Small steps. Big impact.

THE FITBIT BLOG

Fitbit Inspiration: Jennifer C.

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Tough Mudder image

Running isn’t a hobby it’s a career, and on February 27, 2014 my career got a little more interesting. That was the day I got invited to join a work group to complete Tough Mudder.

In the beginning, I was thrilled telling myself that it’s just like some of the other obstacle races I had run, only longer. At the time, I was averaging 10K steps per day, using my Fitbit Zip to calculate each move I made.

With only seven months to train, I knew I had my work cut out for me. My primary goal was just getting up to a 12-mile run, about three times longer than my usual distance. Each week I added 1K steps to my run until I hit my 12-mile goal, I then decided to make it a little more challenging.

My weekends began to fill with 10-mile trail walks on Saturdays and 12-mile trail runs on Sundays. At this point, two months before Tough Mudder, I felt I was trained and ready to go. But then I started browsing the race website and quickly realized: I was not ready.

My Zip pushed me to get gradually increase my steps/distance, betting my time and training.

Needless to say, I increased my workout intensity lifting weights, swinging kettleballs, kickboxing, and completing various core workouts to increase my upper body and core strength as quickly as possible. The ultimate goal was preparing for a Tough Mudder obstacle called Everest—a quarter pipe climb covered in mud and grease. With just one month to train for this terrifying climb,  the one tool that I used the most was my Zip.

I found the highest hill near my house and ran all-out wind sprints. I started with just a few feet, but gradually increased to sprinting the entire hill and back several times. My Zip pushed me to get gradually increase my steps/distance, betting my time and training.

On the morning of race day, I was nervous and excited. At 9am we were on the road and by 10am, at the starting line to the Tough Mudder in Montgomery City, MO. In the back of my pants was a zipper pouch where I had my most reliable tool, my Fitbit, in two plastic bags hoping that it would survive along with me on our 12-mile obstacle race.

With my husband by my side, we completed one obstacle after another—even one where I had to carry him 500 feet!

We jumped in the arctic enema (think tank full of ice water) diving underwater, shaking as I moved through the ice bath to the opposite side.

The final obstacle—a muddy sprint through a barrage of hanging, electrically charged wires—stood between me and the finish line. With a couple shocks to my frame, I crossed the finish line, hoping my Zip was still in one piece.

Through all the mud, water, and obstacles both me and my trusty Zip and survived. It tracked all 12 miles, validating one of the most physically challenging days of my life.

It’s amazing what a person can accomplish by overcoming your fears with the tools and team to help achieve your goals.

 

Cold Weather Training: 6 Tips for Running in the Fall & Winter

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winter running

We recently wrote about Fall fitness tips to help you keep pumped and active all season long. But today, let’s take it a step further with specific tips for all you runners/joggers out there!

If you’re planning to stay on schedule with your running as the weather’s getting cold, there are some extra things to keep in mind. Race season may be months away, but keeping up with your running goals now will help you pick up your training right where you left off once the weather warms up.

Here’s how to stay focused:

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From Steps to IRONMAN: Running for Melanoma Research

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IM Kona Nicole

Hi, I’m Nicole Serraiocco. I’m a wife, mother of three adorable maniacs, and soon I’ll be an IRONMAN. I’m not a fitness expert or a lifelong devotee to sport. In fact, I only completed my first marathon less than a year ago. But the universe seems to have conspired to present me with this challenge and I’ve decided to accept.

I spend most of my days wrangling three young children, carting them to school and their various activities, trying to keep the house in some kind of relative order and squeeze in workouts when I can. I’ve found that being a part of a class or a group keeps me accountable and motivated, and it was as a member of one of these groups that I met the man who threw the proverbial IRONMAN glove in my face; my rockstar coach, Thad Beaty.

Thad and I discovered that we had the same shared history of losing loved ones to Melanoma cancer, myself having lost my father shortly after I was married, and now supporting a dear friend and mother of three who has been diagnosed with Stage 3 Melanoma.

The other day I realized it was only 9am and I had already logged close to 30K steps.

After losing his IRONMAN Kona-inspired teammate Naomi Cermak to the cancer last year, Thad wanted to make an impact on this common disease that seems to get so little attention in the press. He saw something in me, some crazy fire and determination, that prompted him to team me up with the Melanoma Research Foundation as their official IRONMAN athlete for the World Championships at Kona, 2014. Together, we’ve committed to raising $50,000 for the awareness and prevention of Melanoma.

A Day In The Life

My challenge, (aside from tackling the biggest, scariest endurance race of my life) is to find the balance between taking care of myself, taking care of this commitment and taking care of my family.

Taking care of my family means I have to do most of my training early in the morning. If I want to squeeze in a 14-mile run before the kids get up, that means I get up at 4:15am for a run, to be done in time to get the first kid on the bus at 6:30am.

The other day I realized it was only 9am and I had already logged close to 30K steps. I’m bound to get some helicopter badges here, right? read more

The Mindful Marathon: How to Stay Mentally Composed During a Race

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blog image slow mo steps

Fall race season is officially in gear. There are some great training plans out there to help you reach your physical goal, but what about the mental aspect?

People often ask me what I think about when I run and what I do when a race is going badly. In ultra-running, we call it going into the “pain cave.” It happens in marathons too, usually around mile 20 (or as early as mile 13, if you’ve started out too fast, which I’ve definitely done).

