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How to Race Your Best Half Marathon

We’ve talked one mile, 5K and 10K race strategies, so it only makes sense to move it on up to the half marathon, right? Right!

If you’ve read all three posts, you will definitely notice some common themes. I think it’s best, from a big picture perspective, to keep your overall race strategies fairly similar across these distances. As the race gets longer, there is more room for variation within each phase of the race plan, and there is more potential for outside variables to affect your race. These strategy posts can serve as fundamental building blocks for your race plan. You can easily tweak these strategies as needed based on any weather or course specific issues that you encounter on race day.

Fueling: Fueling needs vary from person-to-person, so I hesitate to give a fueling “strategy.” Fueling wasn’t specifically mentioned in the one mile, 5k or 10k race strategy posts, so adding it here should serve as a reminder that fueling needs to be addressed, at least on some level, during a half marathon.

The important thing is to test whatever you are going to do during the race during your key workouts and long runs. I try to eat a light, simple, and easily digestible breakfast an hour or two before the race starts (definitely nothing new!). If I get thirsty during the race, I will drink whatever water or sports drinks are provided along the course, but that is all I take in during the race itself. Personally, I find that I don’t really need an elaborate fueling plan for a half marathon, but others may disagree. Nailing down a half-marathon fueling strategy will likely involve practicing your fueling during your training and learning via trial and error at races.

Warmup: For a goal half marathon, I typically do a one mile warmup. Remember: you do you! Try to pick the pace up a notch or two to a tempo type effort during the last minute or two or the warmup to stir those aerobic enzymes and prime your engine for the race. Try to stay warm and loose while you stand at the start.

First 10%: As usual, try to avoid the early sprint out and ease into the pace. You’ll want to start off as smooth as possible and use the first mile to gradually settle into your rhythm and goal pace.

Speaking of goal pace, you may be wondering how you know what this should be. I recommend racing a shorter distance race (a 5K or 10K) during your half marathon training and using a running calculator to predict your goal half marathon pace based on that result. Take your predicted pace and create a goal pace range of about 10 to 15 seconds per mile around it. By easing into your goal pace over the course of the first mile, you will not only increase your chances of feeling good later in the race, but you will also be setting yourself up for a nice little negative split. Patience is a virtue that we want to possess during our longer distance races for sure!

Middle 70%: Once you settle into your goal pace range it’s time to relax, get comfy and plan to stay here awhile. The “middle” section of the half marathon is going to take us from the start of the second mile to mile 10. You will want to be running as strong, as smooth and as sustainable as possible (after all, this is a half marathon, not a sprint).

The goal during this middle section is to stay within the targeted pace range and use as little energy as possible to do so. Try to stay in the moment and engaged in the race, executing one mile at a time. If you think it is better mentally to break the race up into other manageable “chunks” then, by all means, do that. I have tried this in the past, with some success, but I end up coming back to the whole “run the mile you are in” philosophy most of the time.

Last 20%: You ran the first part of the race with your head, by easing into it and then staying mentally focused, holding a good strong rhythm through mile 10. Now it is time to race it home (the last 5K) with your heart, by competing and pushing yourself to give the very best effort possible on this day. Depending on how you are feeling at this point, you will likely still be within your goal pace range or hopefully even a little quicker if you can manage it. This is often the point in the race where, if you paced correctly, you will catch up with and pass a lot of people who didn’t have as much success with their pacing strategy and are slowing down.

Cooldown: After the race, get in an easy mile jog to flush out the system and jump-start the recovery process. It’s a good idea to take an ice bath or warm Epsom salt bath in the afternoon for recovery. It can be difficult to make yourself do anything else after the race, but it is always worth it to do a proper cooldown and pay attention to your recovery needs. We take our races seriously and we should take our recovery seriously as well!

What races do you have coming up?

 

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The Coaching Conundrum

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I recently got a question from a reader as to whether or not I was still working with the coach that I worked with for over three years. The short answer is, no. The long answer is going to turn into an overly wordy post that is likely not necessary, but for the sake of transparency, I want to share …

Let’s start of by talking about coaching in general. Having a coach is wonderful and it can be a very rewarding relationship to have. However, I don’t think that everyone *needs* a coach. If you are just starting out and you have a goal that is primarily to “complete” a certain event, chances are that you can find a plethora of training plans online that will likely do the trick. If you aren’t entirely sure what you want to do, but want to focus on general fitness and perhaps you just need some guidance as far as what paces to train at, then there are also lots of resources online (including the VDOT calculator) that can help you.

Running friends can also be a wonderful resource. Talk about your training plan with your running partners (as if you really talk about anything else anyway :)) and bounce ideas off of each other. You might be surprised at how much you can learn from the seasoned veterans in your group!

All that being said, I think that if you have a specific goal in mind for your current training cycle or you have specific long-term goals (i.e., each training cycle builds on the previous one and you are, for the most part, constantly training), you can afford a coach and you find a coach who works well with your needs, then having a coach is definitely the way to go! I much prefer working with a coach than coaching myself, even though I feel like I likely have the knowledge to coach myself. I mean, I technically have a coaching certification myself (but really, who doesn’t ;)). It’s really nice to have someone else that is invested in your training who can look at your workouts objectively and encourage and believe in you when you may not even really believe in yourself.

Prior to working with Coach Hadley, I worked briefly with another coach that just wasn’t a good fit for me. His methods worked well and I ran some of my best times (at that time). However, I didn’t feel like I got enough attention (I realize how diva-ish that sounds) and he also didn’t offer the type of encouragement that I needed (also likely diva-ish). For example, there was this one HUGE workout leading up to my goal marathon. It was the workout of all workouts, the make or break workout of the training cycle and (not to brag, but) I crushed it. I ran my heart out and really put a lot into that workout and the feedback I got was something along the lines of “that’s what I expected you to do.” Alrighty then … I’m going to need a little bit more head pats validation than that.

After that, I worked with Coach Hadley for over three years. He is a fantastic coach and I learned so much from working with him. His knowledge of the sport is incredible and he was very encouraging and very easy to talk to and work with. After my marathon in January, I decided to take a break from coaching. At the time, I wasn’t planning to focus on marathons anymore and I honestly wasn’t even sure what direction I wanted to go with my training at all. It just seemed like a good opportunity for a break.

Here’s the part of the story that has nothing at all to do with running, but will help to explain some of my indecision and lack of direction in general. You see, Daniel and I have been talking about starting a family. That’s right … you read it here first. We have been married for almost 8 years now (CRAZY) and having a kid (my preference) or two (Daniel’s preference) is something that, for the first time ever, is actually on our radar. I honestly wasn’t sure that it would ever be even on our radar, so this is kind of a big deal.

What I have come to learn over the last few months is that just because it is on our radar, it doesn’t actually mean that it is something we are ready to fully commit to at this exact moment. I could likely write an entire post about the decision (or lack thereof) to start a family and all of the pressure, etc. that comes with it. As an only child, I think that pressure is amplified by about one thousand percent. My parents (for the most part) haven’t put any pressure on me, but at the same time, there is no way to escape from the reality of the situation. I am the only person in the world that can give them a grandchild and none of us are getting any younger.

If we were to find out today that we are having a baby (this post is NOT a pregnancy announcement), would we be excited? Absolutely! Would we be scared out of our minds? Absolutely! People like to tell you that “you’ll never truly be ready,” but I like to think that a time will come when I might be a little bit more ready than I am at this exact moment. Having a child is one of the few things in life that can’t be undone. I’m not saying that I would want to “undo” it or would regret it in any way, but I do think the fact that I am keenly aware of this fact means that maybe, just maybe, I’m not quite as ready as I thought I was at one point.

I have realized over the last year or so that I actually do have some maternal instincts, which is quite a relief. I thought maybe those were missing entirely, but I think that they were just suppressed for the first 30+ years of my life (which is definitely not a bad thing (ha)). Funny story: Last fall, a client brought me some eggs from her chickens and I was almost in tears in my office thinking about how those eggs could’ve been little baby chicks running around my office. Side note: I do realize that those eggs actually couldn’t have hatched into baby chicks, but the point is, I couldn’t get the idea of baby chicks out of my mind.

I became a vegetarian shortly after this. The thought of eating animals is terrible to me and I don’t know how I did it for so long. You know … just another random side note that has absolutely nothing to do with running. I haven’t eaten meat in almost 6 months now! I haven’t mentioned it yet on the blog (at least I don’t think I have), so now seems like as good a time as any to share. I could likely also write an entire post about the decision to become vegetarian and how to navigate that as an endurance athlete who has a tendency to struggle with eating issues. It gets tricky.

So where does that leave us exactly? Well, to summarize, I am a confused thirty-two year old vegetarian who might want to become a mother at some point in her life and, in the meantime, will likely stick to running marathons. I kind of aimlessly trained for shorter distance races this Spring and I ran several races, while simultaneously surviving both tax season and my first semester of teaching as an adjunct professor at a local university. Again, not to brag, but I’m proud of myself for surviving all of these things!

Let’s bring this back to coaching, shall we? Over the spring, a local coach wrote my plans for me. This was great for what I needed at the time. I likely could’ve done this myself, but honestly, having someone else think for me and tell me what to do was very nice at the time. Overall, it just really wasn’t a great fit for what I am looking for and have come to expect from my coaches. I worked with him for three months and have since decided to move on to a different coaching group. I can’t stress enough how important it is to find a coach that works well with your needs! If you are paying for a coach, you should be happy with the relationship.

After some thought and some research (thanks to a fellow Salty Running cohort for sharing her thorough coaching research with me), I have decided to work with Sarah Bishop (of McKirdy Trained). I am going to be focusing on some short stuff this summer (one mile to 5K) and then I plan to do another marathon in the late fall (likely early December) and also plan to do Boston in 2019! Woo to the hoo for long-term goals and clarity!

You might wonder why I didn’t go back to Coach Hadley. I definitely thought about it! He isn’t coaching full-time anymore (unless something has changed) and I am really just excited about the idea of something new and different. I could basically predict the workouts that I would be doing from training cycle to training cycle and that just isn’t much fun. If it is working, then fun isn’t really necessary, but at the same time, I do think that we should be able to improve and still enjoy the process. It was also difficult not to look back and compare my previous times for the same workout one or two years ago since I had done the exact same workouts several times over the years.

After talking with Sarah the first time, I was more excited about my training and running than I had been in years! Years! She is an amazing runner herself (she WON the Marine Corps Marathon in 2017 and qualified for the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials) and she has complete confidence in me and my abilities, which basically blew me away. I’ve only done a few workouts with her at this point, but so far, it’s been great! She has given me specific advice on how to pace my workouts and has already adjusted a workout that I was super intimidated by to make it more doable (while still getting the same benefits).

As predicted, that got a little lengthy. I have a tendency to do that sometimes, but it’s really been a while so you were likely overdue for some rambling. Let me know if you have any thoughts or questions! I’m always happy to hear from you guys!

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How to Race Your Best Mile

Today we are talking about a short and sweet race distance, with some tips on how to successfully compete in a one mile road race. You may be thinking, it’s just one mile, how much strategy do you really need? Initially, I had the same reaction. Then, last summer I did a one-mile road race, and I used an awesome effort-based pacing strategy that helped me more than I could have imagined. Having a strategy helps, as does thinking about said strategy pre-race (i.e., not winging it).

I’ve done a couple of one mile events over the years and I have thoroughly enjoyed each one. It’s not everyday that you get to go out and see how fast you are truly capable of running. In fact, I would venture to say that a lot of us have not tapped into our true potential as far as our speed goes. A one mile race is an excellent place to test your limits and find out what you are really made of!

Warmup: I recommend doing an easy 2 miles pre-race, followed by several strong 10-15 second strides to get the blood pumping and muscles primed.

We are going to divide this race up into four segments, but it’s not going to be the exact four quarter-mile segments that you would likely expect. Here’s how the race should go down:

First 12.5%: You should take off fairly quickly during the first 200 meters, but don’t sprint to the point of distress this early on. You want to start out quickly enough to give yourself some room and establish your position among the other runners. Try to be as smooth as possible.

Next 37.5%: From 200 meters to the half way point, you want to stay strong, smooth and controlled. This gives you lots of good one-word mantras to focus on while you are suffering (side note: suffer isn’t one of the go-to words). Be aggressive (after all, it’s just a mile). It’s early enough in the race that you will still feel good, so enjoy it, get excited about challenging yourself in this event and get through the half way point strong and in control.

Next 25%: The stretch from the half to three-quarters of a mile will likely be the toughest section of the race. If you know this going in, you can expect it and not let it derail you when you actually get there. You will start to get tired and your lactic acid levels will be rising. Other runners will likely start to slow down during this stretch. Tell yourself that you are smarter than those runners and see how many of them you can catch by staying strong, focusing on your leg turnover and simply maintaining your pace.

