Monday, November 26, 2012

Training Plan 11/26-12/2

   By focus I mean the exercise(s) that I do first in my workout after warming-up.  It is the lift(s) that I am most trying to improve strength on so I put them first as I am not yet fatigued and able to give 100% effort.  I usually go heavier weight, lower rep on it, 4-6 sets, 3-8 reps (sometimes 1 or 2 reps in last sets).

On most lifting days I like to warm-up with a few KB Turkish Get-ups on each side.

11/26- AM: Chest/Tris/Core- w/ focus on heavy weight, low rep bench press and bodyweight dips
PM: 9 mile run- 1:05:51 - 7:18 average  7:49/ 7:51/ 7:35/ 7:26/ 7:09/ 6:57/ 6:48/ 6:56/ 7:19

11/27- Lower Body- KB Swings to warm up.  Focus on Heavy (135-145lb) Squats, Hip Thrusts and Step-ups with some extra glute stuff at the end.
No Run

11/28- Back/Biceps- focus on Pull-ups and Bent Over Rows
followed by treadmill intervals if legs can handle it (if not switch with Th run)
1 mile warm-up, 15 ~ 30sec -1 min intervals at 5-5:20 pace with equal rest, 1-2 mile cool down.

11/29- AM: Shoulders/Core- focus on Clean and Press, Overhead Press. TRX Core Exercises
 PM: 4-5 miles easy-ish

11/30- Possible light lifting session, 3-4 miles

12/1- 2 miles easy with 4-6 strides after

12/2- 5k! :D

Approx Total mileage: 30 (with 1 mile race warm-up and 1-2 mile cool down)

   Today's run felt pretty good, it's the longest run I've done since last  January's 10 mile race (which I mentioned last post I'm doing again this year).  I didn't train for it last year, but my pace today was already faster than my pace in last year's race (although mostly bc I fell apart in the last 2 miles from the lack of training lol).  My goal time is 1:05 and I think today's run is a good indication that it's possible.  I didn't plan those 3 sub-7 miles near the end, my legs just felt loose and they happened without too much extra effort so I went with it.

    For the bench my immediate goal is 90lbs, I've been stuck at 85 for awhile now.  I didn't have a spotter today so I just did 4 sets of 3-4 reps at 85 with a beginning and ending set of 65lbs x 8(b) & 12(e).

Garmin Question: I've been unable to upload my data for awhile now.  The site recognizes my Garmin but when I try to upload my runs it tells me, "no new activities to upload."  Anyone ever have this problem and/or a solution to it?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sub-19 5k! Twice.

       So I had started a post a week ago on how I've been running mid-19 5ks all fall and my goal Turkey Trot time was 18:45.  I didn't have time to finish it so I saved it as a draft, but then decided not to write about what time I wanted to run and instead just get out there and run it.  And then I could talk about it :D  Which is part of the reason why I've lost interest in blogging over the past year, a mix of time constraints and a "shut up and train" attitude (I am only talking about myself and my goals personally, I have no problems with other people blogging about there goals and their training.  In fact I plan to write more about them in the coming months as well.  I just had to take a step back and focus on other things for a while.)

    I finally feel in a position where what I have to say could benefit others in the pursuit of health, fitness and faster times.  I've become very aware of my strengths and weaknesses as a runner and how to design my training to bring up my weaknesses and utilize my strengths to my advantage.

And I am nothing short of amazed at the results I have achieved.

   Going into Thursday's Turkey Trot I knew I was capable of a sub-19 5k but I'm not sure I truly believed I would do it.  I had run a 19:05 5k 2 weeks earlier (4 loops on part track, part grass course nonetheless)  and a solid 6x800 workout of 2:48/2:48/2:50/2:50/2:53/2:53 3 days before, which both gave me confidence to do it.  And yet I could not wrap my head around running an 18:XX 5k.  I had butterflies and anxiety (although a weird sort of good, excited anxiety- adrenaline maybe?) for days leading up to the race.

