What I Listen To While I Run!

I’ve been working on adding back the miles and getting my legs used to fatigue and recovery. My goal for this month is to build endurance and to get in a few days of spin AND run so my legs can get used to that “spent” feeling that I experience at the end of races. By being comfortable with the uncomfortable, progress gets easier!

What I Listen To While I Run

Related: Should You Run With Music?

That being said, longer runs mean more time with myself. When I have my husband join me, we tend to chit chat about our days or the news. Although this usually turns into me telling him about some scientific discovery as he pretends to be interested. What do I listen to when I run by myself?

What I Listen To On Easy Runs: Podcasts

Sometimes “easy” runs are hard because I tend to pick up the pace as I go on. Steady paces can sometimes be mentally challenging. A trick that helps to keep me in a steady cardio state is to listen to podcasts! By focusing on each speaker, I tend to stay away from faster tempos.

What I Listen To While I Run
My top three podcasts!

My podcasts vary from super insightful to the scientific. Anything that keeps me engaged from start to finish is a major one for me. Especially on easy runs since it can be a battle to stay within a pace range for a longer amount of time.

What I Listen To For Speed Work: Fast Tempo Music

When it comes to picking up the speed, I tend to pick faster music as well. I’m a HUGE EDM/Dance fan so I tend to favor that most of the time. This gives me longer songs which help me push for longer periods of time. I find that these tend to wake me up and put me in the right headspace for this type of workout too! I update this playlist quite often but I figure I’d add it so you guys see what gets me pumped up. Feel free to suggest some of your favorites too!

Do you listen to music while you run? What are some of your favorites?

My Goals For 2018!

It’s officially the last Friday of the year! 2017 has been such a good year to me. It wasn’t without some difficulties but I’ve made so many friends and have grown in ways I wouldn’t have expected. I’ve already signed up for some races in the next couple months and I’m ready to get started in this season of training. Here are a few goals I have for the new year:

My Goals For 2018!

Fitness Goals:
  1. Get a coach and run a strong marathon in Chicago
  2. Focus on upper body and core strength throughout marathon training
  3. Use spring races as “dress rehearsal” for race day routines
  4. Stretch and foam roll on a consistent basis (5 days a week minimum)
Relationship Goals:
  1. Enjoy time with friends and loved ones without being attached to my phone
  2. Do things for the experience, not for the picture
  3. Make communication a priority and don’t just assume what others are thinking
Life/Work Goals:
  1. Make a daily schedule and plan time for blog/social media work
  2. Know my limits and don’t be afraid to say no
  3. Do productive work, don’t just work to fill the time

I plan on checking in with these goals on a monthly basis and see where I am. I plan on running a few smaller races in the spring just to stay active before marathon training as well. 2017 taught me so much and I believe carrying that over and listening to my body will make me much more successful in 2018. I can’t wait to see how it goes!

Do you have any goals for the new year?

The Weekend In Pictures: Christmas!

What a weekend! I was one of the unlucky few that had to work Friday but I was able to leave at noon and get my holiday started early! This year, Jordan and I would spend Christmas at home. We celebrated with our respective families earlier in the month so we got to spend time together and start our own little traditions.

Jordan and I met up for lunch on Friday and ate Chuy’s before watching The Last Jedi
We had some blueberry muffins while we played trivia with our Google Home that evening.
After sleeping in on Saturday, I changed into my legging on hopped on the bike!
I love riding with Jess King on Saturday mornings!
I can usually get around ten miles in during a 45 minute class.
The evening Jordan and I ate Chinese food before checking out some Christmas lights. The girl had to teach me how to unfold the box.
Each box came with veggies, rice, meat, eggroll, and fortune cookie!
I didn’t finish all of mine so I brought it home in a tiny box. The Rice Box is tasty if you’re in the Houston Heights area!
I loved that even the roads had festive lighting!
Jordan and I brought a loaf of bread to feed the ducks at the park on Sunday.
The ducks followed us around for a while.
The geese showed up so we had to cut it short. These guys can get mean, lol.
Some ducks come right up to you and will eat right out of your hand!
We warmed up with breakfast and Law and Order before church.
After a nice church sermon, Jordan and I went to Pluckers for lunch and to watch the Chiefs game.
I convinced Jordan to get dessert since we were watching the game and our waiter was very accommodating.
Christmas morning was started with some donuts!
I burned off the donuts with a quick spin class.
I love seeing how hard I work and what my heart rate is during the workout.
Jordan set up a little scavenger hunt and had me find a beautiful arrangement he made me!
Jordan and I went to a Christmas buffet at Moody Gardens for lunch!
I also convinced Jordan to walk through the Rainforest Pyramid.
I really wanted to see the sloths and I was glad to see that one was moving around the pyramid!
It was also neat to see the tropical birds.
We went through the pyramid twice and these birds hardly moved from their branch.
We couldn’t pass up a selfie moment!
We ended the evening by watching football while waiting for our tamales to cook!

