Week 1 of Marathon Training!

marathon memeAs always, marathon training did not exactly get off to a smooth start this year (suspiciously, just like every year so far) but hopes are still high. I kicked off the first of my 12-week training plan to get ready for the fabulous Honolulu Marathon on December 10th. I’m all about supporting my city and running on my own turf, through a course I know all too well by the time race day rolls around.

This marathon will be lucky number 5, and I’ve got myself on a pretty fun plan of preparatory races leading up to the big day. I’ve got my absolute favorite – the Xterra Gunstock Trails Half Marathon – at the end of October, as well as the Val Nolasco Half Marathon – which mimics the final leg of the real deal – in November.


I’m coming off a sprained ankle a few weeks back, so I’m treading carefully and doing my super boring ankle exercises when I actually remember to do them. On the bright side, my first long run – eight hot & steamy miles around Honolulu – went by super quick & easy. So, there’s that.

Anyways, I’m using this super flexible plan from He and She Eat Clean to train. I chose it because it’s 12 weeks (sweet!) and works in tons of cross-training, which is the only way I can mentally handle preparing for a marathon.

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Half Marathon Training!


It’s that time of year again – when the island weather is cool, soccer is in full swing, and my life is filled with short, beautiful runs to get ready for half marathon season. Half Marathon training is my very favorite, because the runs are short and easy and don’t totally disrupt my life or turn me into a nap queen the way marathon training does.

My next race is the Hapalua Half Marathon, an awesome event that kicks off in downtown Honolulu and winds its way around diamond head and ends at Kapiolani Park. It’s one of my fave races here in Hawaii. It’s on April 30, 2017, so I have about 12 beautiful weeks to train!

Here’s my training plan:

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After sending my plan to some friends that are also in training, they all asked the same question: why are you using a beginner’s training program?

My answer: because LIFE is hard. A beginner’s plan like this one is easy, flexible, and – most importantly – it works. I can control how fast or slow I run, where to incorporate intervals, and it’s simple enough for it to work in with my soccer schedule.


I encourage everyone, honestly, to stick with an easy, simple, open, adjustable, and flexible training plan, regardless of what race or event its for. Why? Because if it’s not easy, simple, open, adjustable and flexible, it won’t work with your unique schedule, circumstances & life.

Keep it simple, folks! It does work.

Anyways, I’m very excited to be back on a training plan  and on the road and trails. It’s been beautiful having a break, but I’m more than ready to be in racing shape 🙂

Happy training!

Nikki

 

 

Motivation Monday: Marathonspiration

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Marathon training has crept into every aspect of my life lately. I’m always hungry, I’m always tired, and eternally stuck in runner-laundry purgatory. I’m constantly ducking into the copy room at work to  stretch. I’m asleep by 9pm most nights, given that I’ve somehow managed to stave off my nonstop hunger.

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Side effects aside, I am starting to really see my body changing. That lovely line that runs along the side of my calf is now a deep, sexy groove from my foot all the way up to my hip. My legs have leaned out, my abs have flattened, and the slightest hint ofrunner’s abs are starting to come through. I find myself craving healthy, beautiful foods like bananas, almond butter, vegan protein shakes and avocados. My happiness has runneth over.32bded4327cc079fc30de86fb8a8bcb0_400x400

Running has become such a crazy addiction that I’m heartbroken when my rest days roll around. Having a solid plan and a goal to work towards has cleared out so much chaos in my life. I can tune out, focus, and burn off all the stress, worry, and clutter. Every run feels like a victory.

I gathered up some of the best marathonspiration I could find to get you through a tough monday – since, like me, you’re probably stuck at the office daydreaming of your next PR.

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Marathon Training: Week 8!

It’s been quite a week – jam-packed with running, work, moving, job hunting and everything in between. Job hunting is such a complete nightmare that it’s been sucking the life out of me! Couple that with a hamstring injury and a bad cold, and it’s been rough.

Trying to get healthy with some yummy tofu pho!

Trying to get healthy with some yummy tofu pho!

Okay, okay, I’m done complaining! I still managed to do some running this week in preparation for my marathon in October, which is coming up every so quickly. I’m proud that I dragged my sickly arse through the hell-on-earth that was my 1o mile long run this Sunday (sorry, last complaint – I swear) but my cute little Camelbak made it way better 🙂

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I rested monday and did a 3 mile recovery run on Tuesday, where I just stretched out my legs. One of the awesome things about my new place is that we have a dog (yay!) and I get to run in a brand-new hood. Best of all, it’s right along the bay! So I can see the water the entire time.

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Wednesday I jogged a mile, did interval sprints for the second mile, and jogged home for the last mile. HIIT totally kicks my ass, so I was glad to get that out of the way.

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Thursday my hamstring was acting up, so I rested 😦 Friday, I did a little bit of yoga. Or, more accurately, attempted to do yoga while Kai ran circles around me eating geckos & bugs.

World, meet Kai

World, meet Kai

Tonight, I’m heading tot he gym for some arms & shoulders cross-training and foam-rolling before my 12-mile long run tomorrow.

Hope you guys all had a good week, and a well-deserved lazy Saturday 🙂

Motivation Monday: Marathonspiration

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With my marathon training plan’s first week in full swing, I’m all about it. Gorging through articles & blogs, perusing Pinterest, obsessively searching through Instagram for some marathonspiration. These first few weeks are easy, but what lies ahead is pretty terrifying.

Here’s some fun & funny marathon-inspirations to keep that fire burning. The season will be here before you know it 🙂

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Motivation Monday: Starting Fresh!

c545399b8ae92703eb412b899c240bccWake up, wake up it’s the first of the month…

Today’s a big day of firsts – the first of the month, of course, but also a Monday (the first of the week) and Labor Day, which is the first day of the brand spankin’ new semester. In short, today’s a day to relax, enjoy and have a fresh start J

I’m a big fan of fresh starts. Even though I’ve been dedicated to my health & fitness journey for the past few years without a major hiccup or weight gain, life does happen. It even happened to a fitness fanatic like myself – sometimes stress and heartache can overcome the best intentions.

But today’s a good day to start over! Which doesn’t necessarily translate into starting back at square one – a fresh start simply means forgiving yourself of past transgressions, letting go and embracing the blessing of a clean slate.

The best way to get started again (after letting go, of course) is to just get a plan and make the commitment. Pick up some good groceries, meal prep for the busy next few days, and make that shit happen. Go to the gym. Figure out when and how works best for you!

Basically – make the commitment and make it work. Fitness takes effort, planning, dedication, and, above all, time.

For example, I pass the gym on the way to and from work, so I always keep gym stuff in my car and go almost every day after work. That way, my friends are free to go with me, I’m passing it anyways, and I even kill an hour or two and miss the rush hour traffic.

Getting yourself into a routine is pivotal – it’s the simplest way to ease into good habits that will stick around as long as you keep working towards your goal.

Have a happy labor day everyone! And good luck with your fitness dreams 🙂


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Motivation Monday: Stay Motivated While Injured

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So…I”m still benched on the running front. So many good things have been happening – I’ve been able to move my calf dynamically, the swelling’s calmed down, and the deep reef cut on the back of my calf is finally beginning to ebb. I even tackeld some minor leg day at the gym, although my calf couldn’t handle the party. For some reason, doing endless sets of leg presses & squats seemed like a brilliant solution. Until now, when climbing a flight of stairs feels more like ascending Mount Everest.

Being injured sucks in general. For runners, it feels like am mini mid-life crisisWhat will I do without running? My progress is totally shot! So much for hitting my goal pace last week…

It’s a sad, miserable place. However, I am finally in the clear to run at the end of this week! Woohoo! I’m finally starting to feel like myself again.

It’s not that I don’t know who I am without running; it’s that I run for a reason. It makes me calm, happy, and feel like a total badass. It’s my own form of therapy, self-medication, whatever you’d like to call it. I’m not lost without it, but I’m happier with it in my life. On a daily basis.

While I’m stoked it’s almost over, I have learned a few things from my time on the bench:

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1. Think positive.

It’s not the end of the world, although it might feel like it at first. It’s so important to be thankful that your injury wasn’t any worse than it is; gratefulness always helps to put a positive spin on things. Plus, positive vibes help keep your perspective in check so that you can figure out other ways to stay fit, be motivated to eat healthfully, and recognize when you are truly ready to get back on your game. In short: optimism helps keep you fit while you’re recovering.

2. Be realistic.

The easiest way to prolong an injury is to go too hard, too soon. I made this mistake when I went for a slow two-miler once my ankle stopped throbbing “as much.” The result? A full week of no running, swimming, or cycling, as well as a grossly swollen leg. Make sure you’re fully ready to get back into your groove, and don’t push it! Save your beast mode mentality for a few weeks down the road.

3. Listen to your body.

This kinda goes hand-in-hand with the last one, but it’s worth mentioning again: don’t be an idiot. Listen to your body. Duh.

4. Find clever ways to keep fit.

Even if you can’t indulge in your fitness drug of choice, you can explore other options to break a sweat. My legs were pretty much off-limits, so I dragged myself to the gym as much as possible to work on my arms, shoulders, abs & back. I also threw in some upper-body yoga; it’s not what I wanted to do, but at least it’s something. I got my heart rate up, my competitive juices flowing, and it helped me think positive about when I’m back on the trails.

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5. Stretch!

I can’t stress this enough – do everything you can to stay limber! Even if you can’t work out, gentle stretching once or twice a day will help your muscles loosen up and stay limber for the post-recovery stress. When you’re active, your muscles are constantly getting worked. When you’re suddenly bed or couch-ridden, they get nada. Stretch em’ out, folks.

 

 

Progress: A Beautiful Thing

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m soooo stoked the weekend is finally here! I got to sleep in a little this morning, do some yoga, and grab some lunch with old friends. Of course, I snuck in some beach time too 🙂 beautiful, right?

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The week was pretty hectic blog and work-wise, so I didn’t get to work out nearly as much as I would’ve liked. However, I did make the best of it, and something magical happened: since my plans got thrown off, I finally woke up and saw how much I’ve progressed. It’s crazy how you can get stuck thinking about where you want to be instead of how far you’ve come. 

A few days ago I had my ‘fast run’ day; I was slammed at work and scrambled to get out in time to fit it in before dark. Since I was a little short on time, I decided to run a mile as fast as I could and then go into my intervals (usually, I do a timed tempo run and don’t worry about distance.) I was shocked by how quickly I hit the one mile mark – I was far from winded and wasn’t even sweating. On a hot, humid, Hawaii day. I thought, I might’ve even come in under eight minutes!

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Not only did I come in under eight minutes, I came in at 7:20. I haven’t ran a mile that fast since my first year of college! When running a 7-minute file was part of our fitness tests for the soccer team. Err, what?!

I’ve been running for a while now, but I’m happiest doing slow, long-distance stints as opposed to quick, fast ones. Since I’m doing my Spartan Race, though, I’ve been diligently knocking out my fast-paced runs & cardio each week. I never thought I’d be able to run a fast mile! And I’m still very, very far from where I want to be. My training is still in its infancy – I can finally see myself running longer and longer distances much faster, something I’ve always wanted but never thought could happen.

Even better, I’m not even sore after my runs! I’ve been doing more stretching, icing, and yoga, and paying attention to my post-run meals. I feel like I’m finally getting this stuff all figured out! And I’m going to spend this whole weekend relaxing and enjoying my progress.

Cheers to next week!

Nikki

Motivation Monday: Train for a Race

I’ve seen quite a few articles lately about training like an athlete. Competitive athletes have a totally different mindset & approach to fitness; they view their bodies as machines, work outs as a way to fine-tune, and food as fuel to keep their engines humming. We mere mortals, on the other hand, tend to see things differently. Our bodies are stubborn things that won’t do what we want or cooperate. Workouts are often the answer to burning off last night’s brownies. And food? Yeah, that’s a different story.

I’ve been an athlete up until my last few years of college, so competition and training are pretty much in my blood. The only way I know how to workout is to make it competitive. While I’m technically still competing with myself, nothing gets me working harder than an actual event. Hence, today’s topic: races.

My last 12K race - the most fun I've ever had running!

My last 12K race – the most fun I’ve ever had running!

I wrote a post last week about Reebok’s Spartan Race, one of those crazy mud, rope and fire-filled events that require a six pack to participate. (Note – the giveaway for free entry is still on! To enter, click here!) Well, I’m competing in one this August on the island! It’s my first outdoor race, and my blood is already pumping as I’m re-drawing training plans and enlisting the help of friends that I’m usually too scared to work out with. It’s sparked the active diva within almost instantaneously. It doesn’t have to be an outdoor race – even a 5K is enough to get the competitive spirits flowing. There’s so many couch-to-5k/10k, half marathon, marathon, and training programs out there for events. Most of them are even free.

Why do an event?

  1. They gets you in the mindset of an athlete.
  2. They’re perfect motivation over a long (or short!) period of time.
  3. They’re fun and totally addicting.
  4. Your entrance fees go to charity.
  5. You get free stuff (coupons, gift cards, food, t-shirts, beer, etc.)
  6. You might get handed a beer at the end!
  7. They boost pride, confidence & self-esteem.
  8. You get to look like a badass on instagram/facebook/whatever, especially if you do an outdoor race.
  9. Just trust me, they’re worth it!

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As noted, I’m still having a giveaway till Thursday for free entry into any Spartan Race! Click here to enter.

I also have a discount code for 15% off a Spartan Race! Ta-da: http://bit.ly/spartanwarrior

Happy racing!

Nikki

12 Week Marathon Training Plan

Happy Monday! Although this weekend was yet another rainy one, the island is finally starting to clear up! Which means, for me, I get to go run.

First, let me get things straight: I feel like there’s been a lot of hating on running lately. Maybe I spend too much time in the gym, but I’m tired of hearing people trash talk cardio as if it’s totally lame and unnecessary. Lifting weights is great, but so is running. It’s a total body exercise that pumps endorphins, frees the mind, and improves lung capacity and endurance. If the zombies come, what are you gonna do – lift them? Don’t think so.

I’m pretty stoked and nervous about my marathon this year. It’s my first one – I’ve never even ran a half – and I’m excited but can’t really wrap my head around the idea of running 26.2 miles. In Hawaii, that’s a long way to even drive.

My race isn’t till December, but time always passes by so fast I figure I might as well get started. Plus, I’m not a natural runner – I’m muscular and a little heavy on my feet. Even though I love it, it’s going to take a lot of work, planning and time to drag my soccer legs across the 26.2 mile mark.

Since I’m not exactly a natural, this plan starts from square one. I do have a lot of time, so my focus is more on my speed than on endurance. Endurance comes a lot easier than a decent pace, particularly for me. I could do slow, long distance runs forever. Medium runs? No me gusta. Sprints? I freaking hate them. And don’t even get me started on those damn intervals. I hate them more than anything on this planet. Unfortunately, though, they are worth it. Wahh.

I’m also creeping my miles up slowly because most of my cross training is either lifting in the gym or hours-long surf sessions, which are pretty rough on the body. I also love throwing in a few recovery weeks with less distances and intervals to test my progress, which I did at week 8 and 10.

I hope you find my little schedule helpful – I’m not a pro, but I love training. And you can trust that I googled the shit out of it. So, it’s pretty legit in my opinion.

I can’t wait to get started this week – I already knocked out my recovery run this morning! Ahhh, progress. Why is fitness so much easier/more fun/less painful when you have a goal to work towards? I think it reminds me of my soccer days, when I had a crazy South American coach to answer to. Now, I get to answer to myself (woot woot)

Have a good week y’all! I’m hoping to get a nutrition plan (veg, of course) pau soon. And, as always, happy running 🙂

TPlan