Coach Gael’s Favorite Running Products:
Face Moisturizer with SPF 30: Body Shop Glow-Protect Vitamin C Lotion
My performance t-shirt company: It’s Raining Rhinestones
Skin protector: Aquaphor layered with a bit of Black Jamaican Castor Oil
Sunglasses: Panama Jacks from CVS, but any brand will do nicely as long as it fits.
Hydration pack for long run: Orange Mud Hydraquiver single pack
Lips: Aquaphor lip protectant
Got Endurance, Got Stamina; Want Them or Want More?
Your stamina to endure your running and increase your pace comes from consistency. However, there are many training exercises that will enable your training and racing goals; PROGRESSIONS are my FAVOURITE! As a former 60 metres sprinter, when I attempted conversation to a longer distance 27 years ago, I struggled with my stamina. Even though I impatiently wanted to hit the fast button right out the gate, I intentionally and patiently started out slow and built along the way by increasing my tempo by a few seconds until I was able to consistently and strongly maintain a pace for the duration of my planned mileage. Running in this manner prevents a crash from going too hard and fast at the start of your run, and it also provides endurance for your gradual build-up. The transition is easy and manageable.
Some refer to it as slow start, fast finish; others call it progression. I call it SUCCESS! For instance, if you desire to run our race of 3.1 miles under 30 minutes, you would start the first mile at easy pace of 10 minutes, drop 10 seconds off mile 2 at a 9:50 pace as you will have the breath and energy to carry you through, do a mind/body inspection and drop another 10 seconds for mile 3 at 9:40. You should still have enough juice to kick it to the finish without feeling depleted. The best reward is that you would have dominated your race by executing your finish time. Note that this is example of a pace. Find yours and apply the exercise accordingly.
As always, our training can be done inside or out on any terrain. I challenge you to add a bit of incline to match our race course.
Using a timing device or a sports watch, run at a conversational pace or if you are aware of your pace, then run a minute slower for the first mile. For the consecutive miles, drop your pace by 10 seconds and try to keep going without a break for continuous movement. As you near the end of your planned mileage, if you sense you have a kick to maintain momentum to the end, then challenge yourself.
For intermediate/Advanced Runners:
If you wish to increase your pace and maintain momentum for a 5K, I typically start at 10K pace, then drop down to 15-30 seconds for mile 2 and full out 5K pace for the last 1.1 miles. You can attempt this first on the treadmill for a sense of heart-rate and turnover before you attempt outside.
As always, you must fuel for optimal performance. Be mindful of your breathing, heart-rate and turnover. NEVER run through discomfort or pain; this is different from that mental block 😊.
Run Happy, Run Often, Run Long!
Take it to the HILLS!
The Kenyans view hills as opportunities, hence why many dominate those in the Boston marathons. They intentionally run hills and once I became aware of the purpose, I now do so as well. In fact, I recently tackled a road race on Wachusett Mountain and Mt. Washington. When I run to and from work, I intentionally factor in the rolling Blue Hill Avenue as I approach my residence in Mattapan. 80% of my races are rolling courses; I crave the challenge and the confidence that comes with tackling hills. Why do we celebrate burning calves, driving arms, fatigued quads and labored breath – for the opportunity over your racing opponents and a stronger body!
Hills ARE opportunities to better your performance and endurance! Putting in some hill work at least once a week strengthens all of your leg muscle groups while you work on both your aerobic and anaerobic levels. Dominating your hill repeats with confidence as you train your body to adopt to turnovers from a fatigued state to push through that last bit to the finish line.
RUN FOR THE HILL and remember what goes up in this case, will go down.
- Hill repeats can be done on the treadmill at an incline or on a roadway hill of your choice.
- Run an easy run at conversational pace for a warm up for 10 minutes.
- At the base of the hill, relax your posture and your breath. Gently lean into the hill, look up towards the horizon about 45 degrees and tackle your hill as if you have an invisible string pulling you upwards. Drive your arms gently, remember to relax, soften your face and breath. Feed your mind positive affirmations, remember the purpose of your exercise and know that the sweet reward is at the top. At the top, do not stop, simply walk or ease back down slowly to start. This is your recovery so drop your arms, catch your breath back and prepare for your next repeat. Repeat between 6-10 times.
- Walkers propel yourselves up that hill; walking counts too!
- Cool down at an easy conversational pace for 10 minutes.
- As you become adept, you can run for time or pace.
Workout Tips for all fitness levels!
Do this workout anywhere!
This workout can be done anywhere – in your neighborhood, on the treadmill, a track etc. The purpose is to continuous movement in a fun way to build your endurance be it running or walking.
Run/walk for 5 minutes at conversation pace meaning you should be able to hold a conversation and breath for the entire 5 minutes. If you can hear your breathing, pull back on your pace. For those who are faster runners, you can certainly challenge yourself at a slightly more pace, but don’t overdo it.
Recovery time between each countdown is 2 minutes. At the end of your timed run slow down even slower to lower your heart rate and catch your breath. Do this for 2 minutes, then move onto the next count.
Run/walk for 4 minutes using the same measures of pacing as mentioned above, recover for 2, pick up again for 3, recover for 2, pick up for 2, recover for 2.
On the very last minute, CHALLENGE yourself! It is only for a minute and yes, you have it within you! Running is mostly mental so shake off the negative feelings and start loading positive affirmations into your being. The prize at the end is your 2-minute recovery.
Deciding what to eat after a workout? Wellness in Motion Boston has some tips for you!
The focus should be carbohydrates and proteins with less fat. Fat takes longer to digest and our bodies need more immediate fuel to replenish glycogen stores.
Here are some recommendations for good post-workout snacks:
1) Smoothies with Greek yogurt and fruit ( banana and peanut butter is a tasty one where you can hide a handful of spinach)
2) Oatmeal and eggs
3) Chicken and rice
4) Pasta with meat sauce
5) Sandwich with some kind of meat
6) The classic chocolate milk
WIMB is a multidisciplinary clinic with one focus: helping their patients return to the activities that help them live a full and healthy life. To learn more about WIMB check out www.wellnessinmotionboston.com. For more wellness tips follow @nutritionrewired and @wimboston on Instagram!
Walk the Road to Wellness!
Walking is an underrated, underutilized activity! It has such incredible benefits and for some reason it’s still looked down on in some places… Well no more, it’s time we give credit where credit is due and talk about why walking is so phenomenal.
- It’s low impact- it’s an exercise for all ages! Young and old can both benefit and it gives you a great opportunity to spend some quality time together.
- Heart tested and approved- walking is great for your circulation and blood pressure. Multiple studies have shown that walking can help lower your blood pressure!
- It makes you stronger- did you know that walking can increase your bone strength which can ward off fractures later on in life? It also strengthens your muscles so it’s a win-win-win!
- “If you’re happy and you know it…”- Walking releases the same types of endorphins that running does, so take some steps to boost that mood!
Past the physical impacts on your body, walking allows you to explore! You can walk around the neighborhood, so get out, get fit and explore!
Recovery Recovery Recovery!
So you just got in a great workout and you feel awesome (and probably a little tired), but even though your sneakers are off, you’re not quite done yet! Proper recovery is extremely important to maintain muscle, flush out lactic acid, and stop your body from cramping later on after your workout.
Recovery is a time where proper nutrition is essential. Protein sources are required to rebuild muscle tissue and to supply the building blocks for various cells, tissues, enzymes, and hormones. But that’s just one aspect of recovery after working out; here are NINE things you should be doing after you work out that you may not have thought of — but will make a huge difference!
1. Chocolate (milk) is good for you!
Convenient and delicious! Chug some chocolate milk because the protein it contains will kick start your muscle recovery. And those chocolaty carbs have been shown to decrease the amount of time it takes for the body to get ready for its next challenge!
If you feel stiff from yesterday’s spin class or lifting session, try tart cherry juice and supplements! They help reduce the swelling that occurs when muscles are damaged, allowing our bodies to recover faster and with less pain.
3. Take an (ice cold) bath!
All serious athletes do it! It may sound scary at first, but research suggests taking a cold, full-body plunge after working out can significantly reduce soreness. Not to mention reducing inflammation for up to 24 hours after exercise!
4. Get that beauty sleep!
There have been multiple studies suggest sleep deprivation can have a significant negative effects on performance and recovery. Sleep is prime time for the body to undergo protein synthesis, so getting extra zzzs after a tough workout might make for stronger muscles and better endurance.
5. Water, water, water!
An obvious one, but a point that cannot be emphasized enough: hydration! Better recovery could be just a glass (or two or three…) away. Exercising while dehydrated can cause greater damage to muscles and reduce the body’s ability to repair itself. So grab a bottle of H2O to go!
6. Cut back on the Happy Hours…
Research suggests more than one or two drinks after working out could reduce the body’s ability to recover, so you may want to pass on those “post-yoga-happy-hours” if you know what’s good for you!
Rolling out muscles with foam or semi-rigid rollers—two forms of self-myofascial release—can help remove those knots and prevent muscle imbalances from forming. While foam rolling can be somewhat painful, the benefits are worth it! You’ll feel amazing very soon after, I promise!
8. Massage, anyone?
Recovery backrubs, anyone? Like foam rolling, massage helps break up scar tissue and reduce stiffness associated with muscle repair. Scented candles and relaxing tunes optional.
9. Compression garments may not be stylish…
…but they do wonders for your muscles! It’s important for a lot of athletes to quickly regain the energy to run, jump, or throw once again. Research suggests wearing compression garments can help decrease the time it takes for muscles to recover between intense bouts of exercise, so try some on!
Strategy for 5Ks
So you decided to register for a 5K? Great! (If not, you can register for our Road to Wellness 5K Walk/Run here.) Now that you’ve made this decision, it’s time to really think about how you’re going to prepare for the 5K…and what to do when the time comes to really run or walk it!
There are countless possible race strategies floating around. Some runners love to go out hard and hang on. Others like to sit back and kick at the end. We are all different; therefore, we have different strengths that we can use on race day. Here are some quick tips for training for your upcoming 5K and an in-depth strategy for when the big day comes:
Training for a 5K
- Hill training is good practice to improve speed. That added strength in the leg muscles will translate into better efficiency over added mileage and intensity.
- Burpees, box jumps, and high knees — strengthens the muscles you predominately use while you’re running!
- Foam rolling after a hard workout — especially after lifting weights or any strength training!
Strategy for Your 5K
For the first mile: For most runners the most appropriate tactic during the first mile is to follow your overall strategy. If you planned on even pacing be sure you don’t run faster during the first part of the race. If you planned on negative splits, keep your first mile speed at your planned pace. Going out too fast in that first mile can make even pacing, even effort or negative split strategy hard to carry out. The exception to this is with experienced competitive runners and some beginning competitive runner.
- Beginning Runner – Run no faster than planned effort level
- Recreational Runner – Run no faster than planned pace
- Pacer – Planned even pace or up to 3% faster
- Beginning Competitive Runner – Planned even pace or up to 3% faster
- Experienced Competitive Runner – 3% to 6% faster
For the middle mile: The second mile of your 5K is where you should settle into your planned pace or if you are running negative splits, begin to very gradually push your pace. An experienced competitive runner who pushes the pace slightly in the first mile may want to settle into a strong float (strong but relaxed) pace for some active recovery in anticipation of a fast finishing mile.
When the pain and bad patches come, accept them as a good and necessary step to unveiling another level of success. Do NOT think, “Oh, man. Here I go again…” Instead, redirect your focus to something else. Focus on technique: quicken your turnover for the next thirty seconds, drive your arms back, and go through a mental checklist to relax tight hands, arms, and shoulders. By focusing on using your muscles differently, you’ll distract yourself from your doubt, and the moment will pass.
- Beginning Runner – Even Effort
- Recreational Runner – Even Pace or Even Effort
- Pacer – Even Pace
- Beginning Competitive Runner – Even Pace or Gradually Increasing Pace
- Experienced Competitive Runner – Gradually Increasing Pace or Float with Surges
For the last mile: The last mile of the 5K is where most runners either succeed or fail in meeting their running goal. The final mile should be the fastest.
- Beginning Runner- Even effort until the final 200 meters. Then sprint as fast as possible to the finish line.
- Recreational Runner – Even pace until the final 400 meters. Then begin your finishing kick
- Pacer – Steadily increase your pace throughout the final mile. Start your finishing kick with 400 meters to the finish line
- Beginning Competitive Runner – Increasing pace and surging throughout the final mile. Begin your finishing kick with about 400 meters left
- Experienced Competitive Runner – Increasing pace and surging in reaction to your competitors. Begin accelerating strongly with about 800 meters left. Begin your finishing sprint at 300 to 400 meters to the finish line.
Hope these are helpful and happy training! You can do this!
June is almost over and you’ve been working hard towards your goals — hitting the gym, running around when the weather is nice, and becoming fit in your own way! But, are you fueling your body correctly?
Two common mistakes people make when starting to work out for the first time are that they forget to stretch — and they don’t know what the best foods are to eat before and after they exercise! You are putting your body through tough, physical exercise, which means you need to give your body the correct nutrients if it wants to power itself!
Here are a few of my personal favorite tips and recipes that have been proven to give your body what it wants and NEEDS!
- Greek yogurt with fruit. If you’re going to eat greek yogurt, aim for an organic version. And you don’t always have to go for fat-free! Try a low-fat greek yogurt with fresh berries or banana.
- Trail mix/granola. Granola is wonderful because it provides healthy fats, carbohydrates (from the oats) fiber and a good source protein.
