We’ve almost made it to Friday! This week has been filled with thunderstorms and poison ivy and I am hoping that the weekend brings some calmness with it.
The thunderstorm part is pretty self explanatory, but I guess the poison ivy part can throw you for a loop. A few months ago Dan and I both woke up with itchy bumps. He’s never had poison ivy before but I immediately knew what it was.
Our guess was that we either picked it up at a park we were filming at (though we stayed on a dock) or we got it from the gym some how. Anyways, after a few weeks, we were poison free.
Tuesday we headed back to the same part to get some more filming done, and this time I was on the lookout. I did spot some p.i. vines growing and showed them to Dan so he would know what they looked like, but again we stayed on the docks, made NO CONTACT with any plants, got our filming done and got the heck out of there.
Imagine our surprise when we both woke up with a few poison ivy bumps this morning (I will spare showing pictures). Ugh, I didn’t know you could get it without actually touching it!
If you have any knowledge of this stupid plant, please fill me in!
Okay now that that is off my chest, let’s get into the good stuff… Top Ten Thursday.
As you know, I am training for a 1/2 marathon. Before this, the longest I had run was 6.2 miles and that was for a 10K race. I haven’t been a consistent runner ever so this was all new to me.
I will say I am loving it, and I might just keep my running shoes on after the race is over in October. I’ve got my eye on Disney!
Even though I have only been trainining for about 6 weeks, I have already learned so much and that brings me to today’s Top 10:
Top 10 Lessons I’ve Learned About 1/2 Marathon Training
10. Running is humbling.
There are times when I feel like I am an Olympian (okay maybe I wouldn’t go that far). I lace up my shoes knowing that I am going to hit my goals. That is until I hit the road and the road tells me otherwise. Just like all sports, you have your good days and your bad days.
Whenever you start to get cocky is when you’re hit with one of those bad days. I have learned to accept the days when my body isn’t feeling it. If you have to cut back on the miles you’re suppose to run one day, just let it go, don’t try to add them to the next run. Stay on your program, and toss that one run out the window.
Sometimes you rock sometimes you stink… it happens.
9. Running isn’t cheap.
I love how people say running is the least expensive thing you can do. All you need is a pair of shoes and you’re off. Yea, not so much.
- Shoes: Those “shoes” cost around $150 because if there is one thing I have always known it’s to not go cheap on shoes. Get a bad pair and you’re setting yourself up for pains and poor performance (get shoe help here).
- Then there are the sport bras. I have tons of sports bras of course, but when going for long distances I need my best ones to keep the girls “snug as a bug in a rug.” Take my word for it, having poor support is no good, and this coming from a flat chested girl! A good sports bra can run between $30-$60!
- Compression socks. I haven’t bought these yet, but I have come to realize that not all socks are created equal and the socks I have just aren’t cutting it. I am getting too many blisters on the tips of my toes and I am hoping to remedy this with these.
- Audio books. Okay so this isn’t really a necessity but having something to keep your mind occupied has really helped me fight through the longer runs, right now I am enjoying Eat and Run. I just can’t believe that a freaking book on tape cost over $20. Maybe I should start offering to record some books?
- GPS: Okay, not necessary again, but extremely helpful and I love being able to see my performance when I am done. How fast I ran, how far, did I beat my times from the last run, etc. Too bad my watch is broken and I am currently waiting patiently for Nike to send me a replacement (this is the new one coming today!)
8. It’s all mental.
I should have known this but I was naive. Running is more of a mental sport than anything I have done before in terms of athletics. I can give anything my all for 45-60 minutes, but when you’re running for up to 2 hours at a time, thats when you need the mental strength.
I really believe that upping your miles slowly isn’t just to get your legs, lungs, and the rest of your body adjusted… it’s to get your mindset right as well.
Each morning when I go run, I pump myself up by listening to my favorite music, eating my favorite pre-run breakfast and telling myself I am going to kill it (the run that is).
