Cool Down, Stretch Out: The Postrun Yoga Sequence You Need

Cool Down| Stretch Out: The Postrun Yoga Sequence You Need

After a tough run| this yoga sequence is the perfect way to cool down. By targeting the legs| lower back| and hips| these poses stretch all the areas that need special attention after running. And since the muscles are already warmed up| it’s the primetime to work on extending flexibility.

| Downward Facing Dog

Downward Facing Dog lays a strong| active foundation for the rest of your practice:

  • Begin on your hands and knees; your wrists should be underneath your shoulders| and your knees should be underneath your hips.
  • Inhale as you tuck your toes under your heels. Then exhale to lift your hips| coming into an upside down “V”” shape called Downward Facing Dog.
  • Spread your fingers wide and create a straight line between your middle fingers and elbows. Work on straightening your legs and lowering your heels toward the ground. Relax your head between your arms and direct your gaze through your legs or up toward your belly button. Hold for five breaths.
  • Traditionally| this pose is done during Sun Salutation A| so you can also come into it from Upward Facing Dog.

| Warrior 1

Warrior 1 will give a big stretch to your hip flexors:

  • From Downward Facing Dog| step your left foot forward between your hands. Turn your right heel in| press into your feet| and lift your torso up. You want your left foot to be slightly to the right of the center of your mat (not directly in front of your right heel).
  • Once your hips are square| lift your arms up| and press your palms together. Draw your shoulder blades down towards your hips and gaze up toward your hands.
  • Stay here for five breaths. Then come back to Downward Facing Dog| step your right foot forward and do Warrior 1 on the other side| and come back to Downward Dog.

| Sugar Cane

Sugarcane Pose is an essential asana for any runner who needs to give her legs and back a little love:

  • After you’ve completed Warrior 1 on both sides| you’ll be in Downward Facing Dog.
  • From here| step your left foot forward between your hands| and float into Half Moon Pose with your left hand planted firmly on the floor and your right leg lifted in the air. Stay for a few breaths to relax into the posture.
  • On your inhale| bend your right leg in toward your chest. On the exhale| reach back for your right foot with your right arm. Your right hand will catch the top of your right foot.
  • Once you’ve got a firm grip and you’re stabilized in the pose| imagine you’re kicking back. Press the top of your right foot into your right.
  • Hold for five breaths before releasing the right foot back into Half Moon Pose. Return the foot to the floor| and try it on the other side.

| Wide-Legged Forward Bend C

Wide-Legged Forward Bend C is a perfect pose to alleviate any stress in the back of your body. After any tough cardio| your legs will appreciate this posture:

  • From Sugarcane Pose| come back to standing. Stand with your feet three to four feet apart| turning heels out slightly wider than toes.
  • Bring your arms behind your back| clasping your fingers and pressing the heels of your palms together in a fist.
  • Fold forward| hinging at your hips| drawing the crown of your head and your hands toward the floor. Relax your toes| and try to shift the weight of your hips forward so they’re in line with your feet.
  • Stay here for five deep breaths. Then press into your feet| engage your quads| and inhale as you stand up.

| Hero Pose

Hero Pose is a contemplative posture that really stretches your quadriceps:

  • From Wide-Legged Forward Bend C| come to kneel on your mat with your knees together. Separate your feet| so you can sit down on the ground in between them.
  • Use your hands to roll your calves away from your thighs. Curl the arches of your feet around the curve of your bum| so your toes are pointing behind you and slightly toward one another.
  • Rest your hands on your thighs| press your palms together in front of your chest| or raise your hands overhead. Stay here for five deep breaths.

| Butterfly

Butterfly Pose opens up the back and inner thighs:

  • From Hero Pose| sit on your bottom. Bend both knees| and bring your feet together.
  • Using your hands| open your feet up like a book| pressing your knees toward the floor with your elbows. If you want more of a stretch| then extend your arms out in front of you.
  • Stay here for five breaths.

| Legs Up the Wall

Tight legs and stiff lower backs will find comfort in this simple but important posture| Legs Up the Wall:

  • After Butterfly Pose| grab your mat| and move it toward the closest wall.
  • Sit sideways| and position yourself a few inches away from a wall. On your exhale| swing your hips 90 degrees to bring legs up the wall.
  • Allow your shoulders and head to rest lightly on the floor| relax your arms at your sides| and close your eyes.
  • Keep your legs firm against the wall| but don’t force anything in this pose. If it feels uncomfortable on your lower back| then move a few more inches away from the wall.

