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Home » Featured, Fit Families

Run Forrest, Run!

Submitted by on November 12, 2010 – 6:00 AM3 Comments
Run Forrest, Run!

Nike said it best with the phrase “Just do it”, Gandhi said “Be the change you wish to see”, and Walt Disney said “Keep Moving forward”.  All three mean the same.  If you want to do something, no excuses…get up and go.

With Thanksgiving just 3.5 weeks away, it is a popular time for the runner/race circuit.  The weather cools down. The foliage changes and we are looking ahead to the holidays and ultimately our resolutions for the upcoming year.

If one of your resolutions is about running, here are some tips on how to begin.

  • Walk: Start by walking for 5 minutes to warm up.  (After all, you have to learn how to walk before you can run). Walk heel toe with a good stride while pumping your arms.   This will start to accelerate your heart rate and get the blood flowing throughout the body.  After five minutes, begin a light jog and then increase your pace also up to 5 minutes.  Keep alternating that pattern.  The goal is to work your way to 20 to 30 minutes to start.  These alternating intervals are also known as Fartlek training.  Ok, go ahead and get the giggles out.  But Fartlek is Swedish for “speed Play” and is based upon the principals of increased speed followed by a recovery.  This training over time will allow for increased duration of the power interval and decreased duration of the recovery period.
  • Frequency: Try and do this routine at least3-5 times per week, with appropriate time to rest in between. With each outing, try to decrease your recovery time and increase your running time.  Even one extra step or one additional second is still more than the time before.
  • Form: Proper form will improve overall performance and increase endurance.
    • Head placement:  When running be sure and keep your head in a neutral position with your neck.   Maintain eyes focused on the ground just ahead of you.  This will help you keep a straight line and follow a safe trail.
    • Shoulders: should be kept nice and low.  Be careful not to shrug or tense the shoulders up towards the ears.  If this should happen while you run, straighten your arm and perform wide circles rotating forward and then back to loosen up the shoulder girdle.  This should help the shoulders drop down to a neutral position.
    • Arms: should be in an “L” position, fists closed, thumbs on the outside.  Your arms assist in propelling you forward.  They can elevate or decrease your heart rate based on the height at which you hold and move them. Their movement should be from breast bone to hip bone.
    • Body line:   The line of your spine should be straight.  Your shoulders should be over your hips and your hips should be over your knees and your knees should over your ankles.  Sounds pretty basic right?  Well by keeping the major joints in line, your weight and balance will be alignment.   This will ensure that your weight will be equally distributed and will prevent injury.
    • Foot placement:  be sure that your foot hits the pavement in this manner:
      • heel of the foot should hit the ground first
      • push off from heel to center of foot
      • rolling to the toes
      • entire foot leaves the ground’s surface and has it’s hang time before landing again
      • Note:  be sure that your foot lands in line with your chest, not too far forward.  Take shorter strides to ensure a more accurate and efficient stride.
  • Plan a goal. If it’s a 5k that you are after, those are the most common group road races.  You can find one almost every weekend.  Give yourself about 8 weeks to train for one if you have never run one before.  The following is a link to the Space Coast Road Runners Association Race Schedule: http://mattmahoney.net/scr/cal.html
  • Find a partner: A running partner who is the same fitness level as you will enable you to progress together, pace each other, and grow together as runners. Plus, a little girl talk helps to pass the time.
  • Keep a log: With the advent of technology, “apps” and sites like “map my run”, create easy ways to keep track of your trails and your distance.  Using a hear rate monitor allows you to track things like your training heart rate, your recovery zone, your calorie burn, etc.    The more data you have about each run; the more you can understand and progress.
  • Nutrition:  “You are what you eat”.  You don’t want to weigh yourself down prior to a run.  By eating too much or eating the wrong types of foods, your body is busy expending energy to digest rather than push you through your exercise.   Good food choices before a run or workout can be:  yogurt with sunflower seeds, banana and peanut butter, etc.  A nutrition company for athletes and weekend warriors called Hammer Nutrition has a product called Hammer Gel.  This is the perfect pre-workout consumption.   It is a gel consisting of 100 calories, comes in many flavors and is comprised of amino acids and clean carbohydrates that can be utilized quickly as energy.  It is all natural and gluten free. www.hammernutrition.com.  Post workout nutrition can mirror that of pre.  Just be sure and include a protein and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.   The protein will replenish your muscles with building blocks of amino acids and the fruits and veggies will provide minerals and nutrients that the body had just broken down, without the added calories and starches.
  • Shoes:  As a runner, the only real piece of equipment you need is your shoes.  Be sure and find one that fits your foot correctly and is meant for running.  Not cross trainers, not walkers, not even the tone-up shoes.  The body experiences  three to four times their body weight over 800 times in a one mile run.  Proper shoes to absorb that shock are a must or injury will be a guarantee.

