Friday, October 30, 2015

Run Jen Run's Halloween Workout

I was on a roll with the workout blogs this week!  Below is a post I wrote for the Mashpee Fitness Center.  To see the original, visit the Mashpee Fitness blog.

Celebrate Halloween with this spooky workout!

Warm up before trying any of these moves.  Begin with 10 repetitions each.  Do not perform any exercise that causes or increases pain.

Jack O’Lantern Squats
Begin in an upright position.  Take a small hop forward, landing with soft feet into a squat position, weight in your heels and arms raise parallel to the ground. Stand up, lowing arms to your side and repeat 10x.

Pumpkin Lift
Begin in an upright position holding a medicine ball.  Squat down and tap the floor with your medicine ball then stand up tall and reach the medicine ball overhead.  Practice good squat form keeping your knees behind your toes.  Repeat 10x.

Monster Walks
Tie a theraband around your legs, just above your knees.  Begin in an athletic stance with knees slightly bent and back straight.  Take big steps forward while staying in that athletic stance and keeping tension in the theraband.  Feel the burn in your glutes!

Double Double Toil & Trouble Leg Kicks over Bench
For the scary version of this popular Burdenko exercise, begin seated on a bench with both legs on one side.  Sit back on your tailbone, holding a pelvic tilt with your back straight.  Hold on the bench behind you for support.  Kick both legs straight over the bench together.  Tap the floor with your feet then repeat to the other side, alternating for 10 repetitions.

Candy Crunches
Begin by sitting on a physioball.  Walk your feet forward until the physioball rests on your upper back, shoulders and neck hanging off the physioball ball.  Keep your hipss elevated and perform a crunch with your head and neck in a neutral position. Repeat 10 repetitions.

Vampire V-Sit
Lay on your back holding a physioball between your feet.  Pelvic tilt pressing your lower back into the mat and lift the ball off the ground.  Pass the physioball from your feet to your hands.  Continue to lower the ball to the ground in your hands.  This is a challenging core exercise and it’s important that you only lower the ball as far as you can hold a pelvic tilt.  Continue to pass the ball back and forth for 10 repetitions.

BOOty Bridge
Lay on your back with your heels on a physioball.  Dig your heels into the physioball as you squeeze your glutes and lift your hips off the ground.  Hold for 2-3 seconds and lower.  Repeat 10x.

Spiderman Plank
Begin in a plank position. Bring your knee to your elbow (same side) while keeping your leg parallel to the floor.  Repeat on the other side, alternating for 10 repetitions.

Black Cat/Camel
Finish up your workout with this stretch for mobility in your back.
Begin on all 4s (hands under your shoulders, knees under your hips).  Start with your back in a neutral position then alternate between arching your spine upward toward the ceiling (cat) and rounding your back (camel) by relaxing your back and allowing your stomach to fall towards the ground.  Repeat 10x.


Monday, October 26, 2015

Weekly Roundup 10.19-10.25

Week 4 of 16

Who would have thought I would run a half marathon PR in my 4th week of marathon training?  Definitely not me!

The week started out good with a solo run and a Georgie run on Monday followed by Run Club on Tuesday night.  I took 2 days in a row off to get rest up for the Cape Cod Half on Saturday.  I was exhausted!  And I pulled a muscle in my chest—diaphragm or intercostal muscles perhaps?

The Cape Cod Half was Saturday morning and I had so much fun!  It was a big confidence booster heading into Week 5 of marathon training.  I wasn't training for the Cape Cod Half but it just happened to fall so perfectly on a weekend I had a long run of 14 miles.  My goal for the race was to stay relaxed the whole way and I really feel like I did just that.  At 10 miles I knew I would PR if I maintained pace, which I did and maybe even pushed myself the last half mile or so.  You can see my full race report here.

A normal Run Jen Run post-race routine includes a lot of couch time but Georgie spent quite a bit of crate time race morning so when I got home, she would not let me rest.  There were balls to be thrown, Georgie’s to be chased, and walks to be taken.  I think this worked to my advantage.  I was a little stiff getting out of bed on Sunday morning but nothing like I remember from previous half marathons.  A little stretching, foam rolling, compression socks and spin class continued to help with my recovery on Sunday.

Upcoming events:

·      12 weeks until the Houston Marathon!

Monday 10.19.15
4 miles (30:36)
~0.5 miles with G
17,917 steps

Tuesday 10.20.15
0.48 miles with G (4:31)
Marathon Sports Run Club! 3.3 miles (29:00)
Taught spin class
10 push ups
19,193 steps

Wednesday 10.21.15
7,625 steps

Thursday 10.22.15
Taught spin class. The playlist: Somethin’ Bad Spin Playlist
Power Water
10 push ups
12,812 steps

Friday 10.23.15
0.5 miles with G (4:36)
3 miles (23:28)
16,224 steps

Saturday 10.24.15
~0.5 mile warm up
Cape Cod Half 13.1 miles (1:34:16) <--a PR!
0.66 mile cool down with daddo (5:35)
37,411 steps

Sunday 10.25.15
Taught spin class
Burdenko H2O
10 push ups
Long walk with G (46:00)
15,047 steps

G mileage disclaimer: None of the mileage reported with Georgie is straight, consistent running. We may run 1 mile in 9 or 10 minutes but in reality we probably covered a 2-3 mile distance with a mix of walking and running.  I stop my watch every time we start walking.


This week’s mileage: 26 miles
This week’s G mileage: 1.5 miles
October Totals: 95 miles
2015 Totals: 512 miles

Sunday, October 25, 2015

7 BOSU Moves for Runners

Below is a blog post I wrote for the Mashpee Fitness Center.  To see the original, visit the Mashpee Fitness blog.

Have you ever tried exercises on a BOSU Balance Trainer?  This half-dome stability ball is great for building a strong core, ankle stability and work on overall strength, balance and coordination. Challenge yourself by adding a BOSU Balance Trainer to your current strength routine.  Below are 7 BOSU exercises with runners in mind focusing on the lower body, glutes and core—all super important for strong, fast, injury-free running!

Warm up before trying any of these moves.  Begin with 10 repetitions each.  Do not perform any exercise that causes or increases pain.

BOSU Squats
Stand on the BOSU Balance Trainer, dome side up. Perform a squat, keeping good form and your weight in your heels. Stand up and repeat 10x.

BOSU Lunges
Stand on the ground facing the BOSU. Take a big step forward onto the BOSU into a lunge position with knee at 90 degrees. Push off the BOSU back to the upright starting position. Repeat with the other leg, alternating for 10 repetitions.

BOSU Side Lunges
Stand on the ground next to the BOSU. Take a lateral step onto the BOSU bending that knee while keeping the other leg straight. Your weight should be in your heels with your knee behind your toes and not past your ankles laterally. Return to start position. Perform 10 repetitions then repeat on the other side.

BOSU Side to Side Push Ups
Begin in a plank position with your hands on the BOSU, dome side up. Walk one hand laterally off the BOSU and perform a push up. Walk you hands back onto the BOSU and repeat on the other side, alternating for 10 repetitions.

BOSU Plank with Leg Lifts
Begin in a plank position with your hands on the BOSU, this time with the dome facing down. Engage your glute muscles and lift one leg off the floor, foot flexed. Hold for 1-3 seconds and return to start position. Repeat with the other leg, alternating for 10 repetitions.

BOSU Plank with Mountain Climbers
Begin in a plank position with your hands on the BOSU, dome facing down. Alternate knees to chest starting slow and building to a faster pace.  Repeat 10x.

BOSU Single Leg Bridges
This exercise can be done on a BOSU with dome facing up or down. Lay on your back with knees bent and one leg on the BOSU. Lift and hold opposite leg in the air parallel with your bent knee. Engage your glutes and raise your hips off the ground. Perform 10 repetitions and repeat on the other side.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Race Report: Cape Cod Half 2015

“You’re in pretty good shape for the shape you are in.” ~Dr. Seuss

Well today’s PR was a nice surprise!  I am in Week 4 of marathon training and in much better shape than I thought!  I signed up for the race knowing I had a 14 mile long run this week and a good test to see where my fitness is at.  My first 4-week long run progression was 8, 10, 12, 14 before I drop back to a 10, 12, 14, 16 in the next 4 weeks.  Nothing I did in the first 4 weeks made me think I would run 7:12 pace.  My goal was good, consistent pacing and practice race morning strategies like fueling and walking through water stops.  More specifically I was telling people my goal for today was sub-8 minute pace but I knew I wanted to run 7:45 for the first 3 miles, 7:30s through 10 miles then assess how I was feeling for the final 3.1 miles.

Race morning was chilly!  About 45 degrees with a breeze.  The sun rose at 7:04am and the race started at 7:30am.  I drove to the start with my daddo, who was also running.

First mile I was PERFECT at 7:30 but I knew I wanted to start out a little slower so I backed off and ran a 7:36 for the second mile.  Miles 3-6 I picked up the pace a little bit (7:20, 7:17, 7:18, 7:13) but I was feeling good so I didn’t really want to slow myself down.  I was cruising along stride for stride with another girl (at this point there was a slight headwind) and we were picking off a few small groups of people.

Mile 7 we were approaching the turnaround at Menauhant Beach on an out & back course and the winds were strong!  I dropped a 6:58 and thought “Oh crap, I’m in trouble!”  But the winds were at our back for a while and I was distracted looking at the other runners on their way to the turnaround.  I kept pace with a 7:02, 7:11, 6:54, 6:59, 6:58, 6:51 then a final 0.1 at about 6:10 pace.  With 3 miles to go I knew I just needed to maintain and I would be sub-1:35.

I felt so strong at the finish.  I don’t think I could have kept running but I was smiling and talking and thanking the people cheering the whole way.  The best part about finishing (well other than a PR!) was getting my finisher medal from one of my favorite Mashpee Fitness members, Beth!  She’s so awesome.

I stopped for a quick picture with Beth and headed inside the food tent.  Dunkin Donuts was a sponsor and provided pumpkin donuts and pumpkin muffins.  I was thinking about that donut the whole race.  While I was selecting the perfect donut, one of the guys that was around me most of the race yelled over to me, “Well played.”  Huh?  He meant how well I ran my final mile.  It sure felt good.

Side note: The Cran-Mango Ocean Spray at the finish was also really good!

I took a minute to gather my goods and started walking back along the course looking for Joe & Jon from Cape Cod Rehab and my dad.  Since I needed to run 14 today and I warmed up about a half mile running to and from the porta potties, I figured I’d run a bit with my dad to cool down.  It was fun seeing all the runners and they were super encouraging and motivating and actually cheering for ME as I walked in the opposite direction.  I remember 2 girls that were cheering and as I walked past them we chatted a bit and I told them I had to go find my dad so as I was running alongside my dad they were super cute yelling “YAY! That’s so cool!” and “Go Dad!”

When I saw my dad said he was experiencing some calf cramping but actually looked really good.  I ran about 3/4 of a mile with him and he finished in 2:01:30—SO CLOSE to his goal of breaking 2 hours!

Takeaways from today’s race:
1.     Be patient.  It’s so easy to start out fast in a race but 13 miles is a long way.  26 miles is even longer.  Be patient and take it one mile at a time.
2.     Have a game plan but adapt.  When I started running sub-7 minute pace I got worried.  Part of me wanted to drastically slow down, the other part of me wanted to see what would happen if I kept up this pace.
3.     Take risks.  If you don’t step outside your comfort zone, how will you ever get better?
4.     Confidence is key.  See #2 & #3.  I was lucky today that I never really had any doubts about being able to finish.  I wasn’t calculating how long I could walk like I normally do.  Everything felt right and smooth today.
5.     Smile.  Why race if you don’t enjoy it?
6.     I’m terrible at math.  Stupid me was thinking until I reached 8 miles that the halfway point of a half marathon is 7.5 miles.  Geesh!
7.     Wear gloves.  MY HANDS WERE FREEZING! I went back and forth about which arm sleeves I would wear and went with the thinner ones without the thumb holes.  That was also a bad choice.  I thought it would warm up and I would take them off but nope.  That was my only real complaint.  That and the fact that there was no Dunkin Donuts hot coffee or hot chocolate at the finish.  That would have helped my cold fingers! 
8.     Run hard.  Eat donuts.  In Houston: Run hard.  Eat burritos.  Bring it on!

Congrats to all finishers and good luck to everyone running the full marathon or marathon relay tomorrow!  I'm in recovery mode...

Up next: Week 5 of Houston Marathon Training & Screechat the Beach 5k next weekend!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Weekly Roundup 10.12-10.18

Week 3 of 16

The week started out with an 8 hour drive home from Ellicottville, NY and a planned day off.  The pup was EXHAUSTED after a weekend of running, running, and more running!  Throw in some doggy sedatives and Georgie was out for DAYS so I decided I should get out and stretch my legs.  Well 3 miles turned into 4 miles and ended up being a fast 5 miles.  It felt really good, especially after all the crap and fresh, warm donuts I ate at the cabin!  I wore my headphones which was a good distraction but also weird.  I can’t remember the last time I listened to music while I ran.

Tuesday was Run Club and most of the gang was there this week.  Danielle and Jason were fresh off the Hartford Marathon (Jason’s first!!) and it was fun to run with everyone—even though the whole run was in the dark!  Eeeee!  I have been loving my Osterville runs lately and I was able to enjoy another 5 miles there on Wednesday leaving a short 2 miles for Friday.

Long Run Saturday was a little rough.  I didn’t have any company this week for my 12 miler but a dentist appointment had me near the Shining Sea Bikeway in Falmouth.  I ran 3 miles in one direction setting myself up for a water stop at my car around 6 miles.  I planned to run the Chappy loop (about 3 miles) and head back to the car for a second water stop before a few more bike path miles to finish up.  The first 6 miles I felt great!  I was going faster than I wanted but I’ve been giving some major thought about my marathon goal pace lately so I decided to stick with the pace and see what happened.  Well, the Chappy loop was SUPER windy and at about 9.5 miles I fell apart.  I pushed through but I felt horrible.  The worst part about it—I was planning an egg and cheese sandwich with tomato and avocado from the Daily Brew but I pulled into the parking lot and read that they were closed for renovation!  Such a disappointment.  My Stop & Shop toasted bagel was not the same.

Upcoming events:

·      1 week until the Cape Cod Half!
·      13 weeks until the Houston Marathon!

Monday 10.12.15
Ellicottville, NY
5 miles (38:06)
16,073 steps

Tuesday 10.13.15
Marathon Sports Run Club! 3.25 miles (30:52)
Taught spin class. The playlist: Rock This Town Spin Playlist
10 push ups
17,011 steps

Wednesday 10.14.15
5.25 miles (39:23)
20,766 steps

Thursday 10.15.15
Taught spin class
Power Water
10 push ups
14,118 steps

Friday 10.16.15
0.5 miles with G (4:35)
2 miles (15:06)
12,124 steps

Saturday 10.17.15
12 miles (1:32:40)
Long walk with G (~40 minutes)
35,034 steps

Sunday 10.18.15
Taught spin class
Burdenko H2O
10 push ups
10,891 steps

G mileage disclaimer: None of the mileage reported with Georgie is straight, consistent running. We may run 1 mile in 9 or 10 minutes but in reality we probably covered a 2-3 mile distance with a mix of walking and running.  I stop my watch every time we start walking.

Week 1 of 16
Week 2 of 16 

This week’s mileage: 28 miles
This week’s G mileage: 0.5 miles
October Totals: 69 miles
2015 Totals: 486 miles

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Beginner Blog: What is a Fartlek run?

Fartlek is a Swedish word meaning “speed play.”   

A Fartlek run is just that—playing with speed!  It’s a form of interval training with fast bouts of running followed by a recovery period at conversation pace.

While there are many benefits to Fartlek training, a Fartlek run is meant to be fun and unstructured.  You don’t really need a specific plan going into it and you don’t even need a watch.  The goal is to vary your pace (at about 70-90% effort) throughout the run and vary the time/distance of the sprinting and recovery phases.

A traditional Fartlek run uses landmarks on your route as markers.  Sprint to the next mailbox, jog two telephone poles, sprint to the next driveway, etc.  The increase in speed incorporates both the aerobic and anaerobic systems, challenging the cardiovascular system.

A more structured Fartlek run would be performing 8-10 one minute surges followed by one minute conversation pace running.  You could also try one minute sprint/recover, two minute sprint/recover, 3 minute sprint/recover, and so on.  There is a plan in terms of repetitions and duration but distance and pace is not a concern like a typical speed workout at the track.

A fun Fartlek workout in a group situation includes a whistle.  Sprint when you hear one whistle, recover at two whistles.  Another group Fartlek could be the old “Indian” drill where runners form a line and the person at the end of the line has to surge to the front of the line and repeat this for 30-60 minutes.

Running at the same pace all the time will cause a runner to plateau.  Experiment with Fartlek runs to change gears and recruit different muscle fibers.  It also helps simulate the racing experience.  Think about the small surges to pass another runner or slowing down to a walk at a water station.

What are the benefits of a Fartlek run?
·      Increase speed
·      Improve endurance
·      Build strength
·      Recruit different muscle fibers
·      Varying intensities means greater calorie burn
·      Practice and promote good running form

When should I incorporate Fartlek running into my training?
Fartlek running is great when you are starting to incorporate speed workouts into your training.  Make sure you have a good 4-8 weeks of aerobic base building down before you start any interval training.  I like a few weeks of Fartlek running in transition before sending any athlete to the track.

Don’t forget to warm up before beginning a fartlek run!  Start with only a few repetitions in Week 1 and over time increase the number of repetitions along with increasing speed intervals while decreasing rest intervals.  Remember this is a form of interval training and a hard effort so limit to once a week—not every run!  With any interval training you want to avoid doing too much too soon.

Do you incorporate Fartlek running into your training?