May Training Log: 7 Miles

Another month has come and gone.  Towards the end of the month, I thought this would be the month of the 0.0 but I ended up running a grand total of 7 miles.  All of which were this past week.

So instead of trying to come with a few hundred words about the 7 miles, I’ll tell you they were ok.  I didn’t feel amazing and I didn’t feel terrible.  I didn’t feel as if it was “the greatest comeback ever”.  I probably ran about 10 minute pace but I have no idea.  In fact, I don’t even know if it was 7 miles.  It could be 6 or it could 8…Despite charging it, my watch still hasn’t gone for any runs with me. I just ran around my neighborhood until I felt sufficient.

Moving right along.

I did do quite a bit of cross training:
Swam 3X (total 3 miles)
7 Strength classes
6 Core classes (all between 15-30 mins)
Elliptical: 1X run in rabbit core

Rest Days: 14

In summary, the month was what I needed.  It was a break from running and I didn’t try and compensate with doing a lot of cardio.

I gained weight, lost fitness, but my life moved right along. I know taking a break was the best thing I could have done and I have no regrets.

Life wise, I also had a lot going on that kept me busy and I didn’t miss running.  I knew how burnt, when I could stand at the Broad Street 10 mile finish, watch the race and not feel sad I chose not to run.  

It was a whirlwind month. I had both my dad and in-laws come visit in Early May.  Then, my mother came and visited the following week.

Eastern State Penitentiary philadephia
We made it!

After that, my husband came home mid May and spent a few days in New York.  While in New York, I felt a slight twinge of exciement to run again.  Not enough to actually run, but I had a little bit of excitement.

After having fun in New York City, we drove down to Virginia to see my brother Matt.  Due to being stationed overseas, I hadn’t seen him since my wedding in April 2015.  It was a great month, but such a busy month as well.  matt and i

What’s on tap for June?

I am going to continue slowly build my base.  I don’t have any major races in June but I will probably jump into a local race.  I do plan to continue with strength and core classes because I’ve grown to enjoy them.

My husband and I are actually focusing more on nutrition this month so expect to see a few posts about that.

Posts from the month:
36 Pairs of Running Shoes Later
Visiting New York City
NonRunning Workout Ideas
A Week with Family
My Running Burnout
Running Related Posts
Are you Getting Enough Fiber?

So in summary, it’s been a great 5 weeks but I’m also excited to get back into training.  It’s not a feeling I’ve had in quite some time.

Questions for you:

How was your month of training?

Have you ever taken time off? 

 

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NonRunning Workout Ideas

As most people know by now, after the April Fools half marathon, I experienced a serious running burnout.  In fact, I wrote about it here. It wasn’t the race itself, but more of running hard for 6 months and not achieving a goal.

My personal friend Steve asked to write about other things to do outside of running!  To be honest, I’m still not running, but I am enjoying doing other things.  Don’t get me wrong, running is a great workout, but it’s not the only one.  It’s important to take the time to look at other things to do.

Right now, I have no goal races I’m trying to maintain fitness for.  Thinking out loud, I have no need to hit up the gym daily.  Do I like working out?  Yes.  Do I need to workout for several hours daily?  No.  Do I care if I missed a workout?  No…

Ideas for Cross Training to Maintain Fitness:

Here are a few things I like to do to preserve cardio fitness:

Elliptical:

I might be one of the only people who doesn’t hate the elliptical.  If you workout hard on the elliptical, then it will simulate running.  If you leisurely pedal, you aren’t going to get the same benefits as having a higher heart rate.  There are a lot of programs that you can adjust based on ability and how hard you want to workout.  My heart rate is never as high as running, but I can say it has gotten pretty high during the elliptical.

Alter G Treadmill:

Finding an Alter G treadmill can be hard.  If you’re in Southern Jersey/Philadephia area and want to use one, let me know, and we have one at RunningCo.

