Category Archives: running

Runner’s Stretches

I’ve been learning so much in my running journey over the last three-months. Did you know that if you stretch your range of motion in your hip joint you can actually become a better runner? If your hips are too tight your leg won’t extend behind your body very far before swinging forward, which reduces the propulsion your body has the potential to exhibit. These stretches are meant to open your hip joint in order to improve your running.

The Happy Runner [dot] blogspot [dot] com

Kneeling Hip-Flexor Stretch
Step into a lunge position, and lower you back knee to the ground. Keep your upper body straight while you tilt your pelvis forward. Hold for one minute, release, and repeat twice more. Then switch to the other leg.

Knee-to-Chest Bridge
Pull in your right knee, holding it against your chest. Keeping your head and shoulder blades on the floor, push up with your left leg into a bridge position while keeping your right leg against you. Push up, keeping the pelvis level, then lower yourself down. Do 12 to 15, then switch legs. Do three sets on each side.

I Heart Inspiration [dot] com

Marching Bridge
With your head, shoulders, and both feet on the floor, push up into a bridge position. While up, begin “marching”—alternate lifting each foot about an inch off the ground, while keeping your pelvis steady and facing straight up. Do three sets of 20 marches (10 on each leg), with a short break between each set.

Swing Drill
Bend and lift your left leg in front of you, then swing it back behind you as far as it will reach without moving your pelvis or lower back. This is the running motion you want to have—hip extending back, pelvis and lower back neutral (not arched). Do two sets of 20 swings with each leg, alternating legs with each set.

Community [dot] Saucony [dot] com

Half-pidgeon

Starting in a v-shape position with hands and feet flat against the floor, pull your right leg through, placing your right foot next to your left hand and your right knee next to your right hand. Bring your butt as close to the floor as you can as you place the top of your left foot on the ground with your leg stretching behind you. Sit up tall and then bending forward at the waist, touch your forehead to the floor. Hold, release and repeat on the left side.
Runner’s Lunge
Get into a lunge position with the right knee at a 90-degree angle, knee not passing the toes, and the left leg straight.  Put your hands flat to the floor on either side of your right foot. Then move your right foot to the outside of your right hand, toes at a 45 degree angle. Move around in this stretch, roll to the outside edge of your right foot opening your right knee to the floor, or lower your left knee to the floor. When you feel adequately stretched, switch legs.
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What to Eat Prior to Working Out

It’s Workout Wednesday, and on this particular Workout Wednesday I would like to share with you a little secret about fueling your body for workouts.

We all know it’s a bad idea to exercise on an empty stomach, because your body burns muscle tissue when there is no food energy to use (contrary to popular belief, of burning fat in this situation). In fact according to this study, women who ate before working out actually ate less the rest of the day. But, did you know that there are many foods you shouldn’t eat before working out? Some can even cause cramping, dizziness and headaches. After some research I’ve come up with a few ideas of what to eat (and not to eat) before my runs and other workouts.

About 2 hours before:

Grab something full of carbs, protein and healthy fats:

  • Cooked quinoa and grilled chicken
  • Whole wheat pasta with cheese and veggies
  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwich
  • Greek yogurt with berries and almonds
  • Grilled fish, avocado and mango wrap

Avoid fibrous veggies:

  • Broccoli
  • Onions
  • Beans
Avoid high-fat foods:
  • Burgers
  • French fries
  • Ice cream

About 1 hour before:

Eat easily digestible carbs and a little protein:

  • Whole wheat toast with nut butter
  • Whole grain crackers or pretzels and hummus
  • Small bowl of cereal
  • Cheese and crackers
  • Yogurt and fruit
  • Some cottage cheese and grapes
  • Half a fruit and nut bar
  • Cheese stick and carrots

    Aviod gas-producing fruits:

    • Pears
    • Apples
    • Melon

    About 15 minutes before:

    Enjoy easily digestible carbs:

    • Banana
    • Applesauce
    • Some saltine crackers
    • Raisins

    Avoid large servings of protein and carbs and high-saturated fat and high-fiber foods:

    • Pasta
    • Bagel and cream cheese
    • Fried chicken
    • Granola bar (high fiber)

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      Running 101

      I have tried adopting running off and about once every month for the last 6 years. There were times when I had my schedule down pat and I even got to the point where I actually started enjoying it. Every time I have tried running program I stop for some reason. Sometimes I would get too busy, sometimes it was that I became a wimp in the winter, sometimes it was that I became a wimp in the summer, sometimes I was just a wimp, and sometimes I plain forgot that I was trying to start running. Needless to say I am not a runner.


      I want to be though. I love running culture and I generally enjoy the activity (except when I first start out after not doing it for a long time and the wheezing begins). So I’m sticking to it this time. And I’m posting it to my blog because this way someone out there knows if I fail. I just don’t think I can take that kind of disappointment from you.

      One thing I discovered about my past attempts is that everyone who has tried to teach me about running, (friends, trainers, coaches, blogs, vlogs, etc.) have all been very athletic. Because of this, and my consistent gung-ho attitude about all things in general (Anything you can do I can do better, I can do anything better than you), I would always jump in with both feet and no net. I would think to myself, “I’m going to run five miles today,” and then I would feel like a failure when I couldn’t accomplish these impossible goals. 

      But the truth is, most of the plans that were presented to me were made for athletic people, by athletic people. I am not an athletic people. I need to start small and take baby steps.

      Since this is the real deal, I’m trying something new. I’m going to sneak running in to my daily routine and the change will be so gradual I won’t even know that I’m being so sneaky (shhh, don’t tell Maggie!)

      Soooooo, here’s the game plan. I am on week two and going strong. Every week I amp up the running time or tone down the walking time until suddenly I can run twenty minutes straight, no sweat (pun intended?). Or at least that’s the plan.

      Maggie's Mind Mumbles//: Running 101: A Beginner's Guide to Running
      If you want to follow my running plan too, you can download the pdf here.
      (I am still getting used to using blogger: Google Docs displays the preview without some of the detail but they tell me it will be restored in printing. If you have problems with this feel free to shoot me an email: maggiesmingmumbles@gmail.com or leave a comment with your email address and I will send you the pdf directly)