The Three Best Treadmill Workouts Ever.

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Call me crazy, but I like making my own treadmill workouts. Yes, I know you could download an app or use a pre-programmed workout on your treadmill, but I think it’s more fun to have a hand in creating something for yourself. These can easily be adapted to the elliptical or another form of cross training too.

So, here we go. The three best treadmill workouts ever:

1. The Ultimate Fartlek- This is one of my all-time favorite workouts. I like the element of surprise, and the constant change in pace makes the workout go by quickly.

You’ll need: a treadmill, index cards (or a piece of paper cut into squares) and a pen or sharpie.

For a 5 mile workout you need 16 cards: write your regular warm up and cool down pace on two cards and label them warm up and cool down. For the remaining cards, write a variety of paces: for example, 6.5, 7.0, 8.2, 7.3, 8.0. Make sure to include some slower paces in with the faster paces so you have some recovery time. Keep the warm up and cool down cards out and shuffle the remaining cards. No peeking!

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Start with the warm up card for 3 laps. When you’re getting close to the end of your third lap (3/4 mile) get ready to flip over your next card… then whatever that card says, you have to run that speed for one full lap (1/4 mile). Repeat until the deck is finished (your last card should be your cool down card for 3 laps).

Index cards work perfectly and cut down on prep time. You can even use bright colored cards or sharpies to spice things up (hey, it’s the middle of winter and every little thing helps). I’ve been using squares of paper pinned together with a safety pin. There’s something satisfying about ending a workout with a pile of balled up paper scraps.

2. 60 Minutes- You don’t have to watch 60 Minutes while running this workout, any TV show or podcast will do. I’m a total weirdo and sometimes I like doing workouts without any form of entertainment, but there are many workouts that I wouldn’t have gotten through without Netflix.

You’ll need: a treadmill

This one is pretty straightforward.

Warm up 10 minutes
Run 3 minutes fast, then 2 minutes easy. Repeat 7 more times (for a total of 8 times).
Cool down 10 minutes

The exact paces here don’t have to be the same every time. Aim for 15k-half marathon race pace for your fast segments at first, then drop it down to 10k pace or faster as you get further into the workout. The easy segments should be easy, but fight the urge to walk. You could also do this workout as 2:30 fast/ 2:30 easy or some other combination.

3. The Grab Bag- This one of is from my high school cross country coaching days. We frequently had tornado warnings and hurricane warnings where I coached in Virginia, and we would be stuck indoors. Since I had about a million index cards lying around, I would write down whatever came to mind and throw the cards in a bag. Each kid would get to choose a card and then we would do them together.

You’ll need: whatever you have! If you have a treadmill, great. If not, you can use weights, a mat, a pull up bar, exercise ball, bands, the hallway, stairs, etc. You’ll also need index cards (or a piece of paper cut into squares) and a pen or sharpie.

Write an exercise that will take about 1-2 minutes on each card. Don’t forget to include a few fun ones (water break, dance break, etc.). When I was coaching cross country I would make a few cards that said “make a ridiculous face” or “sing your favorite song,” which you can do on your own too (even if you don’t have teammates to make faces at).

This sample workout of 15 cards adds up to 20 minutes- shuffle and repeat if you want a longer workout, or make up your own exercises using what you have:

1 minute sprint, 1 minute jumping jacks, 2 minute easy run,  1 minute push ups, 2 minute easy run, water break, 1 minute stair running, walking lunges up and down hallway (2 minutes), plank for 1 minute, side plank each side for 30 seconds, 1 minute sprint, 1 minute mountain climbers, 1 minute burpees, 2 minute easy run, 2 minute dance break…

Shuffle the cards and place them in a pile or in a small bag. The best part of this workout is that you have no idea what you’ll have to do next… it’s like having your own personal trainer.  You can keep your cards and recycle them for next time, and add new exercises when you think of them (or take out ones that you don’t like). A good playlist makes this workout even better.

Do you have any ideas for treadmill workouts or indoor workouts? I’d love to hear them!

 

July Races and Places

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This July has been all about treadmill runs at the YMCA (thank you free child care) and racing my way back into shape. Since the Firecracker 4 on July 4th I’ve done 3 races: 2 track miles and the Roller Coaster Race 10k.

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Roller Coaster Race 10k

Our local running club, HMRRC, hosts free track meets on Tuesday evenings in July. I hadn’t been to one since I was in high school, but I wanted to take Emma to run in the kids race and figured I’d hop into a race while I was there too. I surprised myself by running a 5:23 for the full mile. Emma ran the 50 meter kids race, although she kept running through the finish line and didn’t want to stop.

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That weekend we took a quick trip up to Lake George, where we stayed at the Great Escape Lodge (the host hotel for the Roller Coaster Race). It was a nice hotel, and the kids loved the indoor water park. It was convenient for race morning too because we were able to just jog from the hotel to the start line, and then run back after the race to shower. The race itself went pretty well- I’m not usually a fan of 10ks because they just seem so long but this course had a lot of twists and turns, so you really had to pay attention and couldn’t zone out. I ended up running 39:58, which wasn’t bad considering my lack of workouts lately. We spent the rest of the day at Great Escape and Splashwater Kingdom (tickets were free with the race entry). Emma had the time of her life on those rides!

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This past Tuesday I hit the track again for another mile, this time a few seconds faster (5:16). Emma and her cousin Mia ran the kids races again. We’ll be in town for one more track meet next Tuesday, so I might break out the spikes and see if I can get under 5:10!

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We’ll be in Lake Placid this weekend for IMLP to cheer on my brother-in-law for his first Ironman! I’ve never spectated an Ironman race, so this will be a fun new experience. I’m not sure what to expect of an all-day endurance event (what do we do? will there be beer? where will my kids take naps?)… I’m still at a loss trying to figure out how anyone could swim and bike for hours BEFORE running a marathon. Badass.

Sixty miles.

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Sixty miles.

Let me preface this by saying that I still have a lot of work to do, but… I finally worked my way up to my first 20 miler yesterday. It took me 2:45:17 on the treadmill, which is 8:15 pace. This is a huge improvement over last weekend’s 18 miler, which was at 8:30 pace. I’m finally feeling like I can push myself and my training is really starting to come together. I also hit 60 miles last week, which was a big goal of mine for this month.

I decided (with some encouragement) to run the Virginia is For Lovers 14k this weekend. I was hesitant to commit to this race because, after a year of running races and not being capable of pushing myself at all, I wanted to make sure I was in shape enough to actually RACE. I haven’t done any speed work or tempos, so it might be ugly, but I’m ready to finally toe the line with some confidence.

Why the treadmill? Well, the roads are totally clear this week, but 20 miles takes so long to complete. If you add in travel time to the park, setting up the BOB, travel time back, etc. it all adds up to four hours. If I do my run at home, Pete is able to take care of Emmaline while I run, let her nap in her own room, feed her, and overall it’s a lot less stressful. Yes, I would love to hit the trails, but I’ll save that for warmer days and my relatively shorter long runs.

Five miles with a surprise ending.

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Five miles with a surprise ending.

Five miles in 41:02, another day on the treadmill. It almost didn’t happen, but I’m too damn stubborn to give up when I set my mind to something. I had to wait until Emmaline’s afternoon nap because she had a rough morning, and she woke up a few times during the afternoon nap but I managed to get it done. I’ll spare you the details of how many times I had to hit the pause button, as well as the details of my temporary moment of insanity. Just as I finished, the UPS man rang the doorbell with a delivery. It was a surprise from one of Santa’s elves in Boston… NB 890’s aka Barringers! So pumped to try these out.

Don’t be jealous of my photography skillz.

Trial and error

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Another day, another run on the treadmill. I was aiming for between 3 and 5 miles, but Emmaline woke up just as I was finishing 4 miles. I warmed up for one lap and then did the rest of the run at 8.0 mph (a little different than how I ran yesterday, varying my pace every lap). Total time was 31:26 for 4 miles.

This is all becoming trial and error, but it’s working out better than I had hoped this week. I admit I was curious so I started reading up on Wonder Weeks because I kept hearing about it so much. I downloaded an app for it a few weeks ago, and now we’re at the beginning of a big development jump, which basically means that Emma wants to stay up and play instead of nap. She’s still sleeping well at night so I’m not officially complaining, it just poses a challenge during the day when I’m trying to get things crossed off my enormous to-do list.

Hi!

Hi!

Also, I have managed to NOT do any self-gifting this year, which takes a lot of self control!

How is your Holiday To-Do List coming along?

The first day.

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The first day.

Day one is a success! I managed to squeeze in a 4 mile treadmill run in 32:50 while Emmaline napped. It’s raining today so a stroller run was not an option. We’re working on crib naps and extending nap times, so I will hopefully have at least two opportunities for short runs during the day if it rains. We’re also working on tummy time, as seen here! I read that babies are supposed to be up to 90 minutes of tummy time by three months, so we have some work to do. Hope everyone is having a good day!