Saturday, April 29, 2023

Running for Heart Health

 

Did you know that running can also improve your heart health? Of course you did. Running is probably the OG cardio workout. But just in case, according to the American Heart Association, running can lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular conditions.

Running is a form of aerobic exercise that can be beneficial for your heart in several ways. When you run, your heart rate increases, which helps to improve cardiovascular fitness and strengthen the heart muscle. Here are some specific ways running can benefit your heart:

  1. Increases heart strength: Running makes the heart work harder, which over time can strengthen the heart muscle and make it more efficient at pumping blood throughout the body.

  2. Improves blood circulation: Running can help to improve blood circulation, which can reduce the risk of developing heart disease. Regular exercise can also help to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, which are both risk factors for heart disease.

  3. Promotes healthy weight: Running can help you to maintain a healthy weight, which is important for heart health. Excess body weight puts added stress on the heart and increases the risk of developing heart disease.

  4. Reduces stress: Regular exercise, including running, can help to reduce stress levels, which can have a positive impact on heart health. High levels of stress can increase the risk of heart disease.

Overall, running is an excellent form of exercise for improving heart health. However, if you have any underlying health conditions or concerns, it's always best to speak with your doctor before starting a new exercise routine. 

As a running coach, I can help you develop a training plan that is tailored to your heart health goals. Whether you are looking to lower your blood pressure or improve your overall cardiovascular fitness, I can help you achieve your goals.

Next week, we’ll look into how running can help with weight loss.

Saturday, April 22, 2023

The Mental Health Benefits of Running

Over the next 4 weeks, we’ll look at some of the different ways that running can help you in life. These will include mental benefits, heart health, weight management and longevity.

Did you know that running is not only good for your physical health, but also your mental health? Studies have shown that running can help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, as well as improve overall mood and self-esteem.

According to a study published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, running for just 30 minutes a day can be as effective as medication in reducing symptoms of depression. Additionally, running releases endorphins, which can help improve your mood and reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.

Personally, I grew up in a hostile environment at home and running was my only way of keeping sane. I would channel all my anxiety, frustration, anger and resentment into my runs. I honestly don't know what I would have done without Track and Cross Country to help me during those dark times. 

What about things like ADHD? Yes, running can help with ADHD by reducing symptoms such as hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention. Exercise, including running, has been shown to improve executive function and cognitive performance in individuals with ADHD.

One study conducted by the University of Illinois found that just 20 minutes of exercise improved attention and reading comprehension in children with ADHD. Another study by the University of Georgia found that exercise, including running, improved working memory and cognitive flexibility in young adults with ADHD.

As a running coach, I can help you develop a personalized running plan that not only improves your physical health, but also helps you reap the mental health benefits of running. Let's get started today!

Next week, we’ll look into how running can help keep your heart healthy.

If you'd like to learn more about running and ADHD, here are the articles referenced above:

Gapin, J. I., Etnier, J. L., & Cauraugh, J. H. (2011). The effects of physical activity on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder symptoms: the evidence. Preventive medicine, 52, S70-S74. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2011.01.022

Medcalf, R., & Michie, P. T. (2015). The effect of acute aerobic exercise on cognition and EEG in children with ADHD. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 47(3), 559-567. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000000436

Ratey, J. J., & Loehr, J. E. (2011). The positive impact of physical activity on cognition during adulthood: a review of underlying mechanisms, evidence and recommendations. Reviews in the Neurosciences, 22(2), 171-185. doi: 10.1515/RNS.2011.017

Saturday, April 15, 2023

The Benefits of Speedwork

 Whether you're training for your first 5K or looking to set a new personal record, incorporating speedwork into your training can help you reach your goals. Speedwork includes a variety of different types of workouts, including intervals, repeats, Fartleks, and hills. In this newsletter, we'll explore the benefits of each of these types of workouts and how you can incorporate them into your training plan.

Intervals

Intervals involve running at a high intensity for a short period of time, followed by a period of rest or lower intensity running. For example, you might run at a near-maximum effort for 30 seconds, then jog or walk for 60 seconds to recover before repeating the interval. Intervals are an excellent way to improve your speed and cardiovascular fitness. They also help you learn how to pace yourself and push through fatigue.

Repeats

Repeats are similar to intervals but involve running at a consistent pace for a longer period of time. For example, you might run one mile at a high intensity, followed by a period of rest, and then repeat the mile at the same pace. Repeats are great for building endurance and improving your ability to maintain a consistent pace.

Fartleks

Fartleks are a type of interval training that involves running at a high intensity for a random amount of time, followed by a period of rest or lower intensity running. For example, you might run hard for one minute, then jog for 30 seconds before repeating the cycle. You can also run hard to a distant tree or fence post. "Fartlek" is a Swedish word meaning "Speed Play", so just have fun with it. Fartleks are great for improving your ability to change pace and respond to different running conditions, such as hills or windy conditions.

Hills

Hill workouts involve running up and down hills at a high intensity. Hill workouts help to improve your strength, endurance, and speed. Running uphill is particularly challenging and can help to improve your running form and leg strength. Running downhill can also be beneficial, as it requires good balance and coordination.

Incorporating Speedwork into your Training Plan

If you're new to speedwork, it's important to start slowly and gradually build up your intensity and duration. Personally, if you're new to running, I'd like to see you build your mileage base for 4-6 weeks before adding in speed work. Start with shorter intervals or repeats and gradually increase the length and intensity of your workouts as you become more comfortable. It's also important to include rest and recovery days in your training plan to allow your body to recover and adapt to the increased stress.

Another benefit of speed work is that it's essentially a HIIT workout. High Intensity Interval Training has been shown to increase metabolism for 24 hours or more! This means you're burning calories at a higher rate just sitting around after your workout.

In conclusion, incorporating speedwork into your training plan can help you improve your speed, endurance, and overall fitness. Intervals, repeats, Fartleks, and hill workouts all offer different benefits and can be tailored to your individual goals and fitness level. Remember to start slowly and gradually build up your intensity, and always listen to your body to avoid injury. Happy running!

Saturday, April 8, 2023

The Benefits of Long Runs

In my last post, I discussed the benefits of easy runs and how they can benefit your running. Today, I want to talk about long runs and why they are essential for building endurance and preparing for races or long-distance events.

Long Runs

Long runs are longer than your average easy run and are typically done at a slower pace, ideally conversation pace. Typically, a run of 45 minutes or longer is considered a "long run" for the average new runner. However, for higher mileage, more experienced runners, you may be looking at 60-90 minutes or more. 

Here are some of the benefits of long runs:

  1. Build endurance: Long runs are essential for building endurance and preparing your body for the demands of long-distance running. By gradually increasing your long run distance each week, you will develop the stamina needed to run longer distances without getting tired. General advice, if you search google, is to increase mileage 5-10% each week. However, my advice is to increase mileage by 5-10% each week for two or three weeks and then cut back for a week. Then proceed to start increasing again for a few weeks. 

  2. Improve fat burning: Long runs help to improve your body's ability to use fat as fuel, which is important for endurance running. By running longer distances, your body is forced to rely more on fat for energy, which conserves glycogen stores and delays fatigue.

  3. Increasing mental toughness: Long runs are mentally challenging, and completing them can give you a sense of accomplishment and confidence. Running for a long time can also help you learn to cope with discomfort and fatigue, which is important for endurance events.

  4. Enhancing recovery: Long runs help to flush out waste products and bring oxygen-rich blood to your muscles, which speeds up your recovery and reduces the risk of injury. Running at a slower pace during long runs also helps to promote active recovery, which can reduce muscle soreness and stiffness.

  5. Preparing for races: Long runs are an essential part of any race preparation plan, particularly for half marathons, marathons, and ultra-marathons. By gradually increasing your long run distance, you will build the physical and mental endurance needed to complete these longer races.

    Next week, we will look at the importance of speed work. It's not just about getting faster...

    If you need any running gear, please consider using my Amazon link for great deals on Running Gear 

Saturday, April 1, 2023

The Benefits of Running Easy

In my last post, I introduced the different types of runs and discussed the importance of easy runs in your running program. Today, I want to dive deeper into the benefits of easy runs.

Easy runs are characterized by a comfortable pace that allows you to maintain a steady effort without getting too tired. These runs are essential for building a strong aerobic base and preventing injury. 

These easy runs will be the majority of your workouts and are typically performed every other day. 

The benefits of easy runs

Build aerobic fitness

Easy runs help to build your aerobic fitness, which is the foundation of all running. When you run at an easy pace, your body learns to use oxygen more efficiently, which improves your endurance and makes it easier to run longer distances.

Improve recovery

Easy runs help to flush out waste products and bring oxygen-rich blood to your muscles, which speeds up your recovery and reduces the risk of injury.

Develop running economy

Running at an easy pace helps to improve your running economy, which means you use less energy to maintain a certain pace. This translates into faster running and more efficient running form.

Reduce stress

Running at an easy pace is a low-stress activity that can help to reduce stress levels and improve your mental health.

In the next post, I'll discuss long runs and how they can benefit your running. Keep an eye out for it!

Happy running!

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