Category Archives: Running

Healthy Pregnancy 2 – 38 Weeks

How far along? 38 Weeks

Baby Size: A winter melon

Weight gain: 35.5lbs

Maternity clothes? I have one pair of maternity jeans that I wear pretty much all the time, and about four shirts I circulate. Most of my maternity shirts are too short on me!

Belly Button in or out? Out

Best moment this week: Seeing big brother walk around and sleeping with his baby. Hopefully this is a sign that he will tolerate baby brother…

Miss Anything? Quality sleep. This week has been a rough week of sleep between 34932 pee breaks every night and thinking about all of the stuff I want to get done.

Movement: He seems to be especially active when I am driving. Seems safe.

Food cravings: All the fruit. Continued. Nectarines, pineapple, oranges, strawberries, and mangos.

Gender: Boy #2!

Looking forward to: Feeling somewhat organized for the baby. He will eventually bunk with big brother, but to begin with he will be in our room. Right now is dresser is in the guest room and we don’t have a crib for when he does eventually bunk with big brother (probably not for a few months). I look forward to getting his stuff as organized as possible.

Still Running!

At this point in my pregnancy with our first I had to hang up my running shoes. I was still able to get out for some walks, but my pubis bone simply could not handle running. I remember taking two weeks off and trying again at 39 weeks and it burned so bad I was positive his head was coming out of me!

While this is an entirely different pregnancy, I am speculating that part of the reason I can still run is because I have been keeping everything outside of running low impact. I started lower impact in the first trimester, simply because my round ligaments were so uncomfortable. By the second trimester, my weight had shifted enough that I did not want to do long-term damage to my pelvic floor, so I continued taking the impact out of my workouts (i.e. squats in place of squat jumps, low impact burpees, etc.). My speculation is that since I have been kinder to my pelvic floor this time, and even worked on keeping it strong, that I am able to run longer into my pregnancy than I was able to with my first.

I will have no qualms about hanging up my running shoes this time whenever it seems necessary. In fact, I had a few times where I thought I might have to. So far though, especially now that we are back at sea level, my running feels comfortable. I even got a stroller run in this week (which I haven’t done at all during pregnancy) and it felt comfortable. I am enjoying the endorphin rush I get from running, and how accomplished I feel after getting my run in. I am hoping, no matter what, that I can continue to engage in some form of activity until baby is ready to arrive.

 

Healthy Pregnancy 2 – 31 Weeks

How far along? 31 Weeks

Baby Size: Coconut

Weight gain: 28lbs

Maternity clothes? Rocking some sweet maternity jorts and comfortable maternity shirts. I’m pretty sure I’ll be ending out this pregnancy in dresses.

Belly Button in or out? Out

Best moment this week: Hearing baby’s heartbeat and witnessing him give the nurse a hard time and move around every time she got him on the monitor.

Miss Anything? Feeling pretty good this week. I’ll be cutting back on running a bit and I know that will be a struggle for me.

Movement: There is a ton of flipping and rolling going on now. He especially enjoys La Croix.

Food cravings: I have had an increased appetite/need to graze all day. I wasn’t making the best choices (hello dark chocolate and chips!). I did some major meal prep on Tuesday to ensure I could fill baby and me up on vitamins. Chocolate and chips aren’t a problem from time to time, but I was noticing I wanted them everyday. Meal prep has helped curb that!

Gender: Boy #2!

Looking forward to: We have on final ultrasound tomorrow to see if baby is still measuring in the 98th percentile. I am looking forward to seeing him

Slowing Down

I feel that before I jump into this, I have to make a few “disclaimers” if you will. First, it seems I am setting a habit of having pretty uneventful pregnancies, except for one major drama. Second, I pass everything I do by my doctors and if anything feels off I always err on the side of caution. I know there can be a lot of internet doctors who get concerned, but I assure you I communicate with my Drs and always ask them if I should be slowing down or cutting back. They are always up to date on what my activity levels are.

This weekend was definitely interesting. For the most part, I have been sticking to 3-4 mile runs, 4 days per week. I stick to my treadmill now, as I don’t want to be too far from the house (I had some Braxton-Hicks a month or so ago while out on a run, and they took longer than I felt comfortable with to calm down, even when I stopped to walk). I stop each mile and take at least a 40 second break during my treadmill runs. Everything has felt fine and I have made sure to eat before I run, drink 20oz of water before I run, and drink an electrolyte water after each run.

Last week I had been feeling pretty good and wanted to meet up with a local running group for one last group run before tapping out for the rest of pregnancy. We kept the pace nice and slow – a little slower than I do on the treadmill. We stopped a little under a mile in (pee break) and around mile 3 to assess how we felt. We all caught our breath then continued on. I did my normal breakfast and water beforehand, had water with me in the car, and drank an electrolyte water upon returning from the run. We did a total of 6.25 miles and I felt great the whole run, but my pubis bone was pretty sore afterward, which is what I expected. I knew based on that that I had made the right call and would no longer be doing longer than 4 miles, and would be keeping it to the treadmill from here on in.

