What Should You Do After A Marathon PR?

You Just Ran a Marathon Personal Record! Now What?

High fives! Running a personal record is a major accomplishment that can leave you flying high for days, if not weeks! But what should you do after a Marathon PR? Believe it or not, what you do next is just as important as your successful preparation for the race.

It’s easy to jump back to training too soon after a marathon PR and rock-star performance, but the harder you push yourself in a race (especially a marathon), the more gradual your return to running. Now this doesn’t mean you get to sit on the couch binge-watching your favorite Netflix series, but it does mean giving yourself enough active recovery time to optimally recover so you can set yourself up for another strong performance.

When I asked Marathon World Record holder Paula Radcliffe what her recovery was post race, she said, “I take a month off.” She ramps her running up slowly through the month, but takes that month off of “training.”

If you want to continue to perform at your peak, you have to train like an elite and invest in a thorough recovery phase. The goal is to train, peak in running fitness, and then recover. In other words, the aim isn’t to hold your fitness level at the peak all year long. Doing so sets you up for injury and burnout. The idea is to flow through training, racing, recovery and base maintenance through the year.

Recovery Plan — One Week After A Marathon PR

Because you pushed hard in the marathon, the first week should include rest days, light and low impact activity to boost circulation and flush the muscles and flexibility. Elliptical, cycling, and swimming for 20 minutes at an easy effort during the early part of the week, followed by Yin based yoga, foam rolling and flexibility. Build to longer 30-40 minute cross-training towards the end of the first week, and if all feels good (no aches), try an easy 30 minute run over the weekend.

Schedule a flushing massage 1-2 days post marathon, which uses light pressure and focuses on moving the lymphatic system (the body’s natural drainage system) to flush metabolic waste. The massage motion should only be “up and out” to facilitate draining the waste products from your body. For the best results, look for a massage therapist that has sports massage experience. Better yet, find one that is a runner. In other words, stay away from deep tissue massage up to 48 hours post-workout or race. The goal is to assist the body in what it’s already doing to recover.

Recovery Plan — Two Weeks After A Marathon PR

This week you’re keeping the effort level easy, and building your running frequency back. If you don’t have any aches or pains, weave easy effort running into the second recovery week. Two to three runs from 30-45 minutes during the mid-week, and a longer 50-60 minute run over the weekend. Blend in low impact cross-training (elliptical, cycling plus strength, pilates or yoga).

 

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Recovery Plan — Three Weeks After A Marathon PR

During week three (if all feels good), build on your running time, and keep the effort easy to continue recovery. This is where many runners go wrong. Although the soreness has subsided, the body is still recovering from the demands of the marathon. Practice patience and continue to run at an easy effort this week. Boost your run time to 40-50 minutes during the two-to-three mid week, and 60 minutes over the weekend. Continue with low impact cross-training and strength, yoga or pilates. It is also important to keep the cross-training to no harder than a moderate effort level this week as well.

Recovery Plan — One Month After A Marathon PR

The final week is graduation for most, as you’ve invested in a thorough recovery phase, and you can begin to merge back into some harder effort running. Keep the majority of your runs at an easy effort, with 45-60 minute duration during the week, and a 60-70 minute long runs, and add one up tempo run; fartlek, short 30 seconds pick ups or hill run. You can also add moderate to high intensity to one of the cross-training sessions, while keeping the others at a moderate effort.

As you continue on, you can now progress into training for another event, or go to maintenance mode and focus on fitness. The key to running your best, is to recover just as hard as you race.


 

Coach Jenny Hadfield is a published author, writer, coach, public speaker and endurance athlete. To find out more, visit our Meet Our Writers page or visit Coach Jenny’s website.


Learning to Run Faster

Learning to run faster isn’t as hard as you may believe. In fact, in many cases, all it takes it a little tweaking to your routine, and some sweat equity. It’s common to get into the habit of running at a go-to pace, or a pace that can be both too fast, and too slow.  When we run at the same pace all the time (our go-to), they tend to be at too hard an effort to be considered easy, and too easy to be considered hard enough to improve speed.

The secret is in gradually blending an easy, moderate and hard running workout into your routine.

