Thursday, June 30, 2011

"Life Is Sweet In The Belly Of The Beast"

The Peachtree is right around the corner. Monday is July 4th, when the largest 10k in the world will take place. Each day at work I am asked at least 3 times a day "are you ready?". I always answer with "Yea... I think so...". The past few months I have been struggling with my runs. Mostly because of the heat... Summer did arrive a month early here in Atlanta. Well, during my runs I tell myself I can't blame the heat. I know I have to acclimate to the heat and that takes roughly 2 weeks. Ok, so after 2 weeks of running in the heat why am I still having a rough time?! I've done some thinking and concluded I am an emotional runner. As I run, I watch other runner's demeanor and how they carry themselves. Here is my general 3 theory break down:
  • The Walk/Run Ratio Runner: This is someone who goes out for a run with a distance in mind and achieves that distance any way they can. They walk some, then run some, walk a little more, pick up the speed... you get the jest. This is someone who finishes to say "I ran 6 miles". No, you covered 6 miles. But, props to getting it done. Let me cleify: I am not belittling anyone who has to walk during a run. I am talking about people who have no intention on even attempting to run the whole distance. These are the people who believe in the walk/run ratio for any distance and have no motivation to run the whole thing.
  • The Carefree Runner: This is someone who runs with no burden on their shoulders. If they are having a crappy run, it doesn't get to them. You can usually spot this person by the smile on their face, even if it is 98 degrees out. This person knows how to relax and just go with the flow if things aren't going they way they anticipated.
  • The Emotional Runner: This is someone who lets little minute things get to them. They base their run off determinants they can't control, ie: temperature, traffic, pedestrians, motorist, etc. If the run doesn't go as anticipated this person feels let down.
I made these categories while running the past few times. It makes since to me. I know I am an emotional during my runs. I let things get to me that I know I shouldn't. It defiantly takes the fun out of running, and then it starts to feel taxing and choir like. My advice, relax and have fun. Sometimes you don't need to worry about pace or distance. Just have fun and remember why you run. People run for multiple reasons, but if you can't have fun then it's not worth it! Remember to jazz up your runs to keep it fresh and enjoyable. This can either be scenery, route, running buddies, music, or whatever it takes to make a little change!

Training Exercise: Since the Peachtree is coming up in Atlanta, running hills is a good training tool for the race! The PRR is known for the little span of hills in the middle of the race, including Cardiac Hill. Adding hills into your runs can help with speed, power, and strength. It takes a little more force and momentum to get up a hill, and a lot of effort to control the down hill. Not only will adding an incline help with road races that include hills, but it will also aid in powering through flat portions of any run. A few tips to hill running:
  • Maintain the same pace going up the hill. Try not to speed up or slow down when you start climbing. When you speed up you exert more energy then needed and when you slow down your muscle start to work less and takes longer and sometimes more energy to get to the top. Just focus on your breathing and maintain the same pace. The overall outcome will be faster. Promise.
  • Focus on your breathing on the way up. It'll be a little tougher to get to the top, but just breathe in your mouth and out your nose. This will help you from breathing too fast and keep a constant flow of fresh air to keep cramps away.
  • Remember the hill comes to an end! Once the hill levels out you will catch a break and this is the important recovery time. Catch your breath and slow your breathing. Relax. Shoulders back. Refocus.
  • Control the downhill. Most people want to let the downhill control their speed. You own the hill. Control the downhill, because it is actually harder on your muscles than the uphills. Your muscle fibers have to elongate causing more twitches than the uphill. Therefore, if you don't control your speed and power you will over exert your muscles causing the recovery and rest of the run to be painful. You will feel better at the bottom if you control your movement. Shoulders back. Chest out. Head up. One foot in front of the other. Breath.
*Try not to lean forward or backwards while running hills. Keep your posture straight. This will keep you from cramping and help control your breathing. You will feel more in control of the movements.

Training Tips: Water. Water. Water. Drink lots and lots. It's hot and you will become dehydrated quicker. Water is fuel for your muscles. If you are dehydrated think of it as your muscles aren't able to function correctly and shrivel up. Well, they don't actually shrivel up, but you get the idea. They need water to function properly, keep you healthy, and injury free.

Training Songs: I have a lot of new songs in multiple genres! My thanks goes out to Brandie and Ross for some of the songs! Enjoy!

1. Stay Young, Go Dancing- Death Cab For Cutie
2. You And I- Lady GaGa
3. Hair- Lady GaGa
4. Pump Up Kicks- Foster The People
5. Let It Out- Girl Talk

Training Lagniappe: Marathon Training for the Savannah Rock n Roll starts right after the 4th, PRR. Ah, I am nervous. I am hoping to break 4 hours and kick butt. I need some motivation and positive thoughts and support! :-) I know I can't get my long runs in around the city. Last marathon Ross and I trained mostly on the Big Creek Greenway, which was amazing. But that is too far away. Now I am filtering with the idea of joining a running group, or venturing out to some local trails around the city. I will keep y'all posted on my journey of my 2nd Full Marathon. It's a big deal. Really. I'm nervous, but excited. Send me positive thoughts in my upcoming 4 months of training!

Happy Running,
Jayme Bergeron, BS
ACSM Health Fitness Specialist

Sunday, June 5, 2011

"I'm Going To Kick Until I Need New Shoes"

Once again, I have fallen behind on my blogging. It's not like I work an overwhelming work schedule, but something always seems to get in the way... mostly laziness. However, I do find myself opening my blog more often than none to just brainstorm and gather my thoughts. I have so much to say and never seem to organize my thoughts the way I want to. So, I am just going to use this time to update you on the latest news this side of the Mississippi.

May-June Lagniappe
  • My running has still been suffering more than I would like for it to. I usually always have a harder time around this time of year because I am not a summer runner. Give me cold weather anytime! Also, this is normally a transition time of year for me. I come out of marathon/half marathon mode into 10k training. Like I have said before, it's hard for me to cut back on my mileage and relax. I'm training hard for the 1ok, but since I am not running the weekly mileage of a half training guide I feel like I am losing all my hard work. I know most runners go through some type of mental block like this, but I catch myself obsessing. So here I am, asking you for help! Given my education, work, and running experience I know that I am ok and I will not lose all my hard work. I guess like everyone else, I just need some reassurance. I just need to be told "it's gonna be ok, hang in there." So, if you anyone else feels this way just remember you're not alone.
  • It's HOT in ATLANTA! The past few weeks the temperature has climbed into the 90s, some days nearing the 100s! Really, Atl?! It's not even Summer... I have a gut feeling it's going to be a hard Summer running season. This is part of the reason my runs have been suffering. The heat kills me. I've been trying to adjust my running schedule, but the ideal times are before sunrise or after sunset... I can't do either due to my job... Anyone want to suffer in the blistering heat with me for weekly 3-4 milers?! Anyone, anyone? :-) If you can avoid running in the middle of the day, do it! When I get the chance to run early morning (my absolute favorite time to run) I jump at the chance. It's makes a world of difference. I promise.
  • I have fallen in love with Spin class! I've never had much to say about cross training. I've studied the effects and negatives of cross training, but never really braced the idea... until now. I've been doing spin 2-3 times a week, usually on an off day of running, and trust me it's so good for runners! When I come back to running after an off day I don't feel as worn out or exhausted. It helps keep those muscles fresh and ready. It's also helped me with adding power to my runs. I always sprint out the last bit of my run (one way to gain speed and endurance), but since doing spin I am able to start that sprint sooner and go longer and harder. Overall, it's been a positive addition and I think it will help when Marathon training comes around. If you are looking to gain speed/power/ or endurance I do advise adding on a cross training day(s) ie: spin, swim, tennis, or any sport that mimics the mechanics of running-- this is in addition to doing hill training, intervals, or sprints. It's all relative.
  • National Running Day was June 1st! I wanted to get a blog in before then, but I failed. I hope everyone got in a good run of any distance. The organization launched 3 years ago, and it has bloomed all over the nation. The idea is to just get people moving and aware that exercise is a positive stress for our bodies. Don't just stop at June 1st, continue to run-workout-exercise every day! Challenge yourself-- it's good for physical and mental health!
  • The PRR is rapidly approaching! Each race I just always want to beat my previous time by any margin. It can be a millisecond, but I still beat it. I'm hoping to do the same this year. My goal is to get in the lower 40 mins. Also, It's official-- I signed up for my 2nd Marathon! Holy Moly. What did I get myself into, again?! Jesse and I are running the Savannah Rock-n-Roll Marathon November 5th! I know it will be better than the ING Ross and I did over a year ago! Anything is better than that brutal course! I officially start training right after the PRR. It's going to be different this year because not only will the course be flatter (hopefully faster), but I will be training alone for the most part. Having a training buddy last time kept me mentally sane during those 18, 19, 20 milers. Keeping myself focused for 20 miles, alone, is going to be a challenge in itself. Also, I am just going to throw this out there- The Savannah Marathon is a qualifier for Boston. My ultimate goal. I'm serious, It's going to be a test. Sigh. I'll be sure to keep you all updated on the progress and journey. I'm excited, but nervous as hell. It's a lot of hard, hard, HARD work... but the reward and self accomplishment is worth it all!

Training Tips: It's hot and Summer is approaching. Remember to drink lots of water, especially when exercising. Your body will be working harder to cool off, so fluids will be secreted quicker than normal. Have water with you throughout the day and drink even if you don't "feel thirsty". It takes a few days for the water you consumed to reach the cellular level of the muscles to rehydrate them! Also, since it's hot and sunny remember to wear some type of sun protection. I fall victim of this and I will be the first to admit it. I have wicked tan lines from my shorts, sports bra and tank tops. That's my public service announcement for the day.

Training Songs: I've been all over the map with my song choices lately. Feel free to suggest any tunes you are hoarding to yourself! Enjoy!

1. Give Me Everything- Pitbull ft Neyo
2. Girls- Pitbull ft Kesha
3. Color On The Wall (Don't Stop)- Foster The People
4. Don't Wanna Go Home- Jason Derulo
5. Month Of May- Arcade Fire

Training Lagniappe: The FDA has released a new food guide: MyPlate! Say goodbye to the joke of a food guide we have "followed" for years! It has been revised for better health! Sorry sugar, you don't have your own section anymore! It's equally and accurately portioned! Watch the video and enjoy! The FDA website is a great resource for understanding what different nutritants are, what food groups they fall into, and various information. Please bookmark this page and use it consistently! :-)

Happy Running,
Jayme Bergeron, BS
ACSM Health Fitness Specialist