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How to Pretend to Balance Lifting & Running.

I get asked often about how I balance running and lifting.  I wanted to share with you guys how I do it.

The truth is, I don’t. And I definitely don’t do it well, I don’t always balance it, and I don’t know exactly what the right prescription is yet. With each marathon I’ve been experimenting.

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Living an athletic, disciplined lifestyle is not always glamorous. The PR’s, the smiling Instagram photos and the details of workouts can be deceptive. It’s a beautifully brutal and torturous lifestyle. It’s finding your pain threshold over and over again and then again the next day. It’s constant muscle soreness and fatigue on the way up to heavier weights and faster paces. It’s tapping into emotions of feeling on top of the world and complete utter weakness.

With that being said, I wouldn’t change the way I throw myself into training. I love hard workouts, I love two-a-days, eating better, sleeping more. I know this won’t be sustainable through different periods of my life, but for now, getting stronger, faster and fitter is keeping me, above all, happy.

I will try and answer your questions about pairing lifting and running, but feel free to ask anything else in the comments below!

Q: How many days per week do you lift and run? 
A: Right now I lift 2-4 days per week, one heavy lower and one upper body lift. The other days are usually supplemental/auxilary or a Crossfit day. I run 6-7 days per week averaging about 55 miles per week.

Q: What does your typical two-a-day look like? 
A: I’ve experimented a lot with this, my ideal double workout starts with speed work or a tempo run, the 2nd workout being a heavy lift. It doesn’t always work in my schedule that way, sometimes it’s reversed or on opposite days. I find when I separate my hard running (speed days) and heavy lifting I don’t get an “easy” day inbetween. Ideal Example: Monday/Wednesday/Fri easy running. Tues/Thurs speed & lift.

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my barbell

Q: How do you recover?
A: Eat, Sleep, Repeat. I try my best to eat real food and drink tons of water (about 80-100oz daily). I wear compression socks and full compression tights often since I stand all day at work. I try and get 7-9 hours of sleep. That’s it. No fancy story there. Oh, and sometimes I foam roll… sometimes.

Q: Aren’t you sore all the time?
A: You betcha! All. The. Time. But that’s half the fun right? Waking up each morning with a different muscle group screaming.

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Q: Should I train like you?
A: Probably not/maybe/depends on where your fitness level is. It might seem like I just started running a ton of miles and lifting heavy recently or all at once, but it’s been a real slow build over years and years of consistent training and running. And I’m in a constant lifting or running cycle and take down weeks or deload weeks, so I can continue to get stronger without getting hurt or burnt out. If you’re looking to improve your performance, work on being consistent first, and then start sprinkling in intensity.

Q: What would you recommend if I wanted to lift on top of running?
A: I would start with two days of strength training on a base of easy running. After 4-8 weeks deload or pull back on your strength a bit and start adding speed work slowly into your running. Then mix it up and find what days you can do workouts that don’t completely annihilate your legs. Once you’re about 10-14 days out from your race, pull the reins on the strength (lighten the load, up the reps!) and really allow yourself to have fresh legs on race day.

Just remember it will take time for you to get used to the cumulative fatigue and embrace running on tired quads and calves. If you’re training to race faster, this is the way I do it. Running on tired legs will simulate the end miles of a race. Hansons marathon method said it best, “You’re not running the first 16 miles of a marathon, you’re running the last 16. We’re duplicating that final-miles feeling.”

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Q: This seems hard, what if I can’t do it?
A: The most important thing to remember is that all of us runners go through the same emotions. At some point we will have a string of crappy runs or a period of time where every step feels impossible. Keep a journal of how you feel during both strength and cardio sessions and be flexible with yourself. Sometimes your paces may not reflect your effort because of muscle soreness from the strength, and that’s okay! Adjust, experiment, and repeat!

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Do you experiment with different training styles or plans for races? 

What race is next on your schedule?


15 Comments

Happy Coffee! I Mean Wednesday…

Monday: 1 hr back/legs (heavy DL 5 x 3 @ 225#), 7m 7:51/pace

Tuesday: Crossfit, 8.5m 8:36/pace

How is it already the middle of April!? You’d think that after a half marathon PR i’d slow down a bit, but honestly I’m having more fun that ever lifting heavy and running. Sometimes the best runs are the ones where you’re not on a schedule, every run is decided while out on the run, each pace is determined by what your body wants for the day. It’s kinda nice. The warm weather has been nice too!

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I’m close to running 40 miles per week and it’s a comfortable number to be around while not training for anything specific. My heart is set on another half marathon PR attempt in the fall i just need to pick a couple out that work around a few weddings and other races I have on the schedule (Ragnar DC 2017!).

You guys know I love coffee right? It’s not a secret. It’s written in the About Me section, I talk about it all the time. I pride myself on demonstrating exercises to clients while never setting my coffee down…about a week ago I did a single arm 35lb dumbbell snatch with a coffee in my left hand. I normally hold coffee in my left hand, which is also why i have my tattoo there, in case I forget ya know?

 

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And i’m not a coffee snob, i can’t tell you where the beans are from or name the fruit notes or acid levels or how they were harvested. I don’t necessarily need to have a pour over crafted by a hipster who wants to pair coffee with an album on vinyl that I won’t remember the name of. I just like the plain ol’ Mr. Coffee drip coffeemaker so my house smells like warm heaven.

 

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I love hovering my face over a cup to get the warm goodness and feel all the steam in my pores. I love the social aspect and actually taking the time to make it, sit, relax and be present. Nothing is better than sitting down to have coffee and conversations with people you love.

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I make coffee different almost every day. Some days I do coconut oil with a little almond milk and stevia, other days with cinnamon, honey and almond milk, sometimes just cinnamon. And once in a while, very normal with milk or half and half and sugar. Depends on what’s around to add just a hint of sweetness. When I hit up a coffee shop I order an Americano (espresso & water), or a plain latte or mocha latte depending on how much chocolate i’m in the mood for ;).

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Pretty much me in the morning.

Got a cold brew from Starbucks yesterday- they put way too much cream in it, i’ll ask for less next time, but it hit the spot on that 80 degree day after 2 workouts. At least they got my name right?

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I think coffee is on my mind this morning because A Better Whey just sent me a few samples of their newest protein “Java” which is their caffeinated coffee protein. Can’t wait to try it and report back.

Happy middle of the week – drink coffee and make it through to Friday!

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Last Week

Monday: 7m tempo 7:03/pace

Tuesday: Crossfit, 10.8m easy 8:10/pace

Wednesday: 6m easy 8:05/pace, barbell practice (hang snatches @ 65#)

Thursday: Crossfit

Friday: 8m easy 9:05/pace

Saturday: 5.6m easy 9:25/pace

Sunday: Rest

Total Miles: 37.4

How do you take your coffee?

If we were sitting down with a coffee right now what would you want to talk about?


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Marathon Things – Part 2

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The first time I wrote about marathon training was during week 7, then again at a difficult week 11. Now i’m writing about Week 13. A breakthrough week. The week where confidence begin building and I’ve started to believe I can run a marathon at a speed that scares me.

First, I have to say congrats to all those who ran a marathon over the past 2 weekends. My Instagram feed was full of people who qualified for Boston or ran a SOLID race. This was exciting and got me pumped for my shot at the marathon next month.

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Lauren KILLED her race @breathedeeplyandsmile Congrats again girl!

Pretty sure all the positivity on social media had given me a boost, either way this week was full of so many goodies I can hardly contain myself! Starting with some non-running related things: I won Mario Party! I haven’t won in a while and was super proud. #N64

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If you hadn’t noticed I got my hair fixed and I’m blond again and I love it. My stylist fixed it at no cost and was super cool about the whole situation.

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Now to the running stuff! I finished out the week with a mileage PR of 60.9 miles and raced a 10K earning a new PR of 43:40 (recap coming later this week). The weather finally cooled down a bit, which meant LE got her long walks and I’ve been running much happier without all the humidity.

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Tuesday started with Crossfit at 6:00am and then a 3 x 2 mile workout in the afternoon. I felt strong and the paces felt good. The first speed work session of the week is always mentally tough, but once it’s completed I feel like I can take on the rest of the week with no problem.

But this week was different, the workout I was most concerned with was Thursday’s 9 mile tempo at marathon pace. Most of these workouts have been done on a treadmill because Philadelphia is flat and I live in hills. It’s important I get time on my feet where there isn’t much of a grade change and can get my quads used to the repetitive, flat running. Now, I don’t want to do all tempos on a treadmill because it is different running on a treadmill and having a little help with leg turnover and being able to set a pace and stick to it. Thursday I wanted to take the tempo outside.

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Thursday was a big test. Try to maintain a 7:55/pace on hilly terrain (again after morning Crossfit). Good news – I did it. 2 mile warm up + 9m tempo @ 7:30/pace. Bad news is that 7:30 is too fast. Slowing down on these workouts will be key to pacing myself early in the marathon to avoid the dreaded wall. But tempo’ing on hills is all about effort so i might be ok? It’s hard to tell. Now i’m rambling since I’m questioning the workout! haha.

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hilly tempo splits

Friday and Saturday were both easy, long runs. Friday I logged 10 miles at a 9:05/pace and Saturday was 16 at an 8:52/pace.

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Saturday I had a small hiccup and almost quit 6 miles in because my knee felt a little off. I ran back home for a 5 minutes break, used the foam roller on my quad and did a quick stretch. Pain was gone immediately and I left feeling good about the knee being a freak thing (although I will keep an eye on it). Also noted: the Brooks Launch 3’s feel great and will possibly be the race day shoe.

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water fountains still on: another good thing! (Launch 3s on!)

I got a few fun running photos up on Instagram. I get asked often how I take them – usually i just put a self-timer on and run in front of the camera a few times. That’s it. Not much to it, I don’t drag Cameron along or have any special photographer with me, although one day I should get some professional pictures done!

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The most notable difference this week is finally believing in myself. Mentally i’m tough, but getting work done and believing you can do something are different. I can hit workouts yet still disbelieve I can do a marathon at goal pace. I can mind-karate my way through the toughest Crossfit workout or tempo workout, but somehow at the end of the day still think i’m not a good enough runner and that horrible marathon will get the best of me. This week was different because I’m starting to believe that not only can I run a solid marathon, but I have so much more in me that I might surprise myself on race day and in the future.

The 10k from Sunday was a prime example. I set out at a pace that seemed so far out of reach, yet by the 2nd mile I believed I could keep that pace and told myself to go for it and it worked out.

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Heading into these last few weeks of marathon training i’m sure will bring up many more thoughts. Hang in here with me, we’re almost toeing the start line.

Last Week

Monday: 5.3m easy 10:00/pace

Tuesday: Crossfit, 10m interval ( 3 x 2m @ 7:30/pace)

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: Crossfit, 11.7m tempo ( 2m warm up, 9m @7:30/pace)

Friday: 10.2m easy 9:05/pace

Saturday: 16.1m easy 8:52/pace

Sunday: 10K race (1.2m warm up, 6.4m race)

Total Miles: 60.9

Random thoughts you get during training?

Do you run outside, treadmill or mix it up?


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Running Drills + CFE Update!

Caution: This post is lengthy & wordy!

I’ve mentioned in various posts that i’m experimenting with the Crossfit Endurance Program for the year to stay fit, healthy & in racing shape as I attempt some speedy PR’s. I think it’s time to update you dudes about the program, how i’m liking it, and how my body is changing. Obviously, I had a speed bump recently with the IT band, but I was still able to continue with the running drills & strengthening my weakness during time off from running.

The major changes with Crossfit Endurance were training with higher intensity, lower volume & running with a skill based approach. I eliminated “junk miles” and replaced them with shorter interval workouts. I traded in traditional strength training workouts for High Intensity Circuit Training (which also helps replace junk miles) and started working on running skills to increase cadence (steps per minute), improve muscle elasticity and activating the hamstrings & glutes, which are often “asleep” in most runners.

The program claims to keep you working at a high intensity level where you will be in racing shape year round and be less likely to get injured at a lower overall volume.

I’ve been following this program since January so i’m going to start with the thing I did not like. The major flaw with the CFE program that I didn’t notice until after I got hurt —Crossfit doesn’t do a ton of lateral (side-to-side) movements. Since Crossfit Endurance is geared toward tri-athletes & marathoners, i’m disappointed that the lateral movement is missing where it is needed most.

That being said, I’m impressed with the program. Crossfit bears a negative connotation most of the time if you hear the name, however after reading two books (The Ultimate Runner and Power Speed Endurance ) & following the program, Brian MacKenzie is a smart guy who puts mobility, functional movement and recovery first!

Let’s talk about the things I enjoyed with the program. First off, I lost body fat % and inches in my waist & thighs, while gaining some inches in my hips (woo!). My cadence increased, I’m now hitting 173-185 per minute easily. With the hamstring activation drills, my quads don’t tire out any more. I actually enjoy the High Intensity Circuit Training —> where i fell in love with the rower!

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The coolest, biggest surprise of all? Through my IT band injury i kept up with the intense circuit training & running drills along with the hip/glute IT band exercises and I haven’t lost much speed! Taking off 8 weeks of running is always scary. Especially when it comes to speed. I’m definitely not where I was in April, but i’m not far off either and that i can say is why I’m a Crossfit Endurance believer. When they say you keep up the intensity (which can help replace some speed work) they weren’t kidding.

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3 weeks ago! Hitting those sub 8s!

I’m finally going to share a few sample running drill routines i’ve been doing since January. My lovely friend Sarah let me film a few videos to help everyone out. Most of these drills you can also find on the instagram account BVMCrossfit <—i highly recommend following this for ideas!

The drills are specifically for activating your hamstrings to pull (heel up toward glutes) instead of reaching (when you heel strike) so you train to take shorter quicker steps (like the elites!) and you don’t lose forward momentum. What does all this mean? Basically you will run faster and more efficient because your full leg (hamstrings/glutes/quads) are working to move the feet up and down as quickly as possible. (Pose Method)

I’ve put several clients though a drills & skills day and each of them agreed, the drills are way harder than they look, they didn’t realize their imbalances & all found benefits with the workout. I actually had a heel striking client do a 180 and started mid-foot striking by the end of our 40 min session. 🙂 Another one of my clients who does 100+ mile bike rides during the weekends said that learning how to “pull” has helped her tremendously in terms of saving her quads from burning out.

WORKOUTS!

July 13th-19th

Monday: 20 min lats/shoulders, 2m walk with LE

Tuesday: 5m easy 8:20/pace, pushups + core

Wednesday: 3000m row + upper body circuit + 1.5m walk with LE

Thursday: Rest

Friday: 5m easy 8:45/pace

Saturday: 50 min total body HICT

Sunday: 9m easy 9:00/pace

Total Mileage: 19 running, 3.5 walking

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July 20th- July 26th

Mon: Rest

Tues: 4m easy 8:45/pace, 20 min hips

Wed: 1 mile walk w/LE

Thurs: 6m easy 8:32/pace

Fri: 2500m row, 25 toes-to-bar, 50 bench triceps dips, 50 wall kick ups

Sat: 2m walk w/LE

Sun: 10m long 8:42/pace

Total Miles: 20 running, 3 walking 

What are your favorite running drills?

Do you know what your cadence is?


10 Comments

My Biggest Giveaway~!

Well, have to start off by saying I went back to the 400s workout on Friday and yet again, had to quit early. I was super upset at first, but this time it wasn’t my knee (that’s all good btw), it was sinus/allergies. It’s that time of year where I struggle with allergy meds and drowsiness. I was dead tired trying to do those 400s. Can those 2 failed interval workouts count as one this week? haha And hey, i’ll deal with allergies if it means running in shorts. My legs are so pasty! eeekkK!

Last Week’s Workouts

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 3m 4 x 400s (all @ 5:39/pace)

Wednesday:  Rest

Thursday: 5m fartlek 7:30/pace, 45min core

Friday: 6 x 400s (5 @ 5:39/pace, 1 @ 6:00/pace), 20min shoulders/lats

Saturday: 8.1m (4 outside 8:02/pace —wind was so bad I turned back and finished on the treadmill 4 @ 7:50/pace), 40 min total body workout with the Golds Gym Trainers!

Sunday: 4.7m walk

Total: 20.6m + 4.7 walking miles

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Look! Green & Flowers and non-running shoes! Crazy 

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Alright, i know you guys are wondering what the big giveaway is, so let’s get right to it.

I’m giving away a FREE ENTRY into ANY Reebok Spartan Race!!

World’s Best Obstacle Race. Period.
Spartan Race is a true adventure that anyone can do, and everyone should try. With course lengths of 3+miles (Sprint), 8+miles, (Super) and 12+miles (Beast) each course is filled with mud, water, and signature obstacles designed to help you discover your inner Spartan. Athletes of all fitness levels will enjoy participating in a Spartan Race and the feeling of accomplishment that comes at the finish line.
Spartan Race even has events for kids. We believe that fitness and adventure should involve the whole family. Come out and watch your kids run, jump, and climb like children were meant to do all in their own Spartan Kids race.
So even if you’ve tried a trail race, mud run, obstacle race, or adventure race it’s time to try a Spartan Race. Unlike other obstacle races we offer something for everyone. So sign-up, gear-up and find out why we say…
You’ll know at the finish line.

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If you’re ready to shake up your race calendar year and try something challenging, new and fun, this race series is for you!! Especially since they have distances for beginners to experts…or Sprints to BEASTS.

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The Free Entry will work for ANY SPARTAN RACE* So you don’t have to be from the DC area to enter! Although we do have them near DC–> Charlotte, NC Sprint is next Saturday, April 11th (you can register here) and for all of us crazy distance runners, the Tri-State New Jersey Beast is coming up on April 18th (you can register here!)

TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY: Visit the Spartan site & leave a comment telling me which race you will buy into if you win the contest! Also, use the coupon code SPARTANBLOGGER for 10% off any Spartan Race!

*free entry is for any open heat (non-confirmed start time) in any Spartan Race in the continental US. This giveaway is sponsored by Reebok Spartan Race. Giveaway closes at 12:01am Sunday April 12th.

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Don’t keep this giveaway a secret, send the link to your friends, family, Marathoners, Crossfitters, anyone and everyone who like a challenge!!


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Unbreakable Runner

Monday: 4.1m interval (pace ranged from 8:15-6:50), 20min legs/shoulders/abs

Tuesday: 5m easy 8:10/pace, CFE (Crossfit Endurance) 5 Rounds- 500m row, 20 burpees, 20 sit-ups

I bought a new band for my Garmin. The lime green color was looking really dirty after 2 years of sweating in it. So I bought the band for the newer models. The forerunner 15 straps fit the forerunner10 (in size Small for women!), so I had a lot more options 🙂 I’m sure all of you are just as fascinated as I was. haha

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To work on better running mechanics and start a new approach to training this year (i’m already in 2015-so “this year” means the new year), I’ve been reading Unbreakable Runner. This is a CrossFit Endurance training program (not the body building side of CrossFit) which will supposedly help with running mechanics, fixing and preventing those lingering injuries due to muscle imbalances and instead of race “peaking” only a couple times a year, this program says it will keep you at 95% all year long on a lower mileage program. Which means you can race more often, run less miles, and recover faster.

My favorite aspect of this book is that it isn’t trying to disregard the high mileage traditional running plans (which every single runner follows or has followed). It’s actually offering an alternative for those runners that get injured often and those who want to run for a lifetime.

Understandably this sounds too good to be true. I’m only 50 pages and a few CFE workouts in and I’m already a believer. I’ve never been able to run more than 40 mile weeks without getting injured so to put this even further to the test, I will be following their 5k and half marathon plans once I choose races. And lucky for you, i’ll probably be talking non-stop about this program 🙂 2015 I’m coming for ya!

After my workout:

After 100 burpees, 100 sit-ups, 2500m row & 5 mile run

After 100 burpees, 100 sit-ups, 2500m row & 5 mile run

After a shower & food:

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Last Week

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 10m – 3 X 8:30, 3 X 8:20, 3 X 8:00 & cool down 8:45

Wednesday: 20 core

Thursday: 4m easy 7:54/pace

Friday: CFE 25min arms/abs (3 rounds 5 pull ups, 10 pushups, 15 sit-ups)

Saturday: 3.1m Fun 5k, untimed

Sunday: Rest

Total Miles: 17.1

Have you read Unbreakable Runner?

Are you using a different running plan that doesn’t involve high mileage running?