Category Archives: Running

Jill Conyers Guest Post–Part 1!!

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Today’s post is comes from Jill Conyers!  This post deals with helping you stay injury free as a runner.  In her next guest post (part 2) Jill will have the answers to the rest of the amazing questions everyone asked.

Guest Post by Jill Conyers

People seem to often think running is synonymous with knee problems. I have been running since 2006 and I am happy to say I’ve been knee-problem and pain free. My husband is an ultra runner (he runs distances beyond 26.2) who started running in 2005. He has stayed almost entirely injury free! Knees included!

Based on my experience and research, running does not automatically mean you’re going to have knee problems. My advice? Do what you can to avoid injury and stay healthy overall including your knees. What I mean is train smart.

  • based on your where you are with your running have a plan and follow it
  • don’t over train.
  • REST!
  • cross train
  • strength train

I was specifically asked about how to strengthen your knees for running. I’m not aware of any exercises that can strengthen the knee specifically but there are exercises that can be done to strengthen the surrounding muscles (the quadriceps, hamstrings, and calf muscles) and help prevent knee and other running related injuries.

Use the following simple leg exercises to begin your lower-body strengthening program:

Bodyweight Squats (Muscle: Quadriceps):

1. Begin standing with your feet slightly wider than hip-width and your toes turned out slightly. Your hands are by your sides with your palms facing inward. Pull the shoulders down your back toward your hips.

2. Engage your abdominal/core muscles to stabilize your spine. Keep your chest lifted and your chin parallel to the floor. Shift your weight back into your heels as your hips begin to push toward the wall behind you.

3. Begin the downward phase by hinging at the hips, shifting them back and down. Your hips and knees bend simultaneously. As you lower your hips the knees bend and will start to shift forward slowly. Prevent your knees from extending forward past the toes. Keep the abdominals/core muscles engaged and your back flat.

4. Continue to lower yourself until your thighs are parallel or almost parallel to the floor. Avoid dropping your hips below your knees.

5. Keep the knees aligned with the second toe and body weight evenly distributed between the balls and heels of both feet. If you can view this from the side, your shinbone should be parallel with your torso and the low back should appear flat or may be showing the beginning of some rounding.

6. While maintaining the position of your back, chest and head and with the abdominals engaged, exhale and return to start position by pushing your feet into the floor through your heels. The hips and torso should rise together. Keep the heels flat on the floor and knees aligned with the second toe.

Stability Ball Hamstring Curl (Muscle: Hamstring)

1. Lie on your back on a mat, placing the backs of your lower legs and heels on the top of a stability ball . Your feet should be lined up with your hips and your toes pulled slightly toward the ceiling. Gently contract your abdominal/core muscles to flatten your low back into the floor. Try to hold this gentle contraction throughout the exercise. Extend your arms out to your sides with palms turned to the floor to help stabilize your body during the exercise.

2. Gently exhale. Keeping the abdominals engaged, lift your hips up off the floor. Press the backs of your lower legs and heels into the ball for additional stability. Do not lift the hips so high that the low back begins to arch. Your abdominal contraction will also help avoid excessive arching in the low back. Continue to press upwards until your body is in a straight line from your heels to your shoulder blades.

3. Exhale. Slowly bend your knees and pull the ball toward your hips until you can rest the soles of the your feet on top of the ball. Your toes may point away from your body in this movement. The hips will continue to lift as you pull the ball toward your hips. Keep the torso stable.

4. Inhale. Slowly press the ball away from your hips until the knees are straight, stabilizing with the core, hamstrings, glutes and arms. Repeat for a prescribed number of repetitions and slowly lower yourself back towards your starting position.

Calf Raises (Muscle: Calves)

1. Position your feet shoulder-width apart, side-by-side, with your toes pointed forward or slightly outward. Shift your weight over your heels.

2. Exhale and slowly raise your heels off the floor, allowing your entire body leaning slightly forward to maintain balance. Do not lose your alignment, especially in the hips and low back. Keep your knees straight and abdominals strong. Continue rising until your weight is on the balls of your feet. Hold this position briefly.

