Monday, June 30, 2008

The Week 7 Routine...Less Than 2 Weeks 'Til 5K!

I'm just getting in after a long weekend of meetings in Denver. For anyone who sent an email in the past 3 days, I promise to reply over the next 24 hours as I catch up.

We are now just shy of 2 weeks before the Fairfax 5K. If you’ve been following the weekly training to date, you’re ready!! In the 5 training session we have leading up to July 12th, we’ll increase our cardiovascular base a bit more.

Below is our schedule for the week...

Tuesday - Run 30 min
Thursday - Run 30 min
Saturday - 3.6 miles
Sunday - Rest

Also, for those just joining the group, here is a list of topics we’ve covered to date:

Are You Ready To Run?
Cincinnati Fitness Running - Week One!
The Running Group Week Two...
The Week 3 Routine...
The Running Group Week Four...
The Running Group Week Five...
The Running Group Week Six...

Enjoy your run tomorrow!!

HealthStyle Fitness, Inc. 4325 Red Bank Rd Cincinnati, OH 45227 513-407-4665, x-105

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Running Group Week Six...

Today's email is short and sweet...

First and foremost, we have lost a few members of the running group due to work/travel commitments and other personal reasons. If you would like to stop receiving the weekly running email, please click here as we want to make sure that you're not receiving excessive can always get back on the list at any time.

Okay, for the balance of our preparation for the 5K on July 12th we're going to keep our timed runs on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 30 minutes. We will, however, continue to add a little more distance over the next 2 Saturday morning runs.

Below is our schedule for the week...

Tuesday - Run 30 min Thursday - Run 30 min Saturday - 3.3 miles Sunday - Rest

If you need to access any of the previous emails you can go to the archives at

See many of you at Crossroads tomorrow at 6:30am...

Keep up the great training!!

Your friend in fitness,


HealthStyle Fitness, Inc. 4325 Red Bank Rd Cincinnati, OH 45227 513-407-4665, x-105

The Running Group Week Five...

Okay, so how are you feeling now that we have 4 weeks of running behind us??

As we move closer to our first official event, the 5K, we are now training at just about the distance we'll complete on July 12th (5K = 3.1 miles). And over the coming weeks we'll go just a bit beyond the 5K distance and spend a little time doing some short intervals (increasing pace for very short periods, like 30 - 60 seconds) to enhance our cardiovascular base. Eventually, the Saturday runs will become our "long runs" and the Tuesday/Thursday runs will be for a shorter time period.

Below is our schedule for the week...along with some important information about cross-training to minimize injury and maximize your performance.

Tuesday - Run 30 min
Thursday - Run 30 min
Saturday - 3.00 miles
Sunday - Rest

Cross Training Benefits!

Recently I experienced an injury at the tail end of one of our training runs. Personally it was embarrassing for me to gimp along the last 100 yards of the run. I'd like to think that I'm in decent condition and could handle the little bit of training we'd done at that point. What I realized, though, is all of my training in the previous 2 years has been low-impact (cycling, TaeKwonDo on a soft floor & elliptical) and I was just a bit too aggressive by adding some solo distance runs leading up to the injury.

The point of my story is share the importance of backing off your running and instead adding another form of cardiovascular exercise if you begin to feel more than mild aches and pains. Don't push through joint or connective tissue pain - it could result in a substantial injury that may possibly require significant down time.

In a nutshell, here are some of the benefits of cross training:
  • Overall strength and fitness improvement. Cross-training can help you reach a higher level of overall fitness than just running. Many runners suffer in the latter stages of a race because they lack upper body strength. So many runners focus just on their legs and running muscles that they often neglect arms, shoulders, neck, back, and core. No one sport can work all the muscles equally, but by adding other activities to you're your training, you can optimize your whole-body conditioning. We talked about the importance of strength training in a previous email (
  • Increased aerobic conditioning. Cross-training can maintain and/or improve your overall cardiovascular endurance. Cross-training activities develop and strengthen muscles that running doesn't exercise. You may have to work relatively hard to get the same aerobic workout that running provides, but doing intervals (combining hard/easy alternating intensity levels) will definitely provide the needed intensity level.
  • Injury prevention and recovery. Many runners have used cross-training when they have been injured because they are forced to do so if they want to continue exercising (including yours truly this past week!). However, if you cross-train when you are not injured, it could prevent future injury. Cross-training allows you to rest one set of muscles while working the other, and low-impact training gives the joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments to a needed rest from the stress of running.
  • Balance and variety. Any athlete who is one-dimensional is at a disadvantage among those who practice more than one activity. As you strengthen non-running muscles, a more balanced overall level of fitness results. And although you may love running, variety helps prevent boredom and increases your appreciation for running. Cross-training keeps you fresh mentally and physically and teaches you about your strengths and weaknesses. It helps increase your confidence and helps you improve as a runner.

Cross-training is especially beneficial as we age as we need more recovery time after longer, harder training session. Cross-training allows us to engage in active recovery - still exercising, but not stressing the same muscles day after day.

Most importantly, utilize cross-training when you feel your body needs a break from the pounding...

See many of you at Crossroads Church in Oakley tomorrow at 6:30am!!

Your friend in fitness,


HealthStyle Fitness, Inc. 4325 Red Bank Rd Cincinnati, OH 45227 513-407-4665, x-105

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Running Group Week Four...

Wow, it's hard to believe we're into our fourth week of running!!

We are now 5 weeks away from our first major milestone of completing a 5K, or approximately 3.1 miles, (on July 12, click here for a Flyer). Our training this week is getting us very close to the 5K distance...

Below is our schedule for the week...along with an aricle on proper footwear to maxmize your performance while minimizing your injury risk.

Tuesday - Run 28 min
Thursday - Run 28 min
Saturday - 2.75 miles
Sunday - Rest

Proper Footwear to Minimize Injury and Maximize Performance

Often overlooked by runners in training is the importance of proper running apparel/footwear. Think of the human body as a complex, physiological machine that if properly equipped, can accomplish some amazing things. And the "machine's" primary contact with another object when running occurs with the foot hitting the ground. The action and reaction of running occurs at this point of contact, with the ground putting a stress on the foot at every stride and vice versa. (Remember, that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.)
Think of your automobile sitting in your garage or driveway. If it's winter, you might think about putting on a set of snow tires to get better traction in the inclement weather. You would not use the same set of snow tires during the summertime when asphalt temperatures often soar in excess of 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

So, since we're mostly running on evenly paved surfaces, you are going to want to find a shoe that provides both comfort and shock absorption. When in doubt, go with the most cushioning as this softens the blow to your body on each stride and reduces your chances for injury.
It's also important to remember the fact that with proper form, the ball of the foot will absorb the brunt of the body's impact with the ground, putting an intense amount of stress on the foot as essentially an area of a few square inches bears most of your body weight.

Injuries occur far too often when people push their limits when their bodies are not yet ready and deviate from good running form. Doing this usually places undue amounts of stress on different parts of the foot and lower body that simply cannot be handled by the joints, bones, ligaments, muscles and tendons. The lesson? When you're just starting out, don't be tempted by the person running faster than your standard easy pace. Take it slow, let your ego go, and after you have built up a solid base through our progressive training program, you will be able to push yourself to limits you never even knew you had.One last thing. The idea of striking the ground with the ball of your foot should not be taken 100% literally. However, it is a great concept to focus on during our runs as to avoid the pitfalls associated with flat-footed or toe running, and the closer you can be to striking with the ball of the foot the better off your running will be.

Your friend in fitness,

Brian Calkins

HealthStyle Fitness, Inc. 4325 Red Bank Rd Cincinnati, OH 45227 513-407-4665, x-105

Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Week 3 Routine...

Below is this week’s training schedule and as well as some critical information about the importance of strength training to enhance your running. For those of you starting (or continuing) boot camp tomorrow morning, all of your strength training needs will be sufficiently met through camp.

We are now 6 weeks away from our first major milestone of completing a 5K, or approximately 3.1 miles, (on July 12, click here for a Flyer). Between now and then your endurance and pace will significantly improve.

Here’s the week three schedule:

Tuesday - Run 25 min
Thursday - Run 25 min
Saturday - 2.50 miles
Sunday - Rest

The Critical Importance of Strength Training for Distance Runners

Strength Training is a foundational component of a comprehensive distance running training program. The inclusion of a properly designed strength training program is important because the benefits of strength training are not achieved through running or cross-training alone.

Injury Prevention:

  • Injury rates among runners are extremely high (at the high school level, cross-country runners experience more injuries than athletes in any other sport, including football and gymnastics).
  • One of the most effective means for minimizing tissue trauma associated with distance running is to develop stronger muscles, tendons, fascia, ligaments and bones. This is the primary reason that every runner should perform regular strength exercise.
  • Contributes to prevention of shin splits, stress fractures, lower back discomfort, knee problems and hip injuries common to distance runners.

Performance enhancement:

  • Allows athlete to adhere to marathon training schedule and thereby maximize performance.
  • Improved muscle strength/endurance.
  • Improved joint flexibility.
  • Increased force/power production.
  • Improved running economy - research indicates 4 percent less oxygen used at sub-maximum running speeds.
  • Increased basal metabolic rate contributing to improved fat loss & body composition.

Here’s some basic running facts, from a human movement point of view:

  • Running occurs one leg at a time.
  • Running is a game of GROUND reaction.
  • Running is made possible by the body’s structural and neuromuscular CROSS-WIRING of the shoulders and hips; we run shoulder to opposite hip.
  • Running speed = stride length x stride frequency.
  • Stride length is the dominant factor in running speed.
  • Stride length is a function of strength, power and flexibility.
  • Running efficiency is the great equalizer; less VO2 needed to run faster.
  • Collectively, stability and balance are the guiding system of the power needed for a longer stride length.
  • We run from our bellybuttons out (i.e. from the inside out) – not from the bottom up.
  • The core of the body is “command central” during all human movement, especially running. The CORE controls the rotational mechanics between the upper and lower extremities (running efficiency and stride frequency) and the force production of the lower body (stride length).

With that in mind, we must train the body in a way that enhances the basic movement patterns of running. These include:

  • Incorporate single leg training (e.g. the Bulgarian Split Squat or Super Skater movements we do at boot camp).
  • Train predominantly in a standing position.
  • Train in diagonal patterns – opposite hip to opposite shoulder – just like we run (Diagonal Power Chops).
  • Emphasize the transverse (i.e. rotational) plane of motion – it dominates running. (Bicycle Crunches, Russian Twists, Reach Arounds, and other resistance running exercises like the partner band run).
  • Focus on “pulling,” not “stomping” power for improved stride length (the Partner Manual-resistance Hamstring, Reverse Leg Raise, Glute Raise).
  • Focus on foot-plant balance and stability to minimize “power leaks” at foot plant (again, the Bulgarian Split Squat or Super Skater).
  • Focus on power and metabolic conditioning (Think Suicides & Partner Resistance Band Runs here!!)
  • Focus on initiating and controlling running from the core of the body downward.

What does this all mean? It means an increase in core strength and a longer, more efficient stride length! These exercises allow you to become a healthier runner, free from injury while improving your performance and provide single leg power, stability and balance.

Don't underestimate the importance of strengthening your muscles for significant running improvement. I look forward to seeing you on Tuesday @ 6:30am at Crossroads Church (you'll see Alica in Blue Ash or Kelli in Florence)!

Your friend in fitness, Brian