Tag Archives: running

Staying Healthy on a Busy Schedule

Hello, again, my wonderful readers! I have clearly been M.I.A. for quite some time. Since August 3rd, my days have been lengthy and jam-packed with English, social studies, grading, data-analyzing, and all those other fun activities that come with a teaching job.

Returning to Title I public school teaching is great, but it requires an incredible amount of work. I’ve been putting in 10-11 hour days at school, and then I do at least an hour of more work once I get home. It’s a little nuts and makes finding work-life balance a challenge, but I love what I do!

Staying Healthy on a Busy Schedule

Once life gets hectic, it’s so easy to let everything else go. When I come home after a day of teaching on my feet, it can be nearly impossible to convince myself to go for a run, stand in the kitchen to cook a decent meal, or avoid the chocolate and beer calling my name.

Because I’ve had a past with unhealthy relationships with food and exercise, it can be easy to fall into extremes….binge eating or restricting, chronic over-exercising or an out-right refusal to ever get off the couch. Extremes are easy to fall into when I’m anxious and stressed, even over a job I love and enjoy.

So I’ve set up a few basic guidelines to moderate myself when I’m too tired to give food and exercise my full attention.

1. A specific exercise goal

smoky mountain half picture

Fortunately, I can’t actually be a couch potato that outright refuses to move once work has ended. Two months ago, Ryan and I signed up for the Smoky Mountain Half Marathon. We’re SO excited about this race because the scenery will be gorgeous and we have an excuse to spend a weekend in Smoky Mountain National Park!

I created a rough training schedule that requires only three runs per week, with the long run scheduled for the weekend. On a good week, I can add in an additional run or workout. (I’ve only had two good weeks out of my eight week training schedule…) Otherwise, three runs per week can safely get me to my goal. Sure, it won’t be my fastest half, but who cares? I’ll be in the mountains!

Take Action! Choose a short term exercise goal that encourages you to get moving! Maybe you can find a race a couple months away. Thanksgiving is about 3 months away, and there are countless Turkey Day races around the country! You could also choose to aim for a certain amount of push ups, complete a month-long squat challenge, prepare for a long hike on your next vacation, or try a new class at the gym.

Make a short term goal that will motivate you, and then celebrate once you’ve accomplished it! Short term goals are more manageable, and you won’t get bored before the challenge is over.

2. Shop Smart

fridge-001

Enough leftovers, salad mixings, apples, and eggs to last us the week!

Set yourself up for success. Get your grocery shopping done on the weekend (or on Monday after work when, like me, you run out of time) and go in with a plan. I try to plan three meals for the week. That will give me three week days’ worth of meals and a few leftovers for other dinners or lunches. We also have our staples: salad mixings, eggs, almond butter, apples, almonds, chips and salsa (for Ryan!), yogurt, and avocados.

With three planned meals and our weekly staples, there’s always something healthy to eat! Ryan and I also go out to eat once a week and don’t really worry about how “healthy” our choices are because the rest of the week is well planned.

3. Squeeze it in

12 minute athlete

Sometimes, life really doesn’t work out as planned and there is no time for a workout and no time to make dinner. Having a list of go-to ideas for these hectic times makes all the difference.

For quick dinners, I think it’s important to choose something you actually want to eat. Sometimes a salad doesn’t sound appealing, so I need to come up with another option. In my personal opinion, food IS more than just fuel. You should enjoy every meal! Here are a few quick and easy meals I enjoy:

  • Scrambled eggs and sliced avocado
  • Soup or chili
  • Giant salad from the salad bar at the grocery store
  • Rotisserie chicken

For quick workouts, the key is choosing efficient moves. Some days a run will do the trick. On other days, I don’t want to leave the house. Throwing together a short, super efficient circuit is a great option! Here are a few ideas:

4. Sometimes, Rest is Key!

Know your limits, and know when skipping a workout or having some wine and chocolate is truly the best option! Self-care is important, too. If you’re too tired, take a bath and call it a day. Watch an old movie or TV show, and give yourself a break. Rest helps you recharge so you can make better choices the next day!

Fun Cross Training Ideas

Ryan and I are in our third week of half marathon training. In my last post, I wrote about running the Smoky Mountain Half Marathon! We’re super excited, and we’re both sticking to our running schedules :)

My running schedule, clearly a beginner’s I-don’t-have-enough-time-to-train-properly schedule, has a minimum of three runs per week (potentially 4) and a minimum of one cross-training workout per week (2 workouts if I do only three runs).

Online running websites and forums offer up a few yawn-inducing cross training ideas: get on the elliptical, stationary bike, or go for a walk. There’s nothing wrong with those suggestions…it’s just that the thought of them brings on one big yawn. And let’s be honest…sometimes running can be boring, so additional cardio is not on my agenda.

Here are a few cross-training activities I’ve included in my training that have kept my interest:

FUN CROSS TRAINING IDEAS

fun cross training ideas

Ballet

Ballet? Yes! Ballet is actually great for running. It strengthens your ankles and feet. It improves your balance, and you’ll also get a great stretch! Your muscles are being used in a completely different way, so it won’t negatively affect your next run. And if you think it sounds just as boring as another run, I challenge you to try a full class :)

Here are a few videos to use on those in between days:


12 Minute Athlete

This app, developed by blogger Krista whose motto is “Don’t Waste Life in a Gym,”  randomly generates 12, 16, or 18 minute circuit workouts. You can choose the equipment you have (dumbells, medicine ball, dip bar, pull up bar, etc) or select no equipment at all, and the app will count down through the intervals of your workout!

I completed this one the other day:

12 minute athlete cross training

I did a little more ab work at the end, for a total of 20 minutes. It was quick, efficient, and the perfect strength workout to fit in between running days.

Sprints

There’s no hiding that this cross-training workout is, in fact, just a shorter, speedier running workout. But that’s okay because you’ll be done in less than 15 minutes! There are two sprint workouts I’ve done:

  • Tabata Sprints: sprint for 20s, rest for 10s, repeat until you reach a total of 4 minutes, or 8 eight sprints
  • Hill Sprints: find a steep hill, and decide how many times you want to sprint up! In New Orleans, I did this workout on the levees. In Georgia, there are a variety of hills to choose from :)

YouTube Fitness Challenges

There are so many awesome fitness videos online, but sometimes I sit through 10 minutes of a video before realizing it’s just plain awful. I prefer combining a few shorter, more challenging videos! Here are a bunch that you could combine to make a longer workout!

“Run the World” Ab Workout

“Bring Sally Up” Push Up Challenge


“Scream and Shout” Squat Challenge

“Dark Horse” Cardio Leg Challenge

“Uptown Funk” Whole Body

Question: Runners, what do you do on your off days? Any suggestions for those in between days?

Smoky Mountain Half Marathon Training!

Good morning, and happy Friday! I have a bunch of fun things to share today, so let’s get started!

FIG & GOUDA FRITTATA

Yum! The nearby Whole Foods has the most delicious figs in their produce section! I’ve been throwing them in to a bunch of my meals and snacks throughout the week.

The other day, I had sliced figs, Greek yogurt, and this new NoGrainOla snack I found.  NoGrainOla is made from almonds, carrots, dates, and coconut. It’s a perfect snack and is low in sugar :)

figs and nograinola

Then, this morning I had the brilliant idea to make a sweet frittata with figs, gouda, and cinnamon.

Here’s the quick recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs, scrambled
  • 2 figs, sliced
  • 1 gouda babybel (or a higher quality gouda…I’m sure that’s better!), sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil

Mix cinnamon in with scrambled eggs. Heat coconut oil in an omelet pan over medium heat. Pour in scrambled eggs and allow to cook for about one minute. Lay slices of figs and cheese into the eggs. Cover with a lid and cook for 5-7 more minutes, or until egg is cooked through.

fig and gouda frittata

Now that delicious food has been covered, let’s talk half marathon training!

SMOKY MOUNTAIN HALF MARATHON TRAINING

smoky mountain half website

Those who know me well know I LOVE the Smoky Mountains. They’re like a fairytale land, and I’m always in awe of the park’s beauty. So when Ryan sent me this race day video (which I included below!), we decided that night we should do the race. Here’s the catch…it’s in less than two months.

The Appalachians are so beautiful that I don’t even care that this won’t be my best race time. I’ll run slow and steady while enjoying the scenery. I am SO EXCITED.

Last week, I made a training plan that gives me eight weeks to train, not including a final easy week before the race. Take a look:

half marathon training plan

Those of you who are more seasoned half marathon runners might point out some mistakes or some abnormal training choices, but that’s okay. I’ll be running near the SMOKY MOUNTAINS. My plan is to run at least three times a week. I included two cross training days, one of which is an optional run day. So, sometimes I’ll run four times a week. I generally run more than that when training for a half-marathon, but because I’m not really in distance-running shape I want to be careful and not injure myself. (Last time, I ran on a stress fracture…not something I recommend.)

September is going to be packed! We have the race, then my brother-in-law and future sister-in-law’s engagement party in New Orleans the following weekend, and my parents come to visit us in Georgia the weekend after that! It’s a busy month, but we’re excited :)

What fun things are you looking forward to this Fall?