Week 16: Half-marathon training update

(via Pinterest)

I can’t believe my first half-marathon is now only one week away! That being said, this past week I started to taper my miles so I’ll be prepped and ready to go for next weekend.

This week as super busy and hectic for a variety of reasons, one of which I will announce tomorrow because it’s a HUGE deal!! But training-wise I did pretty well. I’ve never run a half obviously so it was weird to taper because after running a 14-miler last Saturday I just wanted to do it again. But in the spirit of not getting injured and storing my energy, I did what my training plan told me to do and tapered.

Monday was my crazy busy day so unfortunately I only had enough time to do a quick yoga session and ab workout in the morning. I was on the move for the rest of the day which I will talk about later..

On Tuesday I did a 2-mile pick up run with quicker paces of 8:03/mile and even some 7’s thrown in there. I was really tired from work and the day before but I knew I had to get this run in so I sucked it up.

I had planned to run 3 miles on Wednesday but my foot was really bothering me for some reason so I ended up just doing 2-miles (and change). However, because I cut my mileage I decided to do some strength training which included squats, lunges and some lifting. Also, I did ab work as well.

Thursday was shaping up to be another busy day at work (I had to cover a meeting until 10:30 p.m.) so I knew I could only get in a quick workout in the morning. I did two Tone It Up workouts, as well as my own arm workouts and abs.

I got out of work early on Friday so when I got home at noon, I quickly changed into my running clothes and went out. I did a quick 3-mile run and the route included some pretty ridiculous hills so this run gave my buns a run for their money. It felt really great though to push up the hills.

Saturday I had to work all day so I couldn’t get in a run but decided I needed a rest day after the week I had.

I went out for my “long” run on Sunday and I put “long” in quotes because the run was only supposed to be 6 miles, which felt like nothing compared to last week’s 14-mile run. This run went really well though and I tested out a new route which is always exciting. I took it really easy pace-wise with this run because with the half only a week away, I’m not taking ANY chances.

Overall it was a really great week for training. I’m looking forward to the half-marathon next Sunday because I feel like I’m really prepared (knock on wood!) Also I can’t wait to tell everyone my big news tomorrow so be sure to check back here to find out!!

How is your training going? What are your thoughts on tapering before a big race?

Week 15: half-marathon training update

Oh my goodness I am so sorry this has taken me so long to post! Last weekend was a tad bit crazy for me and work has been out of control but I really wanted to update everyone on my training last week because it was nothing short of AMAZING!

For one, I hit a huge milestone and ran the farthest I’ve ever run- 14 miles! It felt so incredibly amazing, I almost didn’t want to stop (but my legs clearly had other plans!). I also was about to do the first track workout I had done in a very long time and that was pretty amazing as well. Before I go on, let me backtrack.

On Monday I started out my day with a little yoga for recovery on Lululemon’s YouTube channel. I wanted to do this because my legs were a little tight from the weekend before. After work, my cousin and fantastic training partner, met me at my office and we headed over to the local high school track to do a sprint interval workout. Neither of us had done this in weeks so it really felt great to get “back on track” and do some sprints. Her legs were also tired from the weekend before so we took it easy and did 4×800 sprints at 7:12 pace with about 400m of jogging in between.

On Tuesday I did some more yoga, as well as weight training for my arms and core exercises. Last week I didn’t get a chance to lift as much as I like to because I had some late nights at work, so I tried to get in some lifting on “rest” days.

On Wednesday I was able to get up early and head to the gym. I ran 4 miles at 9:33 pace and then did 1 mile on the elliptical. After that I hit the weights and did some squats and lunges. I also did a bunch of core exercises.

Thursday I did yoga and core exercises in the morning before work. I had to stay late for a meeting so I wanted to get in some exercise before. I did a power vinyasa yoga exercise and felt great after.

I drove up to my cousin’s new apartment in Marblehead on Friday because we had a long run planned for early Saturday morning. We had a great night checking out the local digs and carbo-loading, if you will, at the Barnacle, located right on Marblehead Harbor. However, we probably stayed out a little too late because the Saturday morning alarm clock came way too early!

Saturday was a big day for me because I had my longest run ever planned. My cousin is also training for a full marathon right now and according to her training schedule, she had to run 14 miles on Saturday. She wanted me to run it as well, and so I thought, 14 is only 1 more mile, why not? Our friend met us to do the run as well and we left the apartment around 9 a.m. (an hour after our planned start time.) We ran at a very comfortable and conversational pace and I felt like the miles just flew by. We made it to the halfway point and I couldn’t believe it was almost over! We had one problem though with hydration at mile 10. We had planned to quickly stop at a local beachside shack that usually has water but as we approached it, we saw that it was closed. Lucky for us the owner was standing right outside and said she would go in and get us water! After we had our water in hand we had some gels and were off again.

The last 4 miles were definitely a little more difficult after stopping but once the gels kicked in I felt great. The views on the run also helped to motivate us because we ran along the ocean and the weather was perfect. I was so excited to have ran a full 14 miles and it gave me even more confidence in my upcoming half marathon. I think it’s official, I’m addicted to distance running.

I took a complete rest day on Sunday after the long run the day before because my calf muscles were pretty sore.

Overall, it was a really great week of training. I felt strong and had tons of energy for my runs. This week I’ll be tapering in preparation for the half marathon which is now only a week and a half away!

What are you training for and how has it been going? Share your training stories in the comments below!

Week 13: Half marathon training update

I think my sweet new Nike outfit helped with my 8-miler!

This past week was a great week of training runs for me. I really can’t express enough how HUGE of a difference changing my form has made. (If you didn’t check it out yet, take a look at my post about how I changed my running form and simple steps to improve yours as well!) I have to admit, I was a little skeptical of the claim that changing my form would completely solve my IT Band problems but it really has. I’ve had three runs since changing my form and (knock on wood!) I haven’t felt any IT band pain.

I started the week out on Monday with an easy 3-mile run. I finished the run in 27 minutes and felt pretty good during it. This run was before I got feedback from Ryan Knapp about my form so I tried correcting my form on my own based on articles I had read. I knew I needed to land on my mid-foot as opposed to my heel so I tried my best to do that. I felt IT Band pain around 1.5 miles but was able to avoid a massive flare-up by really focusing on my form.

Tuesday was a cross-training day for me so I woke up early to get that done. I did two “Tone It Up” videos- Sunset workout for 12 minutes and the thighs workout for 16 minutes (times two)- because I had heard so much about them. I’m working on another post about using them for cross-training so check back soon for that! I also added in some leg exercises I read about in the Runner’s World half marathon issue. Then I did my plank a day and 50 calf raises because they help with alignment.

Wednesday was a big day for me because I received Ryan’s feedback and tips for correcting my form on Tuesday night so I was able to put them into practice during my 5-mile midweek training run. Overall this run went really well and I finished in 45 minutes. I focused on three things in particular (as mentioned in a previous post):

  • Lifting from my core in order to mid-foot strike.
  • Gunslinging my arms
  • Running with lean from my ankles

I really focused during my run on making sure I was implementing all of these tips. For the most part I found it pretty easy to incorporate them even though it felt a little awkward at first. The only tip I found difficult to implement was not running with my arms too high up on my ribcage. I tasked myself with focusing on this more during my next run.

On Thursday I did some cross-training at the gym. I did about 3 miles on the elliptical and then a bunch of strengthening exercises to help me run stronger. I focused on a lot of leg exercises because my legs have been feeling a little tired lately. I also did some arm exercises and planks.

Friday was a complete rest day!

Saturday was the real test for my new form because it was my long run day. I had 10 miles on tap but it turned into 8 miles because my stomach wasn’t feeling well but I finished 8 miles in a speedy 1 hour and 5 minutes! I couldn’t believe how fast I ran this run, especially with an upset stomach! This was my first long run since experiencing the IT Band pain and I felt like during the whole run I kept waiting for the pain to appear but it NEVER CAME! I don’t want to speak to soon however because it could still resurface but so far so good!

On Sunday I had to help my sister move back into college but it involved lots of lifting and going up and down four flights of stairs so I’m going to count it as cross-training.

Overall this week was great and I’m feeling a lot better about the half-marathon at the end of the month. I’ll be looking forward to the rest of my runs this week and hope my form will start to feel a little more natural.

Monday- 3 mile easy run, 27 min. average pace- 9:55/mile

Tuesday- Cross-training, Tone It Up workouts (Sunset and thigh workouts), planks, calf raises, Runner’s World leg exercises

Wednesday- 5 mile run, 45 min. average pace- 9:56/miles

Thursday- 3 miles on the elliptical, cross-training

Friday- Rest

Saturday- Long run 8 miles, 1:05, average pace 8:05/mile

Sunday- Moving (cross-training)

Monday Motivation: It takes a team

Training isn’t always easy. In fact, I’d like to argue it’s never easy. But isn’t that why we do it? To push our limits and challenge ourselves? I think so at least. But sometimes when injuries happen or you have a bad run, it can be hard to keep going. Self confidence can get low and doubt can rear it’s ugly face but if you have surrounded yourself with a support team, a team that believes in you no matter what, you can push through the doubt and continue going.

I have been lucky enough through my training to have a massive support team in the form of family, friends, fellow run bloggers and complete strangers. After overcoming (fingers crossed!) some IT Band issues, I have never been more grateful for the amazing people in my life who believed in me and dragged me through my own stint of self doubt.

Sometimes we don’t do as well as we had hoped but at the end of the day, if there’s someone cheering for you at the finish line, or dragging you across it, you know you’ve accomplished something. Happy running this week!

Kara Goucher and Shalane Flanagan were the definition of team at the finish line of the London 2012 Olympic marathon.

Anywhere yoga {Infographic}

If you’ve been reading my blog for the past few months, you may realize my go-to fitness site is the Greatist. As a journalist I can really appreciate the amount of time, research, interviewing and fact-checking that goes into each and every article they write. As a multimedia journalist working in the ever-evolving and technologically advancing field of journalism, I can appreciate their efforts to make outstanding graphics that are easy to read, follow and share.

A few days ago they posted a great graphic about various yoga poses you can do literally anywhere, including the bathroom on an airplane. In training for my upcoming half-marathon and marathon I’ve incorporated a lot of yoga into my training plan for cross-training and stretching. This graphic is so helpful especially when you may be tired after sitting for a long time, say while working at your desk or taking a long flight. I tested out some of these positions in the bathroom at my office today and they are totally doable. I will admit I didn’t try any of the ones that involved touching the floor but I wouldn’t hesitate to try it at home. Let me know what you think!

Get health and fitness tips at Greatist.com

Week 12: Half-marathon/marathon training update

Sadly there’s not much to report from this past week. My training plan called for an easy 2-mile run to start off the week last week and because of my work schedule I didn’t get to do it until Wednesday. Two miles is nothing to me at this point but about 1.6 miles into the run my right knee locked up and it felt like someone stuck a knife into the side of my knee. The pain was so sharp I had to slow to a walk immediately. Weird thing was, it instantly felt fine. So I decided to start back up again when the pain came back with a vengeance and I decided to slow to a walk completely.

I was so disappointed and angry. I thought to myself, “I have not come this far to get injured a month before my half-marathon.” So I decided to do the right thing and rest all week. No running at all. I worked out though pretty much every day and did a ton of yoga.

After much research and consult with other runners on Twitter, I realized I have developed an IT band irritation and the cause is most likely my form. According to Ryan Knapp, an endurance running coach and triathlete, the IT band flare up was probably the result of poor form. I first noticed the pain while running a 5k a few weeks ago but it went away shortly after. I was able to run 12-miles no problem a few weeks ago and 9 miles two weeks ago but 2 miles killed me.

Ryan is helping me fix my form and according to him I should be back running stronger and better well before my half-marathon on Sept. 30.

If anything, not being able to run during the past week has made me realize what a gift running is and how much I have fallen in love with the sport. At this point I’m just trying to stay positive and put one foot in front of the other. I’ll be sure to do a post too about my form and keep everyone updated on my training!

Monday- power yoga and 3:04 min. plank a day and an ab workout

Tuesday- 2-mile run. Injured.

Wednesday- runner recovery yoga and variation of planks

Thursday- 3-miles on the elliptical and strengthening for legs, arms and abs. 4:00 min plank.

Friday- Power flow yoga and planks/ab workout

Saturday- Rest day, swimming in the ocean

Sunday- Rest day (I was at a graduation all day)

Twitter talk: Getting injured while training for a race

Getting injured while training for a big race is not easy. It’s hard to figure out if you should keep training, seek advice from a doctor, or just rest. I’m training for a half marathon and marathon now and an IT band issue cropped up. I decided to ask my Twitter followers for advice.

  1. FitHappyGirl
    How do you stay positive after an injury during training? #runchat #fitfluential
    Thu, Aug 23 2012 11:55:42
  2. RunningBecause
    @FitHappyGirl I focus on what went wrong first of all. Then enjoy the downtime. Then plot out a strong comeback.
    Thu, Aug 23 2012 11:57:57
  3. FitHappyGirl
    @RunningBecause good tip! I’m dealing with an IT band issue but have a half on Sept. 30. I’m trying to rest but I hate it haha #runchat
    Thu, Aug 23 2012 12:05:38
  4. RunningBecause
    @FitHappyGirl I had an ITB injury 2 years ago. Came back stronger and faster, but not after stupidly trying to run through it
    Thu, Aug 23 2012 12:12:15
  5. FitHappyGirl
    @RunningBecause good to hear. I was nervous if I rested too long I’d loose everything I’ve worked for.
    Thu, Aug 23 2012 12:17:50
  6. JWLevitt
    @FitHappyGirl I’m looking for answers on this one too. Have a stress issue in one of my arms. Not fun.
    Thu, Aug 23 2012 12:18:03
  7. ryanjknapp
    @fithappygirl What sort of injury do you have? I get my clients into another activity to keep them fit and happy!
    Thu, Aug 23 2012 12:25:29
  8. ryanjknapp
    @fithappygirl IT band..let’s look at cause and not treatment. Are you a heel striker at all?
    Thu, Aug 23 2012 12:38:01
  9. ryanjknapp
    @fithappygirl That is why you have the issue. Pronation only is an issue when you heel strike because of the roll from heel to toe.
    Thu, Aug 23 2012 12:53:27
  10. FitHappyGirl
    RT @ryanjknapp: Running injuries: If you have an injury don’t look at how to treat it. Instead, find the root cause and fix that! #runchat
    Thu, Aug 23 2012 12:58:42
  11. nathan7264
    @FitHappyGirl Mental counts a lot. If you have access to pool, consider pool running, did that with prior IT injury, not last year,&foamrllr
    Thu, Aug 23 2012 13:48:20
  12. Andrea_runs
    @FitHappyGirl you have lots of time. Don’t panic yet!!
    Thu, Aug 23 2012 12:27:06

Week 11: Half-marathon/marathon training update

Setting my training plan up the old-school way.

First off, the Healthy Living Summit this weekend hosted by Healthy Living Blogs was absolutely amazing. Literally words cannot even explain the impact this past weekend had on me, but that’s for a whole other post (probably to come tomorrow). But first, I want to give my weekly update about my training runs this week.

I’ve decided to still call it half-marathon training because I’m doing the half first but this also marked the first official week of my marathon training. Overall, the week went really well and my knee is definitely getting better.

My training plan (for the first week of marathon training) called for three runs this week starting with an easy 3-mile run on Monday. My average pace during the run was 9:21/mile with faster paces of 7:22/mile. This run was great and easy. I probably could have pushed a little harder but it was early and I wanted to be cautious with my knee.

On Tuesday I did some power yoga for strengthening in the morning and cross-training at the gym after work. For cross-training I went on the elliptical and did strengthening exercises, particularly with my legs.  I also did some arm exercises, ab work and did my longest plank every for 3:49.5! I was really excited about this, I may or may not have done a little celebration dance at the gym…

Wednesday was a speedwork day so I took to the treadmill (because I still don’t have a GPS watch) and did 4 miles with 2×1600 at a pace of 9:20/mile. I did the run in 37:00 and felt pretty good. I knew I was holding back and could have gone a lot faster but I wanted to be careful again because of my knee.

I took Thursday as a full rest day but did some yoga for recovery which was great for my hamstrings because they were feeling pretty tight.

Due to the Healthy Living Summit, I had to fit my long run in before the weekend so I did it on Friday night. My training plan called for 9-miles and I did it no problem! I had to do it on the treadmill because it was getting late, still really hot and I don’t have good reflective gear. I don’t know why but treadmill runs always seem harder, I think it’s mostly because I get bored but I don’t know. My average pace was 9:20/mile which was decent but I know I can go faster. I’ll work on it.

Saturday was the first day of the Healthy Living Summit for me and we had a CrossFit workout in the morning. This was my very first venture into the world of CrossFit but it wasn’t as intimidating as I expected it to be and I really liked it! I think I might try to add it into my workout schedule for cross-training.

Sunday morning we had a 5k fun run at the summit and that was really fun and relaxing, especially since we ran along the Charles River in Boston and into Back Bay. In all, it was a great week in training and an amazing week overall! I will write a post tomorrow to tell you all more about what I learned this weekend and to introduce you to some of the bloggers I met!

Here’s a quick glimpse of my week in training:

  • Monday- 3-mile easy run, 9:21 average pace
  • Tuesday- Power yoga in the A.M. and cross-training/strengthening after work
  • Wednesday- Speedwork, 4 miles with 2×1600 at 9:20/mile
  • Thursday- Rest and recovery yoga
  • Friday- 9-mile long run, 9:20 average pace
  • Saturday– CrossFit
  • Sunday- Healthy Living Summit 5k Fun Run

Total mileage- 20 miles

Monday Motivation: Keep going

We all know training can be hard and sometimes your head tries to convince you to stop. But training is supposed to be hard because you are training your body to do something it didn’t know how to do, or didn’t know it could do. The next time that little voice inside your head says it’s time to give up, or someone who doubts you says you won’t finish the race, don’t listen. Listen to your heart and remember why you started training in the first place. I say this a lot but it’s really not about proving other people wrong, you want to prove to yourself that you can do it. If you go into training with that goal, you’ll surely be successful! Happy running this week and keep me updated on how your training is going!

via Pinterest

Post-run protein shake

I’ve been looking into incorporating protein shakes into my post-run routine. I always thought protein shakes were just for juiceheads who spend their entire lives at the gym, and I also thought only guys drink protein shakes. After reading a lot of articles about nutrition for runners, I realized protein shakes are the perfect way to rebuild and build muscle after running.

After my 8-mile long run this week I tried a protein shake made by my cousin. We kind of threw everything into the blender and hoped for the best but it came out really, really great! We’ll call it the Strawberry Pineapple Vanilla Protein Shake. I thought it tasted like summer which is always a good thing in my book!

Strawberry Pineapple Protein Shake

Strawberry Pineapple Protein Shake recipe:

  • 1/2 cup of strawberries, cut into fourths (it’ll be easier to blend)
  • 1/2 cup of pineapple, cut into chunks (many grocery stores sell pineapple already cut up, we got ours at Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 cup of non-fat milk (can substitute for almond milk too!)
  • 1 scoop of vanilla Optimum Nutrition Whey Protein
  • 1 tablespoon of Sunflower Seed butter (can be found at Trader Joe’s as well)
  • Ice

Just blend all of the ingredients together until smooth and enjoy! I’m going to be trying a bunch of different recipes for protein shakes and will share them on Fit Girl Happy Girl. If you have any good recipes of your own or have tried other post-run shakes, please tell me about them in the comments section!