It’s time for the second installment of running life hacks (check the first installment from Chicory)! We (women runners) are a busy group, and the saltines are no exception. We have kids and full-time jobs, full-time jobs and second jobs, and busy lives. We can use all of the help we can get so we can still fit running in – somewhere, somehow. Which is why these life hacks can feel like a savior. Every minute saved is one more in the bank for my run.
Hi guys! I’m here. But a lot has changed, which resulted in fewer posts. The last time I shared about my running was last year, after my spring marathon. Around mile 24 of that frustrating race, I had a thought that maybe I was done with competitive running. I ended up taking some time off from training after that. In the process, I took up a new hobby: stand up comedy. It was something I was always interested in doing and it seemed the perfect time to explore it. So I did, and it led to even more changes.
The great debate of high mileage vs. low mileage is as hotly contested as the twist and pull vs. single bite debate when it comes to Oreos. Some debates have clear winners (twist and pull, you savages). The running mileage debate, however, is a bit more complicated.
Two years ago, you’d have found me smugly but quietly saying the low mileage argument was a load of garbage. I believed high mileage—as high as you could tolerate—was the only way to train. But fast forward 27 months, add a sacral stress fracture and torn labrum, and I’m singing a slightly different tune. Read more >>
March 8th was International Women’s Day, which meant celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The theme for this year was #PressforProgress. Women have been kicking butt in the running sphere lately. We definitely need to celebrate the progress that has been made! You’ll never get to where you’re going if you don’t know where you started.
This week felt like finally a return to more or less normal training. I’ve got my energy back after the marathon and the travel. The anterior tibialis is behaving itself. Every day felt great and I even managed to dodge a mid-week snowstorm.
Monday, 3/5, Morning Crew – Swim 2100
Swam with Snarky Girl. Usual Monday routine. YEAH!
Tuesday, 3/6, Early Morning Crew – 6 easy miles (9:52 pace)
Easy morning run. I’m experimenting with doing some runs fasted, including this one. Usually if I don’t eat something before running, I feel sick, but today was fine. More importantly, anterior tibialis was fine, maybe a little stiff, but no pain.
Wednesday, 3/7, Morning Crew – 45 min elliptical plus weights
I met with Tough Guy Trainer earlier than usual to beat the impending snow storm.
Thursday, 3/8, Morning Crew – Swim 1650
We ended up with about 18 inches of snow. I am so totally over winter. Roads were in terrible shape, but I convinced Snarky Girl to drive to the pool and we snuck in a good swim. It feels like I’m finally getting my energy back this week.
Friday, 3/9, Early Morning Crew – Tempo Intervals, 2 miles WU, three times 1 mile at 8-8:15 w/90 sec recovery, 1 mile cool down
First real workout post-Donna! Teacher Runner came with me and we killed it. Splits for the faster miles were 7:55, 7:55, 7:52. I’m pretty sure I’ve never run three sub-8 miles that close together before. Plus, running next to Teacher Runner is pretty much my definition of running heaven. PLUS, no pain from the ant tib. I kept my appointment with the Maestro for later in the day anyway and he found what he called a “spicy meatball” with his needles. I nearly jumped off the table, but it seems to have paid off because even the lingering stiffness in my shin has been gone ever since. Fingers crossed.
Saturday, 3/10, Early Morning Crew – 45 min stair stepper machine plus weights
The stationary bike has been bugging the ant tib so even though it’s feeling so much better, I decided to play it safe and climb the stairs to nowhere for 45 min. Then weights. Nothing fancy.
Sunday, 3/11, Early Morning Crew – 8 miles plus strides, (9:42 pace)
I met Teacher Runner and Rooster for a pre-church jaunt. Anything under 10 miles, I can get done before church and that frees up the afternoon for critical activities like Girl Scout cookie deliveries. The run felt great. It’s so wonderful to be running with my girlfriends again.
Total: 20 miles
With baby, moving at the end of the month, and a hectic schedule at work, getting a run in is extra important (albeit extra stressful at times). With a “fun” 5K on March 18, I’m excited to have something to look forward to even if it’s not any sort of goal race. I was about four months pregnant at this race last year so am excited to see what post-baby me can do. (More to come in an upcoming log.) Another high (for Heather) mileage week!
I’m only about two weeks away from my half marathon! Since I dropped down from marathon training, though, I feel extra prepared. And this week I didn’t push myself too much on non-run days. Here’s what I did.
5ks often get a bad rap, and rightfully so. Racing a 5k can be painful, but when approached correctly, it can also be incredibly rewarding! Of course that is assuming that you enjoy challenging yourself and testing your limits, but isn’t that is why a lot of us are hooked on the sport of running to begin with?
Another bigger week down and feeling good about it, also looking forward to a little cutback week this coming week in prep for a 5 mile race (and because it’s been 5 weeks since last cutback!). I’ve been really happy with my progress lately, it’s far from perfect but in general things have been working out even if I’ve had to adjust and modify (the name of the game).
Tuesday’s was 5 x 1 mile at 10k pace. Based on my recent race and my updated vDot, my 10k pace should be around 6:17 and that is about exactly what I averaged for all 5. This didn’t feel amazing, legs and feet were cranky but I think that was more my sign I need to swap out my shoes (piles of miles on them). Hindsight though, hitting the paces still on tired legs is a good sign.
The rest of the workweek was pretty busy and we had lots going on, which meant squeezing in runs later in the evening when they’d fit and shortening them a tiny bit when need be (or because I was cold and tired at 9PM and wanted to be done). I wasn’t sure if I would do another workout between Tuesday and Sunday but ended up throwing a progression in on Friday and was glad I did. First, it helped me get the run done faster to actually be able to celebrate my Best friends son’s 13th Birthday and second it was a good way to wake up my legs after not feeling super loose all week. I broke it into 3 x 20 minute segments mentally- wanted controlled relaxed progression focusing on form. 1st 20 minutes- 2.44 Miles (8:11 avg), 2nd 20 minutes- 2.68 Miles (7:27 avg), Final 20 minutes- 3.08 Miles (6:29 avg).
My last, and biggest quality session for the week was my Sunday long run workout. Originally it was going to be 15-16 miles but I added an extra cool down mile to make up for the little bits here and there from the week. I was properly fueled and felt good so it didn’t feel like I was stretching my limits to hit 17. I ended up on the mill because there was still a good amount of ice outside and finding a good route that could safely execute the run would have been a bit more challenging- also I wanted the gym for heat training. Yes, it’s cold now but I’ve seen it too many times and come out unprepared for spring goal races and potential temps that can come with them. Once again, I calculated my target paces based on my vDot after my recent race, no point in guessing! I ran 4 miles warm-up, 4 miles at MP (Goal 6:53, Actual: 6:51), 1 mile Easy, 3 miles at HMP (Goal: 6:36, Actual: 6:36), 1 mile easy, 2 miles hard (This isn’t a race pace, more just what’s left at end. Goal: 6:20 or below, Actual: 6:17), 2 miles cool down. Overall I was really happy with the workout, and my heart rate stayed pretty controlled for it which definitely helped affirm the fact that I was running the right paces for my current fitness level.
Monday: 5 Miles easy (8:13 avg) + 6 x strides (5:27 avg) + 15 minutes Loop Bands & 2 x Running Rewired Core
Tuesday: Early AM treadmill- 8.6 miles total (6:57 avg) w/5 x 1 mile at 10k pace w/.25 recovery
Wednesday: 5 late evening recovery miles (8:37 avg) + 20 Minutes Loop Bands & Kettlebell Circuit
Thursday: 6 late evening recovery miles (8:33 avg)
Friday: 60 Minute Controlled progression (8.2 miles total for 7:20 avg)
Saturday: 15 minutes upper body/core/loop bands + 6.8 miles easy (7:55 avg)
Sunday: 17 Mile Long Run workout (7:16 avg)
Week Total Miles: 57 Miles
Total Strength/Fitness Time: 50 Minutes
Beers Drank: None
Baby Milestones: Transitioning between furniture while standing, still trying to climb out of crib, waved intentionally!
I got a little behind in my weekly training logs, so this is a two-for-one update. I know you are all thrilled about that (sarcasm). I’ve done several races in the last two weeks with not many workouts in between. It’s mostly been easy running over here, which is a nice change of pace (literally)!
Here is what my training looked like the week of 02.26.18 – 03.04.18:
Monday – Easy: 8 miles (8:23 pace)
Tuesday – Quality (Intervals): 8 miles (7:55 pace)
Tuesday morning’s workout was a 2 mile warm up, 1 mile at threshold, 2 X 1000 at interval, 2 X 200 at repetition and a 2 mile cool down. My times were as follows:
1 mile (6:22)
2 X 1000 (3:44, 3:50)
2 X 200 (0:39, 0:39)
This workout was short and sweet and definitely flew by! I am really enjoying the workouts that alternate the paces and distances of the repeats. We also had a nice, cool morning for this workout, which makes a difference in the enjoyment factor as well.
Wednesday – Easy: 8 miles (8:29 pace)
Thursday – Quality (Intervals): 5 miles (7:39 pace)
Thursday’s workout was a 1 mile warm up, 6 X 400 with 400 recovery and a 1 mile cool down. Another short and sweet workout solely for the purpose of keeping the legs sharp during race week. I did this one on the treadmill. I don’t remember exactly why this was the case, but I’m assuming it had something to do with me procrastinating the workout after teaching late Wednesday evening and then having nobody to run with. Yep. I think that’s exactly how it went. I did the 400s at 6:00 pace and took the rest of the run very easy.
Friday – Easy: 5 miles (8:31 pace)
Saturday – RACE: 9.5 miles (7:15 pace)
Saturday morning I ran the Wine 10K in Birmingham, AL. I had an “elite” bib (with a sub 40 qualifying time), which is cool, but also quite intimidating, especially when you start looking around at the other runners in the corral with you. It’s never a good idea to compare yourself to others, but it’s really hard not to play the comparison game before races. Everyone you see looks so stinking fast! In this race, everyone I saw actually was very stinking fast.
As soon as the gun went off (actually, they might have fired a cannon or a rocket of some sort (it was CRAZY loud)), I was immediately lagging behind everyone else that had started near me. I wanted to keep the pace honest and not start out too fast. I glanced down at my watch a few times and was seeing 6:10 or faster. I knew that wasn’t sustainable, so I just had to let the pack go on ahead. My first mile was 6:14. The next two miles were a little bit tougher with a few rolling hills. For someone who trains on pancake flat terrain, hills are not my friend. I am very quick to say that I am not a strong hill runner. This race made me realize that it’s probably time that I did something about that and actually work to get stronger on the hills. Sounds like a good goal. Right? Right. So anyway, miles two and three were 6:26 and 6:25.
There was a nice little downhill stretch from mile three to four. I clocked a 6:02 on that mile. Whew! I wasn’t expecting to see a split like that, but I was happy with it for sure! The last two miles of the race ran on the Lakeshore Trail, which I guess is also called the Homewood Shades Creek Greenway. It’s a paved trail that runs beside Shades Creek. The trail itself was very nice to run on, especially with a nice view of the creek. The only downside to this part of the course were the two places where you had to do essentially do a 180 degree turn to run up and over a little overpass. It’s tough to come to a basically a complete stop, run up and over something and then continue on without messing up your rhythm. Miles five and six were 6:25 and 6:33.
I finished with a chip time of 39:34, which is 6:22 average pace. Not too far off of what I expected and given the hills, I’m definitely happy with it!
Sunday – Easy: 8 miles (7:58 pace)
Total – 51.6 miles
Here is what my training looked like the week of 03.05.18 – 03.11.18:
Monday – Easy: 7 miles (8:08 pace)
Tuesday – Quality (Threshold): 7 miles (7:35 pace)
I don’t recall exactly what my workout was supposed to be on Tuesday, but I kind of did my own thing here. I did a 2 mile warm up, 3 miles at “marathon” pace (6:59, 6:57, 6:58) and a 2 mile cool down. I wasn’t ready to do any fast repeats yet, but I wanted to push myself a little bit. This seemed like a good decision.
Wednesday AM – Easy: 5 miles (8:14 pace) + PM – Easy: 5 miles (9:12 pace)
Wednesday evening I got to take a friend’s daughter on a stroller run while my friend worked a track meet near our house. Holy moly. That was the toughest easy run that I’ve done in a while. Pushing a 3 year old in the stroller is no joke. Shout out to all you moms out there making that happen on a regular basis!
Thursday – Easy: 5 miles (8:35 pace)
Friday – Easy: 8 miles (8:52 pace)
Saturday – RACE: 6.5 miles (7:27 pace)
Saturday morning I ran the McGuire’s St. Patrick’s Day 5K in Pensacola, FL. The race is technically a prediction run, which means that each person guesses their finish time and person who finishes closest to the predicted time wins. You aren’t allowed to wear a watch and there aren’t any mile markers or clocks along the course. However, there is also a “speed” division and you can wear your watch if you are not competing for a prediction award. I wore my watch, as I wasn’t too concerned about competing in the prediction division.
After the first quarter-mile, I tried to settle into my goal pace range. I predicted 19:00 (you have to predict a time regardless of if you are doing the prediction run or not). I wanted to keep my pace between 6:05 and 6:15. As per usual, the first mile was a tad fast. I was really trying to hold back a little, but somehow I came through the first mile in 5:59. I thought I was in about fifth place or so for the females.
I steadily reigned in a few of the other girls during the second mile. It was nice to have some folks to chase! I still felt pretty decent at this point and was happy to be out there pushing myself. I came through the second mile in 6:09. Whew. I knew if I could hold on to that, I would have a very respectable finish.
Of course, it’s easier said than done to hang on during the last mile of a 5K, and sure enough, my pace started to fade. I had solidified my place as second female and while I could see the first place girl ahead of me, she was out of reach. The course also starts to feel *really* long during that last mile. You can see all of the runners strung out ahead of you and you see just how far you still have left to go. It is a challenge not to get complacent. My last mile was 6:26. I picked it up a tad for the last 0.1 and “sprinted” it in at 5:44 pace. My overall time was 19:11. Not too far off from what I expected! I’ll take it. It’s not my best and not my worst. That seems to be a theme these days.
Sunday – RACE: 12 miles (7:15 pace)
Sunday morning I ran the St. Patrick’s Leprechaun Chase 10K in Robertsdale, AL. It’s been several weeks since I’ve done a “long run,” and I wanted to get in between 12 and 14 miles Sunday. I got 6 miles in before the race, which was perfect. Luckily the rain held off for us, but it was a warm and humid morning (especially early on).
I really didn’t have a specific plan going into this race as I wasn’t sure how my legs were really going to feel once I started the race. They felt decent on the warm up, but not great, which made sense. I was asking a lot of them by doing back to back races. I figured that I would settle in and try to run “goal marathon” pace (NOT that I am training for a marathon by any means, but this is just a good pace to base my effort on). I figured I could sustain somewhere in the 6:45 to 6:55 range, but again, I wasn’t really sure. I figured that I would just play it by ear and see what happened! It’s really nice to approach races without any defined expectations sometimes.
My splits were 6:42, 6:51, 7:01, 6:46, 6:50, 6:37 and 5:57 for the last 0.2. My finishing time was 42:11, which was enough to win the race (it was a teeny tiny race).
Total – 59.7 miles
Ah, March, when the racing circuit heats up but apparently not the actual temperatures. We’ve got some big-name results this week, including the USATF 15k championships and a couple of our own Salty speedsters in the mix!
Tuesday: Today I had my hard workout #1. I had to do this on the treadmill, and it actually went pretty well. The plan was this: 2 miles easy, 4 x 1:00 @5k effort/1:00 easy (oops! read that wrong and did 2:00 easy), 10:00 @7:50 pace; 4 x 1:00 @5k effort/1:00 easy; cooled down 1.25 to even 8 miles. I also did a Buti Yoga class in the a.m.
Wednesday: Late night treadmill run – 6 miles. I don’t remember what the pace was. It was slow and I continued my quest to catch up on all the episodes of “This is us” since October.
Thursday: rest day
Friday: I knew we were going to be moving my dad all day on Saturday and that we would be starting pretty early. I decided to do my long run this afternoon so that I wouldn’t be totally useless for the move on Saturday. I’ve recently started listening to books when I drive. I find that listening to the books makes the rush hour traffic a little less maddening. I decided to listen to my book during my long run. This is a big deal because I haven’t listened to anything during my runs since my daughter was born 8 years ago. I remember the first time I ran with her in the stroller. I didn’t bring my headphones because I wanted to be able to hear everything around me, from an approaching car, to the baby’s cry. Since that day, I’ve always wanted to be super aware of my surroundings. I don’t know why I decided to give it a try, but it was amazing. I ran 14 miles winding back and forth around the cul-du-sacs in my neighborhood and it whizzed by. I didn’t over analyze my run, I didn’t worry if I would be able to pick it up over the last 4 miles,I simply ran while listening and it was so relaxing. The first 10 miles were supposed to be easy. I ran those pretty consistently at an 8:45 pace. I think i’m supposed to be going a bit slower still, but the 8:45 felt way better than a 9:00 pace and I was still holding myself back. Miles 11-14 were 8:24, 8:07, 8:01, 7:31.
Saturday: I had trouble getting out of bed, but I got up with enough time to get 3 stinky miles in on the treadmill. I think I stopped like 5 times, I was tired.
Sunday: Shamrock 15k with Amie! This race is the worst, but it’s really pretty awesome. You run a bunch of little hills with a huge net down hill for the first 4 miles and then you run back up a bunch of steep hills to the finish. It is a tough course and I hate it and I love it. Amie recently had a baby and the farthest she’s run in a long time is 6 miles. So the plan was to run it easy, walk up the one ridiculous hill and to just have fun. We did just that. It ended up being warmer than I expected and the sunshine was beautiful. We ended up going faster than I expected too, the official clock putting us at an 8:25 pace, which on that course is respectable. We had looked longingly at the bobblehead awards, but didn’t stick around for the awards, since we didn’t run super fast. I got home and checked the results, only to find that we had tied for 1st in our age group! (ok they put me .1 second ahead of her, but I’m calling that a tie.) I realized after the race that this was supposed to be an easy run with strides, but I’ll call the hills the strides and move on to next week.
total 40.3 miles
Not going to lie … there are a lot of nerves going into this week. If this injection does not work (along with continued therapies), then the next step is surgery … and who wants that? So this is going to work, I am willing myself to be optimistic!
3/2 – My first run after my foot injection and I was terrified! I taped up my foot a little bit and headed out the door. Then I tripped. A block from my home. It all happened in slow motion. I was adjusting my sports bra and caught my foot on the ground. I fought hard, gravity won. Luckily, my clothing protected me from the worst of the road rash and I carried on. I ran 2.5 easy miles at 10:35 min/mi pace. My foot felt okay. I am still wearing the sexy boot at work to further protect my foot.
3/3 – This morning was the Spring Fling 10K (6.2 miles at 10:14 pace). It is a local run put on to raise money for the high school track and cross country teams. I ran it with my running buddy Danielle, and we kept it at an easier pace. It was nice running with a friend, it kept my mind off my foot (which was heavily taped up). It turned out to be a beautiful morning to run and there was an amazing turnout.
3/4 – Two days of running in a row = rest day today. Not taking too many risks for the time being.
3/5 – Indoor soccer night. I taped up my foot again and did the week’s speed work. I decided to take the next session off in hopes of more time to heal. Maybe I will get better at lunges during that time. Remind me to work on lunges.
3/6 – Resting!
3/7 – Today, I got the crown I finally deserved. I asked about the status of my coronation as I entered the dentist office and instead they drilled my tooth. Geez. So this ended up mixing up my workout routine a little. I ran a mile on the indoor track at the Rec Center before a total body toning class. We did a lot of arms. I will be feeling them tomorrow. I waited until the afternoon to do another run to get some more miles in for the day. I ran 4 miles with my foot taped up. Felt pretty good as far as the foot goes. With my run being in the afternoon, I did feel a little bit of intestinal distress. Usually I can work through this if I just slow down my pace a little. 5 running miles total for the day.
3/8 – Rest, rest, rest so hard.
3/9 – Early morning easy run before work. 3 miles at 9:43 min/mi pace. Not feeling too bad as far as the foot goes.>
3/10 – Had to do my long run in the afternoon. Had to wait a few hours after eating before I could really start. Not too much intestinal gymnastics, thankfully! I had my foot taped up and honestly I felt good! I am still optimistic. I ran 10 miles at 9:43 min/mi pace (wow … same as yesterday!). Lots of icing and calf stretching have been done, as well!
Is the beer mile on your short-distance bucket list? If you’re intrigued but not sure quite how to approach this combination of four fast laps around a track with chugging four beers as fast as you can, we’ve got some tips for you from one of the fastest female beer milers in the world.
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