Wednesday, December 28, 2011


What's a good color for a gymish-personal-training-studioish kind of space?

Can't pull my mind away from a vibrant green, maybe with blue accents. A lot like the Run Muffin blog.

I kind of like the idea of training in an orange space, too. But it seems like picking the right shade could lead to a major color disaster.

What do you think?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Strength Training for Runners

Strength training is straight up crazy.

When it comes to strength training, most people either don't do it at all, or when they do, they go totally and completely overboard and can't stay with it. Now don't get me wrong, extremo regimens like P90X are super effective--if you stick to them.

The truth is, strength training is super important to your health and fitness--it fights off osteoporosis, it plays a key role in everyday movements (lifting groceries, anyone?), and more muscle mass keeps the metabolism a whole lot higher. So guess what? It's gotta happen.

Fitness can be broken down into 3 parts: strength, flexibility, and endurance. In order to be truly fit, you need to be capable in all 3 area. As runners, we've got the endurance thing cornered, but the other 2? Not so much. Runners are infamous for not being able to do a push-up and not being able to touch their toes.

Just look at me as an example, I've been running regularly since 1994 and I've logged about 1,000 running miles every year for the last 5 years. My resting heart rate is less than 50 beats per minute. But my body fat? It doesn't fall into the fitness range. Why? Too many snacks and NOT ENOUGH STRENGTH TRAINING.

And just like all aspects of fitness, regular small doses of strength training is way better than going crazy with weight lifting for 4 days every 2 years.

In my opinion, there are a few strength exercises that are absolutely essential to everyone, runner or not. They're basic moves that can be done at home with no fancy equipment. In no particular order, they're:

This program helped me get from 0 push-ups to 20 standard push-ups in a month. 
I did a lot of push-ups in my office!

Seriously, did you know that the tricep is the biggest muscles in your upper arm?

Start with those. Run through the whole routine 3 times every week. Aim for 3 sets of each exercise, with 10-20 reps. And then, when you get the hang of that, you can go flip some tires with these these guys. That gym is right down the street from Kennebec Valley Coaching, and we share a couple clients. If you'd like to be able to pick up your house and move it around on its lot every month or so, call them.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Upcoming Classes and The Best Rates on Personal Training in the Entire Milky Way Galaxy!!!

Hello Kennebec Valley Coachers!

I hope you've all had a great holiday season so far. We're really looking forward to the new year, and Kennebec Valley Coaching will have lots of new classes to offer! Gingerbread bootcamp has been a huge success, and I can't even believe the progress people have made in The Holiday Ham Hock Super Challange on facebook. The miles run and the weight lost DURING the holidays have been kind of ridiculous! I mean really, who loses 8 pounds between Thanksgiving and Christmas? Kennebec Valley Coachers do!

I'd like to invite you all to the Kennebec Valley Coaching 2011 Finish Line Party. It'll be a fun, end of the year wrap-up party at my house. The party will be this Friday 12/30, at 7 o'clock. Please bring a healthy snack or a bottle of something bubbly to share, and I promise I'll have a fabulous dessert. We'll have a good old fashioned Yankee Swamp, so bring a fitness-related gifty that's under $10ish. If you plan on coming, just drop me a note to let me know. Spouses and friends are welcome!


Here's the list of upcoming classes. And guess what? As a current client of Kennebec Valley Coaching, you'll get a $5 credit toward your next class registration for every friend you refer between now and January 14th!

Winter Warriors Running Group starts on Saturday, January 14th. The class will meet for 10 Saturdays during January, February and March--we've built in 2 snow days. The class will be a combination of indoor bootcamp style exercises and outdoor running, so please bring clothes to wear inside and gear to wear outside. You should also bring an exercise mat, and a set of weights that you can lift above your head. If you need time to warm up, please come early. You can register by clicking here, or you can email me to arrange payment by cash or check. Class size is limited, and filling up quickly!

The Fifty Pound Club and The Hundred Pound Club will meet on Wednesday nights and Saturday mornings. Right now, since the groups are small, we'll meet all together on Wednesdays and Saturdays, at 6pm and 12:30 pm respectively. If you or someone you know has a significant weight loss goal, these clubs are a great opportunity to get support, learn new ways of exercising, and track progress in a small and fun group setting. These groups are $59/month. If you've already registered, you can expect an email with details tomorrow! If you'd like to register, please contact me directly.

