Thursday, February 28, 2013

Summer Training Schedule

So my half marathon training is in full swing. I've been working hard all year but I feel like there is only so much you can do in a gym.  Obviously, I won't be running my half marathons and races on treadmills so I need to get outside this week. Last weekend I ran 5 miles through the hills of my town in about 55 minutes.  It wasn't that great but it was the most I've ran since November.  Last night I had a really good run at the gym which is great since I have my first run of the season on Sunday.  I get the benefit of running with the SCRR.  SCRR is a Pittsburgh running club. This is their second Pittsburgh marathon kick off run.  I'm pretty excited but a little bit nervous.  The only other run I've done was the Latrobe Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving.  Pretty much anyone runs those, so I'm a little nervous that I'm not fast enough to run with SCRR.  I defiantly need the practice though.  It's only supposed to be 27 degrees out Sunday, which will be the first time I really run in cold weather. I'm already trying to decide what I want to wear to stay warm! 
Next, my training schedule.  I work two jobs and barely have days off so I literally squeeze runs in. During the week, I mostly do between 3-5 miles and on the weekends I have long runs working up to the race that I'll be in.  If I run at the gym, I also strength train there.  Since I kick box once a week as well, I use that as one of my strength training days. Here's an example of my training schedule going by work week:

Monday:Morning Yoga, 3-5 mile run outside, abs, planks, Evening Yoga
Tuesday: 3-5 Mile run outside, abs, planks
Wednesday:Morning Yoga, 2-3 miles at the gym, strength training, Evening Yoga
Thursday: Cardio kickboxing for an hour At Culver Karate 
Friday: Rest day
Saturday: Morning yoga, 6-10 miles outside, Evening Yoga
Sunday: 3-5 miles or a rest day 

That's a general schedule that I try to follow. When I do yoga I have to wake up at 5 am so I don't always get to it when I want too. On top of that I also watch really cautiously what I eat and how I feel breathing wise.  Sometimes I'll take it easy or take a day off if it's a bad air quality day and I know it will be hard to breathe. 

Your turn!
What is your workout schedule like?
Favorite type of strength training?

Friday, February 22, 2013

Safe Strides.

Last night was such an awesome experience! I went to a free female self defense program provided by the Pittsburgh Marathon.  It was so educational that I would have paid for it.  The Pittsburgh marathon does free events every now and then and I want to get the most out of them that I can. I just found out that they do these events, and this one was the first ever for female runners.  They had three speakers, one was of a girl who was a victim of an assault, a Mississippi retried Chief of Police officer and a Louisiana  Police Officer.  They all did a fantastic job and traveled so far to be here. 

The first speaker was a girl names Leah. She's from Johnstown, Pa,  about 30 minutes from where I live.  On June 15, 2010 she was taking her twin sister to a voice lesson and as they were discussing where she could go for a quick 25 minute run, they decided that she would go on a trail that she's been on many times.  I've been on trails like this, they're bike trails that are usually populated but on this day it wasn't.  As she was running at 3:15p.m,  she had decided to take her cell phone with her so that she could track her time. About a mile in she saw a man and veered to the left. As she veered to the left, he went with her. He put a knife to her and told her that if she let him do whatever he wanted, then he wouldn't kill her.  Bravely, she called 911 when he wasn't paying attention.  Once he found out that she had already called police, he ran. By the end of the night they found him and he'll be serving at least 8 years in prison. She got lucky that day because a lot of girls don't make it out unharmed like her. 

Her story was a huge wake-up call for me. Though, my family and friends always tell me to never go alone, it's hard not too. I don't have a running buddy. Every time I ask someone to go with me, they're busy so I go alone. I go on bike trails; where no one will be able to hear you scream, the park; where my sister had an incident there with an other person when we were 14, my town, our local high school; where I always feel the safest, and another park that I feel is pretty safe as well.  In a six month time period there was a man that was mugged at gun point on the bike trail, a shooting over drugs in a house on a route that I run, and a man was on the loose near a park that I run at. Recently, there was an armed robbery at a gas station down the street from where I live.  Like most people, I live in a safe town, or what was safe over a year ago. After the first three incidents, I decided that I needed a gym membership so I wasn't running at night alone. You never know when you'll be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Once summer comes and I'm in hard core training mode, I won't have a choice but to run outside at night, so this educational class helped a lot.  It wasn't actually a "hit him in the nuts" type class. It was an educational, common sense that we probably never use type of class. 

Larry and Craig showed some great examples for what to do verbally and also showed what you should look for in a "bad guy":
1.) Grooming Cue: This person keeps touching their face. They'll scratch their face, swipe their noise, touch their chin.  
2.)Target Glancing: Hard glancing to the left or right.  They're looking to see if there are witnesses.
3.) Weight shift: Loading weight to one side ready to make a move. 
4.)Movement of the hands around the waist: If they have a knife or gun they'll place their hand where ever it's at ready to grab it.
How to avoid them:
1.) Ask to pass- You want to start off asking.  They may not be there to harm you.
2.)  Put your arms up and yell "back off"-  This is called "fence" you want to put your hands close to your face.  You want to do this if they are still coming at you.
3.)Swear at them- Luckily, I have the mouth of a sailor, so this is easy for me.  If they won't back off of you, screaming confidently, "Back the f*** off!" will completely throw them off and they will be less inclined to harm you. If you don't usually swear, this is not the time to use it!
You should always rehearse these methods so that you're ready just in case something happens. 
How to pass someone:
This was probably the best advice of the evening.  I couldn't figure out what else I could do to get away from someone, but when you're passing someone  that you aren't sure of, pass them with your hips turned towards them.  You want to be in a squared position, that way, if they do come towards you, you'll be in a better position to defend yourself. 
Weapons on runs
I've been told many times that if I'm running alone, I need to take a pistol or pepper spray.  I'm more of a love than a fighter, but if I feel threatened, I'll defend myself.  I've only ever shot a gun a few time at targets, not people. I've been told these things by non-runners. When you're running, the last thing that you're thinking of is a gun in your pocket. Craig made a fantastic point last night by saying that if you're going to take a weapon, make sure you know how to use it.  Also, pepper spray isn't always a good idea because while you're trying to spray it at the person and run away, you're very likely to spray yourself as well.  This was great information because I was contemplating buying new pepper spray to take with me.
Last bit of useful information
Something that I realize that I actually do correctly is let someone know where you're going.  They mentioned that when you're going on runs always let another person know:
1.)Where you are going
2.)When you will be there
3.)How long you will be gone
4.)When you will be back
5.)To start calling around if that person doesn't hear from you.

