Making the Cut: Day 4 Circuits

Since I’m not formally training for a race right now, I have time to mix up my running workouts with weights and other circuit training.  This circuit workout from from Jillian Michaels’ “Making the Cut” brings results.  Tough sets, but you can do it!

stronger-than-you-think

After warming up, complete one round of each circuit without rest WITHIN circuits.  Take 30 seconds rest BETWEEN circuits. If you have time or want extra intense results, repeat. All movements should be done with maximum weight possible.  Cool down when complete.

Circuit 1

Wide-grip lat pull-downs – 1-3 reps max, drop 1/3 weight and do 6-8 more

Medium underhand pull-downs – 15X, then hold midpoint to failure

Seated hamstring curls x 15

Jumping lunges x 10 each leg

One-minute hill run at incline 12

 

Circuit 2

Terry pulls – 20X lighter, 12X heavier, 8X heaviest

Standing lat pull-downs – 10X

Back kicks with front shoulder press 10X each leg

One-minute hill run at incline 12

 

Circuit 3

Seated cable rows – 1-3 reps max, drop 1/3 weight and do 6-8 more

Step-ups x 20 each leg

Butt kicks 1 minute

 

Circuit 4

Incline bicep curls x 10 each arm

Pike crunches x 25

Seated hamstring curls x 10 each leg

Butt kicks 1 minute

 

Circuit 5

Superman HOLD for 1 minute

Boat pose HOLD for 30 seconds

Reverse plank HOLD for 1 minute

Jump rope 1 minute

Making the Cut: Day 3 Circuits

Since I’m not formally training for a race right now, I have time to mix up my running workouts with weights and other circuit training.  This circuit workout from from Jillian Michaels’ “Making the Cut” brings results.  Tough sets, but you can do it!

we-can-do-this-yes

After warming up, complete one round of each circuit without rest WITHIN circuits.  Take 30 seconds rest BETWEEN circuits. If you have time or want extra intense results, repeat. All movements should be done with maximum weight possible.  Cool down when complete.

Circuit 1

Scorpion push-ups x 20

Dumbbell flye with crunch on stability ball x 10

Leg extensions – 20X lighter, 12X heavier, 8X heaviest

Jump squats to failure*

 

Circuit 2

Decline dumbbell presses x 10 each arm

V-Cable flyes x 15

Squat-thrusts x 20

Side lunges x 10 each leg, alternating

 

Circuit 3

Close grip push-ups to failure

Plank-ups to failure

Jump squats to failure

One-leg squats x 10 each leg

Jumping jacks 1 minute

 

Circuit 4

Military shoulder press x 8

Wood choppers x 15 each side

Knee tuck jumps x 10

Side lunges w/lateral shoulder raise x 10 each leg

Reverse crunches x 5

Hanging abs with a twist x 10 each side

 

Circuit 5

5×30 second sprints – 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off (your preferred recovery pace) – total set = 5 minutes

Making the Cut: Day 2 Circuits

Since I’m not formally training for a race right now, I have time to mix up my running workouts with weights and other circuit training.  This circuit workout from from Jillian Michaels’ “Making the Cut” brings results.  Tough sets, but you can do it!

successdoesntcome

After warming up, complete one round of each circuit without rest WITHIN circuits.  Take 30 seconds rest BETWEEN circuits. If you have time or want extra intense results, repeat. All movements should be done with maximum weight possible.  Cool down when complete.

Circuit 1

Wide-Grip Lat Pull-Downs – 20X. 12X, 8X – go HEAVIER with weights each set

Dumbbell Row – 15X

Lunges (no weight) – alternating legs, 50X total

1 minute hill run @ incline 10

 

Circuit 2

Low Dumbbell Row – 15X

Seated Hamstring Curls – 15X

Step-Ups to Bench – 20X per leg

1 minute hill run @ incline 10

 

Circuit 3

Crab Walk – 10X forward

Reverse Plank Leg Lifts – 5X per leg

Crab Walk – 10X backward

Reverse Plank Leg Lifts – 5X per leg

Supermans – 20X, then hold top position 20 seconds

Reverse Crunches – 25X

Mountain Climbers – 1 minute

 

