Spring Into Fitness Week – Day 1

Well I threatened to do a week of fitness to tune up for Spring and I am really just going to run it off the cuff. The idea is that I will come up with a few short posts, well fairly short for me anyway, and give you a chance to look forward towards Summer and start your outdoor or at least your transition to outdoor fitness now.

Oh, and it was snowing last week in Calgary so I may be being overly optimistic about Spring,

Spring Into Fitness Week - Day 1

Spring into fitness week

I want to let you think about what this season is about and ask you some questions that you can think about as the week and next few months goes.

Partners and Troublemakers

First I want you to look at the people around you and the people that you may need. You need a support system and people to lean on and help yourself. At home my wife works out regularly and she also eats really really well.

This helps me a lot.

There is a real feeling of fitness as a lifestyle and working out as a way of life in my house and she if really careful with what she eats and feeds the rest of the family (thanks so much Michelle).

I know that I have it good. What are the people in your life like? Do they see the benefits of eating well and exercising? Do they have a vision of how they want to feel and experience things in life?

If this is a problem for you it is easy enough in the Spring to join a running club, biking or hiking club, or even fitness boot camp classes so that you can meet like minded people.

Don’t be shy and don’t be lonely because it will only hurt you. Besides, the people joining these are often looking for other people to push them as well. It is a great opportunity to meet great people.

Troublemakers on the other hand are difficult. If you have people around that are negative, eat badly, let there fitness go then you need to insulate yourself. Let these people know how excited you are to make changes or more changes in your life and when you see results show them, don’t be bragging or anything but show them what is happening and don’t expect any congratulations in return, you can help them in this part of your life more than they can help you.

If you are struggling or having trouble you can always lean on the people that are living the same way as you, the people in the clubs you have joined or in blog comments on this blog, on the Facebook page, or other messageboards.

Remember that no matter how excited or how let down you feel over the next few weeks these problems are just small daily emotions. Work through them and the next 8 or 12 weeks will be a great and exciting journey.

Enough for today, have a great day and post what you think below in the comments on this topic.

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Eight Week Fitness Plan

An eight week fitness plan would be great right now.

Well Spring is here in Calgary and the weather is getting better by the day so I thought it would be a nice day to give a little primer on how to start getting ready for Summer fun, fitness and other activities.

We are all used to seeing runners on the streets in Spring and maybe this will be the year that you join them. The nice thing about running is that all you need is a pair of shoes.

No Gym, membership, no equipment (except maybe an ipod) and just some roads or pathways.

Starting a Fitness Plan

Eight Week Fitness Plan

Eight Week Fitness Plan

OK, so let’s say you are now in crappy shape, then you will truly need an eight week fitness plan.

There is a light at the end of the next few weeks and we should all be aware that you can get out there and improve your fitness in just a few weeks if you plan it properly.

The first step is to plan what you want over the next eight weeks. there is a sample slimming plan at bodybuilding.com but I would like to just look at an eight week fitness plan of better cardio instead that will make you feel better in the shorter term.

I found this 8 Week Program from Runners World

  • Week 1: Run one min, walk 90 seconds. Repeat eight times. Do three times a week.
  • Week 2: Run two mins, walk one min. Repeat seven times. Do three times a week.
  • Week 3: Run three mins walk one mins. Repeat six times. Do three times a week.
  • Week 4: Run five mins, walk two mins. Repeat four times. Do three times a week.
  • Week 5: Run eight mins, walk two mins. Repeat three times. Do three times a week.
  • Week 6: Run 12 mins, walk one min. Repeat three times. Do three times a week.
  • Week 7: Run 15 mins, walk one min, Run fifteen mins. Do three times a week
  • Week 8: Run 30 mins continuously.

In the past I have always pushed myself too hard and this is something that you should be very aware of.

Our brains are hard wired to think that our bodies are hardier than they really are. In starting this running schedule you should be aware of your bodies limitations and healing needs.

Try to stretch really well after you are warmed up or after your workout and then make sure that a few hours after your workout that you slowly stretch to try and get rid of that lactic acid buildup and loosen up you recovering muscles.

Working Up The Fitness Plan Pace

As you get your endurance and body in shape you can definitely pick up the pace here.

I believe that it is not to much to run 6 days a week instead of the three that are mentioned here. Your body will be strong enough after the eight weeks, if not sooner and then you will be able to pick up the endurance and mileage really quickly.

Consecutive days are really important. Every day you will be stronger until it is time for a rest day and then after the rest day you will not be quite as strong as you were the day that you stopped I find.

It is critical though that you work a rest day or two into the week though as your body needs time to recover from these pounding workouts.

I never run often myself because my knees seem to go after just a few weeks, not sure if this is caused by pushing to hard to fast or if it just from bad knees in the first place.

Spring Fitness Plan With No Running

I try to make sure that my favored method of exercise, biking is always recommended as well. Here is a plan for that.

All you have to do is follow the above plan by thinking about the intensity that you are riding. Casual riding can be thought of as 10% of your max and riding hard uphill could be thought of as 100% intensity.

Always be aware of your intensity for a biking training session and also look at how the different gearing as well as road / path / dirt conditions will affect your ride.

After this eight week fitness plan you will feel like you are indeed in great shape and will then probably want to get started with some more sports or activities.

Start today and by the end of June you will be good for anything that summer throws at you.

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Rhabdomyolysis in Athletes Transitioning to New Workouts

I have seen a few articles recently on a form of training injury that can be quite dangerous. This condition is known as Rhabdomyolysis.

If you have ever worked out hard after not doing weights in a while, or run for the first time in a long time, you are very very aware of the muscle soreness that can occur.

Sometimes though, well trained people will transition from one type of exercise to a brand new one and the possiblilty exists for them to really fry their muscles badly and get this condition called Rhabdomyolysis.

What is Rhabdomyolysis?

Rhabdomyolysis is the breakdown of muscle tissue that leads to the release of muscle fiber contents into the blood. These substances are harmful to the kidney and often cause kidney damage. This means the kidneys cannot remove waste and concentrated urine. In rare cases, rhabdomyolysis can even cause death.

Rhabdomyolysis in Athletes Transitioning to New WorkoutsAs you can see from the image to the right the kidneys are having trouble clearing toxins and muscle fibers and your urine would be a brownish color.

This is a very very bad thing to have happen.

If you see this make sure you go to an emergency room immediately to get your electrolytes adjusted as well as blood cleaned, possibly with dialysis.

When muscle is damaged, a protein called myoglobin is released into the bloodstream. It is then filtered out of the body by the kidneys. Myoglobin breaks down into substances that can damage kidney cells.


There are a lot of causes for this. Not just this idea of pushing muscles really hard but also, trauma or crush injuries, use of drugs such as cocaine and other stimulants, genetic muscle diseases, extremes of body temperature.

In fact this issue was first discovered not in athletes, but in victims of an earthquake back in the early years of the 20th century.

What Does Research Say About Rhabdomyolysis?

I first saw an article on the Today site when I heard about this issue on the radio a couple mornings ago, the article was called   Thinking about signing up for spin class? Read this warning first. I know, this is classic fear mongering but here is how that article started.

Lauren Peterson figured taking a spin class would be a great way to get in shape. But after less than 15 minutes of intense pedaling she felt nauseous and nearly passed out.

Two days later the 33-year-old Bronx schoolteacher’s urine had turned dark and the muscles in her thighs had become swollen and excruciatingly painful.

The article is shocking enough to never want to take a spin class but realistically this is not quite as common as you might think for Spinners and other people getting into shape although Rhabdomyolysis occurs in about 26,000 people a year in the United States.

Rhabdomyolysis in Athletes Transitioning to New Workouts

The article that they were referencing on the news on the radio that I heard a couple of days ago was this one that has been published pretty widely. Intense, repetitive motion exercise can cause rhabdomyolysis

Like many doctors, I, too, have advised patients and readers to exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle. Now, Dr. Maureen Brogan, associate professor of medicine at New York Medical College, reports that intense, repetitive motion exercise can cause rhabdomyolysis. And, in rare cases, it can kill.

Brogan explains that when muscle is damaged, it dumps myoglobin, an iron and oxygen-binding muscle protein, into blood circulation. Excessive amounts of myoglobin can obstruct the kidney’s filtration system and cause serious damage.

