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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Training: April

It’s hard to believe April has already flown by.  Regarding running, April started off ok then progressively went downhill, and ended up that needed and wanted a full break from running.

april fools half marathon atlantic city me running

Miles Run: 228
Range of Paces: 5:54-10:04-untimed
Races: 3
Workouts: 4
Rest Days: 9 (and counting)
Longest Run: Atlantic City Half Marathon
Shortest Run: 2 miles 

Races:
Phillies 5k (18:32)
Clean Air 5kish
April Fools Half Marathon (1:26.17)

Favorite Race:
Phillies 5k
phillies 5k win

Favorite Workout:
None

Thoughts:
The month of April started off well.  Even though I didn’t PR at the Phillies 5k, I ran moderately well.  It was by far my favorite race.

As the month continued, I became more and more burnt out from running.  It wasn’t just April that burnt me out but training over the last 6.  After Atlantic City on April 23rd, I decided to take rest and rebuild my mental attitude.  I don’t hate running, but I wasn’t enjoying it as much, and I never broke through my plateau.

Thanks to my friend Paul for these photos

May:
I don’t know what May will bring.  I hope I’ll be ready to run again.  While I haven’t run or really worked out since last weekend but I do plan to do more cross training and get back to the gym.

Running Posts from April:
Running Related Posts
How to Prepare for Running in the Heat
Should You Wear Running Shoes Outside of Running?
How to Transition into Minimalist Running Shoes

Shoe Reviews:
Asics Nimbus 19 Shoe Review
Brooks Glycerin 14 Shoe Review

Questions for you:

How was your month of training?

What is your favorite cross training activity?

Running Related Posts

Recently a reader sent an email and asked if I could put together a list of articles I’ve written recently about running shoes and training.  Thinking out loud, none of the articles are “new”, but it makes a lot of sense to have them all compiled into one spot.

Instead of doing a Running Store post this week, I thought I would get all of the posts together in one spot.  As always, if you have a question about shoes, the running store, or anything else feel free to ask.  I’m not an expert or professional but I do like running and working in a running store.

Recent Shoe Reviews:

Adidas Energy Boost
Adidas Supernova

Asics Nimbus 19

Brooks Ghost 9
Brooks Glycerin 14
Brooks Launch 4

Hoka Clifton 3
Hoka Bondi 5 

New Balance Zante

Saucony Freedom ISO
Saucony Zealot ISO 2

Important Shoe Related Topics:

There is no Perfect Running Shoe

Running Shoe Reviews Are (Mostly) Worthless

Running Shoe Specific Topics:

Five Secrets about Buying Running Shoes
How Alternating Shoes Can Benefit Your Running
Should You Wear Running Shoes Outside of Running?
Should You Race in Racing Flats?
How to Transition into Minimalist Running Shoes

Training 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
How to Run in the Heat

Running and Nutrition:

Protein and Running

Other:

Thoughts While Working in a Running Store

There you have it!  As always if you have any questions or comments, feel free to ask.  I’ve gotten a couple questions regarding nutrition (something I’m still trying to figure out) as well as fun things to do outside of running that I’ll be chatting about soon too!

Questions for you:

What is a fun fact about your job?

What is one thing you enjoy about the sport of running?

Clean Air 5k (19:50)

I wasn’t supposed to run this race.  In fact, until about 2 hours before, I had planned to drive up 90 minutes North to a different race.  Sometimes life happens, and I wasn’t able too.  Which is unfortunate because I had actually signed up for the original race too!

I knew about the Clean Air 5k/10k plus a good friend of mine, Noelle, was running.  When I realized I wasn’t able to drive north, I decided to leech on with her and go into Philadelphia.  She was running the 10k, but I figured the 5k was enough for me.

The course itself was a simple out and back on the Schuylkill River.  In fact, it was the exact place I set my 5k PR last year.

Noelle and I warmed up, and I knew I didn’t feel great. Of course, the weather was pretty much ideal, and I felt like garbage.

The 5k started 15 minutes after the 10k, so I waited around and then lined up.  All of a sudden we were off.

As I settled into racing, I saw a huge pack of men and women taking off out in front.  To be honest, I was surprised the 5k was so competitive, but you never know who will show up.

I found my groove and hit the first mile in 5:57.  I knew I wouldn’t be able to hold that pace.  My calves were stiff, and I just didn’t feel good.  Not every race can be your best, and I figured quickly this was not going to be great.

