Training for Race Season

Oh hey! It’s been a while. It’s not you, it’s me. I’ve been busy, and the long winter has me feeling unmotivated. I’m tired. Good thing I make more excuses about blogging than I do about working out!

1010706_10202108464698487_568135008458836320_nThis time of year, it seems everybody has a race of some sort that they’re training for. Like the 5k to Break the Silence on Ovarian Cancer, which my entire family races in each spring, or the GW Parkway Classic that I am running in this month.

So, I wanted to share the training regimen that I have put in place to get myself into the best shape possible for my race on April 24. Let me preface this by saying that I am not a trained fitness coach, and if you follow my below plan, please please please always listen to your body, trainers and/or doctors for expert advice.

Running vs. Lifting + Stretching:

During the five or so weeks leading up to a 10 mile race, I will cut my lifting down significantly, and increase my mileage each week. Also, it can’t be said enough, but stretching can mean a world of difference. I try to use a foam roller to massage my IT bands every single day.

Lifting:

During the weeks that I am training for a race, I will reserve two days a week for lifting. 1 day for legs (never maxing out) and 1 day for arms/chest/back. Both days, and some of my non-lifting days, will include 5-15 minutes of core.

Screen Shot 2016-04-05 at 8.31.53 PMRunning:

The hard part for me is pacing. I am not a distance runner by nature. My body wants to run fast, but then I can’t maintain the speed while increasing my miles.

With that in mind, I have three little tricks that I employ to help me combat this common hurdle:

  • Mileage: I do 3 runs during the week that are between 3-5 miles, depending on where I am at in my training. Then I do one 5-8 mile run on the weekends. I do not pay too much attention to my pace, but I try to stay within a :30 margin. By race day, I am comfortably running more miles and a much quicker pace and it wasn’t even that painful to get there.
  • Track Workouts: I have recently gotten into track workouts, which are full of benefits. They open your stride, boost your endurance, change up your routine and drum roll….. they help increase your speed! I jog to the track, stretch and then do one of the following: Sprint 1 lap, jog 1 lap. Repeat 4-8 times. Or, run 80% pace for 2 laps, jog for 1 lap. Repeat 4-8 times. I also sometimes do pacers down the long side of the track. Start at 50% pace, increase to 75% pace, increase to full sprint. Do a few of those. They feel AMAZING.
  • Hills: They’re the devil. But the best advice I ever received was from Mr. Mahoney, my high school cross country coach. He told us that we should always work to pass people on the uphill. If you train for hills, there will be no issues come race day. You’ll be cruising on up as other runners are struggling and wondering if you’ve got secret jets hidden in your shoes! My standard hill workout: Jog to the hill, stretch. Then I do pacers up the hill, starting off with a slow and open stride leading up to the base of the hill and then try to run about 75% pace to the top.  I jog halfway down, and walk the other half. Once at the bottom,  jump right back into the next one. Depending on the hill grade and length, I will do 5-10 of these before jogging home.

If you’ve got a race coming up, I hope you find my training tips beneficial. Always feel free to reach out to me in the comments below if you’ve got any questions! Also, follow me on IG for training tips, fun pics and weird outfits. 🙂
loveB

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Review: Nike Women’s 21 Days of Better For It

Hi friends (and total strangers)! About 21 days ago, I told you that I was going to take on Nike Women’s 21 Days of #BetterForIt. Now, I’ve gotta be honest here, I did most of the workouts but during that 21 day period I went on a five day vacation and we had a three-foot blizzard that isolated me in my home for four days. Needless to say, there were some interruptions, but I am here to report back to you all now that I’m finished!

BIG PICTURE:

Each morning, I awoke to reminder message in my iPhone. The reminder took me directly to that day’s workout plan. So seamless! The program gave me a balanced workout that was thoughtfully prepared and included stretching and rest days. Those Nike folks must know a thing or two about fitness.

THESE ARE A FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS:

200m sprints: It’s been years since I had a proper track workout and it felt amazing to stretch out my legs with these 200 meter sprints.

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Stretching before sprinting = smart.

Drop Squats: Start in the standing position, drop down to a squat touching one hand to the floor while the other stretches out behind you. Jump back up. I love squats, nuff said.

Lateral bear crawls: This exercise isn’t as difficult, coordination-wise, as it sounds. But it kicks your butt (and back, and core, and hips)!

FullBearCrawls
Bear crawls are the bees’ knees. Or something like that.

Chest press with dead bug: The dead bug may make you look silly in the gym. But combine it with a couple dumbbells and you’ve got yourself a hard-working move.chestpressdeadbug.png

Rear foot elevated single leg squat: Put your back leg up on a box or curb, it doesn’t need to be high. Squat down, similar to a lunge and feel the burrnnnnn!

Diagonal bounds: I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. These little jumps (or slides, if you have the proper equipment) are a daily must.

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Leaps and bounds!

AND YET:

As with any workout, there were a few things I avoided. Burpees, for instance. I fail to see the true benefit of burpees. Without perfect form, you’re much more likely to hurt yourself than do any real good. Burpees = the plague. Keep back! Another activity that I was cautious with was sprinting at the track (surprisingly, this was also my favorite activity). But I am 31, and about 12 years past my last track workout, so in the early morning cold temps, I was pretty nervous about pulling something while trying to prove that I was once a good sprinter.

All in all, I’d say that Nike’s 21 Days of #BetterForIt was a success. I learned a ton of new activities to add to my workout regime, and there was something motivating and exciting about having a little personal trainer in your phone that wakes you up with new workouts each day.

If anybody is interested in doing the 21 day routine, I’ve got all of the workouts saved and would more than happy to send you the details. Comment below if you would like me to share them!

LOVE YOU ALL!
loveB

 

 

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Nike Women’s 21 Days of Better For It

If you do not follow Nike or Nike Women on social media, then you may not be aware of 21 Days of Better For It. I stumbled upon it on Nike Women’s Instagram yesterday, and started my workout plan this morning! There are a few things that make this effort truly awesome:

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First day of 21 Days of Better For It
  • No Purchase Necessary: You may complain that Nike prices break the bank, but their series of workout apps and programs like this one are 100% free!
  • Tailored for a Better Fit: The initiative, which lives on nike.com, asks users a series of questions which lead them to the best workout plan for their fitness level.
  • Seamless Integration to Your Smartphone: Once your plan is selected, 21 days of workouts are loaded to your calendar with reminders for you. The workouts range from sprints to yoga to weight circuits and, when necessary, links you to Nike Training Club and Nike+ Running apps. It also helps design workout playlists through Spotify. The entire process is quick, simple, and leaves little room for excuses.
  • A Learning Process: I think the part about this program that I am most excited about is that I will learn a few new workouts or movements. For those who are new to regular workouts, you will learn so much in 21 days and be able to build off of those workouts once the program is over.

I am off to take on the plan that Nike built for me, and I encourage you to do it too. I’ll follow up with a blog post at the end of the 21 days and let you know just how much better I am for it!
loveB

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Nike21DaysOfBetterForIt

Start 2016 With More Than A Resolution

This time of year always makes me cringe a little bit, especially when marketers try to capitalize on our insecurities by pushing “fitness resolutions.” Don’t get me wrong, getting healthy should most definitely be a top priority, but not because 2016 is upon us. It should be a priority because you only have one body and you need to treat it right. All year, every year.new-years-resolutions-seinfeld

My “resolution” this year is to recognize that my health, my mind and my body are a constant work in progress and I cannot accomplish everything at once. Just as I did in 2015, I will work on each of them but will not expect any certain results.

My Health: Anybody who knows me knows that I am a pretty unhealthy eater. This is an area where I have a TON of room for improvement. I cannot resolve to give up sugar, because I will fail. But I will consciously work to make more home-cooked dinners with more vegetables. The goal is simply to feed my body more of the nutrients that it needs to meet the demands I put on it.
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My Mind: This past March, I made the decision to leave a very toxic work environment. The decision, which was not a New Years resolution, was one of the most important choices I have ever made and has proved to be a very big step in improving my mental health. This year, I will continue to find ways to let go of unnecessary stressors, which will not only impact my mind, but my heart as well. Here are some tips on ways to improve mental health every day.

My Body: The biggest thing I noticed as my twenties passed me by was that my body is different day-by-day. The body I had when I was 21 is very different than the body I have now at 31. I can’t expect the same results, and I cannot make goals for my 31-year-old body that are based on 21-year-old me. These days, I am working on being more aware of how I feel. I am trying to see how my diet and stress may impact my physical output. I am always working on tightening and toning, but I am also thinking about recovery and proper care for my muscles. My roller is one of my best friends these days. RELATED: Have a Body-Positive New YearIMG_9382

Those are my “resolutions.” They’re not really measurable, and they do not have an expiration date. They’re fluid and always changing as I learn more about myself. So instead of a New Years resolution in 2016, I challenge you to take a holistic view of your health, your mind and your body. Self-improvement doesn’t ever end, and it is defined differently by everybody. #YouDoYou.23d45062-b649-4be8-b2d0-348c78b9be46

Happy New Years, see you in 2016!
loveB

 

 

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7 Holiday Workouts

If you’re anything like me, the holidays are a time to eat as if the calories don’t count. Another serving of cheesy rolls? Yes, please! More wine? Duh! Donuts or cinnamon rolls? Both, por favor! But that sort of carefree eating can start to bring you down, so here is the secret to enjoying the holiday feasts without regretting it later.

The Holidays are not an excuse to stop working out!

That’s right. You heard me. Holiday vacation is a vacation from work or school… not from your health and wellness. But this is part of a larger shift in your attitude toward exercise. It’s time to stop thinking of it as “work,” and start to think of it as “me time” or “play time” or “the best damn 30 minutes of my day!” Ok, that last one might be pushing it.

Once you make this shift, you’ll find yourself looking forward to working out, even when you’re on vacation. So, this holiday season, maybe try one of these fun ways to keep yourself and your family members active in between feasting!

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Snowshoeing at Beaver Creek in Avon, CO
  1. Take a hike!: Hiking is an activity that all family members can enjoy, including our furry friends. Depending on the hike you choose, it can be a quiet nature walk, or it can be more rigorous, like mountain climbing. Get the family outside to enjoy a healthy activity together! Tip: If it’s really snowy, find someplace to rent snowshoes!
  2. Make a cameo!: Visiting a relative who has a membership to a gym? Find out their policy on guests and have a gym-date. One of my favorite things to do when I visit my mom, is to go to the gym with her. We take turns picking a workout or weight machine and we both come away with new activities to try and very sore muscles!
  3. 15-minute jam!: Busy holiday schedule? Lazy family members? Not a problem. The Nike Training Club app has tons of 15-minute workouts that are perfect for getting in a quick, but effective workout without needing any equipment. Tell mom to stop complaining about her knees; tell your sister so stop worrying about her kids’ meal schedule. All you need is 15-minutes and a good attitude. More on Nike Training Club.
  4. Run like the wind!: Gather up
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    Snowshoeing at Beaver Creek in Avon, CO

    your fitness-minded friends and family and take them on a group run. One of my favorite, recent Christmas memories is of running around my boyfriend’s hometown when we were visiting his family. We ended up at his high school and spent a while roaming the halls while he shared some pretty cool memories with me. Check out my post about running while on the road.

  5. Grab and go!: If you’re road-tripping to your holiday destination, there is no excuse not to bring some exercise equipment with you. A couple of easy-to-pack items include TRX gear, a jump rope, resistance bands, a yoga mat, or P90X dvds. In addition, you could always pack a set up dumbbells, a medicine ball or a kettlebell.
  6. Lend a helping hand!: What if you could win Daughter/Son-of-the-Year status AND get in a great workout? All you’ve gotta do is offer to help rake leaves or shovel for your parents, grandparents or their neighbors. Seriously, put in 1 good hour of raking leaves and then try to tell me your obliques aren’t on fire.
  7. Go sledding!: If you’re going sledding with friends and family, try running up the hill after each turn. The snow, coupled with heavy boots and bulky layers will prove to be a great leg workout. You’ll quickly feel it in your calves and quads. For an EXTRA good workout, take a lazy friend or a young kid with you and PULL them up the hill. I did this with my nephew last year and let’s just say that I was pretty embarrassed how sore I was the next day. But he had a blast and so did I!

So there you have it. Don’t stop enjoying the home-cooked goodness of a holiday meal. Don’t turn down a refill of a great Malbec. Just find some time to enjoy a bit of exercise while on break, and avoid having to play catch-up when you’re back to reality.
loveB

20 miles on the treadmill.

Two weekends ago I ran 20 miles on the treadmill. Thanks Joaquin. No seriously, thank you Joaquin. Some people have a very strong dislike for the hamster wheel, however, I flourish on this machine. Water, change of clothes, bathroom, snacks, great people watching, all readily available, what’s not to love? Don’t forget the massive mental win when you can say you completed such a daunting task. Yes, I am aware 20 miles is a tad extreme for the treadmill, but it can be done.

As you read the tips below, you will hear a ton about mental wins. Try to pretend you are playing Mario Kart and each mental win is a gold coin. These coins may not seem immensely useful at first glance, however, they most definitely can prove their usefulness as you reach dark places during a workout!

  1. Mentally prepare, early. It was supposed to rain cats and dogs all weekend, therefore, I decided on Wednesday I was going to do my long run on the treadmill regardless of the conditions outside. I had a full three days to repeatedly tell myself I was running 20 miles on the treadmill Saturday. Over and over again. I also told others to hold myself accountable.

  1. Make a plan. My dad used to coach his players to compete in four minute intervals, from TV timeout to TV timeout. I use the same method for my long runs & it is crucial (mentally) to do this when on the treadmill for exorbitant amounts of time. On Saturday I broke mileage down into three hour segments. The treadmills at my gym stop after an hour so the decision was a layup. 20 miles = 7 miles, 7 miles, 6 miles. Breaking a huge task into small, attainable chunks is vital to your mental state, at the end of each interval you get a gold coin.

  1. Get to the gym early. I was the second person at the gym Saturday morning and it was such a gratifying feeling having the building to myself. I deemed myself queen of Vida Fitness and started to have inner competitions with others as they entered my court. Unbeknownst to them, they stood no chance. I won every competition and you know what that means, more mental wins!

  1. Don’t be afraid to hop off and take care of any issues that come up. I got off the treadmill several times to change, refill my water bottle and go to the bathroom. The goal of a long run is to prepare your body for 3-4 hours on your feet. Getting off to take care of business is not going to downplay the benefits of this training exercise. Note: It is a little strange to get off the treadmill after a long period of time, you go from watching others physically move from place to place as you stand still to moving yourself. Don’t try to rush to avoid any injuries!

  1. If you find yourself falling down the rabbit hole of boredom there are things you can do to keep a fresh head on your shoulders, such as switching speed, incline, channels, treadmill, etc., however, nothing is as important as constantly reminding yourself how marvelous it is going to feel when you can tell yourself you hiked a Mount Everest size mental mountain. If you complete your long run on the treadmill, think about how your next run outdoors is going to feel. Money in the bank.

Like I said above, thank you Joaquin. You can never underestimate the power of a good run and a mental win. If you are forced inside for a long run, don’t fret. Hop in your cart and start collecting those gold coins, you won’t regret it!

Bodyweight Workouts with Mama Bear

Mom Adam Liv
Mom on the left, Adam on the right, Olivia living the life.

I promised y’all a bodyweight circuit with my brother and Mom, but the day after those killer sprints, Adam and I decided to do them again. What doesn’t kill you…blah blah blah. It was awful, but felt oh so good when it was done.

Yesterday, I brought my mom through 4 rounds of circuit training. Each round was five minutes, and for the fourth round, you chose which circuit you wanted to repeat. (Adam hurt his quad and starts preseason soon, so he is taking it easy to recover.)

*Shameless Plug: Some of these exercises were inspired by the wonderful, strong and awesome Nina Elliot, my amazing boss at TRUE Health and WholenessTRUE shirt

Below is my circuit, my mom’s, which is a bit modified (no jumping, burpees, etc) follows mine.

Round 1: Legs

– Jumping Lunges 20x

– Burpee to tuck jump 20x

– 25 mountain climbers

– bodyweight squats 10x

Round 2: Arms

– Pushups ladder: 1 on knees, 1 on toes, 2 on knees, 2 on toes, to three and back down (courtesy of Nina!)

– Seated Tricep Dips 10x

– Uneven push ups (right hand in front of left, then switch) 5 e/a

Olivia Rae!
Olivia Rae/Weight for Exercise

– Push Press with a 7 1/2 month old child who was crying and getting restless in her bouncy seat watching us workout–> these turned into diamond pushups once she settled.

Round 3: Abs

– High plank, knees to elbow 1 e/a

– Quarter Squat, dumbbell front raise to row

– Slow cross crawls 10 e/a

– Power Tuck Jumps 10x

Mama Bear’s Circuits: Mom repeated arms/abs for round 4

Round 1: Arms

– Lateral plank walk, pushup on knees, lateral plank walk back down the mat, push up on knees. Repeat 3x

– Thrusters, 10 lb dumbells 10x (I know I said bodyweight, but weights make my mom feel cool and strong!)

– Seated tricep drips 10x

– Single Arm, Bent Over Row with 10 lb dumbbell 8x e/a

Round 2: Legs

– Walking lunges holding dumbbells 8x e/a

– Squat, Squat Jump 8x

– Sumo Squat 10x

Round 3: Abs

– Half Burpee, Fire Hydrant e/a side 5x

– Slow Cross Crawls 20x

– Quarter Squat Straight Arm Dumbbell Raise to Row 10x

Kaysey with the first catch of the day!
Kaysey with the first catch of the day!

Then, I made some Flax and Grain toast with avocados and an egg white, had some Kombucha Tea and headed out to teach my niece and nephew to fish. It was a wonderful day!

Until next time,

– MB