Training: 400s and Consistent 5ks

Training this week was boring. It wasn’t exciting but I got everything I needed to do.

Total mileage: 69 miles

On Monday and Tuesday I ran easy. There wasn’t anything too exciting about either run.

Workout Wednesday:
I went back to 400s. The Belmar Chase 5k taught me I needed to work on my last mile as well as turnover.

Many people have asked about my rest and recovery between the intervals: I’ve been doing all my speed workouts with standing rest. I plan to progress into jogging rest.

12X400s averaging between 87-82.
The first 8 had 1:30 rest and the last 4 had 1:00.
My last 400 was my fastest at 82.

Overall I’m happy with the workout.

Thursday was a rest day and Friday was another easy day. The weather on Friday was the best weather we have had in a while. I felt great!

On Saturday I ran a 5k in Delaware. I went in with a “racing plan” to take the race out slower and stay as consistent as possible.   I didn’t want to run a 6:0X mile as well as 6:5X. I’m happy to report I ran a 6:23, 6:27 and 6:22 so I definitely met my goal!

me 5k

On Sunday I met a friend for an easy long run. She is training for Chicago but I cut out at 15 since there isn’t a need for me to go much longer right now.  That was my longest run since the marathon!

Thoughts:
There are two major things I need to work on for my 5k racing.

  • The first is my turnover rate. My turnover is not fast enough for 5ks. The pace I’m holding in 5ks is my half marathon PR pace. Right now my legs won’t move any faster!
  • The second is my last mile in the 5k. I take the race out to fast and then fall apart.

If I can dial in those then I’ll be ready to PR.

Next week:
I’m continuing the same method I’ve been using for the last month. As I said on Thursday, consistency is key.  I know eventually my hard work will pay off!

I will also be traveling to Virginia Beach next weekend to visit my family. I haven’t been down to VA since the wedding so it’s going to be nice!

Questions for you:
What was your best workout last week?
Do you have any Labor Day Plans?

Harrison House Diner

The Harrison House Diner Mullica Hill, NJ

I had wanted to try the Harrison House Diner since I drove by nearly two years ago.  I work very close by and I always see the restaurant jam packed with cars.  I’m actually surprised with how long it took me that long to try it.  The Harrison House Diner was even voted as the best diner in Gloucester County.

Atmosphere: B

The outside is a normal restaurant.  It’s well kept and clean.  The name Harrison House implies it looks like a house and it does.  I always appreciate a restaurant that confidently sticks with their theme.

The inside is typical of a normal restaurant.  There is nothing unusual or unique.  It’s not as “diner” as you would imagine.  It reminds me of a normal restaurant.  There is a bar as well as booths and tables but the layout resembles a normal restaurant.

Coffee: B

I really liked the coffee but the mugs were tiny!  I could not believe how small they were.  I could drink the entire coffee mug in one sip! The coffee and whipped cream were great but the mugs were too small for anyone.

The menu has a giant coffee mug on it though!
The menu has a giant coffee mug on it though!

Food: A 

The menu of the Harrison House has everything from breakfast to “sensational salads”, to shrimp po boys and more.  Since the Harrison House is well known for their seafood, I decided to try the Shrimp Po Boy.

IMG_4173

After living in Va Beach area for so long, I have high standards for seafood. I was surprised by how good the shrimp po boy was.  My dad got the crab cake, which was huge!  It was one of the biggest crab cakes I’ve seen.  I was jealous and will definitely be ordering that next time.  (Edit to add: I’ve since ordered take out and the crab cake is just as good).

Harrison House Crab Cake

Dessert: A 

We ordered the German Chocolate Cake with ice cream.  The cake was fresh and the frosting was rich.  I was pleasantly surprised with how good the cake was.  I have no complaints and it was perfect.  Behind red velvet cake, german chocolate cake is my favorite.  They also had plenty of other cakes, cookies and baked goods.

Harrison House German Chocolate Cake 1

Harrison House German Chocolate Cake

Cost: $

For the shrimp po boy, coffee and cake the cost was $16.  That’s not bad at all and in fact a really great deal.

Overall thoughts/would I come back? 

I thought the Harrison House was really good.  I will definitely be back.  I’ve been twice since the first time.  I wish it hadn’t taken me so long to try in the first place.  If you heading down the shore or getting off the NJ turnpike at exit 2, the Harrison House is a great place to stop.

Cliff notes: 
Atmosphere: B
Coffee: B
Food: A
Dessert: A 
Cost $10-15
Overall: A 

Questions for you:
Are you a seafood fan?
What are your favorite flavors of cake? 

How to Get the Most Shopping at a Running Specialty Store

I’ve learned so much since starting my job at a local run specialty running store several months ago.  I love my job, I love helping those with similar interests, and I also enjoy learning about the newest running specialty products.

How to get the Most Shopping at a Run Specialty Store

Many people are often intimidated to come into a run specialty store.  There is a mindset that everyone working, and that comes in is a professional, fast runner.  I can assure you that is not the case!  In fact, we rarely see professional runners because the nature of the sport is professionals know what works for them and are probably given free shoes every 100 miles. They don’t need to be fitted for running shoes.

Comparatively running isn’t an expensive sport. The most important and costly item you need is a pair of running shoes.

Good pairs of shoes mean shoes that work for your particular gait, stride, and feet. A good pair of shoes for me does not mean good shoes for you. Similar to marriage, there is a different, healthy shoe for every single runner.

I was asked to write a post about how to get the most out of coming into a run specialty store to get fitted for running shoes.

So how do you get the most out of your running store visit? 

First, tell us all the aches and pains you have when running.  
Sore feet?
Sore knees?
Bum butt?
Shin splints? Does one leg hurt more than the other?
Did you lose half your toenails?
Don’t feel like you are rambling, the more you can tell us about your running history, the easier it is to narrow down shoes.

Second, trust us.  Running specialty store employees go through a lot of training.  While it may seem weird that only a few shoes out of a dozen are the best fit for you…it’s what we are here for. Also, trust us that your foot size might be different than you always thought. It happens, feet change.

We have looked, studied, and helped dozens of people with shoes.  Anyone working the floor in run specialty has done many gait analysis and fitted people for running shoes. Trust that when we pull a neutral shoe, you don’t need that high-end stability option despite the shoe looking cooler.

Third, ask questions:

Most running stores are a wealth of training information.

This could be anything from training plans to local races. Online resources can tell you a lot, but they aren’t specialized in your area. You might want information on local run clubs, high school running, trail running, training programs, or where to do your long runs. Run shops know all of that. Information relevant to Florida will not be as relevant to New Jersey.

Most local running stores also have group runs, fun runs, and activities to bring the running community together. Running can be as social or solitary as you want.  Half of run specialty is customer service, and it doesn’t just stop when you have a running shoe that fits.

In summary, a running specialty store is a great resource well past shoes. You can find out information about gear, training and local events if you have any questions feel free to ask.

Finally, have you subscribed to the LOLZletter? It’s a free newsletter that comes out each Monday. In the newsletter, I share running industry trends and things relevant to the sport. 

Questions for you:

What tips or advice do you have about visiting a running specialty store?

Have you ever been properly fitted for running shoes?

Reflecting on Training

I have been thinking a lot about my training lately. I’ve been thinking about the evolution of my personal running as well as my life.

Consistency is key. 

We all have good and bad days. Similarly we have good months and bad months.  We even have good years and bad years.  

Rome wasn’t built a day. 

There are so many terms and phrases that you hear regarding training and progression.  Most importantly progress takes time.

Two years ago I was easily running 19 minute 5ks.  Similar to now I would race almost every weekend.  The difference was I was running between 19-19:15 for the majority of races.

One of my many 5ks that I finished between 19:00-19:10...the "glory" days
One of my many 5ks that I finished between 19:00-19:10…the “glory” days

 

Another 5k with a local fastie and friend of mine...More "glory days".  Her Glory days still live on ;)
Another 5k with a local fastie and friend of mine…More “glory days”. Her Glory days still live on 😉

Over the last two years, I’ve gone through a lot of life changes.  I’ve moved, I’ve gotten married, I’ve been injured and I’ve run two marathons.

Marathons are fun...or whatever...
Marathons are fun…or whatever…

So what? 

