Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Running Princesses

My beautiful wife May has started an incredible journey in running and the Lord has blessed her in her endeavors.  May has set a goal to run the Disney Princess Half Marathon and shared her goal with many of her friends both at our church and outside.  Her love and passion for running and for sharing her faith has blossomed into The Running Princesses running club for women.  What turned out as a goal to run the Princess Half Marathon at Disney World in February, 2014 has turned into a wonderful group of women of all abilities that share their faith, love for running and friendship?
As many are new to running, I try and share my experiences with them to help them on their journey. What follows are some tips I posted on their Facebook site. For more information on The Running Princesses, please click on the links below
Hey Princesses hope you are. having a great Sunday. I wanted to share a few thoughts with you regarding running as you prepare for your endeavors.
If you are running the Disney Princess Half Marathon in February of 2014 you need to start looking at what plan you will follow. Most plans are 12-18 weeks long and I like to build in an extra four weeks into the plan to account for illness, etc.
Now is a great time to start getting some base miles in to get your legs and feet used to the pounding. You will be sore at first but over time they will adjust. Be sure to get fitted properly for a good pair of shoes. You don’t want to end up in stability shoes if you are a neutral runner and vice versa.
Nutrition is very important. In this weather do not run any distance without water! Both May and I use our water packs for longer runs and you can find a nice variety at Academy Sports or Dick's Sporting Goods for a decent price.
For nutrition, for long runs make sure you have a bite to eat before you head out and experiment with what works for you. Disney uses PowerAde as their race day beverage in addition to water so make sure you practice running while ingesting PowerAde to make sure your system gets used to and can handle it. Also look for easy to eat race day fuels. I like the Honey Stinger waffles and their gels.
When running and using fuel and fluid, do not wait until you are hungry or really thirsty to ingest these items as it is too late. For marathons I start eating at mile four and eat every four miles and ingest PowerAde (or equivalent) and water at every aid station.
Stretching and strength training are very important. You want to stretch the calves, quads, hip flexors and especially the hamstrings. Core strength work and upper body work will help you fight fatigue over longer distances and allow you to work on your running form. Cross trainng is good too and look at low impact exercising like swimming.
Lastly massage and chiropractors are key to staying healthy and enjoying running. I use both extensively when I ramp up my mileage. A good clue that you may need something adjusted is a new sore spot crops up. For me, when I get a hot spot in my calf or my right hamstring starts to be sore, I know my right hip needs adjusting.
For self-massage the best $20 you can invest in is a foam roller or a hand held massage roller. I have both and they are critical to my recovery.
Many people wonder if it is OK to walk during a race and the answer is yes. Please know it will be different for all people. I don’t walk during marathons but during the run portion of my Ironman 70.3 I had to walk the hills to stave off cramping from a miscalculated nutrition plan. A good rule of thumb is to walk the aid stations, allowing you time to ingest all your fluids and food. While waking is perfectly acceptable, NEVER STOP moving and NEVER sit down. It's increasingly hard to get your legs moving again as your muscles will want to shut down and it takes some doing to warm them up. Stopping movement is also mentally draining. Just remember that motion is magic!
I hope these tips help and know that you can run any distance you want to. The hard part is making the decision, the rest is just follow through, time, energy and a determined and positive attitude.  I hope to see you on the road!

Friday, July 26, 2013

It All Happens Between Your Ears

Zig Ziglar, a famed sales person, educator and motivational speaker has a saying that not only had a huge impression on me, but is chalk full of truth.  It is extremely simple in nature yet powerful at the same time.  “If you think you can, you can. If you think you can’t, you are right!”
How simple is that?  While it may seem esoteric in nature, it is incredibly powerful and true. When I first heard that phrase years ago it changed the way I thought about my life and the things I could accomplish.  What I realized is how important not only our frame of mind is, but how important our self-talk is.  Your mind only knows what you tell it. It’s like a computer. It simply takes data you put into it and generates an output that shapes that way you live your life.

