Tag Archives: Fitspiration

One Run At A Time, Or How To Avoid Toxic Thoughts

Good morning loves,

I am happy to report that I’ve learned yet another invaluable lesson during my 7 km run yesterday. But before I jump to that, here is my Week 6 training schedule of half-marathon training:

Monday – 4 miles
Tuesday – 30-40 minutes of cross training: HIIT
Wednesday – 4 miles + kettlebell toning
Thursday – 40-50 minutes of cross training: booty + cardio
Friday – rest day
Saturday – 8 miles
Sunday – rest day

*Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4, Week 5*

The more I runSource

So a very interesting thing happened to me yesterday. You may or may not have read my previous post on how running makes us happy, but happiness makes us better runners. I tried my very best to be positive about the run, but it was such a struggle. Nothing hurt, but I had a full blown mental battle with myself, despite trying to keep my chin up and think happy thoughts. So what happened, you say?

I think the best way to put it is: I got caught in a web of self-doubt.

A little progress each day adds up to be resultsSource

You see, it’s been a very long time since I ran a distance of 10 km and more (apart from Week 3 and 4 of my training). My runs got much shorter since I got pregnant in fall 2014. Something happened to my bladder throughout my pregnancy and I could barely stay on a treadmill for 15-20 minutes before dashing to a ladies room. *Pregger problems! Haha!*

For some strange reason, something snapped when I saw that this week’s long run is a grand total of 8 miles. Toxic thoughts invaded my mind. I mean, I’m training for a half, so this distance is definitely not a surprise. I ran much longer distances in the past. But all of a sudden I got intimidated and mental games began. As I was running, all I kept thinking about was how am I gonna do that long run. And as many of you know, it is not a good place for any runner or any fitness enthusiast for that matter to question their own abilities.

Good news, it is reversible! *Haha!*

one day at a time, enjoy the journeySource

It is so sooooo important to focus on one workout at a time and not to get too much ahead of ourselves. Just like in our daily lives, in order to be efficient and not to get overwhelmed, we must prioritize our to-do list. First things first. The same goes for running. Not only our ‘present’ workout will be more effective, but also there is absolutely no reason why we should psych ourselves out of the challenge that lies ahead. Tackle it one day, one workout at a time.

Has ever self-doubt affected your workouts? How do you avoid psyching yourself out before a long run?

Keep moving forwardSource

Missed some of my most recent posts that created great discussions among my fellow bloggers? Here is your chance to catch up:

PS. Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!

xoxo
Olena

 

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Filed under Half-Marathon Training, Motivation

Beast Mode is ON: Happy Canada Day + Tough Double Workout To Celebrate It

Happy Canada Day to my fellow Canadians!

Happy Canada Day

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Words can’t express enough how much I love this country and how proud I am to call myself Canadian! I embrace its diversity and beauty. And I hope all of you can take some time today to celebrate Canadian awesomeness! *Hehe!*

Before I get any further, I’d like to thank you all for your unbelievable support throughout my training for the Spartan Trifecta! I honestly think that you’ve played a crucial role in my success so far. I am so humbled and honored to have you all in my life!!! (here & here)

you_are_awesome1Source

As you know, the Spartan Beast (20+ km and 25+ obstacles) is less than 4 weeks away and I am totally shaking in my boots. The BEAST MODE is officially on!!! And what could be better than celebrating Canada Day by logging a super intense and sweaty workout?!

Actually, when I saw this workout in the Spartan Guide, it made me laugh. Why? Because just yesterday I was telling to one of my fellow bloggers that  I’ve never done double runs. Little that I knew! I could probably complete the following workout in one setting, but, the truth is, I am still a bit sore after the race on Sunday.

beast mode is on

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Part 1

Strength: Diamonds are Forever!

Rest 30 seconds between sets and exercises.

