All about training for a half marathon

Hey guys! I feel like I haven’t posted anything in a while. The last few weeks of pregnancy have been exhausting mentally and physically. Up until now I have prided myself in feeling great and as soon as 37 weeks hit I felt like a different person. My joints started hurting and had to stop doing strength training.

There is a hormone that is excreted into your body during pregnancy that is called relaxin. It loosens your ligaments to allow your uterus and pelvis to expand. Unfortunately it ‘relaxes’ all your joints which can cause more pain and more of a chance for injury. The good news is it usually goes away 24 hours after you have your baby.

I have been walking twice a day and this has given me the strength to push forward these last three weeks. This is the only thing I feel comfortable doing right now because I do not want to injure myself right before baby and be out of commission after baby!

This has made me a little discouraged and I have been able to tell the emotional and mental changes as a result of the lack of physical activity. Exercise is a mood booster and usually does the trick for me anytime I am feeling anxious or upset. Since I have had to take a brief hiatus I decided I would look to the future and plan my post- baby workout plan, which involves half marathon training! Yay!

If all goes well with labor and delivery, I feel confident that I will be able to start working out strong two weeks after having baby Joseph.

I have done my research for training for my first half marathon and have provided some important facts and tips about the process if you want to train with me!

  1. Motivation- This is such an important piece of the puzzle when you are training for such an intense goal. There are many things you can do to stay motivated during this mental and physical challenge.

Number one is to sign up for the race! Once you have done that you feel obligated to see this challenge through.

Change up your route. Running the same road, trail or treadmill will most certainly get old if you are doing it several hours a week. Find a new route. Explore your neighborhood or someone else’s if you do not live on a pedestrian friendly road.

Cross- training. There is no need to run every day while training. Cross- training allows you to keep your aerobic fitness up, while your body to rest from the wear and tear running has on it.

Visualize what your goals are and the finishing result. Imagine what it will feel like to accomplish such an incredible goal. Keep your eye on the prize!

BLOCK OUT NEGATIVE THOUGHTS- This is very important for training for not only training for a certain goal, but also for life. There are going to be bumps in the road when training for a long-term goal. You cannot let it get you down. Block the thoughts of giving up and thinking ‘what’s the point now I’ve already missed a week’. It’s okay, that’s life. Things will pop up. You will get sick or maybe injured. You just have to keep going and start back where you left off! This is the difference between successful and unsuccessful people. Don’t give up. You started this for a reason and a goal in mind- you owe it to yourself to finish! Positive affirmations will do wonders for your mental well- being and accomplishing goals.

  1. Have the right gear- It is extremely important to have a good pair of running shoes that are not worn. It is best to go to a specialty store so they can find a shoe to fit the needs of YOUR foot. Everyone’s body is different and that includes your feet. When you find shoes that fits your needs you are taking care of your body and preventing injury.
  1. Goal- What is your goal for starting this challenge? Losing weight, the satisfaction of finishing, or a time goal? It will be harder to complete training if your only goal is to lose weight. Some people who do not see instant weight loss goals when training throw in the towel. For most people there needs to be a deeper goal. MY goal is to get back in shape after my baby. It is about the mental and physical stability training for a goal gives me. I am not naïve; I know having a new born is wonderful, but also hard- emotionally and physically exhausting. Training for something will give me relief from the trials of such a life changing event.
  1. RECOVERY- This is extremely important when training for such a physically strenuous activity. Your body needs time to recover from the stress running this much has on it. It prevents injury that can set you back weeks or even stop the training all together. Your muscles need rest days to get stronger.
  1. Hydration and nutrition- Staying hydrated is extremely important when doing such strenuous physical activity. Dehydration is dangerous and can lead to headaches, muscle cramps, dizziness, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. It is important to drink at least 16 oz of water BEFORE you run. While running you should consume 6- 8 oz every 20 minutes. After running you should drink 20-24 oz of water for every pound your lose during your run.

Carbohydrates are important for half marathon training. 65% of your calories should come from carbohydrates. 10% should come from protein and 20-25% should come from unsaturated fat. This is vital to get the most out of your training AND recovery.

  1. Stretching- This is extremely important for any runner. It is also something that I slack on. Running this much will give me NO CHOICE but to stretch to avoid injury. Stretch immediately after the run. It will decrease your soreness, increase flexibility and range of motion.
  1. Core Strength- It is vital to have a strong core to get best results out of your run. It provides stability, power and endurance. When you have a strong core you are less likely to suffer from injury.

