Monthly Archives: December 2012

Running the CFB Esquimalt Navy 10K 2012

About a week after I completed my TC 10K, I decided that I was going to sign up for the CFB Esquimalt Navy 10K. Since the TC 10K was on April 29th and the CFB Esquimalt 10K was on June 3rd 2012, I knew that there was enough time between the two races for me to both recover and to train harder.

Compared to the CFB Esquimalt 10K, the TC10K had far less hills. When I signed up for the Navy 10K, I had no idea that we were going to have to do that steep hill twice. At the time, the hill seemed brutal.

Even though I knew that it was a much tougher course than the TC 10K, I still set myself a time goal. After all, the Navy 10K would be filled with military men who are in fantastic shape and I admit I was a little bit afraid of embarrassing myself. When I got to the race, I realized that people of all levels were participating, which was great.

I started out near the front of the line because despite knowing that it was a tougher course than the TC10K, I wanted a sub-44 min finish.

However, I took into account what I learned by doing the TC10K, which is not to start out too fast. Knowing that there would be hills in the beginning, the middle and near the end of the race, I started out at a pace that would get me a 44 minute finish if I kept it up.

By the 5th kilometer going at my desired pace, I decided to speed up because I saw a guy just a few meters in front of me. He was going at a really good pace (faster than mine) and I knew that if I caught up to him, chances are in favour of a sub-44 min finish.

I also knew that if I knocked off 3-4 seconds per km for every subsequent kilometer after the 5k mark, then I would probably get a time closer to my TC10K time and possibly even beat it. That thought excited me. At that point, I stopped caring about how tired my legs were and caught up to the guy just in front of me. Then, I passed him. He sped up and passed me. However, I stayed right behind him for the remainder of the race.

He ended up finishing about 2 seconds faster than I did according to the race results.

I ended up being 39th/320 overall, 4/125 woman across the finish line, and 3rd in my age group (out of 30) with a gun time of 43:35. My pace was 4:22/km. I was pretty pleased with this time, but I’m definitely hoping that I can knock off a couple of minutes over the next year.

My race number 🙂
 
PS. If you’re in Victoria and are looking for a challenge, this race is great!
 
 


My Times Colonist 10K Story

In the beginning of 2012, I set a goal for myself to complete a few distance races throughout the year. I wanted to do a couple of 10K’s, a Half Marathon and a Full Marathon. I wasn’t sure how fast I would finish, since it wasn’t until 2012 that I was able to get back into running after my foot injury, which I will talk about in future posts as well as give tips on how to prevent it from happening.

My very first race of 2012 was the Times Colonist 10K, aka the TC10K. In 2012, the race had over 10,000 participants according to the results posted by Race Day Timing. I actually entered it to see if I can do it. Prior to my foot injury, a 10K would have been no problem at all. However, after the foot injury I had to ease into my training in a way that would leave me still able to complete the race even if that meant finishing a little slower than I would have liked.

When I signed up, I didn’t have a lot of expectations of myself in terms of how long it would take me to finish. I had only trained on the treadmill at that time and any time I ran 10K on the treadmill my times would be around 47-49 minutes. Not bad for someone coming out of an injury, but definitely far from finishing anywhere near the top.

So, I wrote down 46:30 as my goal time. I said to myself, “If I finish under 45 minutes, I will be ecstatic. If I finish slower than 50, I will be a little disappointed.” To make sure that I wasn’t disappointed, I did some speed work on the treadmill as well, which warrants a whole new post.

It was the day before race day when my former running club coach from nearly 5 years ago, who was also in the race said to me: “You will probably finish around the 50 minute mark since I haven’t seen you running for a long time.” He trained me back in high school and helped take me to first place victory in the NWASAA Zone Championships in both Track & Field and cross country running on several occasions.

Race day came and I stood excited and nervous in my 40-49 minute time group at the start line with thousands of other excited runners in front and behind me. As the gun went off, I must say that I went off a little too fast trying to chase the sub-40min 10K runners. That was my mistake that I won’t repeat again. Finished the first 3k of the race faster than I would normally do a 3k.

Above: My race number.

What ever happened to “try to run a negative split?” and “run the first half of the race slower than the second?” On race day, these things went out the window for me.

Although, the good news is, I still finished the race in 43:31 (chip time), gun time was 43:42. I was VERY happy with that time especially because I wanted to beat 46:30. Despite starting too fast, I still managed to achieve a time that’s almost 3 minutes faster than my goal. I was also 15th out of 585 for my age category and was 429th overall (out of just over 10,000 people).

Above: Image from the TC10K website

Overall, it was a great race! The weather was good and the temperature was just right. I got to see my former coach and some of the people that I used to run with. We had a great time!

If you’re thinking about your New Year’s Fitness Resolutions for 2013, then yes, this is a fantastic race that’s worth doing. There are many clinics and trainers available that can help you reach your goal and run your 10K. This race is great for all levels of runners!

Remember if you’re just starting your fitness journey…”the greatest victory is in reaching a goal that you set for yourself, rather than coming in first”.

5 Key Reasons You Are Not Seeing Progress at the Gym

Every year, tens of thousands of people in the USA and Canada buy gym memberships in the beginning of January and make a resolution to “get in shape”. However, after the first three weeks of January, their membership becomes inactive and they suffer relapses.

If you have ever suffered relapses and frustrations, then I think that you will find this article very helpful.

Once you know the reasons why something does not work, you will be able to stop doing the things that don’t work. After that, you can replace the things that don’t work with what actually works.

1. You have an unclear goal. If every January your goal is “to get in shape”, then you are setting yourself up for failure and frustration. The reason being is that such a goal is very vague. When a goal is vague, it’s very hard to measure your progress. How are you supposed to know if you are making progress when you are not clear about where you’re going?

For example, if your goal was to lose 12 lbs of body fat over the next 3 months then that would be a much more clear goal than “to get in shape”. This is because it’s SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timely). You can see your progress and a fat loss of 1 lb per week is realistic and attainable.

2. Your goal is too aggressive. If you say that you want to lose 10 lbs a week over the next month, then you’re either going to burn yourself out and suffer a relapse (regain all the weight you lost) or you are going to quit because you’re not seeing the result as fast as you want. Losing weight at that rate most likely requires drastic measures and a routine that you may not be able to maintain.

Setting a more realistic goal can help you decrease the chances of regaining the weight or quitting.

3. Your diet. Even if you’re diligently going to the gym 3-5 times a week and workout for a solid hour doing a combination of weights, cardio and flexibility, you will not see many changes in your physique if you continue to eat potato chips, fast food, fries, other deep fried foods, cakes and candy. If you’re trying to lose weight, you should have a negative calorie balance.

4. Wrong exercise program. If you’ve developed your own random exercise program without knowing what results each exercise produces and how to do it properly, then you are also setting yourself up for injuries and lack of progress.

For example, you may be doing too much or too little cardio or  may be lifting too heavy or too light for your level in addition to not doing enough or doing too many reps. Also, if your posture while you’re lifting is wrong, then you may end up with injuries without making any difference in muscles that you’re trying to develop.

5. You’re doing the same thing over and over again.  So, you’ve been diligently going to the gym for 3 months yet you are seeing virtually no changes to your physique or your weight. This is because after about 6 weeks, your body gets used to certain exercises and intensities. This means that every 6 weeks, you should change up your workout program in order to continue challenging your body.

Your body adapts to exercises, therefore you should gradually increase intensity (ie. add more weight for weights and add more speed for cardio), increase duration (more sets/reps for weight and longer cardio sessions), or change the order in which the exercises are performed as well as possibly replacing the beginner exercises with more advanced exercises (if you’re unfamiliar with an advanced exercise, seek help from a trainer, who knows the exercise, to avoid injury).

I wish you success in all your fitness and life goals.

Thank you for reading.

Yana 🙂

How to Choose Your Gym

If you are finding that working out at home is making you bored and you have tried all the different ways to get fit without a gym membership, then you should give a gym membership a try. Some people actually find that they do, in fact, get motivated to work out more if they belong to a gym.

Many gyms offer cheaper promotional packages and free trials that you can take advantage of. However, you have to be careful about free trials and promotional offers, so make sure that there are no contingencies associated with the offer (ie. get a free month if you sign up for 3 years).

Usually, when gyms give people free trials, they are looking to acquire new customers, especially since such offers do not significantly increase the gym’s operational costs. The reason being is that if the gym’s daily fixed operational costs are $2000, then they won’t change regardless if there are 200 people working out or only 20 people (provided that there is enough space to accommodate 200 people). However, letting some people use the facility for free increases the likelihood that they will join, which follows the “try before you buy” principle.

I encourage you to take advantage of the free trials that gyms offer. This is because what you experience as a free member in terms of service is very likely to be what you will experience if you sign up and pay.

So, if you are on a free trial at a gym, there are a few things to consider before you decide if you want to join. I’ll tell you what they are because I want you to get the most out of your gym membership and I want to help you get value for your money.

1. Is the facility clean? If the gym is dirty, then that means management and staff don’t care about the experience of the members. It’s not that hard to wipe down some equipment, vacuum the carpeted areas, clean the mirrors, wash the floors, put away weights and change the garbage. This type of maintenance should be done daily and it’s not worth for you to join a gym where it’s not being done. A clean facility is pleasant to workout in.

2. Are the front desk salespeople too aggressive? There’s nothing worse than walking into a gym and feeling like you’ve just walked onto a used car lot. Yes, I understand that salespeople need to make money, but knowingly selling customers things that they don’t need (which they will later regret buying) is not the way to go. If the salespeople appear to only care about their commissions and not you, then I recommend that you go to a different place. If they appear like they don’t care about the customers, then chances are they probably don’t. Every question that the staff members ask you should not be directed towards selling you additional bells and whistles for your membership. Don’t be sold, because as a customer you have the option to say “no” to add-ons. You shouldn’t feel guilty for not buying everything that’s put in front of you. Stay within your budget and really ask yourself, “do I need this extra feature, or can I just get away with a basic fitness membership?”

3. How many machines have a sign that says “out of order”? If the gym that you’re trying out has one or two machines that are “out of order” then that’s probably OK. However, if you see a whole bunch of “out of order” signs then that can mean that the equipment will take forever to fix. Do you want to workout in a place where a lot of equipment is “out of order” and doesn’t appear to be fixed? Also, what is the general condition of the equipment?

4. What are the hours like? Do the hours and class schedules match yours? Some people like gyms that are open 24 hours a day, while others are OK with gyms that close around 10pm or 11pm. If the gym’s schedule doesn’t match yours, then it’s unlikely that you will use the facility even if you sign up as a member.

5. Is it in a convenient location for you? If you have to drive across town through a bunch of heavy traffic to get to your gym, it’s unlikely that you will want to experience this hassle. If it’s too far away from your home or work, such an inconvenience gives you an excuse to skip the gym. Why get a membership at a facility that you won’t use?

6. What other services are offered? For example, if you like to tan, get massages, shop for fitness clothing, etc. then it’s preferable that you sign up at a gym that offers all that, or at least the majority of the service that you want.

7. How busy is the facility? This can be both good and bad. Obviously, if it’s very busy, then that means people like using the facility. However, the downside to belonging to a busy gym is that you might have to wait before you can use some of the equipment. For example, I love elliptical trainers and AMTs, but if I come to a gym and they are all taken, I am not a happy camper. I do not enjoy waiting for a piece of equipment when I want to use it and I’m sure you don’t either. There has to be a balance.

8. Are there limits on how long you can use the machines? Some gyms make you reserve your cardio equipment and have a half hour usage limit. Unless the gym membership costs around $20, I don’t see a point in paying for a membership at a gym that places limits on how long your cardio session can be. It’s not convenient and sometimes a half-hour cardio session just doesn’t cut it.

9. Are the front desk staff service-oriented? There is a difference between being service-oriented and sales-oriented (however, if they’re service-oriented, then they’re a pleasure to do business with). Just remember, YOU are the customer and YOU pay their wages each time you buy a membership, renew a membership or purchase add-ons. This means that you should expect to receive excellent service. The conversation with the staff members should be about you and not about what you should buy.

10. Is there some kind of a reward program for referrals and are there any freebies being given away? To gym owners: a great way to help keep customers happy is by rewarding them for using your gym. A great way to do that is to have a referral program where you pay your customers for referring people to your gym. After all, if it wasn’t for them, your business wouldn’t survive for very long. Also, have some contests where you give away free shorter term memberships or free supplements. It doesn’t cost a lot but it could make a big difference for the customers.

How do you choose your gym? What are some thing that you consider?

Welcome!

I aspire to inspire.

I’m on a mission to help you achieve your fitness goals and dreams.

My goal is to give YOU the truth about fitness and nutrition to the best of my knowledge and research. I will be sharing fitness tips, stories, interviews and reviewing relevant products/businesses.

I hope that as you read my blog you will realize that if I can do it, so can YOU. There is no reason why you shouldn’t have the body of your dreams and live the life that you imagined.

Now, I’m not going to tell you that achieving your optimal fitness level will be easy, because I know it won’t always be. What I’m telling you is that it will be worth it.

Dream big. Don’t ever let anything stop you from becoming what you want to be.

And remember:

“All our dreams can come true – if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney

“The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score.” – Bill Copeland

”Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” – Will Rogers

“The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra.” – Jimmy Johnson

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” – Abraham Lincoln

“He who has health, has hope; he who has hope, has everything..” Thomas Carlyle

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