Running

My first attempt at the half marathon

A speed boosting track workout you can do almost anywhere

A speed boosting track workout teaserWhen I was out for my tempo run last week, I took a different route and ended up behind the Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence (PISE) at Camosun College. As I was running around the campus, I noticed they just installed a brand new outdoor running track that I totally plan to take advantage of now on my interval run days, because up until now I was using the ol’ telephone-pole-on-a-flat-road method to time my intervals. I have an interval timer on my phone (and I’m sure my Garmin does it too) but I can’t be bothered to set it up/get bored quickly and prefer to run intervals by predetermined landmarks.

If you’re like me and can’t be bothered with a timer / love variety on your training runs, try this fun  speed boosting track workout you can do almost anywhere — all you need are some predetermined landmarks, such as telephone poles (which are between 38 to 91 metres apart, or you can determine the distance with your Garmin watch), trees or driveways, on a 200 metre stretch of flat road. (more…)

Results of my #evenbetter 5K run challenge with Ocean Spray® – Did I get faster?

Challenging myself to be #evenbetter resultsTwo weeks ago, I shared that I was hoping to improve my 5K run time—which was hovering around a 5:30-per-kilometre pace since my last marathon in February thanks to minimal running and preferring strength training over cardio in general—in an attempt to get faster to prepare myself for those speedy tempo runs as part of my next round of Boston Qualifier marathon training. I set the goal as part of the #evenbetter challenge with Ocean Spray®, which meant I had to set a healthy goal I could obtain within two weeks, make myself accountable to it by announcing it on my blog, and update my readers and social media followers about my progress in reaching said goal over the next two weeks.

As part of the challenge, Ocean Spray® sent me three flavours of their PACt® Cranberry Extract Waters (Cranberry Pomegranate, Cranberry Raspberry and Cranberry Mango Passionfruit) to help keep me hydrated, which I downed after my runs and brought to work with me to encourage me to drink more water during the day. (more…)

14-week summer marathon training plan (incorporating Tone It Up workouts!)

If you asked me last week how I was feeling about my upcoming marathon training program, I’d have been on the fence about even starting. Due to some health issues, I’m still not 100% sure I’ll be attempting to BQ, let alone run, at the Goodlife Victoria Marathon this October. But since I’m playing the waiting game right now, I thought I’d write myself a summer marathon training plan structured around my upcoming travels (Blogfest!) and vacations (Sunfest!), and at least start doing some more frequent and longer runs leading up to the Beat the Blerch Half in September.

So here’s what I came up with:

It’s kind of a mix of the FIRST marathon training method, but with an extra 5K or 11K run a week added in (depending on my flex day schedule) since I’m limited to an hour workout in the mornings, plus Tone It Up workouts from the Beach Babe 4 DVD to supplement the strength and stretch portion of my training plan.

I know I won’t be able to hit my tempo and interval run pace targets just yet, but it’s something to shoot for while I continue to pick up my 5K pace with the Ocean Spray® PACt® cranberry extract water #evenbetter challenge over the next week.

This past week I did three runs: Wednesday was a decent 26 minute 5K with a few sub 5:00 kms in the midst (full disclosure: I had to stop once half way through to throw up – running at that speed after taking my iron supplement sans breakfast is NOT a good idea); Friday was a slow and sloggy 4.5K run I just wanted to be over and done with, and Sunday was a decent 10K run that actually made me enjoy running again.

I don’t know what’s up with me and running right now. Some days I can’t wait to get out there, and other days I’d rather be doing anything else. Which is funny, because summer on the island is prime running weather – you’d think it’d be harder to get out there and run during our dreary, wet and cold winters. Sure, it gets hot and muggy; but if you head out the door early enough, it’s lovely and pleasant.

Hoping to get back to this level of run fitness soon!

Hoping to get back to this level of run fitness soon!

Hopefully this new marathon training plan, the #evenbetter 5K challenge and the IDEA World Fitness conference next week will help to inspire me and pull me out of this summer fitness funk.

How’s your fitness routine going this summer? Are you in a running rut as well? What keeps you motivated during the summer to work out? What races are you training for right now?

