Event Training

I was recently convinced by two very good friends to do a 40 mile charity ride around NYC – the 5Boro Bike Tour. I’ve been wanting to start biking for years, and charity events are a passion of mine. Plus, I’m always looking to visit one of my very best friends in NY…so, this seemed like a great idea all around. When I committed to the ride in January, May 3rd seemed so far away, and I thought I had plenty of time to train. Then came the infamous 2015 Boston Winter.

Now, I’m sort of an anxious person, so by March, I started thinking I should get moving (keep in mind, I didn’t yet own a bike). While I was waiting for my bike to come in after I ordered it, and waiting even longer for the 7 foot snow mounds to melt in my neighborhood, I spent time riding a stationary bike indoors, picked up my running a bit, and concentrated on a well rounded leg and core strengthening routine. All important for building muscular endurance needed for a long ride…especially one with hills. Once the snow did melt, my friend and I started doing longer weekend rides around Boston, and I found time most weeks to do one shorter ride around my neighborhood that included hills.

The weekend of the ride came, and though a bit nervous, I felt ready (enough). We couldn’t have asked for a better day, and the ride was amazing! It turned out to be an incredible way to see the city, and I’m so grateful to my friends for convincing me to sign up for the event. The ride, and our weekend rides leading up to the event, gave us lots of opportunities to catch up on our lives outside of our usual happy hour or dinner dates. It got me training my body in a whole new way, and I do feel stronger because of it. In fact, now I can almost keep up with my husband on bike rides, and I’m enjoying Spring in a whole new way this year. So, I’m encouraging you to go out there and sign up for a charity run/walk/ride/triathelon. Enlisting the help of a trainer prior to an event is never a bad idea, but here are a few tips for your next endurance event:

  • Get a good pair of shoes. You’re going to be racking up a lot of miles, so get fitted properly or even consider getting your gait assessed.
  • Increase the distance you run or bike by no more than 10% each week.
  • Include workouts focused on increasing speed also to alternate on the days you increase distance.
  • Cross train…with other forms of cardio and definitely with strength training.
  • Don’t forget your flexibility. Stretch more than you’re used to, or try that new yoga studio you’ve heard about.
  • For short events, there’s probably no need to change your diet too much. “Carb loading” is certainly not necessary, but do seek out a Nutritionist who specializes in sports nutrition for any particularly long or challenging event.
  • Eat enough and drink enough water for the days leading up to your event.

I hope you all find time to challenge yourself this Spring and Summer with a new event or workout routine. Once you start training for an event, you’ll find motivation and enjoyment in exercise again, and you’ll really appreciate how amazing it is to see your goal through. Signing up is the first step…what are you waiting for??

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Throwback Thursday!

Happy “Throwback Thursday” readers! Instead of embarrassing pictures from my youth (wayyy too many to choose from), I’m celebrating this week with a special workout, because I was just remembering how working out used to be fun. Owing in part to the fact that we didn’t call it working out as kids, and also because being outside makes everything better. I’m encouraging all my readers to have fun with your workouts today. Get outside, soak up the sun, and work up a sweat without boredom. Here are a few “workouts” from your past worth revisiting:

  1. Jump rope for 5 minutes
  2. Hula hoop for 10
  3. Jump on a trampoline for 15
  4. Create an obstacle course in the backyard with the kids. Make sure it involves climbing under something, jumping over objects and at least one sprint. Run through three obstacle courses as fast as you can, aiming to beat your time each round.
  5. Hopscotch. It’s pretty awesome, still.
  6. Dust off your bike, grab your partner or a friend, and head out for a bike ride right after work.
  7. Or, try this “Throwback Thursday Circuit” when you bring the kids to the nearby park:

Jump rope or jumping jacks – 100 jumps

Monkey bars – Swing across 2x

Suspended pull ups (holding swing)- 12x

Walking planks – 20x

Crab walk – 20x

Hanging knee tucks, from monkey bars or a sturdy tree branch – 15x

Rope/ladder climb – 3x

Swings! 5 minutes…or much longer. Have fun!

Repeat 2-3x…and don’t forget to stretch at the end 🙂

I’m so sure you’ll enjoy the many benefits of exercising outside once you get started. Feel free to share some of your “throwback Thursday” exercises…

Happy Trails

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My husband and I recently returned from a fun, week long road trip about 16 hours from home, our first long car trip since my days as a college student. It was a blast riding along the rolling green hills of West Virginia, hiking along the Red River Gorge in Kentucky and experiencing the live music scene in Nashville. But, along the route, I had a lot of time to think about the nutrition struggles we face when traveling, particularly to less populated areas, where our ideal organic/locally grown/vegan/gluten free foods may be hard to come by. So, I’m feeling a bit inspired to write down a few ideas of healthy, minimally processed snacks to take along on your next road trip, weekend adventure or just a really long Saturday at the kids’ baseball games:

  • make your own trail mix, or really inspect the labels of store bought ones. I’m a fan of any combination of nuts, seeds and dried (unsweetened fruit), with a few coconut flakes thrown in for some flavor.
  • Or, if you don’t have time to assemble the trail mix, pre-measured servings of walnuts, almonds or peanuts to carry in your travel bag work just as well.
  • whole fruits, any kind.
  • chop up veggies that travel well (carrots, peppers, cucumbers). If you have an insulated bag, pre-measured servings of hummus are a nice addition. Leave the ranch dressing in your fridge…or better yet, in the grocery store 🙂
  • Individual servings of nut butters with brown rice cakes
  • Dried edamame

These are just a few ideas. If you’ll have access to refrigeration, travel snacks are even easier to plan. Either way, never leave home without a plan, and a whole lotta healthy snacks!

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*Taking a break during our hike to enjoy the beautiful scenery atop this bridge. And to eat some of our wholesome, trail friendly snacks, of course.