- Veggie omelet. You truly can’t go wrong with eggs. I love 1 egg and 2 egg whites mixed with a variety of veggies.
- Cheese and crackers. If you’re like me and LOVE cheese, then this is a great time to get your cheese fix in! Eat an ounce of cheese with a few whole grain crackers.
- Protein shake or fruit smoothie. I usually make a smoothie with a scoop of protein powder, fresh fruit, a little nut butter and almond milk.
- Hummus and pita. Who says your snacks have to be basic? Grab a scoop of healthy fiber and protein-filled hummus plus a few pita chips for something flavorful, satisfying and delicious.
- Cottage cheese avocado toast. Yes, please! The healthy fats, protein and whole grains are the ultimate refuel goodness.
- Whole grain cereal with skim milk. For a quick snack, try a bowl of your favorite low-sugar cereal topped with almond or skim milk. If you can’t have regular milk, try almond milk blended with a 1/2 scoop of whey-free vanilla protein powder!
- Energy bar/bites/balls. Energy bars are the ultimate goodness. Even better when you can make your own! This is one of my favorite recipes: http://skinnyms.com/no-bake-workout-bars-recipe/
So when is the best time to eat post-workout? Usually within 30 minutes! 45 minutes at the very latest. Post workout snacks help to restore energy in your muscles and repair any muscle damage. The “Journal of Applied Physiology” did state that if you wait just two hours post workout to eat, then your ability to refuel your muscles diminishes by a whopping 50%. So get snackin’!
With summer now in full swing, it’s time to really get those summer goals you planned on into action! There are a lot of reasons to add “exercise” and “running” to your list of goals for the summer, but mental health is definitely one of the most important! Didn’t know running helps you physically AND mentally? Then read on, because there are a lot more benefits to getting up and getting active than you may think!
First of all, running reduces stress, sharpens your focus and gives you energy! Over time, with commitment and persistence, prolonged exercise can have a major impact on your mood, build confidence, and can even help fight tiredness during the day!
When you exercise, endorphins are released, which create feelings of happiness and euphoria. Additionally, running can strengthen the brain against cognitive decline that begins after age 45. Studies suggest that a tough workout increases levels of a brain-derived protein (known as BDNF) in the body, believed to help with decision making, higher thinking and learning.
Working out, especially between ages 25 and 45, boosts the chemicals in the brain that support and prevent degeneration of the hippocampus, an important part of the brain for memory and learning. Various studies have shown that cardiovascular exercise can create new brain cells (otherwise known as neurogenesis) and improve overall brain performance.
Although it seems counterintuitive, if you feel lethargic or struggle daily to gather up energy, running can be a great way to get energized, which is why doctors recommend physical activity to people who tend to be tired often. For example, if you’re feeling tired after work, even if you slept a good amount the past few nights, changing into running clothes and going out to the track can turn your perspective around. You will return feeling a relaxing runner’s high and a renewed focus to stay on track with your health goals!
No matter what the reason, getting outside and staying active is a great habit to get into! This summer is YOUR summer, so let’s make it great and stay committed to our healthy lifestyle!
What’s the point of drinking that much water anyway? Can we get water from other things, like vegetables or other drinks? What are electrolytes? How can I tell if I’m dehydrated?
Your body is 70% water. Each cell and bodily function depends on your continual consumption of water. If you are dehydrated your body is not able to perform!
How do I know if I’m dehydrated?
If you’re thirsty that means you already are dehydrated. Another way to monitor how hydrated you are is to look at the color of your urine. The gold standard it turns out isn’t gold at all but rather clear or very light yellow. If it’s darker than that it tells you that you need to drink more water!
Now what are these electrolyte things and why is everyone so crazy about them?
Electrolytes are charged molecules that we need in our bodies to keep everything working properly. They are salt and other minerals that we lose through sweat and general living. Being electrolyte deficient can have an impact on your performance and can even cause cramping. For a lot of us it’s not generally something to worry about, but with this hot weather it is important to make sure you are doing everything to keep your body healthy and happy.
Ok, then where do you get these electrolytes from?
You do not need to go out and stock up on Gatorade. While this drink is one way to replenish electrolytes, it also has a lot of sugar and most of us don’t actually need all that. The general rule of thumb is if your workout is less than an hour, pass on the Gatorade and make sure you are drinking water during and after, (If you are working out for more than one hour, you might want to consider a little bit of Gatorade during the workout. Remember that everyone is different so it’s ideal to stay in tune with your body and figure out what it needs to perform.
Where else can I get electrolytes from?
Many people can get everything they need from a good post workout snack. Here are some great places to start and you can be creative with your own ideas!
• Glass of chocolate milk
• Apples and peanut butter
• Yogurt and granola
• Salad with leafy greens and tomatoes
What’s so great about 5K’s anyways?
As someone who is not what people would call a ‘natural’ runner, I am always in awe of those who run and really love doing it. When looking at the sport in general, I have always felt running a marathon was basically as good as it gets, especially being in Massachusetts – the Boston Marathon is a sacred event. However, if I am being honest with myself, the possibility of me convincing myself to run a marathon is very, very low. I won’t say non-existent because you know anything is possible, but it’ll be a leap to say the least. When I look at the running world, a marathon just seems like the greatest of accomplishments, the fun fact that would gain you instant respect from people at a party. Saying you just ran a 5K doesn’t produce the same amount of awe, but in my opinion, 5K’s are the perfect competitive running endeavor for runners who appreciate the sport but see it as a vehicle to be healthy and fit vs. those who do it because they have an incredible amount of passion for the sport and the health aspects are just an awesome bonus (although if that’s you, you’re incredible)!
One of the great things about 5K training is it involves shorter interval training, which is the ideal type of workout if you are looking to shed a few pounds and get fit. One of the many fitness tips I’ve heard is that confusing your body is a great way to lose weight. While long runs can be great for decompressing and increasing your aerobic fitness, they aren’t always the best method to lose weight. Along with this idea of flexible training plans comes the ability to protect your body from overuse injuries! Obviously there are many things that we have to do to protect our bodies (like investing in good running shoes!) but the flexibility to vary your training can help you protect those body parts that sustain a lot of wear and tear while running stay happy!
Training for a 5K is intense, training for a marathon is intense, training for any running event is intense. Commitment to your training plan is important regardless of your end goal but the time commitment involved in training for a 5K is smaller than the time commitment involved in training for a marathon, which gives you more time to pursue a passion, maybe you want to take up knitting or salsa, or maybe you want to spend more time with your family or you just really love napping. Whatever it is, do it, the world is your oyster.
Time is money, right? Even better money is money. The entrance fees for a 5K are generally much less expensive than the entrance fees for marathons, or in this case The Road to Wellness 5K is free for community members! 5K’s are also everywhere, in Massachusetts alone there are close to 400 5K events in 2016. In theory (if dates work out), you could run one a day, although we wouldn’t recommend it. The wide availability of these events ensures that there are 5Ks nearby so you don’t have to travel to some distant land just to race.
To preform or not to preform, that my friends is the question. If you don’t want it to be a big deal it doesn’t have to be. If you wake up the morning of your race not feeling great, it’s ok, there’s the other 300 and something other 5K’s this year. And pushing through 3 miles of running seems much more doable then pushing through 26 miles of running. On the other hand, if you want to make it a thing, then make it a thing! Compete with yourself, compete with the guy in the neon shirt, see how fast you can go once that burn starts and how far you can push yourself.
Along the lines of making it a big deal or a short weekend stop, running a 5K doesn’t necessitate fuel belts or special gear. One of the winners from their age group at The Road to Wellness 5K ran in jeans! And while I personally would over heat, anything is possible. Whether you run in a gorilla costume or running shorts, like most things in life it’s all what you make it.
If I haven’t convinced you to run, then here’s another 10 reasons to sign up for a race!
Let’s put the pedal(s) to the metal
Biking is a fabulous non-impact activity that can benefit you in so many ways! If you don’t believe us here are just five of the many benefits:
1. Saves the plant- no but really! No gas! (well unless you followed someone’s advice about the health benefits of beans)
2. Speaking of your bowel health… Physical activity “helps decrease the time it takes food to move through the large intestine, limiting the amount of water absorbed back into your body and leaving you with softer stools, which are easier to pass”
3. People who ride bikes are smarter (kind of)… “physical activity builds new brain cells in the hippocampus – the region responsible for memory”
4. You don’t have to buy a gym membership… Bike outdoors! You can enjoy the sun, soak up some vitamin D, and it’s easy on your wallet. That’s a win-win-win-win!
5. You can spend time with loved ones. When I think of a health focused family outing, a packed gym with sweaty people isn’t necessarily the first thing that pops into my mind… A nice bike ride with a picnic afterwards sounds much more family friendly, but to each their own.
And here’s the best part about it, we don’t all need to ride over 200 miles a week to enjoy biking (although if you do kudos to you!) Here are some local bike paths so you can enjoy the beautiful outdoors this summer!
Franklin Park Golf Course Loop (2.5 Miles)
Southwest Corridor between Green Street and Ruggles Station (2 Miles)
Arnold Arboretum (About 4.5 Miles, length can be modified up to 12 Miles)