Why Parkrun?

Third Creek Greenway parkrun is a free, timed 5k that takes place along this beautiful Knoxville greenway each Saturday morning starting near Safety City. So what makes parkrun a perfect entry point for new runners and those building to longer events?

parkrun is all about inclusion and community support. Everybody is welcome – whether their comfortable pace is walking, a steady jog, or a fast and furious sprint. parkrun rewards commitment to participating or volunteering rather than speed at individual events.

There’s simply no such thing as too slow for parkrun – even though this inaccurate perception may put people off from starting to run. It’s a very understandable concern and often the first step is the hardest. From my own experience, I nearly walked away from the startline of my first parkrun event because I was so convinced that I was “not a runner”. Three years’ later and I’ve just completed my 130th parkrun. 

We have met a number of people who said they normally feel too nervous and intimidated to attend group runs, but have felt empowered to come along to parkrun each week and take part at their own comfortable pace.  This is exactly the ethos and community that Third Creek Greenway parkrun is seeking to build.

We welcome walkers, persons with disabilities and anyone wanting to take part with a stroller or dog. Children over four can register too – it’s a wonderful way to start a lifelong habit of exercise. 

If you’re a more experienced runner then you can use parkrun as a time trial or incorporate it into a longer Saturday run. We were joined a fortnight ago by members of the Carson-Newman University Track and Field Club on an off-weekend who set a new course record of 17:09!

To take part in parkrun there’s a simple registration process involving filling out a simple form once on the parkrun USA website. Once you’ve entered your details and selected Third Creek Greenway as your home parkrun you’ll be emailed a personalised barcode.

Print this and bring it along to our event on a Saturday morning. When you cross the finish line you’ll get a token telling you your position. This token and your personal barcode are then scanned so your result appears against your profile on the website.

There are 42 parkrun events in the USA and thousands more in 13 countries across the world which are all completely free and follow the same format. You can take your barcode to any event worldwide. 

Since launching in October – we’ve had 78 different finishers and 16 volunteers. Parkrun is a worldwide phenomenon and we’ve seen tourists specifically visiting Knoxville from locations as diverse as Orlando, Washington DC, England and Australia to take part.

Email us thirdcreekgreenway@parkrun.com or get in touch on social media if you want to find out more:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ThirdCreekGreenwayparkrun 

Instagram: www.instagram.com/tcgparkrun/ 

Twitter: www.twitter.com/tcgparkrun 

Take Your Running to the Next Level with RunKNOX

RunKNOX Training Group

We hear it all the time: “I don’t need to pay someone to tell me how to run. It’s easy and I can do it for free.” Yes, running can be an individual activity. I enjoy solo running as much as the next person, but when it comes to setting big, bold goals, joining a training program provides significant advantages.

Why do runners need a coach?

  • Our coaches are runners just like you. We’ve been there and love to share what we’ve learned through personal experience. We’ll literally be there every step of the way. Want some help hitting your paces? We’ll run with you!
  • Our coaches are certified and educated. We understand the physiology of exercise and we design workouts to specifically elicit changes at the cellular level. Nothing is arbitrary as every run has a specific purpose. We follow a systematic approach to incrementally change you from the inside out. We know when to push you harder and often more importantly, when to reign you back in.
  • With a coach, comes a team. We work with a wide variety of clients from walkers to Boston Marathon Qualifiers. Whatever your background, you’ll have an entire support network to help optimize your training. Joining RunKNOX might be the step that takes your training to a new level.
Early morning track workouts

What is RunKNOX?

  • The Knoxville Track Club’s coach led training program. We work to reach individual goals in a group setting. Upon joining, you’ll be asked to fill out a questionnaire so the coaches understand your background, experience, injury history, and future goals. You’ll get personalized training pace recommendations based off of a time trial, or recent race performance. We meet as a big group and split up into small groups of individuals of similar ability. You’ll run at your personal pace, but within the group setting. Team camaraderie and group accountability are powerful tools that we utilize regularly.

What do you train for?

  • Most participants are targeting KTC’s big seasonal events such as Pigeon Forge 13.1/5k (Fall), Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon 26.2/13.1/Relay/5k (Winter), Expo 10k/5k (Spring), and Fireball 5k/Carter Mill 10k/Pigeon Forge 8k (Summer).
  • We’re happy to program for any race that you wish to run. For example, we recently had folks participating in the CrossKnox 15k, Air Force and Chicago Marathons, multiple trail races, and Baltimore 13.1. Indianapolis, Chickamauga, Secret City, Philadelphia, Cali International, and Kiawah are coming up next.
  • Some participants don’t race. They are simply involved for the accountability and social support.
RunKNOX Yoga at Physio Lab

What does a RunKNOX membership cost?

  • Just $10/week. It’s a steal. One random drop-in yoga class in Knoxville will cost you at least 10 bucks. KTC is a nonprofit and RunKNOX is here as a service to the community, so we work hard to keep costs down. We have multiple discounts available and a scholarship program as well. If you need some help, just ask!

What does membership entail?

  • Weekly detailed Training Program via email plus regular access to 3 coaches
  • Monday Evening Core Workout 6:15 pm at The Long Run
  • Tuesday Evening Quality Run (intervals/tempo/hills) 6 pm at Tennessee Sports Medicine Group
  • Wednesday Morning Quality Run (same as Tues night) 5am at West High School
  • Wednesday Evening Quality Run (same as Tues night and Wed morning) 5:30 pm at Melton Lake Park in Oak Ridge
  • Thursday Evening Yoga 6:15 pm at PhysioLab
  • Saturday Morning Long Runs (time and location vary by season)
RunKNOX Core Workout at The Long Run

My question back to those of you who don’t train with a coach and/or in a group: Why aren’t you plugged into a program? For the cost of going out to eat once per week, you can get a full week’s worth of coach led training within a fun, supportive team. If you have questions, give me a shout and I’ll be happy to chat!  

Coach Scott Schmidt, RunKNOX

Community Contributor: Scott Schmidt, Head Coach & Program Director of the Knoxville Track Club’s RunKNOX training program  http://www.ktc.org/RunKNOX.html

Website: http://www.ktc.org/RunKNOX.html or search “RunKNOX’ on https://runsignup.com/

Email: runknox@gmail.com   

Social Media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter.

Scott Schmidt is the Head Coach and Program Director of RunKNOX. He is a graduate of the University of Tennessee, receiving his bachelor’s degree in Education (Exercise Science concentration) in 2003 and master’s degree in Exercise Physiology in 2006. He works for the Department of Energy as an Exercise Physiologist, focusing on employee physical fitness testing, training, and wellness promotion. Scott is an ACSM Certified Exercise Physiologist and RRCA Certified Running Coach. Scott ran the 2007 Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon to check “marathon” off his bucket list. That “one and done” marathon has turned into 20+ as he’s now working toward checking a marathon in all 50 states off of his list. He and his wife, Angie, are extremely active in the Knoxville Track Club and received the 2013 Ginny Canfield Memorial Service Award in appreciation of their volunteer efforts. Scott volunteers time by serving on the Board of Directors, Road Race Committee, and as a Race Director.

Postpartum Running: Make Breastfeeding and Running Coexist

Community Contributor: Whitney Heins, Founder of Mother Runners, Knoxville, TN

Whitney Heins, Founder of @themotherrunners

Know what breastfeeding babies don’t seem to mind? Sweaty boobs! Know what they do mind? A mama who isn’t around to feed them whenever they want because she’s out running.

I got into good routine with my kids while breastfeeding—nurse, run, and nurse immediately afterwards again. But there were plenty of runs cut short or full or worry as I left my mama-loving babies at home.

Indeed, breastfeeding can pose a big challenge for Mother Runners. First, there’s the gargantuan-sized chest that can make a light jog pretty uncomfortable. Then, there’s the baby who wants to cluster feed and goes ballistic when mom’s chest isn’t nearby. Honestly, I never needed a run more than while nursing my children which also happened to be the toughest time to have that escape..

I asked other Mother Runners how they survived breastfeeding and running. Here are their best tips.

Get the right support. Chances are, your prepartum sports bra isn’t going to fit your postpartum chest. You need more support and room. Our Mother Runners loved this Motherhood Maternity racerback nursing bra. In fact, they wore it running, under outfits and to sleep. They also liked Lululemon’s Enlite bra for its support and comfort..

Nurse or pump first. Empty those bad boys before you go. In a perfect world, you can feed your baby and have a nice three-hour window to run. Maybe even have time to stretch, shower and drink a smoothie afterwards (!). But sometimes babies don’t play by our rule book. They don’t want to wake up for a good feeding or you don’t want to wake them up because you just got them to sleep. For those times, pump and have fresh milk ready for your partner to give to your baby should they get hungry when you’re out.

Stay close to home. But then there are those babies who won’t take the bottle. (My daughter was one no matter every trick in the book we—and professionals—tried). For those babies, stay near so you can run back if needed. Surely, this isn’t ideal. By the time you get home and do a feeding, your window to run is likely gone. When frustration mounts, remind yourself this won’t be the situation forever. Running will be there for you after you’re there for your baby.

Recruit your husband to your team. One Mother Runner’s husband would kill me if he knew I was sharing this story—When confronted with a screaming baby, he put on his wife’s pink fuzzy robe that she wore while nursing—and lo and behold, the baby settled! Another Mother Runner’s husband would take their baby boy to the track and jog with him while the mama did speedwork. That way she was close by if needed. Her husband preferred this option to being home with a hysterical baby. In fact, the baby’s attachment to mama became a good excuse for the husband and wife team to exercise together.

Take cover. I would often run with my baby in the BOB stroller where I stored a nursing cover and blanket. During those cluster feeding stages, I’d stop and nurse my kids under a tree or on a bench, and then keep running. It wasn’t the best workout—but I’d make up for it during those times she wanted OUT of the stroller and I would have to book it home (spontaneous speedwork!).

Pack your equipment. One Mother Runner would pack a hand pump with her in case she needed to express milk while running (like if a baby only fed on one side during a run). (Check out this Mother Runner who set a world record in an ultra-marathon and pumped milk for her baby along the way. Incredible.) Another Mother Runner got an adaptor for her breast pump so she could pump in the car on the way to her starting point.

Feed, run, repeat. For those of you ready to race while still nursing—you’re a badass—and be prepared to sandwich that race in between feeding sessions: breastfeed, warm-up, race, breastfeed, cooldown.

Then take a nap. A loooong nap.

Whitney Heins is the founder of The Mother Runners, a place where moms who run or want to run can find information and inspiration to chase their dreams. Whitney is a former journalist who works from home with her two small children. She is currently training to qualify for the Olympic trials in the marathon this fall. Follow her on Instagram and Facebook at @themotherrunners

Don’t Hit The Wall; Jump Over It: Plyometric Moves for Forceful Strides

Community Contributor: Zo McCullough, CSCS, CPT General Manager at D1’s K2 Performance Center

Zo McCullough, GM at D1’s K2 Performance Center

It’s a beautiful morning on race day, you’ve trained for this and it’s time to begin. The starting gun goes off, your running through the course at your best time yet. You feel great until, near the end of your run, you feel a wave of fatigue and mental exhaustion hit you like a headwind. You slow down, feel irritated and your body begins to run out of energy as you realize that you have hit the dreaded ‘wall’.

Whether you call it ‘bonking out’ or ‘hitting the wall’, long distance runners cringe a little when hearing those words since most have experienced this phenomenon either during training or on race day.

But how can we avoid smacking into this non-tangible wall face first? Many runners would think that increasing their carb intake would have the most substantial effect, but it may not if that energy is being wasted on poor running mechanics.

What if, along with proper carb loading strategies, we can train your body to be more efficient with each stride that you make? That way, you can utilize your energy stores to help you push through the last few miles!

Let’s break this down, to have you training effectively for your next race, by looking at the following:

1) What is this ‘wall’?

2) Why plyometric exercises can help?

3) What plyometric exercises should I use?

So, let’s get into it:

What is this ‘wall’?

This ‘wall’ refers to the point where your glycogen (converted carbohydrate stores) are fully depleted. When that fuel source is tapped out, your body goes into a ‘preservation mode’ with our muscles and even our brain. That is why, when you hit this stage, negative thoughts may sprint into your head like, “I shouldn’t be doing this!” and “Everyone is doing better than I am. I should just quit now and find the nearest tub of ice cream!”.

From what we described, it sounds like everything can be fixed by just adding on more carbohydrates and electrolyte supplements, right? This leads to our next question… 

Why plyometric exercises can help?

Plyometrics, or ‘Jump Training’ refers to training your muscles to produce both strength and speed effectively. Essentially, plyometric training helps you to generate force in a strong and efficient manner. The better that you can produce force in a quick and controlled manner, the better you can control your body movements and the more efficiently you will run! 

By doing this, you may improve your running efficiency (economy) (RE) and improving your RE will help you use less energy to run the same distances that you have in the past, keeping energy for what’s important, running the best race that you can!

Take a second to take in that info. Once you see the positive changes that this can provide, we need to now consider our final question…

What plyometric exercises should I use?

If you’re a runner, or want to become a runner, you should use what time and energy, outside of training, on the exercises that matter most. For your plyometric training, we need to focus on two things:

1) Force Absorption

For that, let’s work on this: 

Depth Jumps: 

* Begin by using a box or step that is knee height or shorter.

Stand on top of the box at the edge and drop down landing softly on two feet. Once you land, immediately jump up and extend vertically. Land softly again in a squat to complete one rep. • Coaching Point! Make sure to land with your toes touching the ground first and then sink into your heels before your next jump. Your goal is to land as quietly as possible! That way you teach your body to absorb force.

2) Force Production

For this, were going to use:

Lateral Line Hops: 

* Stand with both feet together with the outside of your foot on one side of a line marked on the floor.

Begin by pushing through your toes to jump both feet to the opposite side of the line. Once you land, immediately jump again to return to the starting point on the original side of the line.  • Coaching Point! Keep your knees and hips soft while you primarily make the jump through your ankles like you are jumping rope. The jumps should be quick and you should spend as little time on the floor as possible. That way we work on producing the best jump through the floor as possible.

Give these moves a shot to help you perfect your form for race day!

More information can be found by contacting our social media channels below:

D1’s K2 Performance Center: @k2performancecenter

Website: https://d1k2performance.business.site/

Coach Zo McCullough: @zo_mccullo

References:

https://www.runnersworld.com/training/a20854502/understanding-why-you-hitthe-wall/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15233599

https://www.skimble.com/exercises/10507-drop-box-how-to-do-exercise

No Time to Run? 11 Strategies to Bust Barriers to Exercise

Community Contributor: Whitney Heins, Founder of Mother Runners, Knoxville, TN

Whitney Heins, Founder of @themotherrunners

Us Mother Runners know that none of the barriers to exercise have been as steep as the ones present in parenthood—demanding schedules, sleepless nights, illness, feedings, separation anxiety, the list goes on.

Before becoming a mom, it was just me and my willpower. But now, other human beings are in the equation and it requires a network of people, intense schedule coordination, and some sacrifice to get out the door. I’m still getting the hang of it, but here are some strategies that have worked for me—and hopefully they may help you, too.

1.     Get it on the calendar. My husband is a runner, too, so for both of us to get our exercise in, we have to coordinate. One of us may have to run before dawn, or forgo dinner. With busy schedules and young kids, it’s something we discuss daily to ensure it happens. Gone are the days of the spontaneous jaunts. 

2.     Go early. For a lot of people, getting up early to exercise is a bitter pill to swallow. But that cup of coffee in the quiet hours of the morning is absolute bliss, and quite the motivator—so is meeting up with a friend to get in a few miles. Also motivating? Knowing that you started the day off right before anyone else in the house is awake. 

3.     Work it in. Sometimes there just isn’t enough time in the day—so you have to multi-task. I’ll do barre moves while I hold my son up on the counter to play in the kitchen sink; or take work calls while running (with the disclaimer that I may be heavily breathing while talking).

4.     Get equipped. If you’re home with the kids and they’re napping or otherwise occupied, harness that free time at home by investing in a treadmill or elliptical, or whatever. This also comes in handy during treacherous weather.

5.     Make it a family affair. We go on “family adventures” where the kids get a morning full of hikes by the river, playtime at the park and muffins at the local bakery. They aren’t ones to sit in the stroller long, so stops along the way entice them to join us while we get some exercise in. Obviously, this run isn’t the type for workout—but it can suffice for an easy training day.

6.     Tack it on. The attachment with our kiddos is strong—like cry for hours after we leave strong. So instead of doing the “duck and run” to get out the door, only to do it again when we want to exercise, it’s much easier to tack a workout on to whatever we left the house for in the first place. Have a meeting or a lunch break from work? Bring your gear and save some tears!

7.     Ask for help. We’re all busy and sometimes you just need a little help from a friend—or family member—to watch the kids while you get a workout in. Ask for it. I used to feel selfish asking for someone to watch my kids while I ran but now I realize the benefit running has for not just me—but my whole family!—a healthier, happier mama.

8.     Tell yourself, it’s okay. Confession. I have serious mom guilt and almost always used to feel bad when I’d take time to run. But, I know I need it like I need food and water. And, I know I am a way better mom, wife, and person if I get to run. And, I know it’s good for me—in the long and short run.

9.     Hit up child care. I know many Mother Runners who have found great workout facilities that offer child care while they exercise. For these moms, it is a win/win. The kids have fun and they get movin’.

10.  Make it nonnegotiable. Making an appointment for yourself to go running and don’t let other things stand in its way. Treat this time as if it is a doctor’s appointment or work meeting. Put it on the calendar, and have it stay there.

11.  Throw in the towel. Hey, some days it’s just not possible (and if you’re dealing with pretty bad illness, it’s not smart). It’s okay! Tomorrow is another day.

Happy running!

Whitney Heins is the founder of The Mother Runners, a place where moms who run or want to run can find information and inspiration to chase their dreams. Whitney is a former journalist who works from home with her two small children. She is currently training to qualify for the Olympic trials in the marathon this fall. Follow her on Instagram and Facebook at @themotherrunners

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