Tag Archives: running

Kara Goucher Joins the Nuun Team

Most people know Kara as a two-time Olympian and perhaps the most influential runner in the US. But at Nuun, we know her as much more than that.  Kara is a mom, a wife, an advocate of health, and she shares the same mission that we do here at Hydration Headquarters; to work hard to continue to be the best that you can be.

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Our partnership with Kara has been a long time coming, and we’re ecstatic to announce to the world that she’s now officially part of the Nuun family! As Kara continues to strive for athletic excellence, we’re looking forward to both keeping her hydrated and being her biggest cheerleaders along the way.

To welcome Kara to #teamnuun we’ll be doing an exclusive signing with her in the Nuun Booth (Booth #2019) this Sunday, April 20th at 11:00am-12:00pm at the Boston Marathon expo located in the John B. Hynes Convention Center.

Post Boston stay tuned for more opportunities to get to know our favorite runner, both online and in person!

Solo Challenge, Family Fun at Nike Women’s Half Marathon: Q & A with Cristina Goyanes

Cristina Goyanes will be part of the Nuun team at the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in Washington, D.C. on April 27. A freelance editor and writer for publications such as Women’s Health, Self, and Shape, New York City resident Goyanes will run her first half marathon that day; her parents, who’ll be celebrating their 40th anniversary that day, will be there to cheer her on. Nuun is the official electrolyte sponsor of the Nike Women’s half marathon and marathon series.

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What’s your motivation to do this half marathon compared to the many other ones you could do?

I never dreamed of running a half. I’m a cyclist—riding my bike for long distances is my passion. Running is something I did as part of a triathlon back when I was into multisport racing between 2005 to 2009. I haven’t done a competitive run since then, nor have I raced farther than 10K in my life.

What made me change my mind about running this year is that I took off all winter from all sports, with the exception of a Bikram yoga class here and there. After being holed up in my tiny apartment throughout the seemingly endless polar vortex, I felt desperate to get back in shape. So when the opportunity came up to do the Nike Women’s Half, I saw it as a great excuse to get the fitness ball rolling, especially since the weather was still too cold and windy to go out for bike rides.

As for choosing this particular race, I know the environment will be welcoming and full of energy and fun. I know it won’t be intimidating, but quite the opposite, which is what I need to gently ease myself  into the world of endurance running. Also, I’m really excited to receive my Tiffany’s necklace from a handsome man at the finish line.

Given that women now make up more than 60% of half marathon fields, what’s your take on the role of women-only races in 2014?

I love them! My first triathlon, in 2005, was the women-only Danskin sprint at Sandy Hook in New Jersey. My first multiday cycling trip, in October 2012, was the mostly-women Tour de Pink, a three-day, 200-mile ride for breast cancer. I think whenever women are venturing into something new and scary, it’s really wonderful to have this strong, supportive community to help guide you through it.

That’s not to say men aren’t supportive, but female energy is so different. It’s welcoming, compassionate, encouraging, empowering and more. I can’t tell you how many times I heard “You go, girl!” or “Looking good, looking good!” from strangers and fellow participants on each course. When you add men to the mix, it changes things—makes it more competitive and about the individual more than the group. If more women-only races mean that more women will sign up to challenge themselves physically and mentally, then I think it’s brilliant.

What has been most enjoyable in your ramp-up from no running to being ready to run a half? What’s been most challenging?

I’m surprised how much I look forward to my runs. I don’t really enjoy them in the moment, because they are hard, but the before- and after-run feelings are pretty addictive. I actually think I’ll miss running three times a week after the half. I might have to sign up for another half just to give myself the excuse to keep going.

The hardest part has been getting my body to settle into the movement. Endurance isn’t my issue as much as the actual motion of running and how uncomfortable it feels. My lungs and heart have always been able to go the distance. It’s everything else, like my feet, hips and knees, that have made it harder. I wouldn’t say that I’m running in pain, but definitely discomfort.

Why will this be the first race in a decade your family will be at? Anything special planned to mark the occasion?

To my parents and friends, my adventures are ongoing and nothing special. So when I say to them, I’m biking from San Francisco to Los Angeles, as I did last June, my parents’ general attitude is, “OK, just be careful.” They are so desensitized to my crazy antics because there have been so many.

This time, I think it’s different because the race falls on their 40th wedding anniversary. When I realized the dates coincided, I told them that I would drop out of the race to be able to spend the day with them. But then they surprised me by offering to come down (they live in Queens, New York) with me and celebrate after my run. I was so touched. It made me want to work harder to really make it worthwhile for me. The pressure is on!

Of the four types of Nuun tablets now available, what’s your favorite, and why?

I couldn’t tell you which flavor I like best—they are all so good. I prefer the non-caffeinated ones.

The Thrill of Repeat Racing: Q & A with Sheila Monaghan

Nuun is fielding a team of fitness editors for the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in Washington, D.C. on April 27. One of our team members, Sheila Monaghan, will tackle the half six days after running the Boston Marathon. Monaghan is executive editor of Equinox’s Q blog and an accomplished runner, duathlete and triathlete based in New York City.

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What’s your motivation to do the Nike half six days after running Boston? What do you hope to run at both?

I ran the Nike Women’s Half in San Francisco back in 2009 and loved the experience—it was my first major women-only race, and I’ve wanted to do another ever since. Plus, I love D.C.; I lived there for some time after I graduated college, so I’m so excited to experience the feeling of racing in that city. The half marathon is my favorite distance, too. It’s long enough to require endurance but you can also run hard, so I find it really gratifying.

Boston is extremely special to me this year. I was at the race last year but, thankfully, had left the finish line area about three minutes before the bombs exploded. It’s been on my mind and in my heart ever since.

I knew I was going to come back to Boston no matter what, but in the weeks that followed last year’s race, I decided I wanted to try to break my PR of 3:11:38, so I’ve been training hard in the hopes of making that happen. If not, of course, there will be other races. But I’d love to come to the Nike Half with a new PR in hand, and run as well or better than my March NYC Half time of 1:26:00, if possible. It’s a tall order, but I’m going to go for it! That’s the fun and joy of racing, to me: Setting a goal and challenging myself.

Have you done such quick turnarounds before? 

I have. My first back-to-back was Boston to Big Sur, six days apart, in 2011. I was terrified at the prospect, especially with the challenging hills in Big Sur. But it was magical – the scenery was so beautiful and I felt great. Later that same year I did the NYC and Philly marathons two weeks apart, and I set my PR at Philly, so I am a fan of the back-to-back. One training calendar, two chances to race! Last year, I competed in the duathlon world championships two weeks after I completed my first Ironman, so I’ve experienced the multisport two-fer as well.

Will you do things differently in the immediate aftermath of Boston than if you weren’t running the half the following Sunday?

There will be considerably less pizza and beer than there would have been without a race the following week. I will be focusing on maximizing my recovery those days immediately after Boston with ice baths, foam rolling, hydration and sleep. And then I’ll introduce some light running later in the week just to keep the legs fresh and ready to turn around in D.C.

Is it difficult for you to be so running-centric for a little while given your experience as a multisport athlete?

I feel little pangs watching cyclists in the park or seeing my triathlete friends post about their swim workouts, for sure. But I made a conscious decision to focus this first half of the year on improving my running times, and I knew that to do that, I’d have to turn off my multisport brain for a bit. I made a similar agreement with myself last year while training for my Ironman, that was my big goal and the other races couldn’t become priorities.

This year, I chose multisport races that take place in the late summer and early fall so I’d have time to catch up with my swimming and cycling after Boston and D.C. I’ve had people tell me that to hit my ceiling as either a runner or a multisport athlete I’d have to eventually choose one path, but I enjoy them each too much to do that right now!

Given that women now make up more than 60% of half marathon finishers, what’s your take on the role of women-only races in 2014?

I think women-only races are awesome, and I expect there will be even more of them in the coming years. They have such a great energy and vibe. Nothing against the guys! But I think these races give women runners a much-deserved platform, a place to both compete and to shine.

What’s your favorite Nuun product, and why?

I am bona fide obsessed with Cherry Limeade Active! It is my jam, and it got me through my Ironman training last year. The tabs are great for cyclists because you can pack them in your bike bag and refill your bottles when you’re out on the road (or at the 56-mile mark of an Ironman) instead of lugging around three or four water bottles.

Cherry Limeade has been my go-to for long runs this training cycle as well. I don’t do well with a lot of fluids or gels while I’m running—I have a sensitive stomach—and Nuun gives me the energy I need without making me feel like I’m drinking a heavy, syrupy sports drink. I repeat: I’m obsessed.

Spring Training: How to Get Ready to Get More Active

The longer daylight hours and warmer temps of spring mean you want to get outside and play. Trust us, we know the feeling. But we also know the feeling of having done too much too soon after being less active during the winter.

“It’s important to have a good foundation of the necessary flexibility, mobility, strength, and stability prior to beginning or increasing any level of activity,” says Daniel Frey, a physical therapist and avid trail runner in Portland, Maine. “Proper pre-training conditioning will minimize your risk of injury and decrease intial soreness.”

As Frey point out, when your body isn’t ready for a big increase in activity, that initial soreness can turn into an injury that might sideline you for weeks or months. He and physiotherapist Phil Wharton, who has worked on Olympic and recreational athletes in a wide range of sports, agree that too-rapid increases in activity most often lead to tendinitis. That injury, in turn, can then cause more serious, compensatory injuries such as runner’s knee, ligament damage and stress fractures.

Here are some simple exercises Frey and Wharton recommend to be better prepared for four activities Nuun athletes love: running, cycling, golf and hiking.

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RUNNING

One Leg Squat
Why: For quad and glute strength as well as control of the lower extremity in single-limb stance, which is essential for minimizing excessive pressure on the feet, knees, hips, and back.

How: Stand with one foot on the edge of a stair, with the foot parallel to the long end of the stair. Stabilize yourself by engaging your core muscles. Keeping the other leg straight, lower the heel of that foot toward the ground, then come back up. Go down only as far as you can while keeping your pelvis level. Do two sets of 10 on each leg.

Mini Squat Forward Band Walks
Why: Build hip and core stability. These areas are notoriously weak in runners due to the repetitive forward motion involved while running, as well as lots of sitting during non-running hours.

How: Place a TheraBand around your ankles. Go into a slight squat; imagine a baseball player getting into position to field. While keeping your feet pointing straight ahead and shoulder-width apart, walk from one end of a room to the other with short steps. Turn around and walk back. As the exercise becomes easier, do it holding a small weight in front of you with both hands.

Hamstring Stretch
Why: Tight hamstrings are also common in runners. Lack of hamstring flexibility prevents you from full extension of your stride and overworks other muscles.

How: Lie on your back with one knee bent and that foot on the floor. Keep the other leg straight, and wrap a rope or towel around the ball of that foot. Contract the thigh muscles of your straight leg to raise that foot toward the ceiling. Use the rope or towel only to gently guide the motion. Exhale as you raise the leg, and hold the stretch at the top for only a couple seconds. Return the leg to the floor and do ten stretches for each leg.

CYCLING

Bike Fit
Why: This isn’t an exercise, but it’s one of the most important things a cyclist can do to stay healthy. “Having a cycle assessment and fitting by a qualified individual is essential to making sure that a poor-fitting bike doesn’t force you into poor alignment, which can lead to a myriad of injuries,” says Frey.

How: Go to a good bike shop!

One Leg Bridge
Why: Increase glute strength and core stability to improve pelvic control and balance while cycling. It also helps with hip flexor mobility, an area commonly restricted from lots of time in the saddle.

How: Lie on your back with your hands by your sides, your knees bent, and your feet on the floor. While contracting your abs and butt, raise your hips to create a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Extend one leg while keeping your hips raised and level. Return to the start position. Do 10 repeats on each leg.

Neck Strengthening
Why: Because of the forward position in cycling, the neck muscles can become weak, strained and misaligned.

How: Lie face down on your bed with your arms straight at your side and your head unsupported by the mattress. Moving slowly and with care, tuck your chin toward your chest, then raise your head to look slightly up. Repeat 10 times.

GOLF

Stork Turns
Why: Increase trunk control and balance, helping to improve mobility necessary for golf swing.

How: Stand with both hands on top of a golf club in front of you. Lift one leg and hook your foot behind your other knee. While keeping your shoulders still, rotate the knee of your lifted leg across the supported leg. Do 10 repeats on each leg.

Pectoral Stretch
Why: Increase range of motion during your backswing to lessen the strain on your spine.

How: Stand with your arms straight in front of you, palms together, hands at waist level. Use your shoulder muscles to slowly bring your arms apart as far as they’ll comfortably go. Repeat the stretch five times, each time starting with your hands a little higher, so that on the fifth stretch your hands are parallel with your shoulders. Do two sets of five.

Clams
Why: Increase glute stability to decrease the chances of sliding or swaying during a swing.

How: Lie on your side with your legs together at a 90-degree angle and your arms together straight in front of you. Slide the top knee just a little bit over the bottom knee; this will keep you from using your back to perform the exercise. Use you’re the hip and butt muscles of the top leg to raise that knee toward the ceiling. Do 15 repeats on each leg.

HIKING

Calf Stretch
Why: Increase flexibility to minimize risk of plantar fascia and Achilles tendon-related overuse injuries.

How: Sit with both legs straight in front of you. Wrap a towel or rope around the ball of one foot. Use your shin muscles to bring the toes of that foot toward you. Use the rope or towel only to extend the stretch at the end of the movement. Hold the end of the stretch for 1 or 2 seconds. Repeat 10 times on each foot.

Single Leg Balance
Why: Improve proprioception to minimize the risk of ankle sprains or falls while on unstable surfaces.

How: From a standing position, raise one leg so that the thigh is parallel to the ground. Hold for 30 seconds. Do twice on each leg. When this becomes too easy, do the exercise with your eyes closed.

Step-Ups
Why: Improve leg strength and control necessary for hiking up and down hills.

How: Place one foot on a bench or chair. Use the hip and knee of that leg to bring your other foot on the raised surface. Lower your second foot by extending the hip and knee of the leg that’s still on the raised surface. Lower your other foot to return to the starting position. Repeat the sequence starting with your other leg. Do for 1 minute.