Double Trouble: Tips for training for a Lifting Comp and 15K at the same time.

I’ve learned three things about myself over the past couple months. (1) That I have way too many fitness/sport related things I want to try (2) That I have a tendency to spread myself thin and (3) that I’m stubborn. From running to lifting to swimming to hiking to climbing, the list of things I desperately want to get good at goes on and on. Currently I am training for my Oly Lifting Comp on November 16th and the Denver Hot Chocolate 15k on October 6th. Two events that require very different training methods and conflicting body types, all while trying not to flunk out of law school, keep my friends, and succeed at work.

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I’ve been having a hard time balancing training. Days after I lift, my legs are too sore to run.  If I devote too much time to running, I start leaning out and don’t make gains in the lifting.  While it’s not an ideal situation at all, I’ve finally managed to strike a small balance with these tips to get through double training:

1) Get enough sleep. I get made fun of for never doing anything in the evenings past 9, but I have actually come to love this lifestyle and rarely feel like I’m missing out on anything. (Hi, I’m secretly 60).  It gives me time to go to dinner/movie/happy hour with friends, while still getting home to be in bed by 10:30. Sleep is necessary to build muscle and will also reduce bad food cravings during the day. It also keeps me from drinking a lot, which leads me to point 2.

2) Don’t drink alcohol more than once a week.  Alcohol keeps you from making gains by dehydrating you (bad for muscle growth), lowering testosterone (bad for muscle growth), and slows down protein synthesis. Depending on how much you consume, it can also make you feel like you are going to die the next day, which is not conducive to training. As I have mentioned before, my body type is not one that naturally puts on muscle. So I want to prevent anything from getting in the way of my muscle growth. (My boyfriend jokes that I am always bulking, because I chow down on food in hopes it will help me grow).

3) Drink at least a gallon of water a day. Water aids in protein synthesis and helps your muscles recover.

4) Don’t get frustrated if you aren’t improving as fast as you want to.  This one is particularly hard for me. I want to be good at everything and improve on things right away(who doesn’t??). I have to keep remind myself patience is a virtue and if I keep going the gains will come.

5) Do short, but faster runs more often. I know I have the muscle to get me through a 15K, but it’s really the cardio aspect I need work on. I’ve been trying to squeeze in shorter (3 miles), but faster runs to build up my lung capacity without cutting into study time, work and without making my legs too sore to lift. So far it’s been working to improve my long runs I do once a week.

6) Find people with similar goals. It can get lonely if all your free time is devoted to activities you do on your own. Try to find people to run/lift with who can help push you through the times you want to give up and who understand the discipline you need to have to succeed. They also can understand that aspect of your humor and provide a lot of laughs to get you through training.

7) Stretching.  Foam roll. Foam roll. Foam roll. Don’t just sit and grab your toes. That’s like taking a knot in a shoe lace and pulling it tighter. Foam Rolling/Active Stretching helps untangle those muscle knots for faster recovery.

8) Supplements.  I don’t usually use supplements, I don’t even really use protein powder. However, today I bought BCAA’s (branch chain amino acids) for the first time. They are supposed to help muscle recovery. We will see how those go and I’ll let you know.

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So those are my tips to how I’m getting through this strange period of pushing and pulling at my  body in hopes of not having to cut one of the things I love out of my life. I truly get so much pleasure from both lifting and running that I can’t imagine not doing both. I don’t want to get to my competition knowing I could have given it more and wasn’t disciplined enough to reach my full potential. It’s just a matter of training smart, not doing things that will harm my progress (staying up late or partying) but giving myself enough of a break so I don’t get burnt out. It’s a fine line to walk, but I’m slowly starting to find my balance.

Earning My Independence (5K Race)

I hope everyone had a fun, safe and indulgent Fourth of July Weekend. I feel like I’ve been go-go-going for the past month so it was nice to be able to have time to sit back, relax and just breathe for a couple days. But not before I earned it…

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I got up at 6:30 on the 4th of July to run a 5K at the Boulder Reservoir to “Earn my Independence”. I had asked my friend, who just happens to be an MMA fighter and is in great shape, to run it with me expecting him to say no and for me to give an “eh, I tried but no one would do it with me” type excuse. To my surprise he was really into it (mainly for the tank top), so I had to haul my butt out of bed bright and early.

This race wasn’t the best. I had never run a 5K race before and definitely didn’t run smart. Since I was running with a friend, I didn’t bring any type of garmin/pace tracker. I made the mistake of trying to keep up with my friend and went out way too fast. Based on his finishing time, I’m guessing the first mile was about 7:10, which is not really my pace right now, even for a 5K. I told him to go ahead and leave me and then proceeded to die the next 2.2 miles. I think I was more happy to see the finish line for this race than for any half marathon I have done, which is pretty pathetic.

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Once again, it made me realize just how out of  running shape I have gotten (well really, poor shape I have stayed in since my ankle injury). Runner Ritsa talked about it as well, but it’s really hard to balance lifting and trying to build muscle with getting the miles in you need to stay in good running shape. I’m still trying to find a good balance. I ran every day this weekend, trying to get back in the habit. I plan on running some, even if it’s just two miles, every day from now on (except rest days).

I also spent a lot of time with friends this weekend, including a BBQ on the Fourth at my boyfriend’s client’s house,. They have horses, so we had to do some late night horse whispering after the fireworks…

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I also spent lots of time by the pool, at the farmer’s market and watching the UFC fights on Saturday with some of my besties.

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Hope everyone had a great weekend and is ready to get back into it!

Anyone else find it hard to balance all the different types of fitness you want to do (running and lifting for example)? How do you  find the time and energy to do it all?

A look back on May Goals and mental barriers

I realize it’s half way through June, but I thought I’d look back to see how I did on May goals. I’ll be honest, I only made half of them. I got my running a bit more on track, able to do the 8 min miles again. I still need to bring it down to 7:30, which used to be my “norm” for 4-6 mile runs. One step at a time though

. I also managed to finally gain enough muscle in my back to successful do unassisted, no kipping pull up. My back/arms have always been my “trouble spots”, so I’m excited to finally see some change.

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Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get my clean to 110lbs. I did a lot more combination sets (clean, to front squat, to push press) so it was more cardio focused and not as heavy weight. I’ll just recycle that goal again for this month and hopefully will be able to achieve it.

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I also wasn’t able to get to 135lb squat without the assistance of chains. Sometimes it’s just a matter of getting over the mental blocks and forcing yourself to believe you can do it. I think that I have a lot of trouble with immediately thinking “Oh, I can’t do that” when things get difficult or I try something new. I have to work harder to push through that mental barrier. Once I do that, I am sure I will be able to achieve my goals.

Yesterday, I had one of those moments when, during my saturday training session, I was told to do plank push-ups. That’s where one person planks, while the other person uses their body to do elevated push ups. The idea sounded crazy and impossible, as the person planking has to resist the pressure of the push-up and just because I suck at push-ups. My partner was a girl who I work out with every Saturday who always pushes me to my limits. I truly enjoy the challenge and fun of our weekly workouts. I didn’t want to let her down, so I had to try it. Turns out I didn’t collapse onto the ground and we made it through three rounds, with each round both of us planking and doing the pushups. Just goes to show that the body can achieve more than the mind realizes.

Did you have May goals?

What were they and how did you do?

Do you ever find yourself fighting mental barriers?

May Goals

Today is May Day, a holiday celebrating and welcoming spring and…. it snowed. Not just a little, but like 6 inches and still coming down. I find it very hard to get things done when it’s cold outside, so this is not helping my studying or general productivity. I did make it to the gym today and tried some squats with chains. The chains make it so the weight gets lighter as you go down (due to the chains hitting the floor) so you can get lower more easily, but then it gets increasingly harder as you stand up. It was fun, made me feel like a bit of a bad ass 🙂

ImageNow let’s talk about May goals. As I mentioned in my last post, I really wanna get my running back on point. I’m trying not to find it so depressing how slow I’ve gotten and instead just see it as another challenge.  So:

1) I’m hoping to get my speed up a bit so by end of May I am about 8 minute miles for anything over 5 miles, and under 8 for anything less than 5. I’ve been trying to do more hill work outs, so hopefully I can get faster at that as well.

