Author Archives: Tanya

5 Myths of the Marathon by Hal Higdon

Are some of the assumptions about our favorite race flat-out false?

Several weeks before this year’s Boston Marathon, an editor at a large East Coast newspaper approached me with an assignment to contribute to the paper’s weekly “Five Myths” feature: Five Myths About Easter; Five Myths About Mount Everest; Five Myths About The Oscars, etc. The editor wanted me to write: Five Myths About the Boston Marathon Bombings.

The assignment would have provided good exposure for my latest book, 4:09:43but I did not feel enough legitimate myths existed around the bombings to justify a “Five Myths” feature. The Oscars have been around forever, but the bombings happened only last year, too recently to develop a mythology. And quite frankly, focusing only on the horror of 2013 bothered me. I suggested to the editor that he broaden our approach to include all marathons. The editor said, no, and assigned the article to another writer.

Fair enough, but given the opportunity to select five myths about the marathon, not merely about the bombings, here is what I might have written:

  1. Pheidippides was the first marathon runner. Despite the popularity of the story of a single warrior/messenger running into Athens after the Battle of Marathon in 490 BC with news of the Greek victory—then dying—it never happened. The story only appeared in history books several hundred years after the battle. Pheidippides is part of a legend, albeit one that runners now happily embrace.
  2. 26 miles 385 yards was the length of the first Olympic marathon. The Greek shepherd Spiridon Loues probably ran around 24.5 miles, or 40 kilometers, in winning the first Olympic marathon in 1896. Three Olympiads later at London in 1908, organizers moved the starting line back to Windsor Castle so the Queen’s grandchildren could see the race. That odd 26.2-mile distance somehow became the accepted standard.
  3. Boston is the oldest and biggest marathon race in the world. Technically, the Olympic Marathon is one year older, but is only held every fourth year and in different cities. In the fall of 1896, New York hosted a “first” marathon, but that event failed to survive. Boston is the oldest continuously held marathon, although eight other marathons, including New York and Chicago are bigger.
  4. Women will never be able to run 26.miles. A long since disproven myth, but rules once prevented women from running more than 2.5 miles. Then in 1966, Roberta Gibb ran the full distance at Boston followed in 1967 by Kathrine Switzer. Today, women dominate many long distance races. According to Running USA, in 2013 61 percent of the 2 million finishers in half marathons were women.
  5. The Boston Marathon bombings were a hoax, never happened. Yes, this myth seems ridiculous, but conspiracy theories abound around many major events. The Moon landing was staged in a TV studio, right? Within a week after the bombings, a “book” appeared on Kindle suggesting that the Boston Marathon bombings were a hoax staged by the Federal Government.

While all the questions about the terrorists have not yet been answered—and may never be answered even after the trial—this is the saddest marathon myth of all. I was happy to have turned down the assignment from the newspaper editor. The marathon has enough legitimate myths without making up others linked to the bombings.

Hal Higdon is a Contributing Editor for Runner’s World. His most recent book is 4:09:43: Boston 2013 Through the Eyes of the Runners, available in bookstores, online and (autographed) through www.halhigdon.com.

Hal Higdon Marathon Intermediate 1 and 2

We’re building more plans to fit your training style. Hal Higdon Marathon Intermediate 1 and Hal Higdon Marathon Intermediate 2 are available in the iTunes App Store.

Here’s the breakdown between the two new marathon apps.

Intermediate 1

26.2_I1_1024_RFor the experienced runner, this app offers yet another step up. You’ll go from 4 days of running to 5 days per week. The main difference between the intermediate programs and the novice programs comes on the weekends: a pace run on Saturday followed by a long run on Sunday. Plus you finish with two 20-milers, not just one. If you are serious about your running, Intermediate 1 may be the perfect program for you.

Intermediate 2

26.2_I2_1024_RThe gradual increase in difficulty continues. The simplest difference between Intermediate 1 and Intermediate 2 is more mileage. The app not only asks you to run somewhat more miles through the week, but you will run three 20 milers at the end, rather than two. Sound tough? It is.

 

No matter what your skill level, training for a half or full marathon shouldn’t be a stumbling block. Get your hands on a Hal Higdon app and you’ll be confident and prepared to run no matter what your starting fitness level may be. For details on all of Hal Higdon’s apps visit http://halhigdon.bluefinapps.com/

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Your Year in Review

Your Year in Review

For Connect members, we’ve made a special page highlighting your 2013 training! Check your inboxes or log in to your Connect account online to see your “2013 Year in Review” page.

We hope this year you’ll reach new distances, conquer new goals, enter more races, burn more calories, and have fun while doing it. Your successes inspire us to keep working towards creating new products to better your training experiences.

Not a Connect member? Create an account today and start the 30-day free trial. Upload all your workouts from within the app and we’ll send you your very own 2013 Year in Review. Sign up here.

Thanks for choosing Bluefin apps for your training.
Keep up the good work in 2014!

Alex, Tanya & the Bluefin Team

To Stretch or Not to Stretch

When it comes to running, stretching is all to often a confusing subject. There are conflicting arguments on whether or not we should stretch, what type of stretching to do, and when to stretch. We’ve done the research and hand picked a selection of dynamic and static stretching exercises that target the muscles most used during a run.

According to Nikki Kimball from Runners World “…dynamic stretching, which uses controlled leg movements to improve range of motion, loosens up muscles and increases heart rate, body temperature, and blood flow to help you run more efficiently.”

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Walking Lunges

Here are three reasons why you should include stretching in your workout routine.

Wake up your body. Dynamic stretching is the best way to give your body a wake up call. Dynamic movements help get your blood pumping and your nervous system enough time to respond to the upcoming workout you are going to be putting your body through. With each stretch you are warming up your muscles and steadily increasing your heart rate. Before you know it you’ll be heading out the door more than ready for your run.

Post run recovery. Some research suggests that you can skip the pre-workout stretch, but a post workout stretch shouldn’t be missed and here is why. According to Greg Strosaker  stretching “provides recovery benefit, perhaps by improving blood flow to sore or tight areas or by helping to work out scar tissue adhesions. Since injuries often begin as “tightness” or accumulation of scar tissue in a specific muscle or tendon, it is possible that the process of exercising this muscle through flexibility work provides benefit.”

Help reduce the risk of injury. The important thing here is to do stretches that are specific for the sport you are doing. Tight muscles lack the needed elasticity to provide joints and muscles the right amount of push and pull with each running stride. Getting the specific muscles you’ll be using during the workout ready for action will help you maintain the needed flexibility necessary to help prevent injury. 

Adding a new stretching routine to an existing workout schedule should be painless and easy. We’ve select stretching exercises that are tailored for runners and split them into pre and post workout sessions.

OUR Stretching app will:

  • Integrate with our existing running apps
  • Contain stretches that are specific for runners
  • Include a Pre-Run session which includes predominately dynamic stretching exercises
  • Include a Post-Run session which includes a mix of dynamic and static stretching exercises
  • Show you how exercises are performed with beautify, realistic, hi-def animations
  • Time your stretching session and let you know when to switch exercises

give stretching a try! Sign up below to receive an email when our stretching app is released. You could also win a free copy of the app!

You’re going to love Stretching

Let’s face it stretching is boring, tedious, and requires some guesswork into which stretches to do and how to perform them correctly. Plus, most of us only have time to get out, run and get it over with.

We at Bluefin have set out to solve this and get you to start stretching, but better yet, to stretch properly. We’ve designed an app that will take the guesswork out of stretching and show you exactly what stretches to perform.

The app has two sets of stretching routines specifically created for your pre-run and post-run stretch. The app will guide you through a 5 minute  routine that will get your muscles ready for a run. After your run select the post-run stretching routine to release built up muscle tension and prevent soreness and fatigue.

Sign up below and we’ll let you know when the app is launched. You will also be entered to win one of 50 free copies on launch day.

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Bridge – great for opening up hip flexors and quads. Helps improve posture and back flexibility.

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7 Minute Workout App Available on iTunes

7 Minute Workout App available in iTunes

7 Minute Workout is a quick and easy way to get a workout in when you are away from home or don’t want to go to the gym.

The app contains 12 scientifically selected workouts that target all muscle groups. The 7 Minute workout was introduced in an article published by  New York Times in May 2013. The author suggests that, “Those seven minutes should be, in a word, unpleasant. The upside is, after seven minutes, you’re done.”

The idea behind 7 Minute Workout is that you target certain muscle groups for 30 seconds, give them a 10 second break and continue with a different muscle group. High Intensity Circuit Training (HITC) has proven beneficial for those looking to break up their workout routines. HITC workouts have shown promise in reducing flab and increasing metabolism for maximum fat burning.

Our 7 Minute Workout lets you listen to your own music, or listen to the included sound track. Once you’ve mastered the 12 exercises increase your workout time by completing multiple rounds. The app also lets you shuffle the exercises to decrease boredom.

Once you’ve gotten yourself hooked to HITC workouts you’ll be asking for more.  Our Bootcamp app has 40 different exercises and 5 built in workouts: Cardio and Core, Sculpted Arms, Killer Quads to name just a few. You can start with these or mix and match exercises to build your very own custom routine.

Make time for a quick 7 Minute Workout and reap the benefits now. Download your copy today to get started.

Help Us Beta Test Our New App

We are looking for 50 customers who are willing to help us beta test our new app: RunHelper Plus.

RunHelper Plus expands on our RunHelper Free app and brings 4 new workout types:

  • Timed workout: Select workout duration and the app will let you know when you reach the goal.
  • Time + Run/Walk Interval: Select workout duration, and duration of your run and walk intervals. The app will repeat the intervals until the workout duration is reached.
  • Distance + Run/Walk Interval: Select workout distance, and duration of your run and walk intervals. The app will repeat the intervals until the desired distance is reached.
  • Calorie Burn: Select how many calories you wish to burn and the app will let you know when you’ve reach the goal.
Time + Run/Walk Interval

Time + Run/Walk Interval

Here’s how to join:

If you …

  1. Have an iPhone 3GS or later with iOS 4.3 or later
  2. Are able to run with the new app at least once a week
  3. Are willing to send us feedback about the app

To join send us your device’s UDID. The UDID  will enable us to create a special version of the app that you can install on your iPhone without having to download it from the App Store. The easiest way to do this is to download the Free UDID Finder app from the App Store and tap on the “Send Email” button. Send the UDID from the UDID Finder app to: support@runhelper.com

Once the beta version is ready for testing we’ll send you an email with the app and instructions on how to install it on your device.

Thanks so much for your help!

Alex, Tanya & the Bluefin Team

2012 Sponsored Athlete, Matthew Answers Training Questions

Catching up with our sponsored athlete, Matthew Murphy, after a busy 2012. Read on to find out how his passion for running started and where it has gotten him. Truly an amazing story.

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When did you start running and how long before you knew you were good at it?

“Being “good” may be relative to not how my performance is, but how good running is for me and what it does for the greater good of the world we live in.  When I first started running in 2010, I hated it.  I had the wrong shoes and no real training plan. This resulted in me getting injured on my first outing.  After I recovered and did some research, I got a “real” pair of running shoes and downloaded the Ease Into 5K app. I realized after about two weeks of doing the plan that I was starting to get “good” at running.  I was also seeing a dramatic change in my weight loss while increasing energy and stamina levels. When it became bigger than me is when I started to use my running as a means to raise awareness for congenital abnormality research and assisting the families of the 1 in 30 children born with a congenital anomaly.  This is a huge issue for me considering that it is the leading cause of infant deaths in the world and affected my son, Shawn. My wife and I were surprised that we could not find any type of non-profit that did research or provided the public information about congenital abnormalities, so after Shawn’s successful recovery from three life threatening surgeries in his first year of life, we started Shawn’s Anomaly to provide education, hope, and help to families affected by congenital abnormalities. I now raise money for the non-profit through my endurance events, help motivate others through speaking engagements, and coach athletes of all skill levels through their fitness journey so they can raise money for our mission through events of their choice all over the world.

how long before you realized you wanted to train for an ironman?

Continue reading

Shed Unwanted Weight Begins Today

If you haven’t read the post, Shed Unwanted Weight catch up and join us, click here.

Being prepared

Do you have your pantry and refrigerator stocked and ready to go? Having the mindset to start a healthier diet is one thing, being prepared to start will only help you achieve your goal. Here are a few more suggestions as you start your week.

  1. Before going to bed fill a water bottle with water and put it at your bedside. When you wake up, try to drink as much as you can before anything else. Refill it before going to work.
  2. If you’re planning on making the yummy gluten free flatbread recipe make sure you soak the ingredients the night before.
  3. To make fresh beans, soak them overnight as it helps decrease their cooking time. In the morning, put them in a crockpot with your favorite veggies and seasoning (watch out for sugar in your seasonings) and you’ll have yummy chili for dinner.
  4. You can also prepare beans when you get home so they are ready for the next day. Wash, rinse and cover them in a oven safe  pot and lid. Bake them at 350F. Check them after an hour for tenderness and to make sure they are boiling under the water (so they don’t burn). Total bake time 1.5 to 2  hours. Drain and prepare them anyway you like.
  5. Exercise is every bit a part of this challenge. Make sure you move at  least once a day for 30 minutes. Use our apps to help you complete your goal(s) and sign up for RunHelper Connect to track your weight loss and running progress. It’s an extra motivator to get an achievement saying you lost 5 pounds or more!

Here’s to a great start this February. Join in on the conversation through the comments and let us know how you’re doing and what your goals are this month! Follow the blog (lower right hand corner of your screen) or click the check boxes when you post a comment to receive follow-up comments.

Shed Unwanted Pounds

No gimmicks, no pills, no starving… just WILLPOWER! Eat all you want and lose weight. Scroll down to find out more and get started.

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In my Facebook post yesterday I told you I was going to help you shed a few pounds this month and I meant it.  I myself have seen results and so I wanted to share my experience with you as we head into our second month of 2013.

How have I been able to lose weight? More importantly, how can what I’ve learned help you? One simple answer: Sugar. Sugar addiction has been a real problem in last few decades but in the past couple of years we can read news headlines discussing the issue with High fructose Corn Syrup in almost all boxed items at the grocery store as well as sodas and juice drinks. Dr. Oz and Oprah  have weighed in their concerns with the amount of sugar we are consuming. In addition to weight gain and diabetes, did you know that consuming too much sugar can also negatively impact your brain as well? What Eating too Much Sugar Does to Your Brain.

I said there were no gimmicks, no pills and that all it will take is WILLPOWER! This month, if you are with me, we are taking a NO SUGAR stance. I wanted to get this post out to you today so that you can get your fridge and pantry ready for Monday. Here are the staples that I have in my house that have gotten me to be sugar free:

Fridge: white bean hummus, spinach, peppers, arugula, beets, olives, tomatoes, cilantro, romaine lettuce, celery, eggs, unsweetened almond milk, rice milk, lemons, grapefruit, organic meats and poultry (I’m a pescatarian, so you won’t find these in my fridge, but they are acceptable as long as you choose nice cuts of meat that you saute or bake, not fried please).

Pantry: beans (any kind), brown rice, millet, avocado, sweet potato, tomato pasta sauce (sugar free), sunflower butter, almond butter, sunflower seeds, slivered almonds

Why is sugar bad? It’s not that sugar is BAD, it’s just that we’ve been bad at how we consume it. If you think about it, how many Starbucks coffees have you had this week? Eat a scone with it too? I know I used to all the time. Foods that contain sugar and foods that turn into sugar once metabolized can affect your body in many different ways. Read  What You Need to Know About Complex Carbohydrates. 

A word about bread. Yes, you guessed it. I don’t eat bread. I’m hoping you read the article above to find out why. The good news is that I’ve found a great bread alternative recipe online. We make this at home as our bread substitute. It goes with everything and is so yummy when it’s fresh out of the oven. We’ve even put slices of fruit on it with sprinkles of cinnamon, before baking, for a yummy breakfast or an after meal treat). Click here for the recipe.

Fruits and especially veggies should be eaten often. Here’s a are link from the FDA to see the sugar content of your fruits and veggies.  You can review the list and see what fits best in your life. If you want more rapid weight loss I would stay away from the fruits and veggies that have a  higher sugar content. If I feel like a fruit I’ll opt for either a grapefruit, a small handful of berries or a granny smith apple. With the veggies I typically stay away from potatoes, but I do allow myself to eat some sweet potatoes at least once a week (see recipe below).

If you have the WILLPOWER to cut out sugar I’m sure you will see results. The first few days may be tough as your body is getting used to not having sugar anymore so headaches may be common. Make sure you drink plenty of water during the course of this month but especially the first few days. Stay away from juices and sodas and just drink water! We will be using the blog post as a forum for questions, so please keep us updated and we will encourage you along the way.

Recipes

One of the best things to ensure success is to plan ahead of time. Here are a couple of recipes to give you some ideas.

1. Roasted winter veggies

- Preheat oven to 450F

- Dice 2 beets, 1 red onion, 1 sweet potato, 2 to 3 green zucchinis, 2 celery sticks

- Toss in olive oil, sea salt, parsley

- Cover casserole dish with aluminum foil and bake for 45 – 55 minutes. Mix occasionally.

2. Salad (you can add any types of nuts or seeds here)

- One handful of arugula and a handful of romain hearts

- One Fresh or roasted pepper

- One big tbsp of Hummus

- Sunflower seeds

-  Dressing: 1 tablespoon olive oil, half a squeezed lemon, sea salt and any other seasoning you prefer that doesn’t have sugar

If you’re interested in taking part in our Sugar free February then please post below. Official start time is Monday February 4th, 2013. Make sure you weigh yourself that morning upon waking up, in the buff, and every morning until the end of February. The challenge this month is to stop combing through the grocery store aisles looking for sugar free processed foods, instead, try the alternative, no labels. Buy foods that have no labels on them and you’ll find yourself spending more time in the fresh produce section. Looking forward to reading your questions/comments and supporting you all this month!