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
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Did you race a marathon recently? Congratulations!
Whether you crushed your goal or struggled to walk to the finish, you might be feeling that post-race high that motivates you to keep on training… but your muscles, tendons and ligaments are begging you to stop.
For a marathon runner who spent four to five months logging miles, physically and mentally training for a 26.2 mile race, taking a few days off (or worse, a few weeks off) seems counter-intuitive. After a great race all you want is to capitalize on your fitness and continue to set new personal bests. Likewise, after disappointing results, the last thing on your mind is resting.
Some runners even believe that missing a few days of training will diminish their hard-earned fitness. This common belief couldn’t be more wrong. In fact, not taking enough time to fully recover after a marathon can cause injuries, which will definitely compromise your fitness and future training plans.
But how long should you allow your body to rest until you can run or train again?
Usually, it takes a minimum of two to three weeks for a full physical and mental recovery from the strain of running a marathon. Some experts suggest resting one day for every mile you run, thus 26 days of no hard running or racing! Others recommend one day of rest for each kilometer raced, or 42 days of rest!
The truth is that there is no exact formula to follow for recovery after a marathon. No matter what your plan is, you should always listen to your body and make sure you’re recovered before you resume your race training routine. The good news is that light fitness activity actually helps you recover faster because it promotes good circulation, which delivers fresh oxygen and nutrients to muscles and, therefore, aids healing and recovery.
On his Post-Marathon Training Guide, Hal Higdon suggests that “the training you do in the three weeks following a marathon should be a near mirror of what you did the last three weeks before: in other words, an upward, or reverse, taper.” That means you should take at least three days completely off running after a marathon and gradually return to a more active routine, starting by incorporating cross-training, then 2 – 3 miles running and ending what he calls “Zero Week” by logging 6 – 8 miles with some marathon friends.
The four weeks following Zero Week should still be part of your post-marathon recovery. These 4 weeks are a good time to decide what you want to do next. Setting a new goal and planning your training is a great way to use your time during recovery.
So, have you decided what’s your next running goal? Share it in the comments below!
The Boston Marathon is around the corner! It’s time you put your weeks of training to work and tackle the big 26.2!
Besides mental and physical training, fueling is key to any successful race. What you decide to put in your body can help you run at your best and help in post-race recovery.
If you’re racing the Boston Marathon or have a race coming up, you should be thinking about what to eat and what to avoid in the days before your marathon. Below, you’ll find our tips for marathon fueling up to 5 days out from your big race.
4 to 5 days from the race
During several weeks of intense marathon training, your muscles never have a chance to fully reload with glycogen. To build up your energy reserves for race day, you will need to back off on training for a few days, so that muscle enzymes responsible for restocking glycogen will gradually begin to store more carbohydrate.
In addition, boost your total carbohydrate intake to 3.5 to 4 grams for every pound of your body weight by adding in more pastas and starches to your diet throughout the week. If you notice you are gaining too much weight, back off on fat and protein and reduce carb intake until your weight balances out.
Good choices are: Pastas, brown rice, sweet potatoes and baked potatoes.
2 days before the race
You should eat your last big meal two nights before the race. It will give your body enough time to fully digest anything you eat and avoid feeling stuffed and lethargic when you reach the starting line, lowers the risk of stomach problems and can even help you sleep more soundly.
During the two days before the race, also consider limiting high-fiber foods such as large amounts of vegetables, whole grains and bran cereals. Studies conducted by the Australian Institute of Sport show that eating lower fiber foods can help lighten the weight of material in the intestines. This can actually help you run faster, as it reduces your body weight and decreases the chance of a mid-race pit stop that would otherwise add time to your race.
Good choices: Pasta is still often considered one of the best pre-race meals.
24h before the race
Ideally, you should allow your body to rest the two days before the race, so you may feel full very quickly. Try to eat balanced meals like you would normally do on any training day, but make sure your main meals are still in the form of low glycemic to medium glycemic index foods. If you’re not sure about what foods have a low or medium glycemic index, you can check Harvard Health’s Glycemic index and glycemic load for 100+ foods or WebMD’s Guide How to Use the Glycemic Index for a more in depth picture of what glycemic index foods do for the body.
Fluids are just as important as food, so it is mandatory to hydrate properly all day long. Opt for sports drinks or other beverages containing electrolytes and nutrients, along with water. To remind yourself to drink, always carry a water bottle with you throughout the day or set a reminder for every other hour.
Good choices are: Sweet potatoes, pastas, baked potatoes, brown rice
2 to 4 hours out
Not only is it important what you choose to eat the day of the race, but also the time you eat. In the two to four hours before the race, eat a small breakfast containing protein, simple carbs and fluids. Aim for 0.5 to one gram of carbs for every pound of body weight and keep protein to about 15 grams or fewer. Avoid high fiber, fatty and new foods, which can take longer to digest and cause stomach problems.
Instead of trying to get all your fluids down by chugging your water bottle the hour prior to the race, you should drink small, regular sized amounts. Opt for room temperature water – which is absorbed quicker than warm or cold water – and drink approximately 6 oz. every hour to get hydrated before the gun goes off.
Good choices are: bread, bagels, cereal, fruit, and small amounts of peanut or almond butter, low-fat cheese, low-fat milk or a fruit smoothie.
Now it is up to you! We wish you a very successful (and fun) race day!
Are you ready to start running again after a long break? Even if you were an experienced runner in the past, incorporating running back into your daily routine can be as challenging as it would be for a beginner. The difference is you already know how great and strong you feel after a run!
It’s time you restart your running engines with these simple tips in mind:
Have a goal
Whether you have just signed up for a race or you want to get off the couch and get fit, it’s always important to have a motivation to start running again.
Start by choosing manageable goals and focus on the path you need to follow to accomplish them, instead of trying to change many different things at once. For some extra motivation, set smaller and attainable milestones and reward yourself every time you achieve a goal with something special that will benefit your running.
Follow a training schedule
We have already mentioned how important it is to follow a training schedule. Not only it allows you to have your workouts planned ahead, but it also helps you to establish a regular running habit and avoid getting injured by working out too much, too soon.
When you get out there, it’s also important to track your runs. When your goal is just getting outside the door, you can simply mark down a “1” when you run, and a “0” when you don’t. As soon as you start to be concerned about mileage, pace and time, it might help you stay motivated and hold you accountable if you write all this information down. You can use a notebook or save your runs from your smartphone, with our running apps.
Don’t do too much too soon
Many runners, especially those who are new to running or coming off a long break, make the “too much too soon” mistake. Driven by their excitement, they mistakenly think that “more is better” and end up developing common overuse running injuries, such as shin splints, runner’s knee, or ITB syndrome.
Be more moderate with how often, how long, and how much you run, especially during your first weeks of training. You can start with just walking, and then progress into a run/walk program, such as Ease into 5K, Bridge to 10K or Ease into 10K, depending on your fitness level and your goal.
Make sure you don’t increase your overall weekly mileage by more than 10 percent per week, keep your runs at a conversational pace and always allow your body to rest for at least one day each week.
Cross train to become a better runner
If you’re not feeling the motivation to run, that doesn’t mean you have to let yourself get out of shape. You can still stay active, strong and fit between your running days, with cross-training activities.
Cross-training strengthens your non-running muscles and increases your endurance, without running too much and risking injury. By combining running and other exercises, you will become a better runner and overcome more easily the challenges of coming off a long break.
Swimming, aqua jogging, cycling, strength training, yoga, and Pilates are some of the most popular cross-training activities among runners.
Join a running group
If you used to run by yourself in the past, try to convince your friends to be your training partners or join a running group, and start enjoying the benefits of group training. Besides helping you get out of the bed even when you don’t feel like, meeting other people for a run motivates you to perform better and stick with your goals.
And finding your future running partners is not that difficult! Check with local running clubs to see when they offer group runs, join a charity training group or sign up for a local race that offers free group training runs to registered participants.
You’ve tackled a few 5Ks and you already have a couple of 10Ks under your belt. What’s next? We guess you’re more than ready to sign up for your first half marathon.
But training for a 13.1 is very different from preparing yourself for a 5K or a 10K. Before you get started, read on for five tips that will help you stick with your goal and cross that finish line with confidence!
Commit to your end goal
Whether you’re a total newbie or an experienced runner, training for a half marathon requires a lot of time and energy. During your training there will be plenty of reasons not to run – you’re tired, you’re busy, the weather is too cold or too hot, your running clothes are dirty. But those are just excuses, and if you really want to cross the finish line, you will have to overcome them all!
Start by asking yourself “Why do I want to race a half marathon?”. Do you want to shed a few pounds, raise money for a cause or set a personal best? Whatever your reason, this will serve as your end goal, your primary motivation throughout the training and on race day.
Have a plan
If you think you can keep on using the same 10K training program to train for your first half marathon, you’re wrong. Running 13.1 miles is a lot different than 6.2.
Choose a training plan that gives you plenty of time to train before race day and make sure it includes some cross-training, stretching and strength exercises, besides the traditional long runs.
If you are at least 12 weeks away from the race day, Half Marathon Novice 1 can help you cross the finish line with a smile on your face. Based on Hal Higdon’s training plans, Half Marathon Novice 1 advises you to run three days a week, cross train two days a week and allow your body to rest when scheduled. During this training program, you will be running two regular runs and one long run each week, until you’re half marathon ready!
Longer distances require different gear.
Start by buying two supportive pair of sneakers instead of just one. Having two pairs of shoes when you start your training sounds like an an expensive outlay in cash, but it actually helps extend the life of each pair by giving them recovery time between runs. Plus, recent studies suggest that alternating between a couple different pairs of shoes in training can decrease injury risk by varying the load to your musculoskeletal system.
In addition, make sure you add wicking and seamless socks, shorts or pants and tops to your shopping list. Invest in a good pair of sunglasses with 100-percent UV protection and a running hat to protect your face from the sun. And don’t forget to have a comfortable armband to hold your phone or iPod, that you will definitely want to carry for your longer runs!
At this point, you already know how important it is to eat right before you lace up and get out there. But as you increase the mileage and start running up to 10 miles a week, it’s very important to reconsider your fueling strategy so you don’t end up hitting the “wall” on longer training runs.
Aim to consume 150 to 200 calories for every hour of running. GU, a banana, Luna Sport Moons, packets of honey or jelly beans are great options and very easy to carry with you.
Work on your mental fitness
The two most important things you can take to the starting line on race day are confidence and motivation. On longer runs, it’s easy to get bored, focus on the pain you’re feeling and, eventually, want to give up.
Just as you practice to improve your speed or your strength, it’s important to train your mental muscle as well. During your training, imagine yourself on race day and going through all the challenges that you will have to overcome. Being mentally prepared allows all the work you’re putting into achieving your goal to manifest itself on the race course.
This week, Bluefin Software celebrates its 5th birthday! During these 5 years, we witnessed the progress of thousands towards a more active lifestyle, including ourselves! Your passion, determination and strength have always been our main motivation! Therefore, you are our guest of honor in this celebration!
For the next five days, you can get a great deal on our mobile apps! Each day, a set of apps will be on a limited time sale, from 12:01 am to 11:59 pm (your time zone). To find out which apps have our birthday special discounts, you can follow us on Twitter or visit our Facebook page.
We’ll be announcing the first set of apps this Friday! A small hint: newbie runners will love these first deals!
If you’re a runner, you know that injuries might, at some point, become part of your life. In fact, half of all runners deal with at least one injury per year, mostly due to repetitive motion, or body imbalances.
To prevent injuries, it’s important to follow an appropriate running plan and strengthen some key muscles responsible for the movements that are causing you pain and discomfort.
Yoga can play a major role in preventing most injuries and recovering faster, as its’ stretches help you improve your strength and flexibility.
For an injury-free running, lay down the mat and try these 8 yoga poses:
If you’re experiencing pain on the heel or the sole of the foot, especially when you get out of bed in the morning, you’re probably suffering from plantar fasciitis. This is one of the most common injuries among runners and can be caused by stress from repetitive foot strikes as well as tightness in the Achilles tendon, ankle, and calf muscles.
You can avoid it by stretching the tissues on the back of the leg and the sole of the foot to reduce tension in the plantar fascia. Do these poses once a week or more for prevention:
- Sole Stretch: Come onto your hands and knees and tuck your toes under. Sit on your heels gently. To start, keep your hands on the floor in front of you and keep some of your weight on your hands as you sit back. You can progress to sitting upright with all of your weight on your heels, palms in your lap. Hold for 30 to 90 seconds.
- Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose: Lie on your back, put a strap around the ball of the right foot, and extend your right leg up. Keep your head and shoulders on the floor and grab the strap with both hands. Hold for 1 to 2 minutes, and repeat on the other side.
Patellofemoral pain syndrome, the medical term for knee pain, is every runner’s worst enemy. Knee pain can have a number of different causes, including repetitive movements (such as pounding on the pavement), downhill running, strength imbalances or weakness in the hip muscles.
To prevent this common injury, keep your hips flexible and strong with these yoga poses:
- Frog: Walk your knees as wide apart from one another as they will comfortably allow. Flex your feet strongly and bring the inside edges of your feet to touch the mat. The angle in both the knees and ankles should be no greater than 90 degrees. Lower down to your forearms. Gently push your hips back and downwards. Hold for 2 to 5 minutes.
- Pigeon: Stretch your right leg out behind you, and bend your left knee so that your left foot is near your right pelvic bone with your toes pointed out. Slowly drape your body over the right leg. Repeat on the opposite side.
IT Band Pain
One other cause of knee pain in runners is the irritation of the iliotibial band (IT band), a thick tendon that stretches from the pelvic bone down the tibia. The IT band pain can be caused by downhill running or unidirectional track running, excessive increased mileage, or weakness in the hips and glute muscles.
Stretching the IT band itself won’t fix the problem. To prevent it, do these yoga poses to stretch the muscles of the hips and thighs that pull on the IT band:
- Supine Cow Face Pose: Lie on your back and cross one knee over the other. Hug your knees in toward your chest, while keeping your head on the floor. Hold for 1 minute, and then repeat with your legs crossed the other way.
- Standing Forward Bend (variation): While standing, cross your right ankle over your left. With your knees slightly bent, fold forward and rest your hands on the floor. Reach your sitting bones toward the sky and move your ribs away from your pelvis to prevent your back from rounding. Hold for 1 minute, and then repeat on the opposite side.
This muscle group is the source of frustration for many runners. They are so strong and thick it takes time to open and flex tight hamstrings.
Try these 2 yoga poses to stretch them:
- Standing straddle forward bent: Start by moving apart both legs as far as you can. Your feet should face outwards. Tilt your torso to the front and move your hands so that they are below your shoulders and your wrists in alignment with your ankles. Bend your elbows and try to keep your hips in the same plane in which your ankles are. Displace your body weight upon your feet and draw your quadriceps muscles upwards.
- Plow pose: Lie on your back and bring your legs straight up in the air towards the ceiling. Bring your arms alongside your body with your palms down. Press into your hands and lift your legs over your head.
Any poses you want to add? Leave your suggestion in the comments below!
With kids to drop at school, business meetings, groceries to pick up, personal calls to make, a dinner party with friends, and a billion other responsibilities, how are we supposed to have the time and the motivation to work out?
If you’re already managing such a busy (and insane!) schedule, we can guarantee this will be a piece of cake, especially with our extra help!
To celebrate the upcoming International Women’s Day, we put together some simple tips and tricks for achieving your health and fitness goals, starting today!
Define your goals
Before you step out the door and start your active living journey, think about why you want to make fitness part of your life. Do you want to lose weight? Or are you concerned about maintaining your health and de-stressing while working out?
If your main goal is to shed some extra pounds, you’ll find that only a more intense and rigorous schedule – like six days of exercise a week, ideally for 50 to 60 minutes at a time – will do the job.
But if you’re looking to enjoy the healthy benefits of consistent exercise, you’ll only need to spare two and a half hours a week from your busy schedule. To stay motivated and track your progress, use an app such as Bootcamp or Ease into 5K, if you’re a big fan of running.
The earlier the better
How many times have you heard yourself saying: “I’ll do it later!”. And how many times “later” became “never”? The longer you wait in the day to work out, the more excuses you can find to put it off. The solution: become a morning person! In fact, research suggests that women who work out in the morning stick with their programs more successfully than those who don’t.
But if you’re still skipping workouts, despite all your efforts to get out of bed at 6 am, start treating your workouts as you would an important business meeting: schedule them in advance and don’t ever miss one!
Make it social
Fitness is more fun when you’ve got friends involved. In fact, according to numerous researches, working out with a partner will help you stick with your goals and stop bailing your fitness commitments.
You can even take this advice to a next level, by choosing a fitness buddy with whom you are friendly but aren’t all that close with socially. If your fitness partner is a colleague or a friend of a friend, you’re probably going to feel more of an obligation to get to your workout appointments on a regular basis.
Focus on larger muscles
If you don’t have a lot of time, you should focus your efforts on larger muscles and target every trouble zone with body-weight moves.
The most effective exercises are squats, push-ups, lunges, and plank pose. Do them back-to-back as a circuit three or four times, without taking a break. You’ll see results in no time!
All workouts count
A short workout is better than no workout at all! Even 10 or 20 minutes of exercise is worth the effort.
When you’re really pressed for time, put your creativity to the test! Take the stairs instead of the escalator, walk a couple of extra blocks at lunch or use our 7-Minute Workout app while the dinner is in the oven. These little bursts of activity can truly add up to significant calories burned each day!
Suppose you could only add 6 ingredients to your must-buy list. As a runner, which foods should you choose?
So, before your next trip to the grocery store, make sure you add these 6 essential foods to your list.
Salmon should be included in every diet. This fish is an excellent source of protein and omega-3 fats, which improve nervous system functioning and boost heart health by creating more elastic blood vessels.
Salmon also has protein, vitamins A, B and D and several minerals that are vital to a balanced and healthy diet.
In addition, salmon is a very versatile fish. Just add some fresh herbs and bake, grill, or poach it to put a healthy and delicious meal on the table.
Bananas are among the best pre-workout foods for runners. They are an excellent source of carbs, with 0% fat, and are extremely high in potassium, which runners lose in sweat during exercise.
Bananas also help regulate muscle contraction, prevent cramping and are a “safe” pre-race food because they’re unlikely to cause gastrointestinal issues.
Whole Grain Pasta and Bread
Pasta and breads are a runner’s best friends, before and after big workouts. They contain easily digestible carbs that help you fuel your runs and are ideal to restock spent glycogen stores.
But not all pasta and breads are created equal. Whole-grain versions contain more fiber, which promotes satiety and digestive health, additional B vitamins that are crucial to energy metabolism, and disease-fighting compounds such as lignans.
Instead of white bread or any baked products made with white flour, opt for whole-grain breads, pasta, rolls, crackers, and cereal.
If you want to add some green to your plate, kale might be one of the most nutritious options. Kale is a great source of vitamins A, B6, C and K, as well as iron and calcium.
Kale is also known by its strong anti-inflammatory properties, which can help runners to recover from low-grade inflammation resulting from exercise-induced muscle damage.
A single sweet potato contains the always-important carbs and supplies more than 250 percent of the Daily Value for vitamin A, a powerful antioxidant. They’re also a good source of vitamin C, potassium, iron, manganese and copper.
And you don’t need to do much to make them taste good. Cooked in the oven or even in the microwave, they always make a great side for dinner.
Eggs are nutritional powerhouses! With just one egg you’ll be able to satisfy about 10 percent of your daily protein needs and ingest all the crucial amino acids your muscles need to recover from intense workouts.
You’ll also get about 30 percent of the daily value for vitamin K, which is crucial for bone health.
Eggs can be eaten at any time of the day. Put your creativity to the test and try some healthy omelets and frittata recipes.
You’ve been running regularly for some time and have completed a few 5K races. Now what? A new running goal is always a good idea. If you’re still not ready to race your first 10K, you might want to take your racing to the next level, by focusing on increasing your personal record.
Here are some tips for running faster 5K races:
Follow a 5K training plan
To run faster and more efficiently, you might want to consider getting extra help. A friend who mastered several 5Ks, a personal trainer, a schedule, all these options are valid.
But if you’re used to running with your phone – that you use as a gps, music player or to take a few running selfies – Ease Into 5K might be the right training plan for you. Ease into 5K is a beginner’s running app that brings a new approach to training, more geared towards the needs of beginning runners and designed to provide lots of insights and motivation along the way.
By following a training schedule that’s specific for a 5K race, you’re more likely to see better results and improve your PR.
Add speed work
Speed workouts are essential for anyone who wants to run a faster 5K. If you’re aiming for a better PR, incorporate speed sessions into your training, including intervals where you sprint for short bursts of time.
Because sprinting can be hard on the body, make sure to start off with shorter sprints and gradually extend the length of time you feel comfortable running at an increased speed. For instance, you could start by adding sprints of 200m or 400m followed by an appropriate recovery period. As you get closer to race day, your body should be able to handle 800m or even 1km speed sessions.
Try some hill training
To build up speed and develop muscle power, there’s nothing better than some short sharp hills. Hill running is great to strengthen up your leg muscles, increase your aerobic capacity and optimize your overall running technique.
Find a hill with a moderate slope (about six to 10 percent incline) that’s about 100-200 meters long. While running up the hill, keep your effort consistent and don’t let your running form fall apart. Recover by easy jogging or walking downhill backwards to avoid pressure on the knees.
To avoid injuries, incorporate hill training gradually. Start with 5-6 repeats and add another one each week, with a maximum of ten repeats.
A stronger runner is a faster runner. To become more powerful and more efficient, you need to strengthen the muscles that make you move.
Therefore, don’t skip the squats, planks, lunges, step-ups, calf raises and bent over rows. These exercises will target your shins, calves, quads, glutes, and core in order to make them stronger and injury-free.
To beat your current personal time, you will need to develop your endurance. You can accomplish that goal by regularly increasing your mileage every week.
Escalating the length of your longest run will improve your cardiovascular fitness and make you feel good about just running 5k on race day. Just make sure you don’t increase your mileage by more than 10% each week and remember you are aiming to run at a slower pace on long runs than your race pace.
We’ve talked a lot about the benefits of training with a running partner. Meeting a buddy for a run can help you get out of bed even when you don’t feel like it, make you perform better and help you stick with your goals.
But what if that running date was… a date? You’ll find that working out with your special someone won’t just make you both fitter. You’ll gain more quality time with someone you care, you’ll share some of the added benefits of running and you’ll even spice things up in the bedroom.
To make it even easier to get you both off the couch and start training for your first 5K, we are giving away 2 Ease Into 5K apps for Valentine’s Day. To win, show us why two are better than one when hitting the pavement and follow these simple rules:
- Follow @bluefinapps on Instagram.
- Post a photo on Instagram that shows us why your sweaty sweetheart is the best running partner ever!
- Hashtag it #BFAValentine and tag @bluefinapps. Remember to direct message us if you’re private.
- No inappropriate pictures. Keep it clean!
- You have until 02/14/2015 11:59 pm EST to enter!
- Enter as many times as you would like.
- The winner will be chosen via random.org and will be announced on the 16th of February!