Steps to Increase Mileage and Stay Healthy

Steps to Increase Mileage and Stay Healthy

As runners, we all want to run more and stay healthy.  I used to have the firm belief of more=better.  Over the last year and a half, my personal life has gotten much busier. I don’t have the time to dedicate for more and more and more. And that’s okay!  Plus, more is not always better.  I’m doing less than many earlier years and I’ve PRed in both the half and full marathon.

When you begin running, it’s important to increase slowly. I’ve increased mileage too fast, only to pay the price with an injury.

After my post about my personal struggles with injury, a few people asked, how can you increase mileage and stay healthy?

Please remember, I’m not the “be all end all” of advice, and it’s important to remember what works for you might not work for everyone.  This is just what has worked for me.

Steps to Increase Mileage and Stay Healthy

How to Increase Mileage and Stay Healthy:

Slow and Steady Wins the Race:

If you increase your mileage too quickly, you will get injured and be sidelined.  Follow the 10% increase in mileage.  If you ran 40 miles last, adding 10% will give you 44.

I wasn’t always great with this, and I believe it’s what led to one of my fractures. After 2016, my mileage dropped, and I’ve stayed more healthy.

Decrease with your Increase

This step has multiple parts

Part 1: Recovery Week:

Every few weeks, it’s important to take a recovery week.  It’s the golden rule, but your body must rest and recover to build muscle, speed, and endurance.  Personally, I like to add 1-2 more rest days and drop 1 or both of my speed workouts.  If you continue to increase all of the time, your body will break from an overuse injury.

Over the last three months of training, I’ve had something pop up at least once a week, sometimes twice.  Sudden events have forced a rest day due to “not enough time”. By that, I mean I chose sleep so I can give 100% in other areas in my life.  Most days, it isn’t worth it to me to get 5 hours of sleep, so I can wake up for a run. I’m miserable for the rest of the day.

Part 2: Decrease Your Speed with Increased Mileage

Reducing speed is an important but overlooked fact.  You can’t run the same speed while running 10 miles a week and running 100.  Sprinting a 100-mile week will result in massive fatigue, exhaustion and ultimately injury.

While I didn’t run 100-mile weeks, too much speed is the reason for my first stress fracture.  I ran all of my runs too fast, and my body broke. I was running about 50 miles a week, and more fatigued than when I used to run 70-80.  Now, I rarely even time my easy days. I run with friends, or on a known route. I’ll run 10-minute miles, or 8…it really doesn’t matter as long as my body feels as though it’s easy.

If you are worried about pace for an easy run, remember, no one cares. Your ego shouldn’t be the deciding factor for running, but it definitely shouldn’t be your deciding factor for an easy run.  For most easy runs, I leave my GPS watch at home. Did I run 3.1 miles or 3.2?  9:04 pace or 9:06?  The world will never know…

Know your Limits

Injuries don’t typically come out of nowhere.  Know your personal weak spots. Running is a lifelong process, and it takes months to build a strong base.

You don’t build fitness in a day, and you don’t lose it either.

Don’t rush the process because you’ll be sidelined with a minor or major injury.  If you feel a small ache or pain, keep a mental note about it. Make sure it doesn’t increase or become worse.

Questions for you:
How many miles do you run weekly?
How do you stay injury free and healthy?

Coros Apex GPS Watch Review

In my quest to find a watch to meet my needs, I decided to try the Coros Apex GPS Watch.  The company, Coros, is a newer company on the GPS scene. They created two watches the Coros Apex and the Pace. I chose the Apex, because it has all of the same features of the Pace but has a “less sporty look”. I wanted a watch I could wear wherever.

Coros designed the Apex as a Multisport Watch for athletes who want to train harder, smarter, and more efficiently. Along with pace, distance, time, you can even create workouts specifically geared towards your fitness level and training needs.

1000s, 400s, mile repeats?  You got it!  (A key imprtance for me)

After a workout, you can easily upload your data to the Coros App. If you use Strava or Trainingpeaks, it will sync to that too.  It does everything a Garmin Forerunner will, and I believe everything the Garmin Fenix does too.

In exchange for an unbiased review, Coros gave me 50% off the watch.

Coros apex gps watch review

Thoughts:

Right off the back, I liked the look of the watch. I like the sleekness of white but also the ability to change bands if I want too. Plus, it’s not a big, heavy, watch. Of any watch I’ve used, it’s by far the lightest.

I’m upgrading from the Garmin 220, so the Coros Apex has a lot of features.  Since I run, I’m most interested in the running and overall health features.  Before researching watches, I was unfamiliar with the brand Coros.  It’s a newer company but well known for running, cycling, and swimming.

As far as features go, the Apex is most similar to the Garmin 935.

Design:

The Apex is available in two different sizes, 42mm and 46mm.  I went with the smaller 42mm because I like a smaller watch that I can wear daily.  It looks sporty but not ultra-sporty.  It’s something I can get away with outside of the fitness world.

One thing I haven’t experimented with (yet), is the removable bands. Once the white gets dirty, I’m sure I’ll be changing bands.  I like pink so maybe that will be next.

Coros apex gps watch review

Battery Life:

It’s advertised to go about ten days on a single charge, and I’ve had success with that.  In fact, I only charged it once on my entire trip in California.  I wore it every day and used the GPS mode for either hiking or running.

Marin Headlands San Francisco

Hiking the Marin Headlands

It can also be in “Full GPS mode for 25 hours (or 35 with the larger 46 mm).  I have no need for that length of GPS, but if you are an ultra runner, I can see a huge benefit to not changing watches.  I appreciate I don’t have to charge it after every workout because I usually forget.

Features:

The Coros Apex Watch has a lot of features. Since I upgraded from a Garmin 220, it took me a while to get used to everything. In fact, I’m not fully used to everything just yet.

The important features to me were the ability to program a workout like 12X400 with 400 jog in between (or any track workout) as well as the essential time, distance, pace.  I liked the look of the Fitbit, but it could not program track workouts.

Seems simple right?  Believe me, the Coros Apex Watch has all of that and far far more.  I’m a basic runner and would prefer an “easy to use” watch versus one with 10,000 features that I didn’t use.  Luckily, the Apex Coros is both easy to use and has a ton of features.

Coros apex gps watch review

Here are just a few of many features:

Running:

  • Distance, pace, and speed (compared to other GPS brands, I’ve found it accurate
  • Entire Indoor/Treadmill Run Feature: I used Coros inside (my first time using a GPS watch inside ever), and the indoor GPS is accurate as well.
  • Heart Rate, Heart Rate Zone
  • Cadence and Stride Length (in real time)
  • Auto-lap, auto-pause
  • Ability to display more or less data on the screen:  Seeing the data is neat, but I personally don’t need to see it every second of my run. You can adjust the data screens to show more or less information.

The only issue, I’ve found with the Apex is, I’ve bumped it a couple of times and accidentally paused the watch (while still running). I wish there was a little more resistance on the side button, but it hasn’t been enough to make me dislike the watch or even be enough.

Cycling

Keep in mind, I don’t cycle. At all! The Coros Apex does all of the cycling data too.

  • Distance, speed, HR, HR zone, and so on.

Swimming

For the LOLZ, I decided to get back into the pool just to see what the Apex did.  Back in my day (omg I’m old…a decade ago), we had no GPS watches to track our collegiate swimming laps. To be honest that was probably good.  Moving forward, it was a whole new experience to get all of this information in the pool.  Like other sports, it did the following:

  • Distance, pace, stroke count,
  • I swam in the pool but you can differentiate between the pool and open water swimming.

Heart Rate Monitor:

I used the Heart Rate Monitor, and in comparison to my Fitbit, it’s pretty spot on. I didn’t have an issue, and the accuracy seemed right in line.

Coros apex gps watch review

Hiking:

While there isn’t a “hiking” GPS, I’ve been using running and it’s been accurate. A couple of cool hiking orientated features are the built in compass as well as altimeter (checking altitude). I’ve found myself using both regularly and it’s been an awesome addition to hikes.

Coros apex gps watch review

Coros apex gps watch review

Daily Factors and Sleep Tracking:

Sleep Tracking was a big feature for me.  I like the ability to track sleep on the Fitbit Versa.  I don’t think Garmin does a great job at it.  The Apex also has you standard activity and sleep tracking features.

I think the sleep tracking is far more accurate and better than Garmin.  I do believe, Fitbit sleep tracking is better.

Other Overall Wellness Features:

  •  Daily steps, active calories, exercise time (all fairly accurate and the steps was within 100 of what other trackers said)
  • Smart Notifications (I like to see texts or phone calls but have stopped notifications on social platforms (which I also do on my phone).
  • Elevation: I’ve enjoyed tracking the elevation for hiking.  When we went out to California, it was a lot of fun to track our climbing.

Overall Thoughts:

I like my Coros Apex Watch. I like the general design and the ability to wear it outside of fitness. I appreciate all of the features in the watch as well as it not being “big and bulky”.  It’s the smallest GPS watch I’ve seen on the market.

I know I don’t use every single feature, but the Apex marks all of the basic things I need (a basic GPS watch, that can be used for complex workouts, as well as being out and about). Coros, in general, flew under my radar until recently but if you are looking for a GPS watch, the Apex is one to consider.

Pros:

  • Lightweight and slimmest GPS watch I’ve tried
  • Long battery life
  • Sleep Tracking
  • Built-in heart rate monitor
  • Bonus hiking features including altimeter and compass
  • So. Many. Features. (maybe too many for me, but there are a lot!)

Cons:

  • Lack of music ability which many watches have at that price
  • The start/stop button for running can be finicky, and it is relatively easy to accidentally pause a run.

In finding a watch the Coros meets all of my needs. From tracking pace, distance, time, and workouts to hiking elevation, I haven’t found a feature it doesn’t have that I need.  Plus the overall look can’t be overlooked as a functional but cute watch.

If you are interested, you can use the code Hollie10 and receive 10% off the watch (which is $30).

Questions for you:

Do you wear a GPS watch? What kind?

What features are most important to you in a watch? 

Training Log: Snow Squalls and Treadmills

Training Log: Snow Squalls and Treadmills

Last week, was mentally challenging but I got everything I wanted too (as far as training goes).  There were a few days that weather made it challenging, but I got it done.

Monday: Easy 60 minutes
Tuesday: Easy 60 minutes/Upper Body strength
Wednesday: 5X1000 averaging 6:40 pace, 90 seconds rest (total miles 10)
Thursday: Rest
Friday: 60 minutes easy
Saturday: 60 minutes easy
Sunday: 14 miles progressive with 4 under 7 mins/core

Thoughts:

Easy runs were just that, easy. Both Friday and Saturday were done on the treadmill due to safety.  Friday was cold, and I could have run outside but did I want to run outside? No. Saturday, I didn’t trust the black ice situation on the road and ran inside as well.  I wanted to race on Saturday but the race was postponed because of slick roads.

Workout Wednesday:

This was the workout that almost didn’t happen. Most people know I am a morning workout person and if it doesn’t happen before 10 am, it doesn’t happen at all. That wouldn’t work for me, so I started the workout at 1 pm. It was around 22 degrees.  It was extremely windy, and somewhere in there, we got a “snow squall” which I wasn’t expecting. Nothing stuck, and it was over as quick as it started. I feel proud I got the workout done, but do I think it was the most productive workout ever? No.

Sunday Long Run: 14 miles progressive with 4 under 7 mins:

Sunday’s long run was one of the best I’ve had in a long time. I felt like I was able to get a good rhythm in my run. Plus, the weather was finally decent which helped. I’m hoping I can build upon that and get back

I’ve wanted to get back into strength and core for a while, so I’m trying to start adding it back into my routine.  I wrote about strength workouts I did a very long time ago, but nothing much has changed for me.  I prefer quick and easy.

Thoughts, I’m proud of this week and adding core and strength into my routine. It’s one tiny step in the right direction.

Posts from the Week:

Questions for you:

What is your favorite core or strength move?

How cold has it been where you live?

January Training

January Training

January and February always feel like the longest months to me. Thankfully, one down and the shorter one to go. I’ve been open with training, and while I’m running, doing workouts, and occasionally racing, I’m not chasing PRs and not in any peak shape.  I haven’t been able to be as consistent as I would like. That’s okay!  I’m not upset about it. We can’t always be in the best shape ever and always chasing PRs.

Miles Run: About 200
Range of Paces: 6:17-11:30-untimed
Rest Days: 6
Races:
Resolution Run 5k (19:44)
Carlsbad Half Marathon (1:29.44)
Workouts: 6

Thoughts:

January wasn’t a bad month, just busy.  In the last few years, I’ve come to realize I appreciate a nice vacation in January or February. I don’t love winter and like getting somewhere warmer.

The first half of the month wasn’t bad weather wise. The cold weather was there but it’s been much colder the second half. I’ll run outdoors in 15 degrees but the single digit temperatures usually have me inside.

View this post on Instagram

Sun and easy run. 🌞🏃‍♀️

A post shared by Hollie (@fueledbylolz) on

For our vacation, this year we decided to go back to California. Instead of staying near San Diego, we drove up 101 and to San Francisco. We hiked so many different spots and saw plenty of new locations and places.

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Hiked so high, almost touched the sky.

A post shared by Hollie (@fueledbylolz) on

We added the Carlsbad half marathon in there too. I knew I wasn’t in the “best shape” ever but wanted to give the race my all. Dehydration ultimately got to me, but I was happy to log a 1:29.44.

Other than that, training has been grinding when I can. In February, I would like up my miles and log more quality sessions and progress towards getting back into shape. I’m also going to reintroduce some weights, planks, and body weight exercises into my routine. It’s been so long since I’ve made an effort there.

I’m looking forward to hopefully increasing fitness in February. I know I have a long way to go but I can’t wait to finally get back at it.

Posts from the month:

2018 in Blogging
2018 in Running

Running: 

Tips to get Your Workout Done Early
A History with Injuries
One Year with Collagen
Why Train for Shorter Distances?
Don’t Just Survive Running in Winter Months…Enjoy Them
Tips to Get Your Workout Done Early

Shoe Reviews:

Brooks Ricochet Shoe Review
Nike Streak Lt 4 Shoe Review
Saucony Triumph ISO 5 Shoe Review

Hiking:

Walking the Manasquan Reservoir
Hiking Calavera Hills Community Park
Hiking to the Headley Overlook at Mahlon Dickerson

Whoa ,I had more posts than I anticipated!  I guess I blogged a lot.

Questions for you:

How was your month of January?

What is your favorite month of the year? 

Tips to Get your Workout Done Early

Tips to Get your Workout Done Early

Recently I received a question about running and working out in the morning.   I haven’t always been a “morning runner,” but since graduating college, I’m a morning runner 99% of the time.  There are only a handful of times a year that I run in the afternoon. (In 2019, there were 4..and I count NYCM that started late). If I don’t run before 9 am, chances are I don’t run.  Of course, it doesn’t include races, although I did wish they all started before 9.  Keep in mind, there is no best time to workout. Do what works for you and forget about the rest.

I will be the first to tell you it’s much easier to run in the morning during the summer.  In the summer, it gets light earlier, and it’s warmer.  You don’t feel as though you’re ripping blankets off to go for a run in the dark and cold.  For me, with a constant change of schedule, it’s better for me to get the run done earlier.Tips to Get your Workout Done Early

Here are a Few Ways I Wake Up to Workout:

Turn Off Technology: 

I am known to turn my technology off around 9-9:30 pm.  I might go to bed a little later, but I stop fiddling with the computer, texting, etc.  It allows me to wind down and actually get to bed.  Tweeting at the pillowcase keeps me wide awake.  I started doing that sometime in 2013, and I’ve found it’s much easier to fall asleep. Did I miss your stellar 9 pm Instagram post? Maybe…but I’ll see it in the morning.

Set an Alarm (or 2 or 10):

I’ve adjusted to waking up between 5-5:30 am most mornings.  To be honest, at this point it doesn’t phase me.  However, it didn’t use to be like that, and I needed an alarm to pull me out of bed.  I always recommend setting the alarm.

Check the Weather the Night Before:

Mentally I like to have an idea if I’ll be running inside or outside.  Or if it’s going to be snowing, pouring rain, or windy.  Not all surprises are good ones.

Make Sure. You Have Appropriate Gear Clean:

Many bloggers will tell you to lay your clothing out, and I think that is fantastic advice, however, for me if I have appropriate gear cleaned and findable, I consider it a good day.  My life and gym clothes are not always ever “social media flat lay photo ready”.  Usually, it’s in my drawer, and I’m mindlessly grabbing things to put on. Sorry, I don’t match… I really don’t care.

Phone a Friend:

Meet someone for a workout. There have been several times that I wouldn’t have worked out if I wasn’t meeting a friend. Don’t underestimate the power of numbers.

Consistency is Key:

Sometimes we want to change but aren’t willing to give it time.  Give your new routine for at least 2 weeks.  If after two weeks, it’s not for you, find something that is!

Finally, remember this…there is no right or wrong time to workout. If you prefer a lunch or evening workout, that’s cool!  Don’t stress about it and choose that best time that fits into your needs.

Questions for you:
What time do you like to workout?
Do you have any methods to wake up in the morning?

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