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Adrenaline 5k (19:26)

On Saturday I ran the Adrenaline Run 5k. The Adrenaline Run is one of the most competitive 5ks in the greater Philadelphia/New Jersey area. It sells out every year and the typically the first 150 finishers all run under 20 minutes. This year I ran 19:26 and was around 130th place.

I’m biased by RunningCo. Always does a great job putting the race together and it’s always a lot of fun. Anyway, after an exhausting and busy week, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew I wouldn’t be running 18:29 like last year, but I was hoping to be faster than the last 5k I ran.

I warmed up a few miles and got to the start line around 10 minutes early. Since I knew quite a few people there, (I would think about 1/3rd), I talked and caught up with several people. Before I knew it, we were off.

The start is jam-packed. Since I knew I would be nowhere near the front, I didn’t line up in the front. As we began running, I realized around .5 I had forgotten to start my watch. In a 5k, I thought it seemed silly to start it then, so I just didn’t. I’ve run races with GPS before, and while it’s nice to know your splits, your legs still move without a watch. I could have run 22 minutes or 18 minutes, and I would have had no clue.

The first mile was crowded. It was hard to get any rhythm. We ran straight into a headwind. It was one of the windier days and so we were just running into a headwind down Kings Highway. I saw my co-workers and friends in front of the store which is always motivating.

We rounded the corner near Saxbys and went straight into the neighborhoods. It’s a long flat, windy stretch. If it wasn’t windy, it’s easy to build speed there.

Just after mile 1, we turned the corner, went down a small downhill and hit the water stop. It was nice not to be in the wind anymore. We went up a few inclines. My husband, who hasn’t been running much, passed me around mile 2. I was happy for him and just focused on the last mile.

The last mile went straight back Kings Highway and headed towards the finish. It’s flat and fast, and this year with the tailwind it was even faster. (A perk of the headwind going out). If I were to guess, my bet is my last mile was somewhere around 6:0X because of the tailwind. With the long stretch, you can see the finish line for over a half mile away.

me running adrenaline run

I saw the clock go over 19 and I knew somewhere where I was speed wise. I had no clue until that point. I powered as much as I could and crossed in 19:26. I’m happy with my effort for where I am, fitness wise. It’s always tough not to compare yourself to a faster year, but it’s my fastest 5k in several months so I can’t complain about that.

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 is your favorite 5k?

Have you ever raced without a watch? I’ve done many. At my first marathon, NYCM, my watch stopped working at the start (and it never worked again).

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9 Years ago I Began Running

9 Years ago I Began Running

For last the 9 years, the time around St. Patrick’s day has held a more sentimental reason to me than drinking beer, wearing green and pots of gold.

Although if you would like to send me a pot of gold that is fine too!  Nine years ago I ran a 5k in college that would change the path and direction of my life. I started this blog the summer after which means the blog is coming up on 9 years too. Wow, where did my 20s go?

You can read my entire running story here or in the tab above.

When I was a college sophomore, I saw a sign at the gym stating if you completed the annual campus 5k you would get a free long sleeve t-shirt.  As a college student, you can never have enough things to stuff in your dorm room.  My roommate appreciated my hoarding I guess.

I had plenty of short sleeve shirts but long sleeve shirts were something I was always looking for.  All I had to do was sign up for a 5k and complete it?

Okay sign me up.  Sign me up and I didn’t run an ounce beforehand.

My running history previous to March of 2010 was lackluster. I swam competitively through high school and most of college. I failed the mile countless times in both middle and high school…or passed by a couple of seconds (passing was 12:30 and my mile PR was 12:12). Since 10th-grade gym class I had avoided running like the plague.

I ran twice in the first two years of college. Both times were to “impress” upperclassman on the swim team. It wasn’t impressive and I made a fool out of myself.

During the offseason from swimming, I went to the gym and used the elliptical or lifted weights.  It was nice to keep cardio and strength when I wasn’t swimming.  I didn’t run during the offseason at all. The elliptical and I were friends. Long story short I had no idea what I was getting myself into running the 5k, but the phrase “if it’s free, it’s for me” comes to mind with this race.

The race itself is pretty much a blur.  I don’t remember much other than I didn’t really hate it.

I finished the 5k is around 24 minutes.  I don’t remember the exact time but I remember not dying, texting my shocked dad that I had run a 5k and picked up my free long sleeve shirt.

Of course, I didn’t tell my parents I was running this 5k…I didn’t want them to ask if I didn’t finish… My dad has been running far longer than I have. In fact, he had a big marathon the next week (The Shamrock Marathon). I didn’t want the embarrassment that his daughter couldn’t finish a 5k.

I wore that t-shirt all around the following day.  I was going to wear my badge of honor.

After the race, it wasn’t as if I magically became engrossed in running.  I wasn’t “hooked”. I did realize it wasn’t all that bad and I ran occasionally when it was nice out.  I ran 10-20 miles a week depending on the weather. When it was sunny I would run the same 5k loop around campus.  When it wasn’t nice out, I wouldn’t run.  I would just go to the gym.

I mark St. Patrick’s Day as the official day I got my running start because after that point I considered myself someone who didn’t hate running anymore.  When you fail the mile test multiple times in grade school, it’s hard to like it.

I began to consider myself a runner:

I didn’t run every day.

I didn’t run fast.

I didn’t log my mileage.

I didn’t run when it was cold, windy or not perfect weather.

I had no desires to run with anyone or at a certain time…

I didn’t run any more races until July.

But I ran…and when I did I enjoyed it. 

Crazy to think that was almost a decade ago!

Questions for you:

When did you get your (workout) start?

What are you up to this St. Patrick’s Day?

How to Run with your Significant Other

How to Run with your Significant Other

First, happy Valentines Day! Are you celebrating with a run with your spouse?

As most people know, my husband and I met through running. It’s a hobby we both share. You read the full story here. We both ran long before we knew each other. We aren’t always running together, and there are months we don’t run at all together, but there are also months we run many easy runs.

He is a faster runner, and there are very few periods that we run the same pace, but it is enjoyable to share that time with him. Running allows us to share uninterrupted time together. During the day, it’s hard to find these uninterrupted moments.

When we first met, we went for a runs together. We weren’t running as boyfriend and girlfriend, but just two people that liked to run. Several months later, I found him saying: “I’ll run with my girlfriend”, okay I guess we are dating now.

How to Run with your Significant Other

Many readers have asked: How do you run with your significant other? Or Could you share some tips to make running with my spouse more enjoyable?

Keep in mind, running with a spouse is not always sunshine and butterflies. One of you will always be the slower runner (that’s me!).

I can remember a significant moment in our running relationship. It was our first long run together. I’m a very chatty runner and if you’ve run with me (or even raced), you know I’m yapping all the way. My husband, however, is much quieter when he runs. This took us a few runs to figure out.

We started off doing a 15 mile run in San Antonio, Texas (near where we lived). All of a sudden he was running a few steps in front of me and silent. I began getting irrationally upset. Why were even running together? It was just silence. I continued to get more and more upset until finally I snapped and said:

“I’m tired of this dude running. Men just run in a single file straight line don’t talk much. Women don’t do that”.

(Yes, I called it dude running because it’s exactly how men run together. Silent, in a single line, and then they say it’s quality bonding time).

At the time, I didn’t know his life and running habits, and he didn’t fully know mine. Since then, we’ve had no more escalated running arguments, but my point is: it’s important to know any trainer partners habits.  He wasn’t angry, mad, or sad, that’s just how he ran.

So How do We Run Together?

The Short Answer:

We both put on running shoes and start running.

The Long Answer:

Easy Runs:

More often than not, we run easier mileage together. One of you will always be the slower runner and it’s important to set ground rules and meet in the middle. Like running in a group, it’s important to set ground rules with your running partner. I’ll speed up my pace 10-15 seconds per mile, and he slows down a bit. We agree to try and meet halfway.  That being said, my husband uses a watch even less than I do so we aren’t that numbers-oriented about paces.

Workouts:

My husband and I don’t do hard efforts together because our workout paces are not the same. He is a faster runner and also has different goals. (I like 5k-13.1 while he likes 5k-10k). He also likes trail running where I prefer long distance and the roads. We are usually on different training plans or training and racing for something else.

Occasionally he will do a tempo run with me, but that is the extent of workouts together.  Has he ever done a 400, mile, or hard track workout with me?  Absolutely not.  I know I go from nice to mean in 10 seconds, and so does he.

