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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The Importance of Easing Back into Training

Whether you are coming back from an injury or just time off, getting back into shape isn’t always the most enjoyable thing.  I like running. However, the feeling of being out of shape and always tired isn’t pleasant.

This particular return, it’s also been incredibly hot.  Thinking out loud, when I left running a few short months ago, most of my runs were in pouring rain and the cold.  Now it’s hot and humid.  To be honest, during my break I also didn’t do a lot of cross-training, so I did also lose quite a bit of fitness.  My first 5k back, I ran at a pace slower than the half marathon I consider to be unsuccessful.  My second 5k I got lost, but I do think I made some sort of improvement.  When I left running, I could run 18:30-18:40 5ks like no big deal.  Currently, I believe I could push myself as hard as possible for a 20:00 5k (but it probably would need to be a flat, fast and ideal day).

But like anything in life, it’s important not to compare yourself to anyone, including yourself.  Some people can jump right into training and never lose fitness.  I’m definitely not one of those people.  

During my run, I didn’t run, I didn’t cross train much and gained a little bit of weight.  I also didn’t care about any of these things.  That just makes getting back into shape harder.

So What are Important Aspects to Remember?

Easy Runs are Important:

You don’t have to run fast at all.  Whether they are coming back from an injury, a rest period of anything else, too many people makes the mistake of running too fast.  It doesn’t matter if you are in shape or not, if you train fast all of the time, you will set yourself up for an injury.  In fact, running too fast all of the time is how I got my first tibia stress fracture.  Easy runs are what build you stronger.  It’s especially important for me, this time because I’m not coming back from anything broken and don’t have something especially suspectable to breaking by doing too much.

Don’t Compare Yourself:

As humans, there is always something to compare ourselves too.  Every article or blog I’ve ever read always says “don’t compare yourself”, but that is so much easier said than done.Whether it’s while running or not.  Don’t compare yourself to yourself either.

With fitness, you are always at a different point journey.  We are never in the exact same fitness level all of the time, and it’s important to recognize that.   Don’t train how you once trained.  You have to build up to the fitness you were once at.  Determine your paces and realistic goals from where you are right now, not 3 months ago.

Slow and Steady Wins the Base Race:

Many times, after I begin running again, I want to go as fast or run as much as possible all of the time.  That is unintelligent and going to result in an injury.  Ease into training and allow yourself to slowly build your base.  Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is fitness.

No matter where you left, getting back into shape is challenging.  It’s not effortless or streamline.  Perhaps a better reminder for myself more than anything!

Other posts:

What to do Between Training Cycles

NonRunning Workout Ideas

Question for you: Have you ever taken time off of fitness entirely?

 

Training Log: Adding Mileage and Racing

My goal for the next few weeks is to slowly build mileage while hopefully racing.  While I know none of the races will be PRs, or close, they will serve their purpose as workouts.  I’ll adjust to running 3 quicker miles a week, with the rest of the miles being anywhere between 8:30-10 minute miles.  If I charge my watch and use it for half of my runs, I’ll consider it a success.

As I come back from my break, my goal is to do so healthily.  Overdoing it isn’t going to build fitness any faster and it will just set me up for an injury (or five).  As someone who is already injury prone, I don’t need more odds against me.

This week went well, and I did exactly what I wanted.  Even though it was extremely hot and humid, I was able to motivate myself get through runs.

Monday: 6 miles
Tuesday: OFF
Wednesday: 3 miles
Thursday: 7 miles
Friday: 5 miles
Saturday: Holy Angels 5k (3.9 miles)  26:12
 Sunday: OFF

All of my weekday runs were smooth and uneventful.  By 6 am, the temperature was already in the 80s, so I tried to get them done as soon as possible.  I felt like I had run a marathon by how tired I was after running in the heat.

The race on Saturday was eventful to say the least.  I’ll have a race recap later in the week but it was first time race that started late (and a 10 am start is late enough) and had over 10 turns and only a handful of volunteers.  Needless to say, most course participants got extremely lost and I ended up running 3.9 miles.  I’m still happy with my race efforts and live to race another day.

In other running news, I was accepted to be an ambassador for Rabbit Apparel.  I’ve liked their apparel since first trying it about 6 months ago.  I’ve also had nothing but positive interactions with members of the team as well as the brand and company.  When they announced ambassador applications, I knew it was a company I wanted to apply too.  I haven’t been an ambassador for an apparel company in awhile, but I’m looking forward to starting a new path with Rabbit.

If anyone was interested in trying out a piece of clothing, you can use this link and receive 10% off!

This now means I’ll represent both Rabbit and CEP Compression.  I stand behind both brands of making high-quality products and being great people as well.

Posts from the week:

Brooks Pureflow Shoe Review

Westside 5k (21:00)

Questions for you:

Are you an ambassador for any companies? 

How was your week of training?

Brooks Pureflow 6 Review

This Spring there have been a lot of updated shoes I’ve wanted to try.  Since I took a big portion off, I have a lot of catching up to do!  I haven’t necessarily found a shoe I’m “married” too, but I have found most of the shoes I’ve tried are good updates.  I work at a local running store, but I’m not paid by any company.  All thoughts are my own.

One shoe I’ve wanted to try for a long time has been the Brooks Pureflow.  Unfortunately, I have a wide foot, and it never felt comfortable.  I also don’t train every day in flat, minimalist shoes.   For me, it’s more of a speedwork shoe.

The Pureflow was one of the last shoes I tried before taking a running break.  I was using it as a speedwork shoe.  During my running break, I rotated it into a casual shoe, and it was just as comfortable.  The shoe has almost reached the end of its life, and I’ve probably logged equally speedwork and walking miles.

Fit:

As mentioned, the Brooks Pureflow has run narrow.  The updated version has become wider and accommodating.  Like many Brooks shoes, the upper is now seamless, so even if you have a bunion or wider forefront, your foot will probably still fit into the shoe.  I usually wear a size 10 in running shoes, and size 10 fits well.

Feel:

The Brooks Pureflow is part of the Brooks “Pure” series which includes the stable Pure Cadence as well as trail Puregrit. The focus of the Pure line is low profile and minimal design.  For some runners, this is their everyday trainer.  For others, like myself, it’s more of a speedwork shoe.

To me, it feels like a typical speed work shoe.  It has a little more cushion than the Saucony Type A and a little less than the Brooks Ghost. In my opinion, it would be an ideal half marathon to marathon racing shoe for someone looking for a little less shoe but not a racing flat.

Pros:

  • Less than most trainers ($100)
  • Wider than previous models and can accommodate more foot types

Cons:

  • Less shoe means less durability.

In my rotation, the shoe is replacing the Launch 4.  I didn’t hate the Launch and would buy it again, but I wanted to try something different.

My Current Running Shoe Rotation:
Saucony Freedom ISO (long runs, daily runs)
Brooks Glycerin 15 (daily runs)
Hoka Bondi 5 (recovery runs)
Saucony Type A (races)
Asics Nimbus 19 (cross training)

Questions for you:
Do you prefer more cushion or less?
What is your current favorite pair of running shoes?

Westside 5k (21:00)

Jumping into a race after time off is always humbling.  Last week, I ripped off the band-aid and ran a 5k in Wilmington.  Before the race, I didn’t look at the course terrain or elevation.  I just saw the date, time and that I could make it to work on time. When my husband and I got there, we realized how hilly the race would be.

I had no goals race the race.  I wanted to finish healthy and injury free.  Spoiler: I did just that.  The night before, I had a migraine.  I hadn’t slept the best during the last week, so I ended up falling asleep at 8 pm and slept until 6 am.  When I woke up, I had my doubts I even wanted to do the race, but my husband asked: so when are we leaving…I groaned and said in an hour.

It wasn’t that I didn’t want to race but I knew it would be a shock to the system.With that, we arrived for the race, signed up and did a 3-mile warmup.  I felt fine warming up, but I knew the hilly course would make it a difficult course whether I was in shape or not.

There was both a 5k and 10k starting together, and the races went off together.  The first mile went almost exclusively uphill.  I was running with a pack of people, and I felt good.  I thought: surely I must be going around 6:30 miles.  I crossed the first mile in 6:55.  I was shocked but happy with my effort.

The next mile continued to climb.  I’ve run several races in Wilmington, so I knew the general terrain and area.  As we reached the halfway turnaround, I saw my husband in second overall but was quickly catching the first place.  He looked comfortable.  We turned around and headed back towards where we came.  I crossed the second mile in 7:01 and thought: I guess a 21 minute 5k is probably going to be out of my reach today.

I never felt bad during the last mile, but not in shape either. I just charged back to the start.  I passed one person and finished the last mile in 6:30.  I was pleasantly surprised.

I finished the 5k in 21:00 exactly.  My slowest 5k in a very long time?  Yes but I’m pleased with my race.  My goal was to finish healthy and strong which I did.  The course was difficult.  My husband ran an 18:30 which id about 90 seconds slower than he has been recently running (so it gives me more confidence it was a challenging course).  

Is it hard not to compare myself to when I was running 18:30 a few months ago?  Of course, but I’m happy with how I ran and I’m looking forward to gaining back my fitness.

 Questions for you:

What is the most difficult course you’ve run?

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?