Happy Days, Marriage, and Running

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My husband just celebrated his 33rd birthday this past weekend, and I couldn’t help but reflect on my life with him. I attribute so much of how easy marriage feels to Jon’s personality and constant pursuit of growth. We’ve been married 7+ years, and while we’ve had seasons where we both grew, it’s always been a team effort and I always trusted that things were going to get better through the trials. We’ve had 7 years to get to this place, and it’s pretty great.

We were talking last night, and Jon said that before he responds to adversity, he always tries to determine if it’s worth getting rattled over. He applies this in his career and personal life, and I think it’s such a good approach. We already have so many demands and stresses on our lives; why add more stress than is needed? If we just stop and think before responding, often we might decide to relax and let a few more things go.

This blog is about running, and there is so much application here.  How many times do we get caught up in our training plan, adding up the miles, and tracking all of the paces?  Injuries pretty quickly put things into perspective, as do lousy races (been there, done that).  Jon is absolutely excellent at what he does, but he is one of the most easy going and fun people to be around. He is most definitely my happy place. It’s a good reminder to me that I can still pursue big things without getting too caught up in rules and the plan (toddlers are also a good reminder of that–ha!). Thankfully I have a husband who supports my pursuit of big things and stands in as cheerleader, pacer, crew member, etc when I need him.

Running, just like marriage, has the moments where you are thrilled to be alive, and the days when you put in the work because you know that the outcome is so incredibly worth it. Cadence somehow learned “happy birthday to you” as “happy day to you” and I think it’s perfect. Every day is a happy day. 🙂

P.S. My parents just celebrated their 40th (FORTIETH) wedding anniversary!  Talk about an example!

Have you learned a lot about yourself through marriage? Does your partner support your running?

Easy Peasy: training with easy days

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Whew! 💦 I never thought I’d say this, but I’m ready for winter.☀️Today was a fartlek workout day that ended up being 13 miles round and round my favorite hilly park.🏃‍♀️By the time I was passing the same (walking) people the 5th and 6th time, they started cheering for me. 😂 And I got home just in time for my husband to hand off a dressed and fed baby so I could rush off to daycare drop off and work. ❤️ Have I mentioned that I have the best husband who shows me love by supporting my crazy running passion?! 😍

If you’ve followed along with my journey this past summer, you know that I’ve changed up my approach to training and I’ve decided to go coach-less for right now. The biggest change in my training approach is that instead of doing practically all of my runs at intensity with my former coach, I now have easy runs in my schedule too. I do about 3 harder effort runs a week and all of the rest are easy. Today was a fartlek run, which is a harder effort, but tomorrow, I’ll be back to easy to let my body recover.

It’s been a bit of a transition for me to embrace and understand what truly feels easy, but it’s starting to feel more normal. And get this, I’m a lot happier. My weeks don’t feel like they drag on from workout to workout (every single day), and I have margin to be flexible and run with the stroller or exchange a run for cross training if I feel like it.

Practically every training book will espouse the value of the easy run.  One of my favorites is Matt Fitzgerald’s 80/20 Running. He backs up all of his reasoning with research, and he gives a really great explanation for how to determine zones based on rate of perceived effort or heart rate.

Here’s a really great article by Runner’s Connect discussing the merits of the easy run.  Check out the table at the end of the article where it discusses the paces where capillary development, mitochondria production, and myoglobin content increase.

For a summary, easy runs:

  • help build up the aerobic system to utilize glycogen for energy more efficiently
  • allow the body to adapt and repair from hard runs
  • give the mind a body a break from stress and high impact
  • increase the number of capillaries surrounding muscles to transport oxygen more easily
  • increase myoglobin and mitochondria, which help provide more oxygen and energy

If you need further convincing or a good reminder (like me sometimes) about keeping easy easy, check out this podcast interview of David Roche on TriSpecific. Roche describes an athlete who wasn’t reaching her potential, and they couldn’t figure out why until they strapped on a HR monitor. As soon as she slowed down her paces and let her heart rate drop, she started seeing results.

What’s your philosophy on easy runs?

Back to shuffling, and my favorite running beats that will make you faster

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I’m trying to figure out what an easy run feels like. 🤔My last plan did everything at intensity. 😬 This morning was another easy at 6 miles. My shins started to feel a little sore again yesterday. 😖 So between figuring out easy and injury prevention, I’m glad that I have the option to cross train! 🚴‍♀️How do you guys decide what to run through and when to scale back? 😳

Yay! My wonderful husband found my shuffle wedged between my driver seat and the console. I swear I had looked all over my car. He’s my hero!

I mentioned yesterday that I like to listen to podcasts during strength work and other down time, but I really love to listen to fast music when I run. I started listening to a program called MotionTraxx a few years ago, and now that’s pretty much all I listen to. You can choose the beats per minute to download, and I always choose 180+.  They have several different playlists to choose on itunes to make it really easy.  For easy runs, I’ll mix in easy pop music for fun, but if I need to hit a hard workout or race, I always listen to MotionTraxx. The music is mostly instrumental fast beat, and you don’t have to think about anything (do I like this song? etc).

