Training Update: More Reflecting than Training

Last week a combination of life and reflection happened.  I realized I am diving too quickly into training.  This post is lengthy and more of a reflection than a training post.  If you want the training side: I ran 25 easy, uneventful, miles.

If you want the reflection side…here we go.

As funny as it sounds, I’m not as young as I used to be and also not a new runner.  Due to my awkward form, I’m more susceptible to injury too.  I’m not sure why I thought increasing mileage and adding racing was a good idea but it’s not.

Unsurprisingly from jumping into training too quickly, everything feels achy.  While I could continue to increase mileage, I would probably increase those aches.  Running is funny that you think you can get away with things…sometimes you can, but 99% of the time it humbles you later.

Right now, nothing is injured but quite frankly I don’t feel good running. I have a gut feeling I would get injured soon if I didn’t change something. I’ve decided to actually go about getting back into running the smart way. 

How will I do that?

Instead of increasing mileage, I’m going to keep my mileage low.  In fact, I’m not going to race again for a few weeks.   Currently, I am achy, tight and sore, plus I don’t feel great.

I would like to be glamorous and say I’m coming back from my running break well but the truth is, I’m not.  That’s fine and I’m not upset about it.  Last week, I wrote a post about coming back easy and not comparing yourself to anyone (including yourself).  If I can’t take my own advice, I have no business writing posts about it.

I’ve also been talking to one of my post-collegiate coaches and mentors frequently.  While running with him a while ago, I ran well (in the 2012-2013 time frame).  Life happened and I moved 4 times in 2014 and didn’t run very competitively either.  After that, I remained coachless until last year.

We have been talking more regularly the last few weeks, and he suggested taking 2 weeks off and using the antigravity treadmill, and building mileage from there.

He also knows my early running history better than anyone (and knows my history now too).  While I don’t need a coach right now, I am talking to him consistently and would like to give credit.  When I’m looking for a structured plan, he will probably be the first person I will seek (and he knows that, so thanks Jim 🙂

On the personal life side, for the rest of June and possibly even July, my life is going to get extremely busy.  Due to my husband’s job, it’s not something I can talk about online and will never be able too.  I will still work regularly at my running store job but will be doing a lot more again outside of that. I don’t like vague blogging, but saying “I’m busy” will have to suffice.  ETA: I’m excited about this change and no one is forcing me to do anything.   

That being said, this summer probably won’t be the summer of hard training.  I won’t say definitely not, but I doubt I will train and run hard. It will make my running blog more boring because I’ll be running and racing far less (if any).  Heck, I don’t even have children or pets to talk about. I’ll run when I have time, but with the summer heat, my only time might be a quick hour in the middle of the day (in that case, I won’t run or run on the antigravity treadmill).   If I’m going to run on a treadmill at all, might as well as be in style right?

For the first time in a while, I am 100% okay with not training seriously.  Six months ago if I had been thrown the same situation, I would have begun to stress out with cramming runs into that situation.  Right now, I’m okay with not getting into serious training right now.

Below is last week of running.  It doesn’t feel like a lot but to be honest, it’s probably the most I’ll log outdoors for a while.

Monday: Easy 5 miles
Tuesday: OFF
Wednesday: Easy 5 miles
Thursday: Easy 5 miles
Friday: Easy 5 miles
Saturday: OFF
Sunday: Easy 5 miles

Total: 25 miles

So yes that was a lot of life updates.  If you just scrolled to the bottom: you missed that I’m backing off running seriously for a while, ran 25 miles last week, and going to be busy for the next 2 months.  I’ll still blog and I’ll still run but probably nothing more than 5-6 miles and minimal if any racing.

Posts from the Week:

The Importance of Easing Back into Training

HT 3.9 (26:12) miler Race Recap

Questions for you:

Are you training for anything?

When is your favorite time to run?

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HT 3.9 (26:12) miler Race Recap

Where to begin with this race recap?

This race was doomed from the beginning.  I still had an enjoyable time, but there were so many snafus that it’s hard to even be mad.  Due to some personal afternoon obligations, I had a rare Saturday off.  I was able to do most any race in the local area, and it didn’t have to rely on an early start time.

Unfortunately race wise, this actually did me no favors, and it was both hot and humid at the start.  By 10 am, it was already in the high 80s with the humidity at 99%.

But a race is a race, and my only goal is to keep trucking along.  Any race I finish injury free is good in my books. My husband and I warmed up, and before the race, I had already sweat through my entire outfit.  As someone who doesn’t sweat a whole heck of a lot, I knew it was going to be hot.

We lined up at the race start, and the race organizers told us to make sure the chip was on our left shoe.  As we were waiting, they announced everyone was facing the wrong way, and we needed to turn around and move the chip to our right shoe.  By this time, it was 15 minutes after the scheduled race start, and I was dehydrated.

Finally; they announced the race, and we were off.  There were dozens of people in front of me, which made it easy to follow at the start.  During the first half mile, we did a giant circle which actually caused us to cross paths and potentially collide with other racers going the opposite direction.  I crossed the first mile in 6:20 and was pleasantly surprised.  The course was relatively hilly, so I was excited to potentially break 20 minutes again on a difficult course.  Little did I know what the next 2.9 miles would hold.

During the second mile, we began running a loop.  By this point, a small pack had formed including my personal friend, Brittany and several men.  As we passed one volunteer, he told us to keep going.  We followed, and by the time I knew it, we had done a full loop and were starting the second loop.

I was now running by myself with several people following me.  I directly asked the volunteer again which way to go, and he said to continue this way.  I had a sinking feeling it was not accurate. I said: “I’ve already run one loop” and he said I still went that way.  I hit the second mile in 6:27.

Several people followed me.  Another volunteer then directed me into a parking lot and all of a sudden I found myself in someone’s back yard.  I stopped for a second and just turned around and went back to the same loop I had already run twice.  By that point, I had lost several people, and it was just myself and another guy running together.  I saw the pack of women I had run with further ahead, so I was able to somewhat follow them.

As I approached the third mile, the volunteer directing told us to turn there.  I knew I didn’t need the extra mileage because I was already longer.  I asked him: “what about the other people running straight to the finish?”  He laughed at said: they are going the wrong way.

I turned and headed around the lake. My watch beeped 3 miles, and I knew it was probably going to be another mile to go.

As I finally saw the finish line, we did a giant loop around a parking lot.  My friend, Brittany, came back and directed me to the finish line.  She had still run longer but had been directly to about 3.4.  I crossed the finish in 26:12 and with stops had an overall pace of 6:42.

The race director was friendly and apologized for all of the issues.  To be honest, I wasn’t looking for “the best race ever” but a good workout.  Of course, it’s frustrating to have so many issues with a single race but if that is the worst thing to happen that day, I’m okay with it.  I still had an enjoyable time hanging out with friends and supporting a local community.

It does give me confidence, I’m in sub 20-minute fitness when I have a good race.

Questions for you:

Have you ever run and get lost?

What is your ideal race start time?

I like 5ks that start between 7:30-8:30 am.  I prefer half marathons to start at 7:00 am.

Workouts Last Week: Back to Running

Last week was my first substantial week of running.  I increased my mileage a bit more than I anticipated but I felt good and didn’t have any issues.  Right now, I’ll probably find a local race weekly and work on chipping my 5k back down to where it was prior my break.  I won’t add much solo speed for a while.  It will be a long road to get back to where I was physically, but more importantly I’m already mentally back.

Monday: 3 miles+15 minute core workout
Tuesday: 3 miles+ 15-minute core workout
Wednesday: 6 miles with Montana
Thursday: 6 miles with my husband
Friday: 3 miles+strength class
Saturday: 5k (21:00) Total miles: 9
Sunday: 6 miles with Laura

On Saturday, my husband and I chose to race a 5k.  We had briefly discussed it on Friday but I got a migraine and went to bed early that night.  I slept from 8 pm-6 am.  I woke up groggy and to be honest, I didn’t feel ready to race.  My husband turned to me and asked: So when are we leaving…so I decided I guess that would be the day I would jump back into it.

I know downtown Wilmington well, and suspected the course wasn’t flat.  What I didn’t realize, was it would probably be one of the top 5 hardest 5k courses I’ve done in a while.  Not because I haven’t been running, or it was hot but because it had an uphill climb.  That being said, I raced the course and my ability.  I had no goals other than to finish healthy (which I did).  I ended up finishing in 21:00 exactly and as third female overlal.  My husband actually won the race in 18:30 (which is about 60-90 seconds slower than what he has been running…so it gives me confidence the course was actually difficult…plus GPS watches don’t lie…right ;)?

Next week I plan to keep chipping along.  I don’t plan to increase mileage too much (if at all).  I just plan to continue strengthening my base.

Posts from the week:

A Day in the Life on Global Running Day

Benefits of Adding Protein after Running

Questions for you:

How was your week of training?

What is the hilliest race you’ve done?

Benefits of Adding Protein after Running

I have read many articles about the importance of adding protein after running.  However, during many other training cycles, I let life get in the way.  I packed runs in before work or events. Getting the proper nutrition, stretching and “the little things,” fell through the cracks.  Half of the time, I was lucky to make it to where I needed to go on time.

This particular training cycle (what I’m actually training for is TBD), I have made an effort to do the little things like having protein after a run or core work.  Am I perfect?  No, but in the past few weeks, I’ve been more consistent.

As most people know by now, Quest Bars are my favorite protein bars. Recently they released three new bars called Hero Bars.  The Hero Quest Bars are different from their regular protein bars and cereal bars.

 

How so?

Every Quest Hero Protein Bar features a sweet, chocolatey coating, and a gooey filling and with a protein core.  They resemble candy bars versus the typical protein bars.

I tried each one:

quest hero bars

My favorite is the Chocolate Caramel Pecan.  It resembles a candy bar!

quest hero bar chocolate caramel pecan

So how have I been incorporating protein after my diet?

Thinking out loud, it’s actually obvious and I’ve been having a protein bar after each run (no matter the distance) and I seem to be coming back well.  I’m nowhere near PRing shape, but I’ve gone from struggling during 4 mile runs to running 6 miles like no big deal (well, I’ll leave it at running 6 miles).

What are benefits of consuming protein directly after a run?

Protein helps speed muscle repair after hard workouts (right now that is every run) which lead to faster recovery.

It also reduces the response from cortisol.  Cortisol is the stress hormone.  While I have another post about this soon, I recently got blood work done again, and my cortisol is lower than it’s been in a very long time!

Thanks to Quest for sponsoring this post.  All opinions are my own and I find the Quest Hero bars to be my favorite way to consume protein after a run.  They are easy to carry in a bag (when I don’t run from home) and easy to digest.  Since originally trying them, I have bought several boxes and continue to have a bar after each run.

Questions for you:

Do you consume protein after runs?

What are little things you find that help your running?

Workouts: Swimming and Strength Training

Another week of workouts down.  As most readers know by now, I’m currently not running.  Some days, there is a twinge of excitement to run again, but some days I want nothing to do with the sport.  This break has been nothing but good.  I don’t feel jealous of others running and don’t feel the need to “do something.”  Although this week was a high volume of workouts for where I’m currently at.

Right now, I’m getting more into lifting and strength classes than I’ve done in the last few years.

Workouts Last Week:

Monday: Swimming: 1 mile
Tuesday: 45 Minute Strength Class
Wednesday: Rest
Thursday: 45 Minute Strength Class
Friday: Swimming 1 mile
Saturday: Body Pump Class
Sunday: Walking Around NYC

As many readers know, before running, I swam.  Then, I burnt out, and in the last few years, I’ve gotten in the pool less than a week of college swimming.  After graduating, I decided I would try and swim a mile every year.  It’s the distance I used to race, and it seems like an achievable/attainable goal.

My strength classes have been going well.  I’m just working on getting stronger as I figure out when I want to run again.  I like to go to a class because I know I’m getting an all body workout, versus me pretending to know what I’m doing in the gym.

Other then that, it’s been a quiet week.  My husband came home from a deployment on Thursday, so workouts weren’t the focus this week.  tim and i

We decided to take a try up to NYC and explore.

Thoughts:

I’m currently trying to figure out what I want to do with running and training right now.  My body has needed this rest period.  I thought I would probably want to run by now, but the truth is, I don’t!  At first, I compared myself to other people.  Why does X only need a day off and they love running again?  Then I realized, I’m the same way with marathons.

I need a lot more time to recover from a marathon (at least a month!), and I need a lot more time to recover from a burnout and find my enjoyment out of running again.  Do you know what?  That’s cool. Rushing back into running will just result in a bigger burnout or injury.

Post from the week: NonRunning Workout Ideas (Apparently I haven’t been blogging much either)

Questions for you:

How long do you typically take off from running?

Have you ever been to NYC? 

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? 

Workouts Last Week:

While I’m not training or running right now, last week I made an effort to get to the gym.    Which to be honest, is more than I’ve done since the April Fools Half Marathon three weeks ago.  My break from running has been nice, that I’m still mentally recharging.

I like running a lot. But like anything, it’s important to take a break from it.  You can read more about my burnout here.  I’ve always found, injury or not, I come back stronger and run faster races after an extended break.  Plus I’m happier with the sport and want to run!

So What Have I Been up too on the Fitness Front?

Monday: OFF
Tuesday: 6 mile walk wondering Philadelphia
Wednesday: Body Pump class
Thursday: 30 minute Nike Training App
Friday: OFF
Saturday: Body Pump Class
Sunday: 30 minute Nike Training App

On Tuesday, mom and I went into Philadephia and walked around the city.  We walked about 6 miles and I was exhausted.  Honestly, I give people credit who walk more that much daily,  I slept soundly that night.

Cardio wise, that was by far my most active day in the last few weeks.

I’ve actually been getting more into strength and core work.  My arms and core is a constant state of jello.  I’ve done a couple of “body pump” classes which I like as well as some core.  I’m not a coach, physical trainer or anything of that nature so I can’t give out advice but can tell you what I’ve been doing.

Core Workouts:

One of my favorite workouts is the Nike Training Club App.  The app gives 15-45 minute workouts.  They have about 100+ different strength workouts from core, to glutes, to arms.  They are sponsoring this post, I just like them a lot and have logged over 1000 lifetime minutes on the app.

What’s Next?

I have no plans to run next week.  I think I’ll start running sometime in June or July.  Right now, I’m enjoying getting stronger and focusing on other aspects of life.

Posts from the Week:
My Running Burnout
Getting Enough Fiber
A Week with Family
Happy Mothers Day

Questions for you:
How was your week of workouts?
What is your favorite strength workout?