Boston marathon training week 2

Happy MLK day! We’re all off and hanging out for the day… one child has a birthday party to go to this afternoon, so at least there is something to break up the day since it’s too cold for much else!

Thanks for your support on my whining and complaining about winter! Feeling under the weather last week certainly didn’t help.  Slowly my energy is coming back.

My cold/cough turned into pink eye and I was a bit of a mess last week but I felt okay running.  I just had no extra gear.  I hung out in the 8:30- 10:00 range.

I heard a quote recently around the lines of “it’s better for training plan to be controlled by the runner than the runner to be controlled by the training plan” – in other words, listen to your body and be flexible.  That was me this week.

I scrapped all ‘workouts’ with any speed or intensity last week but still managed to get my planned miles in, so I’ll take it!

Monday :  7 easy (9- 9:30 range, on the treadmill) + push ups

Tuesday: 45 minute pool run

Wednesday: 10 easy, outside! (8:55 ave) + new gymnastics class for the little one

Thursday: 8.5  with friends, made the miles fly by (9:30 ave) with awesome 40 something temps… plus a leg strength workout later in the day

Friday: 4 easy, no watch to enjoy the 55 degree weather!!

Saturday: 14 miles, easy (9:03 ave)  It was chilly! But nice to get these done outside and with some company as I joined a group run.

Sunday:  rest

 

What I’m making this week…

  • chicken noodle soup
  • roasted chicken thighs with butternut squash puree
  • chickpea squash soup
  • most likely eggs or pizza one night

 

Have you ever had pink eye?

Did you have a mix of freezing and unseasonably warm days this week like us?

I’m linking up with Tricia and HoHo from The Weekly Wrap, with Jess Runs ATL and The Right Fits.

Winter running struggles

So you guys, I tend to be a super positive person.  I’m good at looking on the bright side and seeing the silver lining, but this has been a tough start to winter training!  How’s it going for you?

I’m only into week 2 of marathon training and I’m already having some doubts about how I’m going to survive this training cycle.  My current struggles:

  • So many treadmill miles! I just do not enjoy running in the bitter cold, and even if I did, there has been too much ice and snow to get outdoors the last two weeks.
  • My treadmill may be having issues: I’m pretty sure I messed something up… after playing with the incline for a hilly run last week, it doesn’t seem to have ever gone completely back down…
  • I’m battling a nasty cough! The girls had it off and on in the fall, and it finally hit me in the last week.  I haven’t been sick in a long time- and it’s usually a one day thing.  I’m so impatient waiting for it to go away!
  • I’ve had the energy to run, but no extra gears for speed- just slogging along.  I’m glad I can still run, but I want my energy back!

Okay, end of rant.  I don’t think a spring marathon is a good idea for me going forward- can you all help remind me of that the next time I think a spring full sounds like a good idea?!

Thankfully, yesterday and today have been gorgeous, in the 40’s! And this morning I met up with two running friends that I haven’t seen for several weeks, and that was amazing, of course. I needed this little break from the cold. Onward and upward!

When does your motivation drop off? Summer? Winter? Spring allergies?

Do you typically train through the winter, or use it as an off season?

 

Boston Training week 1 + Meal Planning

Hey! Hope you had a great week! We had ten days off, two days of school, and then a four day weekend due to two MORE snow days! Whew- it’s been fun, but it’s safe to say I am very ready for a normal routine again (and a quiet house to catch up on work!)

So this week kicked off Boston training… no more running for fun when I feel like it.  It’s time to put in the work! And I’m ready and excited.

My big goal has been the half in March- so my focus will be there to start, although I’m not putting all my eggs in that basket.  I just saw it’s the same week that I’ll be running the spring book fair which means on my feet all day, every day and totally exhausted.  That doesn’t mean it can’t be a pr day but it’s not ideal.  We’ll see how it all shakes out.

On to the training!

Sunday: rest, my favorite day to chill

Monday : 10 miles with 3 @ tempo, and 2 @ tempo

I felt so strong on this one! 3 mile warm up (8:25 ave), then 3 tempo (6:53, 6:48, 6:44), 2 minute rest, 2 at tempo (6:53, 6:45) and 2 mile cool down (8:10)

This is much faster than I expected to run- I thought 7:00 would be my half marathon effort but it felt good so I rolled with it.  That rarely happens!

