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Scott Coffee 8k (33:03)

Scott Coffee 8k (33:03)

On Saturday, I ran the Scott Coffee 8k. Even though my local running store sponsors it, I’ve only run the race one other time in 2015. It’s always a hot, humid, weekend and this year was no different. That being said, Moorestown is beautiful and I enjoy the race and seeing friends. Plus, every race participant gets a free bag of coffee.

Anyway, I arrived around 7:30, did 2 miles of warmup and then relaxed. The race starts at 8:35. I chatted with a few friends and before I knew it, we were off.

I’ve been attempting to find a new racing shoe, and this time I used the Reebok Floatride Run Fast Pro. I don’t regret that decision and I liked it for the race distance. By the end, my feet were burning so I doubt it will be a marathon shoe for me.

As we were off, I realized I felt decent. I hadn’t felt great all week so I was surprised my legs actually didn’t feel too bad. Since the race is bigger, I was surrounded by people including some random guy who couldn’t stop yelling. He wasn’t really talking to anyone but just talking for the sake of talking. Thankfully, I dropped him after about a mile. We hit the first mile in 6:29 which I was pleased with.

The next mile, I stuck with a couple of women and we ultimately ran the entire race together. At each water station, I grabbed water. It was so hot and humid. There was also a sprinkler and I ran through that too.  I hit the second mile in 6:31 and was pleased.

The next mile went through the backroads of Moorestown and this is where it gets hilly. I was surprised I wasn’t feeling like I was dying, which I’ve struggled with the last couple of 10ks. My legs felt decent and I told myself: “just a 5k left”. I hit the 3rd mile in 6:47. I thought I was moving faster but I guess not.

The next mile felt decent and everyone kept shouting: “you’re almost there”. LOL, please don’t tell me that unless I’ve crossed the finish line. I told myself, less than 15 minutes of hard work to go. I passed a couple of people. I didn’t feel bad and I was pleased that I finally felt like I was having a decent race.

As we crossed mile 4, I remembered I wasn’t doing a 5 miler but an 8k which is a few feet shorter. Somehow knowing I had less than a mile to go always feels better to me. The last mile is downhill through the streets of Moorestown and I just charged to the finish line. Main Street is closed due to a craft fair so you run by multiple crafters who are confused by what is happening.

I crossed the finish line in 33:03 which I’m pleased with. It’s over 10 seconds per mile faster than the last 10k I did and it was on a harder and more humid day. Fitness is taking longer to come back than previous times but I do know it will come back. I’ll continue racing through the summer in hopes for a few good races.

Finally, have you subscribed to the LOLZletter? It’s a free newsletter that comes out each Monday. This week I talked about tying your shoes2…who knew you needed to learn about that?  In the newsletter, I share running industry trends and things relevant to the sport. There are often giveaways as well as discount codes.

Questions for you:

What is your favorite type of coffee?

Have you run an 8k before? 

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Swimming for Runners

Swimming for Runners

If you have followed my blog since it’s birth in 2010, you may remember I was a swimmer. Not just a swimmer, but I swam competitively for college.  After college, I was done. Swimming is a hard sport and to improve at the college level, and you are usually in the pool anywhere between 2-4 hours a day. After college, I had no interest in staring at a black line.  I was burned out.

Truthfully, I didn’t think I would ever reach a point that I WANTED to swim again. I’ on and off in the last decade, but nothing competitive and usually not unless I was injured. This is the first time I’ve realized…hey, swimming isn’t “too bad.”

I’m always thankful that I learned to swim at a very early age because it’s not as easy as an adult. I’ve taught swim lessons before and learning when you are older is much more difficult, although not impossible. I’ve taught the mommy and ve me kids classes, coached swim team, and once showed an 80-year-old woman how to swim.

So if you are a runner, or someone wanting to benefit from swimming…what should you do?

First Get the Right Equipment:

Like running, swimming that expensive (minus the pool). You need a swimsuit (make sure it doesn’t move when you swim), swim cap, and goggles.  There are a couple of pieces that are a bonus such as a kickboard or pull buoy.

The goggles I used almost exclusively through college are the Speedo Vanquisher. 

They aren’t designed for swimming in open water, but they are great the pool and minimally fog up. I used them for a decade and never had any issues.

