Pre -Run Fuel Up

 

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I have  been asked about what kinds of food I eat before a run.  I am not a nutritionist at all but here are some of the things that I eat before a long run.  The goal for me is to ensure I have enough energy throughout the run without burning out.  A long run for me is between an hour- hour and half.

Timing – Eating a meal within a hour before a long run has made me feel bloated and sluggish and I have noticed has a negative impact on  my running pace.  I usually aim to eat between an hour and a half to two hours before a run.

Types of Food – I usually have a lot of carbs and protein.  That usually consists of a whole grain bagel with peanut butter,  bagels  are pretty dense and can hold me over a couple of hours.  Occasionally I will reach for a bowl of whole grain cereal.

I try to steer clear of dairy , coffee,  greasy or fried foods as it causes  an upset stomach.  It’s not a good idea  to have gastric distress in the middle of a run especially if there are no bathrooms around.

Hydration –  Before a long run, I usually have at least one glass of water . I take water along with me if I run for more than an hour or  if it’s hot outside.  A fuel belt is very handy because the water is accessible.  I sometimes fill 2 of my 4 bottles electrolyte drink or carry a gel pack especially if running over an hour and/or in the heat.

Happy Running!

 

 

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Did You Fartlek? Decoding Running Techniques

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I started out training for a half marathon a few years back and I researched a few  training schedules online.  It was a very easy process:  I simply Googled it and found many free schedules.

I found some great schedules from very experienced runners like: Hal Higdon, who has also written many books about running  and few good ones from my favorite running websites like Cool Runnings and Shape Magazine.

Each of the websites above offer schedules tailored to different fitness types.    Beginner, Intermediate and Advance.  Some schedules are custom enough to estimate finished race times, if followed precisely.

As I read through many of them,  some of the running techniques, took me a little bit to understand.    I didn’t know what Tempo was or Fartlek or what the differences were.  Here’s a quick summary on what each o these mean:

Fartlek– which is a Swedish for “Speed Play”-  It’s an unstructured speed interval.   An example is running faster to the next lamp post or stop sign and then recover at a slower pace to the next tree.  Then repeat.  It’s a fun run!

Tempo – Running at an effort that is  at the anaerobic  zone or higher.  I aim to hear myself breathing.  If I can talk, I am not running in the zone.  If I am out of breath, I am not in the zone either.  It’s somewhere in the middle.  Running faster or on hills, wind and heat can help achieve the effort needed to maintain an appropriate tempo pace.  It’s the most challenge technique, but  for me improves my overall fitness level.

Interval–  Structured speed interval.  For example – running at a high intense fast pace at a structured time ie: 1 or 2 min each interval.  Then recovering at slower pace.  I also like adding hills to the workout.  It can be easily done on the treadmill.  It’s an intense workout and time flies when I am doing it.

For me, I use them all.  I find that it  improves my running pace and overall fitness level, not to mention time seems to fly when I am doing it.  Not just another boring run!

 

 

The Mental Workout

 

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Armed with the mistakes and injuries of the past,   I am careful  with my training schedules. Since turning 40, I know I can’t run as far and as often as I had in my 20’s or 30’s.  

Muscles take longer to recover and pushing them may be bad news. For me , it’s a fine balance.  I learned that cross training and stretching  and “thinking” are keys to my success.

Also,  training is not all  physical.  Mental awareness is also important part of the workout.  For me, it is motivator  and pushes me to do better, push harder-not about just going through the motions of the workout.  Or ignoring pain.

Here’s are some things that I think about while  running:

1.  What’s the goal today?  Is the goal distance , speed, duration, or is it  just enjoying being outside?

2.  How am I feeling physically?  Is it a good day?  Can I run an extra mile today?  Or a bit  faster ?  Or am I sore?  Should I slow down?

3.  Determine which muscles need to be worked more and then activate them during the run.

4.  How I am feeling mentally?  Am I stressed ?  I usually alter the intensity of my workout as a result.  I work harder when I am stressed- I usually feel better after my run.

