Day 17 – A quick warmup set

Today’s post is a quick warmup set from Nicole of Lean Body Studio in Kalamazoo:

“This is an awesome way to warm up before any work out – control your breathing and take each move at your own pace!

1- Standing Jacks 10 reps
2- Jacks + Punches 10 reps each side
3- Low Plank Tap Outs- 10 per side
4- High Spider Plank + Plank Jack

Go through this set 3-4 times.”

 

 

Day 16 – French Toast Mittens

For nearly a decade, a college women’s cross country team in Grand Rapids has enjoyed a tradition on the last Saturday of the fall semester: a morning run followed by French toast mittens at their coach’s house.

The ritual offers an easy group run and a relaxing time ahead of the next week’s exams.

Because it is one of the few Saturdays during the school year without a meet or organized practice, the starting time for the run turns into a negotiation the rivals a hostage rescue or corporate merger. “I’ll push for an early start,” says the coach, “but they all want to sleep in and make it more of a brunch. I give a little, but in the end it’s usually around 8 a.m.”

So around 9 a.m. a dozen or so noisy, layered and steaming runners burst through the front door, leaving a pile of running shoes, discarded hats, gloves and jackets. The family’s black lab mutt is barking and darting between them, sniffing out the true dog lovers and annoying the rest.

Mittens 2

The mayhem quickly organizes into two groups, one clustering around the coffee pot, the other stirring hot chocolate mix into mugs of near-boiling water. Within ten minutes the noise level subsides and the business of eating scrambled eggs, warm homemade applesauce and French toast mittens commences.

Mittens 1

“The idea of mittens came from making Christmas cut out cookies,” explains the coach. “I looked at the cookie cutter mitten and thought that would be perfect for making French toast. There’s a novelty to it and besides, it’s just fun to say ‘French toast mittens.’”

Mittens 3

As the mountain of mittens diminishes, the noise level rises as the post-run and post-meal satisfaction settles in. There are papers to finish and exams to study for, but no one is in a hurry to leave. Eventually, they do, and the syrup-sticky paper plates are collected in a large trash bag and the dog explores under the table for any last crumbs as the shoes, hats, gloves and jackets go back on and out into the clear, cold December morning.

 

Day 15 – Never fear with proper gear

We’re halfway through our 31 Days of Fitness and still going strong. Today’s post is from Robin in Birmingham:

“No need to fear the elements with the proper gear! I’m loving my Lole Hurry Up Outdoor Pants for our outdoor winter activities! They feature wind and humidity-resistant fabric at the front inserts and are extremely comfortable!

Embracing nature in the winter is exhilarating and nourishes your heart soul mind and body! My inspiration and motivation are found within, and with my husband, Carl, and our deerhound, Finn.” – Robin S., Gazelle Sports Birmingham

IMG_2698 IMG_2693 IMG_2690

Day 14 – Movement leads to cherished memories

Today’s 31 Days post comes from Jeff at our Grand Rapids store:

“Many of my most cherished memories of the last year involved movement and wellness, with family, friends, and community. For me, whether it was teaching yoga, coaching cross country, watching my own sons play sports-soccer, basketball, cross country, and ultimate frisbee-or running a 200-mile relay with college friends, these moments were inspiring and fulfilling.

Movement and fitness truly bring people together and help each one of us be our best, healthy self, which is a win for the community. So join that training group, sign up for that run or walk with some friends, or become a coach or trainer. Here’s to more memories in 2018!” -Jeff B., Gazelle Sports Grand Rapids

brownie

Day 13 – Utilize combo moves to maximize effort

As a part of our 31 Days of Fitness, The Barre Code Metro Detroit share this great tip:

“Looking for a way to shorten your workout time and maximize your output? Combo moves can give you a two-for-one punch that will leave you feeling sore, sweaty, and successful. Think lunges with rows (pictured!), squats with a weighted press, burpees with a pushup at the bottom, kickboxing with hand weights… let your imagination run! Working multiple muscle groups at the same time will not only maximize the muscle burn, but will also give you an additional cardio boost!”

