How to Workout and Run Symptom-free Outdoors
Before reading this…please consult with your doctor first. What works for me will not work for the next person. OH and I’m not a doctor!
If you’re like me and suffer from seasonal allergies_hay fever or asthma, sometimes training outdoors can be daunting. For me, my allergies hit when I least expect it but now I know how to take better care of myself after visiting the doctor one too many times and doing a little more research.
Check out these great tips!
Plan Workouts when the Pollen Counts are Low
Pollen concentrations are usually at their highest from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m., according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology association, so make sure you plan your workouts at another time during the day.
Know your Personal Pollen Count (pollen.com)
For many of us, we develop symptoms when the pollen count is 20 to 100 grains per cubic meter while others can tolerate much higher counts. Pay attention to the pollen counts in your area, keep track of your allergy symptoms and when they occur. I suggest running/working out outside when the pollen count is below your personal tolerance level.
Avoid Watery & Itchy Eyes with the Right Shades!
If you suffer from itchy, watery eyes during allergy season, try wearing wraparound sunglasses when outside. I know it may not be all that fashionable, but make it work. “You better WORK IT GURL!”…sorry…I get a little excited. If wraparounds are not your thing, use eyedrops an hour before you head out the door.
Hit the Treadmill on a Windy Day
I KNOOOOW, treadmills can be boring but your health is more important. The wind spreads pollen throughout the air, so running indoors when it's windy can help. Here’s another tip, you may even want to avoid running outdoors the day after high winds as well. I know!
Cover Your Nose and Mouth
If you think wraparound sunglasses are uncool, looking like a bank robber may not help either BUT you might want to consider wearing a mask or bandana to cover your mouth and nose. It will decrease the amount of pollen that gets into your nose and lungs.
Run after a Rainstorm . . . The BEST
I ABSOLUTELY LOVE running after it rains. After a nice wet storm, the pollen count drops drastically because the rain washes pollen away and you are less likely to experience symptoms after it rains.
Clean that a$$, a$ soon a$ possible, after an Outdoor Workout
The worst allergy symptoms usually don't occur until about an hour after you come in contact with the pollen, so you may actually be able to run outdoors without experiencing symptoms. But to reduce your risk of symptoms after your outdoor workout, make sure you take a shower and put on clean clothes as soon as you get back.
Follow the Doctor’s order and Take Your Medication!
In the past, I was the WORST at taking my allergy and asthma medicine but now, I hate to miss out on the fun of being outdoors, so I am ahead of the game. Again, follow your doctor’s instructions. If you have asthma, use your inhaler approximately 15-30 minutes before you start any physical activity, and make sure you warm up SLOWLY. Always have your inhaler with you when working out or on the go. When it comes to allergy medicine, consult your doctor, drink lots of water and BLOW THAT NOSE!
GOOD LUCK and DO NOT SNEEZE ON ME!
FOUR THINGS TO HELP YOU STAY MOTIVATED
What’s the theme of the month for a lot of my friends?..."I just don't feel like it...I am not motivated to do anything". What's funny about hearing this...I feel the same way too and I am the person who motivates others!! YIKES!
Look, I get it. The year is coming to a close A L R E A D Y and we have that last leg of the year to finish. Thanksgiving, Christmas and you know it’s true…FAMILY…URGGGG! So, starting a workout is probably the last thing on your mind. Well, I put together 4 things that MIGHT motivate you to keep going and start your day off on the right foot! Just like the quote above, “Awe SH!T, they’re UP!”…get up, piss off the negative people, spread some good around the world (we need it) and let’s finish this year strong.
1. Surround yourself with positive people. Sometimes it is hard to be positive when the people around you are not so positive. You may think you are helping by listening to all of their problems but you’re not…it’s just bringing you down. That's not healthy. Stay away and change it up, even if you have to "go it alone" for a little while. #selfcare
2. Post pictures and quotes that really make your heart JuMp! It’s time to be “Being Mary Jane” and add a few post-its to your mirrors and doors. There are so many inspirational quotes and motivational sayings out there. Grab about 5 of them and post them, share them on social media and really soak in all those positive words and phrases.
3. Sign up for a local, small event. Wait? I haven’t started training yet, Nicol! Relax, it’s OK. Find an event you enjoy doing that is small and local. You don’t have to fully participate but being around others who are doing what you love might spark a little motivation to get back into the game! That’s what happened to me this year. I was surrounded by so many duathletes, runners and triathletes, their energy was so infectious, I started training consistently and preparing for a new event every month!
4. Meditate and Pray. I truly believe in prayer and meditation. Why? It's my quiet time to relax, recharge and get ready for a new day. Take 10-15 minutes to pray, breathe and be thankful for the things you have RIGHT NOW. If you start to think about the good things that are happening in your life (no matter how big or small), you will forget about the bad stuff and start to put things in perspective.
Alright...let's get out there and do this!
I can not believe the San Diego Triathlon/Duathlon season is over. I actually finished over six sprint duathlon events this year. My goal was to complete one event each month and I did it!
If you are following my blog post, the last race of the series was the Mission Bay Triathlon/Duathlon event which was the first triathlon event in San Diego. There were so many awesome competitors out there, old and new. Everyone brought amazing energy to the course.
Remember, when one season ends, another season begins.
Here are 5 things I learned during this amazing Duathlon Season
I CAN DO IT. I always knew I could do a duathlon but I wasn’t sure how competitive my body would allow me to be. In the past, I competed in just one or two duathlons a year, NOT SIX! It was challenging but the training kept me on my toes and wanting more.
I AM STRONGER THAN I THOUGHT. Near the end of the season, I became much stronger. I altered my workouts to assimilate brick workouts. I didn’t have a lot of time to really train like I wanted to so I altered my workout program. It’s not always good to train yourself but I know what muscles needed to be stressed for competition and, let me tell you, I stressed the hell out them!
IT WAS NEVER ABOUT THE WIN (kind of). It was nice to win an event or two but if I didn’t, I was AOK with it. Why? I felt like I finished something I started and I learned A LOT about myself at each race. Remember, live, make mistakes, learn and do better next time.
COMPETING IS BETTER THAN A “QUICK FIX” DRUG. While pushing through this competitive season I was also working through a difficult divorce, anxiety and depression. Let me tell you, doctors are quick to prescribe antidepressants and other drugs to numb the pain. Um, no thank you! Did you know that exercise is one of the best ways to fight anxiety and depression? You don’t have to run a marathon just start moving and stress the body. Get your BUTT MOV’N!
SURROUNDING YOURSELF WITH LIKE-MINDED PEOPLE FILLS UP YOUR SPIRIT. When you surround yourself with other supporting athletes, your spirit is filled with a lot of goodness and positivity. You train together, share goals and encourage each other to KEEP GOING and I have to tell you, when you have people who genuinely like to see you succeed, you can not fail.
All-in-all, I had an amazing FULL duathlon season here in San Diego and I can not WAIT until next year! To all the runners, duathletes, triathletes and training partners…have a great rest of the year and thank you for being in my life.
...Get in shape and Stay there!
In order to make a significant change in your body, you have to develop a workout program that is right for you. I always encourage my clients and friends to eat real food, stick to a plan and allow yourself a day or two to just be YOU. Remember, getting in the best shape doesn't mean you have to stop eating or workout like a maniac. It's about eating smarter, understanding how food can work for you and not against you. Keeping up with what you eat, how often you workout and tracking sleep all play a roll in keeping the your body in the best shape possible.
If you are not trying to lose weight but maintain or even gain a few pounds (yes, that's a real thing) everything mentioned above remains the same. Below is an example of a "plan" that anyone can follow. It's extremely simple but it's a start. Planning is everything and when you stick to it, it will be successful.
- Exercise 5-6 days a week for 40-60 minutes (2-3 strength days and 3 cardio days)
- Prep daily meals (3 solid meals a day/2 snacks/drink 9 cups of water)
- Stretch before and after each workout for 5-10 minutes
- Get a minimum 7 hours a sleep a night
- Replace any negative thoughts with positive thoughts "immediately"
- Know that you are exactly where you need to be right now. You have a good base to set realistic goals for a healthier lifestyle.
- Take 10-20 minutes per day to pray, meditate or have personal quiet time.
- Choose to be happy and appreciate where you are in life.
- Be grateful and live in the present.
Happy Friday! Contact me for a more exclusive plan...just for you!
Massage Therapy: manual manipulation of soft body tissue (muscles, connective tissue, tendons and ligaments) to enhance a person's health and well being.
Athlete: a person who is proficient in sports and other forms of physical exercise. . .that's you!
If you are an athlete, how often do you get massages? Once a week, month or once every 3 months? Well, I am here to tell you that you should get a massage as often as you can and add it to your fitness routine. If you workout 3-6 times a week, you need to make sure that someone is massaging those muscles once every two weeks OR at least once a month!
Massage therapy has been used by elite athletes for many years. So much so, massage therapists are a specifically hired to be a part of their athletic staff. Even some of your favorite rock stars that live on the road, working concert to concert have their own personal massage therapist to keep their muscles in mobile and prevent future injuries while performing.
Whether you are a runner, multi-sport athlete or a rock star, getting a massage will keep you moving and performing at your best.
Benefits of Massage Therapy:
- Relaxes the muscles
- Provides a better range of motion
- Relaxes clenched muscles
- Helps to prevent future injuries
- Reduces the intensity of DOMS-Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness
- Increase the number of white blood cells that help fight off infection
- Decreases the "stress hormone", cortisol
- Increases the balance of your body
Massage therapy should be a part of your regular fitness routine. I would suggest booking an appointment after one of your harder workouts or big event (marathon, 5K or athletic competition). If you can afford a massage every week or two, that is fantastic! I highly recommend that you get a massage 2-4 times a month. It's a great way to get your body moving in it's full range of motion and familiarize yourself with what your body can/can not do!
Please note if you have chronic back pain or imbalances in your body, seek professional help first. Talk to your doctor, physical therapist or personal trainer. They can direct you to a massage therapist that can work for you!
My duathlon training continues. This past weekend I participated in my first Triathlon "RELAY". The last time I ran a relay was Big 12 Championships back in 1991? or 1992?. Let's just say, it's been a minute! The distance for this event was a 1K Swim, 30K Bike and 10K Run. I, of course, ran the 10K and I have to say I was a little NERVOUS. There were a total of 12 relay teams and, I THINK, 5 all female teams.
I was nervous about the run because I wasn't sure how long I could hold a fast pace for a full 10K run. I did surprise myself by clocking a 7:34 minute pace and my team won the female category! The ladies and I placed 4th overall! So, that was pretty exciting!
While running the 10K, I mentally broke the race down mile by mile and chased a lot of ponytails. I felt really strong and I kept telling myself "do NOT slow down"!
The athletes that did the full event on their own, I have so much respect for. It's not easy to jump on a bike after a 20 minute swim and then switch out of your bike shoes into running shoes and run like the wind after being on the bike. So, the pace is different, the mentality is different and it's challenging in a good way!
When competing in endurance races, it takes a toll on your body...quickly. Here are a few suggestions that I recommend AND have worked for me.
5 THINGS TO DO POST-EVENT #selfcare
1. Protein. Your muscles need protein and oxygen to rebuild and recover. Yogurt, smoothie or your favorite protein powder will do the job.
2. Vitamin C. Your immune system breaks down after every endurance event. Vitamin C builds and repairs tissue. Talk to your doctor first but it's a great way to keep you on track and in front of those minor colds after a big race.
3. Massage. Oh my goodness! Your muscles will L O V E you post race if you can get a massage. This is a great way relax muscle tissue, improve circulation, remove toxins and improve your range of motion.
4. Pedicure. Not only is this a great way to get good looking feet, it also helps improve blood circulation in the feet and calf muscles. Your feet and legs take a beating when competing, say "thank you" with a nice pedicure.
5. Hydrate. Before, during and after an event DRINK WATER. You lose so much water while racing. To prevent muscle fatigue and de-hydration, you need to drink as much water as possible post workout. 8-10 cups a day on average, athletes 10-13+ a day.
Run Bike and Run again...
The Carlsbad Duathlon has come and gone. As always, I had a great time and I am so happy to finish with no injuries or regrets. I am already training for my next event in July.
Check out my lists of what I loved, my "not so much" list and training tips for those considering a multiple sport. Oh and next time, someone gotta let a gurl know...I tried out a new headband that covered my entire head and let me tell you, it did NOT help my overall aesthetics this go-round. Hey, I gotta look CUTE! LOL! Thank the Lord for my team gear.
- The course was fast.
- The duathlon contained a small group of people, both men and women.
- I loved that I ran stronger, after the bike, in this event than I did my last event.
- I placed 4th overall female.
- The weather was perfect.
- I love being around other runners, swimmers and cyclist. It was great to see my friends out there competing and cheering each other on!
NOT SO MUCH
- Not a completely flat course
- Transition to bike was good but the start of the bike, not good. It was up hill.
- I need to be faster on the bike. I need more bike training.
- The duathlon course was not easy to understand.
- I was not happy that the three ladies in front of me were in MY age category! LOL!
If you want to be good at this event, it's important to be strong. Strength training 2-3 times a week is A MUST.
Brick training is necessary to prepare your body from transitioning from the BIKE to your RUNNING FEET.
Track workouts are beneficial in improving your speed and maintaining your race pace.
OH MY GOODNESS! There was a lot running this weekend, even for me! I type that but, of course, I still loved it!
I haven't been blogging for a while because I have been extremely busy with work, travel and trying to keep up with my soccer girl's schedule. My daughter has been just as busy and I have to say, I'm proud of her work ethic. She keeps pushing through no matter what's thrown at her. It's funny because when we do get a chance to breathe and actually talk to each other, we literally compare how many hours we have slept in a week's time. It's not much but things are getting done.
Since both my daughters were traveling this weekend for their respected sport, I decided to volunteer and get in a lot of running. My next event is coming up in a few weeks and I want to be ready!
Saturday, I headed north to help out the ladies from Sandy Feet Events . They put together an awesome 5K Fun Run for the EAT DRINK VEGAN festival that took place this past weekend at the Pasadena Rose Bowl.
There were approximately 150 runners and walkers at the event and the weather was perfect. The first 50 finishers received a free yoga mat and the top runners received a medal. Soon after the run there was 30 minutes of yoga and later meditation. All the participants were so happy to be part of this event and excited for the festival!
Sunday, I decided to head to the beach and knock out a 9 mile run. It turned out to be an 8 mile run because my body was SO SORE from the day before. I did a lot of standing, cheering and moving cones around, so that made sense...I guess? Don't tell my daughter but I did catch up on a few "Zzzz" soon after!
Then there was MONDAY, Memorial Day. Yassss! The night before my phone buzzed to remind me of an event that... I COMPLETELY FORGOT I SIGNED UP FOR! The Soledad 10K Challenge sponsored by Movin Shoes. Wait...WHAT?? I debated running this event all night but when I sign up for something, I have to do it and I am so happy I did! The course started at Movin Shoes in Pacific Beach. Runners ran 3 miles UPHILL to Mount Soledad and 3 miles back down to the store. I LOVE the events from Movin Shoes because they are free of charge and Mick does a great job of inviting runners to run different areas of San Diego, day or night. You can find Movin Shoes on Facebook, Instagram, Meetup or, of course, their website. Sign up for an event and meet great people!
Now that all the running is over, for now, I feel really good. No more anxiety and I am well rested. I am ready to start a new week and face any challenge thrown at me. Almost any challenge! Happy Memorial Day weekend and have a great week.
Let me share something with you, if you have a lot of stress in your life, suffer from anxiety or have trouble sleeping, physical activity can help. You do not have to run but you do need to move, increase your heart rate and break a sweat for 30 minutes each day. It is ALWAYS hard to start but when you finish, you feel great!
As always, talk to your doctor, build a plan, seek support and get moving. Remember, life happens but it doesn't have to stop you from living. Email me with any questions you might have! Good luck.
5 Ways Exercise Helps the Brain
When you feel slow, tired and unenergized, check your schedule, did you get a workout in today?
As an athlete, trainer and worry-wart extraordinaire, I already know exercise is good for the brain! Exercise releases endorphins and hormones that help improve brain function. There are actually 10 hormones that have a direct physiological effect when a person is exercising. Your brain is always at work, so why not exercise so it can work at it's best.
Here are 5 ways Exercise can Improve Brain Function
Increases Your Focus
When you exercise on a regular basis and you have a goal in mind, you are disciplining yourself to focus. Focus is bringing attention to one particular thing and that "thing" is YOU! As you see yourself improve, the focus you have created can be harder and harder to shake off and that's good!
Makes You Happier
I don't know about you but when that workout is over and I have survived, I am very happy! Last week, I did my first real track workout in 20 years! When I saw what I had to do, I almost walked back to my car. I did the workout and I walked away happy. When exercising, endorphins are released from the pituitary gland in the brain and act as a pain killer.
Increases Resilience To Stress
When you workout on a regular basis and exercise becomes a huge part of your lifestyle, there is no more room for a lot of stress. As mentioned above, you are releasing stress fighting hormones every time you work out. Also, as you see your body change, all you care about it feeling better and being at your best. Exercise builds you UP mentally and stress is reduced significantly.
Improves Your Quality of Sleep
If you have a terrible time falling asleep, workout at medium to high intensity. Sometimes we do "just enough" to say we worked out. I have to tell you as a trainer, if you are not getting proper rest, you need to "up the ante" when working out. Always check with your doctor first but don't cheat yourself. Get good solid workout in and GET SOME SLEEP!
Lowers Your Risk of Dementia and Alzheimer’s
When you exercise a chemical in your body known as the brain-derived neurotrophic factor or BDNF, stimulates the growth and increases the number of brain cells. The more you exercise the more BDNF you produce which helps with memory function. It's easy to chill and live a sedentary lifestyle because it's easy. Everything you need is right there in the palm of your hand thanks to technology. GO OUTSIDE, be around people and build your BDNF so you won't forgot who you are those who love you!