2017 Week 6 Recap-10 Weeks Until Boston Maraton

            Okay, things are getting really busy around here and it seems like everyone and their dog is getting sick.  All I want to do it run! HA HA!   It was a balancing act to get in the miles and workouts this week, I didn’t exactly follow my plan as written but I think I did well.  The weather was wonderful this weekend and I was really able to enjoy some stress free runs. 

Here is my weekly recap

Monday-Rest day

Coach gave me a rest day, after my 5k/long run the previous day.  I was feeling tired that day, and appreciated the recovery.

Tuesday Double dip am run 4.08  miles at 8:19 average pace, total time 33:53

                                       pm run 4.32 miles at 7:40 average pace, total time 33:04img_2384

Still tired legs in the morning, so I decided to split my run into 2 runs to help recovery.  I am glad I did, because my afternoon run felt great.  Took some extra time for stretching a foam rolling after each run.  I think that helped a lot, as well.

Wednesday 11.5 miles average pace 6:51, total time 1:19:02

Speed workout, and group run again.  I had 10.5 miles on the schedule.  Workout included 2 miles warm-up, 4x 1.5 miles between 6:07-6:12 pace (1:30 minute recovery), 4×200 sprints and 2 mile cool down.  I think I have been getting extra mileage in my speed runs because I do not like stopping and starting. I much prefer active recovery.  I am jogging between all my workouts and super slow pace but still keep moving.  It was a great workout, we completed this on an area with some decent rolling hills.  Nothing to crazy but enough to added to the difficulty of the workout.  I was really lucky to get a solid group of 6-7 people to join me for the workout, which always helps.  We did start the first two sets a bit too fast, but otherwise pretty solid workout.

Thursday Unscheduled Rest Day

Balancing family and illnesses and just plain being stretched too thin.  I was optimistic I would get in some miles and it just never happened.  I was supposed to get in 9 miles. I made some adjustments over the weekend to help keep my weekly mileage up.  The nice weather made the additional weekend mileage, easy and enjoyable.

Friday 10.4 miles average pace 7:47, total time 1:20:39

Beautiful run after a long stressful work week. I started the run, and it was a warm sunny day.  As I ran, I got to watch the beautiful sunset and then a full moon in the clear skies. This run put me total an ease.   We all need more runs like that.

Saturday 18.2 average pace 7:57, total time 2:24:16

I think the high was around 69 degrees and I wanted to take full advantage and train in the sunf4020eb6-a766-4bbd-aa05-1506bf887281.  I met some friends midafternoon.   The weather was just perfect for an easy long run day, a tad warmer than you would want for a race day.  Crossing my fingers we don’t get that warm in Boston.  Midway through the run I had an annoying side stitch that just lingered the rest of the run.  As long as I kept my pace in the low 8 minute/mile range, I felt fine.  So the run was probably a 10-15 seconds slower than my normal run. The last mile, I put in some 45 second burst, followed by 1 minute of recovery.  Surprisingly, while I was picking up the speed the side-stitch disappeared.  I nagged all my friends, into food after. It was so yummy

Sunday 8.03 miles average pace 7:45, total time 1:02:21

               3.75 miles average pace 7:56, total time 29:45

I wanted to keep my runs short, while still getting my weekly miles covered so I decided to get another double this week.  Both runs were very enjoyable and relaxing runs.  I joined some friends in the morning and then solo in the evening.  I flirted with the idea of getting a few more miles in the evening, because I felt so good but I made myself stop.  Saving my legs for another day.

Total miles for the week was 60.2

 

As we progress closer to my goal race (Boston Marathon) I have been feeling more on edge about how my training is going.  Mostly, because I am giving control to someone else.  My coach put together a post about the type of training I had been doing and the direction he was taking me.  I really enjoyed getting the bigger picture.  If you are interested, you can check it out.

A Non Linear Training Approach

This training cycle has differed from my previous training, because I was very long run focused.  I was trying to get as many 18-22 mile runs in as I could.  I did some tempo style runs and goal pace runs, but it wasn’t consistently and was usually based on what I felt like doing that day.  Not based off some sort of plan.  Sometimes I would just run around an area trying to pick up Strava segments.  I like running that way, and there is definitely room in the future for spontaneous runs.  Right now, however, I am very goal oriented and working with a coach has increased my consistency and helped focus my runs more. 

 

If you have missed the first two chapters to my “blog book”  check them out!

Runners for dummies-Chapter 1, Types of runners

Runners for Dummies-Chapter 2 Don’t honk at the runners! Plus, other tips to keeping your runner happy

Don’t forget to enter the Runcanvas giveaway! 

