Pick 3

There is this African proverb my mom shared with me when I first decided I wanted to pursue running.

“Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning a lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a lion or gazelle. When the sun comes up, you’d better be running.”

I was 13 years old and my core was on fire for the journey I was about to embark on. I set my goals pretty much from day one. I knew the pursuit of these goals was not going to be just any ol’ walk in the park. It was going to be years and years of countless work to even toe the starting line of what might take a lifetime to conquer.

But that’s the fun part , right?

Years and year go by.

Over a decade passes.

I still push onward.

I’m still going, 18 plus years later… I am still running!! THAT IS WHAT MATTERS.

Literally every morning when the sun comes up I am doing something to prepare myself to get out the door running. Now, when I was 13 years old, my body was able to walk out the door and go for a run, but as I have pounded my body over the years I’m no longer able to just walk out the door. I need to dust the rust off my joints and muscles every morning. I believe if you dedicate just 15-20 minutes before every run doing a few dynamic stretches or pre hab exercises, you will:

First, have few injuries


Second, be able to run for years to come.

My personal recommendation is to pick three exercises in addition to some light foam rolling to “wake up” your muscles. If one works a traditional 8-5 desk job, you have been sitting for most of the day. So whether you are an en evening runner or morning runner you will need to get those running muscles firing.

In order to target different muscle groups and to encompass a wide variety I suggest picking 3 different mini exercises to complete on the different days of the week you run. Below I have my current three in addition to several other options to incorporate in your daily running regime.

My current 3:

1×50 Yoga toes

2×20 Short foot

3x 20 Monster walks with band, forward, backwards, sideways.

Example 1:

3×10 3- way band on ankle

3×10 Clam shells

3x 10 Bridge marches

Example 2:

3×10 Lying leg swings

3×10 Donkey kicks

3x 10 Eccentric calf raises

Example 3:

3×10 Bird dog

3×10 forward lunges

3×10 Dead bug

Whether you run 1 day or 7 days per week, you can rotate between these different routines as well as find additional exercises to add.

Best of luck to you all on your running journey!



Cross Training Tricks and Tips

I have been injured more times than I would like to admit. Truth be told… I wouldn’t hipeven be able to count the number of times I have had to take the dreaded 6-8 weeks off due to injury. I know that sounds horrible. Looking back, it all started after I had my first injury. In 2006, I tore my rectus femoris tendon at its origin, the anterior inferior iliac spine (hip area). After this injury is was a domino effect of injuries. All of which have been isolated to my right lower leg. Ranging from torn muscles to stress fractures to other weird stuff I can’t even recall. Obviously it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that something biomechanically must not be working properly. The downfall is everyone has their own opinion on which biomechanical factors are impaired or malfunctioning. It may sound depressing and frustrating. Don’t get me wrong, it totally has been; the past 12 years have been full of ups and downs. But at least I can still run, it may not be everyday, but it’s enough to be slowly chipping away towards my goals.…

What’s that saying… “Rome wasn’t built in a day.”

With all that being said, injuries and hiccups are part of running. In the off-season, during injuries and even within normal training I like to incorporate many different forms of cross training. Below you will find different workout ideas, and keep in mind all ideas can be done on any machine, not just what is specified.

This can be a great tool, however, you want to mimic running, so first and foremost, do not be afraid to get sweaty.
Mile repeats: I love longer intervals on the elliptical or bike. The key to doing mile repeats on the elliptical is to go off of effort and time. For example, on the road one workout I would run would consist of:
Warm up 10-20 minutes 5×1 mile repeats at 6:00 pace with 90 seconds recovery.
These repeats would be a tempo effort due to the limited amount of rest. I can basically do this exact workout on any machine, I prefer the elliptical,-
Basically just set a timer on your watch or phone. Instead of an actual mile you will elliptical at a tempo paced effort for 6-8 minutes followed by 90 seconds of active recovery. Repeat 3-6 times depending on fitness.
Cool down 10-20 minutes

I call this one the Kieffer Workout. This is because I saw Allie Kieffer complete a similar workout in the pool aqua jogging. This particular workout I like to do when I am short on time and I like to do it on the elliptical or in the pool (aqua jogging).
Warm up: 10-20 minutes
20x (45seconds hard/15 seconds easy)
Your heart rate should be up. This workout should feel like 20 minutes of real work. There is not much time to recover, so you will get sweaty
Cool down 10-20 minutes

I love this cross training tool because it can really help a runner with their leg turnover and speed. Especially when you are injured, it is a great way to keep those legs turning over.
Take a spin class: This is the easiest way to go about spinning. You will have a teacher/coach directing you for the full 45-90 minute class. Classes range from all different times and themes. Some teachers like hills others like sprint. So take classes from different instructors to get a wide range of fitness.

