My new favorite pre-workout ritual

So I’m sitting in a corner table at the back of the local Panera.  Sipping coffee, listening to my iPod, getting my mind right, maxin’ and relaxin’ before I go out and smash this training run.

Today?  I’m scheduled for a 5 mile “fartlek” run around the neighborhood.  I usually just clean the house and do laundry before I head out to run — you know, just stuff around the house that needs done.  Needless to say, this isn’t exactly the most inspiring pre-workout routine.

So, the past couple weeks, I’ve started going across the street to this Panera.  It’s a great atmosphere — well lit, totally futuristic in terms of their tech abilities (there’s high-speed WiFi, plugins and outlets everywhere, and they just installed these new self-checkout kiosks… like you used to see in grocery stores… for those who just wanna buy a cup of coffee quick and not wait in line).

So I stroll over here in my running gear, grab a medium light roast coffee, find a quiet booth, pop open the ol’ MacBook Air… and sip my coffee slowly, before turning on some motivational tunes and catching up on emails and the occasional blog post (like this one).  By the way, totally stole this concept from my mentor over at Lazy MLM.

Anyways, this new environment gets me out of “lazy home-body mode” and sort of wakes me up.  (Okay, the coffee helps too!)

So what’s your usual pre-workout routine?

Continue reading My new favorite pre-workout ritual

Outside running versus treadmill running

Normally, I like to run outside year-’round.  A couple of years ago we had a horrible winter and the streets and sidewalks were frozen with ice under the snow, which made it impossible to enjoy a winter run.

It was a struggle for me to run relaxed for fear of slipping on the ice and hitting my head.

I had a girlfriend who did just that when she was out running by the Comal River and she’s lucky she’s alive.

So for Christmas that year, my husband and I bought a treadmill for our gift to each other.  The treadmill was a pretty high dollar unit and has been great having this to fall back on.  It’s got:

  • up to 10% incline
  • a top speed of 12 miles per hour
  • some shock absorption-thingy that makes for a really comfortable stride
  • iPhone connectivity
  • water bottle holders
  • heart rate monitor
  • 10 different workout types
  • and all sorts of other bells and whistles

However, I still struggle running on a treadmill.

I spend too much time looking at the mileage and it just doesn’t seem like I’m getting anywhere.  I’m sure you can relate if you’ve put in some hours on a treadmill yourself.

We did finally move a TV in front of the treadmill which did help.

I always listen to music so I could turn a ball game on and listen to my music.

But my treadmill runs are limited.  I read Runners World and they suggest utilizing the treadmill for speed workouts or altering the incline for a great workout.

But if I’m going to go for a run, it is outside the majority of the time.  My husband is really not a runner and he likes the treadmill to do a run/walk workout and be able to watch his TV at the same time.

Running in the snow is awesome and just beautiful with the trees full of snow.  The worst part for me is just getting out the door.

I’m cold in the house — now I’ve got to put on just a light jacket, headband and light gloves and head outside into freezing temperatures.  Brrr!

I focus on the actual temperature and what the wind speed is.

To catch a winter day without wind is hard to come by, especially in the Midwest.

The coldest temperature I have ever run in was three below zero, but a sunny day with no wind.

It is amazing how comfortable I actually am once I get a half mile or so into the run.

My husband gives me great encouragement.

He knows how good I feel when I come back from a run.

Many times I say, “Oh, I’m not sure I can run outside as it’s too cold.”

He’ll tell me, “It’s not that bad and that I’ll be so frustrated with myself if I don’t get out for a run.”

And he’s absolutely right.

Whenever possible, I’ll brave the outdoors before resorting to a treadmill, but it’s nice in a pinch.

How about you?  Are you an outdoors runner as well?  (I know some gym rats actually prefer the treadmill — but not me!)  Let me know in the comments section below this article.

My squat workout

Hey, I’m back.  So last week, I ordered this AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge just to jump start a little fat loss.  It’s a nutrition supplement program to sort of get the ball rolling I suppose.  But I wanted to find a workout regimen that would compliment it, as well as benefit my running and alleviate some of the low back issues I’ve been having.  I found something that seems perfect: a one-month challenge.

I’ve been reviewing the articles on this 30-day challenge which has you doing three simple, but effective bodyweight exercises.  They are:

  • squats
  • crunches
  • pushups

You continue to increase the number of repetitions of these activities so by the end of the 30 days you have worked up to a considerable amount of repetitions. If you have ever done squats and crunches, you know they can be a challenge. A new year and I’m going to try to maintain this fitness schedule. I’ve read that these workout activities can be the best overall benefit for a whole body workout. I also have some back issues from sitting at work all day long at a computer so I’m hoping this will help build my back muscles and better stabilize my core.

Continue reading My squat workout

Where do you like to run best?

What’s your favorite road condition to run on? Some prefer the city sidewalks and being around all the movement. They can watch the cars go by, run by the schools and catch the parents picking up their children or the landscapers (which we always see running out with my son down in Arizona) busy mowing and trimming the lawns. Others like running in their neighborhood and hitting a few loops around the school’s track. I prefer running on trails. I guess I’m getting a little older and can appreciate the softer surfaces (typically) on trails. I enjoy running on old railroad tracks which have been converted to running or biking trails. Most of these are a packed limestone gravel or blacktopped.

If I feel I’ve been running too much on the pavement and need to change to a softer running surface, I will go to the school track. Unlike most school tracks these days, our track is an outdated gravel track. I can go up after work and pretty much have the track to myself. It is a great place to work on speed work. But I certainly cannot run the track every run or knock down very many miles. I think I focus too much on the same path and it seems like I run forever just to get a mile in. Counting laps is no fun!

Continue reading Where do you like to run best?

Deciding what to wear running…

Hey guys, I’m back.

So, what do I need to wear to go on my run today?  It is always a challenge to know exactly what to put on.

Especially living in the mid-west during the winter months. It seems I’m working inside the house and a little chilly and now I’m going to go outside for a run. It’s about 22 degrees outside and the wind is about 10-15 mph. This seems to be typically a fairly calm winter day as the winds are usually stronger. The sun is partially shining so that can make it feel much warmer. I put on my base layers, running pant and dry fit fleece top over that. Add a light windbreaker jacket, hat and light running gloves and I’m heading out (and of course my music). I have a couple of 15% incline hills in may neighborhood I can run so I immediately hit the hills a couple of times to get warmed up. Works pretty good to do the hills right away and get this into my workout and then focus on a longer run.

I felt good about the temperature and that the sun was shining. I was pumped that it wasn’t snowing and blowing and I would be able to take advantage of this nice winter day. Then our son from Arizona called just before I was heading out the door. I told him it was a nice day and I was heading out for a run. He shares they were heading to a birthday party in shorts and t-shirt and it was 80 degrees. Yeah, okay, well I know it would be easier running without all the garb and the mental process it takes to head out into the cold. But truly an enjoyable experience once I’m out.

I’ve definitely learned over the years you have to dress lightly. The wind plays a huge factor in whether that extra layer will be necessary. It is amazing, however, that so long as your skin isn’t exposed you can really dress in light layers and avoid packing on heavy clothing. I gauge my attire by the temperature and the wind speed. I have run in three below zero on snow covered ground on a perfectly sunny day with no wind. When I talk to friends who are not runners (or enjoy the outdoors in the winter), most think I’m crazy. Other runners who run outside year around can relate to the experience and how refreshing and beautiful a winter run can be. It’s all about getting out the door, which is only getting harder these days since the attorney I work for has me grinding away at 10 and even 12-hour shifts at the law office.  Oh well, I can’t complain — he’s always been good to me.  Anyways, that’s it for today’s update.  I’ll be back tomorrow, hopefully.

On running with music: thoughts and experiences

Hey, so I’m back with another quick article for you guys.  So I love running and have really become very accustomed to running with music.  Over the years, I have run with different types of music players which were larger and heavier and I would strap a pocket belt around my waist to store them.

I do not like having to carry anything in my hand when running.  The way I see it, I want to preserve as much energy as I possibly can (haha).

Listening to music while running allows me to focus on the music and not my breathing.

There have been several races in which I did not listen to music but then I’m surrounded by runners who do chat while they run which takes my mind off of me.

My first player was an XM portable satellite radio.  It came with a small antenna which you could clip on your shirt or hat.  It was big and quite heavy and if you went under a grove of trees you would temporarily lose your reception, which was frustrating while trying to maintain my pace.

A couple of years ago my son bought me a very small Apple iPod Shuffle.  (Like an older version of this one.)

Continue reading On running with music: thoughts and experiences

February 1st, 2015: Chilly Run

Running Scenery in FR
Fulton Ranch, where my son and I run down in Arizona (discussed below)…

(Picture credit.)

Welcome to my first-ever workout update–here goes:

Headed out for a nice run before the storm hits in Iowa.  It was 32 degrees with no wind.  Cool but no wind makes a huge difference in running in Iowa.

I ran just over six miles and incorporated some hills and speed work into my run.

I have a good choice of what terrain to run on. I know this sounds weird, but we have a cemetery that is just beautiful to run through.

It has rolling hills, is very wooded and the lawn is well maintained.

Continue reading February 1st, 2015: Chilly Run