20 miles on the treadmill.

Two weekends ago I ran 20 miles on the treadmill. Thanks Joaquin. No seriously, thank you Joaquin. Some people have a very strong dislike for the hamster wheel, however, I flourish on this machine. Water, change of clothes, bathroom, snacks, great people watching, all readily available, what’s not to love? Don’t forget the massive mental win when you can say you completed such a daunting task. Yes, I am aware 20 miles is a tad extreme for the treadmill, but it can be done.

As you read the tips below, you will hear a ton about mental wins. Try to pretend you are playing Mario Kart and each mental win is a gold coin. These coins may not seem immensely useful at first glance, however, they most definitely can prove their usefulness as you reach dark places during a workout!

  1. Mentally prepare, early. It was supposed to rain cats and dogs all weekend, therefore, I decided on Wednesday I was going to do my long run on the treadmill regardless of the conditions outside. I had a full three days to repeatedly tell myself I was running 20 miles on the treadmill Saturday. Over and over again. I also told others to hold myself accountable.

  1. Make a plan. My dad used to coach his players to compete in four minute intervals, from TV timeout to TV timeout. I use the same method for my long runs & it is crucial (mentally) to do this when on the treadmill for exorbitant amounts of time. On Saturday I broke mileage down into three hour segments. The treadmills at my gym stop after an hour so the decision was a layup. 20 miles = 7 miles, 7 miles, 6 miles. Breaking a huge task into small, attainable chunks is vital to your mental state, at the end of each interval you get a gold coin.

  1. Get to the gym early. I was the second person at the gym Saturday morning and it was such a gratifying feeling having the building to myself. I deemed myself queen of Vida Fitness and started to have inner competitions with others as they entered my court. Unbeknownst to them, they stood no chance. I won every competition and you know what that means, more mental wins!

  1. Don’t be afraid to hop off and take care of any issues that come up. I got off the treadmill several times to change, refill my water bottle and go to the bathroom. The goal of a long run is to prepare your body for 3-4 hours on your feet. Getting off to take care of business is not going to downplay the benefits of this training exercise. Note: It is a little strange to get off the treadmill after a long period of time, you go from watching others physically move from place to place as you stand still to moving yourself. Don’t try to rush to avoid any injuries!

  1. If you find yourself falling down the rabbit hole of boredom there are things you can do to keep a fresh head on your shoulders, such as switching speed, incline, channels, treadmill, etc., however, nothing is as important as constantly reminding yourself how marvelous it is going to feel when you can tell yourself you hiked a Mount Everest size mental mountain. If you complete your long run on the treadmill, think about how your next run outdoors is going to feel. Money in the bank.

Like I said above, thank you Joaquin. You can never underestimate the power of a good run and a mental win. If you are forced inside for a long run, don’t fret. Hop in your cart and start collecting those gold coins, you won’t regret it!

So long Friday night happy hour!

My first long run of training is complete. I woke up every hour from 3 am on, talk about miserable nerves.

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It has been some time since I’ve woken up at 6:30 am on a Saturday to get miles in before the heat but it was super easy getting back into my pre-run routine. Coffee, one bottle of nuun water and oatmeal with a scoop of Better n’ Peanut Butter. Bn’PB is sweeter than normal PB and lower in calories. Before my marathon I drove to four different grocery stores in Connecticut before I found it; you can typically count on Trader Joe’s having it in stock. I let everything sit about 45 min before hitting the pavement.

Usually when I run I set a purpose, speed, recovery, testing different paces, etc. but Saturday I did no such thing (Becca did & look what happened!). This is typically a VERY important part of running. Not only does it hold you accountable with your goals, but it keeps training interesting. Saturday’s run was a pulse check. I haven’t run 10 miles in a long time and I was nervous about the outcome of my pace. I just wanted to get out there and see where my legs took me. If you start your training on the right foot it is a huge mental win that can set the entire tone of the next four months. I finished 10 miles at a healthy 7:39 min pace. Splits below.

10mile Splits

When I run I try very hard to avoid my Garmin until I have four to five miles under my feet. From there, I can decide what’s next. After five miles I felt great and decided to keep up my pace. I was shocked I could hold it. Knowing I can do 10 miles at race pace was a huge win for my head, only 16 more to go (PS – thinking about how many miles you have left is a horrible habit, do not listen to me!).

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Running in Washington, D.C. is definitely a luxury, especially in the summer. The city itself is very active and the amount of people out at 7 am grinding, most likely training too, is the purest form of energy. It really jacks you up. Also, if you are lucky enough to live in Capitol Hill you can’t miss the sea of attractive Dads out with their kids, Starbucks in hand, 7am. I don’t hate it.

Because things went so well on Saturday I ran my five miles on Sunday a bit slower than planned – 8ish. Whatever.

This week is fairly easy and I look forward to District Running Collective’s Midnight on Mars 5k Saturday! Running through the city at night is a surreal experience and this is the safest way to do it. I highly encourage you to sign up!

Torque Down for WHAT!

