Category Archives: Endurance

So busy…


The last few weeks have been just nuts around here.  I feel really bad for neglecting the blog, and that I have not been posting as much as usual.  But I have been busy, busy bees!

I’ve been studying hard

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I want this done in the next 10 weeks, so I am pushing hard to study and read during pretty much every available opportunity of down time, time I would normally be writing.   This text is really intense and I know that I am going to learn a lot, but it’s a bit of a struggle to get through sometimes!

And Hadley has been a cranky, crabby little thing the last couple of weeks…not sleeping like normal, clingy…ugh…I hate teething!

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She is on the move all. the. time.  And it was just 2 weeks ago that she started crawling, full tilt, and now she wants to walk…or practice walking along the sofa, the coffee table…or with us.  She is such a hands on little thing…and a super busy girl.

I have also been dealing with some back and hip flexor issues that have caused me to put most of my training runs on hold, but we have gotten out to walk/run a few times these last 2 weeks.  And after a few treatments from a Chiropractor, I can see that it’s making a difference in my pace and my stride…I just need my lungs to catch up!  Come on cardio!

I have not been able to get to the gym consistently the last month, which is annoying!  I want to go work out at the end of the day, nay I NEED to go work out at the end of the day.  It’s my sanity time and I have been  skipping the gym in favor of 1) studying and 2) sleeping.  Because the Little Miss has been waking at night, most nights.  But I know that will change so I am just going with the flow.

But even though I’ve been slacking in the working out department, and sucking with the food tracking, and the scale says the same as it did before our trip to Florida…my body looks completely different.  So I know that the workouts that I am doing are paying off!  Which is a HUGE motivator for me to get back to the gym on a regular schedule and keep at it!

As the summer wraps up, have you gotten through your Summer Bucket List?

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(Half) Marathon Monday – Find your happy pace


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If you are training for your first half, or full with a group then you might hear them talk about their pace…a lot.  I know that I am obsessed with mine, well most of the time anyway.

Today I want to talk about finding your happy pace.  The pace that you can sustain for miles and miles.  It might be a 17 minute mile, or it could be a 7 minute mile.  But it’s the pace that you can maintain and not feel like you are going to die.  For me that’s about a 13 or 14 minute per mile pace.  And I am ok with that.  It’s not fantastic, but it’s certainly better than no pace.

I don’t have any tips for finding your happy pace other than to do some speed work.  Go hit the track.  I stumbled upon my happy pace a few summers ago, during what was supposed to be just a 5 mile run…but I decided that I was feeling good and wanted to go a few extra and so I kept on going.  I was tired, but ended up doing about 7 miles.  I wasn’t wearing a GPS watch, or one that even told me my splits, but I could tell I found it because I could breathe, and I didn’t need to stop.  I knew my legs were getting tired, but I told myself “just keep going; you don’t need to stop.”  I was very impressed with myself at the end.  The next saturday I did  close to 10 miles because I got lost in the rain and couldn’t find the route that the coach had given us…but that run was one of the best as far as time and how I felt after.

I also know my happy pace by my heart rate…and that is 165-170.  That is my sweet spot.  I get the runner’s high, feel strong and powerful.

So how can you find your happy pace?

  • Play with your speed
  • Listen to your body
  • Keep an eye on your heart rate

Progress report: Goals and rewards check in


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So last week I earned my 20 lb reward (again…I gained and now lost again).  I am so excited to be halfway there!  It’s only taken 9 months, but at least it’s coming off and not going on!  I am switching around some of my awards…because I made my bib and medal racks/displays a while ago.  And I got my massage and mani/pedi for Mother’s Day.  And I traded my Fitbit for a Garmin 220…and I got 2 new pairs of shoes.  Plus with the added bonus of losing some of this weight…all of those cute workout clothes from pre-pregnancy are like new!  I was really excited to pull them out of storage a few weeks ago!

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So I need some new rewards!  I decided that my 20 pound reward was to be personal training!  I adding personal training to my gym membership this week as a way to keep me motivated, and give me some new stuff to work on!  So once a month I will be meeting with a trainer!  Woot!

And this time I am posting progress pictures!

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Please excuse my dirty mirror!  I love that I can actually see the progress now.  For months now I’ve still been seeing this same chubby Mama, and felt like It just was not changing.  But now I can see the changes.

