Tag Archives: fitness

5 Healthy Tips for the New Year

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Fit and Healthy- These are the two goals I am striving to maintain this year.  Fit and healthy will lead to stronger and sustainable running.  Ultimately, running is something that I want to continue doing well into my 50s and beyond!  Prioritizing what works for my health will help me reach my goals as a runner.

5 Fit and Healthy Tips

  1.  Yoga is a great way to improve balance, flexibility and strength!  Run. Run, Run,-Why can’t I just run and run?!  Over the years, I have come to realize, through minor injuries and set backs, that I must incorporate various fitness activities into my running routine.  Yoga is something that I can do at home or at a studio.
  • I recently had a chance to take a Yin Yoga Class  at the Freeport Yoga Company I learned that this type of yoga promotes stimulation of the connective tissues or fascia in our bodies.  As we age, it is important to maintain flexibility of the connective tissue by practicing deep stretches and staying hydrating!

2. Eat More Fish!  This is a great  protein to support health and recovery of muscles! Fish is a great source of Omega3s, vital to the health of runners!  I recently read this article on the many benefits of eating more fish, which include improved joint health and anti-inflammatory properties!

  • I have incorporated more fish into my weekly, monthly diet by taking advantage of this great seafood delivery service for more than two years now!  Salmon, cod, and haddock are three of my faves!  This company delivers conveniently, individually frozen fish to your door!  In less than 30 minute I am able to prepare a meal with Omega3 rich fish!  Try out SizzleFish today!!

3.  Food Prep- Okay, this may seem simple and basic and it really is, but taking the time to prepare food from scratch can have huge benefits on your health!  Cut out the prepackaged, processed junk and focus on just eating real food!

Tips for Food Prep!  Freezer bags are your friend!!

  • soak, cook and freeze various types of beans!
  • Prepare, bake and freeze healthy muffins!
  • Rice and quinoa also freeze well!
  • Stock up on recipes for Overnight Oats for breakfast and Hearty Soups for lunch and supper!
  • Capitalize on seasonal produce and roast fall veggies to toss in the fridge!
  • One of my older posts on Meal Prep/Planning Found Here

4. Invest In Your Health-Get your Blood Work Analyzed! Twice this year, I gotten a thorough blood work analysis through Inside Tracker a company that helps athletes dig deeper into their health through analyzing a number of key biomarkers in their blood!  The tests offer a more in-depth look at what our bodies need, as oppose to the basic, sometimes vague blood work done at a general practitioner’s office.  I wrote about my previous blood work analysis here

  • Optimizing nutritional needs based on results
  • Adjusting workouts and training to better meet the needs of our bodies
  • Takes the guess work out of what foods to eat and which supplements are necessary for our body’s best performance!
  • The Inside Tracker Dashboard can guide you in setting goals for your health and training!

5. Mental Health– Just as important as physical health!  This coming year, I am taking a “step back” each day/night from all the stresses of the day.  It is important to incorporate ways to relax and de-stress! Remember to find time for quiet peace, clarity and reflection.

  • Turn off the tv, cell phones and social media for some time each day
  • Keep a written journal and write to unwind and reflect
  • Celebrate the little things each day that bring you joy!  Remember to just breathe and exhale!

Cheers to a Fit and Healthy New Year!!  Find Ways to be your best self! -MaineGirl2RUNS

What are your fit and healthy tips?  Would love to hear your tips!

Training, Nutrition and A Blood Test

Training Lately and Upcoming Races:

Wow, can’t believe I am approaching my summer racing season!  The months of May and June have just flown by so quickly.  I have three races on my summer calendar, I Posted My Spring/Summer Race Calendar Here  I feel ready to tackle the two 10ks, but am feeling a bit apprehensive about the half marathon!

My weekly training has been fairly consistent, but the longer-double digit runs were tough to fit in over the last few weeks.  The last several weeks of May I focused on being a “track mom” as my daughter finished up her freshman year of high school and outdoor track.  My Redhead ended up running on her 4 x400 meter relay team at the State meet! I am also “coaching” two middle school boys now, so some of my mileage is done with them during the week.

Consistent Weekly Running-averaging 27-29 miles or so a week

  • Tuesdays have been an easy 6 miles, Wednesdays have been a tempo run of 7 miles, Thursdays have been an another easy 6 miles and Friday or Saturday has been my ten mile runs
  • My ten milers were sometimes happening on a Friday night, if my Redhead had an all day track meet on Saturday
  • Long Run-I was hoping to consistently be running 12 miles on my weekly long runs, but that didn’t happen in early June.
  • Hill Repeats- hoping to work back in some hill repeats for the end of June and into July, I found another good article on Hill Workouts Here

Nutrition Update-What I am Focusing On Lately:

About a year ago, I made the decision to no longer eat meat (any land animal), however, I do eat all fish and shellfish.  I am a Maine Girl who loves her haddock and lobstah!  I also order fresh, flash frozen premium wild caught fish from my absolute favorite company-sizzlefish

I do constantly worry though, that without the meat, if I am getting enough iron and protein.  I eat a large variety of fresh, seasonal veggies, organic frozen veggies, tons of high protein beans and grains. Yet, still I wonder if I am getting the right balance of carbs and proteins, along with other essential nutrients.  I am not a huge fan of protein powders, although lately, I have been using the Aloha Plant based Protein Powders and loving the clean taste.

Smoothie Bowls are my new summer go-to! 

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Yummy! Vanilla Protein, Banana, Peanut Butter, Almond Milk Smoothie Bowl with Shaved Chocolate!

I feel like I eat fairly healthy, but still some questions linger.  I want to know that I am properly fueling my body for optimal training and overall health.  As a 41 year old mom, runner and teacher, I am constantly on-the-go.  I want to know that I am getting all the right nutrients I need to feel healthy and energized.

I don’t consistently take supplements, mostly because I always feel like I am not choosing the right ones of what my body actually needs.  There are so many supplements to choose from on the market!

The Blood Test!  Yikes!

So, with so many questions about my health, getting the right fuel and nutrients-I was excited to learn about InsideTracker the company which  offers a blood screening test for – “Accurate blood biomarker analysis plus personalized interventions for nutrition, exercise, lifestyle and supplements to optimize health and fitness”  Read about the creators of InsideTracker here at InsideTracker 

I read a very thorough blog post by Michele at NYCRunningMama here and was very interested in having my own blood work done with InsideTracker.  When the opportunity arose through Jonathan Levitt with InsideTracker to have some blood work analyzed, I jumped at the chance! I received a discount code.  I chose the Ultimate Blood Test plus Inner Age which tests 30 total biomarkers all together in these categories:

  • Energy and Metabolism
  • Strength and Endurance
  • Bone and Muscle Health
  • Brain and Body
  • Oxygen and Performance
  • Inflammation
  • Liver Health
  • Minerals

I am very interested in finding out more about my results in regards to energy, endurance, bone and muscle health, inflammation, oxygen and performance!

Check out the InsideTracker website for a variety of plans and pricing options!

Having blood drawn isn’t usually my thing- I get all nervous and clammy, but I am excited to get more in-depth information about my health and make smart, informed decisions based on the results. I will definitely consult my doctor once I get the results.  These results will help guide my training and nutrition choices.

I will be getting my blood drawn at Quest Diagnostic laboratory today!  I will be sure to share my results when I receive them in a few days!  I feel it’s important to be proactive about your health!

Have you ever had in-depth blood work done?  How often do you get blood work?  Do you find the information to be useful?

Friday Fitness: Favorite Exercise Equipment

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Training Update and a Focus on Core Fitness and Strength Training-  The month of April {four weeks}, I spent focusing on building in more base mileage.  The goal was to reestablish a strong base and increase aerobic endurance.  In the aerobic phase, it is all about increasing stamina and endurance.  My mileage increased, but I was keeping my pace in the “low heart rate zone.”   I ran easy miles each week, focusing on 6 to 7 miles, three times a week, as well as a long run of 10 miles.  Typical weekly mileage right now is around 27-30 miles a week.

Towards the beginning of May, I reevaluated the amount of time I was spending on my core and strength training.  I must admit, I am not always great about making core and strength training a priority.  In order to finish strong, you must train strong!

Two weeks ago, I met with a personal fitness trainer.  Through working with her, I have learned some great core and strength exercises that utilize minimal equipment.  We focused on sets of exercises that targeted many areas at once, called compound exercises.  I really enjoyed my sessions with this local, personal fitness trainer.  However, weekly sessions can  be a bit expensive for my budget.  So, I am adding some key equipment to my personal home gym.  

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 Equipment Favorites: Core and Strength Training 

Stability Ball stability ball

  • 8 Stability Ball Exercises– The stability ball is a great addition to planks and push -ups.  I have found these challenging, but know that these are key exercises to strengthening my core! Be sure to check out the stability ball exercises link above!  There are so many ways to incorporate the stability ball into any core strength exercise routine!

 

Bosu Stability Ball

  • Check Out These Bosu Exercises for Runners–  The Bosu Ball is another versatile piece of exercise equipment.  Standing Leg workouts and bridges are just a few key strength exercises for the legs and glutes!  This piece of equipment is currently on my Wish List!!

bosu ball

 

Resistance Bands

  • Strength Training with Resistance Bands–  I love using resistance bands to complete exercises like the “Monster Walks” which help to strengthen the glutes!  Check out the above link for various exercises to do with resistance bands!  These resistance bands are also great for doing “Side Clam Shells” to increase hip/glute strength.

resistance bands

 

Neoprene Dumbell

  • Lifting weights has never really been my thing!  However, at my session last week with my fitness trainer, I worked on using dumbbells as part of the strength training routine.  Here is another great link for workouts to do with dumbbells– I typically use two ten pound dumbbells.

dumbells

Importance of Core and Strength Training- A strong core leads to better running performance.  When runners have a strong core-form and cadence improve.  Overall, spending time each week on core and strength will lead to stronger and faster running.  

  • Twice a week, after a shorter, easy run- I incorporate core and strength training.  I rotate between using the above pieces of equipment.  I don’t do everything each time.

What is your favorite piece of equipment that you have at home for core and strength training?  How often do you incorporate strength training into your weekly running schedule?  

Life Lately: Training,Nutrition and Races

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    Where did April go?   It seems as if time is on speed warp!  Just trying to make the most the most of all the minutes in a day. week or even month!  

In my life, I have realized that not everything is always going to get an equal balance.  Lately, it’s been a shift in balance between Racing, training and nutrition.  I have been focusing on what’s working and just taking each day one-step/run at a time.  Sometimes, you just have to “Go with What is Working in the Moment” and see the positives!

Training- 

  • Building that base mileage back up after an early spring race.  I had a PR in a local, slightly hilly, 10k race back on April 9th- with a time of 50:32
  • The whole month of April I focused on running 4-5 days a week, short runs of 4-6 miles and then a long run of 10 miles.  
  • Mondays-Easy run of 4 miles with a friend
  • Tuesdays-6 easy miles
  • Wednesdays-6 mile tempo run
  • Thursdays-Easy 4 miles with a friend
  • Fridays or Saturdays- Long Run of 10 miles

So, . . . Why this is working!  On my “easy” days, I am running with a friend who is looking to increase her cardio and pace for a 5k.  This kind of forces me to run really easy and focus on encouraging her to meet her goals.  I am getting in my base mileage each week and building up my aerobic fitness, increase muscular endurance and increase oxygen capacity.  My longs runs sometimes happen on a Friday night right now, due to me Redhead’s track meets on Saturdays.  The month of April was all about building upon a base of mileage that was really already in place, just really making it a solid foundation.

Up Next-A few Tweaks and A Shift

  • Hilly repeats are on the horizon, just trying to figure out how to shift my training schedule- I want to incorporate more hill repeats to build speed and endurance, Awwe! The benefits of hill running!
  • Core and Strength Training- I have found an awesome fitness trainer that does sessions with a 1:2 ratio.  I love this because she helps me focus on my form with every exercise.  The focus is on core and strength using weights, medicine ball and weighted balls.
  • Extending my weekly long to 12 miles-getting ready for the Old Port Shipyard Half Marathon on July 9th

Nutrition- A Shift in Balance of Carbs, Healthy Fats, Veggies and Proteins 

Maybe it’s that fact that I am now 41,but I was feeling a bit a sluggish and just not energized.  I am currently in Laura’s Mommy Run Fast Runner Reset group.  The Focus is healthy, balanced eating ( Eating for metabolic efficiency)  and core/strength training.  I have seen improvements, in just a short amount of time, with a larger emphasis on vegetables and fish/plant-based protein in my daily “eats”!

  • Increase water intake
  • Daily vegetables and salad greens
  • Eggs, Fish and beans
  • Quinoa is my favorite “grain” right now!
  • Great time of year for tons of local produce!!
  • Supplement with a high quality protein powder -I am still experimenting with a variety of protein powder brands, but Vega Sport Performance has some great ingredients for performance and recovery!

Races- What’s Coming Up!

  • 5 weeks until this –Zooma Run Annapolis 10k  I love this annual, early June, Women’s Racing Event.  It is a fun-filled, weekend of great women, an awesome Friday night expo and gathering, along with a challenging course to run on Saturday June 4th!  The course is a bit hilly and early June in Annapolis, Maryland can be a bit warm and humid. There is still time to Register for this Fun Racing Event!!  {10k or 1/2 marathon}

So-5 weeks of new opportunities with training, nutrition and races on the horizon!

How are things with training, nutrition and races in your world?  Any tweaks and changes being made?  

 

 

Friday Five: Five Training Goals

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Run Strong, Run Swift, Run with the Wind

Thank Goodness It’s Friday!!!  I am linking up with Mar Courtney and Cynthia for the Friday Five Link Up  

Training Lately and 5 Goals for Training:  

This past fall I had some strong races and even 2 new PRs in the 5k and 10 mile races.  In terms of training for specific races, I just try to stay at a certain level of fitness for races distances up to the half marathon distance.  I haven’t ever really focused on specifics during any given training cycle.

Last spring I received my RRCA coaching certification and learned a ton of information in regards to training cycles and building plans.  I want to focus more this year on building my own training cycles before I really start working with other runners. Kind along the lines of “practice what you preach” 🙂

Five Goals for Training:

  • Aerobic training in the first 4 weeks of a 12 week training cycle.  Build up that base mileage, increase muscular endurance, increase levels of oxygen and increase the ability to efficiently use levels of oxygen– Steady Runs of 6-8 4x a week, with a long run of ten to 12 once a week.
  • Consistency each week with running at an easy pace, focusing on the miles, not the speed.  I have to admit that I sometimes have to leave all tracking devices at home and just run familiar routes by effort.  I have a tendency to push too hard on the pace when I see it on my Garmin watch or RunKeeper App!
  • Core and Strength training- On my easy mile nights ( 3-4 miles) I am incorporating 30 minutes of essential strength exercises for runners  and yoga to improve flexibility and loosen tight muscles-specifically my hips!
  • Nutrition-  Focusing on hydration, eating foods that will fuel my body, and help with muscle recovery after tough workouts.  I eat a ton of eggs, fish from my favorite company Sizzle Fish , hearty and nutritious grains such as brown rice and quinoa, as wells as a variety of beans.
  • Keeping a Journal: Taking the time to write down my thoughts and reflections on what’s working with this more focused approach.  Being able to pin point the high and lows of each week within the training cycle.  The ability to see when to adjust and be flexible with training and fitting it in to life’s daily challenges.

What goals do you focus on during any given training cycle?  Do you find your training lacking in a certain area?  

Happy Earth Day!!  Don’t forget to check out the other link ups for the Friday Five with Mar, Courtney and Cynthia!

 

Women’s Health: Surviving My First Mammogram 

  On Wednesday, I sat in the medical building waiting room, with a pink cloth robe open in the front, I felt vulnerable and scared. I nervously experienced the uncomfortable, yet necessary mammogram. I’d put off the mammogram, even though I’d turned 40 this past April.   During the last month, I noticed some lumps that seemed different.  Since I was a teenager I’ve had fibrocystic breasts, lumpy, fluid filled cysts that come and go.  I was a bit nervous, but knew that I could no longer put off getting things checked.   Following the standard mammogram, I also had 3D and ultrasound imaging. My results were discussed with me during and after the ultrasound. Grateful to report that I have no evidence of cancer, just harmless, fluid filled cysts.

        My grateful and thankful feeling of relief wasn’t just for me, but for my own mother and daughter. Thankful that my own mother won’t have to worry for me, also thankful that I’m healthy for my daughter. 
     Grateful for the advancements in technology, the doctors, nurses and medical staff that exist to diagnose and treat cancer patients. Forever thankful for being blessed with a healthy future. Even though I do not need care and treatment at a Medical Treatment Cancer Centerthere are so many women that do. 
     As I toe the line of RACES in the future that support care and treatment of cancer patients and their families, I will remember that vulnerable feeling of sitting in a “front tied” pink robe. Through running I can make a difference by supporting cancer research and finding a cure for all cancers. I’m so grateful to be able to run healthy. Miles will be run for those that can’t-near and far.  

  
     Lastly, I will make a commitment to myself. This experience was a ‘wake-up call’!  Keep doctor’s appointments, continue to eat a natural and organic diet and make time for “me”. Running isn’t just about races, it makes me feel good inside and out. For me, running is the thread woven into a healthy and fit lifestyle. 

What is your healthy commitment to yourself?  Do you find it hard to make time for your own health and fitness? 

Weekly Workouts and Meal Planning

  
After traveling home to vacation in Maine for half the summer, I’m finally home now to prepare for “back-to-school”! This week I return to teaching and my daughter starts her freshmen year of high school! I’m linking up with Laura from Mommy Run Fastand Jill from Fitness Health and Happiness. It will be good to get back into a weekly meal planning routine! 

Summary of Weekly Workouts:

Monday-3 mile easy run 

Tuesday-Strength and core workout from Quick Strength for RunnersFloor Exercises

Wednesday- 18 miles of hills and intervals on the bike at spin class

Thursday- Sunrise run of 2 miles before Teacher Writing Workshop and 4.5 miles after dinner.

Friday-Off/ Walk around mall and Whole Foods- back to school shopping with my Redhead! 

Saturday- 6 mile run with a friend

Meal Planning Ideas for the Week:

Breakfasts-

  • Scrambled eggs with toast
  • Warm oatmeal with honey and Vanilla Almond Milk
  • Blueberry pancakes-made a big batch ahead of time
  • Banana, vanilla, almond butter protein smoothies

Lunches-

Snacks-

Dinners- 

  • Sunday- dinner out! 
  • Monday-BLTs on Whole Grain Bread {Vegetarian for me- Cucumber, Tomato and arugula or spinach} and fresh corn on the cob
  • Tuesday- Fish or chicken with salsa and black beans
  • Wednesday and Thursday-Pasta marinara with or without ground turkey
  • Friday-Chicken/fish with brown rice, edamame and sweet potatoes

Checkout the Meal Planning link up every Sunday with Laura from Mommy Run Fast and Jill from Fitness Health and Happiness

What’s on your meal plan this week?