Tag Archives: training

Injury Free + Back to Training

I’m finally injury free!  While I never took any total time off, I did back down significantly from hard workouts and specific exercises.  Last week I incorporated some of the things I had been avoiding back into my routine with success.  My glute wasn’t extra sore, my gait was totally normal and everything felt good.

My transition back into real training started Monday with an OK Murph.  For those not familiar it’s a Memorial Day tradition performed in honor of Lt Michael Murphy that includes a one mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 squats and a final one mile run.  Wanting to save my energy for the challenging workout I failed to warm up as much as I should have.  My glute gave me some trouble through the first mile but settled in with the squats.  The second mile was an improvement.injury free

Tuesday my legs were, not surprisingly, beat up.  A few easy miles helped them freshen up and again, I had no pain with a totally normal gait after warming up properly.  Yay!  Wednesday was also a few easy miles but this time in I also had the pleasure of being pouring rained on.  My shoes were finally dry by Sunday.

Thursday it was an attempt at the long run.  The humidity Thursday morning was a doozey but I felt good about getting the run done.  I started easy then picked up the pace as the sun rose to burn it off.  With my last few miles at marathon pace, I finished with negative splits.  It was a great first long run back and I couldn’t have been happier.

Friday my legs felt like lead and I took the day off.  Saturday was mile repeats that weren’t exactly on my previous pace but solid for coming off an injury.  Sunday I was back in the gym for strength training.  All in all it was a good welcome back week.  My glute held up without any pain or strain and left my feeling positive about how the rest of my summer will go.

My next race is the Allen Stone Memorial 5k.  I’m not expecting a spectacular performance but want to run well.  I have six weeks to prepare and am looking forward to working hard again. 

Meredith

How do you celebrate being injury free?  Sign up for a race?  A long run?

Slowly Coming Back+ Time to Adjust

Training rolled on last week after another round of physical therapy.  I’m definitely feeling better and can tell a difference in my gait.  A solid, positive one.  Of course, if hopping right into race shape for this Saturday’s EquiKids Cross Country 5k was that easy, none of us would be very concerned about injuries in the first place.  But it’s not.  And nature has it out for me.  It’s like coming back from an injury wasn’t bad enough, so the heat got turned on last week.

I really want to race well this weekend.  It’s one of my favorite events and I usually don’t put in a great performance on the dirt trail course.  There’s something to be said for actually practicing.  I do 95% of my running on roads since that’s where I race, except for once a year but maybe one of these times I’ll get it together.  My biggest concern, however, isn’t the race’s surface.  It’s my grumpy right glute and staying calm (easy pace) enough to not get re-injured.coming back

I did some speed work last week, keeping myself in check and staying within 30 seconds of half marathon pace for anything over 800M.  I definitely feel more out of shape than I am and don’t expect coming back to take too long.  Except that it’s 90 degrees out with 90% humidity and barely a breeze.  Talk about a double whammy!

It could be worse.  I could be 100% healthy and trying to prep for a fast 5k in rough training weather.  Luckily coming back from injury is helping me keep things slower and safer in the warmth.  Eventually I’m going to have to adjust to the summer’s heat and humidity.  It might as well be right now. 

Meredith

How do you handle coming back after an injury?

Fit Friday: An Almost Trio of March PRs

March 2017 was a solid running month for me.  I raced three weekends in a row, hitting new PRs at the marathon and 8k distances while getting very close at the 5k distance.  It was my best month of running race-wise in a while and I’m really happy with it. 

The month started with a tune-up 5k.  I had no real expectations but knew I’d perform pretty well on tapered legs.  When I lined up to start the Big Wish 5k I looked at the distance on my watch but not the time.  I wish I would have.  Knowing my start time would have shown me that coming into the finish I was only seconds behind my best.  I had plenty left and could certainly have added another one to my March PRs if I March PRshad been more aware.  Lucky for me, I have plenty of 5k opportunities coming up over the next few months.

My marathon PR the following Sunday felt good.  It wasn’t the race I wanted to run after Mile 22 but I hit my goal and qualified for Boston.  I learned a lot during this race that I’ll be taking with me into my next training cycle.

My March PRs rolled on at the Shamrock 8k.  While I hadn’t run an 8k in years and a PR was almost inevitable, I’m still proud of my Shamrock effort.  I smashed my previous best by 90 seconds five measly days after running a marathon.  Imagine if my legs were fresh.

