Pregnancy Running Weeks 12-15

You can check out running through the first 12 weeks of pregnancy here. 

Week 12:  61.2 miles  

[+6 pounds pre-pregnancy weight]

Still battling fatigue and nausea this week. I was surprised to find that I still had some speed. I ran a very short workout 1 mile @ old half marathon pace + .5 mile @ old 10k pace + 2 x .25 mi @ old 5k pace. It felt great to run fast again even though my paces have slowed a lot!

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Lake Minnetonka Half Marathon- 1:38

  • 10 min off my PR (PR- 1:28:10)
  • Moderate effort but conversational/not racing

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Week 13-   58.8 miles

[+6 pounds pre-pregnancy weight]

The nausea has been going away, but I am still battling a lot of fatigue. Lots of 8pm bed times and an occasional nap. Still finding the energy for running, but I am finding it is taking my body 3x longer to recover than pre-pregnancy. The longer recovery process has me thinking of reducing my mileage and walking more.

TC 1 Mile- 5:59

-30 seconds off my PR

-85-90% effort- felt okay pushing a little bit for a shorter race

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Week 14- 53.9 miles

[+7 pounds pre-pregnancy weight]

Huge increase an energy this week, but the recovery time between runs is getting harder on my body. Instead of pushing body to work harder than before, I am lowering my mileage slightly to allow my body to have enough recovery time. I have been adding in more walking and lifting this week.

Motivation is getting difficult. I am brining my dog on more runs. She helps me stay motivated. It is hard to run alone all the time.

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Fast & Furry 5k- 19:40

  • 75 seconds off my PR
  • My dog pulling me helped increase my pace (only this would have been closer to 21 min)
  • Tempo Effort (75%) 

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Week 15-    51.4 miles

[+7 pounds pre-pregnancy weight]

Another week of high energy, but a bit of a cut back in mileage again for the half on Saturday. Runs were getting harder this week (again). Seems things are feeling less smooth. Pace is dropping significantly. My only goal for the half was to not push myself and to listen to my body.

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-Stillwater Half Marathon- 1:43:55

-16 min slower than half PR (1:28:10)

-Easy effort first 7 miles (8:35-8:10) & progression the last 6 (7:50-7:25)

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Running Form Drills

These drills are designed to train your body to improve running form by breaking down a running stride into smaller parts and focusing on correct form. As the length of the race increases your muscles become tired and your form is more likely to break down. This can lead to injury and decreased performance.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when completing the drills. Try to push off the ground with your toe. Drive your knee up when appropriate. Try to be powerful on these. Keep good body control and envision yourself running. Do each drill for 10-15 yards.

A-Skip :

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Standard skip like grade school. Be powerful. Swing your arms in stride. Start slow and get the motion. Bring your thigh up so that it is parallel to the ground. Get good push off from your toes.

Butt Kicks:

IMG_0870.JPGBring your heel to your back side. Imagine you are running and still drive the knee up in front as you bring your heel toward your behind.

B-Skip:

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Same motion as the A-Skip. But after you bring the knee up, kick your knee straight in front of you. Land back on ball of foot and repeat. Go slow to get the correct motion and form.

Straight Leg Shuffle:

IMG_0852.JPGKeep legs straight land on your toes and pop off.

Fast Claw:

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This is a quick motion where you pop your knee up parallel with your hip. Imagine your foot is clawing at the ground on the way down. Jog for thirty feet every third step quickly drive your leg through a running stride. Take a few jog strides and switch legs.

Carioca with high knee:

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Standing sideways. Bring your trail leg up and over in front of your lead leg. Cross in back and repeat. Keep shoulders facing side. Don’t swing your shoulder or hips back and forth. Keep shoulder fixed. Motion should be from the trail leg hip. Up and over.

High Knees:

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Drive your knee up so that your thigh is parallel to the ground. Quick knee drive.

Running First Trimester

I am officially 12 weeks and 1 day pregnant! I am due on 11/14/2017. My only goal is to stay active during my pregnancy. I used to be inactive, and I was extremely unhealthy. I want to be healthy and have a healthy pregnancy.

Taking things day by day. If tomorrow, I wake up and running doesn’t feel right anymore, I will shut it down and move to biking or walking. One thing I know for sure, I will not be one of those people running a marathon while pregnant. LOL. It’s actually really nice to have no goals or pressure on my running.

PRs before Pregnancy-

5k- 18:36, 10k- 40:02, 1/2- 1:28, full- 3:14

Mileage before Pregnancy- 70 MPW

One of the last workouts I remember doing was 6 x 1 mile hilly repeats. I got faster every mile. I ended with a 6:20 and 6:18. I was in the best shape of my life. I could easily run 6:45-6:55 pace for 6-8 miles during a tempo run. Almost every ‘workout’ I did averaged in the 7:10-ish range for 8-11 miles. I was ready to crush some PRs in the spring… Little did I know…

Week 4- Clueless Bliss

It is very common for me to have a later period when stress hits. In the past, I have been up to 8 days late.  So when Tuesday, March 7th rolled around, and I didn’t get my period, I didn’t even bat an eye. Then March 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th. 4-6 days late was still no biggie. I rationalized that I could not be pregnant because I was running so much. HA!

In fact, on Saturday March 11th, I raced a 19:18 5k unkowningly 4 weeks and 4 days pregnant.

However, as I look back.. I can see something was ‘off’ this week. I was slightly disappointed with my 5k time. I felt that I was in better shape than 19:18. I also felt that I was running with the ‘parking break on’ during the race. I chalked it up to an ‘off day’.

I also did a workout on the treadmill this week. It felt 100x harder than it should have. I hit all my paces, but I just felt very off. Like, I was racing not doing intervals. I had been running all of my workouts outside, so I chalked it up to ‘i’m not used to the hot gym’.

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During all of week 4, I had no idea I was pregnant. I waited over 7 days before I took a pregnancy test. I had never been so shocked in my life when I saw a ‘positive’ result.

Week 5- Complete Shock

The off runs from week 4 was all making sense now. There was this ‘easily winded’ feeling I got just when running at an easy pace.

I spent this week really trying to listen to my body. I completely cut out doing all workouts. I just did not feel comfortable pushing my body ‘that hard’. When I run workouts, I push my body HARD. If you are competitive runner, you know what I mean. I was worried about pushing too hard- it just didn’t feel natural or right at the time. I decided to do 100% of my running was just going off feel every day.

Most days were ‘easy’. Some days I did a progression or slightly harder effort. My old ‘harder effort’ runs were easily 6:55-7:10 pace. Now, they were almost 1 min per mile slower.

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Week 6- “Hey this isn’t so bad” LOL

I was starting to feel back to my old self after the initial shock of finding out.

My running days were mostly easy miles again. No structured workouts of goal paces. Just listening to how my body felt, and I felt surprisingly good this week.

I started inching into pushing the pace just a little to get the blood pumping. To my surprise, my legs still had speed, and it actually felt really good to run fast and give a hard effort sometimes! Things were very different from what I used to do.. No more 6:10 intervals for .5 miles, but I felt good ending a progression run with a 7:00 mile! My breathing was easy, and I felt ‘comfortably hard’.

I also experimented with going ‘further’ this week. I did an 11 mile long run. Stopped at my car for some water. I was more thirsty than normal. Just taking my time.

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Week 7- Legs feeling heavier & fatigue sets in

This week I still was not suffering much fatigue or nausea. One thing I started to notice was the amount of time it took me to ‘warm up’ or get out of the super easy pace range. Some runs I felt like my legs were literally bricks.

My turnover was gone. It took me over 45 min of running to even get down to what used to be my easy pace LOL. It didn’t feel aerobically difficult at all. My legs just felt like the parking break was on. It was a weird sensation that I still have.

Even if I wanted to run fast, I just didn’t have that next gear. I felt my body almost put up a protection mechanism to prevent me from overworking. It felt very natural to slow down the paces. Sometimes it was almost funny.

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Week 8- Nausea & Sleep Spells

The real fun began at the end of week 8. I suddenly could not stand the thought of certain foods. I would eat insanely large quantities of food throughout the day, but I would still get so hungry it made my nauseated. I could no longer even go to the grocery store. I didn’t know what would ‘set me off’ and make me feel sick.

I also would get insane hunger pains after I ran. I made at least 4 stops at McDonalds for some breakfast this week after a run haha #dontjudge I usually eat very well, but this week I had demands to go to Taco Bell or DQ like every day. It was bad.

In addition to my great diet, I also spent a good chunk of time on the couch. I am a very energetic person by nature, so this was very strange for me

I haven’t taken a nap since I was a child, but this week I took 2 naps!! It was the strangest experience.

I felt like my body had been taken over/hijacked!! And it has 😉

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Week 9- Shifting Mindsets

This week was really hard. I felt terrible pretty much every day. Exhausted, lazy, hungry, nauseated. Constantly craving fast food and bagels and donuts. Basically in tears because the thought of my usual favorites like salads and fruits made me want to gag. What was happening to me? I gave in to every craving this week.

My only goal with running was just to be active. If I had to stop and walk or call a run short, I would. I kept the pace really easy for most of my runs. I started to really embrace the whole ‘slowing down’ thing.

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Week 10- LOL this is starting to get obvious

Not only did I feel huge, but it was also starting to become extremely obvious my paces were way off.

This week I started the new approach:

1- stop as often as you want for pictures, porto-potties, trips back to the car for water, walk up a hill, checking your phone. I literally didn’t care at all about anything related to pace or miles or training. My mindset is now just on ‘being active’. This might seem like a super easy shift, but for someone who used to take their running pretty seriously, it’s a big mind shift. I felt a huge weight lifted off my shoulders.

2- Playing the ‘how slow can I run game’ became a new favorite. The miles sure started to tick by slower, but it was fun to really slow the pace and have literally no pressure. I was able to take in a lot more of my surroundings. I am running the same routes as before, but it feels totally different.

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Week 11- Slowing down but feeling better

It was almost getting to the point where it was comical to be posting my runs. The nausea and fatigue started to go away. The biggest struggle now was lugging around extra weight and fitness not being the same. I started getting asked, “what races are you doing this spring?” all the time. It was hard to not blab!

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Week 12- Finally Telling!

I am signed up for a few fun races which will be nice to run with others and be apart of my traditional summer races in a new way 🙂 Looking forward to no pressure and the changes to come

 

Pace wisely in a long distance races

Pacing is crucial for running long distance races especially racing a half marathon and longer. You must fight the temptation to get caught up in the crowd and get out too fast. Everyone has been there thinking, “I should slow down… but I feel good!”. If you have had a good training cycle you should feel good the first half of a race. Like it is a breeze. Like you could run faster. And you most likely could for a few miles… But for how long?

In a marathon the dreaded ‘wall’ is said to be 20 miles. It has been said that the marathon is two races: a 20 mile race and a 10k race. If you can conserve your energy for the first 20 miles and feel good it can help you really race the last 10k well. If you go out to fast the last 10k can be more of a death march. A point where your legs are not responding and hope that it still looks like you are running or at least shuffling to the finish.

 

Coach Ben Jacobs- 1:08 Half PR

At my best, I ran a smart race starting off around 5:20 pace per mile. I had run one half marathon before as a workout but this was my first race. I ran with only a timex watch and split my own miles. It was a huge field with many talented runners. About half a mile in I was off the pack and on my own. Since I had never run a half I talked myself into running slower and just letting the other pack of runners go ahead of me. It was hard. To be in a race 1 mile and already say “well I am not racing with those people today”. But I told myself this race is for me. Don’t worry about what anyone else is doing.

I ran the first five miles averaging low 5:20 pace. I could see people falling off that pack ahead of me, but still I remained within myself. I began to increase the pace slightly as I could see one of my teammates ahead in a small pack. For the next 5 miles or so I ran just under 5:20 pace per mile. I was slowly gaining on that pack but was still a little ways off.

At the 10 mile mark, I was feeling good and increased the pace slightly again. I believed that I could finish stronger than I had ran the first 10 miles. I was able to run my last two miles in near 5:05 pace per mile. It felt great to finish stronger. That is still my half marathon PR.

Like all runners, I have also done races in the opposite way. Hoping for a PR, I have allowed myself to run someone else’s race. I have known that my training was good and went out and ran with the pack hitting the first mile in 5:05. Then maintaining 5:10 pace for the middle miles and running much slower at the end. It is much better to negative split a race and to run your own race without getting caught up in the crowd

Advice for Pacing

I would advise to start out 10-15 second slower than your A goal pace for the marathon. Break it into parts and focus on how your feel. It is far better to feel strong the last few miles and think “man I started to slow” than to crawl the last few miles saying “why did I get so carried away”.

A half marathon or marathon are never easy. If you are a new runner running to finish strong and feeling good is a great goal. If you are trying to improve your time keep in mind it is never easy to run far distances. A lot will depend on the day. But if you have been training smart and run a smart paced race you will have more fun and have a chance to run that PR!!

Pacing Plan Examples:

Half Marathon
Miles 1-4 Marathon goal pace or 10-15 seconds slower than half marathon goal pace
Miles 5-10 Half marathon pace
Miles 11-13.1 See what you have left. Increase pace slowly and smart.

Marathon

Miles 1-5 . Slightly slower than goal pace. 10-15 seconds
Miles 6-10 . Inch pace slightly. 5-10 seconds slower that goal pace
Miles 10-20 Goal pace
Miles 20-23 Maintain pace. Remain calm.
Miles 24-26.1 See what you have. Increase pace slow and smart.
Mile 26.2 . FINISH

Obviously terrain and temperature will play into this.

How to Safely Build Your Mileage

In order to be a better runner The most important thing you must do is RUN!

There are many philosophies out there about how much, how far and how fast you should run in order to improve. Everyone is so different and has different ability levels. Some people will respond better to mileage build while some will respond better to incorporating speed workouts.

Many times people want to get right into training and jump their mileage up thinking that is the way to improve. This can lead to setbacks that can compromise your training in the long run. If you are unable to run for several weeks you will be further behind where you could have been given smart progression.

Progression is key

One variable at a time-  Your body will need time to adapt and you must allow it to recover. When changing a variable in your training it is important to only change one variable at a time. Do not increase mileage, run faster on easy runs and run harder workouts. These are all variables that should be considered independently in order to improve.

The ‘10% rule’ Many times people discuss the 10% rule. People get the idea that it is okay to increase the mileage by up to 10% each week. This is not the intend of that method. The intend is to say do not increase by more than 10%. Any actual increase in mileage should be within the plan and have a point. All training should allow for a cut back week or ‘down week’ every 3-5 weeks to allow the body to recover from the increases.

Consistency is key-  If you have been consistent at 15 miles per week and have been having good workouts it would be a good idea to add a few miles per week. Then you will be taking your training to a new level and your body will have to adapt to that level of training before you can take the next step. Like climbing the stairs. You could skip a step or two. But if may be unwise. And if you skip more than that you are setting yourself up to crash and burn.

If you are a new runner consistency should be your main goal. Start running a few days a week for a few miles a day. After you have mastered that you can add a mile. Keep building slowly.

Don’t Rush the Process Many times runners sign up for a marathon and read that they should be running 20 mile long runs. Your long run should be no more than 30% of your weekly mileage. It takes time to build your mileage to that level. If you do too much too fast it could set you back physically and mentally if you are unable to finish.

Finding a sweet spot If you are an experienced runner you should evaluate your training over the course of several years. Look carefully at when you ran successfully. If you had injuries were you running more mileage at that time? Evaluating several years of training can help you to identify the amount of mileage that you are successful running.

Everyone has their sweet spot for mileage. If you run less you will not maximize your training ability and if you run more you are likely to set yourself up for injury or under performance. It is important to find what works for each individual in order to find optimal training. Many very successful runners need to run lower mileage to stay healthy. When training your ultimate goals should be to stay healthy and make it to the finish line fit and ready to perform your best!

How is your cadence effecting your running efficiency?

Have you heard about Cadence? Cadence has become big talk in the running community with the new technology that has come out in recent years. Many Garmin watches can give you a cadence calculation.

What is Cadence?

Cadence is the amount of steps that you take in a a min. Cadence is typically measured in steps per minute. Cadence and stride length determine how fast a runner is traveling. Stride length is more dependent on your height and body structure. Jack Daniels (famous running coach) made famous the theory that elite runners take 180 steps or more per minute. What often gets forgot is that he said “or more” meaning that there is variability among every person for what the perfect cadence number is.

Why is Cadence Important?

Cadence can give you a general idea of how efficient you are as a runner. If you are closer to 180 it is more likely that you are running optimally whereas if you are closer to 130 it could indicate that you are wasting some energy and could be slowing yourself down.

Low cadence numbers could indicate that you are over striding. Over striding is inefficient. It happens when your leg is landing too far out in front of your body (center of mass) and primarily on your heel. If your foot is way out in front of you you have no choice but to land on your heel. 

If your leg is straight and extended out in front of you when you land it will cause your knee to lock. Think if you were to stand and jump forward as far as you can. Would it be more comfortable to land with your legs straight on the ground or to bend your knees slightly to cushion the blow? This is the same principle with running. If your leg is too far out you can not safely cushion your landing.

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How you can change your Cadence:

Your body learns things through repetition. If you have been running a certain way for years it will not automatically change after a few weeks. You have to train patterns. It takes a constant and thoughtful process to modify the way you run and when your body gets tired form breaks down and runners revert to learned patterns.

If you feel that your cadence is low or needs improving there are several steps that you can perform:

1) General speed work and strides. Doing strides (short quick bursts of running) one to two times a week can help improve your cadence. These will train your body to run faster and more efficiently. When you run faster your body has to pick up the cadence.

2) Bounding: Bounding is a drill that can help improve lower leg strength and stability. It also helps to mimic the running form. You want to drive off of your right leg forward and bring your left knee up to a 90 degree angle. Try to hang in the air for close to 1 second. Then land on the ball of your left foot with your knee bent to cushion the landing. Push off your left foot and repeat. Make sure to bring the knee to 90 degrees each time.

3) Mirror Running: You can also work on cadence visually by running in place in front of a mirror for a minute. Count each step on one leg. Try to land with knee bent. Since you are not moving you won’t be over striding and can focus on landing softly.

4) Mirror Plyometrics: In front of a mirror you can do double and single leg line jumps. Work on landing softly with knee slightly bent to cushion the blow . It should not be jarring your whole body. Very soft. This is for learning landing technique not building power.

5) Ladder or fast feet drills: Not only for sprinter these can help you to get mentally and physically training to get your foot back to the ground quicker. As a runner you want less hang time and more ground time. If you don’t have a ladder you can just to short quick feet strides or over and back line drills to get the motion down.

Monitoring Cadence in the future for success:

After doing some of these drills you can try to monitor your cadence on an easy run. If you have a metronome that can be set to 90 beats per minute you can do a portion of your run trying to make ground contact on each beep. If not just pick 1 minute segments and count your right leg every stride. See how close you are to 90 steps. Run a few more minutes and repeat. Make sure not to do it for an entire run to avoid overuse.

As with so many things Cadence could be a useful data in running. Make sure not to get carried away with worrying about your cadence. Don’t stress over being at a perfect 180. Everyone is different and different factors will contribute to cadence and running economy. As with anything make sure that you ease into trying something new. Changing your stride even a little will work different muscle fibers and can cause stress to the body. Don’t try to change al at once. Gradual progression is the best way to avoid injury. If you are a person that has had lower leg injuries you should consult with your physical therapist or specialist to determine if cadence monitoring is right for you.

Core Work For Runners

Your core is one of the most important things you can strengthen as a runner. It helps with stability, posture and balance.

Your core is what keeps you upright when you are running. Towards the end of a run, when you are extremely fatigued, your form begins to suffer.

Poor form not only slows you down, it also opens you up to potential injuries.

And we don’t want that to happen

Do core work 3-5 times per week to develop a strong core. We will share with you some of our most effective core work in this video

 

Effort Based Running- Don’t let your watch rule your run

Have you ever had a run that felt great, but you looked down mid-run to see your pace/heart rate then your perspective completely changed for the worse?

It was not too long ago pace tracking devices did not exist. When I first started running as a broke college student, all I could afford as a 10 dollar timex stop watch. The only way to know how far or how fast I ran was to mapping out a route and divide the time by distance. No mile splits. No heart rate. Just overall pace.

Believe it or not, there are many athletes who still train using a simple stop watch which seems crazy when all sorts of gadgets that measure pace, heart rate, cadence, vertical oscillation are at our finger tips.

Why would someone not want to take advantage of that data?

When we tune into our paces and/or heart rate, we are tuning OUT how we feel. This is very bad for the sport of running. Running requires your mind and body to be in sync with each other. Your body is constantly sending you signals. Listen to it instead of listening to your watch.


Coach Ben Jacobs (1:08 half marathoner) rarely uses his garmin. He prefers to run using a stop watch. Coach Jason Phillippi (2:46 marathoner) did not start wearing a garmin until he was running his 3rd marathon!

“Just like to go off feel. It is important to learn your body so that you can regulate your runs within yourself. I wear Garmin on longer days and workout days so that I can be sure of the pace and can learn to feel that pace” – Coach Ben Jacobs 1:08 Half Marathoner without a garmin

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Ben with Timex watch & teammate Chase without a watch


” Before I had a garmin, it was cool because it made you do math in your head and didn’t feel the vibration each Mile, so you could get lost in the race and not have to pay attention to your splits.” – Coach Jason Phillippi 2:46 marathoner without a Garmin

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Jason After his 2:46 Marathon with only a stop watch


Tips for Running off Effort while using a tracking device:

  • Turn off auto-lap. Don’t get the pace alerts at every mile. Get out of the habit of looking down at your pace.
  • Flip the watch to the inside of your wrist. Don’t look at it. Cover it.
  • Run with friends! Talking to someone will help distract you from looking down at your watch. A true conversational pace will help you get lost in conversation and forget the pacing
  • Know what Effort different runs should be! Easy runs: 4-5 on a 10 scale. Tempo Runs: 7-8 on a 10 scale. Speed Work: 8-9 on a 10 scale. Race: 9-10 on a 10 scale

Tips for going off effort without a pace tracking device

  • Run a Route you know! This will be very uncomfortable to run without a pace tracker the first time. Running a route you know by heart will help you feel more normal. You have ran it several times, and you know the route! The only thing different will be not knowing the pace 🙂
  • Start with an easy short run. Next time you have an easy 3-5 miler on the schedule go watchless. It is better to start with shorter runs and ease into long runs without it
  • Focus on form and breathing. If you start to get worried about your pace/effort, focus on how you are feeling and breathing. This will help you get back into tune with your body. It might feel weird at first, but it will make you stronger.

Going off of effort is a great way to run because you are teaching your mind and body to work together independent of any outside gadgets. You will realize how strong you are. You don’t need anything or anyone else to pace you when you are in tune with your body! Be patient it takes time 🙂

Be in the moment. Enjoy the run. Don’t let a watch get in the way.

Goal Setting

Setting goals is very important in all aspects in life including running.  Goals must be realistic, specific and attainable.

Many times people begin training and set very big goals.  Big goals are great. However, you cannot expect immediate gratification for these long term goals. We live in a society of instant gratification.  If you want something you order it online and it is there the next day. You don’t have to work for it. When you set big goals, you need to recognize they will take time and you will need to work for it.  It may take a months or even years to achieve a goal. You must commit and invest in the entire process.  You must be willing to do what others are not doing. Many endurance athletes spend their entire lives working towards a big goal. You must have the patients and be willing to make sacrifices for those goals.

 Are you willing to make sacrifices?

Do you get your run in when it has been a long day?

What drives you?

Running is not an instant gratification sport.  

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Why does it take so long to see results?

There are many physiological processes that go into training.  As you introduce a new stimulus to your body, it will take time for your body to adapt.  When your body makes adaptations, you become better/faster/stronger.  As your body adapts, you can increase the stimulus to go to the next level.  Everyone’s body is different. Some people adapt much quicker than others. It is important to not introduce more than one stimulus without allowing adaptation to occur. You should not increase your mileage and increase your intensity at the same time.  Too many new stimuli additions without your body’s adaptations could lead to injury.

It is also important to keep in mind that training must be progressive.  It is important to hit benchmarks to your goals along the way. In order to run a 4 hour marathon you must first be able to run low 1:50 for half marathon. It is important to work to develop speed in the shorter races in order to become most effective at longer distances races.
The longer you work at it and the more you invest the more rewarding it is to reach the pinnacle.  But remember there is always another mountain to climb.  No one said it would be easy, they just said it would be worth it.

The Benefits of a ‘Cut Back’ Week

One of the most common training errors I see is the lack of cut back weeks. Sometimes I hear “Won’t I lose fitness?”. Absolutely not. Cut back weeks are a critical part of every training cycle.

How to incorporate cut back weeks

Athletes should have roughly 1 week with a 20-30% reduction in mileage every month. If you are running 50 miles per week, you should cut back to 35-40 miles per week. Along with a cut back week, should be a cut back long run. If you are at the level of running 90+ min long runs, I recommend cutting back the long run to less than 90 min at a minimum of 1 time per week.

Benefits of Cut Back Weeks

💥Allows glycogen storage to restore.

When you run for over 90 min, your glycogen storage start to get used. You don’t want to run out of this glycogen stuff. Why? Because once your glycogen stores have run out, your body begins to break down muscle proteins to provide energy and to maintain blood sugar levels. This means your body will break down your muscles to keep you running. This is not how we want to train our bodies. We want our bodies to fuel off fat and glycogen. When you allow these glycogen storages to restore, you get to keep your muscle and your body has the proper fuel to keep running 🙂

💥Reduces risk of overuse injuries.

Most injuries in running happen because of under-recovery. Many athletes do 2 workouts per week with a long run on the weekend. This is A LOT to ask of your body. When there is not adequate recovery time, fatigue starts to build and build. When fatigue compounds on top of additional fatigue, it can lead to chronic fatigue or scar tissue build up. Most injuries in running occur because there is not enough time for your body to recover. You want to take a cut back week BEFORE you feel like you ‘need’ one. This will allow you to stay fresh and completely avoid the pesky injuries or flare ups.

When you cut down the mileage, your body is not as ‘stressed’, so it allows muscles, nerves, bones and connective a chance to repair from the building weeks. This process only takes place to this when the body has a decrease in stress.

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💥Reduces mental and physical burn out by giving your immune system a chance to rest from the constant repair activities.

Let’s face it, running can be hard!  When we grind too hard for too long, we can get to a place where running becomes too much of a ‘routine’. We lose our fire for the sport. This is something we can to avoid. By placing a cut back week in training, we are switching up the daily routine, and we are creating a desire mentally to get back out there and a desire to run more. It’s like the only saying, ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’.

When your body is training, it creates micro tears in the muscles which creates a small an inflammation response. This inflammation response requires your immune system to go in and repair the damage. When you have too much stress on the body, it takes a toll on your immune system. This is why if you are sick, it is important to take a break from training and allow your body’s immune system to take care of the illness instead of the muscle inflammation. By training through sickness, you are putting your immune system working on overtime!

💥Allows body to have better sleep cycles by brining your resting HR and adrenaline levels down.

When in a build period, your body is actually going through a period of ‘stress’. As a reaction to this stress, sometimes the body produces adrenaline and cortisol. These stress hormones can lead to interrupted sleep cycles. When we decrease the stress load, we allow our body a chance to destress and relax. This is important in training because it keeps our stress levels under control which will lead to better sleep cycles

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I hope you enjoy these tips. Yes, I am giving you permission to give your body a break once a month. You deserve it!