Thursday, March 5, 2015

Exciting New Book

It is another snowy day in Wilton, CT.  Unfortunately, most of my clients have cancelled due to the inclement weather conditions.  I cycled and did my knee rehab exercises (yep, still dealing with this), and now, I am going to read a newly published book by Christopher McDougall, the author of Born to Run (one of my very favorite running books).  McDougall's new book is Natural Born Heroes:  How a Band of Misfits Mastered the Secrets of Strength and Endurance.  I have heard from my friends that this book will inspire EVERYONE to get moving and stay moving  -- you do not need to be a runner to love this book!!!
Okay, I just went to download the book and discovered that it is not available until April 14th. So, I am so eager to read it that I am pre-ordering RIGHT NOW!!!  I am so sure that this book will be awesome!  McDougall is a phenomenal author. Born to Run was such an inspirational book -- it reinforced my love of being "one with nature" while running.

Click directly below to pre-order your copy of Natural Born Heroes.


Stay tuned for my book review on April 21st.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Great Upper Body Exercise to Help You Run Faster

What single upper body resistance training exercise is the most helpful in improving your running efficiency?  If I had to pick just one, it would have to be a Bent Over One-Arm Dumbbell Row.  This exercise is shown in the video below:

The Bent Over One-Arm Dumbbell Row works primarily your upper and mid-back muscles (specifically known as your rhomboids and latissimus dorsi) with the biceps assisting in the action.  When performing this exercise, you want to initiate the lift with these back muscles as opposed to tugging with your arm.  When you are running, your rhomboids, latissimus dorsi, and biceps are all critical in getting up a hill or increasing your speed.  In this video, I have my client doing these rows faster than I would have a non-runner do because of the specificity of running - running requires a quick pump of the arms.

I also have runners choose a weight that they can do with good form for at least 12 to 15 reps - I am looking to train my runners for muscle endurance, not pure strength, so I go with this relatively high number of reps as the goal.  Remember, long distance running requires your muscles to repetitively contract for a sustained period, not just for a few reps. 

The Bent Over One-Arm Dumbbell Row should also help improve your posture. Upright posture is critical to efficient running form.  Combine these One-Arm Dumbbell Rows with some good Core Exercises (e.g., Front Plank and Back Extensions) and you should see a substantial improvement in your running posture over time.

Do you have a favorite upper body resistance training exercise?

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

My Setback

So, my running (following 11/6/14 medial meniscus repair) has been going pretty well. I have been very careful not to run too much nor too fast.  My longest run to date has been four miles, but most of my runs have been two to three miles at a 10 minute per mile pace.  I would call this quite conservative for me.

So, two weeks ago, (2/12/15 to be exact), I had a really awesome three mile treadmill run. By the way, I have only run once outside since my surgery, on Christmas Day -- welcome to New England, where snow and ice abound!  I felt great during the run and then, since it was above 20 degrees outside, I decided to take a walk around my apartment complex. I was still feeling great, basking in the glory of my run and enjoying the magnificent sunset.  I took a bunch of photos of the beautiful sky - it all looked so pretty, especially since my senses were heightened from the run.

Then, it was time to go up the three flights of stairs to my apartment.  I placed my right foot (by the way, the right knee is the one that was surgically repaired) on the first step and OUCH!!!!!  The pain was excruciating.  I had to then place two feet on each step in order to successfully make it up to my apartment - not fun at all!!!

So, later that evening, I had to go train my soon-to-be Division 1 lacrosse phenom - she is a high school senior right now.  It was rather pitiful to have to go down those three flights of stairs with two feet on each step, but that was the only way I could manage to get to my car and drive to the fitness center.

For the next five days, I had to go up and down steps in this fashion, two feet per step.  I felt like I was 100+ years old.  I honestly have no good explanation for why this happened -- I must have demonstrated an exercise that I should not have demonstrated at this point in my recovery from surgery.  I probably did some sort of a deadlift with a heavy kettlebell - ughhh!

So, time, ice, elevation, Motrin, and an exercise known as Terminal Extension have successfully gotten me to the point where I can properly go up and down the steps without any pain.  I suppose that is progress, but geez, enough already!!!

Although the pain was pretty much gone, the swelling got much worse.  It got so bad that I visited my orthopedic surgeon today.  He said that I needed to have the knee drained and also recommended a cortisone shot.  I must share with you what came out of my knee - check out this photo:

The Fluid Drained Out of My Knee

That is a lot of fluid!!!  As per Dr. Delos' orders, two days of minimal activity -- just tons of ice, compression, elevation and Motrin.  I love Dr. Delos, especially since he said that I should be okay to run the More/Fitness/Shape Magazine Half Marathon on April 19th! Seriously, Dr. Delos is a wonderful orthopedic surgeon with a great personality!  He is extremely thorough and patient.  Dr. Delos really takes the time to explain everything to me, and believe you and me, I have a ton of questions all the time! Here is a photo of my favorite orthopedic surgeon, the one and only Dr. Dimitri Delos:

Dr. Dimitri Delos

Dr. Delos is part of ONS, Orthopaedic and Neurosurgery Specialists.  They are located in Greenwich, CT and are the BEST!!!  

Okay, here are two more really cool photos, before and after!  The first photo shows my shredded medial meniscus and the second one shows the repair.  

Before Repair

After Repair

Aren't these photos pretty cool?  

Well, time to take a break and elevate the leg.  I cannot wait to run again but I know it will be at least a week or two.  So, in the mean time, can you all run a few extra miles for me?

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Two Awesome Exercises for Running Uphill

Do you want to become a better hill runner?  If so, try doing the exercises shown in the following two videos.

Presenting Exercise # 1...  BALL SLAMS - Primary Muscle Group:  Abdominals

My client is using a 12 lb medicine ball for this exercise.  She does two sets of 25 reps each. In addition to working your abdominals, this exercise works your upper, middle and lower back, your gluteus maximus (buttocks) and hamstrings (back of thighs).  Ball slams will also get your heart pumping!  Start with a weight that allows you to maintain proper form.  You should really feel your abdominal muscles if you are doing this exercise correctly.

Presenting Exercise # 2... RESISTANCE TUBE SIDE STEPS

Side steps effectively work your hip abductors - these are the muscles that allow your thighs to move away from the mid-line of your body.  Start with an ankle band that provides a light resistance and gradually progress to a medium resistance band. You should be able to take at least ten steps in each direction. Do two sets of this exercise. Lead with your heel on each side step so that you are not "toeing out." You should feel fatigue in your hips if you are doing this exercise correctly.

Monday, February 9, 2015

My Favorite Running Shoe

On Cloudsurfer Sky / Mandarin

If you have not yet heard of On Running Shoes, it is time that you did!  I am a big-time running shoeaholic -- presently, I have at least 20 pairs.  I love trying new shoes, but over the past two years, I consistently return to my On Cloudsurfers, as pictured above - they are simply the best! 

On Running Shoes are manufactured in Switzerland -- the company is only a few years 
old and in that short time, they have made great strides!  (Pardon the pun).

Whether you are a pro-athlete or just starting to run, there is an On Running Shoe for all 
types of runners. Each model comes in different color combinations both for men and 
women runners.
Cloudster: Made to start and have fun.
On Cloudster Black / White

Cloudrunner: Made to build endurance and to train on and off the road.On Cloudrunner Red / Limelight

Cloudsurfer: Made to increase performance, to train and compete.On Cloudsurfer Sky / Mandarin

Cloudracer:  Made to train fast and compete.

On Cloudracer Silver / Orange

Cloud: Latest and lightest addition to the On collection. 
With less than 200g, Cloud is made to run with ultimate lightness and comfort.
On Cloud Olive / Flame

How does On’s patented CloudTec® system work?
Cushioned landing, firm push-off: that’s the core concept behind the new
running . It’s a radical development: On’s patented technology combines
all the benefits of a soft training shoe and a hard and fast racing shoe.
Land on the sand, push off from the running track!
The secret to this bold new dual functionality lies in the On’s “clouds” – 
hollow pods on the sole of the shoe that stretch back on impact to
cushion the landing and then lock to form the solid foundation required 
for a powerful push-off. 

On Cloudsurfer

The result is a new running experience: fast, light and agile. 
The On gives its wearers all the benefits of a natural running 
style, while still providing optimum comfort and maximum 
protection from injury.

Athletes who have worn Ons and their coaches have reported greater 
muscle activation, new personal bests, fewer injuries and shorter 
recovery times.

Are you ready to purchase a pair?  If so, please take note of two 
important things:

1.  You will need to size up a half size from your dress shoes.  
I wear an 8.5 (U.S. sizing) in women's shoes, but take a size 9 in my Ons.

2.  Click on the link directly above this blog post to order a pair of Ons.  

Happy shopping!  Let me know what you think after your first run in 
your new running shoes.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Mom, This Run is For You!

Meet my mom, Marilyn Klein.  These photos were taken on Monday, February 4th, 2013 at 6:00 am in the waiting room of a New York City hospital.  You see, my mom was about to have open heart surgery to replace her aortic valve. Mom had the same surgery ten years prior at age 72.  Now, ten years later, we both knew that the risks were somewhat greater, but there was no good alternative - without surgery, she would gradually become debilitated due to congestive heart failure.  My mom was very much against needing someone to take care of her - she had always been such a headstrong and capable woman.

Today is February 5th, 2015 - it is exactly two years since mom has passed away.  Mom made it through surgery, but, this time, did not look too good in the recovery room. Early the next morning, her heart gave out.  

It is rare for me to be at a loss for words, but the truth is, Mom, I miss you more than words could ever express.

Thank you for the many gifts that you have given to me, the greatest of them all being perseverance.  It is so true that the race is not always won by the swift, but by those who keep on going.  I was usually the hare, racing to complete a project; you were always the tortoise methodically seeing every project through to completion with pinpoint accuracy.   

Mom, I want you to know that I have slowed down, literally and figuratively.  I run a lot slower than I used to -- those knee injuries have really caught up to me -- however, I always cross the finish line because you taught me the value in finishing what you start.  But, more importantly, I try to decelerate a little bit every day to appreciate all the little things - your granddaughter's smile, your grandson's musical talents, and nature's beauty.

Mom, I have watched you handle many difficult situations with grace and dignity.  Your ability to carefully think before you ever acted was remarkable.  I have tried to emulate these qualities, but I certainly have a ways to go.

Mom, I cannot run today because there are just not enough hours in the day.  So, when I run tomorrow, I am dedicating every step to you, the woman who taught me how to persevere. You, mom, have taught me how to be strong, to just put one foot in front of the other and keep on going!  Thank you, mom, for being the voice of reason.  You may have been small in stature, but oh so large in life!  I hope one day we meet again.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

2015 in 2015

It was New Year's Day and I read about this awesome, motivating fitness challenge:  Run/Walk 2,015 Miles in 2015!  Wow, I thought, this is such a cool concept - I did some quick math and calculated that I needed to run 16.67 miles per week.  Well, I quickly signed up for this awesome challenge and then excitedly sent a text to my running buddy with the link to this virtual year-long race so that she could sign up too.  My buddy works for the treasury of a major corporation and I guess her math is way better than mine! BIG MATH ERROR... make that 37.5 miles per week.  Oh my, I goofed!!!  I then re-read the rules and realized that I do not have to run all those miles -- walking miles count too!

mtn range long

The Run/Walk 2,015 in 2015 challenge was created by the folks at Run the Edge:  It is not too late to join in the fun!  You can participate as an individual or split the mileage with one or two friends. Check out all the details at: