Swim, Bike, Run… etc.

Posted: April 24, 2014 in Uncategorized

My new training program for the Alcatraz swim and a few triathlons this summer is shaking out to look something like this: 7:3:2:1

7 x per week: Kettlebells
3 x per week: Run
2 x per week: CrossFit and Swim
1 x per week: Bike

My thinking is this:

Because Kettlebells are best everyday, I can add just a few minutes to my daily routine to stay strong and work all muscle groups. I’ll just vary the size of the kettlebell depending on the day. Sometimes light… stay with the yellow.  Other times push it with the green and red bells.

Running, ideally, I’d like to do 3 times a week. (I’m not sure if I can pull all this off, but today was a good example of a time crunch: It was 10:13, and I had a noon meeting that I needed to prepare for, and I still needed a shower! Most days I would have looked at the clock and said “no way… no time for a run!” But today, I said, hey… I’m trying to get in my days… I can do 2 miles. Who doesn’t have 20 minutes? So out the door I went, back by 10:30… shower, prepare for meeting, out the door by 11:45. Boom! Done. I love my new thinking… all runs don’t have to be epic!)

OK… CrossFit and swimming work well for me twice a week.

I’m not an avid biker, so once a week for a good long bike sounds reasonable to me.

Here’s how it would shake out:

Monday: Kettlebells and Swim
Tuesday: Kettlebells and CrossFit
Wednesday: Kettlebells and Long Run
Thursday: Kettlebells and CrossFit, Run
Friday: Kettlebells and Swim
Saturday: Kettlebells and Long Bike
Sunday: Light Kettlebells and Short Run (my rest day)

The lake is still full of snow melt and 50 degrees… so I’m not swimming yet… but I’ll try everything else, then add that in when I can tolerate the temps.  It’s an aggressive workout schedule… we’ll see how long I can keep it up.  I’ll let you know how it goes!  Do it with me!?

Peace,
Kate

kettlebellhell:

one week to go… for Big Climb 2014!!

Originally posted on Cast Iron Strength:

Race Day… Sunday, March 20th 2011… 9:00am start time.

I was entering the unknown.  Having always raced in the great outdoors, it was quite a different experience for me entering the narrow stairwells of the tallest skyscraper in Seattle.  I had a new challenge in front of me and I had no idea what to expect.  Adrenaline was high, so it was essential for me to focus on the fact that I had trained for this moment.  Between the gym, kettlebells, and outdoor stair climbing, I had put in my time and I had to be confident in that.  But nonetheless… my heart was racing!

They took my picture, and then I set off into the stairwell.  I never have liked stairwells much… they actually creep me out.  Not as much as spiders do… but still, one time, many years ago, I got locked in a parking garage stair well and I got that claustrophobic panicky feeling you get when you think you…

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I just had my first “Hot Stone” massage yesterday, and let me tell you… they work!  I’ve been training for the Big Climb (70 flights up the Columbia Tower) so I’ve been running stairs and my calves have been screaming at me.  There are days that I hobble around like a little old lady and can barely get down the stairs in my own house.  That’s true.  But no more!  (and to think that all this time there was something that could help… and I always thought it was just an expensive add-on at the spa.)

Hot stones can do what fingers and foam rollers and lacrosse balls can’t.  Here’s the deal:  Hot stones can slide across your muscles, and get into the muscle tissue like nothing else.  You know the feeling… you have a sore muscle, and if someone tries to massage it, you jump, cringe and yell “don’t touch that!”

Not with the stones, my friend!  Between the massage oil, the heat of the stone, and the size/shape of the stone… a trained person can get right into the muscle, just where you need it.  It was awesome and I feel like a million bucks today!  That was definitely worth the add-on cost.

So turn on some Hot Rocks (classic Stones from the 60′s and early 70′s) get out the kettlebells and start swinging!

Peace Out,
Kate

Image  —  Posted: March 6, 2014 in Uncategorized
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This is a great combo when you’re looking for a total-body exercise to add into your workout:

Warm up with a few rounds of alternating reverse lunges (sometimes called a step-back lunge). Then add a decent sized kettlebell to the move.  Now, if you step back with your left leg, hold the kettlebell in your right hand and swing it up into what I call a suitcase swing.  (or, as only Mike Mahler can describe so perfectly:  it’s a “One-Arm Kettlebell Bottom-up Clean”)

Check out his link below for a good illustration of the bottom-up clean (it’s about mid-way down).  Thanks Mike!

http://www.mikemahler.com/online-library/articles/kettlebell-training/kettlebell-training-exercises.html

Now, put on some good music and get swinging!  If the kettlebell flops over at the top, it’s too heavy.  I’ll do about 10 on one side, and then I’ll switch sides.  You’re working on wrist strength and grip control with this one… along with good coordination to do the lunge and the swing at the same time.

Peace,
Kate

 

Image  —  Posted: February 17, 2014 in Uncategorized

kettlebellhell:

                                    Add a “hold” to both the Around the World and the Figure 8′s and step up your game!

Originally posted on Cast Iron Strength:

Want a great kettlebell workout today that will really make your abs work hard?

During your entire workout remember this one thing, and say it over and over: “Bring navel to spine.”.

This works really well during a kettlebell workout.  You essentially “suck” your belly in and bring your belly button back towards your spine.  Imagine bringing your “front body” through to your “back body”.   It’s a yoga technique and the visual will tap your abs during all your regular exercises… so check it out, give it a try… and then let me know in 24-48 hours how your abs feel!

One other thing, when you’re doing your Around the World sets, stay low on the first 100 reps or so, and then for the next 100 reps bring the kettlebell around and up each time to an alternate shoulder for the “Around the World with a Hold”.  As you do this, remember to suck navel to…

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Every day I hear the “busy excuse” and shake my head.  It doesn’t take much to fit a kettlebell workout into your day.

Follow the Rule of 3:

1. Drink a Red Bull.
2. Put on Zeppelin.
3. Grab the Cast Iron.

Now get to work.

This will give you a good workout, and it lasts for just 3 Zeppelin songs.  Now… no one can possibly say “I’m too busy to workout”!

Start with a 5 minute warm-up to Black Dog.
1 minute each:
Around the World (30 seconds each direction)
Ab Twists (60 seconds, no stopping)
Suitcase Swings (30 seconds each arm)
Clean and Press (30 seconds each arm)
Goblet Squats (60 seconds, no stopping)

Now, get on the floor and spend 5 minutes and 33 seconds knocking out TGU’s to Whole Lotta Love.
(Turkish Get-Up to standing position, and back down again. keep going, no breaks.)

Finish with a cool-down to All My Love. Find your rhythm when you do these:
Figure 8′s with side lunge (1 minute each direction)
Hand-2-Hand Swings (1 minute)
Kettlebell sit-ups (let the song play out)

How do you feel?  You’re happy you worked out today, aren’t you!!  Do it again tomorrow.

Peace,
Kate

p.s.  Do you know why the song is titled Black Dog?  Because during the recording session of this previously unnamed track, a black Labrador Retriever walked into the studio.  He was said to be 19 years old.

Image  —  Posted: January 21, 2014 in kettlebellhell

Be Strong in Your Convictions

Posted: January 4, 2014 in Uncategorized

kettlebellhell:

Reblog from Jan 1012: Two years later, and people are still too damn busy for their own good! Probably even more busy. We’re too busy to understand ourselves and our convictions and our passions. Too busy to contemplate both our personal beliefs and to what extent we share them with others. Social media has brought about a culture of oversharing, but often in a hurried and scattered way. In 2012, the book I should have written was written by someone else. It’s called “A Mindful Nation”. Just reading the foreword of the book made me exclaim out loud: “Damn!”

“What’s wrong?” my husband asked from the next room. I told him I was reading another book I was meant to write. I hate it when that happens. Yes, I’m working on my book, but my writing ebbs and flows. In the meantime, I enjoy what others have invested their time in.

Congressman Tim Ryan has written an excellent book that reminds us how important it is to think and be mindful. He shows us how to start paying attention and prioritize what is important. As I read his book, it’s clear that practicing mindfulness and setting your intentions will improve performance, in all areas of your life. From the gym to the conference room. It’s a great reminder to be strong in your convictions. Always. Know who you are and what you believe in. That strength will serve you well.

