Saturday Shares

Just a few things to share for Saturday!

The SLO Marathon: The price goes up on February 28!

SLO Marathon

Now is the time to register for the SLO Marathon before the price goes up on February 28! Also, if you want your name on your bib, the deadline is March 2. Come run with me on April 23! Remember you can still use the code WOODAMB to save $10 on registration!


Take the Leap/Bringing Yoga Back Challenges

The 12 days of #BringingYogaBack with prAna is over (though the 30 day #TaketheLeap challenge continues through March 8). It was a lot of fun to try some challenging (to me) poses over the 12 days. Here are a few of my favorites:

TadasanaThis may be my favorite selfie of all time. Photo bombed by a cat!

Down Dog

Low Lunge


One Legged Dog

Wild Thing

CrowOkay, crow pose was not one of the #BringingYogaBack poses. I just get pretty proud of myself when I can hold it long enough to get a picture.

Save Money on

Do you want to practice yoga at home but need some guidance? I know from experience that has excellent instruction, choices of videos or audios, and a huge variety of yoga classes. I’ve been a member for several years and now I’m also an affiliate.

I talk about​ a lot because it is my favorite online yoga service.  Here is a Groupon​ to save $60 on an annual membership. It’s usually $90 and you can get it for $29! There is also a shorter term option. I bought one myself because my membership is up for renewal next week (perfect timing). Disclosure: This is not my regular affiliate link but I can earn an extra $12 back from Groupon if you use this link to purchase.

Saturday Shares. Favorites from the week:

Why I Run. No, this isn’t my post from a few days ago. Angela and I actually wrote a post and published on the same day. Similar, but different. Check it out.

11 Ways to Manage Stress and Feeling Overwhelmed. While my stress level is much lower than it was a few months ago, I was interested to see Christine’s suggestions for reducing stress.

Cross Training for Runners. If you’re a runner, you know you should cross train. Here are some great tips from Amanda.

15 Common Running Mistakes to Avoid. We’ve all made some (or all) of these, but it is still interesting (and informative) to know what we shouldn’t be doing.

Crawling to the Finish Line: Heroic or Stupid? I actually had a client tell me this story (so uninformed!). Amanda asks an interesting question.

Positioning Your Blog to Charge Higher Prices. Blog school just started last Monday, but even if you didn’t sign up Rita’s blog has so much great information.

Do the Things that make your Heart Race. Just the title of Lisa’s post makes me smile (and curious).

Vegetarian Pad Thai. Tina (along with Deborah) has been doing a Meatless Monday linkup for a few months. I haven’t posted many recipes lately, but I love checking in (especially when the recipe is vegan, as is this one).

Any fun plans for the weekend? Have you read (or written) any great posts this week to share?

5k Friday: Your 12 Week 5k Training Program, Week 8

Run a 5k 8Your 12 Week 5k Training Program, Week 8

By the end of week seven, you were running 20 minutes without stopping. Just think about that for a moment. You’re a runner! This week we will build on that, by increasing the time/distance. Remember to take a body check from time to time. Shin pain in particular, can plague new runners. We’ve taken it pretty slow in order to avoid injuries, but be sure to use ice as prescribed and if something hurts a little, take an extra day or two off. (Did you miss week one? Click here.)

This week you will start where you left off, with a 20 minute run. By the end of the week you will add several minutes onto that. Like the other weeks you will have three key workouts with two other easy days (one of which is optional). Don’t forget your stretching!

Remember, all workouts start with an 8-10 minute brisk warm-up walk. On your rest days, feel free to do some strength training, yoga, Pilates, etc.

Day One: After your warm up, run for 20 minutes. Cool down, stretch ice.

Day Two: Active recovery. After your warm up, run for 8 minutes. Walk for 30 seconds. Repeat. Cool Down and stretch.

Day Three: Warm up, Run for 10 minutes. Walk for one minute. Run for 10 minutes. Walk for run minute. Run for three minutes, then cool down.

Day Four: Rest.

Day Five: Warm up, the run for 23 minutes. Cool down, stretch, etc.

Day Six: (Optional) Active Recovery. Warm up, run for 15 minutes. Walk for one minute, then run for two more minutes.

Day Seven: Rest.

Coming next week: We will continue to add time/distance to your run, plus add an optional speed workout if you would like to get a little bit faster for your race.

Getting Faster

Getting_Faster.JPGRefer back to this post for information on whether you’re ready to add speed to your workout, how to find your goal pace, reasons for each workout as well as the first week of workouts to add to your training.

The Workouts:

The Long Run: At this point in your training, your long run should be at least six miles. You can keep it at that or add another half mile. To add a little mileage to your week, add a half mile to one of your other runs (not the speed workouts).

The Interval Workout: On the track for 800 meter repeats. After your 10 minute warm up, run 800 meters at slightly faster than your 5k pace (about 90-95% of VO2Max). Recover by jogging or walking 200 meters. Repeat five more times. Cool down by walking or jogging 400-800 meters. Stretch (and don’t forget to ice after your workout!)

The Lactate Threshold Workout: On the road for this workout. After your one mile easy warm up, run 10 minutes at slightly less that your 5k pace (about 85-90% of your maximal effort). Recover by jogging for two minutes. Repeat two more times. Cool down by jogging a half mile, and finish with a stretch.

Remember, in addition to these workouts, you can run another one-three days during the week, nice easy, shorter runs (recovery runs). A sample schedule can be found in this post.

Nice job on week eight. See you next week!

Why I Run

As you know, I am a personal trainer. That means that I work with a lot of other personal trainers. We talk between clients sometimes. About our children, our spouses/significant others, our weekend plans. Sometimes more personal stuff. As I was looking for a new OB/Gyn recently, I heard a tale of a painful colposcopy. I even advised a much younger co-worker on a relationship issue.

One thing, ironically, that we don’t seem to talk about is our own fitness programs. What we do to stay fit and strong is rarely mentioned. While I’ll occasionally see one of the trainers on the elliptical between clients, and I’ve been known to go to a yoga class at work, I really don’t know what the other trainers do to stay fit.

I mention this because, when I was new to this job (only several months ago), I met another new trainer, and it came up that I was a runner. “Running!” she said, “I only do that if someone is chasing me!”

I thought then, and I still do, how odd. How can a personal trainer, presumably dedicated to health and fitness, would scoff at any form of exercise, even if it wasn’t her personal choice?

If you’re a runner you hear this a lot. You are crazy if you run long distances (to most people this is anything over three miles), you’re going to hurt your knees, running is hard, running is boring, and on and on. Why do you run? I hear this from my clients, my family, my non-running friends.

Why do I run? While I never feel the need to justify my running to anyone, I will sometimes try to find the words to express why I love to run. Hey, it’s another reason to talk about running! Maybe this will help you explain to the non-running people in your life why you need to get out the door even though it is cold, dark, or rainy. And if you’re not a runner, it might help you understand the crazy runners in your life.

Why I Run

Why I run

  • I run because it’s faster than walking. Yes, it’s true. When I first moved my fitness outdoors after years of video aerobics, I contemplated walking. Then I figured that I could get twice the workout in half the time and I was sold on running.
  • I run because it clears my mind so I can think. Like moving meditation, I can empty my mind as I run, which allows all sorts of amazing things to fill it back up. I solve problems, create amazing blog posts and humorous quotes, write interesting letters to the editor of the local paper, all while my mind and body wander. Of course, remembering all of those wonderful things after I stop running is another thing.
  • I run because I can.
  • I run because it can always be different. I can run fast or slow. I can run on the trails or on the road. I can run on level ground or on hills. Or I can do all of those in one single run!
  • I run because it’s easy. Many would disagree, but I say: Wake up, put on clothes and shoes, walk out the door, run. Easy!
  • I run because the most amazing people in the world are runners and it gives me a chance to run with them.
  • I run because there is nothing like the wind in my face, fresh air in my lungs, and the feeling of my feet hitting the ground.
  • I run to be alone. Just me and my thoughts (or my audiobook if I’m inclined).
  • I run to be with (old and new) friends. I have met many wonderful people in the middle of a long race, and have sealed lifelong friendships with my running partners.
  • I run to explore. Whether it’s my own neighborhood, country trails or the city of Paris, I love to see the sights by foot.
  • While I don’t run to lose weight or to eat what I want, I love that all that I have to do to keep my body healthy and in shape is to do something that I love to do.
  • Running makes me happy. Whether it’s the endorphins or simply expending energy in the beautiful outdoors, I always finish my run in a good mood.
  • I run because if I choose to train hard and get faster, I can do that, at any age and any speed. And if I compete, I compete against people my own age, not 20 something speedsters.
  • I run because it energizes me. You’d think that it would tire me out, but instead it fuels me for my day. That being said…
  • I run because I sleep really well when I run. Without it, not so much.
  • I run because it makes me strong, independent, confident, and determined. And that’s what I need for everything else in life.

I run because I am a runner. Like the chicken or the egg, it’s hard to figure out which came first.

Why do you run?

Marathon Training, Yoga Challenges, and Grandsons: Just a little recap

Busy weekend = mostly pictures. That and the Westminster Dog Show is distracting me. So, a little recap with a lot of pictures.

Marathon Training

What should be the biggest part of my recap is, well, not so much. I’m having schedule clashes, with clients who want to work out at 7:00 in the morning, and while I’m willing to get out there early, I’m hesitant to get out there too much in advance of the sunrise. That’s a long excuse for only two runs this week.

Running 2I did get out early on Wednesday, finishing my four miles by 6:00.

RunningAnd I did a 14 mile long run on Sunday (Saturday we had family stuff). I ran the first 5 miles with Alan and our neighbor, then took off on my own for the rest. The fire station is my perfect water stop. They have an ice machine, plus, well, firemen (though there weren’t any about on Sunday).

Total mileage only 18 miles! That should improve in the coming week. My work schedule is a little better and I have a cut back on the long run next weekend.

Yoga Challenge

Ironically, I’ve done much better with the Take the Leap 30 Days of Yoga Challenge with prAna and Sweat Pink that I did with running. I’ve managed at least a short practice every day since the beginning, and since I’m doing the Bringing Yoga Back challenge too (which fortunately work really well together), I’m really happy with my yoga efforts. I didn’t make it to a “real” class this week, but I practiced at home, both in and outdoors. Take a peek:

Week 2A little doggy-assisted yoga, my favorite kind.

Week 2_2While Alan worked the PS Half Marathon, I took a little run, the did a little posing.

Week 2_3Not only do I get help from my dogs, I get a lot of interest from the cats in the neighborhood.

Week 2_4I spread out my mat on the driveway to stretch after my Wednesday run.

Week 2_5I think I did a pretty good lizard pose variation, don’t you?

Week 2_6Back in the house, a 20 minute balance flow, and amazingly the dogs stayed clear (they were probably afraid I’d fall on them, my balance was that bad).

Week 2_8We traveled to Huntington Beach on Saturday for our twin grandsons’ 10th birthday party. While they played basketball, I posed.

Week 2_7I dragged Alan out for this one. Up in the trails behind our house, he took so many great pictures of my downward facing dog that I couldn’t choose just one.

Phew, week two in the books. I’m am so ready for week three!


As I mentioned, our grandsons turned 10 on Saturday (yes, they’re Valentine’s Day boys). It was a basketball themed party, so Alan and I had a chance to throw the ball around a little bit too. It had been 20 years a long time since I played basketball, and I was playing in flip flops, but I still managed a couple free throws (it seems much farther away than it did when I was younger!), and more than a few lay ups. From my Instagram:

Yes, we did. #basketball

A video posted by Debbe Woodruff (@coachdebbieruns) on

And this:

BirthdayThey asked to do this. #10yearoldboys

Valentine’s Day

We’re not big Valentine’s celebrators. We try to show our love daily, so it’s just not a big deal. We did, however, take the opportunity to stop for dinner at Native Foods on our way home from Huntington Beach on Saturday. It’s not exactly romantic, but it is our favorite restaurant. As I told one of our smartypants Facebook friends, it feels more romantic to us than candlelight and steaks!

Native Foods 3Native Foods 2Alan ordered three(!) cupcakes, so we had ALL the chocolate! I was really well fueled for my long run on Sunday. And fortunately not too sore from the basketball.

So, that was my week in training and life. What’s happening in yours? Any races, events, family fun?

5k Friday: Your 12 Week 5k Training Program, Week 7


Your 12 Week 5k Training Program, Week 7

While last week (week 6) was a bit of a break, that only served to make you stronger by giving your body a well deserved rest. At the end of week five, you were running 20 minutes with only one break. Fantastic! We’ll be building on that this week. (Did you miss week one? Click here.)

By the end of this week, you will be able to run your entire 20 minute workout without a break. Again, you will have three key workouts, with two other easy days (one of which is optional). Remember to listen to your body, take an extra day off if necessary, don’t skip your stretching, and finally, enjoy yourself. You’re a runner now.

Remember, all workouts begin with an 8-10 minute brisk walk, and finish with about a five minute walk, stretching, and icing. On your rest days, feel free to do some strength training, yoga, Pilates, etc.


Day One: Repeat last week’s day six workout: Warm up. Run for 10 minutes. Walk for one minute. Repeat. Cool Down.

Day Two: Active Recovery Day. After your warm up, run for five minutes. Walk for 30 seconds. Repeat two more times.

Day Three: After your warm up, run for 15 minutes. Walk for 30 seconds. Run for five minutes. Cool Down.

Day Four: Rest

Day Five: Here it is! Warm up. Run for 20 minutes. Cool Down.

Day Six: (Optional) Active Recovery: Warm up, run for six minutes. Walk for 20 seconds. Repeat two more times.

Day Seven: Rest

Coming next week: Now that you can run for 20 minutes straight, we will start adding on more time/distance.

Getting Faster


Refer back to this post for information on whether you’re ready to add speed to your workout, how to find your goal pace, reasons for each workout as well as the first week of workouts to add to your training.

The Workouts

The Long Run: After several weeks of increasing your mileage, with one cutback week, you are probably running a sufficient distance in preparation for a 5k. If you want to continue to increase your mileage, go ahead and add on a half mile to this run. If you are running six miles or more for your long run, you really don’t need to add on more at this level of training. If you choose not to increase your long run, add a half mile to one of your other runs during the week (not the speed workouts). Don’t forget to stretch.


The Interval Workout: Back to basic speed work, on the track, 400 meter intervals. After your 10 minute warm up, run 400 meters at slightly faster than your your 5k pace (about 95% of VO2Max). Recover by jogging or walking 200 meters. Repeat 11 more times. Cool down by walking or jogging 400-800 meters. Stretch (and don’t forget to ice after your workout!)

The Lactate Threshold Workout: On the road for this basic tempo run. After your one mile easy warm up, run two miles at slightly less that your 5k pace (about 85-90% of your maximal effort). Cool down by jogging a half mile, and finish with a stretch.

Remember, in addition to these workouts, you can run another one-three days during the week, nice easy, shorter runs (recovery runs). A sample schedule can be found in this post.

Week seven is in the bag. See you next week!

Running Strong with (in spite of) Exercise Induced Asthma

I have suffered from Exercise Induced Asthma ever since I started running, especially once I started racing and training at a higher intensity level. I didn’t realize at first what was happening. At the end of a race I would feel dizzy, nauseous, and weak, and take up to an hour to feel better. I chalked it up to my hard effort and really didn’t worry too much about it. But, as these things do, it got worse. Here’s a little timeline of my history with Exercise Induced Asthma.

Exercise Induced Asthma

May 1996: I was running a 10k in Yucca Valley. It was shortly after Alan and I had met, and he was going to pace me to a PR. He did that, but I don’t remember the last 2/10 of a mile because I was so seriously oxygen deprived that I passed out at the finish line. While I never coughed or wheezed, I was not getting enough oxygen to fuel my muscles, and it took me over two hours to fully recover. For a while I couldn’t even lift my arms up. On a happier note, I did finish second overall and first in my age group.

Later that same week while on an easy run, I had my first incidence of a full blown asthma attack. I coughed, I wheezed, I cried (it’s very scary and emotional if you don’t know what’s happening) which made it even worse. Because my mother had suffered from asthma all her life, I figured out what was going on, made a doctor’s appointment and got my first inhaler.

December 1996: I ran my first marathon, in Honolulu. Starting about mile 16 in the race, I started having problems breathing and began using my inhaler. It slowed me down considerably, but I finished.


1997: My doctor tried a variety of medications. At one point, I was using three different inhalers and a pill that I took daily. It did help, but that’s an awful lot of medicine.

1998: I created a holster in which I could carry my asthma inhaler. After seeing a woman using a similar one at the San Diego Marathon (it was a gift so she didn’t know where it came from), I used the belt loop part of a flashlight holster with a big paper clip. The inhaler fit perfectly and was easily at hand whenever I needed it. I should have patented it and gone into production. I was asked about it at every race I ever did.

June 2002: The first marathon I ever dropped out of because of my asthma, Rock and Roll in San Diego. You can fight through a lot of things, pain, tiredness, but you really need to be able to breathe, and I couldn’t. I also dropped out of the same race two years later. The only races I’ve ever dropped out of for any reason.

2006: After a knee injury slowed my times and I just got tired of fighting the asthma, I ran my last marathon. For the next few years, I continued to run and race, but never trained at a very high level. I still had the asthma problems during races, but they were infrequent enough so that I stopped taking all the preventative medications and just stuck with my rescue inhaler (albuterol).

2013: With renewed enthusiasm for running, I decided to train hard with a goal of running a sub-2 hour half marathon for the first time in years. That meant adding speed workouts back to my schedule and running longer and harder. It also meant the return of the asthma. Alan (who suffers from asthma too) had been having great success with montelukast, which is the generic version of Singulair. I decided I wanted to try it as well, and after multiple allergy and other tests given by my doctor, I picked up my first prescription.

Exercise Induced Asthma - Health Ox Oximeter

In my first race while using the montelukast, I still had a few issues. I think one of the problems is that I was taking it in the evening before bed. I should have taken it in the morning, a couple hours before the race. Hindsight is 20/20, but I will know this for next time. I did, however, accomplish my goal of running a two hour half marathon.

Fast forward to 2015. After running the Rock and Roll Marathon last June, my first in over eight years, I am now training for the SLO Marathon, which is in April. I have stated that I want to run a strong race, so that means thinking about asthma medication again. I’ll be sticking with the combination of montelukast, along with a rescue inhaler. I don’t start using the medication until about three months out from the race. That is when I start to increase both the intensity and distance of my runs. I’m hopeful that the combination of medication and sticking with my training program will get me across the finish line one more time.

That’s my story. Now a little bit about Exercise Induced Asthma.

What is Exercise Induced Asthma?

If you cough, wheeze or feel out of breath during or after exercise, it may be more than exertion that is the cause. If you feel tingling in your extremities, dizziness, or like you are breathing through a straw, you may be experiencing Exercise Induced Asthma. Even if you’ve never had any breathing issues in the past, EIA may be causing you to slow down, drop out, and begin to wonder if exercise is all it’s cracked up to be.

Having Exercise Induced Asthma does not mean that you should stop exercising. On the contrary, exercise helps to strengthen your entire cardio pulmonary system, and proper treatment of the condition can help keep you active, whether you are an elite level swimmer, an age group runner, or a weekend warrior.

Symptoms of Exercise Induced Asthma

Some of the symptoms of Exercise Induced Asthma include coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, tightening in the chest, fatigue during exercise, and poor athletic poor performance. These can happen during or after exercise. Many people don’t realize they have EIA because they think the symptoms are their body’s response to exercise.

My personal symptoms start with a feeling like tingling in my extremities. I always think that they feel like they are not getting enough oxygen. I start to feel weak and my body suddenly needs to slow down. If I try to push through, I feel like the continued lack of oxygen will cause me to faint and even feel like I have encroaching blackness in my peripheral vision.

As asthma attack can be a life threatening occurrence. Get immediate medical help if your symptoms continue to worsen even after using a rescue inhaler or if your symptoms continue after you are finished with your workout.

Causes & Risk Factors

While no one really knows why one person suffers from EIA while another doesn’t, some things that increase the likelihood of an attack include cold, dry weather, air pollution, high pollen counts, chemicals (such as chlorine in a swimming pool), and having a cold or other respiratory infection.

Again, my personal experience is that warm, humid climates make it more likely to have an attack (contrary to everything I have read, but have heard from others). I also have difficulties at high altitudes, especially during the adaptation period. And while I will occasionally have an EIA attack during shorter, high intensity exercise, I seem to have more problems during lower intensity, but longer efforts.

Those who have asthma that is triggered by other causes are more likely to have EIA, as are children, smokers, and high intensity exerciser (like runners).



So what is an athlete to do? For many people, a couple puffs from a quick relief inhaler such as Albuterol is enough to control symptoms.  These are called bronchodilators and can help open the airways during an attack as well.

If a bronchodilator is not enough, speak to your doctor regarding the medications that are available to prevent asthma attacks. This type of medication is taken on a daily basis to help reduce inflammation and keep your airway open.

In order to prevent an EIA attack, several things are known to help, including a long warm-up of 10 minutes or more, trying to breathe through your nose, covering your mouth in cold dry weather, and if allergens cause you to experience EIA, avoid them as much as possible (maybe skip a workout on a high pollen or pollution day).

Don’t stop exercising. As I mentioned, exercising improves your lung function, so it is an important factor in the control of asthma symptoms. And don’t be discouraged. It may take a while to find the right combination of medications. I have finished 36 marathons with (in spite of) Exercise Induced Asthma, with a PR of 3:16, and many races of shorter distances, so it is possible to race and train at a pretty high level.

Remember, I am not a doctor! If you are experiencing Exercise Induced Asthma symptoms or feel like you are having difficulties breathing during exercise consult your own physician. While I researched the topic, I am speaking from my own experience and yours may be completely different.