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Hoarding beers

I’m back with some good news– I’m running! Without pain!

As I mentioned back in November, my stress fracture was lingering around slightly longer than expected and I ended up taking off a little over three months total. Three months without any exercise means starting my Boston 2014 training cycle from scratch. While not ideal, I’m very excited to finally get back on the roads and kick off 2014 on a good note.

CentralPark

This was in the fall when I couldn’t run, but you get the point.

 

2013 was likely my lowest mileage year-to-date, and I never stayed healthy or uninjured for longer than 3-ish months at a time. By the time I got in a groove, I got injured again and had to take time off. It’s difficult to continually start from scratch every few months, especially since the first month or so of getting back in shape is the most challenging. However, I am optimistic that 2014 will be a year of consistent, healthy training! Even if that consistency doesn’t pay off in the form of PRs this year, I’m confident that it will eventually.

We’re only 90 days away from Boston 2014, and I’ve got all my fingers and toes crossed that I can make it to the starting line healthy! I think it’s too early to determine an accurate goal time, 3:05-3:10 sounds safe. While I’m still chasing sub-3:00 or even just a PR in 2014, I want to be realistic and gentle with myself considering the circumstances. We’ll see how the coming weeks go…!

I recently started using Running Ahead to map out a training plan and log my data, after my friend Veronica recommended it. It takes a bit to set up, but is super easy to use once you set up your calendar! Here is my dashboard (below) that summarizes my training data/upcoming planned workouts, my (tentative) training plan to help map out my daily mileage and weekly build up, and my calendar that shows my actual runs-to-date coupled with planned runs.

Training Dashboard on Running Ahead

Training Dashboard on Running Ahead

 

I like that you can also view others training logs to compare runs, workouts, plans, etc. and it tracks miles on each pair of shoes to know when to retire them. I’m definitely guilty of over-wearing sneakers way beyond their mileage! You might also notice I added a little widget to the sidebar here on the blog that automatically uploads my latest runs.

I’m a few weeks into actual training and hit 35 miles last week! The injury-prone, nervous voice in my head thinks I’m still running too much, too soon. I’m only running 5 days a week right now, which has helped, but will go up to 6 soon. I’m also spending a bit more time stretching, foam rolling, and doing strength work. Knock on wood (or, knock on healed bone?) it keeps me healthier.

This past weekend, a group of friends and I trekked out to Long Island for the Sayville Running Company 10 Mile Run to the Brewery. This is the second year we’ve done it and it’s a blast. It’s pretty flat and ends at Blue Point Brewery for unlimited beer! I didn’t fully run the race last year as I was in the midst of my weird knee/IT issue and pathetically ran/walked a few miles out and back. I had very low expectations this year as I hadn’t even run 10 miles consecutively or done any tempo work to date.

10 Mile Run to Brewery 1/18/14

10 Mile Run to Brewery 1/18/14

I ran mostly with my friend Kristen and we had planned to run the first half easy and pick it up from there. Once the gun went off, we found our ‘easy’ pace a lot quicker than anticipated! However, I just rolled with it and got into a groove and started picking it up around mile 5. I was definitely working hard to hold 7:00 and under pace, but felt really strong and steady. I could feel my competitive drive coming back as I focused on picking each girl ahead of me off one by one.

When the pace felt really difficult or I wanted to just slow down, I kept steering myself back to positive thoughts. While it sounds cheesy, I reminded myself that I was so grateful to be out there running at all. I wasn’t able to do this race last year and just spent the entire last quarter of 2013 on the sidelines. I was now on the roads able to hold 7:00 pace off minimal running and workouts. While small, what an accomplishment! The thought of running a marathon at that pace in a few months is a bit daunting, but this is a pretty exciting starting point.

Hoarding beers

Hoarding beers

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Winners get growlers & pint glasses

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With a little more time on my hands these days, I hope to be able to post here a little more frequently. I have a feeling I’ll sound like a broken record over the next few months, but I’m excited and motivated to start fresh and get back in shape. Let’s see what April 21st brings!

