Running tips part 2

Hello friend!

I hope you are having a fabulous week! This week has been really exciting for me because we are officially in Spring, which means we are closer to summer! Living in San Diego usually makes me feel like we are always in spring, but this winter brought WAY too much rain and I am still trying to recover from it. I am also really excited because I got new running shoes this week. With all my training lately, I was at the point where I needed and got a new pair of Asics GT-2000’s.

This made me realize that I didn’t talk much about shoes or any next steps after actually getting into running on my last running blog. So, I created this blog for those who are starting to run more often (although it doesn’t have to be long distances), and want to avoid injuries and perfect the craft. I used to run half marathons and hurt my knees, right ankle, IT band and my hip was even affected at one point because of the constant injuries and over-work.  From personal experience, the points below really mattered to me and I hope they can help you on your journey as well. That said, learn from my mistakes and don’t get hurt, increase your pace and feel the runner’s high!**

Tips to avoid injury

  1. Get good shoes – I mentioned above that I just got a new pair of shoes. This was after wearing the WRONG running shoes for a long time. I went to my local Road Runner store so they could “Test” my step and tell me more about the shoe that is recommended for my foot. It was an eye opener to find out that there were other shoes aside from Nike training shoes with a ton of cushion, support and breathing for my feet. Every person is different, but the super cushion-y shoes work for me, while low profile shoes work for others. Ultimately, the personalized assessment taught me so much and I have been buying these Asics ever since! The shoes at the store tend to be slightly more expensive than the shoe from the brand, but it is worth getting them there the first time then get them directly from the brand, or their outlet like I do, and save money on a future pair. On top of learning about the fact that I was wearing the wrong shoes, I also found out I was wearing the wrong size. Yup, I was wearing 2 SIZES too small. Can you believe it?! My poor feet were dying in my shoes. The thing is.. When running, your feet expand because they are swelling from the strain you are adding to them, as well as we retaining water. Of course you need to wear bigger shoes!! Another HUGE eye-opener for me. Lesson learned: when buying shoes make sure that you buy them larger than you normally wear tennis shoes to allow your feet to expand. I buy them 1.5 sizes larger, but the specialist at the running store can advise you best.
  2. Stretch and roll – This sounds basic, but I wasn’t doing it. I would go for a run and feel so good then go about my day. Big no-no! Make sure you spend AT LEAST 3-5 minutes stretching after your run! Part of the cool down process is also walking, so if you have been running really fast, make sure that you are walking and stretching right after. I also try to roll the nights that I run (if not more often). You can get a roller in so many places nowadays, but I love mine because it is a textured one. Believe it or not, rolling is painful. The pain is needed though, because it helps break down any kinks n your muscles and helps circulation. If you have never rolled before, you can learn how to use a roller in this guide. Rolling is essential. PRO TIP: If you are really ramping up the miles, icing your ankles, knees and hips can provide comfort. Make sure to do intervals of time so that your areas don’t get too numb.

Tips to get faster and increase endurance

  1. Track your distance and time – There are SO many ways to do this. I started by using my phone to take a picture of my distance on the treadmill, then used the Nike run app for outdoor runs and now I use my Apple watch. Whatever method you use, it is important to track your progress. Why? You can track you improvements and motivate yourself by seeing how much faster you are getting with your runs. Not only that, you can also see how your runs differ if you start incorporating hills and other new obstacles on your run. Trackers provide an overall big picture on how you are doing over a long period of time and you will be amazed by yourself and how awesome you are.
  2. Run 3 times per week – Consistency is key. You want to ensure that you are giving your body enough runs to continue to improve that one sport. You also want to make sure that you aren’t running too much at the beginning where your body is feeling fatigued. This ties into what I already said with tracking your runs because you will want to see how your runs are improving over time. As you become a stronger runner, you can increase it, but 3 is a good starting point.
  3. Control your breathing – This was the game-changer for me. Once you learn how to control your breathing, you will find that you have so much more control over your runs. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. If you are consistently just breathing through one vs the other, then you will get really tired and/or require more water. By focusing on your breathe and controlling it, you can also lower your heart rate in times of stress and exhaustion. Personally, when I am really tired and/or running really fast, I try to hold my inhale just a tiny bit longer and exhale a little longer, for 3 repetitions, so that I relax my blood pumping and my minid. As I have ventured to other sports, I have found that breathing is different for them and mastering your breathing pattern and technique is key.
  4. Control you water intake – Stay hydrated, but don’t over-hydrate! This is a hard balance to maneuver! When I first started off, I would drink too much water and get stomach aches under my ribs. My body would slow down and I would be in pain. This was a sign of too much water. I found that the nipple of your water bottle really makes a difference. My preferred water bottle has a controlled nipple and is small enough to carry in my hand. It also has a small pocket so I can add my key and phone in there as well. When I first started, I would try to sip water every mile, and try not to drink unless I really needed it. Now, I make sure to drink 8-16 oz of water 15-30 minutes prior to my run. During my run, I wait 30 minutes for my first sip of water, then drink every mile from there. As you get more comfortable with your style you will find what is appropriate and what makes you feel hydrated, but doesn’t hurt you or has you using the bathroom every 5 minutes.

I am curious to hear from you! How are these tips working for you? What else are you interested in learning more about, or what tips have worked for you that I can learn from?

XO,

Gina

 

**Please remember that I am not a Certified Personal Trainer, or physician. This is strictly based on my personal experience and preference. You should consult with your physician for expert and personalized advice.

 

What workout plan is best for me?

Hi friend!!!

Happy Monday and beginning to a whole new week and end of February.. Isn’t it insane that we are already headed into the third month of the year? CRAY! I just finished my BBG 12 week workout plan and my #30daychallenge to close my rings and am so proud and pumped to keep going down this fitness journey. The end of this challenge also has me thinking about what workout plan I want to begin next\. I am working on my tri training, but strength training is also needed.

With this in mind, I wanted to focus today’s blog on talking about different gyms/workout options and about my experience with several different plans throughout the past years, as it is a common question I get when I am going to a new gym.

I most commonly get asked which gym/workout plan I think produces the best results. I would like to start by saying ALL gyms and plans WORK if YOU do! Plain and simple. If you are putting in the consistent work and are following a healthy meal plan, there is no reason why one workout plan won’t work for you vs the other. Remember, working out is truly a treat. Our bodies are strong and able enough to workout and we should be grateful for that, therefore make working out a FUN time in our days! Investing time in finding which plan makes you HAPPY and keeps your engaged is worth it!  

Here are my thoughts on different studios and workout plans which I hope will help you navigate the hundreds of classes going on right now.

  • F45  
    • Pros: It is mainly weight based. There are cardio days, but they are bodyweight and isometric type of workouts. You will get stronger and more fit by lifting. They give you workout towels and cool down towels after your workout. It is quick and only 45 minutes!
    • Cons: They only use bikes and rowers, no treadmills (for some, this is a pro). There is no cool down stretch. If you want to stay after and stretch on your own, you can but it isn’t something that is guided or done as part of the class.
    • Price: Unless there is a sale, they are the priciest gym that I have seen out there for $45 per week.
  • Orange Theory Fitness
    • Pros: You do a little bit of everything. It is a rotation of three main stations: treadmill, rower and weights. This gym helped my running pace get so much faster because of the different intervals from every class. These are pretty intense classes, so you really only need to go 4 times per week. The gym I went to had a great community, events outside of class and every 2 months there was a 90 minute class which was a nice challenge.
    • Cons: I am not a big fan of the rower; however, you will row every time. The weights are only dumbbells so you have to limit you workouts to those types of weights.
    • Price: Higher side – Typically $170/month + your initial heart rate monitor investment of $60.
  • Yoga
    • Pros: I have gone to several bikram yoga studios including Corepower and other local ones. Hot yoga is SO relaxing, challenging both to the body and mind and overall great for you. Even if you aren’t doing yoga as your primary workout, it is so helpful and needed for recovery. I hurt my ankle and went to yoga for a month and was a whole new human both inside and out because of it.
    • Cons: It is low intensity. The highest intensity class I have found was the sculpt class at Corepower which was intense, but it is yoga and lower intensity that your normal cardio class.
    • Price: Depends on the studio, but usually around $120 per month.
  • Pure Barre
    • Pros: Multiple repetitions and you get stronger with a lot of isometric work. Your booty is being worked out A LOT, so it helps in that area (which I need) for sure! You also work on your posture and breathing, which overall is great for you.
    • Cons: It is a slower paced workout. As you can tell by now, I am more of a high intensity workout person, so the classes that I took were too slow for my taste.
    • Price: $120-$140 + socks, but you can get those on your own.
  • Title Boxing
    • Pros: High intensity, dynamic moves that help release aggression and get your blood flowing. Depending on the gym, you can take classes that are more or less physical with the bags. Title isn’t just boxing. You can take boxing, kickboxing or MMA classes, all which are a mix of body weight, cardio and punching bags. Here, coaches make a big difference compared to other gyms I have attached because they are typically pushing you harder and are very encouraging which make me want to push my limits and get ouside my comfort zone. They’re even willing to take you aside and work with you on improving your technique.
    • Cons: Washing your equipment after class. I know this sounds lazy, but your hand wraps and gloves need to be washed and disinfected after class. It is just one more step that you need to take care of after class.
    • Price: Depends on the sales, but typically $70 per month + initial gloves and wraps which total can be ~$30, depending how fancy you want your gloves.
  • At-home – BBG, TIU, Beachbody (and others, but I have only tried these three)
    • Pros: You workout at your own time, at your own pace and they aren’t very long (typically). For the most part, not much equipment is needed and you can workout in the comfort of your living room not caring what you look like and nobody needs to know. It is very convenient, and there are online communities to keep you accountable. My favorite combo of these is either pure Beachbody, or BBG workouts following the TIU meal plan and recipes.
    • Cons: There are no in-person trainers to push you. If you are working out at home or following these self-guided programs, you need to motivate yourself, and/or be active on social media with these communities. If you have access to a gym and can do them there, sometimes that is better if you want to increase your weights and not spend on buying a heavier weight set.
    • Price: Depends on the plan. BBG now has the Sweat app that you can get for $20 per month, TIU also has their workout app, but not sure how much that is and it is offered in addition to SO many free resources online. Beachbody varies and I only did it back when the DVD’s existed so they vary. In addition to this, you may need a starter kit of weights and a few other things, but no more than $50.

A few ways to get started on finding what fits your schedule without spending a ton of money:

  • Classpass – they usually have a free month for new members
  • Groupon – a lot of gyms use it to give you a lower priced first month
  • Gym’s/programs actual site/app – Orange Theory only uses their one free class. Other gyms have even better sales through them, so try them directly. The at-home workouts also typically have a 1 week – 1 month free trial.

I am yet to try a cycling studio, pilates studio and Barry’s Bootcamp to review those. Have you tried them? What feedback do you have about these gyms and workout programs? What is your favorite?

Leave your comments below! 🙂

 

XO,

 

Gina

 

How to start your runner journey

Hey, friend!

Are you just starting your fitness journey, or even maybe already on your journey, but want to get more into running? When I first started working out I was starting at ground 0. I began my journey in January 2013 when I wanted to get in shape for my wedding. I used to be very active in high school, but lost all the motivation to workout when I was in college due to such a busy schedule between school and work.

I started off with doing my workouts at the gym and would randomly find things to do. I realized though, that if I really wanted to lose some serious weight (that I needed to shred) I would have to increase my cardio intensity. My husband (fiance at the time) started to push me and we would run outdoors. He would run in front of me and encourage me to run but all I wanted to do was quit after 2 minutes of running. So, I decided that I would change what I was doing at the gym and work towards increasing my running endurance. I started by combining the exercises I was good at, to improve my running stamina.

For example, I would do 15 minutes on the elliptical first. The elliptical is a great starting place because you are working your legs, but you have assistance from your arms to not get tired as quickly. After the elliptical, I would go another 15 minutes on the bike. In this case, all of my strength was being channelled from my legs, but without the weight of standing up so it helped my legs get stronger. After this, I would go 10 minutes on the treadmill. I would start at a slow pace then slowly get to a jogging pace where I felt comfortable. I did this over and over at least 3 times per week. Eventually my leg strength and stamina was strong enough to change the rotations: 10 min elliptical, 10 min bike, 20 min run. Then after that felt comfortable, I dropped the bike and did 5 min elliptical and 30 minute run.

As I got more comfortable on the treadmill, I started setting small goals. I would jog for 3 minutes, then run for another 3, then go back to a slower pace to jog, then go back up, etc. This is what helped me also not feel overwhelmed with being on the treadmill so long and it started to feel like a game with myself. There is also an app which I know has helped many people get into running which is the couch to 5k app. After I started getting more comfortable with running and working out overall, my husband and I decided to start signing up for races which continued to reinforce and push my running skills. 5k’s are such a fun way to push yourself and have a final race goal in mind. Once you get more comfortable with your running skills, running outside to leave the monotony of the treadmill will for sure inspire you to push harder on your run and even want to be outside longer. 

Any way you do it, getting into running is life-changing! There really is such thing as a “runner’s high” where it is just you and the path in front of you, with your sick playlist and endorphins running through your body. I encourage you to get into it and push your mind and body to complete a 5k!

Currently, I am working on improving my speed. I am working on small sprint intervals, as well as adding in some hills so I can work against the incline and help my speed.

What tactics have you used to either get into running, or improve your speed? I would love to learn more about your running journey!

 

XO,

Gina