Author Archives: juliewilkes

What’s Your #capcitymotivation?

10260038_10152441566606613_5901248709776645899_nStudies tell us that when we are intrinsically motivated – that is – we have a personal reason why we want to do something – we are much more likely to do it – and to stick with it.
When it comes to training for an event like the Cap City Half, Quarter or 5k, we know the road can be long, and training can be tough.  Rainy days can be hard to get your training in, and even one or two days that get you off track can change your entire mindset.

So, it is important to know what motivates you from the inside out.

  • Is it to be a good role model for your kids?
  • Is it to do something you’ve never done before?
  • Is it to take care of your body?
  • Is it to improve a time or performance?
  • Insert your own reason here!

When you know why you want to do something, you are much likely to stick with it, especially when it gets tough, or you feel like you’ve fallen off, or you have one too many ‘rainy days’.  And sharing your motivation can inspire someone else too!

I thought I’d start by sharing my motivation – because it is what has kept me focused, year after year.  My #capcitymotivation is my desire to overcome my previous medical challenges and live into a strong, healthy, long life.  Born with a heart problem so severe, I was pronounced dead at birth.  The doctors said I wouldn’t live long.  When I showed signs of thriving, they wrote ‘Miracle’ across my c189539_10150161926306613_8009395_nharts.  They told my mom I shouldn’t expect to live to be a teenager and would never be an athlete.  In the 5th grade, I started to run  because of the advice of my 5th grade gym teacher, Mr. Larry Larson.  And – incredibly, the doctors marveled at how my heart started to heal itself.  The more I ran, the stronger and healthy my heart and body felt.  Today at 40, I attribute a consistent focus on fitness, surrounding myself with positive people and the desire the become better each day – as the key reasons why my heart continues to heal and get stronger!  That’s my motivation.  It’s truly about living a powerful life each day!

Now, I want to hear about yours!  Post your motivation for why you are training for Cap City – either just through words or with a photo of yourself and tag #capcitymotivation on our FB page or on instagram.  I’ll highlight a few of your posts next week!

When you are motivated, you know how to keep going on those tough days.  And, it also makes those good days even  more rewarding!  So get out there – for the reasons that are important to you – and rock out your run/walk today – with your motivation!


The Non-Running/Walking Training Program


Coach Julie – Cap City Team Coach, Exercise Physiologist and Owner of Seven Studios

As you prepare for the big day by increasing your mileage each week, there are some other ‘secret weapons’ to your training program that can help you to go the extra mile.  Studies tell us that when we are looking to increase our ability to perform a sport, it is best to train for specificity – that is – primarily focus your training program on recruiting the muscles that you need to perform that activity – in the way you need to recruit them.  So, if you plan to run Cap City, most of your training should be running.  However, studies also tell us that if we only training muscles to perform certain activities, we run the risk of injury when we get tired and don’t take advantage of the benefits the body receives when you cross-train.

Below, I am listing out a few workouts you can do, while training for the Cap City Half marathon, that can help you to run a little stronger, a littler faster and/or stay safer in your training program.  After I’ve listed the exercises, I’ve broken down why these particular exercises will help you in your performance on race day.

10644362_1042453739159889_922655104467389362_o1.) Yoga – many believe yoga is just stretching.  And, it can be.  But what yoga can do is stimulate your muscles to stabilize your body, balance better, become stronger through body weight movements, and improve flexibility.  As runners, we tend to get tight in certain areas, such as hamstrings and hip flexors.  Yoga can help keep these more limber to provide greater range of motion, possible improvement of stride, less likelihood of injury and overall, allow your body to feel better, and recover quicker after a long run.  I recommend yoga 1-2 days a week – to help repair, restore and recover your muscle breakdown from your runs.  Want to see some examples of Yoga for Runners?  Check out my 15 minute youtube video focused on hips and the lower back – created just for runners/walkers!.

12322883_1060672257338037_8038469997863118448_o.jpg2.) Pilates or core workout – (Pilates is a specific form of core/back exercises).  My recommendation is to focus on some form of abdominal, hip and back strengthening throughout your training program.  This is one of the areas that I truly believe is a secret tool that anyone can use to improve their endurance, time and/or performance in any sport.  I train several professional athletes and this is the number one area we focus on to help them improve their game.    For the NBA players I’ve worked with – they are more agile on the court because their core is stronger and can hold them upright better so the rest of their body can do the complicated work.  For the PGA Golfers, their swing is better by how they carry their posture and hold their body. For runners – when the core is strong, the legs don’t have to worry so much about balance, and can focus on moving faster.  When the core is weak, not only does posture suffer and create more work for the body to carry itself throughout the race, but the legs have to jump in and focus on balance more- thus slowing them down from simply executing on rapid muscle fiber firing.  And, since running is a forward-motion exercise, it can pull into the lower back, especially when the core fatigues.  Our back must be strong in order to help support the upright position our body carries itself in throughout our run.  I recommend core/back and hip work several times a week – it can even be added at the end or beginning of a run.  Want a core workout?  Check out my 30 minute core workout on youtube.

10922836_854455311293067_3878132280443122367_n.jpg3.) Something that you have never tried before – When you try a workout you have never done before, you stimulate muscles in a different way.  It keeps the body and the brain active to think about communicating and firing new signals to stimulate movement.  Trying a new activity keeps your mind fresh, allows you to stay out of the rut of just doing the same thing all the time and allows your body to activate muscles in different ways.  This is commonly called, Muscle Confusion, but in general, to me, it simply means we are trying to keep a fully functional and injury proof body ready and active for daily living.  If we only do what we’ve always done, we run the risk of atrophying or losing muscle strength in areas that aren’t stimulated by our workout program.  This results in an unbalanced body.  Try something different once a week or every few weeks just to mix it up – but just remember – it is new, and you don’t want to overdo it and hurt your running program – so keep it light and interesting as you embark on a new format.  Make it fun.

Your primary focus during this time is going to be running/walking, however, by adding these simple additional exercises/workouts into your program, you may see an improvement in your time, endurance, performance, and/or how you feel and recover at the end of a run.  Make sure, too, to give yourself a day or two of rest each week to allow the body to truly recover.

Do you have a question you want me to answer, either through this blog or a personal response?  Simply email me at!

Make it a great week everyone!  Here’s to the pep in your step as you get closer to game day!  Here’s to a great journey ahead!

-Coach Julie

(All photos are from Seven Studios)



#capcityeats #capcityplays #capcitystays

Coach Julie

Coach Julie

The best part of the Cap City Half Marathon is the journey to the finish line.  From the day you began your commitment, to the moment your toes cross that line, the experiences, challenges, people and learnings that you encounter that make it an unforgettable, powerful journey.  And we want to celebrate that journey.

One wonderful way to celebrate that journey is by enjoying Columbus and all that it has to offer!  On Saturday night after the race, once you’ve massaged your muscles, rehydrated your system, and rested your body from the journey, why not plan a fun outing, to celebrate the city?

So here’s where I need your help!  We have thousands of out-of-towners come into Columbus for the race, and they may not know where to go!  That’s why I am depending on YOU to give them some ideas.


For the next few weeks, anytime you are out and about in Columbus:

  • Find a restaurant or menu item you like, snap a photo of it (food or sign of restaurant), post it to instagram and tag it ‘#capcityeats’.
  • If you are at park or local sight-seeing attraction, tag your photo, ‘#capcityplays’.
  • If you are at a hotel or know of a good one in town you recommend, snap a photo of it and tag it on instagram as, ‘#capcitystays’.

Make sure to give the name of the place, and any other information you may have (website, address or phone number!)

Help us to create a directory of great recommendations for the guest of our city on May 3!

Instagram tags:

#capcityeats, #capcityplays, #capcitystays

Here’s to celebrating your journey, and our fabulous city!

-Coach Julie

Tight body? Try yoga. It does a body good.

Why Yoga For Runners?

Hip flexors, Hamstrings and Lower Back.

Runners are known for their endurance, strength and agility, and so it surprises many to hear that runners tend to become less flexible as their mileage adds up. This can be due to the nature of the force placed on the muscles- strong, repetitous concentric contractions that shorten and tighten the muscles over time.

Two of the muscles that have a driving force in running are the hip flexors and hamstrings, and so naturally, runners tend to get uber-tight in these areas. And when hip flexors get tight, the pull the lower back, which also becomes strained. When you are tight and less flexibly, mobility is limited and your body can be injury-prone.

My answer? Well, there are many ways to help improve flexibility and create a more functional body. But, one way is through yoga. There are many type of yoga, and so some forms can be better than others at focusing on hip flexor and hamstring stretching. I’ve put together a few simple postures and sequences that you may enjoy trying as part of your regular routine. I’d recommend doing these several times a week, and stretching before and after every run.

Who Helps You To Be Your Best?

As the Cap City Healthy Lifestyle and Team Coach, I am passionate about the power of ‘we’.  ‘We’, means, we get through this together.  We are stronger together.  We cross that finish line, together.  Studies tell us that we are much more likely to accomplish a goal when we have accountability partners and we have people who help make the journey fun.

And, training for a healthy event like the Cap City, should be fun!  It should be something that makes you feel good about you.  When we have days that we don’t feel like getting out there and training, we have others in our court, that remind us why we care, why it matters and that we are worth taking the time to take care of ourselves.  That’s why teams are so important!  We are better when we are together!

So whether you have a formal team in place, or just someone who you phone is in your corner, cheering you on and supporting you as you make this journey to the finish line in May – we want to hear about it!  Tell us by posting to our Facebook page, include the hashtag: #capcitygratitude.   Example:  My friend Joe always pushes me to go the extra mile, even when I want to quit! #capcitygratitude.

Give a shout out to someone who helps you, pushes you, inspires you, and encourages you.  Those are the people who help us to make a goal fun and remind us why we care.  Give them a little love today!  It always feels good to hear a positive compliment – so put some positive energy out there today! It will come right back to you!



Prep for the Big Day

Can you believe we are almost here?  A little over a week to go!  The Cap City Staff is excited to see each and every one of you cross the finish line on Saturday, May 4th!

Many of you have been writing to me to ask what last week preparations should include.  I have an unofficial list of things that I recommend you consider as you are getting ready for the big day.  Please keep in mind that every BODY is different and you will need to modify or select the appropriate preparations according to your medical history, needs, preferences and goals.

1.) Sleep! Your muscles (and brain) love sleep time because it is the only true time they are in an absolute healing mode.  We need to make sure we get plenty of sleep the week of the race, not only for your energy levels throughout the race, but to provide your muscles the opportunity to be at their best on game day.  Proper sleep times vary person-by-person but it tends to trends between 6-9 hours a night.  The night of the race, expect that you may be restless with excitement!  So make sure you surround yourself with quiet, dark, cool environment.

2.) Water!  Drink water throughout the day, every day. Hydrating well is something we should do all of the time, but especially true as we are preparing for a big energy day.  You need to drink throughout the day, don’t try to ‘down it’ all at once – that can be dangerous and isn’t effective at hydration.  Your body can only absorb so much water at a time.  The American College of Sports Medicine has a nice write-up that I will point you to for more specific hydration recommendations:

3.) Nutrition!  There are a lot of different theories, studies and traditions about what to eat and when as you prepare for the big day.  In general, consider the week up to your big day as a time to fuel your body – consider it prep time.  Everything matters. As the week of your event begins, ensure you are taking in some extra calories each day. Make sure you are getting a good mix of carbs and proteins.  As your meals increase, your protein levels should also.  Carbs help fuel the muscles; the protein helps them to rebuild.  Both are essential for performance and endurance.    As far as the night before, the “Journal of American Dietetics Association” (2009) says that foods consumed before exercise should be low in fat and protein; and high in carbohydrates to replenish glycogen stores and maintain blood glucose.  In addition, avoid high-fiber products to prevent gastrointestinal distress.   A tradition is to have a pasta meal on Friday night.

4.) Exercise.  You will not improve your race time or endurance by training heavy the week of your race.  In fact, you should have tapered off to just gentle runs or walks, a few miles, every two-three days, to keep the circulation strong, stretch the muscles and stimulate your systems.  We do not want to break down muscle this week – we want it to build, heal and be healthy.  The day before the race should be a complete rest day.


While these tips are general and need to be adapted to your specific needs, interests, and goals, they should provide you a few guiding points behind getting ready for your awesome big day!  Here’s to celebrating your health, here’s to your incredible journey, and here’s to crossing that finish line!


It’s Just a LIttle Ache or Pain…?

Over the past few weeks, I have received numerous emails, asking me about proper care and treatment for small and large injuries.

Many have written, saying they have a pulled muscle and wonder how many days they need to take off before returning to their program. Others have written, saying they have greater injuries and want to know how to ‘get through’ the half marathon.

First and foremost (you know I am going to say this)- if any injury persists for more than a couple of days, you really need to have a doctor take a look at it. So often, as individuals who are training for something, we have a very strong ability to mask pain, or even hide it when producing endorphins. We feel something doesn’t seem quite right, but it isn’t horrible, so we just continue on as-is…

Any time your body doesn’t feel right – whether it is an ache, pain, soreness, swelling, headache – anything – it is your body’s way of communicating with you that you need to slow down and take care of it.

If you do not slow down and take care of it – what was a small, very recoverable injury can become a much larger, possibly non-recoverable injury.

One person wrote me that she had a pulled quad muscle and took a few days off and thought it felt better so she wanted to know if it was ok to get her long run in.

While every body is different – I can assure you that the day your body feels better is not the day that it is healed. If you have a pulled muscle or other acute injury, you need to take some downtime, heal it with massage, good nutrition (Protein, fruits, vegetables), water, stretching, foam roller, sleep and low stress. (or whatever the best way to treat your injury is). Once it starts feeling better, I’d advise to still give it at least a few days. Perhaps take a few slow, small runs but remember that just because it feels better doesn’t mean it is.

Consider when a boat gets a crack in it and someone fills that crack with sealant. Despite the fact that in a few hours it appears dry, they advise to wait several days for the sealant to set. You wouldn’t dare take your boat out that day, even if the sealant looks dry on the outside, would you? It’s the same concept here. It takes longer to heal on the inner most part of the muscle and cellular level – so be gentle, be kind and take care of your body, so it can take care of you.

Every injury needs to be treated differently, and each person may have a different approach and timeline to healing, but remember that when something doesn’t feel right – it is your body telling you to slow down and take care of it. I’d rather see you cross the finish line with a slightly slower time than you hoped, than not cross the finish line at all – so take care of your body and listen to it!

Yoga for Running?

Many of you have been sending in emails about yoga as a part of your cross-training program.
Of course, every BODY is different and will respond to things in a unique way, but yoga can be a great way to keep muscles flexible, strong, and increase mobilization through the hip and ankle joints.  It also can assist with core strength which is a key secret to strong posture and powerful strides.

I recommend finding a format or class that suits your interests – there are many different types.  Hatha (holding postures), Vinyasa (flow), Bikram (hot hot hot and a series of specific postures), and many others.  If you try one and don’t connect with the practice, give it a little time and try a few different instructors and formats until you find one that resonates with your soul.  Columbus offers many great studios – a few of my favorites include LifeTime Fitness LifePower Yoga (Arlington, Dublin, Easton, Pickerington), VPower (downtown),  Grow Yoga (Grandview), L-Flow Yoga(Gahanna), Thank Yoga (downtown/short north), Pai Yoga (Dublin) , Harbor Yoga (Dublin). Yoga on High (Short North)… among many others!  You can also take a free yoga class every Sunday at 11 am at every lululemon athletica (Easton, Polaris)

One of the most difficult challenges to yoga for runners is ‘slowing down’.  We are used to moving and being on a steady path.  Yoga asks you to slow down, reconnect with your mindfulness, and move in a way that is energizing and powerful.  Sometimes calming the mind and connecting to breath can be the simplest but most difficult parts of the class to do.  Be patient with yourself, take time, and know that yoga can be a wonderful benefit to keep your body strong, flexible, and energized.

Here is a yoga workout for runners that I created that you may enjoy.

Springtime = Dress in Layers!

As the first signs of spring excite our feet, it is important to keep in mind that temperature plays a role in your performance, stamina, and overall conditioning. It is important that you dress for success as you hit the pavement.

As temperatures are cooler (especially in the morning/night), make sure to dress in layers. You want to make sure you start with a warm body – not only with a proper warm up, but with the right clothing. Cold muscles = injury and decrease in performance.
The layers will keep your body warm to help you to start off with good, flexible movements, an as your body gets warmer, you can shed a jacket and tie it around your waist.

These layers should be made of fabric that wicks sweat. Nothing is worse than sweating in the cold and then having that cold wet fabric press against your skin. It makes it heavy and makes the muscles tighten and be uncomfortable. Cotton is not a ‘sweat wicking’ fabric and may be uncomfortable to wear. Try looking for some other options. (And, that goes for socks too!)

By dressing in layers, having a nice warm up and looking forward to the sunshine, you can’t help but transition from the cold with a great stride and energy!

Here’s to your run! See you on the running path!

Join me on Commitment Day 1/1/13

What are your plans for New Year’s Day?  Want to start the year off on a great foot?  Literally?

Join me in Commitment Day – a day where 300,000+ people in 30 cities commit to training to start 2013 on a healthy note – by completing a 5K!  Simply click here  to sign up!  Then, join me in the m3s Sports ‘1st on the 1st’ 5K.  Click here to sign up.

I’ll share my training program, tips and ideas with you and you can follow my updates by liking my Facebook fan page.  I’ll post my good days, my tough days, the days I fall off track, the days I get back on – and invite you to share your progress with me.  Together, we are going to have one awesome year!

A lot of people wait until the New Year to focus on being healthy – but lets end 2012 with a great pace and kick of 2013 healthy, happy and having fun!Let’s go! 1/1/13!