Week 12 Boston Marathono 2015 Training

I can hardly believe that in less than a month I will be running my third Boston Marathon! My training has been going great, my body feels ready to go and I still have four weeks. 

This week I really wanted to work on hills, to get ready for the Newton Hills and for Heartbreak Hill. The difficult thing about the Boston Marathon course, is that the up hills come near the end of the marathon.  Plus with all the down hill running in the first half of the course, your quads are pretty much done. This is where the cross training come into play. Building up those quads for those hills!

Monday began with some pool work. I prefer to kick with a kick board and really concentrate on keeping my legs straight and engaging my hips and glutes to propel my body through the water. I can feel the burn and it really gets the heart rate up. This is excellent non impact cross training for runners. I can't tell you how great it feels to get in the pool after a long run day.

I opted out of my intervals on Tuesday and decided to do 12 hill sprints. Thankfully, we live in the hills of Southern California, so I can run out my front door and immediately choose to run up a hill or down a hill. My focus was on my form, concentrating on using my glutes and keeping my body over my feet and pumping my arms and thinking of God pulling me up the hill kind of like when you grab onto a tow rope. I asked God to get me up and over that hill.  Sprinting up hill is resistance training in and of itself. After cresting each hill, I was completely breathless and had to walk down the hill to recover. I ran a total of 7 miles and 9 different hills. Then I decided to sprint up and down the last hill 3x to finish strong. My mental focus was on staying strong on the uphill, keeping my positive thoughts and never giving up.

Thursday I had to swap my tempo run day for a long run day because I was scheduled to run the Hot Chocolate 15K in San Diego on Sunday. My body was still pretty tired from the previous long run of 20 miles and all the cross training I did on Wednesdays (PiYo and Spin Class) so it felt a little difficult to maintain a steady pace over 15 miles. Plus the fact that I again chose a very hilly route. In the end, I was able to maintain an average pace of 8:25 which was right on track with my training schedule. My body felt great, no calf pain or hamstring issues. As I began to realize how great my body felt, I was thankful to the Lord for my strong body and that my training was paying off. 

Friday I went to the gym and did 35 minutes on the row machine (5 minutes easy, 5 minutes hard, repeat). I always enjoy my non-impact cross training days. It feels so good to get my body moving and challenging my muscles in a different way. 

Saturday was my day of rest. I drove down to San Diego with my friend Heather to attend the Hot Chocolate 15K Race Expo. Sunday morning the race began at 7:40 AM. I decided to use it as a tempo run, since my schedule was to do a 10 mile tempo at race pace (8:12). The course was very hilly, a lot of rolling hills in the beginning and almost all down hill for the last 2 miles. My pace was all over the place due to the hills. I managed to finish with an average pace of 7:55 and I finished in 4th place for my age division. Not bad for a training run that I wasn't even racing! I never race when I am training for a marathon, too risky to end up pulling something.

Mental training is my focus for next week. Staying positive during the times I want to give up and remembering to use my glutes and keep my form even when I get tired. I visualize the finish line at the end of each run and mentally focus on finishing strong. As always, I want to finish Boston Strong!

Week 11 Boston Marathon 2015 Training

This week was a mix of hard and easy training. There are days you have a great run and then there are days you ask yourself, "Why am I doing this?"

My body was tired, my mind was tired, and I just didn't feel like getting out there on Tuesday to get my intervals done. I knew I needed those intervals to get faster, to work on my running form and mental focus. So I kept with my plan and hit the road. I began my first interval, and I was a little slower than my scheduled pace, but that was OK. I always tell myself, just do your best. I knew I could have pushed myself a little harder, but then I would have been at total depletion, and I still had more intervals to do. As I began my recovery interval, I told myself to stay strong ,and every interval makes me that much closer to my goal finish time. By the end of my intervals I felt great! I managed to stay within a reasonable pace to still reap the rewards. 

Thursday was my tempo run at race pace, and I was looking forward a tempo run that didn't totally kill my endurance. It felt great! I was able to run a little faster than scheduled, and was even able to keep on pace on the hills even with a little wind resistance. It was a beautiful morning, and I enjoyed taking in the beauty of the green hills and spring flowers here in Southern California. 

My scheduled long run was another 20 miles on Sunday, the same day as the LA Marathon, and it was in  90° temps, so I had to start early. I was up at 5:30 a.m. and ate my pre-race breakfast: sprouted grain bread, peanut butter, banana, CogniTea, and water. Then my husband dropped me off so I could begin my run with four miles downhill. The sun came up just as I was beginning to get onto my first trail, and it was glorious! I began thanking God for my strong body, for my many blessings, and for strength and endurance. I prayed over all the runners at the LA Marathon, knowing several were first-time marathon runners. Thankfully I was able to finish before it was too hot, and I enjoyed the cool breezes without wind resistance. I ended my 20-mile run at a local Ruby's Diner, so I had my kids come and meet me there for breakfast, that way I could also get a ride home! Knowing I was meeting them kept me going those last few miles...my kids and FOOD!!

I was thrilled my long run went so well. I was able to run a little faster than scheduled pace, and I felt great! Of course, it started out a little hard, but that is what those first miles are for, warm up right?! Once I settled into my pace, my body took over, and I stayed on pace no matter what hill or obstacle was thrown my way. Now if only I can run Boston feeling that great!

Tips before you run your first race:

Practice during your long rung; simulate the race as much as possible.

Wear the outfit you plan on racing in so you can see if it causes chafing. Don't wear the race shirt you get at the expo unless you know the fit and know it won't bother you.

Try out your new shoes and socks, believe it or not, socks can make a HUGE difference! I prefer to use FEETURES! running socks because they hug your feet and help to prevent blisters.

As for a hat, scarf, or visor, give them a try! You need to know if it fits too loose or tight. Don't buy anything new at the Expo and expect it perform the way you want it to.

How about a fuel belt or hydration pack? Better use it on your long run to make sure you like it. The marathon is not a place to try out a new one, especially a fuel belt! It could rub and cause chafing or worse, blisters on your back!

If running a marathon or anything longer than an hour, YOU MUST FUEL every 45 minutes. I prefer Huma Chia Energy Gels. You need to know which ones work for you and which ones cause tummy trouble. Don't forget to practice running and eating since you will not want to stop during your race! Chase your gels with water too!

Don't forget your keys! If you have to drive yourself to the race, are you going to run with your keys? Better practice running with them if you are!

Sunscreen, chapstick, etc. Try out new products before the race to make sure you aren't sensitive to them.  I always carry chapstick with me to reapply during my long runs and to help if I begin chafing. Just rub it on the area that is chafing.

Make sure your GPS device is charged the night before a race!

Fuel with extra carbs 48 hours before the race. It isn't necessary to carb-load the night before. In fact you don't want to run a race with a belly full of pasta from the night before. Practice eating different meals before your long run and see which ones sit right with you. Don't go out for a special dinner and try something new!

Hydrate well the entire week before the race, but especially the 24 hours before. Make sure you get all your electrolyte water in! I drop a NUUN tab into my water bottle and drink it before, during and post race.  Nuun gives you the electrolytes without the sugar, so make sure you still fuel. A little tip, make sure you are drinking at every mile marker. I carry my water bottle with me, so I never have to stop at water stations, only to refill every hour or so.

Get at least 8 hours sleep every night during the week before the marathon. You want to make sure you are giving your body time to rest and recover from your hard training. Plus your immune system is low due to all the endurance training, so sleep helps you fight off those pending colds too! Don't worry about the night before the race, you will be lucky to get any sleep at all due to excitement!

Remember take time to enjoy the race. Believe it or not, it will be over before you know it and nothing but a memory. Let the experience really sink in and realize what you are accomplishing. Smile and wave at the camera. Give the thumps up to those cheering you on. High-five fellow runners doing great and encourage each other.

Pack your favorite post-race meal, and eat it as soon as you can. It is so important to get some carbs and protein in your body within one hour of completing your race. You need to replace the carbs you just depleted and the protein will help heal those overused muscles. Fuel and you will recover faster! I like to drink NUUN to help recover faster its high in potassium and has electrolytes. Also cherry juice it great to aide in recovery.

Congratulations on finishing your race and accomplishing your goal! Finish lines are goals with a deadline!

Week 10 Boston Marathon 2015 Training

What to expect at this epic race.

This will be my third consecutive year running the Boston Marathon, so I have an idea of what to expect as far as the course. I like to simulate the course as much as possible during my long training runs. Since the course starts out with four miles of gradual downhills, I begin my long run that exact way. The course is pretty easy going until you hit mile 17, when the uphills begin to form. You don't notice it at first, but then your pace begins to slow. By mile 21 you hit Heartbreak Hill. It's not that difficult of a hill, but with all the downhill running in the beginning, your quads are fatigued, and it makes that climb difficult. Near the end of the race you have your only turns on the entire course: right on Hereford and then left on Boylston and straight on to the finish line. Along the entire course are spectators; about 500,000, if you can believe it! The spectators motivate you along the the course with their signs, cheers, and entertainment. Honestly, there are no other spectators quite like the Boston Marathon spectators. After the bombing in 2013, the spectators are my reason to run and return to Boston every year. After all, they were the ones injured.

 

The race begins quite a bit later than the average break-of-dawn marathons:

Mobility Impaired 8:50 a.m. (50 entrants)

Push-rim Wheelchair 9:17 a.m. (70 + 6 Duos entrants)

Hand-cycles 9:22 a.m. (18 entrants)

Elite Women 9:32 a.m. (40 entrants)

Elite Men & Wave One 10:00 a.m. (7,500 entrants)

Wave Two 10:25 a.m. (7,500 entrants)

Wave Three 10:50 a.m. (7,500 entrants)

Wave Four 11:15 a.m. (7,500 entrants)

 

Due to the late start, you need to adjust your nutrition and hydration. You still need to get up early to catch a bus to take you to Athlete's Village. The bus ride takes an hour, and then you wait another 1-2 hours in the village for your wave to be called. The mornings can be very cold, so it is best to pack some throw away clothes to keep you warm while you wait. Volunteers at the village collect your discarded clothing for donation to local charities. I pack my breakfast and eat it once I get settled as I wait for my wave to be called. Again, I try and keep everything the same, just like it is another long-run day. I eat the same food and drink the same amount of water and coffee before the race starts. There are tons of port-a-potties, so the lines don't get too long. Water, coffee, bagels, Gatorade, bananas, etc. are provided for us as we wait. It is an exciting time waiting but also a little nerve wracking due to the high security. You will notice police, bomb squad, and armed services paroling the village on foot and from above. It is sad, but it's now the norm. 

Once your wave is called you start walking with the flow of runners to your coral. It is like a heard of animals being guided along, and then all of a sudden you start jogging with this huge group and before you know it, you have crossed the starting line. I didn't even notice it the first year. It happened so fast, and I just kept going with the flow of people. The race is very crowded during the first half. It does begin to thin out a bit, but you are always with a pack of runners. At times it is hard to maintain the pace you want because there are too many people to try and pass. I always look for a break and make my move whenever I can.

Best advice, enjoy it! Take in all the sights and sounds because there is nothing like it!  You will remember the finish line chute for the rest of your life! Boston Strong!

Week 9 Boston Marathon 2015 Training

Check-in time! I am more than halfway to race day, so how am I doing with all this hard training? Good question. The first eight weeks went great. They seemed to fly by, and I was thrilled to reach the halfway mark. Week 9 was tough both mentally and physically. My body is tired and my mind is trying to stay focused on the training and staying strong without wanting to give in and give up. I have been sticking to my training program never missing a scheduled run or cross training day. Everything seemed to be going well, until my tempo run on Thursday. But lets back up a bit. On Tuesday, I ran my faster mile....ever!  I warmed up with a two-mile easy run, then I ran 2x1600 with a one-minute recovery interval in between, followed by 2x800. My first mile was at 6:59 and my second mile was at 7:09. Then I ran 800 in 3:32 and again in 3:30. I was really suffering with the last 800 repeat, but I managed to dig deep and finish strong. What a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction to know the training over the last eight weeks is finally paying off, and I am reaping the rewards.


Wednesdays are my double-workout days with PiYo in the morning and spin class in the evening, so by Thursday morning I am pretty fatigued. Thursday training called for four miles at 7:38 tempo. I wasn't looking forward to this run; I was dreading it. Honestly, I didn't want to do it, but I read my daily devotional Jesus Calling and gathered up my strength in God to get me through it. Before I knew it, I was on my last mile, and yet again I had a very hard time getting it done at 7:38 pace. After the third mile I had to turn around on my trail and run the final mile. After I turned around my body wanted to quit. My pace slowed way down, and I couldn't get my body to run faster. Mind over matter, I kept trying to get my form right and forward lean, but the muscles in my legs were firing wrong. It took a few minutes before I could settle in and get the pace right. My mantras when it gets tough have always been, "This is the work, this is what you are out here for." The real workout starts when you want to stop. Thanks to God, I survived another tough tempo run. That tempo wore me out. I was exhausted the rest of the day, and my body needed recovery. 

Saturday was my day of rest, and I was so tired and exhausted all day. I felt more tired than I do on my training days. My mind started to get the best of me again, and I began to worry about my scheduled 20-mile run on Sunday. The weather forecast called for rain and cooler than normal temps. It was also supposed to rain on Saturday, but it was sunny and beautiful. I began wondering if I should have done my long run on Saturday instead. My mind was all over the place. Thankfully, I have God to help me sort out my thoughts and put things in perspective. Everytime I read the daily devotional, Jesus Calling, I am met at the situation I am in, and it speaks to me; calms my anxious heart and mind.

Sunday brought rain along with cool and windy conditions. I took my time getting out there. The sun was shining as I began my 20-mile run. It started out great; downhill for the first four miles, then I hit some rolling hills. The wind kicked up, and I was actually cold. It rained a little but not too hard. The miles seemed to fly by. This was my second time running on a new trail, so it was fun trying to remember which way to go at every turn. My pace was great, actually a little faster than my schedule. I finished 20 miles just as it started to rain hard and the wind began to blow. My average pace was 8:26, and my training program scheduled pace was 8:40. Another week down and seven more to go. I am looking forward to the taper!

Week 8 Boston Marathon 2015 Training

MONDAY: Recovery and Cross Training

I wasn't too sore today, since my long run yesterday was 13 miles instead of 20, so I went to the gym and used the outdoor pool. Thankfully, we live in Southern California, so I can swim year round. I really enjoy this form of cross training because I can concentrate on really using my hips and glutes and get my heart rate up without pounding the pavement. Total time was 35 minutes, total laps 24.

 

TUESDAY:  Speed work

7.5 total miles of running today. I have yet to go to a track, so I still do my speed work on a fairly flat 2 mile trail near my home.  First I warmed up for 2 miles, then I ran 6x 400 meter repeats (.24 of a mile) with  90 seconds of recovery interval between repeats.  After all 6 were complete, I had a 2 minute and 30 second recovery interval, then I did it all over again: 6x 400 meter repeats.  Here are my splits:

1:37, 1:36, 1:31, 1:33, 1:30, 1:30  (2 Min 30 second RI)

1:34, 1:34, 1:37, 1:36,1:35, 1:30 (1 mile cool down)

Speed work is not my favorite, and I never look forward to it, but I do look forward to it being over and the feeling of accomplishment!  Speed work is making me faster, helping my long runs seem easier, and they are worth it. I am pretty new to this kind of training program, and I have never done speed work like this before, but I see the results and I am impressed. I use the Run Less Run Faster training program, you can find the book here.

 

WEDNESDAY: Cross Training Day with PiYo Class (Pilates Yoga) in the morning and a Spin Class in the evening at 24 Hour Fitness. 

I really enjoy the PiYo class because it helps to strengthen my core and lengthen and stretch my muscles. Plus it is fun to exercise in a group with my best friend and enjoy some great music! The spin class is my non-impact cross training. Cross training is important for runners because it challenges your body to use your muscles in a different way than you do when you run. If running is your only form of exercise, your chances for an overuse injury are quite high. Have you ever tried a spin class? I hated it for about the first three months, then I started to enjoy it, and now I actually love it! Spin is excellent for building your quads, which you will need for all those down hills at the beginning of the Boston Marathon. The uphills don't begin until around mile 17, and the worst hill being at mile 21, a.k.a. Heartbreak Hill. Strong quads are a must for Boston.

 

THURSDAY: Core work and Tempo Run

A strong core is important for runners, so I grabbed my 15 lbs kettlebell and did some upper body and lower body work. The kettlebell works the entire body, including the core during every move, that is why it is one of my favorites!

More speed work today. Tempo run for three miles. I began with a warm up of two miles at an easy pace, then completed three miles at 7:32 average pace per mile without stopping and finished with a one-mile run at an easy pace for a cool down. Total 5K time 22:35:22

Here is how it went: 

  • Mile 1 @ 7:30

  • Mile 2 @ 7:34

  • Mile 3 @ 7:32

I chose a two-mile flat stretch on my trail. I ran two miles out, then turned around and ran one mile back. The important thing to remember about a tempo run, you cannot stop or slow down.  You have to maintain the desired pace over the entire length of the tempo run, without rest.  This is where mind over matter comes into play. One thing that has helped me stay focused, CogniTea. I drink a cup before every run to help me stay focused and give me a little extra boost of energy. I never think of quitting or stopping, I stay positive with mantras and keep my focus on the finish line....in Boston!

FRIDAY: Cross Training Day: Row Machine 

Today I went to the gym and rowed at a moderately hard pace for 35 minutes. I really like the row machine because I can get a total body workout done in a short amount of time.  I like to warm up at an easy effort for about four minutes then I switch it up between hard effort and easy effort for the next 28 minutes, then cool down with an easy effort for the last three minutes.

SATURDAY:  Day of Rest

SUNDAY: Long Slow Distance 18 total miles

I ran my first trail run this morning, this was supposed to be done in December, but it was postponed due to rain. I would not suggest running your first trail run during Boston Marathon training. Not really knowing what I was getting myself into, I thought it would be a fun challenge. 

It was the Xterra Crystal Cove 15K Trail Run in beautiful Newport Beach, CA.  The weather predicted rain, but only a slight chance, so we ran it anyway.  Thankfully, it only rained a little and not enough to get the ground wet which was good because we were running up and down rock, dirt, and sand hills.  It started out beautiful, running on a wide dirt path through green brush, then it narrowed into a single lane sandy path.  As we continued the path turned into rock and we were practically rock climbing at some points. "The Wall" was almost straight up on slick rock covered in sandy dirt.  You had use your hands to get up that thing. Needless to say, I did a lot of praying during this run. The last thing I wanted, was to end up falling or twisting my ankle. I finished 15th in my age division out of 31 and 187 over all out of 320 runners. I thought that was pretty good considering the amount of walking/hiking I did to ensure I didn't fall. I have determined I am a road racer, and will stay away from any trail runs.

Since my schedule said 18 miles, I drove home and hit my local paved running trail and ran another 9 miles. It felt great to run on a flat surface!  I had 4 hills to run on my last mile, but they were nothing compared to what I ran on the trail! 

 

 

Week 7 Boston Marathon 2015 Training

I am almost halfway through my 16-week training program, and I am sore and tired. Marathon training is exhausting both mentally and physically. I have my training program that I follow everyday, never questioning whether or not I want to do it, I HAVE to do it if I want to perform well in Boston. If you put the work in, you will get the results you want...most of the time. (you never know what issues may arise on race day) I train so I can run a good, comfortable race without killing myself. The training is hard, long and grueling. I push myself beyond what I thought I could do, but on race day, I reap the rewards. 

Boston is a special place, there is no marathon quite like it! Everyone, and I mean everyone, comes out to cheer on the runners. Runners come from all over the world to take part in this legendary race. When I run, I pray for Boston and I pray for all those involved in the bombings in 2013. I remember it well, my very first time running Boston and it ended in terror. I returned in 2014 to an incredible outpouring of love and a huge "welcome home" party for those returning. I run for Boston, I pray for Boston, and my heart will always be with the Boston Marathon.

This is why I train hard, this is why I drag myself out of bed every morning and run with all my heart.

 

MONDAY: Recovery and Cross Training

I was really sore after my long 20-mile run on Sunday. My left calf had tightened up during the last six miles of my run and my Achilles tendon was really sore. I decided to take it easy today and allow my body more time to recover. I iced my calf, stretched and did a lot of foam rolling and massage. I noticed a knot in the muscle so I tried to massage it out, talk about painful! Ouch! Then I put on a Feetures! Compression Sock to help it recover. Find out more about compression socks and how to use them HERE.

I needed to get some blood flow to the legs to help with recovery, so I decided to do some non-impact cross training/swimming. When I say swimming, I mean kicking with the kick-board for 35 minutes without resting. I try and remember to keep my legs straight and use my hips and glutes to propel my body instead of bending and kicking my legs. In doing so, I don't splash because my legs are completely under water and since I'm not using any upper body, it is very slow moving through the water. It's important to work hard enough to get the heart rate up for some cardio training. This is also a great way to stretch and strengthen the feet and ankles.

 

TUESDAY: Resistance Training and Speed Work - Half Mile Repeats

Upper body and lower body resistance training with 5lb. and 10lb. dumbbells and core training. I have a client that I train on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, so I get a good workout in with her. I like to incorporate some upper body moves with the lower body exercises for a total body workout: squats with biceps curls to overhead press, reverse lunge with front shoulder raises, side lunge with lateral arm raises. We did some upper body moves: kick backs, rows, biceps curls (21s), chest press, push ups. That was followed by some core work: up down planks, leg drops, V-sit with lateral twist, and finished with total body stretching.

 Speed Work/Half Mile Repeats x6:

  • 2 mile warm up, easy pace

  • 1 half mile at 3:27 (90 second recovery)

  • 1 half mile at 3:24 (90 second recovery)

  • 1 half mile at 3:26 (90 second recovery)

  • 1 half mile at 3:28 (90 second recovery)

  • 1 half mile at 3:33 (90 second recovery)

  • 1 half mile at 3:24 (90 second recovery)

  • 1 mile cool down, easy pace

The two-mile warm up was at a very slow, relaxed pace to warmup the body so you are ready to "bring it!"  The idea is to try to hit the same pace with each repeat or get faster, not slower. My issue, I am on a trail and I try to pick a flat area, but there is always a slight elevation change, and due to our warmer weather, we have heavy winds. So I had a few challenging repeats where wind resistance was involved. This is when you can't worry too much about the numbers and just concentrate on doing your best and getting the work in. The hardest part for me is still VO2 Max: maximal oxygen consumption. Current evidence supports a 10% per decade decline in VO2 Max in men and women regardless of activity level. The older I get, 47 years old, the harder the cardio training.

 

WEDNESDAY: PiYo (Pilates Yoga) in the morning and a spin class in the evening. 

Tough decision this morning; should I rest more and let my calf recover, or should I go to PiYo and work that calf and stretch it out to help with the recovery. I decided to go ahead and do the PiYo. It is so important to listen to your body and do what is right. Believe me, you don't want to end up injured because you tried to push yourself. I have had my share of injuries over the years. 

Spin class went well. I tried to keep my heel down and toes up so as to not use my calf too much and keep it in a stretch position. If you are doing spin class, make sure you do it on your non-run days. It is an excellent form of non-impact cross training. Think of it this way, if you ran you already got your cardio in for the day, if you didn't run, then go ahead and do spin class. I would also suggest you get spin shoes, they completely change the way your foot works on the pedal and you will get a better benefit from the class.

 

THURSDAY: Tempo Run

I began with a warm up of one and a half miles at an easy pace, then completed six miles at 8:02 average pace per mile without stopping and finished with a one-mile run at an easy pace for a cool down. Here is how it went: 

  • Mile 1 @ 8:01

  • Mile 2 @ 7:39

  • Mile 3 @ 7:50

  • Mile 4 @ 8:25

  • Mile 5 @ 7:58

  • Mile 6 @ 8:18

You can tell that my numbers were all over the place! I chose my trail with the mostly flat span of two miles, however there is a gradual incline and decline depending on which way you are running. This coupled with the heat/full sun and wind resistance made it for a challenging tempo run! I guess God decided I needed a little more resistance training today, hence the wind resistance! He is my coach after all, so I try not to let the numbers upset me and do my best. At one point, the wind resistance was so strong, I had to just go ahead and turn around and run in the opposite direction knowing it would only be for a short distance then I had to turn back into it! I know this is nothing compared to those training in the snow and freezing temps, so I am not complaining.