Admittedly, I haven’t used it right now.  That’s only because I don’t want to run.  The AlterG is running without the pressure of body weight.  It takes body weight off so you can simulate running without putting the extra pressure and weight on your body.  The chamber fills with air, so you are essentially free floating around. Here is a more in-depth post about the AlterG when I was using it!

Alter G
After my metatarsal stress fracture, I used it frequently

Swimming:

Before picking up running in 2010, I was a competitive swimmer.  I swam through college.  While I no longer swim regularly (and have no interest in Tris), I will frequent the pool.  Swimming takes all of the pressure off your body will still allowing for a great cardio and strength workout.  It’s one of the best workouts you can do.

Strength Work and Core:

To be honest, right now this is what I’ enjoying the most.  I’m going to several body pump and core classes as well as lifting weights myself.  It may not “burn calories, but I am enjoying the constant state of feeling like jello and feeling stronger.

Running is a great sport but it’s not the only workout.  There are plenty of other activies that are equally as fun to do.Other Running Related Posts:

Are Losing Toenails a Runners Rite of Passage?
How to Prepare for Running in the Heat:
Why 5ks are the Best
How to Race Well
How to Race in Unfavorable Conditions

Questions for you:

What are your favorite nonrunning activities?

 Do you like to cross train? 

My Running Burnout

To be honest, it’s taken longer to write this post about burnout than I anticipated.  After the April Fools half marathon, I finished the race stale and not mentally there.  I didn’t meet any of my goals for the training cycle or for the race.  I also finished feeling miserable, burnt out, and not enjoying running.

So on the car ride home, I made the decision to take a break.  I had lost interest in the sport, and it was no longer enjoyable to me.

Thinking out loud, it was a burn out I have not experienced since swimming in college.  If you haven’t read my blog for long, I swam competitively for almost 15 years, and it was a big part of my life. My college swimming burnout ultimately left me hating swimming, quitting my senior year of college and never looking back.  Five years later, and very few people around know what a big deal swimming was to me.  Heck, most people don’t know I’ve only been running since late college!

Run Mercedes Half Marathon me

That type of Burnout isn’t where I want to go with running.  So after deciding, I needed a break, I realized my break would be more complicated than that.  I work a running store, I have a running focused blog and a lot of my friends run.  So getting completely away from running has been moderately difficult.

I enjoy both blogging and working at the store, but I don’t have any interest to run right now.  Right now, I don’t miss running, and I’ve been able to enjoy other things!

I knew my burnout was strong when I was able to be at Broad Street watch friends cross the finish line and not wish I was running the race.
Or when I'm able to work at a Running store, surrounded by running and not be "jealous" of those lacing up their sneakers.
How Did the Burnout Happen?

As most people know last time around this year, I discovered I fractured a small bone in my ankle.  To be honest, the recovery was painless. After rest, I recovered quickly.  I resumed training in late summer and then continued to run.  So I’ve been running hard since October and never took a week or more break.  In hindsight I desperately needed that. 

I ran what I consider my best race post injury, The Runners World Half Marathon (1:24.17) that following October.  I felt on top of the world and like a PR was knocking at my front door. Runners World Half Marathon

After seeing many people’s success with Mckirdy Trained, I decided that I would also like to hire him as my coach.  He gave me workouts, and I trained exactly what he wanted.

I was paying and committed to a coach, so there wasn’t a point to half-ass training.  Either I was going to follow a coach or wasn’t. I did a lot of hard workouts, worked hard, but never saw results race day.

That could be several reasons:

I had a good race at the Dalla Half Marathon in December and inched closer to my PR.  Little did I know, it would be my last “fast” race as well as favorite race in the training block.

bmw dallas half marathon me running

My husband and I moved to Alabama in January and February, and I trained well during that time frame.  I didn’t have a whole lot of commitments, so I had plenty of time to run.

