Speed Work in Disguise: Hill Training

Uncategorized on April 16th, 2014 No Comments

Hill training is often called “speed work in disguise”, since muscular power and running economy are really boosted with these workouts.  The better you get on hills the more runners you can pass and the faster your Finishing Time will be.  Even if you train and race on the flats, hills will help improve performance, and it’s a great workout to do by yourself since the hill alone will make sure you get enough of a challenge.

*Hill Repeat Guidelines

Hill training is different from hill running, since in daily runs you try to get up hills as economically as possible with the goal of minimizing Speed Work in Disguise:  Hill Trainingeffort.  And although running hills often at training pace improves over-all strength, it won’t make you faster.  To get that benefit, you have to repetitively work the hills hard. Hill Repeats are basically like track intervals, but you go up instead of around.  With any hill repeat, run easy for 15 – 20 minutes first on the flats, and then run the first repeat slightly slower than your goal intensity.  From that point on, run fast, but under control at about 85% effort.  Emphasize good form—Push off your feet, drive your arms, lift your knees and run all the way up and over through an imagined Finish Line at the top.  Recover by running back down nice and easy. Here’s a look at a few Hill Training options for you:

>Long Hill Repeats:  These are similar to running long intervals on the track.  Find a moderate-grade (5-8% or 3-4 d

egrees) hill.  It should take about 2 to 5 minutes to run up at your 5K to 10K race pace effort.  Long hills are particularly good for building strength, speed and endurance for the half-marathon and marathon distances. Novice runners can aim for 3-4 repeats, while seasoned competitors can aim for 5-6.

>Short Hill Repeats:  These are short, but steep (vs. sweet).  Short-Hill repeats are great for sharpening speed for 5K to 10K races since they’re run at faster than race pace effort.  They’re of similar benefit to short, hard and fast-paced intervals on the track.  Pick a hill that’s 50 to 200 yards long and steep enough (10-15% or 7-9 degree grade) to really challenge you.  It should take about 30-90 seconds to get to the top.  You actually don’t have to run these too fast since gravity will take care of the intensity for you.  Envision that you’re running to a finish line at the crest of the hill, and you’ll be improving your form, strength and speed all the way. Novices can do 4-5 repeats of these short hill repeats at 5K-10K intensity or faster, while more experienced runners can aim for 8 to 10, at about 30 seconds per mile faster than 10K pace.

> Continuous Rolling Hills Fartlek:  The Swedish term fartlek means “speed play” and that’s exactly what you do with this run as it involves spontaneous changes of pace over varying terrain and distances.  Although more of a ‘Continuous’ run versus a ‘Repeat’, Fartlek is a great way to introduce speed training prior to hitting the track for more intense work. Your legs get accustomed to switching gears often while you enjoy a great change of pace from the confined structure of track intervals.  I find this work-out to be the most fun and beneficial when you get off the beaten path and seek out trails or grassy fields.  Try to incorporate a course with a variety and series of hills ranging in grade for moderate to steep, and distances from 100 yards to ¾ miles.  Accelerate up and over the top of each hill at race pace, then run between them at base-training pace.  Throw in a few short bursts between hills if you go too long (more than 5 minutes) between hills.  The more varied and unexpected the experience, the better.  It’s just like being a kid again!

So when you need a break from your traditional track or interval speed training, mix in some hill training…Let your inner speedster out and capture a surefire way to get stronger and faster…After all,

“It’s easier to go down a hill than up,

But the view is much better at the top”.

~ Henry Ward Beecher ~

 

Best,

Pam Landry

Pam Landry

Dedicated CT RACE IN THE PARK Coach

The_athletes_edge@yahoo.com

photo credit: Richard Milnes via photopin cc

6 Tips for Balancing Training and Your Real World Life

Uncategorized on April 14th, 2014 No Comments

Whether you’re aiming for a 40 mile training week, or simply getting in 2 solid power walks per week, maintaining fitness requires balancing your workouts with the rest of your life.  Over the years I’ve found the following tips to be helpful in maintaining a flexible balance between training commitments and the many other valuable pieces of life.

