I’ve been pretty diligent in my training so far, but last week it finally happened. I skipped a run. I realize there are far more serious and concerning things in the world that could happen, but when I decide to sign up for a race I tend to beat myself up if I don’t stick to my training plan. But between a busy week at work, fickle weather and just the overall desire to hit the snooze button, I found myself lacking serious energy to power through almost all of my runs last week.
Instead of dwelling over the fact that I missed a run, I decided to be proactive and get to the bottom of my recent sluggishness. I realized that I had zero energy only when running, and the rest of the day I was fine. This is a clear symptom of a running rut, or as Danny and Katherine Dreyer call it in the book CHI Marathon, an energy leak. In fact, they say missing a training run is an energy leak that happens to almost every runner (whew!). Here’s how they suggest getting back on track:
I’m starting to find that some weeks are more eventful than others. This week was really smooth for the most part, but the main thing I took away from it was flexibility. Not the type of flexibility you’re thinking of, I’m talking about being flexible in life. As I’ve said many times before I’m super Type A and when I commit to something I do it 100 percent. But this weekend I decided to miss my long run to go to Miami with FITNESS’ Fitness Editor, Jenna Autuori-Dedic.
Before you tisk, tisk me hear me out. Although it was a great time in the sun, it wasn’t just laying around. We were attending Puma’s BodyTrain Miami event, a fitness program that lets you work out with your buddy doing things you have probably never tried before. Needless to say, it was awesome! We spent two days working out with some of the countries finest trainers and trying out Puma’s new gear. We practiced soccer drills with the US female soccer star Leslie Osborne, then shadowboxed with Cara Castronuova, a former Biggest Loser trainer and two-time Golden Glove champ, and then we hit the beach for a CrossFit competition with Mel Ockerby, an amazing CrossFit competitor (burpees in the water by the shore? Yes, we did those and we loved it!). I will tell you we sweated a TON and I was doing things, like knee-kicking a soccer ball back and forth to Jenna, that worked my body out in ways I don’t ever usually do. So even though I was going off of my plan slightly it was a great switch for both my body and mind. I found that when I woke up this morning I was refreshed and ready to run.
This is a good life lesson for me in general because we all know life just happens. We can plan until we are blue in the face but sometimes life has other ideas. So instead of stressing, just go with it! I’m so glad I did because I met so many amazing men and women in Miami, and many runners who shared some tips with me for the rest of my training. I would have definitely missed out had I not stretched myself a little. So, here we are at the halfway point! I’m starting to get really excited, how are you feeling?
I’m feeling pretty great after last week because it was my taper week! This is basically a week in your training plan where you decrease your mileage, giving your legs a chance to rest. I only had to run 6 miles on Saturday, and after clocking 9 the week before it was a nice change of pace.
Due to weather and perhaps some laziness, I choose to do my shorter runs on the treadmill. I’m sure I am not the first person to feel this way, but I have a love/hate relationship with the treadmill. I think they are great to fit in a run when you only have a certain amount of time, the weather outside is crappy or if the only way you will motivate yourself to run is if a machine is physically making you do it (been there!). But for training purposes it is better to run outside, even when the elements are not in your favor. What if it rains on race day, are you going to stay home? No, of course not. So I try to train outside as much as possible, with the exception of last week.
Since I use the gym in my apartment building and the people watching is at a minimum, I use treadmill time to do some speed work to make the time go by faster. Here’s how I broke my runs down for my 4-milers:
- .50 mile warm up at 6.0, increasing to 6.5 slowly
- .50 mile run at 6.7
- .50 mile sprint at 7.5
- .50 mile run at 6.7
- .50 mile hill at a 6.0 incline
- .50 mile sprint at 7.5
- .50 mile run at 6.7
- .50 mile cool down at 6.0
If I am lucky enough to snag a treadmill with a TV, I’ll alternate between this routine and watching a show, sprinting during the commercials. Coming up this week I’m heading back outside to do my first double digit run, 10 miles. Wish me luck!
Tell me: How do you beat treadmill boredom?
Another week goes down in the books! I can’t believe I’ll be running this race so soon! I have to admit, I’m actually getting really excited,
the longer I train the more confident I feel about actually being able to run this thing. But this week was a little strange for me. You know the saying, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas?” Well, that was not so much the case for me.
