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Fitness and Run Form Coaching

6 Ways to Boost Your Running TODAY

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Want to love running more? To run like a kid again? To make running so easy and enjoyable again…just thinking about running brings a smile to your face and boosts your endorphins. Or do you want to come back from injury safely while getting stronger and faster?

You can do this and more. I promise. The secret key is YOU. You must focus on you.

Here are 6 free tips to get you started.

1. Get Taller: Great posture is the foundation of injury prevention and energy efficiency, especially when exercising and running. Lengthen that spine as you read this. Take a few deep breaths. Isn’t it easier to breathe upright? Now walk to a mirror to see how this posture looks and feels compared to your usual posture.

2. Get Aligned: Align your skeleton. Arms parallel underneath shoulders. Feet hip width and parallel.  Walk, run and exercise aligned from now on.

3. Use your Core: Engage your lower abs always especially if you have back pain. This is your powerhouse. An engaged core protects back, knees and helps with balance. Keep core strong up hills and up and down stairs.

4. Use Your Arms: They are not along for the ride! Allow them to glide like buttah at a 90 degree angle on flats, and at 45 degree angle on hills. Think “elbows back.”

5. Lean: Allow your center of mass to fall slightly forward. This is actually rocket science! Okay, physics. Engineers really get this. If you center of mass goes forward, guess what else does? Your entire body!

This slight lean is from the ankle (think of this lean like a tree falling, ski jumper, speed skater or as someone riding a scooter, skateboard or Segway). Don’t lean/bend from hips. Lean more to go faster and lean into hills as you go up them.

6. Quicken Your Stride. Try a shorter, quicker mid foot stride. Less time on ground equals less damage, right?

Practice this marching in place, then walking, then running while keeping a cadence of 1-2-3,  repeat. You can also use a mini metronome, app or music set to 175-180 steps/beats per minute.

6 ways to boost your running. There you have it.

Give these tips a try and let me know how you do!

Back, Knee or Hip Pain? Check Posture.

Does your back, knees, IT band or piriformis give you pain when you run?

If so, you may be depressed you can’t run, or run easily. Right? Been there.

It’s time to get back in the game.

First, let’s check your form.

I learned how to eliminate running injuries and related misery with good form.

We learn how to run short and long distance. To do speed-work and hills. To hydrate. To eat well. To supplement. But form? That must be an ancient secret for the Olympians.

Tip of the day. Start with better posture.

Look in a mirror or have someone videotape you standing.

Great posture is the foundation. We instructors spend a lot of time on posture!

Get tall. Imagine you are being pulled up by the crown of your head. Take a breath.

Get aligned.  Align your shoulders, arms and feet parallel.

Get relaxed: Drop those shoulders if tense. 🙂

Level pelvis.  Engage lower, stabilizing abdominals.

Now get outside for a walk with this grand new posture.

Have someone videotape you so you can see how you move more smoothly.

Feel better?  Keep walking. Faster you go get arms up to a right angle.

When ready….begin an easy run this way by falling gently forward.

Tall, aligned, engaged and relaxed.

Let me know how you do!

More tips to follow….

 

How to Shred It and Get Back to Fit.

Little too much party-time this summer?

Here is my 4 point plan to #Shred it fast.

1. Sculpt Thy Body Perfect

I recommend a total body strength workout using dumbbells twice a week. It tones all major muscle groups to create a balanced body and saves time. It’s great for burning calories, losing fat, and getting lean. Plus, life is simply easier when we are stronger.

Your challenge: Add 2 25 minute strength training sessions a week.

Remember to check your form (This is easy if you workout in front of a mirror).

Start with 5-12 lbs dumbbells.

Challenge yourself to lift heavier weights if you can.

Upper Body: 5X5

5 exercises, 10 reps, 5 sets.

Bicep Curls, Shoulder Press, Triceps Kickback, Chest Press (or Push Up), Reverse Fly

Lower body: 5 x5

5 exercises, 10 reps, 5 sets:

Squats, Lunges, Sit-Ups, Deadlift, Standing Calf Raise

2. Boost Calorie Burn with Interval Training:

Want to burn calories even faster? High-intensity cardio rocks for busy peeps.

Short 20-25 minute sessions on a machine, biking, walking or running outside is all it takes.

This, along with lifting can make you feel fitter and leaner within a week!

And, no excuses….This works for beginners and advanced.

Your challenge: Add 3 20-25 minute sessions of heart pumping interval training sessions per week. Shred it tip: Add music, go faster.

5×5 cardio option:

2 Minutes Walking, 2 Minutes Jogging, 1 Minute Running/Sprinting. Repeat 5x.

3. Sit Less

Reading this while sitting down? Stand up.

