Tag: 5k

A Runner’s Guide to Maintenance

Running is a very dynamic sport that involves several different joints to function in correct alignment to absorb and react to impact efficiently. A routine that strengthens to prevent injury, creates length, reinforces proper movement patterns, and treats or prevents inflammation can help you become a stronger and safer runner.

Mobility warm ups:
A general warm up might be too limited to maintain proper strength, flexibility, and stabilizer activation. Here are a few extra movements for optimal joint function.


  • Using a combo balance board for ankle circles, lateral and medial motion, and forward and back wobble motion. If you do not have a balance board, you can do multidirectional toe taps, ABC’s, or ankle circles.


  • Move from a hurdler’s stretch position to a track start position with the toes up to warm up and lengthen the front and back of the hips. An alternative is forward and back leg swings.
  • Folding forward touch down to an elevated surface like a step, or grab under the toes and transition from the forward fold to a deep squat with knees out and the heels up while using the arms to stretch the inner thighs and groin area. An alternative is a lateral leg swing, pendulum motion. Make sure that you are warmed up properly for this kind of motion.
  • Figure 8’s or circles can be done in a controlled movement or in a ballistic leg swing. Make sure to maintain a neutral spine and tight core for safety.


  • Move from a flexed spine into extension on the floor, or use a resistance band or stability ball for added traction.
  • Lateral bends reaching up and over done in a controlled movement lengthen major muscles, such as: lats, quadratus lumborum, and the psoas.
  • Lateral twists can be done in a ballistic motion from the arms or lying down with the legs as windshield wipers.

When it comes to an exercise routine make sure you have these simple, yet important basics in your repertoire.

  • A leg strengthener that is general and highly effective for spinal integrity, core strength and proper length/ tension relationships of the body is a barbell squat. This can be done with light weight body bars and can progress from there.
  • An upper body strengthener that utilizes core and shoulder stabilizers is a pushup. You can do a ball pushup using the stability ball under the hands for added activation and increased difficulty.
  • Chin-ups or pull-ups counter-effect shoulder elevation that is common in runners and again integrate a lot of core and stabilization.
  • An overhead shoulder press is good not only for shoulder stability, but range of motion and health of the shoulder joint. If you are doing this correctly with complete range, you should be able to extend the elbows straight with the weights held directly above you without extension at the lower back or shoulder elevation.
  • Core or spinal stabilizers have the greatest importance for endurance athletes. A plank or leg lifts for added psoas activation are great choices for runners.

Strength and mobility aspects of fitness are important to maintain as a runner to complement your running program. In addition, proper flexibility and massage will keep the body healthy and will aid in recovery. If you have additional questions, or would like more advanced options please contact personal fitness trainer Amber Walz.

How do I choose the best running route for me?

Whether you are a casual runner looking for a quick and easy jog, or you are an experienced marathon runner looking to tackle a lengthy, challenging course, Seattle has much to offer to help you achieve your fitness goals.

Although it may seem easy enough for some to just get out there and hit the streets, there are several obstacles that may discourage many individuals from achieving their fitness goals. Here are some things that all runners should keep in mind while searching for the right running course:


  • Make sure while running at night, you are in a well-lit atmosphere.
  • Avoid running in high-crime neighborhoods and/or parks.
  • Get familiar with new courses and its surroundings. You are likely to get lost in unfamiliar territory.


  • Be very cautious while running in the rain. Your chances of injury rise considerably while running on slippery surfaces like manhole covers and street grates.
  • Running in extreme heat may cause heat exhaustion and/or heat stroke.


  • Gravel and outdoor trails me be unfamiliar surfaces to many individuals. Be cautious while running downhill and avoid taking long strides. This will decrease your chances of sliding and causing serious injury.
  • While running along busy city streets, keep clear of potholes and construction sites.

Hydration and proper footwear

  • Staying hydrated is crucial while undergoing any kind of cardiovascular exercise.
  • Running in parks and neighborhoods with designated water stations would be ideal.
  • Having the right footwear is also a very important element while running. Cross trainer or running shoes are a must. Don’t wear your casual everyday sneakers while running long distances.
  • Consult your local shoe store for questions and concerns about what shoe works best for you.

Keeping all of these factors in mind and with a little research from the helpful sites listed below, finding the best running route no matter where you live should be quite easy. These sites will include course length, terrain, and a detailed map for your convenience. If you are not looking for a running route in Seattle, these sites will still be able to help you chose the right course.


If you live in or around Seattle, The Seattle Athletic Club – Downtown is a great point to begin your cardio workout. Here are some recommended routes to consider:

  • Myrtle Edwards Park: head down Lenora St. and walk down the flight of stairs; across the street you’ll find the great Puget Sound; start heading north and continue until you hit the Sculpture Park and eventually Eliot Bay Park.
  • For an intense, uphill climb, make your way up to 1st. Ave; continue south until you find Madison St; this is a steep and challenging hill that will eventually take you up to Capital hill.

Seattle Athletic Club Runners Take on the Mercer Island Half Marathon!

Let the race season begin!!!

Kicking off the 2011 local race season, we had an amazing showing at the Mercer Island 5K, 10K and half Marathon. And a super kick-off it was with over 32 athletes racing, we were a pack to be reckoned with! The sun was shining and so were all of our athletes with some superb performances! Plenty of fantastic races, course PR’s, top placements, and race debuts made it a very memorable day for all!

While there was plenty of pre and post race laughter and kidding around, the MI courses are no joke! The courses have more ups, downs, turns, and bends in them than a roller-coaster! And just when you think that you have hit all the hills and rollers you could, there is that last little steep climb to the finish that is placed there like a bad joke but oh so exhilarating when you crest the top and sprint that 30yds down to the finish line!

Congrats to all of those who raced your performances were amazing and inspiring out there! And of course always a big thanks to the support systems out there cheering them all on! Your cheers of encouragement are the secret weapon that kept all the racers charging up those hills to the finish line! It would’ve been that much more mentally difficult out there without all of that positive energy to keep our athletes moving forward. Your cheers are what helped to give all the racers that boost when we really need it out there!
We look forward to seeing you all out there at the many races to come this season creating more fabulous memories!!!

SAC’s roster of speedy racers – keep up the great work!
½ Marathon:

  • Amanda Camp – 2:00:16 (9:11)
  • Chuck Cathey – 1:43:45 (7:55)
  • Bridget Jones Cressman – 1:35:24 (7:17)
  • Ethan Morris – 1:54:20 (8:44)
  • Patricia Nakamura – 1:51:12 (8:29)
  • Mike Podell – 1:31:25 (6:59)


  • Chad Baker – 49:51 (8:02)
  • Mark Longman – 52:16 (8:25)
  • Elizabeth Martin – 47:48 (7:42)
  • Kirsten Nesholm – 44:20 (7:08)
  • Lisa Ohge – 51:08 (8:14)
  • Tammi Westphal – 59:14 (9:32)


  • Teresa Nelson – 22:25 (7:14)

Spring Into Running with a Balanced Body

As spring approaches, we get excited about enjoying outdoor activities here in the Pacific Northwest, including running. It’s easy! Just grab a pair of running shoes and head out the door! But have you ever jumped into a running regime, only to find yourself nursing an injury a few weeks or months down the road? Whether you are new to running or training for yet another marathon, look for ways to cross-train for a balanced body so you can enjoy running all season long.

Most runners know that it is critical to have a strong core, back, hips, and pelvic muscles, but what is the best way to achieve that? One option for this cross training is Pilates. Pilates is a series of exercises given to you by an instructor who learns your weaknesses and tight areas, and then develops a program based on those needs of stretching and strengthening.

