Fast and Fun 20 x 20s

I can't say enough great things about interval running.

If you're not doing them already TODAY is the day to hop on the interval fun train! 

HERE'S WHY INTERVAL RUNNING ROCKS:

1. In half the time you get twice the workout of your average jogger.

2. Intervals teach your body to move better, stand taller, work at your maximum efficiency. My posture improved after building intervals into my routine.

3. EPOC (exercise post oxygen consumption):

Basically in a nutshell this chart describes how interval training essentially "tricks" your body into thinking it's working harder and longer than it actually is. SO COOL! Right? When you are full-on sprinting your body takes on an "oxygen deficit" you're breathing hard and working hard to get air in. Once you stop your sprint it takes awhile for your lungs to catch up with your muscles. You create an "oxygen debt" which tricks your body into thinking that it is still working out hard even during your rest. As you can see in the chart above this doesn't just last for 30 seconds it can actually last up to 20 minutes post your interval workout. What does it mean? Your body is still working – burning calories – LONG after your workout is over. So so so cool. 

4. It makes you a faster runner. When I first started really getting serious with interval training in university my max max max was a 8.0 mph … now that's what I jog at! 

20 x 20s Workout

The set up is super simple. All you will need is a watch or a phone with a timer on it. I love the app called simple interval timer (SIT) on the iphone. Warm-up for 5 minutes and then start into the intervals. 

20 seconds run HARD

20 seconds run easy

Repeat this pattern 20 times. 

The key to this workout is there needs to be a DISTINCT difference between your on and your off phase. Intervals will only work if they push you out of your comfort zone. The 20 seconds on should feel like you want to die at the end of every interval.

This is a great fun workout to do with a buddy!

Good luck! Happy running!

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SL10K Race Recap

My favourite race of the year by far is the Sporting Life 10k.

I love the course, the downhill grade, the energy, and supporting Camp Ooch, a camp for kids with cancer. So awesome. 

My goal this year was to run a sub 40 time. In previous years I have run the race in 42 and 41 minutes so it was a lofty reach goal but if I trained properly it could have been well within reach. I ran about 1-3x a week leading up to the event. I knew going into race morning that my preparation was nowhere near where it needed to be. It's not that I don't like running, I just find it a little lonely and I'd rather do a super fun workout class than go for a run. I knew that getting under 40 minutes on race day would be a miracle! My new goal was to run and have fun and maybe walk out of there with a personal best. 

I started the race with Eddie, my sister's boyfriend and a great running buddy of mine. We went out at a blistering pace finishing our first km in 3:36 - way too fast! It is hard not to get caught up in the energy of the start! Usually I struggle around the 8 km marker in a 10k but this year I started to DIE around the 3 km. I kept running but I just wanted to roll over and jump out of the race. The feeling of 100s of runners swallowing you up is never pleasant! I pushed through and managed to find my stride around the 1/2 way 5 km marker. Last year I went through the 5 in 19:40, this year I was 22:20. I knew then and there that my chances of doing anything of huge significance for me were gone. But it was kind of nice to relax and enjoy a bit of the race. I knew that a few of my friends were trying to run around the 45-50 marker so maybe I'd see them. 

Sure enough at the 6 km marker I ran into my friend Emily. She told me that her goal was to PB and get anywhere around 46 minutes. It was go time, I gave her a few pointers to focus on but mainly I just steadied the pace and ran right beside her. We crossed the line in 45:36 - it was awesome. She is one tough cookie and I was so proud of her! Emily was completely spent at the finish line and ran a great race! It was nice to know that out of my bad came her great. A nice reminder that it is often better to give than it is to achieve. 

 At the end of the race we are all winners supporting kids with cancer at camp. I love this race, it's always a great Toronto highlight for me. Congratulations to all the runners at yesterday's race - especially the moms! Looking forward to next year already!

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Spring 10km Training

This is IT.

Once and for all I am going to crush the sub 40 marker this year at the Sporting Life 10 km on May 10.

How am I going to do that?

1. It's a super fast course ... thank GOD!
I LOVE the vibrancy of this event. It is a great showcase for the city and every single year I have done this run I am proud to be a Torontonian! 

2. If you can't beat them ... join them.
Last year I ran the race with Eddie, my sister's super fit boyfriend. We paced each other through the 8 km mark but then I ran out of gas and Eddie took off! I was proud of him, but this year I'm going to keep up! Eddie and I have planned to meet once a week to workout together - we are going to mix in intervals and run on the course as much as possible before the big day.

