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?

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How Alternating Shoes Can Benefit Your Running:

One of the most asked questions I get while working in a running store, is: “do I need two pairs of shoes”?

The short answer is, you don’t need anything… 

But this post isn’t about the short answer.

Thinking out loud, alternating shoes can benefit anyone running, from those training for a 5k to those training for a marathon or even ultra marathon.

Keep in mind, your rate of injury does go up if you alternate the wrong types of shoes.  Every shoe is made for a different foot type and if you alternate the wrong shoes (for your feet) then you will get injured.

There are very few situations you should rotate a stable and neutral shoe together.  Make sure that the shoes you’ve chosen are correct for your particular gait and feet.  Every shoe is good for someone but there is no “best shoe”.   I cannot stress how important it is to go to your local Running Store and get your feet analyzed. 

But why Alternate Shoes?

Increase the Durability of Your Shoes:

Well yes, having two pairs of shoes means you use the shoe less frequently but it also means your shoe have time to recover and bounce back from each run.

So why do shoes last longer? If you give shoes 1-2 days to “recover,”  the materials in the midsole don’t continuously compress.  Like a sponge, they fluff or bounce back closer to their original state.

Instead of getting the traditional 300-400 miles on a shoe, you might get a few more.  

It does naturally cost more to buy two shoes, you are getting more for your money.  Always ask your running store if they give a discount for buying two shoes, we do where I work

Different Shoes are Made for Different Things:

Take the Hoka Bondi 5 versus the Saucony Type A.  Both of these shoes make weekly appearences in my running but they are made for different types of runs!  The Hoka Bondi 5 has over double the weight and cushion of the Saucony Type A.

The Hoka Bondi 5 was created for a long run, recovery run or to withstand training. Saucony Type A is a minimal racing flat.  If you train in the Saucony Type A for every run, you will get injured.  If you raced in the Hoka Bondi, your body and feet would be working significantly harder.  Every shoe has a time and place.  I did write about racing flats here.

Alternating Shoes Can Prevent Injury:

As I mentioned above, this only works if you do it correctly!  While it’s not the magical way to prevent injuries, you can decrease your injury risk by alternating appropriate shoes.

Stress fractures happen from doing the same thing day in and day out.  If you run the same route, in the same shoes, every day you are more prone to an injury.

Even if you rotate two of the exact same style, then your feet are working in very similar ways.  Choosing different brands or models allow your body and feet to work just differently enough that it can decrease the stress put on any given area of your body.

Should You Rotate the Same Exact Style or Different Brands?

Alternating two of the same style allows each shoe to have a longer life span.

Alternating different styles allows each shoe to have a longer lifespan and your foot will work differently in each shoe.  You’ll be less suscipatble to injury by alternating different types or brands of shoes.

It’s just fun.  This isn’t a scientific fact but running in different shoes is just fun. 

What am I currently alternating between?
Hoka Bondi 5 (long runs, daily runs)
Saucony Freedom ISO (daily runs)
Brooks Launch (speed work, short runs)
Saucony Type A (speed work)

Incase you missed any of the previous weeks Running Store and Training:
Thoughts While Working in the Running Store
Should Race in Racing Flats?
Are you Getting Enough Protein for Running?

Why 5ks are the Best

Questions for you:
Which shoes are in your shoe rotation?
Have a question about shoes?  Ask below!

Why 5ks are the Best

It’s no secret that I love racing 5ks. While I love racing in general, 5ks are the easiest to distance to race hard, recover, and race again next week.

Recently I was asked about tips and strategies of how to race and PR.  I can show you what has worked well for me in the past.  Keep in mind I’m not a coach or an elite!

During a 5k, you have two options:

Option 1: You blink, and the race is over

Option 2: You take the race out too fast, and it feels like five back to back marathons.

If you’ve run more than one 5k, you’ve probably experienced both situations.

So first why race such a short tactical and precise race?

It’s clear the marathon bug has bit a lot of people. The word “only” becomes associated with half marathons.

“New Runner” has become associated with those training for 5ks. To be honest, despite being short, 5ks are one of the hardest races distances to run well. There is little room for error.  Thinking out loud, most any athlete can benefit from adding a few 5ks into their training plan.

But Why?

Reason 1: The need for speed: 5ks make you feel fast. Longer distances make you feel strong while shorter distances make you feel fast.

5ks are quick and dirty. 5ks are all of a distance “race pain” in a short amount of time.

Reason 2: Easier to Recover From: If you have a terrible race, try again next week: I’ve had a terrible 5ks only to be followed by an awesome 5k the following week.

A few years ago, I raced one of the most mentally challenging and grueling 5ks I’ve ever run. It was slow (for me), my legs were fatigued, and I felt awful. I had high expectations and fell hard. I was devastated.

What did I do? I rested and recovered.  The following weekend, I ran an entire 90 seconds faster.
Reason 3: Benchmarks:  You can mark your progress. Two years ago in my quest to gain speed back, I raced no less than 30 5ks in a year.  I was able to track my progress and see small results lead to bigger results.

For some people, myself included, seeing progress is motivating. I like to feel like my hard work is paying off!

Reason 4: 5ks are Fun! It’s one of the few distances you can see a range of people finish. It could be someone’s first 5k or someone going for a PR. Either way, you see a broad range of people from every fitness level!

Tips for Racing 5ks:

These are tips that have helped me throughout the years.  I haven’t counted, but I’ve probably run about 100 5ks.  They still remain my favorite distance.

  • Get a good warmup:  While I don’t always warm up for longer distances such as a half marathon, I find I need to warm up at least 2-3 miles with a few striders before a 5k.  You want that blood pumping.
  • Pacing: I’ve learned that you have to give a 5k everything you have and then keep giving it more. If you take out a 5k too slow, you can often regret it in the last mile.  My goal is always to make it through the middle mile.  I remind myself after mile 2, the race is almost over.
  • Run the Tangents: Okay yeah so .1 doesn’t matter, but realistically it does! A tenth of a mile run in tangents can mean an extra 30-40 seconds.  In such a short race, that is even bigger of a deal.
  • The 5k Hurts: Of course it is easier to finish running a 5k versus a marathon, but it is not easier to race a 5k.  The 5k is all of the pain of a half or full marathon in a short amount of time.  Look around while you’re running and you will see plenty of other runners, riding the pain train.

The 5k is a rewarding and fun distance.  Sure, it’s the shortest to complete but that doesn’t make it the easiest!

Incase you missed any of the previous weeks Running Store and Training:
Thoughts While Working in the Running Store
Should Race in Racing Flats?
Are you Getting Enough Protein for Running?

Questions for you:

What is your favorite race distance?
When was the last 5k you ran?

 

 

Training: Feeling Stale

Last week on Instagram I posted that I’ve been struggling both mentally and physically with running.  In March my goal is to get back to enjoying it. To be honest, I don’t think it’s so much of “I don’t like running,” I think my life is chaotic outside of it.  Between my husband’s job as well as my personal life, I’ve had a lot more than usual going on.

Last week, my coach, and I decided to skip a workout this week and focus on mental and physical recovery.  The week before, I had a frustrating workout.  My tempo was 40 seconds slower than the goal pace, and it felt difficult.  This week, we decided to back off, and I needed it.

I’ve also had a lot of personal life that has kept me busy.  Since coming back to New Jersey, my personal running has taken the backburner. I’ve had other priorities.  I realized that I was burning the candle at both ends and putting far too much pressure on myself!  Which is silly since friends

There isn’t much to say about my week.  I enjoyed a lot of easy and watchless runs.  I ran with my husband for several of them.

On Wednesday evening, I got a two-hour deep tissue massage which helped release knots in my IT band.  I don’t have any major issues, but my legs have felt stiff for the last several weeks.

Race: Grilled Cheese 4 Miler 24:13

Last year I ran and won the race.  It was the perfect race, and I felt great.  This year, going into that, I knew it wouldn’t be as great.  My body was still recovering from my deep tissue massage, I didn’t feel “great”, and it was 15 degrees. It’s always hard to enter a perfect race knowing you did well the previous year.

Even though it was significantly colder and my body felt as though it was still recovering, I was able to run 24:13 which I’m happy with.  I negative split the entire race and felt decent.

Plans for Next Week:

I plan to continue to relax and focus on myself.  With Shamrock in two weeks, I want to relax and regroup now versus feeling stale at the race.  Shamrock isn’t a “goal race” for me, but granted the weather isn’t like last year, I would like to see where my fitness is.

Posts from the week:
February Training Log
Thoughts While Working at a Running Store

Questions for you:
How do you regroup and refocus when things feel stale?
What was your best workout last week?

Training: Back to the Cold

Last week was a solid week of training.  My easy runs felt good and I had two quality workouts. Since the Mercedes half marathon was more of a workout, I recovered quickly.  Not that I’m complaining…

Monday:  Easy 60 minutes at McAlpine Park in Charlotte
Tuesday: Easy 60 minutes
Wednesday: Easy 60 minutes
Thursday: 12X2 minutes with 30 seconds rest
Friday: Easy 70 minutes
Saturday:  Easy 60 minutes
Sunday: 2X4 mile tempo (6:42 pace)

I didn’t race this week and I probably won’t next week.  Due to weather, February is typically a “drier” race month in New Jersey. I’m happy to get a couple of quality weeks of training under my belt as well.  My next major race is the Shamrock half marathon in about a month.  That will be a race to hopefully test my fitness.  Incase you are interested, I wrote about my 2017 Spring Goal Races here.

Speaking of New Jersey, I’m having a hard time adjusting back to the climate.   When I left, we hadn’t had a lot of cold days and now running in the 20s feels difficult.  It’s quite a shock from the drastic humidity of Alabama.  So if you see someone running around in a parka, it might be me.

Workouts:
Thursday: 12×2 minutes with 30 seconds rest (average 6:15 pace)

I appreciate my workouts are rarely the same.  This is one of the better workouts I’ve had lately.  I’m back to doing workouts on roads and I felt good

Sunday: 2X4 miles (6:42 average)
This workout intimidated me.  The goal pace was 6:44.  I did the workout on roads and it flew by.  I never felt amazing but I was able to make the pace.

This week will be similar.  I’ll just crank through workouts and get them under my belt.

Posts from the Week:
Mercedes Half Marathon
Saucony Freedom ISO Shoe Review
Love Yourself

Questions for you:
How was your week of training?
Where is your favorite spot to workout?

Training last Week: Travel and 5k (18:42)

Training last week clicked off well. I ran what I needed to and got the mileage in.  I don’t have any complaints about the week.

Monday: Easy 60 minutes (9:20 pace) Core
Tuesday: Easy 7 miles (8:40)
Wednesday: Workout Core
Thursday: Easy 60 minutes (9:05 pace)
Friday: Easy 60 minutes Core
Saturday: Workout: Polar Bear 5k (18:42)
Sunday Easy Mercedes Course Preview
Total: 59  miles

Easy Runs:

My easy runs were slower than usual last week but it was also humid. Most of the days last week were either running in 100% humidity or the rain. I didn’t feel bad or injured, but the heat change was noticeable.

Wednesdays Workout:
4X60 seconds (average 6:00)
1X10 minutes (6:33)
1X3 minutes (5:56)
4X60 seconds (average 6:10)

The workout was definetely different and a nice change. Something I do like about my coach is that he doesn’t give the same workouts weekly. I’m not doing 10x400s each week hoping to see improvmeent, or worse comparing myself when I don’t.

As far as execution, it was one of my better workouts in the last few weeks.
Polar Bear 5k (18:42):

My husband and I decided to take a road trip last weekend. We went to Atlanta and then Birmingham. We have been to Altanta a few times, so we stayed away from the touristy things. We stumbled upon a 5k and when we went there, I was shocked! It was a 1000+ person 5k and we weren’t expecting that. I had a workout that day of 2X5k at 6:45 pace.

I ran the first 5k at 5:58 and the second at 6:50. It was a lot faster than planned.

My splits were 6:00, 5:55 and 5:58. I ran a smart race and I’m happy with it. It was a moderately difficult course and I’ll have a recap soon.

This workout is more mentally challening than anything.  The second 5k is always extremely difficult to get out there. It takes a lot of mental pep talk after a race to get back and run hard by yourself again (I’ve done this workout a couple times: Haddonfield Road Race and Run for Jack). I didn’t want to interfere with racers and I ended up running part of the workout in a hilly neighborhood.

We swung by Birmingham on the way back and did the last Mercedes Course Preview Run.  While the Merecedes half won’t be a goal race for me, it was nice to check out the course.  I didn’t realize it was as hilly as it is.

In summary, it was a good week. The next two weeks are bigger race weeks for me with the Double Bridges 15k in Pensacola next weekend and the Mercedes Half Marathon the following.

Running Related Posts from the Week:
How to Run with a Significant Other
Running Books I’m Reading

Questions for you:
What is the biggest race you’ve ever done?
How was your week of workouts?

Training: 2 Mile Repeats and Hilly 5ks

The last week of training didn’t start off the greatest but progressed to be better towards the end.  I didn’t accomplish my goal at my workout on Tuesday, but after rest and recovery, I felt a lot better.

Monday: Easy 60 minutes
Tuesday: 3X2 miles (6:54 pace)
Wednesday: OFF
Thursday: Easy 60 minutes
Friday: Easy 75 minutes
Saturday: Run with friends
Sunday: 2X5: Resolution 5k: 18:30, 20:15
Total:  60 miles

My easy runs went pretty well.  On Saturday, I ran with some of my closest friends and coworkers which was a lot of fun.

run-with-friends

Tuesdays: Workout: 3X2 mile (6:54, 6:48, 6:52)

Long story short, I didn’t achieve the goal pace during the 2 miles.  I had an incredible tempo run the Sunday before, and my legs still had lactic acid in them.  I couldn’t change my schedule, so it was either then or never. I would equate it to the workout version of the

I would equate it to the workout version of the Philadelphia half marathon.  I wasn’t feeling great, it was windy and cold, but honestly, I put the run behind me.

I got a deep tissue massage later in the day and took the next day off.  The deep tissue massage, as well as rest, was exactly what I needed.

Sundays Race: Goal 2X5k with 3 minutes recovery

Race: 18:30

2nd 5k: 20:15

I’ll have a recap of the 5k later in the week, but it went well.  The course itself was surprisingly hilly.  hilly workout

I didn’t feel amazing, but I didn’t feel awful either.  I felt like the first 5k loosened me up and even though it was slower, I did feel better during the second 5k.  It was a tough workout, but I was happy with it.

Other than that, not too much else going on.

Posts of the week:
A Recap of 2016 Blogging
A Look Back at 2016 Running
Bettering Yourself with a New Years Resolution

Questions for you:
How was your workout week?
Do you like 2-mile workouts?