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?

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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.

food-label

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!

2012 Sponsored Athlete, Ashley Answers Training Questions

Catching up with our sponsored athlete, Ashley Clifford, after a busy 2012 race season. In 2013 she will tackle 5 Ironman races. We asked her, What does it take to train for an ironman?

Ashley Clifford finish

What’s your motivation for training for a triathlon?

“I have a life-long love of sports, and I’ve participated on many teams. I was a
competitive swimmer at age five. My junior year of high school, I transferred
to a high school that limited my swim time, so I compensated by running
cross country and track. After graduation, I made the decision to run in
college. I spent the balance of my college years competing in Half Ironman
distance races, developing my swimming strength, and improving my running
times. I also made the decision to become a professional triathlete. Thus my
immediate career goal is to become a successful, professional triathlete.

I am very blessed and lucky because I actually love training. I almost enjoy it as much as the actual races!”

What part of the race are you the strongest in?

“My strongest part of the race is the swim and run. The swim is somewhat helpful because it allows me to get out front and not have to fight the group. It only gives me a few minutes advantage, and in a 9+ hour race this is not much.”

“When I am feeling good and in shape, I am a very strong runner. And this
does make a difference in my overall standings. I was the fastest female
runner at Louisville Ironman 2011 and placed ‘third female’ as an age
grouper. At Florida Ironman I ran a 2:57 marathon, which was the fastest run
of the day. It also earned me a third place finish and my first podium finish as
a professional.”

Do you have a coach? If so, who?

“My coach is Adam Zucco with Training Bible Coaching.”

What is involved in training? (give us an example of your training day)•

“A typical day of training is usually 2 of the triathlon disciplines. I will swim and bike. I may bike and run. The workout is really dependent on what race I am training for and when it is scheduled. At a peak, my days can be 4+ hours of working out.”

Is training for a triathlon doable for anyone? Why or why not?

“Yes, with one exception. I believe that you need to know how to swim
comfortably in open water. You do not have to be a great swimmer; you just
have to be comfortable in the open water with other people around you. I see people not finishing the swim because they freak – not because they were not in shape, but because of the crowd around them. Training for the bike and run is very do-able for anyone; the only piece they might adjust is the distance.  I recommend you start with a distance you are comfortable with, whether it is a Sprint, Olympic distance or a 70.3 Ironman distance.”

What gear/equipment does one need to train?

“There is a lot of gear and equipment needed to train, depending if you train year round. But, the basics for the run are running shoes and run clothes. For the bike you need a bike, bike shoes, cycle clothes, and helmet. For the swim you need a swimsuit, cap, & goggles. For someone wanting to finish a Triathlon, they do not need to spend a lot of money on the gear. The most expensive equipment is your bike, and a lot of people already have one they can use.”

Thank you Ashley for running with Bluefin in 2012. You can check out Ashley’s 2013 races on her blog and connect with her on Twitter to cheer her on!

RunHelper Free, a full featured GPS run tracker app

After graduating from our training plans many of you continue running to maintain your newly acquired fitness level. We set out to build a perfect app for logging your runs. RunHelper Free is a GPS tracker that lets you choose your distance, alerts you when you’ve reached it, keeps track of all your running stats, and much more.

Super simple to use

Open the app and press the “Start Run” button and you are on your way. Want to run a different distance? No problem. Select a new distance on the same screen with just a few flicks of your finger.

Familiar

If you’ve trained with one of our apps, you will feel right at home with RunHelper Free. All the features you’ve come to love in Bluefin apps are here:
• Simple and beautiful design
• Half Way Point audio alert
• Easy to read Workout Screen
• Workout Journal
• Integrated Music
• GPS Tracking

Earns you points

Sign up for RunHelper Connect and earn points for each workout you do. Need a little extra motivation? You’ve got it! Unlock Achievements to earn bonus points and receive trophies for your virtual trophy case.

Download it Now

RunHelper Free

Free on the App Store

What’s new in Version 3.3.3

When running some of us want to be able to see our stats at all times. Are we slowing down? Are we running faster than usual? The biggest change in this update is the Workout screen.

Here’s a highlight of the new features we are introducing with version 3.3.3

Workout Screen gets a small face-lift

We’ve heard from a number of you that the GPS values on the workout screen are a bit hard to read while working out. We are happy to announce that we have fixed that with this update. The Workout screen now sports larger values that are easier to see with just a glance while in the middle of a run.

In order to accomodate larger pace and distance values we have redesigned the music/volume/sharing tabs into a smaller bottom bar that lets you easily control your music and alerts volume, and lock the screen.

The New Workout Screen

Larger Distance and Pace values. Slimmer bottom bar gives you access to Music, Volume, and Locked View.

Another improvement on the workout screen is the music integration. You can now change your playlist mid run without having to stop your workout. Just tap on the album artwork and select a new playlist.

The previous version of the app had a “Lock Buttons” feature which placed  small padlocks on the buttons that could accidentally interrupt a workout. That was a bit confusing so we have replaced that feature with a more intuitive “Locked View”. If you have previously had “Lock Buttons” turned ON, the Workout screen will now automatically change to the “Locked View” when you start a workout. You can also tap the “Lock” button in the lower right corner of the screen to switch to the “Locked View”. With the lock view all buttons that could interrupt your workout are removed.

Locked View

The Locked View removes all buttons preventing workout interruptions by accidentally tapping the screen.

Try Connect free for 30 days

With this update you are able to try RunHelper Connect free for 30-days. The RunHelper Connect service enables you to automatically backup your workouts, see your progress across all Bluefin apps, and much more.

The New Connect Tab

Everyone needs a little extra motivation to stay on a workout schedule. RunHelper Connect helps you stay motivated by awarding you points every time you workout thus making working out a bit more fun.  You can also unlock Achievements that give you extra bonus points and a beautiful trophy for your virtual trophy case.

Connect Tab

See your latest activity, points earned, and unlocked Achievements.

Changes to the training plan

This update brings an adjustment to the training plan based on the feedback we have received from customers. Workouts for Week 1, Week 2, Week 5 – Day 3, and Week 6 have been modified to make the training plan more gradual.

In addition to interval changes for the workouts above, we have made the following changes:

  • Workouts don’t end with a Walk interval anymore. Since a 5 minute cool-down walk is included, having a Walk interval as the last interval before the cool-down was redundant.
  • Week 1 Run intervals have been increased to 60 seconds.

For any comments or feature requests please don’t hesitate to write us at support@runhelper.com

Chase the Sun

Join us this Holiday Season as we strive to stay healthy and motivated. Commit to working out 30 minutes a day from Thanksgiving to New Year 2013!

UPDATES PLEASE! Who’s still with me..

I know, the New Year still seems far away. With 22 days left till the ball drops, or maybe you’ve already dropped the ball on your commitment to CHASE THE SUN.  Either way, I wanted to say HANG in there! You can always recommit today.

Need extra motivation? Recruit someone to run with you. Check out our archived post on Some buddies are made, not born. 

Comment below if you are still hanging in there! Let’s continue to encourage each other. Continue reading

4 Tips to Stay Disaster Free this Holiday Season!

Yes, there are all kinds of disasters that can happen over the holidays. Such as, under baking the Turkey, running out of cranberry sauce and stuffing, and having your garbage disposal decide not to work (this has happened to my mom, what a mess). Putting all that aside, what I wanted to share is the disaster of overeating over the holidays and how you can avoid that so you don’t skip out on training.

Here are a 4 tips to help you tackle the holiday food fare, disaster free. Continue reading

Real Food: Hot, Healthy, and Homemade

As runners, we’ve all made a commitment to good health.  But to be as healthy as we can be (not to mention perform our best as athletes), we need to eat the right stuff, even for Thanksgiving. Real runners need real food.  

As we’re gearing up for the Holidays we should remember that our love for food should not supersede our love for running. Ever go out for a run after a big meal? Not the best feeling, huh. Thanksgiving is a great time to spend with family and friends, but it shouldn’t drain your running routine.

The recipe for this week, Butternut Squash Tomato Posole, comes from Eating Well, a great site for truly delicious meals that are healthy and tasty. This hearty stew will not only fill you up, but help boost your energy. Packed with 9 grams of protein,  335 calories per serving, and 100% guilt free yumminess. Continue reading

RunHelper Connect 30-day Free Trial Membership

You asked for it and we delivered: Trial RunHelper Connect accounts are available now.

Experience the benefits of a RunHelper Connect membership with a free 30-day trial. It’s quick and easy to register—No credit card required . Plus all free-trial members will enjoy all the same benefits as paid members.

Some of the benefits include:

  • Automatic workout backups
  • Weekly progress emails
  • Ability to export all your training data
  • See your entire workout history across multiple apps

Turn your training history into actionable information and see how much you have improved. Continue reading