My favorite running motivation: Running Frenemies

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Finishing a full marathon with my running Frenemy

 

I didn’t have a name for them until recently. Those friends. The long time running buddies, the ones that have been close friends even longer … and the ones who make me lose my mind during training.

I read an article this past year in Canadian Running magazine about why you need running rivals, and I finally had a term for them. Frenemies.

I have a couple of these friends. We don’t live too far from one another, but far enough away that training together isn’t usually possible. So we often “virtually train” together through Strava. I have often logged on to Strava and uploaded the run I’ve just completed, only to find that my frenemies have also completed their training run, but…only a little faster, or a little longer or with a lot more elevation.

And I lose my mind, just a little bit. 🙂

I always feel guilty about my reaction. After all, they are my friends, and I am genuinely happy when they meet their goals, get faster and get new PBs. I often race with them and I am never disappointed to come in behind one or both of them. I can’t wait to get to the finish line to see if they killed their time or not. (of course, being the first of the group in is fun too…)

I finally realized that I am losing it, not because I’m unhappy that they are doing well, but because I’m irritated at my own lack of discipline. My firefighter friend is disciplined at speedwork, and does his crosstraining regularly (ugh – I hate speedwork… and crosstraining). And my other frenemy is a dedicated gym goer (gym, weights.. also yuck) and is much more conscious of being a healthy eater. For instance, not long ago she posted in Instagram picture of her dinner: steamed veggies, because she was too busy/tired to cook that night. I too was unable to cook that evening, however my dinner consisted of pita chips and hummus, followed by half a bag of ruffled chips with Hellavagood onion dip.

No word of a lie.

But, I am happy that I have frenemies. The friends, that whether they know it or not, (well, they do now) are pushing me to push myself harder. My best races and fastest times have either been run with them, or because of them. And my favorite race memories have been made with them.

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Pre-race compression sock selfie with the firefighter frenemy.

 

 

Now, I’ve got to get out and do my speedwork. I just checked my Strava and my friends already did theirs… 😉

 

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Walking to the starting line of the Around the Bay 30k with two amazing running frenemies.

 

 

Jackie

Jackie

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Finding motivation wherever I can…

This morning was the kind of morning where I actually sat on my closet floor to get dressed.

I paused for a moment trying to decide whether to get dressed for the day or put on my running gear and sneak in a run on a rather damp day. Then, from my spot on the floor, I noticed a brightly colored pair of Lululemon running tights on the shelf that I bought in the summer and hadn’t worn yet. The happy thought that ran through my mind was how embarrassed my 16 year old son would be to know I was running around the neighbourhood in those tights… and my decision was made. 🙂

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While I was at it, I pulled out a pair of zero drop Altra running shoes that I got last month and went for a short 5k to try them out.

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We have a store in town that sells gear for outdoor activities like hiking, canoeing, skateboarding etc. Twice a year they have a clearance sale where they sell last season’s shoes for $45. I enjoy the sale, because the store sells shoes that I don’t see as much in the running and sports stores I usually shop at. Their sales give me a chance to get try out different brands and models of shoes that are regularly around $150 or more for not too big an investment. This time I tried a pair of Altras that feature a “zero drop”, a foot-shaped toe box and a gender specific fit.

While it is early to say whether I will switch to these shoes from my Mizunos, they felt comfortable and I felt good after the 5k. I could definitely feel the difference from my regular running shoe, so I’ll continue to work them in between runs in my regular shoes and see what I think.

So, I set out after my teenagers headed off to school (and after the 16 year old told me I looked ridiculous). I passed a lot of parents and grandparents walking their little ones to school. I enjoyed being the bright flash of colour running through the neighbourhood on this rather blah morning. As I said good morning to those I passed, the smiles were a little bigger than usual – I choose to believe I brightened their day. 😉
Jackie

Jackie

 

 

 

 

Muggy Morning Runs – Flowers, Bunnies and Finding a Way to Get It Done!

