Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Little League Track

Track and field is one of those sports that a wide variety of people can be good at and enjoy. From sprints to distance to jumping or throwing events, the skills needed to be a talented track and field athlete are developed when we play other sports growing up. But many people shy away from track thinking they don’t like running (probably because it was usually a punishment in their other sports) or that they don’t know if they will be any good.

As my high school track coach, Jerry Mohr, always used to say, “No one ever grew up playing little league track!” It’s so true; the sport is brand new to everyone when they come out that first year. If you get started in middle school or early high school, you are starting at the same time as everyone else! Track is such a rewarding sport, as it combines team oriented camaraderie with individual competition. And the best thing about it is that you can keep running and competing for your entire life.

Track is a simple sport to get started in because you need almost no equipment! You should get fitted for a good pair of training shoes so you don’t get injured, get some moisture-wicking socks in your life, and buy a pair of track spikes to compete in- way better than the cleats, pads, mouth guards, etc. required with many other sports! Spikes are light-weight shoes that get you up on your toes to help you race faster at meets. They typically only cost about $60 and high school and college athletes get a 20% discount on them at Tri-State Running Company! Many teams come out as a group for a spike night where the employees at the store can fit each athlete for a spike that matches both their feet and their event.

Whether you (or someone you know) are thinking about going out for a track team or wondering what this sport is all about, this is the year to find out! Go watch a meet to see the excitement on someone’s face when they hit a new personal best time or the teamwork it takes to be successful in a relay race. Track teaches athletes from a young age to set goals, overcome a variety of difficulties to meet them, and to believe in themselves. I couldn’t recommend it highly enough, as my own experiences with the sport couldn’t have been more positive. Throughout my high school and collegiate career as a track athlete, I met some of my best friends and most encouraging mentors. I learned what my body and mind were capable of, and that makes a difference each and every day in what I can accomplish in other areas of my life. When you decide track might be for you, stop by Tri-State Running Company to try out some spikes and learn more about the sport!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Exhausted? Don't Let Spring Forward Ruin Your Day!

If you are feeling anything like me today, you want to crawl back into bed, pull the covers over your head, and go back to sleep for most of this rainy day.  Daylight Savings Time is an evil, evil ritual.
Due to the fact that I feel like I might collapse from exhaustion at some point today (and I have to assume I'm not the only one), I decided to share some natural energy boosting tips for those of you who aren't having success pounding back 17 cups of coffee this morning.

Here's the first good news of this blog post - we are going to make it through today!  You know what the best natural energy booster is?  (You know what I'm going to say, don't you?)  EXERCISE!  Even though working out is about the last thing you feel like doing when you are exhausted and wanting to curl into the fetal position under a heated blanket, increasing your physical activity increases energy.  Even as little as 10 minutes of brisk walking can boost energy for as long as 2 hours.  So, if you haven't gone out for your run or walk today, try to squeeze it in sooner rather than later so you can get through the rest of the day!

The other way to boost your energy levels naturally (and quickly)?  Proper nutrition!  Start your day off with a balanced breakfast, drink lots of water, and make sure you get plenty of critical nutrients from fruits, vegetables, lean meats, etc.  If you're feeling sluggish today, try to limit your sugar intake and eat more whole grains.  It's all about keeping your blood sugar constant, as any big spikes are only going to make you feel more tired.  Last, but not least, try to snack on healthy foods to keep your energy up throughout the day.  Try eating something with a combination of carbs (for a quick energy boost) and protein (for lasting energy) like peanut butter on whole wheat crackers.

If all else fails, take a power nap!  Take heart in the fact that next time dreaded Daylight Savings Time hits us, we will be getting this hour back.  Good luck staying awake today!