  And it played out almost exactly the way my Sub-19 had:

2011:
Nov. 13th- 20:07
Nov. 24th- 19:45

2012:
Nov. 11th- 19:05
Nov. 22nd . . .


18:42!

    I'm still in shock.

I won a turkey :)

  I felt strong and in control the whole race,  I went through the first mile in 5:46 and I knew then and there I was going to do it.  Garmin splits- 5:46/ 6:08/ 6:03.  My average pace according to my finishing time was 6:01.  

   Most of my time improvement has come from lowering my 2nd and especially 3rd mile.  I've been running my 1st mile in sub-6 (but sometimes finishing with a high 6:30-6:40 3rd mile) for a while now and even though some would say it is better to slow down that 1st mile and run even splits, I didn't want to slow down I wanted to bring my other miles closer to my 1st mile pace.   So I've worked hard at improving my endurance at that pace and it has paid off :)

  To add to my already exciting Thanksgiving weekend, I hopped in another 5k yesterday morning.  There was money awards to top 3 and I reasoned that I stood a chance depending on who showed up (there are a few local girls who can run 17s and even at least one who can run 16:xx).  There was a pretty strong wind (20 mph) so my goal was just to go sub 19 again but I put no pressure on myself to PR (especially on unrested legs).

    Within the first mile I was in first for the women and knew, as long as I didn't blow up in the 2nd half of the race, I could win it and run in the 18's again.   1st half was against the wind, 2nd half with it- so I knew I just had to push through that 1st half and then I could really use the wind to my advantage for a fast finish.   

Final time-18:51  Splits- 5:59/6:20/5:58- You can see the wind really took its toll in the 2nd mile, plus my 1st mile was about 10 sec slower than usual, but I think that's the 1st time I've ever been sub-6 in my last mile.

   To top off an amazing race weekend I won $200 for 1st female AND my fiance (who has been running 5ks with me since September and has dropped his time from Mid 25s to 22:38(!) on Thanksgiving) won his age group and a GC to our local running shop (Sayville Running Company).  We stopped by there since it was Small Business Saturday and picked him up some sweet light weight sneaks :D

   Where do I go from here?  

    Last year after my fall racing season and breaking 20 for the first time ever I actually stopped running completely for the month of January to focus on building muscle.  I'm not doing that again.   I will of course continue to lift (I actually spend more time every week lifting than I do running), but I want to see how low I can take this.  I don't feel like I've reached my limit yet, and sub 18 had crossed my mind, but I know that is going to take some very serious training if I'm going to get anywhere near that and even then can I do it?    

    Right now I have at least 2 more 5ks in my season and I'd love to PR in one or both of them, 18:30 possibly?  And then I have a 10 miler at the end of January, my ambitious goal is 1:05 or 6:30 mile pace.  At the least the training mileage will be good for my spring season base building.  

      I'm throwing around the idea of a spring half but my main focus will continue to be improving my 5k time.  There is something exhilarating to me about going all out for 3 miles, whereas the longer races are more about pacing which I just don't enjoy as much.  But the urge to see if I can go sub 1:30 is there so I'll see how the 10 miler goes and then make a more definitive decision on my spring races.

Next 5k is this coming Sunday and I'm already pumped!  

Monday, October 15, 2012

Bikini Comp Recap

 
     I actually came back to the blog today to write about the direction of my current training and goals, I've been thinking about posting regularly again to journal my training and progress toward my current goals.  More for myself but others may be interested in it as well.  Then I realized I never posted about my Fitness America Competition, which had a big influence on what I'm choosing to pursue goal wise now (but not in the way you might think).  So I'm going to recap and reflect on that first.

  My competition took place on July 7th, I placed 5th in bikini short class which I suppose is good for my first time but it was a beginner comp so everyone was new at it lol.  And although I'm glad I went through with it and experienced something new I learned that bikini competitions really aren't my thing.  I HATE being on stage in front of an audience ha.  I felt like a deer in headlights up there the whole time, forgetting to smile, full of anxiety and wanting nothing more than to be off the stage.
 
    So although part of me wonders if I could keep working at it and do better, I don't think I will be partaking in any more bikini comps anytime soon.  Plus it's so subjective.  In running, if you run the fastest time you win; but how do you judge who has the best physique?   I know it's really about doing it for yourself and being happy with the work you put in and the results you got.  I told myself this repeatedly before the competition, in my head I would think, "no matter what you place, getting on stage is a victory."  And I was happy with how I looked so that should be good enough.  Buuttt I'm competitive so I still got a little bit down on myself for my placing.

    Also despite not taking drastic measures (no carb cycling,  no low carb/calorie, no excessive cardio), I still ended up a little thinner then I would like.  Yes, most women compete at weights lighter than they normally maintain day to day, but I still would have liked to got on stage 4-5 lbs heavier than I was (@ 5'4" I competed at 108lbs, I think 112-114 would have been perfect) .  Even though I didn't take drastic or excessive measures, in the last few weeks I was afraid to eat too much and be bloated or have extra fat (I was still eating plenty though, averaging 1400-1500 a day [which is a lot for someone at 110 lbs in the last few weeks of contest prep.] I guess I could have gotten away with more though, you live and you learn :).

 Some contest pics:




If you know anything about these types of competitions, you'd know I was waving with the wrong hand, ooopps.

Probably the most genuine smile out of all the pics, the rest all look very forced. . . cause they were haha.







      Overall, I loved the training, I loved the changes to my body composition, loved the clean eating BUT I did not love the stage, the tan, the hair and make-up, being judged, the cost lol.   So I've continued to lift daily and lift heavy, to eat clean and make sure I eat enough to maintain my weight (and even add a bit) but I've gone back to focusing my goals on the sport I love: RUNNING :D  More on my current running goals and progress in the next post :)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Why You Should Lift. . .

    So I stopped posting because I've been focusing my time/energies else where and I'm really happy with the personal/physical/ mental development I've made over the past 6 months.   Right now I'm 11 days out  (aka freak out time!) from my first bikini competition and wanted to share the progress I've made the past year with heavy lifting/ proper nutrition to support body composition change. "Running for the bikini" did not get me very far in terms of achieving the results I was looking for (as you will note from the first picture which was taken about 9 months after starting my blog), but once I started lifting and eating clean I got rapid results.

Picture evidence:

Little over a year ago
 (Mid-May, and a little blurry cause I used photo booth)  

End of October 
After about 2 months of lifting and cleaning up my diet.
Tanner but also less stomach fat.

2 weeks ago
 After 10 months of heavy lifting and high protein, clean diet :)

Note: There is about a 10 lb change between these pictures (from 122-ish to 112) and 10+% bf loss (from approx over 25% to 15%).  And this was for the most part while actively trying to keep my calories up, often aiming for 2000-2200 (while in the past I was always trying to keep them low [1200-1300ish] which often led to bingeing, as well as not making the best food choices as long as it fit my calorie budget).  

     And as mentioned in a previous post I dropped my 5k time from 20:XX to 19:00 (even while reducing the amount of running I was doing) during this time so lifting has had a positive impact on my running as well :)

Now I'm running late for morning cardio (stairs!), hopefully I will find time to start posting again but if you are interested I do post fitness related and competition progress stuff on my Facebook page ~ http://www.facebook.com/KatieMcGrathCPT because it is easier time wise to make quick updates.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

"Whether You Think You Can or You Think You Can't, You're Right."

   This is actually an email I wrote to my clients about developing the right mindset to achieve your goals, but it's something I really feel strongly about so I thought I'd share it here as well:

     I'm going to start my first email to you with a quote that I use as inspiration in my daily life and one that believe is very important to think about in regards to reaching your goal.



    Believing that you can accomplish something is the first (and possibly most important) step to actually achieving your goal. If you believe that you can achieve it you will find a way to do it, if you don't think it is possible you will find excuses. Why are you going to take the time and effort to work towards something if you don't think you will ever get there?

    So the first step to reaching your goals is really believing that it you CAN do it. Of course it will take hard work and it won't happen overnight, in fact it's going to take dedication and consistency over a few months (more or less depending on the goal). But If you KNOW that eventually you WILL achieve it, then you can view each workout you put in and every well balanced high nutrient meal you eat as getting you closer to that goal (same goes for any other behavior necessary for reaching your goal  i.e. every time I study I get closer to passing my nutrition certification.)

    On the other hand if you don't think it is possible, you may think to yourself (even if its subconsciously), "why am I going to take these steps if it's not going to get me to my goal anyway?"  Your much less likely to make the time to workout, to push yourself to the limit, to fuel your body correctly because you don't see it as getting you any closer to your end goal.

    It really becomes a self full filling prophecy: You think you can achieve it, so you put the work in day after day even though some days are tough and you might not feel like it (and I believe the days that are tough and you really have to motivate yourself to get it done are the days where you make yourself stronger both mentally and physically). You get it done because YOU KNOW that it's going to get you to where you want to be.  Eventually you reach your goal and the work was more than worth it, and then you set new goals. Goals you might not have even thought were possible before but now you know with dedication anything is possible.

                                                                Or

      You have a goal(s), but you don't truly believe it's attainable. You put some work in, especially in the beginning, but if you don't feel like getting out of bed one morning or you aren't in the mood to push yourself that day, you skip it. You think, " what does it matter, I'm never going to reach my goal anyway. " And so you make very little progress and get even more discouraged. You're even less motivated to workout/ eat right/ any other behavior that moves you toward your goal (because you don't see them as things that will get you there) and eventually you give up. You just proved yourself right.


I'm going to relate this to my own life as an example.

  Big confession: I can't drive. Over the past 7 years I've taken my road test 2 or 3 times (don't remember haha) and haven't even reached the three point turn or parallel park before failing. I have this mental block where I truly don't believe that I can drive. The few times I took my test I really didn't put in enough practice. I didn't think I could do it so I didn't make the time to practice and improve. And as a result I further confirmed my thought that; "yes, I was right, I can't drive."

    I am working on believing that it IS possible. That every time I go out and practice driving I will get a little closer to actually being able to do it. It is not easy. It takes concentrated effort just to change your thought process. To, every time a negative thought comes into your head, take it and turn it into a positive thought.

   Every time I think about driving, I feel self doubt creeping into my head and I'm making it a point to squash that doubt by thinking, "Yes, driving is something that is difficult for you, but it's NOT IMPOSSIBLE. Have you ever put in 100% (or even 80%) effort to achieve it? No. So until you are making the effort to practice driving at least 3-4 times a week for 30+ minutes consistently ( 2-3 months), don't you dare tell yourself that you can't do it. You CAN do it, you just haven't put in the time and effort needed yet."

   
    I'm challenging you all :), to think about your goals and whether or not you truly believe they're possible. And I want you to know that I 100% believe they are achievable with CONSISTENT hard work and effort over time. The more consistent and persistant you are, the sooner you will see the results you want.


    "Believe in yourself and all that you are. Know that there is something inside you that is greater than ANY obstacle. " ~ Christian D. Larson


Sunday, January 8, 2012

Lift For The Bikini!

  Happy 2012!!

For the New Year I figured I update my site to better reflect my training philosophy, so "Run for the Bikini" is now officially "Run (and Lift!) for the Bikini!" :D   I know it doesn't quite have the same ring to it, but I can't emphasis enough the effect lifting has on both changing your physique, improving athletic performance, and instilling confidence.  Those are the Big 3 things that keep me motivated to workout  (not in that order) so I'm sticking to it, like it or not :P

I've written in my recent posts about how I've been following the Jamie Eason LiveFit Trainer since September.  I finished the first round the day before Christmas, took that week off diet wise (I did still lift   daily) and started back at the beginning this past Monday.  I am adjusting things slightly this time to meet  my specific needs/goals, but for the most part I follow it as written.

    I've had AMAZING results with it and it helped me reach some goals that I was "so close, but yet so far" from achieving. 

     For 1, my pull-up/ chin-ups.  Early in the program I achieved my first 2 dead hang chin-ups, I can now proudly say I'm up to 3 dead hang chins, 1 glorious dead hang pull-up and I even did a chin-up with a 5lb KB on my foot. 

  So Freaking Gorgeous!!!   

~ Goal for 2012 : 20lb KB Pull-up/Chin-up.  For right now I'm going to work on increasing my number of non-weighted ones :)

    #2 THE HUGE, NEVER ENDING QUEST TO BREAK 20 MINUTES THAT I NEVER THOUGHT WOULD HAPPEN. 

     Even though I broke it twice, it still feels a little unreal to me, ESPECIALLY running 19 Flat.  

     The more shocking part of it is the training that led me to run that fast.  This is how cardio is laid out in the JE Trainer: Phase 1 (4 weeks) - NO Cardio, Whatsoever! (although I personally ran a few races) Phase 2 (4 weeks) - 3-4 times a week medium intensity cardio Phase 3 (4 weeks)- Sprints, 30 seconds on/ 30 seconds off for 30 minutes (I usually went at a 10.5- 11.2 pace for my on, jumped my feet to the sides and rested for the off).  

      I think what affected my race times the most was a combination of these 4 things: 
   1) Increased leg strength and also gaining upper body strength made me a stronger, faster runner.
   2) Losing exclusively body fat, you know how they say each lb of bf you lose takes a few seconds off your time, I know whole heartedly believe that.  And with this program I preserved all (and even added some) muscle while losing 10lbs (mostly fat, some water), as evident with my body fat % dropping from   23% to 16-17%
   3) SPRINTS!  Since speed has always been my weaker point, improving upon it had a huge impact on my performance.  In those weeks leading up to my 19 minute 5k, my running training was exclusively those 30 on/ 30 off sprints (with a short warm-up/ cool down), I did not do a single steady state run.  I don't recommend this to everyone looking to improve their 5k times, but as I said speed being my weakness this worked for me.  If you are the type of runner who has a lot of speed but lacks endurance this mort likely wont have the same results for you.  
   4) Phase 3 of the program includes plyometrics as active rest and a whole lot of jump roping.  This made my lifting in this phase as much of a cardio workout as a strength one.  It also improved my power and overall conditioning.

~ Goal for 2012: Sub-19 Baby (I'm ridiculously close to this but I have a feeling I'm going to go a little backwards before I PR again)

#3 It's January and I would feel perfectly confident if I had to wear a bikini tomorrow :)
   
     Honestly I've never had this kind of definition in my life, and I'm LOVING it!
This is a progress pic from beginning of December- 2 & 1/2 months into my first round of the trainer.

Taken 4 days ago, I gained a little bloat weight over the holiday week, but after this week of eating clean and lifting heavy I'm back to where I was when I finished the trainer on 12/23.

    This go around I am really looking to put on some lean muscle mass.  I ended my first round a few lbs under my goal weight which I don't mind, but I don't want to lose anymore weight.  I'm taking the "no cardio in Phase 1 rule" very seriously which is a little scary (for me), but at least its January so there isn't much racing going on.  And I'm amazed at how much clean food I have to eat to keep weight on, much less gain weight while lifting.  

~Goal for 2012: Continue to gain muscle and possibly. . . enter a bikini comp? Eeeek!

  Ohh and another thing I'm pretty darn proud of: Back Squatting #135 for multiple sets of 5 reps.  It's not all that heavy but it's 20+ lbs more than my bodyweight, so it makes me extremely giddy :)

~Goal for 2012 February/March 2012: Back Squating 155 for sets of 5, 165 for sets of 3, 175 1 RM

     If you incorporate resistance training/lifting into your workouts, how has it helped you achieve your goals?