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Distance runners need strong core muscles.
A strong core helps runners and walkers improve stability, balance, and posture.  A strong core prevents waster lateral movement while running, which means more energy is directed to move forward, faster!



Join Coach Tom for a full body workout.
full_body_core



Add Deep Breathing Exercises To Your Routine

There are various benefits of deep breathing exercises. These range from reduce stress to improved digestion and a natural pan reliver.

When done correctly, deeo breathes release toxins, promote blood flow and foster healthy body functions and sound sleep.



If you follow a Runcoach training program, chances are you have seen the term "cross training". 

So what exactly does it mean? 

Cross-training means a type of exercise that you can substitute for running. We include things like cycling, swimming, and strength training in this category. 

The purpose of cross training is to improves your aerobic fitness without the impact of running.  This is why most people consider cross-training to also be an injury prevention tactic during training. Below I will list some of my favorite cross-training exercises. I recommend taking at least one cross training day each week to prevent injuries, allow your body and mind to rejuvenate, & become a well-rounded athlete. 

cartoon-girl-on-elliptical-cross-trainer-vector-12090079_2#1-Elliptical
These are easy to find at any gym. Wipe off the handles before use and get pedaling.  Remember to maintain good posture and not place a lot of stress on your lower back. You should feel nice and tall, while moving the legs and arms in synchronization. 

Workout:
Elliptical 20 - 30 minutes total 
To challenge yourself, add in one minute of hard effort every 5 minutes. 

**Extra challenge: Set the resistance on the machine to a higher number for 30 seconds, pedal hard. Reduce the resistance for 5:00. Repeat. 




b1f9a3a5-f0ea-4ab6-a5f9-b9c8962b2444.__CR0016001200_PT0_SX800_V1___#2-Get in the Pool

The water is a great ally for us runners. If you can find a pool, maximize it for more than just a dip to freshen up. The two best methods to use the pool is to either aqua jog (pool run) or swim.  

Workout:
Aqua jog/ swim 30 - 40 minutes total. When aqua jogging it might be helpful to have a flotation belt. 
To challenge yourself, add in 2 minutes of hard effort every 8 minutes. 

**Extra challenge: Simulate a fartlek in water. After a 5-minute warmup aqua jog, or leisure swim, perform 1 minute hard/ 1 minute easy, 2 minutes hard/ 2 minutes easy in rotation 30 - 40 minutes. The "hard" and "easy" are all effort based. Whatever feels tough and relaxed to you on the given day. 


#3-Full Body Workout

Running is an extremely liner sport. This means we always move in one direction, often neglecting many muscle groups. Those neglected muscles need attention too. Especially your core. 

Workout:
15 – 20 minute full body workout. 
To challenge yourself, add in a 5 - 8lb weight. 

Checkout Coach Tom’s favorite full body workout.


Other Ideas: 
-Jump rope 
-Cross fit
-Pilates/ Yoga class
-Rowing machine
-Spin bike 
-Heavy weight lifting session
-TRX or HIIT Session












Races as we knew them are indefinitely put on hold. So what now? 
Well there's actually many others way to challenge your self and stay fit. Case &  point, run a marathon in 25 hours.

Runcoach athlete Aimee shares her motivations behind this unique quaratine challenge! We're sweating just reading about it!

aimee3
1)What are your reactions to the COVID19 pandemic?

COVID 19 has been and will continue to be an extraordinarily difficult experience for many in our nation and around the world. Many of my close friends are on the frontlines in healthcare and I am so grateful for their sacrifices. They make it possible for me to do something fun, like run a marathon in 25 hours. 

2)How do you stay motivated to continue to be active?

I live in Florida with two young boys so inactivity has not really been a choice! I am surrounded by great weather and lots of energy! We have been doing lots of running, biking, swimming and kayaking through the quarantine which has been such a blessing. However, the biggest motivator  for me is that I truly believe in the mental and emotional benefits of exercise in addition to the physical effects. So even on days that I do not feel motivated or excited about exercising, I remind myself of the reason I stay active: to practice self care. Not only for myself but also to hopefully be an example to my kids and students. 

3)Tell us a bit about the quarantine challenge and how you completed it?

I completed the “Marathon in 25 Hours” Quarantine Challenge. My training partner Mellissa found the challenge on Instagram and we decided to try it! The challenge began on Saturday at 12:00 noon. The plan was to run two miles on even hours (12:00, 2:00, 4:00 …)  and on odd hours we would run one mile until we reached 18 miles on Saturday. Towards the end of the evening Saturday I was losing motivation so I modified the plan and ran 3 miles at 7:00pm and 4 miles at 8:00pm to reach 18. On Sunday, we began running 1 mile on the hour every hour at 6:00am. We completed 8.2 miles to finish the full 26.2 in 25 hours! 

Admittedly, when I first saw the challenge, it did not seem intimidating. We had just completed the Dopey Challenge in January which consisted of 48.6 miles in 4 days (5k, 10k, half marathon, full marathon). Then I completed another full marathon in February. So this seemed doable. However, I grossly underestimated the effect stopping and starting would have on my body and mind. The first several rounds were great but eventually my legs started tightening in between runs. It was difficult to get them moving again! It was also challenging to find motivation to get up and start the next round as the day continued. This is why I modified the plan and increased my milage towards the end of the day. I knew eventually I would succeed in talking myself out of getting off the couch so I just got to 18 as fast as I could! Sunday was a little bit easier as it was just a mile per hour. But with 6 miles left, I found myself fatigued. I reached out to a friend of mine and she encouraged me to dedicate each mile to someone in my life and focus on them rather than myself. That was hugely beneficial in helping me finish out the last 6 hours. 

An additional component of the challenge that I did not anticipate was fueling properly. In retrospect, I should’ve had a better plan of what I was going to eat and when to eat it. Spreading the miles out over so many hours but running every hour made it difficult to eat enough calories throughout the 25 hours. 

One fun thing about this challenge was that I was able to run at a pace much faster than my traditional marathon pace. I completed this marathon 40 minutes faster than my PR!

4)How did you find Runcoach?

I am new-ish to running. I started running two years ago because of a deal I made with one of my students (I am a college professor). My first goal was to complete a half marathon which I thought was certainly impossible. I have never been a runner, much less a long distance runner. Once I completed the first half marathon, I fell in love with running. It has truly made me a better mom, wife, professor, friend etc. I then set a goal to complete a full marathon. I have now completed 2 ( 3 if you count the challenge) marathons, 5 half marathons, 2 10Ks and several 5k’s in a little less than 2 years. I had proven to myself that I can, in fact, finish. So I set a new goal to improve my time and become a stronger runner.  I felt overwhelmed trying to plan my speed workouts, tempo runs and guess my goal paces so I started looking into finding a running coach and that search lead me to the runcoach app. It was such a relief to find the app! I have been using the app for a little over a month and my speed has already increased significantly and I feel much stronger during my long runs! I plan to run a marathon in November and cannot wait to see the progress I have made with the help of the app and coaches. 

5)What’s your advice to folks struggling with motivation due to race cancellation?

My advice is to remember why you are running. Races are certainly one of the best and most exciting parts of running. However, the health and wellness benefits are undeniable and more impactful than medals and race shirts (which are admittedly awesome and the only things I collect!) 

aimee1aimee2



High Hamstring Tendinopathy

Written by Dena Evans April 28, 2020
hammie_croppedThis month in Ask the Practitioner, we inquired about high hamstring tendinopathy with Renee Songer, Clinical Director of Agile Physical Therapy. 

Read on to find out more about one of the most common injury problems among runners.


Coach:  What is high hamstring tendinopathy? 

RS: Tendons connect muscle to bone. Tendinopathy is a degenerative condition of the tendon structure. High hamstring tendinopathy is a degeneration of the hamstring tendon at it's insertion near the buttock region.


Coach: What are the primary symptoms of this injury?

RS: Primary symptoms include local pain at the top of the hamstring. Often these injuries can be painful to the touch, painful with stretching and painful with forceful muscle contraction.

While running you may feel the pain as you are pushing off the back foot or as the leg is swinging forward.

A quick test is a Reverse Plank (see picture). Pain or weakness compared to your non-injured leg indicates possible problems with hamstring tendon.

Supine_plank_startSupine_Plank


Coach: What are some tips for addressing these symptoms or preventing their onset?
RS: If you see bruising in the hamstring it is best to get in to see your physical therapist or physician to assess the severity of the damage.

If you feel pain in this area acutely, it is often best to rest and ice for the first 24 hours. If pain allows, gently stretch the area and working on a foam roll or massage can help. Slowly return to activity over the next week avoiding activities that cause pain. If pain persists beyond a week see your physical therapist or physician to assess the problem.

This type of injury can also start with a gradual onset as a localized buttock ache, first noticed after a workout and with sitting on harder surfaces.

To prevent high hamstring tendonopathy make sure your glute muscles are strong through a full range of motion. Often we tend to avoid the last 20 degrees of hip extension (straightening) with exercise but we need it to be strong for running. Bowing, single leg bridge, and single leg curtsy squats are excellent exercises to maintain adequate glute strength for running.

Curtsy Video Version I

Curtsy Video Version II


Q:  After some of my long runs I completely crash for the rest of the day, and I can't afford to be down for the count - I have stuff to get done!  What can I do?

A:  Make sure you are leaving for your runs with a full tank - hydrated, and with 100-200 calories at least in the hour or two before you start.  Plan for and consume 4-8 oz of electrolyte replacement beverage every 2-3 miles (25-30 mins.) for long runs beyond an hour.  And, most importantly, replenish with carbohydrates as soon as possible after your run = 15-30 minutes max.  A banana, apple, orange, peanut butter sandwich, or energy bar with primarily carbs and some protein included are great choices to save in your car or keep ready at home for your return.  We know that in a depleted state your body will grab carbohydrates and convert them to working glycogen quickly.  So the post-run quick meal (100-200 kcal) within 30 minutes is key.  Miss this window and you'll be playing catch up the rest of the day!


Q:  What should I eat the night before a race?

A:  You should eat familiar foods at a normal dining hour.  The day before a race, incorporate plenty of carbs, but do not stuff yourself with two pounds of pasta.  Eat a moderate amount of a well balanced meal (pasta, chicken breast or bolognese sauce, salad, roll is one example) at dinner, and sip both water and sports drink throughout the day.  Steer clear of alcohol.

One mistake a lot of people at destination races make is to set out from the hotel for dinner at 7, head to a casual dining restaurant which is busy on weekends, wait 45 minutes or an hour for a table, and all of a sudden, start dinner at 9pm when the alarm clock is set for 5am.  Plan ahead and give your body time to assimilate the food and get ready to sleep! You and the line of people behind you at the porta-potties will be grateful.


Q:  How much should I drink during a marathon or half marathon?

A:  First of all, we recommend taking a drink to the start line and consuming 4-8 oz right before the gun goes off.  This is your first water stop.    Plan to consume 6-8 ounces of fluid every 2-3 miles or 25-30 minutes.  For bigger races with aid stations every mile or two, one good rule of thumb is to just take fluid every time (so you don't have to think about it).  A good strategy is to alternate sports drink and water.  Pinch the top between your thumb and fingers, and you can nurse it for a few more yards.  Most importantly, do not wait to consume fluids until you are "thirsty".  At that point, you are already playing catch-up.  Drink early, and when in doubt, choose the electrolyte replacement drink over water - then you'll get both the minerals and the H2O necessary for hydration.


Q: Everybody says I should try this (bar/ gel).  How do I know if it is right for me?

A:  Practice!  Your initial long runs serve as trial and error nutrition workouts.  Once you find your comfort zone with a particular drink, gel or bar include consumption in your longer and more rigorous workouts. Nutrition-wise, nothing you do on race day should be brand new territory.  We recommend consuming a gel packet (always with fluid) or similar amount of carbs through another source such as a banana every 45-60 minutes during a marathon or half marathon, which means you should also be doing this on your Big Kahuna long runs.  Keep in mind if you are following the earlier recommendation of energy drinks every 25-30 minutes you may not need the additional gel/bar/banana replacement.  Many utilize a combination of drinks, gels and food to provide quick available carbs within the race.  Everyone's body is different - make your refueling plan during workouts as deliberate as the other parts of your race preparation and you'll have one less unknown to worry about!



This is Coach Tom’s favorite routine which will target many of the running muscles and also areas of weakness. It takes just 20 minutes and it will develop your flexibility, strength, and core muscles. (Core muscles include the muscles in your abdomen, back, pelvic floor, and glutes.) We recommend that you do 8-10 reps, 2 times per week. If any of the exercises are too challenging at first, please shorten the duration. Over time, you will get stronger and be able to increase the duration.

Left and Right Side Planks - Targets the lateral abs

Hamstring Bridge - Targets the hamstrings (back of the thighs) and gluteus maximus (buttocks)

Cobra - Abdominal Stretch

Close Hand Push Ups - Also known as Narrow Grip Push Ups

Glute Stretch - Stretches the buttocks muscles

Single Leg Squat - Challenges balance, quadriceps (front of thighs), hamstrings (back of thighs), and glutes (buttocks muscles)

Quad Stretch - Stretches the front of the thighs

Partner Punishment - Targets abdominal muscles

Pointers - Core Body Stabilization

Hamstring Stretch - 3 different stretches that target the back of the thighs

Pretzel Stretch - Stretches the muscles of the back

Calf Stretch - Stretches the calves (back of lower leg) and achilles (back of feet)

Leg Swings - 3 different exercises that target the core muslces and stretch the pelvis, hips, and hamstrings

Foam Roller - "Self Massaging" routine

 

 

 



What is mental health?Picture1

The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines mental health as ‘a state of well-being in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully and is able to make a contribution to her or his community’. Mental illness can impact anyone, of any age and background. Achieving and maintaining good mental health and well-being is important for everyone.


How common are mental health issues?

It is estimated that, 1 in 6 working age people can suffer from mental illness. Another 1/6 of the population can be affected by symptoms associated with mental ill health, such as worry, sleep problems and fatigue, which, while not meeting criteria for a diagnosed mental illness, will be affecting their ability to function at work.

Have a conversation:

It's okay to feel stressed out or unsure of how to cope with the daily demands on your plate. Keep a pulse on your heart rate, behavior, and mood. If you notice changes, have a conversation!

> Choose a trusted friend, coworker, 
> Select a private and comfortable place and time
> Discuss the changes you’ve noticed 
> (if you are having a conversation about another person's well-being) encourage them to talk openly. Don't complete sentences or jump in to provide a solution or opinion.

 

You have rights in the workplace. Read more about the US Equal Employment Opportunity Coalition and National Alliance of Mental Illness.



Take 5 simple steps toward better well-being:

1) MOVE : Exercise is a great way to release stress, improve your mood, and increase energy.
2) MINDFULNESS : Pay attention to the world around you. Focus on the present.
3) NUTRITION : Choose wholesome food choices, a colorful plate, and hydrate often.
4) GIVE : Perform acts of kindess. A simple gesture goes a long way for you and the reciever. 
5) CONNECT : Increase the amount of positive relationships in your life. Reduce the negative and time consuming.





Jack Daniels, an exercise physiologist who inspired some of the Runcoach ideals, said "The stronger your core, the more solid you are as you hit the ground, this reduces the need for unnecessary stabilization, and allows you to be a more economical runner."IMG_8268

What are you waiting for? It's ABsolutely time to get to work. Here are some videos to help you get started.

Side Planks
 2-3 sets
Works the internal and external obliques to build better core stability.

Hamstring Bridge 2-3 sets
Core is more than just your abs. One of the most common weaknesses we see in runners is their glutes which are the key powerhouse for propulsion with every step you take while running. 

Push-Ups 2-3 sets
Works your arms, upper body, and core. Can be done on your knees to start, and then as you build up strength, you will be able to do a full push-up!

Partner Punishment 2-3 sets
If you don't have a partner to help you out in this exercise, you can do leg lower and left controlling the resistance of gravity on your own to get a deep core exercise

Try to include core into your weekly routine and watch your form and strength increase!











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