Is Cheerleading A Sport, Or Not?

This ongoing debate for deciding if cheerleading is a sport is a very meaningful topic to me, since I cheered all throughout high school and now in college. I very much agree that cheerleading is a sport, and I am using my blog post today to tell you why.

The definition of sport, according to Dictionary.com, is an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature. As a current cheerleader, I can tell you from my perspective that cheerleading is definitely athletic, ranging from the daily practices a week and the 5:45 a.m. workouts we are required to be at every Tuesday and Thursday.

A big debate for why people don’t think cheerleading is a sport is because of the reason that cheerleaders to do not compete to win anything; they merely look pretty on the sidelines and cheer on the winning team. This is completely false. Yes, many high school teams do not compete but there are also several teams that do compete in the UCA high school cheerleading competitions.

Troy University has recently begun competing again in the past two years. I had the opportunity to experience the real world of competing this past year when we competed at UCA’s college nationals in January. Training for this event was insane, just as all of the other universities competing for this title are. We stayed in Troy practicing almost every day and twice a day during our Christmas break. We only had a week off for Christmas, and we practiced on New Year’s Eve.

Why do we dedicate our hours and time off, if this isn’t considered a sport? We chose to compete to win first place, just like any other sport does. The amount of physical activity that goes into cheerleading, including gymnastics skills and the incredible amount of strength required is definitely aspects that account for as being a sport.

An article in The Washington Post states that cheerleading accounts for more than half of “catastrophic” injuries to girl athletes. The seriousness of the danger in this sport is not taken seriously, which is why there are so many injuries caused by this sport today. My last thoughts on this topic are if this wasn’t considered a sport, how is it that over half of girl athletes’ injuries are from the SPORT of cheerleading?

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Treadmill VS. Outdoor Running

This week, I have been focusing on increasing my 5K time because I am in a 5K race this weekend. I want to improve my personal best score from the last race I was in, which was last summer and my time was around 29 minutes. I am hoping to shed a few minutes off of that time so we will see!

 

This week, I have trained both inside and outside for my 5K. This made me start thinking about which place I like to run better: inside on a treadmill or outside around the campus and town of Troy? I could rant on and on for days about how I feel about both of these locations. But, to save all of my readers, I will keep it short and sweet and provide the most important information that I find helpful.  🙂

 

IMG_0671Running on a treadmill is how I first began training to become a runner. I enjoyed running at the gym on campus or at my old apartment complex because they both have TV’s connected to them, so I was never bored while running. I also enjoy the accessibility of keeping the same pace on a treadmill. Active.com gave some great pros and cons tips for treadmill running so you can go weigh out your options!

 

I have grown to enjoy running outside much more this last few months. Since it rarely gets freezing cold down here in Alabama, I haven’t had to worry much about running outside during the winter months. When I swapped from running on the treadmill to running outside, it was definitely a shock! It wasn’t that drastic as I am making it sound, but I definitely didn’t prepare myself for the hills that come with the outdoors. But it didn’t take me long to get used to it, and the awesome advantage of running outdoors is you get to see beautiful scenery like these photos I took on my run this week!IMG_0667

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Another great website I found helpful was daveywaveyfitness.com. It gives a brief description of pros and cons for both treadmill running and also running outside.

 

As for my opinion for which I enjoy better, I would have to say it depends on the distance I am running. I honestly wouldn’t enjoy running 10 miles on a treadmill, but if it’s around three or four, I’m good with that!

Where Do I Start?

With the mention of tips to stay motivated in my previous blog, I thought it would be helpful to include a few tips that have really helped me in becoming a runner. So these tips will only pertain to running and what helped me throughout my training so far.

One blog I found that provides great tips for running is RUN To The Finish. One of her posts talks about training tips she wish you knew before her first half-marathon. What other perfect time for me to read this and post this than now??

Running a half marathon requires you to definitely slow down. In the next few weeks when I start my training, I will really have to focus on this tip. I am used to running 5k’s, so you can pick up your speed on those races since you don’t have as far to go. Speaking of 5k, I am getting ready to run one on February 7th, so I’m getting pretty pumped! Another tip I found on this blog was how to drink water during the half-marathon – which is something I have not thought of at all. I would have been the idiot trying to gulp down a full glass of water and spilling it everywhere!

iRunnerBlog had a great list of tips for training for any kind of run – from 5k to marathon. One of them I found interesting and that I agree with is taking your runs one day at a time. At the beginning of the week, that Monday run might seem difficult and will make you want to skip a day. But don’t do it, I promise you will feel so much better when you’re done!   I have had plenty of days where I want to skip my day of running, just because I’m not feeling well or if I am really busy. But as soon as I put my shoes on and start running, I thank myself every time, and you will too! So focus on the big picture, and every mile and workout is another step getting you closer.

I hope these tips that I have found helpful to me will also help you!

To Run, Or Not to Run?

One thing that is needed to keep running: motivation! That can be so hard sometimes with so many excuses that everyone (including me) can come up with. It’s always “I can’t find the time to run in the day-I’m too busy,” or “I can’t go without caffeine or else I will have a serious migraine.” Although these statements may be true, we can always make time – even if that means getting up a little bit earlier. That’s why they invented coffee! And yes, I just said the excuse about caffeine, but some things are fine in moderation. With the amazing help from Pinterest, I have found some pretty great tips to help keep you motivated throughout the day.

I have been looking for a half-marathon training plan to follow, and I have been comparing all of the different kinds they have on the web. There are some that run four times a week and some that run three times. I personally like running three times a week, because that is what I have normally done in my weekly workouts. To stay on top of my training schedule, posting my training plan somewhere in my room, like on my bulletin board, will keep me motivated and make sure I follow it weekly.

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Probably one of the most important parts of running and training to run is drinking enough water. I never took this part seriously, until about a month or two when I started getting into longer distances. I didn’t think drinking enough water would make a difference on anything. Well, needless to say now I am a true advocate for drinking plenty of water. I have seen a big improvement in my skin, which usually breaks out at least once a month. Everyone asks how much water is enough? So I began my research for how much to drink and found out the eight glasses a day hasn’t been the best tip for how much to drink. How much to drink depends on how active you are daily, so I try to drink anywhere from 60 to 80 ounces a day, which is about 8-10 glasses a day. A good motivator for drinking enough water is take a water bottle with you that has certain times to drink a certain amount of water throughout the day like this one below:

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I hope these tips keep you motivated and keep running!

Here We Go! (Almost)

So this past week has been a little bit of a rest week for me. I just got back from Orlando from competing in the 2015 UCA Cheerleading College Nationals. It was stressful, but also fun and I figured my legs needed a little bit of a break before I start my half marathon-training plan. Before I jump into training for 13.1 miles, I want to talk about how I started and how I got where I am now. So for my New Year’s resolution for 2014, I decided to buy a pair of Brook’s running shoes and train to become a runner.

I definitely put on a couple of pounds my first year of college, even with having 5:15 a.m. workouts with cheerleading. When I first started running I didn’t use a training plan – I thought I didn’t need one (BAD IDEA). I was impatient and did not let my body get used to running over a mile at a time. Also, I started out running every day and at least 1-2 miles a day (another BAD IDEA). So a few weeks into my own training for a 5k workout, my legs began to ache, even when I hadn’t done anything. I went to my doctor and found out my muscle enzymes were too high, because I jumped into it too fast. So, tip number 1: pace yourself. You will be very tired at the beginning, but it does get easier. Your muscles get stronger and your endurance gets better.

Also, running every day was crazy to start out with! Every training plan I have come across says to run 3 days a week with 4 being the max. Second tip: start with a training plan. When school started last August, my roommate and I started over on a 5k training plan, which really helped my endurance even more, although I had already ran a 5k a few months earlier. We used the app C25K, and it was great and also free!

Another tip that has helped me to stay accountable is to find someone to run with. My roommate and another one of our friends ran together all last semester while we did our 5k training plan. It was much more enjoyable and easier because I had my friends to run with. These are a few tips I have learned from my 5K training so far and don’t worry, there will be plenty more!

Running At a Glance: Terrible or Terrific?

We all see it, the joggers getting their daily exercise in, either in the morning or at night, in the gym or on the sidewalks, even on TV – running is all around us. There are two types of people – the ones who enjoy running and the others who think running 13 miles is crazy. But how do people jump into the running world? How do you become a runner? Although there are plenty answers, the main one is this: creating the mind set in yourself that you CAN be a runner and you will enjoy it. Yes, it is true running isn’t for everws_Girl_Running_1680x1050yone and that’s why there are plenty of different workout machines now that provide the same cardio as running does but protects your knees from the impact running creates. Anyone can start running, no matter who you are and what type of physical shape you are in. There are numerous training plans today to help people begin in their running experience. The biggest obstacle will be yourself; your mind will tell you to quit running before your body does. The human body is extraordinary, and we do not give ourselves enough credit because we constantly think our bodies will collapse at any second when we start to perform and physical exercise. Now don’t get me wrong, the beginning process will be hard and tiring, and will make you want to quit. Just keep this in mind: running will get easier the more you do it and the easier it gets, the more time you will have to actually enjoy going on your daily jog. We can all become the runners we see on the sidewalks or in movies and it does not take much to start that process. Just lace up your sneakers and walk out the door to get moving!