Friday Fitness Links: Eat More Chocolate

Oh, Friday, how I love thee. Friday means a light school day, work day and date night. And what’s on tap for date night this week?

Drumroll, please…

Golden Gloves Finals!!!! (are they the Finals? I don’t really know. I’m just the arm candy tonight) The event itself isn’t not nearly as interesting as the spectators themselves and the way that they react to the fights. So fun.

And don’t forget to stop by the lululemon athletica store on E. 66th St. & 3rd Ave. between 8:30-10am THIS SUNDAY for the Star Studded Total Body Tune-Up, hosted by yours truly. You know how I’ve never missed a marathon due to injury (or anything else)? Come and find out why, courtesy of Dr. Shure and Lara Benusis. It’ll be fun! Stay for yoga! Stay for run club!

In other news, eat more chocolate.

Ok, everybody. Have an amazing weekend and I hope to see all of you on Sunday morning! Come by any time between 8:30-10am. Run fast. Run far.

Now go out and run!

The “Hills Make You Fast” Workout

I talk about it a lot, speed work, and I think most people are cool with Mile Repeats, Yasso 800s and Tempo Runs. What most runners shy away from are HILLS. Oh yeah, those dreaded HILLS.

But why? Well, to be honest with you, no workout in the world makes me want to vomit than a good old fashioned hill workout. Pushing your body on a flat surface is only about one thing: speed. Pushing your body on a hill is about speed AND power. It’s brutal but worth it.

So, how do you go about putting together a hill workout? I’ll share my most brutal favorite one with you.

There is this hill in Central Park called Cat Hill. Why is it called Cat Hill? Because there is a very large cat on the hill. You have to see it. Anyway, the hill is about a quarter of a mile (.25 mi) from the Boathouse to the stop light at the top of the hill. Here’s what I do on Hill Day:

  • 1-1.5 mi easy warm up
  • Sprint up the hill, jog slowly down (4-6 times)
  • 1.5-2 miles at race pace

The warm up is an absolute necessity with this type of workout. If you don’t warm up, you won’t be able to reach your max speed on the hills. The idea is to run each hill repeat in the same amount of time as the one before. Don’t forget to find a hill that is at least .15 mi long so that you get more than a minute on each hill. I think I did 5 last time before I was sure I couldn’t do anymore. I was totally trashed. Those last few miles are to stretch your legs out, find a comfortable breathing rhythm and let your muscles relax before you stop dead in your tracks and collapse on your couch.

It may feel like you didn’t run all that far–and you didn’t. However, distance isn’t the goal here, intensity IS. If you are hitting those hills with everything you’ve got, you will see an improvement in your distance running. If you are loafing about and phoning in your hill workouts, you will see no improvement whatsoever.

Got guts? Hit the hills. They will rock your *running* world.

Now go out and run!

How To Run Your Race

I learned to run my race the hard way. I don’t run with my husband. I coach runners, train athletes and I have much more running experience than him. I still don’t run with him.

We tried it a few times. It always ended the same way: “You were half-stepping me the whole time.” “Well, you kept speeding up and slowing down.” Mad, mad, mad. And that is NO way to end a run. It was even worse when we used to run races together.

Giving so much attitude pre-race in the POJ line. Who wouldn't want to run with me?

Having the experience, I always start out a little slower than I intend to finish. He would pace off of me, hang back and use me as a rabbit. Then *BAM* he’d take off in the last half-mile and breeze by me, after I’d done all the pacing work for him. So rude. For me, it’s distracting knowing he’s there, wondering if he’s ok, waiting for him to blaze by me-again. Ugh. No fun.

I learned to run my race from him. We hit the POJs together (well, he tags along so I’m not lonely in the God-awful lines) and line up in the same corrals.

To be fair, I'm not very smiley at ANY start line--it has nothing to do with JB being there.

…and then I run my race. I tune everything out, relax into my pace and my strategy and I run. I don’t care if he beats me or if I beat him, I just want to run my race. When I think about everyone else, it wastes energy and I have a crappy run. I learned from my mistakes.

Here’s what I do:

  1. Stick to my pre-race routine, no matter what.
  2. Hang back when the gun goes off and let the crazies take off like bats outta hell.
  3. Don’t stress about people passing me.
  4. Have a pace plan to follow for every mile so I don’t get caught up with the cheering crowds.
  5. Race myself, not every single person on the road that day.

It’s a mind thing. Stay relaxed. Don’t stress. If you get caught up with how your friends are doing, whether or not you can pass that girl in the pink shirt or if your husband is dying on the side of the course 10 feet behind you and will need to be picked up by an ambulance and you won’t find out until you’ve finished and PR’d and OH MY GOD that is my nightmare.

Deep breath.

Run your race. Everything else can wait.

We may not run together, but we always go home together :)

Now go out and run!

Better Than the Alternative Tuesdays: Gut Check

Happy holy-hell-it-is-freakin-cold-out-there-Batman Tuesday! My Tuesday has been upside-down and inside-out from the beginning. I blame the blistering cold weather for feeling off.

Back to Snow Beast attire.

