Archive for fitness – Page 2

spring training 2014

Editor’s Note: Happy New Year ladies! We are very excited to work with you and see you moving forward towards your goals! For you ladies who are starting or re-starting a running and/or walking routine, being healthy and happy is a lifestyle, not a quick fix. You’ll see results and feel much better taking small steps every day toward a more active lifestyle.

Here are a few tried-and-true tips on setting and adjusting goals:
· Check with your health care provider before starting a fitness or wellness program.

· Be honest with yourself. Accept yourself as you are and where you are. Ask yourself, “What is my ideal happy, healthy lifestyle?”

· Review the past year and make a new list. What worked? What failed? Why? What can I build on? What should I let go? What were my best and worst decisions? Have some fun with it and use humor; it helps!

· Make time to fully focus on the new goals. You want to get momentum going forward and keep it – building on small improvements and small victories, because they will add up.

· Be flexible. If you want to run a marathon, you have to build a base of miles over time. You can’t just wake up and run 26.2 miles. The same is true for most goals. You have to take responsibility for your life, health and happiness. Change doesn’t always come quickly or easily.

That’s life – there is never a direct path to success. It’s a journey and an adventure. Develop your sense of humor and your improvisation skills! Let’s make it happen! 

Beginning Half Marathon (13.1 miles) Training 

Let’s Begin!

If you are considering a half marathon – you probably already know that a running workout is a great calorie crusher, mood enhancer and has many other benefits.  You don’t have to be a maniac runner to reap all the many benefits!  Stepping up to a half marathon is awesome for women, so awesome in fact that nationally women represent about 65% or more of the participants in half marathons around the country!  The most important thing is to have fun with it and make it your lifestyle!  So, let’s begin!

Before Starting

Before starting a half marathon training program, you should make sure you are healthy enough to undertake the training.  The half marathon training should not be taken lightly.  Consult your medical professional to ensure you are ready for this important next step!  You should be able to run comfortably for at least 30 – 45 minutes before beginning a half marathon 16 week training plan.

Recommended 14 Week Beginner Half Marathon Training Program

* Saturday and Sunday “long runs” may be either day – with the other day being a rest day.

** XT is cross training which can include biking, core workouts, upper body workouts, yoga, pilates, stretching, etc.

Tips & Terms

The following is the running terminology used for training – obviously, the more experience you have – the more training options and speed/track workouts you will use for form, technique and conditioning.

Easy Runs

This means running totally comfortable and controlled.  When running alone or with your runhers training partner or group, you should be able to converse easily. You’ll likely feel as if you could go faster. Don’t. Here’s some incentive to take it easy: You’ll still burn about 100 calories for every mile that you run.

Walking & Taking Breaks

If you feel the need to walk or take a break in your long run or during any of your training runs, by all means do so.  Since you are just beginning the half marathon, with finishing as your goal, just listen to what your body is telling you.

Long Runs and/or LSD (Long, Slow Distance)

These are any steady run at or longer than race distance designed to enhance endurance, which enables you to run longer and longer and feel strong doing it. A great long-run tip: Find a weekly training partner around your pace and ability for this one.   You’ll have time to chat about anything that comes up.


This means bursts of running shorter than race distance, some at your race goal pace, some faster. This improves cardiac strength, biomechanical efficiency, running economy, and the psychological toughness that racing demands.

Race Day Rules

Run slower than you feel like you should be running over the first 6 – 7 miles. Look around; chat a bit with those around you. And walk if you need to through the aid stations, drink fluids, take a little break, then resume your running.





national run @ work day

On September 20, 2013, is the 8th Annual Run@Work Day nationwide.  Company based wellness programs, human resources departments, running clubs, running events, running shoe stores, and individuals nationwide are encouraged to plan fun runs and walks around the country with their employers.

In the past, we have hosted some Run@Work Days.  This year we want to help you get a run/walk organized in your company or organization.  There are so many benefits to workplace wellness and the camaraderie of running/walking together is great for team spirit!  There are many small and cost effective or no cost ways to improve your workplace and increase productivity, while lowering overall health care costs!  We are happy to provide more information.  So, some planning details are below.  Please let us know if there is anything else we can help with.  All the best on your efforts!

Why National Run@Work Day?

The goal of Run@Work Day, founded by the Road Runners Club of America, is to encourage adults to get 30-minutes of exercise each day, in accordance with the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, either before work, during lunch, or immediately following work. Run@Work Day also encourages companies to help employees schedule time for physical activity.

Incorporating exercise into one’s daily routine can markedly improve one’s overall physical health.

  • Run@Work Day events can be hosted by company-based wellness programs, human resources departments, running clubs, running events, running shoe stores, schools, and anyone interested in promoting physical activity.
  • The event should be a fun run and/or walking event with the duration of at least 30-minutes held before work, during lunch, or immediately after work or all of the above in order to accommodate varying schedules.
  • Event hosts should work with a company’s human resources department or staff to organize and promote the event within the company.
  • Work with local sponsors to provide participant incentives, event support, and promotions
  • Simply make time to get 30-minutes of running or walking on September 20, 2013 and bring a co-worker or family member with  you.

Planning Your Run@Work Day or Run@School Day Event

1. Work with your employer or local school to gain support from management for hosting a Run@Work Day or Run @School event from your place of work or your local school(s).

2. Determine if you will host your event before work or school, during lunch, immediately at the end of the work-day or school day, or at all three times.

