20 Questions – Running Edition

Recently a new running friend, Tia, posted this on her Facebook page. She’s super involved in the running community and is a fantastic resource.

While she used this as fun FB post, I decided to add it as a #FunFriday post while I’m on vacation. I hope you join in, either in the comments or on your social media of choice.
1. Favorite Distance 26.2+. I’ve done 2 marathons and one ultra this year. This distance takes everything I have physically AND mentally, which makes me feel like a champ when I cross that finish line. 
2. Favorite Shoe – Undecided. I’m not brand loyal at this point, but if someone wants to sponsor a race or two…
3. Equipment You Can’t Live Without – Garmin watch (I’m addicted). Camelbak Marathoner Pack for summer and trail runs. GOOD SOCKS.
4. Favorite Race – Croom series is amazing. 
5. Best Result 5k – no idea, now that you mention it.
6. Why You Run – it’s become who I am and stress relief.
7. How Long Have You Been Running – 2011 on a dare that I couldn’t. It was me who thought I’d never run due to degenerative discs in my lower spine. Guess I showed me!
8. Have You Been Injured? Nothing serious. Blisters, shin splints, the norm.
9. Have You Gone a Year Without Injury? 5+ without serious injury
10. Run Streak? Not my thing. I may do a mile-a-day at some point, but it’s not in the training program right now.
11. Have You Run in Another Country? Not yet. Husband is planning on me running an ultra on some tropical island he wants to visit next year so, stay tuned?
12. U.S. States Have You Raced In? FL, TX, SC
13. The Most Important Thing Running Has Taught You? I am more resilient than I think. I suck at fueling during endurance races.
14. How many pairs of running shoes do you own? 1 that I actually wear. A couple old pair for short rainy day runs and yard work. 
15. Training partners? None, but I’m looking for a speed work group. 
16. Favorite fuel? Nuun
17. Cross Training Activity? Strength training is my go-to. I’m a personal trainer at a gym. No excuses! Swimming is also nice if I have access to a pool. 
18. Runs During Week? 4-6 depending on my training schedule and stress level.
19. Water or Sports Drink? H2O all the way! I only use sports drinks or soda during the tail end of the 20+ milers if I find I haven’t fueled properly (no one’s perfect).
20. Most Unusual Running Experience? Spartan Beast South Carolina. Late start times, freezing temps the night before, LOTS of water obstacles, and a race best-friend I couldn’t have done it without (we totally met that morning at the hotel breakfast & ran 90% of the race together). It was cold, wet, sandy, muddy, dark, and hypothermia was a real concern at several points. That doesn’t even count all the obstacles. It was the most intense thing I’ve intentionally done to my body and mind. It was also the race that secured my Spartan Trifecta for the year! #BeastMode
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Now, it’s your turn.
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Vacation Workout – No Excuses!

 

I’m on vacation. Yep, if you saw Monday’s post, you already know that. Well, then I said I was still planning on bodyweight bootcamp options for my cross training days. Here are two options. Neither require any more gear than workout clothes and sturdy shoes, which you packed, right?

The Tabata can be 10, 20, or 30 minutes long depending on how much time and energy you’re committing.

The Bodyweight Bootcamp is 15 minutes at best, with no time for transition. I’d give this one 15 – 45 minutes depending on how committed you are to no rest breaks. I do suggest about 1 minute between circuits with minimal rest in between.

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45s on, 15s off | Repeat 2-3x

  1. Jumping Jacks
  2. Mountain Climbers
  3. Skipping Rope
  4. Burpees
  5. Fast or Pulse Squats
  6. Butt Kicks
  7. High Knees
  8. Jump Squats
  9. Lunge Kicks
  10. Side Lunges

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Perform for 1 minute each for symmetrical exercises (ex. planks).
Perform 15 each side for asymmetrical exercises (ex. lunges).
Repeat 2-3x

  1. Push up
  2. Jumping Jacks
  3. Tricep Dip
  4. Mountain Climbers
  5. Straight Arm Plank
  6. Jump Squats
  7. Pulsing Squats
  8. Alternating Side Lunges
  9. Lunge Kicks
  10. Burpees
  11. Donkey Kicks
  12. Front Kicks
  13. Russian Twist
  14. Plank Jacks
  15. Supermans

BOOM!

Workout complete.

 

Fit & Healthy Vacation – How to Stay Motivated

I’m going on vacation (hooray!). This has me thinking about how to ensure I stick with my (new, more difficult) marathon training plan.

So, how to stay on task when the temptations of vacation are staring you in the face?

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J/K Vacations Rock

Make an Exercise Plan

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Don’t wait until you’re on the mat. Have a plan!

Before you load the car, board the plane, or check out for your staycation, make a plan.Schedule a what and a when. This could be where you’ll get your runs in, which classes you’ll take, or the equipment-free/no-excuse workouts you’re going to do.

Here’s what my week looks like as an example.

  • Sunday – 6 easy miles
  • Monday – Travel/Rest
  • Tuesday – XT. Write a bodyweight workout I can do on the grass.
  • Wednesday – 6 miles (Yasso 800s).
    • Monday or Tuesday I’ll find and mark out an 800 meter spot so no excuses Wednesday. There’s a golf course and a couple of long roads available to choose from.
  • Thursday – XT. Either do my bodyweight bootcamp or join a class. Unfortunately the class schedule isn’t posted online, so I have my bootcamp as a back up.
  • Friday – XT or Rest. Also, travel day. This is the only day I don’t have planned.

Pinterest, Youtube, and Google in general are fantastic resources for finding workouts you can do in your hotel, on the beach, or in the backyard. No excuses!

Make a Food Plan

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How many times have I heard someone say, “I need to lose 10 lbs before my cruise…because I know I’ll gain 10 lbs on my cruise”? Without fail, this baffles me. Additionally, this is not the type of “food plan” I’m referring to.

Whenever we’re away from home (and our kitchens) we tend to indulge. Or at the very least, eat restaurant and prepared food more than usual. If you can, pack healthy (or even healthy-ish) snacks to take with you. It’ll be better than having a “Dude, you need a Snickers” moment. If you’re able, consider bringing a griddle. I am. Plus, some pancake mix and I’m looking for a local shop within walking distance to get a couple of fresh groceries. Do I want to cook everyday? Meh. Would I rather save $30+ over the on-sight options PLUS who-knows-how-many calories? Yes, thank you. Plus, a griddle is mostly flat and easy to clean. Score.

The griddle works in hotels, at most campsites, and in your best friend’s NY studio apartment. Hey, I don’t know what they’re working with, they’re your best friend. Look, there’s a ton of options that aren’t tough, look at all the options!

If you’re staying at a HomeAway/VRBO type location, even bigger score. FULL KITCHEN, WOOHOO!

Walk, Everywhere

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Skip the Segway tours and use more common sense than the average Pokemon Go! player and you should be fine.

Pack comfy shoes, socks, a blister kit, and a water bottle. In many cases, you should be covered.

Obviously, if you’re rheumatoid arthritis is acting up or there’s an alley full of Joker impersonators, adjust walking plans accordingly.

Don’t Drink (All) Your Calories

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Everyone has their limits. Take a break from the chaos before you get here, ok? I care about you & want you to have a good vacation.

Look, I get it. But!

Did you know:

Frozen Margarita (12 oz)
675 calories, 0 g fat, 83 g sugars
Calorie Equivalent: 11 Entenmann’s Pop’Ems Powdered Donuts!
(source)

So, you know, don’t make a day of it.

Get the Family Involved

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Seriously, kid won Top 3 during his first race. 

A lot of us use vacations as a time to reconnect with loved ones without the hassle of daily work and obligations. Whether it’s time away from clients, emails or the dirty floor (I swear I just mopped!), it’s a nice break. That doesn’t mean fitness can’t also be a priority.

Snorkeling, kayaking, sight-seeing, walking around a golf course or amusement park, hiking, even a family friendly “bootcamp” on the beach can be fun. I anticipate inviting my husband and son to my bootcamp. If they don’t bite, I’ll definitely have a few, fun challenges at the ready:

  • Most push ups
  • Longest long jump
  • Fastest sprint
  • Most jumping jacks
  • Burpees!

Winner gets to choose the next activity or gets to pass on the next challenge 😉

Mix it up, make it fun, and you CAN stay fit and healthy during vacations.

So, what are you’re tips and tricks for a healthy(ish) vacation?

Injury Prevention in 4 Poses

I’ve been talking and thinking a lot about injury prevention recently. Not shockingly, my tendency is toward preventing running injuries, but with clients of all persuasions (and interests) it’s a good all-around topic.

What follows are four yoga poses completed with light weights for a bit of a challenge. I found this gem by Sage Rountree in a Runner’s World article several years ago and it’s still timely. Yoga + strength training is a great combo to mix up your workouts.

Start with lighter weights than you would for traditional strength training, then increase reps and/or weight as you get comfortable with the routine.

Horse Pose + Lateral Raise 

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What It Works: opens hips; strengthens legs, arms, and shoulders

How It’s Done: Stand with feet wide apart, legs turned out at 45 degrees, light weights in both hands. Exhale while bending knees (think wide squat, do not lean forward). Raise arms to the side then overhead in a smooth motion as you squat. On inhale, lower weights and straighten legs.

How Many: 10 reps

Knee Lift to Backward Lunge

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What It Works: Improves balance and hip mobility; strengthens back

How It’s Done: Stand with feet together. On inhale, lift right knee and curl left arm, press right arm back. On exhale, lunge back with right leg and alternate arms (curl right arm, press left arm back). Inhale and swing back through to a knee raise; exhale and step back into a lunge.

How Many: 10 reps, each leg

Half Chair to Chair

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What It Works: Strengthens thighs, core, triceps, and shoulders

How It’s Done: Stand with feet together. On inhale, lower your hips and raise arms overhead. On exhale, lean forward and lower arms. Inhale again and extend arms back past your hips. Exhale again and squat deeper. Return to start.

How Many: 10

Warrior III (My personal favorite)

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What It Works: Strengthens glutes, hip flexors, and upper back

How It’s Done: Stand with feet together. On inhale, raise arms to shoulder height in front. Exhale and shift weight to right leg, lean forward, and slowly riase your left leg behind you. Inhale and return to standing. Switch legs, repeat.

How Many: 10 reps

This is a simple routine you can add at the gym, at home, or in the park if you have a couple of hand weights or water bottles. Honestly, I always see people suggest water bottles and canned goods as light, home weights but I’ve never tried it. You do you though. Whatever works.

Finally, you HAVE to Google Horse Yoga. I was searching for pose images and it’s a bizarre gold mine. This one’s pretty.

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Time to Run! But I Don’t Wanna

I know, it’s just the beginning of marathon training season so what am I talking about? For one, the “feels like” temps here in Tampa are regularly over 100F. That’s a tough one when you’re heading out for a couple of hours. For two, I’m not in the habit of ignoring the fact that, regardless of where you’re at on your journey, sometimes you just. don’t. wanna.

It’s important to recognize that some days you’re just tired, or stressed, or the weather is bad. It’s normal. However, it’s important to fight the urge to lounge around. Remember, you never regret the run/workout you completed. Besides, that Netflix-binge will be waiting for you when you return.

So, what can you do to beat the doldrums?

Change of Scenery

This is simple and huge. A lot of us run, rerun, overrun the same routes because we know precisely where the mile marks are (even though most of us are wearing watches anyway). Next time you’re heading out the door, reverse that loop. Or, find a trail (paved or not) nearby and get a real change of scenery.

Living in Tampa, I often run to Bayshore then along the sidewalk. If I’m feeling blah but also don’t want to drive far, I just start closer to Bayshore Blvd and skip the neighborhood scene. It makes a difference, trust me.

Also, check out area parks. Even if you have a drive awhile it can be worth it. You’ll get your run in, you’ll see new places, and often on trails there’s shade!

DSC_0005Bring a Friend

Simple, if someone is waiting for you it’s harder to bail.

Don’t have a running buddy? Contact me! Or check out one of many social running clubs. Running for Brews is fantastic. You can meet new people who are into running and set up other running dates. Accountability is one of the hardest parts of any plan when you’re just not feeling it.

Change Your Pace

As a distance runner I’m guilty of finding my pace and settling into it. This is fine for may runs, but interval training, hill training, fartleks, all help combat boredom and can improve performance. Fartlek literally describes what we’re talking about.

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Change Your Regimen

Maybe it’s time to try something else. Spin, swim, row, get out on the water. Anything that will get your heart rate up can be subbed in for those days when you just can’t mentally make yourself lace up. That’s ok! Cross training is another good thing we should include in our training. So, don’t feel guilty if you’re just not into it today, but don’t settle for sitting around moping either. Find a class, find a friend, or find a YouTube video to get your blood pumping. I’ll add some HIIT workouts to my YouTube playlist to get you started.

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Change Your Mindset

Just go. You only have to get down the street, then you can turn around. Or, go for 5 minutes. If you’re still blargh about it, go home. If you feel pretty good, go a bit further. This is one of those times when minutes and miles don’t matter. Get out there, even if it’s for a short time.

If you do get out, YAY YOU! If you turn around at the end of the street, that’s ok. Take a rest day. It may be just what you need. Just get back out there tomorrow.