What Now?

Over the past couple of weeks, the following three things happened-

  1. I ran the virtual 10k I’ve been “training” for.
  2. I took my 5th Actuarial Exam
  3. I finished the Netflix show I was watching (Switched at Birth)

And now, I’m sitting here like, “What now???”

Soooo…last things first I guess. I decided NOT to find another Netflix show. Jeff and I still have a show we watch together, but I’m not going to start another show just for me. I’m hoping this will prompt me to do more things at night after Mr. Baby goes to bed.  So far, I can’t say this has changed anything except to make treadmill running less appealing, but I’m still hopeful.  I’m thinking I should find movies to watch while running. At least with movies there’s no “just one more episode.”

3c190480c63338958c2895a10b8584d6_17-best-images-about-switched-at-birth-on-pinterest-gilles-switched-at-birth-meme_311-311

I totally know the signs for “okay”, “thank you” and “dating”.  The essentials.

Moving backwards up the list, I’ve had some difficulty deciding what to study next on the actuarial front. There are some changes in the works in regards to the credentialing path, which has resulted in several deadlines I must meet in order to avoid new requirements. The timing of this stinks and is the main reason why choosing what’s next has become such a dilemma.  I think I’ve settled on focusing the next few months on an online course about corporate finance. I haven’t pulled the trigger on buying the course yet because I still feel unsure about what order to do things. Ultimately though, I need to stop waffling about this and just DO SOMETHING.  Something is better than nothing.

Now, on to the running.

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10k and S.P.E.W medal!

I’ve signed up for another virtual race through the Hogwarts Running Club. Technically, the suggested run date was yesterday, but that’s the beauty of a virtual race…you can do it whenever you please. This one is the Unmasked 10 Miler. Which means I need to progress from 10k to 10 miles. While I’m fairly certain I could build up to 10 miles in the same pathetic manner I built up to 10k, I’d really like to finally get my act together and run more than once or twice a week. I’ve settled on using the 80/20 running plan, but need to pick a distance – the plans in the book are for 10k or ½ marathon. Technically, I could craft my own plan, but I’m not up for that right now. Whichever I pick, I’ll tweak the long run distances, but that’s as far as I’m willing to go with that.

I know it sounds like I’m pretty settled on my running plans, so let’s throw a tweak in there. I got an email this week about a 5k near my house that would be work sponsored. I have a hankering to do this race, so then what plan do I use? Would I use the 5k plan and do the 10 miler later? Do I just run the 5k with no distance specific training (in other words, the same way I’ve run every 5k I’ve ever done)?  It’s a tough choice! I’m not sure there’s even enough time to complete the 5k training plan before the race…maybe that’ll be the deciding factor. 🙂

So, tell me…did you finish anything recently? How do you decide what’s next?

 

80/20 5k Training – Week Two

Or Why We Don’t Run in Winter Boots

I’m trying desperately not to fall off the wagon again by posting two weeks in a row. (I know it’s been something like 10 days since my last post but I haven’t hit the two week mark yet, so it counts.) Really though, I don’t want to fall off the blog wagon. I want to post every day. Or at least every time I run. Unfortunately, there’s about a million other things I want to do, too and also some things I have to do, and there’s only so much time in the day.

2015-03-02 18.14.41Yes, I don’t have enough to do, so I started a new knitting project! I’m calling these my Hermione legwarmers. Because they are legwarmers, and I’m using some left over yarn in Gryffindor colors from a scarf I knit a few years back.

This is how week two went running wise:

80-20 Week2Well, week 1 and week 2, but let’s focus on week 2.

The red ones are what I’m going to call the “unauthorized rest days”. I’ll start with those. On Wednesday, I didn’t feel like going back out after driving home from work. I felt like being lazy. I baked banana bread instead of going to the gym. It was fun and delicious, and you should check out the recipe.

Then on Thursday I went out for drinks with some of my engineer friends to celebrate national engineering week. Who better to hang out with on engineering week, right? I did not go running before, but I did sort of go running after. 😉 As usual, I waited until the last possible second to leave the bar for the train. And then instead of leaving at the last possible second, I said goodbye to all my friends…and THEN I left. So, I had to run to the train station. This was not the first time I’ve had to do this (and I’m sure it won’t be the last).  It was less than a mile from the bar to the train station, but it really was a fun little sprint. I stopped to laugh at myself whenever I needed to wait to cross a street (yes, I’m sure I looked like a total crazy person, but there weren’t really any people out to witness it.)

Unfortunately, the next day I found out that my shins do not like when I run in winter boots. They actually kind of hate it, and were quite painful Friday through Sunday. It took until Tuesday for them to be completely better. Lesson Learned!

2015-03-07 08.30.45Fancy running boots: good at being boots, bad at being running shoes.

Anyways, I should probably mention the actual running I did this week. I did a Foundation Run on Monday and Saturday, Speed Play on Tuesday, and a Fast Finish run on Sunday. They were all fun, and I love running and can’t seem to get enough. I think this has something to do with the fact that with this particular training cycle I am running for MUCH shorter periods of time, so I’m always left wanting more. This sounds like it could be frustrating (and sometimes, it is a little), but I think it’s really helping to keep my excitement levels high.

Now, I know you don’t know exactly what I’m talking about with my different types of runs (although some are easy to guess), so as I write up these recap posts, I’ll try and give a little bit of detail about each type. This week, I’ll talk about Foundation Runs because those are the most prevalent types of runs in my schedule.

Effort level for Foundation runs ranges from extremely easy to comfortable. You start out at extremely easy for 5 minutes, then do easy/comfortable for the majority of the run (about 15 or 20 minutes on my schedule), and then finish up with another 5 minutes of extremely easy running. In this plan, easy is just another word for slow. So slow that I’ve had to walk a few times to keep in the right heart rate zone. Which I find incredibly annoying. But on the other hand, I really enjoy the middle chunk of these runs which is just a relaxing easy/comfortable paced run.

Another thing I should mention is that I’ve been doing the foundation runs using a hill program on the treadmill, because when I go back outside there will be hills. This only make me have to go slower, and I’d probably enjoy the runs more if I didn’t do it. But future Amy will thank me for not completely losing all ability to run up hills.

And now, my questions for you:

Do you use the hill function on the treadmill? How do you deal with excruciatingly slow running? Have you ever run through the city to catch a train, and how’d it work out for your legs?

 

 

80/20 5k Training – Week One

Hey there!

I know my posting has been a little infrequent lately, but don’t worry, I’m still here! I’ve just been busy with work, studying, and commuting. And, then I spend most of my internet time reading other people’s blogs rather than writing in my own. 😉

The big news over here is that I FINALLY started my 80/20 training plan! First, I read the book during my self imposed 3 week break from running, and then I took some time to slowly get back into running while looking for a goal race to stick at the end of this training plan. Unfortunately, mid-March isn’t race central around here so I ended up with a goal race in April which pushed back the start date of my training plan.

I spent the time setting up my heart rate zones and corresponding pace levels, and making an excessively complex (but awesome) spreadsheet about the whole thing. The spreadsheet is still a work in progress, but some day it’s going to be super cool. All of this prep work was probably a lot more effort than required, but I was in a weird sort of training plan limbo and needed something to motivate me. Manufacturing all of these set-up “requirements” did the trick, and I’m more excited than ever to finally be actually following the training plan.

Which looks like this:

80-20 Schedule

Neat, isn’t it? I color-coded all the runs.  And in the spreadsheet if you click on a run it takes you to a little description of what the run actually is.  This part is still in the works, but is completed for the week I am on. It was too much to put every single thing in the spreadsheet all at once.

So, anyways…I settled on the level 1 5k plan in the book.  The description says it’s good for beginners and runners who for whatever reason want to have a lower training volume. I’m in that second group…and my reason for wanting lower training volume is what I mentioned before about work, studying, and commuting taking up all of my time.  After I complete this cycle, I’d like to move up to level 2; I will hopefully have passed my exam in March and will be spending less time studying and more time running.  (Fingers crossed!)

As you’ll notice from the picture above, I have crossed off ALL the workouts for week one. This is because I actually completed every single workout for the entire week! This is unheard of….I’m sure I”ll be receiving my Nobel prize for consistency in 20 minute workouts any day now. Feel free to praise me!

It was fun and exciting trying out some new workouts and it was definitely interesting doing heart rate training for the first time. I’ll have to give you some more details on all of that in another post because for now, it’s time to get ready for bed. Gotta start the week off on the right foot!

Calculating Heart Rate Zones and a Short Rant

Last Saturday, I took my heart rate monitor out (well, to the gym) for another spin in order to set up my heart rate zones for running. I’m glad I had already tested out the process a few weeks ago with uphill walking and using the arc trainer, because it was a bit tricky and awkward. Especially the part where I would type my heart rates into my phone every 3 minutes or so, and then flip open my 80-20 running book to see the description of the next effort level.

Side note: Why on earth, when there are at least 20 open treadmills do people get on the ones right next to me??!! Seriously, WHY? I’m not kidding, I want to know. And, it’ll probably be better coming from you, than having to get an answer out of the large sweaty man that I’ve just punched because I can’t stand him staring directly at me from 3 inches away, while he’s stretching his groin on the treadmill right freaking next to me when there are 20 flippin’ open tredmills.

Anyways…..As with uphill walking, making small adjustments to my perceived effort was difficult to do on the treadmill. Also, coming off of a three week break and having not run consistently on a treadmill since last march, I had very little idea of what to expect different paces to feel like.  So, I ended up with a list of heart rates that are probably not super accurate.  Whatever. I tried. And, I do think that I got better at it as I warmed up, so maybe the level six heart rate that I recorded wasn’t too far off. (That’s the one I need to set up my heart rate zones.)

Being the giant nerd that I am, I put my heart rates in excel right away when I got home. I wanted to compare the running heart rates with the other two activities.

Heart Rate Graph2  The orange line is running. 

As you can see, my heart rates for running were higher. I don’t know what that means. But I have a few guesses: a) I didn’t want to admit that some certain slow paces lined up with certain easy difficulty levels. b) I’m not good at evaluating my effort level while running. or c) I’m better at evaluating my effort level while running than the other activities.

Whatever the reason, I’m sticking with what I’ve got until I do the test again. So, I calculated out my heart rate zones and matched them up with effort levels, and now I’m ready to go!

heart rate levels(Except for matching up paces; that’ll be another day’s fun.)

Hopefully, I’ll have some exciting running stories to tell soon, but for now my runs have all been pretty much the same. I upped the length of my runs from 20ish minutes to 25ish minutes this week. I have done them all at a pretty easy pace, and all on the treadmill since there’s so much snow around here. I’m having a good time getting back into, and I’m really looking forward to starting my training plan soon.