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workermountainJoyful as the holiday season can be, the weeks between Thanksgiving and the New Year can be a challenging time for anyone who is trying to make healthy lifestyle changes. With the raft of holiday parties and the onslaught of indulgent treats, it can be tough to keep your healthy eating habits on track. And with less daylight, tough weather conditions, and a tornado of holiday-related errands and festivities, it gets tough to find the time for regular workouts. Luckily there are things you can do to keep yourself on track, and emerge triumphant by the time January 1 comes along. 

Use these 4 tips to set yourself up for success this holiday season.

Embrace the mini-workout. With the ever-growing to do list it can be tough to find the time for regular exercise you do at other times of year. But you don’t have to make exercise an all-or-nothing proposition. Moving every day—even for a few minutes—will give you the energy and clarity you need to stay on track. You can split up your workouts into shorter sessions and still get the benefit. Research has shown that splitting a 30-minute workout into three 10-minute sessions delivers the same benefits.

Challenge yourself. You don’t have to set an audacious goal to keep yourself on track. Start small by tracking your steps on a daily basis, and challenging yourself to move just a few steps more each day. Just download the Movecoach app and sync your favorite training device, and your daily steps will automatically upload into the Movecoach app. As the steps add up, you’ll be earning milestones and cool rewards in your company challenge. Learn more about syncing here.

Create some accountability. Fitness is funner with friends.  Invite a friend to join the Movecoach challenge (Click here to learn how)  and meet up for regular movement breaks throughout the day. Go on a lunch-break walk, or set up a walking meeting. Plan to meet a friend for a morning workout. It’s much tougher to press the snooze button when you know someone is waiting for you. Use these tips to encourage friends to move more with you.

Eat well. Eating is probably the trickiest terrain during the holidays. So many treasured holiday traditions revolve around meals, dishes, and desserts, and it can be difficult to avoid indulging. You don’t have to endure the season feeling deprived. Just pick your spots. Enjoy the one to two dishes you really love in reasonable portions, and buffer the indulgent foods with whole healthy foods like fruits, veggies, and whole grains, that nourish your health and give you the energy you need to move more.


Got questions? Contact us!



stepsrunnerWhen you’re pushing your body farther and faster than it’s gone before, details matter. Neglect the seemingly small things—nutrition, recovery, and sleep—and you could set yourself up for a setback. As you prepare for the J.P. Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge, here are some tips to help you stay healthy, get fit, and ready to run your best when the starting gun fires.

Sleep. Sleep deprivation can impact performance and raise your risk of injury. Studies have shown that sleep provides a critical opportunity to recover and heal from tough workouts, and get stronger. It’s the time when the body repairs strained tissue and regenerates bone and muscle so you get stronger. Plus it helps stave off weight gain. Sleep deprivation signals the body to produce more ghrelin—the hunger hormone—and less leptin—which signals that we’re full.

Warm up, cool down, and stretch. Take time before your workouts to do a dynamic warmup routine—watch videos of the moves Movecoach recommends here—to increase running efficiency and range of motion, and decrease risk of injury. These moves will help make you stronger, and prepare your muscles, bones, and joints to push on the final stretch to the finish line.

Hydrate. Studies have shown that even mild dehydration has been shown to make even easy runs feel difficult, and and impair your ability to run at an even pace. Sip small amounts of water throughout each day so that you start each workout well hydrated. Be sure to rehydrate after tough workouts to help aid recovery. When it’s hot outside, or if you’re a particularly salty sweater, reach for low-calorie sports drinks to help replenish your carbs and electrolytes. How do you know if you’re well hydrated? Do the bathroom test. If your urine is pale yellow, then you’re well hydrated. If it’s darker – say the color of apple juice – drink more. If it’s clear, back off. Use thirst as your guide; experts have established that thirst will guide you to water when you need it.

Listen to your body.  Training for a race should help push you out of your comfort zone, but it shouldn’t feel like torture. Some muscle soreness and achiness is normal after pushing yourself farther or faster than you’ve gone before. Rest and cross-train with non-impact activities when you need to. It is far better to take one day off of training to give your body a chance to recover, than to run through pain and turn a minor irritation into a full-blown injury that sidelines you for weeks. If you have pain that persists or worsens as you run, see a medical professional for an evaluation.

We’re looking forward to taking the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge SFO with you on September 7. You can see more training tips here. And be sure to look for us on race day.  Click here to get to know the Movecoach Team!




2blue-shoeHere are 5 tips to get a smart start on your training for the J.P. Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge:

  1. Stick to your plan. You’ve set a goal, and Movecoach has designed your training plan. Stick to it. Many runners take their easy runs too fast, risking injury, and sapping the energy they need for quality workouts, like intervals. As a result, they often end up injured, or fall short of their goals. Remember: you can adjust your schedule any time you. Just hit “Adjust Schedule” from the Training screen on the App.

  2. Buddy Up. Fitness is funner with others. So make a training date with a coworker or a group. You’re much less likely to work through your planned lunch run when you know someone is relying on you. Plus you’ll get a mid-day mental recharge from the social time.

  3. Get good gear. It’s tempting to use whatever athletic gear you have on hand, but that’s not a good idea, even for a short race. Worn-out or ill-fitting shoes can lead to injury. Go to a specialty running store to get fit for a pair of shoes that offers the support you need. While you’re there, pick up apparel made of technical materials that wicks sweat away from your skin, keeping you cool on hot training days.

  4. Eat like an athlete. What you consume will have a huge impact on how you feel while you’re on the road. It’s hard to log a peak performance if you’ve got a belly full of junk food. Wholesome, unprocessed foods will help you unleash your strength and speed. Figure out which pre-run foods will boost your energy without upsetting your stomach.  Resist the temptation to eat with abandon. It’s easy to eat back all the calories you just burned – and then some— end up at the starting line heavier.  Sip water, or other calorie-free fluids throughout the day to make sure you’re well hydrated going into each workout. Dehydration has been proven to drag down pace and make even easy runs feel difficult.

  5. Ask for help. Any time you have questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Our team of USATF, USAT, and RRCA-certified coaches are here to answer your questions on training, nutrition, and injuries. Contact us any time by tapping “Support” from the App, or emailing us at coach@movecoach.com.

We’re looking forward to taking the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge SFO with you on September 7. Be sure to look for us on race day.  Click here to get to know the Movecoach Team!



While training with us, you'll have a variety of workouts to help you build all-around fitness. Each workout plays a unique role in building your all-around fitness, and helping you reach your goals.  It's important to stick to the pace and distance assigned for each workout. On your Schedule & History page, under the "Pace Chart" you'll see the suggested paces for each workout.  Below, you'll find more guidance on how to guage your effort for each run.

MAINTENANCE: Run at a conversational pace, or 65 - 85% of max heart rate. If you’re huffing and puffing, you’re going too fast.   These workouts are designed to build your aerobic fitness, without stressing your bones, muscles, and joints. Don’t take your easy runs too fast; save your energy for quality workouts like speed sessions and long runs.

REST: Let your body recover from training stresses, get stronger, and bounce back quickly for your next workout.  You may do a low-impact activity: walk, swim, bike, or ride the elliptical. Just take it easy.

LONG RUNS: Long runs are meant to build endurance, and get you comfortable spending hours at a time on your feet. Focus on finishing the distance at your target pace feeling strong. Practice fueling strategies and gear logistics to figure out what will work on race day.

THRESHOLD: This workout, also called a “tempo run,” should feel comfortably hard, but it’s not an all-out sprint.  You should be able to say 2 to 3 words while running.  Threshold workouts should be done at 85-92% of your maximum heart rate. Threshold workouts will help you develop the ability to hold a faster pace for a longer distance, and they’ll train your legs and your lungs to be more efficient.

SPEED SESSIONS: During speed sessions you’ll alternate between short, fast-bouts of running (typically 800 or 1500-meter repeats) and periods of recovery with walking or easy running. These workouts build cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength, stride efficiency, and they get your fast-twitch muscle fibers firing. Those benefits will help you no matter what kind of goal is. Try to complete the assigned workout feeling strong.

To learn more about the purposes of each workout, click here.  Have questions? Contact Us.



mc_terryhanlin_sheaTerry Henlin
Concierge
Blue Star Golf & Resort

In the spotlight: Shea Companies

Favorite fitness activity: 18 holes of golf.  My husband and I play three times a week, and a boot camp once a week. You can also find us walking in our neighborhood and gardening in our beautiful yard! I also do a boxing class once a week.

What is the secret to your success?   Having a partner you exercise with keeps you accountable! And it is more fun. I just turned the “BIG” 60 and I wanted a physical activity I could do with my husband into our 90s. And we will be celebrating our 40th anniversary this year. This keeps up our energy for our three grandchildren and other activities. When you slow down from raising kids and working full time it is a very important time to keep the body moving.

What is the biggest obstacle to moving more and how do you get over it? To start any exercise it is best to join an organized class that you pay a fee! It is fun to groan with many people and a dedicated partner who holds you accountable to work out with!

What is the most rewarding part of moving more? The health rewards are many! Lower blood pressure, sleeping and a fun activity to do with my husband.

Share your movecoach success story here!

Click here to join the Shea Moves 750,000-Mile Challenge

Download movecoach moves Shea app for iPhone or Android.

 
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Here are six tips to help you start charging toward race day.

blackrunningshoeTake it easy. Most of your runs should be done at a comfortable, conversational pace. These easy runs allows you to get time on your feet to build a solid base of aerobic fitness, without getting hurt. Many runners take their easy runs too fast, risking injury, and sapping the energy they need for quality workouts, like intervals and long runs. As a result, they end up stuck in the medium-hard zone,  and frustrated that they can’t reach their goals.

Make some plans. Look at your schedule, and see how your major workouts like long runs and speed sessions will fit in with all your family, work, and social commitments. If you need to move workouts around, that’s typically okay—as long as you don’t do two hard workouts back to back. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask. Just write to us at coach@runcoach.com.

Get dressed. It’s tempting to wear whatever athletic shoes and apparel you have on hand, but it’s not a good idea. Ill-fitting and worn-out shoes can lead to injury. Clothing not geared for athletics can make any run uncomfortable. Go to a specialty running store and get fitted for a pair of shoes that offer your feet the fit and support they need. Get apparel made of technical materials that wick moisture away from the skin. It will help you stay cool and dry when you feel hot and sweaty, and help minimize uncomfortable chafing. It may seem like a big investment, but it’s money, time, and stress you’ll save by staying out of the doctor’s office.

Eat like an athlete. What you eat and drink will have a huge impact on how you feel while you’re on the road. Eat wholesome, unprocessed foods that will help you unleash your strength and speed. Figure out which pre-run foods will boost your energy without upsetting your stomach. For any run of 70 minutes or longer, you’ll want to refuel while you’re on the road to keep your energy levels steady. Aim for 30 to 60 grams of carbs per hour.  Consume midrun fuel at even intervals—don’t wait until you’re tired or hungry, it will be too hard to regain your energy. There are a variety of sports gels, drinks, chews and bars on the market. Experiment with different flavors, brands and formulas to figure out what sits well with you. And be sure to recover right after tough workouts, especially intervals and long runs. Within 30 minutes of finishing your workout, have a wholesome snack or meal with protein and carbs to restock spent energy stores, and bounce back quickly for your next workout.  As you ramp up your mileage, resist the temptation to eat with abandon. It’s shockingly easy to eat back all the calories you just burned – and then some— end up at the starting line heavier than when you started training. The more wholesome your diet, the better you’ll feel during your runs.

Develop good drinking habits. Dehydration has been proven to drag down pace and make even easy runs feel difficult. Sip calorie-free fluids throughout the day to make sure you’re well hydrated going into each workout. Aim for half your body weight in ounces each day. So if you weigh 160 pounds (or 72.5 Kg), aim for 80 ounces of fluids per day. If you weigh 130 pounds (59 Kg), aim for 65 ounces per day.

Buddy up. Join a friend or a running group—the miles roll by faster when you have others to socialize with—especially during speed sessions and long runs.

Reach out for help. Any time you have questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’re here to help! Contact us at coach@runcoach.com.



Originally posted by Dena Evans on Feb. 6, 2014

Don’t let your running and training be hampered by arbitrary tales that may lead you off track.  If you find yourself caught in the trap laid by one of these myths, it is time to set yourself free!

Myth #1:  If you don’t have time for the entire prescribed XXworkout, you should just skip the whole thing.

We all know the nagging pain of a day where the alarm didn’t go off, your toddler is sick, work is a fire drill, or the weather is garbage. The scheduled workout is Just. Not. Going. To. Happen.  In frustration, it can be tempting to bag everything and sulk.  Don’t.  Your schedule is the best-case scenario, and every single runner has had to punt and pivot now and again.  If the track workout isn’t an option, an aerobic run can still help clear your head, and keep you on track for either an adjusted workout day later in the week or next week’s tasks.  If the schedule calls for 45 minutes and you only have 25 minutes, your body will get a significant benefit from doing even half the work.  If you are taking an unplanned “zero” in the log, focus your mental energy on the positives – more freshness for the next session, accomplishment of the tasks and issues that have stolen your run time, and the confidence that a day or few off does not have to have a significant impact on your fitness level.

Myth #2:  Days off are for wimps.

Training hard is important to get toward your goal, but without recovery, your muscles don’t have the ability to adapt and recoup after the stress you have placed on them already.  Recuperation time allows your body to return to preparedness for the stimulus ahead and in doing so, get the most out of the upcoming challenge.  Running hard every day drives your body into a deeper and deeper hole from which it eventually becomes impossible to escape.   Build your schedule with some planned and regular rest, and the chances of you making it to the start line of your goal race will increase immensely.

Myth #3:  You will set a personal best every single race or you are not trying hard enough.

There are many, many factors that contribute to a personal best day.  An accurately (or inaccurately) measured course.  A tail or head wind.  Hills.  A bad meal the night before.  How well recovered you are.  Your bout of flu last week.  Neglecting to hydrate along the route or beforehand.  The list goes on and on.   These are not excuses, but factors which can both enhance or diminish the yield from your training up to that point.  Your actual fitness plays the largest role, but smart training includes a slight cyclical effect where recovery periods are interspersed with hard training and tapering for goal events.  100% effort each time can be a good way to practice the significant demand your body will require when it is primed for a signature day, but even top level effort each time may not always result in a new level of achievement, particularly for experienced runners who have been through the train and taper cycle in the past.  Concentrate on the quality of your preparation, the execution of your plan, and when your body is ready, you’ll have good racing habits and attitude down pat.

Myth #4a:  The more cushioning in your shoes, the better chance you have of avoiding injury.

Most athletes do not need to purchase the shoes with the maximum potential padding, structure, or stability in order to stay injury free, and in fact these shoes can sometimes impede your stride from operating at its greatest efficiency.  Each foot and every person is different.  Consider getting a gait analysis from an experienced staff member at a reputable running specialty store in your neck of the woods, and adding that info to your reasoning as you choose your next pair of shoes.  Well-cushioned shoes have indeed helped many non-runners become runners through the years, but for many athletes, other choices may serve the body better.

Myth #4b:  The less cushioning in your shoes, the better chance you have of avoiding injury.

In recent years, thousands of runners have become enamored with the “minimalist” segment of the running shoe market.  These are typically footwear with much or all of the heel lift eliminated, or shoes meant to simulate running barefoot with various ways of wrapping around the foot or articulating the sole.  While incorporating barefoot running or minimalist footwear into a larger program to strengthen the foot and lower leg can be very beneficial, these decisions must be made in context.  Injury history, the restraint to gradually incorporate this type of running, and the availability of suitable and safe terrain must all be considered.  Again, minimalist footwear have been invaluable tools for many runners, but just because you want to be one of those runners, doesn’t mean you are.  Get some input from your experienced local running specialty retailer or a podiatrist, and don’t do anything all at once.

Myth #5:  Training for a marathon is a great crash diet.

Physical fitness is a great by-product of decision to train for a half or full marathon.  Weight loss may result, but the “goal beyond the goal” should always be sustainable, healthy habits.  Athleticism, strength, endurance are all aspects of your best self that need to come to the fore in order for you to reach your race finish line.  Explicit, short term dieting and caloric reduction while maintaining a schedule of challenging running tasks can be detrimental to your training and health at best, and dangerous at worst.  We want running to be a life-long, rewarding pursuit, but we also know it fits into a larger context of healthy diet, sleep, lifestyle, and fitness choices.  Incremental changes you can live with, while adjusting to training, can help ensure that this goal won’t be the end of your training, but just the start.



Mark is a lifelong runner who got his start in high school and continued to run competitively in college. He ran his first marathon in 1968 and has run 56 total marathons. Mark found runcoach in 2015 through the Detroit Marathon.  Mark’s most recent finish was 3:30:19 at the Detroit Marathon where he placed first in the 60-64 year age group! He recaps his experience at Detroit and his approach to training below.

