Race #1 Done, 12 to go

The Frosty Virtual 5K/10K/Half was benefiting the American Cancer Society – a cause I was very happy to support.  I lost both my grandmothers to cancer and both of those amazing women were on my mind Saturday morning.

Frosty 5kI stuck to my plan and got out early to run my 5K to beat the predicted snow storm and my son’s hockey game – the snow turned out to be nothing, but it was fun watching my son have one of his best games in his team’s win!

My running buddy E was heading out for 8 so we set out and ran the first mile together. I settled into a comfortable pace – not looking for a PR, just a good solid run and to enjoy a rare day of  no wind nor frigid temps.  Once I hit the distance, I decided to re-trace my route so I could get at least 6 miles in.

Thanks again to Jospehine over at Plant-based Runner for hosting this race.  She raised $1,000 for the American Cancer Society and even provided all of us with medals! She’s got some other races planned so be sure to check her out her blog.

Week 2 of half marathon training is done, school vacation week is over and it’s time to get more focused! Still in base-building phase, so this upcoming week looks like this:

Monday – 6 miles on a hilly route

Tuesday – Cross-training — Haven’t decided what I’ll do yet, but I may break out Jillian Michael’s 30-day Shred

Wednesday – Rest

Thursday – 8 miles with 5 at tempo pace and my 2 hr killer yoga class

Friday – Rest

Saturday – 10 mile LSD

Sunday – More cross-training

I’m also still working on the 30-day ab/core challenge – just 15 minutes a day to build a stronger core. It looks like the weather gods should cooperate this week and I’m looking forward to staying off the ‘mill and being outside!

What have you got planned for this week?

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Are you ready?

Happy 2013! 

I woke up yesterday morning feeling very revved up to get this new year off to a great start! I truly love that feeling of staring at a blank calendar and the anticipation of what lies ahead (OK in truth my calendar is already filled with my sons’ hockey games, lacrosse and baseball skills clinics and various other school activities…but you get my point!)

Over the past few days, I’ve poured over various race listings trying to get a handle on how I’m going to tackle the 13 in 2013 Challenge and balance my family’s ever-busy schedule. I’m still playing with several ideas, but I do know that I want to run another half this spring before running Boston’s Run to Remember Memorial Day weekend. So I’m targeting St. Patty’s weekend – it gives me 11 weeks, and with my current base and the Old-Fashioned 10 miler next month, I should be in good shape. The next question is which race? I’m considering  RnR USA, New Bedford Half or the Historic Quincy Half. While we had a fun family weekend in DC at RnR last year, but I’m leaning towards staying local this time around.

In any event it’s time to get moving! I’ve got my training plan mapped out, and kicked it off yesterday with an easy 5K. Today it’s time to get back strength training. Let the games begin!

Are you gearing up for a spring race?

 

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Thursday Thoughts – Back at it

1)  While I’m still very excited about Saturday’s PR, it was time to get back to training this week – the “A” race, the Chilly Half Marathon is a little more than 6 weeks away. By Sunday evening, Coach Bennett had sent me the next phase of my training plan – the hill repeats have been replaced by speed work. And, while I love being on the track, I’m scurd (yes, that’s beyond scared) just looking at some of these workouts!

2)  When I looked at my splits from ZOOMA, it’s clear that just a couple of miles kept me from an even bigger PR, despite the course’s never-ending hills. I’m really encouraged by that, but know that I have to do everything I can to strengthen my hip/ITB area so they’re not an issue come November.

3)  My brother just asked me to help him to put together a training plan to first get ready for a 5k and then work up to a 10k! Yea another runner in the family – can’t wait to get started!

 

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The knee watch continues

After a forced hiatus for most of last week, Coach Bennett gave me the green light to try 8 miles on Saturday. But he was very clear, if the knee/IT was causing any pain I was to shut it down, call J and have him come pick me up!

My friend E had 8 scheduled too – it was her second time going that far, so we decided to run together. I knew this way I would not be tempted to do anything but take it nice and easy. I did pick a route with a couple of rolling hills because I did want to see how my legs would feel on the downhills. I’m happy to say that for the most part it was an uneventful run. E & I ran and chatted and took a couple of walk breaks along the way. For the most part I didn’t feel my knee/ITB until about 5 miles in…and even then it wasn’t much.

It seems like the rest and focus on strength training helped. Bennett’s given me the go to continue with the training plan this week – keeping in mind that if the pain returns, the running must stop. I ran 7 yesterday with mixed results. My ITB was really tight and I had a hard time holding my target pace. But there was no real pain, so I’ll take that as a small victory.

I’ve got 5 more on Wednesday and Thursday’s hill work before my last double digit run on Saturday. In between runs, I plan to foam roll, ice and strength train like it’s my job 🙂 Thankfully I’ve got a massage scheduled later this week and my “yoga for runners” class is back! So fingers crossed, the knee watch continues…
 

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Resisting the urge to run

Towards the end of my long run on Saturday, I tweaked my left knee. I was on my last down hill when I must have landed funny on my left foot because I felt a zinging sensation on the front outer part of my knee that radiated up my ITB — pretty much stopped me in my tracks. I walked for a minute and it seemed to subside so I went on to finish the run (I only had just over 2 miles left). After the run I iced my knee and then went on to join the family for more vacation fun. On Sunday we did a little hiking, nothing strenuous, but I didn’t feel any soreness until towards the end of the day…so more icing.

After a 7 hour car ride Monday, I was stiff and tight and really looking forward to my run on Tuesday. Unfortunately, my knee was not! Within the first half mile I was uncomfortable and by the time I reached 3 miles I was starting to worry that I was just aggravating the situation so I cut the run short for more icing and rest. I got in touch with Coach Bennett to get some advice on whether to attempt my easy run on Wednesday. Given that the soreness is persisting, his advice was to not run again until my next long run Saturday. With just two and a half weeks until ZOOMA, he told me that I’ll benefit more from additional rest than running hills today.

So despite that fact that I’m itching to run, I’m heeding his advice, taking the extra rest and focusing on the strengthening exercises he’s given me so this doesn’t turn into a full-blown injury. Fingers crossed for Saturday!

 

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Rest days are vital

When focusing on a goal or upcoming race – it is very easy to want to keep pushing. But rest days should not be overlooked. Rest days, in my opinion, are as vital a component of your training as long runs, tempo runs and speed work.

Rest days gives you:

  • a chance to restore glycogen levels
  • allows your body to adapt to an increased workload
  • protects against over-training which can often lead to injuries
  • reduces your overall fatigue, and offers a mental break from the rigors of training

Taking a rest day doesn’t mean you have to turn in to an instant sloth either. These days are perfect for any number of cross-training activities, yoga or taking your dog for a walk — activity that will moderately increase your heart rate and challenge your range of motion is a good thing. Though there may be times too when a day of complete rest with just some dynamic stretching is all that your body needs. I have quickly learned that at my ARA (advanced running age!) that my body needs the rest days and when I ignore them I eventually pay the price.

Do you adhere to the rest days in your training?

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6 weeks down, 6 to go

This past weekend I wrapped up the first 6 weeks of my training plan. Some observations so far?

  • I’m learning to be comfortable with being uncomfortable! With past training, I have been training within my comfort zone — working hard, but within my comfort level. With the plan Coach Bennett has designed for me, I am definitely stretching — running paces I would have written off as being too much.
  • I shouldn’t underestimate the power of sleep. I have been short-changing myself on sleep and it has been showing up in my workouts of late. I blame my late nights on the Olympics and now that we’ve said goodbye to London, I need to start heading to bed much earlier!
  • More attention needs to be paid to what I’m eating, especially post-run. my recovery, especially after long runs and speed work would benefit from paying more attention here.
  • Pro-active self care in the form of foam roller, consistent yoga practice, and massages have helped to keep me injury free. Some tweakiness in my left knee did cause me to miss one run last week, but rest, icing and KT tape seem to be keeping it in check.
  • After discussing my tweaky knee with my coach on our bi-weekly call, he has urged me to do some of the hamstring and ITB strengthening exercises he sent me; so I’ll be doing those exercises at least 3 times a week going forward.

Over the next 6 week phase, it looks like I’ll be replacing the intervals with hill work to get ready for the rolling hills of ZOOMA Cape Cod and increasing my weekly mileage.

How’s your fall race training going? What have you learned so far?

 

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Monday Motivation – Week 5

In some ways it’s hard to believe I’m already on week 5 of my training plan. I started over-thinking (read criticizing) my runs last week, but after a good conversation with my coach on Friday, I politely told that negative voice to stuff it and went out and had a great long run Saturday 🙂

Source

My goal for this week is to remind myself to focus on the now — this is the moment I can control and it is success in this moment that will lead to success in the future.

On deck for this week:

Monday — Steady state run with hills (6) — Done!!
Tuesday — Cross-training
Wednesday — Fartlek run (3)
Thursday — Tempo (7) plus yoga for runners class
Friday —  Cross-training
Saturday — LSD (11)
Sunday — rest

Felt great on this morning’s run and I’m looking forward to a great week!

Happy Monday!

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Week 2 – Half Marathon Training

So week 1 of my new training plan is in the books. After Tuesday’s heat fest/race and a little over indulging on the 4th (read lots of great food and sangria!), Thursday’s run was sluggish at best. I ended up shortening my tempo run by a mile because my dead legs just couldn’t hold the target pace. There was lots of yoga on Friday and Saturday’s run felt good in spite of the crazy humidity!

On the plan for this week:

Monday — Steady state (5) w/negative split on the back half
Tuesday — X-Training
Wednesday — Easy Fartlek (3)
Thursday — Tempo (6) plus Yoga
Friday — Rest day
Saturday — Race pace (6) plus warm up and cool down miles
Sunday — Rest and Yoga

For cross-training this week, I’ll be volunteering at my youngest son’s camp on Tuesday organizing games and generally running around with a bunch of 6 & 7 year olds for 4 hrs — could be my toughest day of the whole week! I didn’t get to try out my new Merrells on Sunday so I think I’ll test them out on the Fartlek run – it’s killing me that they’ve been in the box for this long 🙂

What have you got planned for the week?

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Monday Motivation – Let Training Begin!

Training for my two fall half marathons kicks off this week! Yeah I’m just a little excited!

I’m running the Harvard Pilgrim Finish at the 50 10k tomorrow evening – should be a ton of fun! I’m not going into this race with any big goals. Given the heat ( mid to upper 80s projected), the start time (I am exclusively a morning runner) and the fact that I haven’t run a 10k race since last October, my main goals are to put in a solid run and have fun. In June, my speedwork went well, but overall I didn’t get in as many miles as I’d hoped (recovering from my May malaise lasted a bit longer than I wanted). So the bottom line, as I told Coach Bennett the other day is that I just have no idea what to expect for this race. I’m going to run by feel and see what happens.

So Week 1 training looks like this:

Monday — Yoga, rest and hydrate!
Tuesday — Race
Wednesday — Rest
Thursday — Tempo run (5)
Friday — Yoga
Saturday — LSD (7)
Sunday — Rest**

** I may through a light shake out run of just a couple of miles cause I’m dying to try out my new Merrell Dash Gloves!

What have you got planned for the week? Any 4th of July racing?
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