We all know that Thanksgiving is about food and family, but it’s also becoming one of the biggest days to run. Rising participation in turkey trots has propelled Thanksgiving Day to the top spot as the most popular holiday for road racing, according to Running USA, a nonprofit organization that tracks road racing trends. Before you chow down, grab your shoes and hit the road for a pre-dinner workout.
By Jake Morse, Community Brand Ambassador
Holiday spirit is everywhere this time of year. Motivation to keep training, on the other hand, isn’t so easy to come by. With the combination of cross-country travel, the abundance of comfort foods and celebratory drinks, the holidays make sticking to any training plan a challenge. To help you stay on track this season we have asked our ambassadors for some words of advice. Have a question of your own? Ask an official MapMyFitness ambassador for yourself on our Google+ Community page.
This time of year is great as the weather seems to be just perfect for running. Lots of fun races to be found around town, Turkey Trot, Christmas Dash, and Austin Jingle Bells Run, helping you to keep those extra holiday pounds off. – Sabine
Get together with a group of friends or a local club to help increase the team spirit during the holidays. Schedule group workouts which are more fun, and help everyone hold each other accountable. - Trent
Find a balance during the holidays between training and personal time. Use positive reinforcement to make it easier to find time to train. Reward yourself for hard work. “If I train now, I can sleep in a little more tomorrow morning.” Don’t punish yourself for enjoying the holidays. Keep your workouts simple so your schedule can be easily adapted based on travel, weather, and family - Nathaniel
My motivation is avoiding the “all or nothing” mentality. I know that I am going to slack but as long as I don’t fall completely off the wagon, then I consider that a success. - Brittany
I stay motivated during the holidays mainly because I transition into my other favorite sport – SNOWBOARDING! - Matthew
Guest post by Erik Stanley
Trail running has so much to offer as seasons change, temperatures drop and nature reminds us that the world is always in flux. Hitting the trails is the ultimate way to experience the mind-body bliss running can bring, especially if you are looking to switch up your routine.
As many gear up for big time road marathons, I like to spend my time on the trails. The softer terrain gives my body a break from the monotonous pounding that results from a full summer and fall of racing. Trail running also increases flexibility and power output due to the need to jump over downed logs or stoop under low branches.
Getting out on the trail is easier than you may think. The first thing to do is ask around or do some research on popular trails in your area, check your City Page for a list of featured routes. Once you have scouted a viable trail system in your area, lace up and lose yourself on the trail.
If you are goal-oriented like myself, choose a trail race in your area. The trail-racing scene is a community of genuine runners who enjoy the scenery and are up for a challenge. Every December, I organize a trail race in central Texas called El Sendero. Winding over granite and quartz rock formations and through gnarly mesquite trees, El Sendero is one of the finest trail running experiences the great state of Texas has to offer. Learn more here www.roguetrailmix.com.
Erik Stanley is a trail coach, race director for Rogue Running’s Spring Trail Series and Rogue Trail Mix. He was an All-American in the 1500m at The University of Texas and recently 4th at the USATF 100K Championships in Bandera, TX. He also has set a goal to run sub four in the mile and complete his first 100 mile race this upcoming season. Follow him here: www.erikstanley.com.
The post below comes from our friends at Greatist.com. Visit their website for daily motivation centered around improving your health and fitness! You can also follow the author, Nicole McDermott, here.
For the spring semester of my junior year, I packed up my yoga mat, P90X DVDs (and as many clothes as I could feasibly squeeze into one suitcase), and flew to Australia. Six months later, I packed it all back up and headed home. But I took something else home with me, too. Ten pounds of pudge. Though I ran in the morning with roommates, swam as much as humanly possible, and regularly practiced sunset yoga on a cliff overlooking the beach (jealous much?), I still managed to increase my pant size in a matter of a few months thanks to lots of alcohol and late-night snacking. My plan to shed the weight once back on home turf: Two-a-day workouts. But is working out twice a day safe? We talked to experts to find out if being a double gym rat is a total no-no.
It Takes Two.
My goal was to lose weight, but that’s not every double exerciser’s motive. There’s a range of reasons why people choose to visit the gym more than once in 24 hours, such as building muscle or training for an especially tough race. And while research shows regular exercise is essential for leading a healthy life (from weight maintenance to keeping the heart healthy), for some people, one workout a day doesn’t seem to fit the bill.
Plenty of studies have compared the health effects of working out once a day — say, for an hour — versus splitting up the workout into two 30-minute sessions or even shorter bouts of exercise. When it comes to adiposity (a fancy term for body fat), blood lipids, and psychological wellbeing, it’s unclear whether working out once, twice, or three times (a lady) really makes a difference. The reality is that our bodies are generally more responsive to the intensity of exercise rather than just how long we’re pounding the pavement or swinging a kettle bell.
But what if working out twice a day means working out more? Current guidelines suggest adults participate in at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week (like walking or swimming) or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity each week (like running or high impact aerobics).
It all comes down to the intensity and intention of workouts, and ultimately it’s different for everyone. “Two-a-day workouts can be especially useful, and if used wisely, might lead to safer more effective training,” says Greatist Expert John Mandrola. Plus, we can’t forget that elite athletes often workout two or more times a day when training for an event.
How to Two-A-Day the Right Way
- Find Balance: If planning to exercise more than once a day, avoid overtraining by balancing workouts between high intensity and lower intensity. Ramp up intensity, duration, and frequency carefully since small steps will help prevent injury and allow the body to recover. Most of us should probably avoid two consecutive vigorous or long workouts in the same day, such as running a ten-miler then hitting up a cycling class, to avoid what’s known as overtraining syndrome (though it all depends on individual fitness level and experience).
- Space It Out: Allow adequate time between single workouts (experts suggest four to six hours). There’s no exact rule of thumb, though some trainers advocate two days between workouts involving the same muscle group. If performance starts to decrease from workout to workout, it’s probably a good idea to take a few more rest days.
- Fuel Up: Maximize exercise sessions with pre- and post- workout snacks. Check out our super-detailed guide to workout nutrition to make sure you’re capitalizing on that last gym session. And don’t forget to hydrate! A glass (or more) of water is just as important as that beloved protein shake. In fact exercising when the water tank is low can cause greater damage to muscles and make it harder for them to repair.
- Sleep Like a Pro: Studies suggest too little and poor quality sleep can make it harder for us to recover and perform during future workouts.
- Prioritize Recovery: Treat yourself to a little self-myofascial release with one of these recovery tools. And take a day off! If you’ve put in a ton of hours during the week lifting weights, and killin’ it in zumba class, there’s nothing wrong with taking a break. A day off doesn’t mean you’ve got to post up on the couch all day, but a walk with the dog or some light stretching will help the body prep for upcoming workouts. It’s all about listening to your body.
There are advantages to working out multiple times a day. Morning people may exert more effort right after waking up, while night owls may prefer to save a tough workout for later in the day. Thirty to 45 minutes twice daily still works out to only 60-90 minutes per day, which allows for more flexibility for people with busy schedules. And for beginners, breaking up exercise into smaller workouts can be less daunting. At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter how many times we workout, but the way we do it — which body parts we train each time, the intensity of a cardio session, and how our bodies respond — certainly does. If you work out twice a day, more power to ya! But make sure to play it safe and watch out for signs of overtraining.
Guest post by Caleb Hulsey
Exercise and hydration go hand in hand, like rice and beans at a good taco joint. Many athletes however could improve their recipe for greater success. Countless philosophies exist, but there are some basic principles to think about.
Water is best. Yes, water is a must to maintain normal physiological function. However, if you are exerting yourself anymore than your normal daily activities, you might want to think about a few more things.
Your body is constantly using sodium, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, glycogen, and much more for muscle activity, cardiac and respiratory function and beyond. You’ll consume most of what you need by eating a healthy diet, but when exercising, it is important to think about the extra stress you are putting your body through. The average person can sweat anywhere from 0.8 – 1.4 liters or more per hour during exercise. Per liter of sweat, there can be anywhere between 200 – 1000mg of sodium. Ideally you would drink something that equals what you are losing.
When looking for a ‘sports drink,’ try to look for one that replaces what you’ve lost, not too much more. A drink that has a lot of calories, sugars, and proteins can be hard on your stomach, and actually cause you to temporally dehydrate.
If you are thirsty, it’s too late. Your body is pretty good at recognizing things it needs, like food and water. It is particularly sensitive to thirst. Prefer some hard numbers? Calculate your sweat rate. Weigh yourself in the nude before and after a run, ideally an hour long run. If you run for half an hour, it’ll take a little more math. For every pound you lost, consider that to be 16oz of water. You’ll need to take into account what you took in during your run though! Shoot for replacing two thirds of what you lost.
Caffeine Effect. Caffeine is awesome. Conversation over. Well, some of us think that way, but there are some things to consider. Caffeine is known to delay or lower perceived exertion, potentially increasing endurance. Caffeine alone is also a known diuretic. So is it good or bad to have before exercise?
Diuretics increase urination; exercise lowers kidney function since blood is being shunted away from the kidneys and used to supply your muscle with much needed oxygen. Research has also shown that although caffeine has dehydrating effects, coffee and tea also contain lots of water. As long as you don’t consume more than 500-600milligrams (5cups), you shouldn’t be at risk for dehydration.
Clear urine. Everyone is different, but clear urine isn’t a sure indicator of hydration. A good hue to shoot for is pale yellow. Heck, after a night of a few drinks (a sure diuretic) you will most likely pee clear. Also remember, different foods and supplements can effect the color of your urine.
One size fits all. It’s hard to apply this rule of thumb to how much water you should drink daily. Although there are great guidelines out there, each person requires something different depending on countless variables. The climate they live in, the amount of exercise they do, and even types of food they eat.
The Institute of Medicine, suggests 3 liters for men and 2.2 liters for women. 8 glasses of water is close at 1.9 liters, but most people drink something other than straight water each day including coffee, juice and milk. Don’t forget, most food contains around 20% water, too.
Cold weather. You feel less thirsty when it is cold outside, yet you might be losing more fluids. It’s important to be mindful of fluid intake when the weather starts to cool off. Our bodies do a great job at combating heat, but we require additional help when it gets cold outside.
Our first level of defense is to put on extra clothing, but additional layers can cause sweat and vapor to form, but the cold air evaporates it, fighting the warmth. Our lungs must also humidify the air we breathe when its cold, a significant amount of water can be lost during respiration. When it gets real cold outside, try a warm drink with a little flavor.
Caleb Hulsey might be more comfortable wearing lycra in public than your average person, but racing bicycles of all disciplines far before earning your drivers permit will do that. Caleb spent his high school, college, and now professional life doing all things cycling. He followed his love for the sport and earned his bachelors degree in Exercise Physiology, where he began to apply his knowledge to his own training and quickly began racing at an elite level. He now spends his time racing as a Cat 1 mountain biker, and just after 1 season, a Cat 2 road and cyclocross racer.