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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?


8 Comments

Where is My Mind?

Monday: 8m easy 8:49/p

Tuesday: Crossfit, 10.4m interval (6 x 1m repeats)

Wednesday: Rest

Hey dudes, guess what? I made it to the taper healthy and happy. The last few weeks, especially during long runs, the tempos and the mile repeats I’ve been trying to wrap my head around running strong for 26.2 miles. Specifically, wondering where my head will be in mile 18, mile 22, mile 25.4…What am I going to be thinking of when the dark, hurt sets in. Where am I going to draw inspiration when every step is heading into the pain cave?

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last 16 miler

These are reoccurring thoughts I’ve had for the last month of training. Instead of just brushing the them aside, i tried to mentally practice how I will handle the hard parts of the marathon. I put myself in that mile and moment as best as I could: I played pretend. During the last 16 mile long run, every mile my Garmin beeped I mentally added ten miles to it. When mile 11 came, i imagined it was 21. When 12 went by, it was 22. In my head, i was in the marathon, finding inspiration, reciting mantras, pep talking.

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always a favorite. I am a ship, I am a big brave dog.

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There have been many up and down moments with training (mostly up!) The best moments are when everything clicks, that runner’s high takes over and you remember exactly why you never stop running. The gratitude that takes over my soul during these runs is unforgettable, which is why I’m going to draw from these moments when the marathon starts to bite back. I don’t have to run a marathon, I get to run a marathon. file_000-376

Alongside being grateful that I get to run, I’ve been thinking a lot about how I love completely and utterly exhausting myself training. Running, Crossfit, and working with clients are all continuously making me a better person. I have more drive and motivation with each race I train for, each workout I complete, every day I work to help others reach their potiential through fitness… Which brings me to to this:

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Yes, yes, yes, yes. Once i cross that finish line in Philly, no matter what the time clock says, I will be ready to tackle life as a much stronger, focused person.

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Last Week

Monday: 6m easy 8:55/pace

Tuesday: Crossfit, 9.8 interval (4 x 1.5m repeats- started at 7:30 and progressively got faster to 6:58/p)

Wednesday: 6m easy 9:07/pace

Thursday: Crossfit, 13m tempo (10 @ 7:44/pace)

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 10m easy 8:47/pace, 40 min deadlifts/pushpress strength

Sunday: 10m easy 8:06/pace

Total Miles: 54.8

Do you practice mental training?

What do you think about on long runs?

 

 

 

 

 


7 Comments

I’m a Crossfitter

You know how you know a person does Crossfit? Don’t worry they’ll tell you. Do you know how you know if someone’s completed a marathon? Don’t worry they’ll tell you. That joke is old and dumb. People who are passionate about their hobbies and sports will of course tell you! I love talking about my ever evolving fitness!

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My love for Crossfit started years ago when I saw the Crossfit Games on tv. It was a strange competition with people working out in the weirdest, hardest ways you could imagine, but i was sucked in. These girls and guys are the epitome of FIT. And not in the strange, posed, spray-tanned, starved for weeks to make the veins pop, body builder way. They are active, healthy and moving fast. Simply put, they are athletes.

I had a small taste of Crossfit when I used the Crossfit Endurance training plan to work toward a fast 5k. I noticed the strength portion of the book was simple, effective yet tough. It reminded me of how I train clients: varied functional movements at high intensity levels. Crossfit also introduced the rower to me, which was especially important because of a calf strain that had me away from running a couple years ago.

This past spring I finished the Spartan Beast Obstacle Course Race. It was incredible and showed me what the Reebok Crossfit community is about: having a body that can DO things and helping those around you ACCOMPLISH hard things. I finished that race feeling like I could do anything. It proved I wasn’t just a runner and my body was so much stronger than I gave it credit for.

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I’ve had great experiences leading up to actually joining a box (what they call their gyms). It just took a while for me to join because i’m a trainer at Gold’s Gym–it felt a little dirty, like i was cheating on my home gym. But I craved my own, separate place to workout. A gym that no one stops me mid-workout to ask for advice or chat about fitness. In the same way i’ve had a running coach in the past, i needed someone else to program strength workouts. I wanted to take the stress off myself and enjoy being a place where i can concentrate on working out and where I’m treated as an athlete, not a personal trainer.