Here’s my trick for staying in a positive place. It’s my running meditation, and I do it constantly throughout all my races — from 5Ks all the way to 100-mile finish lines. read more

Preparing for Your First 5K

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jenn pattee running 1

3.1 miles — the perfect distance for your first foray into one of the world’s most popular sports (for the record, that’s about 6,000 Fitbit steps). We’ll help you navigate some of the obstacles that trip people up when they’re starting a running program for the first time, or coming back to running after a break.

Here’s how to properly get started.

See also: 5 Beneficial Reasons to Run

And don’t forget to register for the first ever Fitbit Tiburon Half Marathon & 5K. read more

5 Inspirational Running Movies

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marathon post

Summer is winding down and as we slide into fall, race season is kicking into gear. The weather’s getting mild and running events are aplenty. There’s no better time to get out, enjoy a nice run in the beautiful autumn weather and get those Fitbit steps in.

Perhaps you need a little inspiration? We’ve got you covered. If you’re looking for a weeknight/weekend movie that’s both entertaining and motivational, these five classic running flicks won’t let you down.

1. Chariots of Fire

You can’t have a running-movie list without Chariots of Fire. This 1981 pic that won 4 Academy Awards and tells the story of a two British runners — one Jewish and one Christian — who compete in the 1924 Olympics. Though a bit dated, the film still holds up nicely. Plus, it’s got enough dream chasing, personal sacrifice, and downright competitive honor to get you off the couch and into your sneaks. read more

How To Nail the Run-Commute

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run commute pic

Commuting. It’s a word very few people get excited about. It conjures up long lines at the bus stop, long traffic jams at toll booths, and long, often sweaty stretches of standing on crowded metro lines or trains.

Yet add the word “bike” or “run” in front of your commute, and notice how possibilities open up. Here’s how to un-tether yourself from traditional means of getting to work and explore self-propelled transit instead, racking up Fitbit steps in the progress.

I’ve been biking and running to work ever since I graduated from college, and along the way I’ve experienced everything these alternate means of transport have to offer.

In my home town of San Francisco I’ve never seen so many people run-commuting as I have in the past few years. Maybe it’s part of a overall spike in running, or maybe it’s a sign of increasing numbers of busy professionals trying to squeeze in their half-marathon and marathon training any way they can into their compressed schedules. Or maybe it’s simply more people seeing more people doing it.

Whatever the reason, run commuting is a great and simple way to log an extra 3, 5, or 10 miles into your day — all the while avoiding waiting, boredom, frustration, and general discomfort of cars, trains and busses. Not to mention helping the environment, and providing yourself with a little headspace to figure out your day en route to the office, or decompress as you head home. read more

Free Run with Dean Karnazes at The North Face on Sept 8

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Join Fitbit ultramarathoner Dean Karnazes as he leads a free training run from The North Face Store in Corte Madera, CA on Monday September 8 at 6pm just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

The North Face will host a demo and shoe clinic where you can test out North Face shoes for your run, like the Ultra Protection Series. You can try on some new kicks, test them out on the run alongside Dean, and enter to win pair.

Plus, you can enter to win a free race entry to the Tiburon ½ Marathon & 5K and a Fitbit device.

There’s no need to register for this event, so just come on out and have a great training run with your favorite runner Dean Karnazes!

 

5 Beneficial Reasons to Run

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Jen running 8-26

For many people running is the ultimate “zen” activity. People who run often talk about the ways that their minds drift — allowing them to “de-clutter” thoughts while honing in on the things that really matter. Almost every runner will say they “just feel better” after a run compared to how they felt going in, and “sleep like a baby” at night on the days they run. Here are five beneficial reasons why running might help you out.

1. Running boosts thinking skills, reduces stress, and helps you sleep.

When asked in a recent survey about happiness and productivity, only 10% of employees say they do their best thinking while at work — the rest happens when they’re doing something else. Maybe the best way to do “out of the box” thinking is by taking a run outside the office. There could be some science to back this up. Studies show that running helps curb anxiety, enhances “feel good” hormones, and brings oxygen into key areas of the brain for regulating emotions and solving problems.

Comparing the pre-run and post-run scans of runners, neurologists at the University of Bonn, Germany, found increased opiate binding of the happy hormone endorphin in the frontal and limbic regions of the brain, areas known to be involved in processing emotions and stress.

Also, researchers from the University of Illinois found that an improvement of only 5% in cardio-respiratory fitness from running led to an improvement of up to 15% on mental tests (1).  And, Stanford University School of Medicine researchers asked sedentary insomnia sufferers to jog for 20-30 minutes every other day. The time required to fall asleep was reduced by half, and sleep time increased by almost one hour (2).

So next time your stuck on a problem, instead of getting another cup of coffee, try lacing up the kicks and going for a quick jaunt instead. read more

“For the Love” — A Tribute to Trail Running

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Here’s something special to kick off your Wednesday. Shot in our own backyard, this beautiful video is a tribute to trail running and the Marin Headlands just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. A film by our close pal Luis Peña that was chosen as a Vimeo Staff Pick, you’ll be taken through the beautiful ocean-side trails and gorgeous Bay area sunsets with several trail runners. You’ll even spot our speedy Fitbit employee, Monica Ralston, and our hard-charging Fitbit Ambassador Jenn Pattee along the way.

Get inspired! Get out and run!