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Archive for the ‘Running’ Category

How do I know I have my “running legs” back? Because this morning I went for a 15-mile run (my long run for the week) and for the first time since I returned home from vacation and started training for realsies, I did not genuinely contemplate chucking myself over the railing and into the Hudson River as a means to end what felt like real and true torture.

Oh, the dramatics of the long-distance runner.

Anyways, seriously, today’s run was the first one I’ve had where I did not feel, to put it bluntly, like complete cr*p.  Instead, I actually felt pretty good! It helps that the weather was perfect (mid-70’s and low humidity) and I think my insane few weeks of training are paying off.

I’m definitely going to cut back a little bit though, now that I feel caught up in my training.  Obviously I’ll still be running absurd distances but the last four weeks, I’ve really been pushing myself to train a bit more and bit harder than I would have otherwise.

Just for fun, here’s my weekly workout log:

Thursday, 8/4- 5.5 Mile Run

Friday, 8/5- 45:00 Medium-Resistance Elliptical

Saturday, 8/6– 14 Mile Run

Sunday, 8/7– One-Hour Total Body Conditioning Class

Monday, 8/8– 45:00 Medium-Resistance Elliptical

Tuesday, 8/9- 7 Mile Run

Wednesday, 8/10– 40:00 Low Resistance Elliptical

Thursday, 8/11– 15 Mile Run

I had to switch my long run from Saturday to Thursday this week because I’m going out of town and I’m not about to let marathon training get in my way of having a good time!  I did my run today so that I could enjoy myself both Friday and Saturday night this weekend (can I get a ‘wut wut’ for white wine?) and not have to worry about being hydrated and well-nourished andrested for a long run.  Win!

Also, here’s what I typically wear for a long run, in case you’re curious:

I’ve been doing a much better job of applying sunscreen before I go out (Mom, aren’t you happy?) and lately I’ve been adding an old Reebok hat that’s made of a water-wicking fabric (it’s not your typical baseball cap) to keep the sun off my face.  I make sure my shirt is technical (aka not cotton) and I love my Sugoi compression shorts (read-booty shorts!).  Although I’m obviously less than thrilled to show off my massive, muscly legs in this manner, when it comes to preventing chafing, these shorts are clutch (chafing is the worst.  THE.  WORST.)

Speaking of chafing, if things do start to rub together in an unpleasant manner, throw some Body Glide on the parts that hurt, I swear by the stuff!

Source

And finally, even though I wore a pair of technical socks, it wasn’t enough to prevent the dreaded blisters. Lucky you guys, I’m going to show a photo of my bloody sock so I can feel uber-hardcore (don’t look if you’re squeamish.) Yikes!

I also wear an iPod and use my Garmin Forerunner 305 (it’s the bomb-diggety!) but I’m going to talk about those guys in another post.

So that’s all for now, folks, I’m just gonna keep on keepin’ on with this whole marathon training stuff, I’m finally starting to feel excited by it all and not actually scared outta my mind!

 

 

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Once I got back from all my traveling (more recaps coming soon) and took a few days to recover, I looked at the calendar to count down the weeks until the Chicago Marathon.  As of July 23, there were 11 weeks until D-Day.  Oh crap! I was so far behind in marathon training, I was practically starting from scratch.

I unfortunately  did not run very much while in Europe.  I naively brought lots of work-out gear, genuinely believing I would manage to run the majority of days but the combination of wine, site-seeing and having too much fun basically killed that plan from the get-go.

According to my original training plan, I should’ve been running around 14 miles for my long run the Saturday after I came back.  Yeah,  ain’t no way, no how that was happening.

So I’ve been a bit frantically training, trying to catch up to where I should be.  After taking a few days of working out on the elliptical for 45-minute stretches to get my general cardiovascular abilities back, I started training for real on Monday, July 25.  Just for fun, here’s what my work-out schedule looked like:

Monday, July 25– 6 Mile Run

Tuesday, July 26- 45:00 Elliptical at medium resistance, 15:00 Strength Training

Wednesday, July 27- 8 Mile Run

Thursday, July 28- 55:00 Elliptical at medium to hard resistance

Friday, July 29- 12 Mile Run (Long Run for the week)

Saturday, July 30- 30:00 Elliptical (Recovery, very low resistance)

Sunday, July 31- 30:00 Elliptical at medium resistance, 15:00 Strength Training

That is an intense week of training, with far more running than I normally do but given my limited time to catch up, there just wasn’t any other option.  Luckily, I’m on summer vacation so I had plenty of time to do all this.  I’m going to shoot for 14 miles this coming Friday (8/5) and 16 miles the following Friday (8/12), which will finally put me back on schedule.

Bumping up my long runs by two miles rather than my usual one mile is a little bit intimidating but honestly, it’s only an extra 8-10 minutes (depending on how spent I am) so it shouldn’t be too terrible (HA. I say that now, we’ll see how I feel after it’s done!)

I’ve also been taking between one and three 1:00-walk breaks during my longer runs at evenly-spaced intervals (approximately every half hour or so.)  No shame, I think they’ve been helping, at least with my mental state.  I’ll probably continue these until I feel like my running stamina has truly returned.

With only 9.5 weeks until the Chicago Marathon, it is seriously go-time.  No more excuses, no more dragging, no more minimal whining, time to git ‘er done!

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Word on the street is that it’s spring  but yesterday I spent four hours outside in rain, wind and 47-degree weather (yay track and field) so I’m not entirely convinced…

Anyways, in honor of spring, first, my favorite color combo- blue and yellow!

Aren’t those Ranunculuses (Ranunculi? What?) so, so delicious?

And second, running.  Specifically outside.

My girl Terri at TryAnythingOnce was looking for some advice on transitioning from running on the treadmill to running outside.  I’ll be honest, I rarely use it anymore but I used to be a treadmill beast back in graduate school, so I’m drawing from then…

I think that it’s important to ease back into running outside, rather than hit the pavement running (HA!).  I am a huge fan of run-walking, so throwing a few 3:00-run/1:00-walk sessions outdoors can help get your running legs back.

Don’t forget, the treadmill is a bit easier than running outside, simply because it pushes you along. There’s less fighting against gravity, so it makes sense that going from the treadmill to the streets might be a tough transition.

Another idea for making the transition to running outdoors is to increase your typical speed on the treadmill- basically, making it *that* much harder and, by comparison, running outside *that* much easier…

For me, running outdoors is one of the perks to being a runner and now that it’s finally getting nice out there, I’m enjoying the lack of layers and warm (ish) temperatures during my runs.

Which do you prefer, the treadmill or outdoor running? Have you had any trouble transitioning from the treadmill to outside?

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I recently was asked by fellow Chicago-Marathon-runner Penny about speed workouts and if I could offer up an example or two.  Of course, I’m happy to oblige (cuz I love talking about running, obvs) so here we go!

First off, do not be scared by the phrase “speed workout.”  Speed is a relative term, by which I mean that one person’s “slow” pace might be another’s “fast” pace.  It’s all about pushing yourself beyond what is ‘comfortable’ (I use that term very loosely since we all know running is mostly a b*tch and rarely comfrotable.)  Ya read me?

OK, cool, now that we’ve worked past that hurdle (look, a track pun! In a running blog! I’m so clever…), let’s talk about what a speed workout typically entails.  If I told you it involves ‘speed’, would you slap me upside the head? Anyways, the point of a workout like this is to try and get your body accustomed to a faster pace.  In order to do this, we have to practice.

So. What might a decent speed workout actually look like?

Here’s a goodie for you guys:

Warm-Up

5:00 jog followed by your choice of Dynamic Movements (high knees, butt kicks, leg swings, sideways shuffles, skipping, etc)

Work-Out

*6 x 1/4 Mile Repeats at a pace that is :30 faster than your race pace.

*2:00 walking rest in between each one.

1/4 Mile is equivalent to 400 meters or one lap of a standard-sized track.  And just so we’re super-clear, here’s a few examples of where your interval times would range, depending on your mile time.

If you run a 11:00/mile, you should run the quarter mile repeats in 2:15.

If you run a 10:00/mile, you should run the quarter-mile repeats in 2:00.

If you run a 9:00/mile, you should run the quarter-mile repeats in 1:45.

Tip-If you are unsure of how to calculate this mileage and don’t have a GPS watch, you can always use your car’s odometer or head to your local high school or college to use their track.

Cool-Down

 5:00-10:00 easy jog (you’ve earned it!)

Why is this workout so effective? Coming from someone who specialized in the 400-meter race in high school (ah, the glory days), let me tell you- It ain’t easy.  It’s too long to be a true sprint but not long enough to slow down. This workout will teach your body to move faster for longer periods of time, so hopefully come race day, you’ll be ready to shave a few seconds off each mile.

If you try it, let me know how it goes, I’d love to hear feedback! Don’t be scared off by the title 🙂

Stay tuned for Speed Workout, Part Deux!


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Haaaahahaha, I’m cracking myself up over the title of this post (in general, me no creative when thinking up post titles, so I’m particularly proud of this one.)

And I hope, by now, you’ve realized that the “quickie” I’m referring to has nothing to do with copulation and everything to do with running a 4-mile race last Sunday.

City Parks Foundation “Run For The Parks” 4-Mile Race and Kid’s Races

I know, I know, you’re thinking ‘Why is a four-mile race considered a ‘quickie’?  Well, my friends, a really good way to make four miles seem short is to run 13.1 miles on the same route two weeks before.  This race went by super-fast and with relative ease, especially compared to that beast of a half-marathon.

There’s good and bad news about the aftermath.  The good? I managed to finish in 27:45, which is juuuuuuust under a 7:00 mile and was fast enough to place me 18th in the women’s overall and 8th in my age group. It was a decent time for me (not a PR but a solid effort) and the fact that I did it without having run for the last two weeks, thanks to my knee injury, also adds to my happiness about the race results.

So what’s the bad news? Well, my knee felt alright during the race but started to hurt badly again afterwards, so now I’m back to where I was three weeks ago- resting, icing and ibuprofening the crap out of it.  Le boo 😦

I want to run again!

However, really, the best part of the race was that I organized participation from both parents and children at the school I teach at.  We had more than 20 kids show up, ready to run, which makes my physical-activity-loving heart swell with joy and pride over their excitement and enjoyment of racing. Le awesome!

So that’s all the news that’s fit to print right now, no more racing and a lot more resting for this gimp.  I gotta get my knee healthy again because, all of a sudden, I’m less than 6 months out from the Chicago Marathon and time’s a wastin’! Hopefully I’ll be back to good soon and on the road to (cue ominous music here…) marathon training!

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My mom gave me this book back during the Holidays but I didn’t get the chance to read it until our trip to Miami.  Since it’s been called “the best novel ever written about running” by Runner’s World, I figured it’d be fun to review it here, on my running blog 🙂

via Amazon

Be warned: It’s a bit slow and confusing at first but (just like the mile-race the main character competes in) it finishes strong.

**Did you catch that sweet metaphor (Simile? Grammar is not my forte) I just did there?

Anyways, Once A Runner tells the story of an elite-miler, Quenton Cassidy, who attends a fictional Division I university during the 1970’s, a decade when the American distance running scene was both prolific and competitive (think Steve Prefontaine.) When he is barred from competition due to a series of unfortunate events, he embarks on a personal quest of sorts to prove his talent to both the school and the world.

Here is a passage that particularly resonated with me:

“…The legs became prematurely heavy, and the central nervous system sent up the message that such punishment could not be endured.  But the central nervous system is overridden, of course, the runner knowing far better by now than his own synapses of what his daily in such absolutes of physical limitations that the nonrunner confronts only in dire situations.” p. 219

Mind over matter, that’s definitely my running philosophy, and I think Parker’s apt description is just so right on.

I definitely acknowledge that if the world of track and field is completely foreign to you, there may be portions of the book that either do not make sense or are hard to understand but Cassidy’s battle of will in order to prove himself draws you in, regardless.

I recommend this book, especially if you’re training for a race or new to running, since I found it highly motivational.  It makes racing sound exciting, which it is.

If there’s any type of running race in your future, this book will psych you up and make you determined to meet whatever goal you’ve set for yourself, even if it’s just to finish.

Got another running book to recommend? I’m on the hunt for a new one (I’ve read Born To Run and Ultramarathon Man)

 

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I ran the More Fitness Magazine Half Marathon in Central Park yesterday! We had perfect (perfect, perfect, perfect!) weather and I ran it with my best friend since seventh grade, whom I corralled, cajoled and somehow convinced to run it with me.

It was her first half marathon and my fifth.  Since I may or may not have strong-armed her into signing up in the first place, I ran with her for the entire race at whatever pace she was comfortable with.

Congrats, Pip, on your first (and maybe last, haha) half marathon!

While I didn’t get a “good time” by race standards, I definitely had a good time by my standards (didja like what I did there with the pun?)

Our other best friend Cara (seriously, the three of us have been BFFs for.ev. er- Sandlot Style) came to cheer us on, as well as my dad, Pete and little Perri. It was so fun to have everyone yelling for us at the finish line, we felt like rock stars! Or track stars, I guess…

Heart you girls!

I also had six co-workers who ran the race and everyone finished and (I think) had a great time, which made the coach in me quite happy.  I really enjoyed leading training sessions over the past few months in order to get everyone ready for this race and I’m planning on doing it again next year! Go team!

We ran most the course at about a 9:45/mile pace which is significantly slower than what I would typically race at (for a half-marathon, I usually average between 6:30/mile and 7:30/mile, depending on what mile I’m at, ha!)

As much as I loved (LOVED) running with my friend and enjoyed the leisurely feel of the pace, there was a small part of me that missed the true adrenaline rush from racing my hardest and sorta longed for that dead-tired ache that comes from running your heart out.

Which is why I’ve decided to register for the Bronx Half Marathon in August and make the two months leading up to the race all about training, which means doing work-outs like mile repeats (ouch) and hard-core long runs.  Imma go balls to the wall because I want to see what I’m capable of!

So, to sum up: Half marathon yesterday, sore today and as always, had a blast.

Have you ever run a half-marathon? Would you consider it? I highly recommend!

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