MAY 2016

Running A-Z: B is for Breathing (Breathing Tips for New Runners)

Welcome to the newest edition of Running A-Z. This is a weekly series where I cover a new running topic each week following the order of the alphabet. Last week we covered running acronyms. If you don't know what a BQ or a PB is in running, check out that post to get up to date. 

B is for Breathing

 

It may seem silly to write a blog post about how to breathe, as breathing is something that we don't have to think about normally. When you start to run you naturally will start breathing heavier to provide your lungs with the necessary oxygen. However, breathing is often an issue for new runners. It seems that the lungs give out long before the legs and you are left huffing and puffing when your legs could go on.

There are a couple of breathing strategies that can help you as you move through this phase of your training. 

DEEP BREATHING

Breath through your mouth and your nose to take in as much oxygen as possible. Run with your mouth slightly open. It keeps your face relaxed and makes it easier to breathe deeply. Take deep breaths from your diaphragm, rather than your chest (otherwise known as belly breathing). Practice taking deep breaths, put your hand on your belly to feel it expand and contract with your breath. 

RHYTHMIC BREATHING

Rhythmic breathing is helpful in a couple ways. Try to synchronize your breathing with your steps, it helps with both efficiency and pacing. I personally like a 3:2 breathing pattern. With each step I take three breaths in (right, left, right) and then two out (left, right). Be careful not to hold your breath at any point. (I found at first I had a tendency to hold for a second after the inhales and I had to break that habit.)

A 2:2 or 3:3 are also popular breathing patterns. Two breaths in, two breaths out or three breaths in, three breaths out in time with your steps. Rhythmic breathing can also be a mental distraction. While you're focused on counting your breaths and steps, the miles can seem to move by a little faster.  

It is not just for beginners. I do rhythmic breathing when I need to focus and find my running rhythm. If you do a little experimenting on the road, I am sure you will find the rhythm that works best for you. After some practice, you will find that it comes naturally. 

Of course, talk to your doctor before you start running. If you find that breathing is an ongoing issue even after your have adapted to running, please see a doctor as it could be exercise-induced asthma (or something else all together). 

One thing I can promise about breathing for new runners is that it does get easier. It will get better with practice and conditioning. Before you know it you'll be breathing like a pro. 

Good luck and keep training!
 

Coach Lea

 

 

 


 

 

 

Pina Colada Protein Smoothie

Who doesn't love a Pina Colada? Since this is a health and fitness blog, I'll leave the alcoholic versions to your favorite bartender and I'll tell you about this delicious, healthy, Pina Colada protein smoothie instead! 

Fill the bottom of the blender with a handful of spinach. I do this for every protein shake that I make because you can't taste it and it is an easy way to add a serving of greens into your meal. 

Add a cup of Greek coconut-flavored yogurt, a handful of fresh or frozen strawberries, 1/4 cup of unsweetened coconut flakes, 1/2 cup of canned pineapples, a scoop of vanilla protein powder and water to blend. 

Blend it all up and serve!

 Pina Colada Protein Smoothie

Pina Colada Protein Smoothie

This is a delicious post-workout recovery meal. Be sure to eat carbs and protein like found in this Pina Colada protein drink 30 minutes to an hour after a hard workout. 

Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Coach Lea

Bodyweight Bootcamp: Four Minute Tabata-Style Workout

Guess what the #1 reason is that people give for not working out? Not enough time. We all know what that's like. Between work, family and social obligations it can certainly feel like there are not enough hours in the day to get everything done, especially that one hour workout that you intended to do. 

I have a solution. How about a four minute full body workout? Now, I'm not suggesting that anyone ever got in the best shape of their lives by working out for four minutes day. I'm saying for those days when life gets in the way, a quick four minute workout can help boost your energy levels, release those feel-good endorphins and help you get in a little strength and cardio training to maintain your fitness.

This is a twist on a Tabata-style workout. Traditional Tabata workouts push as hard as possible for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds before moving on to the next exercise. In this version you will perform the moves for 20 seconds then do an isometric hold for 10 seconds. Repeat four times with a one minute rest between sets and in only 20 minutes you'll get in 4 sets of a full body workout. 

Ready?

SQUATS

Starting with your feet hip width apart push your hips back and lower until your thighs are parallel to the floor, like you are sitting back in a chair, or as low as your flexibility allows. In the low position, engage your core, squeeze your glutes and push up to standing. Take a deep breath in as your lower to the squat and breath out as you return up to standing.

Repeat for 20 seconds then hold in the low squat position for 10 seconds.

