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November Training

To get it out of the way, November was not really the month I wanted or hoped.  After getting home from one of the best trips of my life, I got food poisoning.  For the entire month, it’s taken a toll on me both physically and mentally.  The doctor said it could last up to 70 days and while I’m staying positive it won’t, I don’t feel 100% 30 days later.  I’m not violently sick, but I am tired, and my body has struggled to digest certain foods including dairy (something it never has).

me running sunrise

Thinking out loud, my workouts and racing in November were slower than anticipated, but you have to run for the current fitness you’re in.  Something that can be much easier said than done.

Mileage: 212
Range of Pace: 6:00-10:31-untimed
Workouts: 3
2X(6.5 tempo runs)
12X400s

Races:
11/11 Haddonfield Road Race  (19:59)
11/12 Blueberry Challenge 5k (20:01)
11/18 Philadelphia Half Marathon (1:27.57)
11/24 Medford Turkey Trot (19:02)

Thoughts:
I didn’t have a favorite race but did have a favorite workout. None of my races felt especially good.  To be honest, my slowest race, the Blueberry Challenge 5k) was probably the best.

My workouts felt better though. The minute I finished 12×400 at 6:00 min pace, I felt strong.  I haven’t felt that in charge of my running in a while.  Food poisoning has made longer runs a struggle (with the constant of the feeling of vomiting and using the bathroom), but speed and track workouts have been fine because I’m never too far from anything.

December:

The first half of December will be busy for me.  Ironically, tcloser to the Holidays will be less crazy.  I won’t race as much, but that is only due to the limited amount of races in NJ/Philadelphia during the next two months.  I’ll hopefully do more track workouts.

I mentioned on Instagram but my 2018 is to break 18 minutes in the 5k.  I have been in that fitness before but never been able to run the race.  I’ll do more track workouts and see where it takes me.  I’ll definitely do some half marathons in the spring as well, but I do hope 2018 brings a 5k PR.

 

Posts from the month:
Training without a Coach
How to Build Back Mental Confidence

Posts from Vacation:
Hiking: 
Hiking Flagstaff Mountain in Boulder
Hiking Zion and Bryce Canyon
Visiting the Grand Canyon

Running: 
Haunted Half Marathon 5k (19:40)
Two Weeks of Training: Easy Miles Out West

Diners: 
Sams 3 Diner (Denver)
New Castle Diner (Colorado)
King Chefs Diner (Colorado Springs)
Snooze (Denver)

Shoe Reviews:
Nike Zoom Fly Review
Brooks Levitate Shoe Review

Questions for you:
What are your goals for the last month of the year?
How was your November?

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Cpt Gregory T Dalessio Memorial 5k (19:02)

Last weekend I ran a local 5k.  As I mentioned in my training log, the morning was a disaster, to say the least, but the problems were mostly my own doing.  I hadn’t done a lot of research about the race and had thought it started at 8:30.  At 7am, I looked up directions and realized it started at 8 am.  I didn’t have time to run home and get to the race, so I had to race with random things in my car: oversized leggings, a spaceman puffer, and an old long sleeve.  Never the less, my race outfit seemed to work out.

I usually like to do 3-4 miles warmup, however, due to being late, I only had time for 1.  During my warmup, I felt awful.  My stomach wasn’t ready to run and to be honest I contemplated why I was even there.  After debating whether I should just donate my race entry fee and leave, I decided to just run.  My goal for the next 2 months are solid workouts, and while my stomach was in knots, I could gut out a good workout.

After chatting with my good friend and fast runner Joe, we were off.  I didn’t feel as bad once we got moving.  My legs were tired. However, my stomach felt as though it would hold out.  I ran with a pack of people for the first mile, and we hit the first mile in 6:08.  I was happy, but also surprised.  I didn’t feel as though as I was moving that quickly.

My goal for the next mile was just to stay with the pack.  The race made several turns around the neighborhood, and I felt like I was sticking with them.  We hit the second mile in 6:03 and I was feeling better.

me running 1

The goal of the last mile of any 5k is to finish.  It never feels good, and this one was no exception.  I was just trying to grit through.  To my (unpleasant) surprise the final part of the race went over grass.  I felt as if I could break 19 again but the grass was not my friend.  Not only that, but the last .2 made 3, right-hand turns.  Not the fastest finish!

