Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Random Running Tips // Stretch Dynamically

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Random Running Tips // Stretch Dynamically
Stretching is so important for a strong and safe run. Unfortunately, not every stretch is appropriate for just any time. Stretching can cause injury when not done properly.

Before a run, my muscles and tendons are usually pretty tight. Static stretching is the worst thing I can do in those moments (static stretching involves getting into a stretch position and holding it). I've read the effect is similar to stretching a cold rubber band -- snap!

BUT warm-up is essential to a safe run, so I've picked out a few dynamic stretches that get my muscles loose and ready. They

Ok, not really a stretch but it gets things going! This is the best way to ease into more rigorous movements.

High Knees
While either standing in one spot or moving forward, quickly bring your knee to your chest. Drop your foot, landing on your toes, and bring the other knee up. Alternate as quick as you can.

Butt Kicks
Same idea as high knees, but bring your foot back to your butt. Alternate feet quickly.

Leg Kicks
Balancing on one leg, straighten the other and swing it back and forth. You can also do side to side (whatever you have the balance for). Be sure to switch legs.

Lunges & Squats
If you've never learned how to safely and properly perform a squat or lunge, please consult someone more professional than myself. Both are amazing for your work out routine, but can result in injury if you aren't supporting your weight properly. Anyways, do these to get a good dynamic stretch in.

Don't Forget the Arms!
You'll be swinging your arms while you run, so warm them up with some arm circles, swinging back & forth, side-to-side...just get loose!

This is by no means a comprehensive list...just a few of the things I'll do before I start off on a run. Anyone have other suggestions?

Run happy. :-)

**Please remember that I am not a trained professional. This tips are sent your way friend-to-friend and based solely on my own experience and research. Please listen to your body and run safely!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Random Running Tips // Use Your Arms

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Random Running Tip // Use Your Arms

One of the easiest ways to keep up your momentum and pace is to swing your arms. I don't know why, but when your arms are moving, your legs will keep moving.

Pay attention next time your pace slows. What are your arms doing?

They might be moving, but most likely they are slowing down too. Or just flapping around. And then you realize how awkward you must look. (It's ok...we've all been there!)

Believe it or not, moving your arms actually helps your body use energy wisely. Letting them fall limp will run your ragged in no time. So to pump some power into your stride, do these simple things:

1. Bend your arms at a 90-degree angle and keep them parallel to each other.
2. Keep your shoulders down and relaxed. Roll them back slightly to push your chest forward a bit.
3. Swing your arms back and forth, not up and down. Not side to side either. Your fists should be going out in front of you, not across your body.
4. Keep your core muscles (abs) engaged so you are not turning your torso when your arms move.
5. Pump them faster when you want to pick up your pace.
6. If you start to feel fatigued, re-evaluate your posture and arms...a simple fix will revive your run.

Bonus Tip: Practice in front of a mirror! Watch yourself move and make sure your torso is not turning. Your arms should be moving at your shoulders, but your back/shoulder area should not be twisting. Neither should your hips. Tighten your abs to keep everything in line.

Swing away! And...

Run happy. :-)

**Please remember that I am not a trained professional. This tips are sent your way friend-to-friend and based solely on my own experience and research. Please listen to your body and run safely!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Random Running Tip // Toes to the Hills

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Random Running Tip // Toes to the Hills
Hills. Most runners hate them. I used to hate them. They slow you down, your heart rate goes wild, you find muscles you never knew...

Well I found out it doesn't have to be that bad.

Simply get up on your toes.

1. Keep your momentum going as you start up the hill, but get up on your toes more than you normally would during a run (unless you are a fore-foot striker, then you are used to this).
2. Your stride should be quick and short. Land on your toes and pick them up again quickly.
3. Lift your legs off the ground, instead of pushing off. It takes more energy to plant your foot and push your body off the ground, than it does to simply lift your leg into the air.
4. Tell yourself, "lift, lift, lift, lift..." if you have to. When I think it, my body readily follows suit.
5. Keep your breathing pattern then same.

Soon you'll be up the hill and your energy will not be depleted! By doing these things, I've noticed only a slight increase in my heart rate. I will come off the hill running a little slower to allow myself to regroup. But in just a few strides, I'm back on pace.

Get on your toes and never walk a hill again.

Run happy. :-)

**Please remember that I am not a trained professional. This tips are sent your way friend-to-friend and based solely on my own experience and research. Please listen to your body and run safely!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Phone Calls from the Enemy

I am not a fan of my dreams (the ones that impose themselves on me in the middle of the night). They are usually quite strange. But once in a while I'll have one that seems to come with a lesson and this one I thought I'd share. Maybe you will feel like God is using it to speak to you, or maybe not. Maybe you'll laugh and chalk it up to the sugar habit I can't seem to kick (still love my sweets). That's all fine with me.... :-)


I dreamed that someone had murdered a person close to me.  No one talked about who was murdered or when, but I just understood it happened and it affected my family and friends.

The person who murdered them was still out there. And he was planning to come back for the rest of us.

We decided to all stay together in one house for the time being. The house that I grew up in. My family was there and many friends. We even invited the neighbors, and any stranger who seemed to be hanging around the neighborhood, to come stay with us. We told them about the murderer, and that he was coming for us. He was watching the house and everyone in it, but we would be safer in numbers. So hunkered down to keep watch, while blanketed by fear and uncertainty.

For some reason I had a leadership role in this operation. I organized who stayed in what room, who kept watch and on what shifts. I knew what the police were doing and where they were at with the investigation.

I also spoke to the murderer.


He would call the house and we'd talk on the phone. I knew it was him and he knew we were looking for him. 

Most of the others in the house didn't know I spoke to him. Those who were aware, didn't know what we talked about. I thought that by taking his calls we could track him down easier. Figure out where he was, his next moves. Except none of that happened. In fact, I hadn't even told the police I had contact with him.

When the murderer called, we spoke quietly to one another. It didn't seem as if he had any ill intent toward me or anyone else. His voice was gentle and, at times, a little melancholy. It was like he was a lonely friend with a pain that only I could understand...and possibly heal. I began to feel sympathy and the desire to soothe him. I had become frighteningly comfortable with him.

And everyone in the house became increasingly apathetic to the whole situation. Passing the hours with mindless entertainment, punctuated with bouts of complacent worry that kept us in hiding. We would invite more people in to the "safehouse", but do nothing to guard ourselves from our enemy.

One day, as I hung up the phone, I finally realized how many missed opportunities I had to beat this guy.

Why did I let him convince me that I enjoyed his "friendship"?
Why didn't I tell the police...let them trace the call?
What are we all doing here anyways?

I finally made a plan with my grandma. I told her everything that was going on. We decided the next time he called, I would answer and she would call the police. Hopefully they could track his location and this would all be over.

Next time.
If there was a next time...


Then I woke up. 

My first conscious thought was, "Why are my dreams so ridiculous?!" and then, "Why am I so stupid in my dreams?!" HA! I hope I'm not the only one....

Before I could push it out of my mind, I realized, there is a lesson in this dream. It's a reminder for me, for sure. Possibly for you too. And it's not so far from reality.

The truth is, we all have an enemy.

And he is a murderer. (1 Peter 5:8)(John 10:10)

He is also a master counterfeiter (John 8:44), posing as good and godly (2 Corinthians 11:14-15). He manipulates and woos our hearts in those secret moments, blurring the lines between truth and lies. Unless we decide to turn and run, (or stand and fight), we will befriend him, nurturing the relationship until we seep with apathy or are ultimately destroyed.

Can you relate? Have you ever befriended (or felt tempted to befriend) the enemy?

He is subtle and during the phone calls in my dream. I can honestly say I've answered a few of his calls and felt the pull of his charisma; the desire that builds when he twists the Truth. "You will not surely die..." (Genesis 3:1-7)

But that is his whole purpose! To steal, kill and destroy. He will steal our joy and destroy our self-worth. He will wound and even massacre our relationships.... if we let him.

Have you been answering his calls?

Thankfully, there is another One who calls. And He does not woo us with empty promises. God fulfills His promises; promises that bring us LIFE. And He fights with us, for us, providing a way to escape the pursuit of our enemy. His Word says:

I'm glad I woke up before seeing the outcome of my dream. There's still hope in dreamland. I made the right move confiding in someone older and wiser than myself, someone to hold me accountable. Someone to call upon the authorities with me. If I'm wise, I will spring into action and awaken the others from their stupor as well.

That's why God gives us one another. Not to grow apathetic and ignore what is done in secret. Or to pass the time with mindless entertainment. But spur each other on and battle the enemy together. To confide in one another, to pray to together, to point each other to the Truth in God's Word (James 5:16)(Hebrews 10:24).

I'm thankful for those I can confide in and trust to hold me accountable. And I am especially thankful that God has empowered me with His Spirit to overcome the enemy! It is not too difficult for us (Deut. 30:11-16). Because He is our strength and He is in us.

So what do you think....too much sugar? ;-) 

Actually, I'm rather glad I had this crazy dream. Next time he calls, I'll remember that behind the soothing voice is the heart of a murderer.

Random Running Tip // Cool Down

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Random Running Tip // Cool Down

To ease your body into recovery following a run, don't skip the cool down. When you are exhausted, it is tempting to want to sit or lie down immediately...but the easiest way to cool down is to keep moving.

1. A good cool down, starts with a good finish. You'll want to finish strong (more on that in another post) -- in other words, don't finish your run feeling depleted.
2. Once you hit your end time or distance, take a few minutes to just jog. You'll feel your heart rate slow down.
3. Ease into a walk, but keep walking until your heart rate feels like it is back to normal.
4. Get a drink of water as soon as you can to start replenishing the fluid you've lost.
5. Once you no longer feel your blood pulsing through your body, you can settled down for some stretching. Be sure to stretch all muscle groups after a run - your whole body was working!
6. Re-fuel your body with a snack within 30 minutes of your run.

Do these things to avoid muscle soreness, fatigue, and headaches. And of course...

Run happy. :-)

**Please remember that I am not a trained professional. This tips are sent your way friend-to-friend and based solely on my own experience and research. Please listen to your body and run safely!