Workouts: 5ks and Tempos

Training last week continued to progress well.  I recovered moderately well from the Air Force Half and was able to get in both a race and a workout over the weekend.

My next bigger race is the Runners World Festival 5k and 13.1.  While I could add the 10k and complete the hat trick, I’m too injury prone for that to be a smart idea.  The 5k and 13.1 has worked well in previous years, so like running shoes if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.

Monday: Easy 30 minutes
Tuesday: Easy 30 minutes/core
Wednesday: Easy 45 minutes/core
Thursday: OFF
Friday: Easy 60 minutes
Saturday: 5k (18:59.8) Total miles: 8
Sunday: 6.5 mile tempo (average 7:03 pace) total miles: 14/core

Total: 43-45

Thoughts:

My easy runs were just that, easy and recovery.  I don’t have anything to note about them, but boring isn’t a bad thing.

Saturday: Cherry Hill Book It 5k (18:59.8)

There were several 5ks in the area but to be honest, I didn’t make a decision to do any of them until Friday.  I ran by myself for the week, so I was kind of getting tired of it.  I knew I was going to run before work anyway and thought a hard effort would be good.  Plus, I use the Cherry Hill Library periodically (get it…).  I ended up taking over the lead around halfway and never looking back.  I’m happy with how the race went, I didn’t feel loose or fresh but I shouldn’t a week after my long run either.

Sunday: 2 mile warmup/6.5 mile tempo (7:03 average)/5.5 cool down

As I mentioned on Instagram, my next big race is the Runners World Festival where I’ll run the 5k and 13.1.  I’ll do a few 5ks before, but I’ll taper down for the Festival.  That being said, I need to train my body to race back to back days.  Last year around this time, I trained similarly, and it was when I felt the fittest.  7:03 is far from where I would like to be, but the first workout is always humbling.

Progression: 
Week 1: 31-33 miles
Week 2: 33-35 miles
Week 3: 33-35 miles (1 workout)
Week 4: 35-37 miles (1 workout)
Week 5: 29-31 miles
Week 6: 45 miles (1 workout)
Week 7: 40 miles (13.1 miles workout)
Week 8: 43-45 miles (2 workouts: 1 race/1 tempo)

I’m happy with my progression, I do believe it’s going well.  

Posts from the Week:
Air Force Half Marathon (1:27.28)
Techniques to Help Recover Faster

Questions for you:
Have you run multiple races in a weekend? 
When I’m fit, I seem to have some of my best races while doing 2 races in a weekend and running easy the rest of the week.  I’m not there just yet.
What was your best workout last week?

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Techniques to Help Recover Faster:

Last week was my longest half marathon in a while and I’ve been spending a lot more time on recovery.  Plus, as I continue to build mileage, I’ve been focusing more on recovery too.  Most people know but I’m injury prone, so I can’t get away with not focusing on recovery.  At this point, I don’t even try too.

Someone once told me that days off save seasons and I think it’s some of the best advice I’ve ever gotten.  Thinking out loud, now I apply them every time I have an injury scare.  Believe me, I’ve gone to my PT convinced I have a stress fracture, only for him to say…no your leg is just tight.

Here are a Few Techniques to Help Recover Faster:

Stretching:

We all know you should but how many people actually stretch after runs or night.  Probably not many of us.

Graston/ART:

I’m a big fan of ART.  It flushes out acid from your legs and muscles quicker and you recover faster.  I’ve always recovered faster when I opted to get a deep tissue massage or ART.  If you are local, I highly recommend Dr. Kemenosh and his staff (and no they aren’t paying me to tell you that).  They have helped me in multiple situations from fixing my hip/piriformis after my last marathon to loosening up my calves, and even feet.

Upping my Protein:

I’m not saying I have steak every meal but adding extra protein: including more eggs, greek yogurt, and lean meat has helped muscles recover faster.  I’m not a nutritionist or dietician and don’t claim to be, I’ve just found it’s been working.

Sleep:

This is an obvious one, but more sleep allows the muscles to repair. We know sleep is important, but there are so many distractions that make it difficult to get to bed. I try and log off the internet around 9 pm.  Sometimes I read, sometimes I go straight to bed.

Rest and Easy Runs:

This week most of my easy runs have been in the 9-10 minute pace which is fine.  There is no point in racing training runs, that is when injuries are caused.  If you struggle with not being able to run slower, I highly recommend leaving the watch at home.

Recovery from anything, whether it’s a race or hard training cycle takes time.  Just like training, there is no secret that does it all at once.

Related Posts:

Quick Core Ideas for Runners

Five Tips for Coming Back after an Injury

Question for you: How do you recover from hard workouts? Any tips?

Staying Fit During the Off Season

Some off seasons I work hard to keep a base and stay fit.  Some off seasons, I don’t.  This year, I didn’t and I can definitely feel the difference.  I have no regrets about that and fitness will come back.  Last week, a reader, Mike, asked about keeping a base in the off season.

Everyone needs a break in their running.  Running year round can result in injury or like me: burnout.  Feeling completely out of shape isn’t the most pleasent way to begin running again, and there are ways to cross train and get the most from an off season.  Ultimately, the off season should be used to rest and recover.

Here are a Few Methods I’ve Used to Keep Fitness:  

Create a Schedule or Plan:

Like when you are running, it’s important to create a plan.  Whether you want make a goal to run 2-3 times a week, cross train, or whatever, just make a plan.  When you aren’t training for anything, it becomes easy to just not do anything.  Believe me, from late April until early June, I took a week of rest which turned into 2 months.  I worked out sometimes, but not enough to keep any base fitness.  I was fine with that though!

Create a Realistic Plan:

Sure you could dedicate the amount you currently dedicate to running, but it’s an off season.  Thinking out loud, you aren’t supposed to go hard, you are supposed to relax and enjoy other things.  I typically recommend about half the time you would dedicate to running but make the plan realistic for you.  Find new hobbies you enjoy, do new things, or heck do nothing at all.

Do New Things:

If all you do during your running off season is run or run fewer miles, it’s not really an off season.

Here are some other examples of other great fitness options:

Strenght Training: Some off seasons I get into it, some off seasons I don’t.  I won’t pretend to be knowledgeable in it but you can get great strength training advice from those who are or a certified coach.

Swimming: If you read LOLZ blog long ago, you might remember I swam far before I ran. Swimming is a great full body workout.  Let’s be honest, it’s more fun in the summer and outdoors but it’s just as good in the winter too.

Yoga: Yoga is becoming trendy.  Especially hot yoga, now that it’s getting colder.

Spinning and Cycling: I’ve done a few spin classes before.  I don’t need (or want) to invest in a road bike and fun spin classes are good enough for me.  Plus normally they have top 40s music, which I like.

Group Classes: Personally, I like group classes in strength and cardio because I feel like it’s more fun, I actually do core and strength, and I like pop music.

Cardio Machines: Most runners like cardio marchines as much as they like the treadmill. I like them because I can catch up on Netflix, TV shows, or just be mindless for an hour and still get a good workout in.  Sometimes, I catch up on the social media too.  You can go nuts and raise your heart rate if you want, but gym equipment is all about what you put into it.  If you slowly pedal an elliptical, you won’t get as good of a workout as if you go crazy pretending you are racing the elliptical user next to you.

Finally and Just as Important as Working Out: Don’t Forget about your Diet.

When you aren’t burning as many calories, you don’t need to eat as much.  This is something I’ve always personally struggled with and I typically gain anywhere from 5-10 pounds.  I did from April until now too.  You should not deprive yourself but you probably don’t need to eat 5 cookies after a strength session.  It’s all about balance.

Keeping a base has it’s place, just like everything else in the fitness world.  I am a firm beliver, that it’s important to take a fair amount of rest so your body will be ready for the next training cycle.

Related Posts:
How to Build a Running Base and Stay Healthy
Why Building a Base is So Important for Running
Quick Core Ideas for Runners
Why Rest? Why Cross Train?

Questions for you:
What are your favorite things to do during an off season?
Do you take an off season?  Why or Why Not? 

Flying Fish 5k (19:17)

Last weekend I ran my third 5k since returning to the running scene.  I’ve run the Flying Fish 5k before and enjoyed the race.  Last year was extremely hot, and I ended up winning the race in 19:35. I was coming back from an injury and pleased.  Since I have less running under my belt; I wasn’t sure what to expect.

Since running the 19:47 at the Philadelphia Airport two weeks ago (in ideal weather), I was realistically hoping to be around that time.  Recently, I have put in more miles and run through hilly regions such as Chambersburg, Tennessee and North Carolina.  At the start line, I didn’t feel bad but nowhere near feeling fresh either.

I also knew a couple of faster females would be there.  It is hard going to race you’ve won, knowing you won’t, but I’m happy to have a deep field of incredible women to run with.  Many of whom are good friends.

My good friends, Danielle and Amelia came down and stayed at the LOLZ hotel to run the Flying Fish as well.  Amelia had a 20 miler that day.  Spoiler: she ran 18 miles before the race, ran Flying Fish, and PRed.

danielle amelia and i

I warmed up and got the start at 9:55. I chatted with a few friends including the women who won, Erin and women who got fourth overall Grace.  With that introduction of characters (minus my husband who ran the race as a marathon tune-up), we were off.