 

FRIDAY: Cross Training: Row Machine

I was feeling pretty exhausted and ready for my day of rest, but I needed to get my non-impact cross training (cardio) in for the day. Off to the gym for 35 minutes on the row machine. I have met an Iron Man athlete that is also training for the Boston Marathon, and she has been rowing at the same time, so it is fun to compare training strategies with her. Plus it is also fun to have a workout buddy! Make sure if you decide to use the row machine that you are doing it correctly. Click here for demo.

 

SATURDAY:  Day of Rest.

Yes! It is part of the plan, and make sure you take one day off a week. This does not mean that you can go out for an "easy" run because then you are not resting. Your body and mind have trained hard all week and you need to let them recover and repair so you can do your best on your next training. Rest and recovery are vital if you want to perform at your peak. If you never rest, you are always breaking down your muscles and never allowing them them to repair and grow. Take your day of rest! You earned it!

 

SUNDAY: Long Slow Distance

Today I was scheduled for 13 miles at 8:27 average pace. Since I was going a shorter distance, and my calf was still recovering, I chose a mainly flat route, with only a few small hills. The weather was 55° and sunny with some wind. I started out running two miles down hill then I got onto my trail with a gradual decline for the next two miles then a few hills and then flat for about two miles. I noticed the winds were blowing pretty hard the opposite direction, so I went as far as I could on my trail until I had to turn around and run into the wind. Due to the downhill and the flat portion of my trail, I was having a very hard time trying to maintain the 8:27 pace. My body was ready to go and run faster. I kept my thoughts on my form, using my glutes and trying to relax my calves and hamstrings. My breathing was a mix of easy and hard at times as I tried to settle into a comfortable pace. I knew I was going way too fast, but I couldn't get my form right at the slow pace so I went with it. I ended up running at an average of 8:14 pace, which is marathon pace.  You NEVER want to run your long runs at marathon pace. Your body needs time in between hard runs, and if you "race" every long run you aren't giving your body enough time to recover in between. The long run is designed to build endurance and practice for your race. You also want to see what fuel works and try out new gear. Whenever possible, stick to your training and keep the pace.

Find out more about long runs here.

Week 6 Boston Marathon 2015 Training

MONDAY: Recovery and Cross Training

To my surprise, I am really enjoying my time in the pool.  After a long run, it feels so good to float in a pool and do some non-impact cardio. I love it when I get the pool all to myself, which hardly ever happens. Today I went in the afternoon when it wasn't crowded. I kicked with straight legs using my glutes and hips while holding a kick board under my upper body. Total time was 35 minutes, and I managed to get in 24 laps. Just kicking is very slow; you are working so hard with your legs without the use of your upper body. It feels like an eternity to get a lap done, but it is an excellent form of cross training and helps to get the blood flowing to those sore legs for recovery.

 

TUESDAY: Resistance Training and Speed work - Hill Run

Upper body and lower body resistance training with 10lb. kettlebells. Kettlebells work the core muscles hard because you’re working your abs all the time with continuous abdominal contraction and coordinated breathing that provides a very high level of conditioning.  You will notice you get a pretty good cardio workout with a kettlebell.

The shape of the kettlebell gives it an odd center of gravity that makes more muscles work and contract to stabilize the weight and work harder to move it explosively. This shape also makes it better for certain lifts (the overhead press naturally utilizes all the muscles in the shoulder.)

Kettlebells are easy to use. Explosive lifts with kettlebells, such as the clean and press, can be learned quickly and easily with very low risk of pulled muscles. Front squats are easier with kettlebells than with a barbell or dumbells.

You can get a total body workout using a kettlebell.  I suggest starting with 10lbs. for a beginner and working your way up from there. Really watch your form, you don't want to end up injured, and you don't want to throw the kettlebell accidentally!

I was scheduled for some speed work today, so I opted for a hill run. It is known that hill runs are speed work in disguise. Since Boston has a lot of hills, I want to be prepared for them. Fortunately, I live in the hills of Southern California, so it is easy for me to incorporate hill training. Today was a five-mile loop, I first did 4x hill repeats (running and and down the same hill), then I ran six different hills for a total of 10 hills. Always be careful on the downhill, you don't want to end up with a stress fracture like I did! I learned that one the hard way. Also, choose the softest ground possible when running down hill (dirt, or grass being the softest, followed by asphalt, then concrete being the worst).   

 

WEDNESDAY: Cross Training Day with PiYo Class (Pilates Yoga) in the morning and a Spin Class in the evening at 24 Hour Fitness.

 

THURSDAY: Tempo Run

I began with a warm up of two miles at an easy pace, then completed five miles at 7:44 average pace per mile without stopping and finished with a one-mile run at an easy pace for a cool down. Here is how it went: 

  • Mile 1 @ 7:34

  • Mile 2 @ 7:33

  • Mile 3 @ 7:52

  • Mile 4 @ 7:49

  • Mile 5 @ 7:52

I chose a two-mile stretch on my trail. I ran two miles out, then turned around and ran two miles back, then turned around and completed one more mile. The first two miles were easy because there was no wind and it was a slight downhill grade, but then when I turned around at mile 3 the wind resistance and slight incline got to me, and my pace slowed a bit. By mile 5 I was almost depleted and exhausted, it was hard to maintain the fast pace. Tempo runs are hard; you want to stop and catch your breath, but you can't. You are pushing yourself almost to your limit, and you have to keep your head in the game, otherwise it is too easy to walk or slow down and stop. This is where mind over matter comes into play. One thing that has helped me stay focused, CogniTea. I drink a cup before every run to help me stay focused and give me a little extra boost of energy. Fuel is equally important, you don't want to try and run on empty! You need to have your tank full. (glycogen stores)

 

FRIDAY: Cross Training Day: Row Machine 

Today I went to the gym and rowed at a moderately hard pace for 35 minutes. I really like the row machine because I can get a total body workout done in a short amount of time. Just make sure you Google a few tutorial videos on how to properly row on a row machine. I have seen some pretty crazy things out there, and if you don't do it correctly, you don't get the benefit of a total body workout, and you may end up with an injury.

 

SATURDAY:  Day of Rest 

I worked the Nuun booth at the LA Fitness Expo today from 10:00 am  -6:30 pm, so it wasn't really a day of rest since I was on my feet all day long. I did stay hydrated with Nuun knowing I was going to be doing my long run on Sunday.

 

SUNDAY: Long Slow Distance

Remember, Long Slow Distance runs are just that, slow!  You are training your endurance. If you try and run every long run at race pace, its like running a race every week which requires extra time to recover. You should be running your endurance runs at about 20-60 seconds slower than race pace.

Don't forget to pack your fuel and practice your hydration  during your long runs. Your body needs fuel about every 45 minutes during endurance runs or anything over one hour. This is the time to practice for your race and see which fuel and hydration works best. I prefer Huma Chia Energy Gels and Nuun Hydration.

My long run was 20 miles and my average pace was 8:46, which was a little faster than my scheduled 8:57 pace. I am practicing the Boston Marathon Course as much as possible, so I begin my long run with a four-mile downhill.  Then I decided to try out some new trails in my area, I did have to stop quite a bit to stay on the correct trail.  There were a lot of hills, which is good because the Boston Marathon has a lot of hills at the end of the race. I ended up having to call my husband at one point to bring me some more water because I wasn't near any park where I could refill. I ran out and back on the new trail and called my husband to come get me when I reached mile 20, since I was two miles from home and a bit depleted. I packed my Huma (3) and took one every 45 minutes, and I packed two Nuun tablets so I could add them to my water bottle. This year, I have decided to run in the late afternoon (2:30 pm) so I can enjoy my Sunday mornings with the family and church, and then I can take in the beautiful sunsets. Plus it helps to get my body used to running later in the day, since Boston doesn't start first thing in the morning.

Week 5 Boston Marathon 2015 Training

MONDAY: Core and Cross Training

As a road runner, I know the importance of a strong core.  If your core is strong, you can stay steady on the changing terrain, elevation, and running surfaces. I live in the hills of Southern California, so a strong core is vital to all the hill running I endure.

I decided to give Crunch Live's 30-minute workout "Attach That Core" a try. Crunch Live offers a selection of online workouts tailored to your specific workout needs. This workout targeted the entire abdominal area, including obliques and some lower body moves to include the glutes. I love finding new ways to challenge my core, because we all know that regular crunches and planks get old fast! If you haven't thought about your core much, this is a good video to start with. You can try it today with their 3-Day FREE Trial, or try any of their videos. I don't know about you, but I love to "try before I buy." To find out more about Crunch Live click here.

I really enjoy doing some Cross Training/Swimming. When I say swimming, I mean kicking with the kick-board for 35 minutes without resting. This gets the blood flowing to my sore legs and helps them recover. I try and remember to use my hips and glutes to propel my body instead of bending and kicking my legs. This is also a great way to stretch and strengthen your feet and ankles. The pool felt great, and because it was raining, I was the only person in the pool! I love it when I get the whole pool to myself.

 

TUESDAY: Resistance Training and Speed work - Mile Repeats

Upper body and lower body resistance training with 4lb. medicine ball and core training with a balance ball. I have a client that I train on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, so I get a good workout in with her. Today we did lunges (forward, backward, and sideways) while holding the medicine ball, plus some squats. I like to incorporate some upper body moves with the lower body exercises for a total body workout. We did some standing overhead press, chest press, and arm lateral extensions while holding the 4lb. dumbbell.

For some added core training, we used a balance ball and did some crunches while holding the medicine ball and planks and bridges on the balance ball. My favorite is the Ball Pass which works your entire body (you can find out how to do it here CORE TRAINING). 

 Mile Repeats:

  • 1 mile warm up, easy pace

  • 1 mile at 7:15 (2 minute recovery)

  • 1 mile at 7:12 (2 minute recovery)

  • 1 mile at 7:17 (2 minute recovery)

  • 1 mile cool down, easy pace

This never is easy, but always a hard effort. I tried to concentrate on my breathing, keeping it controlled with my steps. I tend to do shallow breathing when I am running drills, and I have a hard time reaching the final .25 of each mile without being out of breath. Today it went rather well; it was still hard but comfortably hard if there is such a thing! My legs were ready to go, and I had to keep reminding myself to use my new running form and push off and extend my leg long behind me, not allowing my typical "butt kicking" when I do speed work. That is when my hamstrings take over and my glutes do nothing.  Mind over matter! Training is just as mental as it is physical.

 

WEDNESDAY: PiYo (Pilates Yoga) in the morning and a Spin Class in the evening. 

I really enjoy the PiYo class because it helps to strengthen my core and lengthen and stretch my muscles. Plus it is fun to exercise in a group with my best friend and enjoy some great music! The spin class is my non-impact cross training. Cross training is important for runners because it challenges your body to use your muscles in a different way than you do when you run. If running is your only form of exercise, your chances for an overuse injury are quite high. Have you ever tried a spin class? I hated it for about the first three months, then I started to enjoy it, and now I actually love it! Spin is excellent for building your quads, which you will need for all those down hills at the beginning of the Boston Marathon. The uphills don't begin until around mile 17, and the worst hill being at mile 21, a.k.a. Heartbreak Hill. Strong quads are a must for Boston.

 

THURSDAY: Tempo Run

I began with a warm up of two miles at an easy pace, then completed three miles at 7:32 average pace per mile (22:36:31) without stopping and finished with a one-mile run at an easy pace for a cool down. Here is how it went: 

  • Mile 1 @ 7:24

  • Mile 2 @ 7:30

  • Mile 3 @ 7:42

I was actually quite surprised that I was able to maintain an average pace of 7:32 for the 3 miles, so all this training is paying off! I chose to run on a trail that is pretty flat, but I had to run out two miles then turn around and run back for the final mile. I hit a little wind resistance and one small incline so it slowed my pace a bit. Tempo runs are hard; you want to stop and catch your breath, but you can't. You are pushing yourself almost to your limit, and you have to keep your head in the game, otherwise it is too easy to walk or slow down and stop. This is where mind over matter comes into play. One thing that has helped me stay focused, CogniTea. I drink a cup before every run to help me stay focused and give me a little extra boost of energy.

 

FRIDAY: Day of Rest!  Praise the Lord and halleluiah!

I had the pleasure of working this afternoon/evening at the Surf City Marathon Expo in Huntington Beach at the NUUN booth. I am on Team Nuun and always run with Nuun electrolyte tablets in my water bottle to help me stay hydrated. It was a lot of fun meeting runners and sharing information about Nuun.

 

SATURDAY:  Day of Rest.

Yes you read that correctly. I actually took two days off this week, but I was working again today at the expo, so I was on my feet for eight hours. Today I met a lot of people that follow my page and several fellow ambassadors with: Oiselle Flock, The San Francisco Marathon, and Team Nuun.

 

SUNDAY: Long Slow Distance

I had an early morning wake-up call and worked the expo yet again, but this time with Nature's Bakery.  I am an ambassador with them, and I enjoy opportunities to work various sporting events where I hand out samples of Fig Bars. Today I worked from 4:30 AM - 1:00 PM.

In keeping with my training schedule, I decided to get my 18 miles in as soon as I got home. Just as the Super Bowl was beginning, I was hitting the pavement. I actually enjoyed running at a different time of day was able to enjoy the beautiful sunset. Thankfully I finished just before dark; I hate running in the dark. My average pace was 8:57 which was right on target with my training plan.  Remember, you are never to run your long slow distance runs at marathon pace.  Find out more about long runs here.

Crunch Live: Attack That Core Online Workout

As a road runner, I know the importance of a strong core.  If your core is strong, you can stay steady on the changing terrain, elevation, and running surfaces.  I live in the hills of Southern California, so a strong core is vital to all the hill running I endure.

Whenever possible, I prefer to workout at home, that is why I love Crunch Live so much!   If you aren't familiar with Crunch Gym, they are best known for their cutting-edge classes and now Crunch Live lets you sweat it out anytime, anywhere. Get unlimited access to 50+ online workouts inspired by Crunch's most popular (and results driven) classes including kick butt cardio, strength training, yoga and more.

I decided to give Attach That Core 30 minute workout a try.  The instructor, Deborah Sweets, is very pleasant and knows how to make the workout fun and move along quickly without getting boring.  The first 15 minutes are standing ab work and the second 15 minutes are down on the mat for some lower back work.

This workout targeted the entire abdominal area, including your obliques and some lower body moves to include the glutes.  I love finding new ways to challenge my core, because we all know that regular crunches and planks get old fast!

If you haven't thought about your core much, this is a good video to start with.  You can try it today with their  3-Day FREE Trial, or try any of their videos.  I don't know about you, but I love to "try before I buy."

 To find out more about Crunch Live click here.

 

 

Week 4 Boston 2015 Training

Week 4 is in the books, and my first quarter of training is over! The hardest part of this quarter has been the VO2 max work. My endurance is usually the easy part, adding mileage each week to my long run, but the Tempo Runs and Speed Work are tough!

A Tempo Run is a faster-paced workout also known as a lactate-threshold, LT, or threshold run. Tempo pace is often described as "comfortably hard." Tempo running improves a crucial physiological variable for running success: our metabolic fitness.

Why it works: by increasing your LT, or the point at which the body fatigues at a certain pace. During tempo runs, lactate and hydrogen ions — by-products of metabolism — are released into the muscles.  The ions make the muscles acidic, eventually leading to fatigue. The better trained you become, the higher you push your "threshold," meaning your muscles become better at using these by-products. The result is less-acidic muscles, (that is, muscles that haven't reached their new "threshold") so they keep on contracting, letting you run farther and faster.

Benefits of speed work (Fartlek, Hills, and Strides):

  • Trains the cardiorespiratory system and muscular systems to efficiently absorb, deliver and utilize oxygen while moving carbon dioxide and lactic acid.

  • Improves endurance with low muscle stress.

  • Promotes a more efficient running form.

  • Teaches patience while managing low grade physical discomfort.

  • Increases strength, improves form, less chance of injury due to less strain on ligaments and tendons.

  • Great for all types of runners.

  • An excellent way to intro effort sessions for new run/walkers.

  • Great for gaining strength.

  • Helps by increasing mental fitness for all types of runners.

  • Can be done anywhere, on any terrain, any distance, grade, pace recovery, etc.

 

MONDAY: Recovery and Cross Training

I was pretty sore from my long run of 17 miles on Sunday, so I decided to skip the resistance training and go for some Cross Training/Swimming. When I say swimming, I mean kicking with the kick-board for 35 minutes without resting. This gets the blood flowing to my sore legs and helps them recover. I try and remember to use my hips and glutes to propel my body instead of bending and kicking my legs. This is also a great way to stretch and strengthen your feet and ankles. Personally, I hate swimming, but using the kick-board and floating feels great after all the hours of pounding!  I am all for non-impact cross training!

 

TUESDAY: Resistance Training and Speed work - Hill Run

Upper body and lower body resistance training with 10lb. dumbbells and core training. I have a client that I train on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, so I get a good workout in with her. Today we did lunges (forward, backward, and sideways) plus some squats. I like to incorporate some upper body moves with the lower body exercises for a total body workout. We did some biceps curls, overhead press, kickbacks, and rows. 

For some added core training, we used a balance disc and did some single leg balance, step ups, side squats, and reverse lunges. 

I was scheduled for some speed work today, so I opted for a hill run.  It is known that hill runs are speed work in disguise. Since Boston has a lot of hills, I want to be prepared for them. Fortunately, I live in the hills of Southern California, so it is easy for me to incorporate hill training. Today was a 5-mile loop with 10 different hills. Always be careful on the down hill, you don't want to end up with a stress fracture like I did! I learned that one the hard way. Also, choose the softest ground possible when running down hill (dirt, or grass being the softest, followed by asphalt, then concrete being the worst).   

 

WEDNESDAY: PiYo (Pilates Yoga) in the morning and a Spin Class in the evening. 

I really enjoy the PiYo class because it helps to strengthen my core and lengthen and stretch my muscles.  Plus it is fun to exercise in a group with my best friend and great music!  The spin class is my non-impact cross training. Cross training is important for runners because it challenges your body to use your muscles in a different way than you do when you run.  If running is your only form of exercise, your chances for an overuse injury are quite high.  Have you ever tried a spin class?  I hated it for about the first three months, then I started to enjoy it, and now I actually love it! Spin is excellent for building your quads, which you will need for all those down hills at the beginning of the Boston Marathon. The uphills don't begin until around mile 17 and the worst hill being at mile 21, a.k.a. Heartbreak Hill. Strong quads are a must for Boston.

 

THURSDAY: Tempo Run

I began with a warm up of one mile at an easy pace, then completed four miles at 7:47 average pace per mile without stopping and finished with a one-mile run at an easy pace for a cool down. Here is how it went: 

  • Mile 1 @ 7:40

  • Mile 2 @ 7:43

  • Mile 3 @ 7:56

  • Mile 4 @ 7:49

I chose a flat 1-mile stretch on my trail. I ran one mile out, then turned around and ran one mile back. This way I was able to stay within the same running conditions, without any hills. I was running into the wind on mile 1 and 3, but the resistance wasn't too bad and it didn't slow me down too much. Tempo runs are hard; you want to stop and catch your breath, but you can't. You are pushing yourself almost to your limit, and you have to keep your head in the game, otherwise it is too easy to walk or slow down and stop. This is where mind over matter comes into play. One thing that has helped me stay focused, CogniTea. I drink a cup before every run to help me stay focused and give me a little extra boost of energy.

 

FRIDAY: Day of Rest!  Praise the Lord and halleluiah!

 

SATURDAY:  Resistance Training and Cross Training 

I teach a group workout class at my local park on Saturday mornings. I like to switch it up each week, so we used our Kettlebells and medicine balls for a total body workout.  We also did some push ups with our legs elevated on a step and then raised each leg off the step after each push up. 

For Cross Training, I went to the gym and used the Row Machine for 35 minutes.  Here is how I break it down: 5 minutes easy, 5 minutes hard, repeat.

 

SUNDAY: Long Slow Distance

20 miles at 9:22 average pace. So this is my first 20-mile run this year and it was tough!  Especially those last three miles. In training for the Boston Marathon course, I like to begin my long runs with four miles of downhill running. My husband drives me up to the top of the hill and drops me off. I was doing great until I reached the trail I usually run only to find the Santa Ana winds were blowing. When I turned around to head back at mile 10, the wind resistance was so bad I felt like I was running in place! It never let up, and got worse at times, so I decided to get off the trail and run in the opposite direction until I reached 20 miles. I ended up calling my husband to come pick me up because running home would have involved more wind resistance. The winds were so strong street signs were being blown down, and there were tree branches everywhere. Pretty dangerous, but I managed and made it through. Not the pace I had hoped for (my schedule said 9:12) but it was impossible to maintain any kind of pace with the winds. So I am happy my average pace was close enough! 

Week 3 Boston 2015 Training

Week 3 is all about pushing your body to just about the breaking point! This first month of training is always the hardest. Your body is building up on mileage, endurance, and VO2 Max. It is hard, it is challenging, and it is exhausting! Everyday is a challenge both mentally and physically. Here is what my week looked like:

MONDAY: Resistance training

  • Squats with bicep curls to overhead press using 12lb. dumbbells, 10 reps, 3 sets

  • Single leg squat with single arm overhead press using 12lb. dumbbells, 10 reps, 3 sets

  • Step-ups using 12lb. dumbbells, 10 reps, 3 sets

  • Lat rows using 12lb. dumbbells, 10 reps, 3 sets

  • Pushups with feet elevated and single leg extensions, 20 reps, 2 sets

  • Single leg bridge 25 reps, 4 sets

  • Row machine at the gym 35 minutes total (5 minutes easy, 10 hard, 5 easy, 10 hard, 5 easy)

Chiropractor: regular adjustment

 

TUESDAY: Speed work - FARTLEK

1200 meters with 200 recovery interval (RI)

1000 with 200 RI

800 with 200 RI

600 with 200 RI

400 with 200 RI

I was hard trying to keep my new running form in place while doing the speed work and really using my glutes, not my hamstrings. I am in physical therapy because I have become a hamstring-dominate runner, meaning the hamstrings take over and, thus, are overused and strained. Now I have to run and remember to extend my leg out behind me and fire my glutes as I push off the ground and lengthen my stride, all while maintaining my forward lean and mid-foot strike. This was a difficult drill because there isn't much time to recover in between. I find myself wanting to give up at the same point every time, but I never do. Positive mantras keep playing in my mind and keep me going; "You can do this. This is the work and the marathon is the reward. You are almost there. Stay strong!"

Upper Body resistance training with 10lb. dumbbells and core training. I worked my biceps, triceps, lats, delts, and pecs.

Lower Body resistance training with band/tube. Forward lunges, reverse lunges, squats.

 

WEDNESDAY: PiYo (Pilates Yoga)

I did a workout at the gym in the morning for core and total body strengthening and stretching. Spin class in the evening for non-impact cross training.

 

THURSDAY: TEMPO RUN

I began with one mile at an easy pace, then completed five miles at 7:53 average pace per mile without stopping and finish with one mile easy cool down. Here is how it went: 

  • Mile 1  @ 8:04 (wind resistance)

  • Mile 2 @ 8:15 (wind resistance)

  • Mile 3 @ 8:17 (hill)

  • Mile 4 @ 7:53

  • Mile 5 @ 7:50

I chose a route that was an out-and-back, so the first half was hard with the wind resistance and the hill, but on the way back no wind and no hill, so I was able to meet my desired pace. Whenever I end up with a windy day on my tempo run day, I always consider it an added bonus to my drill, something God knows I need that day!

 

FRIDAY: Physical therapy with my therapist.

This was my last session, so we worked on my running form, and then I completed one set of single leg bridges at 25 reps per leg. Then he did some deep tissue massage on my hamstring/glutes. We have now determined there is a knot at the insertion location of my right hamstring/tendon at the glutes.

 

SATURDAY: Day of rest

 

SUNDAY: LONG SLOW DISTANCE  17 miles at 8:57 average pace.

My average pace ended up being 8:48. I chose rolling hills and did an out-and-back route. I kept myself hydrated and fueled with NUUN and HUMA, which I take every 45 minutes after I begin running. For the post-endurance workout I consumed a meal that was 3:1 carb to protein, and I stretched. In doing so, I recovered much faster! Another trick to recover faster is to drink CHERI Bundi cherry juice as soon as the run is completed.

Crunch Live: Buff Yoga Online Workout

This workout combines strength training and core abdominal work with the moves of a traditional yoga practice.  It is designed to build strength and flexibility. You will need a mat and some light dumbbells. The instructor is Taj Harris, one of my favorites!

The class began with breath work, while standing tall.  Then movement was added into the breath work with some overhead arm circles that flowed into prayer position; then some arm circles back ending with a squat into chair pose.  After completing this routine, light weights were added in and the routine was done while holding the weights. 

As the class progressed along, you will have completed four different routines both with and without the dumbbells for a total body resistance training session. 

The next section of the class involved balance training with dumbbells.  Balance training challenges you to balance on one leg while executing upper body poses with the dumbbells. 

The class ended down on the mat with some core work and stretching.  Again, the weights were incorperated into the core training.  This workout challenges your body to work harder and you get a better workout. 

I really enjoyed the concept of adding light dumbbells into yoga poses.  It was a fun workout, it moved along quickly without getting bored.  The instructor is very pleasant and excellent at instruction as well as progressing you along if necessary.  I learned something new: in standing tree pose, never put your foot on your knee because your knee doesn't like to be pushed from side-to-side.

Crunch Live offers a selection of over 35 various workouts. To find out more about Crunch Live click here.

Week 2 Boston 2015 Training

This week my training plan was in full swing.  I added my two cross training days back in and completed my three training runs.  Here is what my week looked like:

Monday: Resistance training :

  • Squats with biceps curls to overhead press using 10lb dumbbells, 10 reps, 3 sets

  • Step ups using 10lb dumbbells, 10 reps, 3 sets

  • Lateral tube walking

  • Lat rows using 10lb dumbbells, 10 reps 3 sets

  • Pushups with feet elevated and single leg extensions, 20 reps 2 sets

Row machine at the gym 35 minutes total (5 minutes easy, 10 hard, 5 easy, 10 hard, 5 easy)

Physical therapy: stretching hamstrings and glutes. Single leg bridge, 25 reps per leg, 4 sets.

Tuesday: Speed work STRIDES 4x800 in 3:17 with 2-minute recovery. That was the plan; I actually did a 3:39 pace. Today was hard trying to keep my new running form in place while doing the speed work and really using my glutes and not my hamstrings. I am in physical therapy because I have become a hamstring-dominate runner, meaning the hamstrings take over and are overused and strained. Now I have to run and remember to extend my leg out behind me and fire my glutes as I push off the ground and lengthen my stride, all while maintaining my forward lean and mid-foot strike.

Upper Body resistance training with 10lb dumbbells and core training. I worked my biceps, triceps, lats, delts, and pecs. Planks and single balance on the balance disc worked my core.

Physical therapy, same as Monday.

Wednesday: PiYo (Pilates Yoga) workout at the gym in the morning for core and total body strengthening and stretching. Spin class in the evening for non-impact cross training.

Physical therapy, same as Monday.

Thursday: TEMPO RUN beginning with 1 mile at an easy pace, then complete 5 miles at 8:12 average pace per mile without stopping, and finish with 1 mile easy cool down. Here is how it went: 

  • Mile 1 @ 8:40 (2 hills)

  • Mile 2 @ 8:00

  • Mile 3 @ 8:14

  • Mile 4 @ 8:19

  • Mile 5 @ 8:52 (2 hills)

I actually chose a hilly course making it a little difficult to maintain the pace, but I was pretty close to the goal pace. It has a been a stretch for me to make those fast pace times.

Physical therapy, same as Monday.

Friday: Physical therapy with my therapist. He had me work on a machine to strengthen my glutes, and I also completed 4 sets of single leg bridge at 25 reps per leg. Then he did some deep tissue massage on my hamstring/glutes. We have now determined there is a knot at the insertion location of my right hamstring/tendon at the glutes. The deep tissue massage was very painful, almost to the point of a burning sensation.

Saturday: day of rest.

Sunday: LONG SLOW DISTANCE  15 miles at 8:57 average pace. My average pace ended up being 8:50. I chose rolling hills and did an out-and-back route. We need rain here in Southern California, and we finally got it! It rained the entire time I was out running; I was soaked to the bone! Running in the rain can be a lot of fun, as long as you aren't cold. Thankfully, there wasn't any wind, so I stayed fairly warm. I wore a waterproof vest which kept the water off my upper body, but it is so insulated, and I sweat so much that I was soaked anyway. My shoes and socks aren't waterproof, so my feet were pretty wet by the end of the run. The weather kept my mind off of the distance and more on keeping the pace and just getting it done!  The temperature was in the 50s, so I was comfortable in spite of being wet. I was surprised that I was able to maintain a faster pace without much effort. I kept myself hydrated and fueled with NUUN and HUMA which I take every 45 minutes after I begin running. Post endurance workout you need to consume a meal that is 3:1 carb to protein, and you should stretch. In doing so, you will recover much faster!

Week 1 Boston 2015 Training

There are a lot of training programs out there and you need to find the one that works best for you.  I can't recommend which one is the best for you because I don't know your running experience.  For me, as a 47 year-old woman, I find that the less I run the better.  I tend to get injured the more I run, so I have decided to use the Run Less Run Faster program by Runner's World.  According to this plan, I run three specific training runs a week and cross train with non impact activities 2-3 days a week, plus I also add in some resistance total body and core training.

This will be my third Boston Marathon and my 14th full marathon.  I train for speed, I train for a BQ and my time to beat is 3:55:00.  One day, I dream of running a 3:30:00 marathon, but I don't know if I will see that in this lifetime!  You see, the older you get, the slower you get; it's all a part of aging.  This training is hard and it is intense, but I only do it for the 16 weeks, then I give my body a break. 

Currently, I am suffering with some hamstring issues that have me in physical therapy.  Apparently, I tend to be a hamstring dominate runner, meaning my body has let my hamstrings take on all the burden of running, and they are strained and fatigued and causing pain.  Physical therapy has me training my body to use my glutes, which is hard!  I started out doing very simple exercises where I lay on my back and just tighten my glutes and hold them as tightly as possible for 10 counts.  Then I have progressed to single leg bridge four sets of 25 Reps each leg.  I also work on some exercise machines to help strengthen my glutes, all while concentrating on engaging them.  It has involved a lot of mind over body to the point where I can engage them whenever I need to.  The only problem is, they are weak and they fatigue easily.  I need to make them stronger than my hamstrings.

I have also had to implement a whole new way of running, which is interesting after running 13 marathons and numerous other races.  I have been practicing the CHI Running method, but this method doesn't require you to use your glutes.  So now I am doing a modified CHI Running form.  I still land mid foot, then I really try and extend my leg behind me as much as I can (no longer doing the butt kick) and really push off and propel myself forward using my glutes, all while maintaining the forward lean, or forward fall from your feet.  Learning a new running technique is difficult, because my body wants to slip back into its old ways, so I have to keep my mind in it and maintain the new form.  It is exhausting, and I find that I don't have as much stamina due to the weak glutes.  

With that being said, I know this is going to be a challenge, training to reach my BQ goals with an entire new way of running.  This first week of training didn't go quite as well as I had planned, but I am OK with that.  I know it is going to be harder this time around and I am listening to my body and doing what I can without over doing it and becoming injured.  Plus, I was sick the week of Christmas and didn't do much as far as exercise, so I was a little fatigued going into this first week.  I cut back on my speed interval training and opted for hills instead.  My tempo run wasn't quite as fast as I had hoped, but it was still comfortably hard, and my long run was a little slower and one mile shorter than I had planned.  I had to quit at 12 miles because I was so fatigued after mile 9 and my glutes were really starting to hurt (13 was my scheduled distance).  My average pace was supposed to be 8:40, and I ended doing 8:50 with the first nine miles being 8:40, so I am getting there.  I also didn't do all my cross training this week, just recovering from being sick and easing into the training program.  We will see how week 2 goes!

Final thoughts: I am thankful for my body, for physical therapy, and for my injuries.  I always learn so much about myself through injuries, and I am better in the long run (pun intended)!  It is a blessing to be able to run and spend time with God working through issues and concerns.  It is my time to train, to push my body and mind, and see how far I can go.  I am thankful for every step of the way.

Crunch Live: Laugh Your Ass Off Online Workout

This 15 minute workout is let by Mitchell Wayne.  It is a quick lower body workout consisting of standing and floor work.  It begins with a 2 minute Step Touch warm up followed by a 1 minute static stretch of the legs.  The mat work consists of several leg extensions on your hands and knees.  The instructor is great at offering options for each exercise, which I always appreciate.  A quick stretch and then onto the next section of various bridge exercises and modifications, followed by 2 minutes of final stretching.  It was quick and it was challenging thanks to the modifications.


Over all, the instruction was good, but as the title says, "Laugh Your Ass Off" I didn't feel the humor was very appropriate.  It was funny at times and then not so funny.  I could have done without the humor.  The other negative, the instructor sweats a lot, so much so that you can see a visible puddle on his mat.  I also sweat a lot, but I wear a hat or sweatband so I don't drip everywhere.  It would have been nice if this instructor decided to do the same.

Crunch Live offers a selection of over 35 various workouts. To find out more about Crunch Live click here.

Crunch Live: The Athlete's Online Workout

This workout will help you improve speed, agility, and power. Intense intervals of cardio and strength training are alternated to provide a total body workout, while strength training exercises using weights target your upper and lower body, then take it to the floor, finishing up with targeted ab work. (30 min)

Warmup began with the boxer shuffles, lunges, step taps forward and backward then side-to-side and some step squats.  The upper body was added in for a total body warm up with some punches, upper cut, and arm curls.

Resistance training with weights2.5lb, 5lb or 8lb dumbbells started with squats and biceps curls to over head press.  Then we did bent over rows and dead lifts, with some calf raises in between rows.  Reverse lunges with hammer curls and side deltoids raises.  Squat to the right with front raises and to over head press and triceps overhead kick backs.  This was a fun segment with a lot of quick moves, but nothing too challenging.  It was easy to follow and the transitions were quick you so never got tired of doing the same combinations.  An excellent total body resistance training workout that you can customize based on the weight of your dumbbells.

Next transition was into a cardo burst section.  We started with modified jumping jacks, then we started to pick it up into a more challenging pace and added in some high knees.  The instructor, Justin Flexon, was excellent at challenging us to kick it up if we wanted more intensity.  We moved into side lunge hops, leg side kicks, reverse lunges, ice skaters and other quick leg movements.  This section is designed to get your heart rate up.

At the halfway mark, we added back in the weights with some back work: lat row, kick back, fly.  At this point, we added in a side lunge to get the lower body moving and went into a single leg balance with single arm row to an overhead press.  The combos were fun and targeted the various muscles groups in different ways, which is always the BEST way to challenge your muscles.  Pay attention to your form, the instruction doesn't explain much as far as form goes so you need to know your stuff!  After the weights, we then began our second cardio burst section.

This workout ended with some core work on the mat: crunches, v-sits, planks, and then we ended with  some stretching.  I would suggest you do a little more stretching to ensure you stretch your complete upper and lower body.  Stretching is always done at the end of the workout and I would suggest you hold each stretch for 30 seconds.

I really enjoyed this workout and it is excellent for runners as a total body toning workout.  If you only run as your form of exercise, you really need to add in some resistance training and the cardio bursts help improve your speed.

Crunch Live offers a selection of over 35 various workouts. To find out more about Crunch Live click here.

Crunch Live: Broadway Dance Online Workout

Time to put on my dancing shoes!  I decided to try a new workout by Crunch Live called Broadway Dance with instructor Jennifer.  I am a fan of musicals and thought it would fun to try a dance workout for a change.  This workout is 30 minutes long and includes 6 different types of dancing.  We began with Dream Girls and then moved into New York and some Chicago musical selections.  Then Jennifer decided to switch it up a bit and threw in some Cuban Beat music, and closing with Mamma Mia and then a cool down to Fever.

The workout was fun, a little hard to follow because the dance choreography is fast and at times hard to follow, or in my case, hard to remember.  First time out, I did OK, however I think I would do much better the second time around after knowing the choreography a little better.

The workout was more cardio with some jumps, kicks, and spins.  There were 2 other dancers in the video, but no options were given to increase intensity.  Often in previous Crunch Live videos, you can follow along with the instructor in the class or there are suggestions as to how to increase intensity or lower intensity, but no modification were offered in this video.

In closing, I would suggest this video as more of a cardio workout.  If you like Zumba, then you will probably like this workout.  The music is fun and the dance styles are ever changing so you don't get bored. 

Crunch Live offers a selection of over 35 various workouts. To find out more about Crunch Live click here.

 

Temecula Wine Country Half Marathon

I am so honored to be asked to participate in the New Destination Races Temecula Wine Country Half Marathon Presented by Newton Running on Nov. 15th.

This will be an incredible weekend of ideal weather, running past beautiful vineyards & orchards, and finish with a wine and music fest! The best part, I get to include my running buddy, Heather! Nothing like a girls getaway weekend that includes running and wine!

When I am not training for a marathon, I really enjoy running half marathons.  It is always fun to try out new locations and new challenging courses.  Grab a few friends and train together!  The nice thing about a half marathon, it is just long enough to be challenging, but doesn't take over your entire life like marathon training can. 

Search your local area and you may be surprised just how many races there are!  If you are in the San Diego area, join us in Temecula!  There is still time to register and join me as I run 13.1 miles!

http://tiny.cc/44ogox

Crunch Live: Bare Online Workout

This 30 minute workout, Bare, is led by fitness instructor and certified podiatrist, Dr. Emily.  A mat and barefeet are suggested for this workout as it is designed to strengthen and sculpt your entire body from your feet up.  The workout includes Pilates, Yoga and barefoot balance training.  The benefits include improved balance, posture, and strength. 

First impressions, I didn't not care for the instructor.  Dr. Emily is very intense and moves through each pose quickly and almost in a jerky manner, not your typical natural flow you see in Yoga and Pilates.  Her movements are almost harsh and she uses her hands a lot to emphasize the next exercise she is about to execute.  I found her to be distracting, due to her teaching technique. 

Overall, the workout is good and you do get some great core work and balance challenges.  I really enjoyed the emphasis on the feet, since most workouts don't include any feet strengthening exercises.  We did spend a lot of time in Sumo Squat, which was a bit repetitious even for a 30 minute workout.  The workout ended with a short stretching section.

Even though I didn't care for Dr. Emily's teaching techniques, she is excellent at describing proper form through out the workout.  I would suggest this workout for beginners to advanced Pilates/Yoga enthusiasts.

Crunch Live offers a selection of over 35 various workouts. To find out more about Crunch Live click here.

Crunch Live: Quick Core Online Workout

After a run, I enjoy a little stretching and core work. When short on time, this is a great workout because it is only 18 and a half minutes long, and it targets the entire core. (abs, obliques, low back) This workout is led by Deborah Sweets, and it requires a mat. All of the moves are done on the mat down on the floor. I found the workout to be perfect for beginners, but it also incorporates modifications for those desiring a little extra challenge.

The workout begins in Child's Pose and then moves into Cobra. Deborah instructs on how to breath and move through each movement gently with an easy flow. Modifications are given for beginners and challenges for the advanced. It then moves into Cat Cow with the option of staying with a slow flow or moving into a quicker flow, depending on experience.

Plank variations are instructed as well as side planks and side crunches. Throughout the workout you never feel rushed or lost. Deborah conducted the class in an instructional and fundamental manner, making it fun and challenging for various fitness levels.

The only criticism is that it just kind of ended...abruptly, without any cool down or stretching, and it was a quick workout, which for some may be too short.

Crunch Live offers a selection of over 35 various workouts. To find out more about Crunch Live click here.