In honor of National Runners Safety month (November) I will be giving away one of my favorite running vests. I am a big advocate for runner safety especially at this time of year when there are limited daylight hours and I often see people outside exercising in the dark. It’s so important to be seen! This Tracer 360 vest is the best! It makes you visible from all angles (thus “360”). It also doesn’t rely on reflection only so cars can see you from a distance. I use this while cycling and running in low light conditions. I like to use the flashing light feature as we are competing with drivers attention now with cell phone/text use. This is so worth your safety and peace-of-mind. Please share this information with a friend you care about!
~ Coach “Blonde Runner” – Lora Erickson
Visit Blonde Runner Health on Facebook and learn how you can win one
If you don’t win you can still use the code BLONDERUN to save 15% (they are so popular they are on backorder right now). Order One
A new USAT Sanctioned Winter Triathlon – The Nordic Valley Triathlon (run, bike and xc ski) will be offered in Northern Utah. This race will be held at the New Nordic Valley Ski Resort (Formerly Wolf Mountain) 20 min from Ogden on Feb. 28, 2015. Run 3.1 Miles from the top of the lift down the hill on packed snow, Bike 6.2 Miles on paved road (alt if ice on roads), XC Ski 3.1 on groomed golf course. Duathlon and Run only options are available and most Wilderness Recs will rent XC Skis for cheap (Weber State, USU, UofU Etc). This sounds fun for all you snow lovers out there!
Learn more about the event
Visit Blonde Runner Health on Facebook and learn how you can win an entry.
Today (November 13th) is a significant day for me. It is the day I had my first baby and she lived 5 hours and died. It is the reason that I offered the annual Race For Grief event each year. To honor my Samantha’s birthday I would like to extend a $10 discount for the 10K and 5K for today only. Just use the code HBSAM (Happy Birthday Sam). I hope you with join us on Memorial Day to honor your loved ones. Visit RaceForGrief.com to learn more.
Coach Lora Erickson
So, what are athletes looking for when it comes to races? After doing hundreds of races over the 30 years I have competed in running, cycling, swimming and triathlons events and being a race director myself; as well as a coach I have heard the complaints of unhappy race experiences. I think it’s fair to say I know a thing or two about what athletes are looking for or expect on race day.
Athletes want a well-organized race
This might seem obvious but races need to be well thought out and planned with a website that is easy to navigate and that provides complete information; like race start time, route map, packet pick up information, registration link etc… The more details the better. I am surprised to see so many races miss including obvious information. A well-organized packet pick-up is also helpful.
Trained Volunteers & Clearly Marked Courses
We have all heard the horror stories of volunteers sending racers in the wrong direction. I have raced in events when this has happened; and yes while it’s the responsibility of the racer to know the route, many do not, and rely on volunteers directing them. The worst feeling and performance killer to have in a race is not to be sure where to go. Clearly marked signs that point the right way are helpful in addition to having trained volunteers and staff on the route. An updated race route map should be available on the race website and preferably downloadable so athletes can study and understand the course.
It’s sad to see race directors take the time to plan everything out only to have their efforts foiled by a poorly trained volunteer pointing people in the wrong direction. I understand that good volunteers are hard to come by but please be certain to put dependable volunteers or even paid staff at critical points like major turns and turn around points. Taking a little time to train the volunteers properly will undoubtedly earn you return racers year after year.
Note to Athletes: Call to Volunteers
If you are an athlete that enjoys races every year then I encourage you to volunteer to help out at least once a year. Races don’t happen without volunteers and even small races may need over thirty volunteers. I urge you to do your part to contribute to the racing community. Also, be dependable for the race director. I know the frustrations and last minute scrambles because of no-shows.
Well Stocked Aid Stations
Races that skimp on aid station refreshments will find unhappy racers. Not only are they unhappy because there is nothing left when they get there but it can also be dangerous for racers. I have see poorly planned half marathons in the heat run out of water only to yield heat stroke victims and more liability concerns. Stock the aide stations and get nutrition sponsor support if needed. It’s much better to have left overs than not enough food. Let the athletes get all they need and more and you will have return racers. Note to athletes: Be reasonable in your “helping” size. There are others after you.
