Fitness Friday: How to exercise in the COLD!❄️

Tips for knowing when to get your bum out the door without making excuses that it’s too COLD! & knowing when to run on the dread-mill or XT inside.

I hate running on the treadmill or “dreadmill” as I like to call it. There has to be a tornado, lightening or frozen streets to keep me from running outside!

 I know that winter weather is now officially upon us, especially the southern states.. like here in Birmingham, Alabama “the beautiful”! *as all of the northerners LOL at us shutting down the day with a light sleeting & promised dust of snow this evening* Freezing temperatures & brisk winds can discourage even the most dedicated athlete from suiting up and stepping outside.

So, how do I manage to keep my training schedule in tact this winter? How can I decide whether to train outside or stay indoors without being too soft??

First, let’s list a few common barriers to getting outside during the colder months:

  • It’s too early/I’m too tired..ZZZzzzz
  • It’s too dark!
  • It’s too cold
  • It’s snowing!!
  • I don’t know what to wear..

If you’re laying in bed and hit the snooze a few times like I do in the morning and you feel too tired to get up and get out, here’s a few tips I remind myself:

  • Don’t think about how tired you feel, think about whatever workout/run you have to do. That tired feeling will go away in a few minutes after you start moving anyways.
  • You gotta get it done, so you might as well go ahead, get up and get dressed!
  • It helps to lay out what you’ll wear for the run the night before. I always look at the weather the night before and have my outfit laid out by my bed so when I wake up, I don’t have to think too much. I just get up and get dressed.
  • Sometimes, I like to take a warm shower in the morning after I wake up, especially if I have stiff/achy muscles. It helps wake me up, warm my muscles up and gets my blood flowing quickly.
  • You don’t have to wake up early to get your run done but it does increase the chance of you actually doing it, in case anything comes up later in the day..like SNOW. For example today-I had a 10 mile progression run. I had to be at work at 11am. Snow was in the forecast for the afternoon and I knew I wouldn’t be able to do it in the PM. So that made my decision a lot easier and kind of forced me out the door in the morning.

It’s too dark, I can’t see..now what?!

  • Even in the morning before 6am, the dark of winter can make us feel a little unmotivated and less like lacing up. Make sure you have a headlamp or some sort or reflective material. Worst case- use your iphone flashlight! This is so you can SEE and be SEEN while you’re out there grinding early before you start your day or maybe after work squeezing in a run as the sun sets. You can find reasonably priced headlamps at your local run store or REI(I think that’s where I got mine)
  • If you choose to get it done in the PM or sleep in a little, I’ve had the best runs in late morning-afternoon times(around 11am-3:30 or 4pm.) It’s darker in the winter and the sun sets earlier. If you start your run before 4PM or before the sun sets for you, you’re good to go! Also, the temperature is going to be the warmest it will be during the day around these times. Your body will be more relaxed and ready to perform.

It’s too cold!!! I’m Freezing!

Alright, everyone’s perception of what “cold” actually feels like depends on where you live. If you’re like New Balance pro- Jenny Simpson..she runs in a freaking blizzard of 8 degrees with no hitch in her step. Some of us in the south can be a bit more sensitive to cold temps and won’t go outside even in 30 degrees!

In my opinion- you can definitely RUN in the snow and freezing temperatures. You just need to be smart about it and use some common sense.

  • I won’t run in the freezing cold if: all the routes I can run are ICY/FROZEN and there’s no chance of me getting my mileage in without slipping every two feet(don’t risk it! pack it up and hit the treadmill or elliptical). OR if it’s an absolute downpour and below 45ish degrees, I don’t want hypothermia or pneumonia. use your own reasonable judgement here.
  • LAYER. Always layer clothing. Depending on the temperature, make sure you start with layers: undies,sport bra(ladies),thin tank/short or long sleeve shirt, another thin layer shirt(dry fit is best), zip jacket or pull over, vest, gloves, ear warmer/headband or wrap, thick or compression SOCKS, shorts or half tights, longer tights or sweats. & I have this neck wrap I got at REI that I pull over my ears, nose and mouth during runs below 30 degrees or snow.
  • Your body will warm up as you start moving but it’s crucial to keep your core and head warm. You loose heat mostly through your head and extremities too and you can always shed layers as you warm up. It’s better to be too warm at first than get frost bite or worse.
  • Like I said, COLD depends on where you live and how safe conditions are. Stay close to home or repeat loops if you have to if you’re worried about safety. You can always cut it short if you have to or go inside and XT(cross train) instead.
  • The biggest thing with the cold is- Winter is cold, accept it. Training is hard in the cold. You won’t always be PUMPED to go get the work done but you owe it to yourself and whatever your goals are to stay committed. Don’t look at what other people are doing or not doing.
  • Also-HYDRATE!!! Many of us forget that it’s so important to drink lots of H20 in the winter too and not just in summer months. It’s super easy to get dehydrated because everything is pretty dry-especially your skin. & Muscles function best with WATER unless you wanna pull something!

This article from #Runner’sWorld is spot on about Winter Training and gives some great tips as well-Winter Advisory!

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“Boo freak-a-dee-hooo, I’m COLDD..”

Don’t be a pansy or give up just because you’re uncomfortable for a short amount of time in the cold. Think about your goals, are they worth grinding through the day for a few hours or less in the cold?

