Reach your running goal? Learn how to add more miles

Today was an exciting day because for the first time since starting the Couch to 5K program in March, I reached 3.1 miles without taking a break or feeling like I was going to keel over and die. I got to the 3.1 mark at 33:33, and that included a 5 minute warm-up walk. I’m hoping that as I continue my running routine I can shave off some time by cutting down on the warm-up, in order to run a sub-30.

For the rest of you who may have reached your running goal and want to push further to build endurance,  Jeff Galloway, from Runner’s World, wrote up a simple training plan to help you double your endurance in only six weeks.

First off, the article says you should shoot for running three times a week. Right now I run three days a week with crossfit (cardio kickboxing, strength training, target training etc.) in between. However, it is important to let your muscles rest before and after running because then they’ll be fresher for your next run.

The article also suggests designating each day for a different kind of run. One day can be for a “maintenance” run, a run that maintains your fitness and is easy-going. Another day can be for a long distance run, this is the day you’ll begin to increase your mileage. The third day can be set aside for speed play, or “fartlek” (funny word, I know). On a speed play you want to start running at a normal pace and pick up your speed when you’re ready. The article says you can focus on an object and sprint towards it then job for recovery.

As always, remember to pace yourself and stay hydrated. You don’t want to lose all of your energy at the start of your run at the risk of becoming exhausted, so start slow in the beginning and pick up the pace as each miles passes.

Here is the training plan designed by Runner’s World to build mileage in six weeks:

Week ONE:
Maintenance (Miles) – 3.5
Fartlek (Miles) – 3
Long Run (Miles) – 4

Week TWO:
Maintenance (Miles) – 4
Fartlek (Miles) – 3.25
Long Run (Miles) – 5

Week THREE:
Maintenance (Miles) – 4
Fartlek (Miles) – 3
Long Run (Miles) – 4

Week FOUR:
Maintenance (Miles) – 5
Fartlek (Miles) – 3.5
Long Run (Miles) – 6

Week FIVE:
Maintenance (Miles) – 5.5
Fartlek (Miles) – 3
Long Run (Miles) – 4

Week SIX:
Maintenance (Miles) – 6
Fartlek (Miles) – 3.5
Long Run (Miles) – 7

Monday Motivation: Reason for running

via Pinterest

I’ve decided to start a new series every Monday called “Monday Motivation.” No one likes Mondays, and we all know waking up for that early morning Monday run is probably the hardest run of the week. However, the way you start off your Monday determines how the rest of your week will shape up- so, enter Monday Motivation. Basically, every Monday I’ll either write up a short post about reasons to run, or maybe post a motivational image or quote, whatever it is, I hope you’ll use it as fuel for your week.

For my first Monday Motivation post I thought I’d tell you a story about something that happened recently that has given me even more reason to run. People always say a reason to run is to run for those who can’t. I always thought this was a nice reason but never really had a personal connection to it until a few weeks ago.

I was out with friends on a Friday night and my friend wanted us to meet a guy she had been talking to for a couple of weeks. We drove to his apartment and he met us outside so he could move his motorcycle so we’d have a spot to park. We were a group of five girls so when he got on the bike, of course we were impressed. He told us a bit about his riding experience and how much he loved his motorcycle. We went inside and my friends and I got to know him over the course of the night. His name was Chris* and he was a senior Kinesiology major, about to graduate in one month. After he graduated he aspired to become a physical trainer to help people who have been injured recover and get back to normal health. The night went on and we eventually all went our separate ways. My friend was going to see him the next day after he went on a morning ride with a few of his friends. But while he was out on his ride he got into an accident. We found out that he was in the hospital and was permanently paralyzed from the waist down.

My friends and I were all in absolute shock. This was someone I barely knew, I didn’t even know his last name, and he was the same age as me, about to graduate from college, with his entire future ahead of him. Now everything he had ever wanted seemed so out of reach. I couldn’t believe that something so awful would happen to someone with such a bright future ahead of him.

There’s no explanation for why these things happen but all we can do is make the most of every moment. So I run for Chris because he no longer can.

I run because I can.

When I get tired, I remember those who can’t run,

what they’d give to have this simple gift I take for granted,

and I run harder for them.

I know they would do the same for me.

*Names have been changed.

Trying to run a sub-30 5k? Join the club!

"The hardest step for a runner is the first one out of the front door."

As I was perusing Twitter the other day, I came across a tweet from Runner’s World promoting a new club set up by RW blogger Ted Spiker. The club is called the sub-30 club and its goal is to help motivate runner’s who are trying to run a sub-30 5K.

“What I’ve come to realize is that even though a 30-minute 5K is barge-like for many,” Spilker writes, “plenty of other runners are working their knickers off in an effort to drop the 3 for a 2.”

This could not be truer. While running a sub-30 doesn’t seem like a huge feat to seasoned runners, for the newer runners out there it is an admirable goal. I just started getting into running in February and while I haven’t run my first 5K yet, it’s my goal to run it in at least 29:59 minutes. To reach my target time, I thought I’d join the club and help out other runners who have the same goal.

So, if you’re trying to run a sub-30, or if you already have and are looking to help motivate some newer runners, join the sub club. We can all use a little extra motivation here and there so I would suggest joining on Facebook at The Sub-30 Club (from RW Big Guy Blog).

(While you’re at it, like my Facebook page to stay up-to-date on Fit Girl Happy Girl)

Boston Marathon Infographic

I am so sorry for neglecting my blog the past week, school has been crazy busy but don’t fret, I will be back in full force tomorrow with some new blog posts. In the meantime here’s a cool infographic from yesterday’s Boston Marathon. As a Massachusetts native, and the daughter of a former marathoner, Marathon Monday has always held a special place in my heart. My dad ran the Boston Marathon a total of eight times during his running days and I can only hope to run it some day.

Flat Tummy Superfoods

When I started this blog I wanted to focus on advice for living a healthy and active lifestyle. That included posts about workouts, running, stretches, getting outdoors and the like. What I’ve totally been slacking on is the diet portion of a well-rounded healthy lifestyle! Oops! Whether you are trying to lose weight, boost your metabolism, eat cleaner or just eat healthy, fresh foods, it’s important to keep your meal balanced and colorful. Eating healthy foods will give you more energy to push through those tough runs or grueling workouts. Here’s a quick grocery list to jumpstart your new eating habits.

(via Pinterest)

Interval training with treadmill workouts to switch up your run routine

While running outside is probably the most enjoyable way to run, sometimes the weather or other circumstances force me to head to the gym and do treadmill runs instead. Since I started training for the 5k, many of my runs have been on the treadmill because they mostly consist of interval training. Whether you are training for a race or trying to build your endurance, interval training can be a great way to mix up a boring run routine. Also, by trying out some interval runs, you can be sure to be kept on your toes and challenged as you constantly switch speeds and incline levels. I found some really great interval exercises, on the fit blog, Peanut Butter Fingers, to do on the treadmill to help you mix up your normal run.

30-minute Treadmill Workout:

30-minute Treadmill Interval Workout

45-minute Treadmill Workout

Be sure to check out more interval training on Peanut Butter Fingers!

Anatomy of a good pair of running socks

Do not underestimate the power of a good pair of running socks, they will change the outcome of your run, I can guarantee it. My dad used to be a marathoner and he told me that my mom would meet him at 13.1 miles in just so he could change his socks. Yeah, they’re that important.

I just invested in a new pair of running socks, totaling $12.00 for one pair, but it was so worth it. Whether you’re running a marathon, a 5k or just going for a jog, the cushioning provided by a good pair of running socks will help you to sustain the run. A good pair of socks should be lightweight, cushioned and able to absorb moisture.

Livestrong.com says “The ideal socks for running a marathon will tolerate miles of pounding during training and complement your running shoes ability to provide stability. Livestrong gives three criteria that must be met in looking for a new pair of running socks- material, cushioning and stitching.

  • Material- You want to look for a running sock made out of material that will draw moisture away from your feet and that will be able to withstand the rigors of training and multiple washes. Cotton socks tend to give blisters because cotton absorbs sweat and chafes easily against skin. It’s best to chose a sock made out of synthetic material like polyester and spandex because they are designed to pull moisture away from the foot. Not all natural fibers are bad however. Material such as bamboo can have natural tendencies to pull moisture away.
  • Cushioning- Cushioning in socks is extremely important because it can help stabilize the foot while running. When choosing a sock for running the cushioning depends on your foot type. If you have a high arch you may want to opt for a sock with more cushioning in the center to provide stability. Other socks offer cushioning in the heel and ball of your foot to combat pronation and again to stabilize the foot. It’s best to consult with a speciality running store to determine your foot type and the sock most appropriate for you.
  • Stitching- When running for prolonged amounts of time, it’s important to avoid chafing and irritation that may result in blisters. According to Livestrong “Hand-linked or seamless toe enclosures help prevent chafing at the top of the toes. Look for socks featuring “Y” and “W” stitched heel gores which further improve the socks fit.” This will help prevent the sock from slipping down while running.

Are you guilty of treadmill racing?

(via Pinterest)

As a new runner, I’m certainly not one who should be openly admitting this but, I will admit that I usually glance down at the speed of the runner next to me on the treadmill. It’s called treadmill racing. It’s petty and I don’t really gain anything from it, but what can I say? I’m competitive.

Since I have been training for my first 5k, I’ve been doing most of my runs on the treadmill because the program calls for a lot of interval training and I find it easier to monitor my time on the treadmill. But I’ve noticed a trend at my gym among the runners to my left and right. Occasionally, my co-runners will glance down at the speed I’m running, and in turn I tend to do the same thing. It’s mostly out of curiosity but I think this bad habit can cause some people to become uncomfortable. For me, when someone next to me is running faster, instead of feeling bad about not going as fast, I use it as motivation for future runs.

However, I also know that some gym-goers can be uber-competitive, making you feel self-conscience of your running. But, keep in mind, you don’t know what they are training for, whether it be sprints or distance, and they don’t know what you’re training for, so be confident in your running!

Women’s Health Magazine suggests setting the time you want to run and then covering the display with a towel to ward off any wandering eyes. Don’t worry about your neighbor’s speed because it’ll distract you from your own run. If treadmill racing is too stressful, opt for an outdoor run, free of competition and numbers. Outside you are running your own speed, and no one can one-up you on that.