COLLEGIATE CONTRIBUTOR: MICHELLE*
The September 11 post featured an interview with Michelle that provides background for her discussion, which began with a September 14 post "Finding Time to Run". Check back on September 28 for her 3rd and last post.
"'CLIMATE' CHANGE" When the time comes for me to go back to school it causes me to think about changing my fitness routine. Moving from the Midwest to the deep South is a completely different ballgame for running and fitness. The increases in heat and humidity force a change in running habits for a couple of weeks, until my body becomes accustomed to the temperatures and change in air.
There are a couple ways in which I’ve learned to cope with a different ‘climate’. Running early in the morning before the heat of the day, or at night after the sun sets. Running at different times of the day than I would run at home in Ohio, to manage the temperatures we get in New Orleans, is the only way to be able to run outdoors!
My advice to others dealing with this situation is to test yourself. Find your limits in the different weather conditions. In this way, you’ll figure out when running works for you. Start slow and build up mileage to see how you are feeling; use cross training to build up tolerance.
Another way to deal with the instances when heat and humidity mess up your running schedule is go to the gym! Running on an indoor track or on the treadmill is a great way to stay fit while beating the heat.
*Earned Runs is pleased to introduce our first ever guest contributor, TULANE UNIVERSITY junior MICHELLE D. To get into the swing of the Back-To-School theme and to kick off the new academic year, Michelle will write on three topics of interest to students. She is pursuing a business degree as a “Green Wave” fan at the New Orleans, Louisiana institution, with a dual major in Marketing and Management.
SIMPLE CORE STRENGTH ROUTINE Three easy core exercises to try, if you positively won’t do planks, are described in an article for SHAPE.com by Rebecca Dancer. Highlighted because the person who developed this routine, professor of spine biomechanics Stuart McGill, believes that each will help strengthen the back, these moves are simple and can be performed on the floor in front of the TV. So, potentially they are perfect for early morning news/weather watching or after dinner favorite-series bingeing.
Turkey Trot trainees who are shopping for core exercises that also incorporate a bit of balance work will like the “bird-dog”. Those who want to eventually gain more strength and transition to a lateral plank will appreciate the “side-bridge”. And some who hates sit-ups will find the “curl-ups” manageable.
As the article title indicates,”3 Exercises Everyone Should Do to Prevent Back Pain”, these exercises are designed to help strengthen the core, which includes the low back, hip, and abdominal muscles. I have experience with performing the “quadruped bird-dog”, but not the others. However, the remaining two seem perfect to do at those times when I am literally laying around and don’t want to put myself through the paces of other more challenging exercises.
Every little bit of daily work on the core helps strengthen it. And changing-up moves can recruit small muscles that may not be challenged by other routines. The proof of this additional muscle recruitment will be the feeling of some soreness the day after the first session.
It will be a what I call a “Good Ow!” experience; welcomed because it means something needed strengthening that wasn’t being reached by another exercise. And because potentially, left to function in a weakened state, it could be strained/ injured during running and force me off my feet for weeks to months.
TRAIL SHOE REVIEW AND BROOKS NATIONAL PARKS COLLECTION
CompetitorRunning.com posted 2 articles recently that highlight trail shoes. The review, “10 Best Trail Running Shoes of Fall 2017” by Lisa Jhung, is especially helpful in that the feel and best purpose of each featured shoe is included in the discussion. I love the look of many of the models and must force myself to pay attention to the qualities identified as important by testers.
Shoes that can transition from road to trail fit my usage pattern. I don’t want them to be highly inflexible or heavy. Although I am attracted to flashy appearance, wetness protection is more important. I want to buy shoes I will wear up to the mileage limit. Reviews from a trusted source are an important starting point for later shopping. Based on what’s written, the shoes I would like to try on are: Inov-8 ParkClaw 275 GTX, New Balance 910v4, Brooks Adrenaline ASR 14, and Saucony Koa TR.
The second article announces the debut of Brooks National Park Collection, officially launched in early August and available at REI stores and online. The collection includes limited edition Brooks Cascadia 12 trail running footwear and technical t-shirts. The company added an incentive for runners to purchase the gear, by announcing it will donate 5% of the wholesale cost of each item to the National Parks Foundation.
The four parks honored with themed-color shoes include: Great Smoky Mountains, Yellowstone, Mt. Rainier, and Yosemite. The fifth salute goes to all National Parks generally; the clothing/shoe designs for it were inspired by “the look and feel of park ranger uniforms”, according to the article. Each shoe has an identifying round-edged, wedge-shaped heel ‘patch’.