My sister Hannah and I were there for an appearance and while I was there I decided to get a tattoo. Not that big of a deal, but in the whim of the moment I thought it would be awesome to put the tattoo on the top of my foot. When I made this decision I was thinking about how adorable it would look in heels and strappy sandals. I was not thinking about healing time or not being able to run. That’s right, not being able to run for four days. Moral of the story is: Don’t get a tattoo on your foot when training for a half-marathon.
SPONSORED by FLORIDA GRAPEFRUIT
One thing I forgot about as I started training was how hungry I would constantly be. This might not sound like a problem, but when you live with a boy who can swallow an entire cheese pizza as if it was the last source of carbs on the planet, it’s easy to cuddle up on the couch and go overboard on the junk.
Rather than wait until my stomach started growling after a long run, I decided to stock up ahead of time at the grocery store so that when a hunger strike did hit, I was ready with foods that would help me recover from runs, rather than make me feel sluggish and just plain gross.
I always knew the basic foods runners should eat, things like peanut butter (no problem there!), bananas, and protein, like fish and beef, but I had yet to discover another superfood–grapefruit. It’s National Grapefruit Month, so my curiosity was peaked. But confession time: Until I did some research on grapefruit I had never eaten one. Weird, I know. But after some reading I found that not only does the citrus fruit help your skin, it actually curbs hunger, meaning when that pizza binge session is happening on my couch, I can look the other way without wanting to duke it out for the last slice.
Week two – done and done. This week for me was all about logging the miles. I’m still in the beginning of my training so it’s not a huge amount of miles yet, but it’s still a lot of time. Sticking with my trusty plan, I’m thankful that at this point, outside of the usual soreness, I haven’t had any injuries. Staying injury-free is a big goal for me during this process, and one thing I learned from The Biggest Loser is that sidestepping injuries when you are training has nothing to do with crossing your fingers and hoping for the best. That sounds silly, right? But when you think about it, how often have you really taken the time to concentrate on prepping your body for a run, or any workout for that matter? I know in the past the most I ever did was maybe a side bend or two. After injuring my IT band last spring I quickly realized the importance of taking care of my body not only before a workout, but after as well.
One of the best tools I have been using for the last two weeks is my foam roller. If you are unfamiliar with the foam roller let me first apologize for being the one to introduce you. Yes, “rolling” using the roller is not pleasant and in the beginning hurts a quite bit. It takes a few tries to get used to it, but I can truly say has saved my IT bands. If you find you’re experiencing similar problems, pick one up at a sporting goods store of even online, they are pretty cheap!
The first week of training is always my favorite. Why? Because it is the easiest! No, I’m kidding of course (OK fine, half kidding). I enjoy it because it gives me a chance to check out my pace and see how my long runs will go in the upcoming weeks. Also, I find if you get in all your runs during that first week, it makes it that much easier to keep it up in the weeks to follow. Skipping even one run right off the bat can lead to a slippery slope for me, so I was happy to start off on the right foot.
Being extremely Type A, I love running with a training schedule not just for the appreciation of a plan, but also because it lets me plan what runs I want to do on which day. I rarely follow schedules as they are written; I prefer to pair my runs with my work and social schedule that week. Big birthday party Friday night? Then clearly Saturday will not be the best day for a long run.
Here’s how my schedule looked last week:
Hi there! I’m Colleen, Web Editor here at FitnessMagazine.com and I am super excited to run my second More/Fitness Half-Marathon this year on April 15!
The last time I did this race in 2009 we had a freak day of weather that hit high 80 degree temperatures so early in the morning that New York Road Runners was forced to make the race non-competitive to protect runners from heat exhaustion and getting sick. That was the first half-marathon I ever ran, and I was terrified. I followed all the training rules by the book, which wasn’t necessarily a good thing. There is a saying in racing, “Nothing new, tried and true.” This basically means that race day is not the time to eat or wear something you’ve never ran in before, just in case it upsets your stomach, causes chafing, etc. The entire time I trained I wore Under Armour Women’s Evo ColdGear Tights and nothing, not even the oppressing heat at 8:30 a.m. was going to pry them off my body for race day.
As you can guess, that was a big mistake. I finished the race but not without being very uncomfortable and very hot, something that could have been avoided if I had just worn shorts! Since that day I have tweaked the saying to include, “Nothing new, tried and true (unless it is 80 degrees outside and you are wearing pants!)”. I am excited to run the half this year with more running experience under my belt. Since that race, I’ve completed the ING NYC 2010 Marathon (that’s me crossing the finish line above!) and am gearing up to run another fall marathon in 2012.
Click read more to see what’s making Colleen nervous about this half-marathon.