Let’s take my friend Sara, for instance. She runs three miles, three times per week at a 10:30 pace, at a moderate effort level.  She alternates running with yoga every other day to allow for recovery (a good idea). But where she comes up short in her quest to running faster is in the lack of variety. Here’s what we did to change that and it led to her shedding a whopping three minutes off her 5K time.

  • Run One – One Minute Intervals: Her first run of the week was changed to an interval workout, where she warmed up, then ran 6-8 one-minute intervals at a hard, Red Zone Effort (see the chart for a full explanation of zones). After every hard minute, she walked one minute, then jogged easy for one minute to recover. After the intervals, she walked three minutes to cool down. It’s important to note that I had her pace herself by her body rather than her pace as it allowed her to push harder than she thought she could and learn when she was recovered.
  • Run Two – An easy, but slightly longer run: For her second run (which was two days after her first interval run) I had her slow down and run at a truly easy effort, and one where she could talk in full sentences. I call this the Yellow Zone because it is a happy place, and an effort where you can run for long periods of time. She ran four miles at an easier effort to build her endurance to run longer and boost her fat burning enzymes.
  • Run Three – A tempo run at a moderate effort. For her third run, I had her run longer intervals at what is known as Tempo Effort, or the Orange Zone. This is an effort that is harder than the Yellow Zone, but not so hard that you can’t hold it for longer stretches of time. At this effort, you can hear your breath, you can talk in one or two-word responses and it’s just outside your comfort zone. This is also the effort at which you begin to shift the threshold at which you go from burning more fat to using muscle glycogen for energy. This is important, because it allows you to run faster at easier efforts. After warming up for 3 minutes walking, she ran 5 minutes at an easy Yellow Zone effort, then ran four five-minute intervals at Tempo Effort with two minutes of easy walking in between to recover. She finished with a 3-minute walk to cool down.
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At first, I had her running the one minute intervals once per week and two 3-mile easy runs. After three weeks, her body adapted and we added the Tempo Run. After three more weeks, we added another mile to her easy run for a total of four miles

When learning to run faster, it’s important to push outside your comfort zone and incorporate workouts that allow you train in a variety of zones. The secret is in doing this gradually to allow your body time to adapt.

Happy Trails.
Coach Jenny Hadfield

Coach Jenny Hadfield is a published author, writer, coach, public speaker and endurance athlete. To find out more, visit our Meet Our Writers page or visit Coach Jenny’s website.


Ask an Expert: How to Start Running

Question: What is the best way to start running? I’ve tried and failed so many times and find it painful!  -Jessie

Jessie, I feel your pain. Running seemed nearly impossible to me until I learned one little secret. I’d go out and try to run as far as I could, as hard as I could, and end up quitting before I reached the end of my block. My error was in thinking that I could go out and just run right from the start. Running is a high intensity activity, and because of this, it’s important to weave it into your life gradually.

Here is a simple strategy to learn to run, and have fun along the way.

  • Set your target time to 30 minutes and hold it there until you are running 20 minutes continuously.
  • Start with walking 5 minutes, easy at first and then at a brisk walking pace. This will help warm you up for the run ahead.
  • Then repeat for a total of 20 minutes: run until you can hear your breath and walk until you catch your breath. If you are like me, you might start out with 15-20 seconds of running at first and need a full 2-3 minutes to recover and catch your breath.
  • After the run-walk intervals, walk it out for 5 minutes to cool down.
  • Run this workout every other day and no more than three times per week (ie. M-Wed-Sat). This will allow your body time to adapt and get stronger.
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If you’re active and want to add more workouts to the mix, include strength, yoga, or low impact cardio activities (elliptical, cycling, rowing) on the days in between. Keep the intensity of these workouts to an easy to moderate effort level to assure you’re not doing too much high intensity exercise and allow for better recovery.

There you have it: the secret formula for learning to love running! It’s all about starting easy, sprinkling running in, and letting your body be your guide.

Happy Running.
Coach Jenny Hadfield

Coach Jenny Hadfield is a published author, writer, coach, public speaker and endurance athlete. To find out more, visit our Meet Our Writers page or visit Coach Jenny’s website.


