Thursday, October 22, 2015

Chicago Marathon - The Training

No matter how you end up signed up for a race, any race, you're going to find yourself training. You can either follow a strict plan, a loose plan, but you'll be following some sort of plan if you want to cross the line without injuries and especially if you have a goal in mind.

Since I've already touched on how I ended up signed up for the Chicago Marathon and an injury, let's jump into the training.

During my first marathon training, I had set up a plan for myself that allowed for 2 weeks worth of padding in case I had to cut a long run short or life in general. I did the same this round. I ended up having to use up all the padding to cover my 15 days off because of my injury.

While my plan was fairly loose in terms of the miles or exact pace each and every run, I had a general idea of what I was going to do and had really banked on the extra weeks because I knew the hot weather may force me to cut a long run short. Well, for this Type-A gal, not having that padding stressed me out.

I suddenly felt stifled. Not exactly the right word choice. But I'm betting  you understand. I knew that if 20 miles was on tap, that's what I needed to do. Period. I also had to build back up my distance and endurance safely before I could even begin to think about my speed. When the heat is already making running difficult, trying to come back during the summer is a fairly defeating feeling.

I was doubting myself with every run. I've said it once and I'll say it again, I'm very very thankful for my running buddies who changed up their paces, their schedules and stuck by me ... whining and all.

Sometimes the toughest part became knowing that we had to get out on the run early. Earlier than normal. Now, I like getting my runs done first thing, watching the world come alive, being wowed by sunrises, but when you're forced to do so and there's not really an option, then you feel a bit resentful some days. Or I do/did. Man I wanted to sleep in later than 6 am like crazy.

Week by week, the miles increased and I felt stronger. I hit 16, 18, 19, backed off and went up again hitting 21 then a final 20. All the while I had my buddies by my side. I was also able to gradually add in speed work again. I hate speed work by the way, but started with 400s and then mixes of 400s and 800s along with tempo and progression runs.

During my previous training, I had used gels mostly for fuel. I also had major tummy issues midway through training. It went from bad to worse. My tummy was always rumbling at me. I always needed to know where a bathroom was. After long runs, I couldn't stomach food at all. I just felt terrible. And after the marathon, I never wanted another gel, ever.

This time I tried to learn a good deal about fueling both before, during and after runs. I'm going to have to give a huge shout out to Lindsay Cotter here. I perused her blog, her recipes and even annoyingly emailed her for help.

I found a new night-before-long-run meal that worked very nicely for me. I never wavered from it. I had to ditch sweet potatoes and I came up with an energy protein bite that worked well for me.

They aren't pretty to look at and were definitely not as convenient as a gel, but my tummy was quite thankful for these Matcha Date Protein Bites.

Have you ever had to completely change up your training schedule or even nutrition plan? 

Sometimes it can work out for the best. It turned out to be a good thing for me in the end, which I'll get to in my next post the actual Race Recap.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Chicago Marathon - The Beginning

I've started this post in my head a dozen times. I'm still not entirely sure where to begin. I haven't been blogging consistently. That's obvious right? That also means I've not talked a great deal about training for the Chicago Marathon, training during a Southern summer, over-coming yet another injury, and everything else that goes along with training for a race.

Do I start at the beginning or do I do the race recap while it's fresh in my mind? Do I let the race settle in my head so that I can adequately attempt to talk about it?

Because I'm a Type A person, I'm going to start at the beginning. The signing up for the race and the training. If you can hang with me, we'll get to race day. And I hope you will stick with me.

After my first marathon in December, I ended up with a nice stress fracture. I had a slow road to recovery. An even slower road to building back up my running - both distance and pace. I ran two half marathons and a 10k, none of them at paces I would have preferred. Life is like that though. Things happen you can't predict. You have to deal with it, learn from it, dust yourself off and move along.

After another minor set-back with posterior tibial tendinitis, I was back on track. I was hitting 10-14 mile runs weekly. I was gaining back my speed. I felt good. On a complete and total whim, I somehow managed to register for the Chicago Marathon on the last day of registration.

Don't ask me how these things happen. They just do. That's how I ended up registered for my first marathon. I saw the last call Facebook posts, "panicked" and hit enter. Oops. I did it again. And the second I did, I all reality set in for me in terms of my training period. Where was my brain function prior to hitting the send button?

Side note: Race sign-ups should require a second signature from another approving adult. Sort of like a parental signature. 

Because I was consistently hitting 40 miles a week with 10-14 mile long runs, I wasn't immediately panicked about increasing the distance. My worries were the heat, the humidity. Oh, and the whole concept of the Chicago Marathon itself. I had multiple levels of concern. But, I'm a worry-wort so that happens on the regular.

Summer running in the south is brutal. If you have lived in the south, there is no need to expand on that. If you have not lived in or visited the south in the summer, well, I'm not sure there are words to adequately describe the heat.

