The Importance of Easing Back into Training

Whether you are coming back from an injury or just time off, getting back into shape isn’t always the most enjoyable thing.  I like running. However, the feeling of being out of shape and always tired isn’t pleasant.

This particular return, it’s also been incredibly hot.  Thinking out loud, when I left running a few short months ago, most of my runs were in pouring rain and the cold.  Now it’s hot and humid.  To be honest, during my break I also didn’t do a lot of cross-training, so I did also lose quite a bit of fitness.  My first 5k back, I ran at a pace slower than the half marathon I consider to be unsuccessful.  My second 5k I got lost, but I do think I made some sort of improvement.  When I left running, I could run 18:30-18:40 5ks like no big deal.  Currently, I believe I could push myself as hard as possible for a 20:00 5k (but it probably would need to be a flat, fast and ideal day).

But like anything in life, it’s important not to compare yourself to anyone, including yourself.  Some people can jump right into training and never lose fitness.  I’m definitely not one of those people.  

During my run, I didn’t run, I didn’t cross train much and gained a little bit of weight.  I also didn’t care about any of these things.  That just makes getting back into shape harder.

So What are Important Aspects to Remember?

Easy Runs are Important:

You don’t have to run fast at all.  Whether they are coming back from an injury, a rest period of anything else, too many people makes the mistake of running too fast.  It doesn’t matter if you are in shape or not, if you train fast all of the time, you will set yourself up for an injury.  In fact, running too fast all of the time is how I got my first tibia stress fracture.  Easy runs are what build you stronger.  It’s especially important for me, this time because I’m not coming back from anything broken and don’t have something especially suspectable to breaking by doing too much.

Don’t Compare Yourself:

As humans, there is always something to compare ourselves too.  Every article or blog I’ve ever read always says “don’t compare yourself”, but that is so much easier said than done.Whether it’s while running or not.  Don’t compare yourself to yourself either.

With fitness, you are always at a different point journey.  We are never in the exact same fitness level all of the time, and it’s important to recognize that.   Don’t train how you once trained.  You have to build up to the fitness you were once at.  Determine your paces and realistic goals from where you are right now, not 3 months ago.

Slow and Steady Wins the Base Race:

Many times, after I begin running again, I want to go as fast or run as much as possible all of the time.  That is unintelligent and going to result in an injury.  Ease into training and allow yourself to slowly build your base.  Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is fitness.

No matter where you left, getting back into shape is challenging.  It’s not effortless or streamline.  Perhaps a better reminder for myself more than anything!

Other posts:

What to do Between Training Cycles

NonRunning Workout Ideas

Question for you: Have you ever taken time off of fitness entirely?

 

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HT 3.9 (26:12) miler Race Recap

Where to begin with this race recap?

This race was doomed from the beginning.  I still had an enjoyable time, but there were so many snafus that it’s hard to even be mad.  Due to some personal afternoon obligations, I had a rare Saturday off.  I was able to do most any race in the local area, and it didn’t have to rely on an early start time.

Unfortunately race wise, this actually did me no favors, and it was both hot and humid at the start.  By 10 am, it was already in the high 80s with the humidity at 99%.

But a race is a race, and my only goal is to keep trucking along.  Any race I finish injury free is good in my books. My husband and I warmed up, and before the race, I had already sweat through my entire outfit.  As someone who doesn’t sweat a whole heck of a lot, I knew it was going to be hot.

We lined up at the race start, and the race organizers told us to make sure the chip was on our left shoe.  As we were waiting, they announced everyone was facing the wrong way, and we needed to turn around and move the chip to our right shoe.  By this time, it was 15 minutes after the scheduled race start, and I was dehydrated.

Finally; they announced the race, and we were off.  There were dozens of people in front of me, which made it easy to follow at the start.  During the first half mile, we did a giant circle which actually caused us to cross paths and potentially collide with other racers going the opposite direction.  I crossed the first mile in 6:20 and was pleasantly surprised.  The course was relatively hilly, so I was excited to potentially break 20 minutes again on a difficult course.  Little did I know what the next 2.9 miles would hold.

During the second mile, we began running a loop.  By this point, a small pack had formed including my personal friend, Brittany and several men.  As we passed one volunteer, he told us to keep going.  We followed, and by the time I knew it, we had done a full loop and were starting the second loop.

I was now running by myself with several people following me.  I directly asked the volunteer again which way to go, and he said to continue this way.  I had a sinking feeling it was not accurate. I said: “I’ve already run one loop” and he said I still went that way.  I hit the second mile in 6:27.

Several people followed me.  Another volunteer then directed me into a parking lot and all of a sudden I found myself in someone’s back yard.  I stopped for a second and just turned around and went back to the same loop I had already run twice.  By that point, I had lost several people, and it was just myself and another guy running together.  I saw the pack of women I had run with further ahead, so I was able to somewhat follow them.

As I approached the third mile, the volunteer directing told us to turn there.  I knew I didn’t need the extra mileage because I was already longer.  I asked him: “what about the other people running straight to the finish?”  He laughed at said: they are going the wrong way.

I turned and headed around the lake. My watch beeped 3 miles, and I knew it was probably going to be another mile to go.

As I finally saw the finish line, we did a giant loop around a parking lot.  My friend, Brittany, came back and directed me to the finish line.  She had still run longer but had been directly to about 3.4.  I crossed the finish in 26:12 and with stops had an overall pace of 6:42.

The race director was friendly and apologized for all of the issues.  To be honest, I wasn’t looking for “the best race ever” but a good workout.  Of course, it’s frustrating to have so many issues with a single race but if that is the worst thing to happen that day, I’m okay with it.  I still had an enjoyable time hanging out with friends and supporting a local community.

It does give me confidence, I’m in sub 20-minute fitness when I have a good race.

Questions for you:

Have you ever run and get lost?

What is your ideal race start time?

I like 5ks that start between 7:30-8:30 am.  I prefer half marathons to start at 7:00 am.

Training Log: Adding Mileage and Racing

My goal for the next few weeks is to slowly build mileage while hopefully racing.  While I know none of the races will be PRs, or close, they will serve their purpose as workouts.  I’ll adjust to running 3 quicker miles a week, with the rest of the miles being anywhere between 8:30-10 minute miles.  If I charge my watch and use it for half of my runs, I’ll consider it a success.

As I come back from my break, my goal is to do so healthily.  Overdoing it isn’t going to build fitness any faster and it will just set me up for an injury (or five).  As someone who is already injury prone, I don’t need more odds against me.

This week went well, and I did exactly what I wanted.  Even though it was extremely hot and humid, I was able to motivate myself get through runs.

Monday: 6 miles
Tuesday: OFF
Wednesday: 3 miles
Thursday: 7 miles
Friday: 5 miles
Saturday: Holy Angels 5k (3.9 miles)  26:12
 Sunday: OFF

All of my weekday runs were smooth and uneventful.  By 6 am, the temperature was already in the 80s, so I tried to get them done as soon as possible.  I felt like I had run a marathon by how tired I was after running in the heat.

The race on Saturday was eventful to say the least.  I’ll have a race recap later in the week but it was first time race that started late (and a 10 am start is late enough) and had over 10 turns and only a handful of volunteers.  Needless to say, most course participants got extremely lost and I ended up running 3.9 miles.  I’m still happy with my race efforts and live to race another day.

In other running news, I was accepted to be an ambassador for Rabbit Apparel.  I’ve liked their apparel since first trying it about 6 months ago.  I’ve also had nothing but positive interactions with members of the team as well as the brand and company.  When they announced ambassador applications, I knew it was a company I wanted to apply too.  I haven’t been an ambassador for an apparel company in awhile, but I’m looking forward to starting a new path with Rabbit.

If anyone was interested in trying out a piece of clothing, you can use this link and receive 10% off!

This now means I’ll represent both Rabbit and CEP Compression.  I stand behind both brands of making high-quality products and being great people as well.

Posts from the week:

Brooks Pureflow Shoe Review

Westside 5k (21:00)

Questions for you:

Are you an ambassador for any companies? 

How was your week of training?

Ellen’s Stardust Diner

When asking around, I heard Ellen’s Stardust Diner was a must stop in New York City.  It’s located on Broadway, and the waiters and waitresses take turns singing during the entire day.

So instead of background music, you have a show the whole time.  It’s more of an experience versus high-quality diner food.

Atmosphere: B 
Ellen’s Stardust Diner is everything you would want in a diner.  The outside is a large, shiny metallic building while the inside has multiple booths and tables. Ellens Stardust Diner Broadway

While New York is extremely crowded, the diner sits you very close to people.  If you are claustrophobic, it’s probably not the diner for you.  It’s so close, the waitress must physically pull the table out so you can sit down without putting your butt on someone else’s table.  Ellens Stardust Diner Broadway

Service: B
The service at Ellen’s Stardust Diner is interesting.  All of the servers sing and perform throughout their shift.

You might have to wait a few minutes as a server is performing.  All of the servers were extremely talented, and there was never a dull moment.  Many leave and go on to sing at Broadway.

As far as service goes, it’s hard because you know the waiters are busy performing but that also leaves large gaps of time that you might want a refill or are waiting for your food.  Our waiter was actually on break when we arrived, and he didn’t take our orders for at least 15 minutes.

Coffee: B

The coffee is good.  There isn’t anything unique about it, but it’s not bad coffee either.  I do wish we had more refills, but the staff was busy performing.  There was plenty of whipped cream though. Ellens Stardust Diner Broadway

Food: B
Ellen’s Stardust Diner has many breakfast options as well several dinner options.  They don’t serve everything all day, so if you are looking for breakfast, it’s important you go at the appropriate time.

We went to lunch, and I decided to order a turkey wrap.  The wrap itself was great and had a lot of turkey.  It was definitely filled up. Ellens Stardust Diner Broadway

The wrap also came with waffle fries which, to be honest were some of the best waffle fries I’ve had.  It was a solid diner meal. Ellens Stardust Diner Broadway

Cost: $$$
For the wrap and coffee, the cost was $22, and that’s one of the cheapest options there!  It’s easy to spend upwards of $30 on a single meal.  At Ellen’s Stardust Diner, you’re also paying for a show, so it’s important to keep that in mind.

Overall Thoughts/Summary:
I liked Ellen’s Stardust Diner, and it was a great and unique spot in NYC.  I would recommend it.  Just keep in mind it’s definitely more expensive, and you might wait over an hour to be seated.

Atmosphere: A
Service: B
Coffee: B
Food: B
Cost: $$$
Overall: B 
 

Questions for you: 
Have you ever seen a Broadway show? Have you ever been to a restaurant that includes a show? 

Cinnaminson Diner

Recently, I went to the Cinnaminson Diner in Cinnaminson.  The diner just reopened, and I wanted to try it. I have been twice now and had positive experiences both times.  The first time I arrived around 6 pm on a Friday night, and it wasn’t too crowded. Since it’s located in a shopping center, there is plenty of parking.

Atmosphere: B
The Cinnaminson Diner is clean and open. It’s not a giant metallic building, but it’s clean and modern. Inside there are plenty of booths and tables.

One atmosphere point I found interesting, was this crack in the window. Was it caused by hail? A bullet hole? The world will never know…

Coffee: A
The coffee was brewed hot and fresh. Other than wishing I had more, I have no complaints.

cinnamonson diner

Service: B
While the restaurant was busy, the service was still rather slow. The waitress came over a few times, but we were left without beverage refills a few times.

Food: A
The Cinnaminson diner has everything a typical diner has. One of their newer specials is lobster ravioli. My dad ordered it the first time I went, and after seeing it, I thought it looked excellent and ordered for myself the second time.  It was one of the biggest and most filling portions I’ve had in a while.  Embarrassingly enough, I forgot to take a photo the second time I went!

I don’t order a lot of pasta when going out to eat and haven’t had lobster ravioli in years. I don’t have any complaints it was good.

The first time I ordered the Greek Salad which was just as good.  It was a large portion was fresh ingredients.  Instead of pita bread, they gave garlic bread which was unique.

cinnamonson diner

Cost: $
For my coffee and lobster ravioli, the cost was $13. It was a good deal and I left full.

Overall Thoughts/Summary:
I enjoyed the Cinnaminson Diner both times. It’s a typical diner with nothing too crazy or unusual but it’s a good stop and one of the better ones along Route 130.  I feel like I need to go back based on my lack of photos. 😉

Atmosphere: B
Coffee: B
Service: B
Food: A
Cost: $10-15
Overall: B

Closeby Diners: Jersey Diner, Route 130, Continental

Questions for you:
Do you like lobster?
What is your favorite type of pasta?
I like either ravioli or lasagna

Brooks Pureflow 6 Review

This Spring there have been a lot of updated shoes I’ve wanted to try.  Since I took a big portion off, I have a lot of catching up to do!  I haven’t necessarily found a shoe I’m “married” too, but I have found most of the shoes I’ve tried are good updates.  I work at a local running store, but I’m not paid by any company.  All thoughts are my own.

One shoe I’ve wanted to try for a long time has been the Brooks Pureflow.  Unfortunately, I have a wide foot, and it never felt comfortable.  I also don’t train every day in flat, minimalist shoes.   For me, it’s more of a speedwork shoe.

The Pureflow was one of the last shoes I tried before taking a running break.  I was using it as a speedwork shoe.  During my running break, I rotated it into a casual shoe, and it was just as comfortable.  The shoe has almost reached the end of its life, and I’ve probably logged equally speedwork and walking miles.

Fit:

As mentioned, the Brooks Pureflow has run narrow.  The updated version has become wider and accommodating.  Like many Brooks shoes, the upper is now seamless, so even if you have a bunion or wider forefront, your foot will probably still fit into the shoe.  I usually wear a size 10 in running shoes, and size 10 fits well.

Feel:

The Brooks Pureflow is part of the Brooks “Pure” series which includes the stable Pure Cadence as well as trail Puregrit. The focus of the Pure line is low profile and minimal design.  For some runners, this is their everyday trainer.  For others, like myself, it’s more of a speedwork shoe.

To me, it feels like a typical speed work shoe.  It has a little more cushion than the Saucony Type A and a little less than the Brooks Ghost. In my opinion, it would be an ideal half marathon to marathon racing shoe for someone looking for a little less shoe but not a racing flat.

Pros:

  • Less than most trainers ($100)
  • Wider than previous models and can accommodate more foot types

Cons:

  • Less shoe means less durability.

In my rotation, the shoe is replacing the Launch 4.  I didn’t hate the Launch and would buy it again, but I wanted to try something different.

My Current Running Shoe Rotation:
Saucony Freedom ISO (long runs, daily runs)
Brooks Glycerin 15 (daily runs)
Hoka Bondi 5 (recovery runs)
Saucony Type A (races)
Asics Nimbus 19 (cross training)

Questions for you:
Do you prefer more cushion or less?
What is your current favorite pair of running shoes?

Westside 5k (21:00)

Jumping into a race after time off is always humbling.  Last week, I ripped off the band-aid and ran a 5k in Wilmington.  Before the race, I didn’t look at the course terrain or elevation.  I just saw the date, time and that I could make it to work on time. When my husband and I got there, we realized how hilly the race would be.

I had no goals race the race.  I wanted to finish healthy and injury free.  Spoiler: I did just that.  The night before, I had a migraine.  I hadn’t slept the best during the last week, so I ended up falling asleep at 8 pm and slept until 6 am.  When I woke up, I had my doubts I even wanted to do the race, but my husband asked: so when are we leaving…I groaned and said in an hour.

It wasn’t that I didn’t want to race but I knew it would be a shock to the system.With that, we arrived for the race, signed up and did a 3-mile warmup.  I felt fine warming up, but I knew the hilly course would make it a difficult course whether I was in shape or not.

There was both a 5k and 10k starting together, and the races went off together.  The first mile went almost exclusively uphill.  I was running with a pack of people, and I felt good.  I thought: surely I must be going around 6:30 miles.  I crossed the first mile in 6:55.  I was shocked but happy with my effort.

The next mile continued to climb.  I’ve run several races in Wilmington, so I knew the general terrain and area.  As we reached the halfway turnaround, I saw my husband in second overall but was quickly catching the first place.  He looked comfortable.  We turned around and headed back towards where we came.  I crossed the second mile in 7:01 and thought: I guess a 21 minute 5k is probably going to be out of my reach today.

I never felt bad during the last mile, but not in shape either. I just charged back to the start.  I passed one person and finished the last mile in 6:30.  I was pleasantly surprised.

I finished the 5k in 21:00 exactly.  My slowest 5k in a very long time?  Yes but I’m pleased with my race.  My goal was to finish healthy and strong which I did.  The course was difficult.  My husband ran an 18:30 which id about 90 seconds slower than he has been recently running (so it gives me more confidence it was a challenging course).  

Is it hard not to compare myself to when I was running 18:30 a few months ago?  Of course, but I’m happy with how I ran and I’m looking forward to gaining back my fitness.

 Questions for you:

What is the most difficult course you’ve run?