Lose the Winter Pounds

imagesRunning burns a significant amount of calories per hour, more than most other forms of cardiovascular exercise. As it is an all-over body movement, you also use your own body weight to keep your forward motion–as opposed to elliptical machines and bicycles that assist you in exercising. Because of this, running works not just your leg muscles, but your core and arms as well. In short, to rid yourself of added pounds packed on during the cold winter months, running will allow you to dump that weight faster than most other workout options. To get even faster results, try adding these into your running workout:

Interval training. This is a type of training using speed to burn more calories, make you faster and make your heart stronger. It is one of the most painful workouts, as you must push yourself to the top of your heart-rate limits–but it’s worth it. Try this workout at a track:

Warmup 800m (jog)
400m x 4, each 400 getting faster. You must limit yourself on your first 400 as you still need to have energy to get faster on each lap. Don’t go all out at first or you won’t have the breath to finish.
Rest 2 minutes
400m at interval speed (fast and unable to hold a conversation)
Rest 1 minute
400m at tempo (fast, but able to hold a conversation)
Rest 1 minute
400m at interval speed
Rest 1 minute
400m all out with whatever you have left
800m cool down. You can walk the cool down if you need.

Switch your workout times. If your schedule allows, run in the evening one day and the morning the next. This does not give your body much recovery time, but it will build endurance. If possible, try not eating too much before your morning workout. You’ll be relying on your energy stores and burn fat. Switching up your workout times also shocks your body and puts it into better shape–you’ll avoid plateauing.

Add in some plyometrics. This includes high knees jumps, jumping jacks, jumping rope, anything that involves jump training to maximize your leg muscle’s power.

Happy training!


Giving Thanks for Running

cornstockI love this time of year when the seasons change and everyone appears a little merrier and brighter. I especially enjoy Thanksgiving, my favorite day of the year. While the emphasis is always on the dinner and all the trimmings, I try to also focus on the “Thanks Giving” part and give thanks. Here are a few reasons I am thankful for one of my favorite and most productive ways to spend my time–running:

I am thankful I am able to run. This is the most simple reason of all–I am grateful that I have a body that allows me to do what I love to do. A number of years ago, as I headed to a nearby trail head to run up a small mountain, I passed a woman in a wheelchair unable to cross the street because drivers either didn’t see her or just didn’t want to stop. I stopped my car, got out and stopped traffic so she could safely pass. This brought tears to my eyes because I realized how blessed I was and that this was not my reality. I was on my way to run a mountain and she even couldn’t cross the street. I know at anytime my running could be taken away from me and I never lose sight of that truth.

I am thankful to have an outlet to let my mind go. As an introvert, I constantly have conversations in my head; I cannot quiet it down and too much noise occurs in my brain all the time. Running is the one thing that lets my mind just wander and I don’t really think about anything. In this respect, running is quite meditative.

I am thankful for friends I’ve met through running. I now have friends in England, Ireland, Asia and across the United States because of my experiences running around the world. We all share that common bond and I’ve found runners to be pretty cool people.

Happy Thanksgiving!

I’m Grateful for Running

After this week’s events, just one week ago today a new administration for the U.S. was announced, we all are still in a collective shock. Some have taken to the streets to voice their opinion, some are happy and some are sad or mad. I’m trying to focus on positivity in a heated nation. Here are some of the things I’m grateful for, especially with Thanksgiving coming up next week:

I am grateful for my muscle retention. Although my muscles atrophied over the past year, I still know how to at least jog and my muscles rebound quite nicely despite resting them for a little too long. I’ve put them through numerous marathons and they remember the fight to keep going.

I am grateful for the progress in running shoes. As someone who suffers from severe plantar fasciitis, I appreciate the developments made in shoes for people like me. I have specialized insoles and support where I need it most. Without this, I may not be able to run.

I am grateful for friends I meet through running. Some of my best memories are the people I’ve met at races or attending international events. Marathons themselves are horrendous and painful, but the people keep me going and cheer me on to the finish. I am lucky to have a hobby in which I meet people from all over the world.

