Ready to lose some winter pounds?

The rainy season is almost over and summer looms just around the corner; that means endless days at the beach or pool and consequently many days spent in swimming attire. The layers of winter and spring clothing are quickly being shed, revealing either nicely toned running bodies, or perhaps bodies that could stand to lose some extra padding. Thanks to another women’s running group located in the United Kingdom, called running4women.com, we have been given permission to publish one of their posts which offers some great nutritional tips. Follow their guidelines if you wish to look leaner and healthier this summer:

Nutrition: Get Back to Basics
Creating  the perfect nutrition plan to meet your needs is just a series of simple steps. The perfect nutrition plan will keep you fuelled, keep you at the weight you need to be at to perform optimally and keep you feeling great at all phases of your training.
If you can ensure that you follow these “10 rules to live by” day in day out, you will build a solid nutrition foundation:

1. Come Back To Earth.

  • This simply means choosing the least processed forms of foods (specifically carbohydrates) when building the majority of your meals. Typically, the less processed the foods the closer the food that you are eating is to its natural state, the better it will be for your body.

2. Eat a Rainbow Often.

  • The vitamins and minerals that our bodies need come naturally from the foods that we eat, and especially from fruits and vegetables. Eating a variety of fruit and veg in a multitude of colours will help to ensure that you are getting the variety of nutrients that you need, resulting in enhanced recovery, improved energy production and immunity.

3. The Fewer Legs The Better.

  • Protein is a critical part of the diet for athletes, specifically the type and the amount. When focusing on the type of protein, typically the fewer legs the animal has before you actually consume the protein it produces, the better the source. Fish, turkey and chicken rank high.

4. Eat Fats That Give Something Back.

  • It is recommended that 20 – 30% of the total calories come from fat. The best types of fat to include are raw nuts, nut butter, and fatty fish. The forgotten fats are the essential fatty acids. These fats decrease inflammation but, due to their essential nature, must come from the diet.

5. Three for Three.

  • Eating consistently maintains energy levels (blood glucose), keeps the body in a fed state, and prevents mood swings and bingeing. Combining the three main nutrients (carbs, protein and fat) every three hours will prevent extreme hunger, which will make healthier food selection easier.

6. Eat Breakfast Every Day.

  • Eating breakfast everyday is critical, yet it is an absent habit for many. There are many excuses but breakfast does not have to be complicated or time consuming. Eating breakfast gives the body the fuel it needs and sets your metabolism to function correctly throughout the day.

7. Hydrate.

  • Dehydration equals decreased performance. You need to think of hydration in terms of all day not just before you start an activity. Fluids should consist primarily of water and other naturally low caloric beverages, followed by 100% fruit juices, depending upon calorie requirements. The baseline recommended intake of fluids for women is 2.7 litres per day.

8. Don’t Waste Your Workout.

  •      In order to optimise the benefits of a training session and jump start recovery for maximal gains, it is critical to consume a post workout recovery meal that blends both carbohydrate and protein, within 45 minutes after training.

9. Supplement Wisely.

  • Supplements should complement the diet and a mentality of “food first, supplement second” should be employed. Those who are not eating the fruits and vegetables we need should consider a multi vitamin. Those who do not get the recommended two to three servings of fatty fish per week should consider supplementing with an essential fatty acid supplement. Those who do not get the calcium they need, especially female athletes, should consider a calcium supplement.

10. Get Back In The Kitchen.

  • In a world of convenience, travel and life on the go, we often turn to restaurants, fast food and quick food for our nourishment. The more you prepare you own food, the more you control you will have in the nourishment of your body.



Bon Appetit

  

Benefits of Yoga for Runners

Guest Contributor – Stephanie Ermel
One of the great things about the expansion of our WOOT group is that our league of diversely talented women continues to grow. With such a vast collective wealth of knowledge and experience in different areas and skills, I look forward to tapping into our “inhouse” pool of resources and asking some of you to share with the rest of us your expertise on topics that you’re not only familiar with, but which also relate in some way to our love of running.

On that note, I am so excited to introduce to you to Stephanie Ermel and leave you in her hands as she describes how yoga became an integral part of her life and how she believes it can assist us as runners, as well as enhance our overall health and well-being; take it away Stephanie:

I am a kindergarten teacher and a yogi who’s also beginning to venture into the world of running. My first yoga teacher used to start every class by saying, “Set your intention for your practice today: Is it physical? Mental? Emotional? Spiritual? Or maybe all of these things.” Kathleen and I often discuss how running and yoga offer life lessons and if you can relate to that at all, then you’ll understand all of my mumbo-jumbo below.

Physical:
Yoga stretches your entire body and most importantly for runners: the hamstrings, calf muscles, and quads, that tend to get overused. However yoga can really benefit anyone, regardless of age, athleticism, flexibility, etc. For myself and many others, the hips tend to be very tight; so “hip-openers” are especially painful and wonderful (in a good way, like a massage). It’s also been said that we store our emotional baggage/past in our hips and that’s why they’re often so uncomfortable to release – and being the hippy that I am, I love that.
Stretching and increasing flexibility helps reduce the risk of injury; if your body learns to go with the flow, it won’t fight as hard against new challenges – a great metaphor for life.

Yoga is a moving-meditation during which every movement matches breath: if your breathing is off, then that’s an indication that something is out of sync (usually your ego) and you need to focus on getting it on track again, otherwise risk injury. It’s easy to find yourself holding your breath when a pose is difficult even though that’s the most important time to become aware of your tight spots and breathing. (Again, life lesson.) You must imagine sending your breath to the area that needs it most, that is being challenged. I’ve learned that breath is also key in running, so WOOT has provided me with another opportunity to practice this skill.
Lastly, yoga makes you STRONG all over. Running does not necessarily push your upper body to the limit in quite the same way that arm balances and other yoga poses might.

Mental:
I used to dislike running because my internal dialogue was horrible: “You’re tired… this is boring… how much further? Just walk, you‘re going to have to turn around at some point anyway… you’re not a runner…” and so on and so on. I was very hard on myself about everything and that didn’t leave a lot of room for improvement. About 5 years ago I got tired of listening to that garbage when I stumbled upon great books, amazing people, yoga, and all of these other wonderful things that helped me to recognize that this voice was not my own and that I had the power to change the tape that was playing in my head. I always close my yoga practice by thanking my body; that’s helped me to have daily gratitude for the fact that I can move my limbs, that I’m strong: I can breathe on my own and that I’m alive.

As a former gymnast, yoga was like coming home and just for me until I joined a studio that had some crazy-talented yogis in it. Then I allowed those negative thoughts to creep in again but it gave me the chance to apply “yogattitude” and one of my mantras for everything in life: don’t worry about everyone else, just focus on you. I cannot tell you how many times a day I say this to both my kindergarten class, and myself. You have to realize in yoga (and in life) that there are certain things that you can’t do – not now and maybe never but you have to honor your body and accept these things about yourself because otherwise, only you will suffer.

Emotional/Spiritual:
I mentioned my profession at the beginning of this piece not only because I love being a teacher but because in teaching, I’m constantly reminded of how important it is for each one of us to accept ourselves and others. We dedicate so much love and nurturing to children that we forget that people around us (ourselves included) are just kids who deserve it as well. All day long I root for little people, lift them up and make every accomplishment of theirs seem like the only thing that matters; so how come I don’t always do the same for myself? I think no matter what your “thing” is, it’s important to celebrate where you’re at – do I feel silly celebrating my first 5K, 10K, with WOOT women who do Ultras? Uhh, yeah… but again, running reminds me that I’m only competing against myself, so I might as well be nice about it! There’s no fighting negative thoughts, the only way to do that is to replace them with positive ones. Now when I’m running I’ll say, “I can’t believe you’re doing this, I never thought you could but here you are!”a little crazy, but true.
I still ask myself: when will I run a ½ marathon? A full? Maybe even an Ultra? Yikes, maybe when I get my diet in check – when will beer and cheese not be so appealing to me? I don’t know the answers to these questions but I’m not going to waste today worrying about them – one breath, pose, step, and day at a time, right?

From Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth:
Body awareness not only anchors you in the present moment, it is a doorway out of the prison that is the ego. It also strengthens the immune system and the body’s ability to heal itself.

From Fred Roger’s The World According to Mister Rogers:
When we love a person, we accept him/her exactly as is: the lovely with the unlovely, the strong along with the fearful, the true mixed with the façade, and of course, the only way we can do it is by accepting ourselves that way.

Stephanie in one of her yoga poses – both impressive and inspiring!

Thanks for the great post Stephanie!

New to WOOT?

I had to attend a “Family Fun Day” this afternoon; it was an event hosted by my husband’s unit and it involved a potluck meal and recreational activities at a park near Kadena Airbase. My husband is fairly new to the unit he is currently stationed with, and today was my first introduction to both the marines he works with and their family members. I’m hesitant to admit this on a public blog, but I am actually a very nervous person when it comes to meeting people for the first time, especially when those meetings are in a large crowd setting. I asked my husband to stop and get me a coffee so that I would have something to hold in my hands when we got to the event – it sounds silly but the coffee was a way for me to hide my discomfort.

As we pulled up to the event, I started to think about all the ladies who have bravely turned up to WOOT without knowing a single person. I thought about my own inhibitions and I realized that it might have taken me a few weeks to gather up the courage to attend a WOOT run if I were new to the island and didn’t know any members. I also realize that I might be an exception to the norm and that most women probably have no problems introducing themselves to a group of strangers, but for those of you who are like me, I want to commend you for putting your shyness aside and coming out to join us on a WOOT run. And for those of you who have intentions of joining us but haven’t yet felt confident enough to come out, I want to encourage you to send us your thoughts on how we might be able to make the initiation process as comfortable as possible.

Here’s what my husband suggested when I asked him for his thoughts about it: he recommended that we have a rotating schedule where our regular WOOT members take turns in wearing some type of accessory or distinctive clothing item which identifies them as the person whom first-time attendees should approach when they arrive at the carpark. Once the new person has introduced herself she can be placed with a group of runners or walkers who best matches her pace ability.

Any other suggestions? 

Come on out, we’re a friendly group of girls, really…..

A lesson on pacing

This weekend’s running events include a kid’s fun run at Marek Park on Saturday, and a fun 5k or 10k race on Futenma Airbase on Sunday. The kid’s run will be hosted by the America’s Kids Run organization and it brings to mind many of the kid’s runs my family has participated in over the years and how ironically, it was at one of these kid’s runs that I learned one of my very first lessons on pacing.
At age three, my youngest daughter Jade took part in her first running event; it was the Junior Carlsbad and she entered the Toddler Trot which was no more than a quarter mile dash. I ran that race with her and I’m ashamed to say that my intentions of “just having fun” were swept away in the dust remnants of our speedy take-off. I’m not sure we can justify Jade’s second-place win as legitimate, as one of the professional photographs we later viewed shows both her feet off the ground as I’m whisking her along by her hand.



Jade proudly toting her finisher’s bag
                                     

At age four Jade participated in the Keebler Kids Mile, a “non-competitive” mile run held at Legoland in San Diego. Knowing that I probably wouldn’t be able to resist the urge to keep up with the front-runners, I agreed to let my my father and my mother-in-law run with Jade, and walk if necessary. When I saw the three of them come flying around the final bend however, it was obvious that they too did not understand the concept of “fun run.” Poor Jade was exhausted, and her grandparents hardly noticed; they were too busy basking in the glory of having beaten so many other kids and parents out on the course. Maybe the genes on both sides of the family were fished out of the “competitive” pool because it seems that we all have trouble conforming to the “just have fun” premise.

Jade being swept along by her grandparents

Jade sporting her medal
A year later, at one of the annual America’s Kids Run events, Jade unknowingly showed me what it is to be competitive in a sensible way; she suprised me by doing what I least expected her to do. When the starter gun sounded Jade took off at a mad pace with all the other kids vying to take the lead, but she quickly eased back and settled into a pace that she was capable of maintaining for a full half mile. At five years old, she not only completed the half mile distance set for her age group,  but she completed it comfortably and well ahead of many other boys and girls in her division. In fact, she even had enough energy reserved to go out and run another half mile.I wonder if she would have had any energy left had she been accompanied by certain unnamed family members?
Jade in the middle, cooling down after running half a mile

                                            

I learned a lesson that day. Jade ran her first race on her own and demonstrated the kind of self-restraint and discipline that resulted in a successful and enjoyable run. Quite simply, she took her sights off the runners in front of her and focused instead on keeping a pace that suited her ability and enabled her to outrun some of the other kids who went out too fast.
It’s ironic isn’t it, how as mothers we try to teach our kids lessons in life, and yet sometimes it’s our kids who teach us a thing or two.

To get up, or not to get up?

I saw a request some time ago on Runnersworld.com for early morning runners to share with readers what specifically motivated them to get up daily at the crack of dawn and run. I remember disregarding the request and moving on to more interesting reading, but that question presented itself again just a few weeks later when my husband asked me why it was so easy for me to get up early most mornings and run.

Now, many weeks later, I’ve decided to address this question based on the premise that maybe those of us who are early morning runners might actually have some worthwhile tips to share with those who would like to be early morning runners.

I’ve decided to get the ball rolling with my two cents worth: The way I see it, there are pros and cons with everything in life, including early morning runs. From my perspective, the pros of an early morning run are a) the temperature is cooler, b) I have the rest of the day free to attend to other commitments, c) my motivation to exercise is at its highest in the morning and slowly diminishes as the day goes on, and d), it sets the tone for the day and places me in a good mood. There really is only one con as far as I am concerned and that is the discomfort I feel when I first turn my alarm off and roll out of bed in a still-sleepy state. What it comes down to for me, is that the few minutes of debilitating fatigue I feel when I first get up is really just a small price to pay for the energized feeling my run fuels me with throughout the remainder of the day.