Sitting at your desk all day? Then drive, fly or Uber it home and sit more? It’s almost as bad as smoking. Sitting a lot increases your risk of atrophy and many diseases like diabetes and cancer. Slows down your metabolism too.

Research suggests that even shorts bursts of activity during the day make a difference.

Ideas: Set a timer like the Tomato Timer and get up every 25 minutes to take a lap around home or the office, make a cup of tea, fetch a glass of water. Plan a walking meet with your team at work.

Walk the dog. Walk or run at lunch and after dinner. Conduct walking meetings. Play Twister, dance or play ball with your spouse or kids after work. Do jumping jacks and squats while binge-watching. Act like you have ADD. Whatever.  Just move more.

4. Eat Dinner Earlier:

Heard the buzz on Intermittent Fasting (IE)? Research show it is an effective eating pattern to boost weight loss. And, has load of bonus benefits.

You just eat within a smaller window of time a few days a week.

I consulted my talented friend Barret Butler, RD, LD, MPH for her professional advice. She tested a bunch of diets on her friends and clients a few years ago. Out of ALL the diets, the most weight loss was with her plan, a version of IE, which she has kindly provided for us below.

1. Eat 3 meals a day and one afternoon snack.

2. Avoid alcohol during Monday-Friday.

3. Two nights a week prep dinner early and finish eating by 5pm.

Example Day:

Eat Breakfast (protein, healthy fat, fruit or toast)

Eat Lunch (protein, healthy fat, big salad)

Eat Snack (handful nuts and kombucha or green tea)

Eat Dinner (protein, steamed, boiled, grilled veggies or big salad).

Summary:

· Add 2 25 minutes of strength training a week.

· Add 3 25 mins interval training a week.

· Move a lot more during day and evening.

· Commit to Barret’s simple eating pattern.

That’s it!

Fit this #Shredit challenge into your freaking busy life? Ha.

I know how you feel.

You have too much to do. You don’t need yet another freaking challenge. You don’t need yet another must-do to squeeze into your hopelessly busy schedule.

But hey, we want to get fit and lean.

Here’s my simple advice …

Start small.

Commit to #JustDoIt for a 1 week test.

Then, assess the data. Do you feel leaner, stronger, happier? Are you sleeping better?

Yes?

Add another 2 weeks. You got this.

Do Runners Live Longer?

Yes! According to a research roundup from one of my favorite sport medicine doctors, Dr. Gabe Mirkin.

Running regularly, no matter how fast or slow, increases longevity and is cardio protective.

The Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study in Dallas followed more than 55,000 adults between 18 and 100 for 15 years, and found runners who ran regularly for at least six years lived three years longer than non runners – no matter what speed they ran.

And it does not take much running.

According to this study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, August 5, 2014, runners lived longer even if they only ran 1 or 2 times a week, less than 51 minutes.

Bonus! Regular runners also had 45 percent reduced risk of dying from a heart attack or stroke.

Running injuries are common but if you Chi Run as I wrote in my previous blog, you will be less prone to injury.

The key to running for years is to commit to running with good form, and focusing on injury prevention and energy efficiency, no matter what speed, with every step you take.

That is a small price to pay for the enormous ROI running provides for your body, mind and spirit.

Dr. Mirkin says (and I agree!) as you get more fit, you should consider increasing intensity for overall fitness and health – and to become a better athlete.

Like this kind of info? It is from a trusted source. Check it out.

Dr. Mirkin is a highly regarded, practicing doctor of four specialties. He has practiced for over over 50 years, and known as the “Godfather” of sports medicine. He has a fabulous site of all things health and fitness and a radio show.

No Excuses. Just Do it.

IMG_1210“The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but instead will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease.”

— Thomas Edison

Health = The state of being free from illness or injury.

Care = The provision of what is necessary for the health, welfare, maintenance, and protection of someone or something.

Are you proactively caring for your health?

Here is a 100% true fact.

If we slack off with our fitness and health, everything we do gets harder, then health and happiness can seem elusive no matter what drug, therapy or amount of money you have.

Did you know?

We begin to lose balance, strength, cardio and bone density in out 30s.

Doc! Why didn’t you tell me to MOVE it more?

It’s not too late to catch up no matter your age or fitness ability.

To counteract the muscle atrophy. The cookies, chardonnay and beer bellies. The bingo arms.

Here is how to get started today.

Make a simple plan for 20 mins cardio.

Get outside for a 20 min. walk, bike or run.

Actually break a sweat and get your heart pumping.

Listen to nature or pop in those earphones and listen tho your fav. heart pumping tunes.

Then, add some weight lifting.

It’s a great way  to start sculpting your body naturally.

