5 Ways to a Tighter Tummy while Running

Some times running makes me feel like a robot… It’s the same thing over and over again. It can get kind of boring and can turn into a downward spiral. Not good. Here are some ways to change up your run for the better. These tips will keep your body and mind more engaged and working hard.

Here are some ideas!

1. Intervals: Tell yourself to sprint/run faster for a certain amount of time and then back off for a little bit with a jog or walk. Do this for your whole workout or start with just a few. Maybe pick a point in the distance and sprint to it. And repeat! Or if you want to time it, you can try and run for a minute then slow down for 30 seconds. This high intensity workout with help your body burn more calories by making it work harder. Warning: You will get tired and feel great after. Want to know why? Because after a workout like this, your body continues to work hard the rest of the day. The post-exercise effect is amazing, even while you are at rest, you will continue to keep burning calories.

2. Increase your distance: This has been happening to me a lot. I usually go out for 4 to 6 miles depending on my mood but I never push myself another half mile or mile or 2 miles. However, last week I ran 8 miles just fine! That’s 2 more than I usually do! It wasn’t even that hard. All you have to do is make sure you have extra time. But now I have the confidence to go further. Making yourself increase your mileage, even if it’s not a significant distance, will definitely burn more calories and it will prove to you that you are capable of doing more than you think.

3. Add some hills or stairs: I love to include stairs or hill training. It makes the workout so much harder. That extra incline will make your body work twice as hard, which means you will burn twice as much. I like to go to a parking garage… at times when it’s not busy… to run up it, then down it, and run up the stairs and then down the stairs. I can get it all done in a parking garage. Or if you don’t have access to that you can find stairs in many places. Hopefully, you can find a hill or even a golf course you can run on too for some hills. Your legs, core and butt will get so much stronger from this workout then just running on a flat course.

Stairs

4. Pick up those legs: High knees! High knees! This is a quick cardio burst. During your usual run, have a focus on trying to land on the balls of your feet and switching legs fast. This is kind of like interval training but instead of changing the pace of your run, you’re changing your form. You exaggerate the knee lift. And this could even improve your running form in the future. While doing this, your heart rate will be pumping, which is what you want. Do this for a minute of about 30 feet and then rest and repeat 5 – 10 times.

5. Sprint finish: This is a great way to push yourself in that last stretch. If you have a partner, race each other to the end point. In most races someone is usually right next to you and after you give it your all the whole time, you don’t want to slow down at the very end. So you need to practice having that extra push at the end. Imagine a crowd cheering you on and you’re running through the finish. It’s a great feeling to finish your run with an energy burst and fast! Then, slowly come to a jog and walk it out after. This little sprint will keep your body working. Don’t let your body get used to stopping before the finish line. That is a bad habit.

Sprint Finsih

 

ITBS: Symptoms, Causes, and Ways to deal with the pain

About a few months ago, I went for a 6 mile run along the beach and when I woke up the next day, the outside of my knee was killing me. I had no idea what the problem was. I have never had shin splints, plantar fasciitis, black toenails, or really any injury dealing with running (knock on wood). Thankfully, I have access to many athletic trainers at my university who could help diagnose what exactly was going on. I also did research myself… All leading to the same thing. Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS).

My Symptoms:

The outside of my knee started to hurt. There was a good amount of pain after my run when I woke up the next day. Nothing happened during the initial run. I took a day off and went running again. During the first mile, I had to stop.

This is where it started hurting, the side of my knee.

This is where it started hurting, the side of my knee.

Causes:

I believe my ITBS occurred because I was running on the beach, and the bank was sloped. So my one leg was weirdly angled the whole run. This caused my leg to be turning in, which then lead to ITBS. Also, the track can cause ITBS. Try and change the direction you run around the track because that constant leaning on the one-side may lead to ITBS. Furthermore, make sure your shoes aren’t worn on the inside. Keep your shoes up to date and when they are getting worn, make sure to get a new pair. Don’t fret though, ITBS can occur in beginner runners and avid runners. It means nothing of how you run or your style. It can happen quickly, you just need to know how to prevent it.

What to do:

1. Foam roll: This will be your best friend. Roll out your IT band after you run or do anything. Foam rolling my legs after a long run makes me feel not so dead the next day. It makes a world of difference.

2. Rest: When I developed ITBS, I took 2 weeks off from running. This time will be different for everyone. Listen to your body. If it’s hurting don’t keep going. There are many other things to do other than running. And if you make it worse, it could become chronic, which you then will have to seek medical help.

3. Ice: Even if it’s not hurting, ice your knee where the pain was. This will help prevent ITBS from coming back. When I was resting for 2 weeks, I put ice on for 20 minutes at the end of the day or if I did any cross-training.

