Archive | October, 2014

The Case of the Bad Blood Sugar

29 Oct

Case of the Bad Blood Sugar

Detective Wells is on a mission to save the city from Mr. B. Sugar and his gang of carbohydrates! Rely on your Private Detective skills to help crack the case and learn how to stay in control! Click the link to initiate this interactive and informative case!

The Power of Running Mantras

25 Oct



Having strong legs isn’t everything when it comes down to running; you must also have a strong head. Training your mind is half the battle when running long distances, and you should use your training plan to not only focus on mileage but mental strength and confidence as well.

One thing that has gotten me through every run is creating my own running mantras. Mantras are short encouraging phrases full of positive action words that you can create for yourself, to repeat in your head, to help you stay strong and focused.

Going into my first marathon I had to trust my training and focus on mental strength. Before I even got to the start line, I kept visualizing myself crossing the finish line. I went into the race with the mantra “Today is MY day” bouncing around in my head, helping my mind steer clear of negative thoughts. I quickly added new mantras along the way, as I listened to music and read spectators posters on the sidelines.

An encouraging mantra that I read before the race that stuck with me all 26.2 miles was “You have logged over 500+ miles, this is your victory lap around the city”. I truly kept visualizing myself running cool and calm “giving back to the fans” in one last victory lap. I kept telling myself, I have already run significant miles during training, what is 26.2 more!

Some of my other favorite mantras include:

“Define yourself”

“I am tough, I am strong”

“I run fast, I run strong, I run long”

“Pain is temporary, pride is forever”

“Trust your training”

“Your legs are not giving out, your head is giving up, keep going”

“Run the mile you are in”

“I am a runner”

“You are stronger than you think”

“I am, I can, I will”


“Prove yourself”

“You signed up and paid for this”

“She believed she could, so she did “

“I am unstoppable”

“I run because I can, when I get tired I think of those who can’t”

Choose your own mantra that you can connect with that will help you push past tired legs and discouraging thoughts. A mantra that will carry and encourage your entire run.


Good luck, stay positive and happy running,

-Annie Crawford, HAWA Director of Communications, Bank of America Chicago Marathon 2014 FINISHER!


Third Down Trivia

23 Oct

Third Down TRIVIA

It’s game day!

Have fun by playing Third Down Trivia and test your fitness knowledge.

Only 5 questions stand in the way of you scoring a touchdown.

Click to begin!

Published courtesy of mHealth games

20 Reasons Why You Should Go For A Run Today!

18 Oct


  1. Running does not require any gym equipment
  2. Solo runs provide time for self discovery and recognition
  3. Running boosts your mood
  4. Running improves your concentration
  5. You can run anywhere & anytime
  6. Running is a high calorie burning cardio exercise
  7. Running gives you energy
  8. Running gives you a goal to work towards
  9. You can meet new people through local running clubs
  10. Running fights anxiety and depression
  11. Running increases self-esteem
  12. Running provides you a chance to go outside and enjoy nature
  13. Running strengthens your bones
  14. Running helps you fall asleep faster at night
  15. You can run at any age
  16. Running boosts your metabolism
  17. Running is inexpensive
  18. Running promotes weight loss
  19. You can get fit with your furry friends
  20. Running builds a strong core

Simple Steps for Running a Successful Race

11 Oct


Running your first organized race should be memorable in an awesome “I accomplished that!” kind of way.  With the following tips, you’ll cross the finish line like a champ!

  • Choose the Right Race Course For You. Not all 5k’s are created equal.  The distance may be 5 kilometers but the terrain can vary dramatically. Some races may have hills that can be difficult for a beginner to accomplish. For your first 5k, choose terrain that won’t feel impossible to accomplish.
  • Choose a Race Associated With Something That is Important to You. Are you running for your relative who has MS? Or, perhaps you want to do the ‘Race for the Cure’ this year? Choose a race that has significant meaning to you. You will find yourself determined and you will be less likely to quit.
  • Map and Run the Race Course. Once you have chosen your race, get online and print the race route. If you can run the route at least twice before race day then you should be set.  If you know where your finish line is, you’ll avoid the emotional roller coaster of “how much longer until the finish line?” And you’ll know exactly how much further you need to run before you cross it.
  • Position in the Pack. For your first race, avoid standing in the front of the pack — you should move to the middle or back of the lineup. Elite racers start at the front. Their stride will be quicker and faster throughout the entire race. If you start out with them, you will quickly run out of fuel.
  • Slow and Steady Wins the Race. Learn to pace yourself.  Start your run a little faster than a brisk walk, until you find a comfortable pace. A comfortable pace is one that allows you to run and still complete a sentence.  On race day, resist the urge to run at top speed right out of the gate. You will quickly become exhausted and may have to walk across the finish line. If you stay slow and steady, you will be rewarded with a sense of accomplishment for finishing strong.
  • If Your Shoes Are Cute, Chances Are You are Wearing the Wrong Ones. A good rule of thumb is:  If you think your cute sneakers are okay to run in, they probably aren’t.  Good running shoes are an essential tool for a successful runner.  If you don’t have proper running shoes and are new to running, you are guaranteed to have an injury that will set you back in your training.  Go to a store that specializes in running shoes.  They will check your foot strike for any number of common deviations and fit you with a running shoe that accommodates for your running style. They may cost a little more, but the investment will pay off in the long RUN.
  • Complement Your Training with Non-Running Exercises. Strength and endurance exercises are important in your training because they develop leg and core strength and help prevent injury.  Some exercises to include in your routine are:
  • 1 Minute Wall Squat
  • 40/40 Forward Lunges (40 left leg, 40 right leg)
  • 1 Minute Elbow Plank
  • 40 Jump Squats
  • 40/40 Reverse Lunges (40 left leg, 40 right leg)
  • There’s an App for That. ‘Couch to 5k’ will prompt you when to run and when to walk. By the time you finish the program, you will be running for a full 30 minutes.  This will be your personal training coach.  Another great app is ‘Couch to 5k’ is ‘Map My Run.’ It will map your distance and your pace and can be quite satisfying to review your accomplishments at the end of each run.

These simple training tips are tried and true. Remember to be consistent in your training, positive in your thoughts and kind to your body. You will cross that finish line a true runner.

Robyn Allen, ISSA, CFT


How to Find Your Perfect Pair of Running Shoes – From Beginner to Marathoner

4 Oct


How to Find Your Perfect Pair of Running Shoes – From Beginner to Marathoner

By: Mary Moe, HRIS/Benefits Manager & Avid Runner


When looking for just the right fit in a running shoe, there is a lot of information out there! Can it really be that complex? It’s not rocket science, if the shoe fits, wear it, right?

That is in fact the bottom line, but finding the shoe that’s right for you does involve some science, the science of your foot and the biomechanics of your body. It’s the reason there is so much information to be had about running shoes; correct fit really does matter. Fortunately some of the particulars around the fit are quite obvious even to a beginner. As a beginning runner, you’ll see that your “novice status” my even work in your favor, at least at first (you have less chance of injury when logging less miles at lower intensity), so no need to fret over the plethora of technical information that seems so overwhelming at first. Every runner learns one step at a time.

The first step is determining what type of runner you are. Are you the recreational type who wants to mostly walk and work your way up to running over time? (if so you may need to consider the life of a shoe, most shoes wear out around 500 miles); or are you an avid sport’s type who is taking on running as an extra challenge? (if so you’ll likely progress rather quickly with your running). Are you just an all-around beginner but looking to take on a huge goal, like your first marathon? Or perhaps you are an experienced marathoner (you may have a lot of experience with running shoes already but might be ready to change something about your running, trying something more intense or new). Needless to say, one and all can benefit from knowing more about their most important tool as a runner, the running shoe.

Running shoes are the biggest and most worthwhile investment the runner may have to make so it’s important to choose carefully, fit the shoe to your foot the best you can, and last but definitely not least, love and enjoy your shoes!


The Basics

After it’s determined what type of running is on your personal fitness horizon you will begin the process of understanding your feet and the shoes you personally need. All methods of foot analysis sophisticated or not, aim to determine how much or little side to side ankle movement a runner has when his foot strikes the ground. The presence of absence of this side to side movement is all telling since each person’s foot strike is determined by the type of arch they have; high arch, normal to low arch or no arch (flat-footed). To complicate matters, as a unique individual you could even have two feet of two different arch types, though this is the rare case. If you have access to a local running store that will do a treadmill gait analysis, go for it! Some running stores even go as far as filming this action and giving you an instant re-play. Persons who have a lot of ankle movement upon foot strike are pronators; they have a normal to low arch and require a “stability” shoe designed with stiffer midsole material to counteract pronation. Persons who have very even foot strike and little to no side-to-side ankle movement have a high arch and land mostly on the balls of their feet, they require a “neutral” shoe. Lastly the flat foot, which is less common, has no arch and needs a “control” shoe, these shoes control the excessive inward rolling movement experienced by flat-footed runners. Don’t worry if your local running store doesn’t do treadmill gait analysis as their employees are sure to know how to do an “at a glance” analysis by simply watching you walk and at very least can take a look at your arches to let you know your arch type. You may also do this at home by doing the “wet foot test”; putting out a colored piece of paper next to the shower and stepping on it to look at the imprint left behind. A high arch will show just the ball of your foot and heel and/or a very, very thin line connecting the two. A normal to low arch will have an entire footprint that curves in slightly but a thicker line connects the ball of the foot with the heel. Lastly no arch will reveal no curving in, just toes topping off an oval. It’s also a good idea to bring your current shoes with you to the store so the vendor can take a look at how the tread on the bottoms is wearing. Once your shoe category; stability, control, neutral is determined, you’ll want to try on different brands within the same category to see what feels best to you. Brands can vary in a lot of different details such as the width of the toe box, type of heel cushioning, snugness around the ankle and lacing systems. Some of these details may also vary within one category of any given brand based on price point.


Beyond the Basics

So now that you have the basic knowledge to find the right fit, you should be set to go, right? Well yes and no. It’s easy to get confused when out shopping by numerous details. Just remember the basics apply most of the time, there are some minimalist shoes that defy the basics, you will have to decide for yourself if your feet and legs can withstand experimenting with such shoes. You also will note there are lower rise shoes, these shoes will follow the basic shoe categories but have little distance between your foot and the ground, (controlled by the amount of base material used in the sole ), racing flats, spikes, overly cushioned shoes, shoes designed to turn you into a “forefront striker” (remember from earlier, foot strike is largely controlled by your specific arch type), trail shoes, shoes with gel in the heel, etc. etc. If you get confused remember the basics and ask your salesman questions like, is this “racing shoe” neutral or stability? Do you have a neutral trail shoe? Some shoe vendors have taken away some of the guess work for you. Brooks marks and color codes the outside of their boxes as “neutral” “stability”, etc. When you pick up pair of Saucony or Asics in the stability category, the inside profile of the shoe has spotted stiff grey material on the inner midsole, but if it’s colored or at least no grey color, it’s probably neutral. Another way to note at a glance if a shoe is neutral is by folding it in half, a neutral shoe has no stability material through the midsole area and you should be able to collapse the shoe toe to heel in on itself (given the shoe isn’t stuffed with packing paper). When in doubt ask, some brands veer from their “usual” tell-tale signs for say a racing flat or a trail shoe. One thing you can count on is that no two brands market their shoes the same way, so it never hurts to ask!


Don’t change the shoe I love!

And now that you cracked the code, you can make a formula and go with it, right? Hmmm. Wouldn’t that be nice, that might actually work for some shoes some of the time. But as you grow as a runner and even when you become an expert, you will still have to evaluate and re-evaluate; what’s on your personal fitness horizon? Legs feeling weary lately, then maybe it’s time for a new pair? you have outlived the life of your current shoe..(shoes are only designed to last 500 miles, this could be 6 months for a person training for a marathon and only 3 months for a seriously long-distance runner). Shoe vendors are always polling their clients for ways to improve and though they never change the “basic category” of any given model, they will tweak a lacing system, amount of cushioning material, toe box width, something aesthetic on the shoe, etc. If you have a favorite, then you know what makes it so and you may or may not like the change. You can try to stay abreast of changes by reading the seasonal shoe issues of running magazines, by visiting the vendor websites, or simply by asking your running store salesman to fill you in. As you become hooked on running, you may want to buy a couple pair of your favorites at a time, or extend the life of your favorite by buying alternate shoes for specific purposes, a lighter weight shoe for your races, track workouts, treadmill runs, for example can help you avoid using your sturdy distance trainer for all your miles. You can spend a lot of money on a good pair of shoes so you may be looking for ways to save. One way to save is to buy a pair one season out of date, they will still have all the qualities of a good shoe though they may not be the latest model. Unless you’ll just be wearing your shoe to the gym to lift weights, beware of buying something “counter-type” just because it looks good or is on sale. That sale may have been good but nothing is worth the expense and down-time you may have to go through if you get injured.

October Running Challenge

1 Oct

run_workout copy

This month HAWA challenges you to get up and be active by incorporating running in your weekly fitness plan! Whether you are challenging yourself to your first 5K run/walk or are registering for your fifth marathon, we are here to help!

We challenge you to take these simple steps to become a better runner TODAY!

  1. Set a goal!
  2. Register for a race
  3. Get fitted for shoes
  4. Make a plan
  5. Dress for success
  6. Let go of judgment/ learn how to ignore your negative voices
  7. Go at your own pace
  8. Find a running partner or a friend working toward the same goal
  9. Eat like an athlete
  10. Find inspiration and mental clarity in every run
  11. Download a running APP to your smartphone (HAWA loves Map My Run)

“Always concentrate on how far you’ve come, rather than how far you have left to go.”