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: 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!

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.

IMG_7105       IMG_7103

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.

IMG_9418  IMG_9423

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?

Wednesday Workout & Playlist

Yesterday afternoon I had my (hopefully) last back procedure in an effort to control my pain. I am very hopeful that running and I will get back together very shortly. Unfortunately after the procedure, I still had my Tuesday night Bootcamp class. I needed to have a workout that would require me to simply monitor the exercises, not participate. I used a student as my model for exercises and was able to still attend. Shhh… don’t tell but I think we know who my favorite class is. 😉

Dec of Cards Workout

I love workouts that make working out seem fun and not so tedious. Working out in the form of a game, makes it a bit more fun as the time passes much faster. Last night’s workout is great because you can do in a group fitness class but you can also complete it by yourself. All you need is a deck of cards, a set of weights and a mat. The # of reps = the # of your card + 10. (J,Q,K and A are 10) The max reps you would do is 20 reps. Complete each round once. Last night we did 10 mins of each round for a total of 30 minutes. Here are the exercises for each round:

Round 1:

Spades :  Burpees  Clubs :  Push-ups
Hearts :  Crunches  Diamonds :  Bicep Curl- Shoulder Press

Round 2:

Spades :  Mountain Climbers  Clubs :  Squats
Hearts :  Side Crunches  Diamonds :  Bent Row w/ Kickback

Round 3:

Spades :  Plank Jacks  Clubs : Walking Lunges
Hearts :  Reverse Crunches  Diamonds :  Throw w/ Chest Fly

Workout Playlist

I have mentioned before that my ideal playlist is a mix of oldies and current songs you hear on the radio. On Monday I used a playlist at Cycle that went over very well as students commented that they liked the mix of music. When a playlist includes pop, country, 80’s and more, everyone is bound to like a song or two. Although I used this for Cycle, it is a great playlist for your workout. Listen to it while you complete the Deck of Cards workout!

Spin Playlist

Tell me: Do you like your workouts to be fun? Or are you all about being serious and  straight forward?

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:)

Weekly Workouts & New Music

Welcome back from the weekend and to June! I was able to soak up some of the beautiful California weather this weekend, get plenty of cycling in and spend time with friends and family so all in all it was a great weekend. I am excited the new month starts on a Monday because I love a fresh start to the week, let alone to the month.

Starting the week and month off, I spent some time on Sunday planning and prepping for the week. This included making cycle playlists for my classes, meal prepping and workout planning. When making my spin playlists, my main goal is to make a list that includes new hits as well as some oldies but goodies (I try to incite at least one person to say “I love this song” when an oldie comes on in class). This week was a strong song purchasing week as I bought a good mix of new songs that will be great to add to a playlist

New Music Playlist June 1

New Music for week of June 1, 2015

  • Where Are U Now (Skirillex & Diplo) feat Justin Beiber
  • One Last Time (Ariana Grande)
  • SOS (Rihanna)
  • Celebration (Kool & The Gang)
  • Levels (Avicii)
  • Believe (Mumford & Sons)
  • All Night (Icona Pop)
  • Empire (Of Monsters & Men)
  • I’m on Fire (Bruce Springsteen)
  • This Summers Gonna Hurt (Maroon 5)

Weekly Workouts

I have mentioned before that I am super nosy which makes some of my favorite blog posts the ones that share the day in a life of, weekly workouts or meal plans. I thought I would share my weekly workout recap from last week as a way to give others who may be nosy as well as a way to be more accountable to myself knowing I will post a recap. My workout week was very cardio heavy with 4 cycle classes. My goal for this coming week is to add more strength training to my workouts.

Weekly Workouts Recap:

Monday – Taught a one-hour cycle class

Tuesday – Taught a one-hour bootcamp class

Wednesday – 30 min cardio session (15 mins elliptical/ 15 mins running) and Burning Guns 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

Tell me: How many workouts did you do this past week? What is your goal for the coming week?