It’s July… birthday, running, racing. Where have I Been?

Me @ Central Park

Wow! Hot days and Summer are moving full steam ahead while I have been preoccupied with various non-running essentials. Sometimes life can get in the way of your plans and you literally have to fight your way out and double down on your efforts to stay on course. That has been my struggle this last month or so, but no more. I’m welcoming July with the full intent of racking up those miles and getting totally physical with my workouts. Plus, it also happens to be my birthday month, which adds a bit of extra motivation to my grand scheme of becoming the fittest version of myself.

Me and the pro’s @ nyrr mini 10K

A brief look back saw us celebrating international running day in June, people all over the world joined in and got their run on and shared about it on social media. For my part, that was one of the days I made sure to get out there and celebrate our sport with other like-minded people. It was awesome to see and be a part of a world community committed to running for every reason you could think of. Then there was the mini 10K, the only women’s race in the city, certainly the first of its kind in the world, where we show a lot of woman power and even international presence. About 8,500 of us ran this year and though that was a slightly lower number than last year, it was a totally well-executed run by NYRR. Surprisingly, I had my best 10K time in a few years. I never run particularly well in the heat so it did kick my butt in the latter miles, but somehow I was able to do it in a time in which I was satisfied, 46:31, and made me 198th overall, which  means there are some really fast runners in this city.

Yep, I soul cycle.

Not much happened after that as I got bogged down with work and had to slow down, not stop, my plans. I’ve been spending most of my running time in the gym, splitting between runs on the treadmill, body pump classes, spin classes, strength training and doing core work. Therefore, it hasn’t been all bad just less running. Like I said, I plan on upping my mileage this month and hope to do a bit more running outside, either early in the mornings or late in the evenings on account of the heat. This is also the month I plan on starting cross fit training. Happy Birthday to me!

Gyming and Running Fun Workouts

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The new year appears well underway while some of us are still struggling to get out of the Christmas mindset, if I had my way it would be three months from now, but of course time runs along and rightfully so should we. There, that’s my bit of pep talk.  Seriously though, the arctic weather we’ve been having around the country doesn’t help to put us in a get-up-and-out frame of mind either so I figure I’ll share my secret, which is really no secret at all, on how to get those new ambitious goals on stream and have some fun while you’re at it.

I try to keep a gym membership year round but in the beautiful, late Spring to early Fall months, it’s hard. Sunshine, trees, flowers and birds are the sounds of nature calling and I’m a sucker so I rarely go the gym them and when I do, it’s mostly because I must have some type of cross training for a run. On the other hand, Winter sends me literally running to the gym and there the treadmill and I tough it out. You guys know my history with that piece of equipment… so anyway, I figure I have a good thing going this time around; always running, but coupled with either a class, weights or stretches and, what I call, tummy time. This variety keeps my workouts interesting but more importantly, keeps me interested. I try for three to four times a week these days and really with these conditions, it’s as much as I can make, as well as 10-12 miles being the maximum I can handle on there. If you can handle more, I say run with it.  On any given day, here’s what I came up with:

  • 8-10 miles of increased speed and incline beginning with 7 and flat respectively, increasing in increments of .5 followed by complete body stretches to include some yoga poses, squats, crunches, planks, push ups etc… add some bonus jump ropes
  • 45 mins of a high intensity Spin class followed by 8-10 miles of varying speed and incline as above with some light stretching thereafter
  • 8 miles per above and by 2 miles on the elliptical with incremental incline and speed as well followed by a yoga class and some crunch time either freehand or machine-assisted
  • Kickboxing Class followed by 10 miles, 5 of those flat and fast-paced and 5 at a level 3 incline with medium pace and light stretching afterwards
  • Boxing Class followed by a tempo-paced 5 mile with slight incline, light stretching then leg weight training and some bonus crunches
  • 8-10 miles of incrementally increased incline and speed followed by light stretching, kettle bell squats and an arm and chest weight workout
  • Belly Dance or Zumba class followed by 10-12 miles at set pace and incline level and light stretching
  • Total Body workout class: includes cardio, weights, floor exercises & stretches followed by 8 miles at medium pace with incline at level 3 and light stretching
  • 5 mile easy run followed by an interval run or hill test set by the machine followed by a Pilate’s class
  • 10-12 miles at half-marathon pace with varying incline levels simulating that of a road run followed by a long deep stretch
  • 8-10 miles with pace and incline of your choice followed by light stretching and a back and shoulder weight workout

I’ts possible your gym may not have all these classes so you may have to adjust here and there to suit your situation and your needs but hey.. who ever said you couldn’t go out there and have a blast of a workout, even in winter. Winter 2015 presents the ideal challenge and opportunity to kickstart your new year goals and if the suggestions above help just a little in that regard, I’ll be totally tickled. So while the ideas are mine, it’s up to you to make the workout suggestions yours. As always, Happy Running!

Cross Training for Runners

Recently there has been a surge in the idea that Cross Training can benefit runners, increasing strength, endurance and building muscle. It is suggested that Cross Training can be supplemental to running, providing variety while strengthening and building muscles that normally atrophy with overuse and helping with speed and endurance to make you run longer, faster and better.

According to Dr. Vonda Wright, in her power play video above, what one needs to be a great racer goes beyond good sneakers and great nutrition. She claims, that what makes one a great racer is metabolic efficiency, balanced muscles and total body fitness. I believe she’s right on target with her attempt to get us to question and stretch ourselves.

There exist a ton of information on the best exercises to optimize your running potential, so much so, that it can be difficult to decide where your best results lie. Most trainers and runners agree that exercises, which target core areas and strengthen those that you use for running, which would pretty much mean your total body, are the ones you need to focus on. Some are: Swimming, Biking, Gym Workouts to include core work such as planks and squats; Yoga and Pilates are great for this, and Light Weights. Biking is great for strength training and targets your quads, gluts and legs without the impact of pavement pounding. Swimming is no impact and great for upper body and shoulder strengthening. It helps with stability and control and helps you stay in line when running because it builds core strength. Also, as with biking, runner’s knee and other susceptible injuries are a misnomer. Finally, there is so much to do at the gym..where to begin? Kettle bells! I love the feel and result. They have the advantage of giving your muscles and gluts a good workout-great butt booster girls-but lower the risk of injuries associated with heavier weights. Kettle bells can be included in a circuit workout that may include butt kicks, burpees, jumping jacks, planks and high knees. Remember the idea here is to be lean and fit so the focus should be on less weights and more reps. This will keep you in good stead, strengthening those muscles that will help you to be a more efficient and effective runner.

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Happy Cross Training guys.

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