End of Week Check-In (a month into half-marathon training)!

As the weeks go by, one thing that I notice is that my interval days feel 10x harder than they did when I was training for a 10k. Obviously, that’s because the difficulty scales with the distance, but it can get really challenging some days! That being said, I had a pretty good week and was able to complete all my workouts despite having some pretty sore legs towards the end of the week. Here’s what I was up to:

Monday

6mi Run – 10:57/mi avg pace with a moving time of 1:05:50.

end-of-week-check-in-week-4-1

Tuesday

Shoulders:

-5 min warm up

-Dumbbell External Rotation: 20lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Shoulder Press: 65lbs @ 16 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Rear Deltoid: 90lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

Back & Biceps:

-5 min warm up

-One Arm Bicep Curls: 35lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Back Extension: 190lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Standing Barbell Curl: 60lbs @ 20 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Roman Chair: 55lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Hammer Curls: 35lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Lat Pulldown: 85lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

end-of-week-check-in-week-4-2

Wednesday

Intervals (Tempo) – 3.7 mi with an average pace of 10:54/mi and a moving time of 40:22.

Thursday

Legs:

-5 min warm up

-Calf Press: 200lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Squats: 120lbs @ 21 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Hip Adductor: 175lbs @ 25 reps (1 min rest between sets)

-Hip Abductor: 175lbs @ 25 reps (1 min rest between sets)

*this workout was probably the hardest leg day I’ve ever had. My legs just felt like spaghetti…it was brutal.

Chest & Triceps:

-5min warm up

-Assisted Dips: 70lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Bench Press: 50lbs @ 17 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Tricep Press: 120lbs @ 25 reps (1 min rest between sets)

-Pec Fly: N/A

-Dumbbell Tricep Extension: 45lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Chest Press: 95lbs @ 23 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

Friday

Rest Day.

Saturday

Rest Day.

Sunday

Intervals – 2.3 mi with an average pace of 10:11/mi and a moving time of 23:25.

*I got to try out the indoor track at my new gym! I love it. It’s rubberized, so it reduces some of the impact. It wasn’t too busy either since I went just after 11:00pm. It was perfect!

I have a lot going on this week, so I’m really hoping that I can maintain my schedule, however it might be a challenge. Stay tuned!

 

-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy

 

 

 

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Race Season is Starting…

Seeing as my first race of 2017 is less than a month, (March 24th), I figured I should layout all the races I have planned for the year. I’ve talked about the Mississauga Half that I have planned in May and my team race in two weeks, but that’s it.

March

What: Achilles St. Patrick’s Day 5k

Where: Toronto, ON

Swag/Race Features: Scenic route through Toronto’s High Park, technical race shirt, free Irish chili and a pint of Steam Whistle Beer, (I don’t like chili or beer, so the shirt is pretty much the bulk of the swag for me)

*I’m aiming for a pr in this race, (a sub 32:00 minute time), and I’m REALLY hoping I can crack it. I’m feeling at the moment that it’s a little out of my reach, but we’ll see.

April

April’s pretty up in the air since I’ll have exams and the date that I leave for Europe may fall during this month. I’m thinking I may just leave this month empty in preparation for my half.

May

What: Mississauga Half-Marathon

Where: Mississauga, ON

Swag/Race Features: Net downhill, (yay!), technical race shirt and finisher’s medal

*Since this is my first half, just finishing it would be amazing. That being said, 2:20 or lower would be AMAZING.

June

What: Rugged Maniac

Where: Kitchener, ON

Swag/Race Features: Cotton T-Shirt, Finisher’s Medal, and a free beer, (again, not a beer fan, haha).

*This is a mud run that I’m doing with my mom and my boyfriend. My boyfriend and I have both done mud runs together in the past, but this is my mom’s first time running EVER. She’s a beast, so I know she can hack it.

What: Goodlife Fitness City Chase

Where: Toronto, ON

Swag/Race Features: I wrote a post on this race seeing as I did it two years ago. Check it out!

July 

I think I’m going to take July off. Two races in the same month is more than I’ve ever done and I don’t want to over-commit.

August

I think I’m taking this month off too. I might be taking a couple of credits during the summer to graduate early, in which case my final exams would be this month.

September

What: Oakville Half

Where: Oakville, ON

Swag/Race Features: Technical Race Shirt and Finisher’s Medal

*Halves are my focus for 2017; I really want to master them.

October

I’m taking this month off since I’m not sure how I’ll feel after the half.

November

What: Angus Glen 10k

Where: Markham, ON

Swag/Race Features: It doesn’t seem like they’ve posted this yet since it’s so far in advance, but from what I’ve seen from their past races, their swag bag has been on point.

December

This month is a toss-up. My boyfriend and I are supposed to be in Florida for the holidays, so I may do a race down there…who knows!

 

-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy

 

Product Review: Vega Sport Performance Protein

Remember when I said that I went to GNC and they had a BOGO sale? This is what I went to purchase. As you can tell from some of my other product reviews/my Instagram, I’m definitely a fan of Vega and use their products often. While I’ve had their all-in-one shakes before, I’ve never tried their Performance Protein. My usual criteria when purchasing a protein powder are flavour, (I usually buy chocolate or vanilla, I never get too fancy), calories/serving and what’s actually in the powder itself. If you’ve ever used Vega before, I’m sure you can attest to the fact that they always load their products up with a variety of beneficial things. The Performance Protein is no different. Here’s what I thought of it:

-I got the chocolate flavour and the container says that the protein powder has tart cherries in it so I expected more of a dark chocolate flavour, however it resembles milk chocolate more so (not a complaint, just an observation).

-It has 6g of BCAAs per serving which is AMAZING for runners and weightlifters alike.

-It tastes good in shakes, milk, and water as well. This is important to me, because I wouldn’t want to buy a protein powder if I can only mix it in one thing.

-Mixes really well, (no clumps).

Verdict? Another pat on the back for Vega. This stuff is delicious. I never would’ve thought that I would love a vegan protein powder as much as I love Vega’s.

 

Running Fast, Lifting Heavy Approved: Yes

 

-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy

 

P.S. Have something you want me to review? Write it in the comments!

End of Week Check-In (Week 3 of Mississauga Half-Marathon training)

I got some pretty exciting news as a logged into my WordPress account earlier…I have 100 followers! I never would’ve thought that when I started this blog last October that 100 people would care about what I have to say. So thank you guys!

Training this week definitely wasn’t as great as the previous two weeks, but still not too shabby. I missed both of my interval workouts which bums me out, but I still got my long run in, so I’m happy about that. I don’t think I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m using the Nike Half-Marathon Training Plan to train for my half. I’ve used it for my last two races and have had great results. Here’s what I did this past week:

Monday

Rest Day.

Tuesday

4mi run – 10:37/mi avg pace and a moving time of 42:42. My average pace was three seconds slower this week than it was last week, but I’m not sweating it.

mississauga-half-week-3

Shoulders:

-5 min warm up

-Dumbbell External Rotation: 15lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Shoulder Press: 55lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Rear Deltoid: 75lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

shoulder-day

Wednesday

Back & Biceps:

-5 min warm up

-One Arm Bicep Curls: 30lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Back Extension: 170lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Standing Barbell Curl: 60lbs @ 15 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Roman Chair: 45lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Hammer Curls: 30lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Lat Pulldown: 70lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

Legs:

-5 min warm up

-Calf Press: 185lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Barbell Squats: 110lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Hip Adductor: 160lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Hip Abductor: 160lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

I should probably note that for my barbell squats, the weight that I have listed here is the weight not including the bar.

Thursday

Rest Day.

Friday

Rest Day.

Saturday

Chest & Triceps:

-5 min warm up

-Assisted Dips: 85lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Bench Press: 50lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Tricep Press: 105lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Pec Fly: N/A

-Dumbbell Tricep Extension: 40lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Chest Press: 80lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

Similar to the barbell squats, the weight for my bench is the weight without the bar.

Sunday

Rest Day.

Towards the end of my week, I just got super swamped and hence why the intervals didn’t happen. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this week is a little different.

 

-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy

 

 

 

 

Product Review: Rivalus Powder Burn 2.0

I’ve been posting pictures of this product on Instagram a lot recently…I can’t get enough of it! I stumbled across Rivalus Powder Burn 2.0, (a creatine-free pre-workout powder), while at GNC. GNC usually has some sort of BOGO deal on, and since my boyfriend and I were about to purchase something, I figured we should take advantage of the offer. I approached one of the employees for her recommendation for a creatine-free pre-workout and she showed me this one. There were a couple different flavours, but the watermelon flavour was at the front so I just picked that one.