5.  Nothing at all- I sometimes meditate while running.  Clearing my mind, not thinking of the workday, dinner plans- not even the sound of my breath.  I find that I am relaxed throughout my run and can easily regulate my breathing.

Each of these  above have really helped my progression.  I feel stronger, more relaxed and don’t feel as sore.   The Mental workout is been a major part of my whole workout routine.

 

Disneybound- A Fun “Race-cation” for the Whole Family

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It’s the end of February and I am so sick of the cold and snow. I am planning our next family vacation, somewhere warm, maybe a beach or somewhere tropical.

Ya Right! I have a 7 year old little girl and the only place I am going is Disney World. This has been our destination spot for the last 2 years.

Disney World has been really fun for everyone in my family.  We have stayed right at the park at the Animal Kingdom Resort and a cruised the Disney Magic last year and it was magical.  We enjoyed every minute of it.

I started looking online for info on our next Disney vacation and  then I noticed that the annual Disney Princess Half Marathon took place this weekend at Disney World in Orlando Florida.

 I saw many pictures of smiling happy runners with their Princess running gear equipped with tutus and tiaras and shiny princess medals as their prize for finishing.  And I am hooked. Running a Disney Race is now on my bucket list!  I want that medal!

I have decided I am  planning a “race-cation”  this year or early next year.  Surprisingly, there are quite a few races offered at Disney World  but mostly in the winter and fall during low season.      Sadly, there aren’t very many left in 2014.  

There are a few  fun races to choose from: Princess Half Marathon  (Feb), Tower of Terror 10 Miler (Oct), Disney Marathon Weekend (Jan) just to name a few.  Each race has it’s own theme and a unique race route which ends up right inside one of the parks.

Each of race event offer shorter distance races 5, 10K, trail races and races for kids.   I noticed some of the races start early morning before the park opens the Wine and Dine Half Marathon in Epcot starts at 10 pm after the park closes, so it shouldn’t cut into much family vacation time.

Perhaps,  I can run the half marathon, my husband and daughter run the 5K or the kid race.  But something tells me .. they will probably be either sleeping or hanging  out at the pool for me until I am done..  Ha ha!  

Can’t wait to strap on my running tutu and tiara!  I am Disneybound!

Hip and Glute Exercises -Injury Prevention for Runners

I have been  running for many years without injury.  Until last year.  I set out to run my personal best at The Bread and Honey Festival 15 K (Goal 1:25)  and Oakville Half Marathon (Goal 1:49).   Unfortunately for me, I was sidelined by injuries and unable to run any races at all.

I ended up overtraining.  I ran almost everyday and pushed myself hard every run.  I ended up tired all day and  grumpy.  One day as I was running ,  I felt a snap in my hip and then instant heat.  I had to stop and limped all the way home.   I stayed off my hip for a couple of weeks but was in pain anytime I hit the street.

I went to the doctor and found out I had hip bursitis.  I ended up at physio and to my surprise, the therapist told me that I ran myself weak .

I thought there was some  kind of mistake, doesn’t running involve activating the glute muscles.  I learned that some of the hip/glute muscles are not active enough which cause major imbalances throughout the lower body.  Piriformis,  Sciatica injuries and many others common to runners.

Even after recovery, my hips haven’t been the same.  Running long distances are still a challenge because I am still sore.   I do my exercises and stretches  every day to make sure my glutes are strong.

 

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Winter Running Threads- What to Wear In the Cold

When running outside in the winter, I find it tough to decide what to wear or how many layers to put especially when the temperatures are well below freezing.

In the past  winters,  I had difficulty gauging my body temperature. I thought I would be a lot colder than I was.   I wore too many layers and ended up overheating half way through the run.  I felt hot and sluggish and it affected my overall speed and time.

I quickly learned that starting out my run a little cold is ideal. Chilled enough that my teeth don’t chatter.  By the end of my run, I felt pretty comfortable and a little sweaty.  

