Posts Tagged Yoga

A Marathon and Goals for April

Yesterday, I had one of the best double-digit runs, ever.  The weather started a little humid and mid-50s, but cleared up and the sun came out. I ran with the dog, Tara, as well as three other friends and two more dogs. We started on our usually long run route, but instead of doing an out-and-back as we usually do, we mixed it up and turned off at 5 miles to create a loop through town. It’s amazing how a few miles of new scenery can invigorate a long run. On my shorter runs I routinely switch directions and mix things up with new side streets, but on the longer runs I’ve been doing the same route for quite awhile so it made a huge difference to change the route so much.

I think I’ll try to come up with another couple of courses for double-digit runs over the next few months to keep things interesting. It is going to be even more important as I ramp up the mileage for…wait for it…marathon training!  I finally committed and registered for the Richmond Marathon on November 16 in Richmond, Virginia. I am so excited at the prospect of finally tackling 26.2 miles!  My friend, Caitlin, and my hubby are going to run it too, so I’ll have plenty of support in my training here in Kansas and my family in Virginia is already on board with being our support crew while we’re on the East coast.

With such a big race on the horizon, I would like to get back into the habit of setting regular goals throughout the year.  I only set one goal for running for the year and that was to run 1000 miles, which I am a little behind on reaching with my current monthly totals (197.95/1000).  Tomorrow is April 1st, so today seems apropos to start setting some  monthly goals.

Goals for April

1. Run 100 miles in the month. I’ve run just under 200 miles for the year so far, so 100 this month will put me back on track for an even effort in the rest of the year for reaching my 1000 miles goal.

2. Do at least 1 day of weight lifting per week. I would like to start one of the New Rules of Lifting programs again. I’m leaning toward New Rules of Lifting for Women because I’m already familiar with all the moves, don’t need any new equipment, and they’re fairly short routines for the first few months while I’m still in school. My plan is to start by going to the gym this Tuesday during my long lunch break.

3. Prepare 1 new recipe per week. I really enjoyed finding new foods to try and meal-planning during my paleo experiment, and would like to continue adding some fresh new ideas to the repertoire.

4. Do at least 30 minutes of yoga per week. My flexibility is abysmal and running keeps me too tight, so I need to invest more time into stretching and flexibility. I think incorporating yoga into my routine will be a great way to accomplish this.

5. Research the possibility of an early summer triathlon. I’d like to find something to fill the gap between my half marathon training and the beginning of my marathon training. If I find a race that is within an easy morning drive, register and organize my training plan.

Do you have any tips for a first time marathoner? Do you set goals for yourself throughout the year?

Yesterday’s Training:

10.01 mile run

Today’s Training:

Rest day

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When It All Falls Apart

Since posting yesterday about my training plan, I’ve been thinking about the drawbacks of planning.

Something I’ve struggled to learn is to be flexible enough to deal with unexpected and necessary changes to “the plan.” Even though I know in my brain that going out for a 20 minute run is better than doing nothing, it’s hard for me to break out of that mental block that I have failed my plan to run 5 miles or do intervals or hill repeats. Inevitably, in the past, I have ended up doing nothing and juggling other days to try and fit the missed workout.

Flexibility has clearly never been my strong suit, but sometimes life just happens and there’s no reason I should view it as my failing when I don’t make every workout exactly as planned. Plans don’t need to be set in stone, but rather, should be a guide that can be adjusted to meet my needs.

What is most important is that I keep moving forward, not dwell on minor diversions, and make do with the time available.

(via Pinterest) Plans rarely perfectly align, might as well just run!

 

 

Today’s Training:

35 minutes yoga before class this morning

5.5 mile run in beautiful KS weather with a good friend

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Have I Ever Mentioned that I’m a Planner?

In my updated training plan, Mondays are for strength training and stretching, so I did a super-short strength routine and a 30 minute yoga routine at home before school this morning. To continue my experimentation with breathing patterns, I chose a DVD yoga routine that focused on breath work. It wasn’t my favorite routine. While the stretches were decent, they weren’t as extensive as I would have liked and the pace was much slower than I prefer. Also, it was primarily sitting and reclining poses, with no standing poses that I can recall, so there wasn’t much variety. I did think it was good to revisit my breathing and work on deep belly breathing without the added complexity of timing it with running, but I don’t think I’ll use this routine again.

