Week 9: Half-marathon training update

I’ve never appreciated these beauties more than after my runs!

First off I want to apologize for the tardiness of this post! I was on a mini vacation this weekend and work has been crazy busy since I’ve been back so I didn’t get to post about last week’s training. If you read any of my posts last week you know I tweaked my knee during a race on July 28 so last week was kind of a dud training-wise.

I knew I had hurt my knee the minute I started feeling the pain. While I’m still not completely sure what I hurt, it felt like an IT band syndrome flare up. So, in an effort to avoid hurting myself even more I decided to take a break from training for a few days and focus on strengthening and cross training.

Most of my week consisted of cross-training, yoga and strengthening exercises. However, after resting for a few days I decided to try an easy run with my knee on Tuesday. Bad, BAD idea. I wasn’t two minutes into the run when I felt the sharp pain in the outer side of my right knee. I stopped after only a mile, feeling defeated, upset and  kind of concerned. I abandoned the run and turned to some strengthening exercises instead.

I took another few days off, making sure to ice my knee every day and stretch a lot. I focused on doing yoga for runners from Lululemon and other strengthening exercises. On Friday, I decided to try running again because I thought my knee was feeling a little better. I was on vacation in Maine and decided to take a 3-mile run along the beach, staying on the sidewalk. My knee was still sore but I was able to make it through the run, stopping halfway to stretch. I knew this was a good sign and that my knee was starting to heal.

After my run I did some yoga outside which was really good because I was able to stretch out my IT band. Saturday, after watching the women’s Olympic marathon, I was motivated to get out on the road again. I decided to do a longer, easy run that circled a 5.5-mile loop on the road, a gravel trail and a natural trail. This was really great on my knee because incorporating the trails lessoned the impact on my knee.

I felt really great on this run, especially towards the end when I really got my stride back and felt like I was just coasting. I wrote about it in another post but I think this injury has helped me to appreciate the gift of running. Having to take a few days off killed me but once I got back on the road I was able to cherish every stride. I also am lucky to be able to go running in beautiful places and I was able to enjoy my surroundings and really take it all in. I think sometimes us runners take our gift for granted. But having to be out of running commission for a little bit I was able to really appreciate every step I took. And I’m sooo happy to be back on the road! Happy running!

Week 8: Half-marathon update

via Pinterest

This was quite a crazy training week. It involved only three days of running unfortunately, one race and a whole bunch of yoga and strength training.

Monday was technically a rest day so I decided to do my typical rest day routine of recovery yoga and core exercises. It was uneventful but a good workout. Tuesday I planned to run a tempo run after work but I ended up having to stay at work much later than usual and consequentially got stuck in traffic so I decided to nix the run because I was exhausted. Instead, I came home and did some core exercises and rest up for the next day.

Wednesday was my day and to be honest I went hard with my training. I went to the gym after work with my sister and did my first ever pick-up run which was pretty intense. I wrote a post about it earlier in the week that you can check out if you’re interested in trying out a pick-up run, but basically this is what I did:

3-mile run with one interval each of 60s, 120s, 120s, 60s, 45s, 30s and 15s

I really enjoyed the pick-up run because it pushed me to test myself and my speed. I was able to keep up an intensity level of ‘8’ during each interval. After running, I did a whole bunch of strengthening exercises with my sister, including some lifting. As a runner, it’s just as important to build muscle as it is to work on speed and mileage. Muscles will help your body respond to runs and support your joints.

Thursday I woke up early and did a 3-mile run that included some hill workouts. It went really well but after the run, my right knee was bothering me a little. I did some post-run stretches which seemed to ease the pain.

I took a break on Friday with some power strength yoga and core exercises, which was perfect because it was a long week at work so it felt great to relax and sweat it out at the same time. I also had to gear up for the opening ceremonies of the Olympics!

Post Color Run color madness!

Saturday I had to wake up super early to get ready to run the New England Color Run in Amesbury, MA (post to follow). In short, the race was tons of fun! I ran it with a group of friends and we were doused in color. We came away with some great photos and memories. Unfortunately, I also came away with a pretty significant knee strain on my right knee. I’m hoping it’s just a strain and nothing serious but it’s pretty painful right now.

