Gotta love new shoes

I got some new sneakers! The weather has been so nice (well over the weekend was nice) that I was inspired to run, but alas my old running shoes had truly had it! I had aches and pains in unusual places, so I went over to the local running store, Runner’s Alley and sprung for a new pair of Sauconys. After that the weather turned rainy, but today the sun came out so I put on my new shoes and went for a run — there is nothing like running in a new pair of sneakers!

A Run in the Sunshine

Nothing like some nice spring weather to get me to go out for a run. It was in the high 50’s sunny, a slight breeze — perfect for running. I forgot how much I enjoy running outside! After a few weeks on the treadmill running outside was such a joy. I kept an easy pace and didn’t attempt to run too long, it was quite perfect. Then there was the sun on my face, the ever changing scenery, and the constantly changing route to keep my mind occupied. A far cry from running in place on the treadmill staring at the slowly changing stats for distance, calories, steps, time, distance, calories, steps, time distance….

A new weight lifting program for me

I haven’t been very good about blogging over the past week, but I have been good about going to the gym. I have a good routine going. I lift weights one day, do cardio and my sit-ups routine the next, then rest a day. This gives me 2 days of rest between any 2 weight workouts and between cardio/aerobic days.

Today I started a new weight lifting program. During the past 4 weeks I’ve been doing one exercise for each major muscle group. This is a good program for beginning weight training. Now I’m stepping up the program. Today I concentrated on chest, upper back, shoulders, biceps and triceps. Rather than hit each muscle group with one exercise. I did 2 exercises for each, basically doubling the effort for each muscle group. On my next weight day, I’ll concentrate on glutes, quads, hamstrings, lower back, and calves. As for my abs, I put those on cardio day. So far so good…..

Interval Training

Day three on the abs workout, quite a bit harder! After my “200 sit ups” training, I decided to try some interval training on the treadmill. Not only did I get a great workout, but the time went MUCH faster as I played with the speed every 30 seconds or so. But, let me confess, I am tired now!

This is what I did — First, I warmed up for about 3 minutes on 4.5-5 mph. Then I ran at a moderate pace (6mph or 10 min/mile pace) for 2 minutes. I used 6.5 as my baseline and ran for 30 seconds. Then I went up to 7 for 30 sec, down to 6.5 for 30, down to 6 for 30; then back up — 6.5 for 30 sec, 7 for 30, etc. Up and down for a total of 20 minutes. Phew, exhausting, I finished the last 5 minutes on 6 to recover, and ended with 5 minutes of light jogging then walking to cool down. I’m going to incorporate interval training in my routine once a week.

If you want to give it a try, use a comfortable pace as your baseline, it doesn’t matter what it is. If you walk on the treadmill, try 3 and go up to 3.5 and down to 2.5. No matter where you start, this sort of training will improve your pace and conditioning. A word to the wise, after an interval training day, take a day of rest or go easy on the cardio. Remember, muscles need time to recover in order to get stronger.

An Alternative to the Gym

The crazy wind storm of Friday night left me without power (or heat) so I escaped to a friend’s house. It was warm and well lit, but not accessible to my gym, so what about my workout?

Never fear, you don’t need a gym or fancy equipment to work out. There is always the ability to go for a long walk, but the weather is snowy and it looks cold so a walk is going to have to wait. Instead I did a fairly complete total body workout using good old fashioned body weight.

I started with my four sets of sit-ups from my 200 sit-ups program. The sit-ups worked my abs and core. Next I did four sets of modified push-ups — that would be on my knees rather than my toes. Push ups are a great all around exercise working the chest, shoulders, triceps and core muscles. Even the upper back (lats) get a bit of a workout. I followed these up with lunges and squats. Lunges and squats are all you need for your lower body, working quads, hamstrings, glutes and a bit of the calves. I ended my workout with a lot of stretching; something, I have to admit, that often gets neglected. If I wanted to add some cardio, I could have added jump-roping or even jumping jacks. Instead, I’m looking forward to that walk later today.