Takeaways For Athletes To Avoid Rhabdomyolysis

So is this the kind of issue that we should be worried about now as the weather gets warmer and we are out getting more exercise? No, I don’t think so, but it is always prudent to make sure you are careful. Remember that you are one year older than last year and not only are your muscles, but also connective tissues likely weaker than back last Summer.

One other issue that came up in this research was the idea of dehydration. I know that dehydration can creep up quick and if your muscles and organs are not well hydrated you are at risk for cramping and heatstroke, as well as Rhabdomyolysis.

Finally one last thing that I think needs to again be pointed out, if you are in great shape and are looking to try a new sport or activity, remember that you can likely push your body far harder that first time out then your body would be able to recover. Try to avoid excessive soreness.

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Exercise Tips for Women

Having a healthy lifestyle involves having proper exercise, as these exercise tips for women will show, and diet. Women nowadays are getting more and more motivated to maintain a healthy lifestyle through proper exercise in order to lose fat and , to maintain their physique, and to have a longer and healthier life.

Here are a few exercise tips for women to help you achieve your desired and size through proper exercise:

Exercise Tips for Women

Exercise Tips for Women

Exercise Tips for Women

Create a workout plan. One of the main reasons why most exercise ‘plans’ fail is that there is no actual plan or strategy laid out for you to follow and abide by.

It is important to write down a complete workout plan to follow in order to be much more motivated to strictly follow it. It is also important to plan out an exercise plan in order to know certain limitations and to assess which kinds of exercise you need.

Set realistic goals. It is perfectly good to aim high but it is important to make sure that it is completely attainable and not too far-fetched.

It doesn’t make sense to stress out over trying to reach an unrealistic goal. If you are not used to running long distances, you may want to set a goal of 15-30 minutes of jogging three times a week in order to prepare your body well to attain 5k distance, for example.

Consistency is key. There is no point in creating an effective workout plan or setting realistic goals if you are not inclined to keep it consistent.

The most important key in a successful exercise regimen is to maintain focused on the goal. Proper workout and exercise should be consistent and not only done for a certain duration of time.

Make fitness a state of mind. It is also important for you to see fitness not just as an end goal, but a way of life and way of thinking. It shouldn’t be treated as a one-time activity to lose a certain number of pounds; instead, it should be embraced as a way of life and should be integrated into your everyday life.

There are still a lot of other exercise tips for women but what you should remember is that it won’t work unless you are really focused and have adjusted your mindset to making it happen.

Start today by creating a workout plan, setting goals, being consistent and making exercise and healthy living a way of life for you.

If these exercise tips for women were helpful to you please send your freinds over to my site to see them too.

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Great Fat Burning Foods

The craze of weight loss is not just affecting those who are either obese or overweight. Even people of normal bodyweight are looking forward to dropping a few pounds, for they “feel” that they are overweight. The funnier part is how most people start their weight loss journey.

They would go around hunting for the latest and best weight loss and fat burning tips available out there. However, once they find those tips, they would do nothing and hope to find another, better way. It is as if they believe that merely finding the best weight loss tips and then just the act of knowing it is going to help them get rid of fat.

Great Fat Burning Foods

Folks, weight loss can happen only when you wake up from your inaction and take ACTION. Taking action doesn’t mean hunting for the latest fat burning tips or fad diets; rather, it means making a few simple changes to your current lifestyle. This means that you should stay away from bad foods – bad carbs, bad fats, etc., and focus on good carbs and good fats.

So What Are Bad Foods?

Chips, cookies, biscuits, cakes, candies, aerated drinks, colas, sodas, beer, alcohol, packaged fruit juice, fast foods, burgers, pizzas, white bread, sugar, white rice, white pasta, etc. They are called “bad” foods because they are:

a) High on calorie

b) Low on nutrition

c) Rich in saturated fats (a.k.a. “bad” fats)

d) Rich in simple carbs (a.k.a. “bad carbs)

Now What Are Good Foods?

Good foods are foods which are generally rich in nutrients like iron, calcium, vitamins, zinc, protein, etc. They are also rich in complex carbs and unsaturated fats, and low on calories. Generally speaking, your diet should consist of:

a) Protein: Basically, protein builds our body. The more protein you consume, the more muscle you are able to build. More muscle not only means a stronger but also flatter body, since muscles burn fat.

Foods such as eggs, lean chicken meat, etc., are rich in protein. As a rule of thumb, you should have these foods either in roasted or steamed form. Never fry them with fatty oil or all the nutrition would fly out of the window and what you would gain is fat.

Apart from these foods, you can also have protein shakes and protein supplements.

b) Unsaturated fats: These fats would provide ample nutrition to your body and unlike fast foods, won’t make you over either. Fishes (esp. oily fishes), a few types of nuts, etc., are rich in unsaturated fats. Some people prefer to have a fish oil supplement in addition to these foods, which is fine as well. Just make sure that the oil supplement is free from toxins and other poisonous substances.

c) Complex carbohydrates: Unlike simple carbohydrates (as available from junk foods) which get converted into glucose quickly and raise your blood sugar as well as fat level, complex carbohydrates take time to digest and as such, don’t make you fat. Foods such as whole grains, chicken, sea foods, tuna fishes, natural fruits and vegetables, etc., are all rich in complex carbs.

As you can see, you don’t eat to cut down on your food intake for the purpose of weight loss; instead, you need to cut down on the “bad” foods and focus on the “good” foods.

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How To Make A Diet That Works

Many people ask me what the best food for losing are and I have to day that there are a few things that I like to tell people before I answer that questions.

First there is how your body uses energy and then there is how to make sure that your body does not store fat.

First of all your body is a machine that needs to use a base sugar called glycogen to function.

Glycogen is Broken Down Carbs


How To Make A Diet That WorksGlycogen is a broken down version of sugar and is not eaten by you but instead is broken down in your body so that you have the energy available to your muscles that they need.

So now the important question is what does your body need to create this glycogen stuff? The answer is that your body can use anything, protein, carbohydrates or fat to create glycogen but it uses the items in the most efficient form possible.

Your body will use simple sugars first, then carbohydrates, then fats or protein. This single fact is why the Atkins diet works best over the short term but now in the long term.

If your body does not have access to carbohydrates it will in a pinch use the fats in your body to create glycogen for your muscles and at the same time your body will start slowing your metabolism as it will think it is going into a starvation mode.

Diet Confusion – Why Atkins Doesn’t Work Long Term

So now we know why Atkins works in losing for the first couple of weeks but after this usually people have trouble losing on Atkins and that is because your body thinks that it is starving and slows down.

There is an alternative and that is to stop your diet after a few days and then move to another diet a few days after going off of that diet.

If you use this cycling method of dieting you will be able to lose consistently and not have to go through the expense, and vitamin needs of Atkins.

Eating a higher protein diet as well as having the fruits and vegetables needed to stay healthy is the best fat loss diet possible

The two diets that I know of that use this cycling method of changing your diet after a few days is the Body for life system which has six days on the diet and one day off the diet.

The most important thing here as you can see is to use confusion to your body in your diet.

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Health report on tea

A report was released yesterday from the Kings College of London and although the details are tough to find right now on the internet, the study still shows a lot of evidence that drinking tea is very good for you.

Drinking three or more cups of tea a day is as good for you as drinking plenty of water and may even have extra health benefits, say researchers.

Health report on teaThe work in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition dispels the common belief that tea dehydrates. Tea not only rehydrates as well as water does, but it can also protect against heart disease and some cancers, UK nutritionists found.

Experts believe flavonoids are the key ingredient in tea that promote health. These polyphenol antioxidants are found in many foods and plants, including tea leaves, and have been shown to help prevent cell damage. Tea replaces fluids and contains antioxidants so its got two things going for it.

Public health nutritionist Dr Carrie Ruxton, and colleagues at Kings College London, looked at published studies on the health effects of tea consumption.

They found clear evidence that drinking three to four cups of tea a day can cut the chances of having a heart attack. Some studies suggested tea consumption protected against cancer, although this effect was less clear-cut. Other health benefits seen included protection against tooth plaque and potentially tooth decay, plus bone strengthening.

Dr Ruxton said:

“Drinking tea is actually better for you than drinking water. Water is essentially replacing fluid. Tea replaces fluids and contains antioxidants so it’s got two things going for it.”

Tea Does Not Dehydrate

Health report on teaShe said it was an urban myth that tea is dehydrating.

“Studies on caffeine have found very high doses dehydrate and everyone assumes that caffeine-containing beverages dehydrate. But even if you had a really, really strong cup of tea or coffee, which is quite hard to make, you would still have a net gain of fluid.

“Also, a cup of tea contains fluoride, which is good for the teeth,” she added.

There was no evidence that tea consumption was harmful to health. However, research suggests that tea can impair the body’s ability to absorb iron from food, meaning people at risk of anaemia should avoid drinking tea around mealtimes.

Dr Ruxton’s team found average tea consumption was just under three cups per day.

She said the increasing popularity of soft drinks meant many people were not drinking as much tea as before.

“Tea drinking is most common in older people, the 40 plus age range. In older people, tea sometimes made up about 70% of fluid intake so it is a really important contributor,” she said.

Claire Williamson of the British Nutrition Foundation said: “Studies in the laboratory have shown potential health benefits.

“The evidence in humans is not as strong and more studies need to be done. But there are definite potential health benefits from the polyphenols in terms of reducing the risk of diseases such as heart disease and cancers.

“In terms of fluid intake, we recommend 1.5-2 litres per day and that can include tea. Tea is not dehydrating. It is a healthy drink.”

The Tea Council provided funding for the work. Dr Ruxton stressed that the work was independent.

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7 Steps To Bring You Closer To Happiness

Do you know why it is important to bring you closer to happiness? To make you a better person, or to make you a happier person? Hopefully, it’s both.

One of the most important things to realize when you are on a quest for self development is that happiness is not something that other people bring you like a birthday gift. Happiness comes from what you yourself do. It comes from acting in line with your own ethical values in a way that brings you closer to your personal goals.

Here Are 7 Steps To Bring You Closer To Happiness

1. Know Your Purpose

Are you wandering through life with little direction – hoping that you’ll find happiness, health and prosperity?

Identify your life purpose or mission statement and you will have your own unique compass that will lead you to your truth north every time.

This may seem tricky at first when you see yourself to be in a tight corner or facing a dead end. But identifying your purpose will help you to find the way out, even when it seems there isn’t one.

7 Steps To Bring You Closer To Happiness

2. Know Your Values

What do you value most? Make a list of your top 5 values. Some examples are security, freedom, family, spiritual development, learning.

As you set your goals for the year, check your goals against your values.

If a goal doesn’t align with any of your top five values, you may want to reconsider it or revise it.

7 Steps To Bring You Closer To Happiness

3. Know Your Needs

Unmet needs can keep you from living authentically. Take care of yourself. Do you have a need to be acknowledged, to be heard, to be fed, to be loved in some way that is not being met right now?

There are so many people who live their lives without realizing their dreams and most of them end up being stressed or even depressed.

List your top five needs and be creative in thinking of ways you could have them be met. It’s never too late!

4. Know Your Passions

You know who you are and what you truly enjoy in life. Obstacles like doubt and lack of enthusiasm may hinder you, but need not prevent you from becoming the person you ought to be.

Express yourself and honor the people who have inspired you to become who you are.

7 Steps To Bring You Closer To Happiness

5. Live From The Inside Out

Increase your awareness of your inner wisdom by regularly reflecting in silence. Commune with nature. Breathe deeply to quiet your distracted mind. For most of us city slickers it’s hard to even find the peace and quiet we want even in our own home.

You may choose to meditate, to walk in a quiet place or to sit and listen to gentle music. Silence does not necessarily mean no sound at all, but requires a certain inner silence.

7 Steps To Bring You Closer To Happiness

6. Honor Your Strengths

What are your positive traits? What special talents do you have? List five of them – if you get stuck, ask those closest to you to help. Are you imaginative, witty, good with your hands?

Find ways to express your authentic self through your strengths. You can increase your self-confidence when you recognize your skills and use them to teach or share with others.

7 Steps To Bring You Closer To Happiness

7. Serve Others

When you live authentically, you may find that you develop a sense of being connected with all forms of life. When you are true to who you are, living your purpose and giving of your talents to the world around you, you are expressing your spirit, your essence.

At the same time, you are able to connect with the essential good in others. At this point, serving others is no longer a chore.

We cannot change others. We can only ever change ourselves to live more peacefully and happily in the circumstances of our lives. That is why self development has such huge rewards both for ourselves and those around us. I hope these steps bring you closer to happiness

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Advanced HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training

I have written about HIIT before but it is something that I really do prescribe to instead of just another workout alternative. The idea to me of getting a good workout is to workout hard for a short period of time and really work the muscles.

Lately I have been trying to concentrate even more on compound, or basic, exercises like bench press, squats, military press and rows.

Why do HIIT workouts?

The way that you do one of these workouts is to string all of your exercises together and do it as one long set with very little time between exercises. You do this one long set and then take a rest and then do it all over again.

Advanced HIIT - High Intensity Interval Training

This is the exact method that Tom has talked about in Burn the Fat and is the way to have a quick but very effective and very intense workout.

I used to hate spending an hour training everyday and now I train my body in only 30-40 minutes instead. Nice time saving and I feel like I really worked hard after I am done.

Compound exercises are a very important part of high intensity interval training. The real advantage of doing the compound exercises is that you get to work your body as intended.

For your rowing you know that it is working mainly your back and biceps proton-pump inhibitors but the shoulders and forearms get a workout too and when are you going to really work your forearms?

Zen to Fitness has a great workout  that has details on 10 exercises that you would do in a circuit style routine and it is definitely a great read so check it out but remember that this is advanced and would be really tough to do so do not worry about this kind of intensity just yet if you have not done it before.

Prepping for HIIT workouts

One thing that I never mentioned before is the prep for a big circuit training like this. I always think of this as three sets of 6 or 8 exercises so each set is 10 or 12 minutes long and very difficult.

I always make sure that I work really hard for each of my exercises and take a quick gulp of water and quickly (5 seconds or so) refocus for the next exercise. This is really a difficult thing to do but the mental game of lifting as Arnold Schwartzenegger has taught us is 99% of your lifting anyway.

Having a water bottle for your workout is important not only for the water but for something else to focus on between the exercises.

Mentally it is a really good idea to stop one exercise and then be able to start the next exercise mentally fresh even when your body is tired and you are breathing hard.

If you do not refocus quickly between exercises then you will not be able to get good sets out later in the circuit at all.

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Getting Motivated To Run Your First Race

Health magazine has these quick tips to help you get motivated to run a race. I know that it has been a goal of mine to run a 10k for a long time but pushing through that tough training and having my body heal between workouts is the tough part.

Need help in the motivation department? Sign up for a 5K or 10K. Suddenly, your exercise routine becomes ‘training’ and every workout has a purpose.

Plus, your competitive spirit is bound to keep you fired up and help you push past what you thought was impossible. Here’s how to ace the race.

Three Tips To Help You Get Motivated to Run Your First Race

Find your ideal race. If you usually do 1- to 2-mile runs, try a 5K (just over 3 miles). If you can comfortably do 3 to 4 miles, go for a 10K (a little more than 6 miles).

Find a race online at Active.com or by checking with a local running store (expect to pay around $25 to enter). Leave plenty of time to train; 8 to 10 weeks is ideal. Then tell everyone about it better yet, ask them to join you.

Getting Motivated To Run Your First Race

Get with a program. You can go to Training Programs to download one of my 5K or 10K race plans and a running log to track your progress.

Post the log on your fridge with a map of the race course for inspiration.

Prep for race day! That morning, eat a high-carb, low-fat breakfast (my favorite: peanut butter on toast with a banana) and drink 8 ounces of water at least 2 hours before the race starts to allow time for digestion.

Arrive at least 45 minutes early, so you have time to settle in and warm up with 5 to 10 minutes of easy-paced walking and running.

When it’s time to line up, aim for the middle (or back) to avoid getting mowed over by the quick starters. During the race, back off a little for the first half, then turn up the speed in the closing miles; you’ll run better, stronger, and faster (and look fabulous in that finish-line photo).

Once you cross the line, keep walking to cool down, and drink some sports drink or chocolate milk within 30 minutes to refuel your muscles. Then celebratehey, you deserve it!

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