Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

How to improve your mile time

GettyImages-1486149507Improving your running time and efficiency can seem overwhelming. Whether you are a beginner or well-seasoned runner there is always room for performance improvement.

Understanding and building an anaerobic base is vital, let’s learn more! It’s important to understand anaerobic training and how it can benefit you. Anaerobic training is exercise that occurs in the absence of oxygen and is usually seen in short high intensity bursts of exercise. Things like heavy weight training, running, or cycling sprints are all considered anaerobic forms of exercise. This seems counterintuitive to train as you are running long distances, however, sprints can assist in building your cardiovascular endurance. This form of training can increase lactate threshold, allowing runners to run faster and longer while improve running efficiency. Utilizing hill sprints, high intensity intervals, or tempo runs will get you where you desire to be!

Different then anaerobic, the primary source that drives our energy systems during aerobic exercise is oxygen. Exercises like walking, running, hiking, and swimming are usually done at a lower intensity but for a greater distance overall. Developing your aerobic capacity will allow you to utilize oxygen more efficiently which will allow you to run at a faster pace while keeping the perceived intensity low. Setting up your aerobic training will be based on what goal you set. If your goal is to run a mile as fast as you can, running 1.5 – 2.5 miles will be enough to give you a satisfactory result. But if you signed up for your local 5k, then those number will increase up to 4, 5, or even close to a 10k. This might seem counterintuitive as you are running further than is required, but further distances will pay dividends when it is time to race.

Now that we have our running training program set that’s all we should need right? Not quite, another critical ingredient is strength training. Implementing a strength training routine to your program can elevate your training and allow you to reach your goals. Utilizing strength training can increase the amount of muscular strength and core balance needed to run faster and longer. From a muscular perspective, keeping the muscles in tip top shape will allow you to run more often and will prevent injuries. Strength training can assist in mobility and allow the joints to go through their full range of motion. Supplement your running program by adding strength training at a minimum of once a week, ideally 2 – 3 times a week.

This year don’t allow yourself to achieve the same mile times. Achieve more this year by following these simple tips. Now get on the road and let’s start earning some mileage!

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Topics: exercise running strength training training for a race

Cross Training: Is it right for you?

GettyImages-181139737Cross training in exercise can make you a stronger athlete and help you achieve your fitness goals faster and more efficiently. Consider cross training in the workplace, and how learning or developing new skills can help to improve business, experiences, and job satisfaction – this isn’t much different in the realm of fitness! Simply put, cross training consists of adopting an exercise regimen which consists of a variety of modalities. To get started, consider your fitness goals, and the type of exercise that compliments them. Take running for example, instead of hitting the treadmill or pavement daily, try adding in Yoga or Pilates a few times a week for to help improve your flexibility and balance, or a strength training routine which targets the muscles you rely on to carry you across the finish line.

Runners, along with any athlete (yes, I’m looking at you!), participating in sport or recreational activity can benefit from adding a consistent strength training program into their training. The addition of resistance training multiple times a week will help increase muscular endurance, power and strength. What about yoga, flexibility training, and cardiovascular exercises like swimming, cycling, and rowing? Adding in a variety of these training methods will help to improve cardiovascular endurance, agility, balance, and posture, and make you more well-rounded which translates to how you feel and move in everyday life.

Still not sure cross training is for you? Some other benefits include:

  • Reduced risk of injury: By cross training, you will be more likely avoiding overtraining of just one set of muscles and reduce the risk of overuse injuries.
  • Enhanced weight loss: Using multiple forms of exercise is a great way to increase metabolism and calorie burn. A proper diet, exercise and decrease in caloric intake will create a deficit, assisting in weight loss, if that’s a goal of yours.
  • Overall Improved fitness: Adding other modes of training outside of your regular sport or recreational activity can have benefits of increased agility, aerobic capacity, flexibility, and balance. Giving you an overall improved level of health and fitness.
  • Reduced risk of exercise boredom/burnout: Most people, at some point in their training, have experienced burnout or boredom from doing the same routine daily, monthly, etc. Adding cross training to the mix can spice things up and keep you fresh and focused! Cross training also allows the body to experience different types of stress to the body's systems.

There are so many ways to mix up or tweak your weekly workout schedule by adding something different into your routine. Try something new and refreshing, like a group fitness class, or a partner workout, and allow your body to recover from its normal routine. Remember not everyone’s cross training will look the same - speak to your NIFS fitness staff if you would like help creating a cross training schedule based on your personal fitness goals.

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Topics: fitness success training for a race cross-training

Setting the Groundwork for Successfully Completing a Challenging Fitness Event

NIFS | Prepare today for success

Many thoughts come to mind when setting the groundwork for successfully participating in a sporting event, race or activity. Whether you are a recreational sports enthusiast or competing at a high level, everyone desires a successful event, and “success” means something different for each participant. When speaking to a recreational sports enthusiast, most will tell you that they are looking to maintain good health, have fun, and complete the event. On the other hand, the competitive athlete will define success only when they outperform others or themselves. Let’s take a look at some considerations for setting the groundwork for competing in a successful event.

[Read More: Preparing for your First Obstacle Race]

Planning – Planning your training weeks in advance before an event will pay off on the day of the event. It reduces stress and provides confidence that you prepared physically and mentally to complete the task. In addition to mapping out your training calendar, outline your goals for the event early in your training. Then, trust that the training sessions have prepared you to be successful in meeting your goals.

Organization – During the weeks prior to the event, it is important to do your homework. Create a check list with items needed for the event. Purchasing appropriate clothing and equipment early will give you time to test and exchange items if needed. Packing all the necessary items for the event a few days in advance will help eliminate stress on the day of the event.

Check the weather – If the event is outdoors, always keep in mind weather conditions for the day of the event. Pack additional clothing in advance or equipment options for unexpected weather changes.    

Visualize – It is helpful to visualize your plan of action during the event. What strategies are you going to use to meet your goals? When will it be the best time to push harder on the course or ease up? Focus on each aspect of the event. It is better to break it up in small parts as you transition from one mile to the next. Visualization prepares you mentally providing you with positive thoughts and images for a successful outcome.

Do not try anything new – It's not a good idea to try anything new on the day of the event. For example, don’t try new foods/drinks en route and don’t use new gear that hasn’t been road-tested. Stick to your plan. Your training sessions have prepared you for this day. Trying out new strategies does not prepare you for the risk of new unexpected challenges that can occur.

Expect the unexpected – It’s common for an event to stray from your plan; be adaptable and expect some variation of what you’ve outlined. A change in the course, unforeseen weather, or equipment breakdowns can occur causing disruptions in mental focus and attitude. Implement your plan B and stay the course! Do not let the unexpected defeat you.

Keep a good pace – Have a strategy in place based on your performance skills. Are you starting the event fast or slow? Are you going to remain at a steady pace throughout the course? Consider how weather conditions may affect your speed and performance. How will extreme hot or cold conditions or gusty winds effect your pace? Do you need to adjust your goals midway through the course? Consider all of these questions and more before race day.

Nutrition – It is not a good idea to try new foods on the day of the event. Many athletes are nervous on the day of the event and trying new foods can upset the stomach causing discomfort. Timing of nutrition during an event is especially important to consider for longer distances. Plan what types of food or drink you will pack for the event and when would be the best time on the course to ingest them, or will you rely on water or food stations provided on the course?

Following through with these considerations will set the groundwork for a successful event. Meeting your goals is satisfying and provides confidence for the next one!

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Topics: race tips sporting events fitness challenge training for a race training for a fitness event