Running as Therapy & Training

How did the weekend come and go so quickly? I feel like it was just Friday afternoon and here it is Monday again! Luckily my weekend was a great one and this week is a short week at work. Last week’s training was an extremely productive one. I had two great runs where I was able to run my stress away. I went to the best yoga class I have ever been to on Thursday. The class offered enough modifications as well as additions to fit all levels. I loved the pace of the class and all of the poses. I left the class on an endorphin high. Overall, I was extremely proud of myself for really kicking it up and for relying on exercise to get me through the week, not food.

I mentioned last week that work has been stressful and I’ve definitely had a full plate the past few weeks. All too often, when a week is stressful, I turn to food (and my stomach loves to convince my head that ice cream will help). I have been working to think about my feelings rather than trying to soothe them with tasty desserts. While in the moment, it seems like a good idea, it never makes me feel better and I’m left with nothing but regret. This week running has been my therapy instead of food. I have found that after every run, I feel less stressed and filled with more energy. What better time to work on new habits than the first day of spring?

weekly-workouts

My half training this week was exactly as I wanted (and needed) it to be. With only 6 weeks left until the OC Half Marathon, I need to ensure my training miles increase this week as they are supposed to. Otherwise, just continuing with a mix of running, strength training and rest.

Sunday – 1 hour cycle class and free weight arm workout

Monday –  4 miles

Tuesday –  1 hour cycle class followed by a mini bootcamp session (3 rounds of sprints, push-ups, mountain climbers, jumping jacks and lunges)

Wednesday –  5 miles

Thursday – 1 hour yoga class

Friday – Rest

Saturday – 1 hour cycle class followed by 2 miles

Sunday – 1 hour cycle class and 15 min leg workout

Tell me: What do you turn to when you are stressed out? What do you find the most effective?

Workout Wednesday: Booty Bootcamp

Stopping in a little late on Wednesday but still Wednesday nonetheless. Last night after cycle class, I still wanted to burn a few more calories. I forced my two cousins to stay after and let me run a mini bootcamp session for them (my poor family who gets forced into these things). This workout was just how I like ’em: short and sweaty. All you need is an open space to run and if you have it, a device to track your sprints. If not, a 100 meter dash can be narrowed down to a 20 sec sprint.

Bootcamp Workout

Each 100 meter sprint is followed by a leg workout. Run this sequence 6x and you have a 30 minute, heart pumping workout done. I love these type of workouts because they focus on intervals and getting your heart rate up. The three workouts in-between the sprints are lunges, squats and burpees. I woke up this morning feeling sore in my hamstrings from the squats!

Enjoy your workout! Catch you back tomorrow for Travel Thursday!

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?

Workout Wednesday Playlist 

It’s been a while since I’ve shared a new playlist despite creating spin playlists at least 3x a week. I rarely use an old playlist in classes since most of my cycle students only go to cycle. I couldn’t get away with using the same playlists for more than a couple of weeks. Plus keeping it fresh helps me to push harder as well which in turn pushes my students.

Favorite Songs of the Month

You can always tell my favorite song of the week because it makes it onto every playlist for a few weeks. I feel bad for any of students how hate the song I am obsessed with at the time. This past month I’ve had a few songs I’m obsessed with that keep popping up on my Spotify list and workout playlists:

Cheyenne” by Jason Derulo (I love pretty much anything he does)

What Do You Mean” by Justin Bieber (Don’t hate.. I am a Bieliber and think his latest songs have been great!)

Girls Chase Boys” by Ingrid Michaelson (it’s just so catchy)

Wind It Up” by Gwen Stefan (a definite throwback but it’s perfect for spin-  climbing and jumps)

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Running Playlist

Last night I had a brick workout : run and swim on the training plan. As I warmed up on the elliptical I threw together a playlist with some of my high bass, fast pace songs for a 5K run. It was a great mix and helped me to push hard through my run.

Running Playlist

I really love Spotify for both personal workout playlists and class playlists because their playlists are great for stumbling across songs I have forgotten about. I compile 95% of my playlists on the app and create my own before working out. In addition, I have found the playlists they have for workouts to be pretty diverse. I have also used their running app which picks up your running pace and creates a playlist with BPM’s to match your step.

Have a wonderful workout Wednesday, catch you tomorrow for Travel Thursday.

Tell me: what is your favorite song to work out to right now? 

Workout Wednesday: Up & Down Leg Workout

Halfway through the week is always when the excitement at work slowly starts coming back. You  start to see the weekend on the horizon. This weekend is even better than most since we have a long weekend to look forward to with Labor Day. This week has been filled with some great personal workouts as my class load is lighter due to my work hours. It has been awhile since i did a “Workout Wednesday” and since my legs are getting to the point where sitting down is starting to hurt, I thought I’d share my leg workout from Monday night. This one is quick but effective. You just need an open space and possibly one set of weights.

I only used weights for this workout when doing the donkey kicks (held behind my knee as I kicked up) and sumo squats (holding in front of me as I lowered to the floor). You can increase the intensity by adding a bar behind your neck or weights at your side for squats or lunges as well as for sumo squats and calf raises.  Here are the exercises with links:

Sumo Squats

Lunges

Donkey Kicks

Squats

Wall Sit 

Calf Raises

Bridges

Burpees

Make sure to stretch after the workout to prevent soreness the next day. Enjoy the workout and your Wednesday!

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner

I think when I was creating last night’s Bootcamp workout, I was wishing I was in Vegas. The last time I was there when in November for the Rock n Roll Half Marathon which in my book is too long! Anyways, different subject for a different day. Last night’s goal during class was plain and simple – get as many points as possible, however you can within each round. For each round, I put 10 minutes on the clock and let the students go at it. I was a very proud instructor when almost every student started with burpees! Competition definitely creeped in with my students (I can’t blame them as that’s one of my worst traits) but they all commented how much they liked tonight’s game after class. This will definitely make an appearance again soon.

Winner Winner Workout

The other day I used this playlist in cycle class which resulted in many people saying “I love this song” during class. Just as I like compliments on my classes, I love compliments on my playlists. It helps me to know what goes over well in classes and what doesn’t. This one has a good mix of songs on the radio now and some hits from months, even years ago!

Mix It Up Playlist

Here are the songs from the playlist:

Go Big or Go Home – American Authors
Somebody – Natalie La Rose
Magic – B.O.B
Dance, Dance – Fall Out Boy
Sweet Nothing – Calvin Harris / Florence Welsh
Weight of Living, Pt. 11 – Bastille
Evacuate The Dancefloor – Cascada
Somebody Told Me  – The Killers
Fun – Pitbull / Chris Brown
Shut Up and Dance – Walk the Moon
Sandstorm – Darude
All Night – Icona Pop
Marchin On – One Republic
Bright – Echosmith
Landslide – Dixie Chicks

Tell me: Do you like group or individual workouts?

Another Weekend of Fun & Workouts

Welcome back! Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. Friday night was a relaxing evening in. I finally got what I have been longing for which was a completely low-key evening. Thursday night concluded my 10th class in 8 days. I rested by enjoying a movie night on the couch which was the perfect start to the weekend.

After I taught my cycle class on Saturday, my husband and I drove out to Malibu where we enjoyed a delicious meal at Malibu Cafe. As posted on Instagram, we started with fried mac-n-cheese balls. I had their Huckleberry Lemonade with a grilled chicken salad for my entree. While the food was amazing, the atmosphere was even better. The cafe has games on the lawn (next to a small lake) including Jenga and ping pong.

Weekend Recap Malibu Cafe 2    Weekend Recap Malibu Cafe 3

After our picturesque lunch, we headed to Escondido Falls right off Pacific Coast Highway. The first mile into the hike is through residential mansions until you hit the start of the trail. You can see the beach off the trail before you headed into the woods for a 4 mile round trip hike. The hike was fairly shaded leading to a waterfall that was surprisingly green for the drought California is in. We were able to enjoy the beautiful blue skies and cloud free day.

Weekend Recap Escondido Falls 2   Weekend Recap Escondido Falls 3 Weekend Recap Escondido Falls 4   Weekend Recap Escondido Falls

After dealing with the horrible California traffic, we made our way to Mother Moo’s Creamery. I love their organic dairy free ice cream including one of my favorite flavors- salted butterscotch. A creamy ice cream was the perfect way to end the day. We sat outside soaking up the weather before we finally headed home to call it a night.

Weekend Recap Mother Moos 2

Sunday started with another cycle class before we spent our day doing errands like grocery shopping and cleaning. Although a bit more mellow weekend than most, it was exactly what I wanted. It was another weekend filled with just enough relaxing, good food, wonderful company and workouts. With that, lets recap this week’s workouts. Although it was another very heavy cardio week, I was subbing many classes this week which led to more cycle classes than I usually do in a week. Luckily, this week is back to my regular schedule which will allow me more personal workouts.

Weekly Workouts

Weekly Workouts Recap:

Monday – Taught two one-hour Cycle classes

Tuesday – Taught a one-hour Bootcamp class; Taught a one-hour Cycle class

Wednesday – Taught a one-hour Cycle class, Strength Training Arm session

Thursday – Taught a one-hour Cycle class

Friday – Rest Day

Saturday – Taught a one-hour Cycle class, 4 mile hike

Sunday – Taught a one-hour Cycle class, Strength Training Arm session

Tell me: Where is your favorite spot to hike? Do you prefer the beach or the desert?

Fun Family Weekend & Weekly Workouts

My weekend was filled with family, food, fun and fitness- just how I like it! The weekend started off on Friday night with my first acupuncture and chiropractic appointment for my back. I have two more sessions this week so I will be updating more next week. After the appointment, the husband and I grabbed sushi at a revolving sushi bar before we headed to the movies. We saw Spy which I absolutely loved! Add in the fact that I was actually able to avoid eating buckets of popcorn and I left the theaters a very happy girl.

Saturday morning kicked off early with another wonderful cycle class. I never thought I would say this but I look forward to waking up early Saturday mornings for my class. The women make the class so much fun that I look forward to getting in the gym early to knock my workout out. After class, I met my sister and her kids at the mall to grab lunch and get our makeup done for our concert that night. I was so happy I got to see my sister, niece and nephew as I only had to wait 4 days from the last time I saw them.

As I mentioned on Friday, my sister and I had tickets to see Lady Antebellum, Hunter Hayes and Sam Hunt in concert. Not only did we have pit tickets with VIP passes but we had won a meet and greet with Lady Antebellum. In addition, my sister applied for a contest to be filmed as a “super fan” during the concert. When she found out they had picked her, we were ecstatic because we have been Lady A fans since day one. When we got to the concert, we were mic’d up and followed around by cameramen to the VIP tent where there was some of the best food I have ever had (I am still dreaming of the toffee cookies). Lady A and Hunter Hayes did an acoustic set with a Q&A before we were taken backstage for the meet and greet. The whole experience was so amazing and unique however you will not be seeing me on reality TV anytime in the near future. Being followed  by a camera did not feel natural at all so thank goodness we loved hanging out with our camera crew.

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After the meet and greet, we made our way to the pit for the concert. I have been to many concerts but this was by far the best one. Both opening acts were energetic and fun. Hunter Hayes blew me away with his flawless performance and guitar skills. Lady Antebellum just killed their performance from start to finish. My favorite part of the concert? Lady A, Sam Hunt and Hunter Hayes singing “Walk This Way.” Their voices went so well together and got the crowd on their feet. Being in the pit, directly in front of the stage, we had the best view and I got to touch every one of the singer’s hands (which made the hours of standing all worth it)! The concert ended around 11pm and we finished our final interview about our experience. I got home at 1:30am (which is getting way harder in my late 20s) on a happiness high from the concert.

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After teaching Sunday morning (5 hours of horrible sleep was pretty brutal) I came home, showered and changed to meet up with my sister and the kids to see Inside Out. It was the best kids movie I have seen Frozen! After the movie, we said goodbye to my sister and the kids before we headed to my old apartment to do one last storage trip before I turn in the keys! After getting home and loving on Emma (because I have to do that every time I come home), I showered for dinner. We finished the night off with a delicious dinner at Paul Martin’s with the husband’s cousin. We shared a spinach dip appetizer and I had the salmon salad. We left the restaurant extremely full and not looking forward to going to work tomorrow.

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All in all, although very busy, this was one of the best weekends! I could not ask for more. However, on the same note if there is one thing I could wish for, it would be to have a no plan weekend. The last few weekends have been very action packed, while in general our weekends have busy since New York in February. With the holiday this weekend I am actually really hoping for at least one day where I can be as lazy as humanly possible. We will see if that actually happens as I say that every weekend but it never happens.

Weekly Workouts

My workouts pretty much looked the same as last week but I definitely improved my strength training like I wanted. I still have room for improvement and need to mix up my workouts more. My goal is to get a least two strength training sessions this week as well as one yoga class.

Weekly Workouts Recap:

Monday – Taught a one-hour Cycle class

Tuesday – Taught a one-hour Bootcamp class; Rest Day

Wednesday – 20 min cardio, 30 min arm workout

Thursday – Taught a one-hour Cycle class

Friday – Rest Day

Saturday – Taught a one-hour Cycle class

Sunday – Taught a one-hour Cycle class, 15 min arm workout

Tell me: Have you seen any good movies lately?

Weekend Update & Workout Recap

Happy Tuesday! I was MIA yesterday but living it up in Pismo Beach. My day consisted of delicious food, family and the beach. That is my idea of the perfect kind of quick getaway! I will have a full recap of Pismo Beach on Thursday for Travel Thursday but first let’s rewind a bit to Friday night.

After work, the husband and I decided we wanted to grab some food out. I am the world’s most impatient person (Type A all the way) which makes waiting seem like torture. I agreed to go out if there was no wait wherever he decided! Thank goodness, the restaurant he had in mind had no wait at all. We went to Luna’s Modern Mexican Kitchen for my first visit. We started off with chips and salsa (which always results in spoiling my appetite) and delicious margaritas!

Weekend Recap Lunas Mexican Food         Weekend Recap Lunas Mexican

For an appetizer, we had their table side guacamole which was fresh and inhaled by both of us! By the time our food came out, I was not hungry but I managed to find a spot in my stomach for the unique dish I ordered. Their food is Mexican with a twist. The waiter explained that their dishes are Mexican food items with a European or South American flair. I had their chicken dish that included plantain rice, fresh veggies and a cheese spinach stuffed pollo. It was such a weird concept because the dish tasted like a Mexican cordon bleu! I left the restaurant knowing we would be back very soon to try other items. We finished the night by picking up Emma to walk to Baskin Robbins for ice cream. Emma loved the attention from people sitting outside the shop. She kept begging her daddy for some of his ice cream. What can I say, she loves food like her mom.

Weekend Recap

On Saturday, I woke up to teach my 8am Cycle class which was a packed, energetic class. We were drenched in sweat 2 songs in and left feeling so accomplished to finish my workout before 9am. I stopped to get Starbucks on the way home since I knew the husband and I would need the caffeine for the full day of moving ahead. We packed, moved and stored 90% of my old apartment. At the end of the day, I checked my Fitbit and had walked 20,000 steps (twice my daily goal). By the end of the night, we relaxed after our extremely tiring day. Lifting heavy boxes and walking up and down stairs is a great workout!

Weekend Recap Starbucks

Sunday started with my 9am Cycle class. I did some errands and stopped to see my Dad on Father’s Day before heading up to Pismo Beach. Unfortunately the drive took forever with traffic but it was worth it once I made it up there! I will recap all the amazing food & fun this week but needless to say I ate my weight in delicious food as seen on Instagram.

Pismo Beach Surfside Donuts

This week’s workouts included an additional Rest Day since I have been busy with moving. Since I have been struggling to get strength training in, I found an arm & ab challenge on Pinterest that I am going to start next week with my sister. Hopefully having the move out of the way will also result in more strength workouts this coming week.

Weekly Workouts

Weekly Workouts Recap:

Monday – Taught a one-hour Cycle class

Tuesday – Taught a one-hour Bootcamp class

Wednesday – Rest Day

Thursday – Taught a one-hour Cycle class

Friday – Rest Day

Saturday – Taught a one-hour Cycle class & TONS of strength training while moving

Sunday – Taught a one-hour Cycle class

Talk to you tomorrow with my latest Stitch Fix recap!

Tell me: How was your weekend? Do you mind waiting in lines or for a table at a restaurant?