Latest Event Updates
Today, I wanted to talk about training for your first 5k. In a lot of ways, my upcoming Heart Walk will feel like my first 5k, even though it isn’t. I just haven’t run one in just over four years.
However, this post was inspired by a close friend of mine. The Heart Walk will be her first 3.1-mile race and she’s been following a training plan devised by a running app. This plan told her to do a five-mile run the very first week! That’s just not safe for a beginning runner. With that in mind, I’ve decided to list some general rules to creating a 5k training plan that works for you.
- Choose two rest days that fit into your weekly schedule. Avoid having them back-to-back try one mid-week and one at the end (Monday & Friday; Tuesday and Saturday, etc.).
- Start slow. A beginner should not run more than 10-12 miles in the first week. Also, you might want to do less or incorporate walking depending on your activity and fitness level prior to this first week.
- Increase mileage gradually.
- Incorporate cross-training. Running should be replaced by a low impact exercise on one of your five active days. Cross train 1-3 times per week to strengthen other muscle groups/increase flexibility. You can cross train on days you run- take a yoga class or work on upper body strength.
- STRETCH daily. Incorporate dynamic stretching before and static after.
- Incorporate one long-distance run, one speed workout , and one easy run each week.
- Listen to your body! If you need an extra day off, take it.
Lastly, have fun. Run with friends for extra motivation or create a fun playlist. Then enjoy your first race and do your best!
Today I wanted to talk about a running gear trend that I first noticed during the winter: reflective running gear. During winter there is noticeably less daylight, which forces many of us to run while it’s dark outside. My schedule is still pretty flexible so I didn’t have to deal with that. However, as the weather warms I take up night running more often. I am not a heat runner! On days where the temperatures reach 90 and above, I either skip my run or wait until the sun goes down.
Running night can be dangerous if you aren’t wearing gear that will get you noticed by oncoming cars. I know I’m not the only person who hides from the sun during summer! So I’ve decided to share some great reflective gear with all of you:
If you are a night runner, make sure to incorporate some type of reflective gear. Something as simple as a headband can ensure drivers notice you. Safe running!
I’ve finally picked my next run! As you can see, I have chosen the American Heart Association’s Heart Walk. More specifically, the Wall Street Run and Heart Walk, which will take place on Wednesday, June 18 at 6:45 pm.
The race is a timed 3-mile run/walk. It should be interesting considering I haven’t done an actual 5k since 2007! It’s been so long, I can’t even recall my personal best.
I have exactly 51 days to prepare and my foot still doesn’t feel up for any running. Normal people would probably wait until they can run pain-free to sign up for a race, but I’ve always been a bit stubborn. I’ve been biking and swimming a few times per week and will continue doing so until I’m ready to hit the pavement. I also tried some strength training on Friday- let’s just say that I have neglected my arms for far too long. I perform much better on leg day, I swear!
Anyway, before I go I wanted to share my donation page in case this cause is special to any of you, or if you just want to help!
- A 5k or 10k walk/run that raises money for the American Cancer Society
- A 10k in NYC for women
Happy Monday Runners!
A few weeks ago I covered when to stretch and gave you all my favorite static stretches. I didn’t comment much on dynamic stretching, but I know many runners prefer it. So I decided to do some research and share what I’ve learned with all of you!
Dynamic stretching differs from static stretching in that you are moving. Livestrong defines it as “stretching comprises controlled movements, such as leg and arm swings, that slowly bring the muscles close to their range of motion limit without exceeding it.” They are useful before activity that requires a lot of mobility. Cough, cough- like running!
Some examples also given by Livestrong are:
- Torso twists (gently please!)
- Arm circles (try large and small circles)
- Knee-highs while jogging
- Stretching lunges while walking
- Standing leg lifts
After reading up on dynamic stretching I realized my team used to do some of them in practice as part of our warm-up.
