Smart Training

What To Do If You're Freaking Out Because You Have A Tough Training Session

Understandably, you’re feeling anxious and nervous that you might not be able to hit the planned splits. Many of us aren’t comfortable with failing and there’s a real possibility this session won’t go well.

Or, at least, that’s one way to approach the session.

What if I were to tell you how you respond to the session is partly determined before you even lace up your racing flats?

That, in fact, how you simply view the session determines what type of hormonal response you’ll get from the session.

5 Common Workout Mistakes That Make Philly Fitness Trainers Cringe

Nothing kills an exercise high quite like injury — especially when it’s an injury you could have prevented. Here, at Be Well, we want you all to be as healthy as can be. So, to learn about common workout mistakes that can cause injury (and how to avoid that mess), we went to the professionals, asking Philly fitness trainers and running coaches what the top injury-inducing mistakes they see their clients making are. Because no one wants to be benched after just getting into the groove. Follow this wisdom and you’ll be movin’ and groovin’ through your workouts — safely.

Why You Should Sprint and 3 Great Cues for Sprinting Better

Want a faster 'easy run' pace? Marathon pace? 5K pace? Science and practical experience tells us that by increasing your maximal sprint speed ALL other speeds become faster, too. Due to your ability to recruit more muscle fibers and generate more stiffness at impact, running starts to cost less energy, so you become more efficient. So, if you've been doing some speedwork and feel ready to level up, here are three great sprinting cues you can use today!

Trying To Get Fast? Rest More.

When analyzing a runner's training log one thing that usually jumps out at me is what's missing. I look for gaps.One gap that is very common is speed. And with good reason – it requires knowledge to do it correctly and it's easy to get hurt!

Quick Form Tip - Deadlift

Today I'd like to highlight one of the most effective exercises one can do to improve their performance, the deadlift. This “basic” lift NEVER goes out of style and it strengthens the entire backside of the body, which is essential if you want to run stronger and faster.

50 Shades of Pace

By far, one of the biggest differences between well-trained runners and wannabes is the competency at a variety of paces. Just like your favorite road bike has lots of different gears to optimize your effort and pace, so should you as a runner.

Do the 30/30 Tempo Run Often This Winter - Here's Why.

Today I'd like to share one of my favorite workouts, the 30/30 Tempo Run. It's a versatile, fun fitness building session that you should use nearly year-round. I love that it provides an awesome aerobic boost while addressing leg speed in one session - how time efficient!

How, When, and Why To Do Steep Uphill Walking (and Running)

Last Monday was two days after the Rothman 8k, my first race in 5 months, and my legs were still sore. While I'm sure I could have gone for a run, I am coming back from injury and didn't want to take any chances.

While typically I enjoy cycling as my preferred mode of cross training, a quick scan of my in-laws retirement village gym revealed a couple of recumbent bikes and these super motivating pictures:









I really wanted to minimize stress on my body yet get my heart rate up into the aerobic training zone.  Enter the steep uphill treadmill walk.

These sessions are great for runners returning from impact related injury and, since you're walking, are fairly task specific.  PS: If you've got the green light to run and you want to get in a hard session, but you're prone to impact injuries (stress fractures, knee and hip pain), running uphill is fantastic.

Setting the Treadmill

Obviously it depends on what you want to get out of the workout.  Normally, I'm looking to achieve the same cardiovascular benefit to a regular training run.

I had my heart rate in the 140s (equivalent to an easy run for me) with the speed at 4.2mph and the incline at 11.5.

Your settings will most likely be different, but I'd recommend bringing the speed up first - likely between 3.5 and 4.5. Walk briskly yet confidently, let your torso rotate (most people do not do this, but should), and arms swing naturally. My client Jerry calls it the drunken sailor walk :-)

(The more injured you are, the slower and steeper you should go.)

Next, bring that incline up until you feel like you're working hard but at a sustainable effort.  Check your form - still good?  You're not holding on to those handlebars, now, are you?

You should feel like you're leaning into it and that the console is a few inches from your face, and that's ok!

Now, to really dial it in, check your heart rate. It's ok to hold the handlebars at this point if you don't have a HR monitor - just don't grip tightly and lean back.  If it's at the desired level, great. If not, adjust the incline up or down.

Who Should NOT Do This?

Anyone with Achilles' tendon problems, plantar fasciosis, ankle or big toe flexibility issues might want to avoid this type of session unless they speak with a qualified professional first. Seriously, a LOT of people have ankle restrictions, so assess yourself first.


Finally, a quick personal anecdote....

One of the craziest races I've run was the 2005 Mt Washington Auto Road Race in New Hampshire. It's only 7.6 miles and there's only one hill. But it's a 7.5 mile hill and average incline of 11.5%!  Take your half marathon time and that's about how long it will take you to run those 7+ miles.

Once a week I'd hop on the treadmill and crank it up to 11.5% and run progressively farther. I built up to 45 min because that's about all I could take. The sweat I generated was insane, the friggin console was in my face so I couldn't see anything, but I was IN SHAPE.

So give "steep uphilling" a shot if you want to try something different, but effective! You'll find it interesting that you won't even be sore after these sessions because there's very little impact with uphill running.

Have you tried this before? Got any tips you'd like to share?

Rely On Yourself, Not The GPS

You go to check your pace on the watch you paid $200-400 for and you sort of expect it to give you accurate information. Well, temper your expectations. There are several reasons as to why the GPS will be “off” in both pace and distance, yet I don't think they're worthless. Here's how to sort things out...

Strength Basics pt 1: The Hip Hinge

One of my go-to bulletproofing exercises is the deadlift. With so many benefits from posture to hip mobility to force production (makes ya faster) to total body strength, it's a no-brainer if you're gonna spend any time in the weight room. But, before lifting anything, she had to demonstrate the “hip hinge” movement pattern.

Improve Your Warm-Up With The Lunge Matrix

Think about your current method (if you can call it that) of warming up. Perhaps you bend over and strrrrrretch to tie those shoes and then off you go? I think we can do better. This week I want to share a very simple warm up that carries with it several benefits like better muscle activation, range of motion, and potential injury prevention.

Overlooking The Simple Stuff Part 2

While talking with each of them I could sense their frustration, but luckily for them I've learned that taking a good client history is key to a good intervention. And in each case it was a simple fix that resolved their issue. In fact, you'll probably roll your eyes as you read the solution. (Well, this one isn't THAT obvious, but I bet many of you can relate.) Not Getting Any Faster? Here's Why.