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Tips for Your Next DESTINATION Race

Destination Race Photo

By: Angela Ciroalo

Are you considering traveling to a race in another city, state or maybe even country? Try a destination race!
Destination races are great for solo runners, groups of friends, and even families.
They create the opportunity for the runner to visit a new place, take a vacation, meet new people, and participate in a new event.
In an effort to ensure the trip is worry-free, enjoyable and exciting, read my list of nine essential tips to prepare for your next destination race.
Earlier this year I traveled to California to run in a 10k race on the San Leandro Shoreline, a few miles from San Francisco.
The race was a lot fun, the course was beautiful, and the weather was spectacular.
As a result of my travels I shared with you several tips to help you have an awesome time and maybe even set a personal record during your next destination race.

Destination-Race-Packing-List

Pack Race Day Gear First
Before packing your favorite bathing suit, that beautiful dress that has been sitting in your closet, or the sunscreen – you may want to start by packing your essential running gear.
Imagine waking up race day morning to find out that your running shoes are sitting on your living room table?
Pack the essentials: shirt, shorts/pants, socks, shoes, gels, belts, headband, hat, or anything else that you run with on a daily basis.
When deciding on your outfit, be sure to check the weather forecast of the race destination.
For those who are concerned their gear might get lost or stolen, another option is to pack race gear in your carry on – or to even wear it during your flight, or while you are traveling.

Use Extra Travel Time to Relax
During your travels try to make time to stretch, drink plenty of fluids, rest if possible, and prevent any unnecessary stress.
Traveling can be difficult for everyone, although when you are preparing for a specific event travel can become exceedingly more difficult.
Use this time to visualize your race, remind yourself of all of the hard work you have done to prepare for this event, congratulate yourself for the success you have achieved thus far – and get excited!
Utilize this extra time during travel to prepare your body, physically and mentally. This way when you are arrive you are fully prepared for the big day.

Race at Beginning or End of Vacation? 
When planning your race destination, be cautious of where you place the race date during your trip.
Placing a race at the end of a vacation can leave you depleted and tired on race day. Additionally, you may not be in top shape and your results may suffer.
Scheduling the race in the middle of the trip can cause complications. The race may interfere with the itinerary or other vacation plans.
If possible, schedule your race at the beginning of your trip. This will allow you to race in your top shape, you will be in race mode (not vacation mode), you will be (hopefully) well rested, and you will have plenty of time to vacation and sightsee after the race is over. Most importantly you can celebrate your success throughout the remainder of the trip.
During my recent trip to California, I raced the morning after our flight arrived. Though this was slightly difficult because the flight had landed at 12 am the day prior, I was thrilled because I felt prepared, focused, and the time difference gave me an additional three hours of sleep.

What Do I Eat? 
What you will eat the night before, the morning of, during the race, and after the race are all very important factors to take into consideration.
The pre-race meal and the post-race meals are generally the more important meals, therefore you will want to be extra cautious when planning these out.
The last thing you want is to eat food your stomach is not familiar with the night before a race causing you to feel uncomfortable or ill. Stick to the age old tip; don’t try anything new race week.
When choosing a restaurant, pick food that you are familiar with eating the night before a run. In the event of an emergency or issue, be sure to pack snacks and foods that can be easily stored and consumed.
After the race be sure to not wait too long to properly refuel with adequate nutrients.
Some great tools to use when choosing your pre- and post-race meals include Zagat, LocalEats, Open Table or Yelp. These websites and smartphone applications with help you to locate restaurants and eateries that fit your needs.

Transportation to The Race
For those who utilized public transportation to arrive to their location be sure to pre-plan transportation for race morning.
The morning of a race can be stressful, tiring, upsetting and even nerve-wrecking.
In an effort to avoid confusion, or even arriving to the race late, plan your route and method of transportation in advance.
Ordering a taxi cab or using online transportation networks like Uber or Lyft can save you time, energy and money.
During my trip to California I used Lyft to arrive to my race destination race. The cost was inexpensive and the process was accommodating and safe.
Renting a car is another safe option. A can rental can also be beneficial if you plan to sightsee later that day.

Proper Hydration During Travels
Traveling often leaves the body dehydrated and tired. In an effort to avoid this common issue pack a reusable water bottle to use during your trip.
Most hotels offer filtered water to their guests and locations to refill water bottles.
Be sure to drink plenty of fluids the days you are traveling to and from your destination, the day before your race, directly after your race, and during your sightseeing ventures.

Sleep and Rest
It is quite common for athletes to lose sleep the night before a big event.
In an effort to avoid race day fatigue, make an effort to receive adequate sleep the days leading up to the race.
The days leading up to a race are often spent tapering (running less to rest your legs), therefore your body will appreciate the extra sleep.
After tapering and sleeping 8-10 hours before the big day you will arrive to race day fully prepared to give your best effort.
After the race, you will also want to set aside some extra time to rest your legs, sleep, stretch, foam roll and walk.

Destination-Races-600x600

Proper Post-Race Recovery
After a race it is easy to get caught up in the post-race activities, food and festivities; however these actions can make recovery very difficult.
After your race make time for your regular post-race routine which should include; hydrating with electrolytes and water; re-fueling with adequate protein, carbohydrates and fats as well as vitamins and minerals; stretching and foam rolling; resting and recovering; and getting a good night of sleep.
This may be difficult if you have limited time in your location and you want to squeeze everything in, however keep in mind that chances are you will feel it later.
After my race in California, I showered and went directly out to sightsee and explore.
While this was beneficial for my legs to spend time walking after the race, I did not to take some time to stretch, rest and properly refuel.
As a result, I felt fatigued and sore by the end of the day.
Take it from me, the extra hour of rest, proper refueling, and stretching can make a world of difference while decreasing recovery time dramatically.

Have Fun!
Take photos, do funny poses, make new friends, try new foods, take in the sights, try your best – and have a good time.
The purpose of your trip is to enjoy yourself. Destination races often go down as one of our top 10 favorite races ever completed.
They are filled with a sense of freedom, opportunity, mystery and excitement.
Take this time to enjoy this experience.

SF

Caption: Me in San Francisco for a destination race in February 2017 – Took first in my age group!

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You Can Run Your First 5k!

Overcome your fears and achieve your goals: Here is how.

By: Angela Ciroalo

Have you ever dreamed of running in a 5k race but never thought you could actually do it.

Instead millions of doubts, questions and concerns flashed through your mind; How would you prepare for it? Are you actually capable of completing it? Where would you even start? Could you get injured? Is it even worth it?

So many questions run through your mind, causing you to doubt your abilities and pass the idea off as a brief moment of excitement.

Don’t let your dreams stop here. Give your dream a chance. Challenge yourself and let your body show you what it is capable of!

You can do anything if you put your mind to it and you CAN finish a 5k race!

Think back to how you felt when the idea first ran through your mind. You saw yourself running in the race, crossing the finish line, and feeling absolutely fantastic. This does not have to be a fantasy. Make your dream a reality. Follow the tricks, tips, advice and training plan provided in this article.

Women

Step 1: Change your mindset.

A 5k race is achievable for everyone and anyone.

You can, and you will, complete your first 5k race.

Now that you have read that sentence, repeat it, think it, and believe it. Tell your friends. Tell your family. The more you say, the more you will believe it.

At times when your beliefs run low, use visualization and envision yourself crossing the finish line.

When times are tough and you don’t feel like exercising in preparation for the race remind yourself of your goal and how are going to feel once you achieve it!

Michael Thorne Race

Step 2: Choose Your Race

Select the race that you plan to complete.

Use local race calendars to find a race that is close by, in a convenient location and is runner/walker friendly.

Choose a race that is within the next three months to prevent any relapse or a change in mindset.

Ensure that you, your family and your friends are not busy that day.

Once the race is selected – sign up! Don’t put it off and forget about it.

Angela_Firecracker 5Mile_2016

Step 3: Begin working toward your goal.

In order to prepare for the race start your training by walking.

Walk three to five days per week for a total of 20-30 minutes. Walking will create your baseline fitness level, which you will improve upon as you are training.

Once you feel comfortable walking several times per week for a few weeks, begin to implement jogging into your walk.

Jog for several seconds, followed by walking for a few minutes.

Increase the amount of time you jog during each workout until you are able to jog for a full 20 minutes or more.

Follow the 8-week long training plan provided below. The plan will guide a new runner to walk/jog their first 5k race!

You Can Run Your First 5k
8-Week Training Plan

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Wk. 1 Walk 15 min. Stretch Walk/Jog 15 min. Stretch Walk 15 min. Stretch  Walk/Jog  20 min.
Wk. 2 Walk 15 min. Stretch Walk/Jog  20 min. Stretch Walk 20 min. Stretch Walk/Jog 25 min.
Wk. 3 Walk 17 min. Stretch Walk/Jog  25 min. Stretch Walk 23 min. Stretch Walk/Jog 30 min.
Wk. 4 Walk 17 min. Stretch Walk/Jog  25 min. Stretch Walk 25 min. Stretch Walk/Jog 30 min.
Wk. 5 Walk 20  min. Stretch Walk/Jog  30 min. Stretch  Jog 5-10 Walk 5-10 Stretch Jog 10 Walk 20
Wk. 6 Walk/Jog 20 min. Stretch Walk 10, Jog 10, Walk 10 Stretch Jog 15
Walk 15
Stretch Jog 18  Walk 15
Wk. 7 Walk/Jog25 Stretch Walk 8, Jog 15, Walk 7 Stretch Jog 20  Walk 10 Stretch Jog 22  Walk 10
Wk. 8 Walk/Jog 20 Stretch Walk 5, Jog 15, Walk 5 Stretch Jog/Walk 20 min. Stretch 5k Race! 

Step 4: Look and Feel the Part

In an effort to feel fully prepared for the race it is important to feel as though you “fit in” with other runners.

Try stopping in to a running specialty store and check out the different styles of shorts, tops and shoes that were created for runners.

The clothing and specialty outfits are not essential. They were created for comfort, support and injury prevention.

Pick out an outfit that makes you feel comfortable running.

Practice your run in this outfit a few times, then save it to wear during your big day. A comfortable running outfit will ensure confidence, ease and prevention of injury on race day

Belmar 5Mile_July 2016_Angela

Step 5: Train Appropriately.

Warm Up: Before each workout complete a 10 to 15 minute warm up. The warm up is crucial for preventing injury and ensuring a great workout.

Run or walk at a speed that allows you to maintain a conversation. You should not feel out of breath or tired at this point.

The Workout: Follow you training plan and run and/or walk for 10 to 30 minutes three to four times per week leading up to the race.

Cool Down: Once your workout is completed the body should be adequately cooled down before fully stopping. Begin slowing your speed down, allowing the heart rate to return to resting levels.

Walk or run at a conversational pace for five to ten minutes.

Follow your cool down with stretching. Hold your stretches for 10 – 15 seconds to create flexibility and prevent injury.

ST Pl
Female runner exercising

Step 6: Follow these great tips to motivate you in preparation for your first 5k race!

–          Find a running partner buddy to train with, run the race with, or hold you accountable.

–          Set a goal finishing time.

–          Create a vision board to place on your wall reminding you of your goal.

–          Lay out your running clothes the night before a workout.

–          Share the good news. Tell friends and family that you will be participating. Invite them to cheer you on.

–          Keep a training journal to monitor the progress you are making.

–          Look up the race map to fully prepare you for the event.

–          Don’t beat yourself up if you miss or skip a workout.

–          Celebrate each accomplishment along the way.

–          Enjoy the journey and have fun!

Love running

 

 

Top 10 Tips for New Runners

By: Angela  Ciroalo

Learn to fall in love with running this autumn with these 10 easy-to-follow tips for runners just starting out.

  1. Learn to walk before you can run

There is no reason to begin your running journey by sprinting.

Running is all about pacing yourself. Learn this early on.

Begin your first run by walking with short bursts of jogging.

If you feel comfortable with this, jog at a very low speed.

As you begin to feel more comfortable running, begin to increase your speed or distance, depending on your goals.

Ease into your new routine. Allow your body to acclimate to this new activity.

Enjoy the sights and sounds around you while running. Try not to focus on the distance or time remaining. Take notice of all that you are able to see and experience along the way.

Run Walk
 Photo taken from Active.com 

  1. Warm up and cool down

Warming your body up before a run will improve performance and prevent injury.

Start your workouts with a simple warm up such as jumping jacks, a light jog, marching in place; whatever you feel most comfortable doing for five to ten minutes before a run.

Once you have finished your workout, take five to ten minutes to cool down at a slow pace.

A cool down will allow the body to readjust after your activity. All cool downs should also be followed by ten minutes of stretching. If you want to prevent injuries, stretch.

Your muscles will thank you.

Warm Up

Photo taken from newmarketsoccerclub.com.au

Runner stretches
Photo taken from pixgood.com

  1. Set a Goal

Whether your goal is weight loss, better overall health, finishing a race in a certain amount of time, or running a specific distance – it is important to select a goal.

When times are tough and you feel like giving up, your goal will remind you why you started.

It will also give you’re the extra push you need to try harder when you feel as though you have given your all.

  1. Perfect your Form

The form of a runner is critical in preventing injuries and improving performance.

Form is your body placement during a run.

New runners should get in the habit of running with optimal form early on.

To improve your form, take notice of your posture, head placement, torso movements, arm swings, foot strike and stride length during a run.

Is your back straight? Are your arms pumping to fast? Are you over striding your steps? Are you looking down instead of up?

runner form

  1. Create Accountability

Once your goal is set, share it with friends, family and social media.

The more people you tell about your goal, the more people that will hold you accountable for achieving it.

It feels great to share your progress along the way and feel the support of those around you.

Another great form of accountability is to recruit a running partner. Someone who will train with you and support you along the way.

Training partners are invaluable when just starting out.

  1. Rest and recover

The muscles need time to recover, especially when beginning a new routine.

Days off from exercise are very important in preventing an overuse injury.

If taking a full day off is very difficult for you, try cross training or yoga.

This way you are able to rest the muscles used during a run while still working out your body.

toga

  1. Strengthen your whole body

Running should not be your only activity.

Exercise should be balanced throughout the body.

If you plan on running three days out of the week, take one to two days to strength train.

Balance lower body workouts with upper body.

Cross training is another great way to create strength throughout the body, rather than just in your legs.

Try implementing Pilates, biking and/or swimming to recruit strength from the whole body.

lift

  1. Improve eating habits

Many new runners get confused about how much to eat, when to eat, and how often.

The amount you eat should depend on the way you feel.

Listen to your body. If you feel hungry, eat. If you feel full, don’t.

The real focus should be on implementing natural, whole food.

Begin including whole grains, vegetables, fruits and healthy fats into your diet, rather than just eating larger portions.

My Plate

Composition of various exotic fruits isolated on white background

  1. Choose a training plan

Once you have chosen your goal, select a realistic training plan that you allow you to achieve it without getting side tracked.

Select the date or month that you would like your goal achieved by.

Mark down the amount of weeks you have to get there.

And choose the distances and speeds that you will complete each week until then.

Make sure your training plan is realistic and accommodating to your fitness level and available training time.

5k plan
Photo taken from www.makingthymeforhealth.com

  1. Get the appropriate gear

Many people will lace up their old sneakers and throw on an old t-shirt for their first run.

While this is great when just getting started, if you plan to continue running it is best to pick up a supportive pair of running shoes and some comfortable running gear.

Comfortable shirts and shorts that do not stick to your body or cause chafing make all the difference. They also improve confidence.

When picking up a dri-fit running shirt, be sure to stop in the shoe section.

According to the September 2015 issue of Runners’ World magazine our feet absorb two to four times our body weight with each step we take.

The more supportive your shoes are, the more impact your shoes absorb, rather than your ankles, knees and hips.

Stop by a local running store and have your shoes fitted.

Author Sarah Condor once said, “Remember, the feeling you get from a good run is far better than the feeling you get from sitting around wishing you were running.”

So stop thinking about running, get out there and start doing it.

Start with a jog around your block, a jog to the park, or even a walk down the street.

Your first step is the most important.

PierHouse 5k Race Pier House 5k

(Above, myself with friends during a recent 5k race.)
I had a wonderful time!
Running alongside other people was really encouraging. I ran much faster than I expected. I was hoping to finish in 25 minutes, running eight minute miles. Surprisingly, I was able to finish in 22:31, running an average of 7:15 minute miles.

If you are interested in running, I strongly urge you to participate in a 5k race.
Races are A LOT of fun. They leave you with such a running high that you cannot wait to get out there and run some more.

If there is any topic that you feel was not covered in the, “Top 10 Tips for New Runners” article, please notify me and I would be happy to include the information.

Wishing you love, joy and blessings!
Get outside and RUN today. 

Best,

Angela Joy

Runner’s Tips for Avoiding Heat Illness This Summer

By: Angela Ciroalo

Things are heating up at the Jersey Shore – quite literally actually.
Summer has finally set in and runners alike are enjoying every bit of it.

Despite the welcoming temperatures and sun’s refreshing beams, there are some factors that must be considered before jumping onto the pavement to run these next two months.

Jumping on the beach

Photo taken from http://www.philly.com

Heat Illness
Heat illness can occur to anyone participating in outdoor activity during a hot day.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] reported that between 1999 and 2010 an average of 618 people died in the United States each year due to a health-related illness.

The CDC further stated that heat-related deaths are more common in the United States than deaths due to tornadoes, earthquakes, floods and hurricanes combined.

HOT running
Photo taken from philly.com

The cause of a heat illness is often attributed to the body being unable to regulate the internal temperature controls, medicinenet.com reported in a June 2015 article titled, Hypothermia.

During high temperatures, the body will attempt to cool itself down through the evaporation of sweat.

Issues occur, however, when conditions such as high temperatures and humidity levels prevent sweat from evaporating, leaving the body in an overheated state.

Sweat is unable to evaporate as quickly in high heat/humid conditions, preventing heat from being released.

Types of Heat Illnesses
There are several types of heat-related illnesses.

Heat-related illnesses include; heat cramps, heat syncope, heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and hypernatremia, according to the United States Health Service Commission Corporation [HSCC].

Heat Illness
Photo taken from kidshealth.org

Heat cramps are pains most commonly in the quadriceps, hamstrings and calves, caused by dehydration, electrolyte loss or inadequate blood flow to muscles.

Heat syncope is the result of decreased blood flow to the brain.

Heat exhaustion is a shock-like condition caused due to the body’s inability to acclimate to the high temperature and level of exercise, combined.

Hyponatremia, or water intoxication, is the attributed to excess water intake without proper electrolyte consumption.

Common symptoms and signs of heat-related illness includes; profuse sweating, dizziness, faintness, increased heart rate, nausea, vomiting, headache, extreme thirst, chills,  and even loss of consciousness.

Heat Illnesses
P
hoto taken from uchicago.edu

The most severe of the heat-related illnesses is heat stroke.

Heat stroke occurs when the body temperature is too high and the thermal regulatory mechanism is overwhelmed, according to the HSCC.

Heat stroke can occur due to fluid depletion or inability to absorb fluid.

Key signs include hot skin, pale skin, high pulse, high respiratory rate, decreased urine output, a temperature over 104 or 105 decreased Fahrenheit and pupils that are dilated or unresponsive.

Treating Heat Illness
Most of the above stated heat illnesses can be treated by moving the ill person to a cool, shaded area, placing a wet towel on their skin, elevating the feet, and offering them water and/or an electrolyte-filled beverage.

In the event of a more severe heat illness, call emergency personnel immediately.

Heat ill
Photo taken from constantcontact.com

Tips to Avoid Heat Illness
There are a number of ways to avoid heat-related illness during exercise this summer.

The first and foremost action should be, however, to check the heat index.

The heat index is the air temperature and humidity levels – combined, to provide a description of how the temperature will feel, according to the United States Health Service Commission Corporation [HSCC].
The heat index will determine whether or not it is safe to participate in outdoor activity.

Heat Index
Photo taken from wsu.edu

When temperatures exceed 90 degrees Fahrenheit, runners should not partake in outdoor exercise.

To avoid the steaming temperatures of the hot summer days runners can exercise in the early morning or late night hours.

If temperatures are hot, but not hot enough to refrain from participating in exercise, runners should hydrate well throughout the day and during their run, wear lightweight clothing, and exercise for a shorter and slower distance than they regularly do.

Safety precautions should always be taken during hot temperatures in an effort to avoid injury and illness.

Avoid Heat Injury
Photo taken from twu.edu

Angela’s Summer Running Plan
This summer I will be training for the Atlantic City Marathon, which means I will be outside running – a lot.

ACMarathon
Photo taken from teamintraining.org

In an effort to avoid risk of injury I will be running after sunset and hydrating with additional electrolytes and water throughout each day.

During shorter distance runs I often do not take a water bottle or Camelback water pack with me, although due to the higher temperatures I will.

Taking precaution during exercise is important – not only to avoid injury – but also to improve performance.

The heat can have a severe impact on a runner’s performance, which creates a greater reason to take precaution during these beautiful, hot summer months.

A great quote to get you running this month is from marathon record breaker Bill Rodgers, “Anyone can be a runner. We were meant to move. We were meant to run. It is the easiest sport.”

This article was previously published in Night & Day Magazine

If you have been running outside, share with me some of your warm weather outdoor running tips/suggestions. I would love to hear from you!

Check back in soon to hear more about my training schedule and plans!

❤ Wishing you love, joy and blessings.
Best,

Angela Joy

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