Communication & Accessibility
Sending out a reminder email with details, even if outlined on website can help racers feel more confident understanding critical data like were to be on race morning, where to pick-up their number, timing chip etc… This can serve to get them excited about the event and can eliminate excessive emails with questions. A link to a FAQ section is helpful to avoid excessive calls or texts. Make it easier for athletes to attend the event and they will have a better experience and want to come again. If they have a question, they should also know how to get ahold of someone to ask it with an available email address or question form. Volunteers should also have a phone number to call in case of an emergency etc. on race day.
If you state that no-headphones are allowed then enforce it. I realize nobody wants to be the “bad-guy” and enforce rules but doing this usually gains respect and establishes rules to keep racers safe. I enjoy triathlons that enforce USAT rules much better than the free-for-all races. I also appreciate race management companies that don’t allow spectators into the transition area. This is dangerous and often spectators in the transition area get in the way of racers and I have even seen many tripping over them and running into them. Under the USAT rules outside assistance isn’t allowed (handing them water bottles, shoes etc…), so it makes sense that spectators should be just that and not aide the racers any more than cheering for them. Keeping people that shouldn’t be in transition area out also helps ensure the safety and security of racers equipment. I have heard about a very expensive bike that was stolen right out of transition and the event company had no way of tracking who took what out of transition. I think its great when races make you show your bib number and make sure it matches up with the number on your bike when you exit with it and your gear. This makes me feel more confident that my bike will be there when I get back.
Note to Athletes: Follow the rules. Don’t try to “get-away” with things. Rules keep everyone safe.
Start on Time
I realize there are some things out of the control of race directors that might warrant a change of the start time (trains keeping people from getting there, weather issues, timing equipment issues etc…) but for the most part racers are anxious to start. Often they time their nutrition and warm-up based on start times and when they are delayed this can be frustrating. So, do you best to start at the time that was indicated on the event web site. Also, make acknowledgements and instructions before the event brief. People are nervous and just want to get started.
Support a Cause
In Utah the market seems to be saturated with race events. There are so many to choose from each weekend and I find that racers are wanting more than just a race. They want an experience and want to do something more valuable that just race. Many athletes want to help someone or be part of something great. For instance, the annual Memorial Day Race For Grief event I organize each year helps raise awareness for those coping with grief and helps me honor a daughter I lost many years ago. The number of participants has grown each year, while many other events are losing participants. There are many athletes out there that want to do something for someone else and honor others with their efforts. Sometimes it’s nice to be part of an event because it’s more than just a race.
Make it a Social Party
Many athletes race to enjoy the camaraderie, music and great vibes that racing brings. It’s fun to share experiences with others and feel like you belong to a community of athletes. It’s a place to meet up with others that share the same passion. Offer things that allow people to share their experiences, like race finish metals, Instagram contests, tattoos, face paint, picture posing opportunities by a banner or fun sign etc. This is all great for marketing too.
About the Author: Coach Lora Erickson aka Blonde Runner is a USATF certified running coach and triathlete who loves to help people get fit and train for racing events. She also offers a variety of community classes and on-line training programs. She has a true passion for coaching and health promotion. To learn more visit www.BlondeRunner.com
Check out this great video of last years Race For Grief event. We hope you will join us in 2015 on Memorial Day (Monday May 25).
Registration is open on active.com
To learn more visit RaceForGrief.com
Join the Team Blonde Runner (TBR)!
Looking to be coached? If so, join the team. This team training is for beginner to intermediate athletes and will focus on the sprint & Olympic distance triathlons. A Half Ironman Training program is also available. Men & women of all hair colors can join in the fun – so you don’t have to be blonde to be part of the team (grin). Enjoy the camaraderie of group training while making lasting friendships and getting in great shape. If you are new to triathlons, or want to improve your performance, this group is for you. All aspects of the triathlon will be covered; including nutrition, transitions, racing strategies, distance & open water swimming, structured cycling workouts, running training, group rides, open water swims etc… Limited spots. No Sunday workouts will be given or supported. To learn more about how you can become a team member, contact Coach Lora Erickson aka Blonde Runnerat 801-608-5516, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are you a “coachable” athlete? Coach Lora’s coaching philosophy
Learn more about Coach Lora Erickson. Who is Blonde Runner?
Learn more about Team Blonde Runner
Coach Lora Erickson aka Blonde Runner will be offering training programs for the inaugural Lagoon Half Marathon on April 4, 2015. She will also have training programs for the 10K and 5K distances. If you’d like to join the group training programs contact her to learn more at email@example.com. Limited spots. Visit BlondeRunner.com for more details. Coach Lora Erickson is a USATF certified running coach with over 29 years of athletic experience. She is also a nationally ranked triathlete and has a true passion for coaching. Coach Lora would love to help you achieve your true potential. Beginners welcome and encouraged to participate. Learn more about Coach Lora.
All programs will begin in in Mid-January. To be part of the half marathon program you will need to be up to running 5-6 miles without stopping and your weekly mileage will needs to be up to a minimum of 20 miles a week. If you need help getting started before January or want to learn more about pricing and details please contact Coach Lora at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is a runner only program. If you wish to also participate in triathlons please get involved with the team triathlon training program. To learn more visit TBRTriathlon.com
By Coach Lora Erickson, BlondeRunner.com
As a coach and weight loss specialist I would say “not having enough time to exercise” is one of the most common excuses I hear among many, many others. But the fact is we are not going to have any more than 24 hours in a day so we must get more efficient at using it. I feel like some people need some convincing to take care of their health and to feel like it’s worth their time. There is no place in a healthy lifestyle for continuous excuses. Now I am not saying that illness, injury or others aren’t valid excuses but some people allow this myriad of excuses to become a barrier that prevents consistent exercise. While their reasons could be persuasive, I offer my rebuttals.
When someone says to me “Who cares, I am eventually going to die anyway. I might as well enjoy my life and eat what I want.” To these people I say; Have you seen a diabetic suffer from neuropathy, loss of fingers, or toes or event feet! Have you seen them suffer from blindness due to unmanaged diabetes? Have you seen the lasting effects of those who suffer from a heart attack because they can’t find time to get healthy? If you don’t take the time to take care of you; you are inviting illness into your life. Health will get its way, one way or another. I would much rather live, a healthy life on my own time-line than live suffering from a preventable illness. Not to mention the stress and strain these illnesses can cause to my loved ones.
To those that say, “I am too busy with my kids. They need me and besides it’s selfish to take time away from them to exercise.” I say to them exercise with your kids. I see more smiles on children’s faces when they are running around on the playground that any other time. It is in our very nature to be physical and laugh. Have them ride their bike with you when you run. When my kids were toddlers I would do jumping jacks, crunches and stretching with them. I would even “bench-press” them and they loved it! It usually ended up in a tickling match and we had a blast! The best way to teach your children how to take care of their body is to take care of your own. It’s not selfish to love yourself and care enough to treat your body right. Besides, you will be here to see your kids and grandkids grow up. What Mom or Dad doesn’t want that?
“I don’t have time because I work so many hours and go in early and/or get off late.” For several years, after college I worked in the Human Resources field and one thing that I learned is that everyone is replaceable when it comes to work. Sure, we’d all like to believe we are the most amazing employee and not replaceable; but the fact is there is always someone willing to take our place and somehow the job gets done. So, you have to ask yourself, if you didn’t have work, what would you have? The old adage “Don’t put all you’re your eggs in one basket” rings true here. Sometimes I have to remind people that there is more to life than just work. The most cheerful employees I encountered were often those that set parameters around their family and personal time. Personal time and family relationships suffer when we don’t limit work hours. Besides, exercise will help us to be more productive when we are working.
To the generic “I am too busy” I say; Just like you, I love to be busy but I have learned over the years that ‘I just can’t read every book in the library in my lifetime’. I have to choose and sometimes I even say no to things that get in the way of me taking care of my health and family. You will always have people wanting you to do this or that, but the choice is always yours. You control your life. One of my husband’s favorite quotes is “Only dead fish go with the flow.” So true. Don’t get caught up in having to do so much and be perfect. Set your sails and determine your life destination. Sometimes this requires you to say NO to some things to make room for better things in your life.
“I don’t know how or have the motivation to exercise.”
Get help. There are coaches and trainers like me that would love to teach you how to exercise properly. It’s what we find joy in doing, let us help you!
“I love food too much.”
Me too! All the more reason to exercise! There is nothing wrong with enjoying food in balance. Look up my Ninty-Ten or 90/10 rule on my website at BlondeRunner.com for tips on balanced eating. Every morsel you stuff in your mouth doesn’t have to be a superfood, but balance is important.
“I have too many health problems.”
Do you think they are going to get better by not taking care of your health? Go to your doctor, get everything figured out and take control of your health. Knowledge is power. Just because you don’t have a diagnosis from a doctor of your illness doesn’t mean it’s not causing harmful damage to your body. Don’t let what you can’t do get in the way of what you CAN do. You are your best health advocate. Take action.
“I am too tired.” Good. That means you need to exercise, because it gives you energy. The best way to get pumped up is to get moving. Being chronically tired can be caused by poor diet or other concerns like anemia. Having a blood test can help identify problems can offer solutions. Take control of your health.
“I don’t have time.” How much time do you spend on Facebook, Instagram or watching TV? Couldn’t you situate your stationary bike or treadmill in front of the TV or use your ipad or phone while you are exercising? It’s a two-for-one activity. I do this all-of-the time. Especially for my long endurance rides and the time goes much faster too. It doesn’t have to be a choice between one or the other. Think outside the box and find a way to do both. I have a lot of friends that ride their bicycles to work, so there’s another idea.
“I have bad knees.”
What about all the great fitness activities you can do with your upper body? Also, depending on the issues “bad knees” can benefit from building strength in the legs. Swimming can be a great start. Seeing a physical therapist that can design a program to meet your needs is also a great way to get started. I have witnessed many para-Olympic athletes without legs accomplish marathons and Ironman distance events. No excuses.
“I am too overweight to exercise.”
I don’t buy it. I am a fan of the Biggest Loser and those are some big people moving. If they can do it, you can do it! What about starting with small manageable daily changes? You have to wake up in the morning and ask yourself what you can do for your health today. Focus on what you CAN do, not what you can’t. Even small daily changes matter. Be patient and consistent and change will come.
“Exercise hurts.” Suck it up buttercup. Think about your most rewarding experiences in life, they often come after the blood, sweat and tears of effort we put into them. Pain in temporary, pride is forever! You got this! Disclaimer: If you are experiencing unusual and/or sharp pain, see a doctor.
“I am scared to run out on the trails. I don’t feel safe.” Valid reason, but is the trail the only place you have to go? Would you feel better if you went with a group of friends? Safety in numbers, right? Carry pepper spray, RoadID and a phone. See what the local rec center has to offer indoors or make your den the new exercise room. Invest in your health and get an exercise machine or do classic exercises like crunches, push-ups etc in your livingroom.
“Gym memberships are expensive. I have nowhere to exercise.” Exercise can easily be done at home, local track or park. These are all free resources. Tell me that you don’t get exercise running up the bleachers at the local track or doing step-ups on your front porch? You can do pull-up on monkey bars and push-ups and using your own body weight is free. Gather some friends and form a walking or fitness support group. Do an exercise video together.
“I am embarrassed to get in a swim suit.” It can be difficult at first. But I have found that most people at the pool are far more concerned about how they are looking in their suit to notice you. If you still find it difficult, wear an old t-shirt in the pool. Nobody is going to care. Just get in and get your workout done. You’re not going to feel comfortable in the swimsuit until you shape that body the way you want to with exercise. Anything worth doing it’s always easy.
“I am so out of shape or too old.” Then you have no time to waste. We aren’t getting any younger so waiting isn’t going to make it easier. Start slow and increase your intensity and duration over time. If you think that accountability would help, hire a coach or trainer.
“I don’t want to have to shower again.” Then don’t. Schedule your exercise before you shower so that’s not a barrier for you.
“It’s too cold, too hot, too dark, too windy, too…” Races happen in all kinds of weather and some of my favorite workouts have occurred when I didn’t want to do them because of some of these very excuses, but you know what, I did it anyway because that is what discipline is. It’s doing something when you don’t want to do. If you are waiting for the perfect moment for you to exercise it may never happen.
“I don’t have time to do the whole workout, so I might as well not do it.” Even short workouts can have great health benefits. So drop the perfectionism and get the lesser ten minutes in. You will feel better for it. Resolve to do better tomorrow. Prioritize time management, a little time to plan ahead can go a long way.
“I don’t have the support from home or around me.” If you don’t have the support from home you might need to create your own support network. That is what I did. Join a club or group that can give you the support you need. Also, don’t get caught up in others making you feel guilty for how you spend your personal time. We all deserve personal time and just like the over-bearing friend that tries to stuff the cheesecake down your throat; be strong in your resolve. They will eventually learn to respect you and how does it hurt them if you don’t eat the cheesecake? The fact is it doesn’t. Some people try to project their own inadequacies onto others. Don’t allow it to be you. You deserve to take care of yourself and the sooner you can surround yourself with others that value health the stronger you will become.
“I am too busy.”
Most everyone is busy with many demands on their time; the difference between busy healthy people and busy unhealthy people is priority choices. Those who make health a priority have it; those that don’t, don’t. This is not rocket science people! Are you really going to let these excuses stop you from being healthy? So maybe I haven’t convinced you. No matter, I have resolved to be healthy for me and my family. And when you make that decision you will too. If there is a will there is a way. Life is too important to not live it in good health. Besides, my family deserves a healthy me.
Coach Lora Erickson aka Blonde Runner is a USATF certified running coach and nationally ranked triathlon with over 29 years of athletic experience. She offers many community classes and coaching programs. To learn more visit BlondeRunner.com or contact her at email@example.com
I love Pinterest! There are so many great things there; fitness tips, recipes, inspiring quotes, craft ideas etc… I also have 3,000 followers! Giddyup!
When I was young I could be seen with a towel draped over my shoulders running across the yard with my arms stretched out in front of me under a blue sky in hopes of taking flight. I believed that if I tried hard enough I could fly. After many weeks of failed attempts I came to the realization that if I wanted to take flight I would have to do it on a jet plane. But even though I have tucked away those childish fantasies and I may not have the super powers I had hoped for, I will have to settle for a secret weapon. If Captain America had a shield, I figure, I could certainly give a weapon a try. So, what is my secret weapon you ask? Super-foods!
If you are like me, you value your time and adding anything extra to the hustle and bustle of a busy family life with children, demanding training and work obligations seems daunting; then I am here to tell you it can be much easier to eat right if you incorporate “super-foods” into your daily diet. Like with any other habit, small changes repeated overtime can become powerful secret weapons later.
So what are super-foods you ask? Super foods are foods that are well known for their nutrient properties. Some I would house in my arsenal of “super-foods” would be; kale, spinach, broccoli, fish, eggs, nuts, natural fruits, legumes just to name a few. Because there are so many of these foods, I couldn’t possibly cover them all here, but I do want to share one of my family’s favorite super-foods and some recipes with you.
Quinoa (Keen-wah) is often considered a “grain” or “seed” from South America and is quickly becoming more popular in America. My husband and kids like this “bird seed” because it does resemble birdseed as it is a small grain. Quinoa is very versatile and can be used in sweet or savory dishes and is packed with high quality protein/amino acids as well as other important nutrients like iron. Despite its higher carbohydrate content it is considered a low glycemic index and gluten-free food. It is also high in natural fiber. Please enjoy the Vegetarian Quinoa Salad and Berry & Wild Honey Breakfast Quinoa. Note: These recipes are great for those that have wheat allergies.
Coach Lora Erickson
Coach Lora Erickson aka Blonde Runner is a certified running coach located in Bountiful where she resides with her husband and four children. She has been coaching runners and triathlons for over 18 years and enjoys the opportunity to work with beginners. To learn more or find these and other recipes visit BlondeRunner.com
Coach Lora’s Vegetarian Quinoa Salad
This is a salad I often have for lunch. It’s quite tasty and healthy. Enjoy.
1 cup quinoa
3 cups water
Dash of lemon juice
Dash of vinegar (sometime I use white, other times balsamic)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large tomato dices (fresh from the garden – yum)
½ cup diced cucumber
¼ cup finely chopped white or purple onion
¼ cup fresh chives from the garden
Fresh herbs to taste, minced (cilantro or basil is good)
1 Tablespoon canola or olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Rinse quinoa well (*important) and add the water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat, cook uncovered for about 10-15 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed. Rest and cool for a few minutes then stir in the garlic, onions etc and veggies. Enjoy. So yummy (and healthy)!
Lora’s Berry & Wild Honey Breakfast Quinoa
This recipe got two thumbs up from my taste testers (my kids). So, it will stay on our menu. They really like “bird seed” as they like to call it. LOL Enjoy. ~ Coach Lora Erickson
½ cup quinoa ½ cup low-fat milk (soy milk works well too) 1 cup water ½ teaspoon of cinnamon Dash of vanilla extract Drizzle of wild honey ½-3/4 cup berries (fresh or frozen works – I like to use several different kinds of berries at once)
Rinse quinoa well (*important) and add the milk and water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat, cook uncovered for about 10-15 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed. Rest and cool for a few minutes then stir in the spices and vanilla. Top with berries and drizzle with honey and enjoy for a healthy and warm breakfast.