He Said, She Said

13226699I recently had the privilege of giving a presentation on walking and running to 2 groups – an all-female group and an all-male group. It was interesting to note how the 2 groups differed in their questions and in how they viewed exercise.

In the all-female group, their questions centered around what types of shoes to wear, what to eat and how to enhance their exercise with weights. The women seemed to be focused on how they felt and how to make exercise as comfortable as possible in order to complete their mileage without a wardrobe malfunction getting in the way.

In the all-male group, their questions were around how to make running more enjoyable. They viewed it as a task to be completed, but some also dreaded running as part of their workout routine. Their approach was more technical, i.e., just get the miles done and check it off the To Do list for the day.

For the women, I counseled on appropriate attire as well as addressing issues that only women face while running like menstrual cycles and appropriate sports bras. For the men, I dealt with discussions on nipple chafing (hey, it happens) and advising how to have a more enjoyable run by leaving their watch at home and running with a friend.

It was interesting and eye-opening to note the different approaches, but the theme I focused on with both groups was how important it is to focus on the mental aspect of running – mind over miles. More than 50% of competition is psychological. That competition comes from within and spans many things whether it’s getting motivated for a training walk/run or the struggle to complete an actual race event.

Men and women are different, to be sure, and each gender can learn from the other. That’s what makes running so great – male and female runners have unique elements each gender brings to the sport. But, we all share that one common thread – running is part an important part of our lives no matter the reason.

Read on about our wonderfully unique differences here: http://www.iawr-connect.com/training/how-different-women-runners-men/.

 

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It’s Gettin’ Hot (and Humid) in Here!

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I am not a huge fan of running outdoors in the summertime. In the South, the humidity will suck the life right out of you – and then some. However, sometimes it is unavoidable when I coach clients and it is definitely preferable to running on the treadmill all summer long.

Having been in this running business for awhile now, there are definite ways to ease the summer suckfest, starting with acclimatization. It’s also wise to hydrate properly, exercise in the early morning whenever possible, and recognize the warning signs for heat illness:

Heat CrampsSymptoms: Painful muscle spasms (often in calves), sweating, and normal body temperature. What to do: Replenish with fluids with electrolytes and gently massage cramped muscles.

Heat ExhaustionSymptoms: Profuse sweating, drop in blood pressure, normal or slightly elevated body temperature, fatigue, lightheadedness, nausea, vomiting, severe headache, decreased coordination and staggering, increased heart rate (above 100 beats per minute), and fainting. What to do: Seek a cool and shaded area and apply cold compresses to groin, underarms, and neck. Apply cool water to skin surface, as tolerated. Avoid physical activity for 24 hours and drink adequate fluids during that time.

Heat StrokeSymptoms: High body temperature, altered consciousness, and dry skin due to lack of sweating. What to do: Call 911, apply cold compress to groin, underarms, and neck. Apply cool water to skin surface, as tolerated.

Remember to run smart in the summertime and be sure to check out more of my tips for summer running in the June issue of Atlanta InTown Magazine!

Feel free to contact me for more information on staying healthy while running in the heat!

Why Running is the Best Sport

TR-PUNISHMG-2TYou’ve seen us. We’re out there everywhere. Rain, sleet, snow, uphill, and flat surfaces.  Morning, noon or night. We’ll be out there. You may have even asked yourself why that crazy person is out there in a downpour or at some crazy hour like midnight.

Why? It’s who we are. It’s what we do. We are determined. We are defiant. We are dedicated, and we’ve discovered what other sports don’t recognize. They’re too busy using our sport as their sport’s punishment.

Running is Easy. All you have to do to run is access a treadmill (if necessary) or simply step outside. There are streets, track, and trails everywhere.  You don’t even need to join a club to do it.

Running is Cheap. All you need is a decent pair of running shoes to support your feet and ankles. There are no other pieces of equipment you absolutely need in order to participate. Sure, you can purchase fun gadgets to track your time and distance or pricey brand name outfits, but they aren’t necessary.