After almost three March PRs, it’s exciting thinking about what I can get done this fall.  I’ll be racing for PRs at the half marathon, 10k, 5k and 5 mile distances.  It’s likely I’ll count that five miler as an 8k since they’re so close.  I don’t have a fall marathon planned but am looking forward to Boston 2018.

Meredith

Did you have any March PRs?  What distance?

My Breakfast and Yoga Morning Routine

Even though my morning routine varies a tiny bit with the seasons, the elements of it are always the same.  Breakfast, yoga and some deep breathing help each day get off to a positive start morning routinebefore I have a chance to get off track.

I can’t remember the last time I was woken up by an alarm and am usually up 10-15 minutes before it would go off.  That doesn’t mean, however, I get out of my nice warm bed.  I’ll stay cozy while planning the day and deciding how to complete the day’s check list.  A quick check of my phone lets me know my early morning hasn’t cancelled and I must go on.  After resigning myself to the fact that I can’t stay in bed all day, it’s off to the bathroom.  Usual business and a cold splash of water to the face make sure I’m actually awake.

Since the majority of my work and workout wardrobe is black, I rarely turn on the bedrooms lights to dress.  Ambient light from the half drawn blinds is enough to make sure I match.  Then it’s downstairs to feed both the dog and myself.  Dog food in bowl, my Cheerios in a bowl and by the time I’ve grabbed a spoon Jordy is ready to go outside.  I eat while he does his dog thing out there then return my dirty dish to the kitchen.  Now it’s time to get moving.

I take a deep breath, reach into mountain pose and start my 5-10 minutes of yoga.  It’s at least five but ideally closer to 10.  If there’s a big north  or west wind, I know I have to leave a bit earlier to bike to work.  During my practice I’ll repeat positive mantras and visualize what I’m going to accomplish that day.  At this point my mind is focused and my body is ready to work.  I officially check my email/Facebook/Twitter/Instagram for the first time, hop on my bike and start the day.  The only time this varies is when I have a chance to take my yoga to the beach and bike first.

Why do I stick so steadfastly to this morning routine?  It’s made a big difference.  Clearing my mind and moving my body before I let any distraction in has made me more prepared for sitting at my desk, hitting the gym for a client or tackling a workout.  My focus is better, my attitude is positive and I’m ready for whatever comes my way.  Even heading out for those 20+ mile runs in sub-zero temperatures wasn’t so bad.

Meredith

Do you have a morning routine?  What does it include?

Shamrock 8k PR + Down Time

Saturday I ran my first 8k in three years.  Five days post marathon the Shamrock 8k might not have been the best idea I ever had but I hit a new PR and had some fun.  For the second week in shamrock 8ka row the ugly weather forecast held off.  Predicted rain didn’t hit until after the race and I was lucky enough to stay dry the entire day.

Weather aside, the Shamrock 8k is a simple, flat and fast course that presents a great opportunity push yourself.  This year it was home to the USATF Master’s 8k Championship.  I started in Corral 1 surrounded by masters athletes and speedy high school runners.  The first half mile was a little traffic filled and I definitely got swept up in the pace.

My legs felt OK heading into the race but after about 2k they let me know it was too soon.  My pace decreased in spite of the tailwind and I was OK with that.  I was well on my way to crushing my old 8k best even if slowed down a bit.  I crossed the finish line in 35:48, beating my old PR by over 90 seconds.  Five days post marathon I was more than happy with it.  I collected my medal, a new kooize, a banana and a few snacks before heading into the always wonderful Shamrock Party Tent.shamrock 8k

Now it’s time for a little R&R.  I say a little because I have Run the Bluegrass coming up in a few short days.  The race will check Kentucky off my 50 states list and be loads of fun but beyond that I have no expectations.  There are roughly 1,000 feet of elevation gain over the 13.1 mile course and it will be my first run over 6 miles since the marathon.

Meredith

Did you run the Shamrock 8k?  Do you like the 8k distance?

Fit Friday: Love Your Treadmill

I’m not sure why so many runners dread the treadmill.  More affectionately known as the dreadmill, this is one piece of equipment I can 100% get behind.  While it does have its downfalls, the treadmill is a great friend to a runner and I wish it didn’t get such a bad rap.  Even though I stare at a wall when I’m on mine, here are treadmillfour great reasons to give running in place a little more love.

It’s always there.  No matter what’s going on outside the treadmill is ready.  Whether you’re facing 30 mile an hour winds and sub freezing temps like I avoided this week or 100 degree days with 90% humidity, it’s ready to go.  Feeling less than motivated?  Walking across the room is much easier than dressing up to go outside.  In a rush?  Not waiting for satellites definitely saves time.

Steady does it.  Set the pace and go.  It won’t change unless you tell it to.  Unlike running outside where crossing streets or catching sight of a pretty bird can distract and slow us down, the treadmill keeps us clicking along.  It’s easy to come off pace when we leave it to ourselves.  Not the case on the old ‘mill.  Use this training tool to practice pacing and have more success on race day.

Variety.  The treadmill can handle just about anything you throw at it.  From a long run to speed work, the only limit is your imagination.  It’s especially useful for those of us who live in the flatlands and want to hit some hills.

Rock out.  There are lots of safety issues outside.  From traffic and cyclists to dogs and potholes, the great outdoors can get dodgy quick.  Running with music is iffy at best and depends heavily on your location.  At home?  Turn that jam up.  You won’t have to worry about anything crashing into you, getting bitten or tripping on a root.

Meredith

What kind of relationship do you have with the treadmill?

Yasso 800s + Super Long Run

There are less than 50 days until my spring marathon and this week was a tough one.  I kicked it off with a full round of Yasso 800s Monday and threw my long run in two days early for the sake of better weather on Thursday.  Both workouts were tough but surprisingly fun.

Yasso 800s are a famous workout that can be varied all training cycle long.  This was my peak week with a full dose of 10 repeats and they went well.  Used as a reasonably close predictor of marathon finishing times, each repeat features 800M of work and an easy jog of the same duration for recovery.  Since the prediction tends to be about 5 minutes off of actual finish times, I was aiming for each 800 to be at a 6:50 pace.  This would theoretically get me across the line in 3:25 and an adjusted 3:30, my goal time.yasso 800s

I had a great time getting back into action after a down week with this one.  My goal was to run each repeat in 3:25, 6:50 pace, on fresher than usual legs to simulate somewhat of a taper.  It worked!  I was contending with some headwind and benefiting from a tailwind at different points but my repeats were 3:22, 22, 18, 23, 18, 18, 17, 22, 16, 16.  The session left me feeling really excited for race day.

The week rolled on with some 400M repeats Wednesday and my longest training run of the cycle on Thursday.  It was a test with lots of marathon pace miles early then a few faster ones at the end.  I started this 5-4-3-2-1 run with a one mile warm up then 5 miles at marathon pace.  The next two segments, 4 miles and 3 miles, were each separated by an easy mile.  The two mile section was at half marathon pace.  After a painful easy mile 18, I rocked Mile 19 at 10k pace, finishing with a nice easy cool down.  It was definitely a challenging but enjoyable workout.

Meredith

What are your favorite marathon training workouts?  Do you like Yasso 800s?

Missed Workout + Single Digits!

My spring marathon is less than 10 weeks away.  That means I’m into single digits in my training countdown!  The first seven weeks have flown by and I’m feeling great about where my training is.  I must be because for the first time ever I have a completely missed workout on my calendar that’s barely made me blink an eye.

My missed workout was the result of Winter Storm Helena causing some trouble in Virginia Beach this past weekend.  I planned ahead enough to get my long run checked off Thursdaymissed workout before the storm hit, leaving a strength session and mile repeats for the weekend’s work.  Friday night a few inches of sleet formed a base layer for three inches of snow.  Photo credit to my friend Ann who was brave enough to trek out there.  For me, forget it!  I swapped my days knowing I could run on my treadmill Sunday if I had to.

Or so I thought.  Just as I was pulling on my running gear to tackle the dreadmill Sunday our power went out.  Well, I’ll just wait but, of course, with no power there was also no heat.  The indoor temperature dropped quickly with the 30mph winds and way below freezing outdoor conditions.  No, thanks.  With the dog radiating heat from his bed, Doug and I bundled up to go somewhere warm(er).  By the time we got word our power was back on I had downed a cocktail or two and one stuffed tummy.  Not exactly quality running preparation.missed workout

Not getting all of my planned miles in for the week was disappointing but definitely not the end of the world.  Running 49 of 55 scheduled miles is pretty good considering I crammed them in over 4 days and the surprise rest day was nice after such a heavy load for me.  I’m looking forward to warmer temperatures, melted snow and getting outside later this week.

Meredith

How do you handle a missed workout?  Do you try to make it up or let it go?

2016 Running Year in Review

It’s 2017 and that means it’s time to look back on the year that was.  I ran a lot, raced a bunch and learned plenty.  It was a productive year and I can’t wait to see what the next 52 weeks have in store.  Here’s my 2016 Running Year in Review!2016 running year

Miles:  I ran 1,514.4 miles in 2016.  Some were fast and some were slow.  There were cold miles, hot miles, good miles and bad miles.  I didn’t set a mileage goal for 2016 and was happy to see it was my biggest mileage year to date.  My final run of 2016 was 20.16 miles of marathon training and a great finish to an up and down year.

Races:  21.  I raced some, tanked some and paced some.  Ran alone, with a group and with the dog.  I started with back to back half marathons, wrapped up spring with a marathon and fell apart at my goal fall half.  In the end, my racing wasn’t always what I wanted it to be though I did manage to PR at the 5k distance (20:50).  Technically my marathon was also a PR but since2016 running year I had bleeding blisters to contend with for the last 8 miles and hobbled through the finish, I have trouble counting it.

Favorite race:  Every race I pace is a favorite.  It’s always so much fun to help another runner accomplish their goal and everyone should give it a try.  Even the two 5ks I finished first female in weren’t as much fun.  If I had to pick, Monumental Half Marathon and Wineglass Half (even though it wasn’t my best day).

Injuries:  The worst was a high ankle bruise that didn’t come from running.  Worst actual running injury would probably be a seriously chaffed nose from some cold, windy outings or marathon blisters.  I chalk my resilience, durability and injury-free-ness up to Crossfit and daily yoga.

The biggest takeaway from my 2016 Running Year was that it doesn’t always go your way.  I worked very hard all summer for a new half marathon PR in October and crashed.  It was just not my day.  I also learned I need to eat more when I’m running 60 miles a week and that it’s OK to have a bad workout.  Now focused on hitting my 2017 marathon goal, I got the fun back, enjoyed my last few weeks of 2016 training and can’t wait to see what I’ll accomplish in 2017.

Meredith

What did your 2016 Running Year look like?  What did you learn and what’s next?

Training Recap: The First 5 Weeks

It’s time for a training recap!  I’m five weeks into my 16 week One City Marathon training plan and feeling great.  I was a little bit nervous kicking things off because the mileage of this plan is higher than I’ve ever faced before early on.  Even with the extra miles each week, I feel fresher, stronger and more ready to run than this same time last year.  Here are the lessons I learned between crossing 2016’s finish line and starting to work towards 2017 that are making all the difference.training recap

Run easy.  I have a hard, hard time taking it easy.  I can run faster, so why aren’t I?  Running hard or medium hard all the time really hurt my training last year.  There’s a definite struggle on my recovery runs to keep the pace as gentle as it should be but I’m learning to like it.  Joining multiple weekly group runs and slowing down to chat has helped me immensely.

Eat more.  After reviewing last year’s early training recap with a focus on what I was eating, I realized I was probably not eating enough.  Based on the higher intensity of most workouts at that time, my caloric intake was lower than it should have been.  I definitely paid in soreness and exhaustion.  This cycle I’m doing a much better job of getting the types and numbers of calories I need.

More salad.  A big part of those extra calories is more veggies.  I talked about cleaner eating earlier this year and it’s paying off.  Crappy food isn’t even mildly appealing anymore (mostly).  There’s always cake or pizza for a treat.  And beer, of course! 

Lift less.  Last year’s training recap feature some pretty heavy weights a little too often.  Since I still love my time in the gym and won’t give it up, I’ve compromised with myself.  I’m lifting based on last year’s numbers and not going for any power or Olympic lifting PRs.  Lots of variety is keeping me challenged, and sore, so I know it’s helping me out without hindering my ability to perform on quality running workouts.

My legs feel great and my recovery is faster than ever before.  I’m feeling very positive about how the rest of this training cycle will go. 

Meredith

How often do you do a training recap?  Do you find it helpful?