Stay true to your training. Every season has it’s ups and downs with weather and inconvenient circumstances happen. But unless the weather is detrimental to your health, NOT your motivation or will to get out the door..get out there and don’t blink! You will feel better and proud of yourself for sticking with your training in the long run. Winter Training makes you tougher and able to handle just about anything in the future being uncomfortable for just a bit.

“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast” -1 Peter 5:10

That verse was the WOTD on my Bible app Wednesday before I stepped onto the track to start my 15X400m reps. No, I didn’t feel like doing it. The back stretch was allll WIND against me and it was about 29 degrees when I started my session. But I just focused on my objective, what it was I was there to accomplish. Always focus on what you’re doing and your purpose and why. Then you’ll not be discouraged or give in to giving up!

Have FUN & be SAFE this Winter<3 Use your brain and trust your training.

 

Which Way is Up?

  

Have you ever been so stressed, confused and filled with anxiety that you just don’t know which direction to go toward at the cross roads?

That’s basically where I’ve been for the last three to four weeks.

I’ve been working extremely hard in my current job balancing that with my aggressive training increasing the past few months. But in the midst of me chugging along and pushing harder daily, I sort of lost sight of my overall goals I had set for the year ahead.

 

No, I didn’t forget them. I simply put what I was doing everyday ahead of my overall goals and really obsessed over perfecting certain  areas in my life. But..I am human and I make mistakes, everyone gets that.

But when I don’t get the results I want or the answers I want on my time or in the way I want, well I’m very hard on myself and I get frustrated!

That’s why I kind of dropped off my blogging the last few weeks and I am sorry!! 😦

I’ve been dealing with my first running injury ever, stressing over some very BIG, adult decisions soon, emotional uncertainty in relationships, and impatience with my progress.

A few weeks ago after a race I ran and won first female and 4th overall with a decent time, I realized and had to admit to myself that I might be..Injured.

That’s the one word any athlete doesn’t want to admit is true when it happens. We work so hard for what we want to acheive and when an injury occurs, we pretend it’s not real.

That’s what I did at least. Until I literally could barely walk without pain. So I’ve been emotionally and physically(obviously) dealing with that for the last few weeks.

I’ve decreased my training load and started rehabbing my Post tib(posterior tibialis tendon) and arch. I’ve seen a doc and got new orthotics which are helping..but this injury is slowly healing and I’m training through it for now.

It couldn’t come at a worse time too as I just got officially contracted with Skechers Performance for running and being an ambassador for them to race a few weeks ago AND the GATE RIVER RUN USA 15K Championship is this weekend.

I’ve been planning for this race for months and it’s a BIG one for me and to race for Skechers and try to nail a good time. Then..I have to deal with this “injury” so I won’t be 100% and I have all sorts of stressors any athlete would have going into such a huge weekend(not only for the race but some of you close to me know what else I’ve been praying for in the future for Jacksonville and me)…

Needless to say, there has been a LOAD of things on my mind lately, good and bad stress.

But, one thing I’ve had to remind myself constantly is that I can only control my attitude and effort and do everything I possibly can to prime my body and mind for this weekend and whatever happens ahead.

And, I KNOW I have. My Dad is the one person who knows exactly what to tell me when I get all freaked out and have a panic attack and one day seems like it’s all over and I can’t do anything right.

He reminded me that NO one has done what I have done in my position or worked harder that I have for the things I am working at in my circumstances right now. He told me to have a little more faith and patience. And he’s right.

Sometimes, in the midst of stress, we tend to magnify our problems. But when the smoke clears, you realize that there is a way out.

I know I won’t be injured forever, I will heal and I will get back to race shape soon and God will direct me wherever I need to be when I’m ready.

My new coach talked to me today and he knows how nervous I am for this race. But he told me to relax,

“Don’t panic. This is not your Olympics. Your best days are ahead of you”.

He’s absolutely right and no matter what happens during the race, even if I run a sub par time for what I expect of myself, I will always know I didn’t give up. I’ll freaking hobble through the finish if it means finishing.

The thought of going into a race knowing I am not going to be 100% healthy or race ready terrifies me to say the least. Especially knowing the extremely elite quality of athletes I have the privilege to race against..

But, I’m running this race. I’m going to do everything I can to race the best I can for myself and for Skechers Performance. And after the race, I’m going to reevaluate my healing foot and get better.

For now, I just wanted to share a little of why I dropped off the blogging world! I love writing but when something personal is distracting me, especially dealing with my gift and love for running I am consumed by it.

I’m still not entirely sure which way is up at times, but I never give up and I’ll keep going until I get there.

 

 

 

 

Your PR is what you were!

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Just a little pre race mojo to get you all ready for this BIG WEEKEND of RACING!! Good luck to all my friends competing in the Mercedes Marathon, Half Marathon & Super Hero 5K(like me) & to all my crazy LA Marathoners & Olympic qualifying hopefuls!!

That’s always been one of my favorite quotes to tell myself about racing-

“Your PR is what you were”, on the front of one of my racing shirts by Nike and hanging on a poster in my room.

I’m so thankful for every racing opportunity because it’s another gift. It’s another chance for us to beat ourselves and push ourselves beyond what we’ve done before.

“Progress is rarely a straight line. There are always bumps in the road, but you can make the choice to keep looking ahead.”

-Kara Goucher

As they say,(well we mostly)-

The Money is in the bank!
You’ve done everything you possibly can up to this point, your big day.

I am racing the 5K this weekend as I am not an insane Marathoner yet! 😉

But I know many of you are racing the Marathon or half marathon this weekend and I am SO PROUD of y’all!!! I just wanted to drop some encouragement to you all and even though I have never raced at your level; I still know the same feeling before a race.

SO..

Stop worrying about little things out of your control and don’t let pre race jitters get you down.

  • HAVE FUNN!!! Racing is supposed to be fun to! Enjoy Competing.

  • BE AGGRESSIVE! Race like a Bad Bitch! Seriously, nice guys do finish last here.

  • FOCUS on your GOAL not how you FEEL! It’s gonna be hard, everything worth it is!

This most likely ain’t your first rodeo.

 

Focus on relaxing, hydrating, your routine nutrition needs, and visualizing YOUR RACE!!

 

We get so caught up in other runners that are “better” or “faster” than us and racing distractions around us that we sometimes lose sight of our own mission in the race.

Whatever that may be for you this weekend, GO FOR IT.
Remember my 3 W’s?

  • What

  • Why

  • Who

Think about those as they relate to this race.

Be proud of yourself even if it seems like no one else gets it because people don’t always understand your training or why you do it every day.

It’s because they can’t relate. They aren’t there when you wake up at 4:30am, when you do an obnoxiously long run on the weekend, eat all the time or when you have to say no to a night out for your training.

“Most of us have enough areas in our lives where we have to meet others’ expectations. Let your running be about your own hopes and dreams.”

-Meb Keflezighi

Believe me, this weekend you’ll know why. And that’s all that matters!

For me:
I feel closest to Jesus when I am running. When I know that I am doing everything possible to glorify him with my body and push myself and sacrifice my body through my running for him.

That even if I don’t meet all of my goals I have for myself in my running and races and don’t hit the PRs I’ve set to conquer, that he’s already so proud of me before I even cross the finish.
That’s why I don’t give up. I feel like I’m sacrificing my body through the work I do every day in training to become better, faster and stronger.

I want to see how far I can take this gift I’m given and I don’t intend on wasting it by giving up.

That’s really what has set me free in my running. I’m not as hard on myself after even a great race because I know that if I keep grinding and keep having faith, I’ll reach my goals.

You gotta have a quiet, knowing and trusting confidence in your training and with the Lord.

It’s such a journey, it’s not easy but the reward will be so sweet. Keep going.

Whatever your goal is for this weekend, whether you’re trying to set a new marathon PR, just trying to excel to the next level of being elite like me in a smaller race, or  vying for a spot in Rio this summer, remember that you are your biggest hindrance or help.

 

The pain will come. We have to accept that. But we have a choice to pull back or remind ourself that it’s not real!

Pain is mental.

So think about how much you’ve put in to get to this day. Everything you’ve done when no one was watching.

Now is when it shows, so go get it!

GO LIKE NEVER BEFORE<3

GO Like Never Before.

 

  

A Detailed product review and all you need to know about Skechers Performance’s distance running shoe line from Fall 2015- Spring 2016! From the perspective of a current post collegiate distance runner training in all of these shoes.

Since around August 2015, I have been training in Skechers Performance distance running shoes. Currently, I am running 60-70 miles a week and racing 5k/10k for NOW!

Of course, two of my most favorite professional distance athletes- Kara Goucher and Meb Keflezighi are sponsored by Skechers Performance.

So it wasn’t hard for me to decide to try some Skechers out when the pros I look up to and strive to run like one day train in Skechers Performance for their vigorous training schedules too.

Like many of you, I will admit as a distance runner, I can be a bit of a snob about the shoes I pick (and rightfully so! we train so hard, we need good shoes to keep us going to perform at our best every day).


During college when I ran cross country and track at UAB, our team got Nike gear. That was pretty awesome obviously. But I never really liked their trainers. Only a few of them suited me and I was always a true fan of the Brooks Launch as my favorite daily mileage trainer. I never thought I would be in a trainer as great as those.

I got the opportunity to try out a pair of the Skechers GOrun Ultra Road shoes in the summer after meeting some of the reps at the Peachtree road race when I was at home in Georgia. I also tried a pair of the Skechers Strada too.

After training the duration of my summer mileage in Skechers Performance and base building some pretty high mileage, my runner snobbery quickly faded. I became a true ambassador for this brand and my feet cannot thank me enough today.

I will now get into the nitty gritty details below of each shoe I have received and train in weekly for my running/training schedule. To preface this, I have the following shoes and will talk about each below: Gorun Ultra Road, Gorun Strada, Gorun Forza, Gorun 4, Gorun Ride 5, Gomeb Speed 3.

Gorun Ultra Road

  

This shoe is perfect if you run higher mileage and need some extra cushion. I mainly use this shoe for my long runs though- once a week. Or I alternate weeks sometimes between these and a pair of my Stradas when I am running 70 mile weeks and my feet need a bit more padding. So, I recommend this shoe for your long runs/ and or a daily trainer.

The Gorun Ultra Road has a unique water drainage outsole system as well. If you look on the bottom sides of the shoe, you’ll see tiny holes. If you have a wet run one day, this helps a LOT!

I remember the first week I was running in these, it started POURING during an 8 mile run. The shoes definitely rose to the occasion and I felt like I was in a commercial or something. They got the job done and didn’t slow me down.

Here are some fun facts about the GorunUltra Road:

  • made with Fitknit technology for a breathable and flexible fit
  • durable, decoupled rubber outsole pattern for abrasion resistance
  • dual-density resalyte midsole provides max cushioning & added response
  • inner support strap for stable and secure fit
  • reflective for night runs!
  • Men’s-9.7 0z(size 9) Women- 7.7 oz(size 7)
  • Offset is 4mm

Overall, the Gorun Ultra Road is a great trainer if you like/ need more support or cushioning and longer runs. Even though these shoes may have more weight and padding than a typical trainer or lighter shoe, they still give you a nice “pop” off the ground when you run. They hug your feet snug too and give you breathing room on a long sweaty run. I like the bouncy fluid feeling running in them. It’s like running on clouds for my feet for my 16 mile runs. This is a more neutral shoe but more stability than the Strada.

Gorun Strada

  

Okay, so I really wanted to save the best for last here, but ahh okay here we go. My Stradas(what I like to refer to them as), are my FAVORITE!!! I love these so much, I am currently rotating between three pairs for my training schedule. I use these as trainers or for my easy runs and daily mileage.

I am running in the Strada anywhere from 4-5 times a week and sometimes for my warm up and cool down on speed/workout days.

I recommend these for basic maintenance runs and getting the mileage in. It depends on how many miles a week you run, but they can last you anywhere from 3-4 months or longer if you run lower mileage.

Remember when I said I would never find a trainer I liked as much as the launch? Well…the Strada has won my heart forever. AND…GET READY, there may or may not be a Strada 2 coming soon!!! If I could horde all the Stradas in the world in my size in every color, believe me I WOULD. That’s how amazing they are for my feet getting all the necessary miles in. This is a neutral trainer shoe:

  • Durable resa-grip outsole for traction and stability
  • mid-foot strike zone promotes stride efficiency
  • layered and supportive upper for secure fit
  • reflective of course!
  • Men’s-10 0z(size 9) Women- 8 oz(size 7)
  • 8 mm offset

Gorun Forza

  

Can you say STABILITY?  This shoe is on the furthest end of the spectrum for stability and security. I recently got this shoe and I have only ran in it a few runs so far. I have had a reoccurring issue with my right arch and this shoe has been supporting that problem for me.

I’ve always ran in a neutral shoe, but I decided to dabble in the staility side with the Forza. So far, they are definitely the most structured shoe in the Skechers Performance line but they are comfortable. That’s pretty hard to find with structure shoes!

They feel a lot higher up running than the other Skechers I train in but the offset is 8mm! And they are a bit heavier, so I would recommend these as a daily trainer/and or a long run shoe for you. The Forza really do offer great support and provide a smooth seamless run.

Another important nugget- if you peek at the inner right side of the shoe(right where my arch issue is) you’ll notice a firm resalyte posting. That’s an incredible feature if you need support there like I do.

  • Two-part midsole with firm Resalyte medial posting, to promote a smooth heel to toe transition
  • Next generation resalyte with lightweight cushioning and added response
  • molded heel counter and inner support strap gives stable/ secure fit
  • seamless, minimal upper gives breathable comfortability
  • reflective!
  • Men’s-10.8 0z(size 9) Women- 8.8 oz(size 7)

Gorun 4

  

These are my Go to racing flats, tempo run flats, and track workout shoes. I like to use the Gorun 4 for any fast runs I have from any distance of 200 meters all the way to a 6 mile tempo or repeats. They are perfect for giving you a little pop while still supporting your feet with enough padding.

I will even use these for a second run sometimes if I have an easy 4 miles in the afternoon because they are light-weight and supportive enough for mileage. These are also a neural shoe. So if you don’t run a lot of mileage you can probably get away with using the Gorun 4 as your primary daily trainer.

I have done several 5Ks in these shoes and I love them. They hug my heel and provide a nice bounce to give me an extra kick at the end. They are so flexible and light too, a very fun shoe to get some fast miles in! You don’t even need to wear socks with these shoes unless you want to. I don’t race with socks in the GoRun4 typically.

  • Resalyte power pillars in the midfoot strike zone
  • comfortable, breathable fit with a sock-like Goknit upper technology
  • Resalyte cushioning on the midsole for protection and responsiveness
  • inner support strap for a stable and secure- fit
  • reflective( also available in GLOW IN THE DARK- NITE OWL style!!)
  • Men’s-7.80z(size 9) Women- 6.0 oz(size 7)
  • Offset 4mm

Gorun Ride 5

  

The Gorun Ride five are my second favorite speed shoe to the Gorun4. They feel and look a little lighter than the Run 4, but just as sexy and fast!!  And surprisingly, they are a tad heavier. Not much, but they offer more support but feel faster!

I use these for my tempo runs, repeats on the track and 200/400 workouts. Anything that requires speed, a nice pop and return with light weight support, the Gorun 5 is your shoe.

  • Increased resalyte midsole for additional impact protection and response
  • midfoot strike zone to promote fluid transition and stride efficiency
  • inner support strap in the upper for stable and secure fit
  • reflective
  • max comfort with minimal upper breathability
  • Men’s-8.4 0z(size 9) Women- 6.7 oz(size 7)
  • 4mm offset

Skechers GoMeb Speed 3

  

Wow. These are probably the sexiest shoes I wear besides my stilettos. Are you surprised with a name like that? These are on the complete opposite stability, weight and cushioned shoe from the Forza. These are a legit RACING SHOE!!

These are literally made for SPEED. I like to use these for faster, shorter reps on the track. I have not raced in them yet, but I am thinking about racing some of my upcoming indoor track races for the mile and 3K in them.

They provide a crazy pop and help your turnover quicken with each step with the sleek light weight frame. I would recommend them for any short, fast workout or race. I wouldn’t go above a 5K in them personally because I like a bit more cushioning and support. But I’m sure they would help you shave seconds off a good 5K PR!

If you want to fly for your next race, this is your racing shoe.

  • high performance, sleek fitting racing flat
  • Dupont Derlin speed plate for quick response with structure/stability in midfoot
  • Unique Goknit technology for upper breathable, comfortable support
  • Hotmelt upper detail to keep foot stable and secure
  • Men’s-7.2 0z(size 9) Women- 5.3 oz(size 7)
  • 4mm offset

 I hope my brief product review of each of these Skechers Performance Division shoes has helped you shake off any preconceived thoughts about Skechers. These are all unique in what they offer to you as a distance runner.

I am very picky about my training, as any elite runner should be who wants to reach the next level. I would not advocate or suggest anything to any other runner that I would not try myself! So, me being an ambassador for Skechers Performance is not the goal of why I am writing this for you.

I just wanted to share my opinions on each shoe after training in them all for a few months and let everyone know how they have benefited my training. One thing I really appreciate about Skechers Performance’s shoes is that I literally have all my training needs covered:

I have a shoe for my long run- the Ultra Roads/and Forza, I have a go to easy run shoe- the Strada, I have three different workout/speed/racing shoes- the GoRun4, Go run Ride 5, and the GoMeb Speed 3! They all work beautifully alternating in training throughout the week for me. I encourage you to pick up a pair soon, start with the Strada like I did for an easy run. Then Go from there!

Skechers Performance has many exciting products coming in 2016 and I cannot WAIT to see the brand blow up and take off! Don’t miss out on this, part of training is trying new things and finding your best fit with what works for you.  Skechers Performance could be the training asset you need to give your hard workouts an edge with the right shoe.

GO Like Never Before this year!

 

Impatiently waiting for Patience.

Patience.

This is something that I severely lack in most areas of my life and have for some time.

Although I have gotten much better at accepting situations presented to me with less anxiety and worry, it doesn’t make being patient any more pleasant! (Again, being a perfectionist does not help here.)
Patience has been on the forefront of my mind a lot lately, especially in the past few months.

noun pa·tience \ˈpā-shəns\

Definition of patience

:  the ability to remain calm when dealing with a difficult or annoying situation, task, or person.(according to Merriam Webster)

I know it’s because I’m now in a new stage of my life with a lot of changes:
I graduated college in April, got my first full time job, chose to chase my dream of becoming an elite runner and began training post collegiate with a new coach.

I’m adjusting to a lot of balancing- finances, training full time, working full time and having some sort of a social life in between there. As a millennial(I know we get a bad rap but we’re not all bad!) balance is so important and having time for myself is needed. And honestly, sometimes I feel so alone.

I feel like I work so hard all by myself and question-where are the fruits from that now?

But that’s partially a lie I tell myself when I am discouraged.

Like I said earlier- being patient isn’t easy.Just like anything worthwhile, it isn’t going to be easy and anything you go after while climbing up the mountain doesn’t always seem clear when your in the middle of it.

With all of that swirling around in my head all the time..staying patient in my training, work, relationships and working hard in where I am right now is the most important thing I can focus on while giving it all to God.

Theodore Roosevelt said-

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

I’ve really been struggling with that lately. Not that I don’t understand that I am making investments in my future with what I’m doing now while relentlessly working hard at all I do every day but I am so impatient!

This can be a very tricky step for us and dangerously misleading because being impatient poses the thought that we are smarter or better at planning that God.

That simply isn’t true. Think of times where you have waited for God to come through and it’s turned out so much better than anything you could ever imagine? I can think of a few. And he has never come short for me so far.

On the flip side, think about times you have tried to rush something or force something to work. How did that turn out in the end? I know I have definitely had to learn that lesson the hard way a few times too many.

I’ve been reflecting in Psalm 37 all week, just picking it apart and really relating to situations in my life. I would highly recommend that you listen to it on your bible app before bed or read it sometime this weekend if you find yourself lacking patience or being a little bummed about something bringing you down!

“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.” (‭Psalm‬ ‭37‬:‭7‬ NIV)

So whatever you are working toward every day, waking up for every day, staying late for, doing an extra rep for, or praying for..don’t stop.

Don’t quit just because you’re overwhelmed with anxiety or impatience. I’m probably much more impatient than you, trust me!!

I would encourage you to go back to the three W’s we talked about in my recent post- “what”,”who”,”why” am I doing this.

You’ll find the reasons to be patient there. And don’t get distracted by anything or anyone negative. Some people just can’t stand to see you do well or shine, don’t let that stop you from being the brightest light they’ve ever seen. Focus on your goals and don’t make excuses.

Lastly, what are you all struggling with being patient for?? Post below. I would love to pray for patience for you all in those areas! Feel free to share!

Suck it up Buttercup

“though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.” Psalm‬ ‭37‬:‭24‬ 

Tonight was my first “bad” workout in a while. I’ve had a string of successful “speed workouts” as we call them(distance runners) and tempos since the summer when I started post collegiate running. Minus the whole getting sick thing in late October-early November; I’ve been feeling great and feeling myself about to reach a new plateau in my fitness and speed.

Every race since I started running again after my collegiate career ended in May, I’ve ran faster each time and seen improvement every day.

However, as all true runners know..you cannot and will not ALWAYS nail every workout, split, run the way you want to and at the pace you want to. That’s okay and that needs to happen or else you’d never see a real improvement for yourself.

 

I realize that.

But, I am a perfectionist and extremely hard on myself and I overthink even the most minute detail if I don’t perform the way I expect myself to. This is especially true in my running. Which can be a great thing because it shows I actually care about getting better.

At the same time, it can be unhealthy because I can be a little too hard on myself when I don’t need to be. Like tonight:

I sat in my car and just looked at my splits. I was getting pretty pissed. Then I started getting pissed at myself for getting pissed!!

“It was just a tempo!”I told myself. Shake it off, you weren’t even off pace by that much and it won’t have any effect on your race this weekend. Seriously, Lauren what are you doing..

 

So, I had two options:

1. Continue to sit and sulk and feel sorry for myself and get pissed off 

OR

2. Asses the workout, evaluate my rational emotions about it, understand what I need to do to improve, realize the factors in my control and SUCK IT UP.

 

Forget about the run after it’s over. Tomorrow is a new day and a new run.

So I reluctantly sent my coach my splits and started the car and went home.

As I rolled across my foam roller and rolled my sore, annoyed body out, stretched and prepared for dinner, I called the one man I always call when something goes wrong or I’m feeling down- my Daddy.

Luckily, my dad happens to be a Marathon Runner(I know it’s pretty awesome and you’re probably jealous my Dad’s such a beast). But he “gets it” and he’s experienced just about every emotion and high and low associated with running.

 

I felt a lot better after talking to him, then my coach texted back and basically told me the same as my dad. And the same I told myself behind all the negative waste of energy I created after the tempo tonight.

 

“don’t sweat it!” ONE bad workout or even a few doesn’t define you as a runner. You are much more than what you do on a bad workout, whatever that means for you.

When you start to panic in any workout, like I did( I focused on all the stuff out of my control instead of what I could), you set yourself up for failure to begin with.

 

When I went through the two mile, I knew I was slowing down and I had a 15-16 second drop in pace coming up.

Instead of focusing on the fact that I knew I was fit enough to hit the pace and just switch gears and go,(don’t think about it just run!), I started to panic and think about “my hip flexor is tight, it’s really dark, it’s too cold and I’m not warmed up enough, my iron is low this week”..blah blah blah!!

 

Those are all great excuses but I failed to remember what I could control- my attitude and effort(as one of my great coaches instilled in me).

He would probably have shaken me by the shoulders after that workout and said, “come onn!!!! Don’t F*** it up like that!”

 

Bottom line- I know I am a good runner, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do now if I wasn’t. But there are a lot of other “good” female runners my age like that. I’m not trying to be good, I want to be GREAT.

That’s why I work my ass off every day, relentlessly and I don’t give up- so I can become elite and reach the next level in my running. I won’t give up either even when I reach the goals I have for myself in running.

 

Running is so incredibly important to me and it’s a gift I don’t plan on wasting. That’s why I’m so hard on myself but tonight I remembered that to be a mature runner you have to take a step back and not let irrational emotions take over.

 

Workouts like tonight make us tougher. Without them, we wouldn’t appreciate or humbly accept our victories when they come.

 

So, next time you have a tough workout or a run doesn’t go the way you planned or hoped it would, shake it off!

Analyze the facts and move on! Don’t dwell on useless emotions or negative energy that distract you from how awesome you are!

Instead, focus on tomorrow. That run is over and gone. Nothing you can do about it and nothing good can come from obsessing!

“Suck it up butter cup”, a phrase I like to tell myself and others often when I see a tendency for a pitty party coming on.

You’re a lot stronger than you realize too, but being mentally strong as a runner is what will make you great. I’m still working at that part every single day.

A Runner’s Bread and Butter

A look into the weekly schedule of a distance runner!

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 A Runner’s Bread and Butter is a general run down of what a typical weekly schedule of training looks like for a distance runner. I know that this does not apply to everyone and that not everyone will find this useful/entertaining.
This post is meant to inform those that really have no concept of the structure and purpose of a training schedule. For the majority of distance runners out there and for those of you interested in setting up a weekly training schedule to improve your running, well this is how it looks for the most part:
  • The Sunday Long Run

The dreaded Sundy Longrun! This run typically consists of 10% of the weekly volume of mileage for a distance runner.

That’s why it’s the most important run for base building and setting the foundation of the week.

Long runs start off the running week or end it- depending on how you set your week up. A long run day heavily relies on the type of mileage you are getting per week.Also it varies, whether you’re a middle-distance runner or a higher mileage distance runner like me. A long run can range anywhere from 7-16 miles or even more if you train for marathons or Ultras!

For me, my longest long run so far has been 16 miles. Although, I don’t need much more for my long run right now because my primary racing goals are for the 5K and 10K(for now).

To marathoners and Ultra runners, that may seem like an easy run. Middle distance runners may only get 10-12 miles for their longest long run.

It all really depends on what type of events you train for, your current training block(like if you are tapering for a big race), and what your coach suggests for you based on what has worked best for you.

Pacing for the Long Run- traditionally pacing for a long run has been slower and more relaxed, focusing on getting the miles in and recovering. Many coaches have referred to long run day as: LSD(Long slow distance).However, recent studies and many professional distance athletes have been incorporating a bit of speed throughout their long runs. This can have HUGE benefits for training and simulates racing. It makes you a lot tougher too and sets you up for some great races by getting your body used to turning over after running long miles.

I ran my first progression long run this summer where I had pick ups throughout the run. It can be very tough to hold on through the long run especially if your used to a chilled, slower long run.

Doing a speed progression long run will make you a lot fitter and faster in the long run. 😉 They are not the most enjoyable training runs but they are a great idea to add variety to your schedule.

  • Easy runs/Maintenance runs-

These runs consist of about 4 runs per week on a typical running schedule, if you do two “workouts” or fast days a week.

That can vary again, depending on your current training block and what you are training up for or recovering from. Easy runs should be run at an EASY pace!!

Nothing annoys me more than going out to recover and run easy when someone picks up the pace to a level that turns into a tempo effort. Maintenance runs are on your schedule for a few reasons.

First, to make sure you’re getting your weekly mileage in. It’s important to stay committed to training and keep getting the amount of mileage prescribed for you depending on what you’re training for.

Also, how much or little mileage you need depends on YOU. Everyone responds differently to mileage. Some runners thrive off of higher mileage weeks from 70-80 miles a week or even 100-120 mile weeks. NOT everyone is built like that though. Some runners only need 35-50 mile weeks to see success.

Personally, I’ve ran my best doing anywhere from 50-70 miles a week. It all depends on the intensity of workouts too and how your body responds to the stress. There is such a thing as “over training” despite what many runners believe to be a solely mental block.

That brings me to my second reason for the Easy Run- RECOVERY!

If you run every single run at the same pace for everything, you will NOT get faster. You will plateau in your training, get injured, run yourself into the ground or over train or ALL of those. No one wants that.

So, when you set out for your easy run, please focus on what it means to RECOVER. This is a time to focus on your form; make sure those hips are tucked under and tilted slightly forward, pick up your feet(dorsi-flexed),drive up knee lift & pump your arms side to side and don’t cross over the center of your body!

Easy runs are great for having an enjoyable, relaxed run to remind you why you love running and getting the miles in. An Easy run should be a relaxed pace but not a shuffle! I normally try to run my easy runs around 7:30-8:00 min pace. I fluctuate a little depending on how sore I am from workout days and if it’s a race week.

LISTEN to your body! If you are feeling fatigued or worn down from workouts that week, scale down on mileage and slow the pace. If you have to cut an easy run short one day because you are super sore or something is wrong(injury, sick), DO IT. But don’t skip out on an easy run just because your being lazy or “not feeling it”. That habit will add up and eventually you won’t be getting your mileage in that you need to and you won’t be as fit.

TRUST me, you can tell on race day!

The last point I’ll make regarding easy runs is that if you do not listen to this advice and actually run an easy, comfortable pace and recover, then you will NOT be able to perform on workout days or race day. Maybe you will for a while. But not for long, you can get injured pretty quick that way.

I’ve been a distance runner for over 8 years, and I’ve seen it all or experienced one or many difficulties I’ve already mentioned. I don’t want you to make the same mistakes, but be knowledgeable and take control of the aspects in training that you have control over.

  • Speed Workouts/ Sessions-

Okay, this is everyone’s favorite day of the week(not really, we all dread it). Speed workout days and Tempo days(that we will discuss next), are similar. They are both known as “workouts” or “sessions” because they are not easy. They are all run at a fast, controlled effort.

For Speed workouts, they are normally run on a track or somewhere that you can track your mileage and splits. I recommend owning some type of GPS watch that tracks mileage and pace and has a lap counter that keeps splits for you. I have a Garmin and I use it daily.

A GPS watch helps to log workouts and runs on your computer so you can track your progress!!

Most Speed workouts are on Tuesdays/Thursdays. AGAIN, this depends on your week and if you have a race coming up that weekend you may only have one workout. Also, you may only have one Speed workout on the track and one Tempo on either Thursday or Friday.

There are so many variations with speed work. So it depends on you and your coach if you have one and your personal running goals.

In College, I normally had track workouts on Tuesdays and then a Tempo Run on Friday. However, if we raced that weekend we would only have a short “pre meet” speed workout on Tuesday. I still follow this type of schedule for race week, but my workouts are a little different now.

Speed work breakdown:

Most Speed workouts on the track start with a warm up where you run EASY for 1.5-3 miles. This gets the body warmed up so you don’t pull anything when you run the fast intervals.(Especially if it’s colder out, warm up is more important).

Then, normally you will have a set of warm up drills and dynamic(moving) stretches before you start.

Finally, it’s GO time!! Normally, a speed workout is a set of intervals run at a given fast pace. The most beneficial way is to find what your current VO2 Max is, or use a current PR(personal record/best) at whatever race you are training for. You can use this to break down each split pace you need to hit to improve and get faster.

What in the world is VO2Max?

Glad you asked! VO2 Max is basically the total volume of oxygen that our bodies are able to consume.(Milliliters per kilogram of body weight per minute (ml/kg/min). The fitter you are, the higher your VO2 Max! I know this is getting super nerdy, but learning your personal VO2 Max can help you base your whole training and help you improve. Every run has a purpose and knowing your body can help you set measurable goals.

There are many ways to find your VO2 Max. You can find it the easiest way online and calculate it. Here is an easy site I found with a VO2Max calculator if you want to try:

http://www.shapesense.com/fitness-exercise/calculators/vo2max-calculator.aspx

Back to Speed Work- An example of a speed workout could be: 10X800 w/ 2 min rest.

You run 10-800s(two laps around a track) with two minutes rest in between each interval. Or maybe you have a set of 4X mile repeats with a minute rest in between at a given pace.

Speed work is always a combination on intervals. It’s not easy, and it pushes you to the limit. It’s supposed to challenge you and help you get faster each week.

Speed days help you improve mental and physical toughness so that on race day you’re not completely shocked and shut down when the pain comes. And it will. You need to accept this and conquer it in training if you want to run a successful race!

Whatever your coach gives you that day or whatever you decide to do for speed work depends on your current racing schedule and what you are training for. If you are training through a race or in a building training block and not racing for a while, you may have a more intense/ longer workout.

It takes about 4 weeks before your body is able to show the work you put in doing a workout.

That’s why it is incredibly important to hit the paces given to you, even when you feel like giving up. Don’t cut reps and don’t slack off. This will make you tougher so that when it’s race day, you smash it and make it look easy.

  • Tempo Runs-

I’m just going to go ahead and say it, they SUCK. These are probably the toughest workouts for us mentally because tempos are  longer, faster, sustained efforts in training.

Normally, a tempo is run once a week on Thursday or Friday. A tempo is still considered a workout or session because it is a faster run held at a certain pace for a targeted amount of miles.

A tempo day starts as a speed day would– a proper warm up(ideally at least 2 miles), drills and stretches then strides before you start the tempo!

The tempo run can be anywhere from 3-9 miles or even more for marathoners and higher mileage runners!

When you run a tempo, you run the whole amount of mileage at a set pace given; which is normally 30-45 seconds slower than your race pace.

This needs to be a hard effort that puts you in debt but not so hard you can’t breath or you’re at 100%.

Believe me, sometimes you will feel like you’re going all out on a tempo but that’s when you can learn to push past the pain  threshold and earn your wings! Running a tempo is pretty brutal work but the benefits are unfathomable. This is where you learn who you are in training.

  • Strength training days-

I am only going to touch on this briefly because this subject really needs a blog for itself(and will soon!)

But concerning strength training for runners- I have learned the importance of proper strength training for a running schedule can keep you from injury and make you STRONG.

I used to hate lifting at all or doing anything in the gym when I first started running. Actually, I hated everything in training that wasn’t running. Then, I grew a little and started running in college and became surrounded by women who were faster, stronger, and had abs of steel.

I wanted that too and I also knew I would need to become a strength runner to get faster rather than a scrawny stick that would break like a twig with the mileage and intensity building.

As I became more knowledgeable in my sport I quickly learned that strength training can:

1. Keep you from getting injured

2. Keep your form strong

3. Keep you flexible

4. Give you strength to pull through in a race or workout when you don’t have anything left

Strength training can of course vary depending on what your coach has planned for you or what your body responds best to. You can do a body circuit that works on abs, upper body, legs, and back or a mixture of all of these. Strength training is normally done in a gym but you can do your own circuit on an easy day at your home or after a run at the park.

I recommend 2-3 times a week of strength training while being mindful of your current training cycle. I have focused so much more attention in strength training and flexibility drills since I ended track in April and graduated college.

I can already tell a significant improvement in my form and overall strength! I am so happy I stopped being afraid of strength training and became fully obedient in this part of training.

It works!! If you want to stay injury-free and become a STRONG runner, don’t skip out on gym days.

You can do them before or after a run or do a double day and do your run in the morning and lift at night. You can also switch that around too. The main point here is consistency.  Like I said, I won’t get too detailed into strength training here but just reminding you of the importance!!

Cooling things down

Wrapping things up, I know that I’m just skimming the surface of running and training. A Runner’s bread and butter really do include the subjects we touched on and I hope I was helpful in highlighting a general schedule.

I want to offer advice that’s helped me, to help improve your running if that’s what you want to accomplish. Which is what I hope, because you’ve already read this far! 🙂

Now, are you going to be a quitter and just give up because it hurts for a few minutes? OR are you gonna OWN your workout and reach a new level of training?

Every day you lace up and go for your run; whatever training day that is for you, you have a choice to make.

Running isn’t for the weak minded or for people that take short cuts. And there is SO much more to running than just running.

You truly get out what you put in with running and you can discover who you really are through a runner’s lifestyle.

Just remind yourself that every run has a purpose for that day and take it one day at a time! Good Luck in training and remember that you are ALWAYS more capable than how you feel.

 

RUNNER’S WORLD QUOTE OF THE DAY:

As a runner, you have to face the truth about yourself on a regular basis, and it makes you more honest. You can’t pretend to be faster than you are. You can’t pretend that you are better prepared than you are. You cannot pretend to be a runner, you actually have to run.
– John Bingham