Marathon Training and Hills!


So to be honest- two weeks ago I almost quit the marathon. I was in a funk and I felt completely unprepared for the 18 week journey that had began. And then I remembered I wasn’t a quitter and sat down and mapped out a plan. I know the next couple months are not going to be easy but I’m determined to hit the starting line come November 7th. 

My schedule looks sort of like this:

  • Monday: Lower Body ST + Cross Training
  • Tuesday: Upper Body ST + Easy Run 
  • Wednesday: Hill Repeats or Speed Work
  • Thursday: HIIT or Full Body Strength
  • Friday: Upper Body + Easy Run 
  • Saturday: Long Run + Core
  • Sunday: Rest  

One part of my training that I knew I wanted to improve upon was my hill training. Last year I lived/worked/trained on the south shore of Long Island, which meant my exposure to any sort of incline was chalked up to the boardwalk ramps. So I knew when I took the job in the city I wanted to commit to running hills on a weekly basis. Every other week I get a dose of Cat Hill Repeats but I also wanted to get hills incorporated into my regular runs. 

Cue running the Queensboro Bridge. Since I work on the East River and 71st street, the bridge is extremely close at 59th street and 1st Ave. I want to try to run over and back at least every other week for the next few months. For the first time since the marathon, I returned to the bridge. Since it was pre B&B, I should note that NYC 2015 was a train wreck. I cramped at mile 8 and literally cried my way through the next 18 miles. I can never put into words the emotional and physical journey I went on that day. 

A few basics running the bridge. Make sure you stay in the outside lane regardless of what direction you are going. The inside is meant for bicycles and you do not want to get caught in that lane with a bicycle coming down a million miles an hour. If you have to pass walkers, make sure you double check before crossing the white line. Also, when you think you are at the top you probably are not! It is so deceiving!

The views from the bridge are one of a kind. It’s never really that busy (probably because it’s such a doozy) and you have a pretty clear view North and South. I personally prefer running from Manhattan to Queens. I find that it is a steeper climb but that it passes quicker. The Queens to Manhattan direction is less steep but I feel like it goes on forever! 

Do you have a favorite direction? Do you have any other bridges you like to incorporate? Let me know!

Xo, Pam

Workout Wednesday: Upper Body TRX Moves

It’s Wednesday and it is time to work those arms! Today we are doing five moves for our upper body. TRX Suspension Trainers are one of our favorite pieces of fitness equipment. Many fitness centers have them set up, but you can also mount them over a door in your home. Instead of lifting weights, you are able to use your own body weight as the resistance.

Perform each of the following exercises for sets of 12-15 reps. You can increase the difficulty of each exercise by positioning your feet closer to the anchor point, or decrease the difficulty by stepping away.

Rows
Keep your body in a straight line, core tight. Begin with arms extended, palms facing each other, and tension on the shoulder blades. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and pull your body up so that your chest meets your hands.

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Rear Deltoid Rows
Keep your body in a straight line, core tight. Begin with arms extended, palms facing down, and tension on the shoulder blades. Keep your elbows up and out as you squeeze your shoulder blades together and pull your body up.

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Chest Press
Start with your body in the position below, core tight and chest lowered to the hands. Press your body weight up, stabilizing your shoulders and keeping your body in a straight line (like a push-up).

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Bicep Curls
Keep your body in a straight line with the core tight. Arms start extended with the palms facing upward. Point your elbows towards the wall, pulling your body weight up, and bending at the elbows. Be sure to keep your arms up.

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Triceps Extensions
Start with your body straight, elbows up and pointed towards the wall with your palms facing out. Press your body up, extending your arms- be sure to keep those arms up.

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What are your favorite TRX moves?! Share them with us!

L: Saratoga Edition: Hadley Mountain & Challenge By Choice

The energy of Long Island is so charged and fast-paced that sometimes you need a little escape. This weekend I went on an adventure upstate to Saratoga to visit my BFF aka Miss Amanda. Another fitness enthusiast, we had a weekend full of laughs and workouts! Here is my exercise recap, trail review, and class review all rolled into one!

Saturday
Living in a studio apartment, my home gym space is limited (free weights, medicine ball, furniture sliders). But Miss Amanda has a whole basement complete with a spin bike, squat rack, free weights, and my favorite, battle ropes! It’s basically my dream. Safe to say we got in a solid total body workout. #SweatingfortheWedding 🙂 We finished our home workout with a push-up challenge- all you need is a deck of cards!IMG_3035

Push-Up Challenge with a Deck of Cards
2-10: Do the number written on the card
Face cards: 10 pushups
Aces: 15 pushups

We alternated back and forth until we completed all 52 cards! Modify by cutting the numbers in half or performing the pushups from your knees.

SundayIMG_3042
The perfect workout that can’t be done on Long Island- hiking a mountain! Amanda and I headed a little further north to Hadley Mountain. I’ve only gone hiking maybe 3 times in my life, but I was very excited and I got to use my Camelback. The trail is steep at times and fairly rocky, but an incredible challenge! We completed our hike to the top in about an hour- it is definitely worth the view! It was a beautiful day so there were quite a few people out hiking. At the top is a fire tower which you can also climb for an even higher view.

The hike down took about half the time and my quads are feeling it today! Do you guys have any trails you love to hike upstate? Share them with us!IMG_3053

Monday
Bright and early at 6am, we headed to Amanda’s local gym, Challenge By Choice. This place is really cool and very team oriented. The workouts are HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) style and the focus varies day to day. Lucky for us, Monday’s focus was on the lower half of the body, which needless to say, sure was a challenge after Sunday’s hike. Before the group workout even started, there is an extra challenge (called the Pre-Exhaust) which consisted of 40 burpees. Forty. Gym members are all on teams and earn points for attendance and extra activities outside of the class. I did the burpees with Amanda hoping to earn her team an extra point! No luck on that, but it was good moral support 🙂

Kevin led our workout this morning (with a killer playlist, might I add) which started with jogging and plyometrics around the studio. After that, we moved to our first of four stations and got to work! I was good for the first two rounds of station #1… we did 4 rounds. OH MY QUAD. But I loved every minute of it. Class participants have such a community atmosphere and were cheering each other on the whole time.IMG_3085

Jodi, the owner of CBC, is such a sweetheart and a great motivator! She was so welcoming to me as the newbie and encouraged everyone during our 45 minute workout. I highly recommend dropping in to try a class, or if you happen to live up there, try them out! I know on my next visit I will be coming back for more. Check them out, here!

Sweat. Rinse. Repeat.
Louise

Workout Wednesday: Simple Strength Training for Runners 

Here is my go to strength training workout to focus on my core and glute strength and my single leg stability. Incorporate this workout into your weekly schedule and become a stronger, healthier runner!

Perform each exercise and then repeat for 1-3 rounds.

1) Plank: line up so your elbows are under your shoulders, your forearms are flat on the ground, your head is parallel with the ground, and your toes are tucked under. Engage your core and lift up so your back is flat and squeeze your abs, quads, and glutes. Hold for 30-90s.FullSizeRender (17)
2) Side Plank: line up so your elbow is under your shoulder, your feet/hips/shoulders are stacked, and lift up so you form a straight line from your feet to your head. Make sure you are engaging your obliques and not compensating in your shoulders or back. Hold for 30-60s.FullSizeRender (11)
3) Bridge: lie on your back with your legs bent. Squeeze your glutes and lift up. Make sure you aren’t letting your knees collapse in or arching your back. 15x FullSizeRender (12)
4) Single Leg Bridge: lie on your back with your legs bent. Extend one leg out straight and squeeze your glutes and lift up. Be sure to keep your hips level. 15x each side FullSizeRender (13)
5) Bird Dog: place yourself on all 4s so your knees are under your hips and your hands are under your shoulders. Engage core and extend opposite arm and leg. Pause. Return to starting position and perform on opposite side. 15x each side.FullSizeRender (10)
6) Body Weight Squats: with feet shoulder width apart and weight through your heels, sit down and back keeping good form. 15xFullSizeRender (16)
7) Stationary Lunges: take a step back with on leg and while keeping your chest upright, bend both knees and lower hips toward the ground. Keep your glutes fired throughout the exercise. 15xFullSizeRender (15)
8) Monster Walk: place mini band just above the knees, standing with feet hip width apart and knees slightly bent. Step out to the side then step the other leg to follow, keeping tension on the band. Fire those glutes! 15x each side


9) Standing Clamshell: this one is one of my coworker’s favorite exercises. Place mini band just above the knees and stand in a small squat position. Stabilize your glute in the stationary leg and then push the opposite knee outward, rotating at the hip. 15x each side.

10) Single Leg RDL: start with one foot planted on the ground. Keeping the core tight and back flat, reach the opposite arm while lifting that leg straight back. Reach to the ground until you feel a stretch in the hamstrings, then squeeze the glutes and return to standing. 15x each sideFullSizeRender (14)

 

Share with us how your workout goes!

Xo, Pam

The Importance of Strength Training for Runners


If you ask most runners what exercise they do they will likely answer with “I run”. The End. Little do they realize that strength training is equally as important to their running performance as lacing up their shoes. Strength training allows you to address muscular weaknesses and imbalances that can leave you with poor running economy and vulnerable to injuries. 

An appropriate strength training program will not only reduce the risk of injury but help maximize your running performance. Focus should be placed on the hip abductors (glute med), hip extensors (glute max), quadriceps, and your abdominals (transverse abdominals & obliques particularly). Single leg stability is essential so extra focus should be placed on unilateral exercises (Think about it- running is one single leg jump to the next so if you aren’t strong on one leg- your running won’t be efficient and will leave you prone to injury!) 

If you are just starting a strength program, be sure to begin with basic core and glute exercises and progress your way to more advanced exercises. Some of the best exercises include bridges, clamshells, planks, side planks, squats, lunges, single leg dead lifts, step ups, monster walk, and some basic plyometrics (for that explosive power!). 

Check back on Workout Wednesday for my go to program I use after runs!

Xo, Pam

Recipe of the Week: Date Bars 


Recipe of the week is one of our favorite treats- homemade date bars 😍😍😍 With four simple ingredients you can make these bars fast and easy.

  1. In a food processor, pulse 2 1/4c cups of cashews. Add 16oz of dates and pulse. Then add 1/3 cup of chocolate chips and a pinch of sea salt. Finish pulsing. 
  2. Press into an 9×9 lined with saran wrap and place in freezer. After 30 minutes, slice and place into baggies or a air tight container.
  3.  Enjoy!

Xo, Pam

L: Why I Quit Running

I love running. It is challenging and freeing to just go off on an adventure! A lot of what we blog about on here is our training and races. But I’m going to be completely honest, my last run was sometime around June 6th. Here’s why I quit running (temporarily).

Since before the Brooklyn Half, I had been joking with my co-workers that I was going to quit running. “I’ll break two hours and be done forever! This summer I’m getting into Olympic lifting! Pull-ups by summer!” Well, we know how the Brooklyn Half went and I immediately retracted my statement about the running. Two weeks later we did the Baltimore 10-Miler and it was challenging, but it was fun. I didn’t have a time crunch, but Pam and I would not walk- then we celebrated with all our friends! After that race, I started searching for October races… the half marathon kind of races… Coach Jared and I had a few conversations about what we could have done better, what we would change, our timeline before the next race, and then I looked at the training schedule.

When I created my training calendar for Brooklyn, there was excitement and an itch to get started. I couldn’t wait to go for my long runs, use my new Garmin, or try a new flavor of Gu. When I started looking at the weeks of running ahead of me, I immediately felt pressure. Pressure to break 2 hours. Pressure to start re-building my base. Running another half this year was my idea… but something was missing. Fun.

I’m not in it to win it- I’m in it for fun. For a shiny medal that I can wear during post-race brunch. For high fiving my friends who are standing on the side. For some bragging rights and an excuse to eat pizza. Sure, we all want to PR or beat our goal, but I don’t want that to be the only reason for running. That’s why I quit running (temporarily) and have transitioned to the summer of lifting! Pam’s personal goal to do a pull-up by summer has become my goal by the end of summer. On Wednesdays, we don’t wear pink- we squat. And we deadlift. Heavy things.

Sometimes you need to find a balance (especially because running and strength training go hand in hand 🙂 ). I will train to race again, but this summer and fall, it’s for fun! I’m on a mission to renew my love of running, starting with signing up for a few fun races. This August is the Beach2Beacon 10K up in Maine with my best friend from grad school. Pam, Chelsea, and I just signed up for the 15K Run to the Port Jefferson Brewery in October- you should totally join us!

Do what makes your ❤ happy,
Louise

Workout Wednesday: Sunglasses Salutation

Let me start by clarifying that I am not a yogi- I don’t regularly practice yoga or attend a weekly class. I’m a runner, a spinner, and I like to lift heavy things. However, I have attended a few classes taught at the gyms I have worked in or at lululemon on a Sunday morning. But my best friend loves yoga and goes a few times a week. So for Christmas a few years ago, she got me this… IMG_2922

Classic.

Our Workout Wednesday comes straight out of this book. I use this Sun Salutation as a warmup before I go for a run- or even to wake me up in the morning! The moves are simple and flow easily so that you don’t have to be a yogi to get it 🙂 Sun salutations are a series of moves which are linked by your breathing. As you coordinate your movements with your breath, the body starts to warm up by stretching and contracting your major muscle groups. They are especially great for building your upper body and core strength- which is what makes them challenging.


As you flow through the moves, each should be held for one breath (an inhale and an exhale), while you hold the last pose, downward dog, for five breaths. For a good warmup, start with 3 full sun salutations. As you practice more regularly, start to build yourself up to 5-8 ! Remember, it’s important to listen to your body.

Bonus: If you are feeling good after your run and have a little energy left, try using this as your cool down!

Poses 1-6:IMG_2919

  1. Equal Standing: Find your
    breathing here, then inhale and exhale one full breath
  2. Equal Standing with ArmsOverhead: Inhale and raise arms overhead
  3. Standing Forward Bend: Exhale, hinging from the hips and fold forward
  4. Plank: Exhale. Place hands on the mat, bending the knees if you need. Keep the core tight and step feet back.
  5. Cobra: Exhale, release the knees and upper body to the floor. Inhale to lift the chest.
  6. Downward Dog: Exhale to lower the chest. Inhale, pressing hands to the floor, lift hips and knees, pressing the heels down.

 

Namast’ay in bed 😛
Louise

Hitting the Reset Button

I hope everyone had an amazing 4th of July weekend with friends and family. I am so grateful to live in this beautiful country where I can make all of my dreams come true. 
Today is all about how to hit that reset button. With all of the wildness of the past month, my social life and workout regimen had to take a back seat to my professional goals. Now that I’ve had a week to adjust and begin to find a rhythm, it’s time to find some structure again. 

Here are top 5 tips to hitting the reset button:

1) Map out your week and schedule your workout sessions. If you have a list of workouts you need to accomplish or a vague idea of what you are going to do- something else will always come up. Make appointments with yourself and keep them.

2) Let go of any negativity. It is very easy to get caught up in an increase in the scale or a decrease in your strength, but shake it off. Holding on to that negativity will just continue to foster more negativity. Focus your energy on what is to come.

3) Food prep your way to success. Do not forget about the importance of healthy eating. Whether you prepare food for the entire week in one day or do a little each evening, make sure you have healthy options on hand. 

4) Drink up! One of the biggest factors for me personally was my water intake. When I wasn’t making a conscious effort to consume a minimum of 80oz, it wasn’t happening. There was a significant increase in coffee intake and a decrease in water intake which put my body at a disadvantage. 

5) Catch your Zzzs. Here was another area that really took a hit and I felt the difference. Sleep is essential because it is the time where the body can rest and repair itself. Add on stress and exercise, it is even more important. My goal right now is to get 6-7 hours a night and I’m trying to sneak in a little foam rolling before bed as a little bonus.

It feels so good to have a fresh start this morning and focus my energy over the next 18 weeks as I work towards the NYC marathon. 

Xo, Pam

My Best Running Decision 


First up- an apology! I’m sorry things have been pretty slow on the blog the past few weeks. I am extremely excited to announce that I started a new position at the Hospital for Special Surgery in NYC. There were a few deadlines and a whole of craziness while transitioning and I had to really focus on accomplishing those things. But we are back!!!
In honor of NYC marathon training kicking off on Monday- I want to talk about the best running decision I ever made. Hiring a running coach. 
I always thought only elite athletes had coaches. As a casual weekend racer who simply enjoyed running and ran respectable but average paces, why would I need a coach? Then, a blogger and fitness professional that I respected (SarahFit) began to blog about her experience with a run coach. I followed along when she ran the Chicago Marathon and then again when she ran Boston. In Boston, she broke the coveted sub 4 and I knew it was time to enlist a professional. Based upon Sarah’s reviews and a little research of my own, I decided to also go with Jess Underhill. 

Last May, I took the plunge and reached out to her for a meeting. We met up for coffee and chatted about my goals, my fitness level, and my schedule. We picked a day to start training and the rest is history. Not only is she my coach but also a therapist, problem solver, and a friend. 

The question I get asked the most is why do you need a coach when you are in the fitness industry. It’s really quite simple. I love to surround myself with others that I can learn from and gain knowledge from. I am not a run coach nor do I have the years of experience and knowledge like Jess. I am able to learn so much from her. I’m also human and I need that accountability! With crazy schedules and summer commitments, I need that person that will formulate a week of workouts that is both achievable and appropriate. I don’t like to let people down so I know that both her and my body is depending on me committing to my workouts. 

Jess formulates my workouts based exactly on what my schedule is like that week. A surprise meeting pops up- no problem because Jess is only an email away. If I have an ache or a pain, I email Jess to ask her opinions on what to do next. She’s always only an email away and I love that. 

Whether you are training for your 1st or your 20th marathon, I recommend you consider whether a coach would complement your current training. If you have any questions- just let me know! 

Xo, Pam