Frequency over Duration

I have to admit it’s been difficult keeping up with a steady post schedule. My son has entered school age and between homework, his sports schedule and my own training and race schedule I am utterly exhausted after lunches are packed and we’re ready for the next day!!! And I know I’m not alone in the daily battle to keep up and there are plenty of parents doing the same as me with more than one child.

Where you will see the difference is between those moms and dads who keep up with daily life demands and still manage to get a workout or a run in on top of everything on a regular basis. It’s hard enough to make sure you’re eating right, avoiding the drive through but to spend hours at the gym? That’s a big commitment.

What’s the trick? The answer is it depends on you and what your goals are.

I know a mom with four kids who gets up really early to hit the gym and is home by the time the kids are up. I have a friend who runs after work and goes to a weekly cross fit class. There is another ‘soccer mom’ I know that gets her running in just on Saturday mornings. You have to find something that works for you and your schedule but doesn’t hurt your family time.

So the easiest way that works for me is I have a ‘Frequency over Duration’ mantra. I can’t always go for a long Sunday morning run but if I have 15 minutes I run or ride my bike for 15 minutes. If my son is at practice I can sneak in some interval training. I can do my abs for a few minutes before I get into bed if I didn’t get to the gym that day.

Don’t ever thing that a few extra minutes isn’t enough time because a few extra minutes every day can make a big difference at the end of the week. And what would those 15 minutes add up to at the end of the month? The end of next month?

Does anyone else do this? How to you maximize your exercise time?

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It’s freezing out there!

Although it hasn’t gotten down into bitter cold temperatures (around here anyway) it’s still cold enough to keep a good portion of us inside. While you may be comfortable in the temperature controlled gym on the treadmill that is helping you keep your pace you’re missing the brisk energizing winter air.

I know it’s not the optimal running conditions but a nice run or walk in the cold air can break up the monotony of the gym in the winter and if you can bear that initial chest pain you will find yourself invigorated.

Make sure you have all the proper cold weather gear and don’t forget reflective clothing if your workouts have out there in the dark. Make sure you’re in a safe place and run against traffic so you can see what’s coming at you. Cover your ears and your hands to keep warm too!

Even a quick mile run or walk will make a difference. Try it!

Happy Training!

The Right Gear for Fall

The cold weather is coming. We can already feel it. It’s not at the point that it stings our chest yet, but it’s difficult to know what to wear if we’re exercising outside of the controlled confines of the gym. Dressing appropriately during this fall season can be challenging because you just don’t know what Mother Nature will throw at you, but with the right gear we can make our workouts more comfortable and maybe make it easier to get in that extra mile.

There are all kinds of material out there now – heat gear, cold gear, etc. So what do you choose? Pick what’s appropriate for the weather but know that you’ll get warmer when you start exercising. This is the reason I dress in layers. If it’s a short run, I may just go with long sleeves because I know I won’t be out there too long. If I’m going to do more than 5 miles, I wear a short and a long sleeve top. This way when I warm up I can take the top laver off and then put it back on when I’m finished so you don’t get the chills as you start to cool down. For bottoms, you can’t really do the layering trick. So if you’re undecided, go with capris. They keep your larger leg muscles warm but still give you some breathing room.

What about rain? This one is tough because the air may not be as cold but it’s damp. I will put a hat on to keep the rain off my face for starters. You also want to have layers on here too, but don’t overdress just because it’s raining. Dress for the air temperature and make sure your top layer is wet resistant but not suffocating. You can always take it off and tie it around your waist.

Do you have any ideas or suggestions for fall exercise gear? If so please share them! Happy Training!

Journey to Philly – 9 weeks to go

I’m now in real marathon training mode. Not that I wasn’t before because I registered back in April and I’ve been running and competing all spring and summer and it all counts for something. At least that what I’ve been telling myself but now its fall and it’s time to get serious.

Training for a marathon is very different from training for any other competition. Now, every step toward your goal – whether it’s to run a 5K or a half marathon or any other fitness accomplishment – takes committment, time, patience, and guts. But what I’ve found is that the marathon takes all those but to the next level. I never imagined in my entire life I would be able to say that I ran a marathon. Yes, I ran 26.2 miles and it took me 4 hours and 45 minutes to do it. And in a little less than 9 weeks I’m going to do it again.

