More than Running

I started going to boot camp classes 3-4 times a week last November. I had several reasons for jumping out of my comfort zone, and I ended up getting SO much more out of it than I planned.

As a runner, I was in a rut. I wasn’t getting faster, I kept getting hurt, I was getting bored, and still had not lost all my baby weight despite running 4 times a week/approximately 20-25 miles a week. Sound familiar to anyone? I’m guessing it does.

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(Me last March at the LA marathon expo. I was too embarrassed to show this photo after it was taken. I had been MARATHON TRAINING but was still not dropping my post baby weight. This was 5 months post partum.)

I had “lifted weights” in the past (you know, the little 5 pound dumbbells) and worked out on the weight machines occasionally at the gym before calling it a day, but that was the extent of my “strength training”.

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I had QUITE the rude awakening when I went to my first week of class. Clearly I had not been pushing myself hard enough, and while it was very tough, it felt SO GOOD to work hard, lift heavy things, and get stronger and leaner.

We do everything from box jumps, to sled pushes, to sprints, to squats with the bar and weight, to TRX, to the rowers. It’s DIFFERENT every time, and I’m constantly sore which is not a bad thing. Part of the price you pay for boot camp includes getting tested on their super high tech body fat machine periodically. Not only was I losing weight, but I was GAINING muscle mass. I eventually stopped losing weight but have still been gaining muscle, and that is fine by me. This next session ends next Friday, and I can’t wait to do the test again to see where I am now (I haven’t done it since January).

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The most surprising but yet welcomed change has been in my running. Yes, we do some running in boot camp but never over a mile, or we may do some sprints, but nothing long distance. However, with me only running one day a week on my own, maybe every other week I will run twice, I am GETTING FASTER.

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Let that sink in. I went from running 3-4 times a week to 1-2, but yet I AM GETTING FASTER. I have more endurance, my body is overall stronger so it can withstand longer distances at a faster pace, and I just FEEL better when I am running, like I can hold myself up better. I don’t get winded as quickly, and since I have cut back on the frequency, when I am running I actually ENJOY it now. I’m very close to my PR’s in every race distance from pre-baby, and I know if I keep at it and get healthy (I’m talking to you, right hip!) I will shatter them all soon.

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Why do I tell you all this? Because I don’t want you to wait as long as I did to get strong to benefit my running, and my health in general. I used to get so frustrated with my lack of motivation, lack of progress, and general “softness” of my body, but now I am proud and strong, and it’s such a great feeling. It’s great to be a runner, but my advice to you is don’t JUST be a runner. Try really really hard to add in at least 1-2 days of REAL, HARD, kick your butt strength work, and I promise you will see improvements all across the board. If you have any specific questions about things I have been doing let me know!

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QOTD: Do you strength train? Have you noticed a difference in your body or your running?

Lorna Jane Fit Challenge: February Update

It has now been a month since I started the Lorna Jane fit challenge. I will admit I didn’t have my whole heart in it this month because 1.) I am marathon training and 2.) I went on a much needed vacation.

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My marathon is in two weeks and I plan to go big or go home after that with the challenge, but I did manage to make some small changes this month thanks to the fit challenge.

I did several of the workouts included in my guide, and even tried a couple of new meals from the “nourish” portion. Something I definitely did a good job of this month is just getting outside. Even when it was cold out, I made it my goal to get outside and enjoy some fresh air. When I was on vacation I spent a ton of time outside, and I think in the winter months I forget just how much I enjoy it!

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Because of my hip injury and physical therapy, I have been focusing a lot on not only the PT exercises given to me for my hip, but also the strength moves from the challenge and am already seeing an improvement in my stability and balance.

I am excited for March, I know once my race is over I can focus more on this instead of logging so many miles. I plan to keep up the strength work and hopefully add in some new recipes this month!

Remember, to keep up with the challenge and what everyone is doing search and use #LJFitChallenge, #sweatpink #lornajane

QOTD: Do you work on stability and balance?

Weekly Workout Recap: May 2013 Week 3

Another workout week is behind us! I am happy to say I did a good job of getting back on track after vacation.

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I worked out six days this week, and did a good job of varying things up. I even got in a long run, which I haven’t done since March! Sadly, it’s already starting to get really warm here (it was 85 during my Saturday MORNING run!) So I need to get acclimated, and fast. I spent all day yesterday guzzling water and Gatorade because I sweat so much on my run. I felt really accomplished afterwards though. Ok, so here is what I did this week!

Sunday: rest

Monday: 3 mile run, chest and tri’s

Tuesday: 2 mile power walk on 7.0 incline, back bi’s and abs

Wednesday: 3 mile run

Thursday: 45 minutes stationary bike, chest and tri’s

Friday: workout DVD

Saturday: 6 mile run

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I am hoping to do a long run of 7 miles this next weekend, and we will be sure to start a little earlier in the morning before it gets too hot! Have a fabulous Sunday everyone. Rest day for this gal.

*Don’t forget about my Disney swag bag giveaway or my $100 visa giftcard giveaway!

QOTD: What was your best workout this week?

Sources-
bootypopreview101.com

There’s More to Running than Running…

 

Hey there! If you don’t know me – and let’s face it – I’m relatively new to this blogging thing so you probably don’t yet :).  I’m Alyssa from FunFitFashionable, a Pennsylvania native interested in everything health and fitness related, and living an all around healthy and balanced life.  Running with Sass has been awesome enough to let me guest post for her today.

I felt inspired to share the importance of strength training and yoga during marathon and half marathon training for all of you runners out there.

I recently ran my first half marathon based off of a training plan which did include both, but as many running newbies do, I undermined their importance in my mileage.

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Through a few of my longer runs upon getting closer to the half marathon, I noticed some aches and pains throughout my neck as well as my left knee, and they didn’t disappear completely on race day either.  The first 10 miles were smooth, but my knee gave out for the last 3.1 miles.

If there was more of a focus on strengthening the muscles supporting my knees, especially during those final weeks, I guarantee I would have had a better turnout.  Sometimes runners get so caught up with the joy and release of running, that we forget how important strong muscles throughout the rest of our body are in maintaining our endurance.

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Strength training isn’t only necessary for the lower body when running, but also for the upper body. Think about it.  Strong abs help us to have a strong back, which can only help us stand tall and breathe more efficiently during runs.

That being said, I have my next half marathon in 3 weeks!  I will be doing the Runner’s World Half Marathon, and The last few weeks I have greatly focused on much more strength training so as to not re-injure my knee.  Hopefully this time will go smoother, but I’m glad to be able to have knowledge from my first half to apply to the future, and of course to share with other runners!

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Alyssa

@Soccerbug28

FunFitFash.com

QOTD: Do you strength train and do yoga as a runner? Do you think it helps?

I Pick Things Up and Put Them Down

 

Several of you have asked me about my weight lifting routine, especially how it incorporates into my half marathon training plan. I have now been consistently lifting since December, and while I don’t look ripped like I would like to, I am definitely more toned and lean.

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Bobby is my lifting partner, and he has been lifting since 7th grade. He knows a lot about it, what days to do what things, and helps make sure I am keeping proper form, etc.

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Our routine is broken up into two different days. We do back and biceps on one day, and chest and triceps on the alternating day. We throw in a little bit of abs pretty much every time, and I do legs on run days AFTER I have already run. Since I don’t run two days in a row, the next day is a cross training day so sore legs don’t affect my runs. I do NOT lift legs the day before a long run.

These are the machines we typically use on each set of days:

Chest/Triceps

-tricep extensions

-chest press

-pectoral fly

-incline press

 

Biceps/Back

-bicep curl

-fixed pulldown

-rear deltoid

 

Abdominals

-abdominal crunch

-torso rotation

-ab ball/crunches

 

Legs

-leg press

-leg extension

-seated leg curl

*we also use free weights on both days, I have been working on strengthening my stabilizer muscles

We do 15 reps for three sets on each exercise. Swapping out in between to rest. We also get water in between certain difficult sets, and throw in our ab machines in between sets of upper body for a small arm break!

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Also, on running days, I run in the morning then lift with Bobby at night, sometimes doing some cross training as well. Regardless, we always lift before doing cardio.

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QOTD: Do you lift? Are you looking to get into it more? What is stopping you!? What is your favorite machine at the gym?

Weekly Recap: April Week 1

 

Happy Easter! I hope everyone has a beautiful day. Easter is so important to me and to my family, it’s about so much more than bunnies and chocolate to us. Jesus who died on the cross for our sins is risen from the dead, and it is a joyful holiday indeed! Today, we are off to church and then lunch by ourselves at our house. Not a lot planned for today, just some relaxing and spending time at home just us and the pups. Fine by me!

The past couple years we have gone to my parents house and had a big Easter lunch.

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This week was much better than last week in terms of exercising. After my lackluster week, I really wanted to do well this week, and while I am still not where I want to be, it is definitely an improvement over last week!

Sunday: 10 mile run with Bobby (ssoo hot and miserable!)

Monday: chest, tri’s, abs

Tuesday: 4 mile run (39 minutes) bi’s, back, legs

Wednesday: 1 hour 15 minutes yoga class

Thursday: 3 mile easy run (32 minutes), chest, tri’s, abs, legs

Friday: rest

Saturday:  6 mile run (one hour) yard work 1 hour

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miles run: 23

yoga: 1 class

weights: x’s 3

cross training: yard work!

My half marathon is a week from tomorrow and I am getting nervous about the heat. We shall see! Off to enjoy the day. I may have some photos of us dying eggs to show you this week. Have a great day!

QOTD: What are you doing for Easter?

Weight Room Woes

 

Well, hello, Monday….so we meet again! Today is a “catch up” day for me after having been gone all last week, so why don’t you play catch up as well, hhmm?

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Finally Home

Yesterday, we went to church and I wore this new comfy dress I got at the beach:

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Then we went to lunch and it started pouring rain right when it was time to get out of the car (of course) and it hasn’t stopped! That was 5 hours ago! Bobby and I decided to take a Sunday rainy afternoon nap, which are the best kind. We slept for two hours, whoops!

Ok, so moving on to today’s topic. I have been wanting to write about this for awhile, but was just waiting for the right time. Since I haven’t been able to run for two weeks and weights have become even more a part of my routine, I thought today would be a good time.

Ok, so…..confession time…..

I used to be petrified of the weight room at the gym.

Is this not one of the most silly or irrational fears ever? I used to think NOT but now after actually USING the weight room, I have basically gotten over my fear for the most part. Some of you may be thinking “but Heather, you are a confident athlete who has been around the gym her whole life, how did this happen?!?” I know, I KNOW! I assure you, it baffled me, too. I have always done my “strength work” at home with DVD’s, a resistance band, you name it. But a couple of months ago we joined a gym, and I decided to become Bobby’s workout partner. (Do you remember this guest post he did on lifting weights?)

I knew I would never “learn” on my own, so I basically followed him around the gym doing as he told me to do, and it seemed a LOT less intimidating than going alone. Not only that, but he was able to tell me how much weight he thought I should put on each machine, and he made sure I was keeping the proper form. After a couple of weeks of doing this, I decided to venture out on my own one day while at the gym without him, and it was fine! Granted, doing this still makes me a LITTLE nervous because I forget what weights to use on certain things etc. But at least I am willing to go over there alone now.

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Let me tell you, in just a couple of short months, I can TOTALLY tell a difference in my body! I am already getting more toned all over, and I feel stronger when running. I don’t jiggle as much, and I just feel all over more fit, which was my goal. I cannot BELIEVE all these years I have been “missing out” over a silly fear of being in a room full of bulky guys and not knowing what to do.

So, I BEG you. If a fear of not knowing what to do, or of being intimidated is keeping you from lifting weights, overcome it!!!! You will be SO glad you did! A lot of gyms have people that will take you around to the different machines etc. showing you how to properly use them, or take a friend one day who knows what they are doing and have them help you. I hate that all this time I could have been stronger faster, and less injury prone, but I let my fears get in the way of being the best me I can be.

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I love the quote by Eleanor Roosevelt that says “do one thing every day that scares you.”  It really makes life in general seem not so scary when you are tackling fear after fear.

Since I have been on a running hiatus due to a stubborn knee problem, I have ben doing a LOT more lifting and cross training, and I am so glad I have something more “to do” than just sit on a bike or get on an elliptical. I feel like even though I can’t run I am still keeping up my fitness in the weight room. So, what is your excuse?

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QOTD: Do you lift weights? were you ever afraid to lift? How did you overcome it?

Working Muscles

 

It’s not secret I have a VERY short attention span. Running three days in a row is no good for me. I get bored, overworked, and burnt out. This poses a problem since I am trying to tone and burn as quickly as possible before the cruise. (Once again for clarity sake, I do not think I need to lose weight. I would like to tone up and maybe burn a little fat off my abs so I can see them, but I am not concerned with dropping pounds on the scale. I weight myself once a week just as a measure on if I am staying in my happy weight range.)

I have talked many times before about doing something you love and enjoy as a workout, trying new things (you never know, you may find a new love!) and working out with friends. Last night, Bobby and I played volleyball for an hour, so I thought I would share some pretty hilarious pictures with you of me trying to relive my glory days!

Yes, they are fun to look at, but I really want to show you all the muscles you can work while doing something like playing volleyball.

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Holy leg muscles. Look at all the squatting and bending. Legs always moving, knees bent, your butt and quads should be on fire! Also, arms up, constantly moving and working. (I know my form isn’t great but I was hitting the ball to myself chasing it all over the park!)

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Setting….oh boy…Let’s be clear, I was a MB (Middle blocker/hitter) I am NOT good at setting. I tried my best when I had to, but it was not my strong suit, but, you get the idea for the sake of my muscle demonstration….

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Once again, arms up moving and working, and then pushing through and up, working shoulders and abs!

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last but not least, my favorite, hitting. Smile 

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Stretching and reaching up with your abs, swinging motion is definitely a shoulder workout!

So my whole point of showing you these goofy pictures is that you do NOT have to be stuck in a gym all day to get a good workout. Yes there are some things done more efficiently in the gym, but you can also have fun doing something you enjoy! I was sweating like CRAZY after an hour of hitting the ball around with Bobby. I am a little sore, too. SmileRunning is a great workout and I enjoy it, but it works a select set of muscles, and others can be underdeveloped if you don’t throw other things into the mix as well (Hello, injury!)

QOTD: What is your favorite non running workout?

Kick it into High Gear

 

Good morning!

In just a couple of weeks, I will be on vacation! I am so ready for it. The past couple months have been such an adjustment with moving, Bobby working at a new place, learning a new town, new, new, new. New is good but also scary and exhausting, so I am excited to get to unwind with my family in my favorite place on earth, DISNEYWORLD!

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And staying at the Polynesian!

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and then getting on the Mickey boat!!! (The Disney Dream)

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This is actually a picture of the Magic. I don’t have any pics of the Dream since well…I haven’t been on her yet!

The fact that vacation has snuck up on me has put me in PANIC MODE. Why do you ask? I have not been in public in a swimsuit since last summer. AAAHHH! First things first…I do not think I am fat, and I am not going on a “diet” and I am not trying to get sympathy or fish for compliments. I am honestly just NOT READY to be in a swimsuit yet for the summer.

It’s so easy in the winter to hide the less toned or squishy parts with bulky sweaters and the like. It will be way hot in Florida and the Bahamas so I will be forced to show skin or die. I would also like to mention I am a generally pretty modest person so I feel awkward in a swimsuit in public no matter how I look. This is why I was PETRIFIED to post my before and after 6 weeks to 6 pack pictures! I don’t feel I am where I would like to be as far as the “firming up” goes, so I have put a plan into action for the next couple of weeks that will hopefully help me feel a little more confident. This is my “kick it into high gear” plan:

-Workout 6 days a week, sometimes twice a day (cardio once weights once preferably)

-food overhaul! I know I will eat AWFUL on vaca which is fine, but cutting back on stuff I love will be easier knowing I can eat whatever I want in a couple of weeks on the trip! So what am I cutting back on? Mainly sugar and white flour/pasta/etc. I have a massive sweet tooth and have been eating Easter candy and the like since April. I will be trying to not eat “dessert” after dinner or late at night. Making simple substitutions should really make a difference.

-work on the mental aspect of things (I will never see these people again, it doesn’t matter what I look like or what they think, I am beautiful inside and out, etc.)

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Bobby brought me flowers he picked yesterday when he came home from work!

I want to be HEALTHY and TONED not “skinny” Smile

So, do you think I will be able to stick with this for two weeks? Any words or wisdom or tricks of the trade?

*I updated my workout log tab

*I still need ONE guest blogger, any volunteers? It doesn’t have to be fancy! Could be a race recap, recipe, etc. e-mail me!

QOTD: Any tips for me and my “plan?”

My Month

 

Happy hump day friends! It is supposed to be another beautiful day here in south Louisiana. In case you missed me talking about it yesterday, it was beautiful then, too. My mom and I went to breakfast at the Broken Egg café, which happens to be the original one!

Only here will you find a food/menu item named the Mardi Gras.

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we ate, we chatted, we relaxed. It was very nice!

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Then we drove all of 20 feet to the lakefront, and went for a two mile walk. We even ran a few tenths here and there! It. was. gorgeous. If every day could be like this one I would be a happy girl.

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It was an awesome way to kick off the month of March. That got me thinking about the month. I will be honest, February kinda sucked. It’s my least favorite month of the year. The hype of Christmas is over, the marathon is over, and it’s COLD, and it’s DREARY, and everyone is tired of it. (Don’t you love how I speak for everyone?!?) I also had a LOT of stuff personally going on in February that was not so good. But March, ah wonderful March. Spring, getting dark later, green grass, oh the bliss! I decided since February was so crappy, March has to be good, right? I have decided to make March MY month. The month of good times and good things. I want to really focus on being healthy, fit, and positive. I also have a few mini goals for March:

1.) Run a 5K and PR. I think I can handle three miles of running hard even with my tight IT band. I REALLY want to do this, because I know I can, and I want to before it starts getting too warm in April/May to have a shot at it.

2.) Strength train more. I didn’t put a specific amount on this because I am already doing it somewhat as a 2011 goal, I just need to do MORE! I want to be able to tell a difference in my body.

3.) Unpack ALL the boxes in my new house. I have heard too many horror stories about moving where things stay in boxes for months. I will NOT let that be me when we move this weekend. I want a fresh start with a new, clean, and organized home!

4.) Meet new people in our new town. It will be easy to just stay in my pretty new house all the time and not go anywhere or meet anyone, but we will be trying out different churches, hopefully find some running people/groups, neighborhood friends, etc. so we can be social!

I think that’s all for now. I am just trying to stay positive and really want to have a great month! I know that I am in control of my own attitude so I am trying to focus on the good and be joyful no matter what! I will keep you posted on my progress!

QOTD: Do you have any March goals?