While in Alabama,  I never felt extremely good while running but never felt bad.  This was the slow beginning that led to my burnout.   I ran 5 5ks in the 18:30-18:40 time frame but never broke through towards my PR.  It didn’t matter the course, weather, or day I ran in the same 10-second window.

As I continued to train, I missed intervals that “I should be making”.  Sometimes I would blame the humidity, sometimes that I was tired but whatever the reason, each workout took a mental toll.

When I arrived at the Atlantic City half marathon, I didn’t feel fresh.  I felt tired and mentally not into it.  I liked the race and didn’t want to miss the opportunity to run, but my heart wasn’t into it.  I ran about 5 minutes slower than I hoped.  I didn’t feel good plus I won the race last year but got third this year.  Mentally that is hard.  The race was put on well, and I always enjoy that aspect.

april fools half marathon atlantic city me running

So Now What?

I’ve been relaxing as well as resetting my body and fixing all of the small aches and pain.  I’m lucky Dr. Craig with Dr. Kemonosh has been so helpful.  I want to start off the next training cycle fresh both mentally and physically.

I will run again, I’m not stepping away from running forever.  I thought I would mentally be ready in 2 weeks, but I’m not.  After two weeks of rest, I am ready to get back into some sort of working out but not running.

I’m not a professional runner, and my bills are not paid through running.  There is no point in running through a burnout. I’ve already experienced that with one sport!

Questions for you:

Have you ever felt a burnout?

How do you move away from a disappointing training cycle?

Chatting with my good friend yesterday Noelle, who said time heals most things.  That is definitely true and like a bad breakup, time away is the best healer.

 

 

Getting Enough Fiber

As most people know, Quest bars are one of my favorite protein bars.  Last month, I wrote about the newest cereal bars as well as getting more protein as a runner.

Recently Target has started carrying Quest Bars too.  Since I spend a good amount of time shopping at Target (there is one less than a mile from my house, so it’s an easy stop), this makes it even easier to pick up one of my favorite snacks.

Quest Bar Fiber
At Target

As I mentioned, I’m not running now.  This means I’m burning fewer calories and while I don’t mind gaining weight, I would prefer not too.  Lately, I’ve found I don’t have a terrible diet, by any means, but I also try to choose healthier options.

One reason I like Quest Bars is that they are healthier snacks while I’m on the go.  They are filling and contain both protein and fiber.  Both are something I could benefit from having more of!

Quest Bar Fiber

Here are some quick stats of the Quest Protein Bars:

Quest Bars Soy Free, Gluten Free, and Vegetarian-Friendly.

Each bar contains: 20g+ Protein, 4-7 Net Carbs, 170-210 Calories, 13-15g Fiber, No added sugar.

Another thing that has been important to me is reducing the artificial sweeteners as well as pure sugar in my diet.

It’s not a secret I do like my coffee with whipped cream, but I have been trying to clean up my diet by reducing both sugar and artificial sweetener.

Do I treat myself?  Of course, but do I have dessert every day?  No, probably not. 

I like that Quest bars have less sugar as well as artificial sweetener.  Depending on the bar they use Sucralose, Stevia, and Erythritol.

Personally, I’ve never had stomach issues, but I do many people have found reduced stomach issues with these types of sweeteners.

Quest Bars actually got me doing some personal research on fiber and the different types. 

What are the differences?

While I knew there were two different types of fiber (soluble and insoluble), I never knew the differences and what each type specifically did and helped.

Soluble vs NonSoluable:

Easy enough, soluble fiber is soluble, which means it dissolves in water.  Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water.

Soluble Fiber Benefits:

Linked to lowering:

  • LDL (bad) cholesterol
  • regulating blood sugar
  • Lower risk of heart disease
  • Lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
Insoluble Fiber Benefits:
  • Helps keep you regular and prevents constipation
How much Fiber Should You Be Getting?

Current guidelines, advise between 25-35 grams per day. 

Finally having too much fiber can be a problem too and can cause all of the following:

  • Malabsorption: This is critical for runners because it can cause your body to not absorb the following: calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc. Each plays a crucial role for athletes to stay healthy.
  • Diarrhea or Constipation

Fiber is an essential nutrient, runners or nonrunners need.  Thank you again, Quest for supporting LOLZblog and helping me learn a few things. I hope you did too!

Questions for you:
Do you get enough fiber in your diet?
Have you tried Quest Bars before?

April Fools Half Marathon (1:26.17)

I’ve mentioned countless times I’ve been stuck in a plateau since October.  The April Fools half marathon was supposed to be “the redemption race”.  As you can see, that didn’t happen.

That being said, I have no regrets about the race, and I raced as hard as I could for the day.  It just wasn’t my day.  Which is also unfortunate because the weather was also ideal.  I have a lengthy post about training hard and not meeting your goals, but today is just a post about a girl running her heart out in Atlantic City.

I was back and forth with getting a hotel room down the shore but ultimately chose to sleep in my own bed.  I left my house at 6 am and arrived at the race around 7:15.  Somehow I managed to get the very last parking spot in the Resorts Casino Hotel which is a parking lot that fits at least 1000 cars. I’m always pushing the limits when I go to races, and of course, this was no exception.

I got to the race start and was able to use one of the dozens of nice casino bathrooms.  I always think Atlantic City races are underrated.  There is plenty of parking, nice bathrooms and they are well put together.

Not much of note happened before the race.  I chatted to a few local friends beforehand but nothing crazy.  The race started at 8 and off we went.

Immediately I noticed a woman take off ahead.  I knew she would win.

Win the race I won last year.  After about a minute of letting that sink in, I focused on my own race. You can’t control who shows up.

With that, I focused on the first mile.  I’ve run the race twice before (in 2014 and 2016), and I know the course well.  The first mile went down the wooden boardwalk.  I was running in a pack, and we hit the first mile in 6:20. I was surprised, and honestly, I didn’t feel that bad.april fools half marathon atlantic city me running

The next two miles were uneventful.  I ran with the pack, and we logged an exact 20 minute 5k.  I felt extremely stiff when running.  Throughout the entire race, I never felt like I loosened up.

Around mile 3.5 we got off the boardwalk and headed onto the paved street.  As we crossed down, someone was on their cell phone texting, and I had to shout please look up.  Otherwise, I would have run smack into him! At that point, I began feeling stale, and I suppose that would have given me an excuse to drop out. Other than that the fourth mile was uneventful.

During the next two miles, I focused on getting to the halfway point.  I knew we would be turning around and I wanted to get my bearings.  I knew my friend Erin was gaining behind me and I knew the elite woman was several minutes in front.  Other than that, I was running alone and knew nothing.  Around 5.5, I saw the leaders turning around, and the elite lady was second overall for both and female.  That was amazing to see (because she had also run the 11k the day before).

april fools half marathon atlantic city me running

I crossed the turnaround in 42:30 and found myself side by side with Erin.  She looked strong and was on target for a PR.  It was super motivating because despite feeling like garbage, seeing friends succeed still motivates me.  As we started running the opposite direction, I saw several local runners cheering.

I felt terrible was just trying to put it behind me.  I hit the 7th and 8th mile in 6:48.  There was a surprisingly strong headwind during the two miles, and it crushed me both mentally and physically.

april fools half marathon atlantic city me running

There have been a handful of races I was one thought away from dropping out. Atlantic City was one of them.  I didn’t have anyone expecting me at the finish line.  There were no friends or family to look in the eyes for me to say why I quit.  I never need anyone at the finish line, but it made it easy to justify just stopping. I wasn’t injured, but mentally I was destroyed.

april fools half marathon atlantic city me running

For some reason, I kept going.  I remembered both marathons with 3 miles to go that I felt the same way: like I would never get there.  I just remembered the race was probably 30 minutes more of my life and I was done.