Tabata: This one is a fun one:

Warm up 10-20 minutes
4-6 sets 20 seconds hard/10 easy. Between each set spin lightly for 2 minutes before you move on to the next set.
Once again, this is another workout you can do if you are short on time. It is also important as your body warms up to increase the resistance.
Cool down 10-20 minutes

Typically, I prefer to aqua jog but swimming laps is also a great form of recovery especially if you are not a super great swimmer. I believe the water acts as a form of therapy.

Aqua jog: I recommend using the aqua jogging belt. As you get stronger you can remove the belt, however, the belt does help you keep better form.
Warm up 10 -20 minutes aqua jog
I prefer to keep the workout moving and changing constantly in the pool. You can go back to the elliptical and try the Kieffer workout in the pool or another fun one is the 1/2/3/2/1:
To complete this workout you can do anywhere between 1-4 sets of this workout. Basically the 1/2/3/2/1 are the minutes you go hard. Between each interval you aqua jog easily for 1 minute. Then between each set you aqua jog lightly for 3 minutes.
Cool down 10 -20 minutes of easy aqua jog. Just focus on your form!

Laps: When I swim laps I concentrate on swimming one mile first, then I will alternate every 10 minutes between different strokes/ and kick board. The goal for me is to get in 90 minutes. But if you are not a swimmer start small. 30 minutes is all you need.

THE ROWER: Oh boy do I love the rowing machine!!!IMG_20180429_102416443_HDR.jpg
I will usually warm up and cool down doing something else, like a brisk walk on the treadmill or a light elliptical for 15 minutes.
1k repeats: I love this workout.
Row hard and focus on your strokes per minute. This number is important to keep consistent. Also it is super important to push with your legs first and pull with the arms once the legs are extended.
Do anywhere between 3-6 1k repeats. Rest should be half the time it took you to row the kilometer. Example: it took 4:30 to tow 1km, then the rest should be roughly 2-2:30.
Cool down, a brisk walk on the treadmill or a light elliptical for 15 minutes.
The 5k Row: If you are looking for something different just hop on a rowing machine for 5k. It will work your muscles differently and a variety will help keep you injury free.

Its alot, but these are my favorite workouts. Having hte variety keeps beeing injured more fun. You can rotate each day between the various cross training tools. You will get stronger in more ways than one which will only help you in the long run!

Let me know in the comments if you try any of these workouts or if you have a favorite.
Have fun cross training!


The Changing Cadence

pexels-photo-221210.jpegThe bad new, this training cycle did not go as planned. It all boils down to post pregnancy running, basically my body decided it really could not run the miles in its current state. Honestly speaking, I have known something has been off for a while. But the thing with runners is we somehow think everything will just click if we keep at it long enough. We just have to hang on for dear life. Unfortunately that is not how it works. I know that is not how it works. I have been at this long enough to know when things feel off, you need to stop and fix the problem.

I am not one to preach cadence. However, I do think it is important to be aware of your NORMAL. They say the golden number is 180 steps per minute. I have never been a 180spm runner, my normal is about 174-177spm. Post pregnancy, my cadence has slowed down to 163-166 average. I have been aware of the decrease, but for some reason I just figured if I kept running my cadence would eventually go back to normal. Guess what…. THINGS DO NOT MAGICALLY FIX THEMSELVES….. Surprise, surprise.

It takes work.

Due to this slight change in my cadence post baby, my foot strike is a little off, my muscles are not firing properly and other muscles are taking the load which they are not equipped to handle. All of these little malfunctions have caused some major hiccups in this training cycle. My post tibial tendon/ muscle decided to flare up. As well as my soleus and gastrocnemius. lower leg complications takes work to heal and maintain. Basically I feel as if I am reteaching myself how to run again. Looking back through my training log, the past 8 weeks have been filled with test runs and lots of cross training. Therefore, Iphoto (7)missed the half marathon for this spring cycle.

