Guest Post: Strength Training to Compliment Running

We are tackling the Wisconsin North Face Endurance Challenge in September and in preparation for this wickedly fun 10K trail run, we’ve partnered with Lauren Fairbanks, Chicago Mountain Athletics trainer.  This week Lauren is helping us become well rounded athletes by challenging runners to add strength training to their regimen. This is also part of the focus of The North Face Mountain Athletics Program. Athletes and amateurs alike can take part in these free bi-weekly workouts in order to improve their speed, strength or endurance in any sport. You may even have a “Lauren siting” there.   Welcome back Lauren!

lfIt’s no secret that serious runners favorite form of exercise is running, but many runners may be missing one key component to their training program.  One of the key components that compliment any running program is strength training.  For a number of different reasons, runners often overlook the importance of adding in strength workouts to their training regimen.  Some are scared to “bulk up” or gain too much muscle mass, while others might just be unfamiliar with how to work with weights.  These days, runners need to do more than pound out miles on the pavement to see improvements in their racing performance.  They need to be strong, athletic and have muscular balance to avoid injury during their training program.   Strength training helps build a solid foundation in the body and increases joint stability, which in turn can lead to fewer injuries.   The benefits of doing a strength training workout at least 2-3 days/week will not only help with injury prevention, but will also help your overall racing performance as well.  Strengthening both big muscle groups (Quads, glutes, hamstrings, calves) as well as the smaller stabilizer muscles throughout your hips (hip flexors, extensors, hip rotator muscles) will create a strong base to withstand the impact that running has on your body.  The best exercises for runners are those that strengthen the legs, hips and core.   Some examples of these would be squats, lunges, deadlifts, planks and step ups to name a few.  Strength training will not only help you feel stronger during your races, but can also help you run longer and more efficiently.  Stronger legs and core equals both more endurance and speed.

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If you’re brand new to strength training you should build your weight capacity up slowly, starting with just body weight exercises and then progressing to loaded movements.  Heavier strength training days can be done after your lighter mileage/intensity days, and body weight exercises can be done on the other days where your running training is more intense.  Smaller hip mobility movements and foam rolling can be done on a regular basis and act more as maintenance since they are less intense.    Below is a basic strength training routine you can do as a beginner with just body weight or add weight if you are more advanced.  Circuit through each tri-set 3x them move on to the next one.

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3 sets of 12 repetitions

Forward lunges

Step-ups

Plank (1 minute)

Hip fire hydrants

knee up

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3 sets of 12 repetitions

Single leg squats off a bench

Russian twists (30 seconds)

Lateral lunges

Side planks (30 seconds each)

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So if you’re ready to crank up the intensity in your training, run faster, feel stronger, and spend less time injured then starting a strength training program is a no-brainer.  You will definitely feel the positive effects in no time!

 

Lauren Fairbanks is a Certified Personal Trainer and Holistic Health Coach with a passion for helping people reach their goals.  As a lifelong athlete with an expansive knowledge of nutrition she strives to share her expertise with everyone she meets.  She loves working with people and helping open their eyes and minds to the positive effects of proper nutrition, physical activity and living a balanced life.  Lauren was a Division I Track & Field Athlete at Central Michigan University where she graduated with a B.S. in Dietetics.  Along with her Dietetics degree and personal training certification she also holds specialty certifications in Kettlebells, TRX, and Pre/Post Natal Training.  When she’s not busy working with clients you can catch her running or riding her bike around the city, cooking, checking out Chicago’s newest restaurant, or planning her next travel adventure.

 

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Win: The North Face Ultimate Trail Running Pack

Are you itching to blaze your own trail?  We have the giveaway to stoke your fire for outdoor fitness!

We’re partnering with The North Face, maker of top quality outerwear and outerwear (and Chicago’s God send for winter coats), to get you on your path with a prize pack including entry to The North Face Endurance Challenge Series Wisconsin and your own trail running kit.  You gotta look good hitting those trails.

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Trace the Trail History

The North Face Endurance Challenge Series is the largest trail running series in the world.  The series of weekend race festivals takes place between April and December in six locations across North America. Remaining races are in Ontario, Wisconsin, Utah and California.  With 7 distance options ranging from 5K to 50 miles and a Kid’s 1K race, there’s something for everyone, from beginning to hardcore runners.

You may even catch a peek of ultrarunning stars from The North Face athlete team, including Dean Karnazes, Rob Krar, Dylan Bowman and Rory Bosio, at one of the events…perhaps flying past you on their way to their finish line.

