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Ultra Training – This Is New.

Ultra marathons are any distance above 26.2 (marathon distance), but most runners consider an ultra starts at 50k or 31.07 miles. I’m no expert and i’m not running 31 miles for MS with any particular time goal. I just want to have a good time, not injure myself and finish. PS- Thank you so much to the many awesome people that have already donated! It makes me extremely thankful and proud to call you my friends.

First I did a little research about how to train for an ultra. Hint: it’s not the same as a marathon. Big change #1: You have to get used to running on tired legs. Hence the double weekend long run.

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I do a normal long run on Saturday and a shorter run Sunday. Eventually the goal is to have your weekend runs equal the distance of the ultra. I need to build up to two back-to-back 15 milers OR something like a 20 miler + a 10 miler.¬†I was surprised at how I’ve been afraid of the 2nd run more than the first. The 4-5-6 miler has been terrifying after a 15+ long run, but each 2nd run has felt better and better. Maybe it’s a mental thing since I’m running a short distance?

Also, I like having an off day before and after long runs, so during the week i’m running Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, which gives me Friday and Monday off. Those three back to back running days again, help with more cumulative leg fatigue.

Second you have to strength train. Just because the mileage is creeping up (44 this week!) it’s no excuse not to strength train legs. It keeps the hips and glutes strong and i haven’t had any IT band issues since December. I contribute that to lifting heavy. I try my best to strength train 2-3x week, one heavier leg day, one lighter or body weight day. And i do arms/abs every time no matter what. You can’t swing your arms by your sides for hours running without a strong upper body.

Third, you need to fuel like a pro. Plan your routes around water fountains, take money or a debit card in case you need to grab food/drinks. Or do the opposite of what i’ve been procrastinating and buy a hydration pack already. And take more food than you think you’ll want. Last Saturday’s long run I finally was able to get down 3 gels (one more than usual) and it was the reason I had the energy to finish.

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new Pro Compression socks! Love them

Last, take the recovery seriously. During the week I have ONE day off from working legs in either a run or strength session. Which means I have to spend extra time stretching, foam rolling, wearing compression gear, sleep & nutrition. I’m on top of having a protein smoothie immediately after a workout. <—this was a big change with a noticeable recovery time difference. I also walk a LOT. I stopped adding it to my weekly workouts log because I couldn’t get track of how often i’m out with LE. The additional walking miles are keeping my legs fresh and working the other muscles running doesn’t.

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typical evening meal. Burger with avocado & greens, brussel sprouts YUM!

One note I found very interesting about ultra training is not to forgo speed work altogether! You still want to keep the fast twitch muscle fibers firing. June was all about mileage building which i good about and July will be about tossing in some speed to prep for the August ultra. Someone asked me why I want to do this in August. It’s my birthday! And why not?? Plus i’m hoping all this heat and humidity training will translate to some fast times this fall once the ultra is over. ūüôā

Last Week

Monday: 20min upper body

Tuesday: 7.5m easy 9:02/pace, 45min legs (backsquats 45-110lbs, bosu ball burpees, situps)

Wednesday: 8.1m tempo 7:53/pace

Thursday: 5m easy 9:45/pace

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 17.5m long 9:23/pace

Sunday: 6m easy 8:51/pace

Total Miles: 44.1

Who’s training for a fall race? When does your plan start?

How did your long run go last weekend?


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SPARTAN UP!

Monday: 1500m row, 100 bosu burpees w/pushups, 50 bw squats, 50 hanging leg raises

Tuesday: 8.5m combo tempo (3m @ 6:49, 6:49, 6:44 -3:00 rest- 2 x 1m @ 6:22, 6:18)

I’m 4 weeks out from the OC 1/2 and 5 weeks away from my very first Spartan Beast. I know i’ve mentioned i’m afraid of the half marathon i’ve been prepping for, but there is a different fear that happens when I think about the Spartan obstacle course race i’m training for.

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That fear is for the new, uncharted territory. I never thought i would be taking on an obstacle course race, let alone a tough one. I’m excited that this race is gonna be horrible/fun/terrible/awesome. I’m excited to see what my body can do, but definitely nervous for what I’m going to be put through physically and mentally. I know i’m going to cross the finish line in Ohio feeling like a different person. That’s the exciting part, now I just gotta get there.

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Training for a Spartan has been a different experience, but they have so many tools to help prepare for the demands of the course which have helped me out.

1) Watch a Spartan on tv – Once in a while I catch something fun on espn or whatever sports channel… I watched an hour special about Spartan Elites a few months back and it was super motivating. (This is what really pushed me to participate!) Plus it gave me a good idea of the type of obstacles I would eventually tackle.

2) Spartan.com¬†You can sign up for a spartan WOD (workout of the day) and they email you or your weekly workouts. Even if you aren’t training for an obstacle course race, I seriously recommend this to vary your workouts and put something fun & different in your routine. Most of the workouts include running so it’s perfect for runners trying to incorporate strength!

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results from all the rope pulling in preparation for the Spartan!

3) The books! Spartan has several books to help you train and get mentally prepared for the demands of the course. They have a new book coming out called Spartan Fit! which has a 31 day diet & workout plan (that doesn’t require a gym) and motivational Spartan stories.

Oh and did I mention the somewhat famous ultramarathoner, Dean Karnazes likes these books?

Last Week

Monday: 6m easy 9:20/pace

Tuesday: 7.5m interval (8 x 800s @ 6:27/pace w/200m recovery at 10:00/p)

Wednesday: 1500m row, 30 min legs

Thursday: 9m easy 8:45/pace

Friday: Rest day-  2.3m walk w/LE

Saturday: 14m long 9:00/pace

Sunday: Rest day- 3m walk w/LE

Total Mileage: 36.5

Tips for doing a Spartan?

What type of race/activity gets you out of your comfort zone?


11 Comments

A Close Call…

Running injuries SUCK. I feel like i’ve been talking about ITBS syndrome since last spring, but I wanted to give a detailed report on what happened to me recently and how I’m handling it this time around. I just hope this might help someone who is dealing with an injury. Just remember, you are NOT alone.

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I asked her to try and look sad with me…

A couple weeks ago on December 5th, i felt an all-too-familiar pain on the outside of my knees. I didn’t want to believe it, but the IT band pain was hinting at a return. Because I’ve already had ITBS, I know what that specific pain feels like and it was easy to make the decision to stop mid-run, go home, address the issue and try to sidestep a repeat injury.

Yes, I did stop 2.5 miles into a long run and turned around even though i wanted, craved and needed a long run. Deciding to do the smart thing and walk home was actually easy. The hard part was trudging that long distance home feeling defeated, frustrated and concerned about what I could have possibly done wrong.

Here are my tips and what I did this time around. I feel like I came really close to an injury again, and playing it smart paid off. Just 10 days after the initial IT band pain and i’m already on the comeback and ran pain free three times this week!

  1. ¬†Stop running & start strengthening¬†I’ve read from multiple sources that you cannot beat IT band pain by just taking time off of running. You have to strength train and get your glutes, hips, hamstrings, and lateral (side to side) movement in gear! (check out these exercises)
  2. Cross train if no pain¬†Rowing & the stairmill have become my best friends for cardio when I can’t run. And they offer little to no impact on the joints which is crucial for ITBS. Try and stay away from machines that closely imitate running, i.e. the elliptical. And of course, stop if you feel pain!
  3. Stretch & Foam Roll Check out this video: IT Band Hell This gave me a TON of new ways to stretch and an interesting insight about NOT foam rolling directly on the IT Band.
  4. Avoid hills and downhill running when you begin your “test runs”¬†Start on the treadmill. Boring yes, but you will thank yourself if you need to bail on a run and don’t have to cry in defeat on your walk back. Plus, on the treadmill you can go with little to no incline and no downhill running which aggravates this injury.
  5. Be grateful¬†Your body is extremely good at giving signals when something is wrong. Don’t ignore it. Enjoy the time off, sleep in, and change up your exercise routine so you will be 100% happy and healthy for your comeback.

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Last Week 

Monday: 5 Rounds: 250m row, 20 thrusters 30#, 45 sec side plank each side + 2.2m walk

Tuesday: 20 min stairmill, 1 mile easy 9:15/pace (no pain!), 1 mile walk

Wednesday: 5 Rounds: 500m row, 10 walkout pushups, 12 hot salsa lunges, 15 hip hikes/each leg + 1 mile walk

Thursday: 3m easy 9:22/pace (no pain)

Friday: Rest

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: 5m easy 8:50/pace, 10min abs (no pain)

Total Miles: 9

I hope this is helpful–feel free to comment with any advice on how to handle injuries or what to do when you’re down for the count.


6 Comments

So Many Sports

Monday: 30 min mobility work

Tuesday: 7m tempo 7:36/pace, 20 min shoulders/core

Wednesday: 3m easy 9:20/pace, 15 min legs

The last few weeks back at work and normal life have still been pretty awesome. Went to a Nationals game because they didn’t make playoffs and tickets were $10. Beautiful game that went 14 innings and entertainment for a Saturday night.

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Sunday we went to the Capitals last pre-season game. YAY IT’S HOCKEY SEASON!! Again, found cheap tickets for $5. I’m not joking! Cheap seats, good sports & beer. Gotta love it.

And I wasn’t joking on instagram either, i actually do wear Pro Compression socks under my jeans all the time, especially in winter because i’m always cold.

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In between all the fun, sports, beers etc. Ive been doing a really good job at staying hydrated, getting extra sleep and hitting my workouts. I’m one month out from the Indianapolis Monumental Half Marathon and i’m feeling PR ready. I still have to grind out these last weeks and keep focus. In the past, the hard part of following a training plan has been getting lazy with workouts before the actual taper. I keep dangling the PR carrot, and 2 weeks off running after the race. Don’t get me wrong, I love running and hate taking time off. Since the injury this spring, I felt like I haven’t stopped, and i’m looking forward to this race then a little time off.

if possible, I’d like to squeeze in a 5 or 10k in the next two weeks just to test out the speed, but overall i’ve been confident that my workouts have been solid. I’ve been running 4 days per week, i’m hoping the next two weeks I can make it 5 days per week before tapering. I have been a little conservative with training this fall, but the 4 running workouts have a purpose. It’s not just a ton of easy running. If anyone out there thinks they can’t train for a half on 3-4 days of running you’re wrong! There are so many training plans out there that can fit your schedule. With less time to train, it just means your running schedule will call for more speed work than normal plans.

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Most of my clients, and members of the gym assume I work out 7 days per week to do what I do. They are always surprised that I only run 4 days a week, strength train 2x and generally those are on the same days as I run. I take off 2-3 days per week. It’s just how I find balance with work, life, and running. Just like my running schedule, my strength workouts have purpose & intent so i’m not wasting precious extra minutes on stuff that’s not helping me. Our boss, Danni put together a Crossfit workout that all of us trainers did Saturday afternoon:

12 minutes- AMRAP (As many reps as possible)

6 DB snatches/ each arm

12 weighted butterfly situps

12 burpees to box jumps

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That’s it. 12 minutes. As many as you can do. I can probably speak on behalf of all the trainers to say it was effective! This is also why i have a hard time when people tell me they “don’t have time to workout.” I’m pretty sure everyone has 12 minutes. You just have to WORK for the short amount of time you have. I’m going to put together a few example of 10-15 minute workouts and share them with everyone here this week.

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What’s your go-to workout when you’re short on time?

Anyone follow hockey? 

Week of Sept 28th- Oct 4th

Monday:  Rest

Tuesday: 8.5m interval 8 x 800s (4 @ 6:30/pace, 4 @ 6:35/pace)

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: 5m easy 9:20/pace, 30 min core

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 5m easy 8:30/pace, 12 min crossfit

Sunday: 10m 8:26/pace

Total Miles: 28.5