Category Archives: Tuesday Two A Day

Two A Days Are Back

Two a days are back, and I’m actually loving them.  I expected them to be a drag, as they have been sometimes in the past, but without an upcoming race, the ability to shuffle workouts and, maybe, skip a strength training session every now and then, is keeping me excited and fresh.

As I ramp up my training mileage, I’m trying a lot of new things keep me interested.  Running is fun.  But not if you get bored.  Two weeks ago, on the first of many Two a Days in this new training plan, I did my first Michigan run since high school cross-country, and even though I came out of the gate a bit strong and struggled towards the end, it was a blast.  I have the same workout on the calendar for next week, and hopefully I’ll do a better job of pacing myself because I know I can.  My long runs are also getting ‘crazy’.  When I was sticking steadfastly to a program, they were 90, 105, 120 minutes or 13, 14, 15 miles, but now that I have a weekly mileage goal and the ability to run those miles however I want, they’ve been 13.4, 12.1 miles and 11.5 miles (this week, because it’s Race Week!).

I mix up my Two A Days by doing strength training and a hard run, usually on Tuesdays, and a double dose of running on Wednesdays or Fridays, depending on the weather and my schedule.  That second day of two workouts is typically a 4-7 mile easy run followed by speed work.  As with my long runs, I was sticking to a pretty rigid schedule of 400, 800, 1600M repeats for those speed days and tempo runs on other days, but now have room to play.  Those two a days Michigan runs are awesome, and I threw in a 4×1200-400 workout yesterday.  The variety is fun and I really like being able to try new workouts without worrying if it will mess with my training.

My strength training sessions on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays are most often a Crossfit workout or heavy power lifting, and they’re fun, too.  I know working to get stronger throughout my entire body has helped my running a ton by increasing my durability.  As a coach, I try to help my runners understand that doing some form of weight training, whether it’s heavy lifting or bodyweight exercises, is an incredibly important part of a well-rounded program and plan.  I know my ability to stay injury free, even as I increase my mileage and have multiple Two a Days each week, is due to my strength training.

Meredith

How do you keep your training schedule varied and prevent getting bored?

Win!

After my big age group win at the Crawlin’ Crab on Sunday, it was back to strength training today.  I didn’t have a Tuesday Two a Day on the schedule, and even though I felt like I could have handled one, I took it easy and did a single workout today.

A very windy Beach Boot Camp got the day started, then it was clients and a workout made up of only deadlifts and pull-ups before heading to an afternoon at EquiKids.  When I saw today’s WOD, it was my second big win of October with two of my favorite exercises being featured on my first heavy lifting day in two weeks.  Since it had been thirteen days since my last hard strength training, I took it a little light for our 5×3 Deadlifts, but only dropped it down twenty pounds for the 5 rounds of 10 deadlifts, 10 pull-ups that followed.  Everything felt great, except my forearms, which were exhausted pretty quickly and forced me to go to ring rows for my last 20 pull-ups.  In the end, it felt good to be back in the gym and I’m ready to dive into a few more hard, long runs before Savannah.  Post workout, it was another client, lunch and a few errands before I was off to my Tuesday afternoon at EquiKids.

Returning to my phone after a lesson in which one of the students I work with really made big strides today, I found an email letting me know my career is starting to get noticed as well.  I work hard to help people, and look forward to helping more and more reach their fitness goals as my business grows.  Having the opportunity to be featured as a personal trainer and running coach in a LiveStrong piece about staying motivated to run (check out Slide #9) was another big win for me.  One of the biggest challenges I face as both a runner and a coach is digging deep, and helping my clients do the same, when we’re burnt out or having a crappy day.  Being featured on such a well respected site helps give my name, and my business, the credibility they deserves and it feels really good.  You can read a little more about my feature on the FitNicePT News and Media page, and with one of our blog posts right here.

WP_20131008_002When I arrived home from my weekly trip to the barn and retrieved the mail, there was a big envelope addressed to me that I wasn’t expecting.  Opening it, I found a Second Place Female certificate from the Bay Days 8K and also an Age Group Award, first in 20-29.  I’m not sure why I got both, since you are usually pulled from your age group when you are in the top three, but it’s not up to me.  I worked hard to win that race and it’s nice to have something to put on my wall.

Tomorrow is a 45 minute tempo run, and while I probably won’t get any more awards in the mail, it sure would be nice :).

What’s your favorite award?  Do you have a big win goal this month?

Meredith

 

October!

