Running off the winter weight

Hello everyone and Happy Monday!

It’s that time of year again here in North Dakota. The holidays are over, football is officially over for the season and we are 3 months into a cold, dry winter. Breakout the face masks and winter tights…it’s time to RUN!!

And by run I don’t mean to the Caribbean, although that is really a great idea as well. I definitely wouldn’t mind laying on the hot sandy beach in Puerto Morelos with a slushy, sweet Pina Colada in my hand!704924_10151255862641033_796574077_o

Ahhhhh….but back to running.

So what I’m actually talking about is the physical act of running. Running for exercise, running for stress relief, running towards a goal. Whatever kind of running you are in to. But sometimes, the thought of running is better than actually doing it.

I just started training for my 4th half-marathon and let me tell you, it is harder than you think to get back into running. Since getting pregnant about 2 years ago, I’ve run no more than a couple of miles at a time. And I was taking it pretty easy whenever I did run. So let’s just say I’m not in the best shape I’ve ever been in my life.

But if I can go from hardly running a mile to running 13.1 miles, so can YOU!

There are countless plans and programs out there to help get you to the finish line. Depending on your fitness level, you may need to try something like the Couch to 5K plan to get you going. This is a great training program for beginners. The website provides a ton of great advice for those people who want  to get into running slowly and safely plus a bunch of other resources and plans. This is the type of plan I used when I first started running over 8 years ago. It’s an easy, gradual way to get into running that most people can handle.

The 16 week half-marathon plan:

Now that I’ve been running for years, I’ve come up with my own version of how I train for an event. I came up with this schedule for a half-marathon based on a bunch of different plans I’ve used over the years and tweaked it to fit my current schedule. I don’t have a ton of time during the week so I limit the times I train to only twice during the week and both Saturday and Sunday. Obviously, you can tweak my plan to fit your schedule. I would also mention that my plan is for someone who has already been running and can somewhat easily run 3 miles with only a few breaks. The mileage in the plan goes up every week so it is a little intense for beginners.

16 week plan

16 week half-marathon training plan

Explaining the plan:

As I mentioned before, because of my limited schedule, I only run 4 days a week. Some people like to run 5-6 days a week but I just can’t fit it in. I plan my long runs for Saturdays with a recovery run on Sundays, and two medium length runs during the week.

My Tuesday run is my longer mid-week run and that is the run where I just focus on my distance. I don’t worry about speed or anything else but getting the miles in.

My Thursday run is either a hill or speed run. The hill run is great to help build stamina and give those quadriceps a good workout! Doing hill runs will benefit you if you are doing pretty much any race, even in the flat lands here in North Dakota. I remember the first time I ran the Fargo 1/2 marathon and came up to an underpass. Running up the other side of that thing after already running 10 miles was ridiculously hard because I hadn’t added any hill runs into my training.  Even those little tiny hills can wear you out if you aren’t prepared for them!

The speed run is to help with…you guessed it…your speed! If this is your first race, it’s probably the last thing you care about but you may want to add a speed run into your training plan if you’ve already ran a race and want to improve on your time.

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Oh the boredom of stretching! Pretty much everyone I know hates stretching but it is SO important! It not only helps lengthen your muscles for a longer stride but helps prevent dangerous injuries. This article from Fitday does a great job explaining the benefits of stretching. I only actually schedule myself one day off because I use my other “off” day to do some extra stretching or yoga. You can certainly replace the Stretch/Yoga day for an off day if you want but I would highly recommend trying to fit some kind of stretching in to your other off day.

The last thing I wanted to mention about my plan is the Strength Training day. I really have a tough time fitting this in but strength training for runners is so beneficial! I think Runner’s World says it best that “supplementing a running program with strengthening exercises will not only aid in injury prevention but will make you a stronger, faster, and more efficient runner.” These 10 exercises can easily be done in only 30 minutes and can be done once or twice a week as time allows.

Okay folks, let me know if you have any questions or need any advice. I’ll do my best to help if I can!

Cheers!

Angie

 

 

 

 

Thought of the day…Fitting It All In

It was the end of a busy Monday and I was finally just sitting down to read for a few minutes. Sitting in my cozy bed, I found myself thinking about my day. As a full-time working mom, I’m constantly struggling with how to manage everything. From caring for and spending QUALITY time with my daughter, to FOCUSING on what needs to be done at work, to making dinner and picking up the house…Clock_Runningit always seems to be a battle against time and energy. How do you find time for yourself, your partner, your health?!

It seems to be the question on everyone’s mind. I’ve talked to other moms, read articles online, and tried a few things out and came up with a few ideas on how to Fit It All In!

  • SLEEP! The National Sleep Foundation recommends 7-9 hours for an adult. I know that sounds impossible some days but it’s so important to give your body time to rest and recharge so you CAN make it through your day.
  • Make a schedule and stick with it! I use my Google calendar to do this. It’s what works for me but do whatever works best for you. I just enter my schedule into my calendar and boom…reminders 15 minutes before my task to keep me moving on to the next thing.
  • Take your breaks at work. This one is really hard for me. I usually just end up eating lunch at my desk and leave work with tired eyes from staring at my computer all day. Take the recommended 15 minute breaks if your job allows it. Go walk around your building or block. If it’s cold out, like it is here in January, walk around INSIDE the building. I’m lucky to work in a large complex so there are lots of halls and floors to get a decent little walk in 15 minutes. Which leads me to my next point…
  • Exercise!! Now how do you fit that in? That one is tough. I recently started training for a 1/2 marathon so I’m running twice a week on my lunch break and twice on the weekends while my daughter naps. Another one of my favorite things to do lately is a morning bathroom workout! It only takes 10-15 minutes and it gets my blood pumping right away in the morning. What does a typical bathroom routine look like you ask? A little something like this…
  1. 1 minute jumping jacks
  2. 15 squats (Be sure your knees don’t go over your toes!)
  3. 15 tricep dips (I use the side of my tub for these)
  4. 10 pushups – use your knees if you need to – I do 🙂
  5. 10 lunges (each leg)
  6. 20 knee highs
  7. 30 second plank
  8. 20 leg raises (check out this video to see how to do this one)
  9. 5 jumping squats (another good video)
  10. Finish it up with 10 good old-fashioned sit ups (So much harder than they were in grade school!)
  •  Wake up 30 minutes earlier. This somewhat contradicts my point of getting your 8 hours but if you’ve gotten at least 7 hours of sleep and need to get a few more things done in your day, get up 30 minutes earlier. Hopefully, no one else is awake yet and you can do your morning bathroom workout, shower, get ready, get the coffee going, get your lunch together and start breakfast before anyone else gets up!
  • The dishes can wait. One of the hardest things for me is NOT cleaning when I get home from work. Many days, the dishwasher needs to be emptied, a load of laundry needs to be thrown in, maybe the garbage could be taken out and goodness knows the rest of the house could use a deep clean! My daughter is 14 months old now and it feels like just yesterday I could hold her sleeping in one of my arms while I did those dishes. Now, she’s trying to take my hand to help her toddle around the house, pointing at everything, and stealing the dogs toys. IT GOES SO FAST! Don’t spend those precious few hours you get to be with your children doing the dishes! Hold their hands. Kiss their cheeks. LAUGH with them and sing songs and dance with them. That’s what I try to do every day with Emily and they are the best hours of my day. You can do the dishes when the kids are sleeping 🙂
  • Kiss your partner and say I Love You EVERYDAY! This one isn’t hard and only takes a minute but makes up for a lot of the lost time you used to spend together. At the end of the day, after the kids are in bed, the dishes are done, the toys put away, grab a glass of wine or water and sit down with your partner. Even if you don’t talk but just sit next to each other, those moments matter.
  • LAUGH! This isn’t something that helps you Fit It All In but it really makes the day so much better!

I hope this list help you try to make it through your busy day! I’m sure some of you have more to deal with but remember to just take a deep breath, stretch &  smile before you rush on to the next thing.

Angie