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Beware of Misinformation

My boyfriend’s way to make me feel better!

The internet is full of information especially with health and medical but some can be bad. Unfortunately, I fell for it! I was looking for a good multivitamin to take. I stick to the strict diet but still lack key nutrients for my body. I take many different vitamins because celiac has reduce my nutrients intake from the past destruction of my small intestines. Instead of buying certain vitamins, I thought it would be cheaper to buy a multivitamin. Wrong! First, I take thyroid medication in the morning, which you need to wait an hour to eat. Also, calcium and iron vitamins need to be taken 4-6 hours after thyroid medication. And certain foods can interfere. I take calcium at night to avoid interference with thyroid medication that has zinc and magnesium but has no vitamin D. Also, I have to avoid vitamin D because of my 1 functional kidney cannot absorb it. Yet I still need vitamins at my ripe old age to train for endurance races. The 2 multivitamins I tried still gave me problems. One made my thyroid go from hypo to hyper which is rare but can happen. And the other made me fatigued because a few ingredients interfere with my thyroid and kidney. I stop them on Saturday by recognizing the fatigued symptoms and back to what I took before. I am slowly feeling better and hope by next week I’ll be back to normal training. If it looks too good to be true or you have questions, don’t buy it and talk with your doctor. Even if a friend tells you how great it is for them, stop and research. If it works for one person it may not work for you. If you have questions about any health stuff, ask your doctor. Stay safe and healthy! @pamhouck

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Plan A, B, C

Some days you have a plan for your work or workout in the training plan but something happens to change it. We started with a swim at our the local lake where we do our open water swims. There was an accidental drowning which caused Lake Gardner to close for an investigation. So a friend and I decided to swim Stiles Pond which is 40 minutes away from where we live. We were all set for Wednesday but she text early that morning she was sick. Immediately, I called our local gym to get a swim lane which I was able to. I planned to swim a mile Wednesday and I did but in the pool. I already swam the lake twice which I will be good for Saturday’s Land Shark Swim 1.2 mile event. The big but was distance and speed. The swim in the pool proved I was ready. So the morale of the story, don’t give up and find alternate plans to complete your task. Be healthy and safe! @pamhouck

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And Now Summer!

The entire United States will be under an heat advisory starting tomorrow. Some states started a couple days ago. Memorial Day in New England was cold and rainy, now heat. Welcome to New England weather! Question is now how do you train in this weather? Simple, modify your workouts, adjust the time of day and hydration. Tomorrow, I have long run which I will run earlier like 6 or 7 am. Don’t try to push hard, go easy and your heart rate will be higher which is normal. After a few runs/workouts your body will adjust to the heat. Hydrate more! That is not just water but electrolytes in your water, gels and chews. The electrolytes should have calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium, which should be balanced of all 4. Also drink often and bring extra hydration. Some sports drinks can be high in sodium which can cause gastro issues. Some of these tips will help make your training a little easier and your body will be happier. Be safe and healthy! @pamhouck

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It Is That Time of the Year

Now the weather is warm, we can bike and run outside without masks if vaccinated. And there are more cars on the road. So here are a few ways to stay safe when running on the road: wear bright clothes; run against traffic; if wearing head set keep the volume down to listen to nature and the cars; beware of your environment; run on safe roads and avoid major roads/highways. Here a few ways to be safe on the bike: follow the rules of the road (you are a vehicle); don’t listen to music when riding; don’t bike on the sidewalks (that is for pedestrians); avoid biking in the cities and highways; beware of your environment; check the forecast before you leave. Now as vehicle drive respect walkers, runners and cyclists and don’t text while driving. Hope you a safe and healthy summer!

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That One Nagging Thing

So many runners and triathletes don’t make time or forget to stretch. It so simple but the focus is on the training. I started to put it in my athletes training schedule. Then there is the question I get from athletes and friends: how do I stretch the muscle that is hurting? I always shake my head and chuckle a little. You might think the muscle hurting is tight but it may not be. All muscles are connected. If the muscle is just tight then stretch that muscle and all other muscles around it. If it continues hurting after stretching then you need to see a doctor and physical therapist. Also something can be out of alignment especially from running on the road. Many roads in New England are cambered (slanted) to allow the rain to run into gutters/drains. This puts a lot onto the left side of the lower body. Then try to run on rail trails or trails. Check out my videos on stretching and foam rolling at: https://gearupforfitness.com/videos/. Be safe and healthy.

