Day 32

There is some running to report today!!!  Or rather…some walking, but exercise nonetheless.

About a week ago I had to swallow some humble pie and realize that since I had twisted my ankle, my fitness level has dropped significantly.  And there is still the problem of the sore ankle.  So, like all athletes should do, I took a step back and reassessed with an open mind where I was in the running process.  And much to my dismay…square 1.  (You know, like “back to square 1…”)

I might have to take this return to running a little more slowly than I had hoped.  The last two days I’ve taken the dogs for a walk, and then set out on my own.  I run a little, but mostly walk…and usually until my ankle starts hurting.  I get about 2-3 miles in…which deflated my marathon enthusiasm just a smidge.

On a positive note, I’m being more conscious about my diet.  That’s a huge struggle that will be ongoing…forever…but eating even 10% better than I was seems to be helping at least the physiological aspect of running.

So today…Day 32 is a rest day since I walked/slightly ran the last two days…should really be Day 3 I suppose.  I started Wednesday really realizing where I was and what I needed to do to reach my goal.  It’s going to be a challenge…but I need some excitement in my life, right?!


Day 22

Day 22…and no running to report.  Yup…still not running as consistently as I want to…

And the culprit is bad diet.  (And maybe the humid weather.)

I can’t really blame the humid weather too much…it’s really only been terribly humid the last two days.  Most of the blame falls on my diet.  I have just been eating whatever, whenever.  And boy do my insides hate me.

It’s one thing to be working out and eating slightly bad…it’s a whole other thing to be eating crappy and not doing any kind of exercise.  It creates this vicious cycle of crave the crap, feel like crap, don’t work out, get hungry, crave the crap, feel like crap….well you get it.

And this little blog thing has actually just made me realize how much I’m hurting myself and training.  Day 22 into my marathon training endeavor…and I’ve run maybe 3 or 4 times.  Seriously…that’s like once a week.  And I’m sitting here feeling crappy about that and crappy in general because of what I’ve eaten in the past 24 hours.

Sometimes you need a wake-up call…sometimes you need to reevaluate your current trajectory…hopefully this is a little bit of both.  I want to feel better and I don’t want to be under-trained come November.  Luckily I have some time to readjust and get back on track…let’s see if I can do that!

Day 15

Day 15 was on Tuesday of this week…the 19th.  We got done early with work and so I worked out in the hotel fitness center…and we all know what that means…treadmill workout.

The workout itself was fine…I did a 30 minute interval training, you know speeding up, slowing down, etc.  I actually felt better when I finished then I normally do when finishing a run…and felt like I could keep going (but I had dinner plans, so you know…that won out!)

But the next day…omg major ankle pain.  The unforgiving surface of the treadmill did nothing for the healing ankle.  I could barely walk!  So…no more workouts for me the rest of the time at work.

So now we come to Friday…I may venture out sometime this week and try again on road (since somehow that has more given then the treadmill).  I had heard there was trial and error in marathon training…I had just hoped it wouldn’t be this soon.

Day 1 & Day 9

Wow…I hadn’t realized it’s been since January that I last wrote.  So much has happened that the last few months have flown by.  I got a new job that requires 100% more travel then my last one (cause I didn’t travel in my last job), and made a major decision…I’m seriously going to train and try to run a full marathon in November.  And I’m going to try…once again…to chronicle it for my own sanity and for your entertainment value (cause seriously…we all know it’s probably going to be painfully funny…emphasis on painful!)

Day 1
So not officially in a training program yet…most programs start 24 or 16 weeks out from target race date.  But since I’ve done very little running in the last few months…I need an extra few months to build up to the actual training…training for training!

Day 1 was April 4, and yes this is a bit behind…oh well!  Day 1 went good.  Walked the dogs and then did my walk/run for 2 miles.  A friend told me about a great strategy that has been helpful in getting back into running…run to one song, walk to one song…and repeat for entire run.  It’s been good so far to start back into running, and hopefully I will build up to 2 songs run, 1 song walk…and then to no walking!!  (But 26.2 miles…we’ll see!)

Day 9
Yes…8 days between runs…because of my ankle.  When I had a week off between jobs, I was painting my spare bedroom, and when coming off the ladder, stepped on a broom handle and twisted my ankle good!  Since then it’s been iffy on if it hurts or not.  There were several attempts at running in those 8 days, and each time it was too painful to sustain running on it.  And it’s always important to listen to your body and not hurt yourself further.

