Started off the week strong, and then had to step back and listen to my body. It can be really hard to find the balance in marathon training- you know when running high mileage and working hard you’re going to feel bad/tired/worn out. That’s putting the necessary work in. There’s also a slight panic when you realize how quickly the race is creeping up on you, and the urge to fit in as much as you can. But there is a fine line between pushing it and pushing it too much and getting injured.
Army veteran, now Army wife with 3 daughters (aka: single married mom). I have fun trying to sprint, enjoy long runs in the mountains, and everything in between. 3 x marathon OTQ, will eventually start training again to try to make it 4. I write about trying to stay competitive while raising young kids.
An extremely low-key Tuesday night rust-buster type race, this 5k was the ideal comeback. Plus, it was hosted by NOVA, the club I used to run with while living in northern Virginia. My husband had a work trip to DC for a few days, so the kids and I tagged along to play tourist and take advantage of the free hotel room; perfect conditions for me to stage a comeback! I have been desperate to start racing again, but races are few and far between in the hot North Carolina summer, so I was very excited to take advantage of the opportunity! Read more >>
Twelve weeks until marathon time! Sounds like a lot, but not really now that I’m committed. Feel like I have a lot of work to do to whip myself into race shape.
This week was mostly stroller/treadmill since my husband was out of town. My biggest lesson learned from my 5K last week was that I need to do more quality. At this point in the game, my quality isn’t going to come from the track. I just can’t count on having access to it, so don’t want to get worked up for a workout only to have to change plans last minute and be left with nothing. While I’ve been doing plenty of quality through fartleks/off-road speedwork, I need hard, timed, measured distances to really push myself, especially when training by myself.
Wanted to step back in mileage this week since I’ve been building the last three, and didn’t do a long run, so that made it easy. Finished at 69.
8/20: 35 mins to the pool, 35 mins aqua jog, 35 mins home.
8/21: 1:16 total; 26 mins to the athletic field complex, 31 mins of fartlek, 19 mins home.
8/22: 62 mins total; 40 w/ triple, 15 mins strides, 5 w/ triple home. 20 minutes in the afternoon w/ the triple to the park- very hot, humid and slow.
8/23: 47 mins w/ the triple. Intended to run on the treadmill that afternoon, but it was a long day of driving and appointments, and I had zero energy or motivation to do anything by the time I got home.
8/24: 32 mins w/ the triple in the morning. PM: first attempt at a treadmill workout. 1 mile @ 7:30 for warm up, 1 mile @ 6:00, 1/2 mile recovery @ 7:30, 2 miles @ 5:42, 1/2 mile recovery @ 7:30, 1/2 mile @ 5:28, 1 mile @ 7:30. I’ll admit, this was a little over ambitious. I intended to do 1 mile, 2 mile, 1 mile, but cut the last rep to 1/2 mile. The 2 mile segment just about did me in, and I had nothing left for the last one. The good news is the 7:30 pace felt easy for recovery, which is probably a lot faster than I run when shuffling along for recovery on the track.
My intent for the treadmill workouts will be to do longer reps (1/2 mile at a minimum) since if I ever do make it to the track, I like to do shorter stuff there. Will have to play around with my first few workouts to figure out what paces I should be running, but I think this is a great way to force me to work on turnover and speed. I had been dreading this, but now that I’ve got one under my belt, realize I need to do it.
8/25: 62 mins w/ triple in the am, 25 mins w/ the triple in the pm (broken up with 2 different stops!)
8/26: 62 mins total; 40 w/ triple, 15 mins strides, 5 w/ triple home.
This is a true story. The events depicted in this post did not take place in Minnesota in 1987. At the request of the survivors, the names have been changed. Out of respect for the disgusted, the rest has been told exactly as it occurred.
Not so long ago, I knew a woman I’ll call Trishit. One Sunday morning, while temporarily stationed on an Army base, Trishit went out for a long run. A few miles in, she suddenly had the urge to empty her bowels.
The urge came on strong, and at the worst time possible; she was weaving through a sea of office and administrative buildings that were closed for the weekend. In a completely urban environment, no woods in sight, she was at a loss for what to do. She tried the doors of several buildings, but they were all locked. Soon she reached the point of immediate action, so she hurried over to a nearby tree. It was the most cover she could find.
Just as suddenly as her urge had come, Trishit found herself among a flood of wailing sirens and flashing lights. Hastily finishing her business, she pulled up her running shorts as two police officers emerged from their cruiser and approached her.
They didn’t want to hear her story or listen to any excuses. No matter how Cottonelle her tone, there was no Charmin them, no way for her two ply them. Trying to hide their disgust, they issued her a citation.
Trishit was mortified at her ticket, but a megaroll of anger welled up inside her too. What was she supposed to have done? It was an emergency call of nature!
Instead of accepting the charges and paying the fine, Trishit showed up to her court date. She brought evidence in the form of a note from her doctor, which stated that she had irritable bowel syndrome, and therefore had no other choice: when she had to go, she had to go.
The judge dismissed the charges.
Trishit walked away Scott free.
In a small-world encounter years later, I shared an Army office with a lawyer, Major Canorpotty. One day, while we were sharing anecdotes, Canorpotty mentioned he had been the prosecuting attorney for a girl arrested for public defecation and public indecency. The details were the same; it was Trishit.
A stout, serious fellow who started his day off with a bag of Bojangles every morning, he didn’t have any AngelSoft feelings for the defendent. I told him his head was up in a White Cloud; he clearly didn’t understand the situation. We agreed to disagree.
Did Trishit really suffer from irritable bowel syndrome? Unlikely. Butt I do know it’s a good answer if I ever find myself in that same situation!
Another solid week of training and mileage (75). While I haven’t started any actual long runs yet, my goal over the past few weeks was to incorporate overall higher mileage as well as higher mileage days. Once I get comfortable at those levels, then I’ll up one of my runs to be a dedicated long run.
Sunday: 1:45 total; 35 min run to the pool, 35 mins aqua jog, 35 min run home. I tried something new with this and loved it- will definitely be my new go-to Sunday morning workout for the next 6 weeks while the pool is still open. There’s a huge intersection I have to cross to run to the pool, as well as several busy roads with no sidewalks so I have to run on the shoulder. I would only attempt this early on a Sunday morning when the traffic and cars out are very minimal. But I felt like I got a lot out of it, almost like doing a triathlon brick workout!
Monday: 60 minutes aqua jog. Didn’t have the chance to workout until later in the day, and since it was hot and humid I took advantage of my husband being home early from work and went back to the pool to aqua jog.
Tuesday: 1:14 mins; 22 min w/u, 4 x Bethesda Rd miles: 5:51, 5:38, 5:50, 5:39 w/ 3 min jog between, 20 min w/d, strides. Almost to the second identical times as when I ran this workout a few weeks ago, so I feel like I’m ready to move up and increase the reps to 6 next time I run it.
Ate breakfast, took a shower, then ran 31 mins w/ the triple stroller taking my kids to and from the library for story time.
Wednesday: 1:10 total w/ the triple broken up over the morning; 25 minutes to the playground, 35 minutes with the local Moms Run this Town (MRTT) group, 10 minutes home. While it was nice to meet up with some other running moms, I don’t run with them very often. It’s hard to fit with my schedule, but mainly they always start late. I haven’t been to a single run with this group where we started on time. Trust me, I know sometimes it can be hard to get out the door on time, especially when you’re trying to juggle uncooperative kids and running apparatus. But I don’t expect everyone else to wait for me if I’m late. So as we were sitting there, 15 minutes past our start time, all I could think about was “wow, that was 15 minutes I could have been running,” and getting frustrated that my kids were sitting in the stroller for even longer. I’ll end my mini-rant there; it’s a good group and very supportive for a lot of running moms in the area, so I try to join them occasionally since I am a running mom!
Thursday: 45 minutes in the am: 30 w/ triple, 10 mins strides, 5 mins w/ triple. 31 mins in the pm at Weymouth Woods.
Friday: 1:16 total; 27 w/ triple, 25 w/ drills/strides, 24 w/ triple.
Saturday: 61 mins aqua jog; 2 miles on the treadmill from 6:58 to 5:46 pace. Slept in this morning and had every intention of doing a workout. After feeling the humidity blast as I walked out the door, I begrudgingly drove to the track. Was not too disappointed when it was locked up and there was no way in. Decided to head to the pool and aqua jog in my running clothes instead, where an older lady splashing around told me not very politely “you know there’s a shower there you can use before you get in.” I mentioned to my husband that I felt a little guilty and somewhat of a cop out for aqua jogging instead of doing a workout, but he reminded me that something that I really disliked when I ran full time was the pressure to do things I HAD to do, instead of what I wanted to do. Funny, since I just wrote about that last week. But it’s true, my heart and mind were definitely not in workout mode on a muggy mid-Saturday morning, and I really enjoy aqua jogging, and want to take advantage of the limited season to do it. So I was happy with my decision, but did end up doing a mini-workout on the treadmill when I got home to appease any remaining guilt!
If you’re following the World Track and Field Championships, you may notice a few high profile Olympians missing. Around any Olympic year, many high-profile athletes tend to announce their retirement. Lauren Fleshman, Nick Symmonds, and Meb Keflezghi all announced their retirements shortly before or after the 2016 games. My initial reaction is always disappointment; they’re retiring at the primes of their careers when they could still achieve so much more. And they’re professional athletes! Life doesn’t get any better than that! Why give it up? How can they walk away from a dream job?
But as all pro-running retirees end up saying in one way or another, they no longer have the energy and drive to train and compete at that top level. They want to live normal lives not consumed by their sport. In no way am I comparing myself to these great athletes, but I can relate from my own much slower, smaller-scale experience as a full-time runner. Read more >>
Highest weekly mileage in a year and a half (70), despite my husband’s full return to work after taking leave and starting up traveling again. Thankfully it was a little cooler for a few days, so running with the triple later in the morning was bearable. I didn’t mind- I had kind of missed my little running buddies chatting away keeping me company!
I also attempted a track workout- first time I’ve run on a track in over a year! The high school track in my small town is pretty hard to access- they normally keep it locked up (actually double fenced) but since the high school football team now has early morning practice I thought I’d be able to sneak in there. By the time I found a way into the track I didn’t have much time left to run on it, so I did a shorter workout. That’s fine by me, I actually have fun doing shorter stuff on the track, and really anything at all on the track makes me feel like I’m really training!
7/30: 46 mins in my parent’s neighborhood after a late night celebrating my sister’s 40th birthday! 1 hour of family hiking.
7/31: 1:09 total with the triple, w/ 10 minutes of strides
8/1: 1:09 w/ the triple; came home to eat breakfast and then was planning on showering and walking to the library, but since it was a cooler morning and I was acceptably sweaty for public, decided to run there so got in another 31 minutes total. I felt bad about having my kids sitting in the stroller for so long, but at least fed them breakfast on the first run, and lunch on the second, things which they would have been sitting for anyway.
8/2: track day- 1: 28 total. 35 minute run to the track; 4 x 200 (39, 38, 38, 38), 2 x 400 (79, 79), 4 x 200 (38, 39, 38, 38) with 200 jog between each rep; 30 minute run home.
8/3: 90 minutes Weymouth Woods- nice to run on a soft surface minus all the spider webs; 31 minutes with the triple later that morning.
8/4: 1:10 total; 23 mins w/ triple to the park, 25 mins of drills/strides + strength, 22 minutes w/ triple home
8/5: 6 miles on the treadmill @ 7:30 pace while watching the Little Mermaid with my oldest daughter for the first time, who loved it!
It’s been a few weeks, but I’m back in the swing of things with “real” training, or at least as real as it’s going to get for me at this point. Mostly that means actually setting an alarm to sneak out the door for some early morning workouts, doing actual workouts, and upping my mileage.
7/16-7/22: 51 miles for the week, which I was happy with considering we spent half the week on vacation, and I didn’t want my running to get in the way of our trip. It was great and even though I ran lower mileage than my now weekly goal, we did some good hiking and lots of walking so I definitely didn’t lose any fitness.
**since I run by time, I just convert everything to mil eage estimates in my running log. Including aqua jogging minutes. I figure it all averages out in the long run.
Sunday: easy 31 minutes early in the morning; we had a busy day and I just needed something to get me going.
Monday: 45 minutes aqua jog in the am; 30 mins in the pm (1/2 with the double stroller, half solo)
Tuesday: 1:15 total; 20 minute w/u, 4 x Bethesda Rd. miles: 5:55, 5:38, 5:47, 5:39 (the road is slightly more uphill one way, so my goal is to be consistent or faster in each direction) with about 3 minute recovery jog, 20 min w/d.
