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27 Jul 2014

This is How I Roll! Foam Rolling Techniques

Foam rollers offer many of the same benefits as a sports massage, without the big price tag.
The foam roller not only stretches muscles and tendons but it also breaks down soft tissue adhesions and scar tissue. By using your own body weight and a cylindrical foam roller you can perform a self-massage or myofascial release, break up trigger points, and soothe tight fascia while increasing blood flow and circulation to the soft tissues.

A few things to keep in mind:

1. Rollers do vary in size and density. The harder the roller the more you will feel it.  Once your foam roller starts to look squished in the middle, it’s time to buy a new one.

2.  How do you foam roll?  You can find a trigger point (sore or tight spot) and simply apply pressure there or you can roll along the entire length of the muscle.  Or, you can do both.  Roll slowly , about a second per inch.  If you come to a very tight spot, pause there for 5-30 seconds and you should feel the area relax, then continue the rest of the length of the muscle.

3.  How often should you foam roll?  You should foam roll after every workout for at least 10-15 minutes.  Some people will roll a little bit to warm up before a run as well.  Adding in another 10-15 minutes of stretching is great as well.  At minimum, you should roll 10 slow repetitions of each exercise, but you can certainly do more.  Make sure you roll both sides of your body equally.

Below are some of my favorite foam rolling techniques:

Iliotibial Band (IT Band)
Lie on your right side with the foam roller just below your hip bone. Extend your right leg straight out, and bend your left leg and place it in front of your right leg. Place your right hand on the floor for balance, and roll along your outer thigh from the below your hip bone to just above your knee. Repeat on the other side.


Lie face down with the foam roller under your right thigh. Put your forearms on the ground or to add a little more pressure stay on your hands. Keep legs straight or for more pressure keep your left foot off the ground by stacking your feet on top of each other (toe of left foot on heel of right foot). Supporting your body weight with your forearms, roll up and down from the bottom of the hip to the top of your knee.

Quad 2

Sit with the roller under your calf muscles. Place the palms of your hands on the ground (fingers pointing toward your body). For added pressure place roller under right calf and keep your left foot off the ground by stacking your feet on top of each other (heel of left foot on toe of right foot). Supporting your body weight on your hands, roll up and down along your calf. Repeat on the other side.

Calf 3 

Gluteal Muscles, Piriformis

Lie on your left side with the foam roller under your left gluteal area and your left leg bent (or for added pressure extended straight out). Bend your right knee and rest your right foot behind your left. Place both hands on the floor for support. Roll your right gluteal muscles, then repeat on the other side.

Glut 4


These basic foam rolling techniques can help keep your muscles happy and healthy, increasing blood flow to the area, and speed recovery.  Most importantly it will help prevent injuries.  Also, be patient & persistent.  It will take a little time adjusting but the more you foam roll the less tender the area will feel.  Happy rolling!


Paula Smith, ACE CPT


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13 Jul 2014

Stretches for Tight Hip Flexors

Tight hip flexors are a common complaint among those of us who spend a lot of the day sitting at a desk. When you spend a lot of time in a seated position, the hip flexors remain in a shortened position. Over time, the shortened muscles become tight which leads to back pain, poor core stability and injuries. Runners are more prone to hip flexor injuries because of the small, repetitive movement during running.

When we talk about hip flexors we are looking at the group of muscles that include the Psoas, Iliacus and the Rectus femoris. It is important to keep these muscles flexible. Here are a few of my favorite hip flexor stretches that can help keep these muscles from becoming tight, therefore decreasing your risk of injury and discomfort. Perform them daily before or after you run.

1. Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch


Kneel on the floor. Put one leg out in front of you, knee bent at a 90° angle, the opposite leg outstretched behind you. Press your hips forward towards your front knee, keeping you back as straight as possible. Hold this position comfortably for 10-15 seconds and switch legs.

2. Bridge


Start by lying on your back with your feet flat on the floor. Slowly, lift your hips up off the floor pressing up through your heels as you straighten out your body. Hold for 3 seconds and lower your body again. Repeat 10-15 times.

3. Pigeon Pose


This yoga posture lengthens the hip flexors on the back leg. Start in a pushup position on your hands and toes. Lift your right foot off the floor and slide your right knee forward toward your left hand so that your knee and outer ankle rests on the floor. Slide your left leg back as far as comfortable, but keep your hips square to the floor and level.

There are simple things you can do every day to help reduce your risk of hip flexor pain. If you sit at a desk for long periods of time, try to get up and move around every hour or so. Warm up properly before any physical activity, and stretch regularly at the end of each workout. Your hips will thank you for it!

Paula Smith, ACE CPT

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27 Jun 2014

Running for Weight loss

Any exercise is good exercise, but when it comes to losing weight, it’s hard to beat running. After all, running is one of the most efficient ways to burn calories and get fit without having to restrict your diet. If you’re already a runner, keep on keepin’ on. If you’re not a runner yet but interested in losing weight, here are four reasons running can be the best exercise for weight loss.

1. Running works even when you’re at rest. High-intensity exercise like running stimulates more “afterburn” than low-intensity exercise. That is, even when comparing running with walking the same distance, studies find that running will lead to greater weight loss, most likely because your resting energy expenditure stays elevated after you run. In a long-term comparison study of runners and walkers, calories burned through running led to 90% more weight loss than calories burned through walking.

2. Running is time-efficient. Even if the myth that running a mile and walking a mile burn the same number of calories were true, running is a considerably faster way to burn those calories. Most people can run two or three times as far as they can walk in a given amount of time. At the other end of the spectrum, super-intense but short workouts, such as the “Scientific 7-minute Workout” from the Human Performance Institute, may burn more calories per minute per running, but because they’re so short, your total caloric burn isn’t as great if you ran.

3. Running is convenient. Though many of us have accumulated a vast arsenal of GPS gadgets and tech tees over the years, little is actually required to go running. You can do it alone. You can do it almost anywhere. You don’t need any equipment beyond a pair of running shoes. (And if you’re careful about injury and build up slowly, you may not even need those.) For this reason alone, running is the best workout for weight loss because it’s cheap, it’s accessible, and there are fewer barriers to maintaining a routine, even while traveling.

4. Two words: runner’s high. The first rule of exercising for weight loss is that if you don’t enjoy it, you won’t stick with it. Fortunately, studies support what many runners have experienced on an anecdotal level—running can actually get you high. Scientists have found links between moderate to intense exercise and morphine-like brain chemicals called endocannabinoids, which suggest endorphins alone aren’t responsible for the occasional flood of euphoria that rushes over you during a hard run. That floaty, happy sensation you had after your last race—makes you want to go for another run, right?



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Content source:

Giddings, C. (2013, June 7).4 Ways That Running is Best for Weight Loss . Retrieved from http://www.runnersworld.com/weight-loss/4-ways-that-running-is-best-for-weight-loss

27 Jun 2014

Sleep Help for Runners!

Status Update: Late night last night. Still managed to get up at 4, knock out an 18-miler, and get the kids to school on time.

Status Update: Didn’t get enough sleep this week. Stayed in bed for an extra hour and skipped my run.

Let’s say these two status updates showed up on your Facebook or dailymile feed. Which would get more “likes”? If you’re like many runners (and most Americans), you probably admire the badass who fought through fatigue to complete her run and suspect that the slumbering beauty is a slacker.

Our society views sleep as a luxury, at best. Many people think that revealing your need for it marks you as a weakling, says John Caldwell, Ph.D., a psychologist who has researched sleep deprivation and fatigue for NASA and the U.S. military. “We think if you’re really a good athlete, that means you’re tough and you’ll take whatever life throws your way,” Caldwell says. “Part of being tough is not needing to sleep.”

