The Perfect Training Log Trap

Years of B+'s in your training log will get you farther than a season of these.

Years of B+’s in your training log will get you farther than a season of these.

Training plans are the best. All you have to do is look at the day on the calendar and do what the training plan says. I don’t know about you, but I take a lot of pride in logging week after week of perfect training, nailing all my training plan’s workout paces and weekly mileage goals. I find that the more perfect training weeks I have the more I push myself to hit all my targets and to maintain that perfection for the entire training cycle. Who doesn’t need a little extra motivation every now and then?

But there’s an ugly side to training log perfection.You must be thinking I’m crazy. What could be wrong with nailing an entire season of training?! Now is where I ask you to take a step back and answer this question:

What is the point of training? Is it to log perfect workouts and nice round weekly mileage numbers? Or is it to get faster and nail your goals on race day?

Now I’m not saying we don’t need to work hard. We do. However, we tend to think of training as more is better, even when we know better. And that perfect training log thing suckers us, especially the type-A among us. In some ways, going for perfection even past the point of jumping the shark to the point of overtraining, even when continuing to run ourselves straight on into the ground is easier than smart effective training. With training log perfection there is only one rule: GET. IT. DONE.

But when it comes to smart effective training, it’s more complicated.

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Move Well to Run Well

Here you can see my funky arm swing: chicken wing on the left, arm tucked close to my body on the right

Before FMS: Here you can see my funky arm swing: chicken wing on the left, arm tucked close to my body on the right

As competitive runners, either in spirit or in practice, we can be counted on to rattle off our latest PR, our optimal target heart-rate, how many calories per hour we need during a race…name your statistic.  But if I asked you if you have adequate shoulder mobility or rotary stability, would you know?  My guess is you wouldn’t; you might not even know what they are, and these are two movement patterns that are fundamental to human movement at its most basic level. 

It’s really okay if you don’t know, though! Most of us don’t know whether or not we move well on such a rudimentary level, but if we were armed with this information we might be able to better stave off injuries or take our running past those performance plateaus that limit us.  This begs the question:  how can we gain this awareness? Read more

5 Ways that Picking a Training Plan is like Naming a Baby

babyfri5Hanson? No. Daniels? No. Galloway? No. Pfitzinger? Definitely no!

Lately, I’ve been reminded about the ways that choosing a training plan is similar to the indecisiveness I had about choosing names for my children. Thankfully, this decision doesn’t need to be put on a legal document or stick with me for life. I don’t have to wonder what future classmates or employers will make of my choice. But still, a whole season of running is on the line and that, my friends, raises the stakes on choosing the correct training plan almost as high as ensuring your baby’s name does not rhyme with genitalia.

Here are the 5 ways that choosing a training plan is like choosing a name for a new human being.
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Four Workouts to Help Build Mental Toughness

Train your Brain!

Train your Brain!

Of course it’s important for us runners to be physically strong, but anyone who has run an endurance race knows that there comes a point when your mind does the heavy lifting.  When your legs are tired and your body aches and your brain starts to give up, the key to saving a challenging race is what you do mentally to push through the pain and the rough spots.

My coach puts a few specific workouts in my training not to just train my body for optimal race performance, but to help get my mind ready for race day.  By adding workouts specific to developing mental toughness you can effectively “strength train” your brain, and come race day it will be a lot easier help you push through and perform your best.

If you follow me, you might be thinking, “well that’s easy for you to say, Miss 100-Miler!” since ultra runners are notorious for having the grit and mental fortitude to push through the even the darkest rough spots.  But I assure you, these workouts aren’t just ultra-specific and their principles can benefit any runner whether she’s looking to crush a Marathon A Standard or nervous about completing a 5k. Read more

Introducing Jasmine!

Jessica Jumps

I’m so thrilled to be here, I’m jumping for joy!

Hello Salty Running friends! I’m thrilled to be joining this wild group of women runners at an exciting time in my running life. I’m preparing to make my first attempt at breaking into the world of sub-elite marathon running this year.

After many years of being an average runner, better than average cyclist and poor swimmer, it was time to take my favorite sport seriously. I am dying to tell you about everything I’ve learned in the process of becoming a better runner.

But friends, before we go any further, let me give you some background. Read more

Comment of the Week – 8.30.14

COTW badgeIt’s Comment of the Week time! I mean it isn’t because it’s already Tuesday and COTW is supposed to publish at the end of the week. And that’s supposed to be every week, not every third week. Yes, we’ve been busy here at Salty Running!

While I have been busy sending my oldest off to Kindergarten (!), Cinnamon has been working and moving! Garlic went on vacation and so many of our Salties are also impacted by the back-to-school madness. It’s been, shall we say, nutso just trying to get regular posts up on a timely basis let alone stay on top of all the extras.

But this week’s commenter extraordinaire is so awesome, it’s worth the butt busting and late posting to bring her story to you! Find which comment took our top prize after the jump! Read more

Does This Rest Day Make My Butt Look Big?

Hammock - Polynesia.

Would you pass this up for a run? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ahhhh … rest days. After a grueling week of easy runs, long runs, tempos, track workouts, strength training and cross training there’s nothing like a day to relax and recuperate, you’d think we runners would be counting the seconds until our next rest day.

Maybe not.

Some look forward to those rest days, while others dread or ignore them. We all know that our bodies need some down time for recovering and growing stronger, but for many, putting that knowledge into practice is anything but easy. Read more

5 Signs It’s Time to Throw Out That Pair of Old Running Shorts

I admit that I still run in shorts I bought in 2005. I will go even further and admit I should probably not go out in public in these shorts and that they’re more suited for the trash bin than the light of day. But I have a hard time with that. I wore one such pair for the Boston Marathon! I can’t throw those away! Another, younger, although equally noxious pair of shorts suited me quite well when 9 months pregnant. I will never need them for that again (*knocks vigorously on wood*), but they remind me fondly of all those waddly pregnant miles.

Ok. You’re right. I am a border-line hoarder (although, I prefer the term “sentimental pack rat.”) I think it’s time I wrote myself some rules to help me know when it’s time to part with a pair of shorts no matter how desperately in love with them I am. Read more