- Leg swings- stand with your hands on a wall or fence for support and swing your right leg up to the right. Then swing it back down in front of your left leg. Go back and forth a few times and then switch.
- Butt-kicks while jogging
- Karaokes- the strangest movements, but we thought they were so fun! I can’t really explain this one in words so here’s a video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PEbVqwLX8xY
Dynamic stretches are good to incorporate into your warm-up if you have the time. If you don’t think you have time, it would take less than five minutes to do each one listed above for 20-30 seconds each! Now, power off your computer/phone so you can get outside and enjoy this lovely weather with a nice run.
Happy Monday! This weekend was MUCH better than last weekend in terms of weather, don’t you think? In fact, the sunshine might encourage you to run longer and increase your mileage. Have you considered how to do this safely? Increasing your mileage too suddenly can lead to painful injuries, like shin splints. And no one wants shin splints!
There are two common methods used by runners to safely increase mileage. The first is the 10% rule. The second is known as the equilibrium method. Neither method is right or wrong; it depends on your own personal preference and what works best for your body.
The 10% Rule
This rule recommends increasing your weekly total mileage by 10%. It’s up to you where you incorporate the extra distance. You can opt to make one run longer to give your routine some variety. Or, if you prefer to run the same distance each time, you can distribute it evenly per run.
Let’s say you run 20 miles per week. Your 10% increase over 8 weeks would look something like this, depending on how you choose to round the numbers. I rounded to the nearest half:
- 20, 22, 24, 26.5, 29, 32, 35, 38.5
The Equilibrium Method
The equilibrium method involves a 20-30% increase in one week and then remaining at that mileage for a few weeks before the next increase. Starting at 20 miles per week over 8 weeks, at a 25% increase this method will look like this:
- 20, 25, 25, 25, 31, 31, 31, 39
As you can see, both methods bring you to a very similar total mileage by week 8. Each just takes a different path. Some of you might choose to forgo both methods and base your increase solely on how you feel. However, I would not recommend that for new or injury-prone runners. Has anyone used one of these methods before? Share your thoughts/experiences below!
- Take your wet clothes off as soon as your run ends so that you don’t start to feel cold.
- If you happen to get mud on your sneakers, just wipe them off with a cloth. The washing machine could ruin them.
- Dress appropriately. Water resistant clothing will help keep you from getting soaked during your run. Note that I said resistant, not waterproof. The latter can retain too much body heat.
- Avoid running when there is lightning.
- If you chafe easily, Vaseline can help prevent that from happening.
My next upcoming run is a “fun run” on May 10, 2014 in NYC. In less than two months I’ll be getting chased by zombies during The Zombie Run. It’s a 5k race where zombies chase you (I’m actually pretty excited about this) and try to grab one of your three flags. Once all of your flags are taken, you’re out! That means a whole lot of sprinting as my friend, who convinced me to sign up, keeps reminding me. Sprinting is not exactly my thing, but I keep telling myself it’s only a 5k. However, on top of running away from zombies for 3.1 miles, the course will consist of 10-12 obstacles. I have done runs with obstacles before like Tough Mudder and Merrell Down and Dirty Obstacle Race, but I was able to run those at my pace. So this will definitely be an experience.
I’ve still been having trouble with my foot and I’m starting to believe I might have a stress fracture. I had one back in high school in my fibula- not fun. I had to stand around for a month or so watching everyone else practice and race. I haven’t tried running in about a month, but I know my foot isn’t ready. Which means it’s time to increase my cross-training so that I’m in decent shape by May.
My plan will look something like this:
Swimming- I already swim 3-4 times a week. My time in the pool consists of kicking laps, treading water, and a little bit of running.
Yoga- 1-2 days a week. Two words- flexibility and strength.
Biking- I’ll be adding 2-3 days of biking starting on Tuesday. It is low impact, but will give my legs and good workout. Biking is also a great cardiovascular exercise and can help with my speed.
