I’m halfway through my training program for the Hapalua Half Marathon on March 10. So far everything is going well, if not exactly according to the schedule. Before I started this structured plan, I hadn’t been running regularly for quite some time. I find that training for an event helps keep me more consistent when it comes to cardio; otherwise I just don’t put in the time. Now I’m back to the point where running a few miles feels great instead of excruciating.
The three day a week running schedule has been enough to get my mileage in and up, but not so much that I don’t have time to focus on strength training and other fun stuff like hiking. It’s important to me that I incorporate lots of cross training so that I don’t get bored or suffer an overuse injury. I’ve also loved and hated incorporating more hill training into my runs. Those days are very challenging, but make me much stronger for the flatter terrain days.
I had a minor setback the first weeks of training. The back of my knee was getting inflamed after my runs. I have great shoes that fit properly and are still in good condition, so I knew that wasn’t the cause. After a bit of research and experimentation, I figured out my poor hamstring was so tight it was tugging at the insertion point behind my knee. A bit of daily and post run stretching solved that problem. I must confess: I am HORRIBLE about stretching. This was a great reminder of how endurance, strength, and flexibility all have to work together for maximum results. My advice to you: don’t neglect the STRETCH!
Are you currently prepping for a race? How’s your training going?
Last weekend I ran in the 37th annual Wahiawa Pineapple 10K Run. This was my second year, and it’s one of my favorite races on the island. Not that I don’t love Ala Moana or Kapolani Park, but this was a rare opportunity to run in the country. The course started out at Ka’ala Elementary School and then went straight up Kamehameha Highway through Wahiawa town. The next 4 miles of the course led through rolling hills alongside agricultural fields with great views of the Waianae Mountains. Ironically, I didn’t see a single pineapple during the race; most of the land is now used for other crops.
View of the Waianae Mountains from the 10K course
I was not going for a personal record this race, and I took a very easy pace. I’ve found it a little difficult to get back into speedier short distances after training for long-distance races. All 755 of the finishers, no matter what their time, received a pineapple at the end of the race. To celebrate my sweet victory, I think I’ll make a pineapple sorbet, similar to this one, but without the addition of agave. I think the fruit itself will be sweet enough.
I love participating in races like this one. There is a great energy during the event that you just don’t experience during a training run. There are TONS of foot, bike, swim, and even SUP races taking place this summer and fall. Check out Active.com or the Running Room’s event calendar to see what’s coming up. Several of my clients are going out of town this summer, but will be training for a race during their extended break to help keep them on track. It is so much easier to stick to a plan if you have an end goal in mind.
What event would you like to complete? Have an great race experiences? Tell us!
Do you have four minutes for exercise? Of course you do! Check out my video for a quick, full body workout you can do basically anywhere in less time than it will take you to find a parking spot at the gym!
Have you ever been out jogging, and all of a sudden you are struck by a sharp pain in your side that stops you in your tracks? The dreaded side stitch strikes many new runners, and can be so discouraging and debilitating that it can lead people to abandon running all together. It’s so common, in fact, that there is even a super science-y name for it: exercise-related transient abdominal pain (ETAP). Like many things related to health, there is great debate among experts on what exactly causes this pain. Dehydration, shallow breathing, and going to fast and hard too soon are all culprits.
The good news is there are several things you can do to prevent the side side and to deal with it once it starts happening:
Make sure you are properly hydrated; even an experienced runner can be stitched if they haven’t had enough water.
Focus on your breathing. You want to try to take as deep and as relaxed breaths as you can manage, even as you become a bit fatigued. Shallow breathing never allows your diaphragm to fully relax, so the muscle is constantly stressed and more likely to spasm. Not only will controlled breaths help prevent ETAP, but deep breathing will make your entire jogging experience easier because your body will get the oxygen it needs to keep you in motion.
If you’ve already been struck:
Slow down. Breathe deeply. Relax. The pain will pass.
Push up on your right side below your ribcage. If you are like most people, you breathe out when your right foot hits the ground (pay attention next time you go for a jog).When you exhale your diaphragm goes up, and at the same time, the force of your foot strike causes your liver to go down. When this happens, the ligaments that connect your diaphragm to your liver are stretched, resulting in the stabbing side pain.
Try a side bend. Arch your right arm over your head and bend to the left. Hold this position for at least 20 seconds and then repeat on the other side.
Jumping rope is one of the most effective cardiovascular conditioning exercises there is, and it can be performed by people of all ages and abilities. It is also a particularly good activity for families to do together: kids love it, and adults will definitely get in a good workout, even by spending just a few minutes with the rope. Jumping rope improves balance, agility, coordination, muscle strength, and endurance. It is also a fat scorcher! Depending on your weight and how vigorously you jump, you can burn anywhere from 10-20 calories PER MINUTE! But, perhaps most importantly, it is fun!
Exercise doesn’t just occur in a gym or through an organized sports team, and it doesn’t have to happen in a 1-2 hour block of time that is completely separate from your everyday life. The Center for Disease Control recommends that adults get 150 minutes of moderate activity a week and that children ages 6-17 get 60 minutes of physical activity a day. Those numbers may sound daunting, but remember that this time can be broken up into 10 minute intervals throughout the day and be just as effective as a single session. If you’re curious as to how you might add a quick jump roping session into your family’s routine, please check out this video for ideas!
During my Las Vegas trip last week, I did a little gambling, had some delicious cocktails, and saw the Nevada Ballet perform, but I also made sure I stayed moving. I only did one structured workout while I was away, but I also spent two days hiking in beautiful Red Rock Canyon and the Valley of Fire. I really enjoy hiking and although my heart may be pounding and I’m sweating profusely, I’m usually to busy enjoying to scenery to notice.
I shot a workout video about Tabata intervals for you while I was out there in the desert. These types of workouts are great when you are short on time, but still want to get a good sweat in. I also like this style of training becuase you can be at any fitness level and use this technique to achieve results. Just remember to use an exercise that works multiple muscle groups and to really push the intensity!
What are some other exercises you like to do Tabata-style?
Circuit training is a quick, effective way to get a full body, fat burning, muscle building workout. During a circuit training workout, you perform three or more exercises back to back with little to no rest, then repeat the sequence a set number of times. Circuits are often done in threes, but you can do more or fewer depending on how much time you have and your current fitness level. This type of training is so efficient because you are doing resistance training exercises to build muscle, and your heart rate stays elevated due to the fact that you are not resting in between exercises, similar to the cardio effect you get when you go for a jog.
Try out the circuit in my video below! It requires no equipment, a very small amount of space, and I have included variations for all fitness levels from beginner to advanced. Remember to push yourself!
10 drop downs or burpees
20 spiders or 10 full sets of spider pushups