Category: Fitness

My First Ever Half Marathon … Sorta…

I know it’s Tuesday, which means it is time for Intuitive Tuesday, but I am going to switch it up today and talk about the half marathon I ran over a week ago. I have been wanting to get this post up for awhile now, and here it finally is! For those of you that don’t know, I was signed up to run the Woody’s Half Marathon in Red Deer on May 17th.

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Last Sunday I was signed up to run my first ever half marathon. I have been training since January, and this was a big deal for me. I put my heart and soul into running, and was so excited for race day.

pre race half marathon

I did everything I could possibly think of to prepare. A few days before the race I started paying attention to what I was eating. I tried to eat mostly healthy foods that I didn’t think would upset my stomach. The night before I made my usual pasta dinner that I had practiced eating before long runs. I packed my race bag, which contained a change of clothes, body glide, and extra hair elastics. I laid out my race-day clothes, and filled up my fuel belt and some extra water bottles for before and after the run. I also made sure that I had my favorite Gu gels in my fuel belt and packed an extra one just in case. I studied the course map, and charged my cell phone.

I was as ready as I could be.

I have talked about it a bit on the blog in the past, but I have been seeing a physio about a  running injury that I developed during training. The physio has had me stretching every 90 minutes to prepare for race day. I have also been doing hip strengthening exercises, and tons of foam rolling.

On the morning of the race, Josh and I woke up bright and early and drove into Red Deer. It was really chilly, and we had to move around to keep warm. With 10 minutes until the start time I visited the port-potties. I also downed a Gu gel to fuel my first few miles and took an ibuprofen just in case my knee started to hurt.

tying shoe at race

 

I guess I also re-tied my shoes!

All that was left to do was run. I wasn’t even nervous. I was excited, pumped, and ready to do this. After the countdown, we all were off. I think there were about 800 people registered for the race. We ran close together the first for the first bit, down a road and onto the trail system in Red Deer. It was perfect weather once we started moving, it was beautifully sunny outside. I was feeling great. My pace felt good, and I made sure to constantly remind myself not to go too fast. My goal for the race was just to finish. I didn’t want to worry about time, since I was recovering from an injured knee. I made sure to pay extra attention to my form, and whether I was running up or down hill. At the one mile mark, they had someone yelling out times, and I was shocked that I was running just over nine minute miles. I felt like I was going at an easy pace, but I slowed down even more.

half marathon 3 km

Not too long after the one mile mark, I started to notice that my form was off. I was running with a bit of a limp. My right knee felt tender and slightly sore. It has felt this way pretty consistently for the past few weeks and it wasn’t unbearably painful so I didn’t think much of it. I decided to slow down even more just to be safe.

My limp kept getting worse, and worse, and I started to feel quite a bit more pain in my knee. By now I had reached the 5km mark. I downed another Gu gel, and tried to keep running, but it didn’t feel right. I stopped to walk and stretch out my quads a bit before running again. My knee was consistently getting worse, and I couldn’t force myself to run without a limp.

This was when I started to realize I physically wouldn’t be able to run 21.1 km. I contemplated pushing through the pain and injury, but it was feeling more and more impossible with every step. I slowed to a limping walk and called Josh to let him know what was going on. I intended to ask him for advice, but once he was on the phone I knew that it was over. I explained the situation the best I could, while trying to hold back shaky tears. After calling Josh, I phoned my mom. My parents were babysitting Lochlyn, and had planned to watch me cross the finish line. I let her know that she didn’t need to come, and that I wasn’t going to be able to do it.

I limped my way to the 6km mark. There was a porta-potty stop, and some fans cheering on the runners. I stood waiting for Josh and watched all the other runners pass by. It occurred to me that I should cheer them on, but I didn’t have it in me. It took everything I had to fight the tears that threatened to pour down my face at any moment.

After waiting about 15 minutes, I saw Josh walking towards me. As soon as he was close enough, I grabbed onto him so tight, and let the tears come. We attempted to walk back to the car, but at this point I couldn’t put any weight on my injured knee at all. The car was too far away, so he left to go get it. I sat down in the wet grass, and watched the rest of the runners pass by. I started out closer to the front of the pack, and by the time I left, I am pretty sure I saw every last runner, down to the ones that planned to walk the entire full or half marathon distance.

Some younger runners that participated in the earlier 10k event started talking to the spectators that were close to me. The first one had won and set a new PR. The second had won first place in the female category for 10k. It was hard not to feel sorry for myself while listening to them, but I also felt inspired by their enthusiasm and their stories.

Finally Josh came back with the car and we drove home to ice my knee. I am pretty sure I cried most of the way home, both from pain, and from disappointment.

At home I was greeted by my parents, and my little one. Everyone took amazing care of me. My mom massaged my calf and made sure I was icing lots, Josh constantly fetched me everything I could need, and my dad kept me company. Of course Lochlyn also gave me plenty of cuddles.

I parked myself on the couch, and didn’t move for hours. My knee didn’t seem to be getting better at all, and I started to get worried. Josh ended up taking me to emergency at the hospital just to make sure everything was okay.

About three hours later I was leaving the hospital on crutches, with a Zigglar splint for my knee. Turns out my knee is nothing serious or permanent. I am still dealing with the same Patello-femoral pain syndrome injury I had before, I just made it a lot worse. I also have developed some bursitis in my knee. My calf muscle is damaged from running with a limp for so long, but that should heal quickly.

zigglar splint

The rest of the evening was spent on the couch, eating sushi, and trying not to feel guilty about my injury.

I think the hardest part of the day wasn’t not being able to finish the half marathon. The hardest part was not being able to take care of my baby girl. I can’t walk without crutches, and I wasn’t able to put any weight on my right leg at all for quite a few days. I couldn’t carry Lochlyn, lift her up, get her things, chase after her, or hold her hands and help her walk. It broke my heart.

playing on floor in room

I have an awesome family. Josh has been waiting on me hand and foot. Now that he is back at work my mom is here helping out with Lochlyn. I don’t know what I would do without them.

I obviously won’t be running for awhile. That makes me sad, but it isn’t that big of a deal compared to having the use of my right knee. I am so thankful that I don’t have a serious injury, and that it will heal and be back to normal. That is so much more important to me than being able to run a half marathon.

That being said, I am not giving up on running. I plan to let this injury heal and pick out a new half marathon to conquer when my body is ready!

3 km half marathon

 

Stay tuned for a WIAW post tomorrow featuring my Intuitive Eating Journal!

My First Race Ever

On Saturday I ran in my first race ever. At least, it was what I would consider my first race ever. I have done a couple fun 5k events that I didn’t train for, most as fundraisers. I wouldn’t count them as “real” races. I didn’t track my time in them, and I didn’t even get a bib. The bib is what makes a race legit, am I right?

10k pre race

Anyways, on Saturday I ran my very first 10K race, and I am really happy with how it went. I will share my results with you, but first, here is a quick little recap of the race…

Josh and I drove down to stay at my parent’s house in Cochrane on Friday night. The race was in Calgary, about a half hour drive from my parents’ place, so we stayed there the night before for convenience. I packed dinner for myself to eat in the car, and Josh and Lochlyn got dinner on the way down. I was too scared to eat out the night before a race. I also wanted to treat my 10k as practice for my upcoming half marathon, and wanted to test out some pre-race fuel. I had pasta, with tomato sauce and ground turkey for anyone who is curious.

Anyways, we got to my parents’ house, put Lochlyn to bed, hung out with my parents for a bit, and then Josh and I both went to bed early. I thought that there was no way I would be able to sleep, but I actually slept really well. Int he morning I woke up 10 minutes before my alarm, excited and ready to go.

My pre-race routine included making a quick breakfast to eat in the car, getting dressed, and making sure the bag I packed the night before had everything that I needed in it. Breakfast was a blueberry bagel, with a little bit of peanut butter and jelly. I ate this an hour and 15 minutes before the race.

Josh and I arrived at the race location around 8:30 am. We wanted to be there early because we were worried about parking. Also, I wanted to make sure I was organized, and not arriving last minute.

The race as put on by a local MEC (one of my most favourite stores ever). There wasn’t a lot going on at the race location to distract me before the race. I guess that is what is expected when you only pay $15 for a race! As the starting time neared, I found myself getting intimidated, as I looked at the runners around me. They all looked so experienced, and were doing different activities to warm up. Most of them were decked out in really nice running gear and I found myself checking out everyone’s shoes. I love running shoes. I ended up walking around with Josh, as I usually just walk for a few minutes to warm up before a run.

One thing that the race location did have was porta-potties – yay! Before I knew it I was in line to hit them up and then I was watching the 15k racers leave for their race. I was surprised how not-nervous I actually was. I think it helped that I have ran 14k during training runs, so I knew that I could run 10K already.

When it was almost time for the 10k race to start, they gathered us all together, and walked us through some warm-up stretches. It was a small race. There was 171 people that participated in the 10k, and a total of 550 runners in all the events. The race ended up being completely sold out.

10k warm-up

 

Hip circles anyone?

 

Before I knew it, they were counting us down, and we were off!

10 k race start

I started out in the middle of the pack, and was feeling pretty good. I ended up passing quite a few people at the beginning of the race, which may have been a mistake because  the little hill at the start of the race turned into a big hill. Like a big, steep, 5k long hill. I should have known since the name of the race was “The Hill Climb”.

I looked at elevation charts before the race, but I didn’t think the hill was as steep or as long as it turned out to be. I was under the impression that after the first 2 miles, it would be pretty flat. We arrived at the 2.5 km water station, which served as a turnaround for the runners doing the 5k. I couldn’t believe that I had made it up the hill that far, I considered stopping to walk, but since I thought that the hill would flatten out shortly, I kept going … and going … and going. I have to admit I also had fantasies about turning around at the 5k mark and running 5k instead of 10. I was so tired, but I talked myself into going on.

The hill didn’t stop at 2 miles. I ended up having to slow my pace right down to make it up the massive hill. So many runners around me stopped for walking breaks, and I was so tempted, but I felt like if I stopped to walk, I would lose momentum, and probably wouldn’t give the race 100% of my effort.

I kept running, and boy was I relieved to see the 5k marker and turnaround point. I don’t know if I could have run much farther up that hill, let alone run the rest of the way back to the start. The one good thing about running uphill on “out and back” courses, is that it means that you get to run downhill after. I was so thankful for the downhill. There were a few dips in the course, and those small hills felt pretty painful after running that huge one!

My original goal was to start upping my pace after the 5k turnaround, but I had to change my plans since I was so exhausted from that huge hill. I used the declines to catch my breath and I did sprint down some of the bigger hills. At the 6k mark, I finally started feeling better, and upped my pace. At this point I was being passed by a lot of the 15k-ers, who were sprinting down the hills crazy fast. I don’t know how they had the energy to do it, but I soon found myself picking up the pace and sprinting down the hills too. I ran the last km as fast as I could, and I thought my lungs would burst. The race ended with a short stretch uphill. Since I knew the race was almost over, I didn’t slow down, but kept my pace just as fast as it had been running down the last stretch of hills. So hard.

10k finish sprint

As I was running to the finish line I could read the clock enough to see it said 56 .. something. I was so excited.

10k finish line

I darted into the finish line and immediately started searching for Josh. It was so awesome to have him there waiting for me. My parents were also watching with Lochlyn, and I loved seeing them all, after I caught my breath anyways!

josh and lochlyn at race

We chatted for a bit, but I was so anxious to check my time. They had the results posted online, and used my phone to check the website. I couldn’t believe what I saw. I mean, I saw it on the clock as I was running across the finish line, but I was still really happy with how fast I ran: 56:06! My average pace was 9:04 minute miles. 13 seconds faster than my goal! I couldn’t believe I ran at that pace because of the monster hill I was faced with. That was intense.

There are a few things that I would change if I ran the race again. The biggest thing is that I would have started the race off a lot slower. That hill was crazy, and I didn’t realize how crazy it was until I was half way up it. I would have liked to run the second half of the race faster, and running the first part slower would have allowed me more energy to do so. I also would have pinned my bib lower down on my shirt. As I mentioned, this was my first time wearing a bib, and it kept smacking me in the face. So annoying! Another thing that was different about this race, was that I didn’t track it at all while I was running. I actually haven’t bothered to buy a garmin, and I have just been using an app on my phone to track my running. I have a pocket on my jacket that I can use to hold my phone, but when I am dressed lighter, I have no way of holding it other than in my hand. I decided to leave the phone behind and run by feel. That was hard. I think I may have been more motivated to pick up speed if I knew that I was actually making decent time. I also would have been more likely to slow down if I knew how fast I was actually running up that hill.

Other than that, I was really happy with how everything went. I know that I tried my very best, and that was what made finishing such a great feeling!

out of breath 10k

 

 

Runners – what was your first race ever? Do you like the race atmosphere, or do you prefer running solo/with a running buddy?

 

Cardio or Strength?

Good morning/afternoon/evening/middle of the night/whatever! It is time for Thinking out Loud, which is awesome because I feel like rambling a little bit today, and a lot of my rambles will be about exercise.

thinking out loud

As you may know, I love being active, and getting to the gym is one of the highlights of my day, so I guess it makes sense that I want to chat about it. I specifically want to ramble about a little dilemma that has been on my mind lately …

1. Cardio vs. Strength.

A little while ago Josh and I were debating about whether we would give up cardio, or strength training if we had to choose one. I am talking give up forever. If you could only do cardio or strength training for the rest of your life, which would you choose?

This question was easy for Josh. He chose cardio – which surprised me a little bit. A few years ago he would have responded strength for sure. He use to be in and out of the gym in 25 minutes, and spent the whole time lifting weights. Currently he has been doing a lot of circuit-style bodyweight exercises with some plyometric moves mixed in. He now prefers to work out in our basement and actually cancelled his gym membership! Josh does incorporate lighter dumbbells into his workouts, but he said he would be willing to let that go if he had to choose one.

To me, his bodyweight exercises are still kind of classified as strength training. I think there is a little bit of overlapping, but to him, it is mostly cardio so that is what we are going to go with.

I didn’t answer the cardio vs. strength question as easily as Josh. When I first started exercising regularly I would have chosen cardio for sure. I have always loved the feeling I get from aerobic exercise, and I know that it enables me to do other things I love like hiking and mountain biking. Growing up I played soccer, so I spent most of my time doing cardio.

If you would have asked me the cardio vs. strength question six months ago, I would have answered strength! The past couple of years, I have been loving strength training and I feel like I can still get a cardiovascular workout while lifting weights if I need to with supersets or circuit training.

gym shoes

Now, I am more undecided. I have been loving running. Like, loving it. I would totally give up strength training for a season to focus on running. It has been so cool to watch my body go from barely being able to run a slow 3 miles, to rocking 8 miles and not feeling like I was going to die after. I love the endorphins, the rush, the way my body feels empowered by working towards a goal and conquering it – you get the picture.

I know that strength training makes me a better runner. I also know that I have loved strength training so much in the past I wouldn’t be able to let that go forever. I also feel like strength training changes and benefits my body more than cardio does. Lifting weights and building muscle doesn’t come as easy to me as endurance exercises and I feel like challenging yourself is always a good thing. It is interesting that Josh said that he notices more positive change in his body with cardio. Josh is naturally muscular and broad, whereas I am smaller and not so muscular. Maybe you see more changes when you do the thing that doesn’t come as natural to you?

I am way too indecisive to give up strength or cardio forever, and I can’t answer the question. I prefer to focus on one and use the other to complement my training. I do feel that both benefit the other, and that a balanced workout routine is a good thing. I am no fun and am not giving an answer, but I would love to hear yours!

 

2, Fitness goals.

I am always looking ahead with my workout goals. I like having some sort of plan in place to keep me motivated and challenged. Obviously right now it’s the half marathon in May, but after that I am not entirely sure what I would like to do.

I really want to enjoy the summer with Lochlyn. I am thinking I will focus on running outside with the stroller to maintain my endurance, and also go for bike rides with the bike trailer as a family because that sounds fun. I need to take advantage of Josh’s newfound love for cardio while it lasts!

warm winter walk

I want to get stronger – but I don’t want to spend as much time in the gym this summer. We only get 2-3 months of nice weather here, so I want to enjoy it. I am thinking this summer I may make my fitness goal about fun and spending time with my family. In the fall I will reevaluate my goals and possibly focus more on strength training.

Wow, there has been a lot of goal talk around here lately. I told you I love planning. I guess I am still in a planning kind of mood.

 

3. Totally unrelated to all the fitness talk, but Lochlyn’s little tummy is sick, and she is teething, and I feel so bad for her. She was up in the middle of the night last night which never happens. I hope she is feeling better soon because …

lochlyn and baa

4. We are going to Canmore this weekend! Josh and I are dropping Lochlyn off at my parents’ house and spending the weekend together. It is our first time ever leaving Lochlyn so it is kind of a big deal. I am mostly excited, but I know I will miss Lochlyn like crazy.

This trip was my Christmas present to Josh, so he gets to call all the shots about what we do. My only request is that I have time to go for a long run either Saturday or Sunday. Running in the mountains sounds amazing – I hope it stops snowing so I am not stuck on the treadmill.

 

5. My last and final thought is …

I love coffee.

I really missed it while I was pregnant and breastfeeding and didn’t drink it. Now i am drinking it again and it is so, so good.

 coffee loveSource

Have a great Thursday!

 

Strength or cardio? If you had to choose only one for the rest of your life, which would it be and why?

Do you notice more positive changes from strength or cardio? Which are you naturally better at?

When to Stop Exercising…

Good morning, good morning! I really wanted to pop in yesterday and tell you guys about how my weekend went. That didn’t happen because we had a pretty rough night on Sunday night. Lochlyn did not want to sleep! She woke up around 1:00 AM and I didn’t get her back down until 5:00. It was so unlike her. I traded in my blog writing time for some extra sleep. It was much needed.

My weekend update is going to have to wait yet another day, because today is…

intuitive tuesday

And that means we are going to chat about living intuitively.

It was actually really hard for me to decide what to write about this morning. After weighing quite a few ideas I have been pondering, none of them really felt right. Then I started thinking about areas of intuitive eating/living that I really struggle with, and the subject of exercise immediately came to mind.

Exercise, how I love you. I love the gym. I love working out, getting a sweat on, and taking in all the endorphins that come with it. I don’t have a hard time motivating myself to go to the gym. Even when I am tired, or feeling lazy, it is pretty easy for me to get there, as I know how it will make me feel. It is also a great way for this stay-at-home mom to get out of the house and enjoy a little bit of “me” time.

gym selfie

 

Ignore the tampon at my feet! Lochlyn likes to carry them all over the house.

With the half-marathon that I have been training for, it has been even easier to get my butt to the gym. I have a goal, and a plan to help get me there. I have every workout for the next few months planned out on paper, waiting for me to check it off the list. Every run, cross training session, and strength workout is bringing me closer to my goal, and hopefully making me a tiny bit stronger to run on the big day.

I am sure that all of this sounds great to the average person. I am super motivated, and feel positive about the gym. I know lots of people wish they could enjoy it this much, or feel the draw that I do to workout. So how is exercise a challenge for me? The thing is, sometimes working out can get out of hand for me, and lead to unhealthy behaviour.

Exercise is great. Letting exercise interfere too much with the rest of your life, and negatively impacting your health is not so great. I have been there many times and still struggle. I can get obsessive about hitting the gym, and I have often seen this negatively impact the rest of my life. Below I have listed some ways that I use to keep myself accountable with exercise. If I find that any of these points are true in my life, I know that I am giving exercise too much control over me.

Pushing your body further than it wants to go. Okay, so pushing ourselves is how we see improvement in performance. I get this, and I constantly push myself in order to see results. I lift heavier weights, or run an extra mile on a regular basis. Getting our heart rate elevated, and challenging our muscles is great. I think this can get unhealthy when we are exercising even though our body is screaming for a break.

If your body is injured, sick, or just plain exhausted, it may be time to give it a rest. A couple weeks ago, I was mentally feeling great, but my legs were so tired I could barely get up off the couch. I wanted to go to the gym, but realized that I owed my body a rest day. It had been working hard all week and needed time to recover. I know you have heard it before, but rest days are just as important, if not more so, than workout days. Giving your body a chance to recover and repair itself will improve your performance in the long term.

What happens when you push your body further than it wants to go on a regular basis? I developed Hypothalamic Amenorrhea and to put it bluntly, it majorly sucked. I know that I also wasn’t eating enough to fuel my workouts, but even after gaining a ton of weight back, I didn’t get my cycles again until I quit exercising entirely and gave my body a rest. It needed it to function at its best.

don't stop when you're tiredSource – So, I kind of disagree with this massively popular quote. If your body is truly tired, maybe you should give it a rest!

Letting exercise interfere with relationships. Back in my excessive exercising days, I would work out right when I got home from work. This meant that I never made plans to do anything after work. If people were going out, or invited me somewhere, I had to decline, or try to do it later. I distanced myself from people because I didn’t want relationships to interfere with my workouts.

This is so hard for me to admit, but I still regularly let exercise interfere with relationships. I go to the gym six days a week, and sometimes I choose the gym over spending time with friends. With juggling Lochlyn’s naps, and meals, it is hard to do a lot of outings in the day, and by the time we get ready and get to the gym, come home and shower, I don’t have time for much else.

I am learning that relationships with people are very important, and that it’s okay to sacrifice exercise for people. I am also learning to juggle around my training schedule a bit, so I can meet that friend for coffee, or go to a play group. I realize that it is important to make my relationship with Josh and Lochlyn a priority, and I try to focus on spending time with them when I get the chance. Sometimes choosing to spend time as a family over hitting the gym, is much more healthy for the soul, and therefore, for the body too.

josh and lochlyn at starbucks

I was a lot better at choosing to not workout somedays to focus on relationships before I started half marathon training. Now that I workout six days a week it is harder to juggle my schedule, and I don’t like missing too many workouts. My best solution has been to be willing to squeeze a workout in anywhere. I have done a lot of runs at 5:30 in the morning, and I am willing to go in the evening too if I have to.

Relationships are more important to me than physical fitness and exercise. When I am stressing or upset about missing a workout, it helps to put life into perspective and think about the bigger picture. My family and friends are more important to me than exercise any day!

Needing exercise to make you happy. The gym is my happy place, it really is. So is going for a bike ride outside, a long run, a beautiful hike. I love being active, it does my soul so much good. There is nothing wrong with that. Actually I think it is so great, and I recommend it to any and everyone. The thing is, even though exercise can make us very happy, we shouldn’t rely on it to make us happy. It isn’t a reliable source. I am thankful that I have the ability to be active, but that ability could be taken away at any given moment. If I need exercise to be happy, and I am no longer able to exercise, I won’t have the ability to be happy anymore.

I believe we can have an unhealthy emotional  relationship with exercise just like we can with food. So many of us use food to make us happy, or feel better when we are down. Exercise can do the same thing. There is nothing wrong with food or exercise making us happy, I think that it is when we become reliant on it, that it becomes a problem. It is important to know how to handle emotions apart from food and exercise.

Finding identity in working out. This used to be huge for me. I saw my own identity in being active and physically fit. I was thin, I ate healthy, and I worked out a lot. That was me, or so I thought. The truth was, I had an identity apart from working out, but I was so focused on exercising that I didn’t take the time to nourish other aspects of who I was. Those pieces of myself were being starved off, and I wasn’t as happy or well-rounded person without them. There is more to everyone’s life than exercise!

Another reason not to find identity in working out is that just like we can’t rely on exercise to make us happy, we can’t rely on it for identity. It isn’t a trustworthy source. If our ability to exercise is taken away from us, we will no longer have an identity.

Making yourself workout to burn extra calories. As in “I ate an extra bowl of ice cream yesterday and NEED to burn it off today”. This just ruins exercise in my opinion. Josh and I were actually talking about this not too long ago. We have both shifted our focus on exercise from looks and appearance, to performance and athletic ability. We have both found that it makes exercise so much more fun and motivating! I run an extra mile to prepare for my race, not to burn extra calories. When you are making yourself exercise, it no longer becomes a choice, but something that you force on yourself. Nobody enjoys that for too long!

Well, Lochlyn is awake in her crib and calling to me. That was a short nap, why won’t this girl sleep? I guess it is time to feed her some lunch, and get my butt to the gym for a workout (yay!). Enjoy your day, and make sure to enjoy your exercise (or give yourself a break, that’s good too!)

 

Have you ever felt like exercise was controlling your life? What did you do about it?

Any other tell tale signs you are working out too much? I know I missed lots!

 

Strength Training Lately: Stronglifts 5×5

I have been following Stronglifts 5×5 strength training program for just over a month alongside my half marathon training. I thought that now would be a good time to tell you about how it has been going so far. As I mentioned on Saturday, I already wrote this post once, and it got erased when WordPress crashed on my computer. You better believe I am writing it in my word processor this time!

This is not an endorsed post. I have been following this program, and thought some of you may be interested in it. Please take into account that I am not a personal trainer, fitness professional, or doctor. This is just my opinion of the program based on personal experience. 

Before we get started, here is a basic description of Stronglifts 5×5 from their website:

Stronglifts 5×5 is a simple workout to get stronger. Thousands of guys worldwide have used this routine to gain strength, build muscle or lose fat while training only three times a week. Stronglifts 5×5 uses five free weight compound exercises: the Squat, Bench Press, Deadlift, Overhead Press and Barbell Row. You do three of these exercises each workout, three times a week, for about 45 minutes per workout. You Squat every workout, three times a week. 5×5 stands for five sets of five reps. These are the sets and reps you do on every exercise except Deadlifts. Deadlift is only one set of five reps (1×5) because doing more would beat you up. Plus, Squatting three times a week will get you stronger at Deadlifts since it works similar muscles. Unlike most bodybuilding routines, your goal on StrongLifts 5×5 isn’t to reach failure, get “pumped” or be sore. Your goal is to add weight. Here’s how: start light, focus on proper form and add 2.5kg/5lb each workout for as long as you can. This is the simplest way to get stronger – fast. Source

stronglifts squat

Source

Please keep in mind that I am doing this program alongside half marathon training. I think you would see different results if you were just focusing on building strength.

Pros:

  • The FREE app that comes with it. Guys this app is awesome! I think it is one of my favourite things about following this program. I love it because it is so easy to use to keep track of your workouts. It tells you how much weight to use for each exercise based on your last workout, and how long of rest you should take between sets as well. I was getting a bit lazy about recording my workouts, but with this app, I haven’t missed a day since starting this program.

stronglifts app

 

Source

  • This workout focuses on big compound exercises that work multiple muscle groups at the same time. As I only have time for three strength workouts a week, I wanted to get the most bang for my buck. I do miss all the accessory exercises sometimes, but I also love the feeling of working multiple muscle groups at once.
  • Motivation to continuously up your weight. I think that I was starting to get into a strength training rut the past couple months. I was continuously reaching for the same weight, even if I knew I would be able to complete all my sets relatively easily. Stronglifts has challenged me to work on upping my weights when I am able to complete all five reps of each set. Hopefully this makes me stronger or at least maintains the muscle I have built!

Cons

  • The repetitiveness. You are only completing five different exercises each week, with only two different workouts. I am not bored yet, which is great for me because usually I get bored of doing the same program after about four weeks. That being said, I am looking forward to being done with the program and continuing on to more varied exercises.
  • Starting light. Stronglifts recommends that your starting weight is 50% of your five rep maximum (the most weight you can lift for five full repetitions of an exercise). I   didn’t calculate my five rep max and just started with the suggested starting weights (for men). I think that you will see the most progress starting at 50% of your five rep max, but the first couple of weeks the weights will seem really light, and your workouts may be kind of boring.
  •  I chose this program because I thought that five sets of five reps for three exercises would just fly by. I was wrong. I didn’t take into account the time I would spend warming up, and the amount of rest that would be needed between sets. Stronglifts recommends resting 90 seconds to three minutes between each set, depending on how difficult it is. As my weights are getting higher, each set is feeling harder, and ideally I would be resting two-three minutes. This isn’t always happening. I don’t have the time to rest this much, but I know that my body would be feeling better, and probably able to handle a little bit more weight if I did. As it stands right now, each workout takes me around 35-40 minutes. Not too bad, but I was hoping they would be quicker.

post gym selfie

Post work-out selfie since I don’t quite have the confidence to take gym selfies!

Notes

  • As I mentioned above, Stronglifts 5×5 recommends your starting weights be 50% of your five rep max. They also have suggested weights for each exercise if you don’t know your five rep max. These weights are suggested for men, but I figured  I could handle them, so I decided to start there rather than calculating my five rep max. I found the upper body-focused exercises to be too close to my max already and the starting weight for squats and dead lifts was too light. I wish I would have taken the time to calculate my starting weights at the beginning of the program. It may have been more effective if I had a few lighter lifting weeks to get my body warmed up. I also would have really liked to have something to compare my results to. Below are the weights that I started with for each exercise. In brackets I added an estimate of what I think my starting weight should have been.
    • Squats: 45 lbs (55 lbs)
    • Bench press: 45 lbs (35 lbs)
    • Rows: 65 lbs (30 lbs)
    • Shoulder press: 45 lbs (25 lbs)
    • Deadlifts: 65 lbs (75 lbs)
  • Stronglifts is a beginner strength building program. That being said, I wouldn’t recommend it to someone new to the gym unless they had the assistance of a personal trainer to help them with good form. It is so important to practice good form when lifting, especially with heavy compound exercises. If you are doing it wrong, it is just asking to get hurt! If you have some experience with these exercises and are comfortable with your form, I would still recommend finding someone to spot you. I wish that I had a regular spotter. I would be a lot more confident pushing myself if I knew I had someone there just in case. With all the 5:30 AM workouts I have been doing lately, there isn’t too many people around to ask for help!

bench with no spotter

Source

I have been following some type of weight lifting program for the past  nine months or so, and I think that I am just starting to transition out of the beginner category.I have done a lot of strength training in the past, but I had to take some time off, and this year I have been getting back into it. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it is my understanding that with strength training, a beginner isn’t necessarily someone new to weightlifting, but someone whose body is still responding fast to exercises and gaining muscle quickly. Beginners are able to up their weight on an exercise frequently, and see gains right away.

I am curious to see how my body responds to this program and how fast I am able to up my weights! So far I think I may have added about five pounds onto each of the exercises over the past five weeks. I am happy with that since my focus right now is on marathon training and not building strength.

Overall I would recommend the Stronglifts program to beginners who are focusing on increasing their strength. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it to accompany half marathon training. I am enjoying it, but squatting three days a week, and running three days a week, makes for some tired legs! I am not sure if I will be able to keep up this program for the recommended 12 weeks. I am taking it one week at a time to see how it goes. Speaking of tired legs, I should probably go stretch mine!

 

Gym selfies – yay or nay? I would totally do it for the blog if I could get over being afraid what other people think. That being said I have caught myself judging other people taking photos in the gym.

Have you ever tried Stronglifts 5×5 or a similar strength building program? What did you think?

Runners – how  much strength training do you do while training for a race?

 

Thinking Out Loud: Work, and Workout Motivation

I woke up bright and early this morning… actually it was still dark out, so dark and early …  to get a run in at the gym before Josh left for work. I am not quite sure how I feel about running at 5:30 AM, but it was nice to get it out of the way. Now I have the rest of the day to spend with my little one.

For today’s quick little post, I am going to link up with Amanda over at Running With Spoons for Thinking out Loud. It is Thursday after all. Thanks for hosting Amanda!

thinking out loud

 

1. Today I have a meeting scheduled at my old job to discuss my new availability now that my maternity leave is over. I am feeling a little down about it. It will be nice to get out of the house and see some old faces, but I am going to miss the time away from my family. It also means that Lochlyn is growing up – and that is hard! Awesome, but so hard. I know I should be grateful that I have such a flexible job to go back to, but it is hard not to be a little down about it. I don’t feel ready to go back to work. I know that I have already talked about this a lot, so I’m not really going to go there except to say that I am sad, and this is hard, and I just want to stay home and spend time with my baby forever and ever.

ride on toy lochlyn

2. You know what else is hard? Keeping your marriage strong with a new little baby. In some ways I feel so much closer to my husband now. I rely on him so much more, and I need his help in so many more ways. Despite this, I find it really difficult keeping the romance alive in our relationship with a baby around always needing us. Lochlyn has quickly become our world, and it is so easy to put her needs first. I keep having to remind myself that our relationship needs to stay strong for her just as much as it needs to stay strong for us. I want to set a good example for her, and I want her to grow up in a loving environment. I also don’t want Josh and I to turn into friends. We are best friends, but I want us to be more than just friends too, ya know?

wedding speech

I have decided to really commit more to keeping our relationship strong, and strengthening it even further. As I have mentioned we have a weekend booked away for the end of March. We had to hold off a little on this so we could be sure that Lochlyn would be done breastfeeding. We also have a marriage course scheduled for the beginning of February. On top of these two things, I also want to start making more time for Josh, and for our relationship. We don’t go on dates all too often. Josh loves getting out of the house and doing things, and I want to make more time for us to do this together. I love staying in and relaxing, so he has offered to set aside time to stay up together and hang out after Lochlyn goes to sleep. We have been blessed with some amazing friends that have offered to babysit for us, and love Lochlyn, so we need to take them up on it!

3. Speaking of Josh, and dates, we went on a coffee date the other day. Well, sort of a coffee date. For some reason, I really wasn’t feeling coffee, so I ordered lunch instead. Josh ordered this massive cinnamon bun that I just had to show you guys. Seriously, it was like the size of 4.25 regular cinnamon buns. Pretty much the size of his head. These pictures don’t even do it justice. This thing was huge. Even Josh couldn’t finish it, and he isn’t one to not finish something as sweet and delicious as a cinnamon bun!

giant cinnamon bun

4. I still haven’t registered for my half marathon or 10K. Registration has been open for almost a month now, I am not quite sure what is holding me back. I am wondering if maybe I am a little nervous to actually do it. I did go buy a new sports bra and fuel belt last weekend so I am getting more committed, but I haven’t taken the final step and registered. 5K feels long enough most days!

Admittedly, I may not be registered yet because I am a bit of a procrastinator. I have been avoiding a few other things too, like cancelling an appointment, doing our online banking, and scheduling a time to take Eeyore to the vet. I am so bad at getting things like that done.

5. Speaking of running, one really awesome thing that I have noticed about training for a half marathon, is that my fitness goals have been focused a lot more on performance. Since having a baby, I have tried to exercise to keep my body healthy and happy, but there was always the buried motivation to lift weights to look better. I think muscle tone looks great, and I had a hidden desire to build more muscle to improve my appearance. After writing yesterday’s post, I realized that my motivation had changed and the main reason why I didn’t want to miss the gym, was because I didn’t want it to affect my overall performance.

First of all, this was a little ridiculous. One day away from training, when your body is tired and run down, is actually probably a good thing. I’m not an expert, but I do believe that you should listen to your body, and if it’s not at it’s best, it probably needs a break. Yesterday my reasoning was a little bit off, but my motives weren’t all bad. I wasn’t concerned about burning calories, or my appearance. I just didn’t want to miss another run and get behind in training. For me this was a pretty cool realization.

6. And that’s a wrap on this week’s thoughts. Lochlyn is going to be awake before I know it. Thanks for stopping by and reading my rambles. Have a great Thursday!

lochlyn drinking smoothie

 

 

What is your #1 workout motivation? I dare you to be honest!

Give me a random thought you are having this Thursday.

WIAW: Sick Food and Coping with Emotions

Good morning everyone! It’s Wednesday, and today I am linking up with Jenn over at Peas and Crayons for another round of What I Ate Wednesday.

what i ate wednesday

In yesterday’s Intuitive Tuesday post, I talked about the seventh Intuitive Eating principle as per this book. The seventh principle is to honour your feelings without using food and is intended to help limit emotional eating. This was probably one of the most difficult intuitive eating principles for me to put into action. I didn’t think I had a huge problem with emotional eating anymore, but paying extra attention to how I was feeling yesterday made for a pretty emotional day. I must still be using food to mask my feelings sometimes because when I was extra conscious not to, I sure felt a lot!

As some of you may know, I haven’t been feeling good lately. I have had flu-like symptoms on and off for over a week now. I am such a baby when I am sick, and being stuck at home taking care of a baby it makes it really hard. I couldn’t just go to bed and sleep when I wanted to, because I had little Lochlyn to worry about. I don’t know how mom’s with multiple kids do it!

If you’re thinking I may be one of those moms with multiple kids soon I won’t be. I may have been feeling like I am pregnant this past week, but I have a pregnancy test to prove that I’m not (and no we aren’t trying!).

Wow, that was a lot of rambling. What I was trying to say was that yesterday was a really tough day for me. There was a lot of sick food, a lot of feeling sorry myself, and a lot of feelings.

In order to journal how I was feeling before I ate, I utilized a series of questions that the book Intuitive Eating recommends asking yourself before you eat, in order to help you cope with emotional eating. I mentioned them yesterday, but for those of you that missed it, the questions were (pp. 158-159):

  1. Am I biologically hungry?
  2. What am I feeling?
  3. What do I need?
  4. Would you please … ? Is there something that you need other people (or yourself) to do to help?

I journaled my answers to these questions every time I was about to eat yesterday. The book recommends that if you can answer yes to the first question, you don’t need to ask yourself the rest. I decided I wanted to be aware of my feelings regardless of whether I was hungry or not, so I asked myself the list even if I was hungry, in order to be more aware of my feelings in general.

Now that I have got that explained, here is my day of eats from yesterday. It is not too exciting, and it is very much “sick” food. Also it is a lot less than I would normally eat, since my stomach has been pretty upset lately.

9:30 AM – Eggo waffles with applesauce (I ate more  applesauce on the side too)

My favourite “sick” food is fluffy, white, diner-style pancakes with apple-sauce. I didn’t want to make pancakes, and Josh isn’t much of a cook, so I opted for Eggo waffles instead. Josh went to the store to pick these up for me the night before :)

eggos

  1. Am I biologically hungry? Yes.
  2. What am I feeling? Sick, tired, stressed out about how messy our house is, lethargic and lazy
  3. What do I need? to clean the house, rest
  4. Would you please …? Ask Josh to help me clean on the weekend, give myself permission to take it easy today

So you can see quite the conundrum I was having yesterday morning. I felt sick and like I needed rest, but I wanted a clean house and the mess and clutter was stressing me out!

11:30 AM – Plain yogurt with half a banana

This was my lunch. I pretty much ate this because I wanted to go to the gym in a couple hours, and I knew that if I didn’t eat anything I couldn’t go. Yogurt and a banana was the only thing I could think of that my stomach would handle. Please excuse the dark and blurry photo. I took this picture in my basement, curled up on the couch under a blanket.

yogurt and banana

  1. Am I biologically hungry? A little.
  2. How am I feeling? Tired, sick, and guilty. I want to go to the gym, but I don’t have enough energy to clean my house. Also I know that I need to take it easy.
  3. What do I need? Sleep.
  4. Would you please … ? Ease my guilt. I had made the decision by this point to try to head to the gym and get a run in. Pretty stupid I know. Since i had already decided to do this, I needed to give myself permission to go, so that I stopped feeling guilty. What I really should have done was listen to my body and not go.

1:00 PM – The other half of the banana

banana model

  1. Am I biologically hungry? Yes.
  2. How am I feeling? Tired, nauseous, guilty about going to the gym.
  3. What do I need? Permission to rest and skip the gym, or permission to go without feeling guilty.
  4. Would you please … ? Same thing as above, give myself permission to either rest or go to the gym so I stop feeling so guilty!

So, I ended up going to the gym for a quick run at around 2. I had to cut it short because I didn’t have the energy to finish. I really should have just stayed home and stayed in bed. I have been frustrated because I rarely get sick, and it feels like now that I have decided to start training for a half marathon, I have been sick so much and it is interfering with my training. Thankfully I gave myself a few extra weeks to train so that if I miss a few days it won’t be such a big deal. I learned my lesson, I should have stayed home with my baby girl and relaxed. Next time I guess.

3:00 PM – Post workout green smoothie

This was because I realized that I hadn’t eaten any veggies all day and I needed some nutrients to help me get better. This smoothie included half a banana, frozen peaches, orange juice, and a handful of spinach. I found it very orange-y. I prefer almond milk in smoothies, but I wanted to added boost of some vitamin C. As you can see, I still haven’t fixed my nails.

green smoothie

  1. Am I biologically hungry? Somewhat.
  2. What am I feeling? Exhausted, frustrated about not being able to finish my run, sad that I am still sick, self-pity.
  3. What do I need? A nap, a break, Lochlyn to fall asleep for her nap, rest.
  4. Would you please …? Go to sleep Lochlyn!

When I got home from the gym I put Lochlyn down for a nap before I made my smoothie. By the time I was finished, she was wailing at the top of her lungs. I went in her room to try to soothe her a few times with no luck. She wasn’t going to nap. I could tell by her cries that there wasn’t anything really wrong, but I didn’t want to let her cry too long, since she usually falls asleep by herself right away.

I ended up letting Lochlyn fuss a little bit. Before I went to get her from her crib I did participate in a quick little stress eating session.

4:00 PM – Handful of Mini Wheats cereal (not pictured).

Yuck, I don’t even like Mini Wheats!

  1. Am I biologically hungry? No.
  2. What am I feeling? Tired, stressed, upset that Lochlyn isn’t sleeping.
  3. What do I need? Rest, time to chill out.
  4. Would you please …. ? Allow myself to relax without feeling guilty about it ( I was back to feeling bad that I went to the gym but didn’t have the energy to clean my house!). I was also upset that Lochlyn wasn’t sleeping so I couldn’t lie on the couch and veg.

After letting Lochlyn fuss for a while, I took her downstairs with me and we cuddled up on the couch. I let her breastfeed to sleep while I watched Netflix. It was actually nice having my baby in my arms to cuddle. Eventually the pop-up on Netflix that asks if you want to continue watching came up, and I couldn’t get up to click the button, so I held my baby in silence and was forced to enjoy the moment. I ended up crying at the realization of how good it was to hold her close, despite how awful I was feeling. Even though it is hard taking care of a little one while you are sick, it is still rewarding being a mama.

When Lochlyn woke up from her nap, I realized she had a dirty diaper. Bad mom move there. Lochlyn can’t fall asleep on her own with a dirty diaper. I really should have checked that out when she started crying in her crib. Oops!

After Lochlyn was all changed we played for a couple minutes, then I brought her downstairs to feed her dinner and make something for myself. Josh wasn’t home yet because he went out after work with a friend, so we were on our own for dinner. I didn’t feel like making much and my stomach was still pretty upset, so sick food it was!

6:15 PM – Salt box soup (Lipton chicken noodle) with egg whites and some frozen vegetables stirred in.

Lochlyn only eats egg yolks at this point and she was having scrambled eggs, so I used her whites in my soup. I love adding eggs to my soup.

lipton soup with eggs

  1. Am I biologically hungry? Yes!
  2. What am I feeling? Lonely, missing Josh, sad, tired, sorry for myself.
  3. What do I need? Food! Also company, companionship, help with Lochlyn and dinner so I can rest a little bit.
  4. Would you please … ? Ask Josh to make more time for us. He has been going out more lately and I miss having him around. Also I could really use the help with Lochlyn in the evenings since I haven’t been feeling good.

I ate that bowl of soup and was stuffed. My stomach just isn’t used to eating a lot lately.

When Josh got home, I did end up asking for help, and we stayed up talking for a bit after Lochlyn went to sleep. I know I should have gone to sleep early, but it was nice to spend some time with him when he got home.

As you can see from my day, it was very emotional, and most of my actual problems were pretty minimal. It is really hard taking care of another little life, when you are feeling under the weather. I learned my lesson to take it easy on the workouts and stay home and rest when I am not feeling so great. Deciding to not work out would have saved a lot of my conflicting feelings and guilt that I had earlier in the day, and it would have given my body the rest that it was craving to get better.

eeyore cuddles

 

I should take some lessons from Eeyore on resting – she is a pro!

Although this was one of the hardest Intuitive Eating principles for me to put into practice, I found it one of the most helpful. I don’t think that I normally check in with my feelings throughout the day, and yesterday was a good one to do it. I would recommend using these questions from time to time to check in and see if you are emotional eating. I don’t think you need to necessarily stop eating if you decide that you are eating emotionally. Journaling about your feelings can help you to feel them and figure out how to cope with them so that next time you won’t need to reach for something to snack on.

 

What is your favourite “sick” food?

Do you still try to work out when you are sick or am I the only crazy one? Please don’t work out when you are sick. I learned my lesson, it is a bad mistake. Listen to your body, it is craving rest for a reason! Okay, so I am mostly preaching to myself here…

 

 

Half Marathon Training

So, with the new year, I have officially started training to run a half marathon in May! I am pretty excited and also pretty nervous. I haven’t ever ran in a race before, unless you count the 5k that I ran for a fundraiser a few years ago. There was no training for that one, but I did have a good time. I made Josh run it with me – he hates running!

I don’t think that I have ever ran much farther than 5 or 6k, so I know that I have a lot of training to work on to get to half marathon distance. I do have experience running casually, but I haven’t spent time training for a specific event before.

I have decided to train for a half marathon for a couple of reasons. First of all, I have always enjoyed running, especially when I am travelling and visiting new places. Some of my favorite travel memories are waking up early in the morning and going for a run by myself before the rest of the world wakes up. It is such a great way to check out a place and get a feel for the culture.

cochrane run

Also, I am looking forward to running this summer with Lochlyn’s jogging stroller. I think it is going to be challenging, so setting the goal of a half marathon at the beginning of the summer will be good preparation! Running in a race is something that I have always considered doing, and this year seems like a good time for me to do it, since I am not pregnant, won’t be nursing a newborn, and we don’t have any travel plans for the beginning of the summer. Another reason that I want to train for a half marathon is to switch up my workouts a bit, and focus on building a strong cardiovascular base and really challenge myself physically and mentally.

stroller at the lake

One area that I plan to be really careful about is eating enough calories to fuel my training, as well as not over doing it. If you have read My Story, you would know that I suffered from Hypothalamic Amenorrhea in the past. I stopped getting my period because I was over-exercising, and restricting what I ate. It is important for me to pay attention to how my body feels while training, and take a break if I need to, or slow down. I also know that I need to eat a lot of calories to support all the running I plan on doing. I want training and running a half marathon to be fun, not draining or hard on my body.

I thought I would share my training plan with you guys in case you were curious about it. Please keep in mind that I am not a running expert, personal trainer, etc. I made this plan based off of Hal Higdon’s novice half marathon training plan. Since I have never done this before, I may be making adjustments along the way as I figure out what works best for me. You can click on the link below to view my schedule.

 

Half Marathon Training Plan 2015

A few notes about this plan…

m = miles

x = cross training

strength = full body strength workout

stretch = longer stretching session

Cross training:

I plan to focus mainly on riding the bike at the gym for cross training. This is because Josh and want to take Lochlyn mountain biking this summer, and I would like to be prepared for it. I have noticed that I can bike 2 miles in like 5 minutes, so I may change Monday’s cross training to make the sessions a bit longer. I also plan to do some incline walking to prepare for hiking this summer, and spend some time on the step mill just because it is my favourite cardio machine. I may also take cross training outside and go for some bike rides when it gets nicer out.

Wednesday’s cross training sessions start to get pretty long towards the end of training. I am not sure if I will spend that much time doing cardio, as I typically like to be in and out of the gym in an hour. I may reduce my weight training, or reduce cross training sessions depending on how I am feeling. An hour of cross training, and a full body strength session would make for a long workout!

Strength training:

I almost always head to the gym for strength training. I am planning to focus on big compound exercises to make the most of my time. I would like to keep up the strength that I have built since I started working out after having Lochlyn. I won’t have as much time to spend lifting weights, so compound exercises that work multiple muscle groups at the same time, seem to be the way to go. As I mentioned above, I am not a personal trainer, and I am not qualified to give advice, but this is my plan at the moment. It could change part way through training!

I have decided to try Stronglifts 5×5 training plan for the time being. I like it because it keeps weight training sessions short of focuses on strength-building compound lifts. I just started it, so I will let you know how it goes.

Also I am not sure if I will strength train as much the week leading up to a race, but if I do, I will keep lifts lighter so I don’t fatigue my muscles.

gym shoes

Running:

I am planning to spend a lot of time on the treadmill at the gym, at least in the first couple of months. We have had some amazing weather here, which has allowed me to get some runs in outside. Usually we have pretty cold temperatures and lots of snow until around April. I would really like to run outside for the longer runs on Saturday if at all possible so I can get used to running outside, but it may not be an option if it gets colder out

As you can see by my training plan, I actually started training for my half marathon this week. Unfortunately, getting sick made it a little difficult, and I had to skip a couple of days.

I really need to get on registering for the race that I am planning on running in May. I also have plans to register for a 10K run in Calgary on April 11th. I am getting excited!

 

For all you more experienced runners out there, any training advice for me? How much training is too much? Did you lift weights while training for a race?

 

Friday Fitness Talk

It’s Friday! I don’t know about you, but the days have been flying by for me lately. I love it because it is already the weekend again, but I can’t believe that soon it will be time to start thinking about Christmas. I am not ready for that yet!

I realized the other day that I haven’t really shared much about my workouts on this blog. I love going to the gym. I go a lot – it is a big part of my life! I find that it gives me energy to get through the days, and it gets me out of the house. It also gives Lochlyn and I a bit of a schedule every day. I have to book her in with childcare at the gym ahead of time, so I get  a little bit of structure to my day.

gym clothes selfie

I lost a lot of strength while I was pregnant, and started going back to the gym when Lochlyn was 6 weeks old. The only exercise I did while pregnant was walking and a bit of prenatal yoga. Right now I have been working on getting my strength back. Typically I make it to the gym 4-5 days a week, and workout for 40 mins to an hour. Usually my workout schedule looks like this:

Monday: Upper body workout, HIIT on the elliptical (15-20 mins)

Tuesday: Lower body workout + abs

Wednesday: Steady state cardio on the bike

Thursday: Upper body workout, HIIT on the stairmaster (15-20 mins)

Friday: Lower Body workout + abs

I take the weekend off to rest, and focus on time with my family.

My strength workouts usually focus on a heavy compound exercise, like squats, deadlifts, chest presses, shoulder presses, etc. Then I add in a few other complimentary lifts. I usually do between 5-7 different exercises depending on the day, and around 15-25 sets total.

This schedule has been working for me and I feel like it is helping me get stronger. I mostly do cardio because I enjoy it. I actually look forward to my long cardio session every week. It gives me time to think, and I always feel great afterwards.

I have plans to start doing more cardio with Lochlyn outside next summer. We have a jogging stroller and are planning to purchase a bike trailer for her as well. My husband loves mountain biking so we want to get out and do that on the weekends.

fall walk

I really like running, but I have never gotten really into it. I have been running on and off for 18 years, but never regularly. I have actually been contemplating signing up for a race in the spring or fall next year but can’t make my mind up if this is something I want to do. I have only participated in one 5K, which was more for fun, and I didn’t train for it. I want to do something longer than a 5K – probably a 10K? I just am not sure if I want to stop focusing on lifting and instead focus on running.

My reasons for wanting to sign up for a race are to give me something to work towards, I like the idea of following a training plan, with a race at the end to reward my efforts. Also, I just want to try it and next year seems like a good time. I won’t be pregnant (hopefully!), and Lochlyn will be old enough for the jogging stroller, so she can come on runs with me. I guess another reason to get back into running would be because I enjoy it!

I am still not sold on the idea of signing up for a race.  My main hesitation is that it will be time-consuming. I have checked out a few training plans and it looks like I will have to commit a lot of time to running. I am not sure that I want to give up focusing on lifting weights to run – I really like lifting weights! I also am not sure about the expenses. I would need to buy new shoes, pay for registration, and probably buy a garmin, or some way to track my mileage outside.

I could register in the spring and train throughout the winter, but I would like to run outside with Lochlyn as much as possible, and it would be too cold and slippery. If I decided to run in the summer and race in the fall, I am not sure that I would be able to train on weekends as we go camping a lot in the summer, and want to go mountain biking.  You see my dilemma!

I think I need to decide soon, because If I race in the spring, it would be in May. I haven’t been running at all lately so I would want to switch my cardio over to running to get my body used to it again.

baby playing on the floor

This post if full of recycled photos and photos of Lochlyn! My goal for next week is to take more pictures!

Runners – any thoughts or advice? How much time would you devote per week for training for a 10K?

What does fitness look like for you on an average week?