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As a runner, chances are at some point or another you’ve experienced pain in your hamstrings, knees, or lower back that just won’t seem to let up no matter how much you stretch.
Interestingly enough, this pain may actually be stemming from inactive glute muscles (also known as the ol’ butt).

Luckily, performing a few simple activation exercises pre-run can stop this pain in its tracks, allowing you to run powerful, strong, and injury free.

“So why aren’t my glutes firing?” you may ask.
The most commong reason is that most people sit for long periods of time. The glute muscles tend to stop firing due to a lack of oxygen and tightened hip flexors. This, in return, puts more strain on the lower back, hamstrings, and knees, that imbalanced and stiff feeling when you head out for a run.

Add these simple exercises to your warm up routine and get those glutes firing.
Turn up the intensity of these exercises by adding a resistance band. Aim for 2-3 sets of 10 on each leg.


1. Clam shells
 clamshell Lay on your side, with your knees bent at 90 degrees. Keep your feet and ankles together and raise your top knee. Make sure not to raise the knee too high-you should feel a slight tug in the glute area






2. Single Leg Bridgebridge

Keep your one knee bent, and straighten the other legs. Slowly move your leg up and down. Make sure you aren’t feeling this in your hamstring, you want the glutes to be doing all the work.







3. Prone Leg Liftsprone

Lying flat on your stomach, focus on raising first one leg at a time. If the knee bends you are using too much hamstring.










4. Fire Hydrantsfirehydrant
Place your hands underneath your shoulders and your knees underneath your hips. Flex your feet and keep both your feet flexed even as you raise one leg.

Then raise one leg out to the side, keeping the knee bent to 90 degrees. Lift it as high as you can while keeping your arms straight. Try to not let the foot get higher than the knee or the knee get higher than the foot. Really squeeze the butt cheek as you lift.

Hold for a second or two at the top. Lower down and then repeat. Complete all reps on one side before switching.

 



New! Points System

Written by Jennifer Van Allen June 09, 2019

Movecoach uses a Point System (MPS) to normalize energy expenditures from a variety of activities. The intent is to give Yogis, Steppers and Pilates Pros an opportunity to move up the leaderboard like Cyclists and Runners. The MPS is somewhat tied to caloric expenditure. Body weight, climate, incline and altitude are not considered. Below is a full list of point allocations for workouts logged in Movecoach. If a pace falls between the listed speeds, we round to the closest points per hour.

movecoachpointssystem


References:

Calories burned in 30 minutes for people of three different weights. 

Energy expenditure comparison between walking and running in average fitness individuals. 

Energy expenditure of walking and running: comparison with prediction equations. 

 

 



Do you drink coffee each morning without realizing the impact it could have on your performance? There are certainly pros and cons to caffeine, and the benefits can really boost your training and racing if established in practice. 164d52712849102aa6f81b5ba60aa41d

Pros of Caffeine
1-Increased mental alertness and desire for more effort and stronger performance. You are more awake, alert, and ready to tackle to the run mentally and physically.
2-Enables your body to burn fat more easily while running long distances, which is essential for the marathon. 
3-Can help your body be more efficient while running in heat and humidity by improving temperature regulation within your system.

Cons of Caffeine
1-Coffee can mess up your stomach if you're sensitive, thus, it is recommended to practice and find a source of caffeine intake that works for you. Tea, gels, tablets, chews, gum, drinks, etc. Once you find a product that works, stick with it!
2- It can be challenging to get consistency in a cup of coffee. Light roasts contain more caffeine, dark roasts contain less, and early morning races make it difficult to get coffee
2-3 hours beforehand. Everyone responds differently to caffeine and you may only need one small cup, or you may need more. The recommendation is 3-6mg of caffeine per kg of body weight. Learn what the perfect amount of caffeine is for you.
3-Potential dehydration is something to be aware of when consuming caffeine. This will not happen if you take in fluids with your caffeine. Remember to always drink 16-24oz prior to a run or race, if you do this, you won't risk dehydration.

The Caffeine Taper
Try cutting back caffeine during training to just workout days and long run day. Drink decaf, or a caffeine free tea as an alternative on the recovery and off days (if you still feel like you want and enjoy the routine). This will help you feel more energized to crush your hard training and will prepare you for race week when it is recommended to refrain from caffeine the 4 days leading into your race. Removing caffeine before an event helps create a heightened sensitivity, and when you have caffeine on race day, you will feel great!

The pros outweigh the cons as long as you practice to determine which source of caffeine and how much of it works for you. Once you develop a routine of incorporating caffeine into your training and racing, we look forward to hearing how you feel your performance has increased both with fitness and proper application of the ergogenic aid of caffeine!



 

Now with Movecoach, you can track the time you spend practicing mindfulness techniques—and earn rewards for it.

We’re rolling out Mindfulness Minutes in response to a growing demand, and the mounting scientific evidence that mindfulness improves physical and mental health.

A growing number of the world’s most respected companies—including Intel, Apple, Google, and General Mills—are investing in mindfulness initiatives for their employees.

Mindfulness is an effective way to take care of your body and mind—even if you aren’t even working out on a regular basis— and earn rewards in the Movecoach Challenge along the way!  Click here for 7 Ways to Take Mindfulness Minutes at Work.

How it Works

There are 4 different ways that you, as a Movecoach participant, can log your Mindfulness Minutes:

  • 1. Manually: You’ll log your activity just as you would for another type of workout. Select “Log,” then choose the “Other” category.  For Activity Type, select “Other”or “Take a Class.” For Workout Type, select “Mindfulness.”

  • 2. Automatically via Healthkit: iOS participants can enter their mindfulness minutes with HealthKit. By syncing Healthkit with Movecoach, the mindfulness minutes will automatically upload to the Movecoach log, and be taken into account as rewards are distributed.

  • 3. Automatically via Fitbit: iOS participants can enter their mindfulness minutes in the Fitbit App. By syncing Fitbit with Movecoach, those minutes will automatically upload to the Movecoach log, and be taken into account as rewards are distributed.

  • 4. Automatically with other Apps: iOS participants can sync their HealthKit Apps with popular paid mindfulness Apps, such as Headspace and Whil.


What Counts as a Mindful Minute?
Apple HealthKit describes Mindfulness this way:

“A state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience.”

Like physical exercise, mindfulness isn’t a one-size-fits-all proposition. You have the freedom to choose the mindfulness techniques that are most helpful to you.

Click here to learn about 7 Ways to Practice Mindfulness at Work.

Any questions? Contact us at coach@movecoach.com.


Click here to learn about 7 Ways to Practice Mindfulness at Work.

Any questions? Contact us at coach@movecoach.com.




1typingatofficeMounting scientific research has proven that mindfulness can be as powerful as some medication in preventing and managing many health issues from high blood pressure to anxiety.  Mindfulness and meditation have been proven to improve sleep, brain function, and even athletic performance.

What’s more,  mindfulness can help you get your work done with more ease and less wear and tear.

“People who practice mindfulness are more effective, less stressed, and have strong relationships at work,” says mindfulness and well-being expert Cheryl Jones, founder of The Mindful Path. “When you go through the day with more focus, you are likely to make less errors, get your work done faster, and have greater clarity to solve problems. It also helps to create a more compassionate workplace.“

What is mindfulness?

Contrary to popular belief, mindfulness is not about clearing out your thoughts, says Jones. Rather, mindfulness involves being in a state of awareness of the breath and to thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations that you’re experiencing in the present moment.. 

“So often the mind is thinking about the future or the past, and we miss what’s happening in the here and now," Jones says. "The present moment is the only time that any of us can learn, change, grow, communicate, and get a task done.”

In order to cultivate mindfulness, you have to treat it like any other muscle: To make it stronger, you have to practice flexing it.

“Just like running gets the body in shape, mindfulness meditation gets our brain in shape,” says Jones. Try meditating for 10-minutes each day.

7 ways to be more mindful at work

To build your mindful muscles, you don’t have to take leave of your life for a meditation retreat. Here are 7 exercises Jones recommends to incorporate mindfulness into your workday.

  1. Raise your awareness. First, notice how you’re going through the workday, Jones advises. Start with one part of your day.  On your commute, are you drinking coffee, texting at red lights, and while trying to find a radio station? Are you trying to respond to an email while you walk down the hallway? How does it feel to move through your day that way? Do you feel clenched and tense, then drained by 5pm? If you’re like most people, you go through the day feeling like your hair is on fire, Jones says. “Most people are in a chronic state of fight or flight, which is toxic to the body and mentally exhausting,” she adds.  Becoming aware of the physical sensations, thoughts, and emotions that go along with distraction and stress will help you identify that and let it be a cue on the road ahead, says Jones. "If you are willing to pause and notice what you are doing and how it feels, you’ll become better able to make choices that create well-being. We create well-being one moment, one breath, one choice at a time."
  2. Three breaths, two feet. Before you enter a meeting, pick up the phone, send an email, or interject in a meeting, pause and follow three breaths in and out , and feel your two feet on the ground.   “This helps you get yourself out of fight or flight,” says Jones. It creates a tiny space to reconnect with your intention. That paves the way for you to act in your own best interest, rather than reacting to the heat of the moment in a way you might later regret. It might help to post a reminder in a place where you’ll regularly see it: “inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale, two feet on the ground.”
  3. Take a minute. No matter how busy you are, you have 60 seconds during your workday to turn away from your computer. You can either set a timer for one minute or just count out seven breaths—which takes about a minute. Schedule regular mindful minutes on your calendar.  Or use some other task that you already regularly do—say a walk to the water fountain, or while you’re waiting for your computer to fire up for the day—as a cue to take seven breaths.
  4. Come back to your senses. Any time, anywhere, do a body scan. Bring awareness to different parts of your body. Start at the feet. Then bring your awareness up through the legs, back, torso, arms, shoulders, and head. Are your shoulders hunched up to your ears? Is your jaw locked?  Maybe your hips and back are stiff, because you have been sitting in front of a computer for four hours without a break. This may prompt you to get up and walk down the hallway, which will release tension. You may realize that you’ve been inadvertently holding your breath. “The body is always sending us messages about what it needs,” says Jones. “When we notice sensations within the body, we can take care of ourselves better.”  When you take care of your biological needs, you free your brain and heart to function more effectively.
  5. Put on your listening cap. In your next office interaction, make an effort to tune in to what the other person is saying without drifting off into thought or plotting your response.  “Notice in conversations when you start to get impatient or nervous, and stop listening because you’re planning what you’re going to say next,” says Jones. “Trust that if you’re breathing, calm, and present, you’re going to say something intelligent and don’t need to worry.”  If you catch yourself drifting, don’t beat yourself up. The goal is to catch yourself doing it so that you can tune back in.  This will help you communicate more effectively, forge stronger bonds with your coworkers, and that will help you get through the workday with more ease, says Jones.
  6. Mindfully munch. How often do you end up shoveling lunch in while responding to emails, catching up on texting, and trying to cram three other things into your “midday break?” Even if you can’t break away from your computer, you can take a moment midday to turn away from your screen, and savor your lunch or snack. Notice the color, smell, taste, and texture of what you’re eating.  Pay attention to the sensation of chewing the food and swallowing. “Savor the experience,” says Jones. “You’ll enjoy it more. And your digestive tract will thank you.”
  7. Flex your focusing muscle. Culture tells us to become masters at multitasking— but our brains are not designed to do multiple things at once. And when we try, we suffer the consequences, from spelling errors on important documents, to collisions with coworkers because we’re trying to just get this one text sent while we walk.   “We’ve been so trained to multitask, that our focusing muscles are very weak,” says Jones.  But being so easily distracted, and being in a chronic state of divided attention creates a stress of its own. Identify a task to tackle with single-minded focus. Turn off the notifications on your computer and phone; close all the windows on your computer except for the one you’re working on. “Notice how that feels and what happens,” says Jones. “Does your productivity increase? “ If you hear, see or think of a distraction, notice the urge for diversion, then take a breath and return to the task.  Start small—you may only be able to do this for five minutes at a time, or by tackling a small task—say making a photocopy without scanning social media while you wait. Gradually build up to bigger tasks and longer periods of focus.

Cheryl Jones is a mindfulness and well-being expert, speaker and author of the book, Mindful Exercise. Learn more about Cheryl at themindfulpath.com.



Quad Stretch

May 13, 2019

 

You might notice that the front of your thigh gets sore after a hilly run or after a week of

increased mileage.  That soreness you feel is the 4 quadriceps muscles that make up

the front of the thigh.  Stretching them out will help in the recovery process. 

quad_stretch



Hamstring Stretch

May 10, 2019

 

Runners often complain of hamstring tightness.  Avoid this problem at all costs!  No

muscles group is an island - over time tight hamstrings will cause your hip rotators and

glutes to overcompensate and shorten.  So stay on top of stretching this important

muscle group!

hamstring_stretch



helen_blogHelen has persevered through physical set backs and anxiety running on roads, to complete a fast marathon just before her 60th birthday! She shares inspiring advice to "never give up", and "you get what you put into running".



Major milestone:
Completing a marathon just before my 60th birthday in a time of 4:01:05 following a serious car accident in late 2015 (just after running the DCM) when I didn't think I would ever walk properly again never mind run a marathon!

What is the secret to your success?
Determination and a will to exercise and get back on track. I still have nervousness crossing roads and being afraid that I might fracture my tib and fib again while running on uneven surfaces

What is the biggest obstacle to reaching your goals and how do you get over it?
Fear and loss of confidence which I had no issue with prior to my accident. I just wanted to get back out again with my friends from my running club who had kept in touch with me during my year off from running

What is the most rewarding part of training?
Sense of achievement always when a run is completed. Delighted with my progress and times at my age. Running with a group of friends. Being able to train to participate in races



What advice would you give to other members of the Runcoach community?
You will only get out what you put in! To achieve success running you must run....simple as that! When training for 2018 DCM, I had to go out on occasions when I didn't have company because of my work schedule but I still did it



Anything else you would like to share?
Never give up! It is worth the effort to get back if you have been injured, but be patient as you must listen to your body. If you can't run do something else like the bike indoors or cycle outdoors



What feedback would you offer on the Runcoach experience?
I've had great chats online with Coach Lindsay!



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