Mayday Mayday

I haven’t had much to write about the past couple of days.  Monday and Tuesday I took a break and rested.  I looked and felt so beat.  Yesterday I went for a light 2 mile run without my watch because I was still sore and didn’t even want to know what pace I was running.

Now it’s already May! And with the Coronado Bridge Run in 2 weeks from Sunday and the SD Rock ‘n Roll in about 4, I decided to set some new goals:

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Nutrition: Read Paleo for Athletes (just started this), eat paleo and try out some new recipes.  My recovery time from this past half marathon has been really poor, either because 1. the course was hard, 2. I fell off my paleo grind, or 3. the course was really hard.  Either way, Paleo for Athletes is shedding light on how paleo works to maximize athletic performance and increase recovery rates.
Workouts: Incorporate more early morning workouts into my schedule.  I’d like to get into the habit of going to sleep early, waking up early, doing yoga or body pump before work then running after work.
Running: Have more structured running workouts.  I feel like lately when I run I have a semi-determined length, but no determined pace.  I mainly just run according to how I’m feeling.  I would like to feel like I’m running more effectively.

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So I pulled out the book Run Less, Run Faster by Bill Pierce, Scott Murr, and Ray Moss.  This book has good running plans if you’re looking to run only 3 times a week.  Workout 1 is a track/speed workout, workout 2 is a tempo run, and workout 3 is a long run.  I attempted to use this program last year, for all of about 3-4 weeks. I kind of burned myself out because I attempted to do the speed workouts faster than prescribed.  This is exactly what you’re not supposed to do.  The plans start 12-18 weeks out (depending on the length your race).  I figured I can start next week at 15 weeks out and prepare for the America’s Finest City half marathon (I should probably sign up for this first).  I think this program could be beneficial, I just need to give it a full chance.  I feel like this time I’ll have a more practical approach, do exactly what it says and just test it out.  There’s no harm in that when my half marathons have consistently been between 1:44 and 1:47.  I’d just like to see a positive (or in terms of time, negative) difference.

It’s Taper Time

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This week begins my taper for the La Jolla half marathon.  I don’t really know what to expect for this race.  This will be my third time running the course, and my goal is just to beat my best course time (1:46:36).  This is a difficult course, with a 440 ft increase in elevation at mile 6.  But this has been my first time really focusing on hills, and running the Torrey Pines State Reserve several times prior.

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“The Hill” (source)

The importance of tapering is to let your body and muscles rest and recover, and to let them receive all of the benefits built up over training.

For my last race, the Carlsbad half, my taper week looked like this:
Sun – 4 mi
Mon – 6 mi
Tues – 3 mi
Wed – Stretching, foam rolling, balancing
Thurs – 2 mi, hot yoga
Fri & Sat – Rest
Sun – Race day
I ended up running a PR after a 1 year hiatus from running any races.

My main goals this week are:
1. Make sure I am well rested = early bedtime/8 hours of sleep each night leading up.
2. Take it easy = easy mileage/not the time to ramp up training.
3. Recover = stretch, foam roll, wear compression socks.
4. Eat well = don’t eat anything new/don’t eat too much or too little.

I’m still trying to figure out what to eat on race day.  I have been inconsistent in what I eat before my long training runs, mainly just fruit and nuts, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to sustain myself on that for a race.  And more importantly, I’m still trying to figure out where I want to eat my post-race meal, because I love the gratification that comes with that!

What this week looks like:
Sun – 6 mi
Mon – 4 mi Movin’ Shoes run for Boston
Tues – Stretching, foam rolling
Wed – 3 mi run, PM hot yoga
Thurs – AM hot yoga
Fri – Walk/rest
Sat – Rest
Sun – Race day

How do you taper?

Running with the Kenyans

I told my boyfriend if I could give him any advice for training for our upcoming Rock ‘n Roll half marathon, it was to read an inspirational running book.  I swear they’re almost as effective as running actual miles!

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Yesterday I finished Adharanand Finn’s Running with the Kenyans.  It was just the book to get me back into the committed reading spirit.  As I have mentioned before, I have a lot of books in queue.  It’s been a while since I’ve finished a book and I needed just the right one to hook me in.  I think I found it.

Adharanand Finn travels to Kenya with his family to live and train for 6 months.  His main motive is to learn the secrets of some of the fastest men in the world: Kenya’s elite runners.  Adharanand forms a running team, named the Iten Town Harriers, and all of its members agree to run in the Lewa Marathon.  Through their training and camaraderie, Adharanand comes to learn that there is no real secret to the Kenyan’s speed; it’s not just one singular, magical thing.  It’s an accumulation of all things that are natural and make-up the Kenyan lifestyle.  These include: focus and dedication, tough/physical upbringing, barefoot running, altitude, running to school, training camps, rest, diet, desire to succeed and expectation that winning can change their lives.

