Tag Archives: Running

Upper Body Workouts for Runners

A strong upper body can improve your running. Find 6 different upper body workouts for runners here.

It’s another edition of Monthly Workouts for Runners BY Runners. Here’s the previous month’s workouts if you missed them:

Stuck Inside Workouts for Runners

Two-a-Day Workouts for Runners

This month the topic is Upper Body Workouts for Runners.

A runner’s legs get all the attention. We need to strengthen our quads, fire up the glutes, stretch out the ever tight hamstrings and or course keep our calves strong and loose.

Just because the lower body gets all the attention, doesn’t mean your upper body doesn’t need any love. A strong upper body in a runner will help you power through when your legs are getting tired in the late stages of any hard effort workout or race. I’m finding that strength in my arms and back are really needed as I’m training for Mount Washington. If I’m collapsing in my upper body when I fatigue on the hills, I’m making my legs work 10x harder than need be. But if I pump my arms faster, my legs follow suit. To run faster and more efficient, you need your whole body to be strong and in sync.

FYI – While I am a certified professional, I am not your trainer. Listen to your body and it’s limitations. Please check with your physician if you are new to exercise or have any questions regarding your health and exercise.

Here’s a quick upper body workout that I routinely do.

A strong upper body is an asset that every runner should have. Try this quick upper body workout for runners to get faster and stronger. happyfitmama.com

Do 12 reps for each exercise (unless indicated with a time).

DB Flyes – Begin by sitting on a stability ball. Walk your feet out so your head, upper back and shoulders are resting on the ball. Knees should be at 90 degrees. Bring dumbbells to your chest with palms facing each other. Press arms straight up, making sure to not lock elbows at the top. Slowly lower the dumbbells in an arc until dumbbells are at chest level. Return to starting position at the top.

Skull Crush – Lie on a stability ball and extend both arms overhead, a weight in each hand. Bend your elbows so your forearms are parallel to the floor. Slowly straighten your arms, then lower them to the starting position. DO NOT crush your skull. :)

Push Up on Stability Ball – Get into push up position but with feet placed on a stability ball. This will make the exercise harder by working your balance.

Standing Balance Single Arm Row – Start by balancing on your left foot, holding a kettlebell or weight in your right hand. Hinge at the hips until your body is in a straight line with a flat back and a straight right leg. Bring right arm forward to perform a single arm row. Do 12 reps balancing on the left foot before switching and repeating on the right foot.

Plank – Standard forearm plank hold. Be sure to pull in your belly button and to keep butt down. No butts up in the air!

Side Plank w/ Leg Lift – Start with right elbow on the ground and both legs straight, balancing on outside of right foot. Raise left hand straight up from shoulder. Keeping your body straight, lift your left leg up to slightly higher than hip height. Lower back down. Repeat this for 1 minute.

Superman – Lie face down on your stomach with arms and legs extended in opposite directions. Neck stays in a neutral position. Lift arms and legs at the same time, making a stretched out “u” shape as your back arches and arms and legs lift off the floor. Hold 2-5 seconds before lower back to the floor.

And here are even more Upper Body Workouts from 5 of my running friends. Pin away so you have a stash of workouts on hand whenever you need it.

Nellie has a DB or barbell upper body burner.
Sarah brings a 24 minute circuit that will get your heart rate thumping.
upper body workouts-2
Carly brings the Super Scapula Superman.  I think every runner needs that!
Upper Body Workout for Runners - Fine Fit Day
Allie brings one of my favorite training tools – the Bosu!
Laura brings an upper body torcher with plenty of push ups and planks.
Upper Body Workouts This Runners Recipes
Linking up with Wild Workout Wednesday!

What’s your favorite upper body exercise? For me, it’s anything tricep related.


Boston Marathon Finish LIne | happyfitmama.com

One year ago I toed the line of the Boston Marathon for the first time.

The whole weekend leading up to the race was electric. I was riding a runner’s high despite having some serious taper crazies. The expo. The meeting of long time friends for the first time in person. The history. The symbolism.

I was running the Boston Marathon. Holy sh!t.

It was more than I could ever have imagined it would be like.

And then all the excitement and energy came crashing down a mere 8 miles into the race of a lifetime. Even though it’s been a year, I still remember every single event of that day. From trying to run off the pain. To painfully making the decision to walk off the course to a med tent. Riding the most somber ride of my life with all of the others who were getting a big fat DNF that day. To aimlessly searching for my family in a haze. And then hanging out with the transit police for what seemed like hours until we reconnected.

You would think after a year, the hurt, anger and frustration would fade. It has to some degree. I’m much better than I was 6 months ago.  I’m so thankful to be up and running! I can’t even begin to imagine what I would be like if I was not. But I’m not going to lie. Seeing my Facebook or Instagram feed filled with Boston training posts for the past 4 months has been hard. Really hard. And then this weekend, it escalated. My social media feed was flooded with everything Boston. Of course, it would be because almost everyone I follow is a runner. I stayed off Insta for most of the day on Saturday. I didn’t want to see it.

While I am so extremely happy for those who are running, I’m flat out jealous. I want to be back to where I was a year ago before Marathon Monday. I want to feel that joy, the strength and the excitement.

Team Stonyfield Boston Marathon outfit | happyfitmama.com

Immediately after getting injured, I had a plan in my head. I wanted victory. I wanted another chance. I wanted redemption. I wanted to get a BQ so I’d be able to run again in 2016. Of course, when you are unable to run for 6+ months after April, that dream is not even an option. And now I’m at a point where I’m questioning if I have a marathon in me anymore. My body seems to be doing odd things lately. Can it handle another round of hard training? I’m not sure but I’m also sure that I still want redemption.

Sunday morning during savasana in yoga class, our teacher told us to lay our left hand over our heart and cover it with our right hand. In doing so, she told us to forgive ourselves. Forgive. A light bulb went off in my head. I need to forgive myself for what happened a year ago. I’ve been holding on anger towards my body.  My body failed me when I needed it to be strong. Why me? Why during the race? Why???

That simple word – forgive – flipped the switch. I felt at ease. I don’t know why it took so long for it to register. Maybe because Boston was front and center on my mind yesterday. Maybe because I was finally ready to accept and forgive.

By Sunday evening, I could face social media. I wanted to see what was going on. I wanted to see the happiness in every single post. I wanted to see the celebration. Seeing all of it made me happy. Happy for all of the runners who worked their ass off to get there. Happy to be a part of such an amazing running community. And hopeful. Hopeful that I will be back to the greatest celebration of running again.

I can’t wait for my phone to be giving me updates all day as I track all of my friends running. Best of luck to – Sarah, Sandra, Mairead – Go TEAM STONYFIELD!, Kim, Becca, Heather, Chris, Michele, Nat, Laura, Sarah and Jess. I’ll be screaming for you louder than the girls at Wellesley!

To all the runners – This is your day. Run strong. Run proud. Enjoy every single step on Marvelous Marathon Monday.



Mt. Aggie Run | happyfitmama.com

Hey guys!

It’s time for my monthly Lately…

Lately…I’ve been wondering if I’ll run a marathon this year. I know I want to run one but I haven’t registered for anything and I haven’t even really looked. With the whole quad thing and my focus on Mount Washington lately, I haven’t put much effort into it. Maybe it’s my mind telling me to focus on one thing at a time. Who knows. I may register for a marathon tomorrow.

Lately…Speaking of that “only one hill race”, on Sunday, a friend and I did hill repeats up Mount Aggie. Overall, I think it went well. My legs felt great. My breathing was labored but not horrendous. My heart was pounding but it was nothing that was crazy. I never felt like OMG I’m dying. It just felt like I was climbing a hill. At time I did feel like I was running slower than molasses and the wind was going to blow me over. It’s a great road to practice on for Mount Washington. Plus, it’s rather fitting that we had a view of a snow covered Mount Washington off in the distance at the summit (see pic above).

Lately…All I could think about during yoga class on Tuesday was food. I had the serious hungries going on.

Check in with what's been going on with me lately. | happyfitmama.com

Lately…I’ve been listening to my body. For real. The old Angela would have run through my knotty quad issue a couple of weeks ago. I would have convinced myself that I needed to “run it out”. I know, I know. It sounds silly. But my runner brain sometimes takes over and all rational goes out the window. And my body is just plain weird too. See the Bird of Paradise pose up above? You would think I wouldn’t be able to do that with a knotty quad. Apparently my body doesn’t go with the rules.

Lately…I’d really wish it would stop raining. It seems the snow left and moved to rain. Is it too much to ask for actual spring weather?

Lately…I still haven’t registered for a race (other than Mount Washington). At the beginning of the year, I told myself to wait until March to run a race. Well March came and went with no race. And now we are in the middle of April and I haven’t even really looked for anything. Part of the reason is that I’m scared. Scared of injuries and feeling slower. That’s no secret. I think I confessed that every month since January. BUT I know I need to DO IT. Once I get the first race done with I’ll be good to go. When did clicking on the register button become so hard? GAH! This all reminds me – maybe I should set some concrete goals for the second quarter of 2016?

Lately…Does anyone else have a really, really hard time planning for things in advance? We’ve been trying to figure out summer vacations, day camp for the kids, etc. With my work schedule it’s so hard to plan in advance like that. And besides, I’m soooooo not a planner.

Lately…I’ve been missing a running buddy. I have been doing the majority of my runs solo. I’m craving some company. Maybe that’s why a long run of 12 or more miles has zero appeal to me right now?

Running buddies | happyfitmama.com

Our last long run before Boston last year and the last time Sarah and I have ran together. Oddly enough, we had plans to meet up for a run yesterday which was the one year anniversary of this pic. Too bad the weather had other plans.

Lately…It’s nice to catch up with friends that you don’t see often over coffee.

Lately…I’m so glad I committed to getting a deep tissue massage each month. It’s been amazing. Sadly, Jess, my previous LMT, had to go on medical leave. She gave me a recommendation for another LMT and she is just as awesome. Suzanne is tiny with fierce hands. She did wonders for not only my quad but my always tight neck/shoulders, lower back and calf. And she introduced me to cupping which was way cool. She’s kind of out of the way for me but so worth the drive. If you are local, you can find her HERE.

Lately…I did a really interested webinar last week entitled Run Injury Free. Yes please! I really liked the info on activating the feet before each run. Check out this Youtube video to see what it’s all about. She recommends a Rad Roller – has anyone used one before? Thoughts?

Thanks for letting me do some Thinking Out Loud.

What’s been going on in your life lately?