So throughout the last two years I’ve neglected speed.  I stopped running fast and hoped my base carried me through races.  I chose to increase mileage for marathon training and decrease speed.  

That worked to keep me healthy for NYCM and it worked when I came back from my injury to PR in the Phoenix marathon. The high easy mileage carried me through two marathons but it won’t carry me through shorter distances.  It took me two years of neglecting speed to regress to my current turnover rate.  .

Like anyone I want to see instant results.  I’ve been going to the track for an entire month now.

Shouldn’t I be PRing and seeing massive results?  

Patience is not a virtue I was blessed with.  Running also  isn’t a linear sport and it takes time and consistency to see results.  It took time and consistency to lose speed and it takes time and consistency to gain it back.

That’s partially why I’ve decided to keep my current plan of track, weekly 5ks and a long run this fall.  I do want to continue my training and regain speed. I think running 5ks has benefited me a lot and while I’m not seeing the results now, I know I will soon.

Consistency is a funny thing. It’s easier to be consistent when you are seeing results and benefits. It’s harder to stay consistent when you are not seeing the results.

Thinking out loud and reflecting, it took two years of inconsistency with training to lose my speed. I don’t foresee it taking two years to regain speed but I do foresee it taking longer than a month or a summer.

success progress photo

It’s nice to be able to reflect and realize while I’m not making as fast of progress as I would like, I am progressing towards my ultimate goal of a 5k PR.  Mentally I’m in a great place with my running and I’m enjoying my training.  Sometimes I think enjoying running is the first step of

Questions for you:

What goals are you consistently working towards?

Do you like the track, tempo runs or races? (Or something else)

Saucony Zealot Review

The Saucony Zealot is an unusual shoe for me to choose to run in.  As most people know, my shoe preference is maximum cushion.  I like to train in a maximum cushioned shoe to keep me healthy and injury free.

Saucony Zealot Review

High cushioned shoes I have recently reviewed are:
The Saucony Triumph (Review)
The Asics Nimbus (Review)
The Nike Vomero (Review)

Saucony released the first model of the Zealot last year.  When we first brought in the Saucony Zealot at work, I knew it was a shoe I wanted to try.  It was light weight but still cushioned.

Feel: 

The feel of the upper is similar to the Saucony Triumph and Saucony Hurricane because they all share the ISO top.  The tongue of the shoe is attached and lacing can be pulled extremely tight without hurting your metatarsals.  It allows for a sock like fit to the shoe.  I comfortably wear a size 10 in both the Zealot and the Saucony Triumph.

One thing I love about the Zealot is how wide the toebox is!  I feel like I have plenty of space to wiggle my toes.  Since the shoe is not available in a wide, I was worried it might be too narrow for my feet.  This is not the case and my feet are very comfortable.  My toes are comfortable before, during and after a run.

The bottom is extremely light weight. The Zealot is more cushioned than the Kinvara but less cushioned than a Triumph.  It also has a 4mm drop so it sits lower to the ground than the triumph as well.

Running:

For me it was an adjustment to run in the Zealot.  I normally run in maximum cushioning shoes and I admit that running in a light weight trainer makes a big difference.  I was actually sore the first couple of times I ran using the Zealot!  I was not used to the drop of the shoe or how light they are.

Once I got used to the lower to the ground feeling, I liked them a lot.  They are very responsive to the ground. It feels like the halfway shoe between my racing flats and maximum cushion shoe.  I like that I don’t feel as if my legs are being weighed down by a heavy shoe.  I feel like I have the cushion but have a faster turnover rate.

I’ve run about 300 miles in them and can feel the cushion beginning to minimize.  I don’t think they last as long as many traditional shoes but I will buy another pair.

Edit to add: I currently run 1-2 times per week in the Saucony Zealot. 

Pros: 

  • Light weight but very cushioned.
  • The upper fit of the shoe accommodates many different feet.

Cons: 

  • How long the Zealot lasts! For me personally I think they’ll see ¾ length of a traditional running shoe.

I would recommend the Saucony Zealot for a neutral runner. They fit well for those who like the minimalist feel but want more cushion or for those who want a light weight trainer to rotate through.

Questions for you:
What shoes are in your rotation?
Have you ever run in the Saucony Zealot?

 

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