Strength Training

My post-marathon recovery plan and why runners need a post-season

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In the pain cave at the 2016 VIctoria Marathon

So far I’m having a fairly typical post-marathon recovery.

My legs are incredibly sore and I’m walking like a zombie. The head cold I got just before my race is still kicking around (because I ran a marathon instead of resting like a normal person). My underarms are still sore and chafed, so I’m applying lotion liberally and not wearing scratchy sweaters. My marathon hanger has subsided, and I’m ensuring I take in lots of protein to aid in muscle repair and recovery. And as usual, I totally compromised my immune system by running hard and have the worst fever blister ever covering 75% of my nose and a bit of my chin. It’s so bad I actually had to work from home today — I look like quasimodo with my poor nose and shuffle-limp. I’m currently locked away in the bell tower hunched over my computer, only lumbering downstairs occasionally for tea and snacks. (more…)

Fitness Friday: Marathon training week 6

fitnessfridayHappy Friday, friends!

I’m finally back in the swing of marathon training after a few inconsistent weeks due to travel, festivals and vacation. Since Monday last week I’ve been hitting all my workouts as planned, and my legs have been feeling really good despite taking two weeks in between long runs.

Here’s a breakdown of how my week has gone so far (which I can now properly recap thanks to my new Believe Training Journal!):

FRIDAY (last week)

I was home on staycation, so I did a random upper body and core workout in the garage for 35 minutes before cleaning the house for two hours (a workout in itself). (more…)

Fitness Friday: “Toning” workouts and a running injury returns

fitnessfridayHappy Friday, friends!

As I explained a few posts ago, I finished my 8-week muscle and strength building program (which did help put on some baby muscles!) and started the Tone It Up Bikini Series this week.

I was skeptical about the Bikini Series workouts, because they looked like fluffy women’s fitness magazine workouts with lots of body weight exercises and strength training (or “toning” moves, as they call them) with tiny pink dumbbells. Now, that’s not going to do a whole lot to build muscle or make you stronger. But it’s a good place to start of you’re a beginner and not ready to get into true strength training. While online videos and DVDs are fine for body weight and light dumbbell exercises, I think proper strength training requires the assistance of a personal trainer or coach to ensure you’re performing the exercises correctly, so a) you don’t injury yourself, and b) you actually benefit from the moves. That said, there’s certainly a place for lighter, Pilates-type exercises. They do a good job of working your core and your ancillary muscles (triceps and biceps, etc.), and are particularly great if you’re rehabing an injury and can’t do heavy lifting or more intense exercise.

Anyway, here’s what my week of workouts looked like: (more…)

Tone It Up Bikini Series 2016 – My first impressions of the program

Meal prep Sunday for the Tone It Up Bikini Series 2016!

Meal prep Sunday for the Tone It Up Bikini Series 2016!

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed my posts have quadrupled since last week and are littered with hashtags about #tius and #bikinis. #sorrynotsorry.

As I explained in this post, I’ve joined a few thousand other women to take on the Tone It Up 2016 Bikini Series Challenge for the next eight weeks. And aside from keeping up with the group and feeling like a part of the community, all the posts and hashtags = chances at awesome prizes, including a trip to Turks and Caicos. Hence why I’m #sorrynotsorry.

I’ll do a full recap at the end of each week to let you know how it went and my thoughts on the workouts and meals (since they change a bit each week), but I thought I’d share some initial thoughts I’ve had since reviewing the program, doing Sunday meal prep and how changing up my morning routine went on day one. (more…)

thinking out loud: Why I’m changing up my approach to exercise right now and a few exciting things!

Happy almost Friday!

Happy almost Friday!

First off, the exciting thing I alluded to in my two previous Friday posts is not happening 🙁 Well, it will happen, but just not as planned. More to come on that in a few weeks! #vagueblogging

But there were two other exciting things that happened over the past two weeks: I wrote my first article for AskMen.com (yes, I know it’s called Ask Men, but they have female writers too), so check it out if you want to know which pieces of Bri-approved home gym equipment you should get that don’t take up a ton of space and are relatively affordable. The second exciting thing was that I finally became an official member of Oiselle Volée!

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I’ve been a fan of their running apparel since the beginning (I have still have an original pair of shorts and sports bra) and everything they do for females in the sport of running, so I was more than happy to contribute to their athlete fund to get their awesome singlet and represent for real this time. (more…)

Workout Wednesday: A lazy, post-vacation (or post-illness) workout

Workout Wednesday_ A lazy, post-vacation (or post-illness) workoutYou know when you return from a week or more of vacation — that may or may not have included lots of relaxing, eating and drinking — and have a hard time getting back into your workout routine? Or when you’re out for a few days to a week with the flu and aren’t well enough to jump right back into your fitness routine?

Instead of putting off exercise for another day (or week), try this easy yet effective post-vacation/post-illness workout routine. You won’t be burning mega calories with this one, but it’s a great set of exercises to help get you back on track.

This will most likely be the workout I do in a few days after I recover from whatever illness I have at the moment (almost everyone at work has some kind of sickness, and I seem to have had a bad reaction to medication I took yesterday for something unrelated… ugh). (more…)

My post-marathon spring fitness program

At Caesar's Palace on our Vegas vacay

At Caesar’s Palace on our Vegas vacay

Now that the Phoenix Marathon and my winter vacation has come and gone, I sat down over the weekend to plan out my soring fitness program – essentially my workouts and meal planning from now until the summer. I finally went for a short run on Sunday, two weeks after the Phoenix race, and it was a total slog. Nothing hurt, which was great, but my legs felt like lead. It probably didn’t help that I jumped right into strength training this week and was feeling a bit sore.

Although there’s a small part of me that wants to sign up for the BMO Vancouver Marathon on May 1st to attempt to qualify for Boston again this year, I know my body (and mind) needs a break from those epically long Sunday runs. I could probably train without increasing my mileage too much, but I really miss feeling strong and fit from those four-day-a-week strength training sessions. So, I’ve decided to forgo the BMO Vancouver Marathon and to set my sights on the Goodlife Victoria Marathon again as a qualifying race this fall. Yes, that means I won’t achieve one of the goals I set for myself in January (well, just the year that I get to run Boston – I still could technically qualify this year). And I’m okay with that. I feel like this year will be a year where a lot of things may change and goals will shift accordingly. I’ve already experienced several big changes so far this year that will probably affect my 2016 goals that I’ll share at some point on the blog (don’t worry, it’s in a good way!). (more…)

A seated upper-body workout for a lower-body injury

Seated upper-body teaserBeing injured sucks.

But it especially sucks if you’ve been training for an event, such as your first Boston Qualifying-attempt marathon, when a lower-body injury occurs just five days before your race.

If you’re lucky, it won’t be too serious and you can bounce back within an month. You may have to miss your race, but at least you can ease back into training sooner once you get the A-OK from your physiotherapist or doctor. Other times, you might be sidelined for 12 weeks or more, depending on the type of injury.

Being sidelined is hard, especially when running or exercising in general is your natural state. Although complete rest with physio and other rehab methods (such as IMS, massage or chiro) is best, you may be cleared to do some upper-body exercises if you happen to be dealing with a lower-body injury.

Because I am not an athletic therapist and because certain injuries require certain means of recovery and repair, I can’t tell you specifically what to do to help you return to training. But I can share some general injury recovery guidelines and a sample seated upper-body program you could bring to your physiotherapist or doctor and check to see if you’re clear to try something like it (but modified, of course, based on your injury).

This is a program I’m doing right now with one of my clients who has a severe knee injury. While this program was cleared and given the A-OK by his doctor, it might not be suitable for you. Please check with your doctor before starting any exercise program, especially when injured. (more…)

Why recreational runners and triathletes need a postseason

postseason triathleteDo you run a marathon every three to six months for fun, or take part in shorter races (running, swimming biking) all year long? If so, it might be time to take a four- to eight-week break from endurance activities and have an “postseason” like the pros do.

And by break and don’t mean no running/swimming/biking at all — I mean cutting back on your endurance workouts to 1-2 days a week, taking a FULL week break from all exercise (aside from low-impact movement like walking, yoga and hiking), then focusing on resistance training for the remaining three to seven weeks.

What’s a postseason?

A postseason (otherwise known as active rest) is a phase during the yearly training cycle for athletes that happens after competition (the in-season phase). A postseason can be anywhere from four to eight weeks long, depending on an athletes training cycle. According to the National Strength and Conditioning Association, “the main focus [during postseason] should be on recovering from the previous competitive season. Low training duration and intensity are typical for this active rest phase, but enough overall exercise or activity should be performed to maintain a sufficient level of cardiorespiratory fitness, muscular strength, and lean body mass. During the postseason, the aerobic endurance athlete should focus on rehabilitating injuries incurred during the competitive season and improving the strength of weak or underconditioned muscle groups.” (more…)

My Boston Qualifier winter marathon training plan

Me after BQ'ing at the Victoria Marathon last year. Hopefully I'll be this excited again in February!

Me after BQ’ing at the Victoria Marathon last year. Hopefully I’ll be this excited again in February!

What happens when you miss the cut-off for the Boston Marathon by 1 minute and 25 seconds because you didn’t run fast enough under your qualifying time?

You pick a promising goal race with enough time to run another qualifying race if you don’t make it during the first attempt, and then make a plan to get faster.

To be honest, I’m not thrilled about training for a marathon in the cold winter months when it’s dark and rainy out. But if I want to run the Phoenix Marathon on February 27, 2016, long runs on cold winter mornings will have to happen. I’m also not thrilled that training will start in a few weeks, even though I had planned (and started) to go into a muscle/strength building phase.

But Boston is my goal, and since I didn’t make it in for 2016, 2017 will have to be the year.

One of the reasons why I chose the Phoenix Marathon (other than it will give me enough time to try again at the BMO Vancouver Marathon in May if I don’t run at least 6 minutes under my qualifying time of 3:35) is the net elevation loss on the course. It’s pretty much downhill the whole way, which is awesome, whereas Vancouver is a bit too hilly for my liking. Also, Matt and I have decided we could make a trip of it: Hitting up some NHL games, Disneyland and Vegas on the way back. Sounds like the perfect excuse to run Phoenix to me! (more…)

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