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We’re Back

On Sunday, Cinco de Miles 5K was the first race I ran in person since 1/1/2020. The weather was nice but seeing all my running friends was the best. Millennium Running put on great safe events (road races and triathlons). Many runners and volunteers at the race were fully vaccinated and runners wore the masks before and after their run. Everybody, that is 1800 runners, followed the rules. It was time trial start, with 2 runners going off every 10 seconds. Many races including triathlons, marathons will be doing this. Some runners like time trial and some like the mass starts but you have to look at the big picture. And the big picture is we are getting close to being back to normal. Be safe and healthy! @pamhouck @millenniumrunning #millenniumrunning

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Patient With Process

Completed Run Maine (495 mile) Virtual Challenge

Saturday’s long run help me complete Run Maine (495 miles) Virtual Challenge, which I started 9/1/2020. Today’s run I completed Run Rhode Island (140 miles) Virtual Challenge. Today’s news was the best to hear that road races and endurance events will be permitted to start May 10th in Massachusetts. I have 2 more states (CT and VT) which I will finish in May and that will be the end of virtual racing for me. This Sunday, I will be racing a 5K in New Hampshire in person. And I am excited because it is 15 months since the last race. All my friends and clients (triathletes and runners) are doing happy dance as more states allow races to happen. But we all have to do our part by getting vaccinated to allow more businesses to open and we get back to normal. Stay healthy and safe!

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How Did You Do It

Recently for Zone 1-2 post I got a comment: “I would like to know how you and her managed this. My runs are almost always in zones 3,4 and 5 even allowing for heat and other factors”. As a coach, I am ask this question many times. First is to understand how your heart rate zones 1-5 are created. Did you do FTP test on the bike or Lactate Threshold field test on treadmill or use the new Kavoren formula or max heart rate formula? This is critical in determine how your heart rate zones are created. The most accurate way are the FTP test and Lactate Threshold field test on treadmill. The least accurate is max heart rate which is 220 – your age very generic. Many sport watches do that and some do the Kavoren formula adding your resting hear rate. Sarah and I did the FTP test on the bike then add 10 for each zone for the run. I tried the new Kavoren formula for Sarah but she was always higher. Where the FTP test is based on her current physiology and more accurate for her. Now you need to understand how your perceived exertion relates for each heart rate zone is critical too. I created a chart for my athletes using Borg Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE), and feeling through breathing. Example of Zone 1 is hardly noticeable of the breathing. Example of Zone 2 is slightly noticeable of the breathing. When you run in the heat and/or up a hill your breathing will be harder and heart rate will be higher. Also, your running paces will be different for each zone. Sometimes just walking a bit or walk a hill on easy day will lower your heart rate. I hope this answered the question. If you have any question please reply to the blog. As a coach, I want to make you better athletes. Be safe and healthy!

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Pool Lane Challenge

A week after my first COVID vaccination shot, I joined local gym to swim. First shock, I haven’t paid for gym membership for long time because I train and taught classes at that gym. The second part, you have to call to reserve a lane. I’m use to just going when ever to swim. Now because of COVID, you cannot share a lane which is why you have to call to reserve a lane. As more people get vaccinated, more are going back to the gym to swim. Living in New England to cold to swim in lake now. Swam in March 2 times and 2 times in April so far. Swimming is aquatic which you need to swim at least 2-3 times a week to make any gains. To get me in the habitat, I schedule in my Google calendar to beep me on my iPhone to call the gym to reserve pool lane for the next day. I miss calling Sunday but did call call Monday morning which there was 1 lane open a 12 pm. Yup the rest of the day all the pool lanes were reserved. If you snooze you loose! If you are a swimmer or triathlete use your Google calendar to remind you to schedule your swim time lane. Be safe and healthy!

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Zone 1-2

Back in January, I did a post “Battle of Heart Rate Training”. I talk a little about my client/athlete Sarah how all her workouts would have high heart rate Zones 3-4-5. 3 weeks ago, she ran 5.5 miles at the usual pace. But what she noticed, her average heart rate dropped 15 beats and the run felt easier. Since January, the majority of her training has been in heart rate Zones 1-2. Zones 1 (easy) and 2 (endurance) which are critical for endurance training. As she changes her focus to Boston Marathon, she will find the training easier as the distance gets longer. Another training benefit of Zone 1 – 2, your resting heart drops because you are getting stronger. Be safe and healthy!

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Beware of Wahoo

I have a Wahoo Kickr Snap smart trainer which it is sync to Zwift for my bike rides during the bad weather. For the northeast that is about 5 months of the year. The rides on the trainer feel like you are riding outside. But past couple of weeks, the rides were not fun and going nowhere. I would be pedaling then all sudden Zwift would stop me then start picking me up a couple minutes latter. First I thought it was my WiFi but that was fine. So I went on the Wahoo app and my account was deleted. I went online to create my account again. Then went back on the app to check Bluetooth connection which found my Wahoo Kickr Snap and updated the firmware. This morning before I rode, I did the Wahoo calibration of the Kickr Snap. So next time, you are crazily spinning and going nowhere on Zwift then check your trainer app/firmware is up to date. Be safe and healthy.

