Tuesday, December 22, 2015

10 Training Tips from a Running Coach

I recently completed the RRCA coaching course and passed my certification exam. After ten years of running and racing, many years of working with coaches, reading books, magazines and learning from my own personal experiences the RRCA course wrapped it all up for me with a dose of science and expertise from the instructors.

While there is not one single training method, magic-bullet workout or training plan that will make you a better runner (because there are many ways to success) there are certain training truths that every runner needs to know to be successful and injury free!

1. Always train to your current fitness levels, not your desired fitness levels. Your goals should progress you forward slowly over time. Dream big, start small, then connect the dots. Decide on your goal. Is it a pace goal or a milage goal? Plan training to achieve your goal over time, then put in the work. Need guidance? I'm here to help!

2. Break training into phases. Start with a base phase of at least three weeks of building milage. These should be conversational pace miles that get your body accustomed to time on your feet. Even experienced runners will benefit from a period of building base milage. Then move to a strength phase that includes hills, tempo runs and Fartleks. Finally move into a final phase of speed and interval work. Each phase should last 3-6 weeks depending on your personal goals and race goal date.

3. Follow the 10% rule. Increase your milage by about 10% a week. Any more than 10% and you could risk injury.

4. Within a week increase milage or increase intensity (speed, hills, etc.) but increasing both in the same week could lead to injury.

5. Limit 'effort' sessions (speed work, hills, intense cross training) to 2-4 days a week. You don't need to kill yourself at every workout. Your body needs recovery time. Allow yourself a conversation pace recovery run after a difficult effort season. More is not always better. 

6. Consistency is more important than heroic effort. It's the work that you put in day in and day out that will pay off on race day. 

7. Your body adapts to the stresses placed upon it. To improve you must add additional stresses over time. Change the variables: distance, duration, speed or recovery time every 3-6 weeks to progress.

8. Every workout should consist of a warm up, the workout session and a cool down (stretching). 

9. Your long run should be 25% of your total weekly miles. If you run 25 miles a week your long run should be about 6 miles. If you run 40 miles a week your long run should be around 10 miles. 

10. Remember, this is fun! Never lose the joy of running. Take rest days or weeks as need to stay happy and healthy. 

Any questions? I'm happy to help!

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Keep Running,


Does your running partner have four legs

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Saturday, December 19, 2015

The 10 Most Epic Ollie (the Dog) Pics of 2015

It's that time of year when we reflect back on the year gone by and start making plans for the new one. I always do a year-in-review post to recap my year. Since everyone loves cute pooch pics and Ollie is the unwitting mascot of this blog, he deserves his own year end recap! Here are the most epic Ollie pics of 2015 plus a funny video titled 'The Force Awakens Ollie' at the end! Ollie had a great year, friends! Thanks for following along.

10. Puppy Love

9. Upward Facing Dog
8. "This is how I roll!"
7. Tongue out, don't care.

6. Puppy play date

5. "Better to eat you with, my dear."

4. BFFs

3. What we really do in the shred shed

2. Selfe fail

1. Patty Cake Patty Cake Baker's Man

Bonus: Proof that Ollie actually runs and doesn't just lie around all the time!
The Force Awakens Ollie.

If you can't get enough of Ollie (who can?) then check out Ollie's best 2014 pictures and follow us on Instagram for Ollie pics all year long! Happy Holidays, friends!

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Monday, December 14, 2015

15 Ways 2015 Rocked My Socks

The first time I ever started a blog was in 2008 with the sole purpose of creating a year-in-review post. I love that it was these types of posts that launched me into the blogosphere! It's fun for me to reflect back and I had a really amazing year! I spent the last couple of years treading water, not really moving forward in regards to my personal goals, so I am happy with the way this year shook out. My goal for the future is to just keep progressing and moving forward.

1. I practiced Yoga with Lorna Jane Clarkson. This was a pretty cool opportunity. Lorna Jane was in from Australia visiting her Dallas North Park store. I recruited my BFF for a morning of Yoga and a meet and greet with Lorna Jane.

Me and Lorna Jane

2. We built the ShredShed. What do you do when you don't have room in your home for a home gym? You build one in your backyard, of course.

4. Ran the Pittsburgh half marathon with hubby (his first)! Crossing the finish line holding his hand was one of best moments of my year.

5. Ran the Fort Worth Flavor Run with my BFF and friends! That green mustache took a lot of scrubbing to remove! 

6. I passed the NASM personal trainer certification exam! A major goal accomplished!

7. I visited the ocean and...

I attended IdeaWorld Fitness Convention and BlogFest with SweatPink and...

Highlights from BlogFest

Worked out with Gabby Reece!

8. We bought a new (to us) car!

9. We celebrated our ten year wedding anniversary. I had to try on the dress to see if it still fits. It looked much better in 2005 with less snags and wrinkles. I looked better with less snags and wrinkles back then too.

10. I led a fitness class at My Fit Foods.

11. Celebrated my 41st birthday. (Seriously. when did I get so old?)

12. I visited my sister in Las Vegas and ran the Rock 'n' Roll half Marathon. It was so cold and windy but one of the most amazing half marathon experiences of my life!

13. I ran the Fort Worth Thanksgiving Day 5k with hubs.

14. I went to San Antonio with Toyota to run the Rock 'n' Roll half marathon. It was my toughest race of the year but an amazing weekend adventure!

15. I attended the Road Runners Club of America coaching certification course and passed the exam!

Bonus of the year: I signed a contract as a 2016 Trainer Ambassador with Premier Protein!

Thanks so much for following along. 2015 was a great year and I am looking forward to 2016! How was your year?

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Does your running partner have four legs

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Thursday, December 10, 2015

A Little Bit Country A Little Bit Rock 'n' Roll

Let's begin by laughing at me with me about what a doofus I am. If you've ever read this blog and assumed I had my shit together, you'd be wrong.

I am a member of the 2015 Rock 'n' Blog team for the Rock 'n' Roll marathon series. That means I help them promote their races by blogging about them and sharing on social media and in exchange I have the opportunity to run a few races with them for free. Pretty good deal, right? They gave me a Tour Pass at the beginning of the year which gets me into three races. Spoiler alert: All I had to do was register for them. This year I chose the Dallas, Las Vegas and San Antonio rock 'n' roll half marathons. I actually managed to register for two out of the three races, I just thought I registered for all three.

I had a pretty sweet deal with Toyota for the San Antonio race. Toyota is a rock 'n' roll marathon race sponsor and they offered to host me in San Antonio. They delivered the crazy-luxurious Land Cruiser on Friday morning and sent an email on Friday night to check in the night before we were scheduled to hit the road. They wanted to know my bib number to verify I was all set for the race. I log onto the site to look up my number and terror struck with the realization that I never actually registered. Online registrations were closed. I've been talking about running San Antonio all year, I just never actually did it. D'uh.

I had this amazing Land Cruiser parked in the driveway just itching to get on the road and I wasn't even registered for the race. Time to freak out.

I called my Toyota contact in a panic and she quickly saved my weekend by calmly assuring me that they would get me registered when I arrived at the expo on Saturday. Whew. Note to self: Register for the races you plan to run.

san antonio rock n roll half marathon road trip
San Antonio is about a five hour drive. Time to hit the road!

San Antonio rock n roll half marathon road trip
Posing with my Fancy-Shmancy Land Cruiser, Keyless start, whaa?

San Antonio rock n roll half marathon

San Antonio rock n roll half marathon
No Texas road trip is complete with a stop at Buc-ee's
San Antonio rock n roll half marathon
We made it to San Antonio!
San Antonio rock n roll half marathon
Me and my new BFF Jody at the Toyota booth at the expo.

Hotel swag courtesy of Toyota

Is this what they mean by carbo-load? lol 
San Antonio rock n roll half marathon
Toyota media dinner on the beautiful riverwalk Saturday night.

Toyota hosted me at the Grand Hyatt downtown San Antonio. It was so nice to wake up on race morning, roll out of bed and walk in the dark to the start line. It was a little chilly in that early hour before the race, but the excitement (mostly the coffee) warmed me as I headed over the VIP tent for a Rock 'n' Blog meet up. I found Margarita from Cupcake Cardio. We took a picture, wished each other well and headed our separate ways.

san Antonio rock n roll half marathon

I scarfed down half of a bagel, took advantage of the short porta-potty and gear-check lines in the VIP tent then made one last stop at the Toyota booth for a pre-race photo. I could hear the early corrals kicking off, but since I registered at the very last minute I was in the very last corral and I knew I had time to spare. (It kind of reminded me of Pittsburgh when we ended up there by accident.)

San Antonio rock n roll half marathon

I was finally at the start line and my knees were hurting just standing there. This was odd since my knees never hurt just standing or walking and especially since I just ran Las Vegas three weeks ago with no pain at all. I always have pre-race jitters before a half marathon (13.1 miles is hard, y'all) but this weird knee pain was really freaking me out. It took quite awhile to make it from corral 32 to the start line, but eventually I was off on my fourth half marathon of the year.

a little bit country a little bit rock n roll
San Antonio Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon: A little bit county, a little bit rock 'n' roll

Now let me preface this next sentence by saying San Antonio was wonderful, the weather was perfect, the course was lovely, the weekend was magical and Toyota rocked my socks. 

My run sucked so bad. So bad.

A few years ago I used to chase PRs (personal record) at races. My half marathon PR is 1:59 at Dallas Rock 'n' Roll half marathon in 2012. But back when I was busy chasing PRs I soon realized I was chasing the fun right out of it. I learned to slow down a bit and enjoy the race, but something different was happening here. Several miles in I was feeling pain in my knee. I stopped to walk and call hubby at the five mile marker. I had eight miles to go and I really wasn't sure I would make it. He encouraged me to keep moving forward, run or walk..and so I did. For the rest of the race I proceeded to send curse words via text to him during walk breaks at every mile marker (just kidding mom, I would never do that). 

san Antonio rock n roll half marathon

It was a rough road. My head wasn't in it. My body wasn't cooperating. I've never been so glad to cross a finish line. I didn't finish strong and I certainly didn't finish fast. But hey, I finished. I tried to answer the big question...why? What did I do wrong? Was it something I ate? (those stupid nachos?) Was it too soon after Vegas? Did I push it too much by running four half marathons in one year? But sometimes there is not a straight forward answer.

One lesson that I learned a long time ago as runner is, simply put, they all can't be good ones. If you run you know that sometimes running is awesome. Sometimes running is easy. And sometimes running flat out sucks.

Some of it is controllable. You can train for months, fuel properly and get enough rest. But even when  you do everything right, sometimes things go wrong. You just can't control the outcome of any race and that has to be OK. This is fun, remember? I won't let a bad race get me down. In the grand scheme of life, I went on a kick-ass road trip in an amazing Land Cruiser, spent quality time with my husband and good friends, met some awesome new people, ate well, slept well, crossed another finish line and collected another medal. I'd say I had a pretty good weekend.

Toyota vinyl

running with ollie blog
Looking a little tired. Buc-ee selfie on the road trip home. 

Land Cruiser
A smooth ride back to Dallas. YAY! Toyota! Thanks for the fab weekend!

I think I'm funny.
After my fabulous week of outrageously luxurious driving, it will be hard to go back to my old wheels.

Have you ever had a disappointing race?

How do you get past it?

Don't you just love this Land Cruiser?

What was your last race?

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Keep Running,


Does your running partner have four legs

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