Managing Stress Variables

When developing a plan it is important to keep in mind the variables of stress at play. There is an art to building a training plan for each athlete. It is like a puzzle you must solve. You cannot have too much stress, but you want to stress the right variables at the right time to lead to a specific outcome. The variables at play are long runs, mileage, workouts, racing, and so many more. In addition to the training stress variables each athlete also has different life stressors that will impact their training cycle like work, school, kids, health issues. Today we are doing a deep dive into the stress variables and advice for getting the most out of your training

 

Training stress variables need to be managed appropriately in a training plan.

❌Adding workouts, mileage, and long runs at the same time is a recipe for disaster!❌ This looks different for every single athlete, but the general guidelines remain the same

IMG_5132

👇Check out how training stress variables should be managed👇

✅MILEAGE: Mileage should be the first training variable that is changed when beginning a training plan. If you have consistently been running 10 miles/week, it would NOT be appropriately to start a training plan at 30 miles/week. You HAVE to meet yourself where you’re actually at, not where you want to be at. Mileage should be increased SLOWLY, no more than 10% each week

✅LONG RUNS: Long runs should be the second variable to increase. How the long runs progress depends on how much time you have before your goal race

WORKOUTS: Workouts should be the ✅third variable to tinker with. Shorter, simpler workouts are appropriate when mileage and long runs are increasing, but you shouldn’t be doing big tempo workouts if you don’t have a solid base first

👇Other considerations👇

✅RACING: How much are you racing? Running several many marathons in a year is a HUGE stress

✅LIFESTYLE: Is your job physically demanding? Do you have kids? Running does NOT happen in a vacuum. Make sure you (and your coach, if you have one!) consider your life outside of running as it relates to your training load

⭐️Even if two runners have the same goal race and goal time, they will NOT have the same training plan, especially as training progresses. Everyone responds to stress differently and everyone has different life stressors that happen. Manage YOUR specific stress to stay injury-free and keep running happily!⭐️

Low Iron Guide For Runners

IRON 1️⃣0️⃣1️⃣ FOR RUNNERS

💥HOW IS IRON LOST?

👉Footstriking: Repeated jarring footstrikes can physically break red blood cells, therefore, shorter lifespan of RBCs

👉Sweating

👉GI Tract: Hepcidin, a protein in the GI tract, blocks iron absorption due to acute bouts of inflammation

👉Menstruation in females

👉Genetic disposition: Some people are predisposed to poor iron absorption

👉Growth: Younger athletes who are still growing lose more iron

👉Stress: Physical and emotional stress can cause iron loss

💥SYMPTOMS OF LOW IRON:

👉Continual and constant fatigue in training

👉Sleeping more than usual

👉Difficulty getting up from sleeping or naps

👉Inability to handle anaerobic or interval type training

👉Incredibly ‘heavy’ arms during training

👉Very inconsistent training (ups and downs)

👉Drop off in training and/or competition performance without any other explanation

💥RISKS OF LOW IRON:

👉Compromises immune & thyroid function, metabolic efficiency, and cognitive function

👉Increased risk of under-eating: Anxiety is induced due to less dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine (all require iron as a cofactor) which has been shown to lead to eating disorders

👉Increased energy expenditure: 30% greater resting energy expenditure, thus needing to consume more calories

👉Suppression of growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) which are critical for proper bone health

👉Impaired fertility and reproductive function

💥HOW TO IMPROVE IRON LEVELS:

✅Eat more foods with iron: beef, pork, chicken, fish, fortified cereals, dark leafy greens, dried fruits like raisins, and beans

✅Take in more Vitamin C: Vitamin C has been shown to increase the absorption of iron so consider taking a Vitamin C pill or eating Vitamin C-rich foods with an iron pill or iron-rich foods

✅Cook in a cast iron skillet: Using iron skillets helps transfer some of the iron to your food

✅Limit calcium (found in dairy), tannins (found in coffee), and phytates (found in grains and nuts) when taking in iron: These reduce iron absorption

