Saturday, November 28, 2009

Live.Run.Turkey... I mean PIE.

Live: It's the holiday season which means it's marathon mania, lots of food is to be consumed, and surroundings consist of family and friends. Being surrounded by family and friends brings a sense of comfort to people. Enjoy your time with your loved ones, all the great food, and go for a run.

Run: The Atlanta Half Marathon, which was on Thanksgiving, was a great start to a wonderful day! Ross and I not only accomplished a personal best of 1:49, but also made plenty of room for all the scrumptious food! I'm so proud to say we had such an awesome race. He's got the speed, and I got the distance. We make a great team. If you love to run, I recommend finding a race for next year's Thanksgiving. The atmosphere is different than any other half, and it beats watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade on TV. Just remember to keep running and exercise during the holiday season to help keep off those unwanted pounds. Below is a picture of Ross and I after the half.

Turkey PIE: Forget the turkey, pass the pie! After running 13.1 miles on Thanksgiving the pie and dessert eating was on! I've stated in previous blogs that motivation is key to being successful during training for a race. My motivation consisted of eating guilt free after completing the half, and I did just that! I made oatmeal raisin cookies, pumpkin cheesecake, and a pumpkin cake roll for the festivities. That's where we will leave my list of sweets that were consumed.

Thanksgiving is over and now it's time to start training for Atlanta ING Full Marathon. Only 112 days to go till our first marathon! It's important to let your legs rest after completing a half or full. The rule of thumb for rest depends on the runner. I recommend if you are new to running to rest for a couple of days after the race. Then gradually build back up your mileage. However, if you are an experienced runner, or been running longer distance than the training guide for a half then rest will be less. You know your body best so pay attention to any signs of fatigue or weakness.

Training Exercise of the Week: Stretch. Remember to stretch your legs more than normal for a few days after a race. Your legs are more likely to feel sore or tight.
  • Stretch your legs in 2-3 different positions. I recommend standing, sitting, and lying down.
  • Stretch your quadriceps, hamstrings, and calf muscles.
  • Hold your stretch for 30-60 seconds.
  • Repeat each stretch 2-3 times per muscle group.
Training Tip of the Week: Don't take too much time off for rest. It's important to take time off to let your muscles heal and rest. However, I don't recommended more than a week off of running. If you take too much time off your body will start to lose the adaptation you had built during all your hard months of training. If you still feel sore after a week slowly build your mileage back up. Remember the more time you take off the longer it will take to build your endurance back to baseline.

Training Songs of the Week: Two songs that will help add a bounce in your step. Enjoy!

1. Slumdog Millionaire- Wyclef Jean ft. Cyndi Lauper
2. Super Duper Love- Joss Stone

Happy Running,

Friday, November 20, 2009

And Now We Taper

With the Atlanta Half Marathon (and Thanksgiving) only less than 6 days away, it's tapering time. Well, after a semi-long run we will then begin to rest and reduce mileage. Tapering is the time to let your legs rest, recover, and rejuvenate for the big day. Reducing your mileage the week, or sometimes 2 weeks, before the half will allow your legs and other muscles to avoid fatigue and possible injury. However, decreasing mileage for some runners can be tough, but here are some activities and/or possible to-do-list to keep you occupied in your free time.
  • Make your ideal playlist of songs that pump you up! Don't include any songs that you feel may have a "next" potential. Remember to add enough songs (think about your pace in regards to 13.1 miles in "hours") to get you through the entire half without having to hear the same songs... unless you really want to hear the same song 2+ times. Your choice. Below is a sample of my in-progress-playlist:
* Turkey Jingles is currently in development, but will include:
(1) Empire State of Mind- Jay-Z ft Alicia Keys
(2) Cousins- Vampire Weekend
(3) Free Me- Joss Stone
(4) She's A Genius- Jet
(5) Body Language- Jesse McCartney ft. T-Pain
  • Remember to hydrate/ proper nutrition the week following up to the race. Drink water throughout the day even if you don't feel "thirsty". Also, eat fruit as a healthy alternative snack (apples, oranges, bananas, etc). This will ensure that your muscles are well hydrated and will help dodge cramping.
  • Plan out your outfit for the big day. Don't wear any piece of clothing you have never ran in before. Plan your running gear according to the weather. shall be your new BFF! You want to be sure not to over dress. Some people like to include "throw aways" in their running gear. This can include an old/cheap sweat shirt, or even a garbage bag made into a pullover, you can shed and throw out when your body warms up during the race.
  • Trim your toenails (if needed).
  • Plan out and enjoy your CARB dinner ideally 2 days before the race. You should still eat some carbs the day before, but not as heavy as the dinner a couple of days before the race to avoid major cramps. Some running groups plan "Carb Dinners", but if you are hosting yourself here are some simple pasta dinners you can prepare:
Remember you can always tweak the pasta the way you like it such as adding some extra veggies, with or without meat, whole wheat pasta, etc. Have fun with it!

  • Enjoy the Expo! At the expo you pick up your race number, timing chip, shirt, and other goodies! There are different vendors from multiple running/exercise/ fitness/ health companies at the expo for you to mingle with, or even purchase new gear from! Walk around, but not all day, and check out all the fun stuff.
  • Stay motivated and positive. You've made it this far and 13.1 miles (or 26.2 if you are training for a full) should seem "easy" at this point. The hardest part is behind you. It's time to show off all your hard months of training. Always remember why you started this journey and now finish it. Here's a little boost of extra motivation: Full Article
  • Reward yourself after the race. Be proud of all your accomplishments. Think of the ways you will reward yourself. It can be with certain types food, new shoes, new clothes, new electronics, or whatever you got your eye on! Hold your head high with your shiny new medal... once you cross the finish line that is. :)
  • Start planning new goals you want to set out to accomplish after you finish your race. It could be anything to training for a full marathon to running 13.1 miles backwards. Oh yea, I said BACKWARDS. Leave it to a Cajun to set out to be the Guinness Book of World Records Holder for running a Half Marathon (13.1 miles) backwards. Daily for full article.

*Tapering week can be fun and much needed! Just remember to enjoy the relaxation and stay positive. Don't worry about not being able to complete the 13.1 miles because it will come natural on race morning. I bet it will probably even be your best run yet, physically and mentally.

Training Exercise of the Week: Shoulder Raises. This is a good exercise to help bulk up your deltoid (the muscles that sits on and around your shoulder). It's not the same as your rotator cuff muscles that are on your shoulder and shoulder blade. Your deltoid muscle has an anterior, medial, and posterior aspect. This week we will focus on the medial aspect. You want good upper body strength while running to help support your breathing and aid in reducing symptoms of fatigue. Follow the steps below to perform the exercise:

Basic Shoulder Raises (Medial Deltoid)
  • Stand up straight with your feet shoulder width apart. Arms are to be down by your side.
  • Lift one arm up horizontally out to the side of your body while the other is still down by your side. Hold for 2-5 seconds.
  • Place arm back down to your side.
  • Lift the opposite arm up horizontally out to the side of your body while the other is still down by your side. Hold for 2-5 seconds.
  • Completion of 1 set. Repeat for 5-10 sets.
Basic Shoulder Raises Progression (Medial Deltoid)
  • Stand up straight with your feet shoulder width apart. Arms are to be down by your side.
  • Lift one arm up horizontally out to the side of your body adding weight (10-20 pound dumbbell) while the other is still down by your side. Hold for 5-10 seconds.
  • Place arm back down to your side.
  • Lift the opposite arm up horizontally out to the side of your body adding weight (10-20 pound dumbbell) while the other is still down by your side. Hold for 5-10 seconds.
  • Completion of 1 set. Repeat for 5-10 sets.
*Note that if you are unable to hold the weight try decreasing the amount. You can always progress the amount of weight in future sets. It's better to start off light than too heavy. Also, be advised that this exercise is intended to concentrate on the medial aspect of the deltoid muscle.

Training Tip of the Week: Remember tapering is good. Being a runner you don't want to cut back on your runs especially when you are feeling the most confident you have since starting the whole training process. Part of training is to know when to cut back. Your body isn't made to go full force all day every day. Tapering will only help maximize your training benefits when it comes to the big day. However, every runner is different. So the degree of tapering will be different for each runner.

Training Songs of the Week: Random mix. I have no other words to explain it. :) Enjoy!

1. Body Language - Jesse McCartney ft. T-Pain
2. Free Me- Joss Stone
3. Keep On Lovin' You- Steel Magnolia
4. No You Girls- Franz Ferdinand

Happy Running,

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Beware of Coyotes

The key to finishing a long run, half marathon, marathon, whatever it may be is to train your respiratory muscles. According to an article on, it's your respiratory muscles that will give out before your leg muscles. During your hard months of training your leg muscles have physiologically adapted to the endurance of your long runs. So, as you progress in mileage your legs will keep up with your drive to keep going further distances. I have stated before that the key to a good run is your breathing. Therefore, it makes sense that if you reach the final mile of your run and your breathing is off you are more likely to stop because "you can't breath". If you tweak your breathing rhythm it may cause a delay in oxygen reaching your working muscles; then, your body will then start to feel the affects of fatigue causing you to end your run prematurely.

Here are some tips and tricks to good breathing:
  • Good Posture: Having good posture at rest or exercise will help your breathing. Straightening your back will allow your diaphragm to contract and relax properly resulting in efficient air flow.
  • Nose First, Mouth Second: Breath in your nose and out your mouth especially during exercise. This cycle allows fresh air (oxygen) in and carbon dioxide out. If you breath in your mouth, out your mouth, and then back in your mouth you are basically breathing in the same air you exhaled; therefore, you are not wreaking the benefits of fresh air containing mostly oxygen.
  • Slow Your Breathing: If your breathing rate becomes increased try to slow it down. This can be a sign that your pace is too fast. Slow down your pace and correct your breathing. Otherwise, you may cause a cramp in your side or around your neck.
  • The Exercise of Breathing: Yep, there are even exercises for breathing. While at work or any down time you may have try some breathing exercises. This will help release some tension and regulate your breathing rhythm. Start with taking a deep breath through your nose, hold it for a few seconds, then out your mouth. You can do this for how ever long you feel needed.
*I want to include some Rants and Raves of mine for this week. A 9 mile run gives a person a lot to think about. So enjoy! :) :

Rants of the Week:
  • Tropical Strom Ida: Ida came into the ATL area Tuesday and Wednesday with a lot to say. I don't really appreciate the inconvenience you caused me, Ida. My running schedule got all screwed up. I guess now I have to make it up this week. Thanks.
  • 70 Degrees in November: It's a little too warm for November (look under my raves for the same topic). The crazy temperature change is making it difficult to judge how I should gear up for a run. The weather says Spring, but the time of year says Fall. Ah.
  • Beware of Coyotes: Really?! We went to our typical trail for our long run this morning to come across a newly posted beware sign. I'm not ranting because I came in contact with a coyote, but for the thought of coyotes roaming around in Georgia on a public trail. I mean really?! I just don't believe it.
Raves of the Week:
  • 70 Degrees in November: Although it seems so absurd I love it! It's the perfect running weather. Not too hot, not too cold. Perfect. It's just the thought of dressing for spring that blows my mind. There's nothing like a nice sunny warm run.
  • Sweetwater 420: He says it was the spaghetti that gave him his energy boost yesterday, but I say it was the Sweetwater 420 that gave me my boost today. Probably not true, but I'm going to keep believing it. It was carbolish (more like calolish)! :) Regardless, It was delicious. Thanks Roasters for a fabulous and yummy meal!
  • Turkey Day!: Thanksgiving and the Atlanta Half Marathon is less than 2 weeks away. Not only am I excited about running a race on Thanksgiving to experience what all the hype is about running on the holiday, but also about the A-M-A-Z-I-N-G food! Check out the Thanksgiving Calorie Counter to help make you feel better about what you eat, or how many "extra" calories you have allotted yourself after your long run! :)
Exercise of the Week: Superman: The Superman exercise helps increase lower back strength and flexibility. Having a strong core (ab area) is only half of the equation to good body strength and flexibility. You want a nice balance between your core and back muscles to help reduce any unwanted stress on the muscles. There are three different progression levels of the exercise below:

Beginner Superman:
  • Lay on the floor/mat on your stomach. Place your arms out in front and legs out behind you.
  • Lift one arm up while lifting the opposite leg up.
  • Hold for 2 seconds.
  • Lift the other arm and leg up.
  • Hold for 2 seconds. That is 1 set.
  • Repeat the cycle for at least 3 sets.
Intermediate Superman:
  • Lay on the floor/mat on your stomach. Place your arms out in front and legs out behind you.
  • Lift both arms up while keeping your legs on the ground.
  • Hold for 2 seconds.
  • Lift both legs up while keeping your arms on the ground.
  • Hold for 2 seconds. That is 1 set.
  • Repeat the cycle for at least 3 sets.
Advance (Full) Superman:
  • Lay on the floor/mat on your stomach. Place your arms out in front and legs out behind you.
  • Lift both arms and legs up off the ground. Your arms are to be straight out in front of you, and your legs straight out behind you.
  • Hold for 2-5 seconds.
  • Repeat the cycle for at least 3-5 sets.
Training Tip of the Week: Beware of Coyotes! No really, beware of any changes in your normal route. This can include road closures, fallen debris, trash, snakes, rocks, or any other obstacles. Look ahead while running so if you need to dodge something or take another route you are aware. It's a good safety precaution to prevent injury.

Training Songs of the Week: I've chosen some rock jams for your enjoyment of this week. Enjoy!

1. Kings and Queens- 30 Seconds to Mars
2. Zero- Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Happy Running,

Friday, November 6, 2009

"If You Can't Fill It, You Can't Squirt It"

If you can't fill it, you can't squirt it thus resulting in cardiac failure (Oh, Clinical Exercise Physiology class)! It's your heart that keeps you alive, right? So why waste it? A sedentary lifestyle can lead to CVD (Cardiovasular Disease), possibly progress into congestive heart failure, then ultamently resulting in asytole/flatline/death (however you want to fancy it up). Start an exercise routine and stick to it. Don't give up or skip out because you find a way to talk yourself out of doing PA (physical activity). ACSM minimum recommendation for a healthy lifestyle is 30 minutes a days on most days of the week of physical activity. The 30 minutes can be broken down into 3 ten minute bouts of exercise. Some people may find the recommendation too much to handle so make exercise fun! Find a good reason to participate in some type of exercise! Here are a few ideas:

1. Do it for a good cause! The proceeds from most races are to help some type of charity, help the hosting city's community, or help research some type of disease/illness (i.e. childhood obesity). You can help not only better yourself while helping a good cause. It's a win win situation. You can find local events at
  • November 8, 2009 is the 11th Annual World Run Day 2009! This is a great reason to get out those running shoes and participate in this global epidemic. The idea is to help get people out in the community and exercise while possibly contributing to a local charity. You can either join a running group in your community, or even just run on your normal route. Go to RunDay for more information.
  • National Running Day was on June 3, 2009 and got a lot of attention throughout the nation. This is another organization that is trying to fight the sedentary epidemic and help get people active in the community. The concept is the same as World Run Day. It helps bring people together in the community to be active. It's something to work towards without having the pressure of training for a 5k, 10k, half, or even a marathon. Not all people are active for competition. Casual "running days" are a great cure to help get people out on their feet. National Running Day 2010 date has yet to be released, but check for the future date on my blog or the hosting website.
  • DOW Live Earth/ Run For Water is a cause that makes you want to be active. The event is on April 18, 2010 across the world. There are different hosting cities that will draw more attention to the event than others. The run/walk is a 6 km for water because roughly 3.4 miles is the distance many woman and children walk every day to obtain water. The event is also offering educational information regarding water shortage around the world. Everyone should participate regardless if it's through the organization or on your own. RUN FOR WATER!

2. Do It for yourself! You can exercise to lose weight, to reward yourself, to relax after a long day, or for just pure enjoyment.
  • Most people exercise to lose weight. When trying to lose weight don't always go by what the scale tells you. The scale measurement is a weighing of your entire body not just body fat. Judge by inches and how your clothes fit! Refer to the earlier blog -LB = Pounds Lost (10/17/2009) for more information on weight loss.
  • Reward yourself after a hard workout or long run. Don't over do it because then you will just cancel out your workout. Believe it or not coffee, chocolate milk, beer, and even pizza are a good post run/workout snack. Being a Cajun we love beer. So here is a BEER CALCULATOR to help you enjoy a good beverage guilt free after a hard workout :) (Thanks Brandie!) You input your weight, how long you exercised, and chose the type of exercise you performed and you will get the results of what type and how many beers you can drink!
  • Exercise is a good relaxation technique. Lifting weights allows you to use the bottled up strength to help release tension. Kick boxing or a similar activity lets you beat the crap out of something while pretending it is your "problem". Yoga will help you relax and mediate. Running gives you a lot of time to think through your day/ problems and help you cope. No matter your type of exercise it will help you relax and ease some tension.
  • Maybe you exercise for just pure enjoyment. My advise: continue!
Regardless of what your "surface" reason is to exercise just continue to do it. In the long run you will be doing yourself a favor. Good exercise and diet will aid in longevity of your life. Keep your heart, mind, and body healthy. Now that's the key to life :)

Training Exercise of the Week: Mountain Climbers. This is a good exercise for your legs, arms, and abs. If you have back problems I advise you take it slow or not perform this exercise.
  • Performing Mountain Climbers: (1) Place your hands on the ground in front of you. (2) Then place your legs out behind you while your butt is in the air. (3) Now move one leg forward like you are climbing. Your hands are to stay put on the ground and your butt is still in the air. (4) Next move your back foot forward at the same time you move your front foot back. That completes 1 mountain climber. (5) Complete 3-5 sets of 20-30 reps.
Training Tip of the Week: Remember to keep setting new goals. Don't set goals that are not obtainable, or will take too long to reach. If you are training for a marathon remember to set smaller goals within that training. It can be you want to run x amount of miles a week, or you want to run x amount of miles in a long run, or you want to run a 1ok by a certain week. You get my point. Set smaller goals within your larger goal. This way you will stay motivated and will feel you have accomplished more than just a marathon in your journey.

Training Song of the Week: I just want to thank Sister Sister for my music choice of the week! Repin' the 90s Jams. Enjoy! :)

1. STOMP- Kirk Franklin
2. Too Close- Next

Happy Running,