Early Registration

milestones

Early Registration Party at Milestones Sports Jewelry

 Wednesday, June 7th, 7-9 pm!

7500 Ulmerton Rd Suite 1 Largo, FL
Across from the Winghouse.

Don’t miss out on this awesome party and registration discount at Milestones Sports Jewelry!

If you were there for Melody’s seminar last season, you didn’t leave empty handed, and were no doubt, impressed by her own journey in fitness, running, and entrepreneurship.   Come see the store, meet up with old friends, make some new ones, and commit to your first or next half or full marathon in 2018!

 

2017/18 Season Target Races Announced

FL_Marathon-LogoUSA FIT Tampa Bay is excited to announce our 2017/18 season target races! These are the three races our training schedule will be fine tuned to fit. However, we welcome all runners and walkers, regardless of what race they are targeting, to sign up and train with us – it’s easy to modify a schedule to fit with ours.

Florida Marathon & 1/2   February 11, 2018. Special USA FIT Tampa Bay registration discounts will be announced to our members.

Clearwater Marathon (full marathon schedule only) Date: TBD

Disney Marathon (full marathon schedule only) January 7, 2018.

Registration for our 2017/18 training season will open on June 7, 2018! Subscribe to our newsletter and/or join our Facebook page to hear up-to-date news and announcements!

 

Roll & Relax Social

 

Learn how to foam roll effectively and enjoy some food and drinks with each other, thanks to our amazing sponsors, St. Pete Running Company! It’s on a week night so mark your calendars.

Wear comfy clothes, be ready to stretch, eat, and socialize.

Jessica will have member shirts, if you haven’t picked yours up yet.

2016-17 Season Target Races Announced!

USA FIT Tampa Bay is excited to announce our 2016/17 season target races! These are the three races our training schedule will be fine tuned to fit. However, we welcome all runners and walkers, regardless of what race they are targeting, to sign up and train with us – it’s easy to modify a schedule to fit with ours.

Celebration Marathon and Half Marathon January 29, 2017. Special USA FIT Tampa Bay registration discounts will be announced to our members.

Clearwater Marathon (full marathon schedule only) January 22, 2017. Special USA FIT Tampa Bay registration discounts will be announced to our members.

Disney Marathon (full marathon schedule only) January 8, 2017. Registration opens April 26, 2016.

Registration for our 2016/17 training season will open in May! Subscribe to our newsletter and/or join our Facebook page to hear up-to-date news and announcements!

Preparing for Your Longest Training Run

sunset tbfYour longest training run is just a few days away and it’s time to prepare like you would prepare for race day. Below are some tips to help you. Make sure you take care of yourself the few days leading up –  and no strenuous or other activities that could cause injury.

  1. Put out your target race gear and clothing for your dress rehearsal run. Check the weather.
  2. Examine the course. Know where and when you will hydrate and fuel, mimicking as best as you can the same plan for race day. (ex. If you plan alternate water and an electrolyte drink every other 2 miles on race day, plan for this at dress rehearsal.)
  3. Properly hydrate. Hydrating for a long training run or race day begins a week ahead of time.
  4. Sleep well Thursday & Friday evening. Sleeping well two days ahead of the run, can be more important than the night before the run. Sleep deprivation generally has a lag of about 36 hours. If you toss and turn the night before, don’t worry, you’re still ready to go.
  5. Eat a good meal Friday evening. Preferably something similar to what you will eat the night before the race. For TBF finale target race participants, this means our pre-race pasta party!
  6. Glide, vaseline, band aids…whatever you use, make sure you have it ready.
  7. Training snacks and hydration. TBF will provide a fuel station with gummies, pretzels, oranges, Gatorade and water at the Brightwater’s entrance. Bring along any additional or special fuel you require.
  8. Post run refuel. Bring along some protein and carbs for after the run. Most likely, you will not feel like jumping into the car and taking off immediately. May not be a bad idea to bring a foam roller or other device, too.
  9. Post run clothing. Saturday could be a cool morning, be sure you are prepared to get warm after your run.
  10. A smile! When you finish your run, it’s time to celebrate the taper!

Saturday Morning:
If possible, wake up in the same amount of time you will wake up before your run on race morning. Empty your bowels if you can manage it, a restroom will not be open at the start.
Eat what you will eat before the race. We’ve had seminars on nutrition, follow the race week recommendations you learned.
Leave in plenty of time to get a good, thorough dynamic stretching routine in. As soon as you park, begin dynamic stretching to get in a 20 minute warm up.
Be on time, relax, and enjoy your last long run. It’s all icing on the cake after this!

‘Twas the Night Before the Race

By Amy L. Marxkors

‘Twas the night before the marathon, and all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The runners were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of race morning danced in their heads.

Their Garmins were plugged in and charging with care,
And arranged on the floor was what they would wear:
Singlets and split shorts, and throwaway shirts;
Compression socks, racing flats, and pink running skirts.

They dreamed about Deena and Meb in their slumber;
They dreamed about PRs and flapping bib numbers.
For twenty-six miles makes it all right
To fall asleep at eight-thirty on a Saturday night.

After loading with carbs and foam rolling with zest,
I settled in for a night full of sweet… blissful… rest.
When all of a sudden there arose such a racket:
I jumped out of bed to dump out my race packet.

What time does the race start? Seven-thirty or eight?
What corral am I in? What if I’m late?
Did I pack my race belt? Did I set my alarm?
My IT band is tight. I can’t feel my left arm!

I sifted the swag with growing frustration.
There was nothing but lotion and race registrations!
Where are the safety pins? There should be four!
I got down on my knees and started searching the floor.

When what should appear in the strangest of places
But the D-tag I forgot to secure to my laces!
Where are the instructions? Did I put it on right?
What if it falls off? Is it too loose or too tight?

With trembling hands, I fixed the chip to my shoe
And climbed back into bed… Wait! Where is my GU?
Do I have the right flavors? Do I have enough?
I ran to the dresser and ransacked my stuff.

Sport beans and gels formed piles of provisions,
As did hats, visors, and sunglasses (I couldn’t make a decision).
There were arm sleeves, plastic trash bags, and throwaway gloves
For hot, cold, or rainy—
Or all of the above.

So out of precaution, I thought it best
To practice, one more time, getting fully “race dressed.”
I pulled on my singlet, shorts, socks, and shoes;
I jammed all my pockets with Salted Carmel GUs.

I pinned on my bib and I slapped on my hat,
My arm sleeves, my gloves, and over all of that
I pulled on the sweatshirt I’d toss in the first mile.
I stood there and looked in the mirror for a while.

I looked like a champ. I looked ready to run.
I looked ready to celebrate all the training I’d done.
I hopped once or twice and even jogged in place,
Just to test what would bounce (and what wouldn’t) in the race.

Then with a sigh, I undressed once more,
And, piece by piece, laid everything out on the floor.
I set my alarm—actually, I set three—
Five, five-ten, and five-fifteen.

