Train Like an Athlete …

… because you are one. Duh!

Every time I lace up my sneakers and hit the sidewalk, trail or treadmill I’m a runner, training hard to excel at my next race. This wasn’t always my thought process though. Ah! My first post-high school race was back in 2009 and it was a dare + royal mess. I signed-up with some family members to run the Shamrock Shuffle 8k which was max 6 weeks away. I wasn’t exercising regularly, didn’t follow a training plan, and didn’t even go to the Expo to pick-up my race packet. On race day I was super nervous and to top it all off I didn’t have my race bib because it was locked in the trunk of a car. 😦 Whomp. Whomp. Whomp. Long story short… I pleaded with a gate official at one of the last corrals to let me in the race. I finished the race with out an official time but I didn’t care, because I finished. 🙂 I was sore for the next week and so ended my racing. LOL


Fast forward to 2014 when I got my fitness life in check. I ran the 2014 Shamrock Shuffle and was hooked. I signed up for the Chicago 10K and used the Nike Run App – Coach feature to train. My life has been forever changed. It hit all the things I needed to stick with and complete a training program successfully:

  • what days to run
  • how many miles to run each day
  • what type of run to do (tempo, speed, easy pace…)
  • cross training days
  • nice little green check marks – to show completion 🙂

Since the Nike app doesn’t have a 10k coach I used the beginner half marathon coach for my 10k training and modified slightly. I have learned a lot in the past year when it comes to my training and how I like to train. Below are a few of my must haves for what I deem a successful training program.

Training Plan:

So, hands down my favorite training programs are in the Nike Run App. The coach feature has 5k, 10k, half and marathon training plans all with beginner, intermediate, and advance training schedules. I have used others training plans in the past but I wasn’t able to stick with them. I like to being paperless and that I can have my training plan with me wherever I am. I also, like that the Nike app is interactive and sends me reminders for the next days run. It lets you know when you’ve reached each mile, gives you your splits at the end of each run and provides a nice weekly summary for each week of the training plan. And the motivation from Nike athletes at the end of a run is also a plus. My faves are Sonya Richardson-Ross & Apollo Ono. I feel big time!




weekly summary


I have a few 3, 4 & 5 mile routes around my neighborhood planned out so that I can do up and back for longer distances. I like to know where I’m running before I leave the house. I also study the race routes so I know where aid/water stations are and where certain miles are so that I know the best time to take my supplements.

Where I’m Going to Train:

I wasn’t a weather checker until I started running outside. 🙂 I like to have a few runs in the rain just in case it’s raining on race day. That way I’m prepared. Now that I joined a gym I have no excuse on the weeks that it rains all week. I just hit the treadmill and keep the training going. Rain won’t stop my show.

Cross Training:

I’m not going to lie. I really enjoy cross training and lifting. I love the way my body looks with less cardio and more weights. I’m just saying!!! 😛 But I love the feeling of crossing the finish line on a distance goal that I’ve been training for, for 8-12 weeks. Nonetheless, cross training is key to injury prevention. It’s also a great change of space from running and helps your body build muscle so you run stronger.


I just started adding race supplements to my training this training season for my half marathon. I like Cliff Gel and Nuun tablets for my water. Neither have caffeine, which means it’s a slow release of carbs, and works well with my body during runs. I’m not the biggest fan of protein powder but I do like the pre-made protein shakes for post-workouts now.


Last but not least – I must have my music during my runs. Music helps me keep my pace and pushes me to keep going on longer runs. I have a few different playlists but some of my playlist regulars are:

  • Lecrae – I Know
  • KB – Sideways
  • Mary Mary – Get Up
  • Pharrell – Happy
  • Tini Tempah – Pass Out
  • Swizz Beatz – International Party ft. Alicia Keys
  • Katy Perry – Roar

I hope my training tips are helpful. Happy Training! 