I crossed the finish in 19:02 which was exactly the same as the Medford Turkey Trot over Thanksgiving.  I’m happy with my time.  As I mentioned, the next two months are going to be dedicated to more workouts, and I’ll still run 5ks, but I won’t taper for many, if any.   The plan is to get quality workouts in this winter to prepare for Spring races.

Questions for you:

Are you training for anything during the winter?

How much warm-up do you normally do for a race?

Training without a Coach

Training without a Coach

I’ve run off and on since 2011.  Throughout that time I’ve run in college with a coach, out of college without a coach, as well as out of college with a coach.

During each time period, I’ve learned a lot about myself.  I do believe personalized coaching is beneficial for many people.  It takes finding the right coach, both someone who works well for your running style, as well as someone who you socially connect with it.

A few weeks ago, a reader asked me to write about self-coaching and how I liked that.  Thinking out loud, all of my PRs have been set from self-coaching.  Good or bad, it’s just a fact.  I haven’t had a negative experience with any of my coaches. However, my schedule changes often, and I have found self-coaching to work well for me.

I’ve Learned a Few Things:

Self Coaching is Free:

First, I have a firm stance coaching should cost money.  You are getting a service, that you don’t already have.  To be honest, I’m less likely to even follow “free coaching” because I could do my own thing either way and not feel guilty.

You Know your Strengths and Weaknesses the Best:

First, running is a learning process. Your strengths and weaknesses change.  When I lived in the Adirondacks, I was much better at running hills.  Now living in a flatter area, hills are no longer my strength.  If you ever are next to me in the last .1 of race, know that finishing kicks are also not my strength.

You are More Internally Motivated:

My goals, and wanting to run are for me.  I don’t have to report to anyone, and I don’t have to “fear”, telling a bad workout, race, or anything else.

So How Do You Determine Workouts and Paces?

This is different for every single person.  

Personally, I use a few different methods.  In college, we used the McMillian calculator and could find appropriate paces for workouts from that.

When building mileage from a break (whether injury or just a break), I usually start with whatever feels good.  My first run back is never more than a mile.  From there, I add minutes to my run (not miles).  It’s important not to stress the pace when increasing mileage but just the time on your feet.

I also think looking back at your history with the sport is essential.  For me, I ran my fastest 5k and half marathon on “traditional training.”  I went to the track and did workouts like 400s as well as tempo runs.  That isn’t the case for everyone!

Many athletes run very low mileage with more core and strength.  If that is how you thrive, that is how you thrive!

Running is different for each and every person.  Many people thrive on a coach.  Many people enjoyed more of a laid-back approach.  As someone who spent years of high-intensity swimming, I no longer thrive on it both mentally and physically.

Related Running Posts:

How to Choose the Best Running Shoes (For You!)
How to Build Back Mental Confidence
Care Free Training
Who Cares Where You Run?

Questions for you:
Are you self-coached?
What are you currently training for?

Nike Zoom Fly Review

When Nike created the “breaking 2 project”, they created two shoes: the Nike Zoom Fly and the Nike Zoom Vapor Fly 4%.  The Nike Zoom Fly retails at $150, while the Zoom Fly 4% comes in at $250.  That is, if you can find a pair of Zoom Vapor fly 4% in your size.

The Zoom fly is a bit heavier and made for the everyday runner (or any runner not trying to break 2 hours in the marathon).

It’s made more for training.  When we first brought them into work, I wanted to try them because “everyone was”, however, I had plenty of shoes in my rotation.  Waiting enough time also gave me the option to buy a flashy red colorway too.

Nike Voom fly red

Fit:

The Zoom Fly is more narrow than many of Nikes training shoes including the Pegasus and Vomero.  The upper is seamless so it’s able to fit wider feet.  They don’t make either in a “wide”.  I bought a women’s size 10 which is fine, but I do believe a 10 wide would be a slightly better fit.

Nike Voom fly red

Ride:

The shoe weighs about 8.75 ounces for men and 6.5 for ladies.  While it’s not the lightest, it’s definitely a lighter shoe.

The Zoom Fly has  10 mm heel-toe drop so it isn’t minimal either.  The focus of the shoe is for “everyday” training.  It’s not the shoe meant to run sub 2 hours in a marathon but the shoe to keep you healthy during training.  Nike is in the process of changing many of their running shoes to the new technology you see in the Zoom Fly and Zoom Vapor Fly.

I’ve run just over 100 miles on it and I like the fit and feel a lot.  It’s soft and cushioned but not too squishy.  It’s responsive enough that I like to do workouts in it without my feet feeling too beat up.  I was doing workouts in either the Saucony Type A or the Altra Escalante but have found the extra cushion to be nice and better to recover faster.

One thing I will say is, similar to the Nike Lunarglide, there isn’t a whole lot of traction at the bottom.  On a rainy day or mud, be prepared to not feel as much contact with the ground.

Nike Voom fly red

Finally, something I shouldn’t comment on but I will is these are a good looking pair of shoes.  It’s always fun to run in a shoe that you’re like…wow these are sharp.

Personally, I see the Nike Zoom Fly as a tempo, speed, or racing shoe.  While I know many people who do the bulk of their mileage in the Zoom Fly, I personally need more cushion.

Current Rotation:
Saucony Freedom (daily runs, easy runs)
Brooks Glycerin (daily runs, easy runs)
Brooks Levitate (easy runs)
Hoka Clifton 4 (daily runs, easy runs)
Nike Zoom fly (workouts)
Altra Escalante (workouts)
Saucony type A/Endorphin (racing)

Questions for you:
Did you watch the Nike Sub 2 hours documentary?
What is your current favorite running shoe?

Blueberry Challenge XC 5k (20:01)

On Sunday, I ran the Blueberry Hill Challenge 5k.  Even though I had raced on Saturday, I opted to run.  For whatever reason, I’ve never been able to run this particular race. This year when I had the opportunity I took it.  After racing the day before, I knew it wouldn’t be fast and opted to use it as a fun workout.  The race benefited local Veterans, and as someone with many military ties, I wanted to run for a great cause.

I got to the race around 8 am, warmed up the entire course, and made it back to the start at 8:55.  I was glad I warmed up on the course, so I knew what the “challenge was.”  The course was a mixture of trail and pavement, a lot of hills, plus climbing up stairs around mile 2.5.  I heard it was tough but understanding something is tough versus experiencing it, is two entirely different things.

At 9 am, we were off.  The first mile is net downhill.   It’s a narrow, winding trail, and I felt like I was back running a cross-country race.  There were several people around, including another woman.  We hit the first mile in 6:12 and while it was faster than I anticipated.  I knew what goes down must go up and so I wasn’t looking forward to the next two miles of climbing back.

During the second mile, we were running uphill, as well as through a section of woods that was covered with leaves.  The covering made it challenging to see roots and possible things that could cause you to fall, or create injury.  I told myself: Just take it easy…no need to roll or sprain an ankle.  I was running by myself with a few people in front, so I just focused on the ground.  I hit the second mile in 6:35.

The goal of the third mile was to continue to stay strong.  I knew there were stairs to climb and the course was also still going uphill.  At that point, I was running next to a young kid wearing spikes.  I usually win for “most noisy runner” but every time we would hit the pavement for a second, you would hear the spikes click.  We got to the staircase, and I just floored it.  I figured I would be tired anyway.  My strategy for hills is run fast up because of you’ll be exhausted either way.  After the hill, I found myself as the fourth person overall which I was happy with.

The staircase causes the mile to feel a lot longer than it is.  I felt as though I should almost be done, but we still had over half a mile.  I began pushing a little too early, and by the time I knew it, it was only mile 2.75 and I felt exhausted.  I just pushed towards the end and crossed in 20:01.

Like the day before, the goal was 20 minutes, and it all evened out.  On a difficult cross country course, I am happy with that.  In all, I had a great time and would do the race each year it works out.  It’s by no means a fast course, but it’s a lot of fun.

Questions for you:

Have you run up stairs before?  What are your techniques?

Do you like trails or pavement better? 

 

Training: Back to NJ

Training: Back to NJ

Last week was just about assimilating back to New Jersey.  After getting food poisoning, this week was about getting back out there and just getting some easy runs in during the week.  Even though it meant about 2 weeks between races and speed work, it was necessary. I was exhausted from vacation, as well as getting over food poisoning.

It all worked out, and with extra sleep, easy miles, and focusing on nutrition, I seemed to feel a lot better towards the end of the week.

Monday: Easy 45 minutes
Tuesday: Easy 45 minutes
Wednesday: Easy 60 minutes
Thursday: OFF
Friday: Easy 45 minutes
Saturday: Haddonfield Road Race (19:59)
Sunday:  Blueberry Challenge XC 5k (20:01)
 Total Miles:  35-37

 

Haddonfield Road Race (19:59) 6:25, 6:26, 6:25

The goal of this race was to run a 20 minute 5k which I ran right on pace.  The course itself is difficult and the day did not go exactly as planned but I was able to get done what I needed too with a few faster miles on my legs.  Despite being one of my slower “races” recently, my effort was exactly where I needed it to be.

Blueberry Challenge XC 5k (20:01) 

I have always wanted to do this race, but whatever reason, it never works out.  The race is a mixture of a lot of grass, gravel, pavement, and finally, a stair climb up Blueberry Hill.  Even without the climb, it’s one of the hillier 5k courses I’ve done.  My goal was to try and run 20 minutes, and I met that goal.

Thoughts:

While neither are “fast” races indicating my fitness, I enjoyed both and getting out there again.  Training isn’t linear, and I’m the same person who ran an 18:46 less than a month ago.

This week will also be a lighter week as I will be running the Philadelphia half marathon.  I’ve never run particularly well there as coincidentally enough I had food poisoning in 2015 and in 2016, I just felt like garbage.  Third time is a charm, right?

Posts from the Week: 
How to Build Back Mental Confidence
Hiking Flagstaff Mountain in Boulder
Smile Brilliant Review and Giveaway

Questions for you:

Do you like running on trails or roads?

Have you ever run up stairs during a race?

 

How to Build Back Mental Confidence

How to Build Back Mental Confidence

Running is 1% physically and 99% mental.

Maybe that’s an exaggeration, but there is a lot of mental component to the sport (or any sport really).  As most people know, most of 2016 and 2017 were not my years for running.  I set two of my favorite distance PRS (5k and 13.1) in January and February of 2016.  After that, I haven’t PRed.  

So here I am almost 2 years later, with no PRs.  I’ve been trotting along with running.  I’ve taken extended breaks from both injury (last year I fractured my heal) as well as just plain mental burnout.  So I haven’t run for 2 years straight, but I have trained and gone through training cycles.

I can’t quite say my mental game is exactly where it should be, but it’s getting a lot better.  As I get back into fitness during the last few months, I’ve pretty much run with no worry about pace or distance unless I’ve raced.  I wrote more about that here.

Half of my training miles have been above 9 minutes, and I haven’t worried about it.  I’ve run and gone about my day.  Right now, I have a solid foundation and base.  I know my base miles have set my body up to begin doing more speed workouts and hone in on speed.  I will get there.  Who knows how long it will take but running is lifelong!  I would rather not rush anything and burn out…again.

Most importantly though, running without time and pace has given me a huge mental break.  Once again, I feel happy with running.  Thinking out loud, I don’t feel like it’s forced or dread getting out there.

So How do you Build Back Mental Confidence?

For me, mental confidence takes a lot more time to develop than physical speed and endurance.  Here are a few techniques I’ve used.

  • Stop Negative Self Talk: If you think you’ll run like garbage, you probably will. Last year, I thought I would run like garbage at the Philadelphia marathon…and…I did!
  • Stop Comparing: This means stop comparing yourself to others and to yourself. Now that Instagram running is “so big”, it’s easy to look at someone and be like…how do they run fast all of the time.  But just worry about yourself (or don’t worry about all)…and I’m too old school for Strava, so I’ll let you remove comparison traps there for yourself.
  • Set Smaller Goals to Achieve Your Bigger Ones: For me, I set a smaller goal to get back out there. Then another goal to do a few 5k, then a half and then begin honing in on speed.  You don’t need to set a huge goal of PRing when you aren’t running or dropping an hour from your marathon.  Set a bite-sized goal and move forward.
  • Visualize: I cannot emphasize this enough but visualizing running and doing well will help tremendously.  My college swim coach had us visualize swimming well at conferences, and I always felt more confident after that.

It’s always important to remember that running is lifelong.  There are races any weekend you want, and if you don’t feel mentally right, you should work on that first.

Questions for you:

How do you stay mentally strong with any sport?  

What are some mental techniques you use?

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