I spoke not a word and climbed back into bed,
And pulled the covers up over my head.
I closed my eyes, but my stomach was in knots,
And my brain was churning with worries and thoughts.

What if I cramp? What if I’m slow? What if I’m running and I have to go?
What if it’s hard? What if it’s hilly? What if I’m hot? What if I’m chilly?

What if it rains? What if it snows?
What if I’m stuffy and can’t breathe through my nose?
What if my GPS fails or my legs feel like jelly?
What if the GU is too much for my belly?

Oh! How the doubts crept into my head!
Oh! All those doubts! How they filled me with dread!
But then I remembered: Those doubts were all wrong!

The doubts were a lie, for my body was STRONG.
I had followed my training. I was fit—lean and mean.
I’d had good runs and bad runs and everything in between.
I had experience to gain and nothing to lose;
All that was left was to strap on my shoes.

A race is a challenge. It’s hard. So what?
Everyone needs a little kick in the butt.
And—finally—I fell asleep, with a smile on my face.
Happy racing to all and to all a good race!

Is it time for a tune-up?

tune upMost of us run for fitness and fun, however some members set finish time goals they would like to accomplish. If you are one of the latter, you may be interested in determining whether you are on target for your upcoming race.

Members who have set a goal time finish for their target race, may wish to complete a 5k training run or race. This run should take the place of your speed or tempo workout the same week. Run at your 5k race pace, and if not at a race, try to avoid a route in which you may have to stop for traffic. After completing this 3.1 mile test, use an online pace calculator to see if you are on target for your finish time goal. If you are not, we can re-evaluate your target finish time and help you determine future goals. Coach Matt’s training pace hand out is a super tool!

This isn’t a theory. Training paces are based on scientific knowledge of how our aerobic systems adapt to the different types of workouts performed when training for a race. No matter your fitness level, the percentage based formula can be calculated. If you’re just curious about your expected finish time on race day, do a test run.

Keep in mind, finish time calculations are based on the runner’s consistency during training, their health on race day, and the race conditions (weather, course elevations, etc). Overall, if you follow the schedule with few or no modifications, stay healthy the week of the race, and race day weather is good, you should be pretty darn close to finishing at the number calculated. Many of our alumni members are believers. They put in the training and run the paces right for them – and PRs are a regular occurrence each season for some. On the contrary, those who set goals, but finish the race slower than their Saturday training pace, may still be training too fast on our Saturday group runs, or too slow on key weekday workouts.

A healthy attitude is just as important on race day. Events can occur that are out of our control. Go into your race with the expectation of finishing strong and injury-free, regardless of your finish time, and finish happy. There’s always another race around the corner.

Energy Gels 101

Energy-Wall1When you run under 90 minutes, most of your energy comes from stored muscle glycogen. If you’re running longer than 90 minutes, the sugar in your blood and liver glycogen become more important as your stored muscle glycogen is depleted. Fueling with carbs during your longer runs will prevent you from running out of energy and help boost your performance. Gels are an easy, convenient option to help fuel your body during your longer distance runs.

The gels listed below come in different flavors. Variations in flavors may result in slight changes to nutrient composition. The nutrient information was pulled from each manufacturer’s website, but be sure to check the nutrient panel on the back of your favorite gel to know exactly what you’ll be getting. The info listed below is per gel, or per serving.

Clif Shot
110 Calories, 22g Carb, 60mg Sodium, 80mg Potassium (Clif Shot Turbo contains caffeine in varying amounts)
Distinguishing attributes: Organic gels (in varying percentages of organic ingredients) are available.

Gu Energy Gel
100 Calories, 25g Carb, 50mg Sodium, 40mg Potassium
Distinguishing attributes: Contains dual fuels*, maltodextrin and fructose, as well as a blend of amino acids.

Gu Roctane
100 Calories, 25g Carb, 50mg Sodium, 40mg Potassium
Distinguishing attributes: Contains dual fuels*, maltodextrin and fructose, as well as blend of branch chain amino acids. Contains Ornithine Alpha-Ketoglutarate (OKG), which GU suggests will “support recovery by helping block the catabolic effects of various hormones that cause muscle trauma.”

Hammer Gel
90 Calories, 21g Carb, 25mg Sodium, 25mg Potassium +/- Caffeine (depends on flavor)
Distinguishing attributes: Contains dual fuels*, maltodextrin and fruit puree. Gluten-free, vegan, and kosher options are available. Contains only two grams of sugar—anecdotally, runners who are limited in the amount of sugar they can consume at one time report that they tolerate this product well.

Honey Stinger Gels Classic / Organic
120 /100 Calories, 29g / 24g Carb, 50mg Sodium, 85mg/50mg Potassium
Distinguishing attributes: Classic gels contain B Vitamins; Ginsting flavor contains both caffeine and Ginseng extract. Organic gels contain 95% Organic Ingredients.

PowerBar Performance Energy Gel
110 Calories, 27g carb, 200mg Sodium, 20mg Potassium, +/- Caffeine (depends on flavor)
Distinguishing attributes: Contains C2Max, a duel source of fuel* (glucose + fructose) which enables you to consume more fuel each hour and therefore keep your system energized.

PowerBar Performance Energy Blend
80 Calories, 21g carb, no electrolytes or caffeine
Distinguishing attributes: Still with C2Max carbohydrate blend, this fruit puree-based gel has vitamins but no sodium or potassium. This less-concentrated gel comes in a re-sealable pouch for runners who like to take sips every few miles, but not all runners will like carrying the larger packaging.

*If a gel contains multiple sources of fuel (like glucose and fructose) you’ll be able to consume and absorb more fuel each hour and therefore keep your system energized.

And, don’t forget about Chia seeds, dates, honey, and other forms of energy in their natural states. Lots of information on the internet about consuming raw foods for long distance training. Be sure to experiment now to be ready for race day!

Sponsor Spotlight: Dr. Lorraine Thorpe

If you’ve met Dr. Thorpe outside of her practice, then you know her as ‘Lorraine’. One of our dedicated Tampa Bay Fit members who always has a smile to share. Here’s her running story:

I started running when I was about 14 years old. I was never a great runner, but learned early on that I could run my stresses away with just Dr Thorpea few minutes. In high school I ran track, but only sprints. Then I started playing soccer. If you know anything about Canada, soccer is pretty much the equivalent to football in America. I went on to play soccer in college. That was cut short in my third year due to an ankle injury.

I went through physical therapy and still had a lot of problems. Our team had a chiropractor who was always there for taping and stretching, and he noticed my issues before I did. He was amazing! At the time, I was premed and headed for medical school as soon as my prerequisites were completed. This physician convinced me to follow up in his office. The year was 1992 when he put me on a treadmill with a video camera at ankle level to record my gait. He analyzed my gait and helped me restore normal function more accurately and efficiently than any other facility I’d been to. I was super impressed. Then he asked me why I wanted to go to medical school. I explained my grandfather was a family practice doctor and it was the natural choice.