Ask an Expert: Missing Days on Training Schedule

Question: I’m training for a half marathon this season and due to weather and a cold, I’ve fallen behind in my training and have missed two weeks of training. How do I catch up on missed days on my training schedule for my race?  Thanks. -Simone

It can be quite nerve-wracking to be missing days on your training schedule for your half marathon, but it’s wise to take a breath, and focus on a plan B. Following a structured training plan is a great way to prepare for a running race, but if you fall off of it for more than a week, it can become a threatening distraction. The problem being, once you get sick or miss some workouts, you are no longer following the gradual progression of the training plan. These plans, if they are well designed, build your running mileage and intensity slowly over a period of time–typically 12-14 weeks for a half marathon.

There is great risk if you jump back into your plan where you left off and try to catch up.  When that happens, injuries are sure to follow. Every plan peaks around 2-3 weeks before the race, and then tapers off to recover for optimal performance. Instead of trying to catch up to your training plan and peak at a certain long run mileage, it’s better to create that plan B, which starts from where you are and continues to build to a new peaking week.

For example: you ran eight miles for your longest run and then missed a few weeks of training and now you’ve got six training weeks to go. Your first week back focus on getting running back into your life with three short 30 minute runs during the week and done at an easy effort level. For your fourth run at the end of the first week back, run 45 minutes at an easy effort level. This will help you get back into running with less stress to your body and set you up for a few harder training weeks ahead.

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For week two, build your mid-week runs to 40 minutes and your long run to 7 miles.
For week three, run 40-45 minutes for your mid-week runs and a 9-mile long run.
For the fourth week, run 40-45 minutes for your mid-week runs and a 10-mile long run.
For the fifth week, now two weeks out from your race, run 40 minutes for your mid-week runs, and a 6-mile long run.
For race week, run 30 minutes twice early in the week (Monday and Wednesday), and a short 20 minute run to keep your legs fresh one or two days before the race.

You can adapt this same idea to any race length or goal you are looking to achieve. The key is to avoid following what your head is telling you to do in running more miles to catch up, and instead follow a solid and safe backup plan that will get you safely to the finish line. Good luck in your half marathon!

Happy Running.
Coach Jenny Hadfield


Treadmill Workouts to Keep Your Fitness Fresh

One of the greatest things about working out on a treadmill is the variety of ways to keep your program fresh and motivating. If you normally step on and hit “go”, try these three treadmill workouts to spice up your routine.

HIIT (Go shorter, but harder) Instead of running or walking the same workout every time, try this high intensity interval treadmill workout to boost your metabolism (and burn fat) for hours after your workout ends.

    • Warm up walking for 3 minutes
    • Run easy or walk briskly for 5 minutes
    • Repeat the following 6-8 times:
      • Run or walk at a hard effort for 1 minute. (Hard effort should be a sprint, or walking fast at an incline)
      • Walk or jog at an easy effort to recover and catch your breath. (This may be 45 seconds or 90 seconds. Make sure to start the next interval after you’ve caught your breath)
    • Walk for 3 minutes at an easy effort to cool down

Run-Strong (Combine strength exercises with running or walking) There’s nothing like a workout where you multi-task to save time, build muscle and boost your cardiovascular fitness. Try this combo workout for the trifecta effect:

  • Warm up walking for 3 minutes
  • Run easy or walk briskly for 5 minutes
  • Repeat the following 8 times:
    • Run or walk at a moderate effort (meaning not easy and not hard) for 3 minutes
    • Perform one strength exercise (lunges, squats, plank, push up) for 1 minute with the goal to fatigue the muscles by the end. If the exercise is easy, progress the intensity by making it more challenging (squats with weights, slowing it down, modified push ups to full push ups)
  • Walk for 3 minutes at an easy effort to cool down

Climb Every Mountain (Include more inline) There’s nothing that will strengthen your running or walking form more than weaving in hill climbs into your routine. The key is to make it fun rather than torture. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to adapt to the inclines.  After all, even mountaineers don’t start with Everest.

    • Warm up walking for 3 minutes
    • Run easy or walk briskly for 5 minutes
    • Repeat the following 3-5 times:
      • Run or walk at an easy incline percentage (1-2%) for 1 minute
      • Return to flat (0% incline) for 1 minute to recover
      • Run or walk at a moderate incline percentage (3-4%) for 1 minute
      • Return to flat (0% incline) for 1 minute to recover
      • Run or walk at a hard incline percentage (5-6%) for 1 minute
      • Return to flat (0% incline) for 1 minute to recover
    • Walk for 3 minutes at an easy effort to cool down

 

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The key to staying motivated and improving fitness is to mix up your routine every 4-5 weeks. It keeps your body guessing, adapting and most of all, inspired to keep moving forward. Looking for more treadmill workouts? Browse the Coaching section on the Horizon Community.

Happy Trails.

Coach Jenny Hadfield

Coach Jenny Hadfield is a published author, writer, coach, public speaker and endurance athlete. To find out more, visit our Meet Our Writers page or visit Coach Jenny’s website.


What To Do The Night Before A 5K Race

Q:  I have my first race coming up. Do you have any tips on what to do the night before a 5K race? -MacKenzie

That’s exciting! You are wise to ask this question ahead of time as it pays to be organized and ready to go before the race nerves start to kick in. Here are a few key things to keep in mind.

Go With What You Know

This is my number one rule. Meaning, while you’ve been training for your 5k race, you’ve most likely figured out what has worked for you in terms of clothing, shoes, and the foods to eat before your event.  It’s best to stick with what your body knows and avoid trying anything new the week of your 5k, as it can cause issues on the race course.

5K Nutrition

Pre-race meals vary based on the person. It is recommended to eat a meal that is higher in carbohydrates the night before the race and to stock up your muscle glycogen fuels. This can mean pasta for some or rice, veggies and a protein source like chicken for others. It’s best to go with a meal that digests well in your system, as eating new or different foods this close to the race can cause stomach issues along the course. It helps to make a race week menu of foods that you’ve determined sit well in your stomach and digest easily. Remember, everyone is different so what works for you may not work for your running buddy and vice versa. (Related: What to Eat Before a 5K Race)

5K Clothes Prep

Lay out your clothes the night before, and everything you’ll need for race day. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think clearly that early in the morning so it helps to put everything you plan to wear to the race (including your race bib number if you have it already) on the night before as a dress rehearsal, and then lay it out in a visible place for the morning.

Relax and Visualize For Your 5K

Set yourself up for good sleep the week of your race by going to bed earlier and turning off distractions in your room (phone, lights, etc.).  It can be challenging to get sleep the night before the race, so going into race weekend well rested can make a significant difference in your performance. If you find yourself struggling to sleep the night before, try this pre-race night deep 2-minute breathing exercise:

  • Turn off the lights and make sure the bedroom is dark
  • Lie down in bed and close your eyes
  • Breathe in and out deeply through your nose and into your belly, tuning in to the sound of your breath
  • If your mind wanders, no worries, simply refocus it back to your breath
  • Once your breathing is calm and deep, visualize yourself moving through race day, from waking up and putting on your race day clothes to toeing the line at the start to running every mile and finishing strong
  • See yourself running strong and through any challenges, finishing that 5k race

You’ll be surprised at just how effective this little breathing exercise can be for calming race day nerves and improving your sleep!

5K Race Day!

Give yourself plenty of time to get to the race and plan to arrive at least one hour before the race begins. This way you’ll have plenty of time to find the bathrooms, double check you have everything and get lined up at the race start.

As you navigate your way through race week, it’s good to know that everyone feels some level of nervousness before the race, especially for your first one. Being organized and prepared will help keep you calm and focused on the things you can control. For everything else that is outside of your control, let go and have faith in your preparation–it’s what’s gotten you to this point, and it will help you run a strong race, too.

Happy Trails.
Coach Jenny Hadfield

 

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Coach Jenny Hadfield is a published author, writer, coach, public speaker and endurance athlete. To find out more, visit our Meet Our Writers page or visit Coach Jenny’s website.