Mark’s Background:

  • I ran high school and college
  • I ran my first race in September 1968 (I've been running a long time)
  • 23 of my first 24 marathons under 2:50 (24 of 25 if you count a 50K that I went through the marathon at 2:48
  • Family issues resulted in sitting out of marathons for almost a decade
  • As I get older, the days that feel great are getting fewer and fewer
  • Fighting through those tough days is one of my biggest challenges
  • Doing the Tuesday and Thursday workouts have really helped me get my focus and quantity of good days up

Race Day:

With temperatures near 36° the morning of the race, I was concerned that the marathon would be brutal. Luckily there was virtually no wind which is really good for the marathon. The light snow flurries added something to talk about.  The gun went off and after about a mile and a half I settled into a hard comfortable pace. On the return to the US (editor’s note – The Detroit Marathon cross into Canada for a portion of the race), I didn’t expect such a warm tunnel. Another thing to worry about, I was afraid that I would be cold getting back outside. It wasn't bad. My workouts gave me the confidence and strength that I could hold the pace, but you're never sure. To my surprise, I continued at the same pace beyond 22 miles.  This was my 56th marathon, my 32nd since turning 50 and I still fear those last several miles. Although my legs were still doing pretty well, I started losing focus. I walked through a water stop and when I saw others walking up a hill, it looked like a good idea. I walked about 20-30 seconds up the hill. I never did get back on my pace, but was pleased with my run. Maybe next time I’ll fight the urge to walk.

Editor’s Notes:  We think Mark’s perseverance and resolve are awesome.  The fact that he walked through a water stop late in the race is a successful trait that we’ve observed even at the highest levels.  Mark’s commitment to the sport and his health is a great example and we wanted to share it with all of you.



Originally posted September 6, 2014. Written by Dena Evans.

Technology has improved our lives in myriad ways.  GPS devices have allowed us to track our endurance efforts, recording our pace, distance, heart rate, and many more metrics besides.  While providing a wealth of information, our relationship with the technology can become complicated and far more entangled than we could have possibly imagined.   These devices are best as a tool to help us train effectively and analyze where we have gone.  While possible that your GPS device can provide some accountability, take this quiz and see where you are on the spectrum of maintaining a healthy balance and perspective with your wrist-born tech.

 

Do you always round off your runs or walks to an exactly even number (5.00 miles, 3.50 miles exactly, 40 miles precisely for the week, etc), even if you are doing a lap around the parking lot or go up and down your driveway three times?

If your answer is yes, you probably enjoy order over chaos, and completion of your goals.  You might also like to look at tidy numbers on the screen. None of that is bad in and of itself, but it is always good to remember that training has a purpose and shuffling in circles for 27 meters to make a full mile doesn’t really make you any more prepared for the race.  Consider spending a week where you purposely don’t end on an even number in any run.  Encourage yourself that your achievement of the total includes the experience of the effort along the way and that your training need not be 100% perfect 100% of the time to be in a position to achieve your goals on race day!

Do you have a floor or ceiling pace under or over which you never go on training run / walk days?

If your answer is yes, you probably are trying to faithfully complete your training efforts at the paces prescribed by your runcoach pace chart.  However, always make sure that you listen to your body.  If you have a sore / tight muscle, feel tired from the prior day’s workout, are sick, or have another legitimate reason to be in true recovery mode, it is fine to slow dow.  Occasionally what felt like your easy pace turns out to be 30 seconds per mile or more.  Recovery is key to being prepared for the next hard day.  Sometimes, that requires doing a little less and easing off a bit (and being ok with that when you look at your watch).

Now that you have a GPS device on your wrist or in the palm of your hand, do you find yourself checking your pace almost reflexively every 50 meters along your route?

If this sounds like you, you might be just excited to have a cool toy to consult. But, with constant reliance on the watch or app (which is not always 100% accurate due to trees, weather, and other factors), you might also be at risk for missing a chance to understand and gain a feel for what your race pace or other paces might be.  While you might want to keep careful track of your mileage, occasionally pick a route you of which you already know the distance, and run it without your watch, gauging your effort based on what you perceive to be the pace.  You can log the miles accurately as you have measured it previously and using your total time, can figure the pace. However, you have taken an opportunity during the run to stay in touch with your instincts and listen to your body.

Do you avoid certain routes because of spotty satellite reception (and the shorter distances/ slower paces you might be given credit for on your device as a result)?

If your answer is yes to this one, you are human! We all like to see our best selves recorded and the greatest return on our efforts.  However, if the preoccupation with the numbers is causing you to miss out on tree covered paths, excellent trail running, and safe routes on bike paths that travel through tunnels, consider mapping these on the computer and manually entering in the distances, or just noting your estimated differences when uploading your info.

Data is helpful, but we should not become overly reliant on it.  As humans, we can use machines and technology to help us to our goals, but nothing replaces the individual effort and commitment we all need to achieve our goals on the day.  Continue to trust in your ability and instincts. Let your GPS devices and apps be tools, but only one of many, in your arsenal.


 

 


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