SEPTEMBER 2016

5 REASONS YOU'RE NOT IMPROVING IN RUNNING

If you've been running for a while and it seems like you're not improving I may be able to help you to pinpoint the culprit. There a few reasons that you may not be improving in running.

 

YOU ONLY RUN

If you've spent any time on this site you know I am a huge proponent of strength training for runners. When you run you only move in one direction - forward, which can lead to muscle imbalances and weaknesses. You don't have to spend hours in the gym, but working in some quick strength and flexibility training in all planes of motion will go a long way in helping you improve and remain injury free. 

YOU'RE NOT RUNNING ENOUGH

If you want to be a better runner, you have to run more. You have to consistently put in the work over time. If you are inconsistent or only running once or twice a week then improvements will come slow or not at all. Commit to a running/training plan and follow through. If you need a coach to guide you through, I'm here to help. 

YOU ONLY RUN AT ONE PACE

If you run at the same pace every day you are training your body to conserve calories and glycogen (carbs) in the muscles. This is good for long distance running because this is why you're able to cross the finish line. However, if you want to improve and run faster you'll need to train to run faster by adding in intervals, fartleks and/or hills into your training. The key is to have a variety of workouts that train the different exergy systems. Slow runs have an important place in your schedule but they should not be the only workouts that you do. 

YOU DON'T REST

I'd argue that rest days are one of the most important parts of your training plan. You body adapts and improves during rest, not during the workout. So if you don't rest, you don't allow your body the recovery it needs to repair and rebuild. You can't beat your body into submission. Work hard, rest hard. Plan one or two full rest days (or more if you need it) in your training schedule each week for best results. 

YOUR LIFESTYLE

Take a look at your lifestyle including your sleeping habits, nutrition and stress. Lack of sleep, poor nutrition, excessive alcohol intake and stress can all be factors in a poor or stagnant performance. Consider your lifestyle outside of running and evaluate if you need to make improvements. A good night sleep and proper nutrition can make a world of difference in your training. 

Take a good hard look at these factors to determine if you should make some adjustments in order to improve in your running. Work hard, rest hard, be consistent. You'll get there.

Like this post? Please consider sharing.

Have questions? I'd love to help! Ask in the comments or join the conversation and "Ask the Trainer" for your question to be featured in a future blog post

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.

THE ULTIMATE RESISTANCE BAND TRAVEL WORKOUT

Welcome to another edition of workout Wednesday! Last week hubby and I took a trip to my hometown, Pittsburgh PA to visit family (Go Steelers!). We all know it can be a struggle to fit in a workout when you are traveling, so I brought along my resistance band to show you how easy it can be to get in a quick travel-friendly workout while on the road. With no fancy equipment, just a resistance band and about 15 minutes of free time I was able to squeeze in some strength training while traveling. Add in a hotel treadmill session or a foot tour of a new city and you have a full body strength and cardio workout. 

Five simple resistance band moves for a full body strength workout. Perform 12 reps of each move and repeat 3 times. 

LUNGE & BICEP CURL 

Place your feet about hip width apart with the resistance band under your forward foot. Step into a back lunge while simultaneously curling the resistance band toward your chest making sure you keep your elbows close to your sides. Repeat on other leg. 

 

BENT OVER ROW

With your feet slightly wider than hip width step on a resistance band with an overhand grip on the handles. Keep your back straight and pull the handles upward in a rowing motion.

 

GLUTE KICK BACK

On all fours with your shoulders stacked directly over your wrists hold the resistance band on the ground with both hands while looping it around your back foot. Straighten your leg to kick out your back foot. Repeat on other leg,

 

HIP ABDUCTION

This is a great one for runners. Traveling or not, fit this exercise into your routine. With your feet slightly wider than hip width, pull the resistance bands in an upward motion while moving your leg out laterally. Repeat on other leg.

 

UPRIGHT ROW

With your feet slightly wider than hip width step on the resistance band. With an overhand grip pull the handles up until your elbows are even with your shoulders. 

Do you workout when you travel? Do you love the Steelers? Tell me in the comments. 

Like this post? it helps me when you share

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.

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.

Running A-to-Z S is for Shoes: How to Buy Running Shoes

Welcome to another edition of Running A-to-Z. Every week I share a running-related post following the order of the alphabet. This week we are on letter S: S is for Shoes. How to buy running shoes. If you missed any past posts you can catch up on letters A-through-R in the archives.

How to Buy Running Shoes

How to Buy Running Shoes

One of the great things about running is that it is a sport where you don't need a lot of equipment, gear, or even formal training to get started. Most people can just hit the pavement and begin their journey into running. The one thing that every runner needs to know before getting started is how to buy the proper running shoes. A good running shoe is the only big investment into the sport and you want to make sure you get it right. 

You walk into the shoe store and the giant wall of shoes overwhelms your senses. The colors, the claims, the technology, the price tags and the marketing are all fighting for your attention. Your head spins with confusion. How do I know which ones to buy?

I recommend buying your shoes from a running speciality store. I am a big proponent of supporting small businesses and when you shop local you get individualized help from a knowledgeable store associate. They can help guide you to choose the correct shoe for your running mechanics. Once you get a feel for what type of shoe works best for you then it is safe to buy your shoes at a big box retailer or online, but it's usually best to start with a store that can provide you with some guidance and where you can test them before you buy them.

Here are some factors to consider when buying running shoes.

PRONATION

NEUTRAL SHOES

If you run with a neutral pronation the foot makes contact on the outside of the heel first, then the foot rolls towards the inside until the entire foot is on the ground before pushing off from the ball of your foot. I wear a neutral shoe. I determined this by going to a running store for a gait analysis. They filmed me running on a treadmill and watched how my foot hit the treadmill in slow motion. 

STABILITY SHOES

If you overpronate, then your foot rolls to the inside more than ideal and you end up pushing off from your big toe instead of the ball of your foot. Overpronation can be the cause of running injuries if not controlled. If you have mild to moderate overpronation then stability shoes can help control pronation.

MOTION CONTROL SHOES

Motion control shoes are best for runners with flat feet and severe overpronation. As the name suggests, motion control shoes help control the motion of your foot. 

SIZE

You should buy your running shoes 1/2 size to 1 full size larger than your casual or dress shoes. Your feet swell when you run and you need the additional room to keep your toes hitting the front of the shoe. Your toenails will thank you!

BRAND

Try on many different shoes to choose a brand but be aware shoes sizes can fit considerably different between brands. You may find you wear an 8 in Mizunos but a 8 1/2 in New Balance. A lot of runners find a brand they love and stay loyal throughout their running journey, but many change them up every 300-500 miles. Try on many different brands, test them out on the in-store treadmill and make a final decision based on what feels most comfortable. After all, you will be logging many miles in these shoes. 

COLOR/DESIGN

The look of the shoe should be the last consideration when choosing running shoes. Don't get caught up in the pretty colors. Find the right shoe for your gait and this will help narrow down your choices considerably. Choose your brand and your size, then finally choose the colors as the last consideration.

What do you think? Any questions? Let me know in the comments or submit your question to Ask The Trainer to be answered in a future blog post. 

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.

5 RUNNING SHOE MISTAKES YOU MAY BE MAKING

Hi, friends! Are you making any of these running shoe mistakes? Running shoes can be expensive so you want to make sure you get the most out of your investment. Don't make these mistakes with your running shoes.

YOU RUN, TAKE FITNESS BOOT CAMP AND GO TO ZUMBA IN YOUR RUNNING SHOES

Running shoes are made specifically for running. When you run you move in a single plane--forward. Running shoes are designed to support you only in forward movements. The problem is that if you go to fitness boot camp or zumba class and wear your running shoes you are not protected for the lateral side-to-side moves. Running shoes aren't designed for that and you open yourself up to potential injury. Buy a pair of cross trainers for your fitness classes and save your running shoes for running. 

YOU BUY THE SAME SIZE AS YOUR DRESS SHOES

Running shoes should be bought 1/2 size to 1 full size bigger than your street shoes. You should have about a thumb width space empty in the toe box.

The reason for this is that your feet tend to swell when you run and you need a bit more room to keep your toes from hitting the end of the shoe, which doesn't matter so much in an everyday shoe, but matters a lot in a running shoe. Give those tootsies room to breathe. 

YOU DON'T TIE THEM FOR ANKLE SUPPORT

Ever wonder what that extra hole was for in your running shoes? Use it to tie your shoes for better ankle support. Check out my quick video where I show you how. It is easy and makes a big difference in how your shoes fit.

 

YOU ALSO WEAR THEM AS CASUAL SHOES

You probably have noticed that running shoes can be expensive. They have a limited lifespan and every step wears away at the tread and shock absorption. Save your running shoes for running and buy a pair or less expensive tennies for walking around in. 

YOU DON'T REPLACE THEM EVERY 300-500 MILES

After 300-500 miles you may start to notice the tread is wearing down and the shock absorption pads are starting to crush down. It's a good idea to make note of when you bought your shoes in your training journal or even with a sharpie on your shoes. Aches and pains out of the blue could be a sign that you need to replace your shoes. Keep a close watch on your milage and pay attention to the tread. 300-500 miles is an estimate, if you run on rough terrain you may need to replace sooner.