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I Got This

The Start of Sarah’s Boston Marathon Training

Last Tuesday was the online registration for Boston Marathon virtual race. That is 70,000 runners around the world signing up. Some wanted to do this marathon all their lives but knew it was impossible to qualify. Sarah knew that was her and it was her chance to get the unicorn medal. She knows the next 6 months will get real and tough but she is mentally ready. For many this will be their first and last marathon. Then some register because other friends were doing it. I know one did sign up then next day question why?! She has come to a resolution that she will be doing it and started get herself ready. Then there is Kim, she has done the race but was injured. This time she wants to do it but train safely and be injury free. Many athletes have same goals as Kim. This is where I come into the picture as their coach. What both Kim and Sarah do one positive thing, they cross train with bike and strength. Marathon can be one of the toughest sports on your body and mind. My goal is to create a safe program which focuses on their current physiology and their goals. I have another athlete doing Mt Washington Road race (running up 6288 feet, only 1 hill!). The funny part, I have run up Mt Washington race 7 times and completed 3 Boston Marathons, which gives me a little experience. But the thrilling part for me is to watch all my athletes reach the finish line with tears and smiles.

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Treadmill VS Road

Infamous Powwow Hill, just keeps going up!

I have couple athletes like treadmill but most prefer the road/trails to run. Me, I am a road/trail runner. To me, treadmill environment is too control. Most runners that run treadmill do it at 0-1% incline that doesn’t relate to the real road conditions. Many fine it difficult to adjust to running outside especially during a race. Treadmill running can be good during bad weather in the winter but don’t make it a habit. My home town has great training for runners and triathletes. We have plenty of hill from rolling to steep. Sometimes during a race, I will hear a runner or triathlete complain it is too hilly. When ask where they trained, answer usually track, flat area or treadmill. Now we are in the good weather, go outside and enjoy what mother nature gave us. And say I am going to conquer this hill! Be healthy and safe!

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The 2nd Shot

Thankful To Be Running!

I think the photo says it all! What a year it has been for everyone. Like you, I am ready to get back to normal which for me is doing races live. Virtual races were good to motivate us to keep running and biking but a live race is totally different. I feel lucky that I didn’t get COVID. I know some athletes that had mild symptoms are still feeling them, the long haulers. Today’s run felt good because a big weight has been taken off my body with the 2nd Moderna vaccine shot on Friday. Looking forward doing a live race but that is also dependent on how many do get the vaccine for many races to happen. If you love sports, your friends and family then get the vaccine. I have many friends know this and want/getting the vaccine. Be safe and healthy!

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Almost Back To Normal

Around the bend, the hill keeps going up which I am hoping races will be happening.

Races websites are starting to have actually race dates. Some races are happening in some states but others are waiting for the state governors to give the okay. But races won’t be the same! Some will require for you to be vaccinated or do COVID-19 tests before race day. Many are doing time trial starts but must wear mask before and after the race. Some are no social gatherings after the race which many athletes do the races just for that part. Some no spectators. The races will be different but many will be happening. I am hoping here in New England they will July 1st. The more that get vaccinated quicker we can get back somewhat normal. I thank Millennium Running for making events happening in-person safely or virtual. I know I will be at one of their races in soon after my second COVID vaccination. Be Safe, Be Healthy, and get vaccinated! #millenniumrunning @millenniumrunning @pamhouck

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Daylight Savings

Yesterday was a tough day to stay awake for many of us. Who thought in congress to change our internal clock and create sleep deprived people with Daylight Savings. Many athletes found it tough stay awake then try to do your training workout. I put an easy workout in the schedule for my athletes to keep the body/legs moving forward. Some people suffer for a week. Skipping the training is not a good idea since you want to keep your body in rhythm of the training schedule. Try to stay with you bedtime and wake up schedule times. Eventually, your body will adapt. Stay safe

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Now the Vaccination

As you can see my cat, Bootsie is chilling and wants us to join her. Great idea but many of us are trying to figure out how to get a COVID vaccination appointment. Spent 2 weeks doing this on Massachusetts vaccination website! Either the website keep crashing or putting you in a waiting room for 10 months (no joking). But i didn’t give up last week, then tried one more time and CVS pharmacy had available appointments 20 miles away the next day. CVS website and getting vaccination appointment was so organized which many states can learn lessons from. We all walked out after our shot elated and with tears. I’m all set for second shot appointment in 3 weeks which I will see a light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe I will be able to relax with Bootsie. To celebrate, I plan to do a local road race in New Hampshire. Millennium Running has created safe races to do in person or virtual. We might have to wear masks for another year but we will be able go to a sports events, small concerts, see friends and family and more. To beat/win COVID, we all will need to work together to get the vaccination and wear masks. Be healthy and safe!

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Covid Back

Many of you are working from home because of Covid. You are finding it hard to take brakes with all the Zoom meetings. Now your back, shoulders and other parts of your body you didn’t know exists are hurting. Here are the questions I ask: is your home setup is the same as your ergonomic office setup at work? Are you taking brakes especially lunch? Are you sitting at a desk, table or kitchen counter? What is your chair, a desk chair or dining room chair? Now you see where I’m going but another question is do you stretch a couple times a day? There is more to it than you think. If you own a stand up desk, great but you still need to stretch and move around. Go to https://gearupforfitness.com/videos/ which have a couple videos of stretches and foam rolling. The stretches on the bike are great for sitting in front of computer as well the foam rolling. Latter this week, I will post another video of stretching and foam rolling. Try to take breaks and stretch, your body will be happy you did it. Stay healthy and safe!

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Being Cupid

As we approach Valentine’s Day, we as athletes and coaches need to respect and thanks our significant other by being cupid. My boyfriend, Mark, is so supportive of me being a coach, runner and triathlete. We see each other on the weekends but that is when most long training workouts happen. When I’m training, Mark will do errands for us, be handyman, make a meal for us or catch up with some work. Never complains, even when my clients call or text. So this Valentine’s Day, tell your cupid how much you love and thank them by surprising them with a meal, flowers or card expressing how much you appreciate their support. Just do something, they would love you more and continue to support you. Now, I know Valentine’s Day is one day a year but is is always good show how much you appreciate them all year long because they will be their at the finish line. Happy Valentine’s Day! Be safe and healthy!

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The Pull Back Week

The pull back week, either triathletes/runners love it or hate it. Me I love it because I know my body needs it. But many athletes don’t understand why they need it. When athletes training for endurance events (half marathons/Olympic distance triathlon to longer distances), coaches use periodization training. Periodization training uses micro cycles of 2-3 weeks of heavy volume to build the endurance then 1 pull back week of lighter volume to recover. That pull back week allows you the athlete to continue to build your endurance. Many athletes say they feel good and don’t need to recover or don’t need a rest day, which leads to injury. Use that recovery week to catch up with life, family! Pull back week volume is reduced but not all the speed workouts are removed. Just know that it is part of the process to be ready for your big event day.

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What We Learn

As a coach, we are always learning new tools, apps, techie gadgets, and new training methods. So many coaches stick what they learned in class but don’t change with the latest. We are constantly learning from the science of pro athletes; what works and doesn’t work in training for today’s athlete. And training older athletes. Science keeps changes which makes learning new stuff interesting. Now as an athlete, we are constantly learning about ourselves; our bodies adapting to the training; and how we should be productive with the training. Being productive is listening to our bodies on how it reacts the workouts, mentally aware of the environment, and scheduling the workouts within our life (family and work). Science is an evolution as an athlete’s body! Don’t stop learning or you will miss the boat!

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Battle of Heart Rate Training

Running/triathlon coaches and aerobic instructors see heart rate training differently which it is a battle for the athlete. Spin/aerobic instructors say if your recovery is fast for intervals then your cardio is good. Also, they believe you can do a couple interval workouts a week. Majority of spin instructors don’t even own or bike outside. Now running/triathlon coaches see this is a problem with their athletes because it creates confusion from their side. Running/triathlon coaches use Zones (1-5) for the heart rate training by using the heart rate monitors and RPE (rate of perceived exertion). Depending on what events you are training for that can determine what heart zones you will be most of your training. Half marathon/marathon and half Ironman/full Ironman, you will be training mostly in Zone 1 (easy/recovery) and Zone 2 (endurance). 10K and Olympic training will Zone 1, Zone 2 and some workouts Zone 3 (lactate threshold). 5K and Sprint triathlons are Zone 1, Zone 2 and some workouts Zone 4/5 (above lactate threshold). Now you ask, how are these heart rate zones determine, most common test is FTP test on the bike or lactate threshold test on the treadmill. I have a client that has been struggling to keep her running and biking in Zones 1-2 because most of her training before was done in spin classes. Today, she had a break through with a 70 min ride mostly in Zone 2. At the end of the ride, she felt she could keep on going and felt good. Took her a couple months to understand this, now she gets why Zone 1 and 2 are so important for triathlon training. She sticks to the plan, she will see improvements in a couple months. Be safe and healthy!

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Going the Distance…

This topic was suggested by my boyfriend Mark. Mark knows I like to do long distance races and training. Distance is all relative to the person or athlete. Long distance is a mental game, being present in the moment compare to shorter/sprint distances. Usually, I train for 2 Half marathons a year but COVID still happening and is still having an impact on races being virtual, postpone or canceled. And living in New England, winter can make it tough for running outside with snow and ice. So far, it has been good weather but that can still change. Not sure I want to do another virtual half marathon race this spring. So I decided to focus on shorter distances 5K-10K for the spring, and improve on cadence, speed, strength and flexibility. When winter happens, biking indoors on trainers is easier with Zwift. After getting vaccination, which I hope soon, then start swimming in a local indoor pool building endurance. When coaches create training plans, distance is measure by time (biking/running) and/or distance (run/swimming) by slowly incrementing the distance/time through periodization plan to peak you for the big race day. So going the distance can be measured by time, miles, kilometers, meters or yards but it is how you train for the big race day and be ready to go the distance. Be safe and healthy!.

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Winning and Losing

Winning and losing is a big part of sports and other parts of our lives. You can use this as positive part of your life. Most age group athletes compete in sports (running and triathlons) as a way to lose weight, get in shape or stay fit, have fun, meet their friends or inspire their children. Some do compete to win races or win their age group which can be good or bad. It is how you approach the race mentally: confident or arrogant. Going into the race being confident is good because you trained in all weather conditions, completed the training as scheduled, practiced the course and you know the competition. But then something happens race day like a curve ball: a change in the course because of weather or a newbie that no one knows is hard to beat. You know your training got you ready and confident about the outcome will be good. The confident one wins no matter how he places in the race because he shows sportsmanship. I like to look at my race results to see how I can improved my times. I know I am a competitor but like to compete against myself. See if I improved or what I have to work on. When I win or place top 3 of my age group, I see that as a bonus. It is how you train physically and mentally creates confidence to be ready for the big race. When you lose congratulate the winners then go back to your plan to see how you can improve for the next race. Don’t dwell, don’t look back, look forward to the next big one!

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The New Norm for 2021

2020 is the year of virtual racing from 5Ks to Marathons to Ironman events. Many athletes are nervous, wondering if any races will be happening or what race events will be like in 2021. Now that there is a vaccine for COVID, I see races happening. but might not happen till June and will look different. Staggered starts, no spectators, and smaller number of athletes. Bikers, runners and triathletes just want to race at the events and see their friends. Race directors want you back to race live too! 2021calendar is starting to fill up with events which some athletes are starting to sign up. I’m being cautious but want my athletes be excited again about racing. Start planning your race schedule but also be flexible with the new norm. Stay healthy and safe!

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What is Next?

Last badge makes me think of summer!
I wish for warm weather!

Saturday, I completed Run MA Challenge. That is run/walk 645 miles and raised around $900 for Pettengill House. Pettengill House helps local families and kids with food, pay rent and other ways of support, especially with pandemic. It is good to have physical goals but it is also good to take a break and rest. Right now, I am enjoying my recovery, strength, and workout without a training schedule. Just do what I feel like! Athletes are so program to train all the time which can lead to overtraining or injuries. I like December to rest/recovery as it is the best time to do this because of the holidays. I have not registered for any 2021 races. But with the Covid vaccinations, legit races probably won’t happen till June here. I will decide in January what is next. Just enjoy your holidays! Stay safe and healthy!

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I Can See the Finish Line

Slowly getting to the end of the Run MA Challenge (645 miles). Started the challenge July 1st, since then ran a couple virtual 5Ks, 10Ks, and 2 Half marathons. Completed 9 badges of the challenge with 1 more to go. Each badge helps the runner/walker keep the distance manageable. This is not the year I originally planned for racing but 2020 has been different everybody. I am lucky not to have not suffered as many are during the pandemic which is why I raised money for the Pettengill House. Pettengill House helps families and kids in the local communities with food, paying rent and other service. I can see the finish line with this challenge but also the vaccinations know there will be an end to the pandemic. To get there, we all need to be “Patient with the Process”. This is Angela Naeth’s mantra for endurance racing but also we need to remember it for the Covid pandemic. Stay safe and healthy!

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Covid Stomach

Everyone is telling me I have COVID stomach! Most of us are working from home with kids doing remote learning. Many states are doing more lock downs now. And the holidays are here! Being home more, food is near you all the time. Some are working from the dining room table or kitchen counter, which they see all those snacks are staring at them all day. You get that picture! Now some are working in the basement or in a home office which the snacks are not staring at them. Out of sight, out of mind! Now you see this picture. Which picture is yours?

Simple tips to reduce COVID Stomach: 1. Put a timer on your cell phone or schedule break when you are finish with meetings. 2. Take breaks by walking around the house or go outside for 5-15 min. When you come back in, you will forget about the food and feel refresh. You will work more productively. 3. Put healthy snacks on the counter, like fruit then unhealthy snacks. 4. Don’t skip eating meals which is just as bad as eating too much. 5. One simple ab exercise that you can do sitting, push your abs to your back and hold those Transverse Abdominals for 20 seconds to a minute. Do 3 sets a day. This will help your back and abs feel better. Stay healthy and safe!

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Cadence

Yup, completed Manchester City Virtual Half Marathon on 11/7. Living in New England, the weather can be extreme. When I did this half 10 years ago on same day was 35 degrees and this year was 68-70 degrees. Interestingly, both are hilly. And I like hills! What goes up, you can fly down. Every body responds differently with pure run training. Eve felt great, me I felt tired all the time like overtraining. Last week, back on the bike 2 days and my legs want to spin faster when I run. That bring up the topic of cadence. As I am doing my Zwift bike ride, I focus on my power, heart rate and cadence. If your have too much power which your cadence starts dropping below 80. Optimal cadence on the bike is 90-100 which is really each leg doing those revolutions. Now running, when you talk about cadence is both legs doing 180-190. Now, you can see how bike and run work together on this. When you run or bike at those higher cadence numbers, your speed increases. To get to those numbers, slowly build up using a metronome or practice running down hill. Be safe to be healthy!

