06-25-2015

The 8 Mile Treadmill Run

Yesterday I ran my longest run on a treadmill – 8 miles! My previous record was 6 miles. I never would be able to do this at one steady pace though. I can only run on the treadmill for more then 2-3 miles when I have a workout and am switching up paces and inclines.

Coach Marc had a workout on the plan for the day which was this:

  • 1.5 mile warmup
  • 2 min. at 9:30 pace, 1 min. jog
  • 3 min. at 9:45 pace (did 9:40), 1 min. jog
  • 5 min. at 10:00 pace, 1:30 jog
  • repeat workout portion one more time through
  • 1.5 mile cooldown

My mom and I decided to run on the treadmill because it was hot and also mainly because how else would I time myself/know my pace? I have a Garmin but it wasn’t charged…oops.

When we got to the gym I told my mom that if we finished the workout and were around 6 miles, we should just keep going in order to hit 8 miles and get our long run done for the week. She agreed.

I only did a 1 mile warm up because I hate warm ups on the treadmill, and then got into the workout. I did walk a bit of the rest portions for 20-30 seconds then I would jog. 

1 time through the workout came out to 2 miles. So I knew that going through it again we would be at 4 miles + 1 warmup mile. After we did it 2 times through, I threw in some hill intervals before starting the routine again (to switch things up). Then we did it another time through (3 times through total), and finished at 7.4 miles then did a .6 mile cooldown :)

I really felt great. I honestly felt like I could have kept running, and today I’m not feeling much soreness at all. Where I AM feeling soreness is my upper body. I did an upper body workout and abs on Tuesday and can still barely move my arms. It hurts to even lift my arms up to change or even open doors! Here’s the workout I did:

 

A photo posted by pattyrivas13 (@pattyrivas13) on


I didn’t even do 25 reps each of the abs workout…I did 15..and could barely finish…and my abs are still sore. Clearly I need to do more lifting and more core work.

Today calls for a recovery run of 55 minutes. Trust me, it will be super slow and easy. 

What’s the longest treadmill run you’ve done?

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06-22-2015

Chicago Marathon Training Week 2

I’m glad today is a rest day (I’m making it one) because my achilles is killing me for some reason. It really hurts going down the stairs and I really hope it’s just soreness. 

Here’s how last week’s training went:

Monday: off

Tuesday: yoga class (ShoeBuy event), then 3 miler. I could barely finish this run. Of course as I started running the rain stopped, and the sun came out. Making it a really hot and muggy run. I had to stop and walk a few times, and basically walked the last half mile. 

Wednesday: 6 miles. 1.5 mile warm up, 5×5 minutes at 5K effort with 1 min. rest in between, 1.5 mile cooldown. Actually felt really great! Also probably because the weather was actually good for running (low 70s, cloudy, no humidity).

 

A photo posted by pattyrivas13 (@pattyrivas13) on


I was dreading this workout because I doubted myself (once again) but then ended up feeling really good running at a harder pace.

Thursday: off (it was my brother’s graduation day)

Friday: Long run – 7 miles. We were supposed to do 8 but AGAIN was not feeling good because of the heat and humidity. I’m still adjusting and it sucks how it affects your running. For me, it’s mainly my breathing. I feel really out of breath throughout the run, which makes me stop and walk to catch me breath. So I cut this run short.

Saturday: 5 miles. After a crappy run yesterday, I decided to do something harder today. I did a 1 mile warmup, 1 mile time trial (8:27), 2×800, 1×400, a few strides, then 1 mile cooldown. I felt good during the run (and it was drizzling and cool out!), but afterwards my achilles got really tight and still hurts today. Really hoping this goes away.

Sunday: easy 3 mile recovery run.

TOTAL: 24 miles

This week, my goal is to start lifting regularly. I plan on going today and Wednesday…perhaps Friday too, we’ll see. My mom and I want to do our long runs on Friday evenings so that our weekends are freed up. I really prefer this to waking up early on a Saturday (and also sacrificing plans in the summer with friends).

So far, so good!

When do you prefer to do your long runs?

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06-19-2015

Let’s Catch Up

I love reading the coffee date link up posts hosted by a few of my fellow fitness bloggers (find more info here). So I wanted to write my own fun little Friday post to catch you up on what’s been going on with me. If you care…keep reading, if not, no worries! :)

Graduation

Yesterday my little brother graduated from high school! He’s the last of us to graduate high school and will be attending our local community college (where I also work and coach) in the fall to play soccer. I love graduations. I love feeling the excitement, which is especially high at high school graduations.

Remember that feeling of being done and being so ready to head to college? Being excited to receive your orientation packets and class info…if I could go back in time and start again from any point in my life, I think it would be senior year of high school. Freshman year of college was the best year, and obviously college in general was a blast. Not a care in the world for my brother and the rest of his peers who graduated yesterday. Just ready to enjoy summer and go to college…must be nice! :)

 

A photo posted by pattyrivas13 (@pattyrivas13) on

Running

I had a great run on Wednesday. But Tuesday was a different story. It was 87 degrees and 80% humidity. It was drizzly when I was about to start running, then of course it stopped and the sun came out as I started which made everything hot and muggy. I could barely finish 3 miles, and ended up walking most of the last half mile. Aren’t those runs the worst? You just feel defeated and wondering “why is this so hard?”

The next day I had a tough workout on my schedule from Coach Marc: 1.5 mile warmup, 5×5 minutes at 5K effort with 1 min. break in between, 1.5 mile cooldown.  Do you ever get nervous before workouts? Because I was nervous before this one. Before starting instead of visualizing running strong, I was already thinking about how the last 2-3 reps I would probably slow down and be struggling. Clearly, I really need to work on my mental game…this is a common issue. Any book recommendations or something?

Anyway, my mom and I crushed the workout! I ended up feeling great the whole run (thankfully it was a cloudy day, low humidity, slight breeze), and we completed 6 miles for the day. I love when you have a run where everything clicks, especially after a run that was really bad.

Yoga

My sister and I had the opportunity to attend a yoga class thanks to ShoeBuy this week. I will write a longer post about the event next week, but all in all it was pretty cool.

 

A photo posted by pattyrivas13 (@pattyrivas13) on

It was supposed to be a rooftop class but since it was rainy, we went indoors. The class was led by a Pure Yoga instructor, and I thought it was tough! Mainly all the balancing poses. The next day my hamstrings were really sore from stretching them so much…is that common?

Anyway, it reminded me of how I really want to do more yoga, but I just don’t know how to fit it in my running schedule. I don’t want to do 30-45 minutes of yoga after long runs. Should I do it in the mornings? Yogis, do you find that yoga really does help with building core srength/strength in general? I know my core strength needs a lot of work since I could barely do boat pose :)

I also got to meet Toni from RunningLovingLiving! Always fun to meet bloggers in real life.

 

A photo posted by Toni (@runninglovingliving) on


Any fun events for you this past week or coming up? 

If you could go back in time and start your life over again from a certain point, what age would you choose?

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06-17-2015

Survey Time – Thanks For Your Feedback!

Hi everyone! Hope your day is off to a great start! I am having an awesome week so far…went to a yoga event yesterday in NYC…my brother is graduating high school tomorrow…and only one more week until a friend and I go to Cape Cod for a little girls trip :)

Anyway, I wanted to ask a favor of you all. Whether you’ve been reading Reach Your Peak for a while, are a new reader or just stumbled upon this today, would you please take a quick survey for me? I want to make sure the content I create is best suited for what you all want to be reading. 

It’s just 3 questions, and you could leave a comment below with your answers:

  1. What is your favorite type of content to read on Reach Your Peak? (running/fitness tips, race recaps, workout ideas/routines, workout videos, my own training journey, etc.)
  2. What would you like to see more of? (recipes, daily training recaps, daily food logs, etc.)
  3. I want to send fun, weekly emails again (it’s been a while since I have). What would make you open and read/what do you hate about email updates from bloggers? (For example, I like reading personal stories in emails as opposed to just a recap of blog posts)

Thank you so much for your help! I truly appreciate it, and of course appreciate that you take the time to read what I write! Reach Your Peak has grown a lot since I started in 2009 on Tumblr and it really is a passion of mine :)

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06-15-2015

Chicago Marathon Training Week 1 + Oakley Mini 10K Race Recap

And just like that, week 1 of marathon training is in the books! I had a good week and ran almost 23 miles total, which is the highest I’ve done in months. So far, no shin pain at all (knock on wood), which is great. I have been massaging them daily, and although they are sore after hard runs, I am not feeling pain while walking or going up and down stairs…yet…*crossing fingers*

Okay let’s jump into it:

Monday: 3 mile treadmill run + strength. I haven’t done strength in forever and I was already sore before I even left the gym. All from using a 15 lb. kettlebell. So crazy how your body loses strength so fast. I used to be able to squat close to 100 lbs. and now get sore after using 15 lbs. 

Tuesday: 4 mile treadmill run + arms. I was with my sister and she wanted to lift so we did a little arms circuit and some abs.

Wednesday: NJ Summer XC Series 5K. You can read more about this race in my other recaps. This was the third time I ran it and it was pretty bad. I did a 1.5 mile warm up, ran the 5K, then a .25 mile cooldown because I just couldn’t move my legs anymore. They felt like lead throughout and I had to stop and walk a few times. To put it in perspective, race 1 was in 30:50, race 2 was in 30:13, this one was in 33:20.

 

A photo posted by pattyrivas13 (@pattyrivas13) on

Yikes. I also know that part of it was just that my body was tired. I ran a 4 mile race on Sunday, and then Monday and Tuesday (see above) were workouts and/or lifting sessions.

Thursday: OFF

Friday: easy 3 miles. Just a shakeout run before the 10K on Satuday

Saturday: Oakley Mini 10K. Half mile warmup, 10K, 1 mile cooldown. 7.7 total miles

TOTAL MILES: ~23 miles

Oakley Mini 10K Recap

The Oakley Mini 10K is a great, all-women’s race. This is my second year running it with my mom, and I just love the atmosphere and everyone who comes out to cheer. It was a hot and humid day, and all week I was honestly dreading this race.

A few days before I even relegated myself to thinking I’d just walk most of it. I know, such negative thinking. But humidity kills my runs. I have exercised induced asthma so it just makes it harder to breathe. Luckily, I got my inhaler prescription refilled (it’s been a few months since I’ve used one), and it helped  A LOT!

I started off super easy, around 10:45-10:50 pace and just thought, once I get over the 2 huge hills in the first 5K, I’ll pick it up. Both of those hills in the beginning are 400 meters long! My hill training has paid off because once I crested the hill I was able to speed up on the flat portion/downhill.

After the hills, I started taking water breaks at each station (so from miles 3-5). I would speed up when I saw the sign for water up ahead, quickly drink it while walking, then pick it up back before settling into a pace again. At mile 6, my mom said we should do 1 minute pickups with 1 minute jog for recovery. Usually this helps us run a bit of a faster pace, so we did it.

Once I got to mile 5, I knew I was on pace for a PR and knew I had to keep it up. I was pretty excited as I got to mile 6 and knew I would PR. I felt surprisingly good despite the heat and humidity. Even my sister was like, “wow you actually didn’t look like you were going to die this time around.” I think this photo of my mom and me at the finish captures it :-P

 

  A photo posted by pattyrivas13 (@pattyrivas13) on

I’ve ran 1:03 in a long run before for 10K but I don’t count that. 1:07 is my new 10K race PR! I know it’s nothing crazy and ultimately I’d love to be closer to 1 hour if not less, but after the last 2 races in Central Park where I felt totally defeated, this was a great race.

I’m really excited to continue training for the Chicago Marathon with Coach Marc, and I’ve been feeling great the past few weeks. It’s a lot different when you come into marathon training with base miles behind you (duh). The past few times I’ve started marathon or half marathon training, I’ve come into with zero base miles. 

Next up is the Achilles 5 Miler, once again in Central Park…need to do those 9 NYRR Races to qualify for the 2016 NYC Marathon!

Who else is running Chicago Marathon? Or a big fall race?

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06-12-2015

What That Extra Shoelace Hole is For + Emoji Keyboard Hack

So I already use those extra shoelace holes in my sneakers. I had read somewhere at some point that tying your shoelaces through those holes means less slippage inside your shoes. I like my sneakers to be tight and snug. Well, turns out I might not have been using these holes to their full potential!

These holes can help prevent black toenails! I mean, what runner doesn’t want to prevent that?

Do you know what that extra shoelace hole is for? Hint: it can help you prevent black toenails!

I learned about this shoelace hack through this Buzzfeed article, where they talk about what that extra shoelace hole is for…and I wanted to share! The more runners who know about it the better :-P

They included a video that shows you exactly how to use those extra holes in order to keep your sneakers tighter around the ankle (heel lock), which leads to less forward sliding of your foot (aka less black toenails):

Mind = blown.

Another random hack:

Did you know if you click command, control and space bar on your computer the emoji keyboard pops up? This might be only for Apple products by the way, but still pretty cool! Whenever I was tweeting online and wanted an emoji I would search for it and copy and paste. 

I also love the little descriptions when you hover over them, like the emoji girl with her arms crossed in front of her face is “face with no good gesture.” 

Just a fun little random post for Friday! TGIF!

Do you use a lot of emojis? I love the crying/laughing face one

Did you know what that extra shoelace hole was for??

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06-10-2015

How To Create a Full Body Workout In 6 Steps

My sister is always asking me what exercise she can do for this or that everytime she goes to the gym. Same with my parents actually, now that I think of it. I don’t mind it at all, but it made me think that perhaps there are many who head to the gym without a clue as to what workout they will do that day. 

So I created 6 steps for you to create a full body workout routine next time you need to strength train. My suggestion is to start the workout with your weakest link (of the major muscle groups). So if you’re deadlift is weak, start with that exercise.

You can follow this template to create 2-3 different workouts for the week, then change it up after 3-4 weeks in order to avoid a plateau.

How To Create a Full Body Workout in 6 Easy Steps

Step 1. Choose a glute/quad dominant exercise

We know that glute strength is key for a strong core (which can help alleviate lower back pain), and is really important for runners. I always start my workouts with a glute exercise. If you’re not sure what you can do besides squats, here are some ideas:

  • Walking lunges
  • Split squats
  • Reverse lunges
  • Front foot elevated split squats
  • Bulgarian split squats
  • Sumo squats
  • Kettlebell squats
  • 1.5 squats (Lower down, come up half way, lower down again, stand up to complete the squat. Oh, you’ll feel the burn.)
  • Step-ups
  • Box squats
  • Rear foot elevated split squats (rear foot elevated less than the Bulgarians – that’s the difference between the two.)
  • Kettlebell swings
  • Single leg squats/TRX single leg squats

If you’re just starting out, I would recommend not starting with walking lunges. It can be hard on the knees until you build up that quad strength. This would be my progression with lunges: split squats > weight split squats > front foot elevated split squat > reverse lunges (step back, lower, step forward) > walking lunges > bulgarian split squats.

Step 2. Choose a back exercise

Who doesn’t want a strong back, especially in the summer when you’re tank tops, strapless dresses, etc.? After you complete your first exercise, move quickly into a back exercise.

Once you complete the back exercise, take a 1-2 minute break, then repeat the glute and back exercises again for your chosen amount of sets, before moving on to step 3 and 4.

Here are a few back exercises you can do:

  • Seated row
  • Lat pull down
  • Pull-ups/chin-ups
  • TRX rows
  • TRX assisted pull-ups
  • Dumbell row on a bench (one knee, one arm on a bench)
  • Barbell row
  • Inverted row
  • Cable row
  • T-bar row (Barbell is between your legs. Barbell usually has a piece at the end where it is attached, or you can put it in a corner.
  • Chest supported dumbell row (put your chest on an incline bench, so you’re facing down, and then row with both arms)

I think back exercises are my favorite to do. It’s one of my stronger points and it translates into stronger running (stronger back = stronger arms for that finish line kick).

Step 3. Choose a hamstring dominant exercise

Hamstrings are just as important as glutes! Having strong hamstrings and glutes means better posture, stronger core, and more strength in general. If you’re a runner and can only focus on one thing, make it your glutes and hamstrings! So many runners have weak glutes which can lead to injuries and other issues.

Here are some exercises to choose from:

  • Barbell Romanian deadlift
  • Barbell traditional deadlift
  • Trap bar deadlift
  • Dumbbell deadlifts
  • Kettlebell swings
  • Hip raises
  • Swiss ball leg curl
  • Single leg hip raises
  • T-bar row
  • Single leg deadlift
  • Walking lunges with large steps
  • Step-ups with a higher box

Step 4. Choose a chest exercise

While I personally focus less on chest exercises (for this reason), it is still important to include them in your routines. I prefer to do overhead presses and other shoulder press exercises as opposed to traditional bench presses.

My posture needs serious work, and tightening up the muscles in my pecs will only exacerbate the problem (pulling shoulders forward), which is why I like to do more back exercises (which help pull the shoulers back). Doing shoulder presses still works some of your chest muscles and also helps build strong and stable shoulder joints. Here’s a great list of exercises for improving your posture. I’ll list shoulder exercises in the next step when I get there.

Here are chest exercises:

  • Barbell bench press
  • Dumbbell bench press
  • Incline bench press
  • Decline bench press
  • 1.5 dumbbell press (lower all the way down, lift halfway, lower, lift to the top)
  • Pushups
  • Feet elevated pushups
  • TRX pushups
  • Single arm dumbbell bench press (or incline press)

Step 5. Choose a bicep, tricep and shoulder exercise

If you’re cramped for time, I would say you can skip this step. If you chose challenging enough weights in the previous steps, you will already have worked these muscles anyway. For example, if you did pull-ups you worked your biceps. If you did bench presses you worked your triceps and shoulders. If you did inverted rows, you worked your shoulders.

But when you have enough time, definitely add in these exercises to help build an overall strong body. Remember runners, strong arms = stronger pump = stronger finish at the end of a race!

Here are some ideas:

Biceps

  • Dumbbell bicep curls
  • Barbell bicep curls
  • Zottman curls (instead of palms facing up as you curl, palms are facing down)
  • Single arm dumbbell curls
  • Single arm half-way curls (While one arm is curling, the other arm is holding the dumbbell halfway up, as opposed to holding it up by your shoulder in a resting position)
  • Decline bench bicep curls (sit in a slightly decline bench and do bicep curls)

Triceps

  • Standing tricep extension
  • Flat bench tricep extension (lowering dumbbells by your ears then bringing up). This is my absolute favorite tricep exercise.
  • Tricep rope pull-down
  • Dips
  • Cable overhead tricep extension

Shoulders

Step 6. Choose 2-4 core exercises

Do I even need to talk about how important core exercises are? Here are my go-to exercises:

  • Any plank variation
  • Plank with knee drops
  • Side planks with reach under (with or without dumbbell)
  • Reverse crunches
  • Standing pallof presses
  • Medicine ball twists
  • Leg lifts (same time and/or alternating)
  • Deadbugs

Obviously there are many more exercises for each bodypart, but these are what came to mind of exercises I include in my routine regularly. I’d say my top picks are barbell squats, trap bar deadlift, pull-ups, incline presses, and pallof presses.

In terms of sets, I usually do my workouts as Step 1, Step 2, break, repeat 1 & 2 3-4 times, Step 3, Step 4, break, repeat 4&5 3-4 times, etc.

Let me know if you try creating your own full body routine with this guide! I’d love feedback :)

Do you create your own workouts or follow a routine (either from a personal trainer or website like bodybuilding.com?)

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06-09-2015

RBX Activewear at T.J. Maxx

I’ve written about RBX Activewear before…and it is still one of my favorite brands for workout gear. I bought two new pieces recently that I wanted to share with you.

But first…can we talk about how marathon training officially started yesterday??? Who else started training for Chicago Marathon, or will start soon? I’m excited that I will be working with Coach Marc again, though also equally as nervous. He just sent me this email today:

We’re going to totally mix it up – some day hard hills, some days long repeats…and then a combination of all of them.  The mileage will be comfortably uncomfortable and you’ll be tired.  All the time.  It’ll be so important for you to take care of yourself and give yourself every opportunity to race fast at Chicago.

I lifted for the first time in months yesterday and was sore before I even went to bed last night. Woke up super sore. Sad thing is I did 3 sets of KB single leg deaflits + rows, KB squat, KB sumo squat, KB overhead press and cable leg kickbacks. All with like 15 pounds. My hamstrings and inner thighs are killing me. But gotta get back into it…I need a PR this fall! *knock on wood*

Okay anyway, let’s get into RBX Activewear. You can find some of their pieces at T.J. Maxx for really great prices. Both my top and bottom in these pictures were $9.99. 

I took these photos on Sunday at the NYRR Retro 4 Miler in Central Park (which was awesome by the way!).

On a budget? Try shopping at T.J. Maxx for RBX Activewear pieces!

On a budget? Try shopping at T.J. Maxx for RBX Activewear pieces!

The shorts are colorblocked with grey and green (had to match with my Tiux socks!). The main thing I love about these shorts are that they’re high-waisted. So they aren’t falling down or riding up.

On a budget? Try shopping at T.J. Maxx for RBX Activewear pieces!

The top is a very similar material to lululemons swiftly tanks, so very soft and comfortable. One thing I didn’t like is that it’s a bit low cut for me in the front, so I had to wear a higher cut sports bra. Otherwise, it would not be a pretty sight while running ;)

The front and back are ruched, and the shirt itself is on the longer side, which I also like. Because of the ruching, it is more fitted towards the waist, so you don’t have to worry about your shirt flapping in the wind or riding up.

On a budget? Try shopping at T.J. Maxx for RBX Activewear pieces!

On a budget? Try shopping at T.J. Maxx for RBX Activewear pieces!

And gotta end with a running action shot…

On a budget? Try shopping at T.J. Maxx for RBX Activewear pieces!

Head over to T.J. Maxx or Marshall’s and check out RBX Activewear. I know in the past I have said I don’t like tanks for running, but I think I am a fan now! I still need something to wipe my sweat, but tanks do make me feel a bit cooler than t-shirts.

Up next, race wise, is the Oakley Mini 10K this Saturday. Anyone else running?

Where do you shop when you’re on a budget?

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06-05-2015

Thoughts You Have While Lifting

Yesterday I was reading this Buzzfeed article, 75 Thoughts Every Runner Has While Out For a Run…so funny and so true! I have written my own version of what I think about while running, and figured I’d have a little fun today and write up my thoughts while lifting at the gym. Let’s see if you can relate to any of them!

  1. Okay, time to warm-up. I really hate warming up. I guess I’ll do some jumping jacks and arm circles or something. Maybe walk on the treadmill.
  2. First up is squats – oh look the squat rack is taken.
  3. Okay, I’ll just do bench press then. Oh look, the benches are all taken.
  4. Stop chatting with your friends and get your set done so I can squat or bench! (My gym is full of high school guys that come in groups.)
  5. *Waiting patientlty by the bench press until the person is done*
  6. Finally, I can get on it. 
  7. Okay, what weight did I do last time? I’ll add like 10 lbs.
  8. Crap, this is heavy. What if I can’t get it back up??
  9. *Pushing hard on last rep* Please don’t let anyone be watching my struggling right now.
  10. I did it, phew. Okay onto the squats.
  11. *Feeling bad@$$ doing barbell squats*
  12. Someone asks “How many sets do you have left?” “I just got on.” Now you have to patiently wait like I did!
  13. I hope my shorts/leggings aren’t see through when I squat…probably should have checked first
  14. I wonder what my form looks like…am I squatting deep enough?
  15. Okay, done with that. Next.
  16. Look at that dude doing deadlifts with a rounded back…hurts my back just watching him!
  17. Look at that girl running on 8.0 on the treadmill like it ain’t no thang…I wish…
  18. *Finishing workout*
  19. Time to stretch and foam roll…I probably look like I’m flopping around everywhere on this foam roller.
  20. Must. not. make. weird. face. in. public. (as foam roller hits all the tight and painful spots.)
  21. I guess I’ll do a few planks and then get out of here.
  22. DONE. Time to eat.

Does anyone have a lot of high schoolers go to their gym? They go and it’s so funny because the guys hang out in groups by the weights, and the girls sit in a circle “stretching” or “doing abs” in the stretching area (in reality they are sitting there gossiping and laughing).

What thoughts do you have while at the gym? Any of these? Or am I the only one holding in my pain while foam rolling? ;)

Thoughts You Have While LiftingSource

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06-03-2015

5 Tips For Running Hills (Video) & Happy National Running Day!

Hey, it’s National Running Day! Who plans on getting out there for a good run today?

So since it’s National Running Day I uploaded a new video to my YouTube channel sharing some tips for hill running…I mean who doesn’t love running hills? ;) 

Try these tips for running hills...throw some hill intervals into your training!
Please check out my quick video and subscribe to my channel!

For some reason, it starts blurry on my computer, but once I switch it to 1080P in YouTube it’s clear (just in case it comes up blurry for you too).

Let me know what you think of the video – I’d love to hear your feedback!

Do you love or hate hill workouts? What tips would you add?

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