Hot Chocolate 15k Recap

I did it. I finished the Hot Chocolate 15k in under 2 hours.


the banana was great – I didn’t eat any of the chocolate

I have to say I was mentally prepared to stand in the cold for 30-45 minutes from my corrals official start time as I did last year but this year it moved faster and I started 10 minutes after the 7:45am start time. Could it be because I was in corral N this year instead of corral Q? That might be the reason entirely. 🙂


it was a bit chilly outside

I had a great breakfast of PB, banana and 2 cliff shot blocks. I should have taken 3 as I about died at mile 8. I’ll get to that later. James and the boys dropped me off around 7am. I hit the port-a-potty and did some light stretching and before I knew it we were moving to the start line.

Mile by Mile

Mile 1 – 11:29 – went by SUPER DUPER FAST. Like seriously, I was booking it and trying to talk myself into moving slower but that didn’t happen

Mile 2 – 11:09 – was faster than mile 1. Clearly I was on adrenalin and the excitement of the race


nike+ i love this app

Mile 3 – 11:17 – finally I started to get into a grove and just run my race

Mile 4 – 11:35 – this is when I got extra happy because I clocked this mile just 1 minute slower than last year’s Hot Chocolate 5k. It felt great to know that my weight loss and training paid off 🙂

Mile 5 – 11:52 – by this point we had been running on S. Michigan for so long that I know longer knew where I was, so I was taking in the sites and trying not to zone out to my music. I made a BOMB playlist.

Mile 6 – 11:41 – another exciting moment. I clocked my 10k time 3 minutes faster than the Chicago 10k race I ran in August

Mile 7 – 11:49 – at this point, we had crossed over Lake Shore Drive and were headed to the Arie Crown Theater. Back into territory that I knew. I also, started to get tired and I popped a Cliff Shot Block. I should have taken 3 instead of 2 in the morning and I also should have popped the other 3 Shots around the half way point or mile 5. Lesson learned.

Mile 8 – 12:02 – I’m not even going to lie. I was over the race at this point. We were entering into Museum Campus area and I never thought we’d make it to Columbus Drive.

Mile 9 – 12:36 – Can anyone tell me why the last mile always feels like 3 miles?? Seriously. I felt like I was running forever. When I saw the finish line I booked it. Raised my arms & gave a big smile because the race was finally over.

BOOM. SMASHED ANOTHER GOAL and it feels so GOOD! I think I might stay at this distance for awhile. Yes, I could have gone longer if I had to but I was so glad I didn’t have too.


minutes after crossing the finishing line


headed to get my finishers mug

I’ll be putting together my race schedule for the 2015 race season soon. If you have any races you’ve loved let me know so I can check them out. I’m hoping to tackle an obstacle race with the hubs and possibly a half marathon. 🙂

~ Challenge yourself friends

Training Weeks 7 & On …

This post will suffice for the remainder of my training. The hubs started traveling again for work at the beginning of this month, which meant I had to alter my training schedule a bit. Sadly, I’m not running in the mornings anymore since it’s just me & my 2 boys during the week. Instead, I’ve been hitting up my T25 dvd’s hard-core, even doubling up on days that aren’t Friday. I like my fit self! 🙂

On Saturday’s or Sunday’s I’ve been logging miles. Week 7 was a nice 5 mile run. Week 8 I managed 3.1 in the rain and this Saturday, week 7 was an easy 7 miles. I’m hoping to get in another 9 mile run this Saturday so I can have two 9 mile runs under my belt before race day. This time last year I wouldn’t have thought I ‘d be logging this many miles in one run, but I’m so glad I am.


I’m my best competition

Follow on Instagram for daily workout posts, motivations & transformations!

NRC + Wk 4 Training Recap

image (11)

Brooks Ravenna5

This post is well over do…

YAYAYAYA! I finally have new running shoes. It only took some knee pain in my right knee to get me to go to the store. 🙂 Nonetheless I have new sneakers and they fit and feel so great. I ventured over to Naperville Running Company on my lunch break to get fitted. I hadn’t been fitted for shoes since 2011 and that’s a serious shame. The look on the sales associate face when I told her that, was priceless. I promptly followed with, “but I’ve only been running/training seriously since May of this year”. To my surprise, sneakers have a shelf-life y’all. Did you know that? Basically after a year of being on your “shelf” and worn moderately the cushion in the shoe starts to wear. Hence why, they say you should get new shoes every year or every 300 – 500 miles. After we chatted for a bit about my exercise regimen and how many miles I run per week. I took off my sandals and proceeded to walk 10 or so paces away from her and then back. After that she asked if I had a brand preference, I’m really glad I said, no. 🙂

She brought out 4 pairs of shoes: 1) Nike Lunarglide (newest version), 2) Saucony, 3) Mizuno and 4) Brooks Revenna5. I tried on the Nike’s on my left foot and the Mizuno’s on the right. The Nike’s were heavy and bulky and the Mizuno’s felt lighter so I switched my left foot to the Saucony’s and they felt better than the Mizuno’s so I switched my right foot to the Brooks and DING DING DING!!!!

image (13)

Me running – see the slight point to the right on my right foot

The Brooks felt secure and light, like I was walking on a cloud.  I put both pair of Brooks Ravenna5’s on and headed over to the treadmill. I started running for literally 15-30 seconds and the sales associate asked if my knee pain was in my right knee. I said, yes and asked her how she knew. She stopped the treadmill and proceeded to run the tape back to show me exactly how I run. My left foot lands in straight line and doesn’t pronate much. My right foot lands pointed slightly to the right. I also found out that pronating is very normal and everyone does it. I over-pronate a little, which means I need a shoe with more stability in the heel.

After my much needed lesson, we talked race supplements since, my training is calling for runs longer than 6 miles. To my surprise I picked up the Cliff shot blocks. They are like gummies and I’m not a gummy person at all but they tasted good and didn’t get stuck in my teeth. I will be trying a few others in the near future as I don’t think energy gummies is a good idea in my house with a 4 year old, who sometimes sneaks his treats before asking for one. 🙂

Now on to my Week 4 training. I only missed 1 workout due to knee pain and I didn’t want to chance a full blown injury so I waited to run until I had my new shoes. Wednesday’s run I did on the treadmill during lunch because it was raining that morning and probably a good idea. Friday and  Saturday, I hit the streets and felt great during my longest run EVER, of 8 miles early Saturday morning. I was OMG proud of my self for keeping somewhat of a consistent pace and running the entire 8 miles. I was able to get in 2 yoga sessions and 1 cross-training session with my KB Scorcher Series as well.

image (7)

Week 4 – Complete

image (9)

Accomplishment #smashinggoals

Have you ever been to a running store to get fit for sneakers? How did you like it? 

15K Training: Week 1

As promised, here’s my week 1 training recap. This week was the Warm Up and I ran a total of 14 of the 306.6 planned miles for this program. That number is just so daunting when you look at it 306.6 miles. WHAT THE WHAT. Girl you are CRAY!IMG_4166

But when you break it out over 12 weeks it’s not so bad. I’m just taking it day by day and week by week. Each day I have a plan of what to do.

Monday: Ran 3 miles at an easy, comfortable pace.

Tuesday: Ran 4 miles – 2 of the miles I did a fartlek (Swedish for speed play)

Wednesday: Cross-training; I did NTC Flex Machine, it was a great 30 minute full body workout

Thursday: Rest/Yoga. I’m really seeing the benefits of yoga and a great stretch

Friday: 3 mile run, I ran the last mile faster than the first 2 🙂


Speed training pays

Saturday: 4 mile run, I actually walked 3.27 miles w/ the hubs & Mr. Smiles

Sunday: Rest, I walked 1.7 miles w/ the hubs, boys & my MIL & did a Fit4Mom Body Back Class

My goal of course for the Hot Chocolate 15k is to finish and I want training to be fun not a chore so if that means I hit my weekly miles with running and family walks I’m cool with that. Warm Up week was great and I’m excited to see how the other weeks progress.

NOTE TO SELF purchase some reflective gear as the sunrise is getting later and later.

Check our Instagram & Facebook pages for daily updates 🙂