Facebook Running Cover Photos

Customize your Facebook cover photo to show your love of running!

  1. Simply right click on the image you want and select "Save Image As" and save it on your computer.
  2. Login to Facebook and hover over your cover image until you see "Change Cover". Select "Upload Photo"
  3. Select the image you downloaded. Save changes.

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How to Foam Roll like a Pro!

Break out those foam rollers folks! Here are some great ways to use them for what ails your aching muscles pre-workout or afterwards.

Foam Rolling Infographic

Treadmill Training for Outdoor Running Events

 

Nordic Track C2150 TreadmillIt’s not easy to run outdoors during the winter in Anchorage, Alaska. So when Christine Clark trained at home in Anchorage for the 2000 U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon (which was held in early March in South Carolina), Clark did almost all of her running inside on a treadmill. She was not considered a strong contender to make the Olympic team but Clark surprised everyone by winning the trials and becoming the only woman to represent the U.S. in the Olympic Marathon in Sydney.

If running on a treadmill can prepare an unheralded elite runner to make an Olympic team, it can prepare you for your next outdoor running event as well. Use these tips to get the most out of your treadmill training for 5K’s, 10K’s, half-marathons and even marathons.

Don’t reinvent the wheel.
Running is running. Being indoors on a treadmill doesn’t require you to train differently for running events than you normally would train outdoors on the roads. In fact, you should try to duplicate the proven methods of outdoor run training as closely as possible on your machine.

What are the proven methods? First of all, to run well you need to run often—at least every other day. You’ll want to allow plenty of time to get in shape for the distance you’re planning to run, allowing at least eight weeks for a 5K and at least 18 weeks for a marathon.

Start with a few weeks devoted to gradually increasing the total amount of running you do each week. Then turn your focus toward challenging yourself with a couple of higher-intensity runs each week. One of these workouts can be a Strength Builder or Speed Booster. The other can be an Aerobic Maximizer. Finally, cut back on your running to let your body regenerate so you can run your event on fresh legs. In the final week before an event aim to run about 50 percent less than you did the week before.

Outsmart boredom
Let’s face it: Boredom can be a problem on the treadmill. Distractions such as watching television and listening to music (or, if you have equipment with iFit Live technology, running virtually using street view) can help. Another way to keep things interesting is to introduce subtle variations into workouts.

While a 45-minute run at a steady, moderate pace in a beautiful park on a warm spring day is unlikely to be boring, the same run on a treadmill might be. A simple way to make the time go by faster is to break those 45 minutes into one-minute segments and change your speed or the incline at the end of each minute. These changes should be small so that you’re still getting basically the same workout. For example, at the end of the first minute you might decrease your speed from 6.2 mph to 6.1 mph; at the end of the second minute you might increase the incline from 1 percent to 2 percent.

Even though the changes are small, they make a big difference in how you experience the run because you’re never looking farther ahead then one minute. Your mind is given something practical to focus on, which makes the time pass faster.

Exploit the advantages.
There are some advantages to training on a treadmill for outdoor running events. Exploit them! One advantage is that on a treadmill you can run at very precise speeds. If you have a time goal in mind for your event, you can do some runs at the exact pace associated with your time goal to get your body and mind used to it.

A second advantage of running indoors is climate control. Not only can you avoid extremes in temperature that are unavoidable outdoors, but you can also manipulate your indoor climate to prepare for anticipated conditions in your event. One of the theories as to how Christine Clark won the 2000 U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon was that this event took place on a warm day. Since Clark had done most of her training indoors in a warm room, she was prepared for it, whereas her rivals who had trained outdoors over the winter were not.

Don’t lose your “road feel”.
Running on a treadmill is not exactly the same as running outdoors. First of all, there are subtle differences in movement patterns. For this reason runners who train exclusively on a treadmill for a while tend to feel somewhat awkward when they run outdoors.

Surfaces are also different. Impact forces are greater on asphalt than they are on the belt of a treadmill. If you run exclusively indoors your legs will probably get beat up a lot more in an outdoor running event than they would if you did some training outside.

The treadmill is a great training tool for outdoor running events, but its best not to rely on it too heavily. Doing just enough outdoor running to maintain your “road feel” will set you up for a better experience in your next event.

Matt FitzgeraldMatt Fitzgerald is the author of Racing Weight: How to Get Lean for Peak Performance and serves as a Training Intelligence Specialist for PEAR Sports.

Getting The Most Out Of Your Indoor Cardio Workouts

 

cardio workoutsWhat is the best kind of workout to do on a treadmill, elliptical trainer, or stationary bike? Trick question! There is no single best indoor cardio workout. The most effective exercise program is one that includes a variety of different types of workouts.

Cardio fitness is not one-dimensional. Each type of workout develops certain dimensions better than others. A balanced program that cycles through the various workout types will build your overall cardio fitness more effectively than a one-sided program.

You’ve probably heard this before. Most exercisers are aware that they should include variety in their program but they continue to do the same steady, moderate-intensity workout over and over anyway. The reason is that it takes a lot of mental energy to come up with a new workout to do every time you step onto the treadmill or elliptical trainer or sit down on a stationary bike seat. Exercise already takes a lot of physical energy. We’d rather not have to think on top of that!

