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?

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?

What to Do Between Training Cycles:

After a goal race, it can be hard to figure out what to do next.  Sometimes your goal race goes perfectly, but sometimes it does not.  Either way, you are still the same person before and after the race. It’s important not to let a race result dictate how you feel.

As much as I would love to write about achieving goals at the Atlantic City Half Marathon, that didn’t happen (or anywhere close).  But life has gone on!

So now your goal race is done and over. Now what do you do?

Thinking out loud, how do you go from training hard to…well, anything else.

First, it’s important to put whatever happened at your race behind you.  Three of the most common post goal race feelings are:

We finish with a great PR, and want to jump right back into hard training with minimal rest…

We finish outside of our goals and seek a “redemption” race.

Or (where I’m at now), we miss our goals and want a break from the sport.

Whatever happened at your goal race, it’s important to take the time to rest and recover.  This time doesn’t make you weak.  It allows your body to recover and prepare for another training cycle.  If you continue to beat your body down with minimal rest, you’ll be forced to take time off because of a serious injury.

Here is a short list of things to do when not formally training for a race:

  • Run naked.  While yes, there are nude 5ks, run without a watch or any clue of pacing. Don’t worry about time, pace or routes.  Just run.
  • Run with someone new. Sometimes when you are training for something, workouts are scheduled, runs don’t match up with your friends.  Now is the perfect day to make time to run with others.
  • Run shorter races. If your original goal race was a half or full marathon, try training for something shorter.  The summer is the perfect time to run a 5k.  I love 5ks and I think they only make you stronger.
  • Do other workouts! This should be the most obvious right?  It’s great to build strength with muscles you don’t normally use.  This has been what I’ve been doing and most enjoying now.
  • Group Workouts: Whether you are going to a group strength class or a group social run, do things with new people. It will feel like an entirely different workout and it’s much easier to push yourself.
  • Focus on your diet: This is actually something my husband and I are working on now. As we get back into a “normal” routine, we are hoping to clean up our diet and work on eating more quality food.
Don’t forget: It’s ok to do nothing. Sometimes, after a hard training cycle, you don’t want to workout, and that is 100% fine.  Resting and not working out is cool.

When you find yourself between training cycles, it’s important not to push too hard, too soon. You’ll only find yourself burnt out or injured during the next training cycle.

Other Running Related 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

Questions for you:
What do you do between training cycles?
What is your favorite nonrunning activity? 

Workout Recap: First Race Back

Training last week wasn’t as good as the week before.  My ankle didn’t hurt, but running didn’t feel effortless either. To be honest, I miss running, and I’m going through a lot of fear if I’ll ever get to be completely injury (and worry) free again.

run for the hill of it

I feel as if I have multiple minor aches and pains. There is nothing serious, but every little ache worries me.  This fear happens for most injuries, though.  Every ache or pain worries me I’ve refractured my foot.

Monday: 20 minute run Core
Tuesday: 40 minute run
Wednesday: 65 minute run Core
Thursday: 3000 meter swim Core
Friday: 40 minute run
Saturday: Run for the Hill of it 5 miler
Sunday: 40 minute run Core
Total: 40ish miles

Thoughts:

My runs in the beginning of the week were all boring but fine.  I go through the motion of getting the miles in.  To be honest, this is the hardest part of getting back into shape. I’m out of the “honeymoon, oh my gosh I can run again stage” but I feel like junk running.  It’s hard not to get discouraged right now.

I wasn’t planning to break into the racing scene last week but you have to ride the pain train sometime… Last year, I ran the “Run for the Hill of It” and I enjoyed it.  I knew the race would be low key and stressless.  Honestly, I didn’t want my first race back to be a local 5k because I would internally feel pressure.  If I chose a flat, fast 5k, I know I would compare myself to the times I was running three months ago.

Is it silly? Of course but I know myself well that choosing the flattest, fastest 5k course to race would create unnecessary personal stress.

So I found a nice softer ground trail race.  I’ll have a full recap tomorrow, but I was happy with the result.  I ran injury free and achieved my dream goal of running under 7 minute pace. I actually finished in 34:09 which is 30 seconds faster than last year.  It was great motivation that my fitness hasn’t completely left, although it was painful and hot race.

Question for you: How was your week of workouts? 

Injured Workout Log: Tests, Swim and Spin

My workouts last were week were all over the place.  While recovering from the injury, I don’t have anything strict and I workout when I feel like it.  I don’t have “a plan”.  I do my PT exercises daily to build strength to my ankle and go to the gym/pool when I’m motivated.  This log is all over the place, though.

swimming

First, my food poisoning finally simmered down last Sunday.

Since I found out about food poisoning and a fractured foot within two hours of each other, posts about food poisoning took a back seat.  In summary, I had a rare form of food poisoning caused by under cleaned seafood.  I had to get a series of shots as well as a blood test to make sure it wasn’t a more dangerous form.  I don’t think I mentioned it on the blogging space, but the food poisoning was a huge deal. If I had “only” gotten food poisoning, it would have been enough to knock me out of training for at least a week.  Since I wasn’t running and had other things going on, it took a back seat.

Since I did get a lot of blood taken for the tests related to food poisoning, I had to delay getting blood tests for my Calcium, Vitamin D, and Cortisol levels.  Once they were able to take blood for that, my levels came out in the normal range.  It was once again surprising.

The final and most important test (to me) was the Dexa test.  The Dexa test measures bone density.  Anyone can have what is considered “normal” calcium and Vitamin D levels but the Dexa scan could indicate osteoporosis or low bone density.  Mentally, it was a hard test to take because I wasn’t sure I wanted to hear the results. My bone density came out surprisingly normal and not even in the Osteopenia range.

So here I sit, four weeks off from running.  It doesn’t feel like it’s been four weeks but I was mentally exhausted from running.

What do we know? 
  • We know my bone fracture wasn’t caused by low bone density or poor nutrition.
  • It could have been caused by rolling or spraining my ankle, except I never felt a point that would indicate I did either.
  • It could be caused from running high mileage, except I probably ran on it for a significant amount of time with no suspicion of a fractured bone.
  • It could be caused by my form which puts an abnormal about of pressure on my fifth metatarsals and metatarsals in general.
What did I do last week?
Monday:  Rest
Tuesday: 1 Hour Spin Class+30 minutes core
Wednesday: 45 mins AMT+30 minutes core
Thursday: Rest
Friday: 45 minutes AMT+30 minutes core
Saturday: Swim (3000 Meters)
Sunday: 30 minutes core+ Swim (2000 Meters)

My foot didn’t hurt doing any of the workouts  I don’t have any structured plan but I’m going to classes and working out when I want.  I wasn’t able to get on the Alter G treadmill yet but the timing didn’t work with my schedule last week. I was allowed to run on it.

I am allowed to attempt a short 1 mile run in exactly one week and see how it feels.  My foot and ankle don’t hurt now, so I’m hoping for the best.

Running Related Posts from Last Week:
A Few More Weeks of Rest
So Why? 
8 Things Runners Training through the Summer Understand

Questions for you:
Have you had a mysterious illness, sickness or ailment?
How was your week of workouts?

Adding Track Workouts

I’ve been doing a lot of workouts lately.  While Thinking out loud, track workouts is something fairly new to me, and it is taking my body time to adjust too.  Doing speed workouts is something I’ve neglected for a while, so I am excited to reap the benefits.

My History: Three years ago my weekly training cycle consisted of a tempo run and race.   It worked well for me, and I was in the best shape of my life.  In fact, I Pred in everything!  With a lot of goal and life changes, I neglected speed and ran easy.  After a few injuries and regression in my running, I realized my current training was not working out.   

So in July, I decided to try something new but also terrifying: The Track!

Adding Track Workouts

I work at a running store, and I always hear about the benefits of track workouts but yet could not force them into my training.

Why not?  I’m not sure.  

Did I fear injury?  Did I fear failure?  Well, to be honest, my previous training was failing me anyways…

Before July, I had only been to the track a handful of times.  I had done a few mile repeats but never anything significant on the track.  After a few weeks of going to the track once a week, something magical happened…I began to like going!  Speed workouts have quickly become my favorite workout of the week!

While I haven’t seen the improvement I would like, I have slowly started to see improvement.  Now on my worst race days (which have been more frequent due to life), I’m now running faster than my best days earlier in the year. So I see progress but know it will take a lot of consistency to see more progress, though.

Here are some great articles with more speed workouts.
3 Speed Workouts for Beginners
4 Fun Speed Workouts

Here are some workouts I’ve done over the course of the last three months: 

12x400s with 1:30 rest, similarly 16x400s with 1 min rest

3x1mile repeats, 4×1 mile repeats

2×800, 2×600, 2×400, 2×200,2×400

2×2 miles with two mins rest

What’s my favorite workout? 

I like to keep it simple.  I must admit my favorite workouts are 400s.  They are simple, easy and straight to the point. I can easily reflect and see progression or even regression.

The other factor that has been helping my speed work is my Garmin 220.  I can program all my workouts because I can set the distance I want and the rest period.  The watch will beep and keep everything together for me. There is no hiding or “extra rest”…I do believe it was the best purchase I’ve made for my personal running in a while.

I plan to keep doing speed work and racing through the fall. I enjoy my current method, and I’m in the best spot mentally I’ve been in a few years. Like I said on Sunday, my only problem now is finding a track to use during the school year.

Question for you: What is your favorite speed or track workout?