My “I’m Not Training for Anything” Training Plan

Once I started participating in races, I found it hard to keep up with a routine once the race was over. The beauty of having a training plan was that it took the work out of having to decide on the distance I was going to run or the body part I was going to strength train. This led me to take a freestyle approach to training which, to be quite frank, was causing me to lose strength, stamina, and speed. I had to go to the drawing board and figure out a plan, because this couldn’t go on much longer.

The must-haves for my “not training-training plan” were:

-a short (5k), mid (7.5k), and long (10k) run

-an upper body day (at least once a week)

-a lower body day (at least once a week)

-within the upper body and lower body days, I wanted to use compound exercises to cut down on time and be more efficient

-also within the upper body day, I wanted to hit each muscle group at least twice

-with the leg day, I figured hitting each muscle group once was sufficient since I was running three days a week

Here‘s what a typical week would like. Keep in mind; I don’t have a set day that I use for rest days, so that day could very well change from week to week:

Day 1: 5k Run – goal: sub 11:00/mi

Day 2: Upper Body – 5 min warm up on cardio machine of my choice

– Pec Fly

– Tricep Extension

– Lat Pulldown

– Bicep Curls

– 5 min cool down on cardio machine of my choice

Day 3: 7.5k Run – same goal as 5k run

Day 4: Lower Body – 5 min warm up on cardio machine of my choice

– Close-Stance Leg Press

– Seated Calf Press

– Body-Weight Squats

Day 5: 10k Run – same goal as 5/7.5k

There’s a few things I should note here. I use the gym that’s attached to my condo, so the equipment is definitely lacking. Secondly, I rotate through the schedule so day 1 might not be a 5k run by the second cycle. I like having one day for strength training and one day for running, so the day after day 5 is the next strength training session I have lined up. Thirdly, I stick to a 10-15 rep, 3 set structure for strength training; with a rest time of 30 seconds between sets. Lastly, if I max out on an exercise, (meaning I hit 15 reps for all three sets), I’ll move up the weight by 10lbs.

What I love about this schedule is that it’s something that I can stick to easily with some goals in mind.

 

-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy

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A Reflection on the Past Year and What’s to Come

As the year draws to a close, I’m starting to think about my fitness journey and how far I’ve come. Not to toot my own horn, but I went from only being able to run a few miles at a time, to competing in my first 10k and 8k races. That’s something to be proud of, right? I’m definitely not done yet either. There are some improvements that I would like to make though:

-Faster times! I would kill for some sub 10:00/mi times.

-Making my health a priority: I want to feel good all the time. I want to run/weight lift consistently, remember to book my massages, and do more yoga! I also want to get my weight under control, which I’ve talked about in previous blogs.

So far, I have two races lined up: the Mississauga Marathon (I’m running the half-marathon distance), and the Goodlife CityChase (part obstacle course, part scavenger hunt). I’m thinking about doing a full marathon in the fall, pending my results from my half marathon and some 5/10ks sprinkled in there.

 

Does anyone have any Fitness New Years Resolutions? What are they?

 

-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy

Post-Strength Training Must-Haves

Happy Holidays guys! I hope that you guys are having a great time surrounded by the ones you love most.

On Tuesday while I was at the gym, (leg day), it occurred to me that there’s rituals that I carry out once I’m done. Anybody else do this? Here’s what goes down when I’m done strength training:

-I stretch! I stretch as soon as I possibly can (a.k.a. while my muscles are still warm)

-I roll out: If it’s a leg day, I can clearly roll my legs out on my own, but if I did an upper body day, I usually get Daniel to take the roller and roll out my back and traps. Sometimes if my quads and/or calves are super sore, I’ll get Daniel to roll them out for me since he can apply more pressure than I can. I’ve made a post about my TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller two months ago, and I have nothing but good things to say about it.

-I drink a protein shake (or smoothie): once I’ve finished stretching, I like to get my protein fix in quickly. If I’m planning on having lunch shortly after a workout, I won’t have a protein shake and I’ll just use a meat protein in its place. If I feel like having a smoothie, I’ll throw in half a scoop-a scoop of vanilla protein. This particular brand is SUPER creamy in smoothies. I’m also partial to this shaker cup. The jack really breaks up the powder for a more even mix.

