Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Monday, November 10, 2014

Do the next right thing

Do you ever get stuck in the  rut of few bad days? No matter how careful your planning is or how motivated you are to reach your goals, it can and probably will happen at least once. You know what I’m talking about. One bad decision after another after another. Then, all the sudden, you find yourself so far off from your goals and it feels impossible to start again.  You have allowed the snowball to build. Roll down the hill. Until you have what I call.. ….

The Ugly Snowman of Self Deprecation!

(working on the name…. )

This snowman is horrible to you! He tells you that you are a failure. That you can’t do this. That you aren’t good enough. You are stuck in a cycle of bad decisions and now you are smacked with reality being stuck and vulnerable.

Well, I am here to tell you it doesn’t have to be that way! You do not have to let the snowball build, grow arms and legs, and become a giant ugly snowman.

Try this next time you find yourself at the bottom of a processed cheese like snack bag….

Stop. Have a tall glass of water. Then go look at yourself in the mirror and say:

“Enough. I accept myself, unconditionally, as I am right now.”

This is my favorite quote from motivational speaker Louise Hay.

You can reset your mind to strive for progress and accept yourself along the way. I said Progress… not perfection. Do not allow your snowball to turn into the ugly hurtful snowman. You aren’t so far off your goals that it’s time to throw every day of good progress away. It is never too late to do the next right thing.

For me, this year has been a one continuous day after day of doing “the next right thing”. I understand how hard to start a new routine, especially if you overhauling your entire life style.  But you know what? You can empower yourself today. You can take back the control every time to do the next right thing. What do you have to lose when you try?

Next time you find yourself at the bottom of your bag cheese doodles, stop. Look at your cheesy self in the mirror and try this out:

1- Recognize what triggered you in the first place.  Was it drama with a friend? Family issues? Miss a few workouts? Did someone say something negative or  not supportive about your goals?

2- Acknowledge what happened. “OK. So that just happened. I got upset or nervous and took it out on myself.”

3- Allow yourself to feel whatever emotion is coming up.  “Jeez, this sucks right now.”  But don’t linger here…. Move on to step 4 …

4- Affirm your commitments/goals/desires . “I am working towards an important goal that I am worthy of achieving.”

5- Do the next right thing. Toss the bag, go for a walk, call a supportive friend, hug your pet. Just do the next right thing. Don’t let the snowball happen!

For me, the next right things is almost always water. Good, clean, refreshing, purifying, cleansing water.

With a squeeze of lemon.

And maybe some ginger if you are feeling fancy.

Ooo or a little umbrella. (Now that’s going too far….)

Try it out next time you feel yourself slipping. And remember, it’s really hard to regret drinking water. 

Cheers to you!

Friday, November 7, 2014

10 Running Shoe Tips

Oh, the closet floor. I try and stay on top of racking my shoes after each wear, but most days they just get tossed onto the bottom rack. Let’s all be kinder to our shoes people! They are one of the most important tools a runner needs. And you KNOW what happens when you run in bad shoes, blisters, plantar fasciitis, bunions,… I could go on. So let’s talk shoe tips:

#1- Have a dedicated pair for your long runs.    This will be the pair of shoes you wear for the race itself. If you buy new shoes for a race, get them broken in well before race day. No new shoes on race day (no new anything... but that'll be a post for another day)

#2- Rotate shoes during your training.   Have at least two dedicated running shoes. Rotating shoes helps reduce injuries to your foot and lower limb by varying the impact. I switch between my Pink and Purple/Green shoes for running. 

#3 - Have a dedicated shoe for different activities.   Cross training shoe, weight lifting shoe, Zumba/dance shoe, walking/hiking shoe….  Whatever your activities are, having a shoe designed to support that activity is a good idea. When you do buy a new shoe, test it out on a treadmill if you can (it’ll keep the tread clean). If you like them , start off with short runs only. You don’t want to do a long run in a new pair of shoes! 

#4 - Don’t just buy a shoe for looks.    This is a tough one for me. I love shopping and I love having the newest designs and colors. But sometimes, the best shoe that feels right is the cheesy 90s shiny silver and blue looking kind my dad wears. (Sorry dad/ Sorry Asics ).  Respect your feet and keep trying on shoes until you find your best fit and function. You can always check color options on-line…. 

#5 - Wear heels less.   (For the ladies or very adventurous man) In my normal everyday life, I work from home. So this is much easier for me to accomplish than when I worked in an office. It wasn’t just any office, it was a fashionable office and dressing was fun, especially when heels were involved! Give your feet a break whenever you can and wear roomy comfortable flats at least 4 days out of the week. Or save the heels for lookin’ awesome walking from the copy machine to your cubicle… then promptly change into your flats under your desk.

That being said,

#6 – Avoid the cheap flip-flops.    During the summer (or any month… if you live in California) flip flops dominate the streets. I am guilty of wearing sandals that have ZERO arch support. Do yourself and your feet a favor and avoid cheap flip-flops (I'm talking to YOU Old Navy wearer) Save the cheap-Os for gym showers or the beach/pool. They offer no arch support and will cause your feet to just ache.

#7 – Keep your toe nails trimmed.    This is a big one for me. I was worried about toe nails falling off when I first started getting to distances above 10 miles. I could feel my feet getting numb in the toe box. Then I realized my toe nails were the culprit!! I trimmed them waaaay back and I don’t have those issues. Any excuse to get bi weekly pedicure is A-OK with me!

#8 – Keep your shoes clean.   Ok, this may not have anything to do with running success, but if you want that “new shoe” feel every time you look at  your running shoes, this is a must. As soon as you get a new pair, spray the ever living crap out of them with a shoe protector spray. (~$7 at any shoe store). Let them sit outside as they dry, so you don’t OD on fumes. Wash your shoes if they get wet or muddy. I like to pop my sneakers into a pillow case, safety pin the top, and wash on gentle cold cycle. Then air dry. Repeat the spray step one again. Your shoes will always look new. J

#9 – Track your shoe use.    MapMyRun just got this function and I think it’s pretty neat. After you log a run you can click a feature called "Gear tracker" and enter which shoe you wore. It will let you know when it's time afor a new one!  If you are already tracking your runs, just make a note of what shoes you are wearing. A good quality shoe should have mileage of about 350-400 miles. Check the manufacturer’s warranty for mileage guarantees. Once they’ve hit their end point it’s time to send them to the donation bin or some running stores accept shoes as trade ins for discounts!

#10 – Don’t buy cheap shoes! Along the lines for don’t buy shoes just for aesthetics, don’t be lured into a shoe just because it’s $30. Or on super super sale. There may be a good reason the shoe is on sale. I love me a bargain, and I never pay full price for a shoe (Thanks Naval Exchange!), but be realistic. If you are going to be putting miles or hours into your workouts, a Target brand shoe may not be the best option. Think of a shoe investment as skipping a Friday night out for drinks and apps. That can easily run $100! If it’s important to you, save your pennies and get a good pair. 

There you have it, folks! My top 10 running shoe tips! Do you agree with my list? Have other tips to share? 
Happy trails!

Shoe Family Photo:
Black: Nike Flyknit Lunar 2 , used for running and general wearing about town, lookin' cool. 

Pink: Nike Lunarglide 6, my newest addition to the running family. To be used for short and long runs.

Purple/Green: Asics Gel-Kinsei 4, my first half marathon long run shoe. I freakin’ love this shoe!

Maroon/pink: Ascis Speva, used for cross training, weight lifting, and kickboxing.

(not pictured) Yellow: Ascis GEL-Ipera, (discontinued) Zumba/dance shoe.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Week One - DONE!

Hi friends!
The first week of my training schedule for the Carlsbad Half is done and I am half way through my second! I have been looking forward to starting this new routine since I finished my last schedule. There is just something so nice about planning workouts, making a schedule, and every day hitting the mark. The schedule posted on the blog is my actual training schedule for the Carlsbad Half. I have the printed version on my desk and I cross off days as I go. If anything changes, I’ll denote the change and repost the schedule. 

For today's post, I thought I would do a quick re-cap of Monday’s HIIT.

Monday- Today’s HIIT was a treadmill interval workout. If I do a running HIIT, I’m doing it on a treadmill because honestly it is easier to monitor my intervals. I did a pyramid of jogs and sprints that looked like this:

Warm up walk 3 minutes,
    Sprint 30
                            Jog 30
Sprint 45
Jog 45
Sprint 60
Jog 60
Sprint 90
Jog 90
       Sprint 90
Jog 90
Sprint 60
Jog 60
Sprint 45
Jog 45
Sprint 30
Jog 30
Power walk for the rest of the 15 minutes or keep going up to 25 minutes.

It is an imperfect pyramid, but you get the gist. My treadmill settings are : Walk at 4.0, Jog at 6.3, Sprint at 8.2 . These are my treadmill’s settings and they roughly equate to: Walk at 14 min. mile, Jog at 9:30 mm, and Sprint at 7:00mm.  When it says “sprint” this should be almost all out. Since I was on a treadmill, I do as fast as I can without losing my balance or holding onto the rails. You want to keep good form, even when on a treadmill. I find it is much easier to run on a treadmill when you keep the elevation at 1.0. I am more balanced, and my foot strikes feel more like they would if I were outside.

Give it a try today!! If you are outside, make sure you have a good watch that either can calculate splits or one that has a stop watch feature. I don’t recommend using your smart phone for a stop watch, unless you are using an app that can do it for you. (freeing up your hands so you aren’t looking at a screen / fumbling around with buttons)

Tomorrow's post will be on one of my favorite topics... RUNNING GEAR!!!

