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Archive for December, 2010

The alternate title for this post could be “Three Random Ways to Cross-Train When You’re Snowbound Without a Gym Within 30 Miles” but that’s way too long to be an actual title.

Anyways, in case you don’t live in the northeast and are unaware of the weather we’ve been having, let me lay it out for you real simple like: snow.  Lots and lots and lots of snow (over two feet, officially, but in my parent’s backyard, it was up to my waist!)

This means no running for me today but I surreptitiously happened upon some other winter-time activities that worked as cross-training agents.

1.  Shoveling Snow

It took all four members of my family almost two hours to shovel out our driveway and the path up to the chicken coop (my parents live in the country, can ya tell?) My arms and back now have the familiar ache of a heavy lifting workout and apparently, it burns 408 calories per hour. I was a sweaty, hot mess afterwards, so I think that’s probably accurate.

2.  Snowshoeing

My parents were heading out to do some cross-country skiing and since they didn’t have a pair of ski boots in my size, I grabbed my mom’s snowshoes and tagged along.  It was an un-groomed trail that headed uphill and I broke the trail for most of the time, since it’s easier to do in snow shoes than skis.  Ooooof, it was rough! The best description of the activity I can give is walking upstairs while underwater.  Tons of resistance from the snow made my hamstrings, quads and calves burn like motherf*cker!

3.  Snowboarding/Skiing

While this one isn’t exactly the most cardiovascular of workouts, I’m always completely wiped out after a day on the slopes.  When I’m snowboarding, my muscles burn, I can barely catch my breath and my body’s always aching afterwards, which makes it a super workout in my opinion.

So the next time you’re snowbound and can’t get your exercise on, consider one of these activities as cross-training day!

Anyone else have another winter activity that burns some calories?

 

PS- Look how high the snow was, poor little Perri couldn’t see over the top and she HATED it!

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Baby, It’s COLD Outside!

Brrrrrr! I’m Upstate at my parents’ house and the temperature is a frosty 17 degrees out, which makes for rather chilly running conditions.

Taken yesterday during our annual Christmas Day hike

But as difficult as it was to get my arse in gear, the thought of all the recently-consumed holiday treats was enough to convince me (and my thighs) that a run might be necessary.

So I went off an easy 3-miler (don’t forget, I live in hill country) and tried to keep from freezing my little tushy off! In case running in the wintertime is new to you, here’s the run-down (get it?)  of my cold-weather running gear:

1.  Asics GT 2150 running shoes (love these babies!)

2.  Adidas athletic socks– These are thicker than my normal running socks but not as thick as Thorlos or other true winter socks.  My feet were cold for the first five minutes of my run but once I got my blood pumping, they warmed up a bit.

3. Under Armour Spandex– These were the bare minimum you’d want for running in such cold conditions.  Truthfully, I could’ve used either a pair of fleece-lined spandex (which I don’t have) or another layer on my legs because they never really got warm.

4. Nike Victory Running Jacket– This is one of my favorite pieces of outerwear that I own.  It’s warm, comfortable and has little reflectors all over it, making me more visible to motorists.  Underneath, I wore a Sahalie long-sleeved fleece, a cotton tank-top and a Moving Comfort shimmel.  My core was warm for the entire run, thank goodness.

5.  Fleece mittens- While I normally just wear thin, cotton gloves when it’s cold out, today’s temperature required heavier artillery, thus I busted out the mittens.

6.  Early 1990’s-style ski head band- I lost my favorite fleece headband last year and have yet to replace it, hence the dated-looking piece of ski-wear around my head. But it keeps my ears warm and does the job, so I’m not complaining.

That’s my standard routine for running in sub-freezing weather; occasionally I throw in a fleece vest or my Under Armour turtleneck if I’m feeling particularly chilly.

What’s most important is that you make sure that the fabrics next to your skin are moisture-wicking fabrics- This means no cotton.  Cotton just gets wet from your sweat (hey, that rhymes!) and makes you cold.  A technical (aka wicking) fabric will get the moisture away from your skin and keep you warmer (plus, it’s way more comfortable.)

Woooof, that’s a lot of stuff to put on just for 25 minutes, huh? I guess it’s no surprise why it’s harder to get motivated to run outside in the winter but I think with the proper gear, it’s a great experience (plus, I always feel more entitled to a cup of hot chocolate if I’ve got my run on earlier in the day!)

Is there anything I’m missing that any of you guys use on your winter runs? Do you have a favorite piece of winter running gear you’d like to recommend?


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Today’s workout comes to us via my college track and field coach, who liked to inflict this one upon us when she felt we needed a good figurative kick in the arse.

I would put this in the “medium to hard” category, as far as workouts go, since it requires you to be conscious of your pace for the entire time.

Before I write out the workout, I think it’s best if we all refresh our memories as to what a bell curve actually looks like:

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Remember these bad boys from high school algebra? Or was it geometry? Clearly, math is not my strong suit!

Anyways, here’s how the workout goes:

*5:00 easy jog warm-up (with some dynamic movements thrown in, if you want)

*2:00 at a pace you would consider a “1” on a scale of 1-5 (one is the easiest)- this is the beginning of the bell curve; follow this with 2:00 at a “2”  pace (slightly faster.)

*Continue the workout with 2:00 intervals at levels “3”, “4” and “5” (level 5 being a pace you could maintain for 2:00 but probably not much longer than that. In other words, you should be sucking wind by the end of that interval!)

*Once you do 2:00 at level “5,” drop down to “4” for 2:00, then “3” for 2:00, etc until you back down to the “1” pace, or your easy jog.

*5:00 cool down of easy jogging or walking

This workout is designed to be done continuously, moving from one level to the next without stopping and it’s a great way to focus on your pace and push your body out of it’s comfort zone.

I also like this workout because it’s quick but it gets the job done. Cardiovascular limits are pushed, mental barriers are broken and it’s just a great little session to bust out whenever you’re feeling the need to push yourself.

What do you guys think, does this look to difficult to attempt or could you do it?

 

 

 

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Even though running is probably my favoritest (it’s a word, shut it!) and consistentest (that one’s not a word but I don’t care) hobby, for some reason I never ever, ever spend my hard-earned cash on accessories.  I have no clue why, mostly because I’m cheap and I like to spend my hard-earned cash on the sales section at J. Crew.

Anyways, just in case someone’s reading this (ahem, dearly beloved husband) and feels the need to get me something, here’s my top 5 picks for running splurges…

1.  Asics Gel-Kayano 17

Main image for GEL-Kayano® 17

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These bad boys are the bees knees.  While Asics has a few supposedly higher-end shoes, in my mind, there’s nothing better than the combined support and cushion of the Kayano.  But at $140, they’re just a little too pricey for me to justify (I stick to the Asics GT series, which has more support but less cushioning.)

2. Garmin Forerunner 405

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This thing is friggin’ awesome.  It’ll tell you how fast you’re running, where you ran, your heart rate, give you workouts; heck, it might even massage your feet after a long run if you’re nice to it.

Someday, I will be investing in one of these but I’m not quite there yet.  You can find them here for about $300.

3. Asics Kinsei Socks

Main image for Women's Kinsei® Classic Low Cut

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I know, you’re starting to think this blog is sponsored by Asics (I wish…Asics, if you’re out there reading this, you can sponsor me any day, baby!) but I’m serious when I say that these socks are bomb.  Now you’re going to look at me incredulously and say “$16 for socks? Are you freakin’ kidding me?”

I know, but remember, these are my wishlist items, not things I would get in real life.  They’re totally dreamy and awesome.  Try ’em, trust me, and you’ll never want to go back to your old cotton socks again.

4. Oakley’s Split Thump MP3 SunglassesSplit THUMP

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These are sunglasses with an MP3 player built right into the side.  Nuff said.

Find them here for about $200.

5. Moving Comfort Vixen Sports Bra

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Seriously, chicas, Moving Comfort makes the BEST sports bras out there.  Your ta-tas will be secure, not matter your bust size.  I’ve tried pretty much all of them and have never felt so supported as I do when I wear my Moving Comfort one.  They go up to size 40 E and they’re not only cute to look at but hold your breasticles up like none other.

Alright, there ya have it, my top picks for what I’d buy if money were no object.  And just for the record, in no way did I receive anything from any of these companies (although, I’d happily take freebies if anyone was offering but sadly, no such luck yet.) These are all products that I learned about from my days working at a specialty running store and they all rock.

What’s on your running splurge list? Or just gift list in general?

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Pete and I threw a little holiday shindig this weekend.  In an effort to mimic Martha Stewart’s homemade hospitality, I spent the entire Friday night beforehand baking, crafting, wrapping, cooking, bedazzling, hanging, cleaning and making things by hand.

HA! That’s a joke, my friends.  Instead, I went to Duane Reade to pick up a few bags of holiday candy to serve as snacks (Oh stop, I had other food too.  In fact, I actually did bake peanut butter cookies, so boo-yah!)

I made my way to the special “holiday candy” aisle (which is separate from the regular candy aisle…And yes, I know this because I make frequent candy runs to Duane Reade, don’t judge me, monkeys.)

Anyways, I found the holiday candy aisle and picked out holiday-themed Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, holiday-themed Hershey’s Kisses and what I thought were holiday-themed M and M’s

Sidenote: How come all the candy is Christmas colors? Where’s the blue and white M and M’s for Hannukah? Or um, whatever colors represent Kwanza?

Well, it wasn’t until I got home and busted into all my candy (I had to test it for my guests to make sure it wasn’t poison!) that I realized that Duane Reade had sneakily snuck (you see what I did there?) FALL-themed M and M’s in with their holiday candy, complete with a scarecrow and bats on the packaging (but in my defense, the main color of the bag was green! Hence my mistake…)

So instead of red and green peanut M and M’s to match my red and green kisses and cups, I found orange, brown and red M and M’s!

Not cool, Duane Reade, not cool at all.  My OCD-Martha Stewart complex had a heart attack for about 10 seconds before I remembered that all M and M’s taste the same, regardless of their color and promptly popped 5 (or 25) in my mouth. Mmmmmm…

Oh yeah, and the party was still a raging success, in spite of the mis-matched, autumnal chocolate treats.  Go figure.

 

 

PS- Just to prove to you that I’m not a total failure at life, here’s my two “decorations” for the party, which I thought were actually (miraculously?) somewhat pretty (plus they both include wedding things and we all know how much I like to talk about my wedding *winks)

I bought a bunch of holly from the bodega on 72nd St, plus a bunch of white mums.

Paper snowflake decorations strung above our ketubah (plus the dried roses from when he proposed! And a mason jar from the centerpieces!)

 

 

PPS- Play “Spot The Puppy!”

 

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Haha, get it? The cat is in an actual rut!

Seriously, even if you only have 25 minutes or less, this is a very effective way to maximize a workout.  Here it is:

One minute on, one minute off, for as long as you want to work out.

You can do this on any machine in the gym or any type of physical activity (running, biking and swimming come to mind.)

All it means is that you do one minute of activity at a hard pace, followed by one minute at an easy pace.  Rinse and repeat.

I swear, it works, as simple as it sounds! I did 30 minutes like this on the elliptical the other day and I definitely felt a difference from my standard “barely exert myself” normal half hour on the ol’ ellip’.

Plus, for some reason, the time seems to always fly by whenever I do this work-out, which is another bonus. Mostly ’cause I can only handle one episode of “Everybody Loves Raymond” or whatever syndicated sitcom happens to be showing (with the exception of Friends.  Friends rules, forever!)

Anyways, you should try this workout, it’s really, really easy and you’ll get good results.   So go now, try it and report back to me and tell me how it went!

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