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5 Steps to Become a Better Runner

Running season is here in Fargo! Here are 5 tips to help you get back into running after a long winter.

5 Steps to Become a Better Runner

1) Start Slow

I know you are anxious to get back into running, but be sure to have a plan that fits your current ability level. When someone decides to train for a marathon, they don’t start out by running 26.2 miles on the first day. Select a distance that you can comfortably cover, and slowly bring that volume up. For someone just learning about running or getting back into running I recommend starting out with a 20 minute walk a few days a week. For a beginner, a sample program would look something like 20 minutes, run 1 minute, walk 90 seconds. For an intermediate it may look like 2 miles 3 days a week. For advanced runners there are several different variations and programs to get the volume you need. After you get more comfortable with your baseline you can start to add volume by adding in an extra day of running each week, or adding miles to one of the days. Be sure to stay with this new volume for a few weeks to allow your body to adjust, that way you will be able to recover in time for your next run.

2) Warm Up & Cool Down

It’s easy to just jum right into a run and think “I’ll just warm up as I go.” Thats not the best plan, you wouldn’t load up the bar with your 1 Rep Max squat without any warm up, and you shouldnt do that for running either. A good warm up for running that wont add much time to your workout is 5 minutes of stretching, followed by 5 minutes of walking leading into a light jog and eventually into your running pace. A proper warm up is critical to preventing injuries. Cooling down can be just as important to your injury prevention as your warm up. A proper cool down gradually brings your body back to its pre-exercise state. A good cool down can be as simple as a 10 minute walk at the end of your run followed by 5 minutes of stretching. The extra time is well spent on a proper warm up and cool down.

3) Explore the Area Parks

There are several parks in Fargo that offer great running opportunities. Believe me, a run is much more enjoyable when the scenery consists of more than your neighborhood block or city buildings. Check out an interactive map of Fargo Parks. My personal favorite is any of the trails along the Red River, as long as they are not under water of course!

4) Be Consistent

It is extremely unlikely to set out and be an all star runner on your very first day. Determine what days you can work running into your schedule. Make a plan and stick to it! No mater where you are on your running journey, a dedicated plan that you are consistent with will get you where you want to be. If your goal is to run a marathon or a 5k or even just to get outside you have to commit. Be sure to warm up and cool down each and every time you run. If the weather stops your run try your best to fit it in another day. A good way to make sure you stay consistent is by telling your self what you DO want to do instead of what you don’t want to do. Instead of “I don’t want to go for a run today because it’s raining.” Tell yourself “I feel like doing extra recovery today so that I can run more on Saturday.”

5) Find a Running Partner

Finding someone to run with can be great fun. You can hold eachother accountable and challenge one another to push toward your goals. There are several members around our gym who would be willing to help you find a running buddy. Another great resource is Beyond Running, not only can they help you get all of the apparel and shoes you may need, they are extremely knowledgable and will point you in the right direction when it comes to finding running groups as well as some advanced tecniques to improve even more.

 

If you found this blog helpful, leave us a comment with your running plan!
CrossFit Level 1 is Coming to CrossFit Icehouse!!  What Is It?

CrossFit Level 1 is Coming to CrossFit Icehouse!! What Is It?

CrossFit Training is coming to Fargo!!  In fact, CrossFit Training is coming to CrossFit Icehouse!!  

This is a BIG DEAL; it’s the first time a CrossFit Level 1 Certificate Course has been hosted in the Great State of North Dakota.

It’s an honor and a privilege to be the premier seminar location for CrossFit Training in the state of North Dakota as well as western Minnesota.  

So what is the CrossFit Level 1 (CF-L1) Certificate Course?

As designed, the CF-L1 is a 2-day course, incorporating lectures and practical exercises, that serves two purposes.  It’s an official introduction into CrossFit fundamentals, and it’s the gateway into CrossFit coaching.

It’s designed for the athlete who wants to learn more about the basics of CrossFit training and human movement.  It’s also designed to provide a certificate to allow holders the eligibility to coach CrossFit at a CrossFit affiliate.  

My CF-L1 Story

I have a very unique story road to earning my CF-L1.  In fact, my very first CrossFit WOD was at my CF-L1 in Excelsior, MN at CrossFit SISU on July 1, 2017.  

I’d only been inside one other CrossFit gym before then and while I knew CrossFit Icehouse existed, I had no idea how impactful earning my CF-L1 and meeting Courtney and Sara a little over a week later would be.

My CF-L1 weekend was quite possibly the most professionally run seminar I’ve ever attended. Aside from hitting all of their time hacks, being knowledgeable and personable, the staff was authentic and genuine and the other students were unbelievably welcoming. The first thing that our Flow Master, Nadia, asked is how long everyone had been training with CrossFit. I’d admitted that this seminar was my first run at CrossFit, and I felt like they looked out for me from a movement perspective throughout the weekend.

I learned that CrossFit methodology was real, and that CrossFit HQ invests in the staff that is charged with qualifying trainers. I also learned that not all CrossFit affiliates are designed to create competitors, there are an overwhelming majority who are solely focused on building longevity and quality of life.

I was on fire leaving my CF-L1 weekend.  I went from not being a CrossFitter to being one of CrossFit’s biggest fans!!  During that weekend, I developed a new sense of purpose and opportunity, that is, to develop into the best coach possible, if, for no other reason, but to provide athletes the same experience I had during my CF-L1 weekend.

Is Attending a CF-L1 for You?

If you’re an athlete looking to dive deep into the nerd-ery; interested in learning more about the basics of what we do here at CrossFit Icehouse, why what we do works, and what CrossFit is really all about.  It’s definitely worth considering (by the way, CrossFit Icehouse is hosting a second CF-L1 course June 89).

If you’re interested in becoming a coach, and you’re local, get registered!!  CrossFit Training is LITERALLY coming to you.

Want to learn more about CrossFit Coaches Development?

Cheers!

 

One Week Left of FNL…What’s Next?

One Week Left of FNL…What’s Next?

We have one week left of Friday Night Lights and if you have been participating along with us this year you should be feeling very proud of yourself.  The CrossFit Open (A.K.A Friday Night Lights) is a very taxing experience, both physically and emotionally!  There’s so much excitement leading up to one workout, there’s also the game of do I go scaled or Rx and dabbling in movements you may not have tried up until then.

So with one week left what happens next?  Well don’t worry Icehouse has some plans on Friday nights coming up this spring to keep you hanging out with your strong peeps and I’ve also put together a list of things to help you use all you’ve learned during Friday Night Lights…

1. Practice These Skills

Friday Night Lights has shown us some lesser programed skills like, bar muscle ups and overhead lunges. These are skills that take a lot of practice to nail down.  Taking time before and after class to practice these movements can make a huge difference for next year.  If there’s a workout that didn’t go your way, ask a coach some drills that will make that better for next time.

2. Local Competitions

Did you get bit by the competition bug?  Check out some of the local competitions and sign up!  There’s Granite Games Qualifiers, Festivus Games and Dakota Games all in our back yard.  Check out the standards, find some teammates and go participate in a CrossFit competition.

3. Dial In Your Nutrition

If you’re anything like me with the craziness of Friday Night Lights my nutrition sometimes takes a back seat, like in the trunk.  Thankfully we have already planned out a nutrition challenge for this reason.  If you’re looking to really dial in your skills and make big leaps in next years FNL then nutrition is the place to start.  Plus we might see spring soon which always makes eating well a bit easier.

4. Use Your Fitness

The weather is getting warmer and it makes it so much easier to use your fitness.  Start looking for things you can do to show off all of your hard work.  The Fargo Marathon is coming up and I know they have a 5K, 10K and a relay option for those of you looking for a new test.  There are also different bike clubs, hiking clubs and dog walking groups you could join in on as you are a fit strong human!

5. Take a Moment to Celebrate

Like for real, celebrate all that you have just accomplished.  There aren’t many people out there who sign up to give everything they have for five Friday’s in a row.  Celebrate all the little wins from signing up to crushing a workout.  What you just did was really awesome!

I hope these tips are helpful.  I know I have had a blast this year watching all of you crush these workouts.  Let’s make this last one the loudest and most fun of them all!

 

10 Components of Fitness

10 Components of Fitness

Continuing on with our exploration into the heart of what CrossFit is, today we’ll chat about the concepts that remain in the forefront of developing our athletes, the 10 Components of Fitness.

“Having a balanced ability across the all 10 components of fitness will ensure that you’ll be both athletic and durable.”

What does that really mean to you and me?  You’ll be able to do whatever you want, whenever you want, without specifically training for it and you’ll remain pain-free.

What are the 10 Components of Fitness?

Cardiovascular/Respiratory Endurance The ability of body systems to gather, process, and deliver oxygen.

    • Think cardio, cardio, cardio….We’re talking about getting your blood to deliver oxygen throughout your body more efficiently.

Stamina – The ability of body systems to process, deliver, store, and utilize energy.

    • Similar to endurance, but not the same.  This is having “gas in the tank” rather than being able to breathe and deliver oxygen throughout your body.

Strength – The ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply force.

    • Straight up ability to pick up heavy weights.

Flexibility – The ability to maximize the range of motion at a given joint.

    • Moving your body the way it was designed to move

Power – The ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply maximum force in minimum time.

    • Emphasizes strength applied in a very short amount of time.

Speed – The ability to minimize the time cycle of a repeated movement.

    • Emphasizes raw turnover, fast as possible running, biking, rowing

Coordination – The ability to combine several distinct movement patterns into a singular distinct movement.

    • Moving your body in a specific pattern.  Think of this as learning the pattern of movement to achieve an olympic lift

Agility – The ability to minimize transition time from one movement pattern to another.

    • Kids do this all the time, think of a 3 year-old bouncing around a playroom.

Balance – The ability to control the placement of the body’s center of gravity in relation to its support base.

    • This is keeping your center of gravity over whatever base of support you have at any given moment (this is why it’s harder to balance on one foot rather than two)

Accuracy – The ability to control movement in a given direction or at a given intensity

    • This is both knowing what to do and having the coordination to do it.

Holy smokes, that’s a lot…How do I get better at ALL of them?

Great question!  Improvement breaks down to a couple different adaptations.  Once is physiological (your body), the other is neurological (the pathways between your brain and your muscles).  We’ll talk about them in the sections below.

Forged through Training

The components below get better because your body adapts without you having to think about any of it.  By adding this new stress to your body, your body adapts, it’s as easy as that. You’ll often recognize these improvements first as you start training.

  • Cardiovascular/Respiratory Endurance

  • Stamina

  • Strength

  • Flexibility

Forged through Practice

The components below get better because you build the connection between your brain and your muscles.  These improve through thoughtful practice. Think about closing your eyes and standing on one leg. You will get better with practice, but it will take a lot of thought in the early stages.  Building a superhighway between your brain and your muscles takes thoughtful practice, and it is often overlooked. I would contend that these components are the most vital for life outside the gym, and living independently as long as possible.

  • Agility

  • Balance

  • Accuracy

Forged through Both Training and Practice

The components below are improved with a mixture of both training and practice.  We’re taking newly gained strength, stamina, endurance or flexibility and coupling it with newly gained accuracy, balance and agility and display speed and power.  For example, you gain leg strength, balance and coordination, you turn into a faster sprinter.

  • Power

  • Speed

What does that all mean to me?

It means there are multiple ways to reflect improvement and celebrate achievement.  It means our training includes a super heavy back squat and also being able to stand on one foot and bounce a ball against a wall.  It means there are multiple times within every hour you train with us to achieve a win for the day, week, month and year.

 

“Performing the common uncommonly well.”

“Performing the common uncommonly well.”

We all want to progress and be better at the goals we have set for ourselves and achieve a higher level of fitness, and we all want it right now. Truthfully there is nothing wrong with that. In fact your desire to improve can be a great motivator on your journey towards a greater level of health and fitness, not just in the gym but outside as well.

The purpose of this conversation however is to address the process we take to achieve that next level. Be forewarned this is an honest conversation that expects you to check yourself and be realistic about your answers.

How many times have you been at the gym working your way through another awful set of wall balls and that one didn’t quite hit the line at the high enough spot, or maybe that squat on the last one was not quite below parallel? You might count it as a rep anyways and keep on going. I mean really who is it going to hurt? Nobody saw it, and nobody really cares if you did 24 out of 25 full, true, wall balls.

The truth is YOU SHOULD CARE! Not because it matters what everyone else thinks about your wall balls, but rather how you feel about completing the work in its entirety. At the end of the day, the person you are hurting is you.

There is an article written by CrossFits founder, Mr. Greg Glassman, that talks specifically about this and more-so it talks about the process it takes to gain meaningful success in the gym and how that can be achieved through true virtuosity.

It sounds like a buzz word or something cool for the coaches to say (to let you know that they know all the things and stuff) but practicing virtuosity by “performing the common uncommonly well” will not only serve to help you achieve those goals faster in the gym, but also in life.

It all starts with the foundations of movement. Air squat before we overhead squat, and must learn to overhead squat before we learn to snatch. Don’t take this as a shot at your ego or that you are doing anything wrong. Take this as an opportunity to get best at the basics and to make the more complex movements beneficial; not only for your safety but also for your overall fitness.

Clean Eating

Clean Eating

In any fitness regiment, the most important, and often least considered, element is the diet.  And by diet, I don’t mean a fad diet saying you can’t eat any carbs ever, or you can only eat cucumbers for the next 30 days, or shakes for every meal for the foreseeable future.

None of these are sustainable over a long period of time and oftentimes they don’t even address the actual root of a bad diet.  A wise woman once said to me, “You can’t outrun a bad diet,” meaning that no matter how dedicated you are to working out, a bad diet will thwart your results every time.  So what can we eat to supplement and enhance an active lifestyle while at the same time being fulfilling and full of freedom?  Short answer: clean eating.

What is clean eating?

Clean eating is the basic idea of eating food as close to its natural, raw form as possible.  This does not include boxed, bagged, or packaged foods.  It also excludes processed foods as they contain a TON of unnecessary sugar, salt, saturated fats, all the unhelpful stuff.

Imagine your grocery store.  Now picture the perimeter of the store.  All the produce is there, (fresh fruits and vegetables galore), raw, fresh cuts of meat, the eggs, the spices; the stuff that you could eat from nature without having to add preservatives.  The purpose of eating clean is to eat for nourishment and fuel.

Clean eating powers the body more efficiently.  The fibers in fruits and vegetables keep the metabolism working longer.  Fresh meat contains protein to help build and replenish muscles.  Healthy fats that run the cells smoothly are found in eggs, nuts, seeds, and more.  Essentially, the more naturally colorful the food is, the better.

From personal experience, after clean eating for two months then dipping my toes back into the processed food world, I felt sluggish, out of focus, and noticed I didn’t perform as well in the gym.

Balance in Important

Of course, life is about balance.  If you discover that you’re drinking a soda or two everyday, replace them with Zevia, Bubly, or La Croix.  If your meals are mostly microwaved from a box, start weaning yourself off your sugar/salt addiction by replacing a meal with chicken tacos, with fresh veggies, or any number of delicious, fresh meals.  Eventually, work your way into the 80/20 realm where 80% or more of your food intake is clean food and 20% or less is your treat food.  This way you can satisfy your cravings but you take in much more quality sustainence.  Meal prepping is invaluable in this.

Clean up your act!  Eat clean!  (Insert cheesy wink here)

Want More Info/Help with Nutrition?

Clean eating is a great place to start, but if you want more information or a more specific plan and some accountability Icehouse does offer Nutrition Coaching.  To learn more with a free Intro call, snag your time here to see if we can help: https://meetme.so/IcehouseNutritionConsult