Last 25%: I’m not going to sugarcoat it here … you will be in distress, but it’s almost over. Now is the time to really be aggressive! The hardest part of this section is simply making yourself start the finishing kick. Did you know that you actually tap into new glycogen stores when you transition into an all-out sprint? Say what?! Hear me out here. Once you think you are done and you have nothing left to give … give MORE. Make yourself sprint and give it all you’ve got. You will find a new energy source that you didn’t know existed and you might just surprise yourself by running faster than you ever have before.

Cooldown: I recommend doing another easy 2 miles post-race jog to flush all the junk out of the system (and a one mile race will produce some serious junk). This will help you to jump-start the recovery process. If you have the time and the willpower, take an ice bath when you get home.

While you can find a local 5K or 10K just about every weekend, the local one mile race seems to be much harder to come by. Sometimes races will have a one mile “fun run,” but it can sometimes feel a little awkward “racing” those. I mean, sure, it’s fun to put a 5-year-old in his place sometimes, but it’s much more fun to race against runners of your own age and ability. If you are looking to branch out and test your abilities with a one mile road race, here are some good options:

Have you ever competed in a one mile road race? If so, tell me about it!

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How to Race Your Best 10K

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Today it is double the pleasure, double the fun for some tips on how to run your best 10K. In case you missed it, I recently wrote a post about my strategy for running your best 5K. From a big picture perspective, the strategies are very similar. Keeping it simple is often best (and let’s face it, easier to remember when you are deep in the pain cave during the actual race). There are a few key differences though, so read on to find out more.

Warmup: I like to do at least 2 easy miles pre-race. The caveat here is to use your own judgement as far as what you think your body can handle, based on your experience level and overall mileage. After your warmup miles, pick up the pace and do a few strides to stir up the aerobic enzymes and prime the engine before heading to the start line.

Here’s how the race should go down:

First 10%: Avoid the early sprint out and ease into the pace. Start off as smooth as possible and use the first half to three-quarters of a mile to settle into your race rhythm and goal pace. Remember that you will soon be passing all of the folks who started out too quickly. I don’t know about you, but catching other runners during a race really motivates me to run harder. You might as well “let” them have a little head start and then focus on reeling them in. Not only does it make sense physiologically, but also it’s just more fun that way.

Middle 70%: Once you settle into your goal pace range, get comfy and plan to stay here for a few miles. There is more room to negative split and run to your true potential and also more room to have a goal pace “range” in a 10K, as opposed to a 5K. For example, I try to give myself a 10 second goal pace range during a 10K, whereas during a 5K, I likely have a specific pace that I am targeting. I would suggest running the first mile at the upper end of your goal range and easing it down as you go. After you pass the 5K mark, so 50% of the way into the race, do a quick reassessment of the pace. Do you feel good? If so, you might want to lower your goal range at this point and start picking it up just a tad. Do you feel okay? If so, you are likely running about where you should be running at this point. Focus on keeping a consistent rhythm and cadence and let the pace take care of itself. Do you feel bad? Hopefully not, but if so, don’t stress about it. Slow your pace down a tad and let yourself regroup. You can (and will) still finish this thing strong.

Last 20%: During the last mile and a quarter, challenge yourself to compete and give it your best effort. Focus on someone ahead of you and work to catch them. You can do anything for one mile. Check in with yourself every quarter-mile and count them down. Less than four laps around the track to go, less than three laps around the track to go, etc. It’s time to leave whatever you have left in the tank out there on the course. Don’t worry too much about your pace at this point, just give it all you’ve got. If you follow this strategy, you should be able to make your last mile the fastest of the day and that, my friends, is a wonderful feeling.

Cooldown: I also like to get in 2 more miles post-race (again, use your own judgement here). This will help you flush out your muscles and will promote recovery. It can be difficult to make yourself do anything else after the race, but trust me, it is well worth it!

This is a simple pacing strategy that has served me well over the years. If you are competing for placement or running on a course that has significant uphill or downhill sections, then you would definitely need to factor those things into your plan. For the most part though, your training prepares you for race day and the magic will happen on its own as long as you have put in the work during training.

Try this strategy at your next 10K and let me know how it goes!

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Race Recap: Leprechaun Chase 10K

Well guys, I told you I was going to make up for my lack of February racing by doing all. the. races. in March. This weekend I did back to back races! The last time I did back to back races, it was a 10K on Saturday and a half marathon on Sunday. This weekend it was a 5K on Saturday and a 10K on Sunday. This was much more manageable, although I am definitely a bit tired at this point.

Sunday morning I ran the St. Patrick’s Leprechaun Chase 10K in Robertsdale. I’ve only done this race one time before and it’s been several years ago now. I typically skip it since it is the weekend before Spring Fever, but when you are running all. the. races., you just do it anyway! The race takes place at St. Patrick’s School in Robertsdale. The entire event has typically been at the church, but they moved most of the pre-race activities and post-race festivities over to the school this year. I liked the way it was done this year. The race still started and finished at the church (as they used the same certified course from prior years), but everything else was just across the street at the school.

The race started at 8 a.m. We met around 6:30 to register and get in a longer warm up. It’s been a while since I’ve done a “long run,” and I wanted to get in between 12 and 14 miles Sunday. I got 6 miles in before the race, which was perfect. Luckily the rain held off for us, but it was a warm and humid morning (especially early on).

I really didn’t have a specific plan going into this race as I wasn’t sure how my legs were really going to feel once I started the race. They felt decent on the warm up, but not great, which made sense. I was asking a lot of them. Ha. I figured that I would settle in and try to run “goal marathon” pace (NOT that I am training for a marathon by any means (no one freak out (Mom)), but this is just a good pace to base my effort on). I figured I could sustain somewhere in the 6:45 to 6:55 range, but again, I wasn’t really sure. I figured that I would just play it by ear and see what happened! It’s really nice to approach races without any defined expectations sometimes.

As it turns out, I ran almost the entire race with my friend, Erin. It was nice to have someone to work with on an otherwise isolated course. The course is an out and back route that is run primarily on two county roads. We settled into a good pace and hung on through the first half of the race. We were in third and fourth positions overall for the first two miles of the race, until the leader took a wrong turn (major bummer for him … he was pretty far out in front). We passed him and the second place guy during the third mile.

From this point on, we were leading the race. It was pretty cool to have two girls leading the race! We got lots of encouragement from the other runners as we ran back (one of the perks of an out and back course (in my opinion)). Actually, six out of the top ten finishers were female. I love it!

The second half of the race was fairly uneventful. I was working a little bit harder than I would’ve liked to have been for the pace that we were running and I was more than ready to see the finish line. I finished in 42:11 as first female (and overall for that matter). My splits were 6:42, 6:51, 7:01, 6:46, 6:50, 6:37 and 5:57 for the last 0.2. Erin finished right behind me and Rebecca finished right behind her. Before we knew it, Jessica, Lizzie and Joy all finished, and that rounded out the top 10 finishers.

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I had good intentions of doing a three mile cool down, but that turned into less than a mile. My left hamstring and glute were a bit cranky after the race. The same thing happened after the last 10K that I did as well, so I decided to call it a day at 13 miles. I was able to go back over to the church and do the fun run with Rebecca and Savannah. It was Savannah’s first race! We did a walk, run, skip, piggyback combo and it was a blast!

We hung around for a while and waited on the awards. They had food trucks, beverages and bands for the adults and snow cones and boucy houses for the kids. I decided that it had been entirely too long since I have had a snow cone. It really hit the spot!

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Race Recap: Crime Prevention 5K

Hey guys!

Tuesday evening I ran the Crime Prevention 5K in downtown Mobile. Don’t ever expect me to do a workout in the evening, but if you ask me to do a race … that’s a different story. I can totally get beside that. Evening races present some different challenges than the typical Saturday morning race, especially when they are in the middle of the week. I’m always up for a good challenge!

This race is always the first Tuesday in August and of course, is always a HOT one. According to Garmin Connect, the temperature was 90 degrees at 6:30 p.m. That’s toasty.

Pre-Race

Rebecca picked me up around 5:15 and we headed across the bay. Thankfully we didn’t run into any traffic issues and we were able to find a place to park downtown without any issues as well. Neither one of us had registered, so the first thing we did was head over to get signed up. For the low, low price of $20, you get to run through the streets of downtown Mobile AND you get a race tee-shirt. There is also a “no shirt” option for $17, which is nice. I usually don’t get the shirt at this race, as it is typically one of the more unfashionable race shirts, but this year I went for it. I really like the color and the material of the shirt.

I did a mile and half or so warm up with some strides at the end and before we knew it, it was time to race!

The Race

In typical 5K fashion, everyone went out blazing fast. See if you can find me below (it’s like Where’s Waldo minus the outfit).


I focused on reigning it in and staying relaxed during the first half mile. I steadily caught up to pretty much everyone that sprinted out like a cannon by about half a mile in. I checked my watch around the half mile mark to make sure I was on track. I saw 6:00 pace as my current pace and was satisfied that I was right where I needed to be. In hindsight, the current pace was probably off because of all of the tall buildings downtown.

My first mile split was 5:47. Alrighty then. I knew that was too fast, but there wasn’t anything I could do about it at that point. I just tried to focus on keeping it consistent and decided not to look at my pace anymore except for at the mile splits. By the time we got to the one mile mark, I was in 4th overall, which is where I would stay for the rest of the race. I could see the guys just ahead of me and I was able to pretend like I was chasing them down, but I never really made up any ground on them. I feel like I always end up in no man’s land during races and I wish that wasn’t the case.

Here’s me, hanging out in no man’s land without any friends to race with. I seemed happy about it at the time. It’s always good to see Tim (who comes out to a lot of the local races and takes pictures) out on the course. There were several other friendly faces out and about cheering as well, which was nice.


My second mile split was 5:57, which is more in line with where I probably should’ve been to begin with. Unfortunately, I really started to feel the effects of that first mile and the monkey jumped on my back (actually it felt more like an elephant jumped on my back) during the last mile. You basically run past the finish at around mile two and half and have to do another little out and back stretch, which is tough mentally. At that point, I was really feeling the heat and I was so ready to be done. Well, I say I was ready to be done, but I was not ready enough to pick the pace up and attempt to get there more quickly. The last mile felt like the longest mile of. my. life.

My last mile split was 6:23. Woof. If I hadn’t had to carry that elephant around with me, I guess I would’ve gone faster. I was actually able to kick it in a little bit when I realized that I still had a chance to get under 19:00. My pace for the last tenth was 5:46, which put me finishing in 18:50. Overall, I’m happy with my time, but the execution could definitely use some work. In fact, I would dare to even say that this is textbook example of how NOT to race a 5K (so basically you don’t want a 35+ second difference in your pace between mile one and mile 3).

Post-Race

I was absolutely gassed at the end of the race and I decided that from here on out, I just want to stick to one mile races. Kidding … kind of. After I collected myself and talked to friends at the finish for a few minutes, I did another mile and a half or so to cool down.

We waited a little while for the awards. Rebecca and I were first and third overall for the girls. She pushed Savannah in the stroller and even got a nice little stroller PR! The overall winners get gift cards to McCoy Outdoor Company ($100 for overall, $75 for second and $50 for third), which is amazing! I can’t wait to go see Mr. Joe and pick out something with my gift card.

The guys racked up too! My Daniel didn’t run (it was hammer ride night at Pro Cycle and he’s all about that biking right now), but Brandon, Young Daniel and Cody went 1, 2 and 3!

We got home from the race just before 9 p.m., which is basically past my bedtime these days. I still had to eat dinner and it took me forever to wind down. For whatever reason, easy runs in the evening don’t bother me, but apparently races leave me WIRED and unable to sleep. So. Many. Endorphins. So. Little. Sleep.

The rest of the week seems to be crawling by. I definitely feel like it is taking me a bit longer than it should to recover from these hard efforts. I’m going to get my blood work done again with Inside Tracker to make sure that all of my vitamin and nutrient levels are where they need to be.

Two races down and one to go in the summer race trifecta! I’m looking forward to the 2 mile race next week and to some down time afterwards. I hope everyone is having a great week! Talk to you soon!

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RNR NOLA: Week 3

Hey y’all! Happy Monday!

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Week 3 of RNR NOLA training is in the books and the race is THIS WEEK. What?! When you just have 4 weeks in between races, it seems like the training cycle FLIES by! Haha. I’m really excited to ROCK and ROLL this weekend!

Here is what last week looked like (from a running perspective):

Monday: 2 mi. WU, 4 X 800 (3:00, 3:00 2:56, 2:54), 2 X 1 mi. (5:56, 5:52), 1.5 mi. CD

Monday’s workout looked a little different. Instead of hitting the track like we typically do, I decided to take my speed work to the treadmill. We had winds gusting up to 40 mph Monday morning. I knew that if I tried to run in that I would only end up feeling defeated and I wanted to at least attempt to set myself up for success.

While 800s on the TM is not really ideal, I made it work. The workout was supposed to be 8 X 800s w/ a 400 recovery and the goal range for the 800s was 2:54 to 2:58. I managed to hit snooze a few times (gotta love that Monday morning reality check) and I ended up altering the workout and cutting the cool down slightly so that I could get it done a little quicker. I ended up with 4 X 800 and 2 X 1 mile. The fast portion of the workout was the same as it would’ve been, but I just cut out a little bit of the recovery time in between sets.

I decided to start the first two at 6:00 pace and since I was on the treadmill, I was able to do exactly that. I didn’t want to do the first ones too fast and then crash. If you’ve been there and done that, you know it isn’t fun. Whether it is a race or a workout, it is always best to start conservatively and finish strong! Overall I was very pleased with this workout!

We went back to the chiro Monday evening and Daniel got his turn on the Alter G. He loved it! Also in case you were wondering, my backside is feeling MUCH better. Woo to the hoo!

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Tuesday AM: 4.5 miles + strength training

We kicked off Tuesday morning with a few miles and some chest and core work. My chest was sore for days after this workout!

Tuesday PM: RW Group Run

My training group had their first interval workout Tuesday evening. They did 10 X 30 second pickups w/ 1 minute in between. We met at the store and ran over to a local park with a 600 meter “track” (it’s really just a sidewalk around some tennis courts, but it is well-lit, so I am not complaining) to do the repeats. They did awesome! We ended up with exactly 4 miles.

Wednesday: 4 miles (8:59 pace)

This new Tuesday routine really seems to do me in and I was definitely not feeling the run on Wednesday. I got 4 miles in and called it a day.

Thursday: 15 miles (7:38 pace)

I was technically supposed to do my long run on Wednesday, but I put it off until Thursday since I was so worn out Wednesday morning. This actually ended up working out really well because Rebecca was able to come run with me Thursday morning! I was SO thankful to have company for my long run.

Solo long runs or treadmill long runs are TOUGH. Rebecca and I were able to get in 10 miles before she had to leave to get ready for work. I was thinking that I might have to end up doing the rest of my run on the treadmill once she left, but when I came inside Daniel was up, dressed and ready to run! Sweet! He did the last 5 miles with me.

I got 15 miles in before 6 a.m. Thursday morning. Boom. If that doesn’t make you feel accomplished, I don’t know what will. Thursday was a great day! All those endorphins really helped me out.

Friday: 8 miles (9:07 pace)

Jess and I got in an easy 8 miles Friday morning before work.

Saturday: 10 miles (including the Charity Chase 5K)

I did a separate post for this race, so I won’t rehash it here. To summarize: we did a 4 mile warm up, ran the 5K and did a 3 mile cool down.

One thing I don’t think I mentioned in the recap is that I tried out my new “fast shoes.” I’ve been needing some new kicks for speed work and races and I decided to go with the Nike Free. I wore them for the race and they seemed good. I’ve only run 3 miles in them though, so I don’t want to form any concrete opinions about them just yet. I do NOT typically run in Nike shoes, so I was a bit hesitant at first. I had a pair of Nike tennis shoes back in the day (like for playing tennis). They actually had an interchangeable outer “shell” and you could wear them in multiple colors (to match your outfit that day, obviously). I still have some reservations about the quality of these shoes, but they sure were cute! True story.

Here are my new ones (they are cute too) …

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Sunday: 9 miles (9:05 pace)

The Big Beach Marathon was Sunday in Gulf Shores. Rebecca paced the 3:40 group and Jessica, Lizzie and I decided to go down and surprise her the morning of the race. We even threw her off with some sneaky text messages, like “Good luck! We’ll be thinking about you. Let us know how it goes!” She had no idea we were coming and it was SO FUN to see her reaction!

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We watched the start of the race and then Jessica, Lizzie and I went for a run. We did 9 easy miles and followed that up with a quick breakfast before heading out on the course to see Rebecca. We caught her just before mile 24 and then again at the finish. Per usual, her pacing was spot on. She finished in 3:39:22. It was a beautiful day for a run, but the winds were brutal.

Side note: I’ve been thinking about it and I’m wondering if I could do a half marathon each month of 2017. The first four are lined up. June, July and August might be tricky (i.e., I’d have to travel a little bit), but I’m thinking this might be a fun goal. Thoughts?