2) I’d love to get my squat up to 135 with 12 reps still getting low.

3) Get my clean over 110 with good form.

4) Do an unassisted pull up from hanging position, no kipping.

What are your May Goals?!

Cold Run, Warm Paleo Chili

Sorry it’s been forever, guys, but I have exciting news! I’ve moved to Siberia for the indefinite future!

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Okay, not really, but considering that in the past week we have had about 20 inches of snow it certainly feels that way. I keep reminding myself that this means we won’t have as many forest fires this summer, but when your eyelashes literally collect snow and then freeze during your run, it’s hard to look on the bright side.

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I know, I know. I could have just run inside. But it’s been 6 long months of snow and treadmills and I’m pretty over it. At least I had a nice warm bowl of chili waiting to warm my belly at home.
This chili is DELICIOUS and if you are living someplace where winter may be overstaying its welcome I highly recommend making it.

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PALEO POBLANO CHILI
1 yellow onion, diced
2 green bell peppers, chopped
1 fist of garlic, choppe
1 Poblano Pepper, roasted and chopped
3-4 lbs of rump roast, cubed
2 tsp coconut oil
1 tbsp paprika
2tsp cumin
2tsp chipotle
2 tbsp chili powder (I like it spicy…)
6 oz can of tomato paste
30 oz can of fire roasted tomatoes, diced

1) in a large pot heat coconut oil over medium heat and add onions and peppers. Cook for about 3 minutes or until onions become translucent
2) Mix spices and rub on meat
3) Add meat and Garlic and poblano pepper to pan with onions and peppers.
4) brown meat, about 2-3 minutes
5) add remaining ingredients. It will be a bit watery at first, but let simmer on medium-low heat for about 2 hours and it will thicken up

Stay warm out there, or for those who are actually experiencing spring – go enjoy it!

On (Not) Conquering Trail Running

A couple friends of mine recently signed up to attempt a 50 mile trail run in Fort Collins in May. I randomly ran into them this past saturday on the trail as they stormed past me and my dog and my roommate, jumping over rocks with ease.

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They inspired me with their wildman ways,  so for todays 6 miler I decided to hit the trails for at least part of it. Luckily, I live 2 miles from trails leading up into the Rocky Mountains, so I ran over there and was off!

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I was cruising for the first 1/4 mile or so, and then we started the steep ascent into the mountain and I died. My pace slowed, my lungs began to burn and I was hurting.

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This does not even begin to convey the steepness. Or maybe it does, and I’m just a pansy. Either way, I texted my trail running friend when I got back and told him he was even more crazy (and inspiring) for signing up for 50 miles of that. He reminded me that you have to approach trail running with a different mentality. You are going to go slower, especially when avoiding rocks and running up steep hills and just to stay calm, enjoy the scenery and the challenge

Hope you all had nice Wednesdays!

Planning for Success (Includes 1/2 Marathon Training Plan)

Guys, I’ll admit it. Past couple weeks I’ve fallen off the wagon. I could blame it on being sick, but in reality I’ve been lazy. I just haven’t been that motivated to cook/eat clean or work out that much. In fact, I haven’t really been motivated to do anything, including the piles of reading I have to do for school.

My dog thinks Corporations reading is boring too.

My dog thinks Corporations reading is boring too.

I definitely go through phases of being super motivated, I can totally do this, I’m a rockstar, YAH!… and then I just burn out. It’s hard once you lose that drive to try to find it again and re-motivate yourself to be the best version of “You” that you can be.

There’s a two phase plan I used to try to get myself back on track when I fall of.  Phase 1 starts with watching this video, which always makes me want to go take on the world This. Very. Second.

Then I look up and see it’s cold and grey outside and I decide the world can wait.  But no one ever got what they wanted out of life by watching Grey’s Anatomy reruns for hours on end, so then Phase 2 kicks in. Success doesn’t just happen. You have to work for it. You have to plan for it. So, I make a plan. I make it detailed. I make sure I stick to it.  It’s hard to fall off track when you know exactly what you are supposed to be doing at any given moment.

I’ve been really slacking in the cardio department. Like, really slacking. Like, I’d probably be wheezing after a mile or two if I went for a run. Since one of my 2013 goals is to  break a 1:45 1/2 marathon time, we can’t have that. So last night I sat down and drafted a training plan. It’s an easy one, one just to get me back into the grove of running. I still want to keep my lifting, so I scheduled Three “PT” (Personal Training) times in there, along with interval runs to work on speed, hills, and tempo runs.

Week Mon Tuesday Weds Thursday Friday Sat Sunday
Week 1 PT 2 Mile Tempo PT 2 Mile Easy REST 4 Miles &PT 1 Miles Easy
Week2 PT 3 Mile Tempo PT 3 Mile Tempo REST 5 Miles &PT 2 Miles Easy
Week 3 PT 3 Mile Tempo PT 3 Mile Interval REST 6 Miles &PT 2 Miles Easy
Week4 PT 4 Mile Tempo PT 3 Mile Hill REST 7 Miles &PT 2 Miles Easy
Week 5 PT 3 Mile Interval PT 4 Mile Easy REST 8 Miles & PT 2 Miles Easy
Week 6 PT 4 Mile Interval PT 3 Mile Tempo REST 9 Miles &PT 2 Miles Easy
Week 7 PT 4 mile Tempo PT 3 Mile Easy REST 10 Miles &PT 2 Miles Easy
Week 8 PT 2 M. Hill, 3M. T PT 4 Mile Tempo REST 11 Miles &PT 3 Miles Easy
Week 9 PT 5 Mile Tempo PT 3 Mile Interval REST 9 Miles &PT 2 Miles Easy
Week 10 PT 5 Mile tempo PT 4 Mile Interval REST 1 Mile EZ RACE (?)

As of now I haven’t registered for a race, but I know in a month or so I’ll start looking some up.  I’ll have another week’s worth of groceries/recipes this Saturday to help get me back into making my own food again.

I know I’m capable of more than I’ve been giving the past couple weeks in school, in working out and in life. I’m ready to get back on track. I’m ready to be successful.

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Dispelling CrossFit Myths – Base Camp Week 1

I have not been asked by CrossFit Sanitas to endorse this gym. All opinions in this blog are my own

Well guys, I have officially drank the kool aid. Today was the end of week 1 of my 2.5 week CrossFit “Base Camp”. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 4:45am I got out of bed and drudged out into the snowy cold and headed towards CrossFit Sanitas like a moth to a warm flame. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 6:30am I excitedly texted anyone I knew who was awake at that time (mainly my parents on the east coast and my boyfriend) everything we had done that day, what the WOD had been, what my time was, what technique methods the coaches had used and how excited I was for the next class. Needless to say, I’m hooked.

I thought I’d start out by going over some of the many things I had heard about CrossFit and whether or not I found them to be true.

Myth #1: The coaches lack in training/aren’t educated well enough. FALSE

Doesn't really apply, but makes me laugh anyway.

I wanted to start with this because it’s one of the ones I’ve heard most often and because of the amazing experience I have had with my coach, Dan, so far. My CrossFit box offers an 8 session base camp to all incoming CrossFitters to help teach proper technique. Each workout begins with about a 30 minute “skill” session (this is true for their regular WODS outside of base camp too, I believe). Each day we focus on 3 main skill sets (for instance: deadlifts/sumo deadlift shoulder raise/press or squat/push up/ring row). Dan not only was able to demonstrate each move slowly, while articulating exactly what he expected of us, but would walk around individually correcting each person’s form. Prior to even adding any weight we had to do about 30 air/body weight versions of whatever move we were doing.

Now youmay be thinking – well how do you know what good instruction is? Thanks to my trainer boyfriend, I watch strength and conditioning videos all the time that focus on proper technique. While I am far from having perfect form, I do know the areas I need to improve on and Dan called me out on all of them. He would also continue to do so during the actual WOD, even AMRAP WODs which focus on a high number of reps where your form can easily get sloppy. So, as far as qualified coaches go, I’d give him as an A+.

Myth #2: CrossFit is only for super intense crazy people who like flipping tires, climbing ropes and wearing tiny spandex. FALSE

Not my box, but this grandma is kicking some butt.

Not my box, but this grandma is kicking some butt.

The group of people in my base camp are so incredibly diverse. There’s 14 of of us total, a surprisingly large number for a 5:30am class, and the participants range from a trainer at CU who wants to know what the fuss is about to a group of amazingly bubbly and motivated moms who want to get more fit to be good role models for their kids to twenty something’s looking for a challenge. Each WOD we do can be adapted to each individuals level of fitness and abilities to make it perfect for people of all ages and fitness level.

MYTH #3: CrossFit workouts only last about 10 minutes and aren’t actually that hard. FALSE

I aspire to be Andrea Ager.

I aspire to be Andrea Ager.

The opposite of the myth above, but also one I have heard (conveniently from people who had never tried CrossFit). Before base camp I also believed that people just came in, did the WOD and left. As I mentioned above, however, there is a whole other section prior to the WOD that focuses on skills and lifting heavier for shorter reps and is a whole other workout in and of itself. While I haven’t tried a non-basecamp workout yet, I’m hoping to try one this Sunday so I can get the full idea of what this pre section is like. Also, a lot of the olympic lifting moves are combined with dynamic athlete moves (box jumps, lateral jumps etc) that will help any athlete improve. Lastly, we are encouraged to stay after the WOD to do some more cardio or work on things not covered that day to help us reach our own individual goals.

Myth #4: CrossFit gyms are small and dingy. Definitely False.

Does not even begin to capture it. Also, that's my coach. Hi Dan!

Does not even begin to capture the Sanitas Box. Also, that’s my coach. Hi Dan!

I know that my box is exceptionally nice, but literally I could not ask for a better CrossFit gym. The space is HUGE, brand new, with every piece of equipment you could ask for from competition kettle bells, tons of barbells and racks, boxes, ropes, rowers, sleds and even a turf area. Plus it has childcare. Not all boxes have to be in someone’s basement.

Myth #5: They will pressure you to be Paleo.

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My second class we had about a 5-10 minute talk on nutrition. It basically came down to “Do what works for you, but try to follow the basic principle of ‘If man made it, don’t eat it'” Simple. True. No pressure. We also were given a packet on the first day that had further information on nutrition, should we desire to know more, as well as information about lifting techniques we would be learning.

Myth #6 It’s a cult that will suck you in and make you never want to stop. TRUE & FALSE.

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I don’t like the word cult, as that has a negative connotation. I don’t associate loving something that is beneficial to your physical and mental health with the dangers of a cult. I do believe that it feeds on human natures desire to work as a community to succeed, while also individually pushing yourself past your own personal limits. I didn’t realize how motivating it would be to be working out with a group of people and how much harder I would push myself when doing it. I also didn’t realize how exciting it would be to see everyone, especially the people who were struggling, complete the workout. It motivates you to work harder, because if they are pushing themselves through the pain, you can too. I remember reading somewhere that a great thing about CrossFit is that the loudest cheers are for the last one to finish. I definitely think that is a reality.

I have so much more to say, but I can save that for another post about what we actually did during each session, but hopefully this helps convince some of you who may have been on the fence to give it a shot.

(Re)New Year Resolutions

It’s that time. The time when the gym starts emptying out again. When you start giving into your cravings. When all those things that seemed so important January 1st don’t seem worth the effort anymore.

But now is not the time to give up.

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Was your goal fitness related? Finding it hard to get motivate to work out after a long day? Try morning workouts. It will boost your metabolism, give you more energy throughout the day and get it out of the way so you can enjoy your evenings. If that idea makes you cringe, try at least getting up 30 minutes earlier. It won’t  ruin your sleep, but can provide you time to squeeze in a 3 mile run or a quick HIIT workout to start your day off.  Still can’t do that? Try doing squats while you brush your teeth or take 1 minute to do 10 pushups and 10 sit-ups.

Is working out cutting into your social life? Find people who support your changing lifestyle and try new ways of socializing.  Bring a friend to a group exercise class. Instead of meeting to catch up over drinks, go for a walk, a hike or a bike ride. Guarantee you’ll relieve stress and feel better that you did something to achieve your goals.

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Was your resolution diet related? The biggest thing to remember is “By failing to prepare, you plan to fail”. Take the time to have healthy snacks in your fridge to avoid mindless snacking. Prepare healthy meals that you can take with you on the go. Eat out a lot? Try to pick restaurants that have healthier options and avoid appetizers and alcohol. Once again, try to surround yourself with people who are supportive of the changes you are trying to make. Making dinner can be a fun and healthy way to hang out with friends and you have complete control over how healthy the meal is you’re making.

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Was your resolution non-health related? Get better grades? Be a better friend/mother/father/daughter/son? Read more? Watch less TV? Finally apply for your dream job?

No matter what your goal, make sure you set attainable benchmarks where you can measure your progress in small steps so you don’t get discouraged. Image

Whatever you wanted to improve upon this year, keep going!

Swimming Workout #1

I have a tendency to forget that swimming exists. Maybe it’s because it’s not as easy to do as running unless you have a pretty awesome house where you can just step out your door into a pool.

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You would think that for someone who spent 8 years of their life swimming 2-4 hours a day, every day and traveling from pool to pool all along the east coast every weekend, I would remember what an amazing workout it is.

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Prior to my ankle injury, I hadn’t been in a pool to workout in over 5 years. After I broke my ankle, it was the only form of cardio (just pulling, no kicking) that I could do. But once again, as soon as I could run again the pool was just a distant memory.

Until this week.

Last Wednesday morning I woke up to go for a run and my legs were killing me. They were so tight that I could barely extend them far enough for a full stride. I thought about going to yoga, but it’s not really my cup of tea, so instead I decided I needed a date with the pool.

The minute I jumped in and the cold water flooded over me, I remembered just how much I love to swim. Here are some reasons swimming is good for you:

1) It’s perfect for people with knee problems (or other injuries like, say, bum ankles)

2) It builds longer, leaner muscles compared to the more short and compact ones you get from weight-training.

3) It’s perfect for cross-training, as it can give your joints a break from the pavement pounding.

4) It increases flexibility

5) Strengthens your core, as well as the rest of your body.

6) It’s fun to channel your inner child and pretend to be a dolphin.

Here is the swim workout I did. It only took about 30 minutes, but left me feeling so much better.

SWIM WORKOUT #1

1*200 yd freestyle warm up

4*50 yd sprints with 15 seconds rest in between. 1st 25 freestyle, 2nd 25 butterfly

100 yard butterfly kick on back (really works the abs)

4*50 yd sprint with 15 second rest in between 1st 25 freestyle, 2nd 25 backstroke

100 yard back kick

Repeat the 4*50s and 100 kicks again

200 yd “Lung Buster” – First 50 breathe every 3 strokes, 2nd 50 breathe every 5 strokes, 3rd 50 breathe every 7 strokes, last 50 breathe every 9 strokes first 25, then swim the last 25 butterfly breathe every 2 strokes.

Warm down 150

TOTAL: 1,650yds (swimmer’s mile)

Obviously adjust to your own personal skill level. I was a swim instructor and swim coach for 3 years as well, so if you have any questions ask away and I’ll try to help!

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