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Linking up with the lovely:

Annmarie at The Fit Foodie Mama, Nicole at Fitful Focus, Michelle at Fruition Fitness and Jen at Pretty Little Grub

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Also linking up with these sexy RRCA Certified Running Coaches: Susie of Suzlyfe, Rachel of Running on Happy, Debbie of Coach Debbie Runs, and Lora of Crazy Running Girl

Challenging myself to be #evenbetter in 2 weeks with Ocean Spray®: My 5K run challenge!

Challenging myself to be #evenbetter in 2 weeks with Ocean Spray®_ My 5K run challenge!In two weeks, I’ll begin training for my third and final attempt at qualifying for the Boston Marathon while I’m eligible for the 30-35 year age bracket. (This means I need to run a 3:35 marathon time to qualify – which I’ve done – BUT actually need to train for and run a 3:30 or less to get into Boston.) Even though I’m only 31 and could keep trying to hit that 3:30 before I turn 35, I feel like I will need a break after this attempt due to general life busyness and other fitness goals I’d like to focus on – I love running, but I really don’t love marathon training. It always makes me feel really run down and those long runs really beat up my body if I don’t take a long enough break in between training cycles.

I’ve really been enjoying strength training and the Tone It Up workouts these past few months since my last BQ attempt in February of this year, and although I’ve still been running a 5K to 8K once or twice a week to maintain cardio, I’ve been taking it much too easy and letting my pace slip down more and more each week.

That’s why I was excited when Ocean Spray® challenged me to be #evenbetter by setting a healthy goal I could obtain within two weeks, making myself accountable to it by announcing it on my blog, and updating my readers and social media followers about my progress in reaching said goal over the next two weeks. So what’s my #evenbetter challenge goal, you ask? (more…)

Product Review: Magnaphones Wireless Yoga and Running Headphones

magnaphones reviewI didn’t think I needed wireless earbuds until the folks at Magnaphones were kind enough to send me their new sweat proof, weatherproof wireless Bluetooth earphones to try out to see what I thought about them.

And… I’m never going back to corded earbuds again. I seriously love them.

Although I only listen to music occasionally when I run, I definitely listen to it when I race. And I don’t know how many minutes I’ve lost during a race frigging around with an earbud that popped out because a) I’m sweating a lot, or b) I accidentally snag the cord with my swinging arm and rip it out of my ear. Never. Again. (more…)

A boredom-busting treadmill workout

Treadmill WorkoutEven though I run outside year-round on Vancouver Island, there are some days (like today… and pretty much all of January and February) when it’s too cold and miserable outside to run. Well, it’s not really—but I’m much more likely to actually get my workout in than skip it if I can be comfortable during said workout.

Enter the treadmill (aka dreadmill). Sure, it’s not as fun or challenging as running on a single-track trail over roots and rocks—but the treadmill can be an effective way to get in a great aerobic workout when any outside run just isn’t possible.

To beat treadmill-running boredom and to help increase your aerobic capacity and leg strength, try doing a fartlek run (a run consisting of various inclines and speeds from easy to moderate to hard) for your treadmill workout. If you need something more structured than just running fast and slow and adjusting the incline on the fly for your treadmill run, try this 40-minute fartlek treadmill workout: (more…)

Why analytical thinkers and problem solvers make the best ultramarathoners

barkleysI don’t think it’s a coincidence that the Barkley Marathons finishers are typically scientists, physicists or engineers. I feel like you need to have a certain mindset or way of thinking to handle the physical and mental demands of an ultra endurance race like that.

This past weekend I was glued to Twitter following the 30th running of the Barkley Marathons—the only resource for live updates on the famously enigmatic 100-ish mile race—and constantly refreshing the #BM100 hashtag feed to find out how Canadians Gary Robbins and Rhonda-Marie Avery (who was the race’s first blind participant – yes, blind) were faring on the race’s unforgiving course. Rhonda-Marie and her guide gave a valiant effort, dropping out after getting lost on the first loop, while Gary completed four and a half loops (out of five) before getting turned around and losing time, which forced him to drop out about five hours from the cut-off time.

