Workout Wednesday: Core

workoutwednesday

Alright runners, let’s do a new core workout today. I apologize if I make you do more reps than I promised….ok, maybe not. #sorrynotsorry #youllthankmelater

Core v.2: 5 Cubed

Today, we will do 5 exercises – about 25 repetitions. On each 5th rep, do 5 pulses.

  • Basic Crunch
  • Side Hip Raises
  • Flutter Kicks
  • Toe Touch Crunches
  • Side Crunches

I even did a quick video this morning so you can workout right along with me! No excuses!

My neighbors were walking by smiling; probably think I’m crazy. Annnnd, they’d be right! 🙂

Happy Wednesday all!!

Workout Wednesday: Barefoot Strides & Partner Core

workoutwednesday

Bouncing off last week’s post about adding strides into your running regimen by RunningDad.com, today I want you to strengthen your feet by going barefoot.

For thousands of years, our ancestors walked and ran sans shoes all the time without injury. Somewhere along the way, shoes became an extension of our body. As years went by, soles became thicker and our feet became weaker.

There are twenty-six bones in each foot on average, plus the tibia and fibula of the lower leg. There are around a hundred muscles, tendons, and ligaments around the foot and ankle. When your feet are in shoes for the majority of your waking day, there is a compression of these bones and muscles that limits blood flow and weakens the supportive nature of your feet.

At the very least, I encourage you to kick off your shoes once you get home from work. Even better, go au naturel, free your feet and add in barefoot strides at the end of your next run. Running barefoot not only feels good on the tootsies, but can help strengthen the muscles in the foot.

Spring is finally here – the grass is green, so go out on your yard (or scope out the best lawn in your neighborhood) or if all else fails, head to a turf field. Be sure your surface is free from small rocks, sticks, glass and….poop (from animals, not people…hopefully).

Try doing 4-6 100-yd strides with rest in between after your next slow run!

And…a double feature for your Workout Wednesday – A Partner Core Workout

1st: Find a spouse, significant other, running partner, friend or random victim to help challenge your core. Do each exercise for 30-45 seconds; take 15 seconds to rest and transition. Do circuit two times.

Double Leg Circles: Lie on mats feet-to-feet. Each of you will extend your legs out and rotate your legs/feet in a circular motion around your partner’s legs. Don’t forget to go both directions!

18869698_10154577242197747_600622289_o

Plank Shoulder Pushes: Go into a plank position face-to-face. Take turns firmly pushing on each other’s shoulders. Stay strong and don’t let you partner push you back!

18869698_10154577241897747_85293446_o

Crunch w/Dumbbell (or Medicine Ball) Pass: Lie on mats feet-to-feet – knee bent. Both people come up to a crunch/sit up position at the same time – one passes a dumbbell or medicine ball to the other. Both return to starting position; come up into crunch/situp and pass weight again. Repeat.

18869646_10154577241792747_79140226_o

Oblique Sit-Ups: Lay next to your partner on the floor with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Hands should be placed on either side of your head. Your back should be flat against the floor. Engage your core and lift your shoulders off the floor to an upright position, rotating your torso towards your partner as you reach the top. Take the outside arm (the one that is farthest from your partner) and reach across your body, firing your oblique muscles, to give your partner a high five. Carefully lower your upper body back to the floor. Repeat, then switch sides.

18836227_10154577241607747_600015164_o

 

WWPhotoContest

Make sure you take a photo of yourself doing one of the Workout Wednesday exercises then post on the Facebook or Twitter pages of RunningDad.com or RunaissanceMom to be entered to win a prize!

Challenge yourself! Need some incentive? RunningDad.com and I are challenging you during the month of May.
Take a #WW selfie of you doing one of our workouts and post on either of our Facebook or Twitter pages to try to win!

(1) Prize: (1) Nuun tube, (1) pair of Lock Laces, (2) Honey Stinger waffles and a $20 gift card to Dick’s Sporting Goods!

 

Rules:
1. Post your selfie on the Workout Wednesday post and use the #WorkoutWednesday tag. Photo can be submitted on either RunningDad.com or RunaissanceMom Facebook or Twitter accounts.
2. Each photo equals one entry. Only one entry per Workout Wednesday will be counted. 5 Wednesdays in May = 5 chances to win.
3. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook, Twitter, Nuun, Honey Stinger, Lock Laces or Dick’s Sporting Goods.
4. Contest will close at midnight EST on June 1, 2017. One winner will be selected and contacted on June 2, 2017.

Workout Wednesday – Static & Dynamic Strength

My turn for Workout Wednesday!

During strength training, our muscles can produce force in three different ways. In the lifting phase of an exercise, the muscle is shortened, which is called the concentric action. When lowering the load and lengthening the muscle, this action is referred to as the eccentric action. If you have strength trained before, you are most likely familiar with these two dynamic actions.

Normally, many of us do not tend to focus on the static contraction.

This third action which causes our muscles to produce force are called isometric contractions. In an isometric contraction, no length in the muscle is created. Incorporating isometric exercises into your training can lead to gains muscle strength, flexibility and improved balance.

Today’s workout pairs all 3 contractions in a modified Tabata-style workout and we add in a little cardio as well.

Remember to warm up at least 5-10 minutes before starting. You will need light dumbbells and a mat.

Each exercise will be completed twice for 20 seconds on/10 seconds rest Static/Dynamic/Static/Dynamic before moving to the next set.

Workout will take approximately 25 minutes.

 

Group A:

  1. Static Squat/Squat (i.e. Static Squat/Squats/Static Squat/Squats)
  2. Low Push Up Hold/Push Up (i.e. Push Up Hold/Push Up/Push Up Hold/Push Ups and so on; pushups can be modified on knees)
  3. Static Lunge/Alternating Lunges

CARDIO: Jumping Jacks (20 on/10 off X 4), then 45-60 Seconds of REST

Group B:

  1. V-Sit/Chest Fly/V-Sit + Chest Fly (on floor; this one has 3 parts)
  2. Wall Sit/Squat Jumps
  3. Tricep Dip Hold/Tricep Dips

CARDIO: Skater Jumps (20 on/10 off X 4), then 45-60 Seconds of REST

 

Group C:

  1. Superman Hold/Superman Raises
  2. Side Plank Hold/Side Plank Hip Dips (Do Left, then Right; can be in modified position)
  3. Downward Dog Hold/Downward Dog Press

CARDIO: Jack + Alternating Kick (20 on/10 off X 4), then 45-60 Seconds of REST

 

Remember, the first exercise is a static hold, second is dynamic/moving (ie squat hold; up & down squats).

All of these strength and cardio exercises can be found online if you aren’t sure what to do. If you have questions, please feel free to ask!

Enjoy!

Throwback Thursday: 1 Year Anniversary

“I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.”

imageOne year ago today, I reached my original weight loss goal after 11 months of creating a lifestyle change.

Looking back, I wrote:

“338 days ago, the life I had been living for 15 years changed. For the better.

I can now be proud to tell you I was a competitive runner from 7th grade through college. I can tell you my career was in corporate fitness and I helped open the Valley Health Wellness & Fitness Center.

Before, I would definitely shy away from discussing my athletic accomplishments and educational background. Growing up in PA, friends in Winchester weren’t fully aware of my athletic background, and for that I was glad. I would be slightly embarrassed to tell them I once ran a 5:04 mile; that I still hold a couple district records and a state record. When the discussion would arise, I would say, “I know it’s hard to tell by the way I look now”. I was ashamed to tell people that I also had a degree in exercise science. I could just imagine them thinking, “she obviously doesn’t practice what she preaches”.

313414_2453886349546_272301881_n
Me, 2011

How did I go from a Division I athlete to a sedentary lifestyle? Life. A year after college graduation, I met my husband along with his two children (who lived with us) and soon after, we added a third child. My husband traveled a lot with work. My priorities shifted. I would say I didn’t have the time to exercise. With two active children and a toddler, we were always on the go and didn’t always eat the best food. The weight packed on.

During perhaps the busiest time of my life – being a wife, a mother, working full-time starting up a local business and running my own business – I am unsure of the catalyst – but I decided it was time to make a change.

I had started to eat healthier (or so I thought). I just happened to attend a business luncheon and saw Jacqueline Shoemaker, owner of Winchester Weight Loss. I shared with her that I was starting to eat healthier, but wasn’t really losing. She said three little words – drop. the. carbs. My exact words back to her were, “I can do anything but that! I love carbs!”. However, I decided I had nothing to lose (but pounds!) and I would at least try.

Concurrently, I attempted running again. It was painful and disappointing. I could barely make a half mile, let alone a mile. I would struggle, but kept putting one foot in front of another, alternating walking and running. Each day, I promised myself at least 30 minutes of time to exercise.

Here I am, nearly 1 year later. I am 60 lbs. lighter. I just finished my first half marathon. I am teaching fitness classes and leading a kids running club. I am not ashamed to talk about my past.

I tell you this not because I want to boast. I want you to hear about someone that may be just like you. I want you to know you can do this. Make yourself a priority. Invest in your health.

Know the journey may be frustrating. The numbers on the scale will go up and down; you may not be able to run a mile or finish an exercise class. Stick with it.

After the half marathon, I told my husband this race was most likely the one I was most proud of finishing. When I was young, it was easy to run; easy to find the time and I didn’t have “adult” stress. Sunday, I didn’t win the race or even my age group. BUT – this medal represented a year long journey of finding me again.”

11960002_10153502920527747_1180822685737739393_n
After my 1st Half Marathon – 4/2016

Over the last year, I have lost an additional 10 lbs and am hoping to maintain my current weight. Once again, I can say I am a competitive runner (and am LOVING it!). Training with friends, racing and setting new personal records has reignited my passion for running. Helping friends and family reach their goals has made my heart feel full. I am happy.

I feel like ME. 

17195363_10154333269182747_1796163100_o
Left: Before 2011/2012 Right: 2017

Every now and then, it’s nice to look back and see how far you’ve come.

If you haven’t read my journey, visit my earlier posts Runaissance, Making A Change, and Into a Holding Pattern to get more insight on how I made a lifestyle change.

Do you want to make a change? Have a question on how to get started? If so, always feel free to message me!

Until next time,

Becky

 

Coaching Kids

“All kids need is a little help, a little hope and somebody who believes in them.” – Magic Johnson

Earlier this week, I talked about hiring a coach to help achieve my 2017 goals. Some of you may know I do a little coaching myself. A little over a month from now, I will begin my 3rd season as a kids running club coach. Last year, I had no intentions of becoming a coach but a friend saw the job posting and tagged me on social media. At first, anxiety set in and I felt unsure I was cut out for the job. After a series of emails to the supervisor, I decided to go for it – not knowing I would have 30 kids the first time around!

Thank goodness for parents who helped run along with us – trying to corral 20-30 kids ages 7-14 is not the easiest task. My goal for the 1st season was to provide a variety of running workouts in a fun way and just get kids moving. We ran hill and track workouts, did running drills/stretches and of course, played a lot too. Throughout the season, I also tried to provide a little education about nutrition, hydration and other running tips. Although at first, I was unsure I would enjoy coaching youngsters, I really enjoyed the session and continued for the fall as well.

So, why do I coach? Honestly, I will tell you it is not to create future Olympians. I want these kids to find their love for running. Running is a lifetime sport and I want to help spark a passion and hopefully they will continue running for a long time. From previous experience as a highly competitive runner from age 11-21; running and competing all year round is tough. Eventually, the time will come for them to compete (if they chose to do so); but for now, I want them to just have fun.

14446219_1692189221107697_4216999926289951719_n-1

Besides the fun, I want to help them develop discipline, a strong work ethic, leadership skills and encourage them to create and strive towards personal goals. We do run a timed mile in the beginning and end of each season. After the 1st mile, I encourage each child to set an achievable goal to reach at the end – if we hit that goal prior to the end, we update our goal.

We also work on teamwork and supporting one another. As runners know, hill workouts are tough. At running club, we often make our hill workout a team relay. Of course, the kids become competitive with the other team, but they are all so supportive for everyone. This session tends to be the loudest and craziest of our workouts. Each time we do this workout, my heart swells watching them cheer on each other.

At the end of each practice, we play a variety of running games – different types of tag, cones up/cones down, cops & robbers, etc. but at the very last practice, we spend the entire practice doing a running scavenger hunt. I’ve never seen kids run so fast to get to the end! The smiles I see and the laughter I hear each practice is well worth my time.

13308191_1155319304507762_7812884386535045450_o

Why do my kids run? I asked a few what is it about running they love?

J.S. – “I like running because running is exercise and I like exercise. What I like most about running is being able to be outdoors and be with my friends and you can do run just about anywhere.”

E.K. – “Running makes me happy. I like to be able to run somewhere because Mommy doesn’t like it when I run in the house.”

E.S. – “Running makes me feel happy and confident. I like running with friends and sprinting.”

L.H. – “Running makes me feel good and refreshed. I like running with my friends it makes me happy.”

D.M. – “Running makes me feel happy. I have fun getting personal bests and running with my family.”

A.D. & R.D. – “Running makes me feel good, exercised, stronger and free.” “I like running; it makes me feel good and tired.”

All of these kids were asked the question by their parents separately and all of the kids are 10 and under. Sense a common theme? Just listening to their answers makes me very excited to start another season of running club.

13239345_10209377601505963_3854321484743020425_n

If your child is interested, please check out http://www.co.frederick.va.us/departments/o-z/parks-recreation/youth-programs/community-recreation-youth – I coach the Sherando session on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Today, I ask of you – how does running make YOU feel?

Until next time,

Becky

 

 

Tackling Your First 5K

“The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.” – John Bingham

 

16442983_10154248038302747_1251023079_o

So you’re thinking about running your first 5K. While running 3 miles in a row may seem intimidating or overwhelming, you can train and complete a 5K in approximately 8 weeks. Training for a 5K is very feasible and can be accomplished in less than 30-45 minutes each session.

To help get you started, I recommend finding a walk/run program to begin your training. There are several free and easy-to-use apps that will help keep you on track. With a walk/run program, you will begin building your training base – alternating walking and running in varying increments of time. For example, week 1 would include walking for a 5 minute warm up and then alternating 60 seconds of running with 90 seconds of  walking for 20 minutes; then a 5 minute cool down. Plan on training at least 3 times per week.

A few tips to help you along the way:

Choosing a 5K Race: While not necessary to plan at the beginning, selecting a race and having a set date can help you stay motivated and have a finish line in sight. Can’t find a local 5K? Websites such as active.com or runsignup.com list races all over the country.

Selecting the right shoes & gear: If you’ve never run before, it’s usually a great idea to visit your local running store. Most running stores will have a fitting process – they can analyze your gait and help fit you with the ideal shoes for your feet. In addition to shoes, be sure to find the right undergarments, socks and other clothing for running. If you are local to Winchester, try Runner’s Retreat or Two Rivers Treads.

Schedule your runs: Life can be hectic. Most of us use a calendar to accomplish daily appointments and tasks. Treat your workout just like another item on your to-do list. Morning runs may work for some people; but others may like evening best.

Unsure where to run? Check out a site such as www.mapmyrun.com to plan your route in advance. Check out your local tracks, trails and paths to mix up the scenery. Don’t be afraid to take on some hills along the way!

Find a friend to join you: Having someone run/walk with you can help keep you accountable and you can also have someone to chat with!

Don’t worry about your speed: Work towards finishing each workout and not your speed. Don’t be afraid to walk in the beginning. Each week you’ll be building a base and I promise, it will get easier!

S-T-R-E-T-C-H! Before you run, try to add a few dynamic stretches to help warm up your muscles and can also improve your range of motion. Walking lunges, slow high knees and butt kicks are a few examples of dynamic exercises. Also, stretch after you run. Stretching can also help prevent injury and increase your flexibility.

Continue your strength training, HIIT and/or cross training: HIIT workouts are effective cross training for runners and other endurance athletes, due to the focus on anaerobic work, which increases the body’s lactate threshold and allows your body to work at a higher intensity for longer before reaching fatigue.

If you’ve already tackled the 5K and want to attempt a 10K, check out this article and program being offered by Runner’s Retreat.

Or, want to strive for something longer? RunningDad.com offers coaching/training plans for half marathons and marathons.

Hope to see you at the finish line!

