Strength Season

I like to think of the winter as Strengthening Season. I don’t really do much more than a 15K during the winter. Partially because I’m pretty grumpy when I get cold and partially because there just aren’t a lot of longer races in the Tri-State area during the freezing months of the New Year.

Me in the cold. Do I look happy to you?

So I cross-train more in the winter. I like hitting the gym and Flywheel so I can avoid the blistering wind on the East River. You will find me (begrudgingly) in Central Park or on the Rivers, trudging along wishing for Spring.

Anywhoodle, between recovering from surgery and getting my (less than 20 pound) lift on, I’m a big fan of strength training. One of My Team members and Physical Therapist, Dr. Karyn Keating has invited me to spread the word about an awesome opportunity for NYC runners!

Karyn is awesome, trust me.

ONE

Join Karyn & Sarah Dimmick from Physical Equilibrium for a strength training seminar for runners. Seriously, who among us couldn’t use more strength training? Oh, and it’s FREE!

Details-

  • Where: Cynergy Physical Therapy, 145 West 57th Street, 10th floor
  • When: Wednesday, November 28th at 7pm

Bonus!

Check out Cynergy PT’s fancy new Alter-G Treadmill! You know how I feel about the Alter-G (hint: I think it’s awesome!) and this is a great opportunity to see what they’re all about.

Like running on a cloud.

Karyn will probably be my boss some day so you’d do well to get to know her. She’s wicked smart. Let’s Run Stronger Every Day together. See you there!

Now go gout and run!

Friday Fitness News: The Dog Didn’t get $15M

Happy, happy Friday! I don’t know why, but this weekend couldn’t come fast enough for me. I’m ready to relax and spend time with JB–he is currently addicted to Flywheel Sports just like me. So awesome. He kills it on every ride. 400+ on the Torque Board last night. What?!

Do you cross train on the bike? It’s my personal favorite. That and doing a HIIT in the gym. Love it. Anyway, here’s what’s going on in the Fitness World this week:

Yes.

I’m off to enjoy my weekend. I hope you are doing the same right now. See you next week.

Oh, and mark your calendars for the Star-Studded Total Body Tune Up hosted by me and my team over at the E. 66th St. lululemon and featuring the magic of Dr. Shure from Madison Square Wellness and our favorite yogi, Lara Benusis. Get all fixed up for racing season with us!

Now go out and run!

Minimum Leg Day

Many of you have asked me about strength training for your legs. I do two days of legs a week:

  • Maintenance Day
  • Plyometrics Day

Maintenance Day is an absolute MUST for every runner. You hit all of the muscle groups in the legs and hips to ensure maximum strength for those long runs. Here are the absolute minimum leg exercises that you should be doing every single week.

  1. Leg Extensions
  2. Hamstring Curls
  3. Squats (or Stand-up/Sit downs) OR Lunges (or both, if you can)
  4. Standing Calf Raises
  5. 3 Hip Exercises

For a brush-up on squat form, see this post. For a visual, you should look like this:

Exercises #1-4 should be done at a challenging weight. What does that mean? It means that you do 3 sets at a weight that makes this happen: the first one is no problem, second one is more challenging, the third one you should struggle to get to the 10th rep and have to push hard to get to the 12th. If you’re not struggling on the last set, the weight isn’t heavy enough to be making a difference in your life. If you can’t get through the 2nd or 3rd set at all, it’s too heavy. Back off.

For Exercises #5, see this post on stronger hips (see the photos below for a preview).

If you commit to your strength routine the way you commit to your running schedule, you will be a very successful runner. If you ignore your gym workouts, you will be a very sorry runner. So, hit the gym and get ‘er done!

Now go out and run!

Fitness News Fridays: Free Shipping Friday

First off, thank you all for your feedback regarding yesterday’s first ever workout video blog! According to my stats, over 100 of you have clicked on it…has anyone actually tried it? Love to know what you think/how you felt! Regardless, more of those to come.

Second, today is the day when online stores promote free shipping in time for Christmas. So, if you’re like some people I know and you just started TODAY, get your butts online and grab that freebie before it’s gone!

Third, I wanna throw a shout-out to my optometrist who, while I was getting my annual exam, casually told me she ran her first marathon in Chicago this fall on a whim. Ummm, AMAZING and congratulations! Best part about my visit with her? We talked running and lululemon the entire time and then she told me my eyesight is holding steady at the current prescription. Rock on, both of us!

My Runner’s World Holiday Streak kinda hit a bump this week. I got all my runs in, but they were all interrupted and that suuuuuucks. Soon, very soon, I will be run-interrupted free (right, Dr. Boz & PAK?) and blazing on the Highline Trail in Denver! Yay holidays! Yay streak!

And now, the news this week is all about the Olympic trials for the marathon predictions, summing up fitness for the year (this seems to go on throughout all of December *yawn*) and the rest of it is a mish-mosh. Here goes!

  • Shalane Flanagan is poised to be our best female runner at the Olympic marathon distance.
  • When it comes down to the Olympic trials, time really isn’t the goal, it’s all about placement.
  • The owner of my favorite running shoe store in NYC, Jackrabbit Sports, did a talkback with Well + Good on Facebook about running: read it here.
  • 2012 Wellness retreats. I will happily go on any one of these if someone wants to sponsor me :) Pretty please?
  • Can you be overweight and healthy? #1. Define “healthy” (My answer: no. Your joints & connective tissue are suffering even if your organs are not. It’s a total body equation)
  • Oh yeah, I’m on the luluemon blog. Global domination, baby!
  • New Yorkers: You have 3 days to get Barry’s Bootcamp classes for $22/each. Hurry up!
  • New Yorkers: Fly for FREE @ Flywheel Sports UES tomorrow @ 3pm with my girl, Aleah. You will not regret it.
  • New Yorkers: Come to the E. 66th St. luluemon store for a spa experience THIS SUNDAY from 4-6pm. You may just see your favorite fitness blogger there. Maybe…
  • The CDC says non-smokers get the flu less. Duh.
  • Do you speak “runner”?
  • And finally, what is your reaction to famous ladies signing onto multi-million dollar weight loss contracts? Good for them or just a ploy to get paid?

Good luck to all of you who are running the Ted Corbitt 15K this weekend. One of my favorite races, though I’m just not ready to pay to run in Central Park with NYRR yet again. Who else is racing this weekend? Anyone still marathon-ing? Tell me all about it and then…

…go out and run!

Beat The Runner’s Plateau

In every running career, there will be many plateaus. Sometimes they sneak up on us and we don’t realize they’re happening until we see stagnant race times. Sometimes it’s our running buddies who ask “are you alright?” when we’re lagging behind on every. single. run. Sometimes we find ourselves dreading the everyday run because it just doesn’t feel good anymore. Runner’s plateau sucks.

It happens. Now let’s talk about how to fix it.

First things first. You have to be honest with yourself and ask a few hard questions:

-Am I varying the speed and distance of my workouts? This is the most common reason I find for newbie/semi-seasoned runners. If you want results, you gotta mix it up.

-Am I cross-training enough (or at all)? Another mistake people make is to think simply running will make you faster. Not true. Aerobic + Anaerobic workouts make you faster.

-Am I putting forth 100% effort in my workouts? Only you can answer this question.

-Is my schedule the same every day/week? Yikes. Isn’t that boring? I’m plateauing just thinking about it.

-Am I getting enough rest? Sleep is where our muscles heal and grow. If you’re not sleeping, neither of these very necessary things are happening.

-Do I have a goal? Running for the sake of running is intolerably boring. Even if it’s a 3K/5K Turkey Trot, set a goal. Work for it. It takes the monotony out of the running.

These are the important questions to ask because they will provide you with the answers to get out of your running rut, over the plateau and into a new gear in your running. And we all have multiple gears, like cars, that we can train into and find as we get in better shape. It’s kind of a cool thing when you find yourself pushing and easing into a newer, faster pace.

But that doesn’t just happen. Here are some suggestions to get out of your running rut:

-Substitute one run for another form of cardio. Try swimming or indoor cycling. You never know, you might find you looooove triathlons. Get off your legs and into something new.

-Grab a faster running friend once a week for a short, hard run. Scary, I know. But it helps.

-Join a gym and try some strength training classes. A change of scenery and pace might make you appreciate the solitude and quiet many of us experience on a run.

-Mix it up. Don’t do the same workout for two weeks. Nothing the same, every workout is new and different. No run route is the same. No distance is the same. No class is the same. Try it.

-Kick it up a notch. Indoor cycling (aka “spinning”) is a great way to challenge your cardiovascular system while not beating the hell out of your legs. Push as hard as you can during one class a week and see if you notice a difference in your runs after a month.

-Take a break from running. I know, I know. Runners hate this suggestion. But, seriously, taking a one week/one month break from running to find new ways to move might be just what you need to get back into it with a fresh perspective.

-Set a goal. Sign up for a race. No better way to push yourself than to set a bar to reach and work as hard as you can.

Plateaus are bound to happen to everybody, even (and maybe, especially) the pros. How you handle them is up to you. You can wallow in it and complain about it or you can switch it up, work a little harder, try something new and discover something else about yourself: you have another gear. Who knew?

Now go out and run!

What do you do to get beyond the plateau???