January Recap

Whoa, where does the month go! It’s already February 5, and here I am just looking back at January. This was the first month I really tried to get back into a routine and pushing up my mileage. The beginning of the month was tough, I couldn’t get my legs to go and I was starting to feel defeated, but I knew that it was just getting back to being more consistent and it would get easier. I kept a positive outlook and tried to split up my runs by focusing on each mile instead of the long distance. I also only looked at the workout I was doing each day instead of focusing on what I had the following day and the day after that.

About mid way through the month I was in more of a routine and feeling better about running longer distances again. In the beginning I just felt like I was sucking wind for the entire run and it took everything in me to push through.

January Recap - Training for The Boston MarathonWe have been having incredible weather with little rain and it’s been great to run in. I’m still running in my Saucony Triumphs with my inserts in them and I really like them. As my mileage increased, so did my injury prevention. I was being lazy about wearing my planter fasciitis boot at night and after a 7 miler, I was starting to feel pain so I have gone back to wearing it every night. I also have been icing and rolling out on the baseball every chance I get. It really seemed to really help because I have not had pain on my last few long runs at all.

I ended the month with 67 miles and am more than happy with that. I also increased my time in the hills which I think will pay off when I run Boston in April. I worked hard on being consistent on my runs and kept my pace around 8:15-8:45 throughout the month. On the tempo runs I did, even though they were shorter distances, I still was hitting right around 7:50.

I finally put together a training plan that I will be following as I train for Boston and I am hopeful it will prepare me for the race without burning me out, I’ll post it next week!

xoxo

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First long run in a LONG TIME

I haven’t been running “long” for quite a few months so when I started training again and following a plan at the beginning of January I knew what was in my future, but I didn’t realize how hard it would be. I am starting to ramp up my miles slowly to make sure that I can stay injury free and also to make sure that I don’t get burned out. I have put together a plan for the next four months leading up to Boston and each month I’m focusing on different things to keep it fresh and keep me motivated. This month it’s all about being consistent. Even though I have a few tempo runs scattered throughout my training, I’m not worried as much about hitting the times but more about getting in each run and getting back into the routine.

The hardest part so far has been getting my body used to the higher mileage. Over the past three months I’ve been running 3-5 miles at whatever pace I felt like. Now that most of my runs include a warm up and cool down, I’m running 6-8 miles more consistently and I forgot how much it really wears me out. I’m so tired after a long run or workout and I am so hungry. I need to remember to take snacks with me in my purse and drink lots of water throughout the day.

Another thing that really is difficult is pushing through the bad runs and knowing that soon I’ll be right back where I was a few months ago. When I’m out running and I’m half way through, I need to stay positive and focus on each mile and keep running. Every step is one more step closer to being done. I’ve been having a lot of mentally tough workouts lately because I feel like I’m working so hard and not running as fast. It’s important to complete the miles even though sometimes they seem to go on forever. I’ve been breaking down my workouts by mile and focusing on what I’m running at the moment so I don’t feel overwhelmed. A 2 mile warm up, with 3 faster miles and a 2 mile cool down makes a 7 mile tempo run sound easier.

Getting back to running - making the most of your long runs even when they are tough.

My long run this past weekend was one of those runs. I felt like I was just running forever. I couldn’t find a rhythm but I did know that I needed to finish. Just like yesterday morning, the miles dragged on and on and onnnnnnn. I just wanted to stop, but again, knew I had to keep going because I needed to get the miles in. These are the tough runs but come race day they are the ones that will make me feel more prepared. Every time when I talk to my fellow coaches about my run I did that day they say but you didn’t quit. It’s important to remember that. In another 3-4 weeks these will start feeling much easier and I know I have to get though this murky part to get to the smoother seas.

xoxo

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Making a Training Plan to Fit your Lifestyle

Throughout the years I always get asked who makes my training plans. I’ve made most of mine myself and I find that when you take the time to make them yourself with a little bit of knowledge, they fit better to your lifestyle and goals. I know that I get burned out on following a training plan easily. I don’t know why but I get so overwhelmed and start getting a negative feeling towards running. I skip one run, then another, then another, then feel so far ‘behind’ that I cannot make it back up and get even more frustrated. I’ve found a few things that help me when making a training plan and I hope they can help you too!

A few tips to help you make a training plan that fits your lifestyle1. Be specific with your goals. What are they? Do you want to run longer? Do you want to get faster? Run injury free? Run happy? Once I usually figure out my goal for my race, I start putting in my workouts on my calendar. For me, usually my goal is to stay happy and make each workout count. I don’t over do it when it comes to working out because I know I’ll end up hating running, which is not how I want to feel. To keep me happy when in a training cycle I can only run 3-4 days a week. If I ‘have’ to run more, I start getting really tired of running. This way I can still enjoy running and look forward to it because I’m not having to fit in a run every day. When I’m not running as a part of a plan, I can run 4-5 days a week with no problem. I don’t know why my mindset changes in a training plan, but it just does and I’ve come to realize that and now I make sure not to over do it.

2. Make a reasonable schedule. Think about what you do currently. If you’re running 7 days a week, you can put in 5 solid training days, no problem. If you can barely fit in 3 workouts a week, make those 3 workouts count towards something by doing speedwork and make sure you don’t miss a run. Personally, it’s hard for me to fit in running while I coach. Even though I usually can run with the team during Cross Country, track season is much more difficult. Also, all our meets are our Saturdays, so I have to take that into account too. When planning your schedule, look at the holidays, birthdays, and vacations you might have coming up. Don’t plan a long run when you know you won’t be able to do it. Change it to another day so when it comes you won’t be struggling to get it done or feel guilty for not being able to do it.

3. Always do a warm up and cool down! I truly feel that this is what helped me run better when training for Mountains to Beach. I’d never run this way before and it really helped me nail my faster workouts and get in mileage at the same time. It helps to get myself ‘ready’ to run and tell myself I only have to ‘push myself’ for X amount of miles. When you’re planning your workout, start with a 1 to 2 mile warm up and then do some faster miles or a ladder at the track, then end with a mile cool down.

At the end of the day, DO WHAT WORKS BEST FOR YOU! It’s easy to compare yourself to fellow runners and feel like you’re not good enough but running is all about YOU! I’ve see so many training plans that people follow that make them burned out on running. If you are feeling run down, take a rest day. Find out what makes you run the best and do it. Google can be your best friend when making a training plan and don’t feel like you can’t make up your own plan. I love tweaking and working off of a bunch of plans I find online. Adding in fun workouts that are different, or new to me keep things fresh. I usually ask a few fellow runners to look over my plan to see how it looks to them and they always offer their support and a few suggestions as well. It’s so important to remember that running is all about YOU so making a plan that it tailored to your goals and needs will allow you to run happy and healthy.

xoxo

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A favorite workout to mix things up…

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Target® C9 through their partnership with POPSUGAR Select. While I was compensated to write a post about Target® C9 all opinions are my own.

During the winter it takes me a lot longer to warm up when I go for a run and I always remind myself that it’s important to not to judge a run by the 1st mile. Usually, when I’m training in the winter, I’m focusing a lot on my form, because I train for my races in the spring. The winter, to me, is all about building strength and getting stronger for the spring mileage. If I have to wake up earlier to get my run in, my muscles take longer to start moving so my first few miles I always use as a warm up. I usually can run a 1-2 mile warm up by my house and then do a workout later. This also allows me to wear more clothes on my warm up to shed once I’m ready to run faster. Something that I have also started to include in my workouts is running with a sled. Ready to mix up your workout routine? Try this!I have never done this before, but when I’m working on increasing my speed, I feel that it has helped me become a better runner. It allows me to focus on my form when running and when I get tired it helps me run more consistently. Running with the sled is something I’ve learned through coaching my high school team. I’ve seen how much it helps them and I know this helps me improving my times.

This workout I do on the track because the sled works better on the dirt. I start with a 1 mile warm up, then do 4 150s, on the track at a faster pace. Then it’s time to put on the sled! I start with a 25 with the sled and then do a 400. With a 3 minute rest. I do 2 sets like that. Then I have a 5 minute rest. Then it’s 50 meters with the sled and a 600. 2 sets of those and then back down to the 25 meters and 400 set. 2 sets of those and then a mile cool down. It’s a really tough workout and I always feel it the next day. I finish off the set with a few plyometrics that I’ve found have really helped me as well.

The first one I do is bounding for distance and for height. I do each drill for 50 meters on the track. It helps with my knee lift and my arms. Usually longer distance runners don’t have a very good knee lift because they run so far and don’t focus on form. Doing this has improved my knee drive up hills and my overall running. It’s helpful to remind myself to pick up my knees at the end of the race when I’m trying to sprint as well.

The second drill I do is high knees. Notice a pattern? It’s all about getting my knees to lift! This helps with lifting my legs when I’m tired to keep me going and running the same pace. I am constantly reminding myself to pick my knees up when I’m running and feeling like I’m slowing down.

Even though these plyometrics take an extra ten minutes after my run, I’ve seen huge benefits by adding them in and they really help in the cold weather.

xoxo

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2015, Let’s Do This!

This year, much like my goals last year, I want to continue to make all of my running count towards a specific purpose. I feel like when I changed my mind set from ‘just running to reach certain mileages or times’, it was what really helped me achieve new goals and also helped me make sure that every workout I was doing was for a reason. I felt like when I let go of the idea of hitting numbers, I was happier and running felt more free. I hope to continue this mindset into the new year.

Tracking my year with RunKeeperFor once, the entire year, I worked hard at tracking or inputting all of my workouts to see how many miles I really ended up with. I ended up with 897 miles. I was pretty proud of all my stats and really like using RunKeeper to keep track of it all. I think this year I will end up with roughly the same amount. I don’t really have any huge goal races but I do want to train well for Boston and then run it, enjoy everything about it, and be injury free. I know I’ll be running the July 4th 10K, that I do every year, and I’m considering the local 5K/10K race that goes by our neighborhood in March. After Boston in April, I really don’t think I’ll be running a full marathon anytime soon. I just am tired of training for them and really am focusing on Boston and then looking at doing some fun half marathons. I realized while looking over last year I didn’t run as many races, and I really want to do a few half marathons this year. I have always liked that distance and I should run more because they are way less commitment. One of the things that is a little difficult is my coaching schedule because we have practice and meets on Saturday. I know if I plan ahead though it shouldn’t be a huge problem.

I think running can easily turn into being all about the times you’re running. As I did last year, running with purpose, this year I want to keep that in focus and also enjoy each and every run. I easily forget how blessed I am to actually have the ability to run and I want to make sure to really enjoy each run, even when I’m dying on a tempo run or pushing myself on a track workout. After each run, I want to take a moment to reflect on the miles, no matter how far I ran, even if I felt terrible like the other morning, it’s nice to take a moment and think of a few good things at the end of each workout. I’m thankful for another year to continue to run and enjoy the surrounding scenery.

xoxo

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