One happy puppy! Photo by melissambwilkins
For many of us who are dog owners, there is no question about the motivation a dog can provide to get you out of your seat and out for a run. They need exercise just as much as we do. But what if you’re really not a runner, never were, and never plan to be? But your dog is, or easily could be. I was discussing this exact scenario with a girlfriend of mine who is queen of the elliptical machine at her gym and a proud new puppy owner.
As a dog owner, she is well aware of the dog’s need for exercise and walks him regularly, but the walks don’t do for her what her regular gym routine used to do. It’s been weeks since she’s been in the air conditioned gym, bobbing along to her iPod, and sweating it out on the elliptical. While she wouldn’t trade her new pup for the world, something about dog walks that involve lots of stops for training and ‘doing business’ just isn’t cutting it for her own exercise.
What to do? Continue reading
The Runner’s World triathlon training program I’m using calls for five different types of running throughout the 12 week schedule: Foundation, Strides, Transition, Tempo, and Threshold Intervals. A rather in depth article about how runners can train for a triathlon preceded the program but it didn’t go into detail about the various types of running (or swimming or biking for that matter) as there are definitions in the sidebar of the program. All of the work-outs made sense to me except for the description of Strides, which happens to be one of the first running work-outs on the schedule. The program defines it as “Run 20 seconds at 5k race pace; jog 40 seconds after each stride” and each run work-out says how many repetitions of this to do.
In my mind, a stride was the forward movement of the leg. I was baffled as to how I was to jog for 40 seconds in just one stride. But I knew what 5k race pace meant, so at first I would just sprint for the designated number of repetitions and not worry about the 40 seconds of jogging. The more I started to read about triathlon training, however, the more the term “strides” came up and the more I wanted to know the true meaning. Continue reading
Getting to the top of the mountain or getting out for a run--it's all mental.
You know that feeling when you’d rather do anything but put on your running shoes? You’re tired, you’re busy, it’s drizzly, it’s too cold, it’s too hot, you have to write thank-you cards, the excuses you can come up with are endless. And yet, you love running. You know you won’t skip this run, because you have to do this run, you need to do this run for one reason or another, but you still have to get motivated.
This feeling has hit me on days when all I’m doing is an easy 3 mile run, on my favorite 5-mile days, and on the long run training days. I imagine it’s inevitable that at some point we all have to muster up the motivation to get out there and run. Part of my motivation is having a training schedule and a race in sight. If I’m not signed up for something, I’m much more likely to talk myself into staying put instead of putting on my running shoes. What is it that motivates you? Continue reading
This long Memorial weekend was a reminder to me of a phrase I have let slip from my vocabulary–all in moderation. I went into the three day weekend with a long list of things that I wanted to do: garden, bike, go boating, hike, kayak, play beach volleyball, lay by the pool, cook-out, read, play with the dog, relax. Somehow I managed to get them all in, but only one of those activities is on my triathlon training schedule and hardly any of them involved healthful eating or drinking.
There is something about a long weekend, sunny, summery days, and an abundance of social gatherings that toss all training discipline and focus out the window. It’s so easy to enjoy snacking all day long when you’re on a boat or a beach and when the sun is setting but everyone is still laughing and talking, having one more drink seems to be part of the fun. By the end of the long weekend, you end up consuming more than you would on any normal day and your body is sunburned and exhausted from playing non-stop. At least that’s how I feel. Continue reading
Doing sprints is one way to help build your lactate threshold. Photo by Ian_UK.
If you spend enough time training for anything and start to read articles, message boards, and blogs that discuss your specific exercise be it running, biking, spinning, or swimming you are bound to come across a discussion about lactate threshold. It’s likely you will see this phrase used in conjunction with topics of heart rate training, VO2 max, aerobic and anaerobic metabolism, and perhaps even endurance zones. Unless you have a degree in sports or fitness or are a trained trainer, these words probably read like a foreign language and feel overwhelming.
At least that’s how I felt.
What better way to eliminate that stressed feeling of not understanding all this new training lingo than to learn as much as possible about it? There are endless resources on the topic of lactate threshold but before we get into how it relates to training, some basic definitions would be helpful to outline. Continue reading
This spring I volunteered as one of three assistant coaches at Windsor Farm Elementary in Arnold, MD, for Girls on the Run. Every Tuesday and Thursday 15 third through fifth grade girls plus the coaches would meet to talk about life, confidence, making healthy choices, family, friendship, trust, self-respect, and a host of other topics designed to encourage positive emotional, social, mental, spiritual, and physical development. In short, the program teaches girls how to avoid getting stuck in “the girl box” all while training for a 5K.
Each class day had a lesson paired with a running activity in which we practiced proper form, pace, breathing, and the basics of running. When I think about the types of games and relays we played we were actually doing the type of running you’d see on any training schedule–sprints, hills, tempo runs, and race pace. Even the day we played sharks and minnows had a lesson of teamwork in it and certainly some sprinting involved! Continue reading
Every time I do a run I am forever grateful to the volunteers who line the course at the water stops, the start and finish line, the packet pick-up, the gear check–they seem to be everywhere. I’ve never really stopped long enough to think about where all the volunteers come from, or what happens behind the scenes of a race, but I know it’s a lot of work no matter the size of the race. In March I met the organizers of the ZOOMA Women’s Race Series and realized my opportunity to learn more about how a successful race comes together as well as what it means to volunteer, rather than run, a race.
On May 31st, hundreds of women (and men) will line up to run either the ZOOMA 10K or half marathon in Annapolis. This is peak tourism season and the town will be buzzing with out-of-towners, boaters, history buffs, shoppers, dog walkers, and hordes of other people who are drawn to our waterfront town every spring. The addition of a busy tourism season to the many details of organizing, moving, and communicating to hundreds of runners no doubt presents challenges to the ZOOMA race organizers, which is where volunteers come into the picture. Continue reading
Twitter has been, and continues to be, an amazing resource for me in both my personal and professional endeavors. On a daily basis I connect with new people on twitter who are informative, inspiring, entertaining, and motivational, and who share their passions, resources, ideas, challenges, and solutions with their followers. In the health, running, and fitness facets of my life this has been incredibly helpful as I have had many of my own questions answered by others on Twitter and have been able to constantly find information of interest to me as well as share my own stories and experiences with like-minded followers.
One of the first people I connected with on Twitter is Lynda Lippin, a Pilates instructor in the Caribbean. After a while of tweeting back and forth and learning various Pilates tips from her, I decided to interview her for this blog and asked if she’d be willing to discuss the topic of Pilates for runners to which she enthusiastically agreed. Following is the interview which I found insightful and helpful and hope you will too. Continue reading
There was a fun article in the May 2009 issue of Runner’s World about prerun routines and it shared some tidbits and facts about the various things runners do before a jog or a race. For example, it takes the average runner 6.9 minutes to get ready for a run (according to their RW poll).
RW asked 2, 284 runners what they do before a run, and in case you didn’t see the column, here are some of the fun facts:
- 85% hit the head
- 75% drink some liquids
- 54% stretch
- 45% have a quick snack
- 38% apply lip balm
- 20% apply antichafing product
All this got me thinking about whether I have a routine and as it turns out, I do! I thought I’d share mine and would love to hear if there are any running rituals you have. Continue reading
My sister-in-law’s wedding was at a beautiful farm in southern Maryland along the Patuxent River and as I do before I go anywhere new, I mapped a run that I could squeeze in between the festivities. I was pleasantly shocked to find out that the driveway alone was nearly a full mile guaranteeing that I’d get in a decent warm-up and cool down. The farm is located near the end of one of the many peninsulas in southern Maryland and is surrounded by several other farms and a few other homes, but no area that would count as a neighborhood. This meant that no matter which direction I would turn at the end of the driveway I would be doing an out and back course. In order to do a loop, I’d have had to turn the run into a duathlon and swim the last leg back to the farm!
Fortunately I ran this out and back route with two other friends which helped the time pass but I was still very aware of how much I prefer a loop route to an out and back. The last out and back I ran was the marathon and I think the only thing that made that survivable was that there were people cheering along the course. It’s such a simple thing but if I have the option I will always choose a loop route to run. I like having turns, new things to look at, and the “surprise” of what might be around the corner. Perhaps it’s all in my head or maybe I’m not creative enough to make an out and back route enjoyable, but I tend to find them boring and I focus more on how much I have left to run rather than running itself.
What about you? Are you an out and back runner or a looper?