30 Day Challenge + Last Call for Race Entry Giveaway

One thing that I’ve never been great at is consistently incorporating strength training in my workout routine. I go in spurts where I do it a couple of days a week for a while and then it always seems to fall off.

I wanted to do something that would give me a kick in the butt to do more strength training while I’m building up my base again after the marathon and before New Orleans Half training really picks up. So, I decided to do a 30 day challenge of planks, push-ups, and squats! I was thinking about this on Nov. 1, and since there are 30 days in November, I decided there’s no time like the present.

I did a 30 day challenge a couple of years ago, so I pulled out the schedule I used for that.

30daychallenge

I’m keeping myself motivated by putting the printed schedule on my coffee table so I see it each day and can cross it off when I’ve done the exercises. I have no excuses – these are things I can easily do in my living room while watching TV or right after a run.

My hope is that getting into a routine in November will carry over to at least doing some strength training a couple of days per week throughout half marathon training.

And don’t forget about the Girls on the Run Twin Cities 5K Giveaway! This is your last call to enter!

Have you ever done a 30 day challenge?

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Much needed vacation

I got to spend the last week on a much needed vacation. Nothing better than kicking off the summer season with some family time at the beach. This vacation included a lot of the typical lounging in the sun, eating great food, and relaxation. It also included some good beach workouts.

The day I flew in was rainy, but there were palm trees so I knew I was officially on vacation!

MB1

We did a little shopping to pass the time. I found a purple panda in a store! Actually, I saw three purple pandas that day – all different, all in different stores. (P.S. this is significant because my favorite color is purple and my favorite animal is a panda :P)

MB2

By the end of the day, the weather was starting to turn around.

MB3

The next few days were beautiful and allowed us to get out for some long walks on the beach in the mornings and then lay in the sun in the afternoon. The dog loved going for some walks with us, too!

MB4

 

I did manage to get in a 5 mile beach run one day.

MB5

A couple days later, some rain moved in so I had to hit the treadmill for a 2.5 mile run, but at least I had a nice view.

MB6

Our last day of vacation was gorgeous. It was almost a crime to come up from the beach so we could catch our flight. After a busy several weeks, the relaxation was so nice. Can’t wait to go back!

MB7

How are you gearing up for summer?

Week 3 of 30 Day Challenges & Holiday Treats

Week 3 is complete! I made it through another week and got all of my challenges in each day. I have to admit that the planks have gotten a lot harder. I do okay getting up to 1:30 – 2 minutes, but now that I’m up to 2:30 and 3 minute planks, I’m having trouble holding it the whole time. I was supposed to hold a plank for 3 minutes today and just couldn’t do it. Crapped out around 2:30. But, that’s okay. The important thing is I’m doing it every day, holding it a long as I can, and getting stronger in the process (just maybe not as fast as the plan calls for).

The temps were in the 20’s on Saturday and I geared up for my first outdoor run since Thanksgiving. But, when I got to the bike/walk path, I saw that it had a lot of packed snow on it. A braver runner might have attempted it, but I opted to go back inside and hit the treadmill. Might need to invest in Yaktrax or something so I can get outside and feel confident in my footing. I got in 3.5 miles on the treadmill (10:30 pace) and felt great.

This morning I woke up and could feel a little soreness in my legs after my run and a total of 145 squats the day before. So, I just walked for 30 minutes and did my plank and 80 squats to complete my challenges for the day (it was a rest day for push ups).

The 30 day challenges have kept me active each day, which is good because this weekend has been full of holiday fun and treats. Including this guy at a fabulous Christmas party Saturday night…

Reindeer made of cupcakes!
Reindeer made of cupcakes!

And a Sunday afternoon of baking these…

Cookie baking party! (I made the gingerbread men :))
Cookie baking party! (I made the gingerbread men :))
Seriously, we made a lot of cookies!
Seriously, we made a lot of cookies!

What holiday treats did you eat/make this weekend? What do you wear for running in the snow?

Putting Running Back in the Rotation

I ran on Tuesday night for the first time in about 2 weeks. It felt great! I’ve enjoyed taking a break from running; I think it’s helped me appreciate it in a new way and allowed me to miss it. Tuesday’s run wasn’t for training–it was just for fun.

I met Hyedi at the Metrodome for Dome Running. The Minnesota Distance Running Association opens up the Metrodome on Tuesday and Thursday evenings for runners to get in some miles off the treadmill during cold Minnesota winters. It costs $1. Yes, $1. This was only the second time I’ve gone, and it will be the last time – well at least at the Metrodome as we know it. They’re tearing it down to build a new stadium for the MN Vikings. So, the end of December will mean the end of Dome Running, but Hyedi and I had to get in one more run.

2.5 laps around the stadium is about a mile. We ran for 30 minutes and did just over 8 laps – a bit short of a marathon. 😉

dome running sign

dome running miles

Apparently I can't walk and take pics at the same time
Apparently I can’t walk and take pics at the same time

I think I’m still going to keep varying my workouts, but I’m going to start working running back into my rotation. I’m already starting to think about spring races and training is going to need to begin in the new year. Until then, I’ll enjoy the variety and cross training. I swam last Sunday morning and it felt great to get back in the pool–and to wear flip flops in the middle of December in Minnesota. 🙂 Of course I followed my swim with a few minutes in the hot tub.

sunday swim

What are your favorite cross training workouts? Are you thinking about 2014 races?

Week 2 of 30 Day Challenges

So, this is a little late. But I wanted to give a quick update on my 30 day challenges. I’ve done my challenges every day! I still notice progress with each day, and I’m up to a 2 minute plank! While I have to admit it’s a bit shaky in the second half, I still held it!

2 min plank

These challenges are definitely helping me stay active this month and I can feel myself getting stronger which is the real reward.

How is your month of workouts going?

Week 1 of 30 Day Challenges & Weekend Fun

Happy to report that week 1 of my 30 day challenges is complete! I’m up to 45 seconds on the plank, 21 push ups, and 90 squats. I can already feel each of these getting easier as I do them everyday.

Week 1 = done!
Week 1 = done!

On Saturday morning, I met up with Hyedi to grab coffee and then we got to take a backstage tour of the Guthrie Theater. It was a really cool tour and really makes me want to go see a show there! They’re showing A Christmas Carol right now, so the set was up in one of their theaters which was really cool to see. We heard about the history of the theater and the decision to “put the theaters in the sky,” meaning they are on the 4th floor which allows for great views of the Mississippi river and downtown Minneapolis. We couldn’t take pictures on the tour, but here are a couple from outside the theater.

Guthrie1   Guthrie2

On Saturday night, I went with my sister and some friends to watch the Holidazzle parade. It was literally freezing (sub-zero temps), so we planned to head downtown early and commandeer a spot on the 2nd floor of Barnes & Noble where you can look out the window and see the parade while staying toasty warm. We scored a great spot and saw all the pretty lights!

Santa!
Santa!

From there we headed over to Hell’s Kitchen for dinner. The ham and pear crisp sandwich was pretty good. Could’ve even used more pear on it.

Hell's Kitchen   HK ham and pear

I got up Sunday morning and headed back to Revolution Cycle + Fitness for my second free class. I met Hyedi and Mandy there and we did the Absolutely Arms class. I can assure you it was a stellar arm workout because my muscles are still feeling the sore today.

It was supposed to lightly snow all day, so I ran by Target on my way home so that I wouldn’t have to leave the comfort of my couch for the rest of the day and that’s pretty much what I did. Nothing like a lazy Sunday afternoon while it’s snowing outside.

What fun things did you do last weekend? Anyone else successfully complete the first week of a 30 day challenge?

Trying Something New

Now that all of my races for 2013 are done, my workout regimen is changing a bit. I don’t have a training plan to follow that lays out what runs I should be doing each week. I still want to run at least a couple times a week, but I’m looking forward to trying out some new/different workouts this winter. I’ve got access to a workout room, so I know I’ll do more workouts on the elliptical, treadmill, and stationary bike to help change things up. And doing some strength training to keep building off of my 30 day challenges.

I also want to try out some classes like spin, yoga, Zumba, pilates, etc. Winter is a great time to try out something new and see if I find something I like and want to continue on a regular basis.

So, when Hyedi emailed me that the studio she goes to, Revolution Cycle + Fitness Studio, was holding a special where guests can try out 2 of their classes I was super excited to give it a shot! I agreed to trying out the 6 a.m. spin class last Tuesday. I’m not usually a morning workout person, so it was tough to get up and get going, but as soon as the class started I woke up quick!

The instructor, Dawn, had a lot of energy and kept things moving at a good pace. They focus on intervals, so you go hard for a bit then get some time to catch your breath before picking up the pace again.

Another cool thing about the class was the bikes. They have RealRyder Indoor Cycles. These bikes can actually lean from side to side and you can turn the handlebar like you’re steering an actual bike. You have to engage your arms and core in order to lean, so you get a full-body workout.

It was a great workout! Definitely needed to have a towel and water within reach. It actually gave me an excuse to use my new Nuun water bottle that I got at the Las Vegas Half expo.

nuun bottle

I’m excited to try out another new class at the studio soon and get in another great winter workout.

Any suggestions for workouts or classes I should try this winter? Do you have a class, gym, or fitness studio that you love?