Category Archives: strength training

Week in Review 4.24.17 to 4.30.17

MEDICAL SCHOOL IS OVER!!!!!!! Finished up my last shift in the SICU on Friday and when it was done, wasn’t sure if I was supposed to spike my badge, fist pump through the halls or run out of the building. Med school was never as bad as I expected it to be but I would never, ever want to do it again. Sorry, not running related but good riddance!

Monday: Tested out the ankle with a 30 minute trail run. All good, although I was being a wimp on the more technical portions. Legs after.

Tuesday: Simple treadmill fartlek with 10 by 1 minute on, 1 minute off. On pace was somewhere between MP and tempo.

Wednesday: Got out of the unit early and snuck in a 13 mile long run. Did a couple of miles alternating between regular pace and MP to shake out lazy legs.

Thursday: Rest Day, prorated at 4. Much needed after three days that were harder than easy in a row.

Friday: 7.6 miles easy. 82 degrees out so I felt terrible! Arms afterward.

Saturday: 3 mile shakeout. Ran to the track and back, then a mile of ins/outs.

Sunday: Sleepy Hollow Mountain Race.  Remember the last time I ran a trail race? My only goal for this morning was to use some of my lessons from last year’s Rivah. My biggest goal was to keep both shoes on, which I did! I’ll recap the rest in a Race Report tomorrow but I had a blast, stayed upright and finished somewhere around 1:01:50, although I don’t know what place I was.

Total Miles: 44 miles, 2 strength workouts

Total April Miles: 153

Going up…

Now that school is done and I have a couple of months off, I’m looking forward to getting in some more consistent training. I’ll slowly be increasing my mileage towards 55 and working on fitting three explicit strength workouts in weekly (plus my daily toothbrush squats/core etc). My next race focus is the Asheville Half Marathon. I haven’t honed in on goals yet but as I get back into workouts, I’ll be setting my A, B and C goals. I also spent a lot of time putting all sorts of possible races on my calendar for the next year. Although I don’t have my call schedule, I’m hoping that I can just keep myself in good enough shape to jump in races as I can!

 

Weeks in Review: 4.10.17 to 4.23.17

When time is short, write up two weeks of training at once!

4/10/17 to 4/16/17

Monday: 5 mile recovery run. Feeling Unplugged now!

Tuesday: 7 mile run at the crack of dawn.

Wednesday: Planned off day.*

Thursday: Fartlek workout, 5 miles.

Friday: 2.5 mile early morning run.

Saturday: 12 mile long run.

Sunday: 4 mile trail run, most of which was spent sideways in mud.**

Total Miles: 35.5

4/17/17 to 4/23/17

Monday: 4.5 mile run plus striders.

Tuesday: 7.5 mile fartlek. 2 by mile uphill at t pace. 5 by 45 seconds hard uphill.

Wednesday: 2.5 mile early am run.

Thursday: Planned off day. Arm routine. 

Friday: 2.25 shake out run with 4 by minute at tempo pace, 2 by 30 seconds at interval pace.

Saturday: Off. Ankle. ***

Sunday: Off. Ankle.***

Total Miles 20.5

1 decent week, 1 not so decent week. I have 1 (how?!!?!??!) week of medical school left now and am so excited for a few weeks where all I have to do is pack, move and train.

* As I mentioned on my Instagram earlier this week, I have decided to schedule an off day every week. My recovery has been really poor over the past year and as much as I want to pretend my life is set up for optimal training, it’s not and I have to do what I can to maximize my training impact. As such, I’ll be taking a day off each week instead of a day every other week.

** This run was absurdly muddy and my ankles were sore after which I think set me up for an ankle twist later in the week.

*** I wear clogs in the SICU and usually, they + compression socks are the most comfortable thing going. On Friday, however, I was a little overzealous when wandering around in them and tweaked my ankle. It didn’t swell too badly but was sore bearing weight on Friday night so I decided to forego the Rollin Irish Half Marathon and rest instead.

The weather is beautiful, I’m ready to train again and I’m so looking forward to getting back in a groove and looking forward to the Asheville Half!

