Tabata HIIT Holiday Workout

TabataHIITHolidayWorkout

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, yes. But it’s also the time of year that can start to undo all the hard work you’ve put in over the past 11 months.

Think the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s aren’t taking a toll on your waistline? Despite media exaggerations, the average person only puts on a measly pound or two.

So what’s the problem? Well, it’s not so much the weight gain, but the fact that most people won’t ever lose that weight…so the scale slowly starts to creep up over the years.

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But the good news is that you can do something about it. A lot, actually.

Don’t wait until January 1st to commit to a healthy eating and regular exercise regimen. And being strapped for time over the next few months is no excuse, which is why I put together this quick Tabata High-Intensity-Interval-Training Holiday workout — not only can you do it anywhere, but it also doesn’t require any equipment.

In just 30 minutes, you can get your heart rate up, burn some calories and build muscle — all of which will help you hit those New Year’s goals early. Now that’s something you can toast to on December 31st!

What’s your game plan for avoiding unnecessary holiday weight gain?
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November Goal Check-In

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It’s hard to believe that just a little over a month from now we’ll be talking 2016. But for the time being, I’m focused on closing out the current year on a high note with respect to the goals I’ve been tracking the past 11 months.

Of course, things have been evolving with Baby H on board, but I wanted to use this post to check back in on my original plans for 2015. It’s never too late to shift course — even with 30 days left in this final push — and there’s no time like the present to figure out how to make the most of the upcoming month.

Read more about the five goals toward which I’m working this year.

Here’s the latest on my progress:

1. Seeking Balance

My original goal here was “quality over quantity” for the year, and I put it into practice this month while doing another round of travel. Long flights, time zone changes and family obligations meant that “training” had to be modified, which I used to view as a setback but now see as an opportunity to rest, recover and challenge by body in new ways (like keeping up with my toddler nephew in the snow!).

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Literally speaking, however, the “balance” theme has also been evolving to include learning how to use my new, ever-changing body. From knocking things off store shelves thanks to new dimensions to resorting to trial and error when it comes to which workouts work, it’s continuing to be a learning experience.

2. Training Smarter

My hope here was to experiment with my training repertoire to build on last season’s lessons rather than run myself into the ground doing things the same old way. I’ve been keeping up my functional fitness and cross training, but oddly enough it took getting pregnant to get me to finally slow my roll when it comes to doing one of my favorite activities: running.

All the massages, foam rolling, stretching, eating healthy and whatever other add-ons I’ve tried in the past weren’t helping to rid me of some lingering issues — namely plantar fasciitis and SI joint pain. So I’m trying to view these next few months of forced rest as something that will help me come back stronger next season.

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But just because regular runs are now off the table doesn’t mean that I can’t keep moving. On the contrary, I’ve been just as active as ever, delving into more baby-body-friendly classes, such as my MYMA Mama prenatal movement class, as well as the Mod-Mama class at Mod Physique, to help build those “mommy muscles” in anticipation of what’s to come this March.

3. Facing Fears

I declared 2014 as the year of #bikelove, but I wasn’t going to go so far as to use that same strong language for 2015 when it came to swimming. However, I’m happy to report that pregnancy has also been helping me out here; after months of talking about it, I’ve put my money where my mouth is and have been consistent with weekly swim workouts since week 20 of pregnancy!

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Of course, the purchase of a brand spankin’ new Coeur swimsuit to cover my growing curves helped. As did reading about all the benefits of swimming while pregnant.

Something that temporarily relieves me of the extra weight I’m carrying and can help keep side effects such as swelling and excess weight gain at bay? Sign me up.

4. Pushing Myself

Since I wasn’t in peak training mode going in, I knew that this pregnancy wouldn’t be a time to pursue that duathlon, next ultramarathon or century ride that I’d hoped this year would bring. But it hasn’t completely kept me from being competitive — even if my race-day game plans have gone from “Can I get a new personal record?” to “Can I run the whole way without walking?”

Case in point: Last weeks’ Corvallis Turkey Trot in which I opted to drop down to a 5k from my original 10k. It wasn’t necessarily pretty, but I’m happy to report that I was able to jog the whole 3.1 miles, despite having to pull over several times to adjust that darn pregnancy support belt!

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And, yes, although I said I was done with races for the year…I am still toying with the idea of a holiday 5k. Just for fun, of course, and schedule permitting! But we shall see where December takes us; right now, I’m approaching things one day at a time.

5. Giving Back

Technically, this goal was met and exceeded for the year back in October — BOOM! — but since there was a lot of interest, we’ve been holding biweekly LUNA off-season workouts. The lovely Vanessa has graciously offered to lead them in my absence, but I hope to get out there soon to join the ladies and head up a hiking group while they hit the trails for a run.

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We’re also taking applications for next season’s team leaders (just a few spots remain!), so email me at tlcportlandrun (at) gmail (dot) com if you’re interested. All levels are welcome (walkers, runners), and if you want to see what we’re all about you can check out our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.

How are your 2015 goals coming along? 

Race Report: Corvallis Turkey Trot

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Although my pregnant running days are quickly waning thanks to a cranky ligament on my left side, I can never seem to resist a good pre-Thanksgiving Turkey Trot. So by the time our holiday plans were solidified this year, I was online searching for a local event for Ben and I to do before the traditional festivities (family, food and football watching) commenced.

Enter the Corvallis Turkey Trot, a family-friendly event in Ben’s hometown. A short race-morning commute, plentiful parking and a flat and fast course through surrounding neighborhoods made this one a no-brainer.

As race day drew nearer, however, my gut told me that my original pick of the 10k over the 5k was a bit overly ambitious considering my current condition. It’s never fun going into a race worrying about whether or not complete the distance, so at packet pickup I opted to drop down to the 5k distance instead.

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Ben stuck with the 10k group, which started at 8:05 am, so I stood on the sidelines to cheer them on as they took off. Then it was back to the car (ample race-day parking FTW!) for 10 minutes to stay warm until the 5k’ers took off.

The temperature was a “balmy” 27 degrees, so I spent my final moments trying to figure out what to wear because I still hadn’t decided whether I’d be jogging or walking the 3.1 miles. In the end, I figured I’d at least give jogging a shot, so I ditched my coat and gloves before I locked up and headed over to the start line.

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Here’s how the next half hour or so played out in my head after the gun went off:

  • Mile .1: Wheee! I’m running again! 
  • Mile .2: This feels AWESOME. Why did I ever stop running?! I should go FASTER! 
  • Mile .3: Hm, I think I might have to pee. 
  • Mile .4: Why am I so out of breath?
  • Mile .5: I definitely have to pee.
  • Mile .6: Pregnancy support belt has migrated from below belly to above waist and is now crushing my bladder. Pull over to re-adjust.
  • Mile .9: Strava crashes, my music dies, and now I can’t take any mid-race pictures. Bummer. 
  • Mile 1.1: Pull over to adjust pregnancy support belt for second time.
  • Mile 1.3: Why are my shins tight? Oh, that’s right; I haven’t been running in a few weeks, and now I’m trying to “race.”
  • Mile 1.4: I’ve really gotta pee.
  • Mile 1.5: Pull over to adjust pregnancy support belt for third time.
  • Mile 1.7: Yep, still have to pee.
  • Mile 1.9: Screw the support belt. Note to self: Never again wearing it over slippery spandex tights. Resort to tugging it down while running.
  • Mile 2: Only one more mile to go! 
  • Mile 2.2: Curse support belt while tugging it down. Again. Debate letting it just ride up and letting the belly fly for the rest of the race.
  • Mile 2.3: Seriously, is this baby using my bladder as a trampoline?
  • Mile 2.5: Slightly loosen support belt while shimmying it down around my hips. Stay put! Only a half mile more to go. 
  • Mile 2.7: Support belt, you are now the BANE OF MY EXISTENCE. Tug, shimmy, grimace. Repeat every 100 meters.
  • Mile 3: This feels AWESOME. What have I been complaining about?! I LOVE running! 
  • Mile 3.1: Where’s the bathroom? And the food?

Final time: 30:38 at a 9:51 pace, which was good enough for 12th in my age group.

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And that, my friends, is why I think this may officially be my last race — not only of 2015, but also this pregnancy. Of course “famous last words,” and I’ll never say never (especially when those holiday events come calling…), but as you can see it’s starting to be more trouble than it’s worth.

Luckily, though, I was done in time to get some water, grab Ben’s phone from the car and watch him cross the finish. His final time was 57:19 at a 9:13 pace, which placed him 10th in his age group (not bad, considering he had a porta-potty pullover that cost him a few minutes).

Racing and running aside, we’ve got a lot to be thankful for this year. I hope you and yours had a happy, healthy holiday, as well!

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Did you trot or not this year? Either way, I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! 

October Goal Check-In

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Fall is flying by! It feels like I just wrote September’s update, and I know the next few months will go quickly with the holidays nearly upon us. Can we just hit the pause button for a moment?!

Because I was traveling for a good part of the first half of the month, the second half has been about getting back into a groove here in Portland, getting organized on a few different fronts (work, home) and starting to plan ahead on a few others (kiddo, 2016 schedule).

Meanwhile, Baby H is keeping busy growing and making his/her presence known more and more each day. So I’ve been trying to stay flexible when it comes to my monthly goals; I know the further along I get the more I’ll need to listen to my body, so there’s no time like the present to accept that and put it into practice.

Read more about the five goals toward which I’m working this year.

Here’s the latest on my progress:

1. Seeking Balance

I mentioned I was home again earlier this month for a childhood friend’s wedding. We did the math one evening and realized we’ve been friends for almost 30 years.

After we got over how old that makes us feel, we had a blast at the weekend’s events — from bachelorette party to rehearsal to wedding. Not only was it great to spend some quality girl time together, but I’m also thrilled for Colleen and Eric to start this next phase of their lives together, surrounded by love!

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I am still struggling with my body’s new definition of “balance,” however, which might be a theme this year. Or maybe it’s just a constant struggle for us all in this day and age?!

Either way, now that my energy has returned in the second trimester I get over-excited to do #allthethings, but if I push too hard I end up getting a headache for a day or two that no amount of Tylenol will kick. So this next month I’m hoping to pace myself better so I can still get stuff accomplished, but not get knocked on my butt afterwards.

2. Training Smarter

Thanks to pregnancy tilting my pelvis forward, along with a dumb move I made in Michigan trying to lift my nephew out of his carseat while leaning over, my SI joint has been flaring up again. I’ve been addressing it with massage and acupuncture and, aside from my twice weekly runs, low-impact activities are my jam (biking, yoga, walking, Pilates, swimming, etc.).

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One tip to help turn that frown upside down when you’re mourning what feels like the loss of your former level of fitness? Metrics, metrics, metrics.

Despite breathlessness on runs, the inability to utilize the majority of my ab muscles and my current distaste for high-impact activities, I managed to hit some good numbers on the bike during a recent ride. There’s nothing like some quantitative proof that your hard work is still paying off when, qualitatively, you feel like you’re fighting a losing battle.

3. Facing Fears

Stop the presses — I’m back in the pool! Yes, it sucks because mornings are dark and cold and the last thing I feel like doing is jumping in the water, but once I’m there it’s actually pretty great being a preggo “human submarine,” as Ben puts it.

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My first workout was simple: Go back and forth for 30 minutes. Just keep moving. So I did a little more than 1000 yards of freestyle punctuated with a lap of breaststroke here and there.

Going forward (just to keep myself motivated), I’ll be looking to build up to longer workouts or cover more distance in that 30-minute time-frame. But either way, I want to keep it leisurely and fun — and enjoy the fact that I can get my own lane more often than not because people seem to be leery of getting too close to a pregnant woman bobbing back and forth!

4. Pushing Myself

Because I can neither resist a) running in the fall foliage of the Midwest nor b) registering for a race when I’m traveling back home, I talked my sister into running the Rattlesnake Run 5k with me while in Michigan. Yes, the race went well and I came in second overall for the women and first in my age group, but it was a learning experience.

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I didn’t PR by any means, but I felt good that morning so my plan was to push the threshold of what I could handle (within reason , of course) just to see where that limit now lies. Well, I found it; the breathlessness that comes with pregnancy is unlike any kind of breathlessness I’ve experienced before in a race, even when I’ve been running all-out.

And although I miss that feeling of pushing my body to the limit, it’s just not the same kind of thrill when you’re second-guessing every ache and pain and what impact it has on the little person you’re carrying. So I’ve decided that any races between now and March will be strictly fun runs!

But that’s not to say I can’t look ahead… I’m slowly figuring out my 2016 schedule, and while I’m not planning on tackling any new distances or PR’s, I have signed up for the Portland Marathon as my carrot for getting back into running shape post-baby.

5. Giving Back

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we just wrapped up our first official season with Team LUNA Chix Portland Run, so I’m in the throes of planning for next year. We had such an amazing group of ladies who really embraced us and made the team their own, and for that I’m incredibly appreciative.

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And next year our plan is to come back even bigger and better! We’ll be doing monthly workouts in the off-season, as requested, plus we’ll be taking applications for any open spots for our 10 team leaders. Stay tuned to our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts for more info if you’d like to join us — the more, the merrier!

How are your 2015 goals coming along? 

Football-Inspired Agility Workout

Source: Competitor.com

Source: Competitor.com

It’s fall racing season, and we’ve got one thing on our minds at Team LUNA Chix Portland Run (well, besides pumpkin spiced lattes and cozy sweaters): Getting faster.

Training to increase your foot turnover and develop explosive power can help increase running speed. Which is why we’ve taken a page from the football coach’s handbook and have been focusing on plyometrics and agility drills in practice lately.

Plus, let’s face it, sometimes it’s fun to add a few “toys” into training. But if you don’t want to invest in an agility ladder or speed hurdles, you can just as easily draw squares on asphalt with chalk and blow up a few balloons to use as hurdles that’ll pop if you happen to land on them the wrong way.

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If you’re not familiar with the drills above (or a shuttle run), King Sports Training is a great resource for both agility ladder (here) and speed hurdle (here) drills. I use it as a reference when planning workouts — not only becasue they demonstrate the moves with videos, but they also explain the benefits of each.

Do you pull tidbits from other sports into your training? 

September Goal Check-In

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If my last few months of check-ins have seemed a little vague (or filled with missed workouts and centered around naps and food), now you know why! It feels good to be out with the baby news, and it’s a relief to be able to be up front in this month’s recap with how it’s been affecting my “training.”

So many plans have been up in the air for the bulk of this year due to all the what-ifs, but now that I’m nearly halfway there (18 weeks…what?!), I’m finally allowing myself to do a little more planning. There are definitely things I’m still able to do that surprise me, and things I thought I’d be able to do that my body wants nothing to do with, so it’s been a learning experience along the way.

And as for goals…well, expectations have had to shift, and I’m trying my best to go with the flow. But that’s often easier said than done in the day and age of social media, which makes fear-of-missing-out and falling prey to the comparison trap new obstacles around which to navigate!

Read more about the five goals toward which I’m working this year.

Here’s the latest on my progress:

1. Seeking Balance

Good news: The energy that was non-existent in my first trimester has pretty much returned. Not-so-good news: If I overextend myself one day, I’ll end up paying for it the next with a headache and mild nausea with lightheadedness.

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I found that planning things to look forward to helped me make it through some of the frustrations of trying to find the delicate balance in early pregnancy. Being able to take a trip home earlier this month was good for the soul — even if chasing around after my very active two-and-a-half year-old nephew pushed the limits of my exhaustion!

2. Training Smarter

Fall usually means one thing when it comes to running: lots of it. But, unfortunately, my favorite activity doesn’t always feel so great. From minor aches and pains to feeling like I need to pee the whole time I’m in action, I’ve had to cut back on mileage and am only running once or twice a week at the moment.

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Staying active is a priority, however, so I’ve made a loose training plan to stay on track. Walking is the new running, and I do it several times a week so I can get out and enjoy the crisp, fall air. And I’ve been supplementing daily cardio sessions with yoga, strength training, barre and prenatal movement classes to keep my muscles strong, yet supple.

3. Facing Fears

Confession: Another month and I haven’t been in the pool. But let’s be honest — at this point, the bigger fear I’m trying to face may be less about the water and more about putting on a bathing suit in public in the awkward beer-belly stage of pregnancy.

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In all seriousness, though, I know there are so many benefits to swimming while pregnant, so I do plan on adding it into my weekly workout mix. But since we only have a finite amount of sunny Portland days left this season, I’ll likely focus more on outdoor workouts to soak up the remaining rays while we still can!

4. Pushing Myself

A major highlight of the month was the Bridge of the Goddess 10K, in which several of us LUNA ladies participated. You can check out my race recap here for all the details, but — spoiler alert — it was a fun one.

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So much fun, in fact, that I’m hoping to add a few shorter races into my schedule before the end of the year. It seems like 5k’s and 10k’s are my sweet spot right now, so I’d like to pick a few to do for fun over the next few months in order to motivate myself to run for as long as I am able.

5. Giving Back

Hands-down, the most exciting event this month was our first annual Team LUNA Chix Portland Run charity spin-a-thon. We had a packed room and managed to raise $2,420 for the Breast Cancer Fund — not only meeting, but far exceeding our goal of $1,500 for the season!

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Our 2015 season (April-October) will be winding down soon, but we’re already in the early planning stages for 2016 to make it an even bigger, better year. In the meantime, we want to invite all Portland ladies to join us for our Monday night practice sessions in October — we meet at 6:30 pm at the Duniway Park Track.

All levels are welcome (walkers, runners), and be sure to follow along in the fun via our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.

How are your 2015 goals coming along? 

Terrible 20’s Conditioning Workout

Source: Will Dickey/The Times-Union

Source: Will Dickey/The Times-Union

Ever have a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day?

Well, my friends, it’s about to get worse before it gets better.

Allow me to introduce you to the workout that will go down in Team LUNA Chix Portland Run infamy: the Terrible 20’s. It’s a football-drill-inspired conditioning workout that’s designed to get you in great shape for game time — or, in our case, race day.

I stumbled across it and decided to try it in lieu of our usual track workout one week. That night I got a record number of dirty looks during practice, and the next day I got countless texts from people telling me their whole body was feeling the aftereffects.

I’d call that a workout win-win, if there ever was one!

Here’s how it works:

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And you’re not off the hook if you’re working out alone because the Terrible 20’s also works well with just one person. Simply start with your 20 push-ups, then sprint 100 yards, do your 20 sit-ups and count down from there — sprint another 100 years, do 19 push-ups, sprint 100 years, do 19 sit-ups and so on and so forth.

Sounds easy enough, right? Just give it a few rounds, and you’ll be begging for a time out!

Got a tale of torture from a terrible workout of your own to share?