Tuesday, January 1, 2019

2019 State of the Run

I never set out to write about running, but here we are.  There have been just a few changes this year.

Before we get started:
I am not qualified to give anyone advice let alone running advice.  This is what works for me.  You should do you.  If you have any advice or feedback for me, please leave a comment because I'd love to hear from you.

Race PRs:
5k: 31:11 up from 32:15 in 2015
10k: 68:14 up from 75:32 in 2017…I finished 3rd from last in the 2017 race.

My running life before Autumn 2017:  Absolutely no variety in distance or effort.  I either cut back or stopped running in the winter in favor of treadmill walking.  Once the weather started getting nice, I would slowly build up to six mile runs a few times a week.  Although my body tolerated six miles well, I felt like I had a built in “stop” that prevented me from running any further.  I ran a few races each year.  When I wasn’t running I did treadmill incline walking like a boss but was pretty flaky on the weight lifting front.

My running life starting Autumn 2017: I added a basic speed work session on the treadmill once a week. I didn’t stop running in the winter.  Even though treadmill running was much harder for me than outdoor running, I kept at it.  I stopped flaking out on weight workouts.  Possibly related: around this time I started listening to the Ali on the Run podcast (which I learned about when one of my all time favorite bloggers was on it) and that opened up a gateway of new running ideas.

January 2018 running status:
·      All treadmill all the time
·      Ran 3 days a week, 13 miles in a typical week
o   4 miles easy on Tuesday
o   4 miles speed work on Thursday
o   5 miles “long run” on Saturday
o   Typical treadmill pace >11 minute miles, typical outdoor pace >12 minute miles
o   Perceived effort: speed work came somewhat naturally, everything else was ungodly hard
·      I committed to twice a week weight workouts.  No excuses.

December 2018 running status:
·      Treadmill on weekdays but still running outside on Saturdays when feasible.
·      Running 5 days a week, 26-28ish miles a week with a typical week looking something like this:
o   Monday: 3 miles at maximum speed (in theory this is supposed to be a tempo workout but I'm scared of those and still struggling with what my pace should be)
o   Tuesday: 6 miles easy
o   Thursday: 5-7 miles speed work
o   Friday: 3 miles, mostly easy with a few hill intervals and a few speed intervals
o   Saturday: long run, 8-12 miles
o   Typical treadmill pace: just under 11 minute miles for easy runs, hard runs are ~10:15 minute miles.  Summer outdoor running was still >12 minute miles, seeing some sub 12 paces in cooler weather.
o   Perceived effort: some days I feel like I’m flying, some days are ungodly hard.
·      Still at the twice a week weight lifting.  No excuses needed.

What changed from January to December: I “accidentally” started running five days a week. I used to finish off my weight lifting workouts with a mile incline walk on the treadmill and one morning I was short on time and decided to run the mile instead of walking.  My body liked the one mile run a whole lot, so I kept it as the finisher for the weight workouts.  I’ve since bumped my post weight workouts to 3 miles, but I want to emphasize that I did that very gradually, increasing the distance by a quarter mile a month.

Once I started running outside again last spring, I found that my body no longer had the built in “stop” at six miles.

Miles Raced in 2018: 25.7
April 5k for work
May 5k with family PR 31:11
June 10k for work
July Firecracker Run 5k with family
September Marathon Relay (4 miles) for work
October 10k on my own PR 68:14

Pairs of shoes purchased in 2018: 4 (I keep a dedicated indoor pair of shoes and a dedicated outdoor pair of shoes).

How running feels (besides awesome):
Pre 2018: Hip tightness was definitely a thing.  At one point I really jacked up a hip and had to stop running for a few weeks (self diagnosis: bursitis).  After that I added a simple pre run routine of 10 forward & back leg swings, 10 side leg swings, 10 walking lunges, 10 high knees, and 10 butt kicks.

2018: no issues with my hips on the treadmill ever.  Once I started running outside, my hips got tight again.  One simple roll on the foam roller with no idea of what I was doing was a miracle cure.  Every once in a while I’ll roll my hips and legs, but for the most part I don’t need to.

Currently: my feet are struggling with longer runs.   I had great improvement by getting new shoes (I <3 you Brooks Launch 5) and I’ve started rolling out my feet.  I’ve found a few foot and calf stretches that I think will help with this problem, I just need to figure out how to incorporate these into my daily routine.  I really don’t think that I have plantar fasciitis, but my husband and all of his sisters do, so foot pain makes me just a bit paranoid.

Other stuff that I started doing for recovery in 2018:
·      Used my standing desk at work more.  Believe me, the last thing that I want to do after a run is stand up but it really helps with leg stiffness and ya know, getting through an office work day.
·      Recovery drinks after most runs.  Protein powder isn't my favorite, but it makes such a difference with muscle stiffness and my energy after a run.

Something that I figured out by writing about my workouts each week on this blog: the weather really and truly sucks where I live.  I can count the number of perfect weather runs that I had this year on the fingers of one hand.  The roads and sidewalks were perpetually icy from January to April.  Heat was an issue from May to October.  Icy roads started the first weekend of November.

The single best thing that I did for my running in 2018: skipping a long run.  Toward the end of November I got burned out and just couldn’t face my long run that Saturday.  I ended up skipping it in favor of a treadmill incline walk and it did my mind and body a world of good.  I very rarely skip workouts, but when I do, it’s for a reason.  I might continue to skip the long run every once in a while, perhaps once a quarter?

What’s in the Forecast for 2019:  Imma keep running.
·      January 2-15: I’ll be doing the Strava/Lululemon40/80 challenge and going for the full 80km (fellow Americans: that’s 48.something miles, which I'm rounding up to 50 miles).  Last year I learned about the challenge too late to take part in it, and at the time 40km would have been a stretch.  Now the full 80km is well within my wheelhouse.  The only challenge is that all of the miles have to be outside.  For safety reasons, I won’t run outside in the dark, so my game plan is to run 2-3 miles each morning after the sun comes up, and then another 2 miles at lunch.
·      Racing goals: I’ll run many of the same races that I ran in 2018.
o   5k’s the last week of April (work thing) and first week of May (family thing).  The May 5k is my PR course, and I think I can get sub 30 minute this year.
o   May: first half marathon.  I used to say that I would never run a half until I was fast enough to do it in under two hours, but something is calling me to do it.  Based on my current race times, the prediction is a 2.5 hour finish.  I had a dream that I finished in 2:15.
o   10k in June.  Of course I want to do sub 60, but really anything faster than my current PR of 68 minutes will do.
o   September marathon relay: it’s a 5 leg race and I’ve run each leg in sequence with the course.  This year I cross the finish line, so I’ll be able to say that I’ve run a marathon with a finish time of 5 years.
o   November: another half.  I’ve run this race on a relay team before and the swag is awesome.  I kinda wanted to do it this year but knew in my heart that I wasn’t ready and I ended up being sick on race day anyway. 
o   Might do an additional 5k/10k if I find the right race.  I’m very sensitive to heat so unless that improves this year, I’ll shy away from summer races.
·      Overall mileage goal: >1,000 miles.  Stretch goal 1,352 miles (26 miles a week for 52 weeks).  I think that’s feasible in that I don’t see myself running any less than I’m running right now.  Some weeks will be higher mileage and some that will be less due to schedule/illness.
·      In theory I’d like to run more miles each week but I’m not sure how to fit that in to my schedule.  My body really likes 2 full rest days a week, and I really like seeing my family/friends/going to work/sleeping, etc so I’m not sure how much more time I can put into workouts.
·      I’m looking for ways to increase my weight lifting efforts, though see above point about time constraints.
·      Um, I really need to get better about nutrition.  I don’t know what this looks like yet, but there is an answer out there and I will find it.
·      And yes I’d like to get faster all ready.  I’m going to keep plugging away on my own but haven’t ruled out getting a coach.

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