Changing Stride

Some coaches say changing a runner’s stride is a bad idea. It depends whether the runner is getting injured and/or is inefficient.  It can be difficult to change the bad habit but the runner can have big benefits. One client had hip issues because she was over striding and landing on her toes. Changing to land mid foot and take off on toe, she no longer has hip issues. Another benefit to do Chi Running, she has gotten faster.

If you are getting injured and/or struggling with your running, see a running coach to do analysis of your form. The analysis can include video tapping. Since I had added video tapping runners and swimmers, I can guide them to improving their form and efficiency.

Hard Work Pays

Sometimes, you feel you are working hard but not seeing improvements. This can be true with swimming. Last Thursday, my swimmers swam in the lake the first time this year. Before the swim, some felt they were not getting faster after working hard this winter. After the open water swim, they were singing a different song. This past winter, we all (including me) worked on efficiency and power of our stroke. Some workouts were a struggle but we push on. We had our reward and will continue to be rewarded this summer with our competitions. So never give up you will be rewarded at the end.

When to Stretch

I am always asked when do you stretch.  I say at end of your workout. Then asked why? When you stretch cold muscles is very easy to pull a muscle or get injured, especially with strength training.

Safe way to your workouts:

  • Start all workouts with easy cardio warm up of 5-10 minutes.
  • Strength train or increase cardio intensity.
  • Cool down with easy cardio for 5-10 minutes. If you did strength training and want to lose fat/weight, do cardio for 20 minutes which will continue burning fat.
  • Stretch at end of workout. Hold the stretch position for 20-30 seconds. Don’t bounce.

Have a good workout!

Being Selfish

Sorry for not blogging for a couple weeks but very busy at work and went to the Fit Soul, Fit Body workshop at Kripalu Yoga center in Lenox, MA. The workshop was very interesting, learned a lot of stuff for my clients and classes. At times during the workshop, I became selfish thinking of myself which I usually think for others. Sometimes, I think working in the healthcare and as a woman, you always place yourself last. On the last day of the workshop, I realized I was not being selfish but focusing on me to be better myself. Once in a while doing something for yourself is not a bad thing because you come back to your center as stronger person. When your soul becomes fitter and stronger then it helps people around you.

You Got Rhythm

Last Thursday’s triathlon swim class was interesting with one swimmer. She was very methodical in her stroke, almost over thinking. She used her kick to propel her through the water not using her upper body to pull her. She had no rhythm. It was boom—boom, not baa-baa. In a previous blog I talked about swimming 3 Rs: Relax, Reach and Rhythm. Reach and Rhythm work together. If don’t reach and pull, you cannot have rhythm. Your kicking should be minimal for the bike and run.

To create rhythm, you need upper body strength for the pull with reach to rotate. Here are ways to create your rhythm:

  • Build upper body strength with dumb bells and bands for these exercises: Back lat-pulldown, back rows, tricep dips, front and side raises for shoulders, bicep curl, and chest flys.
  • In the pool, swim with pull buoys and hand paddles for 200-300 yards after a warm up or at the end of your workout.

Happy Swimming!

Swimming in the Now

During this morning’s swim lesson, my client started to think about the triathlon this summer. This created stress and anxiousness which she couldn’t focus and had a hard time with her breathing and stroke. I had her take a few yoga breathes then told her to focus on the now the present. Her swim improved and became easier.

Swimming can be very technical because of the timing of the breathing, different phases of swim stroke and the kicking. Putting all this together can overwhelm people. There are 3 Rs to freestyle swimming: Relax Reach and Rhythm. When you accomplish the 3 Rs to swimming and you stay in the now, swimming becomes a meditation and relaxing.

Be present during your next swim, bike, or run workout enjoy the now moment.

Getting through the run

Tuesday nights, I am doing the Couch Potato to 5K Hero which has been interesting. I have been doing this program for 10+ years. During the run/walk sections, I listen to their interesting stories and how they get through the runs on their own. Most of the runners in the classes are middle age women. They do it for various reasons which will motivate you:

  • Candy is in her 50s, retired, and has a steel plate with screws in her leg. She listens to her iPOD.
  • Betsy is in her 50s, wants to reach her weight goal and be healthy. Diabetes runs in her family. Soon she will be off her blood pressure. Betsy’s mantra is “Runners don’t have butts”
  • Judith is in her late 50s, wants to run a race with her daughter.
  • Isobel is an inspiration to all women. She is from England and had breast cancer. Started running when she was 76 years old. She stopped running a couple years ago but still works out regularly.
  • Erin started running at 28 years old because of stressful job in Boston and MS.

All these women have inspiring stories which I hope they inspire you. Most important it is never too late to start running or an exercise program.

My favorite mantra is from Carol: “Yes I can, yes I can”, from the Little Red Caboose children’s book.

What is your story or mantra to get you through your workouts?

Quiet Mind

Currently reading Fit Soul Fit Body, by Brant Secunda (Huichol Shaman and Healer) and Mark Allen (6 Time Ironman Champion). In chapter 2, Conquering Stress, they talk about quiet mind. During our workouts, sometimes our brains are chattering too much. But when you connect with nature, you can let your mine go quiet.  I like running outside to hear and see nature, birds singing, see dear in the woods. When I run on trails I notice my mind goes quiet which I feel I am in another place as you were meditating. It is like having a mini vacation from life. When I am stress out I will run in Maudslay State Park, which I call my sanctuary. Try connecting to nature and letting you mind go quiet, you will be surprise how you feel.

Do you have place to go to quiet your mind, let us know.

Running shoe width is critical as is the size

One of my runners in my class described her issue with her foot. She says the neuroma is painful and foot is numbing during and after running. One, she was wearing a running shoe size the same as her dress shoes. Second, her foot is narrow which she got narrow running shoe. As you run, your foot swells up length and width. This wear the running shoe width is critical as is the size. With neuroma and bunions, buying running shoe a little wider toe box gives the foot more room and less pain. When at a running shoe store explain your issue when you run, and explain any foot issues. There are running shoes made with narrow heel with wider toe box.

I noticed through the years of running, my feet have grown. Also women after pregnancy say their feet have grown. Actually, your arch has drop. Your arch, pronation, and running gate are just as important in the purchase. This were a good running shoe store is critical in buying your running shoes.  Your feet change throughout your life so will your running shoes.

Success of Marathon

Success comes in many ways. My client Kathy had success completing the Boston Marathon. Monday’s marathon had record dry heat with a slight tail wind. This was particularly difficult for runners coming from the northern part of the country. Marathons are half mental, half physical. This philosophy proved to be tougher this year at Boston Marathon.

Kathy saw the race as part of her Ironman in August. On Friday, we had strategy meeting to get her from Hopkinton to Boston without cramps, not in medical tent and no injury. She wore her heart rate monitor to keep her as she said “honest”, not go fast. She stuck to the hydration strategy. She came out of the marathon mentally stronger to do her Ironman. Every runner finishing Boston Marathon this year had their own success.

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