Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Get to Know Your Feet!

When I first began running, I went to my local running store for a shoe fitting.  I was told that I needed a stability show, but she didn't explain why she thought I needed a stability shoe.  Looking back on it, I think it was most likely because I was a larger runner.  I took her word for it, and for the past three years, I have been buying stability shoes.

After listening to the latest Extra Mile Podcast Galloway Edition with the interview with Golden Harper (CEO and creator of Altra), I was especially intrigued with the Altra shoes, and I began to do some research on them.  I also began to research the different types of shoes, gaits, and why people need different types of shoes.

One of the first things I did was study my old shoes.  Tread Labs website was a great source that illustrated shoe wear by gait type.  It was so obviously from studying my old shoes that I am a supinator/under pronator. 

Once I realized that, I began to research supinators/under pronators, and it described me perfectly.  Then, to my surprise, as I researched shoes for supinators/under pronators, I learned that stability shoes were NOT the best choice.  Cushioning is important, but stability shoes were designed for people who pronate - which is the exact opposite of what my feet do.

So, with that in mind, I researched the best shoes for *MY* feet.  I compiled a list of brands and models of shoes that were best for my feet, and then I researched each shoe on my list.  I eventually made my decision based on consumer reviews, price, and color (hey, I'm a girl who loves color - especially pink!).

I decided on the Saucony Triumph ISO 3.  It's not the latest model, but it met all of my criteria.  I won't be wearing them until after my Tour de" Chocolate 10K Race/Walk on August 4th.  With a race coming up this weekend, and that race two weeks later, I felt it best to wait a couple of weeks, and then bring them out in time to get them warmed up for the Air Force 13.1 in September.

If you haven't researched your feet for yourself, I challenge you to do so --

Keep Walking On Sunshine!

Friday, July 13, 2018

How to Love Your Long Walks

Selfie Stop!
If you're training for a distance race of 10K or more, you've undoubtedly got weekly or biweekly long walks scheduled into your training plan.  There are some people who dread the long walks, and others, like me, who love them!

So, if you're not one of the walkers out there who loves your schedule long walks, I have a few suggestions that might help you begin to love them -- or at least not dread them.  :)

Choosing an enjoyable route is critical.  Do you like out-and-back routes?  Do you like a complete loop?  I, personally, prefer an out-and-back because it mentally makes me feel as though I'm only going half the distance.  Once I get to that half-way/turn-around point, I feel like I'm practically done, and now just headed home.

Today, my scheduled long walk was 10 miles.  I used Map My Walk to create my route.  I created a route from my home that took me out for 5 miles.  My route would take me through neighborhoods and commercial areas that would allow me to stay on sidewalks for the entirety of my walk and provide a variety of scenery.  When I reached the 5-mile point, I just turned around, and began my journey back home.

And don't forget - when you're choosing your route, make sure you include possible bathroom stops, whether park restrooms, convenience stores, or friend's homes.

It's also important, when planning for your long walk, to decide if you'd like to listen to music, podcasts, audio books, or simply nothing at all.  I prefer to listen to walking/running podcasts.  I load up my Ipod with hours of various podcast episodes.  I feel such a sense of community when I'm listening to podcasts about walking/training/running while I'm actually out there doing it.  It's inspiring, and keeps me motivated to keep going.

Hydration and fuel are very important for your long walk.  On today's long walk, I had my Nathan handheld water bottle filled with Nuun Electrolyte Drink.  I had a package of Organic Honey Stinger Chews, and two dill pickles.  Sipping my Nuun frequently, eating two of the Honey Stinger Chews every two miles, and eating a dill pickle at mile 3 and 7 kept me fueled, hydrated, and with plenty of energy.

And lastly, just have fun. Enjoy the scenery.  Stop and take a few pictures of interesting things you see.  You'll notice beauty in places that you never noticed if you've only driven that route before.  Look at your long walk as an adventure to see things from a different perspective.  Take time to smell the roses, and enjoy the beauty around you.




Wednesday, July 4, 2018

What's In Your Water Bottle?

The temperatures continue to rise making hydration critical for walkers (and athletes of all kinds).  Dehydration is a very serious condition, and in order to ensure that you do not become dehydrated, you must make sure that you hydrate properly. 

There are dozens of hydration products on the market.  I have experimented with several of them, and have found Nuun to be best for me.  Nuun comes in tablet form in a convenient to carry tube.  You drop one tablet into your water, and it dissolves into a flavorful electrolyte drink that will keep you hydrated.

Nuun offers many different flavors and varieties from just electrolyte tablets, to vitamin electrolyte tablets, to even electrolyte tablets with caffeine in them. 

My personal favorite are the Blueberry Pomegranate Vitamin Nuun tablets.  I love the flavor, and I
love that they include 11 different vitamins.  Nuun tablets are also low in sugar and calories with only 1 gram of sugar and 10 calories in each tablet.

You can purchase Nuun at many running stores, Target, Amazon, or directly from their website at NuunLife

So, drop a Nuun tablet in your water bottle, and be sure to drink approximately 2-4 ounces every 2 miles (amount and frequency as recommended by Jeff Galloway.)

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Walk-Shuffle-Walk

So you're out the door and beginning to walk on a regular basis.  How's it going?  Would you like to increase how far you can walk, and more importantly, would you like to feel even better (and less tired and sore) when you're done?

Jeff Galloway has discovered the secret to not only feeling better after you walk (or run), but also staying injury-free AND even going faster!  The concept is mind blowing, but it's been proven to work time and time again.

The secret is taking shuffle breaks during your walk.  I must admit that even after reading Jeff's book on walking, I was unsure what he meant by "shuffle break", so at a recent clinic of his that I attended, I asked him to demonstrate a shuffle break.  This is what a shuffle break is:

As with Jeff Galloway's run-walk-run strategy, he recommends taking shuffle breaks from the very beginning of your walk and not waiting until you get tired to start the breaks.  

There are tremendous physical benefits to taking shuffle breaks in your walking, but if you're like me and working on speed with your walks, there are mental benefits as well.  As I'm pushing myself with my power walking, I can look at my timer and tell myself, "Okay, just 2 more minutes at this pace, and then I can slow down."  Then, after my 30 second slow-down, I'm rejuvenated enough to push the pace again.  
I've tried this method, and am amazed at the difference it makes.  I knew how helpful his run-walk-run strategy was when I was a runner, but I can tell you that his walk-shuffle-walk strategy is just as effective for walking!

I highly recommend Jeff's interval timer to keep track of your shuffle breaks.  You can purchase it from his website at Jeff Galloway's Run Walk Timer. Jeff has referred to the timer as "The Little Green Coach", and that's exactly what it is.  You can set the timer for any combination you would like.  You can set it to beep or vibrate or both to alert you when it's time for a shuffle break.  It runs on an AAA battery which lasts for a very long time.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

On your mark, get set, go!

 Okay, so you've got proper shoes, comfortable attire, and now you're ready to start a walking training program.   The best motivation for training is having a race paid for and on the calendar.  I recommend beginners start out training for a local 5K, but if you've been walking for a while and walk 10 or more miles per week, you can consider training for a 10K or even a half marathon.  

To find a race in your area, you can check with local run club websites, or you can go to Running In The USA.  It's very important that you read the information about each event very carefully to make sure it is a walker-friendly event.  Most local charity 5Ks are very walker-friendly, but many of the larger events have strict time limits that would be challenging for a walker.

So now that you've found your race, I highly recommend Jeff Galloway's Training Plans.  Here you can find a training schedule for a 5K all the way up to a marathon.  All you need to do is replace the running with walking.  Then follow the plan.  It's that simple!

Until next time - Keep Walking On Sunshine


Tuesday, June 19, 2018

I'm going to Walt Disney World -- RunDisney!!

Today was the first day to make reservations for Walt Disney World for February 2019.  I officially booked our vacation for Run Disney Princess Weekend 2019.  Yes, I said Run Disney, but guess what?  Run Disney has a generous pace requirement of 16 minutes per mile which allows walkers the chance to participate in their events.
I have decided that I will only do the Princess 5K.  I know I can very easily walk a pace of 16 minutes per mile for that distance.  I could do it for the 10K as well, but I don't want to be stressed over it.

If you've never heard of Run Disney, visit their website at Run Disney.  What could be a better combination than Disney and running/walking races? They have multiple race weekends throughout the year in both Florida, California, and even at Disneyland Paris. 

I know I said the next blog post would be about how to get started walking, but I just had to share my excitement of booking our Run Disney Princess Weekend vacation today!  :)  Until next time -- Keep Walking On Sunshine!

Let's Get this Party Started -- What do I need to get started walking?

So you've decided to jump on board and join the biggest fitness movement of all time -- walking.  What now?  Where do you start?  What do you need to get started?

Walking is one of the least complicated of all sports.  The only thing you really *NEED* is a good pair of walking/running shoes.  I mean, think about it.  Your feet are your most precious commodity when it comes to walking, so we want to protect them, which will in turn protect you from injury.

My advice when it comes to running/walking shoes is to buy the best shoe you can afford.  Ideally, go to a local running store and tell them that you want to begin walking for fitness.  They can evaluate your feet, your stride, and give you some tips on which types of shoes will work best for you.  Shoes through a local running store will typically run between $100 - $200.  But, don't let that stop you from walking if that's not in your budget right now.  Just buy the best shoes you can afford, and if possible begin to save for a better pair of shoe for the future.   Some of the most popular running shoe brands are:

Saucony

Brooks

Mizuno

New Balance

Asics


Now, shoes may be all you *need*, but there are plenty of things out there that are nice to have.  Good socks are important.  Look for socks that are moisture-wicking.  Again, just buy the best you can afford.  Your feet will thank you by not getting blisters. :)   Feetures and Balega are two of my favorite brands.  They both have socks for all weather types that keep your feet warm and dry in the winter and cool and dry in the summer.


Hydration is also important.  All you *need* is water, but if you want to carry your hydration with you on long walks, there are different options for that.  Nathan Sports has a wide variety of handheld flasks and vests.  And if you want more than water, there's popular sports drinks like Gatorade or Powerade.  My personal favorite is Nuun Electrolyte Tablets.  These dissolving, flavored tablets contain the electrolytes you need to keep you going on those hot days.

Fueling for long walks (more than an hour) is necessary as well.  You can fuel with something as simple as sugar cubes or gummie bears.  Some walkers use gels or gus to fuel.  I prefer Honey Stinger Chews which is basically all natural, organic gummies.  They come in several different flavors and easy to carry with you on long walks.

If you're going to be getting your miles in very early in the morning or late in the evening, you need to think safety first.  Reflective clothing, armbands, etc. are a  necessity.  A headlamp or belt lamp is also important to help you to both see and be seen.

And don't forget the gadgets.  GPS watches, phone apps, fitness trackers allow you to really see your progress and record your miles which is very rewarding.   Garmin is a very popular brand for GPS watches.  They run in price from $150 to well over $500.  And if you aren't ready to invest in a GPS watch, try out one of the great GPS-enabled apps out there like Map My Walk, Run Keeper, Nike+, etc.

There actually is one more thing that you *need* -- a safe route to walk.  I am a proponent of walking on the sidewalk when at all possible, but we all know that's not always an option, but stick to roads that are not heavily traveled and that have a wide enough shoulder for you to walk safely.  Always remember, walk against traffic.  And be creative with your routes.  It's easy to get bored with walking if you follow the same route every day, so mix things up.  Walk around your neighborhood, walk on a local track, walk on a local walking trail, walk the perimeter of large shopping centers.

So now you know what all you need to get started.  My next blog post will cover how to actually get started when you're laced up and ready to walk out the door.

Until then -- Walk on Sunshine!