Get Your Sleep

dog sleepingWith summer coming to an end soon, at least unofficially with Labor Day weekend in a few days, it’s time to end staying up late at night partying and enjoying your summer vacations. Now we have to get back to work and school. Back in 2015, the National Sleep Foundation listed the new number of hours you need for sleep:

  • Teenagers (14-17): Sleep range widened by one hour to 8-10 hours (previously it was 8.5-9.5)
  • Younger adults (18-25): Sleep range is 7-9 hours (new age category)
  • Adults (26-64): Sleep range did not change and remains 7-9 hours
  • Older adults (65+): Sleep range is 7-8 hours (new age category)

How should you get your proper amount of sleep? Try these methods:

Put away your computers, iPads and phones off. Turn them completely off to avoid the light. These give off extra light that can keep your brain functioning and not allow it to shut off. In a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), researchers found e-readers can disrupt sleep by giving off a blue light that can suppress melatonin–the hormone that controls are day-night cycles.

Drink a sleepy time tea. You can find these at a local grocery store. They can help calm you and warm up your insides, thus preparing you for sleep.

Consider taking melatonin. It can help you relax and fall asleep. You can find it in any drugstore where vitamins are sold.

Do your running at least three hours before bedtime. This will help allow your blood to flow at a normal pace and your heart beat to return to its resting rate.

Keep your room cool. When it’s still hot outside, you should keep your room at a cooler temperature. The National Sleep Foundation recommends a bedroom temperature of 60 to 67 degrees F for sleeping.

Keep your hands and feet warm. Moving your blood to the extremities can help put you to sleep faster.


Top 10 Moves to Add to Your Workout

Photo courtesy of Fitness Republic

Photo courtesy of Fitness Republic

I know I’m guilty of this: focusing on running instead of other training. If I have heavy mileage to get in, I don’t put in the effort to workout in any other fashion. I once interviewed a top female endurance runner/triathlete who said she would give up a run to do weight lifting because it had that much more impact. She’d do what was called “The Dirty 30” and spend 30 minutes one to two times per week lifting. She said it was her most important workout of the week. Here are some suggestions of movements you should start incorporating now:

1. Squats: Even if you don’t add weight, squats help tone your glutes, which often don’t get strengthened during running.

2. Sideways lunges: Running only involves forward movement. You should do workouts in a multi-planar fashion.

3. Frog leaps: Jump up and lift your legs to your chest at the same time. This works your core muscles while working out your legs.

4. Twists: Sit on the ground and twist side to side. Clasp your hands and touch the ground with each twist. This works your core and tightens it for running.

5. Burpees. Jump down and lay in a plank position and then pop up and jump. Repeat. Works your core and legs.

6. Jumping rope. Works your calves, core and balance–all three you need for running. Try jumping for five minutes as a warm-up  to weight lifting instead of a quick run.

7. Backwards lunge. Works your glutes. Try going forward, sideways and backwards to move in all planes.

8. Runner’s lunge. Bend one knee and stretch the other behind you. Always keep your bent knee in line with your ankle. Do this after you’ve finished your run when your muscles are nice and warm. Hold each side for 30 seconds and no more.

9. Crunches on a stability ball. Runners don’t focus on balance, so use a stability ball whenever possible during weight training/core training.

10. Plank. Lie on the ground and then pop up onto your elbows and toes. Hold this pose for 30-60 seconds. Try adding this into a training run. At every mile, stop and hold a plank pose. If you train on a track, this works perfect.

Books to Read This Summer

IMG-20130716-00010Although the number of summer weekends are dwindling, we still have plenty of time to take a break from running and lounge on the beach and take extra long naps. If your schedule allows for any downtime coming up, these books may provide some entertainment during your free time.

Here are a few recommendations:

My Best Race
I am excited for the recent release of “My Best Race” by Chris Cooper. As a “Chicken Soup for the Soul”-type book, I am inspired by the stories of elite runners who’ve reached the pinnacle of sport. I admire their tenacity and appreciate their words of support. You don’t often get to read their stories or discover the personalities behind the athlete. I will be firing up the Kindle before races to feel motivated to cross the finish line.