Runners for Dummies-Chapter 2 Don’t honk at the runners! Plus, other tips to keeping your runner happy

This fun blog “book” has been updated a republished. Check out the link below to see the new and improved verions

Chapter 2

 Runcanvas Give away-closed

     This giveaway is now closed


Terms and conditions apply

Giveaway ends February 15 at 11:59 AM CT. Open to Legal Residents (18 years of age or older) of the US only. Prizes cannot be shipped to PO Boxes. Winner will be selected at random and be notified by email.By enter this contest, you agree to having your name announced on runcanvas and social media.  Winner will have 72 hours to respond before a new winner is selected. The product offered for the giveaway is free of charge, no purchase necessary. My opinions are my own and were not influenced by any form of compensation. Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are in no way associated with this giveaway. By providing your information in this form, you are providing your information to me and me alone. I do not share or sell information and will use any information only for the purpose of contacting the winner.

2017 week 5 recap- 11 weeks until the Boston Marathon

 

Whoa!  I don’t even know where this week went.  I have been super busy, I feel like I blinked and a whole week went by.  I was a ball of nerves.  Knowing I had a race at the end of the week, really gets my nerves going.  It wasn’t a goal race, but I still wanted to do well and gain some confidence as I continue my training cycle for Boston. 

img_2242-1

So here is my weekly, recap

 

Monday- 7.10 miles at 7:44 average pace, 54:49 total time

Easy recovery run, with 60 degree temperatures. I enjoyed this run so much, it was a great mental health run for me. I was actually a little disappointed when I was done. I am so ready for winter temperatures to be gone.

Tuesday- 8.05 miles at 7:51 average pace, 1:03:11 total time

Not quite 60s today, but another enjoyable run in tank top in shorts.  The highlight of my run, may have been when I stopped to pee under a highway bridge.  How embarrassing! Ha Ha

img_2235
Wednesday- 9.55 miles at 6:54 pace, 1:05:54 total time

Workout for the week.  Coach had me doing a tempo/fartlek type of run.  3 miles of warm up, then 3 miles alternating 1200ms/400ms. The 1200s were to be run at around 6:40 pace, and the 400s were supposed to be around 5:45 pace.  The first two were pretty comfortable, the last 400m push was up a hill and posed a bit more of a challenge.  Little did I know, that was a pretty good practice for Sundays 5K.  After the fartlek, included 4×200 strides then a 3 mile cooldown.  Wednesday nights are my favorite group run, and I asked some of the usual’s to join me.  Thank goodness I got someone to joinme, it’s always more fun with friends and a good push at the end.

I got in some late, strength training after dinner. Probably not my best session, I rushed through as I had spent too much time socializing and it had gotten pretty late, for a work night.  I completed 2 sets of squats, bent rows, lunges, skips and fast feet. I am going to make a point to take my time and do these correctly this week.

Thursday- 10.4 miles at 7:55 pace, 1:22:18 total time

Thursday I was really glad a friend came over to join me for some decent midweek miles.  We wanted to get in 10 miles, but went a quarter further so we could make a potty stop. Seems to be a trend this week. The run went by quickly with company, except we hit every single light along our route.  I won’t be running this route running rush hour again.

Friday- 7 miles at 7:51, 54:57 total time

I was avoiding getting the run in for some reason today.  Just one of those mentally tough runs.  It got to be a tad later than I like, to be running outside by myself.  So I went to the gym and completed my miles on the treadmill.  I really had to force myself to keep going.  Physically, everything was fine.  I just was not motivated.

Saturday- 4 miles at 8:39 pace, 34:37 total time

Super easy run, shaking out the legs and keeping the pace really light so I could be ready to race tomorrow.  I decided to hit up the treadmill again to keep my pace nice and easy.  I also like the massage beds too.

Sunday- 16.41 total miles

Race day for me, and in typical race day from.  I had nervous tummy and yacked before the race.   I was doing better this fall about my pre-race anxiety, but I haven’t raced in a few months which I think made it a little worse.  Once I got to the race, I was focused on getting my routine in.  The weather was great for racing, 32 degrees with little wind.  It was a nice sunny, Sunday morning.  I looked forward to this race.  Two years ago, this was my first race to win over all female and my first race to break the 20 minute barrier.  Last year, this was my first race to break 18 minutes. I have positive vibes about this race. I was a tad disappointed that they changed the course this year, but was still a great race.

I completed my two mile warm up, stretching and strides and made it to the line with a few minutes before the start.  Luckily, I wasn’t standing around for very long. My goal was to focus on one of my guy teammates and try to keep the gap between him and I small. I am really glad I had this to focus on throughout the race.  The first two miles were gently rolling hills and relatively uneventful race.  My only issue was my hands, I was taking my gloves on and off.  I would get really sweaty hands and feel my whole body warm up quickly, take off the gloves and they would freeze.  The third miles was a long gradual hill, which really killed my momentum.  I focused on a guy in front of me and just tried to close the gap between him and I before the top.  I did get a little giggle, when I went by him.  He said, “ I was hoping I wouldn’t get beat by a girl.”