3. Follow the RRCA Guidelines for Safe Events or RRCA Guidelines for Leading a Group Run.  

4. Plan a route for your participants.  Choose a central location where everyone can meet-up at the specified start time.  The route should be approximately 3-5K in distance to allow people to run or walk for at least thirty minutes.  A route can be an out and back from a central starting point or a loop course.  Use a mapping tool such as Gmap-Pedometer to help you determine your route.  The course should be pedestrian friendly.

5. Use an event registration service like or create a Facebook event page to collect names of participants to determine your participation numbers for your Run@Work Day or Run@School Day event.  Be sure you have all event participants or guardians sign a waiver.

6. Engage several volunteers to help organize the start and finish of the event.  Have a run leader, a mid-pack course marshal, and an end of the pack “sweeper” to ensure your participants are supported during the run/walk.

7. Be sure to provide your participants with information on how to get involved with a running club or event after the conclusion of the run/walk.

Promoting Your Run@Work Day Event

1. With permission from your employer, send an email to your co-workers or parents about your event.  Use the Run@Work Day sample press release and sample Twitter and Facebook posts to announce your event.  Work with your human resources department to promote the event.  Provide information about the event in an employee newsletter or inter-office memo.

2. Make posters of the Run@Work Day to hang around your office or in our community to help promote your event.

3. Work with a local sponsor or your employer to provide incentives for your participants.  Consider designing company/organization t-shirts for participants and or sell them and donate the profits to a health related organization.

4. Provide a map of the planned route before the event.  Be sure to remind participants that your event will be a fun run or walk and that all participants should follow the rules of the road and obey traffic signals. 

5. Call into a local radio station to give them information about your participation in National Run@Work Day and discuss the local event you are hosting and talk about healthy lifestyle choices including the importance of 30-minutes of exercise a day.

6. Work with other get active partners in your community such as your local YMCA, your local Parks & Recreation Department, etc. to assist with and to promote your event.

speed work defined

Editor’s Note:We get asked by many of you how to get faster in your running journey.  In this article Coach Sara breaks down the different things you can do to improve speed.  There are standard running ‘drills’ as well you can do that improve form and efficiency, which in turn can improve speed.  We will be doing more running ‘clinics’ to talk and demonstrate form, drills and speed work!    First thing first though, have fun and run with joy! 

By: Sara McCauley

Speed training. Something runners hear often and know it is something we all should work on, but may not completely know how to execute or add to their running schedule.

As with many things, when you start anything new, it is important to take ‘speed work’ cautiously and put thought in it before jumping in. There are different levels and periodization to consider with speed training, it’s a building block and you have to work your way to the top.

Before we get into the levels of running, I want to get you familiar with the term Conversation Pace. It is a word that you will hear and see quite often when it comes to a training plan. Conversation Pace(CP) is performed at an easy, gentle pace where you can easily hold a conversation while running and heart rate is maintained at approximately 110-140bpm. The goal of CP is to train the cardio respiratory system and muscular system to efficiently use oxygen for a longer distance.

What is it and how to add it in? 


Strides lay the foundation of speed training. A stride is a short burst of running for 80-150 meters. You start at a conversation pace, build speed for 40-100 meters, and then slow back down to finish the distance. It promotes efficient running form, great for short distance running, works fast twitch muscles.

For beginners, strides can be added in as speed work to replace, or in addition to, a short conversation pace run. Start at 6 strides per workout and increase your way up to 10 as endurance improves (1-2 weeks).

Strides can be used as a complete workout for new runners by repeating 6-10 times with a 1-2 minute rest, in addition to an easy run or as a warm up and cool down for more advanced runners 2-3 days per week.


A tempo is a steady, controlled run performed at a pace faster than a half marathon pace, at or slightly under a 10k pace.  It improves endurance and lactate threshold, teaches patience, and to run outside the normal comfort zone.

For middle distance training, tempo runs are generally 20-30 minutes and up to 60 minutes for marathon plus distances. It should be preceded by a 10-15 minute warm up and followed by a 10-15 minute cool down.  A runner can transition to a tempo run by breaking it into 10 minute segments with a 2-5 minute jog between the tempo pace.


Also commonly known as “speed play” – is structured or unstructured fast bouts of running with a mix of speeds for an unspecified period of time. Each run can vary in paces, distances, and terrains.

The goal is to run a sub-maximally pace, along with short spurts of maximal pace, 70-90% effort level.  This type of running trains your cardiorespiratory system and muscular systems to work efficiently, and use oxygen with minimal muscle stress. Fartlek runs are great for all levels, teaches the body to run uncomfortably, and to gain patience and mental strength.

The length and distance can be a shorter distance/time than other runs (20-30 minutes) because of the effort level, but requires a longer (10-15 minute) warm up and cool down.

An example of executing this type of run: while running in a neighborhood or trail use landmarks as starting and stopping points. You can increase your distance each run, pyramid the distance, or any combination. The purpose of the run is to run faster than your comfort zone for a distance that your body can sustain for a period of time with minimal rest (1 minute) in between sprints.


Hill repeats are performed with a continual brisk run uphill with a relaxed conversation pace downhill or flat surface. Hills are used to increase running strength and mental toughness, decrease risk of injury,  and to prepare for a specific type of race course.

