Archive for exercise – Page 2

spring training 2014

Editor’s Note: Happy New Year ladies! We are very excited to work with you and see you moving forward towards your goals! For you ladies who are starting or re-starting a running and/or walking routine, being healthy and happy is a lifestyle, not a quick fix. You’ll see results and feel much better taking small steps every day toward a more active lifestyle.

Here are a few tried-and-true tips on setting and adjusting goals:
· Check with your health care provider before starting a fitness or wellness program.

· Be honest with yourself. Accept yourself as you are and where you are. Ask yourself, “What is my ideal happy, healthy lifestyle?”

· Review the past year and make a new list. What worked? What failed? Why? What can I build on? What should I let go? What were my best and worst decisions? Have some fun with it and use humor; it helps!

· Make time to fully focus on the new goals. You want to get momentum going forward and keep it – building on small improvements and small victories, because they will add up.

· Be flexible. If you want to run a marathon, you have to build a base of miles over time. You can’t just wake up and run 26.2 miles. The same is true for most goals. You have to take responsibility for your life, health and happiness. Change doesn’t always come quickly or easily.

That’s life – there is never a direct path to success. It’s a journey and an adventure. Develop your sense of humor and your improvisation skills! Let’s make it happen! 

Beginning Half Marathon (13.1 miles) Training 

Let’s Begin!

If you are considering a half marathon – you probably already know that a running workout is a great calorie crusher, mood enhancer and has many other benefits.  You don’t have to be a maniac runner to reap all the many benefits!  Stepping up to a half marathon is awesome for women, so awesome in fact that nationally women represent about 65% or more of the participants in half marathons around the country!  The most important thing is to have fun with it and make it your lifestyle!  So, let’s begin!

Before Starting

Before starting a half marathon training program, you should make sure you are healthy enough to undertake the training.  The half marathon training should not be taken lightly.  Consult your medical professional to ensure you are ready for this important next step!  You should be able to run comfortably for at least 30 – 45 minutes before beginning a half marathon 16 week training plan.

Recommended 14 Week Beginner Half Marathon Training Program

* Saturday and Sunday “long runs” may be either day – with the other day being a rest day.

** XT is cross training which can include biking, core workouts, upper body workouts, yoga, pilates, stretching, etc.

Tips & Terms

The following is the running terminology used for training – obviously, the more experience you have – the more training options and speed/track workouts you will use for form, technique and conditioning.

Easy Runs

This means running totally comfortable and controlled.  When running alone or with your runhers training partner or group, you should be able to converse easily. You’ll likely feel as if you could go faster. Don’t. Here’s some incentive to take it easy: You’ll still burn about 100 calories for every mile that you run.

Walking & Taking Breaks

If you feel the need to walk or take a break in your long run or during any of your training runs, by all means do so.  Since you are just beginning the half marathon, with finishing as your goal, just listen to what your body is telling you.

Long Runs and/or LSD (Long, Slow Distance)

These are any steady run at or longer than race distance designed to enhance endurance, which enables you to run longer and longer and feel strong doing it. A great long-run tip: Find a weekly training partner around your pace and ability for this one.   You’ll have time to chat about anything that comes up.


This means bursts of running shorter than race distance, some at your race goal pace, some faster. This improves cardiac strength, biomechanical efficiency, running economy, and the psychological toughness that racing demands.

Race Day Rules

Run slower than you feel like you should be running over the first 6 – 7 miles. Look around; chat a bit with those around you. And walk if you need to through the aid stations, drink fluids, take a little break, then resume your running.





december commitment challenge

by: Sara McCauley

It’s that time of the year!  There is no denying; holiday season is upon us, and in full force.  Our schedule becomes full of events, shopping, celebrating AND eating.  That means more stress overall, and less time to spend working out. There is no “best time” to commit to a new fitness plan, however, you can make a commitment to the best out of each season or situation.  Time doesn’t always allow for a full gym workout or a long run, BUT I know you can fit in something each day, even if it is 5 minutes!  When it comes to moving your body, something is always better than nothing.  I put together a schedule for the month of December that includes short workouts that you can do anywhere at any time. You can follow the calendar exactly and take the guess work out, or you can pick choose an item from the checklist each day.  The Holidays can be trying, so, you owe it to yourself to make some “me” time.  Make the commitment and join me for the December Commitment Challenge!  You will be happy you did come January!

The numbers coincide with the December calendar dates!  Have fun and Enjoy the Season!
1.       10 minute stretch
2.       50 pushups – 50 star jumps
3.       20 minute fartlek run
4.       40 jumping jacks, 40 jump squats, 40 jump lunges
5.       100 pile squats, 20 half squat, 20 full, 20 half with heel raise, 20 full with heel raise, 20 pulses
6.       5 minute wall sit (take short breaks to complete)
7.       7 miles run or walk (or your distance)
8.       yoga stretch
9.       HIIT 40/20/4 high knees 40 seconds, rest for 20 seconds, plank jack 40 seconds, rest 20 seconds,    complete 4 rounds of each.
10.   60 single leg deadlifts
11.   100 crunches, 20 slow crunches, 20 right, 20 left, 20 bicycle, 20 butterfly
12.   100 Lunges,  20 alternating front, 20 alternating back, 20 right, 20 left, 20 jump lunges
13.   5 minute plank variations, high, low, side, legs lifted, arms lifted (break as needed)
14.   5 mile run or walk (or your distance)
15.   park furthest away from store to add in extra walking every time you go to the store.
16.   running in place, squat jacks, sit-ups, 1 minute of each, 3 rounds total
17.   200 mountain climbers
18.   2 burpees, 2 leg lifts, repeat 4,6,8,10
19.   60 superman extension up to a high plank
20.   100 Vups, modify as needed
21.   30 – 60 minute run or walk
22.   foam roll your tight overused muscles
23.   booty Burner, 50 alternating back lunges, 50 front lunges to balance, 50 single leg decline bridges (use a step or couch)
24.   run 1 – 3+ mile run, make time for yourself, do a few laps in your neighborhood, get some fresh air!
25.   Take the family for a walk or run, start a family tradition
26.   step it up!  use a stair, chair or a study bench, 1 min of each: alternating step ups, step up to balance 1min each side, side step up to leg lift each leg, jump ups(box jump)
27.   plank jumps: 20 of each repeating twice.  front: high plank position, jump feet in together, Right: jump feet to the side then to the center, left jumps, in & out: start with feet together, jump them out wide then back in.
28.   30 – 60 minute run or walk  
29.   ab burner: 20 frog crunches, 20 bicycle crunches, 20 leg lifts, 20 side plank with dips, each side, low plank with hip dip 20 each, high plank with leg ext 20 each, 2 min low plank hold
30.   tabata squat variations 20/10/8: 20 secs of each squat, 10 secs of rest, 8 variations of squats. Wide squats, side to side squats, squat jumps, split squat(each leg counts as 1), squat jacks, chair pose, squat pulses
31.   Firecracker: 50 jumping jacks, 20 star jumps, 20 plyo pushups, 20 explosive jump lunges, 20 back lunge to high jump each leg, 50 jumping jacks

Here are some additional challenges for anytime you need a boost!  

  • fast pace laps around the mall before shopping
  • 10 pushups for every glass of eggnog
  • 100 push up challenge (can be throughout the day)
  • 1 mile run time yourself, try to beat your time next time
  • take the stairs everywhere you have the opportunity
  • 20 Squats every time you check your facebook on your phone
  • 20 second plank for every gift you wrap
  • alphabet abs: lay flat on your back, lift your legs off the ground, feet together “draw” the alphabet with your feet


national run @ work day

On September 20, 2013, is the 8th Annual Run@Work Day nationwide.  Company based wellness programs, human resources departments, running clubs, running events, running shoe stores, and individuals nationwide are encouraged to plan fun runs and walks around the country with their employers.

In the past, we have hosted some Run@Work Days.  This year we want to help you get a run/walk organized in your company or organization.  There are so many benefits to workplace wellness and the camaraderie of running/walking together is great for team spirit!  There are many small and cost effective or no cost ways to improve your workplace and increase productivity, while lowering overall health care costs!  We are happy to provide more information.  So, some planning details are below.  Please let us know if there is anything else we can help with.  All the best on your efforts!

Why National Run@Work Day?

The goal of Run@Work Day, founded by the Road Runners Club of America, is to encourage adults to get 30-minutes of exercise each day, in accordance with the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, either before work, during lunch, or immediately following work. Run@Work Day also encourages companies to help employees schedule time for physical activity.

Incorporating exercise into one’s daily routine can markedly improve one’s overall physical health.

  • Run@Work Day events can be hosted by company-based wellness programs, human resources departments, running clubs, running events, running shoe stores, schools, and anyone interested in promoting physical activity.
  • The event should be a fun run and/or walking event with the duration of at least 30-minutes held before work, during lunch, or immediately after work or all of the above in order to accommodate varying schedules.
  • Event hosts should work with a company’s human resources department or staff to organize and promote the event within the company.
  • Work with local sponsors to provide participant incentives, event support, and promotions
  • Simply make time to get 30-minutes of running or walking on September 20, 2013 and bring a co-worker or family member with  you.

Planning Your Run@Work Day or Run@School Day Event

1. Work with your employer or local school to gain support from management for hosting a Run@Work Day or Run @School event from your place of work or your local school(s).

2. Determine if you will host your event before work or school, during lunch, immediately at the end of the work-day or school day, or at all three times.

3. Follow the RRCA Guidelines for Safe Events or RRCA Guidelines for Leading a Group Run.  

4. Plan a route for your participants.  Choose a central location where everyone can meet-up at the specified start time.  The route should be approximately 3-5K in distance to allow people to run or walk for at least thirty minutes.  A route can be an out and back from a central starting point or a loop course.  Use a mapping tool such as Gmap-Pedometer to help you determine your route.  The course should be pedestrian friendly.

5. Use an event registration service like or create a Facebook event page to collect names of participants to determine your participation numbers for your Run@Work Day or Run@School Day event.  Be sure you have all event participants or guardians sign a waiver.

6. Engage several volunteers to help organize the start and finish of the event.  Have a run leader, a mid-pack course marshal, and an end of the pack “sweeper” to ensure your participants are supported during the run/walk.

7. Be sure to provide your participants with information on how to get involved with a running club or event after the conclusion of the run/walk.

Promoting Your Run@Work Day Event

1. With permission from your employer, send an email to your co-workers or parents about your event.  Use the Run@Work Day sample press release and sample Twitter and Facebook posts to announce your event.  Work with your human resources department to promote the event.  Provide information about the event in an employee newsletter or inter-office memo.

2. Make posters of the Run@Work Day to hang around your office or in our community to help promote your event.

3. Work with a local sponsor or your employer to provide incentives for your participants.  Consider designing company/organization t-shirts for participants and or sell them and donate the profits to a health related organization.

4. Provide a map of the planned route before the event.  Be sure to remind participants that your event will be a fun run or walk and that all participants should follow the rules of the road and obey traffic signals. 

5. Call into a local radio station to give them information about your participation in National Run@Work Day and discuss the local event you are hosting and talk about healthy lifestyle choices including the importance of 30-minutes of exercise a day.

6. Work with other get active partners in your community such as your local YMCA, your local Parks & Recreation Department, etc. to assist with and to promote your event.

july wednesday workouts

Editor’s Note:  We know how much you like Coach Sara’s Wednesday Workouts, so, we thought we’d put all of them up for July.  You can copy and print them out or come back here anytime you think you need one of these cool workouts.  It’s nice to that you can do them anywhere and you don’t need equipment to get going.  If you are having trouble with any of them, modify, work around or just do pieces, but keep going and keep trying! 

July 3, 2013 – Full Body

This workout is geared towards strengthening the muscles that benefit runners the most, our hips, glutes and core.   Add this to your daily run or if you want to make it your entire workout just add in another round for each set. These are basic moves, but when performed at a slower, controlled tempo they will keep you challenged with your muscles begging for mercy!

  • Lunge to Balance 15 each side
  • Wide Side Squat 10 each side
  • High Plank with Hip Extension 15 each side
  • Repeat Once
  • Single Leg Hip Bridge 10 each side
  • Side Hop (feet move together) 10 each side
  • Ice Skaters 10 each side
  • Repeat Once
  • Low Plank Hold 30 seconds or until form fails
  • V-up Crunch 15 total
  • Side Plank with Dip 10 each side
  • Repeat Once

July 10, 2013 – Calf/Ankle/Inner Thigh

If you’ve run long enough or been around enough runners, you’ll hear the calf injury stories – or tell some yourself!  Calf and achilles issues are very common but the work to prevent these injuries is often neglected.  These exercises will help build strength in your ankles, calves and legs – as well as increase balance for running on uneven surfaces.

  • 3 Point Lunge to Balance 15 (step on a pillow for additional challenge) 
  • 3 Point Lunge to Balance –switch sides 15
  • Single Leg Calf Raise 15 (slow tempo, keep good balance)
  • Negative Calf Raise 15 (slow tempo, use a step or place a book under your toes)
  • Repeat 1-2 more times
  • Pile Squat 15
  • Pile Squat with Calf Raise 15
  • Pile Squat w/ Calf Raise Pulse 10 seconds
  • Alternating Curtsy Lunge 30 Total
  • Repeat 1-2 more times
  • Stretch
  • Wall Stretch
  • Adductor Stretch
  • Foam Roll Calves, and Adductors

July 17, 2013- The Keep-You-Guessing Workout

This workout is designed for those who prefer shorter distance running or simply just get bored quickly. It can be done with a treadmill, in your neighborhood or your favorite trail.  You will start off slow in the beginning as your warm up and gradually increase intensity with each set.  It combines a little bit of everything for an entire body workout that’s sure to keep you on your toes (literally) while getting your heart pumping!

  • 5 min easy jog or walk
  • 20 seconds of Alternating Lunges, Push Ups, High Plank
  • 5 minute medium run
  • 30 seconds of Alternating Lunges, Push Ups, Mountain Climbers
  • 3 Minute Fast Run
  • 40 seconds of In and Out Squats, Tricep Dips, High Plank Knee to Elbow Crunches
  • 2 Minute Sprint
  • 20 Seconds Alternating Lunges, Tricep Push Ups, Plank Jacks
  • 1 Minute Full Sprint
  • 5 minute cool down walk or jog

July 24, 2013 – Plyometrics

Plyometric exercises are explosive movements performed as quickly as possible in a short period of time.  The goal is to build strength and increase speed by utilizing fast twitch muscles.  Add this workout to your weekly routine in addition to or as your cross training day.  It is more of an advanced workout and you should have a good strength base before “jumping” right in to it.  Start slow and increase intensity and sets as you become stronger.

  • Warm Up: 1 minute of each
  • High Knees
  • Butt Kicks
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Alternating Lunges
  • Squats

Perform each exercise aiming for as many reps as possible in 30 seconds, for the 2nd round increase to 45 seconds and 3rd round 1 minute. Log your results and try to increase your reps each time you perform this workout.

  • Jump Squats
  • Box Jump or Tuck Jumps
  • Plank Jacks (jumping both arms and feet in & out)
  • Jump Lunges
  • Ice Skaters
  • Burpees
  • STRETCH and Drink lots of water!

July 31, 2013 – Full Body Blast

Today’s workout is a combination of a little bit of everything for a FULL BODY BLAST!  Perform each set 1-2 times as a compliment to your run – or complete each set 3 times for a full workout.  Remember, if it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.

  • 15 Pushups
  • 15 Prisoner Squats
  • 5 Full Burpees(chest to the ground)
  • Repeat for 3 total reps
  • 15 Tricep Dips
  • 15 Sumo Squats
  • 5 Full Burpees
  • Repeat for 3 total reps
  • 15 Plank Jacks
  • 10 Vup Crunches
  • 5 Full Burpees
  • Repeat for 3 total reps

Enjoy these workouts and do them often!  Peace out!

playground fitness

The weather is warming up, kids are out for summer fun and you will be around the parks and playground more. You may have less “you” time to fit in long workouts at the gym, but that doesn’t mean you still can’t get it in a good muscle burn, you just have to get creative and think outside the (sand)box!So while you are out letting the kids play or around the running trails here are a few ways to add in some strength work also.

Don’t worry about the crazy looks … every extra step counts so put the phone down, have your kids join in and get to work!  Play time is the best time!

The Workout:


Mountain Climbers

Stationary Lunge (right leg)

Stationary Lunge (left leg)

Plank Hold

Step Up to Balance (right leg)

Step Up to Balance (left leg)

Hanging Leg Lifts

Bonus: Pull Ups (10)

Perform each exercise for 30 seconds, for a total of 2-3 sets. Once you master 30 seconds, progress to 45 or 60 seconds. Rest for 1 minute before starting a new set.


Start with your feet hip width apart, toes pointed straight and squat down to the width of a chair. Use a bench as a guide if needed.


Mountain Climber

Start in a push up position, hands should width apart, shoulder over your hands, back flat. Drive one knee into your chest at a time. Increase your tempo as your progress. Keep your abs tight. To modify the movement use the bench as a guide. To progress the move, add in a push up after each movement.


Stationary Lunge

Step with one foot forward, keep your shoulders back and slowly lower your back knee down. Keep your centered and avoid leaning forward. As a progression use a bench or step to elevate your back leg.


Plank Hold

Start in a push up position, hands slightly wider than shoulder width apart, shoulders over your hands, toes on the ground and hips straight, level with shoulders. Squeeze your abs tight, hold while maintaining good form with a neutral spine. Modification: place hands on a bench while toes stay on the ground. Progression (as pictured): elevate feet and place hands on the ground.


Step Up to Balance

Start with both feet on the ground, step up with your right foot and slowly raise your left knee up to a balance, holding for 2 seconds before lowering. Progression: increase tempo for a quick step back. Keep your core and glutes tight to assist with balance and form.


Hanging Leg Lifts

Find a stable bar; start with your hands slightly wider than shoulder width apart. While firmly griping the bar, bring your legs together, core tight and slowly raise knees to your stomach. Control the movement as your bring your legs down. Try to stay stable, no swinging. Progression(as pictured): keep legs straight and raise as high as possible.


Pull Ups

Pull ups utilize many muscle groups in your upper body and core but can be very difficult in the beginning. Use a bar that is low enough for your feet to closely tough the ground. Start with an underhand grip, shoulder width apart. With a firm grip, engage your core and raise your body off the ground using your entire upper body and keep elbows close to your side. Control the movement as you lower. To progress bring your grip further away from your body, as strength increases switch to an overhand wide grip.


Hope you enjoy your playground fun!  Playgrounds are designed for kids from 2 to 102 – you just have to use your imagination!

7 great static stretches


This is the first in an ongoing series of stretches that you can use.  The most important thing is using the proper form to get the most out of each stretch!  Stretching every day after you run will increase your flexibility and help prevent injuries. Static stretches should be performed after your workout, not before, so you’re not stretching cold muscles.  Be sure and hold for 20 – 30 seconds, doing 2 – 3 sets.


 ADDUCTOR STRETCH (inner thigh) Stand in a straddled stance with feet beyond shoulder width apart. Both feet should be pointed straight ahead. Slowly move to the side until a stretch in the straight leg’s groin area is felt.   


 QUADRICEP – Standing stationary grab and hold your right ankle with your left hand, pull foot closely in towards your buttocks. Maintain straight posture.  



 HAMSTRING – Lay on your back and keep your back flat while looking upward. Grab the back of right thigh (not behind knee) with both hands and pull into a 90 degree position. Then slowly straighten your knee as much as possible. For a deeper stretch you can use a strap or towel, etc.    
 PIRIFORMIS (lateral hip) – Lay flat on your back, bend knees to 90 degrees, cross right foot over left knee and pull in left knee in towards your chest.     
 CALF COMPLEX– Stand with right foot in front of left with feet firm to the ground. Gently lean into the stretch towards a wall or object while, maintain straight posture, until you feel it in your lower calf muscles.      
 IT BAND– Sit on the ground with your legs out straight.  Bend and cross your right leg over your left knee which is flat on the ground.  Pull your right knee in to your chest firmly with your left elbow.    
 HIP FLEXOR– Step your right leg forward and bend back leg. Rotate back hip and squeeze buttocks. Slowly move hips forward until tension is felt in side being stretched.     

tantilizing tank top workout

Yes, it’s July already! Tank top season is well underway! Most everyone would like to have firm strong looking arms – so here are a few tips and exercises that can help you get those arms looking a little better!

Weight training is a very beneficial part of weight loss. You may not have weights – or if you are a gym member the gym may not always be available when a little free time comes along. This workout was designed so it can be performed anywhere with no equipment! Are you ready?

With the first 2 sets – take a 1 minute break between each exercise/set. Keep going! For the 3rd and final set, complete the exercises, but perform each as many times as possible (while maintaining good form) until failure.

Wide Push Ups – 15 repetitions. You can modify by placing knees on the ground to make it a little easier until you build strength.

Tricep Dips – 15 repetitions. These can be performed with a chair/table; or on the ground with knees slightly bent, hips off ground and arms behind the body.

Walking Push Ups – 8 repetitions on each side. Hands placed narrow under shoulders in a high plank position, slowly lower one hand at a time down into a low plank position. Goal is to keep hips from rocking side to side. It is also great for your core!

T to Y Back Extensions – 10 of each. Lay prone with arms to the front to form a Y position. Slowly bring upper body off the ground and lower bringing arms out to your side to form a T.

Do you have access to gym/equipment or have weights at home and you are just not sure what to do? Try this workout for a surefire way to get that leaner look in for your tanks and sleeveless shirts!

For this workout the first exercise is performed as a pyramid set, which means you will start with a decent weight for 15 reps then you’ll increase to a more challenging weight with each progressive set. The increased weight should lower the repetition count, followed by the 2nd movement before moving to the next superset. By the last set you should definitely feel like you completely worked that muscle group.

Assisted Pull-ups – Repetitions = 15, 12, 10
1 minute rest

Chest Press – Repetitions = 15, 12, 10
Tricep Extensions – Repetitions = 10, 10, 10
Repeat 2 times
1 minute rest

Plank to Row – Repetitions = 15, 12, 10
Alternating Bicep Curls – Repetitions = 10, 10, 10
Repeat 2 times

1 minute rest

Overhead Shoulder Press – Repetitions = 15, 12, 10
Lateral Raise – Repetitions = 10, 10, 10
Repeat 2 times
1 minute rest

full body quickie

Ok so here’s the deal. We all know there just aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything we need to do. Squeezing in a gym workout isn’t always top priority or even achievable. However, just because there isn’t enough time to go to the gym doesn’t mean you have to miss out on a workout. Some of my best and favorite workouts are done from home; with no equipment needed but a willing body and a little open floor space. So stop making excuses and do it! “Hate me now, love me later.”

Full Body Quickie

Repeat Each Compound Set 3 times before moving on. Really short on time go through each set before repeating to ensure targeting the major muscle groups.

Prisoner Squat 25
Push Up 20
Reverse Crunch 25

Stationary Lunge Right 25
Stationary Lunge Left 25
Tricep Chair Dips

Squat Jacks (wide squat with jump up like a jumping jack) 20
Mountain Climbers 20 each leg
Arm Circles *simple move but challenge by the end
-20 small forward
-20 small backwards

Still feeling feisty? Finish your workout with this ab burner:

Alternating toe touch 20 each leg
Crunches 20
Leg Lifts 20
Side Crunches 20 right and 20 left
Plank hold 60 seconds or until failure
*form always comes first!