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 →
This weekend I was in the Sandy Springs area of Atlanta, Georgia, visiting a girlfriend of mine for her baby shower. One morning I went for a short 2-mile run around the neighborhood we were staying in which was filled with hills of all kind, a stark contrast to my own neighborhood. I started out on a sharp decline, flattened out for a bit, pushed through a gradual but not too long incline, flattened out, then had a long gradual incline, and finally a steep but not too long incline to finish the run. Needless to say, my legs were not used to the number of hills and the variety of inclines I experienced in Atlanta.
Sitting with my pregnant friend who is also an apprentice in the TAP pilates instructor program I started to pepper her with pilates questions while stretching. I’ve always struggled with the single leg stretch because I can’t seem to straighten my legs the whole way which frustrates me and also means I’m not benefiting from the exercise as much. As I lay on the ground she stood above me holding one leg up straight and pushed it toward my head. It was the straightest my leg had ever been and I instantly felt the stretch run through my hamstrings. She then asked me to relax my quad muscles. After several tries at what I thought was relaxing, my quads were still fully flexed. I couldn’t relax! Continue reading →
Lately it feels like life has been moving full speed ahead; this is definitely true for me and many of my friends and people I come in contact with on a regular basis. We cram as much as possible into each day, we start early, end late, we say “yes” to everything, and end up rushing from one thing to the next.
I recently had an epiphany that this same fast pace has made it’s way into exercise as well. There are two pilates classes with different instructors that I take pretty regularly at my gym. The two instructors have very different styles: one is more traditional following the “basic 10” movements with steady transitions from one movement to the next and the other instructor combines traditional pilates movements with additional strength exercises using a bar, weight, and lightweight, small medicine ball. With both of these instructors I feel like I get in a great work-out and I’m always impressed with how much they fit into one hour.
At pilates this week, I set my mat down with the others in the class and stretched while waiting for the instructor. A couple minutes before start time, a woman walked in, put her mat at the front of the room, and I quickly realized we had a substitute. She was the woman who teaches the third pilates class at my gym which happens to be at times I can never attend. This instructor (and I don’t mean to stereotype here) had the personality of a step aerobics instructor; she was high energy, loud, and conversational. At first I missed the calm, quiet of the other instructors, but it didn’t take long for me to truly appreciate following someone new. Continue reading →
The Summary screen of the RaceNation training log; notice below are the community features for networking, blogging, and sharing photos.
It’s been just a little over a month since I decided to start reviewing training logs. I am definitely one who learns by doing and once I discovered the endless options for tracking my training online, I decided that the best way to decide which system worked best for me would be to try them all out.
RaceNation is the site I’ve been using for the past month. Like many other sites developed for and by athletes it is part community, part networking, part training log, and it is still in a Beta stage with open-minded developers welcoming feedback. Registering for the site was a piece of cake and like many other social networking sites, I was able to create a profile on the site that made me part of the community. I need to qualify this review by making it clear that I registered on RaceNation with the sole purpose of testing out the site’s training log feature and therefore did not take advantage of the site’s multiple networking and content (blogs, photo upload,groups, race calendar) features. Continue reading →
I don't use the Reformer in my class, but The Hundred is still a great exercise. Photo by rockyourpowerhouse.
Sunday mornings I like to go to the Pilates class at my gym. The class is usually a smaller group of mostly women looking to start their day with the energizing lift of a well-rounded Pilates class. The instructor is a happy and encouraging person who pushes us to do our best on the movements while also leading us through proper breathing as well as the variations of the movements so we can choose the level that suits us.
While training for the marathon I did most of my long runs on Sundays so missed the class for many weeks. At one point I wondered why instructors tend to do the same routines from week to week, but jumping back into the class after my hiatus, I was grateful for the consistency of the routine that allowed me to fit right back in. Continue reading →
At the end of a long run, the legs are inevitably tired which is to be expected. I understand the important role that the knees play in running and that they certainly carry a lot of the body’s weight and movement. Doing core exercises and strengthening and stretching the pelvis, hips, and legs will help the knees and legs remain strong during a run. Without a strong core to keep the body in a nice straight line while running, your knees will bear the brunt of any sideways movement of the body and you’ll feel the pain later.
I’m pretty cognizant of my form while running but I know that I’m not nearly as consistent as I’d like to be. Like anything, establishing and maintaining proper running form takes practice. I feel as though I have a pretty straight gait and that I’m not too wobbly while running so I believe my knees are not being asked to do much more than their normal functions. However, at the end of a long run, all I want to do is stretch my knees somehow. When I squat up and down that seems to help, but I don’t know that it’s actually stretching anything. Going up and down stairs after a long run is often a chore. I have to go slow and hold the handrails. The pain doesn’t last long but it sure is uncomfortable.
After doing some researching, talking to doctor friends, reading other blogs, forums, and articles about various types of knee pain I have self-diagnosed my knee pain to be related to my Iliotibial (IT) Band, which means it is not knee pain at all. Continue reading →
I just caught myself saying, as I have many times before, that “there aren’t enough hours in the day.” I often think if only I could function off of 4 hours of sleep and could be totally productive during all my time awake that I might really get some things done. But alas, I am a 6-8 hour sleeper for sure. I guess the question becomes not how to find more hours in the day, but how to maximize the time you do have.
For example, I am finally getting to today’s blog, but only have a few minutes because I want to dash off to the gym for a quick run and Pilates class. I started my day around 7:30 a.m. and feel very good about all that I got done, but I was really hoping to rearrange the kitchen furniture tonight in addition to getting in a load of laundry. I was also supposed to sign up for Scuba lessons and do some research for a family event, neither of which got done today. Continue reading →