Thankfully, today I was able to run.  I got an ankle brace and it has helped tremendously.  We’ll see as time goes on if it continues to help; but for 3 miles it did well!  Anxious to get back on a regular running routine, so hopefully it holds up well!


Tips for the Beginner/Re-Starter/Can’t Wait to Run-er 

As 2015 comes to a close and we look forward to goals and aspirations for 2016, I realized there are a lot of people who have set running goals for the upcoming year.  For instance, my goals are to run longer, run faster, and complete a marathon.

I also realize that newbies to the sport, those that have taken some time off (eh hmm…right here), and those that are just ready to crush some new goals need some encouragement as well as some helpful tips (and most of these are ones I wish I had known when I started!)

Back in 2009 I decided…I don’t really remember why…to run.  I think it was a combination of thinking I would lose weight really fast and some people at work were into it, and hey, I wanted to be the cool kid too!  But what came out of that start was a passion for running I didn’t know I had…and a lot of misfires.

When I say misfires, I mean I started and stopped a lot.  I ran one day, took two weeks off, did the treadmill for 15 minutes, and then would take a month off. (Funny how I didn’t lose that weight like I thought I would!)  Fast forward three years and I decide to run a half marathon.  What in the hell was I thinking?

So I started actually training, albeit hit and miss at best, but I did complete my first half marathon November 2012.  From then on I was hooked.  I have completed 5 half marathons and a handful of 5Ks, 10Ks, and 15Ks.  And while it hurt and sucked at times, I still love doing what I do!

But what do I wish I had known way back in the day…and yes that was 2009…when I thought, “Hey, why don’t I try running?!”

Patience.  To this day I still struggle with patience…I want to be fast.  Now.  When beginning to run it can be discouraging for newbies and returners to not be fast or to become winded so soon after starting.  I know I was sucking air after about 5 seconds of starting (okay, maybe a slight exaggeration, but I promise…just slight).  Running is just like every thing else we have to work for in life; it takes time, practice, and patience.  The more you do it, the more you will start to see the changes you want and you will start to get better, stronger, and faster.  Just don’t stop!  (Unless of course there is injury…then obviously stop and evaluate the injury.)

Understanding.  And not in the way you think.  Take stock of your body before you go out. How does it feel?  Memorize that and learn what uncomfortable feels like and what injured feels like.  Uncomfortable means you can return to comfortable fairly quickly.  Injured means you don’t recover; the pain stays around after it should have gone away (including soreness…it should go away within a couple of days of starting; if it doesn’t, you might have an injury.)

Go slow.  Seriously.  If you’re starting out or coming back from a hiatus, add mileage slowly.  If you go too fast, too soon, chances are you are going to hurt yourself (and that means even more time off from running.)  Every thing I have ever read about adding mileage says to add 10% of the previous week’s mileage to the next week.  So 10 miles last week, add 1 mile this week.  It’s another test of your patience, but you need to build up the mileage slowly and safely.

Eat better.  This may be a given and go hand-in-hand with your New Years resolution, but fueling your body to run is a must.  And cheeseburgers do not fuel the body (trust me, I’ve tried!)  Getting enough water and the right nutrients makes running a whole lot easier.  Think about lugging that cheeseburger for 3 miles…

Have fun.  In the scope of all of this, remember to have fun!  Running can be such a fun, enjoyable experience and it can offer great ways to see your city and meet new people.  Some of my best gal pals are my running buddies…we grew closer because of our love of running.  Find new routes, find new people to go with you, find fun incentives to get you out the door…remember it is above all a fun way to exercise and be healthy!

The “I’ll Start Monday” Thinking

Today is Oct 1…the month starts anew which means all sorts of things start over.  The only problem…it doesn’t start on a Monday.  So very few people will commit or recommit to something…fitness, nutrition, saving money, reading more, etc. (you get the idea).

How many times have we all thought this…..I’ll start that training program on Monday?  I’ll start my new diet on Monday.   If you could see me you would see that I am raising my hand!  I don’t know if its the traditional Monday-Friday 9-5 mentality, or the idea that Monday is the start of a new week…therefore a new start to everything (which I might add, pay weeks start on Sunday……so maybe we should start our new lifestyles on Sunday!)…but we always feel better making a commitment xx number of days from the time we want to start.

But what if we could start now?  The very moment we decide we need a change…why not start then?  It’s radical, and more than a little difficult, but totally doable.  I decided this week that I really needed to overhaul my workouts…my next half-marathon is 2 months away and I’ve already compromised on training for a full-marathon.  But I’ve been slacking so bad the month of September that I needed a reset.  All good and fine…only I decided last Sunday that I would restart Monday Oct 5…because that was the most convenient Monday to restart.  But then I got to thinking…do I really need a Monday to start?  Why can’t I start on a Wednesday?   Or a Thursday?