I made the mistake one morning of complaining to Dan of how hot and humid it was and of course that was all I could think about for the run. I ended up calling it quits half way. I mentally psyched myself out. Lesson learned.
7. Experiment with fuel.
Your muscles work off carbs and fat, and during long runs, it’s important to refuel up in the middle to help yourself from bottoming out. At first, I was under the impression that if I slowly worked up the miles and got my body acclimated then I wouldn’t need to fuel in the middle of runs.
Over time I have learned that getting a fast absorbed carb snack in around mile 6 makes a huge difference in how I feel. I’ve experimented with everything from gets, blocks and bars… and I have learned that the gels seem to work best for me. Anything that I have to chew feels heavy and gross in my stomach.
6. The need for speed.
Just adding up miles through long, steady paced runs isn’t enough. Clearly it is important but the way you’re going to get to be a stronger, overall better runner is to mix it up with speed runs as well.
Speed/interval runs are going to work different muscle fibers and my your body more efficient in performance. Plus, it makes it more fun. I love doing interval runs… run for 15 seconds, jog for a minute and repeat the cycle.
According to ultra marathon runner, Scott Jurek, interval runs are the key to increasing your speed for the longer runs. I couldn’t agree more!
5. Small and steady
wins completes the race.
No matter how great of shape I am in, running long distances is something that I have to slowly adjust to. Sure you might be the type that can get out and run 10 miles after taking 6 months off, but you’re setting yourself up for more harm than good. Listen to your body, just like most things (weight loss, workout programs, etc), slow changes are best.
For my long runs, I have been adding 1 mile each week. That’s it, 1 mile. Anything more and I worry that my hips and knees won’t respond well. This 1 mile makes me feel accomplished without killing myself. 8 Weeks ago I was at 5 miles, now I am up to 10.
4. A foam roller is the best investment ever.
A few months ago Dan wanted to get a foam roller to help him stretch after workouts. I was all for it but didn’t think I would use it often. I was so wrong.
I started to get some tightness in my hips post runs and decided to try the foam roller out. I still can’t get over how amazing it feels. Yea, it hurts like hell sometimes during the process but afterwards I feel like a new woman. I really love when I can feel knots getting rolled out.
It’s made all the difference in my hips, back and glutes. I think Dan would agree I have taken over the foam roller.
3. Running works your core!
I learned this lesson after my first “long run”. I woke up and felt as if I had performed 5 5-minutes planks or something! Not that I would suggest taking out core training but it does surprise how my core feels my runs. It’s often more sore than my legs… I guess that is a sign I need to start doing those planks!
I have upped my core training since I learned that lesson! And when I run I concentrate on keeping my core tight and in. Especially since it’s so hot I often run in just a sports bra!
2. Good bye weekend mornings.
The bad thing about an October 1/2… training in the summer. Saturday morning is the only morning I can get my long run in because of boot camps. And because it’s so hot and humid here in Charleston, I have learned to say goodbye to sleeping in or even sleeping until the sun comes up.
There is also the issue of long miles… the longer you run the earlier you have to wake up, otherwise the run gets extended into the heat. I wake up at 4:45am on Saturdays, which means I only get to sleep in past 5 am 1 day a week now… boo. I can’t wait for the fall to start rolling in so I can at least sleep in until 6!
1. Cross training is essential.
I can not stress this enough…
So many people get into “marathon training mode” and neglect everything else. Running isn’t enough, having a balanced workout is still crucial for your body, your recover time and your performance. Having strong arms for example will help you pump faster which makes you run faster. Strong legs, strong core, and a strong butt all work together to help you perform optimally.
Strength training has always been important to me and it’s something I have refused to let go of for training. Strength training keeps my back strong so that running doesn’t irritate my disc, and I know if I wasn’t doing it I would be in pain. Just 2-3 days of strength training can make a huge difference.
So there you have it!
If you know anything about poison ivy or have another lesson learned for running please share it below. Any tips on getting rid of “the itch”?