It happens. You win some, you lose some, you make some, you miss some.

Bumps and detours are part of this journey.

Currently I meet with the Human Performance Collective to have soft tissue work done to the calf area as well as rehab/ prehab exercises. The outlook for the week looks as if I will be getting back into running. It’s a work in progress. This particular journeys just takes time, patience, and lots of hard work to accomplish.

Amy’s Race Report: Glass City Half Marathon


A – 1:40:00

B – 1:48:00

C – 1:45:00


Starting around November of 2017, I began to think seriously about running a marathon in 2018. A key milestone leading to that goal was to run a half marathon in the spring. Well, that spring half was this past Sunday. I am happy to say up front that I met some of my goals in this race and am moving forward on my plan for running a marathon this year! 🙂


I focused on the 5k distance during the fall and spent December continuing to build my base mileage. By the end of December, I was up to about 20-25 miles per week. Anissa designed a training plan for me that began 14 weeks before the race. The idea was that it would basically be a 12-week plan but have some wiggle room in case anything interfered with my training (spoiler alert, things interfered).

This training cycle peaked just over 30 miles per week and included at least one workout per week. I also mixed in some weight training, yoga, and rehab/prehab exercises when I could. There were a couple of times when I was sick or Clementine was and it interfered with my training. I missed a 10-mile progression run pretty close to the week of the race, which I was kind of disappointed about. Luckily I was able to work around that anyway though.

I drove down to Toledo on Saturday to pick up my race packet and check out the expo. Then on Sunday morning, I arrived with only about 20 minutes to spare. I really wanted to get there like an hour early, but sometimes things don’t go according to plan. I drank a whole bottle of water on the drive down and I had to go to the bathroom before I could get into the starting corral. Unfortunately, so did 200 other people! I waited in line for a while, then finally had a turn to get into a port-a-potty. I ran to the starting line while the national anthem was being sung. Talk about cutting it close!

The crowd support at the race was amazing! I was having so much fun that I had a smile on my face for at least the first 9 miles. I was planning to run at a pace of 8:00/mile but was actually going a little too fast. My first 7 miles were all under 8 minutes per mile. I could see that I was going too fast, but I felt pretty good and kept getting pumped up when I saw my sister and her husband cheering me on. And I got excited when I ran past the various course entertainment.

I knew that the long stretch along Dorr St toward the end of the race (miles 10-12) would be tricky. It was close to the end and crowds were shifting over to stadium to see the finish, so the crowd support was a little thinner at that point. Also, that is such a long, straight, and slightly uphill stretch of road! It felt like it was going on forever.

After I made the turn onto Douglas Rd, I caught up with the 1:45 pacing team. This was two guys who were passing a sign back and forth and calling out encouragement along the run. Their support helped me find the motivation to pick up my pace for the last 2 miles.

The finish line was in the Glass Bowl stadium, where the University of Toledo football team plays. It was pretty exciting to go around the corner, up the ramp, and through the entrance into the stadium. There was an announcer who called out people’s names (I heard my name!) as they crossed the finish. In the post-race party, I had pizza, a cookie, and some fruit, I had a short massage (omg, so perfect), and found out my results.

Amys race.png

My time was 1:44:21, and I got 25th in my age group. Pretty pleased with that 🙂


I got a little carried away with the excitement of the event, so I want to run another half pretty soon with a more clear racing strategy. The Probility Ann Arbor Marathon is coming up in a few weeks and has a half-marathon option. I think I’ll do this one with a stricter control on 8:00/mile pacing.

After that, a 2-week break and then the beginning of marathon training!

Running into Toddlerhood

clem 1After purchasing a used BOB Revolution jogging stroller in August 2017, I used it pretty regularly for the next 4 months. My daughter and I have learned to embrace whatever weather we are having (within reason — we ditched our run pretty quickly when it was less than 20 degrees and windy this winter). I love being able to go outside with a purpose and a buddy.

In October, I used a fleece elephant Halloween costumeclem 2 as a warm layer for the little girl. She loved that thing! Actually, she can and still does wear it sometimes. You can see in these pictures that we had to add more and more layers as fall segued into winter. First there’s the elephant costume and a blanket, then we added a hat to keep her ears warm and a second blanket to keep the wind off, then we upgraded to a puffy pink snowsuit.

clem 3When I take the snowsuit off the hook and set it on the floor to get her bundled up, my daughter comes running over and sits in the middle of it. She likes to put on the snowsuit, get in the stroller, and get outside to see the trees and squirrels! On those days when I’m not able to get my run in in the morning, we take the stroller out in the afternoon and combine my run with her nap. 🙂 Two birds, one stone


Mindful Thinking

Mindset and mindfulness.

What exactly does it mean?

anissa runI believe it has to do with being present in the moment. Wearing the hat for the job at hand. I think the most successful people are able to switch between their different rolls/hats very efficiently….. I wear many different hats. I’m a wife, I’m a mother, I’m a daughter, I’m a coach, I’m a shoe salesman, I’m a runner, and honestly the list could go on and on and on and on and on. I have many tasks and roles to fill each day. Most of us have many tasks and roles.

As my time and priorities have changed since bringing Augie into this world. I have tried to become more aware of my mindset and mindfulness in each situation and role at which I’m called to perform. I try my best to not be distracted by my other roles, thoughts and distractions. It’s not always easy to be in the moment. Especially in this new age where distractions are just fingertips away.

LAuren and AnissaRunning has always been the fire burning inside me. And it will always be that way. It’s what I love Very very much. It is my passion. It’s what I believe I’m supposed to do. However like I said earlier my priorities have changed or shifted. I have a child who definitely takes precedence over most situations. So with that being said when I have two hours a day to use to run or to go to the gym or train in order to reach my personal goals. I have to try very hard to shift my mind to be truly focused on the task at hand. Which is running. Or training. I trust that the people caring for Augie are taking care of him and there’s nothing I can do when I’m not with him. What I can do and what I have control over, which in this particular example would be my training.

Prior to Augie I could literally at a drop of a hat go for a run or to the gym. I didn’t have IMG_20180401_154834958_HDR.jpgtime limits or restrictions. That is no longer my lifestyle. I can’t wish for things to be easier because wishing doesn’t get you anywhere. What I can do; I can be present in each moment. I can be mindful of each situation. And I can complete each task at hand. So when I have my two hours a day to run and train to prepare for my Olympic trials standard. That is where my focus is. I concentrate only on what I have control over. I run. I run when it’s anissa and moomtime to run,I’m a mother when it’s time to mother, I’m a wife when I need to be a wife. It’s not the easiest balance. Those of you who wear all these similar hats can relate. I’m definitely not a professional when it comes to being mindful. However, if I know being mindful is important in my success as a mother, wife, and as an athlete, Etc. Keeping “mindfulness” in the back of my mind is going to be the key to becoming the best version of myself. It is just going to take a little bit of effort.

Running Pregnant

I thought it would be fun to reminisce in the past a little and recap the 9 month stint I IMG_4377had running while pregnant.The reason for this reminiscing moment is because I recently had another Running Form gait analysis completed in order to identify some of the struggles I have encountered on this postpartum journey.

IMG_6833October of 2015, I raced my first decent half marathon in nearly a decade, but shortly after that my body broke down a little(minor injury). I took some time to rewind and refocus on areas I needed to improve. At the time, I had been going to physical therapy where I incorporated a ton of strength training, all while maintaining about 15 -20 miles of running each week and several hours of cross training. I was coming back from a little lower leg setback, so I was not in super great running shape, but I just knew something was off.

What do you know, a pregnancy test revealed I was pregnant. About 4-6 weeks pregnant.IMG_8679 James and I knew we wanted a family and we were planning on the year of 2016 being the start of this pursuit, but we did not plan on it happening so fast. The plan was to not slow down on my training, If it happened it happened and if it didn’t we would try again another time. We had about an 18 month window for a pregnancy to take place. This is because I have dreams and goals of my own and a pregnancy would get in the way of me accomplishing my goals. It’s hard enough to train for half marathons and full marathons. Also, getting an Olympic Trials Qualifying Standard would pretty much be impossible if I got pregnant at the wrong time. Hence the reason for the “perfect” window. I am truly grateful my body allowed me to get pregnant as easily as I did. It was definitely a blessing.

