The Early Runner Gets the Sprinkler

While my tagline for this blog is “wake up, lace up, show up”, for me this mostly applies to race day.   I truly believe that a big part of being successful in anything is making the effort to just be there.  When the alarm goes off early in the morning on race day, wake up, lace up, show up has been my mantra.  Basically – just get yourself out the door and you’ll be fine.

However, this has not been my mantra for training.  I train whenever I can get it in.  I’ve assumed that as long as I get the run in at some point, I’ll be fine.  I am usually up late studying or getting my stuff/my kids stuff ready for the next day until 11:00 pm or midnight, occasionally 1:00 am these days.  I need to be up by at least 6:00 or 6:30 to get ready for my day.  The few times I’ve tried to get up early to run, I’m just too dog tired or don’t feel like it.  I also have this nagging feeling that I’ll be too sluggish to really put in a good effort and I’ll just dial in the workout instead of giving it everything I’ve got as I do with my evening or lunchtime runs.

That said, I’ve had some issues come up that have been problematic with my evening runs and the blaring facts point to switching to morning running.  So here’s the situation with the evening runs…

  1. Trouble sleeping: I’m having trouble with insomnia lately.  Just can’t fall asleep.  It’s hard to calm down by 11:00 when I may have just come home from a 45 minute run at 10:00 pm.
  2. Scheduling: Additional evening activities (golf/kayaking/kids lacrosse) are taking away from my running time so I run either super late or move my workout or scramble to finish homework at the last minute on Sunday or all of the above.
  3. Weather: It’s getting hotter.  Even in Minnesota.  My runs this weekend were brutally difficult, made worse by the blaring sun, even in the evening hours.

All of this smacked me in the face yesterday afternoon.  I looked at my husband and said “I have to start running in the mornings”.  To which he said “Good luck”.  I told him I wasn’t sure how I was going to do it and proceeded to whine and complain about waking up early.  He said “Just do it.  Put out your stuff the night before and go before your brain even registers you’re outside.”  I figured this is all easy enough for Mr.Snooze-55-times to say but whatever, maybe it’s worth trying.

My alarm this morning went off at 5:30 am.  I didn’t hit snooze.  I got up, got a drink of water.  I wanted to go back to bed but I didn’t.  I put my stuff out and went outside.  I have to say, I felt great.  It was one of my best runs I’ve had this month.  It was another speed interval workout and I was able to hit all of the intervals without issue.  The sun was just coming up and the air was cool.  As an added bonus toward the end of the run when things started to heat up, I got an unanticipated treat – sprinklers!  Getting a nice mist when you’re pouring sweat is a pretty sweet little bonus.

I was home in time to get in a half a banana and a protein shake before my shower.  I also have the luxury of knowing that this evening I have golf lessons with my boys, then some homework and plenty of time to relax with the hubs.  No 15 minutes changing, half hour running, 15 minute shower and recover.  I actually kind of hate how well this went because it means I probably need to make the effort to get out there early on a more regular basis. 🙂  Operation wake up, lace up, show up continues this week.  Stay tuned!

6-23 run

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Happy National Running Day!

What a cool day.  I’ve loved watching my twitter feed blow up with running stuff all day. 🙂  I got in 2.3 miles myself this evening.  We’ve had crazy thunder storms in my area of Minnesota all day today but I finished my 7 max pace sprints on the treadmill followed by some strength training.  I am pooped!  I’ve somehow been able to get through all of my planned workouts this week, even with the recovery issue.  IMG_0439

Happy National Running Day!IMG_0438

Pick a lane? No thanks.

We’ve all seen that driver on the interstate, weaving all over the place, always trying to get in a faster, better lane.  This has pretty much been my approach to exercise from day one of my journey.  I’ve changed my training plan several times to the point where I rarely actually finish a training program.  There’s always something bigger, brighter, shinier around the corner.  After numerous attempts to complete as seen on TV type workout plans and failing, I one day told myself it didn’t matter what I did as long as I did something for exercise every day.  And the freedom in that variety is what got me going and hooked on fitness.  I did the elliptical, I did YouTube videos, I walked my dog, I jumped rope, I swam with my kids, rode my bike, did yoga, took classes etc.