It was a somewhat warm run, in the 50s with all sunshine and no wind. My legs are starting to get noticeably bigger so I chaffed during one of my runs earlier that week, and again during that run. Later that morning I had some errands to run with my son. I showered and got ready. As I sat down to pee for the 258049 time before heading out I noticed the tiniest bit of blood in my underwear. Few things can make me panic like blood during pregnancy. I told my husband about it and he asked if I was worried. It seemed like such a minimal amount but I told him I would keep an eye on it. This was around 10:30.

We went our separate ways and I continued to push fluids. As my son and I were out on our errands I was feeling cramps in my abdomen. I was beginning to get a bit panicked so we went back home and settled in to watch some Thomas. I figured if I kicked my feet up and pushed fluids it would go away. The cramping wasn’t bad. It felt like really mild period cramping. If I hadn’t seen the blood earlier I probably would not be as worried. By 11:30 I called triage and they told me to drop in just for peace of mind. I called my husband and we packed up our son (right before nap time) and shuttled down to the hospital.

Once we were all checked in and I told the nurses everything, I gave them a urine sample and they hooked me up to some monitors. They wanted to monitor baby and my uterus. Baby sounded healthy and normal. They were also pleased to see that my urine sample seemed very hydrated. We stayed for a few hours and they did notice that my uterus was “irritated”. They did a few exams to ensure that I wasn’t progressing or going into labor. I continued to push fluids and even though I could no longer feel any cramping my uterus continued to be irritated. Turns out the blood was just from the chaffing (I cannot roll my eyes enough at myself for this one), but I probably would not have gone in just for cramping, so I am glad it was there to get me into the hospital.

After talking to the midwife and nurse, they think that my body was just telling me I overdid it. No more longer runs, and especially no more running without breaks. I asked them if they thought it best for me to just stop running completely. They told me it definitely wasn’t necessary, I just needed to cut back. Something about that longer run, even though it felt OK during the run, did not agree with my body. I was even told that if I stopped running before I really needed to that I would probably go crazy (I feel like this team really gets me). They also said they have a lot of elite athletes who go through there during their pregnancies, and sometimes their body gives them this signal. So, slow down, but I don’t have to just sit on the couch for the rest of my pregnancy.

I rested for the rest of the day, making sure to really push fluids. I always rest on Sundays, so that was easy enough to continue doing. On Monday, I normally run and do my FWK workout, but this Monday I stuck to just my workout. On Tuesday I did a 2-mile treadmill run and rested a lot more throughout the run. Even though my body felt fine DURING that longer run on Saturday, it was definitely signaling to me AFTERWARD that it was not up for that level of activity anymore. I will listen!

The whole point of running and exercising, for me, during pregnancy, is to stay healthy and keep my baby healthy. When my body indicates it’s time to cut back, I will always do that. I have no interest in putting either of us at risk for an extra mile, or an extra rep. I have nothing to prove. My goal is to get to childbirth, survive it, have a healthy baby, and recover well. Pushing too hard, or ignoring my body’s signals to slow down will ultimately detract from that goal. If you’re having to slow down during pregnancy, embrace it. It can be really difficult, but scaling is not the end of the world. Slowing down is not the end of the world. If it’s what your body needs, you will always benefit from listening to that!

Healthy Pregnancy 2 – 27 Weeks

How far along? 27 Weeks

Baby Size: A head of lettuce

Weight gain: 22.5

Maternity clothes? Yes! I refuse to stretch out my pre-pregnancy clothes. I’ll also be rocking lots of leggings this week + my workout shorts.

Belly Button in or out? Out

Best moment this week: Big brother pointing to my belly and saying “baby”. He’s been doing it for a while now but he mostly would scream no. Now he smiles!

Miss Anything? I really miss putting my little guy in his crib without all of the oxygen being knocked out of my lungs.

Movement: Very active, especially after big brother goes to bed. He likes to flip and twist as I lay in bed winding down.

Food cravings: Oranges. I also made some blueberry muffins yesterday that I’m pretty obsessed with.

Gender: Boy number 2!

Looking forward to: I’m starting to get anxious about finding a doctor in Monterey and figuring out where we will be living. I want to visualize where he will be sleeping and playing. Right now I am picturing our house in Ventura, which is not where we will be!

Running Update

A few weeks ago I mentioned that I was going to take a hiatus from running. I only run for the joy of it, and it was brining me no joy. I was feeling sluggish and dreading my runs. Since I am definitely not training for a race right now, I decided I would take a break. This typically happens to me in the summer as I truly despise running in heat. I took two weeks off and now I am back to it.

Last week I went out for my second run and my pubis bone was really hurting. This isn’t uncommon, and I remember it happening with my son. I had asked my doctor about it during that pregnancy and he said it was normal and that I would have no long term damage if I continued running. It appears he was right as I continued to run through that pregnancy and had no issues afterward. In my first pregnancy though, I was able to spend more time recovering. I cannot really afford to have a day of pain that makes walking difficult when I have a toddler to chase after, a business to run, and a house I attempt to keep presentable. When I went on that run, not only did my pubis bone feel uncomfortable, but also I began to have Braxton hicks contractions. Again, this is not uncommon. I stopped to walk, but I could still feel the tightness. I was not too far from home, but since walking was not alleviating the contractions, I called my husband to come pick me up as I knew I needed to hydrate.

Since then I have been sticking to the treadmill. I am happy to be back running, but the combination of the pavement and the Braxton hicks contractions makes us both feel more comfortable with me at the house. If I get any discomfort again, I am right at home and can pop inside to hydrate and rest as needed. So far I have not had any more incidents and I have been focusing on my hydration. My number one priority is always my baby, so I would never put him at risk. My number two priority is me. I am not going to risk long term damage just to say I ran a few extra weeks in my pregnancy. I say it all the time, and I try hard to practice what I preach: listen to your body. This pregnancy has been much different than my first pregnancy. That means that just because I ran 37 weeks into my first pregnancy, does not mean I expect to do that this time. If I can, wonderful, but I will not be pushing my body to do something it does not feel right doing. I would rather take a few months off and have years of future running.

If I do have to stop running altogether during this pregnancy, I will stick to my walks and my Fitness With Kristen workouts. I have been getting stronger through this pregnancy, and though I will likely need to decrease weight at some point, I am still feeling strong! Pregnancy is a great time to stay active (with the green light from your doctor), even if that means changing how you stay active. If I can only walk or swim by the end of my pregnancy, I will be happy to have been healthy enough to remain active during pregnancy.

 

Alexa Georgoulis Feature

I am really excited for today’s feature! I have been following Alexa (@alexa_georgoulis) on Instagram since I was pregnant with my son. I found it inspirational that she was safely doing Crossfit while pregnant, and was excited when I learned she had an impressive running background. I found that many of our thoughts align: no off limit or “bad” foods, don’t eat until you are sick, and look for the vitamins or micronutrients your food has to offer you most of the time. She has an almost two year old who attends many of her workouts, and she is training to qualify for the Crossfit Team Regionals. Her running background is so impressive and I know you will love learning about her training and nutrition as much as I did!

Can you tell us a little bit about your running background. When did you start running and how did you make the jump to ultra marathons?

I started out running track and cross country in high school. In college, I still ran to stay in shape and during my junior year, I decided to run my first marathon. As I was training for that I had met a group to train with and several of them ran ultras. It sounded pretty cool and different so I signed up for my first one, which was a mountain 50k a couple months after I finished my marathon. After complete a few 50k races, I decided I wanted to challenge myself to see if I could run a little further and so I ran a few 50 milers and then I tried to attempt a 100 miler. I ended up dropping at my first attempt due to injury, but then finished my first one a few months later. From there, I qualified and was picked to run the Western States 100 (which is a lottery based 100 and probably as prestigious as the Boston Marathon in the Ultra community). After running one more 100, I then applied and was accepted to run the Badwater Ultramarathon, which is 135 miles from Death Valley to Mt. Whitney in July when temperatures can get into the 120s. It’s ranked as one of the toughest foot races in the world. I ended up doing that race 2x and also ran its sister race, the Brazil 135 (which I think may have actually been harder). In 2014, I was accepted to run Badwater for a third time, however found out that I had the beginnings of another stress fracture in my foot and so had to withdraw myself from the race a couple months prior, which turned out to be a good thing because I got pregnant with my daughter shortly after.

When did you make the crossover from running to Crossfit?

I started Crossfit in 2010 a few months after finishing my first 100 miler and had found out that I was accepted into Western States 100. I really wanted to become a stronger runner and add in some cross training. Once I joined CF, I fell in love immediately. During the years I ran, I would do CF a few times a week to supplement my running, but was very competitive with it. However, during my pregnancy with my daughter was probably when I started to CF a bit more. I had to modify a bit as I got later into my pregnancy, however overall, the movements felt much better for me than running or even walking did. I had planned to start training for more marathons and ultras after I had my daughter, I just ended up being pretty burnt out. In 2013, I ended up having two surgeries in my foot, one to repair about 6 torn tendons and ligaments in my foot and then another to repair a torn plantar fascia and my foot just never felt the same after. Always running through injury had wore me out. On top of that, to train for more ultras would mean so much time away from my daughter, which I didn’t want to do. I had grown to love CF more than running and even though it was kind of a sad realization for me at first, I’m so glad I decided to make the switch over.

 I remember you were doing Crossfit while pregnant. Did you receive much criticism for making that choice?

 Not really. My mom was definitely the most concerned out of anyone though. Like I mentioned though, CF actually felt better on my body than running or even walking did and I feel like those are “pregnancy safe” exercises in most people’s minds. Even my doctor was fine with my doing CF. I think her only “rule” for me was that I shouldn’t lift anything more than 70 pounds over my head.. but I think she just probably made that number up lol. She was a pretty petite lady and so 70# is probably a lot for her. One of my best friends, who use to be highly competitive in CF and is also an EMT, was also pregnant with her first daughter at the same time and so we would workout a lot together and keep each other in check as well.

What measures did you take to maintain your milk supply while also training with Crossfit?

I make sure that I’m taking in enough calories and also that enough of those calories come from fat. Once I had my daughter I started doing flexible dieting and so keeping track of what I’m eating to make sure I hit my calorie/fat needs so I can keep up with breastfeeding has really helped. When we were exclusively breastfeeding I was taking in as much as 95g of fat per day and now I’m down to about 65-70g. Also, breastfeeding also has a lot to do with supply and demand so just nursing a lot in itself I think has helped a lot. Emelie will be two next month and we are still going at it. I’m trying to actually wean her to at least only night feedings, but she doesn’t really seem to be into cutting back.

 Now you are training for the Crossfit Team Regionals this year! Can you tell us a little about what that training looks like?

 Well, first we have to qualify for Regionals. The Crossfit Open starts at the end of February and will consist of 1 workout that everyone has to submit a score for for 5 weeks. The top 15 teams (which consists of 3 men and 3 women) in Southern California and top 15 in Northern California will then move on to compete in the California Regionals.

Training usually consists of 5 days a week and normally about 1.5-2 hours a day. Those of us training to try and make team at our gym will still do our gym’s WODs that the regular clases will do, but we will add a couple extra strength, gymnastics still work and/or interval work on top of it. On most days my best friend and I will get to the gym about an hour before the normal class starts so that we can fit in our extra work and then will jump in with the class for the WOD. On Saturdays we also have a L2/competitor class and that will usually consist of some sort of team or partner workout.

What about the nutrition for that? Do you follow a set plan or do you have enough of an understanding of nutrition to fuel without a plan?

I do flexible dieting and so I weigh/measure all my food and track it into My Fitness Pal and I love it. I have done the Paleo thing and its great because it gets people to eat more whole or unprocessed foods, but honestly I feel so much better mentally and physically with flexible dieting. I like that there are no “bad” or “off limit” foods. I’m not gonna lie, I have a huge sweet tooth and if you were to look in my food diary, I probably have at least 2 servings of chocolate chips a day along with probably some cookies or ice cream, but I also eat a lot of fruits, veggies, fish, lean meats, etc… stuff with higher micronutrient values. I’m also really luck that my best friend, Amanda, helps me a lot with the amount of macros I should be eating. She works with Jason Phillips, who is the creator of Mission 6, and she is extremely knowledgeable when it comes to nutrition. I’ve definitely seen a big difference in my performance since she has started helping me. 

I know you offer remote training. What kind of training do you offer (running, weight loss, etc)?

All my clients have somewhat different goals. I do have quite a few endurance athletes that I train. I also have some clients who like to do CF, but maybe are working out of a home gym or need some extra supplemental work and then I have clients who just want to be fit and healthy or maybe lose a few pounds. I’m down to help someone no matter what their goal is and it doesn’t matter whether they workout at home or in a gym.

 What final words of wisdom can you offer to readers?

Attitude is everything. I think this past year I have become a better athlete because I stopped comparing myself to others and thinking maybe I couldn’t hang with certain people in workouts. I try and go into workouts with more confidence and just give it everything I have for that day. Have a positive attitude and it will take you far.

2017 Goals

I am going to be blunt here and just say that this has been a giant middle finger of a year. We have certainly had our ups: Pat getting home safely from deployment, our little man growing and learning so much, and our little rainbow baby to name a few. It has also had its handful of downs. We have had our minor annoyances such as moving into a wasp infested house, which turned into a mouse infested house (such a debacle). We also had our heat go out for 24 hours when it was 21 degrees outside. Annoying but manageable stuff that everyone who lives in a house probably deals with at some point. On the heavier side, we have had very close friends and a family member both dealing with cancer, which has been heartbreaking to watch. Finally, we had our chemical pregnancy, immediately followed by a gut wrenching miscarriage. My Mom always says that everything bad happens in threes, so even though I am not the one who has been sick in most of these situations, it has not been easy to watch and I am looking forward to seven years of good things. That’s what happens when you get your three bad things right?

I share all of this to say, 2016 has truly been a giant middle finger of a year and I am looking forward to saying #byefelicia to 2016 and welcoming 2017 with open arms. I suppose things could always be worse, but I am not really interested in finding out. Instead, I want to look ahead with a positive frame of mind, and set some big goals for 2017 just like I did for 2016. I also wanted to share this because on the internet we can of course construct this perfect image of our life, and I am just so far from perfect it makes me laugh. I want you all to know that I work hard and I go through hardships and I am just this human Mom, Wife, and fitness enthusiast who believes you can be fit and healthy even when circumstances are not perfect.

OK, enough babbling. Here are my goals for 2017. Since I will be pregnancy for 50% of this year, I decreased the amount of goals for the year, but made sure they were quality and that I have a plan to execute them:

  1. Run a half marathon in December. By then I will be 6 months post partum, which will give me three months to fully heal with no running if necessary and 12 weeks to train. My training program is only 10 weeks, so this gives me time to rebuild a base depending on how my recovery goes. I would ideally like to find a race that raises money/awareness for childhood leukemia.
  2. Continue to use weights and stay active throughout my pregnancy. Changing my mindset from fat loss and hitting new personal bests, to maintaining fitness for baby and birth always gives me a little run for my money. My weights will likely decrease by the end of pregnancy, and I will definitely need more breaks, but I want to continue to stay active as long as my pregnancy allows for it.
  3. Launch another successful boot camp once we leave Colorado. I love running boot camp, and love to see how much women’s views of nutrition and fitness changes throughout the course of boot camp. I cannot wait to be able to launch boot camp again and work people in person, in addition to our amazing online program!
  4. Commit to 1 month of a Crossfit class. I will probably wait until I am post partum for this, since I know my competitive nature will take over and I will put myself at risk of injury going too hard during pregnancy. I have been to a few classes, but I want to try 1 month of classes, to learn new movements and work in a different way. I know I will struggle with straying from my own programming
  5. GET SWIMMING LESSONS! This is the year! I really want to try a triathlon at some point in my life, but I tap out at doggy paddling. I want to get some lessons so I can properly swim, not just survive in water. Maybe I can find a Mommy & Me class, where my munchkin can learn at the same time that I get my own lessons.
  6. Go to prenatal yoga. I know getting in some prenatal yoga will be perfect for my aching joints. I want to be more committed to slowing down and doing more accessory work for injury prevention, and I know that yoga will be good for that. If I can find a class to attend once per week, that would be perfect for my schedule and needs.
  7. Focus on consuming nutritious food. Growing a baby and raising a toddler makes the temptation to eat quick, easy, junk food enticing. I know it is my responsibility to make sure our growing baby is getting all of the nutrients he/she needs to thrive though. I want to focus on eating a lot of fruits and vegetables throughout my pregnancy, as well as quality proteins, healthy fats, and slow digesting carbs. This will not only give me energy throughout my pregnancy and help my baby grow, but it will continue to model for my son how to properly fuel his body to feel energized.

Have you set goals for 2017? Put together not just goals, but steps for getting there. Dream big and plan.

Healthy Pregnancy 2 – 14 Weeks

How far along? 14 Weeks

Baby Size: According to “The Bump” baby is the size of a peach. According to last week’s ultrasound, baby is measuring 10 days larger.

Weight gain: 3.5lbs

Maternity clothes? I’m still rocking leggings and huge sweaters. Spring will be fun when it’s not longer sweater weather and everyone notices this giant bump!

Belly Button in or out? Out

Best moment this week: Starting to feel better and get to run longer distances (I have built up to three miles, let’s not get crazy here).

Miss Anything? Hunger signals. I mostly feel super full until I am dying of starvation. I miss the in-between stage.

Movement: Last week I felt a flutter, but not much this week.

Food cravings: No cravings yet.

Gender: We should find out in about 4 weeks!

Looking forward to: Watching the bump grow! Baby is already growing much differently than our first born did!

I touched upon this on social media the other day, but I think it is worth reiterating. Let’s chat about the reality of exercising while pregnant and the expectation we set for ourselves based on social media, or society in general.

There seem to be polarized view out there, for anyone searching for information, and I land somewhere in the middle of that. I notice that people think you should always be working out hard during your pregnancy, no excuses, or that people quit exercising all together. I also notice many women putting pressure on themselves to be able to do in pregnancy what they were doing pre-pregnancy. It just doesn’t work that way. Some people can keep up with what they were doing pre-pregnancy, but your body is changing so much I would think it is more the exception than the rule. Instead, it is more important to simply do some kind of activity for the health of you and your baby. It does not have to be the same activity or intensity as you were doing pre-pregnancy.

In my 1st trimester I would post to social media that I was running, but was very careful not to post distances or times. I wanted to remain as active as I could, but I did not want to give indication that I was pregnant until we were ready to announce. So even though my runs were shorter and slower, since there was a post that I was running it probably seemed like I was running a ton.

Pre-pregnancy (probably as far back as pre miscarriage) I was comfortably running around 8:00 miles and racing in the 7:40 range for longer distances. Once we got to elevation I had to rebuild my base. Just as I felt I had a good base I began cramping and getting dizzy early in my runs. That’s when I knew I was pregnant.

Now that my body is adjusting a bit to elevation and pregnancy I’m able to build my base again, though it seems to only be on the treadmill. My paces now at sea level are around 10:20 per mile, and here at elevation they are closer to 11:20 per mile. That’s almost 4 minutes slower per mile than pre-pregnancy!

I share this with you as a reminder that many of us have to slow down for pregnancy and that’s fine. There are even some professional runners who stop running in pregnancy because it’s uncomfortable. Don’t force it. Don’t get discouraged by what you see on social media. Instead, focus on what you CAN do. Get in some prenatal yoga or some weight lifting. Whatever your body is responding to. Exercise is important in pregnancy (as OK’d by doctor) but there is no reason to kill yourself over doing what you were pre-pregnancy. It’s not a competition. Exercise is for baby and mom’s health. You don’t have to be superwoman when you’re pregnant. You already are superwoman, because you are literally growing a person.