I had sort of forgotten how skinny I was until I saw this photo while looking through some old pictures for a project.

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This was during our honeymoon, and I was about 15 weeks pregnant here…but I was so small!  Crazy…

The next milestone is 30 pounds…and I am already 1 pound closer!  So 9 more pounds to go until I get a… ‘nother massage!  I really need it with all of the hell the trainer has put me through over the last 3 weeks… and by hell I mean awesomeness.

Do you give yourself rewards for accomplishing something?  Do you have to have a race or an event to keep training for?

 

 

(Half) Marathon Monday – training in less than optimal weather


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Training for any endurance is event is never easy, and getting those trainings in no matter what is crucial.  But there is always the question: do I run in the rain/snow/cold/heat?  And the answer to that question is…what if it’s raining/snowing/freezing balls/hot as hades on race day?

When I was training for my first half it rained so much I coined the phrase “it’s not Team in Training unless it’s raining”.  Not to mention the insane weather here in Minnesota, cold one day too hot the next…

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It was always a miserable time.  But if I skipped every wet, or cold training I would have never gotten any of my miles in.

So I thought I would share some of my training tips for getting some miles in during those not-so-awesome weather days.

Gear:

*I covered a lot of this in the Gear post, but this is just a recap…

  • If you are training during the spring for a summer event, rain is inevitable so you might want to invest in some rain gear.  You could always wait it out, and go later…but some good rain gear will make a soggy run less miserable.  A jacket, pants, and good moisture wicking socks are great items to have in your rain gear arsenal.
  • When training in the cold, be sure to layer!  And layer smart.  Your base layer should be really moisture wicking.  You want that layer to pull all the moisture away from your skin.  It’s nuts I know, but even though it’s cold you sweat.  You mid layer should be a good insulator, but again moisture wicking.  The outer layer shouldn’t need to be too bulky, but if you live in the north where the temps dip…and the wind blows look for something that blocks the wind.  Not to mention the extras to keep you warm…hat, headband, gloves…that is all personal preference.
  • On the hot days…wear something lightweight, breathable and moisture wicking.  Don’t forget the sunscreen…and HYDRATE.

Personal Safety:

  • Use your best judgement…if the weather looks unsafe, it probably is.  Don’t run in blizzards and thunderstorms…just hit the dreadmill.  It’s not the most optimal training scenario…but you can get some miles in that way.
  • Always let someone know where you are going, but especially if the weather could be not so awesome.  There are a few great tracking apps for iphone and android that your SO or family can use to track you.  Wear a reflective vest, or light, and stay clear of roads with no shoulder.  Too many runners are hit and killed every year…be sure to be seen!
  • If you will be on a long run…get a friend or family member to set up shop at your halfway point as a water stop, or check in.  This is great if it’s raining and you can have a change of shoes and socks there…this is a good thing to have planned if race day is rainy too.  You’ll lose a few minutes changing; but avoid blisters (try to anyway) in the end.

So those are my tips for training in crappy weather…do you have any go-to tips for training is not so awesome conditions?

5 Things Friday


5 Things Friday

I cannot believe that July is halfway over.  Stop it time.

I feel like this summer is getting away from me.  I was doing some calendaring this afternoon and flipped to October…omg #babylove is going to be a year old in like 10 weeks or so…wtf.

It’s been a busy couple of weeks but here the 5…

  1. Last Saturday I ran my first obstacle race.  While I was running it I kept thinking how much I hated it and that I would never do it again.  But now that the pics are in…I might change my mind.  It sucked at the time, as all races do.  But I feel super mighty and super strong for having done it.  Not to mention badass. race_70_photo_5296516
  2. A while back we took the 28 Day No Spending challenge, well we decided after this last trip to Florida that we were going to a cash based system.  EEEEKKK… and it’s a tight one too!  It is helping us be more strategic in our budget and weekly grocery shopping.
  3. I got my hairs cut this week.  And my fab mommy friend also debulked the holy bejeezus out of it.  We swept up a whole entire other head of hair.  I never actually lost all what I had gained during pregnancy, and when I got it cut in December (yes, that was really my last cut) we didn’t do any thinning of any kind because I had no idea if I would lose a bunch or not.  It looks amazeballs.
  4. I tried “that crazy wrap thing” this week…stay tuned for a post next week on that…but the skeptic in me has been silenced.
  5. Sam’s Club or Costco?  Opinions?  Go…

I hope everyone has an amazing weekend!