Preparation is the take home point for training for a marathon. You need to be prepared to run that far and for that long. But each competition requires some preparation and it depends on your experience and personal choices as to what you will need.

The two most importing things you need for competition and for general fitness:
– You need to be properly hydrated. It really hurts when you haven’t taken in enough fluids and you start to cramp. the key is to drink before you are thirsty and then keep drinking. water is best prior to running…save the low cal sports drink until you’re done.
– Proper footwear that is supportive. you’re sneaks from last spring probably don’t have the support you really need if you’re running. My knees will tell me if I need new shoes!

After you’re satisfied those two items the rest is easy! Comfy clothes and a good playlist (if you’re a music person) will keep you going for whatever distance you set out for.

Happy Training!

Strong Mind – Strong Breath

I have to admit it…it was a tough run out there tonight. Our normal Tuesday night 5 miler wasn’t as crowded. A handful of ‘regulars’ back out tonight and I don’t believe it was because they were coming off of a holiday weekend either. We were three ladies strong but we even had our tough spots.

The hot, humid, dead air tonight was more reminiscent of July and August rather than May so our bodies aren’t quite used to it. We haven’t built up that tolerance yet and the Canal path kicked our butts. But we pushed on despite the obstacles nature threw at us and finished our run. We finished it because of one main factor. No it’s not our training or just because it’s Tuesday night routine or because of a race plan that we’ve held ourselves to…all of those things absolutely help you stay on track. But it’s because of a strong mind that you can overcome the discomfort that running sometimes brings.

When you’re getting to the point when you’re in the middle of your workout (whatever it is) and you think that you can’t go any further or you’re struggling to finish, you need to reach inside – beyond any physical capabilities you may have – and mentally tell yourself to keep going.

Some runners have mantras. My coach always said “loose lips, loose legs”. I’ve heard some other pretty good ones over the years too. I personally focus inward and concentrate on my breathing. This has always had the biggest positive effect on me because I am able to block out all other external factors when I focus on my breathing…in through the nose and out through the mouth, nice and steady. It’s amazing how when I get my breathing under control I can calm the rest of me down, focus on my form that may have gone out of whack due to fatigue, ignore what everyone else is doing around me, and even ignore mother nature (to the best extent possible). Calming your mind and focusing on your breathing also allows your body to get the oxygen to where it needs it most. Some of us forget to breath when we’re exercising! They we get tight and crampy and then we get cranky and sometimes stop.

My mind and my breathing got me through my workout tonight and allowed me to finish the 5 miles I set out to do. Strong mind & Strong Breath.

One month to go!

It’s just under one month until Daylight Savings Time. Do you know what that means? Spring is almost here and the unofficial running season begins!

Of course running doesn’t have an official season. Plenty of us are consistently and diligently on our treadmills at home or at the gym all winter long, or just when we get the urge to move off of the couch. I personally despise the treadmill. Yes, I’m a runner who hates the treadmill and will do anything to avoid it. If I’m forced to get my cardio workout indoors you will find me on the elliptical, maybe the bike, definitely in the pool, but very rarely on the treadmill. I will run outside, albeit lower mileage, as long as it’s not so cold that it hurts to breathe…and even then sometimes I will brave it if it’s not windy.

So, this is why I personally get excited for Daylight Savings Time. There’s more light at the end of my workday that I can actually get some decent running in during the week. And with the daylight comes the warmth, or at least the progression toward warmth. I don’t have to cram my cardio in at the gym and hope that there’s a good movie playing in the cardio room :-). I’m not a morning person so the sunrise run is not for me. If you are one of those people who can manage to perform at those ungodly hours than I tip my hat to you!

The message that I want to convey is that it’s OK if you’re one of the many people who aren’t as motivated to exercise during the cold winter months. Most of us are in that same boat. However, with just a few weeks until the lighter and warmer weather, you may want to start thinking of what you want to do come early to mid March.

Things to consider and prepare yourself:
1 – Look at your sneakers and see if you need a new ones (if your soles look worn it’s time for a new pair)
2 – Spend some time at the gym or at home strengthening your leg and core muscles
3 – Check out your gear and make sure you have comfortable clothing to run in
4 – Determine a location for your first few runs (local track, neighborhood, park trails)

Having a plan and going through a few steps to prepare for your running will help you get motivated, increase your committment to your workouts, and reduce your risk of throwing in the towel after your first time out there.

Happy Training!