I crossed the finish line at 17:59, which was 3 seconds slower than my PR last year. I was able to earn 4th overall, and 1st overall female.  (Third year in a row!) I will admit, three seconds felt like a punch in the gut.  I was a little frustrated for a short minute after my race, but quickly got over it before heading back to the finish line. It was a tougher course than last year’s course and the most important part, I am a lot healthier this week. Last year, I was holding myself together with duct tape and Elmer’s glue.  I fell completely apart shortly after this race last year and got stuck on a roller coaster of injury/healthy before my goal half.  This year, I am training smarter and working with a coach has been a big part of that.

Picture on the left was taken during the race, top right is a picture with my team mates who took 1st overall male and 1st Master, bottom right picture is me with my 3  trophies (1st overall female 2015,2016,2017)


After the race, we had a group of runners join together for some bonus miles.  The weather had warmed up a bit and once I got through the first mile or so, the run felt really great.  I ended up with 11.3 bonus miles which gave me 16.4 miles for the day.  After all that running, we earned our second breakfast!

img_2341
I found this article on Runners Connect that really stuck with me this week.  I believe that last year, I ran too many workouts, too hard, too close together.  I made fast progress but couldn’t maintain it and fell a part.  I wondered if I had backed off a little if I would maybe progress a tad slower in the short term, but end up being a stronger runner in the long term because I could train with more consistency.  This article really made me feel like I was on the right path.  In particular, I like the graph they used.  

img_2357

I’ll admit, it’s really hard for me to trust the process. Am I running hard enough?  Is my long run, long enough?  I feel pretty good, which is not normal for me.  Usually I have run myself into the ground, at this point into the plan.  I have a lot of weeks left, so I would like to think, this is a good sign and an opportunity to grow as a runner.

 

 

 

 

Thank you so much for following my journey.  I am super excited to continue to grow my followers.  I am planning on hosting a give away to celebrate 2,000 twitter followers soon! 

Please share and subscribe, and join in the conversation below!

What to do when a race doesn’t go as planned

 

How you handle a disappointing race is important.  How you bounce back will impact your training and your mentality entering you next training cycle and race. Let’s be real, you are not going to PR at every race.  Newbies can make a lot of fast growth for a while, but eventually runners are going to hit a plateau or have a bad race. There will be things that you can control and mistakes made along the way. Sometimes there are things that are going to be out of your control. How you respond, I believe, greatly defines you as a runner. Good or bad, all races are a learning opportunity.  Races allow us to reflect on our last training cycle, race day preparations and race strategy.

quote-i-have-learned-to-not-let-a-bad-race-or-failure-bring-me-down-and-always-walking-away-erin-hamlin-59-48-06

Races will point out flaws in training, preparations and strategy. These are all things we can control and can learn from.  It may not always be fun, but disappointing races are a part of the process to growing as a runner.  Don’t make excuses for those errors, make improvements. There are things you cannot control that can negatively impact your race, as well. Some things like weather and crowded courses/water stations are things you will often know about a head of time and can prepare for.  With weather, you need to be realistic about your goals ahead of time and give yourself some leeway.  A marathon completed in 70 degree weather is not going to be as fast as a race completed in 50 degree weather.  You need to adjust your time goals and allow yourself some wiggle room in your goal.  Larger races often have crowded starts and water stations, preparing ahead of time by carrying a small water bottle,so you can skip an aid station or two and practicing negative splits are a great way to overcome this potential issue.  There are also unexpected things that have happened in races, and the only thing you can do is shake it off.  Just last year, right before the Boston registration window closed, it seemed like one issue after another was impacting runners’ races.  They had pacers that lead groups off course and a train that stopped runners during the race. That sucks!  There was literally nothing the runners could do. All they could do is shake it off and move on. While I was working as an elementary teacher, our counselor would end the morning announcements everyday with the quote, “make it a great day, or not, the choice is yours.”  Which is very true in this situation. We cannot always control what happens to us. We can however choose how we respond. I imagine there was a wide variety of runners impacted in those races and how each individual managed was an individual choice that impacted their future training and races and probably general attitude in their daily lives shortly after the race.

There are some pre-race planning things you can do to help prevent a disappointing race, or at least allow yourself to handle the situation with grace.  The first thing that runners need to do is know the race.  If it is a goal race that you have trained for you need to be familiar with the course. I’m not saying memorize every detail of the course and turn by turn directions of an out of town race. Knowing some key logistics, spacing of the water stations and what fueling options are available along the way are important.  I recently found a website bibrave.com that is a great resource when learning about upcoming races. Reviewers tell about their experiences and gave tips.  I have made a point to pay it forward and review races I have completed. Another thing runners should consider is giving yourself an A, B and C goal.  Of course we all want to PR but does the PR define the complete success and failure of your race?  Completing a marathon is an excellent accomplishment in itself. So have multiple goals and keep adjusting as the race continues.  Being able to make adjustments mid-race can greatly impact your overall experience, no matter what happens.

This may be an unpopular opinion, or at least one that runners don’t like to discuss.  Sometimes DNF (did not finish) is the best choice.  Runners, or at least a large majority of runners, are stubborn.  They don’t want to feel like quitters.   Listen, if you have an injury that could be made substantially worse by finishing, you need to stop!  There will be other races and pushing through only to find you are wrecked for the next 6 months is not worth it.  I had a friend running Grandmas that was injured, he wasn’t going to make any time goals so he pulled out. Now he is training for Boston and he is smashing speed workouts and killing some high-mileage weeks. He recently mentioned how glad he was that he dropped out. He wasn’t sure he would even be ready to run yet, or what running would look like if he had not dropped out.  Another example of when a DNF may be your better choice is if you are chasing a qualifying time.  A buddy of mine was trying to get a Boston Qualifier five weeks before registration closed.  Like many 2016 races, the one he signed up for and trained for ended up being hotter than usual.  When he reached half way, he was already picking up (slowing down) time and by mile 16 he was completely gassed. He didn’t feel like this was an accurate reflection of his abilities and training so he dropped out.  This was a smart choice.  Marathons are hard on the body and had he pushed through another 10 miles, he would have had a longer recovery process.  My friend bounced back pretty quickly, and he was able to recover and do some basic maintenance training.  He signed up for a race a week before the registration closed and ended up getting a BQ-5 (he ran 5 minutes faster than his qualifying standard).  This was a smart, well-disciplined runner that will now be able to run his goal race in Boston 2017.

Immediately after the race you’re allowed to be disappointed.  You may istock-disappointed-racehave put in months of work and sacrificed things along the way.  Give yourself permission to be disappointed.  Do not, however, hang out in pity-town.  It does not fix anything.  If traveling, focus on recovery and enjoy your vacation.  Don’t let a race ruin your opportunity to explore and enjoy a new place.  This will also give you some time away from the emotions of the race.  When you return you will be able to reflect on the race more effectively.  If you are local, give yourself 24 hours to be a bit down.  Then, it’s time to put on your big-girl (or big-boy) britches and move on.

A week after the race is a good time to begin to recap the race and reflect on all aspects of the race.  All races are a learning opportunity.  Reflect on what went well and not so well.  Do not fixate on the negative.  Every race is like a puzzle, there are so many pieces that must come together to make a bigger picture.  When people ask you about the race, try not to make ridiculous excuses.  I had a friend who was hoping for a 5k PR and didn’t reach it.  When I asked him how the race went, his response was “it was a hard course, it was almost all flat with no turns,” the next race the same friend told me, “ I got two miles in at goal pace and then decide to tempo.” Don’t do this.  It is okay to acknowledge that you didn’t reach your goal.  It happens to the best runners. Recognize the opportunity to learn and grow from the race, and be careful not to have a knee-jerk reaction. I have seen many runners begin to over train after bad races. This usually does not end up helping in reaching your goal, but instead leads to further disappointment, injuries and burn-out.

Do you have a bad race experience? What do you like to do, to help you get over it?

 

Thank you for reading! Please comment below, share and subscribe!

 

2017 Week 4 recap- 12 weeks until Boston Marathon

80530689650fd35e50754ea2c69aacf1

               I don’t know about you guys, but burying myself in all things running has been a huge escape from the political junk going on.  Focusing on my training has been a great stress reliever, also.  So without too much build up, here is my weekly recap.

Monday-6.01 miles at 8:05 pace (48:39 total time)

 This was a miserable run for me, and very disappointing because I was looking forward to my run all day. Temperature was nice, however, I underestimated the wind factor and my extremities were frozen the entire time.  I also ran a route that had no wind blockage making things worse.  Luckily, it was a short run and I did survive.

Tuesday 10.6 miles with average pace of 7:14 (1:16:54 total time)

Paces for the “tempo/interval” portion of the run.  (6:06, 7:05, 6:05, 7:09, 5:58)

Today was a blended tempo/interval style workout.  I was prescribed 2 mile warm up, 5 miles of alternating speeds with no rest, 4 x 30 seconds sprints and a 2 miles cool down.  To save time, I ran from work and chose a route that had a fair amount of elevation change.  I kind of liked the added challenge of the hills.  It made me work on consistent effort while working toward a goal pace.  We did end up with the fourth mile feeling like it was uphill the whole way, giving us little sense of rest or recovery.

After the workout I was prescribed a small amount of strength exercises.  Coach pushed up some of the weights from 20% to 30%.  Which was fine for most exercises except bent over rows.  My bird arms could barely complete 3 reps so I went back down in weight.  I completed 2 sets of Squats, bent over rows, lunges, skips for distance and fast feet.

Wednesday- 8.01 at 7:37 (1:01:03 total time)

Easy run from my favorite local store, KC Running Company. It was an enjoyable group this evening.  The best part is I was able to snag a pair of shoes from the sales rack! Not that I really need more shoes, but I wanted them ha!

Thursday- 8 miles at 7:53 pace (1:03:03 total time)

Easy run, I was busy with work and family stuff so I wasn’t able to get outside at a reasonable time. I headed to the gym and ran some easy miles on the treadmill.  Funny story, I was able to make two new friends.  Two gentlemen showed up about two minutes after I started running.  They were deciding how long to walk for, and they decided they would walk as long as I was running.  They were certain I was going to be done in thirty minutes or less.  I was completely oblivious at the time, because I had my headphones plugged in and was fully invested in an episode of Big Bang Theory.  When I got done, the gentleman began to cheer and clap.  As we cleaned up the machine they let me know that was their longest treadmill session and that they were waiting for me to finish.  They asked when the next time I was coming back so we could run/walk together again.

Friday 6.08 at 7:43 pace (46:58 total time)

Enjoyable easy run.  The gymnastics gym has open play time for toddlers, and my sister and nephew met us there.  I was able to get some loops in the neighborhood behind the gym, while the kiddos ran off some energy.  The neighborhood is about a half mile loop.  Around lap six or seven an officer pulled up.  Apparently, someone from the neighborhood called because of an unknown person running around their neighborhood.  The officer asked why I was running so late at night, I responded “sir, its 7:30.”  I guess I appeared harmless because he let me go.  Ha!

Saturday- 15.2 miles run at 7:42 average pace (1:57:20 total time)

This was a very enjoyable morning.  I met up with some friends at a trail about 30 minutes away.  We ran 14 miles at my easy pace and then did 30 seconds of intervals of sprints and jogging for the last mile.  The weather was great, I enjoyed the company and the change of scenery.  The best part was breakfast afterward. MMMMMmmmm! Then we headed over to Lululemon and picked up our awesome surprises that we earned by completing their Strava Challenge.  I was blown away, we were able to pick a pair of shorts and top for completing at least 80 Km over two weeks!

I had a few strength exercises to complete.  I am now naming my Saturday strength training, death by push-ups.  Ha Ha!  I can do them, but I am so sore after.  My upper body consists of bones and skins. I completed two sets of planks, side planks, push-ups, skips for distance and one leg hops.  Most felt pretty comfortable, except those darn push-ups.

img_6540

Sunday-7.09 miles at 7:42 pace (54:36 total time)

Super easy run, felt great.  My daughter had a slumber party at her cousins which allowed me some sleeping in time and extra coffee.  I got out the door later in the afternoon and the weather was right around 50 degrees with little wind. It was one of those great mental health runs.

Total Miles for the week was 61.1.

Looks like coach will be keeping me at similar miles next week. I plan on running a 5K next week to shake out the legs and get an idea of where my fitness is at.  Looks like we will slightly front loading the weekly miles so I can take it easier on Saturday.  I like racing frequently, it keeps my focused and helps relieve anxiety about training.

Today is 11 weeks from the Boston Marathon! I have an awesome opportunity from Lululemon I can ‘t wait to share.  Once I know more details,  I will spill!

Thank you so much for reading and following my journey. Please comment, subscribe and share

Training to be a mentally stronger runner



What makes a strong runner? If you have two runners, of absolutely equal physical ability, which one is going to win?  I would say the runner that is mentally stronger. Do you think that the person who always wins a race is the most fit? I certainly do not.  One of my favorite running buddies likes to say he can be defeated in a race but you’re going to have to beat him because he isn’t going to let up.  I love this mentality.  Maybe because of my competitive nature, I love competitive races.  I seek out races where I am going to line up with people of equal or better abilities and be pushed to my limits.   I’m not looking to win races, I am looking for races that push me to perform at my best for the day. In order to reach my goals, I need to train physically as well as mentally to be prepared for a goal race.
Let’s face it, racing is hard.  Whether you are racing yourself or the competitor next to you, there is going to be a point in the race where you’re going to want to stop or at least slow down. Having a bag of tricks to help you overcome these moments will help push your racing to the next level and help ensure that you are able to run your best race for that day.    Speed training and tempo runs are a great opportunity to practice overcoming those difficult moments. I think of speed runs as an opportunity to mentally rehearse my race day, it makes us more equipped to handle being uncomfortable. Here is a variety of tools and techniques I like to practice.  What works for one runner may not motivate another. For me, what gives me the added push, can vary by day. The bigger my bag of tricks, the more likely I am to reach my goal for the day.

  • Visualize- Before race day, visualize as much about the race as you can. Go through your warm up, stretching routine, and strides.  Visualize yourself running the entire race successfully.  Once you have visualized how perfect your race can be. Mix it up, visualize yourself struggling in a race and overcoming it. Visualize less than ideal weather and what you will do to handle it. When race day comes, this will help you stay in the zone and overcome almost anything that comes your way.  I use this on race day as well.  When I am struggling I repeat to myself “Relax, Strong, Fast!”  As I am saying it, I visualize the words very slowly and the second time I physically act on those words, by the third time I say it I usually feel more relaxed, confident and am able to pick up the pace. It works for me.
  • Positive affirmations/quotes-I am a sucker for inspirational stuff. I am constantly searching for the right quote to give me that added motivation.  I love finding new ones, but for some reason I have a few that have stuck with me over the years.  One of my favorite quotes is, “You are stronger than the moment.”  I have no idea where I heard it, or who said it.  I love that quote, and I know it to be true.  I know the discomfort of racing will go away almost seconds after crossing the finish line and I will be filled with adrenaline and overwhelmed with the feelings of accomplishment.
  • Mind Tricks- In high school our cross country team was working on 400 meter repeats. It was hot and we were tired and beat up.  The girls were starting to get whiny.   My coach looked at one of the runners as we lined up for the next repitition and told her, “no matter what, do not think about pink elephants!”  Questions erupted but she refused to answer,she was very adamant about not thinking about pink elephants.  While we were all standing at the line baffled, she yelled “go!” Every single one of us were wondering what does pink elephants have to do with running?  Why pink elephants? Is a pink elephant a real thing?  To our surprise, we all ran that lap as our fastest.  The first thing coach asked us, “what were you thinking about while you ran that lap.”  We all kind of giggled, pink elephants.  It’s so ridiculous, but it worked.  Sometimes we focus so much on the running, the mechanics, the breathing that we make things worse.  By thinking about those silly pink elephants we weren’t thinking about our 200 meter splits and how much our guts felt like they were going to bust.  It’s okay to enjoy the adventure, look at the crowd and get lost in your thoughts for a little bit.  We all run because we enjoy it, right? That doesn’t have to completely go away when the race starts.
  • Be your own coach-If you were your own coach, what would you say to yourself? What are your strengths and weaknesses? Is your form correct? As I am running I coach myself up.  I will tell myself things, such as, “your breathing sounds good, you look strong but you need to relax your arms.”  Seeing my coaches along the course in high school always helped me.  Now I just, kind of, recreate that as I go along.  Sometimes I will even nodding my head in agreement with my “coach.”  (Yep, I talk to my self and agree with myself.  Runners are all kinds of crazy ha ha). It can sometimes be like an out of body experience, because as the coach, I am able to distance myself from the struggles of racing.
  • Break it down into smaller pieces –At some point in a good race, I always seem to hit hostage negotiations stage. I am trying to convince myself to make it to the next check point. I argue and plead with myself. Depending on how much I am struggling it may be a light-post 100 meters away or the next water station.  Just maintain this pace until then.  When I reach that point, I move the goal back a little bit.  Focusing on the smaller goals makes it easier, to keep going. Thinking you need to hold this crazy hard pace for 3 more miles in a half marathon is hard.  Giving yourself a pep talk to the next water station is a lot more manageable.  I just need to get to the final mile, then I magically find another gear.
  • Remember all of your hard work- Each workout is like a deposit in the bank. You are constantly putting money in and race day is the time to make a withdrawal. Training cycles, rarely go 100% perfect.  There are good workouts and bad.  You manage to survive them and push through.  Remember the good workouts and how much you have grown as a runners and think of a time when you weren’t at your best and you were able to push through. Remember that hard work, and use that.  You should be confident in yourself
  • Sometimes I get mean with myself- You know that image of the drill instructor or coach getting in your face and yelling at you. I know it’s not the most positive way of coaching, but at the right time a good butt chewing gets me motivated. Sometimes while running I just have to have a few not-so-nice words to get me going.  One time I thought my coach yelled at me, to stop sucking.  This lit a fire under my you-know-what.  I found out after the race, he said something entirely different.  I also learned I run quite well when I am mad.

Continue reading “Training to be a mentally stronger runner”

What is the purpose of your run today?

Photo Credit to Diana Baber Check her out on instagram @ thepositiveradiancelife

Are you working toward a new distance or a time goal? If you are, you need to think about this title question every day, before you head out the door.  What is the purpose of this run?  When you are training, you are applying a stimulus or stress to the body.  That stress will hopefully cause minor damage to your body. You body will then rebuild and adapt so that it is stronger the next time. The amount of stress is important.  We want fast results, but we don’t want to be injured.  In order to maximize results and minimize risk we need to train smarter.  Identifying the body systems that you are working and the purpose of the workout will guide your distances and pace. Completing goal specific workouts stress the body in different ways and allow adaptations for the different body systems used in endurance racing. This can sound very overwhelming for new runners and one of the many advantages to hiring a coach*. Below are some basic types of runs, and how they impact your different body systems.

Learn more about RunCanvas Coaching

  • Easy days/active recovery runs– Slowing down and running easy miles is difficult for many runners. We are built with a train harder, race harder mentality.  This will inevitably leave the runner over trained and under-performing.  Your easy run needs to feel easy.  You need to run easy enough that your body is still able to recover from the previous workout and not create further stress and damage on the body.  Easy runs are a great way to add up more base mileage which will help increase your endurance base.  Easy miles also help runners slowly build up a tolerance to the stresses of running, which will build up a resistance to injury.  Easy runs will help strengthen your cardio vascular systems, strengthening you heart allowing your body to pump blood more efficiently and increase stroke volume. Improvements are not made during actual workouts, but instead are made when our body adapts and recovers from those workouts.  If you do not allow your body to run easy enough and recover you will eventually injure yourself.
    • I wrote a previous post on slowing down your easy runs. Check it out!
  • Threshold /Tempo Runs- You will often hear tempo runs explained as comfortably hard, or called a sustained effort run. Tempo runs help by improving your endurance base at higher intensities.  As your body runs faster, your metabolic rate increases.  Lactic acid is a by-product of the metabolism.  Your lactic threshold is the breaking point of where your body can no longer keep up with the increasing build up. At a higher rate, your body will begin to build up lactic acid which leave the muscles feeling fatigued.  As you train at this threshold your body becomes more efficient at clearing the lactic acid and other by-products.  These adaptations allow your body to, eventually, run at higher intensities before the lactic acid begins to build up.
    • Example workout-20 minute Tempo run
    • Purpose- Improve your body’s ability to efficiently manage lactic build up at higher intensities.
  • Long Run-Physiologically, your long run is a key workout for building your endurance base by building up your cardiovascular system. When running long runs you are increasing the impact load your muscles, joints and connective tissues can support during longer distances. While running long, you are increasing your mitochondrial production of capillaries.  Remember you mitochondria acts as the “powerhouse” of the cell.  Taking food (nutrients) and converting it to energy. The increase of mitochondrial capillaries helps get that energy to the muscles more efficiently. During long runs, your body learns to store glycogen (energy) while using other energy sources more efficiently.  Running long is also great for preparing mentally for endurance races, practicing hydration and refueling techniques.
  • Speed work-There is a variety of speed work or interval training workouts for runners. The idea that you have to run faster to get faster is correct. The problem is many runners want to do it every day. Speed work is calculated workout session used to stress certain body systems and allow them to recover. Small adjustments in pace can have a large impact on a training session. If you have ever blasted the first interval of a training session, only to ride the suffer bus the rest of the way through. You know what I am talking about.  Speed work is performed by running repeated segments of fast running and then a recovery.  During speed work you are training your body to perform efficiently at high paces and build up a resistance to fatigue. Interval training helps a runner build up speed, improve running economy and manage pain.  Speed work improves efficiency and bio-mechanics, so be sure to focus on form while completing your speed work.
    • Example-400 meter repeats
    • Purpose– To improve speed and economy by loading the amount of oxygen needed to run at a specific pace while improving leg turn over.

Remember you are training with a goal in mind.  Training load is a balancing act.  Your distances and paces are important to maintaining that balance.  Stop trying to “beat” the workout.  You aren’t racing the workout, you are simply applying a stress load to the body, which will cause the body to rebuild stronger.  Pushing your paces too much increases that training load, increasing your risk for injury.  Along with not allowing adequate recovery.  A complete training program should include a variety of training sessions, training at multiple paces.  Before you begin to implement speed work into your training, be sure to have built up an endurance base.  This means running consistently for 2-3 months at least 3 times a week.  Always include a warm up and cool down session.  Never complete a speed or tempo session while injured.  Anytime you feel a slight niggle or small injury it is best to back off on intensity and distance for a short time, until the injury has healed. 

        So how to do you know what kind of workouts you should be doing and what paces?  Well, that’s is one great benefit of working with a coach.  Cheaper options may include books published by professional coaches an online programs, many are free.  I have used all three methods. Not all freebie plans are good so finding the right programs is important.  Look for a variety of workouts and a write up by the author that gives you an idea on the reasoning behind the workouts.  Previously, I was using Jack Daniels book to guide my workouts.  I really loved the book.  Most of my training relied on his book and formulas for the last year.  I would highly recommend his book to anyone who is wanting to learn more about running and training zones.  My biggest “ah ha” moment was when he talks about training based on where you are now, to get to where you want to be. If you like developing your own programs, there are a lot of training pace calculators.  While they don’t all use the same formula a lot of them will get you similar pace.  I like to use Jack Daniels Vdot Calculator and Greg McMillian Calculators, when I am deciding on paces.

I have spent the last training cycle, really focusing on the purpose of the run.  By doing so, I have become more in tune with my body and I have been doing a lot better with avoiding major injury. I also have found that I am running more consistently, because I understand the purpose of each run.  I get a bigger sense of accomplishment out of my runs, knowing that my run today had a bigger purpose through my training plans.

I’m curious, what kind of training plan do you use? Why did you decide on that method? Have you used other methods before?

Need a coach to help you reach your running goals?

VDot certified! I am a VDot  Certified coach with over 12 years of coaching experience! I have worked with runners of all levels and ages. I have coached middle school, high school and adult level teams. Let me put together a comprehensive plan to help you reach that next big goal!   Training plans and online coaching programs to meet all lifestyle and budget needs. Check it out

RunCanvas VDOT MarketPlace

2017 Week 3 Recap- 13 Weeks from Boston Marathon

 

I had a great week last week.  I hope you guys did too! The weather was prime marathon training conditions here.  Temperatures in the 50s and a light wind most of the week. We didn’t see a whole lot of sun, but I won’t be picky after the ice last week. 

