Sunday, July 3, 2011

Running Away from Cramps and Mind Games

Finally, a run that I wasn't completely horrified about. I took to the hills again today and instead of shooting pains through my calves I found a new stride that felt more like it did in December of last year rather than how it has been feeling the past few weeks. I actually enjoyed this run which is something else that has been missing from my training.

I'm happy to finally be running from the mind games and the cramping issues I've had. One of the big trick to overcome the Mind Games has been to re-do a run that beats me down. When I run a route that destroys me, I come back the following day and take it down with a nice slow methodical run like I had today. Yes, my pace was slower than I wanted, but I beat the hell out of those hills and my confidence has been given a healthy boost.

As for overcoming the cramps. I've made a change to my diet which includes more water and less coffee. That has actually helped quite a bit without much other tweaking needed so I'll go with it.

Overall, I'm pumped to have some good results coming my way. More miles to run and my fingers are crossed the gains keep coming.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Walking when You want to RUN!

I got started a little late today which meant the sun was coming up and the heat was on. The first 10 minutes were not terrible, but I stopped to stretch my calves after hitting 10 minutes of running to avoid the cramps I had a couple of weeks ago. I could feel them coming on.

I made it another 20 minutes without stopping but once I hit the hills I ran the inclines and walked the flats. Doing this took about a 1/2 mile off the total distance because there were A LOT of hills. I made sure to keep my pace quick during the walks but it didn't stop my heart rate from falling dramatically so I guess I'm still in some sort of athletic shape, just not what I was 7 months ago before taking a long, long, long, break.

I'm not too happy with how today's run went because walking when your supposed to be running sucks. I plan on getting out on the run earlier in the morning tomorrow and will run the same route to see how I do. Should be fun!

I can't wait to get back into race form. This little experience with taking months off from running is an awakening to NEVER DO IT AGAIN!!!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Top 3 Areas for Leg Soreness from Running

I always seem to write about running on sore legs. I guess it is because I always seem have sore legs at the beginning of a training cycle. Over time, you learn some tricks, how to listen to your body, and if actually running is a good or a bad idea. Long story short, the answer to the question, "Should you run on sore legs", is yes. Maybe.

I run on sore legs, but not before making sure the soreness is because of muscle fatigue rather than injury. Thankfully, the injury part is not as common for me, and the soreness is just something that occurs on a regular, seasonal basis so I've gotten pretty good at spotting the signs.

Here are the top 3 areas of muscle soreness from running that I come across on a regular basis when starting a running plan.

1) Hamstring - running to fast too soon
2) Calf Muscle - from running hills too soon
3) Shin (Tibialis anterior) - from running to far to soon

The best remedy I've found to get past the soreness and on to happy running is to always stretch and massage the muscle groups listed above before and after a run. Don't try stretching to hard while your muscles are not warmed up to avoid pulling, tearing, or ripping them. That would suck.

Oh, and do all the other stuff everyone else says to do like: drink plenty of water, increase your weekly mileage slowly, and get some rest (sleep).

Thanks for reading!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, June 13, 2011

The First Run Back

I laced up the shoes this morning and was out the door by 5:30am. A bit later than my early runs last summer, but at least I was up and heading for the run.

After about the first 5 minutes of running through the street lamp lit streets I remembered that, no matter what my endurance level was, the first mile was the always the toughest. I plowed through the first mile in about 8 minutes and finally started to feel normal.

My running route is a new one and seeing the different scenery helped the next couple of miles fly by. On the last mile of my run I came across a couple of hills and made sure to keep my pace consistent to finish strong.

This was a short slow run and I wrapped it up at about 8:00/mile pace. The rolling hills will likely take their toll on my legs tomorrow so my advice to anyone just starting out would be to avoid hills for at least the first week or two. The pain you will avoid on your rest days in being sore will keep you enjoying the pain and suffering of training hard!


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, June 12, 2011

How to Start a Marathon Program from Scratch

I'm a runner, or at least I was about 3 months ago. As a runner, you run. As a runner who takes a break for 3 months, you're still a runner... just a runner on vacation from lacing up the shoes at 5am and blazing a trail through the morning's darkness.

I've decided to come in from the cold and settle back into being a runner. I've got a goal race in December, The Dallas White Rock Marathon, and my 16 Week training plan will formally kick into action in August. I've got some work to do in order to ramp up my mileage slow enough that I don't get injured, but fast enough so I can make the most out of my training plan.

Here are the keys to my success:
1) Ramp up mileage slowly over 8 weeks
2) Stretch every day and after every run
3) Run in the mornings to shake the legs out during the day
4) Keep the diet on track
5) Keep track of my progress on Dailymile.com
6) Blog about the pleasure and pain
7) Start Marathon training in August on a high note!

I've got got about 8 weeks to ramp up and I plan on a lot of slow miles to get the juices flowing again and to work out the kinks. Here is a sample ramp up that I might use. I'm trying to keep it simple, but I think this little ramp up plan will be good to get me started and keep me going.

I feel like I'm starting over from square one, so the goal is to stay consistent, stretch a lot, and keep all of the miles at a good easy pace. I plan to document my progress and hope to PR in December!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Running Etiquette: When Slow Training Runs Go Fast

Tonight I got home from work thinking I was going to have a nice run along the trail at a slow easy pace. At about the 1/2 mile marker I noticed there was an echo to each step of my running shoes and there was some sort of heavy breathing coming up behind me.

That echo and heavy breathing ended up being some runner dude crowding my space. I guess I could have just stepped to the side and let him pass, but we were on a 12 foot concrete trail through Dallas and there was plenty of room for him to make his own move. So, after about another 1/4 mile I decided to pick up the pace a bit to see what I was dealing with.

He matched my stride and pace as I dropped the second mile to just under 7:00 per mile and as we made it to the turn I realized I was either going to need to drop the pace to 6:30 per mile or go even faster to avoid the heavy breathing, wheezing, and hacking that was going on behind me. I gave it a quick thought and opted to pull up at the water station and let him blow by instead of risking a pulled hammy.

There is such a thing a running etiquette and I think if you're going to run up on someone you should pass the slower runner and smile because you are faster, run close to the person and give a look like "I see you running and I think I'm going to back off a bit to run behind you to let you pull me through this wind tunnel", or simply say "hey dude mind if I let you pace me up this hill while I draft off you through this wind tunnel?"

In the end, I had a good run. I made it home in time for dinner and I managed to save both hammys for another day. If I see that dude again there's gonna be an impromptu race to the street lamp. Smart money is on me.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Mileage Ramp Up - Run Training Plan

I've been resting, stretching, and strengthening my hamstrings and back for weeks now and I'm finally starting to get back into running. That is great news... but at times like these I always find myself pushing to hard to early and end up injuring myself and taking even more time off. Not this time.

I plan on running the 2011 Dallas White Rock Marathon this year, but that isn't until December and my training for that race won't start until September, or even August, so the focus until that starts will be to build up mileage and maybe hit a couple of 5k, 10k, and Half Marathons before that starts.

The photo above shows a sample training plan that I might follow for 8 weeks to get back into a normal running routine nice an slowly. I will likely change up some of the core workouts during the week, but I think this plan provides distances to just go run if I don't have speed work, hills, or other goals in mind.

This plan is pretty vanilla, but it is definitely what I need to stay focused on not injuring my back or hamstring. That would suck.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

On the Run Again

I did not feel like running this morning. It was one of those 6am wake up calls that you wish you could hit snooze and enjoy the comfortable bed, worm comforter, and general laziness. I somehow managed to pry myself off the pillow and made it out the door by 6:30.

I didn't have a big route planned for the morning, but I wanted to try my new Asics Gel-DS Sky Speeds out on a hilly route I've done a few times. Overall, I had a pretty great run. The water fountains are still turned off along miles 3 and 4 of my route which sucked but other than that, it was a good day of running.

The shoes felt great and my hamstring and back seemed to be cooperating as well. I took the time to stretch for about 15 minutes after the run which helped as well.

Happy to be on the run again. Good times.

Run Summary
Distance: 6.32 Miles
Pace: 7:46 Per mile

Sunday, January 16, 2011

How much mental rest from running do you need?

I ran and had a personal best at Dallas White Rock Marathon on Dec. 5th 2010 with a 3:18 time. I then ran a quick 5k just 17 days later with a personal best time of 18:50. To get both of those times it took a number of months of solid running and focus. Then Christmas and New Year's came along and my training took a serious down turn.

I ran the first day of the year like I do on every January 1st and this time I ran 7.77 miles for good luck. I then put together a great training plan the same day that would get me ready for my racing season. That was 15 days ago, and I have yet to start my new plan. I have a 1/2 Ironman coming up in 3 months and I can't seem to get myself back in gear.

From what I can tell, taking off time from running isn't a bad thing. It allows you to recover, focus on some of the things you've neglected because of your training and racing schedule, and recharge your mental batteries. However, if you're brain is playing mind games with you, the time off could do more harm than good to your running by setting you back weeks or even months from what you've achieved.

The marathon took a lot of mental stress with the long hours running and the countless mornings spent alone on the trail with only my thoughts to keep me company. Then, missing qualifying for Boston by about 2 minutes added more mental anguish to mental pain.

I have about 13 weeks to get back into running shape and add some cycling and swimming to my routine in order to be ready for the 1/2 Ironman. My mind tells me I want to train hard so I can do well, but the mental stress from not qualifying for Boston is telling me not to train to hard, it's just a race.

These next 13 weeks are going to be dedicated to squashing that mental voice that has been telling me to take it easy. Game on.

Morning Run

Got out this morning, again, for a morning run through the hills. They are not as daunting as they were when we first moved to the hill cou...