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Now with Movecoach, you can track the time you spend practicing mindfulness techniques—and earn rewards for it.

We’re rolling out Mindfulness Minutes in response to a growing demand, and the mounting scientific evidence that mindfulness improves physical and mental health.

A growing number of the world’s most respected companies—including Intel, Apple, Google, and General Mills—are investing in mindfulness initiatives for their employees.

Mindfulness is an effective way to take care of your body and mind—even if you aren’t even working out on a regular basis— and earn rewards in the Movecoach Challenge along the way!  Click here for 7 Ways to Take Mindfulness Minutes at Work.

How it Works

There are 4 different ways that you, as a Movecoach participant, can log your Mindfulness Minutes:

  • 1. Manually: You’ll log your activity just as you would for another type of workout. Select “Log,” then choose the “Other” category.  For Activity Type, select “Other”or “Take a Class.” For Workout Type, select “Mindfulness.”

  • 2. Automatically via Healthkit: iOS participants can enter their mindfulness minutes with HealthKit. By syncing Healthkit with Movecoach, the mindfulness minutes will automatically upload to the Movecoach log, and be taken into account as rewards are distributed.

  • 3. Automatically via Fitbit: iOS participants can enter their mindfulness minutes in the Fitbit App. By syncing Fitbit with Movecoach, those minutes will automatically upload to the Movecoach log, and be taken into account as rewards are distributed.

  • 4. Automatically with other Apps: iOS participants can sync their HealthKit Apps with popular paid mindfulness Apps, such as Headspace and Whil.


What Counts as a Mindful Minute?
Apple HealthKit describes Mindfulness this way:

“A state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience.”

Like physical exercise, mindfulness isn’t a one-size-fits-all proposition. You have the freedom to choose the mindfulness techniques that are most helpful to you.

Click here to learn about 7 Ways to Practice Mindfulness at Work.

Any questions? Contact us at coach@movecoach.com.


Click here to learn about 7 Ways to Practice Mindfulness at Work.

Any questions? Contact us at coach@movecoach.com.




1typingatofficeMounting scientific research has proven that mindfulness can be as powerful as some medication in preventing and managing many health issues from high blood pressure to anxiety.  Mindfulness and meditation have been proven to improve sleep, brain function, and even athletic performance.

What’s more,  mindfulness can help you get your work done with more ease and less wear and tear.

“People who practice mindfulness are more effective, less stressed, and have strong relationships at work,” says mindfulness and well-being expert Cheryl Jones, founder of The Mindful Path. “When you go through the day with more focus, you are likely to make less errors, get your work done faster, and have greater clarity to solve problems. It also helps to create a more compassionate workplace.“

What is mindfulness?

Contrary to popular belief, mindfulness is not about clearing out your thoughts, says Jones. Rather, mindfulness involves being in a state of awareness of the breath and to thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations that you’re experiencing in the present moment.. 

“So often the mind is thinking about the future or the past, and we miss what’s happening in the here and now," Jones says. "The present moment is the only time that any of us can learn, change, grow, communicate, and get a task done.”

In order to cultivate mindfulness, you have to treat it like any other muscle: To make it stronger, you have to practice flexing it.

“Just like running gets the body in shape, mindfulness meditation gets our brain in shape,” says Jones. Try meditating for 10-minutes each day.

7 ways to be more mindful at work

To build your mindful muscles, you don’t have to take leave of your life for a meditation retreat. Here are 7 exercises Jones recommends to incorporate mindfulness into your workday.

  1. Raise your awareness. First, notice how you’re going through the workday, Jones advises. Start with one part of your day.  On your commute, are you drinking coffee, texting at red lights, and while trying to find a radio station? Are you trying to respond to an email while you walk down the hallway? How does it feel to move through your day that way? Do you feel clenched and tense, then drained by 5pm? If you’re like most people, you go through the day feeling like your hair is on fire, Jones says. “Most people are in a chronic state of fight or flight, which is toxic to the body and mentally exhausting,” she adds.  Becoming aware of the physical sensations, thoughts, and emotions that go along with distraction and stress will help you identify that and let it be a cue on the road ahead, says Jones. "If you are willing to pause and notice what you are doing and how it feels, you’ll become better able to make choices that create well-being. We create well-being one moment, one breath, one choice at a time."
  2. Three breaths, two feet. Before you enter a meeting, pick up the phone, send an email, or interject in a meeting, pause and follow three breaths in and out , and feel your two feet on the ground.   “This helps you get yourself out of fight or flight,” says Jones. It creates a tiny space to reconnect with your intention. That paves the way for you to act in your own best interest, rather than reacting to the heat of the moment in a way you might later regret. It might help to post a reminder in a place where you’ll regularly see it: “inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale, two feet on the ground.”
  3. Take a minute. No matter how busy you are, you have 60 seconds during your workday to turn away from your computer. You can either set a timer for one minute or just count out seven breaths—which takes about a minute. Schedule regular mindful minutes on your calendar.  Or use some other task that you already regularly do—say a walk to the water fountain, or while you’re waiting for your computer to fire up for the day—as a cue to take seven breaths.
  4. Come back to your senses. Any time, anywhere, do a body scan. Bring awareness to different parts of your body. Start at the feet. Then bring your awareness up through the legs, back, torso, arms, shoulders, and head. Are your shoulders hunched up to your ears? Is your jaw locked?  Maybe your hips and back are stiff, because you have been sitting in front of a computer for four hours without a break. This may prompt you to get up and walk down the hallway, which will release tension. You may realize that you’ve been inadvertently holding your breath. “The body is always sending us messages about what it needs,” says Jones. “When we notice sensations within the body, we can take care of ourselves better.”  When you take care of your biological needs, you free your brain and heart to function more effectively.
  5. Put on your listening cap. In your next office interaction, make an effort to tune in to what the other person is saying without drifting off into thought or plotting your response.  “Notice in conversations when you start to get impatient or nervous, and stop listening because you’re planning what you’re going to say next,” says Jones. “Trust that if you’re breathing, calm, and present, you’re going to say something intelligent and don’t need to worry.”  If you catch yourself drifting, don’t beat yourself up. The goal is to catch yourself doing it so that you can tune back in.  This will help you communicate more effectively, forge stronger bonds with your coworkers, and that will help you get through the workday with more ease, says Jones.
  6. Mindfully munch. How often do you end up shoveling lunch in while responding to emails, catching up on texting, and trying to cram three other things into your “midday break?” Even if you can’t break away from your computer, you can take a moment midday to turn away from your screen, and savor your lunch or snack. Notice the color, smell, taste, and texture of what you’re eating.  Pay attention to the sensation of chewing the food and swallowing. “Savor the experience,” says Jones. “You’ll enjoy it more. And your digestive tract will thank you.”
  7. Flex your focusing muscle. Culture tells us to become masters at multitasking— but our brains are not designed to do multiple things at once. And when we try, we suffer the consequences, from spelling errors on important documents, to collisions with coworkers because we’re trying to just get this one text sent while we walk.   “We’ve been so trained to multitask, that our focusing muscles are very weak,” says Jones.  But being so easily distracted, and being in a chronic state of divided attention creates a stress of its own. Identify a task to tackle with single-minded focus. Turn off the notifications on your computer and phone; close all the windows on your computer except for the one you’re working on. “Notice how that feels and what happens,” says Jones. “Does your productivity increase? “ If you hear, see or think of a distraction, notice the urge for diversion, then take a breath and return to the task.  Start small—you may only be able to do this for five minutes at a time, or by tackling a small task—say making a photocopy without scanning social media while you wait. Gradually build up to bigger tasks and longer periods of focus.

Cheryl Jones is a mindfulness and well-being expert, speaker and author of the book, Mindful Exercise. Learn more about Cheryl at themindfulpath.com.



helen_blogHelen has persevered through physical set backs and anxiety running on roads, to complete a fast marathon just before her 60th birthday! She shares inspiring advice to "never give up", and "you get what you put into running".



Major milestone:
Completing a marathon just before my 60th birthday in a time of 4:01:05 following a serious car accident in late 2015 (just after running the DCM) when I didn't think I would ever walk properly again never mind run a marathon!

