Wineglass Training Update (T-10) + Slowing Down

IMG_1820

After months of falling off the early morning running wagon, I am happy to be back on! Last week was a pretty successful week of getting up when my alarm went off – most days around 5am (two days as early as 4:30am) – and finishing my runs before 7/8am. My weekly mileage is slowly starting to rise again – I had back-to-back 60+ mile weeks and came out feeling rested and ready for more training. I think a HUGE part of that is how much easier I am taking easy runs these days. I don’t know what it is, but it’s like a lightbulb finally went off in my head. And if there was a way to smack my younger self upside the head, I would. Looking back on the last several years of training, I know that I was running too fast on my easy days. I can remember coming back from an easy/recovery run and feeling wiped. Ummm…you shouldn’t be wiped after an easy run. Lately, I’m focusing on heart rate or just perceived effort and I wear no watch most days (if I want the HR data, I wear it). I can tell you that it’s Continue Reading →

Orange Mud HydraQuiver Vest Pack 1 Review!

orange mud

After writing this post a few weeks ago, I was surprised at how many of you are/were in the same boat as me – struggling to find the right hydration source for these sweltering summer runs. We don’t want to hold a bottle, don’t want to have to stop every few miles to drink from a bottle either along course or by our home and hadn’t had luck with belts. Well, I tried a new hydration system this weekend – the Orange Mud.Vest Pack 1 – and am already hooked. First, let me say that I owe a HUGE thanks to Cheri for recommending it to me. I looked into every single recommendation that was mentioned in the comments – and actually got a couple that I will be testing out to see what works best for me. But rather than wait until I try them all out to do one massive review, I wanted to share my initial thoughts on the Orange Mud pack – I feel that after a 16 mile run in 80+ degree weather, you know one way or the other if the vest is going to work! The Orange Mud markets it’s products as “no bounce, ultralight Continue Reading →

Going from 3:21->3:15

photo (33)

As most runners do, I like to go back and take note of things that worked during the previous training cycle as well as highlight some things I plan to improve upon or change. For this post, I am focusing on things I changed which seemed to work – and which ultimately helped me run my strongest and most-consistent marathon to date. (Note: Even though my PR went from 3:21 to 3:15, the PR was from a few years of training so some of these changes were over a period of time.) Garmin-free as much as possible. This may not work for a lot of runners – but for me, it worked wonders. My problem has always been that I push TOO HARD when I should be taking it easy. Almost every single easy or recovery run this cycle were done sans GPS (unless I was on treadmill). This allowed me to honor the true purpose of “easy” days. Easy-paced days should be just that – easy. Pace is secondary to effort. And so in order to focus on effort and not get distracted by pace, I left the watch at home and either ran routes where I was familiar wih Continue Reading →

Homemade Tomato Sauce

tomato sauce

I’ve never been one to eat out constantly – it’s not that I don’t enjoy the food or the “time-off” from cooking – but I much prefer to know what’s in the food I am eating. I find that I feel much more bloated and just “blah” after a meal out at a restaurant than I would if I ate a similar meal at home. But I also really love cooking. I credit most of that to my mom who cooked six nights a week for us when we were growing up. Dinner was always a time to sit down at the table, as a family of six and talk about the day. I’m thankful that the boys are such great eaters – I don’t ever have to make them something special when we eat – I cook one thing and we all eat it. One of my go-tos is a made-from-scratch tomato sauce that takes ~30 minutes. There’s nothing fancy about it – but it’s a meal that my little guys LOVE – and it’s light and easy enough on my stomach to eat the night before long runs. I can also use it on a variety of main Continue Reading →

22 Miler: Try, Try Again

route

This week’s long run ended on a high note. I got the mileage in that was on the training calendar – but more importantly, walked away with some confidence (physical and mental) that hopefully will help me in three short weeks. But it was pretty close to being a wash. My plan was a 22 mile dress rehearsal. Practice eating beforehand. Practice fueling and water during run. Wear clothing I plan to wear for race day. Basically do everything I can to simulate race morning – to see how I feel and make sure the food choices don’t upset my stomach. The morning started off great – some coffee and a quick stop at the local bagel store. It was 16 degrees (with windchill) and I’m still battling a hacking cough, congestion and cold so I decided it was going to be a treadmill run. Plus, I’m over winter and the thought of 3+ hours in the freezing cold (and wind) sounded absolutely awful to me. By 9:30am, I was on the treadmill ready to watch the Hunger Games while mindlessly logging the miles. My legs were shot though. I did a lower-body strength workout on Friday and could barely Continue Reading →

Race Week Tips

photo (39)

Marathon training plans range can range from 12-18 weeks long (or more). But in my opinion, the most important week of training is the week with the least amount of training – race week. Occasionally missing a run during a training cycle or having an off week in training will likely have minimal impact on your race performance. But running too fast or too long, not getting enough sleep or not focusing on things like nutrition and hydration can have a huge effect on your performance on race day. We just entered the window for spring marathons (check out Daily Burn’s article on the Top 15 Spring Marathons in the US). With that comes some peak mileage, the taper and then race week. Race week always means several key things for me. Nutrition, Hydration, Sleep, Rest, Trust. I try to focus on just these five things – otherwise I feel overwhelmed, confused and unorganized. – Nutrition: Think plain, simple, light. Plan your meals this way and your stomach will thank you. I typically aim for carb-dense foods in the days leading up to the race and then add some protein the night before. But everything is very plain – nothing loaded Continue Reading →

Remaining Optimistic

sunrise

Well, it’s been a while since I did a training update. The #1 reason is because there hasn’t been a whole lot of training going on. I feel like I jinxed myself when I was talking about how great training was going. No less than two weeks ago, I started thinking about how I haven’t missed a single long run this training cycle – something that has actually never happened before. And then it happened. #ugh But I’m getting ahead of myself. I wrote on Tuesday that I was feeling a hundred times better and ready to jump back into training. Monday’s run was great – 12 miles with lots of hill repeats. I woke up Tuesday and felt a bit achy and just blah so I put off my run until the afternoon. It was warm (55) but windy as heck – 25-30 mph winds. I ran 8 miles and almost immediately upon finishing, knew that something was wrong. I had a pounding headache and just felt fatigued – not the way I normally feel after 8 easy-paced miles. My husband left on a business trip for the week shortly after I returned from that run and I welcomed Continue Reading →

How To Prepare For A Hilly Race

photo (37)

Six years ago, I was training for my first Boston Marathon. I was incorporating tempos, intervals and long runs into my 40-50 mile weeks (I peaked at 55 miles). The only missing component were the hills. At the time, I was stationed in Baghdad, Iraq – and while I was fortunate enough to be on the largest American base in the country (which afforded me miles and miles of road to run on!), it was flat as a pancake. There was one hill (man-made) called “Signal Hill” which US forces used for all the long-range signal equipment. Signal Hill had a paved road that was roughly .3 miles uphill (steep uphill!). And at two points going up the hill, there were paved roads around the hill. This hill became my best friend. Rather than do hill repeats once a week, I made it a point to run up that hill at least once each run – and most runs 2-3x. It didn’t matter if it was an easy run, recovery run or long run – I was running up and down that hill. Fast forward to the 2009 Boston Marathon. My husband was running beside me around mile 19-20. I had Continue Reading →

Unplanned Easy Week

sisters

Each marathon training cycle has it’s ups and downs. There are good weeks, bad weeks. Great runs, not-so-great runs. It’s all part of a normal, healthy training cycle. I’d like to think that I push myself pretty hard on my “on” days – intervals, tempos, long runs. I’ve been seeing some good improvement with paces, endurance and recovery times.   But the last few weeks have been different. I have had no desire, energy or motivation to push when I reached the point in workouts where things get tough. And I’ve just quit. Gotten off the treadmill, hit “stop” on my garmin. And called it a day. It started the week we were in Florida during my 3×2 workout. I chalked it up to being tired from vacation and all the walking around we were doing in Disney. Then, I had a great 1 mile race that weekend and felt like I was ready to go full-force the last six weeks of Boston training. I had a solid week of training – logged the planned miles, hit the paces in workouts and felt good. read more

Boston Marathon Training (T-8, T-7)

IMG_4071

Happy Wednesday!! You are in for a treat today – you get TWO weeks of training updates! I know – almost too much to handle =) But before I get into my recent training, I wanted to share some news from Garmin (not sponsored – just a big fan of the brand and the people within the company). They have launched new Garmin Fitness social media channels on Twitter, Google+ and Instagram! Facebook is soon to follow. From their website: We want to hear and see pictures of how you crushed a daily step goal, or conquered a 20-mile training run. We want you to share your struggles and triumphs. We want to hear about how you are changing your life by going that extra mile. Our channels will feature content from YOU! Share your images and tag them with @GarminFitness or use hashtag #UpForMore to be featured. @GarminFitness – Twitter Garmin Fitness – Google+ @GarminFitness – Instagram Garmin Fitness – Facebook Also, to celebrate the new fitness channels, Garmin will be giving away one Vivosmart a day (for the next week) on their Instagram page. Go check it out! ————— read more

The Fastest Mile of My Life!

photo 1 (36)

I went outside my comfort zone yesterday and raced a mile (for the first time ever!). The Forest Avenue Mile (on Staten Island) has been a race that I have planned to run the last few years, but when the time comes, I wimp out or make excuses as to why it’s not the right time (usually because it’s smack dab in the middle of spring marathon training). My coach and I decided about two months ago that this would be one of the two races I ran prior to Boston Marathon. Period. Boston training has gone really well (knock on wood) and I felt like a “down” week in mileage (both total and long run) might be a good thing before the last final push prior Marathon Monday. I did a mini-taper for this race. Regular speedwork on Wednesday, normal planned mileage for Thursday and then reduced mileage for Friday (6-7 miles) and Saturday (4-5 miles). So, onto the race. It started at 12:10pm which made it a bit tricky for me in regards to fueling beforehand. I ate my usual breakfast early (3 eggs with brussel sprouts, onions and tomatoes) and then a banana with almond butter late Continue Reading →

The Treadmill Incline Debate

The winter months usually go hand in hand with the treadmill incline debate. A lot of runners training for spring races are forced to their treadmills because of snow, ice or freezing temperatures – and understandably, begin questioning the ability of the treadmill to train them properly for their goal race. There are so many schools of thought on the treadmill incline. I know plenty of successful, strong runners who use either 0%, .5% or 1% (or more) when they are on the treadmill. But which is correct and what works best? Short answer – I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer. I think you need to find what works for you and what you are comfortable with. Each has perfectly reasonable arguments – both for and against. And I have tried all three – when I first started running, I never used the incline. A couple of years ago, I started using .5% incline for all of my runs and then after Potomac in November, I bumped it up to 1%. I’ve been getting asked a lot lately about the incline I use for treadmill running (especially for my workouts) so wanted to share both my reasoning for Continue Reading →

Boston Marathon Training (T-10)

boston week 10-3

Another successful week of Boston training is behind me…just 10 short weeks until Marathon Monday. Last week was my first 60+ mile week in over three months! The last time I was at/over 60 miles was October 20-26! After that week began a small taper for NYC Marathon, recovery from Marathon (~1 week), taper for Potomac River Run Marathon, recovery from marathon (2-3 weeks), taper for Honolulu, flu and tooth problems. I also hit 18 miles for the long run – longest long run in training since October 25. I’m definitely at the point in the training cycle where I feel like there is some good momentum behind me. I’ve had some kick-a$$ speed workouts and long runs have been (knock on wood) enjoyable and strong. As I mentioned in the post last week about mile repeats, my husband was away for work from Sunday through Thursday night. My parents are usually around and willing to watch the boys so I can sneak a run in outside – but my dad is visiting his mom down in Florida and my mom has had her hands full with my great-aunt who needed surgery. So understandably, I was on my own for Continue Reading →

Winter Running

photo (94)

It was 15 degrees (with windchill) for this past weekend’s “long run” (12 miles) which may make it the coldest weather I’ve ever run in. I realize that many runners routinely run in temperatures most colder, but passing up the treadmill for the cold is something fairly new to me. In years past, anything under 25 would be a no-brainer treadmill run. I don’t know if it is a mental shift, a change in clothes from previous years, my weaning motivation to run on the treadmill or a combination of all of the above. But, I’m pretty pleased with the minimal amount of treadmill running I’ve done the last few weeks (note: I haven’t run that much to begin with, but when I have run, most of the time I’ve been outside).And it’s been more than just getting the runs in outside – I’ve actually been enjoying them along the way – which has been the most surprising part of the whole thing. Since the only really tangible change I’ve made is my clothing, I wanted to share what I’ve done in case you are looking to run more in the cold or need some ideas for winter running clothing Continue Reading →

Getting Back Into the Swing of Things

photo (93)

I ran six straight days last week. I feel like I need to celebrate in some way – you’d have to go back all the way to the beginning of December to find a stretch of running that long. The last few weeks have been frustrating. I returned from Hawaii and the Honolulu Marathon on top of the world. It was a whirlwind few days and I came home ready for Christmas, my in-laws visiting and some hard training – something I hadn’t done since before Potomac a month prior. Running felt WAY better post-marathon (Potomac Marathon) than I ever remember it feeling. But then I missed 8 straight days of running because of the flu (what my surgeon now thinks was actually the start of the infection in my gums). Not the end of the world. I’ve missed some longer stretches of running before and know that it doesn’t really make a noticeable difference. After a few runs, I felt like I was getting my mojo back. And then I missed another 7 straight days of running from the tooth/gum infection. read more

What Strength Exercises Should Runners Do?

IMG_8672

As I mentioned in my goal post a couple of weeks ago, I’ve been incorporating some strength work into my weekly routine for about 6-7 weeks now. I feel a difference – in literally every single run. Speedwork has been faster, long runs feel more comfortable and easy runs have been effortless (I have been running garmin-free for these so not sure about paces). It’s likely due to a few factors (reducing processed foods and sweets) but one of them is definitely the strength work that is now a regular addition to my weekly training plan. Below are a few of my favorite moves – I will preface this all by saying that I am not an expert, certified trainer or anything along those lines. So there may be more efficient moves that I can be doing or maybe I should be doing more reps, less weight – but these seem to be working for me. I tried to explain them as best I could as well! I’ve also been hesitant to share them because regardless of how I feel in training, the true test of whether strength work is paying off will come on race day. But I don’t Continue Reading →

Another Week Off From Running + Support New Runners

photo (87)

I haven’t run since Saturday. This marks the 2nd longest non-running streak I have had in the last several years (with the longest being just a few weeks ago from the flu). I’m on a roll lately – just not rolling the way I would like. I was starting to regain my energy in the days after the flu, but the whole next week, was back to how I felt the week before. I was running a low fever for much of the week and could barely drag myself out of bed at 7am (big difference from normal 4:30am wakeups) despite going to bed by 10pm. Most of my runs were at night because I felt better as the day went on. Saturday was much the same and after postponing the long run until the afternoon, managed just 3.5 miles before I called it quits and stopped at my sister’s house. I felt so tired despite running over 35+ seconds (per mile) slower than usual for my long run pace. I was in the car Sunday morning with my husband and boys when my tooth literally popped out of my mouth. It was from a tooth that had root canal last Continue Reading →

2015 Goals – Focusing on the Process

photo (86)

It’s that time of year again when we all come up with goals (or resolutions or dreams or whatever you call them!) for the new year. In recent years, I came up with a whole laundry list of goals. I admit that some of it was blog filler – two years ago, I shared my 13 goals for 2013 . While it was fun to come up with all those goals, the reality is that I didn’t follow through on most of them. There were too many and too varied for me to really focus on ALL of them during the year – and most of them didn’t really mean that much to me. This year, I am changing my approach. Instead of having very detailed endstate goals (like run 3:10 in the marathon or sub-1:30 for the half – which I still REALLY want to do), I am focusing on the process. The endstate is still to PR, but I believe that it will come naturally as a result of sticking to these goals/resolutions. 1. Embrace Winter. Each winter I run (no pun intended) to the treadmill at the first signs of cold, crappy weather. And while I know that you Continue Reading →

When You DON’T Regret Skipping a Run

photo (77)

I’m hosting an awesome giveaway for a Garmin Vivosmart – courtesy of Garmin – on Instagram! ——————————— After returning from Honolulu and running the marathon with my sister, I was ready to jump back into training. I took the following day off (which was a complete travel day) and began running on Tuesday (4 miles). I continued with nothing but easy-paced 8 milers the rest of the week – one day had 10×1 min on, 1 min off pickups in the middle. I went to bed Friday night excited and to resume long runs – coach had 19-20 on the training plan for me and physically, I felt ready. I woke up Saturday morning and from the moment my eyes opened, knew something was off. My head was aching and I felt like I was coming down with something. After a cup of coffee, I still didn’t feel any better and made the decision to skip the run for the day. Part of me wanted to just suck it up and go. I kept hearing various phrases and inspirational images that are often thrown around social media: The only run you regret is the one you don’t go on I never Continue Reading →

Potomac River Run Marathon Race Recap

photo 2 (20)

When I first started this blog, I had “only” run three marathons – all of which had been PRs and great experiences. The next handful of marathons I ran (after sharing my training here) were a bust – DNF, starting too fast or being incredibly unhappy with the results. I found I was putting too much pressure on myself and was focused on running a specific time at that moment. I wasn’t looking ahead nor was I viewing racing marathons as a process. Instead it was a kind of “do or die” mentality each time I got ready to race. It can be extremely disheartening if you are focused on just one race and things don’t go as planned. Overall, Sunday was a success. I enjoyed the entire experience and was excited and anxious to race as race day approached rather than having that fear and stress that previous races brought me. I executed a lot of things well on Sunday – fueling, pacing, running without music – but I would be lying if I didn’t share that there is a part of me that is slightly disappointed. I trained hard for several months and both my coach and I feel Continue Reading →