Running

Stuck in a Running Rut

Our cover model for our April issue (on newsstands March 13!) is my abs-piration to get me through long runs.

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:

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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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My Half-Marathon Mantra

I went outside of my comfort level to try the latest CrossFit studio in NYC. (Photo courtesy of CrossFit212)

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.

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Week 1: Starting Off Strong with New Tunes

Kelly Clarkson kept me company on my runs last week (thanks girl!). (Photo courtesy of Shutterstock)

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:

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Sticking to a New Stretching Routine

For the flexibility challenged like myself, this rope stretch proved impossible at first. (Photo courtesy of Karen Pearson)

Prior to training, I was beginning to feel a bit achy after my runs, no matter what distance they were. That paired with some serious back pain from sitting at a desk all day landed me in Dr. Shure’s chair at Madison Square Wellness. I wanted to get a consult on my alignment and what was going with my muscles in general so that once I started training my issues wouldn’t worsen. Below, Dr. Shure’s evaluation and course of action as I start to train in the upcoming weeks:

Interesting Findings:

  • My alignment is really out of whack! Dr. Shure had me lie down and reach my arms up over my head. The left side of my body did as it was told, elbow snug against the side of my head. The right side, however, was a little out of line (literally). Because I use my right hand to handle my mouse at work all day I had serious tension on the right side of my body, especially in my shoulder and upper back.
  • You might think alignment issues aren’t important to training, but Dr. Shure told me that by not stretching and planting myself in front of my desk without taking any breaks during the day, this would quickly affect my posture while running, which could then lead to other aches and pains down the road.

Stretches:

To help maintain vertical alignment, Dr. Shure gave me a series of stretches to incorporate into my workouts. Here are some you can do at home:

  • Pec Stretch: Start by standing in a doorway or next to a fixed object with arm lifted to the side at 90 degrees. Put full forearm on the door frame or object and step through, creating a stretch in the pec region. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat with other arm.
  • Rope Stretch: Start by standing, holding rope with the right hand over and the left hand under. Actively reach right hand down back and give gentle assistance with left hand, exhaling and holding stretch for two seconds. Actively reach left hand up back as high as possible and give gentle assistance with right hand, exhaling and holding stretch for two second. Repeat for 10 repetitions, then switch hands and repeat.

Read more to see Dr. Shure’s stretching recommendations for my legs.

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Meet Colleen, Our Half-Marathon Experienced Runner

Hello finish line, so nice to see you! (Photo courtesy of Brightcove)

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.

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Meet Olivia, Our Half-Marathon Beginner Runner (and Biggest Loser Season 11 Champ!)

I went from this (left) to that (right), and now I'm ready to tackle my first half-marathon! (Photos courtesy of NBC)

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!

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The Half-Marathon Diaries Are Back!

running shoes and sneakers hanging

Photo by Brian Maranan Pineda.

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. (!!)

You can get more details about the half-marathon at morefitnesshalf.com, @morefitnesshalf on Twitter, or /morefitnesshalf on Facebook.

Check back soon to follow our runners’ tales of training!


Songs to Power Through Training

Finding the right music will motivate nearly any runner! (Photo by Laura Doss)

Finding the right music will motivate nearly any runner! (Photo by Laura Doss)

I looked at the calendar this morning and had a minor panic attack. This race is creeping up on me sooner than I would like it to! In four short weeks I will be running my first half-marathon with thousands of other women. Ahh! Mentally, I feel like I need another month to prepare myself, but physically I think I will be able to do it. In the past month alone, I have noticed such a change in my stamina, my willpower to run and my physique. I am so happy to have gotten this far, and am even more excited to cross the finish line!

My iPod really helps me to push through long runs. I have a few playlists that I alternate between, but I have compiled a pretty good list of songs that pump me up and keep me going. I’m definitely going to have to add some more tunes to my iPod before race day, but here are some favorites that are currently on my playlist:

Misery Business,” Paramore (For the rebel in me.)
Who’s That Chick,” David Guetta, featuring Rihanna
Push Push,” Kat DeLuna, featuring Akon (Great for running up hills!)
Animal,” Neon Trees
Side by Side,” Blessed by a Broken Heart (Every girl has a little metal chick inside her, right?)
Better Than Revenge,” Taylor Swift
Blow,” Ke$ha (Such a great beat.)
Memories,” David Guetta, featuring Kid Cudi
Boom Boom Pow,” Black Eyed Peas (This song makes me feel like I am Superwoman and can do anything!)
Yeah 3x,” Chris Brown

What songs are you currently running to? I’d love to know so that I can add them to my race day playlist!

P.S.: As a follow-up to my last post I just want you all to know that I made that white bean hummus over the weekend and it’s AMAZING! Definitely a tasty and healthy snack to get you through the day.