I suggest layering up only when the weather is extremely cold (-10 and below).  Here is what works for me:

For temperatures 3 to -10 , I wear:

Thermal Shirt Hyperwarm tightsjackethat glovers

Thermal 1/4 zip long sleeve top and Thermal Compression Tights, Running jacket (doesn’t have to be Winter, just thick enough to cut the wind), gloves, hat.   These can be found at SportChek .

For temperatures colder than -10, I would add a long sleeve compression top under the thermal top and windbreaker nylon pants over the thermal pants.

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Happy Running, Stay warm but not too warm!

 

The Dreaded Winter Weight Gain

Ugh!  So in the past few weeks, the extra pounds have completely snuck up on me!   Oh  I wonder- could it be the fact the bad weather has completely deterred me from running outdoors?  Or is it that my eating habits are a little out of whack lately?

Yes  to both.

The sidewalks are still covered with snow and it is really unsafe to run on the street.  Despite my efforts of running inside, even at higher speeds and an incline I know I am not burning the same calories as I had before the snow.

Running on the treadmill isn’t as demanding as running outside.  I am simply not recruiting the same number of muscles as running outside, the belt actually helps me run physically by adding momentum.

I admit my eating habits have changed.   It’s been crazy cold outside and I am reaching for a whole lot of carbs.  It’s probably in my head.  It’s not just eating heavier meals , it’s the junk food too and eating just before bed.

Here’s my plan to combat Winter Weight Gain:

1.  Running Outdoors at least once a week if the weather is bad.  The weather is starting to look a little better this week.  I am going to start tonight.

2. Avoid eating junk food just before bed.  Having a green tea or a low calorie bowl of cereal instead of ice cream to help curb cravings.

3.  Eat more veggies.  I do not diet.  Having a huge salad at dinner, help avoid loading the plate or going back for seconds.

I will start tonight and see how it goes.

Any other suggestions?

Fit Tech- My Workout Companions

Since I mostly run at odd times usually at 5:30 in the morning or 8:00 at night, I have a hard time finding someone to run with me.  So I usually end up going solo.  I use a Nike + GPS watch  to track speed, distance and time on  my runs.  During the days I am at  the gym or working out a home I have the Nike fuel band to help track calories and overall intensity and energy burn.  I love love love my fit tech.

The Nike + watch is really easy to use and simple to set up.  The screen is customizable- I have it set at speed (mph) and distances .  I track speed and distance in distances in miles and not KM- since I train with the treadmill as well and it tracks in miles.

The battery life is long and the watch is also comfortable to wear for the most part.  The watch comes with a shoe pod, which helps the GPS sync up quickly.  The she pod is supposed to work indoors on the treadmill or indoor track- I haven’t had much luck getting it to work.

The Nike Fuel Band tracks activity all day- even when you’re not working out.  It is to be worn all day.  The band tracks your body’s movement and converts it into Nike Fuel points. I have set my own personal fuel goals -3000 fuel points a day .  I am not sure how the algorithm converts movement into points.  For the first month I got the Band I was wearing it all of the time.  I now wear it during my workouts at home and gym and set a goal of 2000 points per session.

Both devices sync up with the computer and mobile to track activity hourly,weekly and monthly.  The GPS also tracks running routes with your speeds and distances along the way.  It simply awesome!

Check it out!

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Another Fav Workout- Kettlebell routine -Nike Training Club App

Today is Cross Training Day.  It is a rest from running  and a very important part of preparing for the Bread and Honey race! I am hooked on the Nike Training Club App from Nike .

I have used many apps in the past and I can say Nike put together a quality app. With over a 100 routines, NTC is basically a full body workout combining weights and cardio.  The 30-45 min workouts are for the beginner to advance.

The workouts are designed with specific goals- Getting toned, lean, strong, or focused.  The Focused routines are 15 min targeted to a specific muscle group – Abs, arms and legs etc. I downloaded the newest version and found a couple of new routines.  I tried the 30 min Kettlebell routine.

It was great, I was using a 20 lb bell and it was too hard for me.  I had a 10 and 15 dumbbell handy and it worked just as well. The get ups were tough.

NTC3NTC2NTC  

 

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