Easy Peasy: training with easy days

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Whew! πŸ’¦ I never thought I’d say this, but I’m ready for winter.β˜€οΈToday was a fartlek workout day that ended up being 13 miles round and round my favorite hilly park.πŸƒβ€β™€οΈBy the time I was passing the same (walking) people the 5th and 6th time, they started cheering for me. πŸ˜‚ 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 understandΒ 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.Β  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.Β  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,Β 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. πŸ€”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. πŸ˜– So between figuring out easy and injury prevention, I’m glad that I have the option to cross train! πŸš΄β€β™€οΈ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+.Β  They have several different playlists to choose on itunes to make it really easy.Β  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. β€οΈπŸƒβ€β™€οΈβ›ͺ 8 stroller miles with my little sidekick. πŸ‘Ά I “officially” started marathon training again today for a late October race, and it feels good to have a goal! πŸŽ‰ I’m changing things up and trying to learn what works best for me this cycle. πŸ€— 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?

 

 

 

Run less, party more: going coach-less

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RUN LESS PARTY MORE! πŸŽ‰πŸ˜. Thanks for the reminder @yetitrailrunners! πŸ™Œ 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. πŸ€” 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!Β  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.Β  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’sΒ  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?

Still marathon recovering…

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I need to take notes from Cadence and try to get more sleep! πŸ’€ Mondays are tough! 5 easy treadmill miles this morning. πŸ™Œ

I haven’t felt very young for this last marathon recovery, but I can’t entirely blame aging as the culprit for my slow recovery. CTS came out with an article recently talking about the four things to do to recover from an endurance event. I’ve pretty much failed at all of them! Haha. Good thing our bodies are resilient!

1. Focus on Fluid Intake Throughout the Days Following Your Event: Unless wine intake counts, I did a pretty poor job here following the race. But traipsing all over wineries in Napa and Sonoma sure was fun!

2. Replenish Energy Levels With Quality Nutrition: When we ate, we ate at fancy restaurants. But we skipped lunch entirely on Monday, and fancy restaurants aren’t known for their huge portions. Between the breakfast buffet, snacks, and restaurants, we certainly ate plenty, but it wasn’t the quality of fruits and vegetables or timing that I typically like in my normal routine.

3. Get More Sleep: Ha! This one is probably the worst. Between the race that started at 5:30 am, the time zone change, and the red eye flight, we got pretty poor sleep, and I haven’t gotten a full 8 hours since. Totally my fault! I need to prioritize sleep better! Cadence still wakes in the night, and as much as I love the baby snuggles, it can be rough.

4. Utilize Compression: I definitely score the most points here. I like to sleep in compression socks as long as it’s cool in the bedroom. My hamstring is feeling a bit tight now as well, so I’ve added rock tape to my arsenal for recovery.Β  πŸ™‚

What’s your favorite recovery tool?

Ab separation and rockin the crop top

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Ok, so I know that you aren’t supposed to try anything new for race day, but I just got my new @runinrabbit crop hop in the mail. 😍🐰 I did a short test run this morning, and I think it’s comfortable enough to risk for my marathon on Sunday. (I mean, I’ve chafed for longer than that. πŸ˜‚πŸ’―)🀞 Now to decide between coral and white. πŸ€”πŸ˜ . . . And more for all of the mommas out there. Cadence sat really high in my belly when I was pregnant, and I still have a lot of ab separation from my pregnancy.πŸ‘Ά I had to have surgery last May because my intestines (still) pop out just a little above my belly button (like a hernia). πŸ™ˆAnd then there’s always the skin that doesn’t have quite the same elasticity that it used to…😊 All that to say, our bodies are incredible and continue to support us as we grow human beings, breastfeed, and then go out and run our hearts out. β€οΈπŸŽ‰ Since you can’t necessarily see my intestines popping out very well in this picture, I just wanted to keep it real. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜˜ . . . #motherrunner #marathontraining #taperweek #radrabbit #loveourgoldengirl #milestonepod #gobeyondpace #saucony #runyourworld #runningthroughpregnancy #postpartumrunning #extendedbreastfeeding #womenrunning #womensrunningcommunity #hshive

I think I’m set on wearing the crop top for my Sunday race, I just need to pick out a color! πŸ™‚ I wrote in my IG caption about my ab separation and pseudo hernia, so I thought I’d elaborate here in case any mommas are in the same boat.

I have a series of blog posts where I discovered the “hernia” andΒ got a diagnosis, had surgery, and then learned that I just had ab separation and weak fascia, but no actual hole in my fascia for a hernia. I elected to have surgery last May after noticing a nickel sized little bulge about midway up from my belly button. I was afraid that it would just get worse with my activity level, and the surgeon agreed that it was better to fix it while it was small instead of waiting until it got worse and required a larger repair.

After the surgery, I noticed that I still had the little bump, and returned to the surgeon. That’s when they told me that my fascia had just been weak, but there was no hernia to repair (yay! surgery for nothing!). My intestines press against the weaker fascia where I have ab separation (or diastasis recti) and create a little bump. I can push it back in, but inevitably, any effort causes it to poke out again. Doctors have told me that it will only get worse with a second baby, and that a tummy tuck is the only thing that would fix it. It’s a good thing babies are so cute!

Do you have ab separation from your pregnanc(ies)? Any other faux hernias out there? Haha

Race prep: visualization

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But seriously?! 😊 It doesn’t get any better than this! πŸ‘Ά I bet everyone would run of they had a tiny little personal cheerleader with them too. ❀️❀️❀️ I dread having to pull the shade over her sweet little head when we run in the sun. β˜€οΈ But I think I found a good alternative. 😁 We got in just under 6 miles this morning as part of the taper. I think I’ll take one more complete day off to make sure that my legs are fully recovered. πŸ™Œ #taperweek #strollerrunning #thuleurbanglide #bestlittletrainingbuddy #21monthsold #motherrunner #womensrunningcommunity #womenrunning #marathontraining

Unfortunately, I won’t have my beautiful baby in my vision for the upcoming San Francisco marathon, but I can help prepare for a good run through visualization (and maybe pretend that she is with me?!). Visualization is actually something that I’ve been doing for a couple of races now after seeing one of my friends utilize visualization for a really competitive job interview that she nailed.

I really like the approach that Tina Muir suggests for visualization here (scroll down a little or sign up for the download), and she really takes it to another level with detail and focus on specific aspects.Β  A few examples are visualize: waking up with a smile on your face, going to the bathroom the morning of (in my case, not too much, haha), arriving at the start, a few key places in the race, and what Tina says is most important, visualizing the finish.Β  While I’ve pictured myself running a race, I have never visualized quite to this detail. I’m not as familiar with the course, but there are certainly ways that I can visualize better. With so much of running being a mental field, I truly think that this is a powerful tool! I have a couple of days to really get those details nailed down! πŸ™‚

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Do you practice visualization for races (or anything else)? Has it helped?