Top Running Tips from #MotherRunners

The Color Run
It’s running season! Whether you are starting up again for the year, or starting for the first time ever here is a list of Top Running Tips from Instagram’s #MotherRunners.

 

For beginners. Don’t stop. Running is hard. It takes everything you have and more. But it will change your life in ways you didn’t know existed. You will find strength you didn’t know you had – @redheadrunnercindy

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Fit Pregnancy Running Tip: Try running sprints when running mile after mile gets tough and wear supportive gear like a good sports bra and belly band. – @fitmomrach

 

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As  runners, we are broken down and weathered, and stretching MUST be a part of the mix. Stretching should occur after your body is warm and limber.  – @myfitfinish (See Kelli’s full list of running stretches here)

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Don’t get discouraged by the first ‘wall’ you hit. When you pass that first one, you’ll be amazed how many more you can pass. – @breeruns_and_tris

 

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My tip is to find just one thing that makes you keep going. Maybe you’re just beginning or you’ve covered many miles – find the one thing that will drive you to continue when it just seems too hard and the miles get long and lonely. In the run my mantra is to “dig deep”, it creates a nice rhythm with every step. And when I question why I run, I think of my son. In high school I had to retire from running due to knee surgery, but after many years I have found a way to begin running again. I want him to know he can do anything he puts his mind to. – @gulrock

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If you are new to running, or are getting back after a hiatus start slow.  I had to take 8 months off due to a pelvic disorder during my last pregnancy and I just completed my first half marathon postpartum completely by using the interval method.  I run for 3 minutes, walk for 1.  This way I don’t burn out quickly and can sustain my energy as long as I need to.  Change the intervals to whatever works for you at the fitness level you’re at, and then change them as you improve.  There is no shame in a walking runner! – @therunningweightwatcher

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My number one tip for runners (probably more toward newbies, but good for all) is to make yourself seen! If you are going to run anywhere near sunrise/sunset or when it’s all dark, get reflective gear and headlamps. Where bright clothes with reflective material. Without it, you are practically invisible!!

-@csteinbringhealthy.strong.mama

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My tip for casual runners: Continuing to run during pregnancy isn’t only about doing something you enjoy. Studies show that exercise improves the health of mom and baby–it lessens back pain, prevents excessive weight gain, improves sleep quality, and reduces delivery complications and time spent in labor. Keeps me sane, happy and fit! -@France68

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Don’t worry about your pace when you get started! The greatest thing is that you started and we are proud of you! -@ashslay_tiu

 

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INTERVALS! I swear by them! This tip is for any skill level. Use a moderate pace paired with a push your limits pace! I always use HIIT strength/cardio workouts to train, especially during the colder seasons, because lets be honest…no one likes the Dreadmill!

– @bridgethegapworkouts

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Don’t quit, no matter what, just keep moving, don’t quit.

– @livinglovingrunner

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Invest in the right gear, starting with shoes. It may seem like a lot of money for a pair of shoes. But when starting out, you want the best shoe for your stride. Providing you the right cushion for what you need. Spending a little more money is worth it,  than paying for an injury. Both financially and emotionally. -@she_runs_bonk_ers

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Don’t compare your body and pace to others around you. As long as you are out there running, you ARE a runner. -@jrose1128

 

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My running tip is to get started stroller running – try planning your run to a park a mile or two away from your home. That way you can do a short run to the park, let your kids play (and you rest) and then a short run back home. It’s helps to break it up both physically and mentally.

-@RunningWithBubbas

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If you are looking to improve your pace for whatever purpose, remember to enjoy the process! Running is very empowering and no matter what your goals, have fun with it! – @see_laura_run

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Invest in a quality pair of running shoes by going to the local running store and talking to them about your needs and any aches or pains. Sometimes, we stick to only one brand or shoe because of habit. Getting the right pair of shoes can often be the answer to get rid of a nagging problem. – @embracethejourneys

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Most people know to stretch after a run but don’t forget to do dynamic stretches before your run. Dynamic stretches help activate and warm up your running muscles. Some good pre run stretches I like: Leg Swings, Butt Kicks, Toy Soldiers, Walking Lunges -@runningmilesnmiles
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Find a running program that incorporates all components of fitness (running, strength, stretching, and REST.) So many running plans have you running more and more but never touch on strength training. This can lead to injury and sometimes even weight GAIN.
   -@fitmomstrongmom

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From Being Told “You’ll Never Run Again” to Boston Marathoner – One Mom’s Inspiring Come Back Story

Once upon a time I was sitting at my desk at the radio station I worked for as an advertising account executive checking my email….really I was just scrolling through reading subject lines and deleting without opening when all of a sudden one caught my eye.

 

It was from Nike and said something about entering yourself into the lottery for the Women’s Marathon in San Francisco. I thought to myself the only way I would be running a marathon is if I was “lucky” enough to be chosen through a lottery… because I liked to run but I wasn’t THAT crazy. A marathon was 26.2 MILES and the most I ever ran in one shot was MAYBE 5….so, I entered…and 2 months later found out I got picked! Oh $h!t…looks like I better start training!

 

5 months of training – lots of hours hitting the pavement, the trails, the parks – it was tons of hard work and took up lots of time. This was way before kids when I, you know, actually had time to work towards this kind of goal.

This month one of the most well known races will take place – the Boston Marathon – and you can’t just get in with a little luck like me – you need to qualify…and by qualify I mean run fast as hell.

 

First, if I ever wanted to run another marathon again (I don’t) I can’t even imagine running fast enough to ever qualify – but even if I could HOW would I find the time to fit in all the training now being a mom?

 

Well, it just so happens that Fit Mom Strong Mom Ambassador, Steph (mom of 4!)  IS qualified for Boston and has one of the most incredible comeback stories you will ever hear.

 

Steph was a very competitive runner in high school (5:06 miler) and she continued her passion for running into adulthood.

But when she was 6 months pregnant with her 2nd child (son Bodie who’s now 17) she had a near fatal car accident on the way to her 6 month check-up.  Her 5 year old daughter, Paige, was with her, but was not seriously injured.

A driver had run a stop sign and hit their car. Steph injured her back, fractured her pelvis and both hips. She also went into preterm labor, but thankfully the doctors were able to stop it.

 

While she and her son survived, she had a long road ahead of her. Steph had back surgery after the birth of her son and lots of physical therapy. She was also told she would need to hang up her running shoes.
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Steph says, “I am not a quitter and when I was told I could not run again…well, it was devastating. It was just what I needed to prove I could and would run again!”

Since the accident Steph has completed 23 half marathons, 20 full marathons & 4 ultra marathons!

 

I had the opportunity to interview Steph about her upcoming Boston Marathon.

 

FMSM:  When did you qualify for Boston?

Steph: I ran a 3:48 at Mt Charleston marathon & felt pretty defeated. Instead of waiting until next year or maybe giving up,  I applied to run on Kathrine Switzer‘s team – 261 Fearless & I was accepted. She was the first woman to run the Boston marathon, when it was illegal for women to run it. The race director tried to drag her off the course, but she refused to quit. It is the 50th anniversary of that incident & she is 70 years young now…same age as my Mom. I raised $7300 for her charity, Team 261 Fearless that helps women get back on their feet, find confidence, inspiration, support & meets other needs to empower & help them through her running club.

 

FMSM: Being a mom of 4 – how did you find time for training?

Steph: I try & get most of my workouts in while my kiddos are at school, I am a stay home Mom & my Hubby is very supportive. I do my long runs early on Saturdays while they are sleeping or Mondays while they are at school. Life is busy, but I love showing my kids that we Moms can have goals & dreams too.

FMSM: What are you looking forward to most during this race?

Steph: I am most looking forward to the experience of the Boston marathon. I am also very excited about being part of a team of women helping other women find themselves again through running. I am extremely competitive & I always give all I have in a race, but this race is less about a PR & myself and more about something way bigger than my own aspirations. I also can’t wait to give my Momma the medal!

 

FMSM: What is your next fitness goal?

Steph: I am running Big Sur 10 days after Boston. I qualified for the amazing Leadville, Co 100 mile ultra race starting at 10,000 ft elevation & going up the mountain over 36 hours in August.

 

 

If you are a MOM and you like to run it’s time to join the Fit Mom Strong Mom Running Team!

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Hurts So Good: Foam Rolling 101

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Fit Running Mom Blogger, Strong Momma Christina

When I first learned about foam rolling about 10 years ago, I initially thought it was odd and useless. I was working as a personal trainer at a large health club and I remember one of the master trainers raving about it so I figured I would give it a shot. I laid on the long peace of foam, rolled vigorously back and forth for like 5 seconds and insisted it had no benefit. Luckily for me and my future client, that master trainer caught me with my terrible foam rolling technique and took some time to show me how to properly use it. And let me tell you, it changed my life! Since then, foam rolling has not only become a regular part of my training regimen (just as important to me as a training run or lifting session) but also a staple in our training programs for all of our athletes. Foam rolling and other forms of SMR (self miofascial release), if done properly, have several great benefits which I will discuss below. However, people often neglect rolling because they feel as if they have no time or do not see immediate benefits from it. So I will also cover proper technique, key areas to roll and tips for incorporating rolling into your training routine.

Benefits of Rolling
First, let’s discuss why we roll. Our active lifestyle, from running to lifting weights, causes our muscles to tighten up. These tight areas, or “trigger points,” can eventually lead to weak areas which, if neglected, can potentially lead to injury. Loosening up tight tissue not only alleviates discomfort, but it can also help you become a more efficient athlete with increased range of motion, better form and improved running and economy. Waiting until you feel significant tightness and pain, however is not the solution and often where people go wrong when it comes to SMR. Foam rolling is not just for rehabilitation, rather it is a great tool for preventing muscles from getting too tight, which of course will aid in recovery, prevent soreness and, of course, prevent injury.

When to Roll
As I stated above, don’t just wait until you’re sore to roll. Use roam rolling as a preventative tool as a part of your regular training routine to see the most benefit. At our gym, we have our athletes roll out before each training session, and even during and after if necessary. I myself, as a runner and weight lifter, typically start each of my training sessions off with several minutes of foam rolling focusing on key areas. So to answer the question of “when should you foam roll?” here are a couple of key things to remember:

1. Rolling can essentially be done daily
2. Do not wait until you are sore, roll regularly
3.  Roll BEFORE training sessions as a part of your warm up to loosen up tight muscles
4. If you experience tightness during or after a workout, take a moment to roll that specific area
5. Rolling does not necessarily have to occur during training, it can be done first thing in the morning or even at night, just make time for it!

Types of Rollers
At our facility, we have several types of tools including regular long rollers, half rollers, “The Stick,” and lacrosse balls for our athletes’ SMR needs. I typically suggest to people to first invest in a long roller that can be purchased anywhere from online to running stores and even Target or Marshalls. You do not have to break the bank buying the latest and greatest products in SMR. A simple long piece of foam will serve as a great tool to loosen up those tight muscles. Here is a break down of what we use and for what:

1. Long Roller (AeroMat Elite High Density Foam Roller, 6″ x 36″ Firm): Can be used for most areas, especially larger muscle groups like quads, glutes and adductors. Long rollers are also great for the back, lats and of course those pesky IT Bands.
2. Half Roller (AeroMat Elite High Density Foam Roller 6″x11): Although not necessary if you have the long roller, half rollers can be a little more user friendly for hamstrings and calf muscles.
3. “The Stick” (The Stick Travel Stick, 17-Inch G-1750): Is great for zeroing in on tight calf and soleus muscles as well as peroneals. If you do a good amount of traveling, The Stick is a great investment because of it’s size, it can be a great SMR tool for on the go.
4. Lacrosse Ball (Lacrosse Balls – NCAA NFHS Certified – Purple): Yes, you can purchase a fancy rolling ball from a running store, but if you can get your hands on a lacrosse ball, there are several areas you can roll with this simple tool. The neck and shoulder area, certain regions of the hips and the rotator cuff are all areas that a hard lacrosse ball can help loosen up.
5. Others: If you head into a running store or search around online, you can be overwhelmed with the practically endless types of SMR tools available as well as the claims that each product is “the best in the industry.” My advice when it comes to starting off with foam rolling (and actually when you start off with anything) is to keep it simple and fairly inexpensive. Invest in one good roller that seems to suit your needs and commit to using it before breaking the bank on all the products on the shelves.

Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Foam Roller
I’ve discussed the importance of rolling, when to roll and of course what to use. Now I will cover some key things to remember as you roll in order to get the most out of it. Like I said above, my first experience with foam rolling was less than impressive, and this was of course I was doing it all wrong. Many times, I will see people lay on a roller, rapidly roll back and forth for a handful of seconds (pretty much exactly how it went down the first time I tried it), hop up and proceed with their workout or leave the gym thinking they just successfully broke up all that tight tissue. Sure they have seen pictures in magazines or other people at the gym foam roll the same way, so they think they are doing in right. And maybe they did get something out of it that way (mostly likely a placebo effect though). In order to feel the full benefits from SMR, one must be a little more methodical with their rolling. So here are a key things to consider next time you grab your roller, stick or ball:

1. Start with larger muscle groups like the quads, glutes and hamstrings, then work your way into the smaller ones.
2. Find the “trigger points,” or areas of tightness and discomfort, and focus on breaking up those areas the most. If you feel nothing over a certain muscles, don’t spend too much time there.
3. Roll directly over the tightest spots, as it becomes less and less tense, begin rolling further away from that area to cover more ground and loosen up more tissue surrounding it.
4. Take slow deep breaths, letting out long slow exhales as you roll over those extra tight spots that cause you discomfort while rolling.
5. Spend on average about 20-30 seconds per area, longer for the tighter areas. This really should take only about 10 minutes of your time, so no excuses on skipping out on it!

What to Roll
Here are the key areas we focus on rolling with our athletes:

glutes

Glutes: Sit on top of foam roller. Rest ankle on top of thigh. Place same arm behind body. Lean toward the bent leg side and roll forward to back over glute.

it-band
IT Band: Lay sideways with outer thigh (IT Band) on top of roller. Place bottom forearm on grown beneath shoulder and top hand down for support. Cross top leg over bottom placing foot on ground. Roll body forward to back.

quads

Quads: Lay upper thighs on top of the roller with forearms rested on the floor for support. Roll from top to bottom of thighs and back up.

hamstrings

Hamstrings: Place foam roller underneath one leg. Use your arms to help hold your hips off the floor. Roll up and down over hamstrings.

adductor

Adductors: Place roller parallel to body. With forearms underneath shoulders for support, place inner thigh on top of the roller with knee bent. Roll from upper thigh down towards the knee and back up.

lower-back

Lower Back: Place foam roller underneath your low back. Place hands behind head to support neck. Lift hips off floor and roll up and down low back.

upper-back

Upper Back: Lay your shoulder blades on top of foam roller. Cross your arms across your chest. Lift your hips off floor. Roll foam roller up and down your upper back.

lats

Lats: Place roller underneath upper lats, roll up and down along lats. Then, laying on roller, roll chest front to back.

calf
Calves: Place The Stick on top of the calf muscle below knee, roll Stick down and up the calf.

peroneals

Peroneals: Place The Stick on outside of the lower leg, above ankle. Roll Stick up and down the lateral leg.