Admittedly, I am in no rush for the sweaty, hot days of summer to get here since it will mean that every piece of my wardrobe will be drenched the minute we hit 80°F (that’s 26.67°C for my science friends out there–why aren’t we on the metric system yet, by the way?!).

Wow. That was quite a tangent.

Here’s the thing, when was the last time you had a Gut Check? You know, had someone in your world push back against something you said, tried something you were fairly sure you couldn’t do, had someone call your bluff. A Gut Check.

You know why it’s important to have a Gut Check every once in a while? Because we usually gravitate toward things that make us feel better. The friend who consoles us, the significant other who comforts us, the co-worker who sides with us, the parent who kisses our head and tells us we’re perfect and nothing is our fault.

Bleh.

I absolutely love that JB is (occasionally, brutally) honest with me. I love that my closest family members and friends give it to me straight…most of the time, but always when I need it the most. Without them, I wouldn’t have even tried to go to PT school, which is my dream and also the scariest thing I’ve ever done.

And I moved from the suburbs of Colorado to Brooklyn. Yes, PT school is still scarier.

First day of Anatomy Cadaver lab = TERRIFYING!

The people who run away from Gut Checks are either scaredy cats or narcissists. It’s ok to be afraid. You can get over fear, you will likely never get over being a narcissist. I used to be a scaredy cat where my career was concerned. Sure, I could move from Colorado to NYC but I couldn’t get up the courage to go back to school. I needed JB, the Obi-wans, Red, my family and my bestest girlfriends. My Gut Checks.

Gut Check: you’re smart enough, so why haven’t you gone back to school?

Gut Check: you say you want to run a marathon, but have you signed up for one?

Gut Check: you say you want a new job, but have you been pounding the pavement?

Gut Check: you want to meet someone, but do you actively pursue dates?

Gut Check: you want to do trapeze/skydive/zumba, but you just got on the elliptical…again.

Gut Check: you want to change your life, but you really spend most of your time whining about it, not changing it.

This is the face of me, post-Gut Check.

Gut Check. We all need them. They help us grow, change, venture out of our comfort zone to reach higher highs…and sometimes some lows. But you get to live. So don’t shy away from people who offer you that Gut Check. It’s likely that they care about you, want you to succeed and cannot stand listening to you bellyache about your life anymore (see Season 2, Episode 13 of “Sex and the City”).

Don’t be afraid of the Gut Check. It might be just the thing you need to make the leap. It will make your life richer, fuller and more awesome. It did for me.

“Do or do not. There is no try.” -Yoda

Get it. Gut Check. It’s way Better Than the Alternative.

Now go out and run.

What Defines You?

I was briefly sidelined from running due to a bum butt about three years ago. My gluteus medius needed a break from running and I begged my PT for other cardio/workout options. They were limited. Recumbant bike, aka the one that makes your butt go numb and your back ache. And flat-surface walking. Like I don’t do enough of that already. Oh, and I could swim a little. My hair loved that month of swimming.

I was concerned at my hair while at the pool from a very young age. Also, isn't my hot pink numbers swimsuit just THE BEST?! I totally remember loving it!

It wasn’t that long without running and I had the bike and the pool and weights and stuff to keep me occupied. I feel like I have ADD when it comes to working out, except where running is concerned. Anyway, one month flew by with my PT and I was back at it, one mile at a time, because I followed all of the instructions given to me and let my body heal.

But what if it was longer? What if, in the future, I have to lay off of running for a longer stretch of time? What if it’s harder to get back to?

Clearly, running is my happy place. Running in Yankees Stadium is euphoric.

So many of my friends are currently experiencing running-related injuries that have sidelined them from running entirely for the foreseeable future. Many of them are not recovering as quickly as I did, despite following a variety of trained professionals’ advice, and the it seems that they may not return to running very soon.

Many of you define yourselves as “runners”. Me, too. But, don’t let running define YOU.

Run. Have fun. Race. Run fast. Commit to it. Work hard. PR.

But do something else, too. I have found balance in my life, and more happiness than I could ever imagine, but incorporating other things into my fitness world. Flywheel, yoga, apparently I am trying Zumba with LB, maybe one day I’ll buy a bike and do a try, whatever. I’m not afraid of not being able to run one day (maybe forever) because running doesn’t define me.

Never met a spin bike I didn't love.

Don’t let it define you. So, if one day you find that you have to cut back, take a break, or give it up entirely, you’ll be like, “that sucks, but at least I can still ________.” You know? Remember Obi-wan’s guest post? You gotta be flexible ‘cuz you never know what curveball life is going to throw at you.

Branch out. Have fun. Find things that get you going. It won’t be the same as running, but that’s ok. It’ll be something. It’ll be different. And different is good.

Now go out and run (while you still can!).

Speaking of injuries and branching out, running season is upon us! As you gear up to add mileage or hit the road for the first time, you’ll need a quick tune-up before you get going. Or maybe you have a nagging pain you can’t quite fix? Join me and my friends, Dr. Shure and yogi Lara Benusis,for a Total Body Tune-Up on Sunday, April 1st at the E. 66th St. lululemon. Have Dr. Shure check you out, get stretching/yoga advice from Lara and ask me anything about running! See you there. Don’t forget to RSVP!