Warrior Dash Race Review


On Saturday I completed my first obstacle race.

It was rough.  Like really rough.

WD map

I could not find an elevation map…but suffice it to say the hills were insane.  I am pretty sure that I can cross off ALL of my hill training until the end of time now.  It’s Monday and I still am not walking right.

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The course started out flat for about a tenth of a mile or so and then we hit the first hill and they just kept coming.  The first of the obstacles was “Storming Normandy” where we crawled under barbed wire on our bellies.  Then the mud mounds, another belly crawl through PVC tubes, a wall climb (I had to skip the first part because there were no handhold within my reach…no help for the shorties WD?!), then the two X Fall, which I also had to skip because I could not keep my balance and fell 3 times before I got both feet on the board…but I walked through some crazy mud to get around it.  Next was a cargo climb, a blizzard to water that was a total shock to the system, and then the warrior peak (skipped that too because…heights) and then the FIRE PIT, Goliath…and mud pits complete with more barbed wire.  Which I almost grabbed onto to keep my balance but realized seconds before my hands grabbed it that it was infact barbed wire.

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But let me go back to the Goliath…it was a HUGE gauntlet of insanity…a cargo climb up, then a belly cargo climb to another platform where a waterslide of misery was waiting for me, to a gigantic pool of mud that was up to my chest.  I slid down into it and went straight to the bottom and freaked out.  I am so glad that I plugged my nose.  It was cold I went I got out I was started to hyperventilate from the shock of the cold and having the muddy water over my head.

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But boy was I glad when I saw the finish line.  I don’t think that I will ever do one of these again, it was really out of my wheelhouse and although the “fun” part was the after party; I was totally miserable during the event.  I heard tons of huffing and puffing from other warriors during the entire event.  And many thanks to Tattoo Guy for checking in during one of those last hills…I was about to cry I was in so much pain and so exhausted.

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I was part of Team Anytime Fitness Plymouth…seriously love that place, so I am super thankful for the entry to the event, and the experience.  One of my friends mentioned that I looked happier in the after photo…I said “that’s because there was beer at the end.”

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So that was my first obstacle race.  And probably my last.  Except the Hubs said it looked like so much fun.  Crap.

#FFPushup Challenge


This month I have been doing the #FFPushup challenge…that is 31 push-ups a day in July.

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It’s not too late to join us…the challenge is through Fitfluential and they’ve got a pretty sweet prize for for two lucky winners!  Head on over to their blog to check out more details about the challenge!

I’ve been doing the 31 push-ups per day, on the Bosu Ball  and amazingly now in week 2…they are getting easier!  The challenge is a minimum of 31 per day and I am hoping that by then end of the month I can double that!  Bosu push-ups are my fav.  I pretty much never do regular push-ups…but next week I am planning on changing up my push-ups and do some decline push-ups!

What is your favorite way to do a push-up?

(Half) Marathon Monday – 4 tips for injury prevention


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3 years ago when I was training for and completed my first half, I ended the season with a hideous IT Band injury.  My pace sucked during the actual event…nearly a 20 minute mile.  I should have quit, and had a DNF and not pushed through the pain.  But I didn’t.  I just kept going, pushed through the pain, through the tears and the inability to breath properly  I was determined to cross that finish line.

This is me, fighting the tears of agony of ITBS
This is me, fighting the tears of agony of ITBS

No…I was stupid.  And foolish.

Why did I have an IT Band injury?  Because I failed to train properly, and recover properly.  I skipped a lot of my weekly training walks/runs that I was to do on my own; and only went to the group trainings.  (dumb, dumb, dumb)  I didn’t stretch after a training when the miles got up there.  And I didn’t take a break when I first felt like I had hurt something.  And, I honestly believe that my shoes had a lot to do with it.  They didn’t fit properly, and while there were a name brand…they were not the best.