My favorite part is when one of his teammates, Japhet, shows Adharanand his college application.  “He never sent it off because he couldn’t afford the fees.  The form is kept, though, as testament to his ambition.  It’s even on his resume, which he pulls out and shows me.  Under “Talents and Achievements” it says, handwritten in blue pen, “Form filled in for Moi University.”

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who loves inspirational running books and/or to anyone who is interested in learning the “secrets” of Kenyan runners.

Baby Got Back

These intricate details and open backs allow for comfortable yet stylish movement.  Wear as stand-alone pieces or underneath deep v-back tanks, these sports bras and tank tops are that easy workout wear cool!back_details

[ 1 ] FP Movement Criss Cross Midi Bra  [ 2 ] The North Face ‘Tadasana’ Bra
[ 3 ] Unit-Y ‘Pirouette’ Tank  [ 4 ] FP Movement Printed Sports Bra
[ 5 ] MPG Rhea Tank [ 6 ] Lululemon Burn It Out Tank

Turf Over Surf

Yesterday I did my last 10+ mile run before the La Jolla Half on April 28th.  Next weekend I’ll be in NOLA for a Main Street conference, so I’ll only be able to get in an 8-miler the morning we leave.  Then the next weekend I’ll probably start my taper.

photo(Checking out our route for Sunday.  We saw a woman rollerblading with a small dog strapped to her front in some type of fanny-pack apparatus. ??? I’ve seen dogs in strollers, but that was a new one.)

For my long runs, I usually run through several coastal cities, and that’s how I mentally gauge it.  “Ok, I made it through Del Mar…next, Solana Beach, etc.”  This was a new run for me, and I knew it was going to be mentally difficult.  I coerced my mom to ride 12 miles on her bike, while I ran.  We went 1 mile through town (Coronado) to make it to the Silver Strand.  Then the next 5 miles out were flat and straight.  There’s nothing really out there, no big change of scenery.  I knew I just had to make it 6 miles and everything would be easy coming back.  It helped I found a good playlist on 8tracks with new songs that I ended up liking.

I set the initial pace around 8:30 and slowly inched my way up as the miles increased.  The whole time I just tried to keep a pace below 9:30.  At 5.75 miles I pushed myself to pass a boy (whose running reminded my mom of my brother) and sprinted the last quarter mile before I hit 6.  My fastest point at that time was around a 6:30.

I finally felt like I had a good long run, and it was kind of nice to have my mom following my pace.  At the end, I told her to go ahead because I wanted to push myself to catch up.   I sprinted mile 11-12 for a final mile pace of 7:30.  My overall run was a 8:46/mile, much better than my 10 mile runs have been going.

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Post-run and after leaving my mom’s, I made the trek to Costco with my boyfriend, again, on a Sunday afternoon.  Not the best idea when you’ve got large families foraging over free samples.  At least this daunting task resulted in a juicy and flavorful surf and turf dinner a la ribeye and scallops that I DIDN’T HAVE TO COOK!  Woot, woot.  Looks like the turf beats the surf.

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Anybody know any good running routes in New Orleans?
Where’s your favorite place to do a long run?

Work It Harder, Make It Better

A major benefit to my running in the past year or so has been the addition of strength training.  Strength training for runners can be beneficial for a number of reasons: to prevent injury, increase efficiency, and turn your body into a powerhouse!  Below is a quick circuit that requires minimal equipment.  All you need are two weights and some space!

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Training: Day Eighteen

I feel like lately I’ve been running only when I either feel like it, or can fit it in, trying to hit a quota of at least 20 miles/week.  However, I don’t feel like I’m really benefitting or having any meaningful workouts.  After reading What I Talk About When I Talk About Running I felt like I should be building up my training months a head of time, to taper off the month before.  But then again, I have to remind myself, I’m not, even in the slightest, a pro-athlete.  My goals, as of today, are to:

1. Still run at least 20 miles per week.
2. Get inserts for my Nike TR Free Fit shoes.  My lunarglides feel to clunky and heavy now, but I feel like I’m doing myself a disservice by pounding out miles with no cushioning.
3. Set a schedule; run at least 1 long run, 1 hill run, and 1 tempo run a week.
4. Allow for recovery before and after long runs.
5. Remember– running is supposed to be fun!

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Today I ran 3 miles of the half-marathon course I’ll run in about a month.  I measured and tackled the most difficult part of the race– 0.6 miles of straight mountain-climbing.  After 3 miles, I turned around and finished with a 6 mile run at an 8:35/mile pace.  Towards mile 3 my calves started to get heavy (something that usually only plagues me during races–when it’s too late).  I think part of the problem is I am mixing too many different techniques–none of which I’ve mastered.

On another note: I accidentally ingested evaporated cane sugar!! x_x dun dun dun.  After reading 3 seemingly Whole30 approved pasta sauces, I pick up the fourth that just so happened to be not.  I’ll excuse my mistake because I have been extra cautious in reading labels, it was organic, and evaporated cane juice is supposedly a “natural” sugar.