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How to Avoid Hitting the Wall

dd2012

At some point, it’s going to happen. Maybe it’s happened already. It might be in the midst of a grueling run on a rainy Seattle night or during a routine workout at the gym. For some, it may well happen the day of the race. “It,” in this case, is hitting the wall.

You know the feeling: You’re not making much progress. Maybe you aren’t running faster or longer, or you’re stuck at a certain point on the training program. Bad workouts happen to everyone, but you know you’ve hit the wall when you forget the feeling of progress and think about throwing in the sweat-covered towel.

That’s the bad news. The good news? There are valid reasons for hitting the wall, it’s entirely scalable, and you’re not alone. Just ask Daniel O’Rourke, a clinical psychology graduate student at the University of Washington. “Everyone hits the wall,” he said. “It’s like a plateau.”

You hit the wall when your body gets used to the rigors you’re putting it through, O’Rourke said. “After a certain point, it’s not challenging enough for the body to adapt.”

But, lest you retreat to the couch and fire up the Netflix, O’Rourke has a handful of tips for avoiding the wall – or scaling it once you’ve run headfirst into it.

Make changes.

The changes can be any number of things, from a new route to the music you jog along to. O’Rourke suggests switching up a few particulars:

  • Try running different distances. “If you’re always running 5ks to train for a 5k, maybe some days, do a 2k pretty quickly. Some days, do a 10k slowly,” he said.
  • Find a new route. If you usually train on a treadmill, find a park or sidewalk.
  • If you usually run alone, find a friend or running group to train with.

No matter what you do, “switching it up allows your body to adapt,” O’Rourke said.

Set SMART goals.

Entire courses have been taught on goal-setting, and for good reason: It can be tough to know what to strive for. “If you don’t know what you’re going to try and achieve, then it’s very difficult to achieve it,” O’Rourke said. To that end, keep this pneumonic device in mind when figuring out the next step. It stands for the five components that go into setting good goals.

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant/realistic
  • Timely

Read more about SMART goals.

Keep the bigger picture in mind.

When slogging through a program that last several weeks, it’s easy to think about how frustrating or difficult the current workout is, rather than remembering the big picture. Says O’Rourke:

  • “Get in touch with why you’re doing this. Is it to come in first? Is it to look as crazy as you can and wear the weirdest costume? Is it to have fun? If you’re having a tough time, try getting back in touch with why you’re doing the run and what makes it fun.”

O’Rourke also recommends making a deal with yourself when the motivation isn’t otherwise there. Something like “If I make it through this, I get to go to the movies tonight” can be a powerful motivator, he said.

Have you signed up for Dawg Dash yet? Registration is now open!

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Nutrition: Get ready for race day with the right food choices

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Training for a 5k or 10k doesn’t start at the gym or on the course. It starts in the kitchen, where the right nutrition choices can mean the difference between a euphoric race and not finishing at all.

Dr. Elizabeth Kirk

Dr. Elizabeth Kirk

We checked in with Dr. Elizabeth Kirk, a senior lecturer in the University of Washington’s Nutritional Sciences Program, to see how runners and walkers alike can make the right food choices to help prepare for a successful race.

Make sure you’re meeting minimum caloric needs.

It might sound counterintuitive, but Dr. Kirk stressed the need to eat plenty of calories and carbohydrates. Dr. Kirk likened our muscles to engines and compared carbohydrates to the fuel that keeps the engines humming; if we don’t eat enough carbs, our muscles look for other fuels – like fats – to keep us going. Our muscles burn fats well enough, but it’s not as efficient and might slow us down. “It’s a slower fuel,” Dr. Kirk said.

Not just any calories will do, though; Dr. Kirk recommends a mix of whole grains (like brown rice or quinoa), dairy products (like cheese and yogurt), and plenty of fruits and vegetables. “A balanced diet is key,” Dr. Kirk said. “Eating something from every food group will assure that your body gets the nutrients needed for energy production.”

Find the right eating schedule while training.

Some people don’t like to eat for up to two hours before training, while others can transition from the dinner table to the gym without skipping a beat. Dr. Kirk advises runners and walkers to experiment with their diet to see what works best for them. “Some people are really sensitive in terms of their makeup,” she said.

To that end, Dr. Kirk suggests eating an hour before training for a week and making adjustments from there. Hungry in the midst of training? Try eating a little closer to the workout. Feeling slow and bloated? Give yourself a little more time before going for a run.

With regards to what to snack on, Dr. Kirk suggested two balanced ideas: The first is a piece of fruit and container of yogurt or glass of milk, and the second includes graham crackers or pretzels with a sports drink like Gatorade.

Post-exercise, Dr. Kirk suggests refueling muscles with carbohydrates and protein by eating a banana with yogurt, or by drinking a milkshake.

Don’t skip on fluids

Our bodies are more than 50% water, so Dr. Kirk underscored the importance of fluids before, during, and after exercising. “We begin to underperform if we don’t have enough fluid on board to allow energy production to occur,” she said.

Not surprisingly, water is ideal. Beyond water, unsweetened tea and Gatorade, though, Dr. Kirk suggests shying away from fruit juices. “You get kind of tricked, because they’re delicious and fun to drink on a warm day,” she said. “But you definitely end up over-consuming calories.”

Not quite ready to give up juice entirely? Dr. Kirk suggests filling your cup with a half-juice, half-water mix.

Have you signed up for Dawg Dash yet? Registration is now open!

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Husky Stadium’s Greatest Links

Husky Stadium

So pretty: Husky Stadium’s all set for Saturday’s season opener against Boise State.
Photo from The Seattle Times

In just five days, hordes of eager Dawgs will descend upon Montlake to witness the inauguration of a new era of Husky football. Wondering what to expect in the new digs? Looking for a trip down memory lane on this historic occasion? Here are some links that will get you ready, informed, and pumped up to take on Boise State on Saturday.

  • Husky Stadium Homepage: From the official countdown clock to gameday parking information, the official Husky Stadium homepage is the place to start. Don’t miss the handy, printable game day guide!
  • 30 Days, 30 Features: Learn about the great features and amenities you’ll find in the new Husky Stadium.
  • Construction Webcams: OxBlue construction trained webcams on the construction site, and now you can run time-lapse videos of the two-year process, from demolition to laying the new field.
  • Greatest Moments at Husky Stadium: In a series of ten 20-minute segments, UWTV takes us on a tour of the storied history of Washington Huskies football.
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Take the first step: Finding the right training plan

dawgdash

Do you want to run your first 5k but find yourself confused about how to train? Do you want to take the next step and run a 10k? Start here with a few helpful and popular training programs.

Cool Running plans:

The Cool Running website offers a variety of training programs for beginners, along with community forums where runners swap stories and trade tips for successful training.

Couch-to-5k: One of the most popular training programs, Couch-to-5k is perfect for the would-be runner with little or no experience; the first 14 training sessions feature a mix of jogging and walking, allowing runners to build up strength and stamina along the way. The nine-week program consists of three workouts per week, with about 30 minutes dedicated to each session.

As an added bonus, download the Couch-to-5k mobile app for the iPhone or Android phone ($1.99, but other developers offer Couch-to-5k free apps). The app tells when to warm up, cool down, jog or walk, depending on the workout. Users can share workouts, listen to music through the app, and track distance/pace, as well.

Active.com – the maker of the popular Couch-to-5k app – also offers an app to help runners transition from a 5k to a 10k. Learn more about Active.com’s 5k-to-10k training program and mobile app. ($.99)

Beginniner 10k training program: Cool Running also offers a beginners’ 10k training program for novices with an eye on their first 10k. The 12-week program introduces speed workouts and offers a calendar to help guide training efforts.

Hal Higdon plans:

Ask a marathoner or half-marathon finisher about their training regimen, and odds are good that they’ll name-drop one of Hal Higdon’s training guides. But the Runner’s World contributor and long-time runner offers training schedules for 5k and 10k runners, as well.

Each plan starts with an overview of the strategy; offers paths tailored to novice runners, regular runners, and walkers alike; and includes schedules to help measure progress.

Read more about Hal Higdon’s 5k training programs and 10k training programs.

Do you have a favorite training program? Do you have experiences with these plans? Let’s hear your feedback and thoughts in the comments!

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At the starting line: Join us for Dawg Dash 2013

Dawg Dash is the only running event that snakes through the UW campus.

Dawg Dash is the only running event that snakes through the UW campus.

It’s the time of year in Seattle when clouds part, temperatures rise, and rain exists mostly in long-term forecasts. What better time to start training for the annual Dawg Dash? The long-standing race/walk is less than three months away – circle October 20 on your calendars – and there’s no better time to put your running shoes on and start exercising.

Dawg Dash, a UW tradition for nearly 30 years, is the only run that takes runners and walkers through the heart of campus. Participants start just outside of Red Square before passing Drumheller Fountain, using the Burke-Gilman Trail and ultimately finishing in the Quad. Afterward, everyone is invited to celebrate with the Post-Dash Bash in Red Square, featuring food, beverages, and entertainment.

Are you looking for motivation to run your first 5k? Challenging yourself with a 10K? Join us over the next few months and become part of the conversation as we help you get ready for the big day. Here’s what’s in store:

Daily tips: Like us on Facebook for daily training tips. Each week, we’ll choose a theme – it might be proper footwear and gear, nutrition, or stretching techniques – and bring you a handful of tips to help you make the most of training. Most tips will be geared toward novices and beginners, but we hope to draw on the experience and advice of veteran runners to benefit everyone taking part.

In-depth features: Once a month or so, we’ll bring you articles with advice, tips and knowledge from UW experts. We’ll help you find the right training program, offer nutrition tips, and share some insight on preparing for the big day itself.

Conversation: Along with the daily updates, we’ll invite you to share your stories, tips, insight, photos and more. What motivated you through the tough times? What did you learn about proper form and injury prevention? This series won’t be complete without your participation and involvement.

Whether you are gearing up for your first race or ran a 10k before breakfast, join us as we get ready for this fun UW tradition. Follow us on the Dawg Dash Facebook page, and get updated information at DawgDash.com.

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UW Alumni in the News: July 2013

UW alumni were all over the news in July. So to help you keep up with what fellow Dawgs did last month, we’re rounding up a list of notable UW alum accomplishments. This list is by no means exhaustive; if we’re missing accomplishments or other cool alumni happenings, leave a comment!

Software developer stars in Nordstrom commercial

YouTube Preview Image

Yaw Anokwa, M.S. ’07, Ph. D ’12, has spent the better part of five years developing software and technological tools for developing regions. The technology, called Open Data Kit, initially helped doctors and nurses collect patient data through tablets and smartphones. Open Data Kit is now also employed to help users around the world combat wildfires, monitor elections, and track climate change.

Anokwa, in late 2011, cofounded Nafundi with Carl Hartung, ’03, Ph D. ’12, to better support Open Data Kit users. In this commercial for Nordstrom’s Citizens of Humanity jeans, Anokwa explains Open Data Kit, Nafundi, and how he sees his unique role.

Tim Lincecum throws no-hitter

YouTube Preview Image

Former UW pitcher Tim Lincecum, ’06, who became the first Husky ever selected in the first round of the Major League Baseball draft, threw his first career no-hitter on July 13, 2013 against the San Diego Padres.

The four-time N.L. All-Star racked up 13 strikeouts en route to the no-hitter, which was the 15th in San Francisco Giants franchise history. Read more about Lincecum’s accomplishment.

Long-time community leader dies

The UW community was saddened this month to learn that long-time Seattle community leader Kip Tokuda, ’69, M.S.W. ’73, had passed away. Tokuda had recently retired as the director of the Seattle Human Service Department’s Family and Youth Services Division. Read more about Tokuda’s community service and legacy.

Ph. D. student selected as new student regent

Washington Governor Jay Inslee recently selected Kiana Scott, M.P.A. ’12, to serve as the student regent on the University of Washington Board of Regents in 2013-14. In this new role, Scott hopes to improve communication between UW’s three campuses and university administration. Learn more about Scott and her appointment.

UW grads behind fund-it-yourself science

Founded by two UW grads, Microryza is changing how science gets funded, from teaching about bees to a campaign to bring a Triceratops skeleton to Seattle. About 80 projects have raised a combined $200,000 through the crowd-funding site, but researchers are getting more ambitious. Check it out at the Seattle Times.

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Tomorrow’s filmmakers, today

NFFTY

When the National Film Festival for Talented Youth (NFFTY) rolls out the red carpet later this week, the next Spielberg or Ephron might be among the 200+ filmmakers whose works will be screened during the four-day festival.

They just might not be able to drive themselves to the screening, and many won’t be able to network over post-festival beers.

NFFTY, entering its seventh year, spotlights 215 films from around the world – all made by directors 22 and younger. Filmmakers come from as far as Denmark and South Africa, but at least two UW students will showcase their work this week: Andrew Mitrack will screen his film “One Way Single,” and Alexis Lee will show “The Face of Facebook.”

The main attraction is the sheer volume of screenings: Films, grouped by genre, will be shown throughout the weekend at SIFF Cinema Uptown in Seattle’s Lower Queen Anne neighborhood, with many of the NFFTY filmmakers taking part in question-and-answer sessions and panel discussions on a variety of film-related topics. “These youth are definitely on the fast track,” said NFFTY Managing Director Lindsey LeDuc, ’04.

“Kid” isn’t always a misnomer, either. Children as young as 8 have created films for the festival, where the average film is about eight minutes long.

But teens and college students also take part. Many college filmmakers submit their thesis or class projects for consideration, LeDuc said.

One of those students was filmmaker Champ Ensminger, ’12. In 2011, he submitted “Tonal,” a six-minute film he’d shot for a filmmaking class. The film followed a young man’s addiction and relationship with sounds. Ensminger, who now lives in Brooklyn, won the Audience Award for Experimental Cinema for the film.

But, for Ensminger and so many filmmakers, the real fun begins after the credits roll. “NFFTY was a good showcase of the work you’ve been doing, but that’s where it starts,” he said. “It has to be a springboard for doing more work.”

And that connection is what’s fueled NFFTY’s growth over the years. The screenings themselves are just part of what NFFTY does; student filmmakers talk shop, draw up plans to collaborate, and see what their peers are doing, creating a unique atmosphere of creativity and inspiration that lives on long after the festival finishes each year. “By attending, you get to see the voice of this generation,” LeDuc said. “It’s really powerful to have these young artists from all over the world come together to show what inspires them.”

If You Go

What: National Film Festival for Talented Youth (NFFTY), showcasing more than 200 films by directors 22 and younger from around the world

Where: Opening Night Gala: Seattle Cinerama, 2110 4th Ave., Seattle, Wash.; All other events: SIFF Cinema Uptown, 511 Queen Anne Avenue North, Seattle, Wash.

When: April 25-28; visit nffty.org for a complete schedule of events.

Cost: Opening Night Gala: $35, $25 for youth, $20 per person in groups of 10 or more; All other events: $11, $10 for youth, $9 per person in groups of 10 or more.

More info: Call 206-905-8400 or visit nffty.org.

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On campus: UW students find their “Voice”

Two student groups hosted the Voice of UW, a talent competition, earlier this year.

Two student groups hosted the Voice of UW, a talent competition, earlier this year.

When the “The Voice of China” – a Chinese off-shoot of the popular NBC reality talent show “The Voice” – debuted in 2012, some UW students saw the chance to showcase the talent on campus. That led members of the Chinese Students and Scholars Association and Taiwanese Overseas Student Association to create the Voice of UW, a month-long singing competition that culminated in a final competition in Kane Hall earlier this year. It  was one of several student-run events the UWAA is sponsoring this year. “We’re proud of our sponsorship,” said UWAA Executive Director Paul Rucker, ’95, ’02. “It’s part of our ongoing commitment to enhancing the student experience.”

Sixty students initially signed up for the Voice of UW competition; following the format of the TV show, they performed Chinese pop songs before four judges whose backs were turned. Sixteen students were invited to take part in the second round, which consisted of duets. The top eight finishers then competed in the final competition, which took place on Feb. 16 before 600 students in Kane Hall.

Vera Tao, a member of the Chinese Students and Scholars Association and one of the event organizers, said the Voice of UW created a sense of camaraderie between the audience and singers. “It’s not just a singing competition,” she said. “It’s more like a performance.”

All eight participants received $50; other prizes included coupons to EnKore Karaoke and iPod Shuffles. The winner, Jingyi Fan, also won a set of headphones. More than the prizes, though, the Voice of UW gave students a chance to have fun and share their talent in front of peers, Tao said. “Some of them, it’s the first time in their life singing in front of a lot of people.”

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