3. Inhale and slowly lower your heels back to the floor. Shift your weight back into your heels and stand up tall.

Glute Bridge (Muscle: Hips)

1. Lie on your back on an exercise mat or the floor in a bent-knee position with your feet flat on the floor. Place your feet hip-width apart with the toes facing away from you. Gently contract your abdominal muscles to flatten your low back into the floor. Attempt to maintain this gentle muscle contraction throughout the exercise.

2. Gently exhale. Keep the abdominals engaged and lift your hips up off the floor. Press your heels into the floor for added stability. Avoid pushing your hips too high, which can cause hyperextension (arching) in your low back. Keeping your abdominals strong helps to prevent excessive arching in the low back.

3. Inhale and slowly lower yourself back to your starting position.

Final Notes:

Start with 1 set (8 reps) of each move gradually increasing reps and/or sets as you get stronger. If that is too much decrease the number of reps and gradually build up to 8. If you’re fitness level means 8 reps was too easy increase the reps to 10 or increase the number of sets. Most importantly start from where you are!

Start with strength training 2 days per week. Increase to 3 days if time permits and as get stronger.

Lastly, keep track of your strength training. Nothing motivates more than seeing the numbers that show your progress.

I’m a wife, mom of 2, full-time psychologist, Swiftwick, FitFluential, Fit Approach and Girl Gone Sporty Ambassador that is passionate about running, plant-based nutrition, fitness and an overall healthy lifestyle.  I believe living a healthy life is not about perfection. It’s about commitment, effort and progress!

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at jillconyers@gmail.com

You can also find me at:


I am not a licensed nutritionist, dietician or fitness trainer. I’m simply a healthy and fitness enthusiast who enjoys sharing information, experiences and ideas. Views expressed in this article are based on my own personal research and experiences. Please consult your doctor with any medical issues, or before beginning a training program.

A Big Day

Today is such a big day, and I have several things to tell you about!!

First…the winner of the The Women’s Health Big Book of Exercises: Four Weeks to a Leaner, Sexier, Healthier YOU and Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30 Days DVD is…..drum roll…Amanda Tipton!!!  Congrats Amanda!!  You will love the book and DVD.  They are among my favorites!  Also, look for an email from me this afternoon!

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Second, Jill Conyers will be guest hosting on Monday.  Jill will be answering the questions about how to strength train and avoid injury for runners.  Then, Jill has had also Graciously (note the capital “G”) offered to guest host again to answer the rest of the amazing questions everyone had.  I loved all the questions everyone had, and so did Jill, so she is kindly hanging around to post again.  I honestly cannot thank her enough for helping us beginning and experienced runners.  I’m throwing myself in the beginner category, and everyone asked questions that I also had!

Tilly

Third…It is a birthday day in our house!!!  Little Tilly is turning 1 year old today!!!  Tilly is our sweetheart that we fostered with RAGOM, and then we ended up adopting her.  I would like to make a quick plea for other dogs out there in need of a home…If you are ever looking to get a dog, please check out your local shelter, or go online and look up “dog rescue groups”.  RAGOM is a rescue group that I volunteer with, and they, like other similar groups, place dogs in “foster homes” until they find their “forever home” and are adopted.  Our lab, Lady, is also a rescue dog from Florida, and she is amazing.  So, instead of going to a pet store (which gets its puppies from horrible puppy mills) look into saving a wonderful puppy or dog at your local shelter or from your local rescue group.

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Back to the birthday girl…My goal was to make frosty paws and dog treats on Wednesday and have a write up for you with the recipes, but since we didn’t have any water, and I had to spend my day melting snow for water, I didn’t get a chance to make her birthday treats.  So, we are doing the doggie birthday baking on Saturday.  Tilly is still getting more stuffed toys to destroy, and all 3 dogs are getting Kongs filled with peanut butter and carrots!  Happy Birthday Tilly!!!

And speaking of water….We now have running water.  Never in my life did I think I would be so happy to flush a toilet regularly!  No more melting snow on the stove for me!!!  Well, at least not until this happens again.