Strength Training- This is partly for the obstacles since my upper body strength tends to suffer. It is to help my running- strong muscles support bones, making you less prone to injury. I NEED this. YOU also need this. Please don’t skimp on strength training because you think it will make you bulky. Strong does not have to mean jacked. I will most be using my gym’s cross-fit room where there is a TRX setup. I prefer using my own body weight over weights.
I plan on giving myself two weeks to figure out a regimen and then I’ll share the detail with you!
Happy Sunday! And bittersweet Daylight Savings. Losing an hour of sleep on a Sunday is anything but pleasant, BUT it was still sunny at 6pm on the East coast. Which almost made me forget that totaled less than five hours of sleep last night. Almost.
Anyway, I wanted to continue last week’s discussion about stretching. I really can’t stress how important it is to take care of your body, especially for runners. So, tonight I wanted to share a few of my favorite stretches with all of you. These are the basic static stretches I during about a mile into my runs (static stretches are not recommended for cold muscles as it can lead to injury) and afterwards if I’m not being lazy or rushing. If you are the type of runner who prefers to be stretched out before you begin running I would recommend researching some dynamic stretches- they will warm up your muscles and allow them to stretch out a bit.
My top 7 stretches:
I do them in this order and hold each for 15-20 seconds.
1. Arms and Obliques- stretches your triceps and when you lean to the opposite side of the arm being stretched you get a good side stretch. Ever have sore obliques after a long run? This stretch will make you feel so much better!
2. “Tejada” Stretch- This one was introduced by my first track coach in high school, which is why it bears his name (for me and my teammates at least). It is a deep calve stretch and even stretches below the calves. It can be done on any slightly elevated surface, like stairs or bleachers, or with the ball of your foot against a wall. Stretch both calves.
3. Quadriceps Stretch- When doing this stretch take care to not strain your knees by pulling your leg back farther than what is comfortable to you. Stretch both sides.
4. Calve Stretch- Place your hands on a wall and lunge back with one leg far enough to get a good stretch. Then switch legs.
5. Hamstring Stretch- Place your toes together and reach down towards them. If you cannot touch your toes right away, don’t worry! Your flexibility will increase over time if you stretch regularly. Doing this can also alleviate lower back pain if it is caused by tight hamstrings.
6. Inner Thigh Stretch- Begin this one standing straight. Then step to the side with your right leg and lower yourself to the ground. I you feel a good stretch midway you can also stay there. Switch legs.
7. Hip stretch- Place one foot over the opposite knee and lower your self into a chair position. Then switch. I didn’t start doing this one until my senior year of high school. I had been having problem with hip pain and the new cross-country coach showed it to me. Now, I make sure to always hold it for a full 20 seconds and I have not experienced the pain I felt that year again. Seriously, this one saved me!
That’s all! I hope you guys like the stretches. Comment below and tell me some of your favorites!
This week I wanted to discuss a question I believe a lot runners debate about. Stretching. And more specifically:
When should you stretch?
Before? After? Mid-run? Never? (Not good!)
Back when I ran track in high school, each time my team got a new coach, he or she had a different idea of at what point in practice we should stretch. One favored stretching before our run. Another preferred stretching during our run. The last coach I ran for preferred having us run a half mile to a mile, stretch, and then begin our actual run. One thing they all believed in was stretching afterwards. Very important! It helps prevent soreness, speeds muscle recovery, and may help prevent injury. Although, I am guilty of skipping that part sometimes.
Today, I prefer to stretch after I’ve ran about a mile. Then, I just continue my run. It gives my muscles a chance to warm up. Ever since I switched to this method, I have felt stronger during my runs.
Now, since I am not a professional, I cannot tell you definitively when is the perfect time to run. I actually don’t think anyone can. Research on this matter is constantly changing. What I will say, is to try to figure out what works for you. Experiment a bit with the timing of your stretching- see what feels right and commit!
What do you all think, when is the next time to stretch? Comment below and let me know.