My friend went on a date with another runner… and it didn’t go well!

THE DATE

A friend of mine went on a date with a guy the other night. They were chatting and having a great time. Because they were both runners, the conversation naturally gravitated towards their race experiences. The guy, being an ultra marathoner, finally asked my friend, “Why did you downgrade from running full marathons to halves?” It was then that my friend knew a relationship between the two of them would never work…

DON’T ASK STUPID QUESTIONS

The question, “Why did you downgrade from running full marathons to halves?” was a deal breaker for her, and honestly it annoys me to pieces.

I just completed my 3rd full Marine Corps Marathon (read all about it here.) I have run all distances excluding the ultra marathon, however I am considering trying one in the near future. My favorite distances to run, and the ones I run most often are 10 milers, half marathons, and the full marathon. However, I do not think the full marathon is a harder distance to conquer then the half marathon. All of these distances are equally challenging in their own way. All of these distances are challenging, but the training focus is different. In other words, ¬†it takes a different kind of running depending on the race distance. And here is why…

HALF MARATHON

When I am training for a half marathon, my goal is to run faster. My training focus is on pace and speed work. I am doing shorter runs during the week, at a faster pace. I am running hill repeats. I may, even though, it is rare, jump on the treadmill to do some HIIT. I am also focusing on running form, and strength training. When training for a half marathon, I have more time to weight lift and do yoga. And last time I trained for a half marathon, I ran less, but when I did run, my runs were quality runs. The running less left more time to weight lift. The combo of more quality runs, and more weight lifting, made my body stronger and my runs faster.

FULL MARATHON

When I am training for a full marathon my ultimate goal is to build endurance by running far. My training focus is on increasing my weekly milage by running longer runs. I am not worrying too much on running a fast pace, and actually my pace slows down significantly. When it comes to pace, I am just trying to stay consistent. I practice negative splits on my longer runs. Nutrition and proper hydration plays a huge role when training and racing this distance.

HOW IT EFFECTS MY BODY

Depending on the sport you play, your body may take on a different shape. Gymnasts have a distinct gymnast’s body, Swimmers have a swimmer’s body… and you may have heard people say Runners have a runner’s body… but when it comes to runners, it becomes a little more complicated, because there are different types of runners. Sprinters or those running shorter distances then the marathon ¬†at a faster pace tend to be more muscular, then those running full marathons and ultra marathons. This is definitely true for me.

When I train for a half marathons I have more time for other exercises, such as weigh lifting, cycling, and yoga. When I train for a half marathon, I am able to fit in 4-5 times a week of weight lifting. Therefore, I maintain more muscle. I am stronger and overall look more fit.

When I train for a full marathon, my weekly milage has significantly increased. The mileage has increased so much that it is nearly impossible to fit any other exercising in. During marathon training, I was able to squeeze one weight lifting session in a week. And out of my four month marathon training, I went to yoga once. I tried to maintain as much muscle as I could during marathon training, but it was hard because I wasn’t lifting as much as I usually do, and because I didn’t have much fat to burn. When running long distance the body uses fat as energy. If there isn’t any fat to use, it will then use muscle for energy. This is why marathon runners, and ultra marathoners are so lean.

So as you can see, one distance is not more challenging then the other, they are just very different, even effecting the body differently.

Stop having an ego!

Just because you run a full marathons, or ultra marathons, it doesn’t mean you are more fit or a better runner then someone who chooses to run half marathons.

I choose to run a full marathon when I am craving to run far, consistent, slower, longer runs. Marathon training is a huge time commitment, and because I usually get really into my training, it is important for me to have the proper time to train. Yes, you can always make time, and make marathon training a priority but things get in the way, for example wedding planning, getting pregnant, traveling.

I am tired of hearing, “Oh I just ran the half…”

Don’t feel like less of a runner, because you only ran the half marathon. Feel proud, running a half marathon is an amazing accomplishment.

Honestly, sometimes I choose to run a half marathon. It lets me focus on running a faster pace. For a travel race, I may choose to run the half marathon over the full marathon, if I am in a cool city that I want to visit and explore, and not be too tired after racing. Sometimes, I choose to run a half because I want to be able to fit in weight lifting and yoga.