IMG_5125 3

IMG_5128.jpeg

Foam Rolling Guide

⚡️FOAM ROLLING⚡️

❓What does it do❓

✅Foam rolling releases tightness in your muscle fascia. When muscle fascia is tight, it cannot perform properly leading to other muscles overworking and then getting injured. Foam rolling also increases range of motion and blood flow 👍

❓How do you do it properly❓

✅IT Band: Do NOT foam roll directly on the IT band. The IT band is a thick tendon, NOT a muscle that can be relieved of tightness. You need to foam roll the surrounding muscles like your quads, hamstrings, glutes, and tensor fasciae latae (TFL) to relieve tightness in that area. Lie facedown on the foam roller to roll your quads and TFL. See below for hamstrings and glutes

✅Glutes/Piriformis: Sit on the foam roller with one bent knee over the other straight leg, and roll the glute of the straight leg

✅Hamstrings: Sit on the floor and roll up and down on the back of your thighs

✅Adductors: Lie facedown with one leg extended out to the side and bent. Place the roller on that leg’s inner thigh area and use your arms and other leg to roll side to side

✅Calves: Sit down on the floor and roll one calf at a time

👇Other tips👇

✅Foam roll SLOWLY! Spend more time on those areas of tightness. It should feel uncomfortable rather than painful

✅Don’t over-roll a sore/painful area. Us runners like to take things to the extreme, especially if we think something will make an injury better or prevent an injury. Five minutes a day on your entire body is plenty

✅The more you do it, the less uncomfortable it will be! It’s just like flossing your teeth. It hurts if you haven’t done it in awhile, but it’s no big deal if you do it everyday

✅Ease into it. Start with half of your body weight when rolling and day after day, start putting your full body weight into it

 

IMG_5120.jpegIMG_5119.jpeg

IMG_5121.jpeg

 

Tips For Trying A Triathlon

 

It’s not uncommon for runners to dabble in the sport of triathlon! It can be a fun new challenge and a great way to avoid burnout from running 🙌

👇Check out our tips for first time triathletes👇

👓Get the right gear: A lot of gear is required for the three disciplines, and you want the right gear to make an already difficult sport a little bit easier on you. Biking shorts, wetsuit, anti-fog goggles, pouches and water bottle holders for your bike, etc. You can rent a lot of these things from local stores if you don’t want to dive completely in!

🚴Get used to clipping in: If you’ve never clipped bike shoes in and out of a bike, chances are you will fall down a few times before you get the hang of it. You want to feel 100% comfortable with this by race day!

🏃Practice running in your bike shoes: You have to run in your bike shoes during the transition from the bike to the run! It can feel weird, so practice it before race day

🧱Do brick workouts: A brick workout usually refers to biking and going right into a run. This will help you practice a quick transition time between the bike and run during your race and will help you feel comfortable running off the bike with less-than-fresh legs!

🏊‍♂️Practice swimming in open water: Open water is a different animal than swimming in a pool. You are dealing with the psychological effects of being in deep, open water along with physical effects like waves and no ropes to keep you swimming straight

👀Practice sighting while swimming: When you swim in open water, you need to look up every so often to make sure you are still going straight/the shortest route. Every five or so strokes, practice lifting your head to the front to breathe instead of to the side

🗓Plan your schedule strategically: Having to practice three sports can make you feel like you should be doing all the sports all of the time! As a runner coming into the sport, you need to bike and swim more than run. Biking takes up the majority of the time in a race, so you should be biking the most (time-wise) during the week!

IMG_5112.jpeg

First Time Marathon Training Tips For Busy Moms

First Time Marathon Training Tips for Busy Moms By Caitlyn Obolsky

I’m a mom of 5 kids. I also work as a lawyer & copywriter, and a home educator. I’ve learned a lot in the process of training for my first marathon, and I thought I would share some insights that I’ve gained with other moms going through their journey to running a marathon.