Week one of training is off to a great start & my life is officially hijacked by BQ (Boston Qualifier) training.

Monday – 3 miles / 5×10 lunges and squats

I am not sure the last time I ran 3 miles. WHAT. I have to say, it is super nice to get in a quick 24 min work out and retire to my couch for the Bachelorette watch party!

Tuesday – 5 miles

I gracefully melted into a giant puddle on Capitol Hill Tuesday. I was able to finish with a 7’53” pace but it was brutal. D.C. weather has been pretty bearable for my runs thus far, until this week. I think it is important for all of us to remember that in extreme heat it is OK/normal to run slower. Also, if you don’t use nuun tablets I HIGHLY recommend them. These tablets do wonders & can change your life.

Also, if you did not know…the more hydrated you are the less you have runners trots. I went there. Enough said, drink water.

Wednesday – 3 miles

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I’ve had some reoccurring demons in my hip and groin since my last race in October, never enough to make me stop running, enough to make me question my health. I finally decided to have it checked out by a professional, not WedMd. I think I was putting it off due to fear? I often use this same method of thinking when checking my bank account. If you don’t look it is basically a non-issue! Right? Guilty.

I heard wonderful things about United Wellness Center so I opted to go there and see a Chiropractor. The doctor diagnosed my issue and worked on it for 30 minutes. I left feeling amazing and free of pain. The man was a wizard. More information on the type of treatment, ART, he fixed me with.

I am going to explain the issue in very simple terms because it is complicated.

Basically, I am having issues with my hip flexors and abductor muscles, derived from hip extension movement. The majority of the power in your stride comes from your hamstrings when driving your entire leg backwards. This is your hip extension.

Hip Extension Process: 

Foot hits ground

Leg drives backwards/beneath you

Foot hits ground again and motion ends

The power in this motion comes primarily from your hamstrings and this strength is the main factor for running faster. Most people have stronger quads than hamstrings. Finding that balance is key.

End point – I need stronger hamstrings but I am OK and this is not a major concern. PHEW.

Thursday – Flywheel

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If you haven’t taken Flywheel it is 100% worth a try. This place is amazing and great for those that cannot do the whole SoulCycle do as you feel kumbaya-ish workout. Flywheel is based on numbers and the instructors do a great job of telling you exactly how much resistance (torque) and RPMs you should be working with throughout each song. I always leave knowing I got my moneys worth.

>> Sums up my thoughts on SoulCycle: http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2013/12/30/soulcycle_fatigue_the_exercise_craze_jumped_the_shark_in_2013.html

There is also a live Torque Board that calculates your RPMs and Torque to give you a Total Power score. The Torque Board is live and shows you where you stand in the class. I lose to my boyfriend every time and it is so upsetting. I workout much more than him and his legs are still stronger. Life is not fair.

**Don’t worry, you don’t have to participate in the Torque Board but it is a nice option for those that are super competitive.

Lastly, you can access more information online or via their App. It is a great resource to help you analyze each workout.

FLY 1

Sidebar

Do you like LaCroix like moi? Might be testing a few of these tonight!

Amy’s has a drive thru now!

Weekend Miles –

Friday – OFF

Saturday – 10 miles

Sunday – 5 miles, race pace

Marathon Monday

I am going to call this Marathon Monday (sans beer) because today is the day I kick off training for my second marathon – why hello emotional roller coaster, nice to see you again.

Brief History: I ran the Hartford 2014 Marathon andddd not to toot my own horn or #humblebrag BUT the whole experience was relatively easy for me AND my body. I underline my body because this is a HUGE part of training that I will touch on in the following weeks. I felt healthy day-in-and-day-out during training and did not experience any issues during my long runs. I also did not have a problem on race day. It was amazing to say the least. Best. Day. Ever. I was able to hit both of my goals, 1) Under 4 hours, 2) Negative splits the second half of the race. I finished at 3:49.

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Boston 2017, I see you.

For those that don’t know, the Boston Marathon qualifying time for women my age (27) is 3:35. Running the Boston Marathon is the ultimate goal, therefore, I have decided to run the Philly Marathon in November and attempt to shake 15 minutes off my time. Shake it off, shake it off. Easier said than done T-Swizzle.

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Throughout training I will log my experiences here in hopes you can learn a thing or two! Maybe even inspire you to sign up for a race (Becca included)!?

That being said, below are a few key nuggets I am pinning to my dashboard as I embark on this journey again. These are in no specific order, honestly, I need to do ALL of them consistently!

1) Speed. Eight minute miles are fairly easy for eight miles, what about 26.2? I did not focus on speed or mile splits last year. You will see a lot of speed work in my training this year.

2) Nutrition. I gained weight last year during training. Trust me, it is easier than it looks.

3) Weightlifting. Very little and very low weight. I have 0 breathing issues but my legs tend to get tired when I run faster.

4) Stretching. Do it. I literally did 10% of the stretching I should have been doing in 2014 = Bad Paige.

Stay tuned everyone!