*Weekly mileage ~ Oct. 17-23*

Mileage for the week of October 17th – October 23rd

Total weekly mileage: 28.25

Total October mileage: 79.75

Total year-to-date (2016) mileage: 1,171

Week in review:

10/17     No run/rest day

10/18     35:16 min./4 mi./8:48 pace

10/19     28:40 min./3 mi./9:20 pace (+hill repeats at November Project)

10/20     36:40 min./4 mi./9:06 pace

10/21     47:24 min.5.25 mi./9:01 pace

10/22     53:07 min./5 mi./10:36 pace (*mostly on trail)

10/23     1:12:15 min./7 mi./10:18 pace (*mostly on trail)

Last week was truly a transition week as I returned to my regular running schedule, began to carefully increase my mileage while keeping the pace easy, and got out on trail for two runs over the weekend. I also did one 30 minute yoga session (on my own), attended a November Project workout, and did a couple of strength training sessions.

I was challenged by some lingering psoas discomfort on my right side but besides that, I’m feeling pretty decent. The two trail runs over the weekend were both really hilly so I’m glad I was feeling good enough to tackle them.

This week will be similar, structure wise, though I’ll up the mileage a tiny bit and hopefully add some form of a speed workout in somewhere. As I mentioned in a post or two back, I’m really feeling the need to incorporate more of both yoga/stretching and strength training. The strength training comes so much easier.

Enjoy the final week of October! (I can’t believe we are a week away from November already!!)

*Weekly mileage – June 6-12*

Mileage for the week of June 6th – June 12th

Total weekly mileage: 37.25

Total June mileage: 59.5

Total year-to-date (2016) mileage: 508

Run review:

6/6      25:37 min./3 mi./8:33 pace

6/7      36:56 min./4.5 mi./8:13 pace

6/8       34:34 min./4.25 mi./8:07 pace

6/9       22:07 min./2.5 mi./8:51 pace

6/10     1:27:31 min./10 mi./8:45 pace

6/11      57:40 min./7 mi./8:14 pace

6/12      49:35 min./6 mi./8:16 pace

I’m happily starting to feel like a runner again! The focus of having something to work toward, to train for, to plan on… it must do something to my brain chemistry because I feel clearer. Even though my motivation wanes from time to time, I feel it guiding me right now to put is some solid effort.

While I’m currently running 7 days a week, as part of the Runner’s World run streak challenge, and carefully building my long run distance, my real focus right now is building strength. I’m doing weight-bearing training at least four days a week and trying to take advantage of the November Project workouts once a week. Later, I’ll bring in some speed work and maybe more hill training later but I still very much feel like I’m building a solid base and honestly, I want to be STRONG! I want a sturdy foundation to build upon. I’m hopeful that it will help keep me from suffering from the little annoying pains that have plagued me throughout previous training cycles and being leaner and faster wouldn’t hurt my feelings.

Cheers to a great week of training!

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*Base building for dummies*

Editor’s note: the title of my post is not meant to offend anyone or imply that anyone is a dummy. I often write in a satirical tone meant to be jovial but not offensive or mean-spirited. (Though I’m perfectly fine with calling myself a dummy, as is the case here.) Also, while I do hope to offer my readers some practical running and training tips based on my own experience, I am not a certified running coach.

Since I first began running, nearly 21 years ago, if there is one thing I’ve learned, it is this: the best way to avoid having to start over is to not quit doing it in the first place. (That is of course, unless you are forced to take time off to rest or heal after an injury. Not doing so would make you a dummy. Just sayin’.)

I have no idea how many times I’ve taken a break from running, for whatever reason, only to basically have to start over from scratch when I decided that I couldn’t live without it. The time-frame of the breaks has varied anywhere from a few days to a few months. (I wouldn’t be surprised if I missed an entire year in there somewhere too.)

In runners speak, base building or base training, is a period of maintenance, typically off-season, before jumping into your next training program. For new runners or those of us who have fallen off the wagon, it is often referred to as a point from which we begin running at a lower mileage base and begin to build from there.

Whether you plan to begin training for a future race or not, I think creating the mindset that you are in a base building phase is much better than a start over phase. Rebuilding a running program is a great opportunity to take a really good look at what you’ve done in the past, where you are now, and what your goals are. From that evaluation, you can make the necessary adjustments that correlate with your training plan or race schedule (if you have one).

My self-prescribed base building plan is really just a compiled list of do’s and don’ts that have helped me rebuild my mileage over the years when I’ve had to start over. I’m sure it will be beneficial for others that need a subtle (or not-so-subtle) kick in the ass to get out there and get moving again.

The DON’T List

Don’t beat yourself up over taking time off. Life happens. Shit happens. Get over it and move on. (I’m talking to you, Hyla.)

Don’t compare yourself to where you were last week, month, or year. Case in point: this time last year I had already run more than 700 miles. So far this year just a little over 300. But who’s counting?

Don’t compare yourself to other runners and the mileage they are currently logging or races they are doing.

Don’t worry about pace. Just get out there and run! As they say, a mile is a mile regardless of whether you run it in 8 minutes or 13 minutes.

Don’t immediately plan speed work sessions, hill repeats, ambitious long runs, etc.

The DO List

Do give yourself a mini-break regularly but pick a day/date that you’ll start back up. (Unless of course you are under the care of a physician and you need their consent to be released for physical activity.) I’ve found that while coming back after a break can be challenging, I think extended rest periods are very important for avoiding injury and long-term burnout.

Do decide what you want (safely and within reason) your base mileage to be. (This can and will change, as often as every couple of weeks and dependent upon what you were running before your break.) Using myself as an example, this week I have worked on running three miles most days so that it would become comfortable. In the weeks leading up to the time I took off, my average runs were three to four miles.

Do start slow and easy. No need to push the pace yet. Use this time as an opportunity to reconnect with what made you fall in love with running in the first place and why you want to keep doing it.

Do understand that you are going to be uncomfortable at first. There is no way I can sugarcoat it for you. It is very likely that you are going to experience some really ugly feelings both physically and mentally. Refer back to the first suggestion on the DON’T list.

Do aim to increase your mileage each week but wait until the second week, minimum, to add a “long” run. This is somewhat individual but the rule of thumb for increasing long run distance is about 10% each week. I’ve always felt pretty comfortable adding a mile (sometimes two) to my longer runs. You have to gauge it for yourself. It will also be dependent on how far you were running on your longer runs before you took time off and how long the break was. I’d also recommend that you wait until after you have two solid weeks of easy, short runs in before adding speed, interval, or hill training into the mix.

Do cross train and add strength workouts to your plan. While I wasn’t running, I was staying active by hiking hilly canyons and doing body-weight-based workouts several times a week. I’ve continued this practice as I’ve started running again. I know it helped me maintain some of my endurance and strength when I wasn’t running and has made the transition back to running easier.

Do believe that with consistency and optimism, you will regain your fitness and actually feel like a runner again soon. It’s a safe bet to say probably sooner than you think is possible too. In just one week, with only about 16 miles under my belt, I already feel SO much better!

2016-04-17 13.12.52

My first run back after 18 days off. Gotta start somewhere, right?

There is a ton of information to be found online and in various publications on the subject. However, I’ve stripped it down to these basic do’s and don’ts because I feel that many traditional base building training programs are geared toward athletes that have more rigid training cycles and are just coming off of one and/or has just finished a target/goal race. I fall into neither of these categories. Also, at least for me right now, I feel that laying the groundwork using these guidelines is a lot easier than a more formal training schedule.

Please remember that I do not have the credentials to give training advice and speak only from my own experiences so don’t be a dummy and take it for what it’s worth.

Happy base building!

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*My first cross-country race*

Every opportunity presents a lesson.

This morning I was humbled in a huge way. After three years of coaching cross-country, I gave it a try for myself. Over the past few years, I’ve ran right alongside my athletes. I’ve run hill repeats, interval sessions and speed work with them. I’ve been there for every long run. Every short run. And everything in between. Yet, I’d never run an actual cross-country race. Until today.

My mind was blown and I’ve gotta give mad props to my athletes. Holy hell! Running cross-country is HARD!

The race I ran today was put together by a Portland-area running club called the Red Lizards. Today’s event was part of a series that they host during the autumn months. Considering I coach XC, I’ve been to plenty of meets over the years but having never actually run one, I was feeling a little apprehension. Arriving at the park did not squash my nerves. There were some serious looking runners there. I feared that I was in over my head. But no matter. I was there to experience my first XC race and that I did.

The women’s event began at 9 AM. I followed the other 57 gals to the spray painted white line in the grass a few yards from the finish. The course was two loops, each consisting of 2 miles, through Gabriel Park in SW Portland. Grass, mud, muddy grass, dirt/gravel trail, some pavement, and all hill. Either uphill or downhill but not flat what so ever.

We started off right at 9 and within about 45 seconds I was sucking air. Ugh. I felt like I ran forever and was distraught to discover that I’d only run .66 of a mile the first time I checked my watch. Not even halfway through the first loop. But I kept going.

Finishing my first XC race!

Finishing my first XC race!

I can say with certainty that it was one of the most challenging races I’ve ever run. Out of 58 women, I finished 47th. In my age division, women 35-39 years of age, I was 8th out of 8 participants. Needless to say, it was a pretty big bruise to my ego.

However, instead of dwelling on where I placed, I’m choosing to focus on what went well. Such as:

  • I RAN MY FIRST XC RACE! The overall experience was actually a lot of fun.
  • I didn’t finish last. Came close, but still beat 11 other women.
  • Didn’t pee my pants. (That’s another story for another day.)
  • Finished without rolling an ankle or injuring myself. (One of my greatest fears of running uneven terrain is hurting/breaking something.)
  • Had Mr. Wasn’t Just the Wine Talking and son in tow for support. After being at every one of my son’s XC meets over the years, seeing him on the sidelines cheering me on was so awesome. I’m grateful that they wanted to come.
  • There was a break in the otherwise stormy weather and we didn’t get soaked.
  • I kind of want to do it again.

I’m grateful for the experience and that there are cool running clubs out there offering XC for adults. I’m taking away a few lessons from today’s event but I’m fairly certain that there will be more cross-country races in my future!

Race results:

Distance:     4 miles

Overall time:     33:34

Pace:     8:23

*Third place, Baby!*

I’m actually serious! Having decided, on a whim over the weekend to enter a small fun run 4k, I wasn’t sure what to expect today. Layered on top of that is the fact that I’ve not really “raced” since the Boston Marathon, nor have I done any significant speed work since… and I’m guessing here… sometime in mid-March.

Despite my feelings about hope being a “hail Mary”, I was hopeful that I could manage at least a 7:30, or so, pace today for the fun run that I decided to enter for the sheer fact that it was a unique event. A 4k on a Wednesday afternoon at 3 PM… and on a rare day off from coaching cross-country? Sure! I’m game!

The 4k 4Charity was primarily attended by technology industry professionals (and honestly, I sort of felt like an outcast) because the concept of the charitable race was created by the technology industry. But nevermind that. I’ve been searching for events that move me from my comfort zone to that sweet space just beyond… where the magic happens!

While at one point, I was in the second place spot, I dropped to third the last half-mile. No matter. Considering I was waaaay under-trained and all, I’ll happily embrace third. The event was not officially timed so these results are my own, based on my Garmin.

18:22 minutes

2.53 miles (slightly over the 4k distance of 2.49)

7:16 pace

My shortest “race” ever proved to also be my fastest. And I’m stoked!

IMG_1773

Yeah, baby! Rockin’ 2.49 miles like a boss!

 

*Weekly mileage ~ Oct. 12-18*

Mileage for the week of October 12th – October 18th

Total weekly mileage: 27.5

Total October mileage (to-date): 69.75

XC mileage (part of weekly total): 10.5

Total year-to-date (2015) mileage: 1,587

Run review:

10/12           5.25 miles w/XC

10/13           20:52 min./2.15 mi./9:42 pace     +2.35 mi. w/XC

10/14           52:51 min./6.25 mi./8:27 pace

10/15           21:25 min./2 mi./10:43 pace

10/16           8:07 min./1 mi./8:03 pace

23:21 min./2.5 mi./9:18 pace

+ 3 miles w/XC

10/17         26:24 min./3 mi./8:48 pace

10/18         No run

My intention last week was to run as much as I possibly could on soft surfaces to mimic cross-country style terrain. I was largely successful, running most of my runs on trails and in fields. It is interesting to watch my pace drop but I’m trying to ignore that, for now, and just focus on getting acclimated to running on a different surface than my body is accustom to.

While this week proves challenging with a three XC meets, jury duty (UGH!!), work, building a business, laundry (never-ending!), and a host of other odds and ends, my intention is to focus, not only on running on soft surfaces, but doing some speed work on them too. I made the mistake a few nights ago by looking at some of the previous meet results. Dang. These adult XC runners are speedy!

I’m in it for the experience of just doing it. But I don’t want to completely embarrass myself either!

In doing some related research, I found this article that discusses the benefits of taking a break from the road and switching over to trail to build strength and stamina. Honestly, it’s been nice to shift gears and approach training for a new angle. It has created a renewed sense of excitement for sure!

More to come! Have a great week!

*Weekly mileage*

Mileage for the week of February 23rd – March 1st

Total weekly mileage: 63.25

Total February mileage (to-date): 240.25

Total March mileage (to-date): 19

Total year-to-date (2015) mileage: 472

Run review:

2/23          No run/rest day

2/24         41:52 min./5.25 mi./8:13 pace

42:42 min./5.18 mi./8:15 pace (*track/speed workout)

5:00 min/.57 mi./8:48 pace

2/25         1:09:52 min./8 mi./8:43 pace

2/26         40:41 min./4.75 mi./8:34 pace

2/27         1:48:22 min./13.25 mi./8:11 pace

2/28         27:52 min./3 mi./9:17 pace

39:38 min./4.25 mi./9:20 pace

3/1           2:37:40 min./19 mi./8:18 pace

*My pace average from my track/speed workout on the 24th doesn’t really reflect that I actually did some *speed work* but I let my Garmin run during the recovery portions of the workout, hence the slower pace.

Most of my runs last week were run at a slower pace than is typical for me but I know I needed to bring the intensity down a little bit. I already mentioned that it was a bit of a rough week but I’m grateful to have successfully completed another solid week of training at the mileage I set out to reach.

Today I rest. And stretch. And make the most of this recovery day (in fact, I just awoke from a decadent nap!) which includes finalizing my March (MARCH!) training schedule. Because the bitch that reality is, punched me in the face this morning: 49 days until the Boston Marathon!!!!!!!