Training

Week 1

It definitely did not go as planned. But in my head I keep thinking, I’ve done this before and I have nothing to worry about. Training during the summer is much different than when I started my training plan during this past winter for the first half marathon I ran in May. I’ve been getting in a few runs here and there but with summer comes vacations, no strict schedules or routines, a little bit of laziness and I’ve had one minor setback physically. So I’ve been maxing out somewhere around 30 miles a month. This definitely isn’t enough by any standard but it’s what I’ve been able to commit to this summer. My only option at the moment for runs is in the wee hours of the morning before the kids wake up and I have to start getting everyone ready for the day. Also known in the running community as EMC (Early Morning Crew). That means I need to be out the door starting my run anywhere between 5 and 6 am so I am back no later than 6:30 am. But that extra 45 minutes to an hour of sleep is often more appealing than the other option of getting up, getting out of bed and out the door for a run. As I’m waking up to the alarm and my body feels stiff and I’m groggy, running just isn’t what I want to do in that moment. The days that I do motivate myself to get up it’s the best feeling and an amazing way to start my day. I’m on a runner’s high for the rest of the day and my mood is ten times better than when I don’t run. That is good for my kids especially! I expect week 2 to be better because the longer I go without strictly following the plan the more work I’m making for myself in the end. And I will not let that happen.

Making it easier to be EMC!

Week 2

I had a better second week and made more of an effort to get my runs in. My week starts off on Monday with cross-training so that is easy to accomplish and is definitely the better option for me after busy weekends. On Mondays I’m usually still dragging and running is the last thing I want to do. Hitting the bike or elliptical for 30 minutes is easier to get done than a run. Tuesday is still a struggle as I’m still recovering from weekend fun so I skipped Tuesday run in Week 1 because I needed the extra hour of sleep that day. But this week I got in a night run on Tuesday which helped get me motivated for the rest of the week. Now while I should have run again on Wednesday I felt like heading out in the morning after a night run would not have been beneficial to my body. So I skipped Wednesday and looked forward to a run on Thursday to make up for it and I had a great 4 miler. It was a cool 75 degrees at 6 am in the beginning of August and even with a bathroom stop at home mid-run I ran right back out the door to finish rather than calling it quits. I felt great that run!! Friday was rest day and I was feeling super pumped and ready for my five miles on Saturday. It would be my longest run since about two weeks after my half in May. And man it felt long! It was cloudy and looked like a possibility of rain but shortly after I headed down to the boardwalk it cleared up making it a hot, sunny and humid run….even at 9 am. I struggled that run and really came to realize that I’m just not good at running in the summer heat. I walked twice between miles 2 and 3 for a quick recovery and to get my breathing back on track from the thick hot air. At about mile 4 I was ready to throw in the towel but I pushed myself to just run to the end of the boardwalk, which made it 4.5. I thought to myself that I might as well run back to the spot where my car is parked, and I was now at 4.75 miles. It would have been silly at that point to not complete the 5 miles. So I pushed through it and finally finished. It was a little discouraging but at the same time I’ve been reading a lot of fellow runners’ posts and complaints about what the heat is doing to them on their runs. So I chalked it up to the blazing sun and am hoping for a cooler 6 six miles at the end of week 3. This is where the long runs can be tough and bad runs can be very discouraging so I’m hoping for the best here on out!!

Tips for Running in the Heat

Week 3

Ugh, this is not getting any better!! It was just another rough week all around. The beginning of the week was typical with cross training on Monday which consisted of a 4 mile bike ride with my daughter. Tuesday was another disappointing failure at getting a run in but I swore to myself I would be on my A game for the rest of the week. Wednesday I had a good 3.5 miler in the morning but I slacked on Thursday. And probably a good thing because I came down with some sort of stomach virus possibly that lasted the day and had I run that morning there could have been a good chance of dehydration. I was not keeping anything in which still had me feeling pretty crappy on Friday. So when I lifted my head off the pillow to get up and run and felt it throbbing, I put it right back down and went back to sleep. So I had a lot of miles to make up over the weekend and decided on 3.5 Saturday and my scheduled long run of 6 on Sunday. I ended up with a small window of time Friday night to run and decided I would prefer getting it done then and not having to set an alarm for Saturday morning. But it was really hot!! And my small window of time and slow pace only took me to 2.5 miles. The heat wave over the weekend was brutal and I was a little nervous about my 6 miles on Sunday. I should have started earlier than 8:30 but I’m not even sure that would have helped. It was scorching hot and about 1.5 in I was already struggling. I swallowed my pride and took a walk/water break. This went on from that point at about every half mile. It was just too hot but I was going to have to do what I could without pushing myself to the point of passing out. So I settled for 4.5 and while extremely disappointed and knowing that I should have finished the 6 I just didn’t have it in me to fight through the effects of the heat that morning. I went home completely drenched from sweat, legs feeling tight, my beat red face pulsating and feeling a little defeated. But I have to believe that at some point this is going to get better. Probably in September! But for now I will do what I can and hope that it’s enough in the end.

Week 4

I definitely had a better week although not a ton of time to get runs in. I was without my oldest for the week (she was vacationing) so that meant no early morning runs because my youngest is too little to be left alone. I knew that a treadmill run was going to have to be an option if I wanted to get at least a few miles in this week. I had a great speed work treadmill run at the gym and got 3 miles in while doing so. I then came up with the genius idea of sending my youngest to the rec center in our town the next night for an hour in order to do an outdoor run. And a great 4 miles it was! The heat and humidity were not a factor and I felt strong that run. I gained some confidence back after that run. But that was it for me for the week so all I had to look forward to was my 6 mile weekend run. I’m altering my weekend runs a bit now that the long runs have been a little bit of a struggle. So rather than move on to 7 miles I decided I needed to conquer 6 first.  I needed this to be a good run and I needed to get to the 6 in order to feel better about my stamina and training. I knew exactly where I needed to run in order to do so. I went back to where all the long runs had begun and ran in a beautiful preserve that has special meaning to a very important person in my life. It’s the perfect place to let go, zone out and just run. It helps that there are usually quite a few people running the path as well and you get the old runner’s wave from mostly everyone you pass which is a nice bit of encouragement. It wasn’t too hot and most of the path is shaded but I did forget that my 3 miles into the preserve would take me to the inclines of the parkway overpasses that run through the preserve. Those were a bitch! But hills are a key part of training and help to build strength and endurance. I was just not mentally prepared for them and didn’t realize I would be crossing them. But I trudged up them and got through the 6 miles without a problem. I finished in just over an hour which is a little slower than I’d like to be. But when you start to hit these upper miles and think to yourself “wow I just ran 6 miles” it really is a great feeling. I knew that physically I would be able to do it but the right weather is really important for my running and it was a beautiful morning and a great start to a Saturday. The next two weeks should be interesting and I’m hoping my training doesn’t get effected but there’s lots going on and running might have to take the back seat. We’ll see!

 

Week 5

There is nothing I can say except that it sucked!!! I don’t think, from what I can remember, that I did a thing that week. I’m a little late in posting this and trying to catch up but I’m pretty sure I didn’t run at all that week. I was excited about the week and the training I planned on doing but Monday’s gym session was put off by a visit to a family member in the hospital and after that I couldn’t get back on track. I just completely lost my mojo, it was too dark in the morning to run when I needed to and I was just not feeling it. It had me a little concerned because I knew I was going out on vacation the following week and that can usually lead to laziness. I felt like I was setting myself up for complete failure and I would lose the desire to train. Especially if I went into the next week on vacation and didn’t run. I’ve read articles and have discussed with fellow runners that some weeks you just don’t have it in you. But I know myself. When I commit to something I do not give up. I do not want to disappoint and I do not want to look like a quitter. I looked at week 6 as a fresh start and told myself there would be no excuses. It’s really important at this point to keep up with the training and I needed to get my butt gear!

http://womensrunning.competitor.com/2016/09/health-wellness/common-excuses-not-running_65156

 

Week 6

Vacation had nothing on me! I kicked it up a notch from the previous week and really put in the work. I did my cross training early in the week and got two good shorter runs in after that. I was going to be going camping to finish off the vacation week and felt like it would be a great place to run. But I also had to do 7 miles and was a little concerned that maybe I shouldn’t be heading out in rural upstate New York by myself. I didn’t know what sort of roads there would be for me to run on and if I would feel up to a 7 miler while on this trip. And to be perfectly honest I also knew there would be drinking and possibly late nights that I would maybe get caught up in once my friends and I were all together so I decided to not disappoint myself and get the run done before we went away. I headed out early Friday  so that I wouldn’t have to “worry” about it for the rest of the weekend. Probably the best decision! I had a beautiful morning to work with, weather was perfect, I felt good and energized and I killed my 7 miles. There was again another brief bathroom break at home because I was too chicken to hop a fence to use the golf course’s port-a-potty but other than that I nailed it. Except for the fact that after the pit stop I felt a little uncomfortable in my shorts only to realize when I got home that I had them on inside out. So yes, I was running with the brief part of the shorts on the outside. Don’t ask how that happened! But things went from good to pretty darn bad after this!

 

Week 7

I guess I can blame this bad week on exhaustion from the camping trip and the start of a new school year routine/schedule on top of my daughter’s dance classes beginning which if you know us, IS A LOT! I was able to squeeze in one short run which was shorter than I would have liked due to leg soreness from being back in heels at work. I never thought spending the summer in flats and switching back to heels would bother my calf muscles so much but it did and it effected my run. I didn’t want to overdue it and risk injury so I headed home at 2.5 miles. That was all I had in me this week and it was just gonna have to do. I wasn’t terribly worried for the weekend long run of 8 miles  because it wasn’t as if I had been totally slacking for some time. So I just kept hyping myself up for the run, made my arrangements of when and how I would do it and then I totally screwed it all up! While I should have had nothing alcoholic to drink Friday night I felt like a glass of wine or two wouldn’t hurt. And it honestly might not have but I need to take everything into consideration when trying to figure out what went wrong on a long run. And boy did it go wrong!! First off, I ended up sleeping until 11:00 am Saturday morning. Ok, I knew I needed sleep but not really ideal to do long runs midday when the weather is still pretty hot and humid. And when I got up, I just felt off and I could tell that the weather conditions were not great for running. I laid around for a little while, drank a good amount of water to hydrate, had a small amount of food for fuel (deviled egg to start and a yogurt after) and tried to get motivated to run. But I was dreading it!!! I hoped I would start feeling better and just get that burst of energy I needed but it wasn’t happening. I even threw up a little from too much water and some indigestion that was making me uncomfortable. I was kicking myself and  thinking that the wine was the major culprit in all of this but I was not going to use that as an excuse to not run because I would have come down really hard on myself if I had done that. So I geared up and headed out and was almost crying a mile into the run because of how awful it was feeling. It was so hot, my legs were heavy and my head was cloudy. I had thought about throwing in the towel and heading home but the farther I got into the run the more sense it made to just keep going and get through the 8 no matter how I did it. So with a lot of run/walk intervals (maybe more walking than running) I finished. So I can at least say that I did the 8, but it was not pretty and I will make quite a few adjustments for the upcoming 9. Because if this run doesn’t go well I might just have to put my October halves on hold. Stay tuned.

 

Week 8

Everything I could possibly do wrong this time around, I am doing. But I’m not quite ready to back out of my runs like I said I would do. I have faith in myself and my ability to push through this, I just need to not make any mistakes going forward. Our schedule has changed a bit since school and dance started so I’m getting to the gym at least 2 nights during the week for treadmill runs. It’s not as much as I would like to be doing but there’s not much else I can do. My kids need a break sometimes from the daily grind so Mondays have now become a rest day because it is the only night we can be home by 6:00 p.m. and eat a decent meal, around a table and relax. Otherwise Tuesday through Thursday our days end at 8:00 p.m. so any downtime spent at home is much needed. So this week I did two treadmill runs, one consisting of intervals but both maxing out at 3 miles. And since I’m back at the gym now I decided to work in some strength training. I knew that if I overdid it I would be sore so I knocked off a significant amount of weight from the machines compared to where I was at before summer. Wednesday night I chose to do legs! Everybody needs a leg night! But it was not smart of me to start doing them mid training when the weekend runs are becoming quite long. I was sore up until Sunday and extremely sore for the first couple of days after. It hurt to walk, go up/down stairs, sit/stand and even go to the bathroom. I was kicking myself big time and worried that I wouldn’t be able to run long by Saturday. I had a little free time Friday morning so did an easy, short run to loosen up the legs a bit. I felt pretty good and probably could have done more but I stopped at 3 in order to prevent injury. When I got up Saturday and thought about 9 miles it just didn’t feel like I would have been able to finish because of the soreness so I decided to give myself one more day of rest hoping I would feel better Sunday. Wishful thinking! I definitely felt better but I was not 100% ready for this run and thought about skipping it but felt that would totally throw me off since the 8 miles the weekend before had not gone well. So I headed out early but with limited time and got 6 miles done. It really didn’t feel great and I was short on time so I did what I could do. I have to believe that over the next couple of weeks I will be able to finish some longer runs. I’ve put in some work so it’s not like I’m completely behind or untrained. I just keep making stupid mistakes! My first half is October 16 so it’s do or die and time to register. But I’m not confident yet that it’s a good idea for me to run that race. I’ll try for one more long run this weekend, without pre-run mistakes, and decide after if I’ll be ready for that half. If not, there’s always others!

Week 9

I’ll cut right to the chase and say that I had a great week 9 and I put in the work I needed too as well as got through a 9.5 mile long run with really no issues. I knew I needed to prove to myself that l could handle a run without the struggles I had been experiencing in previous runs. With Fall weather making its debut I definitely could not blame a tough run on the elements. I was so excited after getting through this run and feeling strong throughout. I definitely could have used more fuel towards the end because I lost steam and had to call it quits at 9.5 when I should have gone to ten. But all in all I felt good and was ready to pull the trigger on signing up for my first fall half.

Week 10

This was a disasterous week!! I had a sick kid who needed to go to the emergency room to start off the week so that right there should tell you how my week went. Because with no sleep Monday night I was doomed from the beginning and started coming down with my cold right then and there in the hospital. I was home from work Tuesday and napping on and off throughout the day to try and catch up on some sleep while also starting to feel like a pile of crap. So I missed the first night of my normal weekday runs. I didn’t recover from this cold as fast as I normally do so it took me out of commission for the entire week. What started as an upper respiratory cold ended up moving down to my chest which makes it extremely hard to breathe through a run when you can hardly breathe walking around. I felt a little better on Friday so did a short treadmill run to test the waters. But as I went through the weekend trying to motivate for an 11 mile run I physically could not see myself being able to run 11 miles. Or any length for that matter. I hadn’t signed up yet for the Brooklyn half I had been looking at doing so I’ve chosen to sit that one out. I want to run and I want to run a good race. I was torn as to weather maybe what I had done throughout this training would be enough and adrenaline would help me get through it but I feel like I would be extremely disappointed if it turned into a run that I was unable to perform at the level I wanted to. So I’ll do only one half marathon this month which will be the Suffolk half at the end of the month giving myself more time to train and get back to feeling good and ready to run.

Week 11

I was starting to feel better at the beginning of this week but the kids were off from school which kind of throws a wrench in workout plans. But I knew that after being sick and missing another long run weekend I needed to start getting back to running in order to be ready for the Suffolk Half. So in order to motivate myself I went ahead and registered on Wednesday. No turning back! So off to the gym I went that night and 5 miles was going to be my goal. I ended up doing 4 which was good enough for me after a week and a half off. I was going to try and get in another short run or two before I attempted 9-10 miles the upcoming weekend. I woke up Thursday (the day after I registered) and could barely put weight on the ball of my foot. It only got worse as the day went on and by bedtime I had some swelling as well. I was hoping for a miracle that by the next morning it would feel better and not be anything to be concerned about. But Friday was just as bad. I did some self diagnosing purely off of other runner’s symptoms, doctor’s visits and diagnoses. But to be safe (and not stubborn) I went to the doctor. Because not only was my foot killing me but my sinuses had become infected as well. So after a throat swab, nasal swab, an x-ray and some prescriptions it was apparent I was not doing any long running this weekend. Enter anxiety!!  But I’m trying to come to terms with the fact that this was just not the ideal training time for me and it is what it is. I’m still going to do my run, I’m going to do the best I can but I’m not going in with any expectations or goal times. I still have about 3 weeks and there will hopefully not be any more bumps in the rest of the road!!

 

 

 

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