Take One

Sadly, I had to ruin my hair by running four miles today. But it was worth it because I also had my first personal training session with the coach.

As part of my individualized coaching, I have every workout planned out for me. So what does this include? Well, basically I wanted no guesswork in my training. I never wanted to have a day come up and wonder if I should or shouldn’t run, if I should cross train, if I should go for a walk, if I should just sit on my couch.

The beauty of this plan is everything is broken down for me. Every day tells me whether it’s an on or off day. If it’s off: I rest. If it’s on, it includes a warmup (which can be anything from a mile to stretching to running drills), a run, and a cooldown.

But one of my main concerns was strength training. My hugest downfall in training for my half marathons was giving up on lifting legs. I was building endurance in them and that’s definitely important, but I didn’t think they were at their strongest. My problem was I never knew how much to lift and when to work it in. I didn’t want to be sore for the runs because running was my end goal.

My coach totally understood what I meant by that so we worked it out that she’d also include my strength in my logs. This way there truly is no guess-work. But she wanted to see where I was at currently and show me each move. So I ran two miles to meet her and we got to work!

Today was basically an assessment. She timed things such as how long I could hold a plank and a squat and made me to lateral lifts and single leg hip drives to fatigue. It was interesting to see the imbalances in each leg and she talked about what we would and wouldn’t work on due to my results.

From here on out, though, my strength training will only be a means to further my running. Instead of doing a regular lunge, my stance will be much closer together to mimic actually running. There will be a lot of single leg work to strengthen balance that is needed during running. Arm work will be focused on the driving movement during running.

Do you see a theme? Running, running, running. Nothing is “just because” and I love that.

And now to answer the question discussed earlier. Basically she said minutes and miles are simply a means of variety. She feels that when a lot of people see 3 miles, they map out their run and aim for a certain pace. When people see 30 minutes they’re less likely to be as strict. For instance, I usually just do a 15 minute out and back. But this requires to be a lot more aware of my pace otherwise I will need to add distance once I get to my apartment if I sped up, or walk the rest of the way if I slowed down. So essentially, its variety but it’s also a way to gage my pace and eventually it will help with splits once we have a better idea of where my easy pace lays.

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Minute Versus Miles

Welcome to the work week. I’m kind of not looking forward to work this week. With the New Hampshire Primaries upon us, I except everyone to be behaving like crazy people. I’m preparing for an incredibly busy few days, filled with breakdowns and freak outs. As anxiety prone as I can be, I actually work really well under pressure in a work environment. I don’t know what it is about knowing there is a deadline coming up, but I thrive off of that last-minute stuff.

And in the news, everything is last-minute. It’s definitely a field that you need to be passionate about. I can see how not knowing what the top story is going to be 2 minutes before airtime might drive some people crazy. But I love it. Not everyone I work with thrives off of the same pressure though. And that kind of drives me nuts. This industry is so tough to get into that if you’re not passionate and dedicated to it, I feel like you’re not only doing a disservice to yourself and the people you work with, but also to those who really would want your job. Is that too harsh of me?

Rant over.

Anyway, I started off the work week with a nice 30 minute run. One of the reasons I love my schedule is that I’m never rushed to get up and go. I actually didn’t even leave my apartment until 11:30 and still had plenty of time to shower, make lunch and dinner, play with the puppy, and bang out this post.

My legs were a little tight after Saturdays 70 minute run. I guess that not stopping this is a little harder on the body than all those walking breaks. Even still, I covered 3.55 miles in 30 minutes with pretty consistent splits

  • Mile 1: 8:27
  • Mile 2: 8:26
  • Mile 3: 8:31
  • .25: 8:22

Not too shabby, huh? I’m hoping this 8:30 pace holds steady when the runs increase in length. Or time.

Which brings me to my question. I’m going to ask this of my coach when I meet with her again on Wednesday, but I’m curious of the reasons for doing timed runs over distance runs. On Wednesday and Thursday, I’ll be doing mile based runs, but today and Saturday I did minute based runs.

Obviously in 30 minutes I’ll cover more than the 3 miles I have scheduled for Thursday. Just curious if there is a certain reason for that. Maybe getting my legs used to consistently running for a given period of time? Or maybe for pacing reasons? Any thoughts?

A Whole New World

Welcome to the second week of January. By now everyone who took vacations is back to work, colleges are back in, and Boston finally looks like people live here again. It’s so nice to see people in the city.

Especially when the weather was as gorgeous as it was this weekend. Saturday was basically unreal. Everyone was out and about and exercising. Me included. On the plan for the weekend was a 70 minute long run, with instructions from the coach not to stop. The goal is to regulate my pace into that “easy” place where I know I can sustain it rather than running so fast I’m forced to stop. Even though it has never hurt my overall pace, apparently it isn’t the most effective method.

So that’s what I did.

Ran 8.25 miles in 70 minutes. Granted I might have chosen to run where I knew I would hit the most red lights, but I didn’t need to stop once. Toward the end, though, my calves got super sore. But baby steps. Cannot believe I did 8.25 miles without stopping!

Saturday night was…interesting. I caught up with my freshman year college roommates. It was the first time I’ve really gone out being “single”. It was odd. I’m not sure how much I liked it. Maybe going to college bars just isn’t my scene anymore. At least to find responsible, mature, somewhat put together men. Men, not boys. Need to find where the investment bankers hang out on the weekends.

But I guess it was necessary to get out there.

And to drink 7 vodka tonics.

And come home and eat too much peanut butter out of the jar, because who doesn’t eat peanut butter as drunk food.

And wonders never cease because I woke up at 8am with no signs of a hangover. The puppy, however, clearly had a rager while I was gone because he wanted no part of waking up.

It’s interesting how much you appreciate the weekends and downtime when you’re in the real world. Maybe even a little bit more than I did in college.

It’s all just a whole new world for me now…

The Big Questions

I guess I’ve grown to consider myself a “runner“. Still not really sold on telling that to new people when I meet them (you know, those guys I’m attempting to date…they’re knocking down my door. To play with my dog. Just joking, there are none.)

Hi! Meet my best friend

Anywho, I still even think I’m a tiny bit crazy for wanting to run 26.2 miles. Don’t get me wrong, I’m really excited. I mean, I better be. The registration and coaching alone was my whole paycheck. I kid. Kind of. But still, when I got my first week of workouts I had a moment of panic. The “what the hell did you do” type of panic.

And then when I finally told other people to make it more real I had more panic. The type that sets in when everyone else starts asking “what the hell?” too.

Personally, I think that’s a rude response. And don’t worry not everyone said that. Actually no one said that. Not even that ex-boyfriend, who never wanted me to run a marathon. Ever. Now, instead he tells me I should try to find a charity and run Boston. Confusing, much?

One day my ex-boyfriend tidbits will gradually fade out and then we’ll know I’m doing just fine.

So, no one really asked me “what the hell are you doing?”, but a lot of people did ask me “why” and “if I was ready”.

So here are the answers:

1) Why do you want to run a marathon? Well for a lot of reasons. Ever since I started running, I was drawn toward races. I don’t know if it’s because I read blogs and I wanted to do what everyone was doing. But I know I wanted to experience the high. I wanted to see if I would catch the bug. It took me a while to sign up for my first race. I wasn’t huge into 5Ks (if I’m going to run one of those you better bet I’m doing it for time), and a 10K just didn’t seem like enough of a challenge. I knew I could do it. I wanted to push myself further. So I ran three half marathons. And I loved them. And ever since the first one I knew I needed to do the full. Even if it was just one time. I wanted to say I did it. I wanted to know I pushed my body in ways that most people never can or will. And then I ran my second and third half and I knew there had to be something beyond that. I knew I was capable. It was just a matter of pressing that register button.

2) But what’s the real reason? Hm. Well. The above would be my “real” reason. But that’s not to say there aren’t other motivating factors as well. Right now I have a ton of time on my hands. I work a really weird schedule thanks to the magic of 24-hour news stations. I don’t leave for work until 3. I have so much time to train. I could do long runs on the weekdays, weekends, mornings, afternoons. It’s probably the most flexible schedule I will ever have, so why not take advantage of it? And I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t kindofsortofalittlebit about the breakup. I need something to focus on. Something me centric. And it’s not just because someone broke up with me. It’s about the fact that I’ve always wanted to do it and now I don’t need to worry about whether or not I’ll be supported because that person is kindofsortof no longer around. Depending on whether you think his texts and tweets mean “no longer around”.

Please refer to above about when I will stop talking about him.

3) Are you ready? Well according to my coach I am. I apparently have a great base and am ready for a new challenge. Do I feel truly ready? Yeah, I do. I guess I won’t really know until I get to those new-to-me distances. But I think it’s definitely possible. I actually think it’s possible for most people, but that’s another story. My biggest goal is to just feel prepared on race day. I don’t really need to feel prepared now. Cause, well, I’m not yet. But I will be.

And as a side note, I really wish Kelly Ripa would eat a meal. And then take me to Soul Cycle.

Happy Friday!

You Drive Me Crazy

This morning I’m going for a free consultation with a running coach here in Boston. Ever since I decided to finally commit to marathon training, I’ve gone back and forth between training plans. I’ve looked at the usual suspects, Hal and Jeff, and I also had Runner’s World come up with a plan for me via Smart Coach.

As far as I know, all of the above are really great options. I’ve used Smart Coach for all of my half marathons and done just fine with them. But I also never, ever stuck to the plan. I was constantly running more, changing the tempo paces, not doing any speed work. I was only accountable to myself so, of course, that means I can take those miles and do as I please.

I felt comfortable with the 13.1 miles, so I felt I could do as I please. I knew in the end I was capable of running 13.1.

26.2 is a different story. I have at least 450 questions every time I look at a plan. I don’t know if I should bother with tempos and speed-work and hills when I’m just aiming to finish. I don’t even know what a good finish time is. I don’t know how acceptable walk breaks are (to me very), I don’t know how much of my training I can potentially do on the treadmill.

So instead of driving myself crazy, I decided what better than to pay someone to drive them crazy? From what I’ve read and heard, the coach I selected definitely knows her stuff.

I’m sure shortly she’ll be singing away those Britney Spears lyrics “you drive me crazy, I just can’t sleep”. But not in that “whoppee, I’m in love” way, more in a “thank GOD this girl is at least paying me otherwise we might have a criminal investigation on our hands” way.

On that note, it’s time to break a sweat.