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
A friend of mine handed me this book, “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running,” by Haruki Murakami. Murakami was already an established, bestselling author who just happened to also be a runner. This fast read caused me to pause and remember why I love to run. He also touches on triathlons, my other endurance love.

Born to Run
As one of the recent bestsellers on endurance sports, author Christopher McDougall discusses the growing world of ultra racing, focusing on a particular Indian tribe. This book also helped set the barefoot craze in motion. “Born to Run” almost makes me contemplate a 100-mile race, but then I run a marathon and decide “nope” pretty quickly. I met McDougall back on his original book tour and he doesn’t look like a typical runner, which makes me like him even more.

Happy reading!

Eating Better During the Summertime

I tend to crave sweets in the summer. I think the hot weather makes me want all kinds of treats. This obviously is not good for my health. I started researching what I could do and came up with creative alternatives for my diet while still quelling my screaming sweet tooth:

Unhealthy treat: ice cream and frozen yogurt
Swap: Try using thick and flavored Greek yogurt. You can find even find chocolate flavored. Mix in some cut up fresh fruit like strawberries, mangoes and kiwi. It’ll be like a trip to the frozen yogurt shop but a little healthier. Greek yogurt does come with added sugar, but it’s better than all that cream used for the sweeter treats.

Unhealthy treat: popsicles
Try mashing up fresh fruit and putting them into popsicle trays and filling it up with low sugar juice. Then freeze. You can also do the same thing with thick yogurt. Granted it’s kind of a childish treat, but it’s fun for summer.

Unhealthy treat: popcorn
I like to watch outdoor movies during the summer and have found that air-popped popcorn is just as good and then I add a little bit of trail mix to it. It gives it that sweet and salty combination without all the added butter. Plus, it adds in some protein from the nuts.

Unhealthy treat: summer fruit pies
With berries in season, I see more strawberry and blueberry pies popping up at the grocery store and being brought to backyard barbecues. You can smash up granola to the consistency of pie crust and layer fresh berries on top of it. Then add a dollop of whipped cream on top. Most whipped cream is only 15 calories per serving.

Unhealthy treat: S’mores
If your summer includes bonfires and making s’mores, you can substitute chocolate for peanut butter and low-fat graham crackers.

Happy eating!

Food Runners Should Try

 Image courtesy of rakratchada torsap/

Image courtesy of rakratchada torsap/

Looking for a little change to your diet? Try these foods out:

Matcha Tea

I keep hearing more online about matcha tea. My friends are raving about it. But what is it? Matcha tea is the equivalent of 10 cups of regularly brewed green tea. That sounds insane right? Think of how much caffeine that is in your body all at once. Turns out, it’s a good thing.

Matcha tea provides 137 times more antioxidants and 10 x more nutrition than regular green tea. You don’t have to keep drinking 10 cups all day long to reap the powerful benefits.

Other benefits to runners include:

  • Improves physical endurance by 24%
  • Boosts metabolism
  • Relaxes the body after a hard workout
  • Enhances mood and aids in concentration–allowing you to focus on that speed work
  • Provides necessary vitamins to keep you healthier
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Doesn’t cause that jittery caffeine feeling because the energy it gives you comes from its natural properties.


Eggs provide about 10% of your daily protein needs. Runners need protein to repair muscles after a long run. For those weekend long runs, try coming back home and boiling an egg or scrambling them and put them on top of wheat toast.

Black beans

Black beans are helpful to runners because they provide both protein and carbs. And, the carbs are released slowly into the body and can help boost performance because they will provide constant energy.

They also can regulate you. As any runner knows, gastrointestinal issues are the worst and can destroy you in a race.


I’m sure you’ve heard about the importance of omega-3s and eating clean protein, like what salmon can provide. But salmon also helps runners because it can assist in balancing the body’s inflammation response. If you’re not a chef, you can buy it precooked and canned.

Happy eating!