Due to the knee strain I decided to make the smart decision to skip my 12-mile run I was supposed to do today. I still have two months until the Smuttynose Half Marathon and risking injuring myself even more is not worth it right now. I was bummed though because I’ve been looking forward to this run all week. After icing my knee all morning I went to the gym and did some cross training (3 miles on the elliptical in 25 minutes) and then a ton of strengthening exercises for my arms and core.

In this week of training what I’ve come away with is, it’s so important to listen to your body and if you have a strain or pain it’s better to take it easy rather than pushing your limits and your luck. Fingers crossed my knee will be better by tomorrow and I can get back on track! (No pun intended!)

Happy running!

Monday Motivation: run the day

I love this for the beginning of the week because it’s so true! Either you run the day or the day will run you. Have a positive outlook for each day and you’ll be able to conquer it no problem :) What will you choose? Happy running!

Run the day or the day will run you. (via Pinterest)

P.S. I found this on Pinterest. Follow my boards so you can find even more motivation!

Water debate for long runs: hydration belt v. handheld water bottle

  1. FitHappyGirl
    Hydration belt or no hydration belt? How do you stay hydrated on long runs? #runchat
    Tue, Jul 17 2012 14:43:06
  2. oiselle
    “Hydration belt or no hydration belt? How do you stay hydrated on long runs? #runchat” @FitHappyGirl
    Tue, Jul 17 2012 15:00:26
  3. ashleychandra_
    @oiselle @FitHappyGirl Water belt for the win! Makes you look hardcore (YES!) and feel hydrated at the same time! #winning
    Tue, Jul 17 2012 15:04:35
  4. ultimatestamina
    @oiselle @FitHappyGirl I use a small hand-held to stay hydrated on longer runs #runchat
    Tue, Jul 17 2012 15:09:55
  5. rfaura
    @oiselle @FitHappyGirl I must use the larger Amphipod in the Florida heat and humidity!
    Tue, Jul 17 2012 15:18:51
  6. bleung
    @oiselle @FitHappyGirl Hydration vest with Nuun in my water! I don’t like the belt but haven’t tried hand water bottle yet!
    Tue, Jul 17 2012 15:22:05
  7. bleung
    @FitHappyGirl I love it! I get the lemon lime flavor. Sometimes I overhydrate and forget Nuun, I end up w/muscle cramps! Nuun prevents that!
    Tue, Jul 17 2012 15:28:03
  8. SarahChan
    @bleung @oiselle @fithappygirl def Nathan hydration vest with Nuun. Worked for my half on Sunday. Also big fan of handheld for short runs!
    Tue, Jul 17 2012 15:50:47
  9. azrunparents
    @oiselle @fithappygirl I used to use a belt but now prefer a small hand held.
    Tue, Jul 17 2012 15:52:10
  10. enduroTwerd
    @oiselle @fithappygirl no hydration belt! Handheld or water fountains or stashed water bottles.
    Tue, Jul 17 2012 16:11:41
  11. mrshallberg
    @oiselle @FitHappyGirl love amphipod handheld – but don’t go more than 13miles, I’d think a belt would be in order for longer runs #runchat
    Tue, Jul 17 2012 16:17:11
  12. RoadBunner
    @oiselle @FitHappyGirl Nathan handheld 99% of the time.
    Tue, Jul 17 2012 17:39:42
  13. TriCoachDawn
    @oiselle @FitHappyGirl Belt for anything longer than 10 miles. Will carry a bottle for 1-2 hours or if it’s hot. #stayhydrated
    Tue, Jul 17 2012 17:57:51
  14. SolanaLeigh
    @oiselle @fithappygirl if its over 16 km I wear my belt, or I base my route around water stations on the Vancouver seawall!
    Tue, Jul 17 2012 18:51:46
  15. SolanaLeigh
    @oiselle @fithappygirl shorter runs I run with a handheld, I have both amphipod and Nathan bottles, both are great!!
    Tue, Jul 17 2012 18:52:53
  16. paulettezf
    Water bottle with hand strap or public fountains, don’t like anything on my waist. RT @ap10k: @oiselle @FitHappyGirl #runchat
    Tue, Jul 17 2012 21:00:12
  17. oiselle
    @FitHappyGirl Handheld may be the way to go, lots of positive feedback. We like it!
    Wed, Jul 18 2012 08:58:08
  18. azrunparents
    @FitHappyGirl handheld feels like it is weighing me down a little less. I didn’t like the way the water bounced around on the belt.
    Wed, Jul 18 2012 09:08:29

