Archives for August 2012

Painful Side Stitch When Running: Causes, Prevention, and Possible Cures

Oh!  My Aching Side.

Do you suffer from the ever-so-painful side sticth that grabs you at about mile two and hangs on until you’re done running? What causes it? What can you do to prevent it? One of my readers suffers from this rather common malady and asked me to help her find out why and figure out what she can do about it.

Memories of High School P.E. Class

I remember as a kid I would have to run the 100 yard dash once a year for the President’s Physical Fitness Challenge in P.E. class.  After running as hard as I could for 100 yards I would have this stabbing pain in my side.  I can clearly recall what the pain felt like and I’m thankful that I haven’t been struck with it since taking up running a few years ago. Since grade school P.E. class I’ve never suffered from ‘side stitch’, so the challenge of researching the causes and possible solutions has been interesting for me.

Below is a list of what my research has turned up as probable causes.  Also listed are possible solutions.  You might think that all of these ‘possibilities’ don’t sound like much help.  If you suffer from ‘side stitch’ you want to know how to get it to stop now never to return.  Unfortunately, it’s not that easy and even running coaches have different ideas as to how to prevent it or stop it when it strikes.

Flickr photo by Rennett Stowe

What Is Exercise-related Transient Abdominal Pain:

Exercise-related Transient Abdominal Pain is most common among runners and swimmers.  It typically occurs on the right side right and is well-localized below the rib cage.  Some people experience ETAP on the left side.  ETBP has not been found to be related to body mass index or gender.  It is far less common in older athletes.


Most of the research agrees that the side stitches are caused by a cramp or spasm in the diaphragm. There are a variety of reasons why these spasms occur.  Some of them are:

1.  Exhaling During Foot Strike – Exhaling at the same time the foot lands in a stride causes the liver to pull downward at exactly the same time the diaphragm is at its highest point in the torso.  This tugging and strain could result in a spasm.

2. Decreased Blood Flow – During exercise there is decreased blood flow to the diaphragm.  The lack of blood could trigger a spasm.

3.  Trapped Air In The Lungs – During exercise, air goes into the lungs more easily than it goes out.  The extra air may press on the diaphragm causing it to cramp.

4.  Diet – Some research shows that eating too close to running or swimming, or intolerance to wheat or daily products may cause a reaction.

5. Weak Core Muscles – Weak abdominal muscles allow the internal organs to move around more when running which can exacerbate the problem.

6.  Lack of Aerobic Conditioning – During cardio exercise when you get winded you have a tendency to take shorter, shallow breaths.  Shallow breathing doesn’t  allow the diaphragm to relax fully causing a chain reaction and painful stitch.

Prevention Techniques:

1.  Foot Strike – Most side stitches occur on the right side. Notice if you land on your right or left foot each time you exhale.  If you consistently landing on the right foot while releasing the breath, it can cause a strain on the ligaments between the liver and diaphragm and create friction between the two.  If you suffer from pain on the left side, try to put your right foot down as you exhale.

2.  Breathe Deeply – Try to avoid shallow breathing.  Breathe deeply and slowly so that the belly expands and contracts.  If you find it difficult to take deeper breathes, you may need to work on pace or add walk/run intervals and work up slowly to your desired speed.

3.  Grunt Exhale – Making a grunting sound while you exhale will help release excess air from the lungs.

4.  Diet – Avoid eating a large meal two to three hours before running or swimming.  An empty stomach makes you lighter and reduces the strain on the ligaments.  You also don’t run the risk of having the stomach busy digesting food, taking blood flow away from the other organs, while you’re exercising. Avoiding dairy products and fruit juices beforehand may also help.

5.  Incorporate Core Exercises – Building a strong carrier for your internal organs will diminish the jarring and friction on the liver and diaphragm.  Doing a 10 minute core workout two to three times a week will strengthen your abdominals and help improve your overall running speed.

6.  Add Speed Drills – While this may sound counter-intuitive to #2, it is a way to improve your overall cardiovascular conditioning which can impact the occurrence of side stitches. Once or twice a week go for a shorter workout and add three or four short speed drills.

