April Goals

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Happy April 2nd. Most people post their monthly goals on the first, but I was still creating my training plan then. The next 6 weeks are going to be intense. First up is the Newport 10 Miler on April 28th (4 weeks away), then the United Healthcare Half Marathon (Part of the Cox Rhode Races – 6 weeks away), and then the icing on the cake for spring – Reach the Beach (7 weeks away).

While creating my training plan it really dawned on me just how important it is going to be to keep my body healthy and happy, which is what my April goals are all about.

1) 96 oz. of hydration per day. Water, Nuun, decaf tea – anything to keep me well hydrated. And of course, laying off the alcohol. I’ve been doing very well with this since mid-March. I will have a couple of drinks on the weekend but that’s about it now. (118 oz. yesterday!)

2) Make sure I’m eating enough. I read an article the other day about female athletes and dietary needs. It outlined the dangers of high activity levels versus low caloric intake. It was definitely an eye opener, and I honestly don’t think I’m eating enough. I am now tracking my meals with a very specific calorie goal per day that is tailored to my activity level (including at work, at home, and my workouts). I can’t wait to see what the difference is in my energy levels and my muscle tone once I start eating “enough.” I met that goal yesterday without a problem, and felt great!

3) Keep up with #30for60. Last time I ran the #30for60 challenge I wasn’t a very good leader – I didn’t even complete all 60 days. This time I will definitely complete all 60 days – and with the training plan I’ve created so far for April, that will not be a problem!

4) Yoga. Once a week. I went to an all levels yoga class last week for the first time in 2 1/2 months – and boy could I tell I’m out of practice. I used to take a power basic class every Thursday night, but I’m not so sure I could handle that right now. I want to get back to, and beyond, the point I was at last spring before I stopped going regularly.

5) Take up indoor rock climbing. My best friend Jen goes indoor rock climbing regularly. I’ve been once, but I loved it. I even bought a climbing harness with the REI gift card I got for Christmas. Now I have to commit to doing it – I’m sure I can get her to help  me see to that.

6) Run at least 75 total miles. That’s about 30% more miles than I ran in March, which is my highest distance month since August. I know as long as I take care of myself (stretching, foam rolling, The Stick…), that I can do this. I just have to be careful.

That’s quite the list of things to do this month! This is all on top of my training schedule which gets really crazy around Mid-April. That’s when I have to start focusing on training for Reach the Beach by doing some crazy stuff like running twice a day!

What are your goals for the month of April?

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Short Term Goals Weekly Check-in: Week 3

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Holy crow, it’s August 21st! Where does the time go?

This morning I realized I have 6 long runs left until Chicago. EEK! That also means only 7 weeks (including this week) to get that six pack! I better get my butt in gear!

Here’s how I did with my goals last week:

1) Run 3-4 times a week. Check! I ran twice last week, then ran Rock N Roll Providence on Sunday for a total of 20.76 miles.

2) Workout at least 5 days per week. Check! This is really easy now that I work in a gym. I have absolutely no excuses. I did upper body/abs, legs/abs, and took a spin class, in addition to my 3 runs.

3) Stretch 30 minutes per day, every day. Ugh. Epic fail again. I totally suck at setting aside the time to get this done. I really need to figure out how I can get this into my schedule because I REALLY need it.

4) (Re) Committing to no dairy. YES! The only failure here was that early this week, when ordering my recovery shake at work, I forgot to ask for soy protein. I paid a pretty uncomfortable price for that mistake.

Well, 3 out of 4 is pretty darn good if you ask me! I’m off to a good start this week – I have a slow, short, easy run with Kevin and Lexi on the schedule tonight and I am going to do my damndest to make sure I stretch after. I’ll tell my accountability partner to make sure I do it – he won’t let me slack! Smile

How are you doing with any goals you may have set?!

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Short Term Goals: Weekly Check-in #1

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It’s already Monday! I hope everyone had a great weekend! Kevin was away for the weekend so I found myself with lots of me time. What did I do? I went to the beach, I went to a seafood festival, I ran, and I went back to the beach. I didn’t do a single spec of work all weekend long and it was glorious!

Now that we’re back to the weekly grind, it’s time for me to check in and see how I did last week with my goals.

Goal #1 – Run 3-4 times per week. Mission accomplished. I ran two easy days, a speed day, and a long run for a total of 22 miles!

Goal #2 – Workout at least 5 days per week. Check! In addition to my 4 runs I attended an easy vinyasa yoga class, walked almost 2 miles with a client, and did a 30 minute circuit workout.

Goal #3 – Stretch 30 minutes per day, every day. This is a lot easier said than done. I stretched for an hour during yoga, and for 15 minutes after one of my runs. That’s it. Fail.

Goal #4 – Recommitting to no dairy. 95% accomplished. Sometimes I honestly just forget. Especially when I’m STARVING and in a hurry to get to the beach. Like yesterday. I waltzed right into Dunkin’ Donuts and ordered a roast beef and cheddar sandwich. Whoops. Other than that and two Dunkin’ iced coffees I did stay away. (Dear Dunkin’ Donuts: Please offer non-dairy cream options. I know I’m not the only one looking for it.)

So, 100% on 2 goals, 95% on 1 goal, and 5% on the final goal. That’s not bad! Now I know that I really need to force myself to fit in stretching and I also need to be more “with it” when I eat food that I’m not making.

Goals are the same for this week – only instead of my long run this week I’m climbing Mt. Washington with Kevin, my brother, my mother, and one of my mom’s friends. 

I am going to work very hard on getting all of that stretching in!

I hope everyone enjoys the rest of their Monday – wish me luck, my first day of my new job is tomorrow!

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Short Term Goal Setting

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Short term goal setting is something I have never been very good at. I tend to procrastinate just about everything – from homework when I was in high school, to folding and putting away laundry today. There’s always something more important, more pressing, more fun to do.

Then along came Kevin, who I shall call the King of Goal Setting. This new name for him dawned on me the other day when I was bitching about my sciatic nerve driving me so crazy that I can’t sit still for more than 30 minutes without my leg going completely numb. His response, “Promise me you’ll stretch it for at least 30 minutes tomorrow.” Short term goal set, and accomplished (because I promised…).

He’s also helped me get organized in the “work at home” department – by explaining to me how I need to set goals and “appointments” with myself in order to get the work done. And wouldn’t you know, it WORKS! I spent a solid 8 hours on a Friday working – going through my “appointments” and getting stuff done. Amazing.

Fast forward to this morning – we were out getting our run in before Kevin left for work and I said, “It’s August 1st. Lets set some goals for this month.” And while we ran we chatted goals – here is what we came up with:

  1. Run 3-4 times per week. There will be no less than 3 runs per week consisting of a long run, speedwork, and an easy run. The 4th run, if it happens, will be completely by feel for both speed and distance. (Exceptions: One exception for Kevin, who will be away all of this weekend and unable to get a long run in. One exception for both of us will be next weekend, as we climb to the top of Mt. Washington on Saturday; however, in exchange for next weekend’s long run we will plan on running at least 2 miles and soaking in the beauty of the White Mountains in New Hampshire while we’re up there {on Sunday})
  2. Workout at LEAST 5 days per week. This one will take some scheduling – Kevin’s schedule changes week to week, and I do not know what mine will be yet, but will also likely change week to week. I used to be very adamant about working out 6 days per week – now that we have to schedule two people’s workouts, 5 days a week is much more reasonable, and if we can fit in more we most certainly will.
  3. Stretch 30 minutes per day, every day. This one is super duper important for both of us – like I mentioned before, my sciatica is acting up, which upon further research is caused (in my case) by tight hip flexors and tight hamstrings. Bad news. If I don’t stretch regularly I tighten up and end up in pain, or worse, injured. And, well, Kevin’s just not very flexible to begin with – so it’s a goal we both very, very much needed to set and follow strictly.
  4. (Re)Committing to no dairy. I’ve mentioned a few times now that I think I’m lactose intolerant/allergic to dairy/something along those lines… I’ve once again proven to myself that my stomach + dairy = no bueno. I actually started this on Monday, and so far so good, my tummy isn’t so troublesome. Am I surprised? No, not really. Kevin has agreed to join me on the dairy free train (isn’t he great?!).

I’m so grateful to have someone to set goals with, an accountability partner who’ll whip my butt into gear as I’ll whip his if either of us are feeling slacky on a given day. I’m fairly certain I heard a little groan come out of him as I told him I’d be blogging about our goals too, so now we also have all of you keeping us accountable! I’ll keep you posted with updates every Sunday (oh look, another goal…).

