And let the long runs begin…

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I just finished the book, The Cool Impossible. Wow, I learned a ton from this book. It is definitely on the top of my list of favorite running books, right up there with Eat and Run, and Born to Run. You should read it.

There is really great stuff in this book. The first half of the book focuses on preparing you to run physically. The last half of the book focuses on preparing you to run mentally. The advice and knowledge I obtained from the last half of the book is also something I can use in other parts of my life. Some things you learn about running and from running, you can take beyond the trail.

The above photo is a great example. Don’t let the day run you… One thing I am going to work on is better preparation for my runs and for my day.

By reading this book, I have learned that before I run a race or long training run, I do things that mentally prepare myself for the distance. These things, mantras, visualizing, and rituals are things I do and didn’t realize I was doing them. Now looking back, I am more aware of these helpful tricks for the mind. Because these have helped me find success, it may be helpful to use them in other parts of my life, including other sports.

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I am a very positive person. However, the above photo reminds me so much of the book, The Cool Impossible. What I like most, is that the author Eric Orton, says negative thoughts are not a bad thing. Negative thoughts are a normal thing. However, become aware of your negative thoughts, identify them, and realize they are just thoughts, NOT truths.

Update on my Running

I ran the day, the day did not run me. This weekend my long runs began. I love running my first long run of the season.

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All winter, I have been lifting weights and running shorter faster runs. It felt good to get out there and run far. I ran a 10 miler, to help my sister prepare for her half marathon coming up in April. As for me, I have two 10 mile races coming up the first two weekends in April.

On this 10 mile training run, I wore my new Newton Gravity. It has 5 lugs instead of 4, which makes it feel like the toe box is wider.

My sister and I ran MVT over the 14th Street bridge and then to Hains Point.

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Have your long runs started yet? What are some mental tricks you use that helps you find success during running?

Choose to be an Athlete… The Choice is Yours!

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“I believe being an athlete is a choice, and that we all can be athletes, regardless of natural ability. It is a mind-set, a lifestyle, a decision.”¬†– Eric Orton from the book, The Cool Impossible

I have been reading, The Cool Impossible by Eric Orton.  If you have read, Born to Run, The Cool Impossible is the next book to read. Eric Orton was the running coach for Christopher Mcdougalll Рthe writer and main character of Born to Run. After years of pain and injury,  Eric Orton helped Christopher Mcdougall meet his goal to run his first Ultra Marathon with the Tarahumara tribe.

Lately, I keep coming across the idea of CHOICE. Whether you are aware of it or not, you are making choices every day. Choices are everywhere… You choose to eat healthy. You choose where you buy your groceries, supporting the brands you choose to buy. You choose to go for a run. You choose to run in minimalist shoes. You choose your career. Love is even a choice, you choose your significant other, and they choose you. Even the things that are out of your control, you can choose how to react to them positively or negatively.

And believe it or not… You choose to be an athlete.

For those of you who are struggling to loose weight, eat healthy, and meet your ¬†fitness goal… You are not thinking of yourself as an athlete. Once you make that choice, to be an athlete- ¬†you will start acting like one, eating like one, sleeping like one, training like one. And remember this, your body is more capable then you think. Yes, you do have to train physically, but you also have to train mentally.

For those of you who are athletes, who want to meet new goals. It is time to determine your personality. Are you a bad thinker or a good thinker? Maybe you never see walls, or maybe you see walls blocking you at every turn. Become aware of negative thoughts. Identify those thoughts as just thoughts not truths.

These are some cool things I have been learned from the book, The Cool Impossible.

You always have a Choice- the Choice is Yours.

What’s your favorite running book?

© 2014 sweatdaily

The Clutch vs. Livefit Trainer, and how to customize your online training plan.

After completing 2 full rounds of the Livefit trainer. This monday, I decided to finally start The Clutch Cut. I have been wanting to try this program since it first came out. However, because of marathon training over the summer, I needed to build my muscle back and I knew the Livefit trainer would do that for me. My second round of the Livefit trainer ended right before my trip to Thailand, Feb 1st. Now, that I am back and have some significant muscle, I am ready to do Clutch.

What is The Clutch Cut? What is Clutch?

The Clutch Cut is a free training program found on bodybuilding.com. It is created by Ashley Conrad (follow her on instagram @ashley_conrad) a celebrity personal trainer, who has trained Kate Hudson and many others. It is an intense 21 day program, that promises to get you in the best shape. Why 3 weeks? The program was created with celebrities in mind… 3 weeks is usually the amount of time that most celebrities have in order to get in shape for a movie. Because it is only 3 weeks long, diet plays a huge role. Diet is the key to seeing results and being successful.

clutch nutrition

Clutch Diet

I have diet crossed out because I hate the word. This is not really a diet it is a way of life, and that’s Clutch. So every time you see the word diet, make sure you define it as a lifestyle choice.

The Clutch Diet is very similar to the diet on the Livefit trainer. Both are clean diets that eliminate processed foods. Both diets are based on eating organic whole foods. However, on The Clutch Diet, Ashley Conrad wants you to eliminate gluten and dairy as well.