Many people asked about swim caps.  Why use a swim cap? Swim cap allows you to stay more streamlined as well as protects your hair. It might seem silly to wear, but it’s the swimmers’ norm to make swimming a lot easier and keep your hair in better condition. There are all different kinds. Latex is the cheapest and stays put on your head. If you use gel or hair product, this is usually the cap I recommend. Silicone is a lot more gentle on the hair and doesn’t rip hair out, but it will slide off and won’t stay put if you use hair product.

Pool Running:

Pool running is just how it sounds; you run but in the pool. There is more to it, though.

Since your feet don’t touch the bottom of the pool, there is no impact. This means it’s a good option if you are injured with a stress injury. It’s easier to pick up if you haven’t spent much time in the pool.

The funny thing about pool running is that it doesn’t resemble actual running. The point of it is to get your heart rate up. Just always keep moving! Pool running (versus swimming laps) is what is going to be most beneficial to runners. We don’t horizontal run (LOL if you get it), so while swimming laps might be more enjoyable, pool running is what will help actual running and build fitness and maintain fitness for running.

Use a pool belt when pool running. It will help with proper form. Without a pool belt, your focus changes from form and jogging to treading and staying above the surface.

I like this video with Jeff Galloway. He teaches exactly how to pool run. You want to get a bigger range of motion than you would in land running and just keep moving.

Here are a few workouts.  Keep in mind, you will only benefit by putting the effort in, and no one can do that for you. You can half-ass pool running and float there, but you won’t get a workout in. You can text while on the elliptical, that is different than putting the effort in and getting your heart rate up.

30 Minute Workout:
5 minutes easy jog
10X 2 minutes alternating hard, easy. Focusing on getting your heart rate up.
5 minutes easy jog

Workout 2: 30ish minutes
5 minutes Easy
Cut the pool in half so you are jogging back and forth on the deep end side (or where you can’t touch the bottom)
10X one side. Sprint as hard as you can to one side, stop at the wall and jog back. Repeat 10X. I did this one time during college when I was injured (and slowly increased reps and it kept me in shape. Ultimately, I ran my fastest cross county time after being injured for 2 months).

The point is to get your heart rate up.

Swimming Laps:

As a “retired swimmer,” I am just more prone to want to swim laps. As I add swimming back into my routine, that’s all I’ve been doing right now.

When I swam competitively and ran competitively, I didn’t find (and still don’t) swimming shape to translate into running shape. You can swim as much as you want, but chances are it won’t translate into running your fastest times. Your overall fitness will be great, but the specific movements and cardio don’t translate.  You can also run as much as you want, but might not find yourself a great swimmer. This article about, Olympian Micheal Phelps, shows that the specific fitness might not always translate.

How do you Start Swimming Laps?

My biggest advice to anyone just getting started is to start small. You don’t have to swim 1000 meters to get a good workout.

Like running, make it a goal to swim X meters, stop, regroup, and keep going. Most pools are usually 25 meters or 25 yards. Make it your goal to swim to the end, take a break, swim back, and repeat. Once you are more confident, you can say: swim to the other side, rest 30 seconds, repeat, and keep going.

Any swimmer will tell you, elite level swimmers don’t just get in the pool for 2 hours and get out. They do dozens of drills, sets, and intervals. In fact, realistically that’s what swim practices are. In the 15 years of swimming, I had one practice where our coach told us just to get in and swim. Honestly, it was awful!

A few workouts you can do:

Leg Recovery:
Need: Pull Buoy
Warmup: Swim 200 yards.
Set: 5X200 yard pulls with 2 minutes in between. Start off easy, and build to a faster pace.
Cooldown: 200 yards easy cooldown.
Total: 1400 yards

Kick Set:
Need: Kickboard
Warmup: 200 yards
Set: 4X25 yard kick. Using the kickboard, kick as hard as you can. Rest for 1 minute between.
50 Yards easy. Use this to flush out your legs, take your time.
4X25 yard kick: Kick as hard as you can. Rest for one minute in between.
50 Yards easy
4X25 yard kick. Alternate hard, easy, hard, easy. Take a minimal break as necessary, ideally working towards no break.
50 yards easy
50-yard kick as hard as you can. Take minimal breaks as needed, ideally working towards no break.
50 yards easy
2X25 yard kick. As hard as you have left. Take 1-minute break between but this should be all out, and your legs should burn.
Cooldown: 200 yards
Total: 1000

