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PLUS: Enter to win a $500 gift card to a local sports shop, thanks to Florida Grapefruit, an official sponsor of the 2012 More/FITNESS Magazine Women’s Half-Marathon.
It’s crazy to think there are only three weeks left till race day! I’m happy to report that my runs last week went much smoother thanks to the absolutely gorgeous weather we got here in NYC. It’s hard to be in a bad mood when you wake up to 65-degree temperatures, no matter how sleepy you may be.
My long run last week was 11 miles. Instead of doing my usual loop around the outside of Central Park I tried something different–running on the reservoir and bridle paths on the inside of the park. These paths are great for runners recovering from an injury because it’s a softer tread, making the impact with the ground less severe. Though the thought of running in circles made me cringe, once I set out and hit a groove it turned out to be a really nice change of scenery! Instead of wondering how far along I was on my route, checking to make sure I wasn’t lost or constantly glancing at my watch, I was able to completely zone out and enjoy myself. Before I knew it, I was eight miles in and ready to start my trot back home.
It was also unusual that I didn’t think about anything on this particular run, since typically this is where I do my best brainstorming! Any time I have a difficult decision to make or hectic day, I use running to sort through my thoughts and regroup. So while I didn’t have my outfits for the week planned out (like I said, I make very serious decisions while running) or any idea what to make for dinner after my run, I did come back feeling relaxed and refreshed, two things that don’t necessarily go hand in hand with 11 miles! On top of that, my pace was a full 30 seconds faster than usual. Lesson learned for future long runs–less thinking, more zoning!
Now tell me: What do you think about when you run? Is it your next race, your day or something else? Tell me in the comments below, I’m curious!
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?
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.
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.