Friday, June 26, 2015

New Run/Walk/Run Strategy from Jeff Galloway

It's no secret- I love the run/walk/run method, also known as the Galloway method. I've been using it for about four years and usually use 1:1 or 2:1 as my intervals. Last week, I received the below email as part of my involvement as a Galloway Blogger and was pretty intrigued- no more one minute walk break?! Walk breaks should only be 30 seconds or less?! Will that work?!

Trying out new intervals on my regular running route.

So during my last few training runs, I have been using 30:30 as my interval. Surprisingly, I was able to keep a 10:50 pace the other night with what felt like very little effort on my part. So far, this new walk break strategy works well for me for shorter distances- it will be interesting to see what happens when I use it on longer training runs.  Read below for more on this new walk break technique!

Jeff Introduces a New Run/Walk Strategy

The 30-second Walk Break

Jeff Galloway's Run/Walk/Run method was revolutionary for three reasons:
1 - Run/Walk/Runners felt better throughout the long run.
2 - Run/Walk/Runners recovered faster and got injured less often.
3 - Run/Walk/Runners went faster with the breaks than without.

Since his introduction of walk breaks in 1974, Jeff he has received feedback from hundreds of thousands of runners, allowing him to fine tune Run/Walk/Run to keep people feeling better, staying healthy, and running faster.

The greatest benefit of the walk break comes in the first 30 sec.
Our heart rates come down, the running muscles relax, we catch our breaths, and the fatigue melts away.
After 30 seconds of walking, we tend to slow down.

Here is a typical example of what happens with a 1-minute walk break:

A run/walk/runner averaging 10-minute pace in a marathon using 3 min/1min might walk at a 15-minute mile pace for the first part of the race.
As fatigue sets in, that walk gets slower, and by halfway, the runner may be walking at 18 min/mi.
This means faster running is needed to stay on pace, which creates more fatigue at the end of each running segment, so the walk will get slower, and so goes the downward spiral at the end of the race.

Avoiding the Slow-down

Compared to running constantly, the 1-minute walk break still results in runners feeling better, staying healthier, and going faster, but it can get even better! Limiting walk breaks to 30 seconds, or in some cases even less, while cutting the run time accordingly, gives all the same benefits, with even less fatigue and even faster times.

The Bottom Line

If you are in already using a 30-second walk break or less, you don't need to adjust. If you are using an interval that takes a 1-minute walk break, keep the same ratio but cut your walk and run times in half. For example, a 1-minute/1-minute interval now becomes a 30-sec./30-sec. interval. It's that simple.


America’s Best Places to Run enhances the running experience by offering access to very special running routes. This book gives a preview of the scenery with directions to the start and special instructions to enjoy the area.  In addition to the more than fifty trails and half dozen race venues reviewed in this book it also  includes tips on training for trail running, dealing with elevation, running uphill and downhill, terrain issues, endurance, and time-
Don't forget to register for the 2nd annual Jeff Galloway 13.1.  December 11-13, 2015 brings a fun-filled weekend with the 13.1 half marathon, Barb's 5K and the new "Fit Kids" run.

Join us in all the weekend events including the Race Expo with exciting vendors and speakers, a festive holiday mood and surprises at the finish line!

Register now at Jeff Galloway 13.1
Copyright © 2015* Galloway Productions All rights reserved.

Do you use the Galloway method? If so, have you tried the new 30 second walk breaks? What are your thoughts on this new strategy?

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Vacation Recap & Review: All Aboard the Disney Magic!

Last month, Matthew and I set sail on the Disney Magic for five glorious days cruising in the Bahamas! We sailed on the Disney Dream last year for my surprise birthday trip and loved it so much that we booked this latest trip as soon as we got home from 2014's cruise.

The cruise we chose was a five night Bahamian itinerary that is actually only available once a year. It had the following schedule: Embarkation Day, Key West, Day at Sea, Nassau, Castaway Cay, Port Canaveral. Since we loved our three night cruise last year, we booked a longer cruise on a different ship for this year. The Dream is 40% larger than the Magic so we were a little bit worried that we would be bored or feel cramped on the smaller ship.

Our "smaller" ship. 

We totally didn't! This cruise ship was just the right size and honestly, I think I loved it more than the Dream. Because it was smaller, it took less time to get in between decks, to restaurants, to shows, etc. It wasn't a big deal if we had to run back to the room to grab something in the middle of the day because it only took a few short minutes to get around the ship.

And because this was a longer cruise, we had more time to explore the ship and do some other activities that we didn't get a chance to on the Dream- go to the movies, eat at the adult-only restaurant, spend more time in the spa, hang out in the bar/night club areas, take fitness classes at the gym, etc. The Magic was completely gutted and refurbished in 2013 so it was like being on a brand new ship with brand new places to explore!

This movie theater was AMAZING. We saw Big Hero 6 and Monkey Kingdom on the ship.

As a way to organize this recap- and so it's not infinitely long!- I figured I would share the highlights of our trip and all the things we would recommend for the Disney Magic cruise ship and the different ports we visited.

Key West: Having never been to Key West before, I wanted to see as much of the island as possible and also learn a bit about the history of Cayo Hueso (the original name of the island- it literally means "bone island"). So, we booked an excursion through Disney with Key Lime Bike Tours. For $40 each, we got to ride around the island on beach cruisers for three hours with an experienced tour guide who showed us all the favorite tourist spots and shared lots of information about Key West's history, geography, and more. And then we got to have an authentic piece of Key Lime pie at the end!  This tour was so much fun- we would definitely recommend it to anyone visiting the island of bones :-)

Key lime bikes and Key Lime pie!

Enjoying the Ship: This trip, we stayed on the ship for two full days- the "Day at Sea" and the "Nassau" day. We got off the ship last year in Nassau and with no planned excursions, there really wasn't much to do. So this year, we stayed on the ship and experienced all the fun things our "floating resort" had to offer like the gorgeous movie theater, swimming in the beautiful pools, the thrilling AquaDunk slide (that Matthew rode 17 times!), and taking advantage of the many tastings/classes the different bars offered. On the day the ship was docked in Nassau, we chose a class called "Mixology" where for $20 each, we made and then drank five (5!) cocktails in an hour- it was most definitely one of the highlights of the trip!

Enjoying a"cocomojito," making said "cocomojito," and my awesomely poured and layered B52 shot.

Couple's Choice Spa Treatment: A few months before the trip, Matthew and I booked a simple couple's massage for our "Day at Sea." We had hoped to book the ultra-indulgent "Couple's Choice" option, but it wasn't available for the time we wanted. However, when we got onto the ship and took a tour of the spa, they were able to upgrade us to the super-deluxe, two-and-a-half-hour, private-deck-and-hot-tub Couple's Choice. This spa treatment consisted of a foot exfoliation and massage, 30 minutes in a private hot tub on our private deck (within the spa), an hour and fifteen minute massage of our choice, followed by another 30 minutes relaxing on our private deck with hot tea and chocolate-covered fruit. It. Was. Amazing. Seriously, it was absolutely wonderful watching the ocean float by as we relaxed on our little deck. And our massage therapists were so talented- it was insanely relaxing. While expensive, it was a unique experience that I'm so glad we got to share together.

I think we could live on this deck with this view every day.

Castaway Cay 5k: Just like last year, we chose to start our day on Disney's private island by running a 5k. However this year, it was so much hotter and sunnier than last year! Seriously- it was one of the toughest 5ks I've ever run. Luckily, Matthew stayed right with me the whole time and we ended up running near some of our dinner table mates/new friends, Angela and Chris from Glasgow, Scotland. Side note, on this cruise, we were seated with three other couples (who we're now friends with on facebook) and had an absolute blast at dinner every night. So back to the race- after the incredibly hot run, we were rewarded with some beautifully redesigned medallions. They were colorful and even had the year printed on them- so much better than last year's generic "winner" key chain-looking medal.

New friends and new medals!

This cruise was so good that we actually booked our next one before we got off the ship. In 2016 we will set sail on the Disney Fantasy for our honeymoon! Oh yeah, we also got engaged on this cruise so that probably fed into some of the "magic" we experienced on the Magic :-)

In all seriousness, Disney cruises have become our most favorite way to experience Disney and we can't wait to try out ALL the ships!

The future Mr. and Mrs. Sparkly Runner :-)

Have you ever cruised with Disney before? Would you do it again?

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

AM: 6/23/15

Anybody else feel like you just looked around and it was the END OF JUNE?!? I can't believe we're almost through this month- it has flown by! At work we are right in the middle of New Student Orientation so we all have been working insanely long days enthusiastically talking to tons of students, parents, and families. I'm exhausted, ha!