During the first mile, I felt better than expected.  However, I took it out faster than what I’m currently capable of and ran a first mile 5:55.  As I crossed the first mile and looked down, all I could think was: Oh $hit.  Not in a good way and not in the way I’ll hold that pace.

During the second mile, I found my groove and held on.  I hoped I wouldn’t regress into a 20+ min 5k, but I also knew I deserved it for running the first mile that fast if I did.  (To compare my fastest mile before that was 6:07).  I hit the second mile in 6:23 and I didn’t feel great but also not terrible.  There was a small hill that I forgot about, but I was happy with that.

The third mile of any 5k is usually a blur.  In a 5k, I like it that way, and I just wanted the race to be over.  At the end of the race, the Flying Fish has a half mile long straight finish.  I could see Erin about a minute ahead, followed by another female I recognized, then me.  I just focused on the finish which did not feel as if it was coming closer.

I hit the third mile in 6:12 and finished as the third female in 19:17.  It was 20 seconds faster than last year as well as my previous 5k so I can’t complain too much.

me running flying fish 5k

Progression:
8/20 Run the Runway 20:54 1st F
8/26 Philadelphia Airport 19:47 1st F
9/6 Flying Fish 19:17 3rd F

Questions for you:
Do you run the same races each year?
What is your favorite race time start?
Since it’s at a brewery, this one starts at 10 am, but I typically do better with 8 am starts.

Workouts: Hilly Scenic Runs and a 5k

Running last week went surprisingly well.  Both training and my 5k both clicked off better than anticipated.  I’ll have a full race recap of tomorrow of the Flying Fish 5k.

Since my husband and I were out of town, it meant running in new (and hilly) places.  I had some of the most beautiful running views I’ve had last week.  I also had some of the hilliest runs and hikes I’ve ever done.  Each was worth it.

Monday: 60 minutes easy
Tuesday: 60 minutes easy
Wednesday: 60 minutes easy
Thursday: off
Friday: 60 minutes easy
Saturday: Flying Fish 5k (19:17)
Sunday: 10 miles easy

Total:

Progression:

Week 1: 31-33 miles
Week 2: 33-35 miles
Week 3: 33-35 miles (1 workout)
Week 4: 35-37 miles (1 workout)
Week 5: 29-31 miles
Week 6: 45 miles (1 workout)

Thoughts:

Looking back, I jumped mileage faster than I should, especially considering several runs were hilly.  Nothing hurt, or felt achy and I felt good for most runs.  Running through Tenessee was one of my favorite runs and I could not have pictured a better backdrop.  While I love where I live in NJ, it’s both nice and fun to run in brand new locations.

The Flying Fish 5k is one of my favorite races.  I ran last year and had a great experience.  This year, I had less running under my belt but still hoped for a good race.  The week of hilly runs, as well as upping my mileage, caught up to me.  While I didn’t feel bad during the race, I didn’t feel tapered or fresh either.  I took out the race a bit faster than my current fitness and ran a 5:55, 6:23, and 6:12.  Overall I’m pleased with the race and it’s 20 seconds faster than last year.

Next week I’ll be running less, focusing on recovery, and running the Air Force Half Marathon in Dayton,  Ohio.  I don’t have a time goal, but to get my feet wet in the distance again.  My primary goal is to support my husband in the marathon.  Since he’ll be in the middle of nowhere for a while anyway, I figure I would run the half in that time.

Posts from the week:

How to Build a Running Base and Stay Healthy

August Training Reflection…hey I ran.

Questions for you:

Do you have a lot of hills near you?

What is the most scenic run you’ve done?

How to Build a Running Base and Stay Healthy

A few weeks ago, I posted about building a base for running.  Since then, I’ve been trekking along.  I’ve slowly either increased mileage or added speed work (in the form of races).

Over a month ago, thinking out loud, my longest run was about 6 miles.  Last week, I ran 10, and while I was tired, I wasn’t injured.  My paces have slowly gotten faster, and my body has become less and less fatigued.

After writing the post, several people emailed and asked to write different posts about the importance of the base building.  Believe me, without a foundation your training will crumble, and you will get injured.  I’ve been there, and the last thing you want is to be injured shortly after training again.  So here we are, back to base building.  Please keep in mind I’m not a professional, coach, or getting paid.  I’ve just been around the injury block a few times…

In Short, to Build a Successful Base, you Should Focus on Three Principles:

  1. The Length of Your Longest Run (don’t increase it too quickly)
  2. The Length of Your Weekly Runs
  3. Don’t forget rest!  Take an easier week every 3 weeks (the rest is the most important!)

