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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!
“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.

W.H.O.O.P.I.E Goal Setting

W.H.O.O.P.I.E Goal Setting

I was going through my lists of podcast the other day and came across one that really hit home. Ben Bergeron in “Chasing Excellence” was talking about an awesome way to set goals called WHOOPIE.  Since we have been talking a lot about goals this January I thought I would share this one as well.

Wishing and Hoping

The W and the H stand for wishing and hoping.  Science shows that when you wish for things and hope for things your brain gets excited. Sharing your wishes and hopes brings the brain to a whole other level of excited.  So when you hanging out with all your friends next week and you tell them “I’m going to deadlift twice my body weight this year,” you usually leave that party pretty pumped.  The down side, most people stop there, don’t be most people!

**Studies also show that writing down your goal gives you a Much higher chance of crushing that goal, so go ahead write it down, I’ll wait.

Outcome

So now that you’ve got that written down, let’s move on the O.  The first O is Outcome, basically looking at the big picture and what your results or “end goal” will be.  This part is really exciting too.  For example if your end goal is to lose weight it’s fun to think about how awesome you’ll be looking during lake season or how much stronger you’ll be in the gym. A lot of people make it to this step too as it’s still pretty exciting.

Obstacles 

The next O stands for Obstacles.  It’s important to take into account what type of obstacles will get in your way as your on the road to crushing your goals.  I know for me, in the past, setting nutrition goals and a crazy week could derail the whole thing.  I didn’t have a plan for when Sunday meal prep didn’t happen. I would find myself eating out more, grabbing less than optimal food and saying well guess that goals done. However, now with a goal of eating 80-20 I know I can afford a few meals eating out and still make the rest of the week awesome.  I can move Sunday meal prep to Wednesday night and still have make enough healthy food to keep me on track.

Not planning for obstacles is where most people get tripped up and their path to crushing their goals is cut short, it’s gone, done, finished.  Don’t be that person!

Planning & Processing 

The P has duel meaning in Planning and Processing.  Having a plan can make all the difference in the world.  For my nutrition goal it was to meal prep breakfast and lunch on Sunday’s, if that failed use Wednesday nights as a sub.  Setting a plan for your “how to” but also plan for those obstacles. You make it here you’re doing awesome and about to crush your goals.

“I am the type of person that” 

The I is a statement piece in WHOOPIE that stands for “I am the type of person that,” this is a clutch part of the process.

I am the type of person who…
meal preps on Sunday
goes to the gym even at -11
wakes up early to journal and meditate

It can be anything relevant to you goal and becomes part of who you are.  It’s something people expect from you.  When I go home I always plan at least one or two visits to the local CrossFit gym, my family expects it from me, it’s who I am.

Execute

The final letter E stands for Execute.  You have an awesome plan, you have thought through your obstacles and set your intentions it’s time to put your plan into action.  Make it happen!  Reach our Goal!!

Routine is not the Enemy

Routine is not the Enemy

Routine is not the Enemy

Although it can feel like we are stuck in a rut sometimes, having a routine (or lack of routine) can have a big impact on our lives. If you know me, you know that I have a set of things that I need to accomplish in a day, otherwise you could call me “Mr. Grouchy Grouch!” Getting enough sleep, eating enough, getting my workouts in, and several other non- gym related tasks are certainly on that list. Having a routine helps me get those things done each day.

Make a plan!

The key to any good lifestyle change is to have a plan. When I say make a plan I don’t mean, “I plan to get my ‘poop in a group.’” That doesn’t help you at all. I really mean make a plan. One with a clearly defined goal, and the steps you will take to get there. It can also be extremely helpful to visualize what your life will look like when you accomplish it. This helps you remember why you set the goal in the first place and will hold you accountable to putting that plan into action. Once you have the plan, all you have to do is put it into action. If you would like to start getting up at a certain time each day you could just set an alarm and hope for the best. In the long run you will be much more successful if you set yourself up to BE SUCCESSFUL. If you want to add to your routine getting up earlier, it really starts with going to bed earlier.  Removing barriers to success leads to… You guessed it. Success. Take your plan and go back as far as you need, remove all the barriers, and then you’ll be left with a clear path to success.

