Training Update: Well… not the best of weeks…

I know, I know… I still have not posted my race recap from last week. Things have been very stressful and I’ve been going through some ups and downs in my personal life. Actually, my personal life has been all ups. My work life has really been the downs. I think the stress of these last few weeks has really gotten to me and my training. Last week just didn’t feel right. I was hesitant to get out the door to go for my runs and when I did, I was having trouble keeping the paces I was trying to hit. Stress in one aspect of my life has a way of seeping into all of the other parts.

Also, yesterday, this happened:

Uh.... I thought it was spring. Where did this snow come from?
Uh…. I thought it was spring. Where did this snow come from?

Anyways, I am only 4 days out from the Holy Half… last week was peak training, but I don’t think my body got the memo on that.

Monday: Rest + Yoga
Felt pretty good and was excited for some speed work the next day. I was feeling fresh after my race during the weekend and was ready to run.

Tuesday: Speed work… only did 2.25 miles + yoga
I went out to do some intervals and was feeling pretty great. I had my headphones in and after I had finished with my 10 minute warm up, Frank called me to tell me that he had gotten a job with NEON (National Ecological Observatory Network). His current job runs out of funding soon (being a scientist sucks… our lives are based on government funding cycles). He had been applying for stuff all over for a while and he had finally gotten one. I tried to continue running, but I had a ton of questions, so I just went home.

Wednesday: 5ish miles
My run group meets on wednesdays to do a 5k, but I decided to get a few extra miles in. I left the house, but my Garmin was acting up. It didn’t connect until I was at least a half mile into the run, and even then, it was telling me I was going 11 minute miles, which I was most certainly not. I think I ran about 5 miles…

Thursday: 0 miles… unintentional rest day
I was just really unmotivated. I was anxious about telling my boss about Frank’s job, since it means relocation for us. I was supposed to do yoga and core work. I did nothing.

Friday: Another unintentional rest day + yoga
This unmotivated day, I was supposed to do a Tempo run. I just didn’t. At least I did some yoga…

Saturday: 4.5 miles Tempo
I did a 10 minute warm up, then ran 20 minutes at tempo, which felt pretty terrible, and then a 10 minute warm down. I kept getting a persistent stomach cramps. I felt pretty discouraged after this run and hoped for a better long run the next day.

I always love my long runs. The city is just so much prettier when you are on foot.
I always love my long runs. The city is just so much prettier when you are on foot.

Sunday: 12 miles long run + Yoga
My long run went much better. I had some trouble getting out the door, but once out, I was good. I listened to podcasts and kinda cleared my mind a bit. I kept a 9:35 pace, which felt really comfortable and good. I was pretty happy that I hadn’t talked myself out of the run once I was out.

Total milage: 23.75 – not really what I was hoping for…

Oh well. I guess bad weeks happen. I just don’t like that it happened the week before a race. I’m hoping that I can refocus and have a good taper week, although things have been pretty stressful around here thus far. 😦

The good news is that Frank got a really awesome permanent job, which means no grant cycles, no feverishly looking for a job because the last one is about to run out. He can keep this one for as long as he wants to. We will be moving to Manhattan, KS (The Little Apple) in May. I’ll be coming back and forth a lot as I finish my PhD, but home base will be there. Kansas wasn’t really where I dreamed of moving, but it’s actually really pretty.

This is the Konza prairie, which is only 10 miles south of town.
This is the Konza prairie, which is only 10 miles south of town.

And it’s only 7 hours from the Rocky Mountains. I can feel some serious trail running in my future!

How do you run when you’re stressed out? Have you ever had a terrible week in the peak of your training? How do you stop stress from taking over?

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Heading into Race Week

One week exactly from the A1A Half… and I’m a little nervous. I really don’t know what to expect and honestly, I have no idea what pace I’ll be running it at. I’ve been totally all over the place this week. There was a ton of snow on the ground at the beginning of the week, which made my legs felt like they were carrying lead. I finished my week off great, though! My second long run was definitely a high point.

Due to the crazy blizzard last week, I had two long runs this week. I had planned to run the first on monday, but I was so sore from galavanting through a blizzard on sunday that I decided to push it off. The run went well, but I was definitely tired by the end. I had a recovery run on Wednesday, where I spent 30 minutes complaining to my running buddies about how sore I was from the day before. Thursday I took a much needed rest, but spent most of my day bouncing around with energy. I guess the training is working. Friday’s tempo run went great and I finished feeling strong and ready for the half.

Saturday was spent cross country skiing ALL DAY LONG! I think I skied close to 14 miles total. It was a perfect day for it too.

My friends and I by our snowman after many hours of cross country skiing.
The South Bend Adventure Club by our snowman after many hours of cross country skiing.

I gotta say though, my long run was definitely me at my best. I ended up going with my roommate who is training for the LA Marathon. She was running 20 miles and I was doing 10. Normally I take my long runs at about 10:00-10:30 pace. However, with her, we were going closer to 9:30 and I felt great. I had minimal suffering and I seemed to be just winning the mental game that I battle with so badly when my milage is above 8. For the first time, I was really feeling ready for this half.

Training this week

Monday: Yoga + Rest
Tuesday: 10.56 mile long run
Wednesday: Ran 3.12 miles for recovery + yoga
Thursday: REST REST REST
Friday: 5 miles tempo (1 mile warm up, 3 tempo, 1 mile cool down) + yoga
Saturday: Cross Country Ski
Sunday: 10 mile long run + yoga
Total: 28.7 miles

This is my highest milage since my ankle injury over a year ago and I felt really really good. However, I am kinda glad to be heading into the taper week. My goals are just to keep being positive and trust the training I’ve done.

Taper Week

Monday: Yoga + Rest
Tuesday: Run 4 miles
Wednesday: Run 3.1 miles
Thursday: Run 2 miles
Friday: Rest
Saturday: Rest
Sunday: A1A Half Marathon

How was your training? Any big running plans coming up?

Learning When to Rest

recovery It’s easy to work hard. You just grit your teeth and go. The real work is learning when to stop, to slam down on the breaks and just chill. This is especially true for runners. Somehow, it gets in our heads that rest means loosing fitness. Even though we might feel a little ache in our hips, we keep going to get that next PR or that further distance. This has been a really hard thing to learn for myself. I tend to ignore the little aches and pains in my body and just go further and faster. This practice costed me a half marathon back in the fall and I refuse to let that happen again.

In August, I spent most of the month in Alaska on a biological field station in the North Slope (check out the pic! It’s super pretty there!).

This is Toolik Field Station. There are some awesome mountains there, and it is a generally pretty place.
This is Toolik Field Station. There are some awesome mountains there, and it is a generally pretty place.

The field station is small and you can’t always get away to go for a run. There is also has unlimited candy and rather buttery food. I spent the month not running, but instead eating a lot. I gained 7 pounds and lost a whole lot of fitness. Now, I have never struggled with weight, so as soon as I came home and started eating normally again, those 7 pounds came right off. The problem was, I hadn’t kept up my base milage that I had been working a year to get. Before I left for Alaska I was running about 25 miles a week, so when I got back to Indiana, I just went back to 25 miles per week.

This is my husband and I on top of a mountain in Alaska. Toolik Biological Field Station is a few miles behind us.
This is my husband and I on top of a mountain in Alaska. Toolik Biological Field Station is a few miles behind us.

I had my eyes on a half marathon in October, which would have worked out pretty well with my schedule. A few of my friends were running it, so I figured, I could work up to it without too much trouble. I had also signed up for a challenging trail race in southern Indiana to encourage me to run while I was in Alaska (clearly that didn’t work out too well). The race was only a 10k, but it was a pain. It was crazy hilly and just generally kicked my butt. I would have been ok had I stopped there… but the next day, I decided to go for a 9 mile run to make sure I could commit to the half distance. By the end of it, I had some pretty intense IT band pain and I knew that Half Marathon was not going to happen. I had needed a rest day more than I knew.

The opportunity to overdo things again came this week. Currently, I am training for a Half Marathon, and although I have been told I am ready for it, in my mind, I’m not. I had an 11 mile long run scheduled for Sunday, but Indiana was hit by a massive blizzard. I tried to do the run, but only made it 5.56 miles before I had to call it off (the snow was up to my knees in some places). I figured I would just go for a do-over the next day, but when I woke up I was achey and sore from running through the piles of snow. Instead of going on the run, I did some yoga and really targeted my sore areas. The next day, I woke up feeling great. I went for my long run that morning feeling awesome! That extra rest had made a huge difference for me, both by keeping me healthy, and also by making my run simply more enjoyable.

The important thing is to really listen to your body. I know I always want to go hard, but pulling back is just as important (if not more). It was a hard lesson to learn, but I think I’ve got it now.

How many days per week do you run? Do you sometimes take rest days even when they are not scheduled? 

Training Update: Keeping up the Intensity!

Here we are, two weeks out from the A1A Half Marathon. And, I gotta say, this week was great! It was exactly what I needed to get myself back on track after being so sick. I am certainly not quite 100%, though. My husband says that I have been snoring sometimes at night, which is very unusual for me, and likely it’s due to still being a bit congested. I’m also definitely not as quick as I was before I had the flu, but that’s ok. I’m sure it’ll come back. In good news, I have also had absolutely no IT band pain, so I have concluded the pain last Wednesday was a fluke.

Beautiful view for my tuesday night run! It was a little chilly out, but worth it.
Beautiful view for my tuesday night run! It was a little chilly out, but worth it.

Tuesday’s run was especially awesome. I went along the river after work while my husband biked along side. It was really beautiful watching the sun set along the river. I went caving Saturday in Southern Indiana with the South Bend Adventure Club. We went into a wild cave (meaning no guided tours, you just get a key to the cave and go in) and spent about 4 hours underground. Caving has a way of showing you muscles you never knew you had, but it’s pretty freaking fun.

The caving group from the South Bend Adventure Club. Pretty awesome time!
The caving group from the South Bend Adventure Club. Pretty awesome time!

That brings us to Sunday… Sunday’s long run (attempt) was a bit of a fiasco. I woke up in the morning and decided that no blizzard was going to stop my long run (haha, I’m a native Floridian, what was I thinking?). Well, I only made it 5.5 miles AND I was miserable the whole time. I was nearly plowed over and ran through some white out conditions. I cut things short, so I am going to go out for my long run tomorrow after the snow settles (and if it doesn’t, I’ll be running at the gym).

See South Bend there tucked in the middle of that wonderful splash of blue? Yeah, I tried to do a long run through that. Didn't happen.
See South Bend there tucked in the middle of that wonderful splash of blue? Yeah, I tried to do a long run through that. Didn’t happen.

Training Summary for this week:

Monday: rest
Tuesday: Ran 5 miles at 9:30 pace along river + teaching hot yoga
Wednesday: Ran 3 miles at 10:00 pace with run group + yoga
Thursday: Yoga + rest
Friday: Tempo run: 1 mile warm up, 3 miles at 8:45 with 1 min break between each mile, 1 mile warm down + yoga
Saturday: Caving!
Sunday: Ran/walked/stomped through snow for 5.5 miles through a blizzard + yoga
Monday: Run ~11 miles for long run (either in the gym or outside if the weather is better)

Total: ~27 miles

Overall, despite the blizzard, I had a wonderful training week. My goals for next week are really to keep up the intensity from this past week. I can’t wait to finish up my training and get to the race!

Training for next week:

Tuesday: rest
Wednesday: 3-4 miles with running group + yoga
Thursday: Yoga + Bike (or rest)
Friday: Tempo run + yoga
Saturday: Cross Country Ski
Sunday: Run 9-10 miles for long run

Hope you had a great week too! And all you midwesterners, stay warm! 🙂