3. Longer runs. I will be the first person to tell you I don't LOVE running. I love it when running is over but the actual act isn't my favourite, it's ok, I don't hate it but would I rather be doing something more fun like trying a one-armed handstand - yes! So usually I don't run for more than 30 minutes MAX. I mix in a lot of interval training but I rarely do any "long runs". Since I crashed at the 8 km marker last year, and the year before I need to build up my endurance and speed here. To combat this I will be doing two "long" 10km + runs a week. One of those two I will build intervals in starting at the 8 km marker and going from there.

4. Running outside. I am a total weather baby and rely a lot on treadmills. For general fitness this is OK but not if you're training to race and run fast. A lot of experts will tell you that you're actually building up a lot of the wrong muscles and underutilizing your hamstrings big time. This is a problem because your legs don't propel you forward fast enough. 
So hie ho hie ho it's outside I go.

5. Using Map My Run app. I love this simple app - it tracks distance, time and pace. Perfect. It will tell you every 2 km or so your split time and average pace. It is very helpful for pushing myself on regular runs.

6. CRUSH IT. This is it. I am going to get sub 40 this year ... 3 x a charm! 

Are you guys running any spring races?! 

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Get Outside

Spring has SPRUNG!!!

And I could not be more excited!

I took a bit of a hiatus from running over the winter months. This year I did one treadmill speed workout a week and that was it for running, in past winters I ran almost everyday indoors on a treadmill. Since we moved into a new building without a treadmill I have focused my workouts more on strength and core training. I have loved the results from mixing it up but I must say I can't wait to get back out on the road again.

If you're planning on hitting the pavement for the first time in months here are a few tips (for you and for me!)

Increase your mileage by no more than 15% per week

The beginning of any training program is the most likely time you will get an injury! Take it easy here. I started with a 5 km run and took a day off, I'll build up from there. For your first few runs try to keep them under 30 minutes. From there if you are feeling great add on an extra run, or an extra 10-15 minutes every time!

Foam roll!

Endurance athletes should make the roller their best friends. It will save your knees and hips BIG time. After your runs commit to at least 10 minutes of rub down time.

Bring a friend 

:: My very first (and a favourite) running buddy - my Dad! ::

Chatting your way through a casual jog could be just the thing to get you kick started again! The run will feel 10x better and it is so much healthier than meeting for food all the time. Some of my best talks come from runs with friends. I like to have a few kinds of running buddies - fast friends who will push me, and slowish friends to have fun with and push them. It is nice to have a few to mix up!

Gear up

I like to have a pair of shoes that I only wear for outdoor workouts. If your shoes are more than a year old or have more than 500 miles on them it is probably time to switch them up!

Sign up

I love having a goal to motivate my run workouts. Sign-up for a spring 10k or half marathon to keep you motivated ... even if the snow does come back! It is important to train outside for races because it will help mimic the conditions on race day. A treadmill uses slightly different muscles than road running. The more you train on the road the better prepared you will also be to mentally push yourself on race day! 
I will be running the Sporting Life 10k again this year! My goal is to have fun and run fast!! I would LOVE to break 40 minutes ... lofty goal but I will get there!

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Wintery Run Layering 101

I'll be the first to admit it right here right now this post is not based on much experience.

I am a three season runner through and through. Kudos to you tough kids that can handle the sub freezing temperatures. I have tried, and tried and come to realize I am just not cut out for real winter running. That said I do know a thing or two about what I would wear if I woke up one day and decided to be just crazy. I will say there is something pretty magical about running in a snowfall when nobody else is around. 

Here's my guide on what to wear when the weather gets on the down LOW:

0°C

:: run with me headband (on sale), frosty run gloves, inspire tight ii, base runner 1/2 zip ::

  • Start with warm socks that cover your ankles - no skin exposed here!
  • A headband - I like these better than a hat because it allows your head to breathe more haha!
  • Just one pair of tights is perfect for this temperature
  • A sports bar
  • A base layer - I really love the swiftly for this
  • A over layer - something you can take off mid run that will keep you warm for the first half
  • Gloves - I like that these snap together - I am forever misplacing my glove pairs, this solves that problem!

- 10°C

:: add + fluffed up vest ::

  • Start with warm socks that cover your ankles - no skin exposed here!
  • One or two pairs of tights - I like to buy some of my spandex a size up so that I have the option to layer it on really cold days
  • A sports bar
  • A headband
  • A base layer - I really love the swiftly for this
  • A over layer - something you can take off mid run that will keep you warm for the first half
  • A vest - I LOVE a good vest. This one is particularly great because it has a reflective zipper layer so if you're running at night cars can see you
  • Gloves 

- 20°C

:: add + feelin' frosty softshell jacket ::

First of all - are you CRAZY?! There's still time to change your mind - here, a great treadmill challenge for you!! Ok, no still going outside - fine! Here's what I would wear if I was crazy enough to come with you. Ok fine, I'll come.