I proceeded to shadow this physician for a short period of time and noticed how much fun he was having – and how rewarding it was to him having people leave his office feeling so much better! Needless to say, I switched gears and applied to chiropractic college. There was only one English speaking chiropractic college in Canada, so I also applied to a school in Chicago. While there, I met my husband during his radiology residency. We hit it off because we started running together. We ran in the dead of winter and had a blast! So my story about running is: early on it guided me through puberty, then aided in my career choice, and finally helped me connect a bond with my spouse.

Runners are a rare bread, but what we all have in common is the strive for accomplishment and freedom that comes with our runs.

Keep running!

Dr. Thorpe has helped several of our members through her practice. Being a runner herself, she understands the need we have to get back out on the road as soon as possible. As a side note, she has an exceptional office staff, as well! Here is the link to Thorpe Chiropractic. Not only do they offer chiropractic services, but also corrective exercise, postural and spinal screenings, lifestyle advice, nutritional counseling and massage therapy.

Don’t Skip the Midweek Training

Midweek runs are as important as the long runs!
Please keep in mind that these ‘during the week’ runs are the key to your overall success. They are important because they build frequency, weekdaystrength, speed, or a different type of endurance in your running. We all have busy schedules and will miss a workout from time to time, it’s ok. Pick up the schedule where you can and NEVER try to make up what you missed. Meaning, if you didn’t run for 3 days don’t add up those miles and run them all at once. Let it go. Also, if you find that you only have time for a 20 min run one day this week, then get in what you can. Some time running is better than no running at all!

Note that your midweek runs should be done on the days scheduled. However, if those days do not work for your schedule, choose a day that works for you. The USA FIT schedule is based on alternating hard/easy days. Rest on the ‘off’ days. It is best not to run on Fridays before your long Saturday run, or on Sundays the day after your long run.

Finding Time to Train and Creating a Habit

By USA FIT Tampa Bay

We are all busy. With work, school, kids, meetings, cooking dinner, and running our households – sometimes adding a training program into the mix can be a bit overwhelming. However, it is almost always better to make the effort and squeeze in the training, then skipping it. You’ll feel healthier, less stress, and come race day, you will appreciate all the training you managed to fit in that hectic schedule.

We know that it takes three to four weeks to create a new habit. So for those starting or re-starting the program, here are some tips on how to get started and stay on track.

  1. Research tells us that in order for an action to become a habit, it has to be pleasurable. So start small and keep your intensity manageable so that you feel successful at the end of your exercise sessions.
  2. Accountability is a powerful motivator. Find a running/walking buddy, and you can help keep each other focused.
  3. Plan for your obstacles. Notice what gets in the way of your success, and nip the problem in the bud. The less interference you have as you develop your new habit, the more likely you are to exercise. Ex: Lay out your shoes, watch, and clothes in advance.
  4. If you find it tough to find the time to exercise, schedule it into your day just like you would a business meeting or a date. Set an alarm if it helps you.
  5. The more consistent your exercise is, the more likely it is to become a habit. Do a little something even on your running rest days — even if it’s just for 10 minutes — and include some cross-training to keep your mind engaged and your habit formation momentum riding high. Yoga, rowing, dancing, cycling, swimming … the sky’s the limit.
  6. Set a consistent time for your daily exercise. If you don’t set a time, it’s easy for the day to pass without having run or walked.
  7. Feeling “too tired?” Chances are, you’ll feel more energetic after exercising, even if it’s just for ten minutes. Give it a shot. Just head out the door. Even if you’re feeling resistant to that day’s exercise, commit to at least putting on your shoes and heading out the door. Often, overcoming that one step is all you need to get moving.
  8. Log your activity and reward yourself for milestones accomplished.
  9. If you skip a day you planned to exercise, or an exercise session was not as successful as you’d hoped: 1) Don’t beat yourself up, and 2) Try again. We all mess up – habit formation takes practice!

The Unexpected Way Running Can Affect your Teeth

TBF DentalA Tampa Bay Fit sponsor for many years, Dr. Thomas Crawford attended one of the finest dental schools in the nation, and has had the opportunity to learn from some of the most gifted professors in the dental profession. Because of his training, he’s able to provide a very high level of care utilizing the latest advances in dental techniques and procedures. He thoroughly enjoys creating healthy, beautiful smiles for his patients. One of his greatest rewards is to be able to improve the smile and dental health of his patients. Here is a great article explains the unexpected way running can affect your teeth, by Amy Marturana.

This study of 35 triathletes and 35 non-exercisers included oral exams and assessments, saliva testing, a questionnaire about eating, drinking and oral hygiene habits, plus training habits, beverage consumption and sports nutrition. They found two important things: As the participants’ total weekly training time increased, so did the prevalence of dental erosions; and, according to a subsample of athletes participating in an incremental running field test, saliva flow rates decreased when intensity increased and saliva pH slightly increased.

When you add into the mix the carbs and sugar in sports drinks and protein bars that you’re likely consuming before and after working out, your mouth now has the perfect environment for cavities, explains Dr. Jessica Emery. “Sugar feeds the decay-causing bacteria. Our defenses against this bad bacteria live in our saliva,” Dr. Emery says, so lower saliva rates makes it harder for your mouth to keep itself clean. The way you breathe plus becoming dehydrated as you sweat both contribute to this dry “runner’s mouth.”

So what does this mean for you? “Any athlete will experience dry mouth from time to time,” says Emery, “but the effects seem to be more prevalent in runners since they don’t always have access to water, and distance runners can be outside for hours on end in the elements which can also exacerbate the symptoms.”

This doesn’t mean you should stop lacing up and hitting the pavement to maintain your pearly whites. There are a few things you can do to eliminate a workout’s effects on your teeth:

Stay hydrated. This is your best defense against runner’s mouth, since your body needs a water supply to produce saliva. Drink water before, during and after workouts. “If you are a distance runner, consider increasing your salt intake, which allows your body to retain water,” Emery suggests.

Pop a sugar-free mint or gum post-workout. “This will get rid of the dry mouth and allow your saliva glands to start working again.” But sugar-free is key. Sugar will just encourage bad bacteria to grow and make matters worse.

Brush and floss regularly. Twice a day like you’ve been taught. And if your mouth is feeling especially rank after a run, brush and floss then, too. If you notice any sensitivity or pain, go see your dentist.

“Oral hygiene is something every one needs to take seriously when considering their overall health,” notes Emery. Runners and athletes may just need to pay a little extra attention to theirs.

You’re running a marathon, so take care of your teeth and make an appt today!
7300 4th Street, St Petersburg FL 33702
727-521-1818
www.stpetersburgdental.com
St. Pete Dental received the 2012 Angie’s List Super Service award!

What the Hill?!

Hill Training Begins Tomorrow

This week your schedule says “30/hill.” If you are thinking “What is THAT?!” then this is the article for you.

First off, we should explain that these workouts are optional. If this is your first season running or walking with us, or even in general, you may elect to not try these workouts. Second, you’ll soon learn that not all workouts are created equally. Saturday mornings are intended to be your long, slow day. They should be done at an easy pace where you could hold a conversation with the person next to you. Out of breath? That means you are moving too fast.

During the week, we will play with speed training (which can be done on a track, or can be done in the middle of a regular session in your neighborhood), hill workouts, and tempo runs.

Hill work is conducted as “hill circuits” and not necessarily running a course that has hills on it nor is it running 30 minutes up and down a hill. On tomorrow’s schedule it will look like “30/hill.” The benefits of this workout are increasing our strength and learning how to control our pace when dealing with hills.

First thing to find is a good hill with a flat area at the bottom. This workout is a circuit workout because you are going to do multiple “circuits” varying uphill/downhill/flats.

Start with a ten minute or 1 mile warm-up on flat ground. At the end of the ten minutes or the mile, you should be near the bottom of the hill. Tip: start at the bottom of the hill and run away from the hill for five minutes. Turn around and return to hill.

Now, we are going to do “hill repeats” until it’s time for our cooldown. Your goal is to do about the same pace for all your “ups” so be conservative on your first one. For example, a 30/hill workout looks like this:

10 min warmup (easy on flats)
10 minute hill repeats (don’t sprint, but it can be at your “easy” pace — which may not feel as easy on the hill!)
10 min cooldown (easy on flats)

  • Lean slightly at the ankles, never at the hips
  • Don’t over stride downhill, relax and use it to recover
  • Land nearly flat footed – no heel striking going downhill
  • Keep arms at a 90 degree angle (pump your arms going uphill to assist your legs)

When uphill training: warm up, lean into the hill, shorten your strides, pump your arms, and lift your knees. Hills prepare the muscles for faster running without going anaerobic. Hill training will enable you to run better on all types of terrain. Find a hill (or treadmill) with a moderate grade. Warm up, run at about 85% effort and jog slowly down to recover. Start with about 3-4 hills and increase by one a week until you can run 8-12 hills.

The Conditioning Phase of Training

By USA FIT Tampa Bay

We are in the conditioning phase, the first eight weeks, of training. Our main goals are:

  • to improve overall fitness
  • to adjust to being on a consistent schedule
  • to acclimate to training in the heat
  • to become familiar with our different training locations
  • and to get to know one another

If you feel you are struggling or over exerting yourself, please slow down. Walk or rest as needed. As your body becomes conditioned to the heat, and you build endurance, you can increase your speed and intensity. However, on your easy and Saturday endurance runs, you should always be able to talk to the person running next you without gasping for air. If you can’t, you must slow down. You might want to consider moving down a color group, or a pace group, for a short period of time. You can always move up again when you acclimate.

Heat will slow many runners down whether acclimated or not. A good rule of thumb is 1 second per mile for every degree over 50. Bear in mind, 85 degrees with no humidity, is far different from 85 degrees with 90% humidity. Some runners slow down at least 2 minutes per mile in our Tampa Bay area July and August weather. Just as everybody is different, every body is different.

Be patient with yourself. Yes, its hot, the distances are increasing, and the alarm is going off earlier. Don’t get frustrated and don’t give up. What feels like a long or hard run today, will be your warm up tomorrow. Stay mentally positive – it makes all the difference. We’re here to help you do that.

When the going gets tough, here are some ways to help push your body past it and get your mind back on track:

  • Enjoy the scenery – we’re lucky, we get to train in paradise
  • Drink the water you’re lugging
  • If you’re not a walk/runner, try it for a short time, and slow down until you acclimate
  • Think about your end goal – the feelings you may be having now are short-lived compared to a lifetime of bragging rights
  • Lastly, put into practice what our seminars are teaching you. We have taken great care in creating seminars and selecting speakers that provide sound education and advice to be a successful runner/walker and complete your goals. Now is the time to start trying out the seminar advice, we have loads more to share with you!

Your coaches have tips and stories about how they made it through a tough conditioning phase – just ask them.

How To Tampa Bay Fit

How to Tampa Bay Fit

Our program is designed to effectively and safely train you for the marathon. We should mention that there are about as many marathon training schedules as there are marathons. Some dictate more mileage and some less. Some are 25 weeks and some are 20 weeks. But you’ve decided to train with Tampa Bay Fit, so let’s focus on our strategy. If this is your first half marathon or marathon, don’t let others persuade you to change your schedule. They could be Green runners and you could be a Red runner. Not all schedules (or runners) are created equal. Please trust our system (the one that’s been training thousands of runners and walkers for over 25 years). When you are ready to train for your second event, then you can start fine-tuning the schedule.

Tampa Bay Fit is first and foremost a running and walking program. (Secret: you don’t have to do a half-marathon or marathon to participate in Tampa Bay Fit. In that case, see below about modifying the program.) But if you do want to do the half marathon or marathon, it’s all about following the program.

Following the Program
We’ve learned that the closer you follow the program, the more successful you will be. But remember — this doesn’t just mean doing the runs or walks on the schedule. Just as important is following the prescribed rest days. When we say “follow the schedule,”  we mean doing the runs and walks AND obeying the OFF days.

1. Attend on the weekend. Woody Allen said that “80% of success is just showing up.” That’s true about Tampa Bay Fit, too. We hear over and over again how much easier the long days are when you run or walk with the group. So the most important part of the program is showing up for the long run at our meeting location.

2. Follow the training schedule. Our training schedule tells you how much to run or walk each day. Or when not to run/walk! OFF = rest day. Don’t overdo it! During the week the schedule is in minutes. 20 = 20 minutes. Just run or walk out 10 minutes and then turn around. It’s that easy.

3. Complete your long run/walk. If you can’t attend a Tampa Bay Fit training session, do it on your own. That might mean running or walking later in the day. Or doing it the next day (see modifying the program below).

4. Respect the rest days. Rest days are as important as training days. And overtraining is the #1 cause of injuries. So when the schedule says “OFF” — don’t do anything. Don’t run. Don’t do a lot of weight training or other cross training activities. Rest is critical to your success. In the beginning, you may feel like you aren’t doing enough, but trust the schedule. Please note: this is never more important than the day before and after your long day. Take. Those. Days. Off.

5. Get to know your color group. The more people you know among your color group, the more likely you’ll attend. You’ll look forward to running or walking with them. And you’ll keep each other accountable! Ask a coach to help get you in the right group.

6. Ask the coaches questions. If you have a question, ask your coach. They will stick around on the weekend to answer any question. So just ask!

7. Have fun! If it isn’t fun, it’s not worth doing. And you won’t do it. We work hard to make our program enjoyable, educational, and entertaining. So let us know if it’s not fun and we’ll see what we can do. If you aren’t having fun, we’re doing something wrong.

Modifying the Program
There are a few instances where modifying the program is necessary.

1. If you miss a long day. If you are sick, or traveling, or otherwise incapable of getting your long session in, you’ll have to make an adjustment. First priority is doing the long run (or walk), so do it on the first day possible. Second priority is taking rest days. Then midweek days. If you are following a Saturday schedule, but can’t do it until Sunday, do it. This means you probably didn’t run on Friday or Saturday. Run Sunday. Then take Monday off. You can run again on Tuesday. Then try to get back on schedule as best you can.

2. If you miss a midweek day. This isn’t that big of a deal. As long as you keep the same number of rest days and you respect the Before/After rest days around a long run, you can move midweek runs (or walks!) around. Or you can just skip the midweek day. The more widweek days you complete, the easier the long day will be. But too many midweek days are not good. Learn to love your rest days!

3. If you don’t want to do the marathon. It’s OK to do Tampa Bay Fit without doing the target event. The easiest modification is just taking out the really long ‘benchmark’ days. In our marathon program, that’s our 10 (for the half), 15, 18 and the 21 miler runs. Do the ‘regular’ long runs and the weekly schedule if you just want to increase your fitness. And in that case, we’d love to have you as a volunteer on the Benchmark days! Just send us an email.

4. Skip speed training and hill training. Sometimes our schedule calls for hill training, tempo runs, and speed training. Those can be a fun variation on our regular training, but they are optional. If this is your first training season or you otherwise don’t want to try them, just skip them and do a regular easy run or walk that day.

5. Substitute another activity midweek. There are two reasons to do this. (a) You are involved in soccer, softball, dragon boat racing, etc and have a commitment. You can replace one of your midweek days with a different activity. IMPORTANT: these extracurriculars are the number one source of injuries during the program. If this is your first marathon, it is suggested that at some point, you forego outside activities and make a commitment to our marathon goal. But don’t add them to your training schedule. Replace. (b) If you feel yourself getting tired or hurting, it’s advisable to either skip one midweek day or replace it with a non-impact activity like elliptical, biking, or swimming. This is an injury prevention strategy. Talk to your coaches for help in finding the right balance. Due to something called the specificity of training, we want to make sure that running or walking is the primary activity (hence, the long days should not be substituted). But do talk to your coaches if you have concerns about modifications.

Thanks for choosing Tampa Bay Fit as your half marathon or marathon (or just fitness!) training group. We hope you have as much fun as we do.

adapted from Portland Fit’s “How to Portland Fit”

USA Fit Tampa Bay Launches Marathon & Half Marathon Training

http://www.broadwayworld.com/bwwfitness/article/USA-Fit-Tampa-Bay-Launches-Marathon-Training-822-20150821

Our new season starts on August 29th!

Ask anyone who has done it. There is nothing like finishing a marathon or half marathon. You will be fit, happy, and mentally strong. You can do it all in 25 weeks.

tbf2015adRegister in-person August 22nd and 29th

North Shore Park 1201 North Shore Dr NE, St. Pete

or register online at: www.tampabayfit.com

2015/16 Registration Opens July 2nd

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USA Fit Tampa Bay’s 48 Hour Discount Bonanza Starts July 2nd!

http://eepurl.com/br0UVT

Hot Weather Running Gear

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By USA FIT Tampa Bay

Now that the days are heating up, proper clothing is important. You’ll want to remember a few things for hot weather running:

1. Wear clothes that are appropriate for 15 degrees warmer than the temperature is outside. So if it is 80 degrees, dress as if it is 95. It’s a simple math equation that will keep you cooler.

2. Lighter colors reflect the sun. Just like the importance of good, moisture wicking (non-cotton) socks, your clothing should also be moisture wicking…..which means NO COTTON! Good quality, technical fabrics pull moisture away from your skin.
These fabrics help prevent rubbing, chaffing, irritation and hot spots while exercising.

3. Consider lubricants to prevent irritation and chaffing. Body Glide, which looks like a deodorant stick, is a lubricant you apply to areas of potential chaffing. Apply it to areas such as around the waist band, bra straps, neck lines and nipples for guys (yes, seriously, bloody nipples happen and are very painful). Body Glide is available at St. Pete Running Company. There you can also find a selection of light weight moisture wicking clothing, including socks if you still haven’t switched from cotton ones.

4. Sweat proof sunscreen. Need we say more?

Follow these tips and your summer running will be much more enjoyable!

Ways to Perk Up Your Workout

BY VICTORIA VIDAL
Working out and training can easily become monotonous, but USA Fit has a few great tips to help perk up your workout.

1. Listen to music. Music post workout has been shown to aid in the muscle reparation process, and it is also a great source of encouragement. Scientists have discovered a metronome aspect to music that suggests that the beat matters to the intensity of your workout. There are even several websites dedicated to creating the right playlist for the particular exercise you’re going to participate in (www.songbpm.com, www.motiontraxx.com, and www.WorkoutMusic.com to name a few). While some of the beats you like to listen to may be a bit too fast or too slow, it can’t help to have some music going to lighten the load of a particularly difficult training day. For more information regarding the ways that music helps you to repair your muscles: http://breakingmuscle.com/mobility-recovery/listening-to-music-enhances-post-workout-recovery

2. Get in the right mindset. Most athletes are successful because they know that the physicality and the mentality of fitness have to be balanced in order to achieve goals. In other words, it’s not all about what your body is doing, but what your mind is doing as well. Focus is important, staying calm is imperative, and being in the right headspace is invaluable. Once you put on your workout gear it should be a cue for you to leave your other problems behind. Celebrate reaching your milestones, but don’t become so attached to your goals that it’s all you think about while you exercise. Goals are important, but stressing out about them may deter you from reaching them. Relax. You’ll get there. For more mental training tips: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-joann-dahlkoetter/sports-psychology_b_2062354.html

3. Psychology of teams/social aspect. Work out in a group setting. Fitness can create strong bonds, and these bonds have been shown to drive people to perform better. When people who train hard surround you, it pushes you to train hard as well. When you’re part of a team you tend to be committed as everyone drops the ego in order to work toward quantifiable goals. Simply put, working hard, sweating, and pushing yourself, is a lot easier when you know you’re not doing it alone.

4. Motivate yourself. Find your incentive and remind yourself of it daily. Do you work out to lose weight, tone up or increase your strength? Do you train for the endorphins and peace of mind? Whatever your reasons, dig deep before each workout and use that inspiration as fuel to push you forward. Be positive and be present. If you’re having trouble with motivation, there are a few podcasts that can breathe new life into your workout: http://wallstcheatsheet.com/life/5-fitness-podcasts-that-will-change-the-way-you-work-out.html/?a=viewall

Why Stair-Climbing is Good for Runners

By Coach Matthew Solan, Tampa Bay Fit

The plyometric motion strengthens your muscles, heart, and lungs for better running. stairclimb

If you borrow one element (besides running) from Rocky Balboa’s training regimen, make it stair-climbing. The plyometric motion strengthens the same muscles as lunges and squats, and taxes your lungs and heart as you power to the top. “Stairs force you to work against gravity, and this helps build two essential needs for runners: strength and power,” says Anne Moore, M.S., an exercise physiologist and running coach in Charleston, South Carolina. You need both, whether you’re kicking to the finish of a 5-K or trying to maintain pace during the later miles of a marathon. Moore adds that stair-climbing “forces you to utilize muscle stabilizers, like the gluteus medius, that get neglected during regular runs,” because you’re balancing on and activating one leg, briefly, as the other moves to the next step. Strengthen these areas and you’ll reduce your risk of injury.