I feel grateful for the ability to see the world on foot. As someone who enjoys attending international races, I’ve tranversed through back-end neighborhoods and into very untouristy areas, allowing me view pieces of the world generally unseen by visitors.

I am grateful for the runner’s high. Many times I’ll go for a run feeling a big sluggish and end up with more energy than when I started. I know this is true of many runners. I love that high and find myself craving it. It’s unlike any sport–I’ve not found something like this with any other workout.

I hope you cherish every moment you can run. You never know when it’ll be taken away.

Election Day Work Out

It’s Election Day! Happy voting! To work off your stress tonight, try a HIIT.download

We’ve all heard about the newest fitness phenomenon. No, I’m not talking about CrossFit, but HIIT–the acronym for high-intensity interval training. In HIIT, rather than endure long workouts to receive fitness gains, you workout in short bursts that take your body to the maximum. Although runner’s still leave in that weekly long run, HIIT can benefit runners on a time crunch and even make you in better shape in less time.

New evidence suggests high intensity workouts are even more powerful than previously thought. In a new article being published in Annals of Internal Medicine, high-intensity workouts show a clear benefit in those wishing to reduce glucose levels.

Researchers studied 300 abdominally obese adults to determine separate effects of the amount of exercise and the intensity on abdominal obesity. All participants were asked to either perform short, high intensity workouts or long, lower intensity workouts five times a week for 24 weeks. As for diet, all participants were asked to eat a healthy diet, but keep their caloric intake the same as usual.

At the end of the study, all lost the same in inches in the waist, but the high intensity exercise group reduced their two-hour glucose levels.

Dr. Ross, PhD of the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies at Queen’s University in Ontario, said results show high intensity can reduce glucose levels and higher intensity isn’t for those in shape.

How to create your own HIIT workout:

1. Increase incline on a treadmill and speed up the pace.
2. Run 1 mile at full speed and then stop to do push ups, crunches, etc. Then run 1 mile at full speed and stop to do push ups, crunches, etc. This allows you to run faster miles and tires you out faster because of the break in between.
3. Incorporate FARTLEK into your running workouts.



Running Tips to Stay Warm from Olympians

imagesAs the weather starts to turn cold and the time changes this weekend (boo!), I found some tips from various Olympians on how they stay warm during their workouts and pulled out ones applicable to the sport of running. I will definitely be trying them!

Do the Windmill
“There’s this super-quick tip that helps with cold fingers: Windmill your arms. It forces all the blood to the tips of your fingers and your hands get instantly warm within 5 seconds. It’s pretty cool.”
—Scotty Lago, Snowboarding Halfpipe

Focus on Breathing
“I practice a lot of different breathing techniques like Kundalini breathing. My feet used to get so cold, and through the right breathing it’s gotten so much better.”
Jamie Anderson, Snowboarding Slopestyle

Shrug Your Shoulders
“It brings blood flow to your fingers. It’s something that I do a lot.”
—Elena Hight, Snowboarding Halfpipe

 Wrap Your Neck
“The majority of your body heat is released through your neck, so make sure to have a good balaclava or a bandana.”
—Nick Goepper, Freeskiing Slopestyle

Double Down on Long Underwear
“When we’re training outside we wear tight speed suits—there’s not much insulation. I always wear two layers of long underwear and that helps. Layers are pretty much key. It doesn’t look like much can fit under there but we manage.”
—Travis Ganong, Alpine Skiing

Jump Around
“Move your body in any weird fashion to get blood flowing. We go to a lot of areas that are very, very cold and I’ve seen a lot of different ways to stay warm. A lot of them look very awkward, but they work.”
—John Teller, Freeskiing Ski Cross

Swing Your Limbs
“We do all kinds of arm and leg swings. It looks like you’re dancing on the snow, but it works pretty well.”
—Andy Newell, Cross Country Skiing

Happy training!