Running Buddies Make You Realize Your Potential.

I feel like people can’t talk enough about the value of running buddies. The past couple weekends, I have had the pleasure of being accompanied by seasoned runners during this training cycle’s long runs. One of them was a D1 college runner and the other has a bajillion races – okay, probably 6 or 7 marathons, a dozen 1/2 marathons and numerous other distances – under her belt. It was so interesting to hear each other’s preferences, from the pre-race food to how and when we stop for the water stations, to the longest run we prefer during marathon training.

My favorite thing about other runners is how competitive we are but how much we want each other to be successful. There are always high-fives going around and lots of smiles after the run is over, even on the coldest day or the slowest run of the year. My past three long runs (10, 10 & 8 miles) were the easiest and quickest I have done thanks to people who believe in me.

IMG_3126

Beau needs to be in allllllllll the pictures. Silly pup.

These are, personally, my top five reasons for running with a pal when it’s anything above 6 miles:

1. I’m competitive. If you’re not going to stop, neither will I. Near the end of my fastest 10-mile training run EVER, my pal kicked it in high gear, and I didn’t even think my legs were going to get my feet off the ground anymore. Her words of encouragement got me through that incredibly hard 60 seconds of running and I couldn’t be more thankful! I had no idea I was that close to my goal. 

2. In addition to being competitive, I never want to hold someone else back if I know I’m just being lazy. If my body truly can’t go, that’s one thing, but if I’m just tired, having a running buddy makes me say, “Push through, because they gave up these two hours of their day to get a good run in WITH YOU.”

3. Pushing other people, when I’m the one having a good day and watching them get faster and more mentally tough is equally, if not more, fulfilling than feeling yourself become a better and faster runner.

4. The IronMan 70.3 does NOT allow headphones on the course. Every time I go out with a friend for a long workout, the headphones stay behind, helping me prepare for that dreadful, music-less 13.1 (plus 56 miles of biking) in August. It’s some of the best conversation, the occasional TMI conversation, but you know your deepest running thoughts are in good hands with them.

5. Don’t you get bored of the route you ALWAYS run in your neighborhood? My running buddies and I like to try new routes and we get that added safety in numbers. The new scenery helps our run go by so much faster. I don’t look at the next street and tell myself, “Oh gosh, there’s still X miles to go before we’re done.”

As I’ve mentioned before, there are some runs that are purely for my peace of mind, stress relief or I just NEED alone time. There are runs where the goal is speed work, and it’s hard to do it with someone who isn’t shooting for the exact same goal time or distance. It’s good to run alone for those reasons. It’s good to even just enjoy being alone sometimes, but nothing beats the feeling you get when you have others pushing you and you’re motivating them right back. On race day, they’re the ones who will know your goal, when you’re mental strength is failing and how to get you through it, and they’ll be there after it’s over, smiles, cheers, hugs & high-fives ready, regardless if it’s a PR or it just wasn’t your day.

10359321_10153692364464896_4345629892955383816_n

This is last weekend’s run! Shelby is da bomb and made me realize that I can do the speeds I have in my mind that seemed so out-of-reach? Isn’t that great? She’s great. So are YOU!

FullSizeRender (1)

See that snow? That’s going to go away soon. I HAVE FAITH IN SPRING 2015’s PUNCTUAL ARRIVAL!!!!

On another super-duper positive note, I am optimistic (and also, my iPhone weather app tells me so!) that we are done with negative temperatures for the season! And, with daylight savings next weekend, I will be running outside more often! THANK YOU MOTHER NATURE!

I hope you have had a stellar weekend.

Did I forget any FANTASTIC reason to run with a pal? 

Advertisements

T’was a Great Week for Running.

I really didn’t think I was going to have awesome training runs this week. Sunday, to start out, was just an easy four. By the second mile, I could tell I was coming down with the flu that had been going around. I was out of commission the rest of Sunday, all day Monday and although I was at work on Tuesday, I definitely was not myself. So, when I got back into a run on Wednesday, I took it easy. It felt surprisingly good and I was back into my training schedule Thursday for speed work. Peak 8, leg day and the Saturday long run never felt so good. The 1:45 for Gazelle Girl is in sight!

10359321_10153692364464896_4345629892955383816_n

Sunday – 4 easy miles (8:49 pace) & Shoulder/Bicep/ Core

Monday & Tuesday – OFF

Wednesday – 3.25 easy miles (9:00 pace) & Chest/ Core

Thursday – Peak-8 Workout (3.12 total miles @ 8:02 pace) & Legs/ Core

Friday – OFF

Saturday – 10 miles (8:46 pace)

Weekly Total: 20.47 miles

If you don’t know what Peak-8 is, it’s one of my FAVORITE speed workouts of all time. This is the way that I do it, but your warm up and cool down can adjust to whatever your preference is:

Warm-up mile (6.7 MPH)

1:30 @ 7.0 MPH

0:30 @ 10.0 MPH

Repeat 8x

Cool down 0.5-1.0 mile (6.5 MPH)

This usually is around 3.5-4.0 miles

On the days I feel really, really great, I add a couple extra 2:00 (1:30 + 0:30) intervals at the end, which makes it Peak-9 or 10. Or, I increase the time from 0:30 to 1:00 for some of the fast run portions.

The only thing I regret from this week is that I haven’t started swimming. We are officially 24 weeks, less than six months, away from IronMan Steelhead 70.3! It was -20 degrees here TWICE this week, so I think you can understand my hesitation with getting into a swimsuit, even at an indoor pool.

FullSizeRender (2)

I’m going to start having a weekly goal and this week’s goal, consistent with the previous comment, is to begin swimming 1-2 times per week.

The running buddy I got to spend today with (she ran for five years in college and my run was basically a walk in the park for her) sent me this, even though I should be sending her such thankful sayings. This is soooo true about running pals. We are always so gracious to each other, even though the other person usually feels the exact same way we do. We hold each other accountable, push the pace when the other is slacking, know how to encourage each other and, YES, we make hours of running seem enjoyable! Have a great, great day all you running buddies!!

11008081_646306458814597_2943941665652210219_n

Does anyone have helpful pool workouts that they’d like to share?

Creating My 1/2 Marathon Training Plan

Good morning!

I have about 14 weeks until my next race, which is one of my favorite courses: Gazelle Girl 1/2 Marathon

It’s not a secret that my goal for my April ½ marathon is 1:45:00. This will be my 6th half marathon and my current PR is 1:49.17 on a very similar course in the same city. I have never followed a training plan before! My thoughts have always been: get a long run, a fast run and a couple mid-distance ones each week. Therefore, I am SO EXCITED to follow a plan, try to eat a little better, and see what my results are!

I’ve been searching through other blogger’s tips, Runners World, Hal Higdon’s plans and other random sites for some of the best 10 and 12 week programs. I had some luck, even finding a couple geared specifically to my time goal. So, this weekend, I’ve started tweaking what I’ve found, into the first customized training plan I’ve ever developed. The best part is that it has the things I want and need during training. I have some running friends who have paid for running coaches, and I’d love to one day – it’s just not something doable for me right now. So, lots of research, advice from long-time runners and knowing what my body excels at will have to do!

Here’s a sneak peek at what I’ve developed so far!

Screen Shot 2015-01-04 at 9.48.50 AM

I’m registered for an IronMan 70.3 in August so you can see the start of some swim and bike training. In the later months, I’m obviously adding more of each, and brick workouts. It’s odd thinking about swimming outside when it is FREEZING here.

What is different on mine from most that I have seen, is that on one of my rest days, I have it dedicated to a long stretch. I’m thinking a good 45 minutes! I was a trampolinist until about 2012 and with that background, I was flexible and limber. It’s amazing how fast some of that has left me. Now, I suffer from tight hamstrings and other muscles, a back that’s always cracking, etc… I am not a professional, but I know that MY body needs to get back in the habit of good stretching.

Other than that, I feel I’m consistent with some speed, easy runs, etc… Once I hit the 10 week (to race day) mark, the mileage begins to reach 30-35 miles a week. Last year, I had set a resolution to run 1,000 miles throughout the year. I failed. I failed bad. This year, following a plan, I have a lot more confidence going into it with mileage like that up until at least August.

One thing I noticed on most of the training plans I found was that they consisted of 5 run days per week. I know that it works GREAT for some runners, but not this girl! You’ll see me peak at 4 runs a week. I started running for the same reason as a lot of people – to relieve stress, have time to think, etc… Although I love racing, shooting for a new PR or trying a new distance, I have NO desire to get burnt out because I have every intention of being a life-long runner.

Winter has decided to show itself in the last two days. Since a plow hadn’t been anywhere, our 6 mile run yesterday was… interesting. 😉 It was just an easy run, filled with the best conversation. The friend I ran with is running the Walt Disney World Marathon next weekend so it was definitely all about what she needed to feel good and stay loose for her race weekend.

IMG_0356 FullSizeRender (1)

Have any of you customized your own training plan? What is your advice?

– This is my first time! Send me your suggestions! 🙂

Do you prefer running with a friend?

– I love my running buddies, but I still prefer to do speed alone. Any other run, I enjoy the chats and encouragement from someone else.

The BEST Me – From the Inside, Out!

2014 was such a quick year. My mom has told me that they just seem to go by faster as you get it older. I sort of hope that isn’t true!

Every year, we all make lists of things we want to accomplish. I started to write those down again. It had a lot of the same things from prior years that I say I want to do and then fail at by February 1. Those things usually revolve around reducing the amount of sugar I consume, running at least 5 days a week, losing 10 pounds, etc… Here’s the thing: My soul and I really love ice cream, some weeks your body wants NEEDS more rest and my worth is not in those ten pounds. Enjoy those treats in moderation, know when your body deserves to sit on the couch and watch an episode of Friends, and most importantly, know when to push your limits and when to say, enough is enough for today. NOBODY wants an injury that makes another goal unattainable! That definitely doesn’t mean don’t push yourself. It just means, take the time to enjoy the aspects of life that have nothing to do with your physical appearance or fitness level because your heart, soul and your brain matter so much more, as cliché as that sounded. When your heart is happy, you will want to push harder for all of those fitness goals!

That being said,  I do have a shorter list of specific goals for 2015 but it’s definitely going to be about focusing on my soul – being my BEST self.

My running goals consist of:

  1. Get a sub 1:45 ½ marathon time this year! Here’s what is on my race schedule so far: 2015 Races
  2. Complete the Steelhead ½ IronMan in under 6 ½ hours.
  3. Be consistent about supplemental strength training.

My internal goals are:

  1. Take my niece to the beach.
  2. Also, eat some ice cream with her. She’s growing up so quickly.
  3. Read 5 books.

Other than that, my biggest goal is to put positive thoughts and LOVE into every conversation and interaction I have with another person – leave him or her feeling better than when I first encountered them. Life is good and I want to share how good it is with everyone I meet.

FullSizeRender IMG_0321 IMG_0322

Happy, Happy, HAPPY 2015 to you from me. I hope this is the best year you’ve ever had – in life, love and of course, your running! 🙂

IMG_0318

What books should I be looking at reading? 

What is your favorite inspirational quote?