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As soon as I stepped foot outside this morning, I had doubts about finishing my run this morning.  Not a good sign that you don’t think you can finish before you even start. 🙂

It was muggy this morning – at 7:30 the humidity made 20C feel like 27C. I figured I’d try to get in about 5K when I started running, but about 1/2 a kilometer in I was already mentally cutting my run down to a 3K. I decided to veer off the sidewalk onto a natural path in our neighbourhood to see if it felt better – it didn’t. However, I did notice how beautiful all the wildflowers looked in the morning light. I decided to stop and take a picture… and then another picture… and my morning run turned into a run/nature picture taking and appreciation. I stopped frequently, but I managed to turn my 5k into a very sweaty but enjoyable 6.7k. I also noticed for the first time how many gorgeous wildflowers there are on my running path – and I managed to perhaps creep out a few walkers by crouching red faced and sweaty at the side of the path taking flower pictures… hehe.

Here are a few of my favorites from my run – and I’m glad I got it done – whatever it took.

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And this little guy that stopped to see what the sweaty lady was doing...

And this little guy that stopped to see what the sweaty lady was doing…

How do you make it through your run on those days when you just don’t think you can get  done? Hope you get out running today. 🙂

Jackie

Jackie

 

Fitting in Strength Training

The last few weeks, I’ve been trying to find a strength workout to add to my workout schedule.  In the past, I’ve used lots of different online workouts, books, dvds, and apps.  I tried some of them out again, but nothing was really exciting me.  I used the Nike Training Club app for a few workouts, and while I like it, I was finding some of the moves over my ability right now.   

After scouring the internet for the perfect workout for me, I decided to just piece together some moves that I really like into my own routine.  I usually try to fit in a workout while my baby girl naps in the morning.  She usually sleeps for about an hour and half, so I wanted something quick that I could fit in, shower, get ready for the day, and still have a bit of time for some chores.  

For this workout, I just need some weights, an exercise ball, and my basement stairs.  🙂   This is what I came up with:

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I’ve been doing just one round.  It’s enough to work up a sweat and feel like I put in a good effort.  On the weekend, when I have some more time, I’m going to fit in two rounds.

What is your favourite strength training workout?
 

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A Tale of Two Books

The other day a fellow runner commented on my blog post about How to Make a Training Schedule That’s Right For You. He mentioned that I might want to check out the book Meb For Mortals. I did, and I have been meaning to order the book. So I quickly went to Chapters.ca before I forgot and purchased that book, and another book I had been meaning to buy.

They came in the mail today and it wasn’t until I opened the box that I made a connection that made me chuckle:

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If I ever wonder what is holding me back from reaching my full potential as a runner … It was summed up in one little box from Chapters.

I’ve quickly paged through Meb’s book and it looks fantastic. It seems very descriptive yet uncomplicated, well laid out and interesting. I can’t wait to read it. I like how he not only tells you what exercises to do, but gives you full page pictures of how they are to be done.

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Sometimes a book can be overwhelming with its options, details, charts and explanations. This book has a simple, straightforward theme:

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Did you pick up on it?

By the way, You Gotta Eat Here also looks amazing. And, I may as well be honest and tell you I also ordered You Gotta Eat Here Too. It has awesome, although not healthy, not healthy at all, recipes from the show with great stories to go along with them.

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Yes, there is a burger in there – and yes it is covered in poutine. Oh..my.

Both books seem sure to please. With any luck, Meb will have more power persuade me to run, think and eat like him than John Catucci has to make me make that burger…

Have you read Meb for Mortals? (Or You Gotta Eat Here)  What holds you back from reaching your full running potential?

Jackie

Jackie

How to Make a Training Schedule for Running That Fits You

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Some of my many running books.

How I made my schedule in the past:

1. Buy many running books looking for magic tips on how to run.

2. Put running books on shelf in library dedicated to running books.

3. Dust off books (trying to figure out who you lent the missing ones to).

4. Ask your running friends what schedule they are using.

5. Use whichever running friends’ schedule sounds easiest…

So, my approach has kind of worked in the past, but I’m hoping to do a better job this year. I’d like to get a PB in a half marathon this fall. So, I dusted off my running books again. I figured out where the missing one is (it’s okay Tab – I don’t need that one). Then I started looking at the training programs and comparing them to what has worked for me in the past.

I’ve tried running 5-6 days a week, like the programs in the book “Running” by Jim Stanton, and although I got good results as far as time, I ended up with injuries and I wore myself out. Mainly I think this is because I am now an over 40 runner.  What I did like about it was that it was very structured, and I need that or I slack off. Last year I tried programs from the Runner’s World “Run Less Run Faster ” book. I liked this program because you do 3 key runs a week, which is great for my old lady body. The speedwork workouts were really effective, but if there was any workout I would ever skip, it would be that one because, well, they are hard. I was also supposed to do cross training two other days, but I’m not a swimmer, or a biker, or a rower, so I kind of failed at that part of it. I think it is a very effective program – and a couple of my friends use it and really like it, however, I think I need something a little different.

So, what’s my plan for this year?

Well, I purchased a book in the last couple of years called “Run Faster, From the 5k to the Marathon” – how to be your own best coach. It talks about “adaptive running” and finding out what works for you.  After looking into it again, frankly, I decided I needed to stop being lazy and take the time to do a specific plan that works for me.

The book has many training plans, most that include 6 days a week of running, and it has a large section dedicated to schedules to get your Boston Marathon qualifying time. Near the back of the book, however, I found a chapter on “Adaptive Running for Youth and Masters Runners”.  There was a 10k training schedule that had 3 runs a week, a day of cross training (I can perhaps hike, bike or do a fun trail run) 3 days of core work and a day off. I combined this schedule with their Intermediate level Half Marathon training schedule by swapping out the long runs in the 10k training for the long runs in the Half Marathon training. I also decided to add a session of Yoga on two of the Core workout days. I already have my favorite yoga video picked out:

Now I just need a core strengthening workout…

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A sample page of my training schedule.

The 3 main reasons why I think this plan will work for me are:

  1. The 3 key runs are incorporated, but they are varied. There are long runs, progression runs, anaerobic hill intervals, ladder workouts, threshold runs, speed intervals, fartlek  and specific-endurance intervals.  Having variety in my workouts makes me dread them less. If I can’t anticipate the pain, it doesn’t feel as bad. 🙂
  2. I have a detailed plan with all my workouts penciled in every day. Having my core workouts and yoga planned along with my runs makes it more likely that they’ll get done. That’s just how I am, I love checking things off… I NEED to check things off…
  3. The idea of “adaptive running” includes knowing when you should switch out one workout for another. If you wake up feeling terrible, then your long run or speedwork won’t be very productive. Alternatively, waking up in the mood for a big workout and only doing a core session isn’t productive either. This training method encourages you to be comfortable with rearranging your runs when necessary as long as you get it all in. This is good for me, because I normally end up feeling like I failed if I don’t do things when my plan says to do them.

The bottom line is, there are many great books out there and many great training plans. I would recommend all 3 of the books I mentioned above. But, by taking into consideration your personality, your past experience and your abilities, you can – with a little work – devise a plan that is perfect for you and find your true running potential.

You can figure out how to be your own coach and, perhaps, run faster than you ever thought possible! (that’s the plan anyways 🙂 )

SO… what training schedules or tips have you benefited from. And does anyone know of a good YouTube video for core strengthening they can recommend?

Jackie

Jackie

My Running Week in Pictures – what I wouldn’t have seen if I hadn’t been running.

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Pioneer Tower in Kitchener

My first 2 runs this week weren’t too eventful. The most interesting thing I could think of to take a picture of was my t-shirt.

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On Friday, however, I went on a long 15k run with a friend and we took a new route. We started from my place, but ran somewhere I’ve never gone before, and probably wouldn’t have gone if I wasn’t running.

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Foot Bridge over to river

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Pioneer Tower

This weekend I finally got a chance to do some “cottage running” in Bayfield.

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Stairs down to Bayfield Beach

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Pretty pink tree – wish I knew what it was…

I’ll be wrapping up my long weekend with a 15k run with another friend tomorrow morning.

Oh yes, and I started off my runner’s tan early this year…runningtandummy

How was your week running? Did you see anything you wouldn’t have seen if you weren’t Out Running?

Jackie

Jackie