1/2 Marathon Training Plan

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I’m back at it. My half marathon is the first weekend in June, and I’m so excited! We (my husband and I) ran the Williamsburg Run for the Dream 1/2 Marathon last year, and it is by far my favorite route in the world. I’m always looking for an excuse to run in Williamsburg, and I always look forward to those glorious 13.1 miles.
We have a lot of changes potentially coming down the chute in the next couple months, so I started my training a little earlier than necessary… just in case there are some ‘set-backs’ to my long runs.

Last weekend I enjoyed my 7 mile run in my favorite park, it was about 40 F so I was bundled up for the first couple miles and discarded my gloves once I warmed up. On the first mile, I found a brand new smart phone! I called a few of the last contacts and left it at the running store I was running with. Hopefully it found its rightful owner.  295550_345102265606645_866713775_n

About a week ago I ran on the boardwalk during the sunrise. I paused to catch my breath, and looked like a total tourist to take some pictures. I tend to do my shorter runs on the boardwalk because it’s about a 6 mile loop, and it would just be the end of the world if I had to run a lap or something. How can I not love running when it gets me our in God’s beautiful creation every morning while the rest of the world is still asleep?

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Where do your runs take you? When is the best time for you to run?

Hill Training

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Try these simple steps to gradually increase strength, avoid injury and enjoy running hills.

Our favorite time of year… training.

If you’ve signed up for a new race, a course that you’ve never run before, it might be in your best interest to check the incline of the route. Running hills building strength better than any other type of workout, so don’t shy away from a hilly course. Speaking from experience, it takes much more out of you to run a hilly course compared to a flat course. In fact, my race in June is extremely hilly, and I’m already starting to dread one hill in particular!

According to Runner’s World, “Running inclines forces your muscles to work harder; as you grow stronger, your stride becomes more efficient and your speed improves” (UK 12/12).  If you are avoiding hills just because they are difficult, here are a few simple tips RW provides to gradually introducing hills to increase strength and reduce the challenges to boost your fitness.

1. Start easy
on your first hill workout, jog for 10 minutes to warm up, then walk two minutes to lower your heart rate. From the bottom of a gentle incline, run up at an easy pace for five seconds, then walk back to the starting point. Run up again for seven seconds, walk down. Finally, run for ten seconds, and walk back down. Repeat as often as possible. Cool down with a 15-minute jog. See step four for maintaining good form.

Running Hills
2. Progress Slowly-
Do step one several times, increasing times as possible. Once you are comfortable with that workout, ramp it up. Run up the hill for ten seconds, twice, followed by running up the hill for 15 seconds, twice. Follow this up with running up the hill for 20 seconds, repeat twice before rounding off the workout with a 30-second run.

3. Stick with it-
It’s easy to lose the progress you’ve made if you aren’t out there running hills… but you don’t need to run it every day. RW suggests scheduling a hill run every seven to 14 days. Once you’ve conquered step 2, add extra reps until you are running a total of 10 inclines. If you’re running a race with hills, try to find hills that mimic the course you will be running.

4. Maintain Good Form-
It’s easy to injure yourself on a hilly course, so make sure you are maintaining good form… As you ascend, shorten your stride and keep feet low to the ground. Keep your head, chest and hips perpendicular to an imaginary  horizontal line. On descents, take short quick, light steps (don’t pound the pavement), and keep your center of gravity over your legs (don’t lean forward).

So there are our tips; and if you are a runner, give us your tips on introducing hills into your routine. If you’re a beginner, feel free to leave questions if you have any!

Guest Blogger: Heal Love Be

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We’re so excited to feature another Guest Blogger, Jamie Falahee from Heal Love Be. She speaks candidly about her struggle with food allergies, and provides a detailed account of her journey towards health. If you struggle with similar problems, we encourage you to contact her (see bottom of page) with questions.

Q&A with Health and Wellness Blogger, Jamie Falahee

What motivated you to change your lifestyle?

Jamie @ Heal Love BeAs a child, I always had allergies.  I was clearing my throat constantly and took allergy pills and nasal sprays.  I thought that I was unlucky to have allergies and that it was just the way it was.  I also developed reflux in college, so then I was taking allergy pills, nasal spray, and reflux medication.  Additionally, in college I took pain reliever pills almost every day for headaches (and I’m not just talking hangover headaches here)!  I thought this was normal and that I was healthy!  I worked out inconsistently and tried to eat “healthy.”  I ate chicken and turkey instead of red meat most of the time, drank skim milk, ate low-fat cheese, and ate fruits and veggies.

I started to become concerned with this pill-popping and diet regime in my senior year of college.  I was taking courses in speech-language pathology learning about strokes and how it affects language and reading some of the causes of strokes and heart attacks, increased consumption of meat being one of the dietary causes.  Then, my roommate, Rachel, gave me a VHS (yes, a video! haha) called You Can’t Improve On God by Dr. Lorraine Day.  Dr. Day developed cancer and cured herself by making ten healthy changes in her life including transitioning to a vegan diet, participating in daily positive mind exercises (e.g., gratitude, etc.), getting enough sunshine, and exercising among other things.  Could this actually be true, I thought?!  I decided to temporarily give up meat (i.e., red meat, processed meat, poultry), but would continue to eat eggs, dairy, and fish.  At 22 years old, I became a pescatarian, and I never went back.  Of course, I have “cheated” here and there since then, but for the most part, have stayed the course.  It was easier than I thought it was going to be, and I liked it!

From 22 to 26 years of age, this was my diet.  I stopped my allergy pills, nasal spray, and reflux medication, and only used them when I had a “flare-up,” which was more often than I would have liked.  Around 25 years of age, I started to get sick ALL the time.  I had sinus infections and felt stuffy and had constant sinus headaches.  I took antibiotics to help the sinus infections (per doctors’ orders), but it wasn’t fixing the problem.  I would ask the doctors what I could do about my chronic sinus problems, and their only suggestion was medications.  I was so frustrated and upset that the doctors were only suggesting temporary treatment of my symptoms instead of helping me to prevent my symptoms from happening in the first place! 

This is when I started to do some health research on my own.  I read a book called Secrets of Self-Healing by Dr. Ni, and he recommended eliminating dairy from my diet because it is very mucus-forming.  So I tried it.  I decided to give up dairy and eggs.  Within 2 weeks, I felt so much better.  I wasn’t getting nearly as many headaches or post-nasal drip as before!  So, now I was practically vegan I realized.  I was only eating fish.  Little did I know, I wasn’t being the healthiest I could be, though.  I thought, since I didn’t eat all meat and dairy anymore, I was eating healthy.  But this was not true.  I was still eating lots of processed imitation meat products.  Then, in 2009, my sister-in-law, Sarah, recommended a book to me.  It was called The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell, and this book changed my life!  It discussed the importance of a whole-foods (i.e., not processed) plant-based diet, and how it can drastically change your health.  So, I gave up fish, and I started eating less processed food, and more whole foods.  But my health journey didn’t end here!

My husband and I, for various reasons, moved five times in the past three years from Chicago, IL, to Charlotte, NC, to Cullowhee, NC, to Deerfield Beach, FL, to Jackson, MI, to Whitmore Lake, MI, which is where we are now (and are staying!).  All of these moves, job changes, and life changes were so stressful which did a number on my health, and my hormones became unbalanced.  After much research and experimentation, I found that I had candida overgrowth and a gluten intolerance which were also affecting my hormones!  So, now I don’t eat gluten anymore.  Not eating gluten has made me feel so much better and given me so much more energy.  I currently am working to get my hormones balanced by eating a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, gluten-free grains, beans, lentils, and nuts as well as exercising and using stress-reducing techniques, such as meditation, deep breathing, and massages.  So, that’s my health story so far.

How are you dealing with these setbacks?

I try to look at the journey and be proud of how far I’ve come.  Most days, I’m motivated by how much better I feel.  Some days I get frustrated, though, because it is a lot of work to change your lifestyle.  The best way I’ve found to make changes is one step at a time.  If you’re interested in giving up sugar, caffeine, gluten, dairy, etc., try to just give up one at a time.  When you start to feel so much better and see results with the way you look as well, it will help to motivate you to keep going.

 How do you stay motivated?

It becomes easier and easier the more you get into the healthy lifestyle because you will slowly be making these positive changes and won’t even realize that they are becoming habits until they just are.  That’s not to say that I’m perfect.  There are days when I don’t eat as well or get off track with my stress level, but the most important thing to do when this happens is get right back to your healthy lifestyle as soon as you can.

Contact Info:

 

Close of 2012

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What an amazing year… how can you begin to cover the highlights of such a fabulous year?

At midnight tonight, the gorgeous ball will drop in Town Square, and we will toast to a New Year! We’ve got the wine chilling, the treats tucked away in the fridge, and our bags packed to head back to Virginia in the morning. I love the holidays, but I also love the chance to a new beginning. I know that while 2012 was amazing, 2013 is also going to be phenomenal. One of the reasons is because I was able to graduate with my undergraduate degree this December, and I am truly able to begin afresh in January. So, while everyone is wildly excited about our new year: 2013, I’m still recovering from 2012!

So I’m gunna go ahead and brag (haha),  you can see why it’s been an exhausting year.

Here are a few highlights:

  • got a great promotion at work
  • ran two awesome half-marathons
  • did a little traveling
  • completed my undergraduate degree
  • ran over 500 miles (which was my goal)

Needless to say, I’ve spent my Christmas break sleeping! Regardless of all this, I still reached my goal of running 60 miles in December… Despite all my days spent traveling 🙂 They were mostly short runs, around three miles, and my longest run was five miles. Considering most people drop off the fitness planet in December, I’m pretty happy with it!

December Run Goal
I’m planning on posting all my New Years goals later this week, things like the races I want to run and PR’s 🙂 My goals aren’t just about fitness, but about keeping my life balanced… so keep posted for all of that!

Some of our New Years Resolutions

Some of our New Years Resolutions

The Fartlek

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We get it. With traveling and family coming into town, the amount of time to run and workout is severely impacted. So instead of an hour workout, you’re lucky to squeeze in twenty minutes!

You hate them. You dread them. You gotta do ’em. Fartleks.

Fartlek: Swedish for speed play, alternating easy and hard running.

This allows you to gradually increase speed and intensity for a short period of time.

Incorporating Speedwork into your Runs

This can turn a 20 minute run into that intense workout you need to stay in shape for that spring race you’re training for. Since its the holidays, it might be exactly what you need. You can get some intense sprints in, leaving you with more time with the people you love. Experiment with different paces and go as hard as you can for a 20-30 minute run, you’ll not only increase your stamina, but you’ll burn off a lot more of that egg nog and rum!

Here are some options from Runners World:

5k-10k:
• 8 to 12 x 1 minute hard/1 minute easy
• 6 to 8 x 2 minutes moderately hard/1 minute easy
• Descending ladder: 6 minutes, 5 minutes, 4 minutes, 3 minutes, 2 minutes, 1 minute. Start at 10k pace and slow to 5k pace.

Half and full marathon:
• 4 to 8 x3 minutes moderately hard, 2 minutes easy
• 3 x 5 to 8 minutes comfortably hard with a two minute jog between each
• 2 x 10 to 13 minutes at half-marathon effort with a 2 minute jog between each

Fartleks - Speedwork

Fartleks – Speedwork

Surviving the Holiday 15

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With only a week before Christmas, who doesn’t dread the part of the Holidays that endorses unlimited eating, forgotten workouts, and the dreaded Holiday 15!?! It’s almost become a part of life, “gain the weight in December, work all year to lose it”. It’s a North American rule. Sound familiar? I think some of us may do the same thing with credit cards… but back on point.

How do we enjoy the holidays without ending up feeling like bloated whales by the time it’s all over? Well, we can be strategic, set some goals, have a few guidelines, and we’ll be sure to Survive the Holiday 15:

Keep moving.

1. Switch it Up.
Take the stairs, get up and get water, park a little farther from the mall. With the added stress of the holidays, we need to keep moving. It’s okay to shorten your Cardio if you can’t fit it in, instead of the gym, try a yoga set on YouTube.

2. Involve the Family.
This season is about family right? Encourage healthy living by involving the whole family! Go for walks with the family through the Christmas tree farms. Park at the end of the street and walk through the lighted neighborhood with hot chocolate. Bundle up and hit up an outdoor skating rink.

3. Try some at home strength training.
Between commercials during your favorite Christmas music, alternate with sit-up, push-ups, burpies, squats and stretches. I’ve found this to be the very best way to fight the urge to munch throughout the entire movie.

Just take time to enjoy the peace and love during the Holiday Season

Just take time to enjoy the peace & love during the Holidays

Watch your Eating

1. Eat before you go. If you are planning on hitting up a really great Christmas spread, make sure you eat before you go. All those little appetizers are not as safe as you think, and the salad you ate on the way out the door will help cushion the little treats you may indulge in.

2. Pick a Treat.
Once you make it to the party, make sure you get a drink in your hand (tea or water), which will limit your handling capacity. make the rounds and decide on your selected treats. You know your limits. Make sure that every piece of food has been considered (and don’t just eat chips… what’s so special about that?). Ps. Skip the egg nog, at up to 350 calories a cup, it’s just not worth it!

3. Keep your eating clean at Home.
Just because it’s a big party out there doesn’t mean you have to forget about healthy eating at home. Keep the carrots, celery, oranges and apples handy this Christmas. This is one of the best ways to balance out all those Christmas parties, meals and celebrations.

We hope you take time to spread love and peace during the Holiday Season.
Merry Christmas!

November Miles

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As I’ve mentioned before, I’m kind of a recreational runner. This is in large part due to the fact that I work and am in school full time, have a husband to love and house to keep clean. Anyways, with that in mind (because I obviously can’t just be proud of myself), I decided to give myself the BHAG of running 70 miles in the month of November!!  When I ran my final four miles this morning, I was SO proud of myself, I couldn’t stop grinning! As you can see by my little graph, I ran exactly 70 miles. Not 70.01. But 70.

My sweet husband was also so proud of me but we are both SO happy that I’ll be able to cuddle tomorrow morning instead of freezing outside in the ‘cold’.

November Run Goal- KILLED IT!


November Run Goal- KILLED IT!

Now that I’m done shouting out to myself (hah) I just want to point out the merits of keeping track of your running/workouts in order to track your progress. I’ve been using the app “RunKeeper” since Sept 2010, and I LOVE (I’m a little obsessed) checking out how much better of a runner I’ve become since then. I’ve since graduated to my shiny little Garmin, which is a lot more accurate.

Goals are important because they are what keep us from being UN-motivated runners.

Set your Goal: Every month I set a goal, even if I don’t meet that goal, I run much farther than if I don’t.

Break it Down: Decide how many miles you have to run per week, strength days you’ll incorporate, and rest days. Then stick to it.

Make it Measurable: Give yourself a start and an end date.

For example, I wanted to run 500 miles in 2012. That means I’ll be running an average of 40 miles/month, 10 miles/week. No big deal! I’m happy to say I’m definitely going to KILL that goal as well!

Keep track of where you’ve come from, not how far you need to go! What goals have you recently demolished? What’s your goal strategy?

How Far they've Come.