Eureka! Last Long Run Done! Time for Taper!

It’s been a long past few months of running.  All those hot summer mornings of getting up at 4:15 am to get my training runs in, and the Saturdays where I got an extra 15 minutes of sleep, just to get up and beat my feet against the pavement for the ever-increasing, OMG are we there yet, long ass runs! It is all coming to a nice easy slow down.

As of Saturday at 1:pm, I am finally in taper mode. Can I get an AMEN!

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Easy now Trigger….

Time is drawing near.  My very first marathon is in a little over three weeks!  My training seems to have been going on for most of the year, and my miles sure have added up.  I started training back during the second week of June, and since I still had a good fitness level I was able to ramp up pretty quickly, and then ease back about every other weekend.  I even threw in a two-week break from long training, without any sacrifice.

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Beat the Burnout!

Even in the best of training, we encounter days where we feel tired or not as motivated.  I’m having one of these days, but I am working hard to push on and get past the funk.   I have compiled a list of ten things that help with avoiding and stomping out runners burnout.  I’m going to be reading this over and over, and put it to practice!

  1. Take a cutback week. Reduce your mileage by at least 50 percent for a week or two. Take at least two days off during the reduced scheduled week, and maybe try some cross training (cycling, swimming or hiking, as examples). Other sports can revive your mental outlook.
  2. Change your exercise routine. Train on different routes than you usually do. If you don’t train on trails, head to a local park or drive out of the city to run.
  3. Join a running group or team whose members share your same goals. These individuals can provide the needed emotional support. Groups or a training partner can help make completing the long runs easier than doing these alone. It is essential to find people who run your approximate pace so that long runs do not turn into races
  4. If you’re an long-distance athlete, take at least the week following your last event to train a lot less than normal. Don’t worry about your mileage. You won’t lose your fitness level and you’ll be less susceptible to injury.
  5. Be careful of long-lasting conditions such as dehydration and lack of sleep. Over-training and burnout is a downward spiral that requires some changes in your training routine and mental outlook. Chronic dehydration is more likely in the hot summer months.
  6. Spend time alone. Establish a daily morning quiet time to reflect and mentally prepare for the day. To cure burnout, take 15 minutes for yourself first thing in the morning for a physical, mental and intellectual boost.
  7. Get sufficient sleep and rest. Most adults need 7 to 8 hours of sleep every day to feel well rested and energetic. Additionally, proper rest is necessary to maintain good health and reduce the chances of burnout.
  8. Don’t stay sitting. If you’re sitting at a desk all day, you’re bound to feel bored and sluggish, especially toward the end of the day. To stay alert, try moving around every hour, even if it’s just a trip to get a glass of water or look out the window.
  9. Anxiety and stress can be huge energy killers and can contribute to burn-out. To combat stress, make an effort to fit relaxing activities, such as reading or listening to music, into your day.
  10. Emphasize the short-term objectives, not the outcome goals – Burnout gets fueled by an overemphasis on outcome. If you over stress the importance of succeeding in a running event you are training for, and instill a fear of failing, you will distract yourself, tighten up, and interfere with performing to your potential.  Furthermore, the pressure that comes from overemphasizing your ultimate running goal, will kill your enjoyment of running and contribute burn out. Instead, remind yourself of the importance of the process. This means that you will want to focus on proper execution, technique, strategy, etc. If you spend more energy on these process elements, the outcome will take care of itself.

How to Not Go Nuts During an Unplanned Rest Day…

Back in February Dallas had the biggest snow fall ever recorded.  It was crazy!  The city shut down for two days, and turned into a winter wonderland.  Of course with snow you have snowmen being built in almost every yard or open field.  Everyone wanted to get in on the action, and that included me.

Snowday 2010

Snowday 2010

During these two snow days I built and rebuilt snowmen and snowwomen.  If you need to know what the difference is, then you may wanna go have “the talk” with your parents.  I rolled up snowballs and stacked them as high as possible.  Who knew that giant orbs of the white fluffy stuff could be so HEAVY??  I rolled, pushed, and grunted my way through the yard making the biggest spheres possible!  With all that heavy lifting, in the freezing temperature, came the back spasms; those little or big knots in the muscle that feel like stones under the skin. I had a good one in my middle back, but I managed to tune it out for the most part.

THAT was my biggest mistake.

A couple of days later, when the pavement was drying up, I went out for my usual lunchtime walk.  I was walking pretty fast at this point, and even had thrown in a few sprints in the back of the property at work.   I walked my usual route, and did some stretching along the way.    I got a little over-confident and started to do my sprints.  The first one I got about 50 feet before I felt AND heard a tear in my back!   I almost fainted.  I could not even walk without this hellacious pain in my back.  Bad thing was, I had to walk back about 1/2 mile to my office.  It was the most painful walk ever.

That decision sidelined me for weeks.  I ended up at a Sports Medicine clinic, and in physical therapy.  One good thing that did come out of it, was that I was introduced to Larry my Pedorthist, and that I ended up with my Supershoes!

From that day forward, I have listened to my body more than my stubbornness.  I still push the limit a tiny bit, but know when it’s best to wave the white flag for a couple of days.

My white flag… today I am waving it.  I may wave it tomorrow, but at least I know I will be back on my feet running again sooner than I would be if I were to get out and run right now.

That experience keeps me sane in times like this.

Friday = Rest Day

Resting on Fridays helps get my body prepped for the longer run day on Saturday.  So I used this day to take it easy, do some reading, and of course get prepped for my Saturday miles. 

Never skimp on the rest day!

The Run/Walk Method

I pulled this from About.com  This is just one of the articles that helped to get me going on my running. 

Have a look!

Most beginner runners start out using a run/walk technique because they don’t have the endurance or fitness to run for extended periods of time. Here’s how to do the run/walk method:

Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: Varies
Here’s How:
  1. The run/walk method is simple: After you’ve warmed-up with a 5-minute walk, run for a short segment and then take a walk break. Beginners can alternate very short run segments with short walks, such as 1 minute running, 7 minutes walking. 
  2. Keep repeating your run/walk pattern until you’ve covered your goal distance or time. For example, if you want to run/walk for 16 minutes, you can run/walk at a 1:7 ratio for two cycles. Make sure that you’re using the proper form (applies to both your running and walking segments). 
  3. You should start your walk portion before your running muscles get too tired. This will allow your muscles to recover instantly, which extends the time and distance that you can cover. If you wait until you’re very fatigued, you’ll end up walking slowly and it will be difficult to start running again. 
  4. If you want to time your running and walking intervals, you can use a watch or other device that beeps to signal when you need to switch. A simple running watch such as the Timex Ironman has an interval timer feature. Another product that is a favorite among run/walkers is the Gymboss, a small, easy-to-use interval timer that can clip onto your shorts, shirt, jacket, or hat.

    sidenote: I have used the WOD Timer for the iPhone. It used to be a free app, but now it’s $1.99

  5. For the walk portions, make sure you’re not taking a leisurely stroll. You should pump your arms, so that your heart rate stays elevated. That way, you’ll still be getting a good cardiovascular workout and it will make the transition back to running easier. 
  6. As you continue with your run/walk program, try to extend the amount of time you’re running and reduce your walking time.
    More: When Does it Get Easier? 
  7. If you’d like to aim to run for 30 minutes continuously, try this 8-week run/walk program for beginners
  8. Once you can successfully run for long stretches, don’t feel as if you have to abandon the run/walk method. Some long-distance runners use it in training runs and races to help reduce muscle soreness and fatigue.
    More: Can I Walk During My Runs?
Tips:
  1. Use your breathing as your guide during your running segments. You should be able to carry on a conversation while running and your breathing shouldn’t be heavy. 
  2. Drink water at the end of your workouts to rehydrate. If it’s hot and humid, you should also drink some water (about 4-6 ounces) halfway through your workout.
What You Need:
  • Proper Running Shoes
  • Water