Running at 4:45-5:00 am becomes a necessity of survival. Plain and simple. When it's already 80+ degrees with 90+ percent humidity AND the dew point above 70 degrees, all before the sun is up, well, you know you're going to have to toughen up. You're going to have to accept slower paces, some really painful runs and more sweat than you knew a body could produce. If you've lived in or visited the south in the summer, you're nodding. If not, you think I'm exaggerating. And I promise I'm not. I wish I were.

I had planned on giving myself a good extra two weeks of padding for the training period. You know, to off-set and craptastic, must end this now types of runs. That happened my last marathon; I was going to be prepared.

Dun dun dunnnnnn.... Type A-ers nightmare - disruption of the plan. Enter injury #3 for the year.

Seriously on a roll here with injuries. This time it was my toe. Diagnosis - Hallux Rigidus. Essentially arthritis in my big toe joint. It'll continue to deteriorate. That's fun news. I was back in the dreaded boot for two days. The pain was severe enough that I gladly (well, not really gladly) accepted the offer of an injection in the toe.

I was sidelined for 15 agonizing days and that's when I started to panic about the idea of making it through 26.2 miles. Even more so when I saw other Chicago-bound runners sharing their running miles. All I kept thinking was, "Man I regret that moment of hitting enter." Serious, honest to goodness regret.

But, I'm stubborn. I'm also lucky to have some equally stubborn running partners who willingly slogged through the summer training miles with me long before the sun was up. And with that, I'll sign off on "The Beginning" and share "The Training" in another post.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Fall Into Fitness for Free

Have you ever thought about using an online personal trainer? Had some doubts? Now’s your chance to try it out for FREE with no strings attached! Well, one string – space is limited!

With this 2-week, no obligations, FREE trial, you have the opportunity to find out what online personal training is all about. Not only do you get the workouts, you get videos and 2 weekly email check ins for accountability.

This is truly an opportunity you don’t want to pass up!

So, you might be asking yourself, "Why Choose an Online Trainer?" Here's what you get when you have me as your trainer:
  • Accountability 
  • Motivation 
  • Support 
  • Affordability 
  • Ability to work out anywhere you prefer 
  • Ability to work out on your schedule 
  • No more guesswork with our workouts 

Is online training isn't for everyone? Honestly, no. So, how do you know if online training is for you?

Online training is right for you if you are …
  • Self-motivated 
  • Willing to follow a plan 
  • Ready for a change 
  • Willing to work hard 
  • Able to workout alone 
  • Able to learn quickly by watching videos 

If you think online training might be for you OR you want to test it out, now's the time to try it out for FREE. But, spaces are limited!

What do you need to do next? Just sign up now through October 14, 2015. On October 18, I will send you all you need to get started. I’m ready! Are you?

Fine Print: 1) Not open to past or current clients. 2) Spots are limited. 3) When you sign up, you are acknowledging and accepting the waiver of liability.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Shoulders and Triceps Circuit Workout

While I'm on a roll for time-saving circuit workouts, I thought it'd be appropriate to share another upper body circuit that you can use in conjunction with the Biceps and Back Circuit.

This one is for Shoulders and Triceps with pushups to target chest.

As a caveat, after having my blood clot, I apparently have scar tissue that makes it uncomfortable to do heavy chest exercises like chest presses and flyes. The way this circuit is set up is that you have 3 exercises for each muscle group. So if you want a more complete chest workout, add in chest presses and chest flyes into the rotation. 

Please properly warm up for 5-10 minutes with dynamic moves like butt kicks, shoulder rolls, lunges and/or spin on stationary bike, walk on treadmill or elliptical.

This workout is done as a circuit meaning that you do one exercise then quickly move to the next with little to no rest. After completing all exercises, rest then repeat. I suggest doing this circuit 3-4 times depending on time, preference and fitness level.

And if you would like to follow along with me, check out my video.

*Disclaimer: Although I am an ISSA Certified Fitness Trainer, you should consult a physician before starting any exercise program or diet plan. If you choose to do any of the workouts featured on this website, you do so at your own risk.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Biceps & Back Circuit Workout

Oops. She did it again!

Would you believe me if I said I had 5 or 6 draft blog posts just sitting there waiting for me to finish and publish? True story. But am I publishing one of those? Of course not.

But, I think this is one you might like. I recently shared a Full-Body Blast workout (with video) and talked about some tips for getting in a weight workout when you are crunched for time.

Because I know time is something precious to us all, I thought I would share some more circuit workouts you can do quickly, but that are also effective. It's not always about how long you work out, it's about your efficiency and the quality.

I like to split out my muscle groups so that I can really focus on a couple of muscle groups at one time, plus it makes for a shorter workout, perfect for me to get done during a lunch break. That being said, there is absolutely nothing wrong with full-body workouts either. It'a all about what works for you and sometimes just switching things up.

Here is a Biceps and Back Circuit that I did on Monday and wanted to share. Working the biceps and back together is also a great way to really work the biceps even more as they are going to be engaged during many of the back exercises as assisting muscles. Double bonus right?

For this workout, I ask that you warm up for 5-10 minutes. This is so important in helping prevent injuries so please don't skip out on the warm up trying to save time.

The set up is simple, you have 6 exercises that you will do for 8-12 reps with little to no rest between. Once you complete all 6 exercises you rest 40-60 seconds and repeat 2-3 times. I do give 3 optional standing abdominal exercises if you want to add those in.

Do you prefer to split up the muscle groups or do full-body training? And fess up, do you skip out on your warm up?

And just for fun, here's the video. No laughing. I need to move the bike ;-) Enjoy!

*Disclaimer: Although I am an ISSA Certified Fitness Trainer, you should consult a physician before starting any exercise program or diet plan. If you choose to do any of the workouts featured on this website, you do so at your own risk.

Friday, July 17, 2015

On the 5s HIIT Cardio Workout

To say that it's hot outside is putting it quite mildly. Summer has hit us hard here with heat indices well over 100 degrees. Even if I wasn't injured and unable to run, I would be highly tempted to take more of my workouts indoors.

While I can't run or do any weight bearing exercises, I found that I can ride the bike (outdoors or spin with it set up on the bike trainer). Of course, just pedaling indoors can get old really fast, even if you're watching tv.

One way that I like to break up a potentially monotonous workout is with intervals or HIIT (high intensity interval training). Not only will intervals make the time go faster, they are an excellent way to rev up your heart rate fast and burn fat all in a shorter amount of time. Who wouldn't want that?

Ready to get started? All you'll really need is a timer, either your watch or a phone app, a bike (or cardio equipment of choice) and at least 25 minutes.

On the 5s HIIT Cardio

Warm up for 5 minutes with an easy spin. Gradually increase bike tension just enough to where you're working harder, but you don't feel like you're grinding up a hill. The intensity will come from a sprint rather than hard tension.

For the intervals, sprint all out for the indicated time followed by the prescribed recover time. Repeat each Interval five times through for a total of 5 minutes for each Interval.

Interval 1

Interval 2

Interval 3*

Repeat these intervals as many times as you like depending on the time you have available remembering to take 5 minutes for an easy cool down.

*Repeat this interval a total of 10 times to = 5 minutes. Each 20:10 segment is 30 sec.

Note: You can easily do this same workout on a treadmill (or the pavement), elliptical, rowing machine, or stair climber.

Are you a fan of HIIT workouts? 

Friday, July 10, 2015

Full-Body Blast Circuit Workout

Raise your hands if you find yourself saying, "I don't have time to lift weights?"

I hear this so often, especially from runners. But I also hear it from working moms (and dads). As a runner, especially training for a marathon, it's so easy to focus on the running. If you're a mom (or dad) who has to contend with work, family, chores, etc., time becomes extremely precious. Let's face it, time is precious period.

What if I told you that you could get in an effective weight workout in 30 minutes or less? During your lunch break, first thing in the morning, right before dinner? It's true. It can be done.

How can you get in an effective workout in 30 minutes or less?

Two words: Be Prepared.

1. Write down the workout

2. Know the weights you'll use (in general)

3. Have your workout gear packed (or laid out)

4. Set up your workout area (this goes back to #1 and #2)

5. Get in and get started

Being prepared means not wasting time figuring out what exercises to do. That also helps you have an idea of the weights needed, which allows you to set up your workout area for efficient transitions.

Pack your bag the night before. Even keep doubles of everything from socks to workout gloves so there's no excuse of, "I forgot [insert item name]." If you workout at home, have everything set out and ready to go. The last thing you want to think about is finding a sock, a hair tie, even your iPod.

When it comes to the type of workout, there are many options depending upon your training plans and goals. Today I'm focusing on Circuit Workouts.

Most people want the biggest bank for their buck. I think a full-body circuit workout is fantastic for getting in, getting it done and still being effective as a fat burner and muscle builder. Circuit workouts move quickly and allow you to get in resistance training while keeping your heart rate elevated. Again, it's about personal goals of course.

Give me an example you shout (you're shouting right now right?)! Here is a Full-Body Circuit Workout using complex moves that will fire up the muscles and elevate your heart rate in 30 minutes or less!

Full-Body Blast Circuit Workout

Start with a 5-10 minute warm up then do each exercise 8-12 reps moving quickly to the next exercise. After completing all exercises, rest up to 1 minute and then repeat up to 4 times depending on your time availability.

Squat with Shoulder Press
Deadlift with Double-Arm Row
Static Lunge with Bicep Curl
Plie Squat with Overhead Triceps Extension
Standing Woodchops

What's your "be prepared" tip? Favorite time-crunched workout?