What is the secret to your success?
Determination and a will to exercise and get back on track. I still have nervousness crossing roads and being afraid that I might fracture my tib and fib again while running on uneven surfaces

What is the biggest obstacle to reaching your goals and how do you get over it?
Fear and loss of confidence which I had no issue with prior to my accident. I just wanted to get back out again with my friends from my running club who had kept in touch with me during my year off from running

What is the most rewarding part of training?
Sense of achievement always when a run is completed. Delighted with my progress and times at my age. Running with a group of friends. Being able to train to participate in races



What advice would you give to other members of the Runcoach community?
You will only get out what you put in! To achieve success running you must run....simple as that! When training for 2018 DCM, I had to go out on occasions when I didn't have company because of my work schedule but I still did it



Anything else you would like to share?
Never give up! It is worth the effort to get back if you have been injured, but be patient as you must listen to your body. If you can't run do something else like the bike indoors or cycle outdoors



What feedback would you offer on the Runcoach experience?
I've had great chats online with Coach Lindsay!



chris_blogChris made a successful return to running after having a kidney transplant in 2018. He shares how he found a way to pay it forward and run with a purpose. Prepare to be inspired and learn how you can also be the best version of yourself! 

Major milestone:
My major milestone is getting back to running after having a kidney transplant in January of 2018. So far since returning to running I have ran the Veterans Day 10K  in DC this past November, and recently the Cherry Blossom 10 miler. This coming Sunday I’ll be running the GW Parkway 10 miler.


What is the secret to your success?
The secret to my success is more than one thing that I do to run races. First it’s the desire to keep my living donor’s kidney healthy. I run for my wife, kids, my living donor, her family, my friends and family, and for the individuals I put in the back of my shirt during races that are in need of an organ donor. From there it’s diet, rest and meditation. Those three factors are just as important as the mental aspect. I eat a plant-based diet, get my rest and meditate when I can.


What is the biggest obstacle to reaching your goals and how do you get over it?
My goal is to get out and run, right now it’s a basic goal. At times work, family, and my health will prevent a run I have planned. I have to be mindful with the medicine I take that if I start to feel under the weather, I may have to pull back and skip a run. While I may think I can still do it, I’m very in tune with my body. I know others might not like missing a run, and while I may feel that way it’s a brief feeling. I temper it with reminding myself it’s better to miss one run than multiples and a race I may have planned.


What is the most rewarding part of training?
The most rewarding part for me in training is getting out for a run considering all that has happened over the past 3 years. When I get close to race day, I’m excited to run with someone who’s in need on my back to show one can live a full life after a transplant. I also hope my last race that I ran with my living donor Ana, showed people after donation they can still achieve great things.


What advice would you give to other members of the Runcoach community?
Enjoy your runs, find joy in them, and when you don’t have the energy or mental strength to run find a purpose in your run. If you can find a way to pay it forward in your runs or races, please do as that’s running with purpose. For me it’s the impact of organ donation and the need for more organ donors. Be a version of your best self.


Anything else you would like to share?
For me it’s you can be a living donor as Ana was for me, and go out and run 10 miles. I’m in no means unique either, I know there are other individuals out there that have received a kidney and doing marathons. The real heroes are the donors, and without them we wouldn’t be able to go out and run again. Also, please consider being an organ donor whether living or deceased. Every month 3,000 people are added to the waitlist for a kidney, and every 13 minutes someone dies waiting for a kidney. By becoming an organ donor you can impact not just one person, but multiple lives. Please sign up to become an organ donor: https://www.donatelife.net/register/


What feedback would you offer on the Runcoach experience?
The experience and app was helpful to see where I was in my training. Having run cross country when I was younger, I could still gauge how I was doing, but the feedback from the app and training suggestions were helpful in the process of running only my second race since having been on around a 10 year hiatus due to my chronic kidney disease.



shutterstock_191142425You just ran a huge personal best in the marathon and spent the past week enjoying some well-deserved down time. You decide it’s time to start up again, but realize that post-race excitement is starting to dwindle and it’s much harder to get out the door than you anticipated. “How can this be!?” You ask yourself. “I just had a fantastic race and should be beyond excited to start again, right?” If you find yourself to be in this situation, fear not, you have a case of the easily curable post-marathon blues.

After fully investing in your training program for the past 3 months and being laser focused, it makes sense that it might be tough to get started again. I, personally, have always struggled jumping right back into full training after a marathon because I just spent the last 4 months completely focused on my goal. Oftentimes, we forget that running can be just as mentally taxing as it is physically taxing and we need to be sure to give ourselves time to recover in both ways after a marathon.

Here are a few tips to shake those post marathon blues and get that pep back in your step.

1. Throw pace and distance out the window and enjoy some unstructured training. It is mentally quite freeing to run on your own terms for a few weeks without a care in the world about pace. You will be spending quite a bit of time in the coming months focused on hitting splits, so enjoy some relaxed, care free runs and soak in the nice spring weather. Simply getting outside for a few leisurely miles can do wonders for both the mind and body.

2. Meet up with friends to keep things light and fun. Running with friends is a great way to unwind and relax. When you are chatting away, you start to focus less on how heavy/tired your legs may feel, and more on the conversations you are having. Before you know it, the run is done and you are feeling much lighter and happier than before you started. Never underestimate the power of running with friends.

3. After a few weeks, start to look at future races. I like to switch things up after a marathon and run some shorter races, like 5&10ks. It’s fun to set my sights on a new challenge and mentally change gears. Getting a race on the calendar will give you something to look forward to and help that motivation and excitement return.

So lace up your shoes, enjoy the warm weather, and shake those post marathon blues. Set your sights on a new challenge and enjoy the journey one step at a time. Happy Running!

 



Having a goal is one thing. Accomplishing the goal is another. David was able to complete the Seacoast Half Marathon in just under 8:00/mile pace (reach his pre race goal in flying fashion!). This was the first time he had help from a structured training program. Runcoach is now helping David train for a full marathon!b0c19b4david_running_seacoast


What is the secret to your success?


No one thing in particular, but I do want to give some credit to the Runcoach training schedule I followed for the two months leading up to the race. It was great to have a personalized schedule based on my past running data from Strava -- It gave me a plan I had more confidence in than just winging it on my own, and I did accomplish my goal!


What is the biggest obstacle to reaching your goals and how do you get over it?

Time -- still figuring out how find enough time. Wake up earlier seems the only solution I can come up with. Injuries. Fortunately I didn't get any. I think the warm ups suggested by Runcoach helped.
What is the most rewarding part of training?

Seeing progress and thus having the satisfaction that the training is paying off, and being part of communities -- online as well as local offline communities -- of runners supporting each other's goals.


What advice would you give to other members of the Runcoach community?

If the mileage of the Runcoach training schedule seems to increase too quickly, don't be afraid to back off or skip a session. I followed the training schedule which, besides providing needed structure, got me to do some speed and interval training which was great, but I skipped a run occasionally when I felt like the mileage was too much and my training plan didn't really change and I was still "on target" most of the time.


Anything else you would like to share?

I've only been running for two years and using Runcoach to prepare for the half-marathon last fall was the first time I had tried a more structured training regime with a particular performance goal in mind. That in itself was a milestone for me, and the experience was positive -- enough so that I set another Runcoach goal for a marathon this fall!


What feedback would you offer on the Runcoach experience?

As someone on the free membership, I was happy to use the algorithmically generated training plan based on my goal and running history, but never reached out to the Runcoach coaches. I guess I wasn't sure how make valuable use of that option. Maybe some suggestions on ways to use that resource would motivate me to try that.



Speed Work Makes the Dream Work speed
A little speedwork can help you run smoother and faster



Improving foot speed is one of the best things you can do to improve your times. Regardless of what race your are training for 5K or Marathon, faster foot speed, means faster pace. 

Sure, speedwork can seem like a scary beast you don't want to meet or know. But it doesn't have to be. Runcoach's training system encourages at least 1 speed workout every two weeks. This setup can ease you into faster paces, and help your body adapt to a new stimulus. 

Some of the speed work you'll encouter on Runcoach:

Strides - Short burst of speed. Usually 100 meters ( or 25 seconds) 
Fartleks - Periods of fast running intermixed with periods of slower running
Short intervals - High intensity bursts of speed, with slow "recovery" periods
Mix - A tempo effort, sandwiched by short speed intervals

Speed training can spice up your training and lead to better fitness and performances. Have an open mind, and give it a shot!




Fueling for your First MarathonmarathonFuel

So you're g up for a big spring marathon and have been checking all the boxes. You are logging tons of miles, nailing all your workouts, and even have your race day kit and shoes picked out weeks in advance. But, have you considered your marathon fueling strategy yet?