Maybe I am biased.  But I love to run.  As a two time NYC Marathon Finisher,  a Long Island Marathon Finisher, Pineapple Man Triathlon Finisher and countless road races,  Manhattan miles and sandy beach runs under my belt, I can tell you that there is no endorphin release like that of a good run  (it’s not called the runners high for nothing). It clears my head, it makes me feel light on my feet and I have the control to challenge myself at any time.  No two runs are ever alike and the thoughts that surface are never the same.  Bottom line mamas, living in Florida, we have the advantage of Sunshine all year round.  Use the beach, a trail or the road.  Whatever moves you. Just get up, get out and hit the ground running.

I will leave you with this quote from Jesse Owens, 1936 Olympian who won 4 gold medals:

“I always loved running…it was something you could do by yourself, and under your own power. You could go in any direction, fast or slow as you wanted, fighting the wind if you felt like it, seeking out new sights just on the strength of your feet and the courage of your lungs

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3 Comments »

  • Good Morning Nancy,

    I have to just say, “WOW”! What a motivational blog! You are so right when you said, “If you want to do something, no excuses…get up and go.” You’ve hit the nail on the head! For myself I LOVE to run. I will be honest, it hasn’t always been this way. I used to HATE it. It was a chore, a burden if you will. However, it was something I wanted to do well, not only for myself but for my family. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle for my children is a non-negotiable in my book. I also like to eat…a lot! 🙂 I’ve found the older I get, the less I can eat unless I want a spare tire around my mid section. (My problem area.) Running allows me to have a guilt free dessert here and there or that extra helping of dinner.

    Your bullet points are so right on. This is the perfect action plan for anyone who would like to begin running on a regular basis. I never thought I would be able to run a 5K. I would run a mile or two, once or twice a week, but was more than intimidated on stepping up my game. That was until one of my fellow Mamas started knocking out the 5k races like a champ. I thought, “If she can do it, I can do it!” So I did!! Now the next challenge is the dreaded 10k…Dun, dun, dun! 🙂 Thank you to my running partner, Donna, for being an inspiration and bringing out the best in me.

    I am intrigued by your form instruction. I am going running right after this post and will, for the first time, be paying attention to my form. In addition, I can’t wait to try the Hammer Nutrition, 100 calories, that is awesome!!

    Your many accomplishments and your tricks of the trade will be an inspiration to all who read this! As always, thank you for your amazing contribution, Nancy!! I can’t wait to see what you come up with next. Thanks for the motivation this morning!! You reinforced the fact that I CAN do it!!

    Best,
    Lori

  • sarah marks says:

    running is my weakest event. i love my bike. but i have started doing tri’s. i better learn. that was a super motivating blog. i have been running just 3 miles 3 days a week. it is getting easier. i am able to go two miles before i walk a little. i can get on my bike and ride forever. i need that running. i want it finally. thankyou thankyou for all your tips! i will be up tomorrow pounding some pavement!!!! Marathon runner! wow You go girl!! Thankyou again for the motivation. yours in health Sarah

  • Nancy says:

    Lori – First of all, let me start by saying you brought tears to my eyes. Your response really touched me. And I can say right back to you is that you are a true inspiration to strong independent women. Thank you for creating a space for us to gather.

    That being said, I can relate to running sometimes being ” chore”. As much as I love it, there are those times. I try to focus on the feeling that I have when I am done. And that seems to pull me through. Like I said, not every run is the same…but that is part of it’s beauty. That and to quote you “the guilt-free dessert”. lol

    Thanks for allowing me to particpiate in such an amazing community! <3

    Sara – Thank you for your beautiful response. It seems as if you are definately on a great running path. To that, Having done my first tri last year, I know how you feel as well. Swimming is my weakest and to that was my biggest challenge to prepare. My whole life, I have tried to purposeful do the things that either scare me or didn't come easily, so that they couldn't scare me anymore and/or I could accomplish (albeit not perfectly) the very thing that challenged me. I find that visualization helps. This is when you sit peacefully and actually "visualize" yourself doing the thing that you want to do. I do this over and over again so that to my mind's eye, I have done it a million times before. You will be amazed at how this technique can get you through.

    I wish you both all the best with your training.

    Aerobically yours,

    Nancy

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