After about a month, you should see an increase in endurance and less injury prone.   

That fitness increase is currently what I am seeing.  When I began running again, my paces were probably closer to 10 min miles.  Now I’m running about 9:15 and race.  I’m running longer and a bit faster.

During your base building phase, you should run longer to build more endurance and stamina. 

First, I do not mean go out and run 20 miles every day (or ever…running 20 milers every day isn’t wise).  You should slowly increase your mileage and keep it easy.  There is no point to race your training runs.  That will also lead to injury.

You should slowly increase your mileage and keep it easy.  There is no point to race your training runs.  That will also result in injury.

But What are the Benefits of Running Longer and Easier? 

  • Build Mental Toughness
  • Improve Muscular Strength
  • Become More Energy Efficient

So How Fast Should I Run? 

Once again, I’m not an expert and I’m speaking purely on experience.  Personally, I’ve found that running anywhere from 60-90 seconds slower than your race pace has worked.  Most of the time during base building, I don’t bring a watch with me.

During easy runs, you should be able to “talk” the entire time.  Realistically, you shouldn’t increase your long run by more than 1-2 miles every week.

Finally, The Importance of a Rest Week: 

Around 4 weeks, you should cut back your distance. Otherwise, you’ll set yourself up for an injury.  You cannot continuously build your mileage, or your body will break.  You will lead to a small injury or issue.

Taking a couple of rest days can save an entire season of running.  Stress fractures aren’t a single injury but form over weeks of continuous stress.

In short, building a base takes time.  Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is fitness.  

Related Posts:
Why Building a Base is So Important for Running
How Easy is it to “Get Out of Running Shape”?
Racing My Way to Fitness

Questions for you:
How do you build your base?
What is your favorite type of run?  Easy? Long Runs? Tempo? Race? 

August Training Reflection: Hey…I ran…

Labor Day Weekend has come and gone and a routine is settling back.  It’s crazy to think that August has already flown by.  August is the first month since April, I put significant miles in.  As I mentioned yesterday in my weekly training log, I’ve run five weeks in a row now.

Most of August was spent finishing various personal life projects.  As the month progressed, I slowly got back into running.  Having a slow increase of free time was great because it allowed me to ease back into running and not dive head first.

me running

Miles Run: ??  Somewhere between 120-130
Range of Pace: 6:17-11:12-mostly untimed
Shortest Run: 1 mile
Longest Run: 10 miles
Races Run: 
Run the Runway 5k (20:54)
Philadelphia International Airport 5k (19:47)

Thoughts:
I’m happy with how my running progressed last month.  Do I believe I’m 100% ready to train for anything just yet?  No, but running a sub 20 minute 5k so soon, was a huge motivation for me.

As I continue training, I plan to document my progression with running both openly and honestly.  I’ve had a 3-month break and things haven’t been and won’t be easy.  It would be a lie if I didn’t say I’m not dreaming for the days I can “easily” run in the 18s again but life changes and so do focuses.

philadelphia international 5k

So far (knock on wood), I haven’t had any major setbacks but I haven’t done anything “too crazy” either.  I’m just slowly easing back into running.

Monthly Progression:
Progression: 
Week 1: 31-33 miles
Week 2: 33-35 miles
Week 3: 33-35 miles (1 workout)
Week 4: 35-37 miles (1 workout)
Week 5: 29-31 miles

So what am I looking for in September? 
I plan to slowly continue to increase my mileage as well as continue to add a few races.  I’ve signed up for both the Flying Fish 5k this weekend (which I recommend and enjoyed the race last year).

The other race that is reaching and I’ll go in undertrained is the Air Force Half Marathon on Sept. 16th.  My husband has been training (well) for the Air Force Marathon and I decided last week, it wasn’t completely idiotic of me to run the half.   I’ve run 10 miles so 13 isn’t a huge jump.  I don’t have any time goals but to get out there and enjoy myself (then have enough energy to cheer him into the finish again like when he ran the Mercedes Full marathon and broke 3 hours!).

I enjoy running and it’s a passion of mine, but I’m in a different training phase and life phase right now.  Running, training, and time goals don’t consume me and I’m cool with that.

Posts from the Month: 
How to Tell You Need New Running Shoes
Factors You Never Knew Played a Role in Running Shoes
Why Building a Base is So Important for Running
Brooks Glycerin Shoe Review
Reflecting on 7 Years of Blogging
How Easy is it to Get Out of Running Shape?

So there you have it.  Cheers to another month of training and hopefully continuing to build a base.

Questions for you:

How was your month of August?

What was your best workout of the summer?