Nissan Personal Achievement
April 21st, 2014

Country Music Marathon - Saturday, April 26, 2014 

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That is what what you will get a taste of at the St. Jude Country Music Marathon and half, in Nashville on April 26. The event highlights local music, thanks to musicians from the ever-expanding Nashville scene sharing their talents all along the route, and also features some of the top sights in Nashville: the capitol building, the Cumberland River, Shelby Park, and more. Some past participants have described the course as hilly, others say it is rolling, but all say that it makes for a big, challenging, music-filled event that you will never forget. Bonus for families? The ING KiDS ROCK event, which lets kids participate in their own marathon with miles (25.2 miles, to be exact) that they accumulate in the time leading up to the weekend festivities, and ending with a one-mile race on event day. Interested in learning more? Visit: http://runrocknroll.competitor.com/Nashville to register, read about volunteer opportunities, or get more details on the KiDS ROCK event.

April 7th, 2014

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A strong core can help any athlete—runners, cyclists, and triathletes included—deliver more power. And the three moves here can help you develop core strength, fast. So, three times a week (at the end of your usual workout), grab a medicine ball and give them a try.

1. CHOPS

Stand with your right foot back, left foot forward, with a slight bend in your front leg. Hold the medicine ball straight out from your body. Bring the ball up above your right shoulder. Then, using a chopping motion (like you’re swinging an axe), go from the upper right, across the front of your body, to the lower left in a controlled motion. Do 10 chops (down and back up is 1 rep); repeat on the opposite side with your left foot back and right foot forward.

2. 4-MINUTE MEDICINE BALL CORE DRILL

Lay on your back with your knees bent at 90 degrees. Put the medicine ball between your knees, then hold a crunch position for 30 seconds. At 30 seconds, flip over into a forearm plank position, keeping your abs engaged and your body straight (don’t let your hips drop). Hold for 30 seconds. Flip back over and repeat. Repeat three more times for four minutes of work. As you get stronger, increase to six minutes.

3. SIDE-TO-SIDE QUICK ROTATIONS

With your feet shoulder-width apart, hold the medicine ball just below your chest, about six inches away from your body. Rotate to the right, then to the left. One side-to-side rotation should take about one second. Repeat for 30 seconds or a total of 30 side-to-side rotations. 

March 24th, 2014

Biju Thomas’ Cinnamon Almond Pancakes are a tasty way to fuel up in the morning.

SERVINGS: 2

PREP TIME: 20 minutes



Made with almond flour, these pancakes are gluten-free and lower in carbs than traditional pancakes. Most groceries now stock almond flour — which is finely ground almonds—in the baking goods aisle or with natural foods (one common brand is Bob’s Red Mill). You can make your own using a food processor or blender — but don’t grind the nuts too long or you’ll end up with almond butter!

1 cup almond flour


2 eggs


¼ cup milk or water


2 tablespoons cooking oil


1 tablespoon honey or
agave nectar


a dash each of ground cinnamon and salt



OPTIONAL ADDITIONS:
toasted almonds
plain yogurt



1. Mix together all ingredients in a bowl.

2. Place a lightly oiled sauté pan over medium-high heat. When pan is hot, pour batter to form pancakes, leaving ample space between each to allow batter to spread.

3. Unlike traditional pancakes, these will not bubble—watch for the edges to brown, then gently flip over and brown the other side.



4. Serve hot, topped with toasted almonds, yogurt, or fresh fruit.

Makes about 6 pancakes.



SPEED TIP: If you’re not concerned about gluten, add ground almonds to your usual packaged pancake mix. Follow package directions from there.

NUTRITION DATA PER SERVING (3 pancakes)
Energy 557 cal
Fat 47 g
Sodium 447 mg
Carbs 23 g
Fiber 6 g
Protein 19 g



The Feed Zone Cookbook by Chef Biju Thomas and Dr. Allen Lim features 150 athlete-friendly recipes that are simple, delicious, and easy to prepare. Try more pre-ride, portable, and post-ride recipes at FeedZoneCookbook.com.

This recipe republished with permission of VeloPress.

March 10th, 2014

Some days are tough. Work, travel, kids (hey, they need you) can add up to no time left for a workout. Or, that’s what you probably think. The truth is, you can squeeze in a workout that hits your major muscle groups, as well as your core. No equipment needed. You might even be able to fit them in before you leave the office. It’s okay, nobody’s looking.

Planks and pushups

Spend five minutes alternating between planks and pushups for an intense core (and arm) workout. Just keep your abs tight and tucked, and your breathing steady.

Split squats

Square your hips, take a big step forward, place your hands on your front thigh, and slowly lower your body until your back knee hovers just above the ground. Don’t let your front knee extend past your toes. Push up from the heel of your front foot until your back leg is almost straight, then repeat. Then change legs.

Side lunges

Place your hands on your hips, keep your abs tight, take a big step out to the side and lower your body toward the ground. Keep the opposite leg straight and pull up through that leg. Do 15 on each side and repeat.

February 24th, 2014

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Are you a chest breather or a belly breather? There’s a good reason to know—and also a good reason to change from one to the other: When you breathe into your chest without expanding your belly, your shoulders get tense and move up and down, wasting energy. Letting your belly expand like a balloon when you breathe in means you’re using less energy and still breathing deeply. Here’s a good way to check, courtesy of Mindy Solkin, owner and head coach at The Running Center in New York City: Run a mile or so at a pace that gets you huffing. Then stop and place one hand on your abdomen and one hand on your chest and watch. The lower hand should move with each breath, while the upper hand remains relatively still. Work on belly breathing when you aren’t running (like when you’re sitting at your desk) to make it feel more natural when you run.

February 17th, 2014

If you’re dreading your next interval workout, you should give a fartlek a try.

Fartlek is Swedish for “speed play,” and it describes a less structured way to add speed and intensity to your cardio session. And while it has a reputation for being just for runners, there’s no reason it can’t be adapted for any type of cardio. The goal is to find various ways to increase intensity throughout a workout.

For example, you might sprint all-out for 30 seconds several times in a row, take a rest, then go again (or, if you’re in the gym, maybe you increase the incline or resistance of the machine you’re on). The key to fartlek is to go by the way you feel, making sure at least 50 percent of your workout is at a higher intensity than usual. Fartlek keeps things fun and interesting so you barely notice you’re working harder and burning up the calories.