Monthly Archives: March 2017

Current Running Essentials

I’ve been running for about 22 years!  My first marathon, Columbus Marathon, was almost 14 years ago.  I actually ran my first half-marathon as part of training for the Columbus Marathon.  My true love for running began after those races.

Running is a fairly low maintenance sport.  Of course, it can get pretty pricey if you buy every fancy gadget, gear, supplement, etc. that is available.  I like to stick with the basics!  Here are my current favorite running essentials:

Saucony Ride 9Saucony is my favorite running shoe brand.  At my very first visit to a running shoe store, I was fitted in Saucony’s.  Maybe that’s why I love them!   I did wear the Nike Vomero model for a while, but eventually switched back to my Saucony’s.  I prefer a neutral running shoe and I have a wide foot.  These fit great and never disappoint!

Garmin Forerunner 10 GPS watch:  I never go for a run without my Garmin.  I need to know my distance!  Pace and time are important facts to know as well.  I realize it’s beneficial to run without a watch sometimes, but I never go without it.  My first Garmin watch was huge!  This model is the perfect size.  It doesn’t have too many bells and whistles and is easy to use, which is why I like it so much.  It keeps time, distance, pace, calories burned (which I pay no attention to), mile splits, history and alerts you when you hit a record time.  It’s reasonably priced and is available in cute colors as well.

Nike DayBreak Running Hat:  I don’t remember the last time I ran outside without my hat.  It keeps the sun out of my eyes, as well as rain.  Hot or cold, I need my hat.  I have several other hats, but this one is my favorite.  It’s light, soft, and very comfortable.  As you can see in this picture, it is pretty worn out!  This particular hat may no longer be available because I’m having a hard time finding it.

Nike Vest: This Nike running vest is very light weight and water resistant.  I usually wear it during runs in 40 degrees or below.  It has pockets which come in handy for my car key and for my phone when listening to music or a podcast during long runs.  I also like to wear it casually too.  I love it!

Kinesiology Tape:  KT tape is “an elastic sports and fitness tape designed for muscle, ligament and tendon pain relief and support”(KT tape website).  I first used kinesiology tape last year when I experienced knee pain, but only occasionally.  After being diagnosed with left kneecap tracking disorder a few months ago, I have been using it for every run and workout.  It really does give support and helps stabilize my kneecap.  There are many you tube videos you can watch to learn how to apply the tape.  I was always concerned that I might be taping it incorrectly, so I asked my physical therapist to show me how to use it properly.  I have tried several different brands and I could definitely see a difference in quality between brands.  Maybe in a future post I can review the different brands I have tried.  Currently, I am using Curad Performance Series and it is doing it’s job!

Training Journal:  This year I purchased the Believe Training Journal.  It’s a year long training log that allows you to track your runs and workouts and also has a weekly focus section.  There is plenty of space for notes and it also offers advice and motivation.   I like it, but I will probably go back to the Runner’s World training log that I usually get for free with my magazine subscription. (yes I still get the actual magazine in the mail!)  While I appreciate the extra inspiration and training tips, I really don’t use a training log for that purpose.  I prefer a basic log to track my workouts.

Finally, I must include what I have after every morning run, a cup of coffee and a sweet potato topped with sunflower seed butter.  This combo is so delicious.  I don’t think I will ever get sick of it.  I’ve been eating it for years…….

 

Do you have any running essentials?

Have you splurged on any running gear?



Are you F.I.T.T.E?

According to the US Dept. of Health and Human Services, we need at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week to gain health benefits.  (Or 75 min. of vigorous-activity)

When following a cardiovascular or aerobic program, a helpful approach is to follow the F.I.T.T.E guidelines.  This stands for frequency, intensity, time, type, and enjoyment.  Following these guidelines can be very beneficial in helping you reach your goals.

You can make progress in your training by modifying these variables.  The pace at which you progress is dependent upon your health status, exercise tolerance, time you have available, and your individual goals.

Lets take a look at the F.I.T.T.E guidelines:

 Frequency:  You can gain minimal benefits in one or two workouts a week, but it’s recommended to get exercise most days of the week.  For healthy adults, it’s recommended to exercise a minimum of 5 days per week at a moderate intensity or a minimum of 3 days per week of vigorous intensity.  If you combine moderate and vigorous intensity, then 3-5 days per week.  Remember we need at least 150 minutes per week to gain health benefits!

Intensity:  How hard you are exercising is probably the most difficult to determine, as people have different perceptions of exercise intensity.  There are several ways to monitor your intensity, but the most common methods are heart rate, talk test, and RPE (ratings of perceived exertion).  I feel that the talk test is simple, reliable, and easy to do.  If you can talk comfortably, you’re at a low-intensity; if you feel that you can not talk comfortably, you are at a moderate-intensity; if you can definitely not talk comfortably you are at a vigorous intensity.  Progressively increasing your intensity will improve your aerobic fitness the quickest.

Time:  This is the duration of your physical activity.  You can measure this by the amount of time, or by miles run or amount of steps taken.  The duration of exercise is probably the most fitting variable to control when beginning a fitness program.  Each week you could add on 5-10 minutes.  Be careful not to do too much too soon as it could lead to injury.

Type:  The type of aerobic exercise is, of course, your choice.  Any activity that uses a large amount of muscle and can be sustained for more than a few minutes can be labeled as cardiorespiratory exercise.  Some of the more popular options are:  running, walking, swimming, cycling, and rowing.  Circuit training, group exercise, and sports such as soccer or basketball could be options as well.

Enjoyment:  You should always enjoy your aerobic training!  If you don’t like what you’re doing, then it’s likely you won’t stick with it.  There are so many options that you are bound to find something you enjoy and have fun doing.

By following the F.I.T.T.E guidelines, you can create aerobic workouts that are appropriate for your fitness level and that fit your individual goals.  By being physically active, you will see improvements in your overall health and sense of well-being.

Let’s get moving!

 



Eat for your Health

Last week I met my Mom and my Aunt at Whole Foods Market.  The closest location to me is about 40 minutes away, so I don’t go very often.  My Mom and Aunt are currently following the Weight Watchers program and wanted some guidance on things to buy.  We had a fun time and filled our cart with fresh fruits, vegetables, and some other fun items.

Brussel sprouts. Yum!

Let me say, I’m not a fan of “diets”.  According to CBS News, at least 45 million Americans are on a diet.  Considering that about two thirds of Americans are overweight or obese, something isn’t working.   If a diet or program isn’t sustainable for life, then I would not recommend it.  Quick fixes may initially produce desirable results, but what happens when you return to your normal eating patterns?   Taking your time and changing habits is a much healthier option.  It may be unappealing because you don’t see results right away, but feeling better and being healthier makes it all worth while!

Just a few of the “diet” books!

Being mindful of your food choices and making small adjustments towards healthier food options will impact your overall health.  Moving towards fresh, nourishing, whole foods is a beneficial way to feed our bodies with nutrients, vitamins, and antioxidants.

Consuming whole, unprocessed foods has been linked to health benefits such as:

  • improved energy levels
  • a more restful night’s sleep
  • enhanced athletic performance
  • healthier, younger looking skin

Small changes can add up and eventually yield big results.  You can transform your lifestyle.  By sticking with basic, whole foods, you don’t need to worry about “dieting”.  Now, I know it’s almost impossible to avoid all processed foods.  But being more mindful and aware of what we are putting in our bodies will lead us to feeling better as well as gaining long-term health benefits.  Of course, being physically active is equally important.

The National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) is a database that tracks people (most in the registry are women) who have lost at least 30 pounds and kept the weight off for at least one year.  Here are 10 tips the NWCR found that works:

  • Control portions:  Standard portions have gotten larger, so have Americans!
  • Be mindful:  Pay attention to everything you eat.  Ask “why” before heading to the fridge.
  • Exercise:  As you lose weight, a proportion of each pound comes from muscle, which then slows down metabolism.  This makes it harder to keep the weight off.
  • Check the scale:  Don’t become obsessive with the scale, but it’s useful to keep tabs on any weight gain.
  • Eat breakfast:  Research suggests that people who eat breakfast weigh less and suffer less from chronic disease than non-breakfast eaters.
  • Monitor intake:  Keeping a food log is an effective proven strategy.
  • Do not wait until tomorrow to get started-and no cheating:  It’s easy to postpone a lifestyle change to a later date.  And having a cheat day encourages unhealthy choices.
  • Know thy friend:  A study found that obesity spreads through social ties.
  • Be optimistic:  Research suggests that people who have a positive attitude have more success at behavior change and weight loss.

Your health should be a priority, not trying to achieve a certain size.   If your attempt at weight loss is adversely affecting your health, it’s definitely time to reassess your actions.  Focus on eating for your health and soon you will feel better, healthier, and happier!

 


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