Monday, June 30, 2014

Training Truths: Burning Calories

One thing I love about being a teacher is the flexibility I get during summer vacation. During the school year, my workouts are after school and I skip fitness classes during the week because my evenings are booked with family time and sporting events.

My stepdaughter has been home from college for over a month now and doing a 6 week summer fitness challenge. When she got her first check-in measurement results back, I was inspired to start whittling away some of the comfy pounds I put on this spring.

Last week I jumped into my new summer workout plan and I put my fitness gadgets to work tracking my calories burned. I strapped on my Polar FT40 heart rate monitor and got busy. Even though I take a lot of photos of my watches, I've never really thought about the data beyond that one workout.

Monday - 4 mile run. I was supposed to go to SurfSet, but class was cancelled because the AC was broken. (417 calories burned)

Tuesday -  Morning stretching and leg work. Went to Yoga (wildcard) class, but the instructor was stuck in traffic so instead we did a Strength class. (185 calories burned)

Wednesday - Started the day with a humid 4 mile run. It wasn't good. Loved my lunchtime Surf-n-Turf workout at TI Fitness. (853 calories burned)

ThursdayI took my morning workout to Strength In Balance NH for a Booty Barre class. There are three main parts to Booty Barre: killer arms, brutal legs, and lethal abs. It sounds deadly, but it's an awesome workout! The battery in my Polar died about 10 minutes into class, so I will have to wait until next time to see how many calories I burn doing this full body workout. (351 based on my last class)

Friday - 6 mile long run with mrC to start the day. (654 calories burned)

Saturday - 50 minute SurfSet class. There were a couple of new people in the class, so I think the instructor went a little easy on us. It was ok with me because my legs were tired from the week (357 calories burned - 28% fat!)

Sunday - Spent a rest day hanging out at the beach and taking a few walks.

My total calories burned for last week: 2817

I can't wait to see how I do this week! (although vacation will get in the way a little)

Do you track your calories burned during your workouts?

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Workout Wednesday: Lunge Jumps

For a while now, I have been working on building my leg strength. After tweaking my hamstring last summer and then finding out I tore my meniscus, my left quad muscle has weakened.

Last week I did lunge jumps as part of a challenge and could really feel my quads working. There are two ways to do this exercise:

1. Stand with your feet together, hands on your hips or at your side for balance. Lunge forward with your right foot. Jump straight up. Switch legs in midair, like a scissor, and land in a lunge with your left leg forward. Repeat, switching legs again. That's 1 rep; do 10. Repeat 3x

2. Stand with your feet together, hands on your hips or at your side for balance. Lunge forward with your right foot. Jump straight up landing on the same leg. Repeat 10x. Switch legs and repeat 10x. That's one set; do 3.

Lunge jumps work the hip flexors, glutes, and quads. It's another great no equipment needed exercise that you can do anywhere.

What is your favorite leg strength exercise?

Monday, June 23, 2014

Training Truths: It's Summer!

Wow! Did you feel that heat arrive? This week started with an abrupt reminder that summer is officially descending upon us. I don't mind getting sweaty, in fact I kind of like it, but running in the high temperatures has always been a challenge for me.

This year, I'm trying to not get hung up on the slower paces as my body adjusts to the warmer weather. So, as I continued to run outside during this last week of school, I tried to embrace the activity and not worry about the data!

Monday - 30 minute walk at lunch, side lunge jumps, two Tabata ab workouts (see here & here).

Tuesday - A seriously steamy run after school with a co-worker and hanging knee-ups.

Wednesday - Busy, busy day! Morning planks then work, dinner, and graduation.

Thursday - MrC was home from three weeks of ground school, so I took the day off from running.

Friday - Driveway workouts after my last day of school: step-up knee-ups, lunge jumps, and abs.

Saturday - 4 mile run downtown on the Manchester Trail before SurfSet. I learned my lesson the last time I almost melted running after class. The weather was also on my side this time with a sunny but cooler than usual morning. It was a beautiful start to summer! Can we have more days like this?

Sunday - a little yoga and a World Cup Workout. I really didn't need this to keep my heart rate up; what an exciting USAvPOR game!

Planks - 1 minute everyday!!

How did you ring in the official start to summer?

Friday, June 20, 2014

Kickoff to Summer 5K 2014

Last Saturday, I did something pretty cool.

I ran the Kickoff to Summer 5K for the 5th time and for the 3rd time with littleC. I have run this race nearly every year since moving to New Hampshire (missed 2010). In fact it was my very first NH race. We really like this local race because it has a friendly course and is a fundraiser for the elementary school PTA.

Just like last year, I used the 5K as part of my long run. So instead of driving to the race with littleC, I ran the 3.1 miles and met her there. It was a cool morning and aided by my pre-run fuel from Vega Sport, I ran some pretty good splits getting to the race (8:50, 8:39, and 8:15)! To be honest though, the last half mile is all downhill.

After a quick wardrobe change, we picked up our bibs and the (always cute) race shirts, stored them in the car and then headed to the starting line.

This is a no frills race. The start is an orange line spray painted on the blacktop and the start is an enthusiastic gentleman with a megaphone. LittleC and I ran together for the first two miles, but then I got ahead of her through a water stop. Once we were back out on the main road, I just wanted to get to the finish, so I pushed on.

My goal for this race was to have fun and keep a pace that felt good. I'm happy to say that I achieved all three and beat my time from last year (28:56) with a solid 28:21.

Do you like running the same race every year?

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Workout Wednesday: 4 Minute Workouts

I keep hearing that Tabata is an efficient way to workout. The combination of vigorous exercise and rest periods can pack more benefits than an hour long treadmill run when done three times a week. Tabata workouts are packed with benefits…

So, since I don't plan to give up running anytime soon, Tabata is a great cross-training option that can help me get stronger and (maybe) faster!

My go-to ab workout uses the Tabata technique (see it here), but I've been looking for some new ones to mix things up and keep me challenged. Here's a one I found from Running Hutch:

20 seconds/10 seconds rest x 3 sets

Forearm Plank
Russian Twists
Mountain Climbers

If you are looking for Tabata workouts, I created a Pinterest board you can check out!

Follow Amy's board Tabata Workouts on Pinterest.

Do you use Tabata as part of your training?

Monday, June 16, 2014

Training Truths: Driveway Workouts

A lot of people I know go to the gym to workout. Maybe it's because I spend all my time cooped up in a classroom all day, but I love to do my workouts outside. The neighbors probably think I'm wackado for jumping around in the driveway, so sometimes I recruit family members to join me.

Even though I don't let the seasons deter me from doing outdoor workouts, I do get outside more frequently now that it's warmer. This week only the rain kept me inside.

Monday -  30 minute walk, side lunge jumps and ab ninja workout

Tuesday - 3 mile run (fueled with Vega Sport SFE) with negative splits (9:15, 8:58, 8:56), side lunge jumps, and side plank lifts.

Wednesday - The rain chased me inside today - 30 minute walk, side lunge jumps, side plank lifts, jump rope(less) side to sides and ab ninja workout.

Thursday - 5K run (in my new Wave Paradox!!) and glider oblique pikes (ugh!). Fueled my run again with Vega Sport SFE and was even speedier than Tuesday (9:08, 8:58, 8:34)!

Friday - much needed rest day with a little vino!

Saturday - Ran two awesome 5Ks: one on the way to the Kickoff to Summer 5K where I met up with littleC. Both 5Ks were speedier than I expected (#1 8:50, 8:39, 8:15 and #2 8:56, 9:47, 8:38), so I'm beginning to think the Vega Sport SFE is working even more than I originally thought. After the race, lateral slide burpees in the driveway.

Sunday - Side lunge jumps, in & out squats, yoga stretching

Everyday - #PlankStreak - 1 minute every day!

Where is your favorite place to workout?

Friday, June 13, 2014

Five Races I'd Love to Run Again

Lately I've been thinking about some of the races that I would love to do again. Ones that I haven't had a chance to do more than once yet. 

Since this week's Friday Five from CynthiaCourtney, and Mar has an open theme, I picked the five races I would definitely do again if I had the chance.

Pell Bridge Run - You know I love Newport, RI and running across the bridge as the sun was rising was one of the coolest moments ever. The early bird start time (6:30 AM) and the logistics of getting to the point-to-point starting line has kept this one off the schedule for a few years, but it may be time to do it again soon.

Flying Pig Half Marathon - If I could go home to Cincinnati every year to run this race, I would. What can be better than a hometown visit and a race all in one weekend?

Cape Cod Ragnar Relay - I loved, loved, loved running on the Cape. The hills were killer, but the views were amazing. Plus, staying over after the race on the Cape is the best recovery!

NYC Half - This race takes you through all the best parts of NYC: Central Park, Times Square, and along the Hudson to Battery Park. The entire weekend of sight-seeing, shopping, and attending the expo was so much fun. I'd definitely love a repeat.

Rock-n-Roll (Providence) - This was my first half marathon ever in 2011. I've actually done it twice, but Providence is no longer a tour city. Weekends in Providence were always fun, but this is one that just has sentimental value.

Do you have a race you would like to run again? 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Workout Wednesday: Feeling Pumped

First let me say that I am not a certified coach (yet) of any sort. This is just a fun way for me to share a workout/exercise that I found online or learned from someone else and really liked.

The idea for Workout Wednesday comes from Theresa at A Change of Pace. Check out her blog here. I loved the idea because I find great workouts and new exercises mostly from reading and seeing them in use by other active people.

I've been participating in the Under Armour #SweatADay challenge off and on for a few months now. Monday's challenge was a new one for me and really spoke to my buttisimo!

Jumping Side Lunges:

Here's the How-to from Shauna's Instagram post:
"Side lunges...with a lateral hop. Mmm hmm yes. #takeitside indeed. 
1 - Start in a side lunge. Bend your right knee and sit your butt back, knee doesn't go passed your toes and heel stays down. Left leg will be straight. Toes are all facing straight ahead. Bring your hands down to the ground. This will assure you keep your butt low!
2 - Hop up and to the left landing in a side lunge on the other side -- left knee bent, right leg straight. 
3 - Repeat side to side. I find it hard to get a ton of air when jumping from this position but you will absolutely feel it! 
Be cautious of how you land. Absorb the landing with knees bent but then straighten out the other leg so it's a true side lunge." 
I did this exercise for one minute and couldn't believe how much I felt it. In fact, at first I thought I might have pulled something because I was feeling tightness in my glutes that I haven't felt in a long time. 

That tightness told me that I was working my muscles in a good way. The slight soreness I felt the next day was even more confirmation. 

What workout or exercise has you feeling "pumped" lately?

Monday, June 9, 2014

Training Truths: #FuelYourBetter

A few weeks ago I was selected to try a Vega Sport product for the #FuelYourBetter campaign (check it out here) with Fit Approach. I have a pretty good routine for fueling during my longs runs, but fueling before workouts has not been one of my strengths. There are also days when I just need a little something to increase my energy.

I chose Vega Sport Sugar-Free Energizer because it is recommended for use before short runs or low intensity workouts, like all the Booty Barre classes I intend to go to this summer along with some of the other activities on my summer goals list (you can read about those here).

Vega Sport Sugar-Free Energizer comes in two flavors: Lemon Lime and Acai Berry. I'm usually not too picky about sport drink flavors, but the Acai Berry is so much better than the Lemon Lime. It is gluten, dairy, and soy free.

Over the last few weeks I've tried the 5 calorie Sugar-Free Energizer with a variety of activities at home and at school. I love that I can toss the packets in my school or gym bag and mix them right up in the classroom.

I used the easy to mix packets to boost my endurance on short runs after school when my energy is lowest. I don't know if my stamina actually increased, but I did stop thinking about how tired I was.

I also used it to lift my energy before setting out to wash the car and do some light yard work. In all honesty, I only planned to wash the car, but then kept going and weeded the flower beds.

When I was rushing around getting things finalized for the National Running Day 5K event and before tackling a large stack of papers to grade, I mixed some up to help keep me focused.

There are times when we all face something that is holding us back from our best. Vega Sport  has fuel to help prepare, sustain, and recover. You can find your personal fueling plan on their website (here).

Like most fueling product, Vega Sport Sugar-Free Energizer asks for an investment. The prices on the Vega website range between $1.69 for a single pack to $49.99 for a 4.5 oz. tub that makes 40 servings. It is more expensive than other product I have used, but none of others are plant-based. The product is also available for less on Amazon.

Workouts June 2 - June 8

It was a slow week for running and when I did run, it was hot and hard! This week reminded me that my body takes awhile to acclimate to the warmer weather.

Monday - 3 mile sweaty run after school

Wednesday - National Running Day 5K - was able to run 1.2 before heading back to hand out refreshments and prizes at the finish

Saturday - SurfSet & ugly 5 mile run - probably my last run AFTER class until summer is over. It was hot, hot, hot. I struggled.

One of my breaks in a shady spot - Stark Park

Planking - forearm and side planks for 45 seconds each every morning - got a good streak going!

How do you #fuelyourbetter?

Friday, June 6, 2014

This Summer I Will...

Hello Friday! I don't know about you, but it has been a super busy week. Planning the National Running Day 5K event (recap here) kept me literally running around at times, and last night I presented an award at the Scholastic Banquet.

I really like the theme from CynthiaCourtney, and Mar for Friday Five again this week so I'm putting my summer goals/wish list out there for all of you to see.

This summer I will.

Try Standup Paddleboarding at Hampton Beach - I bought a voucher for me & mrC through Living Social. We live so close to the beach and I have been wanting to try SUP, so this was a deal I couldn't pass up.


Tone up with a TI Fitness Summer Pass - I'm thinking I should get this unlimited classes deal and make SurfSet my go-to workout on non-running days. The studio is downtown and some of the classes are done outside at a park or even on the rooftop.

Work my Booty Barre - Groupon had a great deal for my favorite studio and with summer right around the corner, my schedule will allow me more time to get to these classes.

Swim and Bike at least once a week -  I love to swim in pools, but we don't have a pool. We do have a pond and beach nearby, so I'm going to make use of it this summer. We live on a main road, so bike riding can be intimidating. As long as I have company, I'll be able to get the bike out there. Or maybe take my bike to a nicely paved bike path with ocean views…that would work too!

Climb Seneca Rocks?? - I'll be visiting a friend in West Virginia and she suggested that we do some climbing. Of course I was agreeable, but after doing some research I'm hoping there is an option that doesn't involve ropes and harnesses!


What are your summer goals?

Be sure to check out the other Friday Five posts!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

National Running Day at GHS!

Yesterday the school community came together as a running community to celebrate National Running Day.

It started about a week ago with displays in the Information Center that showcased running photos, medals, and all the reasons Why [We] Run!

We wore our running shirts like we did last year.

We donated our old shoes to the local running store recycling program.

After school teachers and students gathered together for a 5K run on the local trail.

At the finish line everyone enjoyed the ZOOMA Ambassador goodies from Cytomax and Muscle Milk and a few prizes from Sweaty Bands, Ultimate Direction, and Mizuno.

How did you celebrate National Running Day?

Monday, June 2, 2014

Training Truths: 4 Ways to Stay Motivated

Last week mrC left for ground school and will be gone for three weeks. One of the hardest parts about having him gone is facing run days and still getting myself out the door...alone.

Tuesday - Beyond the fact that mrC wasn't around, there were lots of reasons I was tempted to put off this run: questionable weather, busy day at work, hunger...but I changed into running clothes and that helped get me out the door. Even though my legs felt heavy, I'm happy with my run and excited that my fast last mile streak continued one more run! (9:24, 9:09, 9:15, 8:55)

Thursday - Considered putting this run off until Friday until I saw the weather forecast. Running on a gorgeous day is far better than in a downpour, even if I was tired. While my legs were not happy with the hills, my final speedy mile streak continued! (9:18, 9:02, 9:27, 9:00). I felt so good after that I even did some planks (it's been awhile).

Saturday - After a fitful night's sleep, I woke up feeling sluggish. Worried I would be struggling at SurfSet, I drank some VEGA Sport Sugar-Free Energizer to help boost my energy for a better performance. It was just what I needed for an awesome workout.

Saturday - I cannot resist a run on the beautifully paved Manchester Trail, so even though I was running low on energy after SurfSet, I knew that the scenery of the trail would perk me up. Despite a major blunder when I paused my watch at a light and forgot to restart it, I was happy with my pace - even if my last mile wasn't super speedy this time (9:23, 9:23, 9:25, 9:11, 10:49, 9:37).

What quirky tricks do you use to keep yourself motivated?