Tuesday: 40 minute pool run

Wednesday: 9 easy with treadmill rolling ‘hills’ (8:45 ave)

Thursday: 45 easy spin + handstand practice and planks (snow day)

Friday: 13 miles, with 3 easy warm up and 10 @ 7:48 on the garage treadmill (snow day #2)

Saturday: 5 easy am miles (9:30 ave) + pm 20 minute strength (squats, lunges, bridges, calf raises, leg raises, push ups and core)

Sunday:  rest

Looking back at the week I just realized that every single run was on a treadmill, either at the gym or in the garage.  Yikes! I need to break that up and get outside.  Thankfully, this week is looking a tad warmer.

What I’m making this week…

  • quinoa chickpea salad for lunches
  • turkey butternut squash chili (I could eat this every day in the winter!)
  • roast salmon + roast broccoli/carrots/squash
  • leftover throw-it-in-a-wrap night

 

How did you kick off the first year of January?

What’s one winter meal you don’t get tired of?

I’m linking up with Tricia and HoHo from The Weekly Wrap, with Jess Runs ATL and The Right Fits.

Surviving the Treadmill

Has anyone else run more on the treadmill this last week or two than all of last winter?!

I can’t remember the last time we’ve had this many days of single digit temps in a row.  I am not a big fan of the treadmill but 20-25 degrees is about my limit to outdoor running.  I will occasionally run in colder temps, but I run because I enjoy it and honestly, there is not much I enjoy about a cold run.

So I’ve run the last 6 or so runs on the treadmill, with a long treadmill run coming up this weekend when the high is supposed to be 5!

Here are a few tips for surviving the treadmill:

Incline: To ensure that your workout is imitating an outdoor run, set the incline to 1%.  On easy runs, I like to throw in a few quarter mile repeats at 2 or 2.5% incline now and then for some gentle rolling hills, at a nice slow pace.

Music: I never use music outside, so music is one of the ‘treats’ of treadmill running for me.  I use playlists from fitness classes I teach so the music is high energy and motivating.

Cover the dashboard: I go crazy if I see the mileage creeping up slowly so it works best for me to throw a towel or running jacket over the top of the treadmill and only check in occasionally so I’m not thinking about how much further I have to go.

Interval runs: My favorite! I love how fast time flies by when I do interval workouts on the treadmill.  For a fartlek workout, this can be short bursts of speed on the chorus of a song with easy running between.  Or it can include a ‘track’ or tempo workout that would normally be done outside.  With the pace changing frequently, these runs pass quickly.

I shared a few treadmill workouts I like here.

Netflix: Like music, the distraction of catching up on a show is a perk to the treadmill.  This works best for easy runs.

What other tips do you have?

Are you more likely to brave the cold or head to the treadmill?

I’m linking up with  SuzRachelLora, and Debbie for Running Coaches Corner, and NicoleAnnmarieMichelle, and Jen for Wild Workout Wednesday and Marcia for Tuesdays on the Run.

Week of training + Meal Planning

Happy New Year!!

The last ten days have been a whirlwind of family events, travel to PA, hosting cousins and entertaining kids off school… it’s probably my favorite week of the year but also exhausting, and I have to admit, I am ready for school to start tomorrow!

I hope you had a great break! I spent some time yesterday mapping out a tentative training plan for the first few months of the year.

2017 ended on a high note with the pr at Richmond, but I expected to bounce back faster than I did.  The last few weeks I had quite a few workouts that felt harder than they should have, so last week I just listened to my body and ran what I felt like running any particular day. It was refreshing and I’m ready to dive in again.

Technically Boston training begins today!  Here’s last week’s review, the most miles I have run in the 6 weeks since the marathon:

Sunday: 5.35 miles in PA, easy but pushed the last mile to 7:30

Monday : Christmas at my in-laws!

Tuesday: 8 easy hilly miles, 8:44 ave

Wednesday: 40 minute pool run with a few intervals

Thursday: 6 easy treadmill miles (8:20 ave)

Friday: 11 miles with 400m x 10 inclines, comfortable pace (8:24 ave)

Saturday: 5 easy (treadmill again, 8:36 ave) + 25 easy pool run

Sunday:  rest

And yes, lots of treadmill miles this week: as anyone in the northeast knows, it has been COLD! And it’s going to continue for another week.  I hope this isn’t indicative of the winter ahead!

