Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Half training...week 5

So I've decided to do these posts weekly just so I can have them for reference later...

Week five went great! Since I knew I was going to attempt a 10 miler on Saturday, I took my weekly runs down just a little and that worked out great!

Mon: 5 miles - treadmill
Tues: Cross train - 1 hour
Wed: 5 miles - road
Thurs: 5 miles - treadmill, 45 mins cross training  (arms and abs only)
Fri: Rest
Sat: 10 miles - road
Sun: Cross training 45 mins (arms and abs only)
Week 5 total miles - 25

Again, no mid-week track workout since the track remains unavailable. Football season should be ending soon, so I should be able to hit the track once during the week again. This past Wednesday I ending up on the road where I usually run my Saturday runs. That's all well and good, but it's fairly hilly.

Treadmill runs are kind of "meh" to me right now, but I just don't have the time to get out on the road four days a week, so it is what it is. One upside to running on the treadmill (besides being indoors!) is that the gym has WiFi. I like to take advantage and either listen to Pandora or stream a show on my Kindle. I LOVE Pandora, and its work-out stations are usually right-on, but this past week it kind of blew my mind by playing, "Baby Got Back." Yeah, no... Unfortunately I was already out of skips and running too fast to switch stations, so I just stuck it out!

Giving Sir Mix-A-Lot the side eye. Yes, that's a gym selfie. Something about those mirrors makes it hard to resist!!
I won't say that I was dreading that ten mile run on Saturday, but I was definitely a little leery of it. I've run ten miles before, this past March, but it was on the treadmill. We've been having a cold snap, like most of the country, and when I woke up and got ready to go out Saturday morning, it was a toasty 33 degrees! Instead of staying inside in the warmth and dreading it, I got out the door as soon as finished my breakfast. (My go-to breakfast before a long run is an egg, whole wheat toast or an English muffin, and coffee!) I had dressed warmly, long running tights, a tank, arm-warmers, and another long-sleeved shirt on top of that. When I got outside and realized how sunny it was already, I ditched my headband to keep my ears warm and my gloves. After a half mile, I pulled off my arm warmers and tucked them in my waistband. It's so hard to get started when it's cold, but you warm up so fast!

Anyway, since this was first double-digit run, I brought along a GU to try out. (It was this kind, in case you're wondering.) I started to feel a little tired at mile five, so I took it out then and just ate a little bit at a time. Upside, it wasn't nearly as gross as I thought, and I felt like it gave me some extra energy. I was nervous about it not sitting well with my stomach, so I ate it very slowly. It was probably mile seven by the time I finished it. My only complaint about the GU as opposed to the Sport Beans I'd already tried, is that it's kind of messy! When I finished I kind of rolled up the wrapper and tried to stuff it back in my arm pocket and ended up getting sticky junk all over it. I had to wash everything that was in there when I got home.

As I've said may times, it's pretty hilly here, so to save my legs I only ran eight miles on the road and did the last two on the track. I stopped at the car for about a minute to get some water and take off my long-sleeved shirt. Boy did that track feel flat and smooth after running on hills! (Gradual hills, but still hills!)


So, here are my observations five weeks in to half training. It's going great! I may totally bonk at some point, but so far so good. Also, I'm getting faster. I don't really know how that's possible but I'm not complaining. I plan on doing more or less the same thing this week before bumping up my mileage again next week. I have a feeling I might be hitting the treadmill a lot this week since it's cold again. Also, next week we're going out of town for Thanksgiving so it will be interesting to see how that factors into my training.

Yeah, I said I was going to take this one slow. I'm not so good at that! 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Half training...week 4

Week four out of fourteen already? That's crazy! I have a feeling as the holidays and the end of the year grow closer, these next ten weeks are going to fly by. This past week of training went great, if I do say so myself. Take a look... and then I'll tell what I learned this week.

Mon: 6 miles - treadmill, 45 minutes cross training
Tues: 60 minutes cross training
Wed: 6 miles - road
Thurs: 5 miles - treadmill, 45 minutes cross training
Fri: Rest
Sat: 9 miles -road
Sun: Rest
Total miles week 4 - 26 miles

Phew, that was a tiring week! A few observations, I only double up on running and cross training when I know I'm not going to be able to get it in on a later date. For example, I knew I'd be busy all day Friday, so I tried to squeeze in some extra cross training on Monday and Tuesday. I'm no expert on the subject, but I think strength training makes me a much better runner. So I try and stay consistent with it.

I had to switch out my track run for a road run on Wednesday because when I got to the track at the school, the football team was practicing so the track was unavailable. In the old days, I probably would have changed my mind and just gone home or hit the treadmill. Instead I drove to my usual Saturday spot, parked, and ran my six miles on the road.

I took this picture trying to show how fall-like it has finally gotten in Georgia, only to realize later that it's still quite green!
My Saturday run was good, but with a lesson learned. The weather was great and I had it all planned out perfectly. Park, run a four mile out-and-back one direction, come back to the car for water and fuel, then another five mile out-and-back in the opposite direction. My only problem was that I went out way too fast, so by my last mile my legs were dead. I mean dead, dead. If this run had been any longer I would have had to cut it short. So this coming Saturday when I run my ten miler, I need to remember to slow down a bit more!

A few more observations: I'm thinking about cutting back on my midweek miles and my weekend runs grow longer. My legs were so tired all weekend and that's not a good feeling. It might have something to do with the fact that it's just so hilly here. It's almost impossible to find a long running route with no hills here in Georgia! Also, I really need to figure out this whole fuel situation. On Saturday I ate a few sport beans and that seemed to go well, though I could have used more during that last mile. I still have a few GUs to try, but I'm nervous that the texture will gross me out.

Okay, I think that's about it!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Half training...Weeks 1-3

Now that I've officially decided to run a half marathon in January, it's time to talk training! Last Spring I did a a 10K training program on my Nike Plus app, and I had originally intended to start their half training program as well. However, when I looked up what the actual program entailed, I knew I was going to have a hard time fitting it to my schedule. For one, the first week had all weekday runs, Monday through Friday. Now, I can usually get in a few mid-week runs, but not five. And I don't really like running that many days back to back. I googled a few other training plans, got some suggestions from friends, but in the end I decided to just put together a training schedule that fits my schedule. Basically I just altered my usual running schedule by adding a few miles to each of my weekly runs. Simple enough. Most training plans usually last about twelve weeks, but since I finished my last 10K exactly fourteen weeks out, mine is fourteen weeks long.

Here's what my first three weeks of training looked like:

Week 1
Mon. Rest day (I had just raced a 10K so I took some time off afterward.)
Tues. Rest day (I'm off to a good start!)
Wed. 5 miles - track
Thurs. 4 miles - treadmill
Fri. Cross train
Sat. 8 miles - road
Sun. REST!
Total for week 1 - 17 miles

That eight miler was the longest distance I've ever run outdoors (not on the treadmill). That run was a great morale booster for me and made me feel confident about my decision. Also, based on my pace for that run, I adjusted my goals to not just run a half marathon, but to finish sub-two hours. That means from now on I'll be aiming for the magic-sub-two hour pace for all my training runs: 9:09 and under. AHHH!

I ran an out-and-back for my eight miler, so I stopped at the four mile mark to take a picture to commemorate how far I'd run!

Week 2:
Mon. 5 miles - treadmill
Tues. Cross train
Wed. 4 miles - treadmill
Thurs. 5 miles - treadmill
Fri. Cross train
Sat. 7 miles - road
Sun. Rest
Total week 2 miles - 21 miles

So yeah, I run a lot on the treadmill. It's just more convenient to me on weekdays. Basically, as soon as Matthew gets home from work anywhere between four and five, I hustle down to our apartment gym and run. I have to shower and cook dinner as soon as walk in the door, but it's worth it. I have to mention that previously I'd been running on a treadmill at the gym that may or may not be older than I am. In fact, when I begin my training I was pretty certain that I would be killing that treadmill very soon with my sudden increase in mileage. Now, I'm not positive that I'm the only one who uses this treadmill, but I've never seen another soul on it. Well, lo and behold, when I visited the gym for the first time since I began my training I found a little surprise waiting for me...

Yup, that's a brand-new treadmill. I've enjoyed putting some miles on her over the past few weeks. I'm in love! And just to keep it honest, my long outdoor run on that Saturday sucked! It was cold, about 40 degrees, and I hated every mile. It happens!

Week 3 :
Mon. - 5 miles - treadmill
Tues. - Cross train
Wed. - 6 miles - track
Thurs. - 5 miles - treadmill
Fri. - Cross train
Sat. 9 miles - treadmill
Sun. Rest
Week 3 total: 25

Monthly total for October: 81 miles

Week three was not a bad week; at least my mileage was good. My Saturday long run was a bit of a bummer again. It was colder than cold and insanely windy so I wussed out and ran on the treadmill. The good news is, I've also started running on the track once mid-week. I really like track runs, so I always look forward to just cruising for a few miles. I run out on a sidewalk off a fairly busy road on Saturdays and it's quite hilly as well. Which is why I love the track, it's flat!!

Hopefully this weekend's long run will go better for me. I need to suck it up and get used to the weather. Since my race is on January 17th, it's guaranteed to be a cold one!

This is me running the Museum of Aviation 5K this past January, the same race I'll be running the half distance at next year. It was 22 degrees that day!

So, to sum up: Training is going well and I'm enjoying the new challenge of running more miles. With my current schedule I'll be on track to run 100 miles in November, which is completely crazy. Alas, I'll be training all through the holidays which should be interesting. We're going out of town the week of Thanksgiving so it will be a challenge to log miles that week, even though I'm already planning on dragging my dad along for one of my long runs!