Home / Reindeer Fun Run News / 2017 / Training tips from FirstHealth Fitness Centers

Training tips from FirstHealth Fitness Centers

1) Your Daily Training Diet

You’ve committed to running a 5K or 12K, and you’ve got your training plan in place. But how much attention have you given to your nutrition? Can you run a race on Cheetos or french fries? Probably. But you won’t perform as well, and you definitely won’t feel as good as if you had followed a good training diet. If you need specific help getting started, visit our nutrition page http://www.firsthealth.org/fitness/Pinehurst/nutrition.asp for upcoming classes and my contact information.

Make a point to fuel your body well on a daily basis to get the most out of your training.

  1. Eat at least three kinds of wholesome foods at each meal
  2. Eat two kinds of wholesome foods at each snack
  3. Eat even-sized meals throughout the day, as opposed to a small breakfast and a belly-stuffing meal at the end of the day
  4. Choose to eat at least 90% quality foods
  5. Choose a variety of colors of fruits and vegetables each day: red grapes, leafy greens, yellow peppers, orange carrots, blueberries, etc. to get a variety of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to support your immune system and help with recovery after training.
  6. When you eat grains, make sure they are whole grains, such as oatmeal and brown rice to get more fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.


GRAIN/STARCH Oatmeal Bread Hummus Brown rice
FRUIT Blueberries Apple    
VEGETABLE   Baby carrots Mini-peppers Green beans
DAIRY/CALCIUM Milk Yogurt   Parmesan
PROTEIN Almonds Turkey   Salmon

Contributed by Ashley Carpenter, RD, Certified Health and Wellness Coach at FirstHealth Fitness


2) Running/Power walking and Yoga are a perfect combination.

In fact, if you’re looking to improve your times and fluidity in breathing, getting to a yoga class may help reach those goals.

The typical runner loves both the physical and mental positive effects of a long, outdoor run. The down side is the pounding the muscles and joints take with every stride.  Over time our muscles shorten, tighten, and loose their suppleness and we often neglect to add flexibility exercises in our training program.

A regular yoga practice, not only improves our range of motion, it builds strength, mental focus, and helps us synchronize our movement and breath. It also helps us connect to our body’s inner wisdom.

If you’re ready to give yoga a try, your next decision is what style might be most beneficial for you.  All the FirstHealth Fitness Centers offer a variety of yoga classes.  View the schedules and class selections at  http://www.firsthealth.org/fitness.  Talking with an RYT (Registered Yoga Teacher) would be a great place to start.  Call or email me. I’d be happy to assist you in selecting a class with your particular goals in mind.  

Contributed by Cinnamon LeBlanc, E-RYT, CPT, Manager, FirstHealth Fitness-Southern Pines. Esther Myers Yoga Studio-500 hour teacher training, Relax & Renew Teacher Training, Yoga of the Heart Cardiac & Cancer-100 hour teacher training, AFAA Personal Trainer & Group Exercise


3) What do you think of when you hear the word “core”? 

Did you think of abs? Most people do – and you are not wrong, but there is so much more!  The core includes everything except the arms and legs. This includes our oblique muscles, back muscles, and glute (buttocks) muscles along with the abs.

Having a strong core translates to better posture, which reduces low back, neck, and shoulder pain. During high impact activities such as running, the core stabilizes the body which helps to prevent injury because we are not pulling incorrectly and overusing the quads and hamstrings, this helps reduce exhaustion allowing you to run longer. Also, having a strong core helps with breathing. When your core is strong, it allows unrestricted breathing, unlike when we tend to fall forward.

Cross training activities like yoga, HIIT, TRX, and weighted exercises work the core and are a great asset to any training plan. If you are not sure where to start, come take classes with us at any of our FirstHealth locations. You might want to try CXWORX, TRX, Strength & Core, Bells & Whistles, On the Ball, or Core & More. Our instructors will help build your core foundation to ensure you have a great running journey. For a full list of classes check out our website at http://www.firsthealth.org/fitness  and visit our Facebook and Instagram pages. 

Contributed by Samantha White, FirstHealth Fitness Coach


4) What to Eat Before Running

Some runners can eat and immediately go run with no problems, others need to eat 1 to 3 hours before running to avoid gastro-intestinal issues, so find what works best for you. This will take some trial and error and should be something you figure out while training, not on race day. If you’ve eaten a meal within the past 3 hours, you may not need additional fuel before running. If it’s been 4+ hours since your last meal, you should top off your fuel stores with a light snack before running. For best results, consume about 150 to 200 calories for a 30- to 60-minute run about an hour before you run. What to eat? Try toast with jam, a piece of bread with a little nut butter, some oatmeal with dried fruit, half a banana, a few dates stuffed with nut butter, or a low-protein energy bar. Make sure to wash it down with plenty of water. Aim to consume 16-20 ounces of fluid 2-3 hours before your run, and another 8-ish ounces 20 minutes before. Properly fueling training runs will promote quality training and aid your post-run recovery.

During the Run

Since 5K races are short, you don’t need any additional fuel during the run itself. The same is typically true for 12Ks, though if you’ll be running for over an hour, you may want 4 gulps of sport drink or a gel and water mid-run to help you finish strong. The key is to start the run well-fueled and hydrated. You may or may not require any additional fuel or fluid. Listen to your body during training and do what works best for you.

What to Eat After Running

When you exercise, your body breaks down muscle fibers and creates tiny tears in your muscles. Then, during recovery, your body repairs these tiny tears and strengthens your muscle fibers for the next time you exercise – that’s how you see an improvement in performance. Your body also depletes carbohydrate energy stores during exercise. If you’re not going to be eating a meal within an hour after exercise, have a small snack with a mix of carbs and protein.  Examples include chocolate milk, eggs with toast and fruit, small smoothie with fruit and yogurt, ½ turkey sandwich and fruit, etc. Make sure to wash it down with plenty of water to rehydrate.

Contributed by Ashley Carpenter, RD, Certified Health and Wellness Coach at FirstHealth Fitness


5) Avoid Injuries

Running is an invigorating activity that can improve blood flow through the body, strengthen the heart muscle, and provide you with more energy throughout your day.  A solid training protocol is essential to success as a runner, whether you’re looking to finish your first race or want to improve your personal best.

Chronic injuries are often caused by improper equipment, mobility limitations, and muscle imbalances that occur as a runner starts to increase his or her mileage in preparation.  Injuries such as shin splints, snapping hip or knee, and tendonitis are the downfall of any good running program.  Proper guidance is necessary when tackling these common problems.

Working with a personal trainer on developing a custom-fit program complete with the right elements specific to your body will help you avoid pitfalls on your way to success as a runner. As a trainer at FirstHealth with an education and background in Athletic Training/Sports Medicine, I’d be happy to help you on your journey and give you the proper tools to accomplish your goals. If you’d like to make an appointment with me or another personal trainer to up your running game, contact FirstHealth Fitness (910) 692-6129 or visit www.firsthealth.org/fitness

Contributed by Matt West, BS Athletic Training, FirstHealth Fitness Coach

Posted by