This famous race series bloomed from Dean Karnazes’ 2006 quest to run 50 marathons, in 50 states, in 50 consecutive days (say whaaaaa!?).  Nearly 90,000 runners have participated since the inception of The North Face Endurance Challenge.  Wanna learn more about what would inspire someone to run 50+ miles?  Check out our interview with ultrarunner, Rob Krar here.

Train for the Trails

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Need trail training buds?  Take advantage of free coached workouts with The North Face Mountain Athletics Training Events in Boston, New York, Chicago, Washington D.C. or San Francisco.  Mountain Athletics Trainers, like our sponsor trainer Lauren Fairbanks in Chicago, accept you where you are at and push you to be your best…even if you huff and puff to run a quarter mile.  Ready yourself with tips and tricks for getting fit with upcoming guest posts from Lauren!

 

Ready for Race Details

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What: The North Face Endurance Challenge Wisconsin

When: September 18-19, 2016

Where: Kettle Moraine State Park in Wisconsin (free parking provided as well as free nature!)

Race Options: GORE-TEX® 50 Mile, 50K, Marathon, Marathon Relay and Kid’s 1K race held on Saturday, and the Half Marathon, 10K, 5K races and Kid’s 1K race on Sunday

Check out our awesome 1st 5K trail run experience and tips for The North Face Endurance Challenge at Kettle Moraine here.  We aren’t quite at that 50 mile distance yet, but you can run with us in the 10K trail run through gorgeously wooded Kettle Moraine State Park.

Ready to Win

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Our goodies at 2015 Endurance Race Challenge

YOUR PRIZE: One free registration  for any distance (worth between $35-$95) in the Kettle Moraine State Park, Wisconsin Event  September 17-18, and a training kit (shirt, shorts, shoes and running jacket…worth a lot of moolah!).   Check out our pictures to see examples of what your kit might contain.  We absolutely love our The North Face fuzzy warm hats, rain proof jackets and tough trail running shoes and are sure you’ll love yours too!

Contest Duration: Contest runs June 3rd through July 3rd

How to enter: Send an email to us at chiorganicgirls@gmail.com with the subject line “Endurance Challenge – I want to run” and share why you want to run The North Face Endurance Challenge.  Best entry wins!

Free Workouts in the New Year: Part 1

If you are living on a tight budget OR aren’t quite clear even where to start with jumping in the fitness “pool”, these fitness activities are free, fun and can guide you in the right direction to feel more calm, strong and the bomb in 2016!

Strength Training

If your goals include muscling it up or toning it down, these indoor, outdoor and online options can fuel your fitness fire.

Nike Training Club Chicago

Train with top Chicago fitness professionals in classes ranging from barre to HIT in addition to speed, endurance and long distance run training. Nike Training Club Chicago supported super fabulous events last year like Train with Hart, a 5K run with Kevin Hart, and #getouthere, a temporary Chicago river front workout facility to withstand the Chicago chill.  Need a little help sorting through your fitness goals? Sign up for an exclusive Resolutions Consultation with a Nike fitness pro and get athletic coaching advice for nada dollars.  Join and sign up for workouts here.

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North Face Mountain Athletics

Cold air, they don’t care.  North Face continues their free Mountain Athletics outdoor workouts Tuesday at Lincoln Park and Thursday at Millennium Park even in the winter.  If you are looking for a challenge, this is for you!

Each session, led by two The North Face trainers, prep you for outdoor goals.  Sign up here.

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Chicago Park District

Looking for something local?  Check out your nearby Chicago Park district building this week, January 2nd-10th, for free boxing, swimming, aerobic exercise and more.

Target Commit to Fit (with Adam Rosante and Idalis Velazquez)

It takes at least 21 days to start a habit so Target wants to bolster your fit meter with a free 21 day Commit to Fit workout program.  Adam Rosante, certified athletic trainer, and author of “The 30 Second Body: Eat Clean, Train Dirty & Live Hard” and Idalis Velazquez, founder of IV Fitness LLC and the creator of the PowerUP60 training method, power through with you by leading a series of Target Youtube videos for abs, cardio and strength.

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Dance

ARC Chicago

Join in a Dance Free for All January 5th-10th with the American Rhythm Center Chicago.  Classes ranging from Tap, Break dancing, African Dance, Bollywood, Afro-Haitian and much more are all free!

Dance Fitness with Jessica

These short, high energy dance routines are lead and follow style but still could be club ready with practice.  Jessica Bass starting a small group dance class in Knoxville, TN that expanded to hundreds of free Youtube videos in addition to a purchasable fitness program.  Lace up your dancing shoes and prepare to werk.

If you don’t have twinkle toe or muscle head genes, stayed tuned for Part 2 of our Free Workout posts: Yoga and Running!

 

Tips for Trekking Your First Trail Run

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Now that Race-tober has come to a close, we’ve had a chance to reflect on all the “firsts” we’ve experienced this month: Monica ran her first 10K, Run 10 Feed 10, Kate took her sister to her first 5k, a very rainy yet triumphant Monster Dash and one of our most memorable races, our first trail run with the The North Face Endurance Challenge at Kettle Moraine State Park.  The North Face went above and beyond in sponsoring us, not only giving us sweet race gear before the race, but also surprising us with a backpack full of running essentials once we made our way to our hotel.

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For anyone who has been running 5Ks for a while or would love to just get out in nature more, we think a trail run could hit both those spots.

Here are some things we learned from our experience:

These shoes were made for trailin’

Invest in a pair of trail shoes.  Your feet will thank you for your generosity.  When we first received our North Face Ultra MT trail shoes, we noticed how stiff they were as compared to our norm runners.  A wise friend explained that trail running shoes and more hearty with more tread so you have better grip and can withstand stepping on wily rocks and sticks that may try to block your path.  These shoes are also waterproof to withstand wet and muddy trails.

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Climbing every mountain 

The environment of trails can vary from run to run.  You may find well groomed trails, wild overgrown ones, or paved trails in your travels.  You may find you require more stamina and time to trail run than what you’re used to so don’t feel discouraged if you are slower paced than your average pavement jaunt.

Dress to impress–the wilderness

The weather the day of our trail run was not exactly what you would expect for early October but Midwest weather is like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates, ya never know what you’re gonna get.  Chilly and brisk was the name of the running game for our race day.  Keeping in mind that we were going through the woods, we wore layers.  For rain, try a light or medium weight rain jacket, like The North Face Women’s Venture Jacket.  Trust us, don’t wear your poncho to run unless you want to sweat like a wild hog as you swish through the wilderness.

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And some advice from the trail running pros!

Runner’s World: 21 Quick Trail Running Tips

Active.com: 9 Trail Running Tips for Beginners

Trail Runner: The 10 Commandments of Healthy Running

Ready, set, go!

You can still take on the North Face Endurance Challenge in California, Washington D.C. and New York or try an Illinois trail run if you’re our neighbors.

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Still trail shy?

The North Face offers their free Mountain Athletics training sessions every Tuesday and Thursday in Boston, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Washington D.C. to help you prep for your next ski jump, rock climb, run or crazy jazz hand competition…whatever your goal may be.

Fit, Free and Fun for Spring

Finally!  Events are starting to pick up and Chicago is bringing it’s S game.  Super. Spectacular. Spring.

We are so excited to share some of our secret spring events this week to put that sprang back in your step.

Tuesday April 14th (Lincoln Monument) and Thursday April 15th (Pritzker Pavilion) and every Tues, Thurs in April

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North Face Mountain Athletics

We got our first taste of Mountain Athletics at the kickoff event at the end of March on a clear 50 degree day and man, we didn’t know what to expect.  Our duo of personal trainers explained that each week focuses on a different body area all while integrating the core.  We went through a series of intervals all using our own body weight.  Exercise sets can be modified to fit your level of fitness which makes the workout approachable yet challenging.  We loved the partner exercises so bring a pal and get ready to sweat.

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Tuesday 4/14 (and Tuesday nights each week)

BENDER FLAVOR LAB

Calling all house heads slash yogis!  Bender Flavor Lab serves up a hot serving of unique fitness and jams each Tuesday at the Lab Dance Studio.  Each week holds a different theme and DJ set but always gives you snacks and water in an urban street art styled loft space.

Bonus: Free Cone Day at Ben and Jerry’s on Tuesday 4/14!

Wednesday April 15th

Big City Blonde and Goldplaited presents a trivia and pampering event: “Blondes vs. Brunettes”.  Get competitive, red heads and dark locked people can rock the trivia too.  Participants can win glam make up prizes, indulge in styling and make up tutorials from Goldplaited, and obvs flex their hair color knowledge.  We need to study up!  Rsvp here.

Friday April 17th (through Sunday April 19th)

Pure Barre is is partnering with Real Simple for a “Beauty & Balance” Weekend April 17-19.  Stop by any of the participating locations to take a “Pure & Simple” specialty class.  To register for one of these special classes, please visit the local studio page and find the “Real Simple’s ‘Pure & Simple’ Class” on your studio’s schedule and click “Sign Up Now.”  New clients are welcome to try a complimentary class using the promo code “REALSIMPLE” – make sure to select the “Real Simple Class” option and enter this promo code upon checkout.