Gluten and Dairy free…

It is a constant debate about eliminating gluten and dairy from your diet. Is it just trendy to go gluten free? Why go gluten free if you don’t have an allergy to gluten? Ashley has you eliminating gluten and dairy from your diet because they are both very hard for the body to digest, and because she wants you to see major results in a short amount of time. That is why, it is best to omit them completely.

Although, I hate labels, the reason why I am not calling myself a vegetarian. I will say this though, I eat a plant based diet, (most of the time.) And along with eating a clean organic, plant based diet, dairy and gluten are also pretty non existent – so I do not think this will be much of a challenge for me. However, I will definitely be reading labels, and making sure I stay gluten and dairy free – maybe I am getting more gluten than I think I am. We shall see… I also want to try to stay GMO free, and sugar free, whenever possible. I am hoping, if anything, this diet makes me more aware of what I am putting in my body, as fuel.

  1. Eat every three hours.
  2. Eat within the first 30 minutes of waking.
  3. Drink at least 1 gallon of water a day, with lemon.
  4. Eat gluten and dairy free with exception of protein powder.
  5. No fillers, preservatives, or color.

Carbs are Important…

Being a runner I greatly appreciate, how much Ashley stresses the importance of carbs. Do not eliminate carbs. They are important and you need them. They provide the ultimate energy for your physical body, and they are the reason your brain functions. The key is to be able to recognize good carbs vs. bad carbs. Make sure you know the difference between refined carbs (bad) and complex carbs (good.)

The Training Plans: Clutch vs. Livefit

Although, the diets are very similar, the Clutch and Livefit training programs are totally different. Here is why…

The Livefit trainer is a 12 week program that has 3 phases. Phase 1 is the muscle building phase. It consists of heavy lifting and no cardio. In phase 2, you incorporate supersets, heavy lifting, and 30 minutes of cardio. This helps you build muscle while burning fat. Phase 3 is your fat burning phase, your shredding phase. In phase 3, there are active rest periods, circuit training, and HIIT.

Weight lifting Day

The Clutch Cut is all circuit training and HIIT. Instead of lifting 5-6 days a week like in the Livefit trainer, the Clutch Cut has you lifting 3 days a week. On your weight lifting days, you are doing a full body circuit. You will be doing 12-15 reps of each exercise and 3-6 rounds of the circuit, depending on your fitness level. Your weightlifting day is followed by a day of cardio.

Cardio

When you are not lifting, Ashley has you doing cardio which ends up being 3 days a week. In my mind, cardio translates to running. Woohoo!!!

On your cardio days, Ashley has you doing HIIT. There are many ways to do HIIT. You can do this cardio on a bike, treadmill, outside, etc. When choosing a treadmill start out with at speed 5.0 for 1 minute, up the speed to 7.0 for 30 seconds, up the speed again to 10.0, then repeat up to at least 10x. Cardio is followed by a core/ab circuit. Each core/ab exercise is done until failure and you complete 3-6 rounds depending on fitness level.

The focus on core/ab work is another major difference between The Clutch Cut and Livefit trainer. I like how in The Clutch Cut they have a separate day for core. Ashley really has you focus on the core, where in the Livefit trainer, you worked core along with another body part.

Customizing your Program

There has been a lot of criticism about online diet plans and training programs. People claim that they are cookie cutter. I agree with this in some ways. Unlike a trainer, online programs can not personalize a plan based on the clients fitness level and goals. But you can be your own trainer and customize the online training plan based on your own needs. Listen to your body and use the online plan as your guideline.

On my weightlifting days, I may customize the plan by substitute one exercise for another depending on how my body feels.

Because I am a runner, who hates the treadmill, I will be customizing my cardio days. There will be days when I will run long distance outside. There will be days when I will do track workouts and hill repeats as my cardio. There are also tons of different ways to do HIIT and I plan on switching it up a lot. For all my readers who are runner’s who hate the treadmill, keep in mind that HIIT is equivalent to speed work. By doing HIIT on the treadmill you are not only burning fat, but you are also getting faster. These treadmill workouts will definitely help you PR in your next race.

As for customizing weight lifting days. There are tons of exercises equivalent to the exercises listed in the circuit. Don’t be afraid to substitute a different type of squat for the one listed, or add weight. Do push-ups on the TRX instead of regular push-ups. Switch it up. Customize.

First Week done… but will be repeated…

backprogressBack Progress after completing the Livefit trainer

day 1 clutchDay 1 of The Clutch Cut

day 2 clutchWeek 1 of The Clutch Cut completed.

I have completed my first week of The Clutch Cut. But because it was a new program, I needed to use the first week to get use to it. The first two weight lifting days I only had time to do 2 rounds of the circuit. Today, I did 3 rounds of the circuit and felt pretty good. I also have done all of my cardio days and will be doing a long run tomorrow. I am going to repeat week one (start over) so I can really kick it’s ass in the gym. Along with repeating week one, I will be doing the diet closely and taking the supplements.

