No Time To Run? Run Faster.

Do you ever hear someone tell you that they don’t have time to run? Like, every single run you do has to be 45 minutes-3 hours long or something. FALSE! Guys, running is running, no matter how long you’re doing it for. So go out and get ‘er done!

This is how I look when I'm running reeeeeally slow. At least I LOOK fast, don't I? Image courtesy of my friend, Tampa & luluelmon athletica

How?

Easy.

  • Warm up for 5 minutes.
  • Run fast (on flat-ish road): 5 minutes.
  • Run 3-4 hill repeats (up super-fast, down super-slow)
  • Run fast (on flat-ish road): 5 minutes.
  • Run 3-4 hill repeats (up super-fast, down super-slow)
  • Run fast (on flat-ish road): 5 minutes.
  • Run home.

25/30 minutes and you’ve got an interval workout done. Don’t have time for that last 5 minute fast run? Cut it out and do what you can do. Think that’s not going to help you in your long runs? Think again.

When you run fast, you require a whole lot more force and control to do it. By running fast for a short period of time, you are putting more strain on your muscles and joints, which is a little like weight training because of the increase in force. Running fast also means you have to have more controlled, tighter, faster movements. This requires more strength, too. It also helps to improve your form because when you run faster, you typically run taller and have a more natural stride.

Bottom line: it makes you a stronger runner.

The physiological benefits of processing oxygen faster and increasing your lactic threshold are well documented and a quick Google search can give you more detail on that. But did you know the you continue to burn calories after a hard interval workout, even longer than a regular ‘ol aerobic workout? It’s true.

So, whether you want to be speedier runner or smaller runner, interval workouts are where it’s at. Keep those long runs in your weekly rotation, but find a hill or a track to get your interval workouts on every now and again. That way, you never miss a run because you didn’t have enough time. This is how I’m managing to keep my Runner’s World Holiday Streak going through a very busy holiday/finals/PhD application time.

What are you waiting for?

Go out and run!

Better Than the Alternative Tuesdays: Lighten Up

Wow! Time flies. I feel like this week zoomed on by and now I’m facing deadlines for DPT school and there is absolutely no time to waste. In light of how stressful the holidays (and school deadlines!) can be, let us take a moment to Lighten Up.

Exhibit A:

Gobble, gobble!

That is me, dressed in my turkey costume for the 1st annual lululemon athletica 5K Turkey Trot. I may not look much like a turkey, but my costume was made with love, feathers and ridiculous amount of silliness. As “race director” (man, oh man do I use that term loosely!), I could have shown up in my chic luluelmon attire and raced with my fellow trotters around Central Park without having people stare at me, wondering what the tall girl in the feathers was doing in a cardboard box ringing a cowbell. That would have been fine.

I went the other way because it’s a Turkey Trot! Lighten Up! Have some fun, don’t race for time, let the box slow you down and stop when people ask why you’re dressed that way to tell them that, yes, a grown woman is still free to dress like a turkey when she feels the spirit move her. Lighten Up. It’s not all serious.

Exhibit B:

An amazing view from behind. Feathers!

There are soooooo many very serious things in life that we really cannot make light of. Trust me, I am experiencing some of them right now. Some situations are just so crappy and hard and unfair that you want to scream and cry throw a tantrum all at the same time. And sometimes I do just that. (sorry, JB)

But the other stuff, the stuff that really isn’t that deep, that’s where we need to Lighten Up. Do a Jingle Bell Run for fun and wear bells on your shoes. Dress as Santa for the Santa Claus Shuffle. Rent an Elvis suit for the Rock ‘n Roll Marathon/Half-Marathon in Vegas this weekend. Wear a funny hat and sunglasses with the year “2012” on them for the Midnight Run. Lighten Up.

Last week, before our trip to Florida, I had to check in with Dr. Boz. He decided he didn’t like what was going on and blah, blah, blah, ordered newer, stronger meds for me and pumped me full of IV drugs to help me feel better.

What's this brown stuff going into my arm?

In between giving me the rundown on  my not-so-awesome-but-they’re-going-to-get-the-job-done drugs, we actually spent the majority of the time during my appointment swapping holiday Outlaw stories and chatting about how a good kitchen set-up makes it so much easier to cook Thanksgiving dinner. See? Lighten Up. Yes, moon face is probably on the horizon for me as we taper the ‘roids, but it’s not the end of the world! There are drugs on the way to helping me kick this flare-up and start off the New Year on a good health note! So, Lighten Up!

Lighten up! Take a funny picture and send it to your husband to make him laugh at work while you tell him all about your doctor’s visit. (See above)

Lighten Up! Run for fun instead of for time.

Lighten Up! Have a sense of humor about yourself.

Lighten Up! Don’t try so hard to tell everyone how sainted you are.

Lighten Up! Let that less-than-flattering picture on Facebook stay up as a testament to how much fun you have and how confident you are.

Lighten Up! Fall over in yoga class (or in the privacy of your own home gym) and laugh.

Lighten Up! Quit criticizing everyone else’s everything.

Lighten Up! Life is hard for you to be wound so tightly all the time.

I can be an uptight ninny sometimes, so I love the moments in life that remind me to Lighten Up. Like the Turkey Trot or my doctor and I comparing Thanksgiving cooking styles as he drugs me up. I love the people in my world who remind me to Lighten Up. Those moments when I truly Lighten Up make being here much better than being there. And that’s what BTATs are all about.

Lighten Up, friends.

Now go out and run!

…By New Year’s Day 2012

Confession: I hate New Year’s resolutions. I have never set one. I don’t like the idea that there’s one day of the year when people are supposed to start something. I get that some people need the start date to start anything, but I am going to propose something radical.

Start today.

Start now.

So that by New Year’s Day 2012, you have already accomplished something. Instead of:”I will start (insert New Year’s resolution) on January 1, 2012″ try this on for size: “I will be doing/have completed (insert goal) by January 1, 2012.”

It’s much more powerful to have an end goal date than a start goal date. Procrastinators (ie. most of us out there) get this. You will work much harder if you have a deadline than if you have just a starting date and an open timeline.

Why start now?

Why not?

The holiday season is one of the most stressful times of the year for people young and old. Money, travel, family drama, work, end-of-year job stuff, seasonal depression, holiday food, office parties…the list of potentially nightmare-ish scenarios goes on and on. Why not set a goal during this crazy time and do something good for yourself?

Need more of this

I will…

have run every day since Thanksgiving…(STREAK!)

be taking a yoga class twice a week…

be running 7:30 miles for my long runs…

finish one non-school book…

take one Flywheel class a week…

turn over my wardrobe and clean out my closet…

race hard one race…

By New Year’s Day 2012!

There are a lot more sweaty Flywheel classes in my future!

Not very lofty goals, but goals nonetheless. I challenge you to start now and not wait for midnight on New Year’s Eve to decide to start something. Nothing will ever live up to the moment when Billy Crystal runs up to meet Meg Ryan and tell her he wants to spend the rest of his life with her in When Harry Met Sally.

It’s never that climactic, so let’s stop putting expectations on that one day and do it now. Don’t think to hard about it, just do it.

What are you going to achieve by New Year’s Day 2012? I want to know! Tell me all about it!

Now go out and run!

Fitness News Fridays: Black Friday

Did everyone have a good Thanksgiving? I hope you are all stuffed to the gills with pie and turkey and love and thanks! Hey, did you hear that I’m streaking? Did you get your streak on last night? I hit up the Outlaws’ neighborhood roads down here in Florida after everyone had left for a quick 3-miler, my first real run after the marathon, and managed to clock sub-8:00 minute miles. Sweet!

I know that some of you are going to be getting your workout on by MMA fighting the person in line next to you at Best Buy/Target/Bloomingdales this morning and good luck to you brave souls. I am going to take some of the Outlaws to the gym and show them how to get their post-Thanksgiving workout on New York-style. Look out, Florida!

So what’s happening in the world of health and fitness this week? Well, everyone is all about how not to gain weight around the holidays and how to portion control your meal. Too late today! In other news…

  • For those of you who are away from home this weekend and can’t get into the gym, Men’s Health has a Hotel Workout just for you.
  • Or, if you have a smart phone, you can download all sorts of helpful workout apps that will keep track of everything from your heart rate to your distance to your calories burned. Now that’s smart!
  • If you’re going to head out for a run instead, be sure to do a safety checklist before you hit the road.
  • Are you struggling with losing weight? Some of it is motivation, but some of it might be genetics. Either way, keep fighting!
  • If you’re working out all the time and not seeing any results, there may be a reason for that and it’s not just genetics or motivation.
  • I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, one exercise is never the answer for overall health and good fitness. Even yogis are figuring that out!
  • And lastly, if you are looking to get a fitness lady in your life a little something-something for the holidays, I just say that luluemon has this gym essentials kit that has all my favorites bits and bobs in it!

Ok, everybody, get your streak on and we’ll check back in on Monday to see how it’s going.

Now go out and run!

 

Gratitude

Hey all.

Just wanted to send out a little bit of gratitude your way before tomorrow gets outta hand. Turkey, family, wine, Turkey Trots, pie, wine…mmmmm, Thanksgiving!

Even if you are a cynical bastard who thinks Thanksgiving is a crock and the Pilgrims actually stole that food (amongst other things) from the Native Americans and it’s a Hallmark Holiday, the sentiment should not be forgotten or squandered.

Giving thanks for what you have teaches you humility, which in turn gives you grace.

I am humbled by all I have been given in this world. My husband who could not be better suited for me and whom I love with my whole heart. My family which is huge and loving and I wouldn’t trade any of them for the whole world. The Obi-wans who have taught me all I know about being a good person. My gorgeous friends who selflessly share of their time and talents so that I might learn and benefit from their friendship. My teachers who decided it was a good idea to make the rest of us smarter. My city and country where the opportunities abound!

I have been given opportunities that others only dream of and I hope that I am not squandering them. I hope I am being the change I want to see in the world, one day at a time.

I hope that you know how lucky you are and that, at some point tomorrow, you take stock of what you have and give thanks.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends. Gobble, gobble!

Now go out and run!

And you New Yorkers, I’ll see you in a little bit at the Turkey Trot!