It is workout time!  Here is the treadmill workout I did the other day at the gym.  Time flew by with this workout since I was so busy keeping and eye on my time and changing speeds.  I didn’t add an incline for this workout, but feel free to add a hill or two in there for yours!  Hope you enjoy it, and remember to stretch!
30 Min Treadmill no incline

Workout Wednesday

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I love this quote, because it is very true.  If I have to take off working out on a regular workout day I go nuts.  My body craves the workout, and yours will too!

Resolution Run

I started the New Year off with a 5K yesterday.  It was my New Years Resolution Run hosted by For the Love of the Kids.   I had to do my 5K at the gym on a treadmill since it was a wonderful 13 degrees out with crazy winds.  My run started off great, my breathing was perfect, and everything felt great.  Then, at 2 miles my right butt cheek cramped up on me, and to make things even more fun, a couple of seconds later my right boob started cramping (since my mastectomy, my chest muscles like to cramp up out of nowhere).  I can only imagine how amazing I looked trying to nonchalantly massage out my cramps in my boob and butt.  Thankfully there was less than a mile to go, so I slowly jogged to the imaginary finishline on my treadmill.  It wasn’t the greatest run, but I loved starting out the year with one of my 13 in 2013 races and one of my 5 by the 5th races!

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Guess what is back in season!?!  Cara Cara oranges and Sugar Belles!!  These are my favorite oranges, and they are beyond sweet.  I have been eating at least 3 a day.  They are just that good!  I highly suggest you head down to your local grocery store and grab some today.

Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30The Women's Health Big Book of Exercises - Paperback

Today is the last day you can enter the Giveaway I have going on along with your opportunity to post questions for Jill Conyers to answer in her guest post on January 7th!

Workout Wednesday

This workout is mostly done on a stability ball, so you will be using your core to help keep your body balanced.  There are links below for 2 new workout moves I have not posted before.  If you are unsure about how to do any of the other exercises, check my Exercise Term Glossary Page.  You will complete 3 rounds of this circuit with 60 second recoveries between each exercise.  Remember to stretch after!

Shoulder Chest and Tricep Circuit

New Year and New Goals

Happy New Year y’all!!  I trust that everyone had a great time ringing in the new year!

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For the month of January I will have a motivational quote for the day.  I figure it is a great way to start out your morning, and help to keep you motivated all month.  My wonderful coworker and trainer, Rita, gave a little booklet of quotes she put together to all her clients for Christmas, and she gave me one too!  I’ll be using these quotes each day this month, because they are awesome!  Feel free to steal these quotes and share them with others.  The more motivated and positive we are as a community the better off we will be.

I’m not one for making resolutions each year.  The word “resolution” puts way too much pressure on things for me.  I prefer to make goals, that way if I don’t complete a goal I don’t feel let down.  Instead, I know that I worked hard, but I didn’t quite get there if my goal doesn’t get completely accomplished.

This is the first year living in North Dakota I have set goals for myself.  The past 2 years my only mission was to get through another freezing cold year in the middle of nowhere North Dakota without loosing it altogether.  So, I’m really excited for my new goals in 2013!

Goals for 2013

2013 goals

  • Do my best to inspire others to eat clean and/or exercise
  • Run my first Half Marathon!!!
  • 13 races of various lengths in 2013
  • Actually become a “runner”
  • Continue to lift heavier weights in the gym as the year progresses
  • Continue learning and trying new things that intimidate me
  • Work on hammock yoga and aerial silks throughout the year in hopes of bringing it to Minot, ND
  • Make it through Andrea’s (my boss/coworker) medicine ball circuits from hell workout without wanting to die.  The circuits she put together are awesome and work you, and I’m determined to rock that workout!
  • Read Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (I’ve owned this book for over 8 years now, and I have yet to read it)
  • Get through all my books in my “to read” stack before I buy anymore (unless it is for book club, or a new Daniel Silva, Harlan Coben, Sarah Jio…okay, maybe this one is more of a guideline than a goal, but I really DO need to get through all these books before I buy any more!)…That picture above is of my “to read” mountain.  I have a horrible addiction to buying books.
  • Actually paint my toe nails…bear with me on this one.  I’m barefoot a lot for swimming, pilates, and yoga.  I really don’t think my toes are good looking, so in order not to gross others out, I really should make them look pretty.
  • Get my husband to go out on a “date” once a month (this one has crash and burn written all over it)
  • Make sure the reading incentive program I put together for my son’s school goes off great for each student.
  • Catch up on laundry…it is bound to happen one of these years

What are your goals for 2013?  I love hearing about and helping/motivating others to reach their goals, so share!

An Amazing Opportunity and a Giveaway!!!

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Since we are coming up on a new year, I figured I would focus on what a lot of other people focus on at the beginning of the year…Being healthier.  Many of you are starting out at the beginning and looking to improve your health and fitness.  Then, there are others who may be looking to try something new in the healthy eating and/or fitness department.

Therefore, I’m dedicating the month of January to learning more about clean eating and general fitness.  There will be several guest hosts posting during the month of January, and they all have their own specialties in the realms of fitness and health.  We will have The Clean Eating Geek, Allison Sipes, The Go Fit Gals, and more!

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Our first guest host, on January 7, 2013, will be Jill Conyers.  Jill is a Beach Body Coach, Swiftwick, FitFluential, Sweat Pink and Girls Gone Sporty Ambassador that is passionate about running (from my point of view, Jill is a running guru), plant-based nutrition, fitness and an overall healthy lifestyle. She is also a wife and mother of 2 who is living a healthy life that is not about perfection. Instead, she finds that it’s about commitment, effort and progress!  Jill is also the pioneering force behind 12 in Twenty-Twelve, and she has teamed up with Jen the Marathon Mom to host 13 in Twenty-Thirteen, and she will be running her first 50 mile race this year!

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Jill has a wealth of knowledge for those of you who are just starting to run or even just finding your way into the fitness and health world. She also can help those of you who are looking to improve your fitness and health “game” even further.  And guess what?  She is willing to answer questions you have about running, fitness, training, eating, etc!!  Please take advantage of this opportunity.  We can all learn something new that will help us achieve our fitness goals in 2013.  Jill will have a response to your questions in her guest post on January 7th!

Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30The Women's Health Big Book of Exercises - Paperback

To top this all off, I’m having a free giveaway from now till Jan. 3rd!!!!  I’m giving away The Women’s Health Big Book of Exercises: Four Weeks to a Leaner, Sexier, Healthier YOU and Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30 Days!!!  I absolutely love both of these items.  I’m always using my Big Book of Exercises.  Actually, my copy is so worn that pages are starting to fall out!!  All you have to do to enter this giveaway is check the boxes in the Rafflecopter on the From Florida to North Dakota Facebook page.  You can leave your mandatory question for Jill on the From Florida to North Dakota Facebook page or Comment section on this post!  Get your entries in by 1/03/13!  Good Luck!!

Busy Monday and a CrossFit Workout

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My thoughts and prayers go out to those affected by the tragedy that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary last week.  There are no real words that can truly describe what everyone must be going through.

There are also several virtual races starting up for Sandy Hook Elementary. Here is one that I found that I thought y’all might be interested it. Sandy Hook Elementary Memorial Half Marathon and 5K. The funds from this race will go to the families affected by the tragedy on 12-14-12.

It is another one of those insanely busy weeks for us!  Somehow we have more than one place to be each day.  Thankfully we are the types that like to be busy and have fun with it, so let this fun week begin!!

Tonight is our local book club meeting.  I love our holiday meeting, because we get to have a book swap!  It is one of those swaps where you have a number, and you can steal the other person’s gift.  Last year we spent the whole entire time laughing, and we hadn’t even had a drink yet!  I cannot wait to have another great evening with the ladies!

