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!

Fun races for any runner

The Color Run

Who says running has to always be so serious? Personally, I like to switch up my running routine by running at the gym, around my town, on the beach and on trails, and there are plenty of races out there to accommodate all running styles. Whether you are looking for a scenic race, a fast race, a dirty race or just a crazy race, websites like Active.com and CoolRunning.com are great resources to help you find the perfect race. Here are some of my favorites:

  • The Color Run– This 5k race takes place all over the country and is “3.1 miles of color madness.” The Color Run is for runners of all experience levels and ages and is designed to be more about fun than about speed. Every runner is required to wear a white t-shirt and as they approach each mile marker, color paint is blasted onto them- by the end of the race “they end looking like they fell into a Willy Wonka… tie dyed… vat of colored goodness.”
  • Hollis Fast 5k– If you’re looking to get your best 5k time, you may want to sign up for this race because it is the fastest 5k in New Hampshire. The race is a USATF-certified point-to-point downhill course creating a unique run for all participants. Some of the fastest 5k times have been recorded at this race as the course drops 224 feet in elevation in the 3.1 miles. Unfortunately, this drop in elevation exceeds the state limitations to qualify times for state records, but that doesn’t have to stop you from getting your own PR!
  • Will Run for Beer race series– This race series takes place throughout New Hampshire and Massachusetts and is sponsored in part by Smuttynose Brewing Company. I am running my first 5k in one of the series races in Hampton, New Hampshire and the best part of this 5k is there is free beer at the end. (No other incentive necessary!)
  • Rugged Maniac 5k– You thought the Color Run looked messy? Try the Rugged Maniac 5k, a 3.1 mile obstacle race. Each course has at least 20 obstacles that include climbing over 7-foot walls, crawling through mud, jumping over fire and more. This is for the true adventure-seeker who is sick of your average 5k and is willing to get a little rugged!
  • Luv2Run Portland– If you’re just looking for a scenic 5k to run, the Luv2Run Portland might be the right race for you. The off-road course through the Back Cove Trail in Portland is a scenic race sure to please any running who enjoys running near the ocean.