Week in Review 1.9.17 to 1.15.17

Monday: One of my favorite runs ever. 8 miles around Red Rock Canyon in Nevada. We did the White Rock Loop then added on and ran up to La Madre Springs. The terrain was incredible and varied but 100% runnable and the weather was perfection at 45 degrees. I was super grateful for trail shoes as it was muddy and rocky at times. Ended the run completely gassed.

We started at the White Rock Road Trailhead and ran in the direction of the highpoint. The descent was fun, the return to the parking lot was not.

Cameras can’t capture the vastness of this area but we tried anyway.

Tuesday: 20 minutes on the elliptical in Salt Lake plus arms and core.

Wednesday: 30 minutes on the elliptical plus legs.

Thursday: Planned to run in Maine but the gym didn’t open til 6 am so I did an in-room bodyweight workout instead. I loved the Elbow Plank with Leg Lift and Negative Pushups.

Friday: 2 mile run plus arms. “College” core routine at night.

Saturday: Hilly progression run on treadmill in Cleveland. 6 miles total. Legs afterward.

Sunday: Traveled home, rest day.

Total Miles: 16

This week was INSANE in terms of travel. On Monday, I was in Las Vegas. On Tuesday, we flew to Salt Lake City. On Wednesday I flew all the way to Portland, Maine. On Thursday night, I flew to Greenville, SC. On Friday night, I flew to Cleveland, OH and finally on Sunday, I flew home to Burlington. For 36 hours. I leave tomorrow for Virginia, although I’ll be back Wednesday night. With all this travel, I’m thankful I got any exercise in at all!

What I am super excited about is that I’m getting back into a routine of getting daily strength work in and it is making a big difference. I feel stronger and my back is much less achy than it usually is. Will and I both agree that going forward, it is more critical for me to be consistent about strength and core than get 5 or 10 extra miles per week in.

This week, I’m back to running at about 35 miles a week with a long run and two workouts. I’m trying out a new watch (Soleus Pulse) and excited to pick up my GoMeb Razors later in the week. This shoe is EPIC. It is a lightweight neutral trainer and I suspect it’s going to supplant all the other shoes in my arsenal.

Goals for 2017

The only guarantee in 2017 for me is change. In March, I’ll find out where I matched. In May, I’ll move and graduate. In mid-June, I become a surgical intern. As I’ve been ruminating on goals for 2017, one of the biggest challenges is that I don’t know exactly what my life will look like and past June, I don’t know what my call schedule will be which makes planning races or training difficult. Thus, my biggest goal for early 2017 is to lay down the habits that will allow me to continue to train during Residency. My secondary goal is to build a foundation to chase the Trials Standard for the 2020 Olympics and continue to represent Skechers Performance at local, regional and national races.

To do this, I’ve had to think about what works for me in terms of training, what is a reasonable training load that will allow me to race well AND be sane and what I’ve continued to struggle with during the past few years. I don’t know the specifics of any program yet but I do know that I can plan on working 80 hours a week with approximately one day off a week.

  1. 40 to 45 miles a week. Such a bitter pill to swallow but I have to be realistic about what I can really get in throughout the year. At this point, my plan is to do 30 minutes on most mornings with an early wakeup two days a week for an interval effort and a steady state effort plus a long run on my off day. This obviously won’t prepare me for a marathon length event but should allow me to do a half marathon or shorter with minimal notice. It will also let me scale up to the marathon once I have my schedule.
  2. Daily strength training or core. One of the things that I’ve been reminded of during my run break is that I feel so much better when I’m doing strength training and core on a regular basis. Although I am well aware of the benefits of strength training, I always struggle to fit this “extra” in. To better do this, I’ll plan to do my strength or core work at the end of the day. It’s so tempting to hammer through my to-do list but I need to make strength a real priority and setting a time for it both eliminates the need to get up at 3:30 am every day and gives me a mental break at the end of the work day.
  3. Diet Quality Score > 15. Despite my best efforts, interview season continues to wreck havoc on my nutrition. When I have a choice, I’m making high DQS choices but on interview days, all bets are off. There will be plenty of temptation to eat quick, easy food but residency is just as much of an endurance sport as running and fueling with good food will make both running and learning to be a surgeon a little less painful.
  4. Flexibility. Trying this one again! Yoga practice at least once a week, both to center my mind and work on my ever worsening flexibility. Daily foam rolling routine (8 passes over each major muscle group) to follow my daily strength/core.
  5. Morning runs!! The only constant for me is that if my run doesn’t happen in the morning, the likelihood that something comes up skyrockets. When I come back to running on Monday, my first order of business is to get my run done. My hope is that by June, it’s such a a habit that I don’t think anything of it.

