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Training, seriously.

I seem to be very “on again, off again” with running, but not for a lack of wanting to do it! Such is the way it is when you’re trying to sort out nagging injuries.  I spend a month NOT running when the pain increased, but saw no improvement from the rest.    I’ve been seeing a new chiropractor in town, with some unique diagnostic tools. He uncovered some issues that may explain a lot of what’s been going on. So I’m getting treatment, and training, and hoping I’m on the road to recovery.

The half marathon is less than two months away now. I was getting nervous I wouldn’t be up to the challenge, but my coach has confidence in me, and is ramping up my training distances. I’m running over 13k on my longer runs, and a full hour for my “short” runs, and feeling good, so I’m encouraged.

My husband and I very recently separated, so that brings a number of challenges. My schedule is going to be a difficulty sometimes, the weeks when I have the kids especially. But I’ll make it work. With all the added stress, keeping my running constant is a big help to me.

It’s time to train…..

It’s time to get serious again. I like training. I like plans and order, and clear expectations, and training fits that better than just “going for runs”. I also like the things I learn while training, and the improvements I see, so it’s win-win. (I’ll try to remind myself I wrote this, when I’m in the middle of hill repeats or intervals) I also need the accountability. It’s too easy to blow off a run when it’s “just a run”. The excuses are endless, and all good ones. I should spend the time with the kids, the house needs work, my volunteer activities need my attention, I need some sleep, my leg/back hurts, and on and on. But when I’m training, I feel like I have a set of rules to follow, and the excuses get weaker.

I’ve also gained a solid 10lbs in the last 6 months. This is a combination of not running, holiday eating, and stress eating. Running helps me burn off stress, and makes me feel good about myself. Eating crap is a (lousy) coping mechanism I have for stress and feeling low about myself. So I have high hopes for an improved physique, along with improved pace. I’m giving a vegan diet a go right now as well. We feed our kids vegan, but I had been clinging to milk in my coffee, and eggs and dairy as treats when out and about. We’ll see how that goes, it makes junky eating a little harder, that’s for sure.

I’m excited about this. I met with my coach and laid out the plan. He’s calm and confident, and a scientist, so we work well together. I’m all about rules and plans and details, so I need that mindset to do my best. The 10k in April is our first goal, followed by a

HALF MARATHON!!!!

in October. Seriously. I’m still coming to terms with the fact I’m doing this, more than a little scared, but so excited to think about actually doing it.

Finally Running Again!

It’s been a long time. I didn’t feel like coming to write that I wasn’t running, to complain about my lack of patience, weight gain, or other downers. The last physio referred me to yet another physio in his office he felt might have new ideas for me. I’ve been seeing this guy for a few weeks and he’s trying different things, and seeing improvement. Best of all, he says I can run all I want! I still have pain, but can run through it, so I am. It seems I’ve got some pelvic instability that’s irritating nerves in my back and all down my leg. Not running alone isn’t enough to stop the pain, and running doesn’t make it a ton worse, so I will run.

My treatment consists of daily core exercises, wearing a pelvic stability belt to run and play sports(sexy!) and seeing him every couple of weeks for some manipulation and treatment.

I’ve been running several times a week for a couple weeks now and I’m happy about it. Plans to meet with my coach in January and lay out the training plan have been made. I’ve got big things on the horizon for 2012!

Fixing what hurts

I took a short break from training. It seems like the right thing to do after a big race, and a nice reset to get motivated to train again. This break is going to go a bit longer than I’d intended, though. I did return to training a couple weeks ago, but lingering leg and back issues are making me step back.

I’ve had something not quite right with my back for years. I’ve tried treating it a few times without much luck. Recently I’ve been going to a physio for IMS treatments, and had quite a bit of relief, but still things aren’t quite right. The heavy load that running training sessions, lacrosse games, and Bike to Work Week put on my body all at once, reminded me that there’s something still wrong……So I’m trying a chiropractor now, and holding back on the running for a bit.

I didn’t run for a full week while I thought about what to do, had a rest, and sought out chiro recommendations. It was surprising how long ONE week of not running felt to me. My coach has said that if I push through the wrong pain and hurt myself, I can be out six weeks, or more. I see how bad that would be now, if one week felt long. So I’m taking care. I went for an easy run this morning, mentally it felt GREAT, physically, not so much. Patience and adherence to the chiro’s instructions, and hopefully I’ll be back pounding pavement fast.

Going for it.

I’m thinking of running Beaver/Elk lake tomorrow morning.  It’s a 10k route, apparently quite a nice run, and common for the local runners.  I’ve never done it.  I walked it once, about 7 years ago, with some friends.  I seem to recall it took us an awfully long time.

When people find out I run it seems to be a common question “oh, do you ever run around the lakes?”  But until recently, 10k was like a marathon to me.  Something I endeavored to finish.  Something I trained for, to survive all 10k, and get to the end still standing.  So no, I didn’t “go run around the lakes” for fun or training, because a 10k route was the end goal.  Now though, my long runs approach 10k regularly, and I know I could do it.  There’s little danger of getting halfway around and being too fatigued to run the rest of the way.  I think it will actually be, dare I say it, FUN.

So weather willing, if I’m up early enough to be out and back without offsetting my family’s day too much, I’m hoping to run the lakes tomorrow.  Wish me luck.

I Need a Plan

I work better with a plan.  This holds true in most areas of my life.  I like to have at least a loose schedule for the weekend’s plans, I need a to-do list to be organized in getting things done, and when it comes to diet and fitness, a plan is a requirement.

I’m noticing that if my diet and fitness aren’t “on plan” then I am distinctly “OFF PLAN” and that’s not a good thing.  Motivation wanes, poor diet choices replace the good ones, and it just slowly falls apart.  Being “on plan” doesn’t mean perfection or even rigidity, though.  It’s come to mean having a goal and planning the choices that help me get there.  Scheduling training runs and other fitness activities doesn’t mean they happen 100%, but it means I’m motivated to do them rather than finding excuses I don’t need to.  A plan helps me succeed.

My diet’s gotten way off track in the last week or two.  I’m not “on plan” with what had been working for me, so I’ve kind of given up and not bothered at all.  Making all these poor food choices,  I don’t feel good, and I know it’s not good for me.  I can’t seem to just step away from the junk food, make better choices one at a time, because I don’t have a plan, and I need goals and some structure.  So here’s the plan, what worked well for me before, and I’m confident will work well again.  Back to my regular breakfast of whole wheat toast with peanut butter and sliced fruit, or a protein smoothie or oatmeal.  Fast, easy and nutritious.  Snacks back to fruit and veggies, carby things just get me mindlessly snacking and don’t pack the same nutritional punch.  Treats are for special occasions and to be enjoyed, not eaten because they are there.  And water, WAY more water.  I’ll feel better when I’m eating welldiet, and I’ll perform better.  I’m even thinking about cutting out dairy for a couple weeks.  I hear some people find a real improvement in their skin with this change, and I could certainly use some improvement there.

Since the TC10k, I’ve taken a couple weeks off of running.  My back and leg still don’t feel right, and I’d hoped a break from running might heal me up.  I think going “off plan” with my running is dragging my eating off plan as well.  Hopefully starting running again will settle things back into the routine I’ve been into the last few months.   My leg is still bugging me, but I’m working with a physiotherapist and she says I can still run, so run I shall.

Running Playlists

I’ve been thinking about a playlist for my upcoming 10k race on May 1st (tc10k.ca). I’ve tried for upbeat music when I run, not exactly to pace, but just for encouragement and that wee bit of distraction to keep my mind of fatigue and discomfort. I change it up a lot to prevent boredom, but it’s overall pretty random what I’ll listen to on a given day. I’ve enjoyed 101 Running Songs which is a 5 CD set, ripped to my MP3 player.

Lately I’m finding the pace of the music counter productive to trying to pace myself on runs, though. I feel like I’m drawn to run at the BMP of the music. That’s a good thing if the pace is right (or a teeny bit fast) but not if it’s too slow. And I’m not sure what my pace is in terms of BPM, so it’s hard to know what to do with my music now. I’ve been turning the volume down a little so it’s more background and that’s helping. I’m not ready to run without music, though.

What do you have on your running playlist? I’m heavily influenced by Top-40, and that shows in my lists. Let me know what you listen to, I’d love some new ideas

5k Race Playlist

  1. Adele – Rolling in the Deep
  2. Taiyo Cruz – Break Your Heart
  3. Bruno Mars – Grenade
  4. Queen – Don’t Stop Me Now
  5. Dragonette – Hello
  6. Eminem – Not Afraid
  7. These Kids Wear Crowns – Jumpstart
  8. Marina and The Diamonds – Oh No!
  9. Sunloverz – Fire

Newer Training list – about an hour long:

  • RIo – after the love
  • Alyssa Reid – Alone Again
  • Christina Aguilera – Not Myself Tonight
  • Flock of Seagulls – I Ran
  • These Kids Wear Crowns – Jumpstart
  • Kesha – Take it Off
  • 3 Doors Down – Kryptonite
  • Tony Arzandon – Let it Rock
  • Eminem – Lose Yourself
  • Billy Idol – Rebel Yell
  • Rhianna – Disturbia
  • Tom Petty – Running Down a Dream
  • Rihanna – S and M
  • Kesha – We R Who We R
  • White Stripes – 7 Nation Army
  • Written in the Stars

Early Morning Training

Like most people, I have a busy life. I work full time, have younger children (5 and 7), have a house to manage, play 2 team sports, and try to spend a little time with my husband and friends. It can be hard enough fitting all that in, so where do I find time for training? I can’t run when my husband isn’t home, because the kids are too young to be left alone. I can’t run WELL on a day I’ve played a game of lacrosse or field hockey. Running at lunch means I’m starting from my workplace, limiting my options, and increasing the odds my coworkers would watch me, as well as the amount of time I’ve got to run for. By the time I’m home from work and the kids fed, evenings don’t look good for running either. So I’m up at 6am to run a couple times a week.

To some this sounds painful, but for me there are positives:

  • 1. I’m alone
    I get self conscious when I think people are watching me. I’ll run faster when I encounter someone along my route, even though I don’t know them. It is silly, and it takes me off my pace and form. Most people will say “no one is looking at you!” but I know that I watch people, to see their form/speed/etc, so I have trouble believing that.
  • 2. There is less traffic
    I run on sidewalks and roads a lot of the time, or the trail I run crosses roads. Less traffic means a safer run, and one less interrupted by traffic and long lights. (also as to point 1, less drivers to watch me!)
  • 3. Uses “wasted time”
    I need to move faster to get dressed and ready for my workday after a run, but it’s doable. And if I weren’t running, breakfast, dressing and showering would just stretch to fill all the available time. It’s not like I’d be getting housework done or doing anything else productive if I weren’t running. (as evidenced by most non-running mornings)
  • 4. It’s a great start
    I find a run or other activity a great way to start off my day. I feel good physically, and I feel good about having done something positive so early in the day. It helps me make better food choices when I start off my day with running, as well

  • 5. It doesn’t inconvenience my family…..much
    Long runs take time, even the short ones do. This means scheduling activities around my running sometimes. My family is accepting and accommodating of me, but I try to minimize the effect on them when I can. Running in the morning doesn’t put a huge burden on my husband, or deprive my kids of good quality family time. (we are typically just running around getting ready for the day, not hanging out together)
  • 6. No Excuses
    As a day wears on, and I get tired out, or think of things I still want to accomplish, it’s easy to make excuses not to run. But if I hop out of bed, clothes laid out the night before, and get out the door, I’m running before I’ve had the chance to even THINK of excuses not to.

It’s all about finding what works for you.

Personal Best

I’m unclear the difference between PB and PR. I think they mean about the same, but I’m not sure which to use, worrying that choosing wrong labels me as a *noob* or something. I also don’t know if only “official” and timed runs count towards this label. For me, I look for each and every success in my running journey to keep me motivated and measure my progress. This means, official or not, any time I do something better, I’m going to try to celebrate it. For me, training run PBs count, for sure.

So yesterday I ran a PB on my long run. 10.1km in 58:30. I ran 10k in 58minutes. That is my fastest ever 10k. I’ve eeked out a 60minute 10k in training runs, but my last recorded 10k race was 2 years ago, and took me 1hr11minutes. I’m a lot faster now, eh? The run was hard, I had to push, both mentally and physically, to keep going and try to maintain speed and form. But most parts of it felt good. I felt like I was running right. That’s so exciting to me. I still feel like I’m a running wannabe some days, and am surprised and happy at something that makes me feel like a TRUE runner.

Focus on the Positive

I had a rough training session this morning.  My coach set me up with a plan even he admitted would be tough:

50-55 minutes Pyramid Speed Workout
10 minutes warm up jog and then 1 minute hard, 1 minute recovery.
1.5 min hard, 1 minute recovery;
2 minutes hard, 1 minute recovery;
2.5 minutes hard, 1 minute recovery.
3 minutes hard, 2 minutes recovery.
Go back as 2.5 minutes, 2 minutes, 1,5 minutes and 1 minute hard. On the way down keep recovery times as 1 minute.

I couldn’t quite do it. I felt bad at the first failure point (walking half of the third recovery interval), sad at the second one (recovery interval in the middle of the 3min) and frustrated by the third.(walking half of the 2nd to last recovery interval) Sure, it was a hard workout, but the coach gave it to me, so he believed I could do it. He’s not really been wrong before, pushing me to accomplish more and more, but understanding my abilities. This felt like a failure. Three failures in fact. I came home discouraged and sad.

As I got ready for work and started my day, I thought more about his morning’s session. My legs have that familiar heavy and tired feeling that comes from working them hard. I may not have followed the plan to the letter, but I managed most of it. I didn’t stop and give up when it was a little too hard, I modified it for the moment, and then dove back in. I completed the workout, with small modifications. That’s not a failure, that’s just a change in plans, and persevering when the going got tough. Clearly my mental running fitness has been improving as well.

Good Run, Wendy.