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NIFS Healthy Living Blog

NIFS Crucial Conversations: Stephanie Whittaker Conquers Cancer

Stephwarriorhighlight12.13new.jpgWorking with phenomenal people is one of my favorite perks as a fitness professional. I often share that I have the best job on the planet because I get to spend time with just fantastic people. Witnessing the successes, the defeats, the comebacks, and the emotional victories is why I do what I do.

I began working with one of these remarkable individuals about six years ago, and knew right away that she was going to accomplish great things, and make me a better person along the way. Stephanie Whittaker, among so many other warrior-like attributes, has slain the big C, packed on a bunch of muscle, and been a leader in so many programs at NIFS. I had the honor to sit down with this amazing lady and ask her how she has come so far, what are some of her accomplishments, and what is the mindset needed to do it all.

Tony: What, if anything, motivated you toward fitness and wellness?

Stephanie: Seven years ago, NIFS was the starting point for regaining my health. I had recovered from surgical procedures and finished treatments for thyroid cancer and melanoma. Grateful for all that modern medicine had accomplished, it was now my turn to do whatever I could to restore my health and well-being.

Tony: Tell me about some of the struggles you faced at the beginning and throughout your journey, and what helped you overcome them.

Stephanie: One of the biggest struggles was accepting how deconditioned I was (overweight with zero stamina) and not getting overwhelmed by my goal of returning to my former state of health and activity. I remember my first spin class so vividly. I couldn’t keep up with the workout; my only goal was to stay on the bike that day. I was gasping for air and seeing stars, but I stayed on the bike! One of the reasons I could stay on the bike was the welcoming encouragement and energetic support of the instructor (Steven Kass).

Tony: What do you think has had the biggest impact on your transformation?

Stephanie: My ladder of progress over the next year included regular spin classes, participation in Slim It to Win It, and the Mini-Marathon Training Program. I then mustered the courage to challenge myself and try a series of Small Group Training (SGT) classes with Tony. This was my “game changer.” Prior to starting SGT, I went through a battery of physical testing, mobility assessment, and the BOD POD® calculation of my lean-to-fat ratio (oh, great!). The results were sobering; although I was not pleased with my starting metrics, Tony put that information into perspective and provided guidance to help me set achievable goals. If you don’t know the starting point, how can you measure success?

“The group training environment is one of support, encouragement, and celebrating the fun of completing a 60-minute workout that you never would have done left to your own devices.”

Now to the fun part: Group Training has been part of my life for six years. Twice a week I am one of Tony’s “Warriors,” and every Saturday I am one of Mike Bloom’s “Crew.” This is my fitness family. The group training environment is one of support, encouragement, and celebrating the fun of completing a 60-minute workout that you never would have done left to your own devices.

Over the past year I have incorporated personal training sessions focusing on Olympic lifting techniques with Aaron Combs and am making good progress. These skills translate to my group training workouts and overall improved fitness. I also continue with spin class twice a week.

“I have become comfortable with being uncomfortable.”

Tony: Brag time! Tell me about some of your achievements during this time.

Stephanie: First of all, a regularly scheduled fitness evaluation (yes, more BOD POD®) and continued goal setting keeps me on track and moving in the right direction. The numbers don’t lie.

*Starting metrics: 32.8% body fat; Functional Mobility Screening results = 9. I could not do a pull-up; my flexed-arm hang with chin above the bar was 10 seconds.

*Metrics as of December 2015: 20.7% body fat; Functional Mobility Screening results = 19. Pull-ups = 6 consecutive.

*Weight loss claims and/or individual results vary and are not guaranteed.

Tony: What message would you like to pass along to all those out there working to be the best version of themselves?

Stephanie: I am personally accountable for how I live, choices I make, and how hard I work to fulfill my goals and expectations. I approach each of my workouts with a mindset of getting to my “edge” and working that edge. Over time that edge advances. I have become comfortable with being uncomfortable—not injured, but going beyond my comfort level to push my mental and physical boundaries. This is how I have transformed into a more confident, vibrant individual who celebrates life each day.

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The proof is in the pudding. It takes hard work to accomplish the things you hope to achieve, not just in fitness, but in anything in life. I would never sugar-coat that to anyone; it does take work to do things the right way, and there is no magic pill. Stephanie is a reminder of what hard work looks like, and is an inspiration to those who have or are battling cancer and other powerful diseases. Never give up, never give in, and never take a day for granted are just a few mantras Stephanie lives by. I am honored to have had the opportunity to spend time with her all these years and look forward to witnessing not only her physical accomplishments but her leadership success as well!

Want to get started on your own path to success? Try a small group training class on us

Yes! I want to try small group training

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

Topics: NIFS fitness center weight loss cycling mini marathon Slim It to Win It weight training Crucial Conversations cancer

Interview: NIFS Mini-Marathon Training Program Leader Andrea Kelley

mini-blog.jpgAs we approach NIFS 29th Annual Mini-Marathon & 5K Training Program, I wanted to take some time to interview Andrea Kelley. Andrea is a past Mini program participant and has since been involved in some of our other programs here at NIFS, as well as becoming a group leader for us. Sit back and enjoy reading about what this program can do for you.

What made you decide to join the NIFS Mini-Marathon Training Program?

When I first signed up for the program, I was new to running and wanted to push myself. I figured the Indianapolis Mini would be a good start, but I didn’t have a clue how to train. I found out about the NIFS training program and it made my goal feel so attainable, even for a newbie like me. This year I will complete my fourth Mini-Marathon and my eighth half marathon.

What benefits did you get through training with your group at NIFS?

I think the number-one benefit for me with training in a group is accountability. When my group is expecting me to show up, I am much less likely to listen to that little voice in my head that wants to skip the run. Also, I think group running provides the motivation to keep going, as well as an opportunity to learn from others who have been there before you. You’ll never meet a runner unwilling to give advice.

What was your favorite part about being in the training program here?

The social factor! I’ve made so many friends through the NIFS training program and running in general. The post-run snacks are pretty good, too.

What did you learn about yourself through running?

Running has provided me so many virtues, but one of the biggest I’ve learned is that I can’t reach the finish line unless I start. The idea of training for a half marathon for the first time was intimidating, but I would have never known what I was capable of if I didn’t give it a shot.

What has motivated you to continue running and sign up for more races?

The feeling of accomplishment I get from crossing those finish lines is unlike anything else I’ve ever felt. It’s so addicting. Also, I’m a competitive person, so if I beat my time from the last race, even better.

What made you decide that you wanted to become a group leader for the NIFS Mini Training Program?

I remember learning so much and being so motivated by my group leader (Angie Fiege) when I first participated in the program, and I wanted to hopefully do the same for someone else. I love being able to cheer on the program participants as well as motivate them when they’ve had a hard run. I’m looking forward to my second year as a group leader and can’t wait to meet my pace group!

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Early bird registration is through November 30th! Contact Melanie Roberts at mroberts@nifs.org if you want more information about being a pace leader.

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

Topics: motivation running group training mini marathon half marathon accountability NIFS programs

Using Real Food to Fuel Endurance Workouts

ThinkstockPhotos-476098644.jpgOne of my main rules of thumb when helping clients with their food and nutrition choices is to choose more real foods. So why is it that when you are training or working out for over an hour, you hear about the importance of sugary and packaged drinks, gels, and bars?

Replacing Nutrients Lost During Endurance Workouts

As you sweat and use your body’s energy stores, it is important to replace those with glucose (sugar) and electrolytes (sodium and potassium). The easiest thing to do is to grab a bottle of Gatorade or package of GU as you head out for your long walk or run. However, if you want to decrease the amount of processed and packaged foods in your diet, real food can work, too.

You need to choose a carbohydrate that is easily digestible. A quick and easy calculation to know how much you need to consume is ½ to 1 gram of carbohydrate per minute of exercise. So for a two-hour training session, you would aim for between 60 and 120 grams of carbohydrate throughout that time. The addition of the carbohydrates allows your body more readily available fuel, and therefore you can perform better and train longer.

Which Whole Foods Should You Eat for Better Performance?

So what foods can you use for marathon training or any other training that takes more than an hour? The most researched foods and easiest to digest are bananas and raisins. One banana and ¼ cup of raisins each has 30 grams of carbohydrates, while 8 ounces of Gatorade has 15 grams of carbohydrates. Other real food options are the following:
  • Medjool dates: 2 = 35 grams of carbohydrate.
  • Applesauce squeeze packets: 1 = 20 to 25 grams of carbohydrate.
  • Salted boiled potato or sweet potato: 1 =30 grams of carbohydrate. Once you cook the potato, you can put it in a plastic baggie and then tear off a corner and squeeze it out like a GU package during your workout. You can do the same thing with mashed bananas.
  • Sugary, low-fiber dry cereal: Check the label, but for Fruit Loops 1 cup = 27 grams of carbohydrate.
  • White bread with honey or jam: 1 piece with 2 TB. = 45 grams of carbohydrate.
  • Pretzels: 25 mini = 30 grams of carbohydrate.

Everyone’s body is different, and as with other training fuels, practice is key. Try out different foods and combinations to see how your body responds. Never try something new on race or competition day. Individualize your plan with foods that you like and will look forward to having during your workout.

If you are considering training for an upcoming event such as the Carmel, Geist, or Mini Marathon and need help with your nutrition plan, contact Angie Scheetz, RD, at ascheetz@nifs.org. Or, join our Mini-Marathon Training Program

REGISTER NOW! for the 2016 NIFS Mini-Marathon Training Program. Remember training with a group is a proven way to succeed in your running goals. Training starts Jan 27th. 

This blog was written by Angie Scheetz, RD, Wellness Coordinator. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: nutrition running marathon training mini marathon endurance whole foods carbs

What’s Your 2016 Running Fitness Goal? Consider Marathon Training

ThinkstockPhotos-100454471.jpgI am not someone who is really into New Year’s resolutions. I prefer to use the term “goal” when thinking about next year. When looking ahead, everyone is always trying to make some sort of health and fitness resolution (which for some is awesome and works), but we all know that come the end of February to mid-March, many have fallen off the bandwagon already.

But I feel that when we have certain goals in mind, we typically tend to stick to them more. So, if you have on your bucket list or Yearly 2016 Goals to complete a half marathon, let NIFS Mini-Marathon Training Program help keep you on track!

Running is one of the most popular fitness activities these days. With thousands of races going on around the nation each year, popularity and interest continue to grow. 2015 is killing it with weekly themed races around every corner. If you are not a runner and your 2016 goal is to start running, begin with a 5K; or if you are an experienced runner, work to increase your time in a race, or increase the distance of a run.

Top Tips for New Runners

If you are a new runner, there are some great tips put out by Runner's World to help you get started. Here are the top 10 things (with a little personal addition from me) they suggest to help:

  • Buy the right pair of running shoes. It’s absolutely hands-down worth your investment!
  • Be patient. Don’t freak out about getting a certain time; be patient and focus on completing the race instead of trying to set a pace that might be impossible to complete.
  • Don’t forget rest days. Rest is often neglected, but it’s one of the most important aspects of staying healthy during training. Read this earlier blog on the NIFS page about the importance of recovery.
  • Join a running group. This helps to keep you accountable and committed to your training plan.
  • Make it a habit, even if it’s just a few minutes a day. The toughest part of any exercise routine is to stay committed. Do your best to schedule it into your day.
  • Build your distance gradually. If your goal is 3 miles and you don’t currently run, take your time to build to 3 miles—it’s a process!
  • Mix in some things other than running. Running exclusively can have the the opposite of the effect you want and leads to injury. Be sure to cross-train as well as do some strength training.
  • Make goals that are achievable. You want to be sure to set goals that you can reach and be successful at.

TIME TO TAKE ACTION: Join the NIFS Mini-Marathon Training Program

This program is geared to help both members of NIFS and non-members complete their 5K or half marathon. Program participants are given a specific 14-week training program to follow, which will prepare you for the Mini, the Geist Half Marathon, or the Carmel Half Marathon or a combination of the races. The program is for people of all levels: walkers, joggers, and runners!

Each Wednesday night during the 14-week program, runners will complete their long-distance run with a group. There will be pace groups to help you stay on track for your goal time. Recovery snacks and drinks are provided at the end of each Wednesday training session.

REGISTER NOW! for the 2016 NIFS Mini-Marathon Training Program. We would love to have you join us!

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

Topics: running marathon training resolutions mini marathon half marathon goals

Endurance or Speed? Two Common Goals for Running

For years people have been running in marathons and half marathons, 10Ks and 5Ks. And most recently the wide world of racing has taken a turn for themed runs, which is quite exciting if you have ever been to one! But no matter how many years go by, two goals continue to come up: running farther, and running faster.

We often hear someone say, “I want to be able to run farther than I did before.” We see it all the time: “I am going from the couch to running a 5K,” or “Last year I completed the 10K, so this year I really want to try the half marathon!” The other thing we hear is, “I like the distance that I am running, but next time I want to cut off 10 minutes.” The goal is to keep going faster and breaking a personal record. But which one is better—which goal should we strive to accomplish?

There are hundreds of programs out there that help you with one of the two goals: programs that are designed to help you increase your distance over time, or programs that are designed to keep your distance but increase your pace. And the good news is that both types work for different people.

Kris Berg, an exercise physiologist and professor at the University of Nebraska Omaha, says that after several decades of studying how an athlete can increase their endurance, he continues to lean on the profound answer of “The person needs to do what feels right for them.” Every person is made up differently genetically, and every method works differently for each person. It’s important to listen to what your body says, and if you can’t go farther, work on going faster, and if you can’t go faster, work on going farther!

Let’s take a look at each of the two common goals more in depth. 

Common goal #1: Being able to build endurance and go farther over time. 

The first and most important thing to keep in mind with any sort of training (and not just endurance running) is that adaptation and change are gradual. You will not be able to run 3 miles today and 16 miles tomorrow. Building gradually is vital to grasp before you set an overall goal, which must be realistic. Gradual adaptation means gradual, patient, and consistent. 

Another trick to being able to run long distances is to not start off too fast. Many people don’t make the distance they want because they are running at a pace that they cannot sustain. Find a pace that works for you! 

One other vital point to make when working on building your endurance: don’t overtrain. In most marathon training programs and endurance building programs out there, you will not see more than three days worth of running per week. You need to allow your body time to rest between runs.

Common goal #2: Working on speed to shave off some time from your last race. 

Disclaimer: working on speed is hard; be prepared to be mentally tough and stick to the workouts. When working on speed you will want to focus on some interval workouts. These are workouts that you are pushing at a fast pace for a certain period of time, then slowing down to recover before the next interval starts. 

And a final tip: If you want to run faster, you need to make your legs stronger. By doing some strength training and building up muscle mass, your speed will increase.

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So whatever your goal may be for your next race, keep these things in mind. A great way to help train to meet your goal is with our Mini-Marathon & 5K Training Program offered at NIFS. REGISTER NOW and take advantage of Early bird pricing until 11/22/15.

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

 

 

Topics: NIFS running marathon training mini marathon half marathon endurance overtraining goals speed

Jack Taylor: NIFS Fall Marathon Training Program Participant

I wanted to take some time to highlight NIFS member Jack Taylor. I have gotten to know Jack through the fall Half and Full Marathon Training Program. (He is training to run the Monumental Half Marathon, which will take place on November 3rd here in Indianapolis.) He has a pretty cool story, which he shares with us here.

How did you initially get started with running?

I learned early in high school that I was more of a distance runner than a sprinter. While in the military, I identified running as one of my strong suits. During college I found that running casually was challenging, effective, and relatively inexpensive. I was in the Army/National Guard for 25+ years. Running helped me maintain a necessary level of fitness for whatever I was involved in.

What is your story? Tell me a little bit about yourself and your health story.

I had participated for about 13 years with Ken Long and Associates’ spring Bricks To Bricks Mini-Marathon Training Program, as well as Ken’s Fall Half-Full Marathon training programs. Tom Hathaway was the longtime and beloved coach. In spring 2009 I had ran one of my more respectable mini-marathons. By the next year, I felt like I was in the same degree of fitness, but my time had fallen by about 15 minutes. I couldn’t really explain it. 

By that fall, I had been experiencing a variety of minor ailments, such as plantar fasciitis, peculiar twitching in my legs, and other nerve pains and sensations. Near the end of the Monumental Half Marathon the muscle in my right leg began twitching and contracting violently. I did finish the race. I subsequently saw several sports physicians and specialists with the Franciscan St. Francis Health Network. I was treated for plantar fasciitis, bone spurs, arthritis, etc. I had CT scans, MRIs, and many X-rays.  

At one point I was told by my sports physician that I was doing great and could return to running after some physical therapy. By that time, the twitching in my legs continued, and I noticed that I progressively could not lift my leg quite as high as normal. The inability to lift my leg gradually got worse. One specialist told me that I must have a weak hip flexor, but I was somewhat skeptical. I completed the physical therapy and began running again. 

Not long after, I noticed while running gingerly trying to increase my stamina and mileage that every so often, I would uncontrollably drag the toe of one foot; I had no ability to control it. One day, in the spring of 2011 at the finish of a three-mile run, I dragged the toe again and fell suddenly flat on my face, badly bruising my nose and both eyes. At that point I knew I had to do something else, so I went back to my primary physician in another health network and basically started all over again.   

For the next several months I went through more and more tests, and my balance and physical stability got progressively worse, which led to many frequent falls. The symptoms were very similar to neuropathy, such as damage to nerves in my feet and legs and difficulty controlling bodily functions. I began to experience symptoms of paralysis in my left leg as well. This got progressively worse until I had to walk with a quad-cane—basically dragging my left leg and foot as I went along my way. I had to manually lift my left leg with my hands to negotiate curbs or steps. I also experienced general muscle weakness in different parts of my body to varying degrees.  

It wasn’t until late 2011 that the neurologist had ruled nearly everything else out and was able to order an MRI of the thoracic region of my back. That was the ticket. It was evident right away that I had a large tumor on my spinal cord inside the vertebrate. The tumor was the size of a lime. The tumor was crushing my spinal cord flat, and my doctor advised that the tumor had likely been growing for 10 to 15 years. 

I had surgery to remove the tumor in January 2012 and had to undergo weeks of inpatient physical and occupational therapy as well as continued outpatient surgery. The neurosurgeon advised that I might never recover from all the nerve damage, and I would be lucky to walk normally ever again. While he said it was possible, he didn’t give me a lot of encouragement about running again.  

I’ve been working to regain my strength and balance in all aspects. I didn’t start running a lot until I joined the NIFS mini-marathon training program in 2014. Because I wasn’t very confident about how I would progress, I didn’t even consider running the mini-marathon in 2014 because I didn’t have a clue how my progress would transpire in the training program. I did finish the program and completed the group 12-mile run. It doesn’t seem like a big deal now, but it was at that time for me.

How many half and full marathons have you completed?

I’ve truly lost count. I’ve run 30+ half marathons and 2 marathons. I’ve run countless races, from 5Ks to 10 milers.

And what inspires you to keep running?

While it is a lot harder than when I was younger, it helps me maintain an acceptable weight level while allowing me to eat most of what I like.

Thanks for taking the time to meet Jack! What a great story and an inspiration to keep going. Good luck in your next race, Jack!

Cross the finish line with us this Spring! The 29th Annual Mini Marathon & 5K Training Program starts January 23–May 8, 2019. Training is at 6pm at NIFS downtown. Register today online!

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

Topics: NIFS running marathon training mini marathon half marathon NIFS programs

8 Essential Winter Clothing Pieces for Runners and Walkers

177522302Winter can be brutal when it comes to getting out the door for a run or walk, however having the right apparel can leave you barely noticing how cold it is outside. With the improvements in the quality of winter gear that popular running apparel companies such as Craft and Pearl Izumi have made, you will hardly notice the cold once you get going!

I visited Runners Forum to take a look at some of the new apparel that they have in stock this year and was very impressed with all they have to offer for this winter. After speaking with the store manager, we came up with 8 essential items you must have before you hit the streets on those cold days:

1)     Running Shoes- No matter what the season it is critical that you are running in a shoe that is right for you. Not having a proper shoe specific to your body mechanics can lead to injuries or discomfort during the run or walk.

2)     Wicking Base Layer- A long sleeve shirt that is efficient in wicking the moisture away from your body is important for both function and comfort. This piece is responsible for moving your sweat away from your body and out to the additional layers to keep you dry and warm.

3)     Insulating Layer- This layer is generally fleece lined and continues moving moisture away from your body. It has the added responsibility of trapping body heat you are producing to keep you even warmer.image001-2

4)     Wind and Water Resistant Jacket- For the most dreary days that involve sleet, rain and snow, a high-tech jacket can make a huge difference in your comfort level. Not only does it protect you from these elements, but it too will continue to wick away moisture from your body and trap your body heat.

5)     Gloves and Socks- Also preferably in moisture wicking, these are crucial for keeping your fingers and toes warm and dry playing a huge factor in trapping your body heat. Additionally your fingers and toes are at a high risk of becoming frostbit on the coldest days so this is a piece that you can not afford to go without.

6)     Running Tights- Since your legs are doing a majority of the work, you are producing a lot of heat in this area. Tights will be most efficient in holding in heat, but if tights are not your style, than a light insulated running pant will be your best bet.image002

7)     Winter Hat or Headband- Similar to your toes and fingers, your ears are at a high risk for frostbite. Cover your ears and head to avoid this as well as add warmth to the area for comfort.

8)     Reflective Gear- In the winter, the days are shorter which means many of your runs may start or finish in the dark. To be safe, wear as much reflective clothing as you can so that you can be visible to cars and others. Many winter clothing pieces are indeed reflective but a reflective vest is a good substitute.

2020 Mini Marathon_Web logoCross the finish line with us this Spring! The 30th Annual Mini Marathon & 5K Training Program starts January 22–May 6, 2019. Training is at 6pm at NIFS downtown.

Visit our website or contact Melanie Roberts for more information.

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

Topics: winter fitness running walking marathon training mini marathon workout reflective gear weather layers 5k

Three Elements to Include in Your Training for Running a Faster 5K

147861285So you have the running bug! You have now completed a few 5K races after years of debating whether you would even be able to finish one, and now you want to run faster. Congratulations on being one of over 8 million people to complete a 5K last year!

If you are like many new racers, your training up to this point has consisted of just being able to complete the 5K distance, and it has allowed you to accomplish your goal of completing the race. Now you want to step it up and get faster at the distance but you are not sure how to do this. Here are three basic training elements that you can incorporate into your training plan right away that will guarantee faster 5K times.

1. Build a Base

To be faster, you will need to be able to run longer than just the distance of the race, so improving upon your endurance is a huge factor. This does not mean that you need to go out and run a ton of extra miles right away, but you want to start increasing the duration of your runs as well as the number of runs you are completing each week. Building a base is a gradual progression and you should ease into it. Start out by just adding in an additional mile to one of your runs or an extra day of running to your weekly plan.

2. Run Strides

A stride is one of the easiest ways for your body to learn to run fast. Strides improve your efficiency and are a key step in teaching your body to run faster than normal. A stride is a short run of around 100m that you gradually increase your speed through until the last 20m, when you gradually slow back down. Strides are not an all-out sprint. You should be hitting your top speed for only a few seconds about ¾ of the way into the stride.

To start, add four 100m strides to the end of one of your easy runs each week. You can gradually bump this up to six to eight strides one or two times each week.

3. Complete Intervals at Race Pace

Naturally, you are going to start getting through your 5Ks a little faster the more comfortable you are with the race. But if you have a specific time goal in mind, you have to run that pace during your training. Interval training is an essential element to being faster on race day. Intervals vary in length and speed based on the goal for that workout, but a workout to incorporate right away is 800m repeats. Determine what your goal pace is for the race and complete four 800m runs at race pace with 2 minutes of rest between each one. Your body will now know what the pace feels like.

To make this workout more challenging, bump yourself up to six sets and take only 1 minute of rest in between. You can play with the distances, paces, and recovery time of interval workouts, but they are critical to improving your speed.                    

Determine how fast you want to run your next 5K and start training toward that goal. Pace charts and training calculators can help you determine how fast you ran your last race and how fast you should be running your intervals. Start out with an attainable goal of just a minute or two faster than your last race and see where you can go from there. Make this year your year to hit that big personal record you have been aiming for in the 5K.

Mini-logo-2016-final.jpgCross the finish line with us this Spring! The 26th Annual Mini Marathon & 5K Training Program starts January 27–May 9, 2016. Training is at 6pm at NIFS downtown. Take advantage of our early bird discount and be entered to win free training!

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Visit our website or contact Amanda Bireline for more information.

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

Topics: running marathon training mini marathon half marathon

What It’s Like to Be an Intern at NIFS

AU_XC_picFour years ago when I began applying for schools, if someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would have laughed and said, “I have NO CLUE!” I was not sure where I wanted to go, who I wanted to be, or what type of job I could see myself in. All I knew was I wanted to be close to home. Growing up I was very family oriented, so I knew whatever college I chose needed to be close enough to come home on the weekends for family dinner.

I found the perfect one, Aurora University—small campus, small class size, with the added bonus of being only 30 minutes from home! Here I found my niche in the Fitness and Health Promotion major, understanding various levels of exercise prescription for diverse populations, and having the expertise to plan and implement prescribed exercise programs.

First_day_of_senior_yearWhen my senior year rolled around, I had one last program to complete before I could hold my diploma: a 16-week internship! Completely overwhelmed at the thought, seeing that the internships I did previously were barely a month long, I spent countless hours searching for a good fit. And after 3½ years of living at home as a college student, I was finally ready to be out on my own. I wanted to challenge myself and find something completely out of my element.

When I came across NIFS, competitive was a complete understatement. I knew I would really need to step up to get accepted as an intern. But all the long hours of resume and cover letter work really paid off. Coming to NIFS was the best decision I could have made at this point in my career. Sure, it was hard for me to pack up all my belongings and live in a city by myself, but the reward was well worth it.carmel_finish_with_family

Wanting to find out where else my major could take me besides the personal training/coaching realm, and having a love for healthy lifestyles, I worked in the Education Services department with Angie Scheetz, RD. I did not just feel like another intern, but an employee who had my own responsibilities and tasks to contribute to the department. I worked on anything from wellness presentations and nutrition consultations to Mini Marathon training. Working with Angie I learned more than I had ever expected and was able to see how maintaining a healthy lifestyle goes hand in hand with exercising.

NIFS was different from any other internship that I have ever experienced, because there was the option to investigate the various other departments. Through shadowing and volunteering, I was able to experience just how diverse each was. Seeing what each job entailed helped to point me in the direction I wanted to go and left me with a better idea for a future career.

Although I still have a long road ahead of me in the fitness and health world, working at NIFS as an intern was a great experience that truly applied my education. I could not have asked for a better end to my senior year.

This blog was written by Alyssa Furman, NIFS intern. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers click here.

 

Topics: NIFS nutrition mini marathon nifs staff education interns

NIFS Mini Marathon Training Program Participant: Judi Border

NAME: Judi Border, 14-Minute-Mile GroupBorderPhoto

SHARE YOUR “STORY” OR A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF IN A FEW SENTENCES:

Born and raised in Cincinnati, moved here in 1992 for work. Since then I’ve been happily married for 20 years this July. We have a beautiful 17-year-old daughter and two cats. I work at WFYI as the Television Art Director and Motion Artist. About two years ago I realized I needed to make some life changes due to lack of personal challenges, weight gain, and the loss of two young friends to cancer. I started going to my local community center three days a week using a treadmill for 30 minutes. At the same time I started following a blog called the Happy Herbivore and became vegetarian. After a year I had lost weight, felt much better about myself, and added a yoga class.

Every year for as long as I can remember, a co-worker friend of mine registers for the Mini and always asks if everyone has signed up, too. This got me thinking, secretly I’ve always wanted to walk the Mini, just experience it, but I always had some excuse not to! This year I couldn’t seem to find a reason not to, so in January I took a deep breath and signed up.

NIFS PROGRAMS YOU PARTICIPATED IN:

NIFS Mini Marathon Training Program

WHY DID YOU JOIN THIS PROGRAM?

I’ve never been much of an athlete, but I’ve always enjoyed walking. Luckily I work with several friends who have experienced the Mini and it was their advice that I should check out the NIFS Training Program. I knew I would need to join something because I had no idea how to prepare for the Mini. My greatest fear was being picked up by the bus and not completing the marathon. I couldn’t find anyone who would walk with me; all my friends and co-workers were runners. NIFS has been a great supporter of WFYI over the years and I knew of them from that. It seemed like an obvious choice.

SOMETHING YOU HAVE ENJOYED:

I have really enjoyed this whole experience, which I credited to NIFS. It is a great feeling being surrounded by a group of enthusiastic people with a common goal. The group training is new to me and I have really enjoyed it. I found myself looking forward to Wednesdays.

SOMETHING YOU HAVE LEARNED OR SOMETHING THAT SURPRISED YOU:

I guess I surprised me. I’ve never been much for exercising, but I find that I really enjoy it. I like the fitness schedule NIFS has put me on for the Mini Training Program and hope to continue it. I believe I am in the best shape I’ve ever been in; it is very renewing.

FAVORITE RUNNING ROUTE FROM ONE OF THE RUNS?

The route to Fountain Square. You spend time in Downtown, drive through it, but how often do you actually walk through it? It was a nice tour.

WHAT ACCOMPLISHMENTS HAVE YOU ACHIEVED DURING YOUR TRAINING PROGRAM FOR THE MINI?

Every Wednesday night was an accomplishment for me because almost every Wednesday I was pushed to walk farther than I had ever walked at a 14-minute-mile pace. Then ultimately I completed the Mini Marathon, something I have wanted to accomplish for almost 15 years.

TIPS YOU HAVE LEARNED ALONG THE WAY?

Where do I begin? I’ve learned about the importance of stretching, cross training, what to eat/drink before and after training, what are the best types of clothes to wear when exercising, what it feels like to wear proper-fitting gym shoes, how to drink water out of a cup while walking. My favorite thing to learn was the importance of letting your body rest. Who knew?

HOW DO YOU STAY MOTIVATED?

First, I would have to say NIFS and my Wednesday Night Group, they kept me motivated. Having an additional support group outside of NIFS helped a great deal, in my husband, Terry, and my co-worker friends. But I would also say that my daughter has been a big motivation for me as well. As a parent it is amazing what we expect our children to do, while we sit by and watch. My daughter recently received her Black Belt and it was during her final preparation for the test that she had to run three miles at a 7-minute-mile pace. That motivated me to step up my exercising. She still motivates me in her continued fitness goal to stay healthy and fit.

ANY OTHER THOUGHTS YOU WISH TO SHARE: 

If you have ever wanted to participate in the Mini Marathon, this is the best way to prepare for it. NIFS brings all the right elements together, the Runners Forum helps you with shoes, the onsite physical therapist works with you and any muscle pains that might occur during the training, and the group leaders guide you and answer all your questions. It is a wonderful way to get moving during the winter and really has been a great experience for me. I loved it.

NIFS new Fall Marathon Training Program begins July 9th-October 25th. Get Registered Today! Early Bird pricing before May 31—Members: $65 Non-Members: $80

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This blog was written by Tara Deal Rochford, NIFS Membership Manager and a group fitness instructor. Author of Treble in the Kitchen. Meet our other NIFS bloggers.

Topics: goal setting marathon training group fitness group training mini marathon half marathon