Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Tips For Better Running Form

So, if you're fully getting back into the "running thing", maybe now is a good time to review some tips on form.

This link takes you to some articles from triathlon experts on better running form at If you're looking for an edge to your running form, check this out --

Monday, March 29, 2010

Maybe You Need A Massage

There might be a way toward healing your muscles that you haven’t considered – and you may really enjoy it – a massage!

The massage is a great way toward healing. We consistently hear about “warming up” and “stretching” as ways to keep our muscles healthy. Massage can be so good for you . . . and so relaxing.

If you’re feeling a little sore, talk to your friends about who they recommend for a massage. You may really enjoy it. Check out this article from Mike Kramer at about the benefits of a good massage --

If you've used warm weather to get back into the swing of fitness and you're feeling a little sore, a massage can be just what you need. And don't forget the benefits of an adjustment from a licensed chiropractor. Chiropractic care has helped ease some pain I have experienced in the past.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Finding The Right Shoes

One of my friends who’s recently lost quite a bit of weight taking up a regular schedule of dieting, running and working out asked me about some tips for purchasing the “right” equipment.

It’s not too hard to find the right clothing to wear for the right situation. In my friend’s case, he was competing in his first 10K that called for some inclement weather. However, shoes are a different story. Your shoes are the most critical item you need in many fitness endeavors. Not having the correct shoe in the correct situation could cause numerous problems, including injury.

Take some time to appropriately shop for the right athletic shoe based on the activities you’re taking up. Whether you’re running, walking, biking, hiking or whatever; take some time to do your homework and be ready to easily spend in excess of $100 for a quality pair of shoes.

Here are a few tips –

Nothing against “big box” stores, but smaller stores with local ownership tend to have more expertise on staff to give you the time and advice you need to make your purchase. This is especially true if you’re a first-time buyer.

Visit the web sites of the various shoe companies. Most of them make the shoe shopping experience quite fun online. You’re probably not going to get the best price if you choose to purchase this way, but you’ll learn a lot.

Check out to see if they have a rating for a particular shoe that you like. The folks at Runner’s World are pretty thorough in their shoe research.

Here’s an article by Sue Grossbauer on that offers more great supporting help on purchasing the right athletic shoes --

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Are You Ready For Practice?

I never thought I'd see the day where the snow would melt in Iowa, but that day has come!

Soon, you'll be ready to take to the fields for baseball, soccer or whatever your children choose to play this spring. It's even better if you've volunteered to take up the burden as "coach". Two things to remember on this front - first, I want to thank you for volunteering. The world needs more parents to step up and volunteer for coaching roles. Second, it's not as hard as you think. Remember, they are young children and the most important priority is to have fun!

Here's a checklist of items you may want to consider as you move toward your practices --

Introduce yourself to parents. Take time to call them each by phone and offer them your take on season expectations. Make sure to obtain e-mail addresses so you can easily communicate with them regularly about practices, games and other events.

Identify a place to practice. Does the league offer facilities where you can schedule practice time? Do you need to reserve public spaces or is it "first come, first served"? If the weather is still crummy, contact the facilities manager at your local school district to identify the policy for reserving gym space.

Develop a practice plan. Time out a plan for all of the activities you want to accomplish for each practice and share with assistant coaches. You can't believe how much more productive the time in practice will be if you make a habit of doing this.

Have a list of warmup drills ready. Plan to do 10 to 15 minutes of standard stretching exercises, lunges, sprints, pushups, situps and the like. These are great for getting young bodies ready for a practice or game.

Make sure water is available. As it gets warm, either bring a cooler or make sure there is access to water fountain. Trust me, young children are lucky to remember their equipment, much less a bottle of water.

End practice with a fun activity and a positive word. I like to end practice with a fun activity that involves the kids running around to a point where they are working, but having fun. Relays, baserunning races are both good for these types of activities. Share a positive word with the kids before they leave to keep things on the high road.

Now go have fun - outdoors, hopefully!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Get Motivated - Train For An Event!

So are you still riding the "fitness bus" this new year or did you get off at a stop a few miles back?

If you've fallen off from your commitment, it's not too late to take advantage of the motivation offered by the upcoming spring weather. As you contemplate how you'll get back into the swing of fitness this spring, maybe you should look toward setting a goal to participate in a running event.

You'll be so much more focused if you plan to participate in an event and stick to the training plan that prepares you to compete. Check out this post from -- You can access training plans for specific distances and do research for an event that will best help you reach your goals.

Don't let the spring weather bug pass you by - start training for an event today!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

No Excuses!

If you're still looking for excuses not to exercise, look no further than a recent article to set you straight.

Check out this article from Associated Press Medical Writer Maria Cheng - It highlights how you can do "interval" training at a high intensity in a short period of time and maintain great full-fitness benefits.

In fact, it doesn't take a lot of time to do some simple exercises that can lead you to a point where a regular "interval" training program will really help you.

So, don't make any excuses. Get started on your new healthy lifestyle right away!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Who Works Out At 5 AM?

I'm not sure who these people are, but they do exist. I see them every day when I exercise at this hour.

A recent conversation with a friend who is an early morning "regular" at my gym suggested this might be a good topic to explore. My experience dictates that most of these people are highly motivated folks with busy lives who don't have time during "normal working" hours to devote to fitness.

Let's face it. We all have a variety of issues competing for our time - family, work, volunteer activities, home upkeep and other things. If maintaining a solid fitness program also happens to be one of your priorities, the early morning quickly becomes the "path of least resistance".

Gender or age doesn't seem to play a role in this debate as I see many faces of both genders early in the morning along with a range of ages. Although, I would suggest that many of the folks I see exercising early in the morning tend to be working professionals.

I would also suggest that the early morning workout crowd fashions themselves on "accountability". Many of the "regulars" at my gym enjoy the camaraderie of others they meet at the gym and they appreciate that "ribbing" they get from fellow regulars when a day of exercise is missed. This post from "Carol" at sums up the approach expressed here -

So, yes, we early morning "gym rats" are an odd lot, but there is some method to our madness.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

You Need Your Calories!

Something to keep in mind if you're training for an endurance event this season - you NEED calories!

Part of the reason why we train is to make ourselves look and feel better. However, you can't starve yourself! This is particularly true if you're planning for a marathon or triathlon.

If you're in serious training mode a for a fitness event, nutrition is important, but you can't deprive your body of necessary calories. Check out this post on the Runner Dude blog --

I'll be taking a few days off to enjoy Spring Break with family. Hopefully, there is good weather where you are! I'll be back at the end of the week.

This is a great summary of why calories are important to your body during periods of extended fitness training.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Can Hills Be Habit Forming?

Can hills be habit forming?

I'm guessing many of us hate running hills, but I loved the approach outlined by Mark in the Battlefield Running blog -

He suggests a very realistic approach to regularly incorporating hills into your run workouts. Maybe it will be helpful to you as well!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

More About Cross-Country Skiiing

If you want to learn more about the benefits of cross-country skiing, check out this post from --

Spring is close, but if you're in Iowa or further north, you may need more ideas for alternative outdoor exercise this winter! This post shows how cross-country skiing has the potential to match up with numerous other cardio exercises. It's a great benefit to runners and triathletes.

A number of my friends and I have tried to do a snowshoe excursion this winter, but we haven't been able to agree upon a date. However, one of our local county parks rents them for $7 per day - what a deal! If you're in Iowa or want to visit, check out the website at Jester Park.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Check Out These Workouts

I'm not sure how many of you read the Wall Street Journal.

I don't see many of my local readers whom I know picking up the Journal for a bit of light reading. So I hope that it's helpful when I share an interesting one of their "What's Your Workout" features. The stories appear on Tuesdays and are written by a variety of contributors. The object is to highlight what busy business folks are doing to keep themselves fit in exercise, diet, gear and music (usually in high-brow places like Manhattan!).

Recently Journal writer Jen Murphy profiled author Marci Shimoff and her use of Zumba and Qigong. These are both studio-based workouts that Shimoff says burn a lot of energy "without feeling like exercise". Check it out -

She often doesn't have much time to work out, so she says they are more convenient forms of fitness.

I don't make this stuff up, but I do pass it along with the hope that some of you may find it useful and/or interesting!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Discover You're Next Running Route

You never know just where you may end up running next. It's true.

The source of your next exciting running route may be just around the corner . . . but you don't know it yet.

I found this post on Another Day, Another Run to be a great example of how we can find new ways to change up our running routes - The author identifies a new route through a simple visit to the dentist with his children.

I've written in the past how easily we can get into our "ruts". I think this story illustrates how easy it can be to find a new running route or two to try out.

Spring is just around the corner, folks. I promise. So keep your eyes and ears open!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

What We Watch Should Motivate Us

Let's have a show of hands - who wasn't motivated by the recent Winter Olympics?

How could you not join Lindsey Vonn in tears following her first downhill run? Or how can you not be awed by the unbelievable risks to which some of these athletes are exposed?

When I see these images, I get MOTIVATED, man! Seeing those athletes on the podium receiving their medals is the public equivalent of recognizing them as "the best in the world" at what they do. And that makes me want to go out and run or ride or something!

Take time to watch these types of events. With the winter blahs still plaguing us, it's the perfect way to put a little motivation in your life. Watching Bernard Lagat at the recent Millrose Games or Meg Kebflezighi at last year's New York City Marathon were additional motivating forces for me. It's something to keep the blood flowing until we can safely get outdoors again!

For some of you, perhaps a movie is in order. If watching the film, "Miracle" doesn't make you want to try something, then you should check your pulse.

The folks at recently asked readers to "tweet" about their motivating Winter Olympic experiences. Check it out -

Monday, March 1, 2010

Regularly Introduce New Drills

Baseball season is JUST around the corner. And that's good news!
I found some good advice in the Baseball Drills and Coaching Tips blog recently. Check it out --

The drill introduced here is pretty typical, but the advice behind it is helpful. The thought is that you need to regularly introduce new drills to your team to help keep their interest. Run through it a few times late in a practice, then watch the players work to get it right when you execute it at the next practice.

I've seen children respond very positively to new drills. Some drills don't work well and that's okay as long as you realize it and move on. But when you find something that works, try it again! And the only way to find out what will work is to continue to introduce new drills from time to time and keep things "fresh".