Friday, May 30, 2014

Friday Five: New

1. New States! I love traveling, and next week I get to visit two new states that I've never been to: Kansas and Missouri. Very excited to explore (and race) in new places. If anyone has any must-sees in the Kansas City area, let me know! The Jayhawk has already put a moratorium on anymore Wizard of Oz jokes (my favorite movie), but he can't stop me from sharing a few with you! Sadly, since my new sneakers are not maroon like I hoped, there will be no ruby slipper jokes.
 
Somewhere in the middle of America.
2. New hydration option. I've been testing out a new hydration/salt replacement option, The Right Stuff, on my hot/long runs recently to replace the epic amounts of sweat I am putting out. I really think hydration and fueling are going to be the key elements to my success in August for the big 50k. Full review coming soon!
3. New Shoes. Ok, I've gotten over the fact that my new shoes are so grape-tastic and I am really starting to like the Purple Mile Eaters (AKA Saucony Ride 6). We've spent 27+ miles together and no complaints so far. They are lighter and a little stiffer than my last pair, with a lower heel to toe drop.
First Purple Mile Eaters shoe selfie.
4. New item on the Calendar: Estes Park Marathon For all those who pay close attention to my upcoming events (it's all of you I'm sure), I've added a race for June! I'm lucky enough to be heading somewhere pretty darn awesome for work and it just so happened there was a stunning marathon in the area! Since the race takes place above 7000 feet, I will be doing the half and using it for training/beautiful picture taking.
Um, Like I was going to miss out on this? (Source)
 5. New GPS watch. My garmin 305 is both ancient and totally on the fritz. It has good days and bad days, so I'm starting to look into options for replacing it. What do you all use? Do you love it? I'm looking for something that will do all the basics but not break the bank.
 
Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

50k Training Recap Week 2: 5/19-5/25

Entering week 2 of 50k training, my goal was to complete all my planned miles and incorporate 2 days of strength training.  I haven't added in specific speed workouts yet as I am just trying to get use to the routine of higher weekly miles and figure out the best routes to get them in. I've also focused heavily on recovery this week to make sure my legs and hydration are ready for the next day. My neck/shoulder is feeling significantly better, so there might be something to that whole idea of taking it easy when you're injured.

Monday: Why is the weather always cooler on rest days? Anyone have this problem? Though it may not look that much cooler from the weather stats, Monday was so much cooler than the rest of the week. Thank you clouds. I celebrated by grilling out for dinner.
Planned: Rest  Actual: Rest

Tuesday: Body is feeling mostly back to normal. I do still have some tightness in my neck and shoulder at the end of the day, but nothing that restricts my ability to be a functioning human.  I celebrated by adding strength training back in (arms and abs) and was no worse for the wear. Yay for taking it easy and having it help! Feel like a responsible athlete.
Planned: 5 miles easy  Actual: 5 miles (8:44/mile pace)

Wednesday: For today's run I headed over to Lullwater park to get in some trail miles.  It was a hot one (high 80s) and the shade did offer a little relief. Though I had not planned any speed work, a new sign in the park caused me not to lollygag on my laps. I ran 4 laps of the reservoir (0.9 miles each) and then headed out of the park to complete my runcommute home. One small design flaw in my planned route was that I ended up with two fairly long back to back climbs starting 4.5 miles into my run (0.5 miles out of the park to the start of my usual runcommute) and then another 0.4 mile climb only 0.4 miles later.  I was definitely feeling with on both of these climbs, but they served as some good training on not fresh legs.
Planned: 8 miles   Actual: 7.7  miles (9:09/mile pace)
Lovely. It probably should say "poison ivy and venomous snakes". Time to pick up the pace!
Thursday: Today found me back inside on the treadmill enjoying some flat terrain, air conditioning, and new sneakers!  Yep, I finally got around to buying new ones. I totally misread the description online and thought they were maroon and was more than a little shocked when I received a bright purple pair of sneakers in the mail. Seeing as my ability to get to the post office in a timely manner is lacking, I'll be rocking these Purple Mile Eaters for a few hundred more miles. Any ideas on what to name them?
Planned: 5 miles  Actual: 5 miles (8:41/mile pace) + Leg Strength training+Foam Roller
Meet the Purple Mile Eaters. I swear I thought they were Maroon on-line.
Friday: My legs were definitely ready for some rest.
Planned: Rest   Actual: Rest and foam rolled

Saturday: I was more than a little slow getting going this morning, so I didn't start my run until around 9:30. It was a hot one. I spent most of the run trying to slow down and keep my pace easy, but I have a hard time running slow when I run alone. I'm really trying to have specific workouts this training cycle and learning to slow down will be an important part of that.  Anyone have any good tricks?
Planned: 10 miles  Actual: 10 miles (9:04/mile pace)

