Spring has Sprung! Horray!
I started off my day a little slower than usual today. Between interning M-F and then working on the weekends this morning was the first time in weeks (maybe even months?) that I didn’t have to wake up to an alarm and be somewhere by 8am. It felt glorious! Although I tried my hardest to keep sleeping when my natural body clock was waking me around 7am,
I managed to lay in bed catching up on some blog reading before hitting the gym.
Usually I have a plan when heading to the gym but today I just headed down there with nothing in mind. I jumped on the treadmill and completed what turned out to be quite the workout! I love High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and almost always do some form of it for my cardio days.
Today was no different, and I ended up completing the following workout:
This workout had me jogging, sprinting and power-walking on an incline and I was a complete sweaty mess by the end, covering exactly 3 miles in 30 mins. I rounded out my gym time with some lifting and core work, before heading home to cook up a hearty breakfast.
An egg scramble with red bell pepper, onion, spinach and tomato with a side of red potatoes.
Fact: this is the first time I have ever cooked potatoes with breakfast, and judging by how good they tasted I think it will be more of a regular occurrence. It was such a pleasure to have a cooked breakfast that I could sit down and enjoy instead of scrambling around the kitchen cooking up a bowl of oats like I do when pressed for time
Wowza. I can say I ran a half marathon! It wasn’t easy – but I did it!
I have never been a long distance runner, but instead have always preferred HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) and always struggled to increase my mileage and
maintain a steady pace. In Australia we don’t have cross country teams like American high schools. Instead, we have one day called “Cross Country Day” (very original, I know) where you run against people in your own school and the top few people in each age group would then go onto the next level and compete against other schools in the region. I would only compete and make sure I would place high enough to get to the next level so I could get the extra day out of class. That’s how non-committed I was to long-distance running
But that all changed yesterday morning I ran in the P.F Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Half Marathon. I have had the idea of running a half in the back of my mind for about a year, I thought
it would be a good physical challenge and it was something on my bucket list. Now I can check it off!!
To prepare for the race I followed Hal Higdon’s Novice Training Program. I had heard good things about the program from other first-time marathoner’s and liked the idea that it incorporated both strength training and cross training so thought it would be a good fit for myself. Before starting the program I had only ever run 4 miles consecutively so I had a lot of work ahead of me, but figured it would be a good challenge and a healthy distraction from all of my internship work.
Although I would have loved to finish in just under 2 hours, I knew a realistic goal for me was between 2.05 and 2.10. My official time was 2 hr, 6 mins and 49 seconds so I for a first timer I was pretty happy with the result and right within my goal time. I did, however, struggle a fair bit during the last 4.5 miles of the race. During training, my 9 and 10 mile runs went really well, I kept a steady pace and although I was tired at the end, I wasn’t completely exhausted. However, yesterday during the race I started to feel pretty sick toward the end of the 8th mile and continued to feel this way the remainder of the race. I told myself to keep going, just put one foot in front of the other. At times I’m sure I was more plodding than running, but I was still moving. I even stopped to take a few very brief walking breaks (my overall goal was to run the distance without stopping to walk, but I hadn’t planned on feeling so sick either!), but looking back at my mile
splits they only affected my average mile pace by less than 25 seconds – and they were definitely worth it and much needed.
Before the race, I had arranged to meet Kevin’s parents, Joan and Brian, near the finish line. As I was running down the tunnel, I barely looked around. All I wanted to do was set my eyes on the finish line and get there. But then I heard my name, looked around and saw a big Australian flag. Joan and Brian surprised me and arranged to get a big flag to make it easier to see them, such a fun idea – I loved it!
It also made it a lot easier to see them in the family reunion area post-race after I collected the finisher’s medal.
Overall, I’m so happy I decided to go for it and run a half marathon. Personally, increasing my mileage and knowing I have the ability to run longer distance was probably more mentally than physically challenging. With a sometimes crazy internship schedule, this would mean getting up at 4.40am to get to the gym, run or cross train, stretch and then be at the hospital by 7.30am. As someone who has always been involved in team sports this was one of the hardest things about training. I had to find my own motivation and hold myself accountable for sticking to the training plan and continually push myself with every run. I had to motivate myself and cover distances I had never run the day after Thanksgiving, on Christmas Eve and New Years Eve. But looking back, it was so worth it.
Hope everyone is enjoying the 3-day weekend. I’m having a pretty low-key Labor Day. Just catching up on some internship reading, running some errands, relaxing, getting some fitness in, baking, and of course hitting the Labor Day sales are
on my to do list
Lately I have been switching up my
cardio routine at the gym. I get pretty bored doing the same routines time after time. I absolutely love interval training and find that mixing up my intervals works best to keep my fitness levels up without ever getting bored. This past week I have tried a new treadmill routine and LOVE it so thought I would share it with everyone.
So here it is!
|Time (mins)||Incline %||Speed|
Although this may look really confusing to think about while running away, it is a pretty simple ‘ladder’ sequence. All you need to think about is: each minute running increases in speed from 6.5 to 7 to 8 followed by 3 minutes of incline walking. However, the running sequence is continually built upon like a ladder throughout the workout. So at first it is only repeated once followed by 3 mins walking, then repeated twice followed by 3 mins walking and so on. Once I completed the sequence 3 times in a row I started decreasing the sequence, as you will see above.
The constant change in speed along with the incline walking makes the 50 mins on the treadmill fly by. I have a hard time ‘turning off’ my mindwhen doing cardio, especially if im trying to do a longer run at a constant pace. I try and distract myself by thinking of places I want to visit and what I’d do while i’m there. Or, (more often than not) I think about food and clothes! If im running in the afternoon I think of meals I can cook for dinner and what outfit I can wear the next day. If it’s a morning run I think about a refreshing smoothie I can create for breakfast and what I’ll pack for lunch. I also mentally go through my wardrobe creating outfits to wear for different occasions. Anything to keep the mind off the task at hand, right?!
Does anyone have any good suggestions on ways to ‘turn off’ the mind while working out? I want to hear them!