Category Archives: Motivation

5 Tips for Busy Running Moms

Finding time and motivation to run is hard for all of us. For busy moms, it’s even tougher. With your full time job, small children that require your full attention, and a household to manage, you still manage to find time for date night and your friends every now and then. How can running fit in such a hectic schedule?

We put together some simple tips and tricks that will help you balance training and motherhood.

Wake up early to run


The hardest thing about being a mother runner is finding time to workout without hurting the family schedule. Early mornings are usually the best time slots to fit a run. At this time of the day there aren’t any interruptions, and there’s no need to arrange babysitting because everyone is still asleep. But motivation can be hard to find when you would rather stay in bed instead of lacing up. It can be really helpful and motivating if you prep everything you need – clothes, running shoes, pre-run meal and water – the night before. When the alarm goes off, you won’t have any more excuses to skip the workout. Just say to yourself, “Don’t think, just go.”

Make every minute count

If mornings are not a good time to squeeze in a workout, and evenings are too crowded to log a few miles, you should start making every minute count.

Many runners plan their workouts around their children’s naps; others run laps around the soccer or baseball field when their kids are at practice; and putting your kids in a day care a few miles away from home can do wonders for your weekly mileage.

The most important thing of being a busy mom runner, is to pick the most convenient time to work out and learn to be flexible – a 4-mile run may turn into 8 miles if your child is behaving in the running stroller, or a longer run might get compromised if your kid would rather be at home.

Choose the right training plan


If you have just decided to have a more active lifestyle, you should begin with a minimum time per day and minimum number of days per week goal.

How about 30 minutes per day, three days per week? You can easily fit in a workout in your busy mom’s schedule with a run/walk interval program, such as Ease Into 5K.

Interval workouts alternate high-intensity levels with lower-intensity effort, which helps you see greater results in less time. Studies have shown that interval training burns three times as much fat as running twice as long at a moderately hard, steady pace. But the benefits don’t end there – recovery from interval training forces the body to continue burning fat for energy.

Work out alone

Although working out with a running partner can help you stay motivated, coordinating schedules can be a daunting task.

Working out alone allows you to manage your own schedule, fitting in a run whenever possible and focusing on a more targeted workout that will you give you quicker results.

But if you already have a running buddy that holds you accountable, you can both benefit a lot more from this partnership. Next time you go out for a run, bring your kids along and swap the duties back and forth – have your running partner watch the children while you run, then switch when you get back.

Cherish your solo runs


When you run alone, make that workout about you. You need that time to recharge yourself, away from the chaos of your busy mom life.

When you run, try to focus completely on running and don’t let thoughts of your children or other worries distract you. It will be hard at first; but when you get back from your work out, your kids will have your complete attention and you will feel physically and mentally reinvigorated and ready to give your best to all those around you.

Why and How to Cross Train

If we ask you to name a benefit of cross-training, what would be your answer? Let us guess… injury prevention? Even though this is the most widely recognized benefit of cross-training among runners, it’s not the only one.

Cross-training should be part of every fitness plan because it helps to rehabilitate injuries, aids in muscle recovery, and improves fitness. In addition, cross-training can also prevent burnout and add a little fun and variety to your workout, helping you to stay motivated during the several weeks of training.

In this article, we chose a few cross-training activities that you can include one to three times per week in your fitness routine for optimal results. Depending on your training and health situation, you can select the activities that will work best for you.



Unlike running, walking is a low-impact activity that exercises many of the same muscles, which makes it a great cross-training activity.

If you’re a beginner and your body is not used to the repetitive impact of running, you can use walking to improve endurance without beating up your most vulnerable joints, muscles, and connective tissues. Doing a vigorous walk the day after an intense run is also a great way to recover.

To get all the cardio-respiratory benefits of this cross-training activity, walk at a brisk pace and pump your arms to burn more calories.

Pool running

Pool running, also known as water running, is exactly as the name implies: running in a pool, in deep water.

Even though you always need a pool deep enough to perform this workout, it is worth the try, especially if you’re recovering from an injury. This activity mimics running movements on land without the impact on the joints. Plus the water’s resistance helps you strengthen your legs, back, shoulders, core and arms.

Just make sure you warm up and cool down for at least 5-10 minutes before and after your pool running.



Need a break from the impact of running? Swimming is a non-weightbearing activity that gives your legs a break while developing the upper body musculature that is often neglected by runners.