I’ve noticed that runners are generally good at Pilates; they seem to know how to engage their gluteals (bottom muscles) and are aware of their core/abdominals. However, runners also tend to have tight quadriceps (thighs) and hip flexors, as well as weak hamstrings (back of legs) and inner thighs. These imbalances in the muscles of the legs and hips can potentially cause pain and injury for runners, especially the knee, hip, ankle and foot.

Pilates helps to balance things out in the legs by strengthening the hamstrings, inner thighs, and gluteals to take pressure off the front and side of the leg, leading to better alignment and less chance of injury. Plus the hip, abdominal and back strengthening exercises help to maintain better stability and alignment through the entire body while running.

The best way to learn what your body specifically needs is to meet with a Pilates Instructor one-on-one. But, in the meantime, some at-home exercises you could start today include the following:

1) The Hundred

2) The Abdominal Series of five

  • Single leg stretch
  • Double leg stretch
  • Single straight leg stretch
  • Double straight leg stretch
  • Criss-cross

3) The Swimming

A balanced body will result in better performance, quicker recovery, and less chance of injury so you can enjoy running all season long.

Strength Training for Endurance Athletes

Endurance training works one of two physiological energy production systems in our body; the aerobic cardio respiratory system, while resistance or strength training works our anaerobic energy system. Energy is used primarily in the muscle fibers, often referred to as the slow twitch and fast twitch fibers. The aerobic system trains our type I muscle fibers, which are more densely packed with mitochondria which utilize oxygen to make ATP. Meanwhile, the type II resistance fibers create ATP in the absence of oxygen by splitting molecules. Since many sports and other events rely more heavily on one type of fiber more than the other, athletes and the general public often train for that specificity. Most the population is composed of each fiber type by a 50:50 split, but specificity in training can shift the ratio of fibers either way slightly.

What happens when an endurance runner trains not just for their endurance abilities but also for strength simultaneously?

There have been multiple studies on this topic, with some studies suggesting that training simultaneously with both strength and endurance takes away from the optimal performance of one to improve the other, meaning you can be highly trained for endurance or just moderately trained for both strength and endurance, or vice versa. However, in opposition to many of those studies, others have tweaked the study method in finding how both can be trained for the benefit of improving upon an already trained ability. That is to say, if a runner was to train aerobically and then perform strength exercises used in running, would they improve? In the Journal of Strength and Conditioning, one of many studies was conducted on well trained endurance runners on how the addition of strength training to endurance training would affect stride ability. Groups were assigned to a periodized sport specific strength conditioning program with endurance (strength exercises changed each week), a consistent sport specific strength conditioning program with endurance (same workout), and an endurance only group. They found that the combination of periodized strength conditioning program with endurance training greatly resisted fatigue in overall strides than both the other groups. The exercises were sport specific to running, including squats, calf raises, hamstrings, and others. Many studies done on cyclists, soccer players, and rowers suggest the same findings.

There are several things to note on how this training would optimize performance. Strength was done at sub maximal weights and moderate repetitions – never to fatigue. This type of training will train the muscles for more endurance prolonged use, while enhancing strength. In the case of the runners the addition of strength increases the threshold of fatigue that the muscles endure by improving power. More muscular strength in the leg muscles contribute to greater power in each stride the runner takes. With that said, the studies in which competitors improved both modes of exercise were all trained with sport specific muscle groups. For instance a competing runner would not want to bulk their upper body like a rower might; it would only take away from their running ability. Studies among the general population show that those who want to improve health should train both modes for better overall conditioning. Strength and endurance training does not seem to negate one or the other for improving health and rehabilitation, but for those with an athletic specific goal, remaining sport specific is key.

Overtraining: Know When to Say “When”

Most SAC members new to exercise may think that their biggest issue to becoming more fit will be getting the motivation to work out more and become more active in general; but in reality a more common problem is the exact opposite… overtraining. Overtraining is when the volume, load, or repetition causes the negative effects (chronic soreness, joint ailments, etc) of exercise to outweigh the positives. This occurs whenever quality of motion is not the priority.

For some reason most gym goers have a set weight, mileage, rep number, or time that they MUST get to achieve their fitness goals. Focusing on such things and disregarding your quality of motion will eventually catch up to you. No matter if it is weight lifting, running, or yoga, too many movements without competent form will have a negative effect on your musculoskeletal system. Executing any movement without biomechanical efficiency will cause one muscle group, or more, to do way more work that it was designed to. If your back is rounded under a barbell back squat your low back will take the brunt of the movement. If you are not landing softly when you run, the bones and muscles in the feet and ankle will pay the price. This will initially cause some soreness from the overworked muscle. Sore muscles are muscles that are dehydrated and unable to lengthen and contract in a flowing manner. Continuing to stress these sore muscles not only promotes improper mechanics but also invites injury. Whatever calorie burn or muscle pump you achieve in that particular workout will be overshadowed by the damage you do to your body.

The brutal irony is that an over trained individual is bound and determined to improve their overall health and they are in fact speeding up the aging process. One of the first images that come to mind when the word “old” is mentioned is a hunched over, stiff and shuffling figure. Unfortunately age isn’t the only contributing factor to this type of appearance. Faulty movements such as poor running and lifting mechanics can “age” the human body past its years. So all the hours spent in the gym in hopes to slow down the hands of time can actually be speeding them up.

The most disconcerting thing about overtraining is an over trained individual is hardly aware of their condition. Here are some clear cut signs that someone is over trained…

1) Chronic Soreness
This is a huge red flag that your posture and movements leave a lot to be desired. “No pain, no gain” holds absolutely no water. Soreness means you lacked the skill and strength to perform your movements competently. Soreness is expected when you switch activities, increase load, or mileage. This shouldn’t be a constant condition.

2) Decrease in Performance
Are your mile times getting slower? Is your bench press going down in weight? The point of training is to increase performance. If you are not progressing in your activity you are just abusing your body. If your performance is lacking continuing to train in the same manner will only worsen the matter.

3) Lack of Energy
Are you plodding through your runs? Do your arms feel like lead when you try and lift your weights? Do you feel wiped out after each workout? If you answered “yes” to any of the above consider yourself over trained.

So before you throw in the towel and quit the gym, take a deep breath and relax. There is hope. Avoiding overtraining is a rather straight forward process. Just follow these three simple rules to recover from and avoid overtraining.

Every mode of exercise deserves respect. There is a reason there are Yoga and Pilates instructors and weight lifting and running coaches. These professionals don’t get credentials for merely participating in their craft for “x” amount of time. They know each movement they teach inside and out. In addition they are capable of transferring that knowledge to a wide variety of clientele. If you aren’t getting the desired effect from your current activities get professional help. A trainer or instructor can make adjustments to technique and programming that can often dig you out of your current training rut.

Do not just add more weight to your squat just to lift more weight. Add weight only when the current weight you are lifting can be performed with meticulous form. Don’t just add miles to your running route. Only add mileage when you can finish your current distance with some speed and grace. Exercise isn’t about loading up the weight or running farther; it is about mastering your movements and becoming a more efficient moving human being. If the load your lifting compromises your form or if your feel like you are plodding through you current mileage STOP!!! Only advance when you have earned it with skill, poise and power.

The body needs time to recuperate. Though this amount of time will differ from athlete to athlete it is always a must. If you are feeling tired and lethargic take a day or two off. Take that time to foam roll, stretch, get some down time and relax. A fully recovered body can perform at peak levels. Coming back strong in the gym far outweighs plodding through seven days a week of mediocre workouts.

When it comes to our health, most of us would do anything to keep it. Sometimes this creates a drive to do as much as possible all the time, creating an over-trained body feeling chronic soreness, with decreased performance and energy levels. Take a step back and look at your current exercise regime, if you see any or all of these happening try getting a coached, master your form before increasing the load and make sure you give your body ample time to rest and repair itself. If you have any questions please feel free to contact any of the Seattle Athletic Club’s Fitness staff or contact the Fitness Director Jacob Galloway.

Tips to Become a Successful Multisport Athlete: #10 Visualization/Believing

The great athletes know when they have given their best, put in the time, listened to their bodies and believe that they are ready. They show up on race day to execute what they have prepared to do all season and nothing distracts them from this mission. The race becomes the “easy” part because the “hard” work has already been done. They have mentally and physically prepared themselves for their race and have no doubts. I know an athlete is ready when they can give me a detailed description of how their race will unfold to a T. They have it all lined up, have visualized it over and over and know exactly how they will feel, look and breathe each step of the way.

Train on, keep believing, follow your journey.

If you are interested in beginning training, or you are ready to take your training to the next level, contact Teresa Nelson to begin.

Tips to Become a Successful Multisport Athlete: #9 REST

Great athletes know when it is time to REST. It is a balance of work, family, play and train. Athletes forget to REST when training is not calling and good athletes know when it is time to put the legs up . Recovery is also the additional element on swim/bike/run!

If you are interested in beginning training, or you are ready to take your training to the next level, contact Teresa Nelson to begin.

Sports Massage for Runners

Sports massage combines techniques including deep tissue, Swedish and therapeutic massage. It reduces muscle and joint tension in the legs, hips feet as well as shoulders and neck- the entire body. Sports massage is a way to flush out the lactic acid that’s produced when we run or repeatedly use our muscles. This waste can build up and cause soreness as time goes by. Removing it speeds up recovery and increases flexibility, and that can improve our performance and just make us move relaxed and happy. Sports massage can be a very effective treatment, along with strength training, stretching and nutrition, for runners with aches and pains.

A runner’s world article on sports massage from August 2004 gives examples of athletes who benefit from this treatment. A 49 year old was training for her 49th marathon, which would put her on target to reach 50 marathons by the age 50. “If it weren’t for massage, I wouldn’t be able to do this.” Says Loretta Ulibarri, a runner form Denver. “I’ve had a lot of inflammation problems and ongoing soreness that interfered with my training. Ten years ago, I started getting a sports massage every 3 weeks, and since then, I’ve been injury-free and able to train year round.”

Dave Deigan is a runner from Sonoma, California who puts in 25 miles a week, and gets massage every other Thursday. “Since I Started getting massages 5 years ago, the chronic tightness in my calves has disappeared, and I’m not getting injured.” This has support in the medical community, as well. Lewis G. says “as far as injuries go, massage is the icing on the cake. Massage can supplement physical therapy as an effective injury treatment.”

When should on get massage? Therapists often recommend a weekly or bi weekly session, but every athlete is different. For some, once a month or six weeks is sufficient. When the legs feel tired or heavy or if there is inflammation, it is time to see a massage therapist. After a hard work out or a race, schedule an appointment 24-36 hours later. An ice bath soon after resting for a day or two, your body will be more then ready for a sports massage.

If you have any questions about massage for runners, ask any of the therapists at the Seattle Athletic Club, And weather you need a maintenance session, a post-race massage or injury treatment, we are available to help.

Tips to Become a Successful Multisport Athlete: #8 Communication and Logging Workouts

Communication and Logging Workouts
Documenting your journey, your workouts, your successes during training, along with the things that didn’t go so well, helps you and your coach see where you are going and what can be improved. If you look back on track workouts from months prior or the year prior and see your improvements then it should give you that extra confidence to know you are showing improvements. Most athletes use the races alone to determine their success, as a coach we see the stuff going on day in and day out that are making you a better athlete. Write down your journey, it is fun to look back to see how far you have come.

If you are interested in beginning training, or you are ready to take your training to the next level, contact Teresa Nelson to begin.