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NIFS Healthy Living Blog

Big Bang Theory: Are You Getting the Most Out of Your Training?

GT-newWhen you think of the term “economy,” what is the first thing that comes to mind? Money would probably be number one, and maybe government and the idea of debt would more than likely come to mind next. There is another economy that should be as well known, and that is your training economy. Simply put, your training economy is the rate of return that you get from the methods and practices of your current training program.

How much time do you spend in the gym or working out? Are you getting the results you set out to achieve? Are you getting the best ROI (return on investment, as they say in business)? Time is one of our most valued commodities, and how you spend your time working toward your health and fitness can determine whether you are on your way to bankruptcy (injury, lack of results, etc.) or getting the most out of your biggest investment.

First and foremost, in my opinion, if you are spending more than two hours in the gym, you are making friends, not gains. If that is your thing, that’s great, but you can never say “I don’t have the time to get the results I want.” Save the Instagram photos and tweets for vacation, and WORK when you are in the gym. Most importantly, you will want to get the most out of the time (there’s that word again) you have committed to training and being the best you that you can be. There are two surefire ways to get the biggest return on your investment while in the gym: 

1. Have a plan of attack.

Needless to say, the plan (or program) is a very important step in ensuring that the time you are working toward the goals you defined is purposeful and bringing you closer and closer to that outcome. This plan should be specific to the goal you are striving to achieve, and should adhere to sound principles. This plan should be progressive. A great coach told me once that you can’t put your tie on before your shirt. Master the basics before moving on to more advanced movements. Read more about this investment step in my previous posts, Do You Even Lift Bro? Weightlifting for Beginners and Alice and Chains.

2. Emphasize “big bang” movements in your program.

Performing what are widely known as “big bang” movements is the second way to get the biggest return on your investment of time. Big bang movements are categorized by including multiple joints, including multiple planes of motion, and incorporating variable loads during the movement. Here are five of my favorite biggest “bang for your buck” movements.

  • Squat and press: Combining both upper and lower body, squat and pressing patterns, and loading the anterior core; the Squat and Press exercise provides a whole lot of BANG! 
  • Ultimate Sandbag Rotational Lunge: As your body moves in one plane of motion, the load of the sandbag will be moving in another. This awesome big bang movement will not only challenge your stability, but it also hits both the lunge and hinge patterns at one time. What a bargain! 
  • Turkish Get-ups: One of the most all-encompassing movements on the planet. The Get-up combines mobility, stability, and strength all in one package. This movement takes some practice before loading it, so take the time to master it to get the most out of it.
  • Crawling patterns: You have to crawl before you can run, right? Crawling patterns are a great way to target the entire system while performing something that is innate to us humans. Try out different variations to continue to stress the body in different ways.
  • Dead lift: Considered by some to be the “beast” of all movements, the dead lift is a huge, multi-joint-pulling motion of awesomeness. We all at one time in our day must bend over to pick something up. The dead lift prepares us for that. 

Getting the most out of your most precious gift, TIME, should be a priority in your fitness programming. Utilizing big bang movements can help you get the results you are looking for without burning the clock.

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This blog was written by Tony Maloney, Exercise Physiologist and Fitness Center Manager. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here. 

 

Topics: fitness center training weightlifting strength exercises

Enhance Your Fitness with Heart Rate Training

heart-rateThere are several different ways that you can train. Common training methods are interval training, total time and sets/reps, but heart rate training is one that is growing in popularity. Heart rate training has different zones in which subtle physiological effects occur that will enhance your fitness. This type of training can benefit a variety of people who are exercising from the most elite athlete to the least-fit person!

What Heart Rate Training Is

Let’s take a deeper look into what heart rate training is. There are different zones that you want to train in depending on what your goals are. Zones are simply a range of heartbeats based on how frequently your heart is beating. Let me describe the different zones to you:

Heart-Healthy Zone: This zone is 50 to 60% of your maximum heart rate and is generally easy and comfortable to exercise in. You may be breathing a little heavier than your general breathing pattern goes, but you will be able to carry on a full conversation.

Fitness Zone: This zone is 60 to 70% of your maximum heart rate and is a little more challenging than the Heart-Healthy Zone. You will be breathing a bit more heavily and have some shortness of breath, but you should still be able to carry on a conversation. This zone is used for weight loss and building endurance.

