Monday, October 27, 2014

Staying Active In Cold Weather

Lisa Holt Running in Ithaca NY Manager of Finger Lakes Running CompanyWho has a warm comfy bed? Who wants head out into the cold for a workout when that warm bed is begging you to stay? We struggle with this too! So here's some tips for staying active in the cold, chilly snowy weather!

Set a Workout Date with a Friend

Working out with a friend not only helps the workout go faster and you’ll typically have a better workout, but you’ll also be held accountable for dragging yourself out the door.  No one wants to let down a friend!  Consider planning a weekly workout date so that you are definitely getting out the door that day each week.

Group Runs

Don't have any friends that run?  Not a problem. Join up with local runners and make some new friends!  Most areas have a runner's club or other organization (consider looking for triathlon clubs, or groups from local gyms for instance).  In Binghamton, we have group runs organized by the Triple Cities Runner's Club, the Broome County Triathlon Club, not to mention those organized by your friendly neighborhood running store.  Luckily, we also have a local running calendar available on which you can check for group runs in our area.  Generally there's no expectations on being able to run at a fast pace to participate, so anyone can be part of these group runs.  The more, the merrier!  

Treat Yourself
Whether it’s another cup of coffee, making your favorite breakfast or those shoes you HAVE TO HAVE. Having something in mind as a treat when you wake up, heading out the door and while working out always keeps my motivation going through a workout!

Sign up for a Race

Nothing inspires motivation like an end goal and that often comes in the form of an event on the calendar.  Planning a race is a great motivator no matter what time of year it is. While cold-weather races are less common, there are still plenty out there. If all those options are too cold, sign up for a longer race in March or April and make sure you put in the time to get ready for it. Either way, it will require you to stop hibernating and start running.  For all those looking for a longer term race goal in the local area, the Binghamton Bridge Run Registration will open November 17th, 2014!  
Join a Training Program or Get a Coach

Sometimes more than just signing up for a race is necessary to motivate a runner to get moving.  Consider joining a training program for that race!  Many areas have generalized training programs available to get you to your goal, whether it be running your first 5k, first longer distance race like half or full marathon, or pulling off a personal best.  Having a person or group to be accountable to can really keep your motivation up, while giving you someone to talk and get a morale boost when motivation is low.  At Confluence Running, we are once again offering a training program specifically geared toward the area's premier race, the Greater Binghamton Bridge Run, at both the 5k and half-marathon levels.  Join the group and make new friends while making gains in your personal running ability.  Not into the group thing?  Ask us about finding a personal coach to help you meet your goals!
New Gear

Nothing beats heading out for a run in a new pair of shoes, shorts, socks, or a new shirt. Now that the weather is colder, it's a great excuse to get some new gear to flaunt. A new pair of gloves, or a long-sleeve shirt, or pants, or ear warmers are necessary additions to your running outfit. Splurge, then head outside and show it all off.  The local running shop, Confluence Running has the most durable and comfortable running clothing out there.  

Different Routes

There are some routes that you tend to avoid in the summertime like trails with no trees to shade you from the baking heat, or tourist-friendly streets that are too crowded during peak season. Now that the weather has changed, you can start hitting those routes again. Winter-friendly routes do the job of mixing up your training and keeping things interesting. And with fewer people out there blocking your way, those paths are all yours.

Finger Lakes Running Company and Confluence Running Ithaca/Binghamton NYTreadmill Motivation 

No, the treadmill is not as fun as a nice run outside, but there are ways to make it interesting!  Consider using a GPS watch so the data from your workout is right in front of you as you run. Set a goal (I'm going to hit 3 miles in less than 28 minutes, or I'm going to progress to 7 miles per hour in the next 10 minutes) and go for it. Does your favorite football team have a game on Sunday? Head to the gym and run on the treadmill for the first quarter. Your workout will be done before you know it.

"Remember, the feeling you get from a good run is far better than the feeling you get from sitting around wishing you were running."
- Sarah Condor

Monday, October 20, 2014

Why Everyone Should Run Cross Country

We’ve talked about being a real runner; all you have to do is race. But now, we’re gonna talk about how to become a REAL runner. Not just someone who laces up shoes and enters a race, but a REAL, hard core, old time, runner.