As you may know, I absolutely love the Livefit trainer. It makes since to me. I saw amazing results, and it helped me discover a new passion for weight lifting. Because of the Livefit trainer I now know what strong feels like. However, during the Livefit trainer I was weight lifting 5-6 times a week. It became really hard to fit my running or yoga in. I felt like it was hard to do both and find balance.

So far I am really enjoying The Clutch Cut. I love how they have separated the weight lifting and the cardio. Now I have days of the week where I can really focus on weights. And I have days of the week where I can really focus on running. This will help me stay strong in both lifting and running. Plus, I want to do the running strength training program from The Cool Impossible, and I think it will be possible to fit it in on my cardio days, when I am focusing on my running.

What’s next…

When I complete, The Clutch Cut, I plan on completing phase 1 and phase 2 of Clutch program on Ashley Conrad’s website. And always, I will customize the plan, depending on my fitness goals.

Other Blog Post you may like…

  1. Livefit Trainer Progress
  2. Livefit Trainer Phase 1
  3. Transformation Tuesday
  4. The Cool Impossible

Have you tried Clutch?

ňô¬© 2014 sweatdaily

The Cool Impossible

I am in the Phuket airport waiting to head back to Bangkok. Unfortunately, my access to wifi has been almost nonexistent, so it has been really hard for me to blog, while I have been in Asia. I have so much to say, write, update you on.

But you probably want to hear something about running, since I am a runner and so are you.

And let me tell you…

I have been having some amazing beach runs during my three weeks in Thailand. I even inspired my non runner friend to do some short runs with me. I’m going to write a more detailed post about that later.

In the meantime, I am excited to share with you, The Cool Impossible, the new running book I have been reading while on my travels. I am obsessed! This book is a must read.

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You may have seen this book on a previous blog post I had written back in the summer. I started this book then, but because I was in the beginning of training for the Marine Corps Marathon, I took the author’s advice and stopped reading it until I had adequate time to complete the 5 month program.

The author, Eric Orton, is a running coach and natural barefoot running expert. He has experience with the Tarahumara (from Born to Run.) He also coached Christopher McDougall (author of Born to Run.) Helping McDougall run a successful ultra marathon. He helped McDougall transition into a natural barefoot stride. And with proper running form, curing his bad running habits and healing him from pain from numerous running injuries.

I would have to say I am very impressed with Eric Orton. The way he writes makes you feel like I am actually in Jackson and he is coaching me in person. I also feel like I can relate to him. A lot of the stuff he says in this book is stuff I already know. But I am definitely learning some new stuff too.

“We need more than endurance to run well for long distances; we need to be strong and fast. “

The quote above is from the book. it is promoting strength. Strength is what a good portion of this book is about. Being strong will benefit you in every way. I agree with this 100%. It is refreshing to have someone finally promote strength to prevent injury, instead of finding a new type of shoe, or product to sell you, claiming it is magic. When in the end it is cheaper and more efficient to make your body stronger and healthier. Trust me it is that easy.

For years every running plan and running magazine talked about only running, not strength training. Burt honestly, the truth is the more you strength train, the stronger you will become, the less injuries you will get. The stronger you become the further and faster you will be able to run. Trust me it is that simple.

I use to be that girl who only ran. But since switching to a natural barefoot running shoe with a low heel to toe drop, I have been weight lifting for about a year now. My form has significantly improved. And after only 8 weeks of weight lifting and 6 months on perfecting my running form , I began to not only see my body change to a more fit physique, but my race times significantly improved. I set a new PR in my half marathon, shedding off 9 minutes. And I set a new PR in my full marathon time, shedding off 11
minutes.

I am excited to finish this book, and start the 5 month program. I will blog about my experience along the way.

Although, my form has improved over the year since weight lifting, and switching to a natural barefoot shoe – it is not perfect. There is still room for improvement.

If you are in natural barefoot shoes and you land on your forefoot, take the time now to see the wear and tear at the bottom of your running shoes. Noticing where the wear and tear is located on the bottom of your shoe can tell you a lot about which muscles need to be stronger. Or which muscles need to actually start being used.

By the wear and tear at the bottom if my shoe, I know I need to strengthen my feet and my gluteus medius.

So when I get back to the US this will be the running program I will start. I am also excited about learning more about Heart Rate monitoring and Heart Rate Zones. This will be part of the program as well.

Along with this program, and because I have completed another round of the LiveFit trainer, I will be starting the Clutch Cut by Ashley Conrad. I have been doing Livefit for a while know and it’s time to switch things up a bit. Can’t wait!!!

I’ve missed my gym weightlifting sessions since I have been away. I have tried my best to run and stay as active as I can, but I still really miss my intense gym workouts.

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Above is a burpee challenge I did in Bangkok…

Future Workout Plan
for when I am back home

1) 5 month running program by coach Eric Orton from The Cool Impossible

2) The Clutch Cut by Ashley Conrad 3 week program, followed by the Clutch phase 1 and 2.

Both plans talk about nutrition. I will be following Ashley Conrad’s clean eating nutrition plan.

What running plans are you following? What weight lifting plans are you following? Has anyone read The Cool Impossible?