Tips for Running in the Snow!

2016-01-20 20.46.20It’s that time of the year, cold and snowy conditions hitting many parts of the United States. As conditions start to get colder and snowy it’s super important to start thinking about how you can run safely outside and avoid the treadmill as much as possible. Below I’ve provided you guys with some helpful tips for running outside in snowy/icy conditions to help keep you safe through this Winter’s wintry mix.

Choose Warm Socks
Keeping your feet warm during colder/snowy conditions is super important. It’s not about the thickest pair of socks but more about the circulation and insulation that the sock provides. Most thicker socks actually cut down your circulation and end up making your feet colder so go for a thinner, more insulated sock that will fit into your current shoe. Some great cold gear running socks include: SmartWhool PDH, Drymax Cold Weather Crew, Mizuno Breath Thermo, and Feetures Cold Running Socks.

Warm Gloves:
Cold hands are never fun during short or long runs in the Winter, that’s why choosing the perfect pair of running gloves is key. For temperatures that are above 32 degrees I would suggest using a mid to thick layered glove that will keep your hands warm while not overheating them. If the wind is blowing I would suggest going with a thicker, warmer glove that will keep your hands warmer while moving back and forth during your run. If there is no wind I would suggest going with a medium thickness so that your hands don’t overheat or get to hot during your run. For runs that are under freezing conditions I would strongly suggest layering gloves together. Start with a simple base layer glove, something with wool liner followed by a heavier shell glove that will block the wind and moisture away from your hands. This will help keep you warm and dry at the same time. For those who have circulation issues I would suggest adding a hand warmer in your gloves to help keep you warm and dray.

Shorten Your Stride:
Running in snowy/icy conditions can be tough to navigate so start with shortening your stride. Focus on shortening your stride when starting your run to help with learning the conditions of the road or trials so that you find the perfect balance and traction. Once you are able to learn your balance on the snowy roads/trails you may then start to extend your stride to a normal length however please keep focused on the conditions and your balance, you don’t want to find yourself getting into the groove and then bam falling on the ground due to being to confident. Also, if the conditions are super slippery you may want to add running spikes to the bottom of your shoes to help with traction and support. This support should really only be used for extreme conditions and if you are running in none scrapped areas or trails.

Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate
It’s super easy in the colder temperatures to forget to stay hydrated before and after runs but it’s crucial that runners continue to stay hydrated. Even though your body isn’t hot like in the Summer it’s even more important to stay hydrated during the Winter months due to your body doing more work and sweating more often during your Winter runs. It’s key to continue to hydrate hours before and after any run with either Nuun Hydration, Powerade, Gaterode, or any other electrolyte drink.

Shoes:
This may sound stupid but wearing the right running shoes will do wonders. Staying upright during your snowy/icy run is key and to do this you must have amazing traction on your shoes. I would highly suggest making sure you wear new or relatively new shoes that still have good traction on the soles. If you find that your shoes are losing traction or don’t have much of any I would highly suggest you not run in them due to slipping and falling. If you don’t want to purchase new shoes you may purchase traction devices that can go over your current shoes. Anything that will slip over to add traction will do wonders to your run while keeping you save.

Don’t Count Miles, Count Time:
Most of us do it, we run for a certain distance and not for certain time but running in snowy/icy conditions changes things for your body. Running in these conditions engages different muscles compared to running on the dry ground. Don’t expect to just jump into running the same distance as every other day of training, instead take it easy and switch it up to a time run and not a distance run. This will help get your muscles in shape for these new snowy/icy conditions while keeping you safe and off your butt. As someone once told me, count your snowy/icy runs as double due to the impact and muscle work that happens.

I hope these tips help you prepare for your next Winter run while keeping you comfortable, safe, and warm. For more tips or questions about running in snowy/icy conditions please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at travis.smith@irunfitandhealthy.com or at @iRunFitDC, I’m more than welcome to assist. Happy running peeps!

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Tips for Running in the Snow!

Solidcore DC

As a Coach and Runner I’m always looking for the next best workout that engages not only strength training but core training. As a runner our core is one of the strongest assets that keep us running strong, helping hold our posture during long runs, and giving us the stability to keep going when our body wants to quit. Now lets all be honest, core training is not fun, it hurts, and the next couple of days are always the worst BUT I’ve found a studio that makes core training fun, energetic, and wanting athletes, runners, and everyday individuals coming back week after week for more training.

solidcore-Minneapolis-studioA couple weeks ago I had the opportunity to join a few friends for a Solidcore class in Washington, DC. Solidcore is a 50-minute full body workout that includes core training and strength training through slow and controlled movements. Each class can hold up to 13 individuals on their mega reformer beds that move back and forth with weighted springs making your full body exercise burn deeper than any other workout, so deep that your muscles work to failure. Each 50-minute class can host up to multiple different moves, poses, and workouts so no class is ever the same and no routine is ever followed.