In almost everything else I crave routine.  My mornings are coffee and talk radio in my car.  Every week day.  I buy the same running shoes when my old ones wear out.  I have a 16 year supply of perfume (same one I’ve been wearing since I turned 15).  Exercise for me has been the healthy dose of variety my life needs.10535615_10204454717304821_5735394766138690464_o

Through my trial and error process of fitness I’ve found that I truly enjoy running, paddle boarding, cycling and weight lifting.  I love the strength and physique I get from lifting.  There is no better feeling than the pride and glow of finishing a long distance run or race.  And paddle boarding and cycling are just fun for fun’s sake.  SUP and cycling for me don’t even feel like exercise. I would do them if there were zero physical benefits.  (Lucky for me there are though!)

Yay!  Exercise!  Healthy and wellness!  Where’s the problem?  I’m starting to get more serious about my lifting and my running (26.2 on 10/4/15).  After last week’s sickness and subsequent gym hiatus, I’ve been so happy to be back in the gym and making progress.  I’m getting stronger on my lifts, and I’m really enjoying it.  I’m also starting to look at marathon training programs since Spring will be here before we know it and I know I’ll need approximately 18 weeks of solid training.  Unfortunately some of my 1621786_10204793492373986_702821337161782815_nrunning acquaintances have questioned my low mileage and have made mention that I will need to stop lifting once I start actual marathon training, else I risk losing endurance. There is the concern that the additional bulk of muscles could cause running slowness.  On the other side, my lifting acquaintances have said that excess endurance running will ruin the coveted strength and muscle gains.

I don’t want to be spinning my wheels, putting in a lot of extra work just to have everything cancel itself out.  So are these my choices?  Option A.) Give up the heavy lifting, focus on a textbook marathon plan with some occasional body weight movements, or Option B.) Give up on the marathon and commit to a serious lifting routine with occasional high intensity interval sessions for cardio.  I have never been a rebellious individual.  I pride myself on doing most things by the book.  But when faced with these two scenarios I say “nope”.   Through the magic of wpid-wp-1424402190800.jpegGoogle I am finding there are is a super secret Option C.) – Hybrid training.  This page actually explains it very well.  I can have the best of both worlds without risking exhaustion or stalled progress!  Hybrid training combines specific training runs with heavy lifting.  What I love about this is that there is a way to do it and still have rest days and make improvements. I can have my cake and eat it too (and boy do I love cake!).

What does this hybrid training look like for me and my goals and fitness level specifically?  I’m not exactly sure yet.  More to come on that later.  But again, that’s the magic of the internet.  I know I’m not the first person to want the best of both worlds.  I’m embracing my lane changing habits to find what will work for me.  It may be a little risky, but that’s part of the fun. 🙂

 

Simply Shredded (weeks 1-4) Results & Review

Here we are at the end of week 4 of Simply Shredded.  I won’t write out the entire workout but I am including a link to my training plan and updated training plan.  As I got started with the Simply Shredded program I needed to change some things to continue to incorporate my running.  So how did it really go?  Did I stick to my exact diet the entire time?  Did I really drink a gallon of water every single day?  Did I run as much as I wanted to?  The answer to all of those is no.  No, no, no.  Nope, not at all.  I’m a human being after all, not a machine (contrary to popular belief, and not in a good way) but I did keep track of everything; good and bad.  As it turns out, I’m a documenting freak so it was fun for me to keep track of all of these nuances.  I also put a heck of a lot of work in this month.  Hope you find it helpful.  Otherwise, it’s just more documenting for me to keep to review later – win/win. 🙂

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Starting picture on the left through to the end of week 4 pic on the right.

The Goal: Reduce fat/lose weight

Results – Pics & Stats
Yay!  All this hard work seems to be paying off.  I lost 4.5 inches and 4.5 lbs these last 4 weeks.  Not too bad!  I’ve included a chart with measurements taken after each week along with some pics.  I did my measurements, weigh ins, and progress pics every Saturday morning before breakfast to stay consistent.  (The “starting” picture is a bit dark as I had to take them earlier than usual that day.)
measurements

Workouts
I followed the Simply Shredded program for my strength training.  I worked on increasing my weekly running mileage and made sure to include some HIIT to get my heart rate really going at least a couple times a week.  I didn’t always do the ab exercises that Simply Shredded recommends on Fridays.  No real excuse for that other than I work abs pretty regularly with my trainer and just didn’t feel like doing abs those days. 🙂  The calf exercises were also hit and miss.  I go to multiple locations of my gym chain and some of the locations don’t have those machines.  I also figured my running worked my calves pretty well.  I would say I did those about 75% of the time or so.  I did increase an inch in both calves which I was pretty excited about.
workouts

Nutrition
Followed IIFYM as best as I could (see other post on nutrition).  I wanted to cut (lose weight/fat as apposed to gaining or maintaining) but decided to first start with maintenance calories since I wasn’t sure how my running would affect my goals.  I calculated maintenance macros for the 4 days of lifting the Simply Shredded program calls for.  I also added in additional calories in the form of carbs for my runs.  For my runs I used this formula: (75 calories x miles ran)/4 = carbs in grams extra that day.  I only ate these additional calories if I felt I needed them.  I usually did use some or most of them on those run days but usually not all.  I did not add any additional calories for my HIIT sessions.  My hope was that this would contribute to my weight loss instead of maintenance.  It seemed to work as I was seeing results each week.  Had I not seen results I would have reduced my intake.

macros

A bit about this chart: The red bolded days are those I did not stick to macros exactly with everything weighed out.  On those days I got as close as I could, focusing on eating lean protein throughout the day but an event or special scenario came up that I wanted

Typical day of eating.

Typical day of eating.

to enjoy without being the kill-joy with the food scale.  I know I was close those days but not spot-on.  I didn’t do any full “cheat” days, just a specific meal on those days highlighted in red.  I thought it was important to note those though.  If wasn’t seeing progress I could look back and evaluate those more closely.

Hydration
I made sure to drink about a gallon of water a day.  There were probably some days I missed by a few ounces but am pretty happy to be close most of the time.

Overall Summary
I’ve really enjoyed the workouts in Simply Shredded.  I love that they are so short I can fit them in over my lunch hour without issue.  I can tell I’m getting stronger with each session.  My struggle now has been coping without rest days.  I have taken rest days here and there by doubling up on workouts the day before or after.  It’s been okay but definitely more effort than my body is used to.  I think it is getting easier though and I am pretty excited about my results!  🙂

Kettlebell Hell!

Met with my trainer today for another circuit workout.  Wow.  I feel like these sessions are somehow getting more challenging yet easier to accomplish.  That may not even make sense and I’m not sure if I even understand it.  Today we did a workout with just one kettle bell.  That’s it.  One tiny little piece of equipment + one awesome personal trainer = one heck of a workout.  The thing I learned about the kettlebell is that it is incredibly versatile.  Did a couple variations on swings, crunches, and my personal favorite (NOT) rows followed by hip raises (ouch).  Powered through it like a champ.  I thought we were using a 10lb kettlebell until I looked at my journal just now.  The thing was 20lbs!  Yay, go me!  I truly feel that these sessions are improving my fitness and are a nice compliment to the lifting and running.  And they’re fun.  Well, at least now looking back at it I can say it was fun. Toward the end of the last circuit I can tell you I would have had something else to say about it. 🙂 Maybe I should rename the post to “Kettlebell Superhappyfuntime” but it just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

Now to round out the week with one more 5 mile run!

In other news I’ve registered for 2 more races since I thought about cutting back.  I may need to seek professional help.