Enjoy the great indoors: Bring your run inside

Standard treadmills are so yesterday.. Gone are the days of boring treadmill workouts. With the latest and greatest, indoor workouts for runners are actually enjoyable. Not only that, they are also helpful for runners to train smarter, recover faster, and prevent injury. Even though the weather is getting warmer, you still may want to bring…

Enjoy the great indoors: Bring your run inside was originally published on Self Evolve

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Standard treadmills are so yesterday..

run insideGone are the days of boring treadmill workouts. With the latest and greatest, indoor workouts for runners are actually enjoyable. Not only that, they are also helpful for runners to train smarter, recover faster, and prevent injury. Even though the weather is getting warmer, you still may want to bring your run inside.

Sproing Fitness

Science shows that cross-training is a necessary component of any running routine. Sproing Fitness (Chicago) takes this to another level. They incorporate running, plyometrics, stability and strength work all into one 45-minute HIIT-style routine on an unique device. The Sproing is a treadmill-like machine that has an air bladder rather than a moving belt in order to customize the surface. You’ll cinch a waist-level harness which allows you to fall forward while running which lets you maintain proper form, land on your forefoot and avoid heel-striking. The class setup is intervals of 20 or 30 seconds of work, followed by 10 seconds of rest. The workout transitions through a mix of forward and backward running, strength moves, and explosive exercises.

This adds up to a sweat-filled session that targets and builds the important muscles that runners rely on for faster splits and more power. The low-impact component yields rewards such as protecting the joints and back.

Precision Running Lab

Equinox (Boston) has a new Precision Running Lab where despite running on a treadmill, it feels like you’re running outside. David Siik, senior manager of running at Equinox, wanted to bring the outdoors in with this experience. Even the music is scientifically-backed in providing motivation but not distraction. The music is nonlyrical, with driving beats. A Precision class has 90 to 117 four-second light changes that cue runners as they go. And the treadmill saves your speed once you maintain a pace for 20 seconds rather than have you push buttons while running.

Another important factor? The oxygen. The studio has a filtration system that purges nitrogen and raises O2, helping to keep your lungs full and your head clear. The result is an immersive experience, focused on the workout.

Have you tried these fitness studios? Do you run inside?

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Enjoy the great indoors: Bring your run inside was originally published on Self Evolve

Dorsiflexion: Flex for speed

The need for speed We all want to be faster, regardless of ability or pace. There’s a part of me that wants to run another marathon only to run it faster. Not sure when I will, but I have a feeling another marathon is in my future. You can turn to a structured plan and…

Dorsiflexion: Flex for speed was originally published on Self Evolve

The need for speed

dorsiflexionWe all want to be faster, regardless of ability or pace. There’s a part of me that wants to run another marathon only to run it faster. Not sure when I will, but I have a feeling another marathon is in my future. You can turn to a structured plan and training methods to help up your pace and efficiency, but one of the best places to start is with body mechanics. Focusing on ankle dorsiflexion, i.e. moving your toes towards your shins or flexing your ankle, during your next run is one tiny tweak that can yield big benefits for all runners.

Pretend to run through wet grass

Run like you just got a fresh pair of white kicks that you’re trying to keep clean while running through wet grass. This simple tweak immediately improves running mechanics. The idea is to decrease ground contact time. The lighter you are on your feet, the faster you run. A study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise compared elite and novice runners on different terrains and found that the elites exhibited more ankle dorsiflexion at toe-off when running at the fastest speeds. Another study showed that as you start picking up the pace, the body lowers its center of gravity by increasing flexion of the hips and knees and dorsiflexion of the ankle.

Less time on the ground = faster race times

It’s estimated that runners who pull their toes up spend 1 or 2 percent less time on the ground. This may not seem like a lot, but it can add up to seconds, even minutes, shaved off a race time. Rather than landing toes first, or forefoot striking, dorsiflexion favors a midfoot landing. Keep in mind it takes time to alter mechanics. It’s best to focus on a tiny tweak for a small segment of the run (i.e. 100 meters or two to five minutes), and gently increasing from there. Before you know it, you’ll be flexing without thinking about it.

What do you do to run faster?

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Dorsiflexion: Flex for speed was originally published on Self Evolve

Stronger arms, more speed

Are you trying to run faster? To be honest, runners aren’t necessarily known for their arms. It’s easy to neglect your top half when it seems like your legs do all the work. Failing to train your upper body, however, can hold you back big time. It may seem strange, but a strong upper body…

Stronger arms, more speed was originally published on Self Evolve

Are you trying to run faster?

To be honest, runners aren’t necessarily known for their arms. It’s easy to neglect your top half when it seems like your legs do all the work. Failing to train your upper body, however, can hold you back big time. It may seem strange, but a strong upper body is just as important as trained legs to run fast and easy. With stronger arms comes a faster running pace.

Stronger arms will pump your way to faster running

stronger arms

“Have you ever tried to run without your arms? It’s weird, inefficient, and hard as hell. Arm drive is a big part of running– when your legs get tired, you use your arms more because of the kinetic chain; you can’t have one without the other.” – Pamela Geisel, exercise physiologist.

Building a strong upper body will help you maintain good form as the miles tick by. Also, that stable, upright posture can increase your endurance by improving your lung capacity. In addition, your oxygen requirement will be reduced, leading to faster runs while using the same amount of energy.

Avoid injury

Not only will you run faster you’ll also prevent injury and create bone density while building muscular strength. And don’t go for the light weights, you have to be willing to lift heavier things if you want to prevent injury, improve your speed and last longer while running. Lifting light weights for a high number of reps achieves the same goal as running- building endurance, not strength.

Most runners skip the weights since they feel like they don’t have time, but it’s easy to break it into 10 minute increments. Taking 10 minutes off the duration of your run and doing a quick strength set provides more benefits than 10 more minutes on the road.

Is your goal to PR?

If so, save the hard-core lifting for cross-training days so you can focus on getting in a quality, high-intensity run. Otherwise, schedule a short circuit of strength training exercises pre-run: A study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that doing so can make you more likely to bust out extra reps and help you maintain proper form throughout. And if the weight room is intimidating, body weight can be more than enough. i.e. push-ups and TRX rows. Whatever you do, be sure to warm up with core exercises such as planks and side planks.

Do you workout your arms?

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Stronger arms, more speed was originally published on Self Evolve

Layer up: What to wear for your winter run

 Are you crazy?! This is the typical response I get when I tell people I went for a run outside, in the dead of winter in Chicago. Lately, the temperatures have been well below zero and running outside has been kept to a minimum (treadmill, anyone?). But for some of us, there’s nothing better than…

Layer up: What to wear for your winter run was originally published on Self Evolve

 Are you crazy?!

This is the typical response I get when I tell people I went for a run outside, in the dead of winter in Chicago. Lately, the temperatures have been well below zero and running outside has been kept to a minimum (treadmill, anyone?). But for some of us, there’s nothing better than a nice run outside. And if you’re crazy like me, you’ll need to know how to layer up for your next winter run.

Baby it’s cold outside

winter runKeep in mind that once you’re moving, your body heats up fast. Don’t overdress when you think it feels cold. The opposite is true as well: once you stop moving you’ll cool down quickly. Be sure to plan ahead to get out of your workout clothes as soon as you can after your run. Dressing in layers is key for winter running. They will keep you warm at the start, then you can shed some as you warm up. See below for a chart on how to dress according to the temperature outside.

50–59 degrees: short sleeve tech shirt and shorts (feels like 6079 degrees)

40–49 degrees: long sleeve tech shirt, shorts or tights, gloves (optional), headband to cover ears (optional) (feels like 5069 degrees)

30–39 degrees: long sleeve tech shirt, shorts or tights, gloves, and headband to cover ears (feels like 4059 degrees)

20–29 degrees: two shirts layered—a long sleeve tech shirt and a short sleeve tech shirt or, long sleeve shirt and jacket—tights, gloves, and headband or hat to cover ears (feels like 3049 degrees)

10–19 degrees: two shirts layered, tights, gloves or mittens, headband or hat, and windbreaker jacket/pants (feels like 2039 degrees)

0–9 degrees: two shirts layered, tights, windbreaker jacket/pants, mittens, headband or hat, ski mask to cover face (feels like 1029 degrees)

Once we get below zero like in Chicago, be sure to pay attention to your local weather information and warnings. Use your best judgment to determine whether you should run outside or hit the gym instead. Also, beware of ice and be sure that you’re visible if running in the dark!

How do you dress for your winter run?

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Layer up: What to wear for your winter run was originally published on Self Evolve

Carry your stuff while running with efficiency and ease

If you’ve been following along with my running-themed posts, you likely have deduced that as you run you will also have to bring a few things with you: i.e. water, a way to track your run, and perhaps your keys to get back in your home after your run. To make running easier and more…

Carry your stuff while running with efficiency and ease was originally published on Self Evolve

carry your stuff while runningIf you’ve been following along with my running-themed posts, you likely have deduced that as you run you will also have to bring a few things with you: i.e. water, a way to track your run, and perhaps your keys to get back in your home after your run. To make running easier and more enjoyable, it’s a good idea to find an efficient way to carry your stuff while running. After trying a few different methods of carrying my stuff while running, I’m here to review them all with you.

Hold whatever…

One option is to just hold whatever it is you need. Hold onto that water bottle, and maybe stick those keys in your pocket along with your phone or map (for tracking purposes). Or just wear that tracking device on your wrist (i.e. a fitbit). But for the shorter distance runs, there really shouldn’t be any issue holding onto your stuff as long as you keep that stuff to the bare minimum.

Use a utility belt, Batman

carry your stuff while running

Running belts these days can carry almost anything: that water bottle (or multiple), those keys, and that huge Apple X phone (phablet?). I absolutely love my Nathan running belt. It holds my phone, keys, and energy chews. This brand also makes great belts that hold water bottles too! Alternatively, you could just get a bad-ass Batman belt and fight crime as you run around town.

 

See a few great options below.
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Use your arm, Popeye

carry your stuff while runningYou could get an armband or wristband instead to hold your phone and keys. I personally think armbands jiggle a lot when I run with them. However, some runners prefer an armband as it can add a little extra weight training in to your cardio days (well, at least for one of your arms so you might look like Popeye).

Check out the options below for your next run.
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Carry protection…

Another good idea is to carry something to protect yourself, especially if you’re running at night and/or through an area that’s new to you. Be sure to have pepper spray, your keys, or a self-carry your stuff while runningdefense stick on hand just in case. This doesn’t only apply to females, anyone can be attacked no matter your gender, age, or any other factor. Run safely at all times!

See some great self-defense options below.
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How do you carry your stuff while running? Comment below with what works for you.

Carry your stuff while running with efficiency and ease was originally published on Self Evolve

Running and keeping track: Maps and more

Map Your Run As a new or seasoned runner alike, it’s important to map out your runs so that you know how far you’re running. You can simply look at a map or utilize a device to keep track of your distance. No matter how you do it, running and keeping track of your distance is…

Running and keeping track: Maps and more was originally published on Self Evolve

Map Your Run

As a new or seasoned runner alike, it’s important to map out your runs so that you know how far you’re running. You can simply look at a map or utilize a device to keep track of your distance. No matter how you do it, running and keeping track of your distance is a good idea.

Running and keeping track

Back before there were smart phones or wearable GPS devices, runners were forced to use a paper map of where they were going to run in order to know the distance of their runs. If you didn’t plan ahead, you risked the chance of getting lost unless you were running a known trail or track loop distance multiple times. Being a runner meant that you had to know the areas where you ran pretty well. Over time, you learn how many blocks equates to a certain distance. For example, that two mile loop around your neighborhood that you run consistently.

Tracking devices

running and keeping trackNow that there are many different types of smart devices and running apps, you have more running freedom. Freedom to set out and run until you hit your distance (or rather half so you can run an out & back). Also, with technology, you have instant feedback in regards to your pace and timing. And sometimes, even heart rate. I wrote about tracking your fitness, but running is an exercise that you can improve upon with a proper tracking device.

The consistent and instantaneous feedback can help you learn how and when to change your pace and/or distance. Some runners focus on increasing their distance whereas other runners focus on increasing their speed. It’s important to choose either distance or speed to focus on since it’s difficult to work on both simultaneously.

Devices that help me run better

These are the devices and apps that I use to track my runs in order to run further. They also helped me get through Chicago Marathon training.
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What do you use to keep track of your runs? I also use the Nike running app in addition to the Garmin app to track my runs.

Running and keeping track: Maps and more was originally published on Self Evolve

Chicago Marathon 2017: shoes

What started out as a light at the end of the tunnel I was in has turned into the brightest star in the sky for me. This past Sunday October 8th I ran 26.2 miles for the first time in my life. And not just for myself, but to bring clean water to those who…

Chicago Marathon 2017: shoes was originally published on Self Evolve

What started out as a light at the end of the tunnel I was in has turned into the brightest star in the sky for me. This past Sunday October 8th I ran 26.2 miles for the first time in my life. And not just for myself, but to bring clean water to those who…

Chicago Marathon 2017: shoes was originally published on Self Evolve