Rest

Flying Through a Taper Week

My cross-training for the week was an intense spin class at FlyWheel Sports with some of the FITNESS editors. I almost sweated off the bike!

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?

 


My Legs Get an Unexpected Rest (and Some New Ink!)

My new tattoo sidelined my running for the week. This week I'm getting back on course!

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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Fueling Up for Faster Runs and Recovery

Grapefruit can have a reaction to some prescription drugs, so check with a doc before digging in! (Photo courtesy of Blaine Moats)

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.

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The Final Race Countdown

Ideal weather for a run on Sunday! (Image from weather.com)

Ideal weather for a run on Sunday! (Image from weather.com)

The big day is quickly approaching. Are you getting excited, nervous? Are you ready?

My adrenaline high after the NYC Half-Marathon gave me such an energized start to the week! I was sore, but did not feel any pain. I took fours days off from all exercise and focused on stretching and trying to rest. Then on Thursday, I ran five miles and felt tired and tight. So I listened to my body and decided not to push it over the weekend. I ran seven miles and felt OK. I didn’t want to overdo it and also wanted to conserve my energy for the upcoming race!

This week I plan on doing a few short runs, stretching and a working in a bit of cross-training. And I’m of course looking forward to the carb loading!

As I’ve mentioned before, in regards to weather, I’ve had back luck with the More/Fitness Half-Marathon! In 2009 it was a balmy 95 degrees, while 2010′s race was on the other end of the spectrum: it poured and was very chilly. I already checked out the weather forecast and am thrilled to see that “perfect running” weather is predicted. I’m not 100 percent confident (as we know, these things change a million times and frequently aren’t accurate). However, I’m trained and ready!  Rain or shine, I am committed and I am ready to rock this race.

I know that those of you who have been following along with the training program will too. You’ve trained hard, so enjoy every minute. You deserve it!


Give It a Rest!

Feeling sick?

Susan realizes it's time to take a break and let her body heal. (Photo by Sara Forrest)

The week started off really well. Not only did I have great runs, but I also complemented my training with spinning and Physique 57 classes. I was feeling great, strong and confident.

Then I hit a road block…

While running on Friday, I felt lethargic and did not have a lot of energy. I went to sleep early on Friday evening in preparation for my Saturday early morning long run. Sadly, I was woken up in the middle of the night with a horrible stomach bug. I was really sick all day and night Saturday. I was praying that I would feel better on Sunday and hoped to do my long run then. However, I felt progressively worse and weaker, and realized that training was not an option. How could I possibly run 11 to 12 miles in the rain when I barely had enough energy to get myself from my bed to the kitchen? Even if I tried, I think I would’ve made myself sicker.

As we start the new week, I’m still sick, and it probably will still take a few more days to get better (I hope not more!). The rational side of me realizes that I need to be fully better before I run, or else I can end up hampering my recovery and feeling worse. However, the guilt and stress about not completing my long run is adding to my negative feelings and already know I won’t be able to run for the next few weekdays until I am better.

I was confident about everything, but now I feel like I am all thrown off. Here’s hoping this week will be better than the last! How do you get yourself “back on track” after taking time off to heal your body?

More from FITNESS: Feeling an illness coming on? Try one of these six foods that prevent sickness.


How Do You Track Your Runs?

Susan needs suggestions for a mileage tracker, like this Garmin 210. (Photo by David Laurence)

Susan needs suggestions for a mileage tracker, like this Garmin 210. (Photo by David Laurence)

I woke up on Monday with a sore left knee. My knee has never bothered me before so I decided to take a day off of running and ice it. I felt guilty, but figured it was smarter to rest than have it get worse and seriously injure myself. It ended up feeling better, but I didn’t push myself super hard this week. I got my runs in, but ended up racking up a few less miles and focused more flexibility training. By the time the weekend arrived, I felt better and was energized and really enjoyed my nine-mile run.

Before my long run, I used Google Maps and the Central Park Running Map online to plot out the exact course. When I finished mile six, I realized that the route for my next three miles was completely iced over and too dangerous to run on. While continuing to run, I had to quickly recalculate a new route. I felt a bit thrown off, since I feel more comfortable when I know exactly what I need to do. But overall, I think I came in pretty close to my distance goal.

This experience made me realize that I definitely need some type of device to help me track my speed and distance. It needs to be very simple to use because I am not too tech-savvy. Everyone is telling me different things to buy. Do you have any suggestions?