4. Warm up: This is so important. After, my 2 weeks were up and I went for my first run, I made sure to walk a half mile before I started running. My body was warm and I had no pain. I continue to make sure to walk at least half a mile before I start my workout, just as a a precaution and it makes my run better.

5. Cool down: At the end of my run, I walk some more. I walk the same distance I warm-up with. This helps my body slowly get my heart rate down and my leg isn’t just shocked with a quick stop.

STRETCH, STRETCH, STRETCH!

STRETCH, STRETCH, STRETCH!

6. Stretch: This you should just always do. Stretch your legs, arms, make it a habit… Many times we get injured from lack of stretching, I know some people never stretch and never get injured but I still believe it is super important.

7. Cross-train: During my weeks of rest from running, I still biked and played tennis. There’s a lot of different activities you can do, swimming, rowing… there’s so many possibilities. Just make sure it’s not too similar to running like the elliptical, rollerblading, and stair climbing.

I continued to play tennis with no problem

I continued to play tennis with no problem

Don’t do what I did! Avoid running on an uneven surface. That’s how I developed ITBS and running in the grass vs. the sidewalk/concrete makes a huge difference as well.

Good luck with avoiding this injury and hopefully, if you have it, it will go away soon!

 

Paddle Boarding: HovieSUP Sponsorship

Hey everyone! Recently, I had something very exciting happen to me… I signed with a paddle boarding company called HovieSUP! They make boards for all levels that are fast, lightweight and they look really good on the water. From racing to leisure to surfing, they make this sport even more awesome.

The web writer at my university found out about at this and asked to do an article on me and paddle boarding. I never thought that it would end up on the University of Tampa home page until Tuesday of next week! And then it will be in the archives forever! It’s cool to help get paddle boarding more hype especially at my school! The article pretty much sums up my paddle boarding adventures. The link is below!

Here’s the article: Senior Comm major knows what’SUP

I also got to try out a board the other day. It’s been beautiful weather in Florida, it’s so difficult not to be out on the water. Paddle boarding is such good exercise and so relaxing at the same time. My experiences paddle boarding compare to nothing else.

PaddleboardingSeriously, if you have any questions about the sport, let me know! Like if you don’t know what board to get or if you have a race coming up, I’m here to help.

More about HovieSUP:               Facebook                  Web

My Health Hero: My Sister’s

I’ve always been active and concerned with staying healthy, but I’ve never actually thought about who motivates me to be how I am today. I’m the youngest of 4 girls so I’ve always been trying to keep up with my sister’s. They are the ones that make me want to be better. We are all within 4 years of each other so we are very close in age. Ever since we were young, we have competed in sports together, from cheerleading to soccer to ballet to tennis, we’ve been through so much together.

Biking with all my sisters

Biking with all my sisters

We are all so close to each other and have gone through so much. We’ve had times were competition gets the best of us but we always work it out. They’ve always kept me working hard because even though I’m the youngest, I still want to be able to compete with them.

My oldest sister Lauren was who I looked up to when I first started playing tennis. She was so good. I was so jealous, all I wanted was to be like her. I worked everyday to try and get on her level. She worked out with me and gave me tips on how to improve my game. I remember her winning awards on her high school tennis team and all I know, is she always gives her all, no matter what.

Lauren and I at my college tennis match

Lauren and I at my college tennis match

My sister’s Morgan and Kristen are twins, however, they inspire me in different ways. Morgan has always been my top competitor. We fight the most but in return, push each other the most. She would always want to stay after tennis practice to do more and that would make me want to stay. If she can do it, so can I. We’d hit forever and then she’d want to go run and do other activities for cross training. She always has energy and finds time to be happy and healthy while studying in med school.

Morgan and I at tennis practice

Morgan and I at tennis practice

My sister Kristen has been there for me to tell me to slow down. She is always calm and relaxed. I never know when to stop or just give myself a day off and Kristen will be there for me to tell me, that it’s okay to take breaks. She keeps me healthy by telling me when I need to just slow things down. It’s good to have someone to help you because I know a lot of people who burn out from training and I don’t want to be one of them. She helps me space out my life and keep it balanced with tennis, school, friends and spending time at home with everyone.

Kristen and I having fun tubing

Kristen and I having fun tubing

All my sister’s are my health heroes. We thankfully have not had to deal with many injuries or anything too serious to keep us from moving around and spending time together outside. We all don’t get to see each other as much anymore since we are getting older but when we do get together, we always find time to go bike riding or do something outside and fun.

Sisters

And most importantly, they support me in everything I do. From tennis in high school to tennis in college, they come watch my matches. But it’s not just tennis, they cheer for me in anything and everything that I do. We are always there for each other. They make me happier and healthier every day. And that is why they are all my Health Hero.

My sister's supporting me at States in High School.

My sister’s supporting me at States in High School.

Not everyone is as fortunate when it comes to injuries. Many people deal with broken bones, illnesses, torn ligaments, hip replacement surgery, etc. Take a look at other community posts on the subject focusing on hip replacement.

Shoe Review: The New FIT by Skora

About a year and a half ago, I discovered a shoe that made me love running. I have been running for about 2 years now and have fallen in love with the feeling I get when it’s just me, my running shoes, and the outdoors. I have been fortunate enough to have started with 5k’s and quickly transition to 15k’s and then on to running my first half marathon.

I started with a shoe by Skora called the BASE. It’s a training shoe that is perfect for transitioning to natural running. It took me some time but after a few runs and sore calves, I felt a difference in my body. Everything just felt better. Who doesn’t want that?! This leads me to the next shoe, the Skora FIT. The name is perfect. It may sound cliche but seriously, if you want to get fit and see results while running efficiently, then I’d pay attention. Skora’s motto is to RunReal and my goal is to get all of you to try it.

Every shoe has positives and things that just get you hooked. So let’s start with that! These are what I love most about the FIT:

1. Seamless design: My first ever seamless shoe, and let me tell you that it’s great! I never thought that it would make a difference because I’ve never had a problem before but it seems so much more flexible and I don’t ever have to worry about rubbing. I bought my sister a pair and she has a bunion so I’m pretty sure she will love this feature!

Skora FIT2. Asymmetrical lacing: This means the laces are not directly down the middle of the foot. I like this feature because I have experienced rubbing from laces in the past. I have a bone that protrudes on my foot and it gets inflamed from many shoes. I have not experienced any discomfort from my FIT.

3. For a natural shoe, it still has cushion: It is a zero-drop but unlike most shoes, it still has cushioning and comfort. It’s a perfect shoe to begin running all natural in. I don’t always have access to trails and grass so I find myself on hard surfaces like concrete and pavement. Having the cushion makes a world of difference! I can still run naturally while having my body not take such a beating.

4. The color: I know, I know. PINK! I love pink! There’s also some blue! And other color combos on the Skora website, but this is Skorathe color combination that caught my eye. I do believe that if you like what you are wearing and feel pretty and confident, then your overall performance will increase. The color makes me feel so happy on my runs. It may sound weird, but looking down at the vibrant colors gives me an energy boost.

5. The durability: My first Skora shoes are still up and running! I’ve had them for about a year and a half and I still wear them. They have some dirt on them but the outsole is holding up! I’ve been keeping track of all my runs in the FIT so I now know how much mileage I have put on them. I’ve only done 35 miles in 2 weeks but once tennis season is over, I’m going to start running more. Lately, I’ve been just doing around 3 miles when I go out. You can see too that the outsole is thick and can withstand a lot.

Skora

6. Feels like a slipper: I said this right when I put the FIT on. And guess what, 2 of my friends tried the FIT on too and had the same reaction! I wish I would have recorded it! It’s amazing how well it fits your foot. The FIT only weighs in at 6.6 oz. It’s light and perfect for almost every activity. The zero-drop makes it my go-to shoe for the gym because while lifting you want to be as flat as possible on the ground. Skora Lift

7. Arch Support: My last comment being, I used to get cramps in my arches a lot. I’m thinking from lacking of support. The FIT has an internal archband midfoot support. I have experienced no discomfort in my arch while running and feel the support there. It’s noticeable to me in a good way. I love the feeling!

These shoes are great for hanging out around town and for in the gym!

These shoes are great for hanging out around town and for in the gym!

Alright, now it was really tough to think of some cons to the FIT. When it’s difficult to think of something that’s not a positive then you know, the shoe is a good one.

1. Some of the trails I run on are just rock/shells but… not just small pieces of rock or shell but large chunks that don’t really feel too good on the bottom of my feet while I run. I land on my midfoot and sometimes I can feel the rock right through my shoe. It’s not enough though to keep me running on these trails. It’s just a bit of an annoyance if I land just right on something sharp. Some other brands make shoes with a lot of cushion to avoid this but I would never surrender running natural for just a few bumps on my run.

2. Also, some people don’t like this but… I have had more people come up to me while wearing my FIT’s. People have stopped me to make comments about my shoes. I don’t mind answering questions about my shoes. But you just might get noticed more while wearing them. So expect that.

