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LE in the Snow!

Monday: 3hrs shoveling

Tuesday: 30 min stairs/leg (home workout), 2 hrs shoveling

Wednesday: 5.2m easy 8:42/pace

Sorry i haven’t blogged. You’d think that being home for 5 days i’d have all the time in the world to sit down and write up a weekend report. I did sit down to blog several times, but we were watching so many movies, tv shows and video games that my eyes and head just couldn’t handle looking at another screen!

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The blizzard thing got real old, real quick. By Monday we were going stir crazy and were dying to get out of the house, so we all too a walk and got to see our pup in the snow for the first time. (LE is playing in our street– that should give you an idea of what we were shoveling)

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Wednesday morning we were still shoveling, but I did manage to get to work! I missed the gym so much! I did a short at home workout Tuesday because my legs were begging for it. 15 minutes walking up and down our stairs, forward then sideways to change it up. I finished with squats, lunges & planks. Easiest thing to do at home is body weight stuff.

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Wednesday morning we were still shoveling, but I did manage to get to work by 9:30!  I missed the gym so much!! I did 5 miles with tired legs (not sure if it was from sitting so much or the stairs from the previous day). I seriously can’t wait to start half marathon training. After taking a much needed step back from running over the last month and a half, i’m finding that running spark again, which is always the beauty of taking a break.

Last Week

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 6m tempo (1m warm up, 4m @ 7:47/pace, 1m cooldown) + 20 min legs 

Wednesday: 3m easy 9:30/pace, 40 min upper body (pics below!)

Thursday: 7m easy 8:44/pace

Friday: 2m easy 9:40/pace, 30 min legs + shoulders

Saturday: 1.5 hrs shoveling

Sunday: 3 hrs shoveling

Total Miles: 18

Do you guys like vlogs? Should I put up more?

Are you already training for a spring race? If so which one?

 

 


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How to Get Through Peak Week & My Favorite Pumpkin Cookies

Monday: 6.9m easy 8:32/pace

Tuesday: 9m interval (8 x 1000s- 3 @ 6:48/pace, 3 @ 6:44/pace, 2 @ 6:40/pace – 2min recovery jog in between)

Wednesday: 25 min shoulders/back

Good Morning! I think i’m super excited about blogging again since I bought my new pretty desk. So hopefully you’ll enjoy hearing from me a few times a week rather than once in a while.

Let’s talk about PEAK WEEK! This is generally the week before you begin to taper. For those of you who are newer runners, tapering is when you cut back on overall running volume to gain the fitness from your training and are well rested and ready to run your best on race day morning.

Peak week is tough for a few reasons: This is your highest mileage week. You are getting up at ungodly hours in the morning or staying at the gym or out on the trails later than usual to fit training into your everyday life. It is mentally challenging and physically demanding to make it to and get through peak week after building mileage for 8, 10, 12 or 16 weeks!

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not excited to repeat the 1000s workout.

Here is how I handled it and how i’m handling it a second time (if you recall on my last post, i accidentally thought last week was my peak. whoops)

  1. Plan out time for your workouts. Schedule these runs in and don’t skip unless necessary. You won’t really have an extra day to makeup a run.
  2. Take one day at a time. Each day focus on the workout at hand. Do not overwhelm yourself or wonder how you’re going to run again the next day.
  3. Run your easy days freaking easy. If your easy runs are slower than normal it’s okay!
  4. Go to sleep earlier. Focus on the recovery.
  5. Eat like you’re an athlete and get some good nutrition in. HRG always says junk in = junk out. If you eat junk, your workouts will be junk.
  6. Focus on your race day “A” goal. It will push you to finish your workout, trust me. Remind yourself why you’re doing this, a PR? because you love running? so you can run the race comfortably? Qualify for Boston?

Always remember, it’s not about hitting each workout perfectly–that rarely happens for me. Focus on the effort over everything. If the effort is there, you will have a successful peak week. And if you take it one day at a time with a little extra sleep, you won’t be dragging or bite the head off a co-worker or spouse.

Recovering with LE

Recovering with LE

Now for the fun! My favorite pumpkin dark chocolate chip cookie recipe! I make these cookies every year and they are always the best dessert no matter where I take them. The only tweak i make is adding way more cinnamon than required. I love cinnamon and I like the flavor to come through. Again, never had any complaints 🙂

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No these aren’t healthy, I’m still learning to bake so i’m not doing substitutions for a healthier cookie just yet. If you try these and change any of the recipe, let me know how they turn out!

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Now I have to repeat a long tempo today, wish me luck. Last difficult run before an easy 11 miler this weekend, THEN I get to taper! Haha!

Best tip to make it through Peak Week?

Favorite holiday treat?


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Chi-Marathon Recap!

Recapping a marathon is a tough thing to do. Which is why i needed the week to digest and reflect on everything. Now being a week removed, I think it’s safe to say i had a pretty awesome race :). I didn’t hit my A goal–to qualify for Boston 3:35. I didn’t even hit my B goal–under 3:45, I did however reach my C goal–under 4:00. With a new PR 3:50:10, it was the best I could give last Sunday and I couldn’t be happier!

When I was deciding on a race plan the week of the marathon I still wanted to shoot for the BQ qualifying time, but I was trying to be honest with myself and 3:40-3:45 seemed more realistic based on the training I had. The plan was to head into the race nice and slow (just as i’d done in training) and pick up the pace about halfway through and try to makeup time in the second half. I basically wanted my first half to be as comfortable as possible.

The start line was electric! The weather was beautiful, 55 and sunny, and I had some really great tunes loaded into the ipod. For the first 30 minutes of the race I chatted with a really nice lady who was running her very 1st marathon. Then I said goodbye and good luck to her, put in the headphones and took the first half of the race pretty easy, just as planned.

Screen Shot 2014-10-18 at 6.18.17 PMChicago was so energetic and loud the entire race! There were very few spots of quiet running and I actually embraced them and enjoyed the few minutes of silence when they came around. Especially when I hit the halfway mark and decided it was time to work. Unfortunately my legs only wanted to go faster for a few miles.

Around 19-20 I slowed down consistently from 8:20s-8:30s to 8:45s. I don’t feel like I hit a wall. I felt well fueled.There was a point that I honestly couldn’t make my legs move any faster. I was just cruising where I felt slightly uncomfortable. Once I passed the 20 mile mark I realized the Boston Qualifying time was near impossible since I had no giddy-up left.

Screen Shot 2014-10-18 at 6.19.57 PMInstead of giving up or feeling defeated, I chose to focus on goal #2. Get in under 3:45! Around this time, mile 22, both inner quads cramped up. Never in my running career or life have these muscles cramped up. It was bad. I don’t know if you recall the last and only marathon I ran, at the same mile 22, I hit a wall. And a Santa Claus looking man was handing out Pabst Blue Ribbon. After shot-gunning a beer with a fellow runner, a good laugh and full belly of carbs later, I was back to it. This time at mile 22 I was in a squat position against the side of the road trying to stretch out my quads, a black figure walked up to me (he was back-lit by the sun and basically looked like a saint), pulled a white pill out of his pocket and said the magic words “do you need salt?”

After I took the salt and water he handed me, thanked him about a million times, I started running again. The cramps subsided quickly but I had definitely lost time. Staring at the Garmin I decided it was time to focus on Goal #3–Sub 4 hours. Again, I didn’t let this deflate me, I kept telling myself I was going to finish a marathon. And that in itself is freaking awesome.

Screen Shot 2014-10-18 at 6.20.34 PMThe last few miles I had to play a game that humbled me to the core. Run a few minutes, walk for 45 seconds. Run a few minutes, walk 45 seconds. I didn’t get upset at this beginner style running technique, instead it made me smile..that damn marathon is always harder and tougher than you can imagine. There are no 20 mile runs that can ever prepare you for a marathon. Those last few miles are ran with heart, not your legs. At least, that’s what the posters near the end told me.

The last half mile was my favorite. The cheering and crowds were awesome, the hill at the last turn was horrible, but forced a strong finish. I finally pulled out my headphones to cross the line. No distractions, just the sounds of hundreds of feet finishing their 26.2.mile trek.

Here are the things that went right from this marathon: I made it through the training and the marathon uninjured! I had a 38 minute PR! I stayed positive and happy the entire race. I didn’t give up when my pace wasn’t where I wanted it. I high-fived my best friend at mile 5!

Screen Shot 2014-10-18 at 6.19.26 PMHere are the things that didn’t go well: Pro Compression socks make my feet sweat–I had MONSTER blisters that I started to feel at mile 11 (next time I’ll run in calf sleeves). I think I started too slow. I almost had the nutrition down, but kinda forgot once mile 20 came around (should have grabbed the bananas that were offered!) Stress from work had definitely taken it’s toll during training. Cramps happened in my left foot at mile 16 and kept happening off and on until I crossed the finish. Cramps in my quads stole a lot of time.

I already feel a lot more prepared with marathon knowledge! It takes a lot of practice to hit major goals. I still have an urge to qualify for Boston, but I’m ready to hit shorter race goals and run a fast half marathon next spring. Stay tuned and thank you always for your love and support here and on instagram!

20141016_205831Last week!

Mon-Thurs: DESERVED REST!

Friday: 30min lateral elliptical, 20min biceps/core

Saturday:  2m walk

Sunday: REST

Miles: 0 running, 2 walking

 How long do you take off after a marathon?

How long do you wait to start planning your next race 😉 ?


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It was the Best of Runs, it as the Worst of Runs

Last Saturday was one of the top 3 worst attempts at a long run. I forgot to lay out—everything—the night before. So I was up at 7:00am trying to make decisions. Clothes, food, what to bring, where to run, music playlist, you name it, I was not prepared at all.

Once I finally got everything together an hour later I drove to the hilly trails where I figured would be a great place to conquer a long run.  I walked out of my car, started warming up my legs, took about 5 jogging steps toward the trail and it hit me. A migraine. The blurry vision, throbs with every step headache. My logic was to continue and see if it subsided (i had just taken some allergy medicine and a lot of water) because I really really needed to fit the run in. (Also-I just dumped almond milk on me as i’m typing, i think this long run has some bad juju attached to it.)

compressing the day before

compressing the day before the long run

Anywho, to make the long run story short, I did just that. I cut my run short. I tried so hard to continue and make it through, but it was one of those days where every little thing about running wasn’t comfortable. My left shin was tight, I didn’t like the shoes I was wearing (they gave me a blister–more on that later), I had chaffed a few days before and the spot was still sore, I HATED the music i was listening to, i’m not a fan of carrying a water bottle, it was humid and hot, I forgot sunglasses.. i mean the list goes on.

I battled with myself about cutting the run short. What if I always stopped when it gets hard? What if the marathon hits a place where it’s unbearable? I realized that doing 6.5m in complete mental and physical agony (with the headache getting worse) I was allowed to call it a day. It goes to show you that there are always terrible, horrible, no good, very bad run days.

The thing you learn from the bad runs, is that usually means there’s an awesome run around the corner. It Just so happened to be the very next morning. Sunday I had my shit together and was out the door in half the time as the day before. I chose to tackle the same trail, cause i had to prove to myself the day before was a fluke. The weather was a lot cooler which always helps, I had a pack of Honey Stinger chews in my pocket and a left the water bottle in the car, hoping i’d stumble on a water fountain. Which I did, cause hello, this was the awesome run!

All the things that were irritating from the day before were fixed or better. I wore my new Saucony Mayhem’s which feel like light clouds, I stayed at a decent 8:43/pace (don’t forget i’m running hills!), I hit a brand new trail, that I realized heads right into DC, and I ended up feeling so good that I did an extra mile to make it 15 for the day.

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What I’ve learned from doing long marathon training runs is that you have to prepare for them like you do for race day:

-Lay out your clothes the night before

-Plug in all your electronics you’re taking

-Have food/coffee/water ready to go

-Pick out the location for your run

-Prepare your music or running playlist

Marathon is just around the corner.. i’m excited to see what happens!

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Last Weeks Roundup!

Monday: 5.2 easy 8:19/pace

Tuesday: 4.1m easy 8:40/pace, 20 biceps

Wednesday: 7m tempo 7:30/pace, 15 min glutes

Thursday: 4.5m easy 9:00/pace, 30min legs/shoulders

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 6.6m easy (but not really) 10:00/pace

Sunday: 15m 8:43/pace easy, long

Total Miles: 42.4

What are your tips for long run training?

When do you call it quits on a run that isn’t going well?


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One More Time

Hopefully this will be the last time i talk about this ankle injury because I’m ready to move on and start looking forward! For the first few weeks of wearing a compression sock and limping my way around the gym, I had many peeps ask me what I did wrong—and i had no real answer. That outside-the-ankle-pain and overall tightness just hit me hard one morning during the marathon taper. It never came through during training, it wasn’t something I was hiding from my coach or myself. I’ve spent long nights looking over my training log and trying to figure out what the heck i did… and I think I’m finally realizing it wasn’t one thing, it was several that and I should have known better. But hey, injuries are for learning if anything else right??

Here’s how it went down.

I increased mileage, speed, and didn’t increase recovery time. Specifically (or pacifically if you want to be punched) I should have taken extra time off immediately after the USA 1/2 in March.  I didn’t have a giant PR and I wasn’t  terribly sore after, but I should have taken off a solid 5-7 days. I think i took 3. A race is a race, and it is still physically and mentally demanding even though i felt fine.

The 18 miler. Remember the one i did on the dirt towpath? It was the exact path the marathon was going to be held on. Here’s where I’m an idiot. I don’t run on dirt.. ever. I run on asphalt bike paths. I don’t know why I thought my first time on dirt trails should be my most important, LONGEST run of my entire training plan. I should have done shorter trials first to get my legs accustomed to the terrain. I blame the crazy spring weather on not letting me get out on the dirt often enough and my own lack of common sense.

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The New Balance Minimus shoes. I accidentally did 2 training runs in these, because i forgot my normal running shoes. Again–here i go running without common sense–Everyone knows you can’t drop from a 4mm shoe to frickin’ ZERO without easing into it right? Not this Einstein here. Not only did i run in these, i did track work in them. Speed work, in zero drop shoes the first time I ran in them.

This run (in the New Balance’s) was the first time i noticed ankle pain during push off (April 13th). I assumed it was just an “off” day, but little did i know that zero drop could have been the factor that strained my soleus in the first place.

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Don’t get all up in arms–I’m not knocking zero drop shoes, it’s just common knowledge that you just don’t change to barefoot shoes in the middle of training. Again, bad decision making on my end. (for the record though, those are my FAVORITE shoes for lifting and walking in all day. I have never had any foot pain, arch pain or leg pain in those.)

The final thing looking back, and I’ve mentioned this a few times, is the warm up and recovery part of running. If I want to run more and run faster I need to warm up longer and recover better. End of story. I can’t skip this stuff anymore. Easy, long or hill work, i need to warm up my muscles and ankles. Afterward I need to consume a post-workout snack, ice my legs, compress and foam roll. It sounds like a lot of work, but if it means I can get back to racing, i’ll do it!

Weekly Workouts

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 3m easy, 20 min chest/biceps

Wednesday: 20 min back, pushups +major leg stretching

Thursday: 3.5m easy, 10 min abs

Friday: 30 min triceps/shoulders, 15 min quads

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: 4.4m easy

Total Miles: 13.1 <—i did not do that on purpose, but i’m taking it as a good sign!

Do you guys go over training plans when injured? 

 

 


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Secret Weapons for Marathon Week

Before this marathon happens in *gulp* 6 days, I have to get things organized. The day before a marathon should be spent resting and inhaling ingesting carbs. Don’t overwhelm yourself by leaving a ton to do/organize/layout the week and night before.

The week of the marathon (i.e. right now!) I make trips to Target, grocery store or a running store to have exactly what i need for race week/day. Over the weekend, I picked up Gatorade, Honey Stinger gel & chews, bagels. What I forgot was anti-chafe cream. Totally slipped my mind. Another good reason to shop early in the week–you will forget something. Plan on running out to the store 2-3 times for last minute items. I usually make a list and then leave it on the table at home. It’s the thought that counts.. unless your thoughts are left behind, of course.

I do my running laundry in the middle of the week so most of my clothes are clean. Heaven forbid the night before a race my favorite shorts are dirty and i’m up late waiting for laundry to finish. I just bought these 2 pairs of Under Armour shorts over the weekend, super comfy, and long enough inseam so the thighs aren’t rubbing together–now which color to wear??

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Put a Marathon Playlist together.  This is a big one for me because I love setting the tone of a race to music. This training cycle I listened to a lot of Say Anything, Reliant K, the Starting Line, Jimmy Eat World, The Thermals…So i’m probably not venturing out too far. I have a secret weapon though.. and i’ve wanted to share it for a long time. I listen to this Dj called Pogo and if you haven’t listened to his stuff you need to do it RIGHT NOW. Pogo remixes a lot of Disney music which brings back a ton of memories, makes running feel fun and keeps my legs churning. There is nothing like running on trails listening to this guy.. i swear it will change you.

The week before a marathon is a good time to stress out, freak out, question your training etc.. As i said plenty of times before–i’m working very hard on positive thinking before, during and after a race. A good way for me to do this is not to fine comb my training log and focus on,  well, what I’ll be focusing on during the race. Where will my positive thinking drive from? What do i tell myself when my body wants to quit in the later miles?

My go-to mantra has been “earn the downhill” because most of my races have been extremely hilly. This time around I might use something Shalane Flanagan mentioned in a recent article, her mantra during Boston was something her coach says to her, “don’t lose your shit.” She wanted to keep calm, cool & focused. I don’t have one as of yet, but i’m working on it!

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new shorts, new shoes ❤

So there you go, my secret weapons to have a race day go well, get your fuel & race day items ready way beforehand, get a playlist/mantra together, lay out your exact clothes & relax the day before while your iPod/phone/garmin are charging ;). Also- I have a check list from an old post that I’m going to update below, so if you want to just copy and print, it will help for the week of your race!

Race Checklist 

__Garmin Watch (charged!)

__Ipod/armband/headphones (charged!)

__Sports Bra

__Shorts/Capri’s/Throwaway pants

__Shirt/or Throwaway Shirt

__Socks/Compression Socks

__Running Shoes

__Sandals & after race clothes/deodorant/body wipes

__Anti-Chafe Cream

__Aspirin/pain reliever (for after race)

__Sunscreen/Sunglasses/hat

__Hair ties/headbands

__Gels or Sports Drinks/Water/Nuun/Pre-Race Food (doesn’t hurt to have extra left in your car, hotel, or with family)

__Race Confirmation/Course Map (for friends or family who are attending & for race morning!)

Last Week’s Work

Monday: 6m fartlek 7:26/pace, 35 min biceps/back, 30 min abs

Tuesday: 5m easy 8:10/pace

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: 10m easy 7:51/pace, 15 min abs

Friday: 30 min TRX full body, 10 abs

Saturday: 3.2 easy 8:50/pace

Sunday: 5.4 tempo 7:44/pace

Total Miles: 30

What is your “power song” or mantra you use during a race?

What else should I add to my Race Checklist??

 


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Tapering Thoughts…

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: 10m easy 7:51/pace, 15 min abs

I woke up this morning and realized i’m like 9 days out from a marathon. Nine!! I’m so excited that I get to run a marathon (injury free!) to test out my running fitness. I know I talk about qualifying for Boston a lot here, but this race isn’t my ‘A’ race to qualify, however this marathon will give me a good idea of how much work is ahead of me in order to run under a 3:35:00 and qualify. I have a few goals i will be focusing on and have been focusing on during long runs. Tapering always brings up a lot of “what if’s”, goals, racing plans, and craziness.

1) I want to Run Strong. I want to avoid going out fast & fizzling out my energy early. I want to feel strong and in control as long as possible. That means slower, even pacing so that my 2nd half, especially the last 6.2 miles can possibly be a negative split. #tryingtoavoidthefreakingwall

2) I want to Run Fueled. I’ve been practicing eating smaller amounts of Honey Stinger Fruit Snacks (Cherry Cola has my heart!) more frequently through a run. I’ve noticed a big difference in sustained energy and I appreciate all my readers & coach for helping me come to this realization. Also–I’m not a big fan of chewing while running (i’m not coordinated) and i know a lot of you don’t like to either. Lauren told me to just put a chew in the side of your mouth in your teeth or cheek & it will melt away without blocking your airways. This little trick has been coming in handy.

from the trail when my mom  was in town

the trail where the Marathon is going to be held 

3) I want to Run a PR. Who doesn’t? My PR right now is a 4:28:28. Based on my current training & mile splits & years working at the half marathon distance, i imagine this will be easy to break. Then again, a marathon is a different beast and “easy” is not usually associated. Haha When I ran my 4:28 race, i crossed the start line thinking a sub 4:00 marathon was in the bag. I can’t really assume anything with a marathon. But I do know i’m training smart, i’m healthy & I like running a lot more than I did back then.

I don’t usually like posting my time goals, but what the heck, it’s not the race I’m trying to go for the BQ and finishing a 2nd marathon is going to be a huge boost!

C) Anything under 4:28 to PR.

B) Sub 4:00

A) 3:45, I think this might be doable for race day if everything goes well.

 

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Flex Friday!

The remaining runs i have are all 6 miles or under… I can already feel my legs getting antsy & the speed coming out. I thought I was beginning to lose all speed because those high mileage weeks really took all my energy and I felt slow, heavy & slow some more. Once the mileage went down my speed was just where I left it, now I just have to remember to save that speed for the last part of the race!

pigeon pose

pigeon pose 

Until the marathon i’ll be doing the norm — stretching, foam rolling, light cross training, and eating my carbs.

What is a MUST during a taper?

stretching & a shake out run the day before

How many goals do you have for a race?

I always have at least 2 minimum!