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Storm Runner

Gearing up for 2016’s PB Races

It’s a New Year and time to plan your race schedule for 2016. If you have run races in the past you know that half the battle of staying fit, is getting out, signing up and staying committed. The easiest part about it is planning your schedule. In order to hit a new personal best PB on a race circuit, in a 5k or even at a marathon race you need to be prepared. Let us help you get there.

Plan it!

With the dizzying array of events and food comas that happen around the holiday season every year, it is easy to fall off the treadmill, almost literally. Especially when it gets cold and you dread the indoors treadmill over running out in the crisp, clean and refreshing air; now is the time that you have to get up and plan your year’s race schedule. Gearing up, initially is simply making the commitment to join in the race. Whether you like to run marathons, competitive 5 or 10ks or simple local runs, planning in the first months of the year will get you back on track and excited for earning that new PB.

In the beginning of the race season choose races that you have done before or are a little shorter in duration then you are used to. This will really help you get that PB in the first race, the most important one of the year. This sets the tone and pace for the rest of the year. Progressively get longer and less time in between races as you plan for the rest of the year. Of course remember to leave sufficient healing time in between races. If you are going out of town be sure to add in the planning for travel, take along food for race day and be comfortable with where you are heading.

Train it!

Now for the most important part; get back to training. If you took December off for the holidays and still have not gone back to training, now is the time to start. With a month or more off for the holidays, remember to start back into your regimen slowly. Remember when you first did couch to 5k? Most programs get you there in 7 weeks. You generally will not need that much time if you have ran in the past, but starting slow can ensure you do not create injuries before your first race.

Pick an app, fit accessory or old fashioned stop watch timing to help you get to a training goal. Remember to get back in shape, may take some time at a rate lower then you were used to before. But just like riding a bike, once you get a week or two of running back under your belt, you will start climbing towards your PB in no time.

Run it!

Make sure you stick to your schedule of races. The only thing that can beat you, is you. The best way to ensure this is to get running buddies to run with and announce your race schedule on social media. This helps keep you accountable for your race schedule. When you do arrive on race day, above all else have fun and race to beat your PB.

Success Story: Running to Stay Healthy

Most of the runners who shared their success stories started to run because they wanted to stay active and running seemed the more accessible and motivating way to start. After a few months hitting the pavement, they discovered they were falling in love with running and they could enter a 5K or even finish a Marathon.

But for some runners, this activity is also about staying healthy, physically and mentally. A month ago we met Honey on Instagram. Her motivation and positivism was such an inspiration to us, that we had to share her story with all of you! Can you imagine Honey used to weight almost 400lbs? You look great Honey!

Honey

Read her full interview:

– Share a little bit about yourself?

Name: Honey

Job: CEO Diamond Digital Music Group/ R&B Artist/ Producer

Location: Los Angeles, CA

– Why did you start being more active? Why did you choose running?

I started being more active for weight loss. At my highest weight I was almost 400lbs. After finding out I was borderline diabetic and at risk of several other health complications, I began my weight loss journey. I found that battling with PCOS was another factor that was making it hard for the weight to come off. This is why I chose running. Not only for the stress relieving benefits, but also the calorie burning. When I lost enough weight to where I felt lighter on my feet, I got started.

– When you began running, what did you find most challenging?

The most challenging part of running when you are still heavy for me is getting tired. I find myself wanting to go non-stop, but you have to allow your body to do what it can. Pay close attention to your joints and knees and ankles. You don’t want to injure yourself.

– What Bluefin app did you choose? How did you find it?

I chose the Ease Into 5k app first. I love the way it paces you and gives you a chance to walk and run in intervals.
– Did anything change since you started running?

Yes. When I started running, I feel like I can do anything. It gives me so much confidence that I started telling other people about it on Instagram. And running is definitely toning up my body all over.

– Any big motivators during your workouts that have helped you to keep running?

The biggest motivator or my favorite thing is listening to music while I run. I listen to my favorite songs and even my own music. I love that. I feel like I’m not alone when I listen to music while I run.

– What are your next running/fitness goals?

I have 50 more lbs to lose. And I want to complete the Bridge to 10K app. I know I can do it.

Do you want to share your success story with us and this awesome community of runners? Reach out to us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram! Your story could be featured on our blog and social media!

Do These 6 No-Equipment Cardio Exercises (and Skip the Treadmill)

cardio-exercises

For us runners, winter temps mean one of two things: to face a freezing outdoors scenario while logging some miles or to stay indoors and face an even more dreadful alternative: the treadmill.

Don’t panic, we have the perfect solution for all of you who want to stay in shape this season, without the risk of getting injured or bored.

These six fat-fighting, brain-boosting cardio exercises can be done anytime, anywhere, with no equipment at all:

Bridges

Lie faceup on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Raise your hips so your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. (Give your butt a big squeeze at the top!) Pause in the up position, then lower your body back to the starting position.

Plank Squat Hops

Begin in a straight-arm plank, with feet together and abs braced in tight. Bend knees and quickly jump legs forward, landing in a deep squat with toes just outside of hands. Immediately jump back out to plank position. Do 20 reps as quickly as possible.

Burpees

Start by bending over and place your hands on the floor in front of you, just outside of your feet. Jump both feet back so that you’re now in plank position. Then, drop to a push-up so that your chest should touch the floor. Push up to return to plank position, jump the feet back in toward the hands and explosively jump into the air, reaching your arms straight overhead. Repeat 10 times as fast as possible.

Mountain Climbers

Begin in a full plank position so your hands are directly under your chest at shoulder width apart with straight arms. Lift your right foot off the floor and slowly raise your knee as close to your chest as you can. Return to the starting position and repeat with your left leg. Continue alternating as fast as you can for 10 reps.

Skaters

Stand on your right foot with your knee slightly bent, place your left foot just behind your right ankle. Lower your body to a squat position, your right arm out to the side and your left arm across your hips. Hop to your left foot by jumping off your right foot, bringing the right foot behind your left foot as you swing your arms to the left, like you’re skating. Do all the reps you can, as as quickly as possible, for 30 seconds.

Jump Squats

With feet wide, lower into a deep squat and extend arms out to the sides of the shoulders, palms facing up. Jump up out of squat, bringing feet together and clapping hands overhead. Repeat this movement 20 times as fast as you can.

Success Story: The couple that runs together, stays together!

After creating more than 20 apps in the last 5 years, we’ve witnessed the progress of thousands towards a more healthy and active lifestyle! Nothing motivates us more than hearing from runners whose lives have changed thanks to one of our apps. And we know it also helps you get your butt in gear!

A few days ago, we got an email with not just one success story, but two! Tammy and GT, a couple from Arizona, started running together 3 years ago and have already a few half-marathons under their belts! Whoever said that couples who sweat together, stay together forgot to say “And accomplish big!”.

Here’s the email we received from Tammy:

Tammy ang GT at Las Vegas Rock N' Roll 2014

Tammy ang GT at Las Vegas Rock N’ Roll 2014

“One month before my husband and I started using your “Ease into 5k” app (October 2012) I had someone ask me if I ran since I spent so much time at the gym lifting weights and working out on the Elliptical. My response, “there are only 2 reasons to run, if I am being chased by a perpetrator or a predator”.

Fast forward a month, my husband wanted a way to get fit without going to the gym. I had read several posts about couch-to-5k programs and said I’d do it with him. We found your app, and it really worked. We were both astounded by the success, us 2 who hated running based on gym class experiences.

Three years later we have both placed in the top 3 of our age brackets for various 5ks. I have completed 6 half-marathons and am training for my first full marathon (will run it in January). My husband has completed 3 half-marathons and will be completing his 4th, in January as well. We have found a great community of people, learned much about ourselves as a couple and as individuals. Your apps have made this possible. Thank you!

Running requires us to show up and try, perfection is not part of the equation. There will be rough runs, exhausting runs, runs that make us question why we run. Keep at it, it is in those rough moments that the greatest growth as a runner and as a person become possible!”

Thank you Tammy and GT! You’ve just made our day!

Do you want to share your success story with us and this awesome community of runners? Email us at angela@bluefinapps.com or reach out to us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram! Your story could be featured on our blog and social media!

Finding the Time to Workout During the Holidays

The year is coming to an end, and we’re officially entering the holiday season!
No need to stress out trying to enjoy all the good things this season has to offer, without compromising your workout and the healthy habits you’ve adopted along the year.

You must be thinking ‘How can I find the time? And how about the motivation?’. We can give you a few tips!

Make a plan

Running-plan

If your calendar gets busier at this time of the year, take a closer look at your weekly schedule, so you can plan your training in advance and fit in some time for a run. If you find it easier, schedule all your runs in your mobile phone or any other kind of digital calendar that notifies you whenever it’s time for hitting the road.

Redefine your workout

Finding some free time to workout during the holiday season is not easy. But that doesn’t mean you should just skip your runs! Remember: shorter runs are better than no running at all. 30 minutes is all it takes to feel the runner’s high!

What about the rainy days? Consider a home workout routine for those times. Crunches, push-ups and running up and down the stairs are all runner-friendly exercises that can be done with no gym equipment.

Bring the family or a friend

Running-buddy

The holiday season is a great time to catch up with out-of-town friends who might be home visiting or even your own family members. So why not invite them to run with you? It’s fun and you can challenge each other. If you are the only member in the family who runs, try to find out local trails or tracks and see if anyone wants to go for a walk while you run. Going outdoors can be a fun way to enjoy the holiday season, release some stress, and of course, a great bonding experience.

More Intensity, less time

If you’re struggling to find the time for a long run, do a short run instead, at a faster pace, which will increase the effectiveness of the short run.

You can also try to crank up the intensity of one of your running workouts with a short, fast interval session on a track or treadmill. This will help you break up the monotony and give your fitness level a good boost to start the new year.

Fight the food temptation

Thanksgiving-Dinner

This is that time of the year when everyone seems to forget about healthy eating habits, food journals and counting calories. But who can resist the loaded buffet tables with all the delicious dishes?
Remember it’s ok to allow yourself to splurge on drinks or your favorite dessert once in a while, but don’t make a habit of it. All you need to do is to find a healthy balance: for example, if you have two parties on the same night, eat dinner on the first and leave some room for dessert at the next.

Bring the joy of the holiday season to your workout

There are a lot of fun races during this season, from turkey trots to jingle bell runs. Just find one near you, put it on your calendar, take some friends and family with you… and have the time of your life!

How to Run a 5K in 30 Minutes Without Stopping

Eight weeks have passed and you’re finally an Ease Into 5K Graduate. But there are still two aspects of your running you want to improve: you actually want to run a 5K in 30 minutes, and without stopping. If your progress seemed to plateau in the last couple of weeks and your personal best is far from the 30 minutes, you’re not alone.

In fact, this is a major concern for those who end a 5K training program. And for those in doubt: Yes. It’s possible to run a 5K in 30 minutes without stopping! But it requires work, some adjustments in your training program and even a few tweaks to your diet!

If you have your eyes set on a longer distance, like a 10K, pick up where the 5K app leaves off and get to running a 10K with Bridge to 10K.

Make sure you take the following tips into consideration while training:

Speed Workouts

speed-workouts

One fun way to improve your PR is by adding some interval training.
If you prefer to train in a running track, you can run a lap at your 5K pace, and then, a slower, easier recovery lap.

If you are running on the road, you can use lamp posts to mark intervals. After warm-up, try sprinting from one lamp to the next, followed by a lamp-to-lamp slower run. Repeat the pattern until you’ve covered a mile.

Hill training

To run faster you need to build up speed and endurance. Hill running is an excellent exercise because it builds up your leg muscle strength, helps your aerobic capacity, your stride length, and of course, your running technique.

And how about adding some speed training to hill running? You can run up a hill at a high speed and on your way down do some easy jogging or just walk.

Don’t start too fast

Endurance

Endurance is an important aspect of a faster 5K. You need to run at a “conversational pace”, meaning you can talk, finishing your sentences while you’re running.

If you find yourself out of breath, just slow down, without stopping. As you increase your endurance, you’ll be able to pick up your pace; but to start, just focus on increasing your distance.

Posture & Breathing

Your posture is very important while running. Keep in mind: shoulders back. If you tend to lean forward, it’s harder to breathe. With an upright posture, you’ll breathe more efficiently. Don’t forget your arms must be at a 90-degree angle as you use them to move propel yourself forward.

One of the reasons why runners tend to stop and walk while training can be from side stitches. To prevent this, you need to avoid shallow breathing. Breathe in through your nose and breathe out through your mouth when you’re running. Don’t forget: breathe deeply from your belly, not your chest which allows you to take in more air.

Nutrition and Rest

Rest

A good balanced diet is important if you have a training routine. Make sure you incorporate carbohydrates, protein and both saturated and unsaturated fat into your diet. You can also keep a food diary and do some research on healthy recipes that will provide fuel for training and recovery.

Speaking of recovery, rest is very important to prevent any injury. Make sure you take at least one day off each week. Your muscles will appreciate the day off because they build and repair themselves during rest days.

Are you already running a 5K in 30 minutes? Share with the community how you accomplished this goal!

How to Take the Dread Out of the Treadmill

Aww, the treadmill… either you love it or you hate it! In case it wasn’t already obvious from this blog’s title, I’m in the group of runners that can’t stand it! When you love to run outside, it can be frustrating if the weather just won’t cooperate and you’re left with only two options: you skip a workout or you run on the treadmill. Skipping? Not a chance!

Without scenery passing me by and something to take my mind off the machine, I usually can only run about 10 minutes on the treadmill before boredom wins and I start to look at the clock every 30 seconds.

Fortunately there are plenty of ways to make the time on the treadmill more interesting. Why not give them a try before the freezing temps stop us all from hitting the road?

Set goals and achieve them

Treadmill-tips

Road running and treadmill running have their differences. For starters, running on the treadmill is somewhat easier than road running because it requires less energy. So why not set different training goals?

Set yourself some benchmark times and distances. Keep a record of your results and then aim to improve them on every visit to the gym. Having evidence that you’re getting fitter is a great motivation booster!

Break it up

Instead of dreading a 30-minute treadmill run, you can break it up into 5-minute increments, interspersed with some strength training or a different type of cardio work, such as rowing or the elliptical trainer. You could even make up a circuit of 8 to 10 exercises and machines, including the treadmill. Just don’t forget to “WooHoo!” yourself every time you finish a 5-minute run!

Do interval training

Intervals are by far my favorite way to pass the time on any cardio machine. Instead of running at one continuous pace for 30 minutes you can break up your treadmill running by mixing up intervals of faster running and slower recovery.

The types of intervals you can do are really endless. Just make sure you put together a sequence where you increase intensity each minute or two, moving you progressively from a walk to a sprint. Here’s an example:

  • Run or walk at a moderate pace for 2 minutes.
  • Run or walk at a challenging pace for 1 minute.
  • Run or walk at an easy pace for 1 minute.
  • Repeat until you’ve reached your workout goal (minutes or miles).

Race someone

Love-treadmill

Up for a challenge? Ask your running buddy to pay a visit to the gym with you. Choose treadmills next to each other and start the race. First one to run a mile wins! Not only is this strategy motivating, but it also helps you forget about staring at the clock. That first mile will be over in a blink of an eye!

If you’re working out alone, visualize yourself in a race. Or if you’re in a crowded gym, peek at the console of the person next to you and race him or her!

Duct Tape, Pantyhose and Other Runners’ Secret Hacks

Tired of blisters, rainy days, chafing and sore muscles? Making your run fun, an endorphin inducing activity, should be without hassle, and should also be part of your training.

While the tips below won’t make you a faster runner, they will help you remove obstacles from your way to accomplish your goal and take advantage of smart training.

Let us know in the comments if you’ve ever tried any of these hacks!

Stop static stretching before you run

static-stretching

Studies have shown that static stretching offers no real benefit and may even compromise performance when you run. Opt for dynamic stretching instead, which loosens up muscles and increases heart rate, body temperature, and blood flow to help you run more efficiently.

Move to the groove

If you enjoy music while you run, we have great news: listening to music with a higher-than 120 BPM will not only make your run more enjoyable, but could boost your performance by 15 percent. Use SongBPM to figure out the BPM of your favorite songs or check out Jog.fm’s playlist organized by BPM.

Stock up on pantyhose

If you’re very blister-prone, pantyhose (or nylon stockings) could be your savior. Some soldiers wear them underneath their socks because they act as a second skin, stopping their feet from rubbing against socks and thus preventing blisters.

Go with the older model

older-model

Even though brick and mortar stores only have the newest models on display, you can still ask for last year’s model. The changes from model to model are usually fairly minor, and you could end up saving money by opting for the other, just as good shoe.

Lace up your keys

If you don’t have any pockets to hold your house and car keys, just tie them into your shoe laces, making sure they’re tied tight and that the keys are secure. Using a belt or an armband is also a good idea, especially if you want to carry more stuff around, like some cash and your smartphone.

Keep duct tape in hand on rainy days

No more soaked socks after a run in the rain! You can keep your feet dry by duct taping the tops to prevent water from getting in. It won’t keep out the water forever, but it will certainly help.

Shower in your running clothes

Shower-clothes

Running clothes get stinky quick. But that doesn’t mean you have to wash them after every use.
Jump in the shower with your clothes on and give them a good rinse for about 2-3 minutes, and then hang up to dry to use the next day. After doing this two or three times, you will probably be ready to throw them in the washing machine.

Lick yourself after a run

This might be the most strange hack you’ve ever heard, but it can help you avoid dehydration. How? Lick yourself after finishing a run – if it’s really salty, you’ll need to replenish electrolytes.

Success Story: from Couch Potato to Marathoner

Lerie-Marathoner

A few days ago, we came across a new inspiring story from the other side of the world. Lerie, from Singapore, shared a picture of her first 10K on Instagram, done almost 3 years ago. Since she started running, she crossed 12 finish lines, including half and full marathons with the help of our apps!

Lerie is living proof that, regardless your fitness level, you always can challenge yourself and accomplish big! Read her full interview and get off the couch and into your sneaks!

– Share a little bit about yourself? 

My name is Lerie and I am 29 years old. I was a teacher but I am now a stay-at-home mom to my 20 month old son. I was born and raised in Bangkok, Thailand but have been living in the lovely clean, green, runner-friendly city of Singapore for the last 7 years.

– Why did you start running?

I started running because my then 25 year old self was sick and tired of being so unfit that I could barely even walk up a flight of stairs without gasping for breath. Running seemed like the simplest sport/workout to start off with.

– What challenges did you face when you began?

It wasn’t easy when I started because I hadn’t been active for so many years. On my first few runs I felt sick and exhausted. I felt like I would never get the hang of running. I had to fight every excuse and take the first step out the door each time. It was just so much “easier” to just sit on my couch and let time pass by.

– What was your first Bluefin app? How did you find it?

My first Bluefin app was Ease into 5K. I randomly read an article online about the best apps to use for health and fitness and they mentioned this app. Back then it was first called Couch to 5K and I was totally drawn to it because I feltl like a couch potato who wanted to run. So I checked out the app and the rest is history. I loved how the app/program was not overwhelming or scary in the sense that running 3 times a week and reaching my goal in 8 weeks sounded pretty realistic. The description clearly states that it was made for people who had never run before (me!) plus knowing that I could walk while training made it less intimidating. I enjoyed knowing the exact time, distance, pace and route and sharing my achievements/progress with friends and family on Facebook. The journal part was also fun for me because I was able to see how I improved. I can sincerely say I wouldn’t be where I am now in running if it weren’t for discovering Bluefin apps.

– Tell us about your progress: What made you go from couch potato to marathon racer? How many races do you have under your belt so far?

Well, as I continued to follow the Ease into 5K program I actually saw and felt progress! I could actually run further and longer than I thought I could each time and I loved having the record and seeing the stats of my run. I was ecstatic when I could actually run 3 minutes straight without stopping! I couldn’t believe myself when I actually ran 3km so you can imagine my happiness when I actually reached 5km. After that I wanted more. I wanted to challenge myself. If I could come this far I could go further right? Since the Ease into 5K worked so well for me I moved to the Bridge to 10K app. Needless to say, I reached my goal and achieved something I never even thought of dreaming which was running a 10K. I told myself if I couldn’t even climb up a flight of stairs without feeling out of breath but now I could run a 10K that means I could go even further right? So I trained and ran for my first half marathon and since I didn’t want to be half crazy I trained and ran my first full marathon too! For both, I used Hal Higdon’s Novice 1 Half Marathon and Novice 1 Marathon app.
I loved how these apps were catered to a newbie runner like me. I am just so glad I found what worked for me. I didn’t dare to dream or imagine how far I could go but I kept surprising myself. My first run to my full marathon all happened in a span of less than a year and a half. Here in Singapore, races are quite costly so I haven’t joined as many races as I would like to but I currently hold 12 medals.

– What has changed since you started running?

Physically I did lose some weight, but I also gained confidence from running that carried out to my work and relationships. A huge difference I felt was my energy. I had the energy and the enthusiasm to do things that normally tired me out or made me cranky. I felt like a new person and everything in life just seemed more positive and meaningful. There was no looking back. I never wanted to be that unfit person again. Even after having my first child, I dragged myself out to run again because I didn’t want that to be an excuse. Running has made me love life and health more. I didn’t realize how much I would love running, how much of an impact it would have on my life and how important it would be to me. It has changed my life so much that I even started a blog focusing on my running and healthy lifestyle journey: iactuallyrun.com.

– Any big motivators during your workouts that have helped you to keep running?

I would remind myself to compare myself to the person I was yesterday. To not forget how far I have come. I became even more motivated because friends and family actually were inspired by what I had achieved in running. Lately, it has been my son and having a family and wanting to stay healthy for my family that keeps me running. My dream is passing on the joy of running to my son and future children and us running together in races.

– What advice would you like to give to newbie runners?

Challenge yourself, give yourself the chance to look back and see how far you have come. Every run will be a miracle because it was something you never knew or imagined you were able to do. If an ordinary person like me can do something beyond what I ever imagined doing, you can do it too. Patience and starting bit by bit will get you somewhere.
You will be amazed at what you and your body can accomplish if you just set your mind to it!

Do you want to share your success story with us and this awesome community of runners? Email us at angela@bluefinapps.com or reach out to us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram! Your story could be featured on our blog and social media!

5 Fall Superfoods for Runners

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.

Apples

Apples

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.

Brussels sprouts

Brussels-Sprouts

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!

Sweet potatoes

sweet-potatoes

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.

Pomegranates

Pomegranates

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

Pumpkin

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!