Thanks to my friend Paul for these photos

The next mile began weaving through the 10k walkers.  I felt as though I couldn’t get any momentum because I was going around and weaving.  We hit the 180-degree turn around mile 1.6, and at that point, I knew the course would probably be long.

As I headed back towards back to Philadelphia, I caught one woman.  From someone watching the races, it was probably easy to see who was running which race. However, when you are racing it’s hard to pay attention to multiple people going different paces.  I hit mile 2 around 6:07 and just focused on the finish.

The third mile was rough, and I just wanted the race to be over.  I didn’t regret running, but I was riding the pain train home.  During the third mile, a woman passed me and tried to motivate me to hang with her.  As much as I wanted to keep up, it wasn’t in the cards, and she took over fourth place.

The last half mile was spent trying to get home.  When I crossed the third mile in 6:09, I knew there was no way it would be an accurate course.  I finished up with 3.25 miles in 19:50 and overall pace of 6:05.  That would equate out to an 18:45 5k which is about what I’ve been running.  A little bit slower on an easier course, but I felt more fatigued.clean air 5k

Thoughts:

I can’t say I’m happy about the time, course or how the events that morning played out but some days are like that.  I’m proud I still competed, and I had an enjoyable time with friends.  Plus it’s nice not to race in pouring rain.

Noelle and I post race

Questions for you:

What was the last morning things didn’t go as planned?

Have you ever raced a long course?

Training: Solid Workouts and Long 5ks

My training last week started off well and ended on a somewhat bittersweet note.  I started the week riding my high from the Phillies 5k, then as the week progressed, DOMS, lack of sleep and current events caught up with me.

Where to start?

Monday: 70 minutes easy
Tuesday: 65 minutes easy
Wednesday: Workout
Thursday: 70 minutes easy
Friday: 60 minutes easy
Saturday: 6X400s (7 miles total)
Sunday: Clean Air 5k (19:50)
Total: 61 miles

Easy runs were just that, easy.  Due to forecasted thunderstorms, I thought I would have to resort to running on the treadmill for a few days. I was lucky that I started running enough that I missed them.

Wednesday Workout:
1×15 minutes (6:31 pace)
1 mile (6:07)
2X8 minutes (6:30 pace)

As I mentioned on Instagram, this was definitely the best workout I’ve had in a very long time. I felt like I was on top of the world.

Saturday:
6X400 (1:35 average)

The goal of Saturday was to get some faster repeats.  Just to get some rust off.  I was tired, but they went according to plan.

Sunday:
Clean Air 5k (3.25 miles 19:50…average pace 6:05)

I was originally supposed to run a different race up North, but life came up, and I didn’t have enough time to get to the race.  There wasn’t a point to speed up there and so the morning of, I found something local.  I was disappointed, to say the least, but I made the best of the situation and found a local 5k that I was able to run.

However, the mess of the morning spilled into the race.  The race itself was an out and back on the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia (where I actually set my PR last year), but the course was long.  Not only that, but they had 10k walkers start 15 minutes before 5k runners.  It meant for about a mile, I was weaving around walkers.  It wasn’t optimal, I didn’t feel great, and it was a mess of a morning.  Some races aren’t glamorous, and you just feel like garbage…that was the story there, but I’ll have a full recap later.

Running Posts of the week:
How to Transition to Minimalist Running Shoes
March Training
Phillies 5k (18:32)

Questions for you:
Have you ever DNSed?
I think whenever I sign up online before a race, something happens.
What was your best workout last week?

Phillies 5k (18:32)

The Phillies 5k is one of my favorite races.  I won last year, and I wanted to do the same this year (spoiler: I did).  Something about the excitement of Philadelphia, the atmosphere and 6,000 runners is motivating to me. Plus for a 6,000 person 5k, there is plenty of parking and restrooms with the massive Philadelphia Sports Complex.

Last year when I ran the Phillies 5k, I was coming off both a half marathon and 5k PR.  This year, I went in not racing a 5k in two months and not feeling confident in my running at all.  In fact, I have a post about that soon.  Never the less, I was excited to get back into it and work towards Spring PRs.  Luckily, it was just 14 MPH winds, with no rain.  Lately, that’s been my best racing weather in a few months.

I warmed up with my coworker Anita, and we headed to the race start.  Due to traffic on the course, the start was delayed a few minutes.  I just created witty banter with random people around, and by the time I knew it, we were off.phillies 5k start

The first mile wrapped around the stadium and headed into the wind.  I immediately felt the headwind, and questioned if I would be able to run well.  There were a couple of women in front of me as well as a large pack of men. I hoped I would just “do me” and be able to reel some of them in.  I hit the first mile in 6:00 minutes exactly and caught the first woman.  I thought, “well if I can keep that pace and the course is exact then it will at least be in the 18:30-18:40 range”.  But let’s be honest, keeping your first-mile pace in a 5k is a rather lofty goal in a 5k…

The next mile went into the Navy Yard.  I have raced a couple of races including the finish of Broad Street in the Navy Yard.  I know it’s flat but also windy along the water.  It definitely was windy but it wasn’t a headwind but more of a sidewind. I took the lack of headwind as an opportunity to surge and break up the pack of dudes. After surging, I hit the second mile in 5:49 and looked dead ahead to see a small, steep incline.  Due to the course direction, I realized very quickly it would be a headwind and climb.

The next mile was pain train all the way home.  I was running side by side with another male who pulled me along.  We headed up the short, steep incline.  Combined with riding the pain train, I can’t say it was my favorite part of the race.  There was a small out and back, and I was able to see several racers I knew going the opposite directions.  I love out and back races because it’s always motivational to see other runners out on course.

Then all of a sudden we turned into the (quarter of a mile long) parking lot to the finishers shoot.  The Philly Fanatic was there to bring me in and surged to an 18:32 5k.  I was pleased the lady win.phillies 5k win

Thoughts:

While this is a great 5k time and it’s hard to be disappointed with a win, this isn’t where I was hoping to be right now.  I do have a post later regarding where I’m at with running and where I would like to be. Over the past 6 months, with consistent training as well as speed work, I was hoping to be closer to 18 or honestly faster.phillies 5k me

A couple of years ago after starting to work towards a 5k, it took me several months to break through a plateau which is what I’m hoping is the case here.  In all, I had a great time with friends at the Phillies 5k.

Questions for you:

Have you ever been stuck in a plateau?

Are you a baseball fan?

 

Training: Recovering and a 5k

My training last week went decently.  As I wrap up the last week of March, I have reflected a lot about my training in the last few months.  By now, I hoped I would have progressed to faster times that I’m currently running.

The short notes version is I’ve been stuck in a plateau for the last 6 months.  While yes, running an 18:32 5k last weekend is a great time.  In fact, two years ago I would be amazed by that time. It’s not where I had hoped or wanted to be at this point.  I’ve been consistently training, logging speed workouts, and logging injury free miles.  Hopefully, soon I’ll be able to break out of that plateau.

Training last week:

Monday: 45 mins easy
Tuesday: Workout: 2X15 mins/5X200s
Wednesday: 60 mins easy
Thursday: OFF
Friday: 65 mins easy
Saturday: Phillies 5k (18:32)
Sunday: 90 minutes easy
Total: 52 miles

Workout:
2X15 minutes (6:41,  6:51)
5X200 (6:00)

This workout was supposed to be much faster (6:23 per/mile).  As I mentioned last training post, I didn’t recover from Shamrock well at all, and it took me almost 2 weeks to feel normal.  During the workout, I didn’t feel fresh, and it was both cold and windy.  I got the workout done and moved on.

Phillies 5k: (18:32)
As most people know from Instagram, I won the Phillies 5k again this year.  While it was a different course, my time was 5 seconds slower than last year.  Last year’s conditions were ideal. However, this year it was windier than anticipated (14 MPH along the water).  Either way, it wasn’t raining which means it was the best weather I’ve had for racing in months.

The race itself went moderately well.  I ran for the course for the conditions.  My splits were 6:00, 5:49 and 6:06 which is based on the wind as well as small hill at the beginning of mile 3.  I left the race bittersweet.  Was I happy with a win?  Of course.  Was I glad to still be in the 18:30-18:40 bubble that I’ve been in since October?  No.

I’m excited to run a few more 5ks in the next few weeks to get my speed back.  To be honest, I’ve missed running them!

Posts from the week:
Hoka Bondi 5 Shoe Review
How Alternating Shoes Can Benefit Your Running

Questions for you:
Have you ever been stuck in a plateau? I’ve been stuck in a few.  A few years ago on my quest to get back to my PR (for about 3 years my 5k PR was 18:35), I was stuck running 19-19:10.
What was your best workout last week?