As I always tell my girls, it’s one thing to set goals. It’s another to figure out the processes that set you up for success in reaching them. I’m highly motivated by checklists so I’m going to make a weekly checklist that sits on my bulletin board and includes all of these items as checkmarks. I also went back to a paper weekly/monthly planner for 2017 (I need the broad overview to feel in control) and will write in my daily workout as well as my week goal on the week page. Finally, I’m putting a bulleted version of this goal list on my bathroom mirror and on my desk.

What are your goals for 2017? How are you setting yourself up to meet them?

Week in Review 1.2.17 to 1.8.17

A new year begins…with a week off of running.

Monday: Woods Walk with the dogs. Beautiful out!

Tuesday: 45 minute easy nordic ski.

Wednesday: Travel to UMass, nothing.

Thursday: 30 minute elliptical plus full body lift.

Friday: Travel to Vegas. Scratch that, travel to Salt Lake City on a huge delay…get two hours of sleep THEN get to Vegas…

Saturday: 15 minute bike, 30 minute elliptical. Arms and core.

Sunday: 20 minute elliptical tempo workout. Core and foam roll.

Not the worst week for a down week with two back to back interviews and lots of travel. Plus, not running leaves lots of time to lift and do core workouts. Will and I also took our first vacation in almost four years and have been loving our time in Las Vegas. We’re not gamblers (at all) but we’ve taken advantage of great food, entertainment and eight plus hours of sleep a night!

I’m traveling for another week and will start to transition back to running but with no real plan. If I have time or interest, I’ll run and if not, I’ll do the gym or rest. When I get back to Vermont on the 15th, I’ll be sitting down and mapping out my approach to New Bedford and Spring 2017.

Cooked

Update: A timely article from Outside Magazine on why breaks (and two week breaks at that) are pivotal for runners!

As I alluded in my Week in Review last night, this past week was a bit of a miserable one in terms of running. Long term training is grinding and very rarely glamorous; anyone who tells you they love it every.single.day is absolutely lying to you, themselves or most likely both parties. That said, there is almost always joy in the process even when it grinds a tad. For me, the past few months have felt…aimless. Some of this is out of my control. My job as a fourth year is to obtain a Residency so I am obligated to travel, socialize and work hard to find my fit for the next few years. Because I have no predictable schedule, it was hard to choose any one goal race and led to a training approach that kept me fit but totally non-specific and in many ways, unmotivated.

It wasn’t until this past week, however, as I was looking over my training year and thinking about 2017 that I realized that I hadn’t taken a break in an incredibly long time. I estimated that it had been about six months, figuring that I must have taken a bit of a break after the half in Chicago or at least Plattsburgh. At the MOST, it had to have been right after Philly. As it turns out, my last “big” break was 5 days in November of 2014. The one prior to that was 6 days the month before, after my marathon but before I geared up for the November half. Since I mandate that my athletes get at least a week between seasons (preferably two weeks), this was a bit embarrassing to realize. Although I wasn’t training hard (for me), I was still running almost every day for over two years. In contrast, my athletes generally take 4 to 6 weeks off a year.

I am signed up for (and excited for) my return to the New Bedford Half Marathon in March 2017. This was my PR course for a few years (I ran a 1:27 then a 1:25 on this course before my 1:21) and I love the event. Before I gear up for that event, however, I’m taking a full week off from running. Admittedly, Will would like me to take two weeks off but I’m resisting this right now. I’m open to considering it but want to see how one week goes before I commit to two. I will be active over the next week and the only thing off limits is running. This break is certainly about a physical reset but it’s also about a mental reset too; after a week or two, I am sure to be desperate to be back out there.

While I’m resting/resetting, my other job is to come up with my goals for 2017 and reflect on what approach is most feasible given the confines of the coming year. I have a heavy schedule in February, March and April (I opted to take the fall for easier things rather than sliding towards graduation, just personal preference) followed by a move in May to wherever I’ll be and Intern Orientation in June. I don’t know exactly what my intern year schedule will look like but I do know that no matter where I end up, I can expect to be busy and exhausted and I need to set running goals that work with that rather than fighting it.

When was your last big break? What do you do when you’re on a running break: complete rest or other activities? Ever found yourself cooked on running?

Week in Review 12.26.16 to 1.1.17

Hard to believe another year has gone by! I ended 2016 with 2,216 miles and will be honest that I’m surprised I got that many in. It was a VERY chaotic year for training. I lived in Connecticut, Illinois and North Carolina for 14 of 52 weeks this year and spent October through December in the airport in three time zones and over a half dozen states. This past week, however, I had the pleasure of being at home and it was SO nice to sleep in my own bed and hang out with my dogs.

Monday: 8.5 mile outdoor run featuring wind and ice pellets. Not pleasant!

Tuesday: Super active day! Nordic skied at Sleepy Hollow then downhill skied at Bolton then did a fartlek workout on the treadmill. 7.5 miles total with 2 by (5 minutes at T, 4 minute recovery, 3 minutes at I, 2 minute recovery, 1 minute at R, 1 minute recovery). Legs after.

