RUNNING A-Z

Running A-to-Z Free Ebook Download

Hi, friends. Welcome to the final installment of Running A-to-Z. I spent the last 26 weeks covering a running-related topic following the order of the alphabet. We started at A is for for Acronyms (in case you wondered what about what PR or BQ meant) and we ended with Z for Zombies Run. It was a fun and challenging 26 week series and frankly I am not sure what I am going to do with my Mondays from here on out. You can always check out the archives for any Running A-to-Z posts that you may have missed, but I am excited to offer the whole series in a free 126 page E-book download. 

Thanks for following along these past 26 weeks. I had a blast. 

Like this post? Please consider sharing.

 

Coach Lea

I am a NASM personal trainer and RRCA adult distance running coach that specializes in strength training for runners. I offer in-person training in the Shredshed, online training and Fit to Run bootcamps. If you are interested in a more in-depth running or strength training plan, please contact me. Have questions? I'd love to help. 

While I am a certified personal trainer, I am not your personal trainer. Since I don't know your exercise abilities, injury background or medical history, please see your doctor before beginning any new exercise program. This is an opinion blog. No information in this blog is intended to be taken as medical advice or prescription. Please see your doctor and/or registered dietitian for any health concerns.

Running A-to-Z: Z is for Zombies

Welcome to the final installment of Running A-to-Z. Every week I covered a running-related topic following the order of the alphabet. It has been a fun 26 weeks and it flew by so quickly! If you missed any past posts you can catch up on all the alphabet topics in the archives

When I started this challenge 26 weeks ago I didn't plan out what the topic of each letter would be in advance. I am nowhere near that organized. I took it letter by letter, week by week. I liked the structure of the series, it was easy to come up with new topics every week (except for L and V those were hard) and it kept me on track with fresh content each week.

Now here we are at letter Z. Now that we are at the end I feel a sense of accomplishment that it is over, but also a sense of sadness and I can't help wonder what I am going to do with my Mondays from here on out. It's kind of like when you finish a book or your favorite TV series ends.

Running A-to-Z: Z is for Zombies. Say what? 

Speaking of favorite TV series, did you watch the Walking Dead last night? Shhh don't tell me. I didn't watch yet. Poor Daryl. How's he gonna get out of this one? If I have one guilty pleasure it is a show about zombies. We are not big TV people and I am not a horror genre fan in general. When I tell my work buds that I don't like scary movies they look at me sideways because they know I love the Walking Dead. It's more about the walking for me than the dead. I often say I might like the show even more if it wasn't for the flesh-eating monsters. 

I was bouncing around a blog post in my head, Life Lessons Learned from The Walking Dead. What can we learn from the Walking Dead? We learned pretty quickly that you have to kill the zombie's brain to take them down, a shot in the chest won't work. They're already dead. D'uh. What else? They can't climb so your best protection against the zombie apocalypse is a tall sturdy wall. Most importantly, no one is safe. (Well, except Daryl. I hope.)

While valuable information should we ever find ourselves in a zombie apocalypse, some lessons learned by my beloved characters have more of a real world application. For example, people working together for a common goal can accomplish much more than individuals alone. Sometimes you're forced to fight for what you want out of life. You don't know how strong you are until you have to be, you might surprise yourself. Family is what (and who) you make it.

You're five paragraphs in and are wondering if you are reading the right blog. What does all of this have to do with running and Running A-to-Z? Stay with me.

Would I last long if the world was overcome by zombies? Hell-to-the-no. I am way too much of a wimp. But I can run pretty fast, so I could probably outrun those slow-ass zombies. Want to find out? 

There is this fun free running app called Zombies, Run. (ahh. Finally, the point.) I love this app because running is as much as a mental challenge as it is a physical one. Sometimes once you get past your brain, the running part is easy. The zombie app tells you an interactive story as you run. What better way to distract yourself from your pesky brain than to have zombies chasing you? If that doesn't make you run fast, I don't know what will. With 200 missions it unlikely you'll ever get bored.

I love that's an interval workout. The app alerts you when zombies are nearby and you run faster until it confirms you are in the clear. It's a fun way to run Fartleks! You get so caught up in the mission and running from zombies you (almost) forget you are working out. Sometimes we take ourselves way too seriously. While it is always great to have goals and work hard, there is nothing wrong with having a little fun with it too. 

My only note of caution on the app is to be aware of your surroundings. Never run on the street with headphones so you can't hear the actual dangers around you. This is a great app for the track (slow lane please), the treadmill or maybe sidewalks, but only if you can still hear your surroundings. Zombies aren't a real threat, cars, animals and sometimes people can be. 

Was Z too much of a stretch in the running A-to-Z series? Thanks for indulging me. It was fun for me to write about my favorite TV show and tell you about this running app. 

Dear Walking Dead, If you're reading this...Please don't kill off my Daryl. 

Do you like the Walking Dead? Do you miss Glenn? What's your favorite running app? Have you been following along with Running A-to-Z? Do you wonder what the heck I am going to write about next Monday? Me too. 

Like this post? Please consider sharing. 

Coach Lea

I am a NASM personal trainer and RRCA adult distance running coach that specializes in strength training for runners. I offer in-person training in the Shredshed, online training and Fit to Run bootcamps. If you are interested in a more in-depth running or strength training plan, please contact me. Have questions? I'd love to help. 

While I am a certified personal trainer, I am not your personal trainer. Since I don't know your exercise abilities, injury background or medical history, please see your doctor before beginning any new exercise program. This is an opinion blog. No information in this blog is intended to be taken as medical advice or prescription. Please see your doctor and/or registered dietitian for any health concerns.

 

 

 

Running A-to-Z: Y is for Yoga for Runners

Hi, friends! Welcome to another edition of Running A-to-Z where I cover a running-related topic following the order of the alphabet. If you missed any past posts you can catch up on letters A-X in the archives

This week, as we round out this series, we are on letter Y: Yoga for Runners. Yoga is a great addition to any runner's well-rounded training plan. There are many benefits to Yoga including improved flexibility, balance and strength. Not to mention that a regular Yoga practice can aid in injury prevention for runners. 

I am a personal trainer and a running coach but I am not a Yoga instructor. Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel in an area that is not my expertise, I thought I would share the best Yoga for runner resources from qualified Yoga instructors. 

 

YOUTUBE

One of my favorite Yoga for runners routine is this 20 minutes sequence from Ekhart Yoga. Hubby and I often do this one out in the #shredshed after a run or on rest days. I love that it is quick and effective. You don't necessary have to rehaul your whole fitness program to fit in Yoga, just find 20 minutes a 2-3 times a week. 

My other go to YouTube Yoga is this beginner's Yoga for Runners. It is targeted at beginners but it's challenging enough to leave me sweating after the 37 minute routine. 

BLOGS

A great resource for Yoga for runners is from Dr. Beth Brombosz! She is an author, yoga teacher, and running coach from Sublimely Fit. My original intention was to share one post but Beth had so many great articles on different poses, the benefits and the potential mistakes, I decide to share her whole Yoga for runners archive. It is a fantastic resource for anyone who wants to learn more about Yoga for runners. 

 Beth from Sublimely Fit.

Beth from Sublimely Fit.

Another Yogi blogger sharing her wealth of knowledge is Christine from Love Life Surf. Christine is a certified Yoga instructor and an avid runner. She has a whole series on Yoga for runners that I highly recommend. 

 

In this post Sarah from The Fit Cookie, a personal trainer. Yoga instructor and runner shares her top four Yoga poses for runners. This is great if you just want to add a few poses to the end of your run.

Do you practice Yoga? I've never been a skilled or graceful Yogi but I definitely reap the benefits of Yoga for runners. 

LIke this post? It helps me when you share. 

 

Coach Lea

I am a NASM personal trainer and RRCA adult distance running coach that specializes in strength training for runners. I offer in-person training in the Shredshed, online training and Fit to Run bootcamps. If you are interested in a more in-depth running or strength training plan, please contact me. Have questions? I'd love to help. 

While I am a certified personal trainer, I am not your personal trainer. Since I don't know your exercise abilities, injury background or medical history, please see your doctor before beginning any new exercise program. This is an opinion blog. No information in this blog is intended to be taken as medical advice or prescription. Please see your doctor and/or registered dietitian for any health concerns.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Running A-to-Z: X is for X-Training

Hi, Friends. Welcome to another edition of my blog series Running A-to-Z where I cover a running-related topic covering the order of the alphabet. I know I've been saying this each week lately, but where has the alphabet gone? These past 24 weeks just flew by and I can't believe this fun little series is coming to a close. It's been a great inspiration for me to find regular topics to write about but also sometimes a struggle. Some letters just didn't have natural running-related topics attached to them (like L, N and J) but I made it work. Stay with me the next couple of weeks as we close out this series. Once we're through I am going to publish the whole thing as a free e-book. If you missed any letters you can catch up on letters A-W in the archives

In the meantime we're on letter X. X is for X-Training or cross-training. Cross-training is essential for runners. It means doing other types of workouts besides running that will improve and enhance your overall fitness and help you reach your goals.

 

STRENGTH TRAINING

I built my whole business around the notion that runners need to strength train, which is a great form of cross-training for runners. 

Running is no-doubt a great exercise. It is fantastic for weight loss or weight maintenance. It builds cardiovascular endurance, not to mention strong quads and calves, but if all that you do is run, it can leave you a little unbalanced in your fitness. Since running moves in just one plane of motion (the sagittal plane, forward/backward) you need to do other workouts to build strength for lateral movements to prevent muscle imbalances. The types of strength workouts that runners should do are completely different than a bodybuilder's workout. A bench press is a chest exercise that probably won't make you a better runner. A push up, also a chest exercise but works your entire core, is a much better exercise for a runner to improve strength. Runners should pay particular attention to core/hip strength. This will help you become a better runner and help prevent injury. Check out my workout archives for a variety of strength training workouts to try. 

YOGA

I love Yoga for runners. The right type of Yoga is the perfect balance (see what I did there?) of strength training and stretching, both important for runners. A "Yoga for Runners" search on You-Tube produces a lot of quick and effective Yoga sequences for runners. I choose gentle Yoga workouts that are mostly stretching and do them on my active-recovery days or after a run.

BIKING/SWIMMING

Both biking and swimming are great low-impact cardio exercises. They are good for when your body needs a break from the impact of running, but you still want to keep up your cardiovascular fitness. Generally speaking if you want to be a better runner, then you should run more. No one ever became a better runner by biking (they became a better biker) but sometimes your body needs a break and these exercises are both great ways to build and maintain fitness when you're not running. 

EXERCISE CLASSES

Maybe I am a little biased because I teach a bootcamp twice a week but I think group exercise classes are a great way to squeeze in some cross-training. A boot camp combines strength and cardio in a full body workout with a boost of motivation from a certified trainer. The group dynamic can make you push harder and have a lot more fun. 

Do you cross-train? What's your favorite form of cross-training? If you can find a couple days a week to squeeze in some cross-training you'll see great strides in running improvements.

Like this post? It helps me when you share.

 

Coach Lea

I am a NASM personal trainer and RRCA adult distance running coach that specializes in strength training for runners. I offer in-person training in the Shredshed, online training and Fit to Run bootcamps. If you are interested in a more in-depth running or strength training plan, please contact me. Have questions? I'd love to help. 

While I am a certified personal trainer, I am not your personal trainer. Since I don't know your exercise abilities, injury background or medical history, please see your doctor before beginning any new exercise program. This is an opinion blog. No information in this blog is intended to be taken as medical advice or prescription. Please see your doctor and/or registered dietitian for any health concerns.

Running A-to-Z W is Weight Loss (Running for Weight Loss)

Hi, Friends! Welcome to another edition of Running A-to-Z. If you've been following along, each week I cover a running-related topic following the order of the alphabet. I can't believe we are on letter 'W" already. Time flies when you're having fun blogging about running. If you missed any posts in this series you can catch up on letters A-V here.

W is for Weight Loss: Running for Weight Loss

Weight loss should be easy. In order to lose weight you must create a calorie deficit by consuming less calories than the calories burned from maintaining your resting metabolic rate and physical activity. Eat less. Workout more. Easy, right? 

Not so fast. Our bodies are not machines that simply take in fuel and use it until it's gone, there are a lot of factors that go into weight loss: your genetics, your environment, your physiology (hormonal or metabolic conditions), your mindset and your lifestyle & exercise habits. 

Since I am not a scientist, doctor or nutritionist we are just going to cover the basics of running for weight loss. The way I see it, It comes down to three factors:

AEROBIC EXERCISE

Running is a great way to burn calories when you are trying to lose weight. Running burns approximately 100 calories per mile or every 10-12 minutes (depends on some factors, but this is a reasonable average). It is important to note that if you don't like running, then feel free to substitute another cardio exercise that you do enjoy. But I guess if you didn't enjoy running then probably you wouldn't be here, unless you're my mom or my best friend. (Hi, Mom.)

If you are already running, you have a few choices to increase calorie burn. It is generally recommended 250 minutes of aerobic exercise a week for weight loss, which is about 4 hours a week. In short, try to get in 30-45 minutes of cardio most days of the week, but please take rest days.

RUN MORE

If you are currently not running 250 minutes a week, slowly build up the time you spend running by just adding 15 minutes extra a day or one mile a week for three weeks, then back off the mileage the 4th week to recover. Repeat this process until you reach your time goal. Adding too much too soon will only lead to injury or burnout, so it is better to increase slowly over time. The most important thing is to find something that is sustainable. 

RUN AT HIGHER INTENSITY

Short on time? Running High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workouts may be the answer. After warming up, trying running for one minute a high intensity that elevates your heart rate and breathing rate until you couldn't hold a conversation outside of a couple words at a time. Then walk or jog to recover for a minute (or longer if needed). Repeat several times for a short and effective workout. You'll increase your calorie burn compared to steady-state running and increase your EPOC (Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) which means that you are still are burning calories at a higher rate after you complete your workout. My note of caution is to always sandwich high intensity days between low intensity days and rest days. Don't perform high intensity workouts back to back. Never increase intensity and mileage in the same week, as this is a recipe for injury. Give HIIT workouts a try one or two days a week for weight loss.

VARY YOUR WORKOUTS

You body is very good at adapting, which means it gets more efficient performing the workouts. This is good and bad. Great that the workout feels easier, but not so great that you are not burning as many calories as you were three months ago doing the same activity. The key is to continually change the variables so you can continue to improve. You can adjust your pace (run faster), the rest intervals (shorter), the time spent running (longer) or the number of days (more) to continue to progress.

STRENGTH TRAINING

Strength training is essential to weight loss. You can run and lose weight, but weight training helps you build and maintain (aka not lose) muscle mass. Muscle requires more energy at rest, so the more muscle you have the more calories you burn when you are not working out. Weight training increases your metabolic rate, maintains and builds muscle mass, improve performance and helps prevent injury. You don't have to turn into a gym rat, but make time 2-3 days a week for a 30 minute full-body workout session (or maybe 15 minutes after you finish your run several times a week). Runners should put extra focus on hip/core exercises

NUTRITION

Nutrition is probably the most important factor when trying to lose weight. As we discussed above, you want to create a calorie deficit in order to lose weight. We sometimes wonder why runners gain weight when training for marathon? It happens to the best of us. How does someone run so many miles and still not lose weight? Again there are a lot of factors at play, but it often comes down to nutrition. 

Running can make you feel very hungry. If you ran a 14 mile training run, you may feel you deserve that large bacon cheeseburger, side of fries and 2 cold beers. And honestly, I am all about balance. Maybe you did deserve it and that's fine, but once in awhile, not all the time. It's great when it is the exception, not the rule. A cheeseburger after every training run will kill your weight loss efforts. Save it for race day celebrations.

When you are training heavily you may feel hungrier than usual, all the time. It may help to eat small but frequent nutrient-dense meals (aka mostly whole foods) to help curb the hunger. Generally speaking most people do well to eat protein and most of their carbs surrounding their workouts.

The key is to find the balance. You know when your energy is in balance (not too much, not too little) when you look, feel and perform your best. Eat too little and you will feel it and see it in your performance, eat too much and it can lead to weight gain or stalled weight loss. If you struggle to find this balance, I recommend that you work with a nutritionist or registered dietitian (RD).

If you want to use running as a tool to lose weight, I think you are on the right track. You may need to increase the time and/or the intensity you spend running (slowly over time). Don't forget the importance of weight training in the weight loss puzzle and nutrition may be the most important component. Creating a calorie deficit while still maintaining an energy balance is the key to successful weight loss. 

Have questions? Leave them in the comments or be a part of my new series "Ask the Trainer" and have your questions answered in a future blog post.

LIke this post? It helps me when you share. 

 

Coach Lea

I am a NASM personal trainer and RRCA adult distance running coach that specializes in strength training for runners. I offer in-person training in the Shredshed, online training and Fit to Run bootcamps. If you are interested in a more in-depth running or strength training plan, please contact me. Have questions? I'd love to help. 

While I am a certified personal trainer, I am not your personal trainer. Since I don't know your exercise abilities, injury background or medical history, please see your doctor before beginning any new exercise program. This is an opinion blog. No information in this blog is intended to be taken as medical advice or prescription. Please see your doctor and/or registered dietitian for any health concerns.