Thursday, 28 January 2016

Runners Supplements

Let me start this post with the following: It is likely best to obtain all of your nutrients from a whole foods, well balanced diet.  You should also consult with a health practitioner before taking any supplements that could interact with medications you are taking. That said, there are a couple of things in my medicine cabinet right now that I consider essential supplements.

Magnesium: I have been having some really strange strained muscles/injuries the past few months. Most recently, a nagging hamstring tendinopathy issue.  I am going to physio quite regularly for treatment, but I have also been looking at other ideas.  After quite a bit of reading, I decided to try magnesium supplements due to the possible link to tendon health.  Most adults don't obtain optimal levels of magnesium from their diet, in part due to changes in food processing that strips nutrients and minerals from foods, and the depletion of minerals in soil. Also, if you drink a lot of coffee or other sources of caffeine, you may be depleting your magnesium (WHY is caffeine so bad yet so good?).

I bought the effervescent kind, because who doesn't like a fizzy citrus drink.  I do think I am feeling less pain in my hamstring area but that could be due to a) placebo affect or b) reduced inflammation over time.

Zinc: I added zinc to my supplements because I was tired of having ALL the cold viruses ALL the time.  I blame this on a few things: being the mommy of a toddler, taking public transit, and having a slightly taxed immunity following long runs. 

"In one study, athletes had twice the zinc loss through urine following a 6-mile run compared to when they didn't exercise. When you realize that a small amount of zinc is also lost in sweat, and that many people don't get their RDA to begin with, you see why up to 40 percent of athletes may have below-normal levels of zinc in their blood." (source)
I take 100 mg a day right now but it is probably too soon to note any positive effects. I'm pretty sure I might also be getting a cold, but when 6 toddlers hug you at daycare pick-up that might just be par for the course.

I have written before about some of the other supplements I take regularly including omega oil and probiotics. I also have plenty of fortified foods that tend to push my RDI up a bit. Cereals, almond milk and Luna bars for example, have added calcium, iron and Vitamin D.

Do you have a regular supplement that you take for performance/health?
Are you an early adopter of things like cherry and beet juice??

Friday, 22 January 2016

#Impi Team

I am so thrilled to share that I have been chosen as a member of the 2016 Balega Impi Team! In the words of Balega:

Impi is a zulu word that means warrior. We want you to be a warrior in our Balega tribe and help us conquer the  world in explaining to others the Balega difference!

I have had the opportunity to be an ambassador or influencer for a couple of brands now and by far, the most valuable part of the experience is connecting with other runners and fitness enthusiasts.  Why Balega? We runners have our sock brands that we trust the most in a race situation.  I discovered Balega a couple of years ago by chance when I got a pair in my Christmas stocking.  Since then, I have been a frequent visitor to one of the two shops that carries them here in Edmonton to stock up.

Here is what makes me picky about socks:
  • Double layer socks, while great for some runners, always bunch up for me and cause rubbing.
  • I like a heel tab, low-profile sock, but it has to be high enough to not slip below your shoe.
  • Position of toe seams. Have you ever been mid race and wondered, "what the heck is rubbing my toe?!"
  • Material. Not too thick, but too thin and my feet are too cold for this northern climate.
  • Compression mapping. There is a reason the arch is tighter.
  • Colour options. I don't like black socks!
Besides the great fit and blister protection for my hard to sock feet, here are some other things I love about them:

The Lesedi Project
Balega's corporate culture is centred around giving back to the Zulu culture which is a pillar in the companies history and identity. Lesedi translates "light and enlightenment", which for Balega reflects the concepts of shining outward and inward.  Through the project, Balega has assisted a school for physically disable and visually impaired children in South Africa, partnered on a beadwork project to raise funds for school tuition, helped finance a therapeutic play space, and provided scholarships to the school.

Balega also raises fund for veterans and breast cancer awareness through special campaigns and sock promotions.

It is important, I think, when partnering with companies to reflect on how you match up with their corporate vision and responsibilities.  I am very fortunate to have been chosen in 2016 and look forward to offering opportunities to share the Balega love!

Do you have a favourite sock? And horror stories to share about bad socks on a long run??

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Tech Tools

As I sit at the kitchen table trying to turn over a new leaf by putting some effort into meal planning for the week, I thought I would share some of my favourite fitness and meal planning related apps.  I tend to be a late adopter on things like this but as they say, it is better late than never!

  1. Cody App: Some friends of mine set a goal for January to complete the Complex Foundations plan by Darrel Michnowicz.  You can watch online from pretty much any device and track your progress. I do end up doubling up some days because of falling a bit behind, but the workouts are about 20-25 minutes so it isn't too time consuming.  Once I complete this one I might do a yoga challenge.  I would love to be able to do a headstand!
  2. Fitocracy: This one is really easy to use. I upload my panned workout before I head to the gym and enter the weights I use and # of sets as I go.  Except when I forget my phone at home (like yesterday). I have (loosely) been following Jamie Eason's From Flat to All That plan.  It is really helpful for those new to weight training or heading back to the gym after  hiatus.  
  3. On The Regimen macro calculator: In late December I had a body scan done to obtain a more precise calculation of my Resting Metabolic Rate. I have been trying to be more accurate with my macronutrient intake so that I fuel my training and recovery properly.  With this calculator, I can input my meal totals and see how things add up.  I use it mostly as a tool to remind myself to eat more balanced meals.  I have a tendency to eat 80% carbs so this helps :)
  4. Eat This Much: This one goes along with the OTR calculator.  I was finding I was consistently having a hard time meeting the right macros for the day and needed a better planning system.  With the help of this site, I can plan out three to four really good days and then repeat them.  I know a lot of people enjoy more variety but I can honestly eat the same thing for weeks.  If you upgrade to a premium account you can plan your whole week out in advance. 
Some of my all time favourites remain Barre 3 online workouts, Blogilates and Trainer Road.