PUSH UPS

Start in a high plank position with your hands placed a little wider than your shoulders. Keeping your body in a straight line, while engaging your core bend your elbows slowly to lower your chest to the floor. Once in the low position, push back up to the starting position. If this is too challenging, drop to your knees. 

Repeat for 20 seconds then hold in the low position for 10 seconds.

BRIDGE THRUSTERS

Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Raise your hips off the floor so that your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Pause at the top then slowly lower your hips back to the floor.

Repeat for 20 seconds then hold the bridge position for 10 seconds.

MOUNTAIN CLIMBERS

Start in a high straight arm plank position with your wrists directly under your shoulders with your legs wider than hip width for stability. Keep your body in a straight line from your shoulders to ankles while engaging your core. Do not allow your hips to hike up or sag down. Quickly bring your right leg, then your left leg in to touch your elbows.

Repeat for 20 seconds then hold the high plank position for 10 seconds.

LUNGES (EACH LEG)

With your feet hip width apart and your toes pointed straight ahead, hold your core stable with your back straight and take one large step with your right leg to lunge forward until your front knee is lined up over your ankle, your right thigh is parallel to the floor and your back knee is nearly touching the floor. Do not allow your knee to go past your toes. Use your right leg to push back up to standing in the same position as you started.

Repeat for 20 seconds then hold in lunge position for 10 seconds. Change legs.

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SIDE PLANK DIPS

Start in a side elbow plank position with your elbow directly under your shoulders. Keep your body in a straight line from your shoulders to ankles while engaging your core. Lower your hips to the ground to "dip" then return to side plank position. 

Repeat for 20 seconds then hold in side plank position for 10 seconds. Do not allow your hips to hike up or sag down while performing the isometric hold. Repeat on other side.

Can you find four minutes in your day to give it a try? If you do, let me know what you think!

Coach Lea

 

Running A-Z: A is for Acronyms (Running Acronyms Decoded)

Welcome to the first edition of a new series called Running A-Z. Each week I will cover a new running-related topic following the order of the alphabet. I'll confess that I have not yet planned the topics for each letter over the next 25 weeks. I will write these blog posts each week and hope that I don't get caught up on some of the tricky letters. Like X. Oh, wait. XT - Cross Training. I got this! Speaking of XT, do you ever get confused by all those running acronyms? 

A is for Acronyms

Whether you are a new or an experienced runner, chances are at some point you've been confused while reading a running-related article because it was littered with running acronyms. You may have thought to yourself, what the heck is a BQ, DNF or LSD? Let me help you clear it up! Here are translations of some common running acronyms.

BRF - Best Running Friend

BRF is like a BFF except for in running. It's your best running friend. 

"A lot comes out in those 12 mile training runs. My BRF knows more about my pre-run bowel movements than my significant other." 

BQ – Boston Qualify

When runners say they ran a BQ or they are trying to BQ, it means that they ran or are hoping to run a Boston marathon qualifying time. In order to submit an entry to run the Boston marathon you have to first meet their qualifying times for your age and sex

"I am training hard in order to BQ at my next half marathon."


DNF – Did Not Finish

DNF is used in race results when a runner started the race but did not cross the finish line. It is unfortunate, but it happens to the best of us. 

"It was a tough race. It was my first DNF, but I knew it was the right decision for my body to leave the course that day."
 

DNS - Did Not Start

A little less common, but DNS may be listed in race results when a runner was entered in a race but didn't start it.

 

LSD - Long Slow Distance

Runners may refer to their weekly long runs as LSD. Long slow distances are typically part of half marathon and marathon training. A runner new to long distances should run 45 seconds to 90 seconds per mile slower than usual to reduce impact on the body and recover faster in order to continue to progress with training. 

"My training schedule calls for a LSD this weekend, will you join me?" 

 

PB - Personal Best

PB refers to the runners personal best (fastest) time they ran for particular distance. See also the more common, PR.

"I got a PB! I got a PB! A 3 minute PB! WooHoo!"

 

PR - Personal Record

See also PB. Runners may have a 5K PR, a 10K PR, a half marathon PR and a full marathon PR. It is the fastest time they ran those distances.

"I didn't PR my half marathon but I felt strong and had a great race!"

 

XT = Cross Training

Cross training refers to an activity that a runner does for exercise besides running. It's important for runners to incorporate some strength training into their training plans in order to run stronger, avoid or correct muscle imbalances and to help avoid injuries. XT sessions should be activities that complement running. 

Now let's try to use them all in one sentence.