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Hitting The Wall

You have heard “Hitting the Wall” in endurance events, like a marathon. Well I hit mine today during my run. Doing the Run MA Challenge is endurance event itself by maintaining 30-32 miles a week of running and walking. When I added training for a couple of half marathons that starts to tax the body more. My resting heart rate has slowly creeped up which is a big sign your body is going into over-reach to overtraining. Now I am starting to feeling exhausted is the big sign that it is time to step back. Tomorrow, I will do strength workout but no cardio. Thursday, I need to see how I feel in the morning which can be no run or a short one. Hoping by Saturday, I will feel better to do a long run of 10 miles. Next weekend, I am hoping I feel recovered and run a faster half marathon than in September.

It is best to listen to your body and know what the warning signs of over-reach/overtraining for you. Especially now during a pandemic! because you can become very sick. Yes running and working out is good for you but over doing it can become the bad for you. Be safe and healthy!

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Half Way There

New England is fill with fall colors which is the perfect time to hike or walk trails. I am lucky to live with my windows faces Lake Gardner and Powow Hill and across the street from my back door is Woodsom Farm trails. On Sunday, my walk cross the half way of the Run MA Challenge. Many times I wanted to quit because I never would see the end. So I change my focus to each badges distance, a mile stone of the 645 miles. Yesterday, I pass the half way point. That is 326 miles of running and walking since July 1st. This week, I will hit another milestone by completing Run Connecticut Border badge. By reducing mileage to manageable distances, helps you focus on that distance and reduces stress. This also applies to running endurance events from half marathons to ultras and half Ironman to Ironman. Play it safe, you will be surprise what you can accomplish. Be safe and healthy.

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Spot On

Half Marathon finish and on Garrison Trail

As many races have become virtual because of the COVID. A couple weeks ago, I planned today to do the Jamestown Half Marathon. I text my girlfriends my plan to run today the rail trails. Diane and Eve joined in on the fun and with great conversations. Even though I have been doing the Run MA Challenge my running has been minimal until 6-8 weeks ago. A couple 8 milers and a 10.3 miles for long which is not the best training but decide I would give it a go. We ran slow with some walks to get in our nutrition. I made sure every mile I did a GU Block and drank. Also, ate my usual breakfast gluten free toast with almond butter and honey. I had energy to speed up at the last 2 miles and still had energy after the run because my nutrition was spot on. Now I want to do another half with some training and faster. When you walk away from a good experience, you want to do more and use lessons learned. One factor that did help was the fog and being cool. I want to thank Diane and Eve to run the whole thing with me and make it fun, not stressful. Racing should be fun, not stressful! Stay safe and healthy!

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Thank You Girlfriends

The picture is from our 10K run that we ran through Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Eve needed to do her virtual 10K race this week but wanted to do scenic route and hilly.

Today, I was planning to do my virtual Jamestown Half Marathon. Last night, I had a bad celiac attack but slept good. I still wanted to run long but knew my body couldn’t run the half. I am happy to run 10.3 miles with the best friends which I am ok for the distance. I know next weekend, I will be able to do it with more best friends. My girlfriends and I Race Like A Girl team are the ones that burn the fire in me to get out there to swim, bike and run. The pandemic has cancel races or go virtual which we crave to do. But it is how we move forward and keep training that keeps us sane. When we swim, bike or run, we provide support therapy to keep moving forward. So this post is dedicated to Eve, Diane, Becky, Kim, Colleen, Sarah, Brenda, Carolyn, Gene and I Race Like A Girl team. I know all of us will miss Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as she fought for equality for all.

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Keep Moving Forward

Last week, I had to stop running and walking for couple days because left foot was swollen. I realized my flip flops were irritating my instep because it is high. After a couple days resting it with swim and bike, I am back to Run/Walk MA Challenge. Taking care an injury sooner then latter, you will get back to your training faster. Past 3 days, I have done 13 miles with no problem.

Picture to left is one of my favorite electrical boxes painted by local artists. It reflects how this country can live together in harmony. And helping our neighbors without discrimination. We are all human beings that we should treat each other with respect. Be safe and healthy.

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I Ran NH Border

Today, I decided to do my long run because we will be hit by Hurricane Laura’s remnants tomorrow. I just wanted to get this badge before the end of the month. Yes, this challenge can be daunting but it can be motivator. My weekly mileage has increased from 10 miles to 20 miles, but I do want to get it to 25 miles a week. September, I do have a Jamestown virtual Half Marathon which I am not sure I can do. My long runs now are slow 8 miles. We will see what happens next couple of weeks. The next badge is Run Vermont Border which is short 44 miles. You have to like math for this challenge which is my favorite subject. Calculate your weekly mileage, your run/walks mileage and try to vary your workouts to keep it fun. Now back to calculating, running and walking. Stay Safe

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Making Strides

Thursday was a pivotal point in my running. It was the last day to run Saunders Virtual 10K which I was not looking forward to running. My running had become difficult with the heat, running slow with a lot of walking breaks and legs always felt sore. I decided to run the same course as I did for the Run For It 10K and try to beat that time. First mile was slow and only walked 1 min then each subsequent mile was faster with no walking breaks. I beat the time by 47 seconds. But I had to do a long run of 8-9 miles on Saturday. I started nervous and slow but eventually found my running rhythm. I walked a couple times to make sure I got GU blocks and fuel in me. These runs have given me the mental strength to improve my running. One coach always said run within yourself. The only person you are racing against is your self. I am looking forward to the cool fall days to run and maybe get faster.

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Change of Plans

2020 is turning into the year of cancel races! But is it? Actual it isn’t because many races are turning into virtual races. That includes Boston Marathon. New virtual races/challenges are being created which includes Run MA Challenge. That is run and/or walk 645 miles which is the circumference of state of Massachusetts. I signed up for this challenge but to sweeten the pot I am raising money for the Pettengrill House. Many athletes are doing endurance virtual events and raising money for charities. We are living difficult times but giving back to your local communities makes everyone feel better including you. Be Healthy and Be Safe!

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Know Your RPE

To understand your RPE and heart rate is to know what RPE represents. RPE stands for Rate of Perceived Exertion. It is critical for all athletes from Beginner Runners to veteran athletes. Many veteran athletes depend on using their heart rate monitors or Garmin watches for their training. Many times these watches don’t correlate to how you really feel. When I create my athlete’s heart rate chart, I include the RPE chart. I want my athletes to understand how their bodies feel in that zone. For Beginner Runners, I tell them to use the RPE chart. Below is PDF file which you can use in your training. The chart correlates the heart rate zones to the perceived exertion.

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Really?

My Garmin watch says I am now detraining, really? Last week, I decided to take a couple days off to paint my deck/porch because the weather was perfect. I did a couple walks and started swimming the lake. Yup, New England went from winter to summer and skipped spring. Doing physical therapy from a running accident 10 days ago. I am moving, not really sitting much and doing strength training. But the watch doesn’t see me really exercising with swim, bike and run consistently. How can I lose all that fitness in 10 days? But as we age, we can lose fitness quickly. As I get back to my schedule of training of swim, bike and run, the watch will change to being positive. Many of you started getting into good exercise pattern with the pandemic. Can you keep it up after the pandemic? Start now thinking and working on how you will maintain this training/workout regiment for ever. Be safe and healthy.

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The Virtual Route

Many of us are experiencing more canceled races but some local races are doing the wait and see approach. Example of 2 local races: the town’s festivities are canceled but not the races. I know they are in July but they must know the local and state officials would say cancel it. One has 3-4 thousand runners. Now comes the Virtual races that are mostly free and raise money for local causes. Why do virtual race? It is not the same being there with my friends. In a way it is like being with your running/triathlete friends but online with Strava or Zoom. Have your friends do it with you online. Doing a Virtual race is way to get yourself off the couch to train and moving. Plus you can do it what ever time that works for you. Here are a couple Virtual Races: https://app.ironmanvirtualclub.com/en/challenges (sprint. Olympic and Half Ironman, consisting of run/bike/run); https://runsignup.com/Race/MA/Amesbury/SSFSFreedomRun (5K, 10K or walk/run 1 mile); http://www.millenniumrunning.com/united (Run 1 mile, 5K, 10K or Half Marathon). Don’t stop training because of Covid-19 but fine ways or a race to keep you motivated. Stay safe!

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What is Next?

A little late but spring is starting here in New England. With many races cancelled through June, many runners and triathletes ask what is next. Will races still happen in August through the fall or 2020 will be the year canceled races. No one knows but for now it will be virtual racing. This means you don’t need to stop training. When Patriot 70.3 and half marathon canceled, I did 2 weeks of low training. The first week, only worked out 5 days because I was exhausted. Biked and run at heart rate zones 1-2. Added 2 days of strength and core workouts because of no place to swim. Maintaining a good base with strength training is perfect to be ready for races in the late summer through fall. I put an Olympic triathlon on my calendar at end of August for a focus and motivation but won’t sign up until it is safe. My triathletes and runners are following the same plan to keep their training interesting and fun. You can control your own destiny but it is how you do it. Stay healthy and safe!