Pace and number of repeats is dependent on the type of hill grade and goals; however, you should aim for a submaximal pace with bouts at maximal pace. When adding in hill runs into your training, ideally you want start with a grade around 5-7% over a 200-600m distance, at or faster than conversation pace.  As your running advances, you can increase the grade level and distance.  After a 10-15 minute warm up, perform 5-8 repetitions followed by 1-3 minutes of rest by jogging or walking in between repeats.  For smaller grade hills, aim for a faster 5k pace and decrease to 10k or slower as grade increases.

Note on form when running hills: obtain a forward lean without hunching or curling upper body, shorten and increase your arm cadence.

Hill runs are beneficial and can be created for all levels of runners, but always need to be treated with respect. Due to the intensity of the run, it is crucial to warm up, cool down and stretch accordingly. Over training and disregard to rest can lead to stress on joints and muscles.

If hills are not accessible in your area, be creative, have fun with it, add stairs in your run, parking garage ramps(caution!), use cross training equipment at high levels (stairmaster, elliptical etc.).


Intervals are at the top of the running pyramid; to be performed at the peak of your fitness level.  They are a structured run with a specific amount of repeats, distance, pace and recovery. Most commonly performed at a track. This type of running improves fast twitch muscle ability, promotes efficient running form, teaches patience and mental toughness, and to run at a low grade of discomfort for longer periods of time. Due to the intensity, runners should complete all levels of the pyramid, run more than 20 miles per week regularly and have a base of 500 miles built before moving to the interval phase.

There are many different types of intervals, repeats, ladders, pyramids, and mixed paces. For athletes running a middle distance race (half marathon), an example of a starting interval would consist of a 10-15 minute warm up, 5 x 400m faster than conversation pace, 90 seconds- 120 seconds below conversation pace or walk recovery, 10-15 minute cool down. For marathon+ distances a distance of 800m+ should be performed.

The number of intervals should only be increased in 2-3 week increments, performed no more than once a week for novice runners and followed by a rest day or easy recovery run.  The goal of intervals, are to be performed at 95-100% effort level.

Speed work is not meant to be easy, but when incorporating anything new into your training schedule, it is crucial to take it slow, build up properly and respect what your body is capable of at that level. Someone who is new to running shouldn’t jump right into speed training without having a solid running base.  Listen to your body and be smart with your training, if you successfully completed 5x400s last week and are feeling great this week, that doesn’t mean you can jump right into 7-8 400s this week. Stick to your plan and know there is a reason behind periodization; you have to give your body time to adapt.

Be smart with your running and most importantly have fun with it!

Sources: Sara McCauley and RRCA Certified Running Coach Manual

7 great static stretches


This is the first in an ongoing series of stretches that you can use.  The most important thing is using the proper form to get the most out of each stretch!  Stretching every day after you run will increase your flexibility and help prevent injuries. Static stretches should be performed after your workout, not before, so you’re not stretching cold muscles.  Be sure and hold for 20 – 30 seconds, doing 2 – 3 sets.


 ADDUCTOR STRETCH (inner thigh) Stand in a straddled stance with feet beyond shoulder width apart. Both feet should be pointed straight ahead. Slowly move to the side until a stretch in the straight leg’s groin area is felt.   


 QUADRICEP – Standing stationary grab and hold your right ankle with your left hand, pull foot closely in towards your buttocks. Maintain straight posture.  



 HAMSTRING – Lay on your back and keep your back flat while looking upward. Grab the back of right thigh (not behind knee) with both hands and pull into a 90 degree position. Then slowly straighten your knee as much as possible. For a deeper stretch you can use a strap or towel, etc.    
 PIRIFORMIS (lateral hip) – Lay flat on your back, bend knees to 90 degrees, cross right foot over left knee and pull in left knee in towards your chest.     
 CALF COMPLEX– Stand with right foot in front of left with feet firm to the ground. Gently lean into the stretch towards a wall or object while, maintain straight posture, until you feel it in your lower calf muscles.      
 IT BAND– Sit on the ground with your legs out straight.  Bend and cross your right leg over your left knee which is flat on the ground.  Pull your right knee in to your chest firmly with your left elbow.    
 HIP FLEXOR– Step your right leg forward and bend back leg. Rotate back hip and squeeze buttocks. Slowly move hips forward until tension is felt in side being stretched.     

Q & A with Yoga Mandy

When we were looking place to hold our fall training kickoff meeting for August – we heard that the Cadence Yoga site was a very cool studio with a wicked cool owner. So, we contacted Mandy and she was so full of energy, passion and enthusiasm we knew right away that it would be a great night there with her! So, we wanted to interview her and learn more about Mandy and Yoga. So we had Sheila do a Q & A with her.

Hi Mandy!

ML:  What’s shakin’, Sheila? 

Tell us a little about you and how Cadence Yoga came to be?

ML:  Well, I’m just a Yankee living the dream in OKC!  After studying dance throughout my life and dancing professionally in Chicago, yoga found me.  Long story short, I moved to OKC to open Cadence Yoga and share my passion with this awesome community.  Also, I enjoy long walks on the beach… 

How did you decide on “cadence’ as the name?

ML:  Cadence is described as the “flow or rhythm of events, especially the pattern in which something is experienced.”  Once I started to lean into the natural ebb and flow of life, I found a lightness in my heart and an openness in my mind.  Thus, baby Cadence was born to help others embrace their rhythm. 

Can you give us a little background on yoga in general & what type of yoga you teach?