Blackberry Winter

Speaking of books…I finally got a chance to finish Blackberry Winter by Sarah Jio.  It was such a good book.  I actually stayed up till 3 am to finish it…Yup it was that good!  I have truly enjoyed all of Jio’s novels, but this one is her best one yet!  Blackberry Winter was such a heartbreaking, enticing, suspenseful, and touching story.  Jio did such a wonderful job connecting the past to the present in this moving novel.  I found myself falling in love with the 2 main characters and found myself cheering for them throughout the novel.  If you have not read this novel yet, I recommend you pick it up (or as a gift from Santa Winking smile).  If I write anymore I will end up totally spoiling the novel for you, so I’ve posted the book description below:

Seattle, 1933. Single mother Vera Ray kisses her three-year-old son, Daniel, goodnight and departs to work the night-shift at a local hotel. She emerges to discover that a May-Day snow has blanketed the city, and that her son has vanished. Outside, she finds his beloved teddy bear lying face-down on an icy street, the snow covering up any trace of his tracks, or the perpetrator’s.
Seattle, 2010. Seattle Herald reporter Claire Aldridge, assigned to cover the May 1 “blackberry winter” storm and its twin, learns of the unsolved abduction and vows to unearth the truth. In the process, she finds that she and Vera may be linked in unexpected ways.

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Before I forget…I have signed up for another virtual race!  I’m going to have my 13 in 13 all done before September at the rate I’m going.  The Clearwater Halfathon and Marathon virtual runs runs from January 12-27.  You can complete the run all at once, or you can break it up into as many separate runs as you need to.  My goal is to break up the half into 3 separate runs.  Net proceeds (after costs of bib, medal, shipping, administration) will be donated to several small local non-profits to be determined, including running clubs and the Partners For Life Foundation, created by Lorraine Yaslowitz to memorialize her husband Jeff, a K9 police officer in St. Petersburg, FL lost in the line of duty on January 24, 2011. The foundation’s mission is to lend support to families who lose loved ones to senseless acts of violence.

Well, it is time for me to go workout, so I can get the rest of the cooking/baking, laundry, and cleaning done for today. Not to mention I have to come up with a dish to make for our book club meeting tonight. Any suggestions, because I have no clue what to make for once?

This mornings workout that I will be doing is an old CrossFit workout-of-the-day.  As you will notice, this workout is only 15 minutes long, but boy does it pack a punch.  With this workout you will complete the 3 five-minute rounds, performing each exercise for one minute.  Then, rest for 60 seconds between each round.  Write down how many reps of each exercise you complete.  This way, when you go back and do this workout again you can see what improvements you have made and try to beat your previous score.  As always…remember to stretch afterwards!CrossFit WOD

A Race, A Recipe, A Run

It is hard to believe that today is already Friday!  This week has been jammed pack full of things for us this week and it has totally flown by!  It still has been a fun week for us even while we were running and doing 10 things in one day.

I did my very first virtual 5K, Once Upon a Time, on 12-12-12!  I ended up alternating between running for 4 minutes and walking for 1 minute for the whole 5K.  I was going to do the run for 3 walk for 2, but I was feeling good with the 4 minute run so I stuck with it.  I wanted to stick with what I knew would work, and I had fun with it.  Sadly I was nowhere near my PR, but I’m getting back into the swing of running again, and I want to enjoy it.

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I cannot wait to get my medal in the mail!  Don’t they look sweet?

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On to that crock pot brisket recipe we had the first night of Hanukkah…Then a treadmill workout to help you burn off the brisketSmile  I must apologise for the picture of the brisket.  My family dug in before I could get a better pic!

I do have a little note to make when it comes to you choosing a barbeque sauce.  Please look at the ingredients in your barbeque sauce before you buy it.  A ton of barbeque sauces out there have corn syrup and it’s many variations in it.  You all know how bad corn syrup is for you, so please stay away from any sauces that contain it.  Thank you!

Easy Crock Pot/Slow Cooker Barbeque Brisket

Easy Barbeque Crock Pot Brisket

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 – 3 1/2 lb brisket (basically as big a one as you can fit in your crock pot)
  • 1 3/4 cup BBQ sauce
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp seasoned salt
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

Directions

Combine all of the ingredients together.  Pour some of the bbq mixture in the bottom of an airtight container that is big enough to hold your brisket.  Place the brisket into the airtight container on top of some of the sauce.  Then, coat the brisket with the remaining sauce, and refrigerate overnight.  The next morning, place your brisket and sauce fat side down into your crock pot.  Cook on low for 9-10 hours.  Enjoy!

Now on to that treadmill run!!  Remember to stretch afterwards!!
35 Minute Treadmill Interval