Training Tuesday: Tips For Training For Your Next Half Marathon

Sorry for the late post! I've been having issues with my server most of the morning. I think (& hope) it's working for good this time!

It's finally cooling off here. It was in the 70s yesterday afternoon during my run and in the low 50s (with some humidity ahhhh so refreshing!) for my 6.81 miles this morning. I always used to lvoe ending my runs on the .5 or .0 marker, but I've relaxed a bit over the years ; )

Since I decided to make a half marathon my training goal for this Fall I figured it would be helpful to share some of the things that I've learned to help you train smart for your next half (whether it be your first or 50th)! I love running the half distance because training is never crazy-intense and you can still do other fun activities while training for one! I think it's taken me several marathon training cycles to realize that half training isn't as intense as I *once* thought it was!!

  • Know your course & train for it. If your course will be hilly, make sure to throw in atleast one hilly run a week. If it's going to be downhill, maybe do a few longer runs on the treadmill on the decline option. 
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  • Map out your prior commitments and know how you'll still fit in your training that week/day. This is something I DIDN'T do during my first half training cycle and ended up missing a few long runs towards the end of my training cycle. If you know you'll be out of town on the weekend, maybe plan to get your long run (or harder run) in before you leave. 
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  • Have a target pace range for what you want to run the race in and then know what your "easy" pace will be. I didn't start to vary my training paces until the last few years and WOW did it make a difference! My easy paces are typically 2:00-2:30 minutes slower per mile than my target half marathon pace range (7:40-8:00 min/mile). 
  • Try out various gels and chews during your longer runs. Long runs are a great opportunity to test out various gels/ chews/ water/ nutrition before the run and how often you need a gel. I would only typically take a gel after 6 miles, but found that I actually needed one every 4.5 miles to keep me from potentially bonking. 
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  • Wear your race day outfit at least once on a longer run before the race. Maybe your perfect race day outfit works great for a three mile run, but it starts chafing at 8 miles. Knowing that your outfit is still comfortable in those later miles will make all the difference come the big day. 
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  • Train in the climate that your race will be at. Will your race day typically be hot or rainy or at night? Try to get in a few runs to help acclimate and simulate race day temperatures. I know for running Las Vegas Marathon last year (it starts at 4:30pm), I would do one marathon-paced run a week starting anywhere between 3 & 5pm after work. It wasn't the ideal start time for me, but I learned to make it work and practice my nutrition leading up to the start time. 
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  • Don't give up if you have a bad training run (or two). When I was training for my first half marathon I remember getting really frustrated with how many times I had to stop and walk during those 8 miles. I didn't take into account how little sleep I had, how hot (and humid) it was outside, what my nutrition leading up to the run was like, etc. Accept it and move on. Bad runs happen to everyone- don't dwell on it. 
  • Adjust your goals if training isn't going the way you'd like it to. Not able to get in all the mileage on your training plan or something came up that made you miss an entire week of training? Regardless of your circumstances not every training cycle will go perfectly and know (and accept) when maybe this training cycle isn't meant for you to chase down a PR, but have fun or wear a crazy costume or focus on nailing a negative-split. There's a season for everything. 

What else would you add to the list of tips?

Rainy (but slightly humid runs)- love 'em or hate 'em?

Favorite temperature (and time of day) to run in? --> probably 50s/ low 60s cloudy 8am. 

PRs or Personal Records

I have been SO busy lately and it feels like forever since I've last updated. Life's been pretty crazy lately full of running, working, sleeping, cooking, and eating and that's about all I've been up to! I feel like I've totally fallen off the blogging bandwagon since my vacation, but I promise I will get back to regular posts once life settles into a groove again!

I'm currently trying to enter to win a Sparkle Athletic Skirt through Instagram, so I've been posting photos everyday based off of their prompts. Today's prompt, PR, really got me thinking (well and also my track workout that wasn't exactly at the paces I had on my training plan). Why are we, society, so driven by numbers? Numbers drive PRs, scales, age, work experience, diet, etc. 

What if instead of focusing on the particular number we do (or do not) want to see, we focus on how we feel.

How did that race make you feel? Were you excited/ectastic/devastated/ nauseaous etc.? Rather than focusing on the number of crunches you did or years you've had the same job or how many fruits/veggies you ate, how did that particular number make you feel? We are SO focused on the amount of income we make (numbers again, ha), but why are we not more focused on HOW our job makes us feel and what does it give us? 

My track run this morning had 4 x 1200 meter (.75 miles) repeats (with 400 meter, .25 mile, recoveries between sets) in 5:27 minutes. This was the FIRST time that the track was not busy when I've had speedwork to do, so I was really excited/ kinda nervous! It's somehow much easier when you're on the treadmill and just have to 'hang on' for the certain amount of time, rather than produce that speed for a certain time period. Each of my splits were done in 5:33 (6 seconds slower than my goal time)- I was consistent, however, and hit 5:33 on the button each time (silver lining?). Rather than feel really disappointed in myself, I chose to feel pretty proud! Doing 3/4 mile repeats on the track, by yourself, is pretty dang tough! I kept secretly wishing that someone else would come out and join me just so I wouldn't have to go it alone (it would have been even better if that person was a running coach and had a stopwatch..ha), but no one ever appeared!

Sure, I was off my goal time, but that just leaves room for improvement next week and also I think it's a starting point when you go from doing speedwork on the treadmill to outdoors (even more so on the track). It's difficult and challenging, but that's also why it's so effective. You (probably) won't have your coach run beside you during your goal race pushing you and timing you (and if you do, can I please join?!?) or be chained to a treadmill moving along at the same speed, so it's really good mental practice. 

What are your thoughts on PRs? Love them or meh, not so much into them?

Numbers- use them to your advantage or not so much?

Weekend Activities

Does anyone else ever feel like the weekend went by so fast that it actually didn't happen? We were relaxing on the couch Sunday night after a crazy weekend and I felt like it was still Friday night and we had 2 full days to fill with so many great activities (boy oh boy was I WRONG!). 

Friday I started off with an 8 mile run on the treadmill binge-watching Gilmore Girls (definitely a #guiltypleasure of mine) and then had a serious craving for a bagel and cranberry juice. Luckily we have ONE bagel shop in all of Steamboat that could cure me of my hangriness. 

The rest of the day went by relatively smoothly and we got out early (wohoo) so the weekend was here! We had leftovers (so glamorous, I know) and got some chores done (hellooo endless amounts of laundry- does it ever stop? and cleaning out the car). 

Saturday we originally planned to go for a hike, but the weather showed a pretty good chance of storms so we put that on the backburner. I had 8 miles to do, so I headed into town and did a little over a mile before my Power Barre class at Steamboat Pilates Studio and then did the remaining 6.85 miles afterwards! Talk about a seriously long work-out session. The class was really challenging and I knew that I would need to push through the rest of my miles (luckily I just had an easy pace scheduled so I could take it as slow as I needed and just get the miles under my belt). It didn't go as bad as expected and I met up with Alex & Stella afterwards to go check out the Farmers Market! We both got Falafels for lunch and shared a lemonade. 

The rest of the day was spent doing some grocery shopping and cooking! I made the mustard-glazed chicken thighs from Practical Paleo and twice-baked stuffed jalepeno sweet potatoes (find the recipe on my Recipe Pinterest page!). Both things were seriously SO good.

Photo was taken before they went in for their second bake!

Photo was taken before they went in for their second bake!

I also made some homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies (those were gone by Sunday night), Superhero Muffins from Run Fast Eat Slow (for breakfasts this week), and roasted some beets for smoothies!

On Sunday (rest day), we finished up chores in the morning (lots and lots of cleaning!) and then headed out for a short hike with a few friends. I can't believe I didn't take any photos the entire time! So unlike me, I know.. Just take my word for it- the view of the lake below was beautiful! 

I did some meal-prepping for the week ahead and for dinner and made up this lovely salad for lunches for the week and dinner Sunday night with Salmon. Super easy and it had: Spinach, Arugula, Onions, Strawberries, Sesame Seeds, Feta, Broccoli, Thyme, Salt, Pepper, and basil. 

We headed out Sunday afternoon to the lake! We live less than 2 miles away from it and this was our first time being out on the lake. We just got a kayak so we wanted to test it out and rented a paddleboard (since the kayak was a one-person). I ofcourse ended up falling in the water on the paddleboard after getting a bit toooo cocky in my abilities and trying some warrior 2 yoga poses... I held it for a good minute and while waiting for Alex to retrieve the camera, fell in. It was pretty funny though and luckily the water wasn't TOO chilly.

That was our weekend full of chores, activities, and a little bit of rest! I'm excited to get back to a week of training and another long run on the schedule this coming weekend. 

How was your weekend?

Thoughts on splitting up a run between a work-out class?

Ever tried yoga on a paddleboard or paddleboarding?

 

Road Trip Recap Part 4- Canada & Upper Michigan!

We got to our first campsite in Canada around 7:30pm (after driving since 7 that morning) and we were exhausted! We grabbed some fresh pasta, chicken sausage, and marinara sauce at the local store nearby and got right to cooking dinner!

We got super lucky and our campsite only had one neighbor and we were completely surrounded by water! The unlucky part was that we had to leave our campsite the next morning at 5 to catch our Ferry at 6am (the only time that we could reserve it), so we couldn't spend too much time enjoying the site!

We made the best of the situation and got in some much needed r-n-r while there though.

Verrryyy tired in that photo clearly. haha. We got to bed pretty early (maybe 9:30 or 10), but it was Canada Day and those Canadians seriously LOVE their fireworks! They kept shooting them off for the next 2+ hours....Which meant a VERY early wake-up call and also a beautiful sunrise.

We took the MS Chee Cheemaun Ferry from Manitoulin Island to Tobermory (both in Ontario). It was probably the favorite part of our trip! The Ferry takes up to 150 cars and has 4 different shuttle times throughout the day. It took us 1 hour 45 minutes from the time our car got on the ferry to us being able to drive off. There was also a TRACTOR TRAILER on the ferry with us! We parked on the bottom deck and were able to bring Stella up to the outer observation deck to hang out with us during the trip. 

We saw this one lighthouse on our trip and the ferry also had a cute little gift shop and cafeteria, so we got breakfast & coffee there. I also met a fellow runner on the ferry who was wearing her Boston Jacket and it turns out she lives in Canada, but her and her husband have traveled all over the US (and she's currently trying to get into the Big Sur lottery)- including Colorado! What a great world where runners can unite to the most unexpected places!

Once we got off the Ferry, we were on our drive again and it immediately started down pouring (and proceeded to downpour until we got to the Canada-US Border.

We arrived at our next campsite around 1pm, but decided to keep on going further since it was still super early (a decision that we would later regret). We ended up not being able to find any other campsites in MI and had to continue to drive until 8pm and could only find an Econolodge to stay in...

I hadn't been on a run in 2 days and had the serious itch! The hotel was directly across from the Upper Peninsula State Fairgrounds and I ended up doing my run Monday morning around the grounds!

I think we both definitely learned how beautiful Michigan was on this trip! It is seriously magical. I ran a total of 3.55 miles and started my run a little after 6 in the morning.

I couldn't resist getting a few action shots in front of some of the fun displays in the fair grounds before we left..

We were on the road again by 7 and per usual, hit the Central Time Zone within an hour of us leaving....Onto our last night of trip- South Dakota!