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*PrioritizeBefore you take any other measure to effectively fit your training into your life, consider how important it is toyou.  A good starting point here is to identify the people and activities in your typical day/week that are non-negotiable priorities for you, and then start to schedule in your training sessions around them. Next you can identify activities in your typical day/week that aren’t as important as your training time, so you can cut back on or eliminate them, so that you’re working from a realistic start point.  Remember with this step to keep yourself as a top priority as well…Every minute that you devote to your training or workouts will increase your overall health, confidence, and vitality…All of which ripples out to many life domains, including making you a better spouse, parent, and/or employee.

*Make a Schedule:  With your priorities in order, you can now plan your training week on Sunday nights and commit to being both flexible and creative with its implementation.  It really is easy for example to run interval laps around the soccer field while you’re kids are at practice.  Just remember to take one complete day off from training every week so that you have the option to spend that day with the people/events/activities that are valuable to you, along with building in some quiet self-reflection time.

*Create an Understanding with your Family:  Time spent training can be a major conflict issue with family members.  As with most potential sources of conflict, communication and compromise often help to minimize resentment or misunderstanding.  Discussing your training plans/racing schedule pre-season with family members gives everyone a chance to air their concerns and for all to come up with creative solutions where everyone will benefit.  Planning out family vacations around a ‘Destination Race’ that appeals to all for example, or starting a tradition of Sunday breakfast out  together after a weekend training session can often create some positive family traditions and support.

*Take a Life Stage or a Seasonal ApproachWe all have different priorities at different stages of our lives, so it can be helpful to look at the big picture and plan your athletic goals accordingly.  Marathon training for example may have to wait a bit until your kids/spouse/parents/siblings don’t depend upon you as much. Do a reality check every month or so by revisiting your goals and asking how they’re working with the current stage of your life. Correct and redirect as needed.

*Stay Flexible with Vacations and Travel:  With proper planning, discipline, and a flexible attitude, it’s possible to enjoy vacations or deal with business travel without losing your training momentum.  Think of travel as a running/walking opportunity gained, not lost by looking at it as a chance to explore your new environment.  You can contact the hotel desk for safe routes, or if it’s difficult or unsafe to run outside, hit the Fitness Center with cardio or cross-training sessions that will simulate your planned workouts.  Again, early communication with family members is key if vacationing, so everyone can plan their day and meet up together at a designated time.

*Consider the Triangle of Life:  To keep your training in perspective, think about this triangle:  The physical side of your life (body), the intellectual and career side (mind), and the spiritual and emotional side (heart and soul).  Any time that you put too much emphasis on any one side of the triangle, the other sides are negatively affected.  I like to think of balance not as a static, measured, perfect point, but rather as a variable that constantly shifts with our lives and is a state of constant flux…Balance becomes more about being able to align the changing pieces of our triangle in a way that we and the important people in our lives can feel strong, healthy and cared for at any given time.

Balance then, is an essential characteristic of effective training as well as of a healthy lifestyle.  (A perfect set up for alignment!)….Whenever you’re struggling to keep the two going in sync, give some thought to these wise words…

“Living a balanced life can mean learning some and thinking some,

And drawing and painting some,

 And singing and dancing and playing and working some every day.”

~ Robert Fulghum, Author ~

Best,

Pam Landry

Pam Landry

Dedicated CT RACE IN THE PARK Coach

The_athletes_edge@yahoo.com

photo credit: emma.kate via photopin cc

2014 Pink in the Park

Front Page, NewsTicker, Uncategorized on April 14th, 2014 No Comments

Please join us for Pink in the Park Day at Rock Cats Stadium!

Sunday May 4th!

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The Connecticut Breast Health Initiative and New Britain Rock Cats will hold their annual “Pink in the Park Day” at the New Britain Stadium on Sunday, May 4, 2014.  Join the CT Breast Health Initiative and the Rock Cats for Pink in the Park Day, for this wonderful game and event. Gates open at 12:05 pm, game time 1:35 pm.

There will be a pre-game ceremony honoring survivors. We ask that all survivors join the Rock Cats Players on the field at this time. All Survivors will nee on the field, no later than 12:45pm, by entering section 103 next to the Rock Cats dugout. 

Catch the Rock Cats in their pink jerseys…and wear pink to show your support.

Tickets can be purchased below. 

Ticket Price : $6

“Meal Deal” Food Voucher (Includes 1 hot dog, 1 bottled water, 1 popcorn): $4

Amount:

Please enter the price for the total amount of tickets/food vouchers you wish to purchase.  Please indicate in the description box, these are Rock Cats Tickets.  Once purchased, CTBHI will mail the tickets to the address you provide. Questions? Don’t hesitate to call us at 860-827-7103 or email info@ctbhi.org 

 

Head Check: Motivation and The Need to Achieve

NewsTicker, Uncategorized on April 10th, 2014 No Comments

Like most individuals, you no doubt begin the initial phase of your training cycle highly motivated and excited about your upcoming event. It’s also common however, to have difficulties sustaining personal motivation throughout months of consistent training.  Here are a few strategies that you may find useful to help keep the fires burning from the start of your training season all the way through until you cross that blessed Finish Line.

Long-Term Motivational Strategies for Training

 

Head Check:  Motivation and The Need to Achieve

*PUSH THE EDGE:  Find a weakness in your athletic performance and get excited about where your performance will be after you improve inthis area.  Examples might include pacing, overall endurance, running biomechanics, speed, or racing tactics.  As the weeks roll by, and you’ve established a fitness base, think about talking with a coach for specific advice on how to focus on workouts or strategies that address your weak link. Making gradual improvements and mastering skills are surefire ways to keep you charged up for the long haul.

 

*EXPERIENCE SUCCESS:  When learning new skills and strategies, start with an easy piece, master it, and then move on to the next-easiest step.  If your running or walking  form needs tweaking for example, you could work initially on your arm drive until it’s effective before moving on to subsequent areas such as stride length or leg turnover.

 

*ADJUST YOUR THINKING:  Instead of relying on the old adage about learning from your mistakes, keep a vivid mental catalog of your recent training successes.  By dialing up that solid tempo run or well executed workout in your mind, you reinforce your sense of personal competence and control.

 

*GET INVOLVED: A sense of autonomy directly improves motivation, so in both individual and team sport settings, provide input on decisions that affect you. If working with a coach or as part of a team for example, you may want to talk with the appropriate individuals about adjusting your workout schedule whenever the demands of work or family are leaving you time or energy compromised.

 

*PRAISE OTHERS:  When you notice positive and exciting changes in those around you, you’ll be able to do the same for yourself as well.  Take every opportunity to connect with others on a consistent basis and to cheer them on with their efforts and accomplishments.

 

*VARY TRAINING:  An imbalance between high competence and low task difficulty, and vice versa, can result in boredom or frustration at times.  Devote significant time to play within your training for the sake of play, without rules or evaluation.  Consider spicing up your weekly schedule with a new cross-training activity, and/or lighten up and socialize a bit more when you have the chance to participate in a group training workout.

*FIND MOTIVATED PEERS:  Both on and off the playing field, spend your time with those who want to accomplish meaningful things, and avoid “motivational black holes” who focus on obstacles, frustrations, or limitations.

*THINK STRONG:  Engage in a search for solutions, rather than dwelling on training difficulties.  If your work/home schedule for the coming week seems to obliterate your plan to get your key workouts in for example, brainstorm with those involved and take a solution based approach to the challenging logistics.

*REMEMBER YOUR DREAM:  Reconnect frequently with the many reasons why you committed to train for your upcoming event in the first place.  When things get rough, remind yourself often of the why…It’ll always carry you through with style.

Motivation is certainly a complex and intangible variable that can ebb and flow widely.  So this week, consider working to develop, sustain and enhance your personal motivation to achieve, and mull over these wise words:

“No crowds, no spectators, lights off, no one around

This is when champions are made”

~ Red Auerbach, Boston Celtics Coach, 1950-1966 ~

Best,

Pam Landry

Pam Landry

Dedicated CT RACE IN THE PARK Coach

 

 

photo credit: Arya Ziai via photopin cc

Time Crunched? 5 Quick & Effective Workouts

Uncategorized on April 7th, 2014 No Comments

Many of us have days when we don’t have enough time to do a planned training session.  The question then becomes whether we should try to squeeze in something super short, or to not bother and let it go.  In my experience even a 15-minute run or walk workout can be beneficial and will help to keep your training momentum intact.  The key is to give each session a specific purpose and to vary the format from one to the next.  Here are five of my favorites to try when the clock is ticking.

*The Shakeout:  Pro athletes typically do a short 15 minute jog (or shakeout) early in the morning before a race, but mere mortals can benefit large__7124421667from this as well.  Shakeout runs or walks are great for loosening up your legs after a long car ride for example, or for releasing mental or muscular tension after a tough day at work.

> To Do It:  Just grab your 15 minutes of downtime in an otherwise hectic day and run or walk at a moderate level and you’re done.

*Progression Run or Walk:  The defining characteristic of this workout is steady acceleration.  You start at an easy pace and intensity, gradually get faster and wrap up at a threshold pace. Keep in mind that once you go up to the next speed gear your goal is to only go faster from there and not have to retreat backwards in pace.  This kind of acceleration helps you to develop your sense of pacing, and trains you to hold onto your speed even when you’re fatigued. (What’s not to love here?). Another key benefit of progression runs is that they increase the volume of your fast-paced miles without the added fatigue of a full-length workout.

> To Do It:  Start at an easy intensity for 5 minutes, then pick up the pace for 5 minutes at a moderate level, and  finish with 5 minutes at a high intensity.  The key here is to increase the pace in thin increments; step up your speed too quickly and you may be struggling by the end.

*Hill Sprints:  A little bit of high intensity goes a long way.  Just a few sets of uphill sprints develop efficiency, endurance and power while using more muscle fibers than running on level terrain. 

>To Do It:  After warming up, pick a hill that’s 50 to 200 yards in length and steep enough (10-15%, or 7-9 degree grade) to really challenge you.  Run or walk as fast as you can up the hill (or treadmill set at a 10% incline) for 15 to 30 seconds, then jog/walk slowly back down the hill to recover.   Keep your head and chest up, drive with your arms and run with a bit higher knee lift than usual for 4 to 6 sets.

*Form Drills:  Drills can help to improve your form and stride efficiency, and 15 minutes is plenty of time to get them done.

> To Do It:  Warm up with an easy 3-4 minute jog or moderate paced walk and then move into the following drills: (Preferably done on grass or a track to minimize pounding). Do each drill for about 2 minutes, repeating until your 15 minutes (which includes your warm-up) is up.

>Glute Kicks:  Run or walk forward slowly with a 10 degree forward lean as you try to kick yourself in the rear with the heel of your foot on each stride. The flexibility and strength of your quads are increased with this drill.

>High Knees:  Perform a marching action, walking forward while using an exaggerated arm drive and lifting the knees as far up as you can while you rise up on your toes.  This drill strengthens the hip flexors and can improve your power at push-off.

>Fast Feet:  While staying on the balls of your feet, move your feet forward as fast as you can with small steps while you move your arms rapidly in coordination with your feet. This one improves coordination and stride rate.

*Barefoot Run or Walk:  A simple way to get more for your money from a short run or walk is to take off your shoes.  In small doses moving barefoot strengthens the small muscles in your feet and lower legs that are not used when wearing shoes.

>To Do It:  Find a soft surface (grass, golf course, treadmill or beach) and do a steady-state run or walk at an easy to moderate effort, focusing on gently rolling from your mid-foot to your toes as you go.

Give one of these a try this week if you’re struggling to have enough time to train and to get through the rest of your life’s Action Items for the day… Make it snappy out there if you need to, and carry the ‘Word of the Day’ with you while you do…”Zoom”!

Best,

Pam Landry

Pam Landry

Dedicated CT RACE IN THE PARK Coach

The_athletes_edge@yahoo.com
photo credit: San Diego Shooter via photopin cc

Head Check: Self Doubt to Self Confidence

NewsTicker, Uncategorized on April 3rd, 2014 No Comments

In my work with novice runners and walkers, experienced runners and elite competitors, I know that everyone struggles with self-doubt at times. Although doubts are a part of any goal race or training workout, we can strive to minimize their effect. Here are some thoughts on how to deal with self-defeating beliefs, along with a few principles underlying increased self- confidence.