Like this post? It helps me when you share.

Any questions? Ask in the comments or join in on the conversation in my new series, Ask the Trainer, to have your question featured in a future blog post. I'd love to help. 

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.

TREADMILL BOREDOM BUSTING WORKOUTS: HOW TO MAKE YOUR TREADMILL RUNS NOT SUCK

Welcome to the latest edition of Workout Wednesday! I was going to call this article how to make your treadmill runs fun, but I thought you might question my sanity if I used the words fun and treadmill in the same sentence. Let's just go with How To Make Your Treadmill Runs Not Suck.

I love outdoor running. I never had the kind of love for treadmill running as I do for the outdoors. However, I have to admit there are many good reasons to use the treadmill: They allow you to have strict control over your speed and time, they provide shelter from the weather and a safe environment to run, day or night. They are great for speed work training. The problem is that is that treadmills can be mind-numbingly boring. No one likes to feel like a hamster, going nowhere.

The thing is, you may be going nowhere is terms of physical space, but treadmill runs can help you meet your running goals. If your goal is to run faster, the treadmill can take you places. Here are some boredom busting treadmill workouts that will make the time fly by!

THE ULTIMATE BOREDOM BUSTING TREADMILL WORKOUTS
 

Here are a few ideas for treadmill workouts that beat the boredom. Interval workouts are great for your fitness and can help you mentally get through the workout. By changing up the variables you'll find that the time goes by so quickly you may not even need to cover the console with a towel.

PYRAMID SPEED WORKOUT

1. Walk for five minutes on the treadmill to warm up.
2. Increase your pace to a slow running pace that feels easy and comfortable to you for one minute. 
3. Every minute increase the MPH by .5 on the treadmill until you reach your max running pace.
4. Run for one minute at each .5 increment until you reach your max. You'll know your max when you get there, if you can't keep it up for a minute or if your breathing is really labored, you went too far.
5 Once you reach your max, start moving back down at .5 MPH increment at a time, for one minute, until you reach your slowest running pace again.
6. Repeat 2-3 times.

This is an example of what this workout might look like. Do not arbitrary follow these speeds. This example may be too advanced for some runners and too easy for others. The key is start at your easy pace and advance the speed by .5 mph until you reach your max. It will be different for everyone.

The great thing about this workout is that you can adjust it as your get stronger so that you are always pushing yourself. Adjust your slowest and fastest time to your current fitness level. If this is too slow for you, start at a faster pace and peak at a faster pace. This is a beginner's workout example. If it is too easy or too hard, adjust accordingly.

INTERVAL LADDERS

This is my favorite treadmill workout that I do all the time in the Shredshed. You can do it for 15 minutes or repeat for a full 30 minute workout. Each speed interval gets a little faster and shorter. You should build your speed gradually until you find the right pace for your workouts. Again, I can't stress enough that you should run at your own fitness level and not necessarily the speeds on this workout, it is just an example. Adjust your pace slower or faster according to your current fitness levels. 

1. 3 minutes warm up at a very easy speed

2. 3 minutes at a speed that is challenging, but not so challenging that you can't maintain it for 3 minutes.

3. 2 minutes at a jogging recovery pace.

4. 2 minutes at a speed that is slightly faster than your 3 minute interval.

5. 1 minute at a jogging recovery pace.

6. 1 minute at a faster speed than your 2 minute interval

7. 1 minute at a jogging recovery pace

8. 1 minute at a near max effort

9. walk to recover

 

STRENGTH AND SPEED WORKOUT

One of my favorite ways to incorporate strength into my running workouts is to mix up treadmill intervals with strength training. Run for 3 minutes then jump off the treadmill to perform one minute of an arm or core strength move in between intervals. Your "work" effort should be an effort that challenges you for three minutes but not so difficult that you can't sustain it for that time. 


Remember that making a treadmill run not suck is mostly about conquering your mind. For me, it is more of a mental battle than a physical one. When I finish a high intensity treadmill run, I usually step off the treadmill and onto cloud nine. It seems like the more I sweat, and the harder I worked, then the more intense the runner's high...and runner's high doesn't suck!

How about you? How do you make your treadmill runs not suck?

Download a PDF of these 3 workouts here!

 

Like this post? It helps me when you share.

Any questions? Ask them in the comments or join the conversation and submit your question to be answered in a future blog post. 

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.