I was about 6 weeks pregnant when I sa the blue plus sign. Honestly I slowed down my intensity a little pretty much immediately. It was my first pregnancy and I had no idea what to expect. It was important for me to take care of myself and to just have fun running. I knew I would be able to come back better if I did not overdo it while pregnant. I have had plenty of injuries in my past, so I figured this was a perfect opportunity to just slow down a little.
I averaged about 35- 40 miles per week through most of my pregnancy. There were a few mornings the nausea was pretty bad. This is gross but I would just do my business, then head out for a run. Once the nausea went away, which was around week 17, running felt much better. But once again, I did not see a point to go crazy with running. I just wanted to have fun and experience running while pregnant. For the next 20 weeks my mileage slowly decreased to about 20-25 miles per week. As Augie grew I became more uncomfortable, so as the miles decreased the swimming increased. There was just lots of pressure in all the wrong areas. By the beginning of October I was just too uncomfortable to run, so I swam an hour a day…. Swimming was actually pretty fun while pregnant.

At 37 weeks we found out Augie was breech and we tried to have him manually rotated through an exterIMG_8539nal cephalic rotation at week 38. This technique was extremely painful. Looking back if I ever went through this again I think I would not even attempt the rotation. It was very scary. After the unsuccessful attempt we settled on scheduling a c- section at week 39. My doctors told me I would be able to recover much better if I avoided going into labor. I am not gonna lie, I liked the sound of that. I also did not IMG_5768want to get to the point where we would hope he would rotate on his own during labor, because if he did not rotate, then I would have to have an emergency c-section. I am definitely happy with the choices we made. It is what worked for us. A c-section was not what I was expecting 9 months earlier, but a happy healthy baby is all that mattered. The past 16 months have been a journey. Bouncing back into running post baby has had its up and downs, but I wouldn’t change one thing about our story.

#Fitmom, According to Amy

I use the hashtag #fitmom in a lot of my Instagram posts. Rather than amplify the insurmountable pressure women experience to *do it all,* I want to build women up.

My interpretation of being “fit” is that I want to do activities that I enjoy and that help me be the best version of myself — for my own happiness and for the happiness of my family. If I need a good amount of physical activity each week (or every day) to feel good about myself, that isn’t about comparing myself to other people. That’s about being active, experiencing those exercise-induced endorphins, and being a stronger person because of it.

Personal moment here… I have been treated for a bit of depression in my past. Luckily I was able to catch the signs amy 2and get myself into therapy within a few months and stay proactive about it (ha, as much as you can when you’re talking about depression). I have several close family members who struggle with depression every day, so I had a good idea of what could happen if I let things slip any further out of my control. Anyway, I bring this up to illustrate how exercise plays into my treatment. It was incredibly helpful for me to be able to speak to a mental health professional about my concerns and to come to a plan for keeping my mood balanced. For me, this plan includes goal setting, exercise, and a lot of compassion for myself when I mess up. Running is my anti-depressant right now.

amy 1Pole dancing surprisingly does wonders for my self esteem. When I’m feeling self-conscious about my thighs, my stomach, or any other area, an hour of pole will bring my mood back up. It’s hard not to lift yourself out of a funk when you are literally lifting yourself up! I gain such an appreciation for how my body works when I practice coordinated spins, climbs, and inversions on the pole.

In a similar vein, when I go for a run first thing in the morning, it’s hard to let anything else throughout the day bring me down. I’ve already done something for myself that is productive, good for me, and fun! It helps me find the energy to get through everything else being a stay-at-home mom brings. (I have some opinions about that term, but I’ll get to that later.) Plus, just like with poleamy 3 dancing, it’s hard to feel down about myself when I am able to physically conquer the goals I set out for myself.


A #fitmom doesn’t have to be an athlete. She can be a mom who picks up her kid when they cry, a mom who is strong enough to be the emotional backbone of her family, a mom who juggles her own self-care with the needs of her kids. I am a #fitmom, and I invite other moms to identify their strengths and fitness too.




Beet All About It

Recently on one of my long elliptical sessions, I listened to the Running for Real podcast, in this particular interview Tina Muir spoke with Dr. Andrew Jones. I was very intrigued by this episode. With the title: “What we can learn from the greatest runners of all time,” I knew it was worth listening to. Dr. Jones is a physiologist who has worked with one of the best distance runners of all time, Paula Radcliff. Most recently he played a huge part in Nike’s Sub 2 hour marathon project. Aside from all the impressive runners Dr. Jones has worked with, he also been unlocking the secrets to beetroot.

Beetroots, you stare puzzled at the screen?

YES, Beetroot!

While coaching and competing in the sport for many years, I have seen all sorts of strange habits and rituals runners do in order to push themselves over the edge just a tiny bit farther. I have in fact seen athletes chug or take shots of beetroot juice literally 45 minutes before toeing the line of a race. I personally could not imagine having the taste of beets in my mouth and settling in my stomach minutes before an all out 5k effort. But what can I say, we all do strange things to help our performances. Some people stick with Gu, others want Beets!

I have heard and read a tiny bit about the science behind beets, but the podcast episode with Dr. Jones really sparked my interest.

So what does Beetroot do for us?

Well, beetroot contains high amounts of inorganic nitrate, which once ingested turns into Nitric oxide. Nitric Oxide is a vasodilator, which means our arteries dilate or become larger. When our arteries dilate, there is an increase in blood flow which means oxygen can travel much faster to our muscles. Theoretically, if our muscles are able to get oxygen quicker this would mean that it would take longer for our bodies to hit the dreaded “wall.” In other words, we should be able to last longer during endurance events.

I’m not going to lie, I like the sound of that!

Well then, How much do I take?
After doing to light reading, about 4 days of beet juice is what in needed to hit the optimal level of Nitrates. Three days prior to the event/ hard workout as well as the morning of the event.

What am I doing:
Based upon the little bits of research, I decided to give this a try. I purchased a small container of Beetroot powder which I am adding to my smoothies about 3 days out from my hardest sessions and races. I will also take a glass of water with the powder the morning of the workout/event. But not 45 minutes before the run, more like 3 hours before. Honestly, it may be more of a placebo effect, as I have no real way of knowing whether or not I truly am able to last longer on my runs. But, it will be fun to experiment with this beetroot fad.pexels-photo-674689.jpeg


Disclaimer: The content above is not intended to be medical, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Seek medical attention and advice before starting any new nutritional regimen.
Effects of Beetroot Juice Supplementation on Cardiorespiratory Endurance in Athletes. A Systematic Review

Running Your Strengths

For the past 17 years I have been told:

  1.       Your hips are too weak, you need to do X,Y,Z.
  2.       Your calves are not strong enough, you need to do X,Y,Z.
  3.       Your upper body is super weak, you need to do X,Y,Z.

other 001

Honestly the list could go on forever. These statements came from some of the best coaches, sports medicine doctors, physical therapists, and many more professionals within the running industry. All these statements are in fact true and I did and still need to do all the workouts, exercises, pre and post rehab routines which were given to me. However, it can be a little depressing being told all the areas you need to work on in order to run faster, stay injury free, and so forth. It gets to a point where you are constantly managing all of your weaknesses. It is definitely important and vital to work on all your weaknesses. By strengthening the areas of weakness, you become so much stronger physically and mentally. When you finally conquer your weaknesses, you are that much closer to your goals. My advice is to not let your weaknesses overshadow your strengths. Your strengths are the reasons you truly made it this far!

Anissa 1

With this in mind I have been telling myself to–work on your weaknesses but DO NOT forget your strengths. I have noticed with this mindset I feel more confident and excited to put in the work. Don’t get me wrong, I always love putting in the work, it’s just easier now.

So how have I fused this mindset with my own running endeavors? I went back through my old training journals and reminisced in my past. I needed to rediscover my strength and included it in my training. What is it that made me “good/love” running? After a little bit of research… I remembered. The workouts which showed my strengths were aerobic threshold runs. Simpler term: marathon- half marathon paced runs. Knowing my strength, I have focused on making sure I run one of these workouts every 7-10 days. Having something to look forward to every week makes it so much easier to do the hard stuff and the little things which I need to power my weaknesses.  

Go make a list of your strengths and do not forget to include them into your week!