Category Archives: learning to run

Still (Mostly) Alive

It’s hard to believe that only 11 weeks have passed since starting Intern Year and in the same breath, 11 weeks has flown by. I am almost done with my first rotation of this year (Acute Care Surgery) and with it, done with the bulk of my training for RDC! As expected, my running has had to take a bit of a back seat to everything else but I’ve done a reasonable job of continuing to train and build and finally have some long term goals in mind!

July: My only real goal for July was to survive and figure out what my running schedule might look like when the reality of 80+ hours of work hit. We had a relatively mild summer here and since I ran in the early morning for most of it, I really didn’t struggle too much with heat and humidity. I ran a very reasonable 181 miles and my long runs progressed to 16 miles. Workouts were non-specific (long trail runs, fartleks and easy tempos) and focused on general fitness acquisition.

August: I started to figure out what work was all about and finally managed to get through my days more efficiently. I hit the wall a bit energy wise in the middle of the month and finished up with only 165 miles. I did, however, get my first 20 miler in for the cycle and my workouts started to get more specific. I also started going to Orange Theory, which has been very interesting in terms of my perception of effort versus my heart rate.

September: After a relatively disappointing August, I have been trying to refocus more on my running in September. I am about as fatigued as I’ve ever been right now and my body is showing it with lots of general aches and leg heaviness. I did get another 20 miler in and my workouts have become even more focused (more on this later). I restarted my iron to make sure I’m tuned up from that perspective and have been focusing on sleep and stretching as much as I can to combat 80+ hours of standing/interrupted sleep/weird positions in the OR. I’m doing a check in half marathon in Johnson City this weekend and interested to see where I’m at as compared to both Unplugged and the Asheville Half. I don’t know what the topography of the course will be and the weather looks hot but it will be nice to have a supported “up-effort.”

I realized in August is that I have to become more flexible with training and with that, workouts have to become more intentional. I don’t have the recovery ability to do multiple workouts a week and instead, have to make do with a couple of quality efforts each week. Because of this and because I have been so frustrated with my stagnation, I finally decided to hire/bring on a coach. I say ‘bring on’ because I am working with Dave Ames, who is a friend beyond being a coach, and the decision was about as collaborative as it gets. As many people know, Will has been my coach forever but with intern year for him and an intentional shift in our marriage to be as focused on just being married and not being co-workers, co-coaches, athlete-coaches, it was time to make a different plan.

One of the amazing things about having a coach is that all I have to do is workout. One of the terrifying things about having a coach ARE those workouts. For example, I had a medium long run on Sunday with a workout built in that didn’t seem that difficult on paper but was EXTREMELY difficult. Similarly, I have a mile repeat workout today that I am convinced is all but impossible so I have the difficult task of convincing myself first that I can do it and second, getting through it. Dave gets incredible results from his athletes and furthermore, has a lot of experience with the sports psychology aspect of racing which I need almost as much as the physiologic piece.

My race schedule has evolved as well, with a new focus on the US 50K Road Championships (hoping to podium) in March and CIM 2018 for my (hopeful) OTQ attempt. This takes a little pressure off RDC where my main goal is to just get back into marathon running and hopefully undo some of the emotional baggage I am (still) carrying from Philly.

But first, the Bluegrass Half in Johnson City on Sunday!

Weeks in Review: 4.10.17 to 4.23.17

When time is short, write up two weeks of training at once!

4/10/17 to 4/16/17

Monday: 5 mile recovery run. Feeling Unplugged now!

Tuesday: 7 mile run at the crack of dawn.

Wednesday: Planned off day.*

Thursday: Fartlek workout, 5 miles.

Friday: 2.5 mile early morning run.

Saturday: 12 mile long run.

Sunday: 4 mile trail run, most of which was spent sideways in mud.**

Total Miles: 35.5

4/17/17 to 4/23/17

Monday: 4.5 mile run plus striders.

Tuesday: 7.5 mile fartlek. 2 by mile uphill at t pace. 5 by 45 seconds hard uphill.

Wednesday: 2.5 mile early am run.

Thursday: Planned off day. Arm routine. 

Friday: 2.25 shake out run with 4 by minute at tempo pace, 2 by 30 seconds at interval pace.

Saturday: Off. Ankle. ***

Sunday: Off. Ankle.***

Total Miles 20.5

1 decent week, 1 not so decent week. I have 1 (how?!!?!??!) week of medical school left now and am so excited for a few weeks where all I have to do is pack, move and train.

* As I mentioned on my Instagram earlier this week, I have decided to schedule an off day every week. My recovery has been really poor over the past year and as much as I want to pretend my life is set up for optimal training, it’s not and I have to do what I can to maximize my training impact. As such, I’ll be taking a day off each week instead of a day every other week.

** This run was absurdly muddy and my ankles were sore after which I think set me up for an ankle twist later in the week.

*** I wear clogs in the SICU and usually, they + compression socks are the most comfortable thing going. On Friday, however, I was a little overzealous when wandering around in them and tweaked my ankle. It didn’t swell too badly but was sore bearing weight on Friday night so I decided to forego the Rollin Irish Half Marathon and rest instead.

The weather is beautiful, I’m ready to train again and I’m so looking forward to getting back in a groove and looking forward to the Asheville Half!

Product Review: Lumo Run

As I shared in January, I was lucky enough to be selected to be a Lumo Run ambassador for the next year which means that I got my own sensor for use for free AND have codes to pass along for all interested.

I will admit that at first, I was nervous to wear the Lumo Run. After all, did I really want to know exactly what things I was doing wrong while I was running?! After my first run, however, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that in fact, my running form isn’t all that bad. You may recall my embarrassment last year during my track 10,000 when a woman yelled “stop shuffling and run!!” as I went by. In first place. The truth is, we could all probably use a little help and for me, Lumo Run is a much more private way to improve.

The Lumo Run is a tiny sensor that clips onto the back of your shorts or tights and just hangs out there while you run. For your first run, you do need to run with your phone to calibrate, but after that you can run with just the sensor or the sensor and your phone for instant updates and suggestions. I never run with a phone, so I sync up afterwards which probably diminishes a tiny bit of the benefit that I could be enjoying.

Approximately the same size as a chapstick.

Lumo Run measures five key categories for efficient running: cadence, braking, bounce, pelvic rotation and pelvic drop. Once it identifies your weak areas, it suggests exercises to help improve your statistics in those areas. For those who use it on with a phone, it can also provide suggestions and corrections throughout your run.

For me, my biggest issue has been braking, which is how much you slow down with every step. Although this is often associated with people who overstride (which is not my issue with my teeny, tiny choppy steps), I’m willing to bet my patented shuffle is creating a similar issue. To work on this, I’ve been doing ankle rolls before every run and recently, had a longer run where all my metrics were in line! Interestingly, this long run was on a car free bike path with no curbs or potholes, which may have something to do with my confidence moving more smoothly over a surface. I did wear it the other day on a trail run, but it was out of batteries so I’ll have to test my theory again later.

This tool is a great one for runners of all abilities. For new runners, it can help with common issues like bounce. For runners with weak hips, it can help reinforce good habits and reduce drop. For runners who haven’t done speed work in a while or are primarily trail runners, it can help encourage a more efficient cadence. What I love most is that your data are kept private if you want to which allows you to improve without feeling totally self-conscious. If you are a someone who runs with their phone, then this tool is practically indispensable for you.

If you want to try out a LumoRun, you can buy one here and with code SM10, you can get $10 off the price of the sensor.

Recently Read: On Running as a Woman and Olympic Rundown

The good: Jenny Simpson brought home the bronze in the 1500, the first American woman to do so. I don’t know Jenny but really admire her work ethic and her sportsmanship year after year.

The hard but good: A really important piece by Allison Schmitt on depression and the athlete. Although I’m sure the Olympic arena is an even more potent setup for depression and anxiety, it’s an ever-present issue at all levels of competition. Even at our own training camp last week, athletes offered stories about the depression, anxiety and stress that they had either experienced in the past or were currently experiencing. I spend a lot of time talking to people while coaching or doctoring and am acutely aware of how prevalent these issues are but it’s always amazing to hear my girls say things like “I didn’t know anyone else felt this way!”

Not sure I’m crazy about this: There seems to be a current obsession with eating clean, which in my not so humble opinion is just a synonym for disordered eating. One of my favorite blogging runners who I always admired for eating real food and having a normal body while running fast has recently fallen into this trap, shilling her “new style of clean eating” while posting pictures of her shrinking frame and lamenting her recent poor performances. This article seems to perpetuate a similar theme.  I think it makes total sense to make the bulk of your diet based on real foods (grains, fruits, veggies, proteins) but to do a juice fast or “meticulously” plan food just heads down a rabbit hole.

Finally, another important piece that I’ve thought about and talked about with female running friends recently in the light of another set of attacks that have left many of us (or at least, our mothers) on edge. I run alone almost all the time and often very early in the morning. When the attack in Massachusetts occurred, my sister sent me a text imploring me to be careful and I’ll admit, I pushed my morning run to the afternoon the next day because I was a little spooked by the whole scenario. The following morning, however, my alarm went off at 4:30 and off into the darkness I went, a move that was in some part a protest against the idea that I am inherently vulnerable by virtue of being female and a runner.

Recently Read: Trials, Doping, and Rock’N’Roll

Obviously this week is all about the Trials and although I’m mostly watching through Twitter and Instagram, the drama continues to delight. I found this three-part article on the 2012 5000 meter final especially intriguing. The finish was everything a Trials event should be but it was especially interesting to read the perspective of the athletes involved and how it continues to shape their lives going forward.

