Tag Archives: healthy

Running Lessons: Balancing Passion with Not-So-Common Sense

15th January 2013

My first half marathon in November 2011

Running my first half marathon in November 2011

The last two years have been big ones in running for me. In 2011, I ran my first half marathon (after never stepping a foot past a 10K) and in 2012, I racked up several new races, including a PR in the Thanksgiving Half Marathon of 1:49 (who knew that was possible). To say I’ve come a long way in my love for running in the last few years is a bit of an understatement, but as with any passion, it does have its gritty points.

I came across this article today from the December issue of Women’s Health titled “When Running Isn’t Healthy” and while I’ve fallen in love with running over the years, learning the difference between running smart and running a little too far is difficult to say the least.

James O’Keefe, MD, Director of Preventative Cardiology at the Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas City stresses the importance of balance, quoted saying, “Exercise may be the most important component of a healthy lifestyle, but like any powerful drug you’ve got to get the dose right.”

It’s a contradictory feeling, how could exercise be bad for me? I’ve learned the right dose is not easy (and it’s still something I’m figuring out). When I trained for my first half marathon, I procrastinated on training, meaning I had to squeeze jumps in milage in very quickly. I finished, but it left me very sore and taking a break of more than a week.

By my third half this November, I spent months in advance working milage up and down, practicing shorter runs on hills and longer runs at a much more steady pace by the river – and it paid off with a PR and playing football with the family the next day.

After crossing the finish line on Thanksgiving day - and PRing at 1:49.

After crossing the finish line on Thanksgiving day – and PRing at 1:49 with two amazing running partners.

According to a recent study quoted in the article where researchers tracked over 52,000 people for 30 years, “runners had a 19 percent lower death risk than non-runners. However, the health benefits of exercise seemed to diminish among people who ran more than 20 miles a week, more than six days a week, or faster than eight miles an hour. The sweet spot appears to be five to 19 miles per week at a pace of six to seven miles per hour, spread throughout three or four sessions per week.” Source.

As much I want to run out the door and literally run for miles, I know that’s not responsible. I know my longer than average runs on weekends (for me that’s anything above about 6-7 miles) mean I have to slow down and enjoy my time outside.


You set records on race day, not on the grueling foggy, Saturday morning runs.

I’ve learned that if I don’t replenish my body with calories after a long run, I wind up with a migraine (bring on the carbs and cookies).  As much as I would love to train for a marathon, I still have some work to do to figure out how to manage my challenge of maintaining a healthy weight while training.

Yesterday, I logged a cool 7.5 miles. I felt fantastic for the first time in weeks and to no surprise, my pace was 20 seconds slower than my average, just where it should be.

Are you an avid exerciser? What works best and what have you learned to stay away from?

*The thoughts included in this post represent my own personal experiences in running. If you are interested in getting started, check out a training schedule and stick to it, everyone’s body is different and will aclimate in different ways. Psst….one of my favorite training plans can be found here.

Redefining resolutions through technology

4th January 2012

The dreaded swap of comfy sweaters to those for spandex and running shoes, it seems to creep up earlier and earlier each holiday season. New Years Resolutions to get in shape are nothing new, but let’s be honest the word “resolution” really should mean “I’ll keep this up for at least two weeks and then let my too busy schedule take over.”

Making a “resolution” and sticking to it takes more than a new pair of sneakers, it takes a shift in the way we behave and luckily there are plenty of tech gadgets out there today to help you do just that. Here are a few of my favorites.

There’s nothing new about the Nike+ system which launched in mid 2009, but it’s still one of the best on the market and my fitness addiction. The system, which started as a simple in-shoe chip and receiver for an iPod has now expanded to an iPhone app, GPS watch and SportBand.

My new favorite is the SportBand watch which easily allows me to glance at time, distance, calories, pace and time elapsed on my wrist. The whole system costs less than $60 and the watch face converts to a easy to plug in USB to record data. No more glancing at an armband or carrying an extra device.

The motivation for logging those miles? The Nike+ system makes it easy to track progress, set goals and join groups with other runners – both physically or virtually. I’ve found setting small goals for myself like run X miles this week or run X runs with an average pace of X have really kept me going and striving to hit the next level.

Not a runner? Check out the Nike Training Club app, which allows users to pick a type of workout and follow through with timed exercises and video tutorials.

Apple TV and YouTube
My boyfriend, tired of watching Netflix with me on my tiny computer, recently surprised me with an Apple TV. Beyond Netflix, I’ve found it to be a great companion to quick workouts when the weather is miserable or I just don’t feel like heading out the door. With YouTube integration, I can easily add workout videos to playlists from my computer and easily catch up through my TV.

With YouTube’s recent launch of the YouTube Next Trainer program, I can easily follow along with some of fitness’s rising stars from the comfort of my living room. This is the perfect motivation for quick exercise direction before bed, with most workouts lasting 10 minutes or less (and let’s be honest, who doesn’t have 10 minutes before heading to bed).

Yes, most of my Pinterest boards do fall into the categories of DIY, crafts and cute owls, but Pinterst is a great place to find easy, healthy recipes. Not typically a huge cook, I’ve found myself cooking much more from scratch and saving more money than ever before by choosing the right recipes. An easy favorite of mine: baked apple chips. These take 5 minutes to make, let bake for a few hours  while home during the evening and take to work for a snack the next day.

Use that time with your electronic devices in new ways this year and you might just find yourself with a “resolution” that lasts far longer than 14 days.