The past month’s training has been a great lesson in keeping steady, without letting the ebbs and flows influence my mood or my intentions too much. I’d like to say “at all” but being the ball of emotional that I am, that’s impossible. There have been a few steps back, but the many steps forward definitely won out in the end.
Some days I had to reprogram my mood so that the angst in the pit of my stomach didn’t drag on for days or weeks. I reprogram by sitting quietly for ten to fifteen minutes, meditating to clear my mind. Just breathing and recharging. I admit that I did reach a peak critical moment with a few tears involved. I was trying to get some hugs and attention from my husband, a sort of “please feel sorry for me moment”.
Thankfully he wasn’t buying into it. We were on the couch and the television was on the news with the earthquake disaster in Nepal. He pointed it out to me and told me that there was some serious stuff happening around the world and that my problems were absolutely resolvable. Then he gave me a hug and kiss and went to water the garden. Instant reality check. I snapped out of it and moved forward.
Once a year I have a sports check up. They sit me on a spin bike, hook me up to a fancy monitoring machine and have me pedal until I reach anaerobic threshold. This takes about ten minutes and then when they yell “STOP!” they measure how long it takes for my heart rate to turn to normal. I once again passed the test with flying colours. The doctor even said that I was really well trained since my heart rate was back to normal within a minute and a half. But… she wanted to have my heart checked with an echocardiogram.
I’ve always had an innocent heart murmur. Every time I’ve done this test for the last twenty-five years they listen to my heart with a stethoscope and say, “Yep, heart murmur”. Since I’m getting on in years I guess the doctor just wanted to make sure that things were still A-Okay. So she set up an appointment for the next week.
I brought my husband with me and while they went over my heart with the Echo stick we were both glued to the screen. It was fascinating to see my beating heart, live! I could see the chambers opening and closing and the blood flowing through. The technician showed me what was causing the murmur: a very slight reflux of blood when the valves closed. But she said it was all normal and that my heart was very healthy. I didn’t think there was going to be a problem but it’s comforting to know that I can train without worries.
THE CONTINUING KNEE SAGA: I promise we are almost at the end of this! I’ve been working a lot on strengthening my feet and ankles, specifically the left one where I have the knee problem. Things are getting better, even if at a snails pace. I work with a balance board every day, I wear my five fingers during the daytime when out and about. If I’m at home I am always barefoot and break out into a Stork whenever I stand up from my work desk. When I go for a run my husband tapes my knee and this also seems to help a lot. You’re probably asking what the hearts are for. Well, I took the photo from above, leaning over. The effect of the taping squeezing my knee and my skin scrunching up created this horrible Frankenstein look. So I blocked it out for your visual enjoyment. Believe me, it was really unattractive.
I’ve been working with a metronome again and this also seems to be helping. I have an innate slow stride rate that needs to be constantly tweaked. I’ve absolutely let it go in the last year so I am really working on getting it back to a decent level. It’s easy to do if I just follow my own instructions!
While training for my Ironman last year I did a lot of research on hydration. I’d heard all sorts of horror stories about people cramping up into balls on the run course and muscle spasms that left permanent scars. Then I read Dr. Tim Noakes’ book Waterlogged and felt more confident that I didn’t have to drink gallons of water in preparation for my race.
In the end I was out on that course for almost fifteen hours but I drank only water during the swim and bike. During the marathon run it was water and then Coca-Cola. I did take a precautionary Noakes suggestion of putting just a pinch of salt on my tongue at the first aid station of the run. My body had the signal salt was available if needed. It worked because I did not have a single cramp.
Dr. Noakes has it in for the sports drink industry, and rightly so. These days the ingredients in the plastic bottle of a supplementation drink is just a mix of sugars, water, salt with a dash of colour to match the flavour advertised on the label.
My own hydration plan these days is to have a half a litre of water upon waking and then drink to thirst for the rest of the day. I always bring water on my bike rides and even keep a bottle poolside for when I want to take a swig. But running is where I sweat the most and sometimes crave a little something more than water after a workout. With warm weather upon us I’ve started to mix my own post workout sport drink.
Homemade sports drinks are ridiculously easy to make. Plus, you can invent any flavour you want and customise the ingredient ratio.
Just throw it all into a blender and let it whirl away for a minute, then serve in a glass.
My favorite flavors are:
One of the biggest mistakes I see with both beginner and experienced runners is a tendency to run the various race distances at the exact same pace. They’ll start their 5K, 10K or marathon at a nice easy pace and stay at that same speed until they cross the finish line. Obviously, the longer the distance the slower you need to go; the shorter the distance the faster you need to speed up.
So how do you pace a race to make sure you finish with a nice performance? In this video I take the 10K race as an example and give you my super easy formula for figuring out your target pace.
If you’ve got a running question, please zap us a line and I’ll tackle it in a future video!
This week we’re catching up with our Running Makeover-ees! Today it’s Jen in Canada, who’s in training for the Blackfoot “Baby” Ultra 25k at the end of May.
Sitting around at Christmas about 5 years ago my brother challenged me to take up running and run a race with him in the spring. I had NEVER run before this so I took the challenge and ran with it (pun intended). He ended up injuring himself so my sister-in-law stepped in and began training with me and we did the race together instead. One of the best things that has come from my running is the relationship I have developed with my sister-in-law, it’s been so fun to run and visit and we’ve gotten to know each other so much better!
I’m super stoked to have won the running makeover. I have been in need of some inspiration and seem to not be able to connect with any of my running buddies this season. The program has helped get me out the door and has offered me a mental challenge with all the drills and different parts incorporated in the runs!
The sprinting is probably the hardest part of the training for me. I have never challenged myself in this area and it’s hard! The drills and sprints completely mix up my normal training routine. At this point in the training I am not as far along in KM as I normally would be so having the runs done by time and drills is very different for me. Julia told me to trust her so that’s what I am doing. I already feel myself becoming a stronger runner.
I always find the first 5 KM the hardest, once I am into my 7th KM my running finds a rhythm and I am usually good to go. It’s just getting past that first 5 KM. Every time I cross a finish line in a race I am feel very proud of myself! I was never athletic and never dreamt that I could actually run like this! Last year I did a personal best and am super excited to try out trail racing this season!
The weather here is “off again, on again spring”, so it’s good for me to have a schedule to stick to for my running since one day it’s so nice out you want to run and the next is a blizzard that makes you want to stay inside. The days when the birds are out and I see a slip of color and a pop of pussy willows makes me smile and keep on running!
I am completely a social runner! I love having someone with me to run! I rarely wear earbuds … if I have no one to chat with I enjoy listening to the birds, the wind, the rustle of the trees! I find music more of a distraction and messes up my own rhythm of steps. I love to immerse myself in the nature that surrounds me when I run. This year’s race excites me because it is my first trail race so I am expecting to really enjoy being out on in nature no where near town running!
Thanks for the update, Jen. Keep on rockin’ it!
Your 8 week plan to go from zero – 5k and discover the life changing power of running. Order now »