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Crossfit Silver Spring

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They had me at Beer Mile PR’s

I couldn’t officially start coming to the box for a WOD (workout of the day) until I completed a mandatory Crossfit Elements course (8 classes) at the CF Silver Spring box. Elements teaches the fundamentals and movement patterns of the sport and puts a daily WOD to the test at the end of each hour lesson. I was more than impressed with the level of professionalism and safety in this box.

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So far, I’m in love it. I’m obsessed with it and I can see why people tend to think it’s cult-like. It’s electric and motivating and FUN. As a trainer, i’m learning a lot. As an athlete I’m gaining a lot.

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The biggest misconception i hear about Crossfit is that it’s dangerous. Well let’s put it this way, any sport or intense training program has risks for injury. You need good coaches or trainers (like me!) and you need to use common sense. Also let’s talk about how often I’ve been injured running vs. strength training at intense levels.

Running: shin splints, runner’s knee, piriformis and hip flexor issues, IT band syndrome, bone bruises, calf strain…and these are just the ones I’ve had.

Strength/Crossfit: skinned knee, couple of bruises, maybe i’ll pinch my finger with a weight once in a blue moon. Now you tell me what is more dangerous. I’d put my money on running any day of the week as being more dangerous.

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My coaches Marcos & Katie!

The biggest changes I’ve noticed over the last two months are increased shoulder mobility + strength, glute activation and lat activation. The coaches take a lot of time each class to lead warm ups and mobilize our bodies using foam rollers, massage tools and various dynamic exercises to prep the body for the hard work ahead.

I went into Crossfit nervous because I’ve had issues with my right shoulder since I was 13. (My chiro even told me to stop doing overhead pressing exercises.) Six weeks later I have ZERO shoulder pain and i’m lifting weight over my head. My glutes have been sore and worked every class and i’ve PR’d my deadlift by 30lbs easily. Remember runners – strong booty means a strong runner, especially on the hills. And a strong body equals a powerful runner.

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I was worried I wouldn’t be able to train for a marathon comfortably with these tough workouts, but hey, it’s not interfering, it’s helping make me a well-rounded athlete. I haven’t had any issues juggling the running and Crossfit schedule. If anything i’ve felt stronger with each run because my strength training is on point.

What it comes down to, is I found a place and people I can put real effort and energy into to see results. When I’m working out I have people supporting me, shouting, “Go CORI!” I have coaches fixing my form and giving me expert tips to make me a better athlete. It feels fantastic being surrounded by people who want you to succeed, to be stronger, faster and better than ever. I hope everyone out there has a place like this, a gym or a trainer or coaches that can help push you safely to the next level to reach your goals or get you out of your comfort zone.

Last Saturday was the first time I felt the complete and utter exhaustion that comes from giving your all in a workout. The workout that makes you lay down on the floor afterward and create a sweat angel. The elusive Crossfit sweat angel. I achieved it and I want it again and again and again. Even if it means running 10 miles before class…

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If you have any questions about Crossfit please – ask away. I’m by no means an expert, but i’m all about new experiences to make you a better runner, weightlifter or get-in-shaper. This has quickly become my home away from home, my home away from the marathon course and the home that supports and motivates me all week long.

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Last Week

Monday: 6m easy 8:20/pace

Tuesday: 10.5m intervals (4 x 1.5m @ 7:03/pace)

Wednesday: 6m easy 8:29/pace, 20min shoulders/lats

Thursday: Crossfit

Friday: 12m MGP tempo (9 @ 7:50/pace)

Saturday: 10m easy 8:50/pace, Crossfit

Sunday: 9.9m easy 9:17/pace

Total Miles: 54.4

What’s your favorite type of workout besides running?

Have you ever had a coach or personal trainer? 


6 Comments

Week 11, You Were a Jerk.

Monday: 6m easy 8:20/pace

I’ve been waiting for it to happen. Waiting patiently for the week of training where it felt hard, unachievable and where tears would roll. Up until now marathon training has been going almost too good to be true. Every pace, every workout, every strength session, better than the last. Recovery has been second nature, I’m sleeping like a dream, eating well, foam rolling, early AM wake ups, all on point. Then came Week 11.

It took long enough and now hopefully it has passed and I can move forward. But not before giving you guys an inside look cause all the instagram pics and happy-go-running status updates aren’t always as they seem.

