Half Marathon Training Week #6 ~ Bluenose

So, I’m half way through my training and I’m kinda wondering how that happened. Could it be the fact that two weeks into “training” I finally put together my training plan – likely so! I also just find time is flying by!

Last week’s training was kinda all over the map…and not following my actual training plan but just getting in workouts when I could. I’ll also admit, I was extremely relieved to see that I had a “10 k race” on the schedule and not a 14 k long run. I did not race but I did get in my 10k….on the treadmill – such is life!

First off – Canadian Nuun drinkers….. Use “hydratecanada25” for 25% off your next purchase until April 19/2018.

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What was Planned vs What Really Happened:

Monday: 50 min x-train|Rest Day. This was a MUCH needed rest day after my 13 k long run. It really took a toll on my body. My hip hurt and my back from my car accident from a year agi. It’s been probably over 6-7 months that my back hurt so much.

Tuesday: 7k | Yoga Flow. My body really needed to stretch, so off to lunch time yoga I went and it was just what I needed. I contemplated running that evening but I started to feel ill (head cold) so I took an easy night.

Wednesday: 40 min temp run | Rest Day. Again just not feeling well.

Thursday: 5k | 5k and Soccer Game!!!  It was parent teacher day at our daughters school so I went to that in the afternoon and then took a little time for myself on my treadmill. I wasn’t feeling great (again, head cold still forming) but I ran anyway. Afterwards I actually felt better.

That evening I had a soccer game but I haven’t played since November. Last minute (7:45 pm), I decided I’d go test out my hip and play half the game. All went well! It was so nice to be out on the field again playing and with my team mates. I was super cautious playing as normally I’m more of an aggressive player so it was a little hard for me not to play at 100%. However, my hip did well and I had no pain!

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Friday: Rest or Easy Run| Rest Day. I needed another rest day.

Saturday: Rest day| 10 k Treadmill Run. With my husband working all weekend, there was no way I was getting to a 10k race. Not to mention, I had no intentions of running a race this weekend. I figured 10 k on the treadmill would have to do while my girls played in the house. The girls had swimming lessons mid day, so I got in my run first thing in the morning.

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Sunday: 10 k Race | 50 minute Hike/50 minute Leisurely Swim/ Cycled 40 minutes for 18 km. My only plan today was to be active and do some cross training. We took Carmacks on a little hike in the woods which turned out to be a 50 minute hike. I spent the rest of the day doing chores around the house and the girls played (made forts etc).

We then went swimming for about 50 minutes as my youngest isn’t loving swimming lessons, and I figured it would be a good way to help make her more comfortable in the water – she had a blast as did her sister. I had a fun time but it was more of a light leisurely swim for me.

I still wanted to get in a intense workout so I got on my bike and peddled out 18 km and also used my 5 lb weights to do some upper body exercises. Needless to say, I was tired last night.

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Though I really didn’t follow my training plan, I still had another active week of training. As mentioned before, I don’t plan to run 5 days a week but I am “following” this training plan. I realize I could just find another training plan that is for 3-4 days of running per week but this format just works for me.

Total running km this week: 15 km (18 cycling, 1 yoga class, 1/2 soccer game)

Total km this training cycle: 88 km

 

How was your weekend?

Anyone still bundled up inside because of COLD wintery weather?

Are you running inside or outside right now?

I’m linking up with Holly and Wendy for the Weekly Wrap today.

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Maritime Race Weekend (MRW) Training Plan

I’ve finally found the time to figure out a semi-training plan for my next half marathon. Though as I write this post, I’m still not 100% convinced I’ll run the half or change over to the 10k, either way…I’ll train for it and see what happens.

Race: Maritime Race Weekend 

When: September 16 & 17th.

Location: Cow Bay, Nova Scotia

Number of runners: 2,500

Fun: It’s a double race weekend. Friday night 5k and Saturday Half (or 10k).

Claim-to-fame: Best.Race.Ever., Pirate theme and crazy cool medals!

Years Participating: Twice. In 2014, I ran the 5k & 10k – both PB’s and then volunteered in 2015 after getting injured for the second time. You can read about my 5k race here, my 10k race here and volunteering last year here.

In the past I’ve used Hal Higdon’s training plans which I love but this time around I’m changing things up and kinda using his format but kinda not. This time around, I’m playing soccer AND coaching both girls so that takes up my Sunday, Monday and Wednesday nights. I’m not going to stress over getting in a run or workout on those days but will do something as my work and home life schedules permit.

My plan

MRW 2016 Half Marathon Training Anna

So between soccer, coaching, yoga, running and still wanting to add in cycling, swimming (for fun) and hitting up GoodLife Fitness when I’m in the city…it’s going to be an all-over-the-place training cycle. I’ve committed to training for the half but my heart and head aren’t ready for that distance. I’m hoping in time, I’ll be ready to run the half distance again or settle with nailing an awesome 10k (I kinda love the course).

Elevation Map for MRW Half Marathon

MRW Half Marathon Elevation Map

I’m looking forward to getting back into my long runs as I’ve missed those but I am hoping to run a little less this time around 3-4 times a week. So, here’s to an increase in my laundry pile, purchasing more hair conditioner and deodorant then one should really need, many litres of Nuun consumed, #runches and 10-12 weekly blog posts keeping you up-to-date on my training! Cheers!

Anyone else training for Maritime Race Weekend? (Or a fall race?)

Do you always stick to a training plan?

How do you incorporate other activities into your training?

 

 

Just Listen To Your Body

Did anyone ever tell you to listen to your body? You’ll know when to slow down or stop and rest. I’ve told myself this many times “listen to your body…it will thank you later””. However, sometimes it can be challenging to listen to your own advice.

If you are new to the blog (Welcome!), I’m training for my 4th half marathon. My first was in 2006 and second was in 2014! Apparently, I took some time off long distance running and stuck with other outdoor activities and 5 k/10 k races for a few years.

In 2014, I ran twelve races! I NEVER thought I would run that many races in one year but I did and loved it. I had planned on running 3 half marathon’s in 2015 but was side lined with a hamstring injury from soccer (soccer is my first love). It took nine months to get it back to *almost* normal; almost normal enough to run a half marathon (after missing two plus other races).

I trained and ran my 3rd half marathon last October (2015) in PEI but made the rookie mistake of not taking care of myself and stretching immediately after crossing the finish line. I stood out in the cold to watch others finish while my hamstring decided to say “f-u” for not stretching. I was in severe pain for a week and it slowly went away.

Two big lessons learned: one – take care of yourself post race and two: strength training is a must.

Fast forward to this past week, which is week #2 of training for Johnny Miles Half Marathon in June. I’ve been great with all my planned workouts and did some even with some challenging work days and family days. My body is tired. I’m tired from not sleeping well. At this point, I really should have listened to my body and taken a rest day (and move around my workouts) but I didn’t.

Last night was no different. I got home with the girls (my husband was working) and had an unfortunate surprise waiting for me all over the house from our dog Maclean. After 25 minutes of cleaning that up, got dinner ready/ate, then walked the dog with the girls. I gave the girls a bath and got them to bed with the help of my husband after his shift (he’s a Paramedic).

Around 8:30 I jumped on the treadmill, which was really late for me. I was in a foul mood and really tired. My body felt okay but my mind didn’t. I.Was.Tired!!!! After 1.44 km I got off the treadmill and turned it off. I just couldn’t do it. I grabbed my weights and did a round of bicep curls, dead lifts, overhead push press, lunges up stairs etc., along with some old PT exercises for my hamstring and core.

April 8th listen to body

What I should have done? Taken the day off and just go to bed early. More than anything I needed sleep. Since today is Friday and my training plan has me on a rest day, I’m taking it. I’m tired. I need a rest.

Just because your schedule says run (swim, bike etc.) doesn’t mean you have to. Listening to your body and take a rest day. It can be more beneficial then pushing the limits. Luckily for me last night, I stopped before I let it get out of hand or injured.

When was the last time you took an unexpected rest day?

Do you push the limits with your workout or take a rest day when you really need it?

When was the last time you listened to your body?

 

Running: What I Love About Training

Training is a key piece to running a race, to compete in a duathlon or hitting the trio of a triathlon. It’s can be over looked, critical or it can become a normal part of your daily routine. Some people have a love-hate relationship with training or some don’t train at all. To each his/her own but for me, training is a critical part of running at race.

In case you missed last week’s post in the series, check out “What I Love About….Volunteering”.

What I Love About….Training

Running What I loved About

The Plan

For me the most important part of training is having a plan. There is no way I would run a race without training for it in one way or another. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve gone out and run a 5k race without specific training and it wasn’t pretty. However, for those 5k races that I did have a training plan for, I did better and felt better afterwards.

So for me, it’s critical to have a good training plan, one that suits your needs not someone else’s. I’m a big fan of Hal Higdon’s training plans though I did use a different 10k training plan in 2014 that a co-worker (Iron Woman) gave me and I loved.

PR training plan 2015

I love printing the plan, marking the weekly dates on it and yes…crossing each day and week off my plan. There is some satisfaction after each “check mark”, after each week passes by until you are at the end of your plan with only your race day to go. Training plans are meant to be followed to a T or tweaked to meet your needs. I try to stick to my training plan as much as possible but know there are days when I need to switch things around or try something different.

Lessons learned: Put your training plan in a place that you will see it every day. For me, it was the fridge – at eye sight.

Variety.

There are so many training plans out there that can suit your needs. Maybe you can only run 3 days a week or maybe you want to run 150 km a week (oh my goodness!) – there is a plan out there for you.

I loved the variety I had in my training plans. This past year I went for Hal’s Novice 2 half marathon plan vs his Intermediate plan I used the year before and I LOVED IT!. I loved having two rest days on Monday and Friday. I loved having my long runs on Saturday and I loved having a cross training day on Sunday.

There was no speed work, tempo runs or 400/800’s etc. However, I did managed to add those in once I got comfortable with running again. You see, those first few weeks for me was extremely hard running. Oh, I struggled with my 5k runs for a while but my body was just starting to recover from my hamstring injury.

Lesson learned: Make sure you have a good variety of workouts in your training. Don’t be afraid to change-up your workouts to add in more or less.

Weekly Updates.

Yes, I loved writing about my weekly runs here. Being a “running blogger” you tend to write a lot about your training or at least I sure did.

For me it was a way to look back and reflect; sometimes laugh or cry about the workouts I did or didn’t do. It gave me time to see where I was improving, where I was weak and always kept me focused on the final goal of completely my race. The biggest lesson for me as a blogger would be that I would become extremely motivated by other people’s comments. Encouragement, insight and new ways of doing something. It made me feel like I had access to a larger runner community because in reality people around the world would leave a comment.

Lesson Learned: Share your weekly training on whatever platform you use. It keeps you accountable and even better, it can motivate you to keep moving forward.

Training Log

I have the most old-fashioned log book – at least that’s how I feel. It’s not fancy, it’s not even a running book but a journal that I bought at Costco years ago for “something”. When I started running more in 2014 I wanted to log everything so I could keep track. I’m now on my way to having two year’s worth of running/workouts in my log book.

PR Running Log Book

It’s awesome to look back and see how many kilometres I’ve run each month, each year. It’s a little hard to look back at some months and see low…LOW…numbers and remember how much I was struggling physically with my hamstring. It’s been great to see what “cross-training” I’ve done and how that’s changed my running.

Lesson learned: You don’t always have to have an app for that! A simple log book can do the trick.

The Long Run:

Last but not least, “The Long Run” is by far my favourite part of training. I might even be able to write a blog post on this alone. The long run has many names: long slow distance {LSD} run, the dreaded run, the group run, the long haul or distance run. I’m sure I’m missing a few but you get the idea. It’s your once a week, long distance run at a slower pace than your tempo run or fartlek’s.

For me long runs where about getting focused. Setting out my gear the night before, jumping out of bed at 5 am with excitement {this skill was lacking during the work week} and eating the same “long run breakfast” week after week. Sometimes meeting up with my running buddy or a group of runners to pound the pavement or trails together. Sometimes it was about braving the darkness of the streets as the sun rose up on your own.

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Each long run is different from the last and I’m not just talking about the change in distance. Each week, you laced up and had no sweet clue what was really ahead of you. Would you run the same route, would you have to deal with a new blister or pain, would you end up running further than expected or would you want to call it quits because the heat of the rising temperature was just too much to handle?

The long run for me was a time to just “be”. It was a time to think about everything and nothing all at once. It was a time to talk to my running buddy about life. It was a time to appreciate those around you that support your journey, your goals and your accomplishments.

Yoga/Stretching post long run :)

The best part of my long run wasn’t always accomplishing the new distance but coming home to my family. The yells’ of “Mommy’s home” to “ewww, your sweaty Mom” to “you should go shower”…I’ll leave you to who said that one! Or the post run stretching sessions that the girls would end up doing and then it would turn into yoga on their own. And those days when you get back to your “second breakfast” … you know the one you didn’t think about but was made as you entered the doors to your house.

Lesson learned: Your long runs are key to your training – don’t skip them.

Worst Part of Training:

Being injured. Getting injured or having set back. The week before your BIG race and you injury yourself without knowing you did so can make all those weeks come crashing down around you. The “why me questions”, the “what did I do wrong” along with the frustration and disappointment. Injuries happen. They suck but life goes on.

I truly love training for races. It’s like a Christmas countdown where you give yourself the gift of an active lifestyle and then BAM celebrate all your hard work over whatever distance you are racing. You receive a medal for your race but really it’s also about those multiple weeks of training you put in. You eat “all the food” because you are so rungry you can’t even explain what rungry is at that point.

PR VHM Finish photo

You’ve trained, you completed your race, you’ve earned it!

Now…what’s next?!?!?!?

What’s your favourite part of training?

Do you love or hate long runs?

What’s your favourite training plan or go-to book/website? 

One Week Out From PEI Half Marathon

Happy {Canadian} Thanksgiving! We had our big family dinner yesterday and I didn’t take any photos. I ran my first race of the year yesterday as a pace bunny and nailed it! Today, I feel like I have a hangover and I didn’t even consume any alcohol yesterday…..gotta get on the hydration today. I’ll do a recap of the race tomorrow….so many thoughts to write down so little time today.

One Week Out from PEI Half Marathon!

Actually, it’s less then that but who’s counting, right? Okay, I’m totally counting the days until I run my 3rd half marathon. This ride here sure has had it’s bumps, bruises and tears but I’m ready.

Originally back in September, I had been planning on taking a week off after Maritime Race Weekend {which I didn’t run due to my foot injury} and then getting back into half training. Well, the last four weeks were all about running pain free and getting through my long runs with no issues. I’m happy to say that I managed that. Last week went like this….

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What was Planned vs. What Really Happened:

  • Monday: Rest Day – Rest Day
  • Tuesday: 5kVinyasa Yoga Class. So good but I hurt for days after!
  • Wednesday: 8k8k runch – this was a hard one!
  • Thursday: 5k5k paced at 6:50 and managed 6:48 at lunch.
  • Friday: Rest DayRest Day
  • Saturday: 19k Long RunRest Day / Ran 400m with Hilary at the kids run. Ran 2k at night to shake out my legs and tripple check my Garmin was good to go!
  • Sunday: Cross TrainingPaced the 1:10 – 10k @ Valley Harvest Marathon in Wolfville, Nova Scotia.

pace bunnies

A pretty solid week and not once was I on my treadmill! I even managed to do three nights of baking – that’s what happens when you do your runs at lunch and have Thanksgiving dinner the same day of your race.

What I enjoyed about last week’s training:

Running outside with the sunshine beating down and the cool breeze in the air. Pacing the 10k at Valley Harvest was pretty awesome. I was nervous going in but absolutely love it. Again, I’ll write more about this tomorrow.

This week I’m planning:

  • Monday: Rest day (Thanksgiving Monday spent with family and traveling)
  • Tuesday: 5k (On the road all day for work)
  • Wednesday: DVD workout (On the road all day for work)
  • Thursday: 5k
  • Friday: Drive to PEI (5 hours) 3-4k shake it out run.
  • Saturday: Rest / Take it easy.
  • Sunday: 21.1 km RACE DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I’m looking forward to this last week of training and racing next weekend. Off to spend the day with our girls and my family.

How was your weekend?

Canadians – when did you have your Thanksgiving dinner?

Anyone race Valley Harvest Marathon, Chicago or another awesome race?

Night Runner 270 Lights {Review}

I’ve been lighting up the pathways lately 😉 Well, my feet have been with the Night Runner 270 lights I received a few weeks ago. I’m going to say this upfront – THESE.ARE.AWESOME!

NRLights on Shoes

It’s been getting dark earlier here and I’m still trying to run at night and early in the morning for my long runs. I’ve been wearing lots of reflective gear lately: vest, wrist pieces and clothing with reflective strips on them. The Night Runner 270 lights are the newest addition to my running.

The first night I tested them out I quickly put the lights on my sneakers after following the directions and was good to go! I was surprised at how easy it was to attach them to my runners. It was still fairly light outside when I started my run and I ran my normal 5k route in my subdivision. There were people out walking their dogs and children playing road hockey – can’t get more Canadian then that, eh!

When I passed the kids playing hockey, they turned to me and said “LOOK at her shoes” with surprised faces. I had a little laugh to myself and kept running. As it was getting darker the lights were making a noticeable difference in the ground in front of me. As my run progressed, so did the dark sky and I was running in complete darkness only able to see the ground in front of me with the aid of these lights.

PicMonkey Collage

A few runs later I was scheduled to do my 18k long run on my own. It was extremely dark out at 6 am and I felt like the Night Runner 270 lights gave me a little more confidence. It made running in the dark a little safer.

Now the facts:

  • Two ultra-light LED light units
  • Back-facing red lights
  • 4-8 hour battery life
  • Li-ion rechargeable battery
  • 150 total lumens (2 units)
  • 30+ meters in beam distance
  • Bi-lateral ‘wing’ design
  • Water-resistant unit
  • Secure, stable, multi-position shoelace clips
  • Free US Shipping (4-7) days
  • International Shipping – Flat rate $9.95 (7-25 days)
  • The patent pending bi-lateral ‘wing’ design features 270 degrees of visibility in front of the runner and two red ​tailights facing behind.

What I liked:

  • Easy to turn on/off.
  • They are easy to charge.
  • Easy to use (put on and take off sneakers).
  • Made me feel “seen” by oncoming traffic in the dark.
  • Charger wires and lights can be stored in a bag so you don’t lose them.
  • I like how I could see the uneven ground in front of me and what was coming up ahead.
  • Extremely light weight. I often forgot they were attached to my shoes a while after I had turned off the lights.
  • I also thought it was funny that I could see any reflective signs (stop signs, street signs) as I run. They light up far in advance to the point that I thought something else was lighting them up.

What I didn’t like:

  • To be 100% honest, there wasn’t anything I didn’t like about them. As mentioned I often forgot they were on my shoe when not turned on.
  • I wish I could buy them at a local store, however you can purchase them online.

I need to back up a bit and share this with you. When I opened the box and tried them on in my house I had many thoughts go through my head. Everything from “sweet these will be awesome when the lights go out” to “I wondering if I can use them this winter to shovel the snow in my driveway. Seriously, I even thought that I could pay night-time tag with the girls in the house – could you imagine! No, they have yet to see how they work but once they do I know they will want to try them out 😉

To learn more about Night Runner 270 lights you can find it on social media here:

What do you think about these lights for running (or walking)?

Would these lights help your running?

Do you feel safe running in the dark?

Note: Thank you to Night Runner 270 for providing me your product to review. You have definitely change they way I run now.

Two Weeks Out from PEI Half Marathon

It’s been a great week of running! So I’m just going to get right to it…….two weeks out until PEI Half Marathon (half #3 for me). I’m getting excited, eager to run the distance, looking forward to the challenge of a new event/course, meet up with some #RunATCan peeps and of course spending some time with my husband {sans kiddies}.

Last week went a little like this……….

What Was Planned vs What Really Happened:

  • Monday: Rest Day Rest Day (though I really wanted to run)
  • Tuesday: 5k 6k on the Treadmill.
  • Wednesday: 8k8k on the Treadmill (getting my fix of Scandal)
  • Thursday: 5k5k Outside
  • Friday: Rest DayRest Day (might have over indulged on food and wine)
  • Saturday: Long Run18k Long Run – you can read about the fun here!
  • Sunday: Cross TrainJillian Michael’s Ripped in 30 Level 2

Total km: 37

Weather: It’s been much cooler these days and nights. Long sleeves are required but I’m trying to push-off wearing capri’s as long as I can. Early morning runs require lots of reflective gear and lunch time runs (which I didn’t do last week) would require shorts / t-shirt or rain gear.

I’m feeling: Relieved to have 18k under my belt with no pain during, after or the following day! This is a big win!!!

I enjoyed: Taking our girls to see the Acadia track so they know where they are running next week {Kids Run}! After that, randomly deciding to go apple picking 🙂

track and apples

I’m looking forward to: Pacing the Valley Harvest 10k but slightly nervous about keeping my pace at 7 min/km for a 1:10 finish time. This race isn’t mine. I’m using it to do a tapered long run a week before my half marathon. I’m running this race to get those who want to finish under 1:10 or around 1:10 to the finish line on time. I’m running this race because it’s a local race that I enjoy doing. It’s going to be a good time!

I’m also looking forward to Thanksgiving dinner and making vegan apple pie with all the apples we picked this weekend.

I’m motivated by: An email message I got from an old friend. She called me “amazing” and I truly feel far from that. I’ve yet to mention on the blog but I’m now a 261 Fearless Ambassador! I don’t feel that this makes me amazing (but thank you Kathy for the comment)…I feel encouraged to motivate others to be active. And by being active I mean doing an activity of your choice (walking, running, hitting the gym, yoga, karate, soccer, swimming, cross fit etc.), to be healthy and happy.

So, in return I’m motivated by my friends, family, bloggers, readers of my blog (bloggers, family, friends and strangers I will meet and most I will never meet). Thanks for following my crazy journey of running, motherhood and just life in general.

This week: I’m planning on a rest day, 5k, 8k, 5k, rest day, KIDS RUN with both my girls (Hilary does 400m and Lilly does 800m), then pacing the 10k on Sunday 🙂

How was your weekend?

Anyone race, run or do anything fun?

Ever pace a race?