  • Squats: Begin with feet closer together than shoulder width apart and hold both hands to your sides. Slowly squat down to 90 degrees and return to the start position. Repeat as desired. Hold dumbbells in your hands. Select a weight that you can only lift within the suggested range.
    Step 1: 10-12 reps, high intensity, steady tempo
    Step 2: repeat
  • Barbell overhead squat: Begin with feet wider than shoulder width apart and arms fully extended overhead, barbell in hands. Select a weight that you can only lift within the suggested range. Start by using a wooden dowel if necessary.
    Step 1: 10-12 reps, high intensity, steady tempo
    Step 2: repeat
  • Box alternating leg shuffle: Begin with one foot on the box and the other on the ground. Explode off the foot on the box and switch legs in air, landing with the opposite foot on the box.
    Step 1: 15 reps per leg
    Step 2: repeat
  • Kettlebell or dumbbell suitcase dead lift: Begin with feet shoulder width apart with the kettlebell in the right hand. Slowly squat down to 90 degrees, until the kettelbell is close to or touching the ground. Repeat reps as desired. Do for both sides, using a weight you can only lift within the suggested range.
    Step 1: 10-12 reps. Focus on form first, before increasing weight.
    Step 2: repeat
  • Barbell standing rows: Begin with feet shoulder width apart with a slight bend in the knees. Grasp the barbell with both hands with your hands facing out. Pull the barbell to your body. Repeat as desired. Select a weight you can only lift within the suggested range.
    Step 1: 10-12 reps, high intensity, steady tempo.
    Step 2: repeat
  • Box dips: Begin in a sitting position with hands facing forward on the box or bench and feet on the ground. Slowly extend your arms as far as they will go. Gently lower yourself and repeat as desired.
    Step 1: 10-12 reps, high intensity. Can be made easier by flexing your knees. Can be made more difficult by elevating extended legs. Can add resistance by placing a weight on your thighs.
    Step 2: repeat
  • Planks: Begin by lying face down on the ground with elbows flexed. Lift your chest and hips off of the floor so that your body is supported by your elbows and feet. Brace yourself and hold as long as possible.
    Step 1: hold for 30-120 seconds
    Step 2: repeat

Run 3 miles

fitspiration

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Part 2

Cross-train: Bingham 2

45-minute trail run; every 10 minutes find a rock or a log and lift it for 10 reps, performing arm curls, shoulder presses, and squats. Add 5 reps each time so that you finish your last set with 25 reps for each exercise.

Source: A Spartan Guide To The Sport Of Obstacle Racing by Joe De Sena

enthusiasm

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How are you celebrating Canada Day?

xoxo
Olena

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Mountain Climbers: Your Arms, Legs And Core Will Thank You! Also, A Great 500 Ab Workout

It’s very hard not to love high impact exercises that don’t require any equipment at all and can be done pretty much anywhere. Some of those exercises are: the burpee and the plank. It’s one of those love-hate relationships for me. However, today I’d like to talk about MOUNTAIN CLIMBERS. Not only it’s a plyometric exercise that tones your arms, legs and core, but it also strengthens the cardiovascular system. And no, you don’t have to climb a mountain to do them!

Seems simple enough, right?! But don’t be fooled! There are so many health benefits to this exercise:

  1. Core Strength
  2. Power Training: lower body
  3. Strengthen heart and lungs
  4. Burn calories *=FAT*

Not enough a challenge? Try placing hands on top of a medicine ball!

mountain climbers with a medicine ball

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According to the Spartan Race blog, “When the race course turns vertical, you’ll also appreciate the power you’ve generated with your time spent mountain climbing. While you’re down on the ground, you can also do a few 25′ bear crawls to better ready yourself for barbed wire obstacles.”

One of the ways to incorporate mountain climbers in your workout is to drop and perform 1 to 3 sets of 10-30 mountain climbers at the half way point during your routine run. Whatever gets your heart pumping, right?!

exercise

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I’m sorry! I couldn’t resist the temptation to post this picture. I mean, how ridiculously funny it is?!?! Haha!

Anyhow, moving on to today’s workout. This is what is going to happen (as per the Spartan race training guide).

Interval running

10 reps: 10-second hill (sprint), 10-second rest
5 reps: 20-second hill (very high intensity), 20-second rest
3 reps: 30-second hill (high intensity), 10-second rest

Do not stop until all 18 intervals are complete. Walk for 5 minutes to recover, and repeat for half the reps. Jog easy for 20 minutes.

AB 500 

25 crunches
50 bicycles
50 back-scratchers
50 rotating crunches
25 leg-lowers
50 scissor-kicks
50 side-crunches
50 bicycles
50 back-scratchers

** You can find how to do all of these exercises properly here.

Don't give up

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What are your favorite high impact exercises? How do you add them to your workouts?

xoxo
Olena

39 Comments

Filed under Fitness, Health

The Benefits Of Stair-Climbing For Runners & Arnold Strength Workout

It probably won’t sound like a big secret, but GOSH, I’m fed up with this snow… and winter… and cold! Despite living all my life in countries with cold winters, I don’t think I will ever accept it or get used to it. Yesterday, on the way home with my hubby from work, I kept on daydreaming. I was like, so one day when we are rich we’ll move to a warm country. But Justin bluntly cut me off, he said he’d rather take winters than hurricanes, tornadoes, wild fires or earthquakes. What’s your take on that?

Now-I-remember-why-I-hate-winter

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On second thought, I think my hubby forgot about having to deal with my cold feet every night… I might have a chance! haha!

As you know, lately I’ve been looking for different ways to strengthen my legs to improve on speed during my runs. There is a StairMaster at my gym; however, I don’t use it. I don’t even know why. Most likely because I just feel so comfortable with my routine. I guess it’s time for change because there are many benefits of stair-climbing for runners.

stairmaster

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According to this article posted on http://www.canada.com, the benefits are as follows:

  • ability to increase your cardiovascular fitness;
  • burn more calories;
  • improve muscle conditioning in your legs and buttocks;
  • improve balance

Pretty sweet, don’t you think?

Burn baby burn

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Then, I came across a great article on Runner’s World: Why Stair-Climbing Is Good for Runners. The article proposed these 3 amazing stair workouts:

  1. Run Up Like… A Competitor: “After a 10-minute warmup, run hard up stairs for 20 to 30 seconds, then walk back down. Repeat for 20 to 30 minutes. Or run stairs for 10 minutes after a long run to help your body build endurance and learn to push through fatigue.”
  2. Run Up Like… November Project: “Warm up for 10 minutes. Then climb 20 to 30 seconds up the stairs at a tempo effort—slowing as needed to keep your ascending pace consistent—and without pausing, run back down. Repeat the cycle for 30 minutes. If you’re in a stadium, run from section to section at the tops or bottoms of flights, maintaining tempo effort.”
  3. Run Up Like… A Gym Rat: “After a 10-minute warmup, crank up the incline *on a treadmill* (slowing your pace as necessary) to 15 percent (or whatever the machine’s maximum incline is—the higher, the better). Do one minute at the hardest pace you can manage, then reduce the incline to zero and recover for one minute. Follow with two minutes at maximum incline and two minutes of recovery, working your way up, minute by minute, to five minutes of each. Then work your way back down to end with one minute hard and one minute recovery.” 

turn intentions into actions

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I am really looking forward to trying them out over the next couple of weeks. As for today, I have Arnold Strength training according the training guide.

Repeat this 3 times, using a weight you can lift within the desired range, 10-15 reps each:

** For dead bug and flutter kick, make sure the lower back stays neutral.

good things come to those who sweat

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Now I’d like to hear from you! How often do you incorporate StairMaster in your workout? What is your favorite way to break some sweat apart from running?

xoxo
Olena

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Filed under Fitness, Health