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So, how does one avoid injury while training for an endurance event?  While first, don’t over-do it.  Don’t increase your milage too much week to week.  The standard rule for most training programs is 10%.   Also, don’t push through the pain!  If you feel like you may have injured yourself, take a rest day or two.  Do not hit the pavement until you feel 100%.  If after a day or two, you still feel as though there is an injury talk to your doctor or PT.  Continuing to train with a minor injury could lead to a more serious injury or permanent issues.

 

Second, make sure to warm up and cool down with dynamic stretches before a run; and long, slow stretches after a run.  Some good dynamic stretches include:

  • Jump squats
  • Power skipping (long strides, fast pace)
  • Jumping jacks
  • High Knees
  • Arm circles

Stretching after a run is just as important as the warm up.  Long, slow static stretches will help to ensure that you do not over stress a muscle, tendon or ligament.  Common static stretches include:

  • Side bends
  • Runner’s pose (yoga)
  • Shoulder stretch
  • Standing Quadriceps Stretch
  • Seated Forward Bend
  • Hip flexor stretch

There has been a lot of controversy over whether static stretches work…and my take on it is that they do infact work when used properly and at the correct time.  Static stretches elongate the muscle and then in turn help the muscle to enlarge upon recovery.

Take for example a rubber band.  If you stretched it as far as it could go it would snap.  But, if you stretched it a little bit a few times and warmed up the rubber, similar to how dynamic stretches warm up your muscles, you would then be able to stretch the rubber band farther, without snapping it.  Doing static stretches prior to running, or other physical activity might do more harm than good.  So save those static stretches for your post run cool-down.

foam roller

Another way to avoid injury is to use a foam roller or The Stick to do a little myofascial release.  There are too many different positions to describe here, so if you need some instruction head over to YouTube…there are tons of instructional videos there.  Also, a lacrosse ball works well too!  I keep one in my gym bag for those hard to reach spots.

Lastly, know your limits.  Don’t push too hard, don’t go overboard on the stretching or foam rolling (it can hurt so good, but it can also huuuurt).  Listen to your body and let it lead you (pun intended).  Learning to read your body’s overtraining, or under training  queues can be your number one defender against injury when training for an endurance event.  It took a full 6 months before my IT Band issue was finally resolved.  It went from lower back pain, to knee pain, to finally some plantar fasciitis…but 2 braces, a gallon of advil and 10 miles of KT Tape later it finally went away.  Why did it take so long?  Because I didn’t listen to my body.  But I am listening now!

 

Workout Wednesday – I’m baaaaaaack!


Smith Machine!

So happy to be back at my favorite Little Gym, Anytime Fitness.  I have missed this place so much.  I made so much progress here, and learned so much about myself in this gym.  I cannot think of a better place to get my body back than here.

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A while back I had shared how to get over Gymtimidation, but the truth is I just couldn’t get over the size of the Big Gym.  And the sheer volume of people, the numbers and their actual volume.  I always felt completely overwhelmed by how many people were there, and constant activity.  But at my awesome Little Gym I can get in, get it done and go, without being super distracted by everyone around me.

And the bonus…I am running the Warrior Dash here in MN with my Anytime peeps in TWO WEEKS…eeeeeeeeeeeeeeekkkkkkkkkk!!

What is your gym like?  Do you love your Big Gym, or is a Little Gym the best for you?

(Half) Marathon Monday – The importance of Cross Training


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Today in the series we are talking cross training.  Because it is very important to vary your workouts when training for an endurance event.

Why?

Because if you were only ever to run, you would be putting stress on the same muscles every time.  You would be overworking them, and not using other muscles.  Overtraining bad, cross training good.

For the same reason that you vary your runs, hill repeats, speed training, and race pace runs; you should add in at least 2 x-training sessions per week as well.  Effective x-training sessions include swimming, cycling or spin, elliptical, stair climber, or yoga.  All of these activities are low impact, and can provide optimal recovery time for your joints.

In my training plan Tuesdays and Thursdays are my x-training days.  I will do some light cardio on the elliptical and then some circuit or tabata training; or hit up a yoga class.  I think that for me, yoga is essential in my training for the half.  Having a baby put my body aaalll kinds of outta wack, and yoga is helping me to get my flexibility back and helping to ensure that my joints and muscles are getting good recovery time.

Do you build in x-training into your weekly workouts?