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?
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.
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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 annual More/Fitness Women’s Half-Marathon is April 15, and FitnessMagazine.com will once again be featuring the personal stories of two women training for race day. There will be a novice runner, as well as an advanced runner…and, well, we don’t want to say too much…but you’ve seen one of them on your television before. (!!)
Check back soon to follow our runners’ tales of training!