Health & Fitness Links To Get You Through The Day

Can you believe August is over already? (Cue song August Is Over). I’m so ready for fall though. Surprisingly it’s been an okay summer temperature wise, but I just love the crisp fall weather. Plus, it’s perfect running weather.

Speaking of running, here is today’s featured link:

Featured: 6 Ways To Learn To Pace Yourself (Run To The Finish)

6 ways to learn to pace yourself_thumb[2]

These are great tips, especially if you have problems pacing myself (I still do sometimes). I like her tip about running with music so you’re more in tune with your breathing and effort…though I hate running without music for this very reason! :)

  • College Apartment Kitchen Shopping List (Lean Clean Brie) – Whether you’re in college or not this list will help you. I just moved into a new apartment, so I’ll be taking this on my first grocery shopping trip.
  • How To Work Out For Free (Nolie’s Place) – Working out doesn’t mean you need a gym membership. There are plenty of ways to be active for free.
  • Training Burnout (You Signed Up For What?!) – Such a great post that talks about exactly how I felt after NYC Marathon in November. Remember – it’s JUST a race!!
  • Training Tweaks For More Muscle Definition (Workout Nirvana) – Bookmarking this for myself because I really want to have more definition in my arms! I know I’m way stronger than I’ve ever been, but really want to see my triceps (as opposed to the “bat wings”)

Do you have a body part you’re working on for more definition?


Follow Reach Your Peak:


13 Quick & Easy Dinner Recipes

So I’m actually moving out today…I’ll be on my own for the first time since college! I’m kind of sad actually…but there comes a time where we all have to move out right? 

Since I will now be responsible for cooking all my meals, I figured this post was very fitting. As I’m writing this, I’m already hungry for lunch, and seeing these recipes only made me hungrier. All of these should take you about 30 minutes to make. What could be better than that?? Looking for these recipes also turned me on to some new blogs. You’ll see multiple recipes from some bloggers…can’t wait to start trying more recipes! 


1. California Chicken Wrap (Love Bakes Good Cakes)

2. Italian Prosciutto Panini (I Eat Therefore I Cook)

3. Orange & Honey Seared Salmon (Lori’s Culinary Creations)

4. Buffalo Ranch Chicken Wrap (Second Chance To Dream)

5. Korean Ground Beef Lettuce Wraps (Hot Eats & Cool Reads)

6. Jalapeno Cheddar Salmon Burgers (I Eat Therefore I Cook)

7. Personal Mediterranean Pizza (Second Chance To Dream)

8. Pork & Bok Choy Stir Fry (Food Done Light)

9. Bangin’ Beef & Broccoli (The Vintage Modern Wife)

10. Asian Couscous Salmon (Avocado Pesto)

11. Turkey Picatta Meatballs (I Eat Therefore I Cook)

12. Sweet Potato & Chickpea Salad (Avocado Pesto)

13. Simple Shrimp Scampi (I Eat Therefore I Cook)

Which of these do you want to try? I am craving that California Chicken Wrap as my lunch today! I may try to re-create it when I get home ;)


Follow Reach Your Peak:


New Workout Playlist 14

I haven’t done a new workout playlist in a while, and since there are some songs I can’t stop playing on repeat, I figured I’d share my current playlist :)

Before I get to that I just wanted to do a quick update on my birthday weekend…it was great!

My friends and I went down to the beach during the day, and then went out at night. It was fun spending time with them and I’m so grateful to have them in my life. Here are a few pictures from the weekend:


Dan & I indulging in some Coronita buckets :)


Before going out that night


Beach day!

It was so much fun and also sad that this was only my second time to the beach this summer. I need to go back before summer ends!

Anyway, back to my workout playlist…

Many of these are top 40 songs that are on the radio, but hey, that’s what I like to work out to.


I’ll admit, when I first heard “Shower” I thought, this is a stupid song. Now it’s been stuck in my head since last night. And I’ll probably play it on my drive home later…

Here’s the playlist on Spotify if you want to listen and follow me! It’s actually my sister’s account but I pay for it, so we both use it :)

What songs are you currently listening to on repeat? I need to add more music to my playlists!

Do you have a beach, lake or pool near you? Have you gone often this summer?


Follow Reach Your Peak:


A Day In The Life

I’ve seen other bloggers do “day in the life” posts and I always like reading them…it’s interesting seeing how other people spend their days and what they do…or is that just me?

So I wanted to write my own on a whim and I hope some of you will use this as a blog post idea and go with it too! I’d love to see what your day looks like :)

Here’s my day this past Tuesday:

7:00 AM – Alarm goes off. I hit snooze. I always budget in one 10 minute snooze…Usually I’m up at 7:45 but I have an 8 AM cross country practice this morning.

7:10 AM – Actually get out of bed. My routine is brush my teeth, wash my face, put my contacts in, get dressed and then head downstairs.

7:25 AM – Breakfast. Today it’s scrambled egg whites with spinach and an orange. But usually I eat hard boiled eggs in my car on my way to work. Had time to actually sit down and eat today!

7:50 AM – Leave my house to go to practice at a local park. Practice starts at 8, and I just have them do a easy 4 mile loop.

9:20 AM – Leave the park to head to work. I work at my local community college in the Athletics department. I love that they gave me 4 polo shirts that I can alternate on days I’m too lazy to figure out what to wear…like today!


9:30 AM – Sit down at my desk and catch up on emails and social media. I’m not one of those people who sits down and gets to work right away. I need some time to get in the zone and wake up a little. I used to have a classmate in grad school who would worked with me and as soon as I walked through the door in the morning (no joke bags and lunch box still in hand) she’d give me a list of things we needed to complete that day. Let me settle in first!

10:15 AM – Writing this blog post, and then working on client’s twitter account. Also catching up on work emails and send a coaching email to my team regarding what their running mileage should look like this week.

11:07 AM - Finish writing an article I plan to sell, thanks to a workshop I recently took on this topic. I’ll let you know how that goes :) In between this time and when I leave I’m at the front desk answering questions from students and working on flyers for our department.

So this all happened on Tuesday right? The day before men’s and women’s soccer practice started. And students are coming in to pick up paperwork (like physical papers) because they want to go to try-outs the next day. Why did you wait until the very last minute?!?

12:30 PM – Leave work and drive home. Currently my commute is about 20 minutes, but I’m moving soon and my commute will turn into 40 minutes :’( I love my commute. It’s just one straight long road home passing a few farms. I never have to worry about traffic. And this is also one of my favorite roads to run on.


1:00 PM – Get home and eat lunch before a 1:30 phone call with a client.

1:30 PM – 2:30 PM – Phone call

2:30 PM – Work on schedule tweets for myself and my clients. My Tweetdeck is out of control. I think I have almost 30 columns on the web version and then even more on my desktop. Hey, gotta track #runnerprobs! :) Work on posting that previous article I talked about to try to sell it.


 4:00 PM - Head out for a run with my mom. We did 3 miles and it was so humid from the storms were were about to get. But got it done nonetheless. 


4:45 PM - Drive to the gym with my sister to do our leg day workout. Squats, leg curls, leg press, and hip raises.



6:00 PM - Get back home & take a quick shower so I can go to happy hour with a friend!

6:35 PM - Get to happy hour. My best friend and I catch up for a few hours over half priced martinis and guac. I had a “Grapefruit Gimlet” that was delicious! Tequila, grapefruit juice, elderflower liquer (What is this??) and something else. I want to try re-creating this drink this weekend so if anyone can tell me where to get this elderflower stuff and what it is I’d appreciate it ;)

20140812_191045 (1)

9:30 PM - Get home and watch “The Private Life Of Deer” on Netflix with my sister because we were curious about it. Pretty interesting though we didn’t end up watching the whole thing. Then watched How I Met Your Mother.

11:05 PM - Pass out.

Exciting life I live right?? Most of my day is spent on my computer doing client and blog work. So I really need to be better about reading at night instead of watching Netflix…it can’t be good for my eyes! But sometimes I just need a good laugh from How I Met Your Mother…

What does a day in your life look like? Write a post and leave the link in a comment!

What is the one show that will always make you laugh out loud? For me it’s HIMYM and Friends :)


Follow Reach Your Peak:



Race Day Errors

We’ve got another great guest post by my running coach, Marc Pelerin, today! He’s super knowledgeable about running, which is why I invited him to write on my blog a couple times a month. I want him to share great information with you, whether you’re an experienced runner or just thinking about starting to run. Plus, he’s super fast, I mean look at these times:

  • 800 – 1:52 (2003)
  •  1,500 – 3:47.88 (2006)
  •  Mile – 4:08.53 (2004)
  •  3,000 – 8:19.68 (2004)
  •  5,000 – 14:17.99 (2006)
  •  8k (xc) – 24:07 (2004)
  •  10k (xc) – 31:08 (2004)
  •  10k (track) – 31:21 (2011)
  •  10k (road) – 31:26 (2010)
  •  10 mi – 52:13 (2010)
  •  13.1 – 1:10:19 (2010)

Read more about Coach Marc here.

Today he is going to talk about race day errors and how to avoid them. Enjoy the post!


Hey Super-Fans!

It seems that everyone these days loves to run – and why not – it’s so simple; requiring no equipment (save for shoes), and can be done anywhere. Because there are so many new runners out there, it’s important to go into a race prepared to run your best. Below are 3 of my top Race Day Errors and how you can overcome them!


1.  Going out fast

The longer the race, the more important it is to not go out faster than you’re capable of. The last miles of a half marathon or full marathon are hard enough, don’t make them harder by being flat out exhausted by the time you get to them. When you run too fast, too early, lots of not-so-good things come about. For starters, you put yourself in oxygen debt with lots of racing left to do. If you run your first half of the race a bit slower, you’ll feel great the second half, have great form, and finish speedy. It’s also not smart to go out fast because at the end of a race, you want to be the one passing people, not being passed.

2.  Trying something new

We all see that shiny new pair of shoes at the expo and think it’ll be a great idea to wear them for the first time. Don’t!  Whatever your race distance may be, don’t let race day be the first time you’re trying something. Whether it’s breakfast on race day, the clothes or shoes you’ll be racing in, or what you did the night before – try and keep to what’s tried and true and you know works. Blisters, chafing, and hangovers are not fun when you’re trying to race!

3. Not being prepared for the race

When you sign up for a race, know that to maximize your effort during the race, it takes much more than a few weeks of jogging to be considered “ready” to race. Do your best to log miles, cross train, and do strength training leading up to your race. When you show up to a race under-trained and under-prepared, you risk injury and poor race performances. If you’re not ready to run mileage, think about opting for a shorter race, or for putting in time to just train and hold off paying for races.


Do you have any tips or insider information that Coach Marc left off?  Tweet him @marcpelerin using #racedayerrors.

What would you add to this list?

Which of these are you guilty of? I always tend to start out fast in 5Ks!


Follow Reach Your Peak:


Deals On Activewear: T.J. Maxx & Old Navy

One of my most popular posts is one I did on T.J. Maxx activewear. It really is such a great place to buy workout apparel, and when you find stuff on clearance…jackpot! If you’re like me, you want to find cute workout clothes that aren’t expensive but that also last and are good quality.

So I decided to do a weekly or bi-weekly post highlighting deals on activewear. Today, I’ll be focusing on T.J. Maxx and Old Navy. If you shop online at Old Navy, today only you get a 25% discount on your purchase with the code SAVEMORE. Get shopping!

TJ Maxx and Old Navy Activewear

I’ll start with the T.J. Maxx clearance section from their website – seriously a lot of good stuff, but here are my picks:

RBX Shadow Stripe Singlet - $7.00

7 bucks is a pretty good deal right? I personally don’t like wearing tanks because I like sleeves to wipe my sweat but I know a lot of people who only like tank tops…and I really like this color! Also available in peach.

RBX Space Dye Compression Shorts – $7.00

I recently converted to compression/spandex shorts and never wear loose shorts anymore. I really like the color on this as well. I’ve bought a few RBX pieces from T.J. Maxx and can attest to the fact that they are really soft and comfortable! Sadly only smalls and x-large are left.

Kyodan Honeycomb Jacquard Capri – $10.00

Don’t these look very similar to lululemon capris (but without the pricetag)? I love the waistband on this. I personally haven’t tried Kyodan brand apparel but at that price I might have to! Only available in XS and M.

TKO Neoprene Fitness Gloves – $3.00

If you’ve been wanting to try wearing gloves while lifting, or just need to replace yours, this is your chance! I like wearing gloves when doing exercises like pull-ups where you need a good grip.

And now let’s move on to Old Navy – remember 25% off today only! 

Semi-Fitted Tanks – $7.00-$9.00

Many of these tanks are currently on sale! So many colors to choose from and it appears that many sizes are still available.

GoDRY Graphic Tanks – $7.00-$10.00

I love this one! There are various others with different graphics on them as well like “Be Bold.” 

Cross-Over Racerback Tanks – $12.00-$14.00

Tanks like this make me wish I wore them more often. I really like the back on this one. These tanks also come in a variety of colors – not just gray!

Slim Boot-Cut Yoga Pants – $15.00-$19.94

Most of my yoga pants are from Old Navy. They are a great price and, for me at least, last a while. I wear them almost everyday to work. They have a high, wide waistband too so it’s not digging into you.

You really can’t beat T.J. Maxx activewear and Old Navy’s active line. They are great quality pieces and obviously at great prices! I’m actually in search of supportive sports bras, so I think I will hit up T.J. Maxx and Marshall’s this week.

Which store do you like shopping at for activewear?

Suggestions for a supportive sports bra, especially for running?

*This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase an item, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you which helps me continue to run and improve my website! 


Follow Reach Your Peak:


Philly Half Marathon Training: Week 2

So I’ll admit right now that this past week of training wasn’t the best. A few skipped workouts…I hope Coach Marc won’t be too mad ;)

My uncle has been visiting from Paraguay so we have been showing him around. On Wednesday, we took him to the beach and spent the day there. That afternoon we had a memorial service to go to, so it was a busy day. Nonetheless, I did swim in the ocean for about 20 minutes – that counts as cross-training right?

One thing I’m proud of is the fact that I got up Friday morning and ran! I woke up, did my warm-up, and was out the door for an easy 3 mile run.


Okay, I’ll admit it was nice to have my run done before work. I may try to start doing this more often but no promises on if I can drag myself out of bed in the AM.

I did lift two times last week too. My sister has been lifting with me and her goal is to get stronger in the bench press – and she has! Isn’t it amazing how fast your muscles adapt and get strong? But let’s not talk about how fast you get out of shape too…because running wise I have been feeling so out of shape!

Okay this week I will do better. Here’s the plan:

Monday: upper body + cycling

Tuesday: lower body + 3 mile run

Wednesday: Off

Thursday: upper body + 3 mile run

Friday: lower body + 3 mile run

Saturday: 35 min. swim

Sunday: 4.5 mile run

Even though I’ve been running more consistently, I still can’t imagine running a half marathon in November yet. I know I’ll get there but right now 3-4 miles is tough. I mean I can do it, but I feel winded and slow as molasses. But I guess you gotta start somewhere!

Do you have a hard time getting back into shape after a break? 

Who’s running any races soon? I’m looking for a 5K race to do in the next few weeks!


Follow Reach Your Peak:


Warm-Up Drills For Runners

Guess what?? I actually got up and ran this morning! If you’ve been reading my blog, you may know that I always say I am NOT a morning person. I have way more energy in the evenings and am a definite night owl. Well, last night I was exhausted and went to bed at 10, and ended up getting up before my alarm this morning so I went for a run. It actually does feel good to be done with my run for the day…maaaybbeeee I’ll consider doing it again tomorrow ;)

Anyway, today I wanted to post warm-up drills for runners. I do this before all of my runs, and have been having my cross country team perform these drills as well. I’ll add video tutorials after the image in case you’re not familiar with some of them.

Warm-Up Drills For Runners

So you’ll do each of these for about 50 meters on the track before moving onto the next exercise. It should take 5-8 minutes total.

A-skips are like high-knees but you’re focusing more on driving the knee up rather than moving rapidly. Here’s a video:

Mummy walk is simply where you walk forward and bring up your leg. Try to tough your opposite hand to your opposite toes. You’ll feel this in the hamstrings. Don’t do it with force and strain a muscle. Stay nice and controlled; it’s okay if you can’t touch your toes.

Who doesn’t love cariocas??

With the low squat you get into squat position and walk laterally (to the side). Stay in the squat position the whole way, then switch sides.

Lastly we have the hip flexor opener. I couldn’t find a video showing exactly what I do. So I’ll try to explain it and then show you a video that is kind of similar.

Basically, you pick your knee up as high as you can, then move your knee out to the side 90 degrees, put your leg down and repeat on the other side. It is as if you are picking up your leg to go over and around a hurdle. So foot and knee up, knee out and around, foot down.

This video kind of shows it but she is using hurdles.

If you have any questions about any of these, feel free to tweet me! (@PattyRivas13). I’m awful at explaining things so it is very possible I don’t make any sense here ;)

Do you do a dynamic warm-up? What exercises do you do?


Follow Reach Your Peak:


My First XC Practice (as a coach)

Some of you may or may not know this, but I will be coaching the men’s and women’s Cross Country team at a community college in New Jersey this fall. It’s our inaugural season and I’m so excited for it…and nervous!

We had our first practice on Tuesday and I was really anxious the night before. Would they respect me as a coach? Like me? What workout should I have them do? What if I suck as a coach?? All of these things were running through my mind.

We started practice at 8 am and I finally decided what I was going to have them do: 400 meter repeats.

They had said they’d been practicing over the summer so I wanted to see where they were at. They actually did very well and I’m excited to see what this season holds. I gave them time based on the top 10 times at last year’s region meet (big meet of the season), and they were running a bit below those averages – so I think that’s a good sign, right?!

We only have two men and two women right now, but I think that once the semester starts and more students are on campus that a few more will join. I like our little group and I could tell they are passionate about running. One of the girls is running the Philly Marathon and the Runner’s World Half Marathon hat trick challenge (5k, 10, half marathon) – I was like “good for you!”

That first practice made me feel more comfortable in the coaching role, and also reminded me why I love what I do.

I went back to grad school to get my Master’s in Student Affairs. I knew that I wanted to work within a university, and this job working within a community college has been perfect for me. I love what I do and I love working with students on a regular basis – even if they do initially ask if I’m a student when they first meet me :)

We actually have our second practice this morning! We’ll be doing an easy 3-4 miles and then some lifting. That’s another thing one of the girls said, “Can we please lift too, I love lifting.” That’s my kind of team!

Fellow coaches & those who have been coached – please leave me any tips you have or workout ideas…and comments about what makes a good coach – thank  you!


Follow Reach Your Peak:


Revisiting IIFYM

Last year, I wrote a post on the If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM) diet and what my thoughts were on it.

During that time, I think IIFYM was still gaining traction in the fitness community. Now, I see it everywhere. Just search #IIFYM on Instagram and you’ll come up with hundreds of posts.

Initially, I was not a fan of this. As I mentioned in my original post, an article that I had read on IIFYM stated that

How can a burger from McDonalds be equivalent to a meal of chicken, brown rice and cashews? It’s quite simple, your body does not recognize whether the food your eating is ‘clean’ or ‘junk’. It will only recognize food’s for it’s nutrients, such as proteins, fats or carbohydrates.


Hmm…I don’t buy it. But that’s just me. I don’t see how eating something from McDonald’s can be the same thing as chicken and vegetables. I get that they may have the same macronutrients, but what about the preservatives and chemicals in that burger?

But at the same time, I do like the IIFYM way of thinking. While I don’t think fast food and actual food are comparable, I like the premise behind this way of eating.

If you’re not familiar with IIFYM, basically instead of tracking calories you track your macronutrients (grams of protein, carbs, fat and fiber). You can figure out how many calories and grams of each of those things you need using this IIFYM calculator.

The reason I like IIFYM is because it allows you do be more flexible with your nutrition. Yes, we all know we should “eat clean” but sometimes you want to splurge a little. You want to go out to dinner with friends, or indulge in a bit of ice cream. IIFYM allows you do to that because you can simply include those into your daily macro counts.

I don’t agree with IIFYM in terms of “Eat whatever you want just count your macros” but it is a more flexible approach to nutrition than other diets such as paleo or just calorie counting. Plus, if you just count calories, you’re not making sure that you’re actually getting enough protein, carbs and fat in one day. My main goal is to eat as many whole foods as possible, but indulge when I want to and not feel guilty.

What do you think of IIFYM? Have you tried it?


Follow Reach Your Peak: