JUNE 2016

Workout Wednesday: Speed and Strength Track Workout for Runners

As a running coach and a personal trainer I understand that it can be challenging for runners to find the time to do their (needed!) strength training. You want to run more in order to improve in running. You're afraid if you do lower body strength training that you'll be sore and it will hurt your future runs. Not to mention, when do you find the time to squeeze it all in?

I developed this track speed and strength interval workout so that you can do your running workout and leg strength workout on the same day! It should about an hour to complete and you'll be stronger for it. It may make you temporarily sore, especially if you are not used to strength training, but in the long run you'll be stronger, faster and less prone to injury. What's not to love about that? 

Speed and Strength Track Workout

Warm up by jogging two times around the track, which is 800 meters or a 1/2 mile. 

WALKING LUNGES

Perform 12 walking lunges on each leg on the straight of the track. Be sure if there are other people or runners on the track that you yield to them and always stay on the farthest inside lane (aka out of the way). Once you complete 12 walking lunges on each leg jog the rest of the way around the track at a conversational pace. 

With your feet hip width apart and your toes pointed straight ahead, hold your core stable and your back straight. Take one large step to lunge forward until your front knee is lined up over your ankle and your back knee is nearly touching the track. Do not allow your knee to go forward past your toes. Once you are in the lunge position push back up to standing with your back leg. Repeat with other leg. While in the low position resist the urge to lean forward or rest your arms on your thighs.

SQUATS

Perform 12 squats and then jog the rest of the way around the track at a conversational pace.

Starting with your feet hip width apart push your hips back and then lower  your body by bending your knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor or as low as your flexibility will allow. In the low position, engage your core, squeeze your glutes and push up to standing. 

STAIR REPEATS

Run up and jog or walk down the stadium stairs. Run up the stairs as quickly as you can, swinging your arms as you go. Repeat five times, then jog one time around the track. 

SIDE SQUAT UP STAIRS

Side squat up 12-15 steps. Face the other direction to work the other leg and side squat 12-15 steps. Jog or walk back down the stairs and jog one time around the track.

Stand sideways on the bottom step. With your back straight, push your hips back and bend your knees to lower into a squat position. Using your leading leg, step up to the next highest stair. Follow with your back leg. Try to stay in the low position as you work up in 12-15 steps. 

Face the other direction to work the other leg and repeat on other side for 12-15 steps.

RUN!

Run fast for one lap around the track. You should be working hard and breathing heavily for this lap. You get to rest after this, so give it all you have!

Walk one lap around the track to recover.

That's 1.25 miles work + your warm up and cool down = 2 miles. Beginners, you're done! Good job. 

Intermediate to advanced runners: Rest and repeat 1 or two more times or until an hour is up.

It is important to remember that while I am running coach and personal trainer, I am not your running coach and personal trainer. Please speak to your doctor before beginning any new exercise program and/or work with a fitness professional who knows your unique abilities and goals. 

I'd love if you would give this speed and strength track workout a try and let me know what you think!

Like this post? Please consider sharing.

Running A-Z: F is for Fartlek (Train to Run Faster with Fartleks)

I am having a great time with this new running A-Z blog series. Every week I cover a new running-related topic following the order of the alphabet. I am wide-open for future topic suggestions. Let me know in the comments. This week we are on the letter F. F is for fartlek! 

Fart what? Yes. Fartlek. After all these years of running it may still make me giggle like a 12 year old girl, but fartleks are an effective, fun way to train to run faster.

Fartleks are a form of interval training. You practice periods of fast running without specific speed or distance goals, followed by rest intervals based on feel. It is a go-as-you-please interval plan that can be fun and challenging for new and experienced runners alike! 

Fartlek is a Swedish word that means speed play. Ollie, my dog, describes it best. 

I run faster to chase a squirrel and slow down to sniff a tree. I think you runner humans call that Fartlek, I call it life.
— Ollie

Have you ever picked up a running magazine and felt confused by the running plans? The article might recommend to run half marathon pace for 800 meters, or 10K pace for 400 meter repeats, or 5K pace for 400 meters divide by four and subtract 10 seconds. Huh? If your head is spinning because you can't calculate math in your head, (or particularly well with a calculator, like me) or you don't have a track nearby, then fartlek might be the interval training plan for you. 

The great thing about fartleks is that you don't need any special equipment, a GPS watch, a track or a treadmill. You run entirely by feel. A heart rate monitor can be helpful to monitor effort, but not necessary. 

Warm Up

Warm up between five and 10 minute by walking or jogging at conversational pace. You should be able to hold a conversation at this pace without stopping for deep breaths between words or sentences. Breathing should be very easy.

Speed Interval

After you are warmed up, it is time to start your first fartlek interval. Choose a spot ahead in the distance, maybe a parked car, a telephone pole or a stop sign. You choose the distance. Pick up your pace so you are running faster with a rate of perceived (RPE) exertion between a 7-9 until you reach your destination.

RPE is a great way to calculate effort if you don't have a heart rate monitor. Use this chart to help determine RPE.

RPE is a great way to calculate effort if you don't have a heart rate monitor. Use this chart to help determine RPE.

Recovery Interval

Slow to a jog (or walk, if necessary) to return to conversational pace. This interval takes as long or as little time as needed for you to recover from your speed interval. The key here is to be honest with yourself. Don't start running until you are breathing normally again, and (important!) don't jog or walk any longer than you need to in order to recover. As soon as you are recovered, prepare for your next speed interval. 

Recovery time can vary from workout to workout, day to day based on a variety of factors: the weather, how well you ate (fueled), how well you slept, how recovered you are from your last workout. 

Your workout may look like this: Warm up. Run fast to the top of a hill, recover as you jog down the other side of the hill, run to the park bench, then run faster until you reach the white minivan in distance. Recover as needed then run fast to the next stop light. 

Continue for 25-45 minutes depending on your running experience. 

Fitting it all in

Effort sessions should be limited to two times a week for beginners and no more than four times a week for advanced runners. Any type of speed work, tough strength training workouts, hill repeats or long runs are considered effort sessions. Your body needs time to repair and recover after a hard workout, so allowing rest periods and recovery workouts in between tough sessions will allow you to come back stronger for your next one. 

I recommend a fartlek session once a week for speed training. It is a fun and effective way build speed work into your running and strength training routine without too much pressure!

Have fun with it. 

Like this post? Please consider sharing

Any questions? Have you ever trained to run faster with fartleks? Hit me with your favorite fartlek joke. Let me know in the comments.

Coach Lea

 

 



 

 

 

What Should I Do First: Strength Training or Running?

What Should I do First? Strength Training or Running? 

First of all, congratulations for incorporating both running and strength training into your weekly routine. As a running coach and a personal trainer, I believe the strongest runners are the ones who make time for strength training.

What comes first? Running or Strength Training?

What comes first? Running or Strength Training?

I understand that it can be tricky fitting it all in, it is something I have to work at in my own training. I want to put in enough miles to stay consistent and improve in my running, but I also want to make sure I am doing at least the basic strength, balance and stability exercises to stay strong and healthy. Not to mention I still need build scheduled rest days into my weekly training schedule. How do I make it all fit?

One great way to do this is to perform some strength training moves on the same day as you run. Then the question arises, what should you do first, run or strength train? You should do whatever one is most important to you. Think about your goals and which activity will bring you closer to achieving your goals.

If your main goal is to run a marathon, then running should come first, since running is your primary goal. You could then choose to do some strengthening moves after you run and allow for a full rest day after this hard workout. Remember that rest is essential in order to improve.

If your main goal is to build strength, then strength training should come before you run. You will have the most energy for the activity you choose to do first, so it should be the most important to you based on your goals. 

If your main goal is fat loss, I think that both running and strength training are equally important. Cardio exercises that gets your heart rate up (like running) will help you lose fat, but you want to make sure you are not also losing muscle, so strength training is important. I usually recommend to my fat loss clients that they do their cardio work first, so they have the energy to raise the intensity enough for fat loss. 

If I am training for a race then running will be my priority, but in my off-season (aka hot summers), strength training takes the front seat. There is no right or wrong answer. It's up to you to decide what is best for you, based on your current goals. 

What do you do first? Running or strength training? 

Coach Lea

Like this post? Please consider sharing.

 

 

 

 

WORKOUT WEDNESDAY: FOUR MINUTE SQUAT CHALLENGE

I love quick and effective workouts. Not every workout that you do has to be an intense hour-long session. It took me a long time to break out of the all-or-nothing mindset. I used to think if I didn't have the time for a full-blown workout, I wouldn't bother with one at all. The truth is that a 15 minute workout that you actually do is always 100% better than the hour workout you didn't do. 

Today's squat challenge explores eight different squat variations. It is a fun way to get in a lower body workout and possibly try some new moves. If you are a runner, this is great workout to do after you finish your run to squeeze in some quick strength training. 

Can you find four minutes in your day for this fun squat challenge? You will perform this squat circuit Tabata-style, which means you will do work for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds for four minutes. If you want to make it more challenging, rest for one minute after each four minute circuit and repeat until your Glutes are on fire!

This circuit incorporates eight squat variations. 

1. Traditional Chair Squat

Push your hips back and lower until your thighs are parallel to the floor (like you are sitting back in a chair) or as low as your flexibility allows. In the low position, engage your core, squeeze your glutes and push up to standing in an explosive movement. Return to center, pushing hips back and repeat for 20 seconds. Take a deep breath in as your lower to the squat and breathe out as you return to standing. Rest for 10 seconds before moving on to the next exercise.

2. Wall Squat

Stand against a wall and lower your body to a squat position so that your thighs are parallel to the floor. Keep your back straight, your core engaged and your arms pressed into the wall. Do not rest your hands on your knees or lean forward. Hold in an isometric low position for 20 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds before moving on to the next exercise.

3. Curtsey Squat (Right Side)

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, hands on hips. Cross right leg behind the body and to the left. Bend left knee 90 degrees, or as low your flexibility will allow, toes pointing forward, then return to starting position. Repeat for 20 seconds on one side. Rest for 10 seconds before moving on to the next exercise.

4. Curtsey Squat (Left Side)

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, hands on hips. Cross left leg behind the body and to the right. Bend right knee 90 degrees, or as low your flexibility will allow, toes pointing forward, then return to starting position. Repeat for 20 seconds on one side. Rest for 10 seconds before moving on to the next exercise.

5. Lateral Squat (Right Side)

While facing forward, with toes pointing straight ahead, take a wide step out to your right side. With your hips back, bend your right knee, while straightening your left leg. With your back straight, hing at your hips to touch the floor with both hands on either side of your foot. Do not allow your knee to move forward beyond your toe. Be sure to keep your torso and both feet facing forward. Repeat for 20 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds before moving on to the next exercise.

6. Lateral Squat (Left Side)

While facing forward, with toes pointing straight ahead, take a wide step out to your left side. With your hips back, bend your left knee, while straightening your right leg. With your back straight, hing at your hips to touch the floor with both hands on either side of your foot. Do not allow your knee to move forward beyond your toes. Be sure to keep your torso and both feet facing forward. Repeat for 20 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds before moving on to the next exercise.

7. Sumo Squat

With your legs in a wide stance and toes pointing out, push your hips back and lower yourself into a sumo squat. Do not allow your toes to move beyond your toes. Repeat for 20 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds before moving on to the next exercise.

8. Sumo Squat (Pulse)

With your legs in a wide stance and toes pointing out, push your hips back and lower yourself into a sumo squat. Do not allow your toes to move beyond your toes. Stay in the low position and pulse the reps without returning to standing for 20 seconds. Rest for one minute before repeating the circuit.

Give it a shot and let me know how you feel!

Like this post? Please consider sharing.

Running A-Z: E is for Endurance, How to Build Running Endurance

Welcome to the latest installment of Running A-Z where I cover a running related topic following the order of the alphabet. This week we are talking about how to build running endurance without risking injury. 

If you are a distance runner or want to be, you should be focusing on building your cardiovascular endurance. Running endurance is how long you can run. A new runner may be looking to build their endurance so they can run a 5K without stopping and a more experienced runner may want to run a full marathon. These are both great goals that require the same process. 

Gradual Adaption

The safest way to build endurance is through gradual adaptation. This means that you must not rush the process. It takes time, consistency and patience to build endurance without risking injury. If you are new to running this process will take longer than someone who already has an established running base. Be patient.

Rules of Running Endurance 101

Never increase intensity (speed) and volume (milage) in the same week. This means if you are doing speed work to increase your pace, your overall mileage for the week should remain the same that week. On weeks where you increase your milage do not also increase the intensity of your workouts. 

Increase milage by approximately 10% per week. Every 4th week, drop the milage to allow your body a chance to recover. 

All endurance training running should be done at a conversational (slow) pace. This means you should be able to have a conversation with your coach or running partner for the duration of the workout. If you are breathing heavily, you should slow down (to a walk if necessary). Once you build endurance for a particular distance, you can then work on speed to cover that distance faster. 

Rest days and easy mileage weeks are essential to successful endurance training. Overtraining will lead to injuries and depleted energy. It may be tempting to push harder and run longer in hopes of achieving faster results, but this will often backfire. It is during the recovery periods that your body adapts and grows stronger. Always allow rest days in between effort session (fast or long runs) for proper recovery. 

Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep a night. If you are going to bed at midnight and getting up a 5am for your training run, you are not doing your body any favors. Sleep is mandatory for a recovery.

See my post on nutrition for runners for more tips on how to effectively fuel for running.

Are you working on your cardiovascular endurance? How can I help? 

Coach Lea

like this post? Please consider sharing.