By that line of reasoning, some of the country’s top marathoners rank as total slouches. After all, Ryan Hall pens naps in his calendar as “business meetings,” and both Deena Kastor and Shalane Flanagan log as much as 10 hours of shut-eye a night. They clearly understand what science is increasingly revealing: It’s during sleep that your body recovers from hard training and builds you into a better runner.

Indeed, recent research suggests that just one night of bad rest can have an impact (albeit largely psychological) on your running performance. Meanwhile, chronically shorting yourself of even an hour of sleep per night has cumulative negative effects on your running and your health. “Sleep is as important as your workouts,” says Joe English, a running coach in Portland, Oregon, and the National Advisory coach to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training. “When you start robbing from that pot to get everything else done, the quality of your training–and of everything else–starts to fall apart.”

Sleep Much?

No lab test can tell you exactly how many hours of sleep you need–the number varies widely by individual. But the average adult needs between seven and nine hours each night, says Matthew Edlund, M.D., director of the Center for Circadian Medicine in Sarasota, Florida, and author of The Power of Rest. Not surprisingly, how much you run impacts how much you need to sleep, but it’s not a simple more-means-more equation. Research has linked moderate exercise to higher-quality, more efficient slumber–possibly by increasing levels of a compound called adenosine that promotes sleep. And so, people logging moderate mileage might actually need less sleep than those who don’t run at all. But as anyone who’s ever trained for a half-marathon or longer can attest, sleep needs can change at the start of a new running program or in the midst of a tough training cycle, says Cheri Mah, M.S., a Stanford University sleep researcher. There’s not yet a handy chart for correlating weekly mileage to required hours of sleep. Your body will likely supply some cues when you don’t get enough. You’re likely short on Z’s if you fall asleep the second your head hits the pillow, you find yourself dozing off during meetings or at the movies, you rely on caffeine to get through the day, or you hit the snooze button more than once. “If your body is literally going back to sleep immediately after being asleep all night long, you are probably not getting enough sleep,” says Robert Oexman, D.C., a runner and the director of the Sleep to Live Institute in Mebane, North Carolina.

Ignore these signals at your peril. “When you don’t obtain your required amount of sleep, it can build up like a debt, almost like a credit card,” Mah says. Most of us have racked up some–the most recent national survey shows that about 40 percent of Americans sleep six hours or less each night. “Over time,” Mah says, “that accumulated debt can affect performance and mood.”

While You Are Dreaming

Night after night of restricted (or interrupted) sleep–where you rest some, but not enough–sets off a cascade of hormonal shifts with harmful biological effects. Within a week or two, you’ll have higher levels of the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein and the stress hormone cortisol, keeping your heart rate higher and your nervous system on constant alert.

Human growth hormone, which repairs muscle and bones, is secreted by your pituitary gland during deep sleep, says Shelby Harris, Psy.D., director of the Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx. The less sleep you get, the lower your levels–and the slower your recovery from workouts or minor aches and pains. Your muscles’ ability to store glycogen for energy declines, meaning you risk running out of gas no matter how much you carb-load, says Harris, who is also a runner. There is also some research that indicates your risk for injury goes up if you don’t get enough shut-eye.

Sleep also serves as a time for memory consolidation, Dr. Edlund explains–and not just for cognitive skills, like math or Spanish. “Running is a very big learning experience,” he says. As you train, your brain takes in information about the world around you, the way muscles and nerves must work together to power each stride, and the way your body position shifts in space (proprioception), he explains. It’s during sleep that you process, synthesize, and catalog these details, and skimping means the memory-related areas of your brain don’t file away as much as they should.

Being sleep-deprived doesn’t just make you tired, but also jittery, achy, and injury-prone. There’s no magic number of hours that protects you from poor performance or from running-related pains–again, everyone’s sleep needs differ, Dr. Edlund says. But the more nights you get less than your required amount, the greater the potential consequences to your running.

