ww | think like a pro

As I’ve mentioned, I’ve been training for a couple of half marathons for early 2013. Since early July I’ve been running regularly (6-7 days/week), building my base, increasing mileage, adding workouts, and staying healthy. Under my current training regime I attempt to complete the following every week:

1. Long run (60 min, 8-12 miles) – easy-moderate pace
2. Hills (repeats/hilly run/or hill strides during a run)
3. Mile repeats (currently I’m at 5x mile at 6 min pace)
4. Progressive run (sometimes I turn a long run into a long progressive, other times I just get 3-4 miles of progressive in, I’m trying to work up to a 10-12 mile tempo at 6:30-sub-6 min pace)
5. Abs + Pushups (I started using this plan for push-ups and while I can’t ever make it past week 4, it at least gives me a schedule) – 3x/week
6. Strength work (usually in the form of circuits in my backyard with free weights) – 2x/week
7. Dynamic stretching – everyday
8. Swim/cross train – recovery, get off my feet day

I guess I spend some time working out. In all honesty I rarely complete all of this every week. Maybe once every 3-4 weeks do I get through every single thing. However, I like to set goals and having this plan pasted on my bedroom wall motivates me to get up and do as much as I can. I’ve been tracking my workouts and trying to actually train with a more pro-mindset. Reading bios/interviews of pro-athletes is some of the most inspirational content I’ve found. This morning I was reading an interview with former US 10k record holder Chris Solinsky on his comeback from injury and what it was like to sit through the Olympic trials this past year.

After tripping over his dog in last year, Solinsky injured his hamstring and had to take a whole year off from the sport to recover. Coming back, has been anything but easy. Re-adjusting to running and re-gaining his stride and endurance are just the beginning of the challenges.

You’re #2 on the all-time U.S. 5000-meter list and #2 on the 10,000 list. That may sound far away now, but you were very formidable not long ago. Obviously, you feel you can get back to that level.
CS: Definitely. There are days when I’m like, “Oh my gosh, how did I do that?” But like I say, the talent never goes away. And I know that I’ve been there. That’s one thing that’s always helped me out, throughout my career, when I’ve had good times, bad times. I know I’ve been there, so I know I can get back. I’m busting my butt every week. One of those weeks, something’s going to click. Obviously, I’m not going to be back to peak performance within a few weeks.

Knowing how good you have been, and realizing you’re no where close to that shape can be extremely discouraging. I often reflect on how I used to run in high school. Running 7 days a week, tempos every Monday, sub 5:30 in the mile, 18 min 3 mile. I haven’t yet convinced myself that I can get back to that shape, but like Solinsky states, the talent never goes away. It’s hard to watch yourself battle through workouts that were easy a year or two ago. And even more challenging is sitting at home watching the Olympic trials when you know you are good enough to be there yourself.

Was was it like for you to watch the Olympics this year?
CS: The Olympics were actually a lot easier than the Trials. The Trials, it was tough. I had family in town, because they’d planned on coming in and watching. Being there watching the Trials and feeling I should be out on that track racing, that was hard. The Olympics were a lot more finite: “Okay, I’m not on the team and I’m just watching.”

What amazes me about this interview is the perspective that Solinsky has. He pictures himself getting back in the game, being back in the shape he once was. He imagines himself competing at a high level again. He knows that he may be doing 75% of what his training partners are doing, but that he will get to 100% when the time is right. Yes short term goals are important, pushing yourself everyday is imperative, but when a set-back occurs it only means those goals have to be re-adjusted. Obviously an injury changes your outlook on your career, yet having the willpower to fight back after it is what truly makes an pro athlete.

Over the past week I developed some heel soreness that won’t seem to let up with shoe/terrain change and massage/heat/ice therapy. I’ve decided to take a week or so off from running and stick to swimming and cycling. It’s discouraging, especially since for the past two years I haven’t gone 3-months without suffering from some sort of injury. I haven’t quite figured out what the problem is, terrain, shoes, training, or something else. It’s nearly always a left foot issue. But training my brain to think more like a pro-athlete helps me overcome the disappointment. Today is not the first day I have had to take a day off, nor will it likely be my last. I may not be in the shape that I hope to be, but I will get there. For me, running is for life. My career is not over because of one minor setback. I work my butt off today, so that I will see results later. The miles add up, the training kicks in, and the talent never goes away.

Lauren

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WW | naked running

Before I get into it, let me review the series of unfortunate circumstances that led up to my naked run.

Monday: On my way out for a run and as I go to grab my watch what do I see?

Nothing. The poor little guy died in his sleep. He was getting old, but did we ever share some good times. Sorry, this is no time to be pun-ny. Me and that Target watch spent 8 whole years together. He got me through all my high school + college training. He was one of the good ones. RIP Target running watch. You will be missed.

