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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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!
Newbie or vet, the odds are the same: if you start running, it is very likely you’ll end up injuring yourself. At least half of all runners deal with at least one injury per year, and 25 percent of runners are injured at any given time.
Fortunately there are always preventative measures you can take to avoid the pain. The first one: know what type of injuries you can suffer from when you’re logging miles.
To help you stay safe and injury-free while working out, we’re now sharing four common injuries among runners, along with a few ways to prevent and stop the pain.
Experiencing a discomfort behind, below, or around the patella (or kneecap) is a symptom of patellofemoral pain syndrome, the medical term for knee pain. This tender pain usually presents itself in gradual stages and gets worse while running or walking up and down stairs.
Knee pain can have a number of different causes, including repetitive force of pounding on the pavement, downhill running, strength imbalances, weakness in the hip muscles, and excessive or insufficient pronation.
To prevent it, experts’ advice is to strengthen the lower body, especially the quadriceps, hamstrings, hips, and glutes. If you’re already dealing with knee pain, opt for flat or uphill terrain and softer running surfaces. To treat the injury, experts suggest knee braces, anti-inflammatory medications, and if necessary, reducing the amount of running you do.
IT Band Pain
Iliotibial Band (IT band) Friction Syndrome triggers pain near the outside of the knee, due to the inflammation of the Iliotibial band, a thick tendon that stretches from the pelvic pone down the tibia. This injury represents about 12 percent of all running-related injuries and is very common among distance runners and marathon racers.
The IT band pain can be caused by excessive increased mileage, downhill running or unidirectional track running, stiff shoes, high-arched feet, and weakness in the hips and glute muscles.
To avoid it, you should work your lower body strength and follow a running plan that gradually increases your mileage and includes diversity to your training. To decrease inflammation and reduce pain, experts recommend specific stretches as well as icing, foam rolling, and taking a break from running if the pain persists.
This injury is typically the result of rapid mileage increase, excessive amounts of interval training, hill running, improper footwear, tight calf muscles or insufficient recovery time between workouts.
You can prevent it by strengthening your calf muscles and stretching them after your workout, and wear shoes that offer more medial support.
To treat achilles tendinitis, you should back off on the types of workouts that put extra stress on the tendon, such as interval training and hill climbing. Add some rest, anti-inflammatories, stretching, icing and you’ll get back on the path to recovery in no time.
Shin splints are one of the most common injuries among novice runners and those returning after an extended layoff. The main symptom is a pain (aching, stabbing sensation) felt along the shin bone. Although this is not a serious injury, it could lead to a stress fracture, if left untreated.
Shin Splints can result from increasing workout mileage or intensity too quickly, running on hard surfaces, wearing the wrong shoe or a pair with too many miles, and tight calf muscles.
To avoid them, you can take some preventative measures, such as strengthening your lower body muscles and investing in sneakers with shock-absorbing insoles that support the arch. If you’re already looking for treatment, try icing the shins for 15-20 minutes and keeping them elevated at night to reduce swelling.
Have you already dealt with any of these injuries? How did they affect your training plans?
Are you feeling sore, tight, or even achy after a run? Then you should probably review your cross-training program and consider including yoga in your workout routine.
Among other benefits, Yoga can reduce the risk of injury, improve your strength and flexibility and help you to recover from long runs and races faster.
If you’re willing to give it a try, here are five poses you should practice on the mat to boost your performance as a runner:
Benefits: Helps prevent shin splints, knee and foot problems, and IT-band syndrome. This pose stretches the hamstrings and calves, and creates length in the spine, in addition to opening the arms and upper back.
Instructions: Start on hands and knees. Bring the hands shoulder width apart and feet hip width apart. Press your hands and feet down into the floor. Lift your hip bones straight toward the ceiling and push your heels into the ground for the best overall stretch. Hold for five to 10 breaths.
Benefits: Strengthens your core and arms, while opening the hip flexors and stretching the whole front of the body.
Instructions: From Downward-Facing Dog pose, move into low plank position, by bending your elbows and placing your hands on mat in line with your lower ribs, wrists aligned under your elbows. Roll over your toes, pull your chest up toward ceiling and lift fronts of your thighs and hips away from floor.
Benefits: This pose helps to release the tension in your hips and glutes. In addition, it stretches the hamstrings and inner thighs and allows you to open and expand laterally.
Instructions: Step your feet wide apart. Turn your right leg, including your thigh, knee and foot, out by 90 degrees. Raise your arms to shoulder level with your palms facing down towards the floor and, on an exhale, stretch your upper body to the right. Place your right hand on your shin, ankle, or a stable support and raise your left arm towards the ceiling, with your palm facing forward. Take five breaths. Inhale and allow your body to come to standing. Repeat the pose on the other side.
Benefits: This pose opens the lower back, hips and inner thighs and also helps to release tight adductors.
Instructions: Sitting, bend your knees and draw your heels in toward your pelvis. Press the soles of your feet together and let your knees drop open to both sides. Don’t force your knees down to the ground, but let them drop naturally so you feel a gentle stretch. Lie down on your back and hold this pose for 1-10 minutes.
Benefits: Stretches the thighs, groins, back, and psoas. This pose also improves the flexibility in your hips, which will lead to better running form.
Instructions: 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. Gently drape your body over the right leg. Repeat on the opposite side.
Is Yoga one of your favorite cross-training exercises? Which poses work best for you?
Running burns out more calories than nearly any other exercise out there. The average man burns 124 calories per mile and the average woman burns 105, which makes running an extremely efficient way to lose weight. But it doesn’t always work the way you’d hope. Unwanted weight gain can happen to even the most health-savvy runner, specially if you don’t pay attention to the small details.
If you want to use running to lose weight, or you’ve hit a weight loss wall, here are some tips on how to be successful:
#1: Find out your caloric needs
Runners tend to overcompensate for the calories burned during their runs. This is actually a very common mistake and some runners even find that they gain weight, despite their training efforts.
If you want to stay healthy and lose weight by running, you must first determine how many calories you need and keep in mind that you’ll only shed pounds if you burn more calories than you consume.
#2: Fuel your training
Even tough runners have special nutritional needs, all the ground rules of healthy eating still apply. So, bad news, runners: you can’t just put that chocolate-covered donut in your mouth after your run.
The healthiest way to lose weight while replenishing your energy stores is to combine the right amount of carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats. You should also choose smaller portions over big meals and start eating more whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
#3: Keep a food journal
One efficient way to prevent you from consuming too many calories is to keep a daily log of what you eat. It’s much easier to improve your diet and eliminate certain foods from it when you have a record of how many calories they add to your total intake.
In fact, a recent study funded by the National Institutes of Health showed that participants who kept a food log doubled their weight loss.
#4: Don’t run on empty
Have you ever heard that your body will burn more fat it you run on an empty stomach? If you did, forget it.
Instead of burning fat immediately, your body uses the carbs stored in your muscles first. When those run out and your body starts to burn fat, your energy levels decrease abruptly, forcing you to slow down and burn fewer calories than if you had properly fueled up.
To avoid feeling exhausted after a few miles, you should fuel your training for optimal performance. Try eating a 150-calorie snack containing easily digestible carbs and a little protein one hour before your workout.
#5: Log more miles and increase intensity
There’s no doubt: the more miles you run, the more calories you burn. According to the National Runners Health Study, runners who ran the greatest amount of weekly mileage were the leanest. Therefore, if you want to lose weight while running, you need to extend your runs every week.
In addition to logging more miles, you should be increasing intensity as well, which can translate in incorporating more speed work or interval training into your running routine. These workouts increase your muscle mass and improve your resting metabolism, causing you to burn more calories throughout the day.
Is running helping you to lose weight? What other weight loss strategies worked for you? Share them in the comments below.
After the New Year’s contest we hosted on Facebook, we realized most of you are thinking about running a 26.2-mile race this year! Congratulations!
For some of you, this year’s marathon will not be your first and you’re already training for the big day. But if you’re a beginner there are probably a lot of questions on your mind right now.
We want to give you a head start by sharing what you need to know before training for, and running your first marathon.
1. Becoming marathon ready takes time and commitment
Training for a full marathon takes time and is very demanding. Depending on your fitness level, your marathon training plan can last more than 18 weeks and suggests that you run up to 5 times a week. Take our App Bundle 5k to Marathon Progression Pack as an example. If you have no running experience, you’ll begin at a slower pace with a 5K training program and gradually move up to a more challenging running routine, until you’re marathon ready. This will take 44 weeks!
Your training plan will include weekends and long runs, which can be very tedious after a few repetitions. So the time commitment and mental challenge is something you should be prepared for if you want to start training for a marathon.
2. You don’t have to lace up every day
Even if you’re excited with your progress and can’t resist to get out there, you should never do more running than prescribed in your plan. Doing too much can lead to injury and overall burnout. Rest days are an important component of any training program, as they allow your muscles to regenerate and get stronger.
You can also build strength, fitness and prevent injury with cross-training, which is any other form of aerobic exercise that supplements your running, by allowing you to use slightly different muscles. Swimming, spinning, aqua jogging, yoga and Pilates are excellent cross-training activities you could combine with your running routine.
3. You might gain weight
While some people lose weight when marathon training, some actually gain weight! How is this even possible with all of the running you’re doing? The answer is obvious: your body needs food to fuel such a challenging fitness activity. But taking control of your cravings isn’t easy and you might find yourself eating more than you’re burning off.
If you’re trying to lose weight or maintain your current weight, try to figure out how many calories you need and focus on eating a healthy, balanced diet.
4. You can get injured
You’ll spend a lot of hours training to become marathon ready, so there’s a chance that you will get injured along the way. Acknowledging this possibility will actually help you to be more aware of injury warning signs. Runners who think they won’t get injured during the training period end up making injuries far worse, by ignoring their body’s signs and pushing through pain.
5. You’ll have to train outside
The treadmill might be your best ally when the weather conditions make it impossible to run outside. But doing all your marathon training indoors may actually sabotage all your efforts.
Since the race is done outdoors and you never know what kind of weather you’ll get on marathon day, you should do some of your runs outside and in less than ideal conditions. The more prepared you are, the better, and this includes running in the cold, heat and rain.
6. You’ll have to buy your running apparel in advance
Don’t buy new running clothes, shoes or gear to wear for the first time on race day. You never know if your new running gear is going to make you feel uncomfortable.
We advise you to stick with your tried favorites and to do a two- or three-mile marathon-pace run in your marathon outfit and shoes, four or five days before the race. This will give you time to adjust your gear just in time for the full 26.2.
This advice applies even if you’re running to support a cause. In this case, stay away from the cotton T-shirts (that usually have the charity logo on it) and choose running clothes made out of a synthetic material that wicks sweat from your body.
7. You won’t forget it
Last, but not least, you should know that, despite all the inhuman efforts you’ll make, running your first marathon is a life-changing experience that makes you realize you CAN do anything!
Are you racing this year? What will be your first marathon?
The arrival of a New Year inspires most of us to dream big. Many of New Year’s resolutions are related to health, weight loss, fitness and, if you’re reading this article, running.
But from past experiences, we all know dreaming big isn’t enough to accomplish New Year’s goals. Turn your running resolutions into reality with these simple strategies:
1. Choose realistic and manageable goals
Despite all the quotes we read that tell us we’re capable of fulfilling all our dreams, that’s not exactly the truth. Unfortunately, setting New Year’s goals that are not realistic for you is just setting yourself up for failure.
But those motivational quotes aren’t wrong either. In fact, your chances of achieving your objectives are much higher if you choose more manageable, realistic goals.
This also means you shouldn’t try to change many different things at once. To avoid exhaustion, focus on your key goals and the path you need to follow to accomplish them.
2. Set small and attainable milestones
If your goal for 2015 is a really ambitious one, like running your first marathon, set smaller and attainable milestones. For example, try running a 10K and a half marathon before your 26.2.
This method will help you track your progress and keep you motivated as you achieve other great accomplishments along the way.
3. Get organized
With your busy schedule, it’s much easier to find an excuse when you don’t have your workouts planned ahead. Look at your weekly schedule and decide when you’re most likely to have the time to do the activities that are going to help you accomplish your goals.
And when you get out there, make sure you track your runs and write down all the information you think is important in a journal. It will help you stay motivated and hold you accountable. You can use a simple notebook or save your runs from your mobile phone, with our running apps.
4. Share your Goals
Some of us like to keep our New Year’s resolutions to ourselves. There’s no problem with that. But did you know that sharing your goals can actually help you achieve them? Telling your friends and family members about your goals will make them seem more real and you’ll get their support along the way.
You can also join a running group in your area and meet with them for regular runs. But if you can’t find one, try to get a friend or family member to be your running partner. You can set similar goals and even run your first marathon together in 2015!
5. Reward Yourself
If you’ve achieved a milestone, reward yourself with something special that will benefit your running. You can opt for a professional massage, new running shoes or gear. Just stay away from unhealthy food or activities, that can damage your progress.
What are your running goals for 2015? If you want to race or just stay fit, check our apps!
At this time of year we all look back at our victories and fails of 2014 and set new goals that we hope to accomplish in 2015. If running a Marathon is on your bucket list, we want to help you cross it off in 2015!