Okay, so now that we have the basics covered I will share with you the training plan I will be following. It is important to note that just because your plan says something DOES NOT mean you have to follow it precisely! This will just stress you out more and lead to frustration. You need to be flexible with your plan. If you find a plan you like online, but there are a few things about it that doesn’t fit your lifestyle than change it! The most important thing is to have a plan that FITS YOUR LIFE. Considering I have no clue what my schedule is going to be after baby I am sure I will have to tweak my plan and I KNOW I will have to overcome the setbacks I will inevitably have.

I plan on starting two weeks after Joseph is born.

Week Mon Tues Wed Thurs Friday Sat Sun Total Miles Run
1 Rest 2 miles Rest 2.5 miles Rest 3 miles 2 easy miles 9.5 miles
2 Rest 2 miles Rest 3 miles CT or Rest 4 miles 2.5 easy miles 11.5 miles
3 Rest 2.5 miles 2 miles 3 miles CT or Rest 5 miles 2 easy miles 14.5 miles
4 Rest 3 miles Rest 4 miles CT or Rest 6 miles 3 easy miles 16 miles
5 Rest 3 miles 3 miles 3 miles CT or Rest 7 miles 3 easy miles 19 miles
6 Rest 4 miles 3 miles 4 miles CT or Rest 8 miles 3 easy miles 22 miles
7 Rest 4 miles Rest 4 miles CT or Rest 9 miles 3 easy miles 20 miles
8 Rest 4 miles 3 miles 3 miles CT or Rest 10 miles 3 easy miles 23 miles
9 Rest 5 miles 3 miles 4 miles CT or Rest 11 miles Rest 23 miles
10 3 easy miles 4 miles Rest 3 miles CT or Rest 12 miles 3 easy miles 25 miles
11 Rest 4 miles Rest 3 miles CT or Rest 5 miles 2.5 easy miles 14.5 miles
12 Rest 2 miles 20 minutes Rest 20 minutes Race Day! 13.1 miles Rest 15.1 miles + 40 minutes

I will add my core exercises and stretches that I decide to do to compliment my training routine. I will also add my cross- training exercises as well!

If you have any questions or advice for me about marathon training just leave a comment below! Next time I talk to you all I might just be a mommy! Have a great night!

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Superset training for breaking through a plateau

As you already know, I am a firm believer in mixing up your exercise routine to keep you from boredom and plateauing in your workout efforts.

One of my favorite ways to keep things new is to add supersets to my workout regimen. I love supersets because they add intensity and spice to your workout, along with shortening your time in the gym. Can’t get much better than that!

Now that I have you all hooked, let me give you the low down on the ins and outs of a superset.

SUPERSET VS. STRAIGHT SETS
You may be wondering not only the difference in these two training methods, but what they are to begin with.

Straight set is the traditional way people usually strength train. This is doing a certain exercise for a number of reps, taking a break and then doing the same exercise for 2-3 sets- however your workout is set up. The recovery time allows you to build up the strength and energy for later sets. Straight sets are great for people who are solely devoted to building strength. I also believe it’s a great way for beginners to start a weight lifting routine.
Superset This is a method where you would do two exercises back to back without a break in between. This allows your body little or no break in between which will put greater demand on your muscles so you can get more done in less time!

BENEFITS OF SUPERSETS
– Changes up your routine, therefore preventing a plateau and also confusing the muscles so they will work harder.
– Save time. Going from one exercise to another without a break will allow you to get the same amount of exercises in a shorter amount of time.
– Overload the muscle without using heavy weights
– Increase the overall intensity to your workout

TYPES OF SUPERSETS
There are a few different types of supersets you can do using different muscles and muscle groups. You will choose depending on what your goals are.

Antagonist Supersets:
– An antagonist muscle is a muscle that opposes the action of another. An example of this is the triceps and biceps.
– When doing an exercise that works the biceps, the triceps are working as well.
– An example is the bicep curl followed by triceps kickback. The bicep curl will exhaust your biceps, but also work the triceps. By doing the triceps kickback immediately after will allow you to fully exhaust the triceps because your biceps are tired and cannot get in the way.
– Example:

Superset 1
Back: lat pull down (10-12 reps)
Chest: Pushups (10- 12 reps)

Superset 2
Back: bent over row (10-12 reps)
Chest: Barbell bench press (10-12 reps)

Pre- Exhaustion Supersets:

– This involves doing two exercises for the same muscle groups. The first exercise will be an isolation exercise. The second exercise will be a compound exercise. This allows you to totally exhaust a muscle group while working the isolation muscle group first an then continuing to work it in the compound exercise.
– Example:

Superset 1
Leg extension (isolation exercise)
Squat (compound exercise)

Superset 2
Leg curl (isolation exercise)
Stiff leg deadlift (compound exercise)

Post- exhaustion supersets:
– Post exhaustion supersets are the opposite of pre- exhaustion supersets. You do compound exercises before isolation exercises. Post exhaust supersets allow you to use more weight for the compound muscle because you are doing this exercise first. This then leads to extremely exhausting the muscle group in the isolation exercise because you have already worked that muscle group so hard.
– The post exhaust supersets can target weak muscles when you choose isolation exercises that target those muscles.
– Example:

Superset 1
Incline bench press (compound exercise)
Incline dumbbell flye (isolation exercise)

Superset 2
Military press (compound exercise)
Dumbbell side lateral raise (isolation exercise)

Compound Supersets:
– Compound supersets are not for the weak. These are intense workouts because you are doing to compound exercises back to back with little to no break.
– You can gain muscle growth in a short period of time, but it is demanding and requires time for rest and recovery.
– Example:

Superset1
Squats
Leg press

Superset 2
Bench press
Incline bench press

Isolation Supersets:
– In this superset you would choose two isolation exercises that work the same muscle group.
– You are able to focus on one particular muscle group to add definition.
– Example:

Superset 1
Dumbbell flye
Cable crossover

Superset 2
Barbell curl
Hammer curl

Staggered Supersets:
– This is where you do an exercise that works a major muscle group and then an exercise that works an unrelated minor muscle.
– This allows you to completely rest the first muscle group without a break, therefore keeping up the intensity.
– An example is doing a set of chest presses and then immediately doing calf raises.

I hope that this has provided you with enough information that will motivate you to take your routine to the next level to give your ‘super’ results! If you have any questions than please leave a comment!

Below is a link to a great superset workout that anyone can start with!

Metabolism boosting superset workout: Fitness.com

SPICE up your exercise routine with the KETTLEBELL!!

Hey guys!

I hope everyone had a great independence day! I’m sure everyone spent time with friends and family.. Maybe indulged a little!

Today I want to talk about kettlebell training. It is a form of exercise that I have been curious about for some time, but never took the time to research and test it out for myself because I felt that it was a ‘fad’ and wouldn’t be around for long. When I kept hearing the positive results people were having from them I had to find out for myself.

WHAT IS A KETTLEBELL?

I kettlebell is a weight that resembles a cannonball with a handle on it. It originated in Russia when markets would use it as a counterweight to measure the weight of produce. Eventually, the military began to use it for conditioning. It has recently become popular in America.

HOW IS THE KETTLEBELL DIFFERENT FROM THE DUMBBELL?

The weight of the kettlebell is below the handle, this creates instability and so your body has to use more muscles to balance the weight. Since it requires more muscle movement it is a great cardio and endurance workout, along with improving your range of motion. You have to use your core muscles more with these types of movements as well, and I know everyone is always looking for a routine that will help them to get a FLAT TUMMY!

BENEFITS OF KETTLEBELL TRAINING

– CARDIO AND ENDURANCE WORKOUT: Swinging the kettlebell creates momentum that requires your muscles to stop the bell and reverse the action. This momentum makes for a great cardio and endurance workout if doing the exercises as circuits.

– FULL BODY WORKOUT: The kettlebell has an offset center of gravity, therefore you are working more muscles to stabilize the weight, especially the core and back.

– GREAT RESULTS IN LESS TIME: Since the exercises require you to use many body parts you are able to get an effective workout in less time.

– IMPROVE RANGE OF MOTION

– INCREASE CORE STRENGTH: the motions used in most kettlebell exercises use all core muscles, including oblique, abdominals and adductors.

– VARIETY!! This is such a great workout to add variety to your routine. Adding it to a routine you are doing, or replacing it with one is a great way to spice up your workouts and prevent boredom and plateauing.

WHAT SIZE KETTLEBELL SHOULD I START WITH?

For women: the recommended size is 18 lbs, but I recommend starting with lower if you are not doing strength training on a regular basis.

For men: the recommended size is 35 lbs.

HOW TO INCORPORATE THE KETTLEBELL INTO YOUR ROUTINE

– Replace one or two of your usual exercises with a kettlebell exercise.

– Add a couple of exercises to the beginning or end of your normal routine.

– Cross training. Do a circuit routine that includes 8-10 kettlebell exercises on your active recovery day to add variety to your routine.

– As your sole source of exercise. Personally, I prefer to add a kettlebell circuit to the cardio OR strength training I am doing that day, but since the kettlebell does engage so many muscle groups you could use it as your only workout.

So, now that I have given you all the low down on the kettlebell I will share with you a routine I have created for myself. PLEASE click on the exercise because it will show you a great video on how to do the exercise! I am also going to add a couple of websites with great kettlebell exercises!

If you are getting bored with your normal routine I encourage you to try this form of exercise. It changes things up and is extremely fun and effective!

Kettlebell workout (Do 10-12 reps of each exercises one after another without a break. After the last exercise take a 1-2 minute break and repeat. Do the circuit 2-3 times through)

1. Two-handed kettlebell swing

2. Bent row

3. Figure 8

4. Dead lift

5. Kettlebell high pull

6. Kettlebell sumo high pull

7. Power to the people

8. Front squat

Below are two links with great kettlebell exercises you can master.

22 kick- ass kettlebell exercises

Womens Health total body toning routine with kettlebell

NURSERY PICTURES and MY advice on pregnancy!

Happy Sunday everyone! I cannot believe it is already July! This is a big month in the Murphy household! Joseph is expected to arrive on the 30th!! I can finally say I will be having a baby THIS month. The past 8 months have felt like a whirlwind. Preparing for your first baby is an experience like no other. It is exciting, overwhelming and nerve-racking at the same time. I have been extremely blessed to have such amazing friends and family supporting me along the way. I am also beyond thankful for my amazing husband who has been so supportive and patient with me the whole time. This is a new experience for both of us and it has been great to experience it and learn together.

So here are some pictures of Joseph’s Nursery!! Finally completed and ready to go!

I know this blog is geared toward fitness, but I wanted to take the time out today to share some tips and things I have learned on my pregnancy journey.

1. My biggest advice I can give to anyone who is pregnant is to continue to be active and exercise! I know some of you may be tired of hearing that but it honestly has made my pregnancy so enjoyable and smooth. Yes, there has been times where I have been exhausted, miserable and sick – but for the majority of the time I have felt great. There has been times in the pregnancy where I have never felt better. Your body goes through such an enormous change in such a short amount of time, so don’t you think that having it in great shape will help the process?? Makes sense to me.

2. Sleep. sleep as much as you can in the first and second trimester because pretty soon you will be huge and it is so much harder to get comfortable! Take as many naps as you can during the day so if you are not sleeping at night at least you will be getting some zzz’s in. Sleeping on your left side is also the best way to go because it prevents your hands and feet from swelling.

3. Try to eat lot’s of small meals a day and do not eat late at night. This will help if you are feeling nauseous and might be the only thing you can do anyways. This has helped me because I have experienced MAJOR heartburn and it is extremely bad at night. If you still are having problems with the heartburn than try sleeping with your head elevated. I feel like I am almost sleeping upright at times, but it helps.

4. Drink lot’s of water. This is especially important if you are pregnant in the summer! Dehydration can cause contractions and can trigger preterm labor. You are also carrying important nutrients to your baby, so drink up!

5. Listen to your body. It sounds cliché I know, but it truly knows what is best for you. I learned to do this through exercising during my pregnancy. If I listened to my body I knew when I was doing too much and I slowed down. I know it is completely healthy for people to run right up until their due date but my body did not feel comfortable doing it. I quit running around five months and found other things that my body did agree to. This goes for your everyday life. Your body is already working hard making a human being – do not overexert yourself other ways. If you are tired and your feet are swollen the best thing to do is put your feet up and rest! I had a hard time with this at first. For some reason I felt bad, or lazy because I had slowed down. Finally, I realized that listening to my body not only benefits me, but my baby! If it is hard for you to slow down or take a break just think of what is best for the little miracle you are making in your body! If you won’t do it for yourself than do it for the baby!

6. Enjoy this time you have bonding with your baby. You are literally making a miracle in your belly – and you can actually FEEL it happening! Talk to your baby and rub your belly. Take in all of it because you will never have this time with your child again.

7. Go on lot’s of dates and spend as much time with your significant other as you can! Never again will you get this much freedom. Do as many fun things as your growing belly will let you do. Also, I think it is important to be aware of the fact how much your lives and relationship will change. Be positive, but do not have rose-colored glasses about it. It will be hard and most marriages suffer after a baby comes into the picture. I feel like it is important to educate yourselves on this. Read books and articles on it so you will be prepared when the going gets tough.

I hope my experience will help you all when the time comes! If anyone else has some tips than leave a comment and let me know!

Have a great week everyone!