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Charity Miles

What if donating to charity was as easy as lacing up the running shoes and heading out for a run,walk or bike ride?   What if I told you it wouldn’t cost you a penny to donate?  Would you be interested?  Charity Miles is a free app that allows you to earn money for charities as you run, walk or bike.  And it doesn’t cost you a cent!

Download Charity Miles on your iPhone or Android for free.  Activate your account by choosing your charity.  There is a list of about 22 charities.   Select Run, Walk or Bike and then hit the pavement.  It’s that easy!  When you’re finished, accept your sponsorship and spread the word.   Bikers earn 10 cents a mile while running and walking earn 25 cents a mile.  So what are you waiting for? Lace up your shoes and get running!

A list of the charities :  My charity is Autism Speaks.

* Achilles International
* ASPCA
* Autism Speaks
* DoSomething.org
* Every Mother Counts
* Feeding America
* Girl Up
* Habitat for Humanity
* Ironman Foundation
* Leukemia and Lymphoma Society
* Nothing But Nets
* Partnership For a Healthier America
* Pencils of Promise
* She’s the First
* Shot@Life
* Stand Up to Cancer
* The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria
* The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research
* The Nature Conservancy
* VisionSpring
* The World Food Programme
* Wounded Warrior Project

Are you on Instagram?  Use #Everymilematters and your picture could end up on Facebook Charity Miles Page.   Enjoy your run!

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10 week Half Marathon Training Guide

In less than three weeks I have another half marathon.   Am I ready?  I hope so.   It’s been really hot in Arizona until about 2 weeks ago.   Running my long runs was hard in the hot weather.   But I have done my best and that is all I can ask of myself. Running is definitely a love of mine and it’s kind of like a small club.  If you meet another runner…you become instant friends.  And meeting another runner is happening more often because the sport of running has definitely grown over the last 10 years.   Which excites me because there are more races popping up everywhere.   Race day is what gets you through the training!  I look forward to race day!   Getting up at the crack of dawn before everyone else and lining up with a ton of other people just like you and crossing that finish line…it doesn’t get better than that 🙂

This blog post came about because of some beginner runners I just met.   They asked me to post my first half marathon-training plan.   I used the Runner’s World Magazine plan for training.   In fact, I still use a lot of it but now add more intervals.

On the rest/crossX train days I either will rest, do yoga at home or walk my dog a couple of miles.   Your body will tell you what to do.  Good luck!

Week Monday Tuesday     Wednesday Thursday Friday  Saturday Sunday
1 Rest orCrossX 3 Miles Rest orCrossX 3 Miles Rest orCrossX 3 miles 5 Miles
2 Rest orCrossX 3 Miles Rest orCrossX 4 Miles Rest orCrossX 3 miles 5 Miles
3 Rest orCrossX 3 Miles Rest orCrossX 5 Miles2 miles at race pace Rest orCrossX 3 miles 6 Miles
4 Rest orCrossX 3 Miles Rest orCrossX 5 Miles2 milesat racepace Rest orCrossX 3 miles 7 Miles
5 Rest orCrossX 3 Miles Rest orCrossX 4 Miles Rest orCrossX 4 miles 8 Miles
6 Rest orCrossX 3 Miles Rest orCrossX 4 Miles3 miles at racepace Rest orCrossX 3 miles 6 Miles
7 Rest orCrossX 3 Miles Rest orCrossX 6 Miles4 miles at racepace Rest orCrossX 3 miles 10 Miles
8 Rest orCrossX 3 Miles Rest orCrossX 6 Miles4 miles at racepace Rest orCrossX 3 miles 12 Miles
9 Rest orCrossX 3 Miles Rest orCrossX 6 Miles4 miles at racepace Rest orCrossX 3 miles 9 Miles
10 Rest orCrossX 3 Miles Rest orCrossX 5 Miles2 miles at racepace Rest orCrossX 3 miles RACEDAY!

What to get your family involved?   Have them join you for your 3 mile runs.   My youngest sometimes rides his bike as I run.  He only does this on my 3 mile runs.   Do you run with your family?  What training guide has been useful for you?

My Top 11 Runner Snacks

My Top 11 Runner Snacks

It’s 3 pm and your stomach is growling.   I bet this has happened to you because this happens to me every day.   As a runner, eating only 3 meals a day just doesn’t cut it.   Even if you don’t run and you work out and are trying to loss weight, eating smaller meals throughout the day is better for your body and metabolism.    Diet experts believe more frequent meals could be better.  Eating six small meals a day, they say, helps regulate blood sugar, control cravings and keep hunger at bay.   As long as you choose the right foods and watch portion sizes, “grazing” throughout the day can help you lose weight while keeping you energized.  But it’s not for everyone — especially if you have trouble controlling the amount you eat or if you don’t have time to plan and prepare and healthy snacks and meals.

Eating smaller meals more often provides an excellent opportunity to eat a healthier diet.  Shifting your focus from high-calorie snacks to balanced mini-meals could be exactly what you need to help you whittle your waistline.

But eating three squares is also a perfectly healthy way to eat and lose weight. So choose the meal plan that works best for your lifestyle.  As long as your meals are well-distributed through the day, and you never go more than 4-5 hours without food, you can reach your weight loss goals with three, four, five, or six meals a day.  The choice is up to you!

Here is some of my favorite Snacks (mini-meals) as a runner:

1. Bananas: Bananas are chock full of good carbohydrates. They are a good source of vitamin B6 and are vital for managing protein metabolism. (Runners need more protein during and after workouts.)

2.  Cereal with Skim Milk: Most cereals are vitamin- and mineral-fortified, and they’re great with fresh fruit sliced on top. Cereal is a quick-to-prepare, easily digestible, and healthful way to satisfy your sweet tooth. (Even some sweetened cereals are a good low-fat alternative to cookies). Choose cereals that have 5 grams of fiber or more per serving.

3.  Chocolate Milk:  Chocolate milk is cold and helps keep you hydrated. It also provides plenty of protein, carbohydrates, and B vitamins. The calcium in milk will help keep your bones strong.  This is a great snack after a long run plus it helps repair your muscles.

4.  Granola Bars:  A low-calorie granola bar will satisfy your sweet cravings, without the fat calories of a candy bar. And unlike candy bars, granola bars come with B vitamins and iron.    I make homemade granola bars!

5.   Hummus on wheat crackers:  This filling snack packs plenty of protein, fiber, vitamin B6, and folic acid. The latter is especially important for a healthy pregnancy and has recently been shown to prevent anemia and breast cancer.   This is a great mid afternoon snack.   One of my favorites!

6.  Oatmeal:   Studies show oatmeal helps lower cholesterol. Oatmeal will also fill you with plenty of carbohydrates to boost energy and alertness.   A great pre-race breakfast.

7.  Microwave popcorn:  Unbuttered or slightly buttered popcorn is low in calories (mostly from carbohydrates), yet filling. It’s perfect when you crave a salty food but don’t want many calories.

8.  Pretzels:  Like popcorn, pretzels are a low-calorie carbohydrate treat. Even the salty kinds are okay for runners who don’t have high blood pressure, as they’ll help you replace the sodium you lose through sweating. They’re excellent as an afternoon snack.

9.  String Cheese:   Many runners fail to meet their calcium requirement, especially those who don’t eat many dairy products. String cheese is a tasty, convenient way to take in calcium and protein as well as some fat.

10.   Yogurt:  Yogurt is a great source of calcium, protein, and potassium, plus it’s low in fat and fairly high in carbohydrates. The live and active cultures in yogurt will boost your immune system.   I prefer the greek yogurt and I add some fruit or granola for some crunch.

11.  Peanut Butter on Toast:  Peanut butter is a good source of niacin and folic acid (they help convert food to energy) and vitamin E. In addition, the dense calories in peanut butter keep your energy level on an even keel and your hunger down throughout the day. And that, in turn, will prevent you from overeating and keep you eating healthfully all day.  In fact, I am eating this right now as I write the post!

Do you have any favorite healthy snack ideas?  Do you eat 3, 4, 5, or 6 meals a day?  We would love to hear from you 🙂

Running tips for beginners

I know I talk a lot about running but I feel everyone and anyone can benefit from a good run.   It is a great stress reliever plus you don’t need to drive to a gym.  All you need is a great pair of running shoes then put one foot out the door and off you go!  If you are serious about running and have never really ran before I suggest going to a running store and let them help you pick out a good pair of shoes.   They will help determine if you need a neutral running shoe or one with stability.   The right shoe could be the difference of running with pain or running without pain!

Here is some great tips for a new runner:

  • Be a minuteman “The biggest mistake that new runners make is that they tend to think in mile increments-1 mile, 2 miles, 3 miles. Beginning runners need to think in minutes, not miles.” -Budd Coates, four-time U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier/coach
  • Wear good running shoes “Spend at least $60. A good pair of running shoes should last you 400 to 500 miles and is one of the most critical purchases you will make.” -John Hanc, author of The Essential Runner
  • Take the “talk test” “The ‘talk test’ means running at a pace comfortable enough to converse with a training partner-but not so easy that you could hit the high notes in an Italian opera.” -Runner’s World editors
  • Relax to the max “When running, let your jaw hang loose, don’t bunch up your shoulders close to your ears, and occasionally shake out your hands and arms to stay relaxed.” -Dave Martin, Ph.D., exercise physiologist
  • Don’t crush the egg “Don’t clench your fists in a white-knuckle grip. Instead, run with a cupped hand, thumbs resting on the fingers, as if you were protecting an egg in each palm.” -Runner’s World editors
  • Follow Road Rule Number One “Running against traffic allows the runner to be in command. Anyone who is alert and agile should be able to stay alive.” -Dr. George Sheehan
  •  Listen up! “You must listen to your body. Run through annoyance, but not through pain.-Dr. George Sheehan
  • Take what you can get “So-called ‘junk miles’-those slow miles done on easy days or during warmups-do count. They burn calories as effectively as fast miles; it just takes longer. Regardless of pace, each mile you run burns about 100 calories.” -Hal Higdon, runner/writer/coach
  •  Go steady “Day to day consistency is more important than big mileage. Then you’re never shot the next day.-John Campbell, former masters running star from New Zealand
  • Ease it back “After a run, don’t rush back into life. Take a few minutes to walk, stretch, relax, meditate.-Runner’s World editors
  • Take baby steps “You can’t climb up to the second floor without a ladder. When you set your goal too high and don’t fulfill it, your enthusiasm turns to bitterness. Try for a goal that’s reasonable, and then gradually raise it.” -Emil Zatopek, four-time Olympic gold medalist from Czechoslavakia
  •  Train with someone… “It may seem odd to hear a coach say this, but I think a really great training partner is more important than a coach.” -Joan Nesbit, coach and world-class runner 

Now it’s time to lace up those new running shoes and hit the pavement.  Good luck!!

Remember any form of exercise will help aid in a good nights sleep.  Plus, comfy pajamas help too 🙂

Brooks Ghost GTX Running Shoes

Brooks Ghost GTX Running Shoes

It is time for me to say good-bye to my first pair of Nike running shoes.   It has been a good run (no pun intended).   The last 6 months have been great and a big surprise for me.   See, normally I don’t run in Nike running shoes.  I am more of an Asics or Mizuno kind of girl but my Nike’s really stepped up to the plate for me.   We have run two half marathons and a couple of smaller races over the last 6 months.   My Nikes and I also had a PR in a half marathon at 1:46 with an 8:08 pace.   Not bad for a girl 44 years old.  But with all that said, I know when it’s time to say good-bye and it’s time.

So now that my Nike running shoes have become my new hiking shoes (all my old running shoes become my hiking shoes), do you what to know what new running shoes I bought?  Since I am an Asics or Mizuno kind of girl; yep, you guessed it…Brooks running shoes!  I know I was surprised too.  Sports Chalet was having a sale and my husband said I should go check it out for a new pair of running shoes and I fell in love with the Brooks Ghost GTX.    They are the Ghost 5 series with the Gore-TEX waterproof protection.   Now I know that Brooks already came out with the Ghost 6 but I bought these for 50% off!  Yes, I said 50% off.   I only paid $65.00 for Brooks Running shoes.   You have no idea how happy I am right now 🙂

I ran my first run in the Brooks Ghost shoes today.  I only ran 4.5 miles but I feel in love with my shoes.  Honestly, I really did love them.   Runner’s World has been rating the Brooks running shoes at the top for a while now.   I really should have listened to them earlier.  In the next couple months I will definitely be buying the Brooks Ghost 6 running shoes!

What is your favorite brand of running shoes?  Have you ever tried Brooks?

I love to run but let’s be serious, running can take a toll on your body.   Whether you are a beginner or a veteran runner, recovery is absolutely necessary in order to improve your running performance.   There are days that my legs are just dead tired and they feel like cement.  Especially when I am training for a half marathon; which I try to do a few times a year.   I have found that cross training is key in my training for a race.   So on the days I don’t run I will walk our rescued pitbull, Chance for a few miles or some days I will roll out my yoga mat and stretch.

I fell in love with HOT yoga about 6 years ago.  Yes, you heard me correctly, HOT YOGA!  I know I live in Arizona where it is 112 degrees today and I like to go to a HOT yoga classes.   Crazy!  I have found the benefits from yoga actually boost my running performance and help me achieve that awesome stretch that no other stretches can do.  Now, I will admit I don’t always have time to go to an actual yoga class but I can still get the benefits from yoga at home.

Here are the 5 best yoga poses I have found to help with my running performance.  Time to dust off that yoga mat, kick off your shoes and socks and get ready to feel amazing!  I do all 5 yoga poses after each run.

Explanation of poses by http://www.abc-of-yoga.com

Child’s Pose: 

Child Pose

Child Pose

Child Pose stretches the hips, thighs and ankles gently. It also helps relieve stress and fatigue, and calms the brain. However, you need to observe caution in practicing the Child Pose when you are suffering from a knee injury as it may worsen your ailment when not done properly.

How to do a child’s pose: Kneel and sit on your feet with your heels pointing outward. Your knees should be separated, about the width of your hips.  Place your forehead on the floor, then swing your arms forward.   Rest your forehead on the floor, then bring your arms around and to your sides, palms facing upward.   I prefer to keep my arms forward but it’s whatever is comfortable for you.

Crescent Lunge Pose:

Crescent Lunge Pose

Crescent Lunge Pose

The Crescent Lunge Pose strengthens your legs, back, shoulders, and arms, building stamina. It opens your hips and chest, and improves balance.   Also called High Lunge Pose. This pose stretches hip flexors and strengthens legs and arms.

How to do crescent lunge pose:  Start in Downward-Facing Dog.   Exhale and step your right foot forward between your hands, aligning your knee over the heel. Keep your left leg strong and firm.  Inhale and raise your torso to upright. At the same time, sweep your arms wide to the sides and raise them overhead, palms facing.   Be careful not to overarch the lower back. Lengthen your tailbone toward the floor and reach back through your left heel. This will bring the shoulder blades deeper into the back and help support your chest. Look up toward your thumbs.  Be sure not to press the front ribs forward. Draw them down and into the torso. Lift the arms from the lower back ribs, reaching through your little fingers. Hold for 30 seconds to a minute.   Then exhale, release the torso to the right thigh, sweep your hands back onto the floor, and, with another exhale, step your right foot back and return to Down Dog. Hold for a few breaths and repeat with the left foot forward for the same length of time.

Downward Facing Dog: Photo not me.  I have a injury with my ankle that is bothersome in downward dog.

Downward Facing Dog

Downward Facing Dog

In the Downward Facing Dog Pose, you build up strength in the upper arms and you give space and opening in the back, neck, chest, hips and shoulders. If you let your ankles sink nicely to the floor in this Asana, you stretch the calves at the same time. In Yoga, this pose is often used as an exercise in between other exercises, but it is in fact an exercise in itself.

How to do the downward dog pose: Come onto the floor on your hands and knees. Stretch the elbows and relax the upper back between the shoulder blades, which gives you the feeling that the arms fall into the shoulder blades.  Exhale and lift your knees and draw your back backwards from the pelvis, so that your arms and back form one line.  Stretch your legs in such a way that you get the feeling that someone behind you is pulling your legs and hips backwards from the top of your upper legs. Let your head hang down in a relaxed sort of way.  When you have placed your back and your legs correctly, stretch out your arms. This results in a stretching from two sides of the back: a stretching from the pelvis and a stretching from the arms. When the back and the chest are placed correctly, you will notice that you can quietly breathe in and out through the belly. You should not let your chest hang downwards or make your back extremely sunken. In this Asana, the back should be lengthened along its entire length. Take your time to work out the stretching further and further.

