Category Archives: weight training

Itching for a run

As I was thinking about what to do for a workout today, I wasn’t going to run. I had planned on doing some light cardio and weights at the gym, especially since our weather was supposed to be more unstable including periods of rain or storms.

But…as usual, the forecasts were wrong and the weather was actually quite beautiful. I went out to run an errand before leaving work and I knew right then, I was going to run outside today! There was no way I was working out indoors on such a day. It was all I could think about the last hour of work 🙂

I didn’t want to do too much since I’m still technically recovering from the race on Saturday, so I decided to do an easy 2 miles in walk-run intervals (2 minutes walking, 3 minutes running, repeat).

  • Distance: 2 miles
  • Time: 23:22
  • Average Pace: 11:41/mile

For me, that is a pretty slow pace but since I used walking breaks (to avoid injury) and it was 85 degrees outside, it was good for today.

Afterwards, I came inside, stretched the heck out of my quads and did some quick upper body weights and ab moves before going home for the day.

The run felt really good. Better than most 2 milers I’ve done recently. I think the 10 miler enhanced my confidence greatly. I could’ve run more than I did but I didn’t want to push it. I’m planning on more running tomorrow, so we’ll see how it goes.


Yesterday, in preparation for my 10 mile race on Saturday, I decided to try out some walk-running. After chatting with some folks on Twitter and doing my own research, I came to the conclusion that I need to pace myself for this race. I found some really useful tips on Jeff Galloway’s site, which hit home for me:

Most runners will record significantly faster times when they take walk breaks because they don’t slow down at the end of a long run.

By shifting back and forth between walking and running muscles, you distribute the workload among a variety of muscles, increasing your overall performance capacity.

Walk breaks will significantly speed up recovery because there is less damage to repair.

Sounds good to me! I’m going to try to use this method during the race to keep from fatiguing and also to speed up recovery. I am usually pretty sore after long runs so if walking breaks will help, I’m all for it. Still planning on some ice, epsom salts and Golden Tiger too though 🙂

It’s funny, I actually learned how to run using a walk-run method, but once I built up to the 30 minutes of straight running, I went to all running/no walking. In 2008, I ran my first 5k, 10k, 10-miler and half marathon, all without taking any walking breaks whatsoever.

I’m not that diligent in my training anymore, so I need to incorporate walking breaks now if I am going to make it through this 10 miler and upcoming half marathon (in three weeks)! I think I probably should’ve started this sooner, but oh well.

Yesterday afternoon, I headed over to a park near my work, where each lap around the track is 0.5 mile. I ran for 4 minutes and walked for 1 until I finished 2 miles. It was a little bit slower because of the walking breaks and the fact that it was 80 degrees yesterday (and sunny) but I’m still pleased with the time.

  • Time: 20:37
  • Distance: 2 miles
  • Average Pace: 10:19/mile

Afterwards, I went back to the gym to stretch and do some strength training. I did almost the exact same routine that I did last time I strength trained, which was March 24th, dear Lord 😉

My back, shoulders and abs are sore today so I must’ve done something right 😉 I’m planning to rest up today and may even take a bath tonight to soak my legs since they have been a little bit sore this week.

However, since the weather is so nice, I have a feeling I’ll be taking a nice walk or two at some point today.

How do you train for long races? Do you run it all or incorporate some walking breaks?

Spring allergies?

Yesterday, I was not feeling 100%. I have a sore, irritated throat and I didn’t have as much energy as usual. I’m thinking since we went from 40 degrees on Monday to 65 on Tuesday, it’s my Springtime allergies flaring up.

But I decided a workout would (hopefully) make me feel better!

First, I ran 1 mile outside on the track in 9:43! I was going to do two miles but after the second lap, I could tell I was done.

But I managed to go inside and do some low intensity weight training.

  • Chest presses – 12.5# dumbbells, 2×15
  • Shoulder presses – 7.5# dumbbells, 2×15
  • Reverse flyes – 7.5# dumbbells, 2×15
  • Dead lifts – 12.5# dumbbells, 2×15
  • Bicep curls – 15# body bar, 1×15; 18 lb body bar, 1×15
  • Tricep presses (aka “skull crushers”) – 15# body bar, 1×15; 18 lb body bar, 1×15
  • Side bends – using 20# kettlebell, 2×25 each side
  • “Leg pull in” ab exercise – 2×15
  • Leg extension machine – 55#, 2×15
  • Leg curl machine – 55#, 2×15

I felt pretty good after this workout and for a while afterwards. But toward the end of the night, my throat got worse and today it’s showing in my voice. But I’m just going to treat the symptoms and monitor how I feel before I decide whether or not to run today.

Do you exercise when you are feeling under the weather?

Do it yourself: Body Pump

I love Body Pump classes. You might recall the ones from my recent gym visit and I also took them at the YMCA last year.

Body Pump is literally a full body workout! In other words, you are isolating one muscle group at a time for an entire song.

I haven’t joined a gym yet but I figured while I keep thinking about it, I could try to do a Body Pump workout on my own. I had the necessary tools:

  • Body bars (not the same as the barbells but it’ll do) – 9 lbs and 12 lbs
  • iPod with Lady Gaga, No Doubt, Pink, etc.
  • An hour to kill

Basically with each song, I started out slow, doing the exercise up for 2, down for 2. During the “bridge” of the song, I changed from 3:1, and then during the chorus, I did single counts.

This is similar to what you would see in a Body Pump class. I tried to recall the sequence of exercises as best I could and included the songs that I specifically remember (next time I’m write it down).

  • Chest – Chest presses using 9 lb bar (Kevin Rudolf, “Let it Rock”)
  • Squats – Regular squats using 12 lb bar on shoulders (Lady Gaga, “Just Dance”)
  • Back & shoulders – dead lift, bent over row, and clean & press
  • Lunges – Used bar for stability, alternated legs (Lady Gaga, “Bad Romance”)
  • Biceps – Bicep curls using 9 lb bar, my arms were on fire! (No Doubt, “Spiderwebs”)
  • Abs – Regular crunches, bicycles, and reverse crunches
  • Triceps – Tricep bench presses (aka don’t hit yourself in the forehead!), Close-grip bench press (all lying on bench) 9 lb bar
  • Abs – Side crunches, Straight leg toe reach, regular crunches
  • Side bends – Using 10 lb dumbbells (Pink, “So What”)
  • Stretching (Rhianna, “Disturbia”)

It was so much fun to try and recreate Body Pump on my own. Of course, the class dynamic is more fun and having an instructor always helps. But it’s good to know I can sort of do it on my own if I get the urge!

I was feeling it at the end and right now my arms are tired and my quads ache a bit, so I definitely gave my body a workout today 🙂

Jackie Warner’s Total Body Workout

After reading what a good workout Mari had with Jackie Warner last week, I decided to give the Exercise TV program a shot tonight.


I love Jackie Warner. I watched the show “Workout” when it was on a couple years back and I think she is just totally cute. But I know she is brutal too, so I knew what I was getting myself into.

The workout program is 44 minutes long, including a warm up and cool down. She isolates several different parts of the body: quads, hamstrings, glutes, chest, back, bis/tris/shoulders, upper abs, lower abs, and obliques.

Each section has three different exercises followed by a “power burn” where you repeat all three exercises quickly. They were all challenging, by I was especially pushed by the upper abs and quads exercises.

Perhaps I am just in good shape, but this workout wasn’t as scary or intense as I thought it would be. That being said, I am sitting here and my muscles are totally fatigued. Especially my legs and abs.

I do wish their had been more upper body stuff but this program gave me an opportunity to hit a lot of muscles I tend to ignore. I definitely recommend it!

Here’s what my lazy dog Suzie did while I worked out! She is so lame.


I’d like to try some of Jackie’s other workouts too. I think there are a couple more on Exercise TV that are shorter and more focused on a particular area of the body. Plus I know she has DVDs too 🙂

Hit me: what are your favorite TV or DVD workout programs?

Have a plan?

On Wednesday, I was struggling to decide what workout to do that day.

Even though I am on a “training plan” for a half marathon, I know it is not realistic (or fun) for me to run 5 days a week and cross-train for one, rest for one. Boooorrrrinngggg. Plus, hello burnout!

So I’ve just been taking it week by week, day by day. If I feel like running, I’ll run, or if I can’t run I’ll do something else. Not to mention our lovely winter weather has intervened many times.

But this week, I have been enjoying a free 7-day guest pass to a gym, so the possibilities have been many. However, on Wednesday, I couldn’t make it to this gym (it’s girl’s night potluck night) so I had to get it in at work.

I decided to run 2 easy miles on the treadmill, then do some weight training.

Before I left work, I made a plan:

I’m guilty of going to the gym and doing exercise that I like and end up neglecting certain areas of the body, like my back and legs. So I wrote out all the areas first and then filled in an exercise for each one.

I also tried to choose exercises that I hadn’t done recently, since I also tend to get in ruts. I swear I’ve been doing chest presses for ages now, ha ha. It’s good to change things up!

The best part is, when I got done, I didn’t really feel like I had done that much but I was definitely a little sore today. I did every exercise on the list, 2 sets of each and 10 reps each, except for abs which were 25 each set. I think if I hadn’t written all that down, I definitely would not have done as much.

The 2 mile run was great too, I ended up doing intervals varying my speed between 5.0-6.0 mph and then sprinting at the end. I’m definitely feeling confident about my 5K on March 6th 🙂

When you go to the gym, do you have a plan? Or do you just wing it?

Zumba and Iron

I had the pleasure of trying out a new gym this weekend thanks to my friend Renee.

She is a member of Urban Active, which has several locations here in our city. I’m actually thinking about joining once my 7-day pass expires because I really want a place to use on the weekends, a place that offers great classes and a place to go if work cancels due to snow!

On Saturday, I attended a Zumba class, only the second one I’ve ever been to. It was great!

The last time I did Zumba, I had a hard time keeping up with the foot work, but I was much better prepared this time. I felt like I kept up really well with everything and it was the first time I remember “letting go” and not caring what I looked like as I was shaking everything! I was a sweaty mess when we left too…always a good thing 🙂

Then yesterday, I went back and took the “Urban Iron” class which is what you all probably know as Body Pump. It’s a group class with barbels and you get a full body workout in 1-hour. The instructor was 7 months pregnant, which also inspired me because if she was still doing it, so can I!

I only struggled with two areas during class: chest and abs. I put too much weight on my bar for chest presses, so about 3/4 of the way through the set, I had to take some off and jump back in. Then our last set of abs had us doing lots of planks and my arms were so tired from everything else that I had to let myself down a few times.

But I actually expected to struggle with squats and lunges or shoulder presses, but I was totally wrong! I love it when you get surprised like that 😉

On the weekends, I usually just take it easy, count grocery shopping as exercise, etc. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I definitely feel 100 times better today knowing that I had such an active weekend!

It helps that the weather was spectacular…we hit 63 yesterday! Unfortunately, it’s not sticking around, but it’s not too terrible either. We’ll be in the 30’s and 40’s this week and hopefully Spring is right around the corner.

I was actually planning to run yesterday but I remembered  a commitment I made to get my dog healthy, so I took her for a nice hour-long walk instead. It was good for both of us!

I’m running today 🙂

Listening to your body

On my food blog, See Sarah Eat, I posted yesterday about the importance of listening to your body’s hunger cues and not eating based on the clock or your own “time frame.”

This same concept can be applied to exercise. I think it’s interesting how I got to apply this principle in my routine yesterday, both through food and fitness!

Yesterday, my training plan called for a 2 mile run and weight training. However, all morning my legs weren’t feeling too great from the past two days of running on the treadmill (especially that 4-miler). I also started to think about my upcoming workout and honestly the thought of running was not exciting to me.

When that happens, instead of pushing through a run and totally not enjoying it, I’d rather switch it up for a day and re-arrange my schedule to do a run later. It’s frustrating at the time, but I definitely think it pays off!

I ended up doing 25 minutes on the elliptical trainer, followed by some weight training.

  • Plank push ups (2 sets of 5 – I struggled!)
  • Chest presses (2 sets of 15 – 15 lb dumbbells)
  • Shoulder presses (2 sets of 15 – 5 lb dumbbells)
  • Shoulder shrugs (2 sets of 15 – 20 lb dumbbells)
  • Bicep curls (2 sets of 15 – 10 lb dumbbells)
  • Tricep kickbacks (2 sets of 15 – 10 lb dumbbells)
  • Leg extension machine (2 sets of 15 – 35 lbs)
  • Leg curl machine (2 sets of 25 – 50 lbs)
  • Side bends (2 sets of 25 – 12.5 lb dumbbells)
  • Reverse crunches (2 sets of 40)
  • Side crunches (2 sets of 25, each side)

This routine made me realize that I am neglecting my back! I need to write up a new routine because having a strong upper body with a weak back won’t do me any good 😉

Also regarding time: sometimes we plan for a morning workout but we don’t feel up to it or we oversleep. That’s okay! Just try to fit it in later in your day. There is almost always something that can get moved around in order to accomodate your workout, especially if it is a high priority to you.

You might have to use your lunch hour (and eat at your desk), skip or record a TV show you usually watch, or tell a friend you’ll be late for dinner. Don’t stress about it! The feeling you get from finishing a workout is totally worth it.  You are worth it 🙂

I always put a workout on my calendar like an appointment. It might get moved around a lot but it almost never gets deleted!

Every work out is a learning experience. I am so glad that I did not push myself to run yesterday because today my legs feel strong and I’ve definitely got the energy to run today!

Back in the saddle

Oh, thank heavens I got to go to the gym again!

I’m praying that we don’t get anymore significant snowfall this year. It has really put a damper on my training efforts. I’m actually starting to get worried that I might not be ready for the mini marathon, but I still have a little over 2 months to go.

After a full 7 days of not running (gasp!) I finally got back on the treadmill for a quick 2-miler!

Distance: 2 miles

Time: 21:15

Pace: 10:38/mile

Then I followed that up with a quick upper body weights workout. Two sets each, 15 reps, except for side bends which were 25.

  • Chest presses (15 lbs)
  • Shoulder shrugs (20 lbs)
  • Bicep curls (10 lbs)
  • Tricep extensions (12.5 lbs)
  • Side bends (12.5 lbs)

It felt so good to work up a sweat again. I can’t wait to get in a good cardio session today, hopefully another run!

New obsession?

Yesterday afternoon I headed to the gym for yet another indoor workout. In addition to the snow still on the ground that hasn’t gone anywhere yet, we are expecting another 5-10 inches of snow starting tomorrow night!

Ugh. So now I have to break my positivity rule and just say it: “WINTER SUCKS!” Whew, glad I got that out.

But I got in another great workout nonetheless. I attempted to hop on a treadmill but they were all taken, the sign up sheet was full for another 30 minutes and I didn’t have time to wait.

So I elliptical-ed again!

I love how each time I use this machine, it’s a different experience. I went a lot faster this time so my time and mileage almost lined up with how fast I run on average.

I also gradually increased the ramp and resistance (every 5 minutes) and then cooled down the last 5 minutes.

Even though I’d rather be running outside or on a decent treadmill, I’ve enjoyed my time on the old elliptical. I used the elliptical trainer quite a bit when I first started working out again during my big weight loss and lifestyle changing period.

Afterwards, I did a few quick upper body moves (bicep curls, tricep extensions, shoulder shrugs, dead lifts, lateral raises, front raises) and called it a day.

I’m trying not to worry about my training right now but I do need to start thinking about increasing my mileage during the week if I’m not able to get it in elsewhere. The elliptical is a great workout but it’s not a running substitute.

Do you use the elliptical? What do you like or dislike about it?