Month: November 2013
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“It’s very hard in the beginning to understand that the whole idea is not to beat the other runners. Eventually you learn that the competition is against the little voice inside you that wants you to quit.” – George Sheehan
When I ran track in high school, beating other runners was the motivation. That isn’t the case anymore and I like that. I participate in events because I want to run, not because I want to win. Obviously I still want to do well; the dynamic is just different now. I’m my own competition.
It has been that little voice inside me that’s kept me from sticking to running after high school. However, since starting this blog I find myself itching to run most days. Most days. I still have days where my couch looks comfier than my sneakers. 😉
How do you guys stay motivated?
Doing the same type of run everyday can become pretty mundane and could kill your already low motivation. You might find that after a while you aren’t getting any faster. Work some of these into your routine to keep your training fresh, and increase your speed and endurance!
Long-distance Run (LDR)- Naturally, when training for a race the LDR is a staple in your training routine. The actual distance of you LDR will probably vary depending on the length of your race. It is also likely increase gradually as your race nears. But it should be longer than your usual runs. Do this once a week.
Tempo Run– The tempo run was one of my favorite practices in high school. Basically, you run on increments with two different speeds. The longer increment is at a comfortable/moderate pace. The shorter one is a sprint. My coach used to have us run our usual pace for five minutes and then sprint for one minute.
Hills– Most races don’t have a completely flat route. There’s no fun in that. 😛 Hills are always going to challenge you, but you don’t need to feel like you’re going to pass out every time you finish one. I suggest incorporating hill repeats into your runs. Build your route around a pretty tough hill and place the hill in the middle. Run to it as your warm up, do 5-8 hill repeats (run up, jog down), and then jog back to your start to cool down.
Speed Workout– Take it to the track! Logging miles is important, but that will only help your speed so much. Try to do this once a week and mix it up. One week do 200m repeats. Try 400m repeats the next. Tempo runs can also count as your speed workout. I would just suggest lowering the time on the slower increment and jogging slowly in between sprints.
A few weeks ago, I ordered the Garmin Forerunner 10 GPS watch from Road Runner Sports. I had been looking for one that was small enough for my wrist (Most GPS watches are men’s watches) and received good reviews. What I found was that these watches were expensive! The watches with the consistently good ratings were around $200.
Then, in September I received a catalog from Road Runner Sports. While I was flipping through it, I came across a page full of watches and there it was! A bright green (LOVE) GPS watch from Garmin. Now, let me say that I am not very tech savvy, but I’d asked other runners and all of them told me to go for either Garmin or Polar. So when I saw this watch I immediately looked it up to read the reviews. And they were good! Aside from a view people saying that the GPS was buggy in the woods (I live in a city; I rarely even see trees outside of parks), customers were happy. What made it even better was that most of the reviews were from women, or husbands who had bought the watch for their wives. The watch came in two sizes and my lime green was the smaller size. 😀
After signing up for the half marathon, I decided to order the watch from Road Runner because I’m a VIP member and get 10% off of every purchase. The watch was reasonably priced at $129.99 and with my discount it was about $116.
Now, about the watch..
Features (via RRS):
- Large color options: Orange and Red: size: 4.55 cm x 5.72 cm x 1.57 cm; weight: 1.5 ounces (43 g)
- Small color options: Black/Silver, Green, Pink and Purple: size: 4.01 cm x 5.22 cm x 1.57 cm; weight: 1.3 ounces (36 g)
- Free software updates at Garmin Connect
- High sensitivity GPS receiver
- Records position, speed/pace, distance and calories
- Lap pace: average pace in the current lap
- Average pace: average pace for the duration of your current activity
- Lap speed: average speed in the current lap
- Average speed: average speed for the activity
- Easy-to-use, button operated
- Identifies personal records
- Virtual Pacer compares current pace to target
- Run/walk feature Auto Lap and Auto Pause
- Store and share workouts at GarminConnect.com
- Water resistant up to 50m Automatic time zone
- Built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery: up to 5 hours battery life in training mode, up to 5 weeks in power save mode
- Display: 55 x 31 pixels
- Temp range: -4F to 140F (-20C to 60C)
- Package includes: Forerunner 10 GPS, charging/data clip and manuals
***This watch does not monitor your heart rate.
What I think:
I’m really pleased with this watch. I’ve tested it out on runs that I had previously mapped out on Google and it is accurate. I like that it tells me my mile splits- I’ve always hating doing the math. The auto-pause is great for city runners, since we often get stopped by red lights or cars. It’s easy to upload everything to Garmin Connect and I find it very convenient for keeping track of what I do. Or what I don’t do, haha. My only gripe is that sometimes it takes the watch a minute to pick up my location. This happens mostly outside my job (I work near the Hudson River and I’m surrounded by tall buildings), but I’ve found that it works much faster if I walk up the block. I should have known; service at my job is pretty awful to begin with. Other than that, I think it’s exactly what I was looking for! 🙂
It’s been a week since my last training update and just as long since my last run. I thought the pain in my foot had gone away, but it came back a few minutes into my run last Friday. A few days ago I told you all to give cross training a go and decided to do the same. I haven’t mentioned this before, but I work at a gym as a lifeguard and swim instructor. My swimming background combined with the fact that I am always around a pool makes me more inclined to choose swimming for my cross training.
This week, when I’ve had gaps between swim lessons I was swimming laps. And during my lessons I tread a lot of water, which, if you didn’t know, is a GREAT workout.
How you work out in a pool depends on your swimming abilities. Swimming differs from running. A mile is considered a long distance in swimming. A mile in running is considered a warm-up by many. Don’t be discouraged if a few laps tires you out. Think about how tired a day at the pool or beach makes you. When you swim you are constantly fighting the resistance of the water. There is also the presence of water pressure on your chest that makes it harder to breathe. It gets easier though! (That’s something I repeat everyone I teach swimming to.)
Did I just go off on a tangent? Maybe. I’ll wrap up this up soon! 🙂 But first, I just want to give you guys an idea of what you could do in the pool.
Lets just say you have 30 minutes.
-Warm-up with 10 minutes of swimming. You can choose the stroke, but if you have knee problems avoid breaststroke.
-Move on to 10 minutes of kicking. If you have access to one, a kickboard will make this easier on you.
-Tread water for ten minutes. If you can’t tread, split the time between kicking and swimming.
Also, take breaks whenever you need one. And If you can’t swim well, avoid deep water or pools without lifeguards! 🙂
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“Running is the greatest metaphor for life, because you get out of it what you put into it.”
As you know, I’ve been some foot pain recently and it has been keeping me from running as much as I want to. Over the last week I’ve only ran one mile. I don’t know when my foot will feel better, but I know I have to do something in the meantime. So, I thought this would be a good time to talk about cross training.
Cross training means incorporating other types of workouts into your routine. For runners, cross training could be a means to strengthen the upper half of their bodies. Or it could be a way to avoid injuries. Cross training could even help improve speed and endurance.
Here are my suggestions:
Cycling: Cycling can help increase speed while giving your legs good workout. It’s not a weight bearing exercise, making it ideal for runners. Road cycling allows to you incorporate speed work, distance, and hills.
Yoga: I firmly believe that all athletes (and probably all people) should try yoga. However, runners in particular put a lot of strain on their bodies due to the high impact nature of running. Yoga is known for increases flexibility and range of motion. Yoga also increases blood circulation, which can help with recovery.
Weight/resistance training: Strong muscles help protect your bones. The right workout can help strengthen your entire body. Definitely my least favorite option, but that’s just me.
Swimming: Gives you a total body workout while giving your bones and joints a break. Swimming also does wonders for your endurance! It’s what I’ve been doing since my foot has been bothering me.
My first week back at running went pretty well. I ran three times and logged about 6 miles (I’m starting off SLOW guys). The last time I ran was on Saturday and while I felt good, the ball of my right foot did not. In high school, I would have ignored the pain and gone to practice everyday until I started limping. I’ve finally learned my lesson from that stress fracture sophomore year. 😀
The pain most likely isn’t from running; my guess is that it’s from wearing very high heels last week to attend a few birthday outings. (Including my own 23 birthday surprise!)
Anyway. I’ve been resting it as much as possible and I finally felt no pain yesterday. Which means I will be going for a run the second I post this update! My goal for today is 2.5 miles. And I’ll finally be trying out my Saucony Powergrid Cortana 2s from Road Runner Sports. I had to exchange the last pair for a half size bigger. Another lesson learned- size up when the website itself advises it. >.<
Have any of you started running? If not, tell me what’s keeping you from it!
Last year I participated in the Tough Mudder Tri-state 2012 area event, which raises money for the Wounded Warrior Project- an organization that helps soldiers wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan. Haven’t heard of it? Well, in a nutshell, it is a 10-12 mile obstacle course, designed by British Special Forces, that is built to test you- test your mental toughness, endurance, strength and your ability to use teamwork. You have to run, crawl, climb, swim and most likely endure a few electric shocks that can reach up to 10,000 volts. Tough Mudder describes itself as “probably the toughest event on the planet.” And to back that up, they expect roughly 30% of participants to not finish the course, due to severe injury, hypothermia, or dehydration.
So, who in their right mind voluntarily does an event like this? Thousands of people all over the world have participated in TM. Remember those four things I said TM tests? Add a little bit of reckless to that mix and you’ve got yourself a Tough Mudder. If you’re thinking that you can’t physically do something like this, I am telling you that you can. I did it. Yes, I finished! And I am a petite female- 5’4, 112 lbs.
Now let’s get to the fun stuff- the obstacles. I’m sure you’re wondering exactly what I had to do, right? Well, my TM event was 12 miles long, consisted of 22 obstacles and had more mud than I could have dreamed of. Below are the most memorable obstacles:
1. Arctic Enema- A dumpster full of dyed water and tons of ice. The temperature is kept around 35 degrees. Brrr!
2. Mud Mile- You basically climb up an endless stretch (probably a quarter mile) of slippery mud hills set about 8 ft apart. After each hill you slide down into knee-deep watery mud and trudge to the next hill.
3. Pirate’s Booty- Swim through a murky lake (about 40-50 yards long) and then climb a high cargo net to get out. I am a swimmer, so this was one of my favorites.
4. Electric Eel- The only obstacle I was a little wary of going into TM. You have to crawl through a few inches of water while electrical wires hang down. My size was an advantage in this one- I weaved through avoiding any shocks! My teammates weren’t so lucky.
5. Hangin’ Tough- Four rings spread so far apart that you had to swing to the next one. I fell off the first ring and had to swim across.
6. Peg Legs- Different size tree trunks stuck in mud and water. They were covered in slippery mud and spaced a few feet apart. Dangerous! Saw some bad falls.
7. Funky Monkey- Monkey bars over water that have been greased with butter that start on an incline and go to a decline halfway. I swam.
8. Walk the Plank- 15 ft jump into 12 ft of murky water. Fun!
9. Trench Warfare- A pitch black tunnel that I had to crawl through. You have to feel around because you cannot see a thing. It is a small space so if you are bigger than me, you would have to drag your lower body.
10. The Berlin Walls #2- Yes, there were two sets of high walls that had to be climbed. But round two were near the end and had 12 ft walls that were caked in mud. Teamwork is a must. Easily my least favorite obstacle!
11. Everest- A half pipe covered in cooking spray and mud. Sprint up and hope someone grabs your arms to help you up- you need help with this one. This was another favorite and not because it was fun. While at the top I saw a wounded warrior, who did TM in a wheelchair, make it up Everest with the help of his amazing team. It was the most inspiring thing I have ever witnessed. That is what TM is all about.
12. Electroshock Therapy- Because one electrically charged obstacle isn’t enough, as your last obstacle you go through a field of wires dangling above mud. You can’t run through. Once again, I maneuvered through shock free, and again my teammates were not so lucky.
At the end I was cold, exhausted, and incredibly excited. I had 28 bruises and scraped up legs and forearms. My sneakers never made it home with me. And yet, my first TM will remain one of my favorite memories. I loved the aspect of teamwork and the camaraderie among strangers. I love the cause. There was a team whose t-shirts read “fighting for those who fight for us.” That really is what it’s all about, serving the brave men and women who fight for our country in any way we can.