Racing:

We both like going to races. This year, my goal for racing a la Des Linden is “just show up.”   The fast, the slow, the good, and the bad, I want to be there.  Races for me, are always better workouts than workouts alone.

For us, going to races means we get to spend quality time together as well. We sign up for races together but the critical part here is we don’t race together.

We will warm up and cool down together, but when the clock goes off, we race to our own standards and feeling. The majority of the time, we do not stay together. We both still love each other and love running. Post run or race, we connect back and cool down.

Racing for you is important because if one person is faster, it will create problems to stay on the course together. Part of being with a fellow runner is that you can’t expect to stay together or feel the same every race. It can still be a run date if you aren’t racing together.

Does it stink to be dropped by your husband or a training partner during a race?

Of course, but that is the nature of the sport. We support each other, good or bad race.  We are still husband and wife when we cross the finish line.

This is important for any group running a race together. Someone will feel better, and someone will feel worse. Let them go and don’t be offended. You would want them to let you go too, and you’re still friends (or married at the finish line).

Don’t Be a Sore Winner or Loser.

There is no point to “racing” your spouse or significant other.  I remember one of my husband’s best races in 2017, the Double Bridges 15k. He ran a good amount with me and dropped me like I was standing still. I was so happy for him because he had no business lollygagging with me.  We both crossed the finish, and we were still married.

Running with a significant other can be a fun and pleasant experience. I know my husband and I are fortunate we get to share that.

Finally, don’t force or guilt them into running with you. Don’t take anything personally; sometimes your spouse doesn’t want to run.  You can spend time other ways. Some days I just want my me time and so does he.  That’s okay too!

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:

Do you run with your significant other?

How are you spending Valentine’s Day? 

Steps to Increase Mileage and Stay Healthy

Steps to Increase Mileage and Stay Healthy

As runners, we all want to run more miles and stay healthy.  I used to have the firm belief of more miles=better.  Over the last year and a half, my personal life has gotten much busier. I don’t have the time to dedicate for more and more and more. And that’s okay!  Plus, more is not always better.  I’m doing less than many earlier years and I’ve PRed in both the half and full marathon.

When you begin running, it’s important to increase your mileage slowly. I’ve increased running mileage too fast, only to pay the price with an injury.

After my post about my personal struggles with injury, a few people asked, what are steps to increase mileage and stay healthy?

Please remember, I’m not the “be all end all” of advice, and it’s important to remember what works for you might not work for everyone.  This is just what has worked for me.

Steps to Increase Mileage and Stay Healthy

How to Increase Mileage and Stay Healthy:

Slow and Steady Wins the Race:

If you increase your mileage too quickly, you will get injured and be sidelined.  Follow the 10 Percent Rule to increase in mileage.  If you ran 40 miles last, adding 10% will give you 44. The “10 percent rule” just means increasing your weekly mileage by 10% to avoid increasing too quickly. Make sure to give your body time to adapt to your new training volume or you might end up with a running related injury.

I wasn’t always great with this, and I believe it’s what led to one of my fractures. After 2016, my mileage dropped, and I’ve stayed more healthy.

Decrease with your Increase:

This step has multiple parts

Part 1: Recovery Week:

Every few weeks, it’s important to take a recovery week.  This is one of the hardest things to do as a distance runner!

It’s the golden rule, but your body must rest and recover to build muscle, speed, and endurance.  Personally, I like to add 1-2 more rest days and drop 1 or both of my speed workouts.  There is n set amout of days per week to run, and taking an extra rest day can save your running season. If you continue to increase all of the time, your body will break from an overuse injury.

Over the last three months of training, I’ve had something pop up at least once a week, sometimes twice.  Sudden events have forced a rest day due to “not enough time”. By that, I mean I chose sleep so I can give 100% in other areas in my life.  Most days, it isn’t worth it to me to get 5 hours of sleep, so I can wake up for a run. I’m miserable for the rest of the day.

Part 2: Decrease Your Speed with Increased Mileage

Reducing speed with increased weekly mileage is an important but overlooked fact.  You can’t run the same speed while running 10 miles a week and running 100.  Sprinting a 100-mile week will result in massive fatigue, exhaustion and ultimately injury.

While I didn’t run 100-mile weeks, too much speed is the reason for my first stress fracture.  I ran all of my runs too fast, and my body broke. I thought you needed to run everything race pace. The faster the better right? Wrong!

I was running about 50 miles a week, and more fatigued than when I used to run 70-80.  Now, I rarely even time my easy days. I run with friends, or on a known route. I’ll run 10-minute miles, or 8…it really doesn’t matter as long as my body feels as though it’s easy. Run your easy runs faster rarely helps anything.

If you are worried about pace for an easy run, remember, no one cares. Your ego shouldn’t be the deciding factor for running, but it definitely shouldn’t be your deciding factor for an easy run.  For most easy runs, I leave my GPS watch at home. Did I run 3.1 miles or 3.2?  9:04 pace or 9:06?  The world will never know…

When Increasing Your Weekly Mileage Know your Limits:

Running Injuries don’t typically come out of nowhere.  Know your personal weak spots. Running is a lifelong process, and it takes months to build a strong base.

You don’t build fitness in a day, and you don’t lose it either.

Don’t rush the process because you’ll be sidelined with a minor or major injury.  If you feel a small ache or pain, keep a mental note about it. Make sure it doesn’t increase or become worse. Remember you’re in the sport for the long run (pun intended) so don’t rush the process.

Don’t Forget About Cross Training:

Not everyone has time or wants to coss trianing but adding strength training or a low impact activity can help strengthen your body to withstand the extra weekly mileage.

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:
How many miles do you run weekly?
How do you increase mileage and stay injury free and healthy?

Tips to Get your Workout Done Early

Tips to Get your Workout Done Early

Recently I received a question about running and working out in the morning.   I haven’t always been a “morning runner,” but since graduating college, I’m a morning runner 99% of the time.  There are only a handful of times a year that I run in the afternoon. (In 2019, there were 4..and I count NYCM that started late). If I don’t run before 9 am, chances are I don’t run.  Of course, it doesn’t include races, although I did wish they all started before 9.  Keep in mind, there is no best time to workout. Do what works for you and forget about the rest.

I will be the first to tell you it’s much easier to run in the morning during the summer.  In the summer, it gets light earlier, and it’s warmer.  You don’t feel as though you’re ripping blankets off to go for a run in the dark and cold.  For me, with a constant change of schedule, it’s better for me to get the run done earlier.Tips to Get your Workout Done Early

Here are a Few Ways I Wake Up to Workout:

Turn Off Technology: 

I am known to turn my technology off around 9-9:30 pm.  I might go to bed a little later, but I stop fiddling with the computer, texting, etc.  It allows me to wind down and actually get to bed.  Tweeting at the pillowcase keeps me wide awake.  I started doing that sometime in 2013, and I’ve found it’s much easier to fall asleep. Did I miss your stellar 9 pm Instagram post? Maybe…but I’ll see it in the morning.

Set an Alarm (or 2 or 10):

I’ve adjusted to waking up between 5-5:30 am most mornings.  To be honest, at this point it doesn’t phase me.  However, it didn’t use to be like that, and I needed an alarm to pull me out of bed.  I always recommend setting the alarm.

Check the Weather the Night Before:

Mentally I like to have an idea if I’ll be running inside or outside.  Or if it’s going to be snowing, pouring rain, or windy.  Not all surprises are good ones.

Make Sure. You Have Appropriate Gear Clean:

Many bloggers will tell you to lay your clothing out, and I think that is fantastic advice, however, for me if I have appropriate gear cleaned and findable, I consider it a good day.  My life and gym clothes are not always ever “social media flat lay photo ready”.  Usually, it’s in my drawer, and I’m mindlessly grabbing things to put on. Sorry, I don’t match… I really don’t care.

Phone a Friend:

Meet someone for a workout. There have been several times that I wouldn’t have worked out if I wasn’t meeting a friend. Don’t underestimate the power of numbers.

Consistency is Key:

Sometimes we want to change but aren’t willing to give it time.  Give your new routine for at least 2 weeks.  If after two weeks, it’s not for you, find something that is!

Finally, remember this…there is no right or wrong time to workout. If you prefer a lunch or evening workout, that’s cool!  Don’t stress about it and choose that best time that fits into your needs.

Questions for you:
What time do you like to workout?
Do you have any methods to wake up in the morning?

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