Guard your Time & your Energy
This is the most critical tip that I have. You’re going to have to learn to say no, even when you don’t want to. You are going to miss out on some really cool things. But that’s ok! There will be other cool things in the future. If you don’t prioritize your training, then you’re not going to do your best work. Your time and energy have real finite limits, and once you spend all of your spoons, you have to wait until they recharge, which could take a long time.

Nutrition
This is probably one of the easiest things for moms to let slide. We have so many things to stay on top of. It’s hard enough to get the kids to eat a carrot every once in a while, let alone think about what we’re eating. But you have to. You have to stay on top of nutrition if you want to perform your best. I order bagged salads with my weekly grocery order. Occasionally, I’ll splurge on a Starbuck’s salad or a few salads from a company called Thistle. You can also incorporate more nutritionally dense foods into your family meals. I can’t promise they’ll always be a hit, but last night my 5 year old ate some kale chips. Just saying…

Sleep
You have to prioritize sleep. You can’t predict when someone is going to wake up in the middle of the night because of a nightmare, or they wet the bed, or their ear hurts, or they need water, etc. What you can control is when you go to bed. I especially try to go to bed earlier the night before a long run.

Don’t Run Through Illness or Injury
You’re going to make them worse, trust me on this one. Over the summer (2019) I had a minor chest cold. It really wasn’t a big deal. I don’t even feel that sick. So I took no time off. I even set a 5K PR on the 4th of July, even though my lungs felt somewhat congested. By the end of July I was prescribed four different medications for my full blown bronchitis. You can imagine how much training I had to miss after that. Be a mom to yourself. Listen to your body’s needs, and take rest days when you need them. You won’t regret arriving on race day a little under trained but healthy. You will regret bronchitis preventing you from stepping foot at that marathon startline.

Streamline
Get all your gear ready the night before you run. Arrange all of your clothes and set the coffee machine so you only have to turn the button on when you wake up. Place everything you need on your run next to each other (e.g. cliff bar, Garmin, filled water bottles, phone, earbuds, GU) so that you don’t have to waste additional time or steps getting these things together. All you have to do is eat, then head out the door.

Schedule out your runs as early as possible
Inputting my runs (in pencil) into my daily planner has been one of the most helpful practices I’ve ever done. Why? Because knowing that I have a 16 mile long run helps me make a decision about whether I agree to an all day field trip to San Francisco the Friday before. (See earlier section on guarding your energy.) Similarly, you can plan birthday parties, celebrations, family gatherings or other events based on your training. For example, if you have a long run on a Sunday in 3 weeks, you won’t want to book your child’s part at Chuck E. Cheese that day. Having that information in front of you will be instrumental to planning for success.

Cross Train with your kids
One of the hardest elements of marathon training for me to figure out has been cross training. I don’t really have the infrastructure to add another thing into my schedule. I realized that by practicing soccer or baseball with my kids, I could get my heartrate up, engage in quality time with them, and check my cross training off of the list. Another one of my favorite cross training activities is gardening with the kids. We take turns pulling weeds, raking leaves, planting things, watering, and just playing outside. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Your runs are likely going to be your priority, but finding hacks to cross training can help you reap the benefits of building an aerobic base and decreasing the chances of injury.

Run with your kids
These aren’t going to be your fastest runs or your most beautiful runs. You are probably going to have to stop, a lot. Incentives may be required to get your children to go along. However, in time, your kids will know what to respect, and you can share your new activity with them. This also makes fitting in shorter runs easier because you can just load the kids up, or step outside your door, hand them their scooters or bikes, or load up the stroller, and go! My middle child, an 8 year old boy, has become my completely unexpected running partner. He ran a 5K last week just because he wanted to see how far he could go!

Use What You’ve Got
When I started running again, back in June 2018, it was on a ¼ mile loop around my son’s baseball practice field. The practice was 2 hours long, and I had 5 kids with me. While my youngest was still a toddler, and easy to keep in the jogging stroller for a bit, my 3 year old was very difficult to keep track of. I realized that in order for me to be able to run, I would need to get him involved somehow. So, I told the 3 year old that I was going to race him on his scooter. Guess what? It worked. I couldn’t even come close to catching him, a short fast run made my lungs burn. I couldn’t even run slowly for an entire lap in the beginning. But slowly, over the summer during those baseball practices, we did more and more loops. I found other parks that had similar loops ¼-⅛ of a mile. I would run the loops around the playground to reach 1 or 2 miles. By September I ran my first 5K in 10 years. I didn’t have anyone to watch my kids so that I could run, so I made the best of what I had. I still run loops around/next to playgrounds, soccer
fields, and baseball fields when that’s what’s available. Similarly, I lift weights in the little pockets of time that I have such as during bath time. I recently
heard this method being called “snacks.” Just how your kids want to eat goldfish every couple of hours, make your weight lifting a snack that you fit in when you can.

Incorporating weight lifting
with the kids can work if you use light weights, and make sure things don’t get too chaotic. (Feel free to send me tips on that last one!)
Another thing one of my single mom friends has done, is that she arranged a childcare swap with another single mom where they meet at the park and then she heads out for a run. It has been a good additional option for her family when she doesn’t have other childcare.

Mindset
Your kids are going to get sick. You might get sick too. Someone is going to have an
appointment for something. A work or school thing might come up last minute. You’re going to miss workouts, and you’re probably going to have some crappy workouts as well. That’s life, and as a mom, you probably have a lot more variables going on. One practice that helps me is looking through inspirational posts on pinterest, and sometimes instagram, to help me keep a positive mindset. This helps with maintaining motivation as well. Additionally, accepting when runs just aren’t going to happen, and working with my coach (Mary) to move things around has been immensely helpful to me. When I know that a certain weekend is going to be filled up, and I communicate this to her, she can work to figure out a plan B. This has by far been one of the most stress alleviating aspects about hiring a coach. Well that and not having to worry about
what paces to hit or what kinds of workouts to do! If I’m healthy I just program them in and get them done!

I hope these tips are helpful, and that they can allow you to avoid some of the mistakes that I have made over the past year as I head into my first full marathon next month.

mrs.obolsky@gmail.com

How Long To Train For a Marathon or Half Marathon?

🏃‍♀️HOW LONG TO TRAIN FOR EACH RACE DISTANCE🏃‍♀️

How long it will take you to get ready for a specific race distance is completely dependent upon your running history and consistency. An experienced runner can get ready to race any distance in a relatively short amount of time, though it will take a longer period of focused race-specific training to run a personal best 💯

What level of runner you are has ❌NOTHING❌ to do with speed. It has everything to do with the amount of years running and consistent mileage over those years

🔥Advanced runners:

▫️5-10+ years of running experience

▫️20+ miles per week consistently

Has run several races

🔥Intermediate runners:

▫️1-5 years of running experience

▫️10-20 miles per week consistently

▫️Has ran a few races

🔥Novice runners:

▫️1 year or less of running experience

▫️0-10 miles per week

▫️Has never done a race or has only done a couple shorter races

⚡️5k⚡️

❇️ADVANCED: 0 weeks to race a 5k, but 2-4+ months to get into “PR shape”

❇️INTERMEDIATE: 0 weeks to race a 5k, but 2-4+ months to get into “PR shape”

❇️NOVICE: 4-6 weeks to finish

⚡️10k⚡️

❇️ADVANCED: 0 weeks to race a 10k, but 2-4+ months to get into “PR shape”

❇️INTERMEDIATE: 0 weeks to race a 10k, but 2-4+ months to get into “PR shape”

❇️NOVICE: 1-3 months to finish

⚡️Half Marathon⚡️

❇️ADVANCED: 0 weeks to race a 10k, but 3+ months to get into “PR shape”

❇️INTERMEDIATE: 3-6 months recommended

❇️NOVICE: 6+ months recommended

⚡️Marathon⚡️

❇️ADVANCED: 3-9 months recommended

❇️INTERMEDIATE: 6-12 months recommended

❇️NOVICE: 12-24 months recommendedIMG_5064.jpeg

Running Form Tips

⚡️RUNNING FORM TIPS⚡️

There are many things you can start doing and stop doing to improve your running form to achieve optimal economy. EFFICIENT runners are FAST runners! 💪

❇️Stay loose: Relax your arms into a 90 degree angle, pretend you are holding chips in your hands that you don’t want to break, think about getting your shoulders out of your ears, and even relax your jaw! 🙂

❇️Run tall: Slouching most often occurs because you aren’t engaging your core. Think about running TALL, almost like you have a string being pulled from your feet to your head to make you run upright. This will allow for better breathing! 🌬

❇️Think “ quick feet”: Think about quick feet rather than a longer stride! In order to achieve the optimal 180 steps per minute (cadence), you need to quicken your foot strike, NOT lengthen it! If you have a running watch that records cadence data, take a look and see if you need to quicken your foot strike 👣

❇️Don’t cross your arms over your midline: When your arms cross over your midline (your belly button) you are transferring energy side to side instead of FORWARD. Forward motion = faster motion! ⚡️

❇️ Run with your feet under your center of mass: Think about your feet falling right underneath your body instead of out in front of your body 🏃‍♀️

❇️Get a gait analysis: Physical therapists can help you figure out ways to improve your running efficiency 🙌

❇️Pick one thing to improve on at a time: If you try to fix your arms, cadence AND slouching at the same time, you might feel like throwing in the towel altogether! 👎

❇️Remember we are ALL different: Look at the elite pack running during the next marathon that you spectate. You will notice that they are all running tall, running with relaxed arms, and are landing under their center of mass. HOWEVER, you will notice slight differences in exactly how their feet strike the ground and their exact arm movements. The same goes for recreational runners! There are things you can do to improve, but there will always be natural differences from one runner to the next 👍IMG_5066.jpeg

Progressive Overload

PROGRESSIVE OVERLOAD PRINCIPLE 🏃

IMG_5073.jpegWHAT IS IT⁉️

The gradual increase of load or stress placed on the body 📈

HOW DO YOU IMPLEMENT IT⁉️

👉The most common rule of thumb is to not increase mileage more than 10% each week. Intensity should be added gradually as well! Another important piece of the progressive overload principle is starting where your fitness is at currently, not where you WANT it to be❗️If your most recent long run was 7 miles, you should ❌NOT❌ jump up to a 12 mile long run the the following week

WHY THE 10% RULE⁉️

👉Physiologically, your body CAN handle jumping from 20 miles one week to 40 miles the next. You could handle this for a few weeks, or maybe even a few months, but your body will eventually break down in the form of injury or burnout. The BEST way to improve as a runner is to stay consistent, and you cannot stay consistent if you are injured or burned out. You need to run the amount of mileage that is most beneficial for YOU 👍

HOW DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOUR MILEAGE SHOULD BE⁉️

👉Look at your last few months of training to figure out how many miles per week you’ve been running and how long your longest run has been. Then ask yourself if you felt good from day to day and if you were recovering from your hard workouts on that amount of mileage🏃‍♀️

WHAT IF YOU FEEL LIKE YOUR FITNESS HAS STAGNATED⁉️

👉It’s true that you can’t just keep progressing your mileage to infinity. It’s not appropriate for most runners to keep increasing until you hit 100 miles per week. If you’ve been following the progressive overload principle for awhile and feel like your race times have stagnated, it’s time to focus on the little things in training! Look at your sleep, nutrition, and drinking habits. Where could you improve? It’s also important to keep focusing on consistency! Any race from the 5k to the marathon requires a big aerobic base, which can only be improved by continuing running with SMART training that is backed by the progressive overload principle 🤓

How to Select Goal Races

💥GOAL RACE CRITERIA💥

When we are picking our goal races for the year, we want to think about putting ourselves in the BEST possible position to see what we are capable of 💯

IMG_5033.jpeg

👇Consider the following to ensure your goal race will set YOU up for success:👇

❇️TIME OF YEAR:

A race in August versus a race in November will yield VERY different temperatures anywhere in the U.S. Shoot for goal races in the Fall and Spring for optimal running conditions! ⛅️Experts say the ideal running temperatures for the human body are 45-50 degrees for long distance races

❇️COURSE ELEVATION:

It’s no secret that running on hills slows you down, though some runners do thrive on smaller rolling hills versus a completely flat course. Know what type of course suits you best! 🏔

❇️CROWD SUPPORT/SPECTATORS:

Do you love having spectators cheer you on, or does all the commotion of a big race stress you out? Figure out what environment you run your best in! 👨‍👨‍👦‍👦

❇️TRAVEL:

Some runners LOVE runcations while others prefer to stay close to home for races. Plan to run races that make the most sense for you and your situation! ✈️

❇️COMPETITION/FIELD SIZE:

Are you the type of runner who is motivated and pushed by other runners around you, or can you thrive out on your own during a race? Figure out your ideal racing scenario 🏃‍♀️🏃🏃‍♂️

Why Running Is Hard: Burnout vs. Lack of Motivation

Running can be BORING! Are you surprised we just admitted that?

One of the biggest problems runners face is slowing down on easy runs. I have heard every excuse in the book to why runners just do not like to run slow.

“It feels weird”

“It’s hard to slow down”

“I really struggle with it”

It boils down to one main concept: Running SLOW is BORING.

Running at our easy pace isn’t fun or flashy. We won’t be hitting new PRs. We won’t be breaking any records. We are just logging the miles. Slow and steady.

We are all familiar with the Tortoise and the Hare fable. A similar concept is true for distance running. Consistency over time will yield to the best results.

To become a successful runner, we do not need to avoid failure on race day. We simply need to keep showing up through the good and the bad. Difficult days are a guarantee. You will never always feel good. It will never always feel right. You may have stretches of time where you do not see results.

The key is to not get bored of the process.

The greatest threat to success is boredom. We often get bored of running because it stops being ‘exciting’. It becomes apart of our daily routine just like anything else we do. It stops being novel. It stops being amazing, and it begins to take the shape of something easy, boring, familiar.

We get so used to our amazing running abilities that they become ordinary to us. When we no longer feel that fire motivation to continue to push forward, we often see athletes get trapped in the cycle of jumping from one training plan to the next. From one coach to the next. From one race to the next chasing the next excitement.

We live in a world of instant gratification. As soon as we are bored, we can pick up our smart phone and become endlessly amused. As soon as we are hungry, we can push a few buttons on our phone to have food delivered to our doorstep.

Our culture has become accustomed to jumping from one thing to the next the moment something starts to feel ‘boring’. Even when you are experiencing a great level of success and progress you can derail everything by jumping off the ship the moment your motivation starts to drop.

With anything in life, in order to become great, you must practice. Practicing even when you don’t feel like it. Practicing even when you have ran the same route and the same easy run 10,000 times.

The problem is not that we cannot do the task at hand. The problem is we have been living in a culture where we believe we must feel excitement or feel motivated to do something. Even elite runners get up some days and do NOT feel like running. Pushing through the feelings of ‘un-motivation’ to do the task at hand is what makes them elite.
So next time you don’t feel like running or don’t feel motivated, remember: you do not have to be. Get the task done!

IMG_5038.jpeg

 

Low Motivation Warning Signs
– Prefers to only do activity when it is convenient, fun, exciting, or with others
– Has list of 100 more appealing/better things to do instead of workout
– History of inconsistency
– Becoming distracted with the next best thing
– subconsciously on a never-ending search for a quick fix
– Believing you are not talented or that other people are better than you
Mental Burnout Warning Signs
– Feelings of guilt for missing a workout or falling out of a routine
– Highly consistent routine and habitual for weeks, months, & maybe even years
– Negative self talk and shame when you feel like you need to take time off or rest
– Not wanting to let others down
– Fear of progress getting derailed
– Torn between feeling you need to work harder than others but also deep down desperately wanting a break