“The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.” – John Bingham

How the times have changed…

What’s old is new again…but better?

Some say the days go by slow, but the years go by fast. Truth. When I think about my running hiatus, it can be so hard to believe it was 15 years ago when I walked off the track and hung up my running shoes.

Now, running is still the same; yet so different.

In the 90s, I pretty much donned a pair of trainers, maybe put on my Timex and went for a run. Maybe, someone would drive around and measure a course to navigate and off I’d go. I had no idea of pace; distance during the run or heart rate. I just ran. I’d finish my run and then drink tap water.

Coming back into the running world, wow, was I overwhelmed with new products and gear. Today, we are surrounded by GPS watches, a myriad of running shoes, compression gear, hydration replacement, fuel and so much more. This last year, I have been educated in many of these areas and have tried a variety of new gear. I thought I’d share my favorites for any runners who may new to the game.

All opinions are my own and not influenced by any brands mentioned.

Shoes

asics-gel-saga_

I’m pretty sure my first pair of running shoes were a pair of Nike Air Pegasus and I know I definitely had the Asics above at some point. When I started running again, I tried to go back to my tried-and-true Asics and unfortunately, this brand just didn’t work for me as well as it once did. While training and racing half marathons, I was suffering from blisters often.

After researching and talking to friends who run in zero drop shoes, I decided to try a pair and I LOVE them. I wish had several pairs of Topos! Since I switched to a shoe with a wider toe box and also started wearing a better sock, I haven’t had a single blister.

Watch

s-l1600

No fancy GPS, pacing or heart rate tracking here. Push start at the beginning and stop at the end….or wow, take splits! In college, one of my teammates was a math whiz and she would calculate our pace then inform the rest of us. Otherwise, we just tried to base our runs off of perceived effort.

These days, I have a simple but much more impressive Garmin – love being able to just hit the road running and have an idea of how far I’m going without necessarily having to plan a route beforehand. I do have to say I like the instant gratification of knowing my mile pace.

Hydration

allsport

When younger, I usually rehydrated with basic H2O; most likely straight from the tap. Yikes. Maybe we had Gatorade or how about AllSport?

After training for a marathon throughout the summer, hydration was key for performance and recovery. I tried a variety of beverages to rehydrate during and after my long runs. Some made my stomach feel not too great. I’m happy to say I found Nuun and now I’m a Nuun ambassador. Clean product and perfect for me after a run or working out.

As far as basic water, learning about pH and the alkalinity of bottled and tap water has been eye opening – do you know what’s in the water you are drinking?

Fuel

blow-pops-blue-raspberry3

Now, this was a completely new area for me. I have struggled with hypoglycemia, so I was “fueling” 5Ks back in the day. Often I’d have an apple or bagel about 2 hours before I’d run. Some race days, you’d find me with a blue tongue prior to the race – I used to eat blue raspberry blow pops before races to give me a quick burst of energy to last through the 20 minutes of racing. Then, I’d crash.

When I started to train for half marathon and marathons, I asked many friends and researched fueling options including jelly bean and goo options. I headed to the store and purchased several different types which I tried during my training runs. Some were pretty gross and some were like candy (maybe my blue raspberry pop wasn’t too far off!).

My suggestion is to try several and find what works for you..and try them during your training runs, not race day!

Compression

Another new area of gear I’m learning about and I will be sharing more information on this category soon! Watch out for some news and a review in the upcoming days.

Massage/Foam Rollers

cramer-atomic-balm-1lb

Often, I think about how lucky I was in high school. My dad, mom or coach gave me a leg massage before every.single.race. We’d break out the Atomic Balm and I’d get a fiery leg massage before heading out on the track or course. Some serious ointment although these days, I use something less atomic.

Foam roller. Ahhh, my saving grace after my 1st marathon. I’m pretty sure every single muscle was sore after 26.2 miles. A friend suggested foam rolling, so once again I headed to the store in search of a foam cylinder to help with my aches and pains. Since I don’t have my full massage team at my disposal these days, being able to replicate a massage with the foam roller is great!

So, there are a few of my new favorite things.

Have you been a runner for a long time? What gear do you love now? What gear do you miss?

Until next time,

TRM