We’ve made it big time? John Oliver took on doping this week and he is spot on, both in his analysis of how we got into this pickle and the barriers to make any changes.

I have the opportunity to race a number of Rock’n’Roll events over the years and will do so again in the middle of the month, so I found the recent article by Tony Reavis about the history of the series interesting. 

Finally, the debate over running form never ends. While the anecdote about the runner who was stuck at 2:42 and relearned how to run and ended up at 2:23 is certainly compelling, the fine print that was glossed over in the article was the amount of time it took to make the transition and the risks that come with monkeying with your stride.

How to Start Running: Month 6

Fireworks

Congratulations!!! 6 months ago, you started with a simple 30 second run and moved for 10 minutes total. By the end of this month, you’ll be moving for 33 minutes and running for 30 (!?!?!) of those minutes. Let that sink in for a moment.

Week Workout Plan
Week 21 33 minutes (2:00 walk 9:00 run. Repeat 3 times)
Week 22 36 minutes (2:00 walk 10:00 run. Repeat 3 times.)
Week 23 34 minutes (1:30 walk 10:00 run. Repeat 3 times)
Week 24 33 minutes (1:00 walk 10:00 run. Repeat 3 times)

Once you get comfortable with this (expect it to take a couple of weeks), here’s how to continue to add to your running: increase the run section while keeping the walking section at 1:00 by a minute at a time. Thus, you would walk for a minute, run for 11 minutes and repeat three times for a week, then move up to 12 minutes etc.

Congratulations again! If you’re looking for additional training ideas, just drop me an email or a comment and I’d be happy to cook some ideas up for you as you look forward to your next fitness goal.

How to Start Running: Month 5

Somehow in the midst of moving back from Norwalk, I forgot to publish this so my enormous apologies for missing Month 5 just as peak, perfect running season kicks off!! 

This month will show off how far you’ve come, with you working up towards 8 minutes of running at a time in the middle of your 30 minute run. If you get discouraged this month, take a moment (or two) to reflect on the fact that you started this by running for 30 seconds at a time just 17 weeks ago. This month is all about stretching out the minutes of running. Next month will be about hitting the goal of 10 minutes of continuous running, then cutting down the walking intervals as you’re comfortable.

Week Workout Plan
Week 17 32 minutes (2:00 walk 6:00 run. Repeat 4 times)
Week 18 30 minutes (2:00 walk 7:00 run. Repeat 3 times. Walk 3 minutes to end.)
Week 19 32 minutes (1:00 walk 7:00 run. Repeat 4 times)
Week 20 30 minutes (2:00 walk 8:00 run. Repeat 3 times)

How to Start Running: Month 4

Month 4It’s getting beautiful out and I love seeing people return to the roads and trails to stretch their legs. If you’re just starting out, look for Month 1 here. If you’re onto Month 4, congratulations! This month will likely be the hardest month as we get up to 30 minutes of movement with 5 minutes of running at a time. The great news is that you are more than ready for this and just two months away from running 30 minutes on your own. Enjoy the emerging Spring weather!

Week Workout Plan
Week 13 20 minutes (1:00 walk 4:00 run. Repeat 4 times)
Week 14 25 minutes (1:00 walk 4:00 run. Repeat 5 times)
Week 15 28 minutes (2:00 walk 5:00 run. Repeat 4 times)
Week 16 30 minutes (1:00 walk 4:00 run. Repeat 6 times)

How To Start Running: Month 3

(Just finding this? Here’s Month 1 and Month 2.)

Month 3 Picture

This month is where you’ll really start to pick up steam, getting up to 20 minutes of exercise and 14 minutes of running by the end of the month. By now, your runs should be a habit and you should be feeling comfortable when running for 2 minutes at a time. We’ll build on that by adding running time first and then by decreasing your walk breaks in between.

Week Workout Plan
Week 9  16 minutes (1:30 walk 2:30 run. Repeat 4 times)
Week 10 16 minutes (1:00 walk 2:30 run. Repeat 4 times. 2 min walk to end)
Week 11 16 minutes (1:00 walk 3:00 run. Repeat 4 times)
Week 12 20 minutes (1:30 walk 3:30 run. Repeat 4 times)

 

 

How to Start Running: Month 2

Congratulations: you are now up to running 5 1/2 minutes at a time!**

In Month 2, we’ll head from 10 minutes to 15 minutes and from 5 1/2 minutes of running to 10 minutes.

Week Workout Plan
Week 5  12 minutes (2:00 walk 2:00 run. Repeat 3 times)
Week 6 13 minutes (2:00 walk 2:30 run. Repeat 3 times)
Week 7 14 minutes (1:00 walk 2:00 run. Repeat 4 times. 2 min walk to end)
Week 8 15 minutes (1:00 walk 2:00 run. Repeat 5 times)

**If you are just tuning in, check out Month 1 first.

Who’s still with us?! (And welcome to Molly who is working towards her first 5K).