Trail runners interested in learning about REI corporate efforts to take responsibility for sustainability and to advocate for protection of public lands can click on a “stewardship” link on the REI.com webpage that advertises the Collection. The Competitor.com article has a link to another piece which describes the effort being made by a group of trail runners to play a meaningful role in influencing legislation effecting public lands.
Perhaps advocating for the great outdoors can become part of trail-runners shoe buying strategy.
US PHOTO CONTEST: ATTENTION RUNNERS AND WALKERS
Wikimedia Commons, one of the websites from which Earned Runs gains access to great photos without charge, runs an annual contest, “Wiki Loves Monuments”. This is the first year It came to my attention, just this week.
According to the announcement, the contest is “an international photo competition where participants capture cultural heritage monuments and upload their photographs to the Wikimedia Commons for use on Wikipedia and other free knowledge projects.” It runs through the month of September. “Anyone is welcome to contribute” it says, “by uploading photos they’ve taken of registered cultural and historical sites throughout the United States.”
Cash prizes are awarded for winning entries, which are then submitted for the international portion of the competition. First prize is $200, second is $125, and third is $75. There are links to rules and listings of eligible sites, state by state and county by county. Those interested are instructed on how to participate.
The photos NEED NOT BE TAKEN during the month of September, but must be properly SUBMITTED by the end of this month. Judging is based on “composition, technical quality, originality, and potential usefulness and value of the image to Wikimedia projects”. Very well- known and commonly photographed sites will be scored lower, it seems, which is in line with the purpose of the campaign, which seeks to expand and improve Wikimedia Commons coverage of US cultural and historic sites.
The little known, restored or preserved and officially registered historic courthouse, sawmill, lighthouse, school building, cemetery, homestead, fort, inn, battlefield, or tavern you run past on your routine daily home course or away travel loop may make an excellent object to photograph for this purpose. If it’s image is captured from an unusual angle or in an innovative way the chance if winning is increased.
When out on the road almost daily, runners and walkers have the opportunity to see some structures frequently, from ground level, in various weather and lighting conditions. We can discover beauty at odd moments at these places, whereas the visiting tourist has but one or few opportunities to do so.
I’m going to enter some of the Earned Runs photos. At the very least, more people will be able to enjoy what I see on my runs, walks, and adventures. What about you?
WEEK 2 TURKEY TROT 2017 WITH TRACK DAY 5K TRAINING PLAN FOR BEGINNERS starts Monday. It's only the second week, but you should be feeling good about starting! Think back to all the previous times you intended to make this commitment but backed down.
By the 3rd week you might start to look forward to the long run:walk session on Saturdays. Especially if you get out early and plan ahead to finish with a stop at a special coffee shop, or to come home to perform post-run stretches with a favorite hot or cold beverage waiting.
This week the strength session targets the upper body. Are you looking at the schedule and wondering if the upper body strength (UBS) exercises might be skipped? One of the best ways to insure you will incorporate them into your routine is to determine in advance the specific moves you will be using to work out. (Check out the link to learn 3 reasons UBS and core exercises benefit running).
If this part of the plan is a MENTAL CHALLENGE (you dread working out with your arms, the moves seem too complicated; no runners you know do them, etc.) why not start with just 2 bodyweight exercises. They do not require extra equipment and thus can be done in a variety of places other than a gym.
Another option is to save this work for another time in the week. My favorite method for NOT skipping UBS exercises is to perform several after a run, before I allow myself to go home. I do 3 total sets of dips on outdoor park benches or walls, alternating each set immediately with a set of push-ups, on the ground next to the bench or wall. If there are 3 different benches along the path it's a great break to walk briskly between them. If not, I walk a short loop and circle back to the same bench
I begin with the greatest number of repetitions that I can perform with good form, and decrease the number on the next set, and then decrease more on the final set (30, 25, 20 for example; or 20, 15, 10; or 10, 7, 5). The beauty of this tactic, borrowed from others, is that the very 'worst' is over first!
If possible, add planks to the mix and you'll be working on your core as well. The RESOURCES page has links to help you find UBS, core, and LBS exercises some with video demonstrations.
Good luck. Remain firm in your commitment. Think of the tradition you are preparing to enjoy on Thanksgiving, with thousands of other runners.
3rd Annual EARNED RUNS HONOR SERIES
The Earned Runs HONOR SERIES is an effort I make each year to commemorate two different but life-changing events that helped to define generations of Americans. Since 2016 I have used the last of my 4 personal bibs to mark these events, and to make them official and special for myself.
THE FIRST PORTION OF THE TWO-PART SERIES is the "11k RACE TO REMEMBER 9/11". This past September represents the third year (2015 was the INAUGURAL year of the SERIES) in which the anniversary of the World Trade Center terrorist attack was memorialized by Earned Runs with an 11K run.
Because of a strained calf muscle and still not being able to run, I was currently working to build up walking distance while continuing with Physical Therapy. As a result, this year for this event I walked 5.5K each day, on September 11 and 12 for a total 11k distance in stages. It was not a race, but I timed myself and bettered my walking 'record' on 9/11. The next morning, September 12, I slowed the pace to be safe.
7K PEARL HARBOR REMEMBRANCE DAY RACE is the series other EVENT, run several months later on December 7th. In 2015 the September and December races were solo competitions for me. I so very much enjoyed the quiet of the pre-dawn hour runs last year that in 2016 and this year, both were planned as individual efforts.
The advantage of using EARNED RUNS™ bibs, is that you can design races that are meaningful to you alone or a much greater number of people regardless of everyone's location. In this instance I am able, 'in spirit', to join with the entire country in honoring the heroes of those days without traveling to New York City, Washington DC, or Pennsylvania in September, or in Oahu HI in December.
If you want suggestions on how you might use Earned Runs bibs to improve your fitness level by consistently training for a competition (personal or organized), or involve others in fitness fun, see the HOME page.
FITNESS AND ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE
The authors of a research study published in print this spring, “Combined Iron Deficiency and Low Aerobic Fitness Doubly Burden Academic Performance Among Women Attending University” suggest that a commonly used measure of academic success, the Grade Point Average (GPA) may be negatively influenced by a combination of low iron stores and low fitness. They conclude that this double set of deficiencies “may prevent female college students from achieving their full academic potential.”
The 105 female study participants were from the country of India, between the ages of 18 and 35 years, not pregnant or breast-feeding, had a BMI of 18-30, and were not anemic by blood hemogloblin measurements. The details of study methods and data analyses were “beyond the scope” of my ability to fully understand, so I asked a friend, an epidemiologist with experience in nutrition research, to help me.
Dr. Wei Perng from The University of Michigan, Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Michigan School of Public Health and a contributor to the blog, “Weighing In” responded with several scientifically-phrased comments about the research paper. Her final comment posed a question commonly asked by journal reviewers that even non-researcher readers can easily comprehend, "so what?" She went on to say, “From a big picture standpoint, do the results indicate that we should tell women to exercise and get enough iron in order to increase academic success? Isn't that somewhat of an across-the-board public health message anyway? “
The theory that students who are physically activity are more likely to receive better grades is not new. Articles have been written about programs in elementary school that have translated to better learning and higher test scores. In middle school students, one study showed that health-related fitness was tied to academic achievement. “Students with the highest fitness level performed better on standardized tests and students with the lowest fitness level performed lower in class grades.” College students who frequently visited campus fitness centers or purchased and used gym memberships not covered by tuition have been shown to do better in the classroom.
So how can students, and the rest of us who must learn and master new skills on a regular basis in the workplace and home, use fitness to improve our ability to succeed in various intellectual endeavors? Public health messages, as Dr. Perng suggests, may broadly inform us to “eat healthy” and “be active”. Specific programs may be designed to assist specific groups. How does the average person, not connected to a formal organization, translate this fitness message into ACTION?
The answer may involve using fitness activity to provide “structure” to daily life.
When my son was a freshman at Michigan State University, on campus with thousands of other freshman and students, he was enrolled in James Madison College a ‘residential’ college. Entering students were required to live in the JMC building, Case Hall, where classes were held, faculty had offices, and meals were served. When I asked him about how the transition to college and living away from home was going he surprised me by saying he considered lunch to be the significant steadying force for most of the freshmen.
Suddenly set free from parental rules, he thought that students tended to do whatever they felt like doing and got into trouble academically when that included skipping classes and meals. He reported that he and his JMC classmates were required to eat lunch each weekday in the cafeteria with faculty. That’s it, just eat there at the mid-day meal! That small degree of day-time structure, anchored at lunch, took away the endless options of what could be done and replaced one hour with what MUST be done. Other habits that contributed to collegial success must have developed as a result of that one, solidly-scheduled activity.
That was a long detour. Regardless of how crazy our weekdays tend to be, it’s possible that introducing one element of structure tied to exercise can have a positive effect on other behaviors.
For some who manage to exercise regularly to maintain a higher level of fitness, it’s an early morning home workout 2-5 days a week. For others, a lunch time city run or walk on several days, or possibly every day, of the week acts to ground their fitness program. My sister loves her after work, blow-off-stress gym sessions. I came to cherish running intervals on MWF afternoons at a nearby campus fitness center when I worked at the University. Large windows on 3 sides of the 2nd floor banked track allowed me to run, warm and unbundled, while enjoying a beautiful view of the outdoor blustery coldness and intermittent sunshine on winter days.
The key may be to commit in advance to at least one component of a workout plan and make it as routine as possible, with little wiggle room to skip or cancel. Plan on spending a manageable 15-30 minutes.
No time to run, walk, cycle, swim, etc every day? Activities that don’t involve aerobic exercise might also anchor your day:
- Hip girdle mobility exercises (MYRTLs)
- Three sets of:
Mix and match aerobic and non-aerobic exercise. But try to cement the day each one is performed. "If it's Tuesday I must be doing balance work", for example.
Perhaps, like cafeteria lunch with the faculty, a simple but firm weekday plan to complete a specific set of workouts that contributes to fitness will set you on track to organize the remainder of the day and week and enhance your chances of success in school, at work, and at home. It might motivate the scheduling of more fitness-building exercise as well.
[This post is mostly aimed at college-aged and older adults. Those with households that include younger children or teens might consider setting up routines for all family members, individually or together. This would be especially important if physical exercise is not part of the school day.]
Dr. Wei Perng is a research assistant Professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. Her research revolves around perinatal origins of childhood obesity and related metabolic consequences. In her free time, Wei enjoys cooking and walking (or getting walked by) her 100lb Chesapeake Bay retriever.
“Combined Iron Deficiency and Low Aerobic Fitness Doubly Burden Academic Performance Among Women Attending University” http://jn.nutrition.org/content/147/1/104
Health-related fitness and academic achievement in middle school students
COLLEGIATE CONTRIBUTOR: MICHELLE*
The September 11 post featured an interview with Michelle that provides background for her discussion. Check back on September 21 and and 28 for her other posts.
"FINDING TIME TO RUN"
Being in college and finding a time to fit in running and exercising can be hard. Planning around classes, homework, studying, and extracurricular activities is tough, but it makes exercising feel that much better.
After receiving my class schedule for this semester, I thought about how I would spend my mornings before class or during afternoons. It has always been important for me to be organized and know when I have free time, including time to work out during the school week. Whether I need to go for a run as a stress reliever while studying for an exam, or wake up and want to go for a quick jog, knowing how much time I have to do so is crucial.
This became especially important during my freshman year of college. When I felt like going for a run alone it seemed to be something that would hinder my social life because others were mingling and hanging out enjoying themselves. I learned that one way to avoid feeling FOMO while you are gone to the gym or for a run is to invite a friend! Doing so can mean you get to bond over something you both love to do. Try a fun workout class at the gym with a bunch of friends; even if you don’t totally enjoy it you will at least have created a fond memory to look back on with everyone!
If you prefer running alone, use it as your “me” time. Listen to music and relax, or call your family to say “hi”! No matter if you are breathless; your parents will be happy to hear your voice.
Using your Earned Runs race BIB as MOTIVATION to remember to work out and run is also a good way to help stay in shape. Whether you find wearing the bib on a long run as motivation, or hanging it on a bulletin board or calendar. I find hanging it on the bulletin board on my desk is encouraging, as I can see it every time I sit studying or on my laptop. If there happens to be a high-profile race such as the Boston Marathon or the Marine Corps marathon on that day, I like to run wearing my bib because it makes me feel like I’m accomplishing a goal of my own.
No matter how you fit in your runs or workouts while at school, it is important to keep a healthy mind and body. Getting some fresh air can never hurt, so enjoy your time outside!
*Earned Runs is pleased to introduce our first ever guest contributor, TULANE UNIVERSITY junior MICHELLE D. To get into the swing of the Back-To-School theme and to kick off the new academic year, Michelle will write on three topics of interest to students. She is pursuing a business degree as a “Green Wave” fan at the New Orleans, Louisiana institution, with a dual major in Marketing and Management.
TRAIN LIKE A STUDENT Kristen Ponichtera’s article title “The Surprising Similarities Between Studying and Running” for CompetitorRunning.com grabbed my attention; what she wrote on the topic had me nodding my head in agreement. This piece is short enough to breeze through for students already busy with coursework. It may help those who hope to train for an important race, as well as runners who will need to prepare for a future school exam!
To eventually become a physician and then a board-certified pediatric pathologist, performing well on high stakes exams was a requirement for continued success in my early career. At first my test prep method was disorganized and could not reliably deliver the best possible results. I squeaked into medical school but soon realized that every month or so there would be a make-or-break test that, if passed, would allow progression to the next steps. Conversely, just one or two failing grades would jeopardize my future.
Fortunately, a medical school class is one of the best places in the world to find great test takers. The student in our class who seemed to be top scorer on most of exams happened to be a member of my small study group. Before long we became friends, and I learned his strategy and tactics. We married 5 years later! Ultimately with his ‘system’, I passed all but one test in 4 years of medical school, two general medical board certification exams, and then three pathology specialty-board certification exams.
I become anxious just thinking back on those days!
Ponichtera’s piece outlines the foundations of a training/studying strategy: register, get gear, schedule sessions, endure the tough times, taper, and then race. She makes a great comparison!
Earned Runs expands and extends her list with a STARTER CHECKLIST (see webpage):
1, 2 & 3. Request bibs, commit to race, then find one and register
4. Get medical clearance as needed
5. Settle on a training plan
6. Identify a way to record progress
7 & 8. Secure gear and a way to measure distances
9. Locate training sites and courses
10. Find and incorporate training routines to avoid injury, stay safe, and maintain nutrition
At first glance the Earned Runs STARTER CHECKLIST doesn’t seem to closely parallel studying for a big exam. However, from my experience with both exam-preparation and race-training it shows how breaking down a huge daunting task into smaller manageable chores is A SMART STRATEGY. Specific tactics involve identifying and addressing each individual training or studying component, and at the same time tracking progress where possible.
The best exam-taker in my medical school class, my future husband, taught me to adopt a very detailed approach to studying, practicing, then sitting for the test. Success in running and studying requires similar advance work. Once the schedule is set and preparations are made, all that’s required is putting body, mind, and soul to the task!
"DO YOU WANT TO RUN WITH A SHELTER DOG?"
THIS 2013 article by “Miles & Mutts” tries to help connect runners with animal shelters, who volunteer to provide exercise for dogs. The Miles & Mutts mission, and the mission of each of the groups listed in the article from around the USA, seems to be worthy of investigation.
If you’re a runner, love dogs, but don’t think owning one is a manageable, exercising a rescue dog could be a wonderful option. This is me. It was disappointing to have stumbled across this piece only to discover it was more than 4 years old. Would any groups featured still be in operation?
Sadly, many of the organization links don’t lead to webpages that clearly announce ongoing activities related to running with shelter dogs, or are inactive.
An inquiry was made of Miles & Mutts. Earned Runs asked if it was still in operation. The response was, “Unfortunately not, priorities changed at the rescue we were helping and haven’t been able to get something else going.”
It’s a terrific idea! It should not be abandoned because the official groups are now defunct.
Shelters that don’t officially partner with a group might allow individual volunteer efforts on a case by case basis. In interested , check out the list and use the contact information to locate a nearby center that may welcome an offer of dog exercise. Like neighborhood free-play of yesteryear, in which a few kids on the block gathered spontaneously to create fun, it may not be necessary to organize an official group with a Facebook page for this purpose. Just show up and ask, as one person.
This is the way it was done in past years, without social media support. Not saying you shouldn’t use it, but perhaps initially that level of effort or commitment won’t be needed.
Thanks to Miles & Mutts for the inspiration. Good effort.
Charlotte NC, Dogs on the Run: information not found on the website
Seattle Humane Jog a Dog Program: page could not be found
Kansas City MO, KC Dog Runners: A local business; dog runner volunteers might be required to be an employee, who then volunteers for this service activity.
Austin TX, Rufftail Runners: Seems to be active, no clear contact form.
Sacramento CA, Pitbull Socialization and Obedience Crew: Seems to be active, no clear contact form to inquire about dog running
San Diego CA, PEAKFINDERS K9er’s with the Barking Lot: does not appear to be actively operating
Anne Arundel County MD, SPCA R.A.C.E Team: Seems to be active
Sheboygan WI, The Ruff Dog Project; active, but no information on dog running
COLLEGIATE GUEST CONTRIBUTOR: MICHELLE
Earned Runs™ is pleased to introduce our first ever guest contributor, TULANE UNIVERSITY junior MICHELLE D. To get into the swing of the Back-To-School theme and to kick off the new academic year, Michelle will write on three topics of interest to students. She is pursuing a business degree as a “Green Wave” fan at the New Orleans, Louisiana institution, with a dual major in Marketing and Management. She considers the Cleveland Ohio area to be her home when not at school.
Earned Runs asked Michelle about her running career. Our conversation will serve as an INTRODUCTION before her blog pieces are posted on September 14, 21, and 28. Not a college student? You may find inspiration in these pieces regardless of your educational status.
READ THE INTERVIEW BELOW!
Earned Runs: HI MICHELLE! Thanks for joining our team this fall. Before we begin asking questions about running, how have you fared at the start of the 2017 academic year with hurricanes threatening?
MICHELLE : "I'm loving being back at school and all is well. Tulane and New Orleans were spared serious 'Harvey' storm damage and the campus is as lovely as ever! Watching and waiting to see how 'Irma' affects this region."
Earned Runs: The nation will be with you, hoping the southeast United States is not harmed.
MICHELLE: Thank you!
Earned Runs: You were a soccer player from elementary school through high school; varsity captain as a matter of fact. Has that helped your running?
MICHELLE: I definitely think playing soccer helped my running because it was the reason I developed a passion for running. Initially I ran solely for the purpose to get fit for soccer season, but as time went on I realized that I ran because I found it fun, time for me to clear my head, or burn some steam.
Earned Runs: How old when you first became a regular runner?
MICHELLE: I’d say I became a regular runner at the end of high school going into college. I no longer had soccer practices and training hanging over my head. I had SIGNIFICANTLY more free time to run for fun and not think of it as a burden.
Earned Runs: Do you remember your first run?
MICHELLE: Starting in kindergarten I ran track for my school, it was short lived as my free time and life began to be consumed by club soccer. Club soccer involved 2-3 practices a week and at least 1 game on the weekends. It was an outside of school activity that was year-round, so it was hard to do any other activities alongside that commitment.
Earned Runs: When did you realize you were fast?
MICHELLE: There were a few occurrences when I realized that I was fast, the first being my senior year of high school during soccer season. The first official day of season was our fitness test, and as varsity captain I trained all summer so I could be as fit as possible. I ran the mile in 6 minutes 15 seconds and was the first to finish. I thought it was my big break and that it would probably be one of the fastest timed miles I would run. But then I went to college, found running to be my escape.
Earned Runs: Was there a person, other than your parents, who influenced your running?
MICHELLE: My uncle is the former President of the New Orleans Track Club (NOTC). He and my aunt encouraged me to run NOTC sponsored races when I went to college down in New Orleans. I showed up not really expecting much for a 5k race, but I finished in first place in the women’s division.
Earned Runs: Describe your college experience with running after that race.
MICHELLE: I continued my freshman year of college running races for fun and succeeding in placing and getting medals in each that I ran. I had never run competitively before so it felt crazy and exciting to me every time I finished a race.
My university had a Homecoming Mile race that I decided to run just for fun. I was the first overall female finisher with a personal best mile time of 5 minutes 50 seconds. It was something that I never really thought I would be able to do, and I was so proud of myself!
Earned Runs: Is running effected by the demands of academic life, or vice versa?
MICHELLE: Fitting in runs at certain times of the semester can be hard with exams. Since academics are more important than fitness, classes and studying trump my desire to go for a long run.
Earned Runs: What motivates you to run regularly and train?
MICHELLE: So many things, including wanting to enjoy the nice weather outside to getting some fresh air. If I have just signed up for a race and feel the need to go for a run to make sure I am staying fit – I love to run. It is as an escape for me. If I’m upset, stressed, or even just full of energy, running clears my head and puts me in a better mood.
Earned Runs: You successfully recovered from a health setback to run a half marathon. What was your reaction to being sidelined?
MICHELLE: When I had a health issue in mid-March I thought my running career was over. I had heard stories of people who were avid runners before they got this illness and it changed them forever. The doctors advised me to take at least 6 weeks off from any exercise to ensure that I would fully recover and not relapse. Knowing the importance of a good recovery; I wasn’t going to mess with it. Going from running 8 miles a couple times a week to not being able to do anything and have to sit on the couch or lay in bed all day was the hardest thing. Even after feeling in perfect health, I still needed to wait 3-4 weeks before I could slowly ease my way back into running.
Earned Runs: What were your training expectations for competition?
MICHELLE: In January, 2017 I had signed up for what was going to be my second half marathon, The Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon on May 21st. When my health issue came up my parents said I wasn’t going to be able to run it, but I told them that I wasn’t giving up that easy. Once doctors gave the all clear to begin exercising again, I slowly got back into a running routine, easing up to my usual 8-mile morning route, and starting to cross train with the elliptical at the gym. Time flew By. Soon it was final exam season with 2 weeks until race day. I was confident of finishing but with a time not as fast as my first half marathon.
Earned Runs: What were you thinking as you raced and crossed the finish line?
MICHELLE: The day before the race I picked up my race packet, and bib. I had been placed in the A corral! It made me nervous and excited and I couldn’t wait for the race to start. I felt great on race day and it was the perfect running weather.
My family was going to be waiting at the finish line, and in my 2 years of running races this was going to be the first race for them to see me run. The 13 miles went by so quickly. When I saw the end line I also saw my Dad standing ahead, apart from the crowd, about 200 yards from the finish line. I immediately got a rush of energy and was so excited and happy to see him that I sprinted for the finish line, running passed my Mom and brother who were right before the end screaming and cheering me on.
I finished in 1 hour 38 minutes, beating my previous half marathon time by 4 minutes. I was ecstatic to say the least and couldn’t believe that after a spring semester full of recovery that I had pulled it off.
Earned Runs: What advice do you have for women and men of your age regarding running?
MICHELLE: It’s never too late to start running and finding it as a fun activity rather than a chore. If you start small and work your way up you can achieve little milestones that are important to you. The nice thing about running is that no one has to know your mile time or the distance you ran, it is all up to you.
Earned Runs: Thanks Michelle! We’re looking forward to your upcoming blog posts (listed below with dates).
"FINDING TIME TO RUN": September 14
" 'CLIMATE CHANGE' ": September 21
"RECOVERING FROM AN ILLNESS": September 28
WEEK 1 TURKEY TROT WITH TRACK DAYS 5K Beginner Training Plan STARTS
Tomorrow September 11 is the first day of the 10+week plan. If you haven’t yet done so, and hope to follow it, spend some time today locating a track to use for the Monday TRACK DAYS. DOWNLOAD the plan calendar, track day schedule, and minutes to miles calculations sheet as needed. Explore the Resources website page to find MYRTL hip-girdle mobility routine demonstrations, dynamic stretching, and strength training exercises.
GOOD LUCK everyone; can’t wait until Thanksgiving.
TURKEY TROT 5K TRAINING ABC’S: WARMING UP BASICS
September 11 is the first official day of the 2017 Turkey Trot with Track Days 5K Beginner Training Plan, (WEEK 1 will post tomorrow) unless you are shifting the week earlier or later to start Sunday or Tuesday respectively. You can MAKE THIS ADJUSTMENT to insure longer runs and rest days are scheduled when most convenient for YOU.
Every day that a run/walk session is planned “dynamic stretches” are on the calendar, plus there are 5 minutes of pre-run, moderate-intensity walking. Together, the dynamic stretches and the 5-minute pre-run walk constitute a full ‘warm-up’.
Those new to running may question the purpose of a warm-up. Rather than just doing it, there’s good reason for runners and walkers to know why, as chances may increase it will be performed properly and consistently.
Jake Bernards presents a simple explanation and concise description in a piece for ACTIVE.com, “Why You Need to Warm-Up Before Exercising.” We don’t want to steal his thunder, so click on the link to his article and read about the 3 physiological goals you should aim to accomplish with this session.
In the article, there is a link to a sample dynamic warm-up. Many of the prescribed 10 moves are hip girdle mobility exercises (or “MYRTLs” as some physical therapists and trainers/coaches call them). If you perform MYRTLs before a run/walk they qualify as a part of a warm-up. You can add a few more dynamic stretches like walking lunges, side lunges, toy soldier walking, skips, high-knee or knee-hug walking, and butt kicks.
Earned Runs RESOURCES page has a link to a demonstration of a MYRTL routine as well as some other DYNAMIC stretches. Don’t let the names confuse you. Exercises can function as dynamic stretches and at the same time help keep the joints mobile, so either name might apply. What these exercises, dynamic stretches, mobility routines etc. have in common is MOVEMENT that mimics or exaggerates the same movements performed while running.
STATIC stretches are what the name implies; body poses held while the limbs are not in motion. Don’t be fooled into thinking these stretches are not valuable or not necessary. After a run, they help ease soft tissue (i.e. muscle, tendon, connective tissue) tightness. If there’s no time immediately afterward, a static stretch session can be a wonderful, relaxing, in-bed pre-sleep or a wake-up routine. Especially with aging, static stretches can assist with maintaining a good (and youthful) running form. BUT these stretches are NOT thought to be beneficial when performed immediately BEFORE a run or walk as a warm-up.
DON’T OMIT THE WARM-UP WALK OF 5-10 MINUTES AT MODERATE INTENSITY. It will serve to elevate your heart rate and increase the circulation of blood to your muscles. What’s an easy test to determine if these two objectives have been accomplished? If you feel a bit warmer after a few minutes and take off a layer, zip down a jacket or shirt front, or loosen a neck scarf!
Warm-ups are essential to avoiding discomfort and injury as workouts increase in distance and difficulty. If a beginning runner feels good taking on and finishing a longer run, there’s less chance of becoming discouraged and quitting. That’s basic.
Earned Runs website RESOURCES page
THE GREAT 13.1 RECORD
STRAVA & SIMPLY HEALTH ADOPT EARNED RUNS APPROACH; promote the ‘digital’ Great North Run this Sunday, September 10 to break a running record.
A TriathlonBusiness.com article by Gary Roethenbaugh, “Strava Targets World Record for Most Half Marathons Runs in a Day” caught Earned Runs attention this week. “Strava, the social network for athletes, is encouraging runners from around the globe to help set the world record for the most half marathons run in a single day, this Sunday 10 September 2017.”
The UK running and cycling app company joined with another UK giant, Simply Health, in promoting a half marathon competition, the Great North Run. It was identified in Roethenbaugh’s article as “the world’s largest half marathon.” Hoping to capitalize on an event that is already huge, the partners are “encouraging runners to put on their running shoes and take on 13.1 miles digitally”. Earlier this week, more than 59,000 runners were identified on the registration site as having agreed to participate in the challenge.
The sign-up page explains, “It doesn’t matter where in the world you run, just put on your favourite running shoes and join us to make history”.
The FULL GREAT RUN DAY CHALLENGE issued by Simply Health is downplayed by Strava and the Roethenbaugh story. The large United Kingdom health insurer is inviting people to be generally physically active on either September 9 or 10 and to report it to gain entry into a prize drawing. It’s about being active to be healthy.
The Simply Health website indicates that on the day of last year’s Great North Run, Strava’s research showed its app tracked “more miles of movement” by users than on any other day, “This year” it encourages, “you don’t need to run, you can make it your own and join the weekend’s celebration of movement. Help us make it a record breaker”.
In effect both companies are asking runners to design their own events, with a requirement of completing the effort on a specific day. It’s a virtual competition.
Earned Runs does much more; it enables you to run ‘in spirit’ the same day as any big exciting race, and cover any distance. Including the Boston Marathon and any of the other Abbott World Marathon Majors (London, Berlin, Chicago, New York, and Tokyo), the Olympics, and far away races run by friends or family. Earned Runs will send you 4 free bibs to make your race MORE THAN VIRTUAL. Sometimes special stickers can be requested for motivation, also free, without mailing expenses. Earned Runs provides free motivation on the BLOG and safe training support online, mostly through links on the RESOURCES page.
If you are attracted to the Great North Run, the Great 13.1 Record, or the Great Run Day, check out EARNED RUNS. We are 24/7, 365 days of the year!
FALL STRENGTH WORK: FINISH A RUN WITH STEP-UPS
RUNNINGCOMPETITOR.COM OFFERS encouragement to perform, and a quick video to demonstrate, an exercise that can work to strengthening running muscles in "Activate Running Muscles with Side Step-ups". Don’t be fooled into thinking that because this move is so simple it’s not effective. At the end of 2-4 repetitions on each side your legs will scream the truth! As the description indicates, it works quads, hips, core, and back.
Step-ups are perfect for end-of-run strength work on a low park bench, a high curb, or low wall (about 12”). I turn around and do the same thing facing forward, working one leg then the other. Actually, this set is so tiring for me that my routine is to alternate 10 step-ups forward on each leg, then 10 side step-ups on each leg, repeating this cycle 2-4 times.
Advice: be aware your balance will be challenged. Choose a firm, fixed, stable structure next to something that will catch a fall if you should happen to teeter a bit. Not a chair or stool which might shift underneath you. Especially when you first start to strengthen with this exercise. With improvement, you can progress to using a free-standing structure in a location that, in case of a fall, won’t result in serious injury. I do it on cement benches bordering a boat channel used by fishermen, and am careful to use one farther away from the water’s edge!
For runners wishing for simple, easy to remember strength exercises, this one is perfect!
BRIDGE TO PHYSICAL SELF
Running enables us to experience our physical selves in a world mostly accessed through use of fingers on a mobile device.
EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. I began participating in road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health.
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