Do you have any go to Apps or websites that help you achieve your fitness goals? Let's swap ideas!

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Run Less, Run Faster

Hi all!

I wanted to share with you some of my running plan for 2016.  As you know, I get injured quite frequently.  Despite doing what I think is quite a bit of runners strength training and stretching, I end up with random aches and pains that sometimes develop into much bigger issues.

For example, in 2015 I had a sprained ankle (totally my clumsy fault), a calf strain, hip pain and most recently a strain near my hamstring tendon. Yikes!!

After quite a bit of talking with J about our training plans I happened to come across a runners world article in my twitter feed on the Run Less, Run Faster program.  I immediately bought the book and started reading it on kindle that evening.

Once I was convinced, I also bought the app which does exactly as you would hope: plans out your three runs a week.

Here is what the plan is not:

  • less activity. While I run 3 days a week, I also have two intense x-training sessions. I usually choose spinning class so I get in a solid 55-60 minutes which is above the recommendation and above the amount of time I would have spent doing a recovery run.
  • Easy. The runs are harder in terms of intensity. One track workout and 1 tempo plus a longer run that is paced much faster than I am used to.
Here is why I think it might work for me:
  • Hopefully less injuries because my two x-training workouts will be much lower impact.
  • I am still learning to mom and run. Time constraints are real friends, and three days a week is so much easier for me to schedule and I will hopefully have less stress and guilt when I can't make 5-6 days a week.
  • Speed workouts are my weak spot. I sometimes get in the habit of thinking "at least I ran" when I didn't have the energy to complete harder workouts. I end up running a lot of "junk miles" or workouts that just don't have a great benefit for me training wise.
  • I have dropped 10 and 1s. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with that plan, but I was feeling that I couldn't run with other people who didn't do the 10:1 program and I have had a couple of races where I have been completely thrown off my game by a pace bunny that doesn't take walk breaks.
I am in week 9 of marathon training, but week 2 of the RLRF program.  Honestly, it is too soon to give you feedback on how it is all going but I am optimistic!!

Want to read more? Here are some handy links:
please note: This is not a sponsored post!

I would love to hear about how you are training in 2016? Are you switching things up at all? Do you have a tried and true approach?

Let's chat!

Monday, 4 January 2016

Made to Measure

This post is loooong over due but I wanted to share my experience ordering my first ever E-shakti custom dress.

Back in June, I was looking for a dress to wear as a bridesmaid to my friends wedding.  The request was simple: black and knee length.  While that sounds like an easy task, shopping trip upon shopping trip left me empty handed.

I had already bought and returned one dress, when I received an offer to try an E-shakti dress at no cost.  If you aren't familiar with E-shakti, it is an amazing company that offers dresses to fit your shape and not a store mannequin or fit models.  More info on how it works can be found here.

I tend to have a hard time with dresses that aren't a-line or flare because my chest is not proportional to my hips. I blame my pear shape on my mother's side of the family!  I don't typically have the confidence to rock a body-con style, so I was looking for something fancy enough for a wedding, comfortable and hopefully wearable on other occasions.

After narrowing it down to quite a few styles, I selected this one:

I didn't change the dress at all in terms of style, but I did fill in all my measurements and height.

I was pleasantly surprised with the quality and structure of the dress. It has a bit more pouf than I expected, but when I look at the pictures now, I think that was probably true to the image.

I would definitely order again for a special occasion.  The online shopping experience helped me manage the stress of being a bridesmaid and the fit mirrored what I would have found in store.  My only complaint would be the zipper was a bit snug in the rib cage.  I don't know if anyone else has experienced a wider rib cage post baby but I certainly have!

Maybe my next purchase will be a sheath dress made to fit my curves (or lack of curves in some areas haha).  How fun would this have been for new years??

Are you an online shopper or so you prefer to hit the mall?

Have you ever ordered from E-Shakti before??

Saturday, 2 January 2016

In 2016 I will...

yesterday our little family kicked off the new year by attending a fun run and goal setting session.  After running just under 7 shake out ks, we headed back to a great local gym and wrote our fitness goals for 2016 on the chalk wall.

Here is my big one for 2016: Run a 3:40 marathon to BQ for my age group!

at the moment, I am 7 weeks into my base training cycle of marathon training for the Vancouver BMO. It is a lofty goal.  My saving grace (and curse) is my strong suite is in endurance.  My half times don't differ much from my 10k's so what seems impossible might be wishing reach.

In the fall, I dropped running 10 and 1s which has been a pretty big change for me.  I have battled a few injuries but I am hoping that getting my nutrition in check and doing more strength work will help in that area.  Recovery eating within the proper time window is tough for me because I usually feel really nauseous post long run. I have a few tricks that my dietitian shared though so I am hoping to put all of these things together into a solid training plan.

My other goals include:

  • Staying injury free. 
  • Adding in more speed workouts and tempos. The track is not my comfort zone, but I know I need to put in the work to get the results.
  • Eating less processed foods. I am not horrible in this area but I do eat convenience foods like packaged hummus and crackers way more than an adult woman probably should.
If you are curious, J's goal for 2016 is running a 1:16 half.  We have mapped out all our goal races so that our training doesn't overlap too much and no one (me) is left with the short end of the training stick. 

I would love to hear your goals for 2016 (they don't have to be fitness related).

Happy New Year!!