Feel free to add your comments and keep the ball rolling………

Humidity Alert!!!

By Jannine Myers

This is an old post brought out of the archives, but it’s content is worth revisiting, especially as many of you are continuing to train during the summer months – please read on.

Question: What happens when it rains and drivers don’t slow down to adapt to the slippery road conditions?
Answer: They often lose control of their vehicles and CRASH!

The same thing can happen to runners too! Those of you who have been running outdoors lately will have noticed the increasingly humid conditions and how quickly your clothes are turning into water-soaked rags. It’s important to adapt to the humidity by slowing down and taking walk breaks if needed; if you try to maintain your regular run pace chances are you are going to crash and end your run a lot sooner than you would have liked.

Below is a list of tips (copied from About.com), that tell you how to be smart when running in hot and humid weather:

Stay Hydrated – The easiest way to avoid heat disorders is to keep your body hydrated. This means drinking fluids before, during and after exercise. The body’s fluid needs vary with exertion, climate, humidity, terrain, and other factors. The new fluid recommendations for runners say that they should “obey your thirst” and drink when their mouth is dry and they feel the need to drink. In training, drink before workouts and make sure you have access to fluids if exercising longer than 30 minutes. During longer workouts, some of your fluid intake should include a sports drink (like Gatorade) to replace lost salt and other minerals (electrolytes).


Choose Clothing Carefully – Light-colored, loose-fitting clothing will help your body breathe and cool itself down naturally. Tight clothing restricts that process and dark colors absorb the sun’s light and heat. Wear synthetic fabrics (not cotton) because they will wick moisture away from your skin so cooling evaporation can occur.

Run Early or Late – Try to avoid running between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun’s intensity is at its greatest. If you must train during those hours, try to stick to shady roads or trails.

Wear Sunscreen – Protect your skin with a waterproof sunscreen that has an SPF of at least 15 and offers broad spectrum protection, which means it protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Stick formulations are good for runners’ faces because the sunscreen won’t run into your eyes.

Don’t Push It – On a race day (or during any intense workout), take weather conditions into account. Brutal heat and humidity mean you should scale back your performance goals. Don’t try to beat the heat.

Make a Splash – Use water to cool yourself during runs. If you are overheating, splashing water on your head and body will cool you down quickly and have a lasting effect as the water evaporates from your skin.

Be Educated – You should be very familiar with the signs of heat problems so you recognize them in yourself or in a running partner. If you feel faint, dizzy, disoriented, have stopped sweating, or your skin is cool and clammy, slow down or stop running. If symptoms continue, sit or lie down in the shade and seek help.
One last tip – Jeff Galloway suggests that for every 5 degree temperature increase above 60F, you should slow down by 30 seconds per mile.

Mother’s Day

A couple of years ago I remember setting out on an early morning run and being startled by a car that accidentally hit the curb just ahead of me. I was startled obviously by the car being so close to me, but I was further surprised when the left rear hubcap flew off the wheel, and the driver, completely oblivious to what had just happened, continued driving his car without stopping to collect his runaway hubcap.

Sometimes I think we mothers are so busy fulfilling the various roles we play throughout each day, that we too unknowingly lose parts of ourselves along the way. The types of parts I believe we are prone to losing are not necessarily tangible parts, but parts that sustain our energy and overall well-being; such things as rest, a healthy diet, regular exercise, and being good to ourselves.

Like the driver who was able to continue driving his car without a hubcap, we also are capable of getting things done when we’re overtired and run-down, but wouldn’t it be better to take a little time to give up our regular responsibilities and focus for just a moment on taking care of ourselves?

Take today to sit back and enjoy what Mother’s day is all about – be selfish for a change and spend the day doing whatever it is that you want to do, and that includes choosing whether some of that time is spent with or without your family.

Wishing you all a restful and happy mother’s day!

From all of us at WOOT.

Whatever we desire to do must first be started

1984 Olympic Marathon champion Joan Benoit Samuelson, once said that when she first started running she was so embarrassed that when cars passed her, she’d slow to a walk and pretend she was looking at flowers. If Joan had given in to her insecurities she would never have realized her potential as a runner, but worse still, she would have missed the opportunity to experience what has since become a significant and meaningful part of her life.

So what does Joan Benoit Samuelson have to do with anything? Nothing and everything. Nothing if you have no interest in running, but everything if you’re one of our new readers looking for a little motivational push to put your running shoes on and step out your front door.

One of our goals as running mentors is to help those of you who want to run, to overcome any reservations you might have and get you started. As the title of this post suggests, the challenge in trying something new doesn’t necessarily lie in the event itself, but simply in the act of starting. So we encourage you to put your running shoes on and let us help you take those first few steps……. 

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