Thursday, October 31, 2013


     The first thing most runners really have to work on is their breathing. The way you breathe really determines how you feel.

Remember, in through your nose, out through your mouth!
     During fast workouts, you really want to have even, controlled breathing. I know that especially after sprints, resisting the urge to just take huge rapid breaths out of your mouth is pretty darn difficult. However, really slowing down that breathing is extremely important when doing fast paced excersizes. You have to remember that you are the only one who can control your breathing and panting like a dog is completely unnecessary. Take in slow deep breaths through the nose and out through the mouth. This way, your lungs can sort of calm down along with your pulse so you'll be all ready for the next rep.
     On long runs, you have to make sure your breathing is slow and easy. Long runs aren't usually at a super fast pace, so I suggest this be the time where you really work on controlling your breathing. You have a long way to go and if your lungs are tired, then your legs will also die. Breathe through your nose and out through your mouth as usual. If you're talking to someone, try not to totally go breathless by the amount of time you spend talking. You shouldn't go on and on about some crazy story and find yourself gasping for air at the end of it.

Breathe in.
Breathe out.
     Though most runners breathe by their chest or shoulders, it's apparently better to breathe through your belly. Your stomach should inflate and deflate like a balloon while you run. When breathing through your chest, your shoulders move up and down, making them not only tense but you also waste energy that could've been used toward your running. 

     If you're the type of runner that tends to get a little too distracted by their thoughts, count your steps and coordinate them with your breathing. This is also called breathing in rhythm. Depending on how fast you go, you can inhale or exhale every two, three, or however many steps you need. Being at a constant rhythm also helps work against cramps in your stomach.

     Breathing is a very important part of running, and you can make or break yourself depending on how you breathe. Next time you're out for a run, try some of the things mentioned above! It doesn't take much more than a thought to practice belly breathing, or just counting your steps.

     I hope I gave you some information on breathing while you run, and I certainly hope that it helps you out later! Until next time!

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Thursday, October 24, 2013

As the Seasons Change

     'Tis the season for stocking up on hats, gloves, leggings, and hot chocolate. As the weather cools down, I find myself wondering if fall ever actually happened. Oh wait. It's still happening! We're just having a pretty cold season.

3hunna Triple Crown :D
     It's actually quite sad that the weather is acting up, because autumn is the perfect time for runners. It's cool, but not too cool. Warm, but not too warm. I mean, that's what you'd excpect right? Nope! My last race was so cold, and we had to layer up everything we had. I was glad I was the first race, so I could just get everything done with, but I ended up getting the worst time I've ever ran... It's the cold weather I swear.

     The point is that it's not particularly easy to get out and do something when it gets this cold, but you have to work through all the little voices in your head telling you to stay home and drink hot chocolate! I promise you that working through the cold seasons will prove to be so worth it during track or any other spring sport.

     Probably my favorite part about post-season is the fact that you don't really HAVE to do anything all that difficult. Sure, we'll do long runs, and some workouts, but essentially it's all up to you and how you're feeling a particular day. Make sure that when your season does end, that you don't automatically slack off and never run till the weather gets warmer again. Getting out of shape is probably the worst thing you could do to yourself, because all of sudden you'd think you're able to run a couple miles but end up almost passing out halfway through.

     Make sure to also watch what you eat! With Halloween coming up, there's probably going to be a lot more candy in your house. Once a year, it's perfectly fine to just stuff your face with sweets because let's be honest, we all need it. But you have to remember through the months to not eat pure junk food. Salad is good for you! And there will be plenty of occasions to stuff yourself from thanksgiving to New Year's Eve.

     Especially if you're not going to be able to get out during these winter or just cold months, be sure to do core work. Core is something anyone could do anywhere. All you need is a yoga mat, and even that isn't necessary. So be sure to get in crunches, push-ups, and anything else at least 4 times a week. This isn't much to ask, and I'm sure that anyone could easy incorporate 10 minutes of this stuff everyday.
    Get out there and keep training! Don't be scared of the cold, embrace it!

Photos taken from:, core work image made with app instatext

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Saturday, October 19, 2013

Going Places

     Location is really important when it comes to running either alone or with others. There are many options out there wherever you may live.

     My all-time favorite place to run is at my local forest preserve. I strongly encourage that you find the closest forest preserve near you and go for a run there. They're my favorite because not only is there always a sign with trails on it, but it also shows how many miles a certain trail is. Especially in the fall, going along trails proves to be quite scenic. 

Our Team!
     Over the weekend, my cross country team took a trip down to Metamora, Illinois for a meet. The meet was located in a forest preserve and with this nice autumn weather, the whole place looked perfect. After the varsity race, the whole team did a thirty minute cool down on one of the preserves trails, located in a forest. It was absolutely beautiful. Although the run proved to be quite strenuous and dangerous (at least five people fell, one girl got stung by a bee, and the hills were KILLER) it was completely worth it.

     If you're not lucky enough to live by a forest preserve, then any type of bike trail would work. My team also runs along the streets most of the time. Make sure that when doing this however, that you either run on the sidewalk or keep to the left of the street. I don't think anyone wants to get run over. Running alongside the street can be pleasant because most neighborhoods in my area are very peaceful and quiet. In the summer, it's great to run in neighborhoods because most of the time, people have their sprinklers set out, and there's always the small chance you might run into a small miracle like a little girl giving out free lemonade at a garage sale (oh, it's happened). You can also use google maps to calculate how many miles you do if you take a certain route!

     In case it's dark, storming, or insanely hot outside, you're last resort would be to run on the treadmill or elliptical indoors. Personally, I hate running inside, but if you happen to have access to a really nice treadmill with a fan or something, then go ahead! Running on the treadmill can also be nice because you can watch TV and be entertained while working out. The elliptical or bike also work, and those are the two machines most girls go on if they're injured.

     Wherever you run, I hope you have a great time doing so and I also hope I gave you some ideas for the next time you go out for a run!

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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Born to Run?

     Recently I've started a book called "Born to Run" by Christopher McDougall. I've only read about 9 chapters of it so far, but I already find it to be very interesting! Apparently there's a tribe called the Tarahumara who can run hundreds of miles without getting injured or without stopping to rest. Naturally, I thought this was absolutely insane so I just had to read this book.

     The whole story starts off with the author going to various doctors and specialists all because he wanted to know why his foot hurt. When they all gave him the same answer, he takes a different path that ultimately takes him on the hunt to locate the Tarahumara runners. He finally finds them and runs into what I interpreted as some kind of crazy good runner called Caballo. They start talking and for some reason, Caballo's plans involve the author himself, and that is where I left off.

     Since the book tends to go off into these really long sections about background knowledge that would pertain to the book, I haven't really found out too much about the Tarahumara's secrets and how they run so much. I did however learn various of other pretty interesting things.

     I was actually quite shocked to learn that injury among runners is a lot more frequent than I thought.  According to the book, eight out of every ten runners get injured every year! I would never have guessed the ratio was that high, but apparently every footfall that hits the ground with a force that's equivalent to twice that runner's body weight! No wonder running puts so much strain on your legs. Now that I'm actually aware how frequent injuries can be, I've been taking care to do the little things like ice my legs because I don't think anyone wants to be injured.

     Perhaps the most interesting thing that I learned from the book is the fact that chia seeds are extremely good for you! Although they're tiny, chia seeds are packed with great things like omega 3, omega 6, protein, calcium, zinc, iron, fiber, and antioxidants! They're also great for lowering cholesterol, preventing heart disease, and building muscle.

     The Tarahumara brew this drink called iskiate that's supposed to make you feel amazing. I'm not sure if it actually has some kind of magical property to it, or you feel good just because you're supposed to. Anyways, it's simply made from dissolving chia seeds in water, adding some sugar, and putting in a few squirts of lime or lemon juice. I heard that its actually really tasty and refreshing, so I'm definitely planning on trying it!

     Already, I've learned some pretty useful facts. There's still a lot more to read though, so I'm hoping that I find out even more about running whether it has to do with injury, diet, or just technique!

     A quote from the book that I particularly enjoyed:

"We run when we're scared, we run when we're ecstatic, we run away from our problems and run around for a good time." - Christopher McDougall

Photos taken from:,,,

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Getting Started

     Quite possibly the hardest thing about running or working out is getting up and going. For us highschool students who have a really tight schedule, finding time for exercise proves to be quite difficult.

     Whenever you're watching TV or doing homework, do some core-work. Not only will you be getting some entertainment and doing something you already wanted to do, but you'd be multi-tasking and saving a lot of time. Crunches, push-ups, squats, anything can be done with a yoga mat and a TV. Make sure to spend your time wisely and combine work time with play time.

     A lot of people like to go for a run or to the gym really early in the morning. I'm more of a morning person and I find that waking up an hour or two before I usually do proves to be very beneficial. While everybody is sleeping, you can be out getting in some mileage. After finishing a workout, you can just go take a shower, get ready, and then when everybody else wakes up you'll be ready to go with the whole day ahead of you.

     Unfortunately, waking up early makes most people feel like dying. I too love sleeping but on mornings when it feels like you're on a big, fluffy cloud you just gotta get up and throw yourself out of bed. Sure, at first it's really quite difficult, but after a while getting up early just becomes a normal thing. If you find that you're still having a lot of trouble getting up in the morning, a really annoying alarm clock that will not shut up always does the trick! Or if all else fails, have someone else who might already be up in the morning wake you, such as a parent or guardian, even a sibling!

     During weekdays when school is going on, if you're not already in an after school sport or something like cross country, then you should go for a run right when you get home. If you choose to procrastinate and wait till later, it might be too dark to go for a run. Plus, I like getting things done with so I have all the time I need to get other responsibilities like homework.

     If you're up and you still don't have the willpower to go start your jog, then just get dressed. Getting dressed for a workout basically means you're more than halfway out the door already. After you get dressed you don't need to eat or do your hair, you just need to get out the door and start moving. After a while, this becomes habit and you'll find getting up in the morning to be a lot easier.

    Remember, no matter how tired you are, there will never be a better time to do something than the present.

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