One of the most commonly overlooked aspects of marathon racing, is mid-race fueling.  You body will endure a great deal of stress and will require carbohydrates and fluids to stay strong all the way to the finish line. The chances of hitting that "wall" are much less if you have been getting in a steady stream of calories and fluids throughout the race- But where should you begin?

Research shows that the body is able to process 40-60 grams of carbohydrates per hour during exercise. While it would be fantastic for everyone to have their own personal bottles out on the course, just like the elites, this is not possible. So…what do instead? I recommend taking water every 5k, about 6-10 ounces, and a bit more if racing in hot conditions. A trick I learned is to squeeze the cups at the top to get the most out of each.  In addition to water, I recommend taking a gel every 5k as well.  Gels contain about 20 grams of carbohydrates and are easy to stash in shorts, sports bras, and pockets. Gels, combined with water, are a great option to help keep you hydrated and fueled all the way to the finish.

If the idea of taking gels is not appealing to you, I recommend checking out the race website to see what sport drink will be offered out on the course. You can purchase this ahead of time and practice using it during your long runs to make sure everything sits right. Which brings me to the most important aspect of mid-race fueling, practicing your strategy ahead of time.

It’s important to practice using gels and fluids during your long runs and workouts to make sure your stomach is able to tolerate the calories. Your body will get better and better at processing mid-run fuel so nailing down a strategy early on in your build up is key. Without practicing ahead of time, you run the risk of experiencing mid-race GI distress-something no runner wants to deal with!

So hit your local running store and give a few different gel brands/flavors a try to see which one you’ll want on race day. You can also pick up many commonly used sport drinks at these stores as well. Practice your fueling strategy early on in your build up and often, then go check that final box! Happy Running!



oats Ironman triathlete, ednurance runner & caterer, Brett Miller, shares his tasty Mixed Fruit Steel Cut Oatmeal recipe with us as part of our new series – Performance Fuel!

Mixed Fruit Steel Cut Oatmeal

As busy professionals, athletes, moms, or anyone on the run throughout the day, breakfast is probably the most neglected meal.  The go-to breakfast of a bowl of cereal, or that muffin at Starbucks as you make your way to work may satisfy the taste buds, but it leaves you hungry in an hour as your sugar levels spike and then energy levels drop.  In our effort to help create a sustained energy level, and longer satiation of hunger. Runcoach has some recommended meals that are easy, healthy and taste great!  This can be your first step in taking out a big chunk of processed foods from your diet too!

Our first breakfast up is Steel Cut Oatmeal with Mixed Fruit.  This breakfast can be made ahead of time, and kept in the fridge for 4-5 days so it’s ready when you need it with just a quick warm-up in the microwave.  You’ll find your hunger at bay longer through the morning, as well as better managing your blood sugar, improving energy levels.

With just a few purchases, you can be ready to make your own tasty oatmeal.  

This can be made dairy-free, as well as gluten free.  You’ll have to find Gluten Free Steel Cut Oats on Amazon or a specialty grocer for the gluten free version though.

Servings: 4-6 8oz servings

Ingredients:

  • - 1 cup Steel Cut Oatmeal 
  • - 1 Green Apple, ½ Cup frozen blueberries
  • - Half package frozen Trader Joe’s Tropical Fruit
  • - Half can pumpkin, ½ chopped pecans
  • - ½ cup sliced almonds
  • - 1 cup milk (regular or almond milk) 
  • - 2 cups water
  • - Pinch of salt
  • - ½ cup brown sugar or honey 
  • - Cinnamon to taste (at least a teaspoon), pumpkin pie spice when making pumpkin oatmeal 

Directions:

  1. Chop fruit and nuts as desired
  2. Using a slow cooker, add all ingredients and stir to combine.
  3. Set slow cooker to high heat and let cook for approximately 4-6 hours.
  4. Try to stir every hour, but not required

For stove top

  1. Chop fruit and nuts as desired
  2. Bring water to a boil
  3. Add oats and reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 10-20 minutes (depending on how chewy you want the oats), stirring occasionally
  4. Add all ingredients and stir to combine.
  5. Remove from heat and let stand for a minute

Now you have a batch of a healthy, tasty, balance breakfast, ready to go when you are!  Make sure you fuel your body well for the long day ahead. This is also a perfect pre long run breakfast!



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