60% chance of precipitation. Oh boy. The weather report said that the thunderstorm would roll in towards the late-afternoon. After training a few morning clients and refueling with some grocery basics from the store, I arrived home feeling unmotivated to get back outside but still determined to get my run in before the rain. You gotta do what you gotta do! As the training for my half marathon in Canmore September 18th continues, I can’t help but feel like every run counts: it’s September 1st now, after all! No more time to mess around. From now on out to the end it’s less random runs and more purposeful, training ones.
Yesterday’s workout was a scheduled tempo run: warm up, about 2.5 miles at race pace (I just went hard and stayed fast and uncomfortable for 20 minutes), and a 1 mile cool down. It was not easy, but you know what? I beat the rain, felt strong, and enjoyed getting out there in the wind as the storm approached. In fact, as I sat down to type this post the rain was slanting in towards the windows; welcome, Fall!
One thing I love about exercise is that no matter how often you don’t want to begin a workout, you never regret doing it; unlike with watching movies or eating junk, have you ever heard someone say “I wish I didn’t just spend the last 20 (40, 60, etc) minutes working out”? …didn’t think so. 😉
I’m excited to keep up the training and enjoy this race in the beautiful Rocky Mountains so soon – hard to believe that September 18th is now just around the corner! As I was skimming a few blogs yesterday, I can across Jen‘s thoughts as she prepares for a marathon and thought I’d share them with you. They come from a great Runner’s World article on the “Secrets of Running Speed.” If you’re a runner who wants to get faster or a non-runner who wants to become one, take a look at these tips, taken from the article with some commentary by me:
A five-pound weight loss can take more than two minutes off your half-marathon time. Plus, weight loss can reduce your injury risk and improve your biomechanics. This seems to be at least a small part of everyone’s goal too; a lighter body means you’ll be able to move easier and enjoy life more fully.
Don’t wear things that will slow you down. That means no fuel belt, no headphones, no iPhone, no long-sleeve shirt around your waist, and no heavy shoes. I rarely run with my iPod in, mainly because I like the internal conversation that rolls around my mind and hearing myself breathe (…and the batteries are often dead too!). You’re faster with less, but you also feel faster with less!
Research from Stanford University indicates that athletes who get more sleep during training have better reaction time and speed. Even if you can’t get 10 hours of sleep like the study subjects, the researchers say that just a 20-minute nap can help performance. I’m up at 5:30 am every day for clients starting between 6 and 6:30 am. Lately I know I haven’t been getting enough sleep, and I feel it throughout the day and in my runs. But I’m not a napper! It just doesn’t happen. So instead I need to be more disciplined to get to bed earlier and want to start making a bed time goal of 20 minutes earlier than it has been lately.
Not only is caffeine credited with improved alertness and increased focus, newer research suggests it can improve pain tolerance and help you fatigue less quickly. To get the most out of caffeine, down a cup of plain tea or coffee (not a mocha frappuccino) 30 to 60 minutes before a race or hard workout. Alright! I can get behind this one! I like my coffee like the Turkish proverb states: “Coffee should be black as Hell, strong as death, and sweet as love.” – all except for the sweet part. Give it to me strong and black and I’m a happy woman!
Limit the Junk Food
Sugar can actually trigger hunger, which can lead to weight gain. Plus, you’ll get more out of your mileage with long-lasting staples like whole-grain rice and pasta than with sugary foods that can cause sluggishness—not what you want if you’re pushing for speed. Lately I’ve been enjoying sweet bites of this and that in and while I’ve not felt bad about it (everything in moderation is my saying, for those who can have self-control), I have put a couple pounds on. Plus, I never feel great after lots of sugar. So will you join me (and Jen) in a sugar-less September? Not a sugar-free one (don’t think I could ever do that!), but simply a month of consciously eating less sugar. Not sure how to track this or how to make it more specific and maintainable, but for now I’ll start with awareness. Put down the cookie, grab a veggie, and make steps towards a faster you this Fall racing season!
So, the real question is, runner or not, who’s with me for a sugar-less September? Take on this new monthly challenge and anticipate how good your body will feel when you fuel it for your workouts, long runs, and daily life with healthy, whole foods packed with energy and nutrients! I’m starting off today with a small zucchini carob chip muffin I made with a scoop of PB and a small cup of coffee – good fuel to get me out the door, onto my Thursday run, and back for the day. Live well and be well, friends!