Sunday, September 29, 2013

Training Wrap-Up Week Four

This was a scale back week for me.  My total miles did not change much, but my intensity surely did.  It was a much needed break!

  • Days running: 5
  • Long run: 7 miles
  • Total Miles: 26
  • Races: One 5K (Race recap upcoming!)
  • Days strength training: 1 (50% success!  I'm a "glass half full" kind of girl!)
Most of my runs this week were slow, slow, slow as I attempted to recharge my legs.

I also ran a 5K on Saturday with my best friend which was a blast!  It was her first 5K, and probably the first time I have enjoyed every second of a race! I'm waiting on pictures to complete that race report.

But the best thing about this week was that we finally saw a change in the weather!  From highs in the 90s to highs barely in the 80s!  In fact, I was able to run in temps stating with a "6" for the first time since June!!  I have never appreciated our barely perceptible seasonal changes so much in my life!

Here's a local joke for you:

South Georgia Seasons:
  1. Almost Summer
  2. Summer
  3. Still Summer
  4. Christmas

Then, on Sunday night I had my best run in weeks.
I have been slowly working on my 5 mile "Steady State Run" (a run without walking breaks) since I shocked myself by completing one back in August.  That fist time my pace was very slow - around 11:26 avg.  I have been working each week on increasing my speed, while still keeping my breathing under control, and last night I ran at a 10:33 pace!
That's almost a minute per mile faster than last month!

Don't you just love those runs where you surprise yourself?

Of course part of that increased speed might be because of the "attack" dog!  I was running along a main road when I suddenly heard a viciously barking dog charging from behind.  For a moment I was terrified.  I really love dogs... but NOT when I am running.  What is it about runners that brings out the worst in dogs?  Anyway, after a brief moment of panic I realized that 
a) the dog sounded pretty small and 
b) if I stopped I would just be making it easier for him to get me.
So I never even turned around.  Just kept running until Fido gave up (ha!)

Have you ever had a dog encounter while running? 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Training Wrap-Up Week Three

This week my legs discovered that they had a voice, and they decided to use that voice to complain.
I guess it is to be expected.  That is why most training plans call for a rest or recovery week during training every 3-4 weeks.

Here is a pretty good article about incorporating recovery weeks within the training cycle.

With each week that you increase your overall mileage, stretch out your long run, or add more challenging workouts, you provide yourself with new or additional stimuli for improvement. You also become progressively more tired from the increased training load, and if you ignore this accumulation of fatigue, your performance will eventually start to stagnate or suffer. The likelihood of illness or injury also rises if you continue to add to your training load without periodically scaling back volume or intensity. In my experience, most runners tend to get stale, sick, or hurt after they’ve strung together too many weeks in a row—usually more than three—without reducing their overall training volume by 20–30 percent for at least seven days.
 I can definitely feel (in my own legs) the truth behind this article!!  So this next week will be a scale back week.  We'll see if my legs use their newfound voice to thank me!

Week 3 highlights:

  • Days running: 5
  • Long run: 10 miles
  • Total miles: 27
  • Days strength training: 2 (yay for me!)
  • Recovery tights purchased: 1

I have to say that I was so proud of my long run this week.  After my 1 mile warm up, I ran the remaining 9 miles without any walk breaks!  Remember a few weeks back when I was so shocked that I could run 5 miles without walk breaks?  And the amazing part was that it wasn't even difficult!  I know Galloway says that you get the same endurance benefits during a long run with walk breaks as you do running continuously, but I don't think I really believed it until Saturday!

This week, I also purchased these tights to be used during recovery:

Women's AMP PRO2 Tight
"Saucony AMP PRO2 Performance wear is made with revolutionary Celliant® fabric that increases oxygen in the body to give you more energy."

Hmmm.  I purchased these tights based mostly on this blogger's review, and the fact that Amazon had them marked down ridiculously low.  Here are my thoughts so far:

  • Very comfortable - I slept in them all night!  And I am pretty easily annoyed by clothing at night.  
  • Lightweight - I was able to wear them under my jeans all day without overheating.
  • They are not nearly as compressive as my CW-X. That I expected.  My CW-X tights would be too tight to wear comfortably to sleep in or under clothes in my opinion.  However, these tights were not even as tight as my Under Armour or my Nike Pro compression tights!
So, the big question was "did they work?"

And the answer is... "maybe"

I did feel like I got some benefit from wearing them, but my legs were in such bad shape last week that wearing anything that added a little warmth to my tired muscles would have probably helped.  I'll continue testing them over the next couple of months and let you know what conclusion I eventually reach.

Q:  Do you have any special clothing you wear for recovery?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

That Moment When Reality Hits!

Evergreen Pumpkin 10-miler last year (2012)

This summer, when I started planning my race schedule for the fall/winter I think I got a little carried away.

So carried away that I tentatively planned 6 half marathons in 6 months with a 10-miler thrown in the mix.
The first half was planned for October 12th - just 6 weeks into my training season.  I thought I'd just use it as a "training run"


Today I had a 4 mile race-pace run on the schedule.  I'm defining "race pace" as 10:15, even though my previous (last season) race pace was 10:00.  My thought was to finish my first scheduled race at the 10:15 pace and then try to regain my previous speed by the time of my Thanksgiving Day Half.

Today, at about the 2 mile mark of my 4 mile run all that changed.
I realized that there is no way I will be ready for any kind of race over a 13.1 mile course in just 3 weeks.  

I'm still walking funny from my slow 10 miles on Saturday.

And even though I finished my 4 mile run at a 10:15 pace, I know that tripling that distance at that speed just wouldn't be fun.  At all!

So, I came home and rethought everything.  How important was the "6 Halfs in 6 Months" goal?  Which of the races was I really excited about, and which were thrown in to complete my goal?

After some soul-searching I decided that the goal wasn't nearly as important as staying healthy and having fun.  I have now narrowed my race schedule down to the 4 or 5 races that I am really excited about.

  • Evergreen Pumpkin Run (10-miler) October 27th- We ran this race last year and it remains my favorite race to date!   The costumes alone mean there is no way I am skipping this!  And this distance is actually beneficial to my training.
  • Starlight Half-Marathon December 14th - This is the only night-time half marathon that I could find within driving distance.  Since I seem to run better in the evening, I thought this might result in a decent PR.  Plus, it's a Christmas run - and I love dressing up!
  • Town of Celebration Half-Marathon January 26th- This is actually the inaugural year for this event, but I was excited enough by their website to sign up for it 6 months in advance!  Let's hope it lives up to the hype. This race will require an overnight stay, but I'm just turning it into a mini-vacation.  Without kids!
  • 26.2 with Donna (Half-Marathon) February 23rd - This is a HUGE local race that benefits breast cancer research and support.  It was started by a local newscaster (Donna Deegan) who is a 3 time breast cancer survivor.  I can remember Donna's first day as a newscaster with Channel 12 back when we first moved here in 1989 - and I've followed along through her fights with cancer, and the start of this race many years ago.  I never dreamed it would grow so huge or that I might one day run it!
  • Pensacola Beach Half-Marathon April 7th - This is a "maybe" race.  It will depend on how I feel after all the other halfs.  Pensacola is my home town, so this race has the added benefit of visiting relatives.  Plus, my blogging buddy, Mindy, will be running it and I have never met a cyber-friend at a race before! 
Whew!!  I feel so much better now that I have lost some race weight!  This new schedule looks much more manageable and FUN!  Woo-Hoo!

This week I read an article online that really resonated with me.

 Here’s a secret about running. The feeling you get after a new PR, the satisfaction from a tough workout well done, and the disappointment from a bad performance all feel the same no matter how fast you are. That’s the beauty of our sport.
There is no difference between the runner who breaks 30 minutes for the 5k for the first time and the one that breaks 16 minutes. Both worked hard, sacrificed to achieve their goal, and experienced the same challenges.
That means all runners can relate to each other, no matter their speed.

I subscribe to 42 blogs by runners.  Some of them are elite runners, some of them are age grade champs and some of them are (gasp) even slower than me!  It really doesn't matter because I feel a connection with them all and I can learn something new from any one of them!  This is what I love most about running.  No matter how fast or slow, we are all doing the same thing!

Go ahead.  Read the article.  I promise you will be glad you did!

I'm curious... how many races do you typically run in a year?

Monday, September 16, 2013

Training Wrap-Up Week Two

I've completed my second week of half-marathon training! I am sore and exhausted... but hopefully a little faster!  Here are the highlights:

  • Days running: 5
  • Long run: 10 miles
  • Beach runs: 1
  • Total miles: 27
  • Days strength training: 0 (bad, bad Mendy!)
  • Days of vacation: 3

This was a wonderful training week!
It started with Tuesday's 4X800.  I attempted this run last week, but was bullied by the heat into shortening it to a 2X800.  This time I finished them all, and at my goal pace of 8:50!  Take that heat!!

On Wednesday our family left for a mini-vacation.  Not the whole family.  My oldest daughter was quick to point out that we only took 1/3 of our children!  But it was very nice not to have to sneak kids into the hotel room for a change! (ha!)
We stayed in Daytona in an ocean view room.  I love being able to open the balcony doors and listen to the sound of the waves crashing.  In fact, whenever we were in the room, I kept the door cracked so that I could enjoy the ambiance!  Here was our morning view:

Someone had written: "Good Morning ???? Finn <3"

On Thursday we took the kids to LegoLand, Florida.

The poor woman behind me was battered and bruised by my wildly whipping hair!

We had a great time, but spent all day long on our feet.  I might as well have gone on a run!

On Friday morning, I decided to take advantage of Daytona's hard packed sand and go for a morning run on the beach.  It turned out to be the highlight of the trip for me!!

This is right before 7AM - sunrise was at 7:07
There was a constant breeze off the water, making this one of the coolest runs (temperature-wise and attitude-wise) I've had all summer! 

I tried to ignore this ugly sight as I was running:

Don't you feel sorry for me?  No??

The run even looked pretty on my sports tracker!

Saturday I was back at home - and pledging to never eat fries or ice cream again!  We also had our first 10 mile run since the Spring.  I can describe that run in one word:


I think it was a combination of standing all day Thursday and the unaccustomed beach run on Friday that left my legs feeling sore and heavy.  But, I finished the run at my target pace!  

I was pretty much wiped out and useless for the rest of the day - 
but, I did it!  Such a good feeling...

even if it did leave me walking like a 90 year old!

Have you ever run on the beach?

Monday, September 9, 2013

Training Wrap-Up Week One

I did it!  My first week of half-marathon training!

Days running: 6  
Long run: 9 miles
Total miles: 28
Days strength training: 1 (oops, missed the second day)
Number of new running outfits: 2 (Amazon has been having a big sale!)

Two of my runs this week were with a friend (Julie) that I am helping train for her first 5k!  I am really loving these runs - because it reminds me of the excitement I felt last year when training for my first 5k!  Running with Julie has actually helped improve my attitude with my own runs, because I am finally learning to appreciate all that the injuries/failures/frustrations of running have taught me!  We like to think when we start some new activity that we will somehow be able to learn without any of the struggles that others face - but the truth is that adversity brings about growth.  And what a year of growth it has been!  

This is the first time ever that I have run 6 days in a row - and with runs planned for Monday and Tuesday I will end up with 8 continuous days of running.  Of course, the runs with Julie are easy runs - but I am still amazed that my body can, in fact, handle more running than I thought!  Why am I always shocked when I see actual progress?

In other news, my husband just bought a pair of these shoes:
Hoka One One Stinson B Evo

Hoka One One Stinson - they look like marshmallow shoes, but feel heavenly!  I tried on a pair a couple of months ago and loved them, so when my husband started complaining about his feet hurting during our long runs, I told him he should give these a try. 

 Saturday, we visited the local running store and he tried on a whole bunch of recommended shoes.   I think he was leaning toward the Newtons, but still unsure when he asked to to try "those Hoka shoes".  After a 10 second run around the inside of the store I could tell he was sold!  These shoes really do feel like walking on clouds!  Tonight he wore them for the first time on our 5 mile run and thought they were great, but he said the real test will come on a 10+ mile run.  I'm watching closely because these might be my next shoes as well!

And finally, head on over to Amazon if you are wanting to pick up some high quality running clothes for cheap!  They are having a big sale on their summer items and since it is pretty much summer here for 9 months of the year, I have been buying quite a few items for my husband and myself.  Aren't these adorable?

Less than $25 per outfit!!!  I bought a few more shirts and tanks and plan on getting one more skirt/top before the deals are gone.  Nothing makes my day quite like a bargain!

Have you found any running deals lately? 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

It's 92 Degrees - and the Start of Training Season!

Today is the official start to my Training Season!  I have a calendar filled with training runs and races.  So far my typical week looks something like this:
  • Tuesday:  800 Meter Repeats (I'll start with 4X800 with 400m rest intervals, then slowly work up to 8X800 with 90 second rest intervals)
  • Thursday:  Race Pace Run (This is run at goal race pace and will slowly increase from 3 to 7 miles)
  • Saturday:  Long Run (The first run will be 9 miles and eventually I'll work up to 14 miles)
  • Sunday:  Steady State Run  (I'm defining this as a continuous run with no walking breaks.  The goal is to run 5 miles every time, but slowly increase my pace.)
I'm also planning to run with a friend as she prepares for her first 5K. That would mean I might be running 6 days a week for a while, so I am completely prepared to cut out one of my midweek training runs or slow down my pace on all my runs.  And this is where I have completely changed from last year.
Now that I have completed my first year of running, I am actually starting to cut myself some slack!  My emphasis has gone from PRing every race, to simply enjoying them!  I think that is why I have tentatively scheduled 6 half-marathons in the next 6 months.  Because last year my focus was on ONE race.  One race that I got injured right before and ended up running slower than my normal long run pace!

So, my emphasis this year is on increasing my endurance, staying injury free, and having FUN!

Time to start that fun now with some 800 meter repeats in a 107 degree heat index!!  Wish me luck!!