Back to the Bridle

July 4th, 2013 | Posted by Lindsay Runs in Uncategorized - (2 Comments)

This might be the first positive post I’ve written in 2013! After a weird knee injury and getting hit by a cab, January through May were pretty bleak. For the bike accident not being too serious, I was surprised and humbled by how long it took my back to heal. I did zero activity for a good month, which was kinda awesome. I love running, but I also love extra sleep.

Finally, on May 19th, this happened:

It was a great (albeit rainy) day. I eased in gradually, and it even took a few weeks until my mileage was high enough to make it to Central Park, do a short bridle loop, and go home. I’m a big believer in coming back from time off very slowly and cautiously. Three weeks into running consistently, 6 miles was a ‘long’ run for me. I officially started keeping a log of my training the w/o 6/10– marking the 4 month count down to the Chicago Marathon– which you can view and/or stalk here.

It makes me so happy to be back into the routine of morning runs in Central Park with friends, which helps the miles fly by and get me out there before the temps rise (though, this recent humidity is a different story.)

Not taken while running.

Whether I’m running with friends or going solo, my morning run is easily one of the best parts of my day. It’s early and I’m half asleep most days, but it’s relaxed, peaceful and selfish ‘me’ time. After not being able to run too consistently for nearly a year, I love being able to create that time to do something good for myself most days. No distractions or stress, just time for good conversation while our feet hit the bridle (and, drip in sweat– ugh, summer running.) It makes me happy to kick the day off with something that I love and brings out the good in me. It might be cheesy, but it motivates me to get up each morning, knowing my mood and sanity will benefit from it. Plus, it feels good to get in a routine and work towards some goals again.

Speaking of goals… I’m still figuring them out. While I’d love nothing more than to PR or break 3:00 in Chicago this fall, I’m trying to be realistic and easy on myself. While I’ve said many, many times in the past that the competitive spirit in me hates racing unless I’m going to PR, I acknowledge I’m in a different mental and physical state right now and that’s okay. It’s been over a year since I’ve done Boston 2 Big Sur, and I just need to get back to racing… whatever form that takes.

So, I’m just trying to enjoy the journey and see where this summer takes me. It’s incredibly difficult and humbling to get back into shape, but it’s also a rewarding process that I like seeing unfold. My workouts so far have been incredibly slow (for me), but I know that I just need to keep putting in the work– no matter the pace– and it’ll slowly get easier and better. It can be frustrating to see the paces and think about where I used to be or where I should be, but I also know I don’t respond well to unnecessarily stressing out or over-thinking it and don’t want to hit a breaking point like last summer. Re-reading that post reminds me of the stress and sad funk I got myself into.

Life is slowly but surely getting in a better place. More focus and support at work, less travel and more time with friends and family, more time to relax and destress, better sleep throughout most nights, and more days running than not. While I’ve got a long road ahead of me ’til Chicago, it’ll be a different journey I’m looking forward to.

And now, I’m off to hang and enjoy beautiful NYC this fourth of July– happy running, all!

I love running, but sometimes, I love not running even more. It’s hard to believe it’s been just about a month since the Boston “Speed Can Kill” Marathon, and about 2 weeks since I trudged through the Big Sur Marathon to complete the Boston 2 Big Sur Challenge. In effect, besides those two days of running 26.2 miles, I’ve run exactly 6 times, only 15-30 minutes each, in the last month. Yay!

Less running, more drinking with friends!

I am a strong believer in periodization of training cycles. Part of this has to do with competing through high school and college. The seasons were clearly defined: Cross Country, Indoor Track, and Outdoor Track. We always took about two weeks of rest in between, give or take depending on practices. Breaks were natural, built-in, and welcome after a hard season or race.

After my LAST college race. I took a whole 3 months of NO exercise after that, and it was glorious.

It’s a little more difficult in the ‘real’ world of running, where there are fun races just about every weekend to sign up for, and no coach setting your competition schedule or telling you when to work out and when to rest. Unfortunately, I think too many runners get caught up in racing and training year-round without a break in between cycles and no real concept of periodization, and ultimately end up burnt out or injured. I get it, there are so many awesome races and marathons to sign up for…it’s easy to want to do them all and do them all right now.

But that’s also the awesome thing about the ‘real’ world. YOU control your training! YOU control your rest! YOU control your goal races. I know everyone is different, so I’m not saying you’re doing it wrong if you don’t split your training into cycles. Everyone’s bodies handle training differently, and everyone has different motivations for running and racing.

However, I really don’t think most people benefit from racing week after week, almost entirely year round, never allowing themselves to peak for a smaller handful of goal races. Instead, it’s just a steady stream of mediocre races at less-than-your-full-potential. I don’t think it’s physiologically or psychologically possible to be in your prime racing shape year-round. Of course, the type of races you do will influence this: training cycles differ in duration if you’re running 5Ks versus running marathons. I do firmly believe that periodization allows me to perform at a high level, while keeping enjoyable and injury-free. I love to race, but I love to race fast more. That means being patient and having 1 or 2 kickass races a year, over dozens of mediocre races.

I’m not a coach, so I’m not going to tell you how to structure your training. Again, it depends on the timing and length of what you’re racing. Google “training periodization” for a better guide than I’d give you. But from my personal experience over the past 3 years of post-collegiate racing, I select a goal race and build my schedule leading up to that. For a marathon, I start to focus on building my base about 4+ months out from the race. As the weeks pass, I steadily increase my mileage. I might schedule in a few races during training, but I use these races as workouts or fitness indicators, not goal races. About ~3 weeks from the marathon, I begin to taper. After the goal race, I take as much time off as I feel I need to recover: physically and mentally. Entirely ‘off’ is key: no physical exercise of any type (besides walking, that’s kinda inevitable..) Sometimes I need a little less than two weeks, sometimes it’s a month.

If you’re not longing for a break after a really hard few months of training or an awesome PR in a race, you’re probably not training and racing hard enough. If you’re back rocking workouts and long runs a week or two after a goal race, I don’t understand you. I’ll be chilling on the couch, not lacing up my running shoes until I’m fully longing to run.

I wouldn’t still be head over heels in love with running after 11 years of competing, chasing PR after PR, if I didn’t rest. It’s one of the most important pieces of the puzzle, and an often neglected one. If I trained hard, all year round, I’d never be able to peak accordingly to run a 3:03 (and soon, sub-3:00) marathon.

Another great part about not running? You get to focus on other areas of your life that got a little less love during your hard training. Like friends, family, and work! Lucky for me, my busy work season just started to kick in after Big Sur. Between personal and work trips, I am traveling every. single. weekend. in May and June. Bring it on, and see ya never, friends!

Sun Valley, Idaho for the Idaho Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics Association Conference

Boulder, Colorado as a sponsor of the Blend Retreat. Gorgeous view from our hike!

After Boulder, I was lucky enough to hang out in Denver for about 2 hours with my college roomie Emily before jetting back home!

And then I went to Dallas for the Team USA Olympic Media Summit

...Where I got to meet Bernard Lagat and was a HUGE runnerd.

And get to hear the First Lady Michelle Obama speak!

Yeah, it’s been busy, and I’ve come to appreciate my bed at home more than ever, but I wouldn’t have it any other way right now. I’m in a very exciting place in my career, and though traveling to events primarily on the weekends isn’t the most awesome way to maintain a normal social life, I absolutely love my job. I’m working more than ever, traveling more than ever, and sometimes I can barely keep my head on straight, but it’s so rewarding to feel so challenged and get the opportunity to do some very cool things.

I’m traveling to San Francisco the next two weekend, but for FUN! This weekend is my sister’s college graduation (wahhhh how do they grow up so quickly?!), so I’m looking forward to a weekend of celebrating with the family. Then I’ll return to CA for Memorial Day Weekend with three friends for a little Napa Valley getaway. At least there’s a bit of fun squeezed into my schedule. And maybe some running, too….maybe.

What’s your viewpoint on periodization in your training? Do you like taking breaks after races, or are you more of a year-round racer? Favorite place you’ve been lately?

Boston 2012 Training Plan

January 18th, 2012 | Posted by Lindsay Runs in Blog Posts - (14 Comments)

As much as I’d like to continue living in blissful denial of the reality I’ll be running a marathon in 12.5 weeks (gulp), it’s time to figure out my game plan and get myself together. Fact is, January is almost over and I can’t put it off any longer if I actually want to give myself a fair chance at Boston.

Last night, I sat down and finally mapped out my plan. While I’m certainly not far behind my weekly mileage and long-run goals, I have substantially less base-building time than I usually like to build in, meaning I have to start ramping up ASAP. But I’m okay with this, because I needed every single day I took off after NYC to refresh myself: mentally more than physically.

If I haven’t said it enough, the NYC Marathon kicked my ass this year. Like, 50x harder than in did in 2010 when it was my first marathon. And I only ran <1 minute faster last year. I think most of this has to do with falling short of my sub-3:00 goal. I know I put in the hard work to make it happen, and race day wasn’t the day. Honestly, I can tell by my motivation towards training that I’m still recovering mentally. Time to get over myself, right?

If I hadn’t registered for Boston back in Sept. (& Big Sur, but let’s forget that one exists right now), I would have zero plans to race a spring marathon. After the blow of NYC, I would have given myself winter to chill out, maybe race a spring half, but really focus on regaining my drive to want to get back out there day in and day out and work hard towards my goal. Because I’m just not feelin’ it as naturally as I tend to.

But alas, I’m racing Boston. And I’m not the type to half-ass my training towards a marathon. If I’m putting in the work, I’m going to make it count the best I can given the circumstances. I don’t want to put myself into a position where I am undertrained. I am not going up there looking to run an easy/slow (for me) time. If I am putting in any time to train for a marathon, especially for BOSTON- the mother of marathons, I am at least going to give myself a fighting chance. Here’s to hoping I find my drive and motivation somewhere along my 6 mi. tempo planned for tomorrow night– or anytime before April 16th, really.

I’m not aiming to break 3:00 in Boston, though I wouldn’t mind if I did ;) I want to be competitive yet realistic with myself. I am aiming to run around 3:05. This seems reasonable to me given my base, motivation, work schedule, travel schedule, and downright suckiness of winter training. It might not be a PR, but it won’t be far off. I also don’t know how I’ll fare on Boston’s course: I’ve only ever run NYC.

So finally, my training plan. As you may know, I’ve got all my training plans/logs up on my training tab so you can follow along in a handy dandy Google Doc. Though, I’ve also returned to keeping a paper log thanks to the Secret Santa gift from Meggie: A Believe I Am journal!

Boston Marathon 2012 Training Plan/Log

A few notes:

  • As always, the only ‘structure’ I give my weeks is to hit a certain goal mileage and do a certain long-run. These are indicated in the gray columns. The rest is wiggle room to adjust depending on my schedule- flexibility relieves a lot of anxiety about planning. Though it does require a few mid-week calculations ;)
  • I know my body functions best on one day of rest/week. Like, total 110% rest, no cross-training.
  • I’ll always aim to get in one workout a week, most likely on Thursday nights with the CPTC team. With schedules, I might find myself doing these solo on other days of the week.
  • I’ll look to hit a high of 65 this cycle. For NYC, I found myself comfortable at 60, good at 65, pushing it at 70, and just impossible to hit 75. 65 in the winter should be a nice peak.
  • I’ve incorporated a cut-back week in mileage since that helped a ton when training for NYC. I might move it depending how my body feels.
  • No races planned due to weekend travel in March, though it’d be nice to do a half as a fitness indicator.
  • I want more of my long runs to finish at marathon pace.

And there you have it! Thoughts? Feedback? Overly ambitious? Underly ambitious? Have at me.

On Strength Training

December 9th, 2011 | Posted by Lindsay Runs in Blog Posts - (15 Comments)

Earlier this week, Nancy emailed me asking about my routine for strength/core training. Admittedly, it took me a few days to respond because …I don’t have one. Oops?

If you take a look at my 2011 goals or past training logs, you’ll see I want to incorporate more strength/core work. I even do from time to time! But mostly, that’s me going to the gym for 20-30 minutes after a run and picking up weights and pretending to lift and do a few crunches. I used to have a set routine I did 2x/week in college with my team, which was built into practice. I know that routine by heart, but have little desire and motivation to do it on my own!

Lauren summarized why we slack on strength/core training during a marathon pretty well. “When it’s so much simpler (and preferable!) to just go out for a run, it’s easy to start skipping the weights more and more frequently. The increased mileage and need for my legs to be fresh for workouts make it easy to give it up a few months in.”

If I’m running for 1-2 hours a day, you can bet I’m going to be tired. It’s tough for me to fit in the high mileage required to train for a marathon amidst a full-time job and social life. It’s even more tough to add any other sort of exercise on top of that, such as strength training. If I ever double workouts (which happens very rarely for me), you can bet I’ll spend that extra 30 minutes busting out another 4 miles over 30 minutes of strength training.

The thing is, I look and feel better when I strength train more regularly. Even as little as spending 30 minutes 2-3x a week making some small attempt. I feel more toned, lean, and strong. Strength training can only help me become a better runner. Less injury, better gait, stronger core, more powerful stride, etc.

After thinking some more, I realized while I am extremely self-motivated when it comes to running, I need direction when it comes to strength training. For me, there is more mental motivation to achieve mileage & workout goals because they directly equate to/predict my race performance. Not so much with a strength training routine, even if I make progress in how much I can lift or how I feel. So, what I’ve found that works best for me is going to a class at the gym. I need someone to dictate which moves I do and for how long, because I tend to quit much earlier than I should when I lift solo.

So I’m trying (again) to get in a routine while my mileage isn’t very high. On Sunday, I hit up my favorite Total Body Conditioning class at NYSC. Yesterday, I went to the gym and spent a good 45 minutes on a solid core routine I made up myself, actually breaking a sweat (imagine that!) I’m not planning to become some mean, lean, lifting machine, but I do want to work to get into a routine where I find a way to strength train twice a week that works for me. This is the perfect time as I’m not running much so I’ve got a bit of excess energy to get the ball rolling. Plus, I’ll be in a bikini in Miami for New Year’s, so you can bet yourself this is also focused a tad on vanity. I’ll be honest :)

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After being home after about 3 weeks plane and hotel hopping, I headed to Trader Joe’s/Whole Food and majorrrrly stocked up on groceries since my fridge and pantry was pretty pathetic. Some of my top finds!

Candy Cane Green Tea...how did we only JUST meet?!

We've been out of pepper for a while. And now, I put this on EVERYTHING!

I always eat the samples at TJ's and never buy any of them. Whoops. This soup is the ONE exception. LOVE THIS SOUP!

I drink regular milk, but love the creamier taste of soy milk in my coffee & cereal. Whole Foods has "bulk" packs for pretty cheap!

My favorite salad: kale, red & yellow peppers, carrots, feta, walnuts & goddess dressing. Topped with shrimp! And still eaten from a tupperware even though I ate it at home.

Help Nancy out! What are your favorite strength training routine/tips? Are you naturally motivated to strength train regularly? Favorite groceries/foods you’re loving lately?

I survived the first week of the taper! Sunday’s Half-Marathon marked 3 weeks to race day, and the beginning of the gradual decline in intensity and mileage.

After many, many hard weeks of training, I’m a bit relieved. The end is near. My goal is (finally) in reach. November 6th used to feel so far away- especially through all those humid, sweaty runs in July and August- and it was hard to visualize race day. September rolled around, the fall air began to hit, and upping my long runs helped draw the marathon a bit closer. And now, we’re suddenly nearing the end of October and it’s in sight. How did that happen? I’ve logged three 20-mile runs, pushed through weekly workouts at half-marathon and marathon pace, reached a new highest weekly mileage, and I feel ready. Well, most of the time.

The great part is… all the really hard work is behind me. But that’s also the scary part. I second guess myself. Did I do enough? Were my runs long enough? Was my pace fast enough? I’m out of time to put in the hard work. These few weeks of tapering will be about getting my legs fresh, staying healthy, resting up, and mentally preparing. While these things are all a very important part of race preparation, it’s difficult not to question how you could have done more during training. Stretched more, iced more, ran longer, ran faster, slept more, ate cleaner, took iron more, lifted more, worked on my core strength more.

I think this is totally natural. No matter your ability, there is always room to doubt yourself. No matter your training, there is always the question if you could have done more. It’s like that in all areas of life: did I study enough for that test? Did I prepare enough for my big client presentation? Did I spend enough time with my family? Did I do enough to show my friends I care?

I need to focus on looking back at all I’ve accomplished over the last 3 months, and trust in that. I feel confident that I’ve done the best I could in my training given the time and energy I was able to dedicate. I am thankful to have stayed healthy and injury-free this entire training cycle. I have woken up earlier than the sun, run faster and farther than comfort, and am ready. Sub-3:00 is no longer a lofty goal, it’s in reach. The preparation is done. It’s all up to feeling good, running smart, staying strong, and digging deep on race day.

Hopefully, crossing the finish line as happy (and satisfied) as last year! This time, a few minutes faster.

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This week, I hit 49.5 miles.

  • Sun: 13.1 miles- Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco: 1:32:09
  • Mon: Off
  • Tues: Flew back from CA on redeye. 4 miles easy after landing before work.
  • Weds: 4.5 miles in CP
  • Thurs: 2 warmup, 5.16 tempo (6:44 average pace), 2.5 cooldown
  • Fri: 2 miles shakeout
  • Sat: 16.5 miles total, including last 10 miles of the marathon course (!)

Next week, I’ll probably hit around 35-38 miles, and then only around 22-25 miles the week before the marathon. Hooray!

To rest, I’ll be keeping it pretty low key these next two weekends. Last night, I went to the Meatball Shop with Dan for dinner. The wait was less than an hour, surprising for 7 p.m. on a Friday. Like last time I went, I decided to get the sliders again so I could choose multiple ball/sauce varieties. I chose the spicy pork with spicy meat sauce, veggie with parmesan cream sauce, and the special ball- chicken cordon bleu with mushroom sauce! With a side of carrot and chive risotto, steamed spinach and the market salad with arugula, pomegranate seeds and persimmon. Yum!

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And of course, no dinner is complete without dessert. Special apple cinnamon ice cream with special oatmeal cherry cookies. Amazing.

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No, these hairy arms are not mine.

This morning, I met a few of my CPTC teammates on 59th and 1st to run the last 10 miles of the marathon course. I ran about 4.5 miles through the park to meet, and 2 miles easy after we finished to run back to my apartment. Afterwards, I refueled with a giant mug of Trader Joe’s pumpkin spice coffee, and steel cut oatmeal mixed with pumpkin and protein powder. Now that it’s finally feeling like fall, I’m in the mood for warm, flavorful food. MMM.

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I have to run a few errands this afternoon before fun evening plans. I can’t wait to sleep in tomorrow!

How do you stay confident during a taper? Tips to trust in your training? Any fun weekend plans?