  • Start with warm socks that cover your ankles - no skin exposed here!
  • A headband OR a hat
  • two pairs of tights - I like to buy some of my spandex a size up so that I have the option to layer it on really cold days
  • A sports bar
  • A base layer - I really love the swiftly for this
  • A over layer - something you can take off mid run that will keep you warm for the first half
  • A vest - I LOVE a good vest. This one is particularly great because it has a reflective zipper layer so if you're running at night cars can see you
  • A jacket - something with vents is perfect for when you heat up
  • Gloves 
  • Mittens to wear over the gloves
  • If it's snowing too then I'd also bring a pair of grips

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Resolutions Work

Happy new year! 

We arrived home from our tropical "donkersmoon" yesterday morning at 4 am. It was an amazing week of sun and fun but at the end of the day there's really no place like home. And as much as the honeymoon was wonderful - cheesy but true - everyday feels like that with Matt. 

It seems like it's the popular thing to say these days that we don't believe in new years resolutions. And I agree that the get down on yourself variety aren't productive and are actually a generally destructive practice but I do believe in the good kind.

Every single day we have choices that can alter our lives for ever so why not encourage a fresh start when everyone else is feeling it too?! There's a power in that.  

My 2008 New Years resolution lead me directly to Matt. After a string of not so great relationship choices I made a resolution to only attract men into my life who were truly looking for real love with good intentions. 13 days later my future husband sat down beside me at a bar. Resolutions work!

My resolution this year is to go for it.

I often find it hard to promote myself - I LOVE what I do and Bod Squad brings me so much joy but at the same time I still find it difficult to strike a balance between being pushy and just being enthusiastic. I have a default tendency to be shy about my business - I think it's a pretty common trait among most young female entrepreneurs.  

I've decided to stand up for myself more than ever this year and be BOLD! What's the worst thing that could happen? If I pitch my classes and someone doesn't come?! Well then I'm no worse off in the long run!

On that note - today marks the start of a super exciting Bod Squad leap. I've introduced more packages and doubled my classes. Ekk! If you're in the Toronto area I'd love to see you there

2015 the year of bold requests. 


Treadmill Boredom Buster!

I love the treadmill - it's fast, efficient and I can control every step! I like zoning out on it and listening to music for longer runs but let's face it ... running in the same spot can get boring. Here's a great work out that will have you hoping between the floor and the machine. 

SET ONE:
5 minutes at a 6.0 mph

1 minute push-ups
1 minute jump squats
1 minute jump lunges
1 minute jumping jacks
1 minute burpees

SET TWO:
4 minutes at a 7.0 mph

1 minute jump squats
1 minute jump lunges
1 minute jumping jacks
1 minute burpees

SET THREE:
3 minutes at a 8.0 mph


1 minute jump lunges
1 minute jumping jacks
1 minute burpeesSET FOUR:
2 minutes at a 9.0 mph


1 minute jumping jacks
1 minute burpees

SET FIVE:
1 minute at a 10.0 mph

1 minute burpees

* These speeds are set to an intermediate runner level - adjust as needed ... the idea is you're trying to get faster every round!

Hill Treadmill Tabata

It's about that time of year again when I move 90% of my runs indoors.

On treadmills I'm ALLLL about efficiency. I like to get in and off in as little time as possible getting the most bang for my workout buck possible. This workout combines three really effective training tools: speed, hills and tabata. In less than 20 minutes you will absolutely feel the burn!

The Workout

Warm-up for 5 minutes at a 5.5 - 7.5 mph at 0 incline. 

SET ONE:
Set incline to 5% and speed at 7.5 - 10.0 mph, run a tabata here - 20 second on, 10 seconds off stepping on either side of the treadmill for the rest. Repeat 8x for a total of 4 minutes at this speed including rest.

SET TWO:
Set incline to 10% and try to keep speed within .5 mph of the first set. Run a tabata here - 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off, stepping on either side of the treadmill to rest. Repeat for 8x for a total of 4 minutes at this speed and incline.

SET THREE:
Set incline to 15% and again try to only drop from your starting speed by 1.0 mph. Run a tabata here - 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off, stepping on either side of the treadmill to rest. Repeat for 8x for a total of 4 minutes at this speed and incline.

