Quick Tips for Staying Hydrated

Memorial Day weekend has come and gone and just like that, summer has hit us. Yesterday I was visiting family down by the shore and decided to go out for a long run. My plan was to run 45 minutes to a Wawa down the road, grab some water, then run 45 minutes back. Unfortunately, I must have taken the wrong road because 45 minutes came and went and there was no Wawa in sight. I was so thirsty and it was so hot!! I turned around and finished out my 90 minute run without any water. I know it was a stupid thing to do and I won't ever do it again! So, with that in mind, I thought now would be a good time to post some guidelines for proper hydration.

Remember, when it comes to drinking, listen to your body. It's up to you whether you drink water or a sports drink, but I would suggest consuming something with electrolytes (sports drink or a gel followed by water) if you'll be running (or doing any exercise for that matter) in the heat.

Before Workout
Drink 8-16 ounces of fluids 1-2 hours before.
Or, if you don't have time, drink 4-8 ounces 15-30 minutes before.

During Workout
Drink small amounts at regular intervals. This will help you absorb the fluid better and won't leave your stomach feeling full. Colder is better. Try filling a bottle halfway & freezing it, then top it off before you head out.

-For 1 hour or less, drink 3-6 oz. every 15-20 minutes. Remember to listen to your body, if you're really not thirsty, don't over do it.

-For 1-4 hours, drink 3-6 oz. of a sports drink or take a gel followed by water every 15-20 minutes.

-For over 4 hours, drink 3-6 oz. every 15 minutes, but ultimately, use your thirst as a guide.

This really varies on the type and conditions of the run or workout, but as a general rule, drink 8-24 ounces of fluids post-workout. You should drink enough so that you need to use the bathroom within 60-90 minutes post-workout.

Written by Genie Bianchi

Dehydration mixed with the heat can be really dangerous. These guidelines can help you stay properly hydrated and ensure peak performance throughout the summer.

12 Week Beginner's Running Schedule

Be sure to get a doctor's clearance before starting any running program.

Base Building Phase: (Suggested for those who are completely sedentary.)
-Walk 30 minutes a day, four days per week for 3 weeks, then begin 12 week program.

All distances are in minutes (ex. walk 10, run 1 = walk 10 minutes, run 1 minute, repeat 2 times)


Week       Mon.        Tues.               Wed.       Thurs.          Fri.           Sat.      Sun.

1.)            Walk 30     Walk 10,            R           Walk 10,      Walk 30      R        Walk 10,
                                   Run 1, x2                         Run 1, x2                                   Run 1, x2
2.)            Walk 30     Walk 8,              R           Walk 8,         Walk 30     R        Walk 8,
                                   Run 2, x3                         Run 2, x 3                                  Run 2, x3

3.)            Walk 30     Walk 8,              R           Walk 8,         Walk 30     R        Walk 8,
                                   Run 3, x2                         Run 3, x2                                   Run 3, x2

4.)            Walk 30     Walk 7,              R           Walk 7,         Walk 30     R        Walk 7,
                                   Run 3, x3                         Run 3, x3                                   Run 3, x3

5.)            Walk 30     Walk 6,              R           Walk 6,          Walk 30    R        Walk 6,
                                   Run 3, x3                         Run 3, x3                                   Run 3, x3

6.)            Walk 30     Walk 5,              R           Walk 5,          Walk 30    R        Walk 5,
                                   Run 1, x5                         Run 1, x5                                   Run 1, x5

7.)            Walk 30     Walk 4,              R           Walk 4,          Walk 30    R        Walk 4,
                                   Run 2, x5                         Run 2, x5                                   Run 2, x5

8.)            Walk 30     Walk 3,              R           Walk 3,          Walk 30    R        Walk 3,
                                   Run 3, x5                         Run 3, x5                                   Run 3, x5

9.)            Walk 30     Walk 2,              R           Walk 2,          Walk 30    R        Walk 2,
                                   Run 4, x5                         Run 4, x5                                   Run 4, x5

10.)          Walk 30     Walk 1,              R           Walk 1,          Walk 30    R        Walk 1,
                                   Run 5, x5                         Run 5, x5                                   Run 5, x5

11.)          Walk 30     Walk 5,              R           Walk 5,           Walk 30   R        Walk 5,
                                   Run 25,                            Run 25,                                      Run 25,
                                  Walk 5                             Walk 5                                       Walk 5

12.)          Walk 30     Run 30               R           Run 30             Walk 30   R         Run 30

Written by Genie Bianchi

Highlights from Radio Interview

Today I was a guest on "No Pain, No Gain, With Zayne", a health and fitness talk show on
WNJC 1360 AM. We talked all things running. Below are some highlights of the questions Zayne asked me.

How do you determine what type of running shoe to buy?
-Wet your feet and stand on a paper bag. After a minute, step off and look at the foot prints. Trace the foot print with a pencil if you want to look at it later.

You have a normal arch (neutral pronation) if: There's a distinct curve along the inside of your foot with a band a little less than half the width of your foot connecting the heel and toe. (Choose Stability Running Shoes)

You have a low arch (flat feet/overpronator) if: There's not much of a curve along the inside of your foot and your imprint shows almost the entire foot. People with low arches are more likely to overpronate (roll too far inward), which can lead to overuse injuries. (Choose Motion-Control Running Shoes)

You have a high arch (underpronator) if: There's a very sharp curve along the inside of your foot and your imprint shows a very thin band between your heel and toe. People with high arches typically don't pronate enough. (Choose Cushioned Running Shoes)

How do you feel about strength training in the days after a race?
-Strength training enhances recovery time after the race because it increases blood flow to the sore muscles. This can include weight training, push-ups, squats, and lunges.

Is it true some runners feel hungrier the day after a long run, rather than the day of the long run?
Yes. It is common for many runners, or any athlete for that matter to experience this. After a long, hard work out, the body releases beta-endorphins, which are natural forms of morphine. These endorphins act as an appetite suppressant. It is important to make sure you eat properly after a workout to refuel even though you may not feel hungry. Otherwise, the next day you will be famished and may end up binging on foods you’ll regret later.

Do you have some easy tips for runners who want to shed a few pounds?
-Sure…Replace soda, juices & coffee with water. This is an easy way to save on calories.

-Run a hard speed workout at least once a week. Do intervals at a sprint pace. This will rev up the metabolism and engage fast-twitch muscle fibers.

-Run before breakfast. This will raise your metabolic rate and you will burn more calories throughout the day. It will also make you eat less for breakfast & throughout the day since exercise helps to suppress the appetite.

-Eat at home. When you eat out all the time, you’re more likely to eat food that isn’t good for you.

What strength training exercises do you recommend specifically for runners?
-There are four moves I believe are most beneficial for runners.

-First, a high bench step. This strongly develops the hamstrings, with complimentary development of the glutes and quadriceps. Stand on a bench that’s about knee height. Place your body weight on the left foot, the right foot should be behind the bench. Slowly lower the body, in a controlled motion until the toes of the right foot touch the ground, then slowly straighten that left leg to the starting position. Do 8-12 reps on each leg. To make it more advanced, you can hold dumbbells in your hands with the arms straight at the side of the body.

-Second, a one leg squat. This strongly develops the quads and glutes with a complimentary boost to the hamstrings. Stand with the left leg forward and the right foot back, preferably resting on a 6” block. You can use the bottom step in your house. The feet should be hip width apart. Bend the left leg and lower the body until the left knee is at a 90 degree angle and the right shin is parallel to the floor. Maintain upright posture and make sure the ankle stays in line with the ankle. Do 8-12 reps on each leg.

-The third one is a one leg hop in place. This builds strength & coordination in the entire lower extremity, including the foot, ankle, shin, calf, thigh & hip. Hop quickly in place on the left foot for 30 seconds then repeat on the other foot.

-The last one is push-ups. Doing these will keep the core strong. A strong core helps you keep proper form when you’re fatigued during a run.

Do 2-3 sets of these exercises. They will take little of your time & will improve both your coordination & leg muscle power.

What are some ways to keep from getting bored with running?
-Try switching up your route. Running the same thing every day gets boring. Try something new. Throw in a new road or some trails.

-Run with a friend or group of friends or a running club.

-Do some hills or throw in some speed intervals.

Can you tell us some benefits of running?

-    Improved cardiovascular health…lower blood pressure, lower risk of heart attack & stroke.

-      It improves coordination

-     Reduces risks of disease. Running raises HDL (or “good”) cholesterol, reduces the risk of blood clots, and encourages use of the 50 percent of your lungs that usually go unused. Running also boosts the immune system by creating a higher concentration of white blood cells that attack disease.

 - Works great to manage weight.  Running is one of the top activities for burning fat.

-   Lowers stress levels. This is due to endorphins being released in the body during running. This is the so called “Runner’s High”

Post-Race Recovery Tips

Today, I'm recovering from running the Broad Street Run. My muscles are sore and while recovery is on my mind, it's only fitting that I share some tips for post-run.

-The first thing to do after crossing the finish line is to keep walking. Grab your medal, banana, water, etc. and continue to walk around for at least five minutes. It's important to bring the heart rate back to normal.

- Drink 8-16 ounces of a sports drink to replenish lost electrolytes.

- Stretch, focusing on hamstrings, quads, and hip flexors. Try a squat stretch. Stand with feet hip-width apart, toes pointed out slightly. Squat down with butt almost touching the ground, but make sure knees are in line with the ankles. You can place the hands on the ground for more balance. This stretch feels great and works the hip flexors, calves, and lower back.

-Eat a combination of protein and carbs within 30 minutes post-run. Protein aids in muscle recovery and carbohydrates are crucial for restocking glycogen stores. Try peanut butter on a bagel. If your stomach isn't up for eating yet, try my personal favorite; chocolate milk. It is the perfect combination of protein and carbs to restore muscles and it tastes good too!

-Rest and relax the remainder of the day. If taking a nap isn't possible then rest with the feet up for 15-30 minutes. This will promote circulation. Drink plenty of water throughout the day and eat a balanced meal of carbs and protein.

-Before bed, soak in a cold or cool bath for 10 minutes to aid in muscle recovery and prevent soreness the next day.

-Give your legs a massage. Use a foam roller if you have one. This will help flush out the lactic acid in the muscles. I like to use an Epsom lotion (I found it at my local drugstore). It is supposed to be the same as taking an epsom salt bath, only without the bath. I think it works pretty well.

-Take one day of recovery for every mile raced. This doesn't mean complete rest. It means taking it easier and doing more cross-training.

Recovery is vital for runners. Hopefully these tips will help you make the most of your post-run rest.

Written by Genie Bianchi

Broad Street Run, Philadelphia, PA - May 1, 2011

30,000 Runners!

This was my first time running the Broad Street Run. It is the largest 10 miler in the country, with 30,000 runners. It was such a blast and Broad St. was lined with awesome spectators and bands all along the course. I love running in Philly and I would recommend this race to anybody. Actually, I would recommend any Philadelphia race. I just think it's a great city to run in.

The line for the bathroom!

Perfect race day.