Monthly Archives: January 2015

Get Ready for Race Day

Training for a race takes a lot of time and effort and there’s nothing worse than working hard for a race day that doesn’t end the way we want.  Here are some of my favorite tips for runners who are preparing to run their best from Start to Finish.

A big part of running your best race is to realize that race day actually begins long before you’ve picked up your number.  Planning and practice are key elements of a good performance.  These are a few things to do before race day arrives so you can put your best foot forward.

Practice with different sources of hydration on training runs and test out different fuels for both before and during the race to make sure you know what’s best for your body.  Compare hydrating with water versus as sports drink.  Try eating a gel versus a bar on those long training outings.  Learning how your insides respond to different nourishment means avoiding digestive issues, staying hydrated and giving yourself the best chance you can to put together the race race dayyou want.

As race weekend approaches, study the course.  If you know what’s coming at you, you can mentally and physically prepare for it.  What mile brings the hills and which ones are flat?  Is it out-and-back, point-to-point or a loop?  Where are the hydration stops, Port-a-Potties and gels?  How about the bands?  Are you going to need your own music?  Anything can happen out there and it’s important know what support will be around you on the course.

Once you’ve nailed down your race day hydration and fueling plan and learned the course, take the final few days before race morning to rest up and prepare your body to work hard.  Tapering, carb loading, stretching, massaging and getting plenty of sleep in the days leading up to your event are some guaranteed ways to perform at your best.

It’s race weekend, what’s next?

After you check out the expo and pick up your number, pin it on clothing you’ve run in at least once before, are familiar with and want to be photographed in.  Being uncomfortable is a surefire way to make your race more difficult and the last thing you want is to be distracted by a chafing seam.

Get up race morning and follow the fueling and hydration plan you developed while training. Stick with what you know works!  You’ll want to head to the corrals early enough to have time to stretch out and get your body going with an easy jog and a few strides.

Once you’re off, be careful to start slowly.  The start of any race is an exciting moment.  With all that adrenaline pumping, it’s easy to get swept up in the group and go out at a fast pace.  Burning through your fuel in the first mile doesn’t leave much for the rest of the race, especially when you’ll need it for a strong finish.  It’s much easier to increase your pace on legs that are ready to go than maintain it on legs that are tired.

After you’ve beaten the urge to rush out of the starting chute and settled into your run, start thinking about the course you’ve studied.  Hug corners, run the inside of curves and take the shortest route possible from Start to Finish.  Courses are measured this way.  Taking wide turns or weaving through groups can add to both your finish time and total distance.

Most importantly, trust your training. You’ve put in the hard work to have a successful race.  Believe in yourself, take a few of these tips with you and you’ll be hard to beat come race day!

Coach Meredith

Prepare for next race with us!  Email for more information on all the ways we can help you rock your next race day.

*This was originally posted here*

Shrimp and Broccoli Stir Fry

Here’s a great weeknight recipe that’s rich in protein and simple to put together.  Team FitNice loves this shrimp and broccoli stir fry that can be sweetened with teriyaki or toughened up a bit with soy.  This recipe uses a few of my favorite veggies but choosing your own favorite vegetables mean it’s sure to make everyone around your table happy.

Shrimp and Broccoli Stir Fry
Servings:  4
Prep Time:  10 minutes
Cook Time:  15 minutes
Difficulty:  2

1 pound large shrimp, if using raw, peel and devein, tails optional
1 small green or red pepper, bias sliced
1 large carrot, peeled, bias sliced
1 cup broccoli florets
1/2 cup bias sliced yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup low sodium teriyaki or soy sauce
2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1.5 teaspoons sugar (optional)
1/4 cup water
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 cups cooked rice, hot

1.  Mix water, teriyaki, vinegar, cornstarch and sugar in bowl and set to side.
2.  In wok, heat oil and stir in garlic for 20 seconds.  Add pepper, carrot, broccoli and onion.  Stir for 3 minutes or until vegetables are cooked to preference.  Once vegetables are cooked, remove from wok with slotted spoon and set aside.
3.  Add teriyaki mix to wok.  Heat and stir gently until thick and bubbly.  Add shrimp and cook 3 minutes or until shrimp is opaque.  Stir in vegetables and heat through.
4.  Serve over rice.

shrimp and broccoli stir fryBe sure to use a low sodium teriyaki or soy to keep this shrimp and broccoli stir fry recipe heart healthy and enjoy it for year to come!

Coach Meredith

Treadmilll Training Myths

It’s getting cold outside.  That happens in the winter time, and so does the treadmill.  When the weather is very cold, windy, slippery and damp, running outside can become just plain dangerous.  That means it’s time for some quality treadmill training time.  There are lots of rumors out there about the differences between running on a road and running on the treadmill but which ones can you believe?  Here’s the truth about 4 treadmill training rumors:

Myth #1: Treadmills have to be set a 1% incline to simulate outdoor running.  Nope!  Outside you have to push through the air.  On a stationary treadmill, that resistance isn’t there.  treadmill trainingThat is what makes treadmill training runs slightly easier.  To make up for this lack of air resistance you can increase your speed.  And that might not even matter.  This study shows that incline only matters at paces of 7:09/mile or faster, leaving most of us OK to run flat.

But it’s still not the same!  Myth #2: Your running motion is different on a moving belt.  According to this study, and others, it’s actually not.  It might feel different because of the treadmill’s springs but your muscles and joints move the same way during treadmill training as they would over pavement, trail or track.

This ties into Myth #3: You take more (or fewer) steps on the treadmill per mile.  As demonstrated with Myth #2, your motion on the treadmill is virtually identical to how you move over a stationary surface (road, track, field).  This also means your step rate (cadence) is the same.  Winter treadmill training runs can be a great time to figure out how many steps you take per minute at a given pace and can certainly benefit your future training.

Myth #4:  Holding on doesn’t affect your workout.  Yes, it does.  Holding on or pushing yourself up with your arms does not, in fact, decrease the stress on your lower half.  The relief you might feel in your knees, ankles, quads and hamstrings will lead to tension in other places on your body.  Undue stress leads to injuries.  Slowing down and letting go on your next treadmill training run might just save your spring race season.  And trying to use the metal sensors to figure out your heart rate?  Forget it.

Myth #5:  The treadmill tells the truth.  It does not.  The readouts for calories burned, speed, heart rate and distance can all be wrong.  Unless the machine is calibrated to your body on a regular basis, it’s going to be off.  In the ballpark?  Probably.  Your best bet is use a heart rate monitor that straps to your chest or wrist to determine exertion levels and simply run (with no incline) for your desired amount of time.

Now you’re ready to go!  Stay healthy, improve fitness, increase speed and keep running all winter long with these treadmill training myths dispelled.

Coach Meredith

6 Ways to Make Fitness Fun in 2015

Last week I wrote about making commitments instead of resolutions to have success in this new year.  To make your commitment stick, it’s important that you find a way to make fitness fun.  When you enjoy what you’re doing, you’ll to look forward to workouts and have better results than if heading to the gym is a total drag.  How do you make fitness fun?  Here are six tips to get you started!

Plan a fitness vacation.  Run your first half marathon in a state you haven’t visited before.  make fitness funHike the Grand Canyon.  Take the Boulder Outdoor Survival School challenge.  Scheduling a big challenge with friends and family keeps enthusiasm high, makes training more fun and gives you something to celebrate for many years to come.

Track your training.  Writing down your workout, how you felt, how far you ran or how much you lifted in a notebook each day makes it easy to see your progress even when you can’t neccessarily feel it.  You can even use an app such as The Fitness Games to help you track your sessions.  Seeing your progress will make it easy to stay positive on tough days and only lead to more success.

Train with your significant other.  Even if you don’t do every workout, training run or yoga class together, getting your partner involved is a great way to make fitness fun.  Don’t worry if you’re not on the same level Connecting through exercise is a great way to build a strong body and a strong relationship.

Try something new.  It might be a few months before you’re ready for that fitness vacation but you can get excited right now.  Reach out to friends for ideas on a new gym, group class or workout to try.  Mix it up all year long by branching out once each month.   You might find something new to love and your body will thank you for the challenges.

Be flexible.  Stressing out about getting a workout in can do make fitness completely un-fun.    Allowing flexibility in your schedule might mean a quick bodyweight workout at home instead of a trip to the yoga studio, trading the road for a treadmill, even taking a different day off than you planned.  Doing any workout is better than nothing at all and a few missed miles aren’t going to derail your training.

Reward yourself.  When you look at your workout tracking book and see how far you’ve come, give yourself a pat on the back.  Get those new running tights you’ve been dreaming about, treat yourself to a massage or spa day, maybe even book that fitness vacation.

Try these 6 ways to make fitness fun in 2015 and see just how much you can accomplish.

Coach Meredith

How do you plan to make fitness fun in 2015?