 

               Running is full of highs and lows, and I really enjoyed running this week. I just felt so good and looked forward to my runs each day.  I’m beginning to question my current fitness level so I signed up for one of my favorite local races, which is a 5k on Super bowl Sunday. I am excited yet nervous, for the opportunity to see how it goes.  

Here is my week 3 recap.

  • Monday- 5.10 miles at 8:22 pace (Total 42:41)
    • Nice and easy run, I set my watch to help me keep my pace above 8 min/mile pace. I wanted my legs to be fresh for my first track workout in 10 years.  I was super nervous.
  • Tuesday-7.02 miles at average pace 8:03 (1:11:54)
    • Workout of 2 mile warm up followed by 3 sets of 4 x 200 meter repeats and then 2 mile cool down. 200 meter splits; Set 1 (:34,:37,:35,:38), Set 2 (:36,:37,:37,:36), Set 3 (:37,:33,:36,:37)
    • I am a tempo, threshold junkie. That is the only type of speed work I have really done. Working with a coach is a great opportunity to step outside of my comfort zone and work on my areas of weakness.  I was happily surprised at how short the workout felt. I was lucky enough to talk a couple of friends into meeting me for the workout.  We ran at a middle school track that was not well maintained, concrete with lots of dips and cracks after some afternoon rain.  It was super dark and we didn’t have lights.  All of this and we had 3 people with awesome attitudes pushing through a workout.  We ended the workout pretty confident we could do another set, but we were glad we didn’t need to.
    • After the workout, I had a small amount of exercises prescribed. I completed 2 sets.  8 x squats 20% body weight, Bent-over rows 20 % body weight, 20 lunges with 10 pounds in each hand, 20 skips for distance and 20 meters of fast feet.  Up until now, I did not complete a consistent amount of strength training.  This is new and another awesome way my coach is helping me improve my training.
  • Wednesday-10.1 miles at 7:08 pace (56:42)
    • I’ll admit. I didn’t not take my own advice.  I did not run this recovery run at my prescribed pace. I went out for a group run and felt great.  We were chit chatting, having a good time and our pace began to increase.  This can be a pitfall to running with a group.  I think the shorter workout, actually left my legs feeling lighter than usual and I was naturally picking up speed as was my training partner from the night before.
  • Thursday-7.17 miles at 7:53 pace (56:42)
    • I set my watch to yell at me when I picked up the pace. I did a lot better today at keeping my recovery runs, in the recovery zone.  Marathon training has a way of building up residual fatigue and I want to be able to train well through my workouts and long runs.  I did a lot better today.

 

 

 

 

  • Friday- Double Dip Am 6.02 miles  at 8:05 pace  PM 6.04 miles at 7:49 pace
    • Did not sleep well Friday so I slogged through my morning run. The good thing was I was able to keep it nice and easy.  In the afternoon I had a great run and was looking forward to my long run the next morning.  After each run, I did 4×10 seconds sprints.
  • Saturday- 14 miles
    • Work out was supposed to be 3 miles at 8 minute pace as a warm up, 6 miles at 6:40-6:45 pace and then 5 miles easy.
    • As you can see, I started off a tad faster. I was with a group and the pace was picking up.  I don’t feel like my work out suffered.  I know at some point that is going to negatively impact my running so I will be more aware of it as I move forward.  I thought about going another 2 miles.  I typically ramp up my long run pretty quickly. I’m anxious about the distance of a marathon, and running the longer runs eases that a bit.
    • Some additional exercises after my run included 2 sets; 1 minute planks, 30 seconds of side planks, 15 push ups, 20 skips for distance and 10 single leg hops for distance. Again, this is new to me.  I noticed the planks were a tad more work than usual after my long run.  Otherwise, abdominal strength is probably one of my strong areas.  The pushups about killed me.  My tiny bird arms are weak.  I am sore today, two days later.
  • Sunday -Scheduled Rest Day, I felt good. I could easily have gotten in an easy run and felt okay.  I am glad that coach put in a rest day, before I needed it.  I woke up this morning feeling amazing.  That’s not a usual feeling for someone in marathon training. So hopefully that means I can really go after my work out tomorrow.

Still 12 weeks away, today and I can already feel the anxiety beginning to build. I am hoping the 5k I signed up for in two weeks will give me some reassurance that I am on the right path.  I’d like to think it’s a good sign that I am feeling well rested and full of energy right now.  I get asked a lot about my goals for the race, but I am not ready to make one.  I like to give my training time to “play itself out” without being focused on a finishing time yet. There is so many factors that can have an influence on that goal time, between now and race day. 

Thank you so much for following my journey. Like, comment, subscribe and SHARE!

%d bloggers like this: