Legs & Glutes Workout – No Weights Required

“Sometimes, you just have to pee in the sink”

Before I get too far, I want to clarify that the above quote is a real one, from a German-born novelist, short story writer and poet, not just something I came up with because it’s true (and I know I’m not the only one who has done said act).

Okay, now the meaning of it. Aside from the fact it’s funny and true, it’s really about making do with what you have and finding a solution when the norm isn’t possible.

This past week, my job took me to California. In addition to packing two coolers of my own food, I packed enough gym attire to keep up my workouts for the week. Although it’s never quite as good as at home, I always do what I can to keep up my routine while traveling. Luckily for me, the gentleman at the front desk directed me to a beautiful (and safe!) running path so I wasn’t stuck on the treadmill all week. Unfortunately, there wasn’t anything I could do about the tiny weight room and its lack of a squat rack, equipment and sheer space to do my usual leg workout. Being that I was out of luck there, plus the fact it was my first week of tapering and I knew I should take it easy with my leg workout, I decided to try something new: a bodyweight workout in my room.

Quick workout for your legs & butt you can do anywhere, anytime.

Quick legs & butt workout you can do anywhere, anytime.

I’ve never been good at working out at home. I’m a gym rat, I love all the equipment, space, motivation from fellow athletes, all of it. But I know so many people who swear by at-home workouts, exercises that require no machines or weights. As a lover of all things fitness, I feel like it’s important for me to expand my horizons and “think outside of the gym” so to speak, and this would be the perfect time to challenge myself to come up with and try a weight-free workout.

Though I didn’t get as sweaty and my legs weren’t as sore the next day as with a normal #legday workout, I definitely got my heart rate up and felt it when I got out of bed the following morning. Also, this is a great #noexcuses workout, as it can literally be done in any space – my hotel room, while nice, was small.

Do each pair of exercises 3x through, then move onto the next pair. Take very short rests in between to keep your heart rate up. This main circuit will take you around 25 minutes so I added 5 minutes of abs (do the same, your choice!) at the end to arrive at a complete 30-minute workout.

Plank Leg Raise - squeeze your butt as you lift

Plank Leg Raise – squeeze your butt as you lift

Main Circuit
Squats, Standard – 10
Reverse Lunge w/Knee-Up –                   10 (each leg)

Single-Leg Deadlifts – 10 (each leg)
Single-Leg Bridge – 10 (each leg)

Jumping Lunges –                                      20 (total, alternate legs)
Plank Leg Lifts – 10 (each leg)

Single-Leg Squat – 5 (each leg)
Donkey Kicks – 10 (each leg)

Abs
Add about 5 minutes (or 2-3 of your favorite abs exercises)
*Some of my favorites: leg raises, flutter kicks, bird-dogs, planks with toe taps, side plank crunches – and good old standard front and side planks

Stretch
Your quads, hammys, calves, glues and hip flexors just put in some hard work so don’t neglect them! Just 5 minutes of stretching and you’re done (this older blog includes a couple stretches you can incorporate). You can even do quick stretches as needed during the short rests in between exercises.

Try this no-weight leg and glutes workout and let me know what you think!

If you have other no-weight exercises you love, please share them, either with a comment below or tweet me @runlikeagirl311.

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One Of My Not-So-Favorite Things – The Marathon Taper

“There are many things challenging about marathon training, none of which top the taper.” 

Good luck, runners! Hope to join y'all next year.

Good luck, runners! Hope to join y’all next year.

First, best of luck to all the runners who are just days away from the Boston Marathon! You’ve all earned your place there and should be very proud, no matter how race day turns out. Color me jealous of every single one of you.

Which brings me to today’s entry. I just finished my last big 20+ mile run of my marathon training season and quest for Boston 2016. It was one of my best long runs ever, in terms of my overall pace, how my legs felt and the fact I was able to kick it into high gear and run a solid pace the last few miles. Speaking of good, my weekly runs have been going great as well. And I feel like I’ve got my nutrition and supplement plan down to a science. So naturally, it’s time to fuck it all up with THE TAPER.

Oh, how I loathe the taper.

With three weeks until the Fargo Marathon, I’ve reached this dreaded point. Each year, I have hope that the taper isn’t going to affect me. Somehow, each year, it feels worse. Like this year, for example; I want so badly to qualify for the Boston Marathon. After missing the mark by less than five minutes last year and being in way better shape this year, I really feel like it’s a realistic goal I could achieve (weather pending – oh please let it be no more than 50 degrees on May 9!). I’ve been pushing my weekly runs and, for the first time, really pushing my long runs too. I’ve been keeping weekly leg day workouts in the mix to make sure my lower half is as strong as possible. I’ve also been much more focused on nutrition and I feel like I’m carrying around fewer pounds this year.

Everything is going so well – and now I’m hitting the taper and I’m terrified that I’ll lose all that hard work. I’m scared I’ll be tempted to push myself too hard when I know I shouldn’t. The competitive, compulsive over-achiever in me is going to hate the rest of me for the next three weeks. But I’m really trying to stay positive and remind myself why I need this. My feet will thank me for giving the blisters a chance to heal. My legs will thank me on race day. I’ll be so mentally fired up, my brain will be as excited as my body is to destroy those 26.2 miles. Okay, just gotta stay positive, right?!

Any of you have tips for getting through the taper? I need all the positivity and peace of mind I can get, so please comment below or tweet me @runlikeagirl311.

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A Few Of My Favorite Things – My Custom Race Medal Holder

“Always earned. Never given.”

Having good girlfriends is one of the best things in life. Having a super-talented, creative and crafty girlfriend is extra awesome, and came in handy for me (and Chris) last year.

For years, I’ve been searching for a way to do justice to my collection of race medals I’ve earned over the years. From the ones I received simply for finishing the race to the ones I received for crossing the finish line ahead of the pack, each means something to me. Each represents a lot of hard work, and how far I’ve come as an athlete and healthier, happier person.

Although there are plenty of cool ideas and race medal holders all over the Internet, none ever seemed like “me” or caught my eye. Last summer, I was taking in some friend time with my pal, Kasper, and we went to a local craft fair in the park. One of my friends and her husband were exhibiting at it so I stopped by their booth. Her husband owns a woodworking business, Elite Woodwork, and she had recently taken to contributing her own flair to the business, creating various crafts out of his scrap pieces. These ranged from adorable Mason jar toothbrush holders to children’s growth charts to single-hook towel racks (one of which I ended up purchasing for my future mother-in-law).

My one-of-a-kind, Run Like  A Girl race medal holder.

My one-of-a-kind, Run Like A Girl race medal holder.

While browsing all her great designs, I started thinking – maybe she could come up with a display rack for my race medals. Something just for me, that reflected my personality. Later that week, I mentioned this idea to Chris, who gave me a funny smile and said, “I was planning to get you one for Christmas.” After some plotting between the two of them, I received my personalized “Run Like A Girl” race medal holder as a Christmas gift (on Festivus, of course). Finally, a month or so ago, I found the perfect spot for it in our house and loaded it up!

With the Fargo Marathon less than a month away, plenty of locals have running a race, finishing a race and getting that well-deserved race medal on the brain. So, I thought this would be a perfect time to share my story of how I found the perfect race medal holder. Whether you want to check out Elite Woodwork or browse Etsy or even pick up something simple at a local store, every racer really should find his or her own custom race medal display. Those medals are earned and they deserve a better life than sitting in a box in the back of your closet (wow, that was a lot of prepositional phrases).

Fellow racers, do you have a cool race medal holder? Or have you come up with a unique way to display medals or bibs? Comment or tweet me (with a pic if you have one!) @runlikeagirl311.

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A Few Of My Favorite Things – Milk Jug Designs

“Life is too short to wear boring jewelry”

I’m not a jewelry girl. Unless you could the hemp necklaces I used to make as a teenager (I was a little different back then, don’t judge) or my Garmin (I tend to wear it as an everyday watch too), I’ve never been into jewelry or taken the time to build a collection. Just a few weeks ago, when Chris presented me with the most beautiful piece of jewelry a girl could imagine, it came with a gripe of, “I had a hell of time figuring out the size. Why don’t you have any other rings?” That’s a two-fold answer. 1) It’s hard enough dressing myself in an acceptable way, I have no idea how to accessorize on top of that. 2) I’m a move and a shaker; between running, lifting and everything else, don’t have time for big necklaces or bracelets getting in my way.

The one exception to this rule is earrings. I’ve always loved earrings. They’re an easy accessory to add to any outfit (when in doubt, I can always go with my basic hoops), you can never have too many and plenty of styles can be worn while working out.

When one of my friends started posting photos of her new earrings made by a company called Milk Jug Designs, I took notice. Not only were the earrings simple, there were tons of bright colors and pretty designs. They looked like the kind of earrings you could wear with a fancy outfit, a pair of jeans and a tee, or even sweats. Then I found out they’re made by a local woman. Even better. Gotta support local and small businesses!

Barbell earrings for a girl who loves to lift!

Barbell earrings for a girl who loves to lift!

I received my first two pairs a couple weeks ago and I’m hooked – I mean come on, these beauties are hot pink with barbells. For a girl who loves to lift, how perfect! The other I chose is an aqua blue that’s beautiful and bright, yet simple enough to go with jeans or just about anything (crucial for my casual style). I already have my next order in, and am contemplating some additional and custom designs.

Whether you’re a jewelry aficionado or more like me, you should check out @MilkJugDesigns on Instagram. The owner/designer posts new styles, contests and flash sales on a regular basis, and you can get her contact info to order your own.

If you order from Milk Jug Designs, let me know how you like them! Also, post a pic of yourself wearing them on Instagram with #MilkJugDesigns so the owner can see her designs out there in the world.

Do any of you have a favorite, local business I should know about? I’d love to check it out! Comment below or tweet me @runlikeagirl311.

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Cold Weather Running – Winter Recess for Grown-Ups

“I can’t put my arms down!”

I realized something funny during my run yesterday. Winter running is a lot like winter recess.

See? He can't put his arms down.

See? He can’t put his arms down.

Those of you who grew up in cold-weather areas, remember going out for recess or out to play in your neighborhood, during the winter when you were in grade school? (If not, hopefully you’ve at least seen A Christmas Story – or the pic here isn’t going to make a whole lot of sense.) You had to layer up, put on your boots, sometimes top off the outfit with a hat, scarf and mittens. All of this to go outside and play for about 20 minutes. And, inevitably, someone in class would be fully encased in his/her recess gear then utter those seven words that made the teacher (or your own mother/father) cringe, “I have to go to the bathroom.”

Running in the winter is a lot like being a child about to go out for recess. First, it takes some time to plan out exactly what you’re going to wear. How cold is it? Will it warm up quite a bit during the time I’ll be out there? What’s the wind factor? All of these questions determine the right layering combo.

Once that has been established, it’s time to get dressed. That’s where the real fun comes. In my case yesterday, it was 20 degrees with gusty winds and not much warming predicted throughout the morning.

So began the process:

Base layer: running tights, under armour long sleeve, smart wool socks.

Next layer: fleece quarter-zip.

Crap, I have to pee again. Ugh, backwards we go.

Okay, first two layers back on – let’s continue:

Final layer: wind-resistant pants and jacket.

Accessories: full hat, neck gator, gloves, Garmin.

Do I look like I can't put my arms down?

Do I look a little puffy? Or like I can’t put my arms down?

By the time I reached the point of being fully dressed, I almost felt like I had to pee yet again – nope, I’m fully committed at this point, I’m ten minutes behind schedule of when I wanted to start my run, and it’s probably just in my head. Let’s do this.

It seems like an awful lot of work to go through for a relatively short amount of time (depending on your distance, maybe 20 minutes, maybe three hours) but, in the end, a winter run it’s like recess as a kid – no way in hell you’re missing it, weather be damned!

Luckily, temps in Fargo are looking to be on the upswing starting next week – I sure hope so, looking forward to a few less layers for my upcoming 20-miler next weekend! Anyone else still running in full-on layering weather or have you shelved it all for the season? Comment or tweet me @runlikeagirl311.

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A Few Of My Favorite Things – Fitness Stereotypes

“Oh, so do you do yoga?”

Whether we want to admit it or not, we all stereotype, at least once in awhile. Likewise, whether we realize it or not, many of us are probably the subject of someone else’s stereotype.

The above quote is one I’ve receive on more than one occasion when I mention I’m a vegetarian. And, while I do partake in yoga on a regular basis, mostly on my own after a tough workout, I struggle to understand why it would be the first assumption a person makes about me.

Taking a break to enjoy the scenery - not being lazy!

Taking a break to enjoy the scenery – not being lazy!

I was thinking about this during my recent snowboarding vacation in Montana. My fellow female shredder, Emily and I were joking about the stereotypes attached to snowboarders – the bulk of which are about as far from who she and I are as possible. From “unambitious” and “ultra-laid back” to “hippies” and “hipsters” and, of course, “PBR” and “potheads”, there’s definitely an image most people get when they think of the sport. And, I hate to say it, but many in the snowboard community only further those labels. (Anyone watch this season of the Celebrity Apprentice? Thanks, Jamie Anderson.)

The fitness world is one of the greatest for stereotypes. Sometimes they’re true, sometimes they’re not; regardless of that, they have one thing in common: Fitness stereotypes are funny. Especially at the gym; it’s a little community all its own, complete with its own stereotypes. Here are some of my favorites.

Everyone Who Does Yoga is a Vegan
I’m not sure how this one started. Maybe it’s the hippie, peaceful, zen-like quality that many who do yoga possess – and that makes them incapable of slaughtering innocent animals for food? Maybe it’s the misconception that they’re all stick figures that bend and move like rubber bands and, therefore, must only eat wheatgrass shots and smoothies? Or maybe it’s the fact that there’s a pose called, “Tree Pose” so that implies they only eat other foliage…?

I really have no idea. This one is probably the furthest from the truth.

Everyone Who Lifts Weights is a Meathead
You’ve seen the DirecTV commercial where Rob Lowe tells you all the great reasons why DirecTV is the best – meanwhile, “Meathead Rob Lowe” grunts while lifting, has his own tanning bed and can’t stop saying “bro.”

While there are a handful of meatheads at every gym, I think this stereotype is one of the furthest from being true; most people who lift do it as part of a fairly balanced workout regimen. Sure, most drink protein shakes, take supplements and, yes, sometimes grunt, but that’s far from what I’d deem meathead status.

Mine too!

Mine too!

Everyone Who Runs Is Annoyingly Perky
I thank my TV twin, Chris Traeger (Rob Lowe again!) from Parks & Recreation for this – and am the first to admit I can be totally guilty of this stereotype. I have a naturally upbeat personality and that doesn’t go away when it comes to running. I enjoy running, I am legitimately happy to head out for a nice 15k on a Monday evening. And I’ll finish it with a smile on my face.

Sure, go ahead and call runners annoyingly perky. I don’t think most of us will mind – or argue!

Everyone Who Works Out Only Talks About Working Out
This one is semi-true but made worse by Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The post-workout selfie or humble brag of the day’s mileage might come across annoying and vain to most. For some people, it absolutely is a vanity move. But for many of us, sharing workout posts is a way of holding ourselves accountable and trying to be a source of motivation for that person who’s struggling to get a workout done that day (we all need it here and there).

In the simplest terms, yes, we do talk about working out a lot. But some people talk about the weather a lot. Others talk about their kids a lot. Plenty talk about how they go out and get wasted a lot. None of it’s wrong or bad, it’s just all about what your thing is. For fitness folks, that’s our thing. And it’s never “all” we talk about, it just might be the thing we talk about most often.

So, technically, this one is closest to being true.

What are some of your favorite fitness stereotypes? Also, since I’m a runner and might be a little clouded on that one, I’m especially curious what you’d say is your #1 stereotype of runners? Comment or tweet me @runlikeagirl311!

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A Few Of My Favorite Things – Sports (Besides Running)

“I feel the need to endanger myself every so often”

I just returned from a wonderful spring vacation (hence the longer-than-usual absence from the blog). No, I didn’t go to Mexico, Florida or some other sunshine-filled spot. I packed a bunch of layers, cold-weather gear and hit the open road to drive to the Montana mountains. Mid-40s, snow and shredding all day, followed by a steam shower. Yep, that’s my kind of vacation!

Ah, Montana - my happy place.

Ah, Montana – my happy place.

While nice to get away and do something I love, it was tough taking off four days from running, especially during Marathon Season. But it was also a great chance to take part in a fun activity I enjoy. See, I’m a huge sports fan and I love to participate as much as watch. There’s a thrill I get flying down a mountain or diving to make a tough catch – not really putting myself in danger as the above quote might suggest, just doing something that gets the heart pumping and makes me feel alive. And, for those of you who may have thought otherwise, I do enjoy taking part in athletic events outside of running and races! I’m not even talking about triathlons, and the swimming and biking that goes into that training. In that spirit (and with March Madness kicking off this week!) I wanted to share a few of my favorite sports.

Snowboarding
Thanks, Captain Obvious. That was revealed about 50 words ago. Since I first strapped on a board and learned how to ride in Whitefish, Montana, I’ve been hooked on this sport. The tough part is I don’t get to go much (for you non-geography buffs out there, North Dakota is severely lacking in mountains) but, on the upside, when I do get to go, I appreciate it so much more.

Softball
Some of my fondest memories and best friendships were made in my late teens and 20s, playing co-ed slowpitch softball. It was also a change of pace to play a team sport. Even though it wasn’t supposed to be taken too seriously, the competitor inside of me played to win. And, not to brag, my teams were consistently awesome. I even have a few championship t-shirts to prove it.

Dance
More than 20 years of my life has revolved around dance – starting with tap and ballet classes at age three, evolving into competitive danceline in junior high through high school, and rounding out with coaching in my college years. Though I don’t participate anymore, I still enjoy watching competitive dance when I catch it on ESPN – that’s right, haters, it’s a sport and even televised on THE sports network. Also, I like to think my running is improved by my natural flexibility, and engrained focus on the importance of stretching and yoga.

Yes, running is definitely my favorite sport and the one I take part in the most often. But I feel like my love of participating in other sports may have led me to love running, and helped fuel my competitive spirit during races.

What’s your favorite sport, and what are the others that I might not know you love too? Comment or tweet me @runlikeagirl311.

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