Bluefin SoftwareBluefin Software is powered by a husband and wife duo, Alex and Tanya Stankovic. Together, we develop apps for mobile devices. Our apps are more than just beautiful at their core, they're designed around the fitness experiences of real people and supported by the latest knowledge in health and fitness, software design, and technology. Read more
Download Our Apps
We all know that to run our best, we have to eat the best. The cooler temperatures no longer ask for a fresh smoothie or a colorful tropical salad. But that doesn’t mean we have to give up on our healthy habits and fresh, delicious foods as the temperatures drop.
These amazing superfoods are the living proof that we don’t have to sacrifice color, flavor and nutrients this Fall. And the best part, you can find them in the garden, in your local farmer’s market or grocery store.
This satisfying fruit is delicious when eaten raw or baked into a dish. Apples are high in cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber (4 grams of dietary fiber per serving) and, according to a recent study, also contain an antioxidant that may protect against muscle injuries, particularly those caused by downhill running.
They make a deliciously healthy post-run compote or can be paired with cranberries for an Apple Cranberry Pie.
Along with other cruciferous vegetables like cabbage and broccoli, brussels sprouts contain glucosinolates, which destroy cancer-causing agents. In addition, these veggies are a great source of vitamin K, folate and iron.
Even though they have a bitter taste, these veggies taste divine when made the correct way. You can lightly steam them or cut them half, toss in olive oil, and bake at 350°F for 20 minutes. They make great side dishes!
These veggies are more nutritionally dense than their white-potato counterparts: they are an excellent source of vitamin A, a good source of iron and they contain more potassium than bananas. A recent study showed that eating sweet-potato extract for a week boosted levels of antioxidants and lowered markers of muscle damage after a hard run.
Instead of boiling, try roasting them. They’ll taste even better, and you may preserve more nutrients than boiling.
This slightly sour fruit is rich in anthocyanidins, which help keep cholesterol levels healthy and, according to a study from the University of Texas at Austin, reduce post-run soreness. In addition, pomegranates are a good source of vitamin C and folate.
The juice provides a tangy base for marinades and post-run smoothies, and the seeds can be sprinkled over salads or yogurt.
Pumpkin is THE food of the season and can be used for much more than jack-o’-lanterns! Pumpkins are rich in vitamin A, which is the nutrient responsible for giving pumpkin its antioxidants and rich orange color. You’re also getting other minerals, including potassium and calcium, and high quantity of fiber in exchange for fairly low calories.
Its sweet taste and moist texture make it ideal for pies, cakes, and even pudding!
We know how hard it can be to stick to your training program. Even though all our training programs are designed to gradually increase the effort needed, long runs are always tough and exhausting. And not only physically. Long-distance running can be as much a mental challenge as it is a physical test of strength and fitness.
When you find yourself struggling during a longer run, try some of these mental tricks to help win the mental battle while running:
Break it up
A very effective mental running trick for longer training runs is splitting the distance into smaller mileage, so you don’t feel overwhelmed by thinking about how far it is to the finish. For example, you might mentally break a 12 mile run into three 4-mile runs, a much more do-able and not so overwhelming distance.
One easy way to do it is by planning specific destinations into your route: 4 miles to the park, other 4 miles to the church and the last 4 will be logged on the route back to your house or starting point.
Talk to yourself
The person running next to you might think you’re crazy, but who cares? Giving yourself a pep talk can make the difference when you are struggling to keep going. Say to yourself things like, “I can do this!”, “I’m staying strong” or even “I’ll have some water in five minutes – that will make me feel better.”
Picking a mantra, such as “You’re stronger than you think you are.” or “One step at a time” can also be your inner motivation when you need it most and will definitely help you stay focused and centered.
Recruit a friend
Most runners prefer to do their long runs by themselves. But doing it with a running buddy might be the solution for your boredom and lack of enthusiasm during longer distances. Having a buddy to run with can distract you from the mileage and give you the motivation you need to get through the hardest miles.