According to sources on the course, Gary was hallucinating bad—something that ultrarunners often experience when attempting 100+ mile races on little to no sleep. I’ve heard of runners seeing things in the trees, feeling like the forest was caving in on them, hearing voices and experiencing other wild visions when they start to lose mental footing during a race. Even this year’s winner (who is the race’s first-ever three-time finisher) Jared Campbell mentioned he was hearing voices in the tunnel on the course. I can’t imagine the mental fortitude it would take to ground yourself and keep pushing on when your that emotionally, mentally and physically exhausted.   (more…)

My post-marathon spring fitness program

At Caesar's Palace on our Vegas vacay

At Caesar’s Palace on our Vegas vacay

Now that the Phoenix Marathon and my winter vacation has come and gone, I sat down over the weekend to plan out my soring fitness program – essentially my workouts and meal planning from now until the summer. I finally went for a short run on Sunday, two weeks after the Phoenix race, and it was a total slog. Nothing hurt, which was great, but my legs felt like lead. It probably didn’t help that I jumped right into strength training this week and was feeling a bit sore.

Although there’s a small part of me that wants to sign up for the BMO Vancouver Marathon on May 1st to attempt to qualify for Boston again this year, I know my body (and mind) needs a break from those epically long Sunday runs. I could probably train without increasing my mileage too much, but I really miss feeling strong and fit from those four-day-a-week strength training sessions. So, I’ve decided to forgo the BMO Vancouver Marathon and to set my sights on the Goodlife Victoria Marathon again as a qualifying race this fall. Yes, that means I won’t achieve one of the goals I set for myself in January (well, just the year that I get to run Boston – I still could technically qualify this year). And I’m okay with that. I feel like this year will be a year where a lot of things may change and goals will shift accordingly. I’ve already experienced several big changes so far this year that will probably affect my 2016 goals that I’ll share at some point on the blog (don’t worry, it’s in a good way!). (more…)

Race review: Phoenix Marathon

Hard earned medal! I had to have my bag searched when I took it through security as it looked like a weapon on the bag scanner, haha.

Hard earned medal! I had to have my bag searched when I took it through airport security as it looked like a weapon on the bag scanner, haha.

So my Phoenix Marathon race didn’t go as planned.

And for some reason, I’m not terribly upset about it. Even when the grinding pain in my right hip — which started around mile 9 — became too much to handle at mile 13 and the 3:40 pace group passed by me about 15 minutes later, I wasn’t frustrated or mad. Even though I travelled 1,600 miles to run a race in hopes of qualifying for Boston, I was more concerned about not being about to walk around Disneyland and Vegas after the race. It’s not that I wasn’t focused on my goal or disappointed that I didn’t do what I set out to do… but I think I’ve just run enough races now to understand that’s just the nature of the marathon. You could have a completely perfect training cycle and taper, only to totally blow it on race day. And likewise, you could be riddled with injuries and illness and somehow have a fantastic race. That’s just the way it goes. (more…)

Phoenix Marathon training update: 1 week to go!

newgarmin

My new Garmin Forerunner!

My current state is a mix of pre-race jitters, concern about the heat in Phoenix, general excitement for running a marathon in another country, worrying about staying healthy before we go, and crazy excitement for Disneyland (I haven’t been since I was 12!) and Vegas (I’ve never been!).

I did my last long run on Sunday, a 10 km at a moderate 5:23 pace. I meant to go slower, but decided to test my new Garmin (yes, I bit the bullet because and bought a Forerunner 225 because it’s one less thing I have to worry about on race day) and how it paces. I cruised along at my race pace for a bit (about 4:55 min/per km) and felt pretty good. I LOVE all the data on the Forerunner 225, which also doubles as an activity tracker; you can wear it all day to track steps, sleep and calories burned, plus it has continuous heart rate tracking from your wrist (own with chest straps!). I’ve been wearing the Garmin on one wrist and my FitBit Charge on the other to compare tracking, so hopefully I can write up a full comparison for the blog eventually. (more…)

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