St. Luke’s Half Marathon Training: Week One

Mirage3I don’t usually say this, but I felt blessed this week. Blessed to have begun training for my goal of running a sub-1:45 half marathon. Blessed to feel like my foot is finally starting to heel. Blessed to have had some extremely beautiful weather this past weekend after the horrible winter we’ve been having. And most importantly, blessed to have a boyfriend who’s willing to go to yoga class with me (I swear, it was his idea!). Seriously though, week one went better than I could have expected. My foot is heeling up (knock on wood) and I was able to get in at least one of my workouts. This week I hope to run all five running days and be able to finish my workouts without any foot pain.

Monday, February 17 - IronStrength for 40 minutes

- 3×15 jump squats and 3×10 rotary planks (on each arm)
- 3 sets rows from plank (x10), pushups (x10), situps with weights (x10)
- 3 sets plyometric lunges (x10), alternating sides of hamstring reach (x5 front, side, and rear) in between
- 3 sets mountain climbers (x10), legs down (x10)
- 4 sets of deadlift high pulls (x5), biceps curls on single leg (x5), overhead press on other leg (x5)
- planks (60 secs; side, down, side) x2
- Ring of Fire squats/lunges (10, 8, 6, 4, 2)

Tuesday, February 18- 5.2 miles with 3 miles up-tempo

This was my first official run of training for the St. Luke’s Half Marathon in April. I’m trying to break 1:45 so my race pace will be roughly 8:00/mile. Since I’ve been having some foot issues, I decided to (mostly) forgo my first workout of training which was a HMP run. Instead I opted for 5 miles with 3 up-tempo miles, so not race pace, not tempo, just a little quicker than easy. Foot felt pretty good for most of the run.

Plan: 5 miles with 3 miles at half marathon pace (8:00/mile)
Actual: 5 miles with 3 miles up-tempo (8:32/mile)
- 1-mile warmup @ 9:13/mile
- 3 miles @ 8:32/mile
- 1 mile cool down @ 9:13/mile

Conditions: Indoors on the treadmill at the Energy Center; warm
Shoes: Saucony Mirage 3 (second run in them)

Wednesday, February 19- 10-mile easy spin

Today my training plan had me on tap to run 5 miles, easy, but since my foot is still not 100 percent, I figured I’d opt out of the run and do some riding instead. Foot felt great and I got my heart rate up, which is really the point of easy mileage (and recovery!).

Plan: 5 miles, easy
Actual: 10-mile easy spin

Conditions: Indoors at the EC

Thursday, February 20- Yoga, 60 minutes

Went to my first yoga class at my new gym with my boyfriend (it was his first class ever!). The class was really gentle but it felt good to dedicate some time to stretching out.

Friday, February 21- 5 miles with 3 miles at HMP (8:00/mile)

This was my first workout of the half training and it felt pretty good but still hard (which it should). I ran it on the treadmill because I wanted to make sure I maintained the right pace for the HMP miles.

Plan: 5 miles with 3 miles at half marathon pace (8:00/mile)
Actual: 5.08 miles in 43:40 with 3 miles at 8:00/mile
- Warm-up for 1-mile at 9:13/mile
- 3 miles at 8:00/mile
- Cool down at 9:00/mile

Shoes: Saucony Mirage 3
Conditions: indoors, hot

Saturday, February 22- 5 miles, easy

Went on an easy run with the local running store. Foot was feeling a little achy this morning but I was able to get the run done.

Plan: 5 miles, easy
Actual: 5.3 miles (Garmin didn’t acquire in time but was running around 8:30s)

Shoes: Saucony Mirage 3
Conditions: BEAUTIFUL! Sunny, mid-30s but felt even warmer

Sunday, February 23- 8 miles, long slow distance

First long run of this training cycle, and my first long run in a very long time (like a month), went really well! At first I didn’t feel so good and my foot was bothering me a bit but once I got into my groove I felt great.

Plan: 8 miles, easy (9:18/mile)
Actual: 8.01 miles in 1:10:45 (8:52/mile)
Splits: (1) 9:27 (2) 8:59 (3) 8:56 (4) 8:52 (5) 9:00 (6) 8:50 (7) 8:42 (8) 8:22

Shoes: Asics Gel Flux
Conditions: around 35 degrees with some wind

Week one mileage total: 34 miles

See all weekly training recaps here.

{Monday Motivation} Terrifying and Amazing

Last week my foot was finally feeling good enough to do my first workout of training for the St. Luke’s Half Marathon in April. My plan called for 5 miles with 3 miles at half marathon pace (8:00/mile). While the workout felt hard, I found myself thinking, if all goes to according to plan, in 10 weeks, I will be able to run this fast-for-me pace for 13.1 miles. That’s terrifying and absolutely amazing at the same time. Setting a big goal for yourself, whatever it may be, should be a little mix of terrifying and amazing. If it’s not, dream a little bigger! Happy running this week!

(Source: Pinterest)

(Source: Pinterest)

{Monday Motivation} I Need to Run

This was totally me this weekend. After the snow caused me to miss my yoga class and I was on self-inflicted rest from running, I couldn’t stand being away from cardio for much longer and I signed up for a gym. I took an entire week off from running last week (I don’t know if I’ve ever done that) and ran my first run (after the week off) on Friday on the treadmill. Running on the reliably flat surface helped with my foot and I actually felt pretty good. My plan was to run Friday, yoga Saturday, and run again on Sunday. But best laid plans have a habit of being ruined this winter and that’s what happened this weekend. So, I caved and registered for a gym. I know I’m not the only runner to be relinquishing themselves to the treadmill this winter but I’d much rather run inside than risk further injury. From here on out until the first flowers bloom this spring, you can find me at the St. Luke’s Human Performance Center (a pretty sweet gym made even sweeter by the discount I got on registration thanks to my boyfriend!).

(Source: Pinterest)

(Source: Pinterest)

On Being a Stubborn Runner

Today I was editing one of my columnists for Runner’s World and she was writing about a recent flair up of plantar that she noticed last week. She hasn’t run since Wednesday and “instead of pining over lost miles, I turned my attention towards yoga this week.”

I’ve been dealing with a mystery-foot-pain since a run two Saturday’s ago. Since the pain occurred I’ve taken it easy, but I’ve only swapped one of my running days for spin, and maintained my 30-ish mile weeks. Stupid.

I was contemplating going to spin today instead of going for an easy lunch run. Spin would give me the cardio-pumping heartbeat I was craving, but was much less impact than running on icy roads outside. But when the lunch run email went out this morning, I figured, “Why not? I mean, I ran 5 miles last night and felt fine, I should be good to go today too.”

I was wrong. A mile into our run I felt the pain flaring up again on the bottom outside of my left foot. It was clearly compensating my stride so, at the encouragement of my lunch run mates, I turned back.

As I ran (very, very slowly) back to the office, I kept hearing Krsitin’s words in my head. Why didn’t I listen to my gut and opt for spin instead? Why didn’t I give myself a rest day when I woke up this morning and felt the pain again? Why haven’t I seen a doctor in the two weeks since the pain first presented itself?

Answer: I’m stubborn.

I’m stubborn because I hate putting up zeros in my training log. I hate looking back at my log from last year and seeing higher mileage than I’ve been logging lately. I get small panic attacks when I think about how training starts in a little over a week for my big goal race. I worry that days off from running will come at the cost of my fitness. A small part of me worries that not running will cause me to gain weight. An even smaller part of me worries that time off from running will make me forget why I love running.

I know all of this is stupid but sometimes it just feels better to write it down and own up to it. When I read articles (on the website and in the pages of the magazine at which I am employed) and writers ask seasoned elites- what’s one thing you wish you knew about running when you started?- they almost ALWAYS say they wish they took proper recovery time. Or, they wish they recognized the benefit of taking easy days, easy. Or, that putting up a zero for one day might mean being able to put down a PR down the road.

I’ve read all of this. It’s engrained in my memory. But why is it so hard for me to follow? It’s time for me to cut the BS, stop being stupid, and start being smart.

(End rant.)

{Monday Motivation} Don’t Be Afraid

Last week I dealt with my first running injury in a long time- plantar fasciitis. It’s still nagging me but I’m taking good care of it and was able to run with it over the weekend. I still have my sights set on running a sub-1:45 half marathon this spring, I just might have to nurse my foot a little more than expected. Happy running this week!

Don't be afraid

Ouch (!) My Foot Hurts

Funny, because my Mom had plantar fasciitis.

Funny, because my Mom had plantar fasciitis.

“Ouch! My foot hurts.”

That’s what I said as I came to a hobbling stop about 3 miles into our out-and-back run on Saturday. The run was going pretty smoothly for the first three miles, despite having to run nearly a minute and a half slower than my normal pace due to snow. But when we got halfway through the run I felt a searing pain shoot through my foot.

At first I shook it off, stretched it on a curb, and continued to run for about two tenths of a mile, but it was clear I couldn’t keep running. I waited it out inside nearby while my boyfriend ran back to my apartment to get the car and come pick me up.

I spent most of my waiting time beating myself up for not sucking it up and running the three miles back. I, like many other stubborn runners, pride myself on my tolerance for pain. I can usually deal with aches and soreness but this pain in my foot was unlike any I’d felt before. (Side note: Don’t ever run through pain. It’s really bad for you and my colleagues at RW would agree.)

I spent the rest of the day and most of Sunday hobbling around, unable to put too much pressure on it. After doing some yoga, stretching out on Sunday, and continuing to foam roll both my calf muscles and my foot, it’s started to feel better on Monday and Tuesday.

So, on Tuesday I decided to join in on the group run out of our local running store, the Emmaus Run Inn. It was an easy 4 miles at roughly 8:30/pace. At the beginning of the run I could definitely feel the pain but it wasn’t the same shooting pain I felt on Saturday. My stride was definitely compensated and I felt my opposite leg working harder. But I was able to finish the run and felt pretty fine.

That is until I woke up yesterday morning and the pain was back, but still not as painful as Saturday or Sunday. I opted out of my run on Wednesday and hopped on a spin bike (for the first time). I figured cycling would be a much lower impact way to get my cardio in and I was right – plus, no foot pain!

For now I’m going to continue to take it easy, stretch, and ice my foot. I’m thinking it’s plantar fasciitis but I still can’t be sure. Hopefully I’ll have better news to report soon!

Have you ever dealt with plantar fasciitis or foot pain? What did you do to rehab it?

{Monday Motivation} With Wings, Will Fly

Last week I ran some really great workouts. So great that 7:10/mile felt almost comfortable. Last week I also revealed my plan to hit my goal this spring of running a sub-1:45 half marathon. Then I saw this graphic on Pinterest, and it was perfect for how I’m feeling. I wish you all light, frolicsome runs this week. Happy running!

(Via Oiselle on Pinterest)

(Via Oiselle on Pinterest)

The Season of the Half

Sub 1-45I have a goal, that is part of operation get speedy, to break 1:45 in the half marathon this spring.

Before running the Disney half marathon two weeks ago, I had only run three half marathons before. I had never raced a half, or really trained for a half. They either happened when I was in the middle of training for something else, or I just decided to register for one on a whim, which is why my previous PR was 2:02:22 and I was able to knock 10 minutes off that PR (with relatively no training) two weeks ago at Disney to run a 1:52:55.

Now I know 10-minute PRs don’t just happen all the time. I’m anticipating the inevitable plateau that all runners face, but right now I’m going to go with this momentum. I know to break 1:45 I’ll have to drop another 7 minutes off my time, which is a little more than 30 seconds off my average pace. It’s not going to be easy but man, am I looking forward to working on my speed.

This week I ran my first half marathon pace workout. I did a 1-mile warmup at 8:49/mile pace and then dropped it down to what will be my goal half marathon pace, 8:00/mile, for three miles, and then did a 1-mile cool down. Now, I know I only ran at HMP for three miles, but it felt, dare I say, comfortable.

I have a plan in place. I have my break-1:45 training plan designed by one of my coworkers at Runner’s World and I have my race schedule lined up. My goal race will be the St. Luke’s Half Marathon on April 27. This race is only a mile away from my boyfriend’s apartment and boasts of a fast course. I also plan to run a tune-up 10-miler at some point in March (race is still TBD but I have options).

If St. Luke’s doesn’t go as planned I’m registered for NYRR’s Brooklyn Half on May 17. I’ll have to crash at a friend’s place the night before the race but I’ve heard nothing but great things about this race and it will be my first NYRR event, so it’s got to be good.

I’ll also be running the Runner’s World Heartbreak Hill Half in Newton, MA on June 8. This most likely won’t be a good race for a PR just because of the hilly course but who knows?

So if I PR-ed at Disney on no training, and follow my plan for the spring season, I’m looking forward to seeing what these legs can do when fully trained.

Sub-1:45 or bust!

Race Recap: Walt Disney World Half Marathon

Screen Shot 2014-01-14 at 5.48.57 PMGoing into the Disney half marathon last weekend, I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was a little nervous. I hadn’t really done any serious training since running Marine Corps at the end of October and my mileage was no where near where it should have been to properly prepare me for the half. But the good thing about Disney is you can tell everyone you’re “running for fun” – and that’s totally what I did.

That is, until I set a 10-minute PR and ran my first ever sub-2 hour half marathon running a 1:52:55.

I’ve got to admit, it didn’t hit me right after the race, but I’m pretty freakin’ excited about this PR. I wasn’t expecting it. I don’t feel like I had really pushed myself, in the race or in training. But I still PR-ed, by a lot.

I think several factors came into play. For one, the Disney course is extremely flat, save for a few minor hills here and there. I’m used to running in the Lehigh Valley, PA where the only way to avoid hills is the drive to a rails to trails path, and even then there’s a slight gradient.

I also think my fitness has improved dramatically. Since running Marine Corps, I’ve added in at least one strength training session a week by doing IronStrength every Monday. I’ve also started running with faster people, including my speedy boyfriend. When you run with fast runners, you get faster- simple as that.

On Friday night as I was laying out my race outfit I thought, “I really just want to go under two hours.” That was doable. That was a 9:05/mile. And that goal is the one I told everyone, including my running partner for the day, Cait, during the prerace retreat. But secretly I thought to myself, “How cool would it be to run a 1:54?” That was roughly a 8:42/mile average and many of my long runs had been around that pace.

When it was time to start the race, I found myself lined up on the starting line, and feeling good. It was warm, about 70 degrees, and extremely humid, 94 percent humidity, but I was ready to see where my fitness was at. The race itself is a bit of a blur but I remember feeling confident in my sub-2 goal and increasingly more confident in hitting 1:54.

Towards the end though the humidity was really starting to get to me. I felt my hamstrings starting to tighten up because of the flatness and the windy finish began to take its toll. But with the help of Cait, I made it to the finish line and could not believe the time on my watch. I beat both of my goals!

I felt exhausted at the end of the race probably because I think I sweat out about a pound per mile from the humidity. I’m pretty happy with my results but the race left me craving more. More speed. More PRs. More training.

Training for my spring goal half marathon won’t start for another few weeks but I’m going to start building mileage. If I learned anything from Disney it’s that, the speed is there, I just need to believe in it and make it happen.

{Monday Motivation} Ambitious Goals

One of my favorite parts of running is having the ability to make goals. I think it’s important to have goals, no matter how out of reach they may seem in the beginning, because it’s fun and challenging to work towards something. If you read my blog often you know I’ve been working on getting faster. While I haven’t started training for my goal race this spring (the St. Luke’s Half Marathon, April 28) I have been doing regular mileage and speed work. This past weekend it paid off when I went sub-2:00 for the first time at the Walt Disney World Half Marathon by running a 1:52:55, a 10-minute PR for me. I can’t wait to see what’s to come as I ramp up my training and speed work. I hope you have some ambitious goals on your horizon, share them with me below if you’d like!

Ambitious goals