Running is Therapy. And it’s cheaper than therapy. Have a bad day? Don’t hit the bar; hit the pavement. You’ve heard of the “Runner’s High.” It really does exist. While running, the blood is flowing properly and efficiently through your body and to your brain cells. You are better able to think better and more clearly.

Running is a Healthy Lifestyle. There are so many health benefits to running: decreased blood pressure, a healthier heart, stronger bones and joints, and many more. If you want to start a health and fitness program, walking and running are the easiest ways to do so. Getting the body to move is the first step in creating a healthier lifestyle.

Running is Personal. When you need to get away and clear your head, you can run and choose your own path. Map a route or play it by ear and discover new scenery. Running is the perfect “me” time where it’s just you and your thoughts. But, it’s more than just individual. When you pass a runner, there is that silent, understood camaraderie.

Running is Community. We greet each other out on the streets. We form teams and run for causes that we believe in. We encourage each other and motive each other. And when the Boston Marathon was hit by tragedy this year, we didn’t let that stop us. We continued to run because no one can take away our running spirit.

So, lace up your shoes and get moving out the door! We’ll be out there and we’ll understand why. It’s a running thing that only runners understand.

For Boston

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Today is Tax Day. It was also the day of one of the most famous marathons – the revered “Boston.” It’s the one full marathon I’ve always dreamed of doing and maybe it is still in my future. I was glued to Twitter early today as I watched to see how Kara was doing and also Shalane. They may have missed the podium today, but they are still fearsome females in running shoes.

Long after they’d finished, the news came in. I was studying at a coffee shop and my fiancé texted me to ask if I’d heard about the bombs. Anyone who is at least my age and older will always remember where we were on 9/11. I remember even being in college during Oklahoma City and on my home turf in Atlanta. Terror just doesn’t want to stay away and you will always remember where you were and what you were doing when it strikes.

Nevertheless, the one thing that whoever did this doesn’t understand is that when you mess with the running community, we don’t back down. Boston will be back. We are wired as the most stubborn and strong-willed athletes there are. Even our sport is a punishment for other sports. Want me to run some laps? Gladly. I almost wish another Boston race were to happen tomorrow just to prove that attempts to strike fear in our hearts are welcomed as just challenges. Running is mostly a mental sport and sometimes we have to dig down deep just to keep going. But that is what we do because that is who we are.

Luckily, everyone I knew who was running as well as those I know who know others who were running were not injured by the explosions. It’s a scary thing to think that someone you know is affected. But there are those people who do know someone. And my heart and prayers go out to them.

Whether or not this act was by some international group as retribution on American soil or a domestic individual who didn’t get into Boston and was mad about it, let’s get one thing straight.

You can take our lives.

You can take our limbs.

You cannot nor will you ever take our running spirit.

Keep running.

Numbers

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Even if you’re not a math major, numbers can control your life and your attitude if you become a slave to your scale or to what size jeans you wear. I hear this often when clients gain or lose pounds. When they lose a pound, they’re happy and feel like they’ve really accomplished something. When they gain a pound, they’re upset and discouraged. Rather than concentrating on those numbers, and you know how tricky they can be especially depending on the time of the month, let’s take a look at some numbers that actually are important.

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Blood Pressure

Blood pressure tells a lot about how healthy you are on the inside. The higher the blood pressure, the greater chances of heart failure, coronary artery disease, stroke, and more. The ideal blood pressure in a healthy person over age 20 is under 120/80. Any reading over 120/80 is considered higher than normal and steps should be taken to reduce these numbers, especially if the reading tops 140/90. Regular vigorous exercise and reducing sodium intake are the top 2 ways to lower blood pressure. There are other ways to accomplish this, however, and more info on blood pressure can be found at www.heart.org.

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Resting Heart Rate

Resting Heart Rate tells how efficient your heart is beating in any rested state. The lower the number, the more in shape your heart is! This number generally works hand in hand with blood pressure and most digital blood pressure cuffs give this reading in addition to blood pressure. The great news about exercise is that it typically reduces blood pressure and resting heart rate. Any RHR above 100 is considered too high. When you exercise your heart – remember, it’s a muscle – the more efficient it becomes and the healthier you become!

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Waist-to-Hip Ratio

WHR indicates body fat pattern. Evaluating these numbers shows the obesity classification in an individual and their health risk. For women, WHR values above .80 are considered “apples” and values below .80 are considered “pears.” Abdominal fat cells are primarily responsible for greater health risk in apples for health issues like Type II diabetes and high blood pressure. With regular exercise and a healthy balanced diet, you can whittle that waistline down to a healthier number regardless of your body shape. For more info on transforming your diet, www.choosemyplate.gov is an excellent resource.

So the next time you obsess over the scale or the size jeans you’re wearing (and you know different designers run sizes differently), consider these numbers instead as an indicator of your overall health and fitness. So toss your scale and have your blood pressure, resting heart rate, and waist-to-hip ratio evaluated instead!

SAQ it to Me!

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One of the first things I hear from new and potential clients is “I’m not that fast.” Speed is relative. Even Bart Yasso said, “We are all runners. Some are faster than others. I never met a fake runner.” But if your dream is to get faster now that you’ve been pounding the pavement for awhile, there is pretty much only one way to do that –  speedwork. Intervals, fartleks, pace runs, etc., are various ways of increasing your speed and scoring PR’s. But, if you want to improve as an athlete overall in speed and performance, then a combination of speed, agility, and quickness (SAQ) are necessary skills to obtain in order to rapidly decelerate, change direction, and re-accelerate back to a high velocity.

Agility: Ballet dancers balance on their toes then leap into the air without falling on your face takes practice and know-how. That’s agility: the ability to change body position or direction efficiently (using speed and accuracy) and requires multiple skills such as balance, coordination, speed, reactivity, strength, power, and endurance.

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Quickness: Football players catch a ball just inside bounds in mid-air without going over the line or run towards the goal line while dodging more than one 400-lb. player and score a touchdown. That’s quickness – the ability to explosively accelerate to a moving position from being stationary. Quickness relies much on agility for directional changes.

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2 additional elements involved in SAQ training

Coordination: Responding with appropriate action with timing and producing a smooth and fluid movement. Maybe you can’t do the Electric Slide but you can balance a child on your hip and grocery shop at the same time while talking on your cell phone. (I don’t recommend talking and shopping at the same time, but it’s not illegal!)

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Reactivity: Reaction time coupled with response time. Child runs out into the street and you’re able to catch them before a car comes or reaches to touch a hot stove and you grab their hand before they burn it. Catching a ball or other object as it comes towards you without it hitting you in the face! :-)

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By now you might be thinking that SAQ is just too much for you. Really, it isn’t. As with anything, practice makes perfect. It’s like being at recess again! Sure, you might be a little older now, but think of how much fun it used to be. You get to play with speedladders, cones, free weights, and other fun “obstacles.”

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On January 26th and February 9th, I will be hosting 5 total SAQ sessions for participants in the SHAPE Magazine Diva Dash! Save $5 using coupon code “DIVASRUN” when registering for the adventure run, and sign up for the SAQ sessions on my Facebook page, Divas Run!

If you’re not participating in the race but would like an SAQ training session or if you are planning to train for the race with SAQ, contact me at sher@divasrun.com for details and more info!

SHAPE Magazine Diva Dash with DIVAS Run!

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SHAPE Magazine Diva Dash!

Register at http://divadash.com/city-atlanta/atlanta-race-info/

and SAVE $5 with Coupon Code

“DIVASRUN”

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Diva Drills with DIVAS Run!

5 Opportunities to Register for SAQ

(Speed Agility Quickness) Training Sessions:

Saturday, January 26th at 9 A.M. and 10 A.M.

Saturday, February 9th at 9 A.M., 10 A.M. and 11 A.M.

2 Ways to Register:

DIVAS Run on Facebook

DIVAS Run on IDEA Fitness Connect