Jordan and I had a great Christmas and it was sure hard getting out of bed this morning. It looks like the cool weather may be here to stay for a bit so I’m hoping to get outside for a few runs this week.

Hope you had a great Christmas and time with your family!

2017: My Year In Running!

Happy Friday! I came down with a crazy Upper Respiratory Infection this week and it feels like the week has passed by. I’m feeling MUCH better and I’m excited to talk about my year in running!

2017: My Year In Running

2017 got off to a good start. I RAN MY FIRST MARATHON! It’s almost easy for me to forget this because all my training was at the end of last year and the marathon was at the end of February. Running a marathon was something that never seemed possible to me. I couldn’t fathom running for hours on end. While it wasn’t perfect race conditions (unseasonably HOT and it rained for a bit) and I didn’t finish in a time that I guessed I would (finished in over five hours) I am so proud to say that I did it.

The course is great and the volunteers and crowd support is amazing. Running through all the neighborhoods of Houston was something I will never forget. Even when it was quiet and I was counting down the minutes to the end, I am forever grateful for that experience. It taught me so much about myself and how strong my body really is. When I finished and met up with my husband, I bawled like a dang baby. Partly was because I was tired and in pain, but the other part was because I FREAKING DID IT. The countless mornings and miles spent leading up to the race were all worth it. It still feels so surreal but it’s one of my proudest memories.

My second race in 2017 was the Diva’s Half Marathon in Galveston. I took a break from running after the marathon but jumped into a moderate training plan for this race. My legs were much stronger and I felt that I could PR this race. I will admit that I was a bit too optimistic in the sense that I wanted to break the two hour mark.

Of course, the weather was not my friend again and overnight the winds on the island increased dramatically and it went from 70 degrees to 40 overnight. The first half of the race was my strongest but as soon as I rounded the corner and ran head on into the wind, I crumbled. Everything hurt, my face was numb and I was in tears. Jordan met me a mile 11 and ran with me for a while. I wiped the snot off my face and was determined not to give up. I finished the race at 2:15. While it was not the time I was hoping for, I did get a PR!

I spent the rest of the summer strength training and working on mobility. By taking care of my body and doing physical therapy, I felt that I could run stronger and perform better in races down the line. My last race of the year was just before Halloween. The Houston Half Marathon was another local race in downtown. The race course followed part of the Houston Marathon course so I knew what to expect.

FINALLY, the race/weather Gods were on my side. It was in the 40s at the beginning of the race and in the 50s when I finished. My mental power got me through this race and I felt amazing. I ran the entire race, only stopping for water/fuel. In the past, I always stopped for one reason or other but that wasn’t the case this time!

Weirdly enough, this race felt like a breeze. As each mile passed, my pace was consistent. At one point, I even texted Jordan and told him that it was easy and I felt great. The cool weather and the fact that my legs were stronger made the race so enjoyable. This race was another PR with a 2:06 finish!

I worked hard this year to build up the miles and to incorporate more strength training. I feel so proud of myself for all that I have been able to accomplish. This year also brought me many more running friendships. It’s so great to learn from others and get help in places where I hadn’t been able to before.

In 2018, I will be running the Chicago Marathon. I’m excited to chase that marathon distance again and I’m planning to approach my training with a different mindset. 2017 was a GREAT year for me and I’m excited to see what 2018 will hold for me!

 

 

The Weekend In Pictures!

I’ve got to say that even though I feel a bit under the weather today, I had a GREAT weekend! Christmas basically happened in at our house this weekend so Jordan and I have a lot of goodies to play with.

