Getting My Running Game Back

Oh hello there blog. I have been busy but hopefully I am on my way back.

Let’s talk running.

About a year ago, give or take, I was biking to work when I was struck by a vehicle. Fun. He took off and physically it left me with rheumatoid arthritis in the ankle I landed on, and in an air cast for about 6 weeks. I attempted to run after a reasonable time out of the cast but for the next 6 months I still had lingering pain, most likely from the RA, in that ankle.

So no marathon in 2015 for me. Actually no running races at all and at one point I was sadly debating if my running days were over.

Somewhere along the way my ankle started feeling better… then almost normal. I ran once or twice and would have stiffness the next few days but it was progress.

About a month or more ago I decided to take my ankle for a serious test. I went from no miles / no days to about 3 – 4 miles 2 or 3 times in a week. I just pulled that bandage right off and went back into it! 

The first few days it was a little stiff and then, … nothing. What? 🙂

I did this for a good couple of weeks and decided that it was good … that I could do this … and that maybe I just need to keep running.

I pulled the trigger and signed up for marathon #3, which will be in April 2016.

My goal is this … run 2 – 3 days a week with at least one day having 6 miles (I am already doing this now) between now and the end of the year. Work on strength and getting my pace back. Then, in January switch to a marathon training plan. … and keep going.

I am worried that if I stop now I could risk losing this normal feeling ankle so I am using that as momentum to just … keep .. running!

So, we will see how things go… if the rheumatoid flares up or if things are good.

I am excited to have a little more normal but also equally cautious that this could be a decision that I need to keep monitoring.

The goal is to keep progressing and not get obsessive, which I like to do. It has been hard to limit running to 3 or 4 days but I have so many other moving parts to my life that I really don’t have time for more right now.

I will report back later.

Thanks for reading!


Polar Flow – Setting up Training Targets for the Polar A300 and the Polar M400 GPS Heart Rate Watch

Interested in the newest line of Polar watches, and all that they can do for you? Well, I’ve started writing a series of blogs that will look at a couple of their watches, the Polar A300 Heart Rate Watch and the Polar M400 GPS Heart Rate Watch.

If you’d like to see all of the blog posts that I’ve written for the Polar A300 I’ve made an easy link for you.  If you’d like to see all of the blog posts I’ve written on the Polar M400 I’ve made an easy tag for that too!

In this blog post we’ll take a look at an aspect of Polar’s Flow website that you can take advantage of if you are an owner of either the Polar M400 GPS Heart Rate Watch or the Polar A300 Heart Rate Watch .. this is setting up training targets for your watch.

For transparency purposes, I will mention that I am a Polar Ambassador however the opinions and discussions in this article (and this blog) are my own. I write about these watches only because I think they are *amazing* and would love to help educate people on how to use them! 🙂

So let’s talk!

For this blog post / demo I’m initially going to set up training targets based on indoor activities .. then send them to my watches so you can see the full cycle 🙂

To start the process you’ll want to travel to where I’m assuming that you have already set up your profile and watch details.

In the screenshot below you’ll see both completed exercises and planned exercises, or training targets. The completed ones are in red and dark gray, and have their resulting calorie burns, the planned ones are in light gray.

Let’s add another training target to the plan..

Polar Flow - How to Add a New Training Target - 1

As you can see in the image (above) we are going to add a new workout to Thursday, for BODYPUMP. We’ll start this by clicking on the Add button. Easy enough so far 🙂

The next web page that you’ll see is in the image below.

If you have sport profiles set up (we’ll talk about that in a future blog post!) you can set the one you want here. For BODYPUMP I like to use the sport profile I have set up for “STRENGTH TRAINING.” After that you’ll give it a name (I called it BODYPUMP), then set the date and time for this workout.

If this training target is going to be a recurring activity then you can add this as a favorite. If you added this activity as a favorite in the past, you could grab this workout template quickly by clicking on that “Favorite Targets” button. You’d click on the favorite and the general information will load for you automagically!

On this training target page you’ll set a target type, between Quick, Race Pace (only available if you have the V800), and Phased. This selection is going to vary based on what type of workout you have chosen. For mine I went with Quick and set the duration .. which is 1 hour.

Polar Flow - How to Add a New Training Target - 2

Now, we save, above, and we’ll see the new workout has been added to our diary..

Polar Flow - How to Add a New Training Target - 3

Polar Flow with Training Targets

And .. the next time you open the Flow Mobile app you’ll see you’re training targets as well.

Now, you may ask, how do we get that to our watch? The next time you sync your watch it will automatically download the workout to your watch.

This is the point where there are slight variances between the M400 and the A300. Let’s look at them one at a time.

On the Polar M400 (shown in theTraining Targets on the Polar M400 GPS Heart Rate Watch image to the right) the new training targets will appear under “Diary”, off of the Main Menu, for their training dates. The names that you set in Flow even come across to the watch, which I love!

On the right side of the dates in your diary you’ll see the ’empty’ boxes with dashes .. that is designating training targets that you have not completed yet.

Training Targets on the Polar A300 Heart Rate WatchOn the Polar A300 you will see the same information but it is located in a different part of the Main Menu. From the Main Menu you’ll want to navigate down to “Targets” (looking at the image to the left). Any training targets that you set will be stored here, and again, will include the name that you set them up under.

So, what do we do with these now?

When you are ready to workout you simply go to your training target on your watch, select it, and it will automatically take you to the sport profile you set up for it (or if you did not set one up then it takes you to a general sport profile). Then .. off you go!

Remember that this can work for any planned workouts, tough or easy, indoors or outdoors.

If you are following a running training plan you can quickly and easily set up your running diary in here. You could make a template for running, load the favorite each time, and change the date and mileage .. quick and easy!

I hope this helps!

Thanks for reading!

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Keep your workouts challenging, for both you and your body

I teach at a few of the local gyms, which I LOVE by the way!

Sometimes I get into a rut where I find something I love and that’s all I want to do when I am working out (and not teaching). Then, I have to banish myself from doing that again for the next few weeks!

It is easy to do something that we find fun or something our body can handle better.

For instance, I could sit on a spinning bike 6 days a week if you let me. In fact, I used to spin about 5 days a week more than a year ago. Did I lose weight? Sure, to a point … and then guess what? My body learned that song and dance and I hit a plateau. Shocked, aren’t you?

What is easy or fun is not necessarily the key to improving our physical strength.

I have made huge strides in my personal goals lately by just being random with my workouts and my lifestyle.

I have walked the steps at lunch .. up and down the stairs until it was seriously NOT fun.
I’ve added in short, mean high impact workouts.
I take random rest days so my body has no clue when it is getting a real break.
Some days I just walk, slowly.
Occasionally I will walk into the gym and hop on those rotating steps from … ahem .. down under!
Other nights I load in Beachbody’s Insanity Asylum workouts for some evening fun!

My point is this .. we like to do the stuff that is easier for us, funner for us, but sometimes you have to add in a bunch of curve balls to make sure your muscles keep responding and don’t get too used to life. So have a little of both .. the fun stuff and then shuffle in random other workouts.

Throw the cards in the air and make it different each week. Keep it fun and keep it challenging. See if that helps your journey!

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Are You Overtraining? Signs that We are Overtraining

I was teaching BODYPUMP the other day and mentioned , before class, about being tired from subbing so much lately.  I don’t know the context of it but I apparently mentioned how I had to adjust myself in order to avoid overtraining. Someone came up to me and asked about it .. as this was something she was not familiar with.

Yes, while it’s more common for people to not train it can also be the opposite. Let’s discuss.

Sometimes it happens like this .. people start seeing results or people ‘get in the zone’ and refuse to back down. Then, they decide to go go go, thinking they’ll hit their goal faster. Instead of that your body starts throwing up warning signs that you are simply pushing too hard.

The definition, according to Wikipedia, is as follows:

Overtraining is a physical, behavioral, and emotional condition that occurs when the volume and intensity of an individual’s exercise exceeds their recovery capacity. They cease making progress, and can even begin to lose strength and fitness. Overtraining is a common problem in weight training, but it can also be experienced by runners and other athletes.

What does that mean? In a nutshell we need to balance our workouts with rest and recovery.

Do you think that you could be overtraining? You may ask … What are the signs of overtraining? There can be a few…

  • Your sleep patterns are off. Typically associated with insomnia, overtraining will disrupt your sleep patterns significantly.
  • Illness. Are you working out a bunch and find your sleep sick more often? That is your bodies way of breaking down, not being strong enough to fight off health issues. It’s trying to tell you something!
  • More prone to injuries. If you find yourself getting injured more often, that is because you have not given your muscles time to repair and rebuild. The muscles are continuing to be challenged in a more and more weakened state, and in this state injury can occur more often.
  • Lack of progress. There was a guy that became so obsessed with getting to his goals that he started eating less and less, working out more and more often. Guess what happened? He stopped progressing. When you are overtraining your muscles are constantly being challenged without any chance to recover. Now you are re-tearing torn muscles, again and again, and you start burning off muscle instead of fat. Rest, stay the course. Trust the process.

Well talk about tips to avoid overtraining in a future blog post.

Thanks for reading!

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