Review:

In the past I’ve done a lot of exercises, strength training, and personal training to get where I am today in my running career but nothing, I mean nothing compares to Solidcore. As a very active athlete and runner in the DC area I thought my body was prepared and strong enough for my first Solidcore class however that was proven wrong during the first 15 minutes of class. Within the first 15 minutes of class we had held planks, did military crawls on a moving bed, and engaged our core so much that my body was already failing. Did I mention this was a 50-minute class? As we continued through the class we continued to engage our core through lunges, leg and glut workouts, and of course more planks and military crawls. As the class continued we started working on our upper body through slow and controlled push-ups, butterfly chest workouts with the attached bands, and moving planks.

Through the whole class my body was sweating like it’s never sweated before, dripping withsolidcore-noma-coming-soon.0 sweat as my muscles started to fail and my body wanting to quit. It was in these tough times that the instructor was able to motivate me to continue, to push through my limits and give everything I had to end the class on a strong note. Along with the amazing instructor and music, the individuals around me helped keep me accountable and making sure I didn’t give up and quit. Don’t get me wrong, the class was fun but it was also the most challenging workout I’ve ever experienced, even more challenging than my first marathon.

At the end I truly enjoyed the first class, so much that I’ve purchased more sessions and have continued to train with Solidcore once a week for my 2016 Boston Marathon training. Overall I would highly suggest individuals try a class, see what it’s like to push your body to the breaking point and watch it rebuild as you continue to grow and get stronger. I’ve learned through the classes that I’ve taken each week that you can push your body to do anything as long as your mind doesn’t get in the way. So start the New Year STRONG and try something outside of your comfort zone to see how far you can push your bodies limits. To learn more or to register for your first Solidcore class visit, www.solidcore.co.

Solidcore DC

Crystal City Twilighter 5K

The Summer is a great time to get out, explore the outdoors, train for any upcoming Fall races, and have fun with community runs. With temperatures pretty reasonable in the mornings and evenings I have found that Summer has become one of my favorite sessions to run, train, and get faster.

As I continue to train for my upcoming 3rd Chicago Marathon I’ve started to truly enjoy the shorter, faster races including the 5K’s and 10K’s that local running companies put on each Summer. These shorter, faster races allow for me to focus on speed and form so that I can continue to decrease my overall half and full marathon times. With these short runs I’m able to just focus on running and giving 110% during the race knowing that it will be short and sweet. This Summer I’ve done a few 5K’s including the DC Pride Run, FullMoon 5K, and the Crystal City Twilighter 5K to name few. By incorporating these smaller races into my Chicago Marathon training I have decreased my overall 5K time to my best yet at the Crystal City Twilighter 5K.

This Saturday evening Twilighter race is put on by Pacers’ Running Company in Crystal City, VA with a flat, fast course with tons of fast runners from all over the DMV. With the race taking place in the evening the weather was cooler without the humidity or sun beaming down on runners. Due to these great conditions I was able to complete the Crystal City Twilighter 5K in a Personal Record (PR) time of 17:11 coming in 34 out of 1,700 runners, 34 in my gender, and 13 in my age group. I owe a lot of my success to my Potomac River Running (PRR) Team, ENERGYBits, and Herbalife24. These coaches, teammates and products have truly made my running take off and have helped make my running so successful today.

If you are looking for a fun, energy backed, family friendly race I would highly encourage any of the Pacers’ Running Company races. They typically host race series throughout the year in different parts of NoVA and DC. For more information on their races please visit their website to learn more. If you are interested in learning more about iRun.Fit or our Training Programs please contact me, Travis Smith 🙂

Crystal City Twilighter 5K

Third Times A Charm!

Another year another race. This year I started my half marathon session with the Rock ‘n’ Roll DC Half Marathon in Washington, DC. As a new runner to half marathons this was my third half in my running journey and I couldn’t be anymore excited and happy about starting 2015 with this Washington, DC race. Melissa_iRunFit

Going into the race I didn’t feel as prepared as I had times before, only running up to 10 miles during my training session but still staying dedicated to running 4-5 times a week to maintain my running base. Due to time, travel, and many other issues I wasn’t able to do my research on the course, elevation, and water stops. Previously I was able to take the time to review the course, learn where the elevation areas were along the course, and prepare my body for certain water stops. Even with these little setbacks and unclear route information I kept a positive outlook on the run and stayed excited about running in Washington, DC and not trying to set a PR (Personal Record).

Race morning wasn’t the best with colder weather and rain, something I had not trained in once again due to living in NC. Due to the weather I wore a few extra layers to stay dry and warm along with starting at a pace that was comfortable while focusing on my music, yes I listen to music and love every second of every song. While staying focused and determined I was able to continue my pace along the first 6 miles and reminding myself that whatever goes up must come down at some point. If you aren’t aware, mile 6 of the Rock ‘n’ Roll course has a huge hill and when I say huge, I mean people stopping to walk but not me! I stayed focused and knew this was the only major hill in the race and that no matter what I could complete it, even if I had to slow down a little. With the great bands, crowd support, and cheerleaders I was able to conquer the big hill and continue at my starting pace realizing I was already at mile 10 and nicely starting to coast downhill towards the finish line. It wasn’t until about mile 11-12 that my body began to get tired and I was mentally starting to lose it so I popped a GU, Peanut Butter/Chocolate the best one out there to help give me that extra boost of energy to finish the race.2015-03-23 18.34.43

Coming down to the end I kept telling myself to keep going, push even harder, and never give-up. These little reminders along with the great crowd support during the last half mile kept me pushing towards my fastest pace of the race. Once crossing the finish line I was drained by impressed with my time and even more excited that the race was over. Even though this wasn’t my fastest half marathon I did complete the race in 1:55 and would highly suggest this race to anyone who is either just getting into half marathons or looking for new race series, I would even run it again 🙂  I look forward to running more half marathons this year with iRun.Fit.

– Melissa Smith
iRun.Fit Teammate
@MelissaSmith22

 

Third Times A Charm!

Rock ‘n’ Roll DC Tips

There’s only 3 days left until the Rock ‘n’ Roll DC Series overtakes the Nation’s Capital, are Rock 'n' Roll Medalsyou ready? You’ve come this far with your training, short runs, long runs, days you wanted to give-up and days you felt like you could run further, so take these few days leading up to Saturday to hydrate, relax, and prepare for race-day logistics. There is no point to start stressing or to get in those extra miles that you weren’t able to log during your training session, your body is ready. Below I’ve listed a few things I personally do to prepare for race day, including hydration, shake-out runs, pre-race logistics, and refueling post race.

Hydrate:
It’s time to get serious and start hydrating! That means not only drinking a lot of water but also getting plenty of electrolytes and vitamins into your body leading up to race day. Some great hydration supplements that I’ve used include; Nuun tablets, Isagenix Replenish mix, and Herbalife 24 Hydrate mix. All of which have great electrolytes and vitamins that help keep your body hydrated and replenished during and after runs. 

Shake-Out Run:
Now I know this sounds crazy, a run before a long run but I would highly suggest that you plan an easy, short shake-out run the day before the race. I personally use this time to reflect on my training session, my accomplishments, prepare my body one last time for the big race, and relax. These runs should not include speed work or long distances, better yet just a short easy 3-5 miles to loosen your legs and muscles for the next day.

**I will be planning a 4-mile shake-out run on Friday, March 13th at 7AM at VIDA City Vista for anyone who is interested in joining**

Race Day Logistics:
Today’s the day, the big day that you’ve been waiting for ever since you started your training journey. The Rock ‘n’ Roll Series has provided all runners with bag check information, pre-race information, and post-race information. I personally would suggest skipping bag check and just donating your clothes when the race starts. This year’s bag check once again is organized by LAST NAME and not Bib Numbers so it makes it a little more challenging. If you are determined to check a bag I would highly suggest that you get to the race site an hour before the race starts to make sure everything is completed.

As for the right attire, please plan to dress accordingly. As of right now it looks like it might rain with temperatures starting in the 40’s and increasing throughout the race. I would highly suggest that runners please prepare to take off any extra clothing along the race so your body doesn’t overheat or get weighted down with extra wet gear.

Post-Race:
You did it, you accomplished what you were set out to do. I’m sure after completing your half or full marathon you will have all tons of emotions, excitement, and of course being tired. This is the perfect time to start restoring your body from the electrolytes, nutrients, and vitamins that you lost during the race. I would encourage you to start slow, don’t just chug water and slam food into your mouth. Start with hydrating yourself with one of the hydration mixes I listed above followed by a protein shake to help increase your electrolytes and nutrients in your body. Some protein shakes I would suggest include Isagenix Pro or Herbalife 24 Rebuild Endurance or Strength. Following the race I would encourage you to wait 1-2 hours afterwards to sit down for a full meal. This will give your body the time it needs to recovery from the race, hydrate, and refuel from the protein shake.

I look forward to seeing you out on the course and running together for this year’s Rock ‘n’ Roll DC Series! For questions regarding any of the tips or to join my shake-out run please contact Travis Smith, Travis.Smith@irunfitandhealthy.com

 

Rock ‘n’ Roll DC Tips

Fuel Your Next Race

Training for a 5K, 10K, Half or Full Marathon is much more than just lacing up every week and logging miles, it’s also about starting and keeping a healthy lifestyle. Set the stage this year for your next PR with these top healthy foods that I incorporate into my diet everyday!

Plain Non-Fat Greek Yogurt
On average, non-fat Greek yogurt contains 18 grams of protein in a six-ounce serving. High in calcium, potassium, zinc, and vitamins B6 & B12, all of which help promote strong bones, increased energy, and immune function. For more energy try topping your six-ounce serving with high-fiber cereals or even blend with fresh fruit to make morning smoothies.

Quinoa
Start kicking brown rice out of the house and start incorporating Quinoa into your meals. This gluten-free carb source is not a grain but actually a seed that contains all nine essential amino acids, complete proteins, and full of dietary fiber to help lower your cholesterol and boost all the good stuff!

Eggs
Hands down Eggs are the best whole food with the highest quality of protein. Incredibly versatile and loaded with protein, runners can add this protein packed food to any meal or snack. Recent studies show Eggs are great for post-run workouts do to mineral choline which helps get rid of inflammation which may occur right after a hard, long run.

Bananas
As runners we see this easy-to-carry food after every race. Bananas are a great on-the-go source of energy that are packed with potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and manganese. Eating foods like bananas can help runners stay fit and healthy throughout race session, while helping repairing tissue damage during recovery time.

Peanut Butter
My all time favorite food, Peanut Butter! When it comes to fueling for your next run, peanut butter is one of the top rated best foods for athletes. Packed with healthy fats, fiber, and protein, peanut butter provides runners with sustained energy throughout a long or short run. The healthy fats are digested slower than carbs, providing a feeling of fullness for longer periods, while releasing nutrients at a slower pass to help provide more energy throughout the run.

Wild Salmon
When it comes to fish, Salmon is the best. Not only is it flavor and filling, but is also a very high-quality of protein and healthy fat source. Per ounce, Salmon has 7 grams of protein, less than 1 gram of saturated fat, and a healthy dosage of omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon is great for recovery due to the anti-inflammatory agent found in the food, along with great healthy fats to help prolong your long runs and workouts. As a runner this means you can perform at your best for a longer period of time while recovery faster during your recovery periods.

Fuel Your Next Race

Strava Tracking!

Strava-LogoJoin the community, the Strava community! Strava is a free community based app and website that allows athletes from all over the world to come together as one by connecting cyclists and runners through their online website and app. Athletes are able to create a profile online and then download the app to their Smart Phone to help track their rides and runs through built-in GPS tracking. Once athletes have created a profile they are able to follow individuals from all over the world, track and analyze their rides and runs, publish recent activities to their online Social Media outlets, and challenge other athletes to monthly challenges.

Along with using Strava’s built-in GPS tracking system, athletes are also able to connect their tracking devices including, Garmin, Suunto, Timex, TomTom, and Soleus to name a few. Athletes can connect these devices to the Strava interface to help sync everything together and continue to monitor their progress. While being able to track rides and runs athletes are also able to create or find local runs in the community that other athletes have created or published. This is a great way to help explore the city or town, find new and different trials, meet new athletes in the community, and create community runs through their online route planning tool.

Review: 

Recently I made the change from MapMyRun to Strava due to recent issues and have fallen in love with the sleek, modern Strava app and website design. Unlike other online tracking interfaces Strava has mastered the sleek, slimline, no clutter interface that allows athletes to login and track their rides and runs seamlessly without cluttered tool bars, multiple advertisements, and other bulky buttons. Some of the amazing features I love are the route tracking tool, route planning tool, and being able to connect outside devices such as my Garmin and Suunto watches.

Since I do manage multiple community fun runs this app and website makes it easy for me to create and export upcoming runs to my community members while publishing them online via my Social Media outlets. It also makes it super easy for other runners to download my route to their Smart Phone app to guide them along our community runs and track their own progress.

For me the best feature I believe is the ability to connect outside devices to the app and website, it’s truly amazing! As an elite runner I track all my races and runs on either my Garmin 620 or Suunto Ambit Sport 3 watch everyday and then sync each run to their individual apps, but now have the ability to sync everything to one device to monitor my runs and progress. This makes tracking my runs that much smoother while being able to analyze each run to see my strong points, weak points and where I over ran during races and runs.

For those couple of features I would highly encourage runners to make the change from other tracking devices to Strava. It’s super easy, seamless and functional that any runner, new or old could benefit from the different features and technology. If anything you can download the free app to see who is in your community, look for new and different runs, and help challenge yourself by analyzing previous runs to see how you are doing overtime.

Make sure to follow me, Travis Smith on Strava to see where I run, run with me, or to just have a fun running buddy online!

Strava Tracking!