At the end of 15 weeks I went out for a three mile run and didn’t pay too much attention to my pace though I could feel that it was slow. I thought for sure I’d average out at 9:30 for that short run. It was an early run, before sunrise, and there is no doubt the morning run is still the way to go (vs running midday). I was pleasantly surprised to find that my average pace for that run was 8:58/mile, just squeaking in below 9 minutes.
My new weekend routine is now that I go for a bike ride on Saturday afternoon while our son naps and then an early long run on Sunday. I like this routine quite a bit. The cycling is helping me train for Tour de Cure in May where I’m really hoping I can hang for 32 miles. The Sunday run is a 6.8 route with a flat stretch until the halfway point where there also happens to be a ranger station along the B&A trail with restrooms. Enough said. The second half of the loop is a perfect hilly mix and for probably any number of reasons is typically faster than my first half. Pregnant or not, I usually need a couple miles to warm up so I inevitably end up with negative splits more often than not. This makes for a very satisfying run.
Slow and Steady
Even though that recent 3 miler was a hair under 9 minutes, I have a feeling that may be the last time that happens for the next 5 months. My long run averaged out at a 9:38/mile pace. I proclaimed a few weeks ago that I wanted to maintain sub-9s for as long as possible, at least on the shorter runs. I now know what “as long as possible” equates to. At 16 weeks pregnant, my new pace is slow and steady. I am hoping, however, that I can still finish the next 10k race in under an hour. At the 6.2 mark on the long run my time was 58:38, so we’ll see. Two more weeks could make a big difference in how I perform, even in the spirit of race day.
I got curious though to compare my distances and paces from this current pregnancy with round one. The biggest difference is that I went into that pregnancy marathon ready and into this one barely half marathon ready but with speed like I’d not had before. In 2011 I finished the Marine Corps Marathon at the end of my first trimester. From there I kept up with 3-6 mile runs until about week 18 but I was averaging 10+ minutes per mile. In comparison, I’m currently only running 2-3 days a week, with those runs also 3-6ish miles (plus 2 days per week spin/cycle and cross-train), but I’m a solid minute faster at the same point in pregnancy than the first time. Just interesting.
And regardless, the point is to stay fit, keep exercising, keep running and keep moving. One week at a time.
For the last month I have been using the training log on runnersworld.com both to log my work-outs as well as to experiment with one of the many available online training log programs available to athletes. It was a few months ago that I decided I would use and review as many logs as possible and I had started with the log on Race Nation‘s website before moving on to the Runner’s World log.
When I started with the RW log, I was slowly building my running routine back up from my marathon recovery and have since begun training for my first triathlon, so I have multiple kinds of work-outs that I need to track. I already had a profile on rw.com, but if I hadn’t, that would have been the first step, just like for any other site that stores your personal information.
The RW log has one button to enter a new run and another button that drops down with options to enter a bike, swim, strength session, walk, health note, or generic ‘other’ work-out. I found entering the first few entries to be tricky because not all fields of the log format were super intuitive to me. For most type of work-outs, standard data fields are: date, time, heart rate (rest, average, and max), route, distance, time, weight, and environment. There is also a standard notes box at the end, which I love, as well as the option to rate the quality and effort of the work-out on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the best or hardest. And, as you may know, I am a big fan of measuring the quality of my work-outs. Continue reading →
For many of us who are dog owners, there is no question about the motivation a dog can provide to get you out of your seat and out for a run. They need exercise just as much as we do. But what if you’re really not a runner, never were, and never plan to be? But your dog is, or easily could be. I was discussing this exact scenario with a girlfriend of mine who is queen of the elliptical machine at her gym and a proud new puppy owner.
As a dog owner, she is well aware of the dog’s need for exercise and walks him regularly, but the walks don’t do for her what her regular gym routine used to do. It’s been weeks since she’s been in the air conditioned gym, bobbing along to her iPod, and sweating it out on the elliptical. While she wouldn’t trade her new pup for the world, something about dog walks that involve lots of stops for training and ‘doing business’ just isn’t cutting it for her own exercise.
Doing sprints is one way to help build your lactate threshold. Photo by Ian_UK.
If you spend enough time training for anything and start to read articles, message boards, and blogs that discuss your specific exercise be it running, biking, spinning, or swimming you are bound to come across a discussion about lactate threshold. It’s likely you will see this phrase used in conjunction with topics of heart rate training, VO2 max, aerobic and anaerobic metabolism, and perhaps even endurance zones. Unless you have a degree in sports or fitness or are a trained trainer, these words probably read like a foreign language and feel overwhelming.
At least that’s how I felt.
What better way to eliminate that stressed feeling of not understanding all this new training lingo than to learn as much as possible about it? There are endless resources on the topic of lactate threshold but before we get into how it relates to training, some basic definitions would be helpful to outline. Continue reading →
A key element to living a healthy lifestyle is simply getting in some form of exercise that is enough to raise your heart rate and which is typically recommended to be 30 minutes per day. It doesn’t sound hard, but for some reason, sometimes getting in 30 minutes of heart pumping exercise is the last thing you want to do. If you’re tired, injured, bored, indifferent, frustrated, too busy, or any number of other excuses we can conjure up, there is one thing that will almost always bring motivation–the unconditional loving eyes and happily wagging tail of a four-legged friend.
My furry pal is Murphy Brown, a chocolate lab/pitbull mix who sits under my feet all day long, loyal and content. Her real passion is playing fetch; it’s something she could do for hours on end no matter how tired she gets. When she was a puppy she was more than happy to run alongside me for three or more miles. As she got older she cared much more about smells and marking various territories than she did at keeping pace. She can still run with me, but only for about 3 miles and I’m sure she’d rather be sniffing or chasing her ball in the backyard. Continue reading →
The lower back is an integral muscle in the core and having a strong lower back and core contributes greatly to being able to maintain proper form over long running distances. Having a strong lower back also eases the shock the back muscles absorb with each step during a run and can help eliminate possible pain as a result of consistent running. I feel as though many of the core muscles I have always worked are the various abdomen and oblique muscles and I often neglect the lower back as part of the core unit. In my new strength training regimen, I have an entire set of exercises that work the lower back and surrounding muscles and though I feel sore from finally working that area, it’s a good pain and I imagine will pay off in the long run.
In addition to strengthening the lower back muscles and training them to be a support group for the rest of the core, doing regular back exercises and stretches will help improve posture. I sit in a chair in front of the computer most of the day and I love to slouch. I find it comfortable but I am very aware of how bad it is for me and I’m sure it’s not the most attractive look either. It also concerns me a little that it is a chore for me to sit up straight for extended periods of time. If I can’t simply sit straight in a chair, how am I supposed to run more marathons with any kind of good form? Continue reading →
Sing it with me! I would walk 500 miles and I would walk 500 more! And tonight I could have. A girlfriend invited me to join her for an after work power walk leaving from the greenest building in Annapolis (Chesapeake Bay Foundation) and doing a 3-mile loop along the waterfront flanked by gorgeous houses.
My friend has got some muscles on the mend from past triathlons and has mastered the art of power walking during her recovery. She set us out at a good clip and even the dog could barely keep up, but soon we all fell into stride and were cruising along the curving road. Given her experience with power walking I noticed her form was a bit more practiced than mine. I could feel my legs wanting to go into run mode so I concentrated on planting my feet and lengthening my stride. With a dog leash in one hand my arms weren’t pumping at the most efficient angles and I could tell that I wasn’t focusing much on my core either. Continue reading →
I believe it is not just coincidence that I have made it through this entire 2009 winter without a cold. I don’t typically get sick to begin with (knocking on wood now) and the last time I had a sore throat and stuffed up noise was just after the Christmas holidays. My big goal for this past winter was to run through it, and November and December were months I used to get used to running in the cold. I was outside for 3-4 mile runs three times a week. I had been mentally preparing to start true marathon training after New Years and so my first few runs of 2009 were indeed with a runny nose, but it didn’t last long. I have been sniffle-free this winter while everyone around me has had the flu, the common cold, aches and pains, and I believe I have running to thank for keeping my immune system strong. Continue reading →
Last summer a girlfriend and I realized we were both in a work-out slump. We wanted to be exercising regularly and we knew the exercises we wanted to do (mostly running, Pilates, Yoga, and a few weight routines) and we both categorized ourselves as morning exercisers. However, we were severely lacking the motivation to actually get up and work-out. Somewhere a light bulb went off and we decided to put our cell phones’ unlimited text plans to use and thus began our version of The Buddy System.
Normally, when you think of a buddy system you imagine running side by side with a training partner, holding someone’s feet during sit-ups, or spotting a friend while she lifts weights. Though my friend and I have an equal desire to work-out, we have very different exercise routines and fitness goals and so our buddy system does not actually entail working out together. Continue reading →