Runner Hacks

I’m writing this on five hours of sleep with a 2:50 a.m. alarm. Today was one of the rare, but ‘part of my job’ days where I had to be at work at 4 a.m. There are certain triggers that make me my most productive, most creative or most delirious. Today is a little bit of both and the trigger was being up before the sunrise. The other big trigger is when I’m sick. Seriously, 8 p.m. on a Friday and you can bet your ass I’m on the couch with a glass of wine on my third hour of binge-watching. But, strike me with a nasty cold and I’m waiting to accept my tenth mission from the chore-gods. I deliriously digress…

As I was sitting in a meeting yesterday, we got off-topic and started talking about working out on lunch breaks. YES, it sucks to get back to your desk and be a sweaty, hot mess the rest of the day. YES, it sucks to slip back into your work attire from said sweaty, hot mess. But when it’s 5 p.m. and you realize you can just go straight home because you got your fit girl on instead of your fat girl on (we have the most irresistible peanut butter cookies in our employee cafeteria…) it makes all the four hours of gym smells worth it. In said discussion, I went on and on about my lunch time workout hacks, when finally a lightbulb went on. “Hey! I should write a blog on that!”

So here you go. 6 Lunch Time Workout Hacks (so there’s no excuses).

  1. Baby wipes are not just for babies! I love me some green tea or aloe vera-infused Huggies. While nothing is as good as an ice cold shower after a sweaty betty sesh, a nicely scented wipe down can get you through the 4-5 hours you have left in the day.
  2. Pack your hair dryer. Now, I know you aren’t washing your hair in the employee bathroom sinks, but your hair will be wet from perspiration, as will other areas. Use the cool setting on your Revlon 5000 to eliminate any moisture. A small desk fan can be helpful, too.
  3. Freshen up with some dry shampoo, pack your foundation for touch-ups and don’t forget to carry a travel-sized deodorant and some perfume to re-apply post workout.
  4. Bring some dryer sheets or foot powder for your work shoes. Either will absorb the sweat and eliminate the stink.
  5. Pack extra underwear. You may have read before that I’m pretty particular about my undies when it comes to working out. If I’m going to workout at lunch, I have a pair to workout in and a fresh new pair for when I get back into my work clothes. Trust me, it makes a huge difference.
  6. If still doubtful, remember that even a 30 minute walk is great for your heart. Bring some tennies (don’t hate on the pencil skirt and Nikes look) and explore the walking areas outside your workplace. You won’t get quite as sweaty, your makeup won’t smear and you never know what new discoveries will come about.

Endurance Training, 2.15.16

Well – I’m still on “running rest” but not losing hope just yet. The pain in my foot is diminishing daily and I’m hoping I’ll be able to log some miles this weekend (60 degree weather!!). To ensure I stay on track, I’m determined to get to the gym 4-5 times a week, even if it means limping my way from dumbbell to dumbbell. Not being able to run isn’t the end of the world (so I say to you, but in my head I’m thinking otherwise) and it certainly doesn’t mean the end to my good health and awesome muscle improvement on my shoulders and back. If you ever see me at the gym, then yep, I am checking myself out.

I was pretty proud of the workout I invented yesterday so I thought I’d share it with you all – copyrighted, trademarked and… just kidding, don’t try this at home. Ww = with weight. I used 15 pound weights, but go at your own strength. If you’re just starting out, I recommend an eight.

Warm-up:

  • One mile on the treadmill, at your own pace (Okay, I ran a LITTLE during to test the waters. Fifteen minutes later….) 

Round 1, 10 reps each:

  • Hammer curls, ww
  • Hip Raises, ww
  • Shoulder Presses, hips up, ww
  • Shoulder Flies, hips up, ww
  • Ankle grabs
  • Sit-ups
  • Repeat x 4

Round 2, 10 reps each

  • Dead lifts, ww
  • Tricep push backs, ww
  • Bicep handouts, ww
  • Side plank dips, each side
  • Push-ups
  • Repeat x 4

Round 3, 10 reps each

  • Ice Skaters
  • X-abs
  • Tricep dips
  • Crunches
  • Bicycle Abs
  • Squats, ww
  • Repeat x 4

Depending on your speed, this should take you about 30-40 minutes to complete, but don’t rush! Runners often hear and say, “Enjoy the miles” so in lieu of my running rest, Enjoy the muscles…. that won’t work well when you go to the park afterwards to play baseball.

 

Sock it to me

Before every big race, I have pre-big-day traditions that, like carb-loading and hydrating, I wouldn’t feel ready to run without. In anticipation of running the Star Wars Half Marathon at Disneyland in ten days, I thought I’d share one tradition that has turned out to be one of the most important, albeit, life changing.

Buying new socks.

12088345_10100805221621448_2303560925920131562_nI instantly feel fifty years older after typing that, but it’s true. One of my favorite race day preparations is heading to the Reno Running Company and scoping out the two synthetic foot coverings that will take me anywhere from ten to soon twenty-six-point-two miles. What color should I get? Should I stray from my favorite brand? Would it be weird if I sniffed them gleefully in the middle of the store because I never thought I could know such happiness?

Sorry, that got weird.

Truthfully, socks are often overlooked by runners (including myself for a long time) and like a great pair of running shoes, they can, and do, make all the difference. From protecting your ankles to warding off blisters and cuts to helping with blood flow — here are four tips for picking the perfect running socks:

  1. Avoid cotton at all costs. Since our feet happen to be one of the parts of our body where we sweat the most, you need a fabric that will control moisture. Otherwise, you risk a soggy foot and bigger chance at a few nasty blisters. Instead, look for socks with synthetic fiber that will wick the moisture off of your feet.
  2. Get the right fit. Since I’m a long lost cousin of Big Foot (size 11s represent…), I tend to buy mens socks because they provide full coverage and better ankle support. And because no part of your body is safe from chafing, a good fitting pair of running socks will protect you from the aforementioned worst feeling in the world. If you’re purchasing at a running store, they’ll most likely have some samples you can try on, or at the least, a good exchange policy.
  3. For faster recovery, try compression socks. Lots of runners wear them on long runs to support blood flow, while others will wear them post-run to reduce lactic acid build-up.
  4. Get funky! Pick your favorite color, pick a bold pattern, pick something that’s you because when your feet hit the pavement, nothing is more important than feeling confident that you’ll have a rockstar performance.

And there you have it! My favorite brand is Feetures, but I’ve also purchased from Brooks and Nike. What’s your favorite brand?

No rest for the gluttonous

Forgive me Gym Gods, for I have sinned… it’s been three days since my last real workout.

No big deal, right? Pair that with four days of cookies and casseroles and DSC_0670you’ve got yourself a real problem at that next workout. Thanks, Thanksgiving.

Today was like day one all over again – only in more ways than one. I started working with a personal trainer at Evoke Fitness. I’ve done their infamous 30 Day Body Challenge a few times now, and always like what I see at the end. In fact, Evoke is the place where I’ve felt my strongest and weakest. I’ve jumped higher, lifted heavier and ran faster under the 30 Day Challenge. But I’ve also beaten myself up over the weight I didn’t lose during my second challenge and landed myself in the ER after a catastrophic game of Burpee Tag… no really. Try explaining that one to the doctor as he’s X-raying your ankle. I digress – today was day one all over again.

Strength training is the one thing I’ve never put much focus on, despite knowing that it would help me run faster, prevent injury, lose more weight, tone up and just be an all around stronger athlete. So when I signed up for the Marathon, I made a deal with myself that I would focus on more than just cardio. Strength training is important for runners for many reasons. The biggest thing for me is that I’m building muscle on the parts of my body that help me run further and faster, but with less impact. Pavement can be so hard on your body – it’s nice to slow things down a bit. Plus, running works your muscles the same way every time to the point where it’s clockwork and you’re no longer building, just maintaining. The other plus of strength training? It boosts your metabolism and wakes up those hormones that burn fat.

Additional reading: Ten Reasons Why Runners Should Include Weight Training

My body felt weak today from the Thanksgiving destruction. I couldn’t believe how badly I was shaking. I certainly am going to feel it all tomorrow. But the important thing is that it’s done.

Personal Training Session #1:

  • Half-mile treadmill run, moderate pace
  • Round 1 (Repeat 3 times)
    • 90lb leg presses, 15 reps
    • 40lb leg lifts, 20 reps
    • 20 weighted, alternating lunges into bicep curls
    • 15 tricep dips
  • Round 2 (Repeat 3 times)
    • 75lb sled push 10 yards
    • 15lb shoulder presses, 10 reps
    • 15lb shoulder flies, 10 reps
    • Full sit-ups, 10 reps
    • 10lb skull crushers, 10 reps
  • Round 3 (Repeat 3 times)
    • 60lb lateral press, 15 reps
    • 10lb elevated front raises, 12 reps
    • Elevated leg lifts, 15 reps
  • Round 4 (Repeat 2 times)
    • 15lb, single leg rows, 15 reps each side
    • Balanced V-ups on bench, 15 reps