Buy some free weights. Or start with your own bodyweight.

At the very least, men and women need to be able to do functional moves such as push ups, squats, overhead presses and sit ups with ease.

You can exercise outdoors, inside a gym, hotel room or closet (Yes, I have done a WOD in a closet when kids won’t give Mommy a break).

No excuses.

This is your time to care for your own body and health.

There are free workouts ideas and videos on Pinterest and FitnessBlender.

Check back here too as I update my site and on my Facebook page as well.

Your body is waiting for you to get started.

Just do it.

Yoda Says: Run Better? Check form.

I learned to LOVE running when I finally made a choice to focus on my form.

Over the past 30 + years of running, playing soccer and countless races, I learned to run slow, fast, short, medium and long distances, to hydrate, to eat well, and get sleep (if you can) before races.

I never thought about my form as a runner.

As a result, I ended up with a slew of injuries and x-tra gear; pain in my metatarsals (across toes), IT band pain, piriformis pain, rotator cuff pain, heel pain, shin splints, a ganglion cyst on my ankle, x-rays, the “boot”, and $350 orthotics, and many stabilizing shoes.

It’s just the life of a runner! With each visit to the doctor, he would say “Don’t run for at least six weeks!

Gasp. I just HAD to run ya know? So I would go right back out there exactly 6 weeks later and get injured again. 🙂

Alas! The running skies opened in 2005.

That was the day I read a small article about running form in our local paper, The Charlotte Observer. The author suggested that we consider our body mechanics and alignment while running versus just the shoes. It made so much sense! But who knew? My previous foot doctors had never analyzed my form, nor had I!

Was the author actually saying it might be me not the SHOE?

This reminded me CarTalk on public radio! He suggested we poor injured readers reach out to ultra runners Barefoot Ted or Danny Dreyer for additional help. Dreyer had just published a book called “ChiRunning” which combined good running form, with physics and the ancient martial art of Tai Chi.

I was not ready to go barefoot then but decided that day as a trainer, and an injury-prone runner, to pursue ChiRunning with all my might.

My injuries went away almost overnight.

You can imagine how I became a RAVING fan! Such a fan I decided to become an instructor and have been teaching this form and philosophy along with instructors all over the world since 2007.

Chi Running decreases injury while enhancing energy efficiency, speed, mental clarity and joy (because you are not injured and probably faster).

The key components of good form: Excellent posture, alignment and relaxation of your shoulders, arms and feet, an engaged core, a quicker, shorter mid-foot stride and a very slight lean from the ankle (Why lean? Physics).

The fee: Free. You just have to be mindful. As we instructors like to say, focusing on your form with every step you take is a tiny price to pay if it will enable you to run injury free, or get back to running.

Are You Injured? Let’s check your form!

Look down at your feet. Do you splay your feet? That splay in your right or left foot may explain your ongoing knee, IT band and hip pain on the same side. Tip: Align your feet hip width and parallel.

How is your posture? Do you stand, work, walk and run hunched over or with poor posture? Got text neck? This creates stress in your neck, upper and lower back, hamstrings and knees. Pore posture also compromises your ability to inhale and exhale efficiently when exercising. Tip: Run tall and lightly. Align your ears, shoulders, hips and feet in a vertical column and engage your core. Check what this looks like in a mirror.

How do you use your arms? Do you even use them? You should! Do your arms “sashay” or swing laterally as you run? Hello IT band and hip pain! Maybe even rotator cuff pain. Tip: Align arms parallel and at a 90 degree angle on flats. Allow them to glide fully as you run.

Check your shoes. Are the heels of your shoes built up? Are they clunkers? Not everyone needs a light minimal shoe, but long ago I learned that it is YOU not the shoe that needs to work harder to prevent injury! Tip: Try on a lighter neutral shoe.

Why? If you have a shoe with nosebleed heels or a high heel-to toe drop, it will simply encourage heel striking and related pain (think shin splints, plantar and achilles pain, fractures, runners knee and back pain). Note, if you still prefer cushion, there are several popular new cushy rides on the market such as Hokas.

Run to cadence. Our military figured this out long ago! Tip: Run with a metronome or find songs with a 175-180 bpm. Or run to your own waltz, right 2,3, left 2,3 and so on.

Tight shoulders? When running, do you ruminate about your job, the family, boyfriend, girlfriend, bills, competitors, and your to-do list? Tip: Get in the flow. Use runs to focus on you – your form, nature and breathing.

As you focus on your form and relaxing whether running solo or with groups, you will run more efficiently, faster, and eventually look or feel like you are gliding like a Kenyan!

Use these tips!

Your running life may truly change.

You may change.

 

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