But adding variety to your cardio routine doesn’t have to fry your brain. There are four basic types of workouts you should do. Each one focuses on a different dimension of cardio fitness. All you have to do is cycle through them repeatedly, altering each one a bit as appropriate with each repetition. Let’s take a look at these workouts.

The Fat-Burner
You’ve heard of the fat-burning zone. Research has shown that exercisers of all fitness levels burn fat at the highest possible rate when they keep their heart rate steady at about 65 percent of maximum. When you go faster than that your muscles start to burn more carbohydrate and less fat. When you go slower your muscles don’t burn carbs but they also burn less fat.

You can get an estimate of your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220. So if you’re 35 years old, your maximum heart rate is likely to be around (220 – 35 =) 185 beats per minute. Sixty-five percent of that number is 120 bpm. So to do the Fat-Burner you just have to strap on a heart rate monitor and stride or pedal at 120 bpm (or whatever your personal fat-burning heart rate is) for at least 20 minutes.

Exactly how long you continue is up to you, but note that the longer you continue, the more your muscles will rely on fat for fuel. It’s not hard to do fairly lengthy Fat-Burner workouts because the intensity is relatively low and comfortable.

If you don’t have a heart-rate monitor, a 10-point perceived effort scale (where “1” is very easy and “10” is as hard as you can go) can be used to find your fat-burning zone. An effort rating of “4” corresponds to your maximum rate of fat burning.

The Strength Builder
To emphasize the strength component of your cardio training you need to work against greater-than-normal resistance. To do this on a treadmill you can increase the incline to simulate going uphill. On many elliptical trainers you can increase the incline, the resistance, or both. And on a stationary bike you can increase the resistance or (on some machines) the gear ratio.

It’s best to use an interval format for Strength Builder cardio workouts. This entails doing short bursts at high intensity with easier recovery periods between them. Here’s a sample Strength Builder:

1. Warm up for 5 minutes at effort level 2.
2. Increase the incline or resistance of the machine and maintain an effort level of 7 for 1 minute.
3. Reduce the incline or resistance and maintain an effort level of 3 for 2 minutes.
4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 a total of four to eight times, depending on your fitness level.
5. Cool down for 5 minutes at an effort level of 2.

The Aerobic Maximizer
The most effective way to increase your body’s ability to process oxygen—a key component of cardio fitness—is through workouts featuring a sustained effort at a moderately high intensity. The intensity sweet spot for these workouts is a perceived effort level of 6 on a 1-10 scale. It should feel challenging but still manageable. Here’s a sample Aerobic Maximizer:

1. Warm up for 5 minutes at an effort level of 2.
2. Increase your effort level to 6 and maintain it for 10 minutes.
3. Cool down for 5 minutes at an effort level of 2.

The Speed Booster
Interval workouts featuring very short efforts at very high intensities (or what endurance athletes call “speed workouts”) are great for improving body composition. Not only do you burn calories at a high rate during these workouts but your metabolism remains elevated for a long time afterward so your body continues to burn extra fat at rest. Here’s a Speed Booster to try:

1. Warm up for 5 minutes at an effort level of 2.
2. Increase your effort level to 8 for 30 seconds.
3. Reduce your effort level back to 2 for 90 seconds.
4. Repeat steps 3 and 4 a total of six to 12 times, depending on your fitness level.
5. Cool down for 5 minutes at an effort level of 2.

See for Yourself
Adding variety to your cardio routine is an important way to improve your results. And it doesn’t have to be a mental burden. Give these workouts a try and see for yourself!

Matt FitzgeraldMatt Fitzgerald is the author of Racing Weight: How to Get Lean for Peak Performance and serves as a Training Intelligence Specialist for PEAR Sports.

 

 

Homemade Granola Recipe

I'm not much into cooking so whenever I come across quick, easy to throw together recipe that is healthy, I am all over it! I make up a huge batch of this (and usually double the recipe) and it keeps for a long time in the fridge. This is a great snack sprinkled on Greek Yogurt and berries, great as a cereal, sprinkled over fresh fruit or eating straight out of the container.  Enjoy!

Homemade Granola Recipe
homemade granola recipe

Makes 4 pints

3 C. Old fashioned rolled oats (don't use quick oats)
1/4 C. Sesame seeds
1/4 C. Sunflower seeds
1/2 C. flaked, unsweetened coconut
1/2 C. Sliced almonds (I buy them whole and crush them a bit in the morter and pestle)
2 T. Flax meal
1 C. Chopped nuts (almonds, pecans, walnuts)
1/3 C. Vegetable oil (I always use EV Olive Oil and it works great - doesn't taste different and is healthier!)
1/2 C. Local honey
1 C. Dried Fruit (blueberries, cherries, cranberries, raisin assortment, etc)
1 T. Vanilla Extract
2 t. Cinnamon
Pinch of sea salt

  1. In a large bowl, mix all dry ingredients except cinnamon.
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat honey and oil until honey is dissolved and bubbly around the pan edges. Remove from heat and add vanilla extract and cinnamon. Stir well.
  3. Add all wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  4. Lightly spray a cookie sheet with oil and spread granola mixture over entire sheet.
  5. Bake at 350 for about 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and delicious, stirring ever 10 minutes or so. Rotate the pan once during cooking.
  6. Best to store in refrigerator or freezer to maintain crispiness.