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Posts from the ‘performance’ Category

Inspiratory Muscle Training

Did you know that when you breathe, you only use a small percentage of your lung capacity? And did you also know that inspiratory muscle training, which is commonly used to treat people with asthma and COPD, is used by athletes to increase breathing power? Read more

Adding to my Bank of Positive Images

Happy Friday evening! Only one more long run to go before race day and I am so ready for it. I see why the taper is so effective. I feel like I have so much energy inside me right now that I could go out and take on those 26.2 miles tomorrow. I must wait though.

Being that it is Friday and I’m in search of motivating things, I wanted to share this recent news article I read about Sara Baxter, a young runner from California.  Read more

A Study Showing the Importance of Mental Training

Being that there are a lot of upcoming races in November, I’ve been seeing a lot of posts from people about their mental (and physical) preparations for race day. Yesterday, my G+ friend Jenny, who will be running her first 50 miler November 3rd, posted an amazing recording from Anna Hughes – a really bad ass ultra runner. If you have 30 minutes, please listen to this interview (I listened to it while I did yoga stretches). It gives mental training an entirely new meaning.

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Your Brain Tells you to Stop, But…

This marathon training season started out fabulous and then hit quite a road block. I keep thinking about about the race when I did it three years ago and how much I hated it. I very clearly remember those hills, the rain, and the cold. And more importantly I remember those last 2 miles. Mario jumped in right around mile 24 to cheer me across the finish line. For some reason, I felt like I couldn’t do it anymore and started walking. Mario kept telling me that yes, I could do it but either it was the pouring rain, the 40 degrees, or my throbbing legs- I needed to walk for a minute (or two). I missed Boston Qualifying that year by 29 seconds.What if I had just kept running?

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My New Gym Toy

Well my Internet is out so I’m having to blog from my phone so I don’t fail on my daily pledge. I’m going to have to keep it short because typing on this small screen is no fun.

Last week I got a new gym toy – a Gymboss interval timer. Today I used it for the first time for a tabata workout. After intervals on the elliptical, I did a four minute tabata workout of burpees and then another 4 minute session of mountain climbers. Having the timer was AMAZING because I never once had to look at my watch. And I never had an excuse to take a break. The timer kept me going and even though it was a little loud, I didn’t care if anybody was staring. I didn’t have the energy to notice 🙂

I really like the timer and look forward to using it for some of my workouts. It was a little over $20 with tax from Amazon. It’s a good edition to the gym bag.


Happy Trails and Happy Running,


Running and Crossfit

If somehow you have missed the CrossFit train, you can read exactly what it is here.  I’ve never done a CrossFit class because I enjoy the quiet, alone time pounding the pavement offers me. 🙂 Whether I’m going easy, hard, in the heat, or in the rain, I seriously just love running. However I came across this articled titled “How I used CrossFit to Become a Better Runner.” Becoming a better runner is like a permanent goal Read more

Three Types of Interval Training: Tabata, Little, Turbulence

This morning on the way to work I was listening to a podcast and they were talking about three different types of interval training: the Tabata method, the Little Method, and the Turbulence method. I’m pretty familiar with the tabata method and have done quite a few tabata workouts. When you’re short on time, it’s perfect. I had never heard of the Little method but after learning what it was, I realized that I had been doing my own version of this workout for quite sometime. The Turbulence method includes weights and cardio and is a longer workout than a Tabata or Little session. This awesome infographic from gives an overall view of the three sessions and helps you figure out which one is best for you. I tried to insert the image into the post but it came out super tiny. Just click on the link – it’s very informative:

For the complete description, click here

To sum up the Little method, it’s basically a warm up of 3-5 minutes followed by one minute all out at max effort and then 75 seconds easy effort. These intervals should be repeated 12 times, for a total of 27 minutes. The Turbulence method is a combination of weights and cardio. It includes a 5 minute warm up followed by an 8 rep set of weight lifting and then one minute of cardio (mountain climbers, jump rope, burpees, etc.). This should be repeated through a full body routine for a 45 minute workout. I bet you’d be pretty sore after that one. This sounds like a good Wednesday workout (that’s my do something different day).

I love intervals. They are the only reason I’ve ever been somewhat fast at running. And due to my injury rate, I’ve become the master of intervals on an elliptical and spinning bike. I even broke an elliptical once going a little too fast 🙂 Opps!

Happy Trails and Happy Running,


Sleep and Training

Everybody has different sleep requirements. My sister is more on the 8+ hour side and I’m on the 6 hour side. When I was younger, I put a lot of emphasis on sleep. If I didn’t get 8-9 hours, I started to stress out which made quality sleep even more difficult. However, life happens and because I have to wake up so early for work (4:45am), 6 hours is about all I can manage. And actually, this works quite well for me. Personally, I think it has something to do with my spinach smoothies with VEGA energizing smoothie powder plus coffee first thing in the morning, but who knows.

I just woke up from an awesome 2 hour nap after my 21 mile run this morning. (I miscalculated my route and didn’t make it to 22 but I will still happy with the run.) My fabulous nap got me thinking about the importance of sleep during marathon training. Every training season I seem to get worn down and sick right when training is at its peak and I really want to avoid that this fall. I found a very interesting article from Running Times and there are two points I find to be particularly noteworthy:

First, it is during the 3rd and 4th stages of a sleep cycle when the body repairs itself. This is when the human growth hormone HGH is released from the pituitary gland and it is this hormone that helps rebuild muscle tissue and bones. In other words, uninterrupted sleep is important.

Second, the quality of sleep might be more important than the quantity. Apparently the more fit you become, the more your quality of sleep improves.

“For the highly trained athlete, sleep becomes more important but the hours might be less because their sleep is more effective sleep,”

Here is a link to the article and it’s a quick read. Check it out if you can.

I don’t know about you but when I get in the bed, maybe 5 minutes pass before I’m sound asleep. And sometimes I even wake up in the exact same position where I fell asleep. Making the bed is super quick those mornings. 😉


An old pic of me falling asleep in a hotel lobby. I’m so good at this.


Happy Trails and Happy Running,



The fall is almost here and I can not wait! Frankly, I am just tired of running in heat and humidity. Granted, today wasn’t as bad as last Saturday and thankfully it was cloudy.  However, when I come home and weigh my clothes after a run and the scale says 2.5 pounds, I know it’s been a rough run. In addition, I think the chafing is causing permanent scaring. Read more


This week is a scheduled recovery week. I’m not worrying too much about pace or really long runs, and it’s been quite relaxing. I’m trying to give my legs and body a chance to recover from training in this heat and humidity. It acutally works out perfectly because my mother-in-law is in town and I am able spend more time with her. I aim to follow the train hard for three weeks, go easy for one week method, but it sometimes can vary depending on how life happens. Also during the week, I try to take one day off completely.  However, more often than not, I just happen find myself at the gym regardless. Opps!

I decided to do a quick search tonight on how Ryan Hall incorporates rest into his training. I read a while back that since becoming self coached, he took every Sunday as a rest day. When I searched the topic tonight, I learned a little more.

Ryan Hall learned about the importance of rest from Matt Dixon, a Brit who coaches amateur athletes as well as others who are a little more competitive. Dixon has taken on the task of teaching overtrained and underperforming athletes to incorporate more rest and more food post hard workout  into their training. Not only has he helped Ryan Hall to become the fastest American marathoner ever, he also helped triathlete Chris Lieto reach peak performance. Dixon got Hall to drop his training volume from 120 miles per week to 100 miles per week as well as to eat more post workout.

Michelle Hamilton:

Dixon isn’t a 21st century wizard with secret knowledge; he just believes that recovery is under-valued and under-utilized. “Our goal is not to train as hard as we can, but to perform well,” Dixon says. “And to perform well you have to be very fit, but not fatigued.” 
Recovery, however, shouldn’t be confused with easy. “Recovery is the thing that enables hard training,” Dixon says. If you’re rested and fueled, you can you push yourself to new heights in key workouts and increase fitness.
This philosophy is the cornerstone of a broader methodology Dixon calls the four pillars of performance: endurance (or workouts), recovery, nutrition and strength. “I talk a lot about recovery because that’s what’s often missing [from people’s training],” he says. But he believes all four pillars must be treated equally if you want to maximize performance.

One of my local running heros is Kelcey Carlson – a news reporter here in Raleigh, NC. (I saw her at the grocery store once and had to introduce myself. I felt like I just met Kara Goucher. :P)  She is a 3:04 marathoner, has two kids, and a full time job. She only runs 5 days a week and I’m sure the other two are spent doing family and/or work things. She rests. Ryan Hall rests. I think I should rest too.

When I don’t rest, I end up like this no matter where I am. I actually have quite a few pictures of me randomly sleeping in various locations. I fell asleep typing a blog not too long ago.


Happy Trails and happy Running,