Back to Basics

Well, it’s a new month, so it’s back to running and working out. While I enjoyed coming home to relax on the couch and catch up on the DVR, I’m ready to get back out there and pound the pavement. I have to admit, I’m a little nervous to come back. After taking such a long time off, I know I’m way out of shape and worry what the first couple weeks will be like. Luckily, I can usually bounce back quickly, but it isn’t pretty.

If I haven’t hinted at it enough, my spring goal race is the Medina Half Marathon. Being part of MCRR, this is our baby and I’m excited for what’s in store for the inaugural race. I knew I wasn’t quite ready to get back into marathon training, and without a doubt, having a half marathon in my backyard was by far the perfect thing. But with race day not until May 31st, I have quite a bit of time to really get back into shape and prepare myself to go sub 2:00.

Yes, Medina will be my mission of breaking that beautiful time. And for the next 3 1/2 months (official training starts February 10th), I plan on prepping myself for the best training cycle to date. It’s time to get down to business and go for something I’ve been waiting for since I started my half marathon journey.

So what will this in between training session look like? It’s going to look pretty similar to a regular training cycle, but more relaxed. There is no set distance and if I have to miss a run, it’s ok. Tentatively  this is what a normal week will look like.

Monday: Run (Indoor Track) & Lift

Tuesday: Run (Indoor Track) & Bike (Stationary Bike)

Wednesday: Run (Indoor Track) & Lift

Thursday: Yoga

Friday: Off

Saturday: Run (Outside!)

Sunday: Off/At home yoga or lifting

As you can tell, I’ll be inside for most of my workouts, but I want to make sure I mix it up a bit. Running on the indoor track can get tiring, so varying the speed and distance will help. I’ll also be getting back into yoga once a week. Most importantly, I want to get back into lifting and cycling. I enjoyed these last winter, and want to make sure I keep up with them. Due to lack of daylight, I’ll only be able to get outside once a week, which will most likely be a longer run if possible.

I’m looking forward to these next couple months as I get back into running and will keep you updated on how things go. I’m also open to suggestions on things to try or workout challenges you’ve seen that have worked for you. Hopefully I’ll be ready to take on the next training cycle with everything I have and finally go sub 2:00.

 

What’s your plan for winter training? How do you your handle off season time?

 

 

Flying Pig Half Training: Week Seven

I have to be honest. This training cycle, is completely different than my others, yet, somewhat the same. It came to me Friday, right before lunch, when I do all my worst best thinking. I haven’t been taking my training seriously enough. Not a surprise? I didn’t think so. If you take a look back at the past weeks, I’ve done a ton of base running, but my long runs aren’t exactly there. It doesn’t mean I’m not ready or dreading them, I’ve just taken a new approach.  I’ve limited myself to three days of running, and I’ve added cross training. I’ve never mentioned a goal for this race, but I’ve also never mentioned that I’m injured. Injury free, party of one!

From the get go, I knew that Flying Pig would not be my sub 2:00 half marathon. I’ve been training on an indoor track for 95% of my runs, I am in no shape or place to run a PR on a hilly course. Am I ok with this? Yes. I’ve got other plans for this race year. That doesn’t mean I’m throwing sub 2:00 out the window, it’s still my goal, but it’s not my spring goal. My goal for Flying Pig was to have a healthy training cycle, to run uninjured for the first time in about a year. It’s working, and I’m enjoying what my legs are fully capable of doing.

I’ve used this training cycle to fall back in love with running and sweating. I’ve discovered that I look forward to my weekly hour of yoga. And that I’m not always bored when I’m on the stationary bike. I’ve also shifted my focus to speed and have already ran my best 5k since college. I’m training for a solid run at Flying Pig, and a solid running year. I’m not disappointed at all with how training is going. I’m listening to my body and doing what is right for me.

Monday: Off

Tuesday: 3 Miles Run, 7 Miles Biked

Wednesday: 2 Miles

Thursday: Yoga-Lates

Friday: Off

Saturday: Miles for Madison 5k + 1

Sunday: 5 Miles Run, 7 Miles Biked

Total Miles: 14 Miles Run, 14 Miles Biked

Looking back at this week, I over did it a bit in the beginning. I ran my fastest 3 miles yet and followed it up with some heavy biking. Lesson learned, my legs felt tight all week. I even had to cut my run short on Wednesday, I actually felt worse the more I ran. Stretching didn’t help too much, so I was more than excited for Yoga on Thursday. By the weekend, my legs felt back to normal and I was ready to get some miles in. Saturday morning I ran Miles for Madison, recap to follow, and decided to move my long run to Sunday. I haven’t had a solid long run outside yet, so I wanted to make sure I didn’t chop it up into segments.

Sunday, I took advantage of as much sun as I could get. I also had my first road bike experience of the year. I was a little nervous because I hadn’t been on my bike for months. I also didn’t know how the motorists of Medina would handle someone riding in the street. Surprisingly, the ride went smooth, and the rolling hills were nothing. Good to know that resistance cycling is paying off. I definitely see a lot more bike trips downtown in my future.

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After re-hydrating, I headed out for my long run. I pushed it to the evening to hopefully avoid the wind. It didn’t work, but it added a nice challenge to the run. I combined a few short routes and wanted to get a decent amount of miles in. I went out to the lake to enjoy the soft path, but unfortunately I couldn’t avoid the wind. It was hitting me hard, and slowed down my pace by a lot. The other downfall of running at the lake was running stairs to get to the pathway, and the only way  back home meant I had to tackle a huge hill. Legs were toast.

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I’ve come to realize that my legs have been spoiled. I’ve been running on the indoor track for so long, they forgot how to run outside in real conditions. Mainly hills. I definitely didn’t hit the mileage I wanted, and I plan to fix that this week. Now that the weather is nice, all runs should be outside. I’ve even got a hill workout lined up. Even better bonus of this week’s training? I’ll be hitting high altitude running with Courtney. Expect an interesting training recap next week.

How was your weekend? Did you get out there and enjoy the fabulous weather?

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Flying Pig Half Training: Week Five

This week was anything but normal. What was planned as a “get your self in shape to dominate a 5k” turned into “survive the week”. Almost everything this week seemed to be off. Last weekend, in between my non regular race ritual and hanging out in my home town, I went car shopping. This led to not one, but two week nights spent at the dealership. Between this and covering for three different people at work, my brain was mush. The last thing I wanted to do was  head to the gym at 9:00, have dinner at 10:00 and then pass out at 11:00. Needless to say this meant Monday and Wednesday were out on my workout schedule.

Tuesday, which was meant to be a rest day, that would be turned into a make up workout day, quickly turned into spending time at home. Between last Friday and this past Saturday Darren was in Colorado for 5 days and Mexico for 4 days. This left Tuesday night as the day he’d be home for 12 hours in between trips. Sometimes there are more important things than running, like spending time with a loved one and catching up on this crazy life.

Thursday however, was where I got myself  back into gear. I squeezed in three miles before yoga, and after three days off, I felt better than a normal run. After that I had my hardest yoga-lates class to date. We started off with some hard core Pilates moves and within 10 minutes, my legs were dead. During that hour, I pushed myself to the limits (as much as you can in yoga) and left class feeling like a whole new person. Sometimes all you need after a crazy week is 90 minutes of pure sweat.

Monday: Off

Tuesday: Off

Wednesday: Off

Thursday:  3 Miles, Yoga-lates

Friday: Off

Saturday: Sole to Soul 5k + 4.6 miles

Sunday: Off

Total Miles: 10.6 Miles

Saturday was the Sole to Soul 5 in Avon. I had been looking forward to this race for quite some time. I couldn’t make it last year, so I knew to plan my schedule around it this time. I was more excited that this race would be taking place in my hometown. Any time I can run on the streets I grew up on, I jump at the opportunity. I knew I also had 8-9 on the schedule, so I wanted to start off with the race and continue with some miles on one of my favorite loops.

My legs were pretty tight before I even got to the race, Yoga class on Thursday was still rough on my legs. I hoped by the time they had a few miles in them, they’d relax a bit and start to feel good. Not so much. My legs felt great for my race (post coming this week) and then they went down hill after that. I started my post race miles on one of my favorite loops around my old house. A little over a mile in, I started over heating and cut through a short cut to take some layers off at home. Once I did that, I started out again, but this time I decided to go in the opposite direction. I turned the corner and saw two chickens, a rooster and a duck crossing the road. I found it funny and instantly thought of the joke, “Why did the chicken cross the road?” The answer in this case was to chase me. As soon as I passed them, they started running after me. I must have looked ridiculous being chased by these birds.

Crazy wildlife

Crazy wildlife

After that encounter, I started to map out my route. I did 2 miles with my first loop, so all I needed was 3 more and I’d be done. Over the next couple of minutes, my legs started feeling tired again. Three miles isn’t a lot to run, but with each step my legs were feeling dead. I did a short out and back with the opportunity of running a decent sized incline on the way in. I knew I was home free once I turned on my street. Within a half mile of being done, I passed a yard with a Rottweiler. He barked on my way out, but didn’t really do anything more than stand up and walk towards the edge of the yard. This time, I was on his side of the street with cars coming in both directions. I had no other choice than to run right along his territory. He wasn’t too thrilled about this and lunged at me, clamping his jaws down an inch from my arm. I screamed, I panicked, and sprinted the entire way home. A car stopped and turned around to see if I had gotten bit, but as I kept running, they kept driving. I had never experienced anything like that, and was more furious than anything else. A half mile short of my goal, but I was done for the day.

This week was eventful, and led to not hitting the miles I needed, but I’m not too concerned. I’m halfway done with training, but I feel confident that I can run a good half marathon. I’m cross training, doing yoga, and hitting mile times I didn’t think I could get close to. I still have 6 more weeks to get a few long runs in. I know that these next few weeks will really count.

How was your week? Have you ever had any animal encounters while running?

 

Flying Pig Half Training: Week Four

For an easy week, I took things real easy. I knew that I had minimal miles on the schedule this week, but I still wanted them to count. I also knew that I’d have a race at the end of the week, so I wanted to make sure I was prepared for what I’d be putting my legs through on Sunday. Monday and Wednesday I put in some pretty decent miles with a great pace. Knowing that I’ve been able to bring my pace down so much lately has really boosted my confidence in running 5k’s. I was even able to get some decent miles on the resistance bike.

My yoga class has a completely different feel this week, which was appreciated. It was split about 50/50 on yoga and Pilates, and I actually enjoyed it. I’m excited for the next two classes I have left and I’m even thinking of expanding it through April. The thought even crossed my mind to sign up for a spin class, but let’s take one thing at a time, shall we?

I still had the decision on which race to do on Sunday lingering over my head. I ultimately decided on the Lakewood Irish Jig and Jog 5k, something flat, close and early in the morning so I could enjoy the rest of my day. Between the race and my pre race plans, nothing was normal, but I’ll get more into that later this week.

Here’s week 5…

Monday: 3 Miles

Tuesday: Rest Day

Wednesday:2 Miles Run, 4.5 Miles Biked

Thursday: Yoga-lates

Friday: Rest Day

Saturday: Rest Day

Sunday: Lakewood Irish Jig and Jog 5k

Total Miles: 5 Miles Run, 4.5 Miles Biked

As you can see, really easy. This next week brings easy weekday runs followed up by my longest run yet in this cycle over the weekend. I’ve got another 5k coming up on Saturday, and this time I’m hoping to really break through and give it a great shot.

Did you race for St. Patrick’s Day?

 

Flying Pig Half Training: Week Three

This week was exactly what I needed. I started out with an amazing run and was able to keep that momentum throughout the entire week. My total miles still may be low, but I felt great on every run. I wanted to make sure I got out of my rut and enjoyed running. Luckily I did, and not only did that help me with my pace, but it helped me with  my distance. My best run this week was Wednesday, I originally had 4 on the schedule and was ready to take on 40 laps on the track. I quickly noticed that my pace was sub 9:00 and told myself not to go out too fast. I fell into a comfortable pace and noticed that mile 2 and 3 were still 8:58. I only had one more mile to do, so I kept with it. Finishing up mile 4 at 8:49, I figured why not see how much more I can run, I would probably end up tired within the next mile. Mile 5 went on by and soon I was on to mile 6. By this point I was just above 9:07 per mile and knew I wouldn’t be going that much further. Once I hit 70 laps, I finished, but I was more than excited about my run. I had just done my long run on a Wednesday night, and ran mostly at a sub 9:00 pace, putting me at a 1:02 finish. It truly made me believe that sub 2:00 is possible this year. I don’t know where it came from, or how I was able to run for that long on the track, but I was so glad I did. I felt like it was exactly the run I needed. Plus, the stress of my long run for the week was over.

My other runs were shorter, but my pace was under 9:30, and I kept them pretty easy. I had hoped to enjoy a longer run outside on Sunday with the beautiful weather, but after I forgot to eat lunch, and running at 7pm left me with little energy to get out the door.

I also had my first Yoga-lates class this week. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I figured  my abs would be screaming at me. To be honest, I felt like 90% of the time was just stretching. I wasn’t sweating like a good run, and I was ready to go home before class was over. I felt relaxed, but I didn’t feel like I was working hard. And then for the next two days, I felt like I couldn’t lift my arms. I was sore in places I didn’t know I had muscles, and could completely feel the benefit of yoga. I’ve realized I’m more of a Pilates person, but I’m hoping to enjoy the rest of my classes (only three left) and become relaxed, something I haven’t been in a while.

Monday: 3 Miles

Tuesday: Rest Day

Wednesday: 7 Miles

Thursday: Yoga-lates

Friday: Rest Day

Saturday: Rest Day

Sunday: 1.5 Miles

Total Miles: 11.5 Miles

Low total mileage, but great workouts, very pleased with this week. This next week is supposed to be a low mileage week, but I may push it to see what I can do. I’ll be running in my hometown over the weekend, so that can only mean great runs! I also have the decision to make about which race to do Sunday morning. Early flat 5k or late hilly 5k…

How was your week? Are you running a St. Patrick’s Day race?

Flying Pig Training Plan

It’s a new week, so it’s time for some new changes. I’m starting a new training cycle, with new ideas behind it. And if you  haven’t noticed, I have a new background for my blog. I’m working on updating a few things and should hopefully have it revamped in the next couple weeks.

My big spring race for this year is the Flying Pig Half Marathon. I originally wanted to be out of state, but with such a busy schedule, I decided to stay close to home. And as much as I’d like to run Cleveland again, I’m excited to spend a weekend on the other end of the state and experience a challenging course. After running 10 half marathons, I want to take this distance to a new level. I want to push myself on speed and push myself on challenges. Hills of course being my biggest challenge.

So what makes this training cycle so different? After joining the rec center two months ago, I was able to open my training to more than just running. There are multiple ways of cross training including biking, elliptical and a dangerous monster of a machine called the stair climber. It has at least 5 stairs, and I’m terrified to go near it.  But this time, I’m actually going to make the effort in using these machines, and hopefully stay injury free.

What’ I’ve also added this time around are classes.  There is a full schedule of classes that can be taken through the week including yoga, cardio, spin, kick boxing and much more. I’m looking at adding two of these and possibly a third if I get the guts to take on more. In a couple of weeks I’ll be starting Yoga-lates on Thursday evenings and Yoga on Sunday mornings. My goal is to become more flexible and really focus on my breathing. One day I may add a spin or cardio class, but I’m not sure I’m ready for that quite yet.

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You can see that the weekday runs are pretty light. Between getting home at 6:30 and making time for dinner, the night really cuts into my chance to run more miles. And well, morning workouts just aren’t my thing.  I’ve also thrown in some cross training on the days that my miles are really low. My major focus will be on weekend long runs. I’ve thrown in a few days of hills and speed, but all of my outside runs will have hills, and speed will be the harder day.

My body is ready for a half marathon, maybe not today, but I’ve learned that I can easily jump into the race. I want to push myself this year and try new things. I want to stay healthy and love every single day that I sweat. Here’s to a new round of training!

What spring race are you training for? Do you add any cross training or classes?