First off, I bought three of my Texas Marathon pictures! (Official Disney pictures to come shortly as well!) Here they are:
Cheryl says I am the happiest marathoner ever! 🙂
Second, I was reading an article online by Mackenzie Lobby which discussed 14 running tips for 2014. I thought they may be useful to pass on.
1. Maintain Training Balance. This could very well be the most ignored running tip out there. A runner should balance intervals, easy days, tempo runs, long runs and rest days to remain injury-free and increase performance. Every runner is different in terms of what they can handle and how quickly their body adapts, so it is important to tailor the plan to your own needs.
2. Warm-Up Dynamically. Quite a bit of research has shown that a dynamic warm-up is more beneficial than static stretching. In addition to a short jog, include exercises like butt kicks, high knees and skipping before running.
3. Include High-Intensity Training. High-intensity workouts such as interval training will make you both faster and stronger by boosting your VO2 max. A recent review of 37 separate studies on the topic showed that the best way to execute intervals is in 3- to 5-minute bouts of faster running. Any longer and it could leave you sidelined with an injury; any shorter and you may not reap the benefits of increased VO2 max.
4. Strength Train. Research published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology examined the effects of strength training on endurance performance. Participants were coached over eight weeks to include 3 to 4 endurance-based workouts each week and 1 to 2 strength sessions. The results showed that the athletes improved strength, power, running speed and endurance. With just a couple days strength training sessions each week, you are likely to see significant improvements in your running performance.
5. Hydrate Properly. Runners sweat a lot. This means that, as a runner, you’ll need to take in more fluids than the Average Joe. A study presented last year at the American College of Sports Medicine’s annual meeting showed that runners who rehydrated 75% of their sweat lost from running were three percent slower than when they fully replenished fluids. The longer the distance you’re running, the more this can have a major impact.
6. Train with Friends. Research out of Kansas State University recently showed that training partners can have a positive impact on endurance performance. Monitoring speed, distance and perceived exertion, the researchers presented several different circumstances to participants during 12 exercise bike workouts. During half of the sessions, they worked out with a partner through Skype and the other half of the workouts they rode alone. Results showed that when they rode with a training partner, they went up to 200% longer and their perceived exhaustion didn’t change from the sessions when they were riding half that distance alone. While schedules don’t always allow, it’s worth recruiting friends to run with you at least a couple days a week, for the sake of good company and better running.
7. Rotate Your Shoes. A study published in 2013 touted the benefits of using multiple pairs of running shoes. Researchers classified runners into two groups: those who were single-shoe wearers, who wore an average of 1.3 pairs of shoes during the 22-week study; and multiple-shoe wearers, who sported an average of 3.6 shoes throughout training. Results showed that those who rotated and switched their shoes out more often (the multiple-shoe wearers) had a 39% lower risk of injury.
8. Listen to Your Body. There are plenty of loose guidelines out there to direct your training. However, because every runner is different, it is important for you to develop a sixth sense for knowing when you are doing too much too soon. If you’ve got dead legs, back off and cross-train instead that day. If a previously injured knee is bugging you, it may be worth taking an extra rest day. Your body is constantly sending you signals, so listen to it.
9. Visualize. By visualizing a race performance or an awesome workout, you prep your brain to withstand those nagging voices that suggest you aren’t capable of successfully completing the task at hand. A 2013 study showed the effects of positive self-talk by testing two groups of cyclists—one of which was coached in honing that positive inner voice and the other which received no such training. Unsurprisingly, the group who learned how to practice those positive self-talk skills lasted 18% longer on the bike than the control group.
10. Rest. It is important to see rest as part of training, rather than the absence of it. In the same way that a tempo run boosts performance, a rest day allows your body and mind to bounce back from tough training. Without enough rest, you’ll reach a point of diminishing returns where extra running is simply breaking your body down, rather than building it up. By scheduling in regular rest days, you’ll be able to string together more consistent training over the long haul.
11. Hill Train. While most runners know hill training can be beneficial, a new study by New Zealand researchers demonstrated its effects conclusively. Upon assigning 20 runners to various hill workouts over six weeks, the researchers had them do a 5K time trial before and after the training. After the 6 weeks of incorporated hills, runners were 2 percent faster in that 5K effort, suggesting that while hills may be unpleasant, they are well worth the effort.
12. Don’t Sweat Shoe Type. While there has been plenty of attention on barefoot shoes, “fat” shoes and everything in between, a new study published last fall suggests that the type of footwear you run in may not make that much of a difference. The research compared runners who wore shoes with soft midsoles to those who wore shoes with hard midsoles. At the conclusion of the 5-month study, they discovered that there was no difference in injury rates between the two groups. Indeed, this does not negate the fact that some runners find footwear, or the lack thereof, to be a big piece of the puzzle when it comes to injury woes. It is a good reminder, however, that every runner is different and there is no silver bullet when it comes to healthy running.
13. Refuel Post-Run. Nutrition experts and coaches are becoming increasingly insistent upon taking in both carbohydrates and protein almost immediately after exercise, especially hard workouts and races. By ingesting a 4:1 ratio of carbs to protein in the 30 minutes after you stop running, you’ll increase your body’s muscle repair processes. This simple practice will prep you for the next big workout and contribute to healthier, more consistent training.
14. The Big Picture. Instead of viewing running in the framework of a single training cycle, think of it in the long-term. This will help keep a bad workout or less-than-stellar race performance in perspective. It is all about the miles and workouts over many months and years that will collectively elicit good performances. Regard your running career as a long-term lifestyle choice rather than a three-month training cycle leading up to race, and you’ll be less likely to sweat the small stuff.
Last night I got to see the movie Blue Jasmine. Another movie with fantastic acting! (The other one I recently mentioned was August: Osage County. And I really didn’t seem some of the scenes coming! Out of nowhere!! And we totally snuck in some DQ Blizzards to the theater. I tried the new Red Velvet Blizzard (the February Blizzard of the Month)–I am a fan. I would definitely get it again.
Quote of the Day:
“Running has taught me, perhaps more than anything else, that there’s no reason to fear starting lines…or other new beginnings.” -Amby Burfoot
One of my coworkers had knee surgery a short time ago, so before her big day I made her some Chocolate Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies for her recovery. I think she was a fan. 🙂
Chocolate Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
– 1/3 cup shortening
– 1/3 cup butter
– 1 1/4 cups flour
– 1 1/4 cups sugar
– 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
– 1/3 cup cocoa powder
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 1 egg
– 1/2 cup milk
– 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
– 3 cups oatmeal (regular or quick)
– chocolate chips
– Preheat oven to 350*.
– In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the shortening and butter. Set aside to cool.
– In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cocoa and salt.
– In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg with the milk and vanilla. Add to the dry ingredients along with the shortening/butter mixture and stir until well combined. It is best to do this by hand, not with a mixer.
– Stir in the oatmeal. Drop by the tablespoonful onto greased baking sheets.
– Bake for 12-15 minutes. Cool on paper towels.
Courtesy of Penzeys