Plus 5

Since Little A was born my training motto has been a hashtag acronym I discovered on Twitter… #JFDI

In the interest of keeping this family friendly I wont write the full version but suffice to say its just the Nike slogan with a little bit of colour.

When I didn’t feel like going for a run or I was thinking of the 100 other things I needed to do, I told myself #JFDI (you know you use twitter too much when you think in hashtags!)

Now my training has changed its not about “Just Doing It”. If I don’t feel like it – I don’t run. So that training motto just doesn’t seem appropriate anymore and it has now been replaced with…

Plus 5

Another sweaty 5? Hell Yeah!

I have had quite a few runs lately when I am in the zone. Feeling amazing and just wanting to run forever. Last Monday on my first day of what I am labelling “intuitive running” I decided I was in the mood for a nice easy run. I had a few jobs to do too so I thought I’d knock out 8km and if the little guy was still asleep I could get dinner in the crock pot and hang out some washing.

At 8km I was feeling great. I really wanted to get some things done but I really wanted to run longer too.  I decided to go for another 5 minutes. After 5 minutes I decided to go for another 5 minutes and after that 5 minutes I wanted another 5. 20 minutes later I finally slowed the treadie, stretched and went into my waking baby.

It is so easy to make up 5 minutes of jobs in my day. I can stay up later by 5 minutes or I can put Little A in his walker while I do them. There are 100s of ways I can find 5 minutes to do other things. But making up 5 minutes of running is not that easy.

For me to go for a run I have to have a fed and sleeping baby (which only happens twice per day now… the sleeping that is not the feeding) and me be dressed in my running clothes ready to go. Its not as easy as “baby’s asleep I’ll go for a run now”. If I did that I’d be lucky to get out 20 minutes. Instead it is planned from the moment I wake up and decide I am going to run.

By the time Little A goes down I am in my running clothes and fed with my sneakers, water, phone and baby monitor at the door. If I am lucky Big A may have uncovered and switched on the treadie for me too. If by any chance I am running behind and haven’t done the breakfast dishes I dare not glance in the kitchen on my way out as I can’t afford even a minute. Lets not even talk about the preparation of a stroller run. Although I am getting this down to a fine art.

If I am running then there has been a lot of preparation and deliberate activities that have got me there. So if I am feeling great and Little A is asleep and I am keen to push out another Km then I will guilt free add on another 5 minutes. Yes, I could achieve a lot of things around the house in 5 minutes while Little A is asleep but this one sleep a day belongs to me and my running.

I would rather get to bed 5 minutes later or not have folded a load of washing than go to bed and wish I had down another Km when I had the chance because those chances only come by once a day. My washing, well thats there all day every day!!!

So tell me…

Do squeeze out every possible Km or do you cut runs short to fit in other things?

Do you have a training motto? Has it changed over the years?

 

The stars finally aligned

Over the last 3-4 weeks I have began to wonder if my love of running has turned into an addiction. Rest days started to get ugly! 2 weeks ago I thought it was a coincidence that rest days just happened to be crappy days for me. But after another 2 weeks of that pattern I was a little worried that I was “addicted” to the high I get from my runs and not able to enjoy a day to its fullest without getting my run on. That is not even the worst of it. On these rest days I was short fused. crabby and dare I say it resentful!

Sound like an addict?

It  wasn’t good. I was wondering what to do and short of just running every day I wasn’t sure how to fix it. Then it happened… an awesome rest day. One when you wake up and you are grateful that you don’t have to fit a run into your day and your body is sufficiently fatigued you couldn’t imagine running anyway. Mentally you have so many other things that seem more important and you enjoy every moment of your day without even a twinge of guilt for not clocking some Ks.

What was so different about this day? It was the first day in months when MENTALLY I had wanted to rest.

I don’t have set rest days. I have 5 runs to do each week and 7 days to do them in.  Which days become my rest days are usually determined by these things ( and usually in this order)

1. How busy my day is – if it is super hard to fit the run in then it becomes a rest day

2. My program where I am in my session mix in terms of coming off or going in to a hard session

3. Physical. If my body is tired or in need of rest (you think this would fit in nicely with #2 but my body always surprises me how it recovers from different sessions!)

4. Mental. If I am just shattered or not got my running mojo

The problem with doing it this way is that I am taking rest when it is convenient first and NOT when I physically and mentally need it. No wonder 4 weeks passed before the stars aligned and I finally got a rest day on a day that I mentally needed it too.

Hopefully my new approach to running will fix this. Next week I am throwing the program out the window and running to no plan. I am literally going to wake up each day and ask myself these questions:

1. Do I feel like running today?

2. If so, what kind of run? Fast, Hills, intervals, Easy, Stroller, Treadmill etc?

3. When can I fit it in to my day?

I don’t care what I ran the day before, I don’t care if I have taken no rest days or 10 rest days and I don’t care if my training is not structured or lacks direction. I just want to run ( or not run as the case may be).

I always follow a plan. To achieve the optimum out of your running you need to. You need to make sure you are getting the right rest, completing the right kind of sessions and building at the right rate. BUT for the first time in my life I am not about achieving the optimum. I just want to run. Will I race? Maybe! Does it completely terrify me the thought of lining up at a start line not having followed a structured plan (as flexible as they must be) – HELL YEAH!

I love plans and I know I will look forward to a new plan in the not too distant future but for now my only plan is to lace up my sneakers and see where they take me… I know it will be RUNNING and that’s enough for me.

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My pretty sneakers I mean

As an added bonus I’m hoping this “Do I feel like it approach?” rather than “can I fit it in?” approach will weed out that nasty “I can’t cope on rest days” monster. I am probably not the only one hoping for this result either. Apparently the only thing worse than a running addict on a rest day is living with a runner addict on a rest day!

What determines your rest days?

Do you run to a plan?

If you want to do it – do it!

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Yesterday I hit the treadmill for my intervals. 5 x 800s. I secretely hoped that I would achieve a 2 minute 45 second interval but in the end I had to settle for a 2 minute 47 second one as my best (on the plus side there is room for improvement!). It was a tough session, partly because mentally I was drained and partly because I pushed SO hard I was at my absolute limits but MOSTLY because it was hot.

Make no mistake about it I am not a hot weather runner. I fall apart. I get stomach cramps, feel light headed, dizzy and lose pace dramtically. I know what you are thinking – hydrate better right? I could run with an IV of fluid and still not be a “hot weather” runner. I am the queen of hydration… One of my nick names is “glug glug glug”! In the first few months of breast feeding I would put down 5 litres a day like it was no ones business.

So by the time I had finished my last interval yesterday, I was feeling pretty terrible. Little A was asleep and as much as I wanted a nice long relaxing cool down (and to clock up some extra Ks Miles for September Miles Madness) I wanted to stop MORE.

Then it occured to me – how am I ever going to become a better runner in the heat if I don’t run in the heat. Don’t get me wrong I am not suggesting choosing the hottest part of the day to head out or continuing to run when you are faint or dizzy. But after my last interval I had demolished a bottle of water and I wasn’t feeling ill just sluggish…couldn’t be bothered, too hard!

Moving my running around the weather is easy. Get up at the crack of dawn, take your rest day on the hottest day and do your hardest longest sessions on the coolest days. But what happens when one day I line up for a race and it is freakishly HOT. I have never “sucked up” a run in the heat. I dare say it would be my first DNF (which I am not scared of… I accept this will one day happen!) but I don’t want “too soft to run in the heat” to be the reason!

I realised the only way I was ever going to be able to run in the heat is if I run in the heat. Genius hey? So I continued on for my long and “relaxing” cool down.  Amazingly as every minute passed I felt a little bit better. Yes some of it was recovering from my awesome but crazy intervals but some of it was also my body adapting to the heat. If well hydrated and realistic about your pace running in the heat can be quite good (yep I am trying to convince myself!) Decreased chance of injury is definitely a big plus for warmer weather running!

In 2 weeks I will be following NO training plan but I will definitely be “training” to be an ALL conditions runner. Time to toughen up!!!

Are you a freak hot weather runner?

Adelaide Marathon 10km Race

Pre – Race
Like all races these days I try not to think about them or more specifically get excited about them until its the morning of. Mostly because now I have this little guy who is completely dependant on me and quite frankly “unpredictable”, I know that there is always a chance that something may crop up and I will have to forgo a race.

“Go run Mum, I’ll look after daddy”

So as I walked to the start line with Big A and Little A, I had a mini-panick attack. I had no race plan, I hadn’t even spared this race a thought! Arriving at the start with only 5 minutes to go didn’t leave much time to do anything either. I said goodbyes to the boys and made a dash for the loos. Cutting it fine …. I know!

I made it back just in time for the count down. Usually I would join the back of the pack but today I was going for a PB and negotiating traffic can chew up precious seconds so I nestled in to the middle of the eager to start (it was about 9 degrees!) pack of runners.

My race plan was formulated in the first 500m. I was going to run at a pace that I thought I could JUST maintain for 10km and then give anything I had left in the last km. A 10km race pace for me is running at about 7/10 for perceived effort. In the first Ks I glanced at my Garmin and was a little freked to see the number 13 on my speed screen… but I felt comfortable so I went with it.

This turned out to be the perfect plan.

My Time
I crossed the line in 46 minutes and 22 seconds. My race pace must have been smack on as my splits were very even:

4.39
4.41
4.40
4.38
4.39
9.24 (oops missed a km marker! average = 4.42)(2.06km)
4.27 (.95km)
4.36
4.34

The Course
Do you remember me saying that I was scared to run the Adelaide Marathon because of the twisty turning course. Well the 10km still had some loops and turns (but nothing like the marathon). I think the course was inspired by the London Olympic Marathon course with its 111 turns!

Despite the winding nature of the course and nearly colliding with a pole in the middle of the foot path AND nearly being taken out by a runner who didn’t see the fountain in the middle of the path, I loved the course. The South East corner weaved through the botanic gardens and was all new running territory for me.

The last 200 meters came off the road, up a path and into an oval. It was awesome to finish a race along a path lined with supporters and friendly faces.

Highlights
Looking back on the race there are so many things that make me smile. Here’s just a few:

1. Shaving 13 minutes and 38 seconds of my last 10km time in just 17 weeks! I know this is largely thanks to the massive “returning” to running gains after baby but I still put in all the hard work and clearly my training program (written by me!) wasn’t too shabby either!

2. How in tune I have become with my body and pace in all things running. To achieve those (almost) EVEN splits on “feel” I was pretty happy!

3.Seeing hubby and bubby at the 9km marker. Even though I had arranged to meet the boys at the finish line. Big A surprised me a couple times along the course. The 9km sighting was completely unexpected and gave me that final kick I so needed!

4.This was my first race in which I have associated myself with a charity and run for a reason. It added a whole new dimension to the experience and I thank everyone again for their support. It sure feels good to mix my passion with giving back to the community.

Final thoughts
I have to confess I didn’t go into the race confident of achieving my goal. In the 2 weeks leading up to the race Little A had been teething and quite unsettled. This meant that a lot of my runs were done with the stroller (at a slower pace). Having not ran much at my desired race pace I was a little psyched out as to whether or not I still could. Turns out the thing that “did my head in” actually makes me a better runner. But I’ll tell you all about that in another post dedicated to the wonderful BUT challenging world of “stroller running”.

So now that I have achieved my 10km goal whats next? Well this is worthy of another post too so stay tuned to hear about the next training goal and race in 7.5 weeks… my last HooRah!

I’m a mixed breed

I have always enjoyed my tempo and intervals sessions but despite my love of speed sessions I have never considered myself a “short distance” runner. Although I would do shorter distances I always thought I was a half marathon runner who was trying to become a marathon runner.

Then Little A came along and my focus changed from quantity to quality. I knew 2-3 hour long runs wouldn’t be on the cards for a while. What I didn’t know was how much I would enjoy the shorter distances. Or more importantly that I can achieve more over these distances than I could in the longer.

Problem solved… Become a short distance runner! But its not that easy!!!

Despite absolutely loving my current training I just can’t shake this nagging desire for a marathon. I ache for that 42.2km. Adelaide only has one marathon each year which happens to be this weekend. So any desires for another marathon would mean travel. Shorter distance races though are much easier to come by with at least one suitable race each month.

When looooong runs were out of the question it was easy to focus on the shorter distances but now that we have reached a point where training for a marathon is possible I feel torn. Little A and I are now running together in the stroller which gives me a lot more flexibility for length of runs. Intervals and Tempo Runs on the other hand are a bit more a challenge with a stroller (or at least they are for this beginner!).

At the end of the day the problem is I love it all. I loved the 5km, the marathon and everything in between. I wish I was a “pure” short or “long” distance runner but I’m not.

Marathon Runner Vs The Sprinter

For now though my focus is the 10km race this weekend. If I achieve my goal time then it will move to a half marathon in 8 weeks. If I don’t achieve my goal time then I will do another 10km in 8 weeks instead of the half.

After that… I don’t know.I have 8 weeks to work it out. What I do know is this:

– I want to become a “stronger” runner
– I want to have peak health to grow our family when we choose to
– I want to continue to enjoy running without it ever becoming all consuming
– I want my training to be efficient… if I am going to be away from my family, then damn it I will make it worthwhile.

I’m not sure what distances and styles of training will best suit these goals but I will let you know when I do!

Are you a short or long distance runner?
Do you ever want to do it all?

Winter Running

We are half way through winter and the weather didn’t waste anytime getting cold, wet and rainy this year. There have been some absolutely FREEZING days and more rain than I can remember for a while.

Luckily I lurrrrrrrve winter running. I don’t even mind the odd run in the rain. Once the temperature starts to creep over 20degrees (celsius) my running slows so this is a great time of year for running.

Yes I miss daylight and yes I don’t like being cold when I’m not running and I absolutely HATE wind but there is a lot to be enjoyed about Winter:

-> Electric blankets – a warm toastie bed, what more could you want?
-> Hot showers and trackies after a run
-> Hot drinks, blankets and snuggles
-> Soups, stews and slow cooked meals

If you ask me Winter is good for the soul.

As for running there are some adjustments to make to survive and stay motivated in the cooler weather. Here are my top 5 winter running tips:

1. Layer. Put on any amount of clothes you need to so that you can get out the door but just make sure you can peel them off because once you get going you’ll be ready to ditch them. If you aren’t running with a pram and don’t have somewhere to stash your unwanted layers plan your warm up around your block so you can drop anything off before you head off on the rest of your run.

2. Gloves. Not sure if its just me but my hands can get so cold in winter I have trouble bending my fingers around the steering wheel! Gloves are a must. I know gloves and a running singlet can look odd but hey I’m willing to commit a fashion crime if it means I can use my hands after my run.

3. Turn the heater off before you go. When you get home you will be grateful you did. I can never imagine it when I’m leaving home but walking into a heated house after a run is like walking into a sauna.

4. Rug back up. If you are finishing your run out and about make sure you have a jacket on hand. Once you stop you will be warm at first but all the sweat in the cold air will have you freezing in no time.

5.Adjust your warm up. It takes your muscles longer to warm up in the cooler weather so you need to increase your warm up accordingly to prevent injury. The colder the weather and the faster I intend to go the longer the warm up. For me an easy run in warm weather only needs a 5 minute warm up but an interval session on a cold day may need 15minutes.

Happy Winter Running!

One week to go. . .

Anthother training week down and only 1 week till my next race. . .

Did I mention my running was all over the place last week? Here’s the training week wrap:

Monday I woke up with tired & angry legs. I was tossing up between taking a rest day or a “recovery” jog. In the end I headed out for a reovery jog (a smidge slower than my easy runs). As it turned out this run got cut short at 19 minutes. Given the state of my legs I wasn’t too fussed about not getting the full run out. I was just glad to have gotten out and turned the legs over. The rest of the recovery could happen in my sleep!

Recovered my legs did. The next day I enjoyed an awesome Tempo Run which included 20 minutes at 13.5kmp/h. Each week I look forward to my Tempo Run and each week I seem to lift the bar more and more.

After the awesome Tempo Run I had two rest days. I always like to save one of my rest days for the weekend (the day before my long run if possible) but with a super busy week I had to make use of them during the week.

After a good rest I was itching to get back into it and did so with my Long run on Friday. It was an awesome session on the treadmill outside listening to the rain pelt down. It was so cool (literally!) to be out in the wild weather but protected from the harshness of the wind and the rain. Talk about having your cake and eating it too!

Saturday I did my Intervals. 5 x 800s @ 16kmp/h and enjoyed a nice recovery jog at the end.

Finally I ended the week with a 5km time trial for next week’s race. Most of my running lately has been on the treadmill and I was keen to head out on the pavement and have a crack at pacing myself for the 5km. I came in at 23 minutes 58. So assuming I can “bring it” on the day I am all set for my first sub 25min 5km race.

Race Wrap Up coming soon. . .Wish me luck!!!