayMag.

3. Follow along with our conversation about all aspects of fitness.

4. Interact with fellow fitness-enthusiasts. During our Question and Answer discussion, you’ll learn about new exercise methods, top gear and best practices for success. Your motivation will soar!

5. Enjoy fitness friends, accountability and FUN!

 

 

Monday July 6, 2015 #HealthyWayMag Fitness Chat Sponsored by SaltStick:

Do you know that replacing electrolytes lost during a tough workout is key for top fitness performance? If you race, participate in community events or organized athletics, having an electrolyte replacement plan in place is essential. Enter SaltStick! Reduce muscle cramping and fatigue that results from electrolyte imbalance by adding SaltStick Caps into your training regime. SaltStick Caps enable you to beat the heat and the body stress that comes with max workouts in hot and humid conditions. And with their patented, cutting edge and user-friendly salt tab dispensers, you can easily carry SaltStick Caps with you while cycling, running, hiking or the like. And for more of a competitive edge check out their SaltStick Mini, weighing in at only 12g. Making SaltStick your new training may just mean your fastest workouts are yet to come! Check them out on Twitter @SaltStick , and join their Facebook community for more info!

Running your first race? Be in-the-know with these tips. By Nicole Bryan

So you’ve decided to toe the line and participate in your first running race. Congratulations! While distance and training required varies from race to race, there are a few tried and true race habits to get you to the finish line health and happy.

Respect your taper. Your goal is to arrive at the starting line recovered from training, refreshed and ready to RUN! Avoid the urge to log last minute miles. Fitness is cumulative and adding unplanned long miles will sabotage your training efforts. Watch a funny movie, kick back with friends, read a book or take a nap.

Follow predicted weather. Let’s face it, we’re no longer in a not-knowing world! Know the forecast for race day, including temps, wind and humidity. Each of these can change how your body handles your race. There’s nothing worse than shivering your way through a race or overheating due to lack of planning.

Read the athlete information, and then read it again. Athlete instructions are emailed for a purpose! You should know parking details, the starting area lay-out, where aid stations and restrooms are located, as well as the post-race reunion area. Doing so will decrease stress and energy wasted race morning.

Lay out your clothing and supplies the night before. Place all race items on the bathroom counter. You’ll have an easy visual of your gear to save time. Again, no wasting energy or distracting your mental focus.

Stick with foods used during training. A little planning goes a long way to insuring good energy and avoiding stomach distress race morning. Eat what you usually eat the night before long runs and eat what you usually eat the morning of long runs. When in doubt, pack food from home. Nothing new on race day!

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.

Heading into your off-season? 5 tips for marathon recovery by Jason Saltmarsh

5 Tips for Marathon Recovery

Congratulations! You did it. Celebrate and pat yourself on the back for completing the marathon. 99.5% of the American population will never know what that feels like. The marathon is a grueling 26.2 mile event. Your body will be weaker and your muscles will be damaged after pushing yourself hard over such a great distance. Marathon recovery requires patience and attention. But, if you do it right, you’ll be tearing it up again in no time!

1. Rest
Do what Jackson Browne says and “take it easy.” You already showed the world what you can do. It’s OK to dial things back and put your feet up for a little while. The first two days after the race you should not even think about putting your running shoes on. Maybe a little walk around the block or through the neighborhood to get the blood flowing, but nothing more. Try to get in bed early and let your body recover and rebuild.

2. Nutrition
You probably burned in excess of 3500 calories on race day and lost a few pounds between the start and the finish. Your body consumed all of your available fuel and then tapped into your reserves. Now is the time to restock the shelves with nutritious meals and plenty of water. You will feel better and have more energy if you keep the tank full with healthy snacks throughout the day. You may want to consider an immunity booster or extra vitamin C to keep your body protected during this time.

3. TLC
Icing sore muscles and joints, elevating your feet, and massaging your muscles will all help speed recovery and make you feel less like a stiff legged zombie. Be careful not to do any kind of deep massage for at least several days after your marathon. Your muscles are still very tender and vulnerable. Even if you feel better, you are still a mess at the microscopic level.

4. Walking
Walking can be very therapeutic. It allows you to get outside and feel like your back in the routine again- albeit much slower. Cross-training activities like cycling and swimming are also a good forms of exercise to help keep your cardio levels high while reducing the stress on your overused muscles and joints. Whatever you choose, keep it easy and stay in the green zone for effort.

5. Backwards Taper
As you make your way back to regular training, think of it as a reverse taper. You are going to slowly build your mileage up in a way that will keep you healthy, reduce injury, and give you a solid foundation to build upon for the future.

Jason Saltmarsh is an competitive masters runner at distances ranging from 5K to the half marathon. In November 2013, he completed his first 26.2 at the iconic New York City 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

7 Steps to Race Ready by Nicole Bryan

This article is sponsored by RunnerBox.

ATTENTION ATHLETES: Want to sample the latest and greatest products just like the pro’s? RUNHEALTHY code is good through 12/11/13 to save $2 on RunnerBox, TriBox or Gluten Free Box. Order yours HERE! Runnerbox is a subscription box full of great running, triathlon and fitness products! Delivered right to your door, you’ll explore and learn about new products to make your fitness better. RunnerBox is a great way to sample new gear before investing in larger quantities. They make it easy and convenient to find new products to love! Treat yourself with a subscription, or gift a friend with a one time GiftBox. www.therunnerbox.com

 

7 Steps to Race Day Ready by Nicole Bryan

 

Whether you’re racing a 5K or an ultra-marathon, or any distance in between, the preparation required is similar. You’ve logged many miles, spent many hours insuring you have the appropriate gear and you’re now ready to toe the line. Every race veteran will tell you there are a few essentials to being race ready. Here’s the inside-track:

Skip the last minute miles. While last minute cramming may have helped you pass a college exam, it won’t help your racing. Your job is to arrive at the starting line 100% refreshed and ready to race. In fact, those last minute miles may do more harm than good. Running fitness is cumulative. One run missed or added will not make or break your running performance. Leave your miles to training, not to the week before the race.

Confirm your race start time. It sounds silly, but race schedules change! Don’t risk a morning panic attack by foregoing this easy step. Upon your race check in, simply confirm the start time. In fact, take a picture of the posted schedule and wave starts with your phone so you may easily refer to it when planning your arrival time.

Stick with food you know. Go online beforehand and do a menu search of the available eateries in the area. Once you’ve chosen your familiar meal, go one step further and make reservations for your dinner time two weeks before. Doing so, takes the guess work out of where to eat and when to eat. Plan to eat early to allow for proper digestion. The night before a race is not the time to try a new recipe or food choice. What you usually consume the night prior to your long runs is what you should consume the night before your race. The same applies to your breakfast the morning of the race.

Plan for an early evening. Three of the most challenging words for athletes to hear: Take it easy! You may be too nervous to go to sleep early, but you can still rest and relax. Watch a movie, chat with friends. Lounge, guilt-free!

Safety first. Before pinning your bib to your shirt the night before, take two extra minutes and write your emergency contact number on the back, as well as any vital medication/treatment information. Even with a timing chip secured to you, providing this easy accessible information on the back of your bib, may save valuable time during an emergency.

Be aware of the weather forecast. Know the temperature and wind conditions as both of these specifically can alter your run efforts. Do you need to pack warm-up or cool-down clothes? There’s nothing worse than shivering your way through a race or overheating due to lack of planning. Be sure to heed the warning of nothing new on race day as well. This applies to clothing, as well as shoes and technique. If you haven’t worn it, consumed it, or tried it in training, don’t try it on race day!

Allow time for a warm up. Regardless of the distance you’re racing, a proper warm up is an essential part of every athlete’s race day regime. This could mean simply walking from your car to the race start, or walking around the starting line. The goal is to increase heart rate and increase circulation, therefore preparing your body for the work of exercise.

YOU ARE READY.

5 Factors for Triathlon Fitness written by Mark Kleanthous

This article is sponsored by RecoFit. FREE SHIPPING through April 30, 2013- simply enter the word “health” upon ordering!  Want to perform better and recover faster? Get to know RecoFit Compression Gear! Their technical-fit and uniquely designed gear helps you get more oxygen to your muscles, reduce swelling and delay fatigue. RecoFit is the only compression gear that cuts their fabric in a cross-grain process; this means effective compression and no-slip positioning! Their breathable material disperses body heat and moisture, and has a negative ion charge to help oxygenate blood. As an American-made durable product, RecoFit’s specific manufacturing method allows users the exact amount of compression, exactly where they need it most. They offer 4 cost-effective products targeting legs, as well as arms. Founded by an athlete, tested on athletes, and made for everyone! Contact your compression experts directly at Recofit@gmail.com or via phone 303/415-0580. And be sure to join the RecoFit Facebook community at www.facebook.com/recofit and follow their Twitter feed via http://twitter.com/recofit. Discover the RecoFit difference for yourself!

 

5 Factors for Triathlon Fitness written by Mark Kleanthous
 

There are five main factors that contribute to fitness in triathlon – aerobic threshold endurance, nutrition, economy, strength and recovery – but your approach to them has to be balanced. Neglect one and your performance will suffer.
 

Aerobic threshold endurance

The use of intense aerobic-threshold training (which effectively, means training at your predicted triathlon pace) is perhaps the best way to get fit – the more you do the easier the training session gets and the faster you become. However, the problem is that we have a limited tolerance to it, and the result can be over-training. Therefore, not all your training should consist of intense, aerobic-threshold work-outs, also known as a ‘key work-outs’. Unfortunately, it is a common mistake to do too many of them with more than eight weeks to go before a triathlon.

Nutrition

In order to compete successfully in any triathlon event you must be able to load your body with all the fuel necessary to propel yourself across the required distance at the desired speed. But this factor isn’t only important when racing, because in order to complete your training successfully your body must be constantly carrying the correct amount of fuel. By that I mean the type of carbohydrate that can be accessed and fed to the muscles during training, as well as when racing.

Economy
 
Top triathletes all have one thing in common – they don’t waste energy doing things they don’t need to do. Having 10% extra energy is not good if you use up 15% more running compared to a fellow competitor. Economy of movement is something that can be learned early and needs to become automatic.

Strength

Strength is important in all sports. However, what is required in triathlon is sport-specific strength to the level required. For example, resistance training using hand paddles, cycling up hills and running off road is more specific than weight training.

Recovery

Full-time athletes are obviously more successful than those who work full time because they can dedicate more time to training, but another equally important reason is because they are able to take more recovery time. Most injuries and illnesses are caused more by the lack of consistent sleep, regular massages, healthy food, stretches and cool downs than anything else. These recovery essentials  not only help you recover from work-outs, but more importantly they allow you to tolerate a greater amount of training. Fitness is about being able to recover as you train; the quicker the recovery the greater the effect it has on fitness.

This article is written by Mark Kleanthous. Mark has competed in triathlons for 30 consecutive seasons and crossed the finish line in more than 450 triathlons including 35 ironman events. He is author of The Complete Book of Triathlon Training and is a full time sports and nutrition coach. Mark can be contacted via www.ironmate.co.uk

Running Recovery Essentials! Written by Kristie Cranford

This article is sponsored by RecoFit.
Want to perform better and recover faster? Get to know RecoFit Compression Gear! www.Recofit.co Their technical-fit and uniquely designed gear helps you get more oxygen to your muscles, reduce swelling and delay fatigue. RecoFit is the only compression gear that cuts their fabric in a cross-grain process; this means effective compression and no-slip positioning! Their breathable material disperses body heat and moisture, and has a negative ion charge to help oxygenate blood. As an American-made durable product, RecoFit’s specific manufacturing method allows users the exact amount of compression, exactly where they need it most. They offer 4 cost-effective products targeting legs, as well as arms. Founded by an athlete, tested on athletes, and made for everyone! Contact your compression experts directly at Recofit@gmail.com or via phone 303/415-0580. And be sure to join the RecoFit Facebook community at www.facebook.com/recofit and on twitter @recofit. Discover the RecoFit difference for yourself! Enter the word “health” when ordering and receive free shipping through April 30, 2013!

5 Tips to Running Recovery written by Kristie Cranford

Allowing your body adequate recovery and rest after a hard workout, race or during a training cycle is essential to long-term, sustainable, injury-free running. In fact, sufficient recovery is just as important as the training or building cycle of running.

 

Strength/Cross Train

All too often runners, just run. They neglect the rest of the body. The rest of the body holds everything up and together and kicks in when the legs get tired. Take scheduled days off from running and strength train the core, arms, back, etc. Yoga, swimming and cycling are excellent cross training activities that take the pounding off the legs and get the blood moving.

Eat Well/Hydrate

Often times there is a lot of focus on hydration and nutrition/fueling prior to and during running, not after. Be sure to hydrate and refuel after running to replenish your body and give it what it needs to rebuild and recover faster.

Recovery Week  

Build in a recovery week during a training cycle. Recovery weeks include less duration and fewer weight/strength workouts  for the legs. Allow the legs to absorb the exercises, rest to recover and therefore get stronger.

Rest

Not to be confused with “recovery.” Rest days are the hardest and most beneficial workout there is. The body rebuilds and gets stronger during rest. Without rest over-training will lead to burnout and injury. Sleep is also crucial to recovery; make sure you are getting adequate restful sleep.

Foam Roll

A foam roller is a runner’s best friend. Muscle fascia is connective tissue that provides an environment for the sliding and gliding of muscles. The fascia gets tight and muscles lose range of motion. Rolling aids the fascia from tightening and knotting up.

 

This article is written by Kristie Cranford, CPT. A wife, mother, multiple cancer survivor and competitive athlete, Kristie is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer as well as a Certified Running/Triathlon Coach for PRS FIT. Living in Las Vegas, she is 2012 Coolibar sponsored athlete, 2013 Training Peaks Ambassador and Raw Elements Sunscreen Ambassador.  Contact information:
Email: CoachKristieLV@yahoo.com, http://coachkristie.com, www.prsfit.com

To Race or Not To Race? By Charlene Ragsdale

Many of us start running to race. Some start running for fitness and health, and then decide to run a race.  Regardless, careful planning must take place in order to determine if racing and what race is best for you and your goals.

How do you choose the best race?

Before you hop on the bandwagon of “I want to run a marathon this year, but I can’t run a mile, yet!”

Consider this:

1.  Your current level of fitness.  You don’t need to be an athlete. However, if you are extremely overweight and are unable to  run/walk a mile without being out of breath and want to run 26.2 miles within the next 6 months, I would recommend you start with a Half Marathon.

2.  Look in your local area for the races.  See what appeals to you. It might be the date, the theme or even the medal. Find the race that attracts you. That is your focus for the at least the next 6 months.

3.  If you are determined to travel for your first race – you have a multitude of options. When traveling, you need to consider hotel, food, spending monies – in addition to the race registration fees. Calculate that before you register for the race. Races do not offer registration refunds.  Make sure you can afford to travel, before you register.

4.  Develop a good training plan. You can find a host of training plans online or hire a coach. Again, keep your eye on the prize – your focus race (at least 6 months out from your training start date.)

5.  After training for 3 months, if you want to participate in the race experience, sign up for a 5k or 10k.  This isn’t required, but it might help you mentally prepare for the big day

6.  Be realistic on your first race, especially if it is a Half or Full Marathon.  Your one and only goal should be to finish upright and healthy. Time goals shouldn’t matter. You only get on First Half or Full. Relish in it and do the best you can do that day.

Charlene Ragsdale is a RRCA Certified Running Coach, IFA Certified Sports Nutritionist and member of the USATF Master’s All-American Team. She can often be seen at on the podium as a frequent Age Division & Overall Winner in several distances. She lives with her Chef husband, two sons and two dogs in Las Vegas, NV. You can follow her at her blog: www.RunningWithCharlene.com

Get Your Mind in the Game by Charlene Ragsdale

There is a well-known phrase among athletes, “racing is all mental!” While funny, there is truth to it. Running, or any athletic sport involves a mental component. Doubts, confusion, anxiety and brain exhaustion face all athletes at every  level of performance, even elite athletes and professional athletes. 

When I first started competitive racing , I noticed between the start and mile 2, my mind started playing head games. It was as if a monster in my head was screaming at me, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?  I don’t like this!” Then around Mile 2.5 or 3 the endorphins kicked in and my brain said, “Okay, I like this!” There are times however, no matter how much you physically train that the mental aspect of racing seems to take most of your energy. You arrive at the start line, start your race and you find you’re spending more energy on fighting your brain to focus and controlling self-talk, than actually running your race. The solution is in your training. Not just your physical training however, but in your mental training.

If you’re battling self-doubt, consider adopting a personal mantra. Practice your mantra, with the same intensity and dedication as you practice the physical skills required for your sport, until it becomes second-nature. Here’s how it works:

Train your brain to respond with positivity when it hears a particular word or phrase. Choose a word or phrase that triggers feelings of empowerment, energy, speed, power to keep going. For example, during your next run, and every single run thereafter, practice your mantra or key word or phrase. Consider words such as, Push, Dig, You Got This, Focus, Fighter. Most importantly, your mantra must speak to you and have specific meaning to you. From the moment you step across the start line, repeat your mantra. If you’re struggling to maintain mental focus, stop the negative self-talk cycle immediately and re-set your mental focus by repeating your mantra once again. Running and racing challenges our mental focus. Adopt a mantra as a personal mission statement and experience the difference it makes in your performance.

Charlene Ragsdale is a RRCA Certified Running Coach, IFA Certified Sports Nutritionist and member of the USATF Master’s All-American Team. She can often be seen at on the podium as a frequent Age Division & Overall Winner in several distances. She lives with her Chef husband, two sons and two dogs in Las Vegas, NV. You can follow her at her blog:  www.RunningWithCharlene.com