Chair Pose:

Chair Pose

Chair Pose

A strong, straight lower back is the foundation of every correct position and is consequently important in any Yoga pose. In this exercise, you strengthen the lower back and the legs and by doing so, you create more space in the chest and belly.

How to do the Chair Pose I: Start with the Mountain Pose (Tadasana).   Inhale and stretch your arms, lengthen the spine, and be careful not to press the lower ribs to the front.    Exhale and bend your knees and move your upper body forward at 45 degrees.
See to it that your lower back is straight. You can do this by letting your hand feel whether there is a “groove” in the middle of the lower back. If this is not the case, then stand up straight again, bend your body forward, and feel if the “groove” is there. Let the weight of the upper body sink into the pelvis, relax the calve muscles so that the weight of the body can be most efficiently directed into the ground.
The chest bone is moved slightly towards the belly. The breathing is relaxed and goes through the belly or towards the chest bone. Build up the exercise quietly and remain focused on a correct position of the back, chest, and pelvis.

Pigeon:  

Pigeon Pose

Pigeon Pose

Everyone can benefit from the hip opener known as pigeon pose.   Stress and tension can build up in the hips and create tightness. Practicing pigeon can make for supple, more flexible hips. Sometimes this pose will take your breath away with its depth, but stick with it and you’ll notice the immediate improvement.

How to do the pigeon pose:   From downward facing dog, step both feet together and bring your right knee forward between your hands so your outer right leg is resting on the mat.   If your hips are more open, inch your right foot away from you. Make sure your left hip is always pointing down toward the mat. If it begins open up toward the ceiling, draw your right foot back in toward your body.  Stay here with your hands resting on your right leg or walk your hands out in front of you, allowing your torso to rest over your right knee.   Hold here, breathing into any areas of tightness and tension for at least five breaths.  Then place your hands on the mat in front of you, tuck your left toes and step your right foot back. Take a vinyasa, then step your left foot forward and repeat Pigeon on the left side.

Do you have a favorite yoga pose?  How often do you do yoga?  Do you do yoga at home or in a class?  Let us know 🙂

Namaste

Handstand Friday ~ Week Three

Handstand Friday ~ Week Three

Basically, it should be week four of Handstand Friday but we had a round of the flu hit our house and none of us were up for doing much of anything.   We are all better now and back to working out!  I definitely feel myself getting stronger with my handstand and can actually hold it for a little while.   I am still by the wall just because I wasn’t feeling good last week I didn’t want to rush myself back too fast.   I am doing the handstand about 3 or 4 times a day.  My husband has even joined in the challenge.  It’s so funny to see a 6′ 4″ guy trying to do a handstand 🙂  He said once he gets better he would let me post a picture.

How’s your #handstandfriday coming along?   We would love to hear about it!  Don’t let fear hold you back from trying something new.

Happy Friday!!

#handstandfriday

#handstandfriday

I just thought I would update you on my progress with my yoga handstand.   I try to do the handstand everyday about 3 or 4 times.   It’s really the only way to get better.   My progress is coming along nicely; I still have myself by a wall for safely.   But I am now not using the wall to stay up in the handstand.  YEA!

Are you taking the #handstandfriday challenge?   How has your handstand progressed?  We would love to hear about it!  Join us and take the challenge.   Don’t be afraid to try something new 🙂

Happy Friday!

 

About Me:

Hello and welcome! I am a 40 something year old mom of two boys, living in Scottsdale, AZ with my husband Al. I started My Baby Pajamas in 2007 and have watched it grow and mature. I love to blog but am not much of a writer per say. I am a avid runner and love to compete in races. I like my yoga HOT and love to hike with my family and our pit bull mix dog, Chance. My favorite time is hanging with my family and cooking homemade dinners and hearing about everyone's day while my husband and I enjoy a glass of wine.

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