Wednesday: 1:10 recovery run in Weymouth Woods; several hours of walking at Dollywood
Thursday: full day of walking at Dollywood, 45 minutes aqua jog
Friday: 60 minutes hilly run in Smoky Mountain National Park
Saturday: 30 mins aqua jog; 2 hours of hiking
7/23-7/29: 64 miles for the week, mostly backloaded for taking a day off and trying to get back into the 60s. This was the first time doing multiple consecutive double digits days (4) in a long time, so my legs were feeling it!
Sunday: 90 minutes of hiking; 61 minutes in the mountains of western NC- beautiful run but it was prime bear country so I was running with my head on a swivel the entire time!
Monday: off; 30 minutes hiking
Tuesday: 60 minutes Weymouth Woods am; 30 mins w/ strides pm
Wednesday: 1:15 total; 25 min w/u, 32 min fartlek at the athletic fields complex, 20 min w/d; 30 mins aqua jog
Thursday: 1:08 w/ my friend Bridget; 30 mins aqua jog
Friday: Wanted to do mile repeats on Bethesda Rd but I knew they would be slow given the build up over the last few weeks, so I decided to make this into more of a strength workout. 90 minutes total: 20 min w/u, 3 x hill loop (hills were about 2:45 each) then run over to Bethesda Rd- 25 mins total, 3 x Bethesda Rd (6:08, 6:19, 6:01), 20 min w/d plus strides; 30 min aqua jog
Saturday: 2 miles out and back fast
Whew, busy week, both for running and life. This was my first “back to real training week” in a long time. I’ve built up a good base since baby was born over eight months ago, and have been waiting to start “real” training when my husband came back from his deployment.
What am I training for? Probably a still TBD fall marathon, and definitely some shorter races as a lead up. I’d love to race now but there aren’t many appealing options in July!
What does “real” training look like for me now? I still won’t follow a specific training plan, and will base my running off weekly goals. That gives me the flexibility to work running into life in a stress free/low key way. I’m just upping the goals I had while doing boosted base training the last few months. The other main difference is I’m actually setting an alarm to get up early so I can run more by myself, and before it gets too hot!
My husband came home from his deployment this week! Very happy he’s back, but it’s an adjustment for everyone. I kept telling people beforehand that it’s not like he could get on the plane from where he was/what he was doing and 24 hours later walk into the terminal at RDU and be normal.
My 2.5 and 4.5 year old kids were thrilled, but it was a bit overwhelming and they kind of crashed a few days after he got back. Baby is in stranger danger phase so is still warming up to him. I waited a full 12 hours before I said “See ya!” and literally ran out the door by myself!
So for running this week it was still fitting in what I could and trying to do a little more quality by running strides/recovery around the playground as part of my run while the kids played. I took the week to adjust to a new routine, with the hopes of actually starting “real training” next week!
7/2: 8 miles on the treadmill; 6 @ 7:30 pace, 2 @ cut-down from 7:24 to 6:38
7/3: 46 minutes total; 35 w/ triple, 11 mins strides.
7/4: 30 minutes aqua jogging in the am, 30 mins Weymouth Woods trails in the hot muggy afternoon. I probably aqua jog different than most people- I find that when running in the deep end, I use my arms too much and don’t feel like it simulates running for my legs. I prefer to run with my feet touching the ground, with the water at about shoulder level, so only my head is sticking out. That way I’m actually running, but with very little impact.
7/5: 45 minutes aqua jogging in the am, followed by 33 mins w/ the double.
7/6: 45 minutes total; 35 w/ the triple, 10 mins strides.
7/7: 65 minutes total; 20 w/ triple, 25 w/ strides/drills, 20 w/ triple; pushups/dips/lunges.
7/8: 60 minutes total; 35 w/ double, 25 w/ strides.
My oldest child had science camp this week, so I dusted the cobwebs off the double and was able to run some with that for the first time since baby arrived (8 months ago!). I didn’t think there was much difference between the double and triple running strollers, but there definitely is. Maybe it was less the stroller and more the lack of a 41 lb child sitting in it, but the double felt so light and easy to maneuver!
The only reason I didn’t run more with the double is it was a hot week, so I was just trying to get it done early. We’re now on breakfast runs- I get everyone ready and give them a breakfast picnic in the stroller so we can run first thing to start off the day. The kids actually seem to like it and act disappointed when we don’t do this now! Since I had to leave at a certain time to get my daughter to camp, I’d just run as much as time allowed beforehand with the triple, and then add on with the double if I wanted to get in more.