Week in Review: 3.20.17 to 3.26.17

Monday: 5 mile workout, half power of my usual 5-4-3-2-1 fartlek. Legs felt pretty clunky. Lifted legs afterward.

Tuesday: 3.8 mile recovery run with the dogs.

Wednesday: 7 mile workout, 4 by 5 at tempo pace with 60 seconds between. Felt pretty good.

Thursday: 4.3 miles. Legs tired!

Friday: Hour of cross country skiing with the dogs; new snow and leaving for the weekend? Needed exhausted dogs.

Saturday: Travel to Asheville. Lots of walking but no run.

Sunday: 3 mile Asheville hill classic. Great to be back. Tons of walking as well.

Total Miles: 23.1

Lots of good news this week. First, I found a house!!!!!! My mom and I spent a busy 36 hours in Asheville looking for houses and by Sunday night, I found an amazing one. Interestingly, it was the smallest one I looked at but it used the space well, has a perfect location and is a great setup for dogs. One of other parameters I used to evaluate places was ability to run. Although the new house sits on top of a hill (it’s Ridge Street, after all), it has great access to all sorts of running and even a greenway that is under construction.

Second, I’m cleared to lift and workout fully (as tolerated). I saw my fabulous breast surgeon yesterday and she cleared me for all exercise AND the surgical pathology confirmed that I had a sclerosing papilloma which means that it was a benign tumor. All great news.

This week, I’m back to reality. As I said last week, Unplugged has gone from a race to a supported workout for me so I’m training through it. I have a combination workout on the schedule for tonight and a long run planned for Saturday. In between will be easy workouts, just trying to get a base underneath me.

 

Week in Review: 2.6.17 to 2.12.17

Monday: First day back in the hospital. 6 mile early morning workout with 10 by 1 on, 1 off.

Tuesday: 3.25 easy run in the early morning snow.

Wednesday: 5 mile treadmill hill run.

Thursday: 7 mile progression run, starting at 6.1 and ending at 9.1.

Friday: Post-call, prorated off day. 4 miles.

Saturday: Nordic skied in the morning, downhill in the afternoon.

Sunday: 6 mile run plus arms and core.

Total Miles: 31.3

First week back on service! The good news is that I did a good job of getting up and getting my run done. The bad news is that I didn’t get a lot of lifting in and I missed my long run this week. I had intended to do it on Friday when I was post-call because I expected to be done around 1 but didn’t leave the hospital until 5. I coached on Saturday and I am back at work today. I got up early to fit a run in but felt miserable so just did an easy run and lifted.

We’re heading into a big storm cycle today which is going to be GREAT for skiing and snowshoeing but less good for running. I’ll be on the treadmill for my workouts this week but hoping to get outside for my easy runs and hopefully by next weekend, there will be enough clear roads for a long run.

In general, it’s working well for me to have workouts scheduled without prescribed mileage because it changes my perspective to be grateful for any effort. I am of course frustrated that I can’t seem to string together any real training but I’m working on being grateful for the running I can get in.

Finally, I got to try my new Lumo Run  this week and will admit to being a little nervous to see what it said but my initial run was very positive. The pace was off because I was on the treadmill but all of my markers looked good except for braking. I’m so excited to see how this project goes and how I can tweak my running form.

Week in Review 9.5.16 to 9.11.16

Monday: 7 mile run with 3.5 at tempo-ish with the team then mini-legs.

Tuesday: 6 mile recovery run around the home course. The heat is really hanging around!

Wednesday am: 8.2 mile run on the Causeway.

Wednesday pm: 5 mile run with the team. Both runs SO hot and humid.

Thursday: 4.5 mile normal run and Body Pump!!

Friday: 13 mile long run with Erin.

Saturday: 5 mile easy run with Will in Maine on the Eastern Trail

Sunday: 8 mile regular run around Old Orchard Beach with striders at the end.

Total Miles: 56.7

Another decent week of training. One would think that after 6 years of coaching, I would know the best way to get my own workout or run in around the team, but it’s still a struggle. I occasionally trip myself up because I think “well if the team is running 7 and I only need 8, I can just add on.” If I’m organized and no one needs anything, it works well. If I’m less organized or an athlete needs something, I wind up short on miles.

I am SO excited that I got to Body Pump this week. I forgot how much I love that class and am going to keep working on going to as many as I can fit in a week. My next hurdle is convincing myself to 1) try a yoga class at Campus Rec and 2) try a totally out of my comfort zone class to mix things up.

It’s still incredibly hot for September in Vermont up here; our home race last Friday was 86 degrees and humid. It’s finally starting to cool off in the forecast so I’m looking forward to feeling better as that happens. Still looking for some fall races to test fitness and have some experiences but it seems like most races are falling on Saturdays which makes it hard with Invitationals.

Spring 2016 Inventory

Vermont has many beautiful moments but we don’t usually get a Spring, jumping instead from mud season to summer. Fairfield County on the other hand, exemplifies Spring. It is incredible here right now, with everything in bloom (and everyone coming in for allergies) with warm but not hot days and cool nights. I’m in heaven. Spring is a time of rebirth and of renewal and as I approach May, I’ve been thinking about how my training has been going for the first part of 2016. Here are the goals I set out at the beginning of the year. 

The Good

  • Consistency: It’s not easy to run every day when your schedule changes almost every day but I am proud of the consistency I’ve managed this Spring despite having much lower mileage than I’d hoped
  • Hard Efforts: I’ve done a good job of getting in maintenance workouts each week, usually in the form of a tempo effort and a faster R paced effort.
  • Race Experience: A trail run and a track race back to back with smiles all around? Huge success for me
  • Core: I’ve been doing some iteration of core almost every night which is helping (a little) with my constant back pain

The Not So Good

  • Low Mileage: I’ve been in the 40s for most of this year, far below my goal of 55 to 60. I have to make medical school my priority but I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t frustrate me to not be getting my mileage in
  • Striders: I don’t know what my problem is with striders. During coaching season, it’s easy to get these done on the grass at the end of my run but in Burlington and Norwalk, it’s hard to find a flat place to get these in. That being said, I have to keep making these a priority to work on efficiency
  • Strength Training: I’ve been getting in two days a week of strength training but that’s the extent of it. I really need to find more hours in the day to get this in!

So where does this leave me? I’m actually in decent shape right now but my fitness is totally non-specific. It will be very interesting to see how the Plattsburgh Half goes with this approach. Once I get through Plattsburgh and get back to Vermont, I need to figure out my approach to the summer and if I’m going to put any goal races on for the fall.

How are you doing on your goals for 2016?

Week in Review 3.21.16 to 3.27.16

Monday: 7.5 date run with Joey! Windy but nice out.

Tuesday: 9.5 mile workout. 2 mile tempo on the track plus 4 by 200. Felt really clunky during the 200s, so definitely need to be really intentional about getting striders in.

Wednesday: Travel day to Norwalk. Always a much longer trip than I anticipate. 8.1 miles around Norwalk, trying to get my bearings.

Thursday: 5.7 miles plus 4 striders.

Friday: 5 mile progression run on the treadmill. It’s dark when I wake up here and this is not a town where you run in the dark. Wanted to make sure I got legs in so cut my run a bit short.

Saturday: HEAVEN! 7.5 miles in Mianus River Park, which is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever run. Amazing trails, well marked and technical enough to be fun without having to concentrate intently. Arms after.

Sunday: Less heavenly…11.4 miles around town. Hard to find a place to run safely and long here but I did find a decent, almost car free loop for tempo Tuesdays.

Total Miles: 54.7

It’s always tricky to find places to run in a new town. Luckily, I think I’m going to be able to make Norwalk work with the carrot of Mianus River Trails on off days. The biggest challenge is going to be finding a place to do speed work. It’s track season which makes high school tracks difficult to find and there aren’t any colleges with tracks close by.

Overall, I’m extremely grateful for this week of training. My mileage was solid for recent weeks, I felt good on my runs and I actually had a few moments of total zen on my Saturday run. Can’t ask for much more! This will be my last up week before a mini-taper for the trail championships so I’m hoping for similar mileage and workouts with one of those workouts being more speed focused if I can figure it out.

Week in Review 2.29.16 to 3.6.16

It’s always easier to accept a low mileage week when you anticipate it. With the State Championships this week, plus a full week on the wards and a rapidly approaching shelf exam, my frame of mind this week was that any run was a good run. Plus, the boys won the State Championship with an incredible 49 points (40 points is a perfect score) and I got to announce my big shoe news so it’s hard to be disappointed with anything else this week.

Monday: 5 mile recovery run. Chest and back for lifting. (154 miles for February)

Tuesday: 6 mile steady state run. Warmed up for 10 minutes, then 30 minutes at steady state (effectively marathon pace), cool down to 6 minutes.

Wednesday: Off day. Running around trying to prep for the second half of the State Meet.

Thursday: 4 miles early before leaving for States. Biceps and triceps.

Friday: 100% wiped. Survived the day then went to bed at 7 pm.

Saturday: 7 mile interval workout with 5 by 2 minutes hard, 2 minutes easy. Legs after.

Sunday: 7 mile recovery run plus striders. Wanted to run long but was wiped and sluggish and didn’t think I would get a lot out of struggling for 5 more miles.

Total Miles 29.2

Now that I’ve (almost) survived my medicine rotation, it’s time to get my butt in gear training wise. I’ve done some good early season workouts but want to start looking forward to my week in California and my half in early May. I won’t be going for a PR (obviously), but would like to compete for the win and in my optimal world, run around 6:25 pace. I also need to start getting in more time on the trails as I prepare for the New England Championships in April. Unfortunately, the snowshoe race next weekend looks like it will be a scratch as weather will be in the 60s this week and we didn’t have much snow to begin with.

For the coming week, I’ll be aiming for 45 miles with a wave tempo and hill workout plus a 12 mile long run. Then it’s off to San Diego, where I’ll alternate between workouts on the Silver Strand and lots of minutes in Balboa Park and hopefully Miramar Reservoir if I can swing it.

The Plan for 2016

  1. Gain more race experience. As I reflected on 2015, I continued to notice race outcomes that might have been improved if I’d had more race experience. For example, after the start delay in Philly, I just continued my race plan of going out at 6:05 pace. What I SHOULD have done is go out a bit slower until I felt warmed up, then geared up towards my goal pace. I’m getting off on the right foot by racing today but will work on this goal by racing at least once every month this year. These don’t have to be big or long races; the goal is to put myself in a race situation so that I continue to add tools to my toolbox that can help with every race situation.
  2. Continue to build strength. I’m 32 and thus facing the sad reality that all my muscle mass wants to do now is disintegrate. I did a good job of establishing and maintaining strength routines in 2015 and want to continue that momentum. To do that, I have started to write down moves and routines that I really like or that really challenge me on our whiteboard in the gym. My goal is to do 4 sessions of strength training a week. In the past, I’ve separated these into arms, legs, and core days but for 2016, I’ll start experimenting with doing more “full body” approaches. I am likely to keep one day as legs only after my hardest workout of the week. One of the full body routines I’m curious about is this one that Nike shared on Runner’s World. At first glance, it doesn’t look difficult but my guess is that it will lead to some VERY sore muscles.
  3. Address my hip and lower back pain/inflexibility. Erin and I talk all the time about how we need to stop complaining about our back pain and hip pain and deal with it, but the reality is that with jobs that put us in weird positions (retracting on a step stool for 6 hours, anyone?) or sitting through epic conference calls (her world, not mine anymore!), it’s really hard to make headway. Not to mention, busy schedules that leave us with 45 minutes total for exercise find us heading for the roads rather than our yoga mats. The problem with that is that tight hips and backs affect those 45 minutes on the road and set us up for poor performances, bad workouts and sometimes injury. This year, I’m committing to 20 minutes of yoga a week. I’ll be doing it on a recovery run day and doing 20 minutes of yoga after an easy 25 minute run.
  4. Maintain my fitness base. We finish third year in March, take another set of boards in May, apply for residency in August and interview for November and December. Given this, I don’t have the highest expectations for huge personal improvements in running over 2016. That being said, I would really like to run a fast marathon at the Vermont City Marathon in 2017 (or aim to get my Trials Qualifier as soon as the window opens, presumably in August of 2017) so I need to maintain my fitness base as much as possible over the next year. To do this, I’ll be aiming for 2,800 miles in 2016 (approximately 55 miles a week). Here’s how my training will set up for most of 2016, with some exceptions when I have more time.

2016 Training

What are your hopes and dreams for 2016? Anyone have any target races or times already on the calendar?

How to Build a Runner’s Home Gym

With the New Year approaching, lots of people refocus on fitness and good health. For Will and I, one of the biggest keys to ongoing fitness is our modest home gym, the newest feature of which is a treadmill. Before we bought the treadmill, however, we had a fully functional home gym that cost us less than a month at a gym and was as convenient as walking down to the basement. With all the end of the year sales underway, now is a perfect time to start constructing your home gym AND set yourself up for a healthier 2016.

Functional, not fancy.

Functional, not fancy.

Space: We’re lucky to have a large basement where we can spread out. Our current set up is about 12 feet by 12 feet but if you have enough space to store the bench, you can condense into about 3 feet when you aren’t actively working out.

Equipment and Key Exercises: 

  • 16″ Step Up Box (optional: you can use your bench instead)
    • Step ups are one of the most effective exercises for runners. Start with either 30 seconds or 10 step ups and focus on tall posture and driving your knees.
  • Flat Bench
    • Tricep Dips
    • Seated Bicep Curls
    • Bench Press
    • Single Arm Row
    • Glute Raises
    • Plank Pushups
    • Bulgarian Split Squat
    • Adductor Thigh Lifts
  • Pull-up Bar 
    • Pull-up/Chin-ups
    • Hanging Pike-ups
  • Yoga Mat
    • All of the core, yoga and flexibility you can think up!
  • Speakers (gotta have tunes!)
  • Dumbbells (5, 10 and 15 pound pairs)
    • Unless you are extremely strong for a runner, these weights should allow you to do almost any exercise. Remember, higher reps, lower weight tend is more endurance focused while heavier weights, lower reps is more strength focused. You should include both over the course of a week.
  • Kettlebell (10 pounds)
    • This is a tool I didn’t entirely appreciate until I found some good kettlebell routines, but I find it irreplaceable for dynamic and rotational strength building. Check out half get ups, woodchopper and two arm swing to see what I mean!
  • Resistance Band
    • Monster walks
  • Foam Roller
  • Exercise Ball (you can use this as a bench for any exercise; added core work!)
    • Crunches
    • Reverse crunches
    • Forward tucks
    • Wall sits
    • Pushups
  • Balance Board

How To Build It Frugally!

  • Craigslist: Great source for things that don’t have joints like metal dumbbells or weight benches. Use caution with equipment like treadmills, exercise bikes or weight machines as they have cables and parts that can make them expensive (or dangerous) space wasters if broken.
  • Habitat for Humanity ReStore: This store has been golden for us; our weight bench was $10 from here and when we got it, there were tons of others from a local gym that closed. You have to be a bit patient (and have a critical eye), but stores like this are a great place to pick up home gym staples at a low cost.
  • Dick’s Sporting Goods or Similar: This is a place where you have to watch your prices, because you can pay a TON for basic items but their Hex Dumbbells are reasonably priced and durable.
  • TJ Maxx/Marshall’s: Much like their hidden wealth of exercise clothes, these stores often have great prices on yoga mats, resistance bands and exercise balls.
  • Your Local Gym or PT Clinic: Gyms and PT clinics generally like to have up to date equipment and replace their items more frequently than the recreational user. Although equipment like treadmills and bikes have a lot of use, they are also commercial quality to begin with and have almost certainly had appropriate maintenance. Similarly, the weights and other exercise equipment are top quality. Ask your club manager to let you know if they are planning on replacing equipment. (This also goes for hotels; worth a quick phone call)