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Contemplating Our New Normal

A year ago, I was getting ready to retire, well semi-retire. This year, we are quarantined for the Covid-19 pandemic. This is our new normal by being isolated. The first 2 weeks, I was stressed like many thinking on how to pay my bills. My job is considered non-essential; I just train and teach people how to be healthy. Then I got many emails from gym members asking about their memberships, because the gym franchise based in NY is not big on communication.  Welcome to corporate America of today.

The hardest part as a single person is the isolation. I thought I was an introvert from the years sitting at a computer as software engineer. But that all changed when I got in the fitness/health industry, I became an extrovert.  It all hit me and I broke down in tears with my boyfriend hugging me.  He made me feel better. So every weekend, we spend time just hugging. Communicating by texting is not the same as human interaction. Maybe more people will put their cell phones down to see that face to face is the best communication which many are doing zoom and Skype.

What keeps me going was my training for the Half Ironman in June. The half marathon, I was planning to do on Saturday. But it was cancelled as many other races and events in April. Saturday morning, I woke up to snow and I was happy that I was not running the race. Luckily we were able to transfer to another half marathon in September. Friday night, got email the Half Ironman is canceled.  With many races canceled, it leaves runners and triathletes in uncharted waters of no focus.  Not really, because we will find another race, reassess our goals, take a short break then get back on track. As I reassess my goals, I realized the half Ironman training volume is hard on my old body. Last week after 2 heavy weeks, I felt exhausted. No acupuncture means no sleep, not good for any training. Taking a short break but won’t stop me exercising just do it without structure.

Today’s break was run the trails near me. Listening to the wind, the beepers and birds saying remove your ear plugs; enjoy the earth and nature that is free to everyone. Happy Earth Day! @tritobeyoungathlete

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And We Keep On Going..

I think the pandemic has tested our mental strength, creativity and flexibility. As we see more races and events get canceled, we fine ways to stay on course and challenge ourselves to do it virtually. But sometimes you have to listen to our bodies to know when we are putting our health and your well being in jeopardy for the cornavirus. This week is my push back easy week of my half Ironman training but I feel exhausted and not sleeping. Allergies are bad and making asthma act up. Luckily, I had a telehealth with my doctor yesterday to talk about all this and the virus. First, she said events will be cancelled in June and large crowds won’t happen till August, maybe. Second, she was concern me getting covid-19 because of my age, have asthma, have 2 autoimmune diseases and the stress on the body from half Ironman training. She wants me to exercise but not at high volume. I totally agree with her. So I am not doing the race but first feel better. I will continue to bike and run but not at high volume. Be safe and stay healthy!

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A Little More

We are almost done with our 3rd week of isolation. Hope you are doing good and doing the isolation to slow this virus. Hope you are exercising for your mentality, physically and emotionally well being. Today, I added 2 more exercise videos: https://gearupforfitness.com/videos/. Created these videos to keep you active. Also, hope you can go for a walk, run or able open the windows. Being with nature calms your soul. Be safe

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Looking at Bright Side

This picture shows the bright side clearly! Everything is clear and the lake water looks blue. Why because the earth is able to breath again without the pollutants. When I run or bike outside, I just want to enjoy the nature around me. I think the pandemic is making everyone slow down to enjoy it. Yes races are being cancelled or postponed but that shouldn’t make you stop biking or running. Many of us don’t have jobs now. We don’t know what our future will look like in a couple months. But it makes you realize what is really important for you, your family, your friends, and community. We are all in this together and we come better and stronger.

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Survive The Week

I am in Base period but I survive the first week Half Ironman training. Yesterday’s long run, I was tired from the 2 hour bike on Saturday. Running with a friend help push me through the end. This week will be a little challenging because of New England’s winter weather. I don’t like running on the treadmill or run circles on the track which I feel like a hamster in the wheel. Mentally I am ready for this week’s training and weather which I will put on a smile.

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That Nagging Pain in the Butt/Hip Part 2

This post is about how to alleviate the pain.  First, don’t sit for hours, get up every 15-20 minutes. Second is to stretch. You want to stretch the calves, hamstring, quad and hip flexors, it-band, piriformis, gluteus medius, lat muscles in the back. Sounds like the whole body but every muscle is connected and affected. When one is tight then all tighten up or are affected. Third is to foam roll. When foam rolling do one side from calf muscle through the Lat muscle in 2 inch increments. Don’t roll over the joints (knees and hips) which can create injury. If the IT-Band is super tight then foam roll 2 times a day from calf muscle through the Lat muscle. Foam rolling only IT-Band will not resolve the issue because the tightness cam be coming from another muscle group. Fourth, runners and triathletes make sure you are engaging your core and be in neutral pelvic tilt. Fifth, if you sleep on your side, sleep with pillow between knees to feet.This keeps your hips and back inline.

Next few weeks, Coach Pam will be posting pictures/videos of the stretches and foam rolling.

Next month Part 3, we will discuss exercises to strengthen the core and body to work in all planes. To get ahead of the game plan, participate in Run Your Potential program, which Coach Pam is using all this each class.

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