So I started on a Wednesday.  It took me a minute to wrap my head around my new schedule…but when I did I found that it would be easy to start off slow and get myself back into a rhythm before my “start” on Monday.  These next few days are what I deemed my “prep” week for my actual start!  What did it for me?  How can you duplicate it?  Simple…

  1.  Just start.  Seriously…you want to start a new diet, order a glass of water at dinner.  Already do that, order a side salad as one of your sides.  Find a fruit or vegetable to add to your dinner.  Put your fork down between each bite and sip some water (studies have shown this helps you consume less calories).  The point is, make a small change.  Don’t change the world in one day…ease yourself into it.
  2. Allow yourself a “prep” week.  That’s what I’m doing this week.  I’m running a little and eating better…but not sticking to a running or workout regimen just yet.  I know what a workout schedule looks like, but I need to get my mind back into that mentality.  So I’m slowing starting to run again.  You can do the same.  You want to start working out on a Monday….the week before take a walk around the block.  Find some low impact workouts on Pinterest and do a rep or two.  Just move for a couple days and let your mind acclimate to the thought of exercising.
  3. Find support.  Again, raising my hand to volunteer.  But look at your household, your friends list…someone will support you.  Tell them what your doing.  Ask them to check in on you.  Find a trusted friend or relative and put them in charge of you.  I have a friend I work with that I tell every umpteenth time I start a new regimen to keep checking in on me.  Support is the one thing that can make or break your new lifestyle in its infancy, when its struggling to become a habit.  Give yourself a chance, and find that person who will hold you up no matter what.
These are the three things I’ve done this week (and will continue to do) so that when Monday comes around, my mind thinks “okay time to start…”  but in reality, I’ve already set myself up for success.  It’s time to overhaul the “I’ll start Monday” thinking…so instead, I’m turning it into “I’ll start Monday…after I start this week!”

The Joys of Summer Running

It became blistering obvious that summer was here and with a vengeance this week.  90 degree days with 100 degree heat indexes, it is HOT outside.  I know, I know…it has been hot all month…but for some reason this week hit me hard.

Let’s back up a little.  In previous training bouts, I have avoided running outside at this time of the year.  Literally, I just didn’t run, made up some excuse for not feeling well or being too tired to get up early enough.  I told myself this training round that I would stick to it because 26.2 miles will be a lot easier in the fall if I put in the work now.  Which means…summer running.

It’s quite a dramatic change from May and June.  It was rather cool those months, humid yes, but the temperatures were ok.  But the minute July hit, so did the hot temperatures.  But it’s been a good month of learning…

1.)  Early mornings are your best bet.  Yes…I know, not everyone can run early.  It’s a luxury I have for working the evening shift.  But if you can manage it, I suggest this is when you go out.  It’s still relatively cool and the sun is not quite up to its full height yet.  I started the month waking up at 8 am, shifted to 7 am, and by Friday, I bit the bullet and woke up at 6:30 am.  This is quite the task considering I get off work at 11:00 pm and often don’t go to sleep until 1:00 am.  But it was a lot cooler than it was when I finished at 8 am.

2.) Water is your friend…ALL DAY!  Yes you need to hydrate during the run and after you finish.  But at this time of the year you lose so much more water through sweat that you need to continuously hydrate throughout the day.  The general rule is 8 8 ounce glasses of water.  However, I’ve found a formula that gets me way more water and I generally feel better; and it’s easy for anyone!  Take your weight, divide that in half, and drink that many ounces of water.  For example, a 100 lb person would drink 50 ounces of water.

If you’re out for more than an hour, you may also need an electrolyte replacement beverage as well.  I usually go for Gatorade because that’s what they have at races.  My general rule is that once I get done running, I have to drink a bottle of water and a bottle of Gatorade before taking a shower (it’s usually not too hard to do)!

3.) Know your limits.  Running in the hot weather causes your internal body temperature to soar.  Your body is working overtime to keep you cool, inside and out.  It’s working to sweat so your outside is cool, and its working to keep your organs at an even temperature.  The hotter weather places more strain on these processes.  As a result, you may tire quicker or find yourself slowing down.  This is your body telling you that it needs time to catch up.  Embrace the slower pace; if you don’t you could end up with heat stroke or an injury.