This was my highest mileage week ever. I topped it off at 58.9 miles and finished the month at an all time high as well, 218.6. The picture below is actually from a long run 9 days ago, not last week. It’s the only one i found of me smiling. Like hey, look at me the distance isn’t killing me at all right now.

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The mileage really wasn’t getting to me, it’s mostly everything else that happened on top of it. I had sinus headaches all week and the allergy meds I was taking made me super tired and loopy.

Then Tuesday at Crossfit, I basically took a swan dive into a box and skinned up my shin pretty bad, on the first box jump 😦 You know how people say “the mind gives up before the body?” Well, not always, cause my mind and right leg were on top the box and lefty just wasn’t recovered or ready to jump. Stupid, unbalanced, left side.

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I felt the skinned up, bruised to hell left leg days after, especially while running. Every step was a reminder that my shin was sore. I was barely holding onto g0al paces during speed work. I couldn’t get my head into the run and wished each day was a rest day.

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But when the rest day (Wednesday) came, my legs were so tight i think it hurt more not to workout that day. Exhaustion set in hard this past week, every easy run felt labored. I needed a 1-2 hour nap every day before heading back to my evening shifts at the gym. Probably because of a mix of the allergies and workouts.

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she naps with me often

I drank about half a bottle of wine one of the nights because i was super stressed all week for no reason. The wine did not help the anxiety. I slept awful almost every night, not sure if it was because of sore muscles or the naps, but either way i was getting about 5-6 very interrupted hours a night, which is NOT good for me.

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Then just as the week was ending I had one last hard run left. 16 miles. The weather called for rain/thunderstorms all morning so i decided to head to the gym for the treadmill. Not fun, but neither is running in wet weather for 2.5 hours. Even though it was only misting at the time, i figured i’d still be soaked and wasn’t into it. Of course, it never rained. 16 miles later, i probably could have ran outside. Dammit.

Next on the list was a haircut and dye job. You try running for 2.5 hours and then sit in a chair with patience for five more. It’s tough and to make a long story short i love the cut, hate the color.

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I’m basically a redhead on top and a grey/green (ashy blond) on the bottom (you can’t see it, but after one wash it happened). And i’m not looking for compliments, I asked for this:12106068_1664601663751478_1576883465_n

So yeah, i did the girl thing: came home and cried and complained about everything to my husband. The exhaustion and allergies, the missed box jump, the shitty sleepless nights, the not-so-great runs, and finally spending ALL THE MONEY on hair that I don’t even like! And then crying because i have nothing to cry about! These “problems” are hardly problems, I was just overwhelmed because everything was happening all at once. Week 11, you bastard. Cameron lovingly reminded me i’m allowed to be upset and frustrated by all those things, fed me candy and took my mind off of all my adulting with some video games.

The next day I had a run date with a few Ragnarian’s along a trail in Arlington. This was a big turnaround for my week. I got to run in a new location and catch up with friends. The best part was running finally felt easy! It was fun again and i relaxed for the first time in over a week.

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Steve, Me, Normailed, Nick

Steve and his fiance were nice enough to have us over their house after for a cook out, beers and hot tubbing. I needed this. The tub was so relaxing, the food was great and I needed beer! It was a super cool secluded house too, felt like a mini-vacation spot.

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So, i guess one Instagram picture was honest. The one with the woods in the background. “Keep me outside, keep me happy.” I meant that. I’m a solar powered machine and I need nature to stay happy.

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I cropped that picture from this one, because I look like a third wheel. Haha.

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Monday’s easy run went well. It felt similar to Sunday’s. Effortless and so fun. It just goes to show that when you have a bunch of crap runs, a good one is just around the corner. Most of the time I run for those days, but I wouldn’t notice them unless I knew what the hard ones felt like.

Bye Week 11!

Last Week

Monday: 10m interval (6 x 1m repeats @ 7:13/p)

Tuesday: Crossfit, 9.5m easy 9:20/pace

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: Crossfit, 10m tempo (MGP 8m @ 7:51/p)

Friday: 7m easy 9:00/pace, strength circuit: 25# single arm db snatch + weighted box step ups + butterfly situps

Saturday: 16m long 8:25/pace

Sunday: 6.4m 10:00/pace

Total Miles: 58.9

How do you get through the tough weeks of marathoning?

What’s your happy place?


5 Comments

I got My Phil of Indiana ;)

Monday: 6m easy 9:11/pace, Crossfit

Tuesday: Rest

I’m continuing to receive congratulations for the ultra i ran a week ago and each time I get confused for a second. I swear I keep forgetting it happened. haha. I think my brain is trying to erase it from my memory.

Marathon training is going very well. I’m using Hanson’s Marathon Method this training cycle and so far I love it. I choose my time goal, Hanson’s provides the paces and the workouts. I’ve also recently started Crossfit and will do a post about it soon! I have so many thoughts so a blurb just isn’t enough.

To the main event! I found cheap airfare and headed to Chicago/Northwest Indiana last week to hang out with my former roommate/Bff who had a baby over 4th of July weekend. Marie is on maternity leave and I wanted to see her family before her life gets hectic.

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This trip was so fun and relaxing. Her 6 week old baby, Phil, is such a cutie and sleeps and eats very well. We spent time watching the the Olympics, movies, eating pizza (nothing tops midwest pizza) cooking, trying new local coffee shops and catching up on life. She’s the kind of friend you can tell anything to, she’ll finish my thoughts and join in when I start singing songs outloud.

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When I found a break in the weather (it was humid out there and rained on and off a couple days) I fit in training runs. I had a tempo and a long run to squeeze in. And let me tell you something: the flat terrain was easy, but running in a straight line 6 miles out and back was mindnumbing.

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I can say now, I appreciate running in Maryland. The terrain changes, the hills and the trail systems are incredible. I’m super grateful i’ve been able to live in different states and continually grow as a runner.

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I’m also growing as an eater. We stopped at Baskin Robbins for a large waffle cone. They have a flavor called Oreo Milk. It’s oreos, kelloggs cereal, and frosted kelloggs corn flakes. I can’t even tell you how good it was. Just go try it. Even if you just get the pink sample spoon.

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yes i had a stomach ache after this

My last day was spent with Cameron’s cousin Kyle and his wife Elise. I missed them. They are another amazing couple who I’ve grown extremely close to over the years.

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They have an HTC Vive virtual reality headset. It was so much fun! There’s nothing to compare it to either. It’s so different than any video game, 3D or 4D Universal Studios ride. There is nothing like it- if you know someone with a Vive go play on it!

Kyle and Elise had me in a Minecraft world, and asked me to step of the ledge of a very high building. You are lucky enough to watch me with my scared high voice freak out. Here ya go..my first appearance on video on the blog. So proud of this moment.

Last Week

Monday: 6m easy 10:30/pace, Crossfit

Tuesday: 8.1m interval (5 x 1000s @6:40/p)

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: 9.1m tempo (6 @ 7:47/pace)

Friday: 12m long 10:09/pace

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: 8m easy 8:20/pace

Total Miles: 43.2

Ever tried VR?

How do you workout on vacation?

 


24 Comments

I Broke Her!

Every Saturday this summer I have been out for my long run. Every person, biker, walker, runner, stroller, doggie I pass I try to say “hi” or give a smile or small wave. If i’m not completely out of breath, I’ll happily say, “Good Morning.”

Now let me paint a small picture. I’m from Indiana. I’m a midwesterner. I grew up knowing my neighbors, my manners, being friendly and polite, especially to strangers. (Trump could have used a midwestern upbringing but don’t get me started.) When I moved to the east coast, and i know i’ve mentioned this several times through my blog, many people just keep to themselves and don’t say hi. It bothers me. Maybe it’s because i’m a people pleaser, or maybe because i believe it’s the little things in life that make the world go round.

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from saturday

There’s a woman, maybe in her 50s, that walks the trail every Saturday around the same time I’m out. She’s always alone, no friends or walking companions, no headphones or ipods. Just quietly shuffling along the trail to get her morning exercise in. I’ve said hi to this lady at least ten times this summer. There was even a day I ran past her twice (remember i do a lot of out-and-backs) and she has never said a word. However, she stares like i’m a little harlot with no shirt on. She sneers at me. Her eyes go wide then narrow all in an instant.

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runner’s saving grace!

Naturally I think this lady (and i have to call her lady now cause i’m pissed) is a total B. How many times can i look a person in the eyes and say, “Good morning.”? I’ll tell you how many. As many as it takes because i’m NICE and I’m from the Midwest!!!! And of course I understand that sometimes people are just generally distracted in their own world. Listening to headphones, or concentrating on their workout, or maybe don’t hear or see me. I understand that.

I think it’s super strange that i’ve been working at the same gym for almost 4 years and there are MANY people I see on a daily basis that ignore me completely. And again, it’s me saying, “Hello” “How are you” “Good to see you.”As persistent I am with being polite they are just as persistent at ignoring me. I totally understand where Adele is coming from.

But then, I had a small victory this past Saturday. The old lady softly spoke, hi when I passed by with the weekly greeting. She almost stopped me dead in my tracks because it was so unexpected. I could have hugged her. I didn’t because it probably took a lot for her to say hello to me.  I finally broke her down.

Killing people with kindness works. For every person that doesn’t say hi, i will forever think of her and remember that being cold and unfriendly is never the way into someone’s heart. Please, please be nice to strangers. You never know what kind of day, week or year they’re having. A kind gesture can turn someone’s day around and with so much hate in the news this is all we have to fight back with.

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What are you looking forward to this week?

Do you smile, say hi, nod, wink, peace sign while passing people? 


15 Comments

Tips to Run Easy!

Monday: 5m easy 9:25/pace

Tuesday: 3m easy 9:10/pace, 40 min strength (chest/legs)

For the last (let’s round up) two years, i’ve been injured on and off again and haven’t started a training season feeling 100%. I’ve tried to play “catch up” and rush right into marathon or half marathon training plans which have surprisingly worked in my favor, but mentally, it is tough going straight from injury to full on training mode. Anyone else feel this way?
Screen Shot 2015-01-04 at 1.25.55 PMI was entirely ready after the PR high from Indianapolis to jump into marathon training. But as soon as i starting training again, my body was quick to tell me to slow down.

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I finally combed over training logs from years ago up to last fall’s 1/2 training and i’m still running way too fast on easy days. I don’t think i ever ran over a 9:00/pace during my “easy” runs. Easy running should extremely easy.  I haven’t been able to run a 5 day week consistently because my legs were constantly fatigued from the last run. I also stopped heavily strength training my legs because I needed them to be fresh for the next run. My legs never felt fresh. Even though I should have caught that red flag, i just assumed constant leg fatigue was normal.

Now let me clarify: I wasn’t overtraining, I was still enjoying running, and the rest of my body felt great. I was just running a lot on tired legs and my paces were too similar despite the workout at hand. My easy runs were between 8:00-8:30s, my hard runs ranged from 7:15-8:00. Those paces are way too close. I have a hard time slowing down and i don’t know if it’s my ego or legs, but either way i need to stop it. So there. I said it out loud.

My name is Cori and I have running issues.

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and coffee issues.

Why am I saying these things to you all? Because I want to run longer, faster and be consistent on a 5 day/week training plan and make it to a 40 mile week without my body breaking down. The blog has always been a way for me to be honest with myself, other runners, friends and family about my life & training progress. Plus when I see my goals on paper (or computer) it’s a good reminder of the changes i’m making & why i’m making them.

Part of the beauty about running is this stuff—>the details! The small changes you make for big race results. I truly feel I have so much more to give on the race course. I’m excited to say that this build up has been very fun, comfortable and easy!

Here are a few tips for running a truly easy effort.

-Breathe through your nose. No joke, try to breathe in and out through your nose.

-Use a heart rate monitor or take your pulse.

-Can you sing? Can you carry a conversation with ease? Good, you’re doing it right.

-Listen to slow tunes or a podcast. (You know how I know you run easy? Cause you listen to Coldplay.)

-Run on the treadmill so you can control your pace.

-Go watchless or hide your pace splits. I keep my Garmin on, but I only put the allow myself to see the clock (actual time, not running time).

-When you finish running easy, you should feel like you could run another hour at that pace.

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My view lately. Just waiting for the snow to melt.

Last Week

Monday: 3hrs shoveling

Tuesday: 30 min stairs/leg (home workout), 2 hrs shoveling

Wednesday: 5.2m easy 8:42/pace

Thursday: 6m 2 x 2 tempo (1m warm up, 2 @ 7:30, 2 @ 7:24, 1 cool down)

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 9.1m easy, long progression (starting at 9:15, ending at 8:15)

Sunday: Rest

Total: 20.3

How much slower do you run on your easy days?

Do you ever re-read old training journals to help your current goals?