Do you set short term goals? What are some of yours for August?

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Just Focus

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Sounds simple enough, right? I realized it 4.25 miles into a 5 mile run.  Here’s a quickie run down of my 2nd post-marathon run for ya, then I must be off to bed. Up early for the gym tomorrow for my first double workout day – triceps, back, and abs in the morning followed by 5 more miles at night!

Mile 1: Immediately felt a bit “gimpy” when I started, but I had to force myself to control my speed, so that felt good. 10:04 – Stop and stretch calves and hamstrings.

Mile 2: This calf “thing” I have going on makes going downhill harder than flat land or uphill – you know this makes me sad Sad smile . Slowed down on the downhill to a pace that felt comfortable on the calf. 10:27 – Stopped and stretched again, mostly because I received a text (I normally silence my phone, but forgot) and wanted to check to make sure it wasn’t my mother.

Mile 3: I am pushing the pace again, so I have to force myself to slow down again.  Goal pace was 10:30 (or slower, if necessary). 10:28

Mile 4: 3.5 miles I realize I’m panting, and force myself to walk until I regain my breath, I was pushing way too hard. Once I regained control of my breathing I started running again. Now I’m having pain in my left foot and starting to get generally discouraged and pissed off. Running downhill now, but it hurts. 11:05

Mile 5: Walk from 4.1-4.25 to think and try to regain control of my own brain. Something “clicks” at 4.25 – I straightened up my body (I realized I was very tense and leaning forward), rolled my shoulders back, tucked my hips straight up under my body, and ran. I looked straight ahead, only glancing down on occasion to make sure I wasn’t going to trip or fall in a pothole. The best 3/4 of a mile I’ve run in a long time. Still a rough mile 12:48

Overall pace: 10:58. A lot slower than I care to run 5 miles, but I finished the miles and learned a lesson.

Don’t focus on the one thing that may be going wrong in your run – focus on the big picture: maintain posture and proper form, and the rest will come.

Post-run I stretched, foam rolled, and ate a big helping of some rice/bean/tomato concoction that I created. That along with some rolling pin action on the calf, and compression socks, I’m feeling pretty good right now.

Ready to tackle tomorrow’s 5-miler – focused.

How do you break yourself out of a rut in the middle of a run or workout?

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Monday Love: Spring Fever Edition

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Happy Monday everyone! What a great day – and with spring just about a week away, why not celebrate with a Spring Fever edition of Monday Love?! Here’s what I’m loving today:

1) The Weather.  Did you expect anything else? A record was broke in the old weather record books today, where a high of 72 degrees was recorded at the airport! 72 degrees, in Rhode Island, in March?! HOORAY FOR GLOBAL WARMING! Winking smile

happy20sun

2) Lunch Time Walks. See #1? Right – I was walking in a SUNDRESS and SWEATING. It was amazing. I walked 1.63 miles in 28 minutes – not really a speed walk, but my legs needed to loosen up. They’re still feeling the effects of post-marathon, yesterday’s 7-miler, and my first yoga class. I also spent 10 minutes on the arc trainer at the gym – then stretched and foam rolled. Things are feeling MUCH better.

3) A new weights workout. My little bro is helping me get into what I call “personal trainer shape.” I figure if I’m going to train people how to work out – I better know what the heck I’m doing right? He sent me to the gym with three sets of three exercise each for my chest, shoulders, and biceps, along with some pretty serious ab work. I completed it all in an hour and fifteen minutes – and I feel AWESOME.

Arnold

4) Daylight Savings Time. I am so happy that it stays light out now until 7 p.m. That means NO MORE TREADMILL! All of my runs will be in the great outdoors!

Daylight Savings

HAHA This cracked me up. I FEEL GREAT!

5) Saturday lunch with the girls. I cannot WAIT, like beyond excited, to see Jess and Jo again, and to FINALLY meet Meaghan. Lookout Boston, you don’t know what’s coming your way!

And finally:

6) Lights by Ellie Goulding. This song is incredibly addictive. It makes me happy. It makes me want to sing and dance, crank the music, open the windows, and just celebrate life and beautiful weather!

What are you loving on this Monday?!

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Active Rest Days

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When people started signing up for the 30 for 60 Challenge, I noticed a common theme: I don’t know how I feel about not taking a rest day. 


I understand that, completely.  I used to be the same way. But now, I don’t feel good when I take a full blown rest day, unless I’m fully exhausted or feeling burnt out. So, I’ve implemented one active rest day per week into my routine, on Saturday. Plus, who doesn’t like it when the workout log has something logged in every. single. day. 


I’m going to share with you some of my favorite ideas for active rest days:

  • Go for a walk. Get outside, get some fresh air, enjoy some time with friends, family, or your pet! I went for a 3.3 mile walk with my mom today, since she’s trying to get back into a fitness routine. It was nice to have someone to talk to the whole time too!
  • Stretch. Throw on your favorite DVR’ed sitcom, and stretch your body during the entire 30 minutes. It doesn’t have to be strenuous, but making a habit of this will help increase your flexibility and get you moving on your rest day. Favorite stretches for runners: Cool Running: Stay Loose: Stretches for Runners
  • Do some easy body weight strength training: planks, side planks, pushups, crunches, chair dips. You can easily fill up 30 minutes with some simple strength moves. I did a one minute plank, 100 pushups (only 20 “real” pushups, the rest “girly” or “modified” for those of you that like to be politically correct), and 100 crunches today, along with my walk.  Again, these strength moves are something you can do while watching TV (so no excuses really…). 
  • Go hiking. Where I live, the Audubon Society has some nice, easy, short hiking trails scattered throughout the state, that never get old. Plus, they’re small and safe enough to go alone if you don’t have anyone else to go with. I like to bring my camera, I almost always see something worthy of photographing. And again, you’re getting outside and getting sunshine and fresh air – who doesn’t love that?
  • Play Wii Sports or Wii Fit.  This is especially fun if you’re trying to keep your family active – get everyone involved! I love the ski jump, the soccer one (where you have to hit the balls with your head), and BOXING.  You can get a fun little cardio workout boxing for 30 minutes with Wii Fit – and perhaps the title of “Boxing Champion” in your house! 
So, there you have it. Some of my favorite ways to spend my Active Rest Days. If you haven’t signed up for the 30 for 60 Challenge for the “no rest day” reason, won’t you reconsider now?! You have until Wednesday to sign up!

When I Fall Off the Wagon…

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…I tumble for miles. I’ve never been hit so hard, emotionally or physically, by a race as I was by the Amica Half Marathon. For those of you that have been checking in on me every day, yes, I feel much better. I’m not over it, that probably won’t come until I finally make that sub 2-hour goal, but I’m not sad anymore, and I’m not sore anymore.


This week, I not only allowed my fitness habits to relax, but also my eating habits.  I’ve eaten fast food roast beef sandwiches and fries, donut holes, too much candy, and I’m craving more MORE MORE. I’ll call this my post-race depression. But now it’s time to pick up the pieces and move on. Starting with better eating ASAP. I gave up fast food and junk for a reason – oh I feel gross.


I’m going to go for my first post-race run Sunday morning, I’m looking forward to a few easy miles to test my hip and back. Hopefully all goes well and I can resume normal training.


And when I say resume normal training that actually means an entirely new training plan. I learned a couple of very valuable lessons with my “injuries” (I use the term loosely, because I’m not really injured…or maybe I am, just on a much lesser level than I consider injury?) – and I know now what I need, and what I will do.


1) I need to do more core work.  I spend my day sitting at a desk, which compresses the spine, no matter how hard I focus on my posture and sitting up straight. I will dedicate one day a week to core training. By the end of the week I feel like this guy:

source

2) I will dedicate myself to one active rest day per week, preferably Saturday. I am going to make sure to stretch for at least 1/2 hour on Saturdays, which I should precede with something simple like a short walk or quick ride on the stationary bike (the rents have one positioned perfectly for television watching). I need to rest from anything hard core, but I also need to focus on stretching. Combining the two the day before my typical long run day is a great plan.


3) I will only run 4 days per week and I will run by feel.  The only set run day is Sunday, which is my long run day. All the other days will depend solely on how my legs feel but of course I’ll incorporate tempo runs, speed work, hills, and recovery runs. 


4) I will do more strength training.  I started doing the 100 push up challenge before the half, I plan on restarting and seeing it through.  I also plan on doing the 200 sit up challenge. Those two items also help with core, but I also need to do upper body and leg strength.  I’ll hit machines at the gym, or do free weights, or find some new videos to keep me interested.


5) I’m going to mix up my work outs because I get bored easily.  Since I’m moving I’m also going to have new running routes to explore.  And, plenty of hills for those hill workouts.


I like the “loose plan” idea that I’m working here – but I need a schedule…makes sense, right? I think Coachy will be proud of my new approach…I didn’t run it by him yet, um, why didn’t I tell him yet? Whoops…sorry Coachy…do you approve? I’m thinking of a schedule something like this:


Monday: Core
Tuesday: Run
Wednesday: Run
Thursday: Weights
Friday: Run
Saturday: Active Rest Day/Stretch
Sunday: Long Run


Now, hold me accountable, k? Thanks in advance. 


How was everyone’s Friday? What are your training plans like? Any fun races coming up? I apparently am doing 4 more 5ks this year (why do I let people talk me into stuff…you know who you are.)


Amica Half Marathon Race Recap

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Honestly, I don’t really want to write this.  Those of you who follow me on Twitter or are friends with me on Facebook know why. But, I must, so here goes.


The Amica United Healthcare Half Marathon in Newport, RI was my 5th half marathon in 2011 (well, actually ever) and my 12th race in 2011. I signed up for this race the day I got back from running the US Air Force Marathon. Coachy and I were convinced I could do really well with this race, because I was in peak condition endurance wise after running two marathons in two months (I’m pretty sure I heard cries of protest from my legs when I submitted my race registration…).


Saturday morning I drove to Newport to pick up my race pack and check out the expo (what expo?). Okay there were a few vendors, but nothing impressive, so I left. I then went to the farm to work, and spent 8 1/2 hours on my feet – I went from cashier to parking lot attendant all in one day. Needless to say, when I got home Saturday night I was exhausted.  I sat on the couch and put my feet up for about an hour, then at 10 called it a night, knowing the alarm was set for 4 a.m.


Apparently 4 a.m. is early because even Lexi didn’t want to get up. I snoozed until 4:20 and finally dragged my butt out of bed.  I hadn’t prepared anything the night before because I was too exhausted.  It only took me an hour to get dressed and gather everything I needed (breakfast, gu’s, blister prevention, Body Glide, etc…). I hopped in the car for the 45 minute drive to Newport.


I am so glad I left early because when I arrived at the designated half marathon parking area, one school bus was already full of people headed to the start line, and the second bus was filling fast.  I quickly grabbed my backpack and got on the bus.


After a short drive to the start we were dropped off at the rotunda at Easton’s Beach in Newport.  It was a beautiful morning, aside from the wind, which drove all of the runners inside the building. Myself included, because I forgot to put on long pants, and that’s why you are not seeing any gorgeous early morning beach photos right now. 


 I sat and chatted with a few different people while eating my peanut butter, banana, and honey whole wheat toast sandwich. The sun was fully up by then, so I went outside to check my bag and warm up.  It was about 1/2 hour to start. I ran a very slow 1/2 mile or so, then stretched, and stretched a lot. I was getting nervous given my sub 2-hour goal, but I felt great and the weather was perfect, so I was confident.


The usual race business happened next – blah blah blah announcer talk, National Anthem, time to go. 


Half a mile in and it’s straight up hill.  My lungs weren’t quite warm enough yet, so I panted my way up but I did it and felt great. It took almost the entire mile to get on pace, the race had over 5,000 runners. The next few miles were truly anti-climactic. I ran my tail off. I slowed at the water stops and took short sips and continued on my way.  I lost my pace big time on the water stop at mile 4- thanks to two bozos who stopped dead in front of me blocking the road, so I had to push to make up the time. Luckily by about 4.25 miles we were going downhill so it was easy to bring it back around and Mile 4 was one of my best miles. 


I kept pushing, and it was starting to feel a bit hard by Mile 6, but nothing I couldn’t handle.  I got my Gu out and ready for the next water stop.  The scenery in this race was absolutely gorgeous.  Beautiful neighborhoods in Newport, all the way down to a point with spectacular (albeit windy) ocean views.  I was finally able to eat my Gu around Mile 7 when there was another water stop. Ugh that stuff is so hard to choke down when you’re running that hard.


By Mile 8 my left leg started to feel a bit funny, but I ignored it.  I figured it was all in my head – at this point this was the best 8 miles of my life (literally) and I was not going to let my brain stop me. But by the time I got into Mile 9 I knew something was wrong. My leg was seizing, from the hip down through the middle of my calf, and there was nothing I could do about it but slow down.  So I slowed. Mile 9 was still a good mile, even if it was a minute slower than goal pace.  I figured if I can at least keep this pace I’ll PR.


At about 9.5 miles the leg pain brought me to a walk. From blazing along at a roughly 9mm for 8 miles, to a freakin’ walk. I was so upset I started crying. I knew my dreams of a sub 2-hour half marathon were gone, but I still had 3.5 miles to go. My leg hurt. 


By the way – crying while running is not a good idea. It caused me to practically hyperventilate.


I had conversations with myself – stop crying it won’t do you any good, quit being a baby and run, etc…


I’d run as much as I could until the pain forced me to slow down again.  I’d get to the point where it felt like either my hip was going to blow completely out of the socket or my calf was going to explode. And then I’d walk. This went on for the next 2.5 miles. 


At Mile 12 I knew I was very close to a miles worth of nothing but running downhill.  I had another crying spell (good lord I’m such a baby), I stopped very briefly and stretched on a light post.


I started running again. But now I was angry. I was pissed off. And I thought a PR was still in reach. So I gave it everything I had. I think nothing other than straight up endorphins drove me through to that finish line. I ran my ass off for the last mile, it was so hard that I could only manage a 10 minute mile going down 77 feet. 77 feet worth of elevation loss and all I could muster was a 10 minute mile – pathetic for the girl who LOVES the downhills like nobody’s business. 


I crossed the finish line, got my water and medal, and immediately made my way out of there. I wanted to cry more (which I did, in the car on the way home where people wouldn’t stare at me).  I was upset. I was angry. I was so psyched for 9 miles that my goal was this close. Only to be beaten down by broken body parts.


Final time: 2:10:24 (official – 11 seconds slower than my PR, which was in May). I realize this is very good considering. I could have given up completely and moped for 3.5 miles til I crossed the finish line. I realize some people would kill for a half time like that, with all of their healthy body parts. 


That doesn’t mean I have to like it. I don’t. And I won’t. I’m still upset, I’m still angry, and I’m disappointed. Not in myself, just in general. At least I now know I’ve got the mental game down…


I hope you enjoyed my recap.  I’m not sorry that I don’t have a good attitude about this.  Coachy says I should be proud that even with broken parts I essentially ran my best half (2:10:26, 13.32 miles, and 9:48 average pace according to my Garmin). My mom called me a slacker, but of course was kidding, and also told me “At least you did it and finished.”


So many other friends and family members have supported me and tried to make me feel better, and I appreciate it.  I just think I need a few more days of mourning, and healing.  I’m going to be visiting my chiropractor and masseuse in the next week to hopefully get me back in shape quick. I’ll keep you posted on my diagnosis (I hope there isn’t one an alignment and massage can’t fix – fingers crossed). 


The Marathon: Tips, Tricks, and Lessons Learned (Part 1: Race Week)

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Fall is upon us and many people are running their first marathon, second, fiftieth marathon.  Now that I have two marathons under my belt, I thought there was no better time than now to share what I did leading up to the races and also some valuable lessons learned. I am not an expert, or a professional, and I am not authorized to act as such. I just hope someone can benefit from reading about what I did, what I learned, and what I would do differently.


I very quickly realized this was going to be a long post, so I’m breaking it down into more digestible segments.


RACE WEEK


Race week running (and other workouts): I only ran three times during race week, making sure to keep the runs slow and short.  Of course slow and short are all relative to your ability – the longest I ran was 6 miles, the fastest was 9:37 average pace. I know, I know, tapering is hard, and you’re going to want to get out and just run. Just. be. careful. 


I also made sure to take two full days off before race day – off of everything, running, yoga, etc.  I wanted my entire body to be fresh and ready.


As for other workouts, I didn’t do much during race week. Actually, in all honesty, I didn’t do much other than run during marathon training.  It was hard to find time to do anything else. I did manage to squeeze in the occasional strength session, or the occasional yoga workout, but that was usually when my legs just couldn’t handle a run.  However – I will preach this to everyone until they want to duct tape my mouth shut – STRETCH. Especially the days leading up to your race.  The last thing you want is tight muscles.


Hydration: A lot of people talk about extra hydration before a race – but I drink enough water to supply a camel for his entire lifetime so I don’t pay extra attention to it in the days leading up to a race.  If you’re not good at hydrating in general – get better at it! It will only help you, not only when running, but in everything.


I’m a plain old water gal, unless it’s post workout, then I drink Gatorade or Powerade (whatever is on sale at the grocery store that week).  I used to drink Gatorade G2 and Powerade Zero – due to the lower calorie count, but there’s also a lower carb count, so I switched back to original.  I drink Nuun sometimes too, but honestly, I think it tastes like Alka Seltzer, especially if it gets warm.


When I run my long runs, I fill two of my fuel belt bottles with Gatorade/Powerade and two with water.  I tried switching between the two during both marathons as well, and it seemed to have done the trick, I was not dehydrated after either race. Just don’t follow up fuel with sports drink – it’s a stomach ache waiting to happen. I actually don’t know this one from experience – I learned from a friend before I made the mistake.


Fueling: Eat healthy, whole foods.  Make sure to eat all of your fruits and veggies, as well as a good percentage of protein, and of course carbs – the fruits and veggies aid in hydration, as well as keeping your immune system healthy.  Last thing you want is to be sick before a big race!


Now I (obviously) don’t eat healthy all the time – but I do make sure that I don’t slack on the healthy eating during race week, it’s imperative to be as healthy as possible.


Sleep: Make sure you’re well rested, all week.  Let your body heal from the beating you’ve given it for the past 16 or so weeks. For me that means at least 7 hours a night – but I did try to squeeze in a few more hours during race week where I could.


TWO DAYS PRIOR TO RACE DAY


Begin carb loading. If you’ve been reading for a while, then you know very well that I am a firm believer in the “what you do two days before a race is more important than what you do the day before” theory. I’ve proven it. That’s another story for another time though. 


I know I go on and on about Carb Friday. I mean as if Friday weren’t great enough, I now have a good reason to carb up pretty much every week.


I am all about the whole grains, except when it comes to pasta.  I’ve tried whole wheat pasta, I’ve tried multi-grain pasta, I just don’t like it.  I stick strictly to good ol’ fashioned white pasta. 


Now this doesn’t mean, obviously, that I think you should sit down and eat pasta at every meal on Carb Friday. I try, often, to come up with lots of different ideas on what I can consume.  Sometimes it just takes some research.


Did you know there are approximately 30 grams of carbs in a medium banana? I wrote a post about Carb Thursday, which was two days prior to my last marathon. Lots of fun things were consumed that day, and it was very carbarific. 


Get the best sleep you can possibly get two night’s before.  I don’t know about you, but I get pre-race jitters pretty bad (even for 5k sometimes) and sleep very lightly the night before. So make sure to get plenty of rest on Thursday or Friday (depending on what day your race is on). 


And of course, watch your alcohol consumption.  You all know I love beer and wine.  I am very careful before a race – not only because alcohol dehydrates, but it also affects your quality of sleep.  Of course there was that one time in Charlottesville…oh the stories – I think I should have been blogging long before I actually started. 


That is all for this installment of “The Marathon: Tips, Tricks, and Lessons Learned”.  I hope what I’ve written here is useful and/or amusing.  


Everything I’ve written is based on my own personal experience – and before my next marathon I will do all of these items exactly the same. This segment doesn’t contain any lessons learned, because I feel (for me) that I did everything right.


That statement I crossed out up there is a lie.  There is extreme value in what I’m about to say:  Make sure you cut your toenails. Seriously. My feet are a disaster because I constantly forget to cut my nails, and I pay for it dearly at the end of long races and/or hard runs.


Stay tuned for “The Marathon: Tips, Tricks, and Lessons Learned (Part 2: 24 Hours Until the Start Gun). 


Does anyone have anything they’d like to add? I’d love to hear what others do in the days leading up to a big race.