Blah Blah Blah: Run Easy

Blah Blah Blah: Run Easy

It seems every year, I post about running easy.  I’ve been blogging for 8 years, so it’s about 8 posts saying about the same thing.

Never the less, it’s still an important and relevant topic.

Racing your easy runs won’t get you a PR.

It won’t make you an Instagram hero either.

It will, however, get you burned out, or injured.

Don’t think I haven’t been subjected to this and learned the lesson of injury the hard way.  Long term readers know my first tibial stress fracture (7 years ago now) was caused by overtraining.  In short, I ran my easy runs too fast.  My last burn out wasn’t necessarily caused by running too fast, but more life stress, trying to run high mileage, and just doing too much.

Every week I post a running log and mileage recap.  Every month I do something similar.  Every week on Instagram, I get a few messages about “how fast do you run your easy runs,” and I will always respond the same way: honestly I don’t know or care.  Typically I use my Garmin Vivosport.  It’s not fancy, and that’s why I like it.  It will tell me mile splits if I want but for the most part, I just do timer mode.

I have a few ways I do an easy run

  • I run a route I know to be X amount of miles and don’t time it. I could finish 5 miles in 45 minutes or an hour…I will only have a good idea by the kitchen clock.
  • I just run for an hour and if it’s 6 miles or 10…that’s how it goes.  JK, it would never be anything close to 10.

Both work for me and keep me healthy both mentally and physically.

For training, I usually have a rough outline of the runs and workouts I want to do for the week, but I never have an exact plan.  For instance, last week I planned to take a rest day on Thursday, but my body was hurting on Tuesday…so I rested then too.  Some days I have more time in the morning, and some days I have less.  I ask myself: will I miss this mile next week.  No…I won’t remember.

Does Not Caring about Pace Really Help Me?

I have actually found that it does and it does a lot.  First of all, I’m not obsessed with pace.  I don’t care. I could run 10 miles at 10-minute pace or 10 miles at 8-minute pace.  It’s still 10 base miles.  I’ll run with anyone that wants to run, whether you run a 10 minute or 8-minute mile.  That’s why I rarely post paces online, Instagram, or anywhere.  Because I don’t know and honestly, for training runs…I don’t really care.

As I mentioned earlier, it hasn’t always been that way for me. I used to be obsessed with pace and numbers.  Seven years ago as a new runner, I would run in the same 10-second pace range for every run of the week.  That pace was between 7-7:10.  Do you know what I gave myself?  The glorious gift of a tibial stress fracture on my 21st birthday.

Not to mention, during that period of trying to PR every run, I never got faster for races and was miserable the entire time.   I was so antsy in training if my overall pace was 7:11+ and thought I had lost my all endurance.  It sounds silly now, but that is what the newer runner in me thought.

I Thought: Train fast to go fastRace myself and try and get faster every day.

Here are Some Interesting Stats from that Time in My Training:

During that time of my running career, my 5k PR was 20:10.  I ran about 50 miles a week between 7-7:15 pace.

Now it’s 18:13 (and I had to look LOL).  During that time in training, I was running 60 miles a week with about 50 above 8:30 or even 10-minute pace.

Then my half marathon PR was 1:36.56…now it’s 1:22.03

Now, I’m able to do workouts more efficiently and better.  Running an 88 second 400 doesn’t feel as challenging. My body couldn’t handle that when I was sprinting every training run.  I was also exhausted all of the time.  Even though I was running fewer miles, I was more tired.

But the most crucial piece is I enjoy going out to run without worrying about it.

For me, running is a hobby, and it’s something I want to do lifelong without stress. Not caring about pace has turned into continuing to improve on running.

My point is to relax during your easy runs.  Make your easy runs easy, and work hard during your workouts and races.  Honestly, without being injured or burnout, I don’t think I would have gotten to this phase in my life.  No one wants to be hurt but from injury, I quickly learned my body doesn’t respond well to fast runs every day.

I think I should have renamed my blog CasualLOLZ or something.

Questions for you:

What are your thoughts?

Do you schedule workouts every day or fly by the seat of your pants?

Runners World Festivities Recap

The Runners World Festival is one of my favorite weekends of the year.  I was lucky enough to participate in both 2015 and 2016 too.  Every year as I leave, I drive up the steep hill out of Bethlehem thinking: “Could this have been any more fun?” and it’s surprised me each time.

The short version recap is: I had, even more, fun in 2017, how that is possible, I’m not sure.

I was able to participate again as an influencer.  As an influencer, we arrived in Bethlehem the Thursday before, and receive a tour of Runners World and dinner with the editors.

The Runner’s World Organic Café has delicious food and to be honest if I worked there, I don’t know if I would ever come home with a paycheck because I would eat there all of the time.

Runners World Festival

We made salad bowls with grilled chicken, green goddess dressing, and roasted vegetables.

Friday was jam-packed, and we were out of the hotel at 6:45 am.  Typically, I’m running at home by then.  We did a shakeout run with a good friend Suzanne and Ryan Hall.  It was about 30 minutes, relaxed and I didn’t even bring a watch.  We stopped and took a photo with the sun.

Runners World Festival

Photo Credit Marty D.

After that, we met at the Steelstacks and the Altra founder: Golden Harper gave us a briefing on how Altra came to be.  He described creating the first Altra shoes in his toaster oven and how the term “zero drop” came about.  It’s a fascinating seminar, and if you ever get the chance to hear from him personally, I highly recommend it.

Runners World Festival Altra Clinic

As someone who works in a running store, I nerd out to it anyway, but Altra shoes are unique in many different ways.  They are foot shaped and allow the toes to spread out as feet naturally do and are balanced front to back with the same amount of cushion in the front of the shoe as well as the back.  You can read my recent review of the Altra Escalante here.

After that, Golden gave us a clinic on form and running more efficiently.  It’s always a useful clinic and a few of his tips such as a higher arm swing has helped me throughout racing.

After that, we had lunch and listened to the Mayor Running, himself, Bart Yasso discussed his new book Race Everything.

Bart is retiring after 30 years, and it is always such a treat to have him talk to us and listen to his stories.  He gave a powerful speech about various times he has connected with people and it made me tear up.  You never know how you are influencing someone.

Finally, we checked out the expo and picked up our bibs.  I always appreciate the unique and smaller companies at Runners World.  This year anyone doing the hat trick 5k/10k/13.1 received a hat, and anyone doing the Grand Slam 3.8 trail race/5k/10k/13.1 received a nice backpack.

Influencers were also given a tote bag filled with goodies such as socks and fun gear.  They even gave us a free one to give to readers.  All you have to do is comment with someone that has influenced or inspired you and why.  Winner will be chosen over the weekend and announced Monday.

After that, we prepared for the weekend of races. I left Friday feeling inspired by meeting so many different bloggers and Runners World Editors.

I’ll recap both the 5k and the 13.1 in the following days.

Training: Marathons and Dragons

Last week was an interesting week for me.  As many people know, I’m entertaining the idea of a winter marathon.  I haven’t run a marathon since the Phoenix Full in February of 2015, and I’ve only run full marathons.  Neither marathon has been great or made me love the distance. I’m also not entirely sure I’m ready, but I’m putting in a few longer runs in the next two weeks to see how I feel.img_1686

Putting in long runs means extra rest days, and for the next couple of weeks, I’ll probably run five days versus 6.

Monday: Easy Run  
Tuesday: OFF PT/ART
Wednesday: Long Run (17.75 miles)  
Thursday: OFF PT/ART
Friday: Easy Run with a friend  
Saturday: Dragon Run 5k (18:58)  
Sunday: Jakes Place 5k (2.8 miles) 17:11  
 

I never have much to say about my easy runs.  I think that’s natural.  I had a great time running with a friend on Friday though!Thoughts:

Long Run:

The only goal of this run was to finish injury free.  I had no time or pace goal, and in fact, it was my longest run in almost 18 months.  Nothing hurt or ached during the run, and I finished feeling satisfied.  I’m not confident in running any further right now, but I’m sure I’ll build confidence by running longer again.

Dragon Run 5k (18:58)

A few kids came into work discussing the race and told me last week to do it. Since it was a 5-minute drive to work afterwords, I had too.  Long story short, my legs were sore after my 17+ miler, but they didn’t feel terrible.  I was outkicked by five boys in the final .05 (who probably didn’t want to get chicked), and they pulled me right under 19.

Jakes Play 5k (2.8 miles) 17:11

This was supposed to be an actual 5k, but it wasn’t.  I would love to tell you I randomly PRed by a minute but the course was about .25-.3 short.  I wasn’t in the mood to run, but two of my very good friends were running so I decided to go anyways.  Plus, the race fundraised for “Jakes Place,” a local playground/park for special needs children.  I have used that bathroom several times on runs, and I wanted to support the cause.

I ran the first mile in 6:16 and the second in 5:58.  My average pace for the entire race was 6:06 so my guess is I would have run between 19-19:10 for a full 5k.  While I’m disappointed in the race, it happens.  I race so many 5ks, some being long (like last week), some being short so it all balances out.

Thoughts:  

Training wise, my week was great.  As I mentioned, I’m at a cross roads of deciding what I want to do.  Train for a marathon?  Continue working on speed?   The next two weeks will definitely play a decision in that.

This was definitely a defining week for me.  While I’m still not 100% sure about marathoning again, I am entertaining the idea more than I have in a very long time.  My goal for my third marathon would be too make it to the start and finish line healthy.  I’m still not entirely comfortable with the distance, and I don’t think adding a time goal would be appropriate.  My goal for the marathon would be to both start and finish injury free.

Questions for you:

Do you consider yourself to have a good finish line kick?

Do you love or hate the marathon?  Or are you indifferent?

Training: Little Things and RnR Philly (1:27.37)

Last week was a great training week for me.  While I did log higher mileage, I also spent time doing little things such as PT, recovering and resting.  Each being important to keeping me healthy.

Monday: Easy run with Meghan Deep Tissue Massage
Tuesday: OFF PT/ART appointment
Wednesday: Easy Run
Thursday: Easy Run PT/ART appointment
Friday: OFF
Saturday: Easy run with my friend Katie
Sunday: RnR Philly (1:27.37)+3 mile cool down

Thoughts:

Where to begin? I’m beginning to put in the mileage again.  While I’m not doing workouts, I’m running about 50-60 miles per week and racing once.  That’s a huge progression, and I can now say I’m 100% injury free.  I’ve raced two halves and had a 16-mile day with no issues.  Do I feel in shape?  No, but my bones don’t hurt.

I’m proud to continue getting my PT/ART, and it has made all the difference.  While it is expensive, I do believe going to Dr. Kemenosh and his team is helping me stay healthy as I increase my mileage.  My foot hasn’t hurt but then again, neither has anything else.

Rock N Roll Philadelphia: 1:27.37

rock n roll philadelphia

I’ll have a longer recap sometime this week, but I’m pleasantly surprised with how the race went.  I told myself I would be very happy with anything faster than RnR Virginia Beach.

The weather forecasted a hot, humid day.  Honestly, it’s one of the better days I’ve raced this year so while the weather was tough, but not unbearable.  I forgot my watch at home and just ran by how I felt.  I don’t let the watch tell me to speed up/slow down anyways, but I do like to know my pace.  I never felt “good” during the race, but I never felt awful either.  The short recap is, I was pretty consistent, and I was proud of how I ran.

rock n roll philadelphia

I’m looking forward to getting into shorter races for the next month.  My next half marathon is potentially the Runners World Half.  While it’s a much tougher course, I’m looking forward to seeing what I can do on in cooler weather and with another month of training under my belt.  For now, I’ll continue to race 5ks.

Questions for you:
Do you race well in the heat?
What was your best workout last week?

Training: An Unexpected 2.5 Year PR

This was the week.

The week of weird, unexpected and the week I Pred…while wearing a wet seal prom dress.

Thank you Ally for this photo

Thank you Ally for this photo

Life is full of unexpected events and without the unexpected I don’t think LOLZ blog would be able to exist because I’m normally pretty boring.

With that training this week was weird, and I’m okay with that.

Monday: OFF
Tuesday: 13.35 with Liz (her longest run ever)
Wednesday: Easy run with Tim
Thursday: Morning Shakeout run in VA
Friday: Hair of the Dog 5k (18:22)
Saturday: Easy run
Sunday: Easy Run
Total: 69 miles

On Monday I felt sore, so I rested.  The last few weeks have been weird for me.  Typically I take Thursdays off but lately I have been taking Mondays off.

My run on Tuesday has become one of my favorite because I enjoy running with Liz. It’s always a lot of fun to just chat and hang out for 2 hours. It was raining (again), but we had a great time. Plus it was Liz’s longest run to date.

Liz and I

Wednesday and Thursday were both easy runs. I had planned to do the Beat the Ball 5k on Thursday evening. I’ve done the race several times (2012, 2013, 2014)  and always had an enjoyable race. This year, however, I wasn’t feeling that well. I was exhausted and miserable all day and afternoon.  I was bummed to miss the race, but my husband and I stayed home. Dad went and had a great race.

Even though I was disappointed to miss the race, I told myself “it’s better, you don’t feel well and racing would do more harm than good”.

On Thursday, I ran the Resolution Run. It was put on by my local running club. I’ve run the race several times under the previous name of Hair of the Dog. The race has a formal wear division that you are supposed to dress in your “night out clothing”. This year fewer people were wearing outfits, and I wasn’t going to compete in the “formal wear” division until I saw personal friend Wendy wearing her dress.  So I started the race in my Wet Seal Dress.

Sadly we did not win the Formal Attire

Sadly we did not win the Formal Attire

Spoiler: I felt good, and ended up finally breaking my 2.5-year-old PR. To be honest, I’m still shocked it happened.  After not feeling well the night before, it was the last place I expected to PR.  It is a 13-second lifetime PR and a 26 second recent PR.

Saturday and Sunday were both easy runs.

Final thoughts:

I’m still surprised that my PR finally happened. It feels excellent to start the year off on such a great foot.  While I did race, I didn’t do any workouts this week.  I’ve been hitting 2+ workouts weekly for the last month so this was a nice mental break.

Thoughts for next week:

I’m running the Icicle 10 miler next weekend in Wilmington. I raced that last year and had my first good race effort post stress fracture. I’m excited to see what I can do this year.

Questions for you:
How was your New Years?
When was your last PR?

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