*REGAINING CONFIDENCE: HOW TO REBOUND FROM SELF-DOUBT

  1. Head Check:  Self Doubt to Self ConfidenceRe-Live:  Developing some explanation for yourself and others for a less than satisfactory effort is typically the first step in determiningwhether and how you’ll move forward.  You risk getting stuck in the assumption that you’re “just not good enough” despite all of the effort and emotion you’ve put into your preparation, unless you evaluate what/why things went poorly.

 

It’s necessary to distinguish between the things that were in your control versus those that were notTo identify causes, make a list of anything you think might have hurt your performanceNext, draw a large circle and write inside of it the things that you believe were within your control. (e.g. effort, mental preparation.) Outside of the circle, write down the things that were out of your control. (e.g. weather, illness…). Focus on the factors that are controllable, work to improve what went wrong there, and let go of any angst associated with things out of your control.  Self-doubt and fear develop as a result of not knowing why. Once you know why you had a poor performance, you can work toward preventing it from happening again.

  1. Replace:  To be successful you must learn to deal with and to master failure.  Instead of ruminating on negative thoughts, reframe the meaning of poor experiences and use the experience as a means to getting stronger.  Cognitive restructuring strategies, such as positive self-talk often lead to increases in confidence levels.  This technique must be practiced however, until you can develop an automatic response system to your negative belief systems.  All of us have “stories” that we have about ourselves, but we also have the power to counter these defeatist beliefs from our past.  For example, your “story” may be that “I always run poorly in the heat.”  This thought can be revised to “In the heat I go out conservatively and finish strong and steady.”

 

  1. Rehearse:  Mental imagery scripts are a good way to help prepare yourself for any mental setbacks that you may encounter.  By rehearsing an event ahead of time, starting at the very beginning of any given performance, and going through every aspect of it until the end, you’ll be better prepared….Change the channel and focus on performing well, instead of giving in to what you fear.

 

The first step to responding to your fears in a positive way is to recognize them.  List 3 things you fear during a race or training session.  Then list 3 of your strengths and create a script about how you can overcome your fears using the strengths you’ve listed. It’s important to use all 5 senses here, and to make your script as vivid as possible. Read your script daily, and prepare to face your fears ahead of time with a concrete plan.

Tips from the Top:  “Get Over It”

Elites and Olympians offer some thoughts on how to rebound from disappointing performances….

Accept It:  “No matter what the time, a race effort advances your fitness and gives you more benefit than a training workout gives you.”  (Two-time Olympian Alan Culpepper).

Understand It:“Figure out what happened…Did you have enough base mileage? Did overtraining lead to fatigue/injury?  Do you need a coach?  The times when we’re not getting the performances we want is when we learn the most if we’re willing to look, and to grow.” (Olympic medalist Deena Kastor).

Go Forward:  “One race is not the be-all, end-all.  There are always other races/challenges that you can take on.  You can plan for a race or a training session but if something happens, you have to move on.”  (Four-time Olympian Colleen DeReuck)

*THE CONFIDENCE EQUATION

There are some underlying principles associated with increasing self-confidence that we can all tap into…Here are some variable that make up this “Confidence Equation”.

Confidence = Control x Competence x Consistency

>Learn to focus on what you can control in every performance setting and situation. This ability results from a conscious choice (willpower) to stay within your circle of control.

>Master your physical and mental skills through quality training as the first step to increasing your feelings of competency. Preparation and self-improvement go hand in hand and by focusing on the progress you have made over time you can create a feeling not only of competence but of consistency. At the heart of establishing competence and consistency is the commitment that you make to believing in your preparation. Focus on your effort and trust your skills immediately before and during performances.

So, this week as you tap into your inner confidence, the Word of the Day is”Shine”! And remember that you’re surefire winners, one and all…….

Best,

Pam Landry

Pam Landry

Dedicated CT RACE IN THE PARK Coach

The_athletes_edge@yahoo.com

photo credit: Alain Limoges via photopin cc

Illness and Injury: The Psychology of Rehabilitation and Recovery

Uncategorized on March 31st, 2014 No Comments

Illness and injury can touch all of us; fierce competitors, recreational athletes, or individuals simply seeking to regain their health. Both illness and injury can often produce an immediate imbalance in life that results in a general disruption in your efforts toward health and fitness or the loss of the good feelings of accomplishment that come from regular exercise, or even having to deal with a permanent loss of physical ability. For many of us, chronic pain can alter moods, disturb sleep, affect cognitive processes and affect relationships. Here are several strategies for coping when you find yourself physically and/or mentally compromised by illness or injury.