Tuesday afternoon: New Nike GPS watch arrives in the mail! Good timing! Gosh I’m just darn pun-ny today. Super excited to put it into action, I charge it up immediately + download the necessary software. Eeek!

Tuesday night: I am learning how to drive the stick shift car that my family just got, and the clutch dies. We have to take the car in to replace the clutch. Sigh.

Are you confused yet? Where is she going with this story? Keep reading…

Wednesday morning: Wake up at 5:30 AM to meet up with my running group for our workout. Since the car died last night my mom insists I have to take my brother to school, making me late for my workout and the group leaves before I get there. I can’t catch up with them so I decide I’ll just do my tempo on my own with my new GPS watch! Only to find…it has died. What?! It was fully charged last night. Double sigh.


It’s pretty cool looking though isn’t it? And yes I took all these pictures today, I don’t rewear running clothes. I’m just the laziest photographer ever.

So…I ran naked. And by that I mean, I ran watch-less. Not what you were thinking was it? I’m just that sneaky.

Now running watch-less has it’s pros and cons. For me, I literally feel naked when I run without my watch. I like knowing my time, pace, and distance. It helps me track my progress and push myself. But there are times when it’s good to just go by how you feel. Like today, I still did my tempo but I relied solely on how I was feeling. I pushed myself to get to the level of stress I usually feel when I do my tempos timed (I usually hit 6-6:15min/miles). But without any way to time myself, I had to go off feel. It was definitely different, but it felt good to focus on myself and my run. And it simulates how you might feel in a race, going more off feel than pace.

There you have it. My naked run.

And in case you wanted to see some actual naked running, feel free to watch this Nike Free ad.

Anyone else run naked lately?

And I promise to post more regularly again soon. Life’s been well, life lately.

Lauren

WW | How to Fuel Your Workout from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Look at what I found this morning! In case you didn’t know, the Academy of Nutrition + Dietetics is the national organization of Registered Dieticians. Aka, your go to people for accurate nutrition information! Their website, http://www.eatright.org, has a ton of helpful articles on all sorts of nutrition topics. I always go there when I’m trying to get the correct information about a nutrition topic. And look what I stumbled upon today!

How to Fuel Your Workout from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Perfect for this girl’s insanely busy workout Wednesday. You can find answers to these questions there, or read the article below.

Will protein make my muscles grow?

Protein is an important part of a balanced diet, but eating more protein will not magically make you stronger. The only way to grow muscles is to put them to work. "Carbohydrates are the best fuel for working muscles," says Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Spokesperson Heather Mangieri, MS, RD, CSSD.

Carbohydrates are partially converted to glycogen, which is stored in your muscles to power your workout. "Fifty to sixty percent of energy used during one to four hours of continuous moderate to hard endurance activity is derived from carbohydrates," says Mangieri.

Do sports drinks, gels and energy bites live up to the hype?

There’s nothing special about the many sports drinks, gels and energy bites on the market. But it is important to replace lost fluids and provide carbohydrates to maintain blood glucose levels while working out. “Gels, energy bites or sports drinks can be an effective way to supply the body with energy, but they are not necessary. Real food will provide the same benefit as these pre-designed workout fuels,” says Mangieri.

For some athletes, eating solid food in the middle of a workout can cause digestive upset. In these cases, easily consumed sports gels, chews or drinks may help. “Food and fluid intake around workouts should be determined on an individual basis with consideration for an athlete’s gastrointestinal tract tolerance, as well as duration and intensity of the workout,” says Mangieri.
Is it best to work out on an empty stomach?

Your body needs fuel to function, especially if you’re asking it to run, jump, swim or lift weights. Don’t skip breakfast. “Eating before exercise, as opposed to [exercising in] the fasted state, has been shown to improve exercise performance,” says Mangieri.

Eating in the morning helps replenish liver glycogen and steadies blood sugar levels. If it’s hard to stomach solid food first thing in the morning, try a fruit smoothie, or a liquid meal supplement, and don’t forget to hydrate before you exercise.

Regular exercise means I can eat what I want and not gain weight, right?

Wrong. Working out isn’t license to abandon portion sizes and healthy eating guidelines. It’s easy to overestimate the amount of calories you burn while working out.

You should adjust your calorie intake if you’re engaging in serious training, such as for a triathlon, where you might be working out more than once a day. “Recovery nutrition is necessary if you are an athlete participating in strenuous activity, especially if you are participating in multiple events in the same day,” says Mangieri. “For the casual exerciser working out for an hour or less, a healthy balanced diet will work just fine.”

Is chocolate milk really an athlete’s best friend?

Because of its favorable carbohydrate and protein content, chocolate milk is indeed an effective recovery aid, but it’s not your only choice. “Yogurt or half a turkey sandwich on whole wheat can be just as effective,” says Mangieri.

I’m off to start my busy day! Happy hump day!

Lauren