You may have first noticed them when watching the Olympic Track and Field Trials last summer, where they took the distance events by swarm, sending four athletes in the steeplechase, 5K and 10K. They’ve continued their success over the past year, placing in the top spots or winning elite U.S. races and National Championships.
You might have seen Olympic Silver Medalist Paul Chelimo, who recently set a meet record in the men’s 5K at the USATF Outdoor Championships, Augustus Maiyo, one of the top American finishers in Boston this year, named to the 2017 World Championship Marathon Team, or Leonard Korir, who won the Cross Country Championships back in February, alongside three other Army athletes placing in the top 20, just to name a few.
Kenyan-born runners representing the U.S. Army? So what’s the deal?
Sometimes you just need a break. It could be mental or physical burn-out, or maybe life circumstances getting in the way. Deep down you know you’re not ready to hang up your racing flats, but you don’t have anything on your race calendar and you aren’t feeling quite up to write a race in just yet. At the same time, you probably don’t want to label yourself a “hobby jogger” either. So what do you do?
I’m currently in this predicament. Actually, it’s been awhile since I’ve actually trained for something — 16 months since the Olympic Trials Marathon to be exact! From being pregnant, to recovering from having a baby, to now surviving my husband’s deployment while on my own with three kids under the age of five, I know I want to be fast again and get back into racing. And while I’m planning on this happening at some point, I’m not quite ready to train for anything just yet. Why not? Mainly two reasons. Read more >>
In my experience, I’ve found the 6-12 month post-partum window to be a great time for running. Your body is mostly recovered, baby is hopefully sleeping more, and you finally feel like a normal person again. As baby becomes more independent, you’re also more likely to feel less guilty about leaving her, and are more excited about heading out for solo runs or races. Plus you’re still reaping the benefits of the increased red blood cell count (hello natural oxygen boost!) that remains the year after pregnancy, and may have an increased pain threshold after delivering a baby.
Now at seven months post-partum, I’m feeling pretty good. I’d be feeling really good if baby were sleeping more. She still wakes up every 3-4 hours at night, and at every doctor’s appointment when I ask if I can let her cry it out, still get the response that she must be hungry since she’s little (was still over 3 lbs from doubling her birth weight at 6 months).
I weigh less than I do before I became pregnant, although it is unintentional. The combination of a decent amount of running + nursing turns me into a lean, mean, calorie burning machine! I eat plenty to compensate for the running + nursing calorie burn, and in general eat pretty healthy. Although I do eat a lot of dessert, baby’s pediatrician recommended I add more fat to my diet to make sure I’m not producing skim milk, so Blue Bell I have your number!
When my first child was around 11 months old I ran a 10 mile PR. That was quite a surprise because I was running a good amount but not really doing a lot of workouts or training specifically for the race. The same thing happened when my second child was 10 months old and I qualified for the 2016 Marathon Trials. My husband returns from his deployment next month, so I’m really hoping I can capture the magic of this post-partum window and get into real training and racing when he gets home.
I haven’t finalized any race schedule yet, but am excited to get back out there! In the meantime, I’m holding steady around 50 mpw. Over the past few months I have had several days at a time where I’ve been traveling and just haven’t been able to run, mainly because I couldn’t haul the triple stroller on our trips! Those weeks mileage was in the mid-30s to low 40s.
6/4: 6 miles on the treadmill, 7:30 down to 7:08 pace
6/5: 60 minutes w/ the triple
6/6: 61 minutes solo! My parents were visiting so I took the rare opportunity to run the trails in Weymouth Woods
6/7: I enjoyed my trail run so much yesterday I ran another 6 in Weymouth, followed by strides
6/8: 1:15 w/ the triple, broken up with stops at the library and playground
6/9: 61 minutes total; 20 w/ the triple to the park; 20 minutes of running drills/strides; 21 minutes home.
6/10: 47 minutes w/ the triple midday, it was hot!
If you’ve been at this running thing for a while, you might be wondering what you can do to take your training up a notch other than adding ever more miles. You already do speed workouts and tempos. You do your core. You sleep and eat mostly well. What else is there?
Drills are a great addition to warm-ups before a track workout. They’re also great to work in some agility exercises to the end of runs. They can help your running form, your range of motion, and running economy. What’s not to love?
I like to incorporate them into the run itself, so that I’m actually running my running drills. I usually do this in the off-season, when I’m not doing “real” workouts, or when I’m easing back from an off-period and want to prepare my body to return to hard running. Let me persuade you to give this training tip a try.
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