Category Archives: Stay Healthy!

Ten things you can start doing for your heart right away

Thanks to American Heart Month, there’s a lot of information flying around right now about how important it is to take care of our hearts and stay healthy in general.  With so much good insight and advice out there, it can be easy to get overwhelmed.  So today, we’re going to be super-focused and give you 10 incredibly easy things that you can start doing for your heart right now. Continue Reading

Stay (Heart) Healthy! Six Awesome Resources from the AHA

The American Heart Association does a world of good by funding research, raising awareness, and promoting the importance of heart health.  They also do an amazing job of providing tools and resources to the general public, much of which is available through their website at

Here are six great AHA resource pages, all well worth a look if you’d like to learn more about a particular area of heart health. Continue Reading

Stay Healthy! Five foods to boost your immune system

Getting sick, whether it’s an irritating cold or a major illness, can really throw your training for a loop.  We’ve talked before about how to do everything you can to avoid coming down with something, but today we’re going to focus quickly on diet in particular.

Like the rest of your body, your immune system needs good, quality food to operate at it’s best.  Here are five everyday foods that will help give it the edge. Continue Reading

Stay Healthy! Winter Running Foods

Okay, runners.  We’re onto you.  We know you’re going to be out there this year in all manner of inclement weather, freezing your tails off and filling your shoes with slush.  (And even if you pretty much keep your training inside, there are still plenty of opportunities to catch cold just walking through a parking lot.)

Being fit, active, and generally healthy gives you a huge leg up on the average Joe when it comes to keeping well during cold and flu season, but good nutrition is critical too.  Here are three foods every runner should be seeking out as the weather turns.

Fish.  I know, it’s winter.  It’s supposed to be meat and potatoes comfort food time, but eating fish is a great way to replace all that Vitamin D that you would typically be getting from the sun.  If you find that your mood is very sensitive to the seasons, this might also be just what you need to beat the winter blues.

Veggies.  Why?  No reason in particular, they’re just really, really good for your body.  And when immune systems are strained and harsh weather is wearing you down overall, it’s more important than ever to be fueling up with good stuff (especially if you’re planning to train with any intensity).   So eat up!  Even if you usually don’t do very well in the vegetable department, this time of year is a great time to buckle down and form some long-lasting habits.

Warm goodness.   Okay, this one isn’t exactly on the food pyramid, but it’s true non-the-less.  We’re talking about warm-me-up foods like hot soup or even hot chocolate.  A cold, wet body doesn’t recover well after a run.  After you dry yourself off, grab yourself something warm and liquidy – the kind of stuff that looks really delicious in the wintertime commercials.  It’ll help you pull yourself together and start rebuilding for your next workout.           

What about you?  Any go-to wintertime foods that you’d recommend for fellow runners?

Keeping healthy as the weather turns

Here we go again.

It’s getting to be the time of year when many of us start to wince as we hear the first coughs, sniffles, and sneezes of the season.

For much of the population, that means fretting about a day or two of missed school or work.  For runners, the stakes are a little different.

After all, work will always be there when you get back.  Your fitness level, on the other hand, may not.

For runners (and athletes in general), getting sick means not only falling behind due to missed workouts, but losing ground on the work you’ve been doing week after week.

We’ll be sure to do plenty of posts about managing sickness and getting back on your feet, but let’s start off with a couple of ways to help you avoid coming down with something in the first place.

Eat right.  With all kinds of food-centric holidays coming down the pike, many of us are forced to navigate culinary temptations that would be unheard of any other time of year.  A little indulgence is one thing…just be sure to mix plenty of fruit, vegetables, and lean protein into the mix.  A stack of cookies may have tons of calories, but the real issue is the lack of nutrition.  Keep eating good stuff.

Drink plenty.  Our bodies simply perform better when they are well-hydrated.  Drink plenty of water, whether you are planning to train or not.  If the weather begins to get chilly, remember that just because you aren’t drenched in sweat doesn’t mean you aren’t losing water.  The dry air is simply soaking it up instead of your t-shirt.

Sleep well.  It can be tempting – even for those who maintain great discipline when it comes to diet, exercise, and other things – to skimp on sleep.  There’s nothing heroic about operating on zero sleep if it means you’re going to feel lousy and get sick down the line.  Take care of yourself.  Record your favorite late TV show or pull yourself away from your computer an hour early if you need to find a way to squeeze in some extra shut-eye.

Run hard.  If you do find yourself training while a bit under the weather, keep in mind that not all workouts are created equal.  This might seem counterintuitive, but in this case a hard, intense workout may treat you better than a longer, slower-paced one.  Some of the resources your immune system uses to fight off an illness are the same ones used by your muscles when grinding through a long workout.  A good high-intensity run or other activity can help your body focus on getting healthy rather than simply becoming more worn out.

Remember, the time to get aggressive about getting healthy is before you get sick.  If you do start to feel a symptom or two sneaking up on you, be sure to follow the tips above to nip it in the bud.  And above all else, if your body is telling you that it needs a day off, give it one.  Don’t sabotage your whole training plan for the sake of forcing a workout that might not be a good idea in the first place.

Stay healthy out there!

Stay Healthy! Avoiding “Runner’s Knee”

If you want to take running seriously, it’s important to take injury prevention seriously, too.

Any repetitive exercise brings with it the risk of aggravating something.  Running is no exception.

Fortunately, by learning about common running ailments in advance and being proactive about avoiding them, you can steer clear of many injuries altogether (or at least bounce back quickly if they do become an issue).

Today we’re talking about Runner’s Knee.

What it is.  The technical name for Runner’s Knee is patellofemoral pain syndrome, but chances are you have no reason to remember that.  Basically, Runner’s Knee is simply knee pain, concentrated right around your knee cap.  Sometimes you’ll notice it first when running downhill or walking down stairs.

Where it comes from.  The most common cause of Runner’s Knee, particularly with beginning runners, is a combination of tight leg muscles coupled with poor quad strength.  There can be some more subtile issues at play as well, but that’s a good place to start.

What to do about it.  Stretch your legs and strengthen your quads.  If you aren’t stretching after your workouts, getting started might do wonders for you knees (among other things).  As for strengthening  your quads, running will do that over time, but additional activities like cycling or doing wall sits can jumpstart your progress.

Looking for advice on a running ailment or want to share the story of how you overcame one in the past?  Drop a note in the comments and share your experience.

Update: For an overview of stretches to help with Runner’s Knee, check out Stretches for Runner’s Knee over on  They’ve also published 5 Stretches to Prevent Runner’s Knee.  Thanks to reader Nichole for the request!