We ran back onto the wooden Boardwalk could see the Resorts hotel and the finish several miles in the distance.  My friend Erin, myself and another male were running down the boardwalk side by side.

By mile 10, I just gave it everything I had and surged.  I didn’t have much left in the tank but ran 11 and 12 in 6:30.

As I remembered, the last mile of Atlantic City races feels never ending.  You see the casino where the race ends but don’t see the actual finish line until a quarter mile to go.  I had broken up the pack and was running alone.

I finally saw the finish line and gave it everything I had, but it was not enough.  Erin passed me in the final stride and won out second place.  Our chip times were identical but overall goes by gun and she finished one second faster.  I finished bittersweet.  I fell short of my training cycle goals, and I placed third in a race I had won last year.

april fools half marathon atlantic city me running

Thoughts: 

Even though I finished with my slowest time on the best weather day, I’ve had for that race I was happy to finish healthy.

april fools half marathon atlantic city me running
Post Race with Erin picking up awards

It’s been nearly a week since I finished and had time to reflect.  My goal for the last 6 months was to PR at the April Fools half marathon, and I missed that goal by about 4 minutes.  As I mentioned in my last training post. 1:26 is a respectable half marathon time, but it’s not the time I trained for.  When you don’t meet goals, it stinks.  I’ve accepted it and moved on.  While running is what I choose to post about on social media, it does not define my life.  I finished the training cycle healthy, and while I didn’t meet any goals or expectations, there are many more years and training cycles left in my life.

I won’t lie and say I’m happy with the race because I’m not.  I will not, however, let it define me and I’ll continue to move forward.

Post Race with good friend Meredith who PRed!

What’s next? 

I do have Broad Street 10 miler next weekend, which will be more of a fun race for me than anything.  Last year, I surprised myself and ran a 1:01.57.  This year I’m excited to spend time with my family.  Of course, I would love to run well, but I’ve removed expectations from the race, and my only goal is to have fun.

I’m still formulating plans and goals for the summer, but the summer is the time for enjoying local races in the community.

Questions for you:

Have you ever not met expectations for a training cycle?

Have you been to Atlantic City? 

How to Prepare for Running in the Heat

Incase you weren’t aware, it’s finally getting warmer.  Although, if you are anything like the Northeast, our weather went from 30 degrees to 80.  It feels as though there wasn’t much middle ground!  Hopefully, your body adjusts faster than mine.

Thinking out loud, running in the heat can be a challenge.  Even though it’s usually more enjoyable than running in the cold, there are a lot of difficulties and obstacles you face by running in the warm weather too.

So How can you Prepare for Spring and Summer Running this Year?

Stay Hydrated

This is probably the most important advice!

It doesn’t mean drink a liter of water directly before your run.  It means staying hydrating throughout the day.

Drink more water before, after and during your run.  Also don’t forget that you also lose electryltes while running in warmer conditions.  During the warmer months, it’s important to add salt tabs or Gatorade to the mix too.  Every runner has their own personal preferance of what works for the stomach and system.  I am fortanate that most any electrolyte drink works well for me, I just need to remember to drink it.

Adjust your Run for the Temperature and Humidity

Don’t be ashamed to back off pacing or dial it back because it’s hot.  Run by effort and feel, not based on what the workout pace should be at ideal conditions.

For example, on Sunday, I had a tempo run scheduled.  It was 85 degrees and while my pace was “supposed” to be 6:45, I ran 7:18 and was struggling.  Was I upset?  No!  Was I injured?  No.  I adjusted my pace accordingly and ran by effort.   It’s important to take note that running in the heat effects your body and you won’t hit the same paces as running in ideal conditions.

Wear Appropriate Clothing:

You could run naked but that would end up being sunburnt and uncomfortable.  Don’t forget to wear sunscreen as well as moisture wicking clothing.  I’ll have to do a current post of running clothing I’m loving this season but in the mean time here are some things not to forget:

  • Hat (to keep sun off your face)
  • Moisture wicking and noncotton clothing: including a top, sports bra, shorts, underwear and socks.  Cotton anything will absorb sweat and become heaving causing blisters, chafing and who knows what else.
  • Sunglasses: To keep your eyes protected
  • Body glide and sunscreen (because chafing stinks)
Be Flexible with Your Schedule:

Whether you need to run inside or run early, don’t be afraid to change your plan.  Run at the best time of the day.

You aren’t a hero if you run in 100-degree heat at high noon!   In the winter, typically running at lunch time is ideal but that isn’t usually the case over the summer.  That’s normally when it’s the hottest.  Don’t be afraid to change the time of day you run or where you run.

There is no shame in running on the treadmill, especially when it’s the safest option.  You can usually find me there at least once per week.
In case you missed any of the previous weeks Running Store and Training:
Thoughts While Working in the Running Store
Should Race in Racing Flats?
Are you Getting Enough Protein for Running?
Why 5ks are the Best
How Alternating Shoes Can Benefit Your Running:
How to Transition in Minimalist Running Shoes
Should You Wear Running Shoes Outside of Running?
Questions for you:
What are some tips you have for running in the heat?
Do you like summer or winter running better? 

Should You Wear Running Shoes Outside of Running?

Another common question we get at my local running store is:

Should you wear running shoes outside of running?

The short answer is: Yes, but they will break down much faster.  There are many articles and blog posts telling you: only wear your shoes for running.  It is definitely true and if you want to save money and the lifespan of the shoe, then you should only wear them for running.

But is there anything wrong with wearing them to do daily activities? No.

Thinking out loud, I use running shoes that already have reached their running life span to walk around in them.  Once I’ve run 300-400 miles in them, they are retired to walking around (or working) shoes.

Here are some things to think about if you wear your shoes outside of running:

Do You Want to Spend a Lot of Money on Shoes?

You can get a cheaper pair of shoes to “kick around and do errands in”.  Heck, most running shoes aren’t the lookers of the shoe world.  It’s easy to find a cuter and more fashionable shoe to walk around in.  Yes, I work at a running store but I’m not going to lie and say running shoes are trendy and cute.  That isn’t their function.

Are You Injured?

Certain injuries need to have a supportive shoe or you cannot get heal.  If you’re suffering from an injury such as plantar fasciitis, you need to be in a well cushioned shoe all of the time to allow healing.  It’s important to have a supportive shoe if you are coming off any injury.

So How do You Know When To Replace When You Use Them all of the Time:

If you do use your running shoes, know that you have to take into account the mileage you wear them outside of running.  You might have only run 20 miles in the shoe, but if you have worn them for 8 hours a day for at work for a week, that is a lot more stress on shoes too.

The lifespan of a shoe depends on several factors:

  • Type of shoe: Minimalist shoes last less time.  It’s less of a shoe.
  • Running Style: If you strike somewhere strongly (whether it’s the heel or the forefront), your shoe is going to last less. This includes myself as I tend to burn through the front of shoes quickly.
  • How Much You Use Them: Think about your running…realistically that is only an hour or two a day. If you are spending 10 hours a day in the same shoe, they are going to last far less time. Gage when to replace your shoes, especially if you regularly run and then head out on errands wearing the same shoes.  If you wear your shoe every day for errands too, it’s going to last about 3 months.

For the most part, shoes last between 300-400 miles.  I always tell people if your legs feel less tired or you are getting aches and pains and haven’t done anything differently, it’s probably the shoes.

The bottom line is: Yes, you can wear your running shoes for everything and it will be more comfortable, however, your shoes will not last as long.
In case you missed any of the previous weeks Running Store and Training:
Thoughts While Working in the Running Store
Should Race in Racing Flats?
Are you Getting Enough Protein for Running?
Why 5ks are the Best
How Alternating Shoes Can Benefit Your Running:
How to Transition in Minimalist Running Shoes
Question for you: Do you wear your running shoes for everything?