Stroller Rollers Snowed In starts on Wednesday, January 4th. This will be a 45-minute aerobic/plyometric/strength/
toning class for moms and their kiddos. It's a great way to get some real results while you and your little ones meet a few new friends. We'll be meeting on Wednesday mornings at 9:30 at The Rising Sun Dance Studio in Winthrop--a completely childproofed space with plenty of room for the kids to play. We still need a few more to make the class a go. Class is $59 for 10 weeks. You can register by clicking here, or you can email me to arrange payment by cash or check.

Boot Camp! We've had lots of requests to keep on offering boot camp classes. If you're interested in a boot camp class, please let me know! If there's enough interest, KVCoaching will offer a weekly bootcamp class on Wednesday nights at 7 o'clock at the 320 Water Street location. We'll offer a 5-class punch card for $29 (cards will have an 8-week expiration period). Drop in classes will be $10 and the cost can be applied toward a punch card. If there's interest, we'll go for it!

Of course, we always offer individual run/fitness coaching for $59 per month. Coaching is offered to locals, and people all over the map! Individual coaching includes a weekly, individualized training plan, weekly check-ins, monthly face-to-face evaluations, and access to most of Kennebec Valley Coaching's classes and groups at no additional cost.

And finally, personal training goes for $29 per hour at the Water Street location, and $34 per hour at your home. But the best part? You can invite a friend, or two, or three, for only $2 per extra person. If you all pitch in, it's cheaper than a night at the movies. Just imagine the fun you could have with that! It's a completely new spin on a night out with the pals! I don't think you'll find a better deal on personal training in the entire state of Maine!

Kennebec Valley Coaching wants to grow, so please, if you  have friends or family who are interested in sustainable, long-term, fun & friendly fitness, please spread the word. We have big plans for 2012 and can't wait to keep you posted as they continue to unfold.

Happy New Year!!!!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Body Fat Check In

I'm 1 week into my body fat experiment, and so far I'm down from 25.9% to 25.4%. I've still got 5 weeks to go to hit my goal of 24%. I think that's pretty good!

There's been no magic trick to make it happen, just more strength training, more protein, more fruits and vegetables, less sugar, and almost no flour. My sweet treats have shifted from baked stuff like cookies and brownies to a few squares of dark chocolate, or a 1/2 cup of ice cream. Also, I've upped my running pace a few notches.

I'm especially happy since I went to a weekend-long family Christmas party this past Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I tried to load my plate with protein and veggies, and only make it to the dessert table once a day. I had to have a slice of my aunt's famous red velvet cake, but I only had a little piece--major victory in Amyland.

My goal this week, given the fact that I'm making a huge batch of Pioneer Woman cinnamon buns tonight and Christmas falls on Sunday, is to make it down to 25.2%. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Making Treadmill Running Suck Less

I used to hate treadmill running. No wait, let me rephrase that. I used to HAAAAAAATE treadmill running. But these days, thanks for a tricky little combination of technology, training tweaks, and xanex mixed with wine, I actually kind of love it.

The truth is, a girl like me has little to no chance of avoiding the treadmill all together. Between momming, working, coaching, and living in the frozen tundra called Maine, it's almost impossible to exclusively run on the roads. During the summer, when it's light until 9, I do 95% of my running outside. But this time of year it flip-flops and I'm almost entirely inside.

Last night I ran 12 miles on the treadmill, and believe it or not, I was pretty content while I did it. Seriously, I was. So, in an effort to make the world a happier place, I give you my tips for making treadmill running enjoyable...or at the very least, not homicidal.

1) Get yourself a decent treadmill. I bought mine from a guy on craigslist. When I bought it, it was 4 years old and had 39 total miles. It was originally $1,800 (I saw the receipt), but I paid $500.

2) Put your treadmill where no one will bother you. Mine's in my 1970s wood paneled basement. Sometimes, I'm not even kidding, we get wood peckers down there. Don't be jealous.

3) Vary your workouts. If you run 3 miles at an 11 minute mile pace every single day, you'll need psychotropic medication within 3 months. Vary your distance, incline, and speed during every run. Try changing something about your run every 2 minutes--the variety really pushes the time along. You can find some good ideas for mixing it up here and here.

4) Keep your cross-training gear nearby. If you can reach it, you're more likely to use it. I also like to grab a set of weights and do some upper body exercises during my easy recovery runs--lateral raises, curls, tricep extensions, overhead presses, you get it.

5) Keep your kids busy while you run. There's nothing worse than straining to scream ideas to bored kids over the roar of a treadmill motor. For example: I SAID PLAY WITH YOUR BLOCKS, NOT EAT YOUR SISTER'S HAIR!!!! I keep some extra cool toys in the basement that my kids are only allowed to play with while I'm running on the treadmill. The stump-shaped tent? Amazing. For tiny babies, a swing is the perfect solution.

6) For the love of all things holy, watch some tv! Nothing shocks me more than hearing people talk about what they listen to on the treadmill. People, the treadmill is not a place for simple listening--it's a place for watching the smuttiest reality trash ever produced in the history of mankind. My favorites? Sister Wives, Ruby, Sixteen and Pregnant, Coming Out Stories, Jersey Shore...okay, I'm starting to embarrass myself.

(Psst. Keep your remotes close by.)

 7) You can access said smut for the low price of $59.99 with a Roku Box. This little beauty lets you stream Netflix and Hulu right through your tv.

8) Make a regular effort to run at and uncomfortably fast pace for a few minutes here and there, this makes your regular pace running feel so much easier.

9) Don't be afraid to eat some Skittles while your run.

10) And finally, give yourself time to get used to it. The more you run on the treadmill, the more natural it starts to feel.

How about you? Any good dreadmill tricks you want to share?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Running Blog

I swore I'd never start a running blog. Because holy hell, how much can one person over-analyze the act of putting one foot in front of the other?

A lot, I guess.

Damn. It. So nerdy.

2011 Christmas Gift Guide for Runners

Do you need a last minute Christmas gift for a runner in your life? Maybe a stocking stuffer for your very favorite runner? Whether you want to spend a little or a lot, look no further. These little presents are also great for motivating someone to stick with their New Year goals...

12 Gift Ideas for Runners

Medal Display $28

Garmin Forerunner 405 with Heartrate Monitor $159.99

Fun Shoelaces $4.49

Handheld Water Bottle $15.95

iTunes Gift Card $10-$50

Brooks Convertable Running Mittens $30

What's on your Christmas list this year?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

After the Couch to 5k: Making Your Runs Longer

This is the third post of a three-part series. Here are the first two:


Every once in a while, after someone finishes the Couch to 5k, they have the strong and immediate realization they've caught the disease. The distance disease. It's such a strange thing--the fact that people want to run and run and run and run--but it's a true thing. A true thing without an explaination.

 I mean you have see Forrest Gump, right?

Most of the time, runners make one of two or three mistakes when they have the itch to add on distance:

1) They assume, that since they were mostly running the same work out 3 times a week during Couch to 5k, that they should keep running the same workout 3 times a week. So, if their goal is to work up to a 10 mile run, they're under the impression that they should do 3 10-milers every week.

2) The Couch to 5k maxes out around 10 miles per week of total running. Rather than tacking on a mile-or-so each week, some people mistakenly add a mile-or-so to every single run.

3) They jump right into the Bridge to 10k program--which is fine for some people, but way too much too soon (TMTS for short) for others.

The good news is, you don't have to be so intense to up your mileage as a distance runner. Here are a few rules to play by:

1) Stick with 1 long run each week (tack .5-1 miles to the long run each week until you reach your goal), 1 medium run (65-75ish% of your long run), and fill in the rest of the week with easy runs. You can add a tempo run and some speed work if you want to get faster, too.

2) You don't have to stick with a 3 day training schedule. A good way to increase your total mileage is by increasing the number of days you run.

3) There's no need to rush. If you want to be a life-long distance runner, take it slowly. I like to have brand new runners focus on the 5k distance for at least 6 months before bumping it up to the 10k. I think a half marathon is a great goal after a year.

4) Before you set a major distance goal, work your way up. In other words, before you register for a half marathon, run a 10k. Before you register for a marathon, run a half marathon. And before you register for an ultra, see a good therapist, a good life insurance agent, and a good attorney who has experience drafting up wills.

5) Give yourself a mileage cutback week every third or forth week. Either cut your long run in half, or scrap it all together.

6) Replace your shoes every 300-500 miles. You'll buy new shoes all. the. time.

7) Just have fun with it. If you're starting to dread your long runs, take a hiatus and focus on something shorter.

8) Try to take in 100-200 calories ever 45-or-so minutes. Gatorade, Gu, and Power Bars all work for keeping you moving.

9) If you feel an injury coming on, back off for a week or two.

10) If people ask ridiculous questions like, "Why do you run so much?" Just ask them something back, like, "Why don't you?"

Here's a sample 2-week plan for a Couch to 5k grad who's looking to run farther. This example assumes that they can already run about 5 miles in a single pop.

MONDAY - 3 miles
TUESDAY - 4 miles
THURSDAY - 4 mile tempo run
SATURDAY - 5.5 miles

MONDAY - 3 miles
TUESDAY - 4.25 miles
THURSDAY - Speed Workout (6-half mile repeats)
SATURDAY - 6.25 miles

Questions on going farther? Post 'em in the comments.

Monday, December 12, 2011

After the Couch to 5k: A Recipe for Getting Faster

You walked, you ran, you did it for 10 weeks, and you finished your first 5k. Yay!

I'm not a mind reader or anything, but I bet you're thinking...."That was great! Now how do I get faster?"

Okay, so maybe I'm a mind reader.

 (By the way, if you're not interested in getting faster, check out this post here, and definitely this post on recreational running after the Couch to 5k)

When it comes to a faster 5k, there are some essential ingredients that you need to learn to cook with.

1) The Couch to 5k plan had you running less than 10 miles a week. Work to add a mile every week until you're somewhere around 15 miles. This will probably have you increasing your running days from 3 to at least 4 or 5.

2) With a goal for speed, every run should have a purpose. If you're running 4 days a week, it should look like this:


I'll elaborate.

SPEED: Might sound silly, but to run faster, you have to run faster. A great way to start is with timed interval training. Looks like this:

Start with a 5-10 minutes warmup jog
Run fast for 1 minute (a non-conversational pace)
Follow with a 2 minute easy jog (catch your breath and continue at a conversational pace)
Repeat the run/jog sequence 5 times

You can move up to 2 minute intervals with 2 minutes of rest, and you can also use measured loops--.25 miles and .5 miles. Run a loop, jog a loop, run a loop, jog a loop. Once it starts feeling easy, increase your intensity (run faster), or increase how many times you repeat the sequence.

Limit your speed work to once a week. It builds anaerobic capacity, so as a distance runner, you don't need too much of it. You mostly need aerobic work. 

TEMPO: A tempo run is the absolute best for building your aerobic capacity. Run a mile at your normal pace, run one to two miles at tempo pace, and wrap it up with a mile at your regular pace.

What's tempo pace? You can measure it two ways. If you train with a Garmin, aim to run 30-45 seconds slower than your 5k pace. Otherwise, run somewhere between a conversational and non-conversational pace. Tempo pace is too intense to chat about your favorite daytime Soaps, but not so intense that you can't turn to your friend and squeek out the words, "Holy crap (huff, huff, puff) did you see (gasp, gasp) what that lady was wearing?!"

EASY: An easy run is exactly what it sounds like, a sweet little jaunt through the park where you sniff the roses and listen to the robins. If you want to up your mileage, do it by adding in a few extra easy days. As you increase your fitness, your easy run pace will get faster.

LONG: In order to increase your aerobic endurance, it's important to run beyond 3.1 miles.Try adding .25-.5 miles onto your long run every week. Every fourth week, give yourself a break and cut your long run back by a mile. 

If your plan is to keep running 5ks, work your way up to 5 or 6 miles. You can vary the distance every week, but try to keep it over 4. Once 5 or 6 starts to feel easy, increase your intensity, or consider training for a longer event like a 10k of a Half Marathon.

3) After your easier workouts, toss in some strides. That means you'll run 50-100 meters up and down your street at your 5k race pace. Do it 3 or 4 times to help your body and brain learn what it feels like to run fast.

4) Work in some basic body weight resistance exercises and drills. Squats, walking lunges, crunches, push-ups, skips, planks, and toe raises are all good, basic movements for a runner. If you have questions about proper form, check out the Livestrong Channel on YouTube.

Does this sound complicated? Don't worry, it's not. Here's an example of a 2-week training plan:

Monday: 2 minutes fast and 2 minutes slow, 6 times
Tuesday: Easy 2 miles
Wednesday: 3 mile run with 1 mile at tempo pace
Thursday: Off
Friday: 4 miles
Saturday: Off
Sunday: Easy 2 miles
Total: 14ish miles

Monday: .25 miles fast, .25 miles slow, repeat 4 times
Tuesday: Off
Wednesday: 3.5 miles with 1.5 at tempo pace
Thursday: Off
Friday: Easy 4.25 miles
Saturday: Off
Sunday: Easy 3 miles
Total: 13.75 miles

And here's your basic math equation:

   Increased mileage
+ Runs with a purpose
+ Strides
+ Basic Strength Training
       A Faster 5k!!!!

Questions? Hit me.

Body Fat

I'm 25.9% body fat. For a woman like me, who weighs 150 pounds, that means that my body has 38.85 pounds of fat. The other 111.15 pounds is muscle, bones, organs, and a heart of gold (kidding). As a 30 year old female, this means I fall into the 'average range'--not the 'fitness range' and definitely not the 'athlete range.'

Aw dang.

For me, it's all around the middle. I've got the pooch, the muffin top, love handles, jelly belly. I have 'em all.

Here's a chart about body composition that's put out by the American Council on Exercise:

In order to get into the fitness range, which is where I want to be, I need to alter my body composition so that I'm made up of 24% body fat. If I stay at a weight of 150, this means converting 2.85 pounds of fat into lean muscle mass, so that I have 36 pounds of fat.

The other alternative is to lose a few pounds of fat. For example, if I lose 4 pounds of fat, I would weight 146 and have 34.85 pounds of body fat--23.8%.

This is my immediate fitness goal--to move from 25.9% body fat to 24% body fat.

Why? Well, two reasons. Falling into the fitness range decreases my risk of illnesses like heart disease and cancer, and sometimes, when I accidentally shut my belly fat in a window I think "This has got to go."

Okay fine, I've never shut my belly fat in a window, but once upon a time, I did get it stuck between the handle of a grocery cart and a Sam's Club sized case of olive oil. True story.

So. How do I do this?

Welp, there are 3 things that people--including me--need to do:

1. Improve my diet by staying in a healthy calorie range, dramatically reducing refined sugar and carbs, eating smaller, but more frequent meals, and eating more lean protein and vegetables.

2. Strength train by lifting weights or by using the resistance of body weight (like push-ups and squats).

3. Engage in regular aerobic activity.

As trainers, we learn to set attainable and measurable goals, with a date of completion for clients. So I'll follow my own advice.

My goal is to lose 1.9% body fat by January 23rd (6 weeks)

Let's see what this really takes.

Do you know your body fat percentage?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Lunchtime Tweaks

I usually don't eat out for lunch. Not because I don't love to eat out, but because it gets expensive. I work close enough to home that I usually blitz out and eat some leftovers while I catch an episode of The Duggars on Netflix Instant.

I love my life.

But today my schedule's all over the place, so I ended up grabbing lunch at a deli.

When I walked through the door of the deli, I wanted a Turkey Rachel. It's only the most amazing sandwich on the face of the planet....turkey with thousand island dressing, swiss cheese, and a heap of coleslaw, on buttered rye bread, grilled. Holy crap, it's hands down the best food item ever invented. But the butter alone makes it more of a treat sandwich and less of a normal-old-Thursday sandwich.