I won BIG at my work Christmas party this year!
On Saturday morning, Jordan and I took our cars to get oil changes and have our tires looked at.
Turns out I needed new tires so we had to wait a bit!
I made Jordan take a selfie with me of course.
Once we got home, the mailman arrived with my new watch!
I took a quick spin class to test out my watch and work up some sweat.
Jordan and I shared some snacks while we watched an episode of Law and Order on our new TV!
We watched the Kansas City Chiefs game with my in-laws while we ate candy and opened Christmas presents!
All I really wanted was some frying pans and the Google Home Mini so I was set.
My throat was hurting a bit so my father-in-law made me some hot chocolate.
Sunday morning I powered through a short run but my throat felt scratchy and my nose was stuffed up. We had breakfast and I was so thankful for a hot coffee.
We watched the church service from home but met Jordan’s parents for lunch. We saw Santa on the way!
It took a lot of will power to wait to eat this cookie.
Warm panini and tomato soup sure hit the spot!
Jordan’s parent’s got Snowflake a new bed and some toys. She was a happy pup!
I used our Air Fryer to make Buffalo Chicken Tenders for Jordan…
And a buffalo chicken “salad” for me!

Jordan and I had such a fun weekend spending time with each other and playing with our new goodies. Our TV is a huge upgrade and we’ve had fun playing with our Google Home. I’m hoping that this sore throat goes away soon because it’s not very comfortable.

Christmas is coming up! Are you ready?

How To Choose A Training Plan

As we look forward to the next year, you may be in the process of choosing the races you want to participate in. Whether you are in the beginning stages of running or you’re a veteran, you will always need to have a training plan going into these races. However, not all plans are equal and you’ll need to consider a few items before choosing a training plan.

How To Choose A Training Plan

Ideally, you want to have a plan tailored to you. When you’re training for a race, a lot goes into consideration. Your eating habits, your work schedule, and family commitments can have an affect with your training. Working with a coach who knows this information and can build your training with your goals in mind is the best. If you’re not up to using a coach, here’s a few of my tips for choosing a training plan.

Related: Choosing and Running Your First Race

Understand Your Limitations

If you are pressed for time during the week, I would stay away from plans that have you running long runs in the middle of the week. You can opt to break a 10 mile run into a morning and evening run but this may not work for you after a long day at work.

In the same boat, if you choose a plan that has you running six days a week but you’ve never done that before, now is not the time to start. By pushing your body to fit an arbitrary training plan, you can run the risk of injury.ย  Choose a plan that will fit with your lifestyle.

What’s Your Activity Level?

Are you a regular at the local spin or yoga studio? Is weight lifting part of your regular routine? Understanding your activity level and what you are striving for is a huge factor is choosing a training plan. By increasing your miles, you may have to decrease the amount of other activity you are doing. You may be able to incorporate other workouts into your training plan but you’ll need to choose a plan that offers flexibility.

What’s Your Main Goal?

There’s many freeย  plans on line for all types of race distances. However, you may not need the same plan that I would. If this is your first long distance race, your training plan should be different than that of someone who is trying to beat their personal record. Take a look at how the plan is structured. If you’re chasing speed, then you’ll need at least one day of tempo runs or speed work. If you’re just focused on finishing, I wouldn’t focus on speed work.

One good resource I like to use for training plans is the Hal Higdon Website.ย  There you will find multiple plans for different race distances and goals in mind. I would recommend taking one plan and tweak it to fit your lifestyle.

Have you used an online training plan before?

My Experience With Counting Macros

We are half way through the week! I hope you’re week is going well and I know that you will finish this week on a good note. That being said, let’s jump into today’s topic. Changes are you’ve heard about counting macros if you follow certain people on Instagram or you’re REALLY into nutrition. Like most things, I was clueless until I saw some hashtags. Once I found out what it meant to “count macros”, I began to do some more research.

My Experience With Counting Macros

What does it mean to “count macros”?

Counting your macros means tracking the macro nutrients (Carbs, Fat, and Protein) in your meals and hitting certain benchmarks. Depending on what your activity level and whether you are trying to lose, gain, or maintain, these macros look different for everybody. There’s plenty of calculators online and you can also get this information from your doctor.

My experience with macros

My doctor suggested I keep track of my protein count because she was sure I wasn’t eating enough. I figured since I was keeping track of grams of protein, why not make sure I’m eating enough fat and carbohydrates as well? Using MyFitnessPal, I entered in my meals diligently and made sure I was eating enough food. It was a tedious process but I made it a habit.

Using this system, I felt some freedom with food that I hadn’t felt before. Counting macros taught me what portions should look like and how eat a balanced diet. After I got over the initial learning curve, eating wasn’t so hard for me.

However, I soon realized that it was way to similar to counting calories for me. I began to dread having to track everything and it often made social events difficult. I was doing my best to eat a balanced meal but the numbers were making everything hard for me.

Related: Why I Stopped Counting Calories

Overall, counting macros was too much of a mental game for me. I used it to keep my nutrition in check while training for a race but once race day came, I began to give myself more grace. To this day, I still remember the good principals that I learned and I strive to eating a balanced diet. I eat more intuitively nowadays and I feel the best that I have ever felt!

Counting macros is a great resource to help you reach your goals. If you are at a plateau, I would consider giving this a try! Sometimes a small shift in nutrition is just what we need to give our bodies the push in the right direction.

Have you counted macros before? What was your experience?

The Weekend In Pictures!

What a great week! It was Jordan’s birthday on Thursday and mine on Friday. We were blessed with snow in Houston! It’s only snowed in Houston a handful of times during my lifetime so it was a great gift when I woke up to snow on my birthday! The weekend was a continuation of our birthday celebration.

Saturday morning was still a bit chilly and we woke up with frost on the ground.
Our pup’s name is Snowflake and we learned that she does NOT like the snow or frost. She stayed curled up indoors lol.
Jordan and I had free movie passes so we watched Coco. Y’all, I was a sobbing mess but I loved it!
After our date, we got home and found a package on our door step. My father-in-law got me this!
Once the frost melted and the sun came out, Jordan and I went on an evening walk with Snowflake.
After some puppy eyes, Jordan agreed to a Sunday morning walk!
It was chilly but the sky was beautiful!
After church, we went to Plucker’s with Jordan’s parents for another birthday lunch.
Their boneless wings are MASSIVE. We may have to share a plate next time.
Plucker’s was near the mall so Jordan and I went for a walk and found a candy store. How neat are these jelly beans?!
We went to the mall for a planner and ended up with so much. This is why we avoid the mall lol.
We ended our birthday weekend with cheesecake from the Cheesecake factory. I love their Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough slice.

We had so much fun celebrating our birthdays with family and friends. I can safely say that I ate ALL THE FOODS! My back did decide to have a small pain flare up so I’m focusing on good form while running and cycling this week.

How was your weekend? Did it snow where you live?

Three Signs You Need A Rest Day

If you have a set training plan, chances are that you may have a rest day scheduled each week. When you’re aiming for a running or workout streak, a rest day is certainty not high up on the list. If you’re doing your own programming and picking your workouts, you may not think you need a rest day. As we strive to reach our goals, it’s easy to believe that more is better. However, to continue to grow stronger our bodies need rest. Here are my three signs that your body needs a rest day.

Three Signs You Need A Rest Day

Sign #1: Everything Hurts

Now hear me out. Being sore comes with the territory. Being in pain, does not. Only you know which signals to look for and tell which is which. Overuse injuries can happen if you don’t take a rest day so you will be in major pain even when you’re doing daily tasks. If you start running and each step feels like a knife is jabbing your legs, you need to rest. If you’re strength training but can’t lift as much as your normally do, there’s a good chance you’re fatigued and you need rest. Really listen to your body and see if you’re truly sore or on your way to injury.

Related: How To Handle Low Motivation

Sign #2: Very Exhausted

It seems like being tired is a badge of honor these days. When I was training for my last race, I had two workouts scheduled some days so I would be exhausted after lunch time. It’s fine to be tired if you’ve been getting back to your gym routine. It’s NOT okay to be so exhausted from all the time you’ve been spending at the gym that you fall asleep as soon as you sit down in a remotely comfortable chair. When I was pushing myself too hard, I had to chug coffee to stay awake which only let to a cycle of crashing and being tired all the time. If you cannot stay awake and feel sluggish, take a rest day so your body can reboot.

Sign #3: Can’t Remember Your Last Rest Day

This is a red flag. If you honestly cannot remember the last time you took a break from working out, you need a rest day. I’m not saying you have to be a complete couch potato (unless you want to be) but you really need to check in and make sure everything is okay. You don’t want to push your body too hard because you risk wearing yourself out and maybe even developing health problems. To reach your goals in a healthy way, you also need to rest and let your body recover.

Every day, I would do a self-assessment and see how everything feels. If you have been working hard and want to take a break, by all means, take one! Resting is an important part of exercising as it gives our body time to rebuild and come back stronger!

Getting In Shape Doesn’t Have To Be Expensive

We’re just a few weeks away from the dreaded New Year’s Resolutions. It’s easy to get a bit fluffy around the holidays because of all the parties and all the amazing food. I know that gym membership sales skyrocket in January. However, these can be very expensive and if you’re just starting out on your fitness journey, you may not want to drop so much money right off the bat.

Getting In Shape Doesn't Have To Be Expensive

There’s a few ways where you may able to get in regular workouts without having to give up an arm and a leg. Heck I’ve even listed a couple of free options! Trust me when I say that getting in shape doesn’t have to be expensive.

YouTube

I had to list this one first because honestly, this is how I started my fitness journey. Doing workout videos from YouTube started a chain reaction and I added on classes and a gym membership later. There are so many different types of workouts available.

Yoga With Adriene has a new video each week and there’s some various challenges yearly where you do a yoga video a day. Her videos are beginner friendly and very easy to follow!

Blogilates is an amazing Pilates channel. Each month, creator Cassey Ho posts a calendar on her website which tells you which videos to do for every day of the month. Not only are these easy to knock out with little to no equipment, but they tend to be low impact so they are very beginner friendly!

Tone It Up is another fitness community with free YouTube workouts available. Here you have the option for a paid membership or you can follow their weekly schedule and do their free videos on YouTube.ย  Their videos vary in difficulty but if you are consistent, you should be able to get through them!

Related: My Tone It Up Experience

Boutique Studio Trials

This is one takes a little bit of researching but it’s a fun way to try new things! Many yoga, spin, or Pilates studios offer new students a free class to try out the space. Some even offer you a free class for a review on Yelp. I know some gym franchises have similar deals and will give you a guest pass for a few days. You may not be able to make a routine out of this but you may be able to take a free class a week to help you find a studio you like!ย I would also recommend looking into holiday specials now. If you find a studio you likeย  you may be able to get a discount on a set of classes and save big bucks!

Another thing to look for is for free classes offered by studios. Some yoga studios offer free classes for new instructors. This gives the training instructors real bodies to work with and you get a good sweat out of it. Some gyms, YMCAs, or even churches offer free fitness classes to bring in people during “dead” time. Asking around and staying connected with studios will give you a feel of when these classes are offered.

Fitness Apps

It’s not secret that fitness apps are trending now. The ability to access them anywhere makes it convenient and you’re less likely to skip on your workout because you don’t want to drag yourself to the gym. They are significantly cheaper than an actual gym membership.

Sweat With Kayla is the app from BBG creater Kalya Itsines. This takes the traditional paper workout guide and brings it to your phone. You get each more broken out and a timer to get you through the workout. You also have guides to help you correct your form for each move. Now you will have to pay for the exercise plan you want in addition to the monthly app charge so this is something to look at before you dive in.

Related: Why I Quit BBG

Studio Tone It Up is the app created by the Tone It Up ladies.ย  This works more like YouTube where you will find a library of workouts you can do. You’ll also get the daily workout reminders that follow the weekly workout schedule from the website. One thing that sets this app apart is that you can take “live” classes with others. There’s a chat room where you can chat with others in the class before and after the class is complete. This app only requires a monthly charge.

Nike Training Club app is probably the first app I used back in college. It’s come a long way and it’s interface is very user friendly. It’s loaded with hundreds of workouts with step by step guides. You can choose your workouts based on difficulty as well as duration. This app also has workout plans that adjust depending on your weekly performance. My favorite part of this app? It’s absolutely free! This is a great place to start if you don’t want to pay a monthly fee.

There’s so many different ways that you can get moving by spending little to no money at all! Exercise doesn’t have to drain your bank account. By using all the available resources out there, you can get in shape without spending all your savings!

Health and fitness according to His grace