Week 5: Sub-50 10K Training

Me and my friends Cassie and Madeline doing our Race for Recovery 5-K

Me and my friends Cassie and Madeline doing our Race for Recovery 5-K

Another great week of training has come and gone. I had some really great moments this week including an (unofficial) 5-K PR, a fantastic trail run and the Race for Recovery. I also ran my highest mileage week ever this week for a total of 27 miles!

I started off training this week with some cross-training on Monday. I did 2 miles on the elliptical and then 40 minutes of strength training. According to my training plan, I can either rest or cross train on Mondays and so far, I’ve cross trained every Monday. No rest days!

Tuesday’s run was a 3 mile tempo and I hit every split at my tempo pace or under which was really great. My first mile came in at 7:57/mile which is really fast for me and I was honestly a little surprised to see that on my watch. My second mile was a bit slower at 8:06/mile but still below my tempo pace of 8:12/mile. In the third mile I decided to try to kick it up and hit 8 flat but hit 8:02/mile which was still pretty awesome. Since my paces were so great I decided to run .1 mile extra to see what my 5-K time would have been and I finished at 24:14 which is by far my fastest 3.1 miles ever and it felt great!

I decided to run trails with two of my speedy coworkers on Wednesday because we had some trail shoes to test out. I was a little apprehensive about running with them because they are just so much faster than me but they assured me they wouldn’t leave me behind so I went. We ran about a mile and a half to the entrance of the trail which was kind of annoying because the shoes were clearly not meant to run on pavement but once we got to the trail they felt great.

The actual trail part of the run was about 3 miles of very steep inclines and jagged declines. The trail goes up a mountain near our office and gets pretty narrow on the way up but the views are beautiful. I will admit though, the ascent was pretty hard and I was forced to hike for some of it. I’m not too great at trails but I do really like them, especially the downhill because I feel like I’m literally frolicking through the woods. The entire run was just over 6 miles but it took us longer than the average 6-mile run just because we all run trails slower than we run on the road.

My ankles and achilles were killing me on Thursday post-trail run but I had intervals on tap and couldn’t skip out. I had to do 3x1200m at race pace (8:02/mile) with 400m easy pace in between. I did these on the treadmill and although they were not fun, I was surprised at how good my ankles felt once I actually got running.

Friday was my rest day which was good because my legs were completely dead and it gave me time to rest up for the Race for Recovery on Saturday morning. I took part in NYC Running Mama, Michele Gonzales’, Race for Recovery to raise funds for Sandy relief efforts on Saturday. She asked that everyone run either a 5-K or 10-K wherever they were so I ran with two of my friends at a local 5-K in Bethlehem. My roommate and I ran to the race start line to add on an extra 1.3 miles and ran the 5-K with our friend. It was great to get out there and although I didn’t time myself it felt good to run watch/GPS free for once!

I had my long run on Sunday and when I woke up, looked out my window and saw rain, I was less than thrilled. I procrastinated the run until noon and finally made myself get out the door, suck it up and get over the fact that I’d have to run in the rain. Turns out my run was fantastic! I did an 8-mile out and back run in 1:19 (9:31/mile). My legs felt so fresh and strong, I really couldn’t believe it. I almost wanted to keep going but towards the end of the run it started to rain harder.

During my long run I did a lot of thinking and couldn’t help but realize this is the first training cycle I’ve done where I haven’t felt super tired or achy or sore and I am so thankful for that (knock on wood!). I’ve never felt stronger and my paces are feeling much more comfortable. My goals with this time-goal for a 10-K was to get faster overall and I’m definitely starting to notice some changes.

I hope your training went well this week too! Also, I know I haven’t been blogging as much as I used to but that will change soon! I’ve been so busy getting acclimated with my new job that I’ve just felt completely shot by the time I get home after work. But don’t fret, I’m going to make an effort to keep it up :)

 

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Week 4: Sub-50 10K Training

Personal BestLast week’s training was really phenomenal- seriously I think I had a breakthrough. I’m not just talking about a running breakthrough- although my paces were on point and I had good mileage- but I’m talking about a personal breakthrough. I work with a lot of really good, really fast, really experienced runners. So, when I have a new goal, sometimes I get embarrassed because it’s not as amazing as the goals my coworkers have but I often forget I JUST started running in February and it really is amazing to see how far I’ve come in such a short amount of time.

My new goal I’m working on right now is to run a sub-50 10K, mostly because I want to get faster, but also because I’ve never had a time goal for a race. I also just found out I’ll be running my second half marathon in January (yikes/yay!) so I’m now trying to merge both trainings into one. But, I’m really excited about both of these goals because they will be the perfect way to bring in the new year. Also, this training so far has taught me to not be ashamed or embarrassed about my goals because every runner is so different. All that really matters is that I reach my own goals and even if I don’t, so be it, it’s not the end of the world.

That being said, my training was GREAT last week. I started off on Monday with some cross-training and tried a new bootcamp class at the gym. I’ve never done bootcamp before but I thought it would be a good idea to switch up my strength training. While the class was only 30 minutes and I used lighter weights, it turned out to be harder than I thought! My legs and arms were sore for days, although I tried to convince them otherwise…

I had a tempo on Tuesday which was a little difficult on dead legs but I nailed my goal pace of 8:06/mile for 3 miles! Then, on Wednesday I ran 5.3 miles on the treadmill after work. I was kind of dreading this run and as I headed to the gym, I seriously thought about turning around and going home. However, once I got going I felt really great (despite my still-sore legs) and I ran at an easy 9:26/mile.

Thursday was a speedwork day and I knew this was really going to be challenging. My plan had me running 3x1200m intervals at 8:02/mile with 400m easy pace in between. After a two minute warm-up I started on the first interval and felt surprisingly good. I made it through the entire workout without any resting or walking which was the first time I’ve done so with speedwork, so I was pretty excited about that!

I ran during lunch on Friday with a bunch of coworkers. We did a great 4.5 mile out-and-back in the neighborhoods and trails around our office. We said we were going to take it really easy but ended up picking it up a bit and running an average 9:16/mile.

I rested on Saturday because I went to NYC for the day (!) but did my long run on Sunday. I was only supposed to run 6 miles but felt so good and decided to run a little over 7 miles. My pace was also great, with an average of 9:14/mile with faster intervals in the mid- to low- 8s!

Overall, my training was really great and I am becoming much more proud and less embarrassed about my sub-50 goal. I think I will be able to hit it, especially with the adrenalin associated with racing.

How did your training go last week? Let me know in the comments below!

Staying Motivated to Run During Winter

Living in the northeast the weather come winter gets cold, dreary and very snowy. For some people, this is their favorite time of year. For others, it’s the worst. If you’re like me, you love the snow and holiday cheer in the beginning of the season but come January 1, I’m done!

It’s also hard to get through the winter if you are trying to stick to a relatively strict training program- especially if it involves running outdoors.  But don’t fret! It’s not impossible. All you have to do is set some goals and guidelines to follow and you’ll cruise through the winter months with no problems!

  • Set a short term AND long term goal- For me, my short term goal is to get faster. How am I going to accomplish this? Well I started a sub-50 10K training plan with a goal race at the beginning of February. This way, I’ll have a plan to follow throughout most of the winter months and I’ll also be working toward something I want for myself. My bigger picture long term goal is to run a full marathon in 2013!! (Ahhh!) To do so, I need to stay focused this winter and maintain my long runs.
  • Buy some new gear- nothing gets me more motivated than scoring some flashy new running gear (like this Saucony top I bought on Black Friday!). Hit up your favorite local running store and buy yourself something nice. Think of it as a pre-reward for all the snowy, cold long runs you’ll need it for!
  • Add in your favorite cross training you can’t do when you’re really training hard during racing season (i.e. Spring, Summer and Fall)- This week I added in a boot camp session instead of cross training on the elliptical and it was great! It’s good to switch it up a bit to exercise all muscles, not just the ones you need for running. So, go take a yoga class or maybe try CrossFit? Whatever it is, now is the time to do it!
  • Register for a winter race- Winter races are really fun (even though they are VERY cold) and everyone is supportive because you’re all just as crazy as the next person!
  • Run with friends- If you like running with a partner or a group, winter is the perfect time to take full advantage of this support. Running with a group or a friend will help to keep you motivated, especially on those mornings when you really, really, really want to stay in bed.
  • Help someone else learn to run- I have to admit, I can become a bit self-centered during racing season, but I think that’s just because I am focusing on goals for myself. Winter is a great time to motivate a non-runner friend to run, especially if you’re not busy with a training plan or race schedule. Try to get a friend out with you at least once a week. Start off slow and make sure you run at whatever pace is most comfortable for them.
  • Don’t be afraid to indulge a little- Winter is holiday season and it’s a time for great company of family and of course, delicious food, so don’t be the weirdo who skips out on the yummy cookies your Grandma makes every year. You run, you’ll burn it off! Also, be sure to spend time with your family as well. If you’re like me, my parents and sister (and my BFF Sydney!) are the ones who take the time to come to my races and support me, so it’s just that much more important to take the time during the holidays to enjoy their company. If that means cutting my long run short, so be it!

What are your favorite tips for staying motivated during the holidays? 

 

Week 3: Sub-50 10K Training

A beautiful Thanksgiving picture from my sister Georgia and myself :)

I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving and is gearing up for the holiday season!- I know I am! My training this week went really well although I missed two of my training runs for very good reasons.

I knew my training was going to be affected this week because I traveled back to Massachusetts to be with my family for Thanksgiving. In preparation for this I mixed up the earlier part of my week by cross training on Monday but then doing my speed work on Tuesday. My speed work went really well and it was a much harder workout than the one I did the previous week. This workout called for 5×800 meter intervals at race pace (8:02/mile) with 400m easy pace in between.

This. Was. Hard.

But I did it! Although it was really challenging and I REALLY wanted to stop after the fourth interval, I felt really great after finishing the workout. I was extremely proud of myself for not stopping when my legs were begging me to do so and couldn’t believe I was able to run 4 miles total at an average pace of 8:32! I’m getting there!

I planned to wake up early on Wednesday to do my 3-mile tempo run before getting in my car and traveling up to Massachusetts all day. The morning came and I woke up a half an hour before my alarm ready to run! I checked the weather and the thermometer read 27 degrees. Burr! But that didn’t discourage me and I was out the door at 7 a.m.

The run itself wasn’t so great. I didn’t hit the goal pace but I was having a hard time breathing because it was just so cold. My nose was runny and my mouth was filled with mucus but I was still proud of myself for getting out there and getting my miles in before a long car ride up to New England.

I left my apartment in PA just after 9 a.m. and arrived back in Massachusetts around 2:30 p.m. My mom came running out the front door and greeted me with a huge embrace. I know I’ve only been away from home for just over a month but it’s felt like ages and I was just so happy to be home.

I had planned on running 6-miles on Thursday (Thanksgiving) but when I woke up and sat at the breakfast table with my family while we watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade I didn’t want to leave. I was having such a nice time with my family and my mom asked me to help her cook so I decided to skip my run and spend some quality time with my family instead. I was able to squeeze in 30 minutes of power flow yoga though before it was time to head to my aunt’s house for Thanksgiving dinner, but honestly I’m glad I decided to forgo my run and spend time with my family- being away from home has made me realize how important my time with them is.

I had a lovely Thanksgiving with my extended family and woke up on Friday feeling great and ready for a run. I got in 6 miles at 9:30/mile pace around the neighborhoods in my town. It was really great to get out on the roads in my town again after having run in PA the past few weeks.

This was my last run of the week because I decided to spend the rest of my time at home with my family. Although I’m disappointed I missed out on my last two runs of the week, I was happy to have the time with my parents and sister. If anything, being away from home and then coming back made me realize although running is really important to me there are other things that are much more important.

I’m not worried about this impacting my training at all either. I have an extra week at the end of my training before my goal race so I can play catch up then.

Have you ever skipped out on a training run to spend time with loved ones? Tell me your story in the comments below!

Week 2: Sub-50 10K Training

This past week was another great week for training. I’m nervous to get too excited about how my training is going because, in the past, I’ve had problems with injuries/soreness but so far so good! That being said, it’s only the second week so I’m taking it day by day.

It’s been really great though to run five days a week. Most training plans I did before had me running four days a week, sometimes only three, but I really like running more often. I’m a strong believer in the fact that the more you run, the better you become. Which, is really starting to prove true in my times and how I’ve been feeling on my runs.

The week started off with cross training on Monday. I went to the gym after work and did two miles on the arc trainer (elliptical type machine) and then did a bunch of strengthening exercises- squats, lunges, lifting weights and ab exercises. I also made sure to stretch a lot too because I want to avoid any muscle tightness-related injuries.

On Tuesday, I had a 2.5 mile tempo run at 8:12/mile. I did this run during my lunch hour and nailed the pace time which felt amazing. It was fast but my breathing was really steady and my legs felt strong.

Wednesday was an easy paced 5 mile run. Unfortunately I had to do this run on the treadmill but I got it done. I ran 5 miles at 9:50/mile. When I first got going, my ankles were really bothering me for the first mile. I think this is due in part to the treadmill but after the first mile I felt really good and finished the run with no problems.

Thursday was my speedwork day and I had to do 4x800m at race pace (8:02/mile) with 400m resting in between. This was a 10 percent increase from last week’s speedwork but I was able to finish it and feel good. Eight hundreds are HARD, there’s no doubt about that, but I am really seeing results in my long runs and easy runs.

Friday was a complete rest day!

Saturday was my long run of 6 miles. According to my training plan I was supposed to run 6 miles at an easy pace (9:50-11:05/mile) but, instead I ran at 9:23/mile average and my fastest mile was at race pace (8:02)!! I was so happy on this run but I just felt amazing. I actually really wanted to keep running but I need to stick to the training plan to avoid injury. I don’t know what it was- the speedwork, my tempos, running more frequently- but I felt amazing on this run. Also, this was the first time in a VERY long time that I actually ran on the road with music. I always listen to music when I run on the treadmill but I usually don’t when I run on the road. However, I think this had something to do with my faster paces because I was jamming the whole time!

After my long run I came home and did some post-run yoga stretches and foam rolled.

Sunday (today) I just did an easy 4-mile recovery run. I ran at 9:27 pace and felt really good. It was a bit colder out today but I felt comfortable and strong. I also did some post-run yoga after my run today and was home in time to congratulate my cousin on finishing her first full marathon!

Training is looking good this week as well, although I’m a little concerned with when I’m going to get all my runs in because I’m traveling home for Thanksgiving. I may have to juggle the training plan around to accomodate my travel plans and some much needed family-time.

Also I officially signed up for my goal race 10K and it will be on February 3- it’s a Superbowl 10K! This actually gives me an extra week of training so if my schedule gets messed up because of the holidays, I have some wiggle room on the outset of the training program. I hope y’all had great training runs last week and I know everyone will run happy this week because it’s finally the start of the holiday season! Happy running!

Week 1: Sub-50 10K Training

Last week was a week of first in the life of Fit Girl Happy Girl. For one, I became a Greatist ambassador and it marks my very first ambassador-ship as a blogger! Also, I ran my very first lunch run and PR my mile time (according to my Garmin at least). Another first, which really wasn’t a first, but I ran five days last week, something I hadn’t done in a little over a month (I’ve been sticking to three or four times a week). And, to top it all off, I feel great!

As you may or may not know, I’m following a new training plan that will hopefully get me on track to run a 4?:?? 10K. I’ve never officially run a 10K race, although I have definitely run 6.2 miles (plus!) and know I can do it in under 60 minutes. Naturally, my next goal was to run it in under 50 minutes.

I’m following a training plan I saw in this month’s issue of Women’s Running. The plan has me running five days a week, cross training one day a week and taking one full rest day.

I started the plan last Monday and Mondays are cross training days so I hit the gym to do 20 minutes on the elliptical (really an arc trainer) and strengthening exercises afterwards. I want to get better at strengthening my leg muscles to avoid injuries so I’m hoping with this new plan, and the extra down time that comes with winter, I’ll be able to focus on that.

Tuesday I had a tempo on tap and I was determined to run my first lunch run. At my knew job, most of my coworkers go running during their lunch hour, so I thought I had to try it! Well, I LOVED it! It was great to not only get my run out of the way in the middle of the day but it was also amazing to get outside and get some fresh air! What made the run even better was I nailed my tempo pace of 8:12/mile and felt really great.

Wednesday I had to do 4-5 miles at an easy pace of 9:50/mile. I did a little over 4 because I was exhausted from work that day and my legs felt a little tired.

Thursday was by far the hardest day because it was speedwork. I hadn’t done a track workout in a few weeks and since I’m still new to the area, I don’t have a track to workout on so I had to do it on the treadmill. The plan called for 3 x 800m at race pace of 8:02/mile, with 400m easy pace in between. This was my first time doing 800s and they are no joke! I finished the workout and was pooped but glad I was able to power through it. (According to the plan, I increase this workout over the next 11 weeks!)

Friday was my full REST day! Phew!

Saturday was my “long run.” I put long run in quotes because according to the plan, I only had to run 5 miles at easy pace, which is nothing compared to the half marathon training I just finished up. I felt good on this run except for a little knee pain towards the end but I finished strong.

Sunday was a 4 mile recovery run at an easy pace but I ended up running about a 9:09 average mile. The weather was so beautiful and I felt great so I thought I’d kick it up a bit.

Overall I thought the week went really well and I’m excited to see what’s in store this week!

Are you training for something? If so, how did you runs go last week?