So I moved on and opted for this:

Yes, I'm a trainer who eats potato chips.

There are a few 'keys' to this lunch:

1) I ordered half of a sandwich. Yes, it has a little bit of mayo and swiss cheese, but only half as much as a regular sandwich.

2) I wanted the corn chowder--because HELLO????!!!! it's the soup of the gods--but again, it's heavy on the butter. And the cream. And all other manners of goodness. So I opted for the chicken and barley soup instead.

3) And the chips? It's a tiny bag that has 80 calories and 4.5 grams of fat. Much better choice than the potato salad and seriously, who doesn't love a chip?

Staying lean isn't about making extreme choices or eating strange foods. It's about making decent choices consistently. Sure I made a few little sacrifices, but that was a stinkin' good lunch. Plus, no blech feeling and zero regrets.

People, you can have your Turkey Rachel and eat it, too.......but save it for date night.

After the Couch to 5k: A Plan for Recreational Runners

So you finished the Couch to 5k program. Yay for you!!!'re feeling a little lost? Not sure what comes next? You can completely and totally relate to this first post of the series? If you're a recreational runner--someone who likes the sport for staying lean, improving heart health, combating stress, or just feeling the wind through your hair--then this is your post--your The Couch to 5k is over, now what do I do? What comes next? Where do I go from here? post.

Some people run to stay healthy for their family:
 Taking my kids to go see Santa.

Some people run to stay in shape for other physical activities they love to do:
No, seriously, that's me. I don't love hunting, but I love my husband, so I go to keep him company.

And some people run so that they'll look nice when they decide to take a random self-portrait next to their kitchen trash can:
What? You don't do that?

We'll start with a few basics to keep in mind when you hit the road:

1) Try to run at least 3 times a week. 4 seems to be the most doable number for the average joe, and 5-6 is totally fine, too.

2) Aim to cover 2-4 miles or 20-40 minutes per run. That way you're getting the cardiovascular benefits and using some fat as your fuel. Run according to feel. If you feel like going longer, go longer. If you feel like poo and want to head home, head home. If you can only squeeze in 20 minutes before a PTA meeting, it's better than eating peanut butter off a spoon during that splurt of down-time.

3) Just because you're a recreational runner and not a competitive runner doesn't mean you don't have to worry about shoes. Go to your local running store and get fitted for the right sneaker, and plan on replacing your shoes every 6 months. If your wife thinks your running shoes are too expensive, let her spend $100 at every 6 months. Trust me, she'll stop complaining.

4) You should be running at a conversational pace. This means, if you're running with a buddy, you should be able to openly chat about your mothers-in-law (good things only!). If you're able to talk like you're standing still, pick up the pace. If you can barely get the words out, slow it down. Talking should be a little bit challenging, but there's no need to be sucking wind.

5) It's good for your body--and your brain--to vary your running terrain. Try sidewalks, roads, trails, the track, the treadmill, and definitely throw in a few hilly routes.

6) Every once in a while, play with your pace. This is great for fat burning, cardiovascular strengthening, and improving your overall fitness. Pick a stop sign and run fast until you get to it. Run fast until you get to the red house, or the blue car, or the fire hydrant. Simple enough.

It's news to no one that running can get a little boring after a while. Try this:

1) Getting bored? Treat yourself to a new running outfit or a new running gadget.

2) Download some new music on your iPod, or try listening to a Podcast for a change. Some of my favorites are Manic Mommies, The Moth, This American Life, Spilled Milk, The Mielmen Podcast, and The Sporkful. They're all free from the iTunes stores and if you browse around you'll see that there's something for everyone. Even for people who like boring stuff.

3) Try a new route. Run to the post office to mail a letter, run behind the grocery store (because seriously, the back of the grocery store is kind of exciting), run through an apartment complex and wave to people like you live there, run through the ritziest neighborhood in town, run through Super WalMart, run through a cemetery. Just run somewhere new.

4) Run with a friend. And if you don't have any running friends, get someone started on the Couch to 5k program. In 10 weeks, BLAMO! A running friend.

5) If you're a treadmill runner, partake in some extra trashy and strange reality TV...stuff you wouldn't watch in front of your family.

6) And every once in a while, enter a race--you don't have to be in it to win it. Run for charity, run to wear a silly costume, or run to encourage a friend.

And finally, just because you're a regular runner doesn't mean you can eat anything you want on the face of the planet:

1) A mile of running burns about 100 calories. That means, if you run 10-15 miles a week, you're earning yourself 1,000-1,500 extra calories. That's a few slices or pizza and a beer, or a really good ice cream sundae, or a hefty plate of nachos. You can afford to splurge, but only about once a week.

2) Try to take in 100-200 calories of carbs and protein within 30 minutes of finishing a run. A greek yogurt, or half of a turkey sandwich, or a Luna Bar is a perfect post-run snack.

3) Runners should drink some extra water and stay hydrated during the day.

Does this sound doable? Clear up your confusion?

The bottom line is this. If you love running for the sake of running. Try to get out at least 3 times a week for 20-40 minutes or 2-4 miles. Vary your terrain and wear good shoes.

Now get out there and make your neighbors jealous. Happy running!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

After the Couch to 5k: A Guide to What Comes Next

Over at Kennebec Valley Coaching, I lead a few different running groups. So far, the most popular has been the 5k for Newbies--a group where we use the Couch to 5k plan to get rookies running. Once upon a time, I'm not sure who sat down and developed this plan, but I'm thinking it was God himself because holy crud, this plan works.

This is one of my all time favorite Couch to 5k pictures. Pam is in complete disbelief that she's about to get her finisher's medal. I love it so much:

As much as I want to gush, and gush, and gush about the Couch to 5k, there's an aspect of the program that I just don't love--lots of people don't know what to do when it's all over. They lose the fire and ultimately throw in the towel on the whole running game. Rather than becoming a runner for life, lots of Couch to 5k grads simply look back and say, "Oh yeah, I ran a 5k one time."

Now don't get me wrong, if it's your goal to finish a 5k and move on to greener pastures, I think that's awesome--no one has to be a runner for life. And the fact that you put in the work for ten weeks and finished an entire 3.1? Straight up fabulosity.

But if you have even the slightest inclination to keep on running, well, what comes next?

Here at Run Muffin, for the next week, that's exactly what we'll be covering--life after the Couch to 5k. We'll cover three different "What's next?" options for brand new runners out there:

1) OPTIONS FOR THE RECREATIONAL RUNNER. If you've heard yourself say something like, "Pfft. I don't care about races, I'll just run a little bit and stay in shape," then this is the article for you.

2) A GAME PLAN FOR GETTING FASTER. This is the article for anyone with a competitive and driven spirit who says, "Dang that was fun! I want some personal records!"

3) BECOMING A DISTANCE RUNNER. Somewhere, deep down, if you have fantasies of a 10k or a half marathon, or maybe even a full, you'll want to catch this post.

By the end of the series, you'll be able to design your own basic training plan that falls in line with your on-going running goals.

Shirley and Norm finished their first 5k on Thanksgiving. Their goal is cut a good ten minutes off their time between now and next year. Stayed tuned to learn more about their game plan.

Sound good? Good. Now go tell your friends!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

What Does a Personal Trainer Eat?

I get this question at least once a day, and every time it comes up, before I can honestly answer I ask, "Do you mean today or yesterday or in general? Because whatever you mean, I'll tell you the truth."

Sometimes the truth is embarrassingly perfect, and other times it's so far beyond humiliating that there are no appropriate words in the human language. Most of the time it's somewhere in between.

Just like most women in the world, I have my angelic super-food days where it's been nothing but 1,800 calories of lean protein, organic greens, nutty snacks and angel dust. This is about 10% of the time.

Another 10% of my days are the days where I eat Lucky Charms, Cherry Coke, Cake, the Wendy's $1 menu, and maybe an apple. For lunch. 3,000 calories of pure ugh.

But most days are somewhere in the middle--and those days are my favorites. I'm having one of those days today, so I'll share what that looks like. But before I do, I'll give you a few fun facts:

1) In my world there aren't any off-limit foods or food groups.
2) I'm prone to eating too much 100+ grams a day if I don't pay attention kind of prone.
3) I used to be a hardcore sugar addict, took me about two weeks to kick the habit, and now I'm able to eat sugar in moderation.
4) However, I cannot, under any circumstances eat brownies in moderation. Sometimes I make them any way. I always regret it.
5) I'm 5'8" 145-150ish pounds, and wear a size 6-10...mostly an 8.
6) I probably have more stomach flab than your average coach/trainer. But man I'm a happy person!

I'll share my menu with you a couple times a week. Here's today:

BREAKFAST: 2 slices of whole grain toast, 2 fried eggs, and a smoothie made with blueberries, strawberries, kale, pumpkin, water, and a little big of agave nectar.

LUNCH: A sweet potato, half of a cucumber, half a can of chick peas, with light poppy seed dressing. A scoop of sunflower seed butter, and a grapefruit.

DINNER: That'll be 2 slices of pizza and a salad with light dressing.

That just about takes me to 2,000 calories and 60 grams of fat, so any other snacks will be fruits and veggies. I'm planning to run tonight, 3-5 miles, so I'll definitely have a recovery smoothie or a Greek yogurt to follow that up.

I'll check back in tomorrow and let you know how it all turned out.

But before I sign off, can you see how I balanced the super healthy breakfast and lunch with the gas station pizza for dinner? There's NOTHING WRONG WITH PIZZA!!!!! You just have to plan around it a little bit!

HIIT Me Baby One More Time: A Guide to High Intensity Interval Training for Normal People

Over at Kennebec Valley Coaching (yes, it's a real place, with real people, and a real office...not just a facebook page), people are asking lots of questions about HIIT--High Intensity Interval Training.

Googling HIIT can be two parts confusing and one part frustrating, since it'll usually bring you to a whole mess of bodybuilding websites. Now I don't know about you, but when I see picture of a bodybuilder it usually makes me cock my head to the left and go, "What am I looking at???? I don't think I even have one of those."

Trust me, you don't have one either.

Today, I'm happy to announce that there's no need to look any further because Run Muffin is hooking you up with A Guide to High Intensity Interval Training for Normal People. Like me. And you.

Here we go.

1) HIIT is good for helping you become a faster runner, increasing your anaerobic capacity, boosting your metabolism, and burning fat. Win, win, win, win.

2) HIIT is a quick, but highly effective workout that can be done inside on a treadmill or bike, or outside on a sidewalk or bike--you can even jump rope your HIIT workouts.  But, since I'm quite literally incapable of jumping rope, we'll focus on the running side of this thing.

3) Warm up for 5-10 minutes at an easy pace.

4) Once you've finished your warm-up, you'll start your intervals. 6 intervals for 30 seconds each is a good place to start.

5) For 30 seconds, run like there's a clown chasing you with a knife...or a hungry bear chasing you while you're wearing a bacon hat...or you're about to be run down by an out of control circus train. In other words, YOU SHOULD BE RUNNING AS FAST AS YOU POSSIBLY CAN WITHOUT EXPLODING INTO A MILLION PIECES.

But remember, you need to be able to do it 5 more times.

6) When you finish your interval, rest for 60 seconds with a super easy jog or a walk.

7) Repeat this charade until you've done 6, and cool down for 5-10 minutes with a light jog or a walk.

8) Go eat something protein-ish within 30 minutes.

As HIIT gets easier for you, you can intensify the workout in a couple different way. You can:

1) Run your repeats faster.

2) Run up to 12 intervals in a workout.

3) Increase your intervals up to 1 minute.

4) Put a little bit of incline on your treadmill.

Once you want to push your intervals past a minute, you're looking at a whole different type of workout and you're moving away from the HIIT game, which is fiiiiine. In my world, as long as you're not sitting in a hole, you're amazing.

Just a few more HIIT rules to remember:

1) Take your recovery as slowly as you want. If you need to crawl, you're pushing too hard. But walking is totally fine.

2) Your recovery should always be twice as long as your work interval.

3) If your treadmill goes up to 10mph, and it's not intense enough, up the incline to .1.

Questions? Concerns? Compliments? (just kidding)

Now go get your run on...or your jump rope I guess?