March Training Update

Since we last spoke I have completed the first two workouts of my Zombies, Run! couch to 5k training program. My goal is to run every other day, which should give me a little wiggle room to complete 3 workouts per week.

In reality, I completed my first workout on March 10 and the second on March 21. At this rate I won’t be prepared for the zombie apocalypse for years!

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Multitasking

The workouts so far are a little different than any couch to 5k I’ve done before. It starts with a 10 min walk (normal enough) then alternating 15 sec running with 1 min walking. The 15 sec is a tad shorter than I’ve done before, but not super crazy.  The weird thing was the last 10 minutes, which is a “free run”, so basically you just run as much as you can or alternate run/walking as you please. I kind of like this, I think. Jury’s still out.

I’m aiming for Saturday for my next run, and it seems doable.

Tomorrow there’s a possibility of a snow day, but it was supposed to start snowing hours ago, so who knows. I’m hoping that if there is snow, it’s not enough to close daycare. There have been too many snow days lately, this would be the 3rd in 3 weeks. I’d rather just get my work done and save my time off for something more exciting. Like studying for exams! HAHA!

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Week In Review

I did it! I ran 4 times last week, exactly according to my “plan”. ☺ Praise me!

Monday – Had off from work after our trip to Buffalo, which made fitting in a run a tad easier. I was exhausted from going to bed at 1 AM and still getting up at 6 AM, but forced/convinced myself to run mid-morning. I thought it was going to be awful because of how tired I was, but the run actually felt great!

Thursday – I checked the weather forecast earlier in the week and since rain was predicted for Thursday, I decided to get some work done outside on Wednesday and run on the treadmill Thursday night. I was not overly excited to do it, but I did anyways. A new season of Switched at Birth was released on Netflix, so I’ve been watching that while I run and ONLY while I run. It’s very good motivation.

Saturday – I took to the treadmill in the afternoon for my weekly “long” run. In this case, long is relative. My typical run right now is 5 minutes walking, 25 minutes running, 5 minutes walking. I want to increase to a half marathon distance, but I’m in no rush. So for this run, I just did the “route of the day” on my treadmill, which was 3.33 miles. I sandwiched that distance between 5-minute warmup/cool down walks.

Sunday – The weather was finally nice enough again to take Mr. Baby for a spin in the jogger. And, Jeff was up for a run as well, so the three of us headed to a nearby (paved) trail. I didn’t bring my garmin, but according to the charity miles app, we covered 3 miles. (2.99 actually…ha!) It was nice to get the run done early in the day and while Mr Baby was awake. This meant I didn’t have to spend nap time running, and could get other things done.

My plan for this week is 4 runs again, and this time I’d like my mid-week run to be intervals. I’m thinking I’ll start with 4 x ¼ mile, and add an interval each week. I’m not sure how many I’ll build to; maybe 8. It seems like a good amount while allowing me to keep the run relatively short. As for pace, I’m not sure on that either, but thinking I’ll start with 10 min/mile and see how it feels. I haven’t really been keeping track of my pace, but I know it’s slower than that, so it seems like a nice round starting point.

This week left me feeling good about my running schedule, and hopeful that I can get some consistency back. I know it’s only the first week, but I feel like I could get into a good groove here. ☺

Note: I wrote this about a month ago, but somehow didn’t get it published (goodness!) It would seem that I’m not always a very prompt blogger. As an update, I made it a second week with 4 runs (including intervals!) before we had a house full of guests and a packed schedule to keep my from running. Hoping to get back at it this week!

I have a plan (sort of)

Last Monday I was finally able to get my act together and go for a run during the week. At this point, I’ve built up the trouble I’ve had with weekday running so much that it’s like slaying a mythical beast (the bad kind though, not like a unicorn…I would never slay a unicorn…all that business about having a “cursed life”, no thanks!)

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I squeezed it into a free half hour I had between Mr. Baby’s bedtime and my standing Monday skype call with my friend.  I managed slightly over 2 miles. I essentially felt like a superhero for getting this done, and I’m thrilled to add this to my regular routine.

After that run, I didn’t run again for the rest of the week. (oops!) But I filled my time with doing things around the house, so I don’t feel too bad. I still want to work my way up to 10 miles so I can earn my medal for the virtual 10 miler I signed up for, so I’ll have to dial it back a bit on the DIY projects.

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My medal is in that package…I just have to earn it!

I’ve been hoping to make an easy stroller run a regular weekly thing, but so far the weather hasn’t been agreeable. I’m sure things will turn around soon enough, and the price per run of my stroller won’t be so astronomical. (With only two runs under its belt it’s a pretty expensive ride..haha)


For months, I’ve been thinking I need a training plan to keep myself on track, but I’m starting to think I just need a weekly plan. Both for running, and other things I want to get done. Just a little something to keep me on track.

So far, here’s what I have:

Monday: squeeze in quick run before my Skype date

Wednesday/Thursdsay: Get in another run! JUST DO IT!

Saturday: Long(er) run

Sunday: Stroller run

The Wednesday/Thursday run I think will be the toughest to get done, and Sunday is weather dependent, so we’ll see on that one, but I think this will be a pretty good start.  I plan to come up with some build up for the long run so I can get to that 10 miles, but other than that I’m keeping it pretty open.


Now, before I wrap up this post: I registered for a 5k on June 17th!

It’ll be my first 5k since November 2015, and only my second road race since then. Know what that means? It’ll be a post baby PR! Is that a thing? I’m making it a thing. 🙂

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!

Where does my heart beat now?

It’s been over a week since I last posted, and I didn’t tell you yet about my recent adventures with a heart rate monitor, so buckle your seat belts, you’re in for a wild ride….

Last Sunday I took my heart rate monitor and Garmin to the gym to use the heart rate monitor for the first time ever. It came with my first Garmin back in 2010, and I could never get it to pair with the watch. To be fair, I didn’t really try very hard because I wasn’t interested in heart rate training at the time. However, the 80/20 running plan uses heart rate training so it seemed like a good time to dust off the heart rate monitor.  (You don’t technically have to use heart rate training for 80/20 running, but it does seem to be the author’s preference, so I figured I’d give it a try since I have the heart rate monitor anyways.)

A couple weeks ago I got it paired up with my current Garmin, and last Sunday I took it for a spin. I tested it out by using it to set up heart rate training zones for two different types of cross training – the arc trainer and uphill treadmill walking. Whether or not I end up using these zones is questionable, but I mostly just wanted to do a dry run of the process. I’ll have to use the same method to set up my heart rate zones for running. And, I wanted to make sure that the heart rate monitor actually worked. It did.

2015-01-25 13.52.05New buddies!

And, here’s what I learned:

  • Wearing a heart rate monitor is annoying. It wasn’t comfortable. While it wasn’t awful, I knew it was there the whole time. I don’t know what it’s going to be like when I run in it (specifically, for a long time); I’m hoping I eventually get used to it and forget it’s there. Maybe I had it on too tight? I probably won’t be wearing it ALL the time, but at first I’ll have it on more often than not.
  • The 80/20 running book has you set heart rate zones based on lactate threshold heart rate. There are 5 zones, based on percentage of this heart rate. There are several ways to determine your lactate threshold heart rate, and I went with the perceived effort method. At first I tried to use the talk test method. I’ve been using a talk test for years in training runs, but reciting the pledge of allegiance at the gym wasn’t working out. (I was more or less trying to whisper, and I don’t think that was giving me the same results as speaking out loud.)
  • The perceived effort method basically requires you to record your heart rate at various effort levels. On a scale of 1 to 10, level 6 is your lactate threshold heart rate. Level 1 is “extremely easy” and level 10 is “extremely hard” with 6 being “slightly hard”. Technically, you could stop once you hit level 6, but I kept going all the way to 10. It was easier to figure out what “slightly hard” was when I had a better frame of reference.
  • For the arc trainer, I ended up with a lactate threshold heart rate of 167, and for uphill treadmill walking I ended up with 154. I think the uphill treadmill heart rate was a little off because I had a tough time controlling my effort on the treadmill. When it comes down to it, even though you’re the one who pushes the buttons the treadmill is in charge of your speed.

Heart Rate Graph

I made a graph because I’m a huge dork, and as you can see, the green line (treadmill) seems to dip in the middle. I don’t know if it’s supposed to be a straight line, but let’s assume it is. In that case, I have proof to back up my theory about the uphill heart rate being off. (Sorry about the terrible quality of the tiny little graph.)

 

  • When I set up my heart rates for running, I’m probably going to use the treadmill. I wanted to do it outside after what I experienced with the uphill walking, but it looks like real winter finally showed up and now there’s snow everywhere.  And, I know I won’t be able to do this test in the snow. At least not without falling. We’ll see what it’s like out next weekend when I plan on doing the test, but I’m expecting to need the treadmill.
  • After figuring out the heart rate monitor, I set up an awesome spreadsheet that calculates my heart rate zones from lactate threshold heart rate. All I have to do after the running heart rate test is enter my lactate threshold heart rate, and through the magic of excel, my heart rate zones are all set for my 80/20 plan.  Looks like taking 3 weeks off running is making me super prepared for my next training cycle. (I’m going running tomorrow!!! eeeeeeeeee!!!)

Have you ever used a heart rate monitor?

Do you make graphs based on your running? 

Did I say “heart rate” a million times in this post? 

Nerves!

Oh my gosh! I just got really nervous! It’s all so real all of a sudden. Yikes! I’m running a marathon on Sunday!!!

This is the last post of my (not quite) week long (except for wednesday) blog-a-thon, and will be the last post before the big race. I should probably get some goals written down, maybe tell you guys my race plan, maybe recap my training.

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Shot from my last “long” run – 8 miles.

Race Goals

After my spring half marathon, and again after my summer 10k, I used a pace calculator to help me set a projected marathon time goal. Both were A LOT faster than I would have guessed was possible, and I pretty much immediately dismissed them. I still used training paces associated with those goals times, but judging by my last marathon and how I’ve felt on my long runs this time, I’m showing up with some much more practical goals in mind.

  1. Have fun: I’ve never been to the cape, and I want to enjoy the scenery. It’s billed as a challenging course, but I don’t want to poop out and miss anything.
  2. Finish Under 5 Hours: If I maintain the pace I’ve had in my long runs, this is totally doable.
  3. PR: My current PR for the marathon is 4:51:11, I feel like I could beat this, we’ll see.
  4. No Super Slow Miles: Last time, I started falling apart at mile 23 and ended up getting a 15+ minute mile (I averaged 11:06/mile) before I pulled myself together. I’d like to hold it together this time, and keep my slowest miles under 14 minutes.
  5. Average under 11 min/mile: This is faster than goal #2 and #3, so it’s probably my most aggressive goal.
  6. Even splits: The second half of the race is hilly, so negative splits don’t really seem possible, but if I negative split on effort, I figure I could end up with even splits. Most important part of this goal…DO NOT GO OUT TOO FAST.

And that’s it…I guess I have 6 goals. I think #1, #2, and #6 are the most important to me.

Another shot from the last long run.

Race Plan

What’s more exciting to read about than pacing and fueling plans? Nothing, right? Here’s mine:

  • Run by feel: Easy for the first 14 miles. I gauge my effort by reciting the pledge of allegience. Generally, I try to do this when people aren’t around. Should be interesting in a race setting. Then, I’ll pick it up to a medium effort through mile 24, and from there on out…book it!
  • Keep the pace around 10:55/mile…Yeah, I’m running by feel, but at the begining of the race 9:40s are going to FEEL great. So, I’ll be trying to keep my pace somewhat in check by adjusting at every mile based on this 10:55/mile…give or take 15 seconds.
  • Eat a GU every 4.5 miles. And candy at the mile 17.5 candy stop!!!
  • Walk for 2 or 3 minutes with each GU. No more, less is acceptable after mile 14.
  • Don’t hold back on the downhills! Also, don’t walk and GU on a downhill..

Training Recap

I’m not much for a training recap. I ran a bunch. My longest run was 22 miles. I ran 3, 4, or 5 times a week (lots of variability) with speed work thrown in. And I tapered VERY severely….I ran 1 time this week. That’s good right? Ha!

I did my best to add in lots of hills to my long runs. I’m concerned about the hills, but I PR’d at a hilly half in the spring, so I’m trying to stay positive and keep that in mind.

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Low quality screen capture of the elevation profile on my last long run.

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The race!

Let’s pretend that option 2 is less scary! They don’t have the same exact scale (although it’s close), so option 1 probably only looks easier because of that.

 Well, that’s all I got for you guys. Happy Weekend, and I’ll see you on the other side!