Sunday: Group run! I met up with a coworker and some of her running buddies for a 5 miler. They tend to run a slower pace and that really helped me slow down. It was a nice easy run with some new company. Great way to shake the legs out.
Planned:  6 miles   Actual: 5.3 miles (9:54/mile pace)

How was your week? Anyone race?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

National Bike Month: 5 Tips for safe and smart cycling

As you may know, May is National Bike Month!
It's no secret that my favorite form of cross training (read: only form) is biking. I like to ride on the road, trail, or even beach.  I've always had fond memories of learning to ride a bike and still today riding gives me that carefree enjoyment that only the simplest of activities can. Maybe it's because bike riding was my earliest form of independence (yes, I was that kid who rode her bike to little league), and there is nothing more enjoyable than a bike ride on a summer day. Before you get started, there are few important things to keep in mind to keep you safe and ensure that you have fun.

5 Tips of Safe and Smart riding

  1. As easy as A,B,C. Before any ride, give your bike a quick 3 part check to make sure it is ready to go. Air (make sure the tires are properly inflated), Brakes (make sure the breaks work and that the brake pads are not worn out), Chain (make sure the chain isn't rusted or jammed).
  2. Get proper gear. Just like running, having proper cycling gear helps to minimize the chances of injury and ensure a more enjoyable experience. This does not mean buying the most expensive gear out there, but finding the gear that is right for your cycling goals. Getting your bike properly fit to your body is a quick and painless process that will make your time in the saddle much more comfortable.
  3. Safety is key! We all know that wearing a bike helmet is a no-brainer, but you should also check to make sure that your other safety gear works well. Reflectors (for both your bike and body), lights, and bright colors are important factors in making sure you don't get hit (and need that fancy helmet to protect you).
  4. Know your basics. Get to know your basic bike traffic laws, hand signals, and common verbal commands so you can best communicate with the cars and other bikes on the road.
  5. Bring friends. Not only is riding in a group more fun, but it provides more visibility for other vehicles on the road. Be sure to follow the rules of group riding and properly hazards within the group. Riding with buddies can also be really helpful if either one of you has a mechanical problem with your bike or a crash.

What is your favorite form of cross training?  Any other recommendations for safe cycling?

Monday, May 19, 2014

50k Training Recap Week 1: 5/12-5/18

This week was set up to be week 1 of my 50k training plan version 2 and I was all excited to get going after last week's training plan development session.  But it's started out with a whimper. Do not despair. I've got 15 more weeks to make up for it.

Monday: Woke up with a kink in my neck/upper back.  You know the kind where you just need to pop your back so you can move more normally?  Unfortunately the Jayhawk was unwilling to do it because he was afraid he would break my neck.  Spent the day uncomfortable, with slightly restricted movement. I figured a good night sleep and laying down would cure me.
Planned: Rest   Actual: Rest
Ran into this guy on my long run this week.
Tuesday: Awoke to find that my neck/back was significantly worse. So bad the Jayhawk had to roll me over because I couldn't do it myself. I had very restricted movement in my neck and upper back. Took the day off from work and periodically heated and stretched as well as I could.
Planned: 5 miles easy   Actual: None :(

Wednesday: Went to work. Thank goodness I have a swivel chair. Mobility was much better, but still had restricted neck/upper back movements.  I did go to the gym.  Before you think I am nuts, my goal was to get warmed up really well so I could stretch.  The stretching was a huge help!
Planned: 6 mile tempo run   Actual: 30 minute bike ride (9.36 miles, Ave 18.72 miles/hour)
 Mid-long run ocean selfie.
Thursday: New woman. Majority of movement is restored. Still feels like a have a charlie horse in my neck/shoulder, but was able to fully dress myself and comb my hair, which is actually rare on a normal day.
Planned: 5 miles easy   Actual: 5 miles easy! (8:45/mile pace)
Salt marsh viewing on my long run.
Friday: Yay! Friday! I did definitely feel some neck stiffness this morning, but am basically functional.  If my discomfort lasts through the weekend, I am going to head to see a sport massage therapist/chiropractor next week. I continue to heat and stretch best I can.
Planned: Rest   Actual: Rest

Saturday: Even though I want to through some tempo work into my longer runs during the training plan, I decided to keep all workouts easy for this week because of the neck thing.  I was not running in Atlanta and I was treated to some very flat terrain.  I wonderful change. Flat routes bring a whole new pace to easy workouts.
Planned: 8 miles Actual: 8miles easy (8:35/mile pace)
Sunday: Kept it easy again.  For the most part the back is back to normal (see what I did there?).  I still am having some muscle tightness and probably could benefit from a good massage.
Planned: 4 miles  Actual: 4 miles easy (8:40/mile pace)
Post-run lighthouse climbing with Mom and Dad!
Overall, week 1 of 50k training went well. A little scare to start the week, but I think it was a severe muscle knot or something.  Will keep an eye on it and continue to stretch it out.

How was your week?

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Training Recap: 5/5-5/11

Monday: 2.5 miles of speedwork on the beach (7:42/mile average pace) with the Jayhawk joining me on the bike.  I would do speedwork more often if it was always on the beach.
45 minute bike ride (both on the beach and road).

Tuesday: To honor the anniversary of Roger Bannister's 4 minute mile, I went out and ran a 4 minute mile. Ok, not really.
Strength training: core work (bicycle crunches, planks, hip bridges), squats, lunges

Wednesday: 4.75 miles easy (8:47/mile average) trail-ish running (or as close as I can get to it in the city).  4 laps of the reservoir in Lullwater park plus the mileage to get to and from there.

On the Emory University campus there is a small park, Lullwater park, with 3 loops (2 paved, 1 not).  The loops are fairly short (0.8,0.9, and 1.2 miles), but when combined together they make a nice workout.  The 0.9 mile loop goes around a reservoir and is mostly unpaved (mix of wooded trail and gravel fire road).  The park is almost entirely shaded by trees, which when combined with the lack of car heat makes it 5-10 degrees cooler than my runcommute. A welcome change as the city has already heated up! It's great option for getting in trail-ish miles during the week.

Thursday: 3.1 miles easy (8:35/mile average)

Friday: Rest as we drive back to South Carolina to see more family that have joined the vacation.

Saturday: Hour long bike ride.

Sunday: Rest.

How was your week?

Friday, May 9, 2014

50k Training Plan version 2.0

After posting what can now be called the first draft of my 50k training plan, I received a lot of really helpful feedback, advice, and input about training for the 50k and the 50k in general. Basically, my nerdiness got the best of me and I was over thinking it.

I'll be honest, when I first started looking at 50k training plans, I was really surprised by the heavy weekend volume I was finding.  I expected such things for a 50 miler, but not for a 50k. In reality, a 50k isn't that much longer than a marathon and therefore shouldn't need such different training. But having never run one, I assumed there was something I was missing and I didn't want to go in under trained.

This is where social media is your best friend.  Between comments on the post (be sure to check them out!) and responses on twitter, I realized that most people train for a 50k similar to how they train for a marathon but add in a little more terrain specific work and back to backs on the weekend.

In particular, Kyle Kranz's comments on the post helped me look at my training plan in a better way. If you don't know Kyle, he is a professional runner, coach, and the social media guru for Skora. Make sure to go check out his blog, tons of great info there. Kyle really emphasized looking at the vertical and horizontal balance of the plan (down the weeks and across each week). Spreading out mileage throughout the week allows for better quality workout, without having killer huge weekends. Even though I am not trying to win the race, Kyle recommended maintaining specific workouts (tempo and hills) throughout training as they will make you much stronger on race day than just running the miles.  Huge thank you and High-five to Kyle for the advice!

50k Training plan version 2.0

50k Training Plan
Version 2.0
I feel a lot more comfortable and excited about my new plan.  The overall mileage is actually higher by about 50 miles, but it the way it's laid out looks much more doable and less intimidating to me. To be honest, I was already not looking forward to those 30+ mile weekends on version 1 and that doesn't lead to good workouts.  There is still one big run on this plan, a 24ish miler in July.  That is actually a 39k trail race on similar terrain to the 50k.  A great test run for gear and fuel before the big race. Weeks alternate between big longruns with a shorter recovery run the next day, and weekends with 2 equal-ish length runs.  Wednesday and Saturday will be used for specific workouts.

Ok, thoughts/comments/suggestions on version 2.0? I'm not afraid to make a 3rd one! :)

Updated: Check out my 50k Race Recap and my Lessons Learned from 50k Training

Thursday, May 8, 2014

50k Training Plans

Update: Shortly after making this plan, I revised it. Please see 50k Training Plan version 2.0 for the plan I am actually following.


Now that I've picked out an Ultramarathon and registered for it, the next logical step is to develop a training plan (that is if you don't count the step when I freaked out a bit when I realized I am running a 50k in the snake infested deep south in August).
So the research has begun. As I read more and more, 3 main elements of ultra training keep popping up over and over.
1. Back to back long runs. From a life and scheduling standpoint this is a challenging one, but training-wise one of the most important things to get your body use to running on tired, heavy legs. Many weeks have a 20+ miler followed by an 8 or 10 miler the next morning.  Proper recovery is going to be essential in order to make these runs happen.
I need a little more time running in places like this.
2. Train on the terrain. I typically run mostly road or treadmill miles because that is what is most accessible to me, but we all know a trail mile and a road mile are very different things. In order to prepare my body for ultra trail running, I obviously need to incorporate significantly more time on the trails.  I have the luxury of living close enough to the actual race location that I can train on the trails there periodically, but there are also a lot of other great options closer to my house.  For me, the majority of my trail running will be on the weekends, but I have plans to include additional ankle stretching and strengthening during the week as well as some trail-like conditions to help prepare for uneven terrain.
Thank goodness Laura at Island Boost is helping me stay fueled! Of course I will be sharing!
3. Learn to Fuel.  Ah, my favorite topic. It's safe to say I've made HUGE strides in fueling and understanding what my body needs during this last year. I've found options that work for me for the half and full marathon distance and have started to explore new forms of hydration and salt loading.  That said, I'm not sure an all liquid and Island Boost fueling strategy will work for an ultra mainly because my stomach might need something solid just to balance it out. I've begun to investigate what solids might accompany my current fueling strategies.  Hopefully I can keep the barfing stories to a minimum. Spoiler alert: my solids list does not include donuts.

My 50k training plan

Red numbers are days I already have races planned. As always, plan is subject to change.
So here is my plan.  I've blended a couple of plans to fit my life (travel, racing schedule, what can conceivably be done with sacrificing family relationships, etc).  My main goal for this race is to finish, so I've tailored the plan to reflect that (i.e. no speed goals). There are several runs that are marathon distance. I'm on the hunt to find racing or group training options that might help get the miles in, without breaking the bank.

Big thanks to Tina over at Gotta Run Now for posting some helpful 50k training links.
  1. 50k plan based on your race date: Just plug in your distance and race date and this site will generate a training plan for you that can be exported into excel.  Plan can be edited from there as needed. There are four 20+ mile runs in this plan.
  2. Ultraladies 50k plan.  A 20 week plan designed for a first time or new ultrarunner. It uses an alternating pattern of hard and easy weeks to ease you into the increased mileage. The plan doesn't specify any speed or tempo work. There are seven 20+ mile runs in this plan.
  3. Competitor 16 week training plan. This plan is also design for first timers aiming at the 50k, but it include hill work and pace work (or differences in effort) for specific runs. Many of the runs are focused on total time goals rather than mileage. There are four 20+ mile runs in this plan.
I'll be honest, the plan scares me a little.  There are some tough weeks in there. But I think taking on a new challenge should be a little scary. Will I run every single run as planned?  Nope, I know that going in, but my goal is to stick to it as close as I can so I can finish the race. Moving outside your comfort zone takes a healthy dose of fear to help you achieve your goal.

How do you challenge yourself in new ways? Is fear a motivator for you?

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Training Recap: 4/28-5/4

Monday: Rest day.

Tuesday: 3.1 easy on the treadmill do to some seriously wacky weather in the ATL. Thankfully the worst of the storms didn't get us and we are all ok.

Wednesday: Speedwork! 5x400 at 5k pace for a total of 3.1 including warm up and cool down. Yes, you read that correctly. I actually followed a plan for a speed workout! I still don't think I am running my intervals fast enough (I have no clue what my 5k pace should be), but I am trying to get the hang of it without injuring myself. Babysteps.

Thursday: 3.1 miles easy. They really did feel easy after the previous day's speedwork.

Friday: Rest. We drove down/over to South Carolina to meet up with some family for the weekend.

Saturday: 1 hour bike ride.
Check out my instagram for more photos (@runningeb)
Sunday: 4 mile run through the salt marsh.  It's amazing how much faster easy runs are without hills.
I could run here forever and never get bored.
We also went for a 30 minute bike ride on the beach.

How was your week? Anyone race?

Friday, May 2, 2014

April Recap

Miles: 73.74 miles

Races:
Ragnar Trails Atlanta

Girls on the run 5k

Highlight of the month: Feeling back in the grove after a weird March. I'm starting to up my mileage and train more purposefully, which is important given my summer plans!

Not so Highlight of the month: My blue Asics now have well over 500 miles on them and I badly need to replace them (there is foam showing).  It seems my laziness has caught up with me. Time for some shoe shopping.

ABSolutely Awesome April Challenge:
The ABSolutely Awesome April challenge went really well. I will be honest, I didn't complete everyday this month, but I completed most days and got use to including more core work in my daily workouts. My core strength has noticeably improved.  I enjoyed the 30 day challenge format and will come up with another one for June. As a maintenance goal, I'm hoping to continue to average completing core work 3 days/week. How did everyone else do?

Fun clip of the month:
The World Record in the Beer mile was broken this month with the first sub-5 minute mile. I adore how nerdy this man's preparation was and seriously he took it.

Things I am looking forward to next month: I only have one race planned for next month and it is a 5k.  Not my favorite distance by any means, but it takes place at a brewery!  So, I might like this 5k.

How did your month shape up? Is it still Spring where you live or has Summer descended on your city?
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