Total workout time with warm-up: 17 minutes

After this workout you could try this awesome core Pilates inspired workout here:

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Casa Loma Stairs Run

What an exciting weekend for runners in Toronto!

The Scotiabank Marathon, half and 5k happened just yesterday! I went to cheer on my sister in law Amie who ran her first half in an impressive 2:01! At the finish area I bumped into my superstar running friend Vicky who WON the 5km in 17:17!! YAYA fast friends!! It was just the inspiration I needed to head into to a great week of workouts.

One of my favourite (and least favourite) things to do is run stairs. In the wintertime I like to run the 31 flights of stairs in my condo 4-5x … now that's when I'm feeling really reckless haha!! 

:: My favourite outdoor stairs in Toronto are the ravine stairs at Yonge just south of Davisville -  Bod Squad this summer! ::

My second favourite Toronto steps are at Casa Loma. They are a bit shorter but the view of the city and the castle is pretty spectacular. 

My best time is 28 seconds. I'll run this case 10x in a workout. I love it here because it is very busy with other runners and often I find someone to race up them for a few rounds! 

What to do If Stairs are New!

Running up stairs is SO good for you. It helps with encouraging knee drive and they will absolutely elevate your heart rate and help you on future hill runs! I love to suggest hills or stair training to my clients who are just starting to get involved with running intervals because they are a sure bet way to challenge your body. There are no break buttons on the stairs!

For your first stairs workout make sure you get a good warm-up of at least 5-10 minutes of flat ground running. When you get to the stairs make sure you do some dynamic stretches – for ideas check this out. No matter how long the stairs actually are for the first time try to go for time and not for distance. I like to start with 20 seconds "on" then walk down. See how far you can make it up! If you can get through 8 rounds of 20 second bursts then that is awesome! The next time try to increase to 30 seconds with 8 rounds. Then build up to the full length of the stairs.

Good luck! These are SO much better with a workout buddy! Have a friend meet you at the stairs if you can – even a fluffy friend is a great motivator on these. 

Hill Run Playlist

I hate hills.

And therefore love them at the same time.

When I want a quick, killer interval workout I look no further then the hill around the corner.

I love running Milkman's Lane hill in Toronto. It's big, it's bad, it's beautiful. My challenge is to do as many repeats as I can under 90 seconds each. I stop when my time goes over 100 seconds. So far this summer I've been able to do seven repeats – my goal is 10.

Note: if you're new to interval running hills are the PERFECT place to start. I like them because they teach you to run strong and even if you slow down the hill never goes away, a guaranteed great workout. 

During normal running I don't listen to music that often but for hills I find a little boost goes a LONG way. Here's what is on my playlist right now:

Hill Playlist

1. Pop Love Mash-up: Robin Skouteris

2. Come With Me Now: Kongos

3. Danza Kuduro: Don Omar

4. Do What You Want With My Body: Lady Gaga ft. R-Kelly

5. Crooked Smile: J Cole

6. Young Girls: Bruno Mars

7. Waka Waka: Shakira

8. Dancing On My Own: Robyn

9. Jump: Madonna

10. If You Kiss Jesus: Robin Skouteris

Race Day Recap

The Sporting Life 10k this year was absolutely incredible.

I couldn't have picked a more perfect race day – +10 and sunny. So beautiful!

My sister's boyfriend Eddie and I decided to run the race together, we've run a lot before at the cottage and we are at pretty similar paces. Our reach goal was to run sub 40 but realistically Eddie wanted a PB of under 44 minutes and I wanted to PB under 42:21. 

Eddie picked me up bright and early with a Car2Go (cutest little cars!) and then we headed up to the start line. After a quick stop at Starbucks we were on a quick 10 minute warm-up run followed by some strides. Eddie went off to find a washroom meanwhile I was interviewed by CP24! Pretty cool and they were really nice – apparently it was on TV?! Great!

We piled into our coral and minutes later we were off to the races. 

The trick with this course is the first 5 km you can really FLY. Like seriously it's ALL downhill and the energy is just so awesome it feels like you're floating. I have learned from past runs it is critical to pace yourself on this part of the course. We did great and came through the line at 20:07. GREAT!

Then came a few super small uphills and suddenly I was being coached by this random nice lady. She told me to shorten my stride and keep my arms more relaxed. It was funny that I was the only person I could see that she was doing this too but I appreciated the help and it kind of felt like she was my mom! For those of you know are at Bod Squad if you end up with my mom beside you she will start to train you, it's just what she does and I think it's hilarious!! Thanks coach Cathy!

On went the run and JUST like last year I lost it around the 7 km – 9 km mark. Bah hum bug. I had a slight cramp and decided to let Eddie go ahead. I've learned that this is where I need to improve my training runs. Typically I run around 8 km (or 45 ish casual minutes) so it's no wonder I seem to always lose steam around here, my body is programmed to stop! I had a great skype session yesterday with my friend and runner superstar Sarah Tory and next year she is going to help me design an actual training plan so that I can crush this thing.

Eddie ran in with a time of 41:10 – awesome!! I finished in 42 flat. Happy – yes, satisfied – no. 

If you're listening to this Sporting Life I WISH you did a fall race also, it would be awesome to actually get a full season of summer running in and then try the race! I know what I need to do now for next year and I'm ready to tackle it!!

All in all a fantastic day for an amazing cause and I LOVE that 2.2 million dollars were raised for Camp Ooch. 

The Long Run Workout

Most of my training runs and workout are 30-40 minutes maximum.

For the most part for my body and training goals that has been ideal. In general I have found that maximal effort in less time in general is FAR better for your body than moderate effort over a long period of time. That said it is always good to keep your body guessing. We react to change more than anything. Even crossfit has a 10 mile run WOD!!

Today my challenge is to go the extra distance. Try to run for twice as long as you normally would and see what happens! If you normally go for 20 minutes try 40 today, if you're 45 see what happens with 1 hour and 15 minutes. 

Some long run tips:

  • Running buddies are MADE for the long run, if you can try to grab a friend to chat with along the way!
  • Long runs aren't about making PBs – take it slow and steady
  • Hydration is KEY! Make sure you're taking in a lot of water before, during (if you can) and after! At least 1L for every 30 minutes run
  • Plan your route beforehand – map my run is in my top 10 websites. I use it almost everyday. Great tool for planning routes and knowing exactly what you're in for!
  • Have fun! Listen to music, talk, explore a new hood! You've got the time enjoy it!!

Sporting Life 10k Goals

The Sporting Life 10k was the very first road race I ever did. 

:: Me with Sarah Tory (left) that time we biked from Paris to Rome ::

I ran it eleven (ek!) years ago with my friend Sarah Tory. We were 14 and wide-eyed! I called Sarah on a Wednesday and on the Sunday we went for the race. I did absolutely nothing to prepare – except I bought new running shoes! We took the subway to the start and I remember thinking I had no idea how long 10 km actually was! We got to the start and took off. Sarah – built like a gazelle, set the pace with me BARELY hanging on. It was painfully hard but somehow we managed to cross the line with a time of 50:25. Originally I thought it would probably take us around double that so we were both pretty happy with the result! I remember that day well because it was also the very first time I'd ever been to Starbucks – I felt pretty cool sipping my soy latte post race!

Since my debut I've run Sporting Life three times, once about five years ago, then with a client who absolutely blew me away, and again last year. My goal last year was to break the 40 minute mark. Pretty gutsy seeing as though my previous personal best was around 44 minutes. Because the run course is all downhill it is the best place to set a goal like that. In order to achieve this I incorporated more interval training into my routine. My runs were short (no longer than 30 minutes) but hard. I didn't do really any long runs at all.

When race day came I felt ready to rocket. I arrived 30 minutes early to warm-up - something I've never done before for that kind of race! The gun sounded and I along with 10,000 other runners took off!! The first 5 km went by in no time. I crossed the halfway line in a perfect 19:40. I felt pretty good and was hopeful that I could hang on for the last half. That was until around the 7.5 km – 8.5 km mark where I lost it. I got a cramp and felt like the wind had been knocked straight from my sails. BRUTAL. Every single step was counted. Er.

I crossed the line at 41:50, happy that I'd PBed by over 2 minutes but also upset that I didn't hit my goal.

I learned a lot from last year and this year I think I'm ready to really crush it.

What I did right:

1. I went out hard. When you're going for a sub 40 time you have to run FAST. Like Ryan Gosling with puppies at the finish line fast. I had a perfect start to the race and I wouldn't change a thing.

2. I had a great warm-up. I did a 10 minute jog to warm-up and then I did some dynamic mobility exercises that I learned from my track days + a few quick sprints (10 seconds ish x 10) called strides. I was ready at the start and the warm-up wasn't too much.

3. I trained for it. If you're running this or any 10 km give yourself at least two months to prep – especially if you haven't really run all winter!

4. I ran my own race. It is fine to start with friends but if you're going for a time you're best to do it on your own or with someone who is faster than you. You can't feel bad for leaving someone halfway through a race.

