Friday, July 6, 2012

Week 3 Columbus Marathon Training-- It's not cold!

Wow. It’s hot outside. But, it could be worse…remember this???
Chase Your Shadown 5k in February--YUCCCCK!

Yes, although it could be worse, it’s still important to remember the challenges that come with extreme heat/humidity running. Here’s how I attempt to overcome those challenges:

(1)    It’s best to get out early. If possible, before the sun rises (which never happens for me). If not super early, as early as you can. In addition to skipping out on the hottest part of the day, it helps prepare you mentally for the racing since most races are pretty early.  

(2)    Wear light clothing that is wicking. Stay away from 100% cotton. I usually stick to a light singlet and running shorts. I haven't been running with just a sports bra, which would probably make the most sense. Why not? Well, the more I run, the faster I get, the better shape I get in…and the more self-conscious I become of my body. Weird, right? I always rocked the sports bra look back in my college jogging days when it was toasty out and didn’t think twice about it. Now, I’m a bit more conscious. That being said, I always wear a singlet when I run. I feel more confident and focused on my running, and less focused on my belly jiggle. LOL. Yeaaaaaah, I feel a follow-up post will be in the works about this issue…

(3)    Hydrate. When? ALL THE TIME. That means the day before your run, the morning of, during, and after. I always throw Gatorade in the mix to ensure I have the proper balance of electrolytes as well.

(4)    Eat light before your run. Stick to simple carbohydrates. Just think of Will Ferrell chugging milk on a hot day, and you’ll get my point.

(5)    Wear a hat/visor. I’m not a big fan of wearing hats while I run, but they do keep the sun out of my face which helps me run more relaxed and less stressed from the intensity of the sun.

(6)    Wear sunscreen. This is where I get lazy, but it’s REALLY important. Even areas on your body that are covered with clothes are exposed to UV rays. SO, put it on everywhere!

(7)    Be realistic and flexible. Don’t have expectations, whether it be in a race or training run, that are unrealistic for the conditions. There’s no need to berate yourself for missing a P.R. when it’s 90 degrees out. Plus, listen to your body. If you’re dizzy, feeling bloated, getting a headache, etc, STOP. If you really want to push yourself, get to a treadmill. It’s not worth risking your health!

(8)    Get in the A.C. when your run is done! If you’ve put your body through the stress of a run in the heat, it’s essential to let your body relax and cool down. As you've been pushing it to get in your run, it's been working over time to prevent overheating in ways more complex than you can imagine. Your body is an intricate and delicate machine, so treat it well!

(9)    Use common sense.

(10)Remember that running in the heat is better than running on wintery ice! So don’t let the summer sultry days get you down; it will cool down before we know it! Stay positive!! :-D

SO, here’s what my hot week has been like so far:

Monday: I had 4X800 on the schedule, and was feeling sore and depleted before I was even out the door. I’m not sure if the heat has taken its toll on me or what, but I have just been lacking in enthusiasm to push it as I should. I took a light jog before I began my repeats, and my Ipod froze in the midst of it. Although I’ve been committed to racing Ipod-less since last summer, it’s snuck back into my training runs. Running with an Ipod has benefits if you need the motivation to get out there, but I’m very committed to my training schedule which is enough of motivation for me. Sticking to my plan (anddddd modifying it when necessary) is what will help me reach my goals of becoming a faster runner. So, time to ditch the Ipod all together once again! This way, I can focus on my pace and breathing, and simulate race like conditions more through my training since I race Ipod-less anyway. Plus, running is much more cleansing and therapeutic when my thoughts aren’t drained away by the lyrics of loud music blaring in my ears. SO, despite feeling slightly under the weather during my warm up, the speed work out turned out to be awesome! I pushed a 6:10ish pace per interval and made it hurt when it counted. I left thinking I need to get my 5k P.R. down (currently at 19:34), and that it’s not unrealistic to run a sub 19:00 before the summer’s over.

Tuesday: My cross-training day, which perfectly turned out to be a rainy day! Like Monday, I was not feeling 110% “on” so I decided to get some things done in the morning and early afternoon. When I got to the gym, I was contemplating on how hard I should push with the possibility of running a 5k the next day. The 4th of July on a Wednesday not only made it tricky for the work week, but also my training schedule! I did a one mile warm up, 30 minutes on the elliptical, and 30 minutes on the bike. I left feeling confident that a 5k the next day would turn out to be a bust, and so decided to hold off until the weekend.

Wednesday: 4th of July! I had a 30 minute tempo on the schedule and it was WAY hot and humid—even at 9:30am! As soon as I stepped outside, I sucked in the humidity and my attitude SUCKed from that point on.  I should have got out earlier, but shoulda, woulda, coulda! I did my 10 minute warm up, 15 minutes at “10K pace”---although I could barely hang on to 6:50, so I guess it was more “1/2 marathon pace”—and then a 5 minute cool down. I only managed to cover 3.70 miles. HA! I was P.O.’d when I finished, but glad I didn’t attempt a 5k. My attitude wasn’t where it needed to be to suffer though the heat, and I was too filled with excuses to have made a race worth it. Oh well. At least I can scratch this one off the training log.
My lil nephew enjoying America's birthday!! :0)

Thursday: I had a 6 mile pace run on the agenda. Since I’m re-doing my first few weeks of training with my switch to the Columbus Marathon, I had to re-think my plans for this workout. I’ve run two pace runs in the past two weeks, and if I were to have continued on with my Tow Path training this would have been an easy run. Plus, I woke up this morning with tight butt muscles (??? LOL???) and haven’t been on my “A” game for what feels like a while. So, I made it a 6 mile easy run and REALLY enjoyed it! I took it easy, and held back when I had the instinctual feeling to pick it up. I figure I might as well hold off until the 5K Saturday. I finished in 48:27, 8:04min/mi. At this point,I decided to participate in the Run For Pirogies(*sp) in Parma Saturday morning.

Friday: HOT day of rest! I went on a half hour walk in the morning, and clearly the forecast was not a joke. It was toasty out there, and expected to be even toastier tomorrow. Perfect timing for my scheduled 5k (NOT)! I still plan on doing it, and want to run it strong (and realistic) despite the extreme heat and humidity that will be accompanying me in an attempt to reach my goal (a P.R.!) Although I want a sub-19:00 at some point this summer, my goal for tomorrow will be a sub-19:30. I need to be realistic here! I want to run a steady race and have fun since I will be missing out on two great races next weekend. Yep, I will be sitting out both the Shot in the Dark and the Johnnycake Jog. Well, I shouldn’t say sitting out—dancing out!! I am way excited to celebrate my friend’s bachelorette days with great company, but am REALLY sad to miss the Johnnycake Jog. It’s a great 5 mile race with a competitive field which always serves as a good spark of motivation to remind me that I have a lot of room for improvement. So, that being said, if you’re looking for great races next weekend, chose the Shot in the Dark if you want to have a fun time (the Spazmatics are playing!) despite running a race at the worst time of the day. It tends to be brutal and HOT, but still fun.  If you want to get your butt kicked but learn a lot from it, chose the Johnnycake Jog!

Saturday: Run for Pirogies (*sp)! Race recap to follow

Sunday: The forecast says were supposed to get down to the low 80s! I only have 8 miles on the plan, so it will be a good recovery from the race Saturday.

Stay cool and stay tuned for my Run for Pirogies race recap!!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Week 2 Columbus Marathon Training- always use pencil!

If you’ve been following my blog over the past year, you’ve probably picked up on my indecisiveness. Decision making is not something I do with ease, and I often changed my mind. But once my mind is officially made up, there’s no turning back! My blog title today should say Week 4 Tow Path Marathon Training….andddddddddd it doesn’t! Why not? WELL, I’ll be running the Columbus Marathon on Sunday, October 21 instead!! J The change in plans is less of a consequence of my indecision and more because of family events potentially conflicting with my early October marathon plans. To play it safe, I’ve decided to make my presence known in my new age group (30-34) as I will be turning the big 3-0 a few days before the Columbus Marathon. Although I was looking forward to a low-key marathon and had my Tow Path plan already written out, I didn’t have my heart set on it and really just wanted to get in a fall marathon.  That being said, the change is not a disappointment by any means. Although Columbus wasn’t particularly low key last year, I absolutely LOVED it and am very excited to run it again! It’s a mid-sized marathon on a fun, entertaining course that’s flat, and potentially, FAST! Last year, I ran it as a training run for NYC with only one 20 miler under my belt and clocked a P.R. of 3:16:02. I’m curious what I can get out of this course going in with a full 18 weeks of training. With Columbus as my official marathon plan set for the fall, I’ve officially made a corresponding time goal—I want to run the Columbus Marathon in 3:14:59, a 7:26min/mi. I don’t want to be a second over 3:15! I’m not sure I’m ready to break 3:10 so I don’t want to make that a goal at this point. I know that I will eventually, maybe in the spring?!? But for now, sub 3:15 it is!

I’m continuing to follow the Hal Higdon Advanced 2 Marathon Training Plan. Most of this week fits under week four, and only the weekend is week two due to my switch-a-roo! My training log is a mess right now, which is a reminder: ALWAYS WRITE YOUR TRAINING PLAN IN PENCIL! Even for small changes or tweaks in workouts, it’s better to have the flexibility with a simple erase. Plus, although it’s necessary to commit to a training program and have faith in it, you should always listen to your body and run accordingly. That may mean tweaking a run scheduled for a day, swamping it with another day, or completing throwing it out. Ignoring your body and pushing to get the check off the list can lead to a bad workout, a negative attitude, injury, or worse--put you in the hospital (hHhHmMmM the big pink elephant on my blog---last March! hhHhHmMmm).  So, stick with the pencil!

Here’s how the week played out:

Monday: I had hill work on the schedule. When I was living in Cleveland Heights, I used to run the steep hill on Mayfield Road in Little Italy. Now, I’m running up a puny hill in Wickliffe that doesn’t do the same justice. But, regardless I did 4 repeats and pushed despite feeling WAY under the weather from the wedding weekend. Plus, the heals I wore for the wedding all day into all night (until eventually I was barefoot in Shooters---GROSSSSSS) took their toll on my feet and ankles. If boys only knew how complicated it was to be a lady….LOL!

Tuesday: My gym day! I did a 1 mile light jog on the treadmill, 40 minutes on the elliptical, and 20 minutes on the bike. For those following Hal’s plan curious where my cross-training day comes from, I swap out one of his easy runs for the week and add in an hour of cross-training. I always alternate what kind of cross-training I do with that hour, but find it much more beneficial than an extra easy day. I ran 6 days a week with no cross-training for Boston in 2011 and highly recommend against that. I wasn’t very toned, in my opinion, and not in as good of shape as I was for NYC that following fall where I cross-trained. So, my recommendation is—CROSS-TRAIN!!! And, mix it up! You don’t want to bore your mind or your muscles. Have fun with it and enjoy a break from the mileage.

Wednesday: Tempo Wednesday! I had a 35 minute tempo on the agenda. It was hot, humid, and almost noon before I got to this workout. I ran a 10 minute warm up, and then tried to stay as close as possible to 6:40 for 20 minutes. I cooled down for 5 minutes, and ended up covering 4.67 miles. It wasn’t a total bust, but could have been better.

Thursday:  I had yet another 6 mile pace run scheduled, and wanted to get revenge on my painful pace run the week prior. I decided to go to the Tow Path for a shaded, flat course. I didn’t make it out there until about 10:30am. It was another warm day, which again posed an extra challenge to the already challenge of maintaining a steady 7:15min/mi. The first few miles were okay, but I knew the second half was going to be the hardest. Once I turned around at the half way mark, I was fighting to stay close to 7:15. Once I finished mile 5, I was ready to be DONE. I had one more mile to go, which felt like 26.2. I pushed to maintain my focus although my lungs were beating through my chest and my legs didn’t want to move forward any longer. I worked hard for a strong finish, and finished 43:47, 7:18min/mi. This was faster than my pace run last week, but a bit off 7:15. I’m not sure why I’m struggling so much with these marathon pace runs, but it’s clear to me that 3:10 is just not a realistic marathon goal for me right now.  I’m not there yet. I have to keep working! J

Friday: My day of rest! Also the day I signed up for the Columbus Marathon and switched my plan!

Saturday:  I decided to run 11 miles as listed under Week 2 of Hal’s plan, and met up with my running buddy Jen on the Tow Path.  She was coming from a night at the Rascal Flat’s concert, and I was coming depleted for reasons I’m not entirely sure. It may be from the hard workouts this week in the heat. Perhaps it was a nutritional issue, considering I went to Southside in Tremont for dinner the night before and there was NO pasta option. I ate duck pizza instead, which was not filling at all and had me hungry before I went to bed. I’m not sure what the problem was, but it was a cool, lightly raining morning that should have been ideal for a great long run.  Jen and I chatted through each mile catching up on our crazy lives over the  past few weeks and she definitely helped keep me on pace where I may have taken it easier in the first few miles.  We picked it up in the second half and ran past some of our students training for cross-country which was so much fun!  Since most kids assume their teachers hardly have lives outside the walls of the high school, I'm sure they were shocked to see Jen and I. LOL! It was a fun little surprise. :-) So, as we were closing in on the end, it was time to pick it up.  I usually like a strong finish for at least the last mile and half, but I just saved it for the half. My energy level was too low for anything more. Overall, I ended up finishing 1:26:37, 7:52min/mi. This is over 30 seconds slower than when I did this same exact workout two weeks ago after two 5ks. I’m thinking this is due to poor carbo-loading Friday night.

Sunday: Right now, I’m blogging! But, later today I’ll be running a 5 mile easy run. It’s getting hot out there, so I need to wrap this up and do it!

So, next week will be Week 3 of my Columbus Marathon training! I just saw the forecast for next week, which includes 90+ everyday leading up until the weekend. I may run a July 4th 5K on Wednesday, but I want to see how I feel before I make any commitments.  I will write it in with pencil!