Finally, stairs are much steeper than most hills: Indoor stairs have a roughly 65 percent grade, while Boston’s Heartbreak Hill is just 4.5 percent. That’s why climbing them accelerates your heart rate so rapidly and makes you breathe faster to take in more oxygen. This, in turn, improves your VO2 max—the maximum amount of oxygen you can utilize during intense exercise. “This teaches your body to use that oxygen and convert it to energy quicker,” says Moore. A greater VO2 max means you can run harder and for longer durations. A study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that short bouts of stair-climbing five days a week for eight weeks improved VO2 max by 17 percent among young women.

Weave these stair workouts into your weekly training and watch your performance reach new heights.

Run Up Like. . .A Competitor
A handful of races, including the Empire State Building Run-Up on February 5, involve ascending, as fast as you can, multiple flights of stairs (86—or 1,576 steps—for the Run-Up). Speeding up stairs takes a lot of explosive power, so you quickly reach your anaerobic threshold (AT), the point where your body creates more lactic acid than it can process. “Training beyond your AT leads to an improved threshold level and ultimately a faster pace before you ‘feel the burn,'” says John Honerkamp, who oversees online training programs for the New York Road Runners. This is helpful even if you don’t aspire to stair-racing. (If you do, find events at towerrunning.com.)

The Workout: After a 10-minute warmup, run hard up stairs for 20 to 30 seconds, then walk back down. Repeat for 20 to 30 minutes. Or run stairs for 10 minutes after a long run to help your body build endurance and learn to push through fatigue.

Run Up Like. . .November Project
November Project, the popular fitness group based in Boston, meets for weekly stair workouts of all kinds in Harvard Stadium. One is “The Gilroy” (named for November Project member Scott Gilroy), which reverses the expected: You go slow up and fast down. “This builds mid-distance endurance because you put out a more consistent effort,” says Evan Dana, a coach who has been attending November Project since July 2012. “It also is a great calf burner, since you rely on your calf muscles to soften your steps as you come down.”

The Workout: Warm up for 10 minutes. Then climb 20 to 30 seconds up the stairs at a tempo effort—slowing as needed to keep your ascending pace consistent—and without pausing, run back down. Repeat the cycle for 30 minutes. If you’re in a stadium, run from section to section at the tops or bottoms of flights, maintaining tempo effort.

Run Up Like. . .A Gym Rat
If wintry weather forces you indoors and you can’t find a stairwell to run, you can use your gym’s StairMaster to perform an interval workout (20 to 30 seconds hard, then 30 to 60 seconds of recovery, repeating for 20 to 30 minutes) or a tempo workout (30 minutes at a comfortably hard effort). Or use a treadmill. “Set at a steep incline, the treadmill is very similar to running stairs because you use many of the same muscle groups to propel yourself,” says Honerkamp. Obviously, adjust your speed accordingly—you may find that a fast walking pace is the most you can handle.

The Workout: After a 10-minute warmup, crank up the incline (slowing your pace as necessary) to 15 percent (or whatever the machine’s maximum incline is—the higher, the better). Do one minute at the hardest pace you can manage, then reduce the incline to zero and recover for one minute. Follow with two minutes at maximum incline and two minutes of recovery, working your way up, minute by minute, to five minutes of each. Then work your way back down to end with one minute hard and one minute recovery.

Mile Posts: When can you consider yourself a runner?

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Women’s Running: When can you consider yourself a runner?
Published by Dorothy Beal, Mile Posts

I considered myself a marathoner the day I crossed the finish line of my first marathon. (Read more…)

Walk Breaks for Faster Running

No matter your running experience, slowing down (sometimes) can speed you up.

By Matthew Solan, Tampa Bay Fit

Seasoned runners often view walking as a sign of failure: You walk only when you can no longer run. But the truth is that periodic walking, in training and even in races, can help you run faster and better. “Walking reduces the impact forces on the muscles, joints, and tendons, and reduces breathing rate and heart rate,” says running coach Jenny Hadfield, coauthor of Marathoning for Mortals and founder of coachjenny.com. “So runners are able to cover more distance with better form and alignment, and a reduced risk of fatigue.” TBF2186

WALK SIGNAL: You’re fighting fatigue or leg soreness near the end of long runs or races. This often means you’ve gone out too fast, says Hadfield. To combat that tendency, walk early on. “Periodic walking can provide more overall rhythm with your pacing by making you slow down,” she says. Taking walk breaks also lowers the impact on your body, which may prevent cramping. In fact, a study published this year in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface found that a mix of walking and running (in the range of 9:00 to 13:20 minutes per mile) helped runners conserve energy.

WALK THIS WAY: During your weekend long run, briskly walk for 30 to 60 seconds after every mile, no matter the overall distance, says Hadfield.

WALK SIGNAL: You’re running fast intervals. Walking in between intervals instead of stopping to rest keeps your body ready to run. “Walking helps push blood back to the heart and muscles, which can reduce cramps and heavy legs,” says Terry Nicola, M.D., M.S., assistant professor of clinical rehabilitation medicine at the University of Illinois—Chicago Sports Medicine Center. If you usually jog between intervals, walking instead can help you recover more completely so you can do your repeats faster.

WALK THIS WAY: After a hard interval, slow to a walk. As your heart and breathing rates fall, pick it up into a brisk walk for the remainder of the rest period.

WALK SIGNAL: You’re tackling a giant hill. Whether your longest run or race is five miles or 50, taking walk breaks while going uphill can help you manage energy. “When you attack a hill, you often are exhausted when you reach the top,” says Hadfield. “Walking up helps you avoid the crash-and-burn.” You can make up the time on the downhill.”

WALK THIS WAY: Running downhill stresses your muscles and joints more than running flats. Train your body to handle it with reverse hill repeat workouts, in which you walk uphill and run downhill. Sub out your regular hill workout for this one every other week.

WALK SIGNAL: You’re taking in water or food. It can be challenging to eat or drink (and not spill) while you’re running. But taking in 30 to 60 grams of carbohydrates every hour, and drinking when you’re thirsty, can mean the difference between a runner’s high and a bonk. Walking while refueling helps ensure that you’re getting what you need to perform your best, says Hadfield.

WALK THIS WAY: During long runs, plug in brief walking breaks within 30 minutes of starting and every 15 minutes afterward, and use that time to either drink or eat. During races, take breaks at water stations. Practice good etiquette when downshifting: Run through the station and to the outside of the path, then call out, “Walking!” And thank the volunteers.

WALK SIGNAL: You’re tensing up, shuffling your feet, or otherwise falling apart. If you struggle to maintain comfortable form during long runs, weaving in regular walking periods can help you reset. “Your brain gets lazy during long runs, which can make your form sloppy,” says Tom Clifford, a Level 2 USA Track & Field Coach and owner of Without Limits in Wilmington, North Carolina. “You can begin to sway, plod, and scuff your feet.” Periodic walking breaks can help you run more efficiently, and more comfortably.

