Monday, February 28, 2011

February Recap

The shortest month of the year is finally over! It was a great month but I am so excited for March!  In February, I started training for my third half marathon and has some of the snowiest runs ever!  Overall it was a good month!

Average Temp: 34F/1.1C

Miles run: 92.1 miles.  Can't believe I ran that many miles during this short month!

Rest days taken: 8 from running, 7 from all activity.  Guess I have been slacking on the cross training.

Highest mileage week: 26.9 miles

Average pace: 8:31 min/mile

Current Obsessions: Work....getting married in under 200 days....planning the could say that I am slightly stressed out/overwhelmed.

Current Excitement: First race of 2011 on March 12th!

Current Read: The Late, Lamented Molly Marx by Sally Koslow and The Postmisstress by Sarah Blake

Current Guilty Pleasure: Hot chocolate, cookies, skittles...pretty much all things sweet!  I just can't stop craving all things sugar!

How did your February shape up??

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Half Marathon - Week 3

Monday - Easy
3.5 miles with 4x50m strides/30:55/8:50 pace

We got hit with snow over night so I knew I would have to hit up the gym for this run.  My alarm went off and I literally jumped out of bed.  The roads hadn't been plowed and I was pretty much the first person out on the roads but I got to the gym safely and did my run, then some elliptical and weights!

Tuesday - Tempo
5.5 miles/44:00/8:00 pace

Back to running club! 
(I joined this running team/club last summer after a co-worker convinced me to go.  It is great having a group of people to run with not only for the Tuesday track workouts but also weekend long runs.)

Wednesday - Recovery
3 miles/27:25/9:08 pace

Some easy miles on the treadmill in the afternoon.  It was sunny outside and I almost thought about driving home instead and heading out on the roads for this run.  But I headed to the gym to make sure that I didn't wimp out and ran my recovery miles.

Thursday - Interval Tempo
5.25 miles/42:10/8:01 pace

This was the same workout I did last week, except with less recovery time
1mi WU
2x 1mi at Tempo (7:03 pace) with 1 min recovery
4x 200m at interval (6:44) with 200m recovery
1 mi CD

The mile repeats felt easier and my body didn't feel as fatigued as when I ran this same workout last Tuesday.  Its great to see the little improvement.  Brian and I were leaving after work to go and visit his family so I had to do this workout in the morning.  My whole usual running schedule was a little off this week and I ended up doing Wednesday and Thursday's runs within 12 hours of each other.  My legs didn't seem to notice - running my recovery runs at a slower pace is really working!

Friday - Off

Saturday - Long Split Tempo Run
7.26 miles/1:00:18/8:18 pace

Friday we got hit with snow AGAIN!  I was worried I would have to run on the treadmill if all the snow wasn't cleared from the roads.  Thank goodness I woke up Saturday morning to dry, slush free roads!

I ran alone this week as I was with Brian visiting his family.  I got out on the roads early before all the fun started.  The plan was to run 2 miles easy, 2 miles at half marathon pace, 2 miles easy.  I ended up running 2 easy miles at 8:30 pace, 2 fast miles at 7:29 pace, and 3.26 miles at 8:43 pace.  Might have been a little too fast paced but it was still nice.

Sunday - Off

Total week 3 mileage: 24.5 mi

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Trading the Treadmill for the Track

My usual Tuesday routine is to get up at 4:40am and go to the gym to run my interval workout on the treadmill.

This week I decided to would start attending my running team's Tuesday evening practices, currently held at the 200m indoor track at the college I graduated from.  It was a great decision because I had three girls to run my workout with!  We started with a warm up and then went into this workout -

1x800m at 1/2 MP with 2 min recovery
4x1200m at threshold pace with surge of 400m(to interval pace) in the middle, with 4 min recovery
4x100m strides/100m jog

800m at 8:00min pace - Is this really my half pace?  This feels slow.
1200m (5:18) - Well that wasn't that bad, that surge in the middle may have been too fast.
1200m (5:32) - Ok that one was all over the place.
1200m (5:28) - That's better, more consistent but this pace still doesn't feel that hard.
1200m (5:28) - FINALLY got the pacing right and consistent and we are done!

Even though the paces felt slower, I think I did the workout correctly because it was supposed to be at threshold pace.  I wasn't supposed to run the 1200m all out at interval pace.  Sometimes following the plan exactly may not feel right but I think it proves to have more benefits.

The workout was over before I knew it and I didn't even feel like I had run 5.5 miles.  It felt so much different to be on the track instead of the treadmill.  Usually I just type in the pace and go and the treadmill says "Run this pace or fall off"; yesterday I really had to focus on pacing.  I may have to make this part of my regular routine!  Its a tough decision though - I love running in the mornings but I also love running with a group! 

How do you handle switching from the treadmill to the track?? 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The best carbs you'll ever eat

Back in college, I came home one night from basketball practice and as soon as I walked in the door I smelled something delicious!  Usually I was the only one who cooked, so I was surprised to see that my two male roommates had made dinner.  It was delicious and super easy and I immediately stole the recipe. Seriously this is the best stuff ever.

The Easiest Mac and Cheese:

1/2 lb of elbow macaroni (about 2-3 cups)
2 lbs shredded cheddar cheese
1 can of stewed tomatoes (14-15oz) or a jar of salsa
3/4 cup heavy cream (I substituted skim milk - either one works)

First shred the cheese.  I used a mix and match of what I had in the frig.

 Set the cheese aside and cook the macaroni until almost tender .

Once pasta is cooled, take 3/4 of the shredded cheese and mix it together with the pasta, tomatoes and milk or cream.  Once mixed, pour into a 8x11 pan.

Use the rest of the shredded on top of the pasta.

Cook at 375F for about ~45 minutes.  Pull out of the oven and let cool for about 10 minutes then Enjoy!

And that is the easiest mac and cheese!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Half Marathon - Week 2

Monday - Easy
3.52 miles with 4x100m strides/31:39/9:00 pace

Early morning run with temps in the 40s!  But it was pretty windy.

Tuesday - Interval
5.5miles/44:20/8:04 pace

Mile repeats

Wednesday - Recovery
3.3miles/30:05/9:07 pace

When I woke up, my legs felt tired and achy but by the time I got out after work for this run, I felt good.  The weather was awesome about 50F and I took a longer loop to make 2.9 miles and hit up the gym.  I did 30 minutes on the elliptical and then ran 0.4 miles back home! These recovery runs are amazing!  Running slower after my tough workouts is really making my legs feel rested even with the higher mileage!

Thursday - Tempo
5.58miles/43:11/7:45 pace

1 mile easy
1 mile half marathon pace
1 mile easy
5 mins recovery
1 mile half marathon pace
1 mile easy

50F temps in February!! I headed out after work for this tempo run.  Running in short sleeves and capris was amazing and I couldn't hold myself back.  I just let go and ran my planned route as fast as I could.  Splits - 8:24, 7:47, 7:58, 4:28, 7:19, 7:11

After I finished the workout, I showered and ate in record time and headed to my orthopedic massage.  Along with working on my legs, I also received some stretches to do so that I can hopefully keep my hips in line and my hamstrings and quads more flexible.

Friday - Off

Saturday - Long
9 miles/1:24:31/9:24 pace

I decided to meet up with the local running club at 6:30am!!  It was snowing and windy but I bundled up and went.  It was so much fun to have people to run with even though it was cold.  The miles flew by and before I knew it we were back at the cars!  My plan called for 8 miles but we did 9 instead.  Afterward we all went and warmed up at a local coffee shop!  Everyone was so nice and I really enjoyed meeting a bunch of new people!

Sunday - Off

Total week 2 mileage: 26.9 mi

Friday, February 18, 2011

Friday Favorites

First off - Yesterday was a great day!

When I got out of work it was 55F!  I drove home, changed into my running clothes (short sleeves and capris!) and went for a 5.5 mile tempo run.  It was glorious!  My legs felt amazing even though it was my fourth day in a row of running! I really think those recovery runs are doing their job!!

After my workout, I quickly showered and headed to my first orthopedic massage!  I told the man all about my problem areas (right hip, left knee, right foot) and he knew exactly what to do.  Apparently my right hip was almost an inch lower than my left hip which could have been causing my knee pain and also my foot pain!  It is so amazing how everything is connected - maybe I should have gone into orthopedics!

After an hour and a half of working on my legs, I felt great but tired!  My hips are now the same height and my legs are ready to go!  If you can find a place near you that specializes in orthopedic massage, I definitely recommend checking them out because it was well worth it!

Now some Friday Favorites - Weddings!

1. Flowers is the next thing on my "to do" list!

2. Plus deciding on the cake!


3. And finding the perfect shoes (possibly in red??)!

4. And finding the perfect hair style!

I love all the little details!! Have a great Friday!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Is that really how fast I am running?

Tuesday Interval Workout:
1 mi @ Easy
2x 1mi @ Threshold w/ 2 min recovery
4x200m @ Interval w/ 200m recovery
1 mi @ Easy

Seeing this workout on my training plan scared me.  I hadn't run mile repeats since last summer and I was in much better shape.

I thought I would try to push myself because last week I felt good with the paces but not like they were on the verge of impossible.  So I jumped on the treadmill this morning at 5am and started in with an easy mile. 

Mile 1 (7:03 treadmill pace): Not too bad, I think I can actually do this.  
Mile 2: (7:03 treadmill pace): Ok this feels really hard!  I wonder if I am even running ~7 min/mile pace.  This does not feel like 7 min pace.  I know I would have no trouble running this pace outside. 

For me the treadmill is always harder!  I don't understand! I thought it was supposed to be easier to run fast on the treadmill! I always just feel slow and never feel like I can hit the same paces as I do outside!

I finished up the 200m repeats and then settled into the easy cool down mile.  I just wanted to be done.  My legs felt like they were going to fall off and I wanted to walk and just stop running.  But I finished up the workout and lifted a few weights and then stretched.

After much struggle in the locker room, I got my recovery socks on.  My legs are feeling the workout now (tired and achy), which is good because I know that I worked them hard!  This workout just reaffirms the fact that I cannot wait for spring so I can get back on the track!

Is the treadmill easier or harder for you?  Do you really believe you are running that pace that it says you?

Have a great Tuesday!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Half Marathon: Week 1

Monday - Easy
3 miles/26:53/9:00 pace
With temps around 30F, I actually felt too warm on this early morning run.

Tuesday - Interval
5.25miles/43:00/8:12 pace

1 mi WU
4x800m at threshold pace (7:03) w/ 3 min recovery
5 min recovery
2x100m strides
800m CD

Threshold pace on the treadmill was 7:03 with 0.5% incline and it felt moderately hard but not impossible.  I found that running strides on the treadmill is not as easy as it would seem.

Wednesday - Recovery
Elliptical 30 mins
2.5 miles/22:30/9:00 pace

A nice easy run on the treadmill while watching Ellen.  I got so absorbed in reading the captions that I ran 0.25 miles extra than I had planned.

Thursday - Tempo/Threshold Run
 5.25miles/42:55/8:10 pace

1 mi WU
3x1000m at threshold pace (7:19) w/ 4 min recovery
6x50m strides

At lunch I had a spinach salad with tenderloin and tomatoes.  It was delicious but along with a cookie, I was feeling my lunch during this whole run! 

Friday - Off

I was glad for a day off, but my legs still were feeling good even after four days of running.  I definitely think wearing my recovery socks and switching from morning to afternoon running helped.  

Saturday - Long
6 miles/53:25/8:54 pace

I set out on this run just before 9am and it was snowing hard.  The roads were rough and it felt like I was running in sand.  Many times during the run I thought I should have done this run on the treadmill but I was already out in the snow so it was too late.  I made it the 6 miles to Tim Hortons where I got some coffee and also got some weird looks for my attire.  My dad picked me up from there and took me home to warm up!

Sunday - Off
My hamstrings were really sore from my run Saturday and I enjoyed having the day off from exercise and sat on the couch all day!

Total week 1 mileage: 22 mi

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Consecutive Days

With this new training plan, I will be running four days in a row - Monday through Thursday.

At first I was afraid of running four days in a row.  Since December I had been building from one day in a row, to two, to three and now to four.  I wasn't sure how my body would handle it. 

I came up with a plan at least for the first few weeks to get my body used to doing four workouts in a row.

Monday - morning run
Tuesday - morning run
Wednesday - morning or afternoon run
Thursday - afternoon run

By pushing the Wednesday and Thursday workouts to the afternoon I give myself a little bit more recovery time.  That way my body can get used to the fourth tough workout and then enjoy my off day on Friday!

For this week I chose to run Wednesday afternoon on the treadmill.  I used the treadmill to control my pace and force myself to run slower.  I ran 2.5 miles at 9:00 pace and totally zoned out.  I had planned to just run 2.25 miles but then I was watching TV and suddenly I was almost at 2.5 miles.

Thursday afternoon I headed to the gym again for another tempo workout.

1 mi Warm up
3x1000m at tempo pace with 4 min recovery
6x50m strides
800m Cool down

It was hard to judge what my tempo pace for 1000m repeats should be on the treadmill.  I feel like my paces are so much slower on the treadmill than on the track outside.  I ended up running all the repeat at 7:19 pace and then the strides at the same pace.  Strides are tough to do the treadmill.

Workout done - totally sweat in the eyes kind of workout!  I had a hard time taking this photo in the bathroom since it was 5:30pm and the gym was PACKED!  Thankfully no one walked in on me taking pictures of myself in the mirror!

How many days do you run in a row?  How do you make sure you run your recovery runs slow?

Happy "practically" Friday!!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Training Plan for Half Marathon

I have to be honest here -

I have run two half marathons but I have never used a training plan.  Pretty much for all my races I have never used a training plan.  I guess after playing high school and college sports for over 10 years I didn't want to be told what to run.  I wanted to wake up and just go with what I felt like that day.

My first half marathon was kind of an accident.  I found out my best friend (and Maid of Honor!) was running a half and so I signed up to run with her for moral support.

My second half I was supposed to run the following year ( in 2009), but I was injured and so I pushed off my entry until the next year (2010).  Well that was a horrible race and now I am ready for redemption and a training plan!

Last summer, a co-worker convinced me to join a local running club.  I had always wanted to join but never had the confidence.  I showed up to practice and met some great girls and after training with them for over 6 months, I asked the coach if he would come up with a specific training plan for me.

When I saw the email from my coach in my inbox I was SO EXCITED!  I love numbers, paces and workouts!  I am so excited for this training plan because it is aggressive and challenging!

Here is the basic setup for each week:

Monday: Easy
Tuesday: Interval
Wednesday: Easy Recovery
Thursday: Tempo/HMP
Friday: Off/XT/Easy
Saturday: Long Run
Sunday: Off

For me right now, a  5 day running week is best.  At my current level of fitness and endurance my body likes running 5 days and having the other days to rest or cross train.  This plan allows for a lot of flexibility in my running days.  I basically have three keys workouts - Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.  The other days are just junk miles that I have to get in but the key to those is running them slow - something I have had trouble with in the past!

Here is the whole plan - its is 12 weeks and includes a total of three races including my goal race on May 1st.

It finally feels real - the fact that I am training for this race and hoping for the best!  I plan to post weekly recaps on my training to keep track of how I am doing and if having a training plan really works!

Happy Tuesday!

** Last week in a post I mentioned that I am a "low mileage runner".  Generally in my training for the past 5-6 years I have stayed around 18-22 miles per week.  Currently I am around 20 miles a week and with the training plan I will go above 30 miles a week.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Recovering from the Long Run

Saturday I set out for my long run of 6 miles.  I choose a route I had not run a while which was a little bit hilly.

I won Jeri's giveaway (which included a Road ID, compressions socks, sunglasses and GU) few weeks ago and Friday I got my new Road ID.  It took me a while to figure out what to put on it when I was ordering.  I put my name and city and phone numbers for emergency contacts.  I wanted to put my blood type on it too but when I called my doctor they couldn't find it.  So I instead I put "no known allergies" as well as  "Enjoy Each Run". 

The temperature was around 30F and the sun was shinning!  It was just after 9:30am when I set out for the run.  The hills began right away but we all know that with all uphills there are some downhills!

6 hilly miles in 51:17

After the run, I showered and put on my recovery socks.  I did about 45 minutes of yoga to help stretch out my legs.  For the past few weeks I have been doing yoga after my long runs and I have really noticed the difference.  I am also a firm believer in recovery socks.  They really work wonders and make my legs feel like I didn't just do a hard workout!

After yoga it was almost lunch time so I made my favorite post run meal - grilled cheese with tomato!  It was the delicious!

How do you recover from your long run?

Today (Monday) is my first official day of half marathon training!  I ran 3 easy miles this morning.  Tomorrow I'll share my training plan from my running coach! It is pretty aggressive which scares me and also excites me!

Happy Monday!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Two miles

On mornings when I do not want to crawl out from under my warm covers, I tell myself that I only have to run two miles.

Two miles is long enough to get my legs going so that I wake up and feel good that I actually exercised, but not too long that I dread it and don't want to get out of bed.

But it's only TWO miles.  That is such a short distance.

I guess the whole mind game I play with myself is just to get out the door and once I am out in the cold, then if I feel like going for three or four miles I can.

Some days I wonder if I will ever get tired of my little two miles runs.  If I will ever reach a point where I need to run at least three or four or even five miles a day to make it worth it to get out the door and sweat.  I have always been a low mileage runner and I wonder if I ever pass the threshold and venture into 30 mile weeks, will I think that two miles is not worth the time.

Tomorrow I "plan" for two easy miles in the morning.  We will see if I only run two or go for more.  

Is there a minimum amount of miles you feel you need to run for it to be worth getting all sweaty?

Happy Thursday!

**Maybe this two mile idea is only a winter thing.  I don't remember ever having to convince myself to just run two miles when it was 70F at 5am.