This one I struggle with.  I want to get faster as I train, but its hard to do that in the summer.  I had a hard lesson this week that some days will be better than others.  Monday was a good running day, and Wednesday was amazing.  However, the heat and humidity took its toll Friday and my run suffered.  I kept trying to push it Friday, and finally had to back down on the pace because I was headed for another calf injury.  That would have kept me from running for about a week while I healed, but instead I had a subpar run but I can go back out Monday.

Three important lessons learned from summer running.  I’ll grin and bear it because I know this work will pay off in the fall.  Plus, I’ve always heard that you run faster in the cooler weather after training in the warmer weather.  We’ll see if it’s true; but I do know that this training will not be wasted at my goal race!

The Training Plan in Place!

Hello there faithful followers…and I say that because if you still read after my hiatus then you truly are faithful!  I recall the last post I had was about picking the best marathon training plan and my choices were two different books; Marathon:  The Ultimate Training Guide Advice, Plans, and Programs for Half and Full Marathons by Hal Higdon, and Runner’s World Run Less, Run Faster by Bill Pierce.

The first book was a traditional approach to marathon training, a gradual build-up of miles until about 8 weeks out, where you do a final long run.  From there you taper down to maybe 10 miles a week the week of the marathon.  If you don’t mind a few digressions into the author’s experiences and ego driven stories, the book is probably what most beginning marathoner’s should read.  It has accounts from runners who have used the method, what to expect before, during, and after a race, and just general ideas of what the training and race will look like.  The programs introduced in the book are also very manageable…especially since the marathon programs are broken down for novice’s and advanced runners.

The second book uses the FIRST method to make a runner faster at their desired race by running only three times a week (most programs, like the traditional one mentioned above, use a 4 run week).  This book emphasizes 3 key runs to build strength and speed during workouts.  It highlights a long run, a tempo run, and an interval or track run.  The catch to these is that most of the runs are done at marathon pace or faster.  The idea is that you’re running shorter distances for 2 of the 3 runs, but you’re doing them faster to build your lactic threshold and leg turnover.  The idea behind it is amazing, three hard workouts instead of four runs.  However,  this type of program seems to be better equipped for runner’s who have done their desired race before.  For example, the marathon training plan would have me running 22-24 miles on the long run by week 4…I have never attempted that long of a distance.  Had I run a marathon before, this might make more sense for me.

The final verdict…the same coworker who recommended the Run Less, Run Faster book actually gave me a great idea; I’m using the FIRST method for the lead-up to the start of the actual marathon training (which doesn’t actually start until 16 weeks out from the race).  From there, I’ll use the program provided in the first book to continue building mileage and peak at a 20 mile long run.  I think this will help build the base needed to safely and efficiently build mileage towards my goal race.

I would also recommend either of these books to anyone looking to run distance.  If you’re a beginner, I would suggest the Marathon:  The Ultimate Training Guide book.  It gives a ton of great advice for novice runners and has good ideas to help get past certain road blocks.  It also has half-marathon training plans (it’s in the title!) that I will certainly return to when I go back to halfs.  If you’re more seasoned and what to get faster or add a little challenge to your training, Run Less, Run Faster is perfect for that.  You’ll push your pace and your limits, but you’ll definitely be able to feel the rewards.

Half to Full

My half marathon was two weeks ago.  I didn’t get the PR I had hoped for, but I did PR for that particular race.  So a big WIN in my book!  I know it’s been a while since I posted, and I’m sorry.  Life got in the way…and it’s no excuse…but I’m using it as one!

So I’ve done 5 half marathons now.  I have loved every single on of them!  Now I think I’ll try my hand at a full marathon!  SCARY!  This type of training is going to be way more intensive then the half-marathon training.  I’m not quite sure how I’m going to approach this…but I think I’ll start with some light reading.  It’s what I do best!

I have 2 options…one is a traditional training guide to marathon training and the second is a new approach to marathon training.  The first book is Marathon:  The Ultimate Training Guide Advice, Plans, and Programs for Half and Full Marathons and the second book is Runner’s World Run Less, Run Faster by Bill Pierce, Scott Muhr, and Ray Moss.

The second was actually recommended to me by a colleague and it seems very intriguing.  The traditional training in a build-up of mileage with four runs in a week.  This training is three runs a week with shorter distances but more intense runs.  You build speed and endurance that will carry you through 26.2 miles.

So those are the two books I’ll be trying out.  I know I will over analyze this stuff to the point of exhaustion…but I guess that’s just my tendency.  I want to be prepared and know what I’m getting myself into…that’s a lot of mileage!  So stay tuned…I’ll post more about this in later days!!