1/2 Marathon Training Plan

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I’m back at it. My half marathon is the first weekend in June, and I’m so excited! We (my husband and I) ran the Williamsburg Run for the Dream 1/2 Marathon last year, and it is by far my favorite route in the world. I’m always looking for an excuse to run in Williamsburg, and I always look forward to those glorious 13.1 miles.
We have a lot of changes potentially coming down the chute in the next couple months, so I started my training a little earlier than necessary… just in case there are some ‘set-backs’ to my long runs.

Last weekend I enjoyed my 7 mile run in my favorite park, it was about 40 F so I was bundled up for the first couple miles and discarded my gloves once I warmed up. On the first mile, I found a brand new smart phone! I called a few of the last contacts and left it at the running store I was running with. Hopefully it found its rightful owner.  295550_345102265606645_866713775_n

About a week ago I ran on the boardwalk during the sunrise. I paused to catch my breath, and looked like a total tourist to take some pictures. I tend to do my shorter runs on the boardwalk because it’s about a 6 mile loop, and it would just be the end of the world if I had to run a lap or something. How can I not love running when it gets me our in God’s beautiful creation every morning while the rest of the world is still asleep?

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Where do your runs take you? When is the best time for you to run?

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Close of 2012

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What an amazing year… how can you begin to cover the highlights of such a fabulous year?

At midnight tonight, the gorgeous ball will drop in Town Square, and we will toast to a New Year! We’ve got the wine chilling, the treats tucked away in the fridge, and our bags packed to head back to Virginia in the morning. I love the holidays, but I also love the chance to a new beginning. I know that while 2012 was amazing, 2013 is also going to be phenomenal. One of the reasons is because I was able to graduate with my undergraduate degree this December, and I am truly able to begin afresh in January. So, while everyone is wildly excited about our new year: 2013, I’m still recovering from 2012!

So I’m gunna go ahead and brag (haha),  you can see why it’s been an exhausting year.

Here are a few highlights:

  • got a great promotion at work
  • ran two awesome half-marathons
  • did a little traveling
  • completed my undergraduate degree
  • ran over 500 miles (which was my goal)

Needless to say, I’ve spent my Christmas break sleeping! Regardless of all this, I still reached my goal of running 60 miles in December… Despite all my days spent traveling 🙂 They were mostly short runs, around three miles, and my longest run was five miles. Considering most people drop off the fitness planet in December, I’m pretty happy with it!

December Run Goal
I’m planning on posting all my New Years goals later this week, things like the races I want to run and PR’s 🙂 My goals aren’t just about fitness, but about keeping my life balanced… so keep posted for all of that!

Some of our New Years Resolutions

Some of our New Years Resolutions

The Fartlek

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We get it. With traveling and family coming into town, the amount of time to run and workout is severely impacted. So instead of an hour workout, you’re lucky to squeeze in twenty minutes!

You hate them. You dread them. You gotta do ’em. Fartleks.

Fartlek: Swedish for speed play, alternating easy and hard running.

This allows you to gradually increase speed and intensity for a short period of time.

Incorporating Speedwork into your Runs

This can turn a 20 minute run into that intense workout you need to stay in shape for that spring race you’re training for. Since its the holidays, it might be exactly what you need. You can get some intense sprints in, leaving you with more time with the people you love. Experiment with different paces and go as hard as you can for a 20-30 minute run, you’ll not only increase your stamina, but you’ll burn off a lot more of that egg nog and rum!

Here are some options from Runners World:

5k-10k:
• 8 to 12 x 1 minute hard/1 minute easy
• 6 to 8 x 2 minutes moderately hard/1 minute easy
• Descending ladder: 6 minutes, 5 minutes, 4 minutes, 3 minutes, 2 minutes, 1 minute. Start at 10k pace and slow to 5k pace.

Half and full marathon:
• 4 to 8 x3 minutes moderately hard, 2 minutes easy
• 3 x 5 to 8 minutes comfortably hard with a two minute jog between each
• 2 x 10 to 13 minutes at half-marathon effort with a 2 minute jog between each

Fartleks - Speedwork

Fartleks – Speedwork

Surviving the Holiday 15

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With only a week before Christmas, who doesn’t dread the part of the Holidays that endorses unlimited eating, forgotten workouts, and the dreaded Holiday 15!?! It’s almost become a part of life, “gain the weight in December, work all year to lose it”. It’s a North American rule. Sound familiar? I think some of us may do the same thing with credit cards… but back on point.

How do we enjoy the holidays without ending up feeling like bloated whales by the time it’s all over? Well, we can be strategic, set some goals, have a few guidelines, and we’ll be sure to Survive the Holiday 15:

Keep moving.

1. Switch it Up.
Take the stairs, get up and get water, park a little farther from the mall. With the added stress of the holidays, we need to keep moving. It’s okay to shorten your Cardio if you can’t fit it in, instead of the gym, try a yoga set on YouTube.

2. Involve the Family.
This season is about family right? Encourage healthy living by involving the whole family! Go for walks with the family through the Christmas tree farms. Park at the end of the street and walk through the lighted neighborhood with hot chocolate. Bundle up and hit up an outdoor skating rink.

3. Try some at home strength training.
Between commercials during your favorite Christmas music, alternate with sit-up, push-ups, burpies, squats and stretches. I’ve found this to be the very best way to fight the urge to munch throughout the entire movie.

Just take time to enjoy the peace and love during the Holiday Season

Just take time to enjoy the peace & love during the Holidays

Watch your Eating

1. Eat before you go. If you are planning on hitting up a really great Christmas spread, make sure you eat before you go. All those little appetizers are not as safe as you think, and the salad you ate on the way out the door will help cushion the little treats you may indulge in.

2. Pick a Treat.
Once you make it to the party, make sure you get a drink in your hand (tea or water), which will limit your handling capacity. make the rounds and decide on your selected treats. You know your limits. Make sure that every piece of food has been considered (and don’t just eat chips… what’s so special about that?). Ps. Skip the egg nog, at up to 350 calories a cup, it’s just not worth it!

3. Keep your eating clean at Home.
Just because it’s a big party out there doesn’t mean you have to forget about healthy eating at home. Keep the carrots, celery, oranges and apples handy this Christmas. This is one of the best ways to balance out all those Christmas parties, meals and celebrations.

We hope you take time to spread love and peace during the Holiday Season.
Merry Christmas!

November Miles

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As I’ve mentioned before, I’m kind of a recreational runner. This is in large part due to the fact that I work and am in school full time, have a husband to love and house to keep clean. Anyways, with that in mind (because I obviously can’t just be proud of myself), I decided to give myself the BHAG of running 70 miles in the month of November!!  When I ran my final four miles this morning, I was SO proud of myself, I couldn’t stop grinning! As you can see by my little graph, I ran exactly 70 miles. Not 70.01. But 70.

My sweet husband was also so proud of me but we are both SO happy that I’ll be able to cuddle tomorrow morning instead of freezing outside in the ‘cold’.

November Run Goal- KILLED IT!


November Run Goal- KILLED IT!

Now that I’m done shouting out to myself (hah) I just want to point out the merits of keeping track of your running/workouts in order to track your progress. I’ve been using the app “RunKeeper” since Sept 2010, and I LOVE (I’m a little obsessed) checking out how much better of a runner I’ve become since then. I’ve since graduated to my shiny little Garmin, which is a lot more accurate.

Goals are important because they are what keep us from being UN-motivated runners.

Set your Goal: Every month I set a goal, even if I don’t meet that goal, I run much farther than if I don’t.

Break it Down: Decide how many miles you have to run per week, strength days you’ll incorporate, and rest days. Then stick to it.

Make it Measurable: Give yourself a start and an end date.

For example, I wanted to run 500 miles in 2012. That means I’ll be running an average of 40 miles/month, 10 miles/week. No big deal! I’m happy to say I’m definitely going to KILL that goal as well!

Keep track of where you’ve come from, not how far you need to go! What goals have you recently demolished? What’s your goal strategy?

How Far they've Come.

Ask a Runner: Dealing with Injury

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Question from one of my readers, Jessica:

I began training for my first full marathon in June and have been experience knee pain on runs longer than 3 or 4 miles…a shooting pain behind my knee cap and outside of my knee. If I stop and stretch my knee area, it goes away for about 3/4 of a mile but returns. I’ve tried taping, which helped some but will still only allow me to run about 7 or 8 miles. And braces have proven far more uncomfortable than they’re worth. I have been a pretty consistent runner since 2009 and run about 3 half marathons per year. I have never had knee pain before and don’t want to stop running, but I also don’t want to hurt myself and interfere with my marathon training. What can I do?

My Perspective:
I haven’t really had to deal with a lot of injury during my short running career, and I think most of that is because I’ve always been too busy to log a lot of miles. For the first couple years though, I was using cheap running shoes from TJ Maxx and this began to give me excruciating pain behind my knees earlier this year! After a run cut short, I was mad and threw them in the garbage, and my husband and I marched over to a running store and I was fitted for shoes that I needed. I was lucky because this was all I needed to get back on track. Get your shoes fitted at a store that has you walk on a treadmill and monitors your gait.

It sounds like you’re an experienced runner, and the pain shouldn’t be from adding distance. If you already have shoes prescribed by a specialist, I’d recommend visiting an orthopedist who runs and/or who treats runner. I’m a firm believer in not running through injury’s, you must let the injury heal or you’ll be stuck in a cycle, and an orthopedist may help you run pain free.

Because I’m not a doctor, I’ve included a few links to check out based on your issue:

Jessica, I wish you a speedy recovery. There’s nothing worse than not being able to get out there and run, for whatever reason! Listen to your body and never, ever run through pain.

If any of my other readers have an opinion, please weigh in!

Persistence, not Luck.

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My hubby and I were just talking today about how talent can be your enemy because success is comes from hard work. Every time I see someone that’s better than me at something, I’m grateful because that means I will have to work hard to be as good as them, and my work ethic will make me succeed.
This long weekend has been mostly spent doing homework (I’m ALMOST done!), and my courses are hard for me. But if they were easy, I wouldn’t be building the discipline to pursue my masters degree… see what I mean?
This principle directly applies to working out. I know girls who never cared about their weight because they could eat ice cream for every meal and not gain an ounce… but will they have abs of steel? No. But we will, because we’ve had to fight for losing every pound, and built that discipline in the gym. Our hard work is going to get us where we need to do.

It’s about persistence, not luck.