Friday, January 30, 2009

Super Bowl, Super Fit

Should you be so lucky to be packing to hop on a plane bound for Tampa to watch the Super Bowl live, don't despair that your workouts are going to disappear faster than the beer, nachos and pizza you might be taking in on Sunday. You're traveling to the land of nearly year-round summer--with a few random days of rain or icy chills--and it's simple to stay on top of the fitness, even if the snacking goes through the roof. Take your pick of running groups, cycling routes, swimming beaches and pools, you'll be hard-pressed not to find something to keep you moving beyond laps in the stadium.

Active Tampa
has a website devoted to active pursuits in the bay area, and stocked with training plans, advice and nutrition tips, it's helpful even if you have no plans on going to Tampa in the near future. Not only does Get Active tell you about running, cycling and triathlon clubs and events in the area, it has even picked out a few routes to get you out of the hotel room.

Need someone to hold you accountable for a run Saturday or Sunday morning? Join the Tampa Bay Runners, the Brandon Running Association, the Forerunners Track Club, the West Florida Y Runners, or the Tampa YMCA and Fort YMCA Blue Shark group for distances ranging from 4 to 20 miles. Or if you're in town Saturday morning and want to race a 5K, the new Run for Pride kicks off in Tampa at 8:30.

While you could say it requires more planning--finding a bike, or bringing one from home and piecing it together--Tampa also boasts several cycling clubs and group rides that hit the roads on the weekend. And if you're like me--living through bone-chilling hell right now--the chance to take a bike for a spin off the trainer is a godsend (my bike hasn't seen daylight since September, sadly).

Get the triathlon season started early by making a trip to Sarasota Sunday morning for the Super Bowl Y-Tri at the ESJ YMCA at Potter Park. It's the perfect way to jump-start a day, and rev that metabolism for all of the imbibing later. Plus you're not dealing with the usual competition at the hometown races.

But we're not all lucky enough to be making the trip to Florida this weekend, instead either watching the game from a bar or house party. If you're not fortunate enough to swap those tempting Super Bowl snacks that Liz mentioned for options that won't pack on the pounds or put you in calorie end zone before game time, then maybe it's off to the gym or outside for a run to aid the overeating and lessen its impact (for me, anyway).

My Sunday spin instructor and gym like to get into the spirit and hold a Super Bowl spin where we spin longer than the scheduled hour and 15 minutes and ride anywhere from 2 to 3 hours. Or growing up I remember my mom taking us skiing at the local ski hill Super Bowl Sunday because the place was deserted and we could ski all day with minimal lines (and at a place where the lift line was longer than the actual run, that was a good thing). Some training groups around Chicago are kicking off programming for spring races this weekend: Team in Training has a kick-off party on Saturday and Chicago Endurance Sports' spring marathon training program starts on Sunday. What are you doing to stay active this weekend? Even shoveling snow counts. Photo grabbed from Pete Prodoehl at flickr. Posted by Kate

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