Strong abdominals may help with ETAP

When The Stitch Strikes

When you’re out on a run and the side stitch strikes you may need to slow down or stop until it subsides.  A couple of methods to relieve the pain are:

1.  Deep Massage – Press your fingers deeply into the area that hurts and massage it firmly while breathing deeply.

2.  Poke and Blow – Push your fingers deeply into the aching side.  At the same time, purse your lips and exhale as hard as you can.

3.  Stretch – Raise your arms over your head and reach to the left.  Hold for 30 seconds.  Release, then stretch to the over side.

It’s Not One Size Fits All 

Keeping track of when the ETAP occurs may also help you determine what it is that’s causing your pain. Writing down what you ate before you ran, at what point in the workout the pain began, and what pace you were at the time may provide clues as to cause and prevention.

Since there are so many variables and conditions that may or may not be present in your situation, you may need to use the trial and error method to find out what your triggers are. Research certainly suggests it’s not the the same for everyone.

Finding what is sending your diaphragm into a tizzy might be tricky, but certainly would be worthwhile if it keeps you from doubling over during a race or run.

(*I am not a doctor. If you have persistent, unexplained abdominal pain, you should consult your physician for advice.) 

Do you suffer from ETAP?  Have you found a solution that works for you?

Easy Recipe For Fresh Collard Greens

Healthier Than Ever Collard Greens

I happened to catch a cooking segment on Rebecca Regnier’s Full Plate.  Rebecca’s  guest, Earleen Belcher – now known as Queen Cookie – dished up some delicious looking collard greens during the cooking segment of the show.

Watching Queen Cookie prepare the collard greens gave me the motivation I needed to try something new.  Not only are collard greens delicious, they are a powerhouse food that provides an abundance of antioxidants and loaded with are anti-inflammatories. I could easily add them to my ‘superfoods’ list.

What’s So Healthy About Collard Greens?

Collard greens belong to the cruciferous family. Cruciferous vegetables are known for their cancer prevention properties.  They have the basic anti-oxidants: vitamin C, beta-carotene, manganese, and vitamin E.  But, they also contain both phytonutrients and glucosinolates that help activate detoxification enzymes.

Glucosinolates have been found to block the initiation of tumors in a variety of rodent tissues, such as the liver and colon.  Laboratory studies on phytonutrients show that – because of their fiber, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory effects – they help reduce the risk of cancer.  The combination of the two provides some mighty good protection against free radicals that can cause cell damage and trigger disease.

Easy Fresh Collard Green Recipe

I modified Cookie’s recipe slightly.  Here’s what I did to make a delicious collard green dish:

Start with a pound of collard greens.  Break off the stems, wash them thoroughly, and place in a colander to drain.

Wash and drain a pound of fresh collard greens

Roll the greens and slice.

Roll and slice the collard greens.

Place in a large sauce pan.  Add two cans of fat free chicken broth, a chopped onion, a tablespoon of olive oil, a clove of garlic (minced), salt, pepper.  Cover and cook over medium heat for 30 – 40 minutes.

Cook covered for 30 – 40 minutes over medium heat.

Serve warm.  Cookie says you can’t have collard greens without cornbread which does make a nice combination.

Delicious, nutritious collard greens.

Collard Greens – A Powerhouse of Nutrition

Collard Greens contain high amounts of vitamin K, vitamin A, folate, and manganese and have the ability to lower cholesterol  by binding bile acids in the digestive tract. For a complete list of nutrients, and to learn more about their medicinal value, click here.

I almost hate to admit that this is the first time I’ve tried collard greens, but it won’t be the last. They were inexpensive to buy.  I bought a full pound for $.99. As you can see, they are easy to cook. Having a vitamin-loaded veggie to serve that isn’t broccoli or green beans was a treat.  I’m anxious to try them on the rest of the family!

iPad Wellness Apps, Fad Diets, Free Workout Music. It Doesn’t Get Better Than This.

It’s Friday . . . . .  I’m In [Link] Love

What a great week.  I have post-Olympic inspiration, phone and iPad apps you can’t live without and free fitness music.  It’s all here on Link Love Friday.

It’s Friday. I’m in Love!

Three Fitness Games For Social Butterflies Who Love Their Smartphones – I have both addictions this article plays to:  An addiction to fitness and to my Smartphone.  The Daily News picks the top three fitness apps that use social networking to motivate users.  You can see their picks here.

The Top Ten Health and Fitness Apps for the iPad – Several of these apps take a step outside of simply tracking calories and workouts  – not that that is simple.  They provide symptom checkers, average wait times for emergency rooms, and disease risk calculators.  There’s also a menu planner and fun app for children that shows them what they will have to do to burn off their favorite foods. Check out the apps you can’t live without here.

Five Crazy Diet Trends You Should Avoid – From the General Motors diet to going gluten free, this slideshow provides a pictorial – and some good advice – about diet trends you should avoid.  Following the likes of Mylie Cyrus and Lady Gaga can put you at risk for not getting the nutrients you need to function efficiently each day.  I know we all know that fad diets aren’t long term solutions to weight management, but this is a good reminder of what to avoid. Link to the slideshow from here.

IFBB Bikini Pro Amanda Latona Launches Her “Miracle Butt Workout” Only For $5 – I couldn’t pass this up. It is only $5 and it looks like it would be a good butt workout from the promo that Latona has on her site.  The Virtual article talks about the process that Latona when through to make this workout affordable to the public and includes a link where you can go to purchase if interested.  Check out the VS article here. I’m thinking about buying one.  If you beat me to it let me know what you think!

Free Workout Music Playlist from Shape Magazine – Shape posts a monthly playlist of fitness music that you can download for free. The August play list consists of Good Time, Want U Back, World-Hold On, All Over the World, and Whistle.  I downloaded and added it to my iPod.  Not bad!  The music is re-mixed by so you won’t hear the voices of the original artists, but I’m not hung up on that.  For years I’ve taught fitness classes using re-mixed music and find that working to a specific BPM (beats per minutes) help me stay motivated and moving consistently.  Check out the link to download the music here.

Chris Cardell’s Review of The Olympics 2012 – Over, but not forgotten, the 2012 Olympics in London were an inspiration to people around the world.  Chris Cardell’s review of the games captures the extraordinary spirit of the Olympics, and gives some take-aways we can apply to our own lives.  For example:

“I didn’t see any gold medal winners who got there by making a vague decision about how successful they’d like to be, putting in the same effort as the masses and not working weekends.  You get gold by getting up when everyone else is asleep and putting in the work others won’t. Then you do it again and again through rain, sleet and snow.  You get gold by failing and coming out of that failure with an iron resolve that nobody will shake.  You get gold by doing the gymnastic leap of your life, with a bandaged broken toe.”

Ah, yes!  Thank you, Chris.  I needed to read this today.  Do you need to be inspired? You can read the entire article here.

Please share my link love by clicking on one – or all – of the buttons below. It’s Friday, I’m in love!



Dancing With The Stars Meets “The Expendables 2” In This StarFit Workout

Learn Workout Tips From The Stars On StarFit

Kym Johnson of “Dancing with the Stars” fame hosts a new celebrity fitness tabloid-style show, StarFit, on the BeFit Channel.

Kym Johnson talks to Dolph Lundgren during StarFit













In this week’s episode Kym welcomes celebrity guest Dolph Lundgren.  Doph is famous for his action films that include The Expendables, The Expendables 2, Universal Soldier and Rocky IV. In this StarFit episode, Doph will demonstrate the workout he used to prepare for his role in The Expendables 2.

Be Fit’s new StarFit program contains five-minute segments that show you how the stars get in shape using a variety of the latest fitness trends.  The show will also take you behind the scenes with Hollywood’s hottest celebrities.  The StarFit episodes will include celebrity home visits, exclusive new gyms and spas, and a meet-the trainer segment where you will learn the secrets of how the celebs stay fit and toned.

Be Fit and is an ad-supported channel that produces free, original workouts with a new, original workout every week. Plus it offers a “Fit In 90” hard-core workout program that delivers a new playlist every day. By clicking the subscribe button you’ll get a notification of the new workouts as soon as they hit the site.

Want to work out like the stars?  Check in every Friday for new episodes at The Be Fit Channel.  At BeFit you’ll find workouts from Brian Tanaka, Sadie Nardini, Jane Fonda and Jillian Michaels.

Are Running Injuries Inevitable? Not According To These Running Gurus.

A Third Of Runners Suffer Injuries Each Year.  It Doesn’t Have To Be You. 

From stress fractures, to illiotibial band syndrome, and plantar fasciitis, injuries seem to be a common occurrence amongst runners.  Is it because the human body really isn’t made for running, or do runners need to do more stretching, core-work and cross-training to reduce their risk of injury?

A strong core is key to injury-free running.

Expert Advice From Five Running Gurus On Injury Prevention:

Jay Dicharry – According to Jay Dicharry, a physical therapist and the director of Biomechanics at Rebound Physical Therapy in Bend, OR, one third of runners are hurt every single year.  Dicharry, author of the book, “Anatomy for Runners”, says that too many books focus on the development of the cardiovascular system.  His book helps people identify their weaknesses like over striding, poor foot control, and various posture issues.  He believes that running doesn’t help the individual develop as a true athlete which results in a high incidence of injury.

Robert Forster – Robert Forster a sports physical therapist in Santa Monica, California has been treating injured athletes for 30 years.  He believes that humans have evolved into runners.  Our bodies have changed to be effective at running.  Why are there so many running injuries? Forster blames a lot of it on stride length and says everyone is over striding.  In an recent article in Reuters Health he was quoted as saying, “You want to land under your center of gravity, or as close to it as possible.  We tend to take too few steps per minute.  Less time on the ground would take care of a lot of problems.”

Jason Fitzgerald – Jason Fitzgerald, a 2:30 marathoner and running coach warns people to not let their ‘engine outpace their chassis.  Fitzgerald says that it’s important to remember that your aerobic fitness develops at a faster pace than your structural.  Your aerobic threshold might be high enough to support longer and faster runs, but your bones, tendons, ligaments, and muscles aren’t ready for that yet.  He tells his runners, “you never want a Ferrari engine in the frame of a Geo Prizm.  The engine is going to tear the car apart.”  What does Fitzgerald recommend?  Strength training and core exercises so the muscles and connective tissue are able to withstand the impact of running.

Dr. Lewis Maharam – Dr. Maharam, a former medical director of the New York City Marathon and author of the book “Running Doc’s Guide to Healthy Running,” does believe that people are born to run.  With the proper training, of course.  He says all you need is a good pair of running shoes and shorts and cross-training isn’t necessary, but it does increase speed. Maharam does say that preparation is the key to running injury free.  Start with a walk/run program [like the Couch to 5K] and never increase your mileage by more than 10% per week.

Jeff Galloway – Jeff Galloway, a lifetime runner, was a member of the 1972 U.S. Olympic Team in the 10,000 meter event, has completed over 120 marathons and has been free of overuse injuries for almost 30 years.  In an article Galloway wrote for he says that “having 48 hours between runs is like magic in repairing damage.”  His other injury-prevention advice includes  going slower on the longer runs, taking more walk breaks, and don’t stretch if you have an ache, pain or injury.  Galloway also recommends a thorough warm-up prior to speed training.  Speed training produces a lot of injuries, but a good warm-up and a ‘few light accelerations’ will help.

Listen To Your Body – And The Experts

The words running and injury don’t have to be synonyms.  Listening to your body and heeding the advice of running experts are the first steps to recognizing when you might be setting yourself up for injury by overdoing it and letting your engine outpace your chassis. Maybe you just need to rest for 48 hours. Whatever it is, most of the running gurus agree that you can be a successful runner – without injury – for years if you know what you’re doing.

What about you? Do you have injury prevention tips to share?


From Swim to Bike to Run: Ten Training Tips For A Sprint Triathlon

Cutting Your Teeth On A Sprint Triathlon Is A Good Way To Prepare For A Bigger Race

In the same way the Couch to 5K Program gets you in the habit of following a training schedule and prepares you for your first running race, a mini-tri is the place to start if your goal is participate in a triathlon.

The min-tri has become a popular event because it’s less competitive than the long-score version, and gives you an opportunity to see which legs of the race you can excel in and where may need some work.  It will also give you a chance to work through the transitions – from swim to bike to run – so you’ll have an idea of how you need to train to be competitive for a bigger event.

Training for all three legs of the race will give you the best overall score.

If you’re thinking about participating in a sprint triathlon, here are 10 tips that will help you be successful.

Ten Training Tips For the Mini-Tri Event

1.  Know Your Race – Find out the distances you’re expected to cover for each leg of the race.  There are no standard distances for mini-tri’s so they can vary from one event to the next.  Here’s an idea of the range of distances:  Swim – 100 yards to ¼ mile; Bike – from 6 – 12 miles; Run – from 1 – 3 miles.  Knowing what you’re in for ahead of time will help you train accordingly.

2.  Train Both Strengths and Weaknesses – Most of us – unless we are already true tri-athletes– excel at one of the three: swimming, biking or running.  The tendency is to spend the most time training for your best sport with the  hope that you can clock a good enough time during that leg of the race to make up for the other two.  A better plan would be to spend more time training your weaknesses so that you can pace yourself throughout the event and end with a better overall score.

3.  Think Sprint – The mini-triathlon is considered a sprint race so you should train to move through each event as quickly as possible.  To improve your speed, incorporate interval training into one cardio workout each week.  One week pick swimming, the next week running, and the third biking.  Adding short, effective speed bursts will improve your overall fitness level, increase endurance, and make you faster during the race.  I wrote about how to incorporate speed drills into running awhile back.  You can read more about it here.

4.  Practice Your Transitions – Have a plan in place for your transitions. For several years I was a volunteer for a triathlon that our local Y sponsored.  The mile swim took place in a lake, and when the participants finished the swim they ran up a hill, furiously changed clothes and jumped on their bikes.  Some people were extremely efficient at getting this done which was no doubt the result of practice.  If this is your first tri-race, you’ll want to figure out the best way to store the clothes and shoes so they are easy to get to and put on.  Practice this a couple of times before race day so you won’t be stressed over how this is going to work when the time comes.

5.  Add Bricks – Climbing off of the bike and putting your feet on the ground to start the run isn’t something that comes naturally.  It’s important to train the legs so you can easily go from one to the next.  Weeks five and beyond of training should include bike-run bricks.  If you add these to your workouts your legs will be strong on race day.

6.  Put It All Together – If possible, do a run through of the event prior to race day.  You don’t need to do the full distance for each sport, but going from the pool, to the bike, to the run will help you mentally and physically prepare for the real thing.

7.  Cross Training – Adding some cross training days into your workout schedule will help prevent over training.  Strength training, yoga, Zumba, and core strength classes are good fill-ins. Take advantage of your rest days and do something different that doesn’t stress the muscles in the way swimming, biking and running does.

8.  Follow A Structured Training Plan – It never hurts to have a structured plan to follow.  There’s a three-month training guide at Women’s Following a pre-designed plan takes the guesswork out of what you should be doing when.

9.  Hydrate, Eat and Rest – Dinking adequate amounts of water each day, and eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains will supply you with the energy you’ll need for your training program and provide you with strength and speed on the big day.  Getting eight hours of sleep a night is also critical to overall performance.

Click here to read about Allie's first mini-tri.

Click here to read about Allie’s first mini-tri.

10.  Pace Yourself – This is good advice for any race, but even more important for one where you have to accomplish three different sports. Jumping in the pool and blowing the other swimmers out of the water might feel good in the moment, but if you’re too pooped to run three miles at the end of the race, you’ll be sorry you didn’t hold a little something back.  If you’ve trained properly for the race, you should have goal times for each leg.

With proper training, rest, and nutrition you can have a successful first mini-tri and be on the way to reaching your goal of competing in a full triathlon.

Have you participated in a mini-tri?  What tips do you have for someone that’s getting started?

Couch To 5K Apps To Get You Up And Running

The Best Couch To 5K Apps

If you’re embracing the Couch to 5K program and are looking for an option other than wearing a stop watch to clock your jog/walk intervals, try one of these apps.  They are designed to keep you on pace and motivated:

Download a Couch to 5K app to keep track of your workouts. --Flickr photo by Calgary Reviews

1.  RunDouble – The RunDouble Couch to 5K App takes you through the nine week program and cues you as to when you need to walk and jog while music from your playlist – or even Pandora – plays in the background.  The app tracks your distance and provides pace and distance updates as you run.  You can try the RunDouble app for two weeks free.  After that, the upgrade is only $1.60. Available at the Google Play Store.

2.  Couch-to-5K – The Couch-to-5k is brought to you by and is the official Cool Running Couch to 5K program.  With this app you can select an interactive coach, listen to you own music, track your progress and even get hooked up to discounts for 5Ks in your area.  You can download the app for $1.99.  Available for Android, iPhone, iPad.

3.  Jeff Galloway’s 5K App – This app uses Jeff’s unique Run-Walk-Run training method.  (need link to this) and uses technology that matches the tempo of your music to your pace.  The app includes GPS tracking and 15 tracks of high energy fitness music for free.  Available at the iTunes store.

4.  Fun Run – The Fun Run app includes four program:  A nine week couch to 5k and a six week C25K if you’re already doing some running and don’t need to start at the beginning.  Once you complete the 5K you can use the Couch to 10K 13 week program or Boost to 10K program.  Play your music in the background and listen to voice prompts for pace changes.  This app will also maintain a log of your progress.  Available at Google Play Store.

5.  Get Running – Has many of the same features as the apps #1 through #4.  Pace cues, integrates music from your playlist, and a tracker that logs your workouts.  The reviews for this app are excellent.  What people like most is the female voice that provides pace cues and words of encouragement. Available for $1.99 at the iTunes Store.

Using an app that will track your progress, provide verbal cues, and keep you on pace is key to keeping with with the nine week Couch to 5K program.  These are just a few of the apps that are on the marketplace.

Have you tried any of these apps or is there another one that you’re hooked on and has helped you reach your goal to run a 5K?

Can A ‘Done’ List Help You Reach Your Weight Loss Goals?

How Many Things Did You Cross Off Of Your To Do List Today? 

There’s nothing like starting your day by writing down on paper all of the things you need to get done.  As the day goes on, you put a bold lines through the stuff you accomplish. Just the process of drawing that line through the projects you tackle, errands you run, and chores you muster the energy to complete, gives you a sense of accomplishment.

The To Do list seems like a good idea, but not always effective.

The Un-Done List

But, what if it’s one of those days when you aren’t able to get anything on the ‘To Do’ list done.  Maybe the boss told you to set aside what you’re working on to focus on an assignment that your co-worker – who is in the hospital having an emergency appendectomy – was assigned.

The deadline for completion is 6 p.m.  This means the errands don’t get done and you don’t get to take your afternoon walk during break time.  As for the chores, forget it.  By the time you get home, getting a jump on the laundry before the weekend gets here is the last thing you want to do.  What started out as a ‘To Do’ list has become an Un-done list with no marks through it.

How does that make you feel?  Defeated?  Nonproductive?  Discouraged?

We are all familiar with this feeling.  Getting back on track tomorrow is going to be tricky.  If the boss sidelines you again the result could be a mudslide.

What If?

What if, each day when you create your ‘To Do’ list, you took a piece of paper and titled it “The Done List”?  Instead of putting a line through the items you’ve completed on the ‘do’ list, write down what you’ve accomplished on the ‘done’ list.

At the end a day when you haven’t been able to complete any of the items on the ‘do’ list, the ‘done’ list might be two pages.  Or maybe it just has one sentence on it. For example:  I completed the last minute project the boss gave me on time and without errors.

Suddenly all of the tasks on the ‘do’ list that didn’t get done seem less significant.  You leave work feeling like you’ll be able to tackle those tomorrow.

What if we applied the ‘done’ approach to the things in our life that are really important , not just the items that we write down on paper that we need to get to today? What if every day we wrote down the things that illustrate that we’re taking good care of ourselves?

Our ‘done’ list might look like this:

  • I did a 30 minute yoga DVD before work.
  • I took a 15 minute walk on my break.
  • I ate a banana and strawberries, and a spinach salad for lunch.
  • I played Dance Dance Revolution with the kids for an hour after dinner.

The process will get you focused on the positive things that you’re doing for yourself and get your mind off of things like “I ate a cookie” or “I watched Real Housewives instead of going for a walk”.

Success Breeds Success

Dwelling on what didn’t happen is pointless.  Looking at a To Do list with 30 things that need your attention is overwhelming and we tend to obsess over what we didn’t get to.  It’s the same with behavior.  If you have a plan to lose 10 pounds, and find yourself indulging in a Vanilla Bean Frappuccino at Starbucks, that’s all you’ll think about.  It’s the small successes that propel us and move us forward; success breeds success. Honing in on our slip-ups defeats us and we lose our motivation.

The done list concept isn’t new.  It’s been used by corporate managers to increase productivity for years.  Individuals also have been using this strategy to improve their own output.  If it increases motivation and adherence to reaching objectives, why wouldn’t focusing on accomplishments make it easier for people to change health behaviors?

Starting tomorrow, instead of focusing on everything that you have to do, spend some time reflecting on what you’ve accomplished. In particular, write down the things that you’ve done that are helping you reach you weight loss and exercise goals. It’s time to trade your To Do’s in for Done’s.

If you enjoyed this post you might also like:

Changing Behavior By Taking The Smallest Possible Step

It’s Time To Tell Your Inner Critic To Put A Sock In It

Be Different. Be Amazing. Just Don’t Be Perfect






Ready To Launch Your Running Career? Here’s The Method That Works.

Fall Is The Best Time To Embark On A Running Career

Are you ready to begin your running career? Late summer and early fall is the perfect time of year to set a goal to make your dream of running a 5K a reality.

There are several programs that will help you move from the so-called couch to running a 5K race within a few weeks.  If you adapt one of these programs and stick with it you will be off and running in no time.

Your running career starts today!

Couch to 5K = Dream To Reality

I am launching the third annual Couch to 5K Program at work.  Each year it a successful program because it gives people – that have been entertaining the thought of running a 3.1 mile race – the opportunity to get from where they are now to that goal in as little as nine weeks.

The success stories with the Couch to 5K Program never end.  Each year at the end of the program I have employees send me their pictures wearing the medals they were awarded at the end of the race.  They tell me about the joy and pride they felt as they crossed the finish line, and each and every one of them tell me that they are looking for the next race to sign up for.

So what do you need to do to get off of the couch and into a 5K competition by October?  Follow the Cool Running Couch to 5K Program (outlined below).  It starts with three very doable workouts a week that alternate walking and jogging.  As the program progresses the walking decreases and the jogging increases. At the end of nine weeks you are conditioned to jog the duration of the race.

*Tip 1 – Find a 5K to sign up for to compete in before you start the program.  This will provide motivation and you will be fully prepared to participate on race day.

*Tip 2 – If you have to miss a workout, or are not able to do the full running segments, modify so that you can be successful.

Here’s the workout schedule for the next nine weeks:

Nine Week Workout Schedule Based On Cool Running’s Couch To 5K Program

Week 1

Workout 1 – Brisk 5 minute warm-up walk then; alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes.
Workout 2 – Repeat Workout 1
Workout 3 – Repeat Workout 1

Week 2

Workout 1 – Brisk 5 minute warm-up walk then; alternate 90 seconds of jogging and 2 minutes of walking for a total of 20 minutes.
Workout 2 – Repeat Workout 1
Workout 3 – Repeat Workout 1

Week 3

Workout 1 – Brisk 5 minute warm-up walk, two repetitions of the following:  Jog 200 years (or 90 seconds); walk 200 yards (or 90 seconds); jog 400 yards (or 3 minutes).
Workout 2 – Repeat Workout 1
Workout 3 – Repeat Workout 1

Week 4

Workout 1 – Brisk 5 minute warm-up walk then;  Jog ¼ mile (or 3 minutes); walk 1/8 miles (or 90 seconds); jog ½ mile (or 5 minutes); walk ¼ mile (or 2 ½ minutes); jog ¼ mile (or 3 minutes); walk 1/8 mile or 90 seconds; jog ½ mile or (or 5 minutes).
Workout 2 – Repeat Workout 1
Workout 3 – Repeat Workout 1

Week 5

Workout 1 – Brisk 5 minute warm-up walk then; jog ½ mile (or 5 minutes); walk ¼ mile (or 3 minutes); jog ½ mile (or 5 minutes); walk ¼ mile (or 3 minutes); jog ½ mile (or 5 minutes).
Workout 2 – Brisk 5 minute warm-up walk then; jog ¾ mile (or 8 minutes); walk ½ mile (or 5 minutes); jog ¾ mile (or 8 minutes).
Workout 3 – Brisk 5- minute warmup walk then; jog two miles (or 20 minutes) with no walking.

Week 6

Workout 1 – Brisk 5 minute walk then; jog ½ mile (or 5 minutes); walk ¼ mile (or 3 minutes); jog ¾ mile (or 8 minutes); walk ¼ mile (or 3 minutes); jog ½ mile (or 5 minutes).
Workout 2 – Brisk 5 minute warm-up walk then; jog 1mile (or 10 minutes); walk ¼ mile (or 3 minutes); jog 1 mile (or 10 minutes).
Workout 3 – Brisk 5 minute warm-up walk then; jog 2-1/4 miles (or 22 minutes) with no walking.

Week 7

Workout 1 – Brisk 5 minute warm-up walk then; jog 2.5 miles (or 25 minutes).
Workout 2– Repeat Workout 1
Workout 3– Repeat Workout 2

Week 8

Workout 1 – Brisk 5 minute warm-up walk then; jog 2.75 miles (or 28 minutes).
Workout 2 – Repeat Workout 1
Workout 3 – Repeat Workout 1

Workout 9

Workout 1 – Brisk 5 minute warm-up walk then; jog 3 miles (or 30 minutes).
Workout 2 – Repeat Workout 1
Workout 3 – Repeat Workout 2

Workout 10

Run Your 5K and get your picture taken with your medal.

My Co-woker (on the left) after completing the C25K program.

Sign Up For Weekly Tips

Would you like to receive a tip each week via e-mail that will provide information about running and help motivate you to stay on track with your Couch to 5K Program?  If you would, please send me and e-mail to and just say “Sign me up for C25K tips.” You will receive one e-mail per week with a motivational tip to help you be successful with your goal.

Fresh Peaches: Sweet, Juicy, Delicious and Nutritious

Take Advantage of Delicious, Nutritious Peaches While They’re In Season

One of the best fruits to come from the abundant summer produce is the peach.  Fresh peaches, ripe off of the tree can be found at farmers markets or in the local grocery, and are at their peak in both flavor and texture.

Ripe, juicy fresh peaches

Peaches Are High In Vitamin C and Other Antioxidants

Peaches are low in calories and high in nutrition.  A half a cup is about 40 calories.  They contain no saturated fats, are a good source of Vitamin C, and have moderate amounts of Vitamin A and B-Carotene.  Peaches are also full of minerals such as potassium, fluoride and iron, plus antioxidants that protect cells from free radicals that can wreak havoc on our system.

When buying peaches, select ones that are rich in color, but not overly ripe. Overly ripe fruits may be soft with signs of bruising.  Peaches that are firm to the touch can be stored at room temperate until they ripen.

Fresh peaches can be washed thoroughly and eaten – like an apple – as a snack.  They can also be used in green salads, fruit salads and desserts.  I made this quick, easy and low-calorie peach cobbler recipe that I found at It was light, sweet and delightful.

Light, Fresh Peach Cobbler


  • 6 medium peaches, sliced
  • 6 1/3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup all purpose-flour (can use 1/2 whole wheat four if desired)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 3 tablespoons reduced calorie margarine
  • 1/2 cup nonfat milk

Simmer peaches over low heat for one minute


  • Preheat over to 375 degrees F.
  • In a large saucepan, combine peaches, 1/3 cup of the sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice and cinnamon; toss to coat peaches.
  • Set pan over medium heat and bring to a boil.
  • Cook for about 1 minute.
  • Remove from heat and transfer to an 8-inch square baking pan.


  • Combine flour, remaining tablespoon of sugar, baking powder and salt.
  • Work in margarine with a fork until crumbly.
  • Add milk and stir until flour mixture is evenly moistened.
  • Drop 8 tablespoons of topping mixture onto peach mixture.
  • Bake until golden brown and bubbly – about 20 – 25 minutes.
  • Cut into 8 pieces and serve.

Top with low-fat Cool Whip is desired.

Fresh Peach Cobbler

Nutritional Information:  1 serving – 173 calories; 27 calories from fat; cholesterol 4.0 mg; sodium 252.2 mg; total carbohydrates 34.7 g; dietary fiber 2.2g, sugars 20.2 g; protein 3.2 g.