Photo Credit: Olga Gamburg

Day 12 – A girl’s best friend is her sports bra

Today’s 31 Days of Fitness post is for the ladies:

We can’t stress how important a good sports bra is. Like your best workout buddy, a sports bra gives you support every step of the way. Too often, women are in the wrong size or kind of sports bra (or that thing is just too old!) and end up causing damage to the skin and Cooper’s ligaments that support your girls.

The good news – we offer complimentary bra fittings all day, every day, so you can get the right bra for your body.

350071_001_Juno_S18_LS_EMEA_001

Day 11 – Feel the yoga love

As a part of our 31 Days of Fitness, Aleksandra, our Northville store manager, has some yoga love to share with everyone:

“I love YOGA! I have been practicing this beautiful art form for many years..and never get tired of it. The very best thing about yoga of any kind is that you can do whatever YOU want with it! If you want it to be a very hard physical activity, it’s there for you. If you want it to be relaxing and de-stressing, then that is what is waiting for you on your mat. If you want it to be spiritual, boom, you can have that too! Whatever YOU make out of it, it’s waiting for you. It can be practiced at home, studios, gyms, alone or with your favorite community.

I am very excited because here at Gazelle Sports Northville we are collaborating with community studios to bring all kinds of different styles to you for FREE with the opportunity to donate to Girls On The Run.

Starting Jan 8th at 6:30pm, every Monday we’ve got something different for you! Sign up on our Facebook page. Space is very limited! We can’t wait to have some fun with you!” -Aleksandra S., Gazelle Sports Northville

aleksandra

Day 9 – A running story

Today, Dan from our Holland store shares his running story and a little advice for new runners:

“In High School (1998-2002) I was a wrestler. I was in the heavyweight weight class (203+ lbs) and had to take frequent walk breaks during our 3-mile conditioning runs. After High School, I joined the Marine Corps, dramatically increasing the volume of my running. Unfortunately, I had no idea what I was doing and had also started smoking at that point in my life. Running was MISERABLE!

Eventually, despite my best efforts to keep away, a good buddy of mine talked me into running my first 10k while I was still in Iraq in the spring of 2008.

For reasons I can’t explain, that race really hooked me, and I have been ramping up my running ever since. I eventually quit smoking after a low point of 2 packs a day (gross, I know) and got serious about training for longer distances. My first half marathon was the Great Turtle half on Mackinac Island with my future wife and her family, a running tradition that prompted a marriage proposal.

I think running quite literally saved my life and led to my marriage. Without the drive to improve my running, I would have never worked hard to quit smoking. My wife and I reconnected because we both love distance running.

I would tell someone who is thinking about running that it is one of the greatest ways to get fit and explore the world around them.” -Dan K., Gazelle Sports Holland

DanKlompmaker

Day 8 – New year, new goals

Continuing our 31 Days of Fitness, Andrew, one of our merchandise managers, shares how the new year brings him back to running:

“I’m not certain what it is about the new year, but like clockwork, a part of me always gets excited about running again. I love our winters for alpine sports, don’t get me wrong. But it’s the thought of dirt-covered, sunny trails that brings me back to the Dirty Herd and West Michigan Trail Runners events to tune-up for spring races. Come join us out there!” -Andrew H., Gazelle Sports DC

Click here to learn more about the Dirty Herd running group: http://gazellesports.com/…/the-dirty-herd-trail-running-gr…/

Andrew (1)

Day 7 – Make fitness about the family!

Today’s 31 Days post comes from Malak at Born Yoga in Birmingham:

“Healthy mom equals healthy family! Mom and baby workouts are a great way to take care of yourself while connecting with your little one. Place baby on shins for flying tummy time and get the benefits of ab work. Hold on to baby’s arms or torso as you extend your legs away with an inhale. On the exhale draw the knees in towards the chest, crunch up and give your baby a kiss! Repeat multiple times and take a supported bridge pose to stretch between reps.

Find a goddess squat with your toes facing out and heels facing in. Hold your baby facing outwards, squat and then lift your baby to face another baby. This is a great leg, ab and arm strengthener and allows yourself and baby to connect with other moms and babies.

Don’t forget to take a well deserved rest in savasana. Namaste!”

born 1

IMG_0009

Day 6 – The search for the perfect running shoe

By Brittany Wortley

What if the perfect shoe is an illusion? Some people swear by a certain brand like Brooks or a certain style like the GT-2000, but I have yet to find a pair of shoes to swear by. In my eight or so years of running, I haven’t tied myself down to a single brand or type of shoe. Of all the shoes I’ve tried, nothing stands out as something I want to get over and over again.

When I started running my first year of high school track, I learned the hard way what an important piece of equipment shoes are to the sport. The training shoes I used during the short three-month season ended up injuring me. I tried to ice 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off as soon as I got home from practice, but I’d still be limping the next day.

It wasn’t until a few years later as I was getting fitted for shoes that I learned the injury from high school track was a result of the shoes I had worn. When I began running more regularly, and by “regularly” I mean two to three times a week, I began wearing a supportive shoe for which I had been properly fit. However, the supportive shoe did not stop my calves from getting tight, keep my feet from going numb or my knee from giving me pain. I was convinced that in spite of the fitting that I still didn’t have the “right” shoes since I was still experiencing those things, however this didn’t stop me from doing all my half marathon training in those same shoes.

After completing my first half marathon in 2013 and then a 10k a few months later with quite a bit of knee pain, I called it good and didn’t train for anything for the next two years. I planned to run the Riverbank Run 25k in 2015 and started to train for it around the end of 2014. The beginning of this journey came with another new pair of shoes, but no knowledge gained from the mistakes I’d made during my half marathon training. I encountered the same problems I had experienced during my last big race training and did little to nothing to correct them. After completing the 25k, I had still learned nothing from the process.

I kept running, trying to build on what fitness I had gained, but it fizzled as the weather cooled and I went back to not training for anything at all. As 2016 came around my family was planning a trip to hike the Grand Canyon rim-to-rim, so my training began again with two more pairs of shoes added to my arsenal. This time I was looking to learn from what I’d been doing wrong for the last seven years. How do I keep my calves from getting so tight that it’s uncomfortable to keep moving? How do I keep my knee from giving out? Why are my feet going numb? I began to learn that shoes aren’t always the answer to these types of problems as long as you’ve been fitted well, and I knew I had been.

I was told to stretch to keep my calves from getting so tight. Stretch before a run, after a run, on a day you aren’t running, and use a foam roller as well. I was also introduced to calf sleeves. Wearing these during a workout or a long run help keep the blood flowing, speed up post-run recovery and reduce muscle soreness and fatigue. These tools have not made this problem go away completely, my calves still get tight, but not so tight that I find it hard to walk or run. When looking for help with my ongoing knee problem I was told that if I wasn’t working on strengthening as I was running this would continue to be be a problem.

Again, I learned that my shoes had little to do with my injury. It’s more how you take care of your body in addition to running. I began to do strengthening days at least once a week. After looking up types of exercises to help strengthen knees, one-legged squats and calf raises quickly became my favorite exercises. By adding strength training to my running schedule I began to experience less pain in my knee.

Since I knew I had been fitted well for my shoes, I knew that the fit wasn’t the issue that was making my feet go numb. I researched different ways to tie shoelaces in order to alleviate the tightness around my feet. I tried some new lacing methods, ran with those, and discovered one that worked!

I’ve found it freeing to know that I have the ability to wear a new shoe without it being a big deal. I used to agonize over what shoe to purchase, but now I’m eager to try what I haven’t worn before. I may find a shoe that works well on long mileage days and use it for long runs, another shoe for speed days, and another for the middle mileage range. At this point I haven’t found a shoe I don’t like or can’t use.

To go from always worrying about the shoe to taking care of my entire body so that I can wear many kinds of shoes is better than finding just one shoe. In fact, there is no magic bullet. Shoes are important, and proper fit for your feet vital to running comfortably, but learning to read your body and provide what it needs is instrumental in continuing to pursue your movement goals while staying injury-free.