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NIFS Healthy Living Blog

3 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Setting Your 2015 Race Goals

Race-goalsIf you’re like me, cabin fever is already starting to set in, and we are barely into the winter season. This is the time of year that I start to think about what races I want to focus in on for the upcoming year. I find it a great way to stay motivated and focused on my training when it’s not my favorite time of year to train.

I always consider three main questions before I pull the trigger and sign up for my first “big” race, and plan out my training program accordingly. Evaluating these things has helped me to create realistic and attainable race goals for the upcoming season, and I hope that it can do the same for you.

1. How is my year looking?

There are years where training for races can be a top priority, and others where it may be secondary or on down the line depending on what else is going on. I try to think forward and determine how much time I can and want to realistically dedicate to race training with everything else that is going on in my life. Some things to consider when thinking about this include your work schedule, vacation schedules, interest in other hobbies, taking classes, and family obligations, among many other things. Knowing these things and thinking about them as they relate to training can help you get a grasp on what you can fully commit to. Obviously, sometimes other things come up, so always know it is okay to deviate from the plan when life happens.

2. Where is my fitness today?

A late fall or holiday race can be a great reality check for how you are doing with your training currently. Even if you are a little rusty, doing a race around this time of year will really tell you where you are at (whether you like it or not). If you have stayed in stride and had a great fall season, maybe it is time to consider pushing yourself a bit harder this spring by trying to go faster in your next 5K or racing a longer distance. Knowing where you are at in your training today will help you make a realistic goal for next year.

3. Was I healthy this year?

This may be the best question you ask yourself. Racing is a great way to accomplish a personal goal or get in touch with your competitive side. It is easy to get so caught up in a race goal that you neglect to take care of yourself and your health suffers. Looking back over the last year and thinking about any injuries or other health issues that may have been an effect of your training can help you to make an educated goal for the next year. Maybe you were injured because you did not have time to train correctly for that marathon, or you had a terrible diet because you spent so much time training that you ate anything that was convenient and easy to get your hands on. Maybe you are currently injured and will have to start back into racing a bit more slowly than normal. These are just a few examples of how training can negatively impact your health, but I suggest considering these things when planning for your upcoming race season.

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Setting a goal now is a great way to get your year started off right and help get you through the winter training months with a realistic focus and plan. Whether you are thinking of completing your first race, training for the same race you run each year, or looking for new racing opportunities, setting a realistic and attainable race goal with an appropriate training plan is the key to success.

 

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Cross the finish line with us this Spring! The 25th Annual Mini Marathon & 5K Training Program starts January 21–May 6, 2015. Training is at 6pm at NIFS downtown. Register today online!

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

Topics: winter fitness motivation goal setting running

Indoor Cycling Is a Good, Fun Winter Workout

There is nothing like hopping on a bike and riding nowhere. If this sounds dull and boring to you, you have never ridden with me. I teach RPM®, the Les Mills Indoor Cycling Program. Cycling is a great way to balance your workout and helps build leg strength and cardio fitness. With the weather turning cold, this is the time to try indoor cycling. Honestly, it can be terribly boring when done on your own, but a group class always makes it better and the workout factor is not one to be missed!

A Lower-Impact WorkoutCycling 2022_2

My love/hate relationship with running is what brought me to indoor cycling. I love the feeling of the burning in my lungs and the pride of finishing in a sprint up the driveway, but my ankles and shins are not always fans of the inevitable high-impact movements associated with running. A few years ago I was fighting injuries from running and my doctor recommended I ride a bike as an alternative workout. This worked really well until it got cold. That is how I ended up in my first RPM® class.

Honestly, I was dreading the thought of doing it. The concept of sitting on an uncomfortable seat in spandex going nowhere was less than appealing. But I dragged myself there and am so glad I did! I found I could achieve the same physical feeling of running without all of the high impact. High-impact activities have their own benefits and I enjoy them; I just need balance in my workout, and RPM® gives that to me and can provide it for you as well.

Join the Fun of Indoor Cycling

RPM cycleDuring these cold months, do yourself a favor and try out a Cycle or RPM® class. The worst part is getting used to the seat. But after that, all you will notice is the strength building in the legs and the cardio party in your heart. Put that all together with epic music and you’ve got one heck of a workout. Outdoor riders, you may find that you miss the scenery, but the instructors are all pretty entertaining in their own ways, so you won’t be bored. We may not be physically relocating, but we are moving forward with our fitness level. Take a class regularly and you may find your outdoor rides and runs are a little easier next summer! I know mine always are.

Check out the Group Fitness Schedule and pick a class time. Come a little early so the instructor can get you set up on the bike properly. As with any group fitness class, try the class three to five times before deciding if it is for you. Have fun and ride it like you stole it!

Not a member yet? Request a FREE CLASS PASS!

This blog is written by Tasha Nichols, the NIFS Fitness Center Group Fitness Coordinator and Les Mills National Trainer and Presenter.

Topics: winter fitness cardio group training cycling Les Mills

Ready, Set, Row! The NIFS Staff Rowing Challenge Is Back

Get ready for the 2013 Annual Staff Rowing Challenge here at NIFS! If you are looking for a little bit of friendly competition as the winter rolls in, be sure to sign up with a team this year! The competition is pretty straightforward. All you need to do is sign up for a team; row, row, row; record your meters; and watch the boats on the string-line in front of the rower to see if your team is winning the race!

WARNING: This competition can be pretty intense (all in fun), so bring your “A” game!

For those of you who participated last year, you probably remember how it all turned out in the end. For those of you who didn’t, here are the results from last year:

2012 Team Total Meters Rowed

  1. Tony: 730,336
  2. Rick: 483,377
  3. Adam: 413,370
  4. Ben: 325,370
  5. Mike: 242,032rowing NIFS
  6. Cara: 213,230
  7. Tasha: 206,304
  8. Brad: 199,438
  9. Josh: 90,726
  10. Alex: 84,505
  11. Christy: 83,793
  12. Steph: 77,543
  13. Thomas: 59,297

             Do you know the right way to row?
             Watch our video with Tony and Alex!
             They will show you the proper form before
             you get started!

2012 Team Average Meters Rowed

  1. Ben: 46,481
  2. Adam: 45, 930
  3. Rick: 30,212
  4. Tony: 26,083
  5. Cara: 21,323
  6. Brad: 16,620
  7. Tasha: 12,894
  8. Alex: 12,072
  9. Thomas: 11,859
  10. Christy: 9,310
  11. Mike: 9,309
  12. Steph: 7,754
  13. Josh: 7,560
This year we are adding a little bit of a twist to the program that will be sure to make the race even more exciting and competitive than it has been in the past. Here are the ground rules for the program this year:
  • Choose your team and sign up with a Health Fitness
    Specialist at the track desk for your team starting November 18.
  • Between November 25 at 6am and December 24 at 2pm, row!
  • There are two ways to utilize your meters rowed this year. In the tracking binder located at the track desk, record your meters rowed immediately following your rowing session, either for your team or against another team. Your meters rowed can only count for one or the other.
  • All rowing must take place at NIFS to count toward your team total.
  • Your HFS will move your team boat along the line to show how well your team is doing against the others.
  • There will be two winning teams that will have bragging rights as champions for the year: the team with the most total meters rowed and the team with the highest individual average.

Sign up before Monday 11/25! We are looking forward to another exciting race this year! If you have any questions about the program, contact Stephanie Kaiser at sgreer@nifs.org or 274-2432, ext. 226.

This blog was written by Stephanie Kaiser. Click here to learn more about the NIFS bloggers.

Topics: NIFS winter fitness fitness center nifs staff rowing

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

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