My upcoming half-marathon is starting to get pretty real. Not that it wasn't before, I mean, I feel like I have been running forever and I kind of have. I'm eleven weeks in and counting, but that is where it gets real. I only have two weeks left! It's hard to believe when I agreed to do the half-marathon back in the fall that I would ever be able to get to this point, yet here I am. It had been four years since I had run a half and while I work out regularly, running had not been a regular in my cardio lineup for awhile. Looking at the training schedule was quite daunting in the beginning and I thought there was no way I'll be able to do it but I wanted a challenge and I committed. Eleven weeks after starting my training began, I am feeling almost ready. These last few weeks have not been without their challenges and minor setbacks. I've had IT band issues on my left leg causing intermittent knee pain after five miles or more and I've had occasional aches in my right ankle. That being said, I've made adjustments to my pace and intervals to keep going. And, as you'll read below, stretching has made a huge difference to aid these aches and pains. All three runs this week went really well with no pain at all and I am gearing up for Sunday's long run of nine miles (as long as all the snow we are supposed to get doesn't hinder that too much). Besides this looming snow, I've been super blessed that the winter has been fairly kind to me as a runner. There have only been a handful of training runs that left me feeling pretty chilled but with the mix of near 50 degree days in December and January, it's been fairly nice to say the least. It also helps that I keep telling myself the actual finish line will be in Florida where I'll be looking at beautiful palm trees instead of barren trees here in the Midwest. It all just goes to show, if you think you can, you can and you will. Upgrade your beliefs. Change your mindset. Commit, stay motivated and positive and you can do anything you set your mind too.

Besides running, this week has been a lot of much-needed stretching through a mix of Bodyflow and yoga. I attended my typical M/W/F Bodyflow classes but beyond that I began a two-week visit to Hatha Yoga & Fitness and participated in a couple of yoga classes there. Hatha will be my featured gym for January so it's been fun to hop into a new studio this week and try some new classes. Bodyflow and yoga have been everything I've needed especially throughout this half-marathon training. I've built strength through these classes but more importantly they have given my muscles a good release following my weekly runs. It's so important to include stretching through yoga, flow, or by incorporating into your own routine before and after your workout of choice. This is a key component to a well-rounded fitness program and one that I honestly had neglected. So often we finish our workouts and rush out to do the next thing on our list, but take the time to cool down and stretch, even if that means cutting another part of your workout short. Your muscles and your body need it just as much as they need the cardio and the strength training. I'm so glad that it is back in my weekly mix. Overall, I generally feel better. I'm calmer, have less tension and even am stronger as a result of adding stretching, flexibility and balance training into my weekly workouts.

Other than that, I continued with my strength training sessions this week and am going to do them one more week at lighter intensity before tapering off prior to my race. I want to make sure my body is completely ready and my muscles aren't extra fatigued from weight lifting. Through using my fitness journal, I have been able to successfully track progress and even increasing weight and reps to failure on a few different exercises this week. Love to see new improvements to my training already taking shape!

Keep reading to get the details of my strength training sessions.

Chest & Back
Pushups, 2 sets of 10, last set failure 20 (+2 last week)
Assisted Pullup, 3 sets of 10, 91.5lbs
Straight Arm Late Pushdown, 3 sets of 10, 50lbs
Chest Fly, 3 sets of 10, 60lbs (+5lb last week)
Barbell Wide Grip Row, 3 sets of 10, 40lbs (+5lb last week)
Barbell Chest Press, 2 sets of 10, last set failure 13, 35lbs
Back Extension, 3 sets of 6
Foam Roll Work

Cable Single Leg Abductor, 3 sets of 10, 20lbs
Cable Glute Extension, 3 sets of 10, 20lbs
Single Leg Leg Press, 3 sets of 10, 90lbs
Abductor Machine, 3 sets of 8, 70lbs
Adductor Machine, 3 sets of 8, 70lbs
Dumbbell Laying Hamstring Curl, 3 sets of 10, 20lbs (+2.5lb)
Glute Bridge, 2 sets 45 seconds superset with:
Band Walks, 2 sets 10, yellow band
Glute Contractions

Biceps Triceps & Shoulders
Cable Tricep Pushdown, 3 sets of 10, 55lbs (+5 last week)
Cable Biceps Curl, 3 sets of 10, 30lbs
Dumbbell Around the World, 3 sets of 10, 7.5lbs
Barbell Skull Crushers, 3 sets of 10, 20lbs
Dumbbell Hammer Curls w/ Balance, 3 sets of 10, 12.5lbs
Dumbbell Lat Raise, 3 sets of 10, 10lbs
Tricep Pushups, 2 sets of 5, last set failure 8 (+1 last week)
TRX Bicep Curl, 2 sets of 10, last set failure 15 (+1 last week)
Plank Shoulder Taps, 3 sets of 20

How did you move this week? If you saw my Instagram earlier this week, I told you to move, however it works for you. If you are a runner (well, run/walker) like myself, go for it and do your run. But, that's not for everyone. You do you. Whatever you're feeling, do it as long as you do it. Walk the dog. Clean the house. Try a seven-minute workout. Move your body, release tension and feel better. You can do it and you deserve it!