Someone Finally Explains What That Extra Set of Shoelace Holes Is For

We all have them, and most of us just ignore them. I’m talking about that extra pair of holes on the top of our sneakers. Nope, they’re not just for decoration! Try this shoelace tying trick called the “heel lock” to prevent the back of your foot from sliding up and down, which will prevent heel blisters. If you’re a runner, this just may be the best thing you hear all day!

RELATED:

10 Ways to Be a Better Runner (Without Logging Miles)How to Make That Long Run Feel EasierStrengthen and Stretch! The 12 Moves All Runners Need to Do

Someone Finally Explains What That Extra Set of Shoelace Holes Is For

We all have them| and most of us just ignore them. I’m talking about that extra pair of holes on the top of our sneakers. Nope| they’re not just for decoration! Try this shoelace tying trick called the “heel lock” to prevent the back of your foot from sliding up and down| which will prevent heel blisters. If you’re a runner| this just may be the best thing you hear all day!

RELATED:

10 Ways to Be a Better Runner (Without Logging Miles)How to Make That Long Run Feel EasierStrengthen and Stretch! The 12 Moves All Runners Need to Do

All the Surprises of Running My First 5K Without Training a Mile

When our Fitness editor told me that I’d be running a 5K as a guest of the Tone It Up Retreat in Newport Beach, CA, several thoughts ran through my head after some initial laughter. Is it safe to run my first 5K without any training or preparation? Could I do it? Would I survive?

As someone who can barely walk home without panting, it was hard not to freak out a little. My friends’ and family’s responses went something like, “Oh, I don’t know, man.” The support was unreal.

Aside from a (sometimes) weekly dance class, I generally identify myself as a pretty inactive person. The last time I had competitively run a mile was in 8th grade PE ¡ª the last time I ran three miles? Oh, never. The running shoes I had purchased a month earlier for “motivation” barely left their box just the weekend before, and I could hardly call that a run. But I was so excited about this last-minute trip that I welcomed anything that was asked of me, including this 5K.

Fast-forward to the morning of when my nerves were stretching with me. Here I was, surrounded by 400 Tone It Up women, standing in my running shoes that had yet to be broken in.

Then, the shot was fired.

I started off slow, real slow. Ten minutes in, I was almost done with my first lap of four but my shins began to badly burn. Listening to Drake helped me push through to lap two when I thought, “OK, this isn’t bad. I got this.” But soon after, a fear of “Holy sh*t, I may not make it” quickly took over.

I tried to keep focused on the lyrics and my breathing, and it didn’t hurt that this was a Ros¨¦ 5K with some bubbly waiting for us at the finish line. Half an hour in and I was on my final lap. Minus a couple 10-second walk breaks, I had maintained a steady pace the entire time and this, my friends, blew my freaking mind. As I approached the end, I surprisingly felt energized enough to pick up the pace so I decided to go full speed to the finish line. Yes, there were many girls who had finished long before I had, but I ended my very first 5K at 37 minutes, and hey, I felt pretty damn good for pushing through.

My first 5K made me realize that my fitness potential was completely hindered by how I viewed running. Since then, I’ve become more open-minded to fitness in general and less fearful of pushing my body. My new perspective has inspired me to continue to explore my physical limits and to even consider signing up for another 5K or even a 10K! But after some actual preparation next time around, of course.

In the meantime, here’s seven things I learned from my first experience.

    Go at your own pace: As badly as I wanted to keep up with some of the runners, I knew I’d burn out quick if I tried. Instead, I kept slow, light steps throughout.A good playlist is everything: If it weren’t for the help of Drake and Queen Bey, I’m really not sure if I could’ve made it on my own.It’s OK to walk: There were many women who were killing it, but there were plenty of others who walked the race, too. Regardless of what anyone else is doing, just focus on what your body is capable of.Only take sips of water: While the sun was beating down hard on us, I had to resist the urge to gulp down. I took only enough sips to get me through each lap to prevent cramps from slowing me down.Nothing gets a girl running like Ros¨¦: No, seriously, you should’ve seen some of these runners go. Why every race doesn’t end with some is my question.It’s all mental: I had the wrong outlook coming into the race, first of all. I already set myself up for failure based on what I thought I knew about my body. Especially feeling intimidated by the more experienced women around me, it was easy to get dissuaded. But self-encouragement can really make all the difference.You might surprise yourself: I definitely did. I was either going to embarrass or impress myself and thankfully, it was the latter. You really don’t know what you’re capable of until you try.

Image Source: Tone It Up

All the Surprises of Running My First 5K Without Training a Mile

When our Fitness editor told me that I’d be running a 5K as a guest of the Tone It Up Retreat in Newport Beach| CA| several thoughts ran through my head after some initial laughter. Is it safe to run my first 5K without any training or preparation? Could I do it? Would I survive?

As someone who can barely walk home without panting| it was hard not to freak out a little. My friends’ and family’s responses went something like| “Oh| I don’t know| man.” The support was unreal.

Aside from a (sometimes) weekly dance class| I generally identify myself as a pretty inactive person. The last time I had competitively run a mile was in 8th grade PE ¡ª the last time I ran three miles? Oh| never. The running shoes I had purchased a month earlier for “motivation” barely left their box just the weekend before| and I could hardly call that a run. But I was so excited about this last-minute trip that I welcomed anything that was asked of me| including this 5K.

Fast-forward to the morning of when my nerves were stretching with me. Here I was| surrounded by 400 Tone It Up women| standing in my running shoes that had yet to be broken in.

Then| the shot was fired.

I started off slow| real slow. Ten minutes in| I was almost done with my first lap of four but my shins began to badly burn. Listening to Drake helped me push through to lap two when I thought| “OK| this isn’t bad. I got this.” But soon after| a fear of “Holy sh*t| I may not make it” quickly took over.

I tried to keep focused on the lyrics and my breathing| and it didn’t hurt that this was a Rosé 5K with some bubbly waiting for us at the finish line. Half an hour in and I was on my final lap. Minus a couple 10-second walk breaks| I had maintained a steady pace the entire time and this| my friends| blew my freaking mind. As I approached the end| I surprisingly felt energized enough to pick up the pace so I decided to go full speed to the finish line. Yes| there were many girls who had finished long before I had| but I ended my very first 5K at 37 minutes| and hey| I felt pretty damn good for pushing through.

My first 5K made me realize that my fitness potential was completely hindered by how I viewed running. Since then| I’ve become more open-minded to fitness in general and less fearful of pushing my body. My new perspective has inspired me to continue to explore my physical limits and to even consider signing up for another 5K or even a 10K! But after some actual preparation next time around| of course.

In the meantime| here’s seven things I learned from my first experience.

    <Go at your own pace: As badly as I wanted to keep up with some of the runners| I knew I’d burn out quick if I tried. Instead| I kept slow| light steps throughout.A good playlist is everything: If it weren’t for the help of Drake and Queen Bey| I’m really not sure if I could’ve made it on my own.It’s OK to walk: There were many women who were killing it| but there were plenty of others who walked the race| too. Regardless of what anyone else is doing| just focus on what your body is capable of.Only take sips of water: While the sun was beating down hard on us| I had to resist the urge to gulp down. I took only enough sips to get me through each lap to prevent cramps from slowing me down.Nothing gets a girl running like Ros¨¦: No| seriously| you should’ve seen some of these runners go. Why every race doesn’t end with some is my question.It’s all mental: I had the wrong outlook coming into the race| first of all. I already set myself up for failure based on what I thought I knew about my body. Especially feeling intimidated by the more experienced women around me| it was easy to get dissuaded. But self-encouragement can really make all the difference.You might surprise yourself: I definitely did. I was either going to embarrass or impress myself and thankfully| it was the latter. You really don’t know what you’re capable of until you try.

Image Source: Tone It Up

Make These 3 Changes, Burn More Calories

Exercise is essential when it comes to dropping pounds. So if you’re eager to lose the weight, then here are three everyday changes that will help increase your calorie burn.

Hello Sunshine

Moving workouts to early mornings may mean cursing your alarm clock, but here’s the big payoff: morning exercisers burn more calories. And now that the sun rises earlier, it’ll be easier to pull yourself out of bed than it was in the Winter. Research shows that people who exercise in the a.m. work harder and for longer periods of time, which may be because they’re more alert and energetic and they don’t feel as rushed as afternoon or evening exercisers. Getting into a morning routine will also help you stick with it, which will help even more with your weight-loss journey.

Related: Start Your Day With a 300-Calorie-Burning Video Workout

Get Speedy

When it comes to cardio, running will help you lose more weight than walking since it burns more calories, but if you increase your speed just a little, then you’ll burn even more. And don’t stick to a consistent pace the entire workout. Adding sprinting intervals is an effective way to increase your calorie burn and has also been proven to reduce belly fat. Also be sure to swing those arms as you move, and you’ll burn 15 percent more calories.

Related: Intervals For the Beginner: 30-Minute Treadmill Workout

Strength Train in the Ladies’ Room

Muscle burns more calories than fat does, so the more muscle mass you have, the better it is for weight loss. Don’t just hit the weight room at the gym. Include strength-training moves throughout your day, such as push-ups on the bathroom counter and this two-minute butt and thigh workout while brushing your teeth. You can also work your body by carrying a basket instead of pushing a cart, using the stairs whenever possible, and sitting on an exercise ball instead of a chair.

Related: Turn Any Staircase Into a Workout

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Ericka McConnell

Make These 3 Changes, Burn More Calories

Exercise is essential when it comes to dropping pounds. So if you’re eager to lose the weight| then here are three everyday changes that will help increase your calorie burn.

Hello Sunshine

Moving workouts to early mornings may mean cursing your alarm clock| but here’s the big payoff: morning exercisers burn more calories. And now that the sun rises earlier| it’ll be easier to pull yourself out of bed than it was in the Winter. Research shows that people who exercise in the a.m. work harder and for longer periods of time| which may be because they’re more alert and energetic and they don’t feel as rushed as afternoon or evening exercisers. Getting into a morning routine will also help you stick with it| which will help even more with your weight-loss journey.

Related: Start Your Day With a 300-Calorie-Burning Video Workout

Get Speedy

When it comes to cardio| running will help you lose more weight than walking since it burns more calories| but if you increase your speed just a little| then you’ll burn even more. And don’t stick to a consistent pace the entire workout. Adding sprinting intervals is an effective way to increase your calorie burn and has also been proven to reduce belly fat. Also be sure to swing those arms as you move| and you’ll burn 15 percent more calories.

Related: Intervals For the Beginner: 30-Minute Treadmill Workout

Strength Train in the Ladies’ Room

Muscle burns more calories than fat does| so the more muscle mass you have| the better it is for weight loss. Don’t just hit the weight room at the gym. Include strength-training moves throughout your day| such as push-ups on the bathroom counter and this two-minute butt and thigh workout while brushing your teeth. You can also work your body by carrying a basket instead of pushing a cart| using the stairs whenever possible| and sitting on an exercise ball instead of a chair.

Related: Turn Any Staircase Into a Workout

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Ericka McConnell

The 1 Half-Marathon-Training Mistake That Made Me Gain Weight

I had always thought about doing a half, but honestly, running for over two hours straight didn’t sound appealing whatsoever. That was until a dear friend came to me in desperation after her partner for a two-person marathon relay got injured and couldn’t run. My immediate reaction when she asked me to fill in was, “Hell no, are you nuts?” Then I thought about it while falling asleep that night and realized at 38 years old, I wasn’t getting any younger, so why the hell not?

I was a little worried as the race was just five weeks away, but seeing as I was already running four to five miles, four times a week, I was just about on schedule. One thought that got me through those long-ass Saturday morning training runs was, “I’m gonna be so ripped after this.” And my legs and butt were getting crazy-strong. Even the hubs noticed. Walking behind me while going upstairs, he gave my tush a little push so I’d go faster, and said, “Damn, your butt is rock hard. Like, seriously.” Bonus!

