Get a leg up

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Now that I’m finished with my marathon and my half marathon is a few months away, I’m kind of in workout “limbo” and focusing on creating and doing some of my own workouts! I definitely neglected serious weight training while working towards my marathon, so it’s nice to get back to some focused weight training as summer rolls around.

Last week, I came up with a few new workouts, including this leg workout. I love circuit-type workouts that help keep everything moving and your heart rate up! I added in some plyometrics (squat jumps, jumping lunges, box jumps) for an additional challenge.

20-25-30 leg workout

 

What are your favorite circuit workouts? What’s your current fitness challenge? 

Back on the grid

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I think we could all agree I’ve been a little MIA lately. Last week was insanely busy (and so was this weekend), but I’m back! I even have a good recipe or two to share with you this week.

Friday night I made some healthy chicken poppers with homemade honey dijon dipping sauce (recipe coming at you for this week’s WIAW!) and then headed to an engagement party for my beautiful friend, Janie. I am so excited to be part of her big day, and it’s only a month away!

On Saturday morning, I broke out my Jillian Michaels yoga DVD for the first time…

yoga-meltdown

 

It was a surprisingly great workout! It was more challenging than other yoga classes I’ve done, and it was only about 30 minutes long, so it’s really easy to squeeze in during a busy day.

After yoga, I spent the rest of the day helping a friend move, which definitely challenged my already-sore arms! I eventually headed to church for most of the afternoon/evening.

Yesterday started bright and early with working at church, and then it was time for our Memorial Day Cookout with friends! I made a variation of my Avocado Cobb Salad and ate way, way too much delicious food, but it was definitely worth it. We ended the night with some sparklers…

Memorial Day

 

How was your Memorial Day Weekend? 

A post about something other than running

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I know you’re skeptical — you’re going to talk about something other than running?! I didn’t think it was possible until my marathon training was over, but it seems like miracles do happen! (Check back tomorrow for a true miracle…healthy, wholesome, no-rise pizza dough!)

Welcome to a post about something other than running.

Remember when I used to post great strength and HIIT workouts? It seems like many ions ago, BUT with my marathon training coming to a close, I’m excited to get back to creating fun new workouts!

I wasn’t feeling my 12-mile training run on Sunday afternoon, so I opted for a 20-minute arm strengthening circuit and then decided it wouldn’t hurt to do some cardio as well. Little did I know that this quick, 15-minute burst of cardio would leave me sore even three days later!

Bookmark this baby because when you’re short on time but still want to get yourself moving, this “Quick ‘n’ Dirty Tabata Circuit” is your answer!
Quick n Dirty Tabata Circuit

What are your favorite workouts? (P.S. This may even help you work off that bacon-stuffed cheeseburger!)

Put the lime in the coconut & shake it all up

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Or, in this case, put the cocoa in the coconut milk and blend it all up.

So, the post title didn’t really work at all, but that’s all the creativity I can muster on this Friday. Sorry, friends! Hopefully, this recipe for coconut ice cream will make my sad attempts at catchy humor worth it.

But, before we get there, I just have to share this incline/speed treadmill workout I did this morning. It literally made the time on the treadmill fly and I got a great speed workout in before my long runs this weekend…

Incline + speed treadmill workout

It was awesome! I ended my time at the gym with a 20-minute arm workout, then called it a day and headed home to shower and enjoy this…

Friday breakfast

A delicious two-ingredient pancake with some melted almond butter, TJ’s maple agave syrup, and a few whole flaxseeds. This baby kept me full until almost 12:30 today!

But, enough about workouts and breakfasts –it’s time to divulge my can’t-believe-it’s-not-real-ice-cream coconut ice cream. Okay, that’s stretching it a bit…it doesn’t taste exactly like real ice cream, but it is a delicious dairy-free, gluten-free, and vegan option. (To make it vegan, swap the honey for the agave.) Have a great weekend, everyone!

Coconut Ice Cream
Serves 4

Coconut Ice Cream

  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 1/4 c. cocoa powder
  • 1/4 c. honey
  • Splash of vanilla
  1. Put all ingredients in a blender and blend well. 
  2. Pour into a freezer-safe container and freeze for about six hours.
  3. Enjoy!

How to “level up” this recipe

  • Add some frozen berries, such as blueberries, for some added nutrition!

How to “level down” this recipe

  • Use another milk (such as unsweetened vanilla almond or cow’s) instead of coconut. 

Looking forward to lunchtime

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Turkey and salad

If your lunchtime salad looked like that, wouldn’t you be pretty excited too?

I’ll divulge what’s in the mix in a second, but let’s back up a bit. We haven’t talked about workouts at all this week, and they definitely deserve a mention as I head into peak marathon training season! After an unexpected rest day on Monday, I knew I needed to be ready to hit the gym Tuesday morning. I had a six-mile speed session on the agenda for the day, but knew before I even got on the treadmill that it was going to be a rough workout. It was.

I struggled through a five mile speed workout…I hit the “Stop” button not once but TWICE during the workout, which I absolutely hate. Restarting the treadmill makes me feel like I’ve made no progress at all. Anyone else? After finish hitting that coveted 5.0 mark, I finished off the morning with a 10-minute lower ab circuit workout. Rough but I made it!

Yesterday morning was much better! I jumped on the elliptical for 20 minutes and then completed three rounds of this plyometrics/leg circuit…

  • 30 squats with exercise ball 
  • 15 flying lunges
  • 30 sec. wall sit
  • 30 step-ups
  • 30 box jumps
  • 30 sec. high knees
  • 15 lunges to front kick (both legs)

In between each circuit, I completed a two-minute plank workout that looked like this: (I did each exercise for 20 sec.)

  • Plank jacks
  • Reptile jacks
  • Straight arm plank
  • Elbow plank
  • Up-downs
  • Knee to elbow (alternating legs)

After I had finished three rounds of the above circuits, I hopped on the treadmill for ten minutes of incline walking/jogging. I set the incline at 10 and alternated speeds between 4.0 (fast walking) and 5.0 (jogging). Bam! I hit a lot of different machines, got in a lot of different exercises, and really enjoyed my time away from straight running!

This morning, it was back to the gym for a run. I’m increasing my mid-week mileage, so I had seven miles on the agenda today, which looked like this…

  • Miles 0-2: 7.0
  • Mile 2-3: 7.1
  • Mile 3-4: 7.2
  • Miles 4-6: 7.3
  • Mile 6-7: 7.0

I finished in about 58:30, which isn’t bad for a seven miler. (Just over 8:30/mile) It felt pretty easy overall and nothing like Tuesday’s five miler. Crazy how that can happen!

Okay, did you skip all that just so you could get to the goods about that amazing salad? I don’t blame you. Here’s what was in the mix:

  • Romaine lettuce
  • Shredded red cabbage (I picked this up on a whim at the store the other day, and I really enjoyed it! It added some good crunch and didn’t alter the flavor much.)
  • Chopped red onion
  • Yellow pepper
  • Cucumbers
  • Deli turkey
  • Sliced almonds (I had sunflower seeds yesterday which were also good!)

I topped it off with some Trader Joe’s Fat-Free Balsamic Vinaigrette and crushed two crisp & light Wasa crisps over top. (I love how they’re like 25 calories each!) Delicious!

Did you look forward to your lunchtime today? What did you enjoy?

A very Leslie Knopp Valentine’s Day

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Happy day-after Valentine’s/Singles Awareness Day! I’m not sure which one it was for you, but either way I hope it was fabulous!

I started my morning off with a six mile run w/ hills on the treadmill. I did a one-mile warm-up at 7.0, followed by a half-mile at an incline of 5.0 (speed: 6.5) and another half-mile at 7.0 (alternating). Darn you Pittsburgh marathon and your hills — I’m afraid you’re gonna kill me!

I followed up my six miler with five rounds of this quick leg workout:

  • 15 squats
  • 20 box jumps
  • 25 mountain climbers

Phew! I was more than ready to dig into a big bowl of chia oats when I got home.

The day was pretty uneventful, but I offered to bring home some takeout for Andy & I to enjoy for our Valentine’s Day dinner! I ended up at Applebee’s since I had a gift card and ordered the Zesty Roma Chicken & Shrimp, which was pretty good but definitely lacking some greens! I threw on some steamed asparagus of my own after this photo:

Applebee'sWe enjoyed our Applebee’s while watching a few more episodes of Parks & Rec on Netflix. I love that show! We finished up the Office a few weeks ago (sad), but Parks & Rec is getting increasingly funnier and on it’s way to being our next Netflix favorite!

For Valentine’s Day, we set a $10 limit (I was almost able to follow it!) and I created a basket full of “favorite things” for Andy…

Valentine's dayI won’t lie, I stole a handful (or two or three) of those pretzel M & M’s when he opened them up. I love those things!

On the agenda for this weekend is an 11-mile run, brunch with my running group, church, and dinner with one of my best friends from college. Can’t wait!

Slackin’

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I’ve been slackin’ on the posting front this weekend.

That’s why I’m up nice and early on a Sunday morning to check back in with all of you.

Actually, I’m up to eat a good breakfast before I head off to my ten-mile training run, buttttt I made time for a quick post, too!

As for a quick weekend recap…the highlight of Friday was this delicious homemade pizza Andy and I made together!

Homemade pizzaHe texted me at work and asked me to stop and get some pizza crusts from a local pizza place called La Piazza di Caruso. I love that you can just stop in and ask for premade doughs then bake and add your own toppings on your own! Andy made a pepperoni and I stuck with vegetable, and we’re planning on whipping up a bar-be-que chicken pizza later this weekend with our last dough. Delicious!

Friday night was pretty low-key; we caught up on The Office (Andy came back?!) and watched some more Parks & Rec on Netflix.

Yesterday, I was up bright and early and flew through some emails/church-related things I wanted to get through. I headed to the gym around 11 and completed 20 mins. on the elliptical, 10 mins. of incline running on the treadmill, and an upper body workout that absolutely killed my shoulders. It looked something like this…

Upper Body BlastThe rest of yesterday was filled with some household chores, church, and hanging out with friends. Always a great way to spend a Saturday!

Now I’m off for my long run for the week…luckily Nemo missed us, so it should be a cold, but snow-free, run. Catch ya later!