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!
I have to say (and I’m sure Olivia feels the same way), so far we’ve been extremely lucky with the weather here in NYC. There wasn’t a single morning last week where the temperature was below 40 degrees, which made getting out of bed a touch easier for me. I’ve always been a morning runner, but when you can run without snot dripping down your face and frozen fingers, it’s just a better way to start your day.
My runs last week were pretty long. The weekday runs varied between 5 and 6 miles and my weekend long run was 8 miles. Needless to say, I welcomed a 4-mile recovery run on Sunday with open arms! I noticed my pace was a bit slower (about 30 seconds), which I think is due to my legs adjusting to the mileage increase. They are tired, and who can blame them? I’m hoping to get back up to speed, literally, this week.
I also unintentionally assembled a bit of a half-marathon survival kit of little things that make my training easier. Here’s what I’ve been using so far:
- TheraPearl hot/cold packs: These are great because you can microwave or freeze them depending on what kind of relief you need. I’ve been using heated ones for my back and iced packs for my shins and knees when I start to feel achy.
- GU Energy Gel: For long runs, anything over 6 miles. I usually eat the tri-berry flavor, but am itching to get my hands on the peanut butter ones!
- A foam roller: To keep up with my IT band stretches from my visit with Dr. Shure.
- Lululemon Featherweight Socks: Not only are they comfy, they are so light you feel like you’re running barefoot. Minus the blistering and sweaty feet part, of course. The right one says “run” and the left one says “fast,” so clearly I’m also a sucker for motivational socks.
- Nike Daybreak Running Hat: It might have been warm last week, but it was also a little drizzly! This cap keeps me dry in rain and shielded from the sun during the summer.
Here’s hoping that stretching, icing and foam rolling will have my legs feeling fresh and ready to go this week. We’ve got a lot of miles to cover!
Tell me: What’s your go-to gear for running or recovering?
Week one – done and done! I have to say that the first week of training went surprisingly well. I can’t tell you how much it helps to have a good training program to follow. It was truly my saving grace last week by keeping me on track with my runs. Even though I usually run four times a week, it’s amazing how different it was for me to basically run every day. Not to mention having a plan that dictates your mileage!
For the most part I did stick to the plan. Due to traveling, I switched two days around but managed to get all the miles in regardless. Even as I write this, sitting on a plane headed to the West coast, it feels great knowing that I got up extra early this morning to run. Just like I said, “done and done” was my motto for the week. I’m also happy with my choice to follow the beginner plan, because although I feel like I’m in good physical shape, I am very much a beginner as far as racing goes.
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.
First, I have to tell you how EXCITED I am to be doing this project for FITNESS Magazine. That being said I will totally admit that I am scared to death of running a half-marathon. I’m sure that might be surprising to most since I survived eight months with Bob Harper and Jillian Michaels on Season 11 of The Biggest Loser, but I’ve never run a half-marathon! A 5K yes, marathon NO.
Over the past few weeks I have been trying to figure out what I’m so scared of. Is it the distance? Is it the fear of the unknown? Am I scared I will get injured? Um, the answer is YES, YES, and Y-E-S! One thing I learned through my journey on The Biggest Loser is that when you face your fears head on there will always be growth, and you will probably learn something in the process. It’s funny, alongside that fear is some real, true excitement (told you I was nuts!). It seems crazy that both of those emotions can coexist in my body, but they very much do. I know that I can do this, but in true “Olivia Style” I take comfort in a plan. I know Hannah is somewhere rolling her eyes at this very moment.
Click read more to find out how Olivia is getting ready to start her training plan!
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!