After the actual race, I was hooked on running longer distances. So I kept up with hour-long runs Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, then did 90- to 120-minute runs on Saturdays. I also kept up with the two to three weekly strength-training sessions I had been doing for several months. Two weeks postrace, I stepped on the scale to find I had gained seven pounds in less than two months. WTH! I’ve experienced weight gain from running before, so I was familiar with gaining muscle mass. But a flabbier belly and pudgier face weren’t muscle. Not even close. And I was pissed. Damn you half-marathon training!

Although I was running four to five hours per week, I wasn’t burning enough calories to make up for my insane hunger. When I stopped to think about it, I was eating way too much. Check out an example of my weekday meal plan:

5:45 a.m.: Pre-workout snack: banana or toast with nut butter7:20 a.m.: Postrun snack: a few handfuls of almonds or a glass of soy milk8:30 a.m.: Breakfast: huge protein, fruit, and greens smoothie or bowl of oatmeal10:30 a.m.: Morning snack: trail mix or soy yogurt with fruit12:30 p.m.: Lunch: big salad topped with chickpeas, sunflower seeds, and strawberries, followed by a square of dark chocolate (OK, maybe two)3 p.m.: Afternoon snack: granola bar5:30 p.m.: Dinner: pasta or quinoa with tofu and roasted veggies8 p.m.: Evening snack (to carb up for tomorrow’s morning run, of course): toast, cereal, pretzels, or crackers with hummus, banana with peanut butterExtras: To add to that mega meal plan, I was also finishing half-eaten pieces of toast, extra slices of apple, or bowls of pasta that my kids didn’t finish after their meals.

I realized that I was never hungry, like, ever. I just ate all day long. And since a little hunger is healthy in order to know when it’s time for your next meal, and to avoid overeating like I was clearly doing, I knew I had to make some quick amendments to my eating free-for-all. I ended up cutting about 300 to 400 calories a day. I ditched the pre- and post-workout snacks and ate my breakfast around 7:30 after my postshower workout. Actually, I was pleasantly surprised that not eating before my 6 a.m. run made me perform better because I didn’t get hungry toward the end of my run like I used to when I’d eat a little something beforehand. I skipped the morning snack and ate lunch a little earlier at noon. I kept the afternoon snack and made sure to keep it around 150 calories, ate dinner around 6 p.m., and then skipped on that evening snack. I also completely curbed snacking on my kids’ leftovers.

Within two weeks, I saw the scale number decreasing, and I was so relieved. And I wasn’t hungry or tired, and best of all, I could continue with my running schedule. Am I through with half marathons? No way. I’m taking this as a learning opportunity so the next race I train for, I’ll monitor my diet a little closer, and not eat whatever the hell I want.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Jenny Sugar

The 1 Half-Marathon-Training Mistake That Made Me Gain Weight

I had always thought about doing a half| but honestly| running for over two hours straight didn’t sound appealing whatsoever. That was until a dear friend came to me in desperation after her partner for a two-person marathon relay got injured and couldn’t run. My immediate reaction when she asked me to fill in was| “Hell no| are you nuts?” Then I thought about it while falling asleep that night and realized at 38 years old| I wasn’t getting any younger| so why the hell not?

I was a little worried as the race was just five weeks away| but seeing as I was already running four to five miles| four times a week| I was just about on schedule. One thought that got me through those long-ass Saturday morning training runs was| “I’m gonna be so ripped after this.” And my legs and butt were getting crazy-strong. Even the hubs noticed. Walking behind me while going upstairs| he gave my tush a little push so I’d go faster| and said| “Damn| your butt is rock hard. Like| seriously.” Bonus!

After the actual race| I was hooked on running longer distances. So I kept up with hour-long runs Mondays| Wednesdays| and Thursdays| then did 90- to 120-minute runs on Saturdays. I also kept up with the two to three weekly strength-training sessions I had been doing for several months. Two weeks postrace| I stepped on the scale to find I had gained seven pounds in less than two months. WTH! I’ve experienced weight gain from running before| so I was familiar with gaining muscle mass. But a flabbier belly and pudgier face weren’t muscle. Not even close. And I was pissed. Damn you half-marathon training!

Although I was running four to five hours per week| I wasn’t burning enough calories to make up for my insane hunger. When I stopped to think about it| I was eating way too much. Check out an example of my weekday meal plan:

5:45 a.m.: Pre-workout snack: banana or toast with nut butter7:20 a.m.: Postrun snack: a few handfuls of almonds or a glass of soy milk8:30 a.m.: Breakfast: huge protein| fruit| and greens smoothie or bowl of oatmeal10:30 a.m.: Morning snack: trail mix or soy yogurt with fruit12:30 p.m.: Lunch: big salad topped with chickpeas| sunflower seeds| and strawberries| followed by a square of dark chocolate (OK| maybe two)3 p.m.: Afternoon snack: granola bar5:30 p.m.: Dinner: pasta or quinoa with tofu and roasted veggies8 p.m.: Evening snack (to carb up for tomorrow’s morning run| of course): toast| cereal| pretzels| or crackers with hummus| banana with peanut butterExtras: To add to that mega meal plan| I was also finishing half-eaten pieces of toast| extra slices of apple| or bowls of pasta that my kids didn’t finish after their meals.

I realized that I was never hungry| like| ever. I just ate all day long. And since a little hunger is healthy in order to know when it’s time for your next meal| and to avoid overeating like I was clearly doing| I knew I had to make some quick amendments to my eating free-for-all. I ended up cutting about 300 to 400 calories a day. I ditched the pre- and post-workout snacks and ate my breakfast around 7:30 after my postshower workout. Actually| I was pleasantly surprised that not eating before my 6 a.m. run made me perform better because I didn’t get hungry toward the end of my run like I used to when I’d eat a little something beforehand. I skipped the morning snack and ate lunch a little earlier at noon. I kept the afternoon snack and made sure to keep it around 150 calories| ate dinner around 6 p.m.| and then skipped on that evening snack. I also completely curbed snacking on my kids’ leftovers.

Within two weeks| I saw the scale number decreasing| and I was so relieved. And I wasn’t hungry or tired| and best of all| I could continue with my running schedule. Am I through with half marathons? No way. I’m taking this as a learning opportunity so the next race I train for| I’ll monitor my diet a little closer| and not eat whatever the hell I want.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Jenny Sugar

Jami Marseilles on Being the First Double Amputee to Complete a Marathon: ‘Life Is Short’

Get ready to cheer your heart out this Sunday, when Jami Marseilles attempts to become the first double amputee woman to complete a marathon at the Chicago Marathon and inspire amputee victims of the Boston Marathon bombing in the process.

Teacher and mom of two Jami became a double amputee after a horrific event in 1987, when she was trapped in a car during a blizzard with a college friend. After surviving for 11 days without food or heat, the teenagers were finally found, but not before gangrene and frostbite had taken over.

Since then, Jami has become a blazing-fast runner and ambassador for the sport, competing in track events with the US Paralympic Team and narrowly missing making the 2000 Paralympic Games in Sydney. She also has the distinct honor of being the only woman in her disability category to complete a half-marathon. “I pushed my body to possibilities I never thought would be possible,” Jami said about what it was like to become a runner.

Jami’s story is even more inspirational once you learn about what her life was life before her amputation. “Growing up I was not the kid who wanted to exercise. [I thought,] ‘Sweating was for the boys,’ ‘Where are my heels,’ and ‘I’m a girl,'” she said, adding that she viewed herself as a “lazy kid.” Even after her amputation ¡ª when staying active was essential to her recovery ¡ª it took her eight years before she discovered her love of running and was fitted with her first pair of ?ssur running prosthetics. Now, her mission is simple. “I just want people to realize that this journey of life is very short,” she told us. “I want to continue to run, to motivate people to make a difference in their own lives. Just because you lose a limb doesn’t mean your life is over.” Next up? Jami hopes to run the 2016 Boston Marathon, a fitting race for the Challenge Athletes Foundation volunteer who has mentored several survivors of the Boston Marathon bombing. We love Jami’s inspirational message, and we can’t wait to see her succeed in her next big race.

Image Source: Ossur