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NIFS Healthy Living Blog

Running Apparel and Equipment: Some Tips for New Runners

Fall is a great time to get out and run. For those new to running, entering a sporting-goods store can result in a high-priced swipe of the credit card upon exiting. If you do not know the difference between your running apparel needs and wants before you go shopping, you are likely to end up in this situation.Running apparel

Let’s talk about what I consider to be the top three most important purchase categories that you will need when starting a running program.

Proper Running Shoes

The most important thing that you will need before starting a running program is a good pair of shoes. This is the single best investment you can make upfront to start a training program on the right foot. I highly suggest purchasing your first pair of running shoes from a running apparel store such as the Runner’s Forum. They have staff on hand that have been trained to determine which type of shoe is best for you to train in based on your running mechanics. They will watch you run, analyze your mechanics, and ensure that you are getting into a shoe that is right for your stride, which can prevent injuries that result from wearing improper shoes.

You should expect to spend between $70 and $130 on a good pair of running shoes. This is the one area that I truly believe is a critical investment.

Proper Running Clothing

It goes without saying that having clothing for running is a must, but you do not necessarily need to spend a ton of money to get what you need. Companies such as Nike and Under Armour put out excellent running apparel that is high quality, functional, and stylish, but with the big-name brands generally comes a high price. On the other hand, stores such as Target  carry similar items for about half of the price and these products will do just fine for your training if you are not willing to pay top dollar.

Be sure you are equipped with the right clothing for the season you are training in. For warm-weather training you will want light, loose-fitting, moisture-wicking, and breathable clothing. Sunscreen and hats are also recommended to avoid sun damage. When it is cold, you will want to wear a few layers:

  • The first layer should wick moisture away from the body.
  • The second should insulate to keep you warm.
  • A third water-resistant layer can be added to keep your first two layers dry when needed.

Winter hats and gloves should also be a part of your winter wardrobe to avoid frostbite. Additionally, women should be sure to purchase a sports bra that they feel comfortable in and that provides them with adequate support.

A Runner's Watch

Having a watch is very important; however, the brand is not as important. You can spend anywhere between $10 and hundreds of dollars based on all of the bells and whistles that it has. Personally, I prefer the Timex Ironman Triathlon watch because I can store various workout splits on it and keep track of my intervals during a workout. This watch costs around $40, but it does not give you distances or current running pace like the GPS Garmin watches do. I will say that the GPS watches can be an excellent tool for the beginner who does not have a gauge on their pacing, but these watches tend to be very pricy.

When gearing up, be sensible with your spending based on your budget and your needs, but be sure to consider the tips I've discussed. The roads are always open and they do not discriminate based on who you are or what you are wearing. You can walk out your door onto the road wearing upwards of $500 invested in your shoes, clothing, and watch, but that is not going to determine how successful you will be in reaching your running and fitness goals. You are responsible for that!

Our Mini Marathon Training Program starts up in January, but it's never too early to register! Click here for online registration and information.

This blog was written by Stephanie Kaiser, NIFS Certified Health Fitness Specialist. Meet our bloggers.

Topics: NIFS winter fitness running equipment

How to Beat the Winter Blues

The temperatures are still frigid, and there are days when it seems as if the sun doesn’t shine. This is the time of year when we can start to feel down and less motivated, and maybe start to develop a case of the winter blues.

It's easy for these negative thoughts to start creeping into our heads, but it is just as easy to kick these thoughts to the curb with these five simple steps.

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1. Stay Active

When the snow is blowing outside, the temperatures are below freezing, and the sun is not yet shining, it is easy to make excuses as to why you shouldn’t go to the gym. The thing is, you don’t have to go to the gym to be and stay active. You can complete a NIFS workout at home, throw in a fitness DVD, or embrace the cold weather and participate in a cold-weather sport such as skiing or snowboarding. Being active helps to relieve stress, elevate your mood, and increase your energy and metabolism throughout the day. All you have to do is get moving!

2. Eat a Healthy Diet

The foods that we put into our body have a huge effect on our mood and energy levels. Refined and processed foods are not full of the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that our bodies crave. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins will give your body nutrients to give you the energy that you want and need to move through the day with ease.

3. Plan Something for the Future

Now this won’t provide you with instant satisfaction, but it will give you something to look forward to when the warmer months come. You can plan a trip, sign up for a race, or just plan a weekend with your friends. Having that “thing” in the near future to look forward to will be like the carrot dangling in front of you to keep you pushing through these dreary winter months and looking forward to something brighter.

4. Treat Yourself Now!

Planning something for the future is great to keep you going, but you should also reward yourself for your hard work, healthy eating habits, trying that new workout, acing the test, or whatever you have accomplished right now! Treat yourself to a manicure or pedicure, a new clothing item, time with your friends, a special event, or anything else that makes you happy. Winter can seem endless, but with little treats to look forward to, the dark and cold days will go by more quickly.

5. Soak Up the Sun

Even though the temperatures may be chilly, the sun still shines! Many people know that the sun is a great source of Vitamin D, but the sun also lifts your mood. The colder and shorter days during the winter months cause many people to spend more time indoors. A lack of sunlight can cause people to feel depressed or sad. Sunlight effects our mood by releasing neurotransmitters in the brain that effect mood (very similar to exercise!). Instead of cozying up in front of the TV, embrace the cold weather, bundle up, and spend some time outside. You can also soak up the sun simply by sitting near the window!

Using these five ideas, your winter will fly by and spring will be here before you know it!

Written by Tara Deal, NIFS Group Fitness Instructor and author of Tara Rochford Nutrition.

Topics: NIFS exercise fitness winter fitness depression cardio nutrition staying active healthy habits exercise at home

NIFS Fitness: How to Dress for Running in Cold Weather

The weather in Indianapolis has been typical Indiana winter weather: COLD. Despite the near-freezing temperatures, the NIFS Mini-Marathon Training Program is logging miles outside in preparation for May’s big race. Running or being active outside in temperatures that are fairly icy may seem dangerous, but with the proper gear and clothing, getting out of the gym can be a great way to switch up your typical training routine.

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Tom BonDurant, co-owner of the Runners Forum, spoke at the NIFS Mini-Marathon Training Program orientation, providing runners with tips and tricks for staying warm and safe when running in freezing temperatures.

Layering Is Key

Tom shared his favorite key pieces of running attire to
mix and match that meet varying weather conditions throughout the year.

Layer 1: The base layer. The base layer can be long sleeve or short sleeve and should be composed of a wicking fabric. The wicking fabric will keep the body drier, which will allow the runner to stay warmer.

Layer 2: The mid/thermal layer. This layer typically consists of a fleece-lined jacket that either zips all the way or is a half zip. The zip allows the jacket to cover the chin and mouth, but can also be zipped down for some extra ventilation if the runner begins to get warm.

Layer 3: Outer shell jacket. This jacket is going to keep the elements out. It should also have reflective material on it for easy visibility when running in the dark.

In addition to these three layers, it is important to have warm and comfortable running gear on the bottom such as fleece-lined running tights, socks, wind briefs (for the guys), a hat, and gloves. With these basic layers covered, you will be prepared for the elements and running outdoors at any time of the year.

Written by Tara Deal, NIFS Group Fitness Instructor and author of Treble in the Kitchen.

 

Topics: NIFS exercise fitness winter fitness running marathon training mini marathon half marathon health outdoors safety