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Triathlon Training: 4 Running Mistakes To Avoid

Written on September 18, 2014 at 9:00 am , by

Before competing in triathlons and Ironman races, our expert and Zoot Sports sponsored athlete, Jennifer Vogel was a runner—an ultra endurance runner, to be exact. Having set records in ultra marathon distances of 35 to 100 miles, this pavement pounder knows how to succeed on her own two feet. And to succeed at that level means you’ve got to make some mistakes along the way. Since she points out that many tri-newbies are runners first, we put our heads together to help you avoid some common missteps on the final leg of your race.

Not taking in enough fuel. If you have a half-marathon or marathon background, you might have a good grasp on fueling, but in a triathlon you have to remember that you’ve already pre-exhausted your stores during the first two legs. The best time to figure out the right nutrition plan? During all those training sessions. Try different formulas—gels, chews, liquids—to find out which sit well when you’re on the go. What works on the bike might not work as well on the run, so practice makes perfect. And remember the golden rule: Never try something new on race day.

Skimping on the bricks. Brick workouts are when you practice transitioning from one sport to the next, essentially doing two workouts back-to-back. Translation: your legs usually feel like bricks when you do this. The most common brick is the bike-to-run since it’s the easiest to practice with less gear changes required. If you feel exhausted at the beginning of your second workout, don’t fret—it takes most people about one mile to get their muscles used to the new movement. Runners are used to feeling fresh-legged at the beginning of their races, so practicing bricks will help retrain your muscles and give you a good opportunity to test out your nutrition plan.

Clocking positive splits. One of the keys to triathlon is allocating enough energy to perform well in each sport while still leaving some gas in the tank to finish all three legs. When you finally get past the swim and bike, it’s easy to excitedly speed out of the second transition. But remember to reserve energy for the second half of the run. You want to aim for negative splits on the back end; start opening up your stride in the final miles and finish strong.

Wasting time with laces. It’s not totally necessary to ditch your laces if you’re a beginner triathlete, but it’s worth shaving a few seconds off your transition time for the more experienced competitors. Think about replacing your running shoes with triathlon sneakers, like the Zoot Sports Women’s Ultra Tempo 6.0 . Not only do these feature Quick-Lace, which allows you to lace up with one swift pull, but they also have internally seamless features to help prevent blisters and TriDry technology that keep your feet dry during the run. Love the shoes your in? Try swapping out the laces for Speed Laces ($6, speedlaces.com).

Photo provided by Jennifer Vogel 

More from FITNESS:
Triathlon Training: 9 Things Triathletes Can Learn From Cyclists
Triathlon Training: Mastering the Swim at Any Level
Triathlon Training: Meet Zoot Sports Athlete Jennifer Vogel 

Featured Fitterati: Inspirational Blog Ali on the Run

Written on July 10, 2012 at 11:20 am , by

Ali writes about her racing adventures, love for leg warmers and more.

This week, the spotlight is on the Best Inspirational Blogs!

Alison Feller

  • 27, New York City

This marathoner and fitness fan is gearing up to rock the New York City Marathon this year and is ready to take you along for the ride! Her site, Ali on the Run, inspires us to get moving as well. Ali’s energy and positivity is infectious, and her discussions about Crohn’s disease (an inflammatory bowel condition she was diagnosed with at age 7) are honest and educational.

My Motivation Secret “When I work out, I sweat. When I sweat, I feel happy. When was the last time you went to a great indoor cycling class and said, ‘Man, I wish I hadn’t done that?’ Right, never.”

Go-to Breakfast “One-Minute Quaker Oats are so easy to throw on the stove to prepare. I add cinnamon and a few—OK, a handful—of semi-sweet chocolate chips.”

My Home Gym Star “I can’t live without my beloved foam roller. I use it at least twice a day to ease my sore, bratty muscles.”

3 Tips to Run Better and Stronger From Olympian Meb Keflezighi

Written on May 30, 2012 at 9:59 am , by

Written by Brittany Vickers, editorial intern

Get a running start on your summer training with these tips. (Photo by Karen Pearson)

In just a couple short months, you’ll be watching the best of the best from across the world compete in London for gold. Among the contenders? America’s own Meb Keflezighi, a distance runner who took top honors at the trials in Houston with a marathon time of 2:09:08 (yes, that’s an amazing sub-5-minute mile pace for 26.2 miles!).

Besides being an all-star athlete, Keflezighi is passionate about helping others through the organization he founded, the MEB (Maintaining Excellent Balance) Foundation. His career has taught him the importance of chasing your passions. “You have to believe in yourself. That is number one!” Keflezighi told us. “Many people told me I couldn’t do this, but I knew that I could. So can you.”

We caught up with Keflezighi—thank goodness he didn’t have his racing shoes on—to gather his top three tips for runners training at any speed.

  1. Find your support system. “The people who are counting on me, supporting me and encouraging me give me great motivation! I’m representing them and I can’t let them down,” Keflezighi says. “Another great way to stay motivated is to find accountability. Meet someone to work out, and then you know you’ll be there. You would never not show up for a coffee meeting. It’s the same for an exercise meeting!”
  2. Give yourself a break. “It’s OK to mix up your training. Always cross train! It’s a great way to keep pushing your body and work different muscles, and it helps reduce injury. Also, you’ll have days where rest will do you good and may be the best thing for you. Take advantage of that free time, and if you’re feeling off remember: there will be brighter days,” Keflezighi recommends.
  3. Step two will never happen without step one. You’ve got to go for it! “Don’t be too intimidated to try. Running gives you this therapeutic energy. Just start with one mile and see how it goes, he says. “If you run one half-marathon, it’s such an accomplishment! I ran my first 10K in college and said never again. And then I ran my first marathon, and I also said never again, but look here I am. Once you get into a good habit you’re used to it and it’s easier to keep it up.”

Now tell us: What’s the best fitness advice you’ve ever received?

7 Ideas to Add to Your Running Bucket List

Written on March 20, 2012 at 10:49 am , by

Dimity, left, and Sarah bond over their mutual love of exercise. (Photo by Nicole Morganthau)

Five years ago, Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea immersed themselves in running while training for the Nike Women’s Marathon together. While they had support from one another, they realized that there weren’t many resources to help working moms balance race training with life.

“There is a huge community of women just like us: women who get up before the sun rises, lace up and head out,” McDowell says. “We wanted to write a book that spoke to those women—our tribe—that addressed the various reasons why we run.” And that is how Run Like a Mother: How to Get Moving—and Not Lose Your Family, Job or Sanity was born. The pair’s new book, Train Like a Mother, hits stores today and “fills in the gaps.” You’ll find motivation tips, “motherly advice,” funny anecdotes and nine busy-woman-friendly training plans for races from 5Ks to marathons.

We laughed, nodded in agreement and dog-eared countless pages while reading Train Like a Mother, but nothing stood out quite like the running bucket list. It’s like a fitness game full of fun challenges that you can start today! Here are a few bucket list items from the authors to get you started—check out the book for more or brainstorm your own ideas that will inspire you to “run this mother!”

  1. Get a non-running friend to drink the Kool-Aid, then guide her through her first race. (Bonus points for letting her cross the finish line in front of you.)
  2. Plan a vacation around a race.
  3. Register for a race the day before, just because you feel like it.
  4. Wear a shirt with your name on the front in a race so spectators can cheer for you.
  5. Be on a relay team, either for a marathon, triathlon or longer 12-person relay race.
  6. Use the phrase “track workout” casually in conversation.
  7. Write down all the thoughts you have after a great run or race, then refer to them when your mojo goes MIA.

Now tell us: What is on your running or fitness bucket list?

Conquering the Half-Marathon: Taya Rabinowitz, A New PR

Written on February 15, 2012 at 12:17 pm , by

Taya blew her old PR out of the water, and you can too! (Photo by Jason Todd)

In our March issue, you’ll find four inspiring half-marathon stories from readers who went from couch to 13.1, from jogger to racer and more. For the remaining Wednesdays in February here on The Fit Stop, we’re sharing more personal stories from women who tested our half-marathon training plan.

Written by Kate Branciforte, editorial intern

After 10 weeks, Taya Rabinowitz completed FITNESS’ half-marathon intermediate training program, ready to run her third half-marathon. Using motivation from past racing experiences to gear up for an event she could be proud of, Taya laced up and crushed her old PR (personal record) of 1:53 by three minutes, clocking in at a 1:50.20!

Taya filled us in about all of her race-conquering secrets, including her unconventional strength-training workout and how she was able to push through the tough days.

Schedule Stickers

She’s been running since middle school, but Taya’s training was never consistent unless she had something pushing her, like an impending race on the schedule. “I work long hours during the week, so getting in weekday exercise is sometimes tough when I’m not training for anything specifically,” Rabinowitz says. Getting in your daily dose of sweat requires real commitment. At the end of each week, write down when you’re going to work out, and maybe even what you plan on doing. Treat this like you would a business event or presentation—that way, if people try to book something with you during your scheduled sweat session, you can tell them you already have an appointment.

Marathon Motivators

It’s always good to have a role model, and watching the elite runners from the sidelines during the New York Road Runners (NYRR) New York City Half-Marathon sealed the deal for Rabinowitz. “They don’t even look like they’re working that hard, but you can’t get a photo because they go by so fast!” Your idol doesn’t have to be an elite athlete or celebrity (but it doesn’t hurt!) . We often turn to bloggers and others in the healthy living community for a dose of fit-spiration!

Read more

The 25-Year Running Streak: One Man’s Quest to Never Skip a Workout

Written on February 6, 2012 at 3:22 pm , by

In grade school, Stuart Calderwood would run lap after lap around the recess yard while his classmates were playing a ball game. “I’m not sure where this feeling came from, but the sensation of running fast felt more important than being good at ball games, or even smart or strong,” Calderwood remembers. Now, as the senior editor of communications for the New York Road Runners, this 53-year-old hasn’t hung up his racing shoes. In fact, he’s run every single day for the past 25 years!

Since we can’t imagine a life without rest days, we had to ask Calderwood how he stays motivated and the most important question of all: why?

Calderwood's hobby started in grade school and decades later, he's still running! (Photo courtesy of NYRR)

Did you start your run 25 years ago thinking this would be the beginning of a long streak?

Yes. When I was 28, I felt like my running career was coming to an end. I had run cross country and track in high school and won two division II national championships with my track team at the University of California, Irvine. I became a coach and was worried I might not improve my own skills. I noticed I was missing my runs and eliminated that excuse by deciding I’d never miss a day again.

How do you stay motivated to hit the road every day?

That’s exactly why I have a running streak—so I have a reason. Nothing is big enough now to make me break the streak!

What does a daily workout look like for you?

According to the United States Running Streak Association, you have to complete at least one mile non-stop to count as a day in your running streak. I always run at least 1 1/4 miles, to be on the safe side, and have run up to 31 miles in one day during the past 25 years. The average for my streak is 9.2 miles per day, and I do the elliptical and ride the bike to cross train.

Read more

Fit Links: Half-Marathon Basics and the State of Stress in the U.S.

Written on January 13, 2012 at 4:19 pm , by

Lace up your sneaks for a race! (Photo by Denise Crew)

This week’s fit links from around the web:

More from FITNESS: Learn more about (and sign up for) our half-marathon!

Cure the Cold Weather Fitness Blues

Written on January 4, 2012 at 10:48 am , by

Written by Theresa K. Brady, editorial intern

Dress is layers to stay comfortable throughout your workout. (Photo by Alexa Miller)

Starting to feel the “winter doldrums” setting in? Many days, it’s way too comfy to stay tucked under the covers to lace up your shoes exercise outside—or even to scurry from the car into the gym! So we asked avid runners and stars of the Discovery series Flying Wild Alaska, Ariel Tweto and her mom Ferno, how they stay motivated to run 365 days a year. They should know: Both women have run through snowstorms, crazy winds and other outrageous weather patterns in Alaska!

Read on for their tricks to keep energized and active no matter how low the temperature goes.

  • Consistency is key. These two have been running, at least a little bit, every day for over 15 years! “For us, it’s something we have to do,”Ariel says. The women run anywhere from three to 15 miles no matter the weather. “Stormy days are the most fun,” Ferno adds. She and Ariel have run through snow, 40 mile per hour winds and have even been chased by moose!
  • Dress for the weather. “We never leave without a face mask and gloves,” Ariel says, adding that layers are the best way to stay warm and insulated. They start with a basic T-shirt, then add a fleece and some kind of windbreaker. Ariel explains that “polyester fleece” material covering her mouth helps to make breathing easier. “Don’t use a cheap neckwarmer,” she says.
  • Treat it as an adventure. “No way!” is what both women immediately said when asked if they would ever run on a treadmill. “Running is the best way to explore a city,” Ariel says. The pair runs throughout cities like Boston, Minneapolis and New York to familiarize themselves with their surroundings. And Ferno thinks that running in her home state of Alaska is a “magical thing.”
  • Do it for yourself. “Everyone knows when I haven’t run,” Ferno says. According to Ariel, not running puts her mom in a bad mood. The minutes alone with her thoughts are crucial after she’s spent the day surrounded by others. “It’s her relaxation time,” says Ariel. Ariel can relate: “I’m the most boring person if I haven’t run.” Don’t love jogging as much as the Twetos? For a different activity that’s perfect this season, try cross-country skiing, the pair recommends. (Skiing bonus: A 140-pound woman burns 256 calories in just 30 minutes!)

More from FITNESS: Find answers to all of your burning cold-weather workout questions here.

Now tell us: What keeps you motivated to keep moving all winter long?

Fit Links: 30 Secrets to Happiness and Simple Homemade Holiday Gifts

Written on December 16, 2011 at 2:45 pm , by

One happiness hint: Tune into your senses. For example, enjoy the fresh taste and smell of citrus! Photo by Ericka McConnell)

This week’s fit links from around the web:

Walking and Running Ideas for City People

Written on November 3, 2011 at 9:30 am , by

Running in Grass

Photo courtesy of SparkPeople

If you reside in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago or San Francisco, you have access to some of the hottest and trendiest health clubs and group exercise classes right in your back yard. And even if you live in an urban part of Dallas, Seattle, Kansas City, Pittsburgh or any other large metropolitan area, you still have a lot of different workout options available. But what if running or walking outdoors is your favorite activity? Well, urban exercisers have to deal with the hustle and bustle of city life, which can put a damper on your exercise experience.

Urban living may give you the freedom to function without a car and easily walk to hip shopping, dining and entertainment destinations, but when you’re trying to actually fit in a workout, navigating the city safely and efficiently can be a bit of a challenge. After all, you’re up against pollution, traffic, possible crime, uneven sidewalks and other treacherous conditions, not to mention all the traffic and intersections that stop you multiple times mid-run.

Here are six ideas for where and when to navigate the urban landscape. Make sure to check out the complete article for bonus tips for when it comes to your safety and city life.

1. Park it. This is an obvious one, but it’s too important to ignore. City parks are made for running and walking!

2. Run in the place where you live. While parks are great for getting away, sometimes straying from the park can be a good thing when you need variety or a change of pace (pun intended). Jog or power walk through a residential area of town that has an interesting history or one that you find particularly charming or beautiful.

3. Play red light, green light. Next time you’re stuck at a stoplight, don’t just stop or jog in place, impatiently waiting for the light to turn green. Use the break to do some squats or use that street pole for a few one-armed push-ups or that city bench for an assisted plank.

4. Get on track. Running in a circle may not strike your fancy, but running and walking tracks can be great places for city dwellers to work out in peace. On the track, you can easily track your distance, avoid the traffic and distractions of street running and, if you’re lucky, you’ll have an easier-on-the-body rubberized surface for your workout.

5. Get active on your commute. Unless you work from home, you already have to commute to your job. So why not multitask with an active commute that doubles as a workout?

6. Hit the gym. You may love outdoor running and walking, but when the weather is bad or you work late hours, it’s hard to get out there and hit the pavement. A gym membership may be expensive, but it allows you to work out safely and comfortably.

Continued: Get Safety and City Tips for Each of the Ideas…

More from SparkPeople:

Slim in the City

Too Much Work Can Pack on the Pounds

The Proven Weight-Loss Program That Isn’t a Diet