Tag Archives: running

How Yoga Has Helped My Running Game

Hi friends!

Before I get into today’s topic, here is how Week 2 of my half-marathon training looks like:

Monday – rest day
Tuesday – 3 miles
Wednesday – cross train for 30-40 minutes
Thursday – 3 miles
Friday – cross train for 30-40 minutes
Saturday – 5 miles
Sunday – rest day

*You can see Week 1 plan here.*

A few days ago I got a question on Instagram: How has yoga helped my running game?

To be honest with you, I never really thought about it. I love yoga and enjoy running very much, so I simply have been doing the two things that bring a smile to my face and make me feel good. However, the question prompted me to think. There is definitely an undeniable complimentary relationship between the two.

Yoga 1

Injury prevention

There is a reason why we need to do warm-up and cool down stretches before going for a run. Yoga stretches ultimately lengthen the muscles that get tight during running. It is especially useful for those with very tight hips and hamstrings. Yoga can also help with soreness after the run.

yoga 2

Proper Breathing

It is detrimental to breathe properly when you do yoga in order to reap all of the benefits of any given pose. Better breathing during running allows a larger delivery of oxygen to the muscles, consequently increasing performance.

I find that I learned various breathing techniques while practicing yoga. A lot of people underestimate savasana, or a corpse pose, because you’re ‘simply’ lying on the floor. However, it is one of the best way to learn how to breathe properly:

  • Lie down comfortably on your back on a yoga mat,
  • Become aware of your natural breath and its rhythm,
  • Focus on raising your belly as you inhale through your nose,
  • Lower your belly as you exhale though your mouth.

yoga 3

I paid closer attention to my breathing over my last few runs. And you know what? I definitely noticed a big difference compared to how I was breathing only a couple of years ago. My breath control has improved drastically and I don’t find myself panting all the time, unless I’m giving it my all as I sprint.

Core Strength

The poses held in yoga strengthen the core, hip flexors, quads and hamstrings. Strong core translates into a good running posture which helps with your speed and endurance. It is easier to run.

yoga 5

Mindfulness

Yoga teaches us of how to stay inthe present moment, how to be mindful. In my opinion, mindfulness is extremely important when you run. It is so much easier to run when you focus on your breathing and stop thinking about how much more you’ve got to go!

On a separate note, I feel like a lot of runners don’t do yoga because they are intimidated by elaborate poses they see on the Internet…

But you should definitely give it a go. Try this awesome yoga for runners routine!

Or if you don’t have 30 minutes, give a try to this sequence.

be3a267c403f4129_yoga-for-runners-pinterest-poster-350

Source

Recently, I came across the following quote and fell in love with it.

admire someone else's beauty

In my opinion, it refers to much more than outward beauty.

It’s in our nature to compare ourselves to others. Unfortunately, instead of being inspired by their success, we, often times, get discouraged by thinking that we aren’t good enough.
The reality is, there will always be someone who is stronger, faster, more flexible, more successful, you name it, than us, but you can’t let this hinder your personal progress and growth.

To avoid this, accept your status as novice, if that’s the case. Accept where you are today, be proud of your accomplishments so far. Celebrate success of others and let it motivate you to reach for new heights. Never underestimate yourself and what you are capable of. Self-doubt is your biggest enemy. Always aim to be the best version of yourself. You are unique and you deserve to love yourself.

handstand with Sofia - large.jpg

Do you practice yoga? How has it helped you?

Want to read more on yoga?

PS. Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!

xoxo
Olena

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Filed under Cardio, Cross-training, Half-Marathon Training, Running

Running With a Dog: Turn Your Pooch Into An Endurance Animal

Heyoooo!

Guys, I can’t believe it’s already Week 2 of my half marathon training! Week 1 was fabulous. It feels sooo good to be running on a regular basis again. I love how running makes me feel inside and out. I can’t help but smile as I run. I feel happy, light and free!

Last week was a week of firsts too! It may be a bit shocking to some of you, but I started running with Bella just now. She is 2 years and 5 months old.

the best running accessory.jpg

I was dying to take her for my jogs back in 2014 when I was training for Spartan Trifecta. However, she was too little.  Yes, there’s such a thing for dogs. Puppies shouldn’t run with you until their bones stop developing, which can take up to 16 months in large breeds.

Technically, I could have started running with Bella last summer, but I was too pregnant and then recovering from a c-section.

It’s only appropriate to involve her now in the early stage of my training for a half marathon. Dogs may be born to run fast, yet it’s important to start gradually.

Runner’s World provides some great tips on ‘How to turn your pooch into an endurance animal’.  You may be surprised, but there is even such a thing as ‘The perfect running program for your dog’. It was created by veterinary neurosurgeon Laruen Talarico.

weekend walk

Here is a quick summary of it.

Week 1: Plan a 2- to 3-mile route at a mild to moderate pace 3 to 4 days this week. Make sure to pay attention that your dog is not winded and stays by your side at a comfortable pace.

Week 2: Add 0.5 mile or 10 minutes to your original distance during each of this week’s three runs. If your dog tolerates it well, try increasing your pace a bit. By the end of the week, you should be able to finish a 3- to 4-mile run.

Week 3: ‘Repeat week 2 and try to increase your average mile pace by 5 percent. The goal of this week is to consistently run 3 to 4 miles at a pace that is moderate for you and your pooch. This is a good week to solidify your dog’s running foundation and prep for adding more mileage.’

Week 4: ‘We are going to build distance again this week. Regardless of where you and your dog are with pace, I recommend increasing your distance by 0.5 to 1 mile 4 to 6 days this week. This will put most runners at a 4 to 5 mile/day regime. I strongly recommend at least one–if not two–days of rest for both you and your pooch.’

Hiking with Bella

Week 5: ‘If you both are tolerating a 4- to 5-mile run well at this point, try increasing your speed to a moderate tempo style run. Both you and your dog should feel tired afterward. I recommend repeating this 4 to 6 days a week with 1 to 2 days of rest. If your dog is still acclimating to the 4- to 5-mile distance, please do not add speed. In this scenario, repeat week 4 above.’

Week 6: ‘Add an additional 0.5 to 1 mile to your distance again this week. Most running teams should be at the 5 to 6 miles a day/5 to 6 days a week point. If you are not quite there yet, no problem! Repeat weeks 4 and 5 until you can achieve this goal.’

It is critical that you do a full warm up and cool down in order to prevent injury. It is no different for your four-legged buddy. Begin all her exercise sessions with a gentle warm-up, between 5 and 10 minutes long. It’s the best way to protect your dog from muscle strains and other pains by stretching the tendons and ligaments, and getting the blood to the muscles and nerves.

The same goes for a cool down. A leisurely saunter, followed by a couple of stretches, is the great way to finish your training session, according to Dr. Julie.

It’s not uncommon for dogs to push themselves too hard, just because they think you want them to. Therefore, it is important to use common sense, practice moderation, and watch for signs of fatigue or for difficulty in breathing. Avoid exercising your dog too vigorously in the heat of the day and keep her/him hydrated to prevent heatstroke.

It is easy for us to forget about our dogs’ paws. Unlike our feet, her paws are not protected. Take precautions against frostbite by not staying outside for too long when there is a big wind-chill. Also check for cracked pads.

Finally, be careful not to feed your dog right before or immediately after a strenuous workout. And don’t let her gulp lots of water either. Once she cooled down, you can give her a moderate amount of water.

my first 10 mile run

Do you run with your dog? Do you have any other tips?

PS. Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!

xoxo
Olena

 

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Filed under Cardio, Half-Marathon Training, Running

Being in Charge of Your Destiny & Half-Marathon Training

Hi loves!

I hope you have an excellent week so far!

It’s been a somewhat different week in our household. Justin FINALLY had surgery on his shoulder this Monday. *I’m not being sarcastic… wait… actually, I am.* It only took over three and a half years to have it done…

Before the surgery

Justin dislocated his shoulder during a canoe camping accident when his canoe fell off a waterfall right before our wedding. *Dear nature lovers, please, check a map in advance, so this doesn’t happen to you!* It had been popping out ever since. Unfortunately, it wasn’t an easy fix. Doctors had to put two screws to strengthen the joint. Justin was hoping to return to work in a week. But from what it looks like, he has to stay home for at least three weeks and wear a sling for the next month even at night. Obviously, it sucks, but I’m happy to have him home.

After the surgery

My hubby is handsome even after a general anesthesia! I’m one lucky girl.

On a side note, if you have any shoulder problems yourself, this guide might save you a lot of pain and trouble.

I’ve also being reflecting quite a bit lately. And then I came across the following quote from Maya Angelou.

Maya Angelou - If you don't like something, change it.

It really resonated with me. The quote reinforces the idea that we are responsible for our own happiness. I’m not unhappy by any means. But i think now that I’m a mother figure, I want so much more to be the best version of myself. For baby Sofia, for my hubby, for ME!  I don’t want some silly reservations to prevent me from springing into action, to make things happen for me and my family. Whatever I do, I have to make it really count.I’m full of energy and determination. I know, I’m on the right path. I’ll make it happen.

Speaking of springing into action… Yesterday I’ve officially started training for my first half-marathon!

She's a dreamer

Baby Sofia was my ‘co-pilot’, peacefully sleeping in a stroller *more on running with a stroller shortly*, while I pushed it against the wind. Otherwise, it was a very pleasant short 5 km run.

Even though the race is only in the end of September, I embarked on a 12-week training schedule. It includes 3 runs/week and 2 cross training sessions. This way I’ll be able to rebuild my base by July and then focus more on a speed work and getting faster. Or at least that’s the plan.

Here’s what my plan for this week looks like.

Monday – rest day
Tuesday – 3 miles
Wednesday – 30-40 minutes cross training
Thursday – 3 miles
Friday – 30-40 minutes cross training
Saturday – 4 miles
Sunday – rest day

*I had to slightly change it to accommodate for Justin’s surgery.*

What races are you training for this year?

PS. Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!

xoxo
Olena

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Filed under Cardio, Cross-training, Half-Marathon Training

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter from our family to yours!

May your day be filled with happiness and laughter!

Happy Easter

xoxo
Olena

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Social Fitness: ReboundFit

Good morning, loves!

I’m a big lover of at home and outdoor workouts. For some reason, gym machines never failed to intimidate me. The only things I would normally use were a treadmill, StairMaster and an elliptical. Even at that, I prefer to run outside to take in my surroundings and to feel a gentle *or not so gentle* breeze on my face. So, generally, a gym membership is a waste of money for me, especially that I’ve got my main fitness necessities, such as dumbbells, pull-up bar, jumping rope, etc. at home. There is, however, one thing that I do miss. What would it be, you’ll say. I miss group classes!

There is something magical about having to workout with other people. You get to meet other fitness junkies, be inspired and even be held accountable by them, not to forget having to de-stress and share quite a few uncontrollable laughs. All of that while getting a great sweat session on! Don’t you find there is something incredibly empowering about that?

TIU Girls at Reboundfit

Recently, I mentioned to you that I have discovered *or was rather discovered by* a Tone It Up community of girls here in Montreal. I was thrilled to have someone who could share my love for fitness. So when they organized a meet up, I was jumping from excitement! Little did I know, that I would be literally bouncing to get my sweat on at a ReboundFit class!

If you are not sure what ReboundFit class is all about, don’t worry, you are not alone! In fact, I loved the class so much that I decided to interview the owner of the studio, Narcisa. And she agreed! I feel that people need to be aware of awesome local fitness studios like this one!

ReboundFit - Narcisa

Before getting to serious business, a few fun questions to get to know you, Narcisa.

Guilty pleasure: French fries
Go-to snack: lately, tangerines
Favourite workout: ReboundFit, of course!
Fitness tip: Whatever you choose to do, find a way to make it fun! The more fun something is, the more likely you are to stick with it.

Now that we got this out of the way, could you, please, tell us more about yourself and your fitness background?

Well first and foremost Olena, I want to thank you for this lovely opportunity. I am very happy to be sitting here with you today to speak about this passion project of mine. Also, you were amazing on the trampoline, congrats on completing and surviving your very first ReboundFit workout! You are now officially a Rebound Babe (laughs)!

As for me, I have always been an active girl for as long as I can remember. And I even have the scars to prove it! I was a Track and Field athlete for 4 years back in New York, where I competed in local and state competitions as a sprinter and short distance runner. When I moved to Montreal I shifted my focus away from the competitive fitness world and focused on my studies. But that did not last for too long as deep down inside of me I felt a strong urge to bounce back into the world of health and fitness, pun intended! And that’s the thing with a passion right? It always finds its way back into our life no matter what. It is then our job to either make something of it or keep ignoring it. Well, long story short, I decided to make something of it and here we are today!

Trampolines at ReboundFit

How was ReboundFit born?

ReboundFit was literally conceived out of my apartment. I remember spending countless hours reading books and watching videos on anything health related. Why? Simply because I am passionate about the subject. I would leave work, stop by the book store, get a book on health or well-being, go home and enjoy the read. I derived an immense pleasure from educating myself on the subjects of health, fitness and well-being. Throughout all this ‘’research”, I kept stumbling upon rebounding and its amazing health benefits. I became intrigued. I wanted to experience these benefits for myself. I phoned all the gyms and health studios in Montreal but none offered this sport. I was baffled that despite the countless studies and research done on the subject of rebounding that the gyms had not caught on yet. Even NASA had done studies on this amazing sport and confirmed its amazing health benefits back in the 1980s. The business woman in me then had an idea! Using my background in fitness (by then I was already teaching fitness classes at the YMCA), along with my creative workout style, I carefully designed the ReboundFit workout! If I had to describe it in 3 words it would be FUN, EFFICIENT and SAFE. My focus was on getting the maximum benefit from exercise with the least possible risk of injury, while having a great time!

ReboundFit - punch

Your workouts are really intense! I can attest to that awesome shaky after workout feeling and sweat glow. I could feel every single muscle by the end of the class! Can you tell us more about the science behind ReboundFit workouts? What sets you apart from other fitness classes out there?

That is a great question Olena! ReboundFit is very unique in that it works every single cell in your body at the same time, which makes it the ultimate whole body workout! How does it do that? See, when you lift weights, the corresponding muscles get stronger by resisting the force that is applied to it. The more force your muscles resist, the stronger they will get. In the same way, as your body bounces up and down the trampoline, every single cell in your body is subjected to the increased gravitational pull experienced at the bottom of the bounce as your feet reach the mat. When you are walking, the gravitational pull on your body is constant. The moment you start moving in the vertical field (i.e. jumping) you increase the gravitational pull experienced by every single cell in your body at the bottom of every jump. The higher you jump, the more the gravitational force at the bottom of the bounce. Every single cell in your body adapts to this increased force by getting stronger.

And that is not all; at the top of every bounce, for a split second, you are weightless. All the cells of your body decompress and relax as a result of this weightlessness and at this very moment your body responds by releasing endorphins, the feel-good hormones. This is why a lot of people report feeling happier and less stressed immediately after a ReboundFit workout. It is a natural antidepressant!

So as I was saying, at the top of every bounce your cells experience zero gravitational pull and for that split second they are completely relaxed. By the time you reach the mat, the gravitational pull is increased due to the acceleration and your cells react by contracting, and releasing toxins out of the cell in the process. It is thus a great detox tool!

ReboundFit - cardio

And of course, let’s not forget about the lymphatic system, the garbage collector of the body. It is the system in your body that collects and gets rid of all your toxins. Unlike the circulatory system which has a pump to move the blood throughout the body, the lymphatic system does not have a pump and relies on muscle contraction to get the job done. The up and down movement during a ReboundFit workout causes a constant opening and closing of the lymphatic valves which allow for the most efficient circulation of the lymphatic fluid throughout the body. Toxins are thus eliminated out of your body at an accelerated pace.

You know, I could go on and on about the amazing health benefits of this workout, but people can just go on our website to read more on this. I just wanted to point out the main things that set us apart from other workouts which is manly the fact that it is a workout done in the vertical field.

before ReboundFit class

I really enjoyed kicking and punching that was involved! Also using weights and even resistance bands while on a trampoline?! Wow! I definitely didn’t see that coming. Where do you find inspiration for your moves?

Thank you! I get inspiration from dance, ballet, kickboxing, yoga, pilates and all the other workouts that I do. You can always find a little bit of your favorite workout in ReboundFit!

Obviously, there are many people out there who have various health issues such as bad ankles, runner knees. Could they still have fun in your class?

Absolutely! The workout can be adapted to almost any age and any physical condition. The one you did was an intermediate level. We also offer beginner classes and advanced classes. We have also just started a ReboundFit BootCamp style class which will make its full debut very soon!

ReboundFit - stretch

How about people with poor coordination? Why should everyone try a ReboundFit class at least once in their lives?

A ReboundFit workout will actually improve your coordination! It improves your brain’s responsiveness to the vestibular apparatus in your inner ear, which improves both balance and coordination

What are your goals for this coming year?

The ultimate goal is to get every single person ON THE REBOUND! (laughs)

Finally, any fun stories you’d be able to share with us? I am sure you have quite a few laughs with your members during the class.

Not sure I can discuss the type of fun the Rebound Babes have in class. Hehehe!

Thank you very much for your time and an awesome workout, Narcisa!

Thank YOU, Olena! It was a pleasure having you in the class and doing this interview with you!

ReboundFit in action

I would definitely recommend this class to everyone who lives in the Montreal area or comes here for a vacation! If you hurry, you’ll be able to take advantage of a free trial class by entering code freetrial when booking. It’s available only for a limited time, so if it’s something you are curious about – don’t hesitate or procrastinate, just go for it. To book your class and find all other necessary information head to http://www.reboundfit.com/schedule-booking/.

And if you live elsewhere, see if a class like this is available in your area. You’ll have the time of your life!

Have you ever tried a trampoline class? What did you think?

xoxo
Olena

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Checking In With Sofia: 8 Months Old!

Hey, hey!

Time flies… I’ve repeated this many times and will say this over and over again… I feel like the time is just like sand fleeting through your fingers; and I am desperately trying to hold on to every single moment. Yesterday my baby turned 8 months old!

8 months old

Justin and I have watched Sofia reaching many milestones over the past month. She first stood up on her knees and several days later was able to stand up while holding on to her little car.

8 months old - standing up

Yesterday, she tried to climb a couch by stepping on her car to get to the 8 months sticker as I was snapping the picture above…

She loves to pull herself up in all the places you *me?!* would never think of: “Oh, mommy, you’re cooking? Let me pull myself up on a bottom drawer of the stove, so I can see better!” She’s done it all: kitchen drawers, garbage bin, chairs, sofas, TV stand, toilet… *Who needs the Discovery Channel? There’s so much to discover at home!* I honestly think she would do at least 10 pull ups if only her grip was stronger!

Sofia also started clapping on International Women’s Day. How fitting! I was overjoyed. It was the best gift of all!

Bella and Sofia

This week our baby girl even started waving hello/bye-bye. She’s doing it in her own endearing uncertain way, and I’m trying to engrave it in my memory.

We’ve introduced new foods as well! New types of cereal, fish (haddock), avocado, cauliflower, pear, peach, nectarine, pineapple, and mango.

Feedings can be messy. I love watching Justin getting frustrated when Sofia splashes food all over the tray by hitting a spoon with her tiny hand. Somehow he is always caught ‘by surprise’. In response to his mumbling, I say, “Wait till she starts eating on her own!” *Fun stuff!*

Sofia is a big girl now because she even tried drinking water from a grown up glass. *It’s a big deal, don’t you think? Wink!* 

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While she really loves drinking water, she is still getting used to doing a starfish on her back at the swimming pool. *More on the swimming classes next week.* 

Sofia also became my official running buddy. Over the past week, I’ve gone running with a stroller 3 times and it was a blast along with puddles of sweat. *Haha!*

Sitting up

What have you been up to, my friends?! Stay tuned, many interesting posts are coming up in the near future!

xoxo
Olena

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Las Vegas: The Next Big Fitness Mecca?

What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear “Las Vegas”? The bright lights that dot the Strip? Britney Spears at Planet Hollywood? The clink of coins in the slot machines?

Las Vegas

Image via Flickr

If you ask Josh Furlow, health and fitness should rank pretty high up on that list.

Furlow is the Senior VP of Operations of the Rock n’ Roll Marathon Series. Every time the series touches down in Las Vegas, it becomes the city’s biggest outdoor fitness event – the Rock n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon. And in just a few short years, it and other events centered on fitness and health may well eclipse gaming as Las Vegas’ biggest allure.

The city’s gaming industry has reported big revenue losses for the sixth year running, according to CNN Money. The situation doesn’t look like that’s changing anytime soon, either, especially with online gaming companies gaining even more ground through lucrative jackpot games with a low barrier for entry.

With the gaming industry in the virtual dumps, large-scale events, conventions, trade shows, and expos have helped Las Vegas roar back from the economic downturn in recent years.

Not only is the Rock n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon a big draw for health and fitness enthusiasts the world over, it has also helped stimulate the city’s economy. In 2014, for example, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that the event generated almost $85 million worth of direct spending.

The brains behind the marathon have also recognized a great opportunity to further capitalize on Las Vegas’ spot as the premiere convention destination in the United States. For the non-runners, they’ve also set up the Las Vegas Health and Fitness Expo. Both events will start on November 10th, 2016, with the marathon concluding on November 12th and the Expo closing its doors a day later.

Other health and fitness events have also recognized the opportunity for synergy. This year’s installment of Interbike, the biggest bicycle industry trade show in the US, for example, will start on September 21. On the same day, CrossVegas will kick off the year’s cyclocross World Cup season. One guess as to where both events are taking place.

With all of these events and more on Las Vegas’ calendar, the day may not be that far off when it becomes the next big health and fitness mecca in the US.

(Guest Editorial)

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