Wednesday: Easy ski in the morning and 5 mile recovery run.

Thursday: 45 minutes of continuous nordic skiing in the morning and a few runs at Bolton in the evening.

Friday: 8 mile tempo workout. 4 by 5 minutes at T pace.

Saturday: Downhill skied all day.

Sunday: Downhill skied all day.

Total Miles: 29 miles

I’ll write more about this in tomorrow’s post but this week was rock bottom in terms of motivation and prompted me to look back over my training log only to realize that I haven’t taken a break longer than one day since November of 2014. Which, if you’re counting, is over two years ago. I’ve been running and training for so long (sometimes I joke that running is like brushing my teeth, I don’t even notice that I do it) that I lost track of the biggest picture of periodization. At the same time, I bought a downhill pass to our local mountain and found myself BOUNDING out the door to alpine ski every day. I love being outdoors and active…I just wasn’t loving running because I’ve been aimlessly doing it for two years chasing my goals.

So, I took the pressure off and skied a bunch this week and it was AWESOME. Our big storm didn’t manifest and we’re heading for a meltdown this week but I’m off for another big set of travel so it shouldn’t affect me too much either way.

2016 In Review

As cheesy as it is, I enjoy the exercise of looking back over the calendar year. It is a natural time to reflect and reboot which is a valuable process for everyone in every aspect of their life. To start, I reviewed what my goals were for 2016. (Here’s 2015 in review, just for fun…)

  • Gain More Race Experience: Relatively successful numbers-wise and from a diversity perspective. I raced on the track, the trails and the roads and learned some important lessons along the way. My favorite races were the Rivah and the 10,000. My most disappointing race was the Rock’N’Roll Chicago Half Marathon.
  • Continue to Build Strength: Mixed success. I absolutely didn’t do four sessions a week although I did get back into the practice of doing some strength before bed every night (usually squats, core and pushups). I also went on a streak of doing Body Pump this fall which was an excellent improvement until my schedule got busy.
  • Address hip/lower back pain: Nope. I did yoga approximately 8 times this year and whined about my back for the remaining days.
  • Maintain my fitness base: Yes and no. I technically maintained a decent fitness base with a lot of obstacles but I didn’t get near 55 miles per week most weeks this year.

My mileage total for 2016 was 2,216 (42 miles a week). For comparison, 2015 was 2,654 (51 miles a week), 2014 was 2,282 (43 miles a week) and 2013 was 2,303 (44 miles a week).

The other big change for me in 2016 was the incredible opportunity to represent Skechers Performance. The beautiful thing about this partnership is that I get to run in awesome shoes (seriously, you should try them, landing at Skirack in 2017) but that I also get to connect with other Skechers athletes around the country who push (and pull) me. I can’t wait to see how this brand grows in 2017!

I would be remiss to not mention an incredible running moment that had nothing to do with my own running but was an absolutely epic moment. As I talk about all the time, coaching cross country is one of my proudest achievements and although results aren’t ever the only goal, watching my team race their legs off to come in second in Vermont was an unbelievable finish for my coaching career (for now).

Finally, I want to take the opportunity to thank all of you for reading and engaging on this blog. I am always blown away that people care about this blog enough to read and comment and truly hope you know how much I appreciate your support and interest.

What was your 2016 in Review? Have you set goals for 2017 yet?

Week in Review 12.19.16 to 12.25.16

First, I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and spent lots of quality time with friends, family or chosen family. For me, it was enough of a gift to be home for a couple of days without packing a bag!

Monday: Interview at Brown so quick early workout with 2.5 miles on the treadmill and a body weight strength workout.

Tuesday: 7 miles easy outside followed by 45 minutes of nordic skiing at the Range.

Wednesday: Appointment went way over so all I got in was 45 minute of skiing at Trapps.

Thursday: 9 mile progression run plus 45 minutes of nordic skiing.

Friday: 7 miles of easy running.

Saturday: 6 mile fartlek with 10 by 1 min hard, 1 min easy.

Sunday: Easy hour of skiing at my parents.

Total Miles: 31.5

Total Minutes Skiing: 195 minutes

I did not do a good job of balancing running and coaching this week, period. During cross country season, if I screw up my schedule or have too much going on, I still get a run in at practice. During nordic season, however, I’m on skis and although it’s a GREAT workout, it’s not a run. It’s typically my intention to use skiing as a secondary workout but that didn’t work out this week. I’m glad that I got a decent progression run in as well as a fartlek workout but I’ll admit that I’m frustrated to not be able to string together any reasonable training lately. My total mileage for 2016 will be much lower than any other year during medical school (even my surgery years), so I’m doing a little soul searching on what is going on to contribute to that and what I can do to improve for 2017.

The All-Terrain Runner series was released for 2017 so I’m debating about whether I want to sign up for that again and try to get more events in this year or simplify and stick to New Bedford with a plan to reevaluate after I know where I’m moving in June.

When Does A Run Count As A Real Run?

For starters, the title of this post is intended to be tongue in cheek. You can count whatever you want as a real run. It comes from a train of thought I had at 5 am the other morning as I was struggling to get from my hotel room to the hotel treadmill. As is my recent pattern, I woke up at 3 am and was wide awake. In Cleveland, I gave up on trying to fall back asleep and went and did my run earlier than planned. In Providence, however, I fell back asleep after about an hour which made getting up at 5 to run MISERABLE. I was in slow motion and by the time I was ready to run, my time to run had whittled down to about 20 minutes and I had a fleeting thought that I should just scrap the whole thing because “a 20 minute run doesn’t count.” I managed to get myself out the door and got 20 minutes in anyway.

As I was thinking about it later in the day, this is a train of thought that I need to reframe as I head into Residency. There will be days when 20 minutes is a luxury and I need to relish those days just as a much as I love a bonus hour. I experienced this during my recent travel bender; when I had a bonus hour in Salt Lake City I jumped at the opportunity to get an hour in even though I only needed 5 miles. Normally I’m a stickler for not doing more than my training plan calls for but in this case, gotta make hay while the sun shines as it were!

Am I the only one who thinks this way? Has anyone else ever scrapped a run because they didn’t have time for the full planned run?

Week in Review 12.12.16 to 12.18.16

I am beyond happy that I got as much physical activity in as I did this week given my travel schedule!

Monday: 10 miles on the treadmill before my interview. Horribly boring but happy to get the run in.

Tuesday: 3.75 mile run on the Bonneville Shoreline Trail in Salt Lake City. Absolutely incredible views but the trail was a wee bit muddy.

Wednesday: 7 mile run up City Creek Canyon. So happy to find that the altitude wasn’t bothering me at all, maybe an effect of how dry it is out there?

Such a fun run; up, up, up and just gradual enough that you could run smoothly.

Thursday: Planned off day. Prorated at 4.3 miles.

Friday: 4 miles easy on the treadmill in Cleveland plus arms.

Saturday: Winter hike up Mount Philo with Will.

He is incapable of taking a normal photo.

Sunday: 9 mile long run on the treadmill before leaving for Providence.

Total Miles: 33.8 Miles

There were plenty of opportunities to miss a run this week with travel delays and the general chaos that surrounds interview season but I was so psyched to be able to get in decent runs and even a couple of workouts. My favorite run of the week was definitely the climb up City Creek Canyon in Salt Lake. It was the perfect grinder of a hill workout: steep enough to be hard but completely runnable. I could see many endurance workouts happening on that hill!

Adaptation week is over now; up to 50 miles for this coming week as I start to get back into the swing of things for New Bedford and Spring 2017.

Last call for the Giveaway of The Endurance Diet!!

Week in Review 12.5.16 to 12.11.16

Huge travel week for me! Burlington to Charleston to West Virginia to Minneapolis and only one missed flight and one delay.

Monday: 7 miles on the treadmill with 4 by 5 minutes at tempo pace.

Tuesday: 4.5 easy miles with Will.

Wednesday: 5.5 miles in Charleston with striders after.

Thursday: 8 miles on West Ashely Greenway with 1 minute on, 1 minute off.

Friday: 4.25 run on Deckers Creek Trail.

Saturday: 6 mile trail run at Coopers Rock (yes, there’s no apostrophe). Amazing and just what I needed.

Sunday: 7 mile progression run on the treadmill in Minneapolis courtesy of the snowstorm. Arms after.

Total Miles: 42

Bummed to miss my long run today; I was looking forward to exploring Minneapolis’ many bike paths but a snow storm had better ideas. I’ll get 90 less exciting minutes on the treadmlll in tomorrow morning before my interview. On Tuesday, I’m off to Utah and extremely psyched to explore the trails out there, although a bit anxious about the elevation.

I did finally pick a “focus” event for the spring; the New Bedford Half Marathon. Because of the way that event falls, this coming week will actually be an adaptation week before going back to gradually increasing mileage in three week chunks. It’s amazing the difference a focus event makes in terms of my willingness to get out and do workouts or runs. I’m also a bit amazed how much more eager I am to run everywhere but Burlington. I’m sure every city gets boring after a while but after almost 6 years in Burlington, I’m ready to get bored of a new place running wise!

Finally, don’t forget that I have a book giveaway going on for Matt Fitzgerald’s upcoming book The Endurance Diet. Although I’ve been in the negative a lot lately with travel, I’m loving the approach and looking forward to using it as my schedule normalizes again as well.