Aerobic Zone: This is 70 to 80% of your maximum heart rate and is considered much harder work. You will be breathing heavily and unable to have a conversation, and able to speak in only short phrases. The Aerobic Zone is used to train for endurance and encourages your body to build new blood vessels and increase your lung and heart capacity. This zone is used for maintaining weight and improving your cardio fitness.

Anaerobic Zone: 80 to 90% of your maximum hart rate. This is intense exercise and you will be unable to speak except in gasps.

Red-line Zone: This zone is 90 to 100% of your max heart rate and you will not be able to stay in this zone for more than a minute or two.

Calculating Your Zone

Now we need to take a few minutes to calculate your zone, which is done by finding your maximum heart rate and your resting heart rate. One method that is used quite often is to subtract your age from 220. So if you are 40 years old, 220 minus 40 is 180, so your max heart rate would be 180. 

However, this method does not take into account your current fitness level, which can vary your max heart rate by up to 10 to 20 beats per minute! You can also use this calculator to estimate your zones. 

Tracking Your Heart Rate

With all the different forms of fitness technology, tracking your heart rate is getting easier. Standard heart rate monitors sync with the machine to show your heart rate. Fitbits, Jawbones, and other fitness tracking devices work. And, of course, the machines have heart-rate sensors on them. Take a week in the final winter weeks and try some heart rate training!

This blog was written by Amanda Bireline, Health Fitness Specialist. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

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Topics: fitness cardio training heart rate

Train Like an Athlete: Start Building a Foundation with Resistance Training

Every day during the week, hundreds of sporting events are played across the world. From football to tennis, golf, and soccer, among many others, athletes are competing at every skill level possible. Professional and collegiate sports have rigorous schedules that require their participants to prepare for the upcoming season year round. For many of these athletes, there is no more “off-season.” There is a constant flow of training through different cycles that allows them to hit their peak performance during the right time of the season.

But how do these athletes get to be in the shape they are in for their seasons? Where do they start?

Getting Started

resistance-trainingAn athlete’s training age, or experience they have in the gym, is one factor that is used to determine their initial starting point for their individual program. Someone with a higher training age will be able to perform exercises of more difficulty versus someone who has never stepped foot into a training atmosphere. This is important to consider when starting your program because some individuals may need more instructional time than others.

Resistance training can be a good starting point. It is one major mode of training that can lead to multiple benefits for everyone, not just athletes. Increasing muscle mass, strength and power are three main benefits that can be derived from a well structured resistance training program, but many more can be had. With the athletes that I train, all of them can benefit from an increase in one or more of those variables.

If you are new to resistance training, try coming to the gym two days per week for the first month and establishing your routine. Rest and recovery is very important during this time. Once you have your schedule in place, add a third day. This will allow you to keep improving as your body begins to adapt to your program.

Training Exercises for Beginners

To start, a “full-body” lift should be sufficient if you are beginning a new program. These exercises will focus on all of the major muscle groups of the body, not just a single group. Make sure the movements being performed are perfect. This is not the time to add as much weight to the bar or grab the heaviest dumbbells as possible. It is time to learn the basic movements to build for the future. Trying to break bad habits in weightlifting is one of the most common issues I see. Do your best to learn and perform the movements correctly the first time. The addition of weight will come shortly thereafter.

Start with 2 to 3 sets of 12 to 15 repetitions per set for exercises of each major muscle group (Quads, Glutes, Chest, Back, Shoulders). For starters, one exercise per muscle group will be sufficient. As your body adapts, more exercises can be added.

The basics are going to be what set you up for success in the future. Regardless of your lifting ability, everyone needs time to focus on the fine points of their techniques. Once you have developed a routine for resistance training, other areas can begin to be improved, like speed, agility and explosive power.

If you need assistance in creating your first full-body workout, contact me at asoller@nifs.org. For information on what NIFS can do to help you train for a sport, see NIFS Athletic Performance.

This blog was written by Alex Soller, NIFS Athletic Performance Coach. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers click here.

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Topics: fitness center muscles resistance training sports

“Caddy Smack”: Fitness Tips to Improve Your Golf Game

golferWith summer in full swing, I thought some tips to improve your golf game might be a good way to start my blogging experience. No, I’m not going to fix your slice or tell you how to hit out of a bunker (I still can’t fix that myself). What I’m going to do is give you a few fitness tips that could potentially help add some yards off the tee or with long iron shots.

Getting More Distance on Your Shots

One of the best ways to bolster the distance of your shots is to increase the club head speed during your swing. Now, you are probably thinking, “Okay, I’ll just swing harder than I normally do.” Those of us who have done that before already know the outcome is not favorable for scoring par or birdie. The ball probably ended up two fairways over or at the bottom of a lake and left you saying, “I almost crushed that.”

What if there was a way to increase that club head speed without altering the mechanics of your swing? The concept of rotational power may be the key to unlocking that extra 10 to 15 yards for that tee shot. Rotational power is something I focus very heavily on with any of my teams that involve a swinging aspect (such as golf, tennis, and softball). It involves moving your upper body/torso and hips in a circular path to generate a large amount of power while keeping under control. Increasing the ability to generate this force (getting more powerful) will allow you to feel like you are taking your normal swing but have a little more “oomph” behind it. Simply put, you are able to swing harder by increasing the ability of those muscles that are important to the swing.

Training to Increase Rotational Power

Now, how should you go about training to increase your rotational power? Luckily, the NIFS Fitness Center has a ton of tools that can provide opportunities to do so. I am going to focus on one piece of equipment for this specific goal, which are the Dynamax balls located at the south end of the fitness center floor. The following three exercises are designed to help you become more powerful and hopefully improve your game at the same time. Remember, your driver and irons do not weigh a bunch, so use one of the lighter Dynamax balls (I recommend the 10-pounder to start with). The golf swing is a fast event, so focus on the speed aspect rather than the weight during these drills.

  1. Dynamax Pocket Throws (3 sets of 15 per side)
  2. Half-Kneeling Rotational Throw (3 sets of 8 per side)
  3. Overhead Rotational Throw (3 sets of 6 per side with maximum effort)


I know there are many more parts to the golf swing than rotational power, however, this is a key factor. Hopefully in a few weeks you will be hearing a louder “smack” of the club and see some extra distance when the ball comes to a stop.

Hit them straight; hit them far!

If you are looking for more ways to improve the strength of your golf swing or have any other sports specific goals, contact me for a free fitness assessment. 

Free Fitness Assessment

This blog was written by Alex Soller, NIFS Athletic Performance Coach. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers click here.

Topics: exercise muscles training golf core strength rotation golf swing

Shave Time Off Your Tri by Training for Triathlon Transitions

Transitioning has been called the fourth discipline in Kris-new-1triathlon. When you finished your first race and looked at the breakdown of the times for each event, you probably noticed the T1 and T2 times. T1 is the time it took you to go from swimming to the bike, and T2 is the time it took you to go from the bike to the run. Like the swimming, biking, and running training, the transitions should be trained as well. But don’t think you need to spend hours perfecting getting from one event to the next. A good transition can simply be added to the other brick training sessions.

Before the race you need to check where you will be exiting the water and follow this to your bike. You can mark your transition spot with chalk on the ground, with a balloon, or with a bright towel. The transition area looks different when everyone is out on the course. Many athletes have wandered transition areas looking for their gear. Also look at the course from where you will be headed at the end of the bike to your transition spot. You will rack your bike and put your gear down on the side of the bike you will mount from.

Practicing the Swim-to-Bike Transition (T1)

The swim-to-bike transition is often the most difficult transition to practice because of the logistic of getting to the water (pool or lake) and then keeping your bike close to make this practice possible. Instead, you could just practice getting your bike gear on after stepping your feet in water. Putting on socks is often the toughest part of this as you deal with balancing while tired and getting the sock on without getting sand on the sock. Many people will sit on the ground or bring a big bucket to sit on.78810088

During a race I try to dry my feet with the end of my transition towel (placed before the race) or have a small towel to dry the tops of my feet while standing on my transition towel. You do want to make sure not to have any rocks, sand, etc. on your feet as those may cause a blister.

You must have your helmet on and buckled before you get out of transition, so do this first or directly after getting your shoes on. This is also a good time to get a drink of water and have a gel or other nutrition so you don’t have to try to ride and eat.

Once you get off your bike, you will run your bike back into your transition area. Rack your bike as close to where you took it off as possible. This is a rule, but it also helps you be courteous to your fellow triathletes who are racking after you.

If you change your shoes, have the laces open and ready to slip your feet into quickly (baby power can help with this).

Grab hats, sunglasses, and race belts and put those on as you run out of transition. Again, you could get a drink or nutrition if you need it. The gels or chews can be pinned on your race belt to have along the course.

Practicing the Bike-to-Run Transition (T2)179659833

The bike-to-run transition is easy to set up and a nice way to do some race preps the day or two before a race. Follow these steps:

  1. Set your bike against a wall or car, WITH THE SIDE YOU WANT TO GET ON YOUR BIKE FACING OUT.
  2. Place your shoes, helmet, hat, race belts, sunglasses, etc. near the bike.
  3. Figure out in what order you will put on your bike gear and practice it. Put on your helmet, socks, shoes, etc.
  4. Grab your bike and RUN, HOLDING THE BIKE WITH THE OUTSIDE HAND (no need to run with two hands on the stem) to your marked start point
  5. Get on your bike.
  6. Ride a short distance (less than a mile).
  7. Get off your bike at your marked spot and run your bike back to your setup spot.
  8. Take off your helmet, change shoes (if necessary), grab anything you want for the run, and run a short distance, getting into a nice rhythm.
  9. Repeat as many times as you need to feel confident.

Putting in a little transition practice time during your regular workouts will help you cut your total time in your triathlon. As you are trying to beat your time from before, this will help more than you realize.

NIFS’ Tri-Training for Women triathlon training program has recently begun. Find the details here.

This blog was written by Kris Simpson BS, ACSM-PT, HFS, personal trainer at NIFS. To read more about Kris and NIFS bloggers click here.

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Topics: running group training swimming triathlon cycling training

Do You Even Lift, Bro? Weightlifting for Beginners (Part 1 of 2)

Episode #1: 5 Game-Changing Tips for the Weight RoomTony-1

I spent a great deal of time in a weight room growing up, and still do. The “Iron Church,” “The Metal Shop,” and “House of Pain” were all names I used to reference a place where I saw so much growth in myself, both physically and mentally. I remember watching one of my brothers train to power lift with the U.S. team when I was pretty young, and couldn’t wait to get my hands on all the stuff. Flash forward a few years and I was the one on the training side preparing for high school athletics. Man, there was nothing like the weight room! The feel of it, the smells (not always pleasant, but part of the charm), and the clanking of metal on metal were all rushed to the senses, signifying that a lot of hard work was about to go down!

I learned so much during that period of my life when I was in the gym every day; I definitely thought I had everything figured out on how to get strong and stay injury free. As I got older and wiser (okay, older and after many mistakes), I needed to find a way to lift so that I could lift another day. As fitness evolves, we learn bigger and better ways to get the most out of every workout.

5 Game-Changing Tips for the Weight Room

In the first installment of this beginner’s guide, I would like to share with you 5 game-changing tips to rock the weight room like you never have before. In future episodes, I will dig a little deeper into each of these tips (along with a few extras) and outline a guide that will allow you to get the most out of it.

1. Have a plan, ink the plan, and work the plan.free

Going into a place full of things to do without a plan will usually result in meandering around and wasting time, extinguishing the metabolic fire. Get a workout log and write down your plan of attack for the week. This will keep you focused as well as give you a means to track your progress. I highly recommend consulting a fitness professional to help you set up your first program. 

2. Get a super friend.

The benefits of working out with one or more partners are substantial, emotionally, mentally, and physiologically. Find a likeminded individual and link up your training times to provide support for each other and accountability. And if you are using the room for what it is intended (to GET STRONGER), you will eventually need a spotter.

3. Pair exercises.

If you want to get the most out of your time, not only from the clock, but from your ability to get stronger and lose fat, you must pair exercises. You may know this as “super setting.” No matter what it is called, DO IT! I prefer to pair exercises in this fashion: Push/Pull/Upper/Lower. We will spend more time on this in later posts, but here is a basic example:

  • 1a. Front Squat
  • 1b. Chin-ups
  • 2a. Dead Lift
  • 2b. DB Bench Press

4. Work unilaterally.

There are many fitness pros, me being one of them, who believe you are stronger unilaterally than you are bilaterally. I jokingly say that you have nothing to hang onto when you are working one side at a time. The core stability necessary to work unilaterally is also a huge benefit of working one side at a time. So next time you are planning to do a squat, try it on a single leg. You will love the feel and the results.

5. Utilize many different modes.

Many of us can get stuck using the same tools to perform the same exercises, and wonder why you continue to get the same results. Packing your workout with many different pieces of equipment and varying the movements themselves is similar to why your salads should have a bunch of color in them. It’s because different ingredients provide different nutrients, nutrients that we need. Lifting weights is the same thing; your body needs the different benefits that come from different movements using different pieces of equipment. Some refer to this as “muscle confusion”; I think that’s an industry term made up by those who like to dance around the living room and sell DVDs. I don’t really care what you call it; you just have to do it! Change up the movements and modes of training from time to time so you can taste all that a weight room has to offer and your body can enjoy the benefits of the different ingredients.

This is just the start of what will be a pretty handy guide to getting the most out of your weight room as you begin to lift weights. Keep your eyes open for the next episode, where I show you how to put together a program. Until then, I leave you with one more piece of advice to get you going. Absolute strength is the foundation to your fitness. The stronger you are, the more things you will be capable of across the fitness continuum. Bottom line: to get stronger, you have to lift heavy things. Do it right.

Tony Maloney is the Fitness Center Manager at NIFS in Indianapolis and leads group training on Sunday through Thursday. Follow Tony on Facebook at ELITE.

Topics: fitness center injury prevention muscles training weight lifting strength core dumbbell personal training

5 Core Exercises to Make You a Better Runner

Runners are generally good at doing the same thing over and over again, day in and day out: RUNNING! Oftentimes they will neglect doing some of the components of what runners refer to as “the little things” that pay huge dividends in overall performance and how you feel while running. The little things include sleeping enough, eating right, staying hydrated, maintaining flexibility, and core strength, and the list goes on. When there is limited time in the day to get in a quality run, the thought of cutting a run one or two miles short to do core and flexibility work is often quickly neglected.

Core strength and endurance is a critical component that should not be neglected by anyone, especially runners. Since running is a repetitive movement, the muscles in the body can become imbalanced when cross training, strength training, and core conditioning are not included in the training plan, which can lead to injury.

Here are 5 simple exercises that you can incorporate into your daily training plan with no additional equipment. All you need is 5 minutes!

  • Planks: plank-2Lay flat on your stomach and tuck your toes underneath. Raise yourself up onto your elbows and toes. Hold this position, maintaining a straight line between the top of your head and your tailbone. Do not let your hips sag down too low or press up too high.

 

  • Bird Dogs: Start in a tabletop position with your wrists beneath your shoulders, knees below the hips, and a flat back. At the same time, extend one arm out in front of you as you extend the opposite side leg behind you. Bring the elbow and knee together in the middle to complete the movement. Complete sets on both sides of the body.

bird-dog2bird-dog-1








 

 

 

Bridges: Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Bring your heels as close to your hips as you can without pain. Press your hips up as high as you can while keeping your feet in contact with the ground. Hold for a 2-count and return to the start position.

bridge-2







 

  • Hip Hikes: Standing tall in a neutral position with one foot flat on the ground on an elevated surface, drop the opposite side of the body below your pelvis on the side of your grounded foot. Activate the grounded leg’s glute to return back to the start position. Complete sets on both sides of the body.

Foot-dips

foot-dips-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Try these 5 exercises before you go out for your next run. Start out completing just one set of each exercise. Hold the plank with good form as long as you can and build up to 1 minute. For the rest of the exercises, gradually build up to 3 sets of 10 to 12 repetitions. Once you get the hang of this, it will not take you any longer than five minutes to complete. This method will give you a great start to adding core exercises to your running routine.

Here's another core workout you can try.

If you are looking for a marathon training program consider joining the NIFS Fall Half and Full Marathon Training Program. It is geared toward preparing individuals to complete the Monumental Marathon. Training starts July 22nd!

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This blog was written by Stephanie Kaiser, Health Fitness Specialist. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers click here.

Topics: running injury prevention training flexibility strength core exercises

4 Questions to Determine If You’re Ready for Your First Marathon

Has completing a marathon always been on your bucket list? Are you looking for a new challenge and to step up your commitment to fitness this year? You may be ready to try your first marathon! Here are 4 questions to ask yourself to determine whether you are ready:

1. Have You Run a Few Half-Marathons? marathon-1

Yes: Great! You are already halfway there! You mentally know what it takes to complete long-distance runs and a training program, and you have experienced that race atmosphere and everything that goes with it. Along with this, you know the ins and outs of how to fuel, hydrate, and recover from the high-mileage training properly.

No: That is okay! Starting with a half-marathon is a great first step to getting to that first marathon. This will get your body and mind up to speed with more ease than jumping into a full marathon

2. Do You Have the Time to Dedicate to Training?

Yes…I think: Training for a marathon requires more time and energy than training for a half-marathon. To prepare to have the most successful race that you can come race day, you will need to complete some long training runs that go up to 20 or 22 miles! Depending on the speed that you are going, this can take you between 2 and 5.5 hours. Be sure that you have a day during the week that you will be able to dedicate toward this kind of training. Along with this, you will need to complete two or three additional runs or walks throughout the week, as well as complete some cross-training sessions.

No: Training for a marathon may not be in the cards for you right now. If you have a lot going on as it is and hardly find time to squeeze in a short 3- or 4-mile run or walk, completing a marathon successfully should wait until your schedule calms down.

3. Are You Motivated to Complete 26.2 Miles?

Yes: Good! This will carry you through those long runs mentally. Having the desire to get out there and train to complete the race is key to having a successful training program.

Not really: You should keep that in mind before starting to train and signing up for your first race. If you are not completely sure that you are motivated to do the race, hold off on signing up. I suggest completing a few weeks of a marathon training program to see if your motivation grows as the distances get longer. If you find yourself becoming less motivated right away, reconsider your goal and maybe stick with a half-marathon again.

4. Are You Running/Walking Consistently and with Few Injury Issues?

Yes: That is a huge plus! If you are already consistently going out for runs or walks and are not having any pains or injuries, it is safe to start ramping up your mileage slowly to prepare for the marathon.

No: Get consistent and healthy first! If you are not consistently walking or running, that is the first thing that you should do. Consider following a scaled-back training plan and start by making sure to complete 3 or 4 days of walking/running for at least a month. If this seems to be going well and you are not running into any injuries, you can start to reconsider.fall-marathon

If you said yes to all of these questions, it is pretty safe to say you are ready to get started on a marathon training program! If you answered a few with “no,” no worries. A marathon is still not too far out of reach. Just address the obstacles that you have and work toward resolving those!

If you are looking for a marathon training program for this fall, consider joining the NIFS Fall Marathon Training Program. It is geared toward preparing individuals to complete the Monumental Marathon on November 1 in Indianapolis.

This blog was written by Stephanie Kaiser, Fitness Center Manager and Health Fitness Specialist. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers click here.

Topics: NIFS motivation goal setting running marathon training half marathon NIFS programs race training injuries

10 Ways to Survive Your Long Run During Half Marathon Training

It’s Mini-Marathon training time, which means thousands of people are logging miles to prepare for the big day. The NIFS Mini-Marathon Training Program is holding strong as we meet together each Wednesday night to complete the long run scheduled for the week.

If you have trained for a half marathon, you know that sometimes simply logging the miles can bemarathon training a hefty task. If this is your first time training for a half marathon, and the thought of running 10-plus miles seems a bit daunting, you are not alone.

Distance running is difficult, but it is not impossible. I have compiled a list of 10 things that keep me going when I am logging the miles, which will hopefully make your long run successful, too.

  1. Plan. Put this long run into your schedule and set yourself up for success. If you know that your long run is tomorrow, do what you need to do to enjoy the run the following day. Things like going to bed early and drinking lots of water may be helpful, while going out and partying with your friends may not be quite as helpful.
  2. Run somewhere you LIKE to run. I get it, running 10 miles can seem a bit monotonous at times. Some days I prefer to do my long runs through town so I can look in all the shop windows and be around a lot of people. But other times I choose to run in areas with much more beautiful, natural scenery. It doesn’t matter where, just pick a place that you will enjoy for a couple of hours at a time.
  3. Recruit a friend or have a friend meet you midway for a few miles.mini marathon training Sometimes when I am running by myself, a little voice inside my head starts to doubt that I can finish the long run I set out to complete. When I bring a friend along with me, she encourages me the entire way…even if she doesn't know it! Sometimes, just knowing someone else is running with me really helps me push through.
  4. Imagine your post-race or post-run reward. Is it a massage? A manicure? A shopping trip? Frozen yogurt? (Frozen yogurt is often a favorite reward of mine!) A really yummy dinner? Whatever it is, imagine that reward and I promise it will make your feet and legs push to the distance you set out to complete.
  5. Create a special running playlist. Music moves and motivates me, and it always seems that the perfect song starts blaring into my headphones as I reach a really steep hill at mile seven, or when I feel like giving up. It also helps me get lost and kind of forget what I am doing, which takes some of the pain away from my legs and feet! I am so serious about my music that I created a special running playlist and listen to it only while running. That way, the songs stay special and never get old.
  6. Think of a motivational mantra to keep you going. When the going gets tough, I always tell myself that this is all mental. Another mantra that keeps me going is, “You are stronger than you think you are.” Find something that works for you to keep in mind while training for your race.
  7. Mentally break up the run. If I am running 12 miles, I think of it as three 4-mile runs to make the distance seem much more achievable. Another trick I do is plan an out and back. If I am running a 10-mile run, breaking it down to 5 miles out and then 5 miles home really helps me push through.
  8. Compare the time you are running to something else you do for that same amount of time. This is probably one of my favorite things to do to help me get through a long run. I absolutely love group fitness, so I think of an hour-and-a-half run as a BODYPUMP class and a CXWORX class. It really helps me realize that the running time is totally doable.
  9. Imagine yourself on race day. Racing is emotional, at least for me it is. There is nothing that beats the feeling of exhilaration and accomplishment that I feel when I cross the finish line. For me, simply imagining that feeling is enough motivation to keep pushing through, even when the running gets tough.
  10. Think about something different each mile. This one takes a little preparation, but it can really do the trick and totally take your mind off of the distance of the run. Before you run, simply decide on the number of miles you are running, and on a piece of paper make a list of things to think about. For instance, you could write down five people you are thankful for if you are running five miles, all the things that are currently on your mind if you are running 26 miles, and the options are endless. Then place the piece of paper in a pocket or easily accessible area (maybe even in a plastic bag if you get sweaty!) and you have something to pull out if you need to take your mind off the run.

I hope you are able to use at least one of these tactics to log those miles as you train for the Indianapolis Mini-Marathon, or any other race you have in the future. Good luck with your training!

Written by Tara Deal Rochford, NIFS Membership Manager, Group Fitness Instructor, and author of Treble in the Kitchen. Meet our NIFS Bloggers.

Topics: NIFS exercise fitness running mini marathon half marathon NIFS programs race endurance training mental focus

Fit & Forty+ (Fabulous) Series— Increasing Your Metabolism with Strength Training

Fit & Forty+ (Fabulous) Series— Increasing Your Metabolism with Strength Training (Kettlebell Workout)

For this second workout in the series we are going to be using a Kettlebell. Kettlebell training isBand workout at NIFS becoming a hot new way to change up your workout and is great for women.

Kettlebells come in many sizes, when looking for weights right for you, think of using a lighter weight of 10lbs, that you will use to press off your chest or over your head. You will need a heavier weight of 20lbs or more for leg/full body moves. You do not need more than one of each size, as you can offset your moves (use one arm/move) which challenges you to stabilize your core.

Watch the video below and try the movements. Be sure to start with lower weights if you are new to strength training or are not familiar with the Kettlebell.

 

If you have just joined this series be sure to go back and read all the blogs. Including:

Getting Started

Foam Rolling and Increasing Your Range of Motion

Eat Right to Feel Right

Increasing Metabolism with Strenght Training (Band Workout)

Ready to get started with an exercise program designed for you? Schedule an appointment with Kris by contacting her at 317-274-3432 or email.

This blog series was written by Kris Simpson BS, ACSM-PT, HFS, personal trainer at NIFS. To read more about Kris and NIFS bloggers click here.

Topics: exercise training metabolism strength kettlebell workout