Thursday, May 31, 2012

Alternative Workouts Pay Off . . . Even For Big-Time Athletes

I'll bet you have heard of Dwayne Wade.

In case you haven't, he's one of the NBA's biggest stars. As a star for one of the NBA teams favored to "win it all", the Miami Heat, Wade struggles with the same issues many of us weekend warriors face - the risk of nagging injuries.

Mr. Wade has had his share. Just recently, he's struggled with a strained calf and a sprained ankle. The big difference between him and us is that he's paid millions of dollars to keep himself healthy. However, his efforts to keep himself injury-free shouldn't differ that much from ours.

In this article from the Wall Street Journal, Wade discusses in detail how he uses pilates, yoga and massage to shoo away the injury bug. It's an interesting read and there isn't anything here that any of us couldn't be doing. These activities will keep us healthy and make us stronger.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

GU Or No GU?

People new and old to fitness endurance events are always questioning the best race day nutrition products.

Much has been published about what works and what doesn't work, but the best advice is to experiment prior to race day so you're comfortable and confident about what you choose to use.

Gels (or GU as it they are often called based on the popular brand) are probably used most often. They are compact and easy to digest. Jelly beans, gummy bears and other soft, chewy candies suffice. There are some folks who opt for the Hostess Frosted Honey Bun because of its optimal mix of carbs and other vital ingredients. That's a little much for my digestive system and it's not easy to carr, but whatever works for you is great. Beware of chewy candy products that are too hard to chew.

Sometimes water and/or Gatorade may suffice.

The folks just did a post that made me think about this topic. The author, triathlete Ryan Falkenrath, warns not to assume that GU gels are the best recipe just because a big event enlists them as a sponsor. That's sage advice.

The most important thing to remember is that if you're running in anything that will force you to exert energy for an hour or more, you'd better be prepared to replenish your body with vital carbohydrates and proteins. Given that, experiment with some items so you're feeling good, not sick, on your race day.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Picking The Right Bike

Biking is a fabulous form of exercise.

I enjoy it and I know others do too. I would highly recommend biking to those who may be seeking an alternative to running. It's certainly easier on our joints and muscles.

If you are looking at purchasing a bike, check out this article from Jen Murphy in the Wall Street Journal. She consulted with a bike expert to lay out the different types of bikes one can purchase. The jargon can get a little confusing, so take time to research your bike purchase.

There are a few good reasons to spend time on your homework before making a bike purchase. First, if you're going to invest in a good bike, it's not cheap (the old adage "you get what you pay for" is most applicable in buying a bike). Second, you want to purchase the bike that will best fit the type of riding you'll do. This Wall Street Journal article will help sort that out for you.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Good Stride

Good running form is not something we always practice.

But we should.

Proper running form leads to a better workout and prevents injuries.

Take a look at these five most common running form mistakes from Brandon Laan of Competitor.

Mobility, foot strike and proper movement with your trunk are all keys to running form. Don't let any of these mistakes inhibit your ability to run.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Time Trials

Do you want to know what time you're going to finish in an event?

We often ponder this question, particularly when we're doing something new. We want to know, "What time will I finish?"

The best way to find out is to do a time trial. Run a mile split. Swim 500 yards. Time yourself riding a specific distance. Do the appropriate math and you'll have a good idea of what your time will be. Keep in mind, fatigue will slow down your pace as you multiply your distances.

This blog entry from Feet Meet Street reminded me of the value of a time trial. Not only is it a good tool to use to gauge your time, it also serves as a great training "stress test".

Time trials are a great variation to your routine, so give one a try soon.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

That Family/Life Balance Thing Again

Balancing life and family is an ongoing process, particularly for those families where both spouse regularly work out.

I LOVED this article from the Wall Street Journal about how a couple balances their workouts with their busy lives that includes raising three children.

It's a never-ending battle. Sometimes I try to incorporate my children into my fitness activities. My son and I enjoyed a game of tennis this afternoon in the beautiful weather we're having.

Not only does balancing your workouts in front of your children teach them the importance of cooperation, but it highlights the importance of a healthy lifestyle.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Your Event Calendar?

Have you filled out your calendar with some fitness events this year?

The Carrots 'N' Cake blog girl has! Check out the impressive list of races she's planning to do this year.

We all don't have to rush out and sign up for a bunch of races and triathlons. However, I do believe you're more committed to your fitness efforts if you take them up with a specific goal in mind.

I wouldn't suggest setting your sights on a marathon or some other event that may be totally out of your reach. If you think a 5K is within your reach, then pick one out this summer and work toward it. If you've done some 10Ks and maybe a half marathon or two, then pick out a marathon to do this fall.

A few weeks ago, we discussed how many races one should set out to do over the course of the year. Don't overd it. Set goals to participate in events this year that you believe you can reasonably finish.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Balancing Your Life

It can be easy to "overtrain" and lose balance in your life.

Active people regularly rely on the euphoria of cardiovascular activity. However, there are many more important priorities in life to remember.

Don't forget about your family, your job, other hobbies. Additionally, don't forget to rest and recover.

Read how Triathlon Coach Marc Evans recommends maintaining a better balance in our lives that will keep us happier.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Exercise Your Willpower

Most folks lose sight of their New Year's resolutions quickly.

We generally give up on our resolutions because we try to accomplish too many things at one time and we lack the willpower to maintain proper focus.

However, according to a recent article in USA Today, psychologists indicate that we can improve willpower through simple exercises. For example, by focusing on one item at a time, we're much more likely to be successful with our goals.

Practicing self-control in easy situations, minimizing temptations and finding someone to keep us accountable are just a few additional ways we can be more effective in using our willpower successfully.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Need To Keep Moving

New evidence is available supporting the need to get up and move around.

The New York Times recently reported about a study conducted at the University of Missouri that shows the importance of regular activity in eliminating spikes in blood sugar count.

Researchers involved in the study convinced the participants to significantly cut the number of steps they took during the day. Spikes in blood sugar count resulted, but those spikes minimized when the participants went back to their regular level of activity.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

How To Break Bad Habits

Looking to break bad habits that are inhibiting your training?

Take a look at how you can plan and install positive habits that will help you meet your goals.

This video from Triathlon Coach Chris Franzen will help you move in this direction.