Swimming can benefit all runners, from beginners to veterans, especially those recovering from a long race or an injury. By targeting all the major muscle groups (quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, abs, lower back and upper body), swimming is a great way to improve your efficiency, strengthen your muscles, and add more training sessions without additional breakdown.

Elliptical Trainer

If you’re a regular at the gym, you might have noticed the elliptical trainer. This is one of the most popular cardio machines and also an excellent cross-training activity for runners because it mimics running without the impact.

The elliptical trainer is a weight-bearing activity, but has a very low-impact in the joints. This is the reason why so many runners use this machine to prevent or recover from injuries, while developing the muscle of the core and legs. In addition, if you use an elliptical trainer with arm levers, the pushing and pulling motion allows you to develop a stronger arm swing, helping make you a more efficient runner.

What are your favorite cross-training activities? How do they help you to become a better runner?

Get motivated to start running again

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

Friendship and fitness in the park

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.

What you should know before running your first marathon

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 Marathon

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

Injured runner

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

Running a Marathon

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?

How to achieve your New Year’s running goals

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

New Year's Resolutions

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

Running a Marathon

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

Share Resolutions

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!

6 Tips for Running in Cold Weather

Falling temperatures and fewer daylight hours indicate winter is almost here. But they are definitely not an excuse to quit your outdoor running routine. In fact, running in cold weather will help you feel better, boost your energy level, and lose the unwanted weight before the bathing suit season.

Stay healthy and follow these ground rules to ensure your safety and boost performance this winter:

1. Dress in thin layers and choose the right fabrics

Running in the cold

When you’re running or moving at full intensity, you feel 20 degrees warmer than your starting temperature. So, when you’re dressing to hit the road, you should choose clothes that keep you warm without overheating and chilling.

Consider wearing several thin layers of clothing, starting with a layer of synthetic material such as polypropylene, which wicks sweat from your body. Avoid wearing cotton because it holds the sweat and will keep you wet.

The right outer layer should help protect you against wind and precipitation, while still letting out heat and moisture. A breathable layer of nylon or Gore-Tex will do the job!

2. Protect your extremities

About 40% of your body heat is lost through your head and 30% escapes through your hands and feet.

When you’re running in low temperatures, make sure you always wear a snug-fitting hat, gloves mittens and wool socks that wick moisture away.

3. Run into the wind

Running during winter

To avoid catching a chill when you’re sweaty, start your run into the wind and finish with it at your back. You can even break this into segments, running into the wind for about 10 minutes, turning around to run with the wind at your back for five minutes, and repeating.

4. Be visible

With limited daylight, it’s more likely that you’ll be running in the dark during the winter. If you can, avoid running in such conditions. But if you have to run at night or early in the morning, wear reflective and fluorescent gear and dress in bright colors, specially if the landscape is covered in snow.

5. Take it easy and forget speed

When running in the cold, you’re at greater risk for a pulled muscle. On such conditions, warm up slowly and run easy.

If you prefer to run in the morning or in the evening, when the temperatures are much colder, try doing it twice a day instead of doing one long run where you might get very cold toward the end.

6. Change quickly after a run

As soon as you stop a physical activity, your core body temperature drops. The same happens if you get wet from rain, snow, or sweat. To avoid chilling or even hypothermia, change to some dry clothes – including socks, gloves and hat – as soon as you can and get warmer at a shelter with a hot drink.

Do you run outside in cold temperatures? Share your own safety tips for cold weather running in the comments below!


5 Good Reasons to Start Running Today

Running is considered as one of the most complete workouts. It’s not only good for your body, but it also helps you to improve your mood and clear your mind.

If you’ve been thinking about lacing up and you’re looking for some extra motivation to get off the couch, read on for 5 wonderful reasons to start running today.

#1 It’s so easy to start running

Start running today

There’s no exercise more natural than running. And starting couldn’t be simpler! All you need is a good pair of sneakers and comfortable workout clothes to get out there and run.

Yet, if you’ve never hit the road before, you’ll want to do it slowly. By starting at a fast and uncomfortable pace, you risk injuring your body and losing your motivation.

Therefore, to get all the health benefits that running has to offer, be sure to choose the right training plan. If you’ve never run before, start today with our Ease into 5K app.


#2 Running can prevent disease

As you already know, an active lifestyle helps you live a more healthy and disease-free life.

In fact, many studies have shown that regular exercise helps to prevent cancer, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Also, regular joggers tend to have a lower blood pressure, good cholesterol levels, and a strong immune system.

And the health benefits of running don’t end there. Your regular runs reduce the risk of vision loss, age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.


#3 Running makes you feel better

Running eases depression and anxiety

Ever wondered why you feel much better after working out?

When you’re running, your brain releases endorphins and neurotransmitters that can instantly lift your mood. It also lowers the hormones that can contribute to depression. In fact, mental health experts use running to help treat clinical depression and other psychological disorders such as drug and alcohol addiction.

But that’s not all. Researchers found that just 30 minutes of running could boost sleep quality and concentration during the day.


#4 Running helps you lose weight

You know – and feel – that you’re burning calories while you’re running. But did you know that, from all those gym staples, the treadmill is the one that helps you blast the more calories?

According to the Medical College of Wisconsin and the VA Medical Center, the treadmill (used at a “hard” exertion level) torched an average of 705-865 calories in an hour.

Also, regular exercise boosts “afterburn”, which is the number of calories you burn after exercise. This happens when you’re running a little faster than your easy pace, and a little slower than your fastest pace.


#5 Running can add years to your life

Running helps you live longer

According to experts, all you need to do to add years to you life is work out 2.5 hours a week (30 minutes, 5 times per week). Studies show that people who meet just this amount of physical activity are 19 percent less likely to die prematurely than those who don’t exercise.

You don’t even have to run at fast speeds! So, even if you’re currently out of shape, you should be able to run, live longer and healthier!

Five ways to get faster today (as told by runners across the web)

We’ve talked before about how you can perform better starting with your very next run and ways to avoid slowing yourself down for no good reason.  Both of those posts show that although most of what makes for a successful runner takes time and patience, there are some quick tips and tricks that can help you start getting faster right away.  Continue reading

Success Stories: Mark Rucker

At Bluefin, nothing makes us happier than hearing from folks who have had success with our programs.  Our users have accomplished some amazing stuff and we’re always honored and humbled any time we hear that one of our apps had played a part in helping someone get healthy or take their running to the next level. Continue reading

Four Olympic running performances to inspire your next workout

You don’t have to be an elite athlete to appreciate the Olympics (though it probably doesn’t hurt).  And while we’re sure you could turn on the TV or hop online and find inspiration from all sorts of sports at any given time of day as long as the Games are on, we figured we’d take a few minutes to share with you some of the most inspirational Olympic moments from modern sports history.  Because it doesn’t matter if you’re training for a gold medal, a personal best, or to cross that 5k finish line for the first time, we can all take something powerful away from the great runners who have come before us.

Here are four powerful stories that just might inspire your next workout.

Michael Johnson causes lightning to strike (twice).  Every once in a while, an athlete will come along who completely redefines what is possible in a sport.  Michael Johnson did just that in 1996 when he took gold in both the 400 and the 200, making him the first man to every accomplish that feat.  Check out Johnson and tons of other inspirational (non-running) stories at

Moral of the story? Take the most you could ever imagine accomplishing with your training.  Then double it.  You can do it.

Derek Redmond finishes the race (with his dad).  Redmond had dedicated his life to training for the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona.  His dreams of gold were shattered mid-race when a pulled hamstring yanked him from contention in a heartbeat.  With victory off the table, Redmond pushed through the pain to finish the race, crossing the line finally with the help of his dad.  Here’s the video, which is well worth a watch.

Moral of the story? Winning really isn’t everything, but sometimes finishing is.

Jesse Owens stares down Hitler himself.  It was 1936 and the Olympics were in Berlin.  African American Jesse Owens faced the toughest crowd of his career when he made history in the face of the Führer himself.  He was given a once-in-a-lifetime shot and performed at his best.  Read the whole story over at

Moral of the story?  Don’t let anyone intimidate you on race day.  Win or lose, you’ve earned your place in the competition.  

Wilma Rudolph beats the odds, every single day.  It was the 1960 Olympics in Rome and to make a long story short, Rudolph dominated like no other. She set records and won gold medals.  But the truly remarkable story is the one that starts the day she was born — premature, small, and weak.  Her childhood was plagued with illness and injury, sometimes making walking — never mind competitive running — nearly impossible.  If you ever feel like the deck is stacked against you when it comes to getting fit, Rudolph’s story might be just the motivation you need.  You can read the whole story now on

Moral of the story?  Life may not be fair, but no matter what challenges your body throws at you, you can find a way to succeed.

Hope you guys are enjoying the Olympics as much as we are.  Get inspired!