Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Training update

Training Update:

It is less than 5 weeks until Big Sur Marathon Day!

I’ve been building up my run mileage and couldn’t be happier about where I am with that.  I’ve been getting 50+ miles/week and getting in all of my long runs.  This is the first year where I haven’t been nearly balancing my training at all with bike/swim.  I have swam ONCE this year now.  (however it was last week and I am back- committed to going once/week for the next month, then possibly building to 2x in May).  Biking I have been doing usually 3-4x / week, but not nearly the intensity or duration of my typical winter bike progression of when I have Eagleman looming over me.

So, my focus is on running, and mostly running HEALTHY and without reinjuring my hamstring/hip.

I’ve been able to get back into hill workouts as they are necessary for Big Sur, but my intensity on them isn’t what I used to be able to push. I’ve had 2 pretty good long runs, a 20 and a 22.  Yesterday, I went out for another 22 (full of hill repeats) and it CRUSHED me in so many ways.  I’m not sure why and need to really spend more time on thinking why because I hope to NOT feel this way during my race!

*I was away all weekend/ not eating good food/ doing lots of sitting (although I ran a hard 6 mile interval run the day before—so maybe my legs were actually tired from that, even though I thought of it as an “off” type weekend).  I’m wondering if sitting so much, not great food, being in car for 4 hours/day didn’t lead to my body feeling great.

*I mentally may have been rushed/not focused on the “HOW” of the big picture- I like to break my run up into segments and I might have been a little too open ended about how to get the miles done with a bunch of hill repeats in.  For me, knowing the plan (example:  first 7 miles is 3 warming up into 4 miles of hill repeats.  Then 3 getting to next hill, then 3 miles of hill repeats there, then 5 on a moderately hilly loop, then 3 more miles of hill repeats, then finish.)  This type of sectioning of my hours works really well for me, and I didn’t have the whole details calculated.  My daughter was also home sick, so I felt kind of bad being gone for that long and was too focused on the FINISHING and not enjoying the beautiful morning that I was able to spend running!

*It was a rather warm morning and I wore shorts.  I could feel my quads “moving” and sorry for TMI but it was like jiggling, maybe it was muscles, but sure didn’t feel good and I was annoyed at feeling this.  Plus m y muscles just felt really sore right away (maybe that interval work the day prior) (but then again maybe that was a good thing!)

*either way----it is a success in my book:  I had intended to do 22 and I finished 21.5 miles.  The last 5 I was honestly just DONE. Done done done.  I ended up taking those last 5 miles and doing .1 mile walk into the rest of the mile running and the running ended up being maybe .1-.2 easy but then I found myself having energy to build a decent pace because I was so looking forward to walking again.  So basically my mile times here were not any worse than what it would have been by not walking… something to keep in mind and consider. But also to keep in mind that it will only be helpful in that way if I can get myself to push the non walking times--- if all I can muster is a slow run, then it won’t help to walk part of it.  It is a strategy I may end up using.  I know people do this all the time.  I have always avoided it because I haven’t needed to do it.  BUT… it is nice knowing that if needed, I’ve practiced it (by default!)

From this run, I need to:

*look to see what I did the weekend before as well- was that a Long run?or maybe I missed a weekend of long runs and maybe this is why this weekend felt hard.

*need to figure out what to WEAR for Big Sur. Maybe feeling my legs was just from being first time outdoors in shorts this year?

*need to plan mental break down of marathon miles.  I’m thinking so far first 11 miles as a big chunk.  Then mile 11-14 is a big hill.  Next chunk is 14-20 (may want to break this into 1 mile “recovery” from the hills then 5 more at race pace).  Then 20-26, need to look at this more in depth.  I do not want to feel like I did this past long run!

After my long run, for about 3 hours, I felt like I was getting the flu.  My body, eyes, everything hurt, ached, I felt TERRIBLE.  I drank cherry juice, ate pineapple (vitamin C), a yogurt for recovery.  Having coffee began to help after about 2 hours- maybe warming me up and giving me some caffeine.  (I did have diet soda right after the long run…. Because I am who I am… ughhh cannot give that up for the life of me).

Marathon training is no joke.  Super hard.  I’m so glad to be doing one again! It has been a long time since my last !(Boston 2011!)

April 28 will be here before I know it!

Monday, March 18, 2019

Winning with the Warm Up....

Long story short: our training sessions determine our performance, and very often, our warm ups can determine if we have a successful training session.   Unfortunately, our tendency is to cut short, skimp, or completely disregard our warm up, and it deserves more credit than that since it is key to the success of our main set!

I could go into a more scientific explanation of why the warm up is important, but very often it comes down to the fact that an inappropriate workout sets us up not FEELING GOOD for the workout.  It doesn’t give us the full time to be gradual enough for our system to catch up to too much of an overload in oxygen deficit, and we for either *physiologic or *mental reasons are led to blow the workout.

It has likely happened to us all:  think back to a workout where your breathing just couldn’t normalize throughout the workout.  The warm up may have been rushed, and it may have just been because of that specific day- the pace of that warm up may have been completely fine for another day, but for one particular day, it may have been too much due to a number of factors (dehydration, fatigue, etc).  OR: think back and notice if this scenario has played out for you before.  You are doing a treadmill workout and your typical warm up  may begin at maybe 9 min mile pace, so you go to that.  It feels hard and horrible, but you keep at it thinking, this is what I always do, what the heck.  What is wrong with me, why is this hard? How am I going to get through ½ mile repeats when my warm up feels so hard.  Maybe this isn’t the day to do my hard effort?  Maybe I should change the workout.  Maybe I just go take a nap!  That is a perfect example of our training being blundered by stringent mental thinking and negative self talk/ self sabatoge!

Sometimes the answer is in just letting our bodies be less exact with our numbers on the warm up and just go with what truly does feel EASY and the MOST GRADUAL warm up that we need!  Everyone is different- some people need longer warm ups.  I’ve noticed over the years that I used to be able to warm up with a  mile, then after a mile some pickups and Im good to go.  Not any longer.  Maybe it is age, maybe it is coming back from injury, but I now need a minimum of 2 miles of pure warm up, maybe even 3.  I sometimes even start with a minute of walking.  And I truly advocate letting it be a progressive, self determined, day determined progression.  Following no orders, no rules, no “supposed to” paces.  And also not judging mentally along with this warm up.  Really listen to your mental self talk along the way to see the types of things you are saying to yourself, the self talk that will continue on for the remainder of the session (and very well along with how you generally treat yourself during training—do your talk yourself up or down).

What about strength training?  Is a warm up important to that type of workout also?  Absolutely.  It should involve muscles, full body motion, lateral movement, front to back, opening and closing the spine, spinal rotation, balance.  It doesn’t need to be long, but it does ideally need to include all of these movements if you want to do your best in your workout.

And, seeing as we are spending our precious and valuable time with exercise, we should be mindful that we spend the first 3-5 minutes, up to ­­10-15-20 minutes making the “purpose of the session” successful.  Broaden this introspection to even consider warm ups when you are with a group, running with a partner, etc.  If you find yourself talking too much during the run with a partner, make some changes if that is affecting your breathing/warm up, if you feel the need to follow too fast a pace, meet your partner after a mile or two, etc.

We literally can win the workout with the warm up.  Or lead to a wasted workout.  Our time is valuable, our training is important to us, so do sweat the small stuff here!!  Maybe the warm up isn't so small afterall!??!!

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Solo travels

Many of you know I traveled on a big solo getaway this past week.  It was something I hesitated for so long on, feeling guilty and selfish.  I went for it for many reasons.

When I was in Barbados or during my travel day there, I had a few people ask me why I was going?

I hadn’t been asked that before and it struck me that I hesitated to answer.  In my mind, I was thinking things like: duh. Beach. Because. Away. ? JUST BECAUSE!

But once I was alone and with the opportunity to really think of why, it was so simple to voice this to myself, so I wrote it down.


I needed to let my soul sing,

­­­­­To let my heart heal,

To refind my joy and feel that joy radiate from the toes in the warm sand throughout my whole being.

I needed to be silent.

To be with myself to have space to remember me.

I needed to take care of me.

I needed to be taken care of by the earth and reconnect with the big picture, not just the day to day logistics and driving and food and schedules and stress and complaining.

I needed to wake up with the sun, with the birds chirping, to hear breeze rustling the palms.

I needed to run in the heat and end at the ocean.

I needed to feel the cycle of the day and let go and just follow that cycle.

I needed to watch the sun set and trust the nature of cycles.

I needed to appreciate life, to savor the small stuff, the beauty that I was within.

I needed to see wind blowing ripples on the turquoise water, the soft sand underneath shaped into natural waves.

It was perfection and I found I even UNDER-estimated my need for this.  I am so grateful.