I find pre-workouts to be tricky, because they generally come in smaller containers and are pricey. This one’s well worth it though. Here’s what I thought of it:

-The watermelon flavour is AMAZING!! It’s honestly so delicious. It reminds me of the watermelon flavour Jolly Rancher, (literally).

-Creatine-free, (a plus if you don’t want to hold onto the extra 3-5lbs of water weight)

-The container says it takes 30-60mins to kick in, but it actually only takes 20-30mins to start feeling it

-The “itchiness factor” of most pre-workouts isn’t nearly as strong in this one

-Only 10 calories/serving

I’ve tried other pre-workouts in the past, but this one is 100% the yummiest. Not only does it taste good, it’s effective and fast acting. I think I’m going to be a regular user of this product from now on…it’s just too good NOT to use!

Running Fast, Lifting Heavy Approved: 100% YES. This stuff is amazing.

 

-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy

My Not-So-Great Experience with The North Face Customer Service Department

Right after Christmas, I ordered a pair of ear warmers that were from The North Face through a website called Experticity. Experticity is a website that offers steep discounts to sporting goods employees of certain companies. These ear warmers were only $7.20, so I figured I couldn’t go wrong. Ha! It only went downhill from here.

When you purchase something from Experticity, it sends the order to the manufacturer, (in this case, The North Face), and the manufacturer sends you the product. Experticity just acts as the middleman. I got an email saying that my order had been approved, however I noticed that my credit card hadn’t been charged. A couple WEEKS go by and still no charge to my credit card. I decide to check my Experticity account and to my surprise, the order had been cancelled. CANCELED?!?! Thanks for the notification.

the-north-face-customer-service-blog

I decided to call Experticity and air my grievances, when they told me that since they merely pass along the order/offer the discounts, the issue actually lies with The North Face. The guy I spoke with gave me a number for their customer service department and told me to re-explain to them what happened. When I called The North Face, the woman told me that she has never even heard of Experticity and said there was literally nothing she could do. I explained to her that I just wanted to order the item again and wanted an explanation as to why my order had been cancelled, but all she said was, “I don’t know.”. She was literally of no help. I even asked to be passed along to someone else who might have more knowledge than her about Experticity, and she refused! Not going to lie, I got so frustrated that I just hung up the phone.

I decided to let an hour go by, calm down, and email message The North Face through their live chat feature on their website. The guy that I was corresponding with admitted to me that he didn’t know much about Experticity, but had a colleague who did and passed me along to her. She explained to me that the issue was with my credit card and that it probably flagged the transaction as a fraudulent one.

It doesn’t sound like the biggest deal, but I was so irritated by how the first woman that I spoke with from The North Face treated me. She totally dismissed me, and wouldn’t help me out in the slightest. Isn’t that the whole point of customer service? And if your company partners with a third party website, should you not have knowledge of the website in question?

I’ve purchased a new pair of ear warmers from Sugoi which should be here by the end of the week, (hopefully it’s still cold enough in Toronto to use them). Wish me luck!

 

-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy

P.S. Don’t forget about my discount codes page! You’ll find discount codes from my sponsors…definitely check it out!

End of Week Check In (Week 2 of Half-Marathon Training)

I’m really hoping that I can keep this momentum going…so far, I haven’t missed any workouts and still have had gas left in the tank. This is what my week looked like in detail:

Monday

4mi Run – 10:34/mi avg pace and a moving time of 42:26 minutes. The route that I ran for this run wasn’t the route I intended; I took a wrong turn and didn’t realize until .5mi later, (oops). It was still a good run though, and faster than expected, (even with some snow on the ground)!

weekly-recap-week-2

Tuesday

Back & Biceps:

-5 min Warm Up

-One-Arm Bicep Curls: 30lbs @ 5 sets x 21 reps total (1 min rest in between sets)

-Back Extension: 150lbs @ 5 sets x 25 reps total (1 min rest in between sets)

-Standing Barbell Curl: 50lbs @ 5 sets x 25 reps total (1 min rest in between sets)

-Roman Chair: 35lbs @ 5 sets x 25 reps (1 min rest in between sets)

-Hammer Curls: 25lbs @ 5 sets x 25 reps total (1 min rest in between sets)

-Lat Pulldown: 40lbs @ 5 sets x 25 reps total (1 min rest in between sets)

-5 min cool down

Wednesday

Legs:

-5 min Warm Up

-Calf Press: 170lbs @ 5 sets x 25 reps total (1 min rest in between sets)

-Barbell Squats: 100lbs @ 5 sets x 25 reps total (1 min rest in between sets)

-Hip Adductor: 145lbs @ 5 sets x 25 reps total (1 min rest in between sets)

-Hip Abductor: 145lbs @ 5 sets x 25 reps total (1 min rest in between sets)

-5 min Cool Down

I should probably note that I only work each muscle group in my legs once during a leg workout since I run three days a week.

Thursday

Rest Day

Friday

Intervals (Hills) – 2mi @ 11:01 avg pace with a moving time of 22:45. I must confess; I didn’t do the last set of hills because not only was it pretty windy, the snow was starting to come down and it just wasn’t working out for me.

Chest & Tris

-5 min Warm Up

-Assisted Dips: 100lbs @ 5 sets x 25 reps total (1 min rest in between sets)

-Bench Press: 50lbs @ 5 sets x 25 reps total (1 min rest in between sets)

-Tricep Press: 90lbs @ 5 sets x 25 reps total (1 min rest in between sets)

-Pec Fly: 80lbs @ 5 sets x 25 reps total (1 min rest in between sets)

-Dumbbell Tricep Extension: 35lbs @ 5 sets x 25 reps total (1 min rest in between sets)

-Chest Press: 65lbs @ 5 sets x 25 reps total (1 min rest in between sets)

-5 min Warm up

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll see the issue I had during my bench press. I still managed to make do with what I had though.

Saturday

Rest Day

Sunday

Intervals – 3.4mi@ 10:38/mi avg pace with a moving time of 36:10

This week was pretty good and like I said, I’m really hoping I can keep this momentum up as the miles increase. One thing I’ve noticed since I’ve started training for my half is that I feel like I could workout even on the days where I scheduled a rest day. I even doubled up on the Friday and I still felt ok.

 

-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy

What I’ve Learned About Sponsorships/Ambassadorships

To be honest, before I started this blog, I didn’t even know what having a sponsor meant or what being an ambassador entailed. I just assumed that if you had one of the two, (or both), you were probably an elite athlete that had companies knocking on your doorstep. While this could be the case for some, it most often isn’t.

In my opinion, companies look for an athlete that represents their product in a few different ways:

-They fit the “image of the company”

-They’ve used their product(s) before

-They have a strong following on social media

I’m sure that if you lacked in one area but compensated in another, you’d still be a viable candidate for getting sponsored/becoming an ambassador.

There’s SO MANY companies that sponsor athletes/provided ambassadorships. They can range from apparel, to accessories, and to things like nutrition/supplements. I feel like there’s no hard and fast rule as to what certain companies provide, and it honestly depends on what you can offer them. On the lower end of the spectrum, companies will off you a discount on their products, providing you promote their brand on your social media channels on a frequent basis. I think that this level of sponsorship/ambassadorship is the most common. In the middle of the spectrum, companies will offer you free product in exchange for promotion on your behalf. On the far end of the spectrum, companies will pay you to showcase your product. The last one is uncommon though, unless you have tens of thousands of followers.

The biggest thing I’d take away is that if you’re going to become a sponsored athlete, make sure it’s with a company that you’re actually familiar with and are passionate about. I currently have two sponsors; Insane Labz and American Metabolix and I honestly love both of their products. In my usual fashion, I’ll be sure to review them and report back so you guys can try them!

insane-labzamerican-metabolix

I actually created a new page called “Discount Codes” where you can find discount codes from my sponsors. They’re valid until I say otherwise, so feel free to use them whenever!

 

-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy

Product Review: Vega Protein & Greens

One day a couple of weeks ago, I came home from school and this was waiting for me. As some of you might know, I’m all about my shakes and smoothies so anything that goes with that theme is a bonus. I’ve used Vega protein powders in the past, but they’ve always been the all-in-one nutritional shakes so this is a little different. Here’s what I thought about it:

-The texture’s a little grainy. At first I thought it was seeds from the berries that were in my smoothie, but I changed up the fruit and realized that it was indeed the powder

-20g of protein per serving, (generally, I only use half a scoop so only 10g)

-Tastes good in a smoothie, in a glass of juice, or just in water

-The flavour is true to taste, (we bought the berry one)

When comparing the protein & greens to the all-in-one shake, I think that the all-in-one shake comes out on top. The flavour of the Berry is true to taste like I said, but I think the texture threw me off. I haven’t encountered that gritty taste when I had the all-in-one chocolate shake.

 

Running Fast, Lifting Heavy Approved: Unfortunately, I’m going to say no…I just can’t get past the texture (despite it tasting good).

 

-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy

Weekly Recap (Jan 30th – Feb 5th)

This past week was honestly really great. It just happened to be one of those weeks where everything aligned and I was able to get all my workouts in with one rest day to spare. This past week was also the start of my Mississauga Half-Marathon training! One week down, 13 to go! Here’s what I did this week:

Monday

Intervals (Fartlek) – 2.2mi in 24:03, 10:46/mi avg pace

This was the first time I’d ever done a fartlek run and it’s actually my new favourite interval run. I did it on the treadmill since I hadn’t activated my gym membership yet, and it turned out to be a lot of fun! I’m looking forward to doing it on a track though.

Tuesday

Shoulders

-5min Warm up

-Standing Shoulder Press: 25 lbs, 5 sets x 5 reps w/ 1 minute rest in between sets

-Delt Raise: 15lbs, 5 sets x 5 reps w/1 minute rest in between sets

This workout kind of sucked because I did it at the condo gym during the evening so it was super packed. I didn’t really plan this workout out since every machine was in use, so I just did whatever I could.

Wednesday

Rest Day

Thursday

Intervals – 3.4mi…

This one is tricky because Strava says that my average pace is 14:23/mi and I know that’s not true since my slowest split was 11:36. Other than that, it was a really good treadmill interval session.

Back & Bis

-5min Warm Up

-One Arm Bicep Curls: 25lbs, 5 sets x 5 reps w/ 1 minute rest in between sets

-Back Extension: 135lbs, 5 sets x 5 reps w/ 1 minute rest in between sets

-Standing Barbell Curl: 40lbs, 5 sets x 5 reps w/ 1 minute rest in between sets

-Roman Chair: 25lbs, 5 sets x 5 reps w/1 minute rest in between sets

-Hammer Curls: 20lbs, 5 sets x 5 reps w/ 1 minute rest in between sets

-Lat Pulldown: 35lbs, 5 sets x 5 reps w/ 1 minute rest in between sets

This was the first workout in the new gym! It’s a great gym and I definitely made the right choice signing up. I so far have only gone during the evenings, but it isn’t super busy which is nice.

Friday

Legs

-5min Warm Up

-Calf Press: 160lbs, 5 sets by 5 reps w/ 1 minute rest in between sets

-Barbell Squats: 90lbs (not including the bar), 5 sets x 5 sets w/1 minute rest in between sets

-Hip Adductor: 135lbs, 5 sets x 5 sets w/1 minute rest in between sets

This workout REALLY burned! I was up at my school’s main campus in Peterborough for the weekend and used their gym. My friend was picking me up in between classes so not only did I not get to finish my workout, I also didn’t get to stretch. Holy crap was I sore.

Saturday

Chest & Tris

-5min Warm Up

-Assisted Dips: 100lbs, 5 sets x 5 reps w/1 minute rest in between sets

-Bench Press: 20lbs (not including the bar), 5 sets x 5 reps w/ 1 minute rest in between sets

-Tricep Extension (Machine): 60lbs, 5 sets x 5 reps w/1 minute rest in between sets

-Pec Fly: 80lbs, 5 sets x 5 reps w/1 minute rest in between sets

-Incline Sit-Ups w/ Medicine Ball: 3 sets x 8 reps w/1 minute rest in between sets

This workout was nice because I got to do it with friends, which I don’t get to do very often.

Sunday

4mi Run – 43:32 moving time & 10:53/mi avg pace

This was on the treadmill which wasn’t ideal, but at least it was accomplished!

 

I also got some exciting news: I’ve become an Insane Labz Athlete! They have some really cool stuff from apparel, to recovery supplements and more! I have a coupon code for you guys: runlift20. Use it to get 20% your order!

 

-Running Fast, Lifting Heavyweekly-recap-jan-30th-feb-5th