Base Building Week 7: January Grind and Racing

Base Building Week 7: January Grind and Racing

Last week was a good week of training.  I’m starting to get back on some sort of routine after the New Year.  Does anyone else feel like the shortest weeks feel like the longest?

Anyway, with the New Year and a race, my workouts shifted around a little bit. Instead of doing a personal 5k, I raced one with friends and did more speed work on the weekend.

After getting back to NJ and diving straight back into a work schedule, my body was exhausted. From December until now, I feel like I’ve been go go go, and I haven’t had a lot of time just to relax.  This isn’t with just traveling for the holidays, but with work and life too. On Saturday, I got about 9 hours of deep sleep so felt better.

Monday: Easy 60 minutes
Tuesday: Resolution Run 5k (19:44) total mileage 10
Wednesday: Easy 60 minutes
Thursday: Walked 30 minutes
Friday: Easy 60 minutes
Saturday: 6X800s with 400 jog recovery (total miles 10)
Sunday: 12 miles with 7 at 7 at 7:03 pace

Thoughts:

Resolution Run: 19:44

I’ve already written a full recap, but it was fun to finally jump into a 5k.  It was hot, humid, and windy (70 degrees on New Years…ok) but I was happy for the challenge. I’m about 90 seconds away from where I want, but I’m happy with the effort. I know I have a lot of work to do there, but I’m looking forward to the challenge.

Saturday: 6X800s with 400 job (average 6:15 pace)

The workout went a lot better than anticipated. It was 42 and raining but I’m happy with the effort.

Sunday Long Run: 12 miles with 7 at 7:03 pace

This run felt hard. My legs felt training. Not in an injured way, but in an, I’ve run a lot way. I was happy to get it over with. I’m pleased with my effort, but I was hoping the pace would feel easier.

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Long Run done early. 12 miles with 7 at 7:03 pace.

A post shared by Hollie (@fueledbylolz) on

 

Posts from the Week:

Resolution Run 19:44

Don’t Just Survive Running in Winter Months…Enjoy Them

2018 in Blogging

Next week, I plan to just lather, rinse, repeat, with a speed workout, 5k (chances are it will be by myself), and long run.  The boring, consistent January grind.

Questions for you:

How was your New Year?

How do you get back into a routine?

Don’t Just Survive Running in Winter Months…Enjoy Them.

Don’t Just Survive Running in Winter Months…Enjoy Them.

In the summer, there are an abundance of articles about how to survive summer running, and in the winter there are plenty of articles of “how to survive winter running”.

Both of those arguments imply we are only surviving the summer and winter months.  They imply we aren’t supposed to enjoy running during that time…just survive.

While winter can be frigid and summer can be scorching, the reality is every season has their positive and negatives. Parts of Spring and Fall are either rainy, cold, too hot, or something else to complain about. So for argument’s sake, we will say about three months of the year are good running months are actually decent to run.  You can pick any weather to complain about.

That logic leads me back to the beginning.Don't Just Survive Running in Winter Months...Enjoy Them.

How do you survive and even enjoy running in the winter months?

It’s something I’m battling right now.  I’m not a cold weather person.  Ironically, I went to college where it could be -30 in January. Why I chose to do that, I don’t know but I also don’t regret it.  This year, I’ve enjoyed most of my runs and enjoy the feeling of getting out there (even if out there is to the treadmill).

Here are a couple of tips to enjoy running during colder months:

Run Indoors:

If it’s too cold, run inside. This could mean purchasing a gym membership or treadmill. There is no shame in running indoors when it’s too cold, dangerous or miserable.  I wrote about it recently, but a treadmill is a tool. It’s not bad, embarrassing, or shameful.

Layer Up:

If you are running outside layer up.  There are countless pieces of running apparel to keep you warm.  People who train successfully through the winter months, wear appropriate clothing.

Now there are windbreakers, long sleeves, insulated tops, built in windbreaker leggings and just about anything you can imagine. Google can provide you with ideal layering techniques. Since I’m always ten jackets ahead of people, I prefer to wear more layers. What works for you, doesn’t work for everyone.  It might be trial and error for figuring out the right amount of layers for different temperatures.

Running is lifelong:

One run is not going to make or break you. If you are truly sick of winter running, don’t force yourself to run through the winter. Find alternatives that aren’t going to miserable.  Get a gym membership and try new workouts and cross trianing  Cross training will only make you stronger, plus help burnout.

Finally, as a public service announcement: don’t try and run fast on ice (run indoors if it’s icy). No run is worth falling and hurting yourself on ice.  I would know since I slipped and fell in a parking lot in college.   I ended up breaking my arm.

Questions for you:

How do you enjoy winter running?

What are your favorite pieces winter gear? 

Base Building Week 6: Bonus Rest Days

Base Building Week 6: Bonus Rest Days

Last week started off well, but the day after Christmas I woke up not feeling the best. No big deal and after a couple of unanticipated rest days, I was able to feel a lot better. Funny how rest works?

Monday: 10 miles to the top of Caledonia
Tuesday: Easy 60 minutes with my father in law
Wednesday: 20-minute walk
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Easy 60 minutes
Saturday: 12X400s Averaging 6:10 pace with 400 jog in between
Sunday: Easy

Thoughts:

Last week, I had hoped to run 2 workouts and have a solid training week but my body needed the rest.  I’ve posted a dozen times, but it’s important to listen your body. It wouldn’t have been quality runs so there wasn’t a point.  Resting isn’t something that bothers me anymore, if you need it…you need it and life moves on.

Monday was my favorite run. My husband and I ran to the top of Caledonia State Park in central PA.  Then ran back down.  It was beautiful and already had a lot of snow.  It was about 1000 elevation gain in total.

On Sunday, I planned to run but I woke up after minimal sleep and felt like garbage. After already taking 2 rest days off, I thought I made sense to add a third and make it a down week. A run on Sunday wouldn’t have been productive anyway.

Workout: 12x400s averaging 6:10 pace with 400 jog in between

I was debating between week 3 of my lonely 5ks but because I plan to run a 5k on New Years Day, 400s seemed like a better option. The weather on Saturday was perfect and I couldn’t have asked for a better day.

Posts from the Week:

Fitbit Ionic Review

2018 in Running

Next Week:

I’m looking forward to doing a local 5k on New Years Day as well as getting back into training. January is a busy month for me, thankfully, because with the cold and lack of sunlight, it’s typically one of my least favorite.

Questions for you:

How were your Holidays?

Do you have any New Years plans?

Fitbit Iconic Review

As most people know, I’ve been searching for a new watch to update my Garmin 220. I’m basically 4-5 watch updates behind with Garmin at this point. I use my GPS for workouts, long runs, and races, but I typically leave it at home for easy runs.

I like going by effort and being honest, a 9:03 mile versus a 9:30 mile doesn’t mean much to me on an easy run.  So finding a watch that has the functionality of a 220, but is nice enough to wear all day has been a challenge. I’ve had to give up a few features in the Fitbit Iconic, which doesn’t make it a perfect fit but it’s a good watch for life.

I bought the Fitbit Iconic and don’t have any relation or partnership with any GPS brand.

Personally, I’ve been looking for a watch with all of these qualities:

  • GPS function (distance, time, pace, elevation)
  • Heart rate monitoring
  • Less Sporty Exterior look to wear daily
  • Interval timer and ability to log workouts

To my knowledge, there hasn’t been a watch that has all of those qualities that isn’t $400+.  I don’t use my GPS for every run or workout, but I do use it for measuring mileage in new spots, and for races, and workouts.  I’m not a stranger to either Fitbit or Garmin, as I’ve had both.

GPS:

The primary reason I went with the Iconic versus the Surge, is the built-in GPS.  The older Fitbit models like the Charge 2, lacked accurate GPS. A few years ago, I ran Broad Street 10 miler, and Fitbit said I ran 8.7 miles. The race is literally a straight line down Broad Street.  The Fitbit Iconic is by far the best GPS, Fitbit has come out with.

The GPS connects quickly, and I’ve used it in many places with no delay or lag.

I’ve compared the Ionic’s GPS against the Garmin 220, and my husband’s Garmin D2 and it’s always been within .05. I’m also into elevation and climbing (especially with hiking), and it’s just as accurate.  For a daily run, walk, or hike, the GPS in Fitbit is fairly accurate.  It’s by far Fitbit’s most accurate GPD, and it’s as good as any model of Garmin I’ve used.

The only complaint with the running and fitness logs, is there is no history unless you use Strava. I don’t use Strava, and I don’t foresee myself using it either. This would become more of an issue since I can’t look back a year, from now and see what I did.

Battery Life:

The Fitbit Ionic claims to have over four days of battery life. I’ve used it for over a month now, and I’ve had success with that.  I like to charge the watch every 2-3 days to keep it full. It also claims 10 hours of GPS life, and I find my daily runs don’t take up much of the battery.

Display:

The Ionic’s display is easy to read, even in lower light. I find the Fitbit easier ro read than any Garmin watch.

There are three physical buttons as well as a touchscreen front. The display screen stays off unless you tap the touchscreen or move your wrist.

As mentioned the screen is easy to read which is a huge plus for me.  I want a watch I can use daily for the actual time.  Plus I can see progress towards a goal such as steps and calories (which isn’t something I care much about).  But seeing progress is always nice. 

If you swipe up on the home screen, you can get recent notifications from texting or third party apps.  It’s easy to control which notifications you receive. I like to only receive texts, but if you want twitter, facebook, and whatever else, you can.

 

Music:

To use the music feature of any smartwatch you need Bluetooth headphones. I run with my phone anyway, so this isn’t a feature I look much into.  You can use any Bluetooth headphone you prefer.  Fitbit sells their own headphones, but any will do.

One of the many apps the Ionic comes with is Pandora app.  It also has 2.5GB  of storage for music.  Isn’t that most than the original iPods?

Apps and Notifications:

One of the big draws of the Iconic is the ability to load apps like weather, Pandora, and even Starbucks. This isn’t a feature I use but makes it more comparable to the Garmin 645 with music or the Garmin Vivoactive.

You can also get texts through the phone but can’t respond. I do like the ability to see a text while out. Sometimes it can important, sometimes not, but I do appreciate it.

Wrist-Based Heart-Rate Tracking:

I like to know my heart rate, but the feature isn’t a “make or break” for me.  My heart rate was consistent with that of the Garmin Vivosport.  The 220 doesn’t have the feature.  My resting heart rate as well during workouts was about the same through the two devices.

 

Fitbit App:

In my opinion, the Fitbit App is much more focused on overall health. Garmin Connect, is great for running and that’s it. The Fitbit app is more user-friendly option too. Daily stats are easy to find too. You can see steps, sleep, flights of stairs climbed, calories, and water.  I think it’s a lot easier for someone who wanst ovrall health versus just “how far did I run”. I wish Garmin had a better app with easy to see and use features.

So What Features Is Fitbit Lacking?

Interval Tracking: I like doing 400s, 800s, mile repeats, and any interval tracking. The Iconic doesn’t do it. The lack of this feature is why it cannot become my primary running watch.

History: I know I’m one of the few, but I’m not a strava member. I would prefer to have a watch that you were able to look back at runs throughout time.

Conclusion:

I like Fitbit more for everyday watch wearing.  It’s a watch I can wear around the clock. It’s a great eatch to measure easy runs or even races you just want mile markers, but if you are looking for a “just” running watch, it wouldn’t be the first watch I would recommend.

Two major issues make it not a perfect watch for me, or even most competitive runner.

  • The absence of laps and the ability to program workouts
  • The availability of history only on Strava

If Fitbit added both of these features, it would compete with Garmin and other GPS runner focused watches.

That being said, I’ll continue to use my Fitbit Iconic. I like the app better, daily use, and the look if far better than Garmin.  I’ll continue to use my old 220 for workouts and races until there is a Garmin I like enough to buy that isn’t $500.  I like the rose gold 645 with music, but I can’t justify the price for what I need in a watch.

Questions for you:

Have you used Fitbit?

Which watch are you using? 

2018 in Running

2018 in Running

If you don’t feel like reading a quick summary is as followed: I ran fewer miles, didn’t stress, set 2 PRs, and ran things I never thought I would.  Two intense trail races? Another marathon? Sure why not…

Here we go…

January:

I planned to run a 5k to kick in the new year, but I didn’t because it was cold. I don’t remember the exact temperature, but it was somewhere between 0-10 degrees. My best race in January was the Distance Series 15 miler in VA.  I averaged about 6:35 pace for 15 miles which is significantly faster than anything I’ve run towards the latter half of the year.

me running distance series va beach

It was a low key month as far as races, but the East Coast was cold and miserable for most of the month.

February:

February was my best of the month for running of the year.  I finally PRed in a half marathon.  It took over two years to get back to a PR, but I ran almost a minute faster than my previous.  As far as training went, every race I ran in February, just felt good.  I can’t believe it’s almost been 11 months since then and I hope I’m able to get back there again.Phoenix Half marathon feb me running

March:

I had a lot of fun training in March. When people ask my best performance of the year, I don’t think it’s my half or marathon PR. I actually think it was when I ran the Adrenaline Run in 18:29 in NJ, then drove 6 hours and ran the Shamrock Half in 1:23 in VA the next day. I wasn’t expecting to run that well, but I just felt good.  It was my fastest time at Shamrock but also the best weather.

shamrock half marathon va beach me running

April:

In 2017, I ran the April Fools race, and it was my last race before burning out. It was a culmination of too many things pulling me too many directions, so I took a mental and physical break. My goal for 2018, was to come back and win the April Fools Half. I’ve won the race before, but I wanted to win again. Of course, you can’t control who shows up, but it was one of my top five favorite running moments of the year. The weather was windy and rainy, and I also collided with a pedestrian, but I did what I wanted.  Here is the recap. 

me april fools half marathon atlantic city running

May:

May was a quiet month as far as running. I ran less, I just kind of bebopped along with nothing crazy either way. I ran Broad Street in 1:03 which I was pleased with. Not my fastest or slowest. I got to see my family and have fun.  May started a long shift in mindset towards the end of the year that running became a lot of the “focus” in my life.  Yes, I ran, but I chose other things before running on more than one occasion.  While I don’t blog about my personal life with the military, it has been a busy later half. Some weeks, it takes more mental and physical time than my actual job, and that’s ok.

broad street 10 miler

In May, I also ran the Cape May 10k, a race I had wanted to run for years.  Sadly I felt like garbage the entire race, and it was one of the “worst” races I ran all year. I’ve run workouts faster, but it was fun to hang out with friends, and I enjoy Cape May.  A photo of me finishing what I consider my worst race of the year, but still smiling because it’s just running and it was a really good day anyway.

me running cape may 10k

June:

I didn’t race much in June. My favorite was a five miler in Atlantic City. It ended on the beach but was a lot of fun. I barely won and if it had been 6 miles, I would not. Atlantic City races are my favorite. Not because I love gambling or AC, but I think the races are all well put together and I just enjoy the time there. bungalow beach 5 miler atlantic city

July:

In July, I decided to run the Copper Mountain 25k, and I am so proud of myself for doing so. It was one of the hardest but most rewarding experiences I’ve had. I’ve never run a trail race of that magnitude before.  It started at 9000 feet and climbed all the way to 12,000 feet. It was one of the reasons I decided to run another marathon. I hadn’t spent that much time on my feet in a long time, and I knew after that, I could do it again! It was one of my favorite race moments of the entire year.

under armour copper mountain race me running

August:

I had so much fun at Copper Mountain, I ran the Killington 25k. Killington was a much more challenging and rocky course. It was lower elevation, but the rockiness and technical uphill and downhill made for more hiking than running. I was just as proud of my accomplishment there too. I ran Killington in 3:20 which is the longest I’ve ever spent running.

underarmour killington 25k

September:

September started my “official” marathon training. Official is very loose because I didn’t follow a plan and ran when I ran. I knew I needed to get long runs in, but I also knew I wanted to get more shorter workouts and races in. I ran the Boothbay Harborfest Half Marathon which is the hilliest half I’ve done.  It was one of the best half marathons I had in the fall despite being minutes slower than every Spring half. (Every? Yes, after checking every LOL).

Boothbay harborfest half marathon

My husband, father-in-law, and I all ran the Air Force half marathon. I ran much slower than the year before, but it was one of the hottest races, and they ended up shutting down the race early for safety. I got some of my favorite race photos from the race, so I came out with something.

Air force half marathon dayton ohio

October:

October continued my running.  While training for New York, I never really felt like I got back into shape. I was in shape, but I wasn’t in the same shape as the Spring. I ran the Atlantic City half in 1:27 and felt good about that.  atlantic city half marathon me running

November:

November was about the marathon. I ran a 3:07 which I’m proud of.  It was one of the coolest experiences of my life. I was granted the very last (YAY for being the caboose) spot in the sub-elite corral. I got to watch the professionals warm up, hang out with them, and just relax. Then I ran a 7 minute PR. I never felt like I was in the best shape ever for the marathon, but I did feel like I was in “good shape.”  I wasn’t in the same fitness as the winter and while it’s a 7 minute PR, I know I’m capable of doing more when I want too and when I get back to faster fitness.

New York City marathon me running

December:

December has been about building back fitness. It’s taken me a lot longer to come back (coming back from nothing is apparently more difficult than injury), but I’m okay with it. Some seasons are better than other. In December, I also ran my 50th half marathon in Baltimore. It was one of the least safe races I’ve done, and I took the race out too fast for how I felt but that’s ok, I had a great time.

me running race 13.1 baltimore

As the end of the year approaches, I reflect on how good of the year 2018 was for running. Running will never be my life’s focus, but I’m glad to have a good year filled with more good races than bad, and new PRs too.

I look forward to what 2019 will bring. I don’t have any huge goals right now because I don’t know where I’ll be, what I’ll be doing, and where life will take me in 2019. My goal for running is always to stay healthy, injury free, and just enjoy it.

Questions for you:

How was your year of racing and training?

What was your favorite race? Least favorite race? 

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