And in the bigger picture, you’re probably harming your overall health, too. Sleep deprivation throws your hunger hormones out of whack, increasing levels of the hunger-inducing ghrelin and decreasing satiating leptin, Harris says, which in turn may cause you to eat more and gain weight. In addition, not getting ample sleep suppresses the immune system (leaving you susceptible to infection); your mood can sink down into the dumps; and your risk for developing chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, rises.

Toss and Turn, Crash and Burn?

Runners know insomnia is common the night before a big race. But they take comfort from this often dispensed piece of wisdom: “It’s not your sleep the night before a race–it’s the night before the night before that counts.” Anecdotal evidence bears this out. No one sleeps much the night before an Olympic race, says Paula Schnurr, who ran the 1500 meters for Canada in the 1996 Summer Games. Few first-time marathoners rest well either, English says. But many perform well anyway, fueled by race-day excitement and adrenaline.

Research supports this hypothesis, to a degree. When scientists keep people up all night and then ask them to cycle, lift weights, or run on a treadmill, they can do it just as well as when they’ve slept. But interestingly, they report that each mile or rep feels harder and they often don’t want to put forth the effort. “In order to run a good race, you have to be in a state of mind where you’re going to push it,” Caldwell says. “We’ve known for years that sleep deprivation typically doesn’t really affect absolute things like muscle contractions, speed, and power. But it definitely affects your willingness to perform your best.” When you head out for a training run sleep-deprived and with no cheering crowds or competition, these deficits could lead you to slack. As a result, you might not give your body a strong enough stimulus to adapt and improve your running, English says. What’s more, lack of sleep impairs cognitive function and reaction times, which could put you at risk of a collision if you’re crossing busy streets or running on a crowded path or rocky trail, says board certified neurologist Lev Grinman, M.D., the medical director at HomeSleep, LLC in Paramus, New Jersey.

In fact, if you’ve slept fewer than about six hours, you might benefit more from staying in bed an hour longer than from forcing yourself to stumble out on a run, says Shawn Youngstedt, Ph.D., an exercise physiology researcher at the University of South Carolina, who is also a runner. Even top coaches and athletes sometimes follow this guidance. Schnurr–now the head track coach at McMaster University in Ontario–says she can tell when her student athletes show up to practice without having slept well. She often modifies their workouts or sends them home from practice entirely, knowing they wouldn’t reap the benefits of a tough training session while sleep-deprived.

Many people can bounce back quickly from one or two nights of poor rest. But performing well gets harder the longer you’re deprived. “I’ve had some really good races after I didn’t sleep for one night, but I’ve never had a good block of training while sleeping poorly for a few months,” says Hansons-Brooks athlete and former NCAA 5K champion Bobby Curtis, who has suffered from bouts of insomnia.

Avoid an Energy Crisis

When Mah asked Stanford basketball players to sleep up to 10 hours a night for five to seven weeks, they performed better on the court. She found similar results in swimmers, too. Now, spending almost half the day in bed isn’t a luxury most of us can afford–and it may not even be necessary. Your body’s optimal amount could be seven hours; it could be eight. Harris recommends determining your ideal sleep pattern when you have a weeklong vacation or other situation that doesn’t require a strict schedule: Don’t use an alarm clock, wake up naturally, and take note of what time you went to sleep and got up. By the fourth day, you’ll have caught up on sleep debt; take the average amount of sleep you get on nights four through seven for a good estimate of your true needs, she says. Once you’ve figured out about how much sleep your body naturally wants, schedule your bedtime in advance, just like you would any other commitment, Caldwell advises.

Mah says that runners can still benefit from “sleep-loading”–getting extra shut-eye in the week or two before beginning a training program that ramps up your mileage. Committing to just a half hour more each night to pay off your sleep debt in between training cycles enables you to kick off a new program refreshed and strong. “That’s a half hour less texting or checking your e-mail, or DVR-ing your favorite late-night show and watching it another time,” Mah says. And, of course, there’s the chance that you’ll feel so good during this period of time that you might decide to make an earlier bedtime permanent.

Experts also recommend tracking your sleep–just like you log your miles–in order to help you correlate your rest to your running performance. While that won’t give you more hours in the day, it may help you place sleep and training on equal footing. “If you’re obsessed with logging your 40 miles, try to be as obsessed with logging your X hours of sleep a week,” English says. “When you do, it’s going to really positively impact the quality of your workouts.”

Keeping track can also help you recognize if something goes awry in your training. In a recent study in the journal Medicine 8-Science in Sports 8-Exercise, athletes who overreached–or who ran more miles, or did more intense workouts, than their bodies could handle–showed disrupted sleep patterns, possibly because of an overactive autonomic nervous system (the part that controls your heart and other internal organs. if you’re unable to sleep well, it could mean you need to cut back or incorporate more rest days to absorb all the hard work you’re doing, says study author Yann LeMeur, Ph.D., of the National Institute for Sport, Expertise, and Performance in Paris.

Finally, monitoring your sleep habits often gives you a bigger-picture view of whether your goals mesh with your life at the moment, Harris says. If you just had a baby and you’re also in grad school, for instance, now may not be the time to train for your first half-marathon. “You really have to be realistic–maybe you just can’t get up at 5 in the morning to run if you can’t go to bed until midnight,” Harris says. You don’t have to stop running–remember, runners tend to sleep better–just consider whether you should scale back expectations, or run for stress relief rather than trying to stick to an aggressive plan. On the flip side, if you have an ambitious goal–say, setting a new PR or qualifying for Boston–plan it for a time when you can rearrange your life to accommodate the training and recovery necessary.

If you happened to be Facebook friends with Hall, he’d probably tell you the same thing (and he wouldn’t like a post about skipping shut-eye). “I rarely stay out past 9 p.m. when I am in hard training, and I always protect my ‘business meetings’ by not scheduling any phone calls or appearances in the afternoon,” he says. “It is the most crucial part of my training. If I cannot recover from my training, then there is no point training.”


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Content source:

Kuzman, C. (2014, May 1).How to Get Better Sleep as a Runner . Retrieved from http://www.runnersworld.com/health/how-to-get-better-sleep-as-a-runner

26 Jun 2014

Running in the Heat!

Summer is here and it’s important that you plan and prep appropriately when exercising in the hot and humid conditions.

Failing to plan and prepare for exercise in the heat can be detrimental to your health and performance and may even result in heat related illness, which can be very serious and possibly life threatening.

The three primary heat illnesses to be aware of are:

1.  Heat Cramps
Heat cramps are painful muscle contractions that mainly affect the calves and quads in multisport, but may also be felt in the hamstrings and even abdominals as a result of poor hydration status and electrolyte imbalance.

2.  Heat Exhaustion
Heat exhaustion occurs when body temperature rises above 103 degrees and may be associated with nausea, vomiting, headache, fainting, weakness and cold, clammy skin. If left untreated, this can lead to heatstroke.

3.  Heatstroke
Heatstroke is a condition that occurs when your body temperature is greater than 104 degrees. Your skin may be hot, but your body may stop sweating to help cool itself. Typical symptoms are confusion and irritability. You need immediate medical attention to prevent brain damage, organ failure or even death as heatstroke can be fatal if left untreated.

There are many steps you can take to prevent yourself from suffering from heat illness making sure that you have the best workout possible in hot conditions:

1.  Run in the morning or evening when it’s cooler.  If that’s not possible, then try to find a running route that provides a lot of shade.

2.  Wear loose, moisture-wicking, light-colored clothing to help pull sweat away from the skin.

3.  HYDRATE often!  Make sure to hydrate every 15 minutes with water or a sports drink, if possible bring a cooler with you, keeping your drink cold can help cool down your core temperature much faster when training. You can also prepare an extra bottle of water you can use to pour over your head.

4.  Replenish electrolytes during longer workouts.

5.  Cool yourself with ice packs, cold towels and cold water.

6.  Protect yourself from the sun by wearing sunblock, shades, and a visor.

7.  Slow down your pace because your heart rate is already higher from the heat and humidity.  30 to 90 seconds per mile slower is common in hot/humid weather.

8.  Rehydrate and refuel. Begin to rehydrate immediately post workout and take in nutrition to begin the rebuilding and replenishment process.

Running in the heat doesn’t have to be avoided or keep you indoors on treadmills.  By educating yourself and taking some small precautions like those mentioned above you can continue your marathon training regardless of the conditions.  So, be safe, have fun, and enjoy your training!

Paula Smith, ACE CPT


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11 Jun 2014

Why Do I Race? Because the Goal is the Journey

What I have learned throughout my years of racing in marathons and triathlons has impacted me in profound ways. The impact it has on me extends way beyond the physical.  It’s an amazing and transformative journey that takes place throughout the training and I’ve listed here my top reasons for continuing my journey as an endurance athlete.

1. Better Mental Fortitude / Confidence

There is something to be said for surprising yourself and surpassing your perceived limitations. The great thing about endurance training is that you get back what you put in. When you train, you learn your body can do things you never believed possible. You also learn to push past pain and exhaustion to a whole new level of power. When I completed my first marathon, I felt I was invincible. That feeling spills into other areas of life. You learn that hard work and dedication pay off.  So, you continue to push against all of life’s limits, not just the physical or fitness barriers.

2. Healthier Body

Endurance sports create a stronger, healthier body. Muscles, cardiovascular system, bones, joints, and lungs all learn to adapt to the new task of sustaining a strong pace for hours. Endurance athletes also enjoy faster metabolisms due to more lean muscle mass, so we can indulge our sweet tooth more without the guilt. Sustained exercise also reduces the risk of most debilitating diseases. Heart disease and cancer run in my immediate family, so this was one of the primary reasons I began running.

Also, I believe in practicing what I preach!  As a personal trainer, I think I owe it to my clients that you can balance family life, a full-time job, and continue to set goals for yourself and make progress in all aspects of life.  It inspires them to get out of their comfort zone.

3. Clearer Thinking

While ramping up the mileage too fast or overtraining can cause mental and physical fatigue, exercise done properly has been shown by researchers to actually help with cognitive function. It was also found to be a preventative to Alzheimer’s in older people. For anyone who has done endurance sports, the best thinking time may be on the road or in the water. Exercise improves circulation throughout the body, and the brain benefits from this.

4. Better Self Image

When I don’t exercise, I struggle with my weight and self-image. When I train and participate in endurance races, a very nice side effect is that my clothes fit better. This improves my confidence and interactions with others. I don’t worry too much about how many calories I’m consuming each day when I am training.  Also, it helps me make healthier choices when I eat so I have a better workout and sustain a strong immune system.

5. Amazing Friendships

Endurance sports draw a quality crowd. You meet the type of people who encourage you to pull out the inward athlete and readily share knowledge to help you get there. When we train together we share the highs and lows of a tough workout, the blood, sweat, and tears, pushing ourselves past physical limitations.  You become raw and real, and that forms the best foundation for strong relationships. Also, no matter where you travel, when fellow athletes meet you, you often find yourself joining them in a workout. It’s a passionate commonality that connects us.

6. Better Peace of Mind

Runners often joke that running is cheaper than therapy. There is truth to that. Many psychologists believe exercise works at the same level or better than antidepressants. It must be all those endorphin surges!  Running is also a great stress relief from the every-day emotional impacts of life.

7. Better Sleep & More Energy

Endurance training helps with better sleep. On days I don’t train, I often have trouble sleeping. However, when I’m on a daily training schedule, running, biking, and swimming hard in all that fresh air and sunshine, I sleep like a baby.  I also start my morning refreshed and energized.  If you can train your body to propel you forward for hours on end through all types of terrain and weather, getting through the day is easy. Your body becomes efficient, and you get more done, in less time, with more energy.

8. Fountain of Youth

Exercise increases production of HGH or Human Growth Hormone. HGH has been tied to many benefits, specifically anti-aging. All exercise increases HGH, but anaerobic exercise is especially helpful. Most endurance athletes also hit the weight room to remain competitive and keep their core strong to reduce injury.

9. The Accomplishment 

Race day, for me, represents a celebration of a pretty rockin’ trip that has changed me as a person.  On this day I reflect on my journey; the commitment, dedication, perseverance of the training, the friends I made along the way, and the support I received from my family and friends.  I am always happy that I took that first step and have a greater self-belief to achieve success.

10. Better Quality and Quantity of Life

No one can deny that regular exercise increases the quality and quantity of life. You reduce the risk of systemic disease and increase life expectancy when you begin endurance training. You enjoy better health, improved self-image, clearer thinking, increased energy, mental toughness, better relationships, better sleep, stay younger longer, are happier, and enjoy amazing relationships. This translates into a better over-all existence on this planet.

So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to ditch the T.V. marathons for some real marathon training! Chose a race, find a club, hit the road, gym, or pool to enjoy these benefits today.

“Life is a journey, not a destination”.  – Ralph Waldo Emerson



Paula Smith, ACE CPT


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07 Jun 2014

Feeling unmotivated? It’s okay! It happens to all of us!

Here are some tips for staying motivated

1. Ditch the old route.
If you’re tired of that same 3 mile route around your neighborhood, it might be good for you to explore some new ground. Take a drive to a local park or greenway. Try out a local run club or network with some other runners. You’ll feel recharged in no time.

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2. Have a post-long run reward
Enjoy a cold beer, hot bath, or pizza dinner. Better yet, designate a reward for yourself to enjoy mid-run. For example, I route my long run so that I pass a local cafe at the halfway point. Once there, I sit and cool off with a croissant and some iced coffee before finishing the second half.

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3. Use friends/social media to hold you accountable.
Having trouble getting up and out the door in the morning? Share your plans with friends and family. Share on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram about your plans to run X amount of miles. If you plan to run in the morning, share it online and with your friends. You’ll instantly feel a sense of accountability once it’s out there.


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4. Post your training program and/or goals where you will see them every day.
Post your goal/s posted on fridge and bathroom mirror. Write reminder notes to yourself and leave them in your wallet, purse, and on your desk. Use them as daily reminders and use them to help you refocus and motivate.


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5. Sign up for race!
This is always a great way to keep you out there running! Knowing that you have a race to train for is an easy way to get those miles in.

6. Reaching a low point during your run or during a race?
Some ways to overcome the demons are to remind yourself of why you started running and to remember why you like to run. Also, remember when you started running and reflect on the progress you’ve made over the past weeks, months, or years. Soon, you’ll find yourself smiling and having fun – and your performance will reflect that.


Happy training and best of luck to everyone running this weekend!



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11 May 2014


Speedwork….it’s tough. Yet, after personal research, I’ve found that it WORKS! A few months ago, I asked some friends about speed training. They swore by it and testified that it was speed work than helped them to qualify for Boston.  Speed training is a great tool for runners. These workouts increase  your overall fitness and make you more comfortable running at different speeds.I incorporated it into my training plan and decided to hit the track. I found a local middle school that opens its track to the public; and every Wednesday night I was out there, sprinting as fast as my little legs would allow.

I have friends who join me, sometimes just for one session. That’s
the funny thing about speed training. So many try it once, and decide
it’s not for them. But what they don’t see is how critical this type
of training is for athletic performance.  It gets slightly more
bearable after a few weeks, but I’ll be honest: it still is brutal
every single time. (If you’re doing it right)

When I began my speed training, my comfortable pace was 8:50-9:00
min/mile.  Now, my comfortable pace is 8:15-8:30 min/mile. I even PRed
my 5K time. I placed 2nd overall female and 1st in my age group with a
finishing time of 22:09. The 5K is not my distance. I’ve never been a
great competitive short-distance runner. Yet, I firmly believe that it
was the speed work that enabled me to do this. Not only that, but I’ve
discovered that this training has toughened me mentally.  I’m able to
‘push’ through walls and moments when I feel weakness.  I find myself
able to push harder for longer.

Speed training workouts:

400m repeats (at least 5) with alternating ‘cool down’ laps. Run these
at mile pace.

800m repeats (at least 5) with alternating ‘cool down’ laps. Run these
at mile or 5k pace.

Pyramid workout- 400m, 800m, 1600m, 800m, 400m. These are done with
little recovery in between. You should start out fast, decrease speed
until 1600 (which is at goal marathon pace), then increase speed until
you’re at mile pace for the final 400m.

Increase speed over 200m, then hold full speed for 30 seconds. Rest.
Repeat 5-8 times.

^all workouts include at least a 1-mile warmup and 1-mile cooldown.

**please make sure you have a good base established before
implementing a speed training program. Also, your speed training
should never be more than 15% of your overall mileage!

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07 May 2014

Curing Diabetes: One Mile At A Time

Race 13.1 Greensboro is thrilled to be partnered with JDRF to help raise money and promote such a worthwhile cause!  Join these two spectacular women and run with us on May 18th!

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30 Apr 2014

The Dynamic Warm-Up Every Runner Should Try

General warm-ups (walk before jog, jog before run) have long been accepted as beneficial, not only for injury prevention, but for performance enhancement as well. Increases in core temperature, blood flow, oxygen uptake, improvements in neuromuscular efficiency, and mental preparedness and focus are all aspects that can provide both short- and long-term benefits.

Dynamic flexibility options to improve total-body functional movement should be incorporated for all activities, including running. But more sport-specific and athletic styles of warm-ups can elevate running to a new level. Running, of course, is a single-plane motion (sagittal plane—running straight ahead). By adding some multiplanar running maneuvers, runners can stimulate the muscles and joints in ways that can transfer to better mechanics when running straight ahead. Athletes in other sports have long used these types of exercises because most other sports require multiplanar, dynamic movements. Runners may overlook these because running does not require side-to-side or rotational movements. But it is for this very reason that runners should incorporate these movements. By moving through the foot, ankle, hip and spine in a three-dimensional, multiplanar fashion, runners can better protect themselves from the repetitive, single-plan impact that is inherent in running.

Multiplanar Run/Walk Drills:

The following exercises can be performed for 10 to 20 reps/steps or 10 to 20 seconds. Each drill can be separated by a walk or light jog in between.


1.  Walk or jog backwards

Walking/jogging is a great way to influence foot mechanics. By making contact with the toes first, the toe motion will be exaggerated and help enhance the toe-off.

2.  Side Shuffles

These help warm-up the foot, ankles and hips.  Hip adductors and abductors activate, move and stabilize the hips. This move is helpful with lateral stability and neuromuscular efficiency.

3.  High Knees

At a light jogging pace, stay on the balls of the feet and exaggerate a high-knee action. Emphasize springing off of the balls of the feet through soft landings. This can increase absorption and reflexive power in the mid-foot strike.

4.  Cariocas

Leg crossovers (cariocas in athletics and grapevine in group exercise) work from toe to neck, requiring the feet to dynamically decelerate and accelerate and help mobilize the hips and spine.

 5.  Butt Kicks

At a light jogging pace, stay on the balls of the feet and exaggerate the knee motion by kicking the heels to the glutes. This can increase spring and absorption of mid-foot landing and can dynamically mobilize the quadriceps.

A Dynamic Warm-up can contribute to pain-free running longevity & help you run with better results for many years to come. They only add a few minutes to your run so give them a try!


Paula Smith, ACE CPT   www.paulasmithfitness.com

Facebook and Instagram Paula Smith Fitness and Twitter @PaulaSmithFit

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