What I’m making this week…

  • quinoa minestrone (made this yesterday for lunches this week)
  • pork and sauerkraut today with friends (a PA Dutch tradition)
  • roasted whole chicken and potatoes + kale salad
  • leftover chicken in fajitas

 

 

I’m looking forward to kicking off the Runner’s Nutrition course tomorrow with many of you!! (If you missed it, email me: I have a promo code for the last few slots.)

How do you celebrate the New Year?

Have you been braving the cold or hitting the treadmill?

I’m linking up with Tricia and HoHo from The Weekly Wrap, with Jess Runs ATL and The Right Fits.

Running goals for 2018

It’s time for my favorite post of the year… writing out my goals!

I wanted all the prs when I wrote out my running goals for 2016, which led to a more season-specific plan for 2017.

Those of us who have been running and training for many years are closer to our plateau and really need to break it down to specific workouts for one goal at a time.

I’m really not sure yet what I want 2018 to look like.  I was inspired by Allie’s summary of her year– while racing didn’t pan out the way she expected, the focus on gratitude and living in the moment made it a pretty incredible year.  Obviously living with purpose and soaking it all up trumps a new pr with a miserable training experience!

So my overall goal is this: “if I feel like it”- to race when I really want to, train when I am really excited about a goal, and let a few more lazy Saturday mornings slip in.  I want to say yes to things that are meaningful and say no when I need to.

For running goals, I liked the season by season break down last year so I’m going to stick to that:
Winter

My focus for December and January is to maintain a good base and throw some short intervals back in.  I may or may not run the January 1 5k that I ran that year- honestly, it will probably depend on the weather!  It’s my year of “if I feel like it” after all.Verona final push

 

January- March

Like last year, I have a March half as a goal race.  Last year I finally hit my goal to break 1:35, and I hit 1:33 twice.  I’m not gunning for a big pr this year but if I shave off a little more time, great!

Spring

Boston! It will be interesting to be simultaneously training for the half and preparing for the marathon in April.  I can’t yet make a call on goals for this marathon.  It depends on how crazy our winter is! If I’m loving training and getting all my workouts in, then I might go for a strong race.

If it’s a brutal winter (like the last time I ran Boston!!) then I would rather not make it miserable with 18 milers on the treadmill when we have ice and blizzards.  Running Boston for fun is pretty amazing.

Summer

I’m scared by put my sub-20 goal out there again because it just hasn’t been happening but yeah, that’s still the goal.  Last year was my closest effort since kids with 20:21 in January, and then the summer was too hot to ‘race’ more 5ks.

 

Fall

This could change, but for now I think I will focus on the half next fall.  I’d love to run a ten miler, too, and there is a great one near us in October! I want to keep chipping away at that sub 1:30 goal.

I want to maintain a few days a week of strength training and a bit of pool running to prevent injuries.

Other life goals: I’m considering more school! Because I just love it and can’t stay away.  On the table: completing an RD degree, Masters in Exercise Physiology and Nutrition, Phd program OR the School of Applied Functional Medicine.  So many good options – I need to sift through it all.

So that’s the plan- I’m excited to dive into the new year!

What’s one of your goals for 2018?

Do you prefer time based goals or experience based goals?

I’m linking up with  SuzRachelLora, and Debbie for Running Coaches Corner, and NicoleAnnmarieMichelle, and Jen for Wild Workout Wednesday and Marcia for Tuesdays on the Run.

 

HIIT workouts for the running off season

Hey friends!

I love a good HIIT  (high intensity interval training) workout- all the benefits (and more) of an hour long run, but when I’m training for a race, they take the back seat.

HIIT definitely counts as a hard day, and to maximize progress it’s essential to alternate hard days with easy days.  Obviously, in half or full marathon training, I have plenty of ‘hard’ running days which leaves little room for this kind of workout.

Now that I’m taking December ‘off’ traditional training, I’m working some HIIT back into my routine and I’ve been teaching a HIIT based class Tuesday and Thursday evenings this fall. I wanted to share a few of my favorites that are especially beneficial for runners:

Full body HIIT

This one is a cardio based HIIT workout, working the quads, hamstrings, core and incorporating lateral movement with the skaters, key for runners who are always in the forward/back plane.

Upper body focused HIIT workout:

Use 5, 8 or 10 pound dumbbells for the overhead press, upper row, chest fly, hammer curl and plank with a row.

Lower body focused HIIT workout:

If you are combining HIIT with running, you want to be careful to keep your runs easy the day before and after to prevent injury.  Running sprints also counts as an HIIT workout!

There are so many benefits to including these workouts:

  • increases body’s ability to use oxygen (great for running fitness)
  • increases body’s ability to use insulin (great for weight maintenance)
  • improve muscle tone
  • boost metabolism
  • perfect when you are short on time (15-20 minutes is enough)

Do you mix up your workout routine throughout the year?

Do you incorporate HIIT training?

I’m linking up with  SuzRachelLora, and Debbie for Running Coaches Corner, and NicoleAnnmarieMichelle, and Jen for Wild Workout Wednesday and Marcia for Tuesdays on the Run.

Just a few more days to join the Runner’s Nutrition course at the early bird rate!

Week in review + Meal Plan

Umm… how is Christmas two weeks away?!

I have all the girl’s gifts done but need to get my act together for the rest of my list.  At least the snow is making it feel like December this year.

I am still in lazy mode… it’s hard to get out of bed on these cold, dark mornings but when I get out there, the running is starting to feel really good again.  I think I am ready to kick things up a notch and added my first speed workout on Sunday!

Monday : 6 mile progression run (8:48, 8:24, 7:55, 7:49, 7:39, 7:30)

Tuesday: upper body ST + 15 minute easy spin

Wednesday: 5 miles at 8:01 ave with 5 x 1 minute strides + 40 minute pool run

Thursday: 35 minute elliptical with 7 x 1 minute “sprints” + upper body ST

Friday: 6 miles easy run

Saturday: rest

Sunday:  7.5 run with intervals

(2 mile warm up, 400m x 5 at 6:00 pace, 500m x 2 @ 6:08, 600m @ 6:13, 800m @ 6:27, 1.5 cool down)

I kept recoveries short (60-90 seconds) so by the final 800m rep I was feeling it, but it was so fun to push the pace again! It’s been months since I did a VO2 max workout.

I’m considering the same January 1 5k I did last year… we’ll see!

There is also a new trail run in January where you see how many laps (about a 5k) you can do in 3 or 6 hours! I’m considering the 3 hour challenge but wondering if I’ll be up for it by then… 8 miles feels like a long run right now, ha! It’s funny how it’s all relative.

What I’m making this week…

I had my first flop in awhile yesterday… I made our usual favorite crock pot jambalaya but made the mistake of adding the rice in the middle instead of at the end.  I had no idea rice could fall apart and crumble so much! It still tasted okay, but the texture was so weird.

Other ideas for this week:

  • meatloaf (my husband has the best recipe! hoping he can make it) + roasted potatoes
  • spaghetti squash + rotisserie chicken (let’s see how many meals I can NOT cook this week!)
  • egg burritos
  • go out?

There is so much to do this time of year, my time to plan meals and prep food and cook is not a priority although it should be.  We’ll see how this week goes!

 

Have you ever done a race where you see how many laps you can do in a set time?

Do you maintain your usual food prep and cooking during the busy holiday season?

I’m linking up with Tricia and HoHo from The Weekly Wrap, with Jess Runs ATL and The Right Fits.

2017 Year in Review

The first week of December is already behind us! 2017 was a good year, with it’s shares of ups and downs but I’m happy with how many of my 2017 goals I hit.

In terms of racing, I hit my goals to pr: in the half marathon in the spring, full marathon this fall, and a post baby 5k pr… I still need to catch that lifetime 5k pr.

There were those 6 weeks of zero running this summer but it helped me put things in perspective, and I came back stronger for it.

So here’s a look at the year in review, linking up with Courtney.

Best race experience

I have to say the Richmond marathon.  Everything went smoothly with course logistics, and I felt great and was able to execute my race plan as I hoped to.

Plus I hit my 4-year goal of breaking 3:20 in the marathon- it doesn’t get better than that!

 

Best run

I had so much fun in Bethlehem in October at the Runner’s World festival.  Saturday morning I ran my fastest ever 20 miler, incorporating their 5k and 10k into it.  The weather was perfect and the courses have beautiful colors and views of Bethlehem.  My legs just wanted to GO – if only every run felt that good.

 

Best new piece of running gear

I think one of the best things was the switch to Altras shoes post injury this summer.  The neutral drop has helped my running form and I was able to train for the Richmond marathon without injury.  I also have some new running clothing on my wish list so we’ll see what Santa brings.

 

Best running advice you’ve received this year

Better to be under-trained than over-trained.

I had a lot of doubts going into the Richmond marathon, but with a few marathons behind me, I was able to pull off a pr on minimal training and without feeling burnt out.  Win win!

Most inspirational runner

Those last few miles when Shalane Flanagan pulled ahead to win the NYC Marathon were so exciting- and the image of her working hard yet looking so smooth has stuck with me.  I thought of her as I pushed for a strong finish in Richmond.  I was also inspired by two local guys that I trained with a lot this fall- they both had big goals and were doing the work to make it happen.

Favorite picture from a run or race this year

Running is fun!!

Race experience you would repeat in a heartbeat

Running the NYC half without my Garmin and still shaving a few minutes off my best time was probably my favorite race experience this year! Would I repeat it in a heartbeat? Maybe.  But those hills in Central park I could do without…  🙂

I’m ready to move on to new courses and have new race experiences in 2018.

If you could sum up your year in a couple of words what would they be?

Brave. Persistent. Determined.

 

How was 2017 for you?

PS- My Fit and Fueled nutrition course is almost half full already! I can’t wait to kick off January with this fun new program.

I’m linking up with  SuzRachelLora, and Debbie for Running Coaches Corner, and NicoleAnnmarieMichelle, and Jen for Wild Workout Wednesday.

Recovery week #3

I just hit 3 weeks post Richmond! This is probably the most patient I’ve ever been with my running post marathon, but it feels really good to take it easy and slowly get back to running.

I also had a sore ankle for the first week after the race – my guess is that sprinting down a steep hill for the final .1 after working for 26 miles stressed it a bit.  I’m still not sure if it was a mild sprain or a tendon issue, but it seems to be behind me.

Here’s what my third week of recovery looked like:

Monday : 4.75 easy run, other than one giant hill!

Tuesday: 40 minute pool run

Wednesday: 4 easy miles with hubs – I love that we both work from home on Wednesdays! Later I tacked on 30 push ups, 20 squats plus bridges, side plank and leg raises

Thursday: 30 minute easy spin + 30 minute legs/core rotating through each of these “stations”

Squats and squat variations: goblet squats, pendulum squats and squat+press

Lunges and variations: Back lunges, forward lunge with a twist, walking lunges

Glutes/hamstrings: one leg bridges, donkey kicks, squat thrusts

Core: leg raises, bicycles, side and front planks

Friday: 40 minute pool run + 15 minute swim

Saturday: 5 miles easy + 3-4 miles of walking NYC with one of my best childhood friends and her daughter

Sunday:  45 pool run

We had a fun weekend hosting friends, including our girls NYC trip on Saturday.  We basically ate our way through the city… the City Bakery, Cowgirl for lunch, Do (cookie dough!) and then the guys came in and we all met up for Koren BBQ and checking out the Christmas tree + Magnolia bakery.

The crowds were insane near the tree, but my 3yo’s face made it all worth it!

 

What I’m making lately…

Over the weekend, I was really enjoying cooking again. It’s more fun when there are people to cook for.  Sunday morning, I made a puffy German apple pancake and a veggie fritatta and carrot apple muffins for brunch.

And chicken fajitas with guacamole for lunch.

I still need to make my plan for this week but am leaning toward a chili with squash, salmon with the last of our brussel sprouts from the garden and maybe a lasagna.

Also, Trader Joe’s is killing me with all the holiday treats.  Peppermint is my favorite!!

Favorite holiday traditions? Have you been to NYC around Christmas?

What are your favorite seasonal treats?

I’m linking up with Tricia and HoHo from The Weekly Wrap, with Jess Runs ATL and The Right Fits and PattyErika, and Marcia for Tuesdays on the Run.