Training Update: Physical and Mental

Last week was the first time in a while, I had any inclination to run. As I’ve mentioned, the last few weeks have been extremely busy for me (outside of working out).  In anti-runner blogger form, I didn’t miss running in the slightest.

In Early May, my in-laws and parents came up.  Then my husband came home.  Finally, last week I got to see my brother, Matt, who I haven’t seen in two years due to him being overseas.

Working out has been anything but at the top of my mind lately.  Yet, I’ve gone to the gym a few times, and somehow I have found time to maintain a running blog while not running.  Oddly enough, I still enjoy blogging.

Due to the nature of how busy I’ve been this month, I’ve been out of the running store for most of May too.  Mentally, it was probably good to be out of the store although I do miss my friends and coworkers.

Anyways, back to workouts! To be honest, I had to look back on my Instagram this week and remember exactly which days I did what.

Monday:  Rest
Tuesday:  Short Core workout
Wednesday:  Short Core Workout
 Thursday:  1 Hour Strength Class
 Friday:  Rest
 Saturday:  1 Hour Strength Class
 Sunday:  1 Hour Elliptical

Yesterday, I ran 4 miles with my brother.  No watch, but probably around 10 min pace.  I felt okay.  Is it the start of running again?  Maybe, maybe not but he asked if I wanted to run and I said ok.

Throughout the years, this blog has taken many different turns. 

I’ve swam…

I’ve run…

I’ve blogged through college…

I’ve blogged through working in a public health office…

Most recently, I’ve blogged about working in a running store and well, running!

As my life and interests evolve, so does blogging!  I’m not saying I’m giving up running competitively and I’m not giving up blogging, but it’s important (for me) to take a step back and say: I need to do this for myself, not how those on social media want/need.  Fueledbylolz is a journey of my life and training.  I originally started my blog to reflect upon my journey not to make a career or please readers (although it’s great to find people who share similar interests!)

With all of this rambling, this turned out to be more of a mental update than a training update but we need those too.

In short, last week was a good workout week for where I’m at in life.  I’ve already run this week and it was ok.

Posts from the Week:

26 Pairs of Running Shoes Later

Visiting New York City

Questions for you:

How many years have been blogging?  I’m coming up on 6 in August!  :O

What was your best workout last week?

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Training Last Week: November Project and Runner’s World Festival

The majority of last week was spent running easy and getting ready for the Runners World Festival.  While I knew, both courses were difficult, and I’m not in shape to PR yet, I wanted to feel somewhat fresh.  All of that was thrown out of the window when we did a new workout the day before.  Honestly, it was fun, and I’m okay with that.

Monday: Easy Run
Tuesday: Easy Run
Wednesday: Easy Run with Montana before she moved
Thursday: Rest
Friday: November Project
Saturday: Runners World Festival 5k (18:41)
Sunday Runners World Festival 13.1 (1:24.17)

Easy Runs:
As usual, there is nothing much to say about easy runs.  There was nothing particularly good or bad about them.  Soon, I think I’ll be ready to add an additional speed workout back into my routine.  I’ve been running healthy for over two months, and my base is just about back.

November Project:
Any runner has likely heard of November project.  I had beforehand, but I had never done a workout before. I knew it was intense and it didn’t disappoint.  There was a Pop Up in Bethlehem at the Runner’s World Festival.  All of the Runners World Influencers were asked to attend, and it was great to meet a lot of people. We had to climb the Steel stack stairs, do push-ups and dips and a lot of core work.  It was a lot of fun, and I don’t regret going, but I was definitely sore for the races!

November Project
Climbing the Steel Stack Stairs

Runners World Festival 5k: 18:41
I’ll have a full recap this week, but I’m happy with the time.  The course is hilly, and after November project I have no complaints.  My splits were 6:16, 5:45 and 6:02. I placed fourth woman overall.

Runners World Festival 13.1 (1:24.17)

Runners World Half Marathon
Thanks to Erica Sara for this photo

The half marathon was honestly my biggest shock of the weekend.  My hopeful goal was to be faster than the 1:28 I ran in 2015.  I couldn’t believe when I crossed the finish line in 1:24.  I never felt good during the race (tired legs and lack of sleep) but I never felt bad either.

Thoughts:
I’m really happy with how this week went and I have zero complaints.  I had a great time at the Runners World Festival and two great races.  This week will probably be filled with Runners World Festival race recaps and behind the scenes recaps too.

Posts from last week:
Fall Running Products I’m Enjoying
LunarGlide 8 Review
6 Weeks of Deployment Later…

Questions for you:
Do you do better at hilly race courses or flat?
I’m beginning to think I run better on hilly half marathon courses.  This was my third fastest half marathon behind Carlsbad and Atlantic City (2014).  Carlsbad was a rolling hilly (to me) course too.
How was your week of training? 

Carlsbad Half Marathon (1:22.57)

Last weekend I ran the Carlsbad half marathon.  Since taking a vacation last February (if going to run a marathon counts), I had been eying taking another vacation this winter.  It’s no secret I don’t like the cold, and I’ll run on the treadmill before running in 20 degrees.

My husband and I booked tickets a while ago and later realized the Carlsbad half marathon was the same weekend. Originally, we had not planned to do any race.

Personally, I don’t care for traveling to races.  I have found them more of a hassle and would prefer to sleep in my bed.  That being said, I’ve also had unfortunate luck with my race traveling.  We decided to take the race seriously, but was it a goal race?  No.

Anyways, we got to the San Diego and picked up our race bibs the Friday before.  It was easy and a streamlined process.  Going into the race, I didn’t know a lot about the course or area.  To be honest, I thought because it was on the beach it would be flat and fast.  That is how both Virginia Beach and New Jersey coastal races are…Once starting the race, I realized that wasn’t quite the case.

By some miracle, I was able to sleep in until 5 am west coast time.  We arrived at the race at 6:45, parked and were off at 7:45.  The race started in a mall parking lot, so there was plenty of parking.

me carlsbad half marathon

I realized during the first mile; it wasn’t as flat as I thought.  carlsband half marathon elevation

We went over an overpass which took me by surprise.  I kept an even pace and hit the first mile in 6:22.  Despite going uphill (versus last week’s race), I ran the same first mile.

By the second mile, I began gauging who was around me.  There was a pack of women about 30 seconds in front of me, a few men around me.  The second mile was flat, and I ran it in 6:09.

By the third mile, I was around a pack of people.  We began running along the beach, and it was windy.  I’ve run several races along the beach in both NJ and VA, but this was different.  The waves were huge, and we were elevated significantly.  The third mile went by in 6:12 and I felt great.

During the fourth and fifth mile, we were joined on the course by the marathoners.  Honestly, this was hard for both sets of racers.  The marathoners started 90 minutes before us, and the last thing they wanted around mile 17 was half marathoners joining them on an undivided course.  The half marathoners were going a different pace, so it didn’t seamlessly match either.  Both miles had significant hills that I wasn’t unexpecting, but I ran them in 6:20 and 6:18.

During mile 6 I focused on getting to the halfway point.  The course is essentially out and back, so you knew the route you were running on the way back.  My Garmin had hit every mile about .1 before the mile markers (similar to those around me).

I hit the halfway point in 41:00.  I knew my Gamin was ahead of the official course and honestly I thought by Garmin I would PR but officially I would not.

I struggled on the sixth mile with the wind and the course elevation.  I passed one of the top female marathoners who had her own section of the course.  I was alone and ran the mile in 6:24. I thought “If I could hold a 6:24 pace, I can PR because of earlier miles.”

The 7-8th mile were similar to the 4th and 5th but in opposite directions.  This time, other racers were cheering, and it was motivating. I ran mile 7 in 6:11 and mile in 6:18.  I was slowly building confidence that I could finally PR or, at least, get close.

During mile 9, we climbed another hill.  I noticed a female that was close in front.  I thought I could try and reel her in so I focused on that.  The race had Ultima instead of Gatorade, and I grabbed some at a water stop.  I ran a 6:21 mile.

I hit the 10-mile point in 1:02.46.  To my knowledge that is my fastest 10-mile time as well and about 3 minutes faster than the Icicle 10 miler a week ago.

Miles 11 and 12 were the toughest.  I told myself at mile 10; anything can happen for the last 5k.  Anything happens in a 5k…I ran both miles in 6:32 and they were by far the hardest both mentally and physically.

I hit mile 12 around 1:16.  I had done improper math and thought I needed to run the last 1.1 in a total of 6:23 minute to PR.  For the next 10 seconds I was upset, but quickly realized I had a whole bonus minute.  I charged the last mile and worked as hard as I could.  I wanted to PR, and I gutted it out.

I crossed the finish in 1:22.57 and as 13th women overall.

Thoughts:

To be honest, I’m both surprised and elated with a PR.  I had originally thought the course was flat and fast, but there is a lot of the wind as well as hills to deal with.  I loved how scenic the course was.  My legs also felt a little bit tight, and I’m wondering if that is from traveling.  I’m excited with a half marathon PR.  I do believe that I have an even faster time on a flat course…but don’t we all think we have a faster time?

T and I

Questions for you:
Have you tried Ultima before?
Do you like racecations or do you prefer racing around your local area?
Honestly, I would rather go on a vacation versus worry about racing too.  I’m glad this race was early because now we don’t have to worry as much about food, logistics and sleep.

Resolution Run 5k (18:22)

On New Years Day I ran the Resolution Run in Virginia Beach.  For the last several years the race was called Hair of the Dog.

5k pr

I’ve run it several times (2012, 2013, 2015), but the 2016 race changed race directors with a new name.  Dad and I decided to try to win the formal wear title.  Sadly we did not win.  The women who won was far more dressed up than us and deserved to win!  The dress I chose is actually from Wet Seal.

dad and I

The race started at 10 and honestly I was okay with the later start.  Normally that is a little late for me, but I was exhausted and preferred to catch up on an extra few hours of sleep.  I warmed up two laps around Mount Trashmore which was about 4 miles.  I saw several local friends which was nice.

I quickly changed into my dress and headed to the start.  The race went off at 10:02.  Even though it was an “inaugural race” it didn’t feel like it and everything went smoothly.  Immediately after the race started, I found myself as first women overall.  There was a pack of several males in front of me, including local legend Steve S.  I felt better than anticipated and hit my first mile in 5:47.  After I hit the first mile, the wheels began turning that I could possibly PR.  I was actually more shocked than anything.  My fastest mile in over two years (granted I really haven’t raced a mile all out).

The course was out and back, and I knew the second half would be windier.  I hit the turn around in 9:06.  While making the sharp 180, I lost traction and nearly wiped out.  One male took the turn much better and passed me.  After the turn around I focused on the two men directly in front.  I passed actually passed them and hit the second mile in 5:55.

The third mile consisted of riding the pain train home.  I wanted a PR, so badly.  By the third mile, I knew I was in contention to earn it.  We passed many people going the opposite direction who were cheering.  I zoned out and hit the third mile in 6:04.

Thank you Ally for this photo
Thank you, Ally, for this photo

As I saw the clock strike 18:00 during the last .1, I knew I was going to PR.  I had the last .1 to stare at the clock and relish in my personal victory. A complete course is important after my near miss of a PR with a short course at the Bone Run.  I crossed the line in 18:22 which is a 13-second lifetime PR and 26 second recent PR.

Resolution Run

Thoughts:

I still cannot believe I Pred. It honestly feels surreal. I felt good, but the race didn’t seem effortless. I do think I have a faster race ahead sometime in 2016, but it feels awesome to start 2016 off with a solid race.

Questions for you:
Have you ever done a themed race?
How was your New Years Eve and New Years Day?

November Training

Month of November Training: 

Total miles: 275
Shortest run: 2.5-mile warmup
Longest run: 15.1 miles
Range of Paces: 5:54-10:45-untimed**
Fastest mile since August 2014

Thank you Erica for the photo!
Shortest run: 2.5 miles cooldown
Longest run: 15 miles
Favorite run:
6X1 mile repeats made me feel strong
Favorite Race:
I don’t have a favorite race per say, but I’ll default to the Medford Colonies 5k (18:48). It was my fastest 5k of the month, despite not feeling the greatest.

medford colony turkey trot

Races:
Nov 8: A Bold 5k (19:34)
Nov 14: Memorial 5k (19:30)
Nov 15: KISS 5k (19:00)
Nov: 18 Base Turkey Trot (19:23)
Nov 22: Philadelphia Half Marathon (1:25)
Nov 26: Medford Colonies 5k (18:48)
Nov 27: Haddon Township 5k (19:23)

Thoughts:
I was surprised that I had a few fairly fast races. While I did a mini-taper for the Philadelphia, I was untapered for all of them. In my October training post, I mentioned I plan to train through all of my races this month. I essentially did just that.

me run 5k

I did fall by the wayside more than I would like in core and extra strength.  I stayed healthy through November, but I know if I don’t keep core/strength somewhat regular with my running I’m bound to get injured again.

December thoughts:

I have a few races this December.  As the months get colder, the fewer races exist in the area.  The weather is unpredictable, and we close roads if there is ice.  Plus considering I fell on a gorgeous day in September, I don’t think racing on ice is my thing.  I’ll still be running and racing often, but there won’t be as many two races in one weekend.  I have a few 5ks in mind that I hope one will bring the PR I’ve been chasing.

I also plan to get back into the little things such as strength, plyo, and core.  Through November, I gradually stopped doing those things.  While I’m not injured now, I do know I will head that way if I let it completely go.

In summary, I’m happy with how November went.  I do feel like a broken record, but I’m looking forward to seeing how December goes, hopefully with a PR.

Questions for you:

What is your fitness related goal of December?

Do you have any family plans for the Holidays?  Are you traveling or staying home? 

Lessons Learned from Running

I’ve been running for about five years now. I’m not a professional; I’m not an expert, and I’m certainly not a coach. Throughout my five years, I’ve learned several lessons both the easy way and the hard way.  Lately I’ve had time to reflect on a few lessons I’ve learned.

lessons learned from running

Here are a few more pieces of advice and information I’ve picked up the last few years of running.

The most important rule:

Get the right shoes.

Compared to many other sports, running is not an expensive sport.

However, your shoes will be the most expensive. The majority of people do not need inserts nor is it necessary for a 200 dollar shoe. When being fitted, you should expect to pay between 120-150 for a pair. For your first pair of shoes, it’s important to have a quick and painless gait analysis. Most any local running store can do it. From there they will determine the most appropriate shoes for you. If you look for the cheapest option online, and they don’t work for you, you are not going to be running.

There's a shoe for that...
There’s a shoe for that…

On the same line, there is a shoe for everyone. For example, some people can get away running in Nike Frees. 99.9% of us can’t.

Start Easy

Before I ran, I was a swimmer. Swimming puts a lot less pressure on your bones, joints and body in general. Collegiate swimming had us in the pool every day from 2-4 hours. If you ran 4 hours daily, you would end up with multiple stress fractures and injuries.

Technical Fabric

If you can run in cotton and not chafe, this does not apply to you. Certain fabrics can prevent blisters, chafing and being uncomfortable. These days there are windproof jackets, jackets that light up and glow in the dark and jackets that allow you to run in -30. None of these things you need but if they make you happy…go for it.

So much winter technology...
So much winter technology…

Set small goals and keep a training log:

Reaching smaller goals keeps your motivation strong. If you feel as though you’ve been chasing the same larger goals for months or years…maybe it’s time to set a smaller goal. Similarly, you don’t know what is working if you aren’t recording it.  You cannot make it to the top of the mountain in one step, you have to take a series of steps.

My goal ladder during my first stress fracture.
My goal ladder during my first stress fracture.

Finally: The most Important.”

Everyone is a runner. Whether you are running 4-minute miles or running your first mile ever. You are a runner whether you like it or not.

Runners everywhere!
Runners everywhere!

Question for you:

What are some lessons you have learned about running or life?

If you have any questions, for someone who works at a running store…let me know! 🙂 

 

Adding Track Workouts

I’ve been doing a lot of workouts lately.  While Thinking out loud, track workouts is something fairly new to me, and it is taking my body time to adjust too.  Doing speed workouts is something I’ve neglected for a while, so I am excited to reap the benefits.

My History: Three years ago my weekly training cycle consisted of a tempo run and race.   It worked well for me, and I was in the best shape of my life.  In fact, I Pred in everything!  With a lot of goal and life changes, I neglected speed and ran easy.  After a few injuries and regression in my running, I realized my current training was not working out.   

So in July, I decided to try something new but also terrifying: The Track!

Adding Track Workouts

I work at a running store, and I always hear about the benefits of track workouts but yet could not force them into my training.

Why not?  I’m not sure.  

Did I fear injury?  Did I fear failure?  Well, to be honest, my previous training was failing me anyways…

Before July, I had only been to the track a handful of times.  I had done a few mile repeats but never anything significant on the track.  After a few weeks of going to the track once a week, something magical happened…I began to like going!  Speed workouts have quickly become my favorite workout of the week!

While I haven’t seen the improvement I would like, I have slowly started to see improvement.  Now on my worst race days (which have been more frequent due to life), I’m now running faster than my best days earlier in the year. So I see progress but know it will take a lot of consistency to see more progress, though.

Here are some great articles with more speed workouts.
3 Speed Workouts for Beginners
4 Fun Speed Workouts

Here are some workouts I’ve done over the course of the last three months: 

12x400s with 1:30 rest, similarly 16x400s with 1 min rest

3x1mile repeats, 4×1 mile repeats

2×800, 2×600, 2×400, 2×200,2×400

2×2 miles with two mins rest

What’s my favorite workout? 

I like to keep it simple.  I must admit my favorite workouts are 400s.  They are simple, easy and straight to the point. I can easily reflect and see progression or even regression.

The other factor that has been helping my speed work is my Garmin 220.  I can program all my workouts because I can set the distance I want and the rest period.  The watch will beep and keep everything together for me. There is no hiding or “extra rest”…I do believe it was the best purchase I’ve made for my personal running in a while.

I plan to keep doing speed work and racing through the fall. I enjoy my current method, and I’m in the best spot mentally I’ve been in a few years. Like I said on Sunday, my only problem now is finding a track to use during the school year.

Question for you: What is your favorite speed or track workout?