Last week I committed to a few goals: get more sleep, stick to my daily PPV, workout at least four times. Well, I did average at least seven hours of sleep each night, stayed within my points all week (with about 40 to spare!), and worked out three times. I got a terrible sore throat Tuesday night that lasted until Thursday so I was only able to work out three times. But I did it. I won't say that it was fun or that my crappy lack of motivation streak is over, but I feel just a little bit more in control. 

Monday- Rest day
Tuesday- Rest/sick day
Wednesday- Rest/sick day
Thursday- Rest/sick day
Friday- 30 minute walk
Saturday- 2.5 mile treadmill run, 30:30 intervals, 12:19 pace
Sunday- 30 minute yoga video from Psychetruth

As a fun side note, while I was trying to do yoga Sunday night, it started thundering outside and Koda was so terrified that he would not leave my side. Like, literally would not leave my side. Have you ever tried to workout with a pet nearby?! It's near impossible. :-) 

I call this pose, "Downward Koda"

In order to be successful, I know I have to plan my meals and actually cook things I like. Imagine that, right? But seriously, too often I will get fast food or go to a restaurant if I haven't properly planned lunch or dinner and end up spending too much money and too many Weight Watchers points. So last week, I went searching through my cookbooks and planned some meals that turned out pretty good. My favorite was the Honey Mustard & Dill Salmon from my Weight Watchers Easy Mains and Sides cookbook. 

We love paper plates in our house :-)

145.6 as of 6/17/15
-1.6 from last week
-44.8 since January 2013

My only comment- thank God we're on the way back down :-)

I know my posts have been spotty the past few weeks but I promise, I'm on my way back to a regular posting schedule. By the end of this week, I'll be sharing some fun recaps from our latest Disney cruise and I'll have another Galloway post- with some pretty interesting updates to the Galloway method! Have a great week!

Monday, June 15, 2015

AM: 6/15/2015

Good evening, y'all! Welcome to the late night edition of "Accountability Monday." I'm sorry this post is so late but I have a good reason...


And I started today! I'm at the same university just in a different office. I am absolutely thrilled and humbled and just so excited to get started in my new role. Thank you for all the support, positive vibes, and prayers you've sent my way- it worked :-)

Let's get right into this last week-

Monday- Runner's World Strength Anywhere workout
Tuesday- Rest day
Wednesday- Runner's World Strength Anywhere workout
Thursday- Rest day
Friday- Rest day
Saturday- Rest day
Sunday- 2.5 mile run, super hot and humid but negative splits- 12:53, 12:16, 11:18

As you can see, it was another light training week. It's been hot and humid all week here and I just haven't felt like running or doing much of anything else. But, I did complete two strength workouts and while they aren't fun, I know they are good for me. Ha! Much like most things in life, what's good for you isn't always what you really want to do. However, this workout is amazing because you don't need any equipment- you can do it in your living room! Definitely check it out if you're looking for something simple but challenging.

Humidity makes for some beautiful skies. 

It's time for me to hit the reset button. As you know, it's been such a struggle for me to stay on the healthy eating path since we've been back from vacation. But no more! Yesterday, I looked up recipes, went to the grocery store, and then came home and started cooking for the week. I feel so much more in control when I've planned meals and have the ingredients to do so. I know this upcoming week will hold better food choices!

Lots of healthy ingredients for yummy meals!

Weight loss:
147.2 as of 6/10/15
+3.6 from last week
-43.2 since January 2013

UGH.... what the heck is going on?! I am up almost seven pounds since vacation- seven freaking pounds! To say that I'm frustrated is an understatement. I am pretty pissed at myself. I haven't worked by butt off for two and a half years to just start gaining again. I think I've identified some of what's causing the gain: lack of sleep. lack of movement, lack of discipline. I know that I need to recommit to all aspects of healthy living- making healthy food choices, moving more, and getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night. I make the worst choices when I'm sleepy. I am making some specific goals for this upcoming week that will hopefully show up in the scale next week:

  • Stay within my daily PPV range five out of seven days
  • Complete at least four structured workouts
  • Get in bed each night before 11 pm. 

So, it's time for me to finish this post and get in bed so I can check off goal number three! Have a great week!

Do you monitor your sleep habits/patterns? Do you set goals for your sleep?

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Race Recap & Review: Bel Air Town Run 2015

Last Sunday I ran a personal best at the Bel Air Town Run in Bel Air, MD. Bel Air is the town I grew up in and this race is also the very first race I participated in back in 2011. This race holds a special place in my heart and I try to get back to it every year.

This year, I waited until race day to sign up so I had to pay the maximum price: $25. If you sign up online, you can register for just $15. I'll definitely be signing up online next year :-)

I got to race-day registration really early- like an hour and a half before the 8 am start. After picking up my packet, which included a cotton t-shirt and a bunch of information on upcoming races, I walked back to the car and then to a cute little coffee shop on Main Street.

Adorable and affordable- my kind of place.

I grabbed a cup of the house blend and then sat outside watching people gather for the race. Though this is just a local 5k, they usually have about 1,500 people participate. I texted my friend Laura and she came over to say hello. Fun fact- Laura and I were cheerleaders together in high school and now you can usually find us at the races together in the Baltimore area!

Around 7:45, I finished up my coffee and headed to the start line. Since I've done this race three previous times (2011, 2012, 2014), I knew what to expect on the course and used this pre-race time to think about the course and my strategy. Downhill for the first mile, plateau for most of the second, and then one long uphill followed by one short hill followed by yet another hill to finish- the last half mile of this course is tough!

I didn't have a time goal for this race though I knew I'd like to beat last year's time on this course- also my 5k PR- 32:44. Since my training has been almost non-existent since the Pittsburgh Marathon, I wasn't expecting to beat it by much but I definitely wanted to try.

The race started and we were off! I really struggle with pacing myself- my normal pace is around 11-12 min/mile and I know how that feels. But I don't know what faster than that "feels" like. So, I decided that I would run each running interval so that I was out of breath by the end and then use the walks to recover. I used 1:1's for this race and during the run portion, I kept repeating the words "steady" and "push" with each footstep. Overall, I think this worked really well- especially for the first mile.

Around the halfway mark, I started to feel really, really hot. The sun was out in full force and it was pretty humid. Luckily there was a water station at the 1.5 mile mark so I drank a little and then poured some on my head.

All the past year's race shirts lined up at the mile 1 mark.

My beautiful hometown!

I got to mile two and started to feel myself slowing down. I kept repeating my mantra words and reminded myself that this was just a 5k- it's ok to feel uncomfortable because it's only three miles. I hit the first of the last three hills and focused all my energy on getting to the top. And I stuck close to the side of the road to try and stay in what little shade there was.

I made it up the big hill and then took a sharp turn to the left to tackle the smaller but steeper hill. By this point, the heat was getting to me and I was ready to be done. I pushed on and finally the last uphill to the finish was in view. I could see the clock and knew that I had a chance to PR- mustering up the last little bit of strength I had, I charged up the hill and over the finish line.

Happy finisher.

After I cooled down a bit with some water and orange slices, I went over to the official results- they were printing them out and posting them near the finish. I knew that I'd beaten my previous time but I wasn't 100% sure on the official time. I finished in 31:28! A new PR by a full minute and 16 seconds!

Then I took a look at my splits, ha! I definitely came out way, way too fast and then slowed down over the three miles. My last mile was almost a minute slower than my first! This race showed me two things: 1. I am capable of running faster than 11-12 minute miles. 2. I need to learn how to properly pace myself so I have an even effort throughout the race.

Yikes! Look at that last .1 though :-)

After doing the happy dance, I went back to Shamrock Coffee for another cup and they only charged me a dollar because I'd been there earlier in the day. Awesome! Support your local businesses and they'll love you back!

Overall, this is a race that I will continue to do each year. It's cheap, it's fun, and it's a lucky course for me- I've PR'd three out of four times I've ran it. Maybe I'll finally get a sub-30 minute time in 2016! :-)

Another fun fact- can you tell when I started wearing Enell sports bras?! For my very first race in 2011, I think I wore three regular sports bras- yuck! This year I got to show off the new raspberry zest and I'm still totally in love with this color. Thank God for good support and fashionable colors :-)

How do you pace yourself during a race?

Monday, June 8, 2015

AM: 6/8/15

Good morning, friends! I'm actually posting on time- look at that!

This week was definitely better than the last two. I had two great interviews and should have some good news (fingers crossed) here in the next few days. And I actually worked out! Woohoo!

Also, I have some fun news- I got a part-time job working for Weight Watchers! I start my receptionist training tomorrow. I am absolutely humbled and ecstatic to work for a company that changed my life and continues to help so many people reach their goals. So awesome!

