Sunday, March 25, 2012

Quinoa & Brussels Sprouts


Little Quinoa Patties & Brussels Sprouts
Yum! I've been loving Pinterest to find new healthy recipes that are easy to make for my family. I recently tried a recipe for Little Quinoa Patties and Brussels Sprouts that turned out great.

The brussels sprouts recipe is quick and easy but you can cut your prep-time even more by picking up the pre-cut halves at Trader Joe's in the refrigerated section if you like. Even if you aren't a huge brussels sprouts fan you should give this recipe a try. They are delicious!



The little quinoa patties recipe is a bit more time consuming but still fairly fast overall. I made enough so there were leftovers for lunch or dinner the next day and you can also keep the mixture in the fridge for up to 2 days if you like. Having two young kids I am always looking to extend a meal further so that I don't have to prep a ton each night while simultaneously trying to entertain the kiddos.

I added Trader Joe's tzatziki sauce on top of the quinoa patties, which made them even more tasty. Mmmm, time for lunch.

Monday, March 19, 2012

7 Reasons Why a "Bad" Run is Better Than No Run

Home Sweet Home

I've been up half the night for the third night in a row with a sick baby or toddler. (I swear my kids communicate with each other in some sort of secret language about which one has the night off and which one wakes mommy up.)  I'm exhausted, cranky and have zero motivation to workout. I have two hours of mommy time and all I want to do is head to my local donut shop, scarf down two donuts and then hit up Starbucks for a hot chocolate chaser while reading the latest gossip on celebrities.




Instead, I suck it up and head out for my scheduled run. Even though I didn't break any records and I cursed the runner that passed me by as I shuffled along, wanting to yell, "I've been up half the night the last three nights otherwise I'd be kicking your a$$," I still accomplished my goal.

Thank goodness I did because...

7.  Running is fast.  No, not that I ran fast.  But the workout's over relatively quickly. In the time it takes you to sulk, eat your donut, and read the latest about the Kardashians, you'd be done with your run.  Now doesn't that feel good?!

6.  Exercise relieves stress. My husband and girls are SO thankful for this one.

5. I actually feel more energized now. Funny how that works but I do and I'm ready to take on the rest of the day. (See above pic of what my living room looked like when I got home. Sigh.)

4. Exercise is said to help you sleep better at night. (Um, did you read the above description?  Can you fax that little nugget of info to my little ones please?)

3. Calories. I must have burned copious amounts of them with my super speed so now I can eat guilt free, right? Bring on those donuts!

2. Running is like crack. I guess it was a bad trip but I still got my fix. (You runners know what I mean and don't pretend like you don't!)

1. Eating donuts (instead of a workout) while reading about celebrities that "bounced back three months after having baby" is NOT a good idea for a mommy of two getting back into shape. Just sayin'.

What are your reasons?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Skirt Me Up!

There are so many flirty workout skirts now that I can hardly make up my mind as to which one I want. Here are my five faves at this time...








Zella Laser Cut Ruffle Tennis Skirt ($52): Pink, ruffles and made with a moisture wicking material. What more could a girly-girl that likes to sweat want?

















Prana Crissy Skort($65): Hot yoga anyone? The perfect yoga skirt with just a hint of neon and a hidden pocket for your essentials.










Brooks Womens PR Mesh Skort II




Brooks Womens PR Mesh Skort II ($48): A popular skirt among runners as the under shorts do not ride up. Whether you run 5ks or marathons, this one's a winner!
















Run Chase Me Skirt ($68): The perfect mix of cute and technical. Cinch up the side ties for a girly ruched look with a bit of ruffle, or wear it down for a sleek, smooth look.








adidas Response Skort ($36): The classic look of three-stripes with a subtle pleated front for a bit of feminine flair. Made with a moisture-wicking fabric at a great price.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Beginner Half Marathon Training Schedule

Photo credit Eva Kolenko
The half marathon is the fastest growing race distance and it's no surprise because it's a challenging but also doable distance. It takes much less time to train than a full marathon and is much easier on your body as well.

