Good morning everyone!
Hope the weekend was great. Ryan and I got up to some pretty fun stuff - but I will share that with you in a post to come. I don't want to spill any details, so here is a very vague hint that you will have a post all about this certain thing soon enough! And no, it doesn't involve getting engaged or having a baby, so stop jumping to conclusions right meow!
The weekend was pretty laid back, and Sunday morning I woke up bright and early to get my long run in. 16km was on the schedule, and despite wanting to stay in bed and trying to talk myself out of it, I found myself getting my running gear on and the next thing I knew, I was out the door. It's probably a good thing I didn't let myself lay there and scroll through social media, otherwise that would be a long run missed, and I am trying to get them all in!
So, how is training going, anyway?
I am following the 14 week training plan - though for me it is more like 12 weeks since I landed upon this training plan two weeks into the program. Nevertheless, it has been excellent having a plan to follow. As much as I enjoy doing my own things and creating my own training schedules, this gives me something to stay accountable. Besides, I like seeing the check marks all over the calendar when I complete a work out!
Wait, wait, wait. How LONG is this run?
21.1km of FUN!
How are the long runs going?
So far I have missed one long run, but that is it. I will take it!
The hardest part has definitely been working long runs in, especially since I work on Saturdays when the long run is suggested. However, nothing is set in stone and I like to keep things flexible on the weekends. For example, I did my long run yesterday on Sunday and the usual Sunday recovery run on Saturday after work. You gotta make it work for your schedule, however that may look.
Pace wise, I do not have a "race pace" that I am aiming for. My long runs have been at a relaxed, easy pace since the object is to gain more time on your feet, not increase speed, so I run at a more comfortable pace where I am not pushing the limits. It is so easy to burn out during a 15km long run, so why race near the beginning only to fizzle out? I also walk half way during some hills, just to save a bit of energy for the way down and for the rest of the run. Basically what I am saying is don't go balls to the walls during your long runs, because that will make recovering a lot easier on your body!
My goal for July is to get in all of my long runs. This includes a 20km and 21km long run in the next two to three weeks.
Do I run early before work or after work?
Since I have Mondays off, the Monday run is easy to fit in since I tend to not have many things planned on Monday (or I will plan them a bit later so I can get my run in around 7:30-8am or so). On Wednesdays where there is more of a running work out, I do those before work. They tend to be on the shorter side - about half an hour or so, depending on how speedy and awake I feel. Most of the time I am hitting up a yoga class after work, and I like to spend time lounging and winding down in the evening, not cramming my workouts in back to back. There has been a few times where I completed my long run before work on Saturday, but I am finding it way, WAY easier to do it on Sundays when I have the day off.
What do I do for recovery?
Although it is tempting to just carry on with the day after I come home from a run, I am actively making more of an effort to stretch out my legs. This includes doing some yoga stretches and foam rolling. Foam rolling has made a big difference, and I do it every so often each day while watching tv, scrolling Instagram, etc. I also rehydrate after my long runs with Nuun tabs in a big glass of ice water for that extra refreshment and electrolytes! Additionally, the training plan includes a rest day every Friday as well as yoga and cross training to help my muscles rebuild and recover. Some people also take epsom salt baths for sore muscles, or get regular massages. I do the bath thing sometimes, and the massage thing rarely, because my budget doesn't allow weekly full body massages. Oh yeah, and I eat to refuel my body!
Do I eat before or after running?
During my workout Wednesday runs, I do not eat before I run. I find if I have breakfast before, my stomach cramps up on the run and I am starving throughout the day. My body responds well to fasted cardio (thanks to my competition prep days), and I am also the type of person that just wants to get up and GO! and not worry about making a meal pre-run. If I wake up ravenous, I have a few protein oatmeal balls that I make each week so there is something in my stomach. I actually eat three of these before my long runs (think 14km and above), that way my blood sugar levels stay up, I've got glycogen in my body, and I won't fatigue during the long haul. Once I return from my run, I refuel with a proper breakfast, but I do not like eating breakfast before running unless it is actually race day, in which case it is typically oatmeal since my body already responds well to that and is used to that. No new foods on race day!
How do I keep my mind occupied during long runs?
While I love technology free runs, since I track my time and distance with a running app on my phone, I am almost always listening to music. Or, I will listen to a podcast (I am loving The Skinny Confidential His & Her podcast) and then listen to music after. I typically find a premade playlist on Spotify and go from there! On shorter recovery runs I either listen to nothing but my huffing and puffing or some music.
So, overall the training is going well. I am finding that so long as I keep my body fueled properly and eating whole foods, my energy levels stay consistent throughout the day and my body feels good. Of course, my appetite can be a little bit crazy on long run days (especially if done early in the morning), but if I eat enough protein and carbs throughout the day then I don't feel like grabbing just anything out of the cupboard. Nutrition is key while training, let alone putting in the actual work!
I hope you guys found this post helpful. I will chat with you in the next one! : )