Week 6: Half-marathon update

It’s a lifestyle. Train like there’s no finish line. (via Pinterest)

Another week has flown by in training and for the most part it was pretty great. I say for the most part because my long run was definitely not my best but I’ll get to that later. Week six started on Monday and according to my training program it was a rest day so I decided to do some strength training for my core and arms. I did a 25-minute ab workout On Demand that kicked my butt! I couldn’t believe it because I consider myself to have pretty strong abs but I was sore for at least three days (but I kinda liked it). I also did some arm exercises which I’m hoping to post soon.

Tuesday I went to the gym to do a quick 4-mile run and more strength-training. I was so excited to have my sister come along as my gym buddy! She has always been an athlete but said I’ve inspired her to workout more which I was really happy about. After my run (and her cycling) we did some floor exercises to strengthen our quads and some more arm and ab workouts.

Wednesday I went into Boston to a track near Fenway to do an interval workout with my cousin. We ran nearly two miles to the track and then did 4×400-meter sprints with a cool down run. It was a pretty great run besides the heat which was a killer. I am definitely noticing a difference in my mile times because of the tempo runs. If you haven’t started doing them I’d really suggest you start because you’ll notice a HUGE difference in your times. Check out a post I wrote a awhile back about how to run a tempo run with variations if you need some tips!

Beautiful view of Boston from the track!

I woke up early on Thursday morning to do a quick 3 miles run at 6:30 a.m. and it went pretty well. I ran it in 24:51 which was a good time for me and I felt great. My average pace was 8:34 per mile which is a great pace for the half-marathon if I can maintain it for 13.1 miles.

Friday was a rest day so I decided to wake up early still and do a power yoga session on Lululemon’s YouTube channel. It felt great to do the stretches and hold the poses after running the three days before. I have also found yoga to be helpful in my breathing while running.

Saturday I woke up at 7:30 a.m. to go for my long run for the week. According to my training program I only had to run 8 miles, which, compared to last week, felt like it would be nothing. However, the temperature at 8:15 a.m. was already in the low 80s and so humid so I was relegated to doing my run on the treadmill at the gym. Basically, everything that could go wrong went wrong. My headphones got tangled in my necklace causing me to stop to get it all untangled. My knee didn’t feel great the whole time so I took it easy. Most of all I just didn’t feel good at all, my stomach was acting up and it was just terrible. I made it to 8 miles which is all that matters but I was pretty disappointed with the run.

Sunday was another rest day but I decided to do a recovery yoga session on Lululemon’s YouTube channel. This was really good because my legs were still pretty tight from the day before. Also, all week I’ve stuck to my Plank A Day Challenge which has been great!

Although my long run for this week didn’t go as planned I think the rest of my week went pretty well. I’ve been lucky to not have any hiccups in my training so far (knock on wood) so one bad run isn’t a big deal. I’ve decided to fuel my disappointment in that run to getting better this week and I’m taking that energy to prepare myself for a 12-mile run on Saturday. I hope everyone else’s training is going well so far. Keep me updated and run happy!

Week 5: Half-marathon update

A very rain-soaked road race on the 4th of July!

This week was yet again another amazing week of training. I ran my first official road race and my longest run yet! I logged just about 19 miles this week- same total as last week, different way of adding it up.

Monday night I did a tempo run at the local track. Instead of doing my normal tempo run, I used “run interval” mode on the Run Keeper app on my iPhone. It had me run a total of 2 miles with 400-meter sprints mixed with slow running. It went really well and I ran my fastest pace at 7:32/mile.

I rested on Tuesday and did some yoga in the morning to stretch. On Wednesday, I ran my very first road race. I know this is kind of weird because I’ve been blogging about running since March but this was my very first race. It was so great (besides the fact that it was pouring)! I finished the 4-miler in 37:16 with an average pace of 9:20 which I was pretty pleased with, given the conditions.

I gave myself a total rest day on Thursday and then ran an early morning run on Friday. I wanted to test my speed especially after the race so I decided to do a 2.5-mile run around my neighborhood. I was SO excited when I came back and checked Run Keeper to see that I ran my first mile in 6:30. That was the fastest mile I have EVER run! I was so excited to see how much my work has really paid off! The one criticism I have of this run is I wish I could have done a negative split, that is running faster in the last half of the run than the first. I’m going to try to work on that in the next few weeks.

2.5 miles- average pace- 8:27, fastest pace- 6:30

Saturday was my long run day, a full 10 miles. This is the longest I have ever ran and I have to say it was my most fulfilling run yet! I ran a total of 10.26 miles in York, Maine with my cousin Paige who is also training for the half-marathon with me. Our route was pretty hilly but we were unafraid, I was even really, really excited!

Map of the 10.26 mile route.

The run was fantastic! We decided to go at an easy, what I like to call “conversational” pace. This means while running, you’re able to hold a conversation with someone without getting winded. We thought we were going pretty slow but turns out our average pace was 8:41/mile, a faster average pace than I had ever done. We finished the run in 1 hour, 29 minutes and 3 seconds. The craziest part was our fastest pace was 4:51/mile! What!?!? When I looked at the breakdown, mile by mile of our run, I couldn’t believe how well we did. We peaked at mile 8, when we ran it in 6:36 and ran our fastest pace of 4:51. In total, almost all of our miles were sub-9:00 besides the 6th mile where we had our steepest incline.

10.26 mile run: average pace- 8:41, fastest pace- 4:51.

After this week’s training I am a full believer in the biggest you can dream, you can make it happen. Four months ago I could barely run a mile without feeling like I was going to fall over and die. Now, I feel like I can go forever and I’m just getting faster. More than anything, it makes me so happy. I hope everyone else had a good week of training. Happy running!

Half-marathon training update

As I continue to train for the half-marathon I plan to write updates every week about the training, complications, new findings and whatever else may come up. This is the first update!

This weekend my cousin and I officially began training for our half-marathon in September. We started our training in southern Maine, along the coast, since our race will be on the coast of New Hampshire. The weather was perfect for running. The air was clear, it was sunny and there was a cool breeze coming off of the ocean. Not to mention the gorgeous views we had during the run.

We both ran separately on Friday evening but then did an easy 3-mile run along the ocean Saturday morning. We also did some conditioning and a tempo run at the high school track on Sunday.

It was my first ever attempt at a tempo run and it went pretty well. We did a 2-mile run, with sprints for every straightaway. We made pretty good time, despite the heat.

This week I plan to do another tempo workout, an easy 4-mile run and a longer run this weekend. The half-marathon will be the longest my cousin and I have ever run but we’re getting really excited for the race. We have about four months to train and we are staying positive. As one of my fellow sub-30 club members wrote, “Just keep putting one foot in front of the other and you’ll get there.”

That’s it for now but be on the lookout for a post about tempo runs soon! Also, don’t forget to “like” my Facebook page and follow me on twitter @FitHappyGirl.

Finding the perfect half-marathon training program

Courtesy Runner’s World on Pinterest

Ok, so finding the perfect half-marathon training program is a little harder than it seems. Last week I registered for my first ever half-marathon and it without a doubt terrifies me. However, according to most of my research, if you can already easily run 4 miles, in less than 14 weeks you can build up to a half-marathon- I have four months.

When looking for any good training program it’s important to stay realistic. For example, if you have a full-time job and a fluctuating schedule like myself, running every day is probably not a very realistic goal. Most of the training programs I found have you running three or four days a week with strengthening exercises and rest days in between.

After asking around and posing the question in the Sub-30 Club on Facebook, I found a good training program for me. I chose to use the Runner’s World Smart Coach (free version). This training plan allows you to insert your information- including gender, miles logged per week and your latest race time- to develop a specialized plan to fit your schedule. This is important for me because I am a full-time reporter so sometimes I have to cover late meetings and can’t fit in my run, but the smart coach allows you to adjust the plan at any time.

Also, the smart coach, like many other half-marathon training program, has you run an easy run, a “tempo” run (speedwork) and a long run each week. As your training continues it adds in an extra easy run to help you build endurance to last those 13.1 miles.

This program might not be for everyone so some other suggestions I received were: