Archive | July 2013

Tempo Workout

2013 NoWimps

 

Do you need a good tempo workout?  This morning’s 7 mile tempo workout was a great one for me!  I definitely worked hard, maybe a little bit too hard.  I enjoy pushing myself so a run that includes a push and a rest and another push is really fun!  You may be asking, “What was so hard about it?”  Well, this is what it looked like:

7 miles

1st mile – easy

2 and 3 -medium tempo

4 – easy

5 and 6 – medium tempo

7 th mile – easy

I ate 1/2 a banana before I left and then I used a gel between mile 3 and 4.  I used the gel because I was hungry and I felt like it may give me some needed energy.  Once the kids go back to school, I will have a full breakfast before I train and won’t need to use a gel on these runs.  Until then, I will continue use one.

My favorite thing to do after a hard workout is to eat a big breakfast!  I love breakfast foods.  This morning I had eggs, strawberries and a pancake with peanut butter on it (I don’t like syrup).  I have a hard time eating just one pancake, I love, love, love pancakes.

Do you like tempo runs?  

What do you like to eat after a hard workout?

I Ditched my Speed Workout for Something Else

Since I am following the Runner’s World FIRST half marathon training plan and only running 3 days a week, each workout has a definite purpose.  Today was supposed to be my speed workout.  However, as I was reviewing my workouts from the past 2 weeks, I noticed something.  The plan lacked hill repeats.

2013 hill image

I don’t want to give up my hill repeat workouts while trail running since trail running is pretty much running in the hills.  The more practice in the hills, the better I will race.  Not only do I love hill repeats, but I think that the workouts help me so much.  Sure, my tempo runs and long runs include hills, but there’s nothing like a hard hill repeat workout.

Today’s workout was:

15 min warm up

5 x 3 min up the hill (recover on the way down)

15 min cool down

In order to measure my progress, I do two things:

  1. I use the same start and finish point on a hill for all 5 repeats
  2. I use the same hill for all my hill repeat workouts.

This morning I was able to complete all 5 repeats in just under 3 mins.  What does that mean?  Well, it means that I have become stronger and it’s time to find a new hill!

This also means that I will be sharing my speed workout day with my hill repeats.  I love both workouts and find value in both.  Alternating the 2 workouts should do the trick.

2013 hill seeker

Do you enjoy hill repeats?  Do you have a favorite hill repeat workout?  I’d love to hear about it.

Wanna read more about the benefits of hill running?  Here’s an article:

http://running.about.com/od/trainingessentials/tp/benefitsofhillruninng.htm

Don’t forget those CORE exercises!

2013 core image

I know that I have posted about core exercises before, but when I read this article, I couldn’t help but want to share it.  There is some good information along with great exercises here!  All you have to do is follow the links.  So, click away.

Just remember, core exercises not only help you strengthen your core, which prevents injuries, but having a strong core can make you a faster runner.

In 2010, I had no core strength.  Long story short, I ended up injured and unable to run for several months (see my previous post, I Fell Apart! ).  I still do core exercises today and they will be a part of my weekly routine as long as I am a runner.  I’m hoping that’s a long time!

Thank you to ACTIVE.com for this information.

http://beta.active.com/running/Articles/3-Reasons-Runners-Should-Perform-Core-Workouts.htm?cmp=17-1-4918

First Speed Workout of the Year

track image

 

As I mentioned in my last post, I have started a new half marathon training plan.  Each week consists of a speed workout, a tempo workout, a long run, 2 cycling workouts and a yoga workout.  In addition, I do core strengthening workouts and stretching.

Today starts week #2 of the new plan.  Last week I was out of town and unable to use a track.  I tried to do the workout on the road.  With the hills, it just wasn’t the same as going to the track.  So, this morning I headed for the track for my weekly speed workout.  When I left the house, I was pleased to feel a chill in the air.  It’s been pretty hot here, but fortunately, the nights and mornings have been cool.  I hope it stays that way; it makes the heat a little bit more tolerable!

My workout called for a warm up,  6 x 800 and a cool down.  I live 1.5 miles from the track, so I ran there and back for my warm up and cool down.  Once I see the track, I always get excited.  I love the feeling of the track, I love pushing my body, and I love the memories that I have from my track days.  What I need to do is keep everything under control and not beat up my body.  As my training plan reads, “Remember, you still have 2 other running workouts to complete this week.”  Yep, I need to stay calm.

I decided to go out a little slower than what is recommended.  The plan recommends to use your 5k pace or a little faster as a target pace.  Since it’s been a long time (6-8 months) since I did a speed workout, I decided to be conservative and run a little slower than my 5k pace.  Each of my 800 were consistent which is important.  However, after I completed the 5th 800, I was pretty tired.  I decided to run a 400 instead of an 800 for the last repeat.  I feel like the workout was a success!

The hardest part of speed workouts for me is doing them without first thing in the morning without eating breakfast.  The minute I wake up, I eat half a banana and then get dressed and run out the door.  I’m wondering if I should use a gel on these mornings just to give me a little more calories or if I should train my body to get used to using what I have stored?

By the time I got home, I was more than ready for breakfast!  An egg, raspberries, oatmeal and a cup of tea sure hit the spot!

Do you enjoy track workouts?

Do you do your speed workout before eating?  Do you feel like you have enough energy?

This entry was posted on July 15, 2013. 2 Comments

Looking for the Right Plan

Even though running is a simple sport, I always have so many questions…….How many days a week should I run?  How many miles a week should I run?  What pace or effort should I run each workout?  Should I cross-training?  How many rest days a week should I take?  All of a sudden, it’s not so simple.  I’m in need of a good plan that can help me answer these questions.

2013 question image

Now that I’ve completed a trail half marathon and had a good time, I’m on a mission to gain more experience at the half marathon level and complete 2 if not 3 more half marathons before the end of the year.

A few months ago I started gathering ½ marathon training plans, looking for the perfect one for me.  Everyone has different needs.  I was looking for two things.  I wanted a plan with no more than 4 days of running in addition to cross-training and a plan that had a cycle of 2 weeks of building and 1 week of recovery.  It should look something like this:  build, build, recover, build, build, recover.

Was I asking for too much (who me?)?  I never really found what I was looking for.  I found lots of plans.  One suggested 18 miles for the long run.  That’s a bit long for a half marathon plan, in my opinion. I found another plan, but it recommended running 5 to 6 days a week!  Wow!  I wish I could run like that.  Back in my early days of running, oh, about 25+ years ago, I could run every day of the week.  But, as I get older, I’m finding that my body cannot handle the impact of everyday running.  Plus, there really isn’t a reason to run every day (I keep trying to convince myself of this).

2013 3 days a week

Well, I finally found a plan that I think will work!  Run Less Run Faster by Runner’s World has pretty much everything I’m looking for.  They use the FIRST (Furman Institute of Running and Scientific Training) training programs.  The plan calls for 3 days of running.  Every run has a purpose.  The plan includes a speed workout, a tempo workout and a long run.  In addition, they suggest 2 days of cross-training, beautiful!  That leaves 1 day for rest and another day for yoga (yippee!  I really need a day for yoga).

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The plan is a 16 week long plan.  However, I will have to make some adjustments to the plan since my next race is in just 6 weeks.   I can then jump back into the plan and follow it for the next 9 weeks leading up to the second race and completing their plan.  After, I will continue training as the third race will be 8 weeks later.  With a few adjustments, I can make it work.

If I want to try the program from start to finish with no alterations, I’ll have to wait until next year and carve out 16 weeks for this plan.

If you are looking for some good training plans, I would recommend this book.  In addition to the half marathon training program, the book also has plans for a 5k, 10k, and marathon.  It also provides the cross-training workouts.

So, it looks like I’m finally surrendering to the idea that running less may be better for me.  It may take time to get used to, but I know this could be a good thing.  And, if nothing else, it’s fun to try new training plans.  I’ll keep you posted on my training over the next 23 weeks.

I’d love to hear from anyone who has used any of these plans!

FYI……Here’s a good article on the benefits of cross-training for runners…..http://running.about.com/od/trainingessentials/a/crosstraining.htm

or you can visit my previous post on cross-training.

Rest and Recovery

I’ve just completed the fourth phase of my training (the phases: base, build, race and rest and recovery).  For the past 2 weeks, I have been on a mini “rest and recovery.”  After training hard for 6 months, I was ready to take a break both physically and mentally.  During this two week period of rest and recovery, my body has time to rest and heal.  I also have the chance to sleep in a bit and not have to try to squeeze in my workouts before my family’s day begins.  Sometimes it’s hard to find a good time to train.

It’s only been in the last few years that I learned the importance of this phase.  I finally learned/accepted that if I want my body to perform at it’s best, then I need to give it time to rest (I didn’t mean for that to rhyme!)  And I admit that the first few days of this phase are hard for me.   I am usually antsy and need to find something else to do.  This is a good time for a family vacation.

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We enjoy kayaking together.

During this phase, it doesn’t mean that I stop all training.  It just means that I dial it back.  I rode on my trainer every other day during the first week.  I ran three times and rode twice during the second week.  In addition, I worked on my CORE a whole bunch during this time.  On vacation, I walked a lot which technically counts as a good rest and recovery activity.

“The difference is that your activities are lighter, less demanding and generally performed at a lower level of intensity or the activities are executed at a high level of intensity for a much shorter period of time.”  http://beta.active.com/running/Articles/What-to-Do-on-Rest-and-Recovery-Days

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Here is a picture from one of my gorgeous runs during our vacation.  I love running near the coast!

 To read more on the phase of rest and recovery, here is a link:

http://www.fleetfeetgaithersburg.com/resources/coach-corner/periodization-of-training-phase-4-rest-and-recovery

Another ritual of this phase is replacing my running shoes.  I have 453 miles on my current shoes which means they are about done.  Since I had a little extra time, I bought new shoes.  I’m like any girl; I love shoe shopping!  However, I like to spend my time in the sports section focusing on all the different running shoes.  I love looking at the different colors of the season.  After looking at several brands, I always turn to my favorite brand, Asics.  According to my kids, I like to try on hundreds of pairs in search of the right ones.  By the way, I quickly learned to go shoe shopping by myself a few years ago.

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These are the ones I chose for the next 500 miles, Asics GT1000.

Not sure when to replace your shoes?  Here’s a link for you:

http://running.about.com/od/shoesapparelandgear/f/replaceshoes.htm

I’m feeling ready to tackle my next season.  And believe me, I have some plans!

Do you take a rest and recovery between seasons?

This entry was posted on July 7, 2013. 1 Comment