WALK THIS WAY: Schedule a 30-second to one-minute walk every five to 10 minutes during your long runs. This is enough time for your brain to reset, Clifford says, while noting to keep it short: “if you walk too long, your heart goes back to rest.” When you resume running, “practice your arm swing, a slight forward lean from your ankles, and a midfoot strike, and focus on relaxing your upper body.”

Cold Weather Running

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By USA FIT Tampa Bay

 Yes, we run in ‘cold’ weather here in Florida. Though it doesn’t last long, here are some tips to stay prepared.

1. Always wear moisture wicking material. Even though it’s cold, you still need to wear good, technical fabrics. Cotton will retain your perspiration and will ultimately make you cold or keep you cold. Cotton can also cause skin irritation when worn during exercise for periods of time. Just avoid it.

2. Layer! Think about layering your (moisture wicking) clothing. Start with a tank or shirt then put a vest or jacket on top. As you warm up, you’ll probably want to peel some of these layers off of you while you’re running/walking. Then you’ll have them ready to put back on when you finish.

3. Cover your ears. Covering your ears when it’s cooler or when it’s windy outside, helps to avoid the dreaded ear ache some of us get while running. You’ll also feel warmer when your ears are warmer.

3. Cover your head. Our heads are a major source of heat release. If you cover your head with a beanie or hat, you can retain some of your heat.

3. Cold weather running socks. Want to avoid toe numbness? Try Drymax Cold Weather Running socks. There is nothing like them.

4. WARM UP. You should always do your warm up drills, skipping, etc before your run/ walk. Now you REALLY need to be diligent in performing warmup exercises before your workout. This will help relieve some tension and prep the muscles for your long workout. Say it with us now: “I wish to be INJURY FREE!”

5. Warm liquids. Some people find that drinking warm tea or coffee before their training run/walk will also help warm up the body. This does not take the place of your warm up drills. Be careful drinking caffeine before a run with no restroom access at the start.

6. Arm warmers, leg warmers, and vests do exist. They do work and they do look cool.

7. Apply chapstick. Helps protect your lips from windburn and dryness.

8. REFLECTIVITY and blinkies. Please be seen. We can’t stress this enough. Buy a blinky. Wear it. Be seen. Be safe. Simple as that. (Yes, blinkies are cool, too!)

9. Cover your fingers. Just like the head and ears, covering your fingers is optional. There are long sleeved shirts and jackets with a thumb hole and there are awesome moisture wicking (NON-COTTON) gloves available. Sometimes keeping your hands, ears and head covered and warm is enough to keep your body warm without extra shirts and jackets. Experiment and decide what works for you.

10. Stay hydrated. We are sweating less than before, but you still need to stay hydrated and keep the nutrition steady. When you feel thirsty, you’ve probably waited too long.

Adapted from USA FIT Galveston’s tips for cold weather running

Don’t Let Nature Interrupt Your Run

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Advanced Hydration Lessons – Avoiding the Bathroom

By Coach Matt Conigliaro, Tampa Bay Fit Head Coach

We’ve all been there. You head out on a long run and soon realize you need to use the restroom. It’s not fun, and hopefully it’s not by design. Sure, there are emergencies where something goes wrong and you need a bathroom, but proper planning does not involve planning to use a restroom during a run. Especially in a race. Long training runs should be no different. Rather, they should be training for how you will handle races, including bathroom use.

Hydration is tricky. Your body should be well hydrated before you start, and on a long run, especially in Florida’s heat and humidity, you must hydrate along the way. If you get the amount or timing wrong, then you’re destined for a pit stop.

When you drink before your run, your body will require a certain amount of time (roughly a couple of hours) to flush out excess fluid. That’s normal, and it’s important to have a restroom to visit shortly before your run starts, whether at home or at the start location. With practice and attention, you will figure out your body’s patterns.

There is a critical window of time in which you should try not to drink because any excess fluid consumption will leave you headed for a restroom during your run. The window starts after the latest point when you can drink and still have time to flush out any excess, assuming you drink enough to have any excess. (If you recently woke, then a small drink topping off your fluid levels may produce no excess because your body utilized water while you slept.) The window closes some time after you start running, when your body heats up, sweat produces a drop in blood volume, and your body releases an anti-diuretic hormone (ADH) that tells your kidneys to stop sending fluids to your bladder.

Have you seen a crowd of people downing water or sports drinks at the start line of a race? Unless they did a serious warm-up, those fluids are going right through them, and they’ll need a break for the restroom soon. Expect the same with the person who stops to buy coffee (a diuretic!) on the way to a training run. If you wait to drink until ADH kicks in, you should not have to go. But don’t drink too much. Follow the guidelines previously discussed. Drinking too much is just as dangerous as drinking too little, and in Florida drinking too much is probably the more likely problem.

Part of finishing a race or long run happy is to avoid discomfort of all types, including the mental and physical agony of knowing you can’t ignore nature’s call. You’ll learn what works for you from practice. Use those training runs, talk to your coaches, and plan for a great run.

Plans are under way for the 2015/16 season!

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Sign up for our newsletter to take advantage of early bird specials and be the first to find out what’s in store for next season!

Tampa Bay Fit’s 10 Tips for Marathon Spectators

Whether you’re running the Disney Marathon for fun, or the Boston Marathon as a competitor, you’ve planned for this day inside and out. Don’t forget to give your spectators a plan, too.

To help get you started, here are 10 tips from Tampa Bay Fit’s alumni organizer, Tanya Baird-Repka:

10. Dress comfortably. This will be a busy day for you, too. Wear layers and clothes you can move in. You may need to run or walk the last mile with your athlete.

9. Bring supplies for you. A lightweight chair, a backpack with a blanket, drinks and snacks (coffee perhaps?), noisemakers (to save your hands – you’ll clap a lot!), a sign, and your cell phone in case of an emergency.

8. Bring supplies for your competitor. Whatever goofy things they ask for, from gummie bears or pretzels, to Body Glide, Tylenol, AAA batteries, and extra socks. Make room in that backpack and bring it. Don’t even ask why.

7. Know your competitor’s pace and what they are wearing. Do the math and know what time they should be passing through your area. If they arrive later than expected, please DO NOT SAY “Where the heck have you been? We thought you got lost! HA HA” Your athlete will not share your sense of humor. I hope you are near the aid station.

6. Be there, be seen. If you say you’ll see your athlete at mile 8, 10, or 16, then make sure you are there. The thought of seeing you, or whatever goodies you have in your backpack has kept them going for miles. You not being there will be very disappointing. Make sure they know what to look for; your bright colored shirt, balloon, banner, or flag.

5. Bring a sign. Inspirational, funny, or personal signs are a great distraction for the runners. Keep it simple and easy to read. “You are AWESOME,” “Pain is weakness leaving your body,” “We are proud of you Mommy!” or “Runners have sexy legs.” No Jungian philosophy, be POSITIVE.

