Tips to improve your running

I’m lately really starting to get back into my running groove. For a while there, I had been running but mainly sticking to lower impact forms of cardio because I’ve been trying to take it easier on my knees the past few months. Man oh man, does it ever feel great to be doing the thing that I love so much so regularly again!

With the more consistent runs, I have also been trying to remind myself of the tips I’ve learned over the course of many years of being in this sport. I have gone to running clinics and had running coaches, as well as learned a lot from myself just from pure experience.

I’d love to take some time now to share with you some of the best running tips that I can give you to improve your speed, endurance and to lower the chances of injury!

tips to improve running

With each step, land your foot directly underneath your body. Over-striding or landing your foot in front of your body adds extra stress and impact to the body. With each step, your foot should land underneath your hips!

Get your cadence to about 180 steps per minute. To go along with the previous tip, try to get your cadence to about 180 steps or 90 strikes per foot per minute. Runners with a cadence of about 180 are more likely to have short, quick strides, which means we are having a mid foot strike rather than over-striding!

Run light on your feet! Try to avoid pounding! I made this mistake for the longest time. By the end of a long run, the bottoms of my feet would feel as though they were burning, bad sign!

Lean slightly forward from your ankles, not your waist. Lean forward and use gravity to help make some forward momentum! This will help you to propel your body forward. It is especially helping to do this when going downhill as well during races.

Avoid swinging your hands cross your midline. Keep your arms going forward and backward, not side to side. Drive your elbows back while keeping your arms at about a 90 degree angle. This technique will also help you with the following tip…

Run TALL! When I feel like I am starting to hunch over, I love to reach my arms up high above my head. This resets my body and helps me to elongate my spine! The more core work that I do outside of running, the easier it is for me to keep great posture and to avoid hunching over throughout my run!

Get rid of the bounce. Bouncing as you run wastes extra energy! Move forward instead of up and down.

Relax your shoulders! I tend to tense them up towards my ears as I am running. You’ll feel the pain in your upper back when you start to do this during longer runs.That is a waste of energy, and it causes extra unneeded tension!  Relax your shoulders and let them enjoy the ride!

Relax your hands. Don’t clench them tightly. Gently cup your hands as you run.

Keep your eyes looking ahead of you about 10 to 20 feet.

I like to spend each mile of my ‘form runs’ (the runs where I really focus in on my form each week) on a different aspect. For example, on your next run, you could spend mile 1 warming up, mile 2 working on leaning forward from your ankles, mile 3 on your arm swing, mile 4 on your posture and mile 5 on combining all of them together for some good looking running.

Music This one is a personal, but can be helpful to many! I have noticed that my speed and endurance actually increases when I’m listening to some upbeat tunes that I love, not to mention it adds some entertainment to the run and can make it seem less daunting and more enjoyable!

Weekend highlights

Tomorrow I’ll be heading back to work after the long weekend, it has been a much needed amount of time off, but for now I will enjoy what’s left of this night before heading to bed.

I’ll share with you some of my favourite moments of this weekend!

Beauty and the Beast play

For Christmas Colt had gotten us tickets to see the traveling Broadway play beauty and the beast, needless to say I was beyond excited! It made for a nice reason to travel to Edmonton together and get a little dressed up. And since I’m an absolute Disney fanatic, it pretty much summed up a dream date for me!


The play itself was so entertaining and I enjoyed how they mixed in some good humour. The dancing, acting and singing were so well performed and they had some great effects mixed in! My favourite song of the evening was ‘be our guest’ where they shot confetti out into the crowd!

Visiting my sister to bead

Since we were going to be in Edmonton for 2 days, I had to make sure I made some time to see my sister! We got a little crafty and sag down together, had a glass of wine, and make some beading bracelets just as a little activity to chat over. It’s so fun every time we catch up with each other!

David’s tea purchases

I gotta say, I don’t often go to the malls on weekends because they are soooo hectic – the parking lots, stores and lineups always seem to have me waiting for ridiculous amounts of time! But this weekend it was unavoidable as I had a list of things I was desperately needing to purchase. I ended up passing David’s tea while I was in there, and it didn’t look too crazy, so I opted to check it out and see if any teas caught my senses!

I happily left David’s tea with a couple of yummy smelling purchases and teas I am in love with! I am addicted to sweeter dessert teas, so when I saw birthday cake and smelt it I just had to purchase some! So thankful I did because it is absolutely delectable and will surely be the thing I need at night time to meet my sweet tooth needs! And how cute is it that it actually has sprinkles in it?

Lobster tail feast with my love

Image result for lobster tails and asparagus and bruschetta

On Sunday night, when we returned home, colt and I were looking to make a delicious and romantic meal together at home. Immediately we thought if lobster tAils because they’ve always been a favourite and are so savoury but also sweet and delicious. We roasted them in the oven and paired it with some home made bruschetta on a French loaf and asparagus simmered in balsamic! With a glass of wine, this has been my most favourite meal that I have had in a significantly long time. So so good!

Fitness:

I’ve managed to keep on track this weekend despite all the bouncing around! I woke up early on Saturday morning and put 6 miles in, practicing some splits and getting ready to get back into official training mode soon enough! Gosh I cannot wait for that day to come again. I NEED the goal to keep my motivation!

Then yesterday I did about a half hour cardio, trying not to keep track of the clock and just base it around how I felt. I did manage to push myself! I notice that sometimes when I base it around a distance, I might take a little longer and just keep to a steady pace easy cardio which isn’t the best for improvements but good for endurance.

Keep checking the blog because I’ll be posting some good workouts this week!

Sweaty circuit workout

Happy Monday ya’ll! I hope everyone is ready for another week and enjoyed their weekend and the Super Bowl, I sure did! LOTS of great food was indulged upon. A few friends and Colt and I got together for a Sunday football potluck  – booze, football, great food and games made it a wonderful day with wonderful company. 🙂

Check out this spread!

and yes I did try absolutely everything… Ofcourse the item I brought was the boring veggie tray, yaaaaaawn.

On another note

I’ve been really doing a lot of research and looking into a lot of different types of workouts that magazines, websites and blogs have to offer. I’ve tried a few out, and definitely picked out some favourites. I’ve learned and noticed that one type of workout that I really enjoy are circuits!

Circuits are so great because you get the best of both worlds  -aerobic and anaerobic – into one compacted workout that gets your HR UP! (So long as you put some good effort into it).

Before heading to the gym today, I  knew I wanted a really good sweat session because I feel like I’ve been at a bit of a plateau and haven’t pushed myself as hard as I could have lately. So, I opted for this super fast and sweaty circuit workout posted on yet again the pbfingers blog!

I started off with  a 15 minute treadmill warmup, then I went through the work out moves once, went back to the treadmill for 10 minutes, went through the workout another time, did 10 minutes on the treadmill, then finished up with a final go through of the moves. I finished my gym session with an easy 5 minutes of cardio on the elliptical.

I felt so refreshed and recharged afterward. Definitely a great kick off to my Monday (and slightly in part due to the mass amounts of food that I consumed at the SUPERBOWL).

Time for my afternoon!

Protein pancakes & Work it out Wednesday!

I don’t normally have pancakes in the morning.. but when I do, I make sure that they are the most epic and delicious pancakes EVER. Which brings me to my recipe today…

I got this recipe from an old friend from highschool and uni!! Thanks Parisa!

 Protein Pancakes
Ingredients (for 3 pancakes):

proteinnnn

½ cup of rolled oats
1 scoop of vanilla whey protein powder
½ a banana
1 tsp coconut flour  (optional, but adds fluffiness)
1tsp of stevia (or sweetener of choice- keep it natural)
3 egg whites
1 tsp hemp seeds (optional)
1 tsp chia seeds (optional)
cinnamon (optional)
almond butter
fruit and walnuts for garnish (optional)
coconut oil
Directions:
Combine the protein powder, oats, coconut flour, seeds, stevia and cinnamon
Mush half the banana and mix with the egg whites
Mix the wet mix with the dry mix until you have a desired pancake consistency- you may need to add a little bit of water if the mix isn’t smooth enough

fryin' them up!
fryin’ them up!