Taking your mind off your running and placing it elsewhere is a tried and very effective mental running trick. And what better than playing a game to keep your brain busy while your body does its work? Here are two examples:
- Counting cars: pick out a specific car color to look for during your run. Then count how many cars you see with that specific color. You can also do this with specific articles of clothing, houses, types of trees, etc.
- Go fishing: if you’re running on a track with other runners, focus on someone in front of you who you think you can catch. Then picture yourself reeling that person in, as you keep getting closer and closer to him. When you pass that runner, pick out another person and continue the fishing game.
Imagine yourself on race day
Whenever you’re having a tough time with your long run, picture yourself on race day, running the course and crossing the finish line. During a race, you have to be mentally strong and do whatever you can to keep going. You don’t want to disappoint yourself or all those spectators watching you. So, toughen up and push yourself, while you imagine how it will feel to see your loved ones at the finish line cheering for you.
Do you have your own tricks to tackle your long run? Share them in the comments below!
Many of you probably have “running a marathon” on your bucket lists. But here comes the tough question: Which one should you run? With more than 1,100 marathons taking place in the U.S. each year, we understand that choosing a race can be as hard as finding a needle in a haystack.
If you are looking for a unique experience or a fabulous destination, we’ve done the groundwork for you and identified 8 top races that happen from January to December.
While a few of the most popular races are already sold out this year, it’s never too early to mark your calendar and make your way to a starting line in 2016! For extra help, download one of Hal Higdon’s marathon training plans!
When: The 2016 race will happen on the 14th of February 14. The race is typically in March.
Where: Los Angeles, California
Why you should race it: the City of Angels’ signature marathon debuted in 1986, but it has seen a resurgence in popularity in the most recent years. The point-to-point course starts outside Dodger Stadium and wind its way down to a finish on the Santa Monica coastline, taking runners through West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica and more.
When: Patriots’ Day, the third Monday in April. The 2016 race will happen on April 18th.
Where: Boston, Massachusetts
Why you should race it: Boston Marathon is the ultimate “bucket list” race for many runners around the world. Not only this is the world’s oldest annual marathon – the Boston Marathon was first run in 1897 – it is also one of the toughest to get into. But once you’ve secured a spot, you’ll conquer the historic course and challenging Heartbreak Hill in front of crowds of more than 500,000 spectators.
Big Sur International Marathon
When: Last Sunday in April. The 2016 race will take place on the 24th of April.
Where: Carmel, California
Why you should race it: Big Sur International Marathon is quite possibly the most scenic marathon in the U.S. Now in its 30th year, this point-to-point Marathon runs along the famous Pacific Coast Highway and seven California State Parks. The signature landmark of the race is at the halfway point, when runners cross the iconic Bixby Bridge.
Twin Cities Marathon
When: First Sunday in October. The 2015 race will take place on the 4th of October.
Where: St. Paul, Minnesota
Why you should race it: The Twin Cities Marathon is a great way to tour two cities for the price of one! The race starts in downtown Minneapolis, passes four of the state’s many lakes, then crosses the Mississippi River into St. Paul, where you’ll finish at the State Capitol Grounds. No wonder it is dubbed “The Most Beautiful Urban Marathon in America”.
When: Second Sunday in October. The 2015 race will take place on the 11th of October.
Where: Chicago, Illinois
Why you should race it: the Chicago Marathon is known for its flat-and-fast course that starts and finishes in Grant Park, winding through downtown Chicago and 29 of its neighborhoods. Along the 26.2 course, there’s not a single spot without spectators, as more than 1 million of them line Chicago’s streets to encourage runners.
Marine Corps Marathon
When: Fourth Sunday in October. The 2015 race takes place on Oct. 25.
Where: Arlington, Virginia
Why you should race it: Also known as the “Marathon of the Monuments”, this popular race starts at Potomac River in Arlington, Va. and offers a comprehensive tour of Washington, D.C.’s most famous landmarks, including Georgetown, the Washington Monument, and the Jefferson Memorial before heading back to Virginia. The MCM has also adopted a lottery system in recent years, due to its increasing popularity.
New York City Marathon
When: First Sunday in November. The 2015 race will take place on November 1st.
Where: New York, New York
Why you should race it: the NYC Marathon is the largest in the world and runners seem to adore the route! The course provides a tour of all five boroughs of New York City, from Staten Island to Manhattan’s Central Park, where you can expect more than a million spectators to cheer you through the finish. To register you’ll have to sign up for a lottery, but the odds might not be in your favour: in 2015, there was only room for 18 percent of the applicants.
Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon
When: The 2015 race will take place on Nov. 15.
Where: Las Vegas, Nevada
Why you should race it: even though the concept of Rock’n’Roll marathons was created in San Diego, Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas is a runner’s party, where you’ll find a vibrant, enthusiast atmosphere unlike any race in the country. Plus, this is the only opportunity to run the famous Las Vegas Strip at night!
Last week we mentioned how important it is to take time to stretch before every workout. But how about the minutes that follow a run? Shouldn’t they be used to cool-down and stretch out all of the major muscles you used? The answer is: YES!
Stretching after a physical activity improves flexibility, re-establishes a normal range of movement for your body and reduces the potential of any stiffness or soreness by beginning the process of realigning muscle fibers.
After your run, cool-down for 5 to 10 minutes with a brisk walk or a gentle jog. Then, hold these stretches static (without moving) for 10 to 15 seconds, making sure to do both sides.
To make stretching more fun and enjoyable, give our app 5-Minute Stretch for iOS a try!
1. Quadriceps stretch
Often referred to as quads, the quadriceps femoris are the muscles in the front of your thighs, responsible for lifting your knees and increasing your speed.
To stretch them, stand upright and grab hold of a stationary object for balance (a chair, for example) with one hand and use the opposite hand to pull your leg behind you. Try to keep your back straight and your knee pointing downward as you do this stretch to protect your knee joint.
2. Hamstring stretch
The hamstring is the muscle that makes up the back part of your thigh, stretching from just below the knee up into the buttocks. It’s the muscle that lifts the lower leg and bends the knee after the quads have lifted your knees.
For this stretch, lay on your back, lift and straighten one leg directly above hips. Holding the calf or thigh, press the heel towards the ceiling as you pull leg back towards the chest. Switch legs.
Alternatively, you can do this stretch sitting on the ground. Just extend your left leg, move your right foot toward your inner thigh and lean forward, bending but not rounding your back and waist toward the left foot as if reaching for your toes.
3. Calf stretch
Your calf muscles are located on the back of your lower legs. These muscles are responsible for propelling your legs across your grounded foot while running.
To stretch your calf muscles, lean against a wall or other stationary object with your right foot behind your left. Start to bend your left leg forward while keeping your right leg straight. Be sure not to bend the right knee and to keep your heel firmly positioned on the floor. Start with your back straight and gradually lunge forward until you feel the stretch in your calf. Repeat with the other leg.
4. Piriformis stretch
The piriformis is one of six muscles in the gluteal muscles. It’s engaged with every step you take on the run and it’s responsible for lateral rotation of the hip.
To stretch the piriformis, lie on your back and cross your legs just as you might while sitting in a chair. Grasp the “under” leg with both hands pull it up towards your chest until you feel the stretch in your buttocks and hips. Hold for five seconds and then repeat on the other side.
5. Lower back stretch
This is the stretch that most runners forget. But the truth is that running on hard surfaces like sidewalks can lead to lower back pain and irritation.
To stretch your lower back, start by lying on your back with both feet flat. Pull your right knee to your chest until you feel a stretch in your lower back. Hold for up to 15 seconds and repeat with the left leg. End the stretch by pulling both knees to your chest and holding this position for up to 15 seconds.
Which stretching routine works best for you? Let us know in the comments below!
Stretching is an important component of any fitness routine. Although it can be tempting to skip warm-up (especially if you’re on the clock), you should know better. Running with muscles that are not properly stretched can result in injury that keeps you off the road or trail for days, weeks or even months.
According to Nikki Kimball, from Runner’s World, dynamic stretching has many benefits: “loosens up muscles and increases heart rate, body temperature, and blood flow to help you run more efficiently.”
Begin each running workout with a 5 to 10 minute jog followed by these five essential dynamic stretches and your legs will totally return the favor the next time you step out the door.
1. Walking Lunges
Why are they good for you: walking lunges open up the quads and hip flexors, which are the major muscle groups you’ll be using during your run. Plus, they simulate the forward motion of running, making them a runner-friendly warm-up stretch!
How to do them: Stand with your feet together and take a step forward with your right foot using a long stride, keeping the front knee over or just behind your toes. Bend the front knee to 90 degrees and lower your body by dropping your back knee toward the ground. Maintain an upright posture and keep your abdominal muscles tight. Then, rise up and take a big step forward with your left knee to get the stretch on your left side.
2. Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretches
Why are they good for you: this is a very important stretch, especially for those runners who work at a desk all day. If you do, you probably have tight hip flexors, because they’re constantly in a state of flexion.
How to do them: Start in a lunge position (see above how to do it) with your front knee at 90 degrees and aligned over your toes. Straighten your back leg, until you feel a stretch along the front of your back thigh. Raise your arms up over your head and hold for a few seconds, then release.
3. Hip Circles
Why are they good for you: along with the kneeling hip flexor stretches, hip circles help you warm up the hips, which is key to a runner’s performance. In fact, the hips is where the hip flexors, psoas, and quads and hamstrings come in together, so opening up the joints and muscles of that area before hitting the pavement can help prevent injury.
How to do them: standing with your hands on your hips and your feet hip-width apart, rotate your hips in circles in a clockwise and then counterclockwise pattern, 6 to 10 rotations each direction.
4. Calf Raises
Why are they good for you: calf muscles are responsible for every single step you take on your run. When your foot leaves the ground during a run, your calf muscles contract to make that happen. To avoid soreness or – even worse – an injury, give them some pre-run love by doing a simple set of calf raises.
How to do them: stand on a step with your toes on the edge and your heels hanging off. Push up with both feet into a calf raise, then slowly lower your heels so that they come below the stair and you feel a stretch through your calf muscle.
5. Side Stretches
Why are they good for you: although the cause of side stitches is unclear, some fitness experts say you can help prevent them by stretching your torso before running.
How to do them: bring your arms up over your head and, keeping your abdominals tight, lean to the right and then to the left, bending at the waist. Do this movement dynamically, holding for one or two breaths on each side to warm up the muscles of the midsection.
If you need help incorporating stretching into your running routine, try our 5-Minute Stretch for iOS! This app takes the guess-work out of stretching and makes it fun and enjoyable.
You started running months ago, yet every time you hop on the scale, you feel frustrated with the numbers! Sounds familiar?
Running is a great way to stay in shape and increase your fitness levels. But running and weight loss don’t always go hand-in-hand. So, you might be wondering: what am I doing wrong?
Start by avoiding these common mistakes that can sabotage your efforts to drop a few pounds. There might be a few things on this list that surprise you!
Setting Unrealistic Goals
People often think that a significant weight loss is a consequence of training. Take “The Biggest Loser” as an example: even though the show inspires people to lose weight, it also sets them up for very unrealistic weight loss expectations.
Set a pound to two pounds per week as a realistic goal. But avoid getting too preoccupied with singular scale readouts. Instead, watch for progress over the long haul, and remember to have ways other than the number on the scale to measure your progress, such as how your clothes are fitting or the number of inches you’ve lost.
Overestimating the Calories Burned
It’s true that running burns more calories than nearly any other activity! But you can easily overspend your calorie deficit with a post-run snack.
By understanding about how many calories you burn during your runs, you’ll have a better idea of how to approach that post-run hunger. Very generally, the average man burns 124 calories per mile and the average woman burns 105, which means that a five-miler can burn 525 to 620 calories. If you want a more accurate approach, try using a heart rate monitor, during your runs.
Sports Fuel Overdose
Some runners assume that because they’re running, they’re supposed to refuel before the training is over. Sports drinks, gels and bars might be important tools in a runner’s training arsenal, but when overused they might compromise your weight loss efforts. Not only are they high in calories, but they also have very little nutritional benefit and they won’t keep you full.
Just water should be fine, if you’re running for less than 60 minutes. Go longer and you should consume 30 to 60 grams of carbs per hour of exercise.
Not Fueling Postrun
After longer or tougher workouts, your muscles are hungry, but you might not be. This could help your weight loss, but it actually works the other way around: when your body settles in and realizes its glycogen stores are low, you’ll feel much hungrier.
Even if you don’t have enough appetite after a tougher run, try to refuel within an hour after completing your workout. Keep this snack to fewer than 200 calories.
Not Readjusting Calorie Needs
The lower your weight, the less calories you will need to maintain it. So if you keep consuming the same amount of calories, you’ll probably hit a weight loss plateau.
To continue on losing weight, you have to gradually reduce your calorie intake. First, determine how many calories you need each day with a daily caloric expenditure calculator. Then, create a deficit of approximately 500 calories per day, if your goal is to lose a pound a week.
If you can’t get through the day without a snack, you’re not alone! For us runners, it’s very hard to stick with the three square meals plan without having midnight or mid-afternoon cravings.
Don’t be tempted to grab a bag of sweets or a cake on the way home from work, though. Runners need to fuel their bodies with healthy, nutritious foods before, during and after their runs. This nutrition strategy not only silences your grumbling stomach, but also improves your performance, boosts recovery and aids in weight loss.
From peaches to popcorn, we’ve got 7 runner-friendly snacks that can be eaten whenever hunger comes knocking:
Bananas are a favorite among runners. They are a great source of good carbs, vitamin B6 and potassium. The simple sugars and low amount of fiber make bananas especially easy to digest, which means they are a good snack before, during, or after workout.
This juicy fruit contains several key nutrients for the everyday runner. Peaches are rich in fiber, vitamin C and beta-carotene, a heart-protective antioxidant. They also provide a good amount of potassium, a mineral critical for regulating fluid and electrolyte levels, which makes them the perfect snack for rehydrating after a warm run.
Carrots are low-calorie but filling and contain carotene and vitamin A, which promote eye health and strong immune function. Not only are they good for your health, but they also help you lose weight! Eat them before dinner, so you can satisfy your hunger pangs and avoid overindulging during dinner.
Smoothies can be a nutritious and refreshing summer treat, that runners can have for breakfast, before a run, or as a refreshing, reenergizing, post-run drink.
Mix fruit, juice or soy milk for a healthful dose of fiber, vitamins C and A, plus potassium, fiber, and calcium.
Low in fat and fairly high in carbohydrates, yogurt is also a great source of protein, potassium and calcium. Its live and active cultures are good for the digestive system and makes yogurt a highly digestible pre-race snack.
Cold chocolate milk tastes pretty refreshing after a summer run. It also provides protein, carbohydrates, B vitamins and calcium, making it a great recovery drink – for stronger muscles and bones.
Popcorn can be a healthy snack when you crave a salty food, as long as it’s not loaded with butter, oil, sugar, or loads of salt. Popcorn has very similar nutritional benefits to brown rice or whole wheat bread and since it is rich in fiber it will help you feel fuller longer.
We all know that to improve our running, we have to do much more than just run. Having strong legs is crucial, but to become a more resilient runner, making sure you have a strong core is key.
Core muscles include the postural muscles, which includes the muscles of the back, stomach, and hips. By adding a series of core exercises to your training plan, you’ll be building your strength, stabilizing your body while running, and improving your form when you get tired.
There are lots of core exercises out there, but some of them are definitely better for runners than others. Here are five effective core strengthening exercises that you can do without stepping foot in a gym – all you need is a little floor space!
Lie on your stomach and prop your weight on your toes and forearms. Place your toes about hip distance apart with your elbows resting on the floor right under your shoulders. Keep a straight line from your head to your feet and be sure that your abdominal muscles are engaged.
Hold this position for 30 seconds. Increase the number of repetitions and the length of time you hold the pose as your core strength increases.
Lying on your right side, lift your body and balance on your right elbow and outer edge of your right foot. There should be a straight diagonal line from your feet up to your head.
As an advanced form of the exercise, you can do lateral leg raises, by slowly lifting your left leg to a 45-degree angle and lowering it back down to the start position.
Start by lying on your back with your legs bent and feet flat on the ground. Lift your hips until there is a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Extend one leg straight out, knees together, and hold for a few seconds. Return to the initial position and repeat on the other side. During the exercise, make sure you don’t drop your hips.
With a five to fifteen pound weight on the floor next to you, sit with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. Lean back so your torso is at a 45-degree angle to floor, making sure to keep the spine straight and not rounded and you feel your abs engage. For a greater challenge, lift your feet ever-so-slightly off the floor. Slowly rotate round to the right and pick up your weight. Holding the weight, slowly rotate all the way round to the left as far behind as you can.
The Superman Pose
Lie on your stomach with your arms and legs extended. Start by lifting your right arm with the left leg, then alternate sides. You can practice variations of this move by only lifting the arms or only lifting the legs. The most advanced version of this exercise is holding both arms and legs off the ground at one time. Hold each of these poses for 20 to 30 seconds.
The long-awaited vacation days are around the corner. But a few days away from home also means being away from your regular training routes, training buddies, and training routine.
But there is no need to sacrifice your running while you get some rest and relaxation. In fact, training at a new location can improve your performance and versatility, while you might meet some of the area’s friendliest runners.
Stay on track while you’re on the road, with these simple tips and strategies:
Plan your workouts
The biggest obstacle to training while on vacation is time. So, as you map out your sightseeing plans, you should also spend some time scheduling your workouts. Ideally, you’ll end up with a plan for how your training works into your vacation schedule.
If you’re training for a half or full marathon with one of Hal Higdon’s plans, you may want to plan your training so that your vacation corresponds with a “stepback” week.
Do your research before you leave
Plan and map your running routes, along with the top attractions and restaurants that you can’t miss at your vacation destination. Check out sites such as Map My Run or Trails.com for running routes at your vacation locale.
Make sure you have a few running routes in hand in case some routes you mapped aren’t suitable. By doing so, you won’t feel as concerned about running at your destination once you arrive.
Find a running buddy
Will you be traveling with others? Scope them out to see if there are any runners in the group. If you’re not lucky, you can still register at sites such as Athlinks and SeriousRunning or find a running club that you can join during your stay – RRCA is the place to start looking.
Running specialty shops are also a great resource for out-of-town runners. Not only can they provide useful information about running routes, but they may even offer a free group run that you can join.
Find a local gym
If you’re not 100% sure the running routes you found are safe, opt for the treadmill. Most larger hotels have a gym on site. But if the one you’re staying at doesn’t, try to find one locally where you can work out. Some gyms offer day guest passes or an inexpensive 30-day membership that will allow you to keep your training on track.
Enter a race
Entering a race is a great way to see the sights and guarantee that you’ll run at least once during your stay. Search on sites such as runnersworld.com’s Race Finder to see if there’s a race during the time you’ll be staying at your destination.
Take advantage of cross-training
When you’re on vacation, you may end up doing activities that aren’t part of your usual exercise routine, but that can be great substitute for your run. Is there a great hike or a bike ride you can take? Can you go kayaking, surfing or swimming? Don’t feel pressured to run every day and do one of those cross-training activities, instead.
If you end up not having the time to run while on vacation, don’t beat yourself up over it. Enjoy the relaxing days! Your body and your mind will thank you!