I just want to finish by saying I’m so happy I came across Skora a few years ago. I’m sure you can relate to when you find something that works, you just want to tell the world! And that’s exactly how I feel. I’m not making this up, these shoes changed my life through running. I encourage you to try them and Run Real.

Disclosure: Skora Running provided me with the new FIT in advance. I have had them for over 2 weeks and have been testing them in a variety of settings. All you have read are my own opinions. If you have any questions for me on the shoes, please contact me. Thank you!

If you want to learn more about SKORA, it’s easy! They have many social media outlets to check out!

Facebook         Instagram        Twitter        Web

SPARTAN RACE MIAMI: Discounts, information and more!

I’m pretty sure most of you have heard of the Spartan Race. But have you ever had the guts to compete in one? You can’t use the excuse of there not being one close by to you because this race is offered all over! And if you happen to be in Miami on April 12-13, then there’s your chance to compete! You can compete in the Miami Spartan Super Race at Oleta River State Park.

Spartan Race Miami

Also, I have a 15% off promo code for all of you: http://bit.ly/spartanwarrior

The races come in different distances so you can start small and work your way on up!

1. Spartan Sprint: 3+ MILES / 15+ OBSTACLES. The challenging sprint obstacle trail races are a great way to get off Spartan Raceyour couch and start living. This is perfect to get yourself started on these amazing and challenging races. 99.9% of all people who try this event will finish, and 100% will be fully satisfied with all the race had to offer! Also, top 3 Males and top 3 Females at each Spartan Sprint qualify for a free entry into a Super Spartan of their choice.

2. Super Spartan: 8+ MILES / 20+ OBSTACLES. The Super Spartan obstacle course race provides an 8+ mile battlefield of insane mud running with 20+ obstacles to test your physical strength and mental resolve. This race will put your endurance to the test and see exactly how hard you have been training. Live music and food will be waiting for you at the finish!

3. Spartan Beast: 12+ MILES / 25+ OBSTACLES. An obstacle course race from hell. If you have done any race anywhere in the world: whether a mud run, fun run, olympic run, bike race, death march or any kind of event claiming to be the “toughest race on the planet” you will be happy to know that this is where it ends..THIS IS THE SPARTAN BEAST! This race sounds so exciting, to finish it would be amazing! Try and do all three! I dare you!

Earn Medals! Not Just one, but 2!
Run in the Sprint, Super, and/or Beast Races this year and get your own finisher medal in addition to a piece of the Trifecta medal. Each race differs in length and obstacle count, but challenge can be found at the heart of each. Upcoming races include: Tampa, Atlanta, Charlotte, Hawaii, Las Vegas, and Miami.

The Spartan Race was voted the #1 obstacle race by Outside Magazine and is the global leader in obstacle racing since 2005.

If you have any questions, ask away. Or if you have any feedback to give about these races… comment away!  Good luck Spartan competitors!

Blogging For A Healthier You: 10 Reasons To Start A Blog Today

Hi everyone! So I was thinking today about how I started blogging about this time 2 years ago. Making that decision to start writing was by far one of the best things I could have done for myself. There are so many benefits of starting a blog. 

Why Blog?

Some benefits of blogging are:

1. First of all, your writing will improve. You will constantly be giving your brain a workout. One of the reasons I started to blog was because I felt like I was wasting away watching TV at night in my dorm room sophomore year. So writing keeps me creative and keeps me thinking. A blog gives you space to express yourself. 

2. When you start writing down ideas, you start doing them. You listen to what you write. I can also leave goals for myself. My readers push me because I want to try even harder to show that I am capable of achieving anything. I make sure to keep working hard. My readers push me to complete tasks. Also, you will start doing what you write! Do you want to eat healthier? Write about it! That will motivate you and make sure to keep writing about what you do in order to achieve this. Write about every step you take, include pictures and personal feelings.

3. Your blog is a journal. It’s amazing to go look at post 1 to the most recent post I’ve done. So much has changed. It’s a timeline that is really easy to access. You can view how much you have accomplished. It’s good to keep reminding yourself of how far you have come. 

4. Having a blog can open doors. You may realize how much you love writing or even discover more about yourself. Your blog could lead you to self-employment, entrepreneurship, social media, and you could meet so many people that have similar thoughts and ideas as you. You can achieve things you never thought possible. I’ve had conversations with people from all over the world just because of my blog. Without it, I would have never meet those amazing people.

5. If your blog takes off, than your dreams could come true. Making money off your blog would be amazing. If you love to write and enjoy what you do, what could be better then making money doing what you love. That’s a goal of many of us. It will never happen unless you get started today!

6. As you write about your thoughts, you create new ones. Genius ideas could come to you as you write. Writing ideas, creates ideas. Writing on your own time about whatever you want, makes you think about yourself, which is one of the best things you can do.

7. You become a world class networker. As you start your blog, you will find yourself communicating more with others and becoming an expert on how to network and make connections. People will notice you and will want to connect with you. Before you know it, you could be meeting someone that will have a huge impact on your blogging and your life. 

8. Your blog could change the lives of others. Who doesn’t want to be a role model or inspire others to achieve greatness? What you do can motivate others. I love having people email me saying thanks. It’s an amazing feeling to know that someone did something because of you.

9. Blogging creates discipline. Believe it or not but your time management skills will improve. I want to write so many posts a week so I push myself to do that. You may have one more thing to do but if it’s something you want, you will make time for it. 

10. Overall, blogging is fun and can improve your health. Writing down feelings and thoughts is a huge stress reliever. It’s another way to act when you are upset, tired, happy, nervous, etc. Blogging is fun too. A blog shouldn’t make you more stressed. If that becomes the case, then I would take a break from the blogging world. But that goes for everything in life, when it starts to become a hassle or more of chore, then I would back off. Enjoy your life and do what you want.

Love blogging

There are many reasons to start blogging so just make one. And keep at it. Even if you only have 5 viewers or 5 million viewers, keep writing. It’s never too late to express your love of something, to create your own career, to meet new people, to set goals, to make plans, and to have fun. Enjoy the experience of blogging and being a part of such a large community.

If you have any questions on getting started, ask away!

Bring on 2014!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 160,000 times in 2013. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 7 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

I cannot believe how fast this year went by. It’s been so busy. 2014 is going to be bringing a lot of changes. I graduate from college, play my last season of college tennis, and then that means, it’s time to look for a career. It’s going to be a big year, that’s for sure!

Also, I definitely need to write more for 2014, how’s that for a new year’s resolution? I hope everyone has a happy and healthy new year! Just logged 7 miles running, now time for work! Then time to CELEBRATE!!

A New Race: That Will Run in 35 Countries

I discovered a new race that will take place in 35 different countries ALL AT THE SAME TIME! It is called the Wings for Life World Run from Red Bull. The website is amazing. The race doesn’t take place for another 177 days and something hours and something minutes.. But you can sign up already! The race is in MAY 2014.

Also, a great thing is to see that 100% of the entry fee goes to spinal cord research.

This quote reminds me of this race

Check out the this video about the race!

Wings For Life World Run <<<<< and here is another great video! It includes explanations of the run’s unique format, who will run, who will win and what athletes will be running for!

The format is very unique… Nothing like I have ever seen.

THERE IS NO FINISH LINE! That makes it extremely unique. There is a car, called a “catcher car” that starts after all the racers have begun, approximately 30 minutes after the initial start. Each course will have a car and they will all start simultaneously. The pace will continue to accerlerate, which will eliminate more and more runners. As soon as the catcher car catches you, you are done. And you catch a ride back to the start to celebrate all you have accomplished! The catcher car will stop once only one single man and woman are left running in each location around the world. They will be crowned the Global Champions of the Wings for Life World Run. However, country champions will also get acknowledged and so will location champions.

Red Bull

Red Bull

It will take place in:

  • Cape Town
  • Barcelona
  • California
  • France
  • Lima
  • Kerry
  • Kiev
  • New Zealand AND SO MANY MORE

The website is really helpful and has so many great links and tips, so make sure to check it out. I look forward to hearing more about this crazy awesome race.

How many of you are going to do it??!!

Full Moon Paddle Boarding

Downtown Tampa

Downtown Tampa

The other night was one of the most fun things I got to do: Paddle board at night underneath a full moon. I have never paddled at night before so I was really excited. All the lights reflecting on the water was such a pretty sight to see.

Paddleboarding

This past week, I got to paddle board 4 times while I was at school because I know keep my board up in Tampa with me. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done. The shop, Urban Kai, stores my board and they were the host of the moonlight paddle board event.

Everyone that paddled!

Everyone that paddled!

There were about 25 people there and some of my close friends came so it was well worth it. We wore headlamps and some people had glow sticks to wear to help keep us lit up on the water. Where we paddled was right by downtown Tampa so there were many lights on both sides of the river and it was a super clear night.

My friends

Everyone there was so nice and chill that the atmosphere was great. My friends have never paddle boarded before and after this event they love the sport. I like to see people get hooked on the things I like to do, especially my friends! NEW PADDLE BUDDIES!

I definitely recommend trying paddle boarding at night! Go in a group, wear lights, and be safe, also watch for bugs. I bet this would be a great date idea too! Have fun everyone :)