Half Marathon Training Plans

Here we are inching closer to February which means we will be exactly 3 months from the OC Half & Full Marathon. I have fully committed to running the half marathon again this year. Every race I run is started with personal goals I try to achieve. I have adopted the ABC goals from Prairie Princess Runners.  Before a race you set an “A” goal (an achievable goal), a “B” goal (more of a stretch) and a “C” goal (which is pushing yourself and basically killing to get there). My “A” goal is always just to finish the race. My “B” and “C” goal usually have to do with a specific time I am trying to achieve.

My ABC Goals and Training Plan for the OC Half

My ABC Goals for the OC Half Marathon are simple and also dictate how my training plan is set up:

“A” Goal: To finish the race whether walking, crawling or running 

“B” Goal: To beat my PR on the half marathon  

“C” Goal: To run a sub 2:00 half marathon

I am most excited about the OC Half Marathon because it has been a while since I raced. Last year I really pushed my body hard. 4 half marathons and a Ragnar race in less than 8 months resulted in aggravating my back problems to their breaking point. Most of my races were completing my “A” goal of finishing which I always accomplished. I am so happy because my back while not completely healed is significantly better and ready to handle race season. The husband and I have been enjoying naked evening runs. Before your mind goes a place it shouldn’t this early in the morning, naked = running without any timer or watch. We simply just ran and it was refreshing. I wanted to get a few open runs under my belt before committing to my training plan. I firmly believe that you should pick a training plan that works for you and your schedule. Don’t set yourself up for failure by creating something you cannot follow. I usually take a half marathon training plan before adding my own schedule of work and teaching to accommodate my running. I am using the SELF 12-Week Half Marathon Training Plan with the days switched to match my teaching schedule. If you are looking for a half marathon training plan, check out the links below for runners of all levels.

Half Marathon Training Plans

Half Marathon Training Plans For All Runners

12-Week Half Marathon Training Program

10-Week First Timer’s Half Marathon Training Plan

14-Week Intermediate Half Marathon Training Plan

14-Week Intermediate Half Marathon Training Plan

Hal-Higdon Training Plans

12-Week Beginner’s Half Marathon Training Plan

12 Week Cross Training Half Marathon Training Plan

20-Week Couch to Half Marathon Training Plan

14-Week Nike Half Marathon Training Plan

16-Week Beginner Half Marathon Training Plan

Tell me: Do you set goals before a race? 

How to.. Wall Squat

Since I am not currently teaching a bootcamp class, I miss some of the exercises I would regularly do with my class. The other day I thought why can’t I throw them into cycle classes? My Tuesday night class is a Pedal Pump format where we cycle for 3 songs, hop off the bike to strength train for one song. We repeat this format for 3 rounds. For the new year I decided to add one new exercise every month that my students can practice each week. By the end of the year, they will have 12 new exercises added to their regime and have improved their ability with each one. This month (yes, we started Jan 2 weeks early) we are working on wall squats!

Wall Squats (also known as wall sits) are one of my favorite workouts. They were commonly added to my bootcamp routine and an exercise I regularly do on my own. Wall squats are all about having proper form before building your time up. I am starting the class at 30 seconds and hoping to build to over a minute by the first of February. Wondering what a wall squat is? Pretty much what the name says, your squat is being held against a wall forming a 90 degree angle on your knees. The exercise strengthens the quadricep muscles (thigh muscles baby) which of course is needed in almost every workout. I have had many students ask what is the proper form so they can practice at home. So here is how to do a proper wall squat/sit:

How to do a proper wall squat / wall sit

First, using a wall as your guide, drop in a squat position with your back against the wall, feet on the ground. Hold your squat as long as you can (trust me, those quads start burning) focusing on keeping your proper form the entire time. There are three mental notes to remember to help perfect your form:

  1. 90 Degree Angles– Your knees and hips should form 90 degree angles against the wall. Therefore, you should have a flat back against the wall and 90 degrees in your
  2. Shoulder Width Apart Feet– Your feet should be shoulder width apart and the distant from the wall will be dictated by how you can achieve 90 degrees on your legs.
  3. Flat Feet– Speaking of feet, from toes to heels, yours should remain flat on the floor, with your focus in your heels. I often see students lifting up on their toes to help distribute weight. Don’t do it! It is way too much pressure on your toes – No ballerinas here!

If you’re a visual learner or have never seen a wall squat before, check this video out on how you should look visually.

Tell me: Do you have a favorite exercise you always add to your workouts?

Breaking Out of my Fitness Comfort Zone

Last night I taught my weekly Bootcamp class. Before our class, there is a Yoga class in the group exercise room. As we often wait for the class to end, many of my students joke how Yoga and Bootcamp are the opposite classes of the gym. My students know I teach two of the more fast paced, high intensity classes at our gym- Cycle and Bootcamp. I definitely prefer a sweaty, intense session over a slower paced class but I chalk it up to my more intense personality. 😉

Recently after my doctor recommended yoga for my back problems, I have taken various yoga and mat pilates classes. Who would have known that I would actually enjoy an hour of a challenging but relaxing class with stretching. It has been a great hour to unwind (if only I could unwind the hour before and the hour after but that is a work in progress). In the midst of enjoying the new classes I have been thinking about what getting another certification. In perfect timing, my gym opened up sign-ups for the certification for Body Works Plus Abs. The class is a lightweight dumbbell workout that aims to Improve muscle tone, posture, balance and strength. I am so excited about this opportunity as I feel it is a way to use some of the experience and certification I have now but in a different structure. As my mind is constantly thinking about the next step, especially with fitness, I am always researching new fitness classes, gyms and workouts. Over the past few months, I cannot tell you how many times I have said “I want to try that” in regards to fitness. Well in the spirit of trying new things and finishing off the second half of the year strong, I have decided it is time to break out of my fitness comfort zone.

Cycle

One of my main goals this summer, is to take as many new fitness classes as I can. Exposing myself to new classes and instructors will allow me to not only improve as an instructor but also find new exercises, workouts and classes to improve my fitness overall. Plus, taking classes will help to cross off some items on my Fitness Life List  

So what are some of the classes I am planning to take this summer? First, I want to try some of those classes that I have not been able to stop thinking about. This usually results in me going all stalker-ex status as I scan the internet for recaps, Instagram pictures and the company’s website to learn all I can before starting. In an effort to be just a little less creepy with my stalking, I want to knock out the following classes first: Soul CycleOrangeTheory, Barre classes (there is a studio next to my apartment complex- whats my excuse) Reformers Pilates, Crossfit and Zumba. In addition to this list I want to try to get to as many of these classes as I can throughout the summer: Barry’s Bootcamp, TRX, Bikram Yoga, Pop Physique and Surf Set. Of course I know I will stumble across more classes throughout the next few months and take more classes at the gyms I teach at.

I plan to write recaps of each class I take so if you are interested in any of the classes, there will be more information for you coming soon. If you have any recommendations on classes let me know as well as I am always interested to try a new class.

Have a very wonderful Wednesday!

Tell me: Have you taken any of these classes? Are there any you want to try yourself?

Confessions of a Group Fitness Instructor

Hope everyone had a great weekend! Besides teaching two great cycle classes, I was able to spend time at the pool, packing and getting plenty of errands done. Although it will be another busy week, I am ready to tackle the week head on. Before I take on the week, I wanted to share a little incident that happened last week before one of my classes.

Last week I got out of work late which resulted in me racing home to take care of Emma, changing my clothes and speeding way above the limit to get to the gym. I hit some horrible traffic that resulted in me muttering many curse words and calling my gym to tell them I would definitely be 10 minutes late. When I finally made it to the gym, I walked into class with a huge smile, apologized to the class and let them know I would make up the 10 minutes at the end of class. After class I realized not a single one of my students knew how the drive over was for me because I went in to “instructor mode” the second I walked in that room. So I thought I would share some of the other thoughts I have had as a group fitness instructor that may or may not surprise you.

Confessions of a Group Fitness Instructor

1. I HATE Burpees– No matter how many times I talk up their calorie burning potential and/or put them in workouts, I despise them. I think they are the worst exercise to do yet I know they are the best to add into bootcamp. So sadly for my students they are here to stay.

2. I worry someone will actually take me up on my offer to add their favorite song to a playlist– I worry more about someone asking for a song that I cannot make work in a class or a song that I hate. I have only had 2 students ever ask for a song request and luckily they just asked for a specific artist. I am very open when it comes to music but I am sorry, you just cannot spin to “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion.

3. I love getting to boss people around– My husband and mother would not be shocked by this confession at all. Bossy should be my middle name and getting paid to boss people around with fitness? Even better.

4. I have favorites– Although I make sure to never play on my feelings, I definitely have favorite classes and favorite people in classes. Usually it is with students who  regularly attend classes. If I see a student attend a class at least two times I will start mentally remembering the weight they are lifting/speed they are performing at/what exercises they struggle with so I can help them improve as much as possible.

5. Although I have favorites, I have only ever had one person in my class I did not like– This person was rude, made obnoxious comments to me and yelled at other students during class. I tried for weeks to try to ignore the student’s behavior. Then I reminded myself for teaching 5 classes a week, not liking one student can slide.

6. I love when people holler, yell, sing along to the music, cheer or react to class– Especially when I ask a question to the class. As an instructor it pains me when I ask questions to my students and hear crickets. It makes me thinks that my students are either dead or hate the class. I would rather a grunt to know you are out there and working hard then get no reaction. I tell my classes they can roll their eyes at me or talk back.. it is better than no reaction!

7. I pride myself on being a tough instructor- I would rather have students say the class was too hard then too easy. I always give modifications to make an exercise easier and harder. My philosophy is “It is a called a workout which means there is work involved.” If I see students are not breaking a sweat within the first 15 minutes of class, I will add extra resistance to every exercise planned for class. This does go the opposite way in that I will tone down the resistance if I see students really struggling in the start of class.

8. When I receive positive feedback for a class, new move or playlist, my day is made– When a student or my boss give me praise, I smile and say thank you. Inside I am beaming and run home to tell my husband. Yep. Every single time. (poor guy) If you liked a class or an instructor, make sure you tell them on your way out. I am sure you will make their day.

9. I have only attended a handful of group fitness classes since I started teaching- I got certified to be a group fitness instructor because I loved the classes and instructors I took myself. Since I have started teaching, I find my own workouts being solo sessions. Maybe it is because I am in the group fitness room 5 days a week or maybe it is because my gym time is at the same time as my husband’s. Whatever the reason, it is definitely something I want to improve on.

10. Sometimes I am just not in the mood– Just like everyone, I have days where I am not in the mood, had a bad day, work sucked or am just plain tired. I do know that if I am feeling this way before a class I need to get my endorphins going. My go to method is to run a few laps around the gym with one of Power Songs. This allows works to get my heart rate up and ready to do the same for my students.

Of course, everything I mention here are just my thoughts and opinions. I love what I do and am very lucky I get to share my love of fitness with some amazing students. As an instructor all I want is for my students to excel as I truly care about their success in fitness. This week remember to thank an instructor whose class you have enjoyed or helped you in some way. It will be very appreciated by the group fitness instructor. At least give them a holler back in class 😉

Tell me in the comments: Do you usually tell an instructor if you liked or did not like their class?

Workout: Salty Sweaty Session & Tri Update

A day late with Wednesday Workout but I had to celebrate National Running Day yesterday. Although it was running day, I was all about my cycling yesterday. With starting of triathlon training and getting my new bike, I finally broke down to  get a new pair of cycle shoes. I currently have a pair of cycle shoes that have SPD-SL cleats. However, both gyms I teach at use standard SPD cleats. Unfortunately my first pair only fit the SL so it was time to get another pair. I  am looking forward to not only using these in class but training with some new shoes!

Cycle Triathlon Shoes

This workout however was yesterday’s Wednesday Workout. I love workout sessions that leave me drenched in sweat and the feeling of a high intensity workout where you feel that salty sweaty dripping in your eye. This workout will result in a super sweaty session. Rounding out the abs, arms and legs workout, the final workout is all about cardio.

Salty Sweaty Session Cardio Workout

To complete this workout, finish each exercise for 30 seconds. Repeat the round for a total of 2x. The exercises are: Mountain Climbers, Ice Skaters, Burpees, Jumping Jacks, Jump Squats, High Knees, Jumping Rope, Plank Jacks

Happy Wednesday Workout! Enjoy!13:)