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Madison Mini Marathon: Week 10 Recap

Friday, August 13, 2010

Week Ten was definitely the strangest week in my Madison Mini Marathon training plan. All of this week, I had to carry a pager for work (day and night), and was expected to respond to all pages within fifteen minutes…so that meant that I couldn’t stray too far from home, so no outdoor long distance running or anything. (Yeah, with my luck I would have gotten about 4.5 miles into my long distance run, get paged, and have an hourlong run to get back home!) And then there was also the psychological factor, where I really had trouble getting on board with any intense workouts because…well, what if I got paged and had to stop? In the later part of the week, when I got nine very inconveniently spaced pages, I also found myself battling with the demon I simply call Sleep Deprivation. Not pretty! So, to make a long story short, I followed a scaled back training schedule to accommodate all of these challenges. I didn’t do a long distance run this week. I contemplated making it up on Monday, the day after I would normally do it, but after an incredibly busy weekend, I was tired and shaky and knew that running would just do me more harm than good. It’s the first time I’ve skipped a training run altogether, but I know that it’s “allowed” and OK once in a while, and I just have to let go of the perfectionist in me that feels guilty for passing on a workout. I know that I’m good and ready for this race, and I can just relax and keep on trucking. Anyway, here’s how my week all fell out…

Monday 8/2: My week began with a solid dose of cross training. I spent a solid hour (and 13.5 miles) on the stationary bike and did some Pilates strength exercises for about a half hour.

Tuesday 8/3: Five mile run on the treadmill. It went OK, but it felt somewhat uncomfortable and labored. I finished 5.62 miles in an hour for a 10:41/mile average pace. I wasn’t so much frustrated with my pace as I was with my quick fatigue. Maybe it was just an off day or something. At least some good Food Network programming was on during my workout! Later in the evening, I did a short lower body strength training workout.

Wednesday 8/4: I took the night off. I had planned on cross training, but my husband surprised me by setting up a babysitter and taking me to dinner. I ate way too much…but it was well worth it! Since we don’t have any family near us, we hardly ever get a chance to go out sans Timmy.

Thursday 8/5: Tonight was another five mile run on the ‘mill, this time while watching Project Runway. I felt a lot better about tonight’s run than I did about Tuesday’s. I covered a tiny bit more distance this time: 5.65 miles in an hour. I’m kind of missing outdoor running, and am hoping I’ll get back to it next week, once my work schedule is back to normal. And the weather has been hot, hot, HOT lately so maybe it’s for the better that I get some of my training indoors.

Friday 8/6: I got really caught up in my work tonight so I didn’t do any working out.

Saturday 8/7: And more working, and this is the day that sleep deprivation really started to set in. Perhaps 4+ hours of working on tough technical issues at 3:00 am had something to do with it? Between bouts of working, I tried to squeeze in some rest, but no working out!

Sunday 8/8: Busy, busy weekend! I didn’t catch much of a break from the work-related calls, but did manage to fit in some bits and pieces of strength training along the way. I also got to indulge in my favorite Sunday night programming, Food Network. I am ALL ABOUT their competition shows…so Sunday nights are the best! And honestly, not running was a good decision. Even if I could have handed off the pager for two hours, my body would have fought me the whole way. I was tired and run down and would have much preferred a two hour nap!

Even without a long distance run, this week wasn’t a dead loss. I ended up with 11.81 miles of running/walking, 13.5 miles of cycling, and 90 minutes of strength training. I LOVE how I am rocking the ST again! From a girl who still doesn’t really dig ST…this is big! I also got a lot of general physical activity thanks to my new Flylady program...lots of decluttering, dragging things around the house, scrubbing, making beds, and such. I don't formally track housework in my fitness minutes, but I know it has to be burning off at least a few calories somewhere.

Anyway, my total training mileage is now up to 215.47. That mileage is more than the distance from Madison to…Chicago or the Quad Cities…and getting fairly close to Minneapolis. Considering that my current running shoes were purchased sometime before my race (April I think?) I’m guessing it’s about time for a pair of new kicks! Probably will look at that right after my race since I DO NOT want to race in new shoes! Anyway, after a significant mileage cutback this week, it is back to business in week 11. Due to insane heat indexes (indices?) there will be a lot more treadmill action, but I’m hoping for some good weather on Sunday so I can run my LSD outdoors. Reason One, running twelve miles on the ‘mill would turn me into a basket case, and Reason Two, I do not want to get to the start line without some recent road running to acclimate me to race day conditions.

Anyway, that’s the scoop on Week Ten! Only one more heavy-duty training week, then a week of tapering, then we’ve reached the big day! And then it's on to sketch out my training schedule for October's Wine & Dine Half Marathon. I recently saw a picture of the new Disney BLING and it is ever so su-weet! Can't wait to get mine...

Happy running and stay cool out there! This summer weather is NO JOKE!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LAURIE5658 8/13/2010 3:26PM

    What a week! I did notice that you have been on the quieter side but I also knew you were married to a pager too. Best wishes with the week coming up!!!

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Madison Mini Marathon: Week 9 Recap

Monday, August 02, 2010

I had a very productive week. Not only did I complete my three scheduled running workouts, but I also did a TON of cycling (46 miles, which is a LOT for me), ninety minutes of strength training, and a whole lot of house cleaning. I’ve been doing the FLYlady program for two weeks now, and I’m in awe of how much just a little bit of TLC for my home has improved my quality of life! I am now three weeks away from race day, and I am getting SUPER excited about it. I feel optimistic about my chances of getting a good time and, more important, my chances of having a good time. This race has been heavily advertised and has a lot of fun-sounding perks, so it should be pretty well-organized and interesting. Oh…who am I kidding? Of COURSE it will be interesting! I haven’t been to any race that isn’t interesting, even if it’s just because it provided me with some GREAT people watching opportunities. (I LOVE people watching!) Anyway, here is the recap of what I did this week:

Monday: Today I stayed home and focused on strength training. In case you are curious, my ST routines typically consist of Pilates/yoga exercises, work on a stability ball, and lifting light weights (think more like sculpting than heavy duty lifting). My ST is probably “easy” by ST training standards (as in I'm not pumping serious iron or anything...), but I slowly ramp up the intensity as I find that I’m capable of more. For the time being, the ST definitely helps me feel more fit and less “fluffy”!

Tuesday: I tackled my first training run outdoors even though my husband protested that “The dew point is, like, 80!” (It was actually 73…so he wasn’t exaggerating by all that much, I suppose.) The good news is that the GymBoss I thought I had fried last week had been revived with a simple rebooting, which I, oddly enough, figured out how to do from a review of the product on Amazon, not the product’s instruction manual! When it was fixed, I even polished it up a little to make it look extra pretty and pink. As for the run, there’s not much to report. It was pretty unremarkable. I enjoyed the evening air, humid as it was, and appreciated the fact that we live in a very safe neighborhood where I don’t feel nervous going out to run. I finished 5.43 miles in 56:57, with an average pace of 10:29/mile. I’m starting to notice that my “regular” and “slow” runs don’t often seem all that different on the pace. Hmmm…what’s up with that? Kind of wondering how one paces oneself without something like a Garmin?

Wednesday: Cross training today! I went for my usual cycling option, and completed 15.43 miles of hilly (virtual) terrain on the stationary bike. My legs weren’t super speedy tonight, and I was only putting out about 125 watts (on average), but so be it. I capped it off with a little more ST.

Thursday: Even though it isn’t my ideal, I used the ‘mill for tonight’s run. Time just got away from us and it was just about pitch dark outside before I even got to it. And it didn’t hurt that I could catch the end of the Project Runway premiere while I ran! I finished 5.57 miles in an hour, so an average pace of 10:46/mile, and cooled down by walking for a few extra minutes. I feel satisfied that I haven’t been doing as much treadmill training this time around. Not that there’s anything wrong with a ‘mill in general, but I think that relying on it too heavily for the Madison Half in May really hurt me in the end because I wasn’t as acclimated to running outdoors in warmer weather. This time I’ll be ready!

Friday: I was a little bored tonight, so went over to the gym for some cycling, even though today’s “official” plan was to rest. (I also rationalized that week 10 is going to be a little light on training because of some work commitments…) I did 16.26 miles at an average of 145ish watts. I was feeling it tonight! Yay! I definitely didn’t intend to do so many miles, but since I was having a great time, I just let myself carry on for a while, Energizer bunny style.

Saturday: Cross training day! I was really tempted to use it for swimming, but at the time I was going to the gym, they were having “family swim,” which is NOT the best time to swim laps. So I opted for cycling again and just took it easier than I did on Friday. I didn’t want to tire out the legs too much before Sunday’s long run! I finished 15.17 miles at a moderate/easy intensity, and felt great when I was done. In the evening I also did some more ST to bring my weekly total to 90 minutes. (Go me!)

Sunday: Today I ventured into new territory: my longest training run EVER! I planned a route very similar to the one I did two weeks ago, with the big hills at the beginning and end. I got up at five forty-five and got dressed and ready to go right away. Wow, in college I would often sleep in until nine or ten on Sundays…and now, ten years later, I will have run 11 miles, showered, eaten breakfast, and even cleaned house a little?! It’s crazy how things can change! It was 64 degrees but SUPER humid…as in a dew point of 63. BLECH, right?! The first few miles went without any glitches. I went uphill and down, uphill and down and enjoyed the peace & quiet. I kept my pace comfortably slow and when things felt challenging – especially on the hills – slowed it down and repeated to myself what is fast becoming my official running mantra: “You don’t have to go fast, you just have to go. You don’t have to go fast, you just have to go. You don’t have to go fast, you just have to go.” (I saw this quote on a shirt at the One More Mile booth at a race expo, and it kind of stuck with me!) At mile four, I stopped to refill my water bottles and pressed on. I reached my turnaround point (5.6 mile mark) after about 58 minutes and gratefully turned back towards home. I was feeling good! And then about a mile later I felt a sharp cramp in my stomach and then…ummm…let’s just say that some of my dubious food-related decisions from Saturday came back to bite me in the butt. Literally. Miles 6.5-8 were HORRIBLE. Anytime I tried to run, it felt like my rear end was going to explode. (Sorry TMI!) I had to walk a good bit to keep my GI pain in check. Luckily, I remembered that there was a park a block or two off of my running route that had a portapotty. Otherwise I don’t know what I would have done…in my desperation, I almost wanted to try ringing a doorbell and begging to use the bathroom… since there really weren’t any inconspicuous bushes nearby. Yeah, anyway, portapotties aren’t great, but sometimes when you gotta go, you gotta GO! Thankfully, once I took care of business, I was feeling tons better and resumed my run at a good clip. To be on the safe side, I didn’t bother opening the Gu that I had brought along. I didn’t want the risk of making things worse, and I’m slowly discovering that Gu’s don’t always agree with my digestive tract. (In fact, once I finish up the few I have in my stash, I don’t think I’ll be buying them again. I will stick with Shot Blocks from now on.) I rolled back home in 1:59:11, which gave me an average pace of 10:37/mile. Considering that my GI issues really slowed me down for a while, I’m happy with that! (Really I would have been happy with a 10:37 pace either way…)

I celebrated the end of my training week by ordering a new running skirt from SkirtSports. They had some limited edition prints on sale, so I treated myself. I’m finding that the SkirtSports are my favorite running skirt (that I’ve tried) because they seem to fit me just right and not ride up. I kind of wish they had more color/print options, but I do like the couple that I have! This week I completed 22.43 miles, bringing my training total to 203.66 miles. I can’t believe how much I have run in nine short weeks! Craziness! And this is coming from a girl who couldn’t even run the mile a year ago…

Happy Running!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JANEYINMADTOWN 8/3/2010 12:21AM

    Awesome Christina! You will rock that race! Keep up the great work.

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COLBERGL 8/2/2010 5:06PM

    Sounds like you are right on track to achieve your goal. You are an inspiration to me as I am still at the point you were a year ago. Great job!!! emoticon

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LAURIE5658 8/2/2010 2:03PM

    And what a week it was for you! You have such a great well-rounded fitness program and i admire that greatly. I have had to deal with very similar GI issues such as this one and learning how to deal with it the best I can. once thing I try to do is keeping my fiber in check the day before a long 'long run'. I also try and start my long run when i know exactly where a potty is since things tend to work things out within the first few miles. I have been know to warmup with a few miles while at home beofre a run or even a race. that is working very well.

Here is to a great August!!! Happy running, RB!

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Madison Mini Marathon: Week 8 Recap

Monday, July 26, 2010

I’ll tell you what, getting back to running just three times a week is quite an adjustment! It’s the strangest thing, looking back, it felt like I barely ran at all, but I actually ran just a little over twenty miles…really almost as much as I did before, when I was at 4-5 days per week. Isn’t it crazy what kinds of tricks our bodies can play on us? The good news is that I had another very successful, relaxing week of Madison Mini Marathon training I really couldn’t be happier with how it’s going, and I hope that the final four weeks continue in this manner! Here’s the breakdown…

Monday: Today was officially “stretch & strength” but I felt like a nice little ride on the stationary bike. I did 7.80 miles. Not only am I racking up the running miles, but I’m also getting quite a few done with cycling!

Tuesday: I was hoping for an outdoor run (what else is new?) but my work schedule had other ideas…so a late night ‘mill workout it was. I stuck with my usual spastic (but working great for me) two minute / thirty second intervals and tuned into some riveting Tour de France coverage while I ran. I completed 4.71 miles in 50:00 for an average pace of 10:39/mile, and tacked on easy five minute walking cooldown.

Wednesday: A fun 6.92 mile cycling program with some rolling hills and strength training. There’s never a whole lot to say about the cycling workouts, other than I went to the gym and did x miles…generally they’re going great though! And I’ll probably have a lot more to talk about when I finally get that “real” bike.

Thursday: I had to put off tonight’s run due to tornado warnings. EEK! So we spent a small part of the evening hanging out in the oh-so-scenic, lovely basement parking garage, and the rest holed up at home. I did use the time at home to do some strength training, so yay for that. And no evil tornadoes actually ended up coming our way.

Friday: After work, I got out for a make-up training run around the neighborhood. It wasn’t really anything out of the ordinary, really, although it was pretty stinking hot out. I felt kind of creaky and heavy today, and it seemed to take an unusual amount of effort just to get into a comfortable pace. My uphill jogs were decidedly labored, and I was huffing and puffing quite a bit. No idea why. I did a 5.42 mile loop in 56:02 for an average pace of 10:20/mile.

Saturday: Today was my “big” cross-training day, and do you really need more than one guess to figure out what I did??? Biking…of course! 15 miles today, split between a long “mountain” course and a shorter easy course to cool down. This week I ended up doing 29.72 miles on the bike. Not nearly as much as those Tour de France guys do even in half a day…but they’re pretty much superhuman anyway ;) And as I biked, I was thinking of all the awesome runners at the Bix 7 as they tackled some rain and crazy hills. Congrats to all of you!!!

Sunday: Today I was slated for my first double-digit mile run since the Madison Half Marathon back in May. I had to get up SUPER early (like five thirty) to complete this week’s run before church, and how many people are honestly that thrilled about getting up before dawn on the weekend? NOT me! But I sucked it up and did it anyway because I knew it would be way better than struggling through that kind of distance later in the day once the sun and temperature crept up. I planned a route around the neighborhood which included one monster of a hill as well as a couple of miles with some good-sized rolling hills. I don’t formally hill train as such, but am trying to integrate some hills into my longer outdoor runs so I’m prepared to face hills on race day. (I haven’t yet confirmed whether or not this race will include the monstrous Bascom Hill that I seem to keep meeting!) For the first couple of miles of today’s run, I was quite honestly half asleep, so even the big hill, which I faced right away, didn’t seem all that bad. Probably because I didn’t have the mental energy to question it or fear it too much…I just kind of went for it. The streets were peaceful and quiet, and it was therapeutic just to run with my thoughts uninterrupted. I got through the first half of the run without event, but on the way back my GymBoss battery quit on me! What is it with me and gadgets lately?! At least the GymBoss is savlageable, unlike the Garmin, but so much for timing out intervals during today’s run. I just kind of winged it on the way home, running when I felt like it, walking when I needed to. I wrapped up the run with a climb back up the other side of the big hill and with a rewarding descent down towards my house. When I came in, I must have been super sweaty because my son immediately greeted me. “Mommy, exercise? Go swimming?” That’s how I knew I got a good workout! Thankfully I was timing myself on my iPod’s stopwatch, so I was able to get a good estimate of my average pace…10.49 miles in 1:48:40, so a 10:21/mile. Hooray!

This week I ran 20.91 miles, for a grand total of 181.21 miles of Madison Mini Marathon training. Four weeks to go until race day, and I don’t have any races between now and then (and I haven’t done any since May 30). I’m starting to go through major withdrawal here! I absolutely cannot WAIT until August 21!

Happy running! Stay cool!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ESBELL 7/26/2010 9:22PM

    You will do great at your race! Your training is coming along very well!

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LAURIE5658 7/26/2010 6:20PM

    RB, what IS it with you and your gizwitchies? Seriously? Great training week despite the little bumps in the road including the tornado worning. Only in the midwest, right LOL? You are doing an outstanding job with the crosstraining and that is the area I am still struggling to get momentum going. Hats off to you! Now, have a great week THIS week and keep on keeping on!!!!

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Madison Mini Marathon: Week 7 Recap

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

This time last week, I posted that I was suffering from burnout, and worried that my intermediate half marathon training program had me overtraining. I decided to cut back my running mileage and replace it with cross training, strength training and, of course, REST!

BEST decision I could have made. I feel 10000% better this week, and I’m so glad that I shook things up a bit. This week I only ran three times, but it felt like enough running and, even more important, NOT TOO MUCH. My time was nicely divided between cycling, running, and strength training, and not once did I actually dread a workout…well except for core strength training, and I’ve never liked that! Here is my recap…

Monday: I enjoyed a relaxing 7.35 mile cycle after work, and then finished up my day with some Tour de France and “window shopping” cycling gear online. Good times!

Tuesday: After work, the weather was picture-perfect, so I drove to the Military Ridge trail and went for a leisurely easy run along a shaded part of the trail. It was hot (81 degrees) but I’m getting a lot more used to running in the heat now, and the trees helped keep me cool. I finished 4.89 miles in 51:23 for an easy, breezy 10:30/mile average pace.

Wednesday: This is what would have been my speed training day, but instead I got to head to the cool, comfy gym for some cycling. Thank goodness for that too because at six o’ clock it was 88 degrees with a 76 dew point. Helloooooo! I thought this was Wisconsin, not Florida?! I did 8.50 miles on the Expresso bike at a moderately challenging intensity.

Thursday: On the docket, another 4.5 mile easy run! It was beautiful out (not quite like Wednesday’s gross conditions) so I did a loop around the neighborhood. To say that today’s jog was “good” would have been an understatement! At the risk of sounding cheesy, it felt like everything that running is supposed to be: wonderful, incredible, freeing, satisfying, FUN! After a string of unfulfilling training runs, how refreshing it was to get one that just felt 100% RIGHT! I finished 4.82 miles in 47:28 for an average pace of 9:50/mile.

Friday: I took a well-deserved day off…well except for the fact that I spent the evening looking after two three-year-old boys who dedicated themselves to tearing up the living room. But they were having the best time and laughing so joyfully the whole time…so what are you gonna do?

Saturday: For my next cross training day, I returned to the bike for a challenging (hilly!) 13.23 mile ride! It took me 55:56 to complete the whole course, and my average power/wattage/whatever was 130. So I’m not a super strong cyclist, but I can definitely see myself improving week to week…so awesome!

Sunday: This run gave me the chance to conquer the Evil Triple H (heat, hills, and humidity) all in one go. Unfortunately the only time I could really fit in my long run was at four o’ clock in the afternoon, when it was still intensely sunny and HOT outside. My husband tried to convince me to run in the air conditioned gym, but come on. He doesn’t get it. It would take a seriously desperate situation (or at the VERY least, some high priority must-see TV) for me to run NINE miles on the ‘mill. UGH! It took me some time to decide on a course, but I chose an extended loop around the neighborhood with a few challenging hills, twists and turns. The elevation profile looked something like this:



But as for the way it felt, that modest profile translated into something more like this:



How is it that hills seem ten times bigger than they really are when you have to run UP them? And the scorching hot weather…oh…not pleasant! I not only drank a lot of water but kept pouring it over myself to give myself relief from the intense heat. (And thankfully there was an occasional breeze or shady tree to keep things cooler.) The first three miles were tough, but passable. The middle three, which included lots of flat terrain and a water stop, easy peasy in comparison. The last three miles, when I had to face the hills AGAIN on tired legs, not so fun. But I got through them, I didn’t die, and I actually enjoyed myself for the most part. I finished the 9.10 mile course in 1:35:52 for an average pace of 10:32/mile. Not too shabby!

So to recap my week, I ran 18.81 miles, for a grand total of 160.30 miles (on foot), biked 29.08 miles, and got 80 minutes of strength training done. This was a very satisfying training week, and the new schedule shake-ups were just what the doctor ordered. And now…on to week 8!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CRYSBROWN1 7/24/2010 10:01AM

    Sometimes a little rest goes a long way...glad you figured out what works for YOU!

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BKNOCK 7/22/2010 8:43AM

    emoticon emoticon

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JANEYINMADTOWN 7/21/2010 12:13AM

    emoticon Glad your rest paid off...

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WYWIWOMAN 7/20/2010 7:10PM

    Thanks for this update, Christina. Living in Madison like you means I understood each of those days and your reaction to them. In general, GOOD for you!!! emoticon

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CHUBBYSISTER1 7/20/2010 2:02PM

    What a great week for you! Impressive training. A month ago I found myself in a similar situation of over training and now am too on the right track. Glad you are doing well and feeling great. Keep up the great work! I had to laugh when I read "I thought this was WI not FL". That is exactly how I've been feeling.

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REVJVH 7/20/2010 1:54PM

    What an impressive training regimen! Kudos to you for finding a way to keep it up in all this Wisconsin humidity.

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LAURIE5658 7/20/2010 12:27PM

    RB, I am so relieved for you! I know you have been sorta kinda wonky lately and I have been so in those shoes. You did exactly what you needed to do and I am very sure you will become stronger because of it. You are doing it!!! Woot!

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CALIMAN1 7/20/2010 11:42AM

    Excellent blog...I may not always post to your recaps, but I am following your plan/schedule and it is inspiring. I love and appreciate the honesty!

The Triple H sounds ominous....I haven't had to tackle any real hills as we are very flat where I live.

How about mice, maniac drivers and motrin???? About equal? emoticon

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LIGHTNINGRUNNER 7/20/2010 11:32AM

    I am so glad you have recovered and are relaxing and enjoying your training more. Keep it up.

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Madison Mini Marathon: Week 6 Recap

Friday, July 16, 2010

This Sunday, I marked the halfway point in my Madison Mini Marathon training. Six weeks down, six to go! This week was probably one of the most challenging, not so much due to physical effort, but because it really pushed me to re-examine my goals and where I want my training efforts to take me. The last couple of weeks have really opened my eyes. Nothing dramatic, really, but as weeks three through five wore on, I realized that I wasn’t quite looking forward to my training runs as “usual.” I wouldn’t say I was dreading them (in general), but my overall feeling about running was a pretty solid “meh.” The magic, the sparkle, the mojo…whatever you want to call it went on hiatus. At the bottom of all this, I knew that my love of running was still hiding in there somewhere, and that there was no part of me wanting to quit. But what was up with me?

I see updates from the Active.com website on my Facebook account, and one day I followed a link to an article about the mind-body connection and how it relates to running. And a couple of sentences, simple as they are, gave me a major AHA moment: “The more effective your training is, the more you will enjoy it. Conversely, loss of enjoyment is one of the earliest and most reliable signs of overtraining. Having fun with your running is not a frivolous extra.” – Mark Fitzgerald

As I read through the article, I felt like its author, Mark Fitzgerald, “got” me and had written this article just for me to read at this difficult point in my training. And it made me realize that a reworking of my training schedule was in order. I have been following Hal Higdon’s Intermediate half marathon program, which prescribes 4-5 days/week of running plus strength training, includes one tempo or speed workout each week, and does not specifically call for cross training. Much as I hated to admit it, I started to question whether this program was the best match for me, at least at this time. Much as I enjoy running, more is not always “more”…know what I mean? I was keeping up physically, but not mentally. I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but I was MISSING cross training! Yes, the girl who used to loathe cross training, the one who would have jumped for joy at a training plan that didn’t require it, actually wanted it BACK!

So after reading the article, I sat down and sketched out a modified training plan to follow over the next six weeks, a hybrid of Higdon’s beginner and intermediate training plans. I put cross training back in my schedule to make room for cycling (which I am LOVING lately), swimming, or any other activity that catches my eye. I also decided to scrap speed workouts because they were placing a lot of stress on me, really more emotional than physical, and I’m racing mainly to enjoy the experience, not to earn a specific time. Maybe I’ll revisit speed training again at a later time, but, for now, cooling it feels like the right thing to do . While I’m all for challenging myself, now is the time to focus more on keeping up a solid running and cross-training schedule and having FUN with all of it. That’s not to say that I expect to love every workout, because we all know that runners/cyclists/athletes all have bad days here and there, but I feel good about making these changes. This is what my schedule will look like for the next six weeks

M: Rest day
T : 4.5-5 mile easy run
W: 30-45 minutes of cross training
Th: 4.5-5 mile easy Run
F: Rest day
S: 30-60 minutes of cross training
S: Long distance run (distance taken from intermediate plan)

Strength training is part of my plan, and I usually split it between three 20-30 minute sessions at convenient times (which can vary week to week). I’m excited to get going with this modified plan, and hope that it will guide me back to my love of running. As well as changing the schedule, I’m trying to relax more in how I approach my workouts. Much as I mourned the death of my Garmin, now I’m starting to wonder if it isn’t the best thing that could have happened to me. When I had it, I tended to borderline obsess over my timing, pace, mileage, etc. Now that I don’t have so much real-time information so readily available to me, I have to adopt more of a “Run by Feel” approach. You know, guessing my mileage based on how long I’ve been out there. Going on perceived rate of exertion rather than heart rate. Having hard/average/easy to measure my pace rather than 10:30, 10:00, 9:30/mile, and so on. It was a little bit of a painful transition, but given that I never wear a watch in “regular” life, I can surely adapt to not wearing one while I run, right? I’ve actually made the decision NOT to replace the Garmin, at least not now. That $149 could be a great down payment for my road bike fund. And finally, I’m trying to be more conscious of mixing up my workouts, as in not always running in the same place or style. Making sure I include routes through different parts of my neighorhood, a trail run, a treadmill or track run, or a complete change of venue, like to the arboretum or downtown. It’s so much harder to get bored if things are constantly changing, and the varying conditions are probably good training for the unpredictability of race day.

This week, incidentally, was a planned cutback week, and this was a perfect way to transition into my new training approach. There was less running, and that afforded me more time for cross training and relaxing. Throughout the week, I did meet my goal of 60-90 minutes of strength training…so hooray! Here’s the recap:

Monday: This was my first cycling in over TWO months! It felt good to be back, even though it was just the Expresso bike at the gym. I wasn’t sure how I’d do since it had been a while, but as it turned out, the first installment in what I’ll affectionately refer to my “Tour de Gym” (in honor of Tour de France, which is, of course, going on right now) was a success! I think I actually ended up going stronger/faster than I did in some of my April and May rides. I completed 10.83 miles.

Tuesday: I hit the treadmill and watched Tour de France on TV. Wow, the scenery in the areas where they’re riding is stunning! Nothing particularly remarkable about this run. I finished 4.29 miles in 45:00 for an average pace of 10:29/mile. I also did a 3.37 mile bike ride (which took 13 minutes) to finish up the evening, since I wasn’t in any hurry to get home. The boys were out of town, so all I had was an empty house!

Wednesday: This was supposed to be a tempo run but eh. It got late before I had a break in my day so I had to go to the gym. I did 3.7 miles in 40:00 for an average pace of 10:50/mile. So much for being a speedy workout, huh? I think I was still feeling a bit weary from yesterday. The ‘mill is quite a bit more wearing (for me) than running outdoors. I did squeeze in 2.37 miles on the Expresso bike…all while daydreaming about buying a “real” bike.

Thursday: Deciding that enough was enough with the gym scene, at least for this week, I headed over to the Military Ridge trail for a short run, and did 3.57 miles in 36.10, average pace of 10:07/mile. Oddly enough it felt a million percent easier than my treadmill workouts even though it was much warmer outside! It just goes to show that mixing things up is the way to go. And I think it helped that I didn’t have a clock to stare at the whole time.

Friday: It was a rest day, but I did take a thirty minute walk around dinnertime. It was so nice out that I couldn’t resist a chance to get some fresh air!

Saturday: Ditto Friday…except change dinnertime to lunch time.

Sunday: Back to running after two rest days! Today’s run was supposed to be a 10k race, but since there weren’t any races to run, I just planned a 10k route around Lake Wingra. The first half went pretty smoothly, since it was relatively flat and went through a shaded path in the arboretum, but in the second half things got a little rough because I had some big uphills to contend with, most notably one that went continuously from about 4.75-5.5, according to the profile on MapMyRun. At the end, the evil Triple H (heat, hills, humidity) just about did me in, so I had to do some extra walking, and thankfully I was carrying plenty of water on my Amphipod. I ended up finishing 6.38 miles in 1:09:38, for an average pace of 10:54/mile. Slower than I’d like, but it’s kind of nice that I’m consistently seeing paces below 11:00/mile, even with using run/walk intervals. I occasionally toy with working up to running without intervals, only to realize that my pace is doing fine WITH intervals, and why mess with such a good thing when I really like running this way? (Honestly I think this flirtation with giving up run/walk intervals is purely an ego thing in my case...as I can't think of any real benefit to giving them up!)

I’m satisfied with the variety of workouts I got this week, and I hope the last six weeks of my Madison Mini Marathon training will continue in the same way. Even though I only just sketched out my new schedule, I'm already excited about shaking things up a bit! This week I ran 17.92 miles, walked 9.06, and cycled 16.57. This brings me to a total of 141.49 miles on foot. I’m on my way!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JANEYINMADTOWN 7/17/2010 5:29PM

    Simply awesome. Such a great fitness role model!

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LAURIE5658 7/16/2010 3:51PM

    RB, I think you are making a very wise decision with radically changing things up. I truly feel you are going to love running just 3 days a week and will once again start really looking forward to your runs again! Running mojo rocks!

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