Success is a Habit

Once you learn to remove the barriers for success, you become successful all the time. It becomes a habit, and habits become routine. By waking up on time you remove a barrier for the next thing you need to do in your day. This is a domino effect. It keeps going forever. You wake up on time. Then you have breakfast on time. If you have breakfast on time you have plenty of time to get to work. If you get to work on time you get done with work on time. If you finish work on time you get to the gym on time. Most importantly of all if you get to the gym on time you don’t have to play catch-up by warming up with extra burpees. (Burpees are a great full body warm-up by the way!) It is easy to see how this cycle can keep going on and on! This is what the saying “success leads to more success.” Games athletes don’t keep going back to the games because they made it there once, they go year after year because they routinely do the things needed to get them there.

What should be in my routine?

The simple answer is whatever you need to do to be successful. That also includes all the steps to achieving those little successes. All of us need to drink enough water, so it is natural to add that to our list. We make it routine by constantly doing the things that allow us to drink enough water, and then by drinking enough water, I accomplish this task by filling up my water bottle between every class and then drinking it in class. It can really be that simple.

Routine is NOT the enemy!

I’m not saying that you need to regiment your entire life so that you only do the same things in the same order each day. Or that you should eat the same meals each week. All I’m saying is that a little bit of structure can make your day a whole lot easier. People who have consistently good nutrition habits either have the time to cook several healthy meals each day, or they take the time to cook them once or twice a week and then add it into their routine to grab a container before they leave in the morning. Those little steps that are a part of your daily routine can make a huge difference in helping you accomplish any goal, big or small!

GOALS!  Where to start when setting your 2019 Goals

GOALS! Where to start when setting your 2019 Goals

We are already 1 week into 2019!  The new year is usually a time to reflect (which we did last week, feel free to take a peek for some coach’s deep thoughts!) and adjust.  That usually means setting some goals.

I am going to go through the first few steps of setting goals, that often surprising get overlooked.  The steps for setting and crushing goals is very similar to completing a college paper, or high school paper, or whatever assignment you may have been given in years past.  Just bear with me on this.

Step 1: WRITE IT DOWN!

For our example today, how would you start with your assignment?  You would outline it!  Or at least do a rough draft.  Or maybe just sit down, pound some red bull and go wild on the keyboard.  In all scenarios you are WRITING IT DOWN!  You would never go into your class on the due date and say “well I thought about the paper” and then not hand anything in.  Or maybe you would…but you’d get a 0 which no one wants. If you wrote something down, worst case you at least had an outline or a rough draft to prove you at least started said paper.

If you don’t write it down, you can’t get a grade.  If you don’t write it down, you can’t create a plan to meet your goal. Period.

Step 2: GET REAL: Is what you wrote for YOU, or because you felt obligated to write it.

Now for the college paper, yes you were probably delegated a topic you may not be crazy about, but is there a way to spin it to use your own lense and perspective to make it more interesting? Maybe, maybe not but it’s worth the thought!

But we aren’t talking about assignments here. The reason we are setting goals should be because we WANT to get better FOR OURSELVES.  The goals we set should be ones we set because WE WANT TO, not because our mother in law, or old friend made some comment about our weight, or whatever other personal thing that has nothing to do with them when we went home to visit over the holidays.  If your goal is to loose weight because you want to feel better, or fit into a smaller size, or be able to run faster, or keep up with your kids, or whatever YOUR reason then hell yeah that’s a great goal! If you feel great, other then when so and so said something mean or passive aggressive, then skip that one. You won’t be excited about it because you are only doing it out of obligation to fit into someone else’s vision for you.  Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Once you have a list of 3-5 goals you actually want to work on you can move on to step 3.

Step 3: MAKE IT SPECIFIC

Goals that are super vague make creating a plan to accomplish said goals really really difficult if not impossible.  Here are a few common ones I see:

  • I want to lose weight – Cool! Do you want to loose body fat or just weight overall?  How much?  By When?
  • I want to PR my (Insert lift/workout here):  Hell yeah let’s get strong! How much would you like to increase by?  When do you want to hit that goal?
  • I want to work on my mental health! Two thumbs up for selfcare!  What does this actually mean for you? Do you want to start therapy?  How often? Meditation/Journaling?  When can you start, how often will you do those things?
  • Read more.  AWESOME!  How many books do you want to read this year?

We basically want these goals to be SMART Goals, which means Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, & Time Bound.  So once you’ve made them specific/measurable like our examples above make sure they are actually relevant to you (which we talked about in step 2) and well as having a deal line/or a timeline so you have an idea of when you’d like to accomplish them by.

This is basically they first draft of your paper that you’ll write based on your Step 1 Outline in the College Paper Scenario.

Step 4: MAKE A PLAN

From here you have a goal that is specific.  AKA the final draft of your college paper.

The next step is break it down into smaller steps.  Maybe loosing 20 lbs is your goal, let’s say we want to loose 1 lb per week.  To start maybe we will do meal prep and cut back on eating out to 1 time per week.  Maybe you will hire a nutrition coach to help you with this plan (shameless plug: have we mentioned our coach Anna@crossfiticehouse.com is legit?! Hit her up!)

Want to PR a lift?  Maybe you will go to OLY classes 1x/week.  Want to PR a workout? You could go from doing 3 workouts a week to 4 for the first month, then maybe up it to 5 the next month.  You could stay 5 minutes after class to work on a skill keeping you from getting better at that workout.  I commonly prescribe a 5 minute buy our of double unders, handstand holds, pull up progressions and other movements to just chip away at these goals in 5 minute increments.

Maybe to read 1 book per month.  First step may be to simply buy book 1. Step 2 schedule yourself 20 mins a day to read said book.  Then begin a list of the next 3 books that are on deck and have book 2 on it’s way in time for February.

When you make this plan, schedule the time you plan to work on these things into your calendar during your weekly time blocking, and make those times non negotiable like you would a meeting for work, or happy hour with a friend. (Peep Coach Mo’s Time Blocking Blog for more on that HERE.

Give it a try!  What goals did you end up with for 2019?!

2018 – Coach Shoe’s Year in Review

2018 – Coach Shoe’s Year in Review

I went into 2018 (#yearofthegainz) with some big fitness goals, mainly just getting back into a consistent routine and to spend more time working on my weightlifting, as well as some lofty business goals (hello Flux launch). Some goals were met, many were not.

The Fitness Goals:

I had some lofty numbers I wanted to hit on my snatch & clean&jerk. I spent 4 days a week lifting to support that goal, along with 1-3 Flux or CrossFit workouts. While I feel stronger and more consistent in those lifts, and in my yoga practice as well as more proficient in a lot of movements, the reality is I increased both lifts by just 5 lbs each.

While it isn’t the large improvement I wanted, a TON of technique work has been done, lots of groundwork has been laid to start climbing up the ladder this year. And in the grand scheme of things, 5 lbs at this stage of the game still feels pretty damn good and my lifts are wayyyyyyy more solid.

We can get very caught up in numbers, and I have heard many folks say “I only PR’d by 5, or 10 lbs.” THAT IS HUGE! As we grow as athletes and continually challenge ourselves those jumps will get smaller and more incremental, but that does not take away how special they are. A PR is always something to be proud of! It means you are better then you were yesterday, and that is all we are really trying to do is get a little bit better, every day.

The Other Goals:

2018 was a great year, but it was probably my most challenging yet. There were no big moves, changes, or shakeups. That probably seems like a positive, and it is. But for me, the lack of movement can feel a bit suffocating. I am someone who has moved every 4 years (if not sooner) or has made some big change or done something to distract myself or keep myself busy. 2018 didn’t have any of those things… so it was a lot of learning how to survive in stability.

With no big moves or changes, “to dos” are not as clearly laid out, so as a business owner it became more challenging to create and lead down an undefined path. There were endless possibilities…but holy crap there were endless possibilities! WHERE DO WE EVEN START?! As the gym grew, and our staff grew there was more and more that needed to be done both on & off the floor, but also still the need to create plans to move forward and to take the gym where we wanted to go, but while still trying to maintain the Icehouse feel we all love so much. No one starts a gym to hang out at their computer doing payroll & marketing, so adjusting and adapting to a new role has been a huge challenge…and an ego check. The amount of personal growth that came from that discomfort is invaluable, even if it was (and still really is) a big struggle.

2019 will be a continuance of that journey of trying to add as much value as we possibly can for each and every one of you, while still keeping true to who we are and always trying to get just a little better, every day. Thank you all for allowing us to do what we do, and for growing with us as we too are still figuring it out <3