4 Ways to Hack Your Summer Vacation for Fitness

Summer vacations can be tough for runners. On the one hand, when we’re off work, we may assume we’ll have plenty of time to run. But on the other hand, the demands of family activities, travel and even jet lag can leave us with little energy or time to exercise. But with some smart planning, you can sneak in a bit of exercise to keep from falling too far behind in your training. Start with these four tips:

1. Develop an exercise routine you can literally do anywhere.

runner3Whether you find yourself in an airport, on a tropical island with no roads or in a hotel room with a sleeping child, sometimes you just can’t run outside and need to improvise. In cases like these, turn to a set of exercises that can be done anywhere and without any equipment. It’s surprising how much exercise you can get with simple movements like pushups, situps, burpees and lunges. Start with 10 of each and try to do three or four sets, or as many as time allows. Change the intensity by varying how many you do and how fast you do them. You can also add weight to exercises such as squats or side lunges by simply wearing a loaded backpack or holding something else traveling with you.

2. Get creative.

Runners are creatures of habit and love to work from a plan. But when you’re traveling, try to avoid getting hung up the specifics of a workout. Remember: Something is better than nothing. I recall being on a small island in Thailand where the longest road was only a quarter mile – a serious, well, roadblock, to my plan to run 20 miles as a part of marathon training. So I swam in the ocean for a few hours instead. And guess what? I still met my race goals. The key is to stay flexible and creative and to emphasize making something happen.
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How Not to Hit a Wall in Your Next Marathon

All runners – and, heck, even many non-runners – know of “The Wall,” that infamous barrier that looms 20-plus miles down the road in a marathon. Legend has it that “The Wall,” as its name implies, is an obstacle of such proportion that it can reduce even the swiftest among us to a dead stop. But here’s the catch: This wall doesn’t really exist.

There are, however, a number of things that runners do, or fail to do, that lead to them to run out of gas late in a marathon. Here are four of them – and how to avoid them:

1. They go out too fast.

runner 2Perhaps one of the most misunderstood principles among runners is that the speed (or pace) they can sustain declines by about 15 to 20 percent as the race distance doubles. Put another way, if a runner can run a 5K race at a particular pace, his or her 10K pace will be 15 to 20 percent slower. The same runner will slow down a similar amount going from a 10K to a half-marathon, and then again from a half-marathon to a marathon, and so on. Without understanding this rule of thumb, most runners don’t know how much they should slow down in a marathon as compared to shorter races. As a result, they inevitably go out too fast in the first half of the race.

Coach Joe’s Tip: An easy way to understand your true marathon pace is to run a 5K race and then use a race result prediction tool to calculate what your goal pace should be for the marathon. After figuring out that pace, practice it during training and then run it from start to finish on race day.

2. They haven’t trained enough at the right pace.

Understanding your target marathon pace early on is important because it gives you time to practice running that pace. Doing so forms the muscle memory needed to repeat that action over and over again. On race day, you want your goal pace to feel natural, rather than foreign. Keep in mind that varying your running pace by just 15 to 20 seconds a mile requires big changes to your step rate (or cadence), stride length and gait – patterns you don’t want your body to default to during the race.

Coach Joe’s Tip: Spend time practicing your target marathon pace in training. Each week, aim to complete one progressively longer run (increasing the distance by 2 miles every other week until you get to 18 miles) and one shorter run (4 to 6 miles) at your marathon goal pace. Try to also run 18 consecutive miles at that pace at least twice while training for the race.
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5 Factors That Make or Break a Workout

Runners experience many ups and downs as they go through the days and weeks of their training routines. Some days feel great. Other days? Well, not so much. If you ever find yourself scratching your head wondering why your last run felt so horrible, ask yourself these five questions to shed light on the possible reasons:

1. What did you do in your workout yesterday?

Runner1Much of what dictates your energy levels during runs is related to where your body is in the recovery process from previous workouts. The first question I ask myself when I’m feeling particularly crummy is, “What did I do yesterday?” An especially long run or taxing speed workout can require at least 24 hours of recovery time. Depending on a runner’s level of fitness, this amount of time can stretch out to 48 hours or even longer. It’s important for runners to keep track of their workouts and to try to keep some space between the longest and hardest ones. When not fully recovered, most runners have difficulty achieving their workout goals.

Coach Joe’s Tip: Try to spread long runs and speed workouts across the week, placing two to three days between your hardest speed or “quality” workouts. Completing two intense, quality workouts in a week is a good goal for most runners.

2. What did you eat yesterday?

The energy you put into your body in the form of food also affects your energy level. The food you eat before your workouts gives you energy to fuel them, while what you eat after workouts provides you the tools you need to recover. If runners don’t eat enough carbohydrates the day and morning before workouts, they’ll be low on fuel. Without fuel, there’s no energy. And, if they don’t eat enough protein after their workouts, they’ll hamper the body’s ability to recover properly.

Coach Joe’s Tip: Runners should plan their eating to support their workout needs. Aim to eat complex carbohydrates (including bread, rice and pasta) the night before a long workout. Eat or drink at least 15 grams of protein – about the amount in a container of yogurt – in the first hour after a workout to give your body a better chance to recover.
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4 Lessons From Olympic #Marathon Hopefuls Any #Runner Can Use

Watching America’s best long-distance racers can teach the rest of us a lot.

running-advice-bugLast weekend in Los Angeles, 370 of the best American marathon runners competed for a few key slots on the U.S. Olympic team. (Only 256 finished the race.) As a runner who watched the event, I could have simply taken in the spectacle and enjoyed the excitement. But, I learned from the experience as well. Here’s what these phenomenal runners taught me – and what you can learn from them too:

1. Fatigue happens.

85Most marathon runners worry that they’ll run out of gas somewhere in the late miles. This fear is warranted, as it happens to most of us at some point. After all, the marathon is a long race in many ways: physically, mentally and geographically. But many runners don’t realize that even the sport’s best participants face this challenge.

Sure, top runners make it look easy in some respects, but they also put in a massive amount of training to prepare. On top of that, many of them are supported by trainers, coaches, nutritionists and therapists. And they’re built – physically speaking – with bodies made for running. Still, as I saw last weekend, even top runners fade dramatically late in the race.

What can you learn from this? Don’t beat yourself up when the pressure and fatigue piles on late in the race. That’s just the way it feels – even for the very best.

2. Have a plan – and run with it.

One of the fundamental elements of marathon training is having a plan and executing it. For most of us, that means setting a realistic goal pace, practicing that pace over and over, and running that pace on race day.

At the trials, Shalane Flanagan and Amy Cragg did just that. The two women competitors ran together at the front of the race, step for step, leaving behind their rivals early on. They had practiced their pace and committed to running it, even if the rest of the field didn’t go with them. That can be an uncomfortable feeling, but Flanagan and Cragg had faith in their race plan and stuck to it. With Cragg finishing in first place and Flanagan taking third, both women made the Olympic team.
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How Should You Take Care of Wet #Running #Shoes?

running-advice-bugOh what to do when we come home with our running shoes all wet?! Should we leave them outside or throw them in the dryer? No. Here are my quick tips for taking good care of those expensive running shoes when they get wet and dirty.

This is Episode 11 in our RUN Time series from @coachjoeenglish. Many more to come!

I post even more frequently on Facebook. Check it out here: www.facebook.com/runningadvice

Coach Joe English, Portland Oregon USA
Running-Advice.com and RUN Time

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A Super Charged Recovery Waffle Recipe #running #triathlon

running-advice-bugIn my video this week on post-workout recovery foods I mentioned our Super Changed Recovery Waffle Recipe. In this post you’ll find the recipe and directions for making them!

SuperchargedThe background on these waffles goes something like this. Our 8 year-old loved waffles (as do many kids) but we wanted to see if we could pump up the nutritional value in them for him. Adding things like protein and greens in foods that your kids actually like is a real bonus after all. What we found is that he liked these so much that they became his favorite breakfast item. Corrin actually came up with the idea and thus they became known as “Coco Loves you Waffles” in our house.

These waffles keep really well in the fridge. After making a batch, I put them in plastic bags and they keep for up to a week. They can be popped into the toaster and ready in a minute or two. This makes them great a recovery breakfast item after a long run, when I’m too tired to think about cooking and want something hearty in a hurry. These waffles are high in protein, which will help speed your recovery.

Surround the waffles with a glass of milk, some breakfast meat and some fruit to get yourself ready for your day.

Here’s the recipe:

Coco Loves You Waffles
1/3 cup Inspiration Mixes Ol’ Fashioned Pancake and Waffle Mix
1/3 cup VEGA Proteins and Greens Vanilla Flavor Powder
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla or gluten-free vanilla
3 eggs or egg substitute
3 tablespoons oil
3/4 cup milk or milk alternative (e.g. soy, almond, coconut)

Whisk together the vanilla, eggs, oil and milk. Add waffle mix and VEGA powder. Let stand for 1 minute. Scoop about 1/3 cup of batter into your waffle maker and cook for 3-4 minutes.

This amount makes about 3-4 large waffles in our waffle maker. The amount will vary depending on how much batter goes into your waffle trays.

Eat while hot. Let the left-overs cool. Place leftovers in plastic bags and refrigerate. Reheat in the toaster when ready to eat.

A note on gluten. I use a gluten-free waffle mix, because my son is gluten-intolerant. You can likely use a regular waffle mix, but I haven’t tried that myself.

We hope you enjoy!

Coach Joe English, Portland, Oregon, USA
Running-Advice.com & RUN Time

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What should you #eat after your long #run or #ride? (Video)

running-advice-bugWhat should you #eat after a long run or ride to promote your recovery? Here are some suggestions in this week’s short video. Eat up runners!

Eating for Recovery After a Long Run or Ride (Ep 10) from Joe English on Vimeo.

This is Episode 10 in our RUN Time series from @coachjoeenglish. Many more to come!

I post even more frequently on Facebook. Check it out here: www.facebook.com/runningadvice

Coach Joe English, Portland Oregon USA
Running-Advice.com and RUN Time

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5 Healthy Ways to Spend Rest Days #running #triathlon #fitness

When your running schedule calls for a break, use the time off wisely.

running-advice-bugRunners have a strange relationship with rest days. Early in the year, it’s hard to get them to take a day off because they fear they’ll lose momentum. Later in the year, when their training loads are heavier, those same runners might be grasping for days to take a break. But no matter how far along you are in your training, resting is important because it keeps fatigue from building up and lets the body lay a solid foundation for the work to come. Here are five things you can do to rest, refocus and relax when your running schedule calls for a rest day:

1. Take a yoga class.

Making the Most of Rest DaysYoga offers great benefits to runners. For one, stretching and lengthening leg muscles undoes some of the damage caused by repetitively tightening those same muscles when running. Stretching in a structured class environment ensures you’ll stretch your entire body, rather than just those trouble spots like your legs. Perhaps more important, yoga helps clear your head and focus on your breath. When practiced correctly, yoga combines a centering, clearing and calming environment with movement and balance exercises. Together, these factors make yoga the perfect rest day complement to your high-energy daily runs.

2. Reflect.

I’ve often wondered if I should change the name “rest days” on my running schedules to “focus days.” Off days provide much needed time to think and reflect on your progress, your goals and your motivation for running. As the months wear on, failing to take a break to check in with yourself can ultimately lead you to a sad state called burnout. As a runner for nearly my entire life, I look forward to rest days to reflect on how I’m doing, talk with friends about their running and make sure things are on track for my season. Spending some time quietly reflecting on the joy of running goes a long way when it comes to recharging our mental batteries and allowing us to do more when we get back to it the next day.
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Running When the Weather Sucks (RUN Time Episode 9)

running-advice-bugGetting out for a run when the weather sucks is tough! Today I give you my advice on making those workouts happen when you’d really rather not.

Getting in Your Runs When the Weather Sucks (RUN Time Episode 9) from Joe English on Vimeo.

This is episode number 9 of RUN Time and the first in our 2016 running video series. We’ve got loads more on tap that should be coming out almost every week!

I post even more frequently on Facebook. Check it out here: www.facebook.com/runningadvice

Coach Joe English, Portland Oregon USA
Running-Advice.com and RUN Time

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6 Ways to Improve Your Treadmill Workouts

running-advice-bugDoes running on a treadmill make you feel like a caged animal, spinning your wheels like a hamster, perhaps? Does it bore you and hamper results? While many runners have those feelings, the treadmill doesn’t have to be such a drag. And, it’s actually a powerful tool – when used correctly – to do some great indoor workouts.

TreadmillHere are six tips for making the most of your time on the ‘mill:

1. Set the incline to 1.5 to 2 percent.

Start by setting the incline on the treadmill to at least 1.5 percent. (Use 2 percent if your treadmill only increases the incline in full percentage points.) This is important because running on a flat treadmill reduces the effort substantially compared to running outside. This little bit of incline helps compensate for the lack of wind resistance and variation in outdoor ground surfaces that make running more challenging and “active” when you’re outside.

2. Vary the pace and incline.

Architecting a good treadmill workout means changing the tempo and effort level. If you’re running one pace for the whole workout, you’re not giving yourself much of a workout. First, warm up for several minutes. Then, increase the pace every one or two minutes. When you really feel warmed up and ready to run, take the pace up to a challenging level for one to two minutes. Then, back it off for one minute to recover. Repeat that routine a few times, depending on the length of your workout. You can follow the same pattern with the incline to simulate hills. The intensity should be enough that you are counting down the time for the interval to end, but not so much that you risk falling behind the pace and potentially falling off the treadmill.
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