5. My outfit. Ok this sounds superficial but seriously the wrong outfit can ruin a race – if you're constantly pulling your shorts down, if your arms start to chafe you're not going to have a good time or time! I wore the technical race shirt provided and tights only – no sweater. It was perfect. I will remember to underdress this year, you will warm-up very quickly.

Here's what I didn't do that I'm doing for sure starting right now:

1. Run faster, longer. The 7-9 km mark is really where a race is won or lost in a 10k. Most people can have a pretty great start and final km but the 7-9 km is where you really show your fitness. It's hard to keep that kind of speed up over a distance. My interval runs are typically only 20 minute sessions but I will gradually up them in both volume and interval time. Starting this week I will included some kilometer repeats in my twice weekly speed workouts. I will also start to add in some long runs outside (45-60 minutes).

2. Run outside. Treadmill running is awesome during the winter but it doesn't train your muscles to move optimally for racing. On a treadmill your body is pushed by the belt, on the ground you have to push your body. Outdoor running builds different muscles (and character!). Starting now I will be doing 90% of my running outside.

3. Eat well. This time last year I remember still having a little bit of an extra winter tire and in general my nutrition was far from optimal. When you're not fuelling your body right for your workouts it really shows. And come race day when you're carrying that extra tire over 10 km every glass of wine, brownie, pizza slice comes with you too! I'm not dieting but I am starting to make healthier food choices – veggies first!

4. Run with friends. It feels great to meet up with friends for a workout! You kill two birds and I usually go for coffee after.

5. Have fun! Really at the end of the day it's important to keep in mind this race is for an amazing cause and it's just one day. I know I'm in better shape than I've ever been and I'm looking forward to the challenge but I won't be heartbroken if I'm a little over my goal … as long as I'm faster than everyone else in my family I'll be ok with it!!!! 

Want to run with me Bod Squad?! Let me know, we are putting a team together!

Run #5kaday Round Two Challenge!

It's backkkk!! This week marks another run #5kaday challenge! 

:: You! Go run, I'll stay here and watch! ::

One of the hardest parts of working out is just getting yourself in the door. I know I will be 1000% more likely to actually show up for a workout if I'm going to a class or if I have a specific goal for the day. One of the biggest barriers to a workout is the misconception that you need to be there for an hour to actually have it count for something. So not true! My workouts rarely go over 45 minutes long but not a second is wasted. 

Usually 5 km takes me around 20-25 minutes but this challenge worked really well for me last month because it got me in the door. I did mini circuit workouts after each run and had a solid week of workouts. 

Good luck with the challenge and remember to follow along with me using the hashtag #proof #bodsquadto! Looking forward to crushing this together!

Intervals for Beginners

Welcome to this week's workout!

If you are new to interval running it can certainly seem a little overwhelming at first, especially if you are running on a treadmill – hold on!!! 

The number one thing to know is it is all about confidence. The faster you feel usually translates into your speed on the machine. Believe you can and you will! When I first started running I was proud of myself for running at a 5.8 mph top speed, now I've pushed it to 14.0 mph! It takes time but this workout works. Interval running changed my body and it also totally strengthened my mind when it comes to all forms of workouts. I love it. It is part of my rountine at least twice a week and dare I say it but if I had to pick a favourite form of exercise this would absolutely be number one.

Why Interval Running ROCKS:

1. In half the time you get twice the workout of your average gym counter part.

2. It teaches your body to move better, stand taller, work at your maximum efficiency. 

3. EPOC (exercise post oxygen consumption):

Basically in a nutshell what this chart describes how interval training essentially "tricks" your body into thinking it's working harder and longer than it actually is. This is how interval running works to get you faster beyond steady state training! SO COOL! Right? When you are full-on sprinting your body takes on an "oxygen deficit" you're breathing hard and working hard to get air in. Once you stop your sprint it takes awhile for your lungs to catch up with your muscles. You create an "oxygen debt" which tricks your body into thinking that it is still working out hard for awhile. As you can see in the chart above this doesn't just last for 30 seconds it can actually last up to 20 minutes post your interval workout. What does it mean? Your body is still working – burning calories – LONG after your workout is over. So so so cool. Sorry for being a massive kin nerd right there. 

4. It makes you a faster runner. When I first started really getting serious with interval training in university my max max max was a 9.0 mph … now that's what I jog at! 

Where to Begin:

The number one thing to learn to do is how to go FAST. 

Most beginners make the mistake of not going nearly as fast as they can on their "on" phase of their interval and going far too fast on the "off" phase of their interval. There should be a distinct difference between your work and rest phase. If you think adding 0.5 mph on to your baseline speed is a sprint then you've got it all wrong! 