Check them out for free here and let me know what you think! I promise you will run faster if you listen to this music!

Do you listen to music when you run? Lately we’ve been playing children’s music in the basement.

No more shuffling and my favorite running podcasts

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Sunday worship before Sunday worship. ❤️🏃‍♀️⛪ 8 stroller miles with my little sidekick. 👶 I “officially” started marathon training again today for a late October race, and it feels good to have a goal! 🎉 I’m changing things up and trying to learn what works best for me this cycle. 🤗 Looking forward to easy days, baby days, cross training days, and lots of grace in the process!

I lost my shuffle somehow last week, and I realize how much I miss music and podcasts! Also, I happened to lose my shuffle just as apple decided to discontinue that perfect little running device. Nooooo! I listen to running podcasts while I do strength work, driving, doing menial chores, etc. I really prefer music when I run instead of podcasts, but I know that a lot of people pass the time of long runs with their favorite podcast host.

Here are my favorite podcasts right now:

I’ll Have Another by Lindsey Hein

Running for Real by Tina Muir

Runner’s Connect

Endurance Planet by Tawnee Prazak Gibson

The Science of Ultra by Shawn Beardon

Trail Runner Nation

Ultra Runner Podcast by Eric Schranz

There are several newer podcasts that I haven’t had a chance to check out yet, but as soon as I have a new listening device, I’ll be diving in!

Do you have a favorite to add to the list?

 

 

 

A TMI PSA

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I had planned to go for an hour on the bike this morning, but I heard a tiny voice calling my name as I was heading downstairs, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity for morning snuggles AND a workout buddy. 👶 Being a working mom and training can be a hard balance, but thankfully, we’ve found ways to make it work for our family. ❤️ I couldn’t do it without the support of my husband (who came and rescued Cadence so that she’d get breakfast today 😁). 50 minutes on the bike today with a few speed intervals to get the legs burning. 🚴‍♀️

This post might be a little too much information, but ladies, consider it a public service announcement. (Honestly, we all know that there is never TMI when you are a runner or a mom. haha) A few cycles ago I started using the Diva Cup after reading this article written by Clare Gallagher, who I respect for her success in running.

My period returned 14 months postpartum, even though I have continued to breastfeed. This is the first time in years that I have had a normal cycle without the influence of birth control, so I’m getting to learn my body and see how my hormones affect me day to day and in running. Here’s a blog post about how the menstrual cycle affects our running performance. (The SF Marathon was as a high hormone phase for me; you can’t always plan your races around your cycle. Guys don’t know how good they have it!)

Anyway, back to the point of this post. I started using the Diva cup a few months ago, and it’s a total game changer. I don’t have to worry about the chemicals that are in tampons, I don’t have to change anything all throughout the day, and I am way more comfortable using a menstrual cup. It’s also cheaper than having to buy tampons and pads. The menstrual cup can stay inserted for up to 12 hours without leakage, and you won’t notice it at all.  It’s almost like you aren’t on your period. I have not altered any of my runs using the menstrual cup, it doesn’t leak, and it is waaaaay more comfortable than any tampon ever dreamed to be.

Apparently these are all the rage in Europe, and I understand why! There are different brands of menstrual cups, and I’ve only tried the Diva cup. Anyway, just had to share with you. ❤

Anybody else tried the Diva cup?

Run less, party more: going coach-less

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RUN LESS PARTY MORE! 🎉😁. Thanks for the reminder @yetitrailrunners! 🙌 I’ve had a change of heart in my training philosophy over the last few weeks, and I have a lot of stuff to figure out for my next training cycle. 🤔 I always want to get faster, but my biggest motivators right now are to stay healthy and maintain the joy in running.

I’ve grown a lot as a runner over the last month. Facing a potential injury certainly changes perspectives!  One of the biggest things that I have changed is how I train. I worked with a coach for the last year as I trained for my first 100 mile race at one year postpartum, and she helped me nab a sub 3 hour marathon about three months later. Undoubtedly, my former coach helped me find speed that I didn’t know that I had.

I learned how to run intervals and tempo runs. And that’s about all that I ran.  It was good for a season (or two or three) but it’s been really hard on my body, and I was starting to dread running. When my shin splints started to hurt more than normal, I actually welcomed the excuse to cross train and scale back.

My (former) coach is a firm believer in her method, which is great, but it didn’t leave any room for modifying my next training cycle so that I didn’t only run with intensity. So now I am coach-less, and I’m kind of excited to see where this leads. It’s pretty scary because I have big goals for the end of the year, but at the end of the day, running is a hobby, and if it’s not fun (or worse, if I can’t run because of an injury), it’s  just not worth it. Thankfully, I have some pretty amazing runner friends who can help guide me through this process and help me figure out the right blend of training.

Have you ever had to separate from a coach when viewpoints were different?