Circuit 4

Pendulum Lunges w/Hammer Curl – 20X total, alternating

Hammer Curls – perform to failure immediately after lunges end

Static Lunges w/Reverse Cable Flye – 20X, alternating

1 minute hill run @ incline 10

 

Circuit 5

One-Leg Bridge Lifts – 15X per leg

Toe Touch Crunches – 25X

Mountain Climbers – 1 minute

Making the Cut: Day 1 Circuits

Since I’m not formally training for a race right now, I have time to mix up my running workouts with weights and other circuit training.  This circuit workout from from Jillian Michaels’ “Making the Cut” brings results.  Tough sets, but you can do it!

yesican

After warming up, complete one round of each circuit without rest WITHIN circuits.  Take 30 seconds rest BETWEEN circuits. If you have time or want extra intense results, repeat. All movements should be done with maximum weight possible.  Cool down when complete.

Circuit 1

Dumbbell presses on Swiss ball – 20X

Dumbbell chest flyes on Swiss ball – 15X, half the weight of presses

Free squats – 50X, quick

One-minute sprint on treadmill 

 

Circuit 2

Plank 10 seconds

Close grip push-ups – 5X

Side plank inner thigh raise – 10X

Plank 10 seconds

Close grip push-ups – 5X

Side plank inner thigh raise – 10X

Burpies 10X

Sumo squats – 50X, quick

One-minute sprint on treadmill 

 

Circuit 3

Frog push-ups 20X

Squat thrusts 20X, directly into static squat 30 seconds

Shoulder press w/leg extension 10X each leg

Jump rope 1 minute

 

Circuit 4

Tricep dips 20X

Rope tricep presses to failure

Lunge w/lateral shoulder raise 10X each leg

Mountain climbers 1 minute

Boat pose 30 seconds

 

Circuit 5

Jump rope 1 minute

Bicycle crunches 50X

Extended plank (“shoulder plank”) 30 seconds

Podium Trifecta

When I first started running, I defined “race” as a noun:  the event of running.  My goal was to finish.  Just get to the end.  And that was enough.

As I trained more seriously, I began to set race goals for myself.  “Race” became a verb: to race.  To meet a goal.  Sometimes I missed those goals; I wanted a Boston Qualifying time in my first marathon, but missed it by two minutes (yes, TWO MINUTES). Sometimes I just barely got them; in my first half marathon, the Santa Barbara Wine Country Half, my hope was to get in under two hours.  My finish time was 1:59:58!  And sometimes I beat them; in the Tinker Bell Half, I was aiming for 1:45 and I came in at 1:43.   And that was enough.

Then, while I was training for my first trail 22K, my coach mentioned in passing, “you’ll podium with this one.”  Say what?!  Podium?  As in, win?  Win a place?  Like first, second or third place?  ME?!  He was right, as he usually is:

  xterra1

Suddenly, the verb “to race” had another meaning.  It became a competition.  And not just against myself.  Finishing or meeting a goal was not enough.  “To race” meant to compete against other people and to win.  And, overnight, I had podium fever.  I had a taste of winning.  And I liked it.  I loved it.  I wanted more of it.

“Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing.”  

-Vince Lombardi

In my next race (the following weekend; how is that for crazy?!), I pushed more than I had ever pushed before.  I ran the Fiesta Days 10K, a super hilly course, in 44:35.  At mile 3, a traffic cop said, “there is the first woman!  Go, first woman!”  My jaw dropped (as much as one’s jaw can drop when pushing a stupidly fast pace up a hill).  I pushed more.  I won first place female overall.  Me.  Me, who had never dreamed of winning anything related to running ever in my life, except maybe a race raffle for free shoelaces or something.

fiesta3

I had one more race to go in my spring series, an 8 mile trail race in the Hollywood hills.  I was determined to place again.  But I was exhausted.  I had very little juice left.  For most of the race I knew I was in fourth place.  I saw one, two, and three women go by at the turn-around point.  But I put my head down and kept pushing.  When I crossed the finish at 1:03:04, I was sad.  Sad that I had not placed.  Disappointed in myself.

And I knew that was crazy.  I knew I should be happy with my amazing time (a new PR for trail!), my extreme push, my overall excellent performance.  My family cheered.  I tried to put on a happy face.

silvermedal

I looked at the results as soon as they were printed at the race booth; yep, fourth place.  I had placed first in my division, but that didn’t reduce the sting of fourth.  “I’m so stupid for feeling this way,” I though to myself over and over again.  “Be happy!” I tried to silence that crazy lady voice, the one that was sad, the one that is competitive.  I posed with my first place division medal and smiled.

And then some sort of miracle happened.  I got home and checked the official race results online.  I had placed.  I had placed third female overall.  In my last ditch efforts, I had somehow passed one woman.  I was ecstatic.

 HWS58-10523

I fully realize that these three races were small and not ultra competitive.  I will not always place.  In fact, I will NOT place more often than I WILL place.  That is reality.  And I have to be okay with that.  Because it really is just about getting out there, trying my best, and finishing strong.  I need to figure out how to silence my “MUST WIN EVERYTHING” demon.  Find satisfaction in the wonderful triumph of finishing.  Make “race” a noun again.  Enjoy the ride.

i have finished

But right now?  Today?  Today I am a runner who has won races.  I am a runner who had a podium trifecta in three weeks.  And that is amazing.

Tuesday Tracks, Week 1

Music can change your workout.  While I recently began running outdoors without music, my tunes are essential for the treadmill, lifting, and stretch.  I get pumped hearing a new track or an old favorite.  And, of course, music is a critical part of my spin classes.  There is no spin without some terrific tunes blasting through the speakers!

musicrunner

As a spin instructor, I get a lot of requests for playlists;  nothing makes happier than sharing good tunes.  So, each week, I will post seven songs, one for each day, to amp your workout.  No particular theme; just the tracks I’m currently enjoying.  Song seven will be a track for cool down and stretch.

Let me know if you have a favorite tune you would like to share!

1.  Hey Champ featuring BeuKes, “Comet” 

Mellow yet upbeat track for warm up or long lengths of road.

2.  Rihanna featuring David Guetta, “Right Now”

Uptempo track with inspiring lyrics.

3.  Young the Giant, “My Body” 

You try to stop when these gorgeous voices are yelling, “My body tells me no, but I won’t quit, ’cause I want more!”

4.  Earth, Wind, and Fire, “Fantasy”

You will find yourself jamming to this beat and singing along with the harmonies.  I promise.

5.  John Newman, “Love Me Again”

Catchy chorus and an all around fun time track.

6.  Royksopp and Robyn, “Do It Again”

Perfect track for interval work!  “It hurts so good!”

7.  Emika, “Wicked Game”

I love the original version of this song, but this one is haunting and addicting.

 

My Relationship with Shorts

Folks, my relationship with shorts has been rough.  I have tried wearing shorts all of my life.  I tried bermuda, cut-off, cargo, mid-length, knee-length, and short shorts.  But every time I pulled on a pair and looked in the mirror, I saw this:

shorts

And running in shorts?  Forget it.  No. Way. Ever.  I was a strictly capris girl for working out, despite how hot and sweaty I would get.  Don’t get me wrong: I had great self-esteem.  We just weren’t friends, shorts and me.

But then something magical happened when I began to seriously focus on running.  The more I ran, the better my legs looked.  I ran faster and longer.  I built long, lean hamstrings and quads.  I lost weight — nearly 20 pounds.

And one day, when I was in Sports Chalet looking for new sports bras, I thought, “should I try shorts?  I’ll try shorts.”  I picked out a pair of Reebok Crossfit shorts.  I snuck into the dressing room, fully expecting to hate how I looked.  And guess what.  GUESS WHAT?!  They looked good.  They looked great.  So I bought them.   I texted all of my girlfriends.  I showed my husband.  Me in shorts!  Alert the press.

I wore them to the gym and instantly felt awkward.  Those mirrors in front of the treadmill?  Yeah, they aren’t great for hiding.  But I did what I always do: I started to run.  And the legs I had worked so hard to achieve through hours and days and weeks of running?  They shone.  Released from their spandex capri prison, they moved gracefully, strong and powerful.

I ditched my capris.  Little by little, my shorts became shorter.  First came a pair of Adidas shorts.  Then some Lululemons.  Cute and flattering, but not perfect.  And then I found them: the holy grail of running shorts, the fabulously short short Oiselle Mac Roga.  I bought a pair on sale from Running Warehouse (wait, you don’t know about Running Warehouse?  Go visit the site.  I’ll wait…….).

Best.  Shorts.  Ever.  They are justslightlylonger in the back for a touch of extra coverage and they don’t bunch up between my legs.  If you want a good, solid, sexy pair of shorts, this is it.  fiesta2

Running gave me the confidence to wear shorts.  I still only own one pair of non-running shorts, but maybe this summer I’ll invest in more.

What has running given you the confidence to wear?

And no, Oiselle isn’t paying me for this post.  Although if they want me to be an Ambassador I would be happy to oblige.  🙂

Clothes that Motivate

The other day I unzipped my Adidas warm-up pants’ pocket and found this:

hidden

Well, thanks, pants’ pocket!  Way to get me going!

The inside of my Reebok shorts says, “I’m the toughest girl I know.”  Heck yeah I am!  There are hidden motivations in the hems of my Lululemon and Nike tanks, and my newest purchase, some fabulous Lorna Jane pants have, “your active life starts now” on the tag.

Finding hidden motivation brings a smile to my face and brightens my day.  Where have you found hidden motivation?

Kale, Quinoa, and Feta Salad

I love kale.   Beyond being trendy, it is a superfood for us runners.  Kale is rich in iron and vitamins K, A and C.  It is anti-infammatory and heavy with antioxidants.  While you can best absorb kale’s benefits when it is lightly cooked, raw kale is equally delicious.

kale-benefits

This salad, adapted from Smitten Kitchen, is a tasty way to get your kale in.  I have added orange to the salad and orange juice to the dressing to help with iron absorption, and fennel and avocado to make the salad more hearty.

Salad

  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa (or 1 1/2 cups cooked)
  • 8 ounces Black Kale, also known as Cavolo Nero, or Lacinato, Dinosaur, or Tuscan Kale
  • 1 bulb fennel, thinly sliced
  • 1 large orange, peeled and sliced
  • 1 large avocado, cubed
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds, very well toasted and cooled
  • 1/3 cup dried cherries, chopped a bit
  • 2 to 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill
  • 2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • Few gratings of fresh lemon zest

Dressing

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice (or more to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons smooth Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon coarse Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place quinoa and 1 1/2 cups water in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer with a couple pinches of salt. Simmer at a very low temperature for 15 to 20 minutes, until tender. Drain any un-absorbed liquid from cooked quinoa. Spread quinoa on a plate to cool quickly.

Wash your kale and dry it well.  Stack the leaves in small batches, roll them tightly the long way, and cut the roll crosswise into thin ribbons. Add the kale ribbons to a large salad bowl. Add remaining salad ingredients to kale and toss to mix.

Whisk dressing ingredients together in a small dish, and pour the dressing over the salad. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then dig in.

Foam Rolling is Your Friend

foam1

Who’s with me: there is nothing more simultaneously painful and pleasurable than foam rolling.   First come the string of profanities (“ohshitfuckfuckouchdamnit”), clenched jaw, and the watering eyes.  And then that joyful miracle moment when those tight muscles relax and everything feels right with the world.

(Yes, I am fully aware that the above description sounds like sex.  Get your minds out of the gutter, runners!  Although someone did once tell me that foam rolling was better than sex; I’m guessing he didn’t get much action.) 

I typically roll out my lower body after every other run.  This (very teeny-tiny, barely readable) chart (that I could not find a larger version of) sums up the exercises I  perform:

foam5

I also use a terrific  series of YouTube videos on foam rolling created by Carlos Sanchez.  He shows techniques to target specific aches, like lower back, knee, or sciatic pain.  I highly recommend checking out his channel.

Folks, how do you roll?!  Share with us.