Heat the skillet, and cook the pancakes in coconut oil for about 2 minutes on each side (until golden brown)
Next is the fun part – add your favourite toppings to garnish the pancakes
I used almond butter to replace syrup, the other half of my banana, some blueberries and walnuts. I also sprinkled some cinnamon and try to add it to as many recipes I can because it’s a natural fat burner and makes any dish smell and taste delicious! These pancakes are the perfect breakfast to have after a workout, or even before because they will give you a ton of energy. I have tried a few powders, and so far I like Power Whey the best. You can buy it at any supplement store such as Popeye’s or GNC for approximately $40 for 908 grams which will last you a long time, especially if you use it only for baking and cooking. If you are sensitive to whey protein powder, there are other options (vegan powders) that you can use instead.  These pancakes are PACKED with nutrients, leave you full and I promise your taste buds will thank you, so give these bad boys a try! 🙂

Yes I ate them all :)

WORKOUT

This morning I worked out before heading to school for work.
Here was my routine:

work it out wedneday

It was a good and sweaty session! On top of this, I also did 35 minutes on the elliptical. After work today I also upped my cardio by going on a nice speed walk with my doggy Tanner! Gotta enjoy this nice weather while it’s here! 🙂

How did you spend your ‘work it out’ wednesday??

Fires and fun

Yesterday’s lunch consisted of spaghetti squash ‘pasta’, yum yum was that ever good. I just wish this squash was easier to prepare. I mean, it is relatively easy but I like things to be realllll simple, especially when it comes to cooking for just myself.

spaghetti-squash-veggie-casserole-2

But it DOES look good right?
You half the squash, bake it at 375 for 40 minutes, scoop out the insides (noodles) and then mix in your veggies, sauce, whatever you’d like. I added cheese on top too ofcourse. 🙂

Later on, my friends and I had a big bonfire on hole 9 of the golf course just outside of town. Our friend happens to own the place, so it was completely legal don’t worry! It was a well spent night…

fiaaa

This morning’s breakfast was another oatmeal creation! You probably aren’t surprised by this. Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of it, forgive me, but it wasn’t overly complicated and I’m sure you can imagine what it might look like. I combine banana, PB and cocoa powder in a blender with some vanilla yogurt and ice and mixed this into my oatmeal. YUM

I also forgot to take my daily dose of vitamins yesterday. D’oh! I tend to really notice when my body doesn’t get enough hydration nor the vitamins that I usually take to get me through the day.

vitamin daily

This is what I normally take…

B-complex. Vitamin D, fish oils, calcium magnesium, women’s multi-vitamin, and there’s an advil there as well in order to keep any inflammation in my knee down.

Being a runner, I’ve started making sure to take my calcium magnesium because it’s so vital in healthy bones and joints. It’s better to be preventative rather than too late, right!?

Workout

Today’s workout:

20 minute elliptical warm up

ABS, this routine got my heart pumpin’ and abs burnin’!

go through these moves non-stop without a break and then rest, repeat 3 times through.

45 second plank
15 superman
12 woodchops (then did other side)
15 stability ball legs to arms pass
12 stability ball lower ab tuck ins
30 second mountain climber
10 burpees

TADAH!

If you give it a go you’ll be feeling great afterwards trust me 🙂

I finished up my workout with a 25 minute run/walk outside, I am still trying to take it easy because of my knee.

outdoorsy

Ah I love the outdoors!

Now I am going out to meet up with a pal, chat soon. 🙂

me out

Pumpkin spice smoothie and cardio circuit day!

