Tagged as: Cardio

My Four Lessons of Running 

My Four Lessons of Running

Written by Jamie Cocco

The birds are chirping, the sun is beaming through the trees, and you pass by a cow who stares at you right before you have to convince yourself for the tenth time that there is light at the end of this running tunnel.  Running is not easy!  Whether you are a seasoned runner, have a couple half marathons under your water bottle belt, or have written down on a piece of paper somewhere, you can’t remember where, but are pretty sure it is in the kitchen, that you are going to complete your first 5K this year.  So where do you start, where should you be, or where are you going?

As a certified running coach who is also on a running journey, here are four lessons that I have learned so far:

Meet yourself where you are but push a little further each time.  Stop comparing your beginning to someone else’s middle or your middle to someone else’s 15-year journey.  We get stuck in the rut of seeing someone who inspires us or a friend who has been doing it for a while and try to match them.  I catch myself trying to push too far too fast to keep up with more experienced runners.  Running is a marathon, literally and metaphorically.  Some days you just have to drag yourself out of the house and do your best.  When you get to the place where your body pushes back, push a little bit further, and you will get so much out of it.

Gradually increase your distance and speed.  In the past as a runner, I have pushed myself to injury because I am too competitive with myself and progress.  If you are a beginner, go down the street to the nearest stop sign, farm, crossing, 10thmailbox, ding dong truck, or something close enough to be achievable, don’t stop, walking counts, and head back home.  The next time go 10-20% further.  Then the next time go 10-20% further.  That means if you go out for 10 minutes today, then go for 11 minutes on your next run.  It is the small steps in the right direction over a long period of time that make the difference.

Make every third week a recovery week, where you don’t increase distance or speed.  It took me awhile to understand that shifting my focus from always gaining on my run to flexibility, balance, and strength can improve my running.  Our muscles adapt faster then our connective tissue and injuries can occur when we don’t adequate recovery time.  So give your muscle a short vacation, not to Fiji with those fruity drinks and colorful umbrellas in them, more like a relaxed binge watching session of Stranger Things, where you maintain your distance and speed, focus on flexibility through stretching, one of the other focal points to holistic health, and do some myofascial work (foam rolling).

Before, sometimes during, and after running, hydrate.  I have been caught on both ends of the spectrum with dry mouth, wondering if the water station ahead is a mirage or not, and standing in line for a porta potty when I could be running.  It is important to drink a lot of fluids the night before a big run, the day of your every day run, during a long run, and always after a run.  Drink about 16 ounces of water in the 1-2 hour before you run and start to slow down your water consumption to 8 ounces during the final 30 minutes before your run, to avoid bathroom breaks.  Drinking 5-15 ounces for every 15-20 minutes of running is recommended by Runner’s World.  Click here to read more about hydrating from Runner’s World.  More likely than not, if you do a road race, there is going to be a beer waiting for you at the end.  Don’t worry.  I am not telling you to not drink the beer, just drink water slowly first.

Remember, you can do it!  Running is hard, so use these lessons I have larned to make it a little easier for you today.  Please comment and let us know what worked for you.  Thank you for reading my lessons and stories!

Jamie Cocco
UESCA Certified Running Coach (United Endurance Sports Coaching Academy)

How does cardio affect your body?

How does cardio affect your body?

Written by Personal Training Director, Jay McWilliams

Step and Core Cardio Class on Mondays

Cardio month continues at 50/50 Fitness Nutrition, and I thought this would be a good time to get down to the nitty gritty of how cardiovascular exercise changes our bodies on a physiological level. I promise, it is actually really cool! We throw around the term cardio all the time: “spinning is great cardio!”, but what does this type of exercise actually do to are cardiovascular system, namely our heart and blood vessels? As we are all well aware, when we exercise our heart rate increases. The body is pumping more blood to our hard-working muscles, and this results in a greater volume of blood returning to our heart per minute. Over time, our heart adapts by enlarging the left ventricle to more efficiently pump this larger volume of blood back to our tissues. These adaptations make our heart more efficient, both while exercising and at rest. One of the results of these changes is a lower resting heart rate. Athletes can have resting heart rates 20-40 beats per minute slower than the average person.

Another cool adaptation of the cardiovascular system to exercise is the creation of new blood vessels. Yes, your body, in some cases, can develop new blood vessels in response to your fitness habits. This is one reason your blood pressure can be reduced by exercise. Along with these changes to your heart and blood vessels, your lungs respond by delivering up to 15 times more oxygen to your tissues during exercise. Just like your heart, over time your respiratory tract adapts to become more efficient. One measure of the efficiency of your lungs is VO2 max. As your fitness level increases, so will your VO2 max. This week, while you are rocking it out in spin class, hiking with your dog up a local mountain, or busting your butt in Tabata, I want you to take a moment to think about all these changes going on in your body. Doing cardio is so much more than burning calories, you are becoming a more efficient pumper of blood and breather of air. Way to go!

Do you have enough balance in your life? From cardio to strength to flexibility, nutrition, and everything in between – we’ve got you covered at 50/50. Come on in and speak to a specialist, to get your health and wellness back on track!  Click the image below to schedule your FREE health and wellness today!

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