It’s October first and with 4 days until Race Day, I hope it means decent running weather is here to stay for a while.  The weather was very nice yesterday when I did my usual Race Week Monday 30 minute tempo run, but the run could have been better.  My legs were a little beat up from Sunday’s 90 minute outing and I struggled to really get the pace I wanted.  I finished it up feeling OK and after a big post-run stretch, I was ready to go this morning for my Race Week Strength Training.

A gorgeous morning on the sand kicked off October’s Beach Boot Camp and knowing I wasn’t going to lift very heavy no matter what, there wasn’t anything I didn’t particularly want to see on the board this morning.  Walking into the gym, I was pumped to go, and when I saw a short and sweet WOD that involved hang cleans, front squats, v ups and, everyone’s favorite, burpees, I was overjoyed.  Unlike Double Unders, Snatches and Overhead Squats, I actually like doing cleans and don’t mind Front Squats at all.  Excited for the workout, it took until I started to warm up for me to realize my hips were unexpectedly tight.  Luckily, with a short WOD on the table, there was plenty of time to get them loose.  Once my co-WODers and I were all good and warmed up, it was time to go.  With my light Race Week weight, I breezed through the workout in under 5 minutes and immediately got back together with a band to help my hips and hamstrings out.

Tomorrow rolls on with October’s first long run and I’m still on the fence as to whether or not to drop Friday’s short fast run.  I’ll make the final decision on that after I move around a bit on Thursday.  Hopefully changing my Race Week Training Schedule won’t be a problem for a short hard race, but I am concerned about adding a long run to my normal routine.  I’m not sure how much of a difference two miles Friday would really make, especially since I’m doing speed work on Thursday, too, and with an abnormal long run on Wednesday of Race Week, I’m leaning towards dropping it and taking two days of rest.

Now it’s off to spend my Tuesday afternoon with EquiKids and this wonderful October weather has me hoping to play outside for a few more hours.

Meredith

Double Unders.

I posted last night and almost immediately took a gander at the strength training I would face today at North End Crossfit.  There was an entire workout listed, but all I could see was Double Unders.  Nope, not enthused, not excited about it.  I went to bed knowing my lack of coordination wasn’t going to be the end of the world, and that I could push through the lashings to my lower legs, or at least accidentally miscount my jumps.

At least today wasn’t Tuesday Two a Day, which was good because my body pretty clearly let me know I came out of the gate a little strong yesterday.  The first day back in training after taking a week off to Recover from Philly called for a 60 minute tempo run and I set the goal of getting further than I did on my last one.  Easy.  My fresh legs felt great, the cooler weather was awesome and the small ups and downs of Mt. Trashmore barely phased me.  I hit my goal by running 7 hundredths of a mile further than I did in August, and was very happy because that was on flat roads and this was not.  As happy as I was to have succeeded, my calves tightened up as last night wore on and I wanted to quit when I saw multiple rounds (four) including 66 Double Unders each staring me in the face for today’s strength training adventure.

I hopped out of bed for Boot Camp this morning to find my left knee sore and my calves still pretty grumpy.  An hour on my feet at Boot Camp worked the knee right out, but my calves just wouldn’t let go.  Exactly how I wanted to head into 264 Double Unders.  With tight calves.  Double Unders are one of my Crossfit nemeses (see Overhead Squat and Snatch, as well).  They take rhythm (got it) and coordination (not so much).  This is why I run, it doesn’t require extreme levels of coordination and I am not particularly coordinated.  Ask anyone who has played a sport with a moving ball with me.  Really, do it.

Excited or not, I headed into the gym right after Camp and got down to it.  Luckily, the workout started with something I can definitely handle: 5×3 Back Squats.  It felt good to be lifting heavy again and my legs were doing great.  Moving on to four rounds of 33 calorie rows and 66 Double Unders they still felt OK.  Rowing was wonderful, it’s one of my favorite cardiovascular activities, and then it was on to jumping rope.  By Double Under number 17 of Round One, my left calf cramped, requiring a stretch.  After that, things actually went surprisingly well.  Speed ropes hurt when you swing it into your legs, rather than under your feet, and I did manage to slam myself a few times but no blood was drawn and I kept plugging away.  Rowing was a nice break from the torture of Double Unders and by Round Three, I was actually starting to feel pretty good.  With a previous record of five Double Unders in a row, I hit nine a few times and wanted to jump for joy.  Rather than jumping to excess, I jumped for 25ish more Double Unders and headed into Round Four.  Last row in the bag, I really wanted to get my last 66 Double Unders in at least sets of six.  Imagine my surprise as I got to nine, kept going and got twelve in a row.  I did sets of eleven or twelve for my last round and finished with a smile on my face.

No, twelve Double Unders in a row is not many.  For someone who can barely connect with a slow pitch softball, however, this is quite an accomplishment.  A good Welcome Back to training, yesterday’s solid run and today’s improvement with Double Unders have me excited for speed work tomorrow.  I’m not sure what it’s going to be yet, but whatever I decide to do, I’m going to nail it.

Meredith

Newton Running

It’s a not Tuesday Two A Day, and my singular workout went swimmingly.  A cool and breezy morning on the beach with hardworking Boot Campers started a day filled with hard-working clients, a good strength training workout and an educational evening.

Tossing my strength training in between two clients at North End Crossfit, we had a WOD filled with box jumps, deadlifts and 500 meters of rowing. The workout called for an 18 minute AMRAP of rowing, 12 body weight deadlifts and 21 box jumps at 20 inches.  Rowing is always an excellent way to get my heart pumping, and the 500M sprints were no different today.  I was, however, excited to get off the rower at 500M and head to my bar each round because the deadlifts gave my heart rate a chance to come down a bit.  The weight for my dead lifts was scaled to about 85% of my body weight, which is about 60 pounds lighter than my 3 rep max, and after the fact think I should have added ten or fifteen pounds to it.  My sets of 12 were broken, as expected, into two sets of six, but I really didn’t work as hard as I now wish I had since I’m only doing two days of strength training per week right now.  The box jumps were just as much fun as they always are and left my right calf a little sore for the evening’s event at Final Kick Sports.

Due to the sore calf, I didn’t plan on running more than a mile or so at this evening’s Newton Running event at Final Kick Sports.  I arrived to meet the Newton Running rep, Judah, who was super friendly and extremely knowledgable.  She explained to me the difference between both pairs I tried, how the shoes were built and how they tend to wear.  I tried two different models, the Energy and the Gravity, running about half a mile in each pair, and was definitely partial to the Energy model.  The Gravity had a little bit too much action in the toe for me, and with a 3 newtonmillimeter heel to toe drop, it’s 5 millimeters less than what I’m used to.  My current runners have an 8 millimeter drop, and the Energy comes with a 6 millimeter one.  This adjustment would make it a faster change over to the new shoe and also meant there was less action in the front.  The Energy were nice and light and I can definitely see running in them every week.  I’m a little nervous to switch with only 18 days until Philly, but will be giving them a try before Savannah.

Tomorrow brings a 60 minute tempo run, or if I’m feeling brave, my two-hour outing.  Hopefully a nice big foam rolling session later tonight will calm my calf down and I’ll be ready to go.

Meredith

Only One

Tuesday used to mean Two A Days.  Not anymore.  With four weeks to go before Philly, and less than three weeks before the Bay Days 8K, I’ve dropped my third day of strength training each week and have only one workout Tuesdays.  It was a little strange not to worry about when I was going to get both workouts in today, but I think I’ll manage.

I had a run-in with some funky tasting water over the weekend, and my tummy finally settled down after a nice 60 minute tempo run yesterday.  It’s the little things in life you don’t notice missing, and I felt really good about being able to eat a normal breakfast this morning.  A hint of fall was hanging over the Oceanfront for Beach Boot Camp this morning, and there was a nice sunrise breaking through the leftover clouds as the campers rocked and rolled through their exercises.  After Boot Camp, it was off to do my only workout of the day, strength training with my pals at North End Crossfit.  My feet got nice and sandy during Boot Camp, but when I washed them off, my injured toe looked like it had survived the beach and might be officially healed.  I thought that once before, and ended up with a spotted sock, so I wrapped up my right middle toe to just to be sure.  My protected white sock and I then jumped in.

Hang snatches were on the menu, but after some work with a PVC pole, my tender shoulder put the axe on anything overhead.  I’ve been feeling stronger, and more stable, through my left shoulder lately, but the flexion required for overhead squats and snatches really irritate my rotator cuff.  I like that I’m feeling more stable when I do thrusters, push-ups and pull-ups, and am working to improve these two exercises, too.  One of these days, my shoulder will hush up and I’ll get them.  I did 7×2 power cleans rather than the prescribed hang snatches, and also subbed out the hang snatches for the work capacity portion of the WOD.  I had a great workout regardless of modifying the exercises and a big old stretch session following it left my legs feeling just fine.

Tomorrow brings with it a five-mile race pace run and a 30% chance of showers.  I’ll probably use this run to get a basic idea of where my pacing will be for the Bay Days 8K in a little over two weeks, and am pulling for the rain to hold off so my feet will stay dry for another day.

Meredith

Bloody Sport

It’s Wednesday, which means four workouts down and three to go for the last time this summer.  After the success of my final Tuesday Two a Day until November yesterday, I’ll be dropping down to six workouts per seven days through race season starting next week.  Riding this week’s wave of good work, I was prepared to keep it up with a solid run today, regardless of the weather.  Lucky for me, a cool front rolled in after some storms last night and dropped temperatures down into the mid 70s with humidity less than 50% for the first time since The Great Cool Down.

It was the second day for my new shoes, and after going two for two with wet shoes, socks and feet my last two outdoor sessions, it was extra nice that my they all stayed dry from beginning to end.  On the slate this afternoon was a 50 minute tempo run, and I had set a goal of hitting at least 6.3 miles after my 45 minute tempo run last week left me a little short of where I wanted to be.  A stiff breeze that seemed to change direction just to be in my face all the time was only mildly annoying and it’s amazing what even slightly lower temperatures will do to help keep your heart rate and core temperature under control.  With the great conditions, everything was going swimmingly as I started increasing my pace at minute 15.  By minute 20 my key had started to bouncing around a little bit more than I liked in my pocket, so I stopped to string it through my shoelaces.  No big deal, and off I went again.  It was roughly 30 seconds later I felt the scraping.  My right middle toe was rubbing, pinching and whining, which was rather irritating, so I stopped and readjusted the key/shoelace situation before hitting my peak pace at minute 26 and running on to complete the full 50 minutes without any pain.

The outing was a success and I beat my goal of hitting 6.25 miles.  It almost made me sad to finish, not knowing when another round of beautiful weather will come around.  I was, in spite of my sadness, excited to see how much easier I had it in the gentler climate.  As I walked a little cool down, I thought how nice it was to start reaping the rewards of having recently powered through some tough outings in hot, humid, and altogether cruddy weather.  Only when I slipped off my shoes did I realize I had given more than I thought today.  My right middle toe had left my sock looking like it was in a war zone.  Blood everywhere.  White sock turned red and pink.  I never expected a tiny little toe could bleed so profusely, let alone a toe that didn’t even hurt.  Upon closer examination, I found the entire top side of my middle toe knuckle missing a layer of skin, and while I don’t know what caused it, I know what made it worse.  I will survive my latest running injury, and bleach my bloody sock, knowing I don’t hold it against the run, the shoe or the sock.

A great run in the books, a sock smothered in bleach and a toe bandage in waiting, it’s on to EquiKids this evening and strength training tomorrow.

Meredith

Very Exciting!

This morning was unexpectedly beautiful.  A 30% chance of rain was forecasted for Boot Camp when I checked the weather before bed last night, so when the dawn broke without a storm cloud in the sky, I was overjoyed.  Today was also my last Two A Day Tuesday before beginning hard training for Philly, and that’s even more good news.  To top it all off, my legs felt great after yesterday’s five miler, even with wet feet, and I was ready to get two good workouts in.

I typically do my speed work immediately after Boot Camp, but didn’t have time this morning.  That meant my first workout of the day would be a tough workout of 6×3 back squats, then an overload of kettle bell swings and burpees at North End Crossfit.   Because I’m ramping up training for Philly this week, the strength portion of my workout wasn’t maxed out, but at a comfortable weight I knew wouldn’t leave me in a condition similar to last week.  Powering through a challenging workout was a nice change from typically having done my speed work first and it started my day off right.  With rain threatening, a beating sun and heavy air hanging out after my morning session, and all afternoon, I planned on completing the second half of my day in the gym.  Avoiding the impending rain and already present humidity, I finished TDT with 3 x 1600 speed work intervals on the treadmill.  I am not a big treadmill runner, but, according to the times posted by my Garmin 210, destroyed my 3 1600s.  I know the foot pod times my watch picks up don’t always agree with how I feel running on pavement, or the times I clock, but apparently I was on fire this evening.  I put together way times that were far below what I normally run in 1600M intervals, and with the gym fans spinning, the cooler temperature made me feel like a champ.  I had been concerned that reversing the two, doing my speed work second, would really change the way I felt while running hard, but it wasn’t an issue at all.  My legs felt fresh and an additional highlight of the day was rocking my speed work even after my strength training.

Not only were my pair of workouts great today, I was chosen by @therunchat to be in their blog features month and am very honored.  Along with two other Virginia bloggers (@judymick and @healthyincville, check them out here and here), @fitnicerunner was selected to be shared with over 13,000 followers.  As proud as I am of my fellow Virginians, and as exciting as being chosen is, I’ll always be a Philly girl at heart and have a 50 minute, training for Philly tempo run tomorrow to prove it.

Meredith

New Shoes

Sunday Total Rest Day was a huge success.  I started A Dog’s Purpose while managing to do very little else beyond laundry and feeding myself.  Bruce Cameron‘s novel is just as I expected, endearing and a much lighter read than A Dance with Dragons.  The simplicity of canine narration is a welcome change from the tangled plots and mass of characters in Martin’s epic.  The highlight of my lazy Sunday is that the laziness left my once hostile quadriceps and calves feeling rested and recovered.

Rested legs are great, but I really love new shoes.  They’re so fluffy and clean.  What I don’t love are heat and humidity.  I didn’t get out of bed at 415 this morning, and by the time I did roll out, running in the dark wasn’t an option.  Jordy dog had an appointment with his surgeon at 845 (all is well), which WP_20130812_001meant I wouldn’t be able to slip on my new shoes before 10.  Well, thank you sunshine and incoming thunderstorms for making that almost unbearable.  With rain in the forecast, I held out in hopes of staying cool thanks to a drizzle over the course of my five miles and planned to run after Monday evening Boot Camp.  When the rain arrived, seconds after Boot Camp kicked off, it did more than keep me cool.  It drenched everything in sight.  Even while everyone took shelter under a tree, the downpour soaked us to the bone.  Including my new shoes.  And my old socks.  This was going to make it two runs in a row with heavy, wet feet.  How wonderful.  The Campers toughed out a soggy grass filled session and I set off for my run.  Wet feet, socks and shoes not withstanding, I rocked my 5 miles and am really happy with how my legs recovered from Saturday morning.

While I’m on the topic of shoes, I’ll be attending a demo with Newton Running at my neighborhood running store, Final Kick, on August 27.  I’ve run my last thousand miles in Sauconys, or barefoot on the sand, and I’m excited to try them out.  Hopefully they’ll help me find a balance between running with nothing on the sand, which I’ve seen the benefits of and also come to enjoy, and my usual running on the street or trail with cushioned soles.  When researching the shoes a bit, I found a blogger who typically runs in Kinvaras (a Saucony shoe) and claims these are a great complement.  I hope I have an equally as positive sentiment as our preference in shoes seems to be quite similar.  Unfortunately, this event is only two weeks before Philly, and I’m unsure about completely going to a new shoe that close to race day, but it can’t hurt to give it a try.  If I like them, I might slowly work into the lighter shoe by Savannah.

Tomorrow it’s the last Tuesday Two A Day since I’m heading into hard training for Philly (5 weeks to go) and as sad as I am to see them go, I’m ready to turn up the pressure on my running without aiming for any new PRs in the gym.

Meredith

Minions!

Tuesday Two a Day was a pair of super workouts yesterday, and I was rewarded with a trip to the theater for Despicable Me 2, complete with lots of buttery popcorn.  The movie was wonderful and I really think I could get a lot more done each day with the help of a few adorable minions.

I woke up this morning still missing minions, but was happy to see the sun rising outside and a weather report that didn’t call for rain.  Wednesday mornings are spent at EquiKids, and it was a stellar one today.  A stiff breeze and a bright sun were the perfect mix for a lesson in which the ponies were half asleep and the riders did very good work.  After EquiKids it was on to a day full of teaching, Bayside Yoga and errands before getting in a 45 minute tempo run.

Some people can’t stand tempo runs, however, I am not one of them.  I enjoy the challenge of a tempo run and have really seen an improvement in mine with additional speed work.  Unfortunately, today was not an improved day.  My legs weren’t sore, but I paid for yesterday’s deadlifts as soon as I took off.  My legs were heavy and slow moving at the start, although they lightened up a little bit as I ran my first few easy minutes.  By minute 30, they were lead again and as I gradually slowed from my peak speed, they certainly helped me out.  I had wanted to hit 6 miles in the 45 minute tempo run and missed by just over two tenths of a mile.  Even with beat up hamstrings, I was satisfied with my outing, and I’ll be shooting for a little over six in next week’s 50 minute edition.

Tomorrow I head back into the gym for a workout full of front squats and pull ups at North End Crossfit then am excited face my long run on Friday after not running one last week.

Meredith