Thursday, April 7, 2016
I love running. I love racing! I don't picture myself ever becoming a legit racer, but I will keep running Half Marathons every couple years for as long as I can. There is an energy about a race that I absolutely love. Goal-getting via racing is a cheap thrill (well, ha, sans the race registration fee). Training makes you strong mentally and physically. All such good things!!

I wanted to get my race-training "progrum" :) in the books here, because after running three races now, I think I've found somewhat of a golden training ticket. I cross-train for races (I'm sure most people do). Cross-training has strengthened my heart, lungs, and legs to the point where running a lengthy distance isn't just doable it's enjoyable. I was dead serious when I said that we loved our race. When your body feels good - like running doesn't hurt - and your mind is trained to go the distance, running is fun.

Here's my cross-training jam in a nutshell:

MONDAY: a short distance run
TUESDAY: strength training (for about 30 minutes)
THURSDAY: a sprint run
FRIDAY: yoga
SATURDAY: a long distance run
SUNDAY: rest!

My specifics for workout are under that really fancy pic of my trusty workout gear. ;) Fair warning, though, I didn't spare details. I scoured the internet before my first Half, hoping to find reliable guidance for training, and I was so grateful for the tips I found. So also trying to pay it forward here. It's the least I can do, right? ;) 

MONDAY: a short distance run
At the start of my training, my short runs were 1-2 miles. I was running 4-5 miles by the end.

TUESDAY: strength training 
I primarily do Physique 57 for strength training (I use the DVDs HERE). I have yet to find something that sculpts muscles as quickly as Physique, and in such a lean, non-bulky, feminine way. Other than Physique, I also like circuit workouts with weights. I go to Pinterest for those -- some of my favorite circuit pins hang out on my board HERE.

WEDNESDAY: HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workout on a spin bike
HIIT/sprint workouts have been game changers for me. I like sprinting on the spin bikes and the treadmill. For sprints on the bike, I used the Interval Timer App  to keep me going at high, intense intervals. I love this app! A knocking sound lets you know when your sprint interval starts - the interval lasts 8 seconds - and a beep sound tells you that the sprint is over. The rest period is 12 seconds. One sprint and one rest makes up one interval, and the workout lasts for 60 intervals. It takes about 25 minutes and it rocks. Your heart, legs, and lungs feel it, and they are so much the better for it!

THURSDAY: sprint run on the treadmill
I experienced the beauty of sprint runs while training for my first Half in 2009. Sprinting strengthens your heart and lungs much differently than slower-paced, long runs. When I'm incorporating sprint runs in my workout routines, I never experience that "Okay I'm going to die!!" feeling when I run long distances, because my heart, lungs, and legs are strong enough to go go go. My favorite sprint workout is below. I always do sprint-run workouts on the treadmill, but the track works, too!

Sprint Workout
Minutes 0-5: warm-up jog. Speed 5.5.
Minute 6: Speed 6
Minute 7: Speed 7
Minute 8: Speed 8
Minute 9: Speed 9
Minute 10: Speed 10
**So for the first 10 minutes, starting at minute 6, I increase my speed by one level. I repeat this three times...

Minute 11: Speed 6
Minute 12: Speed 7
Minute 13: Speed 8
Minute 14: Speed 9
Minute 15: Speed 10

Minute 16: Speed 6
Minute 17: Speed 7
Minute 18: Speed 8
Minute 19: Speed 9
Minute 20: Speed 10
**And when I'm feeling really good, I bump that last Minute 20 up to Speed 11. It's ugly but awesome. :) 

Sprint-interval training via the bike and treadmill made ALL the difference for me in my first and third races. I wasn't in sprint shape for my second race, and my body didn't love its life as much by the end of that one. :)

FRIDAY: Yoga! 
Yoga is for runners, I swear! No but really, every runner should practice yoga. Yoga strengthens the small, deep muscles surrounding joints, like your knees and ankles -- two deal-breaking areas when running. Nothing beats a good 60-minute class in a studio, but that gets pricey, so I practice via these free (!!) online workouts from Yoga Download HERE

SATURDAY: a long distance run! 
Sprint runs train your heart and lungs, long runs train your brain. I ran a long run every Saturday pre-race. I got up to 9 miles on the Saturday before the race (some people get up to 13 before a race, but my schedule has never let me get there). Reaching 9 miles prepared me mentally, howevvver, hunger hit me at mile 10 this race. My body wasn't used to needing so much fuel for so long. So I'll bump my mileage up to 10-11 when training for my next race. 

So that's my story. What about Ryan's program? How'd he train (since he so trained, right)?? ;)

He ran this on the fly, yes, but funny enough, he's basically been cross-training for months, too. Ryan sprints on and off for a couple hours every Thursday by playing basketball with his man friends (it's a real bromance, believe me). He has also been doing this at-home gymnastics program HERE since the start of the year. It has seriously strengthened his core, tendons, and joints, which is why his knees and ankles - although unaccustomed to running for so long - did just fine during the race. 

THE END. Props for making it through that one. Never hesitate to shoot Q's my way about running, racing, exercising, etc. It's a big part of my life and I love to spread the love.

Long live good health, yeah? Whether you run/race or not, cheers to any road you're on to take care of your body. Muscles, bones, brains, and hearts are such gifts. They deserve good workouts, food, sleep -- slash love. :)



  1. I LOVED this. Next, I want a post about your nutrition! I wanna read about a day-in-the-life of Mrs. Jeni A! 'Cus I know it's gotta be good.

    1. Haha I don't know, it gets pretty real around here (long live handfuls of chocolate chips at 8:00 PM)! But I have the same interest - there's so much to learn from each other, especially about what we can feed our families, right? - so I'll do it! Thanks for the push, sweet friend. xo

  2. I love this! I'm a big fan of switching it up all the time when it comes to exercising. I love how you're doing somethings different every day. I'm going to steal this idea as I am about to start training for my 3rd half as well. My husband ran the second one with me and it was the best ever :) (even though he had to slow wayyy down to stay with me;) Thanks for sharing this plan!

  3. Hahah, that husband!! Get him running sprints this go-round and he'll keep up. ;) How fun that you're doing a third race! A Half is just the right distance, isn't it? I'd love to know what you'll add to this little program. I'm certain you tricks up your sleeve - you're as seasoned as anyone! Let me know, will you?? xo!


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