Tip of the Week: Warm Up and Cool Down

To maximize performance and help prevent injuries it is critical that we prepare our bodies for the sport of running with an adequate warm up. Running is a dynamic, high impact activity. Although it may appear that when running we are only moving in one plane of motion (forward), internally, our joints, bones, muscles, tendons and fascia are actually moving in all three planes of motion (sagittal- forward/backward, frontal- side to side and transverse- rotation). That being said, it only makes sense that before we hit the road, we complete a warm up that looks and feels like running.

Here is a recommended warm up (video linked here):
– Common Lunge Matrix Stretch (a three-dimensional activity that focuses on the three key movement areas of the body: foot/ankle, hips and thoracic spine [trunk]).
– Running Drills (will not only get the body ready for running but are a great way to improve running form, cadence and foot strike).
– Strides (fast running that can be completed before, during or after a run depending on the workout).

Equally important to the warm up is the cool down. The cool down is the start of the recovery process. The focus here will be on completing three-dimensional exercises that will help improve flexibility, mobility and stability. It is also beneficial to complete exercises that will assist in the “calming” down of the sympathetic nervous system (think yoga).

Here is a recommended cool down (video linked here):
– Common Lunge Matrix Stretch (recommended to hold stretches slightly longer for cool down; 5-10 seconds).
– Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch
– Restorative Poses (Runner’s Lunge and Child’s Pose with thoracic rotation – see video for more details).

Member Spotlight: James Gray King

What event are you running with Team for Kids?

I’m running the TCS New York City Marathon with New York Road Runners Team for Kids!

What excites you most about running your event with Team for Kids?

The New York City Marathon is unlike any experience you can have in New York, from the crowds, to the words of encouragement, to the kids handing out bananas in the Bronx, to the camaraderie and friendships with Team for Kids runners and coaches. There’s nothing like it!

Where is your favorite place to run and why?

I started running in New York and as such, as much as I try to run as much as possible when I travel, New York will always be where the journey began. In addition to running with Team for Kids, I also train with North Brooklyn Runners and as such, meeting by “the bins” at the McCarren Park track will always have a special meaning for me.

If you run with music, what are your favorite artists or songs to listen to?

I actually do not listen to music when I run. Consequently, it would have to be Sinatra as the Marathon kicks off on the Verrazano Bridge.

What is your favorite post-run meal?   

A burger and a Guinness!

When did your relationship with running begin and why?  

It began in February of 2015 as part of a fitness challenge at work. I decided to start running a mile a day (which felt terrible!). I got through the February and a friend then asked me to run a half marathon in Brooklyn in the October following for a charity they work with. Somewhat intimated I told myself this would be the only one… unless I broke two hours! As luck would have it, coming in at 1:59:59, more races were clearly on the cards. A year and a month later I ran my first NYC Marathon!

Running has very much turned into my mental leveler during stressful times. I have met some amazing new friends and I am continually able to work towards new goals.

Do you have any pre-race rituals or superstitions, if so, please explain?
I always have a chicken Burrito the night before, having to travel way out of my way for a race in DC recently to find something suitable!

Why did you choose to run with Team for Kids?
At first it felt like a good way to get into the Marathon. As training went on however and we heard more stories from people directly impacted by the work of Team for Kids I felt increasingly connected to the cause and driven to what I could to support it. Understanding what it can mean to younger people to goal set, have a supportive environment and become aware of what they can achieve has become a huge driver for me to return and run for TFK again.

Tell us a little more about yourself
I am an Englishman living in New York with my wonderful wife Kelly and dog, Meatball. I have lived here for 8 years after growing up in Oxford with a stint in Kenya. I have worked in music, design and technology most of my life. I had never been a person who really engaged in anything fitness related until running came along and changed everything!

Connect via the links below:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jamesgrayking
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jamesgrayking/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jamesgrayking

Tip of the Week: Cross Training

See below for the Team for Kids training tip of the week!

What exactly is cross training?
Cross training is any form of exercise outside of running. It’s that simple. This may include some of the more common forms of exercise such as swimming, cycling, elliptical trainer, deep-water running, weight training, yoga, Pilates and stretching. As you can see, cross training involves not only other forms of cardiovascular exercise, such as cycling, but also includes those exercises responsible for improving our overall strength (weight training) and flexibility (yoga, Pilates and stretching).

Why do we cross train?
Simply put, we cross train to avoid injury and to enhance our overall performance.  Cross training allows us to add volume and frequency to our training, in a safe and effective manner. Running is a high impact exercise that involves repetitive motion over a long period of time.  When running at a constant speed our bodies will operate through a specific range of motion, and over time, as with other forms of repetitive motion, our bodies may be susceptible to injury.  By implementing other forms of cardiovascular exercise we can improve our strength, flexibility, and endurance without the added stress of running alone.

Who should cross train?
Everyone should cross train, especially those who are new to the sport of running or who may have a history of injury.  The most common mistake associated with marathon training is OVER TRAINING (doing TOO much TOO soon or running TOO fast or TOO hard all the time).  Listen to your bodies and stick to the schedule that is best suited for you and your current fitness level.  Be sure to make your scheduled “strength” training sessions a priority (2x/week). Instead of adding an extra day of running to your schedule, you can choose one or two of the activities mentioned above to supplement your training program.  If you are sore or potentially injured, error on the side of conservative and chose a pain free activity instead of running (just for the record, studies show that “cycling” is the best substitute for runners, but you need to focus on a high cadence (90-95 RPM’s) to replicate the fast turnover we use while we run.

Bottom line, just because you are training for a marathon or half marathon does not mean you have to forego all the other activities that you enjoy.  Keep that in mind throughout the season.

Member Spotlight: Anna Perry

What event are you running with Team for Kids?
I’m running the Airbnb Brooklyn Half with New York Road Runners Team for Kids!

What excites you most about running your event with Team for Kids?
I love the energy and excitement for every race I’ve run. I have a strong passion for an active lifestyle, and chronic illness prevention. I can’t wait to experience this race that can impact the lives of our next generation!

Where is your favorite place to run and why?
I don’t have a favorite place to run, but every run with my younger sister Nicky is my favorite. We can run for hours and just enjoy each other’s company. If I’m with her, the scenery takes second place!

If you run with music, what are your favorite artists or songs to listen to?
I love listening to upbeat, hip hop music. I do, however, love any Fitz and the Tantrum song!

What is your favorite post-run meal?
My sister and I love to indulge after a run. We usually enjoy a large brunch, or if it’s in the afternoon some cookie dough for dessert!

When did your relationship with running begin and why?
My relationship with running started in college. I played soccer, and my endurance came easy for many years, but as I got older I realized I needed to work on it outside of practice. I started out with very short distances, and picked it up as the years went on. I started doing destination runs because it’s such a great way to see the city. I also enjoy clearing my mind, or calling family and friends to catch up. Running is the most free sport one can do, it’s on my own schedule, and I can go at my own pace. My mood on the weekend is usually determined by a good run!

Do you have pre-race rituals or superstitions?
I don’t have any rituals, but I love to treat myself to a new running outfit :).

Why did you choose to run with Team for Kids?
I love the Team for Kids mission. I believe that preventive health starts when we’re young, and I think getting children active at a young age creates good habits. Also, I have taken my life for granted, and I didn’t even realize that PE as a subject was a luxury. I think the involvement in the schools and communities is so important for children, and families. I am so excited to be a part of this community. I can’t wait to learn about more stories in the process.

Tell us a little more about yourself.
I recently moved to New York from Kansas City. I moved here with my husband right after we got married and have loved our adventure. We are small city people, but we’re learning to navigate through New York! I think running around the city has helped me learn about so many things, and I love the culture throughout each borough. I can’t wait to meet more and more people in the community!





Connect via the links below:
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/Annanowperry/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/anna.alfonsin

Tip of the Week: Top 10 Race Day Tips

  1. Pack for any out of town travel. If you are traveling to Brooklyn from out of town, make sure to pack all your race day gear in your carry on bag (running shoes, TFK singlet, shorts, socks, etc.).
  2. Pick up your race materials! Don’t forget to pick up your race packet at the Airbnb Brooklyn Half Pre-Party Presented by New Balance. Remember to bring a photo ID and your unique QR code (either printed with your confirmation card or on the NYRR mobile app). Team for Kids runners will pick up their bibs at the Team for Kids bib pickup counter, not the general bib counters as other runners will be doing. After you get your bib, you can visit the Team for Kids booth to ask our staff and coaches your last minute questions and purchase gear!
  3. Decorate your race shirt. Put your name on the front and back of your race-day shirt so people along the course can cheer you on. It really helps during those later miles!
  4. Dress in layers. Pack throw-away clothing for race morning to keep you warm & dry (hat, gloves, sweat shirt and pants, etc.). Clothing you shed on the course will be collected and donated.
  5. Prepare your nutrition. Prepare your pre-race and race-day nutrition ahead of time. Stick to what you practiced during your long runs. Always have extra, just in case.
  6. Remember your race planYou’ve trained hard for this: remember your plan and the best strategies to achieve your race day goal. As a reminder, TFK coaches will be on the course if you need support.
  7. Start slow. Do NOT go out too fast! Trust your training and your race plan to avoid fatigue or injury in later miles.
  8. Stick with what you know. Don’t try anything new on race day – whether it’s nutrition, clothes, gear. Remember #6. 🙂
  9. Remember your mantra. Remember a motto that works best for you for the later miles (i.e. “Feet fast, legs strong, I can do this all day long!”).
  10. Remember the mission. If times get tough during your race, think of the number one reason why you are doing this: to support more than 215,000 students across the nation with free NYRR youth running programs, events, and resources! All of them, and all of us at Team NYRR, are cheering you on!

Member Spotlight: Danielle Perkins

What event are you running with Team for Kids?
I’m running the Airbnb Brooklyn Half with New York Road Runners Team for Kids!

What excites you most about running your event with Team for Kids?
I love how TFK funds help support programs for more than 200,000 children in more than 1,000 schools and community centers nationwide. It is amazing to be contributing to an organization that has such a large-scale impact.

Where is your favorite place to run and why?
Anywhere along the water, especially in the summer. It is so peaceful.

If you run with music, what are your favorite artists or songs to listen to?
I actually don’t listen to music when I run. I love music, but I find it distracting during a race. I like taking in the sights and the sounds; every race has it’s own vibe, and I like be a part of it and experience it totally and completely.

What is your favorite post-run meal?
Egg & cheese on a bagel. I can eat like 7.

When did your relationship with running begin and why?
When I was a sophomore in college. I watched a friend run a race one weekend and was instantly inspired. I stepped out of my apartment one day after class the next week, and just started running. It sounds super cheesy, but I haven’t stopped since. Growing up I absolutely hated running, but I’ve come to really love it. To me it is the best way to get out of my head and clear my mind. I love that I am able to always challenge myself, and I learn something new with every race I run.

Do you have any pre-race rituals or superstitions?
I eat pasta for dinner the night before every race. If I don’t, I feel super weak. I swear, the power is in the pasta.

Why did you choose to run with Team for Kids?
When I started running, I was running just for myself. I found it as a way to challenge myself and to ensure I stay fit, as well as a method of relieving the stresses that come along with living in a bustling city, one that truly does never sleep. At the end of the day, if I can do something I really enjoy while also giving back, I couldn’t ask for anything better. I love that I can help support running and fitness programs for students across the country, ultimately allowing youth to build a healthier and happier lifestyle like I aim to do for myself. It’s empowering to know that I my running is supporting a larger community much greater than myself.

Tell us a little more about yourself.
I am 23 years old and work as an Assistant Buyer in menswear at Bloomingdale’s. I am passionate about fashion, theater, music, art, and travel. I am a firm believer in making the most of each and every day, and enjoy taking advantage of what my city has to offer, exploring new places, meeting new people, and trying new things.

Connect with Danielle via the links below:
Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/dani.perkins.94
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/danielle__rachel/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/daniellerachelperkins/