-This step is more so for the day after, but I love RUB-A535. It smells horrendous but works wonders on sore muscles. It also absorbs pretty quickly which is a bonus.

What are some products you guys swear by post-strength training or post-run?

 

-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy

Weight Watchers – What it is & Why I’m Doing it

In my Back from my Blogging Break blog, I spoke about taking charge of my health, which starts with getting my weight in check. I’ve always been heavier set, but I’ve always been active as well so I feel like my size didn’t affect me as much. When I was 14, I competitively swam for a year and lost about 20 pounds as a result. The weight seemed to stay off despite my eating habits not changing, however my activity level was still high.

Fast-forward a few years later to my first year of college. I was living on my own for the first time and was eating a lot of processed food. I maybe gained 15 pounds during these years and some of it actually came off via Weight Watchers. Ever since I hit 20, my weight has hovered between 200-210. Since the New Year’s rapidly approaching, (along with the Mississauga Half-Marathon that I signed up for), I just want to feel the best I possibly can, and fast.

I did some research and stumbled across a program called Kinobody which was the program I initially was going to embark on. They have a few different programs catering to anything from aggressive weight loss to muscle toning. After talking with my mom about Kinobody, she mentioned to me that she was going to start Weight Watchers again with my dad. We all did it as a family a few years ago leading up to their wedding, and had great results. Since my parents were doing Weight Watchers, I felt that it might be easier to jump on that bandwagon and have more support. So that’s the final verdict!

weight-watchers-what-it-is-why-im-doing-it

Day 1: 210 lbs. Excuse the messy hair: I took this after arm day at the gym.

For those of you who don’t know, Weight Watchers is a program that prescribes a point value to different foods. Based on a few different factors, you’re given a point allowance for the day. Point values are also placed on physical activity, so you can subtract the activity points you may earn in a day from your end-of-day total.

Have any of you tried any diets? If so, what were they? Did you have any success?

 

-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy

Winter Running Reflection (and a Question for You All)

Today I decided to embark on a 4.6mi run outside. I live in the north-eastern part of Toronto; where the weather today was -110C (120F) with the wind chill and the sidewalks were either slushy or not shovelled at all. For the first mile I was doing ok; I usually run somewhere between 10:45/mi – 11:00/mi and I was right in that range. I then turned from one major street to the next, only to be hit with block after block of ankle-high snow that wasn’t compact. At this point, my pace slowed DRAMATICALLY to around 14:00/mi.

Last winter was my first winter where I made an effort to run outside and my pace did slow once there was snow on the ground. Mind you, I was a slower runner last year than I was this year, (around 11:30/mi). I bring this up, because although I know I can’t really compare last year to this year, I did have a sneaky suspicion that the snow would slow me down. I expect to gain some time…but 3:00/mi? That’s crazy.

My question for all you winter-runners is this: how do you run in the snow and still keep a decent pace? What strategies do you guys use? I’m going to be training for a half in the New Year and I really don’t want this to be a hindrance.

 

-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy

Product Review: Garmin Forerunner 25

*DISCLAIMER: This isn’t a positive review*

Price: $99.99 USD

After having this watch for a few months, I feel that I can finally write a review on it! Although the Forerunner 35 just recently came out, if you’re looking to save some money on a GPS watch, this review would be useful for you. For starters, the Forerunner 25 is a fairly basic GPS watch, so I figured it’d be ideal for someone who hasn’t had one before and is a fan of low-frills electronics.

Physical Specs:

It comes with different colour wristbands, but since blue is my favourite colour, Daniel got that one, (it was a birthday present).

garmin-forerunner-25

As you can see, the face of the watch is relatively small, which makes for a nice fit on the wrist.

The charger is fairly simple and just involves clipping on a backing to the backside of the watch.

garmin-forerunner-25-charger

The face of the watch itself isn’t touch screen, which is a little bit of a bummer. Rather than a touch screen face, you have four buttons, (two on each side), that allow you to navigate though menus such as settings, history, and starting a run.

garmin-forerunner-side-buttons2

The all-black button is used to scroll up and down through menu screens and the blue button is used to start, stop and pause runs. 

garmin-forerunner-25-side-buttons1

The button on the left is the power button, and the button on the right is button go back or “undo” the action you just did. 

It also doesn’t measure heart rate at the wrist but rather via a strap that goes around your chest. I haven’t used the heart rate strap since it seemed a tad inconvenient, so I can’t comment on that feature.

Tech Specs:

-It counts your steps and calories burned

-It keeps a history of your runs

-It can be connected to Garmin Connect, Strava, and MyFitnessPal

The Nitty-Gritty:

The GPS takes approximately 10 minutes to catch a signal. 10 MINUTES!! That’s way too long. I’d heard stories about some watches taking a while, but I never thought it’d be 10 minutes. The challenge with this is that since I live in a condo complex, my runs usually start there, so I usually have to walk a half block just to get away from the tall buildings.

 

The most negative feature of all…

 

IT FREEZES! So far it’s happened to me three times, but it occurs sporadically so I never know when it’s going to happen. Two out of the three times that it froze it wasn’t even cold out, so it’s not like weather was the issue. The first two times that it froze I was saving my run. When you finish a run, you press the blue button shown above which pauses the run. It then gives you the option to save or resume. If you press save, a screen pops up that says “Run Saved!”. This is the screen that froze on me. The problem with this is that I couldn’t remember how long I’d been running, so I wasn’t able to manually enter the run. On top of that, resetting the watch, (which unfreezes it), erases your last run so it’s not in your history anymore!

On the third time it froze, it froze on the “save/resume” screen. By the third time, I’d gotten into the habit of checking the time and distance before I save my run so that I could manually enter my run on Strava. DOESN’T THIS DEFEAT THE PURPOSE OF A GPS WATCH?!?!

As you can tell, I’m not very impressed by the Forerunner 25. It’s up-to-date in terms of software, so there shouldn’t be a reason as to why this is happening. It has been helpful because I can see my pace more conveniently than when I ran with my phone, but I shouldn’t have to remember my time and distance IN CASE it freezes. I’m also not covered under Garmin’s warrantee or the warrantee from the store where Daniel purchased it, so I’m kind of stuck. Bah hum bug.

Running Fast, Lifting Heavy Approved: No

 

-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy

Back from my Blogging Break

Hey Guys!

So it’s been a while…a long while actually. I think one of the challenges of blogging and being a student is being able to juggle both. But I’m back, and since the semester’s wrapping up, I’ll be able to get more posts to you guys! So what’s been happening in the last few weeks?

Daniel and I did the Downsview Airport 8k! I had a time of 54:39 and Daniel finished one second faster than me, (we crossed the finish line together). The course was challenging; while it was completely flat since 90% of it took place on a tarmac, the wind was SUPER intense. We layered appropriately since it was -50C, but your face still takes a beating. The race was well organized and included a tech shirt or toque, (upon registration, you picked which one you wanted), finisher’s medal, coupons and yummy treats. They also had a Tim Horton’s kiosk set up complete with coffee and hot chocolate! I think my only complaint was getting to the venue. Since part of the course was on a neighbourhood road, the normal route to the parking lot was blocked off. Combine this with a series of one-way roads and you have yourself a sticky situation.

I’m signing up for my first half-marathon! It’s crazy to think that just a couple years ago, I’d run a couple blocks away from our condo and back and be tapped out. After running consistently and doing some races, I feel pretty ready to take the next step! I’m still debating between the Goodlife Marathon and the Mississauga Marathon courses, but I have to decide in less than a week to snag a decent rate. So stayed tuned!

After much reflection with regards to my body, I’ve decided that I need to take charge. I always try different diets and never really stick to anything. Once I have a “bad day”, it’s a catalyst for another bad day and then a bad month. I’ve tried Weight Watchers a couple years ago, (just before I turned 19), and did have some success, but I feel that that specific diet isn’t right for me right now. After doing some research, I stumbled across Kinobody. It was a completely different approach than I’ve ever tried before. I bought the program, (which was a lot cheaper than most diet programs), and so far I’m on day two and loving it! Within the week, I’ll be sure to post a review for you guys and let you know what it’s about.

Also, be sure to check me out on social media! I post mostly lifestyle stuff so you can see what goes on when I’m not training, but I’m going to start posting fitness-related things so keep your eyes peeled!

Instagram: taylormarshall94

Snapchat: tgmarshall

 

-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy