Training Tips Tuesday 34: Runners, work your upper body too!

When you think about what muscles help you in running, you’re probably focusing on your lower body. But your upper body is just as important when it comes to improving your running performance!

Having a stronger upper body helps improve your posture and running form, which makes it easier to run faster and with less injuries. Keeping your shoulder and upper back muscles strong help you to prevent collapsing forward while running (or in day to day life). Plus the key to many upper body exercises include keeping your core tight which helps improve core strength.

Some of my favorite strength training exercises (that you don’t need weights for) include:

  • Planks

  • Pushups

  • Tricep dips

  • Supermans

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My daily healthy habits

I’ve been thinking lately about my daily habits and adding some new ones in. So I thought I’d do a quick post about them and what I do on a daily basis to live a healthier life!

Drinking 100 oz of water

I’ve been focusing on getting a minimum of 100oz of water (not counting tea or coffee) for the last month and I can tell the difference it’s made. My skin feels less dry than it usually does at this point in the year and I don’t feel like I’m getting foot cramps as often. Plus, I’m really cutting down on the pop I drink at work because I want to get that water in!

Knitting breaks

I try to use my lunch break at work to knit as a way to get away form work for a little bit and concentrate on something else. It’s a great mental break and gives me a chance to concentrate on something else. When it’s the weekend, I try to knit at night while we watch TV. All the projects I finish give me a sense of accomplishment even when I’ve had a crappy day otherwise!


Daily meditation is one of my newest habits. I’ve been using the Calm app for the last week and am really loving taking 10 or so minutes every morning to clear my mind for the day. I’m still working on when I meditate (I think the easiest plan would be right after waking up) but I’ve gotten it in every in every day. I’m thinking about adding in a night session too, since Calm has a 7 days of sleep practice.


Walking Vinnie

Every single morning, I take Vinnie on a walk (plus a walk later in the day after work and working out). It gets me outside and moving every morning for about 20 minutes, which I didn’t do before we got him, plus I get some bonding time with Vinnie. Of course, now that it’s going to be cold and dark outside it’s a little bit tougher to want to do this. But I know we’ll have a crazy dog if I cut his walk short!


Weighing In

Like I talked about in a previous post, I’m weighing in every morning now. I’m careful not to let what i see dictate how I feel about the day but it’s a good way to know what’s going on with my body day to day. I’m planning to keep this up during marathon training as well so I have another way to know if I’m not re-fueling properly.

Getting in 10,00 steps

Usually, I don’t have a problem getting in 10,000 steps because running really racks it up! But on rest days or cross-training, I make an effort to get in at least 10,000 steps so that I’m not just sitting all day long. It helps that my Polar M400 beeps every hour if I haven’t been active for at least five minutes. Walking Vinnie before and after work helps out with this, along with getting in a walk at work when the weather lets me.

What are some of your healthy habits? Let me know in the comments!


How I'm looking at balance on my honeymoon

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In just a couple of days Mike and I will be taking the train out to Seattle for our honeymoon. It will be the first vacation we've taken together alone and probably about 4 years. The last time we took a vacation alone was our first dating anniversary trip up to Duluth Minnesota so we're super excited about it. But of course one thing I've been thinking of is how I'm going to keep a healthy balance on this vacation between treating my body right and enjoying myself.

I think the hardest thing about keeping a balance on this trip is that we are taking the train out to Seattle. This will be a 36 hour journey I think which means we'll be having four meals on the train each way. We're going to be bringing our own stuff which is nice because we're going to be paying the really high prices on the train and we'll be able to see what we want but there's only so much healthy stuff you can pack that will keep easily and not need to be heated up. There's also the thing about sitting for the whole entire trip basically. I'm sure we'll have time to get up and move around but there's only so much space to walk around on a train I can imagine without it getting a super boring and annoying to everyone else around you.

The good thing is that we don't leave until about 10:30 p.m. night on Monday which will give me plenty of time that morning to get a good workout in and just kind of prepare myself to sleep through that first night on the train. We only have one full day of travel on the train which is good so hopefully I'll get a little bit of moving around keeping my blood circulating and not get too bored. We’ll  arrive in Seattle at 10 a.m. on the 3rd day of travel so it will be nice to finally get out of that train, stretch our legs and get some hot food.

The rest of the trip I'm going to be somewhat watching what I'm eating just to make sure that I'm getting some nutritious food but I won't be counting every single thing that goes into my face. Because it's our honeymoon and it's a new city to me and I want to enjoy it and everything has because I don't know when we'll get out there again or when it will be a vacation with just the two of us. There’s so much stuff  that I'm excited to try so I'm not going to worry about if I’m going to gain weight. Because I probably will gain a little but it will easily come back off.

I also won't be working out as much as I am right now I'm hoping to get a run in with Mike once or twice. It will just depend on the weather because at this moment it's looking to be pretty rainy out there which I wouldn't mind running in the rain if I was back here but in a new place...I’m not sure sure. The place we are staying as great looking gym facility in it so I’ll be checking out that a couple of times (probably on those mornings where I wake up before Mike since I’m the early bird).

Another good thing is that we are going to be getting in a ton of walking on this vacation. We won't have a car out there so we're hoping to watch a lot of places will be staying right by Pike's Market Which Way lots of fun and even if we have to take public transportation to different places will still be walking around attractions and doing touristy things. So I'm sure once we get out there I'll be getting in my 10,000 steps at least every single day.

Let me know in the comments how you keep balance in mind while on vacation.

I've Gained Weight Since My Half...And I'm OK With That


I didn't make too many fitness goals for 2017. I just made three:

  • Get a new half PR

  • Train for and run my first marathon

  • Keep my weight between 130-135 lbs

As you can tell from the title of this blog, I'm not in that weight range anymore right now. I was sitting at around 135 for the Lake Minnetonka Half (up 5 lbs from my fall races) and I'm up a couple of pounds from that right now. I started marathon training at almost 140 lbs which I wasn't too happy about when I stepped on the scale but I also wasn't not expecting to see a higher number on the scale. I had been lax on my macros and running to give my body a rest post-half.

Now, with marathon training, you might have expected that extra weight to fall right off and I'd be back in the lower 130s that I'd been at the end of fall training last year. But I'm still in the higher 130s and I'm perfectly comfortable with that. My running has been feeling really great with the higher mileage of marathon training and my clothes are fitting just the same as when I was weighing slightly less.

Of course I'd like to weigh a little less because it would help my running improve just a little bit more but I'm not going to be cutting back on calories since I know I need those as my mileage continues to grow. I'm eating around 2,300 calories (of course there's been some higher days for celebrations) right now and the highest amount of carbs I've ever eaten while counting macros. And taking in that amount of carbs means I'll be carrying some extra water weight. But at the same time, I'm averaging burning 2,300-2,400 calories on a weekly average (based on what my Polar watch is measuring) and that calorie burn is going to continue to go up.

chart (2)

chart (2)

As you can see from this chart, there's a little bit of consistency of how my weight is moving. Overall, it's down and it tends to dip lower after my Sunday long runs (where I'm burning the most calories) and then slowly climbs up over the week. Which makes total sense, my rest days are on Fridays so throughout the week my muscles are getting a tough workout and trying to recover (and holding onto water).

What am I going to do going forward?

My plan is to keep my calories at the 2,300 level and my macro split the same until the end of July. Then, on July 30, I'll up my calories to 2,500 (probably increasing my fats and carbs) and see how I'm feeling on that amount. Of course, if my running starts feeling tough before then, I'll trying upping my calories earlier than I plan to see if that helps out with my running.

Two things I'm going to do right now to improve how I'm eating right now (that might also have an effect on the scale and how my training is going) is to cutback on my alcohol intake and increase my water consumption. I'm not drinking a ton of alcohol but I've been doing more work week drinking now that it's summer and drinking more on the weekends than I did during my half training. So, I'm going to cutback to a drink or two on the weekends.

Along with that, I'm going to be more focused on getting enough water in. I've been drinking more pop lately to give myself a caffeine boost and between that and drinking more alcohol, I haven't been drinking as much water. I downloaded an app on my phone and my goal is to drink 100 oz of water a day. Which means no more getting pop during the workday and making sure I keep my water bottle filled.

I'll do another check in about how I'm feeling body-wise at the end of July when I do my measurements again. I think it's really important for people to hear about weight struggles during race training, it's something I haven't really seen from other bloggers that I follow and it's something I've been going through since I first started running.