My day consisted of some of my regular fitness regime, I got up and went to the gym in town around 5:50 and did a circuit, mixing 15 minute cardio, followed by strength focusing on core and upper body, then I repeated this 3 times.

AKA = 15 minute cardio, core, 15 minute cardio, upper body, 15 minute cardio, tadah!
My cardio was the elliptical today.
My knee isn’t fully recovered so I’m not looking to risk it. Better to be safe than sorry!

Anddddd

Since Summer time is slowly coming to an end and fall is quickly approaching that can only mean 1 special thing… PUMPKIN EVERYTHING!!!
Pumpkin is one of my all time favourite flavours, pumpkin pie.. pumpkin lattes… pumpkin scents… cookies… chilli… you name it, I love it in it’s pumpkin version!!!

So in honour of this wonderful season, I decided to whip up a morning smoothie using my can of pumpkin puree in my fridge.

It was a little bit of an on-the-whim smoothie, but man oh man, did it ever turn out D-LICIOUS!!!

pumpkin spice 2
Does it look good or does it look good??

pumpkin spice

Spice on pumpkin spice!

This is what I did…

Ingredients:

1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 frozen banana
1 cup of ice cubes
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
generous amount of pumpkin pie spice
2 tablespoons of plain oatmeal to thicken it up a bit
stevia (or any other sweetener) to taste, I used 2 tablespoons

Put all of that into a blender and blend away! Soooooo good. I could eat that every morning. I just might actually….

On another note, this got me thinking of what other things I have to look forward to for Fall:
New shows! So many seasons start up at this time!
Changing leaves
Scarves
Mittens
Riding boots (overall fall fashion in general)
Thanksgiving
Fall scents for candles and lotions, Bath and Body works comes out with some unreal ones at this time! pumpkin apple spice, hello!
Autumn walks along trails
The brisk feeling in the air in the morning
Wow, I could go on and on…

Tell me what some of the things that you are looking forward to are!!

Eggplant pizza recipe – so good!

Hey ya’ll!

This week has been one of adjustment. Last week I had started to get pain under my right kneecap, turns out, I have runner’s knee (boo). Although it wasn’t completely inevitable, it’s upwards of 70% of runners that actually experience this at some point in their running careers, and all that I can do for myself right now is to take the time needed to fully recover and get back at it.
Similar to when tapering before a marathon or long race, lessening mileage can actually be psychologically very difficult to delve through. This is what’s kind of been happening with me. It is seriously tough to transition from running EVERYDAY for a few miles and at least one very long distance run a week to what seems like barely any running at all. I’ve taken this time to definitely up my cross-training however. I’ve been using the bike and elliptical a lot and although it’s keeping my endurance up, I definitely am missing the wondrous feeling that overwhelms me after a strong run. I just have to keep reminding myself that this is what my body needs in order to get back at the sport that I am so passionate about.

Now that I’ve covered and updated you on the running piece of my life, let me share with you another new recipe that i have tried recently that is to die for: eggplant pizza!
To many, the idea of eggplant might seem iffy – I felt this way before trying it – but it is absolutely declines AND a healthy alternative to regular carb heavy pizza. It’s not even a difficult recipe and can be whipped up in about 20-30 minutes!

eggplant

Here is the recipe for you to give it a try, PLEASE give it a try. I promise your satisfaction.

Ingredients:

1/2 medium eggplant, sliced
1/3 cup tomato sauce (or pizza sauce)
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
garlic sauce to taste
a few sliced grape tomatoes and spinach to top

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
2. Arrange eggplant slices on lightly oiled baking sheet
3. lightly salt/pepper slices to taste and then put baking sheet in the oven, leave in for 5 minutes
4. Flip the eggplant slices, put cheddar cheese on the slices, then place them back in the oven to bake for another 5 minutes (until cheese is melted)
5. Take slices out, put a dollop of tomato sauce or pizza sauce onto eggplant slices, along with any remaining cheese and the sliced grape tomatoes and spinach
6. Bake the slices for another 5-8 minutes

All done! Eat up and enjoy!

Let me know what you think of this recipe, especially if you give it a try!

Motivation Monday

“80 percent of success is showing up” – Woody Allen

This really applies to exercise. Most of the time it’s just getting out the door that is the biggest challenge.

if-can-dream-it-you-can-do-it motivation

I woke up this morning with zero motivation. To get out of bed, let alone wake up, get dressed and get out for a 20km run!!
Some days are just SO HARD to get yourself to do anything! We all experience it, but it’s important that we challenge this feeling with ways to push ourselves and motivate ourselves to get going.

Over the years, I have come up with my own methods of coping with this feeling and pushing through:

I literally talk to myself. I say “Okay, time to get up and get on with your day!”

– I just JUMP out of my bed as soon as my alarm comes on. Just don’t even let one thought enter your head, otherwise you’ll bog yourself down.

– I think of the delicious food that I will eat afterward (Sounds pretty ridiculous but it works fabulously for me, food is a major motivator hehe)

Think of the way exercising makes me feel during and afterward. It’s really quite liberating. And the natural ‘high’ it provides you with all day long is SO worth it, making me much more productive and friendly and all those great things. Similarly, thinking of the way that I feel when I DON’T workout is motivation enough. I always get that ‘yuck’ feeling when I skip a scheduled time for fitness.

Have fun!! Exercise should always be looked at as a fun activity that is for YOU. If you’re always dreading sweating, it’s going to make for a terrible workout. If running isn’t for you, find an activity that is. As long as you’re moving then it’s good for you! Or grab a buddy! Or even make an awesome playlist and dance your buns off!

Think of the fitness and health goals you have for yourself. For me, my ‘goal’ is to simply live a healthy lifestyle that makes me feel good and capable of doing all the things I want to do in life.

Make your fitness public. Share your goals with friends, brag about reaching your goals, or talk about it on a blog or using one of your fitness apps such as ‘MapMyFitness’. If you tell people thatyou’re going to do something, you’re much more likely to do it.

There’s so many ways to motivate yourself. Now that I have shared some of my favourite methods, I would love to hear what YOU do so perhaps I can borrow these methods for my future fitness endeavours!

Have a wonderful day 🙂

Friday Fartlek Run

Hello, good morning, afternoon! Whatever it may be for you.

I hope you are enjoying your wonderous day as much as i am. This morning I got out for a good run. I actually just recently moved back to Alberta, Canada, to a little town called Slave Lake. It’s a quaint place with a provincial park right near the water. 

I forgot how much I had been craving a good outdoorsy trail run. This is definitely the town to do something like that! It also reminded me of how much I missed this place. The people are so friendly, the environment is clean and green and beautiful, it’s such a more relaxed lifestyle than my usual fast-paced living in the Greater Toronto Area. 

I even stopped to take a few pictures along the way during my run. To really stop and appreciate my surroundings. It really is such a great method of stress relief and meditation for my mind.

image-6

Slave Lake!
Slave Lake!
A beautiful provincial park
A beautiful provincial park

 

I love to explore nature!
I love to explore nature!

For those of you who might not know the ‘technical’ terms in running, a fartlek run is another word for ‘speed play’. Think of doing intervals through out your run, but put into it almost at random so shock your body.

These runs always kick my butt. But they are necessary in training to make me stronger and faster. HELLO PR! 

This particular run, I ran about 15 minutes at an easy pace at which I would be able to hold a conversation. Next, I did 30 seconds of sprints followed by a minute of easy pace. I repeated this about 5 times. I then continued at my comfortable pace and then finished off the last 2 km’s with my 5 km race pace (a faster but not deathly speed).

It’s safe to say by the end of this run I was TIRED and felt soooo awesome! I honestly love the feeling of exertion and knowing I worked damned hard to improve my body and give it what it needs. 

Well, enjoy the rest of your day! Perhaps I’ll connect with you later on 🙂