Swim Set:
Warmup: 200 yards
4×50 Freestyle. Your 5k effort. It should feel hard, but not like you are gassed out. Rest 2 minutes between each.
1X100 easy, “recovery.”
2×100 Freestyle. Moderate effort. This should feel like a half marathon, tough but controlled. Rest for 2 minutes between.
1×100 Easy, “recovery.”
4×25 Fast. Your hardest effort. This should feel like a mile sprint. Rest 1 minute between
1×100 Easy, recovery.
4×25 Fast. Your hardest effort. Rest 1 minute between.
Cooldown: 200 yards
Total: 1300

Just keep in mind, you have to do workouts that you enjoy. If swimming doesn’t click for you, that’s okay. I appreciate how enjoyable it’s been for me and a nice break from the outside world. You get lost in your own thoughts when you are submerged in the water for an hour.

 Finally, have you subscribed to the LOLZletter? It’s a free newsletter that comes out each Monday. This week I talked about rest days and cross training.  In the newsletter, I share running industry trends and things relevant to the sport. There are often giveaways as well as discount codes.

Questions for you:

Have a question about swimming, ask!

Do you like getting in the pool? 

Topo Magnifly 2 Shoe Review

Topo Magnifly 2 Shoe Review

Recently, I started running in Topo shoes. I’ve had a few friends that love them.  Since this is my first time trying Topo, I have no previous versions to compare it too. I was lucky enough that Topo sent me two pairs of shoes to test out.

Quick Stats: 

Weight: 8.3 oz
Drop: 0

Topo Magnifly 2 Shoe Review

Fit:

The upper has minimal seams and has plenty of space. Topo is not available in wides; the regular width seems to be enough space for me.  If you are looking for a wider forefront shoe, Topo is excellent for that.

I typically wear a women’s size 10-11 wide. The women’s size 10.5 fit well. It fits similar to the Altra Escalante and shares a lot of characteristics, including zero drop.

Topo Magnifly 2 Shoe Review

Ride:

The Topo Magnifly 2 has a lot of cushion for a zero drop shoe. Before running in it, I thought it would be a minimal shoe, but I was surprised that it did have an ample amount of cushion. The cushion from Topo has a mix of a softer layer on the top and a much more firm and responsive bottom layer.  This allows it to protect your feet but also still spring you forward.

Topo Magnifly 2 Shoe Review

Like any zero drop shoe, if you are not used to running in a zero drop shoe, it’s important to work into the shoe. If you jump into a longer run, you might be more likely to get injured or have tight calves.

Conclusion:

The Topo Magnifly 2 was a surprise for me. I expected less cushion but I like the ride and that I can use the shoe for longer and easier runs. It will probably stay in my rotation as an easy run or long run shoe. If you like Altra or Altra Escalante, it’s a great shoe to alternate with.

Current Rotation:

Easy/Daily Runs: Hoka Bondi 6, Topo Magnifly 2, Hoka Mach 2Brooks Glycerin 17,

Speed Work: Reebok Float Ride Runfast ProNike Streak Lt,

Long Runs: Hoka Cavu 2

Races: Nike Fly, Reebok Run fast Pro

You can see all current shoe reviews here.

Questions for you:

Have you tried Topo before?

What is your favorite shoe? 

ERR 10k: 42:40

ERR 10k: 42:40

A couple of weeks ago I ran the Cape May 10k in 42:35. I thought, at the minimum at ERR I could beat that. Spoiler: I did not. The weather, however, was much hotter and much more humid at the ERR, plus the is much more difficult. So it was a harder effort. By much more humid, I mean it was 100% humidity.

Anyway, I got to the race around 7:15, warmed up, saw a few friends, and got to the start around 8 am. The race started at 8:15, and I was already sweating through my clothes beforehand. I’ve run the race a few times, but not since 2013. There is minimal shade, and it can be either very hot and humid, cold, or somewhere in the middle. When I lived in VA, I ran it years that it was any of those.

I was busy talking, and by the time I knew it, we were off. I was caught off guard but not a big deal and my own fault. During the first mile, I found myself as 5th women overall, where I stayed the entire time. At first, I thought I might be able to catch the fourth-place women, but that quickly faded. My legs did not feel good, and I was overheated at the start.

I ran the majority of the miles alone, just wondering what I was doing. If I stopped, no one would know, and it was something I constantly had to talk myself out of.  I hit the first mile in 6:30, which was way to fast for where I should be. The course itself at that point had minimal turns, but I knew the turns were all coming.

me running elizabeth river run 10k

During the second mile, I settled in alone. I saw many friends and waved to everyone I knew. I hit the second mile in 6:47, which is about where I figured my fitness was in the humidity.

During the third mile, I was running along the waterfront, and I was roasting. I laughed and thought, wow I’m working my tan. I told myself get to mile 3 and you’ll be halfway. I reached mile 3 in 6:47.

The next couple of miles went by without much note. It was hot, humid, and I just wished I hadn’t signed up for four 10ks this summer. I told myself “just 20 minutes left”, then “just 10”. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to race, but with the humidity, it became increasingly more difficult to breathe.

Around mile 5, I got some magical wind. I don’t know what was going on, but all of a sudden, I began to feel better. Maybe it was the fact that we were “almost done” or that I woke up again, but my legs felt better. I ran the last mile in 6:47 and crossed in 42:40.

me running elizabeth river run 10k

Thoughts:

I won’t say I love running 42:40s for a 10k. I’ve run faster workouts but I’m coming to terms with this is where I am fitness wise and in the heat. I know it’s a better effort than the Cape May 10k. I’ll keep grinding along and still signing up for races. I always enjoy seeing friends that I grew up with. I’m hoping I’ll just keep putting in the work and it will translate when it gets cooler. Or my marathon will be in the heat, and I’ll have put the work in the heat. HA

Thank you to Cliff for the photos. Finally, have you subscribed to the LOLZletter? It’s a free newsletter that comes out each Monday. This week I talked about rest days and cross training.  In the newsletter, I share running industry trends and things relevant to the sport. There are often giveaways as well as discount codes.

Questions for you:

Do you like 10ks? How do you pace them?

Where did you grow up?

Training Log: Long Runs, Races, and Swimming

Training Log: Long Runs, Races, and Swimming

Hopefully, everyone has a good Memorial Day Weekend.

The next few weeks of training are geared towards upping my mileage. Upping mileage while the weather gets hotter, doesn’t make for the most enjoyable running but I will keep racing and keep on trucking along.

Monday: Easy 60 minutes/Swim 3000-meter swim
Tuesday: 5X1000 with 90 seconds rest
Wednesday: Easy 60 minutes/3000 meter swim
Thursday: Easy 3000-meter swim
Friday: Easy 60 minutes
Saturday: Elizabeth River Run 10k
Sunday: 12 miles (11 easy, 1 mile worth of strides at the end)

Thoughts:

Workout Wednesday: 5X1000 averaging 6:25 pace.

It’s a little faster than the week before, which is the most important to me. I’m not where I was a year ago, but I’m further along than last week. The weather was ideal, and I couldn’t ask for a better day.

Elizabeth River Run 10k: 42:40

I haven’t run the ERR since 2013. I thought I would run faster than the Cape May 10k a couple of weeks ago but the weather was much hotter, and the course was much more challenging. The effort was harder, but the time was slower. I ran most of it by myself. It was great to see family, friends, and people I had grown up with.

12 Mile Long Run:

I planned to do 14 but the weather was so oppressive, and my legs weren’t feeling it, so I settled with 12.  I ran 11 easy, followed by one mile of doing strides. 6-minute pace doesn’t feel natural for me right now, so I’m trying to get my body to remember how.

Swimming:

I’ve been swimming 2X1500 meters each time I get into the pool. After going through so many years of stress of sets, etc., I am enjoying just freely putting my face in the water, turning everything off, and swimming. I do plan to keep swimming during this training cycle. Why? Because I want too. I’m enjoying it.

Other than that, everything was low key. My goal for the next few weeks is to get a quality workout in and maybe a race or a long run.

Finally, have you subscribed to the LOLZletter? It’s a free newsletter that comes out each Monday. This week I talked about rest days and cross training.  In the newsletter, I share running industry trends and things relevant to the sport. There are often giveaways as well as discount codes.

Posts from the Week:

Vital Protein Collagen Water Review

Hoka One One Bondi 6 Shoe Review

Movie Madness 13.1 Recap (That turned into 14 miles)

Questions for you:

What is your favorite cross-training activity?

How was your Memorial Day Weekend?

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