Category Archives: FitNicePT

Fit Friday: Running Alone

Some people love to run in groups and some of us don’t.  I definitely prefer to do the majority of my running alone.  Maybe it’s because I’m an only child or because my schedule is funky.  After a sibling-less childhood, I grew accustomed to being alone and having to entertain myself running aloneso that I actually learned to like it.  I need it.

So I go running alone and it’s glorious.  No phone, no friends.  I especially like doing my long runs on Thursday mornings.  I know there won’t be anyone else out there.  Just me, the road and a few squirrels, yay!  This piece from Runner’s World sums up my feelings nicely for the most part.  I’m picky about ‘my people’ and value my peace and quiet.  A 15 mile run is my time to think, or not think, about what’s going on in my life without any interference.  It’s good prep for when I actually race and will undoubtedly be too busy running my own race to worry about who’s with me.

Is that to say I like running alone so much that I’ll always turn down an offer from a pal?  Absolutely not.  I’m the first one to tout the benefits of running groups or clubs.  Check out this post.  If friends and camaraderie are what get you out the door, that’s awesome.  The exponential increase in social running groups has been wonderful.  People make new friends, hit new goals and get healthier every single day with their running ‘tribes’.  It’s just not what works for me and even on a group run I’ll usually end up alone.  I’m happy to socialize before the run or after, cheer for the final finishers and congratulate everyone but I’ll do my running alone.

Meredith

Do you like running alone?  Why or why not?

Easy Running for Faster Running

Going out for an easy run might seem pointless.  It’s hard to make sense of getting faster by running slower.  The truth is you do actually have to run faster sometimes if you’re going to lower finish times at races but you definitely don’t want to do it all the time.  A balance between hard and easy running workouts is the best way to build fitness without risking injury, easy runningovertraining or burnout.  The ultimate purpose of an easy workout is to build a foundation you can then load intensity on top of.  The lower effort runs allow your body to adapt to the stresses of road running while still being able to recover fast enough that you can get out there day after day.

Taking your workout intensity down with easy running will help you earn stronger bones, tougher joints, improved running economy, develop slow twitch/fat burning muscles and increased aerobic capacity without leaving you begging for an ice bath.  While some people might consider dramatically slower than race pace runs (up to 2 minutes per mile!) pointless, it’s important to remember every workout has a purpose.  Yes, we all need fast days to work on turnover, VO2max and race pace but getting time on your feet, recovering quickly and having a nice relaxing run isn’t logging ‘junk miles’ if your session has a purpose, it’s working towards your next race goal.

When you ask yourself why you’re running ‘so slow’ keep in mind that going hard all the time is begging for an injury (trust me!).  Your body has to adapt, recover and repair after a beat down on the track or a big hill.  Muscles are damaged and full of waste.  Blood vessels have to expand while learning how to process the higher oxygen demands you just put on them.  An easy running day can actually help speed those adaptations by clearing waste from muscles and increasing circulation.  If you go hard every time you run your body never gets the chance to adapt to higher demands you’re placing on it and things like overtraining, stress fractures and burnout all become big risks.

Alternate hard and easy workouts while listening to what your body tells you during warm up.  Maybe today isn’t the best day for those all out 100M repeats or a 5k time trial.  Make sure your easy running is just that, easy.  A conversational pace with a low heart rate up to two minutes per mile slower than race speed.  Keep the benefits of easy running in mind when you’re a little tired or a little sore and never be afraid to slow things down.  As long as your workout has a purpose, you can’t go to slow.

Meredith

How many easy running miles do you log?  Do you have trouble slowing things down?

I’m Back + Exciting Things

Wow!  It’s been over a week since my last post but I’m back!  Time has flown by in spite of my limited time spent lifting, jumping and running as I roll on with marathon recovery and down time before my next training cycle begins.  I’ve been busy with three exciting things I’m ready to share so here’s what I’ve been up to these last seven days:

1.  Decision Making.  I know in this post I said I wasn’t sure about my next marathon or if I’d even run another one.  Well, one of my I’m Back announcements is that I will be back.  I’ll be hitting the road for 26+ miles on 12 March 2017 for the 3rd One City Marathon.  It might be a quest for redemption or just to prove it was really the sock’s fault or more likely both.  I know I can perform better and now I’ve given myself the chance to confirm it on the same course on, hopefully, another perfect day.

2.  Reading.  While standing, of course.  Taking a break from hours of running in a week doesn’t give me an excuse to sit on my rump.  Rest is not recovery!  It’s been a while since I’ve opened a running book but right now I’m back to it with Chi Running.  I’m always hungry to I'm backlearn more, hone my coaching abilities and find new ways to help guide my clients to crush their goals.  So far it’s been a nice compliment to what I know about similar training theories like Crossfit Endurance and Pose Method.  When I’m back running more than three or four miles at a time in a few weeks I’m excited to see what I’m able to apply to my own activities.

3.  Creating.  I’m not an incredibly creative person in terms of art but when I get my mind set on something I’m all in.  I started FitNicePT ages ago and while I love my clients and what I do every day, personal training isn’t my main focus.  I’ve moved on to being more of a running coach and that’s where I’d like to grow.  It’s challenging to start a new project but I’m back on the grindstone and looking forward to where this project is going to take anyone who’s a part of it.

Meredith

What have you been up to?  What are you reading?

Fit Friday: Bad Workout Blues

The bad workout blues are an unwritten part of every training plan.  A less than perfect run or strength session is bound to happen at some point during a 12 to 16 week training cycle.  When it does happen, a bad workout can turn your day upside down but hopefully it doesn’t happen often or cause injury.  I battled through a few while prepping for my first marathon and learned a few important things about beating the bad workout blues.  Here are the ways I avoid or treat them to bounce back quickly.

Get enough sleep.  I love sleeping but that doesn’t mean I always get enough.  I try really hard to stay on a bedtime and wake-up schedule so I’m at least getting as much shut eye as I can.  Sleep allows your body time to heal from your last workout and since your next workout is only as good as your recovery, it makes perfect sense sleep is a key element.  Having a sleepless night can wreak havoc on your body and suck out tons of the energy you plan on using for bad workouttraining.  Thankfully, one great thing about sleep is the human body’s ability to catch up on it.  On the rare occasion I’m not hopping out of bed bright and early for work or a long run, I take the chance to sleep as late as I can and you should, too.

Eat right.  At least aim for the 80/20 rule.  Fueling your body with the right things is just as important as getting enough sleep.  Whole grains, lots of fruits and veggies along with less sugar (unfortunately that does include booze).  I’m also caffeine free, no coffee or soda which helps me sleep.  On a two hour run I can burn around 2,000 calories and I want to be sure I’m replacing them with quality food items (maybe a well deserved glass/es of wine, too).  All that eating kicks the digestive system on and to work properly, it needs lots of water.  Proper hydration before, during and after a session is also super important.

Have good goals and track workouts.  Set a good goal (check out my goal setting series on YouTube).  Write it down.  Look at it every single day.  Journal your workouts and how you felt before, during and after them.  Or check the weather constantly while seeing how much you can shuffle your schedule like I do.  Knowing what’s coming keeps me focused and on track, prevents boredom and make me accountable, even if only to myself.  Having a record of what happened before a bad workout turns each one into a learning experience that stops them from happening in the future.

Listen to your body.  Bad workouts can be a sign of over training or injury.  Mix up cardio days with yoga, swimming and lifting days.  When I start feeling worn down, unusually sore or grouchy or dreading the gym, I know it’s time for an extra day off.  I’m also not afraid to call it quits when a workout is on a bad path.  One short session won’t derail my training and might prevent an injury.  Listen to what your body says and take it seriously.

Meredith

How do you deal with the bad workout blues?

New Workouts + A Proud Trainer

It’s been a busy spring prepping for Prairie Fire and with three weeks left to go, my training is going well.  I challenged myself to try a few new workouts during this training cycle by using cadence work, some longer intervals and varied long runs.  One of the reasons I decided to include different types of long run and speed work during the last four weeks of this training cycle is because I don’t have a tune up race like I did before setting my current PR.

I wrapped up Prairie Fire Week 8 with one of these new workouts.  Prior to Sunday, the longest repeats I had ever done were 2000M, or 1.25mi, which I knew when I wrote this 12 week program.  I put a 3 x 2mile at 10k pace speed work session in Week 8 because I wanted the challenge.  A challenge it was, just not as challenging as I expected.  I think I held myself back a tad precisely because it was one of the new workouts and I didn’t know what to expect.  This week, I’m thankful for last week’s new workout because it gave me a good idea what to expect from another new one.  Week 9’s long run is a 4-3-2-1 race pace/tempo run combination that is definitely going to be tough.  With one mile to warm-up, one mile at marathon pace between each race pace section and a one mile cool down, this 15 miler will be a good gauge of exactly where I am heading into my last few weeks of spring training.  It’s a challenge I’ve not taken on before but thanks to Week 8’s long repeats, I’ll be sure to trust and stick with my pacing plan while not holding back.

Speaking of not holding back, in my March Right Now I talked about how proud I am of one of my clients.  She is a total rock star who works her butt off, never holds back and loves the challenge of new workouts each week.  I’m excited to continue helping her reach goal after goal.  In contrast, I’m also proud of one of my male clients who will sadly be ending, at least temporarily, his journey with me new workoutswhen April is over.  I will be sad not to see him in Boot Camp three mornings a week but I could not be more thrilled for the adventure he is embarking on.  He will be taking the ultimate road trip when departs mid-May to ride his touring bicycle from the sand of Virginia Beach all the way to Astoria, Oregon.  He will be taking a 12 week, or more, hiatus from the hustle and bustle of daily life to cover the roads of America and do some serious exploring.  It is so awesome he has the courage to take on a challenge of such magnitude and I am honored to have been a part of his journey to become healthy and confident enough to embark on what is sure to be an amazing adventure.

Meredith

Have you tried any new workouts lately?  Would you ride your bike cross country?

Fit Friday: Let’s Talk Toenails

I was upset this week to see this article claiming running ruins your feet and all runners because of it have horrible feet.  Start running and kiss your flip flops goodbye.  This piece makes a similar claim.  But, wait!  Not so fast.  I’m a runner.  I run anywhere between 100 and 180 miles a month.  I rotate through three, four or five pairs of shoes each week.  Sometimes I even wear cotton socks (!).  Sometimes it’s raining.  My toenails are just fine and I am keeping my flip flops, thank you.toenails

No fungus.  No ingrowing.  They might be tiny and un-pedicured but they’re perfectly healthy.  As a coach, it’s easy to see how toenails get damaged from being crammed into too small shoes or stuck in damp, sweaty socks.  If you take care of your feet, your toenails will be just as gorgeous as the day you were born.  Here are the ways I keep my toenails, and feet, happy.

Massage them.   I dig into the arch and heel with my finger and thumbs for at least five minutes on each foot a day.  If my hands are tired, I pull out my lacrosse ball and stand on it.  This keeps the circulation in my feet flowing, which is good for my toenails, and helps the muscles in my foot stay loose.  As a bonus, and since the foot connects to all of my other muscles, rubbing them down helps my hamstrings and calves stay loose, too.

Bare them.  I love shoes.  My Asics make me feel fast, my Jimmy Choos make me feel pretty and I leave them all behind as much as I can.  Being barefoot means my toenails aren’t rubbing on the inside of a shoe or trapped in sweaty, fungus friendly socks.  I do most of my gym workouts, the ones without box jumps, rowing or running, sans shoes.  Running barefoot on the beach?  A free spa treatment.  Hello, exfoliation and adios, dead skin.  Spending time apart from my favorite shoes keeps my feet strong and toenails happy.

Dry them.  Feet are home to 125,000 sweat glands a piece and I’m pretty sure mine are overactive.  My feet sweat like crazy, especially when I’m working out.  I admit to running occasionally in cotton socks, mostly for short, easy runs or on laundry day.  I also take them off immediately after I finish, dry my feet with a towel and put on a clean pair if I need to.  Moisture-wicking socks are a staple of my running attire, keeping fungus and blisters at bay.  I make sure to tote a pair of clean socks around with me, which might seem silly but it’s a great way to keep my toenails fungi free.

Running does not have to ruin your feet.  Blisters, fungus and ingrown toenails are all avoidable if you keep your feet in the right socks and give them a little post-run love.  I’m proud to wear my flip flops, work out barefoot and stick my toes in the sand all without thinking twice.  If I never hear sometime say that “running ruins your feet” again, it will be too soon.

Meredith

How do you protect your toenails and take care of your feet?  Ever dealt with blisters and fungus?

2014 in Review: Running, Blogging, Learning

Another year is drawing to a close and 2014 seemed to fly by faster than the last.  It was an exciting year of running adventures, traveling and lots of learning.

As 2014 rolled in, I established both personal and professional goals for the next 12 months.  My personal goals revolved around running, including logging 1,200 miles and clocking a sub 1:40.00 half marathon before the summer began.  My professional goals were to get my USA Track and Field Level I certification, grow FitNicePT and potentially write an e-book.  Now that 2014 is on the way out and learning2015 is knocking on the door, it’s time to take a look back at the last 365 days.

I nailed one of my running goals by PRing under 1:40.00 twice before summer and again in October at 1:37.24.  My racing year was very exciting and if you want to read all about it, here it is!  I exceeded my second running goal by running 1,445 miles in 2014.  Staying injury free was a huge bonus and I credit it to listening to my body in combination with consistent strength training.

My professional goals were not so easy to gauge.  I did receive my USA Track and Field Level I Coaching certification in March and the three-day course was a great learning experience.  I also took FitNicePT in a different direction and struggled with where I wanted to go.  Instead of writing an e-book, I took a lot of time to learn and use Twitter to help build a strong voice for my brand and gave more time to my blogs.  I love sharing my passion and knowledge while helping others reach their goals.  Being a part of the RunChat and BibRave clearningommunities has been very rewarding and while an e-book longer than 140 characters is still potentially on the horizon, I’m happy to be a part of the online running community on a daily basis.

Between my USATF coaching course, various continuing education efforts and some blogging trial and error, I did a lot of learning in 2014.  I stretched my long runs longer than ever before, lifted heavier weights than I thought I could, reached out to brands and businesses I never thought I could and look forward to taking those lessons with me into 2015.

What are my goals for 2015?  I have a Rock n Roll Phoenix and Rock n Roll DC on the calendar but am not aiming for a PR at either event.  I want to continue to grow the FitNicePT brand and need to choose the best way to do that.  I’ll spend some serious time thinking about it over the next few days and can’t wait to share what I decide.

Meredith

What was your biggest accomplishment of 2014?  Did you reach all of your goals?

Wine Tasting and Kidney Foundation

Doug and I attended a Wine Tasting and Information Session with the National Kidney Foundation last night and we had a great time.  I found out about the event through the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce and was excited for the opportunity to learn more about the foundation, network with other local business people and, of course, taste a few new wines.

The evening kicked off with a bundle of information about what the Kidney Foundation does, light finger foods and a true/false game of kidney disease education.  In addition to meeting other local Hampton Roads professionals, I learned about the prevalence of wine tastingkidney disease in this area and the lack of knowledge not only I have, but that most other people do, too.  After a few activities, through which Team FitNice earned some Kidney Foundation swag, including a new coffee mug, a magnet and an adorable teddy bear, the informational portion of the evening wrapped up and we moved on to the wine tasting.

Our wine tasting portion of the night included four wines linked by the theme that each was a blended wine.  Presented by Total Wine staffer Rachel, our four wines were the crisp and easy drinking Kitchen Sink White Blend (my favorite of the four), the more acidic, edgy and citrus flavored Script and Seal White Blend, the earthy and aromatic Kestrel Lady in Red and, finally, the big bodied Sexy Wine Bomb Red Blend.  I left the meet and greet/wine tasting event excited about getting Team FitNice involved in the May 17th Kidney Walk and went overboard, cruising the aisles of Total Wine before we ending up with 8 new wines to try and a six pack of Bell’s Wheat Love Ale.

wine tastingHunger had attacked during our aisle patrolling, and we went nearby to Gringo’s Taqueria for a late-ish dinner.  A tiny, hole-in-the-wall, local spot tucked away at the Oceanfront, it’s famous for its fish tacos.  Although neither of us dined on fish tacos last night, my shrimp and steak fajitas special was fresh, tasty and filling and Doug’s fresh shrimp and pineapple salsa bowl was equally as crisp, fragrant and stuffing.  We really enjoyed our food, our drinks and the environment.  The west coast inspired food might be a tab expensive, but it’s all incredibly fresh and free of grease.  This little gem is definitely worth a visit when you’re in the mood for friendly, local fare.

Stay tuned as I’ll review each of the wines we bought last night after they’ve been opened, and keep you updated on Team FitNice‘s plans for the Hampton Roads Kidney Walk on 17 May, 2014.

Meredith

Do you know anyone with Kidney Disease?  What’s your favorite type of taco?

60BySpring Challenge

Hello all!  This post should have come out earlier, but I’m battling a fever and didn’t have a burning desire (pun intended) to do much of anything except stay still and drink fluids until a few minutes ago.  As a result of this gross miscarriage of Half Marathon Training Justice, I was forced to postpone a 5 mile race pace run that would have wrapped up the running portion of Shamrock Week 9 and gotten me closer to completing my 60BySpring Challenge.  ‘Your what?’ you say?60byspring

Well, I’ll fill you in!  FitNicePT kicked off a social media campaign called 60BySpring this Thursday, February 20 and it will be running (pun also intended) through the first day of Spring: March 20, 2014.  Participants have four weeks to log 60 running, run-walking or walking miles.  I’m really excited about it and have been tweeting with both @FitNicePT and @FitNiceRunner about the program for two weeks.  The goal of the 60BySpring Challenge is to help people kick off their beach body transformations, and as most people know, the hard work has to start before April.

The 60BySpring Challenge is not meant to help marathoners hit a new 26.2 PR, though it might, but to get people moving and thinking about fitness.  This Challenge asks only that people average 2.14 miles each day for a period of 28 days, and that 30 minute commitment can hopefully become an important part of their day.  Once fitness becomes a habit, it’s easy to stick with, and since it only takes 21 days to form a new one, 60BySpring is the best way I can help people get ready for swimsuit season.  Participants simply run their miles and post to Twitter or Facebook using the hashtag #60BySpring to interact with fellow participants, ask Team FitNice questions and support one another.

I began logging my 60BySpring miles yesterday with a 14 mile long run, you’ll hear more about that in Shamrock Week 9 Wrap Up, and will hopefully get back to checking them off tomorrow.  Now it’s back to fluids, and bed not long after, so I can work and get today’s missed 5 mile race pace run done in the morning.

Meredith

How do you start getting ready for Beach Season?  Are you joining our #60BySpring Challenge?

Shamrock Week 4

2014 Shamrock Week 4 Training is in the bag.  I got a lot done this week, including getting a hotel for my first April Race, the April Fool’s Half Marathon in Atlantic City, and an shamrock week 4awesome bed and breakfast for April’s second event, Rock n Roll Nashville.  Two more states off the list with those!

The most fun, and important, thing I did (other than running) during Shamrock Week 4 was to start a FitNicePT YouTube Channel.  It’s much harder than I expected to sit in front of a camera and make everything you want to say come out just right on the first try, but in spite of getting tongue tied, I’ve managed to get three videos out and learn a lot.  I’m excited to put tons of good running based content out there, including workouts, exercises and nutrition advice, to help new runners start their running careers and keep long term runners healthy.  Subscribe today to get every post!

In addition to making my first YouTube video this past week, I tried something new with my training.  I had a few reschedules in Week 3 that ended up moving my speed work from Tuesday to Thursday, right before my long run.  I was nervous about how that would work, but it ended up being great.  I rocked my long run and thought it could have been because of the schedule change.  I stuck with the immediately pre-long run speed work this week and had an excellent 90 minute run yesterday.  I’m liking this change, and thinking I’ve found something that works for me, have decided to switch my speed work day for the remainder of this 12 week plan.  Change in place, Shamrock Week 4 wrapped up after today’s strength training, and here’s what’s on tap for Week 5!

Monday:  Race Pace 3
Tuesday:  Cross training
Wednesday:  Tempo 45
Thursday:  Crossfit and Speed Work
Friday:  Long, 90 minute run
Saturday:  Cross training, easy 2 miles
Sunday:  Rest Day

I don’t have anything special on tap for the weekend, but stay tuned for a new clip or two on the FitNicePT YouTube Channel.  Hopefully Shamrock Training Week 5 will kick off Monday and be just as good as the last two!

Meredith

When do you do your speed work?  How often do you change your training pattern?