Monday, March 24, 2014

Spring Training

It may not feel like it in the Northeast but spring is officially here!

How did your training go over the winter?  Did you stay consistent or take some time off?  Did freezing temperatures keep you indoors?  Didn’t get in as many training days as you’d hoped? 

Now is the time to put the winter behind you, tie those laces, and get back on the roads!  Here are my tips as you start to gear up for spring training and summer road races:

·      Buy new shoes!
The spring is a great time to start with a fresh pair of shoes.  Most running shoes can handle about 300-400 miles.  Running mechanics and foot strike can alter the life of your shoes.  Visit a specialty running store to make sure you are fitted and buy the right shoe for you.  [Also see: Pronation vs. Supination]

·      New shoes?  How about some new gear too?
Nothing motivates me like new running gear.  Whether it’s that GPS watch you’ve always wanted or a super cute pair of cropped tights, treat yo self!  You gotta look good for all those running selfies.  Obvi.

·      Aerobic Base Building
Now it’s time to get serious.  If you have been logging little to no mileage this winter, you need to start building your aerobic base.  Start out running at a comfortable pace with your heart rate in the 65-75% range.  You may feel antsy and ready to up the intensity but in the first three to four weeks, there’s no need for speed.  Re-establish your fitness by increasing aerobic capacity and build endurance; increase fat metabolism; develop slow twitch muscle fibers; and strengthen muscles, tendons, and ligaments.  Stay in that aerobic/endurance training zone (65-75%) for the first few weeks and you will become a stronger, more efficient runner when summer road racing begins!

·      Don’t Skip the Dynamic Warm Up
As you return to running, it’s important to remind our muscles how to run efficiently, especially when it’s time to run fast.  A good dynamic warm up will include form-running drills that break down the running motions and train different segments.  Spend about 10-15 minutes on a dynamic warm up before each and every run: High Knees/High Heels, Leg Swings, Power Stride, Skips, Quick Feet.

·      Sign up for a Race
Another great way to get motivated this spring is to sign up for a race.  Having a date on the calendar can help you set goals, focus on your training, and get you out the door every morning.  #noexcuses

·      Choose a Training Plan
You signed up for a race, now it's time to find a training plan.  They can be a great tool as long as you choose a realistic plan based on your current training and goals.  For further advice, read my blog post on Training Plans.

·      Find a Running Buddy
Maybe they run with you, maybe they’re just there for support.  Either way it’s nice to have a buddy or a team to help hold you accountable.  They are there to motivate you on days that you’re struggling and to give you a high five after a great workout at the track.  The running community is awesome.  I have made many lasting relationships through running and have had the greatest conversations on long runs with friends.

·      Go Long!
One of the most important runs of the week is the long run.  The benefits of the long run are both mental and physical.  Physically it forces your body to adapt to the training.  It’s about the time spent on your feet and building endurance.  My high school cross country coach always told us to run long at “Conversation Pace” - or anywhere from 30-90 seconds slower than normal.  When you slow down, you’re training aerobically (body relies less on burning carbohydrates and rely more on burning fat for energy) to build endurance.  We can train our bodies to stay in that aerobic zone longer before crossing over to anaerobic when no oxygen is available and we start to build up lactic acid.

·      Don’t forget: Recovery
Recovery days reduce fatigue (mentally and physically), build strength, restore glycogen, and help keep us injury free.  Our bodies need rest.  You earned it so enjoy it!  [Related: Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness]

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Birthday Week Roundup

It's been a fabulous week and I was busy, busy!

For starters, I ran 4 days this week totaling 14 miles!  I’m psyched.  My lungs are still trying to play catch up but overall it feels great to be back on the roads.

More highlights:

·      Check out my updated bio.  I am now officially TPI Certified!  I passed the test!  On that note, I need to start practicing.  Who wants a free screen?  :)

·      I spent an awesome Friday night in Boston celebrating my birthday with Lizzie and Gabby.  Delicious dinner & dessert at Teatro, fun drinks, great company and a night filled with dancing.  You guys are so good to me.  Oh and I can’t forget about brunch (The Friendly Toast) and the massive amounts of food we ordered.  Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pancakes with real whipped cream anyone?  OUR diet starts tomorrow!

·      Visited my peeps at Falmouth Fashion Nails.  Black toenail and all.  At least it’s not as embarrassing having ugly runner feet if they know me as the girl who runs by everyday.  When I walk in the door, "You run today?" #runnerproblems #treatyoself

·      My Mashpee Fitness modeling plus some TRX Progressions from Catie.  Check it.

Time to get back on track with running, healthy eats, and more blogging!  What topics would you like to read about?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Jenny from the Block Birthday Spin Playlist

Happy Birthday to me!  

Today's playlist featured some of my favorite songs along with some birthday party tunes.  I've been working on it for weeks...

Birthday - Katy Perry                                   3:35  Warm up
Just Dance - Lady Gaga                                4:02  Start adding tension
Party Rock Anthem - LMFAO                     4:22  Rolling hills
In da Club - 50 Cent                                      3:13  Build to a standing climb
A Little Party - Fergie                                   4:01  Rolling hills
Birthday - The Beatles                                 2:42  High tension but fast!
Single Ladies - Beyonce                               3:15  Running out of saddle
Can't Remember To Forget You - Shakira  3:27  Recovery 80-100
Jenny from the Block - Jennifer Lopez     3:07  Build
Starships - Nicki Minaj                                 3:31  Jumps while adding tension
Born This Way - Lady Gaga                         4:20  Build
Don't Stop the Party - Pitbull                      3:26  Standing 80-100
Party - Beyoncé                                               4:05  Cool down
My Love (Feat. T.I.) - Justin Timberlake   4:36  Stretch

Thank you everyone that sent me messages today and special thanks to my spinners that came to celebrate with me today.  It was an awesome class.  Great energy.  Lots of cards, balloons, cupcakes by Linda, sweet glasses and even princess crown.  And they are treating me to Falmouth Fashion Nails... holler!  My Tuesday morning spin class ROCKS! <3

Monday, March 17, 2014

Persistence | Strength | Heart

My first Alex and Ani bracelet...

Happy (early) Birthday to me!  
Thank you to Christa, one of my best friends and running buddies.  It's perfect.

"It's not a sprint, it's a marathon."

Sunday, March 16, 2014

(Soon To Be) TPI Certified!

I just got back from a fun filled, jam packed weekend of continuing education at the Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) Level 1 Certification Workshop in Providence, RI.  You all are going to be so confused when I start blogging about golf but I'm super excited to take the test, become certified, and start helping YOU improve your golf game!

Thank you Cape Cod Rehab, Mashpee Fitness, and TPI's Lance Gill, Mark Blackburn, and Jason Glass! #tpiPROV

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Let's Hear It for the Boy Spin Playlist

A Tuesday morning hit with the ladies (and Bill)…

Black Or White - Michael Jackson                   4:16  Warm up
Americano - Lady Gaga                                      4:06  Drills, pedal strokes
Me Against The Music - Britney Spears        3:44  Build
Candyman - Christina Aguilera                        3:14  15” Jumps
Spice Up Your Life - Spice Girls                        2:54  Running out of the saddle
Pump It - Black Eyed Peas                                 3:38  Comfortably fast with 4x10” faster
Let's Hear It for the Boy - Deniece William  4:22  80-100, recovery
It's Raining Men - The Weather Girls             3:34  Build
Man! I Feel Like A Woman! - Shania Twain  3:54  Keep the tension, 20” jumps
Ladies' Choice - Zac Efron                                  2:28  Comfortably fast with 1’ hard
Uptown Girl - Billy Joel                                        3:15  Seated climb (RPM 70s)
I'm Gonna Be - The Proclaimers                      3:36  20” alt seated climb/standing
Rock This Town - Stray Cats                             2:38  All downhill… fast!
Beast Of Burden - The Rolling Stones            3:28  Cool down
Man In The Mirror - Michael Jackson             5:19  Stretch 

Celebrated St. Patrick's Day today with a group of spinners that loves decorating for holidays as much as I do because next Tuesday is my birthday!!!  I can’t wait for class!  Obviously preparing a birthday party playlist!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

My Success with the Cheesecake Factory & Pinkberry

My dad’s running his second half marathon tomorrow!  My mom and I won’t be making the trip to Rhode Island tomorrow so we decided to take a drive with him today to pick up his number and check out where he needs to go in the morning.

On the way home we made a stop at the Providence Place Mall.  It’s been awhile since mama and I had lettuce wraps so the Cheesecake Factory was calling our names.  I was practically rolling out of my chair after uncontrollably stuffing my face (and getting cheesecake x3 to go) but who goes to the Providence Place Mall and doesn’t stop at Pinkberry?!  Is that even a real question?

This lead me to realize that the day before every major race I’ve run in the past few years I had either the Cheesecake Factory or Pinkberry, and if I was lucky… both.

Rock & Roll Providence Half Marathon 2011 – Cheesecake Factory for dinner with mom, Lizzie & Christa (Pinkberry wasn’t open yet): Ran a PR

Chicago Marathon 2012 – Cheesecake Factory for lunch and Pinkberry for an afternoon snack: Survived 26.2 miles

Nike Womens Half Marathon 2013 – Pinkberry one of our only meals of the day (long story): Ran a PR

Rock and Roll Providence 2013 – Pinkberry in the afternoon, Cheesecake Factory for dinner with Sarah & Katrina: Ran a PR

If something works, stick with it!  We all have our superstitions…

Will he break 2 hours tomorrow?!  Go Daddo go!

Friday, March 7, 2014

I ran a mile!!

Want to know how I knew today was going to be a good day?  My Friday morning began with purchasing Britney Spears tickets in Vegas!  Can’t wait to go with my 2 favorite people: Lindi Lou and BFF Barbie!!!! #oldladiestrip

Anyway, today marks 4 weeks since my stitches.  The doctor told me they will dissolve in 4-6 weeks.  Since I am super impatient, I had to go for a little test run today. 

I was already at Mashpee Fitness for a meeting so I had no excuses.  I put on a piece of pink argyle Rock Tape to hold everything together and got to work.

Fitness Friday

10 minute Arc Trainer warm up

1 mile run (7:36) – I felt pressure and discomfort in the area of the stitches about a quarter mile in but kept going.  I was cruising at a pretty good pace but my heart rate was skyrocketing!  Probably a good 15-20 bpm higher than it would have been on the same run 4 weeks ago but I ran a mile!!

2 Rounds of TRX Exercises from Winter Workout #1:

1.     10 squat
2.     10 each single leg squat
3.     10 each side lunge
4.     10 each power pull
5.     10 suspended push ups

Foam Roll & Ice

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Brigham & Women’s Return to Running Program

This afternoon Cape Cod Rehab Physical Therapist Tiffany visited the Mashpee office to deliver an inservice presentation on the Brigham & Women’s Return to Running Program.

How appropriate.

It was a pretty cool program to learn about and also somewhat ridiculous!  A lot of my coworkers have adapted a modified version of the program.

Phase I is walking.  Brigham & Women’s believes that you should be able to walk pain free in a controlled environment at roughly 4.2 to 5.2 mph before moving on to Phase II.  I don’t know if you realize it but 4.2 is really fast walking!  (5.0 mph is approximately a 12 minute mile).  My little legs would much rather slowly jog at that pace.

Phase II is a very aggressive plyometric program involving both leg hops and single leg hops (in place, forward/back, side to side) and single leg broad hops.  My coworkers recommended either beginning with the ACL Jump Program (to learn how to properly and safely land) and/or focus on more running specific drills (high knees, high heels, strides). 

If you can successfully complete Phase I and Phase II pain free, you may be ready for the walk/run phase.

Phase III is considered the Walk/Run Progression.  It starts with intervals of walking 5 minutes and jogging for 1 minute.  The next step would be to walk 4 minutes, jog 2 minutes and so on.  The goal is 30 minutes every other day (with at least 5 min warm up and cool down).

Phase IV you’re running!

Our physical therapists talked about the 10% rule and other things to consider like footwear and utilizing the pool as part of our modified return to play program.  The pool is a great way to maintain your fitness level while injured but also to test running in the shallow end, which includes the resistance of the water but you’re only carrying a percentage of your body weight.

I learn so much from my coworkers and this inservice came at a great time for me personally.  I’m so ready to get back at it!  Start slow… don’t overdo it… gradually increase time and distance… everything runners ignore once we start feeling good again! 

Just kidding… Kinda.  :)

Anyway, if you’re interested in reading the Brigham & Women’s Return to Running Program, you can check it out here and always consult your doctor or physical therapist before beginning any new running or plyometric program.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

The 3 Ingredient Breakfast Cookie

They’re chewy.  They’re gooey.  And they are only made with 3 ingredients.  Thank you mama for another great recipe.

2 medium bananas (very ripe), mashed
1 cup of uncooked quick oats
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a non-stick cookie sheet with cooking spray.

Combine the mashed bananas and oats in a bowl.  Fold in chocolate chips and place a tablespoon of each on the cookie sheet.

Bake 15 minutes.  Makes 16 cookies

So easy and so good!  Enjoy!!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Then & Now


February 1, 2014: Jen the Runner



March 1, 2014: Jen the Knitter?

I am currently teaching myself to knit.  New hobbies!
What do you do when you can't run?