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Free Tuesday Morning Run Club!

 

 

  • What: A FREE weekly running group
  1. Are you looking for that extra nudge to get you out of bed early and get some exercise in before the sun comes up?
  2. Are you interested in meeting people with similar fitness interests?
  3. Are you interested in receiving tips from an experienced and certified running coach
  4. Are you an avid runner . . . Or, are you looking to try out running for the first time?

Whatever your motivation, this group is for you!

Runners, wanna-be runners, used-to-be runners, and run-walkers

of all abilities are welcome!

  • When & Where: The runs will depart from Studio C on Tuesday mornings at 6am* sharp (rain or shine). We will take varied routes through the local neighborhoods and trails.
  • Cost: ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!!! (Additionally, keep in mind that you don’t have to shower or do your hair before joining the group…so what’s your excuse?!?!)

Still have questions? Want to register? Contact Susan at 401-529-0625 or coachsooz@gmail.com

 

 


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What Does it Take?

group-shot_running-club
Our H&W team on race day
What does it take....
  • ...to get fit?
  • ...to lose a little weight?
  • ...to lower your blood sugar?
  • ...to regain that "old college form"?
  • ...to get past an injury?
  • ...to quiet those voices in your head telling you, "I can't"?
  • ...to listen to your heart telling you, "I can"?
  • ...to make new friends?
  • ...to see something through to the end no matter how daunting it may be at the start?
  • ...to push through when things are hard?
  • ...to not take anything for granted when things seem easy?
  • ...to finish something with your head held high?
  • ...to realize that there's so much more to life than just winning?
What does it take to accomplish these, and so many other things?  Well, for a group of seven runners and their coach from Health and Wholeness, it took some cold and early Saturday mornings, more than 240 miles logged, and one heck of a race!  What am I talking about?  I'm talking about the first-ever Health and Wholeness running program.  The running program -- a 16 week journey that started at the beginning of February and culminated in May at the St. Michaels Half Marathon -- was specifically designed to take runners of all abilities and train them towards completing an endurance event.  And complete it they did!
The idea for the program was simple really -- offer participants two organized runs a week, supplement with useful running-related information throughout the weeks such as shoe tips, nutrition tips, and injury prevention tips, and finish with a dash of humor and camaraderie to top it all off.  The group, consisting of experienced runners, has-been runners, and never-been runners took to the program immediately.  Organized runs were held at some of the most scenic areas around the Washington metro area.  Wednesdays turned into social short runs while Saturdays were reserved for the longer training build.  Participants ran The Mall, the trails, and the roads.  They ran past monuments recognizing our friends Mr. Lincoln, Mr. Jefferson, Mr. Roosevelt, Mr. Washington, and others.  They ran over bridges, under bridges, and even through bridges!  They ran the streets of Georgetown, the sidewalks of Arlington, and the brick roads of Old Town.  They somehow avoided snow, sleet and rain, but still appreciated a warm hat and gloves for much of the season.  They learned where every porto-potty and water fountain could be found along the Mt. Vernon trail and appreciated that it's never a bad idea to carry a spare bit of toilet paper with you on your runs.  They learned that though February mornings are cold, there is something absolutely magical about joining your newly-found teammates for coffee and an omelet after a run.  And, they learned that no matter the obstacle they encountered along they way -- mental or physical -- they had the support of their fellow teammates, their coach, and the resources at Health and Wholeness to get them through. On May 18th, those seven runners taking part in Health and Wholeness inaugural running program -- alongside their coach -- reached their goal and ran their race.  So much time, energy, and effort went into completing those 13.1 miles and, in the end, they were ALL proud finishers and medal recipients!  Does this journey sound like something you would enjoy?  Have you ever wondered if you could complete an endurance event?  Have you toyed with doing your first ever 5k. 10k, half marathon, or more?  Whatever the challenge, know that Health and Wholeness can help you find what it takes to accomplish your running goals.  Want to learn more?  Contact Coach Susan and set up and appointment now.  You've got what it takes...you just have to take that first step!
medal_running-club
Medals all around! Great job team

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So you say you've got a blister...

It happens to the best of us.  There we are, minding our own business, out for a leisurely run, and then BAM....you feel a hot spot, something uncomfortable, some pain, something that feels a little like a burning pebble inside you sock.  And you know what it is.  Yes, it's the dreaded blister.  Blisters are, for most runners, a simple fact of life.  They come, they go, and as time goes on, the seasoned runner knows how best to treat them.  But if you're new to this blister realm, there are some definite dos and don'ts that will help determine whether the blister is going to be a major impediment or just a minor bump (literally) in the road.
Before talking about the dos and don'ts of blister treatment, it's important to understand how a blister really comes to be.  Blisters form on your foot or heel usually because of repeated friction between your skin and your sock or shoe.  Excessive moisture due to wet running conditions or sweaty feet may also contribute to the formation of a blister.  Some blisters are relatively small and not painful while others can be quite large and can cause you to stop running due to pain or discomfort.  While getting a blister is not at all unusual, if you're going to get one, it's always preferable for it to surface during your training runs rather than in the middle of a race.  Though you can't necessarily predict or dictate when or where a blister may arise, if you know you are prone to blisters in advance of a race, there are several steps you can take to minimize the risk of getting one at an inopportune time.
So what works and what doesn't when it comes to blister treatment? Read on...
The small, not painful blister -- If you have a small blister (the size of your average tylenol let's say) on your foot/heel that does not hurt, just leave it alone.  It will likely resolve itself in a day or two.  Just remember this spot and be sure to put a little Aquaphor, BodyGlide, or other anti-friction salve there before your next run.
The larger, more painful blister -- if the blister is larger and/or painful, I recommend the following steps:
1.  Use a sterile needle to pierce the edge (not the top) of the blister.
2.  Slowly drain the blister by pressing lightly from the opposite end of the pierced hole and collecting the fluid in a clean, dry cloth.
3.  Once drained, cover the area you pierced with a touch of Neosporin or some other anti-bacterial cream to help prevent infection.
4.  DO NOT cut or peel off the layer of skin over the blister. Leave it on! This layer of skin acts as a nature bandage and should be left in place whenever possible.
5.  Allow the blister to breathe and stay off your feet if possible.
6.  Repeat the next day if the fluid builds up again.
Finally, a few Do's and Don'ts when it comes to blisters --
DO:
--Wear synthetic socks -- not cotton.  Buy running socks that are Coolmax, polyester, Teflon, or some other synthetic fiber.  This helps to wick moisture away from your skin thus causing less friction.  My absolute favorites are Balega socks with Feetures coming in a close second.  You can find both brands at any reputable running store.
--"Lube up" your feet before your next run.  Use BodyGlide, Aquaphor, or some other anti-friction salve over your trouble spots.  This again helps to prevent the friction that leads to blisters.
--Check your shoes and socks for troublesome seams.  If you have seams in your socks causing the blisters, you can usually either turn them inside out or find a better alternative to the sock you currently use.  If it's your shoe, certain lacing techniques, placement of moleskin, or filing down the seams might be beneficial.
--Always wear clean, dry socks.
--Consider using a blister bandaid or toe cap to cover the trouble spot (NOTE: I don't find using blister bandaids or moleskin on the toes or feet to be very effective as they tend to scrunch up or fall out of place which usually leads to more discomfort rather than less.  I do, however, find blister bandaids and moleskin exceptionally helpful in the heel area.)  Toe caps (typically sold in the foot treatment section of your major drugstores) are great little coverings that tend to stay in place, and thus protect the toes from rubbing, quite well.
DON'T:
--Wear cotton socks -- I can't stress this enough.  Cotton - though a perfectly wonderful fabric - does not allow your feet to breathe.  As you run and sweat, the moisture builds up on your feet.  Synthetic fibers work to draw the moisture away from the skin.  Cotton does not.  Moisture on the skin and wet cotton socks are a terrible combination.
--Go without socks.  If you arrive at the gym ready to run only to realize you've left your socks alone, don't "suck it up" and run without them.  You'll regret this move almost immediately.  And, once the damage is done, it's done.
--Run in new shoes on race day.  A new shoe (even if it's the same model you've used for ages) takes time to break in.  By not allowing for a proper break-in period, you're really just asking for blisters to form.
--Get a pedicure (at least until the blister has healed).  You risk infection if you expose your blister to sometimes-not-so-clean foot baths at pedicure stations.  Don't risk it!
--Remove your calluses with a razor, nail file, or pumice stone.  Be proud of your calluses -- you've earned them!  Also, understand that your calluses act as your body's natural defense to movement that would otherwise irritate it.  Think of construction workers -- they don't want soft hands....otherwise, they would constantly be fighting blisters.  For runners, the same goes for your feet.  View your calluses as badges of honor and let them be.
--Get larger shoes thinking that will give your feet more room.  Though shoes that are too small may play a role in blisters, that's normally not the case.  If you up the size of your shoe all you're really doing is giving your feet more room to move around...which may very well create more friction and thus more blisters.
Do you want some tips and tricks for applying moleskin or bandaids?  Are you considering taping your feet to prevent blisters?  Are you wondering if performing "surgery" on your shoes will relieve your blister concerns?  Do you have other general running or running-wellness questions?  Schedule an appointment today to meet with our Health and Wholeness Running Coach Susan!

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Running on Empty?

Admit it -- many of you out there are runners. You may not do it every day. You may not register for races. You may not be part of the Health and Wholeness Running Club (of course, you could be!!) But many of you out there are putting in some serious miles (perhaps while envisioning yourself running along the beach with the Chariots of Fire music playing in your mind....right?) Regardless of whether you are training for your 14th marathon or running to simply stay fit, properly fueling your body can be the difference between crossing the finish line with your head held high or stumbling in the sand. So how do you properly fuel for a long run or race? Well....read on.... First, understand that there is no magical running nutrition formula. Everyone is different. Their stomachs are different; their food tolerances are different; their texture likes and dislikes (think crunchy chips v. mushy bananas) are different; etc. With that in mind, you shouldn't expect a one-size-fits-all approach to running nutrition. Rather, you should be willing to experiment with different foods, gels, bars, beverages, etc. and keep the following basic concepts in mind:
  • When running distances, be sure to hydrate all week long. Don't wait until just before your run and then try to "cram". That does nothing more that send you on repeated trips to the bathroom!
  • Never try a new food or beverage on race day – your stomach will let you know just what a bad idea that can be.
  • Always eat and drink something at least an hour before your long run. This helps you get a jump on fueling yourself well before you start to tap into those calories. It also helps to “clear out” anything that might otherwise cause some stomach distress later in the run.
  • Remember that carbs are not bad – in fact, they are fuel!
  • And finally, remember that nutrition options come in all shapes, sizes, packaging, and flavors. Be willing to experiment to try to find what works best for you!
With those basic thoughts in mind, let’s talk some specifics…. It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, but you do need calories during long runs. The longer the run, the more calories you are going to need to sustain yourself through the finish line. It's estimated that for each mile run, an athlete will burn somewhere between 75 and 125 calories depending on body weight. Over the course of a half marathon distance (13.1 miles), this can amount to a caloric deficit of more than 1300 calories. Your body needs those calories (fuel) to continue to function, so replenishing those calories (before they are too far depleted) is key. Your calories during your long runs should come primarily from carbs. Though something like the water-stop provided Gatorade will offer you up some carbs during your runs, you'll likely need to supplement to be able to get all the carbs you need. That's where things like bars and gels come in. Otherwise, you will get a very sloshy stomach full of syrupy beverage....ick! So, the challenge is, determining how many carbs you should consume throughout a race, and in what form (gel, bar, beans, etc.). Dr. Nancy Clark (a well-respected sports nutritionist who works in concert with the Road Runner's Club of America – http://www.nancyclarkrd.com/ ) recommends that, during exercise lasting between 1and 2 ½ hours, you should aim to take in 30-60 grams of carbs per hour. As an example, that's about one or two Larabars or Hammer Gels per hour… or 16-32 ounces of sports drink per hour…or some combination thereof. For periods of exercise exceeding 2 ½ hours, it's recommended that you take in 60-90 grams of carbs per hour. To the extent that you can be diligent about getting carbs in before your runs and during the first half of your runs, you will benefit greatly. You can likely cut back on your carb intake a bit as you get into the later stages of the runs as your body won't necessarily realize the benefits of late eating until long after you've completed the run. Most likely your stomach is going to dictate the form of the caloric intake, but generally speaking, if you can keep your carb count up, you're not going to experience that lagging feeling at the end of a run that is typically referred to as “bonking”. I realize that some readers may have a need for organic, gluten free, or lactose free sources of running nutrition. Have no fear – there are plenty of options available. Check out, for example, products offered by: Keep in mind that reading the label is always the best approach when you are dealing with food allergies. That said, you should have some decent options amongst these brands. Once you find something you like (not just how it feels on your stomach, but how it tastes, the consistency, ease of opening the package, ease of carrying, etc...) stick with it and train with it through the rest of the season if possible. Finally, a few words about hydrating during a race.  As mentioned above, it’s always a bad idea to try something new on race day.  With that in mind, if you are planning to run a race, educate yourself in advance.  If the race water-stops will serve Gatorade, consider training with Gatorade to acclimate your body and stomach.  If Gatorade isn’t your preferred drink, or you’re looking for a more natural alternative to the beverage served on the race course, you might consider hydrating with coconut water, water with lemon, or water with chlorophyll added for the mineral content.  Remember, if you plan to carry your own beverage rather than use the race-provided beverage, be sure to find the best way to carry your fluids well in advance of the race (e.g.; Camelback, fuel belt, or water bottle) and ensure you are still getting some sodium in your system so as to avoid any hyponatremia concerns. Do you have additional running nutrition questions? Are you looking to improve your running form, endurance, or time? Are you looking to complete your first race? Don’t hesitate to contact Coach Susan (coachsooz@gmail.com) to set up a consultation today. See you on the trails!

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Follow Us To Fitness (Catch Us If You Can!)

It's been cold.  It's been windy.  It's been early.  It's been dark.  And, this coming Saturday, it's supposed to snow!  Yet through these trying conditions, the fearless Health & Wholeness running club has been out training.  That's right folks, on February 2nd, a group of dedicated runners began a challenging 16 week half marathon training program.  These runners hit the trails on Saturday mornings while you're still in bed and run the roads on Wednesday evenings while you're checking your email.  Why?  Well, it's quite simple really.  They are training for the St. Michael's Running Festival half marathon to be held on May 18th!  The group consists of seasoned runners, "used-to-be" runners, and "never-been" runners.  Along their road to running fitness, these folks are learning the finer points of blister prevention, anti-chafing techniques, and running tights!  All kidding aside, these dedicated individuals are increasing their cardio fitness, learning about proper form and injury prevention, accomplishing personal goals, and making friends along the way.  Check back soon to get an update on their progress.  Or better yet, contact Coach Susan to join the group!

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Ready to Run? Join our Team!

Ever thought about running your first 10k or half-marathon? Or maybe you're already a cardio king or queen, but you'd like to improve your time and knock a few minutes off of your personal best? Whatever your motivation, the Health and Wholeness staff can help you reach your goal this year! Train with Certified Running Coach, Susan Colarco, for the St. Michael's Running Festival this Spring. What can you expect from the Training Program?
  • 16 week start-to-finish training plan with experienced coaching tailored to your pace and fitness level
  • Weekly coached training runs
  • A Health and Wholeness “in training” t-shirt
  • Informational email updates and training tips
  • Seminars on running gear, form, running nutrition, common injuries, and other hot topics
  • Motivation, inspiration, and camaraderie that can only be found with a like-minded training group!
Mark your calendar for our info session this Saturday, January 26th @ 9am - Meet us in Studio C! Get on the road to make 2013 your fastest yet...We promise you'll meet great new people and enjoy every step of the journey! Can’t attend the info session? No problem! You can still Register online for the Training Program (registration note: select "Running Club")...Still have questions? Contact Susan at 401-529-0625 or coachsooz@gmail.com. Health and Wholeness is a multifaceted fitness and wellness business serving Arlington and Alexandria, Virginia, featuring: Private and Semi-Private Personal Training, Circuit and Mat Pilates classes, Muscle Activation Techniques, Run Coaching, Fitness Boot Camps, Nutrition Consultations and Food Sensitivity Testing, Acupuncture, Massage, Wellness Coaching, Infrared Sauna, Ionic Foot Soaks and more. Come check us out today!

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Running Upside Down

By Susan Colarco
Were You Built Upside Down?
Growing up, my mom used to tell my brother and me, “If your nose runs and your feet smell, you’re built upside down.”  This was perplexing to me as a child, amusing to me as a teenager, but became quite prophetic in my early running years.   You see, I began to wonder, if I truly was built upside down.  Why?  Well, when I first started running, for all of the time I spent on my feet and legs, at the end of a run, it was my neck, arms, and shoulders that hurt…not the actual limbs that carried me through the run.  As my distances grew, my stride matured, and my running I.Q. increased, I learned that thankfully I was not built upside down (whew!).  Rather, my neck, arm, and shoulder pain was the result of poor running form.
So, do you feel neck and/or shoulder pain when you run?  Does it increase as your distances increase?  Has the pain become so uncomfortable that it’s lead you to decrease your running or stop running all together?  If the answer is yes to any of the questions, read on for some simple solutions that just may get your arms, shoulders, and neck in a good place so you can focus on those awesome legs carrying you along the trails and roads!
To relieve your upper body discomfort, I suggest you focus on four important areas – your hands, your arms, your shoulders, and your overall posture.  Let’s address each area one-by-one…
Hands – How hard can this be, right?  Your hands should simply hang and flop in concert with your feet, right?  Or, you should clench your hands into tight fists because the tighter they are, the faster you run, right?  Ah – not so fast!  Even though running is primarily a lower-body activity, your hands and how your hold them, play a huge role in how effective and comfortable your run may be.  For best results, keep your hands in a very loose fist with (to the best of your ability) your thumb and middle finger on each hand just barely touching each other.  Imagine you are holding a potato chip between your fingers – you don’t want to break it but you don’t want to drop it.
Arms – As your hands are attached to your arms (stating the obvious?), hand carriage works directly in conjunction with your arm carriage.  Ideally, your loose-fist-potato-chip-carrying hands should be swinging gently back and forth from your shoulder joint as you run.  Your arms should gently swing between your waist and lower chest area naturally with your stride.  Your arms should NOT cross the front or your chest while you run.  Nor, should they swing high above your lower chest area.  Why not?  Well, it’s simple, the higher your arms swing, and the more wildly they swing across your chest, the more effort and energy you waste.  In the end, this inefficient movement will fatigue your arms and, ultimately fatigue your body as a whole.
Shoulders – Your shoulders should be low and loose as you run.  Try not to raise them towards your ears (like you do when you shrug your shoulders).  Raising your shoulders like this will cause not just shoulder fatigue, but neck pain as well.  Additionally, try not to round your shoulders or hunch over.  Doing so constricts your breathing which, as you know, is quite necessary when running!  Try to simply keep your shoulders square or facing forward and, if you do start to feel some fatigue, don’t hesitate to drop your arms and shoulders, shake them out to release any tension you’re feeling, and then reset in a relaxed position.
Posture – Finally, as if you didn’t already have enough to think about between your hands, arms, and shoulders, the last piece of the puzzle is to have a good overall running posture.  The good news is, if you follow the hands, arms, and shoulders recommendations above, you’re already well on your way to this goal.  In addition to the above, keep in mind that you should be straight and erect when running.  Imagine if you can, that someone is pulling on a string that runs from your tailbone straight through the top of your head – run tall!  Try not to bend forward or backward at the waist or slump forward in the mid-back area.  Finally, keep your head erect as bending too far forward or backward restricts your airway.
Does this sound like a lot to remember or figure out on your own?  That’s ok – Health and Wholeness is here to help you.  In our run coaching program, I can work with you through video analysis to assess and fix your running form!  If you’re built upside down (or just want to improve your running) schedule an appointment today.
Health and Wholeness is a multifaceted fitness and wellness business serving Arlington and Alexandria, Virginia, featuring: Private and Semi-Private Personal Training, Circuit and Mat Pilates classes, Muscle Activation Techniques, Run Coaching, Fitness Boot Camps, Nutrition Consultations and Food Sensitivity Testing, Acupuncture, Massage, Wellness Coaching, Infrared Sauna, Ionic Foot Soaks and more. Come check us out today!

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Burn, Turkey, Burn!

Jump Start Your Fitness With A New Kind Of Boot Camp From Health And Wholeness! What: 10-DAY “TURKEY BURN” BOOT CAMP This intense camp will blast your body into shape and bring you to a new level of fitness! Along with the physical training of boot camp – sprinting, lifting, jumping, sweating – we’ll offer you nutrition tips to ensure your success, such as:
  • How to eat pre- and post-workout
  • How to eat for body composition change
  • How to prepare quick healthy meals
  • How to navigate your way through the holidays, and much MORE!*
Who: Glory Billman, ACSM Certified Personal Trainer, Registered Nurse, Professional Bodybuilding Athlete, and Nutrition Coach will whip you into shape during this “turkey burn” and fire up your metabolism for the season. Glory’s training style is based on metabolic transformation through interval training, functional fitness, and heavy weight-lifting. Be prepared for a camp that emphasizes body-weight movements and incorporates daily nutrition advice. *Two out of the 10 days will feature group Mat Pilates instruction by Alisia Essig. Pilates is a form of low-impact exercise that emphasizes the balanced development of the body through postural awareness, core strength and flexibility, and it will complement your boot camp efforts! Where: The INDOOR Basketball Court at the Avalon at Arlington Square Resident Center (2350 26th Court South, Arlington VA) When: NOV. 26-DEC. 5 and/or DEC. 10-19 @ 6:00-7:00AM *Meets every day for 10 days...that’s right...10 days straight! Choose between 2 options (or sign up for BOTH if you want a DOUBLE fat-blast!) Why: The holidays are the hardest time of year to start new goals or stay on track with your recent ones, but we’ll help you challenge that! This year – between Thanksgiving and Christmas – take control of your metabolism before the turkey and holiday cookies do! $200 (only $20/session!) *Special* “Bring-a-Buddy”: $20 off if you refer a friend! SIGN UP TODAY! Questions? Email Glory at trainerglory@gmail.com or Call 571.421.2774 Health and Wholeness is a multifaceted fitness and wellness business serving Arlington and Alexandria, Virginia, featuring: Private and Semi-Private Personal Training, Circuit and Mat Pilates classes, Muscle Activation Techniques, Fitness Boot Camps, Nutrition Consultations and Food Sensitivity Testing, Acupuncture, Massage, Wellness Coaching, Infrared Sauna, Ionic Foot Soaks and more.

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Lattes and Snickers and Pies…Oh My!

How do you stay motivated through the holidays? For our Running Coach, Susan Colarco, it’s all about holiday-themed races and getting some goals on the calendar. Here, Susan shares some more info on some fun, local race opportunities! It’s that time of year! Fall. The weather is cooling off, the days are getting shorter, the leaves are bursting with color, and the stores are already selling Christmas trees. (Seriously?!?!) And along with the usual Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year festivities comes some lazy couch lounging and some serious eating and drinking. You know your favorites: hot apple cider, champagne, pumpkin and eggnog lattes, Halloween candy (my favorite is banana-flavored Laffy Taffy – yeah, I’m that person!), cherry pie, pecan pie, pumpkin pie, apple pie…you get the point! So how do you stay physically motivated through these lazy and tempting days?  You merge the holiday festivities with some really fun races! What? You didn’t know there are Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year-themed races? That’s right folks…no excuses! If you’re looking for a little motivation to get you off the couch, past the candy corn and out the front door, check out the list of local races below. And remember, registering for a race – simply getting something on the calendar – and then working towards that goal is a great way to stay motivated through the cold, dark months of winter. I hope to see you on the trails and at the races! •    October 27 – Ft. Meade, MD – Ghosts, Ghouls, and Goblins 5K Run/1 mile Walk •    October 28 – Fairfax, VA – Goblin Gallop 5k and 1k •    November 4 – Loudon County, VA – Blood and Guts Zombie 5k •    November 11 – Washington, DC – Veteran’s Day 10k and Tidal Basin Walk •    November 22 – Arlington, VA – The Arlington Turkey Trot •    November, 22 – Alexandria, VA – The Alexandria Turkey Trot •    November 22 - Washington, DC – Thanksgiving Day Trot For Hunger •    December 1 – Arlington, VA – PRR’s 5k Jingle Bell Jog •    December 9 – Washington, DC – Jingle All The Way 8k •    December 22 – Washington, DC – Christmas Caper 5k and 10k •    January 1, 2013 – Reston, VA – PRR’s New Year’s Day 5k Susan Colarco is a Certified Running Coach at Health and Wholeness – a multifaceted fitness and wellness business serving Arlington and Alexandria, Virginia, featuring: Private and Semi-Private Personal Training, Circuit and Mat Pilates classes, Muscle Activation Techniques, Fitness Boot Camps, Nutrition Consultations and Food Sensitivity Testing, Acupuncture, Massage, Wellness Coaching, Infrared Sauna, Ionic Foot Soaks and more.

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Take It On The Road!

Written by Susan Colarco So you’re getting ready to go on vacation.  Bathing suit – packed.  Comfy slippers – packed.  Money, camera, 14 different electrical chargers for your various high tech, WiFi doodads – packed.  Running shoes and running clothes – ummm... What, the thought of treadmill running makes you ill? You don’t know the area well enough to know whether to turn right or left once you exit the front door? You’re afraid of busy streets in strange cities? You have some other reason – whatever it may be – that has led you to decide that you don’t think you’re going to be able to get that run in while you’re on vacation? I say, think again, be bold, and take your running on the road! Let’s be honest - running is one of the easiest sports to take with you no matter where you go. It doesn’t require various sets of weights, complicated equipment, or too much time. Think about it – what equipment do you really need to get a good run in? Your trusty pair of shoes, some great socks, shorts, a shirt, a reliable sports bra (for all you ladies out there), and a hat and sunglasses to ward off the sun (or a warm hat and gloves if you’re heading to a location with cooler temps). It sure seems to me that you can fit all of those items in a small corner of your otherwise over-packed suitcase. So why is it that we tend to forget our running routine the minute we hit the road? My guess is, above all else, we’re less inclined to run when we’re out of our element. We don’t know where to run, how far to run, or how long to run. We don’t know where the trails are, where the safe neighborhoods are, or where the sometimes-necessary potty stops are...So how do you combat that feeling of trepidation and stay fit while you’re on the road?  Read on for a few tips:
  • Talk to the concierge or front desk staff at your hotel. I recently asked the concierge at my San Francisco hotel for running route suggestions and he pulled out an elaborate map with 3, 5, and 7 mile loops provided (complete with recommended scenic stops, water fountains, and public restrooms). Admittedly, not every hotel is going to have this plotted out for you. So, in those instances where the hotel doesn’t have a running route map at the ready, be specific with your questions. For example, ask about rush hour traffic, tricky street crossings, friendly local businesses that might allow you to use a restroom if necessary, etc.  Most important, ask about the safety of the area in which you plan to run. A little hint though – don’t ask the hotel, “is the area safe?”  Inevitably, the answer you will get is “yes” as there aren’t too many hotel professionals who would admit otherwise to a guest. Instead, ask questions like, “If your mother were visiting, which direction would you send her?”  By personalizing this question, you’re more likely to get an honest response from the hotel staff.
  • Call/E-mail/Facebook ahead to a local running group. I recently attended a reunion in Omaha – a city I grew up in, but had not visited in more than 10 years. In order to stick with my marathon training schedule, I had to get in a 14 mile run. Needless to say, a lot can change in 10 years; I had no idea where I should go to get my mileage in. With a little bit of research, I was able to reach out to an Omaha running group. I told the point of contact where I was staying and the distance I needed to do. Not only did he suggest a great route, but he ended up meeting up with me to do the run.
  • Register for a race. That’s right!  Nothing keeps you honest like paying to enter a race. Not only can registering for a local race help you to get your mileage in, but it can also offer you a unique perspective on the location you are visiting. And just think, you’ll have a ready-made course available, water and other aid along the way, a t-shirt that none of your friends have, and you might just meet a few nice people in the process. Not sure how to find races in the area to which you are traveling? Try websites like http://www.active.com/, http://www.coolrunning.com/, and http://www.findarace.org/. Still not finding a race in the area you plan to visit? Remember that some small, local races aren’t necessarily advertised on these far-reaching websites, so simply do an internet search for road races near your planned location. I did that in Arizona recently and came across http://www.allarizonarunningevents.com/ – this website led me to one of the best races I’ve ever run!
  • Check out the local running stores. No one knows the area, routes, traffic, safety, and resources better than your local running store workers. Ask them for tips and when they meet for organized group runs.
As you can see, there are plenty of on-the-road resources available if you just do a little research. And remember, running is a great way to cover some ground while taking in the local sights and sounds. Think of your next vacation run as a tour where you act as your own tour guide. Happy trails! Susan Colarco is a Certified Running Coach at Health and Wholeness – a multifaceted fitness and wellness business in Arlington, Virginia featuring: Private and Semi-Private Personal Training as well as Group Runs and Individual Run Coaching, Pilates, Muscle Activation Techniques, Fitness Boot Camps, Nutrition Consultations, Acupuncture, Massage, Wellness Coaching, Infrared Sauna, Ionic Foot Soaks and more.

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