For my newly added strength training component, I would really like to get back into weight-lifting. I used to lift fairly regularly, but got out of the habit and let running take over, including only the tiniest body weight strength training. Now that I’ve decided to only run 5 days a week, I think I can fit in at least one day of weights if I can go before school in the morning or during a lunch break in the afternoons. I hope to figure out a good way to work weights into my schedule to start next week. I think this will be a really important part of injury prevention moving forward.

In other news, I am about 99% sure I am going to register for a marathon in the fall, just not sure which one yet. I think it will likely be in October, which means I’ll have to start seriously training in June! That will be about 6 weeks after my half marathon this spring, so I’m also thinking that will be just enough time to squeeze in training for a sprint triathlon. The Topeka Tinman Triathlon is June 15 and has both Sprint and Olympic distance options that might work perfectly into that 6 weeks.

If you’re new to reading, you’re probably learning (especially after this post!) that I am extremely Type A about planning my training. Spontaneous workouts have never worked for me. I used to go to the gym without a plan and I would just wander around doing various exercises with no rhyme or reason. I was constantly discouraged because I never felt like I had any tangible results. I wasn’t improving in my lifting, in my running ability, or in my general fitness; but when I switched to creating a detailed plan for each day and tracking my progress, I was able to achieve my goals in training and see what I needed to work on when the goals were a little more elusive.

Now, I have a spreadsheet to track all of my workouts, which are already planned for the next 7 months (!) and entered in my Google Calendar. After each run or workout, I enter the details into the spreadsheet, which tracks my mileage for the week, month, and year. It even automatically calculates how many miles I’ve put on each pair of running shoes! I get immense satisfaction from inputting all my data, and it makes me really motivated to follow the schedule. I know I’m obsessive, please don’t judge! 🙂

Sometimes, I wish I were a person who could be more spontaneous – who could go out and just run as far and as fast as they can each time and improve, but I know I am not. I’m neither motivated enough to keep myself working without the accountability of my schedule, nor am I mentally tough enough to push myself enough to make progress. So for now, I’ll cling to my detailed training plans and love every second of preparing them and recording my progress.

Are you a planner or are you more spontaneous in your workout regimen?

Today’s Training:

  • Strength (once through)
    • 15 push-ups
    • 30 crunches
    • 60 second wall sit
    • 15 triceps dips
    • 60 second plank
    • 30 lunges (each leg)
    • 20 squats
  • 30 minutes of yoga (breath work)

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Being Flexible

This morning I slept until 7:30, which is much later than intended.  Despite that, I did do about 15 minutes of yoga before work.  I’ll do another 15 minutes later this week- probably Wednesday morning.  My physical flexibility is nearly nonexistent at the moment.  My hamstrings are especially tight, so yoga seems to be just what the doctor ordered.  I really need some new yoga dvds.  I used to have one that I really liked, and I still have the case, but I cannot find the disc anywhere.  I have been using the free videos on demand on exercise tv, but I haven’t found any programs that I really love yet.  Does anyone have any recommendations for DVDs?

When I got home from work this afternoon, I had every intention of going for my run with Tara.  What I didn’t plan on, was the fact that ALL of my workout clothes were in the laundry.  I decided that I would do laundry instead, go grocery shopping for the rest of the week and have a relaxing evening instead.  I played with Tara and did some training with her too (she’s learning to roll over!).

I met my goal of making dinner tonight!  I baked salmon wrapped in foil with a bit of extra virgin olive oil, white wine, salt, pepper, chili powder, lemon juice and fresh basil.  It was delicious!  We had cous cous on the side, and I’m going to use the leftovers to make cous cous salad.  Curtis and I went grocery shopping together today, so we’ve got good stuff for the rest of the week.  We are going to a friend’s house for dinner on Wednesday, so I’m only going to be able to cook at home Monday, Tuesday and Thursday this week, but that’s no biggie.  We actually have a dinner group with some of his coworkers and get together once or twice a month, each time at a different person’s house.  We hosted it first, way back over the summer, and it will be looping back to us in either February or March.  We always have a great time and get to try some new delicious food.  Many of us use it as an opportunity to try a new recipe on a bunch of willing guinea pigs. 🙂

Tomorrow is a lifting day, so I’ll be packing a bag to go to the gym directly after work.  Perhaps I will run on the track while I’m there too.

