2018 races: running season is here

Are you a runner? If so, then you’ve likely already started registering for your races this running season. Last year, I ran a few fun runs (i.e. Star Wars Half Marathon and the Hemingway 8K), but I mostly just trained for that marathon thing. This year I’m scaling back and hoping to use my experience…

2018 races: running season is here was originally published on Self Evolve

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Are you a runner?

If so, then you’ve likely already started registering for your races this running season. Last year, I ran a few fun runs (i.e. Star Wars Half Marathon and the Hemingway 8K), but I mostly just trained for that marathon thing. This year I’m scaling back and hoping to use my experience and knowledge to help others with their marathon training. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still running a few races this year (Shamrock Shuffle, local Oak Park races, and maybe a half marathon). And today I’m going to review a few of my all-time favorite races in and around Chicagoland.

Shamrock Shuffle 8K

I may be biased, but Saint Patrick’s Day is one of my favorite days of the year. And anything having to do with this magical day makes me happy. The Shamrock Shuffle is a great 8K that takes you through downtown Chicago. You start in Millennium Park and end in Grant Park, the same start and finish for the Chicago Marathon. But 5 miles is a lot more do-able than 26.2.

running season

Hemingway 8K

I just moved to Oak Park last year and I participated in this local race last summer. The locals call it Running with the Bulls, and many people dress up to fit the theme. It was so fun that I plan to run this race again along with the other local Oak Park races this year.

Forest Preserve Trail Half Marathon

running seasonThis one is a smaller half marathon that usually falls around the same time as the Chicago Marathon. It’s a great half on the trail up north in Lake County. I ran this one in 2015 and I’m thinking about running it again this year.

Hot Chocolate 5/15K

When I ran this race, it was so cold I was miserable. The route was great, my only complaint was the cold. But they’ve moved this race from end of November to end of October in order to avoid those frigid temperatures. The only reason I didn’t run it last year was due to that marathon thing. The hot chocolate at the end makes the 15K worth it! There is also a 5K option. 

Now that running season is here, which races are you registered for?

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2018 races: running season is here 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

Proper gym etiquette: what not to do at the gym

Stay classy, my friend The gym can be intimidating, especially for beginners. Outside of the normal gym rules, there are several unspoken rules that you should follow at every gym. Following these rules will help you have proper gym etiquette. Gym Rules 101 Shower and wear clean clothes to the gym. Don’t be stinky, no…

Proper gym etiquette: what not to do at the gym was originally published on Self Evolve

Stay classy, my friend

The gym can be intimidating, especially for beginners. Outside of the normal gym rules, there are several unspoken rules that you should follow at every gym. Following these rules will help you have proper gym etiquette.

Gym Rules 101

  • Shower and wear clean clothes to the gym. Don’t be stinky, no one likes to work out next to B.O. gym etiquette
  • Wipe down equipment. I wipe before and after using equipment, mostly because I don’t want to sit in someone else’s sweat.
  • Put equipment away! Put away those weights! If you’re using a bar, please put away the weights in some sort of order. Don’t make it hard for the next person.
  • Step away from the dumbbells. Let other people use the dumbbell rack, take a few seconds and move over after grabbing your weights.
  • Give people space. Don’t be creepy, don’t stare, and don’t get in people’s way. They might accidentally hit you with a weight if you get too close.
  • Don’t drop weights. Don’t drop dumbbells after a set, and don’t let the weight machines slam the weight down. If the weight is too heavy, go lighter.
  • Make sure others aren’t using a piece of equipment before using it. Especially if there’s a towel, water bottle, or other piece of training equipment nearby.
  • “Working in” with someone. If you see someone using the same equipment you need, you can see if you can work in with them. Keep in mind that if your weight is way different than what they’re using it may be best to wait until their done with the equipment first.
  • Getting advice from randos: smile and nod, say something like ‘I appreciate your input, but I’ve got to finish my workout now. I’m on a tight schedule.’ and move on.
  • Giving advice to randos: Don’t do it unless they are putting themselves or someone else in immediate danger.
  • Hitting on fellow gym goers. You know that cute girl who usually works out with the same guy all the time? Then she shows up alone one day and you’re all over her? Don’t be that guy. This happens to me all the time, please stop!

Proper Gym Etiquette

Overall, just keep in mind the following three rules and you should be fine: be aware of your surroundings, be cool, and act like it’s your equipment. For the guys and gals out there looking for their swolemate, keep in mind that confidence and independence are some of the sexiest traits you can have. 

What drives you nuts at the gym?

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Proper gym etiquette: what not to do at the gym was originally published on Self Evolve

Hazards of the post-New Year’s gym rush

Getting back into shape for the New Year January is the busiest time for the fitness industry, as millions of guilt-ridden Americans head to health clubs to try to shed the extra pounds gained over the holiday season. As a manager of a local LA fitness, my hours are increased throughout the month of January…

Hazards of the post-New Year’s gym rush was originally published on Self Evolve

Getting back into shape for the New Year

January is the busiest time for the fitness industry, as millions of guilt-ridden Americans head to health clubs to try to shed the extra pounds gained over the holiday season. As a manager of a local LA fitness, my hours are increased throughout the month of January just to try and help operations run smoothly during our busiest month of the year. I love seeing all the new faces in my gym, but for the inexperienced the gym can pose unexpected hazards. 

Many fitness wannabes aren’t familiar with how to use exercise machines and other equipment which can lead to sustaining head, eye, back, neck, hip, leg and ankle injuries.

Hundreds of thousands of Americans suffer injuries every year while working out: stumbling on treadmills, falling off exercise balls, getting snapped in the face by resistance bands, dropping weights on their toes and wrenching their backs by lifting too much weight. Nearly 460,000 people went to hospital emergency rooms in 2012 for injuries related to exercise equipment. This is according to Consumer Products Safety Commission data analyzed by USA Today in 2015. Most were treated and released, but about 32,000 were hospitalized and a few were pronounced dead on arrival. (Chicago Tribune)

Tips to avoid injury at the gym

  • Use a personal trainer to show you the ropes! This is actually my job. At LA Fitness, we offer a free training session to show new members how to use exercise machines. Even if you’ve already used your free session, we are always available to show you anything you have a question on. Ask me anything! That’s what I’m here for! hazards
  • Beware of treadmills. While they may seem to be basic, studies show that treadmills cause the most injuries to gym members of any other type of exercise equipment. Most people “zone out” while on the treadmill, which leads to them falling off of it. Also, some people sustain back injuries from trying to move the treadmill themselves. Persistent running on a treadmill can cause inflammation of the joints in the hip as well as tendinitis and bursitis. People alter their gait to compensate for the narrow path or fast pace of the treadmill.
  • Moderate your weightlifting. Many beginners obsess over maximizing the weight they’re lifting and the number of repetitions rather than focusing on good form and sensible weight loads. Lifting too heavy will lead to improper form, which will put too much strain on your back or chest. This can lead to injury.
  • Know your limitations. People who regularly push their bodies to the breaking point can do serious damage to their shoulders and joints and risk life-threatening breakdowns of their muscles. One little-known danger zone is rhabdomyolysis, a condition in which overactive, highly fatigued muscles break down and release proteins and enzymes into the bloodstream at a dangerous rate.
  • Clumsiness can do you in. Just running, jumping, or lugging heavy objects such as medicine balls or kettle-bells around in a crowded gym can result in stumbling and falling. Fitness trainers and gym members alike tend to leave equipment and weights lying around. Be sure to look where you’re going when walking around the gym. Also, watch out for slippery areas such as around swimming pools and in locker rooms.

Have you noticed these gym hazards?

Just being aware of your surroundings and simply stopping to ask for help will go a long way. Take it easy especially if you’re new to working out or it’s been awhile since you’ve hit the gym.

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Hazards of the post-New Year’s gym rush was originally published on Self Evolve

Importance of Electrolytes

Most people know that hydration is important, but many people are still dehydrated. Did you know that about 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated? America, where water is not only free but also clean (other than Flint). How is it that with free, clean water people are still dehydrated? It takes more than just water to…

Importance of Electrolytes was originally published on Self Evolve