All in all, this was a very useful, informative program and I can't wait to go back in the summer for a hands on class. Always be aware of your surroundings and don't think that it can't happen to you. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Try Something New Tuesday!

It's Wednesday, I know, but yesterday was try something new Tuesday! If you look in my "goals" section, you'll see that goal #3 for the new year was to try a new class. So I've decided that I wanted to try yoga.  I've been really stressed out lately and as much as I love running, sweating, and hitting things, I wanted to try something a little more calming while I work out.  I bought a DVD for $10 at Walmart this past weekend so I thought I would give it a try. I loved it! I didn't want to spend money on an expensive class if I wasn't going to like it, so I though $10 in my living room was very reasonable. I woke up at 5:15am and did a Yoga for energy video for 30 minutes. I also did my usual gym routine but when we got to the gym, it was so packed that I was ready to leave as soon as I got there.  I did get my cardio and floor work in but once I got home I ate dinner and took a shower.  I had a breathing treatment that I had to do as well, but afterwards I did 30 minutes of yoga for relaxation and went to bed.  It defiantly helped me on my sleeping. Along with being really stressed out, I haven't been sleeping so I wanted to try something to calm my thoughts. I woke up less stressed in the morning as well. 

I used to hate the thought of yoga for exercise. I would make fun of people that actually thought it was a good work out, but then I realize the old saying, "don't knock it until you try it." I wouldn't necessarily use it as my typical workout, but I would use it for more of a mind and soul workout.  It wouldn't burn enough calories for you to actually lose weight. My back is starting to hurt, but I don't know if it's a good hurt on my muscles or I shouldn't be moving myself as much as I have been, so I might take tomorrow off of it. 
Here's some motivation for you today!
P.S.: There's officially 87 days until the Pittsburgh Marathon. Have you been training? 
Now it's your turn:
Do you participate in yoga exercises?
Is it for your mind or working out?

Friday, February 1, 2013

New Month. New Goals.

Happy February!!

Just so everyone knows, February is my second favorite month behind August. Valentine's day is my favorite holiday and 5 days later is my anniversary with my fiance.  This year will be 10 years! So today's post I want to go over how I set my fitness/health goals for the days, weeks, months, years. When setting goals, I use SMART goals. I will explain:

  • Specific: You need to have a specific goal in mind.  
    • Ex: I want to lose weight.(NO)
    • Ex:I want to lose 10 pounds. (It has to be specific)
  • Measurable: There has to have a meaning or reason behind it.
    • Ex: 110LB. person wanting to lose weight.(NO) [Obviously if they lost more weight they would be unhealthy]
    • Ex: 110lb. person wanting to get toned arms, abs and legs with muscle. (Obviously they would most likely gain weight but there is a difference between getting toned and losing weight. Something many people need to know the difference between) 
  • Attainable:Is this achievable? 
    • Ex: Wanting to lose 20Lbs a week. (NO) It is unhealthy to lose more than a few pounds a week unless otherwise noted by a doctor. 
    • Ex: Setting out to lose 3 pounds a week. (This is a little bit more achievable than 20lbs in 7 days)
  • Relevent: This has to be results-oriented. 
    • Ex: I'm going to start going to the gym. (NO) (Why are you going to the gym?)
    • Ex:I'm going to start to go to the gym to weight lift to get toned (There is an actual reason behind why you want to go to the gym) 
  • Timely: A finishing result, time-oriented. When do you want to accomplish this by 
    • I'm going to run a half marathon one day. (NO)It's a goal without a deadline, you'll probably never get around to it. 
    • I'm going to run a half marathon May, 5,2013 (You can actually see an end you you need to start training)
Those are SMART goals. This is the reason I firmly believe that people don't stick to their goals. There always has to be a who, what, when, why, and how involved in goal setting.  I have friends that keep telling me they want to lose weight or start going to the gym but never get around to it. Why? Because, they don't have actual goals or reasons as to why they're setting these goals. I've also noticed that people are setting their goals way too high. Start off small, then start moving up the line.  You always want to have something to reach for. If you aren't able to run a mile, you can't set a goal to run 5 miles non stop in 5 days. It makes no sense. Also, please remember that if you don't hit your goals, it's not the end of the world. It just gives you something to reevaluate and keep achieving for.

So since I've just explained the SMART goals to you here are my February goals:

  1. By February 24th, my biggest goal is to have an 8 mile run under my belt. 
  2. Start back up to running from 15-20 miles a week to 25-30 miles a week.
  3. Have at least 1 10 mile bike ride outside by February 24th.
Those are my goals for the month of February.
Now it's your turn, 
What are your monthly goals and how will you achieve them?