"I PR'd my last race with a PB! I didn't BQ but at least I didn't DNF or DNS! I guess those LSDs and XT sessions are paying off!. My BRF will be proud of me!" -  Any Runner

Hope to see you next week for B is for...(you'll have to come back to find out!)

Did I unlock a great mystery for you? Did I miss any? Any suggestions for future running related posts as we work through the alphabet? I'd love to hear what you want to learn more about!

Coach Lea

Bodyweight Bootcamp: Crazy Eights Workout

Welcome to another edition of Workout Wednesday! You may already know that I have been teaching a bodyweight bootcamp but in case you do not live in North Texas, I thought it would be a fun idea to share a portion of my weekly classes here so you can try them at home (or outdoors!).  If you missed last week, we did a fun 5x5x5 workout.

Crazy Eights Bodyweight Bootcamp

 

Crazy Eights Workout

I love this intense circuit-style bodyweight workout. You'll get a full body strength and cardio workout in one. The great thing about bodyweight workouts is that you don't need any equipment so you can do them anywhere! Hubby and I hit Trinity Park in Fort Worth this past weekend to have a little fun in the great outdoors. 

You'll perform 8 reps of each exercise before moving onto the next one with no rest in between exercises. Once you complete the 8 reps of 8 exercises, you will rest one minute before repeating the circuit seven more times for a total of eight rounds! Crazy Eights, indeed!

Do not rush the exercises. Perform them slowly to ensure proper form.

SQUATS

Starting with your feet hip width apart push your hips back and lower until your thighs are parallel to the floor (like you are sitting back in a chair) or as low as your flexibility allows. In the low position, engage your core, squeeze your glutes and push up to standing. Take a deep breath in as your lower to the squat and breath out as you return up to standing.

PUSHUPS

Start in a high plank position with your hands placed a little wider than your shoulders. Keeping your body in a straight line, while engaging your core slowly lower your chest to the floor. Once in the low position, push back up to the starting position. If this is too challenging, drop to your knees. 

LUNGE RIGHT

With your feet hip width apart and your toes pointed straight ahead, hold your core stable with your back straight and take one large step with your right leg to lunge forward until your front knee is lined up over your ankle, your right thigh is parallel to the floor and your back knee is nearly touching the floor. Do not allow your knee to go past your toes. Use your right leg to push back up to standing in the same position as you started.

LUNGE LEFT

With your feet hip width apart and your toes pointed straight ahead, hold your core stable with your back straight and take one large step with your left leg to lunge forward until your front knee is lined up over your ankle, your left thigh is parallel to the floor and your back knee is nearly touching the floor. Do not allow your knee to go past your toes. Use your left leg to push back up to standing in the same position as you started.

PLANK ROW

Start in a high straight arm plank position with your wrists directly under your shoulders with your legs wider than hip width for stability. Keep your body in a straight line from your shoulders to ankles while engaging your core. Do not allow your hips to hike up or sag down.

With your core tight and your glutes engaged lift your right elbow to row as you bend your elbow up toward the ceiling. Repeat on your left side. This is one rep.

BICYCLES

Lie flat on the floor with the lower back pressed into the ground. Place your hands on either side of your head, do not lock your fingers or pull the head up. Lift your knees to a 45 degree angle. Lift your head and shoulders off the floor and touch your right elbow to the left knee while pulling your knee up towards your head. At the same time, straighten your right leg, keeping it several inches off of the floor, similar to the motion you'd make while pedaling a bicycle. Repeat on other side. This is one rep.

TRICEP DIPS

Position your hands shoulder width apart behind you on a bench or chair. (We use a window ledge at the studio!) Slide your butt off the front of the bench with your legs extended out in front of you. Bend your elbows to lower your body toward the floor until your elbows are at about a 90-degree angle while keeping your back close to the bench. From the low position, straighten your elbows to return to the starting position. Keep your shoulders down as you lower and raise your body. If this is too challenging you can bend your legs to modify the exercise.

BURPEES (Everyone's favorite!)

Stand with your feet hip width apart, lower into a squat position until your hands are flat on the floor in front of you. Jump your legs backwards into a high plank position. Jump both feet forward so you are back in the squat position. Jump up and raise both hands over your head. If this is too challenging, step back and forward from plank position instead of jumping. 

Don't forget to warm up and cool down before and after every exercise session. It is important to remember that while I am a certified personal trainer, I am not your trainer. Please consult with a Doctor or a fitness professional that knows your unique abilities and fitness levels before beginning any new workout program. 

We couldn't leave the park without having a little fun first!

Try out my crazy eights workout and let me know how it goes!

Coach Lea