ML:  There are countless styles of yoga as well as aspects of a yoga practice.  You can find an array of classes throughout the states from fast-paced with a focus on strengthening to restorative classes with a focus on healing.  I teach physically demanding classes that always stem from an intention/idea for the evening.  Every teacher at Cadence Yoga, however, approaches their classes from a different, refreshing perspective.

 In your opinion, what are some of the most misunderstood things about yoga?

ML:  Yoga is not a religion.  Seriously.  Anyone, with any theology/philosophy can practice yoga.    

What are some of the funniest comments you’ve heard about yoga?

ML:  I so often hear “I can’t take a yoga class – I’m not flexible.”  This cracks me up, because it implies that everyone who practices yoga was already flexible when they first rolled out a mat.  People become flexible (and stronger) as they continue to practice yoga!  

Where do you see yoga and your company/brand going in the next five years?

ML:  Yoga in OKC is expanding, Sheila!  I see Cadence Yoga blending more communities together and participating in cultivating a healthier OKC.

How are you reaching the OKC Metro market and how are they responding?

ML:  Cadence Yoga has partnered with a number of downtown businesses as a part of their “fitness in the workplace” programs.  When people have a passion in life, they tell everyone about it.  That’s exactly what’s going on, Sheila!

Many runners are investigating yoga to complement their training – how does that help them?

ML:  It doesn’t.  Just kidding – it totally helps!  A good yoga class can help runners repair and elongate the muscles that they’re constantly firing.  Yoga will also introduce lateral movements to a runner’s body, conditioning their often neglected muscles as well as help increase their proprioception.  

How can people get plugged into Cadence Yoga?

ML:  Show up!  Our community is incredibly supportive and constantly growing.  You can check out our class schedule and even some videos on our website:

Anything else you think people need to know?

ML:  Yoga is for everyone!  Whether you’ve never even seen a yoga mat before or you’ve been practicing for decades, we’ve got your back.   

vacation – keep fitness and sanity

The Vacation – Maintaining Your Fitness (& Sanity) While You’re Away!!
Summer is upon us, which means vacations, barbeque cookouts, sugary drinks and busy schedules. Vacations are always a welcomed time but when you are traveling you may not always have access to the healthiest choices.  You want to make sure that you enjoy yourself and treat yourself to things that you may not always have an opportunity to have – but that doesn’t mean that you have to give up on your normal lifestyle and go crazy. You just have to be smart and make better decisions when the BEST decision may not be an option.  

Have a plan

If you know where you’re going to be that day, think ahead where/when you may eat your meals. If you have your heart set on eating a burger for dinner, eat something lighter for breakfast and lunch.

Keep healthy food and snacks with you at all time

Consuming healthier snacks between meals in general is always a good idea, but keeping food options on hand will also prevent excessive hunger where you over eat, which will help you choose the healthier meal. Packing food will save calories and money. Example: oatmeal packets, peanut butter, protein bars, almonds, etc.

Don’t eat unless you’re hungry

It’s as simple as that. Just because someone else is hungry or someone offers you a treat doesn’t mean you have to eat it!  If you are traveling and are unsure when your next stop will be then take something to go.

Limit your sweet indulges to one a day

Sugar really is an evil thing, the more you eat the more you crave it. So if you have something sweet and sugary for breakfast, try to stay away from the afternoon cookies or after dinner desserts.

Just say no to fried/greasy foods

Although it may sound good at the time, heavy greasy foods will leave you feeling bloated, hungry again sooner and sick to your stomach, especially in the summer heat. Stick to lighter, fresher foods. Grilled is a much better decision then a fried dish.

Eat your veggies

This follows along the line of said French fries above. Choose steamed veggies over the fried or heavy sides. Aim to consume a serving of veggies with every meal.

Be Careful with the Sauces/Dressings

Before ordering a meal, ask or read how it’s prepared or what’s on it. Many dressings/sauces are full of empty calories and fat.  Ask for it on the side so you can control how much you eat. Same thing can goes for butter and oils – steaks can be just as flavorful grilled without all the extra grease.


I don’t have to tell you that it’s hot out there folks. Drinking water is important at any time but more so than ever this time of year. Water can do amazing things for your body so don’t think about it just drink it! Keep large water with you at all times, especially when you’re in the car, even if you have to make more stops it just gives you a reason to walk around and keep your legs from cramping.

Adult Beverages

The clearer the better. As good as the fruity umbrella drink may be try to go with something lighter that doesn’t have more calories than your meal.  There are many “skinny” versions of those drinks now so check the menu before ordering.  Vodka and soda water with your favorite garnish; lemon, lime or even cucumbers makes for a refreshing summer drink without the heavy sugar.

Move your Body

Find a way to do it!  It doesn’t mean that you have to obsess and worry over when/where you’ll workout – find little creative ways to get something in.  Vacation and travel stress can be relieved by designing some runs, walks or other activity into your time away! 

If you don’t have access to a gym, it’s ok, do a quick workout in your room.  I know where you can find some awesome workouts (read my workout articles!)  Find local activities to participate in – beach run, mountain hike, swimming and finding a local class or group is all there to do!  Running/walking in a new area is exciting; as your awareness/excitement is heightened in a new locale.

Have Fun  

Vacations are meant to unplug, relax, explore and indulge!  Recharging your batteries is essential to maintaining balance.  We all need breaks!  Things change while traveling, so do your best to go with the flow and be realistic. You can indulge; have a phenomenal vacation – still maintaining your fitness and sanity if you just do a little planning and adjusting with these tips.  FYI – America ranks low on the number of vacation days taken each year (2 weeks average) compared with many of our European friends (3 – 4 weeks average).   So, enjoy the journey – you may never pass this way again!

 ~ Coach Sara

treadmills are our friends!

How to make the indoors more enjoyable

It’s that time again, its cold outside; it gets dark earlier and many of us are forced inside to use the treadmill in order to get our weekly miles.  It is a great tool for beginners and some of you may even be coming back from an injury – the treadmill offers a softer surface than the roads, as well as a completely controlled environment to do some pace/fitness testing.  The treadmill is the cardio option of choice for some people, but for beginners it can be a very intimidating experience. Try some of these tips to make your treadmill walking and running a fun and valuable experience!

If you are new to working or running on a treadmill – the treadmill can look like a beast!  She’s big, has lots of buttons and can makes lots of noise.  But she really can be a great friend – and offers quite a bit of flexibility as well as indoor comfort.  Many of them now have built in entertainment centers, which can make the miles and time go by much faster.  You do need to keep aware of your position on the belt, because she has been known to ‘spit’ people off the back end who were too distracted!  So make sure when you are starting, you get very comfortable with the machine before adding entertainment and/or other movements to the mix!    

Don’t be afraid to ask for help at the gym if you are just getting started, or a quick review of the manual if you’ve made the purchase for home use.  There are 2 important buttons on all treadmills, start (green) and stop (red).  As well, there is a safety treadmill mechanism – it’s usually a clip or pin— find it and attach it to the band of your shorts.  The other end is attached to the treadmill (it’s usually a magnet).  Then if you happen to trip or fall, it will automatically pull the safety cord, stopping the treadmill belt.  It rarely happens, but we want you safe!     

Many treadmills want your age, weight, etc.    The more information you give (don’t worry, no one else will know what you put in), the more accurate the calories-burned estimate will be.  It may also ask you if you have a time goal (this means how many minutes you’d like to work out) or if you’d like to follow one of its various training programs – or you can opt for the manual option.  For beginners, the manual option is a good choice – you can make speed and incline changes to suit your effort.

The speed setting is very important aspect on the treadmill as it will tell you the running/walking pace and give you a good idea of the calories burned.  When starting out, find a speed that you can maintain for a prolonged period of time (15 – 20 minutes to begin).  Obviously, the faster your pace the more you calories burn, but don’t go crazy and run/walk too hard in the beginning. It’s best to start with a fast paced walk or light jog – concentrating on your form and how you feel.

Well, now that you have a good start with the basics – let’s move on to some great tips and fun workouts to try!  Don’t be afraid to experiment!  Just be sure to vary your workouts as you feel comfortable – because if you do the same 30 minute run/walk everyday – your body just adapts and figures out the most efficient way to get that done!  You have to mix it up so your body has to adapt, which increases your fitness level and your creativity! 

  • Have a plan– write down your workout. If you know what you want to achieve and how you’re going to do it, you are more likely to follow through.
  • Location– you may not always have an option, but scope out the treadmill selection in the gym, find your prime spot, closest to the water or even next to the eye candy you see around ; )  Be comfortable where you are so it doesn’t become a distraction later in your run.
  • Intervals – This is my favorite! Speed or hill intervals are a quick and efficient way to get the job done! Try a HIIT (high intensity interval training). See treadmill workouts below.
  • Cover the screen with a towel.   What?!?  I’ve only been going for 3 minutes, arrghhh!  Set your pace and cover the screen to avoid the constant looking at your time/mileage.
  • Scan a magazine or I Pad – catch up on the latest news or engage in your current novel.
  • Switch up machines – not going after a certain mileage, mix your cardio choices up. Run for 10 minutes, bike for 10 minutes, Stairmaster for 10 minutes, etc.  This will help break up the time and makes it go faster!
  • Multi task! If you are bored or short on time, use dumbbells and add strength to your cardio. Perform bicep curls, shoulder presses, triceps extensions, or lateral raises while walking on a high incline. (warning: perform at own risk, please do not fall or knock someone else off their machine. Well…unless they deserve it J)
  • When all else fails follow this video….

Whatever method you choose, HAVE FUN with it; don’t let outdoor obstacles get in your way of your fitness and health. Be the best version of you all year long!!! Run with joy.


HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)

This is meant to be a quick but efficient way to increase your heart rate, burn fat and increase endurance.  This type of training is also great to help break that plateau effect that can happen with a longer but comfortable pace run.

  • 5 minute warm up- walk or easy jog
  • 30-45 second sprint @ 80-90% max pace
  • 1-1.5 minute easy recover jog or walk @ 50% effort pace (make sure heart rate has decreased before starting over)
  • Repeat 10-15 minutes
  • 5 minute cool down walk

*Feeling feisty, add an incline between 1-3% to increase intensity and better simulate a natural outdoor incline.

Total workout should not exceed 25 minutes. At the end of the sprint, if you feel like you could continue longer, you know it’s time to increase your pace.  The goal is short maximum effort to increase your heart rate but you do not want to keep it too high for too long. 

Don’t forget to stretch!

30 Minute Sweaty Incline Butt Burner
Time                Incline             Speed
0-5                   2.0%                3.0
5-6                   5.0%                3.5+
6-7                   6.0%                3.5+
7-8                   3.0%                4.0
8-9                   7.0%                3.5+
9-10                 8.0%                3.5+
10-11               3.0%                4.0
11-12               9.0%                3.5+
12-13               10.0%              3.5+
13-14               3.0%                4.0
14-15               1.0%                4.0
Repeat starting at 10% and work your way back down. Cool down with an easy walk no incline. STRETCH!
**Speed is optional, find what works best for you!

resolution 2012: it’s about the journey, not the destination

By: Emily Boecking – runhers editors
Most of us use the New Year to clear the slate and start fresh in January.  According to national surveys, here are the top ten resolutions for Americans:

  1. Spend more time with family and friends.
  2. Get fit.
  3. Tame the bulge.
  4. Quit smoking.
  5. Enjoy life more.
  6. Quit drinking.
  7. Get out of debt.
  8. Learn something new.
  9. Help others.
  10. Get organized.

The research also shows that a full 95% of these people who set a New Year’s resolution never follow through.  Any of these sound familiar?  Most of us have had one or many of these on our resolution list over the years.  The question is how many of these resolutions really turned into long term fixes?  Was the resolution too vague like the list above?  No real goal or plan, just a general statement that I plan to < fill in the blank > this year?  Or was it too rigid and specific, not offering the flexibility to make mistakes, recover, adjust and keep moving forward?  Or did it just not include a simple plan for guidance with some simple steps to begin in earnest, as well as methods for getting back on track when the attempts at change become derailed?

For 2012, rather than make a one time resolution that we often view to be a ‘make or break’ deal, can we instead garner the momentum and motivation to create a new, improved “us” – to focus on how can we teach ourselves to implement positive changes in our lives?  After all, what exactly is important about the resolution or goal itself?  Tony Robbins offers a good viewpoint:

Goals are a means to an end, not the ultimate purpose of our lives. They are simply a tool to concentrate our focus and move us in a direction. The only reason we really pursue goals is to cause ourselves to expand and grow. Achieving goals by themselves will never make us happy in the long term; it’s who you become, as you overcome the obstacles necessary to achieve your goals, that can give you the deepest and most long-lasting sense of fulfillment.

It’s WHO you become on the journey that matters!  Tony, the man who coaches some of the most accomplished people on the planet in their quest to a better lifestyle, urges us to imagine and create ‘who’ we want to become  and to use goals, both big and small, as the bull’s-eye at which we aim to get ourselves there.

So instead of focusing on the destination, let’s instead bring our focus to the journey…

Where does this journey begin?  Our research of people who have made significant positive self change followed a couple of key steps.  They (1) defined the goal, (2) assessed the payoffs and (3) learned how to course correct to deal with the inevitable life hurdles or setbacks that are just part of life!

Define the Goal

Where are you now, and where do you want to go?  Where are you starting your journey, and where is the destination you see this journey leading you to?  So start by taking a little personal inventory:  questions like, ‘what do I really want’, ‘what is my vision of a healthy, happy me’ are simple starts.  Maybe we are a little off course, maybe we are way off course.  Accepting where we are now and then envisioning where we want to be is the best first step.

So set aside some time and make a thoughtful list of these goals and dreams- use your computer, your smart phone, or even the tried and true pen and paper!  Imagine goals big and small and write them down!  List whatever comes to mind and let go of limits – ask yourself ‘what would I attempt to do and if I knew I could not fail?’  Don’t be scared to dream big and be creative; after all, this is your life that you ARE creating!

Now that we’ve assessed where the journey begins and where we want it to end, what are the steps in this journey that will lead us to our destination?  Review your list and pick the top goal or goals.  And for each of these goals, create a road map that will take you from where you are now to where you want to be.  Don’t get too tangled up on this step—look at the goal with some realistic thinking—then break it down to small manageable steps and actions to move you forward.

Be as simple as possible and make the steps as manageable as possible.  Tag an initial timeline to it.  What small step can I take to get started?  What small improvement can I make today or this week?   It could be something you can accomplish in 30 days – or for a big honkin’ dream it may be 20 years.  As you identify these steps to guide your travels as you progress along your journey, remember, it’s just a rough draft!  After all, the only thing that never changes is change!  Sure there will be bumps in the road or detours along the way, but the important part now is to get direction and get started.  Let’s starting building momentum and keep momentum going forward and appreciate the small improvements and small victories – they will add up in a big way! 

Assess the Payoffs

Our natural behavior is based on a system of perceived payoffs.  We have resolved to set on the journey we outlined above; because there are specific incentives or rewards we have identified when we implement the positive self-change.  We would assume these payoffs would be pretty self-evident—we obviously want to achieve our goal of < fill in the blank > because if we do we will have x, y, and z.  But are x, y, and z as obvious as we think they are?  Let’s create a new note on our phones, or pull out another piece of paper and list the benefits/payoffs we expect to realize should we achieve our goal.  Did this litany of payoffs readily flow from pen to paper without a second’s hesitation, or was there a need to pause and ask ourselves “what, exactly, do I expect from accomplishing this self change?”  Most of us might find ourselves needing to stop and think for a minute before we are able to complete this task; simply because it’s not an exercise that many of us have actually asked ourselves to perform.  It really is worth doing!  Consider the time an investment in you!

Alright, now let’s make a list of the payoffs we would enjoy should we choose not to change.   Is this list fairly sparse with only an item or two here or there, or do we actually see that there are some payoffs we enjoy from not implementing the change?  After all, change isn’t easy!  If changes were easy, and there were no payoffs from maintaining our current behavior, then wouldn’t everyone breeze through their New Years’ Resolutions every year?  Yes, we’re nodding our heads in agreement too!

Now let’s weigh the payoffs of implementing the self change against the payoffs for not implementing the change.  Which set of payoffs do we find to be empowering with the individual we envision ourselves as?  Which set do we find to be more negative with our dream self?   Again, the answers to these questions might seem pretty transparent, but taking an inventory of the pros and cons of changing versus not changing will serve us as a reminder as to why we want to change, not why we feel we have to change.  As the journey progresses where our quest for self-change becomes daunting and we are resorting back to ‘old self’- and the payoffs would be seemingly so much more comfortable and effortless, we can remind ourselves that this is a journey we chose and will continue to choose because it is the destiny we want, not the destiny that is easier.     

Course Correct

We now have a vision of where we are headed and why we want to be headed there.  And we took a brief stab at how we were going to get there so we might embark on our journey with some directive.  Now, how do we insure that we stay completely on track to our goal so that we can successfully arrive at our destination?  The answer is we don’t—we can count on being off our originally mapped course most of the time.  The key is to learn to improvise and adapt to the ever changing circumstances in our lives and learn to course correct.

Apollo 8, the first manned mission to the moon, was only on course to its destination 20% of the time.  The entire mission was almost abandoned because repeated trial and error from the best scientific minds of the time could not develop a method for maintaining an accurate trajectory to Earth’s natural satellite in space.  Only after the focus was taken away from how to stay 100% true to the originally mapped course and instead brought to make constant small course corrections once deviation from the course was detected were the NASA engineers able to make progress towards their destination.  By keeping their sight on the overall destination, an 80% failure rate was enough to land the spacecraft within 12 feet of the original target on the moon’s surface.

The people we deem to be “successful” are no different than us in that they have had plenty of setbacks, even devastating failures.  Their road maps had to be changed, often.  Other people, work, events, kids and time all seemed to conspire to defeat their goals.   Creativity had to be used to adjust, to adapt and to take that daily small step to move one step closer.  They never gave up on themselves.  They improved, then fell down, then got back up again.  Each step closer they gained more confidence, energized the next step and over time the lifestyle they envisioned emerged.  And each and every one of us have the capacity and imagination to do the very same.

So here is to 2012—to our renewed commitment to realize the best possible “us” we can envision.  Remember, change doesn’t always come quickly or easily—for any of us!  Old habits are hard to break.  Rather than beating ourselves up and letting that defeat our spirits, let’s accept that setbacks and wrong turns are part of the process—it’s never a direct path to success!  Let’s develop a healthy sense of humor and our improvisation skills!  Don’t be afraid to take the road less traveled in some circumstances – after all, sometimes it can make all the difference! And remember, it is the education from the ‘didn’t work’ and the victories of what did that we want to take forward.  We will resolve to not beat ourselves up – everyone makes mistakes and bad things happen.  It is our response that matters.  Use what we would typically label as “failure” as an opportunity to learn a lesson rather than a threat to arriving at our goals.  Let’s make this New Years resolution different than any we have ever made before with the understanding that it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey… it’s about life!  All the best for a great 2012! 



winter & cold weather running tips

By: team runhers 12/11 

It’s that time of year again – the challenge of getting up and running on cold, wet and many times dark mornings or evenings.  Some ladies love running in the cold weather and some… not so much!  You don’t have to be indoors all winter – with a few smart tips and acquiring a few items, you can find real joy in being outdoors with the winter runs and other activities!  That warm soup or stew will taste so much better after a great winter run!  As always, we do recommend that if you have any health issues or concerns about braving the winter elements, check with your medical professional.  Also, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) gets to a fair amount of women who live in the chilliest climates, especially after the holidays. Even if you don’t get those winter blues – keep your sanity by staying active through the cold months and holidays!  It will definitely boost your mood and energy levels. And it never hurts to get a great dose of sunshine and fresh air!  Winter running and walking really does wonders for your confidence, your stamina and your mental/physical toughness!  So with that, let’s look at some tips and advice from the runhers headquarters: 

Temperature and Wind Chill

Brrr.  There are times when the temps will be at or around zero and the wind chill is even colder!  That may be the days to do a treadmill workout or do some cross training or other indoor activities!  With very low temps, your movement and wind – the wind chill is even lower and penetrates your clothing; removing your warm, insulating boundary layer from your body.  This can spell trouble with overexposure to the elements.  So, simply; just be smart about it.  Go out for a short loop of 15 – 20 minutes and see how you feel.

 Dress in Layers

You’ll want to start with a ‘base layer’ – which is a thin layer of synthetic material which wicks sweat from your body.  Avoid cotton as it retains moisture and doesn’t ‘wick’ the moisture away, leaving you wet and miserable!  For your outer layer, you need a breathable made of nylon or a Gore Tex type of jacket – these will let out heat and moisture to prevent overheating (yes it can happen!) and chilling.  And if it is wicked cold, you may need a middle fleece type layer.  Try different things on your runs to see what works best for you. 

 If you are out in a race/run with wet snow or even rain and cold – make sure you have a waterproof outer layer and hat.  If you are out of town – a cheap poncho or rain suit, or even a hotel trash bag can help keep you warmer and dryer.  Just cut a hole for your head and you are good to go!  Improvise and make something work!  Looking great is not the main thing here – it is all about your health and safety – be as smart as possible.  Other runners are usually a good source of info – ask around! 

Don’t Overdress

Most experienced winter runners use this as a good starting point – dress as if it is 20 degrees warmer outside than it really is.  You’ll warm up once you get moving, so you should feel a little bit chilly when you start your run. If you are going to a race and you’ll be standing in the corral or start area for some length of time – consider taking old sweatshirts and other old clothing items you can discard as you start running. NOTE: most races call local charities in to pick up these clothes and reuse them.  And please don’t throw them where people are actually running – throw them over the fencing or out of the way from where runners are! 

Protect Your Hands and Feet

The statistic is that as much as 30% of your body heat escapes through your hands and feet.  On semi-cold days simply wearing a thin running glove with wicking is plenty.  On cold days, many are opting for the mittens, where your fingers can share their body heat.  Don’t forget about those cheap, disposable Hot Hands either!  Tuck one in each mitten or glove, they do help!  For warmer feet – a wicking sock liner may be used as a base with a polar fleece or wool sock on the outer.  NOTE:  make sure you do have room in your running shoes to wear that thicker sock setup. 

Your Head

Wearing a hat is essential!  You can lose about 40% of your body through your head.  You can even layer (and accessorize) if you chose.  If it is wicked cold, you might consider wearing some type of scarf or face mask to warm the air you’re breathing a little and protect your face.  Oh, and moisturize your face and lips – early and often! 

Wet Clothing

If you get wet from rain, snow, or sweat in winter temps, you’re at an increased risk for hypothermia (see below).   If you do get wet – get to warm shelter as quickly as possible.  As well, get out of the wet clothing and into dry as soon as you can.  If you suspect you may be in trouble, ask for and get emergency treatment immediately. 


This isn’t our favorite topic – but here at runhers we are all about safety!  It is important to know the signs, and for your own good, let others know where you will be running and the route.  Another option is to run with friends!  We can catch up on the latest news together during our runs!   

Hypothermia sets in when the body’s temperature drops below normal. It starts when the body loses heat faster than heat can be made. Heat is produced by muscle action and shivering. Very low body temperatures can threaten life.  Early symptoms include shivering, cold and pale skin, apathy, and impaired judgment. Later symptoms include drowsiness or weakness, confusion, slow pulse and breathing, and passing out.  Hypothermia is an emergency.  Get immediate help.


Make sure you ‘listen’ to your fingers, toes, ears, and nose.  They can feel a little numb when you first get out – but they should warm up as you get into your run.  Noticing a patch of hard, pale, cold skin could indicate you may have frostbite.  Get inside to shelter immediately and begin slowly warming up the area(s).  If you continue to feel numb or unsure – it is best to get some emergency care.  It really is better to get checked out as early as possible. 


This is important to remember. Even though it’s cold you will still heat up and lose fluids through sweat. Cold, winter air also has a drying effect – making dehydration a real issue.  As with all running, make sure you are properly hydrating – before, during and after your runs and walks!   

In closing

Yes, winter months can present a challenge with fitness and outdoor lifestyle.  Please don’t give up your running, fitness and outdoors activities during these cold dark months.  A little planning, a little testing and some imagination can keep you going – and you’ll have a huge head start on spring/summer swimsuit season!  If you are not running or walking yet, we want to help you get started.  Don’t wait till it warms up.   Our next article will be running safely in the dark.  As well, we will be writing about winter style, moisturizing tips, hair care and other topics in our lifestyle section.  We want you to be your best you, however you imagine you to be! 

core workout

By Sara McCauley, Energy Director

What is the Core?

Despite popular belief your core is not just your abs, it is the center of the body, the beginning point for every single movement you preform and supports the lumbo-pelvic-hip complex. Your core consists of stomach, back and hip muscles.  To be specific:

Why is strengthening your core so important for running?

  • Improves posture
  • Lower risk of/reduces lower back pain and injuries
  • Improves athletic performance by increasing ability to generate force and transfer energy to the limbs

Don’t have a gym membership or equipment? No problem all these exercises can be done in your home, all you need is a comfortable open area.  Perform all exercises in a circuit style 2-3 times, resting for 1-2 min between each set. With every movement activate your core by keeping stomach muscles firm and squeeze your glutes.

Two Leg Floor Bridge (15)

Super Woman (15)

Plank Hold (20 seconds)

Reverse Crunch (15)

Two Leg Floor Bridge- Lie flat on your back with knees bent, feet flat and toes shoulder-width apart and pointing straight.  Arms are to the side palms facing down. Lift pelvis off the floor until knees, hips and shoulders are aligned.  Slowly lower to the floor.

Superman- Lie prone on the floor with legs straight and arms extended above your head. Keep your head neutral, pinch shoulder blades together and lift both feet and hands above the ground, hold for 2 seconds then slowly return body to the ground.

Plank- Lie Prone on the floor with feet together and forearms on the ground. Lift entire body off the ground until you form a straight line from head to toe. Hold. Slowly return body to the ground.

Reverse Crunch- Lie flat on the ground with hips, and knees bent at a 90 degree angle, feet in the air and hands gripping an object for support. Lift hips off the floor while bringing the knees toward the chest. Slowly lower hips back down.