Have you ever wanted to do a half marathon?
Below is a 12-week training schedule designed for a beginner. Remember, please check with your doctor first to make sure you are in good health before starting a strenuous training program.

Before starting this schedule, you should be consistently running 3 miles (2-3 x's/week) at an easy, leisurely effort, and your longest run in the past few weeks should be 4-5 miles. You have maybe even run a 5k or 10k race already but it is not essential.


IMPORTANT: In the training schedule below, you can choose to run anywhere from 3-6 days a week (if you have been running four days a week regularly prior to this, it's best to continue with that) but stick with the same number of days per week throughout the 12-week training schedule. The mileage is set to increase slowly for the set number of days you choose so as to avoid injuries and/or overtraining. (If you are fairly new to running then I would take at least 2 days off each week to allow your body to recover from the increase in miles.)

The most important 3-days to run are highlighted in blue (Tue., Thurs., Sun.) and are the required days to run minimally in order to comfortably finish a half-marathon. You can choose what other days to run based on the number of days per week you have been running regularly and what best fits your work/family schedule. You can also choose to do some cross training on those days instead of a run in order to let your body recover.

Warm-up & Cool-down: (Noted as wu & cd in the workout schedule below) You should always take time to properly warm-up before a workout as well as end with a proper cool-down as it will help to reduce your risk of injury. While there are many different approaches, we suggest jogging easy for 10 to 15 minutes which can be incorporated into any workout.

Strides: These drills are short intervals (generally 50-100m) done at a fairly quick pace. However, they should be run on a flat, even surface and should feel controlled and relaxed.  Broken down into thirds, slowly increase your pace for the first part, hold that speed for the middle third and then decrease your pace for the last third. There is no need to time these and you should feel fully recovered before beginning the next one.

Long Runs: These runs are the most important when preparing for your half marathon as they will help you both physically and mentally to finish your race. These workouts are also a great time to practice your race day nutrition plan to see what your body can tolerate on race day. They should be run at an easy, relaxed pace- comfortable enough that you could hold a conversation during it. Speed is not important during these sessions; simply try to run at a pace you know you can hold for the entire distance. The following day after your long run should be a rest day in order to allow your body to recover.

Hill Training:
Running hills is a great addition to training for any race distance (even if the race course is flat) because of the many fitness benefits- which you can read more about here. Training on hills is even more important if the race you are training for is hilly. When doing the hill workouts described below, try to push through the top of the hill (where it begins to flatten out) before backing off and recovering during the downhill portion. As you run downhill, stay in control and run at an easy pace, allowing your heart rate to drop before starting your next hill repeat.
  •  Short hills: Find a moderately steep hill that is long enough in length so that you can run uphill for 30 seconds. Start the hill repeat at an easy pace and slowly increase your speed as you climb to the top. Your pace at the top should feel hard but in control (not an all-out sprint). Slowly jog down the hill and let your heart rate drop before repeating the hill for the designated number of repeats in your workout schedule.
  •   Long hills: Find a fairly steep hill that is long enough in length so that you can run uphill for 60-90 seconds. Run the first repeat at a fairly easy pace (slightly faster than your warm-up pace) and then try to increase your speed a little for each consecutive repeat until you are running at a pace that is similar to your 10k pace. If you don't know your 10k pace, run at a pace that feels hard but in control (not an all out sprint). Slowly jog down the hill and let your heart rate drop before repeating the hill for the designated number of repeats in your workout schedule.
Note: If you don’t have any hills near you, you can simulate them on a treadmill. Make sure to warm up for 10 minutes with no incline and then slowly increase the incline on the machine to reach your desired hill height.

Tempo Runs: Tempo runs are an effective way to increase your speed, as they teach your body to maintain a quicker pace over longer distances. These runs should be comfortably hard, meaning you might be able to mutter a few words but you shouldn’t be able to carry on a conversation easily. Your pace should be a steady, consistent speed that you can maintain for the entire tempo distance. If you know what your estimated half marathon time is, these should be run at the pace per mile you plan to run your race in.