Group Training vs. Personal Trainer

Q:  I’ve been a lone wolf runner for about a year.  It took me a year to get the courage to run publically. Now I want to learn to train better. Can you tell me the benefits of group training versus a personal trainer?  Thank you. -Jeff

Congratulations on your running success.  You may think you’re alone in your “lone wolf” running (or cycling, strength training, etc.), but many folks feel the same way when they first get started with a new fitness program or exercise.  Thank you for sharing your journey; it’s great to hear you are thinking of branching out and looking into group training or consulting a personal trainer. Both training with a group and with a personal trainer have their benefits, but they also have some pretty significant differences as well. Here’s my opinion on the two:

When you join a group training program, it typically includes a training plan, scheduled group workouts at a specific location, and coaches or trainers to guide and answer questions along the way. Although it’s geared to train a mass of people rather than just one, in many cases you can get some personal coaching from the leaders of the group.

The greatest benefit I believe is the community of like-minded people that will soon be your new active friends. They will be there to motivate you when you need a boost and you’ll do the same for them.  Plus, research has shown that when we exercise with a group, we can run both longer and faster at easier effort levels.

You’ll also learn a ton along the way from the “pacers” of each group, the leaders or coaches and your fellow fitness pals. Everyone will contribute to your education and you’ll learn and grow into the community.

Working with a personal trainer or coach doesn’t come with an instant group of active friends, but it can catapult your performance just as much.  Your coach will start by evaluating your current fitness, review your regimen, nutrition, lifestyle, and more and create a plan that is tailored to meet your life schedule, interests and goals.

 

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As you go, you’ll log your training in detail to allow your coach to analyze how your body is adapting to the workload.  They can help you calculate your optimal training zones based on assessments, progress your workouts based on what’s going on in your life (work, illness, health, etc.) all the way designing a program that makes the most of your time. The result is two-fold. First, you learn exactly how to train for you, and secondly, you gain the most from your efforts.

There are a lot of ways you could go on the group training and personal trainer path, but if you’re looking to learn, improve and stay motivated, I’d start with joining a training group.  If you’re solely looking to improve your performance and learn how to tailor a program to your needs, I’d try working with a coach.  Either way, you’ll benefit and continue to run with success and happiness.

Happy Trails.
Coach Jenny Hadfield

Coach Jenny Hadfield is a published author, writer, coach, public speaker and endurance athlete. To find out more, visit our Meet Our Writers page or visit Coach Jenny’s website.


Fitness Trackers: 4 Reasons to Start Tracking

It’s an amazing world of health, fitness and technology. Fitness trackers are more than glorified watches. They allow us to tune into our bodies, improve our health and fitness, and connect with an inspiring world of social activity. Simply put: data is power.

I remember my first fitness tracker. It was a watch the size of a brick that looks like something out of a Star Trek movie. Although it wouldn’t transport me to another planet, it was the first time I could see my pace, distance and time with every stride, and that was pretty awesome.

Fast forward to modern day and fitness trackers are like the cereal isle in the grocery store: plentiful. You can track your steps, flights, mileage, calories, fitness time, heart rate, sleep, nutrition and much, much more. There are bright colored trackers, some that look like watches, and some that look like jewelry. Fashion aside, these fitness trackers are responsible for the evolution of health and fitness and it just keeps getting better.

 

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If you haven’t tracked your workout data before, here are 4 reasons to start.

Awareness. There’s nothing more enlightening than tracking your total steps for the day. If you’re on the move all day, you’ll feel like a champion and likely rack up the recommended 10,000 steps per day. However, if you sit all day, your fitness tracker may soon become your new best friend because it’s honest, it shows you what you need to see, and it will motivate you to get up and get moving. One of the greatest benefits of using fitness trackers is that they are honest in reporting the reality of your life. From the number of steps to you take to the quality and quantity of foods you eat, the first step in every tracking relationship is becoming aware of your reality. That is where real change begins.

Motivation.  Once you move through the awareness stage, you move into realizing the many benefits. Whether it’s seeing your pace or distance, or the total number of steps or calories you burned in a day, seeing is believing, and it’s also a heck of a motivator. That’s because fitness trackers remove the layer of denial that can set in when we get set in our comfortably ways. And as you begin to hone your tracking skills, you will be inspired by the transformation in your body and mind. As your personal data shifts, you will see and feel the results of your efforts. Not to mention, the fitness trackers have built in messages when you achieve thresholds along the way, so it’s like having a coach right there motivating you to reach higher, farther, and longer.

Evaluation. As a coach, one of the tools I use most often with my athletes is in teaching them how to evaluate how their bodies are adapting to fitness. This is the secret to improving and reaching goals successfully. Whether you’re trying to lose weight, run faster or farther or just get started, fitness is happens over time and with effort. When you can track your heart rates, pace, distance, sleep and nutrition, you begin to see how your body responds to various workouts and progressions. For instance, if you normally run three miles 2-3 times per week and jump to trying to run much farther, your stats will show a red flag in poor quality sleep, higher resting heart rates, and declines in pace over time. If on the other hand, you decide to be wise and progress more gradually, your stats mentioned above will adapt efficiently and won’t spike with a red flag. Being able to review your stats guides you in developing a program of workouts and rate that work for you.

Connectivity. And finally, perhaps the most significant benefit to using fitness trackers and apps is that it instantly connects you and your life performance with a group of like-minded people. If you’ve ever tried to talk fitness and health with a group of inactive people, you’ll understand that having a community of people who enjoy the same things you do, makes the journey that much more fun and inspiring. You can compete against others, share your workouts, your nutrition and some health insurance companies are beginning to use fitness trackers to incentivize activity. There’s an element of accountability that plays in keeping one motivated when you know there is a group of people waiting for your posts.

Happy Trails.
Coach Jenny Hadfield

Coach Jenny Hadfield is a published author, writer, coach, public speaker and endurance athlete. To find out more, visit our Meet Our Writers page or visit Coach Jenny’s website.


Learn more about ViaFit wireless connectivity, available on select Horizon Fitness treadmills, ellipticals and exercise bikes. With ViaFit, you’ll never have to manually enter your workouts, your equipment will connect, track and share your data for you.


Ask an Expert: Running Pace

Question: The whole idea of “running pace” is foreign to me–I’m a new runner! However, I read a lot about it in magazines and hear about it at local races from my friends. Can you help me better understand what it is so I can apply it to my running when I’m ready? — Michele A.

Finding your running pace isn’t as difficult as it sounds, you just need to be in tune to what your body is telling you–and when. Here are a few suggestions you can try when you are ready to find your running pace.

When I first started to try to run, I was met with failure at every attempt. I’d strap on my shoes, take off down my block and within seconds be out of breath and pulling off to the side to stop. I had an image of what a runner should look like, and more mistakenly, I thought I had to run at a certain pace to be a real runner. It took me a few years to master running, and the secret was in letting pace be the outcome of all my runs. Instead of heading out and trying to maintain a certain running pace, I began to run to the tune of my body. At first this meant running slower and mixing in walking intervals. Once I could run continuously for thirty minutes, I began to mix up my running workouts; some days running a little longer, some days a little faster. This helped build running endurance and speed over time.

I’ve been coaching “new” and seasoned runners for over twenty years and the number one mistake many of us make is to try to run by pace and hold it. Sometimes this works out well, but many times it leads to slower times, aches and pains and injuries.

 

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Let’s say you go out for a longer run for 70 minutes. (Don’t be scared by that number, with a little training you can get there!) The trick with developing running endurance is you want to run at a conversational effort level to boost fat burning enzymes and time on your feet. You know you’re in this easy effort zone if you can talk in full sentences while running. If you can only get out a few words at a time, you’re out of this zone and working harder.

If you head out for this run with a specific pace in mind if can lead you to running both too slowly and too quickly. That’s because the body doesn’t know pace it only knows effort. If you run this workout on a hot, humid day and run by your body, it will be significantly slower than running the same workout in perfect weather conditions. Other factors like sleep, nutrition, stress and the like can also affect your pacing performance. On the other hand, let’s say the planets are in alignment and the weather is beautiful and cool, you slept well, ate well and are having a stellar running performance day. If you head out and run at a specific pace in this case it may be too slow for where you are fitness wise and this holds you back from improvement.

The goal is to run with purpose, with a training zone in mind (easy, moderate or hard) and to the tune of what the day brings. Because when you do, you’ll find your pace is the outcome of your performance and will improve over time.

You can easily train in the optimal zone by first learning what they are, and then learning how to pace yourself to train within the right zone for the purpose of the workout.  I like to keep things simple, so I use three core zones when I coach runners, Yellow, Orange and Red:

  • The Yellow Zone is for easy effort runs and those longer endurance runs.
  • The Orange Zone is geared to workouts like hilly courses or tempo runs where the aim is to boost your red line threshold so you can run faster at easy effort levels.
  • The Red Zone is exactly the way it sounds–it’s that hard effort where you can’t talk and the goal is to push hard and fast to build stamina, form and fitness.

When you’re new to running, you might spend more time in the Orange Zone with your running intervals because running is a challenging, high impact activity. Once you build some running fitness and your body adapts to the training, you’ll also develop more running gears like a bicycle–where you can learn to run in all three of these zones.

Like riding a bike, as you become more fit and skilled, you will learn how to run to the tune of your body’s effort.  Whether it be easy, moderate or hard, your pace will become a statistic you can track to see your progress along the way!

Happy Trails.
Coach Jenny Hadfield

Coach Jenny Hadfield is a published author, writer, coach, public speaker and endurance athlete. To find out more, visit our Meet Our Writers page or visit Coach Jenny’s website.


Five Benefits of Using Fitness Trackers

It seems like everywhere you look, people are logging their every step wearing fitness trackers. I remember a time when we used to have to drive the route we ran to see how far it we went, and now we can see it all in real time: pace, time, steps, distance, heart rate and even caloric expenditure.

The fitness tracking movement is alive and well and offers a slew of benefits, too. Whether you’re looking to lose a little weight or get active, fitness trackers are leading the way to better health and here’s how they can help you, too.

Accountability. This is a big one for those who need a little push out the door to get moving (especially in the morning). Most fitness trackers (like ViaFit) work with third party apps where you can challenge a buddy to a workout and post your planned sessions to keep yourself accountable to your exercise program. Research has shown that social exercise (whether via a digital support group or live) aids in helping us perform more regular exercise and avoid pulling the cover over our heads to sleep in. Plus, when you do get in that activity, you can share it on social media with your active friends.

 

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Motivation. Remember how you felt when you earned a gold star sticker in school for accomplishing those push ups? (Am I dating myself?) Another benefit to fitness trackers is the visual progress you see as you log your time moving including seeing how many steps you take during the day and the motivation that comes with that information. On average, it is recommended that we take 10,000 steps per day to be in the healthy, active category of movement.

One of my clients went from 250 steps per day pre-exercise routine to wearing a fitness tracker and logging over 15,000 steps and lost ten pounds without even changing her diet. The numbers allow you to see the reality of your movement, or lack there of and motivate you to get up and get moving during the day. Plus many of the devices include their own apps where you can visually see when you’re the most active during the day and more. Seeing is believing and data is motivating.

Healthy Eating. We all know living a healthy lifestyle involves both regular activity and a healthy diet and trackers offer feature a fuel and hydration log to help you keep track of the quantity and quality of your every day fuel. You can enter your food choices, water intake during the day, and evaluate the quality of your diet to inspire better choices.

Goal Setting. There is nothing more helpful in achieving weight loss and other goals than to have a carrot dangling out in front of you to keep you inspired. One of the key features of fitness trackers is the ability to set goals and achieve them. Whether it is to lose ten pounds or increasing your non-exercise activity (general movement in the day), by tracking your exercise, fuel,  and sleep you are hands on in learning what it takes and how to achieve any goal you set. Goal setting keeps you focused on progress and personal fitness evolution. It’s the difference between wanting to be fit, and actively engaging in a plan to live a fit and active lifestyle.

Tracking your Z’s. The quality of your sleep can effect everything from your metabolism, cravings, energy, mood and safety. Many fitness trackers can also track your sleep patterns, not only showing you how long you slept, but whether it was deep or light sleep throughout the night and how many times you woke up.  Seeing your daily steps and realizing the quality of your sleep is less than optimal can inspire life changing sleep habits, which will improve your life performance.

Although the jury is still out in terms of how accurate all of these tracking devices truly are, they still have a variety of benefits that can inspire you to reach beyond your limits, lose weight, get active and improve your life performance.

Happy Trails.
Coach Jenny Hadfield

Learn more about ViaFit wireless connectivity, available on select Horizon Fitness treadmills, ellipticals and exercise bikes.