Holiday Shopping Guide For The Fitness Enthusiast

I may be compensated by affiliate links in this post. I thoroughly test products before writing about them. All opinions are my own.

It is that time of year where the holidays hit and everyone is in a panic for what to get their weird fitness friend (or themselves as the weird fitness enthusiast)! I have put together my favorite products that I have used. I own everything on this list and I recommend all of them simply from personal use. I have one coupon code for you, which is first up! Overall though, I just genuinely love all of this stuff.

For Two Fitness – I have been working out in this shirt the last few weeks and I am OBSESSED. I have even been running in it and it doesn’t ride up on me, which is something I typically struggle with, especially with tank tops. This is the perfect gift for yourself or any pregnant friends! It is a very comfortable material and expands as you expand. They also offered me a discount code, so be sure to use FITKRISTEN for 30% off the entire site + free shipping over $75.

MyBuskins – I know Lu La Roe is all the leggings rage these days, and if that’s your jam that’s cool; however, I LOVE My Buskins so much! They pass the squat test (meaning you can’t see underwear when you bend over/squat) and they are suuuuuper comfortable. I bought two pairs when I was pregnant with my oldest and they expanded nicely with my belly yet I was still able to wear them post partum. I have pretty much been living in them for the last month. They are also only $17.99! These are perfect for pretty much anyone who wears pants.

Fitbit – I am not quite as obsessed with the step count on this as I am with tracking my sleep. With that in mind, it is motivating to see how many steps you take each day, and to reach your step goals. I also like that this has a silent vibrating alarm, which is perfect when I want to wake up early without risk of waking my husband or son. Plus, it’s nice to just know the time of day (and who is calling!) without looking at my phone. Some models also have the heart rate monitor, so if you or someone you are gifting to is a runner and you don’t want to put out the money for a more expensive heart rate tracker the Fitbit would be the way to go.

Garmin – Speaking of perfect gifts for a runner, I love my Garmin. I have the Forerunner 220, which is perfect for my needs. I use it simply to track my pace and distance. It seems to be more accurate than a Fitbit or even Map My Run. You can also save all your runs and sync it to your computer. It tells you your elevation, splits, and most of them come equipped with a heart rate monitor feature. What’s more, if you are gifting to someone who is more than a runner (dual or tri athlete) there are a few versions for that. This means they can track their swims as well! This is a great gift for any serious runner or endurance athlete you know!

Swissball – These are perfect for someone brand new to exercise OR someone who is a seasoned fitness buff. These are also very useful during pregnancy and early postpartum. They are generally inexpensive and can be found on Amazon or at Target, Wal-Mart, or pretty much any store that has a fitness/sports section.

Belly Sports Bra – When I was pregnant with my son running began getting uncomfortable around 32 weeks so I was planning to stop; however, I invested in this and it gave me an extra 5+ weeks of running! I also wore this for my walks as I got near the end of pregnancy and it truly helped reduce pelvic discomfort. If you have an active pregnancy woman to buy for I cannot recommend this product enough. I found it extremely beneficial and I will likely start wearing it soon this time simply because I can already feel more pressure in my pelvis.

Fabletics – I am obsessed with their capris. They basically feel like wearing butter and they don’t ride down even during burpees! I don’t love the shirts, but the capris and long sports bras won me over. They are super comfortable and the few articles of fitness clothing I have found that fit well and don’t ride down. I am having a hard time not sending these to all my fit friends! They have super cute athleisure clothing as well, so if working out isn’t someone’s jam, but being comfortable is, you have found the company.

Quest Bars – Is this too bro? I just think they are a perfect stocking stuffer, or honestly, I would just take a box (or a box of boxes) of them wrapped. I like the taste of these and they are perfect when I am too lazy to put together an afternoon snack or need something to tide me over until a later breakfast with friends. I really don’t think you can go wrong with these as stocking stuffers.

Leg Exercises For Runners

Here’s the deal: when you are a runner, it is important that you keep your whole body strong. You need a strong core to run. You need strong legs to run. You also need strong arms to run, especially longer races. While tallying up the miles is certainly important as you work toward running longer distances, strength training is also important. You need to strength train for injury prevention. You also need to strength train to become a better runner.

You may know most of the basic leg exercises to try: squats, lunges, deadlifts, etc. In this post I will share some of my favorite leg exercises, many of which you may already know. I will also share an example workout with these exercises, as well as a workout from my PR Half Marathon Training Plan. If you are getting ready for a race, in the winter or spring, I encourage you to look into this training plan.

Some of these exercises I will go over may be difficult if you are already in the height of training, especially if you have never done them before. If you find some of these exercises are too high impact with the mileage you are running right now, try incorporating them during your “off” season so that you can strengthen your legs and increase your speed.

Leg Exercises

Kettlebell Lunge – You can do these walking, or alternating. Use a kettlebell (or dumbbell) and pass the weight from your right arm under your left leg while you are in a lunge. Return to your starting position then pass from your left arm through your right leg. Always be sure to pass from opposite arm through opposite leg. I like these because you need to use different stabilizers to complete this motion than you would for a regular lunge.

Overhead Walking Lunges – Again, you can do these alternating or even as static lunges. I love overhead lunges because it puts weight right through the center of your body, keeping your core strong and strengthening your quads. You may feel this in your glutes too, but I love the focus on my center of gravity for this exercise. You can use a barbell, body bar, or plate for these.

Split Squats – I love these! These are one of those love to hate them moves for me. They burn so good. I love these because again, you need to keep your core strong throughout this movement, and it really helps you to isolate one leg at a time, ensuring that your stronger side does not overcompensate for your weaker side. This movement also uses different stabilizers than a lunge or squat will.

Kettlebell Squat – For this one I like to go a little heavier than I would for a kettlebell swing or lunge. The center of gravity of the kettlebell is why I like this exercise so much, but you can always use a dumbbell for this exercise as well. Stand in a squat position, feet hip width, and point your toes out slightly. The slight outward pointing of the toes will help target your inner thighs. Hold the kettlebell and let it drop straight between your legs as you keep your core tight and hips back like you’re sitting over a public toilet.

unnamed-4

Wall Ball/Medicine Ball Toss – These are great for total body and for getting your heart rate up. These will not only strengthen your legs, but will help with your fast twitch muscles, which are important for sprinting (think to the finish line). You want to make sure this is as explosive of a movement as you can make it. Use your legs to explode up and do most of the work. They should propel the rest of your body so it barely feels like your arms are doing much to throw the ball. If you have a wall to squat and throw a medicine ball up against, use it. Otherwise, you can do as I do in the video and just toss it in the air and catch it.

 

Jump Ups – These are a little different from a box jump in that you want to keep your jumps low and quick. These are intended to get your heart rate up, work on your fast twitch muscles, and add endurance to your legs.

Squat Jump/Lunge Jump – I am grouping these two together because the concept is similar. The jumping motion is again designed to work those fast twitch muscles and to help build endurance in your legs. Obviously running is going to be the best thing you can do to build endurance in your legs, but adding these explosive movements will help you become a stronger runner. You can pace these or do them as fast as you can for a short amount of time. I usually go for the latter, working on going until I am about to break form, pushing past discomfort.  This has really helped to strengthen my legs and improved my paces.

Workouts

Here is a workout from my PR Half Marathon Training Plan incorporating a couple of these exercises:

Warm-up: 100 jump rope

Superset 1×3

  • Curtsey Lunge with bar on back – 20
  • Lunge Jumps – 1:00

Superset 2×4

  • Deadlift, 5
  • Jumprope – 100

Superset 3×3

  • Barbell back squats , 15
  • Squat jumps – 1:00

Hip Thrusters with Barbell x3

Here are TWO workouts incorporating some of these moves, to strengthen your running. Remember, if you are already in the height of race training, you may wait until you are between races if these are a higher intensity than what you are used to. Be sure you warm-up before your workout and stretch afterward.

WORKOUT 1

Complete 2-5 rounds depending on your fitness level. Adjust reps as needed until you can work up to these reps.

  • Walking Kettlebell Lunge – 20
  • Squat Jump – 1:00 (work as fast as you can within the minute, resting as needed. Work away from pacing yourself on this)
  • Split Squat – 10 each side
  • Medicine Ball Toss – 1:00
  • Overhead Walking Lunge – 14

WORKOUT 2

Set a timer for 10 minutes and complete as many rounds as possible:

  • Lunge Jump – 10 (total)
  • Kettlebell Squat – 20
  • Medicine Ball Toss – 10
  • Jump Ups – 20

Keep in mind, you do not always have to do circuits to get in a good workout. I like circuits for efficiency (they take less time) and because they work my lungs more than any other workout I do. Let me know if you try any of these workouts!

Long Run Nutrition

While there is definitely some information out there about nutrition and running, I am shocked by how little that information actually amounts to. Just about everyone who has purchased the PR Half Marathon Training Plan has inquired about nutrition during their runs. Often, when it comes to running and nutrition, you have to play around to find what works for you. I ran and PR’d a half marathon with just breakfast. Others need to have 1-2 full gu packets for a half marathon. It all depends on your goals, and what your body is used to. Below are a few of my tips for preparing for longer runs, and what I have found to work and not work.

-I have a big LUNCH the day before my long run. This is so I have the energy the next day for the run, but early enough in the day that everything has worked it’s way through my system… Basically, I don’t want my BM to rear it’s head halfway through my run. Probably TMI, but we are all adults here! If I have the bigger lunch I usually have my BM before my run at the latest (but usually at night).

-I always drink an electrolyte drink the night before my run (I like the Nuun tablets that I can add to my water, but play around and see what works for you) then I also have a Nuun tablet in cold water AFTER my run. It took me a long time to implement the electrolyte water the night before, but I have noticed a significant difference, especially in the heat.

-The general rule of thumb you will find is to ingest about 50g of carbs for every hour you run. A nutritionist told me that you do not need to change how you eat for anything under 6 miles. This means your calorie intake for the day does not need to change if your mileage is below six. Therefore, let’s say you ran 10 miles in an hour and a half – you probably want an extra 50g of carbs. This is a little under one cup of oats. If you are newer to running, you may need to increase calories a little for less than six miles, but there’s no need to go crazy. A four-mile run will never warrant a pint of ice cream, no matter how new your body is to that mileage.

-Remember that everyone is different so you will have to play around with a few things before you find what works for you. If eating a full cup of oatmeal makes you sick, don’t force it. I usually do long runs on Saturday, but my body does not digest well until Sunday. So I have extra on Friday to prepare for my run, and eat a little more Sunday because that is when I feel hungry.

-I also recommend protein in your post run meal. My favorite things to eat after my long runs are usually eggs, bacon, spinach and mushrooms, and an ezekiel english muffin. This was a decent amount of protein as well as slow digesting carbs to replenish my depleted nutrients. I also like oatmeal and protein powder, but I usually eat oatmeal before my long run so it’s rare that I would have oatmeal twice in one day.

-During my first 1/2 marathon training, I realized that if I ate too soon after my run I would basically flush everything out. I learned to slowly nibble on a banana after my run then eat my meal about 30-60 minutes later. This helped me retain my food vs rushing to the toilet as soon as I consumed it.

-Under six miles, I can run on an empty stomach (not recommended, just being honest). Once I got serious about my running and performance, I began eating a bowl of oatmeal or oat bran (if you are new to oat bran, I would eat it on non-running days first – it has the ability to clean out your insides pretty quickly!) about an hour before my run. Usually I would add peanut butter, and/or a banana. It is really going to be dependent on what your body uses for energy. Fats and carbs are your body’s main energy sources, but some people struggle with fats as an energy source since we live in a low-fat society. Play around and see what works for you.

unnamed-Everyone is different during runs. I was a dumb-dumb and didn’t start fueling during runs until I marathon trained. That means I ran three half marathons on just my breakfast! You may consider not doing this because it’s silly. For a half marathon you may try 1/2 gu around 5-6 miles then the other half between mile 10-12. Again, this is something you have to play with. The idea is to have your serving BEFORE your muscles start aching. It took me a lot of trial and error to figure out what worked for me. You may not use Gu either, there are TONS of other energy products out there, so play with what works for you. I liked Gu, my SIL swears by the energy jelly beans, and still others love the honey stingers. There are a lot of options.

I know I mentioned poop about four times in this, but it is just a reality of running (and being human…). What have you found works best for you when it comes to nutrition and running?

What I Am Loving Right Now

I wanted to do a round-up of things I a loving right now. I know this will end up being one day too early as I just ordered a bunch of stuff from Fabletics and I am hoping I love those too. They are scheduled to arrive tonight, so I can just do a separate post on that order and how I liked it! ANYWAY, here is what I am loving RIGHT NOW:

unnamed-1Colorado – Duh! This place is beautiful. We live right near a lake and there are some beautiful hiking trails near it. Running is also fun and challenging right now because I am adjusting to altitude AND there are actually hills here to run! We have already found so much to do, and cannot wait to explore a ton over the next year. We definitely plan on hiking a good amount while we are here and we want to get down to the Red Rock Amphitheater a few times. There is a ton here for kids to do so my little guy and I have been exploring the Children’s Museums and libraries. I am also debating signing up for some shorter races, but my running is so pathetic right now, I want to wait until I feel like myself again.

unnamedArctic Zero – I am not a huge sweets person, so if you need something REALLY rich to satisfy your cravings, this might not be for you. Every once in a while I crave something sweet, and it is usually because I have not been consuming enough carbs, I tried this yesterday and it hit the spot. I wanted some ice cream, but honestly I always feel a bit queasy after eating real ice cream, because I don’t usually stop when I am full. I also, don’t really like frozen yogurt. This was perfect for me.

Bai – I try to limit my caffeine to one serving per day. With our move and our little guy being sick right now, some days I am not sure I will even make it until noon. I love these Bai dirnks because they are tasty, they are not super sugary, and they have a kick of caffeine in them

unnamed-7Heavier Weights – After marathon training, I had lost some of my upper body strength. I was still lifting throughout training, but it was different than our Fitness With Kristen workouts. Now that I have been back at them for a few months and we are in a more stable environment, my strength is coming back and I am able to lift heavier weights! It makes me really excited to feel strong again.

IMG_6698PR Half Marathon Training Plan – I know this is a bit of a shameless plug here, but I am just so excited to have this plan put together. I tracked everything I did during my half marathon, where I set a TEN MINUTE PR. I put everything I did, as well as tons of resources, together in this plan for you guys. It has already been so popular, which is so exciting! Fall/Winter races are coming up so this 10-week plan is worth looking into. It is as detailed of a plan as you can get without hiring someone to actually personalize it!

I am really loving all of this stuff right now! Let me know if you try any of these things, and what you are loving right now.