Mon
Tues
Wed
Thurs
Fri
Sat
Sun
Wk 1
 OFF
3 miles
Easy


OFF or
2 miles
Easy

3 miles
Easy 
Finish w’ 2 strides
OFF or 
3 miles
Easy


OFF or 
2 miles
Easy

4 miles
Long Run  
Wk 2
 OFF
3 miles
Easy

OFF or 
2 miles
Easy


3 miles
Easy 
Finish w’ 2 strides
OFF or 
3 miles
Easy

OFF or 
2 miles
Easy

5 miles
Long run

Wk 3
 OFF
3 miles
Easy

OFF or 
2 miles
Easy

3 miles
Easy 
Finish w’ 2-4 strides
OFF or 
3 miles
Easy

OFF or 
2 miles
Easy
6 miles
Long run
Wk 4

 OFF
3 miles
wu & cd: ~10min.
Short hills: 2-4 x 30 sec.
OFF or 
2 miles
Easy

2 miles
Easy


OFF or 
3 miles
Easy

OFF or 
2 miles
Easy

5 miles
Long run


Wk 5
 OFF
3 miles 
wu & cd: ~10min.
Short hills: 4-6 x 30 sec.
OFF or 
2 miles
Easy


3 miles  
wu & cd: 10-15min. Tempo Run: 1 mile at half marathon goal pace

OFF or
3 miles
Easy


OFF or
2 miles
Easy


7 miles
Long run

Wk 6
 OFF
3 miles
wu & cd: ~10min. Long hills: 2-3 x 60-90 sec.

OFF or
2 miles
Easy


4 miles  
wu & cd: 10-15min. Tempo Run: 2 miles at half marathon goal pace
OFF or
3 miles
Easy


OFF or
2 miles
Easy



8 miles
Long run

Wk 7
OFF
3 miles 
wu & cd: ~10min. Long hills: 3-4 x 60-90 sec.

OFF or
2 miles
Easy 

4 miles
wu & cd: 10-15min. Tempo Run: 2 miles at half marathon goal pace
OFF or
3 miles
Easy

OFF or
3 miles
Easy

9 miles
Long run

Wk 8
OFF
3 miles 
wu & cd: ~10min. Long hills: 3-4 x 60-90 sec.
OFF or
2 miles
Easy 

3 miles
Easy

OFF or
3 miles
Easy

OFF or
2 miles
Easy 

8 miles
Long run 

Wk 9

OFF
3 miles 
wu & cd: ~10min. Long hills: 3-4 x 60-90 sec.

OFF or
2 miles
Easy 

5 miles  
wu & cd: 10-15min. Tempo Run: 3 miles at half marathon goal pace
OFF or
3 miles
Easy

OFF or
3 miles
Easy
Finish w'
3-4 strides 

10 miles 
Long run
Wk 10
OFF
3 miles
Easy 
Finish w' 4 strides 

OFF or
2 miles
Easy 

5 miles  
wu & cd: 10-15min. Tempo Run: 3 miles at half marathon goal pace

OFF or
3 miles
Easy

OFF or
3 miles
Easy
Finish w'
3-4 strides

12 miles
Long run
Wk 11
OFF
4 miles
Easy
Finish w' 4 strides  

OFF or
2 miles
Easy 

6 miles  
wu & cd: 10-15min. Tempo Run: 4 miles at half marathon goal pace
OFF or
3 miles
Easy

OFF or
3 miles
Easy
Finish w'
3-4 strides  

8 miles 
Long run 

Wk 12
OFF
4 miles
Easy
Finish w' 4 strides 

OFF or
2 miles
Easy 

3 miles
Easy


OFF

OFF or
2 miles 
Easy
Finish w' 2-3 strides 
RACE DAY!



 Happy training!