Happy trails! 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Training Schedule Explained

Hi friends! I thought it would be helpful to write my second post explaining my Carlsbad training schedule! I spent a long time sifting through different schedules on-line. But, I knew that if  I didn't customize my own schedule that I wouldn't follow it, so my schedule is a "franken-schedule" pulled from many different online sources. (and my own head). I also detracted slightly from my first half training schedule. I found that when the schedule said "cross train" or "strength train" I didn't do much of anything. Being specific and incorporating activities I like to do will HOPEFULLY work this time around. :)  Enjoy!

Mondays – Alternative weeks of Blogilates and HIITs and Blogilates and Tempo Runs.
Blogilates (either Total Body, Abs, Legs/Thighs, Arms/Back, or special challenges) is a YouTube channel that posts videos of a very upbeat, plucky modern take on Pilates. There are well over 100 videos to choose from.  I created a playlist for Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays (targeting specific areas) and preload the videos in advance. That way I just have to click “play” and go. Less time wasted.  Each video is between 5 minutes and 20 minutes. I may do a few of them depending on what my goals are that day.
HIIT workouts – High Intensity Interval Training. Usually under 20 minutes, super hard but very short workouts. I get ideas from YouTube favorites like SarahFit and Blogilates. YouTube is awesome for finding new ways to do HIITS. I am a burpee addict, so those always weave their way into my HIITs.

Tempo Runs – A Tempo Run of 30 to 45 minutes would begin with 10-15 minutes easy running, build to 15-20 minutes near the middle, then 5-10 minutes easy toward the end. The pace buildup should be gradual, not sudden, with peak speed coming about two-thirds into the workout. Hold that peak only for a minute or two. I consider Tempo Runs to be the "Thinking Runner's Workout." A Tempo Run can be as hard or easy as you want to make it, and it has nothing to do with how long (in time) you run or how far. In fact, the times prescribed for Tempo Runs serve mainly as rough guidelines. Feel free to improvise. Improvisation is the heart of doing a Tempo Run "correctly". 

Tuesdays – Free Run
I like to run with a great friend who is training for her first Half Marathon.  I call these “Mystery Fun Runs” because it’s whatever my buddy wants to do that day. In the evenings is a 15 Minute Strength workout with weights from my book “The Big Book of 15 Minute Workouts” by Women’s Health.  Only 15 minutes because well, that's all you really need!... And I don’t want to do more than that. 

Wednesdays – Speed Runs alternating with Tempo Runs
 An interval workout usually consists of fast repeats separated by walking or jogging. The program begins with 5 x 400 meters (or 1 lap around a track) in the first week and adds one more 400 every other week before the half marathon. Walk or jog between each repeat. The best place to run 400-meter repeats is on a track, although you can also use an accurately-measured road course. Run the 400s at about your pace for 5-K, or 10-K. For me, a 5K pace would be 8:00 min/miles and a 10K pace is 8:45 min/miles. 

Thursdays – Blessed Blogilates days.
I will select about an hour’s worth of videos of my choosing. It’s a great time to work on lengthening the muscles and fine tuning smaller fast twitch fibers. It all helps you run faster and more efficiently. 

Fridays – Pace runs and Easy runs with Blogilates core strength exercises
 Pace runs are the pace at which you expect to run your half marathon. For me, I am aiming for 9:30 min/miles. Easy runs, or runs that don’t have the words “tempo”, “speed”, or “pace” next to them…. Are runs that are at an easy comfortable pace. Whatever that feels like that day. That could be 9 min/miles or 11 min/miles. Whatevs. 

Saturdays – Long Run days.
Self-explanatory. I’m starting this time at 5 miles because I can easily do that now. Long runs should be done the day after a pace run. I try and focus on the first few miles being easy then bringing up the pace a bit in the middle/end. Once the distance goal is met, I make sure I spend at least .5 - 1mile walking to bring my heart rate down and break up the lactic acid that builds. During my long runs I either practice a 6 min. run / 1 min. walk strategy or I just run straight through without stops. Depending on how I feel that day. :)

Sundays – Rest day.
Walk, easy hike, or lounge around. It’s also the day I do my weekly meal prep and schedule writing. I pledge to reflect on the week’s workouts and make any changes/notations as needed.
I have a few fun days in there for the holidays where the schedule breaks a bit. Also- towards the end there is a tapering to the amount of workin’ out. I am doing this Half vastly different from my first one. This schedule is absolutely the product of “lessons learned”.

Well, there it is! Let me know if you are doing anything similar in the comments below or if you have tips or suggestions on your training. Since I have a few more opportunities to train in 2015, I would love to hear other ideas!! Happy trails!