SO at the end of the day, I like to switch things up, and that is healthy physically and mentally.

‚ÄúIn some ways, an ultra isn‚Äôt even as hard as a marathon.‚ÄĚ ~ Scott Jurek¬†

Questions for You…

  1. Have you ever dated a runner?
  2. Which race distance is your favorite?
  3. Have you ever come across a runner with an ego?

© 2013 sweatdaily

Marathon Update: 20 plus miler

“Whatever song you have in your head had better be a good one. Whatever story you are telling yourself has better be a story about going on. There is no negativity. The reason most people quit has nothing to do with their body.” ~ Scott Jurek

I have realized that during this marathon training season, the times that I had not so good runs, weren’t really about my physical strength, but rather my mental weakness.

On Saturday, October 5th, I ran my final super long run, with the mind set that it is going to be a good run. I just knew it was going to be that way, I felt excited and eager to get out there.

My garmin recorded 20 miles, however I think I ran at least 21 or maybe even 22. The reason I say this is because while looping around the Jefferson I looked down at my watch, and it had been stopped.

Anyway, whatever, 20, 21, 22, its all the same. They are all in the 20s and so is 26.2. What I mean by this, is at this point in your run, you pretty much are either hitting the wall, or in the zone. The zone is where you want to be. It is when you are preforming at your peak ability. This is why we run, as runners – this is what we are all chasing.

On this 20 plus miler, I must have been in the zone… because during this run I didn’t desperately want it to end like I do sometimes when I feel bored or hungry. After I finished this run, even though my legs were jello and in pain, I could only describe myself as good, happy, excited even.

This is how it all went down…

Because of the Government Shutdown, the running trails that I normally run on were closed. I did see people sneak on the trails, but I decided to avoid them. This took me out of my comfort zone and forced me to find a new and exciting route.

The night before I decided to use the Map my Run app to figure out a way to fit 20 plus miles in from my house to the National Mall. I live right on the other side of the Potomac… being so closed to DC, made me concerned I wouldn’t have enough miles, and my run would end just short of 20.

Another dilemma, the October Heat Wave. Because it would be 90 degrees by noon, this forced me to get out of bed bright and early. I struggle in the heat. In my early 20s, I use to be able to do runs on code red days without eating breakfast, but now in my late 20s, that just sounds like torture.

So I crawled out of bed, grabbed my iPod, Garmin, Camelbak, and I headed out the front door.

THE ROUTE:

  • I ran from South Glebe to North Glebe.
  • Then I made a right down North Quincy.
  • Made the next right down Wilson.
  • I passed North Side Social heading toward Clarendon.
  • Ran through Clarendon down to Court House.
  • I passed Court House, running down to Rosslyn.
  • Made a left at the bottom of the hill, ran straight over The Key Bridge.
  • At the end of the bridge I made a right on M street.
  • Ran through George Town on M until I hit Wisconsin.
  • Made my next right on Wisconsin and ran down to the George Town Waterfront.
  • Made a left and ran passed the Waterfront.
  • Ran passed the Kennedy Center towards Memorial Bridge.
  • Right before the Bridge I crossed the street to hit the National Mall.
  • I made a right and headed to 14th Street.
  • On 14th Street I headed towards the Jefferson and then jumped on the 14th Street bridge.
  • I ran across the bridge (South) towards VA.
  • At the end of the bridge I turned around and ran it again back towards DC. (North)
  • Then I ran the Tidal Basin.
  • I passed the WWII memorial.
  • I passed the reflection pool.
  • I passed the Lincoln.
  • I headed over the Memorial Bridge.
  • I made a right and ran through Arlington Cemetery.
  • I ran up to the Iwo Jima memorial.
  • I ran down through Rosslyn.
  • Then I ran up hill.
  • ¬†I ran up Wilson.
  • Passed Rosslyn.
  • Passed Court House.
  • Passed Clarendon.
  • The hill finally ended.
  • I made a left on S. Quincy.
  • I made a left on North Glebe.
  • I finally arrived back at South Glebe.
  • 20 plus miles in 3:30ish.¬†
The Jefferson!

The Jefferson!

The Lincoln, Reflection Pool, WWII memorial.

The Lincoln, Reflection Pool, WWII memorial.

This run was really fun because it was a new route. I also hit up a lot of the monuments and memorials that I normally see from the other side of the potomac.

After I stopped my Garmin. I walked a half mile back to my house. It felt good to walk, even though it was up hill. I live in a very hilly neighborhood. But walking after a long run is very important.

When I got home, I chugged a bottle of water. Although, I drank plenty of water while I was running, it is very important to stay hydrated in order to avoid lactic acid build up in your legs, which later causes soreness.

Then I took a shower. After long runs I always put my shower on as cold as I can. Cold ice water is good for the muscles and helps reduce inflammation. Oh wow, this felt truly amazing.

GAME PLAN: 

This long run was bitter sweet. The reason why is because it was my last super long run before the marathon, which means my marathon training is coming to an end. However, I also felt excited because now my super long run is over and the marathon is right around the corner. ¬†Yesterday, marked 20 more training days, which means taper time – it’s all down hill from here on out. Woohoo!!

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So for the next 20 days, I am going to be doing short faster runs. I will also include hill work in most of my runs. Because my runs will be shorter, I am going to put a more intense focus on weight lifting, doing active rest periods, and circuit training to build endurance.

According to my training plan this weekend my long run will be 12, and the weekend after that my long run will be 8 – if you even want to call those long runs…

I will keep my training and nutritional goals on point. It’s grind time!!

© 2013 sweatdaily

 

Marathon Training Update: My Garmin has become Running Buddy.

garmin

I love my Garmin!! This Garmin has been the best present my boyfriend has ever bought me.  I have the Forerunner 50 Рwhich is the oldest of all the Garmins. Sooo old that most people have never heard of it. This watch has been with me for all of my training runs and races for the last 5 years. It tracks my pace, distance, cadence, heart rate, and calories burned. But what I find most amazing about using a Garmin watch is that you get to also use the  Garmin Connect Calender.

With this feature, I am able to analyze all of my current runs, but I also get to look back on all of the runs I have ever recorded. This has been extremely helpful. The last time I ran the Marine Corps Marathon was in 2010. During this training, when I have felt unsure about my progress, I am able to go back to 2010 with the click of a button and compare my runs.

“It had gotten to hot even for the desert rat, Rick Miller, so Dusty joined me and ran me up the next 10 miles. “You da man, Yeah brotha’, that’s how you do it, Jurker, hell yeah!” the Dust Ball hollered.”

The above quote is from the book Eat and Run, by Scott Jurek. Scott Jurek wouldn’t be the runner he is today, with out his best friend Dusty. The relationship between Dusty and Scott is by far my favorite part of the book. Dusty was there by Scott’s side, through almost all of his ultra runs. And although I wish I had a Dusty, the reality is… I don’t, so my Garmin has become my running buddy.

So far during this marathon training season, I have been running solo.  Sometimes when you are running by yourself it is hard to judge if you are running your best, especially considering that last year and up to this point, I have had a running buddy. However, in 2010 I ran every training run by myself, and ended up having a very successful marathon.

I did it then, I can do it now.

Questions for You…

  1. Do you run with a Garmin? If not what do you use to record your runs?
  2. Do you have a running buddy? or do you prefer to run solo?
  3. Have you trained for a race by yourself?

© 2013 sweatdaily

Day 2 of Marathon Training

“And yet ultra runners – even the fiercest competitors – grow to love each other because we all love the same exercise in self-sacrifice and pursuit of transcendence. Because that’s what we’re all chasing- that “zone” where we are performing at the peak of our abilities. That instant when we think we can’t go on but we do. We all know the way that moment feels, how rarely it occurs, and the pain we have to endure to grab it back again…
We all struggle to find meaning in a sometime painful world…
We’re all human, that there’s so much messed-up stuff going on, we need to hold on to what we love. “

-Scott Jurek

The above passage is from yet again, Eat and Run. And although, it mentions ultra runners- I believe all runners can relate. People don’t understand why I am so passionate about running, and they wouldn’t, unless they too run. But it is all about the “zone.”

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Day 2 of marathon training was another short 3 mile run. Today the heat and humidity was a little suffocating, but it was tolerable.

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Questions for You…

  1. Have you reached the zone?
  2. What mile are you at, when you reach it?
  3. What sport are you doing when your reach the zone… yoga? running?

© 2013 sweatdaily

 

Mental Strategies for Runnners

There are several different types of runners…

just-run

While reading, Eat and Run, Scott Jurek compares himself to his hero Chuck Jones and Ron Nicholl. He also discovers bushido, which is a code of honor and morals developed by the Japanese.

Bushido means letting go of the past and future, and focusing on the moment. Do you bushido while running? Or is your mind in constant thought? Do you run better when your mind is empty or do you run better when you are focused on your running?

¬†When you have been consistently running, or have properly trained for a race, you are physically capable to run the speed and distance you have trained for… But are you mentally strong enough?¬†

What mental strategies do you have, if any at all?

“The mountain reminded me that races are not run all at once, that the only way to survive an ultra was piece by piece. So I ran Mount Si piece by piece.”

Scott Jurek used a mental strategy in order to run the distance of Mount Si. He broke his ultra into 3 parts. I do this often while running the marathon distance. During my training my two longest runs are 21 milers. My easy runs during the week are 5.2 mile runs. This becomes a mental strategy for me because when I hit mile 21 in my marathon, I am able to tell myself, “Oh Yay! Just hit mile 21, now it is just my 5 mile easy run.”

A lot of runners have tricks like this. When my dad use to run marathons, he use to break the marathon distance into 4 different 10K parts.

Hal Higdon, a marathon coach, states in his marathon training guide, that he wears a rubber band on his wrist, that every odd mile he switches it to the other wrist.

“According to Bushido, the best mind for the battlefield-or the race- is that of emptiness, or an empty mind. “

I use to just let go, and run (bad form and all.) ¬†I wouldn’t really think of anything, my mind was empty. It was my quiet time during my day, my time to myself. But, I wasn’t becoming faster. I wasn’t becoming a better runner, having no goals.

“My craft was running, and as I climb those northwest mountains, I tried to do so with extreme focus. It’s easy to shut your brain off when you’re running long distances, and sometimes it’s necessary, but I stayed plugged in.”

When I decided to change my shoe to Newtons, and really focus on improving my stride. I had to stay focused. During that time, when I was transitioning my stride from a heel striker to a more natural barefoot runner, there were definitely days when I missed the times when I  could just go out there and run., with an empty mind. It was very exhausting physically running, and then mentally thinking about how to run properly, but I had to, I was invested in becoming a better runner.

“In my two months training in Seattle, my endurance improved all by itself. Dusty and all the other tough guys were right about that. Just do the distance and that will usually save you. “

I totally agree, it is as simple as that… practice running the distance, and it will save you.

“I stood in icy rivers to strengthen my mind’s control over my body.”

However, Scott Jurek prepared his mind by standing in icy water. Sometimes running isn’t enough. Sometimes your need more. So in addition to the distance, mentally preparing for your race can take you to a different level of running, maybe even a new PR. Focusing on running while you run, can keep you injury free, and a stronger faster runner.

“I concentrated on running a particular section harder, on picking up speeds downhill while I rested my heart and lungs.”

You would be surprised how the mind can play tricks on you and actually turn a good race into a nightmare. Using mental strategies when you have approached that unbearable distance is just a SMARTER way to run.

There are several different runners, some that empty their minds, others that use their minds just as much as their bodies, but we can all agree on this…

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Questions for You…

  1. Do you just run? Letting your mind empty?
  2. Do you have any good mental strategies? Please share them!

© 2013 sweatdaily

Monday’s Motivation

Last week was a really busy overwhelming week for me, and my new couch/sectional finally arrived after three months of waiting for it to be custom made. So instead of blogging I spent most of my extra time laying around on my new couch/sectional relaxing and knitting.

Me. My dog. My new sectional. Living room is coming together.

In the mornings, I did fit in some running including a long 10 mile run in my newton shoes which I will later write a post about. I also spent some time in my kitchen cooking some really amazing food including beets that I roasted in olive oil for two hours. Anyway it is monday night and I wanted to leave you all with this quote that I found extremely inspiring. I’m hoping that it will help motivate you to eat healthy for the rest of the week.

Truth

Happy Monday Night!

© 2012