Tuesday- Rest day
Wednesday- 1 mile run to celebrate National Running Day, 10:25 pace
Thursday- Rest day
Friday- 5k run with Matthew, 39:31, 12:43 pace
Saturday- Rest day
Sunday- Bel Air Town Run 5k, 31:28, 10:08 pace

7.2 total miles

While I'm not totally back into the groove, I feel like I've made some progress over the last few weeks.

Also, yay for new 5k PRs! I beat my old record by 1:16 (which was at the Bel Air Town Run last year) and am slowly inching towards that sub-30 5k. I'll post a race recap later this week with all the fun details.

If you follow me on instagram (which you totally should be doing!), then you know I had a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup and cookie s'more this weekend while we were visiting Hershey Park. Which is exactly what you think it would be- melted Reese's cup and melted marshmallow between two giant chocolate chip cookies. True story.

But the real reason I'm sharing this is because of the choice I made to have it. If you've never been to Hershey Park before, then you may not know that they have all kinds of unique chocolatey desserts that you can't get anywhere else. So when I see something that I like, that I want to spend the points on, and it's something that I don't get to have on a regular basis- I will happily and joyfully eat it :-) And besides, who can pass up chocolate?!

We love chocolate!

143.6 as of 6/3/15
-1.2 from last week
-46.8 since January 2013

I haven't quite worked off all the extra weight I picked up on vacation. It's been a rough few weeks and I'm trying to focus my energy on making good choices, working out when I can, and getting enough sleep- which has been tough due to life circumstances. Though I'm still about four pounds from goal, I still feel awesome about myself and my progress.

Speaking of progress, this weekend was my fourth runiversary! My very first race was the Bel Air Town Run in 2011 and I've been able to come back to my hometown and complete it in 2012, 2014, and 2015. It's hard to believe that I've been running for four years already. In many ways, I still feel like a new runner but when I look at pictures from past Bel Air Town Run events, I can see the progress I've made in both my running and my fitness. I can't wait to see what 2016's event will look and feel like- I'll be a married woman by then! :-)

What was your first race and what was your motivation for doing it?

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

AM: 6/2/15

Good evening, friends!

My apologies for this late Accountability Monday post- if you follow me on facebook then you know we had a leak under our washing machine on Sunday night that invaded my usual blogging time. Fun stuff!

It's times like that when I am thankful we are renters. All we had to do was just call our maintenance folks and they came out to fix it. We did have to move some furniture around and deal with wet carpet for a few days but all is ok now.

So let's dive into this last week! I'll be honest- it's been hard to get back into a routine of healthy eating and working out post-vacation and post-crazy life stuff. I know I'll feel better once my job situation is more secure but in the meantime, it's been a day by day struggle to stay on the healthy living path.

Tuesday- Rest day
Wednesday- Rest day
Thursday- Rest day
Friday- Rest day
Saturday- Rest day
Sunday- 30 minute run with Matthew
Monday- 30 minute run with Matthew

Yeah, I've been a major slacker with workouts. I've just had no energy or motivation. If you have some extra can you pass it along?!

Also, my MapMyRun app on my phone has not been able to pick up my GPS signal so I have no idea how far I've been running when I have been running. Not that it's totally bad- I'm ok just running by time for now.

Since all I have are 5ks between now and September, I am welcoming this opportunity to just run for the sake of running and not worry about mileage or pace. Yay for free running!

Could you imagine if there were TWO sparkly runners?! Also, I'm totally in love with this raspberry zest Enell sports bra.

So I found a new recipe for breakfast that is super simple and super yummy. Cut up two apples, cook them for about 10 minutes in a skillet and then add them to a cup (measure dry) of cooked quinoa with a few tablespoons of brown sugar and a teaspoon of cinnamon and a 1/4 of milk. Done! It tastes a bit like apple cinnamon oatmeal and it's really easy to just reheat in the morning. And it keeps me full until lunch- which is pretty much all I look for in breakfast.

It may not look pretty but it tastes pretty good!

144.8 as of 5/27/15
+1.2 since last week
-45.6 since January 2013

Whomp whomp- I'm up again. In total, I've gained 4 pounds in the last three weeks. While I'm not happy with this, I'm not devastated either. Y'all know my life is just insane right now and while that's no excuse, it is a part of life. Sometimes life just happens. But, I feel like I've done better this week and hopefully I'll see a loss on the scale tomorrow at weigh-in.

So that's the week that was. Hopefully next week brings more workouts and less weight! :-)