It’s simple (but definitely not easy):
Run a cross-country race. 
Better yet, be a part of a team. Get out there in the crisp autumn air, or maybe the cold, rainy, autumn air. Whatever the weather (in XC it doesn’t matter). Just try a race and you’ll be hooked.
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Cross-Country is the purest form of racing. The very first Olympics in 776 BC had one event, a race along a river. It was only about 200 meters long, but it was along a river, on the ground that the gods put there for the Ancient Greeks to use. 

Back in the day, when the church was the main social gathering place, people would have running races from one church to another (hence- steeplechase because churches have steeples) over whatever terrain was available. Over stone fences, through creeks, but rarely on roads (and the roads were basically dirt anyway unless you were somewhere where Rome had conquered and they were cobblestone).

According to English writers Montague Sherman and F.A.M. Webster cross-country took its organized form in England in the late 1800’s. They called the races “Paper-Chases” or cross-country steeplechases. Here’s how it worked:

A couple of runners called “hares” (hence the term harrier) would set out on a run and lay strips of cloth for the pack of runners, called hounds, to follow. The idea was that the first hound to catch the hare won! I got all that information from a book titled Cross-Country Running, by Marc Bloom 1978. 
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So, now you know how the competitive aspect of the sport of running began, so go out and do it. Cross-country races are hard to find but we are lucky enough to have Confluence Running who not only can find you races but can provide an opportunity for you to be a part of a team. That is one part of running that most people who started running as adults never experienced.

Team pre-race huddles, post-race pictures, maybe even a uniform all make the painful  XC race worth it. I realize that some people are apprehensive about it but cross-country runners are the most supportive group out there. Get some friends (you only need five runners and extra are always welcome) and sign up for a race. If you REALLY want to have fun get a pair of spikes, but they certainly aren't required. Run over natural terrain, up and down hills, through a forest or nature preserve. It doesn't have the technical nature of trail runs. The idea isn’t to slow you down but to give you a natural challenge and a break from the same old 5K road race or the time consuming half-marathon and marathon training programs. 

I guarantee you’ll love it, “That was fun!” is a common post-race exclamation. You’ll also develop a very real respect for all those teenagers out there in the most popular high school sport in the nation. You’ll understand and appreciate what they go through every week. You’ll feel like a kid again when you run through the mud and come back in a condition where you can actually take a shower with your clothes ON! There was once a local high school race where it was so muddy they had to hose down the hallways of the school where the runners gathered after their races!

Check out for the STXC Series, form a team, and have some fun!

Thanks and thanks to Marc Bloom for a book I’ve read and re-read countless times. Oh, and thanks to my teammates for getting me through my first cross-country race in 30 years!

About the Author:

Michael Cordi has been a dedicated track and cross country coach for years, as well as an active and enthusiastic member of the running community in Binghamton, NY.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Confluence Kids!

We've got exciting news for kids and parents in the Southern Tier!  

Recently, Binghamton was listed as one of the most overweight cities in America.  We want to align with the city's initiative to promote health and fitness in its citizens.  Our goal is to make it easy for parents to encourage a love of fitness for life in their kids through fun races and group fitness activities.  We've started a page on facebook to keep you updated on all the running and endurance related events for kids in the the Broome County area.  Along with that, we've posted a new kids-only endurance events calendar right on our website including lots of events that are totally free to participate in such as fun run races and group activities, to make it easy for parents to find events.  

When kids participate in fun endurance related events, it encourages self esteem and can-do attitude.  Why not try a few fun runs with your kids?  Many of these events are completely free of charge and available to anyone in the community.  Most of them have day-of sign-ups, so you can even do it last minute, if you suddenly find you have available time!

We have started a new Confluence Kids program of kids-only group runs with some health and wellness education tied in.  This is a great opportunity for kids in the Southern Tier to not only get fit, but learn about their bodies, training, and general wellness. Not only that, but associated with the Confluence Kids events, we'll be holding a Beginner Group Run/Walk.  What better way to encourage your kids to be healthy than for you, as a parent, to work toward good health, yourself?  The Beginner Group Run/Walk will have a goal of two miles, and all abilities are welcome.  No runner left behind. We hope to see you there!

We've also started a Marathon Miles program for kids participating in Confluence Kids!  Come to any Confluence Kids event and you can participate in the Marathon Miles program by getting stamps on your Marathon Miles card.  Every time you fill up enough boxes to get to one of the pictures, just bring it in to Confluence Running and claim your prize!