4. Cheer for everyone. Spectators can make a big different to athletes. “Doing Great!” “Looking Strong!” “Alright Bob!” (or whatever name is on their bib) or “Whoo Hoo! You’re Awesome.” Do not say “You’re almost there!” unless you are 100 yards or less from the finish. Two miles away is still a helluva long way at the end of a race. Trust me on this one.

3. Be at the finish line. Bring your camera. Be prepared for tears of joy, pain, or sorrow. The marathon finish line is an emotional place. Be unconditionally supportive and proud regardless of the runner’s outcome or attitude. Whatever they want to do now, just do it. Guys, flowers here will win you big points. More than on Valentine’s Day.

2. Drive Home. Let your athlete put their feet up. If they want to stop for a double quarter pounder with cheese, let them.

1. Give your competitor the rest of the day off. Make sure they get to relax. Run their bath, give them a soft robe and pillow, a drink, their favorite snack, and the remote. Take the kids or the dog out, and answer the phone. And pat yourself on the back for being a super spectator!

spectators You selected the best training program you could find, trained for months, and the day is finally here. Let your friends, loved ones, or family know what they can do to help make it memorable!

TBF Takes Space Coast

TBFspacecoast2014Congratulations to everyone that participated in the Space Coast Marathon and Half Marathon last weekend. This was our Fall Fit program’s target race for the 2014 season and we had a BLAST! The race director and her family put on a terrific, entertaining, and well-organized event – well worth putting on your race bucket list.

Fall Recipe: Health Benefits of Butternut Squash

BY USA FIT CYPRESS

Butternut squash is composed of many vital antioxidants and vitamins. As in other gourd plant members, butternut too has very low calories; 100 g butternutsquashprovides just 45 calories. It contains no saturated fats or cholesterol; however, is a rich source of dietary fiber and phytonutrients. Squash is one of the common vegetables often recommended by dietitians in the cholesterol controlling and weight-reduction programs.

Butternut Squash Soup

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium onion, diced small
1 large, or 2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, then cut into 1 inch cubes
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
1 potato, Yukon gold or russet, cut into 1 inch cubes
4 cups vegetable stock or water
1 cup canned coconut milk
Salt and pepper as needed

1. In a large pot, heat oil to medium-low. Add garlic, onions and a pinch of salt, stirring until translucent, about 3 to 5 minutes.
2. Add squash, carrots, potato and stock, bring to boil, lower heat to a simmer and cook for 25 to 30 minutes or until vegetables can be easily pierced with a fork. Remove from heat and add the coconut milk.
3. Puree soup in a blender, working in batches so you don’t overflow. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
4. Garnish with a sprig of thyme or chopped parsley and a drizzle of good quality extra virgin olive oil.

Makes six 1-cup servings. Each serving: 219 cal, 13 g fat.

Resources: www.nutrition-and-you.com/butternut-squash

Post Run/Walk Nutrition for Maximum Recovery

By Victoria Vidal

One of the biggest deterrents for non-athletes when considering pursuing a training program is the fear of post workout pain. The sore and burning muscles caused by tough exercise are enough to make even the pros grimace; but athletes and their trainers don’t push blindly through this pain without seeking ways to alleviate it. Scientific advances in the field have uncovered preventative measures for athletes that assist the recovery process and allow runners and walkers to bounce back more quickly.

Some of the post exercise pain experienced, results from damage created by overworking muscles (another incentive for group training with knowledgeable coaches). Training mindfully and increasing intensity in moderation can, in addition to stretching, etc, help to avoid this kind of muscle soreness. The other type of soreness that is more difficult to prevent is the kind experienced when muscles are in the process of being strengthened. It is this variety of discomfort that often leaves those newer to the sport of running and walking feeling defeated because it can last for days. Not to mention, breaking through this mental and physical barrier can be difficult for even professionals. The solution to a portion of this however, can be found in every athlete’s post workout nutrition.

Glycogen synthase, a key enzyme in glycogenesis, is imperative to the conversion of glucose to glycogen and is active almost instantly after exercise. In order to stimulate glycogen synthase, athletes need to consume not only protein, but carbohydrates as well, which are said to increase glycogen storage and conversion by 2 to 3 times the normal amount. Insulin response, obtained from carbohydrates, also augments the transfer of glycogen to the muscles.

Why is the production of glycogen important to runners and walkers?
Glycogen is stored in the muscles for energy and is used to create fuel not only for prolonged exercise but additionally, for the reparative process as well.

According to Runners Connect, there are two windows for optimal recovery – two opportunities for the intake of proper nutrients to aid in the progression of healing, before the next workout. The first window occurs immediately after a training session. Some advocate that this time frame arises within the first 30 minutes, although if comfortably possible most now recommend consuming these nutrients sooner.

This post workout recovery nutrition can be obtained in various forms, as long as it follows the advice of dieticians’ and trainers’ – consume a carbohydrate with a protein in a 4:1 ratio. The correct amount of carbohydrates and proteins can be measured by dividing your weight by 2 (for carbohydrates) and then further dividing that number by 4, which results in the adequate amount of protein needed.

Weight Carbohydrates (Divide by 2) Protein (Divide by 4)
130 65 grams of carbohydrates 16 grams of protein
150 75 grams of carbohydrates 18 grams of protein

The second window occurs approximately 1 to 3 hours after a workout. At this point a recovery meal is suggested. Recovery meals need to include protein, carbohydrates and a healthy fat. Don’t fall into the trap of consuming more calories than are actually needed or of eating with abandon – ingesting the right foods in the correct combination is key in decreasing inflammation, increasing glycogen storage, and reconstructing damaged tissue.

Why is this reconstruction significant?
Aside from the fact that sore and achy muscles are painful, if muscles and energy stores are not carefully replenished it often results in over training and injury. This pain is more than just an inconvenience and hampers muscle adaptation, which ultimately affects your growth and overall ability to reach fitness goals.

And as always, no matter what type of workout or recovery you choose – hydration is essential!!

“Everyone is training hard, but the winners are recovering better” ~Shawn Talbott, PHD.

Resources:
McMillan, M.S., G. (2014). The runner’s ultimate nutritional recovery routine (runrr) you’ll be amazed at how good you feel the next day. McMillan Running, Retrieved from http://www.mcmillanrunning.com/articlePages/article/7.
Reinink, A. (2009). Post-run recovery starts with protein. Runner’s World, Retrieved from http://www.runnersworld.com/nutrition-runners/post-run-recovery-starts-protein.
(n.d.). The two windows for optimal recovery after a hard workout or race. Runners Connect, Retrieved from http://runnersconnect.net/running-nutrition-articles/what-is-good-to-eat-after-a-run/.
Young, K. (2014). 10 best: Runner’s tips. Retrieved from http://fashion.telegraph.co.uk/beauty/news-features/TMG10741350/10-Best-runners-tips.html.
Talbott, PhD, S. (2014). The 3 keys to proper nutritional recovery. Competitor, Retrieved from http://running.competitor.com/2014/04/nutrition/the-3-keys-to-proper-nutritional-recovery_4109.