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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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

I Know I’m Annoying; It’s Because I Love You

I hear myself. I know I’m annoying. It’s because I love you (even if I don’t yet know you).
Over-zealouness really bothers people when it comes to health.

I was recently watching Last Comic Standing, and one New York-based comedian said that he turned Vegan for a bit. There is a certain negative connotation with Vegans. The comedian continued by saying something like, “Yup, I decided to be a Vegan. So, you know, I gave up meat, and dairy and friendship.”

MTO Kombucha, sold at TRUE Health and Wholeness
MTO Kombucha, sold at TRUE Health and Wholeness

I can sense my family’s annoyance with me, though my persistence seems to be paying off a bit, as I now have both my oldest brother and father drinking Kombucha daily and my brother sent me a picture of something with “Ancient Grains” in the title. So, yay!

On a recent family trip, I tried to sneak in some organic options of typical foods we eat, like peanut butter and salad dressings. I tried to convince them to use regular butter instead of substitutes like margarine. I tried to have sourdough and flax seed bread available as an option along with their whole wheat loaf.

Now, I know most of you read that last sentence and thought, soooo you want your family to be fat. I’m pretty sure that’s what they think.

Note: I am a certified personal trainer, but I am NOT a nutritionist; I listen to and I am surrounded by some pretty smart people at work (TRUE Health and Wholeness) and I read a lot. I have also been turned into a believer by following certain food rules myself.

6 am TRUE Fit Boot Camp!
6 am TRUE Fit Boot Camp!

Food, though, is just one part of health. There’s exercise for the body and mind, and there’s wellness, again, of body and mind. No one has all the answers, but we have to talk about the possible solutions, the successes and the failures in order to weed out the stupid ones, right?

My family, being health conscious, focuses mostly on calories. As a female who used to struggle terribly, and still struggles daily, with her body image, as most women do, I understand subscribing to this calories in vs. calories out method. Again, I don’t have  all the answers, but here is what I do know.

  • I feel better when I avoid processed foods to the best of my ability. Now, I don’t have the budget nor the time to cut processed food from my diet all-together, but when I make a conscious effort to cook my own food from real, whole ingredients, my body thanks me,
  • I feel better when I spend the extra $ on antibiotic-and hormone-free meat. I choose organic and grass-fed as well. When it comes to eggs, I always choose free range. I do this for two reasons.
    • In this day and age, we take enough shit to combat illness, stress and genetics that we don’t need whatever that cow was given on a farm you’ve never heard of.
    • We need to be kinder to the animals we share this planet with.
  • I feel better when I combat aches, pains and illnesses naturally. As an athlete, you’re body is your livelihood. If you’re hurting, you take something to make it feel better so you can play. Being hurt, as a competitive athlete, is a reason to keep you sidelined, not a warning sign from your body to slow down. These days, if I can take something naturally occurring in nature to help with something as simple as inflammation, I will try that first.
  •  I feel my best, my most beautiful, my most feminine, my most boss, my most accomplished, my most whatever you would like to fill in that blank with when I leave the gym. Lifting weights, lifting heavy weights helps you lose weight by increasing your muscle mass, speeding up your metabolism and dropping your body fat.

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Now, back to the beginning. I know I’m most likely annoying you with my talk of holistic this, whole foods that, heavy weights whatever, but here’s why I keep telling you this.

I love you very much and would like you to be in my life at your healthiest and happiest, for as long as possible. The goal of this post is NOT to have you say, ‘okay, Molly makes sense, she must be right and now, I am ONLY eating organic from and am going to spend 3 hours a day at the gym.’ I want you to Google, to research, to ask questions, to explore, to try and fail, to try and succeed and figure it out. I want you to wrap the people you care about up in huge hugs of knowledge and love in order to help them be the happiest and healthiest them they can be, and maybe, together, we can slowly create a healthier society.

Over and Out

-MB