Category Archives: Training

Weekly Wrap Up 2

Another week, a lot of running again. I had another very solid week of training. All the work I’m doing is paying off and I’m feeling really good.

Thursday’s tempo run was the best in a long, long time. I ran 8 total with 3 at tempo, all of them were 7:4X and the last few miles were all half marathon goal pace. The best part is I felt fine.

My long run this week was a little rough. I’m having a hard time balancing running with my friends who are just barely faster than I am and running alone to run at my pace. I like that my LRs are slightly faster but I also think they’re beating me up a bit. Especially this week because we ran all rolling hills. I love running with them and it’s so fun but I need to consider my own training too.

Miles run: 55
Long Run: 16, 8:52 avg
Workouts 3/4 miles and a tempo run
Feeling mentally? Really strong and happy with my progress
Yoga? 4 days of vinyasa flow
Feeling physically? Sore but not injured
Obeying the eating rules? Ummm I fell off the wagon big time on the sugar. WAY too much chocolate. I had my reasons, but still. Need to do better. That said, I ate tons of veggies this week and did a really good job balancing nutrients.
Sleeping? Got lots!

This week promises more training fun and then I get to cut it back abit. Can’t wait for that!

Switching gears to neutral

About two months ago I was having terrible IT band problems. Actually, I’ve always had IT issues but I’ve been able to keep it at bay with regular stretching, ART and tons and tons of rolling. It’s not a big deal but from time to time it gets really painful. The last time I went to ART I mentioned that my team had switched from Nike to Asics and that I was running in Asics’ stability shoe. He looked at me sideways, had me do some exercises and pronounced me a neutral runner.

Over the last few years as I’ve become a more efficient runner my gait has straightened out, my feet have strengthened and I don’t need all the structure and support I used to. So, the shoes were unnaturally forcing my feet out which was causing IT issues. So… I headed over to Fleet Feet and got the Asics Cumulus. The Cumulus has a bit of support but it is certainly a neutral shoe.

The first couple of times I ran in them I could tell a difference. It felt like my strike was more square on the pavement and it just felt more natural. That said, the first couple of weeks my feet were really sore. To the point where I thought I had plantar fascitis. As I adjusted to new shoes and stride I realized that my calves were really tight which was causing the foot pain. As long as I roll my legs regularly, I’m fine.

Since I’ve switched my IT band pain is basically completely gone. They still get appropriately sore and require a bit of rolling but they no longer feel injured or forced out of their natural pattern. And my glutes are a lot looser, too. When I run fast it feels like not having structure allows my legs and feet to spring into action faster and I’m in better alignment- more square. My shoulders, hips and legs are forming that straight line you’re always told to make.

I think my transition is due to a few things. As I’ve gotten faster, my gait is more efficient and therefore requires less outside stability. I also think that doing so much yoga barefoot has strengthened both my core and my arches which is helpful when running. Like I always say, everything goes back to the core strength.

I don’t think everyone running in stability shoes should run out and switch to a netural shoe. In fact, probably most shouldn’t. However, if you’ve been running awhile or have a persistent ache or nag don’t hesitate to get re-fit or to ask a second opinion. Just like your body isn’t always the same, your feet my change too. You should always be your own biggest advocate. Yes, seek the opinion of experts but you know your own body best.

Hawaii!

Sorry for the whole week without blogging… don’t hate me, but I was in Maui and I am now extremely tan. We didn’t do a ton… lots of snorkeling and beach time and um, eating but it was a good time. After basically ignoring my family for a year it was nice to spend an uninterrupted week with them.

Running in Hawaii was kind of tough actually. After acclimating to temps in the 4os running in the 8os with high humidity on hills was pretty hard! I intentionally planned this week to be a cut back week and aimed for no more than 4o miles. This way I wouldn’t be stressed about running tons if there was something else I wanted to do and my legs would get a break.

I ended up running just about everyday I was there and had a blast. I forgot how much I enjoy rolling hills and while it was too hot, and a couple of days too rainy, to do speed work I got some great runs in. And my legs, heart and mind feel rested and refreshed. And while I’ve given myself some pretty stringent rules about eating, I let them mostly go while on vacation. And it was just fine!

Also, major props to those of you who run in heat and humidity! It actually makes it hard to breathe- I had no idea. So thick in the air!

Below are some photos from the trip. Sadly it’s now back to reality, back to crazy training and time to get serious!

Clearly not obeying my no booze rule

Just a few post run Cheerios

Getting there…

Resuming speed work after a few months break hasn’t been the easiest thing. Things that used to feel really easy are now somewhat difficult and it’s frustrating to work to get to where I was instead of finding myself achieving new speeds. The good news is that there is light at the end of the tunnel and I’m seeing steady improvements each week. I am by no means “there” but I’m on my way.

This morning I opted for 5 mins hard with 2 min rest/jogging four times with 2 miles warm up and cool down. So 8 miles. It was foggy and disgusting out, but I did eventually get out the door. We get this terrible bone chilling, close to the ground fog that will just freeze you out! I should probably, you know, look in to gloves and tights but I just hate winter.

Annnnyway… 5 mins hard is about a 12oo for me- maybe a little longer so it’s a good workout. The first repeat came in a 7:42 pace, the second at 7:41, the third at 7:35 and the last at 7:29. I think we’d call that a negative split. I think I could have done the overall workout harder, but I’m pretty satisfied with those splits. I haven’t run in the 7:3X range in quite some time and to me, it’s evidence that my top end speed is starting to return. Good news indeed. I think I’m also remembering the joy of suffering and how good it feels when I’m done!

Having a marathon on the schedule is absolutely helpful to getting the work done. I was NOT in the mood to run hard this morning. It was dark and cold and my bed is really warm and cozy. But… knowing there’s a bigger picture and a goal and something looming over me is enough to get me out the door.

Food Progress: To keep myself accountable I’m going to tell you how I’m doing on my goals… So far, so good! No booze since um, Saturday [what a victory since it’s… Tuesday but I digress], I’ve stayed away from the refined sugar despite a few opportunities to chow down on cookies and the like and I’m doing a good job eating balanced meals with fruits and veggies. I’m back on a normal work schedule which is helping tremendously- not working until 8pm and having the ability to go to the grocery store, etc. is massively helpful. I was going to track my calories but I don’t actually think that’s necessary. My little rules should be more than adequate to keep me on track.

It’s official!

Well, it’s official. I’m running the Eugene Marathon. Santa wrapped up my entry and put it under the tree, so I am totally committed. Yikes…

I was actually in Eugene for 5 days over Christmas and did a ton of running. There is something about that town that makes me run like the wind. I had a couple of really lovely easy runs, did a fartlek workout that went really well and ran 15 miles along the river and Pre’s trail.

I can honestly say it was the best long run I’ve had in a really long time. I ran 15 miles at the pace I ran CIM last year and it felt really easy. In fact, I wanted to run slower but my legs weren’t cooperating. I don’t know if it was al the carbs I ate at Christmas dinner, the fabulous weather or what, but it felt great and was a huge confidence booster. Plus, a good chunk of where I ran will be during the marathon so that’s fun!

It was kind of amazing… It was about 47 degrees and the sun came out for the second half of my run. My favorite running weather. I forgot gu so I grabbed some gummi bears at the gas station and you know what? I think they may have worked better for me than gels. I’m actually going to give it a go again… I felt really springy and sugary after eating them!

This morning I took on mile repeats which might be my least favorite workout in the world but the are really efficient and a good booty buster. The first two went fabulous well and came in at around 7:42. I slowed down a bit on the second two and it the felt really hard but I ended the fourth repeat dry heaving so I think it’s safe to say I pushed myself…

After a few solid weeks of training I can say that it really feels good to be back at it. Running easy was a rut that was safe and easy to stay in, but at the end of the day, it isn’t enough for me. I know I haven’t reached my full potential and I’m excited to have a goal race to shoot for. Now I just need to clean up the eating and I’ll be set to go!

Tomorrow I’ll run easy and Thursday will be more fartleks… Then next week it’s back to really structured, intense training. Monk style!

Feeling Super Hardcore

Well, this week I ran in all kinds of freaking weather. Sub freezing temps? Yep. Snow? Yep. Wind and rain? Yep! Good, normal weather? Nope!

I had fun running in DC. I ran all around the ‘burbs in Virginia and over into Georgetown, around Teddy Roosevelt Island and just had fun exploring. When I’m there I always take the metro everywhere so it was fun seeing how everything is connected above ground! I had big plans to do my long run on Friday and do do the National Mall/Monuments/Georgetown run but after the snow the roads were icy and I’m from CA- I don’t do that. Next trip.

I was actually surprised how well I did running outside in the cold weather. One of the days the temps were in the teens and I thought I’d die but surprisingly I felt fine the whole time. On Thursday it started snowing during my run and despite a frozen ponytail I felt fine the entire time. Maybe I’m not such a princess afterall! I realized you just have to cover your ears, hands and ankles and it’s fine. Oh and wear layers. It really is about the layers.

It also made me appreciate California. I ran on the treadmill two days I was there because I don’t do below zero temps and the ice on my last day was scary. I never have to run on the treadmill here- even in the worst storms it’s possible and safe to run outdoors.

I returned home to California after a horrific flight [well, ok the flight was fine but I was delayed 7 hours and stuck in Dulles and arrived home at 7am instead of 11pm] to wind and tons of rain. After sleeping most of the day away on Saturday I went for a little 6 mile jog to loosen myself up and work off all the holiday-ness I’ve been eating. Running in the rain felt shockingly warm after DC and it felt great to move a bit.

This morning I ran 13 miles through a freaking downpour. And I mean downpour. I took a page out of my own sightseeing book and decided to run through the “touristy” parts of Sac [to be clear, our stuff isn’t THAT cool]. I ran through old town, to the train museum which is apparently world class, around the Capitol and through midtown. Although it’s just a couple miles from my house I’ve never really done that. The rain was fine… once you’re wet, you’re wet but the wind was not okay. At one point the gusts were so intense that it blew my hat off my head!!!

I didn’t really do any speed work this week but I think I ended up in the neighborhood of 53 miles and considering I was across the country and back on top of all the various weather, I’ll take it!

This week I’ll do what I can on the speed work front but I have more travel planned so we’ll see… But once the first of the year hits we are in full blown, go for broke hardcore marathon mode. No skipping workouts!

I said brrrr, it’s cold in here…

I’m in DC this week messing around, seeing friends and enduring 19-degree weather. FYI if you’re a Californian that’s really, really cold. Like, really cold. It was BELOW ZERO with wind chill when I got off the plane. I don’t even know what to do about that.

So running around here means dodging traffic, wearing a ton of layers and gloves and a hat and hoping my cheeks don’t freeze off. It’s pretty fun running down the National Mall, around monuments an through Georgetown but oy, so so cold!

I haven’t done any kind of speed work because I’m afraid I’ll hit an ice patch and go flying but I’m getting my miles in. It was also nice running today and getting admiration of the locals. Makes me feel like less of a precious Californian. Even though I am. And that’s A-OK with me!

Running somewhere new always feels fresh and it’s a great way to explore the city, but it also makes you appreciate home and the familiarity of my routes there.

I’ll try and take some photos on my run but I’m discovering that iphone + gloves = you drop it a LOT so no promises!

Hanging out in front of the Capitol