So you may be asking what does this have to do with exercise, working out or endurance events?  That is a fair question. The reason I dedicate so much time in this column to non-exercise information is because for a lot of people, it’s their mind and self-talk that keeps them from undertaking an exercise program or participating in endurance events.
Let me give you an example. I was taking to a friend a while back about running. He had begun a running program and was excited at the progress he had made. He mentioned that he would like to do some longer runs and I mentioned that he should train for and do a half marathon later in the year.  His immediate response was “Oh, there is NO way I could ever do a half marathon.”  What he told his mind is “hey I will never be able to do a half marathon” and thus he will look for ways to NOT extend past his boundaries.

This is a much more common issue than people realize.  Make a conscious effort one week to listen to those around you and to your own self-talk.  You will be amazed how negative and limiting we can be on ourselves and not realize we are doing it.  I know my fear of water and my inability to swim until I was 46 was mainly due to my own negative conversion telling myself I can’t swim.  For others, it may sound like “I can never lose weight” or “I can’t run or do Zumba.” They maybe small and seemingly harmless words but they can have a detrimental impact on our lives.
Changing this negative behavior is easy.  As Ziglar said, “If you think you can, you can!”  Take time this week and work on your self-talk, turning negatives into positives. Instead of saying, “I can’t lose weight or I can’t run” trying saying “I am a runner and I lose weight.”  Try making this a habit and you will be amazed at how you will respond to your new programming. 
Next week we will look at success traits for a successful exercise program.

Chris is a Certified Personal Trainer and Groups Exercise Instructor, exercise, health and endurance enthusiast.  He competes yearly in numerous running races, marathons, ultra marathons, triathlons and other endurance events. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Why Work Out?

When the hit movie 300 came out I was anxious to watch it. Not only had I heard how incredible the cinematography was, I am a Gerard Butler fan and having 300 warriors in nothing but fight scenes is truly a manly sort of movie so I just had to take it in. Not only was the movie really good, I was truly amazed at the physical shape that Gerard Butler and all the actors were in.

Having an inquisitive nature, I had to research what it took for them to get into this kind of shape.  Amazingly, Butler worked out for nearly 8 hours a day for several weeks to get into shape for the movie. He stated it was the most grueling thing he had ever done, but in shape he was!
You might think the point of this article is “if you want to look like Gerard Butler in 300 you have to lift weights eight hours a day for several weeks!”  While that is one reason to work out, I want to look at a very different perspective.  What impressed me most about the movie was the community and support the 300 warriors gave each other.

We all know exercise is good for your body and mind, but one of the best reasons to start an exercise program is the overwhelming support, love and friendship you will receive from your fellow athletes! While many clubs or organizations can have their social flaws, I am continually amazed at the outpouring of support, love, encouragement and friendship I find in the endurance and work out community.

I recently completed my first Half Ironman Triathlon in Raleigh on June 2nd and I could not have done it without the support of the endurance community made up of family, friends and yes even complete strangers.  I worked at this goal for three years and never once along the way have I encountered anyone that was not encouraging, supportive, passionate and friendly towards me and my efforts.

As I crawled out of Jordan Lake, there was Scott Prince with words of encouragement.  As I entered the transition to run, there was my wife, daughter and friends cheering me on. On the run I encountered many of my fellow workout partners, suffering in their own right cheering me on.  Ann Prince could only say “Chris I am so proud of you!”  In fact some of my fellow triathletes didn’t even race that event but went to Raleigh to cheer us all on, making everyone feel like professionals! I even received high fives from complete strangers!  The top competitors were cheering on those at the back of the field, encouraging them all the way home.

I will never been an elite competitor but I will always compete, mostly because of the sense of unqualified belonging and support I get from those that workout as well.  I have made new friends, am in the best shape of my life and always feel a part of something. No matter if it is the Princess Running Club, a yoga class, Masters Swimming or running with friends, it’s a powerful community! That my friends is one of the best reasons to start exercising. You belong, let us show you what it is all about!