First Workout:

Warm-up on a treadmill at a slow jog – at least 4.5 mph for five to ten minutes. 

Then do some dynamic stretches and hop back on!

Aim for just five one minute intervals. These should be no lower than a 7.5 mph and ideally around 8.0 – 9.0 mph. Tell yourself to relax and breathe. You are not going to fall off the treadmill – running is a natural linear motion. Just keep moving forward. You will be fine.

Rest for at least one minute and up to a maximum of two minutes at a slow walk (3.0 – 3.5 mph). Recover. 

Each week try to add at least one interval onto your total. After one month try to increase your interval time to 2 minutes on, 1 minute off x 5. 

Interval running is the boom digity. If you want to change your body for the better this is seriously the workout for you!

Out to In Workout

Well as much as I hate to admit it the time has come to lace up and head in.

:: I love running on woodway treadmills, it took some getting used to but they really feel better on my joints ::

This past summer I really enjoyed doing track workouts outdoors. I learned that it actually does make you faster training outside, you build different muscles when you have to push yourself forward on a run vs. just relaxing back on a treadmill. I am looking forward to taking my new speed inside.

I have recently discovered woodway brand treadmills. At first I thought they were a little gimmicky but now I love their soft tread surface. I use the treadmills at Fuel Training Club

One of my new favourite workouts incorporates sprint intervals with bodyweight exercises.

The Workout:

5 minutes warm-up at a 7.0 – 8.0

20 push-ups
20 burpees with push-up
20 jump lunges
20 jump squats

2 minutes on the treadmill at a 11.0 – 13.0

Repeat five times!

Cool down with some stretches on my reformer and that's one tough workout in under 30 minutes!

I Can't Run So I Can't Lose Weight ...

Us runners are the WORST when it comes to exercise exclusivity.

How do I know this? Because I totally was you and sometimes still am you.

I think runners are the funniest breed of athletes because all we ever want to do is go for a run. Ask a runner to come to the gym with you and she/he will probably STILL go for a run that day. 

And it is true, in terms of cardio exercise running is the absolute king, bar none. On a 60 minute run you will burn 3x more calories than you would on a 60 minute bike ride. The problem though is it is WAY easier to eat 500 calories than it is to burn them. And when you've got minimal muscular structure to keep your metabolism going thoughout the day you're not going to have much luck with the just running for weight loss thing. 

People don't believe me when I say that when I ran a marathon seven years ago I was 20 lbs bigger than I am today. That's because I ran like a turtle – slow and steady – but I ate like a trucker all day long and then most of the night. Everyone says during marathon training you can really eat whatever you want and I REALLY took that to heart. Using running as a weight control strategy is not effective, I've tried it and then re-tried it and it just doesn't work the way eating clean does.

When a runner can't run we immediately feel like we are bound to gain 15 lbs overnight. The truth is that's just not true. Food is the number one reason why we can't lose weight. Actually food is the # 1,2,3,4,5,6 … etc. reason. Not being able to run is probably around #80 for why you might pack on the pounds.

Think of it this way, for the average runner who weighs around 150 lbs and runs for 30 minutes you're probably only burning around 400 calories. Have a half bottle of wine or a creme egg mcflurry and you're back at ground 0… mmm cream egg mcflurry, sorry lost my train of thought there!

Over the winter I always gain a little extra cushion. This past polar vortex it was around 8 lbs and I don't get bugged but it at all. It allowed me to re-confirm that I unfortunately am not the exception, I can't eat a tub of ice cream and go for a run and expect them to cancel each other out. Bah hum bug! Exercise and weight make very little difference for me. I've worked out more than ever this past winter, I feel more fit than ever but the truth remains you still cannot out run a bad diet. But believe me I've tried!

The point here is for runners in order to maximize your fitness you must workout and cross train. It took me YEARS to learn this. Weights aren't scary your bum gets bulky from too much bread and butter not from 15 lbs dumbbells. If you're a runner and you can't run right now don't stress out about it. The stress will just make you overeat and honestly sometimes it is a good thing to give your body a break. Take the time to try something else out, maybe a Pilates or a dance class? Control your intake and use the outtake as a fun activity and not a chore.

Monday Runday

I'm not a huge fan of doing the same workout twice. But at the same time I love treadmill running. I don't find it boring because I do speed-work on it, watch tv shows, listen to music and love life for never more than 30 minutes. 

:: Treadmill running rocks! Wearing my Shock Absorber bra ::

On the advice of much faster runners I took some time off the treadmill to focus on building up speed for summer races and to re-learn how to make myself push hard and not just to sit back and coast on a machine. 

When I first started treadmill running years ago I always ran the exact same speed 5.8 mph for 45 minutes. I hated it then and watched every second tick by. Now I never run the same workout inside. Over years of training I'm proud to say that yesterday I built up to this workout:

Run Tempo Workout

0 – 10 minutes at 8.0

10 – 20 minutes at 8.5

20 – 29 minutes at 9.0

29 – 30 minutes at 10.0

DONE!

If you told me when I first started running that I would run at a 9.0 for ten minutes I would have thought you were joking. My first interval workout I ever did (and probably still my favourite) was 2 minutes at a 9.0, 1 minute at a 3.0 x 5. That two minute interval used to kill me. 

Yesterday I re-learned the value of interval training for running. The workout was a struggle to get to but once I started running I was flying. Love that!

Don't feel like you need to start running full tilt at a 9.0 now or nothing! It will take years to build up this kind of speed and you will get there! Challenge your pace, run a full mile per hour faster today for just 10 minutes in your run and see how that feels. You'll never be better without changing it up! The other awesome thing about a treadmill is if you're going too fast you can press stop – I've never had to do that but it does take time to psychologically get used to moving that quickly on a treadmill but once I relaxed I found I was much faster. 

Happy running! 

Run Club at lululemon Workout

lululemon is an incredible company to work with. I LOVE the people I've met there, the workouts I've been exposed to and the amazing opportunities they have afforded me. Love love love. One of the best things I've done with lululemon is all the free workouts, they are taught by some of the best trainer's in the city.

:: Me, Ewan and Laura + Cumberland lululemon run club at Jesse Ketchum ::

Last night, for the first time in months I had a free Monday night. I was so excited to get the chance to attend run club led by my friend and fellow ambassador Laura.

:: Run club last night ::

Yesterday was the perfect day for a Toronto run. Does not get better than that people – 18 degrees and sunny. Perfect. I met my friend coach Ewan who lives a stone's throw away and together we strolled over to join 20+ people for a track workout! I have never seen run club that hopping before – so much fun and a true testament to how great Laura is.

We warmed up with a bunch of agility drills and some heart racing sprints.

Then the track workout came:

Set One: 300m sprint + 20 burpees, 150m sprint, walk 150m

Set Two: 300m sprint + 15 burpees, 150m sprint, walk 150m 

Set Three: 300m sprint + 10 burpees, 150m sprint, walk 150m 

Set Four: 300m sprint + 5 burpees, 150m sprint, walk 150m

Laura's run club is every single week at Cumberland lululemon at 6 pm. Meet at the store, drop your bags off and GO! Honestly, if I'm ever off again I will jump at the chance to get back to these workouts. Thanks for an awesome run last night Laura!!

Action Trumps Intention

The fitness industry is completely cloudy and intimidating to say the least!

One minute everyone is going vegan and doing long runs and then the next we're all sprinting heavy lifting carnivores. If there's any consistency in the advice you will receive in this industry is that something is better than nothing and no two bodies will respond in the same way or at the same rate.The one thing we can all agree on is that action always trumps intention. Get out there and go for it. If you start running for 45 minutes every weekday morning from now until then end of summer you will burn about 500 more calories a day and that means by labour day weekend you'll be 12 lbs lighter! And that's worst case scenario … if you change nothing else! Take out dessert twice a week and you could easily double that number. Fitness isn't complicated … we just make it that way! Push yourself outside of your current comfort zone and you're bound to see some huge gradual changes! I'm a total planner too and often times get caught up in the plan rather than do mode.

:: Bod Squad doing some awesome incline abs … so hard!! and me running earlier today ::

This past winter I really struggled with sticking to a fitness routine. Lately I've really turned that around. I've been running more in the last eight weeks with the start of Bod Squad and the re-introduction of track workouts into my weekly regime. The results have been awesome. I'm faster, leaner, stronger and generally enjoy the process of working out way more than ever now. My main piece of advice is always to just get going. Stop making fitness plans and start pressing go. The hardest steps in any workout are getting out the door. That's why I think it helps so much to commit to a run club, yoga class, Bod Squad, morning bike rides, whatever! That way you're held accountable for your workouts and you're that much more likely to stick with it.

My track workout today:

100 m

200 m

400 m

800 m

1500 m

800 m

400 m

200 m

100 m

Rest = time of previous distance run.

It was BRUTAL but we got-er done and celebrated with freezes after! 

This can be YOUR summer! Get started today!!