 

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Off to a (semi) Good Start

In the past, if I haven’t had time to do an entire planned workout, I’ve just let it go.  In my brain I know that every little bit counts and getting out and moving is the more important than exactly following my schedule.  But when it came down to it, I chose to stay in bed or watch another 15 minutes of TV or or read blogs for another 30 minutes than getting out and running for that 15 or 30 minutes.  No more.  Despite waking up much later than planned yesterday morning, I dragged myself out of bed and determined that I still had time for about 10 minutes of yoga.  I’m not sure how good it did physically, but I think it went a long way to getting me into a better place mentally.

This morning, I managed to jump out of bed a bit earlier and go out for a run with Tara.  We were out for 33 minutes – 2 minutes walking warm-up and then jog for 28 minutes and walk for another 3 to cool down.  It should have been a 3 mile run, but it came in at just about 2.8 miles including the walking portions.  I’m really happy I got out there and ran even though it was still pitch black outside when we left.  Tara lit my path with her little headlamp that she wears.  I’m a little disappointed in the “reflective” leash and collar I bought for her.  They don’t seem to be very reflective at all.  They’re nice for a regular leash and collar, but I’m going to have to try something else.  I’m thinking of getting her a running vest for more visibility.  I wore a white shirt this morning with good reflective strips on the back, but I still need to make it to the running store or sporting goods store to get something more for me to wear.

I did not get to the gym yesterday to lift and I’ve realized that it is completely unrealistic to try on Mondays.  I think I mentioned that I have dog agility classes on Mondays and while yesterday I probably could have made it to the gym, I decided that it would make more sense to move my lifting day to Tuesdays since it is a light running day.  That way I can easily do my run in the morning and lift in the evening, or vice versa.  Also, starting next week my classes start at 6:35 PM (instead of 8:50 PM as they do now), so my Mondays are going to be quite busy.  I think I’ll be doing a lot of crock pot dinners over the next 6 week session!

I’m not sure what to do about lifting on Thursdays yet.  Class on Thursdays doesn’t start until 7:45 PM and I get home from work at about 4:30 PM.  Inspiration just struck-  I can do a morning lifting session on Thursdays and run in the afternoon with Tara before class.  That will work perfectly! I’ll update my training plan matrix later today with my updates.

Things are falling into place!

 

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No Rest for the Weary

I want to be a faster runner.  I’ve never really thought that I could run fast, it just never crossed my mind.  My 8K results lit a fire in me, so to speak, and now I want to be faster, and more importantly, I am convinced that I can be.  I have no idea what my goal pace should be for any given distance.  I don’t know how much it is reasonable to expect to improve over X number of days, weeks, months or years.  And I don’t care.  I’m arbitrarily choosing the Charlottesville half-marathon as my first checkpoint.  I want to finish it in under two hours. Is that realistic considering my time last year was 2:25:28?  Maybe not.  I’m going to try anyways.  According to the Race Time Predictor, I should be able to run a 5K in 26:07, which is an 8:24 pace, and run a 10K in 54:21, which is an 8:45 pace.  My only 5K race (not attached to a triathlon) was 29:54, so I just need to shave 4 minutes….I know I can do it.  Not entirely sure when I’ll do it, but I know I can.

Training starts tomorrow.  I’ve posted my training plan on the “Training Plan -2011” page.  I’m going to focus on running again through this winter, just like last year.  This time, though, I am going to place my focus on running fast, rather than running far.  I’m starting with one day of speed work each week and add a second day of speed work in the last 12 weeks or so of training.  I’m going to try to do some interim races to track my progress, or at least do “home” races every few weeks.  I’m also adding two days of weight training back to my training.  Adding muscle can’t hurt and I know that I’ve lost a lot of strength since I stopped lifting in favor of HIM training.  Something new I’m going to try is doing yoga once a week too.  I’m hoping that placing an emphasis on stretching at least once a week will prevent any encounters with IT band issues or any other injuries that can crop up.  As you’ll see in my schedule, I’ll be running significantly more (miles and days) every week than I have in the past, so I want to make sure to stay healthy!  I’m hoping yoga helps in that.  I’m not planning on taking any yoga classes right now, just doing videos or on-demand at home.  I think it would be a bit ambitious for me to actually go somewhere to do yoga right now.  It will be much easier to fit into my schedule if I can do it right here.  My alarm is set to start tomorrow at 6AM, and I’ve already chosen a program from the on-demand menu.  I need to pick up some yoga DVDs to try.  I have one, but it has gone missing, and I’m afraid I may have let someone borrow it and will never see it again.

My planned training for this week is:

Monday – Yoga AM, NROLW Stage 1 A1 PM

Tuesday  – Run 3 miles

Wednesday – Run 5 x 400 m @ 5K pace

Thursday – Run 3 miles AM, NROLW Stage 1 A2 PM

Friday – Rest

Saturday – Run 3 miles

Sunday – Run 5 miles

Monday and Thursday may be tough to get everything done because I have dog agility training classes both evenings, but I’m going to do my best to do the lifting.  If I have to miss one of the days, I will do the second day on Saturday.

By the way, if you reading from an RSS reader, I did some work updating the look of my blog today.  I’m not 100% it is going to stay like this.  I’m not in love with the new layout/theme yet.  I did change the main title of my blog- “Triathlon Training Blog” was just too boring.  This is my journey of becoming stronger and faster and going longer.  It’s only taken me a year and a half to be a little more interesting, but better late than never!  Let me know what you think of the new look!

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The Great Larabar Experiment

I’ve been feeling a little bleh yesterday and today, so I decided to make today a rest day.  I picked out an On Demand yoga program to do as my active rest.  It was ok, but not really what I was looking for, there was a lot of pilates-type moves for core strength.  I wanted some more stretching type moves to do, but oh well.  It only took 20 minutes, which was nice.  I don’t think I’d do it again, though.

After I was done, I decided to attempt to make some homemade Larabars.  I even took pictures to post!

First, I took an entire (well actually a little less because I’d already eaten several) 10 oz container of Sunsweet pitted dates and checked them to make sure they were actually pitted.  Once I had removed the one stray pit I found, I microwaved the dates for about 30 seconds since I thought it would be easier to work with them if they were slightly heated.

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I dumped the whole container of dates into the food processor and turned it on.

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It didn’t take long for it to become a paste-like consistency.

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I added 1/2 cup of almonds (1/4 cup at a time).

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And 1/8 cup of cocoa powder.  The food processor turned it into a very sticky ball of dough.

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I spread it into a small baking dish and put it into the refrigerator to harden.  After an hour or so I moved it to the freezer to be faster.

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After they were sufficiently hard, I cut them up into 16 squares to store.

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This one only made it as far as my mouth! 🙂 It was tasty!

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Here’s the nutritional info:

Serving size -2 squares (1/8 of whole)

Calories – 148

Fat – 4 grams (rounded up)

Carbohydrates – 30 grams

Protein – 2.5 grams

I think that next time I’ll add a bit of chocolate protein powder, but I’m pretty pleased for my first attempt.  I’m excited about getting some more dates and trying some different combinations of flavors.  The pecan pie Larabars are especially interesting to me.  Yum, I’m salivating just thinking about it!

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BRICK & LTHR Test

This afternoon, I did NOT want to go for my bike ride.  For some reason, I really just felt like running, but I decided to suck it up and go anyways, especially since it was only supposed to be an hour and a half ride.  While I was getting my bike ready (more on this in a later post), I had the brilliant idea to follow Joe Friel’s exercise for determining lactate threshold heart rate (LTHR), and subsequently training zones for my riding.  As soon as I got on my bike I was so glad I had taken the time to do a little maintenance and give it a little TLC.  Wow, it is riding so much better now! With the exception of my front derailleur, which was acting up late in the ride, but I think I can fix it.

I went on my usual route, which I was hoping would not be too problematic with waiting at various lights and road crossings.  I managed to get through the worst of them during my 10 minute warm-up period, thankfully.  After 10 minutes, I pushed it and built up to riding as fast as I could and sustain for 30 minutes.  After 10 minutes of the test, I reset my HRM for the remaining 20 minutes.  What a great ride out it was!  After I finished the test, I stopped to drink some water and turn around and head back toward home.  I also checked my computer and saw that my average speed was 16.1 mph!  I was really pleased, it showed that I definitely was riding faster than my normal plodding along pace.  I did not worry about speed at all on the way back, I wanted to save some strength in my legs for a run, but I still finished with an overall average speed of 14.5 mph.  Not too shabby!  Stats for the ride:

Duration of ride time: 1:24:29

Distance: 20.45 miles

Average speed: 14.5 mph

Max speed: 30.6 mph

When I got back to the house, I took a quick bathroom break, changed shorts and had a quick snack of 3 small dates.  It was much longer than a normal transition, but my legs still felt like jelly when I started running.  After about 8 minutes I got my rhythm back.  Although it was about 90 F, the run wasn’t too bad because there was a nice cool breeze flowing.  A few minutes after I got my legs back I got a side stitch.  It wasn’t too bad, but it was bad enough to make me want to stop and make it go away.  I’d like to say that I continued to run through the pain, but I can’t.  At 16 minutes I stopped and walked for about 20 seconds before I motivated myself to start running again.  I ran the rest of the workout (42 minutes) and then walked to cool down for about 16 minutes or so.

I spent some time really stretching out well when I got home.  My muscles have felt really tight lately, especially in my lower back and shoulders, so I wanted to loosen up a bit while they were still warm.  I really would like to figure out a time to work some yoga into my training plan, I think that’s the one thing I’m missing!

My heart rate stats are broken up into 4 segments of today’s workout.  The first three are on the bike and the fourth is the run and cool-down.

Stats #1: Bike warm-up and first 10 minutes of LTHR test

Duration: 20:03

Average heart rate: 155

Max heart rate: 176

Calories: 188

Stats #2: Second 20 minutes of LTHR test (the part that counts!)

Duration: 20:01

Average heart rate: 177

Max heart rate: 187

Calories: 239

Stats #4: Remaining bike ride

Duration: 49:35

Average heart rate: 162

Max heart rate: 182

Calories: 505

Stats #5: Run and cool-down walk

Duration: 58:00

Average heart rate: 160

Max heart rate: 184

Calories: 587

Which means…drum roll, please!  That my LTHR for cycling is estimated to be 177 beats per minute.  This means that my workout zones (following from the Triathlete’s Training Bible) are as follows:

Zone 1 (Recovery): 116-145

Zone 2 (Extensive Endurance): 146-158

Zone 3 (Intensive Endurance): 159-165

Zone 4 (Subthreshold): 166-176

Zone 5A (Superthreshold): 177-180

Zone 5B (Anaerobic capacity): 181-186

Zone 5C (Power): 187-193

What does this all mean to me?  I’m not really sure yet.  I’ve tried to use some vague notion of zones in my training in the past, but never had a concrete number to follow.  I think this could really make me more disciplined over the long run, but for this next race I’m afraid it may be too late to start trying to incorporate this knowledge into my plan.  I’m not sure I have time right now to do more research and planning.  Unless I do it tonight, right now and figure everything out for the next few weeks.  I’ve been known to do things of that nature.  Guess we’ll just have to wait and see!

Good night!

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Windy Tuesday

Today brought yet another windy April day.  Unlike Saturday, it was about 20 degrees colder today!  I almost caved and went to the gym, but ended up braving the 41 degree weather and 17 mph gusts of wind to take an “easy” bike ride.  Yeah right!  Riding out was ok, if a bit cold.  Coming back into the wind was brutal.  There are a couple serious little hills on the way back from this particular ride, and they were seriously tough today.  I ended up coming back a bit early, I was supposed to do a one hour ride at a cadence of 90+, but I only did 50 minutes and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t at 90+ the whole time.

When I got back, I did a 25 minute DVD yoga session to stretch out.  The DVD I have is Rodney Yee’s Power Yoga and it has two different routines: strength and flexibility.  I usually do the strength one, but I tried the flexibility today, and I didn’t like it nearly as much as strength.  No doubt, it was relaxing, but it just didn’t feel as good as the strength session.  I’ve decided to try and work some yoga into my routine when I have time.  I’m not very good about stretching all the time, so I’m hoping the yoga will help with my flexibility and injury prevention.

It looks like we’re definitely going to the lake this weekend, so I’m really excited about taking my bike for a spin around the race course.  All I remember is that the hills were incredibly hard and there were a lot of them.  I’m hoping that my memory has exaggerated the course a bit.  I guess I’ll find out this weekend!

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