Tag Archives: workout wednesday

Running in a humid climate

Hey remember when I used to run outside?

I don’t.

OK so I do remember it, but I also remember it being much more enjoyable. I was back in Illinois a few weeks ago and got a chance to run on the trail near my parents house. The weather was perfect. I could actually breathe. And for the first time in a long time I remembered how much I love to run outside.

To be honest, I can probably count on both hands the times I’ve run outside since we moved to Florida. If it’s not the heat it’s the humidity. And the humidity is usually preceded or followed by a pop-up thunderstorm that comes out of nowhere. We’re talking nowhere folks. This morning as Finn and I attempted to go out for our morning walk the sun was shining. The sun was shining, the skies were blue and it started pouring.

But yesterday morning there was a break in the heat so I headed out for a run as the sun was coming up, knowing that as soon as it did I’d probably pass out on the side of the road. I got four miles in and was pretty happy with it. And along the way I thought about the various mental and physical adjustments you have to make when you run in a new climate.

Don’t try to be a hero.

Who cares if you limped ran through 26.31 miles last October. When it comes to running, weather can be a huge factor. One that makes every training session unique. I’ve had days where I felt energy like never before, only to bonk 2 miles in. And I’ve had days where it took everything in my to agree to 1 mile only to breeze through 4. There are so many factors that come into play when you are running outside you can’t possibly meet your expectations every time. As the most covered song by bloggers and 5 year-old girls alike says, “Let it Go.”

You can walk if you want to. 

I say this even though it still kills me to actually do it. I’m as competitive as they come so even on runs by myself I try to justify reasons I can’t stop to catch my breath or stretch my legs. Human bodies are pretty special, but even they take a little time to acclimatize to changes in weather and environment. If your body is telling you to slow down, (and we’re talking really telling you not just whispering from 500 yards behind you telling you) stop and walk for goodness sake. The reality is that you still have to make it home don’t you? Slow down and recover. No one’s chasing you. And if they are don’t stop. Don’t slow down. Kick it in a little more why don’t ya?

Wear a heart rate monitor.

Remember what I just said about slowing down when you feel like you need to? Well wearing a heart rate monitor can help you make that decision more accurately. Running may seem like a fairly physical feat, but if you’ve ever been out on a run solo and find your motivation lacking, you’ll quickly realize how mental the feat really is. Wearing a heart rate monitor well allow you to match the way you think you feel to how hard you are actually working. Seeing those numbers gets you out of your head and helps you have a more efficient workout.

Bring water.

Oh just bring it. Even if you’re too proud to. I used to play by the rule that if it wasn’t over 6 miles, I didn’t need water. And while that’s sort of true, (you should be hydrated enough to exercise for 45 minutes without water) when your running in high heat and humidity I think you should throw that rule into the ocean. Heat and humidity can prevent your body from releasing heat as efficiently so by the time you realize you are dehydrated it could be too late. If you don’t like carrying water with you, plan an out-and-back route where you can leave it halfway. It’s only cumbersome for the first few minutes but if you don’t have it, everyone you pass will look like a giant jug of Gatorade or the Kool-Aid Man and you’ll seriously consider tackling them.

Mix it up. 

So you’re not going to get the mileage you thought you were because of the weather conditions. Mix it up. Do a set of walking lunges. Throw in some body weight squats, high knees or butt kicks. Alternate sprinting and walking as you make your way back. Yes, people may look at you funny, but it’s likely that they are really just picturing you as the Kool-Aid Man because they are just as thirsty as you are.

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Workout Wednesday

It’s been a while since I did a Workout Wednesday post so I figured I’d enlighten you today.

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I’m sure you all have been wondering what I’ve been doing with all my free time lately. No? Oh that’s right you probably don’t have time to sit around and consider what I’m doing with my time but lucky for you I’ll tell you anyway.

I’m trying to make a living of this whole housewife thing but in just over 10 days I’ve determined that I really suck at it. The boxes are long unpacked, the cabinets organized and one can only rearrange picture frames so many times before she feels the eyes following her across the house. My name is Sarah and I completely suck at free time. This move has solidified the fact that I am at my best within a tight timeframe. Give me 3 hours before a big party and man can I crank things out. But if I’m faced with too much time on my hands, I can be just about as unproductive as they come.

Now I know I’m barking up the wrong palm tree as I will be begging for days like this when I’m back in the 9-5 world but in the meantime I’m going just a little bit crazy. I have managed to make a few friends at the dog park, though. Human friends for those of you assuming my only conversations are with canines recently (most are).

I do venture out beyond our local dog park each day. I may or may not have visited SuperTarget 3 times in 4 days last week. Not completely out of the realm for normal Sarah but bordering the line of excess. In an effort to curb spending and get out of the house, I’ve been getting to know people at our new gym. I’m typically not one to strike up a conversation during a workout, but when the only responses you’ve had all morning were head tilts and barks, you take what you can get. I suppose the same could be credited for this lengthy blog post as well.

greater swiss mountain dog, finn, swissy, gsmd, puppy,

After several months off from working out with my trainer, I’ve been feeling the proverbial wrath after each workout.  In fact, my triceps and pecs are fatigued just typing on my keyboard and my butt is entirely way too sore for this squishy of a chair.

So today I’m going to take you through a basic ‘warm-up’ that Matt and I do before we begin lifting. I don’t have any pictures because I was too busy trying not to let my legs burn off but it’s pretty straightforward. Try it and you too can get a body like this, farmer’s tan and all!

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Start with one mile on the treadmill or 5 minutes on a spin bike keeping your RPM above 100. If you don’t have a display on your spin bike, try to keep your heart rate above 140 the entire time.

Continue your warm up in an open fitness studio or free corner of your gym. Repeat the following body weight exercises without resting:

  • Squats-30
  • Push-ups (use your knees if needed)-10
  • Alternating forward lunges-20
  • Push-ups-10
  • Side lunges-10 each side (20 total)
  • Push-ups-10
  • Ab exercise-1 minute (planks, v-ups, or bicycle crunches)
  • Squats-30
  • Push-ups (use your knees if needed)-10
  • Alternating forward lunges-20 
  • Push-ups-10
  • Side lunges-10 each side (20 total)
  • Push-ups-10
  • Ab exercise-1 minute (planks, v-ups, or bicycle crunches)

Congratulations, you’re ready for your workout now. Or if you’re like me, you’re ready to go home.

And to help out with that post-workout thirst or recovery the next day, I’ve been making my green juice on repeat lately.

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Easy Green Juice

  • 1/2 Banana (frozen or ripe)
  • 1/4 C chopped pineapple
  • 1/2 apple, peeled
  • 1/2 C orange juice
  • Big bunch spinach and Kale
  • 1 tsp honey
  • fresh ginger
  • Ice

Add first 7 ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Add ice and blend. Plop in a fun straw and drink up!

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Have a great workout! I’m off to Target.

 

The art of unplugging

So I’m back in the city after several days visiting friends and family at home. If you read my last post, and by read I mean just looked at pictures, you have a pretty good idea of how most of the weekend was spent, laughing with friends and family, celebrating and lots and lots of food.

darcy's pint, birthday, cake, going away party, friends, family, greater swiss mountain dog

There was also this little religious holiday called Easter in there as well. The weather was gorgeous this weekend so we spent most of our time outside, hunting Easter eggs with halloween buckets, playing soccer and taking Finn to the park.

easter, egg hunt, boys, swiss mountain dog, easter egg hunt, tulips

I spent little to no time on social media or even with my phone in my hand. Perks of being with most everyone you connect with in person, I suppose. My nephew is on spring break this week so I stayed a few extra days to hang out with him and procrastinate packing. I didn’t even manage to bake anything this weekend and why would I when I have a mother who does it better?

If you want to know how much of this cake I helped with then remove the white chocolate shavings and robin eggs. Remove those and you still have a pretty ultimate chocolate cake.

ultimate chocolate cake, birthday cake, easter cake, bird nest on top of chocolate cake

Ultimate Chocolate Cake 

  • 2 1/2 C flour
  • 1 3/4 tsps baking soda
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 2/3 C butter
  • 1 1/4 C sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 C buttermilk
  • cocoa

Preheat oven to 350. Grease two 9 inch cake pans. Dust pans with cocoa.

In a large bowl, sift flour, baking soda and powder together.

In a stand mixer, cream butter until fluffy. Add cream and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each one. Add chocolate and vanilla.

Mix dry ingredients into wet alternating with buttermilk.

Pour evenly into two cake pans.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and let cool on racks. Don’t skip this step or your second layer will crumble into pieces and you’ll have to rebuild it with extra icing. Oh darn.

ultimate chocolate cake, birthday cake, easter cake, bird nest on top of chocolate cake

Ultimate Chocolate Icing

  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 1/3 C butter
  • 3 C sifted powdered sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 C plus 2 TBL evaporated milk

Melt chocolate and butter together. In a bowl, combine sugar, salt, vanilla and evaporated milk. Add melted chocolate. Beat until icing thickens. Cool to room temperature and then ice cake.

ultimate chocolate cake, birthday cake, easter cake, bird nest on top of chocolate cake

You’ll have to forgive me for posting a cake like this on Workout Wednesday but let me tell you, eating a piece of it is a workout in itself. And doesn’t everyone deserves a cake workout every one in a while?

The answer is yes.

 

 

 

Workout Wednesday

Please excuse my absence this week. I guess being at a company for 5-plus years makes for a pretty busy final week.

Speaking of finals, I decided that this last week of work feels a lot like college finals. The springlike weather (let’s not even talk about the snow we had yesterday), finishing up those big projects before a much-needed break, the anxiety that comes with realizing that your break actually consists of finding a job and the celebratory drinking. Ok, so I think we can all agree the drinking will never be on the same level as college finals but you get the idea.

And the packing. Don’t even get me started on the packing. Let’s just say my next few Workout Wednesdays are going to look a lot like this.

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I’m going to try my best to continue to post regularly but please forgive me if I’m off schedule for a few weeks. I am a self-proclaimed packing procrastinator. Heck, this post alone is proof of that.

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But I’m wearing my marathon shirt as a reminder that I can do hard things. That and it was the one on the top of my oh-so-messy workout clothes to pack pile.

Sincerely,
Sarah ‘almost to graduation’ Murphy

Workout Wednesday: Running like the wind

I wish I could start this by telling you that the subject line is based on my incredibly fast pace as of late. Or that whenever I run I feel like the wind is at my back just easily and breezily pushing me along. That running on the treadmill all winter long has not affected my ability to adjust to running outside again.

It’s not. I don’t. It hasn’t.

Truth is my runs outside have really sucked lately. Yes, the first mile normally feels heavy, but do you ever have those runs where your legs just never lighten up? Your lungs don’t expand properly and you feel like a large serving of mint chocolate trifle is just sitting in your stomach preparing to give you a cramp at any moment?

st. patrick's day mint chocolate trifle, dessert, brownie and oreo trifle

I do. And while that last part is totally self-induced, what kind of cook would I be if I didn’t intensely evaluate my product? (Leanne if you are reading this, I’m sorry for eating your serving and owe you a mint chocolate trifle).

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It was windy yesterday for my run. It was also over 40 degrees. So for the first time all year, I was actually able to run outside without my running vest.

running gear, workout tips, workout wednesday, resistance training, running against the wind

look ma, no vest!

Even better, it was still light out when I finished my run. This seems like the perfect time to proclaim the “A-word” but my nephew informed me that it is off-limits during Lent. Leave it to a 7 year-old to school me on the ways of Catholicism.

High-five daylight savings time.

Back in middle school track, our coach used to hook a parachute up to our waists and make us sprint against the wind. In volleyball, we would reign each other in with resistance bands to improve our explosive movements. It’s common knowledge that resistance builds speed and muscle.

So in an effort to eventually run like the wind, I decided to take advantage of the 30 mph gusts and run against it.

My yoga teacher said something that stuck with me the other day in class.

Just kidding.

She said,

If you doubt your ability to do a pose, do it anyway. Chances are that is the pose your body needs most. Don’t be afraid to fall. Falling is completely acceptable. It means you let go of your fear and allowed yourself to grow.

I can’t say this an exact quote because I’m pretty sure when she was talking about this I was trying to concentrate on breathing and not fall on my face in crow pose, but you get the idea.

I’ve been thinking about this concept a lot lately when it comes to my workouts. Of course when I considered my route last night, I wanted to find a way to avoid slamming head first into a cold southeast wind tunnel. But instead of avoiding it altogether, I decided that my body needed it. I also reminded myself of all the times this winter I wished I could run outside but the polar vortex had better ideas.

running gear, workout tips, workout wednesday, resistance training, running against the wind, shadowSo I paused 3 miles in on an open stretch of sidewalk and did some sprints into the wind. You don’t have to do a lot of them. Just 5 or so and recover with the wind at your back as you go back to the start. I only had a mile or so left to go so make sure you aren’t too far from home in case your legs are shot.

I guess my hope is that if you run against the wind enough in your training, you will build the strength to always have it at your back come race day.

Have a good workout!

Workout Wednesday: Rest Day

Hey guess what happened in Chicago last night?

snow in march, chicago, pioneer plaza

That’s right. It snowed again. Needless to say we are really thrilled about it. We should be though because they were calling for 9 inches and we only got 4.

Nonetheless I’m back for another Workout Wednesday to talk about something that seems somewhat counterproductive in terms of exercise, but is immensely important: Rest Days.

workout wednesday, simply social blog, workout tips, exercises

I’m really good at sabotaging my rest days. Even better at ignoring them altogether and convincing myself that a light workout is just as good as complete rest.

It isn’t.

Rest days are key to maintaining your fitness and your motivation. I learned the hard way that if you ignore them, you’ll end up injured or burnt out and ruin all the work you put into your training in the first place. Trust me when I say that rest days should be treated as importantly as long run days, or leg days, or kickboxing days.

tips for a rest day, running tips, how not to sabotage a rest day, cancun, hammock

When you’re training for a race, nearly every day is dedicated to some form of exercise. It becomes your routine. So for me and I’m sure others, breaking that routine with a day that you don’t do anything leaves you with a gaping hole of time that you want to fill with endorphins and new additions to your people that look like their dogs list. Don’t laugh. It’s a list I take very seriously and something I hope to turn into a coffee table book someday. And I hope you’ll consider purchasing it when I do.

If you are used to exercising every day, your body becomes accustomed to it. So when you don’t exercise, you may feel sluggish, grumpy, hangry or combinations of each. Talk to a runner during a taper week and you’ll know exactly what I mean.

Here are a seven ways to avoid sabotaging your rest day:

  1. Go for a walk
  2. Schedule a massage
  3. Put on your workout clothes to do chores around the house
  4. Stretch
  5. Get your haircut. You know you won’t want to wash it again after it’s fixed.
  6. Schedule a lunch or dinner date with a friend
  7. Catch up on laundry, specifically focusing on reducing the size of your workout pile so it no longer towers over your work pile

The key to a rest day is not being completely sedentary, but allowing your body to heal and prepare itself for the hard days. My current training schedule has me rest on Fridays and doing my long run first thing Saturday mornings. And while it may seem frustrating at times, I feel the difference a few miles into my run if I don’t take it easy the day before.

Have a great workout!

Workout Wednesday: Go with your gut

Happy Workout Wednesday! Can you believe it’s March? I can’t. Seriously I can’t because it looks like this outside right now:

Regardless of unseasonable weather, we’re back for another installment of Workout Wednesday.

workout wednesday, simply social blog, workout tips, exercises

Today I’m telling you to go with your gut when it comes to a workout.

And no I’m not suggesting that you lead with your belly. Nor that you have a belly to lead with for that matter. Speaking more figurative gut than literally gut if that makes any sense.

Let me explain.

My training plan said to run 3-4 miles last night.

My legs said stay home we’re tired.

My brain said it’s too cold and snowy to run outside. You should go to the gym.

My gut said run outside.

And so I did.

It’s kind of weird what happens when you follow your gut. Everything else finds a way of falling into place. Well not literally falling. But if your gut tells you to run in the snow you might want to prepare yourself for a spill or two as well.

glow_arm_band

My gut said run outside. And once I did, my legs felt strong and pushed me faster because of the cold. My brain reconsidered that gym suggestion as thoughts and concerns from the day cleared away with each mile. And my gut laughed when halfway through my eyes got a sneak peek at a future Chicago PD episode being shot in the neighborhood.

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Go with your gut. Even if your body doesn’t feel up to it. You’ll be glad you did.

Have a great workout!