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Saturday April 18

It is time to Live Out Loud Everyday with Lole Activewear.  In celebration of the new Lole Southport location, they are having a grand opening party and fashion show brunch across the street at the Yoga Loft located at 1350 W Newport.  The store is directly across the street at 3434 N Southport Ave.

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image borrowed from Lole

Lole Spring/Summer Collection Preview Fashion Show
Doors Open:  10am
Show Time:  11am
Mimosa’s and brunch from Kitchfix, a $15 Lole voucher, and a Goodie Bag.  $10 Ticket donation going to CTF Children’s Tumor Foundation.

Loving Summer in Chicago: Upcoming Fun, Food and Fitness Events

Ok so our weather still isn’t too summery but the events in Chicago are in full swing!  We wanted to share all the summer goodness with ya’ll instead of keeping it for ourselves.  Here’s just a few fun, free events to keep you fit and entertained this summer.

Bikini Blast Time

Looking to get your muscles tight for your new polka dot bikini (or speedo)?  Join the Old Town Purre Barre team for a grand opening party on Thursday, June 19th from 6-8 p.m.  Pure Barre gives clients a chance to sculpt and lengthen their muscles by alternating tiny shake inducing muscle movements with stretching sequences.  Believe us, you will tighten your problem areas and wonder why such little movements can be so sweat provoking.  The grand opening party will feature drinks, light snacks, raffles as well as retail and class specials so this would be a perfect opportunity to snag a deal and step to the barre.  See the Purre Barre website for class information and more details.

Pure Barre Old Town

1350 N. Wells Street, Suite 4

Chicago, IL 60610

oldtown@purebarre.com

312.642.2922

Free Parking in the Self Park lot behind Cobbler Square is available.

 

Getting in Touch with Nature

Are you a city kid with country dreams?  The North Face, the well known outdoor clothing brand, and our beloved Chicago Park District are doing outreach to help us urbanites learn to camp in under our unforgettable Chicago skyline.  Events may feature camping basics, fishing skills and  nature hikes, or even spooky campfire tales lead by Chicago Park District staff.  Visit the website to register and more information.  Registration is mandatory to attend.

There are several spots to learn and set your gear down throughout the summer:

  • July 26-27: Northerly Island
  • August 9-10: Garfield Park Conservatory
  • August 16-17: Calumet Park
  • September 13-14: Gompers Park
  • September 20-21: CCFP Bullfrog Lake
  • September 27-28: Northerly Island
  • October 11: Family Adventure Day

Activity Guides from North Face are also available to give you the low down on other fun park events.

http://exploreyourparks.com/pdf/Chicago_EYP_Download.pdf

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Relax and Recharge in the Burbs

Grab some mini massages, snacks, and behind the scenes tours (OH MY!)  of the brand new Massage Envy Spa Mount Prospect, at their Grand Opening event on Tuesday, June 17 from 5-6:30 p.m.  Email massageenvy@heronpr.com to RSVP to the event.  (Text modified from Heron PR)

Movies and More under the Stars

Chicago Park District continues to bring free Movies in the Parks until early fall and that includes our beloved Millennium Park every Tuesday evenings and one bonus movie on Sunday, June 29th.  Click here to search the nearest park in Chicago.  This year Chicago Park District will also showcase the first Chicago on Screen which will feature locally-produced independent, documentary and short films around Chicago.
Wanna snuggle with a Lion during your show?  Ok that might be dangerous, but you can get up close and personal with the animals of Lincoln Park zoo and then catch a flick afterwards with Zoovies!  General admission is free but you can upgrade to VIP package for snacks, drinks and surprises.
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Photo Credit: MLK Photographs

Summer Bites

Chicago’s most romantic restaurant Geja’s Café will celebrate its 49th Anniversary Sunday, June 29 through Friday, July 4.  Guests will receive 49% off all food bills and can take part in Geja’s 5th annual recipe contest and 4th annual poetry challenge during the 6-day anniversary celebration. Guests are encouraged to compose original poetry about their experiences at Geja’s over the years.  Aspiring fondue foodies are invited to submit an original dipping sauce to accompany Geja’s signature meats and seafood entrée.  The winners from each contest will win a dinner for 6 with selected premium wines.  For more information or to make a reservation, visit www.gejascafe.com.  (Text provided by Heron PR)