Happy Swinging, and Happy 2014!
Peace. Kate

Originally posted on Cast Iron Strength:

You already know how I feel about yoga and kettlebells.  Yin and Yang… perfectly matched, each one helps achieve a higher level of success at the other.  Today, I’d like to discuss a few things from my yoga practice.  At the start of every yoga class we’re always asked to set our intention. Our intention is something that will resonate through our practice.  It’s quite often something we want to work on… and then we are reminded to think of our intention throughout the class.

I always appreciate this part of class because it forces me to focus on something and be very present.

Today my intention was strength and compassion. I often feel like those are the yin and the yang of life.  I merge these two into a single phrase I can repeat: “Be strong, be compassionate, and be sure of yourself and your convictions.”  If there’s one thing that resonates true for me…

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“Maintenance” for 2014!

Posted: January 1, 2014 in Uncategorized
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I was at my CrossFit gym yesterday, getting in one more workout before the end of the year, and something very interesting happened: The instructor asked the class what their fitness goals were for the new year. Normally, when you ask a room full of people about their fitness goals right after a big holiday of eating and drinking, losing weight and eating better will be at the top of the list. But not today.

Français : Force athlétique (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

People just shrugged their shoulders and said “maintenance!” “…I want to maintain what I’ve got!” Welcome to a CrossFit box.

You all know I love kettlebells and encourage practically everyone I meet to try them, but this speaks volumes for CrossFit. We didn’t sit around and reel off the tired old new years resolutions about how much weight we needed to lose, and there were no complaints or excuses or sob stories. Just a bunch of people committed to exercise who will keep on keeping on. I love it! And it’s not that everyone is walking around with “perfect” bodies either. It’s just that they have achieved a level of fitness that allows them to enjoy life and they are happy with that.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… CrossFit works! I don’t care how “busy” you are… anyone can fit a few CrossFit workouts into their week, and that’s half the battle, isn’t it?

For the last year and a half I’ve been supplementing my kettlebell workouts with CrossFit, and it’s been a great combination.  I’ve written about this before in previous posts, but there is something very empowering about achieving a level of fitness that helps you move through life easier.  Just the other day I took my son and his new bike to the park and he says “Mom, run along side me while I ride!” (I was glad I was up for that!) But you find yourself in a great position to say “yes” when your friends ask you to join their running team, or meet them for a swim, or go for a hike… you don’t ask “How far?”… you just say “Yes!” This level of fitness allows you to keep life interesting by always being up for trying new things and meeting new people.

Let’s commit to fitness and start signing up for some races in 2014.  …and put them on your calendar.  Remember last year’s post on Strategic Fitness Planning?

http://kettlebellhell.wordpress.com/2013/01/13/strategic-fitness-planning-for-2013

An Alcatraz swim is on my list this year… along with my usual stair climb up the Columbia Tower and swimming across Lake Washington.  I want to try SUP Yoga, and do a trail run somewhere high and beautiful.  A few triathlons would be fun… maybe as a relay.  I’m open to suggestions!

Here’s to a great year ahead, and happy swinging!

Peace,
Kate

As you continue to swing kettlebells, it is almost inevitable that at some point you will find yourself thinking:
“What am I going to do with all this strength?”

1009-kettlebell-wo[1]A short kettlebell workout (15-30 min) a few times a week delivers a remarkable increase in your level of strength, so it’s not uncommon to ponder what you might do with your strength.

I’ve thought about this quite a bit recently, and thought I’d share with you what I’ve come up with.

1. Push your Comfort Zone: Try a sport or activity that you’ve never done before.

2. Take it to Work:  Let your athletic confidence increase your career confidence.

3. Share it:  Use your strength to benefit others and your community.

I’ll briefly explain:

#1… Get out of your comfort zone and try something new.  You say you’ve “never been a swimmer”, but might like to try it.  Take a few lessons, attend some weekend swim clinics, and then sign up for a swimming event.  You’ll meet a whole new group of fitness enthusiasts and learn a great new sport.

#2… Take it to work.  Many people find themselves with a “confidence boost” after completing a fitness challenge.  Have you thought about bringing that added confidence straight into the conference room?!  Get involved, speak up, lean in… contribute!  Watch what happens.

Finally, #3… Share it.  Don’t keep your strength all to yourself.  Through coaching and mentoring, you can share your experience and knowledge with others.  Even just simple encouragement between friends goes a long way.  You can also volunteer.  If you like the outdoors, then try getting involved with trail maintenance in your area.  Our national and state parks are always looking for people to help out, and your strength would be in high demand.

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Maybe it’s my innate “thriftiness” that brought on my question to begin with, but the way I see it is, if you’ve invested the time and energy it takes to increase your strength, then there must be more you can do with it than just “own it”, right?

Hey… do all three!  The experiences you take away and the people you meet will make it all worthwhile… I guarantee it!

Peace Out,

Kate

Back from Vacation!

Posted: August 15, 2013 in Uncategorized

Two months have flown by since my last post. I’ve been riding it out for awhile on vacation. When I got home I had to step on the scale… and here’s what happened:

First, a disclaimer: Before my vacation I got down to my “fighting weight”. I trained like a crazy lady! Kettlebells, CrossFit, running, swimming, you name it… I exercised 6 days a week. I also avoided wheat and dairy for about three weeks before departure. So by the time I left, I was a lean and mean 124 pounds. (What!? No wheat or dairy? That’s right… I took it out because I was told it causes “inflammation” in the body. (More on that in a later post) Nevertheless, we were off to France and I was ready to eat some good French cheese and baguette on a daily basis.

I packed my running shoes, but never wore them.

My kettlebell stayed at home. Too heavy to travel with.

I packed a jump rope and a few resistance bands. I used them twice.

We were vacationing with friends and we all ate and drank like… well… people on vacation!

I was certain that after nearly a month of eating what I wanted I was going to pack on a few pounds. But here’s a (somewhat) brief little story about life in the south of France.

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We rented a house in a little village in the Var region of Provence. (This is my soul’s home!)  The sun shines every morning with its warm yellow glow, and the day starts magically. Slowly, our little village of Salernes wakes up to the smell of fresh croissants and espresso. Soon the venders will be setting up their stalls for the morning market and you’ll find some lovely fresh vegetables, herbs and meats for your dinner later.

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By about 12:30, everything closes down. You’ll find yourself in a little restaurant settling in for a nice, long 2-hour lunch that includes at least 3 courses and several carafes of rosé.  At 2:30 the shops open up again and life resumes to the village.  Music may start up in the square, the little boutiques open their doors, artists and potters display their things and then your wine guy opens his doors for business and he’s ready to help you select the perfect bottles for your evening meal. By 4 o’clock we were usually back at the house for an aperitif and a swim in the pool. Next thing you know the baguettes and raw French cheeses were being consumed in considerable quantities. Wine was poured, we’d prepare an amazing dinner and sit outside and watch the sun set behind the hills. Many hours later we’d still be out there talking and relaxing… long after you could see every star in the sky.

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This was the good life!

Yes, it was idealistic. We drank good wine, ate amazing food… and our pace of life slowed down considerably. One would think we’d pay for this lifestyle with a few extra pounds. After we’d been home for a few days my husband and I looked at each other and knew we had to do it… we had to step on that scale.  Being “A Pig in Provence” was about to reveal itself with a number! (an excellent book, by the way, “A Pig in Provence, Good Food and Simple Pleasures in the South of France”, by Georgeanne Brennan)

OK… so our numbers?  Maybe a pound heavier… maybe two at the most… but completely inconsequential!

The secret?  We walked to get our meals.

Yes, there is something to be said for walking, eating slowly and relaxing. (This, I believe, is one of the many secrets of the svelte French women: They eat what they want, but they walk to get it!) And not only do they walk to get it, they actually sit down to eat.  And I’m not talking about their car either.  (tres, tres mal… C’est déplorable!)  No, They will sit down in a restaurant and enjoy their food at a civil pace.

(I remember one day I didn’t have much time and I just needed a ‘coffee to go’.  Walking around the village, this Seattle girl was thinking “Where’s my Starbucks when I need one!?”  But there was nothing of the sort.  You must sit down and have your coffee in a small ceramic cup.  And it will be 30 minutes.)

From a fitness perspective, this vacation was truly ideal.  We walked to get our food and the food was all fresh and local.   I ate whatever I wanted, as much as I wanted, and with no guilt… it was fabulous!

Ahhh… so, back to life, back to reality.  It is now time to train for my next fitness challenge… swimming across Lake Washington!
Stay tuned!

Peace,
Kate

Kettlebells and Sprints

Posted: May 15, 2013 in Uncategorized

WP_20130515_005I tested this workout this morning, made a few tweaks, and I’m proud to say this an awesome workout for a crisp, sunny morning.  Have at it:

2 lap run (1/2 mile)

30 Double-Handed Swings

1 lap sprint (.25 mile)

30 Single-Handed Swings (15 each side)

2 lap run

30 Two-Handed Releases

1 lap sprint

30 Figure 8′s (15 each direction)

2 lap run

100 kettlebell situps

Done.

I used greenie for the whole thing (12KG) and it was a good workout.  I finished in about 30 minutes (not including situps).  got a 2 mile run in, and a bunch of good swings.  (We start with a half-mile run, so that by the time you get to the quarter-mile it will feel short, so you should sprint it.  It’s all psychology!)  My runs were at a 9 min/mile pace, and my sprints we at a 8 min/mile pace.  (Give or take… I’m sucking wind on the hills near my house… so if you use a track, step it up if you can.)

When you get to the situps, put on a nice long song and try to finish all 100 before the song is over.  My new favorite is Guns n’ Roses, November Rain.  It’s 9 minutes long and it has a false ending at about 7 minutes in… so just when I think I’m not going to make it, I’ve got 2 more minutes to pound it out till the end.

Try it out, and let me know what you think!

Peace,

Kate

Boston-Marathon[1]

It started as a perfect day.  Blue skies and 50 degrees.  Perfect running weather for the Boston Marathon.  But 24 hours later I’m sitting here at my computer looking for answers.  What went wrong?  Why did this happen?

As a runner and an athlete, I am trying to figure this out.  I’m not sure we’ll ever know all the answers, but in my effort to sort things out, I am reminded of the Atlanta Olympic games.  A bomb exploded in the “town square” of the Olympics, and there were thousands of spectators.  Well that sounds familiar.  Then the President (Bill Clinton) denounced the explosion as an evil act of terror and vowed to do everything possible to track down and punish those responsible.  Again… a bit of a deja vu.

“Damn It!”  I say out loud.  “It’s Athlete Envy”.

Instead of celebrating an athlete’s achievements and dedication to the sport, we often find envy and jealousy.  In both Atlanta and Boston we had people who were competing in a sport who were at the top of their game.  They were strong, enthusiastic and physically fit.  All enviable qualities.  There’s a fair amount of research on jealousy related to both individual and team-sport athletes.  It’s become prevalent in high schools and universities.  It’s possible this was the impetus to strike back on athletes and their families.

Am I paranoid?  Maybe.  Am I over thinking this?  It’s possible.  Here’s the hitch… the winner finished in 2 hours, 10 minutes and 22 seconds.  But the first bomb didn’t even go off until about 4 hours into the race.  Now I’m confused.  To simply qualify to run the Boston Marathon you need to show a qualifying time of under 4 hours.  (with a few exceptions… 4:10 for men over 65).  So if the bomber was going after elite athletes, then the timing was all wrong.  But the race draws in about half a million spectators.  So now we’re back to the families… the innocent bystanders.  And now my heart breaks thinking about 8 year-old Martin Richard, may he rest in peace.

Was it athlete envy?  I don’t know… but I’ll sign off with these words from the Bard:

“Cowards die many times before their deaths; The valiant never taste of death but once.”   -William Shakespeare

In Peace,

Be safe, stay strong and keep swinging…

Kate

Axl-Rose[1]

Are you ready to try something new to kick off the weekend?  I’ve got a challenge for you:

Get out several sizes of kettlebells… put on Guns n’ Roses “November Rain”, and knock out 9 minutes of uninterrupted TGU’s (Turkish Get Ups).

Take No Breaks!   Just switch sides when one hand gets tired.  Sure, you can alternate getting up to standing, getting up to one knee, or getting up to side plank… but the point is… keep working for the whole song… and enjoy the bliss!

Good Luck… and Happy Friday!

Peace,
Kate

English: This is a photograph that we have per...In my last post, I talked about strategic fitness planning for the year, marking off your calendar with highlighters, and how to break your races down into 3 categories:  Challenging (A); Maintaining (B); and Fun (C).

Breaking down your races into these categories will allow you to block off the necessary training time for your “A” races so that you can go into them strong and confident.

Then, as you check out your highlighted calendar, you’ll quickly see where your busy weeks are.  This will help you decide where to pop in some B and C races to either maintain your fitness level, or just have fun.  Training doesn’t have to stop during vacation, but you might want to consider this “maintenance time” instead of trying something new and challenging the week you return from your tropical vacation or some other lovely “meant-to-be-relaxing” getaway!

Here’s what my calendar looks like so far:

A Race:  March 24th:  The Big Climb, 69 flights up the Columbia Tower

B Race:  May 19th: Beat the Bridge 8K

B Race:  July 27th: Torchlight 8K

A Race:  August 21st: Swim for Life, 2.5 mile swim across Lake Washington

C Race: September 8th: Athleta Iron Girl 5K… (My daughter is going to run this with me… Go Claire!)

A Race: October 5th: Tough Mudder (need I say more? Click and watch the video if you haven’t already!)

C Race:  October 27th: Run Scared 5K… (I’m hoping both kids dress up for this fun little Halloween race!)

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I’ve got less than 2 months until my first A race, so I’m swinging kettlebells as often as possible, running stairs twice a week, going to CrossFit twice a week, and taking in my favorite core yoga class every Monday.  It’s been pretty rainy lately, so I’m running a lot less, but the Big Climb requires more stair drills anyway, so that’s what I’m focusing on.

Happy Planning!

Peace,
Kate

Strategic Planning may sound like something big corporations do… but I’m talking about PERSONAL strategic planning!  And yes, it can bring you happiness!

This time of year, many of us are making New Year’s Resolutions. (In my family growing up, I remember my Dad passing out pencils and we would all sit around on New Year’s Day and write down several things we resolve to do in the new year, usually something that was sure to help improve our lives!  Perhaps just the act of writing them down made them stick more?)

Anyway, for many people, resolutions tend to be diet and fitness related.  For example… “I resolve to stop eating a whole bag of Oreos while I watch reruns of Law and Order.”  Or, “I resolve to go to the gym every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 6am.”

I got a bit of a shock last week though when I was listening to a story on NPR about resolutions, and the reporter quoted a statistic that said 80% of the people who buy gym memberships in January because of a New Year’s Resolution will stop working out by mid-February.  Shocking!  Now we know how fitness clubs make their money.  But I have to think that these quitters didn’t have a good plan.  (and maybe they didn’t have kettlebells in their basement either!)

Goals are important, but if you’re really serious about achieving your goals, then you need a solid plan.  Some people would say it’s impossible to achieve goals without a plan.  I had a boss that would often walk around saying “If you fail to plan, plan to fail.”  That was his mantra, and I’m sure he said it to every client that walked in and out of our doors.  Another way of look at that is: “People with goals succeed because they know where they’re going!”

I’d like to show you how, when you take a few minutes for some “Personal Strategic Planning” for your fitness, you will find success, happiness and strength!

It’s January.  Time to go to the book store and get a brand new 2013 calendar.  (Yes, I know there’s a calendar on your phone, and another one on your computer… but there’s something very motivating and satisfying about seeing your strategic plan all laid out in a 12-month view, trust me on this one!)

Get a calendar where you can see the whole year on a single page… like this one:

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My fitness goal in 2013 is to compete in more races this year (and a wider variety of races) as way to train and prep myself for my most challenging race, The Tough Mudder, in early October.  So I’m going to do a little strategic planning and do my “Calendar Exercise” for the year.  This is a way I can find out how much free time I have to train & compete so that I can plan my races accordingly.

First, I mark off time away from home with a green highlighter.… Vacations and business trips…  These are the weeks I know I will be out of town.  If you travel for business for longer than just a couple of days, this is important.  Sure, lots of people can work out in hotel gyms, but your training schedule and diet will definitely be impacted while away.

Then I mark off all holidays in yellow.  This is especially important if you have school-aged kids, because when they are home from school this will definitely impact your training schedule.  But even if you don’t have kids, holidays can definitely impact diet and training.

(My gosh, the kids just had 2 weeks off over Christmas, and they get another week in February, and then 2 more weeks in April… sometimes I wonder what’s going on around here!)  I’ve marked off the whole summer!

Now I’ve created a bird’s eye view of what my year looks like so far.  This provides a good starting point for planning my race schedule.

The next step is to find a website that lists all the races in your area, and compare those dates to your “un-highlighted” weeks.  I’ve recently discovered a pretty comprehensive site called Running in the USA. http://www.runningintheusa.com/

From what I can tell, these guys have spent many hours compiling a variety of races and events all across the country.  I found some great events that match my un-highlighted weeks and I’m excited to get these on the books.

Another popular resource in this area is “Race Center Northwest.”  You can pick up a copy of this magazine most places, or go to their website: http://www.racecenter.com/race-calendar/

For more strategic planning, I break my races down into 3 categories… A races, B races and C races.

A-Races are challenging, they take a tremendous amount of commitment and training leading up to the event (possibly months), you may consider going on a specialized diet in preparation for these events, and recovery may take several days or even a week.   These are races which stretch your athletic ability and possibly experience.

B-Races may also be challenging, but they are not a stretch of your capabilities.  These events help you to maintain your strength and speed and will push you to perform well, and they’re often used to achieve a new PR.  Different from the A-race, training ramp-up is moderate (maybe a couple of weeks) because they are more on par with your current level of fitness.  Chances are you’ve already secured a few good times in similar events, so recovery is easier.

C-Races are typically short and fun, maybe even social… you run them with someone else, or you dress up silly and have a good time.  (A good example of this is the St. Patty’s day run where everyone ends up at the pub downtown.)  These races can be performed on a whim, recovery is minimal to zero.  Most runners would consider C-races a good replacement for a daily workout.

Now I look for my  “windows of opportunity” and then space out my races according to how difficult they are and how big my chunks of time are.  For instance, if I’ve got a nice block of 2 to 4 weeks, that’s a perfect window to pop in a B-race.  If I’ve got a larger window, consider an A race.  Check registration dates and go ahead and sign up now if you can.  Otherwise, put a reminder in your calendar when registration opens.

Of course… the planning process is JUST the first step!

1. Strategic Planning: mark your calendar and make a weekly exercise plan.

2. Execution: Sign up and start training!

3. Goal Setting: Consider what times you’d like to get for various races and set some goals.

3. Track Progress: How were your times?  Did you meet your goals?  Did you place for your age-group?

4. Expand Skills:  If you’re always running, how about trying a swim race, or a bike race… or even a triathlon?

5. Stay Committed:  Don’t give up!  You’ll no doubt hit some weeks when your energy level is low, or you get the flu, or you pull a muscle… whatever… but don’t let these things get you sidetracked.  Focus on the entire journey and stay committed to your plan.

6. Reward Success: Success can be rewarded all year!  I believe in small rewards for each accomplishment and then a nice big reward when everything has finished up for the year.  I usually like to start indulging around Thanksgiving, which is also my birthday, and I continue the party straight through Christmas and the New Year holiday!  Something to look forward to!

We’ll talk more about this as the months roll by, but I hope I’ve inspired you to do a little strategic planning for 2013.  I’ll post my highlighted calendar in a few days once I have my races figured out… but let’s get planning!

Peace,
Kate

What are your fitness goals for this year? How many races have you signed up for in 2013? Are you ready for a new challenge?  My Paleo Challenge starts on Monday, Jan 7th… so I’m indulging until then.  In the meantime I am also working on my goals. I’d love to hear yours, and then let’s map out a fitness plan to make them possible and achievable.  I just heard on the radio today that 80% of the people who buy a gym membership because of a New Year’s resolution will stop working out by mid-February.  Hey, if the kettlebells are in your basement, there’s no excuse!

k.

“80% of people who get a new gym membership because of a New Year’s resolution will stop going to the gym by mid-February.”

Quote  —  Posted: January 2, 2013 in Uncategorized

This Girl is on Fire!

Posted: November 24, 2012 in Uncategorized

Thanksgiving in Seattle is usually rainy, but wow… we’ve had so much rain (downpours, really) over the last few days, it’s been hard to get motivated to run.  However, the sun came out this morning and made it very easy to get outside and burn some post-Thanksgiving calories.

By the way, today is my last day at 44.  I’m savoring it.  Tomorrow I’ll be officially “half-way to 90″, as they say.  This most likely bumps me into an older age group for many races.  (Hmm… will this be an advantage to getting into top 10 categories for my age group? Maybe. But I have noticed there are more and more fit 40-somethings out there who can give the 20-somethings a run for their money!)  Go get ‘em… 45 is the new 25, right?

Anyway, I am spending my last day at 44 doing all the things I love, starting with some strong coffee to wake me up, and then kale and eggs for breakfast to prep me for a little workout:

I took in some fresh air with a nice 3 1/2 mile hill run.  Nothing too strenuous… but enough to get the blood pumping and the heart rate up for a good kettlebell workout in the yard:

Here’s my morning routine:

Warm-up with about 20 double-handed swings with the 25 lb. MedBell.  Move to single-handed swings, and then right into as many reps as possible of the two-handed release.  I take a short break here when I reach exhaustion, and then do the whole thing over again.

After 2 rounds of that, I went into the swing-flip-catch and squat: (see video if you missed it): http://kettlebellhell.wordpress.com/2012/08/09/the-swing-flip-catch-and-squat-video/

Cool down with some around the worlds and figure 8′s.

I’ll probably knock out some pull-ups, sit ups and push-ups before the day’s out.

Tonight… side cars, karaoke and delicious treats from Tom Douglas’s Dahlia Bakery are in order as part of a very fun birthday celebration!!

Peace,

Kate

Ab Update:

Posted: November 11, 2012 in Uncategorized

5 weeks before the Tough Mudder I went on a little “ab-quest”… I wanted to see if I could dramatically improve the look of my abs before race day.   I was at it for about 10 days and saw great results… but then I injured my Achilles tendon pretty bad, and I realized I needed to focus on getting back in shape for the Tough Mudder, and my little ab-quest would have to wait.

My results were pretty good for just 10 days though, I started to get definition pretty quickly.  The first thing I noticed was the vertical cut down the middle.  I imagine the horizontal lines would have been next…  I have a picture if I can find it…

Since that time, I have discovered the “Blog of Impossible Things.”  Check it out here:  http://joelrunyon.com/two3/  Joel’s got an interesting story and I love his perspective on life.

He’s got a whole list of “Impossible Things” he wants to achieve… a bucket list of sorts. (click here: http://joelrunyon.com/two3/the-impossible-list) and 6-pack abs is on there!  In fact, he has a whole website dedicated to getting 6-pack abs.  Check it out here: http://impossibleabs.com/

Think 6-pack abs are impossible?  They’re not… and I agree with Joel, with a little dedication, you can achieve it at any age.  I’m willing to try it… who’s with me?  Do we wait until after the holidays, or do we get lean and mean before Christmas?  Anything is possible in 6 weeks, ay?

Peace,
Kate

What’s up with “Top 10″ lists?  If someone gives you ten ways to improve your kettlebell swing, you probably won’t remember them all during your workout.  All you really need to do is remember three basic muscle movements while swinging and you’ll improve your form and get better results.

Add these 3 techniques to your next workout and watch how your swings become more productive.

1. Suck navel to spine.  This is a yoga term, but when you apply it to kettlebells swings you will dramatically increase your ab workout.  From the starting squat position, think about sucking your belly in towards your back.   Navel to spine.  When you bring your front body towards your back body, you are engaging your abdominal muscles.

2. Lift quads to hips.  Stand with your eyes closed and imagine your leg in three parts… knee, quad, hip.  Now, lift your quad muscle up from your knee toward your hip-joint.  This is where your quad needs to sit when you’re at the top of your swing.  Practice this before you swing.

3. Tighten Glutes.  The Gluteus Medius is that outer hip muscle that gives you the sought-after cheek dimple (see volleyball player above!).  Think about tightening your glutes at the top of your swing as you pop your hips forward.  This movement becomes almost like a “hop-snap” at the top.

Add these three together and try some swings.

Other good ways to increase results?  Take fewer breaks to increase cardio strength (but never compromise form), put on good music to keep you pumped, and then mix up a bottle of MRM ReLoad to help with your post-workout muscle recovery.  Remember, you’ve got to tear down to build up!

Peace,

Kate