That’s why we’ve just launched 5k to Marathon Progression Pack, an app bundle that contains the best training plan progression that will help you get to the starting line, even if you’ve never run before.
This bundle includes four apps already used by thousand to accomplish their workout goals: Ease into 5K, Bridge to 10K, Half Marathon Novice 1 and Marathon Novice 1.
After finishing these four training plans, you would have ran over 700 miles, spent 44 weeks training and you will be Marathon Ready.
Here’s how we’re planning to help you achieve your running goals in 2015:
Ease into 5K: from beginner to 5K racer.
Let’s be realistic. At this point, with no running experience, you’re not ready to race. You first need to build mobility and stability, while learning how to run without injuring yourself.
The best way to do this is with a run/walk interval program, such as Ease Into 5K. With our app you’ll start at a slower pace, but you will be running a full 5k without walking in just eight weeks.
This training program is excellent if you’re trying to adjust your busy schedule to a running routine. All you need is 30 minutes a day, 3 times a week to complete this training program.
Bridge to 10K: time to double your miles
Now that you can race a whole 5K, you’re ready to focus on increasing your running distance. Let’s make it 10K!
Bridge to 10K training program alternates between walking and running and is specifically designed for Ease into 5K app graduates. This training program demands a little more of your time – 3 times a week, from 53 to 70 minutes – but it will take you just 6 weeks of training to be able to complete a full 10K with no walking.
Half Marathon Novice 1: crushing your first 13.1
Running 13.1 miles is challenging. Before starting to train for a half marathon, you need to possess a basic fitness level which shouldn’t be a problem after the previous 14 weeks of training.
Based on Hal Higdon’s training plans, Half Marathon Novice 1 will get you ready to complete a half marathon in 12 weeks. To accomplish your running goal, you should 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 – 4 to 10 miles – each week.
The Half Marathon day is also the last day of this plan. After 14 weeks of training you’ll be able to get to the starting line with confidence, which will give you a feeling of great accomplishment.
Marathon Novice 1: you’re a marathoner
Completing a Half Marathon will really give you an idea of what you’re capable of and motivate you to keep going further. That’s exactly what you need at this stage because now it’s time to prepare for the big 26.2.
With Marathon Novice 1, you’ll train to reach this running goal in 18 weeks with the help of Hal Higdon’s running advice.
Of all four plans this is the most demanding. You’ll need to run four days a week and complete two regular runs and one long run, that ranges from 6 to 20 miles. The plan finishes with the Marathon race day and a goal crossed off from the 2015’s bucket list!
Download 5k to Marathon Progression Pack and get started today! Good luck with your training.
If you already own some of the the apps in the bundle, you just have to pay the difference to complete the bundle.
I’m really happy to announce the release of the latest version of our running apps. This update addresses a few remaining bugs with iOS 8 and adds one of the most requested features by our customers: integration with HealthKit and the new iOS 8 Health app.
The Health app serves as a repository for all your health and fitness data and is a great tool to get a comprehensive view of your overall fitness activity.
Our apps can write Distance and Calories Burned to the Health app. They can also read and write the Weight, thus allowing you to use our app to keep track of your weight or use any other weight tracking app that integrates with the Health app.
So, here’s how to setup the integration with the Health app:
- Once you open the app you will see the following dialog:
- Tapping on the “Configure” button will bring the Health Access screen where you can turn ON which data the app can read and write:
- Tap on the Done button and you are set.
After you finish a workout the Distance, Calories Burned, and Weight (if you entered it) will be saved in the Health app, and the Health app dashboard will look like this:
If you wish to change the access permissions after the fact you can do so by opening the Health app, tapping on the Sources tab, and selecting the app from the list:
The new update, version 3.5.7, is available on the App Store and the following apps have been updated to work with the Health app:
- Ease into 5K
- Ease into 5K Free (trial version)
- Bridge to 10K
- Ease into 10K
- Power Walk
- Hal Higdon 1/2 Marathon Novice 1
- Hal Higdon 1/2 Marathon Novice 2
- Hal Higdon Marathon Novice 1
- Hal Higdon Marathon Novice 2
- Hal Higdon Marathon Intermediate 1
- Hal Higdon Marathon Intermediate 2
- Susan G. Komen 3-Day 16 Week
- Susan G. Komen 3-Day 24 Week
- Run for God 5K Challenge
- RunHelper Free
- RunHelper Plus