*Types of Coping Strategies:

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>Problem-Focused:  Efforts directed at managing or altering the problem that causes your stress are referred to as Problem-FocusedCoping.  Examples might include gathering information about the nature of an illness or injury, learning about treatment options and resources, setting goals for recovery, and adhering to a rehab plan.

>Emotion-Focused:  These strategies are directed at managing the emotions that are experienced as a result of an illness or injury.  Examples here could include learning to express and manage your thoughts and emotions through self-talk and relaxation techniques, seeking out social support, being patient, and eventually accepting your condition throughout your recovery.

*How you can Incorporate These Types of Strategies during your Recovery:

>Seek Information—Learn everything you can about your condition along with what to expect in the course of dealing with it.  Be familiar with the goals and rationale for rehabilitation, the dangers and risks of your treatment options, and probable outcomes and expectations.  It’s your body and your life, so it’s wise to be an educated consumer and your own best health advocate.

>Seek Social Support –Social support plays a critical role in the recovery process and is well documented as being vital to the rehabilitation process, and includes emotional, esteem, and tangible support.  With emotional support you have individuals who offer you comfort and security and make you feel well cared for. Esteem support includes efforts by others to build your sense of confidence by reminding you of your abilities and mental strength.  Informational support is data, advice or guidance that helps you to deal with your recovery.  Examples here could include surrounding yourself with those you can give you solid information about the nature of your condition, being able to tell you what to expect during your recovery and offering feedback on your progress.

>Set Attainable Goals –As we discussed last week, the way in which you approach challenges and goals can directly affect your success.  During the recovery process in particular it’s often helpful to break your ultimate goal of recovery into small-step process goals and to use your achievements as the foundation for regaining your confidence, keeping in mind to set goals that relate to your own level of functioning at any given time.  With an ACL surgery for example, goals might include first increasing your range of motion, and then gradually increasing the strength in your leg.  You could set a schedule for performing your PT exercises, routinely evaluate your weekly progress and adjust your rehab program accordingly.  In this way it’s likely that you’ll gain both confidence and a sense of accomplishment from knowing that you’re working hard, committing to your program and seeing progress from week to week.

>Use Time Off from Competition or Exercise as an Opportunity—It can be helpful to use a short term recovery period as an opportunity to address aspects of your life that may have been put on the back burner.  If you’re feeling well enough, this can be your chance to return to school, volunteer or pursue a hobby that’s been on your life list for a while, each of which provides you with a sense of accomplishment as well as a distraction from the stresses of your illness or injury.

>Use Thought Management –For many of us, an illness or injury triggers doubt and fear, accompanied by a flood of catastrophic, negative thoughts.  Cognitive restructuring, or reframing the way you perceive your illness or injury can be crucial to maintaining your confidence, motivation, and hope.  Continually ask yourself what positive gains can be made by going through this difficult period in your life, and work on looking at your experience from every possible perspective. Sometimes just using the cue word ‘Reframe’ when you find yourself in negative thought patterns can help to redirect your mental attitude.   Healing will always take courage, so know that I’m with you every step of the way, and remember that…

“With the new day

Comes new strength and

New thoughts”.

~ Eleanor Roosevelt ~

Best,

Pam Landry

Pam Landry 

Dedicated CT RACE IN THE PARK Coach

The_athletes_edge@yahoo.com

 

 

Run and Walk Biomechanics: Tips for Optimal Efficiency

NewsTicker, Uncategorized on March 27th, 2014 No Comments

Runners and walkers have individual styles, yet besides enhanced movement economy, improving your form helps to prevent injuries.  The basic principles of good form apply to everyone, fast and slow. Here are several ways to develop good biomechanical form while still being relaxed and efficient.

*Arm Drive and Cadence:medium_287666827

> Proper arm drive helps you to gain speed, maintain balance, and to conserve energy. 

>Hold arms slightly away from your body with elbows at around 90 degrees.

>Drive from the forearm (Think of pushing yourself along a trail with cross-country ski poles…You lead first with your hands, wrists and forearms).

>Keep your hands loose and cupped, since hands control the tension in your entire upper torso. (As if you’re holding a potato chip between your thumb and forefinger that you want to keep intact).

>Your leg turnover speed correlates to your arm drive, so if you pump your arms faster, your leg turnover and speed increases as well.  (How cool is that?)

>Your arm swing should remain in a forward/back arc at around waist level, vs. swinging your arms across your torso.  (Think ‘Arms move Forward for Forward Motion’).

*Foot strike:

>To minimize impact land lightly between your heel and mid-foot   then quickly roll forward through to your toes.  Keep your ankle flexed as your foot rolls forward to create more force for push-off.

> Aim to minimize your foot strike angleExcessive heel strike, with the sole of your foot angled upward at 30 to 45 degrees can cause a braking effect which forces you to run or walk with a short, choppy stride.  If you’re an excessive toe striker and land high on your toes, also consider that this form minimizes cushioning, increases the strain on the lower leg and can result in excessive bouncing which translates to wasted energy.

*Stride Rate and Stride Length:

> Running or walking speed is the product of stride length (The distance covered between foot strikes) and stride rate (The total number of steps taken per foot per minute).  For most runners 180 steps per minute or 90 stride cycles) is considered a productive stride rate.

>Stride length is quite unique to the individual and is one that’s comfortable, doesn’t break your posture chain, and allows you to have a soft, unlocked knee.  A very long leaping stride (over-striding) however is inefficient as you spend too much time in the air.  A very short stride (under-striding) is wasteful as well as you spend too much energy to advance a short distance.

*Body Posture:

>Body posture is a simple but valuable part of a smooth and efficient running or walking form. Keeping your chin up, your head level and your gaze forward will keep the greatest majority of body weight over the point of ground support and minimize the strain on postural muscles.

*Form Drills and Cues:

Here are a few images and cues that you can use as reminders to keep your form sharp, especially when you’re fatigued.

“Fall Forward”-This cue can help to address over-striding because when you run with a slight forward tilt from the ankle, your feet will naturally land closer to your center of gravity.

“Running on Water”-Imagine that you’re running on water and want to exert minimum contact time, like a skipping stone.  This cue can help to remind you to cover ground quickly, lightly and rhythmically.

“Lay Low”-Think about moving your body forward instead of up and down.  Imagine that you’re running beneath a ceiling just 2 inches above your head. This cue can remind you to run with greater stability by reducing vertical impact forces.

As always, this week I encourage you to pay attention and discover more of the many wonderful things that your body can do for you on a daily basis…After all…

“The Body Never Lies”

~ Martha Graham ~

American Dancer and Choreographer

Best,

Pam Landry

Pam

The_athletes_edge@yahoo.com

photo credit: Thomas Hawk via photopin cc

Head Check: 8 Steps to Effective Goal Setting

NewsTicker, Uncategorized on March 24th, 2014 No Comments

Effective goal setting is a vital first step towards achieving both personal and athletic goals.  Here are a few tips to help you get a solid start in establishing and achieving your goals.

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1. Write Down Target Goals in Specific, Objective and Measurable Terms.

Clarify the What in this step, by writing down short and long term goals for your own accountability, and to regularly monitor your progress.  ashort term goal might be:  I want to register for one of the 5K, 1 Mile, or 4K events and to train for and finish the CT Race in the Park on May 10, 2014.  A more specific, objective and measurable long term goal might be:  I intend to follow a 7 week training plan and to train 3x per week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays beginning on March 24.

2. State the Why:

Go beyond simply knowing what your race day goals are by stating Why you want to make them.  Knowing and remembering the “Why” will help to motivate you and keep you going when obstacles become daunting. Tie the “Why” into your life priorities as well.  Using the race day example from above, the “Why” might be because you want to contribute your efforts toward finding a cure for breast cancer in your lifetime.

3. State Your Goals in the Positive:

Positive goals create a positive state of mind.  For example, you may want to increase the number of days that you drink water at lunch, versus stating that you want to decrease your soda consumption.

4. Set Moderately Difficult Goals:

Your goals should stretch you, but also be realistic and possible to attain.  Only you know what a challenging, but realistic goal is for you, but you can also ask someone who knows you very well to help you out with some objective feedback.

5. Set Your Own Goals, versus Allowing Someone Else to Set Goals for You:

Research shows that you internalize goals that are your own better than those imposed upon you. For example, your doctor may want you to reduce your cholesterol, but until you can determine if and why this may be important for you, your lifestyle goal may not be meaningful for you, and you may be less likely to pursue it.

6. Identify Your Goal Achievement Strategy:

Set your target goal first, but then develop a strategy that will help you to accomplish it. If you want to reduce your total cholesterol level by 20 points for example, you’ll need to determine  what steps you will need to take to make it happen (increase fiber intake, decrease fat in diet, etc.), as well as how these steps align with your life priorities. (How would decreasing your cholesterol for example, potentially benefit priorities of personal health, family, and/or career, or volunteer work?)

7. Continually Evaluate and Re-Set Your Goals:

At the end of each day/week or quarter, evaluate your progress.  What needs improvement?  What’s working?  “Correct and Redirect” if needed, and celebrate your success often!

8. Use Internal Goals to Help you Achieve your Target Goal:

Target Goals represent a tangible outcome that you want (race times, results, team selection, or other specific end achievements).  Targets provide a focal point, and determine your direction, yet they do not define the process or the how.

Internal Goals represent the process and the characteristics required to achieve your Target Goals.   While a target goal might be a sub-20 minute 5K, an Internal Goal could be to remain relaxed yet focused throughout the race, regardless of the outcome.  Other examples might include being patient, believing in yourself and your abilities, asserting yourself or being accepting and proud of your current fitness level and abilities. You and the other important people in your life will first remember who you have become through your Internal Goal efforts, rather than what you have achieved.

              In my experience, effective goal setting is a solid way to get the most out of yourself as a person.  I also like to offer race participants a Word of the Day’ that signifies a winning spirit… So as you take on the   important task of setting goals for yourself this week, the Word of the Day is…Soar”!

Best, Pam

The_athletes_edge@yahoo.com

photo credit: darkmatter via photopin cc

Meet our 2014 Honorary Chairs!

Front Page, NewsTicker, Uncategorized on March 12th, 2014 No Comments

2014 Honorary RACE Chairs!

 

 

NancyWyman

 

Lt. Governor – Nancy Wyman

Nancy Wyman has been involved with the Connecticut Breast Health Initiative for nearly 20 years, and we are excited she is joining us for another year.  Wyman is a well-known advocate for improving healthcare and affordability, and has been a driving force in raising money for breast cancer research.

 

 

 

 

RL head shot

Basketball Analyst & Former UCONN Player – Rebecca Lobo

The Connecticut Breast Health Initiative is pleased to have Rebecca Lobo join us as an Honorary RACE chair.  Since her time on the court, Lobo has taken on the roles of author, mother, announcer, and breast cancer advocate. She joins CTBHI following in her late mother’s footsteps RuthAnn Lobo, who has served as an honorary chair, and volunteer for 17 years.

 

 

 

 

ERIN E  STEWART MAYOR OF NEW BRITAIN CT-39

 

New Britain Mayor – Erin Stewart

Mayor Erin Stewart is a lifelong resident of New Britain, Connecticut, and is the former volunteer project director and co-founder of NBHS’s “Youth Who Care” initiative for the CT RACE IN THE PARK. Stewart received the 2007 Greater New Britain YWCA leadership award for her dedication to the Connecticut Breast Health Initiative, and persistence in raising money to help find a cure for breast cancer. We are thrilled she to have Mayor Stewart as one of our 2014 Honorary RACE Chairs.

 

 

 

Jess Rivard Headshot

Jess Rivard – 2014 Honorary RACE Youth Chair

We are happy to welcome Jess Rivard as our Honorary RACE Youth Chair for this year’s CT RACE IN THE PARK. She hopes to spread the message amongst teenagers, that regardless of age, anyone